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By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, July 13, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
       ***SPECIAL SERIES - High School Homeschooling***
   Vol. 10 No 50                          July 13, 2009                        
                      ISSN: 1536-2035                              
   Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

  Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

  If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
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  Get Your FREE "Yes, You Can Homeschool High School" lesson today!

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  Notes from Heather
  -- Kelly's High School Method
  Feature Article
  -- A Homeschool Graduate's Perspective
  Helpful Tip for High School
  -- Guidance Manual for High School
  Answers to Reader Question
  -- Can I Really Unschool High School?
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  I've been asking our readers who have graduated one or more children
  to share with us about what they wish they had known before they began
  their journey and what they have learned that might benefit the rest
  of us.  Here is another real life experience from one of our readers!


  "The second of our six children will graduate from our homeschool
  high school this year, and another will graduate next year. I have
  noticed that many homeschool families choose an online school when
  the high school years roll around, so I consider our methods somewhat
  untraditional. I'll try to keep this brief, but I tend to be passionate
  about the subject of homeschooling high schoolers. :-)
  I do keep records of credits earned for our high schoolers, but I'm
  creative about what constitutes a credit! For example, they earn one
  elective credit ('Driver's Ed') just for getting their driver's license!
  In our state, kids need to log a hundred hours of driving practice before
  they are allowed to get a driver's license and I figure approximately
  one hundred hours of study is worth one credit. I also give them Life
  Skills credits for helping with the grocery shopping or running the
  calculator when their dad and I balance the checkbook. These activities
  are accompanied by instruction, and I consider them worthy of credit.
  Their part time jobs count toward credits, too. My daughter is currently
  working in a restaurant, where she has to make change and reconcile her
  till at the end of each shift. The approximate percentage of work hours
  she spends doing this counts toward some math credits.
  For more traditional study, I prefer 'a la carte' courses to an online
  school or complete program. My teens really enjoy online classes, so
  we've taken advantage of several Time4Writing courses. It's one of the
  few sources of ala carte courses for high schoolers, and I like having
  an opinion other than my own when it comes to their writing ability.
  We use sites like Cosmeo and Brainpop for video lessons. I have the
  kids write summaries of the videos they watch on Cosmeo. Brainpop has
  its own little quiz at the end of each video. When choosing online
  curriculum, I pay more attention to content to than to specific grade
  level. One of my sons used Time4Learning's algebra this year, although
  it's intended for advanced middle schoolers instead of high school. He
  also used Time4Learning's seventh grade social studies, because I thought
  it was a great overview of American history.
  I think a lot of people choose more traditional educational methods for
  their high schoolers because they want their child to have a 'real'
  diploma. Neither of the colleges our oldest child attended questioned
  his 'homemade' diploma or transcript. He has graduated from college
  now and says many of the skills he learned through homeschooling helped
  when he entered college. That made it easier for us to feel comfortable
  continuing this method with our other children." -- Kelly S.


  Do you have comments to share?  Please do!
  Send your emails to:  mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net

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       Feature Article

  A Homeschool Graduate's Perspective
    by Karen Lange


  Amy Heacock graduated from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky last
  year. By all appearances Amy was your average college student. But
  Amy was not average. Amy never attended traditional school. She was
  taught at home. Her parents felt that their southern New Jersey
  home was the best place for Amy and her siblings to be taught. Home
  remained the 'place to be' through 12th grade. 

  When asked if her education at home was a good experience, she
  replied, "Absolutely. It prepared me to think and work more
  independently." Amy went on to share that she felt less peer
  pressure and developed better critical thinking skills. She is
  sure that her critical thinking and independent learning style
  paid off in college.

  After graduating from high school, Amy attended nearby Atlantic
  Cape Community College. "Community college is more affordable
  and a great way to get started. My transition from ACCC to Asbury
  was great. Both colleges worked well together and all the necessary
  credits transferred."

