Early College Credits to Avoid Heavy Debt

Many colleges have come up with online programs that allow High School students to jump start their college learning with a process called dual enrolment. These programs allow homeschool students to study college courses in the comfort of their home, reducing the cost of the early college credits that they earn. Plus these credits count towards the actual graduation credits and allow them to complete college faster.

This is really good news in light of the fact that according to USA Today, “the class of 2014 graduated with an average student loan debt of $33,000.”Forbes recently cited that “student loan debt has reached a new milestone, crossing the $1.2 trillion mark — $1 trillion of that in federal student loan debt.” Most parents really dread getting into college debt and passing it on to homeschool students may be very difficult. So speak with your children freely before you decide on a definite course of action.

Scout for Universities Offering Early College Programs

There are a number of Universities that offer low tuition fee based programs that High School students may complete online. Make sure that you ask about dual enrolment policies so that  you are aware if the students need to take exams physically in the college campus, or can complete them online. Ensure that the credits earned in the program can be counted towards the eventual college degree. Some courses do not count and even if your child completes them successfully it will be to no avail in the bigger picture.

Don’t Discount Local Community Colleges

While it may be tempting to go for the big guns, don’t discount your local community college. There is a good likelihood of your homeschool student preferring to attend the actual classes  there and interacting with teachers and students to get a better perspective on college learning. While they may not complete their four years at the community college, let them get the feel of how college works. Plus some community colleges allow High School students to get around 15 credits for free. That would make a huge difference financially speaking.

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Speaking About Regular College to Homeschool Students

If you wish your homeschool students to attend regular college it is never too soon to speak to them about it. Weigh in the fact that they have no idea about attending classes with a whole bunch of people, and the fact that they may want to learn about things that you may not be able to teach them at college level. There is a lot of preparation that you need to undertake to ensure a smooth transition from homeschool to college. Here are some ideas that can make it easier.

Spend a Day at a Local College Campus

When they are in middle school explain how college classes work. Have a word with the local college teachers and ask permission for them to attend a class on a topic that interests them. Roam around the college campus and if possible get them to attend a simple orientation. Have them interact with real college students and get a feel of what their lives are like. This gives your homeschool students a good idea of what they can expect when they get to college.

Speak About the Fees and Payments

College is expensive and homeschool students should be given that information up front. There should be no sense of entitlement but a healthy respect for what the parents do for them. They should realise that while as parents you will support them to the best of your ability, they will also have to pull their weight and get paying jobs to support themselves. Student loans should be explored in addition to saving up what they earn in summer or part time jobs. Educate them about the expenses going to college will entail.

Prepare for the College Admission Process

The earlier you get an idea of what the process involves, the better. While it is true that colleges like Harvard and Stanford actively encourage homeschool students to apply, they also have basic requirements that the students must meet. Speak to your child about what all they need to have in place before seeking admission in a college of their choice. Then help them get all that material together so that you are not stumped at the last minute.

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Do you live in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada or Washington state?

Guess what? My family and I are traveling to these four states (Oregon, Idaho, Nevada or Washington state), and if you’re in our of our destination cities, we might be able to teach a science class to your homeschool group live, in-person and totally free of charge!

Here are the cities on our flight path:

  • Ashland, Oregon
  • McMinnville, Oregon
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Mukilteo, Washington
  • Sandpoint, Idaho
  • Sun valley, Odaho
  • Reno, Nevada

If you’re in the area and can get together at least 20 kids, then I want to hear from you! Email aurora@superchargedscience.com as soon as possible so we can arrange for a special treat for you!!

Enjoy your summer!



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Summer Projects for Homeschool Students

The summer may not be a time to continue homeschooling in your family, that does not mean that learning has to come to a stop for your homeschool students. Here are some summer projects that you can involve your children in, and be sure that they will continue to learn even if it is outside the homeschool classroom.

An Internship

Get your child to work as an intern at a business. It is a good idea for the homeschool student to see how a place of business actually runs. This can be a part time activity a few days a week. Get in touch with a local business who can use some extra help over the holidays and give your child a lesson in real life. They can even shadow an adult at work for a week to get a better idea of what working at a specific job can actually entail. Ask your friends, most will be happy to oblige.

Mentor Someone 

Getting your homeschool student to help a weaker child in a subject that they are good at is a good way to ensure that there is little summer brain drain to deal with. Being a student tutor will also help the confidence of your homeschool student, while ensuring that he has to do a revision of what he’s expected to teach the child he is mentoring. Not to mention the good deed that he will be performing will help him feel that he is contributing to society.

