My daughter is a junior in high school this year and has begun to apply for scholarships and is considering early admission to the university. As the year begins to wind down, we are giving more thought to her high transcript.
Many homeschool families get stressed by this aspect of homeschooling and fear the university will not accept a “homemade” transcript. The process of calculating your child’s GPA and creating a transcript is not difficult. There are many tutorials online to help guide you through this process.
Through our research – talking to local high school teachers and admissions counselors at our state universities – we have found it is best for high schoolers to use an unweighted GPA. In other words:
A’s receive a 4.0
B’s receive a 3.0
C’s receive a 2.0
I strongly suggest that the course be taken over again if the student earns anything lower than a C. Though our preference is to keep it simple, you can use half-points or quarter-points if you want to use a plus/minus grade system.
However, as many of the courses my daughter has taken are dual-enrollment course at the local community college, I opted to not use letter grades on her high school transcript. Instead, we will use a mastery approach. We do not consider a course complete until the material is mastered at the appropriate level.
The Core Courses
To apply for admission to a university in Oregon, the courses that students must have completed are outlined as:
Language Arts – 4 years (12 trimester credits)
Math – 3 years (9 trimester credits)
Science – 3 years (9 trimester credits)
Social Studies – 3 years (9 trimester credits)
World Languages – 2 years (6 trimester credits)
In a future post, I will share more details about the language requirement and different avenues by which to fulfill it as homeschoolers.
What About those Electives?
In addition to the student’s GPA, admission requirements also assess student preparedness and academic potential by looking at the unique context of each student’s personal experience. Academic performance is not the sole criterion and successful applicants demonstrate a wide range of passions and life experiences.
Teens have many different interests and as they pursue their passions, homeschool parents often wonder how they might translate these hours onto a transcript. I previously wrote a post detailing the ABCs of High School Electives and provide a peak into how this can be done easily.
Often homeschool families and/or high schools will weight the GPA because they want to show that students with a weighted grade have completed an academically rigorous course (as in 5.0 for a rigorous course instead of 4.0).
However, it is much easier and more effective to show academic rigor by simply including the level of rigor in the title of the course on the transcript. For example, if your homeschool high schooler completed an honors level language arts course their senior year, the transcript might say: EnglishLanguage Arts IV (Honors).
Please note that the College Board owns the term AP, so all courses that call themselves such must have approval. However, students may prepare for and take AP exams without having completed an approved AP course. It is important to confer with the university of choice whether they will accept AP exams for university credit.
For more information on homeschooling high school transcripts, two of my favorite resources by fellow homeschoolers are:
Having grown up on the Oregon coast, I have been fascinated by marine animals since I was a young girl. I spent many long summer days exploring the tide pool and estuarine habitats in my neighborhood.
A naturalist at heart, I have inundated myself in ecology and natural sciences ever since, completing the coursework to become an Oregon Coast Master Naturalist a few years ago. Today, I am delighted to take you on a guided tide pool “hike” to one of the hidden gems of the Oregon seashore.
Cape Arago State Park
The tide pools at Cape Arago are incomparable. Here, you’ll find easy access to both the North and South Coves of Cape Arago. Tucked away below the cliffs, a short walk along the steep trails will take you to a secluded cove where tide pools and fossils can be found.
The south trail leads to tide pools teaming with diverse sea life. The north trail lets visitors view offshore colonies of seals and sea lions (however, the trail is closed from March – June to protect the seal pups during birthing season). Visitors to the area can also enjoy whale watching, crabbing, fishing, and scuba diving.
Nearby, there are two additional state parks: Sunset Bay (a sandy beach protected by towering sea cliffs – perfect for sunbathing and swimming) and Shore Acres (a lushly planted garden perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean – once the famed estate of Louis Simpson).
Let’s now begin our guided hike of the south cove at Cape Arago.
Guided Tide Pool Hike
Upon hiking down the south trail you will first come to a small sandy beach. There is often driftwood and marine debris along the high tide line, pushed up against the base of the cliff atop the rocks and small boulders.
Purple Olive Snails
As you walk nearer the shoreline to the waters edge, you may see tiny little bumps in the sand. Olivella biplicata, commonly known as purple dwarf olive snails, burrow themselves in sand, leaving a plowed trail behind it. The foot is wedge shaped to facilitate plowing.
