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January Gold Care Club Update

January Gold Care Club Update
New for this month in the Gold Care Club ... How-to Training Courses Quick Start : Homeschool High School Excellence Beginner : Preparing to Homeschool High School - Live Convention Part 1/3 Intermediate : Making the Grades Advanced : Making a T...
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Homeschool High School: Teaching Health

Homeschool High School: Teaching Health
Homeschool health requirements vary by state.  Check your state homeschool law, and see what your state may require for health.


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.

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Why I Do Not Recommend Weighting Grades

Why I Do Not Recommend Weighting Grades
I don't recommend weighting grades. It makes it harder for colleges, and colleges tend to like you more if you make their job easier.  Here is the problem, every high school has a different policy on weighting grades.


For an "Honors" or AP class, some high schools will add 1.0 to the grade - so the highest grade possible is a 5.0 instead of a 4.0.  Some high schools will increase the grade by 0.5, so honors classes can earn a 4.5 grade. To further complicate things, some high schools will change the credit value. An honors class might be worth 2.0 credits, or 1.5 credits, instead of a 1.0 credit like normal. There are so many variation possibilities, and colleges need to compare students from different schools and school districts. For that reason, the first thing they do is to un-weight any weighted grades. Colleges have asked me to tell parents not to weight grades, and so I don't recommend weighting grades unless your first choice college prefers grades that way. High schools weight grades so their student population looks smarter, and more college ready. It sounds great in their marketing materials to say their average GPA at school is 3.2, when you don't have to mention how many kids earned a 5.0 grades. High schools do it for marketing purposes, but it's not helpful for colleges.

However, public schools do weight grades sometimes, and each school or school district can have their own grading policy.  As a homeschooler, you can decide on your own school policy on weighting grades. Look over these options and decide for yourself.

Here are the easiest ways I have seen for weighting grades for honors or AP classes:

  • Credit: double the credit value of the class to 2.0

  • Credit: increase the credit value of the class to 1.5

  • Grade: add 1.0 to your final grade

  • Grade: add 0.5 to your final grade

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Recent Comments
ME
Wow, that is complicated. Thank you for this article, I am grading standard grades; not weighted.
Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:17
Robin
That's really smart! You are making it much easier for yourself and for prospective colleges. Well done! Robin Assistant to The ... Read More
Thursday, 29 August 2019 19:26
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January Homeschool Calendar Reminders

January Homeschool Calendar Reminders
It's a new year! Here are some handy January homeschool calendar reminders for you!     Middle School:  Avoid panic! Spend some time this month learning how to homeschool high school. Then next year you'll begin high school feelin...
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9 Tips to Earn More Scholarships

9 Tips to Earn More Scholarships
It's tempting to think that our goal is to get our children in to college. No, no! Our goal is that our children can get in AND afford to go to college. Getting admitted is only part of the problem! Here ideas to help you get more scholarship money o...
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College Application Lexicon

College Application Lexicon

College application has it's own unique vocabulary.  As you look toward college admission, you'll notice you have many different choices on how to apply.  Here are the NACAC definitions of terms for different kinds of application plans.  If you need a primer on what "application" means, this blog post is for you.

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[Free eBook] How to Motivate Homeschool Teens

[Free eBook] How to Motivate Homeschool Teens
It can happen overnight. One day your child is pleasant, cooperative, and enthusiastic about learning; the next day, they aren't. This can happen with girls or boys; sometimes it happens at a certain age. Don't feel as if you've done something wrong,...
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How to Write a Cover Letter for Your Transcript

How to Write a Cover Letter for Your Transcript

Usually a cover letter is a simple introduction provided when sending homeschool records. It might introduce the student, explain the records, describe major issues or anything unusual. The cover letter should always highlight the positives, and put a positive spin on anything encountered.



