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By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, October 12, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
       ***SPECIAL SERIES - High School Homeschooling***
   Vol. 10 No 75                         October 12, 2009
                      ISSN: 1536-2035                              
   Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

  Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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  Notes from Heather
  -- A Career Without College
  Feature Article
  -- Four Seasons of Homeschooling
  Helpful Tip for High School
  -- TeachersDomain.org
  Answers to Reader Question
  -- Alternatives to College Prep?
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  A Career Without College -- So Far!


  My oldest hasn't opted (as of yet) to pursue a traditional college
  track.  He still has several CLEP exams he could do well on, if he
  wanted to study for them.

  However, he is well on his way to getting started in a career that
  he is very excited about!

  This past week, Ben interviewed and was hired for a firefighter
  position in our local township.  Last fall my husband invited Ben
  to take an EMT course with him -- and Ben finished first in the
  class while Jim was in 6th position overall out of about 35 students.
  Needless to say, I was very proud of my boys!

  On my husband's advice, Ben spoke to the local fire chief about a job.
  He said he happened to be hiring right now and was looking at 2 other
  candidates, but neither had EMT certification and they could really
  use a medic.  He told Ben he was a little young to be considered (at
  only 19) and that he'd need to give a strong commitment to stay in
  the area since they'd be spending thousands of dollars on his training
  and needed to know they would be making a good investment in him.

  Ben assured him that if he was given the opportunity, he would commit
  to staying in the area.  He was told to expect a call for an interview
  within a few weeks.

  The call came a few days ago and my "baby" went out on his first real
  interview!!  (He has held several jobs, but always for friends that
  already knew him, his character and work ethic, etc.)

  When Ben came home from the interview he told me that he didn't have
  to talk much.  The man interviewing him was so excited about the
  experience on his application that HE did most of the talking!

  Finally he told Ben, "I NEVER hire someone on-the-spot, but I'm just
  going to give you all the paperwork to do right now.  If you want
  the job, it is yours."

  What did he see on Ben's application that sealed the deal for him?

  His Civil Air Patrol experience!

  From the age of 12, Ben studied off and on with Civil Air Patrol.  He
  learned search and rescue, which includes map and compass work (like
  "triangulation", etc.), door-to-door witness interviews, survival
  skills (going out on a search with a 72-hour pack only), CPR and
  First Aid certification, etc.

  Through Civil Air Patrol, Ben also had leadership classes, Aerospace
  science, and physical training.  It is a wonderful opportunity!

  Anyone can join C.A.P., from age 12 to 21.  It is very low cost
  (about $50 a year which covers your uniform) and then students buy
  their extra gear as they go along with the program.  You get to
  fly a plane very early on in your training -- and most kids get
  pretty excited about that!

  Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer division of the U.S. Airforce,
  however no one is pushed into military service.  It *does* give you
  a taste of military training, though.  For my sons (so far) it was
  enough to get the idea of going into the military OUT of their
  systems, for which I am actually thankful.  (I appreciate those who
  serve, but I wouldn't want the added stress in my life of having
  a son in the service.)

  If you have a child who enjoys a challenge, consider getting them
  involved in C.A.P.  Most units/squadrons meet just one day a
  week, year 'round.

  For more information on Civil Air Patrol, visit this link:
  To locate a squadron near you, go here:


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



  Get Your FREE "Yes, You Can Homeschool High School" lesson today!

  5 critical concepts that you must know before you get started:



       Feature Article

  [I really like this article!  It is especially helpful when Matt
  writes about the transition from teacher to mentor in your teen's
  life.  Enjoy! -- Heather]


  Four Seasons of Homeschooling: Caretaker, Teacher, Parent, Friend
    by Matt Binz, Mr. HomeScholar


  Homeschool parents assume four primary roles throughout their
  children's lives; that of caretaker, teacher and mentor and friend.
  These four roles are not unique to homeschool parents; they just
  seem to be much more intense than they are for parents who have
  "outsourced" much of their children's education.  Homeschool parents
  know, probably better than most, the exceedingly high stakes involved
  in educating their kids.  If they fail, there is no external safety
  net.  I believe an appreciation of this concept affects how home-
  school parents approach all four roles, or seasons, of homeschooling.
  Caretaking:  Toddlers and Teens

  Like the changing seasons in my hometown Seattle, these homeschooling
  seasons have no clearly defined start and stop.  Parents play a
  caretaking role throughout their kid's childhood.  It is a role that
  gradually lessens over time (although the period of caretaking in
  the teenage years is probably as intense as any other time in a
  child's life.)  Parents who are committed to homeschooling their
  children do not have the luxury of anticipating a long stretch of
  childhood when the primary role of teacher will be delegated to
  others.  The difference in attitude this makes is as subtle as it
  is important.  There is a rough analogy to the changing attitudes
  humans have had towards the environment over time. 

