Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | March 2, 2013

Homeschool College Admissions the Ugly Truth…..

Okay, I’ve been holding off creating this post because it really is a delicate subject. At first I didn’t want to offend, and then I realized some people really don’t know when they are making mistakes… they really just don’t know. Therefore, I am forced(I didn’t want to) write this post on the “Don’ts of Homeschool College Admissions”.

1.  Do not, under any circumstances contact the Admissions Office on behalf of your child. You are not being helpful, and you are not well-thought of for doing it. Encourage your student to contact the school with any questions that either of you may have.

2. DO NOT, under any circumstances, even if invited, sit-in on your student’s admissions interview. Even if its casual and no big deal, even if its at a coffee shop and therefore, a public place. DO NOT feel its okay to even introduce yourself to the interviewer or walk-in with your student.

3.  DO NOT monopolize a student-led or otherwise campus tour. Allow your student to ask the “majority” of the questions asked. Your clever quips and observations are not appreciated… I promise you.

4.  DO NOT write a guidance counselor letter that sounds as-if your student is Einstein, unless they actually have found a cure for cancer or answered the modern questions on physics and gravity. Otherwise, try to accurately assess the weaknesses and strengths of your student.

5.  DO NOT write a guidance counselor letter that says your child is the smartest most intelligent person you’ve ever met… DO NOT. Admissions officers will just assume you don’t get out much.

6.  Do not use your guidance letter as an opportunity to re-iterate every award and extracurricular activity your child has ever done.  I assure you Admissions officers can read about all of these highlights on the other 85 pieces of correspondence you were required to send.

7.  Do not squirrel your child away safely in their rooms until its time for college, and then wonder how you’re supposed to demonstrate “academic passion”. Please, allow your student to dual-enroll, volunteer, attend summer camps, travel for missions trips, and intern(if possible). Give your student the opportunity to “find” themselves and grow that “academic passion”.

8.  Do Not wait until the last minute to prep for major standardized admissions tests like, the SAT, ACT, or the PSAT. If you know in 7th grade your child is destined for higher education, start researching testing strategies and test taking techniques most appropriate for your student when they’re in 7th grade.

9.  DO NOT. DO NOT homeschool high school and not KNOW your state’s minimum graduation requirements. Seriously, do not do this. You do a disservice to yourself, your child, and all other homeschoolers who look bad because of you.

10. DO NOT think it is okay to allow your student to handle their own college admissions document creation. It is not your student’s responsibility to create their own transcripts, guidance letter, or school profile… it is not. If you don’t feel you can create these documents, ask for help. A transcript created by an 18 year old LOOKS like a transcript created by an 18 year old.

Honestly, I pray that this list helps someone in some small way. If you can think of other don’ts, please post them. If you are a homeschool mom looking at college admissions for your student in the fall, consider yourself warned.

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | February 9, 2013

A New Year… A New Focus

You know what.. homeschooling an elementary-aged boy is hard. Really hard. He loves to play, super busy all of the time, and really, in his mind, has no time to sit down and learn alphabet sounds…
I’ve got to change up what I consider “school”. School for him must be play. I can’t sit him down with worksheets (my daughters loved LOVED worksheets); he needs school disguised as play. I’m now shopping at places I, until now, did not appreciate, places like Timberdoodle’s and Queen’s Homeschool Copywork books. I now search websites for phonics and math card games…oh, the humanity. I am determined that he will be a highly educated young man; I just shudder at the lengths I will travel to see it happen.

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | October 20, 2012

Creating a Fabulous Homeschool Transcript!

Due to the regular requests I get from moms asking for help creating custom homeschool transcripts, I have really discovered how much I love creating these documents! I’ve looked at all types of homeschool transcript templates from Portfolio to stark simple excel documents, but I would have to say there are certain things that make a plain transcript sing.

  1. Consistent Font. Really if the font is  all over the place the transcript just looks messy. Pick one and use it for the entire document. You can vary the size, but please stay consistent on the Font type.
  2. Necessary Information Included. I can’t tell you how many transcripts I’ve seen that had everything the student had done since kindergarten, but was missing the students date of birth, gender, address, or worst, the school name!!! Remember a transcript is a functional document! It must include certain things like your students entire legal name, address, the name of your school, the parents name, the student’s date of birth, anticipated graduation date or date of graduation(whichever applies for you!), names, grades, and credits awarded for all courses completed in high school.
  3. No signature. An official transcript must be signed by the primary teacher, principal, or headmaster.
  4. Customization. Nothing makes a transcript transcend  basic, than customizing it to suit your student. If your student is an artist or extremely independent learner a Portfolio-type transcript might be best.  If your student has taken several standardized tests and has several dual enrollment credits a subject style transcript might best show off thier accomplishments. Really you have to look at what your student has accomplished and decide how best to showcase their strengths.
  5. Test Scores. They’re going to ask anyway so just include them. Don’t forget to add those SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, CLEP, and etc scores to your transcript.
  6. Emphasize the Positive. This is not the time to be humble. Really play up your kids passions! He actually took 6 classes in Duck Pond Building….. show how passionate he is about the environment and how he applied several scientific concepts in his designs.
  7. Format. Consistent formatting throughout the document really makes a simple document become impressive. Pay attention to your formatting! Everything should be centered the same way throughout the document. IF you bold the header for year, you must bold the header for all the years.

