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Resources by Grade Group

Find information and resources for elementary, middle, and high school grades below. Find up-to date information on Bluedoor Education Junior and Senior programs on the tabs below.

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Can I pay for Bluedoor Education Center Classes with charter school vouchers or funds?

Currently, POs/Vouchers are accept from:

  • South Sutter Charter School

  • Horizon Charter Schools

  • Visions in Education

  • Inspire Charter Schools

  • CORE Placer Charter School

  • Forest Charter School

  • Harvest Ridge

  • Heritage Peak Charter School (PCI)

  • Grass Valley Charter School

  • American River Charter School (ARCS)

If your school is not listed above, use the contact form to tell us about your school. Vouchers are made out to the individual teacher.

two excited boys on a camping trip in the forest exploring

5 Ways to Prepare Your Middle Schooler for High School : Tips for the Middle School to High School Transition

The middle school years are a time of transition for tweens in many ways. There are obvious social, physical, and emotional changes happening with 6th to 8th graders. However, middle school also serves the purpose of preparing students for more challenging academics and greater personal responsibility in high school.

For public school students (and their parents), the expectations in the first year of middle school can be an abrupt and demanding change. Instead of teachers communicating with parents about assignments and due dates, they communicate directly with students and expect them to be responsible for meeting deadlines and completing tasks.

There is nothing wrong with that, and it’s part of preparing students for the middle school to high school transition, but it can be stressful for students and parents alike. Tales abound of late-night scrambling to complete a forgotten project that makes up a high percentage of a student’s grade.

As homeschooling parents, we don’t have to institute such abrupt changes, but it is wise to use the middle school years to prepare our students for high school.

1. Transition from Guided Learning to Independent Learning

One of the biggest transitions during middle school is preparing students to assume responsibility for their own educations. It’s during this time that parents should adjust their role from teacher to facilitator and allow homeschooled tweens and teens to take charge of their school day.

While it is important that teens begin to transition to self-directed learners, it’s also vital to remember that they still need guidance. It’s important that parents remain active, involved facilitators during the middle school and high school years. Some ways you can do that include:

Schedule regular meetings to hold your student accountable for completing assignments. During the middle school years, plan to schedule daily meetings with your tween or teen, transitioning to weekly meetings by 8th or 9th grade. During the meeting, help your student plan her schedule for the week. Help her break down weekly assignments into manageable daily tasks and plan for completion of long-term projects.

A daily meeting also provides an opportunity to make sure that your student is completing and comprehending all of her assignments. Tweens and teens are sometimes guilty of pushing challenging concepts aside instead of asking for help. This practice often results in stressed, overwhelmed students who don’t know where to begin to catch up.

Read ahead. Read (or skim) ahead of your student in his textbooks or assigned reading. (You may want to use audio books, abridged versions, or study guides.) Reading ahead helps you keep abreast of what your student is learning so that you’re prepared if he needs you to explain difficult concepts. It also helps you to ask the right questions to be sure that he is reading and comprehending the material.

Offer guidance. Your middle school student is learning to take responsibility for his work. That means he still needs your direction. He may need you to make suggestions about writing topics or research projects. It could be helpful for you to edit his writing or offer advice on how to set up his science experiment. You may need to write out the first few bibliography cards as examples or help him come up with a strong topic sentence.

Model the behavior you expect from your student as you transition to expecting him to complete the projects independently.

2. Help Your Student Improve Study Skills

Middle school is an excellent time to help your student develop or hone her independent study skills. Encourage her to start with a study skills self-assessment to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Then, work on improving the weak areas.

For many homeschooled students, one weak area will be note-taking skills. Your middle schooler can practice by taking notes during:

  • Religious services
  • Co-op classes
  • Read-aloud time
  • DVD or computer-based lessons
  • Documentaries
  • Independent reading

Middle school students should also begin using a student planner to keep track of their own assignments. They can fill in their planner during your daily or weekly meetings. Help your students get in the habit of including a daily study time in their planners. Their minds need time to process all that they’ve learned each day.