Manual Labour or Outdoor Summer Jobs

The idea is to get them to exercise while contributing to a bigger project. A large number of summer jobs are available for students who are willing workers. Also even if they are volunteer jobs, the description looks good on their resume. Ask them to work at something they enjoy or that their friends will be doing to ensure that they stick with it all summer. Remind them that if they can drive, they can definitely do a summer job. Plus earning their own spending money can never hurt.


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Building a Better Learning Environment

Every child is different and the teaching strategies that may have worked wonders on your older child in the homeschool classroom may not be doing so well when you try them out on your second homeschool student. As a homeschool teacher you have to be flexible enough to adjust to the every changing needs of your students. You need to be on top of things to ensure that you provide your homeschool students with a conducive learning environment based on their individual needs. Here are some points that you may like to keep in mind.

Organised Space

Having easy access to a book they want to read, the craft material they want to work with, or simply area to spread out with what worksheets they are writing can make a lot of difference to how a homeschool student feels. An organised space makes it easier to learn as they don’t have to spend time hunting for things that they need and can instead spend that time actually doing activities that help.

Quiet Time

While instruction is a must for any learning to happen, sometimes the homeschool teacher needs to just give the students some quiet time in which to assemble what they have been taught. As they sit quietly with no real activity planned, they will assimilate what has just been taught a little better than if they are rushed into the next topic right away. That little five minute break does have more value than the time taken to drink a glass of water.

New Opportunities for Learning

While you have a syllabus to follow, it is a good idea to provide your homeschool students with new opportunities for learning. Study books do not encompass all the knowledge that they will need in life and stepping out of the home to learn new things is a must. Expose them to new experiences, new people who can teach them something about their lives. These experiences also count towards making them earn a well rounded personality. They should be able to deal with what life throws at them on their own terms.



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Making Homeschool Students Successful Learners

Is it enough to give the homeschool student a textbook, some explanation and a couple of worksheets to make them learn successfully? Those are the basics, but sometimes children need a little bit more to feel confident about what they are studying.

Monitor Their Feelings

The emotional state of your homeschool student can affect the way he or she learns. A happy child is likely to be more alert and pick up his or her lessons much faster than a child who feels stressed out. If your homeschool student feels upset about something enough for it to show up in his or her behaviour, do take the time to find out what is wrong. It can make the difference between a productive day of learning and a general yelling.

Watch Their Performance

A good measure to see if your homeschool student is learning successfully in the classroom is to watch their cognitive performance. If they truly understand what is being taught, they will have no problem doing worksheets or transferring what they have just been taught to a real life situation. Ask them questions to see if they really “get it”  or are they just faking to get the lesson over with.

Give Them Safety and Order

Children respond well to rules, so be consistent. If they are expected to study for a certain time period before they get their treat or lunch break, make sure that it is a rule that they follow every day. The sense of safety they derive from the rules that you enforce goes a long way towards making them successful learners. It’s sort of like the law and order situation you have in any society, when the rules are clear it’s that much easier to maintain order.

Collaboration Works Wonders

Don’t put yourself in charge of their learning. Your homeschool students will do a better job if they are made responsible for small goals of their own. The teacher – student collaboration where each undertakes responsibility for their learning can work wonders in a homeschool classroom. So give your students the opportunity to collaborate with you in the class.


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Keeping Your Homeschooled Girls Interested in Science

There is a natural tendency for girls to become disenchanted with science somewhere along the 4-6th grade. The disinterest at this stage leads to them moving further away from the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career choices later in life. Now, it is possible to keep things interesting in homeschooling science and thereby ensuring that your homeschooled girls don’t miss out on science subject related opportunities later in life.

There doesn’t seem to be a single concrete reason for this lack of persistence in science for girls, rather it seems to be a multitude of different ones. The primary reason could be the fact that traditional careers for women used to be seen in more of a supporting role to men. After all the typist, the secretary or the receptionist did not need to learn any STEM subjects. It may seem like an old mindset and that girls are doing a lot more these days, but these old society beliefs do permeate down to children even today.

One of the reasons that girls don’t think in terms of a career in STEM subjects is that there are not too many female role models available for these jobs. The media has only recently begun to play up the role of the females in science related jobs and this has caused considerable interest in younger girls. Now it is time to catch them young and put them on the right path. A homeschool parent can do a lot to make this happen by including a little  science in everything.