Honestly, creating a fabulous homeschool transcript means paying particular attention to detail, emphasizing the positive, and presenting your student’s accomplishments in an organized easy to read manner!

I hope this helps anyone who has been struggling with creating a homeschool transcript! If you need more help, I’m happy to coach you! Please contact me with your questions!

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | September 2, 2012

Homeschooling Through High School – What I Didn’t Know

Well, I just dropped my oldest off at college in Massachusettes, and I am now realizing something that I never realized before…. I have to let go.

When you embark on the task of homeschooling through high school, you ready yourself for things like expensive classes, academic tug of wars with your teen, finding tutors, and summer camps. What I didn’t realize was how wonderful that time would be with my teen, and how, we would become such good friends. Worst, I didn’t realize that eventually, I would have to let go. After mentoring her through almost every aspect of her being for years, now she must find her own way.  So, I must ready myself for fewer and fewer calls and texts as she makes her own world where she is.

The wonderful thing is I know this is the place God has placed her, and I know He is with her so I don’t see it as the end…. but as a beginning.

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | May 4, 2012

Wow! It Has Been A While!

I did not mean for such a long time to pass before I updated my blog! Where to begin??  After all of my moaning and complaining about SAT Prep, my dd did just fine.  She will be attending a wonderful college in Boston in the fall! God is good! We both prayed and fasted for God’s providence in her college search. In fact, I am writing a senior devotional to help other families pray through that senior year!

I have 2 not so little ones left at home to homeschool next year. DS will be in  1st grade and dd will be rising to the 7th grade. I am already planning her high school curriculum along with her middle school work. Its just easier to have a long term view on things. Next year, will be so different in our household. We will miss older sis desperately, but we have peace knowing that God has spoken in her life.

Where are you in your journey? I’d love to know!

Blessings Always!!!

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | September 16, 2011

A New Season

It is a new homeschool season! A brand new opportunity to shape and mold the next generation. I am so happy thus far with my curriculum choices! My middle schooler is continuing with Saxon via her DIVE CDs. She is also taking an IEW class along with Latin. Her older sister is teaching her Chinese and at home we are creating our own SOTW FileFolder books! BJU Science 6 has been a real success. The Activity book is very good! We are also reading Prentice Hall Lit. Her story this week was an excerpt from the Joy Luck Club.

I don’t know about you; but I have renewed energy for the year. I think my mother would call this getting your sea legs. I know what works and what doesn’t and all is well.

A big change is my son Scott is now  attending a private school 3 days per week. He loves it.  He sees boys 3 days per week and it has really helped keep me get him going. This arrangement has also allowed me more time to work with the older kids. Every kid needs something different, and this year I am embracing that.

My oldest is now applying for college and doing more SAT prep. I am truly relying on God’s direction and timing in this situation, or it would be super easy to feel overwhelmed!

Praying for peace this year…how about you?

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | June 14, 2011

Embrace SAT Prep for your Homeschooler

I have an 11th grade homeschooler, and I really did not think of SAT prep until about a year before I knew she would need to take the test. However, if I could turn back time, I would have started much sooner. Does that surprise you?
None of us like to think that we are teaching to a test, however, I can’t imagine that you would have done that during their school years anyway so why not be prepared for a test that you know is coming. Taking the SAT will help your homeschooler obtain merit aide and scholarships so why not be prepared?

If I had a magic wand I would go back to her freshman year in high school and that is when I would have started SAT Prep. She would have had it every year until her junior year.
Now, when I say SAT Prep, I don’t mean a formal class, but I do mean taking practice tests. Reading books that focus on vocabulary; taking practice Math and Science exams for the ACT. Timing her essay writing, just to let her know creativity has a time limit.

Yep, if I had a magic wand, that’s what I would do.
Fortunately, I also have a 6th grader, or unfortunately if you talk to the 6th grader!LOL
Nonetheless, her high school years will be very different. Very different.
Ah, hindsight!

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | April 24, 2011

This Year in Reflection…

This year has been an amazing tapestry of ups, downs, surprises, and turns. I thought a good post would be to update you on where we are.
DD 16- In hindsight, I wish that I had really focused more on the things she was not good at, like math. We are now in the midst of SAT Prep and that weakness is pretty glaring.
DD 11- I am now creating her middle school curriculum which will consist of Alg1, Geometry, Physics, Chemistry, and Chinese.
DS5-Timberdoodle curriculum with games and phonics for reading.

