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Homeschooling While Building a House

I've had friends who homeschooled while building a house. If you find yourself in that situation, remember that any construction experiences your high schoolers have can count as high school credit. Woodworking, carpentry, occupational credit, etc., might be good course titles to consider. Your kids are learning while you do these things, right? Let them live and learn.

Have you read Barb Shelton's Homeschool Form + U + La? That was what her life was like. She talks about how she incorporated home construction into her transcript.


Also, the book Homeschooling For Excellence by the Colfax's might encourage you. Their family was also building a home all through high school, and both kids went on to Ivy League schools.


Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Homeschool Transcript- Keeping Grades in Large Families

How do you keep up with grading when you have four, five or more kids? When my kids were younger, I never really graded at all. Our state (WA) does not require parents to grade, so I didn't. I would grade math tests, just to make sure they knew the stuff, but I didn't KEEP those grades anywhere. Once they started high school, I didn't change my way of doing things with homeschool. I just started keeping track of how I evaluated them, without changing what I actually did with them day to day. Here is an article that I wrote about grading:
http://www.squidoo.com/homeschool_grading

You can see on my Comprehensive Record Solution that I only used tests to grade for some classes, but not others. Here is an example of a class I did NOT use a test to grade - it was History, but my English classes looked very similar:
http://www.thehomescholar.com/pdfs/Sample_Course_Description.pdf

Blessings,
Lee
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Homeschooling Curriculum - The Teaching Company on a Budget!

We never paid full price for a Teaching Company course, they were just MUCH too expensive for our budget. We used audio tapes primarily, and on sale they were $15-$35. You can also also find them at the library, though, so look their first. Some libraries don't list them under "teaching company" or "great courses" but instead list them under the course name "calculus made clear." It makes it harder to find that way. You can also find Teaching Company courses at used book sales and on Ebay.One year I planned to supplement a textbook with a Teaching Company course, but I didn't buy the course in time for it to be one sale. I was able to find a similar history course that WAS on sale, though, and I thought it was wonderful.


My favorite course is "how to listen to and understand great music." The teacher has such a wonderful vocabulary, it was just great for the kids to hear their vocabulary words in context. We had the boys take notes from the lecture, so they would become accustomed to note-taking in college lectures.

Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Homeschooling Teens - How do Homeschoolers take the SAT?

Sign up online for the SAT at www.collegeboard.com. Here is the exact address:
http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/reg.html
They take the test at their local high school. They can choose any school on the list - some prefer to take the test at a private school. I don't know if it's possible to refuse a homeschooler, but I've never heard of it.Here is their page called "Homeschooled students and the SAT." The parent can read more about the test and how it is administered.
http://www.collegeboard.com/parents/tests/meet-tests/21302.html
This page proves how homeschool friendly the test is - they are VERY used to seeing us, it's not unusual to them at all.


The college board also has a page called "Homeschooled students and college admission" that is very helpful.
http://www.collegeboard.com/parents/csearch/know-the-options/21358.html
When you read that page, though, remember that the college board website "sells" testing - that is their product. In a way, when you read that page, you have to filter through the advertisements for the other tests (AP, SAT 2, etc.)

The SAT test is a standardized test that meets the annual assessment requirements for Washington State. It's also cheaper than going the usual testing route. The PSAT is much cheaper still - it's only $15 or so.

Blessings,
Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog via e-mail.
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"Calculus Made Clear"

Another strategy we used for high school math was "Calculus Made Clear" from The Teaching Company. The course wouldn't be enough for a stand-alone Calculus course, but it's a wonderful, wonderful supplement. It is light on numbers but very clear in their explanations. The first time we saw it, my younger son was doing pre-Calculus and my older son was in Calculus. I told them to watch one lesson a day, but the boys loved it. They actually watched the whole thing through twice, and watched some lectures three times. They ended up getting a 4.0 when they moved on to college Calculus and Differential Equations. They even told me that I should never sell it! It really, really helped my sons have a thorough understanding of Calculus. Here is the link: Calculus Made Clear.


I hope that helps,
Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Help for Saxon Math

If you are considering Saxon math for high school, I strongly encourage you to consider using DIVE CDs. It's a great combination that worked for us, and it's more reasonably priced than other video tutorials. Here is the link:
http://www.diveintomath.com/dive_math.aspxThey have a sample lecture online, so you can see if it will work for your child.

Blessings,
Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog via e-mail.

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The Teaching Company for Younger Students?

I have been asked whether The Teaching Company tapes could be used for younger students. In a nutshell, if a student is INTERESTED, then they may not be too young. The Teaching Company does have some high school level courses, but I never tried them. I'm sure those would be appropriate for many younger people (junior high level). In general, if a student is interested, I recommend feeding their interests.I don't recommend The Teaching Company religion courses. The CS Lewis is a wonderful series, however. Some of the arts classes do have nudes. I'm sure the Psych class does Freud, which would probably be too much for younger students. The way that we chose was to buy it for ourselves, and then listen to it first. For the first course you do, I always recommend "How to Listen to and Understand Music" because it's fascinating and very non-threatening.

