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By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, November 30, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
       ***SPECIAL SERIES - High School Homeschooling***
   Vol. 10 No 86                         November 30, 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!
  And please visit our sponsors!  They make it possible.


  Do You Want to Homeschool High School with Confidence?

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




  Notes from Heather
  -- Lee and Barbara
  Feature Article
  -- When Less is Really More
  Helpful Tip for High School
  -- Make Time for Interests
  Answers to Reader Question
  -- Update on Exchange Students
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  Our feature article is more lengthy than usual, so I'll keep my
  "notes" short and sweet. ;-)

  I LOVE this article by Lee Binz, though -- so I have to comment
  on it!  So many of the parents who come to me for high school
  transcripts have done way more than they have to do.  The article
  below says it all.  If you read it and think "this is me!", then
  seriously consider taking all the advice within.  You'll be glad
  you did sooner than later!

  Also -- don't miss the great advice in our "Helpful Tip" section.
  Barbara Frank wrote in with some words of wisdom that really
  complement Lee's article.

  Now is a great time to reduce academic stress and focus on relaxing
  and enjoying the holidays, too -- so go make that cup of tea and
  come back and enjoy the newsletter!



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


  The Easy Truth about Homeschool Transcripts by Lee Binz

  "The Easy Truth about Homeschool Transcripts is so easy, I'm actually
  excited to sit down and create my son's transcripts!  If you're
  thinking about homeschooling through high school, this book will
  remove all your fears around credits, course descriptions and grades,
  and will help you translate your student's homeschool work into the
  language of college admissions officers!
  An awesome tool for all homeschooling parents!" -- Jill in Washington



       Feature Article

  Homeschool High School - When Less is More


  It's all about balance.
  I've noticed an odd pattern among homeschoolers stressed about high
  school.  In the freshman year they tend to do too much because they
  aren't sure what high school looks like, or how much they need to
  accomplish.  In the sophomore and junior year, they will pile on
  more work as they start to panic about college.  In the senior
  year, they hit the accelerator again to compensate for perceived
  weaknesses from the prior years.  Are you trying to do twice as
  much homeschooling this year? 

  If this describes you, take a step back and look at what you are
  expecting.  Are you doing too much?  It is said that if your only
  tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.  Are you beating
  your children over the head with more work?  Is that how you are
  addressing every homeschool concern? 
  Highschool is a time when kids should become increasingly self-taught.
  It's also a time when they start to specialize; that is, start to
  follow their passionate interests.  Because of this, consider doing
  fewer subjects but going deeper in some of them. 

  Overwork causes turmoil and strife.

  Parents who panic about high school will sometimes try to allay
  their fears by piling on the work.  That won't help.  Trying to do
  too much causes turmoil and strife.  Don't chase after the wind –
  make sure you only require a reasonable amount from your student.
  Add up how many hours you expect them to work each day, and make
  sure it's reasonable. 
  Math may take a couple of hours, but EVERY subject shouldn't take
  more than an hour.  It's important to allow some down-time, so that
  your home has peace and tranquility.  It's hard to learn in a
  tumultuous home. 
  Strive for a peaceful homeschool, so the kids have the ability to
  learn MORE because they aren't stressed.  High school isn't a time
  to panic and pile on the school work.  Add it up, and make sure it's
  not too much.

  My Confession

  I know what it's like to pile it on.  I really do – I'm not just
  saying that.  I consider it a character flaw in myself, actually.
  Here is what I initially planned to do for a freshman year of high
  school.  I defy you to try to speak this list out loud without taking
  a breath:

  Jacob's Geometry, Patty Paper Geometry supplement, Latin Road to
  English Grammar 3
, Power-Glide French 1, Apologia Chemistry, Sonlight
  American History, Teaching Company history supplement, Current events,
  Spelling Power, Dictation, Analogies, Learn to Write the Novel Way,
  Sonlight Language Arts Writing assignments, Journal Writing, Piano,
  composer and poet and artist each month with reports, Timeline,
  Mapping, Read-Aloud, Sonlight literature with literary analysis,
  scripture Memorization, Christian Manhood workbook and personal

  Nope, I still can't read that without my heart racing.  It took
  about a month until we did what homeschoolers call a 'crash and burn'.
  No matter how fast and how hard we worked, we couldn't seem to get
  it all done!  When you look at this list, notice how all those ideas
  are just wonderful.  My plan was simply filled to the brim with
  great educational opportunities!  It was just too much good stuff
  to actually be achievable.

  Don't supplement your supplements.

