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High School Plan (Part 4), Fighter Jet Valentines, Living History Curricula

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, February 12, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 12 February 12, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- A High School Plan (Part 4)
Helpful Tips
-- Valentines for Boys
Resource Review
-- College without Compromise
Reader Question
-- History Curriculum?
Additional Notes
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

[Editor's note: To access parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series, see our
website for the last 3 issues: http://www.FamilyClassroom.net ]

A High School Plan (Part 4)

I was first introduced to the idea of using the CLEP tests at the
high school level by a long-time friend, David Callihan. He came
to Michigan to offer a prep test for taking the biology exam. My
oldest son, then only 12 years old, thoroughly enjoyed this 5-day
'crash' course, offered primarily for some local Christian college
students who were mostly 'CLEPping" their way through their
degrees. Ben so enjoyed this class that we invited David and his
wife, Laurie, to speak and teach at our first FIRE homeschool
camp in Michigan in 2004. They taught Biology in 2004 and then
came back in 2005 to teach Natural Science.

At the age of 12, just for the fun of it, we downloaded the sample
CLEP exam for U.S. History I (American history through the Civil
War) for about $6.00. Ben had read so many 'living' books about
history -- wonderful biographies, historical fiction, the 'Landmark'
series by Random House, etc. We had never done ANY formal
history curriculum. We only used Your Story Hour audio, Living
Principles of America audio, and living books. (See list of
recommended 'living history' resources below the answers to this
issue's reader question below for more information on these.)

Ben passed the sample CLEP exam for U.S. History I. That was
pretty exciting. In fact, the only questions he missed were about
our government's structure -- legislative, executive, judicial branch,
etc. That gave us valuable info about where his gaps were -- and
also got us VERY excited about studying for other CLEP exams!

CLEP tests are accepted for credit at nearly 3,000 colleges and
universities in the world. On high school transcripts simply noting
"CLEP" next to a subject carries a lot of weight. No admissions
department will question how many hours your student has put it
on a subject when they see he/she has college-level knowledge
of it. Another plus -- CLEP exams are simply pass/fail. If you
didn't do well, you can ask the proctor (at your local community
college) not to turn in your score. Then you can re-take the test
as soon as you like, foregoing any waiting period between re-takes
(which is usually 6 months, I believe.) The exam itself is $60 to
$80 and you can literally save THOUSANDS of dollars in college
tuition just taking these tests. Study guides abound... it is not
hard to find out exactly what you need to know to take a test!

For more info on CLEP and other 'credit by examination' programs,
I strongly recommend reading Cindy Prechtel's review of "College
without Compromise" in this issue and then getting the book!

Also, I recommend a thorough read of articles by David and Laurie
Callihan -- http://www.davidandlaurie.com -- and for those who want
to think ahead about distance education for college -- Brad Voeller's
website -- http://www.globallearningstrategies.org -- is great. To
see what CLEP tests are available to take, go to www.CLEP.com
and type "CLEP" in the search box. (The site seems to focus
primarily on SAT/ACT, so you have to search a bit.)


I just finished my 14 year old's high school plan last night! This
is my child who is quite the opposite of my oldest, who is 16.
Carman is "all arts", while Ben is "all academics". Carman is joining
Civil Air Patrol tonight, at the invitation of his older brother,
so some of the work he will be doing there will round out his
transcript. This is the 'plan' -- it can change and probably will as
other opportunities arise. :-)

So -- here is the first draft of Carman's 'plan':



Cindy Prechtel is SUCH a dear!! She took all the transcript drafts
I showed you last issue and put them into PDF form -- for those
who may not be able to view .doc or had some appear 'messed up'.

Here is a link to all the perfect-looking drafts in PDF form to print
out and ruminate over:


Thanks, Cindy!! :-)


**BONUS NOTES** on high school credits:

One of our readers wrote in with a great tip for those who need to
keep track of hours spent on a given subject. Elise writes:

"Regarding reporting hours for a credit -- If you are in a situation
where the actual class time must be recorded and used to assign
credit, a 'class hour' is typically only 45 minutes of instruction,
assuming a 50-55 minute class time slot, and not a full 60 minute
hour. Many homeschoolers short-change themselves due to this
discrepancy in definitions."

And she also shared a 'good news' CORRECTION from information
I shared in the last issue regarding giving credit for college classes
taken during the high school years:

"While dual enrollment classes in college can count for both high
school and college, since college work is theoretically done at a
more advanced level, a one semester college class counts as two
semesters of high school work and is granted credits accordingly."

Thanks for these great tips, Elise! :-)


Do you have comments and/or questions about this series on
'A High School Plan'?

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

A Valentine's Day craft especially for boys...
Fighter Jet Valentines!


