Homeschool for College Credit – A Review
Homeschooling for College Credit by Jennifer Cook De Rosa is a beautiful how-to manual for hacking college credit.
For anyone with kids who plan to go to college, it is a must-read.
The average student graduating from college takes six years instead of 4 and has, on average, $27,000 in debt. It’s also important to factor in college completion rates. According to Alissa Nadworny, 6 out of 10 students who start a college degree never complete it. Those saddled with debt, without an economically feasible plan to pay it off, may end up in deferment. Currently, more than half of student loan debt is in deferral. This affects quality of life on many levels.
Undergraduates can take out up to $57,000 in school debt and graduate students up to $135,000 in debt. Given the stats, it just makes sense to look for an antidote to the college debt disaster. This book is the antidote!
This 300+ page tome is chock full of fantastic information.
Chapter Headings Include:
- Congratulations: You’re a Guidance Counselor
- Thirty Ways to earn College Credit
- Behind the Scenes
- High School Planning
- Dual Enrollment Advice
- Transcripts and Record Keepings
- Homeschool Exit Strategies
- Completely Free Tuition
Unique & Worth Every Penny
What makes this book unique and worth every penny can be found in Chapter 2: Thirty Ways to Earn College Credit.
This chapter goes way beyond the standard fare of CLEP, DE, and AP and the Big 3 and includes companies, colleges, hacking MOOCs for test prep, and so much more. My daughter, for example, is studying her 3rd foreign language in High School and is professionally interested in becoming a translator. Guess what? There are exams specific to language mastery, that can be taken from anywhere in the world that rack up college credits if your students have mastery in a foreign language.
This is a pragmatic book, one that talks about how to guide your teen in a way that makes sense. Included is some tough love regarding degree killers: time, money and socialization, the ROI of a degree (Yes! And why aren’t government loan dollars somehow tied to this?) how the trades are worth considering and strategies for teens who don’t want to go to college. This book is chock full of worthy information that every parent of high schoolers should be thinking about and considering, along with their high school student.
One of my favorite chapters is how to go to college for free. I love it because it is creative and thorough and includes eight different ways your student can earn free tuition.
This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about their high school student’s future.
We are entering a massive shift in the world of work, and young adults burdened with debt or lack of skills/training will be ill-equipped to handle the fast, global changes that are already taking place. This book will help you assist those young people in your life to strategize a clear, concise plan as you homeschool for earning college credit as efficiently and economically as possible.
Jennifer Cook DeRosas does the research for you. It’s all here, in her highly informative and easy to read book, Homeschooling for College Credit; Your guide to resourceful high school planning.
I highly recommend it!
Couple this book with Beyond Personal Finance and join us for Life Skills for Teens. You might also want to read some of the resources we have here on the blog, including Yes! Your Child Can Learn a Foreign Language and High School Dual Enrollment Tips.
If you don’t already follow the Life Skills for Homeschool Teens Facebook page, you will want to bookmark it to keep up with other parents of teens and get the latest scoop on resources for teaching those essential life skills plus encouragement and fun with other homeschool parents who have the same concerns that you do!
Strengthening Executive Functioning
Executive functioning skills regulate, control, and manage one’s thoughts and actions. To put it succinctly, executive functioning skills are what manage the brain.
You probably don’t even think about your own executive functioning or that of others. Unless, of course, you are confronted with a situation in which executive functioning is not, in fact, functioning. Most of us intuitively understand the importance of executive functioning and have a sense of what it is as well as a concern when we don’t “see” it in others. Certain times of fast growth, such as the tween/teen years can affect a child’s executive functioning, especially as the teen brain/body is doing some “Brain Pruning.”
But for some people, executive functioning is more naturally difficult or possibly impaired. These diagnoses can include ADHD, ADD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Processing Disorders, Dementia, and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Three Main Categories of Executive Functioning Skills
- The ability to pay attention and to organize
- The ability to plan and prioritize; being organized during tasks school or work and the ability to set and meet goals
- Task initiation- taking action to get things done (motivation)
- Keeping key information in mind while completing a task
Cognitive Flexibility (Flexible Thinking)
- Understanding different points of view
- Being able to adjust behavior to an unexpected change in the environment or schedule
- Regulating one’s own emotions, including controlling and appropriately channeling one’s feelings
- Self-monitoring (keeping track of what you are doing) and self-awareness (how is one doing in the moment).
- Controlling urges to “do”, thinking before acting or responding, exhibiting deferred gratification as well as perseverance.
Obviously, executive functioning skills are important – they allow us to interface with the world appropriately, build, and keep significant relationships and hold jobs.
How Do Executive Functioning Disorders Manifest?