During their study time, students should do things like:

  • Read over their notes to ensure that what they wrote down makes sense
  • Look over the headings and subheadings in their textbooks to recap the day’s lesson
  • Practice spelling or vocabulary words – illustrating words or writing them in different colors can be helpful
  • Make their own flashcards to help them remember important facts and details
  • Read over any highlighted text
  • Read text, notes, or vocabulary words aloud

3. Involve Your Teen or Tween in Curriculum Choices

As your student enters the teen years, begin engaging her in the curriculum selection process if you haven’t been doing so already. By the middle school years, students start to develop a sense of how they learn best. Some students prefer books with large text and colorful illustrations. Others learn better through audio books and video-based instruction.

Even if you’re not willing to hand over the selection process to your middle school student entirely, take her input into consideration. Remember that one of the goals of homeschooling is to teach our children how to learn. Part of that process is helping them discover how they learn best.

The middle school years also provide the perfect opportunity to test potential curriculum. When you find yourself in the position of needing to modify or change curriculum in high school, it’s hard not to feel as though you’ve wasted an entire semester or longer.

Instead, give potential high school curriculum a test-run in middle school. You can try the middle school version of the curriculum or use the high school version in 8th grade. If it is a good fit, you can put in on your child’s high school transcript since high school level coursework completed in 8th grade counts toward high school credit hours.

If it turns out that the curriculum isn’t a good fit for, you can shop around and choose something more appropriate for high school without feeling as though you’ve lost ground.

4. Strengthen Weaknesses

Because the middle school years are a time of transition, they naturally offer the opportunity to catch up on any areas in which a student is behind where you’d like him to be and strengthen areas of weakness.

This could be the time to seek out treatment or learn the best modifications and accommodations for learning challenges such as dysgraphia or dyslexia.

If your student still struggles with automatic recall of math facts, practice them until she can recall them effortlessly. If he struggles with getting his thoughts on paper, look for creative ways to encourage writing and ways to make writing relevant to your student.

Focus on improving any areas of weakness that you’ve identified, but don’t make that the total of your school day. Continue to provide plenty of opportunities for your student to shine in his areas of strength.

5. Begin Thinking Ahead

Use 6th and 7th grades to observe your student. Start exploring his extracurricular interests and talents so that you can tailor his high school years to his skills and natural aptitudes.

If he’s interested in sports, check to see what is available in your homeschool community. Often middle school is when kids move begin playing on their school’s sports teams rather than recreation leagues. Consequently, it’s a prime time for the formation of homeschool teams. Middle school sports teams for homeschoolers are often instructional and try-outs are not as stringent as high school teams, so it’s a good time for those new to the sport to get involved.
Most colleges and umbrella schools will accept some high school level courses, such as algebra or biology, taken in 8th grade for high school credit. If you have a student who is ready for a bit more challenging coursework, taking one or two high school credit courses in middle school is an excellent opportunity to get a head start on high school.
Make the most of the middle school years by using them to create a smooth transition from the teacher-directed elementary school years and the self-directed high school years.
Multi-ethnic teenaged boys in science class

A-G requirements are a set of minimum requirements for high school classes. Completing a class that meets the standard tells universities that the student has met certain criteria for focus, topic, rigor, and breadth in that subject and is now ready and able to succeed in a college level course.

The intent of the UC and CSU system in creating the a-g standards is to ensure high school classes cover important concepts to prepare students for the intensity of university courses.

The term a-g refers to subject matter:

a. History/Social Science (2 years)

b. English (4 years)

c. Mathematics (3 years, UC recommends 4)

d. Laboratory Science (2 years, UC recommends 3)

e. Language Other than English (2 years, UC recommends 3)

f. Visual/Performing Arts (1 year)

g. College Preparatory Elective (1 year)

You can see the details of your school’s graduation requirements on their website. I have listed links to the larger charter schools below. As you can see, the State of California requires students to take at least two science classes: one that concentrates on life and the other emphasizing physical science. Typically, this is done by taking Biology and Chemistry but that is not the only way to do it. Unless your charter specifies differently, any high school level life science and physical science fulfills the requirements.

