Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homeschooling Poem

My son wrote this for his English Comp II College class.  I LOVE it!


Early in the morning I rise,

hoping to become more wise.

I eat another home cooked meal,

cooked by mother with love, and zeal.

Then I curl up with a good book,

and like that meal it starts to cook

up yet more knowledge in my brain,

for it has become those words domain.

These books are all great presenters,

and they all have become my mentors.

Learning math, science, grammar, history,

like unraveling some great mystery.

Then as the sun marches further west,

and I know that I’ve done my best,

I put away the books about great men,

so that next day I can start again.

Nov. 2, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Turning 17 and Back to School!

Getting ready to enter the hallowed halls of learning! 

My firstborn turned 17 today!  WOW, how time flies! He also started back to his College classes.  It was a BIG day around here!

I honestly don't think we ever posted about the end of his first class that he took over the Summer.  It was a good experience. Not only did he get an "A" (94.38 points of a possible 95 points, English Comp I.) but, he also got a whole new view of a whole new group of people.  I think the education he got about others probably made more of an impact on him than the actual class did!  He has just never interacted with people who are just suffering through education to get to the paycheck at the end.  He loves learning, and hearing people declare they are just there because the "have" to be is foreign to him.  He also was impacted by seeing people much older than himself returning to College.  I think this was the first time he really thought about how fortunate he is to be getting these classes under his belt while he's young.  He saw how much harder it is to have to work and support yourself (or even a family) while studying and working towards a plan. He's always been thankful that he was homeschooled.  But, I think being where he is right now has cemented his love for homeschooling.  :^)

So, for the Fall term he is taking English Comp II and Public Speaking.  He's really excited about Public Speaking, because he LOVES to talk. (Like his mama!  LOL) He still needed one Speech credit for his High School transcript.  So this will cover it.  I figured these were good classes to start with.  Everyone tells me success in College is all about being to communicate.  So, that is part of why we chose to take these classes first.  Other than that he's working on studying for the PSAT and SAT and doing his last High School P.E. credit.  (A Fitness and Nutrition study I am putting together for him.)

So, that is where we are right now.  It's looking like it will be a great school year, although different from what we are use to.  This is the first time he's been away from home so much!  I sure am going to miss him. 

Happy Homeschooling,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homeschoolers' College Admissions Handbook

I LOVE THIS BOOK!  I found it by chance at a used bookstore a few weeks ago.  (Although, I really don't believe in chace, I know it was a God thing!)  How blessed I feel to benefit from the homeschoolers who have walked this path before us!  This book is a HUGE help and a HUGE time saver! It is putting everything together in simple launguage that we can easily understand.

If you have a child who is ages 12 and up and you are planning on sending them to College, you need this book.  You can "peek inside" at the link I posted above. 

My favorite part (so far) is the chapter that explains all you need to know about the PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT-1, AP and CLEP.  It has taken all the alphabet soup that has been swimming in my brain and made it make sense! As soon as I finish it I am going to have my son read it too!

I also noticed recently that it is part of the Sonlight College and Career Planning Kit!  (You can read more about it HERE.)  I am thinking we may need to order this kit next!

Happy Homeschooling,


Friday, June 17, 2011

The First Half of My First College Class

Well, yesterday was the last day of my third week of English Composition 1, my first-ever College class. It's only a 6 week long course, so it's now half over. Wow.

So far I've turned in two essays, each worth 20% of my final grade, and there will be a total of four, with the remaining 20% made up of daily assignments. The first one was an essay summarizing an article in a recent Time article, and the second was to write a profile on someone I didn't know very well. I chose to interview and write about my neighbor across the street.

When I took my rough draft for my first essay in, things got a bit rough. The teacher took one look at it and said, "Why didn't you do the assignment I gave you?" The problem was I didn't realize he had given us a outline of exactly what he wanted and I hadn't read it.  He gave me feedback on what I had done wrong-- quite a bit, it would seem --and with one day left until the essay was due, it was tough. I rewrote most of the essay, keeping only small things, and finally the next day I turned it in to be told that I had "achieved perfection". Needless to say, I got an A. I haven't received my grade for the second essay yet, but I'm hopeful.

