From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


4/7/2011 9:46:31 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- April 2011

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter
April 2011--Expanding Teaching Options through Outside Courses

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Dear Friends,

Many of you are making plans to attend homeschool conferences and
curriculum fairs (or already have) where you will be deciding on
curricula for your next school year. If your plan includes signing up
for courses taught by others, we want to give you some ideas to think
about and tools to use.

At first glance, the high school years can appear scary because of all
the courses you deem necessary to offer your teens. Looking at the
whole mountain range of high school subjects is enough to make you
feel weary - or worse yet, inept! If you need help in certain subject
areas, courses taught by others may be a lifeline for you. However, we
are not advocating that you outsource all of your teen's courses.
Being "old school" homeschoolers, we taught the majority of the
courses our own children completed during high school and enjoyed
learning right along with them. With the abundance of homeschool high
school curriculum, teacher's guides, answer keys, and lots of other
helpful materials, we encourage you to also teach as many subjects at
home as your time, energy, and circumstances allow. With that in mind,
let's evaluate the benefits of outside courses, factors to consider,
and options available.


It is not unusual for students in high school to lose motivation to
complete upper level courses, especially if they do not have a clear
vision of their post high school plans. Taking a high school class in
a group setting can energize them to study and complete the
assignments so they will be prepared to take part in class discussions
and compete well with their classmates. These groups may also be
sources for finding friends who are also homeschooled and of like

Another benefit is the types of courses you will be able to offer to
your teens. If they are advanced students, then you won't be hesitant
to suggest challenging courses or subjects not normally studied in a
public or private school. The side benefit may be possible careers
that come to light to pursue.

Taking classes from someone other than Mom or Dad will give teens
practice in relating to other teachers, their teaching styles, their
deadlines, and their class requirements. These teachers can often
provide letters of recommendation for students when applying for post
high school studies or employment. Such situations are a natural
setting in which the student will learn time management skills as he
juggles the various schedules of the outside course, home studies and
responsibilities, church activities, and friends. If you feel your
teen needs to hone these skills, we've gathered helpful resources on
the HSLDA high school website,
, including a course you can use as an elective for your high school
program, .

Some outside classes will earn your students both high school and
college credit. Having college credit will strengthen the teens'
applications and transcripts. The college will recognize the teens'
academic abilities, maturity, and focus which may give your teen a
favorable advantage in the eyes of admission officers and scholarship

Don't neglect to recognize that outside courses can also give parents
a respite from teaching all the subjects. Many of you are teaching
more than one child and more than one grade level, so having a break
can make the difference between feeling bogged down and staying


Whoa horsey! Before jumping on the bandwagon and planning to sign up
for a multitude of course options, take time to evaluate your teen in
terms of academic skills and emotional maturity. Is he ready for the
rigors of the course? Will she take the class seriously and follow
through with the assignments? Can he manage his time well without
nagging from you? Does she want to consider this option?

It's important to be aware of any prerequisites which may be required
for the class. For example, if you are considering a chemistry class,
has your teen completed the necessary levels of math? You want to
choose courses where your teens will enjoy a good experience and

The interest of your teen will help in deciding what classes to
consider. If a student has a particular desire to learn more about
archeology, then a course in that discipline may be worthwhile to
investigate whether archeology will be his major in college, or his
career, or merely a hobby.

Of course, your family's financial budget and schedule will be factors
as to the possibility of outside courses. Course costs vary widely, so
it merits looking at what is available in your area. Another issue
will be the location of the class. Will driving back and forth be
necessary, especially at an inconvenient time for the rest of your
children? Or can the course be taken at home? If so, how much computer
time will be required?


With this information in hand, the next step is to locate available
courses. Homeschool co-ops usually are an inexpensive option that can
provide benefits for both Mom and teen. If moms decide to co-teach a
course, it lessens each individual mom's investment of time and energy
in teaching and overseeing the material. You will also enjoy the
camaraderie of the other moms. However, you may choose to engage the
help of an outside teacher who is either paid or is a volunteer. A
teacher might be another homeschool mom, a church member, a relative,
a retired teacher, or a tutor.

Another source for classes is CD or DVD courses where an instructor
teaches the lesson and gives assignments. The parent becomes the
overseer of the course and "go to" person should the teen have
questions. That means the parent should be aware of the progress of
the course in order to be able to help the student. Many times these
course formats will provide additional assistance by phone or email
should both of you become stumped.

Online courses are very popular, and becoming familiar with the
logistics of these courses will be helpful for post high school
studies. You will discover there are an array of course offerings at
both the high school and college levels. The classes are structured by
each teacher so some will be more interactive than others. There is a
partial listing of sources for these courses in both the online and individual subject
curriculum sections of our
high school website. If your teen is interested in taking advanced
placement courses,, we also
list providers to consider.

Dual enrollment has advantages of earning both college and high school
credit simultaneously as well as providing an introduction to a
college setting while still living at home. Some community college
systems require applicants to take placement tests in English and math
to insure the student registers for the appropriate level of courses.
It's a good idea to review these subject areas with your teen before
she takes the tests. A general rule of thumb is that a one semester
college course is equivalent to one year of high school credit for
your teen's high school transcript. Since local policies may differ,
it's best to check with your school of choice.

Some families have enjoyed engaging the services of a tutor to teach a
portion of a course or the complete course. This suggestion may take
some of the burden off of parents since someone else is stepping in to
ease the load. Sources for tutors can include your local high school
(which often keeps tutor lists), agencies, homeschool moms or
graduates, retirees in your church or community, or extended family

If finances are really tight, check out the internet for many free
sites. Our website has some of these educational resources,, listed to give you a flavor
of the quality and quantity available at the click of a mouse.

As you consider the many options for outside classes, please keep in
mind that all courses included on your teen's high school transcript
must use resources written at the high school level or above. If you
are in doubt as to the level of materials used, do not hesitate to
contact the curriculum provider or check out a homeschool curriculum
reviewer such as Cathy Duffy,,
and others.

Words of Encouragement

In light of all the information we've provided this month, we want you
to know that you can homeschool high school with or without these
choices. Even when courses are being taken from others, schedule time
to stay involved in a supervisory role. Remember, you are not raising
Lone Rangers, but students who are moving towards independent learning
with your help.

Next month we will discuss how working part time during high school
reaps rewards.
Until then we're...

Surfing the internet to find you more resources,

Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants

HSLDA High School at Home Teacher Training Sessions
Join Becky and Diane in 2011 as they equip you to teach your teens Spots are filling up quickly
so grab yours while you can!

Becky & Diane's Speaking Engagements

April 14-16, 2011--MACHE, Duluth, MN (Becky and Diane)

April 29-30, 2011--MassHOPE, Worcester, MA (Diane)

May 11, 2011 - Bolling Area Home Educators, Washington, D.C. (Becky)

June 3-4, 2011--LEAH, Rochester, NY (Becky)

June 10-11, 2011--TEACH, Bloomfield, CT (Diane)

September 17, 2011--HSLDA High School at Home: The Basics (Diane)
Purcellville, VA

October 1, 2011 - GRHE, Roanoke, VA (Becky & Diane)

October 29, 2011--High School at Home: The Next Step (Becky)
Purcellville, VA

-> Will your children's inheritance retain its value?

If you pass on a legacy of freedom, your children and their
children's children will thank you. But freedom is never secure;
it must always be guarded. Membership with HSLDA is an investment
in the future that can be passed on to future generations of
families wanting to teach their children at home.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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