Life Sciences include…

  • Biology

  • Anatomy & Physiology

  • Life Science

  • Zoology

  • Marine Biology

  • Ecology

Physical Sciences include…

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • Physical Science

  • Earth Science

  • Environmental Studies

For high school level classes, using Schoology is required. All Bluedoor Education classes are attached to the Learning Management System called Schoology.Schoology provides several important benefits to the students, their families, and their instructors.

  • It helps teachers streamline communication.
  • It allows students, parents, and ESs to access details and grades for assignments.
  • It provides a platform to make-up missed classes.
  • It holds all important documents (lab reports, worksheets, tests) so lost paperwork can easily be replaced.
  • It helps the student manage their time as they can readily see all upcoming content and due dates.
  • At the high school level ,it also contains virtual labs and other online assignments that are a regular part of the class curriculum.
  • It prepares students for using an LMS, which is required in most colleges and universities (thus helping in the STEAM approach).

Even though it may be a transition for some parents to use an online classroom platform, the benefits are worth the effort.Schoology also has an app for students so they can study, take tests, and check their grades any time on a mobile device.

UC/CSU requirements are set by the university of California system with the goal that students who meet these requirements will be well prepared and more likely to succeed at the university level.  Therefore, the requirements are more demanding than the standard graduation requirements. UC requirements are even more academically rigorous than the requirements for CSU. Check out this chart for a side-by-side comparison.

The UC system requires three high school level sciences instead of two.

  • One Life Science

  • One Physical Science

  • A third course from either category.

This is where your student can choose to follow their interests.

The UC specifies Biology and either Chemistry or Physics must be taken, but the third option is your choice. Choosing a third class that is in line with your major can help you express your passion on your college application.

The answer is personal, of course, but here are a few questions you can ask yourself and your family to help determine which track to follow.Keep in mind that it’s hard for a 14 year old to accurately predict what their interests will be in 5, 10, or 15 years.  So you may want to aim higher than their current interest level would place them so they do not miss an opportunity that they may wish to take in the future.

Is your student interested in a career that requires an upper level degree?

If your student is interested in engineering, medicine, law, education, or technology, chances are, specialized training from a university will be necessary. If your child expresses interest in a field trade that typically requires an apprenticeship and/or a license or certificate like construction (carpentry, welding, electrical, masonry), or public service professions (cosmetology, hospitality), a college education may not be needed, though it can serve them well in managing their own business.

Concentrating on basic graduation requirements, may allow them to take the time to participate in extra curricular activities that will give them a jump start on the experience they need.

What type of college would your student like to attend?

All colleges and universities want to see prospective students who have completed a minimum of rigorous academic coursework.  However, Princeton’s standards and California State Universities’ standards vary quite a bit.

Visit campuses, even if they’re not on your student’s radar at this time. The “feel” of a campus can invigorate and inspire a student. If your students are interested in a private university, don’t assume that their qualifications are less stringent. Double check the university’s website to see what they’re looking for, the percentage of applicants they accept, and the stats on the student that are accepted.

What about community college?

Community college is a fantastic option for almost every student. Unless your students know their desired area of focus and know which 4-year school they want to attend, going to the local Junior College can give them the time, flexibility, and education they need to meet their goals.

UCs and CSUs give high priority to community college students who have finished their general education requirements (called IGETC). If your students did not receive the highest GPA or if they do not take or did not do well on the SATs or ACTS, then community college is a perfect choice.

Community colleges accept all students with a high school diploma or equivalent. The application deadline is usually much later in the year than 4 year universities. University applications are commonly due in November of the student’s senior year.

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As our Juniors approach graduation, we will partner with parents and students to walk them through the logistical steps of transitioning into academic and career independence. Bluedoor Education also strives to support families reaching the all important milestone of graduation beyond the academics, standing with our young people as they become good, kind, and strong young adults.

teen legs

Check back for more information on Senior Events.
To get involved, please use the contact form.

Events to come…

  • Senior Class Reception
  • Senior Sunrise
  • Senior Lunches
  • College Campus Tours
  • Fall Dance
  • Harvest Party
  • Christmas Party
  • Spring Fling
  • Grad Night Event (Disneyland anyone?)
  • Graduation Ceremony and Celebration