While burrowing it raises its long siphon up through the sand as a snorkel. They can be found nearshore on fairly quiet, protected beaches and farther offshore on more exposed beaches. Their predators include the seastars, octopus, moon snails, and gulls. Most active at night, often move up and down the beach with the tide. Omnivorous, they eat kelp blades and both live and dead animal material.
Take a closer look, however. Some of these snails are not like the other.
The snail shell at the top is inhabited by a hermit crab. There are more than 1000 species of hermit crabs -decapod crustaceans that possess an asymmetrical abdomen that is concealed in a scavenged mollusc shell which it carries around. As the hermit crab grows, it will seek out a larger shell.
Hermits are not the only crabs you’ll observe in the tide pools. Crawling about between rock crevices and amongst the blades of kelp and marine algae are a diverse number of small crabs, each with its own distinguishing characteristics.
Purple shore crabs – Hemigrapsis nudus (pictured above) reaches sizes of approximately 4.0–5.6 cm and is generally dark purple in color, although it may be olive green or red, with white or cream markings. The color of the legs matches the color of the carapace but the white-tipped claws are a lighter color with purple or red spots. These markings distinguish it from the similar…
Oregon shore crab – Hemigrapsis oregonensis is a similar species with setae or small hairs on its legs, a distinguishing characteristic the other two lack
Porcelain crabs – a flat, round body (perfectly adapted to life between rocks) with two large front claws, these delicate crabs readily lose limbs when attacked, and use their large claws for maintaining territories.
No matter the depth or the substrate, these spiny skinned invertebrates are among the most successful marine creatures inhabiting the coast. The abundance and number of stars found along the west coast of North America is without equal in the world. I highlight just one in my post today.
Henricia leviuscula, the Pacific blood star, feeds mainly on sponges. It is fairly stiff with only small papulae (skin gills) and tube feet. It seems to rely much more on seawater uptake through the madreporite (a series of seawater-filled ducts that function in locomotion, feeding, and respiration) than do other sea stars of comparable size.
The gumboot chiton, Cryptochiton stelleri, can be found clinging to rocks, moving slowly in search of its diet of algae which it scrapes off of rocks with its rasp-like retractable radula, covered with rows of magnetite-tipped teeth.
Unlike some other chiton species, C. stelleri has well-developed ctenidia (gills) in the groove beside the foot (pictured above). A commensal polychaete worm can sometimes be found here, as can the pea crab, Opisthopus transversus.
There are many anemones in the tide pools of the Pacific Northwest. One of the most common is the green anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica. Anthopleura is not just one species, however. Hidden within its tissues is an algae.
In this symbiotic relationship, the algae gain protection from snails and other grazers and don’t have to compete for living space, while the anemones gain extra nourishment from the algae in their guts. Contrary to popular opinion, this anemone’s green color is produced by the animal itself, not the algae that it eats.
Another fascinating anemone is the aggregating anemone (pictured in the embedded photo above), Anthopleura elegantissima, the most abundant anemone species found on rocky shores along the Pacific coast.
Aggregating anemones can rapidly clone themselves. If buried by shifting sands, they can survive for more than three months.
Tide Pool Guidebook
You may not have the opportunity to explore a tide pool with a naturalist when you visit the Pacific Northwest Coast. In this case, you will want to find a guidebook or two to help you identify the diverse wildlife you will encounter.
One of the books we have at the marine life center that our visitors enjoy perusing when they have questions is The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest by J. Duane Sept. It was revised in 2009, it is beautifully illustrated and is a great guide to identifying the most common intertidal animals and plants of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.
The size is perfect to toss into your day pack if you wish to look up a specimen on your trek. It is written with the beachcomber in mind so while it does not feature every species, it is an excellent starting point for the more general specimens you may encounter.
While here, you may also be interested in Oregon Coast Quests – fun, educational, and clue directed hunts specific to the Oregon Coast.
Welcome to the Nature Book Club Monthly Link Up. Devoted to connecting children to nature, the monthly link up will begin on the 20th day of each month. We welcome your nature book and activity related links. Read on for more details.
