Homeschooling High School – The Importance of Junior Year

Junior year is one critical moment in time when you are homeschooling high school. In freshman and sophomore year you can kind of “fly by the seat of your pants”, but in junior year there are certain tasks that you need to do. On the first day of senior year you really want your child to start to apply for colleges. This sounds easy enough and only applies to senior year except for one minor detail. If you don’t know where you’re going to apply on the first day of senior year, it’s kind of hard to actually do the applying.

That is why much of junior year is spent figuring out what colleges your student is going to apply to. You do that by making sure that your child takes the PSAT, and the SAT or ACT. These tests will tell them the approximate test score that they have so that they will know which college they will fit with. You can also go to a college fair so you can get an overview of colleges you may want to attend.

Another important task of junior year is to identify a school that you want to visit and then actually visit the college. Otherwise, you may discover it is not anything like the name that they have on the side of their buildings or what you see in their marketing brochures. You have to make sure that the college is a good fit for your child.

When you are homeschooling high school, pay attention to the college search during junior year and then you can be really successful.

Teaching History in Your Homeschool

History is not focused on so much in school these days. I was disappointed to learn that it isn’t even included on the big, important ACT test. But a knowledge of history is vital to Americans. History is where you learn the average length of time the world’s civilizations have endured, and where we are currently on that time clock. It’s where you learn from the past about what works and what doesn’t so you don’t make the same mistakes as a society. But it can also be one of the driest subjects to children. The teacher must have a fire for the subject herself and then be able to transmit that excitement to her students.

Take a page from my own childhood experience. I entered sixth grade very excited to have my first encounter with world history, but it quickly became an overwhelming bore, what with dozens of end-of-chapter questions that had to be answered in complete sentences, hundreds of vocabulary words, memorization of meaningless facts. History did not come alive for me at all, and I actually made a D, yes, a D in history, my only one ever, and only because of so many incomplete assignments. That class effectively killed my budding love of history for the next 10 years.

So we do history differently in our homeschool. Yes, there are still assignments, and I do like my children to be familiar with a few key dates (Columbus-1492, Civil War-1861-1865, etc.) But my goal has been to really bring out the importance of history and its effects on all of our lives, as well as to inspire with the curious and innovative spirits of so many historical figures. Both of my kids have indicated that they “get it”, and one has even stated that he likes history. A beautiful moment!

So for our “spine”, as it’s called (the main resource you use as an overview of history), we used some good textbooks, just your basic, “This happened, followed by this happening, etc.”, not always fascinating by itself, but I like my children to get the big picture of the history of the world to date. The supplemental resources we’ve used are really where it’s at, where you get the words of people who say, “I was there and this is what it was like.” In that vein we read lots of books and watched lots of documentaries and films. There are many interesting biographies, written on a children’s level, that you can buy or check out from your local library. Many homeschool websites provide resources and recommendations for history supplements that include hands-on activities, games, crafts, stories, and other things which make the subject come alive for kids.

Timelines are very effective for seeing how events fit together in history, and to see what was going on in different parts of the world at the same time. We have a large, comprehensive one covering one wall of our schoolroom, plus each child has their own sketchbook where they keep a timeline with small drawings of each entry. History can become a favorite subject in your homeschool too.

Homeschool Support Groups – 7 Questions to Ask Before You Join One

Many veteran homeschoolers advise other homeschoolers to join a homeschool support group. They can provide encouragement, support, advice on state standards, and socialization. There are so many support groups available, chances are there is one meeting in your area. Before you join a homeschool support group you will want to ask a few questions to make sure this group is a good fit for your family.

1. When are the meetings held and how are they run? Do the meetings fit in with your schedule? Are they meeting during a nap time or when your husband doesn’t want you to be gone? Are they regularly scheduled or just as needed? Do they meet too often, more than you have time to attend or just about the right amount?

2. What is required of me? Is there a membership fee or required time commitment? Do I need to sign a statement of faith or is anyone allowed to participate?

3. Do most of the homeschoolers have the same philosophy of homeschooling that I do or is there a variety? Do I have enough in common with the members of this group to feel comfortable or benefit from their input?

