to your copy. - Kalamazoo Area Home School Association

guide to
Southwest :M.icfiigan
Dedicated to Ned and our precious children
Amy, Sarah, Craig, and Scott,
who held down the fort for many days
while I compiled, wrote, rewrote, and revised.
Your support and encouragement
mean so much to me.
And to Robin who nourished me through
the last hours of this project-that was so thoughtful!
© Copyright 2003 Linda Goldman
Revised 2004, 2005, 2007
All rights reserved. Please respect the time and effort that went into putting this information
together. No part may be reproduced without permission.
For information contact Linda Goldman
1. Getting Started and Keepin' On
Answers to common questions
2. Simplify the Web- Just Type "Coogle"!
Get connected and find everything quickly
3. Educating Mom and Dad First
Resources to learn more about homeschooling
4. Where to Find Homeschool Resources
Favorite catalogs and curriculum
5. "Do I Have to do this Alone?"
Classes, clubs, and activities available to help
6. Michigan State Law
Home School Legal Defense Information
7. What About Socialization?
How would you handle this question?
8. High School, College, and Career Planning.......58
Timelines, testing, scholarships and such
Reason for this Guide
I have been homeschooling for more than eleven years, the last ten of those in southwest
Michigan. For six years I co-coordinated a homeschool co-op at Richland Bible Church in
Richland, Michigan. As the contact point for the co-op I got many calls from parents with
questions such as "How do I go about starting tomeschoounq?", "How do I know I can do
this?': "Can I start homeschooling with
a junior or senior high child?': 'What resources are
available in the area?", "What if I can't teach Algebra (or writing, or biology etc.)?"
It is very easy to spend an hour on the phone with one of these parents and still not do
justice to answering their questions. There are so many resources available both nationally
and in our local area. How can you tell someone about them in a few minutes? There are
hundreds of books written on homeschooling, but which do you read and where do you get
A few years ago the Richland Bible Church Quest Homeschool Co-op sponsored a
"Homeschool Parent Information Seminar". I tried to pull together as many resources as
possible for the event. It took more time than I could ever have imagined! The feedback I got
was "Wow, this is so helpful." And from veteran homeschoolers "I wish I had had this
information when I started out."
Thus was born the idea of putting this book together that would give homeschoolers in
southwest Michigan, particularly the Kalamazoo area, a one-stop resource for finding the
information they need. This book doesn't give you all the ins and outs of homeschooling,
rather the goal of this book is to point you to the myriad of resources available to you.
Obviously it is impossible to cover everything. I've probably forgotten many good resources.
I will be updating this book periodically, so if you have a favorite book, tutor, organization etc.
that you think should be included, please write or email me.
In service to those seeking the Lord's will for their child's education,
Linda Goldman
Chapter 1
Getting Started and Keepin' On
I am including some basic "how to get started' information in this chapter. Instead of
reinventing the wheel I am including some very helpful articles from other homeschool
authors. There are plenty of books published and articles online to help you learn more about
homeschooling. I list some book recommendations in chapter 3.
The first two articles in this chapter "Questions and Answers Concerning Homeschooling"
and "How to Start Homeschooling in 8 Easy Steps" are very helpful. Take the time to read
these thoroughly and you will probably better choose among the materials and resources
presented in the rest of this guide.
Debra Bell, the author of the third and fourth essays has written a helpful resource called The
Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling (affectionately nicknamed UGHS). There are many other
authors' works I could have included. I would recommend using Google (see chapter 2) to
find and visit the following sites for more great articles: wholeheart, elijah company,
homeschooling today, homeschool oasis, debra bell, mary pride, and ignite the fire.
If you are still searching this option called homeschooling you might be skeptical and wonder
"What are the benefits to homeschooling?" I would strongly encourage you to read a general
book on homeschooling which will help you understand why so many people have chosen
this method of education. Check out the chapter on local library resources and catalog
companies to find books on homeschooling. But to get you started, here is a mini-list of why
many have chosen homeschooling.
Getting Started and Keep in , On
Benefits ofHomeschooling - taken from a variety of writers.
Academic excellence
Affirmation of masculinity for boys who might be labeled hyperactive or ADD by the school
Better sibling relationships
Can capture the child's interest
Chance to study topics in-depth
Control of the spiritual environment
Control over curriculum
Control over readiness
Costs less than a private school
Desire for healthy self-respect
Desire for moral excellence in children
Effectiveness of the tutoring model
Encouragement abounds
Encouraging lifelong learning and a love of learning
Fathers with long or unusual work hours still have time with the kids
Fosters independent learning
Great teachers ©
Homeschooled students consistently score equal or above peers on standardized tests
Hot lunch program ©
Individual attention
Individuality promoted
Lack of peer dependency
Laughter welcomed
More and better time with your children
Multiage learning
No dress code
Passing the baton of our faith
Peace of mind knowing children are safe and protected
Reclaim the family and build intimate relationships with our children
School prayer is allowed
Selective socialization
Small class size
Strengthens the family unit
The pleasure of your children's company (most of the time!)
Thinking outside the box is encouraged
Thrill of witnessing learning and discovery
Transfer our values
Getting Started and Keepin' On
Answers Concerning Home Schooling
offers legal advice or defense. For informa­
tion, an application form, or a free summary
of your state's home-school law, contact
HSLDA, Box 3000, Purcellville VA 20134,
(540) 338-5600,
by Sue Welch and Cindy Short, editors
The Teaching Home magazine
Q. Why do families home school?
A Many Christian parents are committed
to educating their children at home because
of their conviction that this is God's will for
their family. They are concerned for the
spiritual training and character development
as well as the social and academic welfare of
their children. Specific advantages have
been expressed as follows:
Parents can present all academic sub­
jects from a biblical perspective and include
spiritual and character training.
Parents have quality time available to
train and influence children in all areas.
Each child receives individual attention
and has his unique needs met.
Parents can control destructive influ­
ences such as temptations, false teachings (in­
cluding secular humanism, evolution, and im­
moral sexuality), occult influences, negative
peer pressure, and unsafe environments.
Children respect their parents as teachers.
The family experiences unity, closeness,
and mutual enjoyment of one another.
Children develop confidence and inde­
pendent thinking away from the peer pressure
to conform and in the security of their home.
Children have time to explore new inter­
ests and to think.
Communication between different age
groups is enhanced.
Tutorial-style education helps each child
achieve his full educational potential.
Flexible scheduling can accommodate
parents' work and vacation times and allow
time for chosen activities.
Q. Are parents qualified to teach?
A You know your children better than
anyone else and have the deepest love and
concern for them.
You also have the most direct and longterm responsibility for your children before
God, who commands parents to teach their
children His Word, the most important thing
they will learn (Deut, 6:6, 7).
Educationally, one-to-one tutoring has
many advantages over a classroom where one
teacher tries to meet the needs of many children at different learning levels.
You do not need to know everything in
order to teach. Your example and enthusiasm
in learning with your children will motivate
and encourage them.
Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National
Home Education Research Institute, conducted an analysis of standardized test results
for 16,320 home-school children. He found
these children to average at or above the 73rd
percentile in all subject areas (i.e., in the top
Q. How much time does it take?
27 percent of students tested nationwide). He
demonstrated that there is little relationship
between parents' education levels and chil­
dren's scores. (For information on this report
and how to contact NHERI, see p. 27.)
Resources are available to give home edu­
cators on-the-job training:
The organizations listed on p. 33 offer
conventions, workshops, and newsletters.
They can also refer you to a local support
group in your area. See www.TeachingHome.
com for Web links.
Articles in current and back issues of The
Teaching Home written by experienced home
schoolers deal with the philosophy and meth­
ods of teaching all subjects to all ages.
God promises His wisdom and assures you
that He will supply your needs as you follow
His leading (James 1:5-7).
Q. Is home schooling legal?
A Each state sets its own laws governing
home education. Complying with these laws
may be as simple as informing the school
district of your intent to home school and
having your child tested or as complex as
fulfilling requirements to be a private school.
(See Summary, p. 29.)
Legislation is continually proposed. It is
important to work with your state and local
Christian home-school organizations to aid
the passage offavorable bills.
Constitutional rights to liberty and privacy
under the Fourteenth Amendment and the free
exercise of religion under the First Amendment guarantee parents the right to educate
their children according to their convictions.
However, lower courts have ruled inconsistently in applying these rights.
We encourage you to comply with the law
as far as your conscience will allow.
It is important to obtain a copy of your
state's law pertaining to home education. You
can avoid many problems by being accurately
informed and by using tact and respect in
dealing with government school authorities.
Home School Legal Defense Association
A Home schooling does require a time
commitment. However, one-to-one tutoring
is more efficient than classroom instruction
and thus takes less time.
Time requirements vary according to the
methods used, the ages of the children, and the
number of children being taught.
Academic instruction might begin with
one-half to one hour for the early grades and
work up to a few hours of instruction and/or
independent study for upper grades. Most cor­
respondence courses state that their work can
be completed in four or five hours per day.
Q. Can I teach several children?
A You can teach subjects such as Bible,
science, history, and literature to several
grade levels of children together.
Lessons can be presented in an amplified
manner with explanations that enable all chil­
dren to understand and assignments tailored to
Older students can do much of their work
independently while younger ones receive
necessary tutoring in basic skills.
Q. What about socialization?
A "Socialization" may be the most misun­
derstood aspect of home schooling.
Popular opinion assumes that children need
interaction with a group of peers to acquire
social skills. By contrast, many believe that
extensive peer contact during childhood can
cause undesirable peer dependency and negative behavior patterns.
"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'" (I Cor. 15:33).
Children are more likely to be influenced
by the majority than to be an influence on
them. Children who are educated outside the
home are prone to accept their peers' and
teachers' values over those of their parents.
Some advantages of freedom from peer
pressure can be self-confidence, independent
thinking, the ability to relate to people of all
ages, and better family relations.
Godly principles of interaction can be
taught, demonstrated, and reinforced at home
by parents. Children can learn needed social
skills by interacting with siblings or other
children and adults under their parents' supervision. Young people who have had this type
of training have adjusted well to adult life.
Your children will build lasting friendships
with people of all ages as they interact with
(Cant. onp. 38.)
church and family friends.
Copyright 2001 byThe Teaching Home, Box 20219, Portland OR 97294,, Used with permission.
Getting Started and Keepin' On 5
Q What about higher education?
'Thousands of universities and colleges
accept home schoolers, Many of these
schools actively recruit home-educated
graduates because of their maturity, inde­
pendent thinking skills, creativity, and exten­
sive academic preparation," says Inge Can­
non, executive director of Education PLUS.
In preparation for college entrance or voca­
tional training programs, parents should pre­
pare a transcript of high school work, award a
diploma, and specify a high school graduation
date. SAT or ACT scores are usually required
for college admission.
A high school diploma may not be neces­
sary for military enlistment, college enroll­
ment, or employment when a student has 15
credit hours of college work completed.
Many colleges offer nontraditional pro­
grams for off-campus study.
Some home schoolers enter their chosen
fields through apprenticeship programs super­
vised by parents and professionals.
Principle Approach. Teachers and students
keep subject notebooks that contain biblical
perspectives and principles, personal applica­
tions, and information on the subject acquired
from various sources.
Unit Studies. Theme-centered units inte­
grate several subjects. Language arts and
math need additional systematic teaching.
You shall love the LoRDyour God
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your might.
And these words, which I am
commanding you today shall be on
your heart; andyou shall teach them
diligently to your sons and shall talk
ofthem when you sit in your house, and
when you walk by the way, and when you
lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Q What about special interests?
A A wealth of experiences outside the
home can supplement and enrich home edu­
cation. Unlimited possibilities abound for
field trips for individual families or groups.
Specialized classes are often available
through parks, museums, art schools, or pri­
vate teachers. Church and community teams
offer various sports opportunities.
There may be more enrichment activities
and time in which to do them available for
home-taught students than for those in school.
Q What materials are available?
A Fine Christian educational materials
developed for Christian schools are available
to home educators. New materials have also
been developed or adapted especially for
home teaching. These materials may be
obtained in the following three basic ways:
You may order texts and teaching aids
directly from the publishers or through mail­
order companies. Each issue of The Teaching
Home presents many suppliers of quality
teaching materials. (See "Resource Direc­
tory," p. 5, and at
An extension program offered through a
local Christian school or church can provide
teaching materials, testing, and counseling.
Materials, record keeping, and help can
be obtained through correspondence courses.
Home educators can choose or combine
elements of the following approaches.
Traditional Textbooks. High-quality text­
books are available from Christian publishers.
These cover each subject in depth and in a
logical order of topics.
Worktexts combine textbooks with exer­
cises in consumable write-in books.
Classical Approach. Children progress from
memorization of facts and development of
leaming skills to advanced logical reasoning
and expressive use oflanguage to discuss their
knowledge and beliefs.
Books" Life Experiences. Other than basic
teaching in the three Rs, much learning comes
through reading good literature and nonfic­
tion. Everyday activities supplement study
and give it perspective.
Q What methods should I use?
A There is no one right method or curricu­
lum. As an artist has an entire palette of colors
to mix and use, so a home educator has a vast
array of effective methods from which to
choose. These choices may be based on:
Ages of the children.
Subject matter being taught.
Number of children you are teaching.
Your time for preparation and teaching.
Your children's abilities or special needs.
Motivation that certain methods may
provide to your individual children.
As you mix methods, your home school
will become uniquely fitted to your family.
Q Are there any difficulties?
A The following are common difficulties
along with some suggested solutions.
Lack of confidence. With experience, you
will gain the confidence you lacked at first.
Fear of being unable to work with your own
children. Parents who do not have their chil­
dren's respect will have trouble getting their
cooperation. Gaining their respect through
proper relationships, discipline, training, and
example should be the parents' top priority.
Home schooling can provide the incentive
and environment to accomplish this.
Inadequate time and energy. Home teaching
requires an investment of time and energy.
Self-discipline and organization (a daily
schedule, teaching plan, and chore list) will
help ensure a well-run household. Children
can be a great help when trained to work.
Lack of commitment. Families gain strength
to overcome difficulties when they have the
conviction that home schooling is best for
them and is God's will for their family.
Social pressure. Make a well- informed de­
cision and stand on your convictions. More
information and a loving attitude often help
friends and relatives understand and accept
God's leading for your family.
Flnanclallnvestment. Costs of materials or
programs vary considerably, but are much
less than a private school. Many materials can
be reused for siblings.
Q Can I meet special needs?
A Many children with special needs are
being successfully home educated. HSLDA
membership is especially helpful to these
families. The July/Aug. 1994 Teaching Home
on "Special Needs" can be ordered on p. 31 or
on our website.
Q How do we get started?
Here are some suggestions:
Q Seek the Lord and agree as husband and
wife on your decision to home school. Pray
for wisdom and strength. Make daily quiet
times with the Lord a top priority.
Q Research home education by reading a
basic book such as Christopher Klicka's
Home Schooling: The Right Choice (available
from HSLDA, 540-338-5600, www.hslda.
org) and back issues of The Teaching Home.
Meet and visit with experienced home
schoolers in your church or local support
group, and attend a horne-school convention.
Q Contact your state home-school organiza­
tion to learn of local support groups, events,
publications, and your state's laws governing
home education (see p. 33).
Q Make arrangements to comply with the law
according to your conscience and recommen­
dations of state organizations and/or HSLDA.
Consider joining HSLDA (see p. 30).
Q Get your home and lifeIn order. Establish
discipline and child training. Organize your
family's schedule and chore assignments tofit
your educational activities. Get rid of unnec­
essary possessions to make way for learning
materials and study space.
Q Choose methods and teaching materials
that are appropriate for your children. If you
are overwhelmed by choices, you can use a
prepared curriculum from a textbook, work­
text, or unit study publisher for your first year.
Re-evaluate and experiment with different
materials and methods and make adjustments
as you become more experienced.
Home schooling is a way of life in which
the home is the center of life and learning.
Parents can thus fulfill in a unique way their
responsibility to bring up their children in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Reprints of this article may be made by down­
loading a file at for per­
sonal use, home-school events or publications, or
in starterpackets. All reprints must be entire, uned­
ited, and include" Used by permission. Copyright
2001 by The Teaching Home magazine, Box 20219,
Portland OR 97294. wwwTeaching' "
Copyright 2001 by The Teaching Home, Box 20219, Portland OR 97294,, Used with permission.
6 Getting Started and Keepin' On
How to Start Homeschooling in 8 Easy Steps
fry Gail Felker
The Steps to getting started (in a nutshell)
TIUs article appeared in the
January/February 2000 issue of
Homeschooling Today®
Magazine. Please visit
Used by permission.
Read about homeschooling.
Talk to and visit with homeschoolers.
Attend your state homeschool convention.
Join a support group.
Join Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
Choose a method.
Choose a curriculum and plan a schedule.
Write to your school district
My introduction to home schooling came 15 years
ago when I was a schoolteacher. A mother
disagreed with how I handled a situation and
pulled her child out of my class to homeschool
him. I hate to admit it -- but I was offended. How
did that mother (who didn't even have a high
school degree) think she could do a better job
than I? Needless to say, by the time I became a
mother I realized that parents do know their
children better than anyone else. When I began to
consider my children's education, it was with a
repentant heart and prayerful attitude that I
realized homeschooling was indeed an excellent
Since then I have helped many families get
started in home education. I pray that this article
will alleviate your doubts and concerns about
starting a homeschooling program.
Every step of the process must be lifted up to
our Heavenly Father. I can testify that He
gUides us in our decisions. "In all your ways
acknowledge Him and He will make your
paths straight." (Proverbs 3:6). He cares
about the big decisions, such as whether or
not to homeschool or what curriculum I
should buy. He also cares about the minutest
details such as, "Where am I ever going to
find a cow's eyeball to dissect?" (The Lord
answered that one in an incredible way. I
called a local science store and asked if they
knew where I could order one. The clerk
said, "Oh let me look around. I know I've got
a couple of eyeballs here somewhere left
over from my science-teaching days. You
can have one for no charge.") Put God first
and He will crown your efforts with success!
Getting Started and Keepin . On 7
Eight Steps To Homeschooling Success
1. Read everything on homeschooling that
you can find. Libraries, bookstores, friends,
and catalogs can provide information. Here are
some recommended titles: How to Home
School by Gayle Graham (Common Sense
Press) Going Home to School by Llewellyn
Davis (Elijah Co.) The Future of Home
Schooling by Michael Farris (Regnery) The
Right Choice by Christopher Klicka (Noble)
A subscription to Homeschooling Today® is
very helpful. The magazine keeps you up-to­
date with current information on methods and
curricula. I even like to read the
advertisements to stay abreast of materials
that are on the market. All professions have
their journals and homeschooling is no
2. Talk to homeschoolers and ask:
Why did you choose homeschooling?
What have been the benefits as well as the
What curriculum are you using?
Do you recommend a particular book?
Also, ask if you might observe them in action.
When I began researching homeschooling, my
oldest child (Benjamin, who is now 11) was a
baby. I sat like a little mouse in the corner of
my friend's schoolroom. I had taught school for
five years but could not visualize how to do it in
a home setting. Vernell welcomed me and was
pleased I was interested. I watched her son
learn his math facts. Jonathan was jumping on
a trampoline while reciting his facts! I knew he
would have been labeled "hyperactive" or
"ADD" in the public school. This mother knew
just what her son needed -- a strict diet and a
lot of bouncing! Teachers in traditional
classrooms try to individualize education, but
they can only go so far. This opened up to me
a world of education that I formerly knew
nothing about.
It is common to begin with no idea how
homeschooling works at the practical level.
That's why you should talk to and visit with
people who are doing it. They can tell you their
schedule and share a typical day. Suddenly
you realize you can do it too!
3. Go to a state homeschool convention.
Every state has a Christian homeschool
organization that can quickly disseminate
8 Getting Started and Keepin' On
legislative news that may affect the
homeschool community. In addition, these
state organizations host a yearly convention in
which new and veteran homeschoolers receive
instruction, inspiration, and encouragement
from other homeschoolers and professionals.
Most conventions have a curriculum fair where
you can browse and purchase textbooks,
curricula, and other materials. Talking to the
vendors can help guide your choices.
Typically, conventions are held in the spring.
Contact your state organization to find out
about yours.
4. Join a support group. In a homeschool
support group, like-minded homeschoolers
come together for mutual encouragement,
social times, and especially for science fairs,
field trips, drama, and other activities that are
best done in a group. Homeschool parents
enjoy sharing their experiences and methods.
See Homeschooling Today@> (JulJAug 1999
issue) for detailed information on starting a
support group from scratch if you don't already
have one in your area.
5. Join the Homeschool Legal Defense
Association (HSLDA), PO Box 3000,
Purcellville VA 20134, phone: (540) 338-5600.
For a $100 per year membership you receive
the Court Report (a magazine that reports
homeschoollegal news in each state) and free
legal advice and protection. HSLDA is
dedicated to protecting our right to
homeschool. Without the work of these
Christian lawyers who have defended
homeschoolers and helped form laws in each
state, we might not have the option. I highly
recommend supporting their cause and
insuring your own freedom.
6. Set goals. You know the saying: "If you aim at
nothing you are sure to hit it." Goals ought to
be at least thought out if not also written down.
Ask yourself: What do I hope to accomplish?
What do I want my child to know by the end of
the school year? Now, I realize that some of us
are born goal-setters. We like a plan. We like
those to-do lists that we can cross off. Others
are better "firefighters". You rise to the
occasion when the pressure is on and expertly
deal with one crisis after another. We goal
setters have much to learn from our firefighter
friends, for they are usually relaxed and much
better at spontaneity. So I approach this
subject with trepidation, knowing that a
firefighter out there may be thinking, Goal
setting, huh?
Easy for you to say!
But if you first consider why you are
homeschooling and what you hope to
accomplish, you will be better able to select a
curriculum. If you want to focus on developing
your child's character, for example, a
curriculum based on character traits, such as
Bill Gothard's Advanced Training Institute or
KONOS (see table) would be appropriate. If
your child enjoys history but needs motivation
to read, you might find that History Through
Literature fits the bill.
Every summer when I am planning the
curricula for the fall, I write down goals for
myself -- as a wife, a mother, and a teacher.
Then I write down goals for each of my four
children in the areas of physical, spiritual,
character, and academic growth. My daughter
was weak in mathematics, so my goal for her
was to become more proficient in her math
facts. My son is less outgoing than is his sister,
so my character-goal for him was to work at
shaking hands and making eye contact with
It also helps to consider your child's learning
style, the number of children you are
homeschooling, and your own frustration level.
I homeschool three of my children (Anna is
only 3) and did not want to use separate texts
for history, science, and geography. Also, I
considered how kinesthetic my daughters are.
They need to touch, feel, and experience. All
of these considerations led me to choose
KONOS because I could integrate all subjects
(except phonics and math) into one, and we
could all do projects together. Another mom
might consider KONOS too frustrating because
of the extensive planning and preparation it
requires. In short, anyone can homeschool.
We don't all wear blue and bake our own
bread. Every parent is different and every child
is different. Wonderfully, you can find a
curriculum for almost every need and style.
You can easily get confused when you hear
about the many different methods of
homeschooling. One person says that formal
education is anathema and that children learn
best from everyday life experiences. Someone
else says that students should do seatwork for
three hours a day, six days a week. You hear
that grammar isn't necessary if the child reads
widely. Then you hear a lecture on classical
education that recommends spending an hour
a day on grammar. The bottom line is -- there
is no one right way. Choose a method that
appeals to you, fits your children's learning
styles, and works well with your family's
schedule. The following table summarizes the
most common methods and lists resources for
7. Choose a curriculum that fits your goals. If
you delight in planning hands-on projects, it's
out there. If you'd rather open a teacher's book
and say, "Today we're going to..." -- it's out
there. I recommend collecting catalogs and
becoming familiar with everything available.
First, decide the subjects you wish to cover.
Traditional textbooks have that already figured
out for you. If you choose a different route, you
need to look at a standard scope and
sequence. These are available from books,
your state department of education, or as a
last resort your local school district. The Core
Knowledge Sequence by E. D. Hirsch (The
Core Knowledge Foundation (800) 238-3233)
covers what should be studied at each grade
level. In the elementary years you should hit
the 3 Rs hard (unless you choose the delayed
academics approach or one classical method
which delays the study of math.) Once again,
decide on a method but understand that it's
perfectly okay to change methods when you
try one that isn't working. All of us have
partially-used curricula on our shelves that just
didn't fit us.
Cost is another factor to consider when
choosing curricula. According to Dr. Brian Ray
in Strengths of Their Own (NHERI
Publications, 1997), homeschoolers spend, on
average, $546 per child. That is, of course, a
fraction of what states spend on public school
students and a fraction of the cost of private­
school tuition. But many homeschoolers have
done it successfully on less. When planning
your budget, include outside lessons such as
piano or dance. Ask your state homeschool
organization about used-curriculum fairs and
don't forget to utilize your local library.
Remember, you can sometimes reuse a
curriculum with younger siblings or sell it when
you're finished. Here are some books that list
curricula and resources:
The Complete Home Learning Source Book by
Rebecca Rupp (Crown), Big Book of Home
Learning by Marv Pride (Crossways Books),
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by
Debra Bell (Tommy Nelson), The Christian
Home Educator's Curriculum Manual by Cathy
Duffy (Grove, 2 vol.)
Getting Started and Keepin'On
Next, write out a schedule for a typical week.
