Homeschooling high school

It seems to be somewhat of a trend for people to homeschool through elementary school, and even through middle school, but then once their children reach the high school level many choose to put their kids in public school.  I’ve heard many say that it’s because of sports – they want their children to be able to participate on a sports team and maybe have a chance of going into college with that sport. (That’s a whole other blog topic and not where I’m going with this though. haha!)

One of the most common reasons is that many say that they aren’t qualified to teach high school or don’t feel capable of providing a high school education for their child.  I’m not here to say that anyone and everyone can homeschool their kids all the way through, because I’m sure there are some who should not, but I think more people are capable of it than they realize.   Having just graduated one from high school and currently homeschooling one in his junior year of high school, I can tell you that it IS possible!  Not only that, it’s enjoyable!

If you are homeschooling younger kids and you’re not sure what you are going to do when they get to the high school level, you need to think about a few things before deciding that it can’t be done.

  1. Many of the high school classes that are required by state law for graduation and/or for college admission are basic classes that a parent is capable of teaching – even if that means learning some of it right along with them.
  2. By the time students reach the high school level they should be able to do part of their work in an independent fashion if provided with the proper textbooks and/or materials.  There were things that I didn’t “teach” my kids – I directed their day/week/year and graded their work to make sure they were understanding it and keeping up.  We might talk about it or they might ask me questions but I didn’t prepare a teaching lesson and teach to them daily.  (This, of course, does not work with every subject though.)
  3. If there is a class that the student and parent feel inadequate to accomplish on their own (science and math classes are usually the most popular ones to fit into this category) there are many places you can go without having to teach this in your own home.

This last point actually brings me to the main p0int of this post.  I know – it took me long enough to get here didn’t it! ;)

I want to share about the different places that you can go to get these classes that you’re unsure of.

One of the most common ways that homeschool high school students take upper level classes is by taking concurrent classes at their local college.  Many colleges offer these classes to juniors and seniors in high school for free tuition (fees are still charged usually) and not only does the class count for high school but they also receive college credit for the class, just as if they were already a college student.  Many homeschooled kids choose to do this so that they can get a jump start on their college education and save time and money.

Another option available to homeschoolers are homeschool co-ops.  Most communities with a large enough number of homeschoolers have plenty of co-ops to choose from.  I can think of somewhere around ten in my area and that’s without researching and looking for them – just simply hearing people talk about them.

Private tutors are another resource that many people choose to use.  There are many teachers and even homeschool moms who are more than happy to offer their services for a reasonable rate in order to spend one-on-one time teaching your child.

We even used to have just a small group of families at our church that took turns doing a lesson and hosting a class time for the kids.  It helped relieve some of the pressure of doing it all plus it allowed the kids to have some fun learning with a few other kids besides their own siblings. ;) In fact, I’m doing that this year.  I am doing British Lit with my son and we’ve invited a few other kids to come over and participate so I’ll be teaching several other kids along with mine and their parents will be able to just send them and know that that subject is being taken care of.

If you’re not sure how to go about finding these things, my best advice would be to look for yahoo groups that are local, ask around at your church to see if there are any groups meeting, if your state has a statewide organization check their website to see if they list support groups, and attend local support groups so that you can talk to other moms and find out what they’re doing.

Offering your high school kids a great homeschool education is definitely doable – it requires a little effort, planning, and researching but it’s so worth that work!!

If you need help finding things in your area I’d be glad to try to help you out!  Feel free to comment or e-mail me directly through my contact page and we’ll get started looking!!

~Happy homeschooling~

How to make a high school transcript

Creating a high school transcript for your homeschool student can seem like a daunting task…but it doesn’t have to be.  It can really be very simple.

