Homeschooling through high school: Do homeschool graduates need a GED?

All homeschool graduates deserve a high school diploma or certificate of completion. After all, they completed a high school program of study. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

To view a previous post on “Homeschooling Through High School,” click here. Continuing with information on the joys and tribulations of homeschooling through high school, here’s the answer to Question #2 which was posed on the first “Homeschooling through high school” blog entry.

Question #2: Will he/she have to take the GED?

The definitive answer is no. If your child finished the courses and fulfilled the criteria for homeschooling that both your state and you have mandated, there is no reason to take the GED. It is possible that some schools, employers, or other agencies may ask for something other than the diploma that was issued by you and/or your spouse for proof that your child graduated from high school. If you’ve supplied a transcript and a diploma, and it’s not accepted, your child is being discriminated against, and you should contact the Home School Legal Defense Association. Even if you’re not a member, the HSLDA will help. Contact information is here.

First, not all schools–public or private–are accredited. If you’re an independent homeschooler who is homeschooling under your state’s homeschool or private (non-public) school statute, your homeschool, and therefore, the diploma won’t be accredited. But also understand this:  Accreditation will not ensure that your child will be accepted at college, vocational school, or by an employer. What counts is knowledge and performance, and know-how is usually demonstrated to Admissions Committees by student SAT/ACT scores. Also, keep in mind that colleges rarely request a diploma but do require a transcript, which you, as the homeschooling parent, should create.

Some parents (or kids) want an “accredited” high school diploma, and two states will oblige homeschoolers. (There may be more, and if so, leave a comment and inform me.) In New Jersey, if a child was homeschooled he/she can obtain a state high school diploma by passing the GED or by completing 30 college credits at an accredited institution. Another way for New Jersey homeschooled students to obtain a state diploma is by passing the High School Proficiency Assessment (HPSA) at the proficient or advanced proficient level. North Dakota homeschooled students receive diplomas through their district, a private school, or the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

Keep in mind that not everyone homeschools via a homeschool or private school statute. Some are enrolled in church, umbrella, or satellite schools. A fee is paid to the school, and personnel keeps a record of grades and transcripts. In many cases, the school, also, issues the diploma. Some of these schools are “accredited,” but many are not. However, they are legal (or should be) and help homeschooling families remain compliant with state laws.

You might wonder if a GED might ever be the best option for a homeschooler. Whether it’s best or not is subjective, but it is a choice. Maybe your homeschooled teen is far behind with the school work due to illness, lack of motivation, refusal to finish school work, etc. Maybe you’ve tried, but the mom-teacher collaboration wasn’t effective after your son/daughter hit puberty. It could be that you don’t want to homeschool another year due to family circumstances. If you decide a GED is best, locate the nearest GED prep class, or your teen can study for the GED on his/her own via an online program. The actual test must be taken in person at a designated location.

Now,  for those who homeschooled through high school, how do you create a beautiful symbol of a milestone accomplished? There are many free templates online, or you can purchase a fancy diploma.

Copyright June 12, 2017

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eTAP: How to use for college test prep

eTap: Keeping homeschooling simple

I’ve mentioned eTAP’s  10-day free trial before, which, by the way, is still available. In this post, I’m going to be more specific on how the program can be used for college test prep. If you’re homeschooling your child through high school, this will be especially helpful. But any parent who has a high school student who wants to attend a college where the admissions process is competitive scores matter can benefit from exam preparation. (Click here for a video link.)

It’s simple; sign up for the free trial on the home page. Then click on the “Test Prep” tab at the top of the page.  On this page, you’ll find text that explains how eTAP can be used to help your child pass various exams. Under the “College Entrance” exams section, click on SAT or ACT. (I’ll use the ACT for an example in this post.)

Each page has a break down of the components of testing areas on the exam. You’ll also find a link under “more information” that takes you directly to the ACT website. Click on “Test Prep,” which includes  a description of the test, sample questions, and FAQs.

On the ACT page, the following categories are listed:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • Earth Science
  • English
  • Math

If you click on the Biology link, you’ll land on a page that has links to all the eTAP lessons needed for a thorough and detailed study on Biology. Text, diagrams, as well as links to resources and videos provide curriculum that appeals to every learning style. There is also a pre-test, practice test, and post-test for each lesson, which serves as a means of assessment. This is an excellent way of determining what a student already knows, what was learned immediately after a lesson is completed, and skills attained after studying.

You can also create a custom version of a lesson by clicking on “Create Custom Version” on a link at the top left side of the screen. The customized version of the lesson can be saved and copied to a Word document. This is best for students who prefer reading from printed material.

