9th Grade Recommendations

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  • #408904 Reply
    William C. Michael
    1.  Freshman English
      1. TRV-321 English Literature I (50%)
      2. TRV-351 English Composition (50%)
    2.  Freshman Latin
      1. TRV-100 Intro to Classical Grammar (50%)
      2. TRV-101 Latin Reading I (40%)
      3. TRV-131 Latin Vocabulary (10%)
    3. Freshman History
      1. HUM-131 Ancient History (100%)
    4. Freshman Mathematics
      1. QRV-151 Modern Arithmetic III (20%)
      2. QRV-201 Algebra I (80%)
    5. Freshman Science
      1. PHI-361 Modern Biology (100%)
    6. Freshman Philosophy
      1. PHL-311 Classical Ethics (100%)
    7. Freshman Theology
      1. THL-351 Sacred Scripture I (50%)
      2. THL-310 Baltimore Catechism III (50%)
    #409325 Reply
    Leslie Hickman

    If you were starting an older high school aged student, would you start him/her at the same place as a Freshman in all the classes?


    #409326 Reply
    William C. Michael

    Dear Mrs. Hickman,

    Thanks for posting.

    This is a very important question, and I beg your pardon if, for the sake of all who might read my response, I dig into this a little bit.

    First, without any regard for our children’s future professions or chosen state of life (which are not in our control), we have to provide them with a true, Catholic education.  I explained this curriculum in detail today in my article, “There is Only One Catholic Curriculum“.  That should be in progress for our children, directing their studies, objectives, etc..  This is where almos ALL Catholic families fail in homeschooling.  They don’t do this.  They start with modern school requiresments, college admission requirements, etc., and they serve those objectives INSTEAD OF the objectives  of a Catholic education.  In the end, they achieve neither.  The first thing we should focus on is establishing our children’s Catholic education, without any regard for anything the world says or does outside of our home.  This is our right as parents, and it’s what makes homeschooling valuable.

    Second, with that true Catholic education in progress, we (as parents) should then ask, “OK. What should we do about a high school diploma/transcript?”

    We need to be very careful here because Catholic parents fall into a trap that undermines homeschooling completely.  They fail to keep things in context and begin comparing apples with oranges, which leads them to become anxious and make bad decisions.  We have to remember a few important points about what’s going on in modern schools:

    1. Children are sorted by grade level–artificially and unnecessarily.  There is nothing real about being in 9th grade.  It’s an artificial label given to students who happen to share the same year of birth, which is irrelevant in education.  All that matters is what each child needs today to get smarter, better, etc.. Homeschooling allows us to serve our children’s needs, not artificial labels and group names that are irrelevant.
    2. Within grade levels, children are sorted into “tracks” or “levels”.  Let’s say Mary is in Honors English and she does poorly and earns a D grade in English.  The next year, Mary is moved down from Honors to Level I, and at a lower level, earns a B+.  Rather than Mary rising to meet a standard, the standard  was changed for Mary and Mary’s GPA is meaningless. These numbers in modern schools are all relative, and we need to ignore them as homeschooling parents.  In some schools, there are 3 or 4 different “levels” of students in each grade, so a “B” or a “D” has no absolute value.
    3. High School courses are defined by curriculum standards based on high school “credits”.    A high school course on a transcript simply represents a student completing a set amount of work that occupies 40 minutes of instruction for 180 days.  A high school course is not an actual subject, studied from beginning to end.  Textbooks aren’t finished. The time requirement is fulfilled and that’s that.  The final exam is created by the teacher to test what has been covered and the course name goes on the transcript with a grade.

    So, we must have this in mind when we site down to prepare a transcript for our home-schooled Catholic children because if we don’t “grade” our children relative to how the modern school is grading the children, we will be penalizing our children for being homeschooled.

    I’ve had three children “graduate” from my homeschool so far.  I create for them a transcript and I ask myself, as the homeschool administrator, “How would I grade my son’s knowledge of this subject based on modern high school standards?”  I assign them a letter grade based on this judgment of mine. For example, our family studies history, discusses history, watches history films, etc.  I know that my children, just by being members of our family, know more history than 99% of high school students in America.  Therefore, I give them As in high school history.  I give them As in English, As in Foreign Language (Latin), As in Physical Education, As in Theology,  As in Philosophy.  When we get to Mathematics and Science, I do the same, but I am aware that top students in modern schools know modern mathematics better than my childen, so I give them Bs or Cs in Math based on what they’ve studied.  By the time I’m done, my children will have a high school transcript that greatly exceeds the normal high school credits requirement and will have a relatively high GPA–as they should, since we study more at home, throughout the entire year, than any school students do with only 180 days of school.

