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Put Your Weak Areas First in 4 Easy Steps

Put Your Weak Areas First in 4 Easy Steps

Put Your Weak Areas First in 4 Easy Steps

Your strengths come naturally to you, and will take care of themselves, but weaknesses don’t. Weak areas are avoided, possibly hated, definitely put on the back shelf in hopes everyone forgets them. But strengths aren't like that. If your child just loves art, then you’ll give Christmas presents that are art related, and they will be working on art every free moment. They may do so much art that they don’t have time for other things … such as math, for example. Strengths take care of themselves.

So here is what you need to do.

1. Determine your weak area

Your child may have a weakness in math. You may have a weakness in organization. Focus on weak areas – your child’s first, but also your own. Start by identifying problems. What is the weak area in your homeschool? Everyone has weaknesses. You aren't immune. Figure out what it is, so you can put it first.

2. Commit to putting first things first

Every homeschool parent has a subject they don’t understand, tolerate, like, or remember to teach. When you identify your weak area, you can do something about it! Once you have identified your weak subject, remember to put this subject first. Don't do too much, merely do it first so you can make sure it gets done.

3. Put your weak area first with your time

It’s the first thing your student does in the morning. It’s the one thing you make sure is done every single day. Even when a fabulous opportunity arrives, and all other homeschooling get put on the shelf, this is the one thing that gets done. You always take the time for it even when there is a field trip, activity, or eight-hour theater rehearsal that day.

4. Put your weak area first with your money

It’s the first curriculum you buy each year, and what you are willing to spend the most money on. It’s the only thing you will be sure to reinvest in if necessary. In other words, if you choose a curriculum and it doesn’t work, this is the area you will make a second purchase in – even within the first couple of months of school.

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What WILL Make You a Better Home Educator?

What WILL Make You a Better Home Educator?

What WILL Make You a Better Home Educator?

Sometimes homeschooling high school can feel overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, and panic-inducing.

What is the difference between "pedagogy" and "pet a doggy" anyway? And does it even matter? Well, statistics show that homeschoolers do a better job of educating their children regardless of the parent's educational background. That means knowing words like "pedagogy" isn't going to make your children better.


So, if you are trying to weigh the pros and cons of "pedagogy" and "pet a doggy", I think I'd go with petting the doggy, instead.

If you are stressed, feeling inadequate and incapable, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Your child was made for you. You are capable. You can do this. Do you dot need a degree in teaching. The love you have for your children will ensure success.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

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Accredited Online High School

Accredited Online High School

Accredited Online High School

It's that time of year again, when parents are looking for a great school for fall. Some parents are looking to online schools. Let me tell you what you do NOT need as you are searching for the perfect school.

  • State certified teachers - because you know your child best, you are best equipped to guide your child.

  • 1:1 approach to education - because that's exactly what homeschooling is like, the very essence of homeschooling, but we can choose the   approach that is best for out child.

  • Accredited - because not all public or private high schools are accredited, and colleges understand that.

  • Credit recovery course - because we already have that, and call it call that "delight directed learning".

  • Competitive advantage - you can do that at home, too, with a little research. (I suggest The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships)

  • Online - because online learning is NOT optimal as a primary source of education, but is best used as a supplement.

  • State approval - all states have laws that provide for independent homeschooling.

  • High quality curriculum - it's high quality when it fits your student, not just because someone says that it's high quality.

  • Flexibility - there is NOTHING as flexible as homeschooling.

  • Affordability - there is NOTHING as affordable as homeschooling.

  • Self-paced - again, that is the very essence of homeschooling - the best part of homeschooling!

I got this question on Facebook recently, asking my opinion of online schools.
I was curious to see if you are familiar with any accredited online high schools or universities? If so, what are your thoughts? Are they a viable education alternative? ~ Andrew

This article explains accreditation: Homeschool Accreditation. There are major problems I see with online high schools.

Teens should have only 2 hours of technology per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Any online school goes FAR over the acceptable limit on time spent online. Learn more about technology use and guidelines in my book: TechnoLogic: How to Set Logical Technology Boundaries and Stop the Zombie Apocalypse.

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Declare your Homeschool Independence!

Declare your Homeschool Independence!

Declare your Homeschool Independence!

Learn why "old-fashioned" homeschooling is still your best bet for growing passionate learners! Homeschool independently and take your life back! Instead of a "one-size-fits-all" assembly line education, choose the freedom to teach your children at their pace and consistent with your values. Pursue happiness while homeschooling, instead of pursuing the busyness so common in our society.

