top of page

High School Tips

Advice and suggestions for starting High School with WCFS. 

Ask Questions:

The WCFS staff are waiting to help you.

If you are confused by instructions, or don't understand an assignment, or find an error in a document, please let us know!

It's better to ask too many questions than too few. 

Don't make a mistake because you were too shy to ask. 

On the other hand, don't make a mistake because you were too confident to ask. 

If you think you know a better way to do something than the way you were instructed, simply ask us about it. 

We might have a reason behind an instruction that you were unaware of. 

Or, we might agree with your idea.

Either way, you should ask first. We will be delighted to answer!

Ask for what you need:

If you need more time for an assignment, just ask!

Most likely, we'll be happy to grant you an extra day or two, or reschedule a deadline, if needed. 

If you miss a deadline because you weren't able to ask for an extension, let us know why.

If you have a good, parent-confirmed reason for the delay, we will probably restore your missing points. 

Organize Your Time:

- Get a personal calendar, add all your deadlines to it as soon as you receive them, and start each school day by checking it. 

- Check your emails right after your calendar. Most WCFS communications are conducted via email. 

- Set up reminders for deadlines. 

- If you need to contact someone, do it right away, or set up a reminder. 

- Study different kinds of schedules and time management systems and choose one that suits you. 

- If you commit to spend a certain amount of time on something, spend exactly that amount of time time on it. No less, and no more. Otherwise you will break trust in yourself, and you won't commit at all in the future. 

- Sort your assignments in terms of importance and urgency. 

- Do difficult assignments before easy ones, but take breaks as needed. 

- Do not wait to begin projects. Treat two weeks like two days and two days like two hours.

- If you get stuck, don't keep on working. Ask for help, take a break, or switch to an easy assignment. 

Syllabus:

Get to know your syllabuses!

A syllabus is a document that tells you a course's content and schedule. 

It will list what material each class covers, and tell you the details of your homework assignments.

Make sure you're always using the most updated version of your syllabus. 

High School Handbook:

This book the the exhaustive authority on all things WCFS High School. 

It explains credits, QSUs, Standard and Non-Standard courses, and more. 

It will probably be able to answer most of your questions before you ever need to email or call us. 

(TIP: Use the keyboard combination 'Ctrl. + F' to search for words in the Handbook.)

Understand Plagiarism

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offence in the academic world. 

To plagiarize means to not acknowledge someone else's work, and pass it off a your own. 

In essence, it is a form of stealing. 

There are many ways a student can plagiarize, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. 

Here are some helpful resources to teach you about plagiarism and how to avoid it:

Participate in the Student Council:

Get involved in the student council if you possibly can. 

You'll have opportunities to get to know your fellow students, take part in events and discussions, and plan for graduation. Even if you can't attend in person, there are plenty of way to attend and be involved long-distance. 

This is a great opportunity to learn to be social.

If you are shy in social circles, remember to think about others instead of yourself. 

People don't think about you a much as you worry that they do. 

Remember that you are an ambassador for Christ, and conduct yourself as such. 

Take opportunities whenever you can. You will seldom regret meeting new people and experiencing new things!

Be Intentional About Your Courses:

Talk to your parents and help them figure out what courses you want to take.

Try to select courses based around your interests!

You are going to spend most of your time during the next four years completing these courses, so please make sure that they're courses you'll enjoy. 

You need 21 credits to graduate High School through WCFS. (See Section 2 of the High School Handbook)

That's 5.25 credits each year.

17 of those credits must be earned for 'Core Courses', such as Math and English, and 4 of them may be earned for 'Electives'. 

Most people know that elective courses can cover any subject you want, but did you know that core courses can also be chosen based on what you're passionate about? 

Since you're a homeschooler, you can choose your own curriculum, and since you're a Wellspring homeschooler, you can even design your own curriculum!

Here are some examples:

- Interested in horses? Take a Non-Standard Equine biology course for Science.

- Interested in outer space? Study the history of space from a Christian perspective for half a History credit and half a Bible credit. Or study the mathematics of the galaxy for Math.

- If you like writing, create a Non-standard Literature course where your write your own novel.

 - If you have a small home business just keep track of your time, and earn an elective credit in Business Management. 

- The options are endless. Don't settle for boredom. 

Designing your own curriculum also extends to Wellspring's required BFSG, Origins 101, and Applied Citizenship courses. We offer our online versions of those courses, yes, but you are still free to design your own, as long as they meet the requirements outlined in the High School Handbook. 

Earn Dual Credit:

You can take college courses while you're still high school. 

This is called Dual Enrollment or Dual Credit, because you can earn credit for both high school and college at the same time. 

If you're interested in attending college, taking dual credit courses will give you a head start. 

Emails:

Don't waste words or time when writing emails.

Make sure you communicate your ideas clearly, but don't spend an hour on just three lines. 

The first words you think of are normally good enough.

Be polite, plain, and specific, instead of fancy or formal. 

If you can't think of the words to write out a thought, try saying the thought out loud. The words will come.

Remember that emails are not creative writing competitions, and your readers are more interested in what you have to say than how you say it. 

Note-Taking:

If you learn to take good notes, you will have developed an invaluable skill for both high school and the rest of your life. 

The essence of note-taking is repeating the meaning of many words in a few words.

For example, a note about the previous sentence could be: "Note essence = many -> few".

