High Honors selection for 10th grade.

aaaaaaaaMarch 18, 2009


My son is selecting high honors subjects for 10th grade; he is now in 9th grade. He is taking high honors English, Science, Math and French.

However, he is not willing to take high honors Social StudiesÂhis explanation is, it will be too much for him to work on (he is also in marching band and school swim team)and this may lead to lower grades overall.

I want him to take high honors Social studies along with other subjects.

This is in Northern NJ school district. Can any one please advise me on this, advantages/disadvantages?


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Well, swimming is an exhausting sport, that is for sure, and you need to allow for that.

Here, students in high school band need to devote two class periods to band in the fall semseter: one for the music and one for the marching practice. Also, swimming could be a PE class as well as after school practice for a few exhausting hours. So that could be a very heavy load. How does he manage now?

I also worried as a parent about any possible burn out by the time my kids were in upper grades where it really matters with AP and IB classes for their college applications.

That said, high honors is not AP, I assume. High honors may have more reading or assignments than regular class, but he will be with a far more stimulating teacher and group of students for class discussion and participation, which could help keep his interest in the subject high.

You know his ability and how well he manages the physical exhaustion of swim team now. You also hopefully have discussed his plans for his college career and how selective the universities he may want to apply to will be for him. Some majors are especially selective.

Universities like to see a student challenge himself, but they also like to see a well rounded kid, so the band and athletics are assets to his resume.

It is a balancing act and not an easy decision to make. One last bit of advice--if he takes all high honors classes and the social studies proves to be too difficult, he can probably asked to be placed in a lower level class in the first few weeks with no problem. The reverse is not true. If he should find the regular class too slow, too boring, it will be too late to catch up in the advanced class and he will be stuck for the year.

On this last point, I suggest you ask his counselor what flexibility there will be if he finds he has overshot on challenging classes. Know the deadline for when he must either commit to a semseter of advanced work or request a transfer to a regular class. If he is in a larger high school, there ought to be an alternative the same period without messing up his schedule. He will have some classes that are offered only that period--band, most of the honors classes, and he won't want to turn everything topsy turvy even if alternatives will be possible.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 6:46PM
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I agree wholeheartedly with sheilajoyce. She provided lots of good advice. I also feel that it might be best to seek advice from his counselor and teachers. I was just at a conference with all of my 16 year old son's teachers and counselor earlier this week. He is finishing up the 11th grade with all AP classes (Like sheilaj mentioned, there is a difference between AP and Honors classses)and wanted to lessen his load next year. He is in football, track, and the band and is putting in volunteer hours, etc. so he does have a full plate. Initially, I didn't agree and expressed that to him but I ultimately left the decision to him. It is a difficult choice to make since getting into good colleges is so competitive today and your concerns are valid but it is a lot.

It seems, though, that your son is doing well and on the right track. If his grades are good and he continues to do well, with his extra activities it shouldn't be too hard for him to get into the college of his choice.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:03PM
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