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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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Awesome College Costing Only $400 Year

Awesome College Costing Only $400 Year

Awesome College Costing Only $400 Year


Wow, some families get all the luck! I got this message from a mom who got an AMAZING college offer for her daughter. Check it out - their college experience will only cost $400 per year! You can't even have a child live with you at HOME for that little money! Woo hoo!!!
    Dear Lee,
I wanted to thank you, SO MUCH, for your guidance and expertise! In the past two years, I've read your emails and many of your coffee break books, and I've read your transcript book multiple times. I don't know how I would have been able to prepare my daughter's transcripts without your help.

And I'm pleased to report that after a great high school, home school experience, my daughter was admitted to a highly selective liberal arts college with a $16,000 per year (for 4 years!) merit scholarship! That leaves a balance of about $400 per year to pay on tuition . . . I think we can scrape that up. ;-)

Thanks again, and many blessings to you and your family!
With warm regards,
Tawni in Utah

If you are wondering where to start, and how to end high school successfully, do what Tawni did.

Subscribe to my newsletter
Read my coffee break books (my newsletter always provides discounts)
Read my transcript book Setting the Records Straight
Join the Gold Care Club for homeschool guidance and expertise


You know what I think? I think ALL homeschool parents can be successful with college admission and scholarships! I really do! Just plan ahead, learn ahead of where your child is right now, and you will be ready! This article will help you find a college that might love your student enough to give you big scholarship awards, too. Read Three Steps to Finding a College

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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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Home Field Advantage: 16 Resources for Homeschooling High School

Home Field Advantage: 16 Resources for Homeschooling High School


Home Field Advantage: 16 Resources for Homeschooling High School


Here are 16 resources for the BIG GAME we call homeschool high school. Read these tips for each step of the way. Each section has an article and resource, if you want some encouragement. Learn how you have the home field advantage as you homeschool through high school.

Tailgate Party = Elementary School

Learn to love learning
True socialization
Article: 6 Ways to Declare Homeschool Independence
Book: How to Homeschool Independently: Do-it-Yourself Secrets to Rekindle the Love of Learning

Pre-game Warmup = Middle School


Learn about high school
Stretch abilities, shore up weaknesses
Article: 7 Ways to Encourage Reading in Middle School
Book: Homeschooling Middle School with Powerful Purpose

1st Quarter = Freshman Year

Cover the core classes
Do not panic
Article: A New Beginning: Homeschooling High School for Freaked Parents
Book: How to Homeschool 9th and 10th Grades

2nd Quarter = Sophomore Year

Add foreign language and electives
Take the PSAT for fun
Article: Teaching Tips for Foreign Language
Book: Delight Directed Learning: Guide Your Homeschooler Toward Passionate Learning

3rd Quarter = Junior Year

Take the PSAT, and SAT or ACT
Attend a college fair and visit colleges
Article: Take the PSAT for Fun and Profit
Book:  Junior Year is the Key to Homeschool Success

4th Quarter = Senior Year

Apply to 4-8 colleges
Write essays, complete the FAFSA
Article: Complete the FAFSA for Fun and Profit
Book:  Senior Year Step by Step

Super Bowl Celebration = Graduation!

Choose a college, plan a party
Provide a transcript and diploma
Article: 15 Point Senior Year Inspection Checklist
Book: Graduate Your Homeschooler in Style: Make Your Homeschool Graduation Memorable

Winning Advice

Provide a college prep education
Create comprehensive homeschool records
Arrange helpful college admission tests
Include delight direct learning
Always be prepared for college or career
Article:  The Best High School Guidance Counselor Is YOU!
Book:  The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships

Read more about your home field advantage in this article! Home Field Advantage - Better Homeschooling through Football.

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I Cherish Your Reviews!

I Cherish Your Reviews!

I Cherish Your Reviews!


One of my coffee break books has 25 reviews, and has earned 4.8 out of 5 stars, but you know what? It just got another review! Listen to this!

