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.

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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

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Hope this was useful 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Scheduling Our Homeschool Year: Part 1

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There have been lots of questions lately about how we schedule our homeschool day. With 6 kids schooling at home now it could be rather hectic, but its not. The grades I am leading this year are: 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 1st, and 1 is a freshman in college.

 

Here is how we do it, both ways…

Most of the calmness comes from my planning for the year in the summer. I make up a plan of study for each child before school begins and then use that to set up a hanging folder with the work I will require of them each month for the year.

If you have been following this blog then you may remember the post about how I plan out my year. Here is a link to that post.

That truly helps when I am getting the papers reading to go into the hanging folders.

 

Handling Paperwork to Send to the State…

Using the plans of study that I created for the state office, I collect all the papers I will have them do for the year in… let’s try MATH for an example.

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If I was going to have my 1st grader to the following topics for the year:

  • Counting
  • Beginning Addition
  • Subtraction Facts
  • Measurement
  • Money

Then I would print up a page for each of these topics from the internet. I would collect each one of these pages and put a paperclip on them and put them in that childs hanging folder.

On the counting worksheet I would write September, and write October on the Basic addition worksheet, November on the Subtraction facts worksheet, December in the Measurement worksheet, and January on the Money worksheet.

When the month of December comes my 1st grader will do the Measurement worksheet (along with the worksheets for each of the other subject areas).

Each of the subject areas also have packets of pages printed up for them and I just have the children do the collection of pages that say December during the month of December.

This was I would have pages dated from throughout the year that correspond directly to the list of topic I stated I would do this year.

 

What do I do the rest of the month?

So when planning out my actual year for what the children will do from day to day my planning is different.

I still have the different subject areas and lets stick with MATH again just to keep things simple. We will also stay with the discussion of my First grader.

So, my First grader has done her packet for the month of December and now has the rest of the month do work on what?

During the summer I looked at what she had accomplished in her previous years math book and found that she was just under halfway through it. (In her case she had started the 1st grade ABeka Arithmetic book during her Kindergarten year so I had not planned on her being able to finish it.)

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I know I want her to continue working on this workbook to completion. She has about 200 pages left. I plan on her doing about 20 pages a month to complete the book by the spring.

On my notes for her schoolwork I write: Math 20 pages a month

If she did not do well in math I would have her do less, but she loves math, math comes easy to her, and she loves working in workbooks. So, the plan stands.

 

What about an older child or one that has a tough time in Math…

Lets take another child. This child does not find that math comes as easy to him. He did not finish his 6th grade math book last year. This year the goal for him was to finish that book and then start the 7th grade book.

This would normally mean doing about 5 lessons a week but it takes him longer to complete a lesson due to math being not a subject he finds easy. So for him I have him do 3-4 lessons a week but sometimes less if he seems to be having a difficult time.

We use Saxon math for the older children and the 1st grader will eventually be doing Saxon math also. My 7th grader is working through Saxon 6/5  right now and thankfully is almost finished. (affiliate link)

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So on his plan I wrote: Finish Saxon 6/5 start Saxon 7/6 try to get to lesson 60 (which is halfway through the book). For him no number of lessons are listed but maybe this year math will click with him and he will whizz right through the book, you never know.

For me it’s not that they finish a certain book in a certain year, but that the child understands the material. He will make it into Algebra 2 and complete it but it may just take a while.

Hoping that was a bit helpful. It really is just taking the child from where they are and looking ahead to see what you think they are able to accomplish in a year and writing it down. Around the middle of the year, evaluate and see, is your child going to accomplish what you have on your list. If not, was your list to huge or is the child having trouble with a concept and you should slow down for a bit.

 

Relaxed Spelling in Our Home

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Today our 7yo got up early and wrote a story. The story was done really well and I enjoyed it. The only “problem” was the spelling of many of the words was not correct.

She is an excellent speller and also loves to write and I did not want to squelch that joy of writing. So, I did what I have done for many years and will share that with you now.

What is the most PERFECT way I have found to do spelling?