Where are you in your journey? Reflecting on past mistakes or rejoicing new success? I find that I am doing a little of both!

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | November 13, 2010

Communal Homeschooling on the Rise-CNN

“Isabelle, you’re next. What card do you need to add to 10 to get what?”

Grade schooler Isabelle Hannon is learning how to add and subtract, but not in a classroom. She’s outdoors, at a beautiful Stillwater, Oklahoma park. She and her sister, Alyssa, are being taught not by a professional teacher but by their mom. And they’re not alone. The Franklin kids are there, too, along with their mom and dad who are also acting as teachers.

Welcome to homeschooling 2010. It’s no longer a solitary exercise for many parents: it’s communal. Many families are now sharing ideas about teaching and taking turns as teachers. In effect, they’re creating their own “shadow schools.”

Pascha Franklin says her kids are thriving and so is she. “When your kids are saying, “I want to do this,” and it’s some kind of lesson, you smile because you’re like, yes! They like learning!”

Franklin isn’t the only parent jazzed about homeschooling. According to the US Department of Education, 1.5 million children are taught by Mom and Dad. That’s up 74% since 1999.

Studies used to show that most parents decided to homeschool for religious reasons, but that’s not the case anymore. In a 2008 study, 36% of families listed religious and moral values as the main reason for homeschooling. But, another 38% said the primary reason they homeschool is because they don’t like the school environment or the way teachers teach—those numbers are also way up from a few years ago.

Just ask the Sobrals, who are homeschooling their five children. For them, “one size fits all” education just doesn’t cut it anymore. “What we’ve learned now is that it’s unnatural fitting 20 children in a room and learning from one teacher, on the same schedule, on the exact same material in the same way,” says Courtney Sobral.

The Sobral kids each have their own interests and learn in different ways. Sobral says since she’s the teacher, she can experiment with teaching techniques to see what works best.

Her husband, Alex, says that’s not always possible in public schools. “You’re taught that you have to go to A, B, and C…and if you’re not excelling here and there, there must be something wrong with you.”

Parents also say it’s easier now to homeschool because there are so many resources available on the internet. For the Sobrals, it’s a for-profit Christian-based company called “Classical Conversations”, a curriculum that “combines classical learning—grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric” with a “biblical worldview.”

The Stillwater parents get guidance from the Home Educators Resource Organization of Oklahoma a non-profit network of support groups and families.

Other parents go with companies like K12, another for-profit group that says it has contracts with 25 states to provide 70,000 students with a full curriculum, along with “a state-certified teacher” assigned to each student.

Still, taking over your child’s education isn’t easy.

Laura Brodie wrote “Love in the Time of Homeschooling” after homeschooling her daughter for one year. “I had a lot of success, but also a lot of fights and power struggles (with her daughter),” she says. “I didn’t find homeschooling books anywhere that were talking about that. They talked about the advantages of homeschooling, but not so much about the bad days.”

Brodie adds that homeschooling can be exhausting. It’s a 24/7 job. “You have to care deeply about your child’s education and well-being to want to spend all of that time with them, and want to find the best avenues for them. And you have to know your child deeply for you to understand what sort of education they need.”

So, is homeschooling for everyone? “No,” says Brodie. “It can be a wonderful option for some families,” but not for those “where the parents have to work full time and can’t fit homeschooling into that schedule…Parents have to make sure it’s something they want to do and get excited about, and I think a child should be willing.”

Carol Costello – Correspondent, CNN’s American Morning
Filed under: AM Original •Education
By Carol Costello and Bob Ruff, CNN

Posted by: homeschoolnewbie | November 10, 2010

Why do I homeschool?

This is a question I have had to really consider over the last few months. As my children are getting older I seem to get more and more heat about my decision to homeschool.

I was on one website where a woman said I owed it to the public school community to put my kids back in public school. Really? I “owe” the community my children? Right.

One lady said that I was a quitter for taking my kids out of the public school system and that it was people like me who were ruining the system. Honestly, this was the funniest and frankly catered to my narcissistic side. My leaving …caused total ruination. **insert evil laugh**

One lady said that my children were, get this, “educational capital”. And because of people yanking out their “educational capital” the kids left behind would suffer. Seriously? If a tree falls in the forest and no one was there to hear it, did it make a sound? Basically, I’m saying….if my child was never there, how can he/she be missed or cause damage?

I now realize the truth. I homeschool to tick other people off. Not really, but what is it about homeschooling that causes other people so much discomfort? So much angst? Why is it that when a parent says I’m teaching my own kids… people get angry? You know what when someone says to me I’m going to solve my own problem; I’m happy for them why wouldn’t that same happy feeling extend to education? I homeschool for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones was because this is what was best for the educational needs of my children. I don’t think the government gets to make every decision for me. I think I get to make some of my own and if I think I know what’s best for my children well then the government ought to understand that, but what’s more so should everybody else. Yeah. I can dream.

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