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6 Tips for Tough Course Descriptions

6 Tips for Tough Course Descriptions
6 Tips for Tough Course Descriptions Getting course descriptions done can seem overwhelming.  But, it doesn't have to be! Follow my 6 steps listed below, and you'll be on your way to completing them in no time. 1. Cover letter can explain things...
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5 Ingredients for Perfect Homeschool Records

5 Ingredients for Perfect Homeschool Records
Every great cooking project requires great ingredients. And homeschool records are the same way. You want to start with a great ingredient list! You know how a Thanksgiving dinner usually includes a turkey, and Easter may always mean lamb? Well there...
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6 Ways to Save Homeschool Records Forever

6 Ways to Save Homeschool Records Forever
6 Ways to Save Homeschool Records Forever You don't have to save your curriculum forever, and you don't have to save all your child's daily work or notebooks or papers. But you do need to save the OFFICIAL homeschool records forever. ​ In my class, H...
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3 Homeschool Transcript Problems and How to Avoid Them

3 Homeschool Transcript Problems and How to Avoid Them
3 Homeschool Transcript Problems and How to Avoid Them There are three homeschool transcript problems that you can easily avoid or overcome. First Problem: Your child's grades don't match their test scores. High test scores usually combine with great...
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Your Job Should You Choose to Accept It: Mission NOT Impossible

Your Job Should You Choose to Accept It: Mission NOT Impossible
Your Job Should You Choose to Accept It: Mission NOT Impossible Remember the TV show "Mission Impossible?" It always started with "Your job, should you choose to accept it". But the team members always accepted the risks, because they knew it really ...
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Review Homeschool Records with 4 Easy Steps

Review Homeschool Records with 4 Easy Steps
Review Homeschool Records with 4 Easy Steps When I review course descriptions for my Gold Care Club members, and doing a document review for the Comprehensive Record Solution purchasers, there are some common errors that I see.  Make sure to use...
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Help for Tubbies, Cubbies, and Binder Queens

Help for Tubbies, Cubbies, and Binder Queens

Help for Tubbies, Cubbies, and Binder Queens


If you are homeschooling a high school student, you’ve probably given at least a little thought to keeping homeschool records. Perhaps you’ve only thought about it vaguely and said to yourself, “I’ll get to it someday." Even if you’re convinced your student will never go to college, chances are a situation will arise when you will need to provide a record of your student’s high school experience, even if it’s only for a camp counselor application or a volunteer position! Here are some pointers on what to keep, when to start keeping records, and how to ease into it if you haven’t started yet.

Choose a Method


The good news is that no matter your organizational ability (or lack thereof), there are a few easy methods you can use to track your student’s coursework. The first is what I affectionately call the “tubbie” method. Tubbies toss homework and tests into a big plastic tub, hoping someday to go through and organize it.

Slightly further up the organizational “food chain” are parents who keep records in cupboards, cabinets, or drawers. These “cubbies” are usually a little more organized than the tubbies, using a different drawer for each child, and perhaps even different drawers for each year.

Other parents keep track of their students' work in notebooks. These are the “binder queens" (or kings) of the homeschool world. They tend to be the most organized people I meet.

What to Keep


Once you have chosen your method, whether it’s using a tub, a cupboard, or a binder, what exactly should you keep? For some classes, such as math or science, it’s easy; keep tests, labs, and worksheets. But what about classes such as home economics or piano? This is where you need to think creatively. Think about what your child does in each class. For a home economics class, you could keep menus, shopping lists, and pictures of meals your child created. For a piano class, you could keep the list of songs your student learned, the piano books they used, and theor recital programs.

Records can include a list of books read, how many hours spent on a subject, or co-op class course descriptions. Some parents photocopy the cover and table of contents of each textbook for writing course descriptions. Your student could also keep a journal of what they work on each day or week to share in the work of tracking!

When to Keep Records


When your child enters high school, it becomes more critical to keep records. Of course, your student needn’t be 14, or in 9th grade, before you start keeping records. It’s common for homeschoolers to do high school level work at the age of 12 or 13. If your student is not technically high school age but is nevertheless doing high school work, make sure to give them credit for it! If your child is in 7th or 8th grade, consider keeping homeschool records as if they were already in high school to be prepared for anything as you move forward.

Try to move up the organizational food chain over the years, so that by the time your student is a senior, you are organized and ready to produce transcripts and course descriptions when necessary. Start small, but start somewhere!



