Search This Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Homeschool High School Transcript: Free Editable Template

 


We are finishing our first year of homeschooling high school!  What I have found most challenging and new in transitioning from middle to high school is that I am now the High School Counselor, as well as teacher. 

The best advice I have been given for homeschooling high school is to not wait until Senior year to work on your student's transcript.  I have also found transcript planning as a very helpful tool in planning what courses we need to take and what curriculum to buy.

I could not find the template I wanted, so I created one.  It is FREE in my teachers pay teachers store! My husband works with students taking dual enrollment at the local community college, so he see transcripts everyday, and he has approved of the template.

It is a simple blank high school transcript, editable in Microsoft Word. Print blank and write on for planning purposes, or type in student information directly on template using Word, then print. Simple and official looking transcript


DOWNLOAD FOR FREE FROM MY

TEACHER PAY TEACHERS STORE


FREE TRANSCRIPT TEMPLATE


Saturday, March 12, 2022

Why I'm not using MFW for High School/MFW 9th Grade AHL Review


We loved My Father's World for K-8th!!!  We loved the family cycle and will continue to recommend it for younger grades! We also loved MFW Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade! 

But the time has come, I am finally switching curriculums. I will not be using MFW for the rest of High School.

"Never look at other curriculums, just make what you have work!" was advice given to me when my boys were very young, and for the most part I have stuck to it when it comes to our core spine of My Father's World (MFW).  

I have written a post about how there is no perfect curriculum and have been able to make MFW work for years with tweaks along the way, but I can not tweak the High School curriculum enough to make it work for us.

PLEASE NOTE: I will elaborate more in review below, but my kids did not fail or even struggle academically with this College Prep curriculum. We are still going to use academically rigorous college prep, but you will see below why MFW High School just wasn't the right fit for our family. This is just OUR experience, and what worked and didn't work for us. 


OVERALL REVIEW 

My Father's World 9th Grade

Ancient History & Literature (AHL)

 

1.  Familiar Format and well laid out lessons plans were helpful for our first year of high school 

I needed the familiar organization of My Father's World to help get our feet underneath us in this big jump to High School. The well laid-out student manual, with extensive notes for each week, allowed us to begin our High School journey with confidence, and just a little less stress. 

Homeschooling High School is a bigger commitment than middle school, and I was very scared when we began.  In middle school and elementary I tried to cover all my bases, and not leave a ton of educational gaps, but I never kept a transcript of "credits". 

 The lesson plans were well laid out and just what we needed this year.  It gave us a good first taste of what it looks like to get a high school credit.

I can not fault the quick and easy to use Open and Go Teacher's and Student Manuals that come with My Father's World.  


2. Good stepping stone to independence, but do not expect independent study right away

The implicit promise of MFW High School is that it is independent work, and the teacher/parent will just need to meet with them on Fridays for a conference.  I have two very fast readers who have great a work ethic (who have been using a semi-independent system of Workboxes since second grade), but they still needed a lot of hand holding the first few weeks/months!

The manual is written to your student, and so are all the text books, but do not expect them to be able to do their work on all their own right away! Just like 7th and 8th grade supplements were stepping stones to more independent learning, 9th grade is a stepping stone to full independent study.  The goal is to eventually have 100% independent time management, but expecting this without first guiding them/walking alongside them is just setting up your student for failure. 

Literature/English will not be an independent subject. The first several papers in Literature needed A LOT of parental help, but by around week 18 or 20 they were working more independently even in literature.  You will also need to be grading more often as you go the first few months to set your expectations.  If you only grade on Fridays during the conference either your student will either a.) spend a lot of their Friday going back and redoing their work or b.) not be working at a 9th grade level.


3.  Educationally solid, but jarringly different style than the family cycle

High school is harder than middle school.  Any type of learning is a challenge, that is just a fact, but high school is just harder.  I believe resistance is part of the learning process. It is ok for learning to be hard, but it is not ok if it makes your student not enjoy learning all together. 

My Father's World has always been a blend of Charlotte Mason influences, with some traditional and classical work mixed in.  When we got to High School, it dropped almost all Charlotte Mason influence and became pretty much all traditional and classical.