This brand new kindle book will allow you to be a fearless leader in your homeschool and to declare your independence from the public system and rigid classroom structure! Learn how to identify and eliminate sources of educational dependence, regain your peace of mind, and rekindle your child's love of learning.

As a part of the Coffee Break Series, my books are designed especially for parents who don’t want to spend hours and hours reading a 400-page book on homeschooling high school! You will get simple strategies, resources, and tools at your fingertips, along with proven strategies to not just survive but thrive while teaching high school math.

Never overwhelming, always accessible and manageable, each book in the series will give parents the tools they need to tackle the tasks of homeschooling high school, one warm sip at a time.

Purchase How to Homeschool Independently: Do-it-Yourself Secrets to Rekindle the Love of Learning from Amazon HERE

Please take a moment to download How to Homeschool Independently for free, through October 4!  It's a short read with simple strategies to help you find your child's perfect educational fit!

When you are done with the book, please leave a review on Amazon too!  We really count on your reviews – thank you so much for taking a moment to let me know what you think of this new book.

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Freedom From Public School

Freedom From Public School
Are you ready to take the plunge and start homeschooling for the first time?  It's time to enjoy the freedom from public school!

Homeschooling high school can seem challenging, but it can feel completely overwhelming if you have made a transition away from public school to homeschooling. When you haven't been homeschooling all along, you haven't been able to ooze into the idea slowly.  Lots of parents ask me how to navigate this road.  Here are some easy concepts to begin.First, know your child and trust yourself.  You know your child better than anyone else, so trust your intuition.  With some dedicated time for research, you can figure out what to do, and how to do it.  Many parents have gone before you - it can be done!Second, consider if your child could benefit from "deschooling" in their transition.  If your child seems to need to jump right into academics, provide that for them of course.  But if you think they need some ‘de-schooling’ time in order to regain a love for learning, make that time for them, and don’t rush it.  Whatever you do, don’t try to ‘over school’ all at once as soon as they come home, trying to compensate for what you think they’ve missed. That’s a path to burnout and rebellion!  I also recommend the book, Deschooling Gently: A Step by Step Guide to Fearless Homeschooling.Third, remember that attitudes can change. Sometimes teens come home after being in public school with a really rotten attitude, and it takes a little while for them to return to the cheerful, cooperative person they used to be. I have seen this sort of thing before, and usually when they find something that really interests them, they become easier to live with. Sometimes it’s just a stage they’re going through, a transition. Remember when your kids were babies, and things got really hard and miserable? One thing that helped me at that stage of life was realizing these phases usually only lasted for a week or two; after two weeks, the thing that freaked me out wasn’t freaking me so much anymore. It’s like that with high school, too. In two weeks, this crisis will probably be over – or at least lessened. So hang in there! Things will get better!

For more help, I have lots of help for beginners on my website, and also on Pinterest.

Are you on Twitter?  Follow me here!  
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Do You Need Summer School?

Do You Need Summer School?
Do you need to do summer school in your homeschool? How do you know? Take this quick quiz to find out if you need to do summer school this summer.

 1. Are you done with curriculum? 

One way to measure a high school credit is when you finish the curriculum.  You only need to be 75-80% finished to be "done" so there is some flexibility. While it's true that most homeschoolers finish curriculum in order to save money (you know who you are!) it's also true that if you are pulling your hair out, it's perfectly fine to be DONE when you are 3/4 finished with the curriculum.

2. Has your student put in the time? 

Another way to measure high school curriculum is when you put in the number of hours required for a credit. If you have worked for 1 hour or more per day, or if you have 120-180 hours of work in the subject, you can say that your child has earned the credit, and you can be DONE for the year. Often this will happen if the curriculum is so full of books, worksheets and information, that most children won't finish in a year. This can also happen when parents supplement or add to the curriculum.  If you are ready to be done for the year, and you have put in the time, you don't need to continue working until you have finished every assignment or book, you can just be done for the year.

3. Is it a core subject? 

For core subjects like reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, you really do need to finish 3/4 of the curriculum to be done. But some core subjects are easy to finish, and others, like math and science, really take daily effort. When you fall behind in those subjects, it's hard to catch up.  You can let non-core subject drop when you are done for the year.  In high school, instead of granting a whole credit, you might give your child 1/2 credit for foreign language instead, and just stop for the year.  Math is unique, though, and I encourage you to work through summer if necessary to finish at least 80% of the math book.  Colleges want 4 credits of math, so it's important to teach a whole class each year, and without finishing the book, it will be even harder to understand math the following year.