Cover Letters Explain Craziness
While many parents have nothing important to say in a cover letter, some homeschool parents must address an unusual situation. In a calm and poised manner, use the cover letter to use advantage. Let me give you 6 common crazies that you might explain.
1. Horrible Grades
When you remove a child from school, and begin to homeschool, you may need to explain why the grades suddenly changed. Use a cover letter to explain why your child had failing grades, why you began homeschooling, and why the student is successful now. It's helpful to explain it positively, perhaps explaining the child was not being challenged or was not engaged in learning. 2. Crazy Credits
Sometimes a student has a huge number of credits that needs to be explained. You can describe how you homeschool year-round, permit summer school credits, and allow delight directed learning after hours. With too few credits, you can explain a change of heart that has provided the student with the drive needed to succeed with a full credit load in the future. 3. Gifted and Advanced
Use a cover letter to explain unusual situations you might face, like early exposure to advanced classes, extended use of dual enrollment, or excessive credits. Explain that your homeschool provides unlimited class options, not limited by the interests of the teachers. Also, explain that you allowed early high school credits to be earned in middle school. 4. Classes Outside the Home
A cover letter can be used to explain classes taken outside the home, if multiple transcripts are expected with the application. You must submit all high school transcripts from all schools, but you can use the cover letter to turn it into a "good news story." 5. Medical or Emotional Problems
When facing a crisis at home, always be honest with grades and credits you assign. While it's not always helpful or appropriate to explain these situations, sometimes is can be. You may be able to look forward to improvements.6. Super-Senior Year

When a fifth year of high school is required or beneficial, the reasons can be explained in a cover letter. While it's important to put a positive spin on things, explain that maturity, additional school credits, or health needs have required an additional year of school. If it's applicable, and true, explain that the student was eager for the additional year, to eliminate the concern of over-controlling parents.


Simple Cover Letter Format
A cover letter is helpful when you are sending a transcript or comprehensive homeschool records to a college for admission. Often it is a very simple statement of "enclosed is the transcript." Other times the cover letter for your transcript can be up to one page long, explaining a complicated situation as briefly as possible.
When writing a cover letter, it can be helpful to use a standard, formal cover letter template. Consider this example of a cover letter for your transcript:

November 14, 20XX

Lee Binz
(555) 555-5555
[email protected]

RE: Official High School Transcript

To the Office of Admissions:

Enclosed is an Official High School Transcript, as required of all applicants. In the hopes that it will help in your evaluation of my son Joe, I’ve also included comprehensive homeschool records and a list of honors and leadership experiences.

If I can be of any assistance in clarifying any aspect of his home education, please feel free to call or email me. I did add a few comments to the online application, which should be helpful as well.

Thank you,

Lee Binz


A cover letter might explain why your child took 5 years to graduate, earned straight A's (or didn't), or that you require mastery, or homeschool year-round. Anything you deem important might be explained in a brief cover letter.

A transcript is just the beginning of the college application process. Let me unlock the mysteries of the whole process for you in this free class! Click to register: College Applications Simply Explained
Quick cover letter tips:
  • Don't mention anything that happened before high school.
  • Don't brag but be positive about what happened.
  • Don't talk about yourself or your family, only the student.
Now that you've learned how to write a cover letter for your transcript, what is your biggest concern about college admission? Please share in the comments!

 

Click to Join my Newsletter!

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Twelve Days of Christmas with IEW

Twelve Days of Christmas with IEW
​One of my favorite writing curriculum resources comes from my friends at IEW. If you aren't familiar with IEW, Institute for Excellence in Writing , you should go check them out! So many great resources that make writing fun to learn and remember! A...
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Grading Estimate

Grading Estimate
Let me guess.  You didn't use tests on all your homeschool subjects, right?  Neither did I! And yet, somehow, my children survived!

 



Some homeschoolers think it's tons of fun to go back through four years of high school records and try to find or recreate every possible test, quiz, and assignment.  For me, that doesn't sound like fun.  I was not one of those people.  Plus I've noticed that even when parents do some forensic grading like that, it doesn't really change what they know to be true.  If you are not a tester in your homeschool, look beyond tests, and think of how you have evaluated.

Consider what best reflects your child’s true progress (and learning style!). While a visual learner may test well on paper, a hands-on or auditory learner may be better understood during personal interaction, rather than a paper-and-pencil test. Consider the arts - if you're student is taking piano lessons, you probably won't test, rather have a concert where you evaluate them. Get creative and know your child.

