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[Free Book] Keys to High School Success

[Free Book] Keys to High School Success
Many parents sail through homeschooling in the early years, but when faced with the prospect of homeschooling high school, they get ready to bail, for all the wrong reasons! If you're concerned about homeschooling high school, Keys to High School Suc...
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Homeschooling with 4-H

Homeschooling with 4-H


I love hearing about families involved in 4-H! As a rule of thumb, ALL 4-H activities are educational in nature, like Scouting is almost always educational in nature. It's fun to discuss different ways to divide these activities into meaningful high school courses.

Face it - 4-H is just great fun! Learn how to put fabulous fun on your homeschool transcript and convert natural learning into high school credit with this free ebook. Download now: How to Convert Delight Directed Learning Into High School Credit
If your child is active in sewing and ceramics in 4-H, think about what they have achieved and what paperwork they have provided for each project. Label each one with educational words such as: fashion design, home economics, and textile crafts. Group activities together into similar clumps. Put all topics that go under art into one group, and everything that counts as cooking into another group. Other kids may lump activities into science stuff or biology stuff. Once a group of activities represents about 120-180 hours of work, Ta-Da! You have a high school credit!

Remember the golden rule of homeschooling, no double dipping. If you use some of the 4-H project hours for P.E., you can't use the SAME hours for art. But if your child has accumulated 150 hours of art activities and a different 150 hours of animal husbandry, then you can award one credit of art and one credit of animal husbandry.

Call the local 4-H extension office to inquire about 4-H clubs operating in your area. If you do not have a club near you, they can help you organize and start your own 4-H club for homeschooled families in your area. One homeschool mom says it was fairly easy, and only took her about a month to get certified through 4-H. You can also simply hold your own personal family 4-H club.

One of the great things about 4-H is the required paperwork. It can be a huge pain to do, but once your child has completed the paperwork you have some great documentation for high school classes. You can provide these as work samples if they are requested by colleges, and they can be the backbone of your course descriptions.

If you need some help translating activities into grades and credits, you can find information about this in my Total Transcript Solution. I include information about delight directed learning, so if you need more help, you can find it there!





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Please note: This post was originally published in September 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Lee Binz
Well done, Felicia! We are a 4-H goat and chicken family. I loved the curriculum for 4-H. We didn't have an active goat group, so ... Read More
Friday, 13 April 2018 22:22
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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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The Challenge of Resistant Teenagers

The Challenge of Resistant Teenagers



The Challenge of Resistant Teenagers


There are challenges with homeschooling a resistant 16-year-old, that's for sure!  It's hard to be a Christian parent homeschooling a resistant teen who doesn't want to homeschool anymore.  It may seem like an uphill battle at times, but there are ways to find the right path for your family.

The biggest factor in success of homeschooling is when the child WANTS to homeschool, you and I both know that. But sometimes parents just know they are supposed to homeschool in high school, and perhaps they do not feel the Lord calling them to send him to public school at that time.

Only the parent can know what God is saying to them and I encourage parents to listen to God on this. Friends, family, and other experts can only guess. For me, the only time I question a parent's judgement on this is when someone in the home is in physical danger due to the out of control child. Otherwise, I think the parent's gut instinct truly is an encouragement from God.

Options


So let's talk about the options. First, you could choose public school. I have seen many homeschool parents in this situation choose to send their children to public school for various reasons. Sometimes it works out fine, other times it doesn't. What can happen, with some teens, is they become MORE defiant, more challenging (yes, they can get more challenging than this, believe me!) and the family situation actually worsens. They can fail at school, drop out, and experience challenges that will remain on their permanent record.

Second, you can stay the same, continue to homeschool, and muscle through these challenges. Even though homeschooling, it's still possible to fail classes, or not get great grades. It's possible your child could continue to challenge you every step of the way. In comparison to public school, though, it might be the better option. Again, prayer is the best way to play this out. Just remember, though, that prayer doesn't always mean you get a "red light" or "green light" answer from God.  God promises that love covers a multitude of sins, and your love for your son can make it work out right in the end, even though you may never be 100% sure what you are doing is the Lords will. It reminds me of when I was engaged to my husband, and our pastor said you can really only be 80% sure your spouse is the right choice, and you have to leave the rest up to God.

Adjustments


So then, if you are going to continue homeschooling, what next? There are some adjustments you can make. Remember, all young people long to be independent. Homeschooled young men, particularly, want to be the "boss" and leader of the pack. Consider these ideas to improve things.

