Category: General

Understanding Homeschooling: How to Homeschool Your Child

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how_to_homeschool_your_childHomeschooling is gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional classroom education. This is due to the fact that it allows the parents to be more hands-on with their kids’ education and has more control over their learning environment. Parents can also tailor-fit the children’s curriculum according their needs and strengths.

While this seems like a good idea, there are some things that you should take into consideration when you decide to homeschool your kids.

Changes in the Child’s Environment

Your child must understand the changes that would have to occur when he starts homeschooling. He also needs to be assured that not being able to go to school doesn’t mean that he’s going to stop being friends with his classmates. It is normal for the kid to feel anxious, worried or a little lonely, and the parents must be able to coax him to slowly adapt to his new learning environment. They also have to make sure that having less interaction with other kids does not negatively affect the child’s behavior.

To help your homeschooled kid become socially and physically active, have him join in your community’s sports or hobby club. Activities like camping, community service and workshops can help prevent your child feel detached and socially awkward.

Learning Facility and Schedule

Parents would have to make sure that their kids have access to materials and instruments that are needed for learning. The purchase of scientific equipment like microscopes and chemistry sets, literary materials, reference books and art materials can be costly. It is best if you find a homeschooling community near your place, so that you can split the cost with other families. It’s also a chance for your kids to have a more social learning environment.

Having access to education while at home, at your own pace, poses an invitation to procrastinate or slack off. Thus, parents have to help their kids work out a schedule for studying their lessons and guide them on following it through.

State Laws and Standardized Tests                                 

There are states that impose certain requirements for homeschooling requirements. For example, a homeschooling household in California has to have private school at home and should comply with the private school requirements of the state. There are also standardized tests that children need to take and pass in order to be recognized as a student of a certain grade level by the state.

You also have to be prepared to teach your kids yourself. Ask yourself if you have the patience, skills and knowledge to help them learn their lessons. If you feel like you lack some skills, don’t hesitate to ask help from other homeschooling parents, or to hire a tutor for a specific subject area. Remember that this is your kids’ education, and it’s not a matter that you can just take lightly.

Amy C.  Fountain is the owner the Tabletop Fountains and Home Décor Art websites. She is also a doting mom to her kids and she enjoys writing articles about having a healthy family life.

How to Organize Homeschooling Supplies for the Move

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Moving your homeschool requires organization

If you are getting ready to move, the idea of packing up and organizing all of your homeschooling supplies may feel a bit too overwhelming. If that’s the case, don’t let it bother you! We have compiled simple step by step ideas that will help you pack everything so when school is back in session, you will be ready to go.

1) The first thing you need to do, is to separate your home schooling books into categories. For example, you may want all of your math books in one box, then label it accordingly. Then, work your way down the list for each subject that you have. If you have more than one child, you may want to add their names to the outside of the box. That way, you can quickly find the books you are looking for when needed.

2) Try to keep the basic schooling supplies such as notebooks, pencils, markers, rulers and other items in a tote bag. This bag can stay with you wherever you go. These items could easily be stored in the trunk of your car until after the move. The smaller items can get lost easily, so it’s best to keep them near you as possible. If you really want to pack them, be sure to find box inserts to help you keep the items sorted. Then, be sure to label them with each item on the outside of the box.

3) When you first move, it will be easy to forget about homeschooling. However, the summer will pass quickly. It is best for you to keep the boxes all in one location. One option would be renting a storage unit to store the curriculum and other supplies. That way, you can focus on organizing and unpacking your house. Then, when school is back in session, you can bring all the boxes in from your storage unit.

4) Last, but not least, it is very crucial to organize your grading and report cards. If you can, try to make copies of each item to store in your computer. Then, you can store the actual papers in the boxes as well. Having back up copies of these items is very crucial. So don’t forget to take care of that right away!

Staying organized while you gear up for a big move may seem overwhelming, but once you have a game plan in place it will all come together naturally.

Casey Haslem writes often about storage and organization. If you’re in need of help with storage, contact Everett self storage units or Peoria Extra Space Storage.

Homeschooling your child before Nursery School

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homeschool_before_preschoolFor a small child, it can be a little daunting going from the freedom of having no formal education to having to sit down and be educated,  so here is some information you can use to help educate your child at home even before nursery school or pre-school age. It will acclimate them to the schooling process to make it easier once a formal curriculum is undertaken.