  When we first gathered into villages, our ancestors must have had
  a dawning realization that merely moving human waste outside the
  community's boundaries was a losing proposition.  As time went on,
  I'm sure they concluded the mess would eventually need to be dealt
  with.  Likewise, parents who shove the education of their kids
  "outside the gates" may think that they have addressed their
  responsibilities, but may wonder why "the mess" keeps coming back
  to them. 

  The Responsible Teacher

  Because they know they will be living with what they create, homeschool
  parents tend to be a bit more thoughtful in the execution of these
  four roles.  Sure, it may be the instincts of a loving parent, but,
  if we are honest with ourselves, there is also an element of self-
  preservation involved.  "Hmm... if I let little Timmy get away with
  being disrespectful today, how will that affect our lives with him
  tomorrow?"  This is an important question that is not easily dismissed
  when Timmy will be planted in our living room for the next 16 years.

  Likewise, parents who assume a "supporting role" in the education of
  their children may adopt a defeatist attitude when dealing with
  behavioral problems.  "Can you believe what they are teaching them
  in the schools!?  What is this world coming too!?"  Homeschool parents,
  however, recognize that success depends on their commitment and their
  ability to marshal the appropriate resources to support a productive
  learning environment. 

  Teen Truth or Consequences

  Because the teaching role in a homeschool family is "supercharged",
  the transition from teacher to mentor can be exceedingly challenging.
  The question is -- how do you move from being the one from whom all
  educational decisions flow (teacher role) to the one who must stand
  by and allow natural consequences to take their course (mentor role)?

  Well, sometimes the answer is "poorly". 

  In our home, it took awhile for us to come to grips with this shift.
  Being a homeschool teacher was – for the most part – a delightful
  family time.  There is a bit of denial, however, when one considers
  that your children won't be homeschooling forever.  That is why you
  never hear a homeschool mom say to her adult child, "Please don't
  schedule a late teleconference, sweetheart -- you and I are doing a
  unit study on toads tonight."

  This is a good thing, I suppose.  Mom and dad have earned the right
  to snicker at their own children's struggles as they homeschool
  their kids.  But the transition can be difficult. 

  It is difficult because homeschool parents have spent years ensuring
  they cover everything.  They've been vigilant to not leave gaps
  in their children's education.  They've invested heavily in their
  areas of interest.  They've spent sleepless nights praying for
  their spiritual journey.  And then everything changes.

  Kids start to grow up.  They start that long and often painful
  transition from childhood to adulthood.  They begin to stretch
  their wings.  This would be a universally joyous event except for
  one small problem.

  They frequently screw it up.

  That's right.  They make mistakes.  Shocking, frequent, painful
  mistakes.  Mistakes that surely you never made (often times true,
  because you made your own shocking, frequent and painful mistakes).
  Mistakes that can cost them and you dearly.  And so, in this situation,
  what is our vigilant, supportive, hyper-competent homeschool parent
  supposed to do... ?

  That's right –- let them fail!

  Letting Go - Again

  Uhhgh!  That was the part I hated the most about homeschooling.  It
  got to the point where it wasn't enough to bite your tongue; I
  needed to sew my lips shut.  I became one of those psychotic parents
  who went around muttering to myself... "I'll teach him what it means
  to work hard... doesn't he understand what he's doing??..."  And
  because I would usually be looking down as I muttered, I'm sure the
  dog was convinced he was going to get kicked.

  But a funny thing happened.  After awhile, they did start to learn!
  I remember when my oldest was 10 months old, Lee and I could sit and
  watch him for hours at the coffee table:
  I must say however, that same basic pattern isn't nearly as amusing
  when they are 19.  "The bigger they are, the harder they fall," has
  never been truer.

  But in our house, what was true at 19 was utterly different at 20.
  In a year, our eldest went from ignoring everything we said to
  repeating everything we said.  It's true.  Often, after he visited
  from college, we would come away thinking we just had a conversation
  with ourselves!  It was miraculous.  Something happened where he seemed
  to internalize nearly every parental lesson we had taught over the
  years (with the exception of hanging up his clothes, where he obviously
  didn't get the memo.) 

