Finishing Strong #150: Transitioning to College

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

Finishing-Strong-500x500I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

I know you will find the posts that have been shared with us inspiring! Grab a cup of tea, kick back, and take some time to check out the wonderful posts shared below. What are your favorites?

My VIPKID Experience @EvaVarga.netWorking From Home

When I talk with my friends and family about our choice to homeschool, many have commented that they would love to homeschool but financial worries hold them back. While everyone’s financial situation is different, there are many ways you can earn an income while working from home. One of the most rewarding that I have found is VIPKid.

I started working for VIPKid a few weeks ago and have had a fantastic time getting to know my Chinese students while also learning more about teaching ESL. It has been both challenging and a lot of fun.

While getting up at 4a.m. each day is grueling, the smiles I see on their faces when their camera turns on make each yawn worthwhile.

Finishing Strong

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

The top posts shared last week

Below are a couple of the posts I most enjoyed from last week. The first post is the one that received the most clicks. You won’t want to miss it! high-school-forecastingHigh School Forecasting

from Me here at Eva Varga (Academia Celestia) ~ Learn how to compose a four-year plan to guide your student through each academic year – everything you need to know to coordinate schedules, CLEP Exams, and College Courses.

Responding to Questions About Homeschooling High School

from Heidi at Starts at Eight ~ While the numbers of families choosing to homeschool continue to rise. Homeschooling high school is still an anomaly in many areas of the country. Heidi shares tips for responding to the queries we are often asked in regards to our schooling choice.

How to Navigate the College Selection Process

from Heather at Blog She Wrote ~ Heather’s post is perfect timing for us. My daughter is now a sophomore in high school and she is just beginning to give thought to which university she may like to attend. While she is leaning towards the state university (both her father and I are alumni), we are encouraging her to keep her options open. I love Heather’s perspective and insight – she’s graduated one already who will be attending Purdue! – into the process of selecting the right college.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

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Homeschooling High School With College in Mind: A Book Review

This past winter, my daughter has been swimming on the local high school swim team. She knew many of her team mates from club swimming but those who didn’t know her frequently asked, “What grade are you in? Why don’t I see you on campus?” When they learn that she homeschools, their response is generally a shrug and softly muttered, “Hmm.” 

As the season has progressed and they have gotten to know her, the questions have evolved. “Are you always going to homeschool? When are you going to stop? What about college? Don’t you want to go to college?” 

When she then tells them she is already enrolled in college courses (as a high school freshman) they are often surprised. At our local high school, it is not uncommon for students to take part in dual enrollment courses – earning credit for both high school and college. However, most are juniors or seniors and there are only a few sophomores.

Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling through high school is unfamiliar territory for many, even amongst those who have homeschooled their children in elementary school. Homeschooling high school instills fear in many who even think about tackling it. Algebra, science labs, and transcripts?! Oh My!

Algebra, Science Labs, & Transcripts Oh My! @EvaVarga.netIf you are considering it – know you are not alone. There are many who have walked this journey before you and have done so with success. I amongst them. Though we are just beginning and we still have lots to learn, I will be sharing our experiences with you here on my blog. Here’s a peak at a few I’ve shared already:

Homeschool Forecasting: Coordinating Schedules, CLEP Exams, & College Courses

Raising Teens While Saving Your Sanity: 12 Must Read Books for Parents of Teens 

We DO Intend to Homeschool High School

I am also one of four bloggers who regularly host Finishing Strong, a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids.

Along our journey, I am careful to seek out the wisdom of those who have preceded me like Betsy Sproger, who blogs at BJ’s Homeschool. Her blog is a wealth of information and I often select her posts to highlight in Finishing Strong.

I am excited to share that Betsy has now written a guide to college from a homeschooling perspective. Her book is based on her experience helping her gifted daughter get accepted by multiple colleges, including an ivy league university.

homeschooling high school

I received a copy of Homeschool High School with College in Mind by the author, Betsy Sproger, in exchange for an honest review. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Homeschooling with College in Mind

Her guide, Homeschool High School with College in Mind, not only walks you through the process of preparing your child for college but provides you with templates and forms you can use along the way. Betsy guides you through choosing courses with your student, how to maintain and keep records, how to calculate credit, tips for that dreaded college admissions essay, and so much more!

Her suggestions don’t push you into a box with an expectation that her way is the best way. She outlines what worked for her and gives suggestions for alternatives as well. She also outlines three distinct methods for earning credits – textbooks, hours, and mastery. Additionally, she provides an in-depth look at high school electives and extra-curricular activities.

