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Learning is More Important than Teaching

Learning is More Important than Teaching


As homeschool parents, our goal is NOT to teach; our goal is for the kids to LEARN. I could have taught my kids "at grade level" and they wouldn't have learned a thing. Instead, I gave them curriculum at their ability level, and then they had to learn what they didn't already know. I believe that older teens MUST learn how to teach themselves. If our children go to college, they will be expected to learn all the textbook material on their own. College lectures are most often supplemental to the textbook - not the same content. If our children don't go to college, they will still have to teach themselves computer skills, online banking, or how to buy a car. My kids taught themselves advanced math (pre-calculus) and calculus. They taught themselves physics. I know they learned the material because I gave them the tests. I didn't know what the calculus symbols meant, but I knew my kids' answers matched the answers on the key! I could have taught them biology and chemistry (because I'm an RN and I know that stuff) but they taught themselves instead. It worked out better for us when they taught themselves, and I just checked up on them from time to time. Alex taught himself economics, doing graduate level work in economic thought (we were later told by his Colege professor) while he was still in high school. He even taught himself psychology and business law, and earned fabulous grades on the college level CLEP exams in these subjects. Here's my point: a child will teach themselves subjects they are interested in. It works out great for a kid who is working on an intensely academic, college prep curriculum as well as a kid who is in a relaxed homeschool environment. Learning is more important than teaching. I have seen SO many notes addressed to me about "getting it all done" that I just want to put in a plug for prayer and quiet time. I found that when I was consistent in adding them to my day that I could "get it all done." When I wasn't consistent, I got frustrated; either I was expecting too much, or was frustrated too easily. When I spent time with God, things went more smoothly in our homeschool. Do you think learning is more important than teaching? Please share in the comments!

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Please note: This post was originally published in November, 2007 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Socialization: Can't Mess with Destiny

Socialization: Can't Mess with Destiny



Socialization: Can't Mess With Destiny


Years ago, my husband and I went on an Alaskan cruise with my parents. It was wonderful, and we had SUCH a good time! It was fun to see a client and her family on the ship, too! Midway through the cruise, I had the chance to speak to our cruise director, Jason Venner on the Holland America MS Westerdam.  Jason was raised in the Pacific Northwest. He lived in a remote location of the Columbia River Gorge, without running water, electricity, or telephones.

Jason was an only child, homeschooled by his mother. That was where he developed his great passion: the outdoors and adventure sports. He went to Linfield College on academic scholarships and studied business management, leadership, and communication. On our cruise, Jason was the BEST cruise director - humorous and outgoing beyond measure! When I was talking to him, I joked, "Can't you just try to come out of your shell a little bit?" We had some good laughs about socialization. Jason said, "I loved homeschooling, and I wouldn't change a thing about my childhood!"

Obviously, Jason is a perfect fit for the socially demanding job of guiding thousands of adults in fun activities. I wonder if his mother had any idea what profession Jason would choose. Did she think he might grow up to be socially awkward? Did she worry about the opportunities he missed? Was she concerned that she might be holding him back? I suppose she knew he was gregarious - did she worry about socialization? I looked at him, and thought about my clients homeschooling in remote locations, and the military and missionary families struggling to fit in. I had a whole new appreciation for the Grand Plan.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

~ Jeremiah 29:11

Don't worry. You can't  mess up too badly. Your children are going to be who they are meant to be, and they are going to do what they are meant to do. Even if you are homeschooling in the middle of nowhere, without running water, electricity, or telephones.

Have you been struggling with the socialization question? Please share!



Please note: This post was originally published in October 2011 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehension.
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How-to Homeschool - Will Colleges Accept My Transcript?

How-to Homeschool - Will Colleges Accept My Transcript?
In this video, I discus what colleges are looking for in a homeschool transcript.




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The Difference Between Test Grades and Transcript Grades

The Difference Between Test Grades and Transcript Grades
In this video, I talk about the difference between grades you give on tests and grades you put on your homeschool transcript.




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Go-Getter Gets Scholarships! Tuition Zero!

Go-Getter Gets Scholarships! Tuition Zero!

Dana is a long-time member, and she wrote to me ecstatically sharing about her daughter's scholarship awards.  I asked her to share the advice she would like to give to other mothers, and she has some wonderful suggestions that I think you will find useful!





