on High School



Dr. Jay Wile

of Apologia Educational Ministries





The following "article" is actually a brief

excerpt from an interview done by Mary Leggewie with

Dr. Jay Wile at Homeschool

(on December 2, 1999)



Intro by Mary Leggewie


Dr. Jay L. Wile holds an earned Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in nuclear chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry from the same institution. He has won several awards for excellence in teaching and has presented numerous lectures on the topics of Nuclear Chemistry, Christian Apologetics, Homeschooling, and Creation vs. Evolution. In addition, he has published 30 articles on these subjects in nationally-recognized journals.


His teaching credentials include: The University of Rochester, Indiana University, Ball State University, and The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities (a high school for gifted and talented students).


Currently, Dr. Wile writes curriculum for homeschoolers as well as Christian apologetics material. He has written 5 high school science textbooks designed specifically for homeschooled students as well as one Christian apologetics book.



FROM BARB:  I have inserted a few

comments of my own in red and in brackets, like this:


[This is what the actual font actually looks like.]


These are comments I would have chimed in with

had I been sitting there chatting with Mary and Dr. Jay; my "two

cents worth" ~ which I wouldn't have even charged them for!




Okay, (FINALLY!) here we go with...








on High School



Dr. Jay Wile



(Mary:) Can a parent with little formal education

really teach high school to his or her children?


(Dr. Jay:)  Let me answer this question in two ways. The first is based on educational theory, and the second is based on scientific studies. From a theoretical point of view, the answer is that a parent, regardless of education level, should be a BETTER teacher to his or her child than any trained professional. Why? The answer is simple. Ask anyone, ANYONE what single quality makes a teacher great. I have asked this question to hundreds of teachers, administrators, and college professors. They all say the same thing: Great teachers are the ones who CARE. That's the difference. A good teacher knows the subject, is a good communicator, etc. etc. A great teacher, however CARES for the student. Well, who cares more than anyone else for any give student?  The student's parents, of course. Thus, a parent will be a great teacher for his or her child, because the parent cares more than anyone else. All of the other stuff (knowledge, communication, etc.) can be learned. Caring comes from within. If you have that, the rest is trivial. This is born out by scientific study.  [BARB:  This is not only a good point, but a majorly pivotal one!  Please hear what Dr. Jay is saying!  Not only can the "other stuff" ~ the knowledge ~ be learned, but it can be learned right along with your child!!!  Having taken two through high school, I have to say this is not only possible, but I think a very good way to do it!  It kept me more humble toward my kids, and more teachable, as I was often learning right along with them!]




Why do you recommend that a child

be homeschooled at the high school level?


There are three main reasons... 


1)  HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS ARE ACADEMICALLY SUPERIOR TO PUBLICLY-SCHOOLED STUDENTS... Thus, I recommend that you homeschool your child through high school because your child will LEARN MORE. That is almost a guarantee!  Let's suppose you are a BAD homeschooler. What will that do to your students' academic scores? It will pull them down. If you are REALLY BAD, it might pull them down so much that your students have THE SAME SCORES AS THE PUBLICLY-SCHOOLED STUDENTS!  In my opinion, you have to REALLY TRY if you want to educate your children as poorly as the public schools do!  [BARB:  I LOVE this, Dr. Jay!  Could I correctly assume, then, that you don't have a lot of faith in the public school system?  ]


2)  The second reason is social. The WORST place a student can be from a social perspective is in a public school. It is artificial. Nowhere, in the rest of your life, will you ever be in a situation where you spend 8+ hours per day with those your same age. Also, psychologists tell us that during the high school years, peer pressure is at its HIGHEST. The jails are FULL of people who listened to their peer group and not their parents. Thus, the MOST IMPORTANT time to monitor peer group is in high school. It is nearly impossible to adequately monitor peer group when your child is at school 8+ hours per day!


3)  Finally, the spiritual development of your child is more important than ANY academic development. Can you truly justify sending your child to someplace that actively FIGHTS the spiritual values which you are trying to instill? Most public schools are openly anti-Christian. How can you expect your child to develop spiritually when the place that he or she gets all of his or her information is anti-Christian?  The schools we have today produce "graduates," 25% of whom cannot READ!




What is different between teaching

elementary school/junior high school and high school?


Dr. Jay:  Of course, one difference is content, but in my mind, that is rather trivial. There is more to teach, and you, most likely, will have to learn things that you got out of learning in school. However, if you truly care about your student, that should not be an issue. What most parents forget, however, is RECORD-KEEPING. Workplaces and colleges want to see good records about a student's high school experience. There are 4 things that you need.