College Scholarships for High School Credit: Learn and Earn With This Two-for-One Strategy!


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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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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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Missionary in the Philippines to College Admission and Scholarships

Missionary in the Philippines to College Admission and Scholarships

Missionary in the Philippines to College Admission and Scholarships


It can seem pretty scary to be overseas as a missionary, and at the same time want your homeschooled teen to come back to the US for college admission. But guess what? It's possible! And homeschool parents just like you are successful! Check out this letter from Nancy, a missionary mom in the Philippines. See what tips you can glean from her, to help you as you serve the world community.
Dear Lee and Team,

Good news from this home school missionary family in the Philippines! Our son, Benjamin, was recently accepted at his first-choice school: Cedarville University in Ohio. This is not only a great Christian college, but is the only Christian college with an accredited degree in Industrial Design -- the area he would love to study. In addition, he received several scholarships, which have not paid all, but at least half of the tuition. We are still searching for more help because of our missionary income... but we trust things will work out!

We are so very grateful for all of the material you made available to us, Lee. I cannot tell you how helpful the videos were. I listened to them over and over. Because of your help and advice, I was able to put together a wonderful transcript, a beautiful additional extra-curricular activity sheet, along with stunning recommendations from former teachers and pastors. Also, we prepped for the college exams with your help! It was no small feat, because Ben was raised in Germany (K-9th grade) and he had to switch to all-English, Bible based home school that mom put together herself... and then take a timed, all-English, intensive SAT and ACT test! Wow. But he did it.

So off we go, from Asia to the Midwest. Cedarville has a special MK and TCK department to help students like Benjamin adjust to a Western culture. Yet another reason why we parents are so happy to have found this particular school. We are travelling cross-country on our way to Cedarville in Ohio and could not be more excited for this adventure to begin. MATS, an organization that provides lease vehicles for visiting/furlough-ing missionaries provided us our van.  They are also a great company that you could highlight for missionaries coming home to bring their kids to school.  They’ve helped us so much with our one-way drop off situation.

Lee, we could NOT have done this without your help. You calmed my fears that kept me awake at night. I was able to give appropriate grades, put down as class subjects those areas of learning that Ben had "studied" on his own over the years, and so much more. His participation in the church band for three years became his guitar performance class, for example! You were a true godsend to our lives.

Thank you, and may your sphere of influence increase all the more! May you always hear of the good fruit that you are bearing all over the world because of your down-to-earth, effective, clear, practical, and most useful information.  Cheers to your entire staff!

We will do a home-style graduation and good-bye party all rolled into one next Friday. We will have friends speak, and we will ask Ben to share about his journey and about Cedarville, so that all of the Filipinos in attendance can picture where the Lord is bringing him. In that we work with 450 children from the slums of Cebu City (especially those living on and around the dumpsites), and we try to help them in school, giving them tutorials and motivational classes, AND try to find scholarships for the college-bound ones who show promise......... it has been a very special gift to our family that God sent YOU to help us with our own son!  He certainly provides. We take care of His concerns, and He takes care of ours!!

Many blessings to you and a huge hug,
~ Nancy and Family, missionaries with Christian Frontier Ministries
Field Directors for IGC Foundation SE Asia
Facebook, Christian Frontier Ministries and Pro.Vision Kids
Read Nancy's Novel: Suluan - A Novel by Nancy Lueckhof

 


If you are living overseas and are homeschooling because you are military, missionary, or for other reasons live outside the US, I have a great resource for you to add to your home library. Consider getting this book, The Global Nomad’sGuide to University Transition. It will really help you make the transition from MK (missionary kid) and TCK (third culture kid) to college student as smoothly as possible.

Military or missionary? Learn more!

More about the Global Nomad's Guide: Overseas Homeschool Friends – Listen Up!

