SAT and ACT Prep for Homeschool Students

SAT and ACT Prep for Homeschool Students

(The following is a guest post from Erika Oppenheimer, an SAT and ACT test prep coach in New York City and the author of Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test.)

The SAT and ACT preparation process is challenging, regardless of a student’s life or educational background. An independent education provides students with an incredible opportunity to learn in a way that fits into their lives and learning styles. Homeschooled students may have some advantages in the SAT and ACT prep process over their traditionally educated peers. For example, homeschooled students may have more experience directing long-term projects and self-motivating.

However, there may be some aspects of the SAT and ACT that homeschooled students initially experience as greater challenges than their peers who have spent more time in school settings. By paying attention to their individual strengths and limitations going into the prep process, students can achieve optimal results on their college admissions test.

Here are a few aspects of the SAT and ACT prep process that are important for all test takers, but which may be especially important to highlight for students who have been homeschooled in the years leading up to the SAT and ACT.

Building Endurance

The SAT and ACT are administered over 3-4 hours, depending on whether students take the Essay Test, which many colleges require of applicants. The longest section on the SAT lasts 65 minutes; the longest section on the ACT lasts one hour. If your independent program includes frequent opportunities for the student to stand up, stretch, or dialogue (generally good practices for learning and wellbeing), then you may want to begin incorporating longer periods in which students must work independently and without a break. Building endurance for the test can happen both through taking SAT and ACT practice tests and through completing other coursework. Either way, it is important for students to be able to direct their attention for long periods of time in order to perform well throughout the SAT and ACT.

  • Test Prep Action Step: Work independently and without interruption for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break to stretch or move around. Build up to one hour of focused productivity.

Working around Other People

Students without special testing accommodations will take the SAT or ACT at a local test center, surrounded by other test takers. If your homeschool program consists mostly of the student working alone in a room (supervised or unsupervised) or in small groups, then the student may want to gain experience focusing in less isolated or familiar settings. The public library is a great place to take SAT and ACT practice tests. The library is mostly quiet, but still has more activity than an empty room.

    • Test Prep Action Step: Move your SAT/ACT practice test—or your homeschool or homework session—to a local library or other public space.

Do you worry that your homeschool student will be unprepared for all those important steps to make it into college?  High school can be a stressful time for a homeschool mom, but we are here to help.  Check out these ACT and SAT tips for homeschooler, and make sure you are on the right path today! #homeschool #testing #testprep #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Managing Time

The SAT and ACT are, of course, timed tests. The element of time shouldn’t be thought of as an obstacle to top performance, but rather an aspect of this particular “game.” The challenge of the game is answering as many questions correctly as one can within the time limits.

There are three elements of this challenge: first, a willingness to adapt one’s approach to tasks such as reading passages so that time isn’t wasted rereading portions of the passage or reading for details that won’t later be covered in the test questions; second, developing a strong understanding of the concepts being tested; third, discovering an overall pacing strategy that balances the quality of a student’s answers (his or her accuracy) with the quantity of questions answered—disproportionately favoring one over the other will have a negative impact on a student’s scores.

    • Test Prep Action Step: Rather than simply taking practice test after practice test, do an initial review of the concepts tested on the SAT or ACT and the format of the test for which you are preparing. After this review, apply your knowledge within the test through taking practice tests. See where you get stuck, and review those concepts in greater depth. At first, you may not finish a given section, but as you build comfort with unfamiliar topics and the test format, you’ll naturally begin to work more quickly. Within the Reading section of either test and the ACT’s Science section, which depend less on preexisting knowledge, you may not need to do an initial review, but you can spend time considering what approach to reading the passage will enable you to work most efficiently. You may also do timed drills, in which you break the section into smaller parts to get a better sense of your pacing and experiment with different approaches.

(Does your student need practice testing?  Check out the Performance Series Tests from True North Homeschool Academy.)

Managing Nerves

Given that the tests are an important part of the college and scholarship application processes, they often bring up nerves for students. This stress is compounded for students who will take the test in unfamiliar settings. By exploring and adopting habits that help manage stress and nerves, students will be better able to apply what they know in the test room.

