Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homeschool Records - My Adventure in Creating Homeschool Records

One of the things that I found most concerning when I was getting ready to homeschool high school was how to do course descriptions. I am not an English major, I am a nurse. I know a lot about Math and Science and not so much about writing. I was talking to people and I got the impression that you have to have some sort of Masters degree in education in order to write a course description.

I had never seen a homeschool course description and I did not know what it looked like. I just knew I was supposed to do it but I did not know how. I handled that stress the way I usually do - I researched. Around the time my children were about 6th grade, I started doing research. Every time I went to a convention to buy curriculum for my children, I also bought a book for myself about how to homeschool high school.

In all of my research I found out that nobody agreed on how to do course descriptions. That was really concerning to me. They were using terms like voice, person, tense, verb tense. I had not thought about these types of things since high school. Because of this, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I only knew that course descriptions were in places like college catalogs and online, and that they looked scary. I realized that I had better take my research to the next level so I asked the real authorities.

The real authorities were homeschooling moms who were older than me, who had done the job, gotten their children into colleges, and had gotten good scholarships. I asked them how they made their homeschool records.

Then, I talked to colleges. Every time I went to a college, whether it was for a college fair or a visit, I always asked them what they wanted to see in school records. I found the whole body of knowledge that I got from this research very interesting.

One of the things that I found was that colleges really just wanted information. One time we were visiting a college and I gave them a one-page description of an English course that I had done and I showed it to the admissions person. I told them that I have this kind of information for all of the classes that we had done in our homeschool. I asked if this was too much or too little, and if it was the information that they wanted and how they wanted it.

It was interesting because this college admissions person said that she loved it and it was exactly what she wanted. She told me that she wished all the public school kids had to write course descriptions exactly like it. She was so frustrated with the state of public education because kids would come to college and their transcript would say English 1,2,3,4 but really could not read and write. She had a hard time understanding how it could say one thing on their transcript and yet they are not working at that level. She had no idea what they were teaching them in high school English and she wished that she had this quality of information from all the kids that applied, not just from homeschoolers.

I found that encouraging on so many different levels. It was nice to know that we stacked up quite well against our peers. But it really said to me that more records were better and to really give them what they wanted.