  Look at my plan and see if you can spot all the supplements.  What
  if you eliminate supplements?  I could eliminate Patty Paper Geometry;
  Teaching Company courses and current events were history supplements.
  English was supplemented with spelling, dictation, analogies, and
  journal writing.  Bible study was supplemented with memorization and
  a workbook.  Composers and artists were supplementing the piano
  lessons.  Poet study was supplementing English. 
  I had a similar talk with a client this month and we discovered that
  she actually had supplements to her supplements!  That is how she
  knew she'd gone completely over the top!

  Look at my plan and see if anything is unnecessary.  By freshman
  year, many high school students are ready to stop a separate spelling
  program.  We could drop Spelling.  My children were already scoring
  in the 10th and 12th grade levels in spelling.  Surely they didn't
  have to memorize every word in the spelling book!  It's possible to
  correct spelling words during the process of writing, rather than
  using a separate spelling book.

  Avoid duplicating subjects.

  My biggest "Ah Ha!" moment came when I recognized my duplicate
  subjects.  I was using two complete foreign language programs - Latin
  and French.  I knew in advance that I was doing that, actually.  My
  children WANTED to do both, and we talked about how difficult it
  might be, but my children were motivated.  What truly surprised me
  was English.  I was using two complete English programs - Learn to
  Write the Novel Way, and Sonlight Language Arts writing.  Not only
  was I using two complete English programs, I was supplementing
  English more than any other subject!
  Once I identified all the duplicates, all the supplements, and all
  the unnecessary stuff, I started to prioritize.  I had to put the
  most important stuff into our homeschool FIRST.  Once the big stuff
  was working, then I could supplement with the smaller things.  My
  pastor gave a sermon called "Put in the Big Rocks First".  Suppose
  you want to put some sand and rocks in a glass.  If you have a glass
  that is half full of sand, you can't add another glass full of rocks
  – they just won't fit. 
  But if you put the rocks in the glass first, and then pour in the
  sand on top, you will be able to fit them both.  In the same way with
  your homeschool, put the big subjects in first.  Then sprinkle the
  wonderful supplemental fluff on top, and eliminate any of the "sand"
  that doesn't fit. 

  Cut out some good things.

  In the beginning of the year I had been concerned about my children's
  attitudes.  I wondered if they were lazy or unmotivated.  Why did
  they work so slowly?  My husband and I talked about all the problems
  we were having.  I told him about the duplication, the supplements,
  and the fluff stuff.  We took a marker and started cutting.  We cut
  some wonderful curriculum and great activities.  It was heart-breaking,
  but you know, there isn't enough time in a day to do ALL the good
  stuff.  Something just had to go. 
  The children wanted to do both writing programs (can you believe
  that?) They wanted to do both foreign language programs (oh, just
  kill me now!)  We had to cut other things.  Let me repeat:  we cut
  out some really good things!  We eliminated analogies, dictation,
  literary analysis, spelling, mapping, timeline, Patty Paper geometry,
  and scripture memorization.  Some things we just did 'for fun' during
  lunch, without much discussion.  We would listen to classical music
  or hear talk radio discuss current events.
  Revise your plan.

  Here is our revised freshman year plan.  Take a deep breath and try
  it again.  Notice how it rolls trippingly off the tongue without
  causing hyperventilation!

  Jacob's Geometry, Latin Road to English Grammar 3, Power Glide
  French 1, Apologia Chemistry, Sonlight American History, Teaching
  Company history supplement, Learn to Write the Novel Way, Sonlight
  Language Arts Writing assignments, Journal Writing, Piano, Composer
  and poet and artist each month with reports, Read-Aloud, Sonlight
  literature, Christian Manhood workbook and personal devotions.

  Review and revise your own homeschool plan.  Look at your plan with
  a fresh eye.  Is it still too much?  Add up the hours you are
  expecting from your child now.  Is it more reasonable?  Are you
  back in balance?  I have to warn you, once things settle down there
  is a tendency to slip into old habits, and start expecting more and
  more again. 
  It's like when you are very hungry and you pile mashed potatoes on
  your plate.  After a while you realize that your eyes were bigger
  than your stomach.  We homeschool because we love to educate our
  children – it's fun!  But that can cause us to attempt too much.
  Watch for the return of the "Do More Blues" later in the year,
  because they can come back again.
  A Homeschool Lesson from Hummingbirds

  Whenever I see a hummingbird outside my kitchen window I scream
  like a little girl.  The excitement I feel when I see these beautiful
  creatures is overwhelming.  But have you noticed that hummingbirds
  seem to flap the fastest when they are hovering? 
  Homeschoolers are like that too.  Sometimes we'll try to work so
  hard and so fast, that we actually get LESS work done instead of
  more.  Make sure you have enough time in your day to actually get
  the homeschooling done.  If you try to get too much done, you'll
  end up going even slower through your year.

