Homeschool Fruits: Serenity

According to my handy-dandy dictionary phone app, serenity is “the state of being calm, peaceful, tranquil, unruffled.” It is a freedom of the mind from “annoyance, distraction, anxiety, obsession.”

This is totally you in your daily homeschool life, right?!?

There may have been a bit of sarcasm there. I know when my child still wasn’t reading at nearly nine years old, I didn’t feel particularly calm. The fact that he’s currently a grade and a half behind the rest of his studies in math…does not leave me feeling tranquil.

But, those are momentary emotions, and those emotions do not speak to the longterm truth of homeschooling: Homeschooling allows your child to complete his education where and when he or she is ready — not when the public or private school system dictates, not when Aunt Betty thinks it should be done, not even where any of your own preconceived hopes and plans have placed him. And, that is what brings the homeschool mom or dad the fruit of serenity.

This has been on my mind a lot the last couple months since my son hit his teens. In the elementary years, it seemed we had forever. Now that he’s a teen, I’ve had to remind myself that we still have as long as it takes.

As your child enters or nears the high school years, there is serenity, peace, to be obtained in remembering that homeschooling has so many more options than most of us grew up with in a school system.

Maybe your kid will be the one who homeschools all the way through high school, and completes it with a homeschool transcript, and takes the tests necessary to head into college. That seems like the preferred path to most of us, but don’t get nervous if you’re not sure your child is cut out for that. There are other avenues.

College often provides a base of learning from which you can choose numerous careers.

If he wants to try out an Adventist academy, he can. Many academies would be happy to work with you to integrate your child into their system. If that works out, super! But, here is the serenity of homeschooling again: If it does not work out, if for any reason your child does not flourish in that setting, all he needs to do is come back to homeschooling. There is no success or failure here; there is merely the option of a different path.

Another opportunity might be junior college. She may have finished her freshman and sophomore classes, but is becoming dissatisfied and anxious to “get on with life.” Numerous homeschoolers make it to about 16 years of age, and then decide to just morph into junior college. They may live in a place where they can get dual credit, or they might eventually have to take a GED, but at least they can get a headstart on college. Likewise, your child may not be headed for a four-year degree, but they might want to pick up some classes at the junior college to enhance their personal business plans.

An electrician is a skilled profession that will be needed even in times of poor economy.

If they’re of a more technical bent, they could instead look into the requirements for getting into trade school. Opportunities are endless. Sometimes those of us who took the college route get stymied thinking “whatever could my child do(?!?)” if they don’t have a desire for college. There is so much out there. I’m going to list a bunch here that helped open my brain’s horizons: web developer, electrician, plumber, health field technician, commercial driver, HVAC tech, heavy equipment operator, licensed practical or vocational nurse, medical laboratory tech, computer programmer, non-airline commercial pilot, network systems administrator, animator, electrical engineering tech, first responder like police officer or fireman or EMT, aircraft mechanic, architectural drafter, graphic designer, diesel mechanic, and probably many more than I could think of. Most of those require two years or less of training, and offer quite decent income.

Sometimes the key to Sabbath off in a manual labor job is proficiency. Unwilling to lose my husband’s skill (masonry), his company allowed him to take off Sabbaths when he refused after they initially requested Saturday work.

What about manual labor? Sabbath work requirements are often a fear, but there are jobs to be had where they are willing to work with your Sabbath-off needs, or even where they don’t usually work weekends. Here’s another list of possible jobs or areas for the child who needs to move or craft to be happy: track switch repairman (here’s an example of easy Sabbaths off, as railroad jobs often have weekends off), machinist, petroleum pump system operator, concrete, plant operator, construction, key holder, brick and stone mason, cleanup, iron worker, welding, and more.

Did you just read those last two paragraphs and think they mostly applied to boys? Nope. There are opportunities for your girls, too. Check out these articles to see how women are flourishing in nontraditional trades.

I don’t know what my child will decide to do. He’s not very hip on college right now, but that could change. He might decide to take some basic business classes and operate his own business. He’s a bit of a geek, so I don’t see him spending a lifetime on the construction scaffold, but on the other hand, he might spend summers learning masonry from his dad, and have a needed skill to fall back on no matter what his final career choice is. Or, he might decide to become an engineer or some other school-centric profession, and just take as long to get there as he needs — which could be extensive if current math efforts are indicative. LOL.

