Archive for October, 2013

Test Result Curiosity

October 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Yesterday, I picked up Youth 1 from the local university. It was a test day for Youth 1. There is a common understanding between the two of us. I didn’t not about the test, and Youth 1 did not offer any information about the test. We went home discussing other subjects such as how The Educator would ask about the exam. The test results could be learned later.

Walking in the door, I say hello and began to distribute my keys and other such items in the place of my choosing. As Youth 1 walked inside, The Educator immediately asked, “How did you exam go?” Youth 1 and I glanced at each other with knowing smiles.

Why is it that certain groups feel the need to ask how well you do in an exam? I can remember females always discussing the exam after taking the test. Others willing to discuss the exam were the very smart students that used this as an emphasis of their “greatness”. The rest of the class didn’t bother to discuss it or have a desire to hear about the exam.

Am I incorrect in assuming a particular group of the population will always asked this question? As a parent, I am curious about my child’s test result, but I respect the unwritten rule of not talking about it after the exam.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags: ,

Need More Weekends

October 26, 2013 Leave a comment

One activity I enjoy is hiking in the bush. I’ll even make a trip to the Appalachian Trail to spend a day hiking. Unfortunately with two youths and a spouse, I can not do this event for they have their activities, too. Today is a lovely day where I can only sit and sigh as I look out the window.

Today is a soccer game for Youth 2. This will require the entire day for we have an hour drive to the game. I’m looking at throwing three to four hours into this. Tomorrow is another reason why I won’t be able to hike.

I keep thinking someday the time will be there. If I could make the time, I’d have more weekends.

Categories: Outdoors Tags:

College Student Looking For A Future

October 26, 2013 Leave a comment

A note to college students and soon to be college graduates. For those of you currently in high school, read this, too.

When you send me your resume and come to me for an interview, understand this. I do not care what school you went to. Small school, community college or Ivy League makes no difference to me. The school will decide what questions I may asked or some expectations, but there is no advantage to the school you attended.

I will be looking at your gpa. If you are under 3.0, I will be less inclined to call you in. If you are under 3.5, you are not out of the water either. If you are higher than 3.5, you have my attention and that is all.

What have you done? This is the main item I am interested in. Your school has no value, your gpa will get you in the door faster, but it is this question that will determine if I want to call you in. I want to know what work related internships or activities you have done. Sorry, your Eagle Scout project building a paver sidewalk does not impress me. We’ll come to leadership in a moment. I want to know that you have worked in the field in some way. This can be a summer job, internship. Working at a grocery store does not help you procure a mechanical engineering job. Doing research work with a professor on invasive species will catch my attention. If you are actively engaged I take notice.

Don’t come to my interview asking how many people you are in charge of. I’ll tell you now, you are in charge of yourself. I’m not looking for leadership or a leader. I am looking for a doer. I have all of the leaders I want. That is why I am interviewing you. Your leadership skills on your Eagle project do not translate as leadership with me. I’ve worked on Eagle projects and Mom and Dad did well to help you. Think about it. Why would I look to a fresh graduate for leadership when I have an experience group primed for leadership. You have no experience!

If you feel the need to tell me of accomplishments in high school then be able to show me accomplishments in college. Not to pick on the Eagle Scout, why tell me what you did and that you earned the Eagle award if you did nothing else. You have just told me that you are not a go-getter.

If your gpa is not high do not despair. Do something! Learn outside of school. Be a go-getter to compensate for the lack of good grades. You may need to take that lower position to gain experience or maybe your major was not for you. There was a saying for those in engineering and science, if you can’t get A’s then maybe a business major is for you. Sorry business people, but you could say become an English major?

My advice for you is run away from the job. If I select you based on your school, award (Eagle) or some other non-work related item, my company is not very stable or me.

One more thing. If you apply and decide you do not want it, tell us. Do not be a no-show. This is unprofessional and hurts any further chances for you especially if I go to a new company and you someday apply there.

Applications and Colleges

October 26, 2013 1 comment

We’ve received over a hundred emails from universities and colleges. Most will not be reviewed by Youth 1 for they do not offer the field or the desired interest. There has been emails from FIT, Florida institute of Technology, WVU, Maine, SUNY, UMBC, Coastal Carolina and many, many others. It looks simple, apply to those that interest you (except Gettysburg College).