  In elementary and high school, Amy's mom did most of the teaching,
  with her dad helping out with history and other subjects. She and
  her family were active in the local homeschool support group where
  they participated in field trips, bowling, and many other activities.
  One of Amy's favorite activities was the Homeschool Olympics, a
  yearly event sponsored by a nearby county's support group.
  Amy and her older brother were also active in a teen learning co-op,
  where they studied history, chemistry, writing, and public speaking
  and did numerous group projects. "The public speaking we did in
  co-op wasn't really my favorite - I was always nervous, even with
  my friends there. But it really did help me prepare for college.
  When I had public speaking in college, I did well and wasn't as

  Socialization wasn't an issue. Amy had friends from the homeschool
  support group, the neighborhood, 4-H, and her church. "I never
  wanted to be a part of what I saw happening in the public school,
  especially in the high school. I had my friends and did a lot of
  stuff. I don't feel like I missed anything, although when I was
  little I did want to ride the bus for awhile."

  Being homeschooled allowed Amy the time to pursue her interests,
  such as art, history, and literature. A talented artist, Amy likes
  to paint and draw, and also enjoys photography. These interests
  led her to pursue the Studio Art major at ACCC. After transferring
  to Asbury, she ended up majoring in photography. She obtained her
  bachelor's degree and now works in the photography industry.

  Amy suggests taking a class or two from the local community college
  or vocational/technical school while still in high school. When
  the local technical high school offered adult evening classes in
  photography and watercolor painting, she was quick to sign up.
  "They were interesting and fun, and a good way to see what you
  might like to do," she said.

  When asked if she would change anything about her education at
  home, Amy replied, "No, not at all. The only thing I might have
  done differently was maybe to have taken some community college
  classes or looked into the CLEP exams during high school. But I
  have no regrets."
  So what is Amy's final bit of advice for homeschooled teens?
  "Explore your interests and career options, and if you think you
  might want to go to college, research potential schools to see
  what they require. Take your studies seriously and discipline
  yourself to learn to work independently, whether you are planning
  on going to college or not. Learn to think!"


  Karen Lange is proud to have taught Amy in local a homeschool co-op,
  and is also proud of her own three homeschool graduates. Karen and
  her husband Jeff taught their three children grades K-12. She is a
  freelance writer, homeschool consultant, and the creator of the
  Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for Teens. Visit the Co-op
  website at: http://www.hswritingcoop.bravehost.com
  Karen loves to hear from Homeschooler's Notebook readers; feel free
  to contact her at writingcoop@yahoo.com

      Helpful Tip

  Recommended: The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School

  Although written 9 years ago, this is still one of the very BEST
  books to read about taking CLEP exams through the high school years.

  "The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parent's Guide
  for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career


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

      High School Question

  "I have always unschooled and enjoyed the freedom.  But this year
  my oldest is starting High School and I have become nervous about
  my choice.  I have always had to defend my choice and the questions
  are getting harder the older they get.  For example:  How do they
  graduate and get into college (if they choose to)?  How do you
  know they are learning if you do not test them?  I have never had
  a lot of support around me -- all the homeschoolers I know do not
  unschool.  I don't want to stop unschooling; I just want to make
  sure I am doing all I need to.  Any advice?" -- Telia

      Reader Responses

  "Let me just begin by saying that the unschooling journey isn't
  for the faint of heart, but it has been my educational choice from
  the beginning, because when they learn what they love, they love
  what they learn -- and the results can be amazing.

  My eldest has just graduated and I have a son who just turned 15
  and an 11 year old.  My 17 year old daughter has made all her own
  educational choices (as with all my children) and my job has been
  to be available as an advisor and to help whenever I saw the
  opportunity to open more educational doors for them to go through.
  So my chief job has been observer.

  My daughter has graduated with a homeschool diploma that looks
  amazing. And she has more skills and maturity than the average mid
  20 year old. She is a gifted athlete (she has just been selected to
  our province's Canada summer games team and will be spending a month
  competing in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec), she is
  a lifeguard, a coach and getting her paramedic qualifications.

