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Showing posts with label college preparation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label college preparation. Show all posts

Sunday, June 17, 2018

College Prep Homeschooling: 8th grade History and Language Arts

The series continues- College Prep Homeschooling: 8th-grade history and language arts.

I teach these two subjects as one cohesive unit.  Find out how. Find out why.

 Here are the notes from the video

White paper on weaving literature into social studies; Book lists for novels set in other countries for children and teens. In addition to reading for Language Arts, students should be using a grammar/writing workbook. Here are some good options. Editor in Chief, Critical Thinking Company SAT Reading and Writing Prep Holt McDougal World Geography (Teachers version) Holt McDougal World History The Critical Thinking Company, World History Detective has online questions that your student can answer for many of the novels you can choose. Summary: Tying Language Arts and History together. 1. Choose a book textbook or history curriculum. 2. Go through the table of contents and pick books according to the geographical area and possibly the time period being covered. At least one book per unit or for every 3 or 4 chapters. 3. Have the student read the books at the same pace that they go through the history units 4. Use unit tests and a final term paper to grade history. 5. Use a language arts/grammar and writing workbook or test prep book to grade the students language arts, in addition to questions and answer on the novels or book reports. Also grade on final term paper looking specifically at grammar, and format of the paper. CLEP by college board, *Disclosure: I will use affiliate links from time to time, including Amazon links. I endeavor to always find the lowest price for anything I recommend and I only link to items I believe in.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

College Prep Homeschooling 8th grade math

Here is my second video of the series

Here are the links I mentioned.

I talk about a few curriculums here, but I prefer you go through some curriculum reviews and choose for yourself. My preference, however, is Khan Academy, and even if you use another curriculum, I like to use Khan Academy as a supplement. Why? It teaches to mastery, and it is FREE. But to be fair, I will be linking some curriculum reviews that could be helpful to you. Teaching textbooks review: Teaching textbooks: The good, the bad, and the ugly Khan Academy review: Saxon math review: ALEKS MATH

Friday, June 15, 2018

College Prep Homeschooling - a guide

You know how I have been saying what feels like a decade that I was going to write a homeschool book?  I have written, re-written, scrapped and started over a dozen times. 


My 30ish days of homeschool videos has prompted me to get this done.  I am currently going step by step into college prep homeschooling and am writing a guide along side of it... so, yep.  A goal being accomplished!

Here is the link to the first video:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Packing and organizing for back to college... still

I am still buried in packing bins (plastic boxes from Walmart), Ikea Bags, and Space saver bags.  My daughter asked me to help her organize her belongings, but at the same time, she is also calling me anal retentive. The good news is with careful packing, unpacking becomes a breeze as the items are organized intuitively and can just be slid into drawers or set in it's appropriate place.

This is all of the hanging clothes I am sending
out... less than half from last years amount,
even though she has twice the closet space.
The hardest part is preventing her from bringing all of her clothing to college.  So I insisted on X number of pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, etc... enough clothes to last 3 weeks, which is plenty if you do laundry twice a month.  I put each type of clothing in either a dress bag, or rolled it military style and put it in a space bag, then in a bin (all the non hanging clothes fit in one bin!)

Then there are the bins for all the other stuff.

  • One for stationary, books, and crafts. 
  • One for organizers, hooks, cords, and tools needed to set up the room
  • One for shoes... (there are also shopping bags for boots)

Then there are a couple of drawer storage units:

Thursday, March 06, 2014

OH, lookout! The SAT is changing!

So the SAT is changing. Changes include returning to the old 1600 scale, making the essay optional, losing the penalty for wrong answers, changing up the English section to be more knowledge based than IQ based, and taking away the calculator for certain sections.  So, it may be time to toss out all those old SAT study guides, because they are probably rendered useless.

 My kids are through this phase of life so there is a bit of relief there. However, I don't really see the changes as bad. Schools stopped paying attention to the essay years ago and have effectively graded kids on a 1600 scale. My kids found that the calculator actually slowed them down during the more basic math portions so that's a good move too. Plus they are now grading more like the ACT With no penalties for wrong answers.

My only concern is for kids who's graduation date will cause them to take the test both before and after the change. The disparity in grades may be frustrating to them, or it could be a boon. Who knows. But how will the colleges process this info? Will they even be able to make sense of a superscore? These are my questions.

So, if my kid were graduating in 2017, I might do the ACT just for score consistency. Or I would at least make sure they were done with the SAT before the changes, or waited until after the change.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So how are they doing?

Or rather, how successful was your homeschooling based on their college performance?

A parents worth as homeschooling parents one could reason, could be determined by a student's success in further education... i.e. college.

It almost feels like confession when I reply that the boy is hanging in there.  Now that I can add that the girl is kicking butt and taking names, the whole homeschooling experience seems more validated.

