curriculum, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschool transition, homeschooler, homeschooling, new homeschooler, SAT

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!

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curriculum, education, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschool transition, homeschooler, homeschooling, new homeschooler, SAT

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!

curriculum, education, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschool transition, homeschooler, homeschooling

Homeschool with a Theme!

The longer I homeschool, the more awesome people I meet and the better the ideas get.

I was talking to my good friend, Ang, a longtime homeschool veteren, and she was telling me that some years she chooses all of her curriculum based on a theme. This year’s theme was to improve “thinking skills” so she ordered most of her curriculum from Critical Thinking Press. I thought this was the most awesome idea ever!

Not only are all of her children learning the same basic principles together, but she kept the cost of homeschooling down by focusing on one major area she wanted her entire family to focus on. All supplemental materials and family activities have been based on this theme; how this must have made shopping so much easier. How mentally freeing it must have been; to pass up things that tend to just add to the curriculum clutter, because she could shop with her theme in mind!

Now, if only I could narrow down all of my ideas down to just one theme…..

curriculum, education, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschooling

Homeschooling a Highschooler…Uggh!

I am beginning to plan my homeschool year for the fall for my rising 10th grader. I have to admit that homeschooling a high schooler is a challenge. Not just the amount of class work that must be covered, but the daily burdens of just training her up for life. I find new things every day that I have to cover or at least mention.

This year, I am definitely going to finally purchase a transcript software. I am looking at these:
Diploma Creator
Transcript Pro I think the co-creator of this software is having a Transcript bootcamp at the HEAV Conference this year.
BlackBaud I like this one because I teach coop classes and this will keep my home and school classes organized
Homeschool Minder
Homeschool Tracker

Our curriculum so far:
Bible – Community Bible Study (CBS)

English composition – Clep – 6 credits

Algebra 1 – “Saxon Algebra 1 Kit and DIVE CD 3rd Edition“>Saxon Homeschool Kit with Dive/Saxon Teacher

Biology – “Exploring Creation with Biology SET with Textbook, Solutions/Tests and Companion CD“>Apologia Biology via Homeschool Coop

Latin II – “Wheelock’s Latin (Wheelock’s Latin)“>Wheelock Latin Text via Tutor

American Government – Clep Prep lesson plan

Music – Piano/drums/guitar via tutors and dad

PE – Tennis/Swim/Field Hockey – via Homeschool Coop

Rhetoric/Debate – “Skills For Rhetoric: Encouraging Thoughtful Christians To Be World Changers (Broadman & Holman Literature)“>Classical Rhetoric via Homeschool Coop

Finance Education – “Money Matters Workbook for Teens (ages 15-18)“>Teen Money Management by Larry Burkett
or Dave Ramsey Homeschool Finance Education Kit

Are you already planning for next year?

curriculum, education, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschool transition, homeschooler, homeschooling, new homeschooler, virginia, Worry

Scare Tactics and Intimidation

If you have had to remove your children from public school, you may find that you are being a victim of some pretty sinister scare tactics and intimidation. It has been my experience that the first thing you can do is not panic, and understand that very little information you obtain from the school system is actually true or accurate.

The school system may tell you that you cannot homeschool your child until the end of the school year. NOT TRUE! You can remove your child at any time during the school year to homeschool.

They(the public school system) may tell you that you can ONLY use an “approved” distance learning program to homeschool. NOT TRUE! You are free as a homeschooling parent to use ANY curriculum that you feel will benefit your child and your family.
According to §22.1-254.1 (A), You may teach at home if any one of the following conditions is met: if a parent (1) has a high school diploma; or (2) is a certified teacher*; or (3) provides a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner; or (iv) provides evidence that he is able to provide an adequate education for the child. These four options are listed on the form entitled, “Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction.”

You may be told misinformation, such as, you cannot homeschool, or you must be an “approved homeschooler” if you have a GED. Not true! You are never “approved” by the school system. You simply “notify” them of your intent to homeschool and supply a list of the curriculum you intend to use. Also, if your spouse has a degree or a high school diploma you can file under your spouses educational credentials.

They may threaten you with truancy or that your child will fail if they are not returned to school. Your child cannot be accused of truancy as long as you have filed your notice of intent(NOI).
As far as failing, your child cannot fail a grade they withdraw from.

They may make ridiculous claims and attempt to make you jump through complicated hoops. At that point, turn in your NOI and cease communication. My suggestion to any homeschoolers that are switching to homeschooling from public school is to immediately join Homeschool Legal Defense or HSLDA, right now they are running a great promotion so it is free to join! Should you receive any threatening communication refer them to HSLDA immediately.

