Dual Enrollment: Homeschool & College

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Dual Enrollment: Home School and College

Over our 25 years homeschooling we have had 3 children use the Dual Enrollment option so far, we have had children who also chose not to use this option. Here are some of the problems we conquered and successes we enjoyed.

 

What is Dual Enrollment? 

Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students to enroll in college courses for credit prior to high school graduation. The courses count for both college and high school credit.

As homeschoolers this option overall has been a very fun addition to our schooling.

 

Dual Enrollment has changed over the years…

When my oldest son took dual enrollment courses in 2005 all he had to do was take the college placement tests and then take one “Intro to College Studies” course and that was it,  he was free to take 2 college courses paid for by my tax dollars and by the State Dept of Education.

Honestly, in our state notifying the State Dept of Ed that we are homeschooling is only required until a child is 16yo. so he wasn’t even registered with the state during his Dual Enrollment courses.

dual

 

That has all changed…

Our challenges with Dual Enrollment:

When my latest graduate (2016) decided to use dual enrollment it was her senior year. She hadn’t been enrolled in home schooling with the state for almost 2 years (as it was only required till she turned 16). We had her take the placement tests and talked with the college about her starting in January and planning on taking both of her free Dual Enrollment courses that spring semester.

All is going well until… there is a glitch, Dual Enrollment is now it’s own agency and has denied her enrollment. Why? No one seemed to know until mid January just when classes are about to start. At this point she has pretty much decided that she wouldn’t be able to take her courses.

We receive a call from the Dual Enrollment office. My daughter is not a registered homeschooler so she is not eligible to use the Dual Enrollment funds.

 

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Man alive, seriously?

We aren’t required to register them after 16yo, but she won’t budge on this point. So I call up the Home Schooling office at the State Dept of Ed and talk with them about our dilemma. They are so quick to work with us. Over the years we have maintained an excellent relationship with that office and she knew who I was by name.

The woman at the Home School office states exactly what my daughter needs to send in and it’s emailed and taken care of in less than 3 days. Her Dual Enrollment goes through and she takes her 2 college courses for high school and college credit last spring.

 

Whew…

In the process of all of this I realize that my next daughter (2018 graduate) who will be a junior will want to take Dual Enrollment courses in the Fall. So, quickly I register her again for homeschooling so that she will be a “registered” homeschooler in the Fall since she is over 16 yo when she applies for the Dual Enrollment option.

It has been an interesting process.

 

What else have we learned through this Dual Enrollment time?

  • Homeschoolers are perfect candidates for Dual Enrollment

  • It requires a great deal of self discipline, which thankfully my kids have had, to keep to a schedule that they must make themselves and follow through with the assignments on time

  • Online courses are so much more convenient for the kids to have lives and still “DO” college, they have had time to make movies and go ice skating when the rest of the family does, etc

  • It is a great way for them to get a taste of college and what it will be like

  • It is a lot more work than they thought it was going to be, they sure are used to more flexibility in their schooling times and subjects

  • The kids are not used to having to deal with the different personalities of the teachers, some really good but a couple, well, not so nice 

  • Doing the courses online there is a lot on online interaction with other classmates which seemed strange at first since they are used to doing all of their coursework alone but they easily adapted and developed an “online school person” that they were while doing the courses, it is a careful balance in learning what the limits are in sharing information online an answering the teachers questions honestly

  • The course is covered but NOT the cost of the books, so we are more careful now to look at the price of the textbook when we pick a course

  • These homeschoolers are skilled: They ACED their courses!! Homeschooling has given them the skills they needed to succeed with college courses (and in life which is another topic but way more important)

 

What courses have they taken with Dual Enrollment?

  • Intro to College Studies – 1 credit

  • English Composition 1 – 3 credits

  • Applied Math / College Math – 3 credits

  • Anatomy and Physiology – 4 credits

  • Psychology – 3 credits

  • ALL FREE

dual

 

Hope this was useful 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Art: Relaxed Homeschool Style

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Art as a separate subject always has seemed strange to me. This week we finished painting a backdrop for our church’s Christmas performance. We were not asked to do it, but volunteered for the job cuz it sounded like fun!

The idea is that the performers will be standing in a mall. This is a painting by my 17yo daughter. The snowman is a joke as he is eating in a Pizza shop.

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This is one by my 15yo son. He had so much fun figuring out how to make this look 3D.

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Did I force them to learn a special style of painting? Did I even tell them anything once they decided on what they were going to paint? NOPE, they just had fun. I said to them to find  picture or an idea and draw it out and then paint it. They were free to paint what they wanted within the ideas we had come up with.

The backdrop is supposed to be the inside of a shopping mall. We sat and brain stormed about what should be there. We decided to add cute jokes here and there to make kids laugh and our friends in the audience laugh.