See all the great posts from The Nature Book Club’s co-hosts in June
The Nature Book Club is brought to you by these nature loving bloggers which are your co-hosts. Are you following them? If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to follow each one.
Choose an engaging nature book, do a craft or activity, and add your post to our monthly link up.
The link up party goes live at 9:00 a.m. EST on the 20th of each month and stays open until 11:59 p.m. EST on the last day of the month. Hurry to add your links!
You can link up to 3 posts. Please do not link up advertising posts, advertise other link up parties, your store, or non-related blog posts. They will be removed.
By linking up with us, you agree for us to share your images and give you credit of course if we feature your posts.That’s it.
I am a native Oregonian. I was born here and though I have lived in California for a few years, I have spent the majority of my life in the Beaver State.
I have also homeschooled my children from the beginning and have thereby relished in the opportunity to explore our beautiful state through field trips and hands-on experiences that otherwise may not be possible.
I am super excited about the new Travel Oregon video, Only Slightly Exaggerated. Not only is the animation and musical score amazing – it highlights many of Oregon’s most beloved attractions.
I shared this animation with my children and they were both impressed. My son enjoys creating short videos in iMovie and my daughter loves art. As we watched, inspiration came over me. If they were to create their own video – what locations would they feature? We began to reflect on some of our more cherished memories. I have gathered a few of them here for you:
When people think of waterfalls in Oregon, they visualize the amazing waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, and for good reason. The 620-foot Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall and its most-visited attraction, seeing over 2.5 million visitors each year. Though the gorge should not be overlooked, there are certainly more waterfalls throughout the state that are just as impressive.
We now live on the coast and can smell the salt air with each breath. We enjoy the bounty of nature’s blessings with regular clam digging and crabbing excursions. While these activities are also popular with visitors, there are many others. Geocaching, letterboxing, painted rocks, and Oregon Coast Quests are all popular family pastimes.
A great book to read with children – to learn more about the coast and cartography (the art of map making) – is The Coast Mappers by Taylor Morrison.
Along the Oregon Coast, there are four distinct ecosystems – each with its own unique flora and fauna. A visit to each of these makes a fun field trip for families.
The Cascade Range is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. The crowning glories of the Cascades are the major volcanic centers – Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and Crater Lake, which sits in the caldera created by the eruption of Mount Mazama.
The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Bywaybrings visitors from around the world to these majestic areas. From high atop the rim of Crater Lake, you can see what a wonder the world really is. A hike down to the water reveals new wonders.
Forest Trails for Hiking and Biking
We always been avid hikers, though in the past we have focused solely on day hikes. In 2016, for example, we aimed to hike 52 hikes in the year. While the goal was lofty, we just missed it by eight.
We are now training to complete a 50 mile backpacking excursion in summer 2018. In preparation, we will be undertaking several overnight excursions. Backpacking with Teens provides many benefits – most notably connecting with nature and family.
Wild & Scenic Rivers
Oregon’s Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers designated in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Known for its salmon runs and rugged beauty, the Rogue River was designated October 2, 1968. Aside from breathtaking views, Wild and Scenic rivers provide many benefits for wildlife and humans.
There are approximately 110,994 miles of river in Oregon, of which 1,916.7 miles are designated as Wild & Scenic.
In 1988, Pacific Rivers (then Oregon Rivers Council) took the unprecedented step of crafting the nation’s first large federal river protection act, the landmark Oregon Omnibus National Wild and Scenic River Act. To this day, it remains the largest river protection legislation in the nation’s history. It added 40 outstanding rivers totaling 1500 river miles to the National Wild and Scenic River system in Oregon.
When the children were younger, camping at Indian Mary near Grants Pass was an annual tradition (sadly, the tradition came to an end when we moved to California). These summer days along the Rogue River provided many of our fondest memories and greatest lessons on aquatic critters.
The Whale Watching Spoken Here program places volunteers at great whale watching sites during the two official watch weeks. The Spring 2018 Whale Watch Week will be March 24th – 31st.
Oregon is not only a great place for whale watching, but visitors also flock to our coastal cities to watch the winter storms.
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As you can see, Oregon is known for its diverse landscape of forests, mountains, farms and beaches. Yet, there is so much more. I’ve lived here nearly my entire life and there are still corners and hidden gems I have yet to see.
How about you? What attractions would you feature in a video animation of your state?
Winter is finally upon us and snow is swirling everywhere. Over the past couple of weeks, my VIPKID students have been sharing photos of the snowmen they have built and I have lamented that we have nothing but rain here on the Oregon coast. On President’s Day, however, we woke up to a light dusting of snow and intermittent snowfall throughout the day. What fun!
Oregon Nature Quiz #3: Winter Wonderland Edition
It’s been a while since my last nature quiz — and the new snow has brought inspiration. Here are five of the photos showing evidence of wildlife action in the depth of winter (albeit not all in the snow). Can you identify the wildlife represented here?
1. When we lived in Redding, one of our most anticipated nature outings was our annual ladybug hike. It was always fascinating to see the ladybugs hibernating – hundreds of thousands of ladybugs all gathered in one place. Ladybirds hibernate through the winter as adult insects. Different species will usually hibernate in different places; some shelter under tree bark, others sleep under leaf litter, etc. Have you oberseved ladybugs hibernating in a similar fashion? Some will even gather around window crevices, buildling siding, and wooden structures.
2. The cone of a Pinus ponderosa that has been broken apart by a squirrel for the nuts. Most recently, my daughter has given the art of taxidermy a try. A squirrel was her first specimen – results have not yet been reported.
3. Pictured here is a cougar (Puma concolor) track in the mud. Native to Oregon, cougars range throughout the state, the highest densities occur in the Blue Mountains in the northeastern part of the state and in the southwestern Cascade Mountains. This photo was taken in the coastal range while we were hanging buckets for sugaring time. Cougars are territorial animals and maintain home ranges of up to 100 miles. Most active at dawn and dusk, cougars are lone hunters. They are generally solitary animals, except for mothers who remain with kittens for about two years.
4. There were no other nearby tracks so I am not certain, but I believe these bird tracks may be eagle simply due to their size. What do you think? When we lived in Redding, we loved to watch the resident eagles near the Sundial Bridge. The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), our national bird, is the only eagle unique to North America. It’s scientific name signifies a sea (halo) eagle (aeetos) with a white (leukos) head. At one time, the word “bald” meant “white,” not hairless. Bald eagles are found throughout most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico – with about half living in Alaska. The northwest coast is by far their greatest stronghold for bald eagles. They flourish here in part because of the salmon. Dead or dying fish are an important food source for all bald eagles.
Read my earlier post on Exploring Animal Tracks and learn how to use tracks to tell a story. Make animal track stencils and get out fabric paints to decorate t-shirts.
5. Did you guess rabbit? Six species of rabbit like mammals (these include, rabbits, pikas, and hares) can be found in various habitats throughout central Oregon where this photograph was taken. These small mammals feed primarily on grasses and forbs, have at least two litters per year, and are usually found where there are good amounts of concealing cover available. The shrubs under which they take cover are an important food source and conversely, they serve as the primary prey for many carnivores.
We had been planning to be in the path of totality for over a year, purchasing tickets to OMSI’s eclipse party at the state fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon in July of 2016. As the date approached, the media was inundated with warnings about traffic congestion, fuel shortages, and other issues related to the eclipse.
Preparing for Totality
As we prepared for the event and stressed about logistics – wondering if we should change plans and camp in the Cascades [we would need to pick Geneva up on Friday evening after National Youth Leadership Training – (NYLT)], crash at my brother’s in Eugene, or return home and then drive up to Salem the morning of – we spent time learning more about eclipses.
We had previously seen an annular eclipse and the kids were curious how they differed. Best of all, their interest tied into the requirements necessary to earn the coveted BSA Eclipse patch:
Boy Scouts: Draw a diagram of the positions of the moon, earth, and sun to show how the solar eclipse occurs.
Venturers: Research Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment and discuss how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
We had recently discovered mysimpleshow and it seemed like the perfect tool for this project. We thereby collaborated (learning how to use the program together) on an explainer video for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.