Both my boys are not struggling academically, which is why I kept doubting my choice to switch next year, but the heart has gone out of our homeschool.  The work is hard, but the the family cycle prepared them for it. They are getting As in every subject, learning to write argumentative essays, able to comprehend the tough ancient texts, getting work done on time, but it is just making learning into a check list. There is no excitement about the actual CONTENT anymore, and that makes me so sad.

Someone recently asked in a MFW group if you felt the readings have led to good discussions which prepare your kids for adulthood?  I had to honestly say no. I really enjoyed the family cycle, and we were able to discuss a ton of fun topics, but the independent study and lack of living books have made discussions less organic and frequent, even during the Friday conference. We still have tried to achieve them because we value conversation, but it is not usually in response to the curriculum.

But remember, I have twins, and no younger children.  If I had multiple younger children, maybe I wouldn't mind how different the style has become. My boys are not struggling academically, but I just want to be able to see them exciting about learning again. 


4. Lack of living books

This probably should be number one because it seemed to be the main source of my frustrations. We have always loved how many different History non-fiction "spine" resources and living books suggestions My Father's World provided or suggested, but this year it was back to one or two dry non-fiction textbooks, and pretty much no living book recommendations. I've had to start compiling my own living book lists for the times we are studying.

I read children's literature as an adult all the time, and I was disappointed that it seems like MFW thinks high schoolers are too old for any children's literature, even historical fiction.  I also firmly believe you are never ever too old for a well done non-fiction picture book.

I have always used the book basket as a jumping off point for my library search, so I would get several books that aren't on the list too, but this year all the reading suggested was half a dozen chapter books for the entire year, most of which my children had already read.

 AHL was too much reading, while also being too little

Too Much

The idea of High School history being chronological is a great.... in theory.  The problem is when you start with Creation on a high school level, you are taking the hardest ancient texts first and giving them to the youngest readers. The girl I tutored this past year was a slower reader and could barely get through her assigned reading for the day.  She had to keep looking up words as she read to understand the texts, leaving no extra time for any type of supplemental or pleasurable reading.  The reading, the independent research, the writing assignments, and her math, science, electives, and their co-op work took up so much time she has no time to read for pleasure. That made me so sad for her and her mother. 

 I asked in the MFW AHL Facebook group for suggestions on how to help and found she was not the only one.  They have to read deep hard ancient texts, and even the best readers can struggle. Again, struggling isn't a bad thing, but there seems to be no balance with pleasurable living books to keep them enjoying the learning process.  My kids did well with all the ancient texts, but the spark seemed to go out of them.  The texts were so foreign, they could comprehend them on a surface level but just didn't get them excited or engaged.  Again, school became a check list that they got done every day.

Too little

Again, lack of living books was jarring. My sons had plenty of time for pleasurable reading after school, yet none of their reading for pleasure was school related, like it has in year's past.  They used to get done with their main school work then dive into one of the many amazing living books in our book basket that continued on with what they were learning.


5.  Not able to easily individualize learning like the family cycle

This point doesn't fully apply to my boys, but to a girl I tutored this year this. I usually recommend My Father's World family cycle for everyone because it is so easy individualize. It is a blend of different learning styles and multiple books for all reading levels, so it can be aged up or down depending the needs of your family and student because it is designed to work for 3rd to 8th grade. 

This is not the case in AHL, it is ninth grade curriculum.  It seems obvious to say 9th grade curriculum requires you to work at a 9th grade level, but for many who have individualized their student's learning while using the family cycle of My Father's World, it may be a shock to the system. 

My twins were able to be academically successful, but it did not work for this other student I tutored.  AHL assumes you have SUCCCESULLY completed 8th grade level English/Grammar/Reading Comprehension and are reading and writing at a 9th grade level. The student I tutored is admittedly a slower reader who was drowning in the amount of reading this year, but they also struggled with the Essays and Literature assignments because they not completed the 7th and 8th grade supplements and reading comprehensions (Progeny Press Guides) during the family cycle.

Do not skip any of the 7th and 8th grade supplements and English curriculum in the family cycle and expect your student to do well in the MFW 9th grade curriculum. If your student is not working at the very least an 8th grade level, especially in language arts and reading, they are going to really struggle with this curriculum.  The literature supplement assumes you have taken a comprehensive writing curriculum when launching into instructions. 