Dear Lee,

I have been meaning to follow up and let you know the results of Natalie's college applications. It has been an extremely busy month with her graduation. She will be attending the honors college in an out of state public university.  Natalie applied for four scholarships and received all four. The first two scholarships reduce her tuition to zero. We will still pay for her room, board, books, and lab supplies.Now let me tell you how you helped with all of this. I joined the Gold Care Club during critical periods in Natalie's high school career -- her sophomore year, junior year, and again for part of her senior year.

During this time you gave me excellent personal advice, particularly on testing. If it had not been for you, she may have not tried to take the ACT, a test that we found was much easier for her than the SAT. The reason that she may never have tried the ACT is that we had to travel to another city to get to a test center which was a big hassle, especially in the winter.  After taking sample tests for ACT and SAT and finding that the ACT was easier for her, she focused entirely on the ACT. She ended up taking the ACT three times, improving each time. A good score on the ACT was the key that opened the doors to these scholarships.

Another great piece of advice you gave me was to pay someone else to teach the areas where I was weakest. I subsequently outsourced Spanish, physics, writing, and upper level math. This alone saved my sanity.

Lee, I can't stress enough how your guidance helped me have the confidence I needed to plow through the college application process. I know I was the one preparing transcripts, etc., but being able to touch base with you through the Gold Care Club kept me on track and thinking about the right things at the right time. I purchased the CDs on Testing and Big Scholarships, and listened to those in the car while driving the kids around to activities. Even though we had a terrible internet connection at the time, I managed to participate in a few webinars.

I would also like to share something that maybe you can learn from us.

Be a go-getter. On a lark, Natalie joined an entrepreneur class during her senior year. They were funded by a grant (not associated the school system) which provided a mentor, and Natalie was the only home educated student in the class. Their goal was to start a business using only $100 of their own money and make a profit. The class was quite an eye-opener for most of these kids --  the realities of business became very real to them, and in some cases the results were hilarious. Natalie chose to refinish furniture and sell it at craft fairs. She had to buy supplies, refinish the furniture, market her business, and finally, learn the art of selling. She had to force herself out of her comfort zone for many of these tasks. This was a valuable education in itself, but the added benefit was that she talked about her business in some of her scholarship essays and mentioned it in her resume. I know scholarship committees are always looking for evidence of someone who is a go-getter, and I think this helped set her apart from other applicants.

Plan ahead. Create course descriptions and book lists in advance.  Don't apply to just one college, because it's extremely stressful. Order a homeschool diploma and take senior portraits well in advance. There are so many things that happen during senior year, it's difficult to get it all done!  We have to plan ahead for college too, because our scholarship awards have some funny requirements.  She needs to join the fan club and attend alumni board receptions. This combined with the honors college activities ought to keep her plenty busy, so she will have to be judicious about her extra-curricular activities and to do only what she can handle.

Thank you, Lee, for everything you have taught me about the college application process. It has been a long  journey, and my daughter will be receiving $80,000 in merit scholarship awards at an out of state public university.  I learned so much from your website, the Gold Care Club, CDs, your  many resources and positive, encouraging emails.

Lee, you have been a blessing to our family and the best mentor I could have ever asked for.

~ Dana from Oregon, and her daughter Natalie



Invest in homeschooling independently!  Good things can happen in your family too!  And when it happens, please write to me, and share the wisdom you have learned.  It's like paying it forward, so other homeschool parents will benefit..



You can find great support and ideas from my online Comprehensive Record Solution and my book Setting the Records Straight. Let me know if you need help!
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Letters of Recommendation for Homeschoolers

Letters of Recommendation for Homeschoolers
How to get great letters of recommendation for your homeschooler.







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Homeschoolers Grow Up!

Homeschoolers Grow Up!

My 5 year plan for ensuring family harmony.

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The Difference Between the SAT and the ACT

The Difference Between the SAT and the ACT

How you can choose between the SAT and ACT.

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How Do I Teach Subjects I Don't Know?

How Do I Teach Subjects I Don't Know?

Strategies on teaching subjects that you as the parents haven't mastered.

 

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How to Teach a Homeschool Geek

How to Teach a Homeschool Geek

Strategies for teaching your geeky homeschool student.

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The Problem with Homeschoolers

The Problem with Homeschoolers

One of the biggest problems with homeschool parents and how to avoid it.

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Can You Help Me Make Homeschool Record Keeping Easy?

Can You Help Me Make Homeschool Record Keeping Easy?

A super easy way to keep high school records. (I promise!)

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What Homeschooling High School Looks Like

What Homeschooling High School Looks Like


What does homeschooling look like?


