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Any unschoolers out there?

meliora16meliora16 21 replies6 threads New Member
edited December 2004 in Home Schooling and College
Hey! I don't know that I'm an 'official' unschooler, but I don't have a set curricula, and my parents are not involved much with my learning -- not in a bad way, but they give me free rein and I learn what I need to learn any way I choose. They occassionally check to make sure I'm not slacking. But they know I've got high expectations for myself, and since I BEGGED them to let me homeschool (it wasn't their idea), it's my responsibility to get things done.
How do you homeschool? Do your parents teach you? Are you in a situation like me? Do you have to work for a certain number of hours a day?
I'm new to homeschooling and just want to see how everyone else goes about their studying :) Also, I'm having a tough time with making schedules. I either schedule WAY too much so that I don't have a spare minute in my day (and I never stick to it), or I schedule very little/ don't write down what I've done until after I've done it, so that I do hardly anything during the day (I have a tendency to procrastinate!). Any suggestions on what types of scheduling have worked for you??
~Emily
edited December 2004
32 replies
Post edited by meliora16 on
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Replies to: Any unschoolers out there?

  • reasonabledadreasonabledad 847 replies38 threads Member
    Emily, our kids work with us to set the goals for each year, and then to pick subject matter that they are going to master. We then decide together whether they will take online courses, cc courses, or just study from books and guides. We organize the general requirements around the need to document a certain amount of learning (like 4 years of English, etc.) to elite universities. Hitting the hardest requirements is often equivalent to being in a prep school, except that you manage your own time. We emphasize taking and passing AP tests each year as one way of validating the work the kids have done.

    With this much structure in place, it becomes easier for our kids to schedule their time. Each kid makes a list every Monday of the work which is due that week (this is for their benefit, not mine...I don't even see my daughter's list), and keeps a calendar about one month ahead for larger projects and test dates.

    Hopefully you can find some elements of this that you can borrow to help you with scheduling.
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  • Amanda1987Amanda1987 7 replies5 threads New Member
    I've been home school for about 4 years now. I started out like you, I planned everything and my parents checked in on it once in a while. Then I started to look at colleges and finding one that offered what I needed (location, and the right degree). When I started I realized getting into college while being home school is complicated in my state because Nevada does not offer a diploma of any sort for a home schooled student. So, then I had to decide what my options were. No college...year right I love school and I too have high expectations of myself. Go back to school and get my diploma, however, I had already been home schooled for two years and again, a clause in Nevada, you must go back to the grade in which you left. So, no thanks. Then there's my G.E.D. That lessons my horizon of schools though. Then I started a correspondence school. I have all of my text books and work at home, I complete the work and send it to my school. They grade it, and when I finish everything I graduate. It works pretty well for me, and the college I chose will accept me on this diploma. y biggest advice to you is to find out the clauses of your state. Will you receive a diploma? What are the stipulations of receiving a diploma (if any)? Then, start looking into colleges, email them and find out what they require, every college is different, even those within the same state. Some will say if the state grants you a diploma, no big deal. Some will require a G.E.D. and some won't accept it. Other's will allow diploma's from correspondence schools permitted they are accepted under the right associations. And some further will have you enroll into a community or junior college, achieve an Associates degree or diploma or study, and then enroll into the college as an undergraduate. Find out now though, most definitely. Don't get two years into it like I did:0 It's made me very cramped for time.
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  • gianievvegianievve 1755 replies66 threads Senior Member
    Do you miss your friends? How do you schedule extracurriculars? Do you worry that you're falling behind your classmates academically? Does procrastination and self-discipline make it hard to learn on your own? Do you sleep-in late most mornings because you don't have to walk to school? The Trials and Tribulations of Homeschooling: post your thoughts and feelings!

    Emily - the others have given very good advice. If you are new to homeschooling, it may take a while to adjust. You will eventually be able to figure out how much you can realistically do in a day. Just take small steps - setting mini-goals for yourself before you move on to larger targets. Maybe just tackle a few minutes of each subject in the beginning, and gradually work up to a regular routine. Don't forget to leave enough time to follow your passions outside "school" work - music, sports, community service etc. They are an imporant part of your college application, but more imporantly, an essential part of your life as a being.
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  • nosxnosx 519 replies18 threads Member
    I did a french correspondance program from France and now taking CC courses.
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  • glas989glas989 24 replies3 threads New Member
    I read textbooks and do exams basically on my own. I get help from my dad if needed.

    Amanda, with what school are you with?
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  • mglsmgls 23 replies3 threads New Member
    Hi there - I unschool as well, for the most part, except that I do stick to the traditional four years of english and math, three years of science and foreign language and history, etc. It works out very well for me because I am a self-motivated person, although I do go through "down" times where I simply can't force myself to pick up a book. It all evens out, though, because I also go through "high" times where all I do is study and read and write.
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  • nosxnosx 519 replies18 threads Member
    when you apply for colleges how do you homeschoolers submit your grades? especially if you have created your own curricula?
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  • mglsmgls 23 replies3 threads New Member
    Since I don't have 'grades', and thus nothing to submit, I'm not going to. What I'm going to do is create a 'portfolio' of sorts, including writing samples, a list of the subjects I studied and the books I used, about six letters of recommendation, etc.

    Colleges can get concrete information about me through my test scores. I've taken the SAT I, and I'm taking the standard three SAT IIs. I'm also taking a few courses at the community college to show them my grades there. So far as a highschool GPA, though, I don't have one, and I'm not going to go to the trouble to try to invent one.
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  • nosxnosx 519 replies18 threads Member
    how would you go about creating a portofolio? But if you do receive grades is there a way to submit your grades?
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  • mglsmgls 23 replies3 threads New Member
    If you do use a grading system, then you have a parent write a transcript. They list the subject and the grade the student made. Pretty straightforward.