The teacher is nice. I like him. I think I'm the only one in my class who does, however. He's tough, he's certainly not an easy teacher, but he's fair. I hear the other people in the class complain about him daily, but I really do think he's a good teacher. I've learned a lot from him. Personally, I'd rather have a tough teacher and learn a lot, than have an easy teacher and just skate by.

What really surprises me is the lack of ambition toward actually succeeding in the class some of the students have. One guy came in the first day and said, "I'm going to be a basketball player, I'm just doing school to pass the time, and I'm shooting for a D in this class." It just blows my mind that anyone would ever act like that.

For the most part though, the people in the class have been very nice, although I don't think some of them know quite what to make of having a yet-to-graduate homeschooler in their college class. There's one guy in the class from Turkey who said, upon finding out I was homeschooled, that he didn't understand homeschooling, since in his country it was illegal.

With three weeks left and, so far, an A in the class, I've been enjoying it a lot. I'm excited to continue.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Half Way Through His First College Class!

Whew!  As of today my son is half way through his first College class!  I have been bugging him to write something for our blog. But, he's been really busy with the class...So I am posting for us!

Today my son came home and told me that the teacher asked him if his mom taught him how to write. (At the 1/2 way point of the class he is pulling a strong A! YAY!) When he answered "Yes."  the teacher replied "My mom taught me to write too.  We would write together and that's how I learned."  I thought it was SO awesome that he would tell my son this!  I thought it was really kind of him.  The class has been going really, really well!  Not just the assignments and the fact that he's acing it.  But, the whole experience.

I really didn't know how he would be accepted as a 16 year old in a College class.  What would they think?  Would they even know he was homeschooled?  So the very first day the teacher had them go around with a list of questions to ask each other as a mixer.  One to the questions was "How many kids were in your High School?"  LOL  So when my sons answer was ONE it quickly became a topic of conversation!  The teacher got wind of his answer and asked (in front of the whole class) how he had only one kid in his high school?  He responded with "I'm homeschooled." The teacher replied that he use to not be sure about homeschooling.  But, now as a College teacher he found that the best students in his classes usually turned out to be homeschooled.  Then a student from Turkey chimed in that he didn't understand homeschooling.  He said "In my country the government says everyone must go to school.  American and Canada is the only place people don't have to go to school."  I told my son that he should have said "Well, in American we have a thing called FREEDOM!"  Then my son said he was glad at the moment that I wasn't there!  LOL  Ironically a few days later my son got matched up with the guy from Turkey for a project and they got along just fine. (Although the project was very, very hard because of the language barrier.)

All in all everyone has been great to him.  I know it may not be this way in every class.  But, I am glad his first experience is a good one. He is learning a lot of "other" interesting things too.  He's surprised by how nonchalant many (most) of the other students are.  The amount of drops and absences.  (They were told that NO absences would be allowed because this is a 9 week class in 6 weeks already.  So you just can't miss.) The fact that he LOVES the teacher and everyone else seems to think he's mean and too tough.  ("If they think he's tough they should meet my moms!"  LOL)  There is one student in particular that is keeping my son entertained and shaking his head.  On the first day of class he introduced himself and announced that he was just there until his basketball career took off.  He also informed everyone, including the teacher, that he was just "shooting for a D in the class."  Then for one of their assignments they had to interview someone and write a profile on them.  So this character did his profile on a drug dealer! For his "research" he rode along on drug deals.  Wow!  Of course as a homeschooled student my son has never met a person with an attitude or lifestyle like this!  Needless to say he's learning a lot more than how to write!

So overall it's been a great experience.  It's weird not having him home as much and it's weird when he has assignments that conflict with things I have planned.  But, he's learning, growing and fitting in just fine.  Just like I always knew he would!