The courses are not a full curriculum, so you can't say that one of them is one credit, or whatever. You can count the hours you spend, and add up the hours until you have enough for a full credit. We used them as a supplement that way.

Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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What About Military Academies?

>>>>Can homeschoolers make it into military academies?<<<<At the last college fair, I spent a long time talking to military academies, especially Annapolis. All of the military academies accept homeschoolers, even when Mom makes the transcript. The big-time military academies want leadership and physical fitness to be as important as grades. They even have a "homeschool admission" page, which is always very helpful. Boy scouting is a huge plus - is your son a boy scout, by chance? Anyway, they are welcoming to homeschoolers, and they value a homeschool transcript. That said, they are pretty competitive, but ROTC through other colleges is also available as a back up plan.

Blessings,
Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog via e-mail.

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Withdrawing from Public High School


Sometime a student will request to be withdrawn from public high school and begin homeschooling. If that is the case for you and you can support them, I would encourage you to do it and not look back. You CAN pull your students out anytime you want to. If you want to get their high school grades first you could wait until the grades are released and then pull them. If they aren't getting good grades, then you can pull them out BEFORE they get their grades, and then they won't ever be on their transcript. Just a little high school tip :-)




In Washington State, all you have to do is formally withdraw your student from school, and then get your declaration of intent into the school district. Use the declaration of intent on the Washington Homeschool Organization (WHO) website, so you don't give the district information that will have a negative impact on your student.If you are in this situation, I would love to speak with you. Call or e-mail and we can set up an appointment (Lee@HomeScholar.com). If possible, I really recommend my beginning "Preparing to Homeschool High School" crash course.

If you can't do that, then we can just talk on the phone, or take it one hour at a time. I just find that doing the whole thing all at once is easier, to get you quickly up to speed. If finances are a issue, then you may want to get my Preparing to Homeschool High School DVD. It's not as personalized as a one-on-one consultation, but it will still really help. Some people watch the video, and then call me for a one-hour appointment afterwards, and that works out very well.

Blessings,
Lee
--
The HomeScholar
www.TheHomeScholar.com
"Helping parents homeschool through high school"

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When to Start Record Keeping - Part 2

>>>>More record keeping basics<<<<Another thing that you can do is have a place where you keep all your records. That might include all their work, anything they have written, math tests, any workbooks, etc. Again, you really don't NEED to keep that stuff for 6th and 8th grades, but it will train you to keep those records when it DOES matter for next year. I kept a 3-ring binder, with dividers for each subject: math, science, writing, etc. Every time they produced a piece of paper, I punched holes in it, and put it into the notebook. I was very glad I started early, in Junior High, because it ended up that my youngest son graduated 2 years early. When we started, I had NO idea he would do that. I was glad I'd kept the records once I realized how much I needed them at the end of high school. All this to say, simply, keep stuff.

A final thing that you can do is to educate yourself while you are educating your children. Buy yourself some books on "how to homeschool high school" so that you will feel confident. My favorite book is Homeschoolers' College Admission Handbook by Cafi Cohen. Here is the link: http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?sid=1167759372-678323&id=029937
I've read a LOT of homeschooling high school books, and I thought this book really summarized all of them really well. It's a great overview, and a great way to start. When I was homeschooling, my goal was that every time I bought curriculum for the boys, I also bought a book for ME, about how to homeschool.

As far as contacting me for record keeping, you can do it whenever you would like. I have clients that call me in a panic and need a transcript within day because they are applying for college. I also have clients that want me to make a schedule for them, to keep their high schooler on task. I can consult with you about how to study for the SAT as well. Some people like to have a cumulative record with course descriptions and everything, and some people don't want or need that much. I have some clients that want course descriptions and records done BEFORE every year of school. I also have some clients that want it all done after they have finished their Junior year, when they start applying to colleges. It's whatever is easiest for you. My clients who want a cumulative record tend to like to do it every year, to spread the cost out over years, instead of paying for it all at once.

Blessings,
Lee
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The HomeScholar
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When to Start Record Keeping - Part 1

>>>>When is the best time to start keeping homeschool records?<<<< When I was homeschooling 6th and 8th grades (my two boys are two years apart) I began by keeping a daily schedule of their lesson plans. You can see more about what I did here. You can open the sample schedule to see what I did. Anyway, having this check list for their lesson plans gave me a record of everything they did. I figured I was training myself for the next year - when it really mattered. So one thing that you can do now is keep some sort of records, and using a schedule can provide those records for you.