4. Do they have someone you can contact if you are new to homeschooling or need help along the way?

5. Do they communicate well? Is there a phone or e-mail system set up to relay messages about group events?

6. Are there enough/too many activities for you to participate in? If a group is not active in meeting or planning activities, you might not get the help or support you need. On the other hand, if the group is too active and make you feel that you need to be at most of the activities it, may hinder your homeschool year and cause you to burn out.

7. Is everyone doing their share or are just a few people doing all the work? If everyone does at least a little bit and contributes their special talent, then you’ll find that the group and leadership are well run and satisfied.

As with anything in life, balance is the key to finding the right support group for your family. You need to know what you want and what you are willing to give to a support group. If you decide that this is not the right time in your life to join a support group, then don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for making that decision. Sometimes one or two homeschool friends that you can call on for support or advice may be all that you need. If you desire to join a homeschool support group, then these questions should help you find a group that will meet your needs.

Home Schooling Three to Five Year Olds and Legal Requirements

Parents who decide to home school their pre-school children have researched the value of teaching your own children at home. Beginning home school at the pre-school age is an excellent way to get the parent and the child used to the idea of learning at home. This is also a great way to ease into learning how to teach and organize the home school schedule. The child is not used to attending a school; therefore there is no adjustment period. Also, pre-school children are incredibly easy to teach because it is mostly in playing that they learn.

When creating a tailored preschool curriculum, parents provide a safe environment with interactive toys. Believe it or not, the parent is the child’s first teacher. Children at this age imitate everything their parents do by observation, playing, helping, talking, and listening. Reading to children at this age is one of the best ways to develop avid readers. At this age, a standardized curriculum isn’t necessary. Children learn from coloring, cutting, pasting, counting, singing, rhymes, games, playing with clay, playing in the playground, and learning to get along with others. It is important to include some of these activities daily in an unstressed, relaxed manner. Children at this age need your love and attention more than they need academics and structure.

The key to learning at this age is to provide a lot of hands on projects, particularly with arts and crafts. Many children in this age group have play dates where they meet with other children and go to parks, farms, even shopping trips. Pre-schoolers love to be included in everything you do, whether it be emptying the dishwasher, or sorting mail, and especially baking. Even though it may seem that their short attention span doesn’t allow for intense learning, they are learning real life experiences.

Legal Requirements:

Parents who home school do not have to have an advanced degree. There are a few qualifications of successful home school parents: love for their children, understanding of their children, desire to keep learning and growing, desire to spend time with their children. Although it may seem awkward at first, especially if your child has been in a public or private school, teaching will eventually become second hand. Parents need to learn flexibility and also organization at the same time. Open communication and a strong bond between parent and child is key to successful home schooling.

Home schooling is legal in every state in the United States. Each state has its own guidelines for home schooling. There are also plenty of support groups for parents who home school. Some private schools offer home school support and/or curriculum. After school group activities, such as sports, or science are also offered by several different programs. Friends and family can also help with home education. Sometimes there are co-op home school groups, where one person teaches math and another parent teaches history.

There are also support groups for parents of home schoolers who feel burned out or frustrated. There is guidance on teaching and teaching classes parents can take. Continued education helps a parent feel confident in their teaching skills. But keep in mind that every parent in a teacher at some point, it is unavoidable when you are a parent.

Parents document the progress of their home schooled children with testing, some are annual, and some are alternative assessments. Keeping records of your child’s daily activities and learning is essential to monitoring the child’s progress. When parents find it difficult to teach a certain subject, they turn to private tutors, online classes, CD tutorials or community college classes to supplement their studies.

Are You Communicating With Your Spouse About Homeschooling?

•Exchange views to discern their homeschooling perspectives

•Explore the real purposes you feel homeschooling is necessary

•Consider researching other educational alternatives

•Decide how involved he or she wants to become (e.g. teach subjects, plan or grade lessons)

•Discuss how homeschooling may impact your work schedules

•Determine how homeschooling could affect your incomes

•Discuss possible homeschool schedules

•Determine what other family members or friends would support your homeschool

Obtaining The Support You Need

Hopefully, your spouse will become your biggest supporter. You might be pleasantly surprised, they may have many valuable ideas to contribute. If not, research the issues or concerns that restricts him from providing the support you need.

Our Story

My husband was absolutely clueless, when I approached him about the idea of homeschooling. To be honest, I didn’t know much myself, but I was very excited about the prospect. Many of the homeschooled children I met seemed plainly well-behaved and highly intelligent.

We researched the topic together for almost a year and then began our homeschool journey. I continued working outside the home because we couldn’t afford the loss of income at the time. The timing of our decision was critical with respect to our daughters health.

Our Plans

We decided that I would be responsible for preparing the assignments. My husband taught certain subjects during the day. I taught the other subjects later in the evening. Our days were beyond long and seriously challenging. However, we were intent to make it work.

Decisions In Action

Teaching your children at home takes effort and requires a huge time commitment. Are you both up for the challenge? This may mean limited or no employment. Is that a viable option for your family?

I have met families where both parents work. I think it takes incredible creativity to find balance. Many homeschool families often live on one income, while others jointly run a family business.The best thing to do is pursue options that best suits your family.

Who says homeschooling should occur only during the week and between the hours of X and Z? You control your homeschool. You set the schedule most conducive for your family. Always review your state homeschool laws to assure compliance.

Can It Work?

Expect change and stay flexible as plans won’t always work. Eventually my husband switched jobs and his hours no longer allowed him to directly be involved in teaching during the week. Instead, he worked with the children during the weekend.

Joint Forces

It’s very important to communicate with your spouse. Your children will greatly benefit when you work together in supportive ways. Doing so actually helps decrease unnecessary conflict and distractions.

I would love to hear from you. Do you think effective communication is necessary? Do you believe it could positively or adversely impact your homeschool?

Why Would I Want to Use the Internet For Homeschooling?

If you’re like me, you always thought that you had to use books or workbooks in order to homeschooling your child. This summer I started reviewing websites that could be used for homeschooling, and boy was I surprised at what I found! The internet has grown and developed so much and I believe that it is going to get even bigger and better in the future.

Here are some of the resources available to us on the internet:

1.You can go places you wouldn’t be able to go yourself unless you were a world traveler and had unlimited wealth. On the internet you can tour foreign countries, museums and parks all over the world!

2.You can see things that you wouldn’t be able to see. A picture of practically every species of animal or plant is now available to view online. You can also go on video tours of many historical places and see many science experiments and scientific phenomenon that most people don’t even know exist.

3.You can take advantage of resources not available in books or on television. There are many interactive quizzes and courses available online. You can learn a foreign language, play an instrument, work with interactive maps and more.

Using the internet can also reduce the cost of homeschooling because you don’t have to spend as much money purchasing curriculum. Many of the courses and programs available online are free and fun. So throw away all your old ideas of the internet being too complicated or limited for you to use. Start exploring it with your child and see how much fun you can have together.

The History Of Home Schooling

Home schooling is also known as home education, and is a method of teaching children in the family home, rather than at an institution, such as a public school. Originally, all schooling was done in the family home, or informally within small communities. Very few children ever went to school, or had private tutelage. Children who did have this type of education were considered to be privileged, and were mainly from wealthy families.

Informal education, mainly conducted in the home, was the only way for children to gain an education. In the US, there were books dedicated to home education, such as “Helps To Education in the Homes of Our Country” authored by Warren Burton. Parents were the main teachers of their children, although, where possible, local teachers would assist parents, and take classes. It is said that before schooling was institutionalized, the US was at its height of literacy skills.

The 19th century saw many significant changes to the way education, and schooling was conducted with the introduction of compulsory school attendance laws. It is now considered a human right that children are given an education provided by the government.

Over the years, there has been much controversy over the effectiveness of institutionalized schooling, and some people have even gone as far as saying that the compulsory schooling system is damaging to younger children, especially boys who are slower to mature.

In the early 1970s, Ray and Dorothy Moore, who later become well known home schooling advocates, researched the bearing that early childhood education had on the mental, and, physical development of children between the ages of 8 to 12 years of age. Through these studies, the Moores produced evidence that formal schooling was damaging to children, and a cause for some behavioral problems commonly found in school aged children.

According to these tests, illiterate tribal mothers in Africa had children that were more socially, and emotionally advanced than children in the western world. The Moores believed that this was largely due to the bond between parents, and their children being broken when children were institutionalized in schooling systems.

In some English speaking countries, it is still an option for parents to home school their children rather than to send them to an institutionalized school. There are a wide variety of home schooling methods available to families who choose to home school their children, rather than send them to schools, including methods such as classical education, Waldorf education, and the Montessori method.

