Homeschooling and College Admissions – a survey for homeschoolers AND for colleges! Genius!!
My husband and I made the decision to home school our two sons in the middle of their 1st and 4th grade years. It was the end of January, testing season was about to begin again, and we decided enough was enough – it was time for a change. So we jumped into the deep end, knowing instinctively this was the right choice for our family, but without any real plan of what we were going to do or how we were going to do it. As I reflect back on those first few days and weeks, I can only describe them as a time of treading water, trying to stay afloat and “do it right”, without any capacity to think beyond the next week, let alone the coming months or years.
Flash forward to today, over four years later, and the scene is much different. We’re completely in the flow of homeschooling and can’t imagine any other lifestyle; we know that this was one of the best decisions (as scary as it was at first) we’ve ever made. Now, as our oldest son winds down what would be his 8th grade year, we have the ability to look ahead, and have realized it’s time to think about what our version of high school will be.
We already know that Sam will likely go to college – he’s very interested in science, particularly physics, and loves to build things, so he will probably need a college degree to pursue a career path that interests him. How do we help prepare him, though, as we continue homeschooling through high school? How can we support him (and his younger brother) to acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience they’ll need to apply to college? Will college admissions officers view his homeschooling background favorably?
Do these questions sound familiar? Maybe you’re asking them, too. If so, it turns out we’re not alone – these are common questions amongst home schooling families. How do I know? I asked.
For weeks now, home schooling families from all over the country have been sharing their questions and concerns about the college admissions process with Teach Your Own (a homeschooling support organization I founded a couple of years ago) and the Oregon Home Education Network, as part of a research project we designed and launched last December. As you might imagine, many of the questions parents are most interested in relate to one of two primary topics: the admissions process, and financial aid. Some of the questions submitted so far include:
- “What are the most important things for homeschoolers to put together? Are there types of exams and classes that are preferable?”
- “How can we best communicate our academic experience, knowledge and life lessons so that you can apply them to your entrance requirements?”
- “Are home schooled students more or less likely to receive financial aid?”
This is just a small sample of the wonderful and probing questions we’re receiving. If you’d like to participate in the homeschooler survey and share your questions and ideas, it’s not too late. Here’s the link (and please feel free to share it with others in your homeschooling community):
Based on this input from homeschoolers, we developed and recently launched the second phase of the project: gathering information from college admissions officers. As of last week, admissions officers and counselors from across the country began responding to a separate online survey we created just for them. Already the respondents represent a wide range of institutions and programs, from large well-known universities like MIT, to smaller, lesser-known liberal arts colleges. The trends in their responses and the great advice they’re sharing will be incredibly useful to so many families like ours!
In the next couple of weeks the fun will really begin, though, as we start conducting interviews with some of these college representatives, digging deeper into their ideas and recommendations for homeschooled students applying to college. We’ll be asking them questions like:
- “What activities and documents best demonstrate that a homeschooled student is a great candidate for your school?”
- “How do you view community college classes taken in high school?”
- “What are some common mistakes homeschooled applicants make?”
If you’re interested in learning more, hearing about the results of this project, or participating, you can do any of the following:
- Go to www.teachyourown.org and sign up to “follow” us. We’ll be releasing preliminary insights and results over the next few weeks and months, even before the final report is complete and made available for free this summer to anyone who is interested. We’ll also be posting the recorded admissions officer interviews and related resource links within the next few weeks.
- Complete the survey for homeschoolers (see link above). Share your questions and concerns with us, and we’ll include them in our research!
- Encourage admissions officers you know to complete their survey. Feel free to share this link with those you know who work in the college admissions field:
Our goal is to help every home schooled student interested in pursuing a college degree to gain acceptance into their college of choice. To do this we need to bridge the information and perception gaps between homeschooling families and the higher education community, ensuring that requirements and expectations are clearly communicated, and making the process easier for both sides. We look forward to having you join us!
The Arbor Day Foundation has a Nature Explore Program for children, complete with a Families’ Club, and more.
Although membership isn’t necessary, it only costs $10–and you receive TEN FREE TREES, in addition to The Tree Book, with planting and care information, the Arbor Day bimonthly newsletter, a membership card, and discounts on more than 100 varieties of trees.
And today is Arbor Day–what an appropriate day to check out all this organization and website have to offer.
Fun–and fun learning is forever learning!
Everyone likes trees….and we all know we need trees. But did you know the following?
- One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. U.S. Department of Agriculture
- There are between 60 and 200 million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year, and save $4 billion in energy costs. National Wildlife Federation
- Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save between 20 and 50 percent in energy used for heating. USDA Forest Service
- Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. USDA Forest Service
Fun links that might be of interest–
And remember, fun learning is forever learning!
What a great concept to instill in our children. Yes, Earth Day is today, but it’s our responsibility EVERY day, to do what we can, to protect the Earth. Choose actions that you and your family can continue throughout the year, whether it’s recycling, composting, donating unwanted items to charity or any of the ideas listed here–http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0775891.html.
And of course, have fun with it, because fun learning is forever learning!
