When other people hear that I'm homeschooling a high school student, I often have people ask me about teaching Chemistry or Algebra or some other similarly scary-sounding subject. Honestly, teaching difficult subjects doesn't scare me. Some of my biggest worries are that somewhere along the way I'll miss an important deadline or fail to teach a specific course and therefore make it harder for Addison to get into the college that she wants to attend.
If I find myself overwhelmed with the thoughts of college entrance exams, scholarships, and college applications with specific time schedules, I can find a month by month timeline for college and career decisions. It tells when to sign up for college entrance exams, when to apply for scholarships, and more.
This book isn't just directed at parents of high school students. The book is intended for both me to use and for my student to use. Throughout the book there are assignments for the parents ("encourage your student to take the most rigorous courses he can to prepare him for college or a career") and assignments for students ("decide what goals you want to accomplish in the next four years and what subjects you really want to focus on").
High School Prep Genius is appropriate for both college bound students and those that prefer not to attend college immediately following graduation. The book spends some time focusing on general skills such as getting organized, volunteering, building a strong support system, and achieving financial independence. The study skills sections in the book will help all high school students develop better study and test-taking skills. Approximately a quarter of the book is devoted to such topics as choosing a college, preparing for standardized tests, and applying for college admissions. The final chapter includes helpful tips for making the most of the college years, including how to live with a roommate, why it isn't a good idea to stay up all night, and how to say "no" when you realized you can't do everything.
Addison was initially overwhelmed with this book and thought is was a bit too focused on student achievement. In particular, she pointed out how the month-by-month timeline for high schoolers suggests taking the PSAT for practice in both her freshman and sophomore years before taking it for real as a junior. From a parent standpoint, though, I like knowing about all the options and then choosing to omit the suggested tests or activities that I feel are unnecessary.
As Addison started working through the materials, it became less overwhelming. Perhaps the most useful thing that she did was to set up a College and Career Notebook according the to High School Prep Genius recommendations. She now has a single spot to record her classes, her volunteer activities, books that she reads, and any awards that she receives. She hasn't started seriously looking at colleges yet, but her College and Career Notebook has a section ready for her to jot down information about potential colleges, deadlines for admissions, etc.
Although I read this book as the parent of a homeschooled student, the book is not written specifically for homeschoolers. With the exception of about 10 pages about homeschool transcripts in one of the appendices, all of the information would be equally suited for parents of a student attending a public or private school.
College Prep Genius recommends the High School Prep Genius guide for parents and students in junior high through high school. Even if your high schooler is nearing graduation, there is still helpful information in this book to help guide him off to the first years of college. The book retails for $29.95.