This helps you pull it all together and plan how
you will manage. You will soon discover that
there are very few days that you strictly follow
your schedule, but at least you have a routine
developed. Experience helps you roll with the
interruptions and accept those interruptions as
character-building lessons for your entire
family. Here is a diary of a recent morning in
the Felker household:
thankfulness for the flexibility homeschooling
affords us to allow my son go off on a school
day with his dad and grandpa. Ben doesn't get
to his other lessons today, but that precious
relational-time with the men in his life is the
best lesson of all.
8. Notify your state authorities of your intent
to homeschool. (IMPORTANT-see note at
end of article)
Every state has different homeschool laws.
Your state homeschool organization and/or
HSLDA can advise you whom to contact and
how to approach them. Generally, you'd best
keep your letter short. Your purpose is simply
to inform the state of your intention to
homeschool. They will then reply, usually with
a request for more information. Here is an
example of a letter I might send to our
I awake and go downstairs to read
my Bible, pray, and have a cup of tea.
My two youngest children awake
and toddle down to play together. I begin
breakfast preparations.
I call the rest of the clan to come
and eat. My dad is visiting us and joins us at
the table. He, my husband Steve, and my son
Ben want to go fishing today, so I announce
that we'll have a shortened school day.
(Believe me -- the children are NOT crying with
The children head back upstairs to
do morning chores while I put together a lunch
for the men. Chores consist of getting dressed,
making beds, straightening bedrooms, feeding
pets, bringing down laundry, and collecting the
Ben (11) and Rachael (9) begin
their math while I give a phonics lesson to
Lydia (5). My dad helps Anna (3) paint on the
easel. She's eating up the one-on-one
We all meet on the front porch to
read Homer Price. I read aloud while the
children listen. Then I send Rachael across the
street to the general store to pick up a
newspaper. Ben and Rachael look through the
want ads and choose a job for which to
"apply." Their assignment is to write a mock
letter of inquiry explaining why they would be
good for the job.
By this time Steve returns from his
duties at the office and begins collecting the
fishing equipment. Ben and Dad hurry to load
the boat onto the van. The girls and I wave
goodbye and wish them luck. I pray a prayer of
God bless you in your endeavor to
Dear Dr. Jones, This is to inform you of our
intention to homeschool our son Benjamin and
daughters Rachael and Lydia (grades 6, 5, and
K respectively) for the 1999-2000 school year.
Thank you for your concern. Sincerely,
It's that simple. Do not send any other
information until they ask for it. Please
remember to be gracious to the state run
schools. Most really want to make sure the
children in their district are adequately
educated. Cooperate as best you can. If you
have any questions or hassle, HSLDA can
assist you.
What should you do if you find yourself in a
crisis situation? Perhaps you feel you must
remove your child from school at once, and
you don't have time to follow all eight steps.
Then I would recommend following these three
steps: (1) Talk to at least one other
homeschooling parent, (2) join HSLDA, and (3)
mail your letter of intent. It is important to join
HSLDA before mailing your letter because they
will not represent you in disagreements that
arose prior to your becoming a member and
following their advice.
Gail Felker and her husband, Rev. Steve Felker; homeschool their four children in Southfield, Massachusetts.
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM LINDA: Copyright rules mean I have to use this article in its entirety.
In Michigan you DO NOT have to notify state authorities. +
10 Getting Started and Keepin' On
Use graded textbooks and workbooks
following a specified scope and
A Beka Books (877) 223-5226
Bob Jones University Press (800) 845-5731
Alpha Omega (800) 622-3070
Mott Media Classic Curriculum
Rod and Staff
Classical method of education taught
in the Middle Ages using The Trivium:
(810) 714-4280
(606) 522-4348
Trivium Pursuit (309) 537-3641
Veritas Press (800) 922-5082
(1) Grammar stage (learn elements of
language, memorize facts, observe)
(2) Dialectic stage (use facts to draw
conclusions, debate opinion, argue
(3) Rhetoric stage (use language
Unit Study
Starting with a topic, you delve into it
by integrating all subjects.
The WeI/-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and
Susan Wise Bauer
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by
Douglas Wilson
KONOS (972) 924-2712
Advanced Training Institute (ATI) (630) 323-2842
The Weaver (now sold by Alpha Omega)
(800) 622-3070
Alta Vista Curriculum (800) 544-1397
Charlotte Mason
Involve children in real life situations,
expose them to best sources, read
"living books" which make subjects
come alive.
For the Children's Sake
by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Crossway)
Each child pursues own interests.
Parents provide resources for
child to learn on his own and
access real world.
Growing Without Schooling magazine by John Holt
(out of print; back issues available online)
The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith
(Prima Publishing)
Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
The Joyful Homeschool by Mary Hood
(Ambleside Educational)
The Principle
Centers around three key concepts:
(1) knowledge of our American
Christian history,
(2) an understanding of our role
in the spread of Christianity, and
(3) the ability to live according
to the biblical principles upon
which our country was founded.
Guide to American Christian
Education for the Home and
School: The Principle Approach
by James B. Rose
(American Christian History Institute
(530) 547-3535)
Wait until child is developmentally
ready; the parent knows best.
Home Grown Kids Raymond and Dorothy Moore
Getting Started and Keepin 'On 11
What Is Homeschooling? by Debra Bell
I find most folks have a very inaccurate picture of what
homeschooling looks like. I actually prefer the word
"home-based" education, because to tell the truth ­
my kids and I are often not at home during the school
day. We might be at the library checking out books on
our latest areas of interests, or we could be at a family
school where I teach English classes, while other
moms teach biology, Spanish, or art; or we could be
traveling -- getting out into the world to meet people
who are experts in their fields or visiting historic sites
where the original events can still be best imagined.
Homeschooling is all about the freedom and flexibility
to model a child's education to his unique interests,
readiness and learning style. So, if you are taking
advantage of the full range of flexibility homeschooling
allow you, then your homeschool is going to look
much different from mine.
The bottom line: homeschooling is parent-directed
education. That doesn't mean, you have to do all the
teaching. Most families don't. Rather, you have the
control; not the state. You're the one who makes the
choices from all the options available to you in
homeschooling. And this is based upon what is best
for your family and specifically best for your child.
But Aren't There Specific Things I'm required to
Yes, in some states there are reporting
requirements you must meet in your homeschool. Visit
our State Information page to find links to specific
information about your state. However, many parents
I meet think there are more requirements than what
there really are. Nowhere that I am aware of are
homeschoolers required to use specific material, nor
to teach according to certain methods. One of my
main objects I have in the seminars I conduct is to set
parents free to choose from the full range of
possibilities in homeschooling.
What Are Some of These Possibilities? NO.1: You
don't have to use traditional materials. It is possible
to homeschool with just a library card. Go to our
discussion on Using Children's Literature to see some
of the wonderful titles folks are using in their
No 2: You can also use field trips to museums,
historic sites, local businesses, etc. as a primary way
of enriching your child's content base.
No 3: You can find an expert to talk to. In fact, just
about everyone in your sphere of acquaintances is an
expert in something -- you and your kids just need to
learn how to draw this information out of folks. Senior
citizens in particular are an incredible reservoir of
information and among the most Willing to share from
their experiences and knowledge base.
My book, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling is
filled with scores of ideas and examples of how you
can make the most of the flexibility and choice
homeschooling affords you.
How Do I Figure Out What Resources to Use?
Experience and good advice. There is a learning
curve in homeschooling. I tell folks your first year of
homeschooling is all about finding out what doesn't
work. Most folks never do it the same way again. In
fact, after 14 years of homeschooling, no two years of
our homeschooling life looked much alike. I'm always
revising and fine-tuning. Part of the education you
and your kids will gain is found in the process of
developing a unique program for your family. With
that said, here are some questions to answer that
should help you begin to develop a philosophy of
What Is Your Family Vision? Where are you
headed? What targets are you aiming to hit before
your children leave home? What values do you want
to emphasize in your home? Many families haven't
really thought this question through, or attempted to
commit it to writing. So our kids are really in the dark
about why Mom and Dad are doing this
homeschooling thing. They need to have faith for the
family vision built into them. Then when they are
older, you will find they embrace your beliefs and
values more readily. Provo 29:18 says "without a
vision the people perish." One translation I like says
"the people are unrestrained."
One goal we have is to raise children who love to
learn. I believe that God has created a fascinating
and mysterious universe that reflects His awesome
nature, and that discovering the vastness and the
intricacies of His creation is one blessing He has
given to us. I want my kids to approach all their
subject matter with a sense of wonder and awe. The
patterns and symmetry of mathematics give evidence
to the absolute truth and constancy of our Creator.
The intricacies and varieties within species point to
the attention to intimate detail we can expect of God in
each of our lives. The need men of all cultures have
had to create art, music, dance and drama, are a
reflection of God's own boundless creativity and self­
expression. He has left evidence everywhere of His
existence and His worthiness of praise. We are fools
to suppress this truth in our lives. Learning for us is
primarily a means of discovering each day more about
the nature of God and Ultimately enabling each of us
to more accurately worship who He is.
What this means practically is I don't have any time for
resources that do not help increase my children's
curiosity about the world; nor inspire their awe and
wonder of the Creator behind all things.
12 Getting Started and Keepin' On
Used by permission.
Getting Started Homeschooling by Debra Bell
So you're ready to take your first plunge into
I remember the butterflies that
generated in me twelve years ago. My good friend,
Marie, an experienced homeschooler, said, "The first
year's the hardest. It gets easier after that." I didn't
really believe her. I mean I was only tackling
kindergarten back then. I couldn't imagine that being
harder than, say, high school physics. Now speaking
from the other side of high school physics, Marie was
right. Figuring out how to homeschool is really the
toughest task of all. Once you find your groove, and
that usually takes a year or two, it becomes a
comfortable fit for most families. Here are a few tips I
think will help you get in the zone quickly:
1. Recognize there is a learning curve. And you're
just at the beginning. Tell your kids to expect the
unexpected. In fact, the first year of homeschooling is
really about finding out what doesn't work. Ask any
veteran, they'll tell you, "Nobody does what they did
the first year again!" So relax. Enjoy the process.
That's part of the fun. There isn't just one way to
homeschool your kids. You have a lot of options. It's
okay to try out a few different resources, schedules,
philosophies, curricula, etc. until you finally settle into
a groove. And just when you think you've found
groove, your kids' needs will change; your family
circumstances will shift; new options will come down
the pike; and you'll be on the upside of that learning
curve again.
2. Enjoy the choices. A decade ago, we didn't have
a lot of options. There were only a few curricula
homeschoolers were non-existent; the internet was in
its infancy. Today, the challenge is sifting through all
the choices available. There are any number of good
phonics-based reading programs you can try;
conventions are held in nearly every state with a full
slate of speakers and a vendor hall filled with wares;
support groups and co-ops in many places offer
monthly opportunities for moms and kids; and even
those of us living remotely can find virtual classes and
support online.
3. Get plugged in. Don't try to do this alone. Find
out where your local homeschool community is
hanging out (try the public library for instance) and
start networking like a pro. Your best advice is going
to come from those in your neck of the woods. They'll
know the ins and outs of complying with state
requlations: they can recommend the resources that
have worked best for them; they can keep you abreast
of all that's happening in your area. Your kids will
likely enjoy homeschooling more if they have their
own network of support as well. So don't be so
enslaved to your curricula that you don't seize
opportunities to take field trips with others or join in
some co-operative classes, such as a homeschool
chorus, Spanish class or basketball team.
Exploit the advantages of homeschooling.
Don't re-create institutionalized learning in your home.
There's no need to. Homeschooling looks more like
mentoring or tutoring. You don't have to use materials
created for a classroom of 20 kids - you can use your
local library for a lot of stuff - and it is usually more
engaging. Tests and quizzes don't need to be your
only method of evaluation.
You have time for
projects, papers and performances - the kinds of
activities that kids will remember and value. Get out
of the house and into the world, you have the time and
freedom to explore.
When I was a classroom teacher, I could only take
one field trip a year with my students. With my own
kids, we do a dozen or more a year. Some are pre­
planned and carefully built into the curricula; but some
of the best were on a whim often after catching a
notice in the morning's paper. I'm almost to the end
of my homeschooling years with our four children ­
and their favorite memories are the travel, the
projects, the friendships, the plays, the interesting
people we've met and the wonderful children's
literature we've shared together. And you know what?
They all love to learn, and that was one of our primary
goals in choosing this option. Because now that my
kids love to learn, I know they are equipped to go out
and learn whatever content or skills I may have
missed teaching them in the process. (And I'm sure I
skipped a lot).
5. Rely on the grace of God. Homeschooling is a
wonderful context in which to shore up your
foundation in Christ and deepen your walk with the
Lord - because it sure isn't something most of us can
do in our own strength without falling flat on our faces.
So rejoice in that. Homeschooling is probably a great
educational opportunity for your children; but I
promise God has a lot in it for you as well. And in the
end, you will be most grateful for how much better you
know your Savior than you did when you began. So
even if you totally disregard my first 4 points; don't
neglect this one. God's grace is our life-blood: crying
out daily for His help; acknowledging our great need;
gratefully accepting His help in humility - that's the
great secret of success in homeschooling.
And you know what - that's the most important
lesson our children will learn from us at home.
Used by permission.
Getting Started and Keepin 'On 13
Taking Resistant Kids Out of School
by Margaret Arient
I began homeschooling my son this year, his senior
year in high school, but my husband and I wanted to
begin homeschooling when he was in second grade.
We went to seminars, researched, talked to other
homeschoolers, but our son was so resistant that we
didn't. But it was the WRONG decision. I know now
that WE were the parents, we knew better, and he
should never have been given the responsibility to
make such a decision. He did not have the wisdom or
experience to put it in perspective.
His main fear was of being "different" or being
arrested for truancy (seriously). While he gained some
benefits from public school, I believe that he would
have gained much more from being at home. While he
is a very smart kid and had fun at school, his self­
esteem has suffered, because he could not meet their
He wanted time to study things in depth, and the
public school system demands that everybody flow
with THEIR tide. In fact, I have had to be so involved
all along with making him stay on task, that I spend
less time now with his schooling, and he is getting a
better education, in addition to being so much calmer
and happier. Each person is different, but I would not
let your child have the final word on homeschooling, if
you really feel that homeschooling is best for him.
My son has always resisted change, of any kind, and
yet he has always loved the change, once it is made.
Kids like routines, and while we need to take their
needs and wishes into consideration and involve them
in the decisions, we have a responsibility as parents
to make the final decisions. If I had known how easy it
was to take my kids out, I would have done it years
ago, and all of our lives would have been so different.
The childhood years fly by so quickly, and the school
system will never even notice our kids were there or
when they leave. We, and our kids, however, will
notice and remember the emptiness if their childhoods
fly by, caught up in the "busyness" of school, instead
of "at home" loving and learning with their family.
Used by pennission.
14 Getting Started and Keepin ' On
Those Lazy, Carefree Days by Debra Bell
Right now, the school days of our three teens consists
largely of challenging courses like pre-calculus,
French III, molecular biology, advanced placement
history. For the most part, they are cracking the books
from early in the morning to sometimes late at night.
College-level texts, highlighted extensively; notebooks
scrawled with study notes and lengthy math problems;
graphing calculators, reams of analytical essays-in­
progress, stacks of lecture videos: the evidences of
their learning are scattered about almost every room
of our house.
How do they stay motivated and focused (for the most
part) and not buckle under pressure nor revolt? Let
me roll back the clock for you. Here's what the early
elementary days looked like at our house ...
Leisurely mornings; frequent field trips to nature
parks, museums, and science centers; long
afternoons curled up in a favorite chair with a book;
uninterrupted time for puppet shows, imaginative play
and art projects. Lots of trips to the library, lots of time
for thinking, lots of time in the backyard.
In short, I believe the prolonged season of carefree,
open-ended learning when our children were
young laid the foundation for diligent and directed
studies during high school. Why? Because they
weren't burned out by years and years of formalized,
structured learning already. When it came time to
confine much of the day to seatwork, to evaluate
learning with tests and grades, to plow through
rigorous and foreign matters, we were ready for the
challenge. It was something new, something different,
a signal of new responsibility and maturity on our part.
Time to apply ourselves in a disciplined, focused way
because this is going to count towards our future.
Further, I believe that less formalized approach to the
elementary years was a critical preparation for this
future learning. Here's why:
Kids who bring broad background knowledge to
something challenging such as biology have an easier
time processing and categorizing all the new
information. That's because they already have
experiences, often tactile, to connect this new
information to. The kid who has spent hours exploring
the stream that runs through the woods in the
backyard has seen the mayflies, speckled trout,
tadpoles turning into frogs, variations in leaves
scattered about the ground, and tracks of various
animals fresh in the mud early each morning, etc.
When you show this kid the complex system of
taxonomy field biologists have developed for
categorizing living things, he isn't thrown for a loop by
all these Latinate names: he's been categorizing living
things unconsciously for years. He knows the
distinguishing characteristics of many plants, animals
and insects. He's caught and collected a lot of them.
The only thing he has to master in this scenario are
the difficult names. Whereas, the child who has only
had days filled with reading about them in his
elementary science textbook is trying to memorize the
scientific name of something he's never seen, let
alone handled. He doesn't have the framework in
place to do it.
How We Learn
Our brains process knowledqe into long-term memory
through repeated exposure to information in a variety
of different contexts. That's why it's so important to
approach school subjects from a variety of different
avenues. I like to use lots of different books, videos,
field trips, art projects, and experiments to give kids
plenty of opportunities to create these multi-sensory
When children have this as a foundation before formal
learning, I think you'll find that challenging material
can be assimilated much more quickly and with little
frustration. When I see one of my children struggling
in an area, I know the root reason is too little
background knowledge to build upon. I try to think of a
way to get back to those lazy, carefree days of
childhood when we could leisurely explore
information, make games about it, ask questions, do
research, turn it into the basis of an art project, etc.
Getting back to that fundamental level then gives us
solid footing when we return to cracking the books in a
systematic way again.
Relax, They're Learning
Especially during the holiday season, the best of
home school programs can come grinding to a halt.
But, really, underneath, learning can be taking place
without you directing it. Just get a trunk of dress-up
clothes together, encourage the creation of a holiday
play while you're busy in the kitchen, undertake the
making of special gifts, or give everyone the afternoon
off to read. As long as your child is engaged in an
activity she has initiated and that requires the use of
the imagination or intellect - learning is taking place.
In fact, a better foundation for later, formal learning
may be being laid.
Used by permission. For many other encouraging articles visit
Getting Started and Keepin' On 15
Many other Helpful Articles
Any homeschool website you visit (check out the chapter on "Simplifying the Web") will
usually have some great articles. These articles are located at
Homeschooling Basics
The Nature of Public Education - John Taylor Gatto; Excerpts
The Heart of True Education - by Marilyn Howshall
5 Myths About Public (and Traditiona\) Education
by Tory and Barb Shelton
Can Someone Else Homeschool My Children?
by Barb Shelton
The Great Escape - by Geoffrey Botkin
What About Christian Schools? - Author Unknown
Letter of Encouragement to Kids Not Wanting to Homeschool
from Sharnessa Shelton (who was homeschooled from start to
Gift or Seduction? - by Carolyn Forte
(Food for thought regarding linking up with pUblic school
The Need for Structure in the Learning Process
by Marilyn Howshall
The Seduction of Homeschooling Families
by Chris Cardiff
Socialization Concerns - by Geoffrey Botkin
The Socialization Issue - by Dr. Fred Worth
A Brief Case for "Socialization" by Dr. Jay Wile
High School Homeschooling
But Aren't Schools the Best Way to Learn? - by Michael Pearl
Faith Walking Through High School - by Barb Shelton
Relationship Skills, Life Skills. Academic Skills - by Ellyn Davis
Intro to "SHF-L" - the Sr. High Formula List
by Barb Shelton and Homeschool Moms
Are They "Teenagers" or What? - by Barb Shelton
What If We Want to Homeschool for Only 1 or 2 years? - by Barb
The Cost of Homeschooling - by Donna Heck
So What About College? - by Barb Shelton
Is Homeschooling As Good As Public School? - by Barb Shelton
Is Mid-High School Too Late to Start Homeschooling?
by Barb Shelton, with contributions from several moms,
Refreshing and Re-Focusing the Heart of the Homeschooler
by Barb Shelton
Encouraging Leiter to a Reluctant Homeschool Boy from
by Sharnessa Shelton
Anti-Homeschooling Excuses - Are They Valid?
by Tamara Eaton
Encouragement from a Homeschooling Mom wijh 3 High
by Susan LaBounty
Decided to (Re)Start Homeschooling?
Insights on High School- from Jay Wile
Interview by Mary Leggewie
Helpful Stuff to Know Before Taking Your Child Out of School
by Barb Shelton
Taking Resistant Kids Out of School
(One homeschool mom's experience) by Margaret Arient
Delight Directed Learning
Basic Intro to Delight-Directed Learning - by Barb Shelton
Is Mid-High School Too Late to Start Homeschooling?
by Barb Shelton, with contributions from several moms,
including an "article within an article" by Marilyn Howshall
"Delight Directed" - by Marilyn Howshall
(This is one of "7 Natural Vital Signs of the Learning
Bringing Them Home - by Janie Levine
Delight-Directed Study - by Gregg Harris
Help With Getting Your Vision - by Donna Heck
De-Schooling Tips - by Dianne Brooks
Real-Life Learning
So Is Real-Life Learning the Same Thing As Delight-Directed
by Barb Shelton
Homeschool Issues & Concerns
10 Reasons to Keep ReCords - by Barb Shelton
Purpose of Education - by Gordon Clark
Force-fed vs. Interest-led Learning - by Barb Shelton
16 Getting Started and Keepin' On
Chapter 2
Simplify the Web - Just Type "Google"!
There is so much information available online that you should take advantage of it- if not at home, than at
the library where internet access is free. Just about any homeschooling book written in the last three
years (or more) will have lists of websites somewhere between the covers. I don't know about you, but I
start going cross-eyed when I see these lists. It's not that I don't like the web; I love using the internet
and am constantly amazed at the information available from the comfort of my home.
However, my
typing class never went past learning the letters on the keyboard. If I have to type http://--.?com\\net-gci
{/.\\-.\}.... (well, you get my drift), then I have to look down at the keyboard and find
everything that's not a letter of the alphabet! It's slow and I am almost guaranteed to
type something wrong. The internet is an unforgiving traffic cop. Type one little "-"
guy wrong, or use forward slash(1) for back slash (\), and that cop stops you before
you ever get to the entrance of the "information superhighway."
Here's a tip:
Internet Explorer
will fill in the
characters ''http://'
for you, so you do
not need to type
them in.
Well, help has arrived. My best friend when online is now
Google is a search engine that is quick and accurate. When you put www.gooqle.comin your address
bar on you web browser, you will be taken to a simple, clutter free page (you might have a google search
bar in your current internet browser already). When you get to the Goggle page you don't have to deal
with search categories, news headlines, web directories or pop up ads (though you might get a pop-up
ad once you go to a web site that Google finds for you). Google just has a simple box to type in what you
are looking for. Type specifically what you are looking for and you will have results in seconds. I can
almost guarantee you that 95% of the time what you are looking for will be one of the top three items in
the results list.
If you have internet access, go try this now. We will search for information on King Arthur. Type in "King
Arthur" in the Google search bar. In seconds Google will show you plenty of sites to choose from. Now it
gets better. Want to put a picture of King Arthur and a map of Saxon England on your bulletin board?
Look for the "Images" tab underneath the Google logo and click on it. Now you will get a page of small
clips of images of King Arthur to pick from. When I did this, Google found 10,000+ results. Not all of
these are pictures of the King Arthur- results included pictures of the Roundtable, castles- and a llama
Simplify the Web 17
and an inn, both named King Arthur! But there are plenty of choices for that bulletin board. Want more
information on a picture? Click on it and Google will take you to the site the picture originates from. Now
type "map of Saxon England" in the search box at the top. Fifty-five choices come up. When you find an
image you want, right click on it and select "copy". Open your word processor, go to "edit" on the top bar
and then select "paste". Now the image is on your hard drive and you can size it how you want. Bulletin
boards and timelines can be very colorful with the images you can cut and paste this way.
In this book, when I give a list of websites, most of the time I willjust list the keyword or
words that you will type into the Coogle Search box. I have tested 95% of the keywords
listed in this book and in almost all cases you will find the result I intended you to find in
the first or second item on the results list. It is so much easier this way-typing real words
and not having to type in ///"\\- - stuff into an address bar.
Here's another suggestion. Make your "homepage". Personally when I go on the internet
it's usually to search, not to visit a particular site. By having my browser open to the Google homepage I
am ready to go! If you're use to having quick access to news, well, just click the "News" tab on the
Google page. You can pick Headline, US, Sports or other news, culled from 4500 news sources. (See
box at end of this chapter for help in changing your home page.)
This is why making Google your homepage is helpful: you're out on the web, cruising along, when an idea
hits you and you need to do a search. Hit the picture of the house at the top of Internet Explorer, (this
icon means" I want to go Homen and you are back to the Google search/homepage.
I know for some of you these instructions might as well be hieroglyphics. But this is simple, really. Go sit
down at your computer and try it!
18 Simplify the Web
A Few Specific Web Addresses Worth Knowing
Google is great, but if there is a website you visit often and its web address is easy, you might want to go
ahead and just type it directly into the address bar, or save it in your browser's favorites folder.
