Now that we are getting comfortable homeschooling during the high
school years, we are faced with college preparation issues--AP
classes, dual enrollment, scholarship applications, and SAT exams.
Yikes! Make room for Homeschooled and Headed for College.
This hefty 400-page book covers it all and then some.
Having negotiated two children through the high school to college
process, author Denise Boiko is well qualified to write this book,
which she did with much help from her daughter. Although written
with a Christian mindset, the book is primarily concerned with
segueing from high school to college, specifically as it pertains
to homeschooling families.
The book actually begins with recommendations for teaching junior
high students in preparation for the college years. The author
then outlines the high school student's coursework plan for all
four years, laying out a schedule and course description for both
high achievers and the average high schooler. Even if you are comfortable
with this part of the journey, this section is bursting with useful
tips for credits, records, and transcripts.
After developing a four-year plan and deciding which classes your
high schooler will take during the high school years, how do you
go about choosing curriculum? Denise Boiko presents options for
many styles of homeschooling--more than I knew were available.
This exhaustive chapter reads like a brainstorming session and
will get your creative juices running as you and your student design
courses to meet your specific needs and desires. Sample four-year
schedules are included.
The author explains the "five phase" process of a high school
course: choosing, planning, making lists and logs, learning, and
documenting. Much of this will be tailored by you and your student
according to your state's homeschooling requirements, but the organization
that is suggested and exemplified is beneficial to see.
Three chapters cover the paperwork associated with homeschooling:
grading, record keeping, and the high school transcript. Here you
will find various ways of evaluating different subjects, an essay
grading rubric, and grading FAQs. The author details a three-folder
method of organizing paperwork for your homeschool and also explains
how to calculate GPA. Sample transcripts are provided, with guidelines
for every segment.
The whys and hows of honors and AP classes (as well as the pros
and cons of dual enrollment at a community college) are thoroughly
covered. For those who decide to take the community college route,
an entire chapter outlines the best way to do that.
What the high schooler does outside of school matters as well.
Extracurricular activities, jobs, and leadership opportunities
for homeschoolers are covered in two chapters. One of the most
practical sections includes a schedule of what you and your student
should be concentrating on during each year of high school in the
areas of academics, testing, record keeping, extracurricular activities,
college hunting, recommendation letters, essays, spirituality,
life skills, and finances.
The author provides information on how to go about finding a good
college match, listing many characteristics of colleges to watch
for and how to ascertain this information. A full chapter is devoted
to the SAT and ACT exams: how to prepare, suggested resources,
and when to take the exam. SAT subject tests, the PSAT/NMSQT, and
other tests are also defined and explained. Even the college application
process is fully covered, including the essay, letters of recommendation,
and admