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NCAA 101 for Homeschoolers

NCAA 101 for Homeschoolers

If you don't know, NCAA means National Collegiate Athletic Association.  If you don't know what it is, you probably aren't worried about it at all.  But if you DO know what it means, then as a homeschool parent you may feel stressed or insecure.  Let me help!

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Lee Binz
Hi JJ! That's not going to be a problem. You can mention that you use an integrated, literature-based curriculum, and that should ... Read More
Friday, 09 March 2018 18:00
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The 5 Hardest Things About Homeschooling High School

The 5 Hardest Things About Homeschooling High School
There are 5 situations that homeschoolers may face that are so challenging, only a parent can effectively handle the ins and out and eccentricities of the situation. Are you on this list? Let me get you started on facing these challenges. Number 4 on...
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How Homeschoolers Measure Up: Comparing Percentiles

How Homeschoolers Measure Up: Comparing Percentiles

How Homeschoolers Measure Up with Test Scores

Homeschoolers tend to do GREAT on standardized test scores. For example: on average, homeschoolers score above the 79th percentile in reading. But what does that mean to you? How does your homeschooler measure up? Are you average? Of course not!

Homeschooling alone can't guarantee that your child will score in the 79th percentile in reading, because every child is unique! But what homeschooing CAN do, is allow your child to learn as much as they can. They are likely to score better than they would have scored if they attended a public school. You see, homeschoolers can modify education to fit the child's needs. A homeschool parent can make sure their child is always challenged, but never overwhemed. This comes from the unique ability to set a schedule based on one specific child. Instead of moving them forward at a set rate, whether they learn the material or not, a homeschool parent can take time where it is needed.  And THAT will lead to great test scores!

Don't worry about the percentile of your child compared to other homeschooled children. Instead, focus on the education of your child. Know that educating your children can help them score better on those tests than you could have ever dreamed possible - no matter where they may be on the bell-shaped curve.

Test Scores Aren't Everything!

When I was homeschooling, my best friend had children with learning challenges. They were never able to score above the 50th percentile. But they were well educated, and had a marvelous work ethic. As adults, they are successful, with bachelor’s degrees from respected colleges. They each have a lovely family and a great job at a stable company. They were successful because of homeschooling.

Homeschooling works. Even if you aren't in the 79th percentile. So you don’t have to worry about how homeschoolers measure up, because they do!

PS - Check out this great infographic below!

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Military Academy Admission and Upper Echelon Colleges

Military Academy Admission and Upper Echelon Colleges

A mother shared her concerns that the military may still harbor some hesitation about homeschoolers.  Requesting anonymity, she wrote this heart-felt letter:

"The official line of the military academies and of ROTC is that they love homeschoolers and the diversity that they bring.  However, during the application process, we found that to be not so true.  My son had an impeccable resume for academics (4.0, college prep classes, 13 hours from the community college, 35 superscore on the ACT); athletics (soccer every high school year, 5K's, black belt, etc.); and community service hours and leadership depth.  We found that he was down-graded significantly for academics because he had been homeschooled, despite the community college and mostly co-op classes that I had nothing to do with.  ROTC did the same thing and refused him the larger scholarship.  Since that time, we've seen it happen to other homeschoolers as they are turned away, being told to get a year of college under their belt to prove themselves and then apply again.  He was accepted to West Point, his second choice.I now recommend to my friends that they "graduate" their kids a year early and do their senior year full-time at the community college.  This would have saved us a lot of energy as we jumped through their hoops.  I realize it could negate scholarships at some other colleges if they've already finished their first year. With this information in hand, what actions can you take?"

First, recognized that the military academies are some of the most elite schools in the nation - much like Harvard and Yale.  For that reason, they admit very, very few students.  And for that reason, they must reject many, many very highly qualified candidates.  Your child can seem perfect on paper, but be rejected by one or more of the military academies.Second, the academies want much more than academics.  They want things that are intangible, and impossible to quantify with test scores.  These things include proof of physical fitness and endurance, and proof of leadership.  Demonstrating these things isn't enough, they want verifiable proof.  Understand their requirements and provide proof as needed.

Third, always have a back-up plan for college applications,no matter how gifted your child. When you get into the upper echelon colleges, when 90% of applicants are perfect, but only 10% can be admitted, it's almost like they are flipping a coin.  Be ready for the coin flip to go your way - or not.  Have a back up plan.  Harvard may accept, while Yale might reject, the very same child.Finally, consider this mother's advice, to see if community college might be an option for your child.  Although it's not something I normally recommend, for your child this might be a good idea, so research is necessary.  Remember that community college is a rated R environment, so weigh the pros and cons carefully.

When you purchase my Total Transcript Solution, you will LOVE your free month as a member of my Silver Training Club!

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Letters of Recommendation for Homeschoolers

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

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. You will be notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!
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Grab the NEW HomeScholar Book!

Grab the NEW HomeScholar Book!
"Honey, There's a Crazed Mob of Scholarship-Wielding Colleges Pounding on Our Front Door!!"