Specific web sites/addresses that are worth knowing:
Christian Book Distributors One of the most complete and least
expensive places to purchase homeschool books and other Christian books. you are thinking of purchasing a book, go to this site- many times you can
read sample pages at Amazon. Sometimes they have the best price, otherwise will be cheaper. This site is mainly a vegetarian site with a great homeschool
section. This is the best place I have found for used curriculum buying or selling. You deal
directly with the seller or buyer via email. I have bought and sold from this web site and never
had a problem. This is a great site for all things Christian-news, articles, shopping,
parenting, movie reviews- and homeschooling. You can even click on audio and listen to a
favorite Christian speaker while you browse the web. You can sign up for a number of free
homeschool email newsletters. They come once a week. The email newsletters are short. They
list links to new articles posted to Crosswalk web site by the best authors in the field of
homeschooling. Click on a link if an article interests you- otherwise delete the email for that week
and wait for the next. Homeschool World- Mary Pride's site. For checking on the weather before your field trips!
For Everything Else: use Coogle and just type in these Keywords
Listed below, and on the next few pages, are the Keywords you will use to
search (see pg. 18) - type these words as listed in the Google Search box ­
you do not need to use capitals either! Many of these keywords will bring up
multiple sites for you to choose from
General Homeschooling and Educational Sites
A to Z homes cool - this web page will link you to information on everything you could want
Cathy Duffy - author of curriculum guides
Christian homeschool forum
Cynthia Tobias - learning styles
Debra Bell - homeschool author
Donna Young - tons of helps, including ready made forms to use
Eclectic homeschool
Freebie portal homeschool - links to schooling freebies
Home 2 Teach - how to make and use webquests, plus tons more
Homeschool Christian - many links, articles, message boards
Homeschool counsel - some great articles to encourage and inform you
Homeschool mining company - lots of great information and links
Homeschool mom- links to freebies
Homeschool shopping
Homeschool Tools - 650 pages to print out, poems, handwriting practice pages, much more (fee
Homeschool yellow pages
Simplify the Web 19
Remember: type these keywords as listed in the Google Search box
Homeschoolers of Maine - links to some good free materials
Homeschool Freestuff- kits and software for the price of shipping
Homeschool reviews - see what others say about curriculum you are interested in
Jon's homeschool resource -claims to be "oldest and largest collection of homeschool resources"
Learning parent - Rick Boyer I Boyer family website
Mr Donn - not a homeschool site but some great pages, especially for history
National home education network or nhen
Owl and mouse - free software for phonics and map studies plus outline maps
Paula's archives - a ton of "stuff"
Pizza Hut book it -a free pizza reading incentive program for your kids K-6; enroll in March
You can homeschool- Homeschool Legal Defense site for new homeschoolers
Classical Homeschooling
Calvert school
Classical homeschooling
Covenant home
Escondido tutorial
Memoria press
Trivium pursuit or Bluedorn Family
Veritas Press
Well trained mind
Charlotte Mason
Catherine Levison
Charlotte Mason
Common sense press - publisher of Learning Language Arts through literature
Heart of wisdom
Education helps
Aol school - search for information on any topic you are studying
Internet public library
Ask Jeeves for kids - great site- type in your question and they'll give you links for the answer
High School
Many general homeschool sites will have links and article dealing with homeschooling
high school Note: for websites on college preparation and testing, see chapter 8
David and Laurie Callihan - authors of "Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School"
Debra Bell - articles to encourage, plus she teaches some online AP classes
Donna Young forms - look for links for high school; many ready to use record keeping forms
Edplus - Inge Cannon's Education PLUS site; many high school and college helps
Family education - sections on all ages, but some good info on high school and college planning
Homeschooling high school
Homeschool oasis -Barb Shelton's website, author of "Senior High: a Home Designed
Homeschooling today - look for college resource section
Michigan Virtual High School Offers online high school classes for a fee.
National Home Education Network Teens - helps for homeschooling high school
Typical course of study high school
History Resources - using a literature approach
Beautiful feet books
Greenleaf Press
Paula's archives literature - books to supplement history, categorized by time period
Truthquest history - EXCELLENT for teaching history chronologically-written by a Michigan mom
Veritas Press
20 Simplify the Web
Homeschooling in Michigan
Michigan department of education - search for "homeschoollaw" in the search box
HSLDA -Homeschool Legal Defense Association
MEAP - Michigan Educational Assessment Program; a testing program; if certain scores are
achieved on the test taken in your junior and/or senior year, the state provides money for college
Kalamazoo and Surrounding Area Helps and Resources-more information on some of these in other
chapters. Check separate chapter for library helps
Kalamazoo homepage -START HERE - wow- links to everything you need
to know about the Kalamazoo area- maps, resources, museums, and much
much more
Civil air patrol Kalamazoo - the local CAP is composed of many homeschoolers
Comstock community auditorium - source for both seeing plays and participating; yearly
schedule of plays put on for school children; schedule of plays and auditions at site
Emmanuel center - a bookstore, plus does homeschool counseling for a fee; located in Lansing
Family Christian store - several stores in Michigan; carries some homeschooling items
Homeschool groups in MI - will take you to a page at that lists Michigan
homeschool groups
Homeschool building - in Grand Rapids; classes, sports, bookstore and helpful web
newsletter to keep up to date on happenings all over southwest Michigan
Homeschool Performing Arts and Homeschool Performing Arts Kalamazoo - drama production
company in existence since 1997; has a site with the Homeschool Building and a
separate website for the Kalamazoo area;
Information network for Christian - site for the Michigan statewide homeschool assoc. -INCHInformation Network for Christian Homes
KAHSA Connection - Kalamazoo Area Homeschool Association website
Kalamazoo children's chorus - children's choir; 3 levels; auditions held in May; fee
Kalamazoo civic theatre - many homeschoolers in the area have participated; website lists
schedules and information on auditions; classes also available
Kalamazoo Institute of arts - full schedule of classes, some during day for homeschoolers;
scholarships available
KRESA - Kzoo Regional Educational Service Agency (see more information in chapA)
Michigan elibrary - of resources including free practice tests for the
ACT, SA T,and AP (see chapter 8)
Shareinc (type in one word) or go to - Battle Creek site; SHARE holds
Tues enrichment classes; the web site has lots of great information and links
Student Statesmanship - Student Statesmanship Institute -sponsors week long programs in
Lansing in the summer for high school students; Biblical worldview and legislative
skills training- a great resource for all Michigan homeschoolers
Teachers center - bookstore in Portage, MI, also available online
For specific areas of the state, just try typing in the city or county with "Michigan"; many communities now
have their own websites where you can check out local churches, event calendars etc. The following all
have information online (just make sure you also type the word "micniqen"): Augusta, Battle Creek,
Calhoun county, Climax, Comstock, Galesburg, Grand Rapids, Martin, Otsego, Parchment, Plainwell,
Portage, Richland, Schoolcraft, Van Buren, Vicksburg - and many others!
Literature Based
Carol Joy Seid
Lamplighter books
Progeny press
Simplify the Web 21
Remember: type these keywords as listed in the Google Search box
Home Education Magazine - non-Christian; unschooling
Homeschool Digest - deeper, philosophical
Homeschooling Today - unit study and classical flavor
Link homeschool news - national online homeschool newsletter with links to state events
Pennsylvania Homeschoolers - publishes a helpful newsletter + has online AP classes
Practical Homeschooling - reviews all approaches to homeschooling; introduces new products
Teaching Home -lots of information on their web page, but currently not in print
World Magazine - weekly; news from a Christian perspective; issues also available for children­
great for studying current events with your kids; many of the articles available online
Online Classes
Debra Bell - offers regular and Advanced Placement courses
Free classes online
Michigan virtual high school - high school, Advanced Placement, and AP review classes for a fee
PA Homeschoolers - Advanced Placement courses (which can earn you college credit)
Online classes - several sites come up with this keyword
Potters school
Webteacher - EXCELLENT free site- learn the basics of the web, web page construction, how
to use the web in your homeschool and MUCH more-over 80 hours of instruction-FREE
Writeathome - personalized writing class online for homeschoolers
Relaxed homeschooling - Lifestyle of Learning - Delight-directed learning
Homeschool oasis - Barb Shelton's site
Ignite the Fire - Terri Camp site
Lifestyle of learning - several site available from this keyword
Marilyn Howshall
Mary Hood
Moore Foundation
Relaxed homeschool
Vicky Goodchild
Whole heart - site of Clarksons, authors of "Educating the WholeHearted Child"
Wisdoms way of learning
Scope and Sequence
A Beka Scope and sequence
World book typical course of study
Homeschooling scope and sequence - links to other published scope and sequences
Special Needs
Homeschooling Dyslexia
Homeschooling special needs
Joyce Herzog
Nathhan - yes -type 2 "h''s- stands for National Challenged Homeschoolers Assoc. Network
Traditional Textbooks
A Beka
Alpha Omega
Bob Jones University Press
Christian Liberty Press
Modern curriculum Press
22 Simplify the Web
Remember: type these keywords as listed in the Google Search box
Unit Studies
Acorn academy
Amanda Bennett
Four wheelers unit studies - 100s of links
Home 2 teach - scroll down to find a pdf document on how to plan your own unit study
Homeschool unit studies
Lacelle family - free unit studies, they also sell used books
Unit Studies
Unit study helps - several links to unit study sites
Valerie Bendt
Names of some unit study curriculum:
Advance Training Institute - also known as ATI; Bill Gothard's Institute of Basic Life Principles
Alta vista curriculum
Five in a row
Heart of Wisdom
Learning adventures -
Learning at home curriculum - unit study by Ann Ward for preK-K
My father's world
Prairie primer - based on the Little House books
Weaver curriculum (now sold by Alpha Omega)
Christian unschooling
John Holt - deceased author of "Growing without Schooling"; several sites teach his philosophy
of education
Mary Griffith
Used Books
Alibris - used books of all kinds
The Book cellar - used Abeka, Apologia, Bob Jones, Saxon and others
Educational accents
Educator's exchange
Homeschool classifieds
Homeschool curriculum swap
Homeschool Potpourri
Homeschool trading zone
Homeschool used curriculum sites - many links to the sites listed here plus others
Laurelwood books
Linda's used books - looks like lots of good reading books-cheap
My homeschooling place - operates just like vegsource but without all the ads
Second harvest curriculum
Used homeschooling books
Vegsource - mainly a vegetarian site but with a good homeschool section and a very easy­
to-use, used book section; easy to either buy or sell
Other book sources (See also the catalog list in another part of this book)
AG Distribution - Alpha Omega discounted
Homeschool discount store
Homeschool Supercenter
• Almost every homeschool web page you go to will have books for sale or links to where to
buy the books they recommend.
Simplify the Web 23
HINT: Need more web sites to keep you busy? Go to any of these websites and look for a button that
says "Links".
Now, don't you think reading this list of web sites was easier on your brain than
your average listing of web addresses? Getting to these and other sites will be
tons easier using Google than it's ever been before. I guarantee it!
How do I change my Homepage in Internet Explorer?
Go to
Once at this page, go to top of your web browser, select ''Tools'', and in the drop down box
select "Internet Options".
The first box you should see is under the "General ''tab and says "Home page".
Click on the button that says "Use current" - you are telling Explorer to use the page
you are currently on (Google) as your homepage.
Click "Ok" at the bottom of the screen.
Test it- click on the little house at the top of Internet Explorer - you should go (or stay) at
It's easy to change your homepage, so try setting it to Google. If you don't like
it, you can easily change it to something else.
Even better! OPTION 2
Go to
In search box type "google toolbar"
Click on the link that comes up.
Download the Google toolbar, which will put a Google search bar on your Internet Explorer
page- it will thus be at the top all the time and you can search anytime with going to
There are some nice options this toolbar gives you - the best one is that you can tell it to
block pop-up ads! No more blinking "you're a winner" bothering you while you are
searching the web.
24 Simplify the Web
Chapter 3
Educating Mom and Dad First
This chapter puts you in contact with materials and sources for educating yourself first. You
will also learn how to get connected with local support groups. The last section of this
chapter lists recommended books on homeschooling.
The local libraries have purchased many homeschool books at the request of parents. Take
advantage of these books.
Homeschooling can just be a substitute for and copy of
classroom instruction or it can be so much more. Your vision of education will be expanded,
your stereotypes challenged, and new possibilities will be opened to you if you seek to learn
what your choices are when you teach your children at home.
Most of us need a new view of education. All we know is what we experienced in our own
school journey. If you really want to grasp the vision of a joy filled family life and education as
a vital part of living, then read "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.
You might not find it in your library, so borrow it or buy it- just read it! The resource list in this
chapter has more information on this book. Highly recommended reading!
If you're a ''veteran'', I encourage you to continue to learn and to read some of these books­
you will be re-motivated to do the best job you can in this homeschool journey. I find that
even after more than ten years of homeschooling, my passion re-ignites if I read at least one
homeschooling book a year.
Note: word or words in [ ] are keywords to use in a google search (see chapter 2)
Educating Mom and Dad First 25
It is a terrifying thing to begin. To begin anything at all. The rewards are but
rumors then. The glories are but gossip. To taste and see, we must venture into
the murky waters of inexperience. And that is, indeed, a terrifying thing. But tis
more terrifying still to stand ashore and only wish it could someday truly be
Tristam Gylberd
Learn About the Approaches to Homeschooling
The best summary I have seen explaining these approaches is in an article by Ellyn
Davis of the Elijah Company ( or so I have included the article at the end of this
chapter. I STRONGLY recommend reading it thoroughly and considering where
your family ''fits''.
Kalamazoo Area Homeschool Association (KAHSA)
Support group for Christian families. Annual membership includes monthly newsletter,
HSLDA and INCH discounts, and phone directory. If you homeschool in the
Kalamazoo area, I would strongly encourage you to join KAHSA. The monthly
newsletter will keep you informed on seminars, speakers, support groups, field trips,
classes, and other resources for homeschoolers. The number above will get you to
an answering machine. Leave your name and address and a packet of information
will be sent to you.
Kalamazoo Area Homeschool Association (KAHSA) Support Groups
One of the best ways to educate yourself is to pick the brain of a ''veteran'' or to
bounce ideas off other homeschoolers. KAHSA as an organization does not organize
any support groups, rather the newsletter acts as a "conduit" to put homeschoolers in
contact with each other. Various support groups meet around the county and
surrounding area, but they are dependent on interested parents to plan and organize
them. Since the leadership of these groups, location of meetings, etc. can change
from year to year, not all contact information is available here. The best advice - join
KAHSA (did I say that somewhere else?) The following support groups have been in
existence for several years. Information on support groups is in the newsletter and at
the website:
• Homeschoolers of Otsego, Plainwell, Etc. (H.O.P.E)
• Kalamazoo Eastside Enrichment Program (KEEP)
• Mothers of Teen Homeschoolers (MOTH)
• Oasis of SW Portage/Mattawan
• VASE - Van Buren and Allegan Supporting Each Other
JMJ Catholic Homeschoolers
A Kalamazoo area support group providing organized educational and service
opportunities for Catholic homeschool families. Sue Lytwyn 349-2273
Educating Mom and Dad First
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
(540) 338-5600 A non-profit organization established to defend the constitutional
right of parents to teach their children. Annual membership fee. If you are a member
and are ever challenged in your right to homeschool, HSLDA will represent you in
court for free. Michigan currently has one of the best state homeschool laws in large
part due to HSLDA, but it was not always so. Many homeschoolers feel an annual
membership is important to make sure this organization continues to operate and
protect homeschoolers across the U.S. They have an excellent web site where you
can keep up to date on homeschooling in the news and family legislation in congress.
Other support groups: use Google keyword Network of Michigan Home Educators
Homeschooling Magazines
Use to find the web pages and subscription information.
Home Education Magazine
Unschooling flavor
Homeschool Digest
More philosophical
Homeschooling Parent
Homeschooling Today
Practical Homeschooling - Articles by and about all homeschooling methods
Teaching Home (currently only available online)
Homeschool Conferences
Bob Jones University Home School Conference and Family Camp Summer
family camp and homeschool conference in Greenville, SC (864) 242-5100
Emmanuel Center Holt, Michigan. How to Homeschool Conferences several times
a year, (800) 256-5044.
[emmanuel center]
Homeschool Building - How to Homeschool Seminars several times a year $10.
5625 Burlingame Ave. SW, Wyoming, MI Bookstore (new and used); the
building offers classes, sports, used book sale in Jun. and HSB Connections­
email newsletter with announcements of local events. Excellent web site
with links to other homeschool sites.
Bookstore M-F 9-3.
Information Network for Christian Homes (INCH) INCH is the state Christian
homeschool organization based in Lansing.
Organizes annual state
homeschool convention in May. Hundreds of exhibitors. This is the best
place to go to actually see all those resources you read about in the catalogs,
magazines. and advertisements. See before you buy-and save shipping!
(616) 874-5656
Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference, Muskegan, MI. Homeschool Week,
end of August, 231-798-2161.
[maranatha bible conference]
Mid-winter Home Education Conference - Grand Rapids, January or February
each year; contact Homeschool Building in Grand Rapids for information.
[homeschool building]
Educating Mom and Dad First 27
At some point you many be asked" Why do you think you are capable of teaching?
You don't have a teaching degree!"
I think one of my favorite answers to this is in
the book Schooling Choices in a chapter by Gregg Harris titled "Are There
Educational Advantages?" (209-210). Used by permission.
In spite of all these educational
advantages, some people still have
sincere doubts about the viability of
homeschooling. They harbor questions
they assume homeschoolers could never
answer, and so out of kindness they do
not ask. Rest assured we have heard
every question. In fact we asked them
ourselves before we made our decision to
teach at home.
In these cases I find it helpful to
expose the absurdity of these questions by
applying them to another sacred aspect of
family life-home cooking. I am convinced
that every argument framed against
homeschooling can just as easily be
directed against home cooking. It just
sounds silly when you do.
"Home cooking could be a harbor
for dietary neglect. "
"Our children are too valuable a
national resource to be left to amateur
cooks. After all, you are what you eat. "
"You should not be allowed to cook
at home unless you are a certified
nutritionist. "
"Home kitchen equipment cannot
be adequate."
Educating Mom and Dad First
"All children should be required to
eat three standardized meals a day in
government-operated cafeterias. "
"I've had a few home-cooked
meals that were abusive."
"Children need to eat around other
children in order to learn proper table
manners. " [Yeah, right!]
"Children need to eat in restaurants
in order to experience all the varieties of
ethnic cooking. "
"I could never cook for my children
every day. So I send them to the local
restaurant. They're the professionals. "
"If everybody cooked at home, the
restaurants would have to close and
millions of people would starve. "
"I know someone who is a terrible
Have I missed any? Home
schooling is not afraid of questions. If you
have what you think is the killer question,
ask it. The odds are we've heard it many
times before. And if that question is all
that is standing between you and
homeschooling, we will be glad to help you
get it out of the way.
Recommended Books
Most local libraries carry books on homeschooling- shelved either at 370, 371, 372 or 649. Most of the books
listed here are available at local libraries. These are not the only books available. The bold letters at the end
of the description tell you which library has the book. If the library listed is not your library, you can request your
library borrow the book through interlibrary loan. See chapter 4 for interlibrary loan information. Good
sources for purchase of homeschool books: or
3-Three Rivers
B-Branch County
S-South Haven
V-Van Buren
W-Willard library, Battle Creek
K-Kalamazoo Public Library
J-Jackson District Library
P-Portage District Library
PP-Paw Paw
Homeschool? Christian School? Public School?
Schooling Choices H. Wayne House
Very helpful, balanced - separate writers each make their case for which choice is the best and the other two writers
respond- it's a "debate in a book". J
Schooling Options Elaine K. McEwan
Very helpful, clear steps to help you make a choice- checklists, profiles, questions to answer to help figure out what is best
for your children; balanced- pros and cons of each choice.K
Should I Homeschool? How to Decide What's Right for You & Your Child Elizabeth & Dan Hamilton
The authors believe "most parents can homeschool" if they choose, though it is not an "automatic choice for everyone.".
They ask and answer questions they struggled with as they were making their own decision. P K R
The Right Choice: The Incredible Failure Of Public Education And The Rising Hope Of Home Schooling: An Academic, Historical,
Practical, And Legal Perspective
by Christopher J. Klicka ; with supplementary chapters by Gregg Harris. DB W
You've decided to homeschool? Now read thisl
For the Children's Sake Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Read this booklll Written by the daughter of Francis Schaeffer. Over and over I read testimonies from homeschoolers
and other homeschool authors of how this was the most influential book they read. You will capture a picture of education
vs. school- an education that is warm, intelligent, inviting, full of real people, real activities. Introduces one to the teaching
methods of British educator Charlotte Mason. I highly recommend it even if you choose not to homeschool. W
"How do I tell the in-laws?"
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Senses David Guterson
Written by a non-Christian. If you have non-Christian relatives to convince, this book might be helpful. From
review: "Guterson brings an interesting perspective to the question of homeschooling. Although he teaches English in a
large public high school, he and his wife prefer to instruct their own children at home. Here, he articulates many of the
problems of the American education system and, to a degree, makes a strong case for the role of homeschooling in
contributing to the solution." C K P V W
You're Going to Do What?! Laurajean Downs
Written to help extended family understand the choice to homeschool.
"I Need more Information on the How and Why"
A Field Guide To Home Schooling Christine M. Field P
Beyond Survival-a Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling Diana Waring
Develop a vision for your homeschool-one that will "spur you on when the going gets tough." Emphasis on a "living
books" approach. Helpful suggestions for learning styles, multi-grade teaching and how to survive a homeschool
convention. Humorous too! D, P W
Christian Home School, The Gregg Harris
Homeschool pioneer. Staunch advocate of homeschooling. Son Josh author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and others on
courtship. W
Home Educating with Confidence-How Ordinary Parents can Produce Extraordinary Children Rick and Marilyn Boyer
Highly recommended!! Husbands and wives should read this aloud together. Primarily written by homeschool dad Rick
Boyer with a sense of humor worked throughout-you'll find yourself smiling often. "We have all the advantages of the small
student-teacher ratio, much better discipline than in most classrooms, far less busywork, a wide choice of good text
materials and above all, a deep bond of love with our children. "-Rick Boyer G W
Educating Mom and Dad First 29
Homeschool Journey, the Susan and Michael Card
Christian recording artist shares the homeschool journey of their family with emphasis on Christ as the center and
character development. P
Homeschooling For Dummies Jennifer Kaufeld P V
Homeschooling Step-By-Step, 100+ Simple Solutions To Homeschooling's Toughest Problems LauraMaery Gold P V W
Home Style Teaching Raymond and Dorothy Moore
Many homeschoolers started back in the 1980s after hearing Dr. Moore on Focus on the Family. His research showed kids
were being pushed to accomplish academics too soon. Very helpful information. P S
Schoolproof Mary Pride
By a homeschool pioneer who publishes a magazine and maintains an active website. If you read this book you will not
look at education the same. P R V
Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, The Raymond Moore Creative and stress-free approach to homeschooling. K V W
The Complete Idiot's Guide To Homeschooling / By Marsha Ransom C G P S V W
The Homeschooling Book Of Answers: 101 Important Questions Answered By Homeschooling's Most Respected Voices
Compiled by Linda Dobson. 2002 A C K P V W
The Homeschooling Handbook: From Preschool To High School, A Parent's Guide Mary Griffith A C K P PP V W 3
The Ultimate Book Of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun And Creative Learning Activities For Kids Ages 3-12 Linda Dobson. 0
Things We Wish We'd Known-SO Veteran Homeschoolers Share compiled by Bill and Diana Waring
Highly recommended. Why learn by your own mistakes if you can learn from others? Read this early in your homeschool
journey-lots of "oo. words of wisdom. Nuggets from the mine of experience." Be encouraged from veterans; learn how
"homeschooling can be a place of victory, joy, and accomplishment. "P W
Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Debra Bell
Excellent resource. Wit and wisdom from a veteran homeschooler - steps to getting started; subject by subject guidelines;
resource lists of the best supplies, books, and contests for kids; using the computer and internet; learning styles; high
school and more. A B D 0 P Ri V
Way they Learn, the Cynthia Tobias
Not on homeschooling but great information on learning styles. Once you understand your own child's learning style it will
help you pick appropriate teaching materials. A K PP P R V W
Books on Various Approaches to Homeschooling
Stories of Different Families using Different Methods
Home-spun Schools :Teaching Children At Home--What Parents Are Doing And How They Are Doing It Raymond Moore. P
So You're Thinking of Homeschooling Lisa Welchel
Former star of Facts of Life is now a homeschooling Mom of 4. Beginning with her own she introduces you to 15 families in
unique situations, who have all chosen to homeschool for different reasons, using a variety of learning methods. By the
end of this parade of homes, you will identify a family situation and teaching approach from these stories that resonates
with your personality and philosophy of education. V
Real Life Homeschooling :The Stories Of 21 Families Who Make It Wolk Rhonda Barfield 0 P R S W 3
Charlotte Mason - Living Books - Literature Based
Books Children Love Elizabeth Wilson
Companion to For the Children's Sake- lists suggested "living books". B CPR 3
cnenone Mason Companion Karen Andreola
Author is a well-known speaker and author in the homeschool world. Translates Charlotte Mason principles into practical
advice and ideas. Teaches how to: use living books; appreciate art, music, poetry, Shakespeare; keep a nature journal;
create a loving home atmosphere.