There’s no rule that your child needs to finish high school at 17…or 18…or 19…or 20…or period. The serenity fruit of homeschooling comes from knowing that we are allowing our kids to take the path that will best fit their God-given talents and abilities, even if it’s not the path we envisioned.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you,” Isaiah 26:3 NIV.

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“The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this,” Galatians 5:22,23 VOICE.

Homeschool to Entrepreneur Writer

The love of reading

Katie is the youngest of four children, all homeschooled by their mom. From the time Katie was a baby, she loved books. Her older brothers and her parents read to her every day. Bible stories and Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories were among her favorites. She also loved stories about animals, as well as children’s books such as the Dr. Seuss books.

As her reading skills grew, so did her love of reading. She loved the internet, as it gave her an endless amount of material to read on all subjects.

young-girl-computerDuring her younger years, Katie also discovered she enjoyed writing as much as she loved reading. Although she was quite adept at most of her school subjects, she wrote with great enthusiasm. Her mother noted that whatever Katie’s future held, her writing skills would be a huge asset to her. As a teen, she explored possible career paths, most of which included college. Her mom helped guide her, but Katie was not yet sure what direction to take.

The skill becomes the career

While on the internet one day reading some blogs, Katie came across a blog on how to become a blogger. She searched for more information on blogging, then on other forms of writing. Her mom said that Katie was so immersed in what she was reading that she didn’t notice the time. When her mom came in the room to remind her they needed to leave for the youth group meeting, Katie could not stop talking about what she had discovered.

Katie’s mom laughs that Katie didn’t seem to stop for a breath the entire drive to the youth group meeting that night. Her excitement over her new-found career path just seemed to bubble from her.

Katie spent the next couple of days on career exploration centered on an online writing career. She discovered that while blogging was certainly a good possible choice, many other options existed, too.

College at least delayed

Katie decided that she would try a career in online writing before considering college. Never excited about spending time and money on college, she felt an enthusiasm for being able to jump into a career without that expense. Some of her friends encouraged her to consider college now, with them. But, her path was different.

Fast forward two years

While some of her friends chose local or distance colleges, others chose vocational schools, and still others pursued jobs, Katie poured herself into writing. She began with writing articles for others, usually at no pay. She was just gaining experience. Soon, she had offers for paid content.

teen-girl-computerAlthough she already had a computer and basic necessities for writing, she used her income to purchase a few more necessities, and even invested in an online freelance writer course.

One of her favorite memories is when a few of her close friends came home on break from college. While they were quite happy with their chosen college route, Katie’s writing career truly impressed them. She showed them her office, a remodel of her schooling area, where she was able to write. When the reunion was over, Katie quickly made notes about the stories they told of their college experiences. She used those notes to write more freelance articles for pay!

Freelance Entrepreneur

Katie did not truly make much of a profit the first year, as much of the small amount she was paid was reinvested. But, before her college-educated friends received their bachelor’s degrees, Katie’s monthly income was quite impressive. She has decided that the freelance entrepreneur lifestyle is perfect for her, though admits it would not work for everyone.

She credits her homeschool years and the freedom they allowed her to pursue her own path. While she might have found this path from any education, Katie believes that the encouragement from her mom and dad, as well as the homeschool education, helped her refine her career choice. She states that without the reading and writing through the years, her life might be quite different.

Katie recently started writing a book, in addition to her content writing. Now engaged, she plans to continue her online business when married, too. She is sure that it will allow her to homeschool their own children in the future, too.

 

 

homeschooler to entrepreneur

Homeschooler to Entrepreneur

homeschooler to entrepreneur

Many students have gone from  homeschooler to entrepreneur. Homeschooling can fuel entrepreneurship ideals and often leads to new small businesses. Creative ideas seem to spring from homeschoolers. Often, one or more of these ideas will develop into a small business.

Many homeschool families have a family-run business that their children take part in. Some children grow into the business and either join or take over as they mature. For others, the children create the business and help propel it to a business for the entire family.

