Getting Ready for College?

I’m sure one of you is in the same situation I am…about to graduate one of my children while trying to help guide her in making decisions about college and her future. Shew. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

One of our major concerns – right behind the graduation and party – is to find a way for her to attend college without costing a fortune or piling up huge student loan debt. When our oldest graduated, she determined that she was going to work and attend college. She also wanted to make sure that she didn’t acquire a bunch of student loans. The same goals apply for our second daughter. We’ve found a few a simple practices help to enable new students to keep these goals.

  1. Do test prep. You don’t have to pay someone to help you with this. A little effort and you’ll be able to find a lot of free online resources that can give you the test prep you need.
  2. Take your ACT/SAT as many times as needed until you score the same score twice. You’ll know you’ve reached a plateau then. However, the more you take the test, the more relaxed you get. This enables you to test more accurately. Make sure that you’ve researched and found out the minimum score needed to qualify for the state scholarship. This is one of the easiest scholarships to get  – so take advantage of it.
  3. Depending on the level of scholarship you were able to reach with your ACT/SAT testing, you  might have to find a few scholarships to top it all off. Let’s Homeschool High School has a great quarterly post that reveals TONS of great scholarships perfect for the homeschooler.
  4. Work. I know it’s popular belief that college students need loads of time to study. Rubbish. I worked a full time job (para pro teacher) and went to school 16+ hours each semester. My daughter worked a full time job and went to school 15 hours a semester. Not only can it be done, but it also requires you to budget not just your money, but your time! I’ve also noticed that it causes the student to be much more appreciative about their courses, their grades, and even the free time that they do get. Try to pay for your classes as you go. For example, make sure that semester 1 is paid for before you move on to semester 2. I know just this year, my daughter’s college opened up a payment plan so that students didn’t have to apply for a loan.
  5. Bottom line – work hard. If you make a little extra effort and try – with your college classes, assignments, tests, and with a job – you’ll be on your way to getting a great education without a lifetime of debt.

Homeschooling High School Free Downloads

Homeschooling high school involves creativity, organization, details, and of course… paper work. Don’t you love it? Well, to be honest, not really. Paper work is something that I just don’t have time for. Which is why these few amazing downloads can really “tame the paper tiger” and allow you to do what you really need to be doing.

I typically start organizing my high schooler’s schedule with a calendar. Sometimes, I will use an online spreedsheat which I make in Google Docs, and  other times I will use a paper calendar. Here is a free downloadable version of a 2013-2014 homeschool calendar.

I find it very helpful to start recording our homeschooling high school courses and course descriptions on some type of transcript as soon as they start highschool. Here is a great free high school transcript template.

Another frequently needed document that I often used to organize my homeschooling highschool endeavors is that of the report card. Though many homeschoolers really don’t use the highschool report card that frequently, there are times that a report card can be helpful. They are often required as proof of good grades for insurance purposes.

As you homeschool your highschooler it’s always wise to keep track of everything they do during these years. When you finish up their records make sure that you’ve recorded all of their accomplishments both great and small. Everything from volunteering to course work should be included and used as a way to create a “big picture” of who your student is. Whether your highschooler goes to college, becomes an apprentice, or some other grand thing… they will need a picture of what they accomplished during their high school years. It’s our job to make sure that picture is recorded accurately.

If you have some other great ideas for organizing your highschool homeschool, please share them!