Don't teach - facilitate. By the time you get into the high school years, it’s important to recognize that your role has changed. No longer the teacher, you become a project manager. Instead of teaching, facilitate learning.

Encourage independent learning. Here is what it might look like. I was completely a fish out of water when it came to physics and calculus. I didn’t recognize what the symbols meant, and I couldn’t even read the answer aloud because I didn’t know how to say the names of the symbols. So here is what I did. First, my children read the textbook and the teacher's manual. They would work through each lesson on their own. If they got stuck, they could look back at the solutions manual and compare their answers to work their way through the problems. When it was time for a test, I took away the solutions manual and gave them the test. The answers had to look exactly the way they looked in the solutions manual when I corrected each test. It didn’t matter if my children claimed their answer meant the same thing; the answer had to be formatted in exactly the same way. I never learned calculus or physics, but I was able to make sure they learned by facilitating and encouraging independent learning.

Watch the child's learning style. Many boys particularly may be kinesthetic learners, so watch how each of your children learn best. Your expectations may be off from what you think their learning style is. For a kinesthetic learner, reading books with very active main characters can help. Moving while learning can help - even if that means listening to audiotapes while biking.

Encourage strenuous physical activity, especially for boys or kinesthetic learners. Often boys can manage their hormones and emotions when they are near exhaustion. Sports, Tai Kwon Do, distance running, or biking - anything to get close to exhaustion will help.

Resources


Focus on delight directed learning as a huge benefit of homeschooling. These articles may help: Maximize the Fun Factor and Delight Directed Learning and Use Your Annoy-O-Meter Skillfully

In addition to the articles above, these Coffee Break Books may be helpful, too.

Creating Homeschool Balance: Find Harmony Between Type A and Type Zzz

Homeschool Curriculum That's Effective and Fun: Avoid the Crummy Curriculum Hall of Shame!


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How to Successfully Move to a New State While Homeschooling

How to Successfully Move to a New State While Homeschooling
Moving can mean a lot of change, but it can be good change! There are some things you can do to help your child make a smooth transition to a new location.



Moving to a New State


For homeschoolers, finding friends can be a priority. A homeschool co-op might be the best way to find homeschool friends. You can also look for homeschool support groups that have teen activities. Search local activities to see if they have special times for homeschool groups. In our area, there is homeschool skating and homeschool bowling, for example.


Remind your child that they may experience culture shock. Teenagers in your new location may dress and talk differently, and listen to different music. Remind your teenager that it may take her a few months before she feels like she fits in, but that's normal.

Cultural changes can take many forms. The local homeschool co-op may require you to be there the entire time your child is on site, or they may require all parents to babysit infants while your teenager takes classes. The culture of the co-op may be very different from what you are used to.

As you are researching your new environment, make sure you look at the state homeschool information, NOT the state public school information. It's often quite different! This article will help you locate your new state homeschool law: Know Your State Homeschool Law.

As soon as you know you will be moving, try to find a homeschool co-op, and visit them as soon as possible. Many co-ops will register for fall classes early in the spring. To participate, you may need to invest financially in the co-op before you move, to reserve your spot. Be ready, so your child will have fun and be able to make friends. If possible, try to have your child take non-academic, fluffy and fun classes in the group setting. That way there will be little performance anxiety, and they'll have more opportunities to make friends. Plus, you don't really know the academic quality of the co-op before you move. Use it for fun activities, not core subjects, until you can be sure they will offer the best academic preparation for your child.

As you plan your high school classes after the move, keep your homeschool hours reasonable, so your child has time to find and develop friends. For example, it takes so much time to complete an AP class, you may want to forego that opportunity right after a move. During this transition, taking "normal" classes is a great idea. You want to keep your child challenged, not overwhelmed, so they have enough time for socializing in their new home. AP classes could definitely be overwhelming.

You might be surprised by a change in the academic expectations and worldview in your new location. These changes can be shocking at times. One state may have exceptionally high expectations or requirements in high school, and another state may struggle to provide a basic high school education. Expect a change in the state-wide attitude toward education. Without judging others, remember that you are responsible for the education of your own child, to the best of your ability. Don't compare yourself to others, just do your best.

Be prepared for a cultural change in your new homeschool group. Each group may have very different attitudes and rules. In the beginning, dress conservatively when you visit. I know that my Seattle, clothes look radical compared to how women in the south sometimes dress! Especially in the beginning, make sure your children don't show the belly button, tattoos, or body piercings until you are comfortable with the local group norms. It's not a good time to color hair purple, either! You want your child to see the group norms first, with nothing standing in the way of their friendship with others.

And just between you and me, save some money for a wardrobe upgrade about a month after you move. This may be most important for girls, I suppose, but teens may want to wear the same style of clothes as their new friends.

Have you moved while homeschooling high school? What advice can you share that would help others?

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Do You Love Homeschooling? Or Need a Support Group?

Do You Love Homeschooling? Or Need a Support Group?

Do You Love Homeschooling?


February can be a difficult month to homeschool. Dark and dreary, we often long for freedom - and maybe a bubble bath. Listen, if things are going really badly right now, consider making a change. You can have more fun, lighten up, and learn more about homeschooling high school through a support group so it becomes easier for you!

If you don't have a meaningful support group that meets your needs, or if you would like personal conversations with an expert, consider joining The HomeScholar Support Group. I call it the Gold Care Club because you'll feel like loved and cared for. It's convenient, supportive, and always a good fit. Each month, you'll be able to view 5 classes on topics about homeschooling high school. When you have unique questions that need personal attention, the Gold Care Club provides weekly consultations with me. We can talk together and get it all figured out. You'll be encouraged and start the path toward spring with confidence.

Learn More about the Gold Care Club


Have a wonderful February! Remember to love on your kids. Those are the lessons that last forever!



 

 

 
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3 Big Ideas That Save Money on Gifts

3 Big Ideas That Save Money on Gifts


You can save money on gifts for the holidays!


Several great ways to save money on gifts included: buying things that are useful AND are things you will eventually need to buy anyway.  Buying gifts that improve your chances of receiving really great scholarships saves you money in the long run, too! Here are three HUGE ideas to help you save money on gifts this holiday season.

 1. Buy Great Books 


Many homeschoolers love great books and reading! Quality literature can improve the chance of college admission and scholarships. How does that work? Simple! High quality literature can improve SAT or ACT test scores by improving reading, analysis, vocabulary, and other English skills. Even remedial learners can improve test scores by reading, as long as you choose books carefully. Check out my College Bound Reading List for great ideas for books that will perfectly fit your child.

2. Buy Necessities for College


When your children get ready to leave for college, there are things you're just going to have to buy. They will need an alarm clock that they know how to use. They'll need their own personal laptop for their school work. You can save money by giving your teenager some of these things now, for Christmas, so you have less to buy in the spring when they graduate. You can also purchase some comfort items now, like a cozy blanket that they might find familiar when they first face homesickness. Check out my College Packing List for great ideas on what you will need to be shopping for.

3. Buy Gifts That Earn Scholarships


Colleges love "passion" in applicants. We homeschoolers call that "delight-directed learning." So when you buy things that fuel their passionate pursuits, whether that is music, mushrooms, chess or chemistry, you are actually investing in "passion." That passion could be rewarded with college admission and scholarships. Yes, a computer or microscope can seem expensive now, but it could be an investment in the future. Check out my list suggestions "Giving Gifts that Pay for College."


For more ideas on staying sane and saving money, you might like this short coffee break book filled with tips and suggestions!

Homeschooling the Holidays: Sanity Saving Strategies and Gift Giving Ideas 

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Coping with Changes to the SAT

Coping with Changes to the SAT

Confused about recent changes to the SAT?. In this video, I discuss what you can expect.



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Graduate Your Homeschooler with College Credit

Graduate Your Homeschooler with College Credit
In this video, I talk about how to help your homeschool student graduate high school with college credit.




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Is the SAT a Graduation Requirement?

Is the SAT a Graduation Requirement?
In this video, I discuss whether the SAT and ACT are required for high school graduation.




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How Do I Prove My Child is Educated?

How Do I Prove My Child is Educated?

In this video, I talk about how to prove to the colleges that your child's homeschool education is rigorous.




Here are a couple of brief articles that will give you more info on registering for the SAT and ACT tests.

This one has links for waivers from the testing sites: Click on "Register" or "Registration":  Fee Waivers for Tests and Applications

This one has links to Sample tests:  Should I Choose the SAT or ACT for my Homeschooler?

For personal support join the Gold Care Club!



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The 25 Gifts of Homeschooling: The Gift of Time

The 25 Gifts of Homeschooling: The Gift of Time
1. Homeschooling is the Gift of Time

Homeschooled children have more time to play! With one-on-one time, children tend to complete their homeschool day much more quickly than their public schooled counterparts. Homeschooling is just more effective and more efficient. As a result, homeschooled children have more time to enjoy their passions. They have more free, unstructured time to play and develop interests.

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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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Does Homeschooling Make You a Bad Person?

Does Homeschooling Make You a Bad Person?

This article title just SCREAMS for attention!



"If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.



I'm sure the author chose the title just so people would get upset enough to share it with friends.  A "bad" person?  Really?

Her thesis is simple. "If every parent sent every single child to public school, schools would improve. Not immediately, could take generations, mediocre educations in the meantime, but worth it for the eventual common good."

I read the title, tried to absorb her message, and though, "Wow! Time for a therapy session with friends!" I shared the article with my Facebook friends, so we could all share our feelings together, and encourage one another. It feels so much better to get the support from friends!
The problem is the "common good" by WHOSE definition. My definition of greater good is definitely different. I saw this earlier this morn. The writer is a big time socialist. Judging from the comments on the article, thankfully, very few agree with this nonsense. ~ Dani

Eliminating competition to improve failing schools? Not. Would she use a surgeon for a heart transplant who had several medical malpractice suits against him? You know, like to help him get better by providing surgical opportunities? ~ Lois

I had to laugh at one of the first points to defend their argument which was that I can fix whatever they are missing at home and they will be fine. That is 100% true. However, if I have to spend 2 hours a day helping them with homework and tutoring to fill in the gaps of learning they missed and reprogramming behaviors etc., with only 2 more hours I could have homeschooled them for the whole day AND had time left over to play with them and do activities as a family! ~ Heather

It took me awhile to figure out if this article was a joke. I'm going to go ahead and assume it is, because the logic is just ridiculous. ~ Amanda

She is clearly a product of her public school indoctrination education. Sacrifice your kids for the eventual greater good?? ~ Lisa

I'm sorry, getting drunk before school basketball games is NOT acceptable sacrifice for my children for the "future common good." I'm so blown away by though, I can't even gather my thoughts! ~ Holly

I wouldn't want to have to carry water very far in that bucket, that's for sure! For real? The value I see in reading the article is being forced to think through the seemingly well-formed but nonsensical ideas the writer puts forth.~ Kathy

Wow. She's kind of crazy. I should sacrifice my children for the greater good? Um, no. We tried that for a few years. They can have my tax money, but hands off my kids. ~ Catherine

I'm thinking this article is not written to be taken seriously? If so, WOW is all I have to say and huh? ~ Jennifer

My kids are not guinea pigs. ~ Christian

No, I am not a bad parent! I am a parent who wants security, peace of mind, and the ability to help choose what guides my children's education. That is sort of like the great vaccine debate amongst parents. My child is not a guinea pig is a very accurate statement! Each of my children's little hearts beat in my womb... they are treasured and irreplaceable! This article has to be a joke! ~ Lora

I guess I'll just be a "bad" parent. ~ Marcia

No thanks! This article has to be a joke! My children are precious and will not be sacrifice for the greater good. ~ Donna

How can she fix the problems at home when she herself has admitted to not having a proper education? Isn't that a bit like the blind leading the blind? ~ Anna

At some points she sounds like she's being facetious but the point she is making is clear... Sacrifice your kids now for the possible change for the future. ~ Jessica

The idea that the institution is more important that the child must never cease to amaze us if we hope to positively impact education in this country! The author of this article thinks we should sacrifice a couple generations for the future... generations who will then be responsible for that future. And she wants us to base our faith in her judgement on her own experience? She makes the case against herself with her lack of logic. Thanks for the added inspiration to always offer children something more, my own and those whose parent's can't make the choices I do. We can help local schools a lot even if our children do not attend them. Have fun shaping a better future today, my fellow parents and teachers of all educational options! ~ Holly

Are you sure this was Slate, not The Onion? ~ Tamarah

It was Slate, I posted about this yesterday in a few homeschool groups. I'm deeply upset by this article and her reasoning is truly horrendous. What happens when in a few generations things have not gotten better? ~ Kristen

I thought this must be a joke at first. Then the author seemed serious on some points. But it's so ludicrous, it must be a joke. ~ Tricia

The article is so flawed and illogical. Sacrificing the good of your child to hopefully someday improve the government school..? Liberalism. ~ Christy

She states she did not have a good education, and it shows. How will this improve in a few generations? You will have less and less education at schools and more and more at home. Hey!!!! HOMESCHOOL, what an interesting concept. Hmmm maybe she has a point....~ Alexandra

I decided YEARS ago, that was a FAILED argument. I'm not putting MY child on THAT altar. Nope. We are Homeschooling. No apologies required. ~ Dana