Click to Get My Ebook, "The 10 Essentials for Homeschooling High School!"
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Sweltering Summer Strategies for Success

Sweltering Summer Strategies for Success

Sweltering Summer Strategies for Success


Sweltering, blistering, boiling, broiling, burning, fiery, heated, hot, red-hot, roasting, scalding, stifling, humid, sultry, sticky, muggy, close, stuffy.

Does this sound familiar?

Uncomfortably hot days are hard. They can even make you cranky (says science - I'm not naming names). Experts say hot and humid weather is associated with increases in aggression and violence, as well as a generally rotten moods. Thanks a lot, science, right? (Live Science)

One option might be to move to Seattle, where I live. On average, we have less than a week of these conditions each year. But moving might not be realistic.

No worries, though! I have a plan for you!

My Gold Care Club member, Karen, was being extremely successful at getting her course descriptions done last week. She finally confessed the REAL reason for her productivity.

"The heat is helping me stay indoors and get those course description accomplished." ~ Karen

Other parents were hiding at Starbucks in air-conditioned bliss, getting course descriptions completed. Another was sitting in her air-conditioned car, watching her daughter compete on horseback.

Take advantage of the heat. Sure, there are a million things you could be doing if it wasn't so crazy hot outside. But since it IS crazy hot outside, enjoy the cool indoors, sit still, and get your paperwork done. Then, when the weather is awesome for playing, you'll be all caught up!



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Homeschool Records + Talent = Julliard Dreams Fulfilled

Homeschool Records + Talent = Julliard Dreams Fulfilled

Homeschool Records + Talent = Julliard Dreams Fulfilled


Getting into Julliard is like getting into Harvard. You really have to have it ALL - academics, special talent, passion, and luck! Anytime you are trying to get into a highly selective school, it requires some extra effort from both the parent and the child.

Recently I received this lovely thank you note from a Gold Care Club member. Their family achieved wonderful success!
"I have enjoyed being a gold card club member for years, spoke to you on the phone and I listened to some of your webinars, used the course description and transcript templates and information on SAT's. I thank you for your help in my journey of making all this ready for applications. My daughter and I made a detailed portfolio for her that she sent to 7 places where she was invited to audition live, and was successfully accepted to most of the Conservatories. She was accepted into The Julliard School by her audition and then they accepted her high school portfolio without any questions. She placed into all the academic courses at the higher level. She is now happily studying a bachelors of music at The Julliard School, fulfilling her dream. I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to home school her and thanks to you, I knew how to present her schooling and everything else in such a way that I did not need to sacrifice the wonderful home school curriculum that gave her a strong Christian world view and foundation in Christ. ~ A"

This Gold Care Club Member took advantage of the telephone consultations. She also learned on her own, by consistently watching the 5 monthly classes that change on the 20th of every month. She purchased the Comprehensive Record Solution, that helped her to make a detailed portfolio. And she provided the moral compass her daughter needed to succeed in the future.

The teenager was homeschooled independently, which allowed her to pursue Delight Directed Learning in music, which then enabled her to succeed at the highest levels. Learn more about Delight Directed Learning.

Articles: 
Delight Directed Learning
Maximize the Fun Factor
Encouraging Delight Directed Learning at the High School Level

Coordinating Coffee Break Book on Amazon:
Delight Directed Learning: Guide Your Homeschooler Toward Passionate Learning

Here is what I suggest.

  • Prepare thorough homeschool records.

  • Encourage your child's interests and talents.

  • Prepare to have your child's dreams fulfilled too!


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Take This Class and Love Every Minute of It!

Take This Class and Love Every Minute of It!

Take This Class and Love Every Minute of It!


Each time someone takes my free class on grades, credits, and transcripts, I ask for feedback. I update that class every few years, and feedback helps me to improve the class each time. But, I have to say, Cindy went over-and-above on her specific review of “A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts”. She said she loved every minute of it!
    Dear Lee,

I am happy to provide feedback.  None of it will be improvement because I loved every minute!

I was home all week with my six-year-old while my husband took a group of 22 on a mission trip.  Included in that trip were my 15-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.  One of my goals was to update transcripts and START course descriptions.  We have homeschooled since the start and I was feeling uneasy about some aspects of our transcripts.  Books and research are my stress relievers so I began there.  I remembered some moms mentioning liking your talk last year at Modesto, CA so I started with you.  Wait! I prayed, then felt certain I was to start with you.  What I found was the friendly voice and mentorship I have sought for years and could not find.  You echoed so many of my own fears and pleasant discoveries and I knew you were a gift from God.

