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Great High School Writing Course!

Great High School Writing Course!

I used the Advanced Communication Series by IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing .) It contains three DVDs: note taking, essay writing, and public speaking. It's a video geared to the student. My kids watched them twice a year during high school, once when we started school, and once toward then end of our school year as a "reminder." Instead of teaching note taking with ABC and 1-2-3, it teaches you to write your notes every which way, as you are hearing it. I thought it was very effective!



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How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

By summer, you want to have a variety of colleges that your child can apply to. I have read that the average student will apply to six schools. Some apply to more, and some to less. No matter how many there are, make sure you apply to a variety. At least one college should be a "safety" school, where you are certain to get in. One should be a "stretch" where you are less qualified and unlikely to get in. At least two should be a perfect fit.


How many colleges are your kids planning to apply to? What are your most important criteria?



Learn the ins and outs of finding the "perfect fit" college. Check out my Finding a College DVD.
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Economics for Beginners

Economics for Beginners
When he was younger, my economics son loved the Penny Candy books in the Uncle Eric Series, written by Richard Maybury.  These books come from a free market perspective and are politically conservative/libertarian.

Many people use that book with the coordinating workbook for their economics study in high school.

If this seems too basic, or you are interested in digging deeper, my son really loves Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt.

For my older son, who was not particularly interested in economics, we chose to use the Teaching Company lectures instead. It seemed the least painful way to introduce him to economics. Here is the link for that course:

It's interesting to note that economics is like politics - books can represent the world view and political persuasion of the author. It can be difficult to find a perspective that matches your own. I'm not sure these books are a "perfect" match for our family, but they definitely worked!



Would you like to get the full story of what I curriculum and books I used with my two boys through high school? Check out my Comprehensive Record Solution. It can help you put together winning records for your own high schooler!
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Along the Latin Road

Along the Latin Road

I really loved Latin Road. I had no real Latin background, and when I looked at the other books they looked SO difficult to even START their programs. Latin Road is written by a homeschool mom who assumes you know nothing -- an accurate assumption in my case! I worked two weeks ahead of my kids for the whole year, doing the work before them. The student does copy work, copying off the information in the textbook so they can learn the information slowly as they are writing. Then they do some translating Latin to English and vice versa. Then they do some memorization (FUN memorization, by the way - this Christmas Alex led the choir in Adeste Fidelis that we had learned in Latin.) I also know that Latin Road WORKS. Alex is STILL taking senior level Latin in college, and still getting A's. I know that any mom could teach Latin using Latin Road, provided you can convince your student to do all that copy work.


You can learn more about Latin Road to English Grammar at Sonlight!


Learn more about how and why to incorporate Foreign Language into your high school curriculum in my "Preparing to Homeschool High School" DVD set.

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Blessings, Lee

Blessings, Lee
I got this wonderful, encouraging note in my inbox today!

Dear Lee,

Your sign off "Blessings" is more true than you may realize. When I realized how much I needed some guidance from a successful homeschooler of upper level students, I decided that you would be the perfect person to call. I spent several days figuring out how to ask for your help. Can you imagine my relief when I saw your brochure? I could call you and not be begging for help, but accepting your talents!


Your positive and encouraging ways made me realize that I can succeed. You helped me stop useless duplication and time wasting. Tom was immediately more responsive and cooperative. I was not the slave driver or fun slayer, I was the person implementing a well ordered plan. You, of course, outlined all our work using the texts and courses that I had chosen. Between your organizing our study schedule and the bird clock which sings every hour, I am not the target of my son's discomfort. I am a coach and teacher instead. We have had a wonderful year.

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What about Occupational Education?

What about Occupational Education?

Occupational Education is not often listed by colleges as a required course. However, it can sometimes be required by states for graduation. But what IS Occupational Education? Unless your state specifies it, you're often left on your own to figure it out. It's often considered an elective, so it can be easiest to follow your child's interests when planning this course. Sometimes this class will look like a general introduction to office or computer skills, including using Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, keyboarding, etc.


An easier strategy is to just wait until your child gets a job. After all, at some point most kids really want to start earning money. Anything they do that earns an income may qualify as Occupational Education. All the babysitting, yard work, odd jobs, or work with an employer can count toward the class. Like other electives, it's sometimes easiest to keep a list of what they do, and how many hours they spend on each task. You can determine credit value by counting the total number of hours they spent on those activities, and then voila! You have an Occupational Education credit!