There are a few recommendations on what to teach very young children, including EYFS. Used in Britain, EYFS stands for Early Years Foundation Stage and is the syllabus taught in schools and nurseries across the UK for ages birth to five years old. The EYFS is split into 6 areas which are:

  1. Personal, social and emotional development –  This helps children have an understanding of themselves. You can help your child develop by giving them confidence, helping them with social skills such as meeting new friends, talking to adults, encouraging them to be well-behaved and also dealing with certain difficult situations. This topic also covers personal hygiene, so teaching your child about brushing their hair, cleaning their teeth and washing their hands is part of it.
  2. Knowledge and understanding of the world –  The world is a large subject, but some of the things covered at this stage include time, designing and making things, and community living. Before children go to school, it helps if they understand daily routines and actions such as waking up, having breakfast, playing before lunch and then going to bed at the end of the day. You can aid your child in developing an understanding of the world by helping them build structures, letting them explore the world around them and answering questions about the environment. Also, have your child explore with simple mechanisms such as buttons and lift flaps in books or toys.
  3. Creative development – Creative development in children can be stimulated by listening to music, singing along to the words or just dancing to a tune. Creativity can also be grown by exploring various objects in the garden, playing musical instruments and exploring different colours and toys.
  4. Physical development – Physical development isn’t just about exercise but also about health in general, so children need to understand about good food and drink from an early age. Each child should have a healthy diet and be educated on different types of fruit and vegetables. All children should have 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day which can include running, skipping, hopping or just playing with a football or at the local park.
  5. Communication, language and literacy – This covers communication, so reading to your child will help this area of development as well as having books with just pictures in and getting your child to make up their own story. Another great tip to develop your child’s skills include drawing, as even from an early age your child will enjoy to making their own art, whether they use their fingers to make marks in sand or whether they use colored pencils or pens to draw on paper, it all helps them learn.
  6. Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy –  Shape sorters, abacuses and even toys can be used to help children develop their numeracy skills. Items like shape sorters stimulate your child as you explain each shape and its properties and they will also be problem solving while figuring out which shape goes in each hole.

Its never to early to start homeschooling!

About the Author:
Perl Watson is a writer based in South East England who writes for various kids website including Children Hairstyles

Using A Digital Camera In Home School Activities

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Digital cameras open up a world of fun and exploration.

If you are homeschooling a young child, one piece of equipment that can provide hours of fun as well as tremendous developmental and educational benefits, is a digital camera. This could be a camera that just takes still images or one that also has the facility to record video.

It is incredible what developments there have been in the field of digital photography since digital camera technology was first invented forty years ago (which in itself is a pretty amazing fact)!

Cameras for children are now available for little pre-schoolers as young as only two years of age. Of course, these might be regarded as purely an interactive toy but they do take quite good pictures even so and they definitely have developmental benefits for a little child.

Consider the actions needed to take a photograph and you will see that fine motor skills, hand – eye co-ordination and spatial awareness all need to be used in order to capture an image successfully.

For older children in a home school setting (I am talking here about children of the under ten years age group), using a digital camera can help in so many ways. Here is a brief run-down on some ideas.

1. Encourage observation.

In a nature study for example, you could get a child to take a daily image of a plant as it grows from seed sprouting to plant maturity. Use online editing software to arrange the images in a timeline and create captions for the images. This activity helps children to really look at the changes that have happened in the plant between one day and the next and to record their observations. The whole sequence can be played back as a captioned slide–show.

2. Encourage social skills.

Use photographs that a child has taken as part of a show and tell session. Encourage the child to talk about why they chose that picture, what do they feel when they look at it, what do they like most about it – and so on. This is a great way of developing vocabulary too. Asking a child to write about the pictures they have taken or using the images to illustrate a story is also a very valuable experience.

3. Create a movie!

A digital video camera can add another dimension entirely. A child can learn to organize toys, pets, siblings, friends and other family members to be the ‘cast’ of their movie. Creating or telling a story and afterwards learning simple editing techniques to create a finished project that can be shown to family and friends. Most video cameras for children are incredibly easy to use and can often be linked to the family TV so that playback can be enjoyed by everyone.

The three suggestions above are just a tiny fraction of the benefits you and a young child can gain from shared use of a children’s camera. These little gadgets really do enrich the learning experience and the possibilities are only limited by your (and your child’s) imagination.