  • Test Prep Action Step: Try taking a few full, conscious breaths breathing in for four counts, holding for two counts, and exhaling for four counts. Do you feel any different after than you felt before? A conscious breath is a habit that can be easily incorporated into test taking. Take a conscious breath in between test sections and halfway through each section or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by a test question.

If you feel overwhelmed within the test prep process, consider partnering with a tutor or coach (like me) who is an expert in navigating the test prep process. There’s a lot of information out there about the SAT and ACT, and the person with whom you work will help you determine the strategies that will work best for you. You may also use my book, Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test, as a more complete resource for learning how to effectively navigate every step of the SAT and ACT process.

Erika Oppenheimer

Erika Oppenheimer is an SAT and ACT test prep coach in New York City and the author of Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test. In addition to teaching test content, she helps students manage the stress of the test prep process. Coaching sessions may take place in Manhattan or over Skype.

Learn more about Erika’s coaching programs at ErikaOppenheimer.com.

Receive a free chapter of Acing It! and her One Month SAT & ACT Prep Plans when you sign up for her email updates here.

Competitive Speech & STOA for Homeschoolers

Competitive Speech & STOA for Homeschoolers

As a STOA alumni and coach, I have been through multiple classes and curriculum on public speaking and speech. Although some of these courses are great to teach the basics from, there’s still something missing.

I want you to imagine a high school boy who enjoys the sport of basketball.  This boy shoots hoops in his driveway every day and watches every game of his favorite team. Maybe he’s even hired a personal trainer to help him refine his skills.  After he graduates the boy goes to try out for a college he wants to attend, paid for by a basketball scholarship, but there’s one problem, he’s never actually competed in a game with a team.  Obviously, he is not going to be very successful because as much as he knows about the sport, he has no real experience.

Similarly, many students that study speech and public speaking have not had a platform to prove their skill set and receive needed critiques from judges. By competing against other students in their age group, students can test their strengths and weaknesses.

Why Choose Competitive Speech for Homeschoolers?

Competitive Speech may not seem like it’s necessary at all. Can’t a student give a speech to their parents, or local co-op, and improve based on those critiques?  They can but only to a limited extent.  Judges push students beyond their comfort zone in a way that parents and friends won’t.

How well will the class push the students outside of their comfort zone?

Until the student overcomes their fear of public speaking, there will always be an obstacle in their future.  Ultimately competitive speech tournaments are the best at creating the real-world atmosphere that students will face in college and the workplace.  This forces the students to have to get out of their comfort zone.  Each student is different and some may love public speaking from the start. Even these students will benefit greatly from STOA Coaching and competition.

So, what is STOA?

From the STOA website, STOA is “Stoa is a national Junior High and High School Speech and Debate League serving the needs of privately educated Christian Homeschooling families.”

STOA offers 11 speech events for the 2018-2019 season which runs from August to May.  The events are broken down into four categories:

  • Interpretive Speeches,
  • Limited Preparation Speeches,
  • Platform Speeches, and
  • Wildcard Speeches.

Within the categories the events are –

  • Duo Interpretation
  • Humorous Interpretation
  • Open interpretation
  • Dramatic interpretation
  • Apologetics
  • Mars Hills Impromptu
  • Extemporaneous
  • Expository
  • Original Oratory
  • Persuasive
  • Demonstration.

You can find specific descriptions of each event at this link: https://stoausa.org/speech-events/.

Is your high school student fully prepared to enter the real world? One of the most important aspect of real-world training is communication! See how competitive speech can help your highschooler become a well-rounded adult. #homeschool #highschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

How can my homeschool student become prepared to compete in a STOA event?

True North Homeschool Academy offers STOA prep specifically for homeschool students in our live (online) speech course.  This course provides instruction and experience in preparation and delivery of speeches within a public setting. Emphasis is placed on research, preparation, delivery, and evaluation of informative and persuasive speaking. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to prepare and deliver well-organized speeches.  They will have also developed the interpersonal skills necessary to be effective communicators in an academic setting.