Chapter Titles, Each of Which Include an Accompanying Printable:

  • Researching College Entrance Requirements
  • Planning High School with College in Mind
  • Choosing High School Curriculum
  • Assigning High School Credit
  • Making Your Transcripts (Calculating the GPA, etc)
  • Electives and College
  • Writing the College Essay
  • Course Descriptions and Reference Letters
  • Preparing your Teen for College Writing

The printed version is black and white and the Kindle version has full color images! Homeschooling High School with College in Mind is currently on sale at Amazon through February 5th!

The Kindle version is 45% off the regular prices of $7.17

The paperback printed version is 20% off the regular price of $9.19

Chasing a Sports Scholarship? Think Again {College Savings Giveaway}

College tuition is expensive. I attended a state university in the 90s and even then, the cost of tuition, fees, and books was more than my parents could afford with three children and a blue-collar income.

I was compensated for my time in writing this post but it’s an awesome giveaway. I really hope one of my readers win!
Sports Scholarship?We all want what is best for our kids. When it comes to sports, though, sometimes our parenting instincts get a little carried away. I am sure we all know parents who are pushing their kids to excel at their sport.

Only 2% of high school athletes are awarded sports scholarships at NCAA schools.

Sadly, only six sports offer “full-ride” scholarships: football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis, and women’s gymnastics. Most college athletes have only partial scholarships. Even then, the amount of time they spend training and practicing their sport can severely impact their performance in the classroom.

A relation was awarded a “full-ride” scholarship in volleyball. She originally dreamed of becoming a doctor but the course load was not possible with her volleyball schedule. She graduated with a degree in business and after graduating, realized she would need to get an advanced degree (on her own dime) to be marketable. My brother in law also sought an additional degree after graduating with his bachelors degree on a track scholarship.

CNBC says you have a better chance of being admitted to Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford than receiving an athletic scholarship in a major sport.

My kids are both swimmers. My son has had great success early and some of our team parents have encouraged us to pursue a more focused training regimen. Sports can be a great teacher. Our kids learn about teamwork, discipline, work ethic, being a good loser, and so many other important life lessons.

However, we are not chasing a scholarship. Swimming is important to us but we made a decision as a family long ago to strive for a simplified, joyful life. Conflicts arise regularly and we therefore don’t participate in all the swim meets on the team schedule. We weigh the pros and cons and make choices as a family.

It is inadvisable to spend more money on your child’s sports than you are putting in their college fund.

So — with all that said, how does a family provide for the higher education of their children. How can we manage to pay the rising cost of tuition?
Teaching Our Kids About Money (free printable) @EvaVarga.net

Teaching Our Kids About Money

One of the most important steps to financial independence is teaching our kids about money. We have never given our kids an allowance, expecting them to earn commission for their hard work when they were yet toddlers. 

We began applying Dave Ramsey principles to our life in earnest last year after listening to the audio book Smart Money, Smart Kids. Ramsey encourages kids to earn their own money and to set aside a percentage for their college education by earning commissions as well as through entrepreneurial endeavors.

Earning Commissions

Chores are something everyone in the family does to contribute to the family.  Chores not only teach responsibility but are part of being needed and valued by the family.

Developing Entrepreneurs

Being a young entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to think of a new idea to make money. It just means you need to find a way to make money doing something you love. You have to think out of the box a little.
Carson-Dellosa College Saving Contest

College Savings

In addition to encouraging our kids to save their own money for college, we also set aside a percentage of our income into their college savings plans. Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are 529 college savings funds or ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses.

My daughter Geneva will be entering high school this fall, so college is something we have been talking about more regularly. Her dad and I set up a 529 college savings fund for her when she was just an infant and we’ve been adding to it gradually every year. In addition to her own savings, she has begun keep a list of potential scholarships for which she will be eligible.

I’m happy that together we have some savings earmarked for her higher education, but of course, it’s not enough. We know we will have to supplement by paying out of our earnings and hoping for scholarships. Our ultimate goal is to NOT take out student loans and we are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make this happen.

Enter to Win Money for College

I have most assuredly entered the Carson-Dellosa College Savings Giveaway to win up to $2,000 for Geneva’s education! This would be a huge help.

Grand Prize: $2,000 (only one winner)
Second Prize: $1,000 each (two winners)

If I win, the money will go straight into her 529 college savings plan.

You’ll NOT want to miss the opportunity to enter the Carson-Dellosa College Savings Giveaway to win up to $2,000 for your child’s education!

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Click here to enter the Carson-Dellosa giveaway today!