If you would like to find out more about buying a suitable camera for a child of this age-group, Kids Digital Camera Reviews (.org) is a site which provides advice and information on all aspects of choosing a digital camera for children and the features to look for depending on the age of the child and the budget you have available.

Homeschool And Work At Home – Can You Do Both?

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homeschool_work_from_homeCan a Parent Homeschool & Work At Home?

Absolutely. But a fair question would seem to be, “Who would want to?”

Since we’re just getting started, here’s a little bit about me.

I’m a mid-40’s husband of 18 years. We have 8 (That’s right, eight) children that we homeschool and have done so since day one. They range in age from 4 to almost 17. The question we’re usually asked at this point is if we are Catholic or Mormon. Well, neither. We’re just passionate Protestants. And yes, we know what causes it. And so do you. Another question frequently posed to my wife is “You must be a saint! How do you homeschool and work at home?” Clearly, there must be some organization and that is a necessary part of work-at-home/homeschool life.

We do work at home, running a small business and that suits us to a tee. We also homeschool and have been part of the homeschool community for almost 13 years. But things can and do get a bit dicey when trying to mix homeschool and a work at home business.

Try speaking with a client on the phone and have your 16 year old asking about the chord progressions from an old 70’s Eagle’s tune, or better yet, playing it in the background! On an electric guitar. Or a 4 year old sharing an interesting looking insect he has found out back (BTW, that’s part of the kids homeschool studies…). Both of which can be joys or distractions, depending on the timing. You can and must draw some distinct boundaries.

It’s been said that fences make for good neighbors. Of course, it’s also been said that firearms make for a polite society, but, back to fences and boundaries. I think it’s critical, when we work at home, to have some definition between work life and home life, and that’s even more true when we homeschool.

A friend and business associate of mine who also works at home, Alan Masters, explains that “Even though your client may say they understand, no business person really wants to have a telephone conversation with someone whose child is audible in the background. This very typical scenario will lead your client to wonder if you can really pay attention to what they are saying when there are clearly family issues going on at the same time.

“The ability to shut a door and limit the sounds of home life will lend a much more professional tone to your business. On the other hand, a door or some other barrier allows you to walk away from the job when it’s time to re-enter family life without being tormented by the piles on your desk or the lure of the computer screen.”

Very well put. And he should know, as he’s been doing it for many years. Barriers or boundaries, when we homeschool and work at home, we must have some type of system in place to differentiate between the two.

But this is just scratching the surface. There’s also the time, family and economic justifications.

Now that we’ve established that we can homeschool and work at home, let’s look into the why.

There are any number of reasons why someone would choose this type of arrangement, so I’m not going to go into all of them. But I would like to go into some reasons that would, I believe, be more of a common denominator across the board.

When we choose to homeschool, we’ve made a huge personal commitment to do so. Our worldview is such that it’s our duty to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Prov 22:6) Deut 6:7 says these things we must “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

So for us and our family, our decision to homeschool is, for the lack of a better term and running the risk of sounding cliché, a faith based decision. We attempt to make all of our decisions in this fashion.

There are many other reasons, such as the quality of education your kids receive at your homeschool vs. public school; there are no drugs being sold at home, no gangs, no scandals with inappropriate teacher/student relationships, negative socialization, etc. But for us, those are peripheral issues. We feel called to do it.

So why complicate homeschool by having a work-at-home business?
Well, I enjoy the commute! The real reasons are somewhat deeper, however.

For some who work-at-home, they were just tired of office politics, maybe their job(s) were outsourced (I won’t get into the economics of that in this article), they were downsized in a company restructuring or they were simply laid-off when the company dissolved. The work-at-home option can become quite attractive when you have more control and input in your own future.

For others, it might be just a way to supplement what is typically, in a homeschool family, a single source of income. Let’s face it, it is hard to homeschool and live on one income today, given all the realities of today’s economics. A work-at-home business can go a long way towards not just making ends meet, but socking money away for unexpected (are they really unexpected?) expenses, college and retirement, just to name a few.

There are also the benefits of the tax code. Now, I’m not a CPA or a tax lawyer, but I do know that the benefits of owning a work-at-home business are many and the IRS, it seems to me, is pretty kind to us.