4. Do you need natural consequences? 

Sometimes kids just don't do the work they need to do during the year.  They didn't work enough, they didn't put in the hours, and they NEED to get that core class done. When that happens, summer school is a natural consequence of not getting their work done. Have them work on their core subjects during the summer until they are done.  As the kids are working on those areas, make a plan to prevent the problem from happening again next year. Remember my big two tips for making sure you are consistent with school for next year. First, have a meeting with your child every day to check in on each subject and make sure they stay on task. Second, put weak areas first, so the subjects they are most likely to "forget" are done first thing each day.

Taking a break in summer is important. Even if your child must take some summer school classes at home, that doesn't mean mom or dad needs to work too. Try to get them to work independently so you can get a break from the normal rigors of homeschooling. Breaks are a breath of fresh air that can rejuvenate your homeschool next fall!

If you are thinking about summer school, you might like one of these short books for encouragement.

Creating Homeschool Balance: Find Harmony Between Type A and Type Zzz.....
Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool This Summer: Learning Just for the Fun of it!

Do you do school in the summer?

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Educational Gaps

Educational Gaps
So much to worry about, and so little time.  If you are worried about gaps in your child's education, though, I suggest you relax a bit.


OF COURSE the will have gaps - we ALL have gaps.


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Feeling Freaked Out or Anxious

Feeling Freaked Out or Anxious
Feeling Freaked Out or Anxious About the Coming Year? 

The hardest part about homeschooling is when you are faced with something new.  The first time you had to teach a child to write in cursive, or mulitply, for example, it was pretty intimidating. If you are feeling stressed about the coming year, chances are you are faced with something new.  These are my "OH MY GOODNESS I'M PANICKING!" articles that I hope will talk you down from the ledges!

Taming Middle School Anxiety

Read this article for some suggestions for homeschool parents on how they can gain a healthy perspective about middle school education and prepare their children for their high school years.

Read the article and tame your fears!

Homeschooling High School for Freaked Out and Terrified Parents

My biggest fans are parents who live in "the real world" of real stress. They range from slightly terrified to freaked out! They often feel overwhelmed by details, and crave simplicity. They need minimal information in order to retain their sanity. If given too much information, they become immobilized with fear. Some even panic and bail out of homeschooling. For freaked out and terrified parents, let me explain high school in the simplest terms so you can enter the next stage confidently.

Read the article and calm your nerves!

Stay CalmMy goal is to convince you that you will WIN this battle over fear and become a confident parent of your homeschooled teen!  Please remember to relax and have fun, too!  Don't work yourself and your students to the point of frustration.  Regular breaks may help you to get more done in the long run - AND preserve your sanity.

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Your Plan for September

Your Plan for September
It's time to make your plan for September!  Here are some ideas, to get you started!

Locate your favorite colleges online, find the admission application due date, and put it on your calendar. Start college applications on the first day of school during senior year. And no, I'm not kidding! College admission and scholarships are first-come, first-served.
Senior Year Inspection Checklist
Read more! College Admission Book

You have a very busy year ahead!  Make sure you have a transcript ready to go, so you can show it to colleges when you visit or go to a college fair. Register for the PSAT now. Call the local high school and say, "I'm a home- school parent.  How can I register my child for the PSAT at your school?"
9 Keys to a Successful Junior Year
Read more! Transcript and Course Description Book 

Sophomore year is a good time to start or continue your foreign language studies, so make sure you remember that in your high school plan.  Register for the PSAT.  It's great practice, it can estimate your SAT score, and it can help with college and career planning.
Take the PSAT for Fun and Profit 
Read more! Teaching Tips for Foreign Language

Do what works! If homeschooling was going well for you last year, it will still work this year.  Take it one step at a time. Focus on the core: reading, writing, math, science and history. That is the best preparation for tests! Teenagers change their minds and college prep classes mean you are ready for anything.
Warning! Teenagers Change Their Mind!
Read More! Planning High School Courses Book on Kindle

Middle School 
Now is no time to panic! 7th and 8th grade is the best time to learn about high school and practice record keeping. Middle School or Junior High is "Training Time" for mom and dad.
Should You Homeschool High School?

It's time to get back to work, now that summer is over. Now is a great time to take care of the administrative tasks of high school.  Make a transcript and start your course descriptions. You can thank me later, LOL!
Transcript Help
Course Description Help
Read more! Transcript and Course Description Book 

I hope that helps!