Teaching Children-a Curriculum Guide to what Children Need to Know through Sixth Grade Diane Lopez
Companion book to For the Children's Sake- practical ideas in how to teach using the Charlotte Mason Approach. W
WholeHearted Child, The Sally Clarkson
Discipleship and education combined in a home-centered learning approach. Reproducible forms for planning and record
keeping. How to use real books and real life to make your home a vibrant center of living and learning.
Classical Education
Teaching the Trivium-Christian Homeschooling Using the Classical Approach Harvey Bluedorn
Well Trained Mind: Guide to Classical Education at Home, The Jessie Wise
The basic book for tiomeschoolers on this approach. R V W 3
Relaxed Homeschooling - Delight Directed Learning
Home Grown Kids Raymond and Dorothy Moore
One of the books that launched the Christian homeschool movement. B K P S V
Joyful Homeschooler, The Mary Hood
One of the premier writers on the Christian version of "Unschooling"- preferably called relaxed homeschooling. More
information on her approach at her website: V
Educating Mom and Dad First
Lab Science: The How, Why, What, Who 'n' Where Book Barb Shelton
The book contains sample frameworks forms to help you coordinate or create your own course
Relaxed Homeschooler, The Mary Hood P
School Can Wait Raymond S. Moore, Dorothy N. Moore W
Senior High:A Home-Designed Form+U+la Barb Shelton
Great resource for teaching high school- will help you relax about high school.
Unit Studies
How to Create Your Own Unit Studies Valerie Bendt
Unit Study Idea Book, The Valerie Bendt K
Christian Unschooling Teri Brown
Homeschooling for Excellence David and Micki Colfax
This family educated mainly through hard work on their homestead and by letting their four boys pursue whatever interests
they had. All 4 boys received scholarships to top schools like Yale and Harvard. C D G K PP P V W
Learning all the time John Holt K P S V W
Teach Your Own John Holt
Caution: John Holt was not a Christian. Read this only if you are grounded in a Biblical world view. His viewpoint is
humanistic-sees the child as basically good and ready to be in charge of his own education. Although Christians cannot
agree with some of his basic philosophies, still he has many good things to say. C K P W
Choosing Curriculum and other Tools + What to Teach When
Big Book of Home Learning volume 1 and 2 Mary Pride K P V W
Choosing and Using Curriculum- Your Guide to Home Education Joyce Herzog
Provides concrete standards to help you chose curriculum that fits your teaching style/ your child's learning style.
Christian Home Educator's Curriculum Manual, volumes 1 and 2 Cathy Duffy
Very helpful. Evaluates materials for all subjects and pros and cons of various materials. P V Vi
Homeschooling on a Shoestring Melissa L. Morgan V W
You Can Teach Your Child Successfully-Grades 4-8 Ruth Beechick C P V
Help for Choosing and Evaluating Reading Books for your Children
Best Books for Kindergarten through High School Donna Hess
Books that Build Character-A Guide to Teaching your Child Moral Values through Stories William Kilpatrick W
Brightest Heaven of Invention- a Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays Peter Leithart
Honey for a Child's Heart-Use of Books in Family Life Gladys Hunt
A classic, recently revised. Develop mutual "friends" with your children- share books with them. C K R
Invitation to the Classics - Guide to Books You've Always Wanted to Read Louise Cowan and as Guiness PP W
Let the Author's Speak- a Guide to Worthy Books Based on Historical Setting Carolyn Hatcher R
Realms of Gold- the Classics in Christian Perspective Leland Ryken W
Turning Back the Pages of Time - Guide to American History through Literature Kathy Keller
"My Child has Special Needs"
Every Child can Succeed Cynthia Tobias
Not a book on homeschooling but many tips for helping children with special needs. A K W
How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Leaming- Homeschooling Highly Distractible, ADHD, or Just Plain Fidgety Kids
Carol Barnier
Learning in Spite of Labels Joyce Herzog
Homeschooling High School
And What About College? Cafi Cohen R V 3
Homeschoolers' College Admissions Handbook Cafi Cohen D 0 V
Homeschooling All The Way Through High School Renee Mason P V
Homeschooling High School - Planning ahead for College Admissions Jeanne Gowen Dennis
Homeschooling the High Schooler - Daina McAlister
Homeschooling the Teen Years Cafi Cohen P V W
Hot House Transplants- Moving from Homeschool into the "Real World" collected by Matthew Duffy
Have your high school student read these stories of successful homeschool high school graduates.
The Guidance Manual For The Christian Home School: A Parent's Guide For Preparing Home School Students For College Or
Career David and Laurie Callihan. Pp P
Senior High:A Home-Designed Form-u-l:« Barb Shelton
Great resource for teaching high school- will help you relax and will teach you how to tailor a high school program that
meets the needs of your child.
Educating Mom and Dad First 31
Learning About the Approaches to Homeschooling
If you start doing any research on homeschooling you will begin to see references to the
"approaches" of homeschooling. "What are they talking about?" you might be asking. As
homeschooling grows, so do the various ways that people set up their home education
program. Though there are no two families alike in how they teach at home, the various ways
to go about homeschooling can be broken into a few basic categories. "What does it
matter?" Understanding homeschool approaches, and what fits your teaching style and your
child's learning style, will help you choose the correct education materials for your family. It
may also save you from spending your money unwisely for materials that won't work with your
child. Websites and books listed elsewhere in this guide will further help you understand these
Exploring Teaching Approaches
by Ellyn Davis
Just as Christendom is comprisedof many diverse groups, each
havinga uniquedoctrinal emphasis, Christian homeschoolers
are a diverse people.The Department of Education estimates
there are between one and two million home schoolingfamilies
in the UnitedStates, most of whom are teaching their children
out of a religious conviction.
As we havetraveled to various book fairs throughoutthe country,
we have been able to interact with homeschoolers holding
differing doctrinalpositions, and those positions are reflected in
the lifestylesthe families lead as well as in the teaching materials
they choose. At the risk of reducing homeschoolers to
stereotypes or of misrepresenting their views, we would like to
share the main convictionsllifestyles we have seen in the home
schoolingmovement: the "currents" within the "river."Our
groupingsare not rigid, becausethere is a broad spectrumof
beliefswithin each group and the groups tend to overlap.
Common Family Emphases
From our vantage point these are the four main emphases
among Christian homeschoolingfamilies:
Families concerned with social action.
Many home educatorslong to see our governmentreflect
Christian principles and thereforeare preparing their children to
becomethe intellectual, social, and spiritual leaders of tomorrow.
These familiestend to be involved in a broad spectrum of social
concems.They may be active in the Pro-Lifemovementor in
organizations that address legislativeand/or social change. Their
focus may be on the study of America's Christian history and
restoring truths that are omitted by secular historians.They want
their children preparedto influencethe world and therefore want
them to understand worldviews and current events and to be
informedabout the problems facing America. The study of
history and government, particularly the study of America's
Christian heritage, is strongly encouraged. These families tend to
share Calvinistor Reconstructionist theology.
Families desiring a simpler, self-reliant lifestyle.
A growingnumber of home schoolingfamilies tend to be very
ecologicallyaware, and are interestedin cooking more naturally
and nutritiously, altemativemedicines, large families, breast­
feeding, home birth, midwifery, home businesses, buildingtheir
own homes, raisingtheir own food, homesteading, survival skills,
and becoming as self-sufficient as possible. Some of these
families have adopted lifestylessimilar to the Amish and seek to
protecttheir children from many of the issues facing the outside
world. Others are more socially active, but greatly limit outside
influences over their children. Preferredteaching materials
reinforce biblical order in the home, simplicity of life-style, and
the values of hard work and resourcefulness.
Educating Mom and Dad First
Families concerned with restoration of the family and of the
The primary focus of many teaching families is to build strong,
capable men who can lead their families well; to develop virtuous
women who can succeed as wives and mothers; to create a
family unit that nourishesChristiancharacter in the children; and
to build churchesthat are family-based in their orientationand
ministry.These families believethat becausethe church is made
up of family units, it can be no purer nor strongerthan its
members,so the restoration of the Christianfamily is critical to
the restoration of the Church to her rightfUl place of leadership
and power. Family-based churches are built on the godly family
units of which they are composedand strive to includethe whole
family in the various facets of church life. Familieswith this focus
tend to chooseteaching materialsthat reinforcetraditionalfamily
roles and emphasizeseparationfrom the world. Many lean
toward Pietist theology.
Families whose children need special care.
Some of these may be families who have children with
handicapsor children who need special care. The vast majority
of this group, however, is made up of families who have had
disappointing or disturbingencounterswith the public school
system and no longer want their children exposedto its negative
influences. These families tend to take one of two paths: either
they choose a prepackaged traditional curriculum and reproduce
what their children were doing in the public school classroom, or
they reject classroom-style leaming entirelyand become
Common Educational Philosophies
There are four educational philosophies influencingeducation
today. Think of these philosophiesas the underlying
assumptions about what comprises an educationand what the
teaching materialsshould cover in a course of study. All of the
common teachingapproaches availableto home educators
contain elementsof these four educational philosophies.
Essentialism assumesthat there is a core body of knowledge
that must be mastered in order for a person to be considered
"educated." It focuses on the "essentials" and is subject oriented.
Essentialism could be summed up in this phrase: "Information is
the key to a good education."
Perennialism is more "idea" oriented, and considerseducation
to consist of becomingacquaintedwith the great writing and
thinking throughouthistory. To perennialists, "understanding is
the key to a good education."
Progressivism seeks to make education practical and
applicableto the needs of students and society. It assumesthat
making knowledge and skills meaningfulare the keys to a good
Existentialism stresses "authenticity"-the commitment to finding
true being. To the existentialist, discovering one's own meaning
and purpose in life is the key to a good education.
Common Teaching Approaches
Your family emphases and your educational philosophy will tend
to influence your teaching approach. Although there are many
variations on the teaching approaches listed below, we've found
these groupings to be a helpful framework for understanding the
whole spectrum of teaching. We've divided them into the
following two main curriculum based teaching groups: Traditional
(Textbook and Workbook categories) and Non-Textbook (with
Classical, Unit Study, liVing Books, Principal, Unschooling and
Mixed categories).
Weaknesses of the TextbookIWorktext Approach:
• Is geared to the "generic" child. Does not take into
account individual learning styles, strengths and
weaknesses, or interests
• Assumes that there is a body of information that
comprises an education and that this information can
be broken down into daily increments
• Treats children's minds like containers to be filled with
• Focuses on transmitting information through artificial
learning experiences
• Is teacher-directed and chalkboard oriented
• Different aged students study different materials
• Expensive when teaching multiple children
• Discourages original, independent thinking
• Has a high "bum out" rate
In the Traditional Approach, graded textbooks or workbooks
follow a scope and sequence that covers each subject in 180
daily increments over a span of 12 years. Teacher's manuals,
tests, and record keeping materials are usually available that
correspond to each of the texts. Textbook curricula assume you
will run your home school like an institutional school.
Although there are a number of excellent textbook and worktext
programs available, many home educators object to the fact that
textbooks are teacher-directed, chalkboard-oriented, and seldom
take into account different teaching approaches or the different
ways children receive and process information.
Worktext programs present textbooks in consumable workbook
format. The student learns his lesson, is given assignments, and
is tested all in the workbook. The worktexts include tests or
checkpoints to ensure that the material in each section is
mastered before the student moves on to the next. Worktexts
also allow more independent study and require minimal teacher
preparation time and supervision.
Video programs are also available that are actual classrooms on
video. The child follows along with the video as if he or she were
attending an actual classroom, and uses the accompanying
textbooks or workbooks.
Traditional curricula are also available on computer. Many
satellite schools and well as universities now offer computer
courses on CD or through the internet.
Most of the textbook and worktext programs used in private
Christian schools are available to homeschoolers. They each
share a distinct doctrinal perspective, and usually contain strong
elements of essentialism.
Questions to ask yourself before trying the traditional, textbook
approach are listed below. Yes answers indicate this approach
may work for you and your child:
• Did my child perform well in a school classroom?
• Does my child like to complete assignments and to have
defined goals?
• Is my child academically oriented?
• Will my child complete assigned tasks with a minimum of
prodding from me?
• Am I the kind of person who will follow through with the
lesson plans and pace of the course of instruction?
• Does my child read well and have good reading
comprehension skills?
• Can my child work well independently?
• Can my child learn without a lot of variety to the teaching
Strengths of the TextbookIWorktext Approach
• Everything is laid out for ease of use
• Follows a standardized scope and sequence
• Has definite milestones of accomplishment
• Testing and assigning grades is easy to do
John Gatto says, "Real books educate. School books school."
With textbooks, parents may feel they are "bringing the
classroom home" instead of educating their children in a way that
is uniquely home-based. These parents have found alternative
teaching approaches that allow them to tailor their home
schooling to their family's particular needs. On the following
pages we briefly explain the five most common non-textbook
teaching approaches:
- The Classical Approach is derived from successful courses of
study throughout history and recently revived through the
writings of Dorothy Sayers.
- The Principle Approach is based on the premise that our nation
is a unique and vital link in the westward chain of Christianity.
- The Living Books and Life Experiences Approach of Charlotte
Mason treats children as persons, not as containers to be filled
with information.
- The Unit Study Approach integrates several subject areas
around a common theme.
- Unschooling Approach assumes that children are natural
learners and gives them resources to do so.
The Classical Approach
The Classical Approach to education has produced great minds
throughout history, and has strong elements of perennialism.
The modem proponent of the Classical Approach was British
writer and medieval scholar Dorothy Sayers. As the Nazis rose
to power in the 1930s, Sayers warned that schools were
teaching children everything except how to think. Because young
adults could no longer think for themselves, Sayers felt they
could be easily influenced by tyrants. To remedy this, Sayers
proposed reinstating the classical form of education used in the
Middle Ages.
In the Classical Approach, children under age 18 are taught tools
of learning collectively known as The Trivium. The Trivium has
three parts, each part corresponding to a childhood
developmental stage.
The first stage of the Trivium, the Grammar Stage, covers early
elementary ages and focuses on reading, writing, and spelling;
the study of Latin; and developing observation, listening and
memorization skills. The goal of this stage is to develop a
general framework of knowledge and to acquire basic language
arts and math skills.
Educating Mom and Dad First 33
At approximately middle school age, children begin to
demonstrate independent or abstract thought (usually by
becoming argumentative or opinionated). This signals the
beginning of the Dialectic Stage in which the child's tendency to
argue is molded and shaped by teaching logical discussion,
debate, and how to draw correct conclusions and support them
with facts. The goal of this stage is to equip the child with
language and thinking skills capable of detecting fallacies in an
argument. Latin study is continued, with the possible addition of
Greek and Hebrew. The student reads essays, arguments and
criticisms instead of literature as in the Grammar Stage. History
study leans toward interpreting events. Higher math and
theology begin.
The final phase of the Trivium, the Rhetoric Stage, seeks to
produce a student who can use language, both written and
spoken, eloquently and persuasively. Students are usually ready
for this stage by age 15.
Questions to ask yourself before trying the classical
approach with your child. Yes answers indicate this approach
may work for you and your child:
• Does my family like to read good literature?
• Are my children intellectually oriented and comfortable
with a rigorous academic program?
• Am I a learner? Am I comfortable learning alongside my
children so I can teach them things I never studied?
• Do I like to study and discuss ideas that have influenced
Strengths of the Classical Approach:
• Is tailored to stages of mental development
• Teaches thinking skills & verbal/written expression
• Creates self·leamers
• Has produced great minds throughout history
Weaknesses of the Classical Approach:
• Very little prepared curriculum available
• Requires a scholarly teacher and student
• May overemphasize ancient disciplines and classics
The Unit Study Approach
A Unit StUdy takes a theme or topic (a unit of study) and delves
into it deeply over a period of time, integrating language arts,
science, social studies, math, and fine arts as they apply. Instead
of studying eight or ten separate, unrelated subjects, all subjects
are blended together and studied around a common theme or
project. For example, a unit study on birds could include reading
and writing about birds and about famous omithologists
(language arts), studying the parts, functions, and life cycles of
birds and perhaps even the aerodynamics of flight (science and
math), determining the migration paths, habitats, and
ecological/sociological impact of birds (social studies), sketching
familiar birds (art), building bird houses or feeders ("hands on"
activities) and so forth.
Several fine prepared unit study curricula are available, but it is
easy to prepare your own unit studies around areas of interest.
History is the logical core curriculum to build ongoing unit studies
around. History provides a framework for all the other subjects
because it follows a progression and covers every other subject
(except possibly math), like art, music, science, literature, and so
Questions to ask yourself before trying unit studies with
your children:
• Am I a creative person?
• Do I like trying to make everything interesting and fun?
• Do my children have a variety of interests and leaming
• Can I live with the fact that there may be "gaps" in my
children's education?
Educating Mom and Dad First
• Do I have the time and energy to be the driving, creative
force behind the development of units?
Strengths of the Unit Study Approach:
• All ages can leam together
• Children can delve as deeply or as lightly into a subject
as they like
• The family's interests can be pursued
• Students get the whole picture
• Curiosity and independent thinking are generated
• Intense study of one topic is the more natural way to leam
• Knowledge is interrelated so is learned easily and
remembered longer
• Unit studies are fairly easy to create
Weaknesses of the Unit Study Approach:
• It is easy to leave educational "gaps"
• Hard to assess the level of leaming occurring
• Record keeping may be difficult
• Prepared unit study curricula are expensive
• Do-it-yourself unit studies require planning
• Too many activity-oriented unit studies may cause burn­
out of teacher and student
• Subjects that are hard to integrate into the unit may be
The Living Books Approach
The Living Books Approach is based on the writings of Charlotte
Mason, a turn-of-the-century British educator. Miss Mason was
appalled by several tendencies she noticed in modern education:
(1) the tendency to treat children as containers to be filled with
predigested information instead of as human beings; (2) the
tendency to break down knowledge into thousands of isolated
bits of information to be fed into "container" children; and (3) the
tendency to engineer artificial leaming experiences. She
believed in respecting children as persons, in involving them in
real-life situations, and in allowing them to read really good
books instead of what she called "twaddle", worthless, inferior
teaching material. She considered education a failure when it
produced children able to "do harder sums and read harder
books" who lacked "moral and intellectual power." Children were
to be taught good habits, to be involved in a broad spectrum of
real-life situations, and given ample time to play, reflect, and
Mason's approach to academics was to teach basic reading,
writing, and math skills, then expose children to the best sources
of knowledge for all other subjects. This meant giving children
experiences like nature walks, observing and collecting wildlife;
visiting art museums; and reading real books with "living ideas."
She called such books "living books" because they made the
subject 'come alive' unlike textbooks that tend to be dry and dull
and assume the reader cannot think for himlherself.
Questions to ask yourself before trying the Charlotte Mason
• Does our family love to read, both alone and together
through reading aloud?
• Do we love to go to the library?
• Am I comfortable with more of a "tree-form" approach to
• Will I follow through with teaching my children good habits
and character qualities?
• Do I trust my children to learn on their own?
• Will I follow through with exposing my children firsthand to
nature and to great art?
Strengths of the Living Books Approach:
• Treats children as active participants in the learning
• Exposes children to real objects and books instead of
interactions with distilled information
• Encourages curiosity, creative thinking, and a love of
• Eliminates meaningless tasks, busywork
• Developmentally appropriate
• Stresses fonnation of good character and habits
Weaknesses of the Living Books Approach:
• Tends to be very child centered
• Very little prepared curriculum
• May neglect higher level studies because of its emphasis
on art, literature, and nature study
• May become too eclectic
The Principle Approach
The Principle Approach is an effort to restore to American
Christians three vital concepts: the knowledge of our Christian
history; an understanding of our role in the spread of Christianity;
and the ability to live according to the Biblical principles upon
which our country was founded. The Principle Approach is a way
of living life, not just a way of educating children.
Developers of the Principle Approach rediscovered seven
Biblical principles upon which our country was founded and by
which many of the founding fathers were educated. The seven
principles are: (1) Individuality (God has created distinct
differences in people, nations, etc.); (2) Self Govemment
(Government starts in the heart of man.); (3) Christian Character;
(4) "Conscience is the Most Sacred of Property;" (5) The
Christian Fonn of Govemment; (6) How the Seed of Local Self
Govemment is Planted; (7) The Christian Principle of American
Political Union.
Four emphases are unique to this educational approach. First,
there is a recognition of God's Hand (Providence) in history.
Second, there is the understanding that God has ordained three
governmental institu1ions (the home, the church, and civil
govemment) through which He unfolds His purposes and
manifests Christ on this earth. Third, each Christian is
responsible for extending God's government. Fourth, the student
assumes responsibility for learning and for applying knowledge
to his own life.
The Principle Approach may be applied to the study of any
subject with the use of notebooks to record "the 4 Rs"
(Researching God's Word; Reasoning from the researched
Biblical truths/principles; Relating the truths and principles
discovered to the subject and the student's character; and
Recording the individual application of the Biblical principles to
the subject and the student).
Questions to ask yourself before trying the Principle
• Do I have a real concern for the application of Christian
principles to my family and my nation?
• Will my child assume responsibility for a great deal of
leaming on hislher own?
• Does my child like to express him or herself through
• Am I willing to undertake extensive biblical research and
teaching preparation?
Strengths of the Principle Approach:
• Students leam to think "govemmentally"
• Students become self-Ieamers
• Students leam to apply biblical principles to the whole of
• Students create their own ''textbooks''
• Focuses mainly on American history
• Requires a great deal of teacher preparation
• Prepared curriculum available in few subjects
The Unschooling Approach
On the one hand, the Unschooling Approach is defined by John
Holt, a 20th century American educator who concluded that
children have an innate desire to learn and a curiosity that drives
them to leam what they need to know when they need to know it.
Holt believed that both desire and curiosity are destroyed by the
usual methods of teaching. In his book Teach Your Own, Holt
wrote: 'What children need is not new and better curricula but
access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and
space to think over their experiences, and to use and play to
make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks,
to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not
where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want
to find out."
On the other hand, unschooling refers to any less structured
leaming approach that allows children to pursue their own
interests with parental support and guidance. The child is
surrounded by a rich environment of books, leaming resources,
and adults who model a lifestyle of leaming and are willing to
interact with him. Fonnal academics are pursued when the need
arises. Christians who favor less structured schooling, but with
definite goals, prefer to be called "relaxed home educators," not
Questions to ask yourself before trying the Unschooling
• Am I comfortable with few pre-set goals and little
• Do my children have strong interests in particular areas?
• Does my family have a lot of natural curiosity and love
Strengths of the Unschooling Approach:
• Takes little planning
• Captures the child's ''teachable moments"
• Children have access to the real world, plenty of time and
space to figure things out on their own
• Children are less likely to become academically frustrated
or "burned out"
• Children can delve into a subject as deeply or as
shallowly as they desire
• Provides a discipleship model of leaming
• Creates self-learners with a love of learning
Weaknesses of the Unschooling Approach:
• May neglect some subjects
• Hard to assess level of learning
• Lacks the security of a clearly laid out program
• Is extremely child-centered
• Difficult to explain to others
• May be overly optimistic about what children will
accomplish on their own
The Mixed Approach
Many homeschoolers use a blend of the different approaches.
For example, they may use traditional math and science
textbooks, but build unit studies around historical periods that
include language arts, music, art, and philosophy, and then
choose a computer program to teach typing ..
© Copyright 2003. Elijah Company
Weaknesses of the Principle Approach:
• May present a narrow view of life and of history
Used by pennission.
Educating Mom and Dad First 35
Chapter 4
Where to Find Homeschooling Resources
This is an exciting time to homeschool. There are so many resources available, many of
them written specifically for homeschooling.
Some of the favorite resources of local
homeschoolers and sources for obtaining homeschooling materials are listed in this chapter.
Information on how to teach difficult subjects plus how to include extracurricular subjects
such as music and drama are covered in the next chapter.
One of the stumbling blocks for people considering homeschooling is that they fear there are
subjects they will have no idea how to teach. With the multitude of helps available this should
no longer be a concern.
You might also be surprised that the "user friendliness" of
curriculum written specifically for homeschoolers means your child might be able to keep up
with the course with little help from you - yes, even algebra, biology or chemistry!
If you have read some of the resources listed in chapter 3, attended a homeschool
conference, or talked to friends, you may have a good idea of what your homeschooling
method might look like - or least what you want to try.
Before you run out and buy
everything that looks good, or that your best friend recommended, I would highly encourage
you to visit the Elijah company website ( and read the article
titled "Choosing Teaching Material" (also called "10 Rules Of Thumb for Choosing
Teaching Materials"; articles are under the E-Journal Archives).
following the advice just might save you a lot of money!
36 Where to find Homeschool Resources
Reading this article and
Used Books and Curriculum
Once you figure out what resources you want to use, remember, you don't have to bUy
everything new. Homeschooling can be very expensive if you buy all new books plus
spend money on extra classes outside the home. But it can also be very inexpensive with
the use of the library and by buying used materials. Check the web list in chapter two for
online used book sites. I have found many, many used books over the years and the best
sources have been:
• Friends of the Library Bookstore - Kalamazoo Library's permanent used book sale ­
in basement of the main library. Check for days and times or call
• Homeschool used book sales - there is one in Kalamazoo in Mayor June and in
Grand Rapids each June. Being a member of the Kalamazoo Area Homeschool
Association (KAHSA) will help you keep abreast of these.
• Library used book sales - call your local library and find when it will hold its sale (they
all do) .