This is where the plenty become expensive. Youth 1 was able to removed many schools. There was another problem, and its the application fee. This fee ranges from $50 to $60 or so. You have SAT, ACT or other testing score to send in and this costs you money. If you child has attended a college, they have transcript fees as do some private schools. This cost really adds up.

Fortunately, some schools wave the fee for whatever reasons such as their Presidential or priority application to even free application if you visit their open house. Not sure how we’ll make it to University of Denver. Youth 1 had to pare down the list of schools and the application fee was one way of doing this. There were a few schools in which Youth 1 was interested in (you were one of these schools at one time Gettysburg).

The application time can be an expensive adventure. We’ve been able to reduce the cost by eliminating schools. Gettysburg College helped us to remove them from the list with their homeschool discrimination. Youth 1 has filled out the applications for the schools of choice, forwarded SAT and ACT test scores as well as sent a university transcript.

We await the responses.

It is never too early to see what the school of interest requires. You will inundated with school emails. Most can be ignored while others can be gems of interest that was not realized before. It is best for the teenager to select their favorite six schools.

Good-bye Gettysburg

October 24, 2013 Leave a comment

We are on the path of applying to universities for Youth 1. My oldest child has happily applied to a few schools with one exception, Gettysburg College. The reason why can be found here:

Begin with the following Gettysburg College statement:
“Although we use the same criteria to evaluate home-schooled applicants as we do for those students applying from accredited high school programs, we do understand that homeschool academic backgrounds are distinctive.”

You use the same criteria? Then why ask for additional material? Are not all schools distinctive? Three questions dear Gettysburg is sure to justify if not ignore. I have visited or attended public schools and multiple private schools. I can assure you, they are distinctive.

Gettysburg College, using the “same criteria” asks for homeschoolers to produce more information:
•A transcript from a reputable home-school correspondence program, or a detailed roster (including subject areas studied, texts used, and time spent on each discipline) of academic coursework at the secondary level. Classes taken during the senior year at a local two or four year college or university is highly valued and transcripts should be included with the application.
•A short narrative, written by the person other than yourself who has been most responsible for your academic life, describing the nature of your secondary-level education. This document should not be a recommendation, but rather a description of your instruction in recent years.
•In addition to the admissions essay and the application supplement, a graded paper in an academic area of your choosing is required.
•A letter of reference from a tutor, evaluator, or teacher who is not a family member.
•SAT and/or ACT scores. We strongly recommend that home-schooled students submit two SAT II subject tests, preferably in mathematics, and in a subject of the student’s choosing.
•An interview with an admissions counselor is required.

I ask, are the public school students being asked to do the same? The answer is a resounding, NO.

Dear Gettysburg,

You lost a valuable item, my child. Your silly request has de-valued my child as well as discriminated based on vulgar assumptions. You insult us parents with the “… short narrative, written by the person… who has been most responsible for your academic life…” I do not think you see nor understand your mistake. My child will graduate from an accredited home school high school program but will no longer continue with the application process for Gettysburg College.

Your requirements make me wonder if you are able to discern whether or not a student is “good enough” for your school. If you must discriminate against a group in order to weed them out, then your decisions for other students must surely be flawed.

Allow me to state my oldest child has made it clear that the “best” school for the field of interest has been applied to. Your school for the major my child is interested in has been rated in the upper 400s. Your prestigious school is not the best. Why should my family try to come up with $45,000 or so to go to a school whose program is not on part with better schools. One school my child has applied to provides more opportunities than your school could ever do. The reason your school was selected in the first place had to do with logistics plain and simple.

Now allow me to tell you something about my child. My child is in the second year of taking college courses as a high school student. My child has a 4.0 gpa at this school and has A’s in the current classes. My child will be accepted to this school as well as the others that have been applied to. Oh, the SAT math score you are so worried about. Well, my child has scored higher than the public school averages in our area as well as the private institutions.

I would encourage homeschool families to let you know of our displeasure. I also encourage non-homeschool students to not apply to your school for you display a closed minded approach and that is indicative of a discriminating environment. I am sure if I offered to pay $100,000 a year, you would wave all of the hoops homeschoolers must jump through.

Let the truth be known, my child is too good for your school. Yes, you lost a valuable opportunity to have the honor of having a great student graduate from your college.

College Prep High School Additional Thoughts

October 12, 2013 Leave a comment

My recent visit to a college preparatory high school was disappointing in many ways. First, Youth 2 stated for the Educator to “cross that one off the list.” The second disappointment was the AP courses taught. This is rather common with AP courses, I believe.

