Don’t Know Where to Start?
Interested in homeschooling, but you don’t know where to start? Need more ideas for innovative educational experiences for your kids? You’re in the right place. There are many networks, communities, co-ops, and resources available to promote the benefits of homeschooling and support homeschooling families. Below is a list of the ones we at CHESS have found helpful through the years.
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)
Since 1983, this organization has been a national advocate of the legal right to homeschool. HSLDA produces handouts such as “You Can Homeschool! Through High School”, and “A Guide for Homeschooling Through High School”.
CHESS is now a discount group member with HSLDA and to your benefit you can join HSLDA through CHESS!
Here is how HSLDA helps both CHESS and you:
– “Protects your right to homeschool and defends your family. A lawyer is on call 24/7.
– Provides fast help by phone or email, especially advice on homeschooling through high school, and on homeschooling a child with learning struggles or special needs.
– “Preserves homeschool freedom for all families by promoting homeschooling nationwide, as well as by working with state homeschooling groups to pass homeschool-friendly legislation and stop unfavorable bills at the state and federal levels.”
– Discounts, webinars, and more benefits are described on their website.
– You save $20 per year on dues, thanks to our new group discount.
There are only two steps required to join!
– Email Kathy Kuhl for the group name and group number so you can save!
Home Educators Association of Virginia
HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia)
Home Educators Association of Virginia is the oldest and largest member-supported, statewide, non-profit homeschool association. Since 1983 we have successfully worked to promote and protect home education in Virginia through information, legislation, and resources.
The Northern Virginia Homeschool Athletic Association (NVHAA) is “a high school varsity and junior varsity sports assocation established primarily for homeschooled young men and women ages 13-18 who do not otherwise have the opportunity to play competitive high school sports. NVHAA is a 501c3 non-profit, Christian-led organization. The Centurions teams are members of the Eastern Christian Conference.”
Like CHESS, NVHAA encourages families to homeschooling through high school. They want “EVERY eligible homeschooled athlete have a place and chance to play competitive high school sports in a clean environment under caring coaches.”
Planning for Parents
Start looking into homeschooling through high school a year or two ahead of time. First, consider your student and his or her goals. If you and the student aren’t sure about college, it is wise to plan a program that won’t make college admission harder—for example, don’t neglect math or foreign language. You can always change your plans as your student’s goals change. If college is a possibility, there are practical steps you can take early.
The Home School Legal Defense Association has a great high school section. They offer a newsletter, excellent brochures, such as Developing a Plan for High School, and articles to help you consider your options: whether your student should aim toward a general high school diploma, a college prep program, or a rigorous college prep program. Second, visit the websites of several colleges and universities, and look under their admission pages for their particular requirements for homeschoolers.
Generally, they want some independent evidence of the student’s ability, not just grades and reports from the parents. Some universities require homeschooled students to take extra standardized tests, such as the SAT subject exams, in addition to their usual requirements.
Keep checking back on college websites, because some colleges change their requirements as they become more aware of homeschooling. It is especially important for homeschooled students to have recommendations from teacher who are not their parents.
Taking classes at CHESS allows you to meet teachers who might be willing to write such recommendations.
Recordkeeping and Transcripts
As soon as your child starts taking high school level courses (even if they take French I, Spanish I, or Algebra I in eighth grade or sooner), you need to start gathering the material that will become your student’s transcript. Record which books and curriculum you use and a brief course description.
Create a safe place to store grades and course descriptions. Don’t wait until eleventh grade to start! Janice Campbell’s book, Transcripts Made Easy, helps you plan and document your student’s high school career.
It and other resources are available from her website. Home Educators Association of Virginia offers a transcript service and transcript software, available for anyone from any state. HSLDA has a brochure on recordkeeping you can download.
Homeschool Testing – Updated 7/27
Having your student take a standardized test, such as the Stanford 10 Achievement Test or the California Achievement Test, is one way to provide evidence of progress to your school district, as required under the homeschool statute http://heav.org/testing/. (Submitting a portfolio or an evaluation are other ways, see http://heav.org/testing/
testing-and-the-law- frequently-asked-questions/and http://heav.org/testing/ testing-resources-3/ portfolios/ for details.)