• www.vegsource.comlhomeschool- a used homeschool book sale going on everyday
of the year- the main site is a vegetarian site but they have a very extensive
homeschool section of their website. If you want a popular item you will have to
check frequently to find it (before someone else). You can also post on the 'Want to
Buy Board" (WTB) and someone just might contact you with what you are looking for.
Where to find Homeschool Resources 37
Textbook Approach Curriculum Companies
A Beka Books
877 -223-5226
Type Text
Motel meetings at Best
Western off Sprinkle Rd
several times a year. Preview
and order materials. Website
lists dates
A.C.E.- Accelerted
Christian Education
(School of Tomorrow)
Alpha Omega
Internet classes:
Check with
per grade
A Beka
PACEs- 12
per subject
Keeps report
card and
Program and
high school
$50-65 per
WorktextLifepacs-1 0
worktexts per
subject; 5
core subjects
per grade
A Beka
Switched on
$50 per
$250 per grade
Solid Inc.
Costs vary per subject.
Sample prices:
$47 student and teacher math
Requires the purchase of
Parent Orientation Guide $20
to use the curriculum
Free online diagnostic testing
Horizons- Math and
Language Arts;
Weaver Curriculum- unit
study curriculum
$300 per
Basic Christian
Education (BCE)
12 PACEs
per subject
$48 per
38 Where to find Homeschool Resources
Mennonite background; uses
School of Tomorrow PACEs
Type Text
Bob Jones University
Press (BJUP)
Calvert School
Christian Liberty Press
Christian Light
Publications (CLP)
540- 434-0768
Rod and Staff
Hard and soft
$45-$100 per
per grade
Testing and Evaluation
BJ Homesat
Satellite dish
Academy of
HomeSat- Satellite $100-300
$40 subscription/Mo (allows
access to all classes for all
Some classes
are live and
some are
materials of
their own,
some from
$400-800 per
Softcoveruses some of
their own
plus other
On select
courses and
ex. $20
4th grade
Cash forcollege- forevery $2 spent,
earn $1 toward Bob Jones University
$10-$20 registration per
course + textbooks
Online &
Classical approach; not a
Christian publisher
Hard and
Modern Curriculum Press
math; Saxon math
Achievement testing
Manuals are designed with
the beginning teacher in
mind. Telephone consultation
Curriculum recommendation
Mennonite influence
Where to find Homeschool Resources 39
Favorite Curriculum of Some Southwest Michigan Homeschoolers
To find out more about many of these resources you can look them up in Rainbow Resources catalog.
This catalog is a great help because a thorough explanation of each item is given- and most of these below
will be in the catalog. Information on obtaining the Rainbow catalog is elsewhere in this chapter.
Alternatively, don't forget (see chapter two). I tried a number of these in google- just by
typing in the title of the material I was able to get accurate results in almost all cases.
Textbook suppliers: ABeka, Bob Jones, Christian Liberty Press
Bible: Studying God's Word; Precepts for Kids; Walk through the Bible; The Story Bible (Vos);
Scripture Memory Fellowship; Bible Study Guide for all Ages; Greenleaf Guide to the Old
Reading/Phonics: Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons; Sing Spell Read and
Write; Explode the Code; Pathway Readers; ABeka; Alphaphonics; Victory Drill
Math: Calculadder (math drill); Saxon; Modern Curriculum Press; Professor Bf Mathematics
Power; Jacobs; Miquon; Singapore; Cuisinaire rods; Math-U-See; Videotext; Making
Math Meaningful
Language Arts:
Easy Grammar; Editor in Chief; Simply Grammar; Daily Grams; Winston
Handwriting: Reason for Writing; Rod and Staff
Progeny Press literature guides; Books Children Love; Honey for a
Child's Heart
Spelling Power; Natural Speller; Weaver; Explode the Code; Pathway;
Spelling Success
Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 3000; English from the Roots Up; Rummy Roots (card
game); SAT Preparation; Vocabulary from Classical Roots
Building Thinking Skills; Jenson; Wordsmith; copy work and dictation;
Writing Strands; Learning Language Arts through Literature; Write Source
2000; Jensen's Format Writing
History: Greenleaf Press; Sonlight; Truthquest; Calvert; Beautiful Feet Books; historical
atlases and timelines; Christian Liberty Press; historical fiction
Geography: map study with history studies; Weekly Reader geography workbooks; CDRom­
World Discovery Deluxe
Science: Apologia; Abeka ; Handbook of Nature Study; Usborne books; Moody Science
videos;Christian Liberty Press; Solomon's Resource; Considering God's Creation; Ken
Ham creation science materials
Foreign Language: Latina Christiana; the Learnables; Power Glide; Rosetta Stonecomputer
Art: Art Adventures at Home; Art Paks; sketchbooks
Unit Study: Five in a Row; My Father's World; KONOS
Other: Critical Thinking Skills
Worldview Training: Francis Shaeffer book and video: How Should we Then Live; Chuck
Colson book and video: How Now Shall We Then Live; Understanding the Times;
Michigan Student Statesmanship Institute
40 Where to find Homeschool Resources
Some of the Best Catalogs
If you have these catalogs you will be able to find anything you could need to homeschool! Many of
these catalogs also have great articles on homeschooling.
Check out the web sites because many of them have specials and closeouts only found online.
Beautiful Feet Books
History through literature study guides
Children's Books
Curriculum always discounted. GREAT list of reading books.
Christian Book Distributors (CBD)
Farm Country General Store
Not just homeschool books. Huge selection, great discount, easy to
shop online or has homeschool catalog.
Inexpensive books and activity books. History coloring books and
paper dolls compliment history studies.
Discount prices.
Greenleaf Press
Popular history materials.
Home Training Tools
Library and Educational Services
Miller Pads and Paper
Tons of science supplies. Wonderful service of putting together lab
supplies for any of the traditional science curriculums- Bob Jones, A
Beka, Alpha Omega, Apologia etc.
Limited selection compared to some, but usually the best priced.
They sell wholesale to homeschoolers. Located in Berrien Springs­
many homeschoolers shop at their warehouse.
Great prices on art supplies: paper, colored pencils and more.
Progeny Press
Wonderful literature guides.
R.O.C.K. Solid
Rainbow Resource Center
Sonlight Curriculum
(360) 426-0672
Veritas Press
Discount prices. Also has linked with Alpha Omega to start an Online
Academy. More information on their website.
Hugh catalog. MUST HAVEl Thorough descriptions and everything
discounted. The most popular vendor at INCH (the Michigan state
homeschool convention).
Literature based curriculum. Even if you don't use their curriculum the
catalog has great reading lists.
Web site also has some great articles from past catalogs. Their
catalog is fun to read.
Classical and history based curriculum and reading lists.
Vision Forum
Strong vision for raising Godly boys and girls. Reprints of classic
literature. All American Boys catalog and Beautiful Girlhood catalog
Where to find Homeschool Resources 41
Homeschool Helps and Resources in Southwest Michigan
Barnes and Noble Bookstores
Ask for a 10% off educator's card. They will also do special orders.
Baker Bookhouse Grand Rapids
Child Evangelism (CEF) Video Lending
Library Berrien Center, MI
Emmanuel Center
(800) 256-5044
Family Christian Stores
check phone book
Homeschooling section plus huge used book section in back; will also buy
used books (though not for much!)
Larry DePue, director
Call for copy of catalog. 1008 of videos. Borrow for free- they will mail them
to you and you pay to mail them back. Donations appreciated!
Located in Lansing, Michigan. "How to Homeschool" Seminars. Fee based
curriculum appointments. Sells homeschool materials.
Homeschool section in back of the stores. They will also order materials for
you - and you don't pay shipping. Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Holland, Grand
Friends of the Library Bookstore
(used)- 553-7820
Basement of downtown Kalamazoo Library. Good source for junior high and
high school classics. Wed. 12-8
Fri-Sat 10-4
Homeschool Building Bookstore
Look at curriculum before you buy, no shipping, and carry it home the same
day- some of the advantages of shopping here. This is a resource we are very
blessed to have in Michigan and I would encourage you to patronize them.
Mon. - Fri. 9-3. Holds Homeschoollnformation Seminars several times a
year. $10. Call or check website for dates.
HSB Connections-email newsletter with announcements of local events.
Excellent web site with links to other homeschool sites.
HUGE used curriculum fair each June- check website for date.
5625 Burlingame Ave. SW
Wyoming, Ml 49509
Phone: (616)532-9422
Kalamazoo Regional Educational
Service Agency (KRESA)
Teacher's center with die cut machines, laminators, and supplies for sale. $5
day use fee. Videos $5 rental fee. Might find a video here on topics you might
not find in the library. Video catalog available online. 1819 Milham Rd.
See p. 44
Library and Educational Services
Berrien Springs,MI 49103
Almost every library has one or more used book sale each year. These
sales can be a great way to build a home library. Why not call through the list
and find out when each is having theirs this year.
Mentioned also in catalog list. Best prices for Christian reading books and
Adventures in Odyssey audio tapes. Wholesaler to libraries but sells to
homeschoolers. You can shop in their "warehouse. About an hour's drive.
Office Depot and Office Max
Teacher's day 2
Teacher's Center
You can purchase Alpha Omega materials through them. Tons of
"stuff" at their website. 10% off one item in your birthday month (can take
this discount for every member of the family)
6505 Constitution Blvd., Portage
The Bookshelf
7576 Garden Lane, Portage
WGVU-TV Guidebook
301 West Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
or 3'd Sat of August- freebies given away. PLEASE BE
Local homeschool family business. New and used reading books. Call for
K-12 educational programming being broadcast on the local PBS stations
from 3 am-5am and from 10 am-2pm - and these are not in your local TV
Guide. To find out what is playing you sign up for a free e-newsletter at
their website. This is new- you used to have to purchase the Guide to these
programs for $25! Taping rights included.
42 Where to find Homeschool Resources
The Library- a Homeschooler's Best Local Resource
I have a friend who is a librarian. She said it was sad how few people used her library ­
except the homeschoolers, who would take out hundreds of books. I am one of those who
checks out hundreds of books each year and I would encourage you to be one too!
Interlibrary loan request. Are you interested in using a literature-heavy curriculum like
Sonlight, Truthquest,or Beautiful Feef? Don't buy every book needed-or don't overlook these
curriculums because you can't afford to buy all the books. Michigan has a great library
system with an efficient interlibrary loan program. In my experience I have received almost
every book I requested our local library to search for using interlibrary loan. You do have to
plan ahead as it will take 2-6 weeks to get what you request. Sometimes your library or the
lending library will charge a fee. My library does not charge a fee. However, they will usually
ask me how much I am willing to pay if they find a book and the lending library charges for it.
Sometimes I tell them -"Nothing" © if I don't want it that much. If it is something I really want
and would have to buy otherwise, I'll give them a limit of a few dollars. I have yet to be
Non-book resources. Don't forget these resources that libraries frequently have to borrow:
• Art prints
• Books on tape
• Classical and other music tapes
• Cliff notes (helpful if you are shaky
on your Shakespeare ©)
• Educational videos
• Free internet access
Library co-operative. Many of the Kalamazoo libraries are in a co-operative together- which
means you can use your local library card to also get a library card at one of the other
cooperative libraries.
Kalamazoo, Portage, and Willard (in Battle Creek) are particularly
wonderful libraries.
Kalamazoo Public Library - National Library of the Year in 2002. Use this resource! If
your library is in the co-operative you can get a Kalamazoo library card. There are branches
on the east and west side- probably no one in the immediate Kalamazoo area is more than
15-20 minutes from a Kalamazoo Public Library branch. The Kalamazoo Public Library is
particularly easy to use. You can search online from home (after the kids are in bed!) and
put books on reserve. You select which branch you want these reserve books held at. You
will get a notice when the books you put on reserve are ready, then all you need to do is
drive to the branch, head to the desk, check out the books- and then leave. If you have little
ones, this is the beauty of the system - you have what you want without having to keep an
eye on your toddlers while you search for the books. It gets better - there is no fine for late
children's books (though please, return on time whenever possible; we don't want
homeschoolers to get a bad name!) Even better - you can renew online up to two times.
Books that we use as a reference throughout a unit we might have for 3 months. If you
have not used the Kalamazoo Library system, I cannot encourage you enough to try it
out. I would encourage you to visit the downtown branch. Their educational video section is
pretty extensive and they have a grOWing selection of CDRoms.
Where to find Homeschool Resources 43
The following libraries are cooperative with Kalamazoo Public Library:
Comstock 345-0136
Galesburg 665-7839
Lawton 624-5481
Otsego 694-9690
Parchment 343-7747
Paw Paw 657-3800
Plainwell Ransom 685-8024
Portage 329-4544
Richland 629-9085
Schoolcraft 679-5959
Van Buren 423-4771
Vicksburg 649-1648
Willard (BC) 968-8166
Contact information for other libraries:
Allegan 673-4625
Augusta McKay Memorial 731-4000
Climax Lawrence Memorial Public Library 746-4125 -they provide a satellite library to Scotts at
Scotts Community Center
Delton 623-8040
Three Rivers 273-8666
Comstock Township Library:
Kalamazoo Public Library:
Otsego District Library:
Parchment Library:
Plainwell Ransom Library:
Portage District Library:
Richland Library:
Willard Public Library (Battle Creek):
Southwest Michigan Library Co-operative
[google: use name above] or www.smlc.lib.mLus (NOTE: this is smLc)
Would you like to jumpstart your search for a particular book before requesting interlibrary
loan? By visiting this website, you can search all the libraries in the area. You might want
to just drive to that library to check out a book if you don't want to wait for it to arrive through
interlibrary loan request. (I would call ahead first if you don't have a co-operative card with
that library yet). At the website, select "Agent Union Catalog". The next page will ask for a
password. Just select "Ok" to bypass this. The next page is your search page.
Michigan eLibrary
Over $3.6 million dollars of resources have been purchased for Michigan residents by the
Library of Michigan with funding from the State of Michigan. Connect here for articles from
over 1600 popular, business and health magazines and newspapers. Also read over 10,000
ebooks on many topics. Link to free testing prep materials. Sign in with your driver's
44 Where to find Homeschool Resources
Chapter 5
"Do I Have to Do this Alone?"
"What about Sports?" (or drama ... music... art)
The good news is- you are NOT alone. This chapter will touch the surface of the wealth of
local resources available to provide instruction, lessons, and outlets for just about any area of
interest. Most of these activities, clubs etc. were started by parents wanting to meet a need.
If your child's interest is not represented, then organize something!
This chapter is not exhaustive by any means. The best way to keep informed about local
events is to join the Kalamazoo Area Homeschool Association (KAHSA). Many other
classes, tutors, field trips, etc. are listed in the monthly newsletter. Since many are parent
taught and can change from semester to semester, it would not make sense to list them
here. You really need to join KAHSA to know about these! (See chapter 3 for more
Also, visit the Homeschool Building website- the site lists classes offered throughout the
area. Many classes listed are taught at the Homeschool Building, but they also list other
classes available throughout the southwest Michigan area:
In keeping with chap 2, I list Coogle keywords for searching for more information on
the web. The key words are in [ J.
If no area code is listed, it is 269.
* Words in [
] are Google keywords
Do I Have to Do this Alone?
When you see" * " it means more information is usually available in the KAHSA newsletter.
***** Words in [ ] are Google keywords (see chapter two) *****
Local Academic Helps
Nancy Beers History and government classes from Christian perspective. Nancy is also an instructor
at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. 323-3009
LenChase - Well respected science teacher and homeschool dad. Junior high and high school
science. 349-4598
* Foreign language and sign language - several tutors advertise in KAHSA newsletter.
Homeschool Building - Grand Rapids. See more information in chapter 3. MANY classes offered.
From 131 going north, exit at 54 St, (S. of Grand Rapids), 5625 Burlingame Ave. SW
Wyoming, MI 49509
(616)532-9422. Sign up for their email newsletter to keep up with
current activities throughout SW Michigan. Their site has MANY helpful links to resources
in SW Michigan
[homeschool building]
*Kalamazoo Area Homeschool Tutors (KAT) - A tutoring co-op. Meets Mondays starting in Sept. for
approximately 34 weeks. Location: West Kalamazoo Christian Church, Drake Rd. Classes
may include Spanish, sciences, math, language arts, drama, history. Classes vary each year.
Fees-$300-$400 per course. Pam Vanderhill, 382-0487 or Cathy Kreig, 372-9007
Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) - Homeschooler friendly; many area homeschoolers
have attended here during their high school years. Some of the courses they offer are in the
"90" numbering - which means a pre-college (high school) level (freshmen classes
usually are numbered in the 100s). Approx. $50 per credit. Schedule available online.
Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC)- Four-year, accelerated mathematics and
science curriculum. Classes held in Chene~ Bid on Westnedge in Kzoo. Classes are Y2 day,
, and afternoons for 11 -iz". Homeschool students have successfully
mornings for 9
participated. Competitive selection process begins in November; entrance exam required.
**See note at end of this chapter.
East Martin Christian school- Willing to partner with homeschoolers in part-time admission.
Pioneers- Christian homeschool co-op in Jackson,Ml, grades 6-12, (517)784-6810.
S.H.A.R.E. of Battle Creek - Share- Home-Athletics-Recreation-Enrichment
Battle Creek area's Christian homeschool support group. $25 registration, $100 semester/family for full
day of Tuesday Enrichment Classes. Also athletic programs, field trips, mom groups and teen groups.
Each parent serves.
*Stanford Achievement Testing. May of each year. Dates announced in KAHSA newsletter.
*Student Statesmanship Institute - Supplement the worldview and government education of your
high school student. One week "camp" held in the summer in Lansing, MI. "Young
people come to understand that God has a destiny and purpose for their lives. They start to
realize that faith is not a 'crutch' for weak people... They begin to see themselves as Christ's
Ambassadors .... " One or two day mini camps are held during the school year and listed in
KAHSA newsletter or in H.S. Building newsletter. 877-464-6388
[student statesmanship]
Teenworks - A Christian tutoring service started in the early 1980's by Jeff and Wanda Burdick, who
saw some needs that were not being met for their own children. Grand Rapids/Grand Ledge
areas, (517) 627-9099
Do I Have to Do this Alone?
Other Academic Helps
Classes online
Google search [online classes] or be specific [online high school math classes]
Eagle Christian - An online school offering a quality Christian education, 1-888-EAGLE4U,
Michigan Virtual High School- Offers online classes for a fee. Also offers free MEAP, SAT and AP
prep courses. Sign up for test services with your local public school code (available at the
Microsoft Office Free Tutorials and
The Grace Academy- Components include etexts, textbooks, workbooks, CD-ROMs with multimedia
intensive interaction. Uses discussion groups, message boards, audio, video and e-mail.
[the grace academy]
Writing Assessment Services by Cindy Marsch; website has free writing tutorials to download
[writing assessment services]
Independent Study-Correspondence Programs
Link to list of correspondence and umbrella schools:
[correspondence schools]
American School of Correspondence - You control the pace of your studying. Courses
personally graded by qualified instructors. Specially prepared study guides.
[American school correspondence]
Griggs International Academy (formerly Home Study International) - Christian based
correspondence and online classes. Kindergarten through college. Teaching and grading
services by qualified teachers, Assistance in advising, grading, and record keeping.
[griggs universtiy]
Keystone National High School- Distance education. 800-255-4937
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Independent Study High School - Fully accredited high school has
been offering educational solutions to students around the world since 1929. 866-700-4747
[university Nebraska Lincoln high school]
Other Helps
VideolDVD classes- ABeka, Calvert (see textbook chart chapter 4), Videotext, Chalk Dust Company
math, Superstar Teachers! The Teaching Company-find with Google.
Classes via satellite - Bob Jones has these available- see textbook chart chapter 4.
Classes on CD Rom ­
o Alpha Omega is a pioneer in this area with Switched On Schoolhouse- see textbook chart;
o Saxon Math D.I.V.E. CD-Rom (Digital Interactive Video Education) Lectures on a computer
whiteboard that looks and sounds as though you are in a real classroom. [dive into math]
o D.I.V.E for Science- same as above but for science to supplement (not replace) the textbook
you are using for high school. Video tutorials on science topics that students typically have
trouble understanding; review questions and video solutions. A syllabus will cross-reference
the DIVE lessons to the appropriate chapter in the textbook you are using. [dive into math]
o Calvert has some courses on CD ROM. (see chapter 4 textbook company chart)
Programmed courses - these are specifically written for a student to do on their own; see Textbook
Approach chart (chapter 4) - ACE, BCE, and Alpha Omega.
Summit Ministries Worldview Training (CO) or (TN) Worldview
training camps held in the summer.
Worldview Academy - Leadership Camps train students, ages 13 and up, in worldviews, servant
leadership, apologetics and evangelism. 830-620-5203
* Words in [
] are Google keywords
Do I Have to Do this Alone? 47
Extracurricular Activities
Co-ops, Clubs and Scouting Etc.
*Chess club - Fridays at Portage Library, Tim Mcgrew 345-0736.
Civil Air Patrol - Tuesdays, meets near Kalamazoo Airport.
[civil air patrol kalamazoo]
The Congressional Awards Program
The U.S. Congress' award for young Americans. Open to all 14- to 23-year-olds. Participants
earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates or Medals. Each level
involves setting goals in four program areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development,
Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. A fun way to get more involved in something you
already enjoy or something you'd like to try for the first time. Move at your own pace - on your
own or with your friends. No minimum grade point average. Accommodates young people with
special needs or disabilities. Great experience/award to put on a college application.
*KAHSA Talent and Exhibit Night - Annually in March or April. An opportunity to show off your
student's science, history, etc. projects, plus a chance to perform before an audience.
Kalamazoo Eastside Enrichment Program (KEEP) - Parent led Friday enrichment classes, 1-3 PM,
Kinderqarten-B", childcare available, East side of Kalamazoo. Minimal cost. Also evening
moms' support group meetings. Debbie Greve, 381-3256
Math Games - Meets twice monthly with math games and gym time for all grades. Teaches practical
math with account books and a store to spend accumulated funds earned in the games. Meets
at Richland Bible Church, Richland. Cindy Grimmer 384-2198.
Boy Scout Troop 205 High adventure trips. 352-2373
4-H groups in Kalamazoo (over 15 of them): 383-8648
Barry county - 945-1388
Allegan county - 673-0370
Kent County - 616-336-3265
Calhoun county 781-0784
Local Events ofInterest
Bronson Family Health Fair - approx 2
sat in Sept, free, Bronson Park, Downtown Kalamazoo
[Bronson health]
County Fairs
Allegan County fair - September, usually has Christian music concerts, 673-6501.
[allegan county fair]
Kalamazoo County Fair - Kalamazoo fairground,early August, 349-9791
.[kalamazoo county fair]
Kalamazoo Information
If you are new to the area, call the Kalamazoo Gazette and ask for a copy of "The Answer
Book" - a 56 page newspaper supplement listing a year's worth of events and activities, as
well as contact information for local museums and other places of interest.
Kalamazoo Living History Show - Living history supplies, crafts, reenactors. Annually, March,
Kalamazoo Fair Grounds.
[kalamazoo living history]
*Young Eagles flight program - free flights for kids at Air Zoo one Saturday in May, Milham Rd,
Portage, 382-6555.
[air zoo]
http://www.everythingmichigan.netllinks to - well- everything Michigan - maps, historic sites,
history magazine (which has a separate section on web site for kids), festivals, recreation.
Do I Have to Do this Alone?
Museums and Science Programs
Kalamazoo Air Zoo - renowned local air museum offers aerospace summer camps and classes to
homeschoolers. Scholarships available. Jerry Pahl, 382-6555.
Kalamazoo Math and Science Center Sizzlin' Summer Programs· grades 1-high school, almost
100 different programs, applications available in March, 327-0004.
[kamsc online]
Kalamazoo Valley Museum - Excellent, free museum, downtown near library. Recently updated the
science section. Planetarium. Challenger Space missions. Friday programs for
homeschoolers, 373-7990.
[kalamazoo valley museum]
Outdoor and Nature Activities
Fort Custer State Park - summer activities; bike trails; camping; State Park Explorer
program 731-4200.
[Fort Custer State Park]
Kalamazoo Nature Center - fee; fun to visit for hiking or visit award winning museum. Many
education programs offered or will set one up for your group. 381-1574[kalamazoo naturecenter]
*Tamarack Valley Christian Creation Camp - 5th_6th grade, three-day camps in fall and spring; plus
they can customize field trips; Delton, MI. Nature activities; animal encounters. Fun program!
Homeschool parents have organized homeschool groups in the past. 877-714-5232
[tamarack valley]
Wolf Lake Fish Hatcheries - free, interesting museum, 668-2876
[wolf lake hatchery]
YMCA Camp Eberhart - 3 mi. west of Three Rivers. Hosts homeschool camp and survival days,
archery, topography, rock climbing, 616-244-5125.
[camp eberhart]
Pure Fun!
Cedar Point Homeschool Day - end of August
[cedar point]
Six Flags Great America Homeschool Day - at Six Flags parks around the country in September. A
great admission rate and no crowds! Usually early bird discount due end of July.
[six flags]
American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO)
Region 74- Portage, Schoolcraft, Vicksburg 303-0558
Region 211 Kalamazoo, Parchment, Oshtemo, 353-7000
Region 212 RiverOaks, Richland, Galesburg, Comstock 343-6879
Region 250 Gobles, Lawton, PawPaw 427-2976
Region 333 Plainwell, Otsego, Martin 345-8539
[AYSO Michigan]
[ayso region 74]
[ayso region 211]
[ayso region 212]
[ayso region 250]
[ayso region 333]
Hershey's (the Food Company) Track and Field Day - Ages 9-14. Competitive track event, June.