A work-at-home business has no dress code. You can save a whole bunch of money on dry cleaning, eating out, you name it. Same for the kids. As the principal of our homeschool, I set (along with my wife) the dress code and it does not include overpriced clothing like A&F, Hollister (Why name a clothing line after a one-stoplight cow-town in California’s central valley?) or $150 Nike’s, so as just to impress their friends. For a family our size, well, let’s just say we must save a lot.

I read once, after you break it all down, a women brings home under $2.00 an hour, taking into account all that is required for her to work a part time job making $16k a year. I don’t know about you, but for all that hassle, a work-at-home business makes a lot more sense.

To homeschool and work at home may look daunting. It does require organization and a real commitment. But for the extra time that’s left in the day for your family, it’s well worth it and the rewards are great. Just ask the kids.

If you currently homeschool, a work-at-home business just might be a good fit. Something you might want to consider, anyway. There are lots out there; it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits best for your family. Just make sure that the one you choose provides plenty of support. Because, if you homeschool, you may not have all the time yourself to learn everything on your own.

What should you look for? A low cost-of-entry should be one aspect. Another would be a turn-key opportunity providing ease of entry, with a real blueprint on how to make it work. And of course, a product(s) or service that is in demand and provides real value. That’s what we did and it works well for us.

Why homeschool and work at home? Because in a lot of ways they go hand-in-hand. A homeschool is about teaching and a work-at-home business is about working. Our children deserve our very best when it comes to both and being there teaching these life-skills makes all the difference in the world.

© 2008 Greg de Mocskonyi | homeschoolworkathome.com

By: Gregory de Mocskonyi, Sr.

Greg de Mocskonyi is the proud homeschooling father of 8 children and has been married to the lovely and fetching former Laura Gizzi of Winter Park, Florida for 18 years. They work at home in Clear Lake City, TX. For more information on how they homeschool and work at home, visit their website at homeschoolworkathome.com

Homeschool Transcripts And Public Schools

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homeschool_transcriptsTwo families, two students, same question, same answer.

A mom called me for transcript help. Her daughter homeschooled for two years, using Alpha Omega LifePacs and Weaver Curriculum for 9th and 10th grade. Once her daughter got up to grade level, she wanted her to go back to public school. She asked me how to get her homeschool transcript accepted by a public high school.

Today a father called me for transcript help. His daughter homeschooled for one year, using Alpha Omega Switched on Schoolhouse during 9th grade. Now he wants his daughter to go back into public school, and asked how to get his homeschool transcript accepted.

They both got the same answer: there is no guarantee that a public high school will accept the credits a homeschool transcript. It’s very easy to pull a child out of public school to homeschool them. It’s more difficult to put them BACK into public school.

Let’s be clear about one thing, though. Colleges don’t give us nearly the trouble about our homeschool transcript! Colleges are fairly used to seeing transcripts from unaccredited schools. They are used to seeing kids will accredited transcripts who are poorly educated. They know that “accredited” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They will usually accept a homeschool transcript with the same wary eye as any other transcript, and we aren’t at a disadvantage at all. Not so with public high schools. I’m not sure they just don’t like the competition – our business as homeschoolers threatens their business, you know. For some reason, they care much more about having control over a transcript. Depending on the district, you have a 50/50 chance of having a particular homeschool class accepted by a local public school.

If you want to homeschool high school, it’s a good idea to go into it knowing you’ll continue for the full four years. If you know you will only homeschool for a year or two, choose an accredited program, or an accrediting agency, which can give you greater security that your credits will transfer into a public high school.

If you are homeschooling, and you know you want to continue for all four years, do NOT worry about whether or not a public school will accept your transcript. Maybe they would – if you gave it to them. But frankly, if you continue homeschooling through high school, there IS NO REASON to give them your transcript. You don’t give it to public schools at all, you give your transcript to the college. And colleges understand.

I hope you feel stronger, knowing that your transcript has value to colleges! Don’t you worry about those persnickety public high schools. You don’t have to interact with them if you don’t want to.

By: smanuva123

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, helps parents homeschool for high school and is a leading internet home school resource helping parents homeschool to college. You can find Lee online at www.thehomescholar.com/ and can email her at Lee@TheHomeScholar.com

Homeschool Message Boards

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Parents can get support on homeschool forums.