Keep talking about the role of different sciences in everyday actions and activities. Which girl would not be interested in science when she is told about how chemical reactions change the taste of fried foods, or how nail polish can actually be dissolved into nail polish remover. The idea is to bring science to them in a package that they can identify with on a daily basis. Ask them to take up a science experiment project based entirely on their interest. It is easily the best way to motivate them to learn more science on their own.


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Skills Homeschool Students Need for Success

There is a healthy debate on what skills are considered absolutely essential and which may be sidelined for a while. Yet there are some basic skills that just about any educator from regular school or from a homeschool community will agree are essential. Here we list them out and help you prioritize the skills you feel you should be teaching your homeschool students in the classroom and outside it.

Verbal Communication

To be able to express what they want is an important skill and to be able to understand what someone else wants is even more confusing at times. Effective communication skills can help the homeschool student, in fact just about any student, deal better with people around them. The ability to take and idea, process it and express it is actually a skill everyone should practice.


It is not exactly the most popular of subjects for everyone, especially as the grades get higher and the calculations get tougher. However having good math skills can make a huge difference to the quality of your homeschool student’s life. Just think about all the times you need to use numbers to understand just how important this skill can be.


Just as important as getting your message across verbally can be, it is important to be able to express it in written as well. A good way to get them to improve their written skills is to make them write a daily dairy. It will serve the purpose of making them consider what events of the day were actually important, organize what they want to record and then find the right words to write it all down with.


Often overlooked in school in terms of being a formal subject, there is no denying the importance this particular skill plays in life. If a homeschool student is allowed to play team sports, organize events within the community or even do household chores in tandem with siblings the skill of teamwork is developed. When you work as a team you can get a whole lot more accomplished so it is an important life skill.

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Things to Consider Before Handing Out Chores To Your Homeschool Students

There are a number of life skills that a child can only ever learn if he does them himself. Think back to when your baby did not know how to walk, he tried to balance himself but fell on his bum more often than not. Did you tell him at that point of time that he did not need to walk, that lifting him and taking him from one room to the other was easier for you?

No you did not, because making mistakes and practising a skill is how every human being learns. So why not prepare them better for the future by making them do the chores that they will need to routinely perform to live properly?

Gender Equality

Just because the chores were segregated according to gender in your childhood, there is no need to repeat the pattern. Make your boys help in the kitchen, teach them to sew their own buttons and fold the laundry. It is just as important to teach your girls how to change an electrical bulb, fix the fuse and handle repairs of a flat tyre. Don’t stereotype the chores that your homeschool students are asked to handle based on their gender.

Equal Opportunity Teacher

Make sure that all your children can handle all the chores. Then routinely switch them around so that no one dies of monotony. One good way to make sure that there are no arguments about who gets to do what chore each week is to have the homeschool students design the weekly chore duty chart one kid at a time. So everyone gets a chance to do what they want and put siblings on something they dislike. You may have to oversee and approve of the list to ensure things stay fair.

Recognition is Important

There is a lot of power in recognition. The motivation that comes from being the focus of parental appreciation is truly strong. Even if it goes against the grain, appreciate every chore that has been completed, especially when it has not been done perfectly, but you know that your child has given it his best. Trust the fact that practice does make perfect and eventually they will get better at doing every task they are given.

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Handling Homeschooling

There is a need to maintain a balance in all aspects of your life when you are a homeschooling parent. Having the homeschool material organized and ready to use each day, making sure that your homeschool students do their required quota of studies to cover the academic syllabus, ensuring that the meals you dole out from the kitchen are healthy, keeping the kitchen groceries up to date and handling the laundry.

Be on your toes from dawn to dusk, and then repeat the next day. There is just no time to get everything done in a single day, every single day. Some parents get carried away in becoming perfect and tend to lose sight of what is truly important. What is important is the fact that you are a family that is learning together. As such, it is not the responsibility of a single person to ensure that everything is perfect all of the time.

The word you need to make a part of everyone’s vocabulary is “Team Work”. It is not just the homeschooling parent who is responsible for every aspect of the family’s life. It is a team effort. The children need to pitch in almost as much as the parent if it is going to be a success story. Does that mean that you start handing out chores to babies? In a nutshell – yes. There is always a task that a young child can help with.

Now you may argue that teaching them the errands or taking your toddler’s help makes the task take twice as long. You can finish is much faster if you do it on your own. This is a very short term view. For the child you teach how to make a bed properly today will be able to handle the task entirely on his own within a couple of months. Not only will this be relieving you of supervisory duty, it will also give you spare time to manage other chores that you can not delegate to your children.

Now make sure that your team handles the responsibility of family living along with you. Just don’t expect everything to be perfect all of the time.

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