Most of the help that you gave me was the confidence to get started revising what I have already done and the courage to begin that which I have put off doing.  Specifically helpful to me was:

- You validated my one year over semester approach to transcript.  I have been using a template from HSLDA and it does not have a semester option.  We found that the grade didn't vary from semester to semester so this was fine, EXCEPT, every other sample (from the internet) was in semesters.

- You shared what you did.  As mentioned above, I only had samples from the internet.  No one will show me what they did.  I know some people feel embarrassed to share but seeing a real example from a person you know actually used what you are seeing makes a world of difference to a mom.  Which leads me to my next point.

- You don't see homeschooling as a zero sum game.  I love helping people.  I will happily share anything, and I have shared so many things.  Sadly, others don't always feel the same way.  My husband and I quietly did our own homeschooling thing since we didn't know anyone who did it.  Recently (since High School started), we have been more involved as the Lord has brought the opportunity.  We have met a few families who are very competitive.  I have been discouraged (more than I realized) but you have given me new hope that on a personal level I can turn things around and share you and your website and materials and underscore your attitudes of wanting all homeschooling families to succeed in their own way.

- You helped me see that it is okay to put on the transcript everything my son did.  We were embarrassed when we listed everything (and ran out of room since my husband must have it look pretty) so I began lumping things together in such a way as to make it look "normal."  I have had this nagging feeling that we were negating his accomplishments and hard work.  My husband is a youth pastor and often has my son teach.  We had none of that on there either.  He does so many book studies for personal devotions that I never thought of putting on his book list (Do Hard Things, Thirsting for God, Mere Christianity to name a few). In a nutshell, the truth is the truth and I need not fear what others think.

- You reminded me that colleges love homeschoolers.  I have heard that but not from a person who has actually experienced it.

While I didn't buy your transcript service (though I was sorely tempted), I would have had I not already done so much on it already.  I was happy to see you had books.  The webinar was a treat and one I hope to repeat often.  However, having your words in print will be wonderful.  I bought the one on admissions and scholarships for my son who is making applications this year.  While I wait for it to arrive I am reading your book on transcripts and course descriptions on Kindle. I will certainly share your link and the blessing that you are.  Please thank your whole family for me as I know it would not be possible without your husbands support and the inspiration God gave you to do your best for your boys.  Thank you for telling me in your book to consider you a friend because I do!

With a grateful heart,
Cindy

Have you learned about high school grades, credits, and transcripts yet? It's often the most-feared thing about homeschooling high school, and is a stumbling block for many parents. I feel that if I can remove the fear of high school transcripts, then parents can make an informed decision about homeschooling high school. You can take my free class on “A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts” and feel much more comfy-cozy within a short time! The class is about 1 hour, with about 1 hour of questions at the end, so you're sure to get the information you need.

Don't let the fear of transcripts prevent you from homeschooling through high school!

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How to Write Course Descriptions - How do you learn best?

How to Write Course Descriptions - How do you learn best?

How to Write Course Descriptions - How do you learn best?


I've explained in a earlier blog post the 3 Ingredients of a Great Course Description: a paragraph about what you did, a list of what you used, and a description of how you graded. Within those suggestions, you have a LOT of latitude!

You can have a very SHORT description about your grades, and say only "1/3 tests, 1/3 lab, 1/3 daily work." Or you can be very detailed in your grading description, and provide a chart with the scores on all 23 chapter tests and all 48 biology labs. That part is up to you.

I suggest this brief little format, just to help you keep things in order.

Course Description
Subject Area (Math): Class Title (Algebra)


(Descriptive paragraph)
In this class the student will....

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How to Put Dual Enrollment on Your Transcript

How to Put Dual Enrollment on Your Transcript

Follow the 6 steps below to put dual enrollment on your child's transcript.


This post will tell you how to put dual enrollment on a transcript. Want to see what a scholarship-winning transcript actually looks like? Click to download The HomeScholar Record Keeping Samples

  1. Choose an acronym
    Create an acronym for each college or high school location where your child took classes. Like this:
    HCC = Highline Community College
    I like using the CC part of the acronym for community college, it makes it look so obvious that you are dual enrolled.