"These are fun to make and big hit!

Fold a piece of paper into an airplane shape. Write the 'to and
from' part on the wings and decorate with markers. I wouldn't add
stickers as it may make the wings a bit off balance.

Stick a wrapped piece of gum (like Wrigley's) inside the main fold.
If it is inserted correctly, the gum should 'fly' out when the airplane
is thrown.

If the plane doesn't fly well, look at straight on from the nose.
Bend the wings so they are horizontal. If one or both is at an angle,
it may fly funny.

Here's a website for folding some paper airplanes:


Have fun!" -- Kathy, mom to 3 paper airplane throwers

(from our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email encouragement group!)


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

Resource Review

College without Compromise (Reviewed by Cindy Prechtel)

Written specifically for Christian homeschool families, College
without Compromise is so much more than a book about college
preparation. The authors begin by encouraging families to consider
the need for developing a young person’s character through continued
training in the areas of spiritual maturity, purity, a strong work ethic
and serving others. They also bring up many practical points for
consideration, including discussing with your child whether college
is necessary to prepare them for their future goals and God’s specific
calling on their life. Also, if college is something your family
decides is needed, you will find yourself challenged to consider ways to
earn a college degree that will allow you to be a wise financial steward
and protect your child from the many moral pitfalls associated with
college life. The authors then guide the reader through what may be
unfamiliar territory -- utilizing credit by examination to acquire the
majority of credits needed for an undergraduate degree. Other methods
discussed include dual enrollment and distance learning.

Along with wise counsel and words of encouragement, this book is
packed with useful information. I am so thankful the Wightman’s took
the time to write about their experiences, as well as the experiences
of others, who have found the non-traditional route to a college degree
not only doable, but satisfying as well. A large portion of the book is
devoted specifically to credit by examination. The authors provide
lists of credits available through testing, advice on finding schools
that accept these credits, and information on how a student might
go about preparing to take the exams. My son was especially encouraged
as he looked over a chart showing exactly how one young man obtained a
bachelors degree in business, almost completely with credit by
examination, for under $6,000! Of course, the authors recognize that
not every student will be able to fulfill their chosen degree
requirements in this fashion, so they have included chapters on blending
credit by examination with taking either classroom or distance learning
courses to complete a degree.

It is exciting to consider the possibilities that are available if one
will think outside the box! College without Compromise provides a
blueprint that families can follow to seamlessly move from high
school through college graduation that is really a continuation of
the homeschooling you have been doing all along. Although I was
somewhat familiar with the College Level Examination Program
(CLEP), I really didn’t know where to begin and always thought of
credit by examination as something adult learners use to pick up
credits when going back to school. After reading this user-friendly
guide, I realized that utilizing credit by examination is ideal for
homeschool students -- and that we can start at a young age
gaining college credit, saving much time and money. More
importantly, my husband and I will have more time with our sons
to continue guiding and preparing them to be husbands and leaders.
They will also be free to avail themselves to 'real life' learning
through apprenticeship, volunteering, or through the work force, thus
gaining valuable experience that traditional college students do not
have the time or opportunity to pursue because of the time required for
classroom learning.

College without Compromise is an incredible resource for homeschool
families. Whether or not you have decided about your child’s academic
future, this practical guide will inspire and inform you. If you have
a high school student, read this book. In fact, I believe College
without Compromise will be of even more benefit if it is read and
re-read when your children are in upper elementary and middle school.
The authors have subtitled their book, 'An Encouraging Guide to
Starting Early, Finishing Economically, and Protecting Your Homeschool
Vision'. To which I say a heartfelt, 'Amen!'

For more info or to order: www.homeschoolingfromtheheart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"We will be moving into our third year of homeschool next year
and I'm stumped when it comes to teaching history. My son is 8.
Can anyone give me advice on where to find a complete program
that is not packed full of units, user friendly and appropriate for a
4th to 6th grade level. I love incorporating literature, and don't
mind if I need to read to him, if the books are above his reading level.
He's a strong auditory learner and recieves a lot of information
through audio books, consuming 3 to 6 a week. I am looking for a
more traditional approach to history that will arm him for facing
early college enrollment. If anyone has any suggestions I would
be so thankful." -- Jessica L

Our Readers' Responses

"History is easy to teach. And it is an area you can bring all your
children together for learning. We do our history and bible in the
morning with everyone gathered around the couch. Little ones are
playing quietly on blankets. I read the bible first, then history,
then any read-aloud stories we are doing. We do this for over an hour,
usually. There are several sources that you can use to guide you
through history: The Mystery of History, Truth Quest, or Usborne
are a few. Use these as a base so you know you are covering the
time line in correct order. When a subject comes up that you want
to know more about, just get out tons of library books and go as
deeply into it as you wish. You can start anywhere; we chose to
start American History first because it's most relevant for my little
ones." -- Jane T.