Happy Homeschooling,


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Day of College

My sons first day of College is some ways was much like what most mom's experience on the day they send their oldest child off to Kindergarten!  It was a BIG day at our house! My husband went in late to work so he could drive my son to his first class.  We had already been out to the College the day before to find his classroom.  His backpack filled with paper, pens, pencils, granola bars and 2 of the most expensive books I have ever purchased was by the door.  He was ready to go!  But, here is where the similarities to Kindergarten end.  As I stood and watch the car disappear down the street, I was thinking about how grateful I am that I have had him home for the last 16 year.  That I never had to watch him disappear on a bus when he was 5 years old.  At that moment I believed my son was ready!  He was truly going off into the real world, on his own.  And I was excited for him!

Of course I did have to take a picture of him on his first "real" day of school!

The 2 hours actually passed really fast!  I was very excited that I got to go pick him up!  So excited in fact that I had to snap this picture! LOL

Okay, I know I probably shouldn't have taken a pic through the door!  But, he knows me, and if he really didn't want his picture taken he shouldn't have sat in such a perfect spot!  (Right? LOL)

I will never forget the BIG smile on his face when he saw me!  He had a great first day and he told me all about it as we went out to lunch and drove home.  He even let me take one more picture outside the College. 

Is it just me, or does he look a little older in this picture?

Happy Homeschooling,


Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting A Student ID

Today my mother and I went to get a student ID at the nearby college which I am now enrolled in. To get the ID we required two things, my Student ID number, which I had, and a photo ID, which I was lacking.

You see, I don't drive, so I don't have a Driver's License yet, and obviously since I'm Homeschooled, I don't really use a student ID. So, first, my mom had to make me a Homeschool ID. And so she did. We took a picture of me, and made an ID. We went to get it laminated, and then went to the campus.

Once we got to the campus, we looked up where exactly we needed to go, and we... Well, went there. Once we got there we gave the woman working there my ID number and my ID, and she told me to go stand on an X. I did so, got my picture taken, and just seconds later I had a real student ID.

It's really cool having my ID now, it makes it feel much more real. Before, though I was enrolled, it didn't feel all that real, but now that I've actually got a student ID just sitting in my wallet, I really feel like a college student.

After getting my ID, we looked around the campus for a while. It's a very nice campus, with a large library, and it seemed pretty easy to get around in. I'm very excited to start my class at the end of this month!

We also had to get a parking pass, since in order to park at the college, you need one. So we got that too, while we were there. Unfortunately, the one we got only covers this summer, so once it's fall, I'll need to go get another one. I'm probably going to take driver's ed over the summer, so instead of them needing my mother's license, they'll be using mine next summer!

It's getting pretty close, my first college class. I'm excited!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In A Blur...

I took this picture of my oldest son a few weeks ago quite by accident.  It was one of those "almost dropped the camera" moments and when I regained control of the camera the picture above was on the screen.  For a moment it almost took my breath away! Immediately it reminded me of how our homeschool days have passed in a blur.  No, it's not like I don't remember any of it.  I remember a lot.  But in my mind, when I think back, there are many memories I remember just like this picture.  It went too fast!

I went through "The Plan" I had made up for my sons high school years last night and realized that he only needs 1 1/2 credits to be DONE with highschool!  Considering he has 2 years left to take Dual Enrollment and CLEP College classes he will easily get those 1 1/2 credits (Health 1/2, Speech 1/2, PE 1/2) in the next 2 years.  So for all intents and purposes he is "done" with homeschooling!  I mean, he's not going anywhere!  He will still be home when he's not at the College taking classes.  And of course my husband and I will be guiding him though choosing classes and working with him on  studying for the CLEP tests.  But, that is pretty much it.  It's weird!  