The True North Academy Speech club meetings will run the entire 2nd semester.  The students will spend the first and second month learning the basics of speech writing and selecting which speech events they like the most.  They can select up to 5 events to compete in for a NITOC modeled (aka qualifying) tournament.

How do the STOA Tournaments Work?

Tournaments are held in most states by local clubs, but each competition is a little different.  Tournaments can have either speech or debate, both, or a combination of either.  Tournaments will usually have a total of 6 preliminary rounds for speech events, and those rounds will be split into A and B patterns so that the events are split between the 2 patterns.  This split means each student will compete three times in the preliminary rounds.

These rounds are usually 2 hours long and preferably will have 3 judges per a room to ensure maximum feedback for the student.  After the preliminary rounds, most tournaments will have out rounds(e.g. Quarter-finals, Semi-finals, and finals) depending on the schedule.

For students to qualify for NITOC (Nationals) they must receive 2 “green check marks” from qualifying tournaments during the season.  In order to get a check-mark in that event, the student must place in the top 40% of that event.

This season NITOC will be in Dallas Texas from May 20-25 at Dallas Baptist University.

Are you interested in learning more or joining a True North Speech Club?  Find more information on our website or feel free to contact us with any questions.

 

Using Planners with your High School Students

Using Planners with your High School Students

(This post may contain affiliate links.)

For the past four years, I’ve worked as we’ve homeschooled and I have also had high schoolers who have been going through fairly rigorous academic programs. Throw in a few extra-curriculars, like music and karate and Latin National Exam, and a play mid-year, possibly TeenPact, and you have a lot going on.

We’ve managed all of this by using planners for everyone.

Because all of us are so different, we all have a different planner. For example, I like Bullet Journals- it allows me to keep a detailed calendar, take copious notes, brainstorm, brain-flow, and Venn diagram without leaving a zillion papers around the house.  My son likes a very structured planner, with room for notes; he color coordinates his day and refers to it all day long. My daughter has a very girly planner where she keeps notes, doodles, writes comedy sketches.  My husband is a Franklin Covey man from way back.

First, find a planner that works for each individual.

If it’s too structured, doesn’t leave enough room for doodles, notes or creative thinking or not structured enough when you need it, it’s a recipe for not getting used. Study your kids’ personalities and get them a planner that fits what they need.

Then, teach them to use it!

I sit down with my kids weekly throughout high school and talk them through planning their week. We put in daily details, overall big picture planning, on-going projects, monthly re-occurring things, church, music, school, sports and volunteer activities. They often forget to plan on driving time when they might need to get to church early to help with tech. These things take time and are all part of teaching young adults how to manage and balance everything.

We try to schedule a weekly morning basket, and some years we’ve had better success at this than others. This year has thrown us for a loop because I am either teaching first thing in the morning or my daughter is online in class first thing. So, our morning basket is going to be an after-lunch basket. The point is that we touch base for an intentional time throughout each day.

In the past, our week has revolved around our academic class day, making things somewhat easier in that projects, papers and presentations were all due on that one particular day. This year, we are no longer involved in that program and my daughter is taking several online academic classes, throughout the week. This has provided some stress for her as due dates are on-going (more like how public school is or college will be). That has provided a great learning opportunity as well, as we’ve had to discuss how to manage the various class and due dates.

We regularly have weekly planning meetings, as we have several drivers and multiple cars, live out of town and often have engagements in the evening.

(Need more information on teaching your student to use their planner?  Check out these 7 tips from Student Tutor.)

Why all of this work on planning with my kids?

Because scheduling is one of those skills that lead to time and self-management skills that I want my kids to have before they leave home.  So tell me, do your kids have planners of their own? What are your top tips for teaching planning skills?

(Are you looking for more skills to teach your high school student before they leave your home?  Check out our tips for teaching effective online communication.)

Have you taught your homeschool student to use a planner?  If not, now is the time!  Check out these tips from True North Homeschool Academy on teaching your homeschool child to use a planner.  #Homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #Planner

Pursuing Interests through Homeschool Electives

Pursuing Interests through Homeschool Electives

When I first made the decision to homeschool my son who was just starting Kindergarten, I began to look at curriculum.  I soon discovered there were THOUSANDS of choices! And that was just for one subject! I soon found that there were favorites among homeschoolers – for example, the “Saxon-eers” and the “Math-U-See-ers”!