Earth Day Pancakes
(Earth Day is April 22nd)
This is a guest blog post written by Renae C.
Homeschool fun – start your kids off right for Earth Day by making these pancakes in the shape of the planet Earth! Simply take your favorite pancake mix (I like Krusteaz) and follow the directions. Next, separate 2/3 of the mix into one bowl, and 1/3 of the mix in another. In the larger bowl add blue food coloring and add green to the smaller bowl.
You will want a piping bag, or if you don’t have one on hand (I didn’t), then you can make a temporary one yourself. You will need some wax paper, which you should fold in half, and roll it into a cone. Tape the sides and you’re done.
Now that you have mixed your batter and you have your piping bag, you will need to load the green batter into the bag. Then pour the blue batter onto your greased skillet, making sure it makes more of a circular shape than an oval one. Take your piping bag and pipe green batter in the shape of the continents (or as close as you can manage!).
Finish the pancakes the way that you regularly would. I made my pancakes in advance, so all I will have to do in the morning is pull them out, heat them up, and serve.
Renae C. is a homeschooling mom and blogger. She writes ‘Mostly Together Mommy’ (www.mtmommy.com).
Earth Day Solar Cookies Experiment
This is a Guest Blog Post Written by Aurora Lipper, Owner of Supercharged Science
Can you use the power of the sun without using fancy and expensive solar cells?
You bet! We’re going to focus the incoming light down into a heat-absorbing box that will actually cook your food for you.
What is Solar Energy?
Life on Earth wouldn’t be possible without the energy from the sun. The sun’s energy travels through the vacuum of space to reach the Earth’s surface, and most of that light is visible light and infrared, with a small part being ultraviolet.
When you stand in sunlight, your arms can feel the warmth of the light, even with your eyes closed. That’s the infrared part of sunlight. The ultraviolet portion has more energy than the infrared and is also responsible for giving you a sunburn.
We’re going to make use of all the sunlight in order to make our cookies today!
- Two large sheets of poster board (black is best)
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap
- Black construction paper
- Cardboard box
- Pizza box (clean!)
- Tape & scissors
- Reusable plastic baggies
- Cookie dough (your favorite)
1. Measure an inch from each of three sides of the pizza box. Use the scissors/razor to cut a door out of the pizza box. Bend the door open if necessary. Cover the inside of the door with aluminum foil.
2. The heat needs to get trapped inside the box. Take your plastic wrap and tape it over the opening between the door and the inside of the pizza box. It doesn’t matter which side you tape it on.
3. To help the heat stay inside the box, line the inside with aluminum foil. You can also add an insulation layer with some cotton balls, shredded paper, or fine shavings. On top, place your foil. On top of this, put down the black construction paper. Use tape to secure it all in place.
4. Check to make sure the box still closes. Take your cookie dough and place it in balls onto the surface of the paper.
5. Measure the temperature inside the cookie with a thermometer. Do not eat the cookies until they register 165 on an instant-read thermometer. (There’s a real food safety concern here, as the cookie dough stays in the “danger thermal zone” for more than four hours. If you’re concerned, either omit the eggs in the recipe or use pasteurized eggs.)
6. Enjoy your cookies! Be sure to share!
The solar cookie oven uses the light from the sun, specifically the UV and IR parts of the spectrum, to bake the dough into some delicious treats. The UV rays are energetic and are responsible for damaging our skin if we don’t shield it. The atmosphere of our earth does a lot to dissipate this energy so we aren’t subject to some of the more harmful parts of the energy that the sun emits. In fact, the sun can eject enormous, energetic bursts of radiation far into space in the form of solar flares. We experience these flares as scrambles in our satellite signals, as well as see their effects visually in the atmosphere as aurorae.
The solar cookie oven operates on the basic principle that the light can be concentrated to be directly useful for our energy needs. Instead of converting the energy into electricity to power an oven, for example, the sun’s rays are now directly heating the surfaces that the cookies rest on. A few ingredients are necessary for this oven to operate properly, which is what this experiment explores. Sunlight at the Earth’s surface is mostly in the visible and near-infrared (IR) part of the spectrum, with a small part in the near-ultraviolet (UV). The UV light has more energy than the IR, although it’s the IR that you feel as heat.
Your solar cooker does a few different things. First, it concentrates the sunlight into a smaller space using aluminum foil. This makes the energy from the sun more potent. You’re also converting light into heat by using the black construction paper. If you’ve ever gotten into car with dark seats, you know that those seats can get HOT on summer days! The black color absorbs most of the sunlight and transforms it into heat (which boosts the efficiency of your solar oven). By strapping on a plastic sheet over the top of the pizza-box cooker, you’re preventing the heat from escaping and cooling the oven off. Keeping the cover clear allows sunlight to enter and the heat to stay in. (Remember the black stuff converted your light into heat?) If you live in an area that’s cold or windy, you’ll find this part essential to cooking with your oven!
Enjoy your Earth Day Solar Cookies!
Click here for 5 more experiments like this!