April, military mom in Spain: Living in Spain + Exploring Europe = Homeschool High School Credit

Donna, missionary in Angola: Daughter Says Mom is Best Teacher Ever!

Tracey, serving in Mexico City: Sometimes Support is Necessary

Renee, military in Germany: Homeschooler Wins Full Scholarship – Plus Some More!

Advice: Living Overseas? How to Plan a College Visit

If you would like help - consider joining the Gold Care Club so you can learn about homeschooling high school when it's convenient - even in your own time zone! The HomeScholar Gold Care Club



 
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High School Centered Around Interests

High School Centered Around Interests

High School Centered Around Interests


Tricia wrote to share her graduation story. Read about her success overcoming obstacles, and creating a high school centered around the interests of her daughter. You'll be so encouraged today!


 

I would love to share the story of my recent graduate from Homeschool because ours is such a testimony of what God can do when we don't see how it will ever work out!

We recently graduated our second daughter from our homeschool.  We definitely benefited from your resources and easy ideas for homeschooling High School.

 You took the fear out of homeschool High School!

Our daughter was really very sick with chronic Lyme Disease since the age of 12.  Many times she was bedridden for weeks or months at a time.  This made learning hard and we had to school year round.

At first I was pretty stressed out wondering how in the world we were going to get her through High School.  Then I found you!  Because of your e-books, emails and blog I was able to create a High School career centered around her interests and be creative with how she learned each subject.  Your clear method for keeping track of course work and putting together transcripts was so easy that I was even able to help friends when they were struggling.

I couldn't have done it without you Lee! 

I feel like I know you and if I ever see you I will definitely give you a hug because you helped me to see that homeschooling High School doesn't have to be hard, overwhelming, or impossible.

I recently wrote about making it to graduation on my blog, Abounding in Hope With Lyme

~ Tricia

Check out the beautiful photos of her graduation party, too! One day YOU will have a graduation success story!





Have you thought about high school graduation yet? It's worthy of celebrating!  What kind of party do you want to have?



 

 

 
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How Do You Say Curriculum? Curricula or Curriculum

How Do You Say Curriculum? Curricula or Curriculum

How Do You Say Curriculum? Curricula or Curriculum


I pride myself on writing the way that I talk, to make my books approachable and easy to understand. I figure the less you work to read my books, the more information you will learn. I know parents have different learning styles, and like to learn in different ways, so I try to provide books, videos, and social-interaction services that will fit everyone's learning style. But to do that... well, let's just say I use colloquial language when writing about curriculum.

Curricula or curriculum?

It's like data and datum. It used to be everyone knew the difference, but now everyone says "data" all the time for everything, now matter how many or how few pieces of information they are talking about. When was the last time you said "datum" in a sentence?

You see, curriculum is actually singular. Curricula is plural. I can count on one hand the number of homeschoolers who have used "curricula" when talking to me. Yup, I know that it's technically incorrect to use "curriculum" when referring to multiples science book options. At the same time, I'm afraid that it will be distracting for parents if I change to curricula or curriculums. Or worse, they will think I'm some hoity-toity, persnickety, post-doctoral educator that judges and evaluates. That's just not me.

When I was homeschooling, I always had my children reading challenging literature, and wanted them to expand their vocabulary. I was trying to increase the range of their understanding, and challenge them so they could interact with college professors intelligently. For my children, I would have chosen a book using the word "curricula" correctly. But when I was homeschooling, I was too busy to read books that slowed me down with their word choice. I had a hard enough time keeping up with the laundry and feeding my family. When authors made it quick for me to read and easy for me to understand, I was thankful.

I'm really, really sorry to the people who are offended when I incorrectly use the colloquial "curriculum".  But I pride myself on writing the way I speak, so it's approachable. Will you still love me anyway?

Which do you prefer? Curricula or curriculum? Does it bother you when an author uses curriculum when it's plural?

