Rethinking Junior Year

For most of my sophomore year, I had designed high school around a junior year Rotary youth exchange. I had taken junior level AP English language and the required junior history class. In the wake of COVID however, my family and I decided to cancel the exchange and I’m trying to come up with a game plan. Feedback on any of the questions below is helpful.

I want to find a way to make the next school year engaging and prepare myself effectively to do well in college and future endeavors (and help with admissions). As of now, my school district has not put together a robust plan and my mom is considering pulling me out of school and putting me in a forest homeschool collective which is not my first choice.

Questions: Would it make sense to look into classes through CTY or a similar program rather than those offered through my school? I think the quality and rigor will definitely be higher than those through my school, but I don’t know that loading up with online APs is of interest.
Is there a way to reduce the number of classes that I’m taking at once so I don’t get stretched thin?
What is the best way to structure the school week around all online schooling? To people who have tried it, what’s it like?
How much time should I devote to test prep with so many colleges going test optional? I moved my June registration to November.

I could easily get into CTY, my 7th grade SAT scores are well above their advanced level cutoff (630 English, 660 Math). It would be a financial stretch for my family so I only want to do that if I’m going to be challenged and engaged. Are there other similar programs that you recommend?

Sophomore year:
Got all A’s first semester and passed everything second (no grades with COVID)
AP English Lang and Comp
AP Chem
Living in the US (history)
I took Spanish 4 first semester but it was not challenging enough and my teacher wasn’t interested in helping me get more out of it so I took half a health credit (required for graduation) online instead.

I ended up way overstretched with extracurriculars last year:
Prep for exchange, theater tech for the musical, mock trial, driver’s ed, an additional choir

Forecasted Junior Schedule:
AP Spanish Language and Culture
World Civilizations through the local state university at my school
College Latin American Lit
AP Bio
AP Calc AB (also wondering whether to take BC if I go through another platform. Precalc was easy and I didn’t end up needing to study much at all, but I’m not sure if the course prepared me well enough to go straight to BC).
The first semester of health (took the second online as mentioned above)
I’m forecasted for the school chamber choir and the competition choir I was in last year but I have no idea what that will look like this year.
I like my schedule a lot, but I don’t know that it will translate well to distance learning as none of the teachers have experience with online teaching and the kids at my school aren’t into asking lots of questions. Additionally, I may need to help my younger brother (entering 6th grade) with online school to a pretty significant degree. My dad passed away when I was in elementary school and my mom has not had full time work for a few years but can only do that if I’m helping my brother with school.

More about me: I’m doing cross country next year and hoping to still do mock trial. My mom and I have also adopted a hand washing station for houseless folks in our city and I’ve been teaching myself guitar.

I don’t know how to move this as it is not in the most appropriate place, if anyone knows how, please feel free to do so.

Everything will be chaotic next year. All of the old rule books have been exploded, so there is no “right” answer here.

Since money is an issue, and your mom needs to work, the first thing you need to find out is if your and your brother’s schools will be online. If they are going to be online, take your classes there. If these schools want both of you back in face-to-face classes but your mom doesn’t like that, then find out which free options are available in your state. Is there a free virtual school that has been around for a while? Does your mom need to set up a home school? Khan Academy has a lot of the classes you are looking for online for free, so that could be an option.

I did CTY for an AP summer course. It was a good experience in some ways. I will say that the course I took was not synchronous and required watching 20 or so old videos a day. The lab reports were killer and I think they took too much time away from learning the content.

I have had better experiences through a local university with online learning. It is also much cheaper if you can get reduced tuition. I would recommend trying edX and checking with your school to see if they will allow you to transfer those credits.

You could also look at extension schools. They are about as expensive as CTY.