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How do I Count PE?

How do I Count PE?

It probably depends on state law. If you have lenient laws, like Washington, it is the parent who determines what a credit is.


I usually recommend that people count hours for PE, and decide how many hours they want to be one full credit. That is usually 120, 150, or 180 hours, depending on what the books you have read recommend <grin!>

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Homeschooling the Profoundly Gifted

Homeschooling the Profoundly Gifted

Janel in North Dakota met me at a homeschool convention, and we shared our worries about homeschooling profoundly gifted children. If you are dealing with a gifted child, you may want to see my web pages that are devoted to just those concerns.


I wish I would have had someone to talk to when I was in Janel's position! It really IS difficult to know what to do with a profoundly gifted child. I do have some information and links about gifted education on my "Dig Deeper" site.

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Foreign Language Tutor?

Foreign Language Tutor?

I searched for a tutor to supplement our foreign language, but I never found one that I could afford. If you can find one, a tutor can provide the missing ingredient for some kids. A classroom setting can go too fast or too slow, but it may help some kids. If you take a class at a community college, however, be VERY careful about it. Sometimes those classes add a level of foreign "culture" that you may not want your teenagers exposed to!



For college-bound teenagers that really struggle with foreign language, there are still solutions. First, you can find a college that doesn't require a foreign language. Second, you can find a college that doesn't require a foreign language to enter, they only require a foreign language to graduate the college, so you can take it while you are there. Third, you can take community college classes in foreign language, where every quarter or semester equates to a whole year of high school foreign language and you can quickly get the admission requirements you need.

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Supplementing Foreign Languages

Supplementing Foreign Languages

Whatever you end up using for a foreign language curriculum, supplement with some fun activities. About once a week we would watch movies in a foreign language. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and others, all come with Spanish and French language, both spoken and in subtitles.


You don't have to understand everything they say on the movie, just understand what's happening and listen to the spoken words. My kids loved that! You can also find ways to interact with the Spanish speaking public. We work in a clothing bank which serves a large Hispanic population. In many communities there are Spanish-speaking church services, radio broadcasts, and television.






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Homeschool Records: What to Keep - Part 2

Homeschool Records: What to Keep - Part 2

Why are you keeping things? If it's just for you, like a scrapbook, then keep anything you want as a momento. If you are keeping it because of college, then consider how it will be used. A college *may* ask for a graded English paper, or a math test, or a history paper. They won't ask for ALL of it, just a sample. Your binder is a collection of samples, so that you can hand one to a college if they ask for it. Now, an artist may be asked for their portfolio. My kids aren't artists at all, so I had very little to show for it when we did the notebooks!



If you want to eventually make course descriptions using your records, then it can help to make a copy of the front cover and table of contents from the textbooks you use. If you are making course descriptions, that information will come in handy while you are writing things up.

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Homeschool Records: What to Keep - Part 1

Homeschool Records: What to Keep - Part 1

The old "What to keep" question is complicated, because no two homeschoolers are alike! When you are doing school the textbook way, you can just keep tests and written work. You don't have to keep daily work - except the science lab notebook is usually kept. Anything that is flat, you can put it a notebook: awards, some art work. If the art work isn't flat, and you really WANT to keep it, then a photo would help.


You don't have to keep everything!

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Save Those Receipts!!

Save Those Receipts!!

At the convention yesterday, one Mom asked me to blog about reading lists, because my tip was such an "Ah ha!" moment for her. We had a lot of trouble collecting books for our reading lists in high school because my sons are prolific readers, but at the same time they weren't good about keeping track of the books they read. We ended up including the books we owned but leaving off most of the library books that they read! Shortly after I started "The HomeScholar" my husband came up with an idea of pure genius! When you are in high school, SAVE YOUR LIBRARY RECEIPTS! Often the receipt from the library will include the name of the books you have checked out. If you save those receipts you may be able to include those elusive library books on your reading list - even if you aren't good about writing them down!



Attention: If you had previously added my button to your blog or website, please grab the new code from the right column. The new code will bring your friends to this cool new blog rather than my old yucky one. Thanks!

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Christian Heritage Convention!

Christian Heritage Convention!

I'll be at the Christian Heritage Convention in Redmond this weekend! I hope I'll see some of you there! I apologize if we don't get our regular blog articles posted while we are working the convention.


Remember to invest in yourself as a home educator. Conventions can be your "continuing education" as your further your vocation as a homeschooler. Invest in a convention this year, take the classes, buy yourself a book about homeschooling high school, invest in training videos or tapes! Invest in yourself, so you can be more knowledgeable about the path ahead of you!

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How about technology or computer credit?

How about technology or computer credit?

What kinds of things can you use for a technology or computer credit?


