You fine people on cc helped me last year when I started asking questions about my kid. It’s time for round two. Looking for advice re: summer activities, and perspective on upcoming course scheduling.
Freshman year is wrapping up in the next couple of weeks at their small CA public school. It’s a non-traditional one with independent study, so there is little class time and mostly self-study. The school’s advantage is course flexibility. Student has completed the following course work to date:
Math: Int. Math 1 Ad; Int. Math 2 Ad; Int. Math 3 Ad; Pre-Calculus Hnrs
Math (community college dual enrollment): Math 150 (Calc w/ Analytic Geo I); Math 151 (Calc w/ Analytic Geo II)
Science: Adv. Biology 1,2; Chemistry Hnrs 1, 2; Physics 1,2
Social Sciences: World History & Geography 1/2 (Renamed Identity & Power Around the World)
English: English 1/2 Cluster
World Languages: French Year 2 (3/4); French Year 3 (5/6); Spanish Year 2 (3/4); Spanish Year 3 (5/6); Spanish Year 4 (7/8)
Next year is tenth grade/sophomore year. Courses include:
-Phys Ed (final year - course work is not time consuming)
-Art (2 semesters - Visual/Performing Arts graduation requirement)
-AP Spanish (year 5 foreign language)
-community college dual enrollment Poly Sci courses (semester 1 & 2); completes the Government/Economics Social Studies graduation requirement
-cc/de Linear Algebra, Calculus 3 (semester 1)
-cc/de Discrete Mathematics, Differential Equations (semester 2)
(The cc/de professor from this year is teaching one math course each semester and thinks that the work is do-able for the student, given this year’s performance.)
Thus far, the transcript has all As. The schedule has been accelerated for math, science and foreign languages due to interest, aptitude and willingness to work hard. Frankly, given that school is still remote, doing an extra math/science course this year worked out well. Especially since there were no serious school clubs happening. (If a particular math course would be best repeated at college due to being of a superior quality, no problem. The acceleration is also to free up the college schedule for more targeted electives, or to get a combined degree.)
I have a strong preference for no graded course work during the summer. Partly because the school year is long enough, partly due to a training-heavy summer sports calendar.
Question 1: How many courses can a high school student take on a semester system and still be considered rigorous? The school slots up to 7 classes per semester officially.
For grades 11 and 12 (junior & senior year), are five courses per semester too few? (The courses would be AP or dual-enrollment level. The thinking is: that is a lot of advanced course work; also, sports is one EC that is over 20 hours per week, plus other smaller ECs, and college applications.)
Question 2: The school transcript only shows A (B, C, etc.) grades. Although students get a numeric grade in coursework - As are equivalent to work in the 90 to 100 numeric range - there doesn’t seem to be any +/- on the transcript. Given this, is there any potential future issue if a course ends up being a 92 or 93? Would individual course grades ever come up in a summer program or scholarship application?
Another reason why the schedule has been accelerated is due to sports. The kid has been an athlete in a technical, non-recruitable and unfortunately expensive sport for almost a decade. The last 15 months have been rough, however. Facility closed permanently, all coaching was lost. Major training set-back. So, school was prioritized.
This summer, the plan is to ramp up training again, at an out-of-state facility for most of the break. (The student applied to a competitive STEM camp - 3 weeks full-time virtual/remote experience - but didn’t make the cut.) Training would be in segments most of the day, with further cross-training classes at night. There will be short pockets of time available throughout the day.
Question 3: What could be good ways to pursue STEM interests this summer? Bonus points for cheap/free and remote/self-paced.
Student is interested in building & engineering; would greatly suit a Mech Eng degree (so far, given their interests/aptitudes).
Feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading.