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What do You Need to Homeschool High School?

What do You Need to Homeschool High School?

What do You Need to Homeschool High School?

You need to be courageous

It takes some courage to step outside the box, but there is no need to fear. Homeschooling provides the best academic preparation, the best learning environment, and the best career preparation. Homeschooling high school provides statistically-proven results that surpass public and private school options.

You need to know simple keys for success

It takes some time to learn what makes homeschoolers successful. Simple tips make a huge difference. If you have been homeschooling and what you are already doing has made you successful, then take these methods with you into high school. Most importantly, invest in your weaknesses. Whether they include your child’s weakness in math or your lack of confidence, focus your time and money on your weaknesses as you plan to homeschool high school.

You need to provide college preparation

You need to understand college preparation and provide your child with a college prep education, regardless of how likely or unlikely college may seem for your child. You see, teenagers change their minds. You've seen it happen, perhaps even with yourself as a teenager. Even the most unlikely student can end up in a university. Because any student may end up in college later on, always be prepared with college prep classes.

You need to keep high school records

Begin keeping good records right from the beginning of high school, and continue updating them constantly. Every year, update your child’s high school transcript. While it's just a piece of paper, it's critical to meet college and career goals. Write course descriptions every year as well, so you can back up that transcript with documentation. To create records, you need to learn about high school record keeping early on, preferably in junior high, before ignorance and fear prevent you from keeping good records from the start.

You need to understand high school tests

High school is filled with scary-sounding acronyms such as: PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP, and CLEP. Your goal is to understand these acronyms and plan ahead for important tests. Every child can be successful with a little advance planning, and understanding tests can help you become the best possible guidance counselor for your child. Careful planning can help you reduce your workload and increase your child's test scores when you replace standard curriculum with test prep materials in the upper grades.

You need to foster the love of learning

Children can develop a love of learning. In high school, it becomes even more important to encourage delight directed learning. Including the child's interests is how kids learn about college majors and careers. Delight directed learning provides the trial and error experience needed to learn what they may want to do (or don’t want to do) in their adult life. It provides experiences to use in college and job applications. And colleges love to see unique classes on the transcript that make an applicant really stand out.

You need to guide the college admission process

Homeschool parents are the best guidance counselors, but it does take some conscious effort. Applying to college is approximately a two year process. Junior year is spent finding a college where your child wants to apply. College applications should be completed one year before your child wants to go to college, early in the fall of senior year. Unless you want to pay full price for college, starting the application process in September of twelfth grade is your best strategy for earning scholarships.

Where you might get stuck

Now you have the answer to, "What do you need to know to homeschool high school?" But after consulting with many thousands of parents, I know there are 5 places where you might get stuck. Grab my free ebook below, so you can avoid the common traps and pitfalls. Be prepared to homeschool high school! Grab the information and resources you need to be ready and capable for the next stage of homeschooling. Click here or on the image below for your instant download!

What do you think is the most important thing you need to homeschool high school? Please share!

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Homeschool Records + Talent = Julliard Dreams Fulfilled

Homeschool Records + Talent = Julliard Dreams Fulfilled

Homeschool Records + Talent = Julliard Dreams Fulfilled

Getting into Julliard is like getting into Harvard. You really have to have it ALL - academics, special talent, passion, and luck! Anytime you are trying to get into a highly selective school, it requires some extra effort from both the parent and the child.

Recently I received this lovely thank you note from a Gold Care Club member. Their family achieved wonderful success!
"I have enjoyed being a gold card club member for years, spoke to you on the phone and I listened to some of your webinars, used the course description and transcript templates and information on SAT's. I thank you for your help in my journey of making all this ready for applications. My daughter and I made a detailed portfolio for her that she sent to 7 places where she was invited to audition live, and was successfully accepted to most of the Conservatories. She was accepted into The Julliard School by her audition and then they accepted her high school portfolio without any questions. She placed into all the academic courses at the higher level. She is now happily studying a bachelors of music at The Julliard School, fulfilling her dream. I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to home school her and thanks to you, I knew how to present her schooling and everything else in such a way that I did not need to sacrifice the wonderful home school curriculum that gave her a strong Christian world view and foundation in Christ. ~ A"

This Gold Care Club Member took advantage of the telephone consultations. She also learned on her own, by consistently watching the 5 monthly classes that change on the 20th of every month. She purchased the Comprehensive Record Solution, that helped her to make a detailed portfolio. And she provided the moral compass her daughter needed to succeed in the future.