One thing I am very grateful for is when we went to the dual enrollment meeting a few weeks ago the Dean in charge of the dual enrollment program took a lot of time telling this kids that College is THEIR responsibility!  I think this was important for both my son and I to hear.  I am sure it's not always going to be easy for me to step back and let him be in charge of his own education.  We have tried really hard to make his high school years practice for College by giving him the work and expecting him to do it.  Although I am now realizing that while it was good practice, it's really not the same at all!  You see with his High Schooling we really have just taught him until he got to an A level.  There was no cut off period where we said "If you don't understand this info by XYZ date you will fail!"  Of course that would be ridiculous and counterproductive.  Don't get me wrong.  He has never been at any risk of failing anything.  He has poured through the materials we have given him to the point that after 2 1/2 years of high school he is pretty much done!  But, there was just never the pressure of failure being a possibility.  That will be different with College.  (Not that I expect him to be at any risk of failing!)  For the first time in his life his needs and learning style will NOT be taken into consideration.  It's not the professors job to keep going until he's "A"ish!  LOL

So while we have done what we can to prepare him, we also need to brace ourselves that it's going to be different.  I believe he is ready! As much as he has loved being homeschooled, (And I have loved homeschooling him.) he is ready to be out in the world.  To interact with other students and teachers.  It's exciting and I am sure at times it will also be challenging.  

I am so grateful as I write this that we have had the opportunity to homeschool.  I am so grateful for all the hours we have had together.  The deep conversations.  They control over choosing curriculum.  The time to get him "A"ish at his own pace.  

So this post isn't at all what I sat down to write.  I was going to tell about moments that stand out in my mind so vividly.  But, I guess that will now be a post for another day.......



Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Want To Remember...

These are the things I want to remember from the day my oldest son took his early enrollment test for college...

I want to remember how I came downstairs in the morning and he was already dressed and ready.  He said "Mom, I put on a dress shirt.  Because I thought I should."  It was the first time in his life he had put on a dress shirt without me asking him to.  It made me realize, he is growing up and making good decisions!

Then he was walking around eating a bowl of HOT Oatmeal while wearing the Ove-Glove on his hand! He was too excited to sit still and eat breakfast! Seeing him with that Ove-Glove on made me laugh and I had to take his picture.  This made me realize he is doing a good job taking care of himself!

We left plenty early, which was a good thing! We were surprised how quickly we found a place to park...until we got inside and realized we were parked in the faculty parking! Ooooops!  We laughed our heads off!  Then we stopped by security and they said we could leave the car there until I dropped him off to take his test.  And if we got a ticket in the meanwhile to come back and they would excuse it.  It made me feel good that they were kind to us and didn't laugh at the 16 with his mommy trying to figure out College!

Next we got lost inside the building. The floor plan and the number system was bizarre!  I had NO idea where we were suppose to go.  But, thankfully once my son stopped listening/following me we found the place we were suppose to go with no trouble.  This made me feel relieved and happy to know he will be fine getting around campus and certainly doesn't need me to guide him!

I wasn't at all nervous while I waited for him to take the test.  I knew he would pass it!  But, I prayed for him.  Especially that he would relax ans just do his best.  This reminded me that God is always with him even when I cannot be!

He did the whole test in 1 hour and 8 minutes!  When I saw him coming down the hall walking towards where I was waiting I wondered, for just s second, if they had told him he had failed!  He didn't look happy!  But, he told me they said to wait with we waited....for nearly 30 seemed like forever!  Finally she came out to tell us the results.  She wasn't smiling.  She wasn't frowning.  She looked just like this was no big deal and she does it every day!  LOL  (Which she does!) She sat down, flipped open the file and said.  "He passed."  (very non-chalant.)  Then she looked at his numbers and said..."He did VERY well!"  (And smiled!)  I just LOVED that word VERY!  We chatted a few minutes and then she left. My son and I high fived each other until our hands hurt!  I never want to forget that moment!  It was a true celebration of the work we have done together for the last 16 years!

We headed to the elevator.  I was still on cloud nine!  In my excitement I repeatedly started pushing 2.  We were on the 2nd floor so nothing happened.  Eventually my son said "Mom, push the 1."  I laughed and said in a winey voice..."College is hard!"  We laughed some more.  I never want to forget how happy we both were at that moment!

When we got outside the College was having a sidewalk chalk festival.  We walked around and looked at the cool art.  The weather was perfect!  My son told me "I think God made this perfect weather day just for me so I wouldn't have to worry about the weather while I was taking my test."   This made me smile and reminded me that he loves the Lord and trusts in Him!  What more can a mother want for her son?