Another thing that you can do is have a place where you keep all your records. That might include all their work, anything they have written, math tests, any workbooks, etc. Again, you really don't NEED to keep that stuff for 6th and 8th grades, but it will train you to keep those records when it DOES matter for next year. Make sense? I kept a 3-ring binder, with dividers for each subject: math, science, writing, etc. Every time they produced a piece of paper, I punched holes in it, and put it into the notebook. I was very glad I started early, in Junior High, because it ended up that my youngest son graduated 2 years early. When we started, I had NO idea he would do that. I was glad I'd kept the records once I realized how much I needed them at the end of high school. All this to say, simply, keep stuff.

To be continued...

Blessings,
Lee
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The HomeScholar
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Homeschooling High School Math Isn't Working

>>>>This is the second part of my answer to a desperate mom who lamented: "I don't think homeschooling high school is working!"<

Now I'll talk about math :-)

Teaching Textbooks may not be working for your student. You might want to consider adding a tutor. It doesn't have to be a math professor or anything. Sometimes just another high school student who is farther along in math will do the trick. They will talk the same language that way.

I did give my students the answer key to their math books. I only took it away on test day. Alex rarely used it, but Kevin would use the answer key for almost every problem, sometimes almost copying it one number at a time. But you know, it ended up being like copywork when they were younger and would copy sentences. Eventually he "got it."

For extra problems, there are workbooks available for Algebra 1. They aren't expensive - maybe $10? You may even find them at the library.

Kevin "failed" algebra 1, because he was using a book that didn't work for him. We switched to Jacobs Algebra and he repeated algebra 1. He did MUCH better. Jacobs has wonderfully written explanations. Perhaps your daughter would learn better with WRITTEN instruction,
rather than visual instruction. Remember that Kevin is now studying electrical engineering - and he failed algebra 1!

For extra video help, you might want to look at The Teaching Company high school algebra (www.teach12.com) You can also consider using a different curriculum altogether - maybe teaching textbooks just doesn't match your daughters learning style.

It's possible to "pass" the SAT and ACT tests even if you aren't far along in math. Some colleges don't have a math requirement for entrance, so you can find those colleges if you need to. The most important thing is that you teach math at their level, and get some success before moving on.

I hope that helps! I feel for you, Marcia. I remember how scared and frustrated I was. And yet now Kevin is doing well in engineering school, and takes college math classes for fun! But I didn't "teach" him high school math. Don't try to "teach" Just try to get her to learn.

Blessings,
Lee
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The HomeScholar
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Ninth Grade Language Arts?

>>>>What should I use for 9th grade Language Arts?<<<<Focus on reading and writing at your student's level, and you can't go wrong. We used Sonlight for their writing prompts. It included workbooks for vocabulary. For young high schoolers who need extra help, Winston Grammar is a great way to get a good understanding of parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) in a way that's very hands-on. If your student is a hands-on learner, then I really recommend Winston Grammar. But really, in high school it's often just about practice, practice, practice.

Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
"Helping parents homeschool through high school"

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Early High School Credits on a Transcript


>>>>How do you do transcripts to reflect early high school credits?<<<<


Here is what I did:

http://www.thehomescholar.com/pdfs/Sample_Transcript_by_Year.pdf

If it was a high school course, and it was on my transcript, and my transcript was by year rather than by subject, then I called those classes "Early high school credits." I felt that gave colleges the option of using those classes or not using those classes, because I've heard that some do and some don't.

We did have some 8th grade classes on our transcript; Latin, French, Algebra, and Geometry.

Transcripts are very much an art rather than a science. With few hard and fast "rules" you just have to do your best.

I hope that helps,

Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Homeschooling Curriculum - The Latin Road Pays Off!

>>>Please comment on the Latin Road <<<I used Latin Road for 3 years. My kids were VERY successful with it, and my son still remembers all his Latin even after 3 years without cracking a book! He had to take a college placement test at the college he's going to, so they could see which class would be appropriate for him. He passed all 3 levels of Latin, and started the university in Junior level! Yippee! He enjoyed Latin Road so much that he has continued his Latin studies in college.


Latin Road uses a lot of memorization, rote learning, flash cards, and practice, practice, practice. It took as much time as a math program, and we had to do some Latin translating everyday, just like you do math problems everyday. It was very mom intensive, as you say. I used to spend about 2 hours on weekends getting my own lessons done, so that I would know how to teach it the following week. Her lessons are well laid out, and I never had any trouble figuring out what to do each day. It was VERY clear, and each lesson was about the same length of time to complete, and each lesson was very clearly labeled. Again, sort of like a math book, I guess! It was written for homeschoolers, so that's part of why it was so easy to use. Each day we would do some flash cards, recite some memorized lesson or read aloud, and do some copy work or translating. It was a LOT of work, and hard, but my kids really seemed to like it, and it really paid off in the end.

Hope that helps!
Blessings,
Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog via e-mail.
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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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