Here Are What the Options Look Like.

In order to make sense of the whole IB thing – for Dylan, and for myself – I studied the IBCP program in great detail. Then I studied the IB program (which will not work for Dylan, for a variety of reasons). Then I studied the most important thing of all: the actual requirements for high school graduation.

Interestingly, there aren’t a lot of requirements to graduate. Dylan gets a choice of a whole slew of classes – almost like college – and just has to decide which path he wants to travel. So I made him lists, to show him what his different path options might look like on any given day.

He will be coming into the school with three high school credits: Algebra I, Physics and Guitar 1. I kept that in mind, and I included a lot of music and P.E., since he loves both. Then I remembered that AP classes hold a ton of weight, since you can (and maybe he will!) get college credit for those.

Here’s what the options look like:


Grade 9: English, Guitar 2, Geometry, Applied Science, U.S. History, General P.E., Chorus

Grade 10: English, Health, Bridge to Algebra II, Biology, World History, Chorus, Volleyball

Grade 11: English, Algebra II, Net Sports, Government, Theater, Piano I, Chorus

Grade 12: English, Pre-Calculus, Foundations of Technology, Basketball, Piano II, Digital Photo, Chorus



Grade 9: Honors English, Foundations of Technology, Honors Geometry, Applied Science, U.S. History, P.E., Guitar 2

Grade 10: Honors English, Introduction to Engineering Design, Algebra II, Honors Biology, AP World History, Concert Choir, Honors Health

Grade 11: Honors English, Pre-Calculus, Principals of Engineering, AP Government, TV Production I, AP Music Theory, Chamber Choir

Grade 12: Honors English, Calculus, AP Psychology, Radio Production, Aerospace Engineering, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir



Grade 9: Honors English, Guitar 2, Geometry, Applied Science, U.S. History, P.E., Introduction to Engineering Design

Grade 10: Honors English, Honors Health, Algebra II, Biology, World History, Concert Choir, Principles of Engineering

Grade 11: IB English, Pre-Calculus, Digital Electronics, AP Government, Global Information Technology, Net Sports, Chamber Choir

Grade 12: IB English, IB Mathematical Studies, Foundations of Technology, Engineering Design, IB Music, Chamber Choir, Concert Choir


I’ve learned two things from all of this.

1. There are too bloomin’ many choices! … and,

2. It just doesn’t matter all that much which classes he chooses – although it does matter if he gets good grades in whatever he chooses. And that’s going to be another fight altogether.


After all this research and work and plotting and planning, I am so overwhelmed that I’ve had to take a big step backward. At this point, my head begins to swarm with that Doris Day song from my childhood – so many, many years ago…

Que sera, sera… whatever will be, will be.

The future’s not ours to see. Que sera, sera.


  1. Lorrie says:

    are these your choices or Dylan’s? At some point in his life he will need to make choices on his own; are you preparing him for that or to just depend on you for his choices forever? I know it is hard and we all want what is best for our kids, but learning from the consequences of bad choices is one of those experiences that one must learn for themselves. We can tell someone about our experiences and believe that they will apply it to their life. And we would probably be wrong about that. You know why because it was our life not theirs. The best thing we can do for our kids is give them their independence and be there for them when they fail/fall. Because they most assuredly will fail; but guess what, they will certainly learn more from that one failure than all the failures we have saved them from by not letting them do it themselves. Experience is the best teacher there is. This being said by a mother who’s son just got his driving permit…(I am scared, yet proud every time we arrive home safely). And now I have a chauffeur instead of being one, life does have its perks now & then! Good luck Kir I hope Dylan chooses wisely.

    • Kirsten says:

      These are definitely DYLAN’s choices… I can’t count the number of times we have gone through the schedule and talked about the variety of classes. At one point, I had him circle from two or three options. Some of them, of course, are required. I put what he wanted together into a four-year plan that is do-able … then I made three more four-year plans! All of them get in the required classes, the IB classes and the electives he wanted most. We are still having trouble fitting in Spanish AND chorus – but we will figure out a way. I am really not choosing anything FOR him – just putting it into a visual perspective that he can understand, so that he can choose what he most wants to do – and still do what’s required by most colleges. It’s quite a chore, but it’s better than him getting halfway through and realizing he can’t be in the IB program because he didn’t finish the requirements he needed in 9th and 10th grade. And don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll find a way to fail regardless – probably lots of them. I won’t be holding him up! He is welcome to fall flat on his face, as long as he also has the opportunities to succeed. 🙂

  2. Kirsten says:

    Thanks so much for the tips! We are definitely going to look into languages – which I was hoping he wouldn’t have to do, but (another blog on the way) the colleges almost all require two years. I can’t tell the difference between Honors and AP, although I do (finally) understand the difference between IB and AP. I just can’t figure out how much to put him through, and whether or not he’ll be able to handle whatever he takes! It’s a much more laborious process than I thought – and I’ve already met with the IB coordinator, the school counselor and the special ed guy. And more to come! Good luck on your college choices… it is ALL such an adventure!

  3. LauraThompson says:

    The teachers and school counsellors may be of help, too. In our district, the teachers recommend students for certain courses and levels. Unfortunately, once a child is in a particular track, there is not much movement to a different learning track. ( college prep, enhanced, honors, AP, etc.) We are in the midst of college selection right now with our oldest, a senior, and looking for colleges for our second child, a sophomore. Most colleges require at least two years of a foreign language. Does your high school offer languages? It is something to think about.

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