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Scholarships Worth 93% of College Costs

Scholarships Worth 93% of College Costs

Scholarships Worth 93% of College Costs


I got a wonderful letter from a member, and she was very specific about why she felt her daughter got a huge, Huge, HUGE scholarship that covered a full 93% of the cost of attending college! Here is the short version, in case you are in a hurry, but need to know what Kathleen did to become so successful.

Executive summary for busy parents

Start your transcript early - learn how in junior high!
Keep great high school records so you are ready for anything.
Read excellent literature - quality, not quantity, will help the most.
Be active in  your child's education and don't give up.
Consider community college carefully, it can be "Rated R".

Here is the letter Kathleen wrote, so you can learn more.
Dear Lee,

I have been so blessed by yournewsletters, website, and theTotal Transcript Solution.  Last October, my daughter was accepted and awarded the highest academic scholarship from all four of the private Christian colleges she applied to.  Two of those universities invited her to compete for "up to full-tuition scholarships," and in early April, she was awarded the Presidential Honors Scholarship at the University for her  well-written essay. She was also awarded a vocal/music scholarship after I encouraged her to audition even though she had an insignificant amount of vocal training!  All combined, Michaela was awarded 93% of her tuition for four years.  Room, board, and books are virtually her only responsibility.

Know that I recently met with the Director of the Honors Program at the University who identified with interest, an unusual activity Michaela completed during high school that was listed on her TTS transcript.  I presume the Total Transcript Solution made it easier for the university to conclude that Michaela's unique homeschooling experiences would be a welcome addition to the University community!

Thank you for your sound advice on starting a high school folder. The best thing I ever did was start Michaela's transcripts when she started doing high school work--and that was in 8th grade.  And every time we did something, a college class or a field trip, a conference, or a missions project, anything... I printed it off the internet, dated it, and put it in a folder.  That little nugget of advice from you has SAVED me. One of the essay scholarship questions on the application was, "What kinds of extra-curricular cultural activities have you done?" Fortunately, I found ticket stubs in Michaela's folder from a Latin museum and a Latino Film Festival we forgot she attended two years earlier for her extra-credit Spanish coursework at the community college.  Every parent should have a folder, whether they are homeschooling or not!

The BEST advice you ever gave me: read excellent literature. Michaela scored nearly perfect on the SAT reading and writing components.  For lack of time (both hers and mine), she never completed any formal English/writing curriculum during high school.  Your encouragement in that area helped me step out in faith believing that it was quality, not quantity that would produce a right result.  Michaela devoured good books and wrote in her journals (and I coached her with my limited knowledge of community college general education English!), and she wrote a very creditable essay when it counted most.

Thank you for your dedication and service to the homeschooling community. Your  recommendations and resources have empowered me to take control of my children's high school education. I know that we will complete high school with absolute success.  My second daughter, only a sophomore this year, is nearly finished with high school and plans to take community college courses this fall in fashion design.  Her youngest sisters will be starting junior high in the fall.  I have every confidence they will all experience comparable success, and I can't wait to make their transcripts!

Hopefully this will give more parents hope to keep their children out of the public school system.  We need to keep sending a message that it can be done! You were right about junior colleges.  Just from my girls taking foreign language classes at our local junior college the last 2 years... they've been exposed to a lot of inappropriate behavior from both teachers and students.  I didn't feel like I had a choice because they needed language and I didn't have time to teach it properly.  I'm glad Michaela made it to a Christian college where at least most of the environment is going to be positive.  Can't wait to see the amazing things she's going to do there.

Finally, I give all the glory to God who shows me daily that "apart from Him, we can do nothing."  There were weeks and months when we were inundated with admission essays, college visits, sports, injuries, illness, life in general; times when I felt we were so far behind we would never catch up.  BUT GOD!

~ Kathleen


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Will More Tests Increase Options?

Will More Tests Increase Options?


Will More Tests Increase Options?