Electives are sometimes harder, though.  Everyone is looking for core curriculum, but electives are based on interests, which can vary widely. While classes and activities are readily available, the sea of information can be overwhelming at times.  

Personally, I am a big believer that our children should have some choice in their homeschooling, especially if there are struggles in one or more academic area. That is some of the benefits of homeschooling, and it helps prepare them for making choices and career decisions as teenagers and adults.  

Here are a few ideas for pursuing interests through homeschool electives. Some are free, the others are worth every penny…

Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves Animals:

Does your child love animals?  Does he love to go to the zoo, visit the animal shelter and pet shop?

  • Science classes – classes are available on all kinds of topics – oceanology, zoology, entomology…these and more would be subjects this type of child would be interested.
  • Pre-Veterinarian classes – hands-on experience by volunteering for a local veterinarian or horse ranch
  • Unit studies about specific animals – there are lots available online, or make your own by pulling resources together.  For ideas, visit SPED Homeschool’s Curriculum page on Pinterest
  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter – Help train and care for animals to help them find their forever home
  • Visit zoos and national and state parks – so much can be learned by watching and seeing animals in natural and man-made habitats! Most zoos offer educational programs and classes, and state parks often include educational tours and information.
  • TNHA’s Biology Class – an awesome class for learning about animals down to the cellular level.

Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves computers:

From Powerpoint to coding, the computer can make schoolwork seem a lot more fun!

  • Hour of Code – from pre-reading through high school, a great resource to explore and decide if this might be something you enjoy.
  • TNHA’s C# Programming Class – a hands-on class for ages 12 and up!
  • Game Design – Love computer games? Learn to design your own with this great class (12 and up).
  • Loves Designing and Building – This is my boys – the Future Engineer and the Future Architect!!!
    • Lego Club (check your local CO-OP or Library to see if they have one or start your own – Legos build problem solving skills and spatial awareness.
    • Variety of Building Blocks – From magnetic blocks to tinkertoys, having a variety of blocks allow children to explore how things might fit together under different circumstances.  
    • TNHA’s Digital Art and Design – as our world becomes more digital, this is a growing and necessary area to explore and become familiar with!
    • TNHA’s 3D Modeling – Pre-recorded awesome class students can complete on their own time schedule! Great ½ credit elective that his fun and exciting!

Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves Languages:

Languages help us to understand English better, as well as gives us access to the world.

  • TNHA’s ASL I – Hands-on kinestethic language that is fun and useful in so many career and recreational applications! (Used by police officers, firefighters, scuba divers, etc).
  • Hebrew Classes from TNHA – Learn about the language and culture of the Bible! By understanding the context, you gain a deeper meaning and appreciation for the Word.
  • TNHA’s Latin Class – Latin is the foundation for many languages, it can help you to understand and appreciate many other languages including Spanish, French and Italian.
  • Flip Flop Spanish – Conversational, visual Spanish curriculum (See It Say It begins at age 3) – Now also offers a High School Spanish Course – Spanish Geniuses!

Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves to cook or Loves Food:

Explore the world through food – try new things and have fun!

  • Explore cookbooks together – From Mediterranean to Rachel Ray, cookbooks can be a great learning experience! By trying new recipes, you can explore cultures and foods from around the world.  Broaden it into a unit study to explore more about the geography, influences and other factors that go into determining why foods are preferred in different regions of the world.
  • Volunteering at the local food bank or food kitchen – Community service can be a great way to meet people from around the world and from all walks of life.  It is also a way to teach a giving spirit and a humble heart.
  • TNHA’s Culinary Arts class – Fun to do together with your child, or allow your child to explore basics on their own!

Homeschool Electives for the child that loves space:

The moon and space seem so mysterious and far away, bring them closer with some awesome resources!