We sent a text to his dad that said "he passed!"  A few minutes later my husband replied "I knew he would!"  It was great moment!  This reminded me of all the trust and faith my husband has put in me over the years as I have homeschooled our kids!

Of course we had to have a victory lunch!  It was an awesome day!

These are the things I want to remember....

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Have A College Student!

WOW!  I just paid for my first College class for my 16 year old son! Yesterday he took his Accuplacer test and passed with flying colors!  So today we signed him up for his first class, which he will take over the Summer.  It is an exciting time at our house!

Getting him into College at the age of 16 is something we have always worked towards.  When he was in grade school we knew several homeschoolers who were going to College at 16 and we thought that would be a great advantage for our son.  He is a very cerebral kid!  We have always had to stay on our toes to keep up with him educationally!  The last couple years he has worked VERY hard to get the bulk of his high school requirements completed.  At this point we could probably graduate him if we wanted to.  But at 16 that isn't something I am ready for!  So having him dual enrolled is perfect for us.  He can get the last few credits he needs for high school as he is getting College credit too!

Since the dual enrollment only allows him to take 2 classes at a time we are planning on having him work on "clepping" classes at the same time he is taking the dual enrollment classes.  I haven't figured out all the details on clepping yet.  But, I do know that there are books we can buy for him to study for the tests and then for $75.00 he can go take the test and when he passes it he gets full credit for the class.  This will not only be a huge time saver, but a BIG money saver too!  So if all goes according to plan when he graduates from homeschool at 18 he will have enough credits to begin his Junior year of College!  The next 2 years he can basically devote to working on College credits.

So yesterday was an exciting day!  I couldn't help but think of all the "naysayers" over the years who have sternly warned me that my poor children would never get into College because we homeschooled them!  I never believed that for a moment!  But, those nagging words were always in the back of my mind.  (What is they were right?) But, in my heart I have always known we are following God's plan for our family.  It was good to put any nagging thoughts to rest!  I must add here that for the most part we have been really blessed with very supportive people around us for our homeschool journey.  But, it still felt really amazing to have accomplished a goal we have worked towards for SO long! (My son and I had to do a little victory dance!)  Truly it was an awesome day that we will all remember forever!

Of course we can also see God's hand all over this!  One of the things that is not lost on me is that our unexpected move a year and a half ago put us in the right County for the College he will be attending.  We only moved ONE MILE!  But, if we were still at the old address we would have had to pay quite a bit more for him to go to this same school! God is in the details! 

Praise God!


For more info on clepping click HERE.

Taking the Accuplacer

Today I went to a nearby College and took the Accuplacer test, to become dual enrolled in the college. Specifically, I took 3 portions of the test, an essay, sentence skills, and reading comprehension. I had been practicing for several weeks. Once I passed, I would be able to enroll in an English class this summer.

So today I went bright and early to the local college and took the test. Well, first my mom and I got lost on the College Campus for around 30 minutes, but still, we reached the area where the test was being given, and I sat down and took the test on time.

First I wrote the essay, 5 paragraphs, 413 words, on whether or not "Happiness was a choice". Then I answered 20 questions on Sentence Skills and 20 more questions on Reading Comprehension. Altogether it took me around an hour and a half to take the test.

After I finished I went to go sit with my mom for a few minutes, and to await my results. Finally, after several extremely nerve wracking moments, the woman in charge of the test came out and gave me my results.

I had passed.

She said I did "very well" and that I was able to take any class at the college now, other than Mathematics (since I still have to take the Math portion of the Accuplacer at a later time.)

So now, starting at the end of next month, I will be taking an English 1 class! Hurrah!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Practice Accuplacer Essays

My son has been writing practice Essays for his upcoming Accuplacer Test that he will be taking to enroll in Dual Credit College classes.  Here are three of his practice essays.  

Question: What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? 

It is commonly said that you only appreciate thing which you have to work for. But is this true? Is the pursuit of our desires what we get pleasure from, as opposed to the attainment of those desires? Is it possible to appreciate something which was simply handed to you as much as you would appreciate the same thing if you worked to attain it?

