If you're like me, you have seen a lot of headlines recently about how homeschool students have dominated national spelling and geography bees and have been awarded the best scholarships that our most elite universities have to offer. Discover...
If you have a high school student, and particularly if you have a junior, please arrange for a college visit! It's important that students try to choose some colleges to visit, and Spring is the most popular time to go. College visits are appropriate any time during high school. Some will incorporate college visits with family vacations. Others will take a week off just to visit one college after another. Visiting colleges can tell you many things about a school that you will only find out when you are on the campus.
It's easy to determine the credit value of some classes. Saxon Algebra, for example, is clearly one high school credit. It can be much more difficult to determine credit value when you don't use a book. PE and electives are good examples of those sticky situations. When it was my turn to muddle through high school, I spent a lot of time doing research on these issues. There are many ways of determining high school credit. I found out that few authorities really agree on what a credit is! Some books suggest counting hours. Some books suggest that a credit was 120 hours, some would say 150 hours, and some would say 180 hours. They disagreed about what an hour meant, too. Some would say an hour was 50 minutes, some would say an hour was 60 minutes plus homework. One author suggested that an hour was 20 minutes including homework! I found that all very frustrating, because I love to follow rules - but nobody was giving me a rule to follow! So what do I recommend about credit value when you aren't using a book? I suggest that anything around 120-180 hours would be a high school credit.
As I mentioned before, we've been reading the book "Love and Respect." I keep wondering, though.... How do you show respect for a young adult who sometimes does, well, dumb things. I've decided that I need to have a boundary for my 18 year old men. My husband and I try to only intervene if we believe the boys are doing something that is "life-threateningly" dumb, that is, doing something that could negatively alter the course of their life. If they are just doing something that isn't up to our "expected standards of responsibility" (i.e., dumb) then perhaps it's just a demonstration of independence, or a personal preference that we wouldn't make ourselves.
When our men turned 18, we want them to make choices for themselves based on the instructions they have received over their lifetime. We try to show respect for the men in our household and only intervene when we believe it is necessary for their future well-being.
I hope that helps someone!
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One day I had the kids create their own continent. I have a list of things that their continent MUST have (isthmus, peninsula, plateau, moraine - that was a great one to look up in the dictionary, etc.) and they drew it on paper. When they were all done, we did a paper mache model of their continent, using the same layered cardboard idea. My kids had so much fun making these maps! One day they spent their art time, map time, and most of their free time working on their continents. They also wrote a short story about their continent. (I only rarely come up with my own creative writing ideas). My oldest son wrote about the lost continent of Atlantis. The younger son wrote his story about a lone survivor of an airplane crash (like the book Walkabout). Really great stories. They were had so much fun they didn't want to stop! It was a nice break from our usual map and timeline routine.
Remembering these types of things always reminds me about how much FUN homeschooling was. Yes messy! Yes, frustrating! But one day you'll remember all the fun parts too!
Originally written for Christian schools, this logic series presents material from a strongly Christian perspective. My children LOVED the series, and I found that using the DVD meant that I didn't need to learn any of it! Whoo Hoo! I dodged a bullet on that one, because Logic was like Calculus to me! If you are considering Logic for next year, give this one a try. It can be used in Junior or Senior High School.
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Today our family will celebrate our risen Savior starting with coffee at Starbucks (just like in the first century, I think.) Then we will enjoy church with my sister and her family. Alex will be playing keyboards with the worship team and then conducting the choir in The Easter Song.
Each college is unique. They each have different expectations and requirements. Make sure you ask them what they want! The good news is that means there is a college out there that will be a perfect fit - you just have to look hard enough to find it!
When my children did pre-algebra, we used Access to Algebra and Geometry by Addison Wesley. At the time, it was the book recommended by Sonlight. Now there are many more options for homeschooling families. It's great to have so many things to choose from! But sometimes cost is a huge issue. Sometimes you don't need something "new and improved" with all the bells and whistles. Sometimes you just need a math book! Since this is an older book now, it's very cheap, but we really did love it. Even though I used it during my first year homeschooling, I still found it easy to use. Pre-algebra was an easy subject for me, but I think if you can "solve for x" in simple equations like "5 times x = 10" then you should be OK. It does have a solution manual available.
The book has lots of pictures, which I suppose might be outdated now. It had a nice math review during each chapter. It was easy to teach, easy to understand, and both of my boys did well with it.
I've been consulting with a lot of clients in full panic mode. And it reminded me that two, three, four even five years ago, that was ME! I remember having trouble sleeping. Long painful discussions about minuscule college savings accounts. Tears and fears about being unable to provide the college experience my kids needed. There were glimmers of hope, sure. Whispers of scholarships, and homeschooled kids who successfully achieved the financial support they needed. Whispers of hope....
I just want to shout it from the roof tops! THERE IS HOPE! Colleges want your students! Financial aid is available! Learn to be valuable to the college if you can, yes. But know that there is hope!
