I’m going to introduce you to a normal homeschool family. Naturally they are unique and special with their own strengths that you and I can only dream of! But in reality, this is also a very normal family, just like our own family. Together, let’s look at how they got such great scholarships, so we can do it too! You can discover lessons learned from a “normal” family like yours.
There are many different ways to save for college. One way is to put aside money each month and watch it grow in the bank. Another way is to work hard to create great academic records that will get noticed by colleges. When you have that “Wow!” factor, and a college’s scholarship office describes your homeschool records as “one of the very best scholarship entries ever seen,” your hard work will truly be worth the time and effort!
Michele is a homeschool parent like you. Like you, her life is busy and complicated, and her children are not perfect. She is a normal parent with normal children. She also has experienced a huge success. I’ll bet you would like to know how Michele did it!
Here is Michelle’s Story, and I’d like you to read her whole letter. She really wanted me to share it with you, and I can see why! It’s filled with helpful hints and the voice of experience.
Read the complete article online for helpful hints and the voice of experience. At the end, I’ll give you my ideas on finding big scholarships for YOUR normal family!
Read Normal Family and Big Scholarships
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Finding a College 2nd Edition: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Finding a Perfect Fit DVD
Reviewed by Heidi Pair of Eclectic Homeschool Online.
Read the entire review online
“Finding a College by Lee Binz gives parents and students confidence and ease of mind to navigate a process many homeschooling parents find overwhelming and complicated.”
“I appreciated not only Lee’s emphasis on the importance of college visits, but the details on how and when to visit, what happens on a visit, and the expectations of visitors. I am now much more comfortable and know what to expect when our family reaches that part of the college selection journey.”
“I loved Lee’s calm and clear how-to approach, both as a reminder and as guidance for someone just starting to figure out the whole college process.”
If you are thinking that you need some help with transcripts and course descriptions, this book may be your best fit!
“Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Description for College Admission and Scholarships”
Reviewed by Heather Lammers of Eclectic Homeschool Online
Read the entire review online
“Homeschool parents are less likely to feel overwhelmed by preparing transcripts and course descriptions because Lee takes them through the process step-by-step.”
“Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is known around the homeschool world as someone who knows her stuff when it comes to transcripts and college preparation for homeschool students.”
“She offers high quality services that allow homeschool parents to feel confident in putting together student records and transcripts, applying for scholarships, writing course descriptions, and pretty much anything having to do with homeschooling through high school.”
I understand that homeschool parents have their own unique learning style, just like their children do. Some parents do best with books, others with video or audio instruction, and some parents prefer ebooks or online products. I try my hardest to give you the information you need in a variety of ways. I’m sure you will find something that can help you get the instruction you need!
Find all of my products in one place, so you can compare them. The HomeScholar Store is Filled With Parent Training Tools
Voice quivering at first, a member recently asked me about the homeschool admission policy at a specific university, so we looked at it together. Together we decided, “Hey! That’s not so bad!”
Using this college policy as an example, let’s see what that scary-looking website REALLY means to homeschool parents. Let’s take those big words, scary phrases, and ridiculous acronyms, and break them down into the Latin and Greek roots, to see what is REALLY behind all that edu-speak!
Read the complete article online for helpful hints and key information on College Admission.
Read Each College is Unique
Win or lose, there is the chance of a great reward!
Applying for an application may take a lot of work – often the child needs to write a scholarship application essay. Even though your child might not think so, there are benefits to both winning and losing in this process. Of course, the benefits of winning are that you’ll get admission, or money for college. It might only be enough money for books or college fees, but even a small benefit can sometimes lead to a bigger benefit. Each time your student wins something, even a small thing, that’s an opportunity to write to their college admission people and tell them they won something. Sometimes, that prompts them to value your student more, and offer them more.
Sure, the process has that lovely benefit of developing patience! Beyond that, though, homeschoolers have additional perks. Your child can still get high school credit for all the work they put into applications, and they’re also learning valuable skills about writing an essay. Practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, and filling out all those applications will make them better at writing. They’ll be able to fill out job applications and other college applications better in the future, because of this experience.
No experience is ever a total loss! That itself is a great lesson for our teens to learn!
Learn the SECRET to getting your student placed at the TOP of the stack for college admission consideration, as well as one of those MASSIVE university scholarships. Get the Comprehensive Record Solution!