6. Lack of variety of history sources and perspectives 

This goes along with the lack of living books, but I'm also REALLY not ok with presenting only one perspective of History.  

 I was already leery about using MFW for American History in 11th and 12th grade because  I have found in years past that many of the books recommended had obvious Nationalism tendencies, particularly the family cycle Exploration to 1850.  Many of the books in that cycle led to great conversation and teaching critical thinking skills in regards to spotting Historical Bias, but we needed the multiple books to see the biases, and sometimes even falsehoods, in the history books MFW recommended. 

I understand the need for a History Spine of some sort to keep you on track, but the lack of living books  was really frustrating and a huge departure from what made us love My Father's World in the first place.  I don't want curriculum that condemns Founding Fathers, but I also don't want history that only gives a few paragraphs about Indigenous population before diving into 10 weeks on the pilgrims.  I don't want a curriculum that villainizes early settlers who were just trying to make a life for themselves, but I also don't want a curriculum that ignores all the Native American treaties we broke. This is why living books are so essential to History!


7.  The history scope and sequence is too classical, with unevenly timed sequence

This year's history study was only Creation to the Greeks, so I assumed next year would follow the family cycle and do Rome to Reformation, but I bought the 10th grade World History and Literature (which I will be selling and NOT using) and it CRAMS all the history from Rome to Modern Times into one year.  There are no living books.  You fly through reading a textbook about historical events with no real time to digest what you are reading.

In contrast, beginning of the 9th grade year was a huge long focus on ancient creation texts, with almost an entire semester on Greek texts and alphabet. It was full of HARD ancient texts, like Epic of Gilgamesh. It was a great foundation in Old Testament, but by mid way through the year there were weeks of History only using Old Testament Readings and memorizing one letter a day of the Greek alphabet.  By the second semester there were weeks where the only reading was one of the personal devotionals, and no Historical reading at all. 

I bought the 10th grade manual (which we won't be using) and was shocked at how condensed the readings for history are. AHL could have condensed some the OT work and readings and gone through Rome at the very least, so that all of Rome to Modern times isn't squished into next year. 


REVIEW OF SPECIFIC BOOKS

My Father's World 9th Grade

Ancient History & Literature (AHL)

ORGANIZATION

Ancient History and Literature Student Guide Daily Lesson Plans

We buy My Father's World because of the Teacher's Manuals, and that hasn't changed in High School. We stuck with My Father's World again because of the daily lesson plans.  They are laid out so well and easy to use.  

MUST READ NOTES WITH YOUR STUDENT THE FIRST FEW WEEKS

It was confusing at first to figure out what to answer from what book.  For example the students don't answer the questions in Exploring World History, but instead in the Student Review, but that isn't said anywhere except a small note in the first week.  I would highly recommend starting your high schooler at least one or two weeks before any of your other children.  You will need to walk them through each book, reading the manual to see which books to read and how/where to write their answers to review.  

You will need to help them write in their manual their other assignments, like math, electives, and chores.  I had to help them set their pace and expectation, like one full Math and Science a week.

HEAVIEST WORKLOAD IS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

The students have to write an essay during their first week of school, and the reading is the heaviest during the first few months. 

Our experience has been that MFW frontloads your year, assuming you have more motivation at the beginning of the school that is February or after spring break. By the time we passed Christmas school was taking 2/3 the time it has taken at the beginning of the year.

END OF THE WEEK CONFERENCE 

My favorite part of this year is the Friday Parent/Student conference, but it makes me laugh each week that my manual calls it "Parent/Teacher Conference". I'm meeting with my student, not myself! My husband also jokes that I never invite him to the Parent/Teacher Conference!

At the beginning on the year we were great at checking in every Friday, but as they have gotten into a rhythm of independent work, and were proving themselves trustworthy to get their work done, we got kind of apathetic about getting the end of the week parent conference done. The apathy has started showing. Today my son has had had to go back and do two assignments that he "forgot to do" but checked off in hopes I wouldn't ask about them.

For reference, he is very responsible and gets up every morning to so his work without reminders, and never cheats, but he does have a history of cutting corners if no one is looking. 