    I haven't decided what's going to go in my portfolio yet, because I still have another semester before I need to worry about it, but I'll be putting in anything that seems to display my highschool academic pursuits. For the most part, writing. Research papers, essays, creative writing, et cetera. I'll be giving the most thought to that over the summer, since I'd like to have it mostly assembled long before the application deadlines roll around.
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  • Amanda1987Amanda1987 7 replies5 threads New Member
    My high school is call James Madison High School. It can be found online at http://www.jmhs.com
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  • texas137texas137 2086 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Most homeschoolers applying to college have some combination of a portfolio, standardized test scores, letters and outside grades (from CC and university courses, distance learning courses). Some families use parent-assigned grades, but many don't (colleges probably don't give them much weight anyway).

    If anyone reading this would like to know more about alternatives to traditional high school, I highly recommend the book "Teenage Liberation Handbook" by Grace Llewellyn. It pretty much covers every possible alternative, plus ways to present yourself to colleges afterwards.
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  • nosxnosx 519 replies18 threads Member
    parents can fill out the grades? it sounds like they can just mark all A's
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  • JLOJLO 18 replies2 threads New Member
    Hey, great to know that there are some other homeschoolers here :).

    Anyway, the way I do school is kind of different, but there is not really any "official" way to homeschool. I'm "sort of" homeschooled, I guess you could say.
    - Homeschooling: I take a few subjects, currently physics, calculus, koine greek, history, and bible.
    - Actual class taken at a school: I usually do a science, such as biology and chemistry. This year, though, I'm taking a debate and english class.

    All the stuff that I do at home is independently done, ie, I schedule and pretty much teach myself (like what you're doing).

    -Joel
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  • elizabeth22elizabeth22 1317 replies36 threads Senior Member
    I unschooled for 8th grade. It was great, and just what I needed at that time. I went back to normal school for highschool though.
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  • nosxnosx 519 replies18 threads Member
    it sounds super hard to market yourself to top private colleges
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  • nosxnosx 519 replies18 threads Member
    oh yea what do u guys do for guidance counselors?
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  • texas137texas137 2086 replies57 threads Senior Member
    >"it sounds super hard to market yourself to top private colleges"

    no, actually homeschoolers are pretty successful at top private colleges. They tend to have incredible ECs, be very independent learners, and just generally be "interesting" applicants. In terms of parent-assigned grades, Stanford's info for homeschoolers says that it isn't really that much different from getting a an applicant with a transcript from some little rural high school they have never heard of. In both cases, the applicant needs to make sure that they provide enough other information to allow the ad coms to put them into the context of the entire applicant pool.
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  • angrodangrod 119 replies0 threads Junior Member
    JLO homeschools pretty similar to what I did. I was homeschooled 1st through 8th grade. During high school I completed a normal high school curriculum at home while taking 36 hours of university college courses concurrently. Most of the classes were in electronics and just for my benifit and to satisfy my curiosity. However, I did take my chemistry at the university instead of at home, since we had no lab in our house. :)

    I highly encourge homeschoolers to take any college or university courses they can, as it shows colleges that they are motivated learners who can handle college level work. It is also a great way to establish a valuable connection with professor who can write recommendations for you and provide research opportunities. Ask your local university or college if they allow qualified high school students to take courses there concurrently, it worked out wonderfully for me.

    Good to see other "unschoolers" out there! Good luck on homeschooling and your future applications to college!
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  • meliora16meliora16 21 replies6 threads New Member
    Wow thanks for all these replies and suggestions! I need all the help I can get:)
    I love homeschooling, though it does present some difficulties. I'm going to send in a portfolio type transcript as well, since I don't get grades. I'm taking cc courses so I will have those grades, and some teachers to give recommendations.
    Giannievve, you had a lot of questions so I'll try to answer them...
    I kinda miss my friends from the highschool. I was actually new to that highschool in 9th grade, and left half way through 10th grade (last year), so I didn't know anyone THAT well. I wasn't great friends with any of them. I still see them a few times a year, and spend a lot of time with my friends from my old school, where I went from K-8th grades, and my friends from church.
    As far as EC's, I do a lot of things during the day when everyone else is in school. I do a lot of horseback riding, babysitting, some community service (though I need to do more), I have a lot of hobbies. I'm not in any clubs, though.
    Procrastination and fear of falling behind are big issues for me. There are some subjects I love (english, history, foreign language) which I have no trouble studying, and others, like math and science, that I don't always want to do. There are up and down periods, usually during the up periods I make up for what I've fallen behind in. Also, taking a CC class, I get the long December-January winter break, so I will use that to catch up on my work. I am sometimes worried that I'm falling behind in some subjects, but I know that I am learning a lot, and I just need to keep pushing myself. Eventually at crunch time I get done what I need to get done. It's hard to keep up sometimes, though, I won't pretend its not.
    My CC course is at 8 AM so I don't get to sleep in three days a week, and on tuesdays and thursdays when I don't have class, I babysit in the morning, so I don't get to sleep in. Last year I did sleep in, and wasted a lot of time, so I purposely made my class early in the morning. I have my CC counselor, and the counselor from my old highschool kindly offered to keep helping me, though she didn't have to.
    I feel pretty confident that I will do well applying to college. I may not have grades but I can demonstrate that I am a more independent, serious and motivated student than most traditional high schoolers, and I can handle college level work and working on my own without guidance and hand holding. I really want to go to Oxford University in England, that's my goal, and I'm not wavering. You just need to be confident that you are capable of what it takes, and do the work, and getting into top tier colleges is completely possible.
    Good luck to all of you!
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