People with executive functioning issues may exhibit one or more of the following:
- Impulse or emotional control
- The ability to begin, organize, plan and follow through on task completion
- The inability to listen or pay attention
- The inability to manage one’s time
- The inability to multi-task or juggle multiple tasks, even if they are sequential
- Short term memory issues, including an inability to remember what they’ve just heard
- Difficulty following a sequence of steps
- Difficulty changing from one task to another
- Socially inappropriate behavior such as angry or aggressive behavior, statements about self-harm or destruction of property
If you suspect you or someone in your family has issues with executive functioning, all is not lost! You can accommodate or learn coping skills.
Teaching Coping Skills
Tips and tools to ramp up those executive functioning skills include:
- Visual schedules
- Positive reinforcement
- Organizational techniques
- Working memory exercises
- Item lists
- Self-emotional recognition techniques
- Flexible seating
- Slowly introducing differences in schedules to provide flexible thinking
- Extra transitional times
- Frequent breaks
- Timers or alarms during tasks
- Explicit instruction
- Organized homework or assignment binder
- Parent/student contract agreement
- Clearly defined academic and social expectations
- Logic games, puzzles, and coursework
Executive Functioning is the management of the brain. For kids with executive functioning disorders, it is important to fortify them with resources, materials, and processes that will help them with those struggles throughout life. ~Lisa Nehring
Resources and Support
If you need to be better equipped in this area, you will want to join us for our SPED Equipping Membership! We focus on providing support, encouragement and tools for special needs families all week long. We host weekly Equipping seminars with discussions, a Book Club, and Coffee and Chat! You may also want to find out about our current special needs discounts, check out a listing of resources here and read our blog post, Executive Functioning and Why it Matters in Your Homeschool.
Red Fish, Blue Fish
Even though we are in a time of social distancing, we are planning for our next grand adventures. As you dream and plan, I hope you would consider this amazing restaurant chain in Florida. Even its name is compelling!
We recently returned from a trip to the Emerald Coast in Florida, via a conference in Atlanta. When asking my on-line travel buddies about what to see and do in Pensacola, the restaurant Red Fish, Blue Fish was a “must-see” recommendation. How good could it be?
How good? My daughter said it was the best restaurant we’ve ever gone to. To put this in perspective, we’ve done a lot of traveling across the country and in the past several months and have visited SC, MT, TX, GA, TN, ND, and MO.
We’ve eaten the best hash-brown casserole ever in Red Lodge and amazing cheese grits and shrimp at a shack in Texas, serenaded by pouring rain. We’re not foodies, per se but we love sampling native fare and we love fresh, wholesome food.
What makes #RFBF so amazing? So many things.
- It’s in Pensacola, on the Bay. You walk into the restaurant and then right back outside to some amazing seating and beautiful views. I mean, you are sitting outside. But you probably aren’t sitting.
- Because there are games: Yard sized Connect 4, Corn Hole, and big wooden blocks. Throw in a couple of campfire rings, a hammock, a telescope, green grass, along with puppies and it is fantastic fun! The group next to us -picnic tables, y’all- brought puppies, and between the puppies and the games, our grands were in heaven!
- Food. I am not kidding. We’d been at the beach all afternoon and were slightly windblown and thirsty so we ordered what we knew would be yummy and filling: Fish and Chips, Yum Bowls and Greek Salads. Ok. The fish and chips- I ordered it grilled and tried to change to fried. Too late, and I am so glad. BEST fish EVER. Complete with 2 grilled corn on the cobs, coleslaw and fries. I love coleslaw but I hate sweet coleslaw. This was perfect. Crunchy, not bitter, not sweet, just right. My two daughters both ordered Yum Bowls: one blackened fish and one chicken. Oh, my word. Complete with fresh grilled asparagus and fragrant jasmine rice. Dr. Dh ordered a Greek Salad to round out his meal and it was delightful with charred tomatoes, pickled onions, fresh cheese and green olives. He shared. I smiled.
- The Food. We came hungry. Dr Dh and I, our 17-year-old and our adult daughter, her 6’4” husband and our 2 adorable grands. We’d been at the beach all afternoon, shelling, walking, playing, jumping in the water. We shared, the kids played, we ate. We were stuffed and still, we took food home.
- The Bay. We ate, the kids played, we took turns following them around, eating, laughing, talking to the puppy owners, playing corn hole, watching the pod of dolphins in the bay. Yep. Ended our fine meal with a dolphin pod display. I doubt #RFBF can guarantee that for every visitor, but it was a magical end to a wonderful evening and practically perfect day.
Besides all that, why would I recommend you add Red Fish Blue Fish to your must-eat places?
The wait-staff. Attentive and fun. Great service.
Affordable. I felt that the dishes were reasonably priced given the freshness, taste, and portions.