  2. Place the acronym before the class title on the transcript
    Where you normally put the class title, put in the acronym first, and then use the exact class title that is provided by the community college. Like this:
    HCC SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
    HCC MAT 101: College Calculus
    HCC ART 100: Survey of Fine Art

  3. Define the acronym in key or legend
    At the bottom of your transcript, explain what the acronym means. Like these options:
    HCC: Dual enrollment classes at Highline Community College
    HCC indicates classes taken at Highline Community College

  4. Translate college credits to high school credits
    One whole college class is equivalent to one high school credit. If your child is taking one whole college class, worth 4, 5, or 6 credits, then it is one whole high school credit. If the college class is 1, 2, or 3 credits, I suggest calling it a half credit class.

  5. Insert the exact grade from the college
    No matter what the grade is, put the grade on the transcript. You can change it from the number grade to a letter grade, or translate it from a letter grade to a number grade, but you can't actually change the grade. College classes are just plain harder than high school classes, and it's very difficult to get A's in college, even when a child is used to getting A's in high school. (Read more: Community College Success)

  6. I don't recommend weighting grades
    If you do decide to weight grades, then it would be easiest to weight it the same as an AP class. However, every high school in the country seems to have their own unique way of weighting grades, which is why I don’t recommend weighting them. It makes it harder for colleges, and colleges will like you more if you make their job easier.  Here is the problem, every high school has a different policy on weighting grades. There are so many variation possibilities, and colleges need to compare students from different schools and school districts. For that reason, the first thing they do is to un-weight any weighted grades. Colleges have asked me to tell parents not to weight grades, and so I don’t recommend weighting grades unless your first choice college prefers grades that way. (Read more: Why I Do Not Recommend Weighting Grades)

All parents know that the homeschool transcript is the least of our worries about community college. Our bigger concern is actually how our child performs in the real life college situation, both academically and socially. I do have one big tip to help you guide your child toward higher college grades. The answer lies in vocabulary. 80% of a subject is learned through the vocabulary alone - in other words, if you master the vocabulary, you are 80% of the way to getting an A in the class. Get some flash cards, highlight the book with the vocabulary words, and have the child quiz himself or herself on those vocabulary words.

For answers to your questions on transcripts, take my free class on Grades, Credits, and Transcripts.
Click here to get my free recorded class on Grades, Credits, and Transcripts

If you still have questions, consider getting the Total Transcript Solution. It has a lot of additional resources, and thoroughly answers all common difficulties, while giving you the tools you need to get things done. At the same time, the Total Transcript Solution has one consultation, so you and I can talk together if you still have a question that hasn't been answered.
Learn more about the Total Transcript Solution

Does that explain it all? I hope that make sense to you!

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Recent Comments
Ami Brainerd
Kathleen, I had the same understanding. Maybe different colleges have different systems/designations. I don't know any local unive... Read More
Friday, 15 February 2019 21:16
Lee Binz
Each high school across the nation may assign credits for dual enrollment differently. That makes it confusing for homeschoolers w... Read More
Monday, 01 July 2019 22:07
Lee Binz
If English 103 and English 104 are each full college courses (4, 5, or 6 credits) - according to Lee's definition - they would eac... Read More
Monday, 09 April 2018 21:36
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Andrew Pudewa Recommends The HomeScholar

Andrew Pudewa Recommends The HomeScholar


Andrew Pudewa Recommends The HomeScholar


Recently I worked with Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) on a series of classes teaching parents how to determine high school credit for IEW products. We’ve known each other for many years and collaborated together on a number of projects before, and it's always fun. This time I enjoyed chatting with him about my Total Transcript Solution. This is what Andrew had to say:
“If I could go back to the very, very beginning, and say to my wife, ‘Sweetheart, I know this woman who will help you – let’s just get her services and do this the easy way,’ it would have saved a few hours ... Lee is just one of the most encouraging and common sense, down to earth, but careful people in this whole business. I recommend her highly.”

~ Andrew Pudewa,  Director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).

If you are experiencing anxiety about your child entering college and the real world, you want to hear Andrew’s entire review, including some great encouragement for homeschoolers, check out the YouTube video below to listen.



If you need to learn more about determining high school credit for your curriculum, or if you need help getting started on your transcript, I'd love for you to take this free class "A Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Grades, Credits, and Transcripts".

If you are ready to jump in, and make your transcript, but you'd like some moral support, check out the Total Transcript Solution.



