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I have one student on the verge of graduating ~ eek, less than a month away! ~, one student in the middle of high school and one about to enter high school. Boobear has definitely been my guinea pig throughout her home school career, but after this experience, I decided I wanted more help for Turtlegirl and I’d really like to do things “right” from the beginning with Tailorbear so I was thrilled to receive a copy of High School Prep Genius from College Prep Genius to review.
This softcover, 440 page guidebook helps parents and students navigate through high school and prepare for college and the future. With 18 chapters, High School Prep Genius provides practical help in these four areas:
- Part I: Introduction ~ More than just a “how to use this book,” the introduction also includes a helpful timeline for grades 9 through 12.
- Part II: Foundation for Personal Success ~ includes topics such as interests, beliefs and finances
- Part III: Foundation for Academic Success ~ topics include test prep, getting organized, and effective studying.
- Part IV: Foundation for Future Success ~ this section will help you with choosing a college and the college application process.
The book also contains 5 appendices:
- A: How to Build a Homeschool Transcript
- B: Talent Searches
- C: Great Books to Get You Started
- D: Reduce Test Anxiety Through Relaxation Techniques
- E: Admissions Terminology
The section, “Foundations for Personal Success,” includes the first five chapters but is my least favorite part. It’s not that it doesn’t contain some great info; it does. It’s just that it’s personal and though I agree with the authors, Jean Burk and Judah Burk, I can’t help feeling that this section is more of a parenting guidebook, rather than an high school prep section. It was nice, however, to have Turtlegirl affirm that Honeybear and I have been teaching her responsibility, helping her to own her own beliefs and giving her the opportunity to learn financial wisdom. Perhaps, because those topics have been, even if briefly, addressed in my home, that is why it is my least favorite section. It certainly isn’t because I disagree!
I mentioned my least favorite section so it seems logical to mention my most favorite section. The problem is I can’t decide which is my most favorite section so I’ll highlight a few of my favorite chapters:
- The Introduction ~ in particular the timeline sections and the section giving some suggestions for a 4 year high school degree plan.
- Chapter 8: “Effective Studying” ~ this is just not something I’ve actually addressed with my children. Not directly. Not specifically. Yes, I’ve done the “find someplace quiet.” “No, you can’t watch tv and read your history book.” But this chapter outlines specific suggestions and gives a step by step guide for “Reading to
- Chapter 10: “Getting Organized” ~ this just sings to my “want to be organized” heart. More than just a “how to create a schedule” but also addresses prioritizing and procrastination.
Why I recommend this book:
First, I do not recommend waiting until your children are about to enter 9th grade. I would consider purchasing this book when my children were starting school. Yes, much of the practical aspects of the guide, such as transcripts and college applications, won’t apply to such young students, but the first section: Part 1: Foundation for Personal Success would be very helpful to parents. And Chapter 7: “Academic Development” explains well the importance of an education. I know it was long before high school when I asked the “but why do I have to learn this stuff” type of questions. Chapter 7 would empower parents to help students understand the benefits of an education. For me, the heart message of “Academic Development” represents the key reason why my family chooses to home educate.
The purpose of education is to form the frameworks in your mind to help you understand the world in which you live. Education is a vehicle for viewing and understanding life. Education is also a means of learning and developing new skills. Thus, education in its most basic and practical sense gives you the tools needed to live everyday life better. (p. 178)
Second, I recommend this book because it allows parents to be actively involved in the education of their child whether the education be public, private or home instruction. The book is written to the student with sections, “Guide for Parents,” at the end of each chapter. Each chapter also includes “Parent’s Homework.”
This book isn’t just a how to plan out which classes to take in high school or how many and what kind of credits you want for a college prep experience, but it is a tool for laying a foundation for the future. Learning and applying good study habits in high school will prepare a student for any high education experience and gives a solid start for taking responsibility as an independent adult. The discipline developed through routine effective studying becomes the self-disciplined responsible adults need for making wise choices.
- The Product: High School Prep Genius
- The Vendor: College Prep Genius
- The Price: $29.95
- Age Recommendation: Parents and students grades 7 through 12
I also found High School Prep Genius, though optimally used by students starting high school, beneficial even for my senior daughter. I sometimes worry that I have not prepared her enough for college and “real life.” Though “too late” to be of real service for high school, she is working her way through the chapters such as Chapter Eight: “Effective Study Habits” and Chapter Nine: “Tests and Papers” because those tips and suggestions apply not just to high school courses but to any course.
Whether you choose private, public, or especially homeschool, this is one resource every parent of high school students should read.
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews by clicking here.