But that's pretty unfair, isn't it.

Fortunately for me, I have two kids.  If I only had the son, I might very well be self conscious  about not producing a super student as a result of my homeschooling...  God forbid a homeschooler be an average college student.  If I only had the girl, perhaps, I would be accepted as an homeschooling authority because my under-aged homeschooling daughter was doing an excellent job?

Now that I have taken time to balance all my thoughts on the two kids and their experiences, it is clear to me that the results are a product more of the kids personalities, their natural strengths and weaknesses, and  their learning styles.

I gather now that son is almost done with general-eds and can get to the meat of his program, that we will see him gain traction....  I also suspect that as long as the girl continues to focus, that she will continue to do very well.

As for my job as a homeschooler, I have to relax in the knowledge that I gave my son a stress free experience as school was becoming a nightmare for him.  The fact that he is even in college at all is a huge success... it is now up to him to continue to carve out a success he defines for himself.  As for the girl, I really can't take credit for the free spirit she was born with. Who  would have known that her ability to not take herself too seriously... or anything else as a matter of fact, would parlay in an ability to navigate higher education with such ease?

So I'm going to stop judging our homeschooling based on semester by semester progress in college.  I am going to judge it once and for all as done and complete as I have a son who is well mannered with a strong moral compass, and a girl who is bold, fearless, and caring.

What more can a mother ask for?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spent the whole day compiling my favorite curriculum resources

I have been asked for a homeschool high school guide a million times, so I spent the day compiling it.

You will find it on my curriculum blog or here.  It is a compilation of the last few posts I did subject by subject and free resources all over the net.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

From Homeschool to Online School to College (Guest Post)

I am off to a college visit with my daughter. Thought this was a good time to leave you with a pretty informative guest post I've been holding onto. Enjoy.

Notes From a Homeschooled Mom has before written about what it takes to prepare homeschooled students for college, and for getting the jobs they ultimately want. Estelle Shumann builds upon this conversation with the following blog post, which talks about how the technological advances in education (especially online education) help homeschooled students with college preparedness in a way never before thought possible. Estelle writes at, a website dedicated to online education.

From Homeschool to Online School to College: Technological Advances Prepare Students for the University
As technology has encroached into seemingly every facet of modern life in recent years, the nature of homeschooling has changed as well. In the past five years, online education programs have gone from a strange niche to a mainstream multi-billion dollar industry. As the technology facilitating online

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Remember when travel was fun?

I spent two hours today trying to find an inexpensive but quality hotel for Sunday night so I could take my daughter on her preview weekend and theater audition for one of her college choices.  It was exhausting.  The college is in a bit of a rural area and it was difficult to find a local hotel.  Then the ones I found had sketchy reviews, and that made me nervous.  I finally found one recommended by the college and payed a little more than I wanted in hopes that I could avoid spiders and bedbugs.

Do you remember when travel was secure?  You'd call a travel agent, or go through the phonebook and call a few hotels for quotes, then  you would book your trip on nothing more than a verbal handshake. I don't remember every having a bad experience, I think it was because the travel agent knew you were coming back to visit them if anything bad happened on your trip.

Do you remember when travel was affordable? Even 15 years ago, in the early days of internet travel websites, I could book flights to Las Vegas or LA for a decent price, and still have money left over for your rental car and hotel.  Now, I can barely afford the gas to drive two hours and have one overnight

Friday, October 12, 2012

Planning the college visits

As of today, my daughter has 2 college acceptance letters, both with merit scholarship offers attached.  This is very good. Also, where my son got about a dozen different colleges soliciting him last year, my daughter gets about a dozen a week. It's insane.  All of this activity gives both me and her a little wind under our wings and makes us want to see where else should she apply to.  How far should she go?

We had planned to visit NY this winter to go to a couple of plays.  Perhaps we should head there early to check out AADA and AMDA, two theater conservatories in New York.  Perhaps we should get flights to Florida, and check out the College

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Game plan for scholarships for homeschoolers ... in action

I wasn't too surprised to find out that my tactic in getting my kids the best scholarships available was as same as that of TheHomeScholar.

Where my son was concerned, he still didn't get a full scholarship because his college choices were limited, due to his chosen major. But, I am not complaining about the scholarship he did get. One of the colleges he applied to, did fit this criteria, and offer him a full scholarship, but they did not have anything close to the program he needed.

 So there is definitely a downside to choosing a college based on finding a college where your SAT or ACT score is higher than the average scores at that school... they may not have the program you need. 

Fortunately, it looks like this tactic will work for my daughter, ...because her scores are pretty high, and the schools that fit her criteria also have her desired major. Most schools do.