Here is what I recommend including on a high school transcript:

Student information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Parent(s) full name(s)

School Information:

  • School name (if you have one – if not, just put homeschool)
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address

Academic Record (divided into four sections – one section per year):

  • School year/Grade level
  • Course title
  • Credit attempted
  • Credit earned
  • Final grade
  • Total Credits
  • GPA
  • Cumulative GPA

Academic Summary:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Credits attempted
  • Credits earned
  • Diploma earned
  • Date of graduation

Grading scale (list the scale you used)

Other schools attended (if any)

Test scores

  • ACT
  • SAT
  • PSAT
  • CLEP

Affirmation that the transcript is the official record of your student

I  found the format that I use online years ago at HSLDA It’s at the bottom of the page and it’s titled “Completed Transcript Example and Blank Form.”  There are also other formats there as well.

You can save this to your computer, type in your information as you go, and then print it when you’re ready.  This is what we turned in to the university where my daughter will be attending this fall and they were pleased with it.  Good luck with yours!  :)

 

What should my child be reading?

When my kids were younger we mostly used A Beka all across the board for all subjects.  We loved it that way for several years but as my kids started getting older we discovered that they didn’t necessarily like everything that A Beka offered and so we started checking out other things.

Sonlight was a curriculum company that I was familiar with and had actually tried before we started using A Beka and I knew many people who really liked their materials.  They are always at our state convention handing out catalogs so I decided to look at it again. I really liked the way their catalog was laid out and I liked their reading list so I decided to go with that.

Each grade level has a section in the catalog with all of the readers listed along with a little synopsis of the book.  It also gives a reading level so that you know if the book should be a reader or a read-aloud.  Another thing it indicates is whether or not there is any age-appropriate material in it that the parent should know about so that you don’t let younger readers read something that they shouldn’t be reading about yet.

I would simply go through the list and see which books were available at our local library and check one out for my kids to read every couple of weeks.  There are some fantastic books on that list and they really enjoyed many of them.  Every once in awhile there would be one that they weren’t crazy about and as along as they gave it a good honest try by reading a few chapters, if they didn’t like it, I would let them stop and move on to something else.

Because we followed this list through middle school and high school my kids have read so many great books and are so well read.  I would highly recommend Sonlight’s reading list if you’re trying to figure out what books to put in front of your kids. :)

Our sad little Bradford Pear tree

I’m not sure what the issue is

sad leaves

Maybe it’s the 100 degree temperatures

Maybe it’s the lack of rainfall – we have only had approximately 24 inches of rain in my area in the last 365 days (as of July 1).  This is the 5th driest year since 1921 and only two inches more rain than the driest ever.

dying tree?

Maybe it’s the Weeping Willow Tree that’s not too far away that’s sucking all the water away from it.

pitiful tree

Whatever it is it looks pitiful. See that tree in the background? The one that’s really green and full and nice looking? That’s the exact same kind of tree. That’s what mine should look like. :/

bare branches

I sure hope mine survives!!

Common fears of homeschooling – part 3

Isn’t homeschooling really expensive??

You may be thinking that homeschooling wouldn’t work for your family because it would cost so much and public education is free. From what I hear from people we know in the public school system – it’s definitely not free. With all of the extra-curricular fees, the yearbook fees, the lunch fees, the field trip fees, and all the other things they come up with, I hear that parents are spending a lot of money on their so-called “free” education!

Homeschooling is definitely more expensive than free, especially in middle and high school, but you can keep it inexpensive or make it as expensive as you want based on the ways in which you choose to educate your children. One example of educating in a very inexpensive way is using your local public library – especially when your children are young.  The library has a wealth of information right at the tip of your fingers – all for free! Good library systems will not only have wonderful books to choose from but videos, documentaries, magazines, audio books, CDs, and maybe even more! Historical books can be checked out in order to study history, scientific books can be checked out to study science, award winning books can be checked out to study literature, and on and on.

Another way to keep things inexpensive is by using the Internet, Netflix, and smart phone apps for all kinds of educational materials.  I wish all of this had been available when my kids were younger!  I’m hearing all kinds of great things from people about all of the educational shows available on Netflix and I keep hearing people talk about iPad apps and even apps on phones that offer some really cool educational tools!  And of course, there are tons of sites online that offer printables, interactive games, quizzes, etc.  It’s all right here at your fingertips!

