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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Homeschooling High School With College in Mind Review -- Good Book!

Homeschooling High School With College in Mind Review
book is by Betsy Sproger

Homeschooling through High School can be tough. Especially when you are preparing for the years after High School. Our family just came through this last year graduating our oldest. I remember thinking that over the last four years of high school I had a lot of unanswered questions. And oh them transcripts! Unending lists on advice with the do and don't. Then there is the other list that was jam packed with resources to check out, it would never end.. Oy! I was bombarded with endless nights of research, questions and stress worrying about what if I don't get this right. My daughter's future is at stake here!

To be honest, the research never ends when it comes to homeschooling. Youe constantly talking with other homeschool moms/dads who are more veteran then yourself. Reading countless books and blogs to see what they went through, how to do this or that, best advice for this or that. Hey, who ever said that Homeschool does not entail a lot or work? Your work never ends! It some sick sense, it is no different then a public school's work     in the sense that we are all working to help educate and make the future be brighter for our next generation of children. 

The best part about it is when other homeschool moms take the time to make resources available and better! In homeschool there is always room for trail and error. We all learn differently through similar to different circumstances. The one thing we all should remember is we are not the only homeschool family to ever face the homeschool struggles. We all have faced it or are facing it now and to know there is someone else out there that has or is experiencing it that is willing to share from their lessons learned - is truly comforting. Which makes this resource great! A fellow homeschool mom put all of her resources and best advice together for you here in her book: Homeschool High School With College in Mind.

What's inside?
  • Researching College Entrance Requirements
  • Planning High School with College in Mind
  • Choosing High School Curriculum
  • Assigning High School Credit
  • Making Your Transcripts (Calculating the GPA, etc)
  • Electives and College
  • Writing the College Essay
  • Course Descriptions and Reference Letters
  • Preparing your Teen for College Writing
  • Nature Study and PE

This book really is loaded with detail and great information that we all could use in planning and preparing the high school years. Honestly, why wait until your student is in high school to read what you need to know about the high school years and there after? I would definitely recommend this book for middle school parents to begin reading about what is to come for their student(s). If you student is planning on College this is a good start to help get you and them there. 

In the last year our oldest graduated and has begun her new journey. She has begun her next chapter advancing in to the medical field. That entails a lot of schooling. In reading this book I saw a few extra points that we had overlooked in our research for college. Trust me it is easy to over look some things so be sure to highlight or write down all the important details. Every College has their own set of requirements to attend their school. Every College will offer your student various electives and alternatives to help get them to their destination. 

In the requirements section she encourages families to ask the college ahead of time what their requirements are for homeschoolers. Don't just assume the noted requirements on their site is all that is required.  I second this. and I will tell you why in just a second. ]   
Most Colleges will have all the requirements noted on their site, even for homeschooler's. However, there are a handful that still have not set their requirements or just have not updated them for homeschooler's and other colleges that just simply don't have any extra requirements. Why would they have extra requirements for homeschoolers? To validate your homeschooler's transcripts, some will require a few extra requirements like non-homeschool assessments,(testing outside of the homeschool area, SAT, AP. ACT or CLEP Testing or GED scores), validation in 3 other areas like Math, Science and Foreign Language, taking courses at college. 

 [ Just my note on the GED: Unless you absolutely have no other choice, I recommend using the GED as a last resort. Our state is very good about keeping our homeschoolers educated on everything as it comes out. If your state has a special homeschool advocating group, follow them! A few years ago it came out the diplomas were going to be labeled. I strongly disagree with labeling of students. It is simply wrong. Unless this changes in the future, your student will be labeled on their diploma by their learning ability. The GED labels your student as a drop-out! Some will agree and disagree on this. But what we were told by our homeschool admin here within our state, is your student will be labeled a drop out and it could effect their applications for a job down the road and or what they will be qualified for doing. So please keep that in mind when you are deciding the homeschool diploma. I recommend a diploma over a GED any day just because of this new labeling system.]

Now I know I threw ya off there a sec with that last piece of information. Why did I agree so much with her advice on asking all questions ahead of time on requirements? A friend of mine was trying to get her student enrolled in to college and followed all of the requirements on their site up to the point of enrolling. When the college (unfortunately I can not remember which one she mentioned), was set to enroll her they paused her application because it was a homeschool app and they said they couldn't approve her until their board had set the appropriate requirements for homeschoolers. Really?! Well how long could that take? She said that they were willing to hold her app as long as it took to set requirements if need be. Yes, stuff like this still is happening today regardless of how many more opt to homeschool. She had to contact the HSLDA and get them involved to help her student get in to that particular college. In the end she was approved and the school ended up with little to no requirements added for homeschoolers. So it was a win win. But like the author mentions in this book, ask ahead of time just to be safe.

Another thing I want to add that relates to this a little is the applying for job. Another friend of mine had a student apply as a tech in a dentist office. When they asked for information and HS Diploma there were issues due to the diploma being an issued diploma from her family graduating her. This particular company had no idea about the homeschool laws and was quickly educated on them after her family contacted the HSLDA. Rest assured any policy for homeschoolers was quickly updated. So be advised that there are still scenarios today that every homeschooler needs to be prepared for be it graduation, college or just simply applying for that job. As far as I am aware of there is NO law stating you have to have a state issued diploma. At least that is the case for our state. You will need to check your state laws and legistlation. Some state homeschool groups offer a homeschool graduation. If that is so for your state then in my opinion I would recommend that you go that route. It is simple to sign your child up, he/she will recieve a state sealed diploma and your student gets to participate in the whole ceremony experience which is usually quite awesome because they state goes all out to make their day super special. Should you opt to make your students diploma, I recommend that you ensure your diploma is within the update state law requirements, also make your student a copy of the updated laws to keep with their diploma. The law requirements will note the requirements for the diploma. As long as your diploma is within the laws, no company can legally descriminate against your students diploma. All things that you want to pay attention to and be prepared for.  