When people ask me what homeschooling looks like, I often tell them it looks like my boy, lying on top of my dog, reading a book in the sun.  Our homeschool room was the room with the dog and the book.  We had a rigorous, academic homeschool, and so we were often busy from about 8:00 in the morning until about 3:00 in the afternoon.  I had a schedule and an assignment sheet, and my children would work through them fairly independently so I could supervise and do household chores at the same time.  Each day I would spend a few minutes with each child, making sure they understood their assignments, reviewing math concepts, going over memorization, or answering questions.  One child could work independently while I had the meeting with the other, and it really kept them on task.

At the high school level, we started our day with math independently.  The boys would watch the video tutorial and do their assignments, while I got my morning chores done.  Then we did French together, and I read aloud from our literature book.  I read aloud to my children until the oldest was 18 years old – still my fondest memories!  Then the children would do science independently.  At lunch I would hear their scripture verses.  After lunch we would alternate between some of the shorter subjects.  They might read their Worldview books, or study for the SAT or ACT.  After that, they worked on their writing assignments and read their history and literature books until 3:00.  Then the practiced their piano before we went to sports practice.  Although I counted that as music and PE credit for high school, it seemed so normal to do them “after school” like their friends.  We often talked about being thankful they didn’t have to come home from soccer practice, exhausted, and face hours of additional homework.

Every homeschool will look different - and should look different!  Each homeschool is unique, and that is why it's such a successful way to educate!
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Considering Homeschooling

Considering Homeschooling


 

What advice would you give to a mom who is considering homeschooling?

 

Don't doubt it for a second - you CAN homeschool! You don't have to be afraid - you won't ruin your child's future or jeopardize their college chances! You can provide a superior education for your kids that will open doors for them. Your love for your child will ensure success beyond your wildest dreams!

 

At the same time, don’t try to do it alone. Seek companionship and encouragement from others, and walk together.  I had a homeschool friend with boys slightly older than mine. We stuck together like glue, and offered each other support when it seemed like the whole universe was aligned against us.  I’m telling you, it made all the difference in the world!

Looking back, my friend and I provided each other with four critical ingredients for homeschool success: a willing ear to listen, a gentle voice to correct, a wise word to encourage and a warm heart to accept.  With these critical elements in place, I believe even the most challenging homeschooling experience can succeed through high school graduation.  I've seen it - in my life and the lives of others.  Homeschooling high school is a challenging.  It is demanding and requires an extraordinary commitment from both the parents and the child to be successful.  Every parent experiences discouragement at some point.

 

I believe that homeschooling discouragement is primarily caused by fear...fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of hurting our children's future, and fear of looking foolish.  They may sneak up on you at a family event, or ambush you at a homeschool convention.  You may even be sitting at church and get that overwhelming sense of dread.  For me, the fear always seemed to come at night…in bed…staring at the ceiling….

 

Don’t succumb to the temptation to throw in the towel, just when the rewards promise to be so great!  Homeschooling through high school is worth the effort!  It’s one of the best times you’ll have with your children, before they launch and start their own lives at college or beyond.   Stay the course, and finish strong.  I’m glad I did, and I believe you will be too.  Now that my sons are graduated from homeschool high school, my mission is to help encourage other homeschooling parents, and I have a lot of great resources on my website (www.TheHomeScholar.com).  I encourage you to visit and get any help you need!



 

Your best strategy for keeping all those balls in the air is preparation.  The HomeScholar Gold Care Club will give you the comprehensive help you need to homeschool high school.
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Is Socialization a Bad Word?

Is Socialization a Bad Word?


 

My friends call it The ‘S’ Word.  Socialization.  But you know, it's not a dirty word.  It's the place where homeschoolers truly shine!

Homeschoolers are better prepared for life as a result of their socialization in the real world. Instead of spending 6 hours a day with their same-age peers, homeschoolers have the opportunity to interact with a broad range of people, in a wide variety of different settings.  This real world socialization leads to all sorts of opportunities that public-schooled students don’t have.  My children were invited to participate in a full-tuition scholarship competition, and while they excelled academically, we found out that they won not because of their academics, nor because of their passionate pursuits of chess and economics. They won based on their socialization.  College admissions staff judged the kids based on how they interacted with the other kids and adults, when they thought nobody was looking.  Colleges want students who are honest and trustworthy, who can hold a conversation with anybody of any age, and who can look you in the eye. Homeschooling give us the time to cultivate these traits in our children, and is the best preparation for college, for career and for life.



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