  Fatigue and Futility

  On one hand, being a mentor to your child should be easy.  They are
  adults and consequently get to make adult choices.  What makes it
  hard is that as parents we still feel SO RESPONSIBLE!  You'd think
  all the years of being ignored would teach us we don't have control
  over our teen's choices.  Intellectually, we get it.  Emotionally,
  Lee and I were both 100% committed to pushing that rope, tied to that
  rock, up that hill. 

  Eventually, we didn't get smart -- we just got tired. 

  A funny thing happened when we let go.  The kids seemed to sense that
  we weren't protecting them so much and they actually started to behave
  more responsibly.  Imagine that!  I suppose after homeschooling them
  for so long, we should have known they weren't dumb.  But they really
  started to get it. 

  So you see, the key to moving from teacher to mentor is to just stop
  teaching so darn much.  Really.  I'm serious! 

  You are not responsible for your adult children any more.  Let it go!
  If you are tempted to jump back in the middle of their lives, go find
  another distraction.  Get a dog!  You can train a dog and (if you are
  holding a biscuit) they will listen to you! 

  I don't want you to be discouraged, however.  Mentors still get to teach.
  The key is that they get to teach only when asked.  You are no longer
  a river of education flowing freely across the desert.  No, you are a
  hose and you have a nozzle.  Sometimes you may feel like an extremely
  high pressure hose, but you still need to be shut off until someone
  metaphorically squeezes your handle. 

  The Friendship Factor

  The last season of homeschooling -- which promises to last the longest
  -- is the season of friendship.  Finally, you and your kids are equals.
  You may find yourself learning as much or more from them as they do
  from you.  You may seek their wisdom and counsel over problems you are
  having (like technology issues for me). 

  There is freedom in just being friends.  The pressure is off and the
  relationship can find a center.  I suppose the real payoff for all
  your hard work will come when they have kids of their own.  You then
  may have the delight of seeing your children on their own journey
  through the four seasons of homeschooling.  If you are lucky, you
  will be asked to play an active role throughout. 

  It really doesn't get much better than that.

  Copyright Matt Binz, 2009


  Matt Binz works with his wife Lee (The HomeScholar) in their home-
  based business.

  Their low monthly fee 'Gold Care Club' is like a personal high school
  support group.  A FREE 30-day membership is available with Lee's
  e-book 'The Easy Truth About Homeschool Transcripts'.

  The Gold Care Club offers audio and video courses about highschool,
  priority email support, and a free 20 minute consultation each week.

  Try out your 30-day membership!  Just visit the following link and
  read all the wonderful testimonials...

  Matt and Lee's mission is helping parents homeschool high school.
  Their website is www.TheHomeScholar.com.

      Helpful Tip


  "Here's a great resource we found.  I've mainly used the science
  lessons for my son (a freshman -- sort of!?).  Registration is
  required, but it is free!" -- Liz


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

      High School Question

  "My question concerning homeschooling high school is for the student
  who probably isn't interested in going to college.  I have one who
  is a real 'hands on' learner.  He loves making things, building things,
  creating things, fixing things, inventing things even -- as long as
  it's with his hands.  Not that those things don't require using his
  brain, mind you, but he's not a book learner.  Let's just say, college
  would not be his first choice as a goal for his future.

  Would you recommend he be coaxed a little more toward the academics
  he would need to attend college?  Or should I settle (with him as a
  freshman) on teaching basic math and minimum requirements on science,
  for example, rather than higher level courses?  What would you
  recommend to get him ready for the work force or entrepreneurship?
  Thanks." -- Lynda

      Reader Responses

  "Hi, Linda!  One of the advantages of homeschooling is that we have
  the opportunity to customize our children's education according to
  their gifts, interests, aptitudes, and most important, God's will
  for their lives.  There is currently a shortage of people who have
  the ability to produce and repair useful items.  (The dump is full
  of lawnmowers that could have been fixed and used for another decade.)
  Your son could go into business for himself -- maybe even now -- and
  go anywhere he wants to live and offer a service for which there is
  likely a big demand.  He would never lack for work.  He would be his
  own boss, and not at the mercy of an employer, as most college graduates
  are.  Vocational-technical school might be an option for him if he
  needs training in carpentry, welding or some of those areas.
  You're not 'settling' for anything.  You are preparing him for a life
  of service and to answer his calling.  Yes, give him the basics in
  those areas he will need -- maybe a consumer math course instead of
  algebra, for example.  If you can find someone who is doing what your
  son wants to do, interview that man and ask him what subjects he
  recommends that your son study in high school.  Ask him what he wishes
  he had more of, and what things were a waste of time for him.
  There are a number of resources for the young entrepreneur.  Check out
  Vision Forum.  They have a DVD series called 'Entrepreneurial Bootcamp
  For Christian Families'. Christian Home Educators of Colorado has a
  program called AME  (Apprenticeship, Mentorship, Entrepreneurship)
  which might help him find some connections.
  Later, if your son changes direction and becomes more inclined toward
  college, he can easily and quickly complete whatever academic courses
  he needs.  He will be older and he will be motivated, and those two
  factors will make it easy for him.  If you try to force him into
  academics now, it will be a struggle for you, and could even jeopardize
  your relationship with him.  I'm so glad to know there are still some
  budding inventors out there!" -- Mary Beth


