Homeschooling High School? Start Here!

Hi, I'm Lee Binz, The HomeScholar. This blog answers commonly asked questions about homeschooling high school.

Search a topic. Browse the Quick Links and Archives. Add a comment. Visit my website to learn about my Products and Services. Dig Deeper into some tough high school issues. Finally, shoot me an e-mail if there is a specific topic you would like to learn more about. Make sure you bookmark or subscribe to this blog because I update the content (almost) daily. Enjoy your visit!


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You Are Capable!

This time of year people start considering options for next year. Some parents are considering accessing classes in a school environment (public, private or co-op classrooms.) Whatever decisions you make, I encourage you to just make sure that you are the person in control, not a school or a school teacher. The control issue is very important. It means that you don't have to jump through hoops in order to get the class that you want. It means that if the class works, you use it. If it doesn't work, just stop using it and go to something else. Don't wait out the term! If you are accessing it for one class and it works, then great!. But don't feel like you "must" use their classes. Beware if you start feeling incapable. Sometimes situations like that can feed your fears, and make you feel more and MORE incapable. But we know different - you ARE capable. You're able to decide whether each class is the right thing for your child, and you will remain capable to making good decisions even if you sign up for a class at a school.

No matter what -- make sure you always feel confident in your abilities, and remain in control of the education of your child.



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Failure is an Option!

Have you ever notice that everyone else's children seem perfect? They are smarter, nicer, more musical or athletic, right? We all know that nobody is perfect, but why do other kids seem more perfect than our own?

Rarely do mothers and fathers share failures and short-comings of their kids. Usually they share successes and strengths! I often share my children's strengths - does that mean they are perfect? No Way!

This past month I have really been faced with "to err is human" in an up-close and personal way. Both of my young men (now 18 and 20) received their first traffic tickets. Both of them - two weeks apart. Each was driving about 20 mph over the limit. Each is faced with a huge ticket and a visit to traffic court. Both are considering how they will compensate financially if their insurance rates go up.

Apparently, I'm not perfect either. I taught them both to drive! And look at what happened! I'm trying hard not to feel like a failure in this area. I try to remember that I give instruction, but they make choices like adults make choices. But still, you would think that homeschooling would come with some sort of guarantee. Shouldn't it?

Take heart. Nobody is perfect!



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Thinking About High School Already??

The best time to consider homeschooling high school is.... now! I love it when parents of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders tell me that they are beginning to learn about homeschooling high school. It's a great training time for parents! You can learn all of the issues around record keeping, academics, and encouraging specialization. At the same time, there is no pressure to "perform" or be perfect, since it's all just for practice.

When my oldest child began 7th grade, that's when I started reading about high school. By the time it was my turn, I felt like an "old pro"!



Getting serious about homeschooling high school? Try my 3-hour crash course. It's everything you need to succeed in homeschooling your teenagers through graduation!

How to Use Family Math

My first week of homeschooling I took my one and only "class", and it was on Family Math. I learned how to play about 10 or so of the games. The basic idea is to start at the top of the directions and work your way down, and the game WILL eventually make sense. Usually my kids understood the game better than me: I'm just there to read the directions!

This is how I used it: I looked at the math lesson that my kids were learning that day. Say it's fractions. I looked in the index in the back of the Family Math book, and look up fractions. It lists 4 or 5 games and activities with fractions. I looked at the top of each game for the grade level (primary, elementary, or middle school). Then I looked at the game to see what I need for supplies. I kept a shoe box with math stuff: sugar cubes, dice, cards. Mostly the games just required paper and pencil.

We played a math game almost every day. I used it as my math manipulative. This math manipulative is directly related to what they were learning in their math lesson (also in some of the Building Thinking Skills lessons.) It helped to teach the "why" of math concepts that may be difficult at first. When my eldest was 11 years old, he would usually begin his math lesson with "I don't get it." If I could find a good game for that lesson first, then he would start his lesson with "This is so easy." There was never a middle ground, by the way!

To make my life easier, and on the advise of the Family Math teacher, I made copies of all the game boards that I needed at the beginning of the year (when copies were 1 penny!) I made about 10 copies of each game. The book is reproducible. I paper clipped the copies together, and stored them in a 3 ring binder in numerical order. If the game on page 92 requires a copy, I slip one out of the folder. I have my hubby make more copies when one set gets low. Not all games require copies, though.

I loved Family Math because it is multi-age (k-8th grade) and inexpensive to use. Much like Spelling Power!



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Continuing Education for Homeschool Professionals!

In many states nurses, doctors, and other professionals are required to take a certain amount of continuing education courses each year. They need to stay up-to-date on the latest research and trends.

Homeschooling parents have a similar need for continuing education. Soon it will be homeschool convention time, and I encourage you to put them on your calendar now! If you don't have a convention in your state, go to a neighboring state. Conventions can show you the newest curriculum, and you can find the resources that will be perfect for your child. Conventions provide wonderful classes that will instruct you on how to teach, or encourage and inspire you to continue along this sometimes challenging path. You'll find educational games and activity suggestions that will spark interests in your children. Conventions aren't 100% perfect, and I know they can be very overwhelming at times. They can also help you plan ahead, learn more, and become motivated again.

Take a moment to put your homeschool conventions on the calendar! Here are the 2008 conventions in Washington State. When you are there, make sure you stop by my booth and say "Hi!". You can also hear me speak on the topics shown below:

Christian Heritage Conference
April 17-19
Redmond, WA

NW Catholic Conference
May 2-3
Tukwila, WA
Topic: "College Preparation"

WHO Convention
June 13-14
Puyallup, WA
Topics: "Gifted Education" and "Transcripts"

WATCH Conference
August 8-9
Seattle, WA


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"Stand By Your Man" - Homeschool Addition

In our Sunday School class on "Love and Respect" I learned a new strategy for dealing with teenage boys! Women tend to relate best face-to-face while talking. The book suggests that men relate best shoulder-to-shoulder without necessarily using words. If you are struggling with your teenage son, try to spend some quiet time doing nothing, saying nothing, and accomplishing nothing. Just be by his side, whether in the car or doing another activity he is interested in. Chances are, he will interpret that outing in a positive way.

In my own life, I have seen how that strategy can work. When I have a difficult subject to discuss with my boys, it goes over best if we are NOT talking face to face. It helps if we are on a walk, or in the car, and are both looking forward rather than at each other. It's almost as if these guys feel threatened when we look them in the eye. Like a pack of wolves, they can perceive eye contact as a threat and fight back.

If you are struggling with your boys and desperate for ideas, it may be worth a try. Shoulder-to-shoulder, avoid eye contact. Let me know if it works!



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