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Crazy Schedules, Old-Fashioned Education, Virtual High School

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, October 27, 2006


The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 47 October 27, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Too Many Activities (2)
Helpful Tips
-- Geography Hobby
Website Winners
-- Old-Fashioned Education
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Well, last week I started sharing my crazy schedule with you
and I ended at Tuesday, mostly for lack of space. I'm continuing
today with Wednesday -- for those who are still interested!


Wednesday: On Wednesdays I have that class I've been teaching at our
homeschool co-op in Howell (about 15 miles away) from 9 am to 10:15 am.
The 3 youngest are in a "Math Games" class at that same time and Carman
co-teaches with me. Then my bookstore is open again at 11 am, so I
take the older boys home and head over there. (I'm open only 16 hours
per week and it's only 10 minutes away -- not much of a drive.)
At 3 pm I rush home to take both Valentine and Carman (14) to Flint
(about 25 miles away) for ballet. Valentine's class starts at 4 pm
and Carman student teaches at that time. Then Val and I have some fun
'mom and baby' time in town (usually shopping at thrift stores or
exploring a park) and Carman continues with other classes until 9:00 pm
some nights. We get home late and hit the hay!

Thursday: Once again, Thursday isn't so bad... but it WILL be soon!
For now, we just have First Lego League (FLL) in the evening --
but wrestling will begin in December. Oh, wait! I think I just said
'yes' to 4-H on that night. Back to the drawing board. When FLL is
done, Carman wants to go back to youth group again on Thursday
nights. And I know Ben (16) will be wanting to join in playing basket-
ball casually on Thursday nights with another local church group...
Oh, NO!! That reminds me!! REAL homeschool basketball (for Ben
and Angelo starts Nov. 3rd. Tuesdays and Fridays, I think. Hmm...
I might actually have to use spreadsheet software for this!! Two vehi-
cles... two drivers... no, wait... Ben will have his license in a few
weeks. That changes everything! If only we can afford the increase
in the car insurance and find a dependable 3rd car for him!

And I just realized... Angelo can't do wrestling on Tuesday nights now
due to basketball... and if he does 4-H on Thursday night that cuts
out wrestling altogether for him. He's been wrestling for 4 years --
we'll have to figure this one out!

Friday: Not so bad... Ben has Jujitsu again in the evening and basket-
ball will be added soon. Until basketball starts we *almost* have
Fridays free!

Saturday: Carman dances ALL day on Saturday at Paavola School of
Dance in Flint with the Young People's Ballet Theatre. I'll be helping
to sew costumes all day on Saturdays starting this next week. :-)

Well, that's the long and the short of it. Thanks for 'listening'!

Until later --


Send any feedback to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Geography Through Stamp Collecting

"This year our geography study is going to be centered around
stamp collecting. We joined the Youth Stamp Collectors at
http://www.ysci.org . For $10 per year they provided us with a
start-up packet and send my son a packet of stamps each month
for him to sort and mount. Some areas hold monthly stamp club
meetings or you can ask that they send the stamps directly to
your home. We are going to do a page for each country and
dividers for each continent. We plan to locate each country on
the map, learn more about some of them and then do reports on
them." -- Karen from the Hands-On Geography (HOG) Group

Yahoo Email Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Whole_HOG


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Website Winners

An Old Fashioned Education

Most of you probably know that there are hundreds of thousands of
free, out-of-print books available for reading/printing online. Many
of these books are books written for young people covering history,
reading, spelling, science, bible and more. Of course, with texts
scattered all over the Internet, finding and using these resources is
tedious at best. Enter Miss Maggie. This homeschool mom has
gathered, organized and linked us to the best resources. She has
even created suggested curriculum lists for each grade level AND
created 40 week lesson plans. This site is a treasure -- Miss Maggie
has done an incredible service to the homeschool community!
Other than the cost of printing books (she gives you pointers on
how to do this so the books are easier to read), you can home-
school without purchasing expensive curriculum.

Review by Cindy Prechtel

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I’m sure many of you have crossed this bridge before. We are on
the verge of entering high school. I was home schooled when it was
not cool in the 70’s! (Graduated 1981) The University of Nebraska-
Extension Division was considered the Gold Standard for HS education
by my parents. All 4 of us kids took it and have all finished
college and beyond!

Here’s my question: Where can I find a user-friendly, accredited high
school program that is not so expensive? Also, the courses that are
all web-based appear to be too much gazing into the computer -- tiring
to the eyes! Has anyone tried 'virtual home school'? What we want
is something with a real high school diploma that is mostly corres-
pondence or independent and not too expensive. Thank you all for
your wisdom!" -- Martha

Our Readers' Responses

"My daughter uses the Texas Tech University program, which
offers a homeschooling curriculum to high schoolers as well as
elementary schoolers. She wanted to homeschool but did not
want me as her primary teacher, since she is now a high school
junior. She prefers working on her own and being accountable to
someone else.