Some local homeschool groups including HOPE https://www.homeschool-life.
com/va/hopehs/ offer standardized testing with their group’s students. Or you can order the California Achievement Test from SetonTesting.org, give it at home, and mail it back to Seton, which will score it and send the results to you.
Your school district may offer you free standardized testing. But if you pay the modest fee for private testing through Seton, HOPE, or another group, then you have the opportunity to review the results before the school district sees them.
– If you have a college bound student then they will need to take a college entrance exam such as the ACT or SAT. Some universities will also require additional SAT subject tests. HSLDA has great information about these tests at: http://www.hslda.org/highschool/testing.asp#satact
– When registering, the Home School High School Code (CEEB) for the SAT/SAT Subject test is: 970000, and the Home School High School code for the ACT is: 969999
– The College Board recently expanded the PSAT into multiple grade-level tests. They now offer the PSAT 8/9, the PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT( National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test). You can go to the College Board site for information and testing tips at: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10
– You can also read about the differences and advantages to each test in this article published by HSLDA : http://www.hslda.org/highschool/newsletters/December_2015.asp
– This year, the PSAT/NMSQT Test Date is Wednesday, October 19, 2016. Contact your local school district in August to find out the deadline to register for this test.
AP and CLEP Tests
– AP and CLEP tests are two ways in which your high school student can earn college credit. HSLDA has an article about the benefits of these exams at: http://www.hslda.org/highschool/Newsletters/2016/April.asp
– If your student is planning on taking the AP test for a subject they have been learning, you need to contact the AP Coordinator for your school district to find out where testing is being offered for the subject(s) in which you are interested. The Tests are typically offered in May, however deadlines to register are months in advance.
– The College Board site offers information about the exams, test dates and calendars with various general deadlines, as well as practice questions and tips to prepare for the exam. https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/takingtheexam
– If your student is interested in taking a College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam, it is a good idea to contact the college or university in which your student is interested to find out their policy for CLEP exams, which CLEP subjects they accept and the minimum scores required for credit. For more information about the CLEP and to register, go to: https://clep.collegeboard.org/register/exam?affiliateId=cbhometop&bannerId=CLEPReg-Slot2
Local School Districts
– Loudoun County Public Schools: http://www.loudoun.k12.va.us/Page/78841
– Fairfax County Public Schools: http://www.fcps.edu/dss/osp/StudentRegistration/homeinstruction/index.shtml
– Prince William County Public Schools: http://www.pwcs.edu/cms/one.aspx?portalId=340225&pageId=782023
– Fauquier County Public Schools: http://www.fcps1.org/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=41644&
Diplomas indicate a student has completed a course of study. HSLDA.org discusses diplomas in their high school web pages. Many families issue diplomas themselves. Some use umbrella schools or distance accreditation programs, which issue diplomas.
Some students take the GED to meet requirements of an employer or post-college educational institution, while others feel the GED carries a stigma, being associated with high school dropouts.
Special Needs/Struggling Learners
HSLDA’s special education consultant Faith Berens discusses modifying diploma requirements for students with special needs here.
Special SubjectsWhat makes you afraid to homeschool through high school? Driver’s education? Lab science? Foreign language? CHESS offers many lab science classes, as well as French and Spanish. HEAV, Home Educators Association of Virginia can help you with drivers’ ed law and resources for Virginians.
Starting College before Finishing High School
Some high school students take classes at Northern Virginia Community College. Students can earn high school credits and college credits at the same time. Being enrolled in college while in high school is called dual enrollment. Check with your college to see what their requirements are.
Remember, college classes generally move twice as fast as high school. Students may also earn college credit by taking CLEP exams. AP exams can earn students college credit, or at least allow them to be exempted from certain required college classes.
Consider your schedule when taking courses at more than one location. Local college breaks do not coincide with CHESS’s holiday breaks, or county school breaks.
CHESS parents have lots of experience and can be a great resource. Most CHESS teachers are veteran homeschool parents who are happy to discuss “how they did it.”
The Homeschool2college yahoo list answers questions on homeschooling through high school.
Visit groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschool2college and click on the “Join This Group!” button at the bottom right.
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