HISTORY/BIBLE

Exploring World History 3 Book set by Notgrass (EWH) This is your main history spine. It is was our least favorite book the year is one of the main reasons we are not using MFW 10th grade, because it is the same series used next year.

  • Part 1 Creation Through the Middle Ages You will only use this book for the school year.
  • Part 2 The Renaissance to the Present You will not use this book at all this year, it will be used next year in MFW 10th grade World History and Literature
  • In Their Words We appreciated reading original sources, but they are challenging reads.  I would definitely suggest the parent read these with their students if your student struggles with older English and Ancient texts.  The manual even says you omit these readings if your student is struggling with the amount of reading this year.

Student Review Pack for Exploring World History

  • Student Review- We used a blank notebook to answer the questions from this book because with twins I could not buy two consumables. They are helpful to process and summarize what they have read in EWH and In Their Words.
  • Answer Key

The Victor Journey through the Bible-  This is the version in our manual, but the latest manual recommend  Baker Illustrated Guide to the Bible.  We absolutely love Victor Journey through the Bible, and was our favorite part of the Old Testament study

Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World- Like years past, we love how visual the Usborne History books are for every age.  This is an older student's version of , with more text, but still included the wonderful illustrations children need

Unwrapping the Pharaohs- Both boys really enjoyed this book, great context while studying Egypt. While in a textbook form, it is readable and has a lot of visual helps.

The Student Bible Atlas. Went well with the maps at the back of the Daily Lesson Plans book, and helped them complete their history maps, which are part of their grade.

The Tabernacle (pamphlet) visually helpful

What on Earth Am I Here For?  While we skipped all the other devotional due to these reason, we actually liked this one and it needed. It felt during a time where there wasn't a ton of other reading, so it didn't feel like overloading their plate and busy work, and I was able to talk to them about what they were learning.  I personally usually don't usually like Christian devotionals and most Christian nonfiction books. I like original source the Bible, or books like Journey Thru the Bible that add historical context, but this book was their main reading a lot of week (see above how I didn't understand the History sequence), so we did it.

Old Testament Bible Reading My kids did read this and it was good they read through so much of the Old Testament

Taking the Old Testament Challenge-  My student read the Bible passage they assigned each day, but after the first few weeks I did not require them to do this challenge. After all the worked and reading in Exploring World History, The Bible Atlas, the maps, Journey through the Bible, it was just redundant and busy work. I also felt like the questions were leading and not inductive.   

Timeline Book for Ancient History & Ancient History Timeline Figures Dozen of moms told me that while they had loved the timeline figures in the family cycle, this books was busy work and not well done, so we skipped it. In hindsight I wish I had gotten it because it is part of the Charlotte Mason approach that I missed so much this year. 

The New Answers Book I am not a fan of Ken Ham and not use this book.

Daniel Teen Inductive Bible Study- My students are already in Bible Study Fellowship, which is a school year long inductive Bible Study.

ANCIENT LITERATURE & COMPOSTION

Ancient Literature Supplement with Grammar and Composition

My kids did very well, but did not enjoy it as much as year's past.  A girl I tutored did not do well, and really really didn't enjoy it. The curriculum also assumes a lot of prior traditional English instruction. You can see more in my overall review above

These are the books used to write essays though out the year.  The students will read sections and answer comprehension questions Ancient Literature Supplement with Grammar and Composition

Epic of Gilgamesh-  I appreciate the idea of going through history chronically, but it seem inappropriate for a 9th grader to first dive into in this hard book.  My boys got it, but I have heard from several moms who rough this was for their students in 9th grade.

Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology: The Age of Fable My kids love Greek mythology, but this was a bit dry. 

The Iliad My boys did well with this, but the manual recommend Black Ships before Troy for some students who are a slower reading and comprehension level.  The girl I tutored ended up using it and I found easier review question in the MFW AHL Facebook group that were very helpful. 

The Odyssey  

Eric Liddell One of the most interesting books they got to read this year.

READING LIST/LIVING BOOKS

The manual says for them to read 20 minutes a day, and does not give any good living books or book basket suggestions for this. 

The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt During Weeks 5-7 they suggest the student reds this book during their reading time.  My boys said it was ok.


