I'm not sure if I'm ever done planning for the next year.
I decided last week to look into Luke, a junior next year, taking dual credit classes. So, I've been on the phone and computer getting him enrolled. Fortunately, I didn't miss the deadline. He'll have to take a placement test to see if he is eligible to take college level courses. I'm not sure if he will take any courses at the community college but I want to have that possibility in place in case we decide to go that route.
What is dual credit? That's when high school juniors and seniors take classes at a college and they earn both college credit and high school credit at the same time. A down side is that these credits may not transfer to a private college or out-of-state college. Even if Luke takes some classes and they don't transfer, the classes that he takes will only take one semester to complete vs. an entire year if he took the class as a high school class. Also, I can note on his transcript that he took college classes and that can add validity to his transcript, as if that's necessary! ( :
Possible classes that he might take include chemistry, economics, pre-calc and physics.
What about CLEP?
Luke is preparing to take his first CLEP test in College Algebra this semester with the help of CollegePrep. Passing a CLEP test demonstrates that a student has mastered the material at a college level. Many colleges will accept CLEP tests allowing the student to be exempt from taking that particular college course. If (when) Luke obtains a certain score on his College Algebra CLEP test he will not have to take that course in college nor will he have to pay for it in college. The tests cost about $80 each but a college course is in the hundreds of dollars. CLEP tests can save the student (parents) a ton of money. In addition, depending on the degree that the student is pursuing, he can take all of his college courses via CLEP testing and get a degree from a university that accepts these tests (ie: Thomas Edison University). A college degree can cost under $10,000.
If he goes to a military academy most of this is moot as they won't accept dual credit or CLEP. But those colleges are free so it sort of evens out. His dual credit courses would still "count" as high school courses so that's a "win".
What science for which children is a big challenge. They will probably all use an Apologia course. Luke might take chemistry at the community college instead. Josh will take biology and he'll probably do his labs at a 2 day lab intensive with Landry Academy. Caroline will either take Apologia General Science (recommended for 7th grade) and a 2 day lab intensive for that class, or I may have her continue with an Apologia Elementary science book and wait until 8th grade for General Science...then Integrated Chemistry and Physics (with DIVE) for 9th grade. Jesse (5th grade next year) and Sophia (3rd grade next year) will most likely use an elementary Apologia book. I may have a tutor come to the house and do science with them 2 days a week so that it gets done regularly. I love the science courses, I just don't have time to fit in teaching everything!
That's probably too much info. Was it rambling? No, it was my way of processing some of this I think. Hopefully it's helpful to someone else in cyberspace.