If you need help planning your entire homeschool high school year this book may help!
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The difference between accredited and official transcripts

The difference between accredited and official transcripts

Have you ever wondered about the difference between an "accredited" and an "official" homeschool transcript?

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You know you are an OFFICIAL homeschooler when.....

You know you are an OFFICIAL homeschooler when.....

Each child has a pile of unfinished projects they still want to finish because they found something else they wanted to do first. ~ Cynthia

You tell the kids to go read in their rooms while mom and the dogs go nap. ~ Bonnie

You're on a first name basis with the UPS man, the Postal Dude, and even the occasional FedEx person. ~ Pam

You find a way to turn a Disney trip into an educational excursion! LOL! Yep, I did that! Lots to learn while navigating an airport, reading maps of the park, riding "It's a Small World" and naming all the countries, walking through the country portion of Epcot......the educational fun never ends. ~ Lisa

You have a lovely group of like-minded ladies you call friends and it's difficult to think of anyone who doesn't homeschool. ( and so's kids might be in public school?) Your family room decor includes educational posters. ~ Marie

You think of every moment as a teachable opportunity. ~ Yuki

No one wants to help you move because 90% of the boxes are books!! ~ Dolores

When getting ready to go to bed, you realize that you're switching one pair of PJ's for another. ~ Kellie

When you drive by the school and think about how much it looks like a prison block. ~ Sandy

When mom's day out to shop is in search of books and not shoes. ~ Marilyn

The first time you go out during school hours with the kids and you don't even think twice about what people will think!!! ~ Pamela

Your students do not know the answer to the question, "What grade are you in?" ~ Kim

Your son asks if reading up on a specific Tesla experiment is sufficient for free reading hour.... ~ Janey

You no longer even consider putting them in public school! Bobbi

Buying 'school' clothes is all about comfort so they can concentrate, or are useful for doing chores - or both! ~ Susan

You can answer this question with confidence and anxiety, at the same time. ~ Mike

When I say, "WE are in the 9th grade..." ~ Ellen

When areas in your house have designated names like, "The Science Center", "The Library", "The Classroom", " The Computer Center", "The Craft Area", "The Music Center", and "The Hobby Shop"! ~ Ron

You max out the limit on library books, DVD's, etc. ~ Carol

You spend your summer planning the upcoming school year... ~ Samantha

On your Facebook page, it's not about friends anymore, it's about info on homeschooling ~ Donna

It's the first day of public school, yet all your kids are piled in the van on the way to a homeschool support group meeting, singing along to "Grammar Songs" at the top of their lungs. (True Story) ~ Lisa

You forget what grade you are in. ~ Evelyn

The smell of new curriculum totally makes you! ~ Julie

It's more important to get started than to get dressed. ~ Wanda

Your child is not sure what grade they are in, so they say, "I'm in all the grades." ~ Tammy

The homeschool convention is your idea of Vacation! They are pretty fun... ~ Olivia

You are not sure when your kids' school start day is, and it is almost August. ~ Rose

The day the new books arrive, and the day each child gets their 'own' pens, notebooks etc seems like a small party. ~ Susan

When "box day" is better than Christmas! ~ Laura

You realize how much they really are learning on field trips and start planning more. ~ Zoey

Your 15 yr. old daughter says, "Daddy, guess what? Mommy and I are going to shop for school clothes tomorrow!" And your husband says, "What are you going to do, buy a pair of pajamas?" LOL True story! ~ Jean

When you purposely take your child to your dentist appointment as an educational thing. ~ Dyann

You realize you haven't had a vacation since you started homeschooling. All your travel has been "educational field trips." ~ Lynn

Your educator relative starts expressing concerns about your child's socialization and chances at college to other family members! ~ Sandee

When your child starts correcting your spelling. ~ Julie

Every vacation is a field trip! ~ Michelle

When the sound of the school bus driving by you house is the alarm clock! ~ Betty

You do not know what grades your children are in. ~ Sharon

When your children have a traditional school friend come over to 'play,' and that friend just kind of stands there staring, not knowing what to do, or how to 'play'... ~ Wendy

You never noticed that your grown-up friends left years ago; mommy and daddy like teaching and Legos too! And books, and poetry, and art, and karate, and old black and white films....oh, did I mention the children's friends left us a long time ago too...we want them back to homeschool them also!~ Julie

When your kids friends come to see if your kids can play outside after they get home from school and your kids answer the door still in their PJ's. ~ Crystal

When your child looks at you and asks what grade he is in! ~ Evelyn

Our unofficial nonscientific homeschool poll demonstrates 
the NUMBER ONE REASON  you know you are an official homeschooler..... 

