Archive for November, 2013

The Homeschool Trick #2

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

A while back I mentioned a nifty trick some homeschoolers use to make getting into college easier. The downside to it was putting up with the public or private school. Here is another trick.

This new trick is to transfer to a college. The only way to do this is to take enough college credits. You need a college nearby where your child can take classes. Check for early to college programs in your area. It is best to start the classes in the junior year. Summer courses are also an option. During the senior year, you can apply for transfer to other colleges.

How well does this work? I haven’t any data on this. In my experience, Youth 1 has qualified for transfer to every school that has been looked at. Each school may have a different credit limit. You need to check with the colleges, and I recommend looking into this the sophomore or junior year. I do not know how community colleges will fair.

Another downside may be loss of potential scholarships. You will need to look into this, too.

If you are interested in this method, do the research ahead of time.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags: ,

Free Points

November 22, 2013 Leave a comment

College courses can be difficult. Students must resort to badgering the professor in order to gain unearned points. They haggle over quiz, homework or test problems for a point here or there. It can be beneficial gaining a student five points.

What students miss are the free points. This is not to be confused with bonus points. These are points that require little or no effort. They are part of the total grade, but they’re simple and easy to earn. They can be time consuming, but they are in a sense free.

Seldom do students recognize these points or take advantage of them. Sometimes, the free points aren’t recognized until after the class. These points are dependent upon the class and professor. Some of these points are a result of showing up for class. Last year, Youth 1 earned these points by not missing a class. This was a part of “class participation”.

This semester Youth 1 has two classes where the free points are apparent. In the calculus, it is the homework, worth around 15%. Do the homework, go over it with the professor and turn it in. You have ample time to find the answer without the prof. and then see the prof. Another class has a requirement worth 15% of the grade. It is nothing more than an assessment. Do the work and you get the points. You can miss problems and earn the points. The downside is the time it takes to do. This assessment adds additional problems as you miss problems. Looking at the class average for both, it is apparent students are not taking advantage of this. In math, the average is 85.5% and the chemistry class is 80%. How can you not do this work? These are basically free unlike tests and quizzes.

Students do not often recognize what is takes to get the better grade. They look at the easy points as a nuisance and thus throw away a grade opportunity. It is clear in the two cases, there are a number of students not bothering to do the work.

A student needs to quickly recognize the free points. Indeed, they need to recognize how the point system is broken down in class. This can help you with getting a higher grade.

Categories: Education Tags: ,

Homeschool Spanish Academy Update

November 22, 2013 Leave a comment

While I still have issues such as connectivity, we have been able to adjust to the program. I still wait for additional instructors. The homework section has a few issues right now.

There is a feature I have never mentioned and it is the grading. There are quizzes, tests and homework (something Youth 2 is determined to not do). This provides a system of measure for us. This is a rather nice feature for us.

Talking with our two children, they like this program. Our oldest has asked to continue with this program, and the youngest enjoys it very much. There is a different mindset and feeling when you are talking to someone and not to a computer. There is a huge request to continue with this program.

If this program can increase their instructors, I would be a thumbs up.

The Homeschool Trick

November 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Our latest homeschool experience with applying to colleges has been eye opening. We are discriminated against by various institutions of higher learning. The first bad egg was Gettysburg College, “… an ivy league wanna be.” As stated by our evaluator. I, too, had the same thoughts after visiting and learning about this school. Shame they do not recognize they’re no where near the ivy league. Penn or Mt. Saint Mary’s (happen to know of 3 homeschoolers that attended this school) seems to not need what G’burg requires.

There is a trick some homeschoolers utilize. I’ve known about it for a while. It was not until our last visit to a private school where the administrator mentioned that most homeschoolers attend the school in their senior year that it finally hit home. This coincides with my oldest child’s application attempts.

These families place their child in a school for their senior year in order to bypass college discrimination. This is the simple trick if you don’t mind your child going to a school for a year.

What I find interesting is, how can a high school course be better than a college course? I am referring to my oldest child who has straight A’s at a university but is not worthy enough for some of these schools. This college has a better ranking than say Gettysburg College or other institutions. Some things never make sense.

There you have it. A trick to make applying to colleges easier.

Standardized Tests Can Be A Good Thing

November 17, 2013 2 comments

The Educator and I have been patiently waiting for the results of Youth 2’s standardized test. I want the test to confirm a statement made by Youth 2. It would put Youth 2 in the 99th percentile. I seriously doubt it.

Standardized tests are mandatory. They really offer no real data other than where your child should be at a point in the educational time. The downside is order of education being done. If my child hasn’t covered the tested topic at this time, he/she will in the near future. My real reason for a standardized test is for evaluating my child.

These tests show me where my child is with the national average. If Youth 2 were to score below the 50th percentile, I then know homeschooling is a failure. I want to know the effectiveness of our teaching.

