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)
chavivah@yahoo.com

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.

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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.

Continue reading Dual Enrollment–Starting College in High School

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!

Am I Doing Enough?

“Help! I feel like I’m not doing enough, that my child isn’t learning enough. How can I be sure that’s not a legitimate concern?”

 

I saw this question and thought: A lot of homeschoolers have this worry. Most aren’t professional teachers. Their child isn’t spending nearly as much time on lessons as the public school students do. Lessons aren’t as consistent as the parent would like them to be. The child doesn’t seem to get the lessons as much as he should–he has too many questions, has to re-do too many problems, etc. And no one’s letting us know on a regular basis if the child’s doing well–it’s not like we’re getting weekly progress reports. So of course we worry.
 
But should we? How can we be reassured? How can we know if there’s really a problem?
 

Continue reading Am I Doing Enough?

What If the Kids Aren’t Doing Their Work?

I saw this question again today online. Parents debated what to do with homeschooled kids who weren’t doing their work. Could doing chores instead of lessons be the homeschool version of in-school suspension and help get them back on track with lessons? Would it be better to have them write a paper on the reasons for learning and getting an education? Should they be denied fun activities and events until they toe the line?

Sometimes kids don’t want to do Continue reading What If the Kids Aren’t Doing Their Work?

Why We Need Homeschool Support Groups

Fourteen years ago, we joined our first homeschool support group. In those intervening years, I’ve seen many groups come and go. I’ve seen a few moms go a bit crazy and try to wreck groups; sometimes they are successful, while other times they aren’t completely successful but their drama still chases a number of families away. I’ve heard a number of moms say they’d rather avoid homeschool support groups because of such drama. And I’ve seen a lot of newer homeschool moms who feel they don’t need a homeschool support group because

Continue reading Why We Need Homeschool Support Groups

Learning Place Value

A week ago, my husband brought home a dice game called Farkle. The game is simple enough that our 5-year-old was able to play along but the scoring uses big numbers. It takes 10,000 points to win. Which made it perfect for using an abacus for each of us to keep track of our scores. We have simple ones that we made Continue reading Learning Place Value

Kindergarten–week 3

Kindergarten in our house is nothing like the super academic structure of the average modern public school. We don’t do a lot of sitting at desks or tables. I don’t force lesson times. We sometimes go for a couple of days (or more) without any formal lessons.

Does that mean there’s no learning going on? Not at all.

Some peeks at the learning that happened in our homeschool kindergarten today include:
I woke up this morning to our youngest excitedly telling me Continue reading Kindergarten–week 3

First Day of Kindergarten (at Home)

So today was the first day of public school in my area. My youngest has been looking forward to this for some time as his first day of kindergarten. He carefully planned his outfit the night before so he’d look like a kindergartner for the photo he’d take the next morning. He packed his backpack with assorted school supplies, including a new notebook that he carefully wrote his name on and then added the alphabet and a few assorted math problems to the cover. And this morning, he was up early and dressed himself and combed his hair at least twice. He was ready to go!

There was a moment of shock when Continue reading First Day of Kindergarten (at Home)

High School Prom

Last year at about this time of year, my daughter and a couple of her friends started talking about prom. They wanted to experience a prom and had decided to put together their own. We talked about all that would be involved (picking a venue and setting a day and time well in advance so people could plan, setting a budget for all that would be involved–a DJ, decorations, insurance, rent for the venue, food and beverages, security, etc., advertising and selling tickets, setting rules/guidelines about appropriate wear, behavior, etc., and so on) and starting to plan right then in order to make it happen. They got another friend to help and the four teens (along with a couple of parents) started work.

Last weekend, they hosted their prom. Over 50 teens came (and a few parent chaperones, a hired security guard, parents to check tickets and make sure they left afterwards with their parents, and a DJ). I loved that the majority felt free to come on their own or with a group of friends rather than feeling that they must come with dates. Of course, there were more girls present than boys, but after an hour the majority of the kids (boys included) had warmed up enough that they were all dancing and having fun.

I had my teens take 6 weeks of ballroom dancing classes beforehand. Not that they did any ballroom-style dancing at the prom, but I think it’s a skill they should have just in case. (Especially for the one who’s interested in joining the military since balls are a big thing in the military.)

The security guard, an off-duty policeman that we were required to hire, had a lot of questions about homeschooling. He was quite surprised when we told him that most homeschool parents are very careful about their kids–even their teens–and that while we hadn’t allowed most parents in (in order to make it feel like a prom rather than a parent-child dance), most peeked in to see the venue and then went a couple of doors down to a cafe where they hung out until the prom was over. The more we talked, the more questions he had. Eventually, he revealed that his wife had asked him about homeschooling and he’d known nothing about it, but he said that now he planned to go back and talk to her some more about the idea. He definitely knows that socializing (and proms) are something homeschoolers don’t have to miss out on!