Category Archives: Homeschooling Older Children

The Middle School Squeeze

“Whstress-624220_640at do you recommend for teaching essays to middle school students?” queried a customer at my bookstore for gently-used homeschool curriculum.  Upon further discussion, I learned that her sixth grader hasn’t ever written more than a few sentences and now she wants him to master an essay within the next month! Has she succumbed to the dreaded Middle School Squeeze?

This very specialized form of a Homeschool Mom Panic Attack has lain dormant since she began homeschooling preschool or kindergarten. Continue reading

What is Different about Homeschooling High School?

Penny was invited to write this article as part of CHEA’s “Homeschool 101” series.  CHEA is the Christian Home Educators Association of California and you can read the entire series on its blog, Homeschool411.

High school is different even if you’ve been homeschooling for multiple years already. It’s all about the “D” word – diploma! Applications and interviews for the rest of your student’s life will likely ask if a high school diploma was earned.

A diploma is more than a certificate of attendance for grades 9-12. It usually means completion of a certain number of classes in specified subject areas: a course of study spelled out by the institution granting the diploma. And, yes, a homeschooled student can earn a diploma!

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Homeschooling Differently in December

Have you ever considered translating your holiday preparations into education-speak and counting them as “school”? We need to remember that learning happens in many different ways and can easily be accomplished outside the curriculum box. December lends itself well to holiday-themed project -based learning, especially for our younger students:making-791111_640

  • Baking translates to Home Economics, Nutrition, or Math
  • Making gifts and crafts becomes Art, Home Economics, or Community Outreach
  • Addressing Christmas Cards can count for Penmanship or Spelling
  • Looking up places on a map where you are sending cards or receiving them from is Geography
  • Holiday shopping teaches Math, Finance, and Budgeting
  • Singing, listening to, or playing Christmas Carols on a musical instrument is Music
  • Walking around the mall or out to your car on the outskirts of the parking lot is P.E.
  • Investigating holiday traditions and Christmas customs can become Social Studies or History
  • Learning more about Christmas, Hanukah, and other faith-based holidays translates to Bible or Comparative Religions or Social Studies

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Often Overlooked in the Prep for College

If you have a college-bound student, I suspect the end of their homeschooling journey is quickly filling up with tests, applications, essays, transcripts, and more. And as for you parents, add in the FAFSA and other financial paperwork to your to-do list.

However, as we get ready to send our precious children off to college, we are often more concerned about whether they are academically prepared for higher education than whether they have the necessary life skills to survive without us.

Here is a checklist of some prep skills you can work on throughout their high school years: Continue reading

Group Classes for Homeschoolers — A Blessing or Oxymoron?

Group Classes for Homeschoolers -- Blessing or Oxymoron?Group classes for homeschoolers are proliferating.  They can be found through support groups, in private homes, and in many other different venues.  While a few carefully chosen classes can be a wonderful addition to your student’s education, too many classes outside the home or too many too early can pull you away from the very foundation of your homeschool.  Here’s an edited version of an article I wrote several years ago to help you determine if a particular group class is right for your family.

George just asked you what would happen if you were to substitute ingredient X in place of chemical Y in today’s experiment. You haven’t a clue – but how do you admit that without sounding hopelessly unqualified to finish leading him through his science book? Meanwhile, Julie is three Shakespeare plays ahead of you and wonders if you’ll be ready to discuss them with her before she forgets what they were about. How do you tell her you’ve fallen asleep on the old bard four nights in a row? Do you find yourself longing for the days of a simple read-aloud? Are you beginning to realize that your students have advanced beyond you academically? What’s a homeschool mom to do?

The solution seems easy enough – sign up for a zillion group classes! So many opportunities are available now, including Hope Chapel Academy’s HELP classes, the Biola Star program, Potter’s School and other Internet classes, junior college courses, and classes taught by homeschool parents throughout the local community. But, prior to trading in your teacher’s hat for a chauffeur’s cap and before you mortgage your house to cover tuition costs, let’s take a quick look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of group classes.

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Overlooked in the Prep for College

CollegeThe college admissions season is in full-swing.  Seniors are taking their last round of admissions tests, juniors are attending preview weekends, and parents are trying to figure out how to pay for it all!

However, as we get ready to send them off to college, we are often more worried about whether they are academically prepared for higher education than whether they have enough life skills to survive without us!  Here’s a checklist of some prep skills you don’t want to forget:

  1. Does the Bible impact your student’s daily life?
  2.  Does your student know how to research key issues like abortion and homosexuality and support their position without quoting the Bible?  (Especially if going to a secular school)
  3.  Can your student “read between the lines of a text” or just parrot back the facts?
  4. Continue reading

School Days and Holidays

If you have younger children or those gifted academically, you’ve probably found that you don’t need the 180 days many home educators recommend to finish your curriculum. Have you ever considered how your holiday preparations could be translated into education-speak and count for “school”?