  • NASA has videos, articles and other resources – a great way to explore about the universe and what we know so far
  • Hubble Telescope Images – see pictures taken from space and what we are learning about our universe on a daily basis!
  • Visit an observatory or planetarium in your area – Most offer educational tours and great resources for learning more!
  • Loves Books – From classics to new, books open doors and allow your child to explore different universes!
    • Check your local library for reading programs – ours include great prizes for children and even adults!! Also, check your favorite restaurants to see if they have a reading club or would be interested in starting one!
    • TNHA’s C.S. Lewis Club – Explore these incredible books in this fun club!
    • TNHA’s Classics Club – explore Greek and Roman life through this fun and exciting club while being engaged in some fun projects!

So what do you think?  Do you believe in pursuing interests through homeschool electives?  What are some of your favorite choices?

Amy Vickrey is a homeschooling mom of a six-year-old and almost two-year-old, and the wife and caregiver of a disabled veteran who struggles with health issues and PTSD.  She holds a Masters of Science in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction, from the University of Central Missouri and a Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University.  Also, she spent 2 years of college studying Interpretation for the Deaf and Deaf Studies and knows American Sign Language. Her teaching certifications include Special Education, English as a Second Language and Generalist (early childhood through fourth).  

Do you believe in pursuing interests using homeschool electives? See some great ideas on how to combine interest led learning with your homeschool elective choices. #homeschooling #electives #interestledlearning

Homeschool Tools for Tomorrow: Networking

Homeschool Tools for Tomorrow: Networking

Networking

Networking is key to success, regardless of you vocation! Aside from my faith, few tools in my toolbox have served me better than my personal and professional network. When I think about how my network started and has grown over many years, I’m reminded of an old Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” This proverb holds true when developing and nurturing your network.  If you’re a student reading this article, start growing your network today.  Your network is the most valuable currency you possess.

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I’m often asked by young adults what is the number one thing they should be working on.  It’s simple – your network.

Your professional network is much like a tree. As a young adult, it starts small with a few connections here and there. As you advance in school or your career, your network grows more limbs and branches.  With each passing day, a new branch is added and, sometimes, those branches take us in seemingly strange and unexpected directions. Those unexpected directions, when taken prayerfully, may represent God unveiling his will for you. Taken without prayer or contemplation, those directions may be foolish, or worse, dangerous.

Intentionality

How do you about intentionally growing a network?  It begins with goal setting. Setting a goal to meet at least one new person each week. A lunch meeting or a quick coffee request are generally well received by others (if not, you may not want to network with them anyway) and one meeting usually leads to another.  When meeting, your exclusive goal is to get to know someone better. Be fully present and keep your phone in your pocket or your purse. You may discover the person with whom you’re meeting to have interests and life experiences you never knew existed, thus expanding your horizons. Be willing to share “your story” with intentionality, discussing your family, career and interests.

Benefits

A robust network can produce job opportunities, new friendships and relationships. In times of need, big or small, your network can be relied upon for help.  For instance, at Apprentice University, we frequently need many professionals at our various events to network with our students.  Over the years, I’ve deliberately grown, pruned and nurtured my network such that filling an event with quality and qualified professionals is relatively easy.  Favors and requests are common within a healthy network and, the broader the network, the more likely you’ll find that specific person for a niche need.

Networking is a 2-Way Street

Networking is not all about receiving help or being asked by a friend for help It’s not all about taking. Your network is a two-way street and it demands your attention. Random acts of kindness ought to be labeled as “rare acts of kindness” these days and therein lies a great opportunity for you to differentiate your personal brand in your network. For example, let’s assume one day you’re scrolling through posts on social media and you happen to see someone you know has recently lost their job.  Instead of just scrolling on by, pick up your phone and give them a call (a text message in this case would be insulting, insincere and cheap). Rest assured their world has just been rocked and their need for their network to engage is high.  Don’t wait to be asked to help – jump in, grab coffee with them and listen (truly listen) to what’s on their mind.

