When you see your child struggle with learning, you may not know what to do or where to go.
I remember the day I realized I needed help for one of my children. The fear of my own inadequacy flooded my mind: was it me, did I use the wrong curriculum, was I to pushy or not pushy enough? Once I began researching, I discovered there were people who could help.
One place I found is Learn To Learn in Ocoee, FL. After a visit to their center for a personal tour, I quickly knew this was a place to point parents seeking help, without going through the public school system. This company has the credentials needed to assist parents as they homeschool their children.
Learn To Learn is not a tutoring service. They are brain development experts, with a focus on “wiring up” the brain so it is ready to learn. Understanding the brain and the circuitry needed to learn, coupled with knowledge of why some children struggle with learning is what Dr. James Fadigan, founder of Learn To Learn, has spent decades researching.
During the high-school years, homeschool parents may consider Advanced Placement (AP) classes or Dual Enrollment as an option for their child. While both have the potential to earn college credit during high-school, the two vary greatly.
The Advance Placement (AP) classes are college level courses offered to high-school students on a more rigorous level. Students desiring to pursue college or a specific field of interest beyond high-school may find these classes appealing. AP classes can be taken online through FLVS or taught by parents who feel well qualified to teach such classes. FLVS is attractive to parents as there are no costs associated with taking these classes. (more…)
Many of you have friends or relatives that homeschool, and are perhaps considering it for your own family. Allow me to assist you while I unpack some of the most common questions I am asked:
1) What exactly is homeschooling?
Home education, as defined by Florida law, is “sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy the requirements of Statute 1003.21 and 1002.41.” The law is broad, giving parents quite a bit of freedom to direct their child’s education. Children of all ages are home educated across the state, and many are entering college straight from their courses of study at home.
2) How do I legally homeschool in Florida?
Home education is one of five ways to satisfy Florida’s compulsory attendance law. Statute 1003.01 (13) gives parents the choice of achieving regular school attendance through one of these provisions:
• Public school
• Parochial, religious or denominational school
• Nontraditional private school
• Home-education program
• Private tutoring program
Four of these options are in the private sector — ultimately, parents choose the setting, curriculum, opportunities and educational experiences. In all cases, a child turning 6 before February 1 of the school year is subject to compulsory attendance and must attend school regularly the entire term.
Parents who choose to homeschool their children may not realize all the opportunities they have at their disposal. One of the options our family took advantage of was the world of virtual classes, also known as online classes.
When I began our homeschooling journey, my children were young and the lessons were easy to complete. Math could be learned in the kitchen while we baked cookies or in the driveway using sidewalk chalk. Over the years the dynamics changed as my kids grew and I began seeing unique skills, talents and passions emerge that required careful consideration as to what would be the best type of classes for them.
I found many of these needs could be met through online learning. While I could list many reasons to enroll your child in online classes, for me it really boiled down to three:
Peace of mind when I wasn’t comfortable teaching certain subjects.
A different learning environment for my children.
Gave me more time to work with other children who needed me.
The desire to continue homeschooling meant being creative and finding solutions to ever-changing demands. As my children got older there were certain classes I did not feel capable of teaching, like calculus or chemistry, so I searched for options. This search led me to Florida Virtual School. They provided the security of knowing my child would get the teaching needed to achieve our educational goals without me having to figure it out. This was especially helpful with my older son, who was considering pursuing a degree in engineering. The upper-level math classes were outside my comfort zone, but they were a must for this type of career choice. I didn’t want my weakness to hold my child back from learning something that was their strength. Thankfully it doesn’t have to!
Understanding the difference between a high school portfolio and a transcript is important for homeschool moms.
Let’s begin with defining the terms.
A portfolio may be required yearly by your state. Parents usually compile a list of subjects studied, books read, and a sampling of work completed in one year into a neat binder. You only need a sampling of the student’s work to document the progress made that year.
A transcript is a document listing the student’s course work and grades, credits earned, volunteer work, and ACT/SAT scores from their high school years. It is similar to a resume. Most parents put this on one sheet. If there has been extensive work on a specific subject, you can create a separate document highlighting the area of study or work done on that topic. Keep in mind that most colleges receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. Focus on putting together a concise and accurate summary.
I’m frequently asked whether a high school transcript is needed to graduate as a homeschool student. Currently in Florida the answer is No. Other states may require it, so check with your county homeschool liaison. However, you will almost certainly need a transcript for any continuing education your child may pursue. Waiting until your child’s 11th or 12th grade years to create this document can be a challenge. Those final years are generally filled with SAT and ACT testing, college applications, and completing high school requirements needed for possible scholarship money. You can avoid this undue stress by staying on top of it early on. (more…)
Many homeschool moms struggle with the fear that only a certified teacher is “qualified” to execute the task of teaching their children. I have known many women who have educated their children quite successfully without having a teaching degree. The three ingredients needed for success are simple: a desire to learn, a willingness to work, and the determination to stick with it.
Moms seem to forget just how many subjects are taught on a daily basis. By this point, you’ve taught your child to eat, play, and speak without being a nutritionist, PE major, or speech pathologist.
To teach successfully you must have the commitment to learn. At first, it may seem like you’re drinking from a fire hose; and that’s okay because you are! A good place to start is talking to other homeschool moms, visiting the library for relevant information, and getting connecting with homeschooling groups for support. They are all great resources which will get you on the right path. With all the new information and decisions you will be making, having a place to organize it will provide a sense of order, whether it is a physical notebook, Evernote, or whatever works for you. (more…)