There are a number of ways to find homeschool message boards and other supports on the web the days. But before anything else, I think it is necessary for you to know the basic concept of homeschooling. For the newbies and the curious, note and understand the following details:

The term “homeschooling” actually means to educate your children at home rather than in public or private school. Homeschooling exists in a number of ways. One of the most common is unschooling or child-led education, that is, when you follow your children’s natural interests and curiosities to educate them. There is also the School at Home method is when you purchase the textbooks for all subjects and follow much the same ideology put in practice in traditional school. Also, there are the classical approach or trivium, Montessori method, unit studies, and the satellite school. You will know everything about these approaches when you consider participating on homeschool message boards.

But, where exactly on the web you can find and participate in homeschool message boards? I have a few sites below that you can visit if you are really serious of knowing the different aspects of homeschooling, or you just want to know and make friends with people who are also interested in homeschooling.

Homeschool Central

Homeschool Central now offers a number of areas covering homeschooling. They also have maintained a lot of homeschool message boards that you can join if you want to post advices, ask questions or post comments on the other users’ posts. And, perhaps what’s best about this site is that it offers not only its own homeschool message boards, but also other links to forums that discuss about homeschooling.

Teen Homeschool Hang

This site was designed and developed for one particular purpose – to provide homeschooled teenagers a way to hand out with other homeschoolers of their age from all over the world, and to supply interesting things to do and read online. It is also nice to know that this site is a safe site. So, teens can have fun exchanging thoughts on the homeschool message boards and parents don’t have to worry. Also, this site is a Christian-based, but everyone is actually welcome. The managers and moderators of their homeschool message boards are current homeschoolers or recent homeschool graduates. So, whether you’ve been homeschooled your whole life or you just started heomeschooling, the Teen Homeschool Hang has a place for you online.

CRA California Homeschool

CRA California Homeschool message boards are the ideal place to go for California homeschoolers. This is where you can meet together online for support, questions, encouragement, and answers. Also, this is the exact place to share your homeschooling successes and struggles with the other California homeschoolers. What’s more nice to know about the homeschool message boards maintained by CRA is that their forums are open to all homeschoolers, afterschoolers, and people considering homeschooling or those who are seeking information. You can also post inquiries about general parenting and family issues here as these matters are highly welcome.

By: Jack Morris –

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Homeschooling Through Pregnancy – How to Cope?

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homeschooling_while_pregnantPregnancy can make the most energetic go-getter feel like napping all the time. Especially during the first trimester, when extreme fatigue and morning sickness are common, getting out of bed in the morning can seem like a huge accomplishment. Lots of working mothers have trouble keeping up with the most basic aspects of their job during this early stage of pregnancy. Homeschooling older children is no different.

How do you cope with homeschooling through pregnancy?

Of course, every homeschooling family has different reasons for educating their children at home, just like academic approaches vary hugely. Every homeschooling family has got to love the tremendous amount of flexibility their educational decisions bring, though — and families with a baby on the way can certainly cash in on that flexibility. I personally don’t believe in “taking it easy” or going back to educational basics when personal circumstances make homeschooling more difficult (that seems like a slippery slope!), but there are plenty of families who do just that. Every child gets holidays from school, and there is no reason homeschoolers should follow the traditional public school calendar.

There are still lots of things you can do to make homeschooling easier on your pregnant, tired and probably moody self without sacrificing the quality of your child’s education. Those pregnant mothers who feel terrible during the mornings or who want to take a nap in the middle of the day can probably rearrange their kids’ school schedule to make that happen. Read classics in bed, or have your child read them to you. There are educational games and activities on the computer for all ages, and the same goes for videos. Some curricula are not very teacher intensive (some, like the math program Teaching Textbooks even have video instructions that take all the teaching out!), and a virtual academy is another potential option for many homeschooling families.

Cutting corners in non-essential areas of your life is probably inevitable when you are a pregnant working mother, and homeschooling is just like any other career in that regard. Hiring a cleaning professional or simply accepting your house will be messy for a few months is a great way to take some work off your hands without affecting your homeschool. Cook simple, quick meals, or have your partner do that, order groceries online, and take any other step that makes the mundane tasks of life easier. There is nothing wrong with asking friends or relatives for help if you feel the need, either.

Finally, there’s one simple move that can really help homeschooling families in any situation. No matter what the ages of your children, instituting quiet time in the middle of the day for a few hours can be wonderful. Young kids can nap or play, and older kids can read books or craft. Those who have many kids or who are homeschooling with a newborn can even have different blocks of quiet time for different kids — that way, the parent can work with one child while the other is enjoying an independent activity. Starting up quiet time during pregnancy will get your kids used to the concept and will give you some much needed rest.