Confusion about grade level! 

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Alternative Education and Homeschooling Independently

Alternative Education and Homeschooling Independently
Homeschooling is hard enough all on its own, but when others criticize us for our educational choices, it becomes even harder.  That’s why I try really hard not to judge the way other people choose to educate their children, knowing that most parents are doing their very best with their situation.

Because I’m a huge advocate of independent homeschooling through high school, sometimes people who choose to use government-funded programs perceive that I am critical of the programs they use.  Where I live, those programs are called alternative learning experience or parent partnership programs, and classes often happen in buildings called “homeschool resource centers.”

I recently heard from a mom who uses these programs and who felt criticized by an article I had written about them.  She’s found these programs to be a great fit for her child, and was very happy with her choice. In case there are others out there who feel criticized by my perspective on parent partnership programs, let me explain:

My job is to encourage parents to homeschool independently.  Most parents I work with are homeschooling independently, and that's how they find me. My mission—and my job—is to nudge parents toward homeschooling independently.

As The HomeScholar, I’m willing to help anyone, regardless of their situation or educational choices.  I actually have some clients in alternative education and parent partnerships.  That’s fine!  I don’t judge!  But I do I nudge.  In order to encourage parents to be successful homeschooling through high school, I focus on a narrow mission focus: homeschooling independently thru high school.  

Lots of parents can get lots of helpful information from my website, presentations, and resources. But my mission, job, and vocation are to help those who are going alone, and who need a mentor and encourager in their corner.  If that describes you, I hope you will call!

Are you curious about The HomeScholar? Find out more here!
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Grading Estimate

Grading Estimate
Let me guess.  You didn't use tests on all your homeschool subjects, right?  Neither did I! And yet, somehow, my children survived!


Some homeschoolers think it's tons of fun to go back through four years of high school records and try to find or recreate every possible test, quiz, and assignment.  For me, that doesn't sound like fun.  I was not one of those people.  Plus I've noticed that even when parents do some forensic grading like that, it doesn't really change what they know to be true.  If you are not a tester in your homeschool, look beyond tests, and think of how you have evaluated.

Consider what best reflects your child’s true progress (and learning style!). While a visual learner may test well on paper, a hands-on or auditory learner may be better understood during personal interaction, rather than a paper-and-pencil test. Consider the arts - if you're student is taking piano lessons, you probably won't test, rather have a concert where you evaluate them. Get creative and know your child.

Because not all homeschoolers use tests, I have created a quick grading estimate for homeschool parents.

Grade A or 4.0
Meets high expectations
High standardized test scores
Child love subject

Grade B or 3.0 
Pretty good
Not worth an A
Tempted to do it again

Grade C or 2.0
Not very good
Kept going to the next level

This is one of piece of a Gold Care Club monthly webinar.  They are tons of fun!  I hope some day you'll join me!  You can read more about the Gold Care Club here: The HomeScholar Gold Care Club.

Another feature of the Gold Care Club is the opportunity to ask your biggest questions about homeschooling high school.
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Perfect Children Work Perfectly Independently

Perfect Children Work Perfectly Independently
My children were not perfect.  I'm guessing your children aren't perfect either.  But somehow, some way, we need to get them on the road to independence.  Eventually they will need to work independently on their school subjects.  That's the goal - learning without you.

That begs the questions, “How do I get my student to work independently?”

A lot of people think that high school is the point where students should become self-teaching, but the truth is that students don’t just suddenly wake up on the first day of 9th grade and become perfectly willing and capable of working independently.   That only happens with perfect children, and I haven't met one yet!

Relax!  That's not how it will happen at all!

It’s a training process, very much like teaching a baby to walk. When kids are ready to walk, most of them don’t just stand up and start walking.  Usually a parent spends a long time hunched over them, following from behind, encouraging them on, and holding a cookie so that they’ll want to walk independently.  Frankly, they fall down an awful lot. In the same way, expect your teenagers to try to work independently, and expect them to fail to act independently.

Your job is to follow behind, pick them up and hold their hands, and guide them until they can be completely independent, ready to graduate and go on to further learning adventures!  Keep your eyes on that goal.

Shape and mold.  It takes time.  Lots of time...

Are you curious about The HomeScholar? Find out more here!
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How Do You Encourage Hard Work in your Student?

How Do You Encourage Hard Work in your Student?

Accountability is instrumental in successfully homeschooling high school.

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