They have fun selections: Alligator stew, Fish tacos, gumbo, calamari for the more adventurous souls. The sides were delicious veggies, beautifully prepared. Drinks, cocktails, beer or wine available and served in plastic cups so you can still play corn-hole and build with blocks while quenching your thirst.
It’s a neighborhood block party that you are welcomed into. There’s an indoor-ish eating area, a bar, and the outdoor eating area. Friendly, kid music played, to add to the festive atmosphere, but not so loudly that you couldn’t hear each other. People started sitting at the fire rings as the evening wore on. People talked and chatted, even if they’d just met. The kids played, puppies scampered, the food was delish and a great time was had by all.
Heartily recommended and a place we’ll return to when we next make our way to the sugar sands of Pensacola.
Soft Skills are those personal attributes that allow us to interact well with others, allowing us to have peaceful and healthy relationships. They are also known as power skills or personality traits. Soft skills are those skills that everyone seems to implicitly understand and are related to manners and social morays. For kids with learning disabilities, however, soft skills can be elusive and confusing.
Hard skills are easily definable skills that are often job-specific, such as knowing how to speak German, code a computer, or write in cursive; those skills that get us the job. Soft skills are more difficult to define and are those skills that allow us to keep the job. You know the adage,
“You are hired for your hard skills, you’re fired for your soft skills.”
What are Soft Skills?
Integrity is the foundation of all soft skills. It is the quality of basing our behaviors on principles instead of situations, being honest and morally upright—integrity based on the Gospel of Truth, instead of our own or others’ desires.
You might have recently heard about the “4 C’s of Education.” These would include
- Collaboration (Teamwork)
- Critical Thinking
Public Schools are beginning to work specifically to train kids in these basic soft skills, as they are so necessary for success in academics, job ability, and stability, and managing and maintaining healthy relationships.
Communication, in particular, is easily identified as the queen of soft skills, as without it, we can hardly function.
Communication Skills Consist of 4 areas:
Employers are currently stressing the need for students to have excellent communication skills, including the ability to persuade by written and spoken communication. In particular, they want to hire those who can “sell” (i.e., persuade) both orally and using the written word.
Collaboration is better known as teamwork. Can you lead, follow, and interact maturely with other team members? Do you problem solve and handle your own emotions well, or are you causing problems for others on your team? Do you understand the team hierarchy well? Are you willing to lead, follow, and get out of the way?
All of these skills go into being a good team player, at different times and various seasons.
Critical Thinking is the ability to analyze facts and form a conclusion, using deductive and inductive reasoning, formal and informal logic, and the scientific method. Critical thinking allows us to be proactive, instead of constantly reactive, strategize, and take the long view, deferring our own short term gratification for long term pay-offs.
Creativity is all about thinking outside the box, generating new ideas or tweaking old ones to fit new situations, and interacting with materials, people, and resources in unique ways.
Time and Distraction Management
Time and Distraction Management is the ability to manage one’s time effectively to accomplish small and large tasks, repetitive as well as on-going tasks. This also has to do with the ability to manage distractions, be that a little sibling, social media notifications or our own self needs or interest. Developing good time management habits is critical to being able to interact with the world in a mature fashion.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Flexibility and Adaptability require having the ability to change and flex as needed. Our world is growing increasingly complex with radical and sudden shifts occurring on both a micro and macro scale. We must teach our kids to flex and adapt as needed as well as to know how to set appropriate boundaries and to stand firm when time and circumstances demand it.
Work Ethic is the value that hard work is intrinsically valuable and worth doing for its own sake. Having kids who are diligent and detailed oriented in their work can mean the difference between success and failure in so many areas of life.
Leadership is both the ability to research and prepare for what’s ahead as well-being to lead, guide, or instruct a group or individuals, teams, or organizations.
In a world that makes it increasingly easy to “block” or “ghost” someone, loyalty is a soft skill worth developing. Standing by one’s faith, family and friends is the mark of someone with integrity and other well-formed soft skills. Everyone is irritating, demanding, and in need of salvation and standing by and next to each other while recognizing our own and each other’s humanity is what being loyal is all about. The soft skill includes patience, kindness, self-control, and the willingness to overlook the other’s failings.
Soft skills are those skills that take a lifetime to master and can always be improved upon.
All of us have soft skills that come naturally to us, and those that are a struggle. Regardless, we can all develop a lifestyle of learning so that we continue to grow and develop to glorify God-given who He has made us to be, and in doing so, shine His light in a world that is growing increasingly dark.
Where to Find Out More About Teaching Soft Skills
Click on the links in this post to view courses offered by True North Homeschool Academy teachers who have goals that are aligned with yours as a homeschool parent.
We believe in the importance of Soft Skills so much that we host a weekly podcast on Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age!
Please join us over at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network for more great discussion and information on Soft Skills!