Olivia is a homeschooling mom of two. She blogs about how to get pregnant, a fit and healthy gestation, and parenting at Trying To Conceive

Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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A little less then 3 years ago my husband and I were informed our 6th and final child would be born with Trisomy 21 (otherwise known as Down Syndrome).  We received this diagnosis 3 months before our daughter was born.  We used that time to research and prepare for this sweet baby.  While weighing our options homeschooling continued to grab our attention.  I could not believe that was an option in this day and age.  What I found out was there are way more home schoolers then I ever thought there would be.

I started joining email groups of local homeschooling families and realized that I could do this.As we were awaiting the birth of our daughter we started to become more aware of some sensory issues our son was struggling with. I always knew there was a problem but could not completely put my finger on it.  We determined on our own we needed to make some changes in his diet and once those were made there was an amazing transformation.

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Grace

After my daughter was born we made the decision we were not going to go the traditional early intervention route that most parents with special needs children take.  We were introduced early on to National Association for Child Development and once we became aware of what support they provide I knew that was the road I wanted to take.  

I have been facilitating my daughters therapy since she was 3 months old.  I also provide sensory and neurological therapy to my son as well as homeschool them both. To be honest homeschooling was something my husband talked about but not something I ever thought I could do.  It was not until I became aware of my daughters diagnosis and confirmed my sons problems that I decided home schooling was for me, I could do this!

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Over the past 3 years I have seen amazing results as a product of my homeschooling.  My son just 2 years ago could not tell you how old he was when asked.  He would not hold conversations with peers and preferred to spend his days in front of a video game.  He now has friends, he can read at a second grade level and his math is at a 3rd grade level.  He is 6 years old.

I am so proud.  I am proud of him and I am also proud of myself.  I think that is the best part of homeschooling, not only are your children smarter but you know you are a huge part of the success.  I was told in the beginning that I would know my kids like the back of my hand and that is so true.  I know how my son and my daughter are feeling, if he is going to do well or not so well before he even opens his mouth.  When you spend this time with your kids you create a relationship that will last a life time.

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My daughter is doing equally as well.  She is talking, following 2 step sequencing commands and potty training at 2 years old.  She is healthy because I have her on a specialized diet that I monitor here at home.  She is beating the odds and I am equally as proud of her as I am my sons.

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Homeschooling special needs children can be challenging, but when you see their progress first hand it is so worth the extra time.  I know my children and I am well aware of what my children are capable of doing.  I see so many parents with special needs children who feel lost. They are unsure what their kids know or don’t know.  They often look to schools for answers to their questions.

I am empowered through my homeschooling experience.  I can make decisions for my children because I know how they are doing, how they learn and the support they need.  It is such a rewarding feeling to know I am doing the best I personally can do for my children.  During the welcoming literature received from our therapy program NACD the owner stated that no one loves your child like you do.  No one will work harder for your child then you as a parent.  I play that back in my mind daily.  That is so true!  Why do we look to others to tell us how to educate our children when we know our children best and we care more about their successes then anyone else?

The special needs journey can be hard and scary.  I choose to enjoy this journey and my opportunity to help mold the minds of 2 of my children who might otherwise be in a special ed program makes me happy.  I know they will be fine because I will make sure of it!

To find out more about our family or the 5 boys and 1 girl you can find me at Katie Driscoll  5boysand1girlmake6.com

I am a Mom of 6 children, 5 boys and 1 girl, blogger and homeschooler.  I love to garden, cook, sew and spend time with my family.  My passions are acceptance of special needs individuals and nutrition.

What Is a Homeschool Friendly College?

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Some colleges seek out homeschoolers.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) does a wonderful job of explaining what it means to be a homeschool friendly college.

In general, a homeschool friendly college is one that treats a homeschool applicant the same as a public school applicant. Your child would be requested to take the exact same tests as any other student – more tests are not required of a homeschool applicant. Some colleges say they are homeschool friendly, when in reality they have “hoops” that we have to jump through. HSLDA has a rating scale for college admission policies here:

Tier 1: The college accepts the parent’s transcript, along with general standardized achievement testing, and/or the review of a portfolio.

Tier 2: The college requires a GED in place of, or in addition to, any of the Tier I requirements.

Tier 3: This type of college requires test scores (like the SAT II) from home school students that are not required of traditional high school students, which is inequitable.

