The 8th-Grade Gap Year
Homeschoolers may repeat any school grade in order to give their student an extra year to mature.
As the teacher, the parent makes the decision regarding each child's readiness to advance to the next grade level. There are no special forms to complete nor any hoops to jump through.
Our Gap Year program is designed to give 8th-grade students the very best preparation for high school. Gap Year students may build athletic training into their school day, explore interests and learning topics of importance to them, advance their knowledge and skills, or fill holes in their prior learning. If your student intends to re-enroll in a California public high school after completing the Gap Year, be sure to check with the high school in advance to see that your student will be reclassified upon enrollment as a ninth-grade student.* If your student will attend a private high school, this should not be an issue for you.
Gap Year students may build a creative Course of Study, weaving travel with family into social studies lessons in geography, culture, and history, integrating Language Arts by reading historical fiction, developing interests into passions, gaining skills that may have been lacking, and reinforcing skills that are already good.
Whatever the reason, repeating a grade when homeschooling may be the key to your student's future success.
If your student plans to participate in CIF sports in high school, parents must carefully read and refer to the CIF Constitution and By-Laws before making this big decision.
For student-athletes, the CIF Constitution and ByLaws contain strict criteria for high school sports participation. Parents must read and follow those guidelines carefully. We urge families to contact CIF or their future High School Athletic director to answer any eligibility questions and to confirm that their Gap Year Proposed Course of Study is acceptable and will not interfere with CIF eligibility. As the teacher, the Parent makes all final decisions regarding each child's educational placement and homeschool plan. Talega Preparatory Academy does not offer legal advice.
CIF Rules to Watch For: CIF allows students to participate in CIF high school sports for a maximum of 8 continuous semesters once a student is enrolled in high school. "Enrollment" is considered to have occurred under many conditions including if your student has engaged in summer athletic training/practice with the high school team after completing grade 8. Gap Year students may not work out with the high school team during the summer between the first grade 8 year and our Gap year. This could trigger the clock and the student could potentially become ineligible for CIF competition in 12th grade.
Gap Year students may not take high school courses to receive high school credit. If your student is ready for Algebra or other advanced courses, they should be taken as an 8th-grade student through a curriculum provider and not through a high school program.
Gap-year students should avoid contact with high school coaches at all times. While this may not trigger the clock, it could create an undue influence issue later and lead to disqualification.
With careful planning and implementation, the Gap Year should not trigger the high school CIF eligibility clock and the 8 semesters (4 full years) of athletic participation should not be impacted, UNLESS the student participates in high school sports training or takes high school courses for credit during the gap year.
For these reasons, we strongly encourage families to steer far from the high school once the first grade 8 year has been completed. Do NOT enroll in or attend any high school classes or training camps. Read the CIF rules carefully and contact the CIF state office for guidance. The Athletic Director of your future high school may also provide guidance. Talega Prep is not affiliated with CIF and cannot offer legal advice, but we can assure you that in the ten years we have been offering the Gap Year, we have had no issues with our students' participation in CIF sports.
*Per the California Department of Education: California is a local control state. This means that Local Education Agencies (public school districts) have the authority to determine HOW and WHOM they will enroll in their schools. We recommend that parents have a conversation with the school/district administration before enrolling in a Gap Year. Be prepared to explain and justify your reasons for pursuing the Gap Year.
Because individual school districts have the discretion to make the decision when it comes to a student's grade level placement, we can not make any guarantees about your particular school.
Gap Year Basics
How we do it…
At the end of 8th grade, your child enrolls with Talega Prep as an 8th-grade student for the following year. Enrollment is the same as for any other student. When the second grade 8 academic year is finished, your child enrolls at the high school of your choice as a 9th grader.*
You will create your Course of Study including instruction in the Core Subject areas of math, science, English, Social Studies, PE, and an elective, being mindful to avoid high school courses.
Talega Prep will obtain your child’s cumulative file from the previous middle school, provide a grade report for your year with us, and send your file to the high school as we would any other student.
Why we do it…
We recognize that many students are not ready for high school and may benefit from an extra year of growth before taking on this challenge. We support our families' decisions regarding high school readiness and believe that the parent is best suited to make this decision.
What it is NOT…
The 8th Grade Gap Year is not a do-nothing year off nor is it just a repeat of the previous year. In order to repeat 8th grade, you will need to find a private school or homeschool program that will support and assist your family in meeting the California compulsory education requirements. Unfortunately, California public schools often push parents to start their children in Kindergarten at an early age, and rarely, if ever, retain students in middle school, even if they have received straight “F’s” for each semester.
Talega Prep helps your family follow the legal homeschooling requirements through enrollment in our private school satellite program.
Personal Consultations and curriculum planning and guidance are available at an additional cost.
For more information about the 8th Grade Gap Year, see our blog here. To arrange a personal consultation, contact us here.