School frustration led to the homeschool journey

Timothy’s homeschool journey began with the fourth grade. His parents grew frustrated with the public school system and its lack of ability to work with Timothy’s need for active learning. A bright child, Timothy needed to touch and manipulate everything in his surroundings. Math papers became flying airplanes, pencils were twirled as he daydreamed, and his teacher continually ridiculed his lack of ability to sit still and just do his work.

homeschooler to entrepreneurAs it turned out, Timothy’s difficulty with seat work and classroom learning was a great fit for this future entrepreneur. Timothy’s parents decided to give him a little break from book work. Allowed to choose his learning paths for a few weeks to break free from school issues, Timothy quickly picked up a love of self-directed learning. Within a short time, he found a hobby that seemed to click well: woodworking.

homeschooler to entrepreneurgrow-boxTimothy began building simple projects. A grow-box for his mom and a simple birdfeeder provided some basic tool skills. Although his dad had never really been much into handcrafts, he encouraged Timothy and helped him accumulate a variety of tools and the skills to use them.

A profitable hobby

homeschooler to entrepreneurBy the time he was a teenager, Timothy had learned to build many items, with many of them sold at a profit. At Christmas time, he took orders for special gifts such as a clock, a cutting board, a picture frame, and a child’s chair.  He even built a beautiful doll house for one of his younger sisters. Other seasonal projects that sold well included tree stands, stocking holders, and wreath stands. At the encouragement of a friend, he invested a little in evergreen boughs and made up a few wreaths, too. His inability to sit still had been transformed into a viable career.

Several of the church members had special items that Timothy had carefully crafted for them. They encouraged him to continue.

After graduation the learning continues

homeschooler to entrepreneurWhen he graduated from his homeschool program, Timothy knew what he wanted to do. College was not considered an option for him; he had no desire to sit still. Although he loved learning, he was a hands-on learner and did not want to sit and listen to professors.

One church member, a retired construction worker, provided the extra encouragement Timothy needed. He helped him find a contractor willing to take on an apprentice, and Timothy headed to work. Although he had already worked with many tools, Timothy now learned even more about using each tool.

Life has choices

At the moment, Timothy is trying to decide if he will continue in the construction field, perhaps even getting his contractor license. Alternatively, he might choose to use his skills to create more of his early projects and sell them at farmers’ markets. He’s even thought of opening his own specialty wood product store. He has options now.

Timothy’s early entrepreneur years, while still in grade school and high school, enabled him to learn some incredible skills while earning a bit of extra money. He credits his parents’ decision to homeschool him when he floundered in public school, as well as their constant encouragement. He also believes the encouragement of family, friends, and church members gave him the needed fuel to move from a fun hobby to an actual small business.

homeschooler to entrepreneurParents and families often make the difference between a child needing extra support in school, and those that find their gifts and talents and the ways to use them.

 

Homeschool to Entrepreneur


Meet Cindy, Homeschool Entrepreneur

It’s no secret that homeschooling often leads to successful entrepreneurs. I suppose it’s a combination of the homeschool lifestyle, parents that encourage, and the fact that homeschoolers have the time and ability to explore such opportunities. Many find that the homeschool-to-entrepreneur route is a natural progression.

One such young entrepreneur is Cindy, a young woman who discovered her love of baking, combined with a flair for creativity, could create amazing baked goods that she could sell at a profit.

pastry chef 1

At the age of eight, Cindy baked her first cupcakes and decorated them by herself. She had been helping her Mom in the kitchen all of her life, but now she was truly a baker. She continued to help in the kitchen, often designing her own baked goods. When she was in high school, Cindy’s mom encouraged her to include a cooking and baking course in addition to her other homeschool studies. Cindy loved it, and often spent more hours in the kitchen than with her other studies.

Cindy began selling under the Cottage Food Laws, baking cupcakes, muffins, and cookies, and selling them at a local farmer’s market. Cindy sold out of her creations most weeks, but took advantage of having a surplus at the end of the market when possible by giving samples to other vendors. She also took her baked goods to her church and passed them around.

pastry 2

Her business was built slowly, mainly because there were limits to what she had time to bake. The cottage food laws also limited what she could do. But, Cindy continued, though slowly.

Building Entrepreneur Skills from Homeschool Studies

Entrepreneurs need more than just the skills to create their product or perform a service. They need to manage their accounting books, work with customers and suppliers, and be overall managers. These are skills that many homeschoolers find they learn as they develop their enterprises.