The teenager was homeschooled independently, which allowed her to pursue Delight Directed Learning in music, which then enabled her to succeed at the highest levels. Learn more about Delight Directed Learning.

Delight Directed Learning
Maximize the Fun Factor
Encouraging Delight Directed Learning at the High School Level

Coordinating Coffee Break Book on Amazon:
Delight Directed Learning: Guide Your Homeschooler Toward Passionate Learning

Here is what I suggest.

  • Prepare thorough homeschool records.

  • Encourage your child's interests and talents.

  • Prepare to have your child's dreams fulfilled too!

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How to Put Dual Enrollment on Your Transcript

How to Put Dual Enrollment on Your Transcript

Follow the 6 steps below to put dual enrollment on your child's transcript.

This post will tell you how to put dual enrollment on a transcript. Want to see what a scholarship-winning transcript actually looks like? Click to download The HomeScholar Record Keeping Samples

  1. Choose an acronym
    Create an acronym for each college or high school location where your child took classes. Like this:
    HCC = Highline Community College
    I like using the CC part of the acronym for community college, it makes it look so obvious that you are dual enrolled.

  2. Place the acronym before the class title on the transcript
    Where you normally put the class title, put in the acronym first, and then use the exact class title that is provided by the community college. Like this:
    HCC SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
    HCC MAT 101: College Calculus
    HCC ART 100: Survey of Fine Art

  3. Define the acronym in key or legend
    At the bottom of your transcript, explain what the acronym means. Like these options:
    HCC: Dual enrollment classes at Highline Community College
    HCC indicates classes taken at Highline Community College

  4. Translate college credits to high school credits
    One whole college class is equivalent to one high school credit. If your child is taking one whole college class, worth 4, 5, or 6 credits, then it is one whole high school credit. If the college class is 1, 2, or 3 credits, I suggest calling it a half credit class.

  5. Insert the exact grade from the college
    No matter what the grade is, put the grade on the transcript. You can change it from the number grade to a letter grade, or translate it from a letter grade to a number grade, but you can't actually change the grade. College classes are just plain harder than high school classes, and it's very difficult to get A's in college, even when a child is used to getting A's in high school. (Read more: Community College Success)

  6. I don't recommend weighting grades
    If you do decide to weight grades, then it would be easiest to weight it the same as an AP class. However, every high school in the country seems to have their own unique way of weighting grades, which is why I don’t recommend weighting them. It makes it harder for colleges, and colleges will like you more if you make their job easier.  Here is the problem, every high school has a different policy on weighting grades. 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. (Read more: Why I Do Not Recommend Weighting Grades)

All parents know that the homeschool transcript is the least of our worries about community college. Our bigger concern is actually how our child performs in the real life college situation, both academically and socially. I do have one big tip to help you guide your child toward higher college grades. The answer lies in vocabulary. 80% of a subject is learned through the vocabulary alone - in other words, if you master the vocabulary, you are 80% of the way to getting an A in the class. Get some flash cards, highlight the book with the vocabulary words, and have the child quiz himself or herself on those vocabulary words.

For answers to your questions on transcripts, take my free class on Grades, Credits, and Transcripts.
Click here to get my free recorded class on Grades, Credits, and Transcripts

If you still have questions, consider getting the Total Transcript Solution. It has a lot of additional resources, and thoroughly answers all common difficulties, while giving you the tools you need to get things done. At the same time, the Total Transcript Solution has one consultation, so you and I can talk together if you still have a question that hasn't been answered.
Learn more about the Total Transcript Solution

Does that explain it all? I hope that make sense to you!

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Recent Comments
Ami Brainerd
Kathleen, I had the same understanding. Maybe different colleges have different systems/designations. I don't know any local unive... Read More
Friday, 15 February 2019 21:16
Lee Binz
Each high school across the nation may assign credits for dual enrollment differently. That makes it confusing for homeschoolers w... Read More
Monday, 01 July 2019 22:07
Lee Binz
If English 103 and English 104 are each full college courses (4, 5, or 6 credits) - according to Lee's definition - they would eac... Read More
Monday, 09 April 2018 21:36
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Missionary in the Philippines to College Admission and Scholarships

Missionary in the Philippines to College Admission and Scholarships

Missionary in the Philippines to College Admission and Scholarships

It can seem pretty scary to be overseas as a missionary, and at the same time want your homeschooled teen to come back to the US for college admission. But guess what? It's possible! And homeschool parents just like you are successful! Check out this letter from Nancy, a missionary mom in the Philippines. See what tips you can glean from her, to help you as you serve the world community.
Dear Lee and Team,

Good news from this home school missionary family in the Philippines! Our son, Benjamin, was recently accepted at his first-choice school: Cedarville University in Ohio. This is not only a great Christian college, but is the only Christian college with an accredited degree in Industrial Design -- the area he would love to study. In addition, he received several scholarships, which have not paid all, but at least half of the tuition. We are still searching for more help because of our missionary income... but we trust things will work out!

We are so very grateful for all of the material you made available to us, Lee. I cannot tell you how helpful the videos were. I listened to them over and over. Because of your help and advice, I was able to put together a wonderful transcript, a beautiful additional extra-curricular activity sheet, along with stunning recommendations from former teachers and pastors. Also, we prepped for the college exams with your help! It was no small feat, because Ben was raised in Germany (K-9th grade) and he had to switch to all-English, Bible based home school that mom put together herself... and then take a timed, all-English, intensive SAT and ACT test! Wow. But he did it.

So off we go, from Asia to the Midwest. Cedarville has a special MK and TCK department to help students like Benjamin adjust to a Western culture. Yet another reason why we parents are so happy to have found this particular school. We are travelling cross-country on our way to Cedarville in Ohio and could not be more excited for this adventure to begin. MATS, an organization that provides lease vehicles for visiting/furlough-ing missionaries provided us our van.  They are also a great company that you could highlight for missionaries coming home to bring their kids to school.  They’ve helped us so much with our one-way drop off situation.

Lee, we could NOT have done this without your help. You calmed my fears that kept me awake at night. I was able to give appropriate grades, put down as class subjects those areas of learning that Ben had "studied" on his own over the years, and so much more. His participation in the church band for three years became his guitar performance class, for example! You were a true godsend to our lives.

Thank you, and may your sphere of influence increase all the more! May you always hear of the good fruit that you are bearing all over the world because of your down-to-earth, effective, clear, practical, and most useful information.  Cheers to your entire staff!

We will do a home-style graduation and good-bye party all rolled into one next Friday. We will have friends speak, and we will ask Ben to share about his journey and about Cedarville, so that all of the Filipinos in attendance can picture where the Lord is bringing him. In that we work with 450 children from the slums of Cebu City (especially those living on and around the dumpsites), and we try to help them in school, giving them tutorials and motivational classes, AND try to find scholarships for the college-bound ones who show promise......... it has been a very special gift to our family that God sent YOU to help us with our own son!  He certainly provides. We take care of His concerns, and He takes care of ours!!

Many blessings to you and a huge hug,
~ Nancy and Family, missionaries with Christian Frontier Ministries
Field Directors for IGC Foundation SE Asia
Facebook, Christian Frontier Ministries and Pro.Vision Kids
Read Nancy's Novel: Suluan - A Novel by Nancy Lueckhof


If you are living overseas and are homeschooling because you are military, missionary, or for other reasons live outside the US, I have a great resource for you to add to your home library. Consider getting this book, The Global Nomad’sGuide to University Transition. It will really help you make the transition from MK (missionary kid) and TCK (third culture kid) to college student as smoothly as possible.

Military or missionary? Learn more!

More about the Global Nomad's Guide: Overseas Homeschool Friends – Listen Up!

April, military mom in Spain: Living in Spain + Exploring Europe = Homeschool High School Credit

Donna, missionary in Angola: Daughter Says Mom is Best Teacher Ever!

Tracey, serving in Mexico City: Sometimes Support is Necessary

Renee, military in Germany: Homeschooler Wins Full Scholarship – Plus Some More!

Advice: Living Overseas? How to Plan a College Visit

If you would like help - consider joining the Gold Care Club so you can learn about homeschooling high school when it's convenient - even in your own time zone! The HomeScholar Gold Care Club

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How Do I Keep A Record of Their Grades?

How Do I Keep A Record of Their Grades?
In this video, I share an easy, non-techie way to keep homeschool grades organized.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. You will be notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!
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What About Homeschool Planners?