    Here’s a copy of my eldest son’s transcript, which I trust will be helpful.  He did nothing but CLAA studies.

    Now, no college or employer outside of my home has any clue what my grades mean–but they also have any idea what any schools’ grades mean.  It’s all relative and meaningless.  This is where standardized tests come to the assistance of homeschool families.  If you provide your children with a real, classical Catholic homeschool education, they should score highly on the SAT.  Once that high SAT score is seen, there will be no questioning of the content of that high school education.  It’s verified.

    In my children’s case, they all have chosen to enter the military when they reached adulthood, so things work differently.  They take an entrance examination to enter the Army, called the ASVAB.  They have all scored highly on the ASVAB test and have bee able to choose any career they wanted in the military.  They choose a specialty, go to Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT), for which they are paid, and come home in 4-6 months, as members of the U.S. Army Reserves with their college tuition paid and 30 college credits completed in the career field they’ve chosen.  They have started in college, as transfer students, without any SAT requirement and all of my homeschool records have been accepted without question.

    If a child was attempting to go from homeschool directly to freshman admission in a college program, there should be no problem–IF they have a real classical Catholic education,

    One thing that makes me shake my head is that a program like Seton is chosen by Catholic families because it is “accredited” (which is meaningless and unnecessary) and follows the modern K-12 curriculum.  Yet, if we look at Seton’s results, their average SAT scores are barely above the national average.  In 2019, the national average was 1059 and the Seton average was 1149.  That’s terrible–and parents have denied their children a classical Catholic education….for an average SAT score!  How Seton is allowed to get away with this is beyond me.  Catholic families dedicated to educating their own children, at home, spending thousands of dollars on curriculum materials and services, end up with average SAT scores.  As I said, parents who neglect true Catholic education for  cares about college admissions end up with neither.  You could neglect your kids and send them to public schools and they can score as well, or better.  My parents had zero involvement in my public high school education and I scored 1320 on my SAT–a clueless unbeliever with no parental involvement!  Catholic homeschool students are scoring LOWER than I did.  That’s inexplicable.

    Having said all that… (sorry)

    When you look at your children’s high school studies, their Catholic education should satisfy/exceed what they need to fill a transcript.  If you look at the example I gave at the top of this thread, you’ll see that I create seven artificial high school subjects, and that these are served by courses the children are studying online, without any regard for a high school transcript.  If we pursue our real, Catholic education, the high school transcript will take care of itself.

    If you have an older student, priority #1 is:  start a classical Catholic education.

    Once that gets rolling, the question is, “What has my child studied, or what does my child know, in each subject RELATIVE to modern high school students?”  That’s what will determine what goes on the transcript.  I would use those same seven subjects I listed for all four years of high school and assign a grade to each.  I understand that if you don’t have experience teaching and making these decisions, it can be difficult, but we can help with that when the time comes.  If the kids can make progress in CLAA studies, we can use their exam scores in their online courses to provide grades for their transcripts.  In the end, standardized tests (SAT and ACT) should verify our children’s aptitude and remove all questions about their studies.

    Having said all that, if your children choose a college program that has special requirements, they may need “spot treatment”.  I had an excellent student did very well in classical studies and scored well (I think) on her SAT, but who wanted to enter into a selective nursing program, but she didn’t prepare sufficiently for the specific requirements of that  program, so she had to “spot treat” those issues and transfer in a year later.  That could have been avoided, of course, but children have to understand that their career choices have consequences and parents are not, primarily, responsible for them.  So, a year may be needed to transition from homeschool studies to a college program, which is no problem if we have given our children a real Catholic education ignore artificial deadlines and think of  the big picture of life.

    We will also have to deal with children making bad decisions during their early adult years–and it’s OK.  They can screw up, take giant steps backwards, get into trouble, work out of it, and get back on track.  This is normal.  Worrying about artificial (and stupid) modern time expectations is what causes most of the anxiety and stress parents have about these things.  None of them are real.  I didn’t finish my bachelor’s degree until I was 26 years years old…and no one cares.  I became a Christian in college and had my priorities straight.

    So, that’s a lot to chew on and I believe I did get to your question. 😉

    God bless,



    #409333 Reply
    Leslie Hickman

    Mr. Michael,
    Thank you so much for such a detailed and thorough answer to my question. And yes, I think you did answer, in exactly the way I had hoped.
    I will take some time to reread your comments again tomorrow, but wanted to get off a quick thank you! I have spent the evening staying up too late reading the archives of your blog. There are many good nuggets of information there for families just starting out with CLAA. Thank you for your patience with me.


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