Cindy agrees. “When I was trying to decide on prices, my Mom showed me how to figure my costs of supplies and then add in my time plus a profit margin. At first, my profit margin was pretty slim, but as I gained business skills, I learned to shop around for better pricing and found markets that would support a little higher selling price.”

The one skill she is afraid she might not have developed as well is that of managing others. Cindy is the youngest of four children and hasn’t had a lot of practice as a manager. Her mom helped her solve that deficiency.

“Mom saw that I was planning to expand and some day would need good managing skills. She says a good manager knows how to be managed first, so she allowed me to volunteer at a local day camp for children eight to 12 years old. I wasn’t really in charge of anything; I just did what I was told at first, and over time found ways to help even more. Eventually, I was promoted and was able to then coach other new volunteers. It was pretty good management training — at least a beginning.” Cindy explained.

When Cindy completed her homeschool studies, she wanted to open her own bakery. But, a bakery costs money, and although she had been saving money from her cottage food sales, she didn’t have nearly enough to purchase the equipment and afford rent.

Gaining More Professional Skills

That’s when she came up with a very creative solution. Cindy found a restaurant that needed a baker for just a couple of days a week. Although she was not professionally trained, the owner was very intrigued by Cindy and impressed by her skills. He decided to give her a try.

Working at the restaurant gave her some important skills, allowed her a chance to get a feel for the commercial environment and machinery, and helped her acquire her food licensing. Just as important, the owner agreed to let her bake some of her own products when the kitchen was available.

This gave Cindy the ability to build her business without the upfront capital, while offering the restaurant some incredible baked goods to feature. She is still saving for own business, but has already made changes to her plans, based on her experiences at the restaurant. She and the restaurant owner are discussing how she might be able to sell to his restaurant on a contract basis once she opens her own shop.

pastry 3

While Cindy is not yet a self-supporting businesswoman, she is well on her way. She continues to bake for the restaurant, but now has a new line of healthy baked items that she sells. She’s discovered the health market is expanding and pays better than selling those sugar laden cookies that others sell. True entrepreneurs reshape their business to suit the customers, and Cindy has done that.

Cindy’s mom is proud of each of her children and makes it clear that Cindy is just one of her kids. Cindy’s dad is a business owner. Her siblings are also business owners, two of them in partnership.

Entrepreneurship is Biblically Based

God encourages us to have family businesses, and homeschoolers are uniquely equipped to raise our children to be capable and successful entrepreneurs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a child deciding to go on to college and choosing a professional degree to work for others. But, it is not the only way. For many, business ownership is far more practical and fits the homeschool mindset.

Read 24 Bible verses about small business:  http://christianpf.com/24-scriptures-about-business/

bible-verses-about-business

 

Keeping Records Through the High School Years

In high school you not only need to keep records in compliance with your state’s homeschooling law, you also need to keep records that will provide the information needed for college admissions after graduation. In my state, once my children reached the age that they were no longer under the state’s compulsory attendance law, I didn’t have to bother about records that complied with state law, and was able to solely focus on records needed for college admission. Be sure to know what your state requires.

Record keeping for high school involves four main areas: recording grades in each subject, keeping track of extracurricular activities and awards, creating a transcript that reflects a GPA, and issuing a diploma.

Recording Grades – Many homeschoolers don’t worry themselves with keeping track of letter grades, especially during the elementary years. However, in high school it’s very important to assign letter grades to every subject in order to calculate a grade point average, or GPA, to include on the transcript. Colleges will be looking for a GPA, and the GPA is also important when applying for certain scholarships. Even qualifying for a good-student discount on your auto insurance will require showing some kind of grades in an official manner.

In some subjects calculating the grade is very straightforward. In math, for example, you would simply divide the number of correct answers by the total number of problems to come up with a straight percentage score. English, on the other hand, is more subjective. While you would have some simple “number missed out of total points possible” grading, you also have assignments, such as essays or compositions, that you need to assess differently.

I also weighted my grades, which gave more value to tests than to daily assignments and quizzes. I gave daily assignments a value of 35 percent, and tests a value of 65 percent. You may want to weight them differently. Here is an example of how to weight your student’s grades.

Weighted Grades

You will also have elective subjects such as life skills, art, music, or work study that will be graded subjectively. When assigning subjective grades refrain from “over estimating.” Be realistic and honest when assigning these grades.