What About Homeschool Planners?
Hello!  I plan to take you with us on our journey through high school.  We are only beginning 6th grade this year but knowing that you are available when 9th grade comes is a huge relief and I've told all our homeschool moms in our group about you. Since you've said that middle school is preparation for high school, I would love a planner for my daughter or myself that would get us in the mode of keeping track of the things we need to.  Can you advise me on which company has the best or tell me what we should be keeping track of now that will help us later (and be great records.) THANK FOR ALL YOU DO AND GOD BLESS!!!

I'm not a huge fan of planners.  I've had clients with every sort of planner under the sun, and I've figured one thing out.  None of them work on their own.  You have to actually DO something with them.  I can't tell you how many empty boxes, empty notebooks, and empty computers I have seen!!
Here is what I suggest instead:

First, find out what your state law requires.  It may not be the same thing that is required of a public school.

Second, find a record keeping strategy that will work with your style.  You can read article about record keeping here: "Cubbies, Tubbies and Binder Queens" . Your goal is to keep the records you need to have.  Not lose anything.

I kept a binder for my homeschool, and it was great for us.  First, buy a big three-ring binder and a couple of sets of big tab dividers. Put a piece of paper behind each divider with a label for what you "hope" to put there. Keep the labels very general: Math, English, PE, Science. Have a label for every subject. If you don't know what subject something is, or if it crosses over many subject areas and you can't decide which one it is, still make a label for that. For example, Dance. Is it PE or Fine Arts? Don't spend time deciding, just label a divider "Dance" and decide later. Have a label for every item required by state law. Our state requires a declaration of intent, annual testing, and immunization records, so I had a tab for each of those. Finally, add a tab for a transcript and for your reading list.

Each time your child produces something, use a three-hole punch and put it into the binder where it most likely belongs. You can always change your mind later, so don't spend too much time worrying about whether a report on Lincoln goes in History or in English. Just guess for now, and adjust later if you need to.

Record keeping is like homeschooling.  It can be expensive, but it doesn't NEED to be expensive.  I used a three ring binder, dividers, and notebook paper.  That was my whole record keeping.  Not expensive!

You might like my book:  Setting the Records Straight!

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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Yummy Dessert of Homeschool Comprehensive Records

Yummy Dessert of Homeschool Comprehensive Records
When providing colleges with the information they need, going beyond a transcript can  improve your chances of scholarships.  A transcript may be the cornerstone of admission, but colleges want more than that if you expect them to give you scholarship money.  They generally like to see more comprehensive homeschool records.

Samples of student work are the icing on the cake, the yummy dessert of comprehensive homeschool records.

In our homeschool records, I provided three writing samples with out comprehensive records.  I tried to choose a variety of writing styles; research, fiction, and poetry.  I tried to use writing samples that I knew were good.  We had submitted some writing to essay competitions to win scholarship money.  When my children won scholarship funds, I knew the essay must have been good, so I tried to include that piece of work.

In addition, I kept a sample of work for every class on the transcript.  I didn’t submit those to colleges (I figured maybe they didn’t really want documentation of four years of PE, you know?  That could get long!) Instead, I made a note on each course description about how “written work is available upon request.”  I actually did keep something from every class. If they asked me for something, I was able to give it to them.

I was asked for some additional work samples.  I was asked for a “graded” English paper (presumably with some red marks on it) and math work in the student’s handwriting.  Another college wanted to see a lab report from science.  My advice is to be prepared.  It’s impossible to guess exactly what records they may ask for.  Instead of worrying about it, just try to keep a few representative samples from each class.  Then you’ll be prepared for anything!

Another feature of the Gold Care Club is where I answer your biggest questions about homeschooling high school.  You will love your free month of Gold Care when you get my e-book!
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Setting the Records Straight - Feedback from a Stranger

Setting the Records Straight - Feedback from a Stranger
Imagine my surprise!  Sometimes I get a review from someone when I'm expecting it, but this time I read a review of my book that came as a surprise.  And she liked it!  Here is what she said:

Read the Online Review Here: The Homeschool Mom
I recently purchased Lee Binz's book, "Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admissions and Scholarships". My homeschooled son is now taking high school level classes and I'm developing his portfolio and transcript. This book is extremely helpful. It combines all the online information I've found into one book. It also contains a lot of Lee's knowledge from her website and consulting service. The price is completely worth it. The print is visually stunning with different type-faces and fonts, side bars, sample transcripts and course reports, and more. This is a book every parent-teacher of a homeschooled high schooler should have if the student is college bound.