Organized by Kzoo City Parks and Recreation; any Kzoo county resident may participate.
Winners compete at state meetin July. Statewinners go to National Eventin Hershey, PA in
August..Kalamazoo City Dept.of Parks and Recreation 337-8191
*Kalamazoo Homeschool Sports - Kalamazoo Cougars; basketball, football, volleyball, softball,
soccer, cross country, cheerleading. Contact points may change annually so contact KAHSA.
General contact point Tim Doorlag 345-2416
basketball-boys and girls,5 th-high school; boys contactDan DeBoer 324-0977
soccer - boys and girls; girls contact: Larry Stegink
* Words in [
] are Google keywords
Do I Have to Do this Alone? 49
*KAHSA Track and Field Day - sponsored by Kalamazoo Sports in May each year. Nancy Stegink,
Participation on public school teams: The Michigan High School Athletic Association sets rules for
high school sports and they have taken an unbending stance prohibiting home school
students from playing on public high school teams.
Sports- Recreational
Call the facility listed and ask for times of homeschool classes. Also check KAHSA newsletter.
Golf- Kalamazoo Junior Golf Association- summer golf tournaments age 10 and up, 344-7639
[kalamazoo juniorgolf]
BG Etc. - Oshtemo 544-3000
Kids's Gym - Shaver Rd, Portage 323-7657
*Ice Skating - Twin Star Ice Arena
South West Michigan Skating Club 345-5777
Lawson Ice Arena 387-3076
*Roller skating - Oshtemo Rollerworld; Great Skate, Portage
*Ski clubs­
Bittersweet- homeschool parent run-watch newsletter for details; never skied? - come
to the Homeschool Ski Day- get a great rate and free lesson- fun for the whole
family- usually held on a Friday in January or February, watch KAHSA newsletter for
Timber Ridge- some homeschoolers sign up for this ski club through Heritage Christian School
Swimming - homeschool classes:
*Portage Y Call Aquatic office 324-9622 345-9622, ask about homeschool swim lessons.
*Maple Street Y
*Borgess, 552-2348
*Tennis - Portage YMCA;
- West Hills Tim Montague 387-0410
The Arts
Art classes
Amy Lohrmann-beginning and advanced homeschool classes in the Milwood area, 344-5791.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts- classes year round, $40 and up, scholarships available,
[Kalamazoo institute]
Dance Call homeschool mom and part-time dance instructor Cathy Krieg for information on local
dance opportunities. 372-9007
Comstock Community Auditorium - summer plays 388-9381[Comstock community auditorium]
*Homeschool Performing Arts - Drama Classes in Fall & Spring; Performing Arts Camp in
the summer; Choir during the school year; Private Music Lessons - voice, guitar & beginning
piano; PROFESSIONALLY done Drama and Musical Productions in both Grand Rapids and
Kalamazoo. Auditions for the performances are held in the fall. Brad Garnaat, 616-299-9678.
[homeschool performing arts]
Kalamazoo Area Tutors (KAT) - drama classes, see "Academic Helps" for more information.
Kindleberger Park Summer Festival. Usually the 2nd weekend of July. Parchment.
Children's outdoor drama each year. Audition information call 349-9504. [kindleberger festival]
The Civic - Youth theatre- several local homeschool families have participated. Not just for
actors-kids can be assigned to work on technical crews, makeup, stage props,
promotion etc. Summer drama classes. 343-2280.
[kalamazoo civic]
50 Do I Have to Do this Alone?
Irving S. Gilmore Student Arts Scholarships -Education for the Arts - BEST KEPT SECRET.
Annual scholarships for any area of arts education, grades K-12. Funded by the Gilmore
Foundation, administered by Education for the Arts, located at the Kalamazoo Regional
Educational Service Agency (KRESA). Applications can be picked up at KRESA or
downloaded from the website. Due date in past years was March; for 2007 was January.
Our family has received over $1000 in funds for choir, drama, and art classes over the last few
years. Any student residing in Kalamazoo county can apply; it is not needs based. KRESA
1819 East Milham Rd, Portage (between Portage and Lover's Lane) 385-1500.
Gilmore Keys Club - After school program to encourage lifelong appreciation of music.
Monthly meetings in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, 342-1166.
[Gilmore keys club]
Kalamazoo Area Tutors (KAT) - band, private music lessons, choir (see earlier listing under
Local Academic Helps)
Kalamazoo Children's Chorus - Three youth choirs from age 8 to 18- Preparatory, Concert,
and Touring Choir. Three concerts a year at Chenery and local high schools. Season
runs during the school year. Auditions held in May for fall start-up, 384-0893.
[kalamazoo childrens chorus]
Kalamazoo Junior Symphony - offers symphony orchestra plus Prep Strings and Training
Orchestra. Auditions in May, 349-7557.
[kjso or kalamazoo junior symphony]
Kalamazoo Symphony Youth Concert -the Kalamazoo Symphony puts on a concert for
school groups each year, usually in Feb. or March. Free CD of the music and
teacher materials are available to prepare for the concert, 349-7759.
[kalamazoo symphony]
*Piano I music instructors often advertise in the KAHSA newsletter.
West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts - offers band, orchestra, choirs, ensembles; meets at
Homeschool Building in Grand Rapids on Wed. during school year, 616-794-2332,
Founders Scott & Wendy March.
[west Michigan homeschool fine arts]
If you are a tutor and would like to be included in the next update of this Guide, please email me at
Public School Offerings
The Michigan State homeschool law (see chapter 7) allows homeschool students to attend non-core
classes such as band, art, physical education, music, and driver's education. Several
homeschoolers in SW Michigan are taking advantage of this opportunity. Schools may allow a
homeschooler to take core classes, but are not required to do so. Contact your local school.
Many homeschoolers feel we should be cautious about becoming involved with the public school
programs. The homeschoolers in Michigan that I know of who have taken advantage of this provision
of the law have not had any problems. Still, I would recommend reading the following articles just so
you are educated about these concerns.
The first article is titled "Charter Schools" from Home School Legal Defense Association's
(HSLDA) "The Homeschool Court Report" volume 18, number 1. The article reports on some loss
of freedoms to homeschoolers in other states who took advantage of services offered by the public
schools. [hslda courtreport v18n1] or
The other article is at Barb Shelton's Homeschool Oasis website, titled "The Seduction of
Homeschooling Families" by Chris Cardiff.
[homeschool oasis Cardiff]
* Words in [
] are Google keywords
Do I Have to Do this Alone? 51
A Mini-Calendar of Events of Interest to Homeschoolers
Keywords (or Google are in [ ]
*best source (or more information on these events is the Kalamazoo Area Homeschool Association (KAHSA)
** best source of information is Homeschool Building (HSB) website
Great Winter Adventure-Kalamazoo- artists tum ice into sculptures
**Mid-winter Home Education Conference sponsored by the Homeschool Building
*Kalamazoo Symphony youth concert 349-7759
*Homeschool Ski Day at Bittersweet
*KAHSA Talent and Exhibit show (Mar or Apr each yr)
Living History Show-Kalamazoo Fair Grounds
Maple Sugar Festival - Kalamazoo Nature Center
*Gem show at Kalamazoo Fair grounds- Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Soc
*Homeschool Track and Field Day - UpJohn Park, Portage St. Portage, MI
*INCH state homeschool conference
*KAHSA used curriculum fair
*Stanford Achievement testing
Air zoo young eagles program-free flights for kids [airzoo]
Auditions for Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and Kalamazoo Children's Chorus
Holland Tulip Festival [Holland Michigan tuliptime]
**Home School Building (HSB) used curriculum sale [homeschool building]
Hershey Track and Field competition
Battle Creek Balloon festival - Kellogg airport, air show every 4 th of July [battle creek balloon festival]
Kindleberger Summer Festival and Children's drama
Maranatha Bible Conference Homeschool Week
Teacher Day at Office Depot and Office Max - freebies to teachers, call for date
(BE PROFESSIONAL - you will be in line with teachers - best to NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN)
Air Zoo science and aerospace classes [air zoo]
Fort Custer (Augusta)- kid's nature activities
Math and Science Center Sizzling Summer programs -almost 100 courses offered grade I-high school [kamsc]
Portage Parks and Recreation - many activities, drama camp etc., do not need to live in Portage to participate
Student Statesmanship Institute for high school students - 1 week, in Lansing [student statesmanship]
Six Flags Homeschool Day, Illinois and Ohio
Irish Fest, Bronson Park
Kalamazoo Chemistry Day- same day as Thanksgiving Parade- LOTS of great hands-on chemistry demonstrations and
experiments at Kalamazoo Valley Museum [kalamazoo valley museum]
Kalamazoo Holiday Parade- mid November
Battle Creek Festival of Lights [international festival of lights]
Do I Have to Do this Alone?
Chapter 6
Michigan State Homeschooling Law
Michigan's law is currently "homeschooler friendly". This chapter will help you understand
the law but should in no way be seen as legal advice. In order to assure you are legally
covered against any problems that might arise, the best thing you can do is to join the Home
School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). See chapter 3 for more information.
Michigan law allows homeschooling under Revised School Code 380.1561 "Compulsory
attendance at public schools; enrollment dates; exemptions." The section of this law of interest
to homeschoolers is Section (3). Under this section, parents can choose to homeschool under
subsection (a) or (f).
a. Under exemption 3(a) your home school is considered, under the law, a non public
school and auxiliary services provided to local public schools are also available to you.
b. To qualify to homeschool under 3(a) you must either:
be a certified teacher
or hold a sincerely held religious belief against teacher certification
c. Under 3(a) notice to the local school district is required
d. Auxiliary services that may be available under exemption 3(a): health and nursing
examinations, speech and language teacher services, consultant services for children with
disabilities, remedial reading assistance.
e. Under exemption 3(1) you are called a home school, notification to the state or school
district is NOT required, and auxiliary services are not available to you.
f. Under 3(f) there are no minimum qualifications for teachers except they must be the
parent or legal guardian.
g. Taking non-core classes at the local school- schools must allow homeschoolers to take
these if they are offered to pUblic school students; examples of classes: band, PE, music,
art, computer, and advanced placement courses.
h. Taking core classes at local school- schools may allow you to enroll as a part-time
student to take core classes, but they are not required to allow you to do this; each
school district can set their own policy on this.
i. Athletics through local school- The Michigan High School Athletic Association sets rules
for high school sports and they have taken an unbending stance prohibiting home school
students from playing on public school teams. Check with your local school concerning
playing sports on elementary, middle and junior high teams.
For more information go to: Type "home schools information" in the
search box. There is a 12 page "Information on Home Schools" document that can be printed out.
Michigan State Homeschooling Law 53
Michigan Homeschool Law - Information from the Home School Legal Defense
Association (HSLDA)
Below is more detailed information on the difference between homeschooling under section 3(a) or
3(f). This information is provided with permission from HSLDA. NOTE: Since most homeschoolers
operate under exemption 3(f), that is listed as Option 1 in the HSLDA information below.
Compulsory School Age
"age of 6 to the child's 16th birthday"
Required Days of Instruction: No specific number of days is mandated
Legal Option:
al Home Schooling Options:
Option: 1 [section 3(f) ]
Establish and operate a home education prooram
Reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics,
literature, writing, and English grammar
Option: 2 [section 3(a)
Operate a home school as a non public school
Must be "comparable to those taught in the public
Teacher certification (unless claiming a religious
Submit, to the department of education and the
local superintendent, at start of each school year
a statement of enrollment
Maintain records of enrollment, courses of study,
and qualifications of teachers (must be submitted
to the Department of Education upon request)
© 2003, HSLDA
NOTE: This summary is not intended to be, and does not constitute, the giving of legal advice. Many states have unclear compulsory
attendance statutes, and the courts ofthose states vary in their interpretation ofthe statutes. Therefore, there is no guarantee any state
will accept all of the options for compliance listed under each state. This summary is not intended to be a substitute for individual reliance
on privately retained legal counsel such as that provided by Home School Legal Defense Association. Used by pennission.
Home schools have two options. They can either operate under the home school statute or qualify as a non-public
Option I: Home School Statute Option. MCLA § 380.1561rnID (effective July 1, 1996).
1. "A child is not required to attend a public school if: 'The child is being educated at the child's home by
his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading,
spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.' "
2. There are no requirements to notify, seek approval, test, file forms, or have any certain teacher
qualifications. The burden is on the state to prove that the parents are not teaching their children.
Parental Rights Act: MCLA § 380.10. "It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to
determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children." This effectively reversed the Michigan
Supreme Court in People v. Bennett which ruled the parental right to direct the education of one's child was not
fundamental. This act further establishes the right of parents to choose to home school their children.
Alternative Statute Allowing for Home Schools:
Option II: Nonpublic School Option. MCLA § 380.1561 ~ "A child who is attending regularly and is being
taught in a state approved, nonpublic school, which teaches subjects comparable to those taught in the public
schools to children of corresponding age and grade, as determined by the course of study for the public schools
within which the nonpublic school is located" is exempt from public school attendance.
A home school is considered a nonpublic school [see People v. Bennett, 501 NW.2d 106 (Mich. 1993)]. All
nonpublic schools must use certified teachers. Even though the home school taw above was enacted in 1996, it
does not prohibit any parent from choosing this option of operating their home school as a nonpublic school. If a
home school chooses this option. it must do the following:
If requested by the Michigan Department of Education, home schoolers operating as nonpublic schools
need to submit records of enrollment of pupils, courses of study (language arts, math, social studies,
54 Michigan State Homeschooling Law
science, civics, Michigan history, physical education, art, and health), and qualifications of teachers.
MCLA § 388.555. However, home schools are not required to furnish the information on the SM 4325
form developed by the Department of Education. Home schools must also furnish the local public school
superintendent or the intermediate superintendent with the following information at the beginning of each
school year: (a) name and age of each child enrolled at the school, (b) number or name of the school
district and the city or township and county where the parent lives, (c) the name and address of the
parent, and (d) the name and age of any child enrolled in the school who is not in regular attendance.
MCLA § 380.1578.
2. Home schools which do not have a religious objection to teacher certification are required to have all
hours of instruction in the home school done by a certified teacher [see Clonlara v. State Board of
Education, 501 N.W.2d 88 (Mich. 1993)]. However, the home school does not have to operate for 180
3. Home schoolers who are opposed to teacher certification based on sincerely held religious beliefs
are exemptfrom this requirement. In People v. DeJonge, 501 NW.2d 127 (Mich. 1993), the Michigan
Supreme Court held: 'We hold that the teacher certification requirement is an unconstitutional violation of
the free exercise clause of the First Amendment as applied to families whose religious convictions
prohibit the use of certified instructors. Such families, therefore, are exempt from the dictates of the
teacher certification requirement." Therefore, all families who object to teacher certification on religious
grounds may claim a religious exemption pursuant to the DeJonge case. This HSlDA case, after eight
years of appeals, served as a "death blow" to teacher certification in Michigan.
4. Home schoots do not need to be approved according to DeJonge v. Superintendent of Public Instruction,
No. 85 56712-AW, Ingham Circuit Court, July 22, 1986, "there is no approval or licensing procedure
pursuant to any state statute or administrative rule which requires a private home school, or a private,
nonpublic school of any kind, to be approved or licensed by the Department of Education prior to that
school's opening for operation or during the school's ongoing operation. The Michigan Department of
Education's authority is limited to disapproval of private, nonpublic schools, pursuant to the
administrative procedures under MCLA § 388.554 based upon a finding of noncompliance with state law
by that school." (Affirmed by the Michigan Supreme Court in HSlDA's case, People v. Bennett.)
In Bennett, the Michigan Supreme Court stated that a home school is a legitimate nonpublic school until
an administrative hearing produces a determination to the contrary. The court emphasized that a school
district could not initiate criminal proceedings against parents who are home schooling until an
administrative hearing had been held by the State Superintendent of Instruction, which determined that
the school did not meet the requirements of the law.
5. Also, any "compliance procedures" created by the Dept. of Educ. are only interpretive rules which have
no force of law. "The Department of Education is not authorized, explicitly or implicitly, to promulgate
rules relating to the Nonpublic School Act" (see Bennett case).
© Copyright 2003,HSLDA, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Call or write to receive a free copy of HSLDA's newsletter and membership application.
Home School Legal Defense Association, P.O. Box 3000 Purcellville, VA 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600 .Fax: (540) 338-2733 Website:
"Handling a Contact by State Officials"
by David Kallman, J.D.
I HIGHLY recommend reading this article, found in the West Michigan Home School Review. This booklet is
available at the Homeschool Building in Grand Rapids, (616) 532-9422
In summary,
if a state official comes to your door:
Get identification
Do not allow entrance to your home
Get questions in writing
Never let the official alone with your child
Do not allow them to threaten you
Maintain a pleasant and courteous demeanor
Seek assistance immediately
Michigan State Homeschooling Law 55
Chapter 7
"What about Socialization?"
I had to include this somewhere in here!
Anyone who has homeschooled for even a short time probably does not even think about this "issue".
It is truly the last thing I am worried about; thus it is appropriate that it be almost the last chapter of this
Guide! However, if you are just starting out you may be concerned about this area of your child's
education. Even if you are not, others in your realm of contacts (family, friends, neighbors, even the
grocery clerk!) will ask this question of you. My goal is that this chapter will help alleviate any concerns
you may have about socialization and will help you develop your own "ready defense" when
confronted with this question.
If you need to answer this inquiry, a good place to start would be to show the questioner this Guide!
Most people have no idea of the opportunities available to homeschoolers. They will quickly see that
there is no end to the opportunities for your children to interact with other children and to make friends.
This is usually what people worry about - "Will they have any friends?"
I would highly recommend reading "A Field Guide to Home Schooling" by Christine Fields (available in
the Portage Library). Her book has a twenty-page chapter on the topic - a longer treatment of the
issue than most homeschooling books. She does a nice job of summarizing how other homeschooling
authors have answered this question. Included in her book are the results of several research studies
- all of which show that "the bogeyman of socialization deficit in home educated children is being
blown out of the water." (Fields, 153) A summary of her arguments follows.
Proverbs 13:20
u •••
a companion of fools suffers harm."
1 Corinthians 15:33 "Bad company corrupts good character."
Proverbs 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child."
56 Getting Started and Keepin ' On
A Summary of chapter nine "The Question of Socialization"
From A Field Guide to Homeschooling' by Christine Fields
Why Homeschooling is a Positive Environment for Socialization
• The child develops a more balanced relationship with peers and adults.
• Of the social woes we face today-divorce, drug abuse, AIDS, suicide etc.- as quoted from Rick Boyer­
" I am hard pressed to think of any that seem to result from children spending too much time at home."
• The world is not a safe place - so why shouldn't we shelter our children. If we don't dare to shelter and
protect our children, there is no one else who will.
• School promotes the idea of age segregation which can break down family relationships. To quote from
Fields, "Show me an eighth grader speaking kindly to his third grade brother and, in all probability, I'll
show you two kids who are home schooled." (150)
• Fields quotes Llewellyn Davis who writes in her book Going Home to School, "Children who are
allowed to mature and achieve in secure, non-threatening environments are more capable of
handling life's problems because they have developed a strong sense of identity."
• School is the artificial environment; home is the natural environment.
• Home is the best place to develop the strength of character and spiritual maturity before being released
into the value-less society of today.
Reasons Socialization in Schools can be Unhealthy
• Peer dependency develops as children naturally seek to be popular - and scoring high in math is
probably not going to be popular (or admitting to liking learning).
• Age segregation is not the best preparation for the real world. When in the future, as adults, will they
only be with those of their own age?
• Age segregation often results in kids that by junior high have no concept of how to relate to anyone
outside their age group.
• Kids base their self worth on opinions of other immature young people. Students constantly compare
themselves to standards of the school culture. Does that culture match your standards?
• Cruel social "games".
• Children don't want to be different or to stand out, thus there is much pressure to conform, and thus to
lose their uniqueness.
• Children don't learn good manners or appropriate behaviors from other children. The sin nature just
about assures the exact opposite "bad company corrupts good morals". (See Mike McHugh's article
for more on this argument.)
• If a child is even a little different- in weight, height, athletic ability,skin color etc. - it can lead to teasing
and every day can be a trial to such a child. Why should a child have to learn to deal with this?
• In most cases it is not realistic for a 6,7,8 year old (or older!), immature in their faith, to be salt and light.
"What is the solution to the socialization problem? The question assumes there is a
problem.... Research would seem to indicate a result to the contrary." (Fields, 162)
Field, Christine, "A Field guide to Homeschooling",(Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming Revell, 1998)
What about Socialization? 57
Chapter 8
High School, College, and Career Planning
As a homeschool parent, you are your child's high school guidance counselor. Does that overwhelm you?
It shouldn't since many have gone before you and there is now a wealth of resources available.
It is
beyond the scope of this book to discuss how to homeschool through high school. In keeping with the rest
of this book, this chapter points you toward resources that will help you with answering those "how-to"
questions. The first article from the Elijah Company though will help give an overview of the things to think
about and consider when planning to homeschool in high school.
Check chapter two for websites for high school and for online classes. In addition, many of the general
homeschool websites will have links to articles on homeschooling high school. Web sites dealing
specifically with planning for college are in this chapter. Chapter three lists books that will help with the
questions you may have on high school. Chapter five will point you to resources to help teach classes you
may feel inadequate to teach. These options include tutors, classes, junior college classes, and courses via
video, satellite and CD ROM.
One of the books listed in chapter three, under the high school category, is Barb Shelton's book Senior
High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La (read or pronounced "formula"). In her book Barb gives you the
ingredients you need to create your own recipe (i.e. "formula") for high school. She capitalized the letter
"U" in the title to emphasize that her book is meant to give you forms and a starting point, but YOU and
your child create your own recipe for success in high school. One of her goals in writing the book was to
take the fear out of homeschooling high school. Many who have read the book will testify it met her goal of
coming "out of fear and into freedom." If you have any reservations about high school, I highly recommend
this book. The book is available at Barb's website [homeschool oasis] or through
Keep a list of all major and minor accomplishments throughout high school. List your activities,
awards, community service, employment, and other unique educational experiences and maintain it
throughout high school. This will serve as the beginning of a resume that you can use when
completing college admission and scholarship applications.
58 High School and College Planning
The High School Years
The high school years are when many parents stop
teaching their children at home. These parents feel
overwhelmed by the demands of high school subjects, feel
unqualified to teach upper level math and sciences, and
begin wondering if their children need the social exposure
and athletic opportunities found in public and private high
schools. Also, there is the question of accreditation and
transcripts for students wishing to go to college. Last, but
not least, during the high school years children begin
expressing themselves much more forcefully and it would
be easier for parents to let someone else require
schoolwork from a teen who is going through mood swings
or becoming argumentative. We want to encourage you to
do all you can to keep your child at home during the high
school years. If you find your resolve drooping, your vision
dimming, your enthusiasm waning, listen to Josh Harris's
tape Why Home School Through High School or Ellyn
Davis' tape Charting a Course for High School, or read
Dumbing Us Down by John Gatto. The teen years are
crucial to the identification and legitimizing of a child, and
we can't afford to let others set our children's life course
for them.
1. Options for High School
There seem to be three common teaching options for high
school. First, the textbook route. Parents who want their
children to go to college and who are unsure about how to
cover all the requirements at home often choose to buy
each year's curriculum from a Christian publisher who
produces textbooks that parallel the scope and sequence
of the public schools. The second option is the non­
textbook route, where the necessary core subjects and
electives are covered by using altemative, non-textbook
resources. The final option is a combination of
textbooks and alternative resources which together
cover all essential requirements.
There are four basic decisions that must be made no
matter which teaching option is chosen:
a. Picture the child's future. Most parents can tell by the
time their child is 12 or 13 whether he/she is suited for a
profession or trade. This is when we have to be realistic.
Even though we might want our son to become a doctor or
lawyer, he might do better as an auto mechanic. We need
to map out the high school years as a "career pathway"
that lays a foundation for what will serve our sons and
daughters well as adults. If college is in their future, there
are certain course requirements that must be met. If
college is not in their future, there are still state
requirements that must be met and an emphasis on
certain courses important to the child's future. Your state
Board of Education can provide you with high school
course requirements, and your state's Board of Regents
has a list of college entrance requirements.
b. Map out a course of study. The average high school
credit requires 180 hours of study. This study can be
By The Elijah Company
accomplished through textbooks or through independent
projects you devise yourself. If using a non-traditional
approach, you will have to decide your own "course
requirements" such as: What will this course entail? What
will have to be done for the work to be considered
completed? What constitutes an A, a B, a C, in this
course? Some parents gear the course work to the PSAT,
SAT, ACT, or achievement tests and "teach to the tests,"
others cover the required number of course credits in a
way that best suits their family.
c. Devise a record keeping system. You will need to
devise some sort of transcript that shows the number of
credits in each subject and the grades in each course. The
closer you can make this look like a traditional high school
transcript, the better. It also helps to keep a portfolio of
selected projects and a list of extracurricular activities like
church work, 4- H, apprenticeship opportunities, etc. The
Home Schooler's High School Journal is a good record
keeping system for high school because it helps you keep
track of credit hours in each course. Relaxed Record
Keeping and Record Keeping for High School have ideas
for developing transcripts from non-traditional course
d. Find out what your state homeschoolinq organization
offers. In Tennessee the state organization arranges
diplomas, graduation ceremonies, and awards for
graduating seniors. These not only give special
recognition to the graduates, but also give the kind of
legitimacy to home schooling that is so reassuring to
relatives and to the state. Your organization may provide
similar services.