The above is  one description of the many ways eTAP can be used. There are also other test prep categories which are listed below:

  • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
  • California High School Exit Exam (CHSEE)
  • California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)
  • General Education Development (GED)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Nevada High School Proficiency Examination (NHSPE)
  • New York Regents Exams (various subject areas)

If you have more than one high school student, the low monthly fee allows access for all. An added bonus is that all K-12 students in your household have individualized grade-level access without extra fees. I’m using eTAP for my 10th grade son, Ade, and it’s user-friendly, empowering him with the ability to set his own learning course. At the same time, I can check his progress via the parent login. High school is the focus here, but eTAP includes curriculum for K – 12.

The program is excellent for homeschooling, after school, remediation, test prep, and advanced placement. It’s also affordable and will help your child(ren) accomplish their academic goals.

Disclosure: I agreed to write about eTAP based on my son’s positive learning experience. The above content was not written by eTAP, but the writer was compensated.

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Time4Learning high school review

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Time4Learning (T4L) offers a complete high school curriculum at an affordable price. This summer, my son Ade (pronounced ah-DAY) wanted to get a jump start on 10th grade and decided to try T4L. He enrolled in four classes: Earth/Space Science, Health, U.S. Government/Civics, and World History. He also started three other classes (English and Business Math) via lesson plans that I created along with a Bible class through a ministry school. (There are courses he likes to take online, but he prefers a different format for others.)

The great thing about T4L is that students can choose four classes for the same low price. During our official school year, Ade will complete the classes he started this summer, then use Time4Learning for some of his core classes. When he finishes one class he can replace it with another, and the cost doesn’t increase. For over four classes, there is a small monthly fee for each extra class.

We were both familiar with T4L, because we started with it when he was a first grader and continued through 6th grade as a supplement to other homeschooling curriculum. When my son was seven, I learrned that he is is cognitively gifted, a voracious reader, and a self-directed learner.

Then, as now, I work from home, and I have always encouraged independence. At age 15, Ade directs his own learning, which includes T4L, classes I design, outside classes, and other activities. His learning style is almost equally divided among visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and Time4Learning is a good fit.

At the lower grade levels, there is animation, which makes learning fun. In high school, animation is also included in some of the videos. The lectures, however, are presented by “real” people who are engaging, informative, and often, funny. You can try out Time4Learning for yourself, because there is a two week money back guarantee. The presentation style makes the assignments appear easy, but in reality, they are challenging and standards based.

While reviewing an Earth Science video, I discovered that a transcript of video lessons can be printed. The important points of the lecture can be highlighted, and definitions can be extracted from the transcript while taking notes. The hard copy is also useful for visual learners who like reading from printed materials.

Ade also noted that most lessons have a resource page that can serve as a study guide. There are a variety of questions that are based on the videos students have watched, but there are also answers that can only be derived from comprehension and analysis of the video. Answer keys to resources and tests are accessed through the parent login.

Another feature of Time4Learning is Odyssey Writer, a built-in word processing program for completing assignments. Ade, who is super tech savvy, had a slight problem with using it, but I contacted T4L, and the issue was quickly resolved. Parents grade the writing assignments, and there is a rubric (guide for grading/scoring). For some assignments, Odyssey Writer is required, while others could be done in Microsoft Word, which is more user-friendly.

Although we school year round with a lighter load in the summer, our official school year kicks off today, September 8 (always the day after Labor Day per family tradition). Ade will continue using Time4Learning, because as he says in his low-key manner, “It’s cool.” I strongly agree.

Disclosure: I agreed to write about Time4Learning based on my son’s positive learning experience. The above content was not written by Time4Learning, but the writer was compensated.

Copyright 2015.

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Time4Learning review coming soon

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I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool environment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

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eTAP: Keep homeschooling simple (Try curriculum free for 15 days)

eTap: Keeping homeschooling simple

eTAP (Electronic Teaching Assistance Program) is an online, computer-based learning system that can be used for homeschooling. It works well–especially for children/teens who like working on the computer. It’s also self paced which is a major plus.

It’s also worth every penny: All the children in your family can use it for the now low price of $39 monthly. That’s right. If you have one child or ten, the price is the same. It’s a wonderful, or should I say beautiful, thing that you have access to all grade levels (K-12) for one payment. If you want a 15-day eTAP free trial, click here.

If your first choice is not online homeschooling, there may come a time when you need it. I was once ill, could hardly walk, and couldn’t homeschool per usual. The computer was my assistant and my child’s personal tutor.