After Princess had left the room to go get her breakfast, I remembered what I wanted to do. I went to the very next page in her writing notebook and started writing out the words that she had spelled incorrectly.

I looked through her story about the bear and the chickens and watched for words that she consistently spelled incorrectly AND words that I thought she may use again on a regular basis.

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Why learn words you won’t write again?

If she will find the process useful then she will want and will enjoy doing it. Picking words she will use again makes it seem less like school and more like “what we need for life.”

As I stated before I don’t want to make her not want to write.

She loves to write stories!

Her stories are very interesting and enjoyable to read.

I had my list started and decided 10 words would be a number she could handle. I also chose words that weren’t too long, she is only 7yo. I also left a space in between each word in case she wanted to practice the words herself.

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I brought the list to her in the kitchen.

“Princess, I loved your story. I made a list of words that I thought you might like to learn the spelling of in case you wrote another story with words like you have in this awesome story. We can use your own words for a spelling test if you would like.” She loved the idea and said it would be good to learn them.

She looked over my list and asked my what some of the words were. She asked how to say “some” because she had written “sum” in her story. She also asked what the word “said” was as she had written the word “sed” in her story.

This has come to be the best way for my children to learn and keep these words as part of them. Sometimes with spelling lists (which we also use) the child only remembers the words for a short while, like for the week of the test.

But, when we use the words from their own writing for spelling tests, the purpose for learning the words changes and I believe the spelling words end up in a more permanent place in their brains.

Hope this was useful.

How do you handle spelling in your home school?

 

Week in Review & Planning Field Trips

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Princess at the Fire Department Field Trip

This was an awesome homeschooling week. We got so much accomplished. Lots of academics and also some other fun stuff.
Our field trip this week got cancelled so I thought I would highlight planning field trips in this post. First, our week in review:

  • Church & Business Mtg
  • Digestive System Co-op
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Career Readiness Co-op – Writing a Resume
  • Breastfeeding Support Group Meeting
  • Online Computer Classes at the library
  • Bible Study
  • Skeletal System Review Worksheets
  • Workbooks
  • Easy Peasy Online School (my review of this curriculum here)
  • Blogging, of course
  • Director got & started a bi-weekly editing job with local TV station
  • Open Gymnasium time with the Homeschool Group
  • Natural Science Museum
  • Kids Carnival tomorrow

It sure seems like more when I list it like that. Ok, planning field trips next.

Planning Homeschool Field Trips

Our family plans most of the field trips for our homeschool group. Our group wasn’t doing many field trips when we started attending this group years ago. I decided that if I wanted field trips to happen I was going to have to do it myself. Here is the process.

First I decide what my children would be interested in doing for a field trip. I look at what we will be studying that year. In 1st grade I usually do a “Community Workers” type of lesson so if I have a child going into 1st grade I will gear my field trips towards those occupations. I also ask my kids which ones they liked from last year and also if there are any they have thought of that they would like to do. I also ask them if there are any they would prefer to never do again 🙂 I make up a list of all the prospective field trips and what specific businesses would be called if we choose to do that field trip.

Then I ask around and see who would like to go on a field trip. I usually ask via email or during the monthly meeting or I just ask my friends that homeschool. I have found that to have a business host a field trip they like to have a group of people to make it worth their while. There are 8 of us and I can usually find at least 2 more people to join us for any given field trip. Most places require or ask for a group of at least 10 people for them to take the time to host a field trip. We have just gone with only our family, but still 8 is a pretty good size group. I don’t usually narrow my list down by these inquires into who would like to attend. But if your family is not as large as ours you may have to narrow the list down to field trips that have at least 10 people interested.

Once I know I have the 10 or so people that would commit to go I start to call and schedule the field trips with the different businesses. Usually people say they will go but you end up with about 2/3 of those people actually going, just a heads up, I usually call to schedule anyway.