These classes were being taught to the test. Talking with a few teachers, I gathered there was less interested in understanding than the gathering of information in order to spit back out. There are a few other schools we plan to visit. The Educator and I want to visit these schools more for information than intent on placing Youth 2 in these schools. This is a validation event for us.

There was a lab we experienced where my children had gone over this lab a few years earlier. It was an easy experiment to do at home. Much of what they were studying in this Honors or AP class was done by my family. The Educator noticed worksheets being handed out for this lab. These sheets were basically a color by number sheet. It asked the question and you answered. Youth 1 took a biology course with fellow homeschoolers and there was no lab sheet. My child had to write up a lab report. There was never any hand out guiding my child.

Another tidbit I have noticed is the workload. I am all for large amounts of math problems. My children routinely did 50 to 60 math problems a day. There is a catch. They have the time to complete these exercises without ruining their day. Little time is wasted going between classes and their math lecturers are to the point without time wasting. AP classes tend to have loads of homework. I begin to question this. If you have 50 math problems and 50 spelling words in a class and throw in couple other classes with course work you end up with a busy night. High school students do not have ten hours a day to work on homework. My children do. Okay, Youth 1 never had that time for most of it was wasted with dragging of feet. Our day can begin at 7 or earlier and not at 8:15. Our day could end at 10:30 at night if need be. School students to not have this luxury or curse.

I have learned much through the trials of homeschooling. If you dedicate serious education to your child, you will succeed. You do not need to be an expert to teach the subject. The Educator has done well with teaching chemistry, math, history, language arts and other fields of knowledge. From the beginning, it was never to be the child teaching themselves. Giving course work to a child and saying have at it is akin to saying, “I don’t care.” Yes, our children now listen to lectures on their own, but we do grade their work and question them. There is no magic teaching method out there. There is no magic school preparing students.

If you want your child to succeed, you must be deeply involved with your child’s education. It doesn’t matter if your child is in a public school, private school or homeschooled. Going to public school my parents made it known that A’s were acceptable and B’s were frowned upon. C’s were a dress down. I won’t go into anything less than a C. I even had my parents get me a math tutor when I struggled.

Should We Select A College Prep High School?

October 11, 2013 1 comment

We have been visiting schools for Youth2 recently. The Educator and I have thought a school setting is a better situation for our youngest child. Thus began our adventure. What we have discovered was not what we expected.

First off, public schools are not an option. The educate poorly and the quality is lacking. We decided a college prep highschool. This school has a $12,000 tuition. It does not include books, and there are additional fees. The application fee is around $150. This is a steep price for an education. If my child receives a full scholarship, it can be worth the four year price.

The courses offered are primarily AP and honors with college prep. Sounds good doesn’t it? My child is looking at roughly 50 to 60 problems a night per class. Yes, you read correctly. If my child graduates from this school, there are many options such as a community college, liberal arts school and state schools.

The average SAT score is a little over 1700. This one fact made the Educator and me sit back and think for a moment. Here is why we are doing some heavy work trying to justify this or any other school.

My oldest child scored roughly 700 in math on the SAT. This school averaged 570. Math is not a strong area for this teen. Now allow me to display facts on my oldest and youngest.

These two kids scored high on their standardized tests. I am not talking just a little above average but very high; an amazingly high score. My oldest on placement tests for math and sciences at a major university was able to test out of chemistry. What high school student can take a college placement exam for freshman and score high enough to be able to try and test out of chemistry. We parents decided it was best to take the chemistry. This is a homeschool student accomplishing this.

The Educator stated that we could educate better than this school. Why pay $12,000 for four years, alter work and life for a child to do less than what we can do at home? This high school does not offer any advantage over homeschool. Youth2 can play sports for the local high school and still receive a great education. There is interaction with students of the same age, but we can try even harder to provide socialization for our youngest whose wit is beyond even some of the upper classmen at the school.

There has been much discussion about the pros and cons. There are few pros but many cons. If this school offered something worth the money then we’d consider making life altering changes. The scholarship money is not enough.

This is not bragging but a question of what is the value of an expensive school. What do they have to offer. Right now, they offer less than homeschooling but far more than a public school.

Allow my family be proof that homeschooling can succeed. You do not need to be an expert on a subject to teach it. Public school education proves that point. You, too, can provide an AP style education.