  "I am in a somewhat similar situation, in the sense that I have one
  who knows she wants to go to college, but the other says he definitely
  doesn't want to go.  So what I'm going to do is give him all the
  subjects I think will benefit him -- so if in 4 years he decides, "Yes,
  Mom, I want to go to college", he won't be behind and have to catch up
  on those college-needed courses.  I told him that it's fine that he
  doesn't want to go; however, he doesn't necessarily know exactly what
  courses would be needed to attend college, so he wouldn't know that
  he was taking those college-needed courses.
  Now if in a few years he does decide to go, we'll just add a few
  specified courses that'll help him with a major in college.  I wouldn't
  want to hamper his chances to attend college.  And if in the end he
  still doesn't want to go, what have I done but given him a better
  So my advice would be not to try to coax him to do the college thing,
  but to give him all the opportunities to decide on his own -- while still
  preparing him educationally.  Give him the tools to be able to attend
  college if that is what he decides." -- Tammie


  "Lynda,  The first thing I would recommend you get is a book called,
  'Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+la'.

  Barb Shelton will walk you through how to take what your son does
  and make it count as credits toward graduation.  Regardless of whether
  or not he goes to college, he will need proof that he completed high
  school for a job.  The book also does a great job of helping you, the
  Mom, to realize that learning doesn't have to come from books necessarily.
  There are lot of curriculums that are hands-on.  For example, we used
  a book called 'Blueprint for Geometry' that gives basic Geometry
  instruction by drawing and reading blueprints.

  This in turn, could inspire your son to buy a 3-D kit in which he would
  build a house or other building, or maybe you know a carpenter that can
  take him to work for a day to show him how the operation looks in real
  life.  How about experiment books to help him with Chemistry skills?
  The list goes on and on.  Please read the book and get inspired to guide
  your son in his endeavors.  He sounds destined to do great things!"
  -- Noreen


  "Don't rule out community college yet.  Some of them have wonderful
  technical programs for the non-academic, hands-on kinds of kids.  Whether
  it's just a few classes, a certificate program for a few specific classes,
  or an associate's degree, your child might find it fun as well as useful.
  The instructors in the machine technology department at our college (they
  teach the kids how to read blueprints, do enough math to measure what
  they're doing, and run the machines to make the parts for other machines)
  have been very supportive of my son." -- Donna 

     New Reader Question for Next Regular Issue

  Fear IS a Factor

  "Homeschooling has been on my mind for years.  My oldest child (daughter,
  turning 15) has just started a private parochial high school.  My two
  sons (12/6th grade and 9/4th grade) are beginning the school year at a
  private parochial grade school -- the same one that their sister attended.
  Here's my dilemma -- I have felt the pull of homeschooling for years.
  Fear is such a factor... fear of 'ruining their lives'; fear of what MY
  friends would say/do since it is just 'not done' in our community; fear
  of being really bad at it.  I have been lurking around on various groups,
  receiving emails from groups, and just afraid to take the plunge.  The
  boys (especially the 12 year old) are the ones that I am thinking of
  homeschooling.  The school is just not a good fit for the oldest, and I
  don't think the younger would be thrilled with going to school all day
  while the other one 'got to stay home'.  My daughter is finally excited
  about school for the first time, so I would definitely leave her where
  she is.  I guess my question is -- how do I take the plunge?  Will it
  work?  What if it doesn't and I make a huge mistake?  What if I have no
  more time for myself since the kids don't go to school (yes, selfish, but
  true.)  Ugh.  I definitely need some help!" -- Kathy


  Do you have some words of wisdom for Kathy?

  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!

     Need Immediate Help?

  Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center!  This is a live 24/7
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  by typing in a box.  When you get there, just introduce yourself
  and let them know that Heather sent you!

  This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
  there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
  ear and encouragement.



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