ELECTIVES

Introduction to Logic- WE LOVED THIS ELECTIVE.  This is probably our absolute favorite part of the entire year.  They were so sad when it was done!

  • The Fallacy Detective
  • The Thinking Toolbox
  • Logic Puzzles Workbook They ended up loving the logic puzzle at the end of The Thinking Toolbox so much that I bought them a logic puzzle workbook to use for the rest of the year.






Tuesday, March 1, 2022

You can't do everything, but you can do something.

 


When I shared some of the ways we protect our kids by by limiting access to phonography, the most common response I got was, "They will just look at their friends' house, or on their friend's phone."

When I shared how I was trying to prepare my kids for future financial decisions, a few responses I got were, "You can't teach them everything they need for adulthood, they have to figure out these things on their their own." 

We tend to think in extremes.  I either have to do it all, or I have to be ok with not being able to do anything.  

We all probably fall somewhere on a spectrum between two extremes:

1. We have to fill in every single educational gap or we fail as a parent/homeschool mom.  
2. I can't do it all and my kids will need to learn these hard lessons on their own to make it in life.

You can't do everything, but you can do something.

To those who are frantic finding ways to fill in every single educational gap, slow down and take a breathe. You can't do it all, but you can do something. 

To those who have thrown their hands up in defeat because they can't do it all, take a breathe and don't give up. You can't do it all, but you can do something.


Can you teach your child every answer to Current Events? No

But you can teach them how to read history with a critical eye, so that they can use those skills to discern bias or nationalism. You can teach them how to read living books with vivid stories about people in different cultures and lifestyles than them so they develop compassion for people outside of their own experience.

Can you teach your child every recipe they will ever need? Not likely. 

But you can teach them how to read a recipe, make a meal plan, food safety, and how to handle a knife.

Can you teach your students the answers to every questions in their spiritual life?  Never.

But you can teach them reading comprehension skills in English that they will need to study the Bible.  You can teach them how to ask questions when they are confused, and be a safe space to talk about doubt.

Can you teach them about every financial decision they will ever have to make, and prevent every bad spending decision they could encounter? Nope.

But you can teach them how to make a sample monthly budget, what taxes are, how to identify their own spending habits.  You can be open about your personal spending habits, and mistakes you've made.  You can show the charts about the importance of saving early for retirement, and teach them how to find experts who know more than you.

Can you make sure your child never sees pornography in their life? Definitely not.

But you can protect their young minds while they are still developing with the use of safe search filters,  parental control, and limited access to "porn in your pocket" smart phones. You can teach them about the scientifically proven adverse effects of porn use on their love lives and brain using resources from Fight the New Drug.  You can be open and honest about your own personal struggles with sexual sin (age appropriate of course), and how no one is above in temptation. 

Just because I can't do everything doesn't mean I should do nothing. 





Friday, February 18, 2022

Homeschool Financial Reality Fair




UPDATED WITH 2022 PRICES AND BLANK TEMPLATES

Game of Life: Financial Reality Fair is an interactive financial literacy curriculum that gives junior high senior high school students the opportunity to experience some of the financial challenges they will face with independent living. The Financial Reality Fair is flexible enough in work in any school setting, homeschool communities and cooperatives or traditional school. 

My heart is so full after organizing this event for our local homeschool community!  We had FIFTY Junior and Senior High students, including my sons, take part in this fair. Both my boys have already asked if we can do it again so they pick another job and see how they can budget with a different income!

What makes this curriculum different?

I remember doing a fair similar to this in my public school junior high, and when I couldn't find one that had all the components I needed/wanted, I decided to make my own! 

  • Homeschool Oriented Many of the other examples I found were built for public schools, with the pre-work all done in a traditional classroom.  The toolkit I made includes homeschool registration forms, pre-fair student packet that can be done at home, and tips on how recruit volunteers that are not teachers in the building.
  • No Personal Loans Almost every Financial Reality Fair I found as an example directed students to get a personal loan at the end of the month if they went over their budget.  This fair instead directs student to revisit tables to change their spending to fit into their income.  If they have money left over at the end of the month, they are directed to go back to the savings/investment table to save it for a specific goal.
  • Student Pick their Job based on Self Reflection Many of the fairs also assign the student their job.  I remember in 8th grade being very frustrated at injustice of being assigned a mechanic that made minimum wage and the class pot head was assigned a doctor! and I wanted my teens to take some personal surveys that could help them identify how their strengths would translate into a career.  Links to surveys are included in the kit.
  • Entry Level Salaries All Salaries are entry level, none over $75,000.  Too many times we tell students their chosen profession's top salary, instead of preparing them to start at the bottom and work their way up.



