Saturday, November 24, 2007

Getting Ready For College

Getting into college is not difficult for homeschoolers. Many colleges like homeschoolers because of their independent study habits and individuality. A high school diploma can be obtained from a high school long distance curriculum, or it can be obtained by GED testing. We opted for the GED tests. My daughter received a certificate of high school graduation after completing the tests.

Another important aspect is ACT, or SAT testing, depending on what the college of choice will accept. It is a good idea to do this test twice, because on taking the test the first time, the student will find out what areas he, or she needs to prepare more thoroughly for. There are ACT practice, and study books which help greatly!! I would say to take the ACT in the fall of the senior year, and then again in the spring.

One thing I forgot to mention is-when the student is a high school homeschooler, he or she will be able to study independently. A parent should supply the guidelines and appropriate books and the child, in my opinion, can make up their schedule, and do the work at their pace. At this age, my daughter was also working part time, and participating in community theater performances.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Style of Teaching

I will explain what our daily schedule was in this blog. First of all, I had a day planner. I would sit down weekly and go over subjects and create lesson plans and projects. We alternated subjects during the week. Our school started at 8:00AM and would usually end at noon. I would sit with my daughter, explain the lesson and then have her complete an assignment or worksheet. We had tests also, on a weekly basis. On some days we would just watch PBS or a video to cover science, history, etc. Also field trips were considered lessons.

In New Mexico we are required to keep an attendance record. I printed these forms off of various sites provided by other homeschoolers, and each day I would update and file the attendance information.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Explaining Unschooling

Unschooling is a teaching style where the child is free to pick what they want to learn. Of course, in our case, my daughter did have to learn the basic subjects, but then could choose other subjects she liked.

Unschooling is a good way to start out if your child has been in public school and needs a way to unwind and relax. To give them a break for a while from schedules and demanding assignments is a good start to homeschooling. Some families always stick to unschooling and use no formal lesson plans.

Good ways to implement this is to take them to the library. Let them spend some time in the children's section, and encourage them to check out books. Also, computer and TV offer interesting and educational activities and viewing. A family outing to an interesting or educational site would qualify for a school activity. Also, online, there are many sites from which you can order free lessons and materials for study.

My daughter's choices were such activities as guitar lessons, doing a Shakespeare play with her homeschool group. (They did it all on their own), taking keyboard lessons on the computer, etc. There was never a lack of something to do.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Homeschooling and Socializing

Contrary to a myth about homeschooling-that homeschooled kids stay in the house and don't have a life, or friends-there is so much going on. Kids can play community sports, take a class at the local high school, and make friends. As my daughter grew older she went to a swing dance class at the local college, joined the community theater group, worked part time, and had friends who went to regular school as well as her homeschool friends. She did all the things most teenagers do, including going to two proms. Also, there were field trips to museums, skating rinks, places of interest here in our area, bowling, also family Christmas parties, and other activities. She also loved to swim, and even took golf lessons.

Hints for Homeschooling

I started Homeschooling my daughter in the 5th grade. This decision was made because she was tested and declared gifted. Yet her school did not wish to help her because she was not a team player. (She didn't like to play sports). I thought this was crazy!! So, I withdrew her from school. I found a homeschool group in town and got started.

We never used a strict curriculum. I got books from different sources, and used other avenues of learning. Our homeschool group did field trips once a month, and we got together a couple of times a month for social activities. My daughter thrived on this style of learning. We spent about 3 hours a day on lessons. Some were on the computer, and sometimes watching a PBS program was a science lesson. I guess you could say this was "unschooling".

Before I continue explaining some methods and ideas I used for homeschooling, I will say that my daughter is a freshman in college this year. There was not a problem getting her admitted. I am so proud, as her teacher, and parent!!!!!!

One homeschooling option is called Unit Studies. Using this option, we decided on a subject my daughter was interested in. We then gathered any, and all materials we could find on this subject. We spent a couple of weeks immersed in learning about it. For example, we did a Unit Study on Egypt. We gathered information from the library, online, and I even ordered her a little box of Egyptian items such as papyrus, an Egyptian game, a little explanation of the written language, and pictures. We did a lot of these studies through the years.

Other options were other homeschool parents teaching classes. We had people with degrees which qualified them to teach spanish, science, art, etc. There was usually one class a week on each subject. Each "teacher" had the classes at her or his home, or a donated space in the community. We also had PE classes in the community gym or baseball field.