Let’s compare three colleges that claim to be homeschool friendly: Trinity Western University,The University of Washington, and Evergreen State College.

Trinity Western University

Trinity Western University is actively seeking homeschoolers, telling me: “TWU is a great fit for homeschoolers because we are a small university that has the ability to provide students with an incredible campus community to be a part of, lots of individual attention and the opportunity to grow academically in the students own area of strength.” When you look at their homeschool admission policy, it reads:
“Students who complete their secondary education through homeschooling must complete the regular application for admission and TWU’s Homeschool Education Background Chart. They must also submit official SAT or ACT scores.”

I looked at TWU’s Homeschool Education Background Chart, and it looks the same as a homeschool transcript except that it is signed by the parent, declaring it to be true. It asks what curriculum is used. It does not ask for additional testing. I found it interesting that Trinity Western University does not require a foreign language. Notice that this college is NOT asking for an accredited transcript. What about scholarships at Trinity Western University?
“Homeschoolers are considered for scholarships based on parent provided grades. TWU does not look at SAT or ACT scores to determine scholarships – just GPA (since Canadian students do not write the SAT or ACT). However we do require the SAT or ACT for admission purposes.”

For more information about Trinity Western University, see their website or contact Sharon Peters in admissions: sharonp@twu.ca .

The University of Washington

The University of Washington wants homeschoolers as well. On the UW website, their homeschool policy states: “The University of Washington values all forms of learning. Homeschooled students bring myriad unique qualities to our campus, and we welcome their interest in the UW.” Their policy accepts a homeschool transcript, saying:

“Homeschooled applicants must present a homeschool transcript that includes course titles of each subject studied, duration of study, a short description of content, and grade or assessment of performance.”

Notice that this college is NOT asking for an accredited transcript.

Unfortunately the policy also goes on to say this:

“Homeschool course work must also be validated in the four core subject areas listed below. (No testing is required for social studies or arts.) Homeschooled applicants must submit official test scores for validation. The following scores provide such validation:”

The policy statement goes on to explain how the SAT may provide documentation for math, English and science, but that more testing is needed. They want additional tests to demonstrate science and foreign language as well. That means that homeschoolers are required to take more tests than other applicants! This demonstrates a policy that is not homeschool friendly. They are listed as “tier 3” by HSLDA. That doesn’t mean that homeschoolers can’t be admitted. It does mean that it is harder to go through the process of admission.

Evergreen State College

Compare that to Evergreen State College, which is one of the “Colleges that Change Lives.”Here is what their homeschool policy says:

Home-schooled applicants are evaluated individually. Documentation that outlines the curriculum you used is required along with official SAT or ACT test results. Documentation is most often provided in the form of a transcript from a recognized home-schooling agency or public or private high school that verifies academic preparation comparable to the freshman admission requirements. If documentation is not possible, you must submit official GED test scores.
If you were reading this quickly, and don’t live in a state that requires agency oversight, you might be pretty intimidated. How do you verify academic preparation through a recognized homeschool agency? It appears to say that you can document your curriculum yourself, since only “most” people use an agency. However, Director of Admissions Doug Scrima explains their policy clearly, “The Evergreen State College does not accept documentation provided by the parents.” Instead, they want accredited documentation for every course through public school, community college, AP, CLEP, or correspondence school. It also leaves homeschoolers with the option of taking a GED. Their policy is considered “Tier 2” by the HSLDA. However, I have rarely seen such a difficult admission policy.

All colleges admit homeschoolers. Whether your heart is set on a tier 1, 2 or 3 college, it pays to know their admissions policy and plan in advance. And remember, no matter what college you are thinking about, make sure you visit! No amount of online comparison can really communicate the differences between schools. College “view” books are created by marketing people trying to make their school look the best. The only way to determine if a college will “fit” is by visiting. Students should look at the college and ask two questions:

#1 – Can I live here for four years?

#2 – Can I learn here for four years?

Only a visit to a college can provide answers to these questions!

By: Lee Binz

Lee Binz is a veteran homeschooling mom of two and the owner of The HomeScholar, “Helping parents homeschool through high school.” She has a new free minicourse called “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When homeschooling in high school”. You can sign up for her free email homeschool newsletter, The HomeScholar Record and get your daily dose of wisdom via e-mail from her homeschool blog, The HomeScholar Helper.