The toolkit is available for purchase in my Teacher Pay Teachers store for only $9, and provides you with all the information and planning resources needed to host in any homeschool community!

Buy Planning Toolkit


The Financial Reality Fair consists of two parts:

1. In Classroom/At Home Career Survey

  • Choosing their Job

In class or at home, students take personal inventories that aid them in deciding which job option would best fit their strengths and interests. All positions are entry level salaries. Their job options also include information regarding the education level needed to obtain that position and if health benefits are provided, which is information they will need as they visit the booths.



  • Calculating Take Home Pay After Taxes
In class or at home, students will use their starting salary to figure their take home pay after taxes.  They will need to identify their tax bracket, then calculate several fractions to determine their yearly, then monthly take home pay.



2. In Person Reality Fair 

Using their chosen job, student will identify their tax bracket, then calculate their yearly and monthly net income. Students start at the BANK to figure out their taxes and monthly take home pay!




Using their monthly take home pay students visit a total of ten different booths where they make decisions about how to live independently within their budget. For example, at the Housing booth they decide if they will rent or buy, and if they can afford to live alone or need a roommate. The reality check comes when they are made aware of not only the high cost of living, but also of the many hidden costs the student may have considered, like renter’s insurance, heat, and utilities.


The goal of this eye-opening interactive experience will give the student a glimpse into what costs they can expect and how take responsibility for personal financial decisions with the use of a Monthly Budget.









Some Skills Learned:
  • Identify how personal strengths and interests determine career choice
  • Identify how career choice, education, skills, entrepreneurship, and unexpected life events affect income
  • Identify tax bracket, gross versus net income, and employee health benefits
  • Calculating single and multi digit fractions, along with addition/subtraction needed in monthly budgeting
  • Responsibility for personal financial decisions with the use of a Monthly Budget
  • Identify the relationship between spending practices and achieving financial goals.

Toolkit Includes:
  • Planning Timeline & Materials List
  • Learning Objectives
  • Pre-Fair Student Packet, including personal-inventories and job 60+ job options
  • Reality Fair Student Packet, including Income Planning and Monthly Budgeting forms
  • Booth Signs
  • Booth Volunteer Directions
  • Booth Information Sheets
  • Sample Registration Forms
  • Homeschool Parent Letters
  • Student Evaluation Form

Student Evaluations
Check our some of the student evaluations in the pictures below, confirming how needed this type of hands on experience is for teenagers.   Many of the parents texted and emailed me later about their students were talking about the fair for days afterwards.  Some parents told me their student asked about the family budget when they got home!






Buy Planning Toolkit











Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Why won't the public high school take my homeschool credits?


"We are making the decision to homeschool one year at a time." 

Most homeschool parents say this sometime during their journey, and I fully respect this approach.  Sometimes you will homeschool for a only season.   Sometimes one child is at home and the another in public school. 

With this said, I have to caution homeschool parents before taking the "one year at a time" approach once you get to high school. Switching from homeschooling to public school in High School is a very different than elementary and middle school.

I will never discourage someone to homeschool. Now more than ever I believe that this was the right choice for our family, but high school is a different commitment than middle school.

SHOULD I HOMESCHOOL MY HIGH SCHOOLER?

Do you want to? Then yes!!!

I am and we are loving it! My boys are developing many of the independent study skills they will need to be successful in college and eventually the work place.  They are learning how to manage their own schedules and find answers when they have a problem.  

We get to dive deeper into subjects they love, while also learning how to get work done even if it isn't our favorite.  We are exploring  literature at a greater depth that we could ever do before.  

We discuss critical thinking skills and logical fallacies in the messy topics of current events. Each day they show me how insightful they are, and how truly lovely their hearts are. I have loved this precious season of seeing my teens grow into adulthood.  