Here is another funny one that we did together. After doing this one we thought “Oh No, are people going to be bothered by the Grinch in church.” But the Pastor showed up the next day and said that “No, The Grinch is a Christmas Classic.” Whew, we knew we had freedom in what we painted but had worried if we had crossed the line. My 17yo daughter and I did this one.

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This backdrop storefront has a few more things added since this picture, like a sad Christmas tree in the left window and a present in the window on the right. We just loved the TJ Naxx sign as the only store in our small town is a TJ Maxx store.

What did we learn from this experience?

  • Working together to figure out a huge project is really fun.
  • We like to listen to music while we work. Though we definitely prefer upbeat music after 2 or more hours of painting in a day.
  • Artists crack lame jokes.
  • Painting the tops of walls really tires out your arms.
  • Adding the lines on the ATM really made it POP like it was from a graphic novel.
  • The colors that we had was limited but you can combine latex and oil based paint to get some pretty strange colors.
  • Spray paint can be sprayed onto a plate and painted on a wall.
  • My kids are awesome!

Now some of these things, like the last one on the list, I have known for years. But if I had asked my kids to use an Art Curriculum book and work through it for 30 hours in 3 and a half weeks they would about pass out. Relaxed Art is the way to go for sure. Finding ways to allow their creative and artistic juices to flow and have it appreciated by others is just the way to do it for us.

Here is another picture from the set. This is by my 15yo son, my 17yo daughter, my 13 yo son, and myself. Haha the ATNT store, this will actually get a cellphone painted on it tomorrow morning early.

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I was trying to figure out how many hours we worked on this backdrop and I believe it is about 30 hours. This is the time from thinking up the ideas of the different storefronts to finding out we had limited paint to use to us actually painting.

Here is another store front. This was done by my 17yo daughter and myself. This is a funny store front to us because there is a member of our congregation that actually is a clock repairman and his nickname is Tick-Tock.

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This performance of the musical “God Speaking” will be performed Sunday morning. The choir (which includes my kids singing and myself as narrator) have been practicing this musical since the end of September.

This is another store front as a joke. There is a friend in the congregation that has a security business that is named 4security and so we did this one for him.

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I hope you have enjoyed seeing how we over the years have found that Art can easily be part of a relaxed home school without ever calling it ART. Without having to use an Art Curriculum. We do use an Art Curriculum if the child is interested in it. We also have used classes for a child interested in a special topic like pottery on a wheel. But for the most part, like 90%, our ART time is what we make for others and ourselves just for fun.

Have a great week.

The HOME in Homeschooling

Lot’s of changes here. Being without a vehicle has made homeschooling so much easier. It used be that we were fighting with outside activities for time but now we have so much time. The house is neater and the schoolwork is all caught up.  More on that in a minute. So our list of what we accomplished this week is different but more fulfilling.

What we did do this week:

  • Weatherized the house: well we didn’t, but a crew was here working on that all week
  • Church
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Costco shopping with a friend and our little ones
  • Orthodontist appointment: Artist got her braces off 🙂
  • Math drills
  • Read lots to the younger kids
  • Played around with water and our freezing temperatures outside
  • Church
  • Created a new cleaning system for ourselves

The HOME in Homeschooling

So many things pull us out of our homes. There are the lessons like music or foreign language, there are classes like a science co-op or drama group, there are sports activities like soccer or open gym, there are just so many awesome activities for us as homeschoolers, how do you choose?

Well, our choice was made for us with the demise of our latest vehicle. We were doing so many activities every week. Here is a list of things we did with the homeschool group before our vehicle bit the dust:

  • Science co-ops: ran these and participated
  • Drama club
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Singing at nursing homes
  • Ice skating
  • Homeschool meetings: set-up and lead most of them
  • Open gym
  • Yearbook: started and ran
  • and, and, and

That is just a partial list of our weekly things to do with/for our homeschool group. There are also field trips, the soccer team, talent shows, spelling bees, you name it, our group was doing it. Most of it was organized and run by us.

Now, these are all wonderful things to do. Really there are. But the HOME in homeschooling was becoming the, “get what you can get done in the time left” schooling. We were gone so much we wondered if our home was more of a motel than a house. My husband and I would laugh when saying this and then look at each other like, ” Really? Is this what we have become?”

