Updating Our High School Documentation

Last night and today, I spent a few hours updating my teens’ transcripts and course descriptions and figuring out what courses they still need to graduate from high school. I’ve chosen to use the Florida public school graduation requirements as our guide, though some homeschool parents choose other guidelines; there’s no legal requirement to do what the public schools do. Florida public schools have more than one graduation track; I chose to use the 24-credit track rather than the 18-credit track. Those who want to finish high school faster might find the 18-credit track more appealing, but it cuts out most of the electives that can make high school more fun.

Since my teens each took a dual-enrollment college course during the 2018-2019 school year, I found useful

Continue reading Updating Our High School Documentation

Going to School

My homeschooled five-year-old wants to go to school for two weeks. Or ten weeks. Or, at the latest count, it’s up to 16 weeks now.

So we started today–after spending the morning working on his science project on bats. He pulled up a TV tray table and put a chair by it. This was his

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Project-Based Learning?

“I’m looking for curriculum to help my child get into [a particular university program].”

The woman got upset when I suggested that she might let him spend a lot of time working on projects related to his specialized interest. She seemed to think that was only for younger kids, not for high school students interested in a rigorous academic program.

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Kindergarten: Laid-Back Style

New homeschooling parents worry about are they doing enough or which curriculum they should use or numerous other details. Having seen the journey through from start to almost the finish with my older kids–who are both now taking college classes after having been homeschooled from the beginning–I’m much more relaxed about it. It’s rather like those who’ve potty-trained a couple of kids and figure out that the next child in the family will potty-train when he or she is ready and there’s no need to stress over the details like they did with the first child, so the journey’s much easier on everyone involved.

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Normalizing Homeschooling

A friend worried that her son felt he was weird or unusual since he was homeschooled. He’d been pulled out of school because of issues in the school, but like most kids, blames himself and thinks he’s somehow not good enough for school. The fact that he doesn’t see many other homeschoolers around wasn’t helping. I think it really helps to show kids, as much as possible given your own situation, that homeschooling isn’t that unusual. Normalizing homeschooling can make the child feel better about himself. But how do you do that?
Some options that come to mind include:

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How Did You Prepare Your Children for College Writing?

The person who asked how I prepared my kids for college writing was likely expecting to hear the name of a fabulous writing curriculum that we used. But we didn’t. There are several well-known intense writing instruction programs that are popular with homeschoolers, but I didn’t use any of those. Honestly, I haven’t had my kids spend a lot of time writing; we don’t work on it regularly every day nor necessarily, every week. I don’t teach my kids that way. To me that’s boring and tedious and isn’t likely to bring about a lot of learning. Instead, Continue reading How Did You Prepare Your Children for College Writing?

Writing Test

During my daughter’s second week in College Composition 1101, the class was given a surprise test.

“Some of you really shouldn’t be in this class. Your writing skills aren’t strong enough,” the professor told them before giving a test that would be used to determine if they really ought to be in the class despite having scored well enough on an entrance exam to sign up for the class.

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RIP Documentation

Suggestion: At least once a year, check that you have a clear plan for your homeschooling written up. If your kids are in high school (or doing high-school-level work), make sure you have a transcript and course descriptions for each of their classes that are fairly up-to-date. Perhaps even a plan of what you hope to work on in the near future or goals or such. And keep them in a place that’s fairly easy to find.

Cheryl Trzasko (who took another call from a concerned relative who is suddenly in charge of the education of a child who was homeschooled after the homeschooling parent passed away and isn’t sure what to do)

P.S. If you know you are facing an illness or condition that’s likely to be fatal, tell someone near and dear to you. Give them time to think about how they’ll carry on, an opportunity to ask questions, a chance to help you through it, etc. Don’t leave them more devastated when they have to face additional burdens and challenges while grieving.

Dual Enrollment–Starting College in High School

My teens just signed up for their first college level class through Florida’s dual enrollment program which allows high school students (including those who are in home education programs) to take college courses for free. These courses can be used for credit towards high school graduation as well as college credit. The classes count twice–both for high school and college.

A lot of homeschooled friends have been asking for details on how the dual-enrollment process works. So here is what I’ve learned….The rules regarding admission vary from one college to another. There’s no consistent set of rules. Some allow students to start at a certain age and for others it’s based on their grade level. Other rules vary too–for example, books are free at colleges but those designated as universities may or may not charge fees for books or materials.

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Testing–They Did It!

Testing is such a HUGE thing in public schools these days. The public is told that testing not only determines who passes a grade level or graduates from high school, but it determines teacher pay, school grades, and ultimately funding. Students are tested regularly. They practice testing skills and take practice tests. They take multiple types of tests. And this is in addition to the less formal classroom tests given (and perhaps designed) by individual teachers for their specific classes–the math, spelling, history, and other sorts of tests. Testing seems to take up more than half of the time spent in local public schools.

So when a parent starts to homeschool, most worry Continue reading Testing–They Did It!