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How to Document Homeschool Co-op Classes

How to Document Homeschool Co-op Classes
Have you ever struggled to document your students co-op classes? I’ve had a few questions lately from homeschool families who are struggling to do this very thing.

All co-ops have particular elements that make their classes unique and it can be hard to develop a class description for these classes when you weren’t the one teaching your student, but you want to make sure and get all of your students credits on their high school transcripts. I’ve gathered a few questions about co-op classes from a webinar we had and I hope they can help you in some fashion!
If co-op classes don’t issue a transcript, should you still list that as a separate class with a specific description of where they took the classes?

If you do list that, I would list it at the course description but not on the transcript. There is nothing wrong with putting it on the transcript if you choose to use a three-letter acronym; I just don’t think it adds too much, so it might be a cleaner-looking transcript if you leave that off and just put it on the course description.
Our co-op instructor teaching Speech 1 indicated that Speech is not considered an English class but a communication application class. Have you heard of this?

I have heard of that at the college level, but I would suggest to you that she may be over-thinking it.

One time, I met with a family and we talked about taking a computer science class. The dad said that I can’t call that computer science on the transcript since he’s a computer science major and he claims to know what it is. I told him that he’s not teaching it at a college level, but just at a high school level.

Usually, English Speech is considered an English class; I would put it under an elective. To call it a communication application class is unnecessary, so you can call it anything you want. If it’s in a co-op and it’s not with a school, you have all sorts of flexibility.

So what about when co-op classes are disguised? What about when the credit content seems illusive? Here’s a situation from a homeschool family who were going through that very dilemma.
My son took an AP Physics class from someone who has a PhD but the school  doesn't really have acronym to accompany it, how should I document that?

In that situation, that is like a homeschool class. It is simply a homeschool co-op class that happen to be online and the parent that taught that homeschool co-op class was a person that happen to have a PhD.

If they give you grades, you can take that under advisement, you might want defer to their judgment and use that grade, but you don’t have to submit those scores for the colleges where you apply because it’s not a school – it was just a homeschool class.

What is your experience with homeschool co-op classes and their documentation?

See those cute buttons at the bottom of these blog posts?  Those are there to help you share helpful posts with others who might need encouragement.  Go ahead and give it a try.  I promise that nothing will blow up!
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Homeschool Peer Pressure

Homeschool Peer Pressure

I worry about peer pressure – not with the children, but with the parents.



As homeschooling becomes more common, and there are more and more parents homeschooling, there seems to be an increase in peer pressure.  Parents feel they should join a homeschool coop, or participate in dual enrollment, or use a specific curriculum or join a particular accreditation group.  I encourage parents to look at their children, not other parents, as they make decisions about school.  Instead of searching for the latest and greatest new ideas or curriculum, focus on tried and true methods.


There are many homeschool fads that come and go.  Homeschool cooperatives, dual enrollment in community college, parent partnership programs, online classes, and classical education are current fads.  Although fads, they may fit your child.  But even though they are popular, they may not work for your family.


Don’t join groups or try something new just because someone else is doing it.  First, determine if you need to make a change.  If things are working, don’t change it!  Then decide if the curriculum or experience is a good fit for your family.  Avoid peer pressure - even pressure from other well-meaning homeschool parents.

Learn how to homeschool with confidence with my Preparing to  Homeschool High School DVD.  It will help take the fear away.

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Homeschool High School: Pemberly Ball

Homeschool High School: Pemberly Ball

I've written in the past about our son's experience with a "Pemberly Ball." If you're wondering what that might be, check out these blog posts!

Can't Get Enough Jane Austen?
The Down-Side of Literature-Based Education
I Hate Literary Analysis - Part 4

Now is a great time of year to start planning events for the winter and spring. If you are considering a “Pemberly Ball” for your own homeschool literary studies, you might be interested in how to find the costumes!  Here is the email from my son’s Pemberly Society Vice-President, describing the process.

