Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5 Things I wish I had known before Homeschooling High School.

Adobe Spark
It's that time of year again - homeschool moms are pouring over curriculum catalogs and trying to determine what to buy and what to teach next year. Moms with kids going into high school for the first time might feel particularly anxious about the next school year.

Homeschooling does get more serious in high school. In addition to being a teacher, mom has to become the registrar and counselor too!

That all seemed very overwhelming to me when I was starting out, but now that I have had almost five kids go through high school (including one through a digital charter school) there are some things that I wish I had known at the beginning that would have made the journey a little easier.

1. Making a transcript is not that hard.
It's really not. Looking at my own old high school transcript kind of confirmed this. What a transcript really needs is the basic information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Name of School (Yes, you get to name your homeschool or just call it Home School)
  • And other info as needed such as gender, and date of birth. 
After that you simply have the:
  •  date of each school year, 
  • with the name of the courses covered
  • a letter grade
  • and the amount of credit granted. 
  • and some kind of grading scale.
That's basically it!  You can use a transcript service like  or you can make your own and save it on your computer. I paid $96 for the lifetime service so that I can just keep and order the transcript whenever one of my kids needs it. 

Lee Binz has a number of templates and training for homeschool high school here. 

A sample of the transcript I used to sent to Noah's college is here

2. Determining credit, not a big deal!

1 credit is about 120-180 Carnegie Units.
1 Carnegie unit = 1 hour of instruction or 2 hours of practice (or study homework).

But if your student is a quick study, that's okay too.  Finishing a high school level text book is the equivalent of one credit.
If they work on a high school level subject for about an hour a day for a year, that's also a credit.
If it's only half a year, that's half a credit.
Sometimes you have to be a little more diligent with keeping track of hours if a child is doing work more creatively. For example, I give my kids a physical education credit for soccer, but they are only involved in a Saturday League that plays in the fall and spring. Cumulatively over 4 years, that's 1 credit for physical education and I only put it on their senior year.

3. High school doesn't need to be all about books and study. 
Students can get credit for taking music lessons, playing a sport, or participating in a group or club like 4H. I gave one of my sons a lot of credit for taking piano and guitar lessons as well as participating in our parish choir. His electives were loaded with music. My daughter is getting credit for working on the rehabbing a house with her father and also for taking art classes. If public schools offer a lot of credit for vocational skills; so can homeschoolers.
Noah Senior Pictures 008 2
4. Grading can be subjective. The best advice I ever heard about grading came from Lee Binz. If the student does their work, tries their hardest, understands the material and can prove proficiency either on a test or orally and you are pleased with their work - that's an A.

You go down in grades from there.  For example, if the student can do all of the above but doesn't get work done in a timely manner could be a B for example. Basically, if you subjectively think they didn't do their best work, that becomes a B and so forth.  Just like in regular school, attitude and effort can and should raise or lower a grade.

5. Everything I just shared above, needs to be taken up a few notches if your student wants to play NCAA college sports. Honestly, getting my student to be NCAA eligible was a lot harder than getting him into the college he wanted to attend! So if you have an inkling that your student athlete might want to compete in college, you need to put in a little extra effort keeping track of textbook titles and ISBN numbers, and writing course descriptions. For all of my nonathletic students, the transcript was really all the college ever asked for.

cross country 2016 148

Monday, April 24, 2017

Simple Woman

Outside my window...


Technically this is "inside" my window, but this is my pretty kitty basking in the warm sunlight as it came through the window at the top of the stairs. I couldn't resist getting this picture of her.

I am thinking...
about a sermon I heard from our parochial vicar on Easter Sunday.  He reminded us that the 12 apostles were just regular guys - just like most of us. But they lived with Jesus, ate with him, slept near him, and listened to his teachings for three years, yet they STILL didn't fully understand what he was trying to teach them. If those guys, who all became great saints, couldn't get it, how could those of us who only grace the inside of the church for one or two hours a year possibly hope to understand Jesus Christ and his teachings? I thought that was a wonderful observation and a very bold thing to say to the Easter/Christmas Catholics who were undoubtedly just there because of the holiday.

I am thankful...
Divine Mercy Sunday and the indulgence my family is working on for Irene. 

I am pondering...

a discussion on Facebook that came up over the weekend in one of my homeschool groups.   The OP wrote:

 I am amazed at the concern people have over transcripts and credits. I have four grown children. I never did transcripts or credits. Three of them were accepted to college. The other had no desire to go. Honestly, high school is a waste of time. Take on line classes. Go to a community college. Use distant education. If your child takes classes they are a transfer student. Be creative. We don't have to do it like everyone else. Lots of other ways to further their education.

This post actually intrigued me. I wondered how this homeschool mom was able to get her kids into college without creating a transcript and I also wanted to hear her thoughts on why she thought high school was such a waste of time.  But I gotta say, the original poster took a lot of flack for posting that. In fact a lot of people said they were offended!  I guess I'm not reading it right because I don't see anything offensive in it. If the discussion had been allowed to continue I would have pointed out that the op wasn't alone on her assessment of high school. 

I'm also pondering Izzy's last few months of senior year - and how beautiful she is!

april 2017 124 2 izzy

One of my Favorite things

watching Gabe ref little kid soccer games!
soccer 2017

soccer 2017

I am hearing...

In the kitchen...
Cinnamon pork chops and salad

I am wearing...
my workout clothes.

I am going...

I am reading...
From the Learning Rooms...

    Adobe Spark


    Prairie Primer  - Social Studies and Science this semester!
    Saxon Math Grade 6
    Exploring Creation with Botany
    Trail Guide to Bible Geography
    CYO Cross Country practice
    Children’s Choir at Oaks of Righteousness Co-Op

    Isadora: Senior year!
    Art Studies at Akrona Art
    Parish Choir St. Sebastians
    Spelling U See Per Dr. Holinga
    Saturday Soccer League

    A quote to share...

    A picture to share...

    Rosie is allowed to participate in soccer and bike riding as long as her pain level is not more than 3/10. If the pain distracts her, or if she has to modify the activity, she has to stop. But she played soccer on Saturday and ran a little and it did not bother her much. Hopefully with some stretching and strengthening her tendons will repair themselves and she will be back to her regular running schedule.
    soccer 2017

    soccer 2017

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