2. How Do We Earn Credits?
The number of high school credits needed for graduation
vary from state to state, but most states require a minimal
number of high school credits. This minimum is shown in
the following chart.
Credits Required for High School Graduation
Language Arts 3 - 4 Science 2
Math 2-3
Social Studies 2 - 3 Fine Arts/Language 1
U.S. History 1 Economics 1/2 World History 1
Government 1/2
Electives 7 - 9
Physical Education (Includes health) 2
This list reflects the minimum requirements for most
What do these credits mean? Usually one credit in a
particular subject (for example, one credit in Language
Arts) means that a class was offered in that subject for 50
minutes each school day for a school year (180 days) and
that the student attended that class for 165 of the 180
High School and College Planning 59
days it was offered and performed work in that class to the
teacher's satisfaction.
First, let's examine the concept of a high school credit in
more detail. Let's say your child needed one high school
credit in Language Arts. If we multiply 50 minutes (the
length of class time each day) by 150 days (the number of
days the student actually attended the class, assuming the
student was allowed 15 absences a year and another 15
classroom periods were spent with assemblies, pep
rallies, substitute teachers, non-Ieaming activities, etc.) we
get 126 hours of actual class time toward that credit.
However, we know that in a typical classroom less than
half of the time is spent in leaming activities. The other spent settling down the class, discussing
assignments, taking up or giving out papers, dealing with
trouble-makers, and so on.
This means that out of that year of class time in Language
Arts, t~aching (and presumably learning) was actually
occurnng for less than 63 hours. Add 20 minutes of
homework in that class three days a week and that adds
another 36 hours of learning time. So a high school
credit actually reflects roughly 100 hours of work in a
particular subject, if that much. (When we have talked to
former school teachers, they agree that 100 hours is a
generous estimate.)
The second thing we need to examine is what a credit of
work in a subject represents. For example, if our subject
is Language Arts, usually the high school level courses
are such things as " A Survey of Western Literature," or
"American Literature," or "Short Stories, Poetry, and
Plays," or "Theater," or "Public Speaking," or a general
course that includes grammar and composition. The goal
for each literature course is for the student to become
familiar with the major works of a particular literary genre
and to have some understanding of the plot structure of
novels, the metric structure of poetry, and the presentation
of a play. The goal for the grammar and composition
courses is the ability to communicate clearly and
persuasively through writing, and the goal for the public
speaking course would be to communicate clearly and
persuasively when speaking to a group.
Now that we have some understanding of both the amount
of time that is involved in eaming one high school credit
and the goal of the subject studied for that credit, we can
develop our own course outlines. For example,
suppose we wanted to develop a course similar to "A
Survey of Western Literature." We would begin with books
like Reading Lists for the College Bound that list the
literature major colleges consider most important for high
school students to read. We would also find books on
using discernment in reading, such as Reading Strands
or How to Read a Book. If we picked ten books that
represented the best in Western literature, had our child
read t~ose b.ooks, write brief essays about each according
to the Ideas In How to Read a Book or discuss each
following the format given in Reading Strands, this could
easily take 100 hours and eam one high school credit in
Language Arts. We would represent that credit hour on
our home-made transcript as "Survey of Western
60 High School and College Planning
As far as grades are concerned, we are free to establish
our own guidelines, since that's what school teachers do.
In a public school, the teachers are free to decide how
they will grade their classes (how much credit for
homework, for tests, for classroom participation, for the
final exam, etc.) and they are also free to choose whether
they will grade "on the curve" (which means grades are
determined by the class average) or on a strict numerical
value. One way we can grade would be on the effort
expended and the quality of the papers and discussion. If
this seems too subjective, we could clearly define grading
before the course began in ways like: read 10 books and
write/give 10 reports equals an A; 8 books and 8 reports
equals a B; 6 books and 6 reports equals a C.
Because our student is earning a course credit based on
spending 100 hours of time, this 100 hours can be spread
over two weeks, two months, or two years. When and
how the credit is earned is not the issue; covering the
material is. We could even design the course so that it
provides only half a credit. In high schools with a semester
system, courses are often only given for one semester, so
they count for half a credit each. Half a credit courses are
even easier for home schoolers to design because they
only represent 50 hours or less of work.
High school credits can be earned in other ways than
through reading books. Our children have all the
Language Arts and Fine Arts credits in theater they will
ever need because they have been in several productions
at our community playhouse and each production requires
at least 100 hours of rehearsal and performance time.
They have an intimate understanding of the many aspects
of presenting a play, from auditions, to memorizing a
script, to making scenery, to setting props, and more. Our
boys also take dance classes and horseback riding
lessons, and we count the lessons and all practice as
Physical Education. In addition, they also listen to many
books on tape as we travel, and the listening and
subsequent discussions in the car can be counted toward
course work. One well-researched term paper can easily
require 50 to 100 hours of work and be credited in
Language Arts as "Grammar and Composition."
Examples of other non-traditional ways to earn high school
credits would be:
a. "Career Choices. " Course requirements: Work through
some of the books on career choices such as Finding the
Career That Fits You, and arrange to work for a set period
of time at some of the careers that spark an interest.
b. "Shop." Course requirements: Build something
functional like bookcases, a table, a gardening shed, a
stall in the barn, etc. Maintain some equipment, such as
the lawnmower, the car, etc. Credit hours are given
depending on the number of hours spent on the project.
c. "Economics." Course requirements: Open checking and
savings accounts. Manage these accounts faithfully for a
specified period. Be responsible for purchasing for the
household within certain categories (examples: food,
clothing, gas) according to a budget. In addition there are
many books on economics that have been helpful to
d. "Philosophy.· Course requirements: Study the various
world views influencing us today through such books as
Understanding the Times or The Universe Next Door.
Write a paper discussing your own world view. If you
combined the world view study with a study of cultures
and civilizations holding those world views and the
historical rise of each world view, you could count this
course as "World History."
e. "Public Speaking. • Course requirements: Join the 4-H
public speaking club and attend their meetings. Enter the
4-H public speaking contest at the county level and be
prepared to go on to the district and state levels. Alternate
requirements: Prepare several speeches or talks and
invite friends and family to come to hear you speak or
prepare an audition piece for a play.
Many more ideas for developing course work and granting
high school credits for all of your child's leaming activities
are found in the books Senior High: A Home Designed
Form-U-Ia and Homeschooling the High Schooler.
3. What about the really hard courses?
Foreign languages and higher level math and sciences are
only an issue if the student plans to attend a four year
college, and even then colleges vary in the number of
credits they require. Most parents can tell by the time their
child is 12 or 13 whether that child is college material,
junior college material, technical school material, or "get-a­
job" material. Check with potential colleges to
determine the actual number of credits required for
acceptance. If the college requires a heavy load of credits
in foreign languages and higher level math and sciences,
all of these courses are available from traditional textbook
publishers. In addition, Abeka, The School of Tomorrow,
and The Chalk Dust Company produce teaching videos in
subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Algebra,
Calculus, and foreign languages. However, the easiest
way to pick up course credits in these subjects is take
them at your local community college. Many home
schoolers take their junior and senior years in high school
at a community college under a dual enrollment plan and
get both high school and college credit for their
high school years into studying for and taking one CLEP
or Advanced Placement Test after another. Some of these
students are finding they can exempt most of the course
work in their first two years of college. An excellent book of
strategy for high schoolers is How to Get Into the Top
Colleges. Written by people who run a consulting firm for
parents who want their children admitted to the better
colleges, this book gives an inside story on what colleges
look for and a step-by-step program for high school that
virtually guarantees admission to any college.
5. Beyond Academics
Christian home schoolers are interested in much more
than academics, so our course of study for high schoolers
might include the following in addition to the core
A. Courses helpful for succeeding in the World:
1). Life Skills (includes how to shop, drive a car, use a
library, file an income tax form, find what we need, read a
map, fix a flat, basic machine maintenance, handling
stress, etc.)
2). Home Economics (how to shop, do laundry, clean,
cook, sew, skills associated with running a household)
3). Social Skills (carrying on a conversation, manners,
proper ways of addressing and interacting with people,
some sort of social service)
4). Consumer Math (basic everyday math including how to
manage money, balance a checkbook, simple accounting,
how to operate on a budget)
5). Self Understanding (understanding of strengths and
weaknesses, skills and deficiencies, proper ways of
deriving self-esteem, etc.)
6). Logic and Thinking Skills (recognizing fallacies in
arguments and discussions, thinking clearly, etc.)
B. Courses helpful for succeeding in Family Life:
1). Marriage Preparation (relating to a husband or a wife,
childcare, sex education, handling stress, etc.)
2). Family Relationships (the proper roles of husband,
wife, and child, how to build rich family relationships)
4. Studying to the Tests
C. Courses helpful for succeeding as an Employee:
Most prep schools design their senior high courses around
preparing for the SAT or ACT. These schools are in the
business of getting their students into Ivy League
Colleges, and the only way they can do this is to make
sure the students score high on the tests that determine
college admissions. Therefore the better high schools
tend to "teach to the tests." Home schoolers can take
the same approach. We can get SAT and ACT test
preparation books and design our senior high courses
around preparing for these tests. Another thing we can do
is gear senior high courses to the CLEP or Advanced
Placement Tests. These are tests the child takes that
count for college credit. Many home schooling high school
students (including the famous Colfaxes whose sons
received scholarships to Ivy League colleges) turn their
1). IY12i.!Jg
2). Office Management
3). Computer Skills
D. Courses helpful for succeeding as an Employer:
1). Social Skills (includes same as above Social Skills plus
how to motivate people, dealing with different kinds of
workers, time management, marketing, developing long
range plans, etc.)
2). Office Management Skills (includes consumer math,
typing, computer, and accounting skills, tax preparation)
High School and College Planning 61
E. Courses helpful for succeeding as a Christian:
1). Bible and Spiritual Studies (how to study the Bible, use
a concordance and Bible study helps, reading of
biographies of Christians, applying biblical principles to
everyday life, developing of character)
2). Understanding of Gifting (recognizing God-given
spiritual abilities and talents, knowing "who I am"
6. But What About College?
Many home schooling parents are not sure their
children should go to college. One of the reasons is the
cost, which can easily run more than $15,000 a year for
room, board, and tuition. Another reason is that most
colleges nurture world views and behaviors that are in
conflict with all that Christian home schooling parents try
to instill in their children. It doesn't make sense to spend
eighteen years instructing a child and then send that child
to a place that undermines all you have taught. A third
reason is that graduating from college no longer means
that a person is highly educated. More than half of all
college seniors fail general knowledge tests of basic
history and literature. Also, a college education no
longer guarantees financial success, nor is a degree
essential to getting a good job. Seventy percent of all the
jobs in the United States require only on-the-job training or
some other form of alternative education. None of the
twenty career fields listed by the U.S. Department of
Labor as the fastest growing occupations require a
four year degree. For these and other reasons many
home schooling families are considering alternatives to
Harvey Unger in But What If I Don't Want to Go to
College says there are really only two good reasons to
send a child to a traditional four-year college: First, the
child has a deep desire to study academic subjects such
as history, literature, or philosophy. Second, he has a
deep commitment to career goals that require a four-year
degree (such as medicine or law). Parents should think
twice before sending a child to college if the child is
unclear about his future plans because statistics show
50% of college students take six years to get their four
year degree. Some of these students take longer to
graduate because they are working their way through, but
many of them take an extra two years to finish because
they have no clear idea of their future plans and so they
keep changing majors along the way. This means the
parents are paying an extra ten to thirty thousand dollars
or more because the child has no clear idea why he is
going to college. Statistics also show that fewer than 25%
of those who earn college degrees actually find
themselves working in their degree field. This is
another reason to think twice before sending a child to
What are the alternatives to college? The most obvious
choice is to simply get a job. A job may take the form of an
internship, temporary work, working at home, self
employment, or free lancing. What Color is Your
Parachute can help your student create a picture of his
ideal job. Another resource is Finding the Career That
62 High School and College Planning
Fits You from Larry Burkett's Christian Financial
Concepts. This program will help your student identify his
gifts, talents, and interests.
A second option is to get specialized training. Altemative
education is available through community colleges,
vocational-technical schools, on-the-job training, etc. The
book But What If I Don't Want to Go to College lists the
eleven types of alternative education available, gives the
advantages and disadvantages of each, and includes
guidelines for evaluating any program that you might find
A third option is to home school through college. This is
not as difficult as it sounds. Bear's Guide to Non­
Traditional Degrees lists many universities requiring little
or no residency. You can also design your own course of
study and get college credit for your course work because
many colleges now give credits for life experiences and
allow course exemptions based on high scores on
advanced placement tests.
The fourth option is to help your young person start his
own business. Several home schooling leaders suggest
that launching your child into business is a better
investment than paying for four years of college tuition. If
the typical college education costs upwards of fifty
thousand dollars, would a wiser use of that money be to
invest in a business for your child, or better still, simply to
invest the money? One of the astonishing things about
investments is that investment income can significantly
dwarf employment income. What this means is that a
consistent system of cautious investing over the long term
(30 to 40 years) can result in much more money than the
average person will have earned in the same period of
A similar option to launching your child into business
would be to use the college money to bUy income­
generating property, such as rental housing, duplexes, or
apartments that your child can manage. This way he or
she will not only have a place to live, but will also have an
ongoing source of income.
The final altemative is apprenticeship. Apprenticeship
traditionally consisted of four stages. The novice observed
an expert while generally assuming the role of a servant.
He learned the technology and mastered the techniques of
the craft. A college education used to provide this stage of
training but no longer does because it lacks any practical
application of work. The journeyman, so called because
this stage originally involved travel, worked in several
shops to master specialized applications of basic skills.
The medical student in internship and residency is a good
example of this stage. The craftsman owned his own
business, and, in direct proportion to his ability to train
others, became a master. Choosing apprenticeship is a
way to enter a profession without getting a standard four
year degree.
7. Preparing for Adulthood
The end product of our home schooling efforts is for our
children to be capable of assuming the adult
responsibilities of a Christian man or woman. As we have
studied the Bible, we've concluded that these
responsibilities are:
The Biblical responsibilities of a man:
a. To be a visible representative of God's nature
b. To provide for his household
c. To love and understand his wife
d. To raise his children in the ways of God
e. To provide leadership at home and in the community
f. To participate in the Church of Jesus Christ
The Biblical responsibilities of a woman:
a. To be a faithful example of a godly woman
b. To respect, love, and be a helper to her husband
c. To bear, nourish, and love children
d. To creatively and effectively manage a household
e. To teach younger women godly qualities
f. To participate in the Church of Jesus Christ
Once we know what God considers important, it is helpful
to also know what the world considers important, so that
our children can function well "in the world," without being
"of the world." A recent survey of "What Employers Want'
indicated that employers are looking for workers who can:
a. Manage their time. (arrive on time for work or
appointments, use their on-the-job time productively, use
their time to the advantage of the company)
b. Follow instructions. (do a job the way they have been
shown or told, ask questions if they don't understand, don't
change procedures without asking permission, the ability
to read and follow printed instructions, etc.)
As people who own their own business, we thoroughly
agree with this list. Also, if you plan to own your own
business you will need those employee skills, because
you will essentially be your own employee until your
business grows to the point where you have to hire others
to help. In addition, here is our "top five" list of abilities
for those who plan to become bosses:
a. The ability to manage time. (Not only to meet deadlines
and get to appointments on time, but also to plan ahead
so that what needs to be done gets done when it needs to
get done and the ability to prioritize our use of time. So
often a home business becomes "the hobby that ate up
our lives." Its demands can usurp family time, personal
time, friend time, and God time.)
b. The ability to handle stress. (This includes knowing our
limits physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially;
knowing how to relax, keeping the "big picture" in view
when the details are driving you crazy, developing
satisfying hobbies, constructively dealing with anger and
time pressure, etc.)
c. The ability to handle money. (Owning your own
business is always financially risky. Great care must be
taken with money. Making money can never be the
primary motive for your business, because then you will
make rash decisions out of fear or greed.)
d. The ability to perform almost any office function. (No
matter what your business, if it grows you will eventually
be doing word processing, data entry, spreadsheets, basic
accounting, filing, data management, etc. It's easier to
already know how to do these things than it is to learn as
you go.)
c. Cooperate with others. (respect supervisors, get along
with fellow workers, react constructively to conflict
situations with customers, other employees, or bosses)
e. The ability to get along with difficult people. (There will
always be someone who rubs you the wrong way, who
tries to take advantage of you, or who misinterprets your
actions. Good social skills and knowing how to deal
constructively with conflict are essential. If you have
employees, you will also have to develop good people­
management skills.)
d. Demonstrate excellence and thoroughness in their
8. How Do We Pull It All Together?
work. (bring a job to quality completion, take pride in doing
a good job, demonstrate motivation to achieve)
e. Show initiative. (recognize potential problems, see what
needs to be done and do it without being told)
The Elijah Company catalog contains a wealth of
resources to help you "pull it all together." Visit the website or call 1-888-235-4524 for a catalog.
Copyright 2003 by The Elijah Company. Used by
High School and College Planning 63
Recommended High School Courses for College-Bound Students
In Michigan, graduation requirements are established by each school district. If you look at the recommended
course of study from any set of high schools, you will be struck by the fact that none of them are exactly the
same. You should take comfort in this! It means there is no one right way to "do" high school. General
recommendations would be about 22 credits for graduation. In her book (see first page of this chapter) Barb
Shelton has an extended section on figuring out credits per course.
If your child is interested in specific colleges, the best thing he can do is to contact those schools early in his
high school career and ask about their admission requirements.
There is a generally recognized course of study for a student planning on going onto college. The United States
Department of Education lists these general recommendations:
English--Four years
• American Literature
• Composition
• English Literature
• World Literature
Laboratory Science--Two to four years
• Biology
• Chemistry
Earth Science
Mathematics--Three to four years
• Algebra I
• Algebra II
• Calculus
• Geometry
• Trigonometry
Foreign Language--Two to four years
Visual & Performing Arts--One year
History & Geography--Two to four years
• Civics
• Geography
U.S. History
• U.S. Government
• World History
• World Cultures
Challenging Electives--One to three years
• Communications
• Computer Science
• Statistics
Physical Education - One-two years
TIP: During high school some homeschoolers enroll at the local community college. Some of the
courses they offer are in the "90" numbering - which really means a pre-college (high school) level
course (freshmen classes usually are numbered in the 1oos). Also, check chapter five for resources to
help you with courses you feel you are unable to teach.
Web Sites for College Preparation during High School
Use search keyword "college planning" to access a variety of web sites that will help you set up a timeline to follow during
high school to help in preparing for college.
Words in bold- Google keyword
Apex Learning - Online classes
Also check chapter 2 for high school homeschool web sites
CampusTours (Virtual Tours)
64 High School and College Planning
Christian Connector - free information on Christian colleges; includes links to dozens of Christian colleges, helpful
admissions and financial aid tips, links to missions opportunities and more.
College board Home site for SATIPSAT but site also has planning information
College planning - these keywords will bring you a list of websites worth checking out
College planning center of rhode island - a helpful year by year timeline for high school
College prep - Site from Oklahoma State University
College Opportunities On-Line (COOL)-HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This is your direct link to nearly 7,000 colleges and
Universities. Search by state, distance from home, type of school (public, private, 4 year etc.)
and instructional program. Click on the name of a school in a results list and you go to a page that lists more
information plus contact numbers for the school. [college opportunities online]
Making it count - A vast amount of information on college preparation and financial aid.
Mapping your future - Information on career planning, job hunting, job inteNiews, college selection, and financial aid.
Sponsored by the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP)
Pa homeschoolers - Website of Pennsylvania homeschoolers; online AP course available
Prepare Your Child for College - www.students.qov US govemment initiative. Comprehensive information portal, answers to
questions on education, career, military service, study abroad, filing taxes, voting, travel, and more.
College Preparation-A High School Timeline
Copy the chart at the end of this chapter. Post it somewhere you will see it and check it off as you complete each
item. This is a great way to stay organized and to assure you do not miss any deadlines.
General recommendations for preparing for college throughout high school:
Throughout high school it is good practice to ask outside teachers, employers or coaches to write you letters of
recommendations. You may only be in contact with some of these people for a limited time- for the length of a class
or for one season of a sport for example. If you wait till the end of your senior year to gather recommendations, it
may be difficult to locate these people.
By sophomore year begin to look at college catalogs and web sites.
Whenever possible, visit a college campus. Visit several campuses to get a feel for different campus settings.
Build strong academic skills by taking challenging courses.
Select an area of volunteer service to be a part of.
Get involved by participating in sports, clubs or volunteer work that can make high school more fun and will also
help you develop the leadership and teamwork skills that colleges value.
By junior year be searching out scholarships- many have deadlines in the fall of the senior year.
Transcripts and Diplomas
See Chapter 3 "Recommended Books" for high school books- some have sample transcripts and detailed information on
how to figure credits and assemble them into a believable transcript.
Do a go ogle search:
[home school diploma] [homeschool transcripts]
[sample homeschool transcript]
A to Z Homes Cool- find through Google, search for transcripts/diplomas; MANY helpful links, examples
Transcript Pro is a software program for creating transcripts. Available through Education+PLUS (Patterning Learning
Upon Scripture)
(864) 609-5411 $50 Developed by homeschool mom and
speaker Inge Cannon. Other high school planning materials also available at the web site. Also
Donna Young forms - find with google or - has many useful forms including a
sample transcript and information on how to figure Grade Point Average (GPA)
High School and College Planning 65
College Admission Testing
Below is an explanation of tests for college admission and the usual year that they are taken. Most colleges require
either the SAT or ACT for incoming freshmen. However, IF YOU HAVE TRANSFER CREDITS FROM A JUNIOR
COLLEGE, these tests are often not needed for admission to a four year program.
1. PLAN -the preliminary ACT test. Fall of sophomore year. Schedule through a local
This test was created by the same company that designed the ACT. It is designed for first semester high school sophomores
and tests English, Math, Reading and Science Reasoning. It is scored from 1-32. It shows how prepared you are to keep
learning more in each subject. You will also be given a projected ACT Assessment test score. This will give you a "clue" as
to what your ACT score might be when you take it during junior year. This might help you to know what areas you could
improve upon before you take the ACT. Call your local school for registering. (Many schools in the SW Michigan area do not
give this test)
2. Preliminary SArelNational Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or PSAT/NMSQT Fall of Junior
Schedule through a local school. $12
Offered only in the October each year. Call the school in the spring to schedule for the
following fall as they will need to order a test for you.
Co-sponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Those who score high enough
are selected as National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists.
The PSAT/NMSQT is basically a shorter and easier version of the SAT. Your score will give you an estimate as to what you
may score on the verbal and math sections of the SAT I and the writing section of the SAT II. This can give you time to work
on areas that you may want to improve upon before taking the SAT I. Scores are not sent to colleges. It is designed for
juniors, but many students benefit from taking it earlier, typically in their sophomore year. Only the junior year test
qualifies tor National Merit Scholarship consideration. If you take it earlier, recognize that the PSAT/NMSQT is a junior­
level test, so don't get discouraged if your score is low.
The test covers verbal, mathematical, and writing reasoning abilities. Each section is scored from 20-80, and the three
section's scores are added together to produce the "Selection Index" (a fancy term for the score that is used to determine
National Merit semifinalists in each state.) This test is also helpful in opening doors to other scholarship programs.
National Merit Scholarship Program
April of Junior year, the top 50,000 scorers on the PSAT arerecognized by the NationalMerit Program and sent letters of
commendation. September of Senior year top 16,000scorers become semi-finalists; Feb. of Senior year 14,000 become
finalists. Mar-fun of Senior year, about 8,500 National Merit finalists areMerit Scholars and receive National Merit
Scholarships, up to $2,500 a year towards a college education for each yearof college.
3. ACT - American College Testing Assessment or 319/337-1270 for dates, locations, and
to register. Spring of the junior year. Test given on Saturday. Test centers are at Kalamazoo
Christian High School and Western Michigan University. Around $30 Opt writing exam $14. Fee
waiver forms are available at your local high school. High scores may qualify you for the Michigan
Competitive Scholarship Award. [Michigan student aid] NOTE: As of 2007 the ACT is given free to
MI high school seniors as part of the Michigan Merit Exam (see p.68)
3 hour test, offered six times/year. This one is often required by colleges in the Midwest and is the one preferred by Michigan
colleges. It tests English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Each section is scored from 1-36; the composite score is
determined by averaging the four scores.
The average national score is 21, but it's important to remember that different colleges use the ACT scores in different ways.
You CAN take it multiple times if you want to - your highest score is the one that is considered. The website includes
college and career planning information.
66 High School and College Planning
ACT Summary
science reasoning section
math sections include trigonometry
vocabulary less important
entirely multiple choice
no guessing penalty
English grammar tested
math accounts for 25% of your score
easy and hard questions mixed within sections
report to colleges only the test results you
NOTE: ACT added a 30-minute Writing Test as an optional component to the ACT Assessment beginning in
February 2005. Check with colleges you are interested in to see if they will require this.
4. SAT Reasoning Test - or (609) 771-7600 for dates and registration. Spring of
Junior year. Test Center at Western Michigan University. Around $42 Check with local school for fee
waiver eligibility.