A Scientific Cleanup – Earth Day is a comprehensive lesson plan for a group cleanup trip to a local beach, lake or stream. Learners keep track of the types and amounts of trash picked up and analyze this information. As a group, learners discuss the marine debris problem in their community and consider ways to prevent pollution. This lesson helps learners understand the effects of natural events and human influences on ecosystems. It also teaches learners several science process skills, including forming questions and answering questions by experimenting, carrying out research to validate or challenge ideas, and designing experimental tests.
For the very comprehensive lesson plan, click here. Thank you HowtoSmile.org for this great information!
Plan It Green, the Big Switch is an online game that allows players to design and create their own energy-efficient city of the future. Kids can:
- Build new energy technologies and advance energy research;
- Rack up points based on eco-friendliness, energy production, citizen happiness, and more!
- Compete with other “mayors” for the highest city rating;
- Tackle challenging quests and earn rewards for your outstanding achievements;
- Advance through game levels by exploring and building a diverse energy portfolio;
- Check out new game play elements as fresh features are added on a regular basis.
Watch the Plan It Green trailer to learn more.
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7 Tips for Homeschooling Different Learning Styles
Don’t forget to sign up for SDAccelerate’s seven day free trial here!
There are seven primary styles of learning and, while no one is really limited to one, most people have preferences. Identifying which learning style your child prefers can be simple, but implementing methods to suit each style can be a bit more difficult. This is especially true if you’re teaching multiple children with different preferred learning styles. Standard Deviants Accelerate online learning was created with specific styles of learning in mind, and we have a few tips on handling each:
- Visual – Your child likes using pictures to learn and understands images and diagrams easily.
- For teaching math, draw diagrams of how different problems work. Show them visually how to work through equations.
- In history, make use of timelines and maps. Have them draw their own to deepen their understanding of the material.
- Mind maps and color coding are great tools for every subject.
- Standard Deviants Accelerate showcases videos that include lots of graphics, visuals, and animations to foster visual learning.
- Auditory – Your child learns well using sound.
- For reading comprehension, books on tape might be your best bet. Reading aloud to them is a great option as well, but a book on tape is considerably easier on your voice.
- With new vocabulary, spelling words out loud is a great way for your child to learn them. This goes for learning the definitions as well.
- When trying to memorize information, help your child come up with mnemonics or songs to well-known tunes. You’ll be surprised how quickly they pick it up.
- Standard Deviants Accelerate has many features to support auditory learners. In the vocabulary section students can even click the audio symbol to have key words and definitions read to them.
- Kinesthetic – Your child likes learning by doing and relies on their sense of touch.
- You’ll want to rely on physical objects as much as you can. Cut out numbers to do math problems or words to learn vocabulary.
- Building models is not only fun, but will help your child to get the hands-on experience they need with new information.
- When it comes to science, experiments are your best bet.
- Drag-and-drop diagrams are featured in each lesson of Standard Deviants Accelerate to engage kinesthetic learners.
- Linguistic – Your child depends on speech and writing for comprehension.
- One great way of accommodating this learning style is by having your child teach material to you after they’ve learned it. Putting it in their own words is key.
- You can also have them explain concepts in writing, whether that’s through note-taking or simple summaries.
- SDA has writing activities in every lesson and also includes an activity where kids can present a lesson to a parent, called Act It Out.
- Logical – Your child takes a logical approach to learning, preferring patterns and systems.
- Help your child to identify patterns in their learning material. Breaking things down step by step will be very helpful to them.
- Organize and categorize information. Charts, diagrams, and lists can help them to better process and comprehend information.
- Through a consistent layout and intuitive navigation, Standard Deviants Accelerate makes a great tool for logical learners.
- Solitary – Your child learns well alone and can even teach themselves some material.
- One great technique is having your child relate information to themselves or to their lives. An emotional connection is good for comprehension.
- Give them time to process new material and even explore it on their own.
- Allow them to use their imaginations, put their own spin on information, and connect things to their interests.
- Standard Deviants Accelerate is easy for students to navigate on their own and use independently, with little help from parents.
- Social – Your child learns well with others.
- Role-playing is a wonderful technique for social learners as it requires collaboration and discussing concepts with others.
- If you have an only child, allow them to bounce ideas off of you and turn learning into less formal discussions as often as you can.
- Work with them on projects or experiments. Allow them to do the work and learn, but provide a helping hand.
- With SDA, many parents choose a hands-on approach and watch the videos with their kids, discuss the quiz questions, and complete writing activities verbally.
Standard Deviants Accelerate
Standard Deviants Accelerate is a video-based online learning system for homeschoolers in grades 3-12. It is designed to be flexible and individualized in order to accommodate a variety of learning styles and needs. Through videos and a wide range of comprehensive activities, SDA covers everything your child needs to know about a subject, making it the perfect supplemental tool. Whether your family studies at home, or you’re an active family that’s always outside on-the-go, SDA is accessible 24/7 from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or even your smart phone!
Don’t forget to sign up for SDAccelerate’s seven day free trial here!
Post Author: Briana Wilvert, a Standard Deviants Accelerate writer.
Contact: Danielle Bloch
Phone: (866)386-0253 x207