Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Guest Post: Lee Binz - The Four Homeschool High School Advantages
The Curriculum Advantage
Many homeschoolers have a very rigorous academic plan. It doesn’t matter if they choose to unschool, or if they follow a classical education model. Homeschoolers will succeed when they learn on purpose. They will succeed when they do the “next thing” – when they keep moving forward in their homeschool journey. They can invest their money and their time in their weaker areas, as well as their areas of strength.
Homeschoolers have the advantage with curriculum. We can make sure ours is tailor made to suit our students. We can make sure they are always challenged, but that they completely understand concepts before moving on. We can provide broad exposure to a variety of subjects. There is no quagmire or restrictive bureaucracy in your homeschool. There is no school board or teacher's union. With ultimate flexibility, we can make sure the curriculum will always fit our student. We can keep our curriculum challenging but not overwhelming in every subject all the time - or we can make a change.
The Testing Advantage
My sons had great SAT scores because we studied for the SAT test. I read that increased test scores meant increased scholarship money, so we studied two or three times a week. Each time we would do one section from the “10 Real SAT’s” book. It’s not a waste of time to study for the SAT. Students learn vocabulary, get a great math review, and learn essay writing skills. Halfway into his first quarter of college, my son said “I’m so glad you taught me how to write a quick essay! It really helped me on my midterm today!” Again with test scores, homeschoolers have the advantage. We can use SAT prep as part of our homeschool curriculum, and study it during school hours.
The Comprehensive Records Advantage
When we applied for admission, I gave the colleges a lot of information. Many homeschoolers prefer to keep their educational information private. It’s okay for colleges to ask us for our information because it’s an exchange. We give them information about our homeschool, and they give us admission and possibly scholarships.
The minimum information they need is a transcript. I chose to provide more information than the minimum, and it really helped. For everything on our transcript, I wrote a course description, listed the books we used, and documented how I graded the class. Homeschoolers have the advantage regarding educational information. We control our homeschool records and we can determine exactly how much information we provide to colleges. Our comprehensive homeschool records were so successful and so many homeschool moms requested help creating similar records, that for the next three years I worked on developing the Comprehenive Record Solution.
The Character Advantage
Character is the fourth reason I believe we were given great scholarships. My sons were invited to participate in the scholarship competition at Seattle Pacific University because of their comprehensive records and their SAT scores, but that’s not why they won.. I was nervous about them competing in something so intense, but the kids had fun. When the boys came home that day, they both said, “I don’t know if I won, but I had a great time! All the kids were so nice!”
Later I was told that the evaluators were looking for character. The students were observed when they walked between events. Were they friendly and kind to others? How did they interact with their peers? When character and socialization are evaluated, homeschoolers have the advantage. We can mold and shape the character of our children while they are at home with us, instead of allowing them to be conformed to their peers.
So how did that happen? How did both our children win full tuition scholarships? Simple; we homeschooled them through high school!
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's 5 part mini-course, "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School." You can find her at http://www.thehomescholar.com/ .