"You might check out Little Bear Wheeler's Historical Devotional
CDs. Mantle Ministries has many other history materials besides
that one, and I highly recommend all of them. Several of them
are audio recordings.

Another wonderful history resource is Beautiful Feet. Your Story
Hour has an excellent selection of audio historical accounts. Also
worth looking into is the CD series, 'Living Principles of America'.
-- Mary Beth A.


"My son is 9 and we are doing Story of the World and Mystery of
History. He loves it so much. When he asks me 'How many
subjects do I have left for today?' I will usually tell him History,
Science, etc. He informed me today that 'Story of the World and
Mystery of History is not a subject, it’s just plain fun!!!' These were
his exact words. I did buy the volume on audio CD and he listens
and watches the colors on the computer screen. We have started
from the very firstbook which is Ancient World. He loves it!!" -- Bunny


"Truthquest History is a great literature based history curriculum.
There are books on nearly every child's level for reading or you can
read some of the books aloud if you wanted to." -- Diane


"It sounds to me like Sonlight's history curriculum is the curriculum
you're looking for. It incorporates many reading books that bring
history to life with more memorable detail than any other program
we've seen. The books are awesome, we can't put them down. My
daughter doesn't consider them school at all because they're so
good. Many of the books are available on tape at the library." -- Heidi


"We use Truthquest History. It is very flexible, literature-based and
can easily be used with multiple ages (if you have more than one).
The author, Michelle Miller, constantly brings the focus back to God
and the responses of peoples to His calling and leading. There's a
very active web-group to answer questions and field discussions. This
year we're using History as the backbone of our home education even
though it used to be my weakest and least favorite subject." -- Eliza


"You just described Sonlight Curriculum perfectly. I have been using
it for many years and history is our favorite subject. We do lots of
reading of wonderful books, many of which deeply impact my kids
and myself. It is a truly wonderful curriculum." -- Megan J.


Resource links to curriculum suggestions listed in answers above:

1. TruthQuest History: http://www.TruthQuestHistory.com
2. SonLight: http://www.SonLight.com
3. Beautiful Feet Books: http://www.BFbooks.com
4. Mantle Ministries: http://mantlemin.com/
5. Your Story Hour: http://www.YourStoryHour.com
6. Mystery of History: http://themysteryofhistory.com/
7. Living Principles: http://www.valerieslivingbooks.com/livingp.htm
8. Story of the World: http://www.peacehillpress.com/
9. Usborne Books: http://www.Usborne.com

Answer our NEW Question

"My son will be 15 this month, and he is doing 9th grade work -
primarily Switched-on-Schoolhouse, except 7th grade math
(Alpha Omega). I am hoping he gets into the summer volunteer
program this year at the local hospital because the director informed
me that they allow homeschoolers to volunteer through the year. My
son is adopted, has ADD, and attended public school until November
of 6th grade, at which time he did not do any of the homework or
classwork for the 3 months he was there. I work full time but I have
had the opportunity to teach in a 2-year college with a class that
included students with learning disabilities, so we do okay generally.
I let him take tests open book, and then he repeats the test if his
grade is less than 70. After 3-plus years of homeschooling, this is
the first month that he has passed the majority of the tests on the
first try.

My question pertains to developing work skills. He is involved with
our church's puppet ministry, is the primary (as in only) sound
person on our antiquated sound board at church, and has helped
to rehabilitate a local house for a family from Peru as well as attend
one summer week teaching inner city youth in Philadelphia. He
also runs a small youth group for grades 6-8 using the YLO program
of using current Christian songs to teach the gospel. I only allow
him on the computer for school work , there is no internet connection
on that computer and his social life is primarily church activities.
I'd like to hear how others have assisted in progressing their
children into the work world. He has some issues attending to
auditory requests, and I can see him being fired at a real job
because of insufficient time to complete a task or not hearing all
of the components. I'd love to find a way for someone to allow him
to shadow them until he learns the task be that a cash register or
a particular job. Can anyone give me ideas to take him from
protected school environment into the real work world?" -- Susan


Do you have some ideas and/or encouragement for Susan?

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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as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


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Tags: College Level Examination Program, CLEP tests, CLEP prep, high school planning, transcripts, dual enrollment, college credit for high school, college level work, homeschooling college, college at home, Valentines for boys, history curriculum suggestions

Next - High School Plan (Part 5), Reluctant Writer Ideas, Progressive Phonics
Previous - A High School Plan (Part 3), Spelling Test Twist, New Baby on the Way

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