Investment

As mentioned above, your network is like a tree. Thus far, we’ve focused on the visible portions of your network, the parts above ground – the limbs and branches.  But what’re equally important are the roots of your network, or your inner self.  A character willing to serve, with humility and without being asked, is a character which will produce a robust network of friends.  We spend time with people in our network, but we invest without reservation in those individuals of an authentic, humble character. In networking, if you’re perceived to always be out for gain, your network will be shallow and flimsy. Be prepared and eager to serve.  In other words, be willing to give of yourself. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Schedule Your Coffee Date!

Your network is one, if not the, most valuable tool in your toolbox. It requires intentionality, pruning and, most importantly, your deliberate and authentic engagement. Remember, plant that tree today – who will you ask to coffee tomorrow?

Networking

Aside from my faith, few tools in my toolbox have served me better than my personal and professional network. When I think about how my network started and has grown over many years, I’m reminded of an old Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” This proverb holds true when developing and nurturing your network.  If you’re a student reading this article, start growing your network today.  Your network is the most valuable currency you possess.

I’m often asked by young adults what is the number one thing they should be working on.  It’s simple – your network.

Your professional network is much like a tree. As a young adult, it starts small with a few connections here and there. As you advance in school or your career, your network grows more limbs and branches.  With each passing day, a new branch is added and, sometimes, those branches take us in seemingly strange and unexpected directions. Those unexpected directions, when taken prayerfully, may represent God unveiling his will for you. Taken without prayer or contemplation, those directions may be foolish, or worse, dangerous.

Intentionality

How do you about intentionally growing a network?  It begins with goal setting. Setting a goal to meet at least one new person each week. A lunch meeting or a quick coffee request are generally well received by others (if not, you may not want to network with them anyway) and one meeting usually leads to another.  When meeting, your exclusive goal is to get to know someone better. Be fully present and keep your phone in your pocket or your purse. You may discover the person with whom you’re meeting to have interests and life experiences you never knew existed, thus expanding your horizons. Be willing to share “your story” with intentionality, discussing your family, career and interests.

Benefits

A robust network can produce job opportunities, new friendships and relationships. In times of need, big or small, your network can be relied upon for help.  For instance, at Apprentice University, we frequently need many professionals at our various events to network with our students.  Over the years, I’ve deliberately grown, pruned and nurtured my network such that filling an event with quality and qualified professionals is relatively easy.  Favors and requests are common within a healthy network and, the broader the network, the more likely you’ll find that specific person for a niche need.

Networking is a 2-Way Street

Networking is not all about receiving help or being asked by a friend for help It’s not all about taking. Your network is a two-way street and it demands your attention. Random acts of kindness ought to be labeled as “rare acts of kindness” these days and therein lies a great opportunity for you to differentiate your personal brand in your network. For example, let’s assume one day you’re scrolling through posts on social media and you happen to see someone you know has recently lost their job.  Instead of just scrolling on by, pick up your phone and give them a call (a text message in this case would be insulting, insincere and cheap). Rest assured their world has just been rocked and their need for their network to engage is high.  Don’t wait to be asked to help – jump in, grab coffee with them and listen (truly listen) to what’s on their mind.

Investment

As mentioned above, your network is like a tree. Thus far, we’ve focused on the visible portions of your network, the parts above ground – the limbs and branches.  But what’re equally important are the roots of your network, or your inner self.  A character willing to serve, with humility and without being asked, is a character which will produce a robust network of friends.  We spend time with people in our network, but we invest without reservation in those individuals of an authentic, humble character. In networking, if you’re perceived to always be out for gain, your network will be shallow and flimsy. Be prepared and eager to serve.  In other words, be willing to give of yourself. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Schedule Your Coffee Date!

Your network is one, if not the, most valuable tool in your toolbox. It requires intentionality, pruning and, most importantly, your deliberate and authentic engagement. Remember, plant that tree today – who will you ask to coffee tomorrow?

Read the entire Tools for Tomorrow series!