  In other words, don't try to do too much; you'll just end up standing

  Another thing about hummingbirds you should know - although they
  look sweet, according to the books they are actually pretty violent
  and aggressive.  Could that be because all that hard work flapping
  is stressing them out?  I'm not naming names or anything, but if
  you feel like you're flapping your wings as fast as you can, and
  not getting anywhere - and if that frustrates you - maybe you're
  a hummingbird. 
  Are you angry, frustrated, burned out, and snapping at your kids?
  Attempting too much can cause them to fail, you know.  And their
  failure will just make you angrier.  But they can't do it all – no
  one can.  If you are feeling frustrated, check to see if you are
  doing too much. 
  I was watching a bald eagle fly the other day.  Unlike a hummingbird,
  they really don't flap much at all.  And yet, they really get a LOT
  done.  Maybe this coming school year, consider not flapping so much,
  but soaring a little more.  Relax and let the delights of your
  children provide the lift you need for your homeschool.

  Copyright Lee Binz, 2009

  LeeBinz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool
  highschool.  Read Lee's story of how she converted 4 years of
  independent homeschooling into transcripts that earned both her
  sons full tuition scholarships totaling $184,852 to their first
  choice university!  Go to this page to read more:


  Lee can be found at www.TheHomeScholar.com

      Helpful Tip

  "It can be overwhelming to plan your teen's homeschool high school
  experience.  There are so many great books and curriculum available,
  plus homeschool co-ops, acting groups, traveling debate and Bible
  memorization competitions, etc.

  The best piece of advice I can give is to tailor the experience to
  your teen.  Sit down together and list his/her interests, aptitudes
  and future plans. (These may change over the course of four years.
  That's good... try to be flexible.)  Then make sure there's always
  time for your teen to develop those interests while doing high
  school at home.

  For instance, when our son was a teen, he was part of the leadership
  team for our church's youth group.  He and I fit in his studies
  around his youth group planning meetings and events.  This was great
  training for him before he went college, where he spent his senior
  year as president of Campus Ministry, supervising forty student
  groups and developing management skills that now benefit him in his

  Also, our daughter, a freshman in college, is an avid writer. During
  the last few years of her homeschooling experience, we let her
  schoolwork take a backseat to her writing each November so that she
  could participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where
  you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days).  It positively impacted
  the quality of her writing, and increased her already considerable
  enthusiasm for it.

  One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling teens is that it
  gives them the time to develop their interests.  Traditional high
  school rarely allows this. Make sure your teens get to take advantage
  of this freedom!  It will have a positive impact on them for the rest
  of their lives."

  -- Barbara Frank


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

      High School Question

  A Homeschool-Friendly Foreign Exchange Program!

  In our last High School issue, Mary Beth had asked about foreign
  exchange student programs that would work with homeschooling
  families.  I'm delighted to report that one of our readers has
  worked with one... and they cater to homeschooling families who
  would like to host a student during the summer!

  Here is a link to their main site:
  And here is a page specifically about homeschooling:

  Thanks, Jane, for your answer!

  -- Heather

      Reader Responses

  "A few years ago we hosted a French student with Nacel Open
  Door's Summer Program for just one month during August, so
  'going to school' wasn't an issue.  It's also a good way to
  try hosting (since it's a shorter time frame) before deciding
  if it will work for your family for a whole year." -- Jane


  "Have you checked out Youth For Understanding?  I don't think
  homeschooling would keep them from placing a child with you.
  I had some great experiences with them as a teen.  I spent time
  in France and then when I returned home spent time with numerous
  exchange students from multiple countries as a helper for them.
  I am not involved with them currently, but I keep them in the
  back of my mind as a resource for when my kids are older.  My
  experiences with many exchange students from abroad, as well as
  American students who went abroad, was that the majority of them
  were very interested in interaction and had worked very hard to
  be there and wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity.
  They were respectful of the families that hosted them, knowing
  that this was a very special privilege.  Not that there weren't
  some that had problems and took them out on their host families,
  but most of those problems stemmed from culture shock that was
  not well managed." -- Sheri

     New Reader Question for Next Regular Issue

  "Does anyone know of any programs that we can use to teach our
  Junior and Senior High children Excel, Power Point and other
  common computer programs?  Thank you." -- Gayle in Alabama


  Can you help Gayle with her question?

  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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