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum you can spend lots of money by ordering brand new curriculum sets from curriculum companies but even if you wanted to go this route you can do it inexpensively. Our metropolitan area always has quite a few book sales in the spring where local homeschool families take the books and manipulatives that they’re through with and sell it to those of us shopping for used.  It’s a great way to find great books and other materials for bargain prices. There are also many online sites where you can find homeschool books at good deals: eBay, half.com, homeschool classifieds, even paperback swap! If you take the time to shop around you can find good deals and get what you need for bargain prices.  I can honestly say that rarely have I bought a brand new book from a company.  I have managed to find most of my books from used book sales or online every year that I’ve homeschooled.

I will say that once you get to high school you’ll probably have to spend more money and a quality education will cost a little more.  For example, you might need to purchase lab equipment for science classes or purchase higher priced textbooks for upper level classes.  And you might choose to enroll in co-op classes or hire a tutor to teach classes that you may not be comfortable doing at home.  While these costs will be higher than what you’ll likely spend in elementary school, it’s still a great deal for a great price if you weigh the benefits against the cost.

So, don’t let the cost of homeschooling scare you away. It will only be as expensive as you allow it to get!

Re can be a powerful prefix!

The sermon series that our church has been doing for the last four weeks is called the RE series.  There were four parts – Remember, Repentance, Renew, and Remain and it was a very powerful message series brought to us by four different amazing pastors from our church – the last being our senior pastor, Craig Groeschel.  (If you’d like to check any of the message out you can click the title and it will take you to the page where you can watch the message.)

I loved each message and they all brought great truths to us but this last week, during an already amazing sermon, Pastor Craig gave us one sentence that was just so cool.   And the coolest part was hearing him say it!  It was so powerful!   Here is the sentence:

When you rebuke the enemy and return to God, by repenting of your sins and receiving Christ, your spirit will be reborn, your mind renewed, your life rebuilt, and when you’re connected to the vine, you will be reconciled to God by Christ’s redeeming work and reap the rewards of relationship with Christ causing revival to break free.

As he said, we have some powerful words in our language that begin with RE! :)

I hope you’ll take the time to watch some or all of the messages!  They are really fantastic!!

Common fears of homeschooling – part 2

How will your kids get into college??

This is a common question asked of homeschoolers – especially those who are approaching the high school years.  Many people have the idea that it’s okay to homeschool in elementary school but then once they get older they need to go to public school so that they can get into college.  That’s simply not true.  Not only can they get into college as easily as kids from public schools but some colleges are actually looking for homeschoolers and actively recruiting them!  How cool is that! :)

Colleges have realized how big homeschooling has become and that they need to have policies in place for us.  Therefore, most colleges have instituted policies and procedures for how to enroll as a homeschool graduate.  If you request a catalog from the colleges that you are interested in it will probably explain what their policies are right along with the policies for “traditional” students.

For the most part, most colleges are looking at your ACT and/or SAT score.  You must meet their minimum score requirement to be considered for enrollment in their school and it will be clearly stated in their materials what that minimum score is.  You will also need to show a transcript for the student’s 9th through 12th grade years so make sure you keep accurate records, reflecting what classes they have taken each year and what their grade is for each semester.  Make sure that you know your state’s requirements as well as the college’s requirements for high school graduates as they can vary a little from state to state and school to school.  HSLDA is a great resource to use for this or you can check your state’s Department of Education website.

There might still be some colleges and universities that are hesitant to take homeschoolers and if one of those is the college of choice for your child you might consider enrolling in a community college first to establish themselves as a college student.  Then they should be able to transfer in after proving themselves capable at the college level.

Our oldest just graduated from high school this year so this is exactly the kind of thing we have been dealing with for the last year.  It really wasn’t very difficult at all.  The hardest part is making sure that you gather all of the required documents and materials that they want and meet all of the deadlines that they have.  All of those deadlines can be a lot to keep up with but if you start with a plan – for all of high school and specifically for their senior year – you will do great!