Scholastic Aptitude Test. Offered about 7 times a year. It is usually taken for the first time during junior year and measures
verbal and mathematical reasoning skill. Each section is scored from 200-800 and then the two sections' scores are added
to come up with a composite score. You CAN take it multiple times if you want to - your highest score (received before the
application deadlines) is the one that is considered by a college.
In March 2005, the SAT underwent its most sweeping changes in recent memory. High school students entering
college in 2006 encountered a brand new Writing section, more advanced Math questions, and a revamped scoring
system-among other things.
.. -
_._ .._----_._-----
Pre 2005 SAT
Chan es for New SAT
Analogies eliminated, Short Critical Reading passage
Critical Reading (long passages), Sentence
added, section renamed "Critical Reading"
Completions, Analogies
Quantitative Comparisons eliminated, Advanced
5-Answer Multiple Choice, Quantitative
Comparisons, Grid-Ins
.."_.____ _ ____. Algebra added
not exist
_Writin9._ -Does
___ Multiple-Choice Grammar + 20-25minute es~ .
3 hours
Now 3 hours and 35 minutes
Scoring ... Math: 200-800 Verbal: 200-800
~ __Math: 20Q,:-IlQQ.'yerbal: 200-80<>'~!iti!!~E 200-80o
--------. -"--------,-,
5. SAT Subject Tests - or (609) 771-7600 for dates, locations. Some colleges
require one or more of these. $26-$40 each.
One-hour, mostly multiple-choice tests, measure how much students know about a particular academic subject. 22 different
subject tests available. Sometimes also called SAT Achievement tests. These are best taken after the material is covered in
your schooling- so this could be the sophomore, junior, or senior year.
if you are even considering going to any colleges that require SAT subject tests, begin taking them early! It's not fun to be
taking exams in your senior year on subjects you took in ninth and tenth grade - and you're not likely to perform as well.
Until recently, the ACT was required by colleges in the Midwest, while the SAT was the test of choice for schools in the
Northeast and on both coasts. Now, however, most schools accept both. This increased acceptance of both exams gives
students a strategic advantage. The ACT is a content-based test, whereas the SAT tests critical thinking and problem
solving skills. Depending on your particular strengths and weaknesses, you may perform significantly better on one test
over the other. Regardless, you should check with each of your target schools before taking either exam.
High School and College Planning 67
Other Testing
Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), Michigan Merit Exam (MME) (begun in 2007),
Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Entrance Program (CLEP), and
Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (A5VAB)
1. Advanced Placement (AP) Classes and Tests $82 each test
(888) 225-5427 Tests offered once a year in May, must register by March 1. Fee reductions available.
AP classes give you the chance to try college-level work in high school, and to gain valuable skills and study habits for
college. After taking an AP class, you take an AP exam. If you get a "qualifying" grade on the AP Exam, there are thousands
of colleges worldwide that will give credit or advanced placement for your efforts. 34 exams across 19 subject areas.
Classes may be taken online or by self-study. Pennsylvania Homeschoolers and Debra Bell offer online courses to prepare
for the AP exams. [keywords: pa homeschoolers; debra bell]
Debra Bell, author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, and herself an AP class instructor, recommends
homeschooled students take at least one AP class in their junior year. Good scores show colleges that the
homeschooler was able to do college-level work at home. (The senior year is not too late for getting college credit, but is too
late for impressing colleges since the scores do not come in until after the colleges have made their offers.)
2. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) $55 each test + $10 admin fee Testing available year
round. (888) 225-5427 Look for link for "prep" to download a sample exam.
Test center: Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), 488-4460. Walk-in testing-no pre­
registration required!
CLEP provides students the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through exams and to receive college
credit. Test is done on a computer, 90 minutes, multiple choice. Highly recommended by David and Laurie Callihan
(www.davidandlaurie.comand for saving money on college credits (authors of Guidance Manual for
the Christian Home School). Qualifying scores earn 3-6 college credits. Check at to see if the
college you are interested will accept CLEP for credit. Study guides available at the web site and at the Callihan's site. Pay
the day of the test. A college accepting CLEP may charge a fee to transfer the credit in.
Why take CLEP exams? By taking one or more CLEP exams in your strong subjects, you'll...
• Save time. Get college credit for what you already know.
• Save money. Compare the cost of a CLEP exam, just $50, to hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars in tuition.
3. Michigan Merit Exam (MME) for juniors and seniors (formerly MEAP -Michigan Educational
Assessment Program ); Testing is free; local schools must allow you to take the test. Scores can qualify
student for the Michigan Merit Award or the Michigan Promise Scholarship (see page 71).
[Michigan merit exam]
The Michigan Department of Education began administering the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) to all students in
grade 11 in March 2007. The MME replaces the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) at the high
school level only (earlier grades still take the MEAp). This test is NOT mandatory for homeschoolers. However,
passing scores on the MEAP in grades 7, 8, and on the MME in the junior year qualify you for money for college. Call
several months ahead to schedule.
Passing scores on the MEAP in grades 7 AND 8 qualify you for $500 in college scholarship money.
Passing marks in high school qualify you for $2500 at an instate college, $1000 at an out of state college
Grade 7 test is on language arts. Testing is done in January or February. Call the school in the fall.
Grade 8 test is on math, science, social science. Testing is done in January or February. Call the school in the fall.
Junior MME test: an ACT test and also tests on math, science, and social studies; tests taken in spring of Junior
year. Call no later than January to schedule to take with your local public high school.
Seniors - sections you did not pass in your junior year can be retaken in fall and again in spring of senior year.
THE MME WAS FIRST ADMINISTERED IN 2007. It consists of an ACT TEST that can be used for college admission,
and other tests on MATH, SCIENCE, and SOCIAL STUDIES.
68 High School and College Planning
4. Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) 1-800-323-0513 Free. 517-887-1713 x2025 Lansing Military Entrance Processing center will
test homeschoolers at age 17.
The ASVAB Career Exploration Program provides tools developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) to help students
learn more about career exploration and planning. Provides high quality, cost-free career exploration and planning materials.
It includes a multiple aptitude test battery, an interest inventory, and various career planning tools to help students
explore the world of work. Eight individual tests covering verbal and math skills, mechanical knowledge, electronics, and
several other areas. No one is under any obligation to the military as a result of taking the ASVAB. Many students take
the ASVAB for career exploration and have no interest in military occupations.
The Lansing office of military recruitment is willing to test a group of homeschoolers if a location is provided. Must be 17 y.o.
How to Prepare for College/Other Testing
Free ACT/SAT/ MEAP and Other Practice Tests
1. Michigan eLibrary (Mel) - www.mel.orglindex.html-Signinwithadriver.slicense. then look for the link that says
"Practice Tests/LearnATest".
FREE practice tests for SATIACTI Advanced Placement, Civil service, Cosmetology, EMS, Firefighter,
GED, Graduate School Entrance Exams, High School Skills Improvement, Law Enforcement, Math Skills
Improvement, Military, Nursing, Writing Skills Improvement.
Provides practice tests and tutorial course series designed to help students, succeed on the academic or licensing
tests they must pass. You'll get immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized
analysis of your results.
2. Michigan Virtual High School Sign up for free test prep for ACT, SAT, MEAP
thru MI virtual high school. Look up your local school district's code on the site, then use that to sign in, and create
a user ID and password to access the tests.
3. College board -Site of the SAT test administrators; prepare for PSAT, SAT; site has lots of information. test.htm
Free test and evaluation.
Other sources for preparation:
1. local libraries - all have resources and books to help prepare for these tests- just ask the librarian.
2. Kaplan Center- Located in Portage. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and ACT test prep materials and classes.
3. Bookstores- there are many books and CD ROMS to help study and practice for these tests. Materials by
Princeton, Barrons, Petersons, and AMSCO are all highly recommended.
4. Internet sites: in Google just type in ACT or SAT and you will get plenty of sites to check out. Other keywords to
• Boost my Score - provided by Dr. Gary Gruber, the leading national expert on
standardized test preparation. For $10 take practice SAT test and quizzes and have them evaluated
• College entrance exam guide - This keyword will bring you to several helpful sites.
• PA Homeschoolers - Online AP classes (see AP info in next section)
• Princeton review - Free practice SAT online, plus study materials
• Take sat - Free study materials for the Scholastic Aptitude Test
• Taking the act - Information on preparing and registering for ACT
• Wired Scholar - Inexpensive practice tests online pIus test taking tips
High School and College Planning 69
Career Exploration
Crown Ministries (Larry Burkett's Christian Financial Concepts)
Personality I.D
"Personality I.D. is a new, unique, and validated interactive personality assessment tool that allows you to view yourself and
others from a fresh, new perspective. Its primary purpose is to help you identify and understand your unique personality."
Career Direct Yes (Youth Exploration Survey) For ages 13 to 16. Each YES! packet contains three items ­
A Guidebook, Passport, and Parents Guide. The Guidebook has a profile that assesses Personality Styles, Vocational
Interests, Work Abilities, and Work Priorities. The Parents' Guide provides guidelines and suggestions. Has a fun-filled
travel theme. Price: $35
2. Quintessential Careers EXCELLENT, VERY COMPREHENSIVE SITE. A leader in
career and job-search advice! More than 1,900 pages of college, career, and job-search content to empower your success
in life. Reviews of and links to many online career and personality tests- many of them free.
Career Development eManual assessment tests.
4. Occupational Outlook Handbook (use these words in google) Nationally recognized source of career
information. Online searchable handbook from the Department of Labor. Excellent resource to find out more about a
career/job you are interested in: qualifications, training and education needed, the expected earnings, working conditions,
and job prospects. Revised every two years.
5. America's Job Bank I Career One Stop Nation's publicly-funded resource for jobseekers and
businesses. Explore career paths, compare salary data for different occupations, learn which careers are hot, get resume
writing tips and job interview strategies, post a resume, and much more! Find jobs--from entry level to technical to
professional to CEO
Free Personality tests www.2h.comlpersonality-tests.html
7. The MAPP Assessment Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential. Reveals your
natural motivations, interests and talents for work. Free analysis yields: 5 free job matches to over 900 O*NET job
descriptions with complete Occupational Outlook Handbook Documentation; search real jobs that match your personal
motivations; find the top 11-20 jobs with your greatest potential for success. Discover your strengths, your styles for
communications, leaming and leadership. See what career is best for you.
8. Bureau of Labor - Lots of information on careers and employment-even a page
for kids to begin to look at careers that might interest them.
9. Michigan Career Portal - Links to many helps including state and national
employment, career choices, education, training, and business resources and services. Search for reports on over 400
occupations listed in alphabetical order. Each report contains information about that occupation's job duties, salary or wages,
education or training requirements, employment outlook, career ladder, related occupations and much, much more.
10. Other US Gov't and US Dept of Education sites:
Dept of Education
Student Gateway to the US Gov't - career planning, distance ed.
Student Jobs www.studentjobs.govSearch jobs, create a resume, assess skills and interests
Paying for College
FreeApplication for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) REQUIRED FOR STUDENT AID
1-800-433-324) Application: as soon after Jan.1 of your senior year as possible. Deadline: March 1 of senior year. Full
application and information online.
Students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal student financial aid, and to
apply for many state student aid programs. The information you provide on your FAFSA determines if you are eligible for
financial aid. Results of the Federal application are sent to the schools you are applying to.
70 High School and College Planning
Paying for College (continued)
The Student Guide (to Financial Aid)
FREE from US Dept Education 1-800-433-3243
40 pgs of information on federal aid for college- 66% of all student financial aid comes from the Fed'i Government. Call to
order or google [student guide financial aid] or to download. Very helpful. Explains FAFSA.
Student Aid Report (SAR) and each of the government grant and loan programs (Pell, FSEOG, Perkins etc)
Local and State Scholarships and Grants
Kalamazoo Community Foundation
Local foundation that publishes "Kalamazoo Area Scholarship
Guide" (available only online), which lists scholarships available locally. From 1998-2006 over $16 million awarded
to 4000 students, including homeschoolers. Deadline for most of the scholarships are in the spring. Deadline
for the Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship deadline is December 1 (homeschoolers have been awarded up to
$7000/year; this scholarship is renewable for each year of undergraduate education) (269) 381-4416
Monroe Brown Scholarship Kalamazoo Technology & Science Fellows Program (KTS) whose
goal is to educateand retaintalentedpeople in the Kalamazoo wol1<force. For students with a demonstrated
aptitudefor technology or science, including math, mechanicsor engineering, who wish to earn a degree at a local
Kalamazoo college or university and wol1< for a Kalamazoo area employer during school and after graduation. A local
homeschool graduatereceived a four year scholarship throughthis program. 324-5586
Michigan Competitive Scholarship - $13001 year, renewable each year. Based on ACT score and financial need.
[Michigan Competitive Scholarship]
Michigan Merit Award and Michigan Promise Scholarship (new in 2007.) Awarded based on scores on the MEAP or
Michigan Merit Exam (MME) (see pg. 68); $1000-$4000 depending on which program you fall under and based on
whether you attend college in state or out.
Contact: Office of Scholarships and Grants toll-free at 1-888-4-GRANTS (888-447-2687)
Free Scholarship and Financial Aid Search Services
Many of these websites have much more than just scholarship information. There are many articles and helps on planning
your high school education, preparing for testing, and taking the SAT or ACT tests.
Start here:
MI-search: - for Michigan residents-LOTS of information on preparing and paying for
college. Click link to: MI Scholarships Online. Providing Michlgan specific scholarship search for Michigan
residents only. Also from this site, linksto other national scholarship database services.
MI search uses the following two sites:
Fast Web: Probably the largest and most popular scholarship search site.
College Answer 1 Sallie Mae: I
Dept of Education Federal student aid: [student aid on the web] MANY helpful links.
Also: Information about federal student aid and preparing for college; Questionnaire to find
out what careersmight be rightfor you; input your preferences (size of school, location, etc.) to search for the college or career
school that fits your needs, look for scholarships usinga free searchservice; learn about the SAT and the ACT.
Coca-cola scholars: Annual scholarships; apply fall of senior year.
College Board:
College NET MACH 25: Claims to be the fastest.
Financial Aid Information: Site includes a financial aid eligibility estimator.
Free Scholarship Search:
GoColiege: Excellent resource- 500,000 scholarship database.
Michigan Student Financial Aid Association: Can download an 8 page guide for parents. A not-for-profit
professional organization committed to the effective administration of student financial aid.
Peterson's College Quest: www.iiswinprd03.petersons.comlugchannel 2000 resources in 69 majors. - 600,000
SRN Express - Database of 8,000 private, non-need based programs.
High School and College Planning 71
[americorp] 1-800-942-2677
The "domestic Peace Corp"; work for a year doing community volunteer service and earn over $4000 toward past, current,
or future college expenses. You'll learn teamwork, communication, responsibility, and other essential skills that will help you
for the rest of your life. During your year of service you are paid a modest living allowance and provided health insurance.
The website allows you to search for what opportunities are available in each state and you can read "testimonies" of others
who have participated.
Distance Learning- Earning College Credit At Home
From www.petersons.comldistanceleaming:
Though distance leaming in one form or another has been around since farmers used correspondence courses to bone up
on plowing techniques, only recently has it become a much publicized alternative to campus-based learning.....
One impetus to this revolution is that the Internet has significantly facilitated distance learning and is thus provoking
tremendous change and experimentation in how education is delivered. The stigma that used to be attached to getting a
degree without physically being on a campus hardly exists now. And when "rnedallion universities" like Stanford, Harvard,
and Duke entered the distance education arena, it became legitimate overnight...
"Face-to-face with a talented professor in a classroom is still the best way to learn. The reality is that it's simply not available
to all those who want it, whether because of money or time. There are not enough brick and mortar buildings out there."
While distance education seems to answer a lot of student needs, the fact that drop-out rates are higher than those for
campus-based learning cannot be ignored .... not everyone is blessed with the discipline and motivation that distance
learning requires. Despite what's said about the electronic classroom, it's a lonely way to study,. .. Many need and enjoy the
stimulus of being around a peer group to share reactions and to help each other ... On the surface, taking courses via
distance education appears to be a quick and easy way to learn. It's not. Personal characteristics and leaming styles playa
big part in the success of the distance learner. A lot depends on the student's ability to organize time and resources ....
On the other hand, there are just as many supporters of distance education who will tell you that interaction is enhanced and
richer than what normally occurs in traditional classrooms.
Global Learning Strategies - This site is from author Brad Voeller who wrote
Accelerated Distance Learning on how to complete a college degree from home.
Search google: distance education
Distance Education and Training Council or -Accredited programs listed by school.
Ed·X or A search engine and web resource for distance learning and online education with
comprehensive information on over 20,000 online courses and degree programs from 700 online colleges
worldwide. Courses listed by degree and key words from national & international schools.
Peterson's Distance Learning or Search over 1000 programs plus
financial aid information. 877-433-8277
Thomas Edison State College or well known provider of distance learning, used by many
homeschoolers. 609-984-11 00
Excelsior College or (formerly Regents College) One of the first complete distance education
programs. 1-888-647-2388
University of Phoenix Online
Bob Jones University.
Moody Bible Institute.
Patrick Henry College.
Taylor University
Regent University
LeTourneau University
72 High School and College Planning
College Application Essays
Essay - Site for help in writing college admission essays- search for "samples of our work" to read samples of
successful essays. You can pay to have your own essays reviewed. Free essay writing course.
Quintessential Careers - Link to sample essays.
Google: [help with college essays]
Tips for Homeschooling High Schoolers
by Lynn Hogan
I have talked to a number of parents who have
brought their students home from traditional schools
this year. I think this is terrific, although I know there
are a number of challenges with doing this for older
students. With the right plan, however, you can
make this the best part of your child's education
To start with, I am assuming your student is in favor
of the change. If he is reluctant, that's OK, but if he
is totally opposed to it, you may have some rough
roads ahead. Your student may be coming out of an
environment where peers and teachers had a great
influence on what he thought or did. Now, you will
be asking him to think for himself. If this is a skill he
has not used in a while, you may have to
encourage him to do so. He may be a little reluctant
to listen to you because you have always been his
"mom." He has to get used to the idea that you are
also the primary person responsible to see that he
is educated.
It is always helpful if you can involve your student in
the selection process. He can choose his electives;
he can help choose his curriculum. Some students
love to go looking through textbooks; others "turn
off" the second you mention that it needs to be
done. Giving your student a major amount of input
into his school is one way to make it clear to him
that he is not "in Kansas anymore."
In the traditional school system, his choices were
more limited and his schedule for studying any
particular subject was decided by others. In your
homeschool, you both can come up with a schedule
that works for you and your student. You have the
opportunity to help him be sure that he truly knows
how to manage his time and manage his
"paperwork jungle" (as we call it here). What a neat
blessing! That alone should encourage your student
to "stick with it."
There will be some bumpy spots with the
adjustment process, but you and your student can
work together to make this his best school year
ever. It takes patience and determination from both
of you, but most things of any value do demand
those qualities.
This is the time when you are helping your student
to become an adult. This is your opportunity to
listen to him as more than just a child, but also as
an individual getting ready to start leading his own
life (to a degree). What a great chance you have to
share your values and listen as he shares his. It's
sometimes hard to allow our children to grow up,
especially if we aren't "thrilled" with the direction
they seem to be leaning, but it is our job to guide
them and pray for them.
By homeschooling your high school student, you
are giving him that final "touch" before he faces the
"real world," whether that be college or going into
the work force. Homeschooling high schoolers only
better fortifies them for either of those paths.
Lynn Hogan is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 11+ years from High Point, N.C. Her first child has graduated
and is attending a Christian liberal arts college in Tennessee. She is the owner of the Unit Study Helps website
( and editor of the Homeschooler's Notebook, a free weekly e-mail homeschooling newsletter. (To
subscribe to the newsletter, send a blank e-mail to join-hs-notebook@ds.xc.orq) Used by permission.
High School and College Planning 73
PI anmru
Take PSAT and/or PLAN in October
Take PSAT in October
Call local school no later than early January to reserve
spot for Michigan Merit Exam (MME)
Begin writing, calling, or e-mailing the colleges on your
list and request admission and financial aid information.
Begin researching financial aid and scholarship sources.
Contact local school to schedule PSAT or PLAN for the
Contact local school to schedule PSAT for the fall
Check with local school for financial aid seminars you
may be able to attend
Take MME test in March (dates may vary)
Register for ACT about 45 days before the test (if student
does not take the MME; the MME includes a free ACT
Take ACT (February, April, or June)
Register for SAT about 45 days before the test
Take the SAT (March, May, or June)
If there is a particular college you are interested in, check
to see if any SAT Subject tests are required. If so,
consider registering for a Mayor Jun test
Send letters or e-mail the colleges on your list to request
Plan to visit colleges during your spring break so you
will be on campus when classes are in session. Be sure to
call the admissions office before you visit a campus. The admissions
staff will schedule you for a campus tour and arrange for an
interview, if necessary. Many colleges have special programs for
visiting high school students. If possible, schedule an appointment
with a financial aid counselor to learn more about the college's
financial aid opportunities. Bring your parents with you; they can
gain very valuable information by talking with a financial aid
74 High School and College Planning
March 1- deadline for independent study homeschool
students to contact Advanced Placement Services to
schedule to take an AP test
May - take AP exam (s)
Take CLEP exam (s) (anytime-no specific dates)
Summer-good time to work on college essays and to
research scholarship sources
Investigate summer job or internship opportunities
Begin to assemble writing samples, portfolios or audition
Write, call or e-mail the colleges on your list and request
admissions, financial aid, and, if appropriate, housing
applications. Keep a checklist or calendar with all the
admissions and financial aid deadlines for the colleges
that you are considering, This is especially important if
you are considering an early action or early decision
admission application.
Check with local school for financial aid seminars you
may be able to attend
Continue researching scholarship sources
Call in early Sept to schedule to re-take portiones) of
MME if necessary
OctJNov retake MME if necessary
Register and take and SAT Subject tests required by
colleges you are interested in.
Early Sept register for re-take of SAT if desired
Take or re-take SAT in November or December
Early September Register for ACT
Take/retake ACT October or December
Make sure that your transcript and test scores are sent to
the colleges that you are applying to.
Ask teachers, employers or coaches to write you letters
of recommendation. Give them ample time and deadline dates.
Give them any forms that the colleges require, provide them with a
list of your activities, sport and employment and academic
accomplishments and a stamped, addressed envelope to the college,
and follow up to make sure the forms are completed.
Set aside plenty of time to draft, edit and re-write your
college essays
Begin to send in regular admissions applications; be sure
to keep copies of everything you send with the date sent.
December-ideally you should be sending your last
college applications this month.
January: Send a transcript of your first semester grades to
the colleges you are applying to
Call in Jan to reserve spot for MME retake
Ask teachers, employers or coaches to write you letters
of recommendation. Give them ample time and deadline dates.
Provide the forms that the colleges require, provide them with a list
of your activities, sport and employment and academic
accomplishments and a stamped, addressed envelope to the college.
Follow up to make sure the forms are completed
Retake portions of MME in ?
Complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA)- must be RECEIVED by the Dept. of
Education by March 1 (some schools require it
earlier) Required by almost all colleges.
Within 4 weeks of filing your FAFSA you should receive
a Student Aid Report (SAR). Review for accuracy. If your
SAR needs correcting, contact the financial aid office at the schools
you have applied to. If you have not received a SAR within four
weeks after you filed your FAFSA, call 1-800-4FED-AID. If a
college requests your SAR, or any other documentation, submit it
promptly and keep a copy for your records.
March 1- deadline for independent study homeschool
students to contact Advanced Placement Services to
schedule to take an AP test
May - take AP exam (s)
Decide on the college that you will attend and send your
tuition deposit. Write to the other colleges that accepted
you and inform them that you have selected another
school. This is an important step. Other students will
want your spot! Be sure to respond by May 1.
If your first choice college places you on a waiting list,
do not lose all hope. Some students are admitted from the
waiting list. Contact the college admissions office to let
them know you are still very interested and keep the
college updated on your activities.
High School and College Planning 75
College Testing Overview
See more information on each of these tests in Chapter 8
When to First Take
Where to Take
How to Register
More Information
(609) 771-7600
10 grade
Local School
Local School
Offered only in the fall
Take in the fall of 10th grade
for practice;
Fall of 11tb grade counts
toward National Merit
Spring 11th grade;
Several test dates available fall
and spring (if take the MME
state test, do not need to
schedule this separate)
Spring 11tb grade;
Several test dates available fall
and spring.
Local School
Local School;
Call in the spring to
reserve a test spot for
the fall.
-Kalamazoo Christian HS
-Kalamazoo Central HS
-Western Michigan U.
Western Michigan U.
or pick up Registration
Bulletin at a local
Call (888) 225-5427
by March 1 to get the
names and telephone
numbers of local AP
KVCC 488-4460
(609) 771-7600
(609) 771-7600
(609) 771-7600
$55 + $10
admin fee
Free- one
free retake
Offered only in May each
Take the exam in May of any
year that Advanced Placement
material has been studied.
Offered year round so can take
any time you are prepared.
Test is taken on a computer.
Grade 7, 8 (MEAP); spring,
Gr. 11 (MME). Grade 12- fall
if need to retake parts.
In local high schools they will
test at 16. Homeschooled
students must be 17 y.o.
76 High School and College Planning
Local participating
Kalamazoo Valley
Community College
Local public high school
The military will come to
a testing site that a group
Call local school
several months before.
Call the Lansing
Military Entrance
Processing Station
Or email:
517-887-1713 x2025
$14 opt