 

Empolyability Ron Brumbarger

Ron Brumbarger is one of Indiana’s most recognized technology and education entrepreneurs and visionaries. As a dedicated husband, father, friend, mentor, business owner and volunteer, Ron continually strives to weave his many passions into a unique tapestry to serve others. He has spent his entire professional career leveraging an entrepreneurial mindset to help disruptively change education, apply technology to enhance business practices and facilitate organizational growth. He co-founded BitWise in 1992 and served as the company’s president and CEO until January 2018. He was tapped in 2006 by Indiana’s Governor Daniels and Ball State President Gora to start Indiana’s first, statewide, virtual-charter school. In 2013, he founded Apprentice University ®, an award-winning, competency-based college of higher education, preparing future leaders.Content goes here

High School Electives for Homeschool

High School Electives for Homeschool

High School Electives are what puts the fun in homeschooling High School. Electives are limited only by you interests, time and money! We base our High School Elective Credit on the Carnegie Unit; 120 hours is equivalent to 1 High School Credit. If you need to count hours, True North Homeschool Academy offers free log sheets!
We choose electives based on:

  • Interests
  • Traditional school requirements
  • Our values
  • What’s available in the area.

These activities have included but not been limited to:

TeenPact and alumni events – learn state and national government,how to make a difference in the world despite ones age and get ahold of what it means to be a Christian citizen in today’s world; campaigning– local, state and the national level
Ballroom dancing- protocol at its finest. A local dance company hosts homeschooling ballroom dance lessons and open dancing every other week.
Volley ball – in the summer- lessons and scrimmage
Drama Camp– 1 week every spring with a huge musical every  other year
One Act Plays – every January at the local university theater
Shakespeare Camp – every summer the kids memorize and perform a full Shakespeare play
Yearly formalhigh-school Dinner-Dance– planned and served by area Homeschooling Parents
Teen-Nights -good, clean fun – bonfires, food, friends!
Broom-ball – brooms, a ball and an outdoor ice-rink .
Choir – co-op
art classes-  through co-op, and professional artist friends
Creative writing
Speech/ debate – through co-op, TeenPact and CC
and more!

Our acreage and house-rebuild project  have provided ample opportunity to learn life skills. Our kids know, in great detail, how to drywall, tape, mud, sand and finish, paint, simple carpentry skills, grout, re-finish floors, build brick paths and much more. We have also re-claimed much of our land by clearing, hauling, fence removal, and have gardened, landscaped and hardscaped extensively. The kids have helped me build simple furniture. We have experimented with animals and edible landscaping (our yearly grape crop is juiced and canned, mulberries and rhubarb become pie and scones and elderberries make great cough syrup) and they have enough familiarity with animals to have personal lists of pros and cons. All of the kids know how to comparison shop, cook and meal plan. They all know how to glean and acquire goods and clothing for next to nothing and still look well dressed and respectable.

How did we teach all of this? By living and working alongside of each other. Most of the above was not curriculum but necessity driven. When Dr. Dh and I have not known how to do something (i.e. tile the bathrooms) we have found mentors and books and studied and learned. With that, our kids have also learned how to learn and acquire skills they did not previously have.

Life skills for our teens also include knowing how to introduce people to each other, carry on a civil and interesting conversation, ignore social media for the sake of real time interaction, make others feel welcome and at home and engage in moral, honest relationships. We have technology but use it as a tool rather than being enslaved to it. Shaking hands and making eye contact with new acquaintances is a lost art and one we hope our kids embrace, even as they leave our home.

Driver’s Ed and keyboarding go without saying. I would love for someone to learn small engine repair and fix everything around here, but so far that hasn’t happened.

My current and most recently graduated high-schooler share the passions of history, geography and writing. They have both spent zillions of hours reading and studying history and geography- maps are  handy at our  house- and writing on their own as well as discussing and studying story, character development and genres. They read Susan Wise Bauer’s History of series for fun, listen to Old Western Culture Greeks and Romans on car trips  and spend many hours discussing the fine points and nuances of history.
Poetry is de-rigeur- both memorizing it, reading it and writing it. We use and love Grammar of Poetry.  and Poetry Outloud has been a great recitation competition that is easy to bring to your local homeschooling community.

What Electives do your High School Students participate in?

Read More on Electives in the High School Years from an amazing group of experienced Homeschoolers!