This month we are beginning a series called "Ask The HomeScholar." This question comes from a mom who is just beginning high school.
Right there on the brochure it said: "Who takes CLEP? A homeschooled 15-year-old." I felt somewhat reassured when I walked into the test center, knowing that my son couldn't be THAT unusual, since his demographic was right on the brochure. And imagine my surprise! Within the month, my son obtained college credit in "Principles of Marketing" and "Business Law" and yet I had never purchased marketing or law curriculum! How does that happen, exactly? As a homeschool parent, you may know what your children have been taught, but you may not realize what they know. There is a place where knowledge reigns supreme. A place where you can also discover their hidden learning -- your local CLEP testing center.
One of the problems with the public schools is that the first four weeks (or more) in the Fall are spent reviewing the material that was forgotten over the summer. Homeschoolers again have a tremendous advantage in this area. By setting aside a few minutes a day you can ensure your students retain what they have learned. Here are some tips for two of the "most forgettable" subjects.
During the summer before my son's junior year, I struggled with choosing a writing curriculum. When my husband forwarded my older son information on a chess scholarship, I had an idea. Using the internet, I spent months doing an extensive search for essay contests and scholarship opportunities for both my boys. The results were both an awakening and an answer to prayer. To put it bluntly, there are a lot of people and organizations out there that want to give your kids money for college...LOTS OF MONEY!
While most scholarships are highly competitive, some of them actually go unclaimed because no one applies. Never the type of family to refuse free money, we discovered that we could build an entire year's writing plan around scholarship essays....
1. Read a book:
For beginners I recommend "Curriculum Manual for Junior and Senior High" by Cathy Duffy, and "Homeschoolers' College Admission Handbook" by Cafi Cohen....
Have you wondered how parents can teach a subject they don't know? How will you teach high school sciences without having a background in science? Carol asked me about physics, and was resigned to studying physics herself over summer, so that she could teach it to her student. Here is my response:
You can certainly study physics over the summer if you WANT to.... But I didn't want to! We used Apologia Physics, and it was wonderful. My younger son was taking pre-calculus at the same time as Apologia Physics, and my older son was taking Calculus. They both did VERY well in our homeschool, just learning it for themselves from the Apologia text. The next year they started dual enrollment at the community college, and took "engineering physics" - the next level in physics taken at college. They both got excellent grades so I know they really did know the material. My engineering son took the whole physics series in college, and I would frequently find his Apologia book open on the floor. I found out that he was referring to it with many of his college concepts, because he liked the way that it was explained better than the way his professor explained it. He also told me that most of his college lab assignments were experiments that he had done in high school. You don't have to learn physics in order for your student to learn physics unless you really want to!
We just LOVED using Family Math as supplement in the early years. It's a $20 book of math games for kindergarten through eighth grade. Using the book, I chose a math game a couple of times a week that coordinated with the concepts my kids were learning. We would spend 15 minutes on a math game, and my kids loved it! Even now that they are older they talk about math games. I remember when my son was about nine, and he asked one of his homeschooling friends, "What is your favorite math game?" The friend didn't PLAY math games, and Alex was simply shocked! He still talks about stacking sugar cubes being his favorite game because I would let him eat one when he was done studying geometric volume.
I was recently interviewed by Thor Tolo on KGNW 820 AM in Seattle. I spoke about the importance of independent homeschooling. My son was interviewed with me, and it's fun to hear the perspective of a homeschool graduate. You can hear the interview here.
