Originally Sent: 1/8/2015
January 8, 2015
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Meet Timothy and Barnabas (AKA Carol and Diane)!
Happy New Year! With the Christmas decorations stored away, your houses may seem strangely bare. But they will soon be cluttered again with schoolbooks and supplies that were stowed away for company’s sake! In January, you begin the serious work of homeschooling through the winter months. When the weather outside is hostile and the temperatures plummet, the hum of homeschooling within a warm home seems even more precious and inviting.
Few jobs have as many perks as homeschooling. The environment is friendly. Our goals are clear. The commute is easy. More importantly, you have the opportunity to make a huge investment in the lives of your dear teens. Yet compared to public or private school teachers, homeschooling parents often lack a supportive staff, teacher development opportunities, conversations with colleagues, departmental meetings, guidance counselor resources, and prayerful encouragement. So as you pick up the lesson plans and resurrect homeschool routines in 2015, we want to remind you that HSLDA offers encouragement and mentoring help to parents of teens.
“I hope to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” (Phil. 2:20)
HSLDA members have ready access to a supportive staff, so allow us to introduce ourselves!
Having worked with HSLDA for nearly ten years and being one of the original developers of the Homeschooling Thru High School program, Diane Kummer has a background in banking and taught high school math classes for homeschoolers. Using her organizational skills, Diane headed a 200-family homeschooling support group in Maryland that provided oversight and evaluation reviews as well as transcripts and high school planning for parents of teens.
Joining HSLDA staff in June 2014, Carol Becker brings a passion for developing writing skills, encouraging a love of science, and writing her own curriculum. Years of teaching homeschooled students and tutoring public school students helps her work with parents of high schoolers.
Most importantly, both of us homeschooled our children from kindergarten through high school. We relate to the joys and delight of spending loads of time with our teens, but we also remember long, tiring days, disappointments, and worries as we prepared them for adulthood. The Lord was ever present, but there were days when we struggled to believe and trust in His ways. When you call or email us, you won’t be communicating with perfect former homeschool moms. Rather, we’ll share honestly from our experiences—including our mistakes and successes.
In addition to high school consultants, HSLDA employs four special needs consultants: Faith Berens, Krisa Winn, Joyce Blankenship, and Carol Brown. These ladies have been trained in special needs and enjoy helping parents who teach struggling learners. If you are teaching toddlers to tweens, Vicki Bentley, HSLDA’s early years consultant, is available to provide answers to your questions from her many years of experience.
Teacher Development Opportunities
Both of us travel around the country to speak at homeschool conferences and one-day teacher training symposiums. Because HSLDA workshops are well attended, we work hard to give attendees great advice for planning the high school years. However, the best advice takes into consideration your unique family situation, individual personalities, homeschooling curriculum, and your teen’s maturity level.
During our travels, we love conversing with homeschoolers and meeting HSLDA members. Your comments, questions, and conversations are important to us and keep us in tune with the homeschooling symphony as we seek to address pertinent issues in published articles. We write 12 free monthly electronic newsletters, bi-monthly articles for the Homeschool Enrichment Magazine, and periodic homeschool conference and HSLDA Court Report articles. We also keep the Homeschooling Thru High School website current by frequently adding new resources.
Conversations with Colleagues
Conversations with colleagues are a tangible benefit for HSLDA members. Because the individual touch is far superior to general guidelines, take the initiative to call and discuss with us your homeschooling dynamics, curriculum issues, educational questions, alternate teaching methods, and creative approaches. We trust and respect your insight into your teen’s character, abilities, and maturity as well as your assessment of your homeschool situation. We pray that we will mentor with compassion and wisdom. Being very close to a problem tends to impair our peripheral vision, and some issues may make us nearsighted. At times, it may help to search out our opinion to receive reassurance. We would love to come alongside you and humbly “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2)
In speaking with hundreds of families each month, we are constantly impressed by how hard homeschooling parents strive to do the right thing for their children and often at great personal cost. We won’t suggest a one-size-fits-all formula, and there is no clock ticking on your phone call. Instead, consider us a supportive sounding board for your ideas. Often a colleague’s perspective is exactly what a homeschooling parent needs to renew the creative juices.
