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By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, May 23, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 25, May 23, 2011, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2011, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Featured Article
-- The Myth of the "Accredited" Transcript
Helpful Tip
-- An Unusual Social Science Career
Winning Website
-- Spelling it Right
Reader Question
-- Anyone Using 'Blessed is the Man'?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Featured Article

Do Homeschoolers Need to Get Their Transcripts Accredited?
  by Lee Binz

A homeschool mom in Georgia asked me whether she needed to have an "accreditation counselor" or whether she could do it all herself. The answer depends a lot on individual state law. From a "national" perspective; however, colleges get applicants from everywhere - from schools they know and a lot of schools they don't know. Not all public schools or private schools are accredited. Colleges don't always know which public or private school applicants are from accredited schools and which are not. Usually, they look at homeschoolers the same as they do applicants from an unfamiliar high school. That's one of the reasons why they look at SAT and ACT scores, transcripts and essays.

In my experience, it's almost always the public high schools who are most concerned about accreditation. I almost NEVER hear colleges talking about accreditation. Colleges see kids every day, who have good grades from accredited schools, yet who come to college without being able to read and write well. Did you know that 30 percent of children admitted to college - including those from accredited schools - are considered "remedial?" Colleges know that accreditation isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, accrediting homeschoolers has become quite a racket. There are organizations that make loads of money by accrediting homeschoolers when they don't need to be accredited. Some parents feel pressured into it and end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily.

Parents know their students best. Each parent can make the decision about accreditation for themselves. Some people choose to go that route, and that's fine. I just don't want people to seek accreditation because they fear they "have to." I was NOT accredited. My children were admitted to every college they applied to, got good scholarships, and both won full-tuition scholarships to their first choice university. You do NOT have to have an accredited transcript in order to go to college or get scholarships.

You may need to pursue these accreditation counselors if your state law requires it. If your state law does NOT require it, then it's completely optional, and the right answer will depend on you and your family situation. My job is to help you feel confident that you can do it yourself. Then no matter what you choose to do, you didn't make the choice based on fear.


Need help homeschooling high school? Lee Binz, The HomeScholar is an expert in free high school homeschooling and maintains a website that talks about whether you need to be an accredited homeschool. Find out more at http://www.TheHomeScholar.com.


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

Helpful Tip


A Career in the Social Sciences of (of all things)... Online Gaming!

This is just a VERY interesting look at a few different career specialties within the Stanford business professional community. If you watch just the first 5 minutes or so, you will see what I'm talking about. If you are still interested beyond that -- keep watching!

Winning Website

Spelling it Right - Learn How to Spell Confidently


"Free printable worksheets, help and advice from an experienced English teacher and examiner."

Most spelling resource sites are geared towared younger children... this one isn't! High school level students will be comfortable learning among their peers (and adults) tips and tricks for better spelling skills.

The creator of this site, Roger Smith, worked in the Civil Service, the Royal Air Force, the television industry, and the coal mining industry before training to be a teacher at Durham University, Bede College. He taught English and Media Studies at a North of England Comprehensive School before retiring from full-time teaching. He has since worked part-time as a team leader for an English examination board.

Reader Question

"I have 2 boys -- and one of them is ready for high school. Has anyone used 'Blessed is the Man' high school curriculum (by Lynda Coats) for their boys? I would love to hear your experiences!" -- Regina L.

Our Readers' Responses

"I used the Blessed is the Man (BITM) program for my oldest son and utilized it for ideas to create unit studies for two other sons. I think it takes the right kind of student though, to use it effectively independently. You can glean from it in whatever way you choose. It's a fabulous resource book! I have most often used unit studies and have enjoyed learning with my sons and I have always customized my studies. I love learning Charlotte Mason style with its emphasis on reading great living books, and this study is full of such choices. In my opinion, BITM has the capability to exceed most high school programs. It depends on the books you choose to read and activities you choose to do, but it leads to development of personal interests, independence, responsibility, and a natural drive to learn. BITM provides a very wide variety of choices. I prefer a more in-depth study in a book on a narrower topic as opposed to a text with little info on a lot of topics anyway, so this was in line with our educational philosophy. You'll need to consider what your goals and your student's goals are, college, etc. and make it fit your son's needs.

For my oldest son who used this program (a self-directed eager learner), I initially went through and marked the items/projects/activities that I thought were most interesting and would be ones my son would consider as well as those resources we already owned or could easily obtain. (The choices are huge, so you need to narrow them down.) Then I devised a separate listing for him to choose from -- books to read, videos to watch, written assignments, special projects, etc., all within the unit study format provided in BITM. It worked for us/him, we kept things flexible, we customized it to our needs (like everything I have ever used) and I certainly tell people it has been one of my favorite resources. Oh, and this was years ago, I believe the first edition; not sure if it has been revised through the years. If your concerns are providing a quality Christian education with lots of great choices and you want to take advantage of customized learning, this is a great choice, as well as a wonderful resource for any Jr./Sr. High age child. Blessings!" -- Kathy R.

New Reader Question

Online Writing Tutor?

"Could someone please direct me to an online writing tutor for my 12th grader? I need someone to edit his papers and give constructive criticism. I am afraid that I am not guiding him correctly. Thanks." -- Lydia G.


Could you help Lydia find the resource she is looking for?
Please send your email to: hn-answers@familyclassroom.net

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