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When Will I Ever Use This Stuff?

When Will I Ever Use This Stuff?
Sooner or later, your teen may say "When am I ever going to use this stuff?" and complain about their high school courses. Here is one answer to that question: traveling. When you travel, you use every single high school subject. I recently took a tr...
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Sending Transcripts for Senior Year Applications

Sending Transcripts for Senior Year Applications
Is your transcript up to date?  Even if your transcript looks great on paper, it can be confusing to figure out how to submit a homeschool transcript when you are filling out college applications during the fall of senior year. Let me give you a few quick tips.

Include all the classes your child is currently doing on the transcript.  Are you beginning Chemistry or Calculus this fall?  Put that on the high school transcript.  If your child intends to take certain classes in community college, include the names of those classes.  College expect this, and assume it is just an "estimate" of what the child will be taking.

Don't include final grades for classes you  haven't completed yet.  Instead, indicate grades are in progress (IP) or have yet to be determined (TBD.) You can indicate how many credits they will be earning, but don't put on a grade for a class until the grade is done.

When you are submitting a transcript in the fall, it's just a "transcript."  You may need to send in a transcript after first semester, an "interim transcript" that includes grades earned through December. Finally, when school is over for the year, you will be asked to submit a "final transcript" that include all grades for all classes, and indicated the date the student officially graduated.

If you need help with your transcript, I'll be glad to work with you!  If you haven't started your transcript yet, or if you don't like the transcript you are working with, then I suggest getting the Total Transcript Solution.  If you have finished your transcript, and you merely want some support and guidance, then The Gold Care Club will give you the personal help you need!

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How to Document Homeschool Co-op Classes

How to Document Homeschool Co-op Classes
Have you ever struggled to document your students co-op classes? I’ve had a few questions lately from homeschool families who are struggling to do this very thing.

All co-ops have particular elements that make their classes unique and it can be hard to develop a class description for these classes when you weren’t the one teaching your student, but you want to make sure and get all of your students credits on their high school transcripts. I’ve gathered a few questions about co-op classes from a webinar we had and I hope they can help you in some fashion!
If co-op classes don’t issue a transcript, should you still list that as a separate class with a specific description of where they took the classes?

If you do list that, I would list it at the course description but not on the transcript. There is nothing wrong with putting it on the transcript if you choose to use a three-letter acronym; I just don’t think it adds too much, so it might be a cleaner-looking transcript if you leave that off and just put it on the course description.
Our co-op instructor teaching Speech 1 indicated that Speech is not considered an English class but a communication application class. Have you heard of this?

I have heard of that at the college level, but I would suggest to you that she may be over-thinking it.

One time, I met with a family and we talked about taking a computer science class. The dad said that I can’t call that computer science on the transcript since he’s a computer science major and he claims to know what it is. I told him that he’s not teaching it at a college level, but just at a high school level.

Usually, English Speech is considered an English class; I would put it under an elective. To call it a communication application class is unnecessary, so you can call it anything you want. If it’s in a co-op and it’s not with a school, you have all sorts of flexibility.

So what about when co-op classes are disguised? What about when the credit content seems illusive? Here’s a situation from a homeschool family who were going through that very dilemma.
My son took an AP Physics class from someone who has a PhD but the school  doesn't really have acronym to accompany it, how should I document that?

In that situation, that is like a homeschool class. It is simply a homeschool co-op class that happen to be online and the parent that taught that homeschool co-op class was a person that happen to have a PhD.

If they give you grades, you can take that under advisement, you might want defer to their judgment and use that grade, but you don’t have to submit those scores for the colleges where you apply because it’s not a school – it was just a homeschool class.

What is your experience with homeschool co-op classes and their documentation?

See those cute buttons at the bottom of these blog posts?  Those are there to help you share helpful posts with others who might need encouragement.  Go ahead and give it a try.  I promise that nothing will blow up!
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Homeschool Convention Envy Solution

Homeschool Convention Envy Solution
Why can't there be any good conferences near ME?

There are!  No matter WHERE you live!

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Strategy for Community College Classes

Strategy for Community College Classes
When thinking about community college credits, it can be useful to think about it being "proof" or external documentation of the different areas of education.  When you look at it that way, you want to have at least one class in each of the following areas:

* English
* Math

  • Social Studies/History

  • Science with Lab

  • Foreign Language

  • PE

  • Fine Art

Math and foreign language are especially difficult at that level, because they move so much faster than high school classes and the material builds on each concept.  If you have to take both math and foreign language during a single semester of community college, it may be quite hard.  Try to ensure the third class is REALLY fluffy class taken at the same time.  The third class should sound "fluffy" in the catalog, but also check the "rate my professors" website, to be sure the teacher is also easy. Taking three heavy classes at a time is not recommended unless you have a very academic child who wants to take all three classes and thrives from in a challenge.  You want to try to guarantee good grades as much as possible.

Since you have two years of community college, there is no real rush for the other classes.  The difference with community college is that you aren't taking all the classes all at once, you are only taking three at a time. Don't think you have to take them all at once.   Spreading them out, with a good mix of difficult and easy, can ensure success.  When community college is your external  documentation, you really do want to ensure success.

If you are thinking about community college, remember that it is a "Rated R" environment that is not recommended for everyone.  Please read my article about community college if you are considering this option. Facing the Community College Fad.

I am now the Seattle Homeschool Examiner.  You can read my homeschool articles here.
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How Many High School Classes Should We Plan?

How Many High School Classes Should We Plan?
It's normal for a teen to have between 6 and 8 high school classes each year.  It's a good idea to evaluate yourself if you have more than that, to see if you are expecting too much.  So look at your schedule and see if you have some repeats.  World History is a social studies class just like geography is a social studies class.

So, why take both?

Is it because your child loves it and that is their area of passion?  If so, that's fine.  If not, if it's just you planning classes, then it's a double social studies, and you can leave one off.  Same with the foreign languages.  It's a duplicate to have BOTH Spanish and Latin - if it's your student's choice to do that, then fine.  If not, you might want to avoid duplicates.

Taking two of the same kind of class can really cause burn out of the kids.  That proverbial "love of learning" can take a flying leap!  It's really hard on the parents, too.  I say that speaking from experience!  I did teach two foreign languages one year (at my kids request) and I thought I would go nuts!  And one year I did do two English classes, and I felt like I spent the whole year pushing my kids to keep up!

Think about it this way.  Each class represents about an hour of work or more per day.  So 8 classes is 8 hours a day.  If you were in the working world, how many hours would you be working?  Eight!  In general, the children shouldn't be working for more hours than their adult parent at work.

My strong, strong advice is to avoid doubling classes.  It's too hard, and can cause strife.  Unless it's delight-directed learning, it's usually just not worth it.

Do you enjoy our monthly newsletter, The HomeScholar Record?  If so, we would love it if you would give a rating and write a brief review here, so others could find it!  Thanks.
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Last Call for College Visits!!

Last Call for College Visits!!

If you have a high school junior, it's VERY important to visit some colleges now. It's virtually impossible to know "the real college" unless you visit it. By next fall, your child will need to start college applications. If at all possible, visit colleges while classes are in session, so you can get to know students, professors, and see the campus "in action." That means that you need to hurry, though. Colleges are finishing up their spring quarter, and you want to get your visit in quickly! By the way, it's great for sophomores (and younger!) to visit now as well!

If you feel overwhelmed with the whole idea of college visits, my Finding a College can provide a primer for you.

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