The process of scheduling:

  • I have a calendar printed up in front of me with our families major commitments on it like: homeschool co-op, appointments I can’t change, church commitments, sport commitments, etc. I also list things that the majority of the things that the homeschool group will be doing like: open gym time, meetings, other events, etc. I figure that trying to host a field trip during the time that kids would normally be at say a soccer game might be a hard sell when asking for family participation in the field trip. Also, the families might be a little miffed that their child wanted to go do both events but I scheduled it during that time.
  • In front of me I also have an open email or Word document ready for me to type in the information so I can send it to the group when I am finished my calls.
  • I have made a list of the places of business for each field trip and phone numbers. When I call I write down the contact persons name, their direct line, and any specifics they give me like: no more than 25 people, no kids under 3yo, no open toed shoes, etc.
  • I almost always schedule field trips for Wednesday mornings. Why do I do this? I have no idea. Whenever I call I look down at my calendar and that is usually the only day free. It looks like it would fit nicely in the middle of the week. I really have no idea why I schedule them mainly on Wednesdays. But you should have some idea what day you would like to go on your field trips because the contact person will ask you, “When would you like to come?” I usually give the a list of the next  3 Wednesdays that are available. I also suggest to them that we usually do field trips in the mornings. Sometimes we have done them on different days and in the afternoon but for the most part they are on Wednesdays and in the morning hours.
  • I set up with them the date, time, and special requirements for that field trip OR I leave a message. In the message I say, “I would like to set up a school field trip to your place of business,” and leave my contact info and sometimes possible dates for the field trip. Some people still do not know what homeschooling is but they understand if I say “school field trip” so I usually word it that way. Leaving a message is kind of a pain because I was hoping to set everything up right then when I call. I am appreciative that they are willing to host the field trip but waiting for that return phone call can take weeks.
  • In my email or Word document that I have open I list: the date and time of the field trip or I if I haven’t gotten ahold of anyone I write TBD or “left message waiting to hear back” just so the other families know that it is in the works.
  • In the email to the homeschoolers I also ask that whoever is interested in coming to the field trip to let me know that they are interested.
  • As emails and texts come in from the homeschoolers interested, I start a list of people wanting to attend. Some field trips only allow 25 people so when I hit that number I don’t stop, I continue adding names till I get to 30 because I know some won’t show up on that day, happens every time. BUT the opposite can happen. I have had field trips where people just showed up without telling me and we were way over our number allowed. The business still let us have the field trip but had to split us into two groups and it was hard to reschedule with that bank again. So try and emphasize nicely that you need to know who will be attending.
  • When I have reached my limit for field trip participants I send out an email stating that that particular field trip is full.
  • I also set up an automatic calendar update to come through the group to remind them that the field trip is coming up.
  • The day before the field trip I call and remind the business that we will be coming.
  • The day of the field trip I try and be the first ones there. This is not always the case but I try. I find my contact person and let him/her know we are here.
  • I thank them at the end of the field trip for letting us come.
  • I try and remember to send a thank you note to them for allowing us to come. I am terrible at remembering this. Not sure why it is that way. I very much appreciate all they do/did but I totally forget. But you (and I) should send a thank you of some kind.

Here is a list of the field trips we have taken in the past just to get your thoughts going on what you could do:

  • Library
  • Statehouse
  • Transfer Station
  • Community Television Station
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant
  • Bank
  • State Police
  • Hospital
  • Buses
  • Natural Foods Co-op
  • Fire Department
  • Recycling
  • Apiary
  • Animal Shelter
  • Food Shelf
  • Farm
  • Dairy Farm
  • Stable
  • Post Office
  • Newspaper
  • Veterinarian
  • Town Office

Here are some pictures from our Fire Department Field Trip last week.

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Checking out the Trucks
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All Suited Up
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Listening to the Chief
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Our Group
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Explaining the Equipment
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Tech, Director, Artist, and two friends checking out the Fire Truck
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Listening Intently
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Fun on a Fire Truck
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What does a fireman wear and why.
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Everyone loved going in the fire trucks
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Collector checking out the Fire Truck
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Our Group
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Our Group again