Home schooling can also refer to schooling done in a home environment, with supervision by teachers through correspondence schools. While children are schooled at home, they must still complete compulsory educational subjects, and take tests.

One of the main reasons that parents choose to home school their children is that they feel the schools are unable to offer their children the same quality of education, or social environment that can be taught at home.

Should Boys Play With Play Swords?

“No! My boys will not play with weapons.”

That’s right, I spoke those words long ago. Little did I know how wrong I was!

Probably when I was a new mom and had only 1 boy so far.

It was back in the days that we had no TV, no guns, and no idea what we were doing.

Fast forward to today.

Ladies, I have 5 boys. That’s a lot of testosterone!

Boys love to play very differently than you and me. I came to this realization reluctantly, but have finally crossed over to what they call “the other side”.

Why our boys Play with practice swords:

  • Because they are awesome! That’s right. There is an absolute coolness factor that speaks volumes to every single male person that we come in contact with. Swords are just cool.
  • They cannot kill themselves. (Well, I guess they could if they tried hard enough, but these practice swords are not meant to cause mortal wounds.) Just watch boys at play. Every boy needs a sword, even if it is a nerf sword!
  • Hand Eye Coordination. These swords are meant to be real training swords. They are heavy and are balanced like the swords they resemble. Pretty cool huh?
  • They are learning history. Each of our boys has chosen a different style practice sword. Each is a slightly different length and weight and each has its own history. They boys are delighted to learn about their swords place in history.

Our Safety Rules:

  • Do not kill each other.
  • Never pick up any weapon if your heart is not right. If you are frustrated or angry, you are done for the day. Period. No exceptions.
  • Practice is about discipline. Practice. Practice. Practice. (The Japanese practised with wooden swords to become expert swordsmen before they would wield a razor sharp blade!)
  • When you get hurt, take a deep breath. If you practice with a sword, your fingers will get hit.
  • Play in slow motion until you master the moves.

Moms, you cannot take the warrior out of your sons. Embrace that.

There is something primal and beautiful about a strong man with a sword or bow. Think Joshua (Biblical), William Wallace (Braveheart), Legolas (Lord of the Rings). I want my sons to be like them. Don’t you?

Are you ready to join me as a mom of sword-wielding, arrow shooting, and courageous sons?

Here is how you begin. Click here.

Is Your Family Ready for HomeSchooling?

More parents are deciding to homeschool their children each year. As early as the late 1960’s homeschooling increased from 10,000 to 15,000 children. In 1999 the number of homeschooled children had risen to 850,000, and by 2003 the number jumped to 1.1 million children which represents a 29 percent relative increase over the 4-year period.

Students are considered to be homeschooled if their parents reported them as being schooled at home instead of at a public or private school for at least part of their education and if their part-time enrollment in public or private schools did not exceed 25 hours a week. Students who were schooled at home only because of a temporary illness were not included as homeschoolers.

Most Important Reasons for Homeschooling

Thirty-one percent of homeschoolers had parents who said the most important reason for homeschooling was concern about the environment of other schools.

Thirty percent said the most important reason was to provide religious or moral instruction.

Sixteen percent of homeschooled students had parents who said dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools was their most important reason for homeschooling.

Families that elect to educate their children at home come from all major ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, and all income levels. However, homeschoolers are more likely to be religious, conservative, white, better educated, and part of a two-parent family, compared with the average American family. Homeschooling families tend to have more children and be middle-class.

Parents who homeschool their children are more likely to vote, contribute money to political causes, contact elected officials about their views, attend public meetings or rallies, or join community and volunteer associations. This holds true even when researchers compare only families with similar characteristics, including education, income, age, race, family structure, geographic region, and number of hours worked per week.

What Resources Do Homeschooling Families Use?

Parents are, of course, the primary resource. Typically, the mother takes the lead, though fathers usually pitch in. Perhaps as many as one out of ten fathers takes the primary responsibility.

How Well Do Homeschoolers Perform Academically and Socially?

Researchers cannot tell whether the same children would perform better or worse academically in a classroom or at home. State testing data does not necessarily reflect all homeschoolers because not all comply with the testing requirement. Other testing efforts rely on volunteers.