Another reason for this test is to see where we need work. If Youth 2 were to score low in say math, this would mean we evaluate the curriculum we are using and how we are instructing. Do we need to focus more on math?

I have an expectation of my children needing to score higher than the 80th percentile for me to believe my children are succeeding. That is just me. I worry in the 70’s.

There are downsides to standardized testing. Youth 2 took the test for 8th grade, but my child is studying Algebra II. I am not going to get an accurate assessment unless my child scores low. Even with tests that are on par with the grade of my child do not tell me enough detail.

Standardized tests provide me general information about how well my child is doing. It lacks the detail I would love to have. Is my child struggling with geometry but is excelling is algebra? I don’t know. You can only take this information so far. What you can get is whether or not your homeschooling is working, but WAIT there is a catch.

Some tests are easier than others. We learned this the first time Youth 1 took a standardized test. Taking the easier test does not provide accurate or informative information. You don’t know how your child is doing. We selected and have always selected the harder version which coincides with public and private school testing.

Take the time to use these tests as a way to independently evaluate your child. These tests can provide you a general idea of where your child is. You will be able to focus on the educational weaknesses of you child.


November 17, 2013 Leave a comment

I’ll shall leave the name of this “college” out. This “college” is not the best school to select. It is rather cheap in price compared to some. In fact there is nothing special about this school. Even the city it is in is not the best.

Youth 1 received a “special” letter stating in the header, “HOMESCHOOLING CREDENTIALS”. It is asking for:
An official transcript of high school grades through the last term for which grades have been recorded. (All potential students must provide a transcript, right?)
A course description for each course taken through homeschooling. (Doesn’t a transcript cover this? Oh, dear school, my child is attending a more prestigious school right now and has a 4.0 gpa. You have already received this transcript.)
Aptitude test scores from the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the American College Testing Program (ACT). (Again, doesn’t every school student need to provide this???)
Two “outside” (they put the quotes in) letters of recommendation, excluding (them again, as if we are stupid. excluding is underlined) parents or other relatives. (How will letters of recommendation help you to determine my child’s worthiness? Will my neighbor count? Unless my neighbor is a relative, it does. Hey “college“, isn’t this silly. This provides you NOTHING! My child could ask a university professor to do this, but the prof will tell my child to NOT apply to your school.)

Why are two letters of recommendation required? What information could you glean? These letters of recommendation will be form letters. Really!!! We are going to specific individuals to write these letters and they will be in a form letter format. Good job “college“. You have gleaned nothing.

College Mistrust

November 17, 2013 3 comments

With the amount of schools contacting Youth 1, we’ve come across what may be disturbing signs for the homeschool community. These schools do not believe us.

There are plenty of schools happy to accept homeschoolers, but there are still plenty that do their best to discourage homeschoolers or even state in a round about way homeschool youth are not educated enough. I have already mentioned my Gettysburg College issue and their loss. Now we’ve encountered another school asking for letters of reference for homeschoolers ONLY.

My experience with homeschooling may have provided me some insight to the problem. This is a potentially serious problem for homeschoolers. The blame will be placed upon homeschooling families.

My posts from time to time mention what basically amounts to incompetent homeschooling by other families. Interacting with these homeschooler’s children informed me they are not teaching their children. It is frightening to talk to a mother whose 7th grader has yet to do math! How will this child catch up? How can I believe a child is gifted when they can not answer the basic science questions they are supposedly studying? How does one learn and comprehend a topic in twenty minutes? I experience poor homeschooling almost on a daily basis.

I think this is not a very common issue among homeschoolers, but it does not take many to ruin a reputation. When I worked in a manufacturing environment, we were told by a dealer that one bad experience adds up to ten then twenty and so on. If you buy a product and have a horrible experience with it, you will tell others about it. They are now influenced by you. If they hear from a second person, this product’s reputation is destroyed with this person. This is what we are seeing with homeschooling.

If you take yourself and nine other homeschooling families, how many are not providing an adequate education? If you have one family and there are four, five or even six children this problem magnifies.

As I reflect a moment, I can state that I have met at least three families with poor homeschooling habits. These are families in which I believe their children are being set up for failure. There are others that may be borderline. The percentage estimate is over 10%. That is a lot!

Is there a way to regulate homeschoolers within the homeschool community? There are diploma programs for homeschoolers run by homeschool groups. This doesn’t catch the “bad” homeschoolers. You can’t shame a homeschooler. Homeschoolers need to educate potential homeschooling families. If you can’t put forth the effort then don’t homeschool.

I do not know the correct answer. My thoughts are to educate potential homeschoolers. This is where you can re-direct those not willing or able to put forth the effort required for homeschooling children. Homeschooling is not easy and is not meant to be.