I encourage ALL parents who homeschool high school to complete a high school transcript, and keep it safe forever. As the school of record, it’s our job to preserve these important records. You may need a transcript even if…
Life is funny, and strange and unexpected things can happen. Even if you don’t plan on needing a transcript right now, you may still need one later on. Be ready. Rosie’s son was applying for a job in the Far East. Even thought he hadn’t needed his transcript for all these years, suddenly he did. And it was mom’s job to make the transcript.
So please, please, PLEASE make a homeschool transcript for your children! No matter what, don’t miss this important responsibility of homeschool parents!
But what if there is an “Oops”?! How do you create a homeschool transcript decades after homeschooling? The Total Transcript Solution can help. I was able to give Rosie the additional support and guidance that she needed to get the job done. When one consultation wasn’t enough to get her questions answered, she upgraded to the Gold Care Club for a month, and got the time she needed to find her unique transcript questions answered.
In case you are wondering about her situation, Rosie wanted a transcript that would look official. She wanted it to look better than her own homemade attempt, and one that could be notorized. It had been years since she homeschooled, and she was understandably anxious about gettting it done. She was also facing some time pressure, because he son needed this official document quickly.
Because of Rosie’s specific situation, I had some very unusual suggestions. For her, it made sense to get the transcript to appear as much like a school as possible, so I made suggestions that I don’t always make.
I thought it would be best for her transcript to include some sort of legal description, just so there would not be additional questions. In these situations, citing the homeschool law in your state is very helpful. For example:
“Education Completed in Accordance with Indiana Department of Education Education Law (IC 20-33-2-21)” or “Education Completed in Accordance with Washington State Home-Based Instruction Law RCW 28A.225.010″
I suggested that she might consider making a watermark, which can make the transcript appear more official electronically. You can find youtube videos online, like How to Customize a Watermark in Word 2007. If you choose to do this, I would use the name of your homeschool, or if you didn’t name your school put the words “Official High School Transcript.”
In this situation, it would be a good idea to add a signature section at the bottom. I would write the date for the year they graduated. A simple row for signature and date is simple to add.
Signature of School Administrator ____________________ Date _____________
If you will send a physical copy, in this situation I would probably use special document paper. You can purchase a few sheets at Staples or Office Depot. 24 lb paper is fine, but it might help to use a resume’ style paper if possible. You may want to consider having this document notarized as well. Ask your friends if any of them are notaries, because it is free that way, but you can find a notary at tax preparers, banks, libraries and city offices.
Make sure to save your transcripts when they are done. Keep it on your computer, and keep a hard copy and a computer file in your safe deposit box as well. You might want to consider Carbonite (see this blog post: Carbonite Can Save Your Bacon)
Now you know. Create your transcript. Save your transcript. You may need it in the future.
“I can’t thank you enough for the help I received from you. It was a lot of hours but now I have them done properly and don’t have to worry about any more. Someone at our bank is notarizing them for free. My son had a master degree and they still needed the transcript. My son did need a transcript to get in to college and they accepted what I sent at the college level. He attended Bible College and went on to get his masters and they didn’t ask for his high school transcripts. Again, thank you every so much. I copied them on the special paper and they look very nice. Now we are going to get them notarized sent overseas!” ~ Rosie
Strategies for teaching your geeky homeschool student.
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Some homeschoolers think it’s tons of fun to go back through four years of high school records and try to find or recreate every possible test, quiz, and assignment. For me, that doesn’t sound like fun. I was not one of those people. Plus I’ve noticed that even when parents do some forensic grading like that, it doesn’t really change what they know to be true. If you are not a tester in your homeschool, look beyond tests, and think of how you have evaluated.
Because not all homeschoolers use tests, I have created a quick grading estimate for homeschool parents.
Grade A or 4.0
Meets high expectations
High standardized test scores
Child love subject
Grade B or 3.0
Not worth an A
Tempted to do it again
Grade C or 2.0
Not very good
Kept going to the next level
This is one of piece of a Gold Care Club monthly webinar. They are tons of fun! I hope some day you’ll join me! You can read more about the Gold Care Club here: The HomeScholar Gold Care Club.