Finally, find a local support group of homeschoolers either via Yahoo groups or word-of-mouth and let them know what’s going on. Homeschoolers are a loving and helpful bunch; they will provide the necessary emotional and academic-advice support you will need to get past this.

Above all, do not allow yourself to feel alone, scared, or swallowed in self-pity, you have just made the most awesome, wonderful, life-changing decision of your life, now is not the time for sadness; it is time for jubilation!
Blessings,
HomeschoolNewbie

curriculum, education, hampton roads, home education, homeschool testing, homeschool transition, homeschooler, homeschooling, new homeschooler

Just Discovered… A Waldorf Education

As often as I find it, I will post a new homeschool philosophy, curriculum, or teaching methodology. As with any new thing, my critique is neither a recommendation nor a condemnation, merely an opportunity for us all to explore a new discovery.

I found Waldorf while doing some research on Montessori. They do seem remarkably similar in philosophy, but there are some differences. For instance, I don’t think Montessori advocates waiting to read as long as this particular philosophy. Have you used Waldorf or are currently using Waldorf? Tell me what you think of it so far….

Waldorf and Learning to Read
Reading is not required in Waldorf schools until the end of grade 3. The Waldorf curriculum is based on the developmental interests of children, rather than skill levels, and does not require reading in the early grades. Material is presented by the teacher in dramatic, interesting ways and the children make use of the material in their play and hands-on dramatic and artistic activities.

Waldorf on Science
by Barbara Dewey
Western culture has created a powerful wealth of scientific knowledge, based on total objectivity. This objectivity means that the observer must be isolated from the observation. It also means that we must ignore, as scientists, a humanly meaningful occurrence such as “a warm smile.” To measure it instrumentally would be ludicrous, because all meaning would be drained from it. For this reason, humanists in our culture have given up any claim of “knowledge.” And science gives up the meaning of being human. As Stephen Edelglas states in The Marriage of Sense and Thought (a book I suggest all parents read), “If we systematically think of a world in which human beings don’t exist, we should not be surprised to find ourselves creating a world in which they can’t exist.”

A Waldorf Perspective on Math
Math with Musical Notation by David Darcy, ddarcy.com
(David’s website includes a blog with lots of information about Waldorf homeschooling)

The following activity is an unorthodox way of using musical notation, but it might be a fun challenge for students who are familiar with note values (e.g. whole note = four beats, half note = two beats, etc.) and who like to solve puzzles. It requires that students decipher a code as they solve a math problem. If you are homeschooling, I suggest that after introducing the idea, you let your student create more of these puzzles and exchange them with friends.

The game is to write out math problems using notes as “code” for ones, twos, threes, fours and halves, or to solve such a problem. (Answers should just be written as numbers.) Since this typing program doesn’t allow me to write out notes, I will write w for whole notes, h for half notes, q for quarter notes and 1/8 for eighth notes. I also need to use / for division.

Please note: Since eighth notes get half a beat, 1/8 is code for _. The code for writing 3 is a dotted half note, which I will write h(d). Problems must be solved from left to right regardless of the “priority of operations” which is used in mathematics.
Below are examples of math problems written in numbers and in “musical notation code.”

4 / 2 + 3 = 5
w / h + h(d) = 5

h(d) q x w q = 7
3 1 x 4 1 = 7

q + h + w x h + h / w = 4
1 + 2 + 4 x 2 + 2 / 4 = 4

And this one is a bit of a doozy:
2 x 3 x 4 / 2 x 4 + 2 / 2 3 2 / 4 = 5
h x h(d) x w / h x w + h / h h(d) h / w = 5
David is willing to email scanned copies of his latest pentatonic recorder songs (Mr. Squirrel, Playing in the Rain, A Winter’s Fire) to anyone who writes him at ddarcytx2000@yahoo.com

Free Waldorf Curriculum and Related Websites!
Here are sites for information and online books in tune with the Waldorf curriculum.
www.waldorfcurriculum.com
www.waldorffamilynetwork.com
http://www.mainlesson.com This is a part of the Baldwin Project, to bring classical children’s literature to today’s children. Many of these old books are out of copyright and can appear online in their entirety. It is organized according to the Waldorf curriculum, by grade. Some are for sale, but most are free. A great resource!

http://www.amblesideonline.org/ This is an adaptation of the Charlotte Mason Curriculum, which is very close to Waldorf. It is also covered at mainlesson.com.