If you WANT to homeschool your high school, I will again say a resounding YES!

This post is not about warning about the dangers of homeschooling in high school, but to warn against being ignorant of what this commitment really entails. There is a real ignorance of the real investment needed when we try to apply the "one year at a time" philosophy to high school. 


HIGH SCHOOL CREDITS ARE DIFFERENT THAN MIDDLE SCHOOL SUBJECTS 

I have homeschooled my kids since they were in Kindergarten.  I tried to cover all my bases, and not leave a ton of educational gaps, but I never kept a transcript of "credits". In Indiana all I have to do is track their attendance and provide an equivalent education (which is very subjective) .

There is a lot of debate on what I personally should  count as homeschooling high school credits.  In Indiana I legally don't have to follow any specific credit plan, but I do use their graduation requirements as a guide for my curriculum planning. We can debate all day on how many hours should equal a credit, or if I should even look at the state's graduation requirements for my homeschool student, but that is not what I am discussing in this article.

 None of this debate matters if I plan to homeschool all the way to graduation, but it would matter greatly if I decided to put my kids into public school in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.

Many homeschool parents who are taking the "one year at a time" approach are shocked when they go to enroll a 10th or 11th grader in public school after homeschooling, and realize their student has to retake 9th and 10th grade again, or at very least take several classes again.

I have a childhood friend who was a longtime School Counselor in an Indiana Public School.  She sent me this message recently.


Image Transcribed

"Hi there. I need your homeschool advice. I have a student coming from Texas that was homeschooled. Just a freshman. Well the parents are upset that we aren’t giving them credits for the classes she took earlier. They used random home school curriculum. None of which is accredited or have any sort of transcript of grades. We are making her retake those semester courses bc that is what we are told if they don’t have accredited transcript grades we can’t just take their parents word that they passed algebra. I don’t know how to look at it from the other side. We have strict guidelines at the high school level and Texas doesn’t seem to. Do you have any advice for me? "


IT ISN'T PERSONAL 

Public School must accept your student, but they do not have to accept your credits

Public school officials are usually ignorant of homeschool law (we can educate kindly and respectfully), and many times this ignorance goes both ways. 

Homeschool parents who don't know anything about public school laws can easily become defensive. Homeschool parents seem to take it personally when their high school credits are not accepted at a public high school.   It is important we educate ourselves that public schools and colleges are legally bound to an accreditation process.  

WHAT IS ACCREDITATION?

 "[Accreditation] requires a rigorous self-evaluation and an independent, objective peer appraisal of the overall educational quality. Accreditation emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement." Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools

"Accreditation is the recognition from an accrediting agency that an institution maintains a certain level of educational standards." U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security 

In short, accreditation means you have proven you are capable and trustworthy to teach what they say you need to be teaching.

Accreditation is often tied to funding.  Schools need to prove to whoever is giving them money they are teaching what they say they are teaching.  You can disagree with this process all day long, and many of us chose to homeschool because of it, but it doesn't change the fact that it exists.  Schools are beholden to the laws that provide them money, which usually require accreditation. 

The accreditation process is very expensive and complicated for any private or public school to achieve, and it isn't a one and done.  It has to be renewed over and over again, with changing standards every time, which is why many private schools do not bother with it.

 I worked at a preschool during our N.A.E.Y.C accreditation renewal.  It was a lot of extra and expensive work and documentation, but we knew it was worth it because it meant we were keeping our program in line with higher standards. Accreditation also allowed us to apply for more grants. 

EVERY STATE AND DISTRICT IS DIFFERENT

Every state is vastly different on how they run accreditation for their public education! Even with the differences in states, the accreditation process is always tied to multiple laws, government bureaucracy, and funding, not to an anti-homeschool mentality. I'm sure some public school officials are biased against homeschool, but that isn't why they can't accept your unaccredited homeschool credits.  

Public and Private School accreditation is a complicated process to which I will not claim to be an expert. Some accreditation processes are voluntary, like when my private preschool went the extra step to become N.A.E.Y.C accredited. Some are mandated by the state legislature for their public education, but some states require their public schools to be federally accredited, while some only require state or even just regional accreditation.  In doing research for this post, I found a variety of accreditation, all confusing, with no one answer even for a whole state, let alone the entire country. 