1. A transcript ~ This is a list of courses (usually by semester). You give the student a grade for each course, and you assign a certain number of credits for each course. Generally, you assign 0.5 credits per semester. A one-semester course, then, gets 0.5 credit; a full-year course gets 1.0 credit. You then compute the student's Grade Point Average (GPA). You compute the GPA by assigning a numerical value for grades (A = 4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0). The GPA is then figured by taking the numerical value of each grade and multiplying it by the number of credits in the course. For example, a "B" in a one-semester course works our to be worth 1.5 (3 x 0.5). You add all of those up and divide by the total number of credits. This gives you the GPA, which will be between 0 and 4.  [BARB:  I have a sample transcript as well as a reproducible master in Form+U+la. There are also several ideas and tips for doing them.]


2. A more detailed list of courses ~ This list is NOT a part of a transcript, but is for your reference when and if you are questioned about what a course entailed. This list should have each course and the text. Note what chapters in the text were covered. If you did not use a text, explain the methodology of the course and give a rough outline of what was covered.  [This is what a HUGE section of Form+U+la is!]


3. A list of the student's extracurricular activities ~ The more you can list, the better. Any offices held should be noted.


4. A portfolio of the student's best work ~ Over a 4-year period, this should be about one-inch thick. Thus, there is not A LOT in this portfolio. It is designed to "WOW" anyone who wants to see what your student did in homeschool. It should contain a broad range of subjects (science, math, writing, history, etc.). Put a few tests in there to indicate the depth of the courses, and put the student's best essays, papers, and projects in there. This might seem like a lot, but it is crucial. When it comes time for college or the workforce, you will NEED this information!  [Again, I have a whole section on this in Form+U+la.]




At what age/grade would you

begin this detailed record-keeping?


Dr. Jay:  Start with high school. And this is an important point: High school does not begin at a certain age; it begins with certain subjects. If you student is doing high school work in 7th grade, that's when you start the high school transcript. Click here to see a sample of a transcript from Dr. Jay. [I totally agree!!! Many people think they need to start too soon just to get them "ready."  They will have plenty of "OJT" (on-the-job training) as freshmen; no need to max them out by starting too early.  As freshmen they'll be more mature and able to take it on, especially if they are not burned out.  And once again, Form+U+la has many specific ideas and reproducible masters for record keeping.]





That's not all, flks!



Like what you heard and want more?...


Here are many other

questions that were addressed

in this interview:



~ What subjects should be covered in high school?


~ How much should a parent allow their teenager to determine his/her course work in high school, what electives to take, etc.?


~ How does homeschooling affect what kind of colleges my child can attend?


~ When should high schoolers begin taking college entrance exams?


~ What do you think of those test prep CD-ROMs I see in the stores?  (Okay, I'm a software junkie!)


~ When should high schoolers consider beginning college course work?


~ How do you keep it interesting to your child?


~ What should we tell our friends/in-laws/parents about "socialization?"


~ Can you tell us briefly about some of the curriculum you offer?  (So can a science-phobic mom handle it?)


~ How do you think the advent of the Internet with respect to college/university and being able to take courses will aid the homeschooler?


~ The data you are presenting about homeschooled students' academic (SAT) scores being independent both of parents' educational background and of income level ~ Do those results hold true regardless of the grade of the student? Do the data support educational attainment by the parent being irrelevant even in high school? 


~ I have heard of many homeschooling scholars that have been BORED stiff with college.


~ What do you think of clepping courses?  [Ed. Note: Clepping a course means testing out of the course and obtaining credit as if you had taken the course in college.]


~ I have my daughters involved in dance (ballet/tap). Would a college accept this?



To see the whole interview,

click here!







In closing, from Mary...


Several of Dr. Wile's articles are in our Position Papers Page: Rebuttal by Dr. Jay Wile on "Some Words of Concern from Public School Administrators,"  "Can't I Put This Off Until College?"  "Are You Educated Enough to Educate Your Child?"  "Why Should I Make My Child Take Science?  He Wants to Be a Concert Violinist!"


If you would like more information about the Apologia Educational Ministries or curriculum, you can contact Dr. Jay at his website, or by email.  Their address is:



Apologia Educational Ministries

808 Country Club Lane

Anderson, IN  46011


Phone: 888-524-4724  /  Fax: 765-649-4076






Homeschool is a ministry

to homeschoolers that is operated by Mary Leggewie

and sponsored by Preston Speed Publications

and The Homeschool Emporium.

I hope you'll take some time to check out

their ministry and the wide range of excellent services

and products they offer homeschoolers!






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