Another feature of the Gold Care Club is the opportunity to ask your biggest questions about homeschooling high school.]]>
Some homeschool families test or assess their students each year. The test their children for a quick check-up on how they are doing, or to comply with the homeschooling laws in their state. When they use a standardized test, some families use the “Stanford Achievement Test.” You may be familiar with this test. It measures ability level in elementary, middle school, and 9-10th grades. Lots of homeschool groups host a testing day where their kids all get together and take the test at the same time.
What could be more fun than filling in a bubble test with dozens of your closest friends, right? I think it’s a good idea to have your children take a standardized test each year. They will learn how to take a test in a room full of other children, filling in bubbles without fear. You can read about the benefits here: The Joy of Tests: 16 Ways Standardized Testing Can Help Your Homeschool Thrive!
But there is something you need to know – an important distinction! The Stanford Achievement Test is very different from theCollege Board SAT!
The SAT is an examination that most colleges require for admission. The SAT admission test is only for high school students, and it’s only used for college admission and scholarships. It can meet state requirements for a standardized test, just like the Stanford Achievement Test, but it’s NOT the same test. Back when I was in high school, it used to be called the “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” but now the acronym ‘SAT’ doesn’t actually stand for anything at all, and they just put the funny “R” by the name of the test: SAT®.
This confusion makes it pretty difficult for parents who are new to homeschooling high school, and are trying to figure out what these tests are all about! So here it is in a nutshell:
• Stanford Achievement Test = SAT for elementary, middle school, and high school. Read more about it here.
• SAT® = The College Board SAT is for college admission exam only. Read more about it here.
Learn how to homeschool with complete confidence using my DVD, Preparing to Homeschool High School.
Three Waves of Scholarships
Scholarships Come in Waves – 3 waves, actually. The first wave is scholarship money based on application numbers. That means the score on the SAT or ACT, and GPA. That’s one reason why I suggest providing grades on your transcript. You really want those GPA-based scholarships! You are a REAL teacher, and your grades are real as well. The second wave of scholarship is based on the FAFSA and what the government considers your financial need. Stop laughing! I realize the government has no idea what you can afford to pay for college, LOL! Don’t shoot the messenger! The third wave involves the scholarships children get that are based on special merit, or skill.
Boatloads of Money
I can’t provide specifics about what score will earn what scholarship. The ONLY way to find specifics is to check at each college where you will apply. There are no short cuts. However, even a small bump in a test score can pay HUGE dividends, meaning thousands of dollars per quarter, and tens of thousands per year – adding up to a 40K difference for just a few points on the SAT. That’s why studying is a big deal. You don’t have to go from average to perfect. But if your test prep increases your score from $3,000 per quarter to $6,000 per quarter, it is a huge boatload of real dollars for real parents.
Dearest teenagers, please study for the SAT or ACT test. It’s a big deal.
For more information about how your child can earn great college scholarships, watch my video, “Getting the BIG Scholarships,” available both as an online class or DVD.]]>
I’m a nurse, and I know too much about the human body. My husband teases me about it all the time. When someone gets sick, I worry too much. My husband always says, “What is it this time? Spinal menningitis? There have been times when I’ve had family members in the hospital, and I knew WAY too much! It can be terrifying.
When you are homeschooling, and you’re also a certified teacher, you may also have the problem of “knowing too much.”
You would be amazed at how many certified teachers with public and private school backgrounds contact me for support. Some feel inadequate because they are not specially trained for high school. Others have seen so many uneducated children they are terrified of making mistakes. It’s hard to let go of four years of education training. It’s hard to remember that the love of your child is the most important factor in teaching. In high school, the problems of “knowing too much” becomes more acute, as you start to think about high school grades.
A degree in teaching will NOT make you a better home educator.
My friends who are certified teachers tell me that their teaching degree gave them training in crowd control, educational philosophies, grading criteria, and classroom strategies. On the other hand, homeschooling is about parents strongly motivated by the love they have for their children. No crowd control, educational philosophies, or classroom strategies needed. If you want to become a better homeschool parent, then love your children more. Become students of your student. Better homeschool parents learn about homeschooling, not teaching.
Certified teachers often struggle to “let go” of teaching and testing.