While we can't promise that this will happen to you, "The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships" really is a treasure trove for college bound homeschoolers and their parents! This paperback book is available now on Amazon. Grab your copy today!

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Military Academy and ROTC Scholarship Success

Military Academy and ROTC Scholarship Success
Let me just stand back and let another mom tell you the good news: Homeschoolers win Scholarships!  Military Academy and ROTC!  Here are some real tips from a real mom with experience!  Thanks for sharing, Cassie!

Hi Lee,
Now that we are nearing the end of the year I wanted to update you on Sara's plans for next year.

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OpenCourseWare for Homeschoolers

OpenCourseWare for Homeschoolers
In the realm of online learning, “OpenCourseWare” is the new kid on the block, one worth checking into if you have a homeschool student who does well with virtual classes.  OpenCourseWare (OCW) includes coursework and materials shared freely with anyone via the Internet.

Universities such as MIT, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Harvard, to name a few, all offer OCW, although there is no credit conferred for completion of any courses.

I think it’s wonderful that these courses are free. They are extremely helpful for kids that are ready for this kind of college learning, but a word of warning: sometimes homeschoolers will sign up for OCW and then find out that it’s hard.  It is college level material, and if you take it from a college like MIT, which is an extremely difficult school to get into, the material will be even harder!  However, if your student is ready, I think it’s great to take classes.

For transcript purposes, you can count each class as a high school credit. If you’re interested in getting college credit for the course, look into CLEP or AP or Dante’s subject area tests.   If you’re looking for OCW at the high school level, I suggest you look at Kahn Academy, since they have a lot of links to classes that are high school level.


What do you think of OpenCourseWare?

I am now the Seattle Homeschool Examiner.  You can read my homeschool articles here.
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Schedule Free Time

Schedule Free Time

I always encourage parents to schedule free time.

We worked our heavy academic subjects 4 days a week.  The 5th day was when we focused more on delight directed learning.  In elementary school, the 5th day was when we went to the park, or roller skating, or met with friends.  In high school, that was the day for my children to do special projects, or work on their electives. They had to get their math and foreign language done in the morning, to make sure they didn’t fall behind.  After that, the day was free to work on their electives – which meant that each week we had a really exciting and successful day, encouraging our children to do what they loved.

My oldest son loves chess.  He spent time studying chess, becoming nationally ranked.  He also taught chess classes to homeschool groups, private schools, and at inner city after school programs.  My younger son loves politics and economics.  He spent time studying subjects independently.  Eventually he was offered a job as a research assistant at a public policy think tank, and was active in politics and economics there.

Remember Mr. Roger's Neighborhood?  Fred Rogers said, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serous learning.  But for children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of Childhood." At the high school level, play is delight directed learning, and a source of high school electives.


Learn how to homeschool with confidence with my Preparing to  Homeschool High School DVD.  It will help take the fear away.
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Ideas for Volunteer Leadership and Community Service

Ideas for Volunteer Leadership and Community Service

My Facebook Friends helped me create this great list!

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Homeschool Yearbook Solution

Homeschool Yearbook Solution
My writer and editor Jill Bell just graduated her high school senior (congratulations, Jill!)  I asked her to write a review of Total Yearbooks so I could see how it would work for a real homeschooler.  Guess what?  She LOVED it!  Read her review and see for yourself - this could be the solution for your homeschool yearbook too!

Total Yearbooks Review


If you’re like many homeschool moms, the photos you’ve taken of your family over the years are languishing somewhere in a box, or nowadays are more likely to be sitting in a folder on your desktop, not even printed out yet!  You envy your friends who display fabulous, colorful scrapbooks or baby books, complete with journaling and beautiful color photos embellished with the latest doohickeys.  Where do they find the time (not to mention the money) to do those things?!  Surely you must be a terrible mother, because you won’t have a beautiful baby book to hand over to your future daughter-in-law, or a great high school yearbook to share at your son’s upcoming graduation party.  What to do?


Although I have managed to produce a few scrapbooks of my children, and I even print out a few photos every so often at the local drug store, I am not the queen of memory-making, and I really wish I had some other ways to capture and record these fleeting memories of our family time together before my kids fly off to new nests.


When the opportunity to try out a new online resource for creating photo books came along, I decided to give it a try!  Total Yearbooks ( is an online program that allows you to upload your photos and create a variety of picture books, with over 100 page templates and multiple text options to choose from.  I decided to create that high school graduation yearbook (mentioned above), and chose a large (12 x 12) 20-page book option.  It was easy to upload my photos from my desktop, drop them into the templates I chose, and then add the text I wanted (the ‘Help’ button at the top of the page answered most of the questions I had as well).  The process didn’t require me to have sophisticated computer skills (good), or tons of time (really good), and the results—well let me just say WOW!  After placing my order (and the prices are quite reasonable), my yearbook arrived a few days later in the mail.  The quality of photo paper, the hard cover durability, and the clarity of the photos was pretty impressive!