  All these skills arose naturally one-by-one because of her own

  Will she go to college? Probably, but not for a year or two. She is
  just too busy just now!

  My son is a gifted composer, cellist and beginning to follow his
  sister's example and becoming a strong athlete. He enjoys math,
  science and computers, but he dislikes to read and write (but I am
  being patient).  Just last week he said he needed to work on his
  spelling and writing skills -- he finally initiated it and so I know
  he will learn quickly what could have taken years of slogging --
  with the result of him just HATING to write... and to what purpose
  is that?

  My advice is this: Get to know your children and follow wherever
  they lead you... he wants to cook? Then cook!

  I recommend you read 'The Teenage Liberation Handbook'

  and 'The Skylark Sings with Me' by D. Albert.

  These two books shaped my approach to high school.

  It is definitely scary, but now when I see my independent, strong,
  healthy, responsible and intelligent children next to their peers
  who were schooled -- and even next to those who had a more traditional
  approach to homeschooling -- they are the ones who get the jobs and
  who have all the doors being opened for them." -- Holly


  "Telia, don't change what has worked well for you so far.  You
  shouldn't have to defend your methods, but you can tell the skeptics
  that many people using your approach have done well in college.  If
  your children decide to go to college, they will get in the same way
  everybody else does:  they'll walk through the front door!  Regarding
  testing, standardized tests don't show what they're learning anyway.
  Testing only shows whether they are good at taking a test.  When you
  walk through life with your children, it becomes obvious what they
  know, and what they need.  That's a more reliable assessment than
  any written test.
  If you think your child might go to college, you should develop a
  transcript form and keep it filled out.  There are many resources for
  doing this, or you can create your own.  Try to keep an eye on the
  child's future, based on areas of interests and talents, and provide
  plenty of opportunity to continue cultivating and pursuing those areas.
  You can help your high schooler set goals and determine a course of
  study accordingly.  If the child encounters a need to know something,
  that will become an area of study.  If he or she knows how to learn,
  any 'gaps' can be quickly filled as the need arises. 
  You're probably doing all you need to do.  The only other thing I
  would suggest you do is to relax, enjoy these last few years, and
  remind yourself that you don't need the approval of the rest of the
  world to do what's right for your children." -- Mary Beth


  [Editor's Note]

  Telia -- Mary Beth and Holly are soooo right!  If you want to read
  more, here is a book I can recommend that has several pages of
  testimonials from homeschoolers who were basically unschoolers all
  the way through high school.  It has an excellent section about the
  teen years.  A Parent's Guide to Home Schooling by Tamra B. Orr
  It is not a well-known book, probably because it is part of a guide
  series, has a "plain Jane" title, and wasn't necessarily marketed in
  the mainstream homeschool circles -- but it is a GEM! :-)

     New Reader Question for Next Regular Issue

  "I will be starting my 2nd year of homeschooling this fall.  My son
  is 6 and will be starting 1st grade.  This is the first year I need
  to send in my letter of intent to the state.  I am required to keep
  records, don't have to report them to the state, (I live in CO),
  but I need to keep them in case anything happens.  I have heard of
  homeschoolers keeping notebooks year-to-year of what their child has
  accomplished during that year.  I am interested in knowing what kind
  of notebooks others keep and what resources you use to keep a notebook?
  Also, I am wondering what kind of grading system others use with their
  kids?  Do you use check marks, letter or number grading -- or something
  else -- and what method do you use to decide grading?  I am new to all
  this yet want to keep in touch with my son's progress from year to
  year.  I can already tell where he is struggling and where he needs
  work, but kids also need to do their best as unto the Lord.  I am
  curious as to others' input in this area. Thanks!" -- Kris in CO


  Do you have some thoughts or some practical advice for Kris?

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

     Ask YOUR Question

  Do you have a question about homeschooling high school?

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

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  Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center!  This is a live 24/7
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  and let them know that Heather sent you!

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  there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
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