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HIGH SCHOOL EDITION #29

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, March 24, 2011
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Vol. 12 No. 16, March 24, 2011, ISSN: 1536-2035
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2011, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net
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Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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

Not a subscriber? Get your own subscription to The Homeschooler's Notebook here:
http://www.familyclassroom.net

And please visit our sponsors -- they make our publication possible.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Homeschooling High School... Why walk this road alone when you can have someone hold your hand and help guide the way?

---

"I came across your website last week, read the introduction to 'Upper Level Homeschool', and enrolled in your 13 week course by the end of the same day. My daughter is about to start her 9th grade year and until I found your course, I still felt like I had no idea what I was doing or even if I was planning and prepping her curriculum correctly for the standards of high school. After reading through the first 2 lessons, I feel like I have such a better grasp of what I'm doing and how to do it... and there are many more lessons to come. Lesson 2, which I just read, brought me so much peace of mind because now I know several ways to apply a high school credit. I had so much anxiety about how to do this before I read your lesson. I'm so excited that I found your site and enrolled in the class. This is a true answer to a very deep prayer of mine. God certainly guided in the perfect direction! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge in a way that is easy to read and doesn't take too much time. I'm so looking forward to the weeks ahead and the knowledge that will be shared. Now I feel like I can take on this whole high school/home school thing with confidence and peace of mind!" -- Babs

---

Do you want to homeschool your highschooler with confidence, too?
Get your FREE "Yes, You Can Homeschool High School" lesson today!

http://www.familyclassroom.net/UpperLevelHomeschool.htm

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
=================
IN THIS ISSUE:
=================
Notes from Heather
-- The Graduation Milestone
Helpful Tip
-- More Free College Courses
Winning Website
-- Teaching with Source Documents
Reader Questions
-- Reluctant Writers and Latin
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feedback for Terri Johnson's Upper Level Homeschool Course:


"Terri, I wanted to take a moment to write to you about your Upper Level Homeschool course. This is fantastic so far (on lesson 3) and has been such a boost to our confidence level. Thanks a lot! I am looking forward to the next sessions!" -- Kathy

---

"Wow! There is an absolute wealth of information presented here. I cannot tell you how helpful this class is for me. Now, I feel like we have direction and are heading in the right track. Thank you for putting this class together for us!" -- Jen

---

Click the link below for more info --

http://www.familyclassroom.net/UpperLevelHomeschool.htm

This course is HIGHLY recommended for homeschooling high school! -- Heather

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

==================
Notes from Heather
==================

High School Graduation - Celebrating the Accomplishment

We had two readers write in asking for help with graduation ideas. Here are their questions with our readers' responses! -- Heather

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"My oldest will be graduating this spring. He has only been homeschooled for his junior and senior years. His dad and I would like to see him participate in the statewide homeschool graduation, but he is dead set against it. His reasons are just excuses, meaning they are silly and really make no sense. I don't want to require him to do it with this attitude because I know it will just make us all miserable. My question is this: What have your kids done to mark this special day in their lives? Thanks for any suggestions." -- Lacey

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"I am about to graduate my oldest child at the end of this school year, and I have been planning and thinking about how we want to celebrate this milestone. I would love to hear from other parents who have graduated one or more of their children about how they chose to celebrate this event. Thank you!" -- Mindy

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Our Readers' Replies

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"Our daughter is an amateur photographer who would rather avoid the limelight. Family and friends wished to honor her for graduating, but our daughter had serious aversions to a traditional graduation event. Not wanting our daughter's memory of her high school graduation to be negative, we brainstormed together to reach a compromise she could be comfortable with -- a photography exhibit featuring some of her favorite photographs. A theme was chosen, invitations were sent, refreshments served, and a wonderful time had by all. Taking the focus off of our daughter and making her photographs the main attraction allowed her to relax and experience a lovely graduation reception. This could be adapted to work with any interest, hobby, or talent. Your son's interests will speak for themselves." -- Becky

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"I have graduated a daughter from homeschool/cyber school. She didn't want to participate in the cyber school graduation -- she didn't really know anyone. So we just planned a big picnic, invited our entire family and some friends, and had our own graduation ceremony. Our assisstant Pastor from our church gave a challenge to Emily and the guests with a short devotional, and her dad and I presented her with her cyber school issued diploma. It was truly a wonderful day. And having so many there from our family that have never witnessed a homeschool graduation was really neat. They all really thought it was a beautiful way to do so. Our homeschool group also does a graduation and awards night at the end of the school year and we honor kindergarten and high school graduates. The parents are given time to make a short speech and present their children with their diploma and then the seniors are allowed time also to make a speech. So many times there's not a dry eye in the church when they are done speaking. Just some suggestions." -- Andrea

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"I have seen several different things done to celebrate a homeschool high school graduation. If you are part of a local support group, you could perhaps recognize your son's graduation as part of an end-of-school-year event, like a Recognition Night, Party, etc. Just talk to your support group leadership about it.