I know that it’s hard to separate homeschooling from being a teacher. I have a lot of clients who are certified teacher, and they tell me it’s one of their biggest areas of struggle. They are often gifted teachers, but struggle to “let go” of the classroom strategies they were taught in college. Homeschooling isn’t about teaching at all, it’s about learning. Homeschooling means trying to encourage the love of learning. For example, one area where certified teachers often struggle is in testing their children. Just try to remember that tests in school are given because you NEED tests to assess large groups of children. When you are homeschooling, you can assess in other ways. Just try to figure out how you ARE assessing them already. Perhaps that mindset will help a bit.
For my friends who are certified teachers, these articles may also help.
How to Assign Grades without Grading
High School English: A “Grouch Free” Guide to Grading
Homeschool Education by Degrees
Use Your Annoy-O-Meter Skillfully
Do you have experiences with homeschooling as a certified teacher? Please leave a comment below I’d love to hear about it!
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Setting the Records Straight
5-Star Review by Susan Kilbrid
This book is a must-read for those of you who are thinking of homeschooling through high school.
Lee Binz goes through the process of making a homeschool transcript step by step and makes what to some is an overwhelming job seem easy. The book is full of real-life examples of homeschool transcripts that her children and others used to get into the colleges of their choice. She breaks down the whole process of making a transcript into very easy steps.
One of the most important things I realized as I read this book is that I need to start working on my son’s high school transcript as soon as he starts high school and not wait until he is almost finished.
On a side note, I found Lee’s children’s transcripts a bit intimidating, not in the sense of actually writing one, but more of, “Oh my, is my son up to those standards?” Luckily, she also presents examples of other homeschooler’s transcripts which made me not feel so inadequate! Plus, it was actually good to see what other homeschoolers who made it into college did during high school to get into college. It’s definitely better to find these things out now, before my son is in high school, than to find out later when it would be harder to catch up.
I found Lee’s book very informative and highly recommend it.
To locate it on Amazon, go here: Setting the Records Straight
I’m almost ready to publish my next book, College Admission and Scholarships. The full title is The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships: Homeschool Secrets to Getting Ready, Getting In and Getting Paid. I was really trying to use the title to really explain what the book is all about. I’ll bet you know exactly what your learn in the pages now, right? Anyway, it’s at the publisher now, and I’m hoping that later this spring we will have a new big and beefy book for you to enjoy!
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That begs the questions, “How do I get my student to work independently?”
A lot of people think that high school is the point where students should become self-teaching, but the truth is that students don’t just suddenly wake up on the first day of 9th grade and become perfectly willing and capable of working independently. That only happens with perfect children, and I haven’t met one yet!
Relax! That’s not how it will happen at all!
It’s a training process, very much like teaching a baby to walk. When kids are ready to walk, most of them don’t just stand up and start walking. Usually a parent spends a long time hunched over them, following from behind, encouraging them on, and holding a cookie so that they’ll want to walk independently. Frankly, they fall down an awful lot. In the same way, expect your teenagers to try to work independently, and expect them to fail to act independently.
Your job is to follow behind, pick them up and hold their hands, and guide them until they can be completely independent, ready to graduate and go on to further learning adventures! Keep your eyes on that goal.
Shape and mold. It takes time. Lots of time…
Are you curious about The HomeScholar? Find out more here!]]>
Never under-estimate a teenager’s ability to avoid work. Although sometimes these are intentional lapses, many times teens are simply focused on other things (like their hair, or their new shoes), and they forget trivial things like math assignments or research reports.
Of course, it would be nice to have teenagers suddenly just BE responsible one day. Nice, but unlikely. It is much more common for teenagers to slowly BECOME responsible. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of practice, often with constant shaping and molding from their parents. Kids do not start the first day of 9th grade as responsible adults. They BEGIN the process of becoming responsible adults.
I raised two boys, and I have heard unconfirmed reports that this process can take longer for boys than for girls…often into a young man’s 20’s. Naturally, this doesn’t apply to all boys, but don’t be shocked if your teens don’t magically become mature at age 18. It usually doesn’t work out as neat and tidy as all that.
What is the solution? Have a morning meeting!