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Are AP Exams Always Required?

Are AP Exams Always Required?

AP exams are so popular with high school students you might think they are required. They aren't! AP exams are, however, a great way to get some external documentation of learning - to prove that your student is learning. Colleges aren't always confident in the quality of education their applicants have received, whether they come from public school, private school or homeschool. When they get test scores from outside agencies, they can have some confidence that the student knows the subjects that are written on their transcript. Some parents use AP exams for outside documentation, but there are other options. You can pursue SAT Subject Tests (sometimes called SAT II tests,) community college classes, or CLEP exams. Regular SAT and ACT tests can also provide some "proof" for colleges that want documentation in addition to a transcript.


Have you pursued external documentation for your homeschool student's education? If so, let us know what worked for you!

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Great Readers Yield Great Readers

Great Readers Yield Great Readers

I loved the book "Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It's a wonderful way to find a reader that is perfect for your child's interest and grade level. It is more thorough for the lower grades, but I found it very useful in finding specific books each year. He gives a very brief overview of the book, and comments on the grade level. He has updated it many times since it first came out.



When my children were in high school, I spent more time with the book lists is "The Well Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer. Some of the books were overwhelmingly dry (to an untrained mind, like mine!) so you have to look at them carefully. Using this book, we found lots of wonderful high school books that we just perfect for us!

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The HomeScholar Recommends: Sonlight!

The HomeScholar Recommends: Sonlight!

What I always recommend for new homeschoolers is Sonlight (http://budurl.com/sonlight). It's a literature based curriculum. You can group your children together into one level, and only use grade specific curriculum for math and language arts. All the history and literature is done together. We LOVED it - and it really "held my hand" as a beginner. It comes with a great schedule that I used to help me along. I really feel like Sonlight taught me what I was doing, especially in the early grades.


Do you use Sonlight? Please add a comment and let your friends know what you think of it!



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What Do Colleges Want for Social Studies?

What Do Colleges Want for Social Studies?
Social studies is a term used to describe the broad study of the various fields which involve past and current human behavior and interactions. Usually colleges will specify what type of Social Studies they want high schools to cover. Most often colleges will say they want American History, American Government, World History and Economics. Sometimes they will specify other courses as well, but this is the most common list. There are many other subjects that are considered Social Studies, though. They include Psychology, Sociology, Geography, and a wide variety of other history courses. One of my sons was very interested in Russian History, so he studied that "for fun." My other son loves Economics, so he spent one year studying microeconomics, and one year studying macroeconomics. Like other subject areas, it's most effective when you follow the interests of your child.



Like to see what a successful student portfolio looks like? Check out my Comprehensive Record Solution.
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Do I Need to Teach Health Every Year?

Do I Need to Teach Health Every Year?

Unless your state requires it, you don't have to teach Health every year of high school. Some states want Health to be a requirement for graduation, but colleges generally don't care about it much. Some colleges want to see students who take health as a separate course, while others assume it is included in Physical Education (PE) classes. More often, colleges don't mention it as a requirement at all.


In Washington State, we are required to teach Health at some point during K-12, but it isn't specified which year, or how much health is necessary. I included some health studies along with PE in Middle School, and again in High School. We really liked the books by Susan Boe. Written for Christian Schools, it's assumes the student lives in a reasonably healthy environment, without sex or drugs. It covers physical, spiritual, and social health.

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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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Leaving Public School

Leaving Public School

 


One of the major differences between regular school and homeschool is that at home, all students can be taught at their level. In public school, kids who miss something (a concept, a formula, a skill) may simply be moved along in the curriculum by a teacher who assumes that they "got it." If this happens often enough, the student may find that they are completely lost in many of their classes.

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Do your Friends Spring Forward or Fall Back?

Do your Friends Spring Forward or Fall Back?

 


This is the time of year when people think about their plans for Fall. This is also the time of year when some people announce that they will stop homeschooling for one reason or another. I remember times when I was really shocked at the people who would declare they were stopping. Long time friends, committed homeschoolers.

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Great Website for High School Science

Great Website for High School Science

Check out one of my favorite websites when we were using Apologia Sciences. Donna Young has made lesson plans and support materials for high school sciences. I loved her vocabulary word bookmarks for Biology. It really helped us memorize those facts!


 

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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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