This has been a good program for us. Each course is given by
semester. The students have 6 months from the date they sig
up to complete the lessons. They can choose print or on-line
options. My daughter chose the print options because she prefers
to read and write rather than do all on-line courses. She did her
computer course on-line, though, and finished a semester's work
in approximately 3 weeks.

Here's how it works. You choose your courses (high schoolers
take a minimum of 4 classes), and the coursework is sent to you.
Each course booklet has 7 to 9 lessons in it. You complete the
lesson (reading chapters, doing exercises, writing essays, etc.)
and then mail it to the teacher in a provided, pre-paid envelope.
Each course has its own teacher, and you get that teacher's email
address if you need help. The teacher corrects the lesson and
mails it back to you, with any notes or suggestions written on it
and if it needs to be re-done. Then you send in the next lesson.

Final exams are sent to an outside proctor, which can be a librarian,
or a teacher at a local school. My daughter goes to the local library
to take exams. Once the course is completed, you send off for the
next semester.

I like this program because my daughter has had to learn to use
her time wisely and to adapt to a variety of lesson plans. She is a
night owl and getting up early to go to school was dreadful. Now
she can work on her lessons until 2 am and mail them in the morn-
ing if she wants to. I like it because the school takes care of the
grading and exams, transcripts and records, and she will get a
diploma. They issue student photo ID cards and t-shirts.

The costs were the lowest I'd found for this kind of program and I
had searched far and wide. Each semester costs $125 per course
for administrative costs and lesson plans. The textbooks are separ-
ate costs. You can buy the books directly through the school, but I
found that by going on Amazon.com or other textbook stores online,
I got her books at a fraction of the cost. For instance, when I totaled
the school's costs for all her textbooks for the semester, the amount
was $386.73. I got most of her books through Amazon or half.com
at a much lower prices (just type in the ISBN number of the text-
book) and only paid a total of $182.06. And all of these textbooks
will be used for the second semester as well.

You do not have to be a Texas resident to enroll; they will help you
with planning and information on state standardized tests and SATs,
etc. I believe they also have a graduation ceremony for those who
wish to attend. They also offer dual-credit courses, to get college
credits on the more academically advanced classes, but I don't
know if this applies outside Texas.

Check out their website to learn more:

Good luck!" -- Lynne


"I have a high school age child, 10th grade, as well as two younger
children. I was also homeschooled, but in a much less structured
manor than you. If you're looking for structure, I would look into
A.C.E. maybe. There are so any correspondence online high schools now
that it's hard to say which one is best. But as long as they are
accredited, it will give you a 'real' diploma.

Another option I see happening a lot is this: Start preparing your child
for the college entrance exam. Most Jr. colleges offer dual credit pro-
grams that allow students 16 and older to start getting college credits.
Once they're in they start on their college path and there is no need to
get a regular diploma. They just take a standard test to find placement.

We have done this for 10th grade. We have used the ACT as our curricu-
lum. We purchased a rather inexpensive book and went through the
practice drills and found a great test website. I was trying to fill
in any gaps my daughter had. I was pleased to see she pretty much had
the skills to attend college. At the very least she could take her GED
and pass with no problem.

Next year she can take as many as 4 courses per semester free until
she is finished with her 12th grade year. At that point she can move
into another college with no problems and have a good amount of
undergraduate work done.

Our daughter is planning on getting the math and English out of the
way so she can take the more career appropriate classes at a better
school." -- Melissa


"Back nearly a hundred years ago, I homeschooled my own children.
Now I'm working on 2 of my granddaughters! When mine reached 14,
I called the ICS in Pennsylvania. The first time, I had to argue with
them because they didn't usually enroll children under 16, but we got
the course and 3 of our 5 received their diploma. Our oldest son was
in the 11th grade when I pulled them all, so he decided to go to work.
Later he got his GED. I pulled him with the rest of them because he
was getting D's and F's and moving right along without thought from
the teachers. Then the last of our children was having seizures that
were taking her memory, and at 13 she had brain surgery, and she
just couldn't get through the courses. At 18 she studied and took
the GED and 'graduated' with high scores! She was a very different
girl after surgery and the initial slowness she went through. The full
high school course was somewhere around $500, payable by the
month, very affordable. The children go at their pace. One daughter
did all the work in one night, and got all A's; the others weren't so
fast. It was the best thing I could have done. Our granddaughters
are 11 and 12, and we'll be going that route with them." -- Jan

[Editor's note: My research team investigated Jan's mysterious refer-
ence to "the ICS in Pennsylvania" and it appears that all roads lead
to this link: http://www.pennfoster.edu -- worth checking out!]

Answer our NEW Question

"Hi! My children are just reaching the stage where they are not always
needing constant help with their lessons, yet I still need to be in the
room available to help as the need arises. I was wondering what other
parents do to fill this time. I'd like ideas for creative things to do
that are easy to start and stop. Thanks!" -- Heather W.


Do you have some ideas for Heather?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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