Although I didn’t choose this option, you can even make your creations available for purchase online, and make a little profit!  I could see a homeschool club or class creating a yearbook here, and making it available for others to purchase as a fundraiser!  You can also share your photos from this website with family and friends, in a password-protected environment.  All in all, this is a great website, and I encourage everyone to try it out!


Jill Bell, Editor at The HomeScholar


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Scared to Start

Scared to Start

We had so many friends who were homeschooling, that it seemed only natural for us to homeschool too. Still, we were hesitant (SCARED!). My children entered the public school system, and we kept waiting for it to meet the needs of our children, but it just didn’t.  After a few years, I realized I could do a better job with both hands tied behind my back, so we took the plunge.  We began to homeschool for academic reasons, trying to keep my gifted children challenged.  It quickly became obvious that homeschooling solved our problem of socialization.  My shy child became much more confident and outgoing.  My head-strong child stopped being a bully and became pleasantly outgoing.

If you are nervous about starting to homeschool too, perhaps these articles will encourage you:

A New Beginning: Homeschooling High School for Freaked Out and Terrified Parents

Taming Middle School Anxiety

Subscribe to my YouTube channel.  You’ll  get notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!
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Independent Homeschool Support

Independent Homeschool Support

I encourage parents to homeschool independently.

Homeschooling is legal in every state, and you can educate your children in a way that makes sense, without being tied to a school system.  That will allow you to homeschool outside the box, keeping your children challenged but not overwhelmed.  When you homeschool independently, you can choose homeschool curriculum that is a perfect fit, and teach any elective class under the sun.  The world is your oyster! But when you tie yourself to a school system, alternative education, or accreditation program, you lose all control and must follow their rules and desires. Parents are capable of providing a superior education that is the perfect fit for their children.

Independent home education is TRULY flexible, individualized, supportive, and official. We are not flexible within some artificial boundaries, or individualized within certain curriculum choices, or supportive as long as rules are followed. We can be official by following state law.

Make sure your choice is based on what is right for your own child because you know your child best. Make sure your decision is NOT based on fear of homeschooling. Fear is no reason for making an important choice about schooling options.

I nudge parents toward homeschooling independently.  That's my job.  I'm willing to help anyone, regardless of their situation or educational choices.  I have some clients in alternative education and parent partnerships.  That's fine.  I don't judge!  I nudge!


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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Thinking about High School

Thinking about High School

Sometimes people ask for specific recommendations when parents and students start thinking about homeschooling high school.  It's hard to give specific recommendations to a general question, but here are some places to start looking.

I have several resources on my website that you might want to check out.  First is my HomeScholar Recommends homeschool curriculum page that has a lot of information on what we used and what worked for us.  It covers gifts, books, resources and curriculum so it can help in a lot of ways.


I also have created a “College Bound Reading List” that you will enjoy.  It is a compilation of lots of recommended books that will provide the balance of serious and lighter reading that the colleges are looking for.


Finally, I have resources that will help parent on some of the key issues they face in high school.  First is my homeschool transcript product, the Total Transcript Solution that provides instructions and tools to make short work of this dreaded task.  Second is my resource for homeschool records, the Comprehensive Record Solution, that provides extensive training, templates and step-by-step guidance on how to create a homeschool portfolio that colleges will love.  Our transcripts and records are what opened the door to my boys winning those full-tuition scholarships and I love it when parents can replicate our success.


If you have a specific question on how to homeschool high school, take a look at my Parent Training A la Carte page.  There you’ll find many hour-long courses on every difficult high school topic imaginable.


Finally, if you just want to dip your toe into the whole homeschooling high school experience, check out my homeschool freebies page.  I have free webinars, mini-courses and special reports that will answer many of your questions.


As you wrap up your homeschooling years let me help you finish strongly.

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In the News - Homeschool Graduates Succeed!

In the News - Homeschool Graduates Succeed!


Homeschooling Goes To College
"Today homeschooling is a credible, viable educational choice that is garnering respect, even admiration, from outside educators. At the nation's elite colleges and universities, once-wary admissions officers are validating the benefits of a home education in the best way possible - with much- coveted acceptances.

Homeschoolers Ready for College
"Myths about unsocialized home-schoolers are false, and most are well prepped for college, experts say."

Homeschooled Students Well-Prepared For College, Study Finds
"Studies suggest that those who go on to college will outperform their peers.
Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers­ -- 66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent -- and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.

Number of Homeschoolers Growing Nationwide
"Researchers are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years as more families spurn public schools."

Homeschool Graduation Memories
Three of my friends graduated their children this year.  I was struck at how each graduation was so unique, and yet all so wonderful.  Compare these three different homeschool graduation stories.  There are lots of options as you create your own memories!

Beth Graduated her son Joshua with a big party and prayerful send-off.  Read Beth's Blog

De'Etta Graduates her son Jared. No ceremony - Jared wanted to walk the bridge, flip his tassel, and be done.  Read De'Etta's Blog

Leslie Graduated her daughter Lizzie with an elegant formal event. Read Leslie's Blog


Homeschooling is NOT the same as doing schoolwork at home.  There is LOTS of freedom!  My Gold Care Club will give you all the help you need to succeed!

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