Setting the Records Straight by Lee Binz is for those homeschooling high school, or planning to do so. The subtitle is "How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admissions and Scholarships". That pretty much sums up the content. Lee has "been there done that" at educating high schoolers to college and getting them into high-ranking schools.

Homeschool Rating (5 Stars Possible)
Value  -   Five Stars
Ease of Use  -  Five Stars
Fun Factor  -   Five Stars
Overall  -   Five Stars

My favorite part is where she gives me five starts for "Fun Factor"!!  I really do try to make it sound as easy as possible.

Sometimes parents ask me "Is it time for me to make my transcript, or should I wait?"  If you have a high school student, this is the BEST time to write your transcript. If you wait, you could get into a panicky situation when the transcript is needed "tomorrow" because of insurance or summer camp or scholarship opportunity.  Whether your child is a freshman or senior, make your transcript now. Really... even if you don't buy anything from me, start the transcript now and life will be SO much easier later! I promise!

I am writing for the Seattle Homeschool Examiner.  You can read my homeschool articles here.
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How to Keep High School Records

How to Keep High School Records
Did you keep records in one big folder or did you keep each subject's records in it's own folder?   Where did you keep the transcript?   Or the things that didn't fit into a folder?
~ Diane in Oklahoma

Dear Diane,
I had one three-ring binder for each child, and used a new one for each year.  That allowed me enough space to have records for every class, and keep samples for each class as well. I kept the transcript on the front page of the binder.  Then I included the things required by state law.  Then I kept a divider for each class that I intended to teach.  Behind that divider was one piece of notebook paper.  That is where I would write test grades, or the subject of their writing.  Behind that paper, I kept a sample of their work.  Sometimes a math test, a lab report, a worksheet or a written page. I didn't keep daily work, just something that was important for each class.  That was just my record keeping system, I did have assignment sheets that I handed to my children.  I kept a copy of the assignment sheets in the back of the binder.

I have a short YouTube clip on keeping records that might give you a smile!

On November 29th, you'll learn the SECRET to getting your homeschooler placed at the TOP of the stack for college admission consideration.  Check out my Comprehensive Record Solution.
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Should My Student Keep Their Own High School Records?

Should My Student Keep Their Own High School Records?
My Facebook friend Christy asked me the age-old question, "How much record keeping should a high school student do for himself? I'm thinking reading list, volunteer hours..."

Here is the easy answer.  As much as you can talk them into doing - but the buck stops with the parent. In other words, if the kids won't do it, someone still has to make sure it gets done. My kids are wonderful, compliant, and on facebook, but I simply couldn't talk them into doing any record keeping. As much as I think kids *should* do the reading list and volunteer hours, I know that reality can look different.

You may want to read my article about homeschool record keeping, playfully subtitled "How to Forget 4 Years of Latin."

Are you ready to get serious about homeschooling high school?  Send me an email and let’s talk!
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Homeschool Record Keeping Success!

Homeschool Record Keeping Success!
I met a friend in the grocery store today.  Her son had just finished his first year in college.  A year ago, she and I had spent an hour going over her homeschool records.  We talked about the transcript and how to write course descriptions.  I made suggestions and recommendations, but she did all the work - I only spent an hour with her!  But it gave her what she needed to write a 16 page description of her homeschool, complete with course descriptions and grades.  When we talked today, she was convinced that it was this documentation that got her son into the college of his choice - WITH great scholarships!  If you are thinking about using course descriptions with your college applications, you might want to work on last year's classes now.  They will be fresh in your mind.  If you want suggestions, I'm available.  If you want to see what mine looked like, you can purchase my book as a sample for a wide variety of classes.  Homeschoolers get pretty busy during the school year.  Working on course descriptions now, during the summer, can help you devote enough time to the project.

It's your last chance to win a free ticket to the Heart of the Matter Virtual Conference, which starts in 7 days.  Add a comment to one of my blog posts, or get a friend to sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter and you’ll have a chance to win!  The drawing is tomorrow and we'll announce the winner on Saturday!
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