Extracurricular Activities and Awards – Colleges like to see well-rounded students, and often ask about these things on their applications. Keep track of sports they played, or contests they won in areas such as photography, art, and essay writing. Include 4-H and Pathfinder club memberships and offices held. Also, keep track of volunteer work for hospitals, nursing homes, animal shelters, soup kitchens, libraries, and museums. Keeping track of these items as you go along will be much easier than trying to remember it all their senior year when you’re applying to colleges and finalizing their transcript.

The Transcript – A simple transcript usually consists of just one page, no more than two, and is a record of the courses your student has taken during high school and the grades and credits earned. I began to compile the transcript when my teens were in ninth grade, and added to it each year.

You should include their basic information: school name and student’s name, address, phone number, birth date, and parents’ names. For each school year include the grade level, courses taken, credits awarded, and final grades. Include the GPA for each school year and a cumulative GPA. Include a projected date of graduation, which should be changed to “date of graduation” once the student has graduated. Don’t forget the parent’s signature. I also had the transcript notarized before sending it to prospective schools to give it an “official” flair.

Transcript Sample

This is a sample of a simple transcript. It includes the basic information that colleges want to know about your student’s academic accomplishments. You could embellish it a bit more by adding your grading scale so that the schools know what percentage equals each letter grade. You can also include a list of interests, activities and achievements, and standardized test scores. I have not included a Social Security number. Opinions are mixed on this. Some think it is necessary when using the transcript when applying for scholarships. I prefer not to use it unless it is requested. However, the Social Security number is requested on college application forms.

Note that there are a couple of dual enrollment classes included on this sample transcript. Once you’ve settled on which college or university your student will be attending, make arrangements for an official transcript to be sent from the school where the dual enrollment classes were taken.

Figuring GPA: The point values used to figure GPA will vary slightly from school to school. Here is one example of how points are assigned to letter grades:

GPA

Assign a grade point value to each letter grade and multiply that by the number of credits earned for that class. For example a one credit class with the letter grade of an A would be assigned four grade points; a one-half credit class would be assigned two grade points. If two credits were earned, it would be assigned eight grade points. Add up the total of all the grade points and divide it by the number of credits earned. The result will be your student’s GPA. If you don’t want to do all the math, there are also GPA calculators online. You only have to enter the letter grade and number of credits and it will calculate the GPA for you.

Colleges may not take your transcript as seriously if the GPA doesn’t correspond with ACT or SAT scores. A large discrepancy could make it look as if grades on the transcript were inflated or biased. If that happens, you may want to review the way your grades were assigned.

102Grad_1

The Diploma – Most people go through their entire life and are never asked to show their high school diploma. However, there are rare situations where your child might have to produce a physical hard copy of their diploma. It’s not difficult or expensive to print an official diploma of your own or to order one from a graduation supply company. Make sure it is signed and dated properly. At the very least it will be a keepsake of your student’s accomplishments.

The transcript and diploma are lifelong records. They should be kept in a safe place, and your children need to know where to find these items if anything should happen to you. At some point they will need to take over the responsibility of possession of their academic records, and they should be made aware of the importance of keeping them.

(GED: I want to touch briefly on taking the GED test. I, personally, am firmly against taking the GED. My children completed the prescribed course of study and earned their high school diplomas. Any school that required a GED would not be on our list of options. Period. You may feel differently, and that’s fine. However, even the Federal Government recognizes a parent-issued high school diploma. The Higher Education Act of 1998 clarifies that a homeschool diploma does not need to be officially recognized by the state or accredited to be valid, or for the student to qualify for federal financial aid. I know there are some Adventist colleges that require the GED. I believe they are extremely behind the times and need to rethink their positions. In addition, if you are a member of HSLDA, and a college, employer, or military recruitment officer tells your child that he or she needs a GED, the HSLDA website states that they want to be contacted.)

Record keeping for high school can seem overwhelming at first glance, but it’s really not. The internet is full of sample transcripts and forms that are free for the taking. There are transcript services that will compile and issue a transcript for a fee. Correspondence schools keep records and issue their own transcripts if that is the method you choose to use for homeschooling. If you are using computer-based record-keeping software, you will probably be able to generate your own transcript through that.

Start from the beginning keeping accurate records, and everything will fall into place when the time comes to issue a transcript and diploma.