AP and Honors Classes

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AP and Honors Classes

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When your child is enrolled in middle school or high school, there will be a time when you have to make a decision about how many honors or AP classes they should take. And the answer is: it depends. And it really depends on the kid, it depends on the schedule that they have in school and the schedule that they have out of school. What you want to do is look at the big picture, look at how much homework is this kid going to bring home. An honors class or an advanced class usually has significantly more homework and may be harder for the kid to keep up if they also have a very full extracurricular life. The other thing to keep in mind is it's really the kid's choice, and when I say that I mean you don't want them to overload, so you can put the kibosh on it. But if someone wants to challenge themselves and take the plunge, you want to encourage that because it's usually about a love for that particular class. So my rule of thumb is don't take an honors or AP class unless you really love the subject, and if you feel you can handle it within the full schedule of looking at what you're doing in school and the other load that you have outside of school. And the final thing to say is don't be swayed by what the colleges say. You can absolutely get into college taking no honors or AP classes, and it may be that if you take too many honors or AP classes, you're gonna mess up your GPA, you're gonna run into stress and other problems, it's gonna hurt you in the long run. So don't try to game it based on what the colleges want; do it based on what your child truly loves and can handle.

Watch Video: AP and Honors Classes by Denise Pope, PhD, ...

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Denise Pope, PhD

Senior Lecturer & Author

Denise Pope, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education. For the past 13 years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is co-founder of Challenge Success, a research and intervention project that aims to reduce unhealthy pressure on youth and champions a broader vision of youth success. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. Her book, Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal, 2001. Dr. Pope is a three time recipient of the Stanford University School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award.  Prior to teaching at Stanford, Dr. Pope taught high school English in Fremont, CA and college composition and rhetoric courses at Santa Clara University. She lives in Los Altos, CA with her husband and three children.

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