Or you could have your own private graduation ceremony. Barb Shelton shared a great story about her son's private ceremony here:
http://www.homeschooloasis.com/art_torys_grad_story.htm

Also, Ann Zeise has compile a bunch of different ideas on her site A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling:
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/olderkids/Graduation.htm

Be creative and do what feels best for your son and your family!" -- Erica

---

"We honored our daughter in November. There are a lot of the traditional customs that don't fit with what we stand for, so there were some things we did that were somewhat unconventional. She had not quite finished her coursework, but we didn't want to run into the holidays or winter weather, so we went ahead and had the service.

We called it 'commencement', since that describes what was happening better than 'graduation'. On the invitations, we included the following:

'The only gifts desired are those of your prayers and your continued friendship.' We wanted to let people know about the event, but did not want them to feel obligated to send or bring a gift. We put a copy of the invitation in the paper so that if we overlooked anyone, they would know they were welcome to attend.

The service was held in a church sanctuary and lasted about thirty minutes. My husband opened with prayer (our pastor couldn't be there). We sang the hymns 'Come, Christians, Join to Sing', 'Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past', and 'He Leadeth Me'. She and her brother played a violin duet concerto. To add a bit of humor, she did a re-enactment of a typical driving lesson with her father. We purchased her diploma from www.homeschooldiploma.com.

We tried to give God all the glory. So many graduation ceremonies give accolades without acknowledging Who gives the ability to achieve anything.

She set up a display table with some of her textbooks, crafts she had made, stories she had written, and photos from birth to the present.

We served refreshments afterward. Since she was not in a 'class', her napkins said, 'In a class of her own', rather than 'Class of 2010'.

We also held a dinner in our home for family and close friends." -- Mary Beth

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"We gave our daughter a simple graduation party when she graduated. If you don't want the party, you could give her money or go on a family vacation together. Think about the money you'd be spending and ask her how she would like you to spend it!" -- Cindy

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"Our local support group started having a graduation ceremony about 7 years ago. We reserve a local church that will accommodate the size of the graduates and their invited friends and family. The graduates walk in procession and are seated together as a 'class'. I begin by introducing each graduate and playing a picture slide show set to music that each family puts together in a powerpoint presentation, then I call up the student with their parents and the parents have about 5 minutes to share anything they want with their child and present their diploma to them. Then we have a speaker that shares a word with the graduates for about 15-20 minutes. Afterward, we have a pot luck dinner. Our support group buys the fried chicken or hams and a cake, and the families provide all the side dishes. We have had from 2 to 6 students graduate each of the years we have held it. It is really such a special day. If you don't belong to an organized support group you could contact some other families in your area who have graduating seniors and organize something similar yourselves." -- Jodi-Marie in Maryland

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"We did nothing out of the ordinary when our son finished school. He didn't want to make a fuss. The weekend that his friends graduated from the local high school, they all came to the house to hang out and play games -- as usual. Within a few weeks they began disappearing -- to the Army, Navy and various colleges.

It has now been eight years and many of them still visit us -- even though our son has been across the country for years!

Who knows what we'll do when it comes time for our daughter to graduate, but we still have plenty of time to work that out." -- MaryEllen

---

"For my son's graduation, we had a small ceremony for family and friends. I had burned 'Pomp and Circumstance' to a CD and played it while he walked in. I said some words regarding his homeschool journey, his strengths, etc. I then presented him with his diploma (invites and diploma from www.homeschooldiploma.com) and a small gift. We went into another room with a buffet table, and a display of pictures from his childhood to present day that really showed who he was. Everyone ate, and he and his friends put on music and danced. It was a wonderful day!" -- Patricia M.

---

For more input about observing graduation milestones, you can read previous newsletters on this topic here:
http://www.familyclassroom.net/Articles20072/20070514.html
http://www.familyclassroom.net/Articles20072/20070518.html
http://www.familyclassroom.net/Articles20072/20070521.html

---

Your feedback is always welcome! -- mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net

============
Helpful Tip
============

Sample Over 350 Free Online College Courses

http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

If your high school student is wanting to make a break from the traditional "cookie cutter" transcript, why not let him or her browse through this list of interesting courses? Watch the videos free with iTunes, on YouTube, or listen to audio podcasts throughout the day -- and see what new interests are kindled!

================
Winning Website
================

The National Archives Experience - DocsTeach
http://docsteach.org/

Interactive learning activities with primary source documents -- use what other educators have submitted or create your own!