Like my friend saw above, the homeschool AND public school laws in Texas are very different than in Indiana. Many homeschoolers thinks that only homeschool law will effect them, but if you eventually plan to enroll a homeschooled student into a public high school, you need to know what your local district's laws are about, and what credits they can and can not accept.  

This varies by state, region, and school district.  Unaccredited Private Schools will be more flexible. Some states will have more flexible laws on what their public schools can accept, and some districts are very strict and not homeschool friendly even if their state's laws are. This is why I stress doing your own research before homeschooling for high school. 


THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ACCREDITED HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 

Schools are accredited, curriculum is not.

There is no such thing as an accredited homeschool curriculum, only institutions who have gone through an accreditation process. 

Abeka is not an accredited curriculum, it is an accredited private school. There are accredited online schools that call themselves "homeschool" because they are done in your home, but the label is misleading depending on your definition of homeschooling. Many homeschool parents will say their child is taking "accredited homeschool" through Abeka, but in technically their child is enrolled in a remote accredited private school.

Similarly, the federal online public school K-12 likes to call itself "homeschool" because it is done at home, but is an accredited online public school. 

 If you want your child to take some classes through an accredited community college, public school will accept those if that college is accredited. 

I am not urging you to use an online accredited school, WE ARE NOT! If you chose an accredited online school you don't get to chose your curriculum because they are subject to their accreditation standards, so therefore I do not even consider that homeschooling. But if you want to have your homeschool accredited, they are the option.

COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE IS DIFFERENT THAN A HIGH SCHOOL ACCEPTING CREDITS 

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) can do nothing to force high school acceptance of your credits, but will go to bat for college acceptance of homeschool transcripts.

I have no fear of my homeschooled high school students getting into college.  Many colleges will seek out homeschoolers because of their proven track record of success.


YOU DON’T NEED AN ACCREDITED DIPLOMA FOR YOUR STUDENT TO GET INTO COLLEGE 

In Indiana I am legally a non-accredited private school. I will issue my sons a diploma from our non-accredited private school. My children legally have the same standing as any unaccredited private high school student has in the admission process.

 I have several friends whose children have gotten into State, out of state, and Ivy League colleges with an unaccredited homeschool diploma.

You don't need accreditation, you just need outside validation.

Colleges use much more than just a transcript for admission. We will also have several outside validations that corroborate what my transcript records.

Examples of Outside Validation:

  • Dual enrollment credits through out local community college
  • AP tests
  • National tests like SAT/ACT 

Again, This post is not about warning about the dangers of homeschooling in high school, but to warn against being ignorant of the the amount of commitment it takes. Know that if you chose to take this awesome and amazing journey, you will most likely need to do it until graduation or find an unaccredited private school who will take your unaccredited credits. 


Khan Academy has some great resources for HOW TO GET A HOMESCHOOLED CHILD INTO COLLEGE





Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Friendly Biology Homeschool High School Science

 


Friendly Biology Homeschool High School Science



My kids like science again! We are loving Friendly Biology for high school! 



Cost Effective

Friendly gives 20% when switching to them from another curriculum! Even without the discount, the price is still very budget friendly!  The student workbooks are only $10 each and test workbooks are $15.

 I have always used Apologia, and when we got Physical science I couldn't afford text AND the student notebooks anymore. I have several tips on how to homeschool when you can't afford it, but I almost always have my kids write in a notebook and sell the consumables, but these prices allow me to buy their own workbooks






Better Retention

We had used Apologia for several years, but switched for high school after it took us almost 12 months to get through Physical Science. Due to the great Apologia Study Guides, both boys were getting As on their tests, but would not retain much past the test.  Worst of all, it was making them dislike science.

One of my sons described Friendly Biology compared to Apologia, "It sticks a lot better because they aren't overloading my brain with words I don't understand."


Fun, yet simple, labs

The labs are pretty simple and are usually with items easily found in the house, or very inexpensively from the store. 

Today for our lesson on Cell Division the boys created a Mitosis Model Display using playdough. This is more simple than most of the labs, but my kids loved it and they were able to explain the whole process easily to me after the lab.