Look for the key thought, and capture it using keywords. 

Notes are not quotes. 

Quotes are word-for-word repetitions.

Notes are distilled, reduced, core meanings. 

Be Organized & Get Equipped:

- Label everything. In detail.

- As a rule, do not use abbreviations or initials. You will find later that the detail was worth the extra time. 

- Write your name, the assignment name, the assignment number, and the date on each assignment you turn in. You teachers will bless you. 

- Assign each course it's own notebook or notebook section. 

- Use binders to organize loose papers.

- Print out each course's syllabus and attach it to it's notebook or binder. Replace the syllabus every time your teacher sends you an updated version. 

- Get a bookshelf or a file organizer to help keep all your books neat.

- Use color-coding. 

-Keep an updated to-do list, whether on paper, a dry-erase board, or an app. 

- Invest in a good light for your work station. 

- Invest in good pens. And white-out tape. 

- Learn to use he 'scan' feature on your copier, or download a scan app on your phone so you can email documents as PDFs (Portable Document Format). 

- Find the least noisy work environment possible. Invest in noise-cancelling headsets or earplugs if needed. 

- Tidy your desk after you finish each day. 

Speed Reading/Researching:

'Skimming' will help you finish reading assignments and research projects quickly.

You can often skip whole sentences and paragraphs and still understand a passage. 

Make use of titles, subtitles, summaries, tables of contents, outlines, intros and conclusions, and the first and last sentences of paragraphs. These often contain most of the information you're looking for. 

Watch for keywords. They will help you decide which sections are actually worth reading. 

Typing:

Typing is probably more widely used than handwriting in this day and age. 

You will be doing a lot of writing in high school, and most of that will probably be on a computer. 

To make all that writing as painless as possible, you should learn to type at 50-60wpm, using either the DVORACK or QWERTY keyboard layout. 

Computer Software/Programs:

Get to know word processors, spreadsheets, presentation programs, image editing programs, calendars, and organizational software.

Find the tricks and shortcuts to efficiently use the helpful features of these programs.

People have been perfecting them for the past 20 years. Whatever you want to do, someone has already done, so before you start a time-consuming, laborious project, do a quick search and find out if there are 'hacks' that will take most of the work out of it. Chances are, there will be. 

Computer Backups

Have backups.

Whether in the cloud or on an external storage device, have a backup for the important information on your computer.

Update your backup regularly. Make a schedule for performing back-ups and follow it. 

Permanently turn on auto-save and auto-backup. 

Install data recovery/time machine software before you need it. 

Save Time, not Money

Time is more valuable than money because time is irreplaceable. 

It is normally better to spend money to save time than to spend time to save money. 

If you have the option of paying for a tool or service to complete a project quickly and professionally, or of spending several hours finding a free version and doing it yourself, it may be worth your while to spend the money.

Especially if it's a repeat project, or one that will have a large audience. 

Phone Calls:

Before you spend hours searching for information, or waiting for a reply to a text, try calling.

They will be able to answer your questions much more quickly than you could research them, and they can offer you suggestions that you would never have thought of. If they don't answer, just leave a message. 

Phone Etiquette:

- Before you make a call, write down notes about what you want to ask or say. 

- Don't expect the first person who answers the phone to answer your question.

- Give your name, and ask who you can talk to about your question. Most likely they will transfer you to someone more qualified to answer, and you will save everyone some time. 

- When you are talking to the right person, get straight to the point as soon as politely possible.

- Have a pen and paper handy, so you can take notes as you talk. 

- Once you have your answer, before you hang up, repeat what they told you back to them to make sure you really understood them.  

- Always write down phone numbers and address, and read them back to the person. 

- When leaving a message:

- Begin by giving your name and stating whose behalf (if any) you're calling on.

- Use your notes to briefly and clearly state your message.

- Finish by giving your name again, and provide your phone number (twice) for them to call back. (Always repeat your phone number, so they don't have to listen to the whole message again if they missed it the first time.)

Account Information:

During high school, you're probably going to sign up for accounts on lots of websites and programs. 

Every time you sign up for one, immediately get your 'passwords' book, and write down all the account information, in detail. Including the date you signed up. 

Keep the book somewhere you won't loose it, or use a password protection app. 

Either way, don't trust important information to your memory.

Please don't use the same password for every account. 

Study Habits:

- Learn about work patterns, study methods, bodily rhythms and attention periods, and develop a system that fits you.

- You don't have to study all of your subjects, one right after the other, for four hours every morning:

- You could study in the evening. 

Or at intervals throughout the day with other activities in-between.

- You could study one course at a time and fully complete it before beginning another.

- You could study a different subject every day of the week. 

- There are endless options. Don't settle for something that leaves you stressed and depressed.

- You should arrange your study habits to best accommodate your body's needs and your lifestyle. 

- Don't multitask. Background music can be helpful, but set it up so you don't have to mess with it while you're working.  

- Remove distractions. Or remove yourself from the distracting environment. 

- Keep accountable to someone. If that means you give your phone to somebody during your study period and sit so they can see your computer screen, so be it. 

- Do what is necessary to meet your goals.

- Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want now. 

- It would be wise to begin each study session by reflecting on what you want to accomplish during it, asking for God's help, and giving the time to Him. 

Welcome to High School! Happy studies!

bottom of page