We would spend our mornings preparing to be gone again:

  • Packing lunches
  • Collecting workbooks for down times
  • Final prep for co-op lessons to teach
  • Collecting supplies for co-op classes
  • Rushing to do our animal chores
  • Eat a quick breakfast
  • And slamming that door behind us to a now empty house

That was a typical Monday. Don’t get me wrong, we would get all of our schoolwork accomplished but had barely any time to relax when we were home. When we got home we were exhausted. This was a typical week:

  • Monday: Co-op classes, Drama club, Yearbook all in the afternoon
  • Tuesday: Ice skating in the morning or Soccer in the afternoon, and Homeschool meetings in the evenings once a month
  • Wednesday: Field trips in the morning once a month and Homeschool Q&A in the afternoon once a month
  • Thursday: Open gym in the afternoon
  • Friday: Home

Now as you can see these are all taking up only parts of the day. Some were just mornings or just afternoons but I would have to plan out my week and figure out when we would get our actual schoolwork done. Each day we would get these activities and our schoolwork done but at what cost? There has to be a limit.

Someone once said to me, “If your not home is it really homeschooling?” Now there are many ways to homeschool, don’t get me wrong, but the way we were doing it was just was to hectic for us. We needed time to crash and not worry about the activities for the next day.

Helping to keep out homeschool group going for the last 3-4 years has been a blessing and a burden. We are a veteran homeschooling family and love to share what we have found works. This is our 22nd year homeschooling and we know a few things that could be helpful to a family starting out and love sharing that knowledge. We also know how to fit it all in since we have homeschooled for so long that it is just a way of life for us.  Homeschooling is the natural thing for us to do each day.

So what have we learned by being home more and not doing all those activities?

  • The homeschool group can survive without us
  • Our children are happier to just chill
  • We accomplish our schoolwork so much faster
  • We like to sleep in a little later
  • Our afternoons are ours again to do what makes us happy
  • The house is cleaner since we are here to keep it neat (kinda weird that is was so much messier when we were here less…)
  • I am a more relaxed mama
  • I have my weekends back: not planning 3 co-op classes for Monday has totally freed up my weekends

My advice…

Pick and choose what you children will participate in. We have 6 kids still at home and could easily make a legitimate excuse for every activity we were doing but how did those choices change us as a family?

Make it a point to be home with your kids. There will always be something else to participate in but for this time just choose home.

Socializing is a hot topic… make time to spend with others but cherish this time you have with your children. Too soon they will be graduating and you will wonder where all the time went.

What do you think? Let us know 🙂

Lastly a picture from this week… Artist got her braces off. A beautiful smile on a beautiful young lady.

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Happy Homeschooling!

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

For this week: Skeletal System Co-op class Monday; soccer Tuesday; Field Trip to the Apiary on Wednesday; Natural Sciences Museum Friday (a friend gave us tickets); and Free Kids Carnival Saturday. Looks like we will be doing a good chunk of sit down schoolwork this week. Still working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a shelter for them.

Thinking about

In our state we have to report our progress at the end of each school year. I never like to be searching at the last minute for what to send in. This week I am focusing on making sure I have a paper I could send into the state in each of the required subjects. That means I need a paper from Math, Language Arts, Science, Health, Art, History, and Health for each of my school age children. I believe I am all set for Septembers work. I just need to have a page for each of them from this month.

Out of doors

We will be having an outing to the Natural Science Museum on Friday which should be a treat. We have bulbs to plant and more brussel sprouts to pick. Soccer may be cold and too wet to do this week.

In the kitchen

We ended up making pumpkin pie (Tech made this) and potato and corn chowder (Mechanic made this) to bring to the Barn Dance on Saturday. Also, we were given about 25 lbs of meat in exchange for harvesting grapes so I need to figure out what is in there and organize the upright freezer again.

A photo from last week….

There were so many pictures form this week it was really hard to choose…. Here is Tech with his best friend this week when we carved pumpkins.

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Week in Review & Easy Peasy Online Review

We had a very productive homeschooling week this week. We were able to actually stay home Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Guess that is why we got so much accomplished.

Our homeschool days fluctuate between a day of workbooks and a day of Easy Peasy online school. The workbooks we use will be for another post. Today I thought I would share how the Easy Peasy computer school program is working for us.

This week we were able to spend two days just on computer school and the other two days were on workbooks. Mondays are taken up by co-op classes. This weeks co-op Science class was the Respiratory System.  We also had co-op Choir and Career Readiness.

Princess (Kindergarten) She does a little bit of Easy Peasy “Getting Ready 1“. On that program she learns her letters with songs, worksheets, and the starfall program. She knows her letters very well and just has fun with the online learning. The sounds of the letters is what she is learning now so the starfall program is useful. There seems to be a lot of coloring pages with this Easy Peasy level. She does like some coloring but she, like my other children, detest busy work. She liked the project this week that involved making a movable animal for the letter of the week. Below is a link to one kind of project like that that she did recently. We do tend to just skip over the busy work stuff though. So she focused mainly on her workbooks this week and the computer program Reading Eggs which she really loves.

A is for Alligator.
A is for Alligator.