Keeping that caveat in mind, where testing data is available, homeschoolers do well. For example, in Alaska, the state’s Alyeska Central School has tested its homeschooling children for several decades. As a group they usually score above average in any subject area and at all grade levels. The largest study to date, commissioned by the Home School Legal Defense Association, involved 12,000 students tested through the Bob Jones University testing services. The homeschooled children placed in the 62nd to the 91st percentile of national norms, depending on grade level and subject area.

At least one intriguing study suggests that student achievement for homeschoolers is not related to the educational attainment of the parent. This is consistent with tutoring studies that suggest the education level of a tutor has little to do with achievement of a tutored child.

College admission also may suggest success. Homeschoolers have reported admission to over 1,000 different U.S. colleges and universities.

People disagree about whether homeschooling helps or hinders a child’s social development. Homeschooling children spend less time with peers and more time with people of different ages. Most participate in scouting, church groups, and other associations. Many volunteer in their communities. Some operate a business. There is no conclusive research suggesting that additional time with same-aged peers is preferable to more time with individuals of varying ages.

What Is the Legal Status of Homeschooling?

Today homeschooling is legal in all states. State law generally requires homeschooling parents to file basic information with either the state or local education agency. Over half the states require some kind of evaluation under some or all of the homeschooling options available under state law. Usually, this evaluation involves testing of students, but some states accept portfolio evaluations or a teacher evaluation. Much less frequently, states have education or testing requirements for parents. Some states require submission of a curricular plan. Parents do not need teaching certificates.

Public programs are growing. Alaska sponsors the Alyeska Central School, where teachers in Juneau work with students all over the state via mail, the Internet, telephone, and occasional home visits. In California, children can enroll in a public school’s independent-study program. Washington and Iowa laws require public schools to admit students part-time. Some public schools offer specialized homeschooling centers where families may obtain resources and instructional support, or where children may take classes. An estimated 18 percent of children who are homeschooled enroll in school part-time; 5 percent enroll for 9 or more hours per week

Local and state support groups offer advice and assistance. Sometimes, several families will share instructional duties. Local support groups form readily if there are a sufficient number of homeschooling families in an area. There is at least one state-level homeschooling association in every state, and in some states there are a dozen or more regional associations. Often, parents may examine instructional materials at a book fair or association meeting.

Other popular resources include libraries, museums, colleges, parks departments, churches, local businesses, and schools. Many large and small publishers offer curricular packages, books, periodicals, and other materials for use in home instruction.

Beginning the Journey of Homeschooling High School!

Homeschooling high school–are you nervous or excited? Or a little bit of both?! High school is a rewarding time to be homeschooling, as your children mature and grow and engage you in more complicated conversations. Along with the fun, though, are some important things you should be thinking about as you enter these high school years, and now is the time to start work!

Your child’s freshman year is the time to begin learning about high school testing. One of the reasons it is so important to start thinking about this during freshman year is that some tests are best administered to a child immediately after they finish a class. For instance, if they’re taking chemistry and you decide you want them to take an AP test in chemistry, they should take the test when they’ve learned the content.

You also need to decide whether your child should take an SAT, AP, or CLEP subject test. Some colleges only accept certain tests, so it’s important to find out which ones will be accepted by the colleges your child will most likely be going to.

And don’t forget to register for those tests so they can actually take them, because all of the research in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t actually register for the test! To register, all you have to do is call your local public or private high school and say, “I’m a homeschool parent, and would like to know if my homeschooled child can take the SAT or the AP subject test at your high school, and how do I register for that”?

The next thing you want to do during your child’s freshman year, if you’re feeling pretty confident in where you are, is to think about colleges for a minute. It doesn’t hurt to begin looking at colleges with your teenager now. You could identify a primary list of colleges that you might consider. If you’ve always thought, “probably these four are the ones that we’re going to apply to,” or “my child has always mentioned an interest in going to Harvard” or something, then you should begin to look at those colleges.

If you do have some colleges in mind, it’s a good idea to look into their application requirements now, because if the college your child wants to attend is that one college in a million that requires four years of foreign language or something, you want to know that earlier on in Freshman year. You could also consider a college visit in the spring. Most college visits are done during the spring of Junior year; but it’s perfectly fine for you to take your children for college visits in Freshman year or even earlier.