We treasure phone calls from veteran homeschoolers. These seasoned parents truly understand the uniqueness of each child, and often the curriculum that worked so wonderfully for siblings may no longer be the best choice for the current teen. With an enterprising spirit, these parents have a firm faith in God’s ability to provide wise answers to honest questions, and our suggestions may help as they sort through options.
Frequently, we receive calls from courageous parents who have just pulled teens out of the public schools. With a myriad of questions about curriculum, resources, and the college application process, they also want to homeschool in ways much different than the public school model. They have a refreshingly firm conviction about their homeschool decision. Some must first restore a teen’s love of learning, which withered in the public system. Others need to dream with their teens because without vision we all flounder.
Next we hear from parents who wonder if they’re up to the challenge of teaching their soon-to-be high schoolers. These gutsy parents seek to benefit from our experiences, and the exchange of ideas is constructive. Lastly, we hear from parents walking through their first college-application process, and they have time-sensitive questions about transcripts, the Common Application, extracurricular activities, academic profile, and so on. We consider it a privilege to help parents as they honor and professionally showcase their teens’ academic record!
HSLDA members can benefit from departmental discussions. All curricula and online courses sound amazing on the websites, but it can be challenging to find the “right” one. Ideally, we seek to help parents understand how a preferred teaching method and set of organizational skills may not mix well with their teen’s budding independence yet flagging maturity level. Mismatches can have serious consequences. Once you have purchased curriculum, unexpected issues may arise and make you question your decisions. When this happens, let’s discuss some alternate ways to use this curriculum with your teen.
Grading is another intimidating area in which parents may benefit from a departmental discussion with us. Let’s consider options to tame the grading load and make your preparation time more productive. Let’s consider ways to no longer agonize over grading homework, exams, lab reports, quizzes, papers, reports, summaries, and projects. Let’s toss around ideas to develop a record keeping mechanism that works for you and a grading percentage for each course to simplify calculating those final grades.
HSLDA receives product reviews and unsolicited information about new curricula and supplementary resources from our members. After researching these materials, we recommend those products we feel will best serve our members. We also blog about these new products and teaching tips. Because we do not sell curriculum, our recommendations have no economic bias or commercial ties. We diligently guard what we place on our website because we want our members to trust our recommendations.
Guidance Counselor Resources
Every high school has a guidance counselor office that provides academic and post-high school planning. One of our more popular HSLDA member services is reviewing high school transcripts. We know what to look for and can suggest ways to better represent your teen’s high school record. We can show you how to calculate grade point averages (GPA), or we can check your GPA figures (both yearly and cumulative). We are truly humbled by the trust our members show when they send us transcripts for review.
We also track information about driver’s education and career/aptitude testing. We can explain how to register your teen for the PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP, and CLEP. Some parents are mystified by SAT Subject tests, but we can clarify and give suggestions on the best time to take one. Our special needs consultants can walk you through the paperwork to apply for PSAT, SAT or ACT testing accommodations. We are not intimidated by NCAA forms and can direct you to the NCAA homeschool policy and checklists.
Is your teen applying to a service academy or enlisting in the military? Or are they interested in becoming: a lawyer or police officer, veterinarian or pet groomer, astronomer or surveyor, phlebotomist or beautician, artist or entrepreneur, writer or recording artist, reporter or politician? Working with a high school consultant to develop a high school plan or discuss career testing options is one of the many advantages of being an HSLDA member.
Barnabas, the son of encouragement, found the right teacher for the new Antioch church.
“When [Barnabas] came and saw the grace of God, he was glad and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith … So Barnabas … brought [Saul] to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people.” (Acts 11:23-26)
We pray that God has brought each one of you either a Timothy or Barnabas into your life. If you have a need, please seek us out because we have prayed that we can be the one to encourage you in this mighty endeavor. Dear parents, you are not alone!
Gearing up for a new year and resting in the Lord’s encouragement,
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
"Homeschooling Thru Highschool" is a newsletter of the Home School Legal Defense Association. All rights reserved. For more information on Homeschooling Thru Highschool or the Home School Legal Defense Association please contact us at:
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