Language arts, math, science, and social studies are included. Bonuses are test prep for the GED, SAT, ACT, ASVAB and various state high school exit exams.

Curriculum is aligned with state and national standards, and I thought I’d mention this. There are homeschoolers who educate in states that highly regulate homeschooling, i.e., Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, etc., and meeting standards for students in these states is crucial.

Blaise Subbiondo, a former teacher, founded eTAP, Inc. in the year 2000 as a new millennium project to help students, teachers, and parents.

Highlights on personal experience with eTAP

  • My son used eTAP for a short period of time and enjoyed the online lessons. But he prefers physical books/papers to take notes on, so we printed out assignments.
  • Some of the lessons are enhanced by YouTube videos, and a few of the links didn’t work. If you report this to eTAP, the problem will be fixed or alternatives will be offered.
  • A subscription to Discovery Education Streaming Plus videos will enhance eTAP lessons, because you’ll have access to videos on virtually every subject. (As of today, you can become a member of the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op at no cost and get a free 30-day trial to Discovery Education. The Co-op offers this trial intermittently.)
  • At one time, I couldn’t afford eTAP, so I personally contacted Blaise Subbiondo, eTAP’s founder, and he sent me a code which afforded me a discount. Here’s a quote directly from the website: ” . . . provides Free or Reduced Membership Grants to those with incomes below the federal poverty guideline levels. Please email requests for financial assistance to admin@etap.org.”

eTAP is definitely worth trying. If you have any questions, ask via a comment, and I’ll respond ASAP.

Disclosure: I agreed to write about eTAP based on my positive experience. I am not receiving compensation or remuneration for this post.

Copyright 2015.

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Work and homeschool: Doing it all

Work and homeschool: Doing it all

Blogger posing at home workstation.

Work and homeschool is a lifestyle for many.

I love homeschooling and have been at it for nearly nine years. Until recently, my perpetual desire was for it to be my sole focus. How I longed to not have to be concerned about how to make a living, but I’m a single (divorced) mom.

We single parents aren’t the only ones who work and homeschool either. There are married couples who work different shifts, so they can home educate their kids. Some hire outside help while working the same shift. Willing relatives can also make the task easier.

Because of my multi-tasking lifestyle, my son has become independent, flexible, and an excellent researcher.

I’ve homeschooled through every situation imaginable–including homelessness. At one point, our classroom was a library, a room at a shelter, or a then Border’s bookstore.

In 2009, I discovered online writing, and it took me until about 2012 to realize I could actually make a full-time income doing it. Caveat: Full-time writing leaves little time for anything else, so I chose part time.

Work and homeschool can be done, but you’ve got to find what works for you. My journey has been one of trial and error and baptism by fire.

I tried transcription when my son was younger, but it required intense focus and with an active first grader, I knew I had to find another line of work.

I tried returning to school in 2009 when my son was younger, but discovered it, along with homeschooling and writing was overwhelming.

Disappointed, I stopped classes and resumed them in the fall of 2013. It’s now working, because timing is crucial with whatever you do in life.

(Link to video: How Do You Work and Homeschool?)

Now 2015 is here, and I’ve decided to take on a part-time job outside my home. When my son was younger, I wasn’t able to do this, but now that he’s a responsible young man, I can.

The changes I’ve made have been gradual. From the online writing to returning to school in the fall of 2013 to complete a degree via online classes, changes I’ve made in my life, in retrospect have been major, but at the same time step by step.

When I complete my degree next year, I’ll begin teaching English as a second language and basic literacy skills to adults. My desire is to empower others.

With everything else that’s going on, I’ll continue ghost copywriting for blogs and websites when I have an hour or two here and there. (The money will be good for small things like my rainy day fund, field trips, music lessons, and an occasional mini vacation.) Transcription is also something else I do to keep the funds flowing.

Yes, you can work and homeschool. It all depends on the age(s) and maturity of your children and whether you have the support of family, friends, or perhaps, another homeschooling mom.

Here are some resources for work and homeschool how-tos:

How to Work and Homeschool

How to Work and Homeschool Facebook Page

Work and Homeschool Yahoo Group

If you have other resources available for parents who work and homeschool, I’d love to add them to the list. Let me know by adding a comment.

Copyright 2015.

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Can you effectively homeschool?

A mother and her home-schooled daughter. (Image: Creative Commons/Jason Kasper)

A mother and home-schooled daughter. (Image: Creative Commons/Jason Kasper)

Maybe you are thinking about homeschooling. Homeschooling advocates often say anyone can homeschool. However, there are valid reasons that homeschooling might not be a positive experience for you or your children . . .

Can you effectively homeschool? . . .

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