Having a morning meeting can help. If you check in with your child each day, you can shape and mold their ‘responsibility index.’ A quick 15 or 30 minute check-in each day can give you the time you need to assess the situation and correct the behavior, shaping and molding your child’s responsibility as you go. It’s all about shaping and molding…
A morning meeting can help your child stay on task, so they do not ‘forget’ school for a week (or longer!) and suddenly fall hopelessly behind. A daily meeting is a great goal. In practice, of course, a day will be missed here and there. We are all busy people with busy lives, after all! But if you forget a day or two, you will still benefit. If you miss a few days, you can regroup and discover any missed assignments.
In real life, adults are often faced with frequent ‘check-ups.’ In our business, we attempt to have regular meetings with our employees. While they do not ALWAYS happen, they USUALLY happen, and the meetings help us stay on top of any missed assignments. Regular meetings, and quick check-ins are real life. And they really work.
If you tend to fall behind, or if you see your student overwhelmed by an insurmountable mountain of work, instituting a ‘Morning Meeting’ can be the perfect answer.
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One of the biggest problems with homeschool parents and how to avoid it.
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Renee wrote to share about her daughter’s successes.
I had to share the news about my daughter Abigail. This go-around (as opposed to the first two children), we listed her as private school student using our legal cover St Peter’s Academy but when she made National Merit Semi-Finalist, the National Merit folks designated her as a homeschooler. I had to do all the paperwork (very stressful) and find someone (not related that had taught her) to write a letter of recommendation. The only outside classes she’d taken were online college courses, voice lessons and theater. Thankfully her theater instructor is reliable and was willing to write the letter. Today we got notification that Abigail is a Finalist. At her top choice school she’ll get $9700 a year, out of state fees waived (worth about $15,000 a year), a laptop and money toward study abroad. At her second choice school (in-state), she’ll receive tuition, room, board and a books stipend. We are so proud of her and once again just shows that homeschoolers can do anything. Parents with younger ones need to know it can be done!
It’s true, what Renee said. The paperwork involved can be daunting. The best thing is to be prepared. If you already have your transcripts and course descriptions ready to go, the paperwork is much easier to manage. For more tips, or just to educate yourself, check out this article: National Merit Scholarship Information for Homeschoolers .
Not every child will win the National Merit Scholarship, but there is more than one way to get great scholarships. For example,Renee’s older daughter did not get the National Merit Scholarship. She did get a full ride scholarship, based on ACT scores. There are lots of ways to afford college and scholarships. You can read the story of that child here: “Homeschooler Wins Full Scholarship – Plus Some More!”
Now read Renee’s words again, and repeat after me, “homeschoolers can do anything!”
For more information about how your child can earn great college scholarships, watch my video, “Getting the BIG Scholarships,” available both as an online class or DVD.
National Merit Success Story]]>
We have winners for our April newsletter giveaway!
Congratulations to Audra, Cindy, Jennifer, Kris, and Laura!
Each winner will receive a copy of Kathy Kuhls book, Homeschooling your Struggling Learner.
Congratulations! And thank you to Kathy Kuhl for providing this wonderful prize!
If you would like to win next month, please sign up for my free monthly newsletter. You can subscribe here!
I hope you will win next time!
I am now writing for the “Seattle Homeschool Examiner.” You can find great homeschool articles when you visit my column!]]>
How about if I share with you all my easy-peasy light-and-breezy tips for making transcripts in a stress-free and relaxed way?
And then suppose I add great door prizes! I’ll give away a free copy of my book, that YOU COULD WIN! And I’ll have a drawing for your choice of DVD that YOU COULD WIN!
Oooh! Ooooh! Let’s have even MORE fun! Suppose I have free gifts for EVERYONE who joins the class? I will give away a free Kindle book, and also a free PDF book for everyone who attends, just in case someone doesn’t have a Kindle.
Come Spring Into Transcripts With Me!
Spring into Transcripts
DATE: Monday, April 15th, 2013
TIME: 12:00 – 1:00 PM Pacific
Everyone who attends will receive a special gift!
You could receive special surprise bonuses and door prizes!!
Let’s get the transcript done the easy and fun way, by attending this free class. You will get the information and motivation you need!
You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions, and it will be lots of fun, I promise! Even if you can’t make it to the free class, please register and I will send you the recording! You may not get the free door prize or free gifts that way, but at least you’ll get the video of the class so you can watch it later. Come on, it will be fun! And did I mention it’s important to get your transcript done?? Yup! I think I did!
A super easy way to keep high school records. (I promise!)
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