Because not all homeschoolers use tests, I have created a quick grading estimate for homeschool parents.

Grade A or 4.0
Mastery
Meets high expectations
High standardized test scores
Child love subject

Grade B or 3.0 
Pretty good
Not worth an A
Tempted to do it again

Grade C or 2.0
Not very good
Kept going to the next level



This is one of piece of a Gold Care Club monthly webinar.  They are tons of fun!  I hope some day you'll join me!  You can read more about the Gold Care Club here: The HomeScholar Gold Care Club.





Another feature of the Gold Care Club is the opportunity to ask your biggest questions about homeschooling high school.
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December 2019 Gold Care Club Update

December 2019 Gold Care Club Update
 Here's what's new for this month for the Gold Care Club. Be sure to check your inbox for more details about where to find these resources and what dates will look like for Christmas and New Year's consultation days.  Don't miss out on all ...
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Reach, Fit, and Safety Simplified

Reach, Fit, and Safety Simplified

Finding a college is more than watching where your friends and neighbors’ children go to school. Take your sophomore or junior to a college fair and/or search online for the perfect college match for your student. Once you have some possibilities, visit the college in person. Visiting is the only way to see if it’s a perfect match. Try to whittle down the list to a handful of colleges by the end of junior year. When you visit, ask about their homeschool admission policy. Find out what records they want from you, and any additional testing requirements. When your high school junior is applying for colleges, it's a good idea to look at three different kinds of colleges; REACH, FIT and SAFETY.


By the end of junior year, make a list of four to eight colleges where your child will apply, including both public and private colleges. Choose a mix of reach, fit, and safety universities. A "reach" school has higher average test scores than your child’s, but they meet the college requirements. Be careful, though, because all Ivy League and military academies are reach schools, no matter how high your child’s scores might be. A "fit" college score is about the same as your child’s score, and they meet the college requirements. A "safety" school means your child’s test scores are higher than the college scores, and they exceed the college requirements.

Here is how you do it.

  1. Look at your SAT or ACT score.  If you took the PSAT, you can estimate your SAT score from the results.
  2. Research the colleges you are considering.  Find the colleges average SAT or ACT score.
  3. Compare your score to the college score
  4. Choose some "reach" school.  The college has a higher score than yours, but you meet the college requirements.  All Ivy League and military academies are reach schools, no matter how high your scores might be.
  5. Choose some "fit" schools.  The college score is about the same as your score, and you meet the college requirements.
  6. Choose some "safety" schools.  Your score is higher than the college scores, and you exceed the college requirements.


Applying for reach, fit, and safety colleges can help prevent heartache.  When you apply for a variety of schools, you're almost sure to find a perfect fit that will accept you, and may provide great scholarships.
It's common for children to apply for 4-12 colleges, with a mix of reach, fit, and safety schools.  Although it's a  common suggestion, but it doesn't fit every family.

There are 9 easy steps you can take in preparing for high school graduation and in preparing for college. Read my artile, 9 Easy Steps: High School Graduation Checklist to find out how prepared you are for finding a college you'll love.

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December Homeschool Calendar Reminders

December Homeschool Calendar Reminders
 Can you believe it's already December? Before you know it, Christmas will be here and then the New Year! Don't let these important calendar reminders slip your mind during this busy season. ​Middle School:   High school level classes go on...
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Give Christmas Gifts that Pay for College

Give Christmas Gifts that Pay for College

Are you busy getting all of your Christmas gifts purchased? If so, you won't want to miss this list! Christmas gifts for your homeschooler that will free you from checking your list twice!



What are Gifts that Pay for College?

Kids want fun things that they are interesting to them.
Parents want educated children without going broke or crazy.
Colleges want “passion” and delight directed learning.
Give gifts that will increase the fun factor in school, help colleges appreciate your student, allow you to maintain your sanity, or save enough time of money to help you afford the cost of college.

Gifts that pay for college can mean…

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The 12 Days of Christmas Teaching Tips

The 12 Days of Christmas Teaching Tips
Master my best teaching tips this Christmas! Holiday seasons, especially between November and January, are busy times. Celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Hanukkah, and more seem to tumble on top of each other, with no time in betw...
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