Like you are already doing now for your homeschool and your student. There is much planning, preparing and researching entailed in the high school years. You will need an idea of how many credits will be required for College so you can plan your high school years to ensure your student gets all the credits needed to enroll. This is something that by now you should be pretty good at doing if you are a veteran homeschooler. If you are beginning your homeschool years in highschool this will be a new process that can be somewhat stressful but you can do this. If you are removing your student from high school to homeschool, then you would need to look over their transcripts and credits already earned and work from their to ensure they have what they need for college enrolling. Again, she notes in detail through out this section in her book. She will walk you step by step through the process and for people like me that is a godsend since I am a visual learner. I rather a picture be painted then a long detail of information crammed my way. So kudos to her for doing this..

She walks you through process of step by step planning your curriculum to reach your credit limit, to planning and making your transcripts, to college essay writing, college preparing, testing, requirements and lists an unlimited amount of resources through out her book to help guide you with a step by step approach from high school to college. This is one book I can honestly say that after walking away from reading it, I was not overwhelmed with everything I just read nor was it as stressful. Though we have already graduated one student, it has given me more to go on for my next three students to come. What things I didn't know before my oldest graduated, I either learned with my oldest or I just learned reading this book. 

Listen, I have reviewed and read plenty of homeschool books over the last 10+ years then some in my research to homeschool. There are some great authors and homeschool parents offering super good advice. But honestly, some books were more complex then they needed to be. Other books were so overwhelming with detail I walked away with my head spinning and unfortunately there were some that are just not as detailed, so you walk away with more questions. 

What I love about this book is she literally is walking the reader step by step through the process as well as showing the reader what their family did. This is not one of them books that is overwhelming because it is jam-packed. It really is a helpful and insightful book.

Lastly, if you look in the back of the book you will find that she has included blank forms that you could copy and print out or use simply as a go to resource to help you:
  • Plan your highschool years
  • Curriculum planning 
  • College entry requirements
  • Record planning
  • How to make transcripts and an ideal copy of transcript        as well as other forms that will prove to be useful for your homeschool journey.

With any review I do for any author, I always note the same advice that was given to me.
Always keep in mind that what works best for one family does not gurantee it will work best for yours! This is where you need to use your trial and error and find what will work best work for you and your family. Not everyone will be able to use the same curriculum, plan the same way or grad the same way. You will have plenty of room to rearrange your schedule and curriculum to find what works for you. Experiment if you need to, time is on your side. Just don't over do yourself always changing things up. The author is sharing with the reader simply what worked for her family to get through the high school years and work towards the planning and enrolling to College.

The information in this book especially on College is subject to change at any time. A reader with a student in the middle school grades could read this for their planning down the road and once they arrive to college the requirements might be different. I only point this out because I have always heard a handfull still walk away with the questions or assume things that were not so. Which is why I note that she is encouraging you to do your research ahead of time and ask questions before you get there.

I do recommend this book as a homeschool help aid to all homeschool parents, especially that of the middle school grades and up, to get your prepared for your high school years and college preparing. It is good to know ahead of time what challenges you could face and will face during these years of homeschooling.

~ If you would like a copy of this book, you can purchase it below at the noted links ~

This book is on sale and available right now for a limited time as ebook for $3.99, Please click here for the ebook version. 

If you prepare the hardback for the high-lighting, which I recommend, you can purchase it here for $7.19 (not including shipping.)  Please click here for the paperback version.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Clean up!

If you don't see a post your hunting for it Has either been moved or deleted. We are getting things ready for a new look and adding some changes. We ask for your patience as we begin the process of reconstructing this blog.  Regular posts will be updated at the FB page and more here after some changes are updated.

Thanks for your patience

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Planets In The News

If you haven't heard, until February 20th, providing clear skies

 Amateur astronomers will be able to view the following planets lined up together.

Beginning with the moon and ending with the sun:

[Moon]   Jupiter, Mars, Saturn Venus, Mercury   [Sun] 

Tip: Jupiter is the Brightest star to the left side of the moon.  Mercury is fairly bright to closest to the sun, but can be seen clearly before sunrise. The other planets are not quite as bright.

The visual is at a some what diagonal start across the upper southwestern sky.  

Beginning in the West with the Moon and ending at sunrise with the sun of course. 

Viewing: The best time to view is at or about an hour before sunrise to sunrise. Most viewers will get a view of all of the planets briefly and they will fade in the morning sky.

The last time this happened was in 2005. This occurance will happen again in August of 2016 briefly but it will be slightly harder to view all planets. This occurance is set to happen again in or around the year 2027.

You DO NOT need a telescope or binoculars to view this foramtion. This can be seen with the naked eye. However, you will have a spectacular view through a telescope or binoculars.

Some resources to bookmark for later:

Download the Night Sky App  [The may or may not offer a FREE version anymore]

Happy Star Gazing!