In the end the best thing a student can do to get a scholarship is to apply themselves to study.  Showing leadership is great too.  There are a lot of scholarships for leadership, but you won't get them if you don't get the test scores as well.

Btw, here is a link that that will help you match test scores to colleges.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Sending them off to college... or not

I noticed that a lot of homeschoolers don't really plan to send their kids off to college.  They've been homeschooling for the last 12 years... why throw them to the wolves now?  I guess I get it, but college was always the goal for our family.  At one point I thought they would accelerate through school and be leaving at 18 for Grad school, but my kids weren't that kind of gifted. They are more on the talented side.   But all the same, college was the goal. ... And I have one leaving in just over a week.

Since my son is away on a man-cation adventure with his dad, my daughter and I took it upon ourselves to start his packing.  Here is everything except for clothing and computer. It doesn't seem like much, but then I remember I went to college with just one trunk and one suitcase, and I was fine.  He has two trunks a bin, and a bookbag, and we haven't even packed clothes yet.  Then there's the fridge and chair we will be picking up at the Walmart near the school. I have a feeling we will be renting storage space next summer for those larger items we can't get home in my car.

So with one child down and one child to go, my daughter and I were discussing colleges. I opened up the subject of public college because I knew she would be eligible for the GA HOPE scholarship and we would have a lot less tuition to worry about with two in college.  She replied, "If I wouldn't go to public school, why would I go to public college".  It's the same environment.

From the mouth of babes. It made me think differently about those homeschoolers who don't want to send their kids to college at all. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Can a 13 year old make career decisions?

 As schools begin to ask high school freshmen what they want to major in for high school, we are all asking if a 13 year old can really make a career decision.  It seems a bit hit and miss, but I do think that a 13 year old may be able to make career decision if we let them.   When I was about 7 I loved to read so much that I declared I wanted to be a writer and illustrate my own stories. Over time, this changed to scientist, to architect, to lawyer, to artist, to decorator, and back full circle to someone who wants writing and illustrating to be a large part of what I do.  

I got off track because I allowed other people to define me (as children do).  People would say things like "writers don't make a lot of money, I bet you're smart enough to be a scientist".  Others would say, there aren't a lot of girls in science, but you draw nice building, you might be an architect".  Someone else would say, "you argue so well you should be a lawyer".  Each time I had this conversation, my personal goals shifted.  This happens all the time to kids.  It's no wonder they can't make up their mind about what they do.  It takes time to make it back to what was originally on their heart.  

I'm not saying that kids know exactly what they want to do.  They may not even be aware of their future calling.  What kid says I want to be a social worker?  They may only know that they want to help people, or to talk to people.  Of course we won't push the child to get a social work degree online or

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Accrediting daughter's portfolio

I am such a hypocrite.

As much as I complain against and say that accreditation is not necessary, I have decided to go ahead and accredit my daughters homeschool portfolio.

Sure, she could get into any private college with her portfolio as-is.  Her tests scores are good, especially, her verbal score. She is loaded down with theater and music extra-curriculars, demonstrating the depth of her talent.

So why have I decided to turn her homeschool portfolio into an accredited diploma?


One of the colleges she is applying to will take homeschool portfolios with tons of digging and probing, and may still require a GED.  We are not really worried about that, because it is clear she is well educated, but they won't take my word for her grades....and her GPA is vital to scholarship offers.

Sigh.  Yes, I did it for money.  In my defense, this is a tough economy and this will be my second child in college.  

So have I changed my mind?  Do I think homeschool accreditation is necessary.  NO, I don't. My (and many veteran homeschoolers' fear) is that if more and more homeschoolers cave to accreditation, that more and more colleges will feel justified in asking for it.  That is sad, because it takes away some of the freedoms of being able to teach to the child.  Even with my daughters length and breadth of educational experiences, we have to add another science class and a half credit of economics to meet state accreditation requirements, even though none of her colleges require that she study these subjects.  With accreditation, we as homeschoolers spend so much time and effort on studies that either don't fit the child's needs or that keep the child from doing what is more tailored to them. So you can see why so many of us resist accreditation requirements for homeschoolers. 

 However, I cannot negate the original reason that I chose to homeschool, which is to use the tools in my arsenal to do what is best for each child?  Hence, this child will be getting an accredited diploma. However, I might be annoyed if she ends up going to one of the other colleges on her list that do not require it.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Don't toss those homeschool papers just yet.

One of the coolest things about homeschool blogs and email groups and homeschool groups is that you get to learn from the mistakes of others.  So here's what I learned this week.

When you homeschool, you need to hold on to your homeschoolers paperwork i.e. homeschool portfolio with samples of your children's work.  Test results and every piece of paper that was required from every school for admission.  If you have space, just hold onto all four years of homeschool documentation until they have their college diploma in hand.  In addition, hold on to all correspondence from the colleges they are admitted to, especially  any

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

What are you going to do when the kids are gone?