Personally, I believe that while we may not appreciate the work we do to attain something per say, we certainly appreciate the results more if we work to attain them, than we would if they were simply handed to us. We may not enjoy the hard work, be we enjoy the rewards all the more for it.

The satisfaction attained from achieving a goal is obvious. For example, the entire reason puzzles, such as crosswords, are put in papers is because people achieve satisfaction from completing the puzzle, regardless of the fact that they didn’t get a tangible reward for their efforts. They still found satisfaction from achieving a goal, to complete the puzzle.

Of course, not all work is as enjoyable as a simple puzzle. Sometimes people have to work very hard to attain the money for some expense they want, like a new car. However, the anticipation of working for something they want, and having to work to gain it, makes them enjoy it all the more once they have it.

Though, it should be said, this isn’t necessarily the case when the things people are striving to attain are more base things that are required. Having to work hard to make a living may not make you enjoy the food on your plate, or the roof over your head all that much, and it’s certainly possible to overwork yourself, and take away from the enjoyment you would otherwise have gotten.

So it may not always be the journey we enjoy, but in most cases I feel that a rough and difficult trip makes us enjoy the destination all the more.

Question: Do we expect too much of our public figures?
In today’s day and age, public figures are both admired, and openly mocked, by the general public. Whether they be movie stars, politicians, musicians, or any other kind of public figure, it is quite obvious a lot of pressure is put upon their shoulders. But is it unjust? Is it unreasonable to expect better of those in the public eye, than of the everyman on the street?

Personally, I believe that when it comes to public figures such as famous actors or musicians, placing the weight of the world upon their shoulders is unreasonable, as to be honest, these people aren’t in any position of authority. True, they’re well known individuals, but they are entertainers, nothing more.

However, too much responsibility can never be placed upon our politicians. Politicians are those responsible for our country, and in many cases, our entire world. They govern us, and we need to expect them to hold high moral standards, along with upholding the best interests, and common interests, of the citizens of our country.

It is up to us to hold politicians who do cross moral lines accountable for their actions, especially those who outright act against what the people want. We need to be able to trust that those with power will not abuse that power, and the best way to do that is to hold those who do accountable for it.

If those with power know they can abuse it, they will do so. That’s just human nature. But if we hold them accountable for their actions, and make it known what is the common interest, they won’t do so.

Thus, we place too much responsibility on some public figures, but certainly not all of them. Those in office are governing our country, and we absolutely must place responsibility on them for the good of our country.

Question: Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? 

Do we need advice most when we’re least willing to listen? That’s a question many people have asked. There are many situations where, as an outsider, the answer to the problem is apparent, but when you’re inside the situation, such as a failing relationship, it’s easy to be blinded by emotion. But is good advice always welcome, or do we shut people out if we don’t want to hear what we need to?

Personally, I believe it depends on the person. Different people handle different situations, and different emotions, in various ways. Some may always be willing to take the advice of those close to them, while others may be more easily blinded by emotion, having their judgment clouded. Some people’s judgment may even become so clouded that they lash out at those who try to help them, not only hurting themselves by not taking the advice, but at the same time hurting those who tried to tell them what they needed to hear.

At times, it can be difficult to tell what is good advice, and what isn’t, especially when people are telling you what the best course of action is, and it’s one you really don’t want to take. Sometimes this can lead to staying in a bad situation much longer than you should have. Other times people will know that the advice which people are offering them is in fact good, but will so wish that it wasn’t, they’ll stay in the bad situation, and refuse to take the option which has been offered to them, because it will hurt to much. In many situations, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you.

Still, of course, some people do welcome good advice whenever it is given, and can keep themselves clearheaded enough to know the right and wrong things to do in a given situation, and do it. Some people know that people giving them good advice are trustworthy, and people giving them bad advice aren’t. It’s hard to be this person, and I don’t think most people can do this, but people like this certainly exist.

So I believe that it truly depends on the person, and there’s not one yes or no answer to whether we take good advice when it’s offered, simply because each person is different.