Have fun!
Hello everyone,

Although costumes for the Pemberley ball are not required, I’m sure some of you would like to come in one anyway and are wondering how to put one together on a student’s budget. As someone who has bought, constructed, and altered several Regency costumes before (five ladies’ gowns, and two gentlemen’s including our illustrious president, to be precise), I’d like to give you some tips for putting together a fabulous look without using up your life savings.
For the ladies, really all you need is the gown. That’s all anyone will see. A basic starting point for that can be found courtesy of the Jane Austen Centre here.  If you want to buy your own, my best suggestion to you is to look on E-bay. One particularly reasonable vendor is Wendy’s Doll closet: most dresses run between $40-80. They ship very quickly, usually within a week, and are of excellent quality even though the pictures online are not particularly impressive. The only drawback is that are completely unadorned, but all they really need is a sash, which you don’t even have to sew on, and that only costs a few dollars for ribbon. If you’re more ambitious you can also add beading and trim to suit your fancy. Really, all you have to do is put your hair up in a bun. If you want to leave out your bangs, be sure to part them down the center if you really want to be period-correct.

For you gentlemen, there is a really good guides for MacGuyver-ing a look together from secondhand items. It can be found here.   There are also good instructions for tying a cravat here.  Do this so that you will not face the scorn of Sir Percy Blakney, the Scarlet Pimpernel, “Odd’s Fish, m’dear! The man can’t even tie his own cravat!” Remember that most tasteful cravats in Jane Austen’s time were white.For those of you looking for a tailcoat and a waistcoat, I got tailcoats for two of my gentlemen friends from an E-bay vendor called Monkeysuits. In both cases I was able to get them used tailcoats in their exact sizes and in excellent condition for only $20, and waistcoats run about $10, and recieved both items within three days of ordering them. For the waistcoats, the higher they button, the more period-correct they will look. One last word about tailcoats: darker colors were more fashionable for that time period, so given the choice between black or gray, the two most common colors you can find, go with the black. For pants, long pants will work in a pinch, but if you want to go for knee breeches, a good trick is to get a pair of women’s capris or petal-pushers as long as they’re relatively plain and not denim. Then you just stick a pair of white knee socks with them, and you’re done.

Well, that’s about it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Take care and God bless,

The Pemberley Society

If you have any suggestions or experiences with Pemberly Balls I've love to hear about it!

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What if Your Kids Want to Go to Public School?

What if Your Kids Want to Go to Public School?
My article "What If Your Kids Want to Go to Public School?" was recently published by, and it got quite a response!  I had an interesting email conversation with Julieanne that I wanted to share, because I thought others might enjoy the follow-up articles I suggested.  Thank you, Julieanne, for giving me permission to share your comments.

Thank you so much!   I read your article tonight called, "What If Your Kids Want to Go to Public School?"  Even though I'm a former public school teacher, and I do teach the Latin class just for homeschoolers, I do agree with your article, that too many "classes" outside of the home in the high school years can lead to disgruntled teens/young adults.

I'm planning to share that main point alone with my Latin class parents and students, telling them how our nice, well-behaved class is not the norm for schools, because I do agree with that.  In our area, most of them get placed into our local Christian school during the high school years, and within 3-4 weeks, they become totally peer-centered, antagonistic toward their parents, flirtatious, and walk away from the Lord.  After seeing several teen girls whom we highly respected and loved, turn that way within a matter of weeks, refusing to meet our eyes in the hallway at church and not wanting to talk with us at all, we decided then and there that our children will never be placed into our local Christian school, no matter how well-meaning the teachers are out there.

Thank you again for the permission to reprint some of your articles.  Much appreciated!  I especially like to post the high school articles there because once again, so little encouragement for the high school years is being offered in our area.
~Julieanne in Oregon

Dear Julieanne,
I do have an article that discusses these concepts as they apply to homeschool coops.  Here is the link:
Cooped Up in a Co-op?

Writing about co-ops is a very touchy subject for some, but at the same time I see it as a real "fad" these days.  Co-ops certainly fill a need in some situations, but in this environment I see parents using it as their default position, you know?

Here is another link that is specific to Parent Partnership Programs
Parent Partnership Problems "Love with Some Strings Attached"

I would really appreciate it if you would nominate my blog for the 2009 Homeschool Blog Awards.  Last year I won Best Curriculum/Business blog and came in 2nd for Best Encourager.  I'm hoping this year I have been more encouraging!
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Alternative Education = Less Control

Alternative Education = Less Control
Whenever you become involved in state sponsored Alternative Education, you have less control than when you are homeschooling independently.  In fact, any classroom setting (public school, private school, alternative education, and even co-op classes) give you less control and flexibility than homeschooling independently.