Jasmine was doing some research on college counselors, and found my YouTube Tip of the Week "Do You Need a High Priced College Counselor?"
"My daughter took the SAT twice, receiving 2250 and 2280 (thanks to your excellent tips!) consecutively. Some people have advised her to take the ACT (some saying that her SAT score is still too low for highly selective colleges, others saying that a high ACT score may open doors to additional scholarships depending on where she applies). What do you think?" ~ Jasmine

What a great question! I always suggest that every student tries both the SAT and ACT at home first, before they even start test preparation. That way you can see which test makes your child look the smartest.

Have your child take a sample of each college admission tests.
Sample SAT: https://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-test
Sample ACT: http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/Preparing-for-the-ACT.pdf

Many girls do better on the ACT. If she takes the ACT and improves her percentile score, then she may get more college admission offers with scholarships.  If scores on the ACT are higher, then I would absolutely have your child take that test. If scores on the SAT are higher, have your child take that test instead. Colleges often do not have a preference, so as homeschool parents we can choose the test that makes our child look smarter. If you have already taken one of the college admission tests, like the SAT, you can try the other one, the ACT, to see if your child scores better. If you do score better on the ACT, it's a good idea to switch test preparation for that specific test right away. Taking the second test, IF if makes scores improve, will improve the overall academic package presented to the college, and can improve the chances of admission and scholarships.

It's best not to study for the SAT and ACT at the same time. The tests each have a different "voice" and ask questions in  a slightly different way.  So study for one test, then if you decide to take the other test, switch to studying for that particular test.

Jasmine's daughter has GREAT scores, that would make many homeschoolers celebrate! The best advice is to focus on finding a great college that will appreciate your child and be a great fit for her, where she will enjoy living for four years.

If you would like to talk more, consider the Gold Care Club so I can get to know you, your child, and your situation better before giving advice.

If you haven't looking into it before, a College Consultant can be very pricey, and average $150/hour or $4000 flat fee, but can be much more in some locations.  College consulting is an option for parents of sufficient means, but might be out of reach for many single-income homeschool families.  You can pay many thousands of dollars for these special services and it may pay off, or your student may not play their part.  There are much lower cost ways available, however, including The HomeScholar Gold Care Club.

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How Much College Debt is Acceptable?

How Much College Debt is Acceptable?

How Much College Debt is Acceptable?


Every person has to decide for themselves how much debt is worthwhile. I can tell you what my debt boundaries are, though, as you begin your research.

For me, I think it may be worthwhile only if you can pay back the debt within one year. Estimate how much your child could make at a minimum wage job while living at home for one year. That would be a reasonable amount of debt for your child to assume. Even without a well-paying, college-degree-worthy job, it's still possible to pay it back.

If you are a family struggling with finances, I don't think that I would take out debt as a married couple, but again, each family and marriage and financial situation is different. It may be healthy to ask grandparents if they would like to contribute to the cost of college in some way.

You CAN talk to the colleges to ask for more money. As some families decline their offers of admission, that frees up more scholarship money. For example, you can say something like, “This is our first choice college, and I would hate to disappoint my son, but we have other children to consider, not just one. We simply can’t afford this college, no matter how much we love it. How can we get more scholarship money so he can attend your school?” This article may help: Real Story, Real Money, Real Scholarships, about a mom who wrote a letter like this, and it was worth $8000 to her. So write or speak to the college.
The best money for college is money you save or are given without repayment necessary. There are three big and important things you can do to improve your chances of college scholarships.

  1. Apply for colleges first thing senior year and finish all applications by the end of November.

  2. Apply to 4-8 schools, with a mix of public and private universities.

  3. Apply to reach, fit, and safety schools: Reach, Fit, and Safety Simplified.


If you are worried about debt, then plan ahead to get college scholarships! Don't wait until you are desperate, but research ahead of time so you are ready to succeed!

These resources will help.

$3 Book on Kindle, so you can get an overview of the process


$15 Online Class, so you can learn details of this one specific topic

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