Collector (3rd Grade) He does Easy Peasy Third Level. This week he worked on xtramath to practice his math facts speed and knowledge. (Easy Peasy suggests the use of that program.) In Math he worked on adding +10 and +11 and adding one more to a large number. In Language Arts he worked on poetry. This weeks topic in poetry was rhyme and alliteration. He understood the rhyming but the alliteration didn’t sink in, I don’t believe. No big deal. He worked on a spelling with the worksheet below (the first picture will show a larger image and the second picture links to the worksheet itself online). He really enjoyed it. He enjoys spelling anyway but this worksheet was fun to him. He worked on current events in History. He read an article online and then rewrote it in his own words. His choice was the clean-up from a recent hurricane in the south. In Science he played an online game about the states of matter. It was fun and really brought the point home. In PE he worked on learning how to stretch properly. All in all it was a great week. This program works all right for Collector but I do prefer that he does most of his work away from the computer screen. He enjoys it but the reading is more difficult on a screen than in a book that is in his hands. Overall he seems to be learning a lot from this program.

spelling 1spelling 2

Pilot (5th Grade) He does Easy Peasy Fourth Level. I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year. This week he also worked on xrtamath to practice with his math facts. (As Easy Peasy suggests.) In Math he worked on estimating to the hundreds place and adding the estimated numbers. He also did online timed division facts which he enjoyed. The Reading was a crazy huge amount this week. All the reading this year is from McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader. I even have a hard time figuring out this book. The language is not easy nor are the stories. I spend so much time explaining these stories to him that I think I am going to reconsider him doing the reading with Easy Peasy starting next week. For example yesterday we was supposed to read 5 different stories. Now the vocabulary he does with this he likes very much and he enjoys learning new words. Also this week he learned about a Limerick and wrote one. In Science & History he learned about Alexander Graham Bell, did an experiment with sound, and watched a video on Bell. He also did Bible work, learned about junk mail, and looked at the life of the composer Pfitzner. This program, except for Reading, works really well for Pilot. He is having fun and learning as he goes. There is never a complaint to have to do school. The picture links to the video he watched this week.

Alexander Graham Bell Movie Link
Alexander Graham Bell Movie Link

Tech (7th Grade) He does Easy Peasy Sixth Level. Just like Pilot I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year. This week he worked on xrtamath to practice his math facts also. This year he is working on Language Appreciation. He watches a video with part of the voices in Latin and the rest in English then he has to make his best guess as to what the Latin words mean. He has a lot of fun with it. Next week he will use this list to look up the French and Spanish words for these Latin words and look for similarities. His Math is Khan Academy and this week he worked on negative numbers and comparing absolute values. I like that on Khan Academy I can look and see what each of my children is working on right from my “Coach” page. He is enjoying his Robert Frost poetry this year. He also worked on Bible, Alexander Graham Bell, and Pfitzner, but at a higher level than Pilot. This program does not seem challenging enough for Tech. Not sure what I need to specifically change yet but something needs to change. He is kinda bored with it except for the games. Here is a link to a History game he loves. It is actually from Directors school lessons but he enjoys playing when he is done his schoolwork.

History Game Online
History Game Online

Artist (9th Grade) She does Easy Peasy Eighth Level. Just like Tech I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year.This week she worked on xrtamath to maintain her math fact skills. This year she is taking Sign Language and loving it. She laughs throughout the video as the teacher is just a fun guy. She has Vocabulary, Reading, and Writing. I never hear complaints from her. She is able to do all this Easy Peasy work on her own without me really. Her statement to me was that this was her best homeschool year yet. As an artist she enjoys the Art section of Easy Peasy so the link below is from her art lesson. For Math she is doing Khan Academy also. She worked on complimentary and supplemental angles, circumference, and multiplying decimals. She did Bible, History, Science, and Health. In Science she is working on chemistry and the periodic table. This program is an excellent fit for Artist. She enjoys this curriculum and seems to be learning so much. I am so glad she has found something that fits her so well.

How to Draw a Shell Link
How to Draw a Shell Link

Director (11th Grade) She is doing Easy Peasy High School. She is doing lots of classes from this site. Here is her list: xtramath, Literature and Compostion, Biology with Lab, US History 2, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, PE/Health, Spanish, and Khan Academy. Her favorite subject from Easy Peasy is Music Appreciation. She says she likes this best because, “I think I am learning more in this than in any other subject. I also like that I can watch the videos of all the instruments.” She also likes Literature and Composition because, “I learn new words and their meanings. There is this site that you go onto that has a story and you then answer questions about it.” She feels that for her Easy Peasy is a good fit, “There are some boring things but most of it is interesting.”

Music Appreciation Link
Music Appreciation Link

I hope this review of Easy Peasy was helpful. Have a great weekend.