This question came from a parent who was wondering if power-point, keyboarding, web mastering, audio-visual work at church could count as a technology or computer question. I'm not familiar with homeschool laws in every state, but ALL of those hours sound just GREAT to me! If your child has a lot of sound and studio experience, you may even have 180 hours for "audio-visual communication" and another 180 hours for "Computer and technology."

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Great High School Writing Course!

Great High School Writing Course!

I used the Advanced Communication Series by IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing .) It contains three DVDs: note taking, essay writing, and public speaking. It's a video geared to the student. My kids watched them twice a year during high school, once when we started school, and once toward then end of our school year as a "reminder." Instead of teaching note taking with ABC and 1-2-3, it teaches you to write your notes every which way, as you are hearing it. I thought it was very effective!



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How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

By summer, you want to have a variety of colleges that your child can apply to. I have read that the average student will apply to six schools. Some apply to more, and some to less. No matter how many there are, make sure you apply to a variety. At least one college should be a "safety" school, where you are certain to get in. One should be a "stretch" where you are less qualified and unlikely to get in. At least two should be a perfect fit.


How many colleges are your kids planning to apply to? What are your most important criteria?



Learn the ins and outs of finding the "perfect fit" college. Check out my Finding a College DVD.
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Economics for Beginners

Economics for Beginners
When he was younger, my economics son loved the Penny Candy books in the Uncle Eric Series, written by Richard Maybury.  These books come from a free market perspective and are politically conservative/libertarian.

Many people use that book with the coordinating workbook for their economics study in high school.

If this seems too basic, or you are interested in digging deeper, my son really loves Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt.

For my older son, who was not particularly interested in economics, we chose to use the Teaching Company lectures instead. It seemed the least painful way to introduce him to economics. Here is the link for that course:

It's interesting to note that economics is like politics - books can represent the world view and political persuasion of the author. It can be difficult to find a perspective that matches your own. I'm not sure these books are a "perfect" match for our family, but they definitely worked!



Would you like to get the full story of what I curriculum and books I used with my two boys through high school? Check out my Comprehensive Record Solution. It can help you put together winning records for your own high schooler!
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Along the Latin Road

Along the Latin Road

I really loved Latin Road. I had no real Latin background, and when I looked at the other books they looked SO difficult to even START their programs. Latin Road is written by a homeschool mom who assumes you know nothing -- an accurate assumption in my case! I worked two weeks ahead of my kids for the whole year, doing the work before them. The student does copy work, copying off the information in the textbook so they can learn the information slowly as they are writing. Then they do some translating Latin to English and vice versa. Then they do some memorization (FUN memorization, by the way - this Christmas Alex led the choir in Adeste Fidelis that we had learned in Latin.) I also know that Latin Road WORKS. Alex is STILL taking senior level Latin in college, and still getting A's. I know that any mom could teach Latin using Latin Road, provided you can convince your student to do all that copy work.


You can learn more about Latin Road to English Grammar at Sonlight!


Learn more about how and why to incorporate Foreign Language into your high school curriculum in my "Preparing to Homeschool High School" DVD set.

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Blessings, Lee

Blessings, Lee
I got this wonderful, encouraging note in my inbox today!

Dear Lee,

Your sign off "Blessings" is more true than you may realize. When I realized how much I needed some guidance from a successful homeschooler of upper level students, I decided that you would be the perfect person to call. I spent several days figuring out how to ask for your help. Can you imagine my relief when I saw your brochure? I could call you and not be begging for help, but accepting your talents!


Your positive and encouraging ways made me realize that I can succeed. You helped me stop useless duplication and time wasting. Tom was immediately more responsive and cooperative. I was not the slave driver or fun slayer, I was the person implementing a well ordered plan. You, of course, outlined all our work using the texts and courses that I had chosen. Between your organizing our study schedule and the bird clock which sings every hour, I am not the target of my son's discomfort. I am a coach and teacher instead. We have had a wonderful year.

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What about Occupational Education?

What about Occupational Education?

Occupational Education is not often listed by colleges as a required course. However, it can sometimes be required by states for graduation. But what IS Occupational Education? Unless your state specifies it, you're often left on your own to figure it out. It's often considered an elective, so it can be easiest to follow your child's interests when planning this course. Sometimes this class will look like a general introduction to office or computer skills, including using Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, keyboarding, etc.


An easier strategy is to just wait until your child gets a job. After all, at some point most kids really want to start earning money. Anything they do that earns an income may qualify as Occupational Education. All the babysitting, yard work, odd jobs, or work with an employer can count toward the class. Like other electives, it's sometimes easiest to keep a list of what they do, and how many hours they spend on each task. You can determine credit value by counting the total number of hours they spent on those activities, and then voila! You have an Occupational Education credit!

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