===================================
More Readers' High School Questions
===================================

Getting a Teen to Write

"I am wondering, how can I convince my 16 year old 10th grader that he really needs to write. He absolutely despises writing and it is a struggle to get him to write anything. I try letting him pick his own topic, assign him a topic, write a paragraph about his dog... anything. And I always get the bare minimum. My evaluator has tried to encourage him and I have threatened to make him move in with their family and let her homeschool him! LOL. He likes to work with his hands and doesn't mind reading, but when it comes to writing... ugh! I have tried several different writing curriculums that break the process down into tiny writing steps... nothing. How truly important is it for him to write a paper? He does excellent in the grammar department and he likes to read. He doesn't understand why he needs to even take English when he already speaks it. Isn't he funny?! I truly am at the point where I just want him to be done with school and have even considered the GED. He does well in all of his subjects, but he just wants to be done and go to work. He already works at his uncle's garage repairing vehicles which we do count as something like tech school. What do you all think?? Is writing a paper that important? Thanks for any help." -- Andrea

---

Latin in High School - Or a More Practical Foreign Language?

"I am considering Classical Conversations for my oldest son for his high school years. One of the main courses offered is Latin. I am wondering what experiences others have had with their children learning Latin. I'm not sure I'm sold on it. It seems that focusing on Spanish for three years or more would be more useful and practical. I understand that Latin is supposed to help with the Reading portion of the SAT, however, wouldn't a vocabulary course which focuses on Greek and Latin roots do the same?? I'd appreciate any feedback, positive or negative regarding learning Latin in high school." -- Michelle in Virginia

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Our Readers' Responses
=======================

Reluctant Writers

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"Andrea -- I have three thoughts for you about writing in high school. First, my daughter went off to college this year, and instead of Freshman Composition they have a year of Rhetoric. They do some writing, but their main focus is getting the students to move from writing to speaking. The act of writing simply supports the speech development process. Would you be open to having your son speak instead of write? Would he rather gather information and present it in a coherent manner than to write up a formal paper? Both processes require many of the same skills -- they are both composition and delivery of information, or persuasion, etc.

Second, if I were you, I would tell my child I wanted one (or two, or three, depending on your goal for the year) quality written pieces, and if they did that written work well, they would be done with writing for the year. I wouldn't call one or two papers a complete writing or language course, but I would limit formal writing to just a few quality pieces. Then my child would know that there was only so much writing required, as long as he did a good job. I find I can get very good work out of my children when they know the limits of what they are expected to do, and if they know they will have to work until it is right if they don't show mastery the first time around.

Lastly, every child is different, and some will want to write more than others, but if your son is not planning to use formal writing you could focus on the things he will use later. If he works as a mechanic, have him practice writing or responding to letters from customers, writing proposals for mechanical work, or other types of writing he will actually need. Perhaps you could give him a few 'writing for small business' exercises or simulations of what he may encounter as the manager of an auto shop. He may show more interest!" -- Anne M.

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"Does your son have dysgraphia? My brother could do all sorts of things and was very smart, but struggled to actually physically put anything -- words or numbers -- onto paper. It was and is frustrating for him unless someone is willing to accommodate his inability to physically write. I have found a program that is supposed to help with this challenge, and it is called Audiblox. I have not tried it, but it claims to help with this and other similar learning challenges." -- Laurie

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"I believe writing is very important, but if your son is so against it, you may never win the battle and the conflict it can cause between you and your son may be worse than his inability to write well. Most writing courses are geared to teach for college writing and for the SAT/ACT tests. If your son is NOT going to college and is NOT taking the SAT/ACT tests, then I believe these last years of school would be better spent preparing him for what he IS planning to do after high school. By supporting him and aiding him along the path that he is going to take after high school, you can give him support and love that will be of such great value to him and your relationship with him. If, in the future, he decides to go to college, the same courses that are available now will be available then to help him learn to write in order to succeed in college. And he may have more incentive to learn when it is HIS idea." -- Erica

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Latin vs. Another Foreign Language

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"It is recommended by the Harvard Board that a student take 4 years of one language. They do not specify which language to take. However I was reading somewhere else that if you are not planning on Latin, you should take a language closely related to English. I believe the recommended language was German." -- Tryphena

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"Do teach him Latin. I took it in public high school for 2 years and I don't regret it one bit. It helps you learn all the Romance languages later on including Spanish, French, Italian, etc. Plus if he decides to go into a biology or medical based field it will be a tremendous help. In addition,if he goes into a legal field or church related position, Latin will help too. I plan on teaching my kids Latin when they are in high school." -- Traci

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"I have to agree with you that spending several years learning a foreign language like Spanish would be more beneficial to a high school student than Latin, UNLESS they are going to enter a field that uses Latin (i.e. medical, linguistics, etc.)." -- Erica

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