  1. You can't control the content (you have to choose what they offer.)

  2. You don't control the speed of the curriculum (you have to go at their rate.)

  3. You can't choose how it's graded (if your student goofs up on a test, you can't re-do the chapter and re-take the test to keep his grades AND his learning optimized.)

  4. You lack the flexibility to change course at the drop of a hat (dropping curriculum choices that don't work.)

  5. You can't control their transcript (neither the names of classes nor their grades.)

  6. Dealing with "certified teachers" can make you feel like you aren't a "real" teacher - when in fact, you are! And YOU know what is best for YOUR child.

  7. When a class is "accredited" is also is "written in stone."  No amount of re-learning, supplementing, or review will change those grades.  With accreditation you get a lack of control and responsibility.

There are other small issues as well, but it mostly boils down to "who has control?"  Homeschooling is so effective because the parents can always use what works, always work at the students level in all subjects all the time, or they can change the moment they recognize a problem.

Learn how to create your very own "official" homeschool transcript that colleges will understand and value. ”The Easy Truth About Homeschool Transcripts”

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How to Find Friends

How to Find Friends
Real socialization doesn't have anything to do with "school." Real socialization is having fun! When we were homeschooling, we didn't meet other kids at co-op classes. We got together to have FUN! We went on field trips, went to park days, met at support groups, and had show and share evenings. There is so much fun to be had! If you are looking for an opportunity for your children to find new friends, don't get stuck in the rut of looking for a classroom setting. Look for a youth group, a volunteer opportunity, math or science club, musical group, or a job instead. Remember the priceless friendships of sibling, family, and church. Form a group of your own that meets for games, teen activities, fun at the park. Friendships happen when kids are having fun together, not when they are sitting in a classroom together. So search for activities that might interest your child, perhaps something they specialize in - or maybe just WISH they specialize in! My sons loved soccer, baseball, swim team, chess club, and youth group. They helped at Vacation Bible School, and taught classes (chess and charcoal drawing) to other homeschoolers. Finding fun is finding friends!

What fun activities do you do with your teenagers? How have they found their friends? Share your ideas!

Are you panicky about next year? Don't be afraid! Take control of the situation! If you are just beginning high school, or never really felt you understand what was expected, consider getting my video "Preparing to Homeschool High School." Equivalent to reading a book on the subject, it will get you up to speed quickly, so that you can feel confident about homeschooling through high school!
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"I Love Lucy" Homeschool Metaphor!

"I Love Lucy" Homeschool Metaphor!


Following a standard school schedule is like getting on the conveyor belt of education - you follow along at the rate of the average student. Like the old Lucille Ball show, sometimes you can't keep up with the conveyor belt because it's too fast. Other times it will go too slow for the child. When you follow someone else's schedule (public school, private school or co-op) you may end up going at the wrong speed. Homeschooling is just right!

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The Flip-side of Co-ops

I was speaking one day to a group of homeschoolers. During the Q&A time, one mother said to me, "Do I have to use co-ops for high school or is it possible to do it myself?" I was surprised. Of course you don't "have to" use co-ops. Co-ops can sometimes serve a purpose in home education. A lot has been written about the plus side of co-op classes so I probably don't need to reiterate these, but you might want to consider the "flip-side" of co-ops when you are planning your classes next year.
  • The commute time: It takes time driving back and forth
  • Time away from home: You will have less time doing your home-based homeschool activities
  • Less time for fun: There is less time for extra-curricular and other fun activities
  • Homework: You have to finish homework that the co-op assigns, which may lead to extra fussing with your kids to complete the work
  • Germs: In any classroom environment, germs are rampant
  • Expense: Homeschooling can be expensive, and adding the cost of co-ops can be rough
These are just a few things that people in co-ops have shared with me. Parents always know what is best for their children but I wanted you to have the benefit of others experience. If high school co-ops are in your future, you might plan to address these issues with your family.


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Lee has three core beliefs about homeschooling: homeschooling provides the best possible learning environment; every child deserves a college-prep education whether or not they choose to go to college; and parents are capable of providing a superior education to their children. Lee does not judge your homeschool or evaluate your children. Instead, she comes alongside to help and encourage parents homeschooling high school.

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