Colleges love to see a reading list from homeschoolers - but how do you go about getting a reading list? Obviously the easiest way is to have your student keep track of all the books they have read. I was never very successful with that strategy myself (nobody is perfect!) Instead, each summer as I compiled the previous year's work, I had to think of other ways to recreate the information. Consider these ideas:
Stanford University Magazine had an article about a gifted homeschool student. I love this quote: "It's the spark, the passion, that sets the truly exceptional student--the one driven to pursue independent research and explore difficult concepts from a very early age--apart from your typical bright kid. Stanford wants students who have it. Looking very closely at homeschoolers is one way to get more of those special minds, the admission office has discovered. As Reider explains it: "Homeschooled students may have a potential advantage over others in this, since they have consciously chosen and pursued an independent course of study." I love the emphasis on independent homeschooling! Read the article for yourself here:
I've always done my taxes by myself, but this year with my new business I was WAY in over my head, so I had to see an // ![DATA[
D(["mb","\u003cspan name\u003d\"st\"\>accountant\u003c/span\>. It was amazing! I\nnormally spend more than a month on my taxes! This time I took the stuff\nto him, and the next morning he called to say he was DONE! Even though I\nhad to pay to have it done, I still came out ahead because he saved me so much\nmoney. It was incredible! I've never had an \u003cspan name\u003d\"st\"\>accountant\u003c/span\>\nbefore..... \u003cbr\>\u003c/p\>\u003cp style\u003d\"text-align:justify;color:rgb(0, 0, 0)\"\>It reminded me of my business helping with transcripts. \nYou COULD spend months writing your own transcript, or you can just have me\nhelp you and get it done quickly! LOL! \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nWhat a relief! Paid! Over! Done with! Finished!\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"text-align:justify;color:rgb(0, 0, 0)\"\>What a relief!\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"text-align:justify;color:rgb(0, 0, 0)\"\>Blessings,\u003cbr\>\nLee \u003cbr\>\nThe HomeScholar\u003c/p\>\n\n\n\t\t\t\u003c/font\>\u003c/td\>\n\t\t\u003c/tr\>\n\t\t\u003c/table\>\n\t\t\u003c/td\>\n\t\t\u003ctd colspan\u003d\"1\" rowspan\u003d\"1\" width\u003d\"1\" bgcolor\u003d\"#FFFFCC\" style\u003d\"background-color:#FFFFCC\"\>\u003cimg height\u003d\"1\" border\u003d\"0\" width\u003d\"1\" src\u003d\"http://img.constantcontact.com/letters/images/spacer.gif\"\>\u003c/td\>\n\t\t\u003ctd colspan\u003d\"1\" rowspan\u003d\"1\" valign\u003d\"top\" width\u003d\"190\" bgcolor\u003d\"#FFFFCC\" style\u003d\"background-color:#FFFFCC;width:190px\"\>\n\t\t\u003ctable border\u003d\"0\" cellpadding\u003d\"3\" cellspacing\u003d\"0\" width\u003d\"100%\" style\u003d\"margin-bottom:6px\"\>\n\t\t\u003ctr\>\n\t\t\t\u003ctd colspan\u003d\"1\" height\u003d\"20\" rowspan\u003d\"1\" bgcolor\u003d\"#336699\" style\u003d\"padding:2px 2px 2px 6px;background-color:#336699;color:#FFFFFF;font-family:Comic Sans MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:10pt\"\>\u003cfont color\u003d\"#FFFFFF\" size\u003d\"2\" face\u003d\"Comic Sans MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif\" style\u003d\"color:#FFFFFF;font-family:Comic Sans MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:10pt\"\>\u003cb\>In This Issue\u003c/b\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/td\>\n\t\t\u003c/tr\>\n\t\t\u003ctr\>\n\t\t\t\u003ctd colspan\u003d\"1\" rowspan\u003d\"1\" width\u003d\"100%\"\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#111f7ac0d1e2a53f_LETTER.BLOCK4\" shape\u003d\"rect\" style\u003d\"color:#000000;font-family:Comic Sans MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif;text-decoration:none;font-size:8pt\"\>\u003cfont color\u003d\"#000000\" size\u003d\"1\" face\u003d\"Comic Sans MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif\" style\u003d\"color:#000000;font-family:Comic Sans MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:8pt\"\>",1] );
// ]]>accountant. It was amazing! I normally spend more than a month on my taxes! This time I took the stuff to him, and the next morning he called to say he was DONE! Even though I had to pay to have it done, I still came out ahead because he saved me so much money. It was incredible! I've never had an accountant before.....
It reminded me of my business helping with transcripts. You COULD spend months writing your own transcript, or you can just have me help you and get it done quickly! LOL!...