As this was our first multimedia presentation with mysimpleshow, we struggled with a few things (I can’t figure out why a few of the images appear in blue hues) but otherwise we LOVE it! We will definitely be using it again – I’ll be posting a complete review in September so check back. 🙂
After learning more about the location of Geneva’s NYLT camp, we opted to return home Friday evening – we didn’t get home until nearly 1 a.m. She needed the time to decompress after camp however, so it was a wise decision.
We decided to drive up Sunday afternoon and thereby made arrangements to pitch our tent in a friend’s backyard (Thank you, Hannah!). Traffic was not bad on the way up and we arrived rested and excited for the next day.
We grabbed a quick breakfast and made our way over the fairgrounds where the vibe was picking up as our morning coffees began to work their magic. We met up with friends who drove down from Portland and the festivities began.
We meandered the vendor booths and enjoyed the speakers in the amphitheater. The best part of the morning was simply catching up with our friends and taking in each moment – Geneva sketching and Jeffrey cubing.
I loved watching the crowd as the moon eclipsed the sun. Taiko drummers beat out a rhythm as totality approached and were silent during the 1 minute 53 seconds of duration. The crowd was awed and everyone mesmerized by the beauty of the natural event.
It was so fun to experience it with a large crowd – to stop even ever so briefly and not worry about politics or personal strife. Though many people began to depart after totality, we opted to stay.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant as we contemplated which route to take to return home. As I5 south was already congested with traffic (our GPS map showed it red for the entire length of the state), we chose to drive slightly westward and then proceed south on highway 99 through Monmouth and Corvallis. This turned out to be a wise choice. Though traffic was heavier than usual, we encountered congestion for only a short stretch between Corvallis and Monroe.
It has been several days now since the eclipse and we are still in awe. It was really incredible and we are so thankful we had the opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse in totality. The next eclipse visible in the United States will be 2024. We may consider making plans for this one as well.
On August 21, 2017, Oregon will be the first to see the total eclipse of the Sun. This much anticipated solar eclipse will be visible across much of the United States. I first learned of this rare occurrence a year ago and quickly made plans to be sure we would be in the path.
We purchased tickets to attend OMSI’s Eclipse Party at the Salem Fairgrounds and attempted to make hotel reservations in the area to no avail. We have thereby fallen back on a backup plan – staying with family in Eugene and driving up. I fear, however, that the road will be so congested we won’t reach our destination.
Anticipating the 2017 solar eclipse, I am delighted to share with you a number of lessons and activities with which you can engage your middle school students.
About the Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time. It darkens the whole sky, lets you look right at the sun, and shows you the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. Stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night.
Only look at the sun when it is 100% covered. You must use special solar viewing glasses whenever the sun isn’t completely eclipsed or it may cause irreparable eye damage.
The umbra (fully shaded inner region of a shadow) will hit the shores of Oregon at 10:15:53 am PDT near the small town of Otter Rock.From the time the shadow first touches land, it will take only two minutes for the shadow to race eastward. As the eclipse passes over the state, cities will experience various lengths of totality based on their varying distances from the centerline. At the Oregon State Fairgrounds, we will be treated to one minute and 53 seconds of shadow at just after 10:17am.
The eclipse will continue across the United States where Illinois will experience the longest eclipse duration at two minutes and 41 seconds. South Carolina will be the last state to witness the eclipse and the final shadow will be over the Atlantic Ocean near the west coast of Africa. See a map of the full eclipse path.
Three Types of Eclipses
Solar eclipses occur during the new moon phase when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun and the three celestial bodies form a straight line, Earth-Moon-Sun. There are three kinds of solar eclipses, Annular, Partial, and Total. On even more rare occasions, a hybrid eclipse occurs when there is a combination of two.
An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon covers the Sun’s center, yet the moon’s shadow doesn’t quite reach the Earth. The Sun’s visible outer edges thus form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon. The ring of fire marks the maximum stage of an annular solar eclipse.
A partial eclipse, which are visible to a greater number of people due to its wider path, occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, but they don’t align in a perfectly straight line and thus the Moon only partially covers the Sun’s disc. A Partial Eclipse can be seen on either side of the path of totality where the moon doesn’t completely cover the sun.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and completely covers the face of the sun, letting the sun’s magnificent corona burst into view, and casts the darkest part of the shadow (the Umbra) on Earth. In this shadow, the Earth is almost as dark as night.