With my son graduating this year and my daughter graduating next, the end of my years as a homeschool mom are fast approaching.

But people keep asking me "What are you going to do when the kids are gone?".... in a response, I do a little dance.

Aren't you sad, they say... NO I reply.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bombarded with College Recruiting (homeschool friendly)

It is April.  My son graduates in 4 weeks and we are getting bombarded with college emails and postcards...NOW.

I would have loved these back in September, when we were visiting schools and making decisions.  But these correspondences at this late date are a little unfortunate.  I do realize that there are some kids who have not made their first choice colleges, or who STILL have not applied at all and need to get on it now, but I feel like colleges that send recruitment material this late in the game are missing out.

So.. I guess if your homeschooled kid is still looking, I have a list of schools to consider.  The solicitations we get are mostly from schools with strong Graphic Design and Art programs and/or strong Christian

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So Here's where we are at in the whole homeschool college search

College #1 application is almost complete.  He loves this college so much that we went to an open house day and they told us to apply  last September, so his application has been in process for a year now.  All he needs to do is submit his art portfolio to increase his scholarship chances. This college has rolling admissions, so an acceptance letter will not mean he HAS to go to THIS school if he is accepted.  Our feedback so far is that his homeschool portfolio is awesome.

College #2 application is ready to go out... just waiting for the early application deadline to pass so he is not considered early enrollment as they are not his first choice, just a comparison point. While is best friend is at the school, he says that will not sway him... it will probably come down to dollars and cents.

There are a couple of other colleges that are pretty much ruled out, but he may apply to one or two of them for grins and giggles... especially the one that already sent a scholarship letter... followed by a letter inviting him to apply, no charge.  It's a nice offer, but they offer NO art.... and very little graphic design.  It is more of a bible college than anything else.  That's great, but you'd think they would have a program for people who wanted to work in Christian media.. Christian TV, Christian websites for kids.... that sort of thing.  We are going to ask about the options for filling electives at other colleges before ruling them out completely. The recruiter is kind of cracking me up.  His last letter was all like.... "Yeah, we know we don't offer what you're interested in, but we're Christian and you'll get to use your camera."  That's not very convincing. 

As a homeschooling mom, of course I have some worries and insecurities.  Have I educated him enough to be ready for college?  Our experience with online public schools tells me that is ready to work on someone else's timetable.  That is good.  Plus he also took and passed a language arts CLEP exam worth 6 credits.  So that's good.  However, his ACT score was median.  Period.  He didn't rock the test.  He didn't blow it out of the water.  He did well enough to meet the median ACT score for his first choice college.  His scores are very considered pretty good for the second choice and most of the other colleges too.  Still, as a homeschooler, you kind of want to SHOW THEM... the doubters, you know.

A final statement and point of pride...  That boy writes a mean essay.  I had him ready a book about college entry essays, then write his own.  It was so good I wanted to cry.  sniff... very proud. 

Hoping to get results soon.  I don't want to be dealing with this all year.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homeschool Transcript Happy Dance

Just spoke to the people at my son's top choice college.  They got his homeschool transcript and they like it.  They really, really liked it.

Since they have rolling admissions, my son just needs to send a few more items and he will then know in 2 weeks time if he is accepted.  It will feel great not to stress about college for an entire school year.

I will share more of the transcript process when I know that the process has been completely successful.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Online options for high school students

I don't know if my son will get accepted for dual enrollment for fall due to his late ACT Date and the later score release date.  For that reason, I have been exploring my other options for his senior year.  I have found two great possibilities.  

The first is Georgia Virtual School:
Not to be confused with Georgia Virtual Academy, Georgia Virtual School provides a teacher led, virtual classroom environment.  Apparently homeschooled students have now been approved by the state to take 6-half credits each semester for free.  I don't know how I feel about it because it is public school at home, and I preferred a college course, but it will help my son get his last high school requirements out of the way in one semester.  

The second is BYU independent study.  Kids can take college and high school level credits and the cost is cheaper than most virtual schools.  It is "a distance education program that offers almost 600 university, high school, junior high school and personal enrichment courses to people throughout the world. BYU is accredited as an institution by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The BYU Independent Study High School Program is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)."  I am really intrigued by this one. Since I found out about it, I am a lot less stressed about my son's senior year.  If he gets dual enrollment, great.  If not, he can do a combination of CLEP exams and online study.  

Is any of this even necessary?, you might ask.  Well the point of doing some dual enrollment in his Sr. year is to give him a taste of what college might be like.  He has taken course with teachers all along, but the last 2 years have been primarily for arts related courses.  I want him ready for an intensive college level class.

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