Have you used the Total Transcript Solution? Please share your experience!

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South Carolina Wins the Wacky GPA Prize!

South Carolina Wins the Wacky GPA Prize!

South Carolina Wins the Wacky GPA Prize!


And the winner is... South Carolina Public Schools! They get the prize for the silliest, most nonsensical grading scale conversion! Do not be fooled - this is NOT a requirement for homeschoolers. This is a public school grading scale, not a reason for more gray hairs, ladies.

My intention is NOT to make fun of a public school system or anything, but let's take a look at it and enjoy a good laugh together for a minute! Don't hyperventilate or panic or anything - this is NOT for you to use!


A student could graduate with a perfect 5.875 GPA if they took all AP classes, or all community college classes, but a perfect student, taking only all Honors classes can only earn a 5.375.  But wait, there's more! A perfect student taking all college prep classes would earn a 4.875 GPA.

Of course, few students are perfect. What if your child got a very low B, the lowest possible grade of B, but they were taking all AP classes? Then your child would get the previously perfect 4.0 GPA. I'm serious. A straight B is a 4.0 in this public school system.

"But wait!" you ask. "What happened to earning a perfect 4.0?"

Isn't an A worth a 4.0 anymore? Maybe it is in your neighborhood of the country, but not in South Carolina. And what exactly is the difference between college prep, honors, AP, IB, and dual credit? That's pretty murky...

I declare this grading scale conversion chart to be wacky! You can quote me.

Homeschoolers, do not imitate the worst! Create the best!

Let me repeat myself, you do NOT need to use this grading scale. It's used by public schools who are trying to show the awesome GPA of their average student, by making every child appear above average. Nobody is fooled - least of all colleges. They look at inflated grades and know what they need to do. First, they deflate all grades. Then they see how smart these kids REALLY are.

But you, my fine homeschool friend, do not need to get sucked into the public school system way of thinking. You can choose any grading scale you like. Sure, if you live in South Carolina (or even South Dakota) you could choose to use this scale if you wanted to - but why would you want to? It just makes my palms sweat, thinking about all the math calculations involved in figuring the GPA for a child that is, you know (Heaven forbid!) normal.

Know Your State Homeschool Law

Homeschoolers in South Carolina, and other states, please use a grading scale that fits your independent homeschool. Don't tell your neighbors to use the grading scale that you use, thinking it's one-size-fits-all. In this case, I'm thinking one size won't even fit most. No offense.



 
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Guiding Your Child Through College Applications

Guiding Your Child Through College Applications

Guiding Your Child Through College Application


It's tempting to think you can let your child go to fill out college applications, and they will be mature enough to handle it from there, but that's not how it normally happens. There are so many details, deadlines, and complicated forms, it's difficult for a young adult to figure out the system. Working on it without help can make a difference in scholarship awards. The help of a parent is a key ingredient in success.

Because the process is overwhelming, young adults will often need another adult to come alongside and help with the details - much like we rely on others to help us with complicated matters like tax returns, or whatnot. Most advisers suggest that you sit down with your teen once a week, to go over deadlines and progress. Make sure that each piece of the application process is sent by your family and received by the college. Here is a general list of each item they need to consider, so carefully check the deadlines for each item.

Application
Application Fee
Essay
School Specific Supplement
Official Homeschool Transcript
Athletic or Art Supplement or Requirements
Course Descriptions
Activity and Award List
SAT scores
ACT scores
AP scores
SAT Subject Test Scores
CLEP Scores
Other Transcript 1
Other Transcript 2
Community College Transcript
Course Descriptions
Letter of Recommendation 1
Letter of Recommendation 2
Letter of Recommendation 3
Mid-year Grades
FAFSA - January
CSS/Profile
Reply to College
Deposit to the college you choose
Thank you note to interviewer
Final Transcript - June after school is complete


Once you start getting admission notices and scholarship awards, help your child weigh the pros and cons of each school. Review the total cost of each school out-of-pocket. For each school, identify the cost of attendance and the cost of housing. Then figure out the financial aid they have provided. That way you can determine the actual cost of attending each individual school.  Then check your financial situation, reviewing how you will fund college, to determine what you can actually afford to pay for college when the first bill it due.

Cost of Attendance
A. Tuition
B. Fees
C. Books
D. Extra Course Fees
E. Other fees (parking, etc)
TOTAL Cost of Attendance

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