As I meet more and more BASIS Independent McLean families at information events and at my popular Coffee Meetings, it is clear by questions asked about our program that we are shaping an engaged, thoughtful parent community. In the second post in my FAQ series, I answer two more questions I hear regularly from parents considering our program. 
What electives will you offer the first year?


As far as electives go, so far we’re planning to offer Computer Science, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP Economics, Engineering, Art, Drama, Music, and Physical Education (PE is required up through grade 6 and is an elective for grades 7 and above). Other electives will be solidified once we gauge student interest and tap into teacher expertise. In future years our eletives options will grow substantially. As a reminder, all students in grades 7 and above have the option to take an elective in addition to required courses.   

What can I do over the summer to help prepare my child?

Ah..the question that looms large on the mind of just about every family. How to get ready for next year!

We usually encourage kids to travel, relax, and enjoy their leisure time over the summer break. If your child is hankering for more, however, here are five things your student can do to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Read as much as you can. But don’t just read. Engage with the text. Annotate. What is the author trying to say? What literary devices is the author using? Write about it. Keep a journal about what you are reading, but don’t just summarize. React and respond to it. For rising high school students, use the AP College Board’s most cited texts as a reading list. Be sure to read some higher-level non-fiction like The Economist and The New Yorker, too.
  1. Review your last year of math. We use the Saxon math curriculum from first grade all the way through calculus. We do not encourage your child to go ahead of the curriculum, but there is no reason why your student can’t review what he or she already knows to make sure they are moving forward with a solid foundation. The Saxon textbooks are available to purchase at If you have questions about which books to review, should you be interested, please email admissions at
  2. Don't worry about science. For middle school and high school students, we assume that your child has had minimal exposure to biology, physics and chemistry so we design our first-year courses with that in mind. No need to prep for anything here.
  3. Take a tour back in time. We are finding that our incoming students have a good working knowledge of U.S. history, but are not as well versed in world history. There’s a great new self-guided online course called the Big History Project that takes you from the Big Bang to the present day.
  4. Practice your foreign language. If you are studying a foreign language such as Spanish listen to Spanish radio or watch Telemundo. The BBC offers news in many languages including French and Spanish and has a wonderful online guide to brushing up on foreign language skills.

If you have any other questions for me both as a BASIS.ed parent and as our Director of Community relations, please feel free to e-mail me, otherwise I hope you'll attend one of my upcoming Coffee Meetings and we can talk through your questions in person.

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