This time of year people start considering options for next year. Some parents are considering accessing classes in a school environment (public, private or co-op classrooms.) Whatever decisions you make, I encourage you to just make sure that you are the person in control, not a school or a school teacher. The control issue is very important. It means that you don't have to jump through hoops in order to get the class that you want. It means that if the class works, you use it. If it doesn't work, just stop using it and go to something else. Don't wait out the term! If you are accessing it for one class and it works, then great!. But don't feel like you "must" use their classes. Beware if you start feeling incapable. Sometimes situations like that can feed your fears, and make you feel more and MORE incapable. But we know different - you ARE capable. You're able to decide whether each class is the right thing for your child, and you will remain capable to making good decisions even if you sign up for a class at a school.
No matter what -- make sure you always feel confident in your abilities, and remain in control of the education of your child.
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Have you ever notice that everyone else's children seem perfect? They are smarter, nicer, more musical or athletic, right? We all know that nobody is perfect, but why do other kids seem more perfect than our own?
Rarely do mothers and fathers share failures and short-comings of their kids. Usually they share successes and strengths! I often share my children's strengths - does that mean they are perfect? No Way!
This past month I have really been faced with "to err is human" in an up-close and personal way. Both of my young men (now 18 and 20) received their first traffic tickets. Both of them - two weeks apart. Each was driving about 20 mph over the limit. Each is faced with a huge ticket and a visit to traffic court. Both are considering how they will compensate financially if their insurance rates go up.
Apparently, I'm not perfect either. I taught them both to drive! And look at what happened! I'm trying hard not to feel like a failure in this area. I try to remember that I give instruction, but they make choices like adults make choices. But still, you would think that homeschooling would come with some sort of guarantee. Shouldn't it?
Take heart. Nobody is perfect!
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The best time to consider homeschooling high school is.... now! I love it when parents of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders tell me that they are beginning to learn about homeschooling high school. It's a great training time for parents! You can learn all of the issues around record keeping, academics, and encouraging specialization. At the same time, there is no pressure to "perform" or be perfect, since it's all just for practice.
When my oldest child began 7th grade, that's when I started reading about high school. By the time it was my turn, I felt like an "old pro"!
Getting serious about homeschooling high school? Try my 3-hour crash course. It's everything you need to succeed in homeschooling your teenagers through graduation!
My first week of homeschooling I took my one and only "class", and it was on Family Math. I learned how to play about 10 or so of the games. The basic idea is to start at the top of the directions and work your way down, and the game WILL eventually make sense. Usually my kids understood the game better than me: I'm just there to read the directions!This is how I used it: I looked at the math lesson that my kids were learning that day. Say it's fractions. I looked in the index in the back of the Family Math book, and look up fractions. It lists 4 or 5 games and activities with fractions. I looked at the top of each game for the grade level (primary, elementary, or middle school). Then I looked at the game to see what I need for supplies. I kept a shoe box with math stuff: sugar cubes, dice, cards. Mostly the games just required paper and pencil.
We played a math game almost every day. I used it as my math manipulative. This math manipulative is directly related to what they were learning in their math lesson (also in some of the Building Thinking Skills lessons.) It helped to teach the "why" of math concepts that may be difficult at first. When my eldest was 11 years old, he would usually begin his math lesson with "I don't get it." If I could find a good game for that lesson first, then he would start his lesson with "This is so easy." There was never a middle ground, by the way!
To make my life easier, and on the advise of the Family Math teacher, I made copies of all the game boards that I needed at the beginning of the year (when copies were 1 penny!) I made about 10 copies of each game. The book is reproducible. I paper clipped the copies together, and stored them in a 3 ring binder in numerical order. If the game on page 92 requires a copy, I slip one out of the folder. I have my hubby make more copies when one set gets low. Not all games require copies, though.
I loved Family Math because it is multi-age (k-8th grade) and inexpensive to use. Much like Spelling Power!
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In many states nurses, doctors, and other professionals are required to take a certain amount of continuing education courses each year. They need to stay up-to-date on the latest research and trends.
Homeschooling parents have a similar need for continuing education. Soon it will be homeschool convention time, and I encourage you to put them on your calendar now! If you don't have a convention in your state, go to a neighboring state. Conventions can show you the newest curriculum, and you can find the resources that will be perfect for your child. Conventions provide wonderful classes that will instruct you on how to teach, or encourage and inspire you to continue along this sometimes challenging path. You'll find educational games and activity suggestions that will spark interests in your children. Conventions aren't 100% perfect, and I know they can be very overwhelming at times. They can also help you plan ahead, learn more, and become motivated again.
Take a moment to put your homeschool conventions on the calendar! Here are the 2008 conventions in Washington State. When you are there, make sure you stop by my booth and say "Hi!". You can also hear me speak on the topics shown below:
Christian Heritage Conference April 17-19 Redmond, WA more... NW Catholic Conference May 2-3 Tukwila, WA Topic: "College Preparation" more...
WHO Convention June 13-14 Puyallup, WA Topics: "Gifted Education" and "Transcripts" more...