And it is with great excitement that I share with you that all of the hard work paid off for us – our daughter was accepted into the college of her choice (and was actively recruited by colleges all around the country!) and even received a Freshman Achievement Scholarship as well!!  Full tuition paid makes mommy and daddy happy!! ;)

So, if worrying about college is a fear keeping you from homeschooling – fear no more!  It will not keep your kids out of college!  :)

Time goes by so quickly!

It seems like just yesterday that my kids were little bitty and we were all sitting down together to work on science or history or maybe read a book together.  Or that I was teaching them the difference between a noun and a verb.  Or maybe working on multiplication tables.  Those times were so precious…and so fleeting.

Fast forward to 2011 and I have one who will be going to college in two months and one who will be a junior in high school.  One of them will be receiving all of her education from another place and other people.  The other – well, he’ll still be here under my supervision but let’s face it, a junior in high school doesn’t necessarily have to sit down with mom every day to do history or science or to read a book together.  The most likely scenario will be seeing him work independently and I’ll just be supervising his efforts – making sure he stays on track and grading his work.   There are some subjects where I still get to have a more hands-on approach but for the most part he works independently.

Why am I sharing all of this??  As I jump around the blogosphere, reading this blog and that, I’m confronted head-on with the reality that my babies have grown up.  I don’t get to do all that fun stuff that the moms with elementary school kids get to do anymore.  I don’t get to search out the latest and greatest curriculum.  I don’t get to use all the amazing technology that’s out there now to teach basic geography or science or math facts.  I don’t get to take library days, or park days, or field trip days (okay – maybe field trip days sometimes ;) ).  I know that’s a lot of “I don’ts” and I’m not trying to be a downer.  I’m just amazed at how homeschooling has grown and changed just in the eleven years since we began.  I’m not necessarily sad about what I didn’t get to do with my kids – although some of the stuff I’ve seen lately would’ve been pretty amazing to be able to do!! – I’m thrilled with what I got to do because we had an amazing ride and I’ve loved it!!  What I am sad about is that it’s coming to an end for me.

The good side is that I have the joy of knowing that I have given my kids a quality education for the last eleven years and I still get to do so for two more.  I have the joy of knowing that, for my daughter, all of our hard work paid off and she was accepted into an amazing program at a great university.  I may not be teaching her anymore and that might make me feel sad but she is going to have an amazing time doing what she loves to do and I couldn’t be more excited for her!

So for those of you with young children (not that you don’t already know this) enjoy every minute with them.  Because time goes by so quickly!

And for me?  I can always  hope for grandkids that I can help homeschool right? ;)

This post is part of the
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

B is for Bee

I have a hibiscus in my backyard and it’s one of my most favorite plants in my garden.  It has gorgeous flowers that are huge – much bigger than my hand – and the color of them is just stunning.

I went outside the other morning just to enjoy looking at them before it got too hot outside.  Once the heat of the day hits they kind of wilt up and look a little sad.  In the morning though they’re gorgeous!  Anyway, I went to look at them and took my camera out with me so that I could snap a few photos and not only did I get the flowers but I managed to get a bunch with the bees flying around them!

Hibiscus 2

It’s pretty fascinating to watch the bees – they hop very quickly from flower to flower and never stay very long in one place. I ended up turning my shutter speed all the way up to 1/4000 just to capture them without blurriness!!

bee 2

bee 1

This last picture is “B is for Bee.”  If you want to participate in this meme just visit The Homeschool Post and check out their A B See Photo Meme post.

You can see my first post here – A is for Azalea

Beautiful sunset

One of the things I love most about God’s creation is sunsets.  It just amazes me how gorgeous the sky can be every night.  One of the coolest places to watch the sunset around here is at the lake.  I took these the other night when we were there.  These don’t have any editing either – this is simply the beauty of the sky. :)

We were in a more wooded area at first and the sun started going down behind this tree – I thought it looked really cool.

sunset 5

After it got kind of low there we drove down a little further where we had a view of the sunset directly over the lake. It was breathtaking!

sunset 4

And I love how the color gets richer and deeper as the sun sets further and further!

sunset 3

sunset 2

sunset 1

~ The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 ~

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