By Lee Binz
High school can be a stressful time for a homeschool mom, and many of the tasks seem huge and overwhelming. What if I told you that there are some things you can do right now that are quick and easy - and they will make your homeschool work more efficiently? Here is a list of 8 things that you can do within one hour that can really improve the college preparation of your high school. They aren't hard resolutions at all. In only minutes you can feel confident in your ability to homeschool high school.
1. Get Tubby!
You can initiate a record keeping system in 5 minutes or less. Just grab a Rubbermaid tub or sturdy box, and put it in an out of the way corner. You can use the box as a record keeping system, just by remembering to put things in it. Sure there are better and fancier ways to keep records, but ANYTHING is better than nothing. Start throwing things in there - tests, lab write ups, reports, papers, certificates. If you are not keeping records already, just grab a tub and Get Tubby!
2. Mark it up!
Mark your calendar with important dates now, while this year's calendar is still looking empty! Find the dates for important tests on the College Board website. Spend just a few minutes right now writing on that calendar that you got for Christmas. Then you're all set for success! For example, in mid- June, check with the local public school about registering for the PSAT/NMSQT® next fall. On your calendar, write "register for PSAT/NMSQT® test" in early September.
3. Have a Parent-Teacher Conference!
Go ahead, talk to yourself! Review your high school plan with your spouse and students. Every college has different requirements, but here is one example of a college preparation plan:
Math 3-4 years
Science 3 years
Social Studies 3-4 years
Foreign Language 2-3 years
PE 2 years
Fine Arts 1 year
Electives To make 24 credits
Have your forgotten anything? Is there something that you still need to cover before spring? Has anything slipped through the cracks?
4. Use it or Lose it! While you are looking at your high school plan, think about what is working for you. If it doesn't work, don't beat a dead horse. Put it away, and try a different strategy that may work better. If the wonderful, expensive curriculum isn't working for you, then it's not worth anything at all. Find something that does work. Out with the old, and in with the new!
5. Begin your Transcript!Notice that I didn't say "finish" your transcript. It doesn't have to be perfect at all. Your goal is to just START your transcript. The way to make your transcript accurate and professional-looking is to work on it regularly. Spend just a few minutes writing down what you have already done. Start by just looking over the high school plan again. Did you do a course in each area? If so, write it down on a list, and keep it somewhere that you will find it again. (I keep things like that in my email, because I can easily retrieve it.) Write down about how much time per week you spend with that class, unless you are using a textbook. That will help you determine the credit value on your transcript. Writing it down now will prevent forgetting entire courses that you have successfully accomplished.
6. Identify Specialization!
Check your annoy-o-meter and in 5 minutes or less you can determine your child's area of specialization. When your child is supposed to be working, what are they usually doing instead? What is your student most likely doing when you say "Will you PLEASE put that down?" Is it possible that is your child's specialization? Now I'll admit, this task may need to be completed in the middle of a school project, because it seems like that's when they are most likely to be distracted by their specialization. Look at their specialization, acknowledge that it will be annoying to you, and then try to encourage it when you can.
7. Estimate your student's SAT score.
If your student recently took the PSAT/NMSQT®, you can quickly estimate their SAT score. For each subject area on the test, add a "zero" to the end of their score. For example, if they got a 60 on the math section, by adding a zero on the end, you can estimate that their SAT math score would be around 600. Knowing this number can help you determine what college will be the best fit for your child academically, and whether SAT preparation is a good idea.
8. Start your Reading List!
Many colleges only want a transcript and a reading list, so it helps to be prepared. On a piece of paper, print "Reading list." Then have your students make a pile of the books they have read in the past 3 months. They can type up the list while you sip some herbal tea and relax. You've worked hard on these resolutions, and now it's time to take a break. And anyway, it's important for them to practice their typing skills, right? Remember that a reading list is just a "list." It's not a bibliography, so you don't have to include publisher and other details. Just the title and author is fine. Don't feel overwhelmed by the list.
Each item is very quick and easy, and you could get through this list in a few hours. You can be prepared for high school - there is no reason to be afraid! Remember, that I'm here to help if you need me.
Finding the Faith to Homeschool High School: Weekly Reflections for Weary Parents
You already have kids, curriculum, pens, and paper ... now you just need to find the faith!
When you homeschool high school, sometimes the only thing separating success from failure is faith and a friend. This book will give you both! Imagine sitting across the table with a dear friend at your favorite coffee shop, sharing struggles and scriptures with each other. Let Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, be that dear friend who can lift you up with scriptural hope and encouragement.
Homeschooling the Holidays: Sanity Saving Strategies and Gift Giving Ideas
(Coffee Break Books) [Kindle Edition and Paperback]
Holiday seasons—especially between November and January—are busy times. Celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, and more seem to tumble on top of each other, with no time in between. For many homeschoolers, it seems that any idea of homeschooling just goes out the window during these times. Is it even possible to stay sane and continue to homeschool, even a little?!
Parents who consider homeschooling their children through high school are often consumed by insecurity - "Are we ruining their college chances?" Well, there's no need to worry. When it comes to college admissions and scholarships, homeschoolers have what the colleges are looking for! You CAN craft high school transcripts and records that gain choice college admission and win BIG scholarships. Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, has helped thousands of parents create outstanding homeschool transcripts and records. Her proven system will teach you how to present your child to colleges in the best possible light. You'll learn how to build a winning homeschool transcript, regardless of your homeschool methods or style, how to create credible grades and credits, even if you don't give tests, and how to provide the exact records the colleges are looking for.
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Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's FREE Resource Guide "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School" and more freebies at www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com/freebies.