We should just sacrifice our children for the "greater good" while the bureaucrats spend years trying to reinvent the wheel. no thanks! ~ Sasha

They have had generations of experimenting and not listening to us. They failed the test. I have no interest in allowing them to continue the experiment in social engineering only to HOPE that someday it might work out for all our good. Raising kids God's way is the best way to help our society as a whole and to help our children reach their full potential and purpose.their idea of what is good- their goals and mine are two very different things. ~ Don

Wait, I need to go punch a punching bag for a few minutes before I tackle this one. maybe do some deep breathing too. Amazing. ~ Yvonne

The funny thing is, they keep claiming their solution to fixing the problem is getting the kids younger and younger. We now have 2 year olds going to "preschool." Soon they will say to drop the kids off on our way home from the hospital and the education system will still be a disaster. ~ Sasha

This is outrageous. She can't possible have any children. I have never heard anyone that had kids refer to them as 'spawn'. I bet she thinks Common Core is good, too. Wow. Just wow. ~ Charlotte

Either this is the most ignorant and uneducated piece I've ever read or a brilliant satire. I can't decide. ~ Diana

We'd have ourselves a generation that sets the bar at mediocre then complains when they can't even get to that. We would send ourselves to the dark ages through lost of knowledge and sheer lack of knowledge transfer. ~ Pauline

Sacrifice. now for some future generation's supposed utopia? It sounds like she's been drinking from the cup of idyllic communism. ~ Shannon

Hmm, that Michael Jackson song echoes through my mind, "Ya know, I'm bad...I'm bad..." Not that I'm an MJ fan, but I'm totally okay with being this woman's definition of "bad". ~ Dixie

It's written to provoke discussion. The author was very successful in baiting you all. ~ Greta

I like to think that the author was taking a sarcastic tone in a persuasive article. I had to read it twice (once for me and once to my homeschooled high school son) and we both got a kick out of it. This piece is "dripping with sarcasm" as they say. ~ Karie

I read the article and had several thoughts about it. First one? A spoof, such as one might find on the onion. As I read further, that thought diminished. The next thought was the author is childless. Who else would choose to sell their children short? If EVERY child in America went to public school, this nation would be in much worse trouble than the current state of affairs. ~ Janet

This was so outrageous that I had to double check that it wasn't published by The Onion. ~ Dominique

Last year Slate attacked homeschoolers in, "Liberals, don't homeschool your kids." This year, it's private schoolers. I think if your public school is like a swimming pool filled with crud, leaving your kids enrolled in hopes that they'll act like little magical filters is just a good way to end up with cruddy kids.  ~ Tavia

While I agree with most of you (wondering if this was spoof, agreeing that it's a flawed argument etc), she does make some important and good points. When we take our kids out of the system - for whatever reason - we do potentially hurt the system by removing our concern from the system. If no one is there advocating for the good of the kids, it won't get better. I don't plan to "sacrifice my children for the common good" either. But if my kids are in the system, I WILL work my tail off to make sure they get the best possible education within that system. AND my work will make it better for everyone even if it can't change everything (or "anything" tangible). My effort could be contagious to and encouraging to other parents. And because I care about my kids (etc), they likely will succeed IN ANY SYSTEM. Her point is well taken. Also, there is much to be learned from having a 2nd rate teacher, from kids from different (esp. not so good) backgrounds, etc. Like compassion, thankfulness, patience, and not needing to have everything "just so" in order to learn or succeed. ~ Melanie

Some kids can succeed wherever they are. Some kids won't succeed no matter what you do for them. But our responsibility is to make sure that our children receive the best we can give them. If that means sacrificing time and energy in schooling them at home or in a private school, then so be it. There will always be some parents that see the system as working for them and they don't see why we all don't want to be involved in it. But, I have seen what it's not doing. I have seen people that have graduated high school that cannot write a complete sentence correctly, and they don't know how to find an answer without expecting someone else to find it for them. They have not been taught to think for themselves, because the "system" has taught them that it knows best. ~ Connie

In English classes, I hated trying to find the "thesis statement" in an essay but I think I got it, this time! The author says, "I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child..." ~ Sandee

I would be interest in reading what she would have to say if she applied this rational to other areas in her life. Like 'sacrificing' her husband, his employment, their healthcare etc., for the greater good of others.

If this article is real, her thinking is very flawed. ~ Ruth

The public school is not my responsibility. I've done my bit by already PAYING for their "free" education. ~ Jo

 

I feel so much better after reading through all these comments!  Would you like to unload?  We will be glad to listen!  Share your comments here!



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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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