Here are other homeschoolers thoughts....
As a word of encouragement... My two oldest children have been homeschooled thru high school and are now in college. My 3 younger are doing LA. (3rd, 6th and 8th) That is why I am checking this loop out as we hope to continue with it next year. My oldest daughter did not take the ACT, SAT or get a GED. She went to our local community college and took their placement tests for English and Math and did very well. They did not need the transcript I had made (sigh) from our homeschool. She got involved in student government (Vice Pres.) and other extra curricular activities. They then gave her a FULL 2 year Trustees Scholarship. She transferred to a private 4 yr. school with a double major in English and Pre- Med. She is continuing on her chosen path to be a doctor ( a heart surgeon she hopes) She has taken the MCAT and applied to medical schools. Many community colleges and even a private Christian college around here
allow for dual enrollment with highschool students. At age 16 anyone can begin taking classes. If younger they must get permission from their high school counselor ( me). This is what my son has done. If they can handle the work they have then "proven" their college aptitude and do
not need the tests. Many of the lower level courses such as college remedial, ESL type, computer classes or in an interest such as music or performing arts can be handled by a high schooler. I have given him dual credit for those courses. He is not as academic as his sister and this semester has decided to work and travel with his dad and go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. (He hopes to continue in school and go into finance as a stockbroker in the future)
So check out what is available- most cc's are also much more affordable. Even with scholarship money the COST of college is outrageous.
I want to 'second' this post!! This is just what we have done. My son took one math class at our community college when he was 15yo. He did so much better than the other students, that they requested we enroll him full-time. So, his college classes are doubling for his high school classes and I didn't have to make a transcript at all
This year he is 17 and 2 months after he turns 18, in Dec. of this year, he will graduate from both high school and college with an Associates Degree in Computer Science. He will then transfere to the 4-yr college of his choice (we've already checked it out with them) and they will honor his 2-yr degree and he'll only need 2 more years to graduate with his Bachelor's degree (at
19yrs old!!) Now THIS is what I call not wasting your time messing around with school. This is so efficient.
As an added note of encouragement, this child was basically unschooled until he took these cc classes. He just read lots and lots of books and did a math program. So, we didn't do the upper level sciences or any of the text books that you normally think of 'high school' at all, and he has really excelled. As a matter of fact, his picture was in the newspaper yesterday because he was inducted into the Phi Theata Kappa as an academic honor student.
This LA is SO much more involved than anything he ever did. I'm just sure it will work fine for high school for my younger girls and I feel they will be more than adequately prepared for college at the community college when it's their turn.
I hope this has been an encouragement to mom's that worry about the dreaded 'transcript' and the text book route.
I also home school here in Florida through an umbrella school. Our school issues its own diplomas and our principal and vice principal attend guidance counselor meetings with the colleges' officials just like high school counselors. Their relationship with the colleges and reputation in our county are fantastic. They even issue different levels of diplomas including a standard diploma and a college prep diploma. They keep track of all the grades, send scholarship information to the state, and keep us aware of what home schoolers in Florida need to do.
I too have a 7th, just recently 8th grader to be concerned about and with "Bright Futures" scholarship requirements and concerns about credits, it is enough to drive you batty. There are so many things to think about it can get confusing. Our umbrella school takes most of the worry out of knowing what to do next. The biggest worry they helped me with is knowing what to
do for high school curriculum.
I was told by other mothers at the school that I had to use textbooks and I had to make sure I answered all the questions in the books. Also I had to use particular publishers or else my son would not be allowed to home school for high school there. I was dreading this because I had never used one publisher exclusively. I even use many different curricula for one subject.
The school staff knows me and my son. My son has always been a very good student and they recognized that whatever I was doing was working, so I had no problems getting them to accept what I was using. They did make some suggestions though. One is that I consider my goal in teaching to be preparing him for whatever lies in his future.
In his case, that means college. To prepare him for college, I need to make sure that he can express himself, not only in creative writing, which he enjoys, but also in expository writing. They suggested I consider using essays and the precise as a way to evaluate what he is learning. I don't have to use fill in the blank or multiple choice answers from textbooks or workbooks. I can use the textbook's table of contents to make sure I cover all the topics required, but I can use living books and library books on a high school level or whatever else I need to help him understand the subject. Then I can have him write essays to determine if he really does
understand what he has learned. I did not have to worry about making up tests so this works perfectly with unit studies. The umbrella school just needs to see the work he's done to prove that he has covered the required material. They do that at various credit checks throughout the year.
I am also beginning to develop study skills in my son. I "dictate" the history sections in Learning Adventures and have him take notes as if I were a lecturer. I started with giving him outlines for the "lectures" so he could see the kind of information tht was important and how to make notes. Sometimes college professors do this as well. Then he went on to making his own notes. I also use a text book as a resource (not my sole resource) and have him learn to use table of contents, chapter headings and subheadings to make notes from the readings I assign him. (I like to use ABeka for this because it is really very well structured.) I do these things to help him
to become more familiar with study skills but they are not used exclusively. He still learns better from living books and other sources. If I can teach him how to incorporate textbook and other sources he will be an even better student.
Yes, you can start earning credits in 7th and 8th grade, my son is currently fulfilling his 2 year foreign language credit in 7th and 8th. Good luck on your F-Cat's we take SAT's in a couple of weeks. I don't know how your school operates, but I would talk to the person in charge to find out what he or she thinks. You might want to talk to the Florida Parent Educators Association for more information. Just like you, I thought things would be much more difficult than they really are. After talking to the right people, I'm much more confident.
Hi I am new here and will post my intro in a moment, but I wanted to respond to this comment about the GED. The GED certainly has had the bad rap of not being a "real" diploma, but I think that idea is changing. Many homeschoolers pursue this as an option for college admitance, and I have to wonder if we are having an affect on the way society views the GED. Times are changing, and I think the GED is looking towards a brighter future.
My oldest dd just took the GED. I never considered having my children take the GED because I myself considered it a second class diploma... afterall in my day it was only the "dropouts" who took the GED. Now, I have changed my tune! Life happens...and circumstances made it look as if taking the GED was the best option for our dd. She signed up for a GED prep class shortly before Christmas, and took the test at the beginning of March. During this time we have learned some
interesting things about the GED.
1. Originally the GED was created as a tool to allow young returning WWII vets to get their high school diplomas, since many signed up for the war before completing high school. Since that time, it has come to include anyone who did not complete a tradition homeschool diploma.
2. Colleges do accept the GED. As my daughter has talked to college reps this past year, they ALL have said that their schools accept the GED's in lieu of high school transcripts.
3. There is a brand new GED nationwide which came out this year (2002). The old GED was created so that 28% of high school students could NOT pass it. (Yes, you read that right... if you didn't catch it, please go back and read it again.) The new GED, which is harder than the old one and covers more subjects, has been created so that 41% of high school students could NOT pass it! I was shocked!
4. There are some college scholarships available to those who score high enough on the GED. My dd is anxiously awaiting her scores, as her GED instructor stated her pretest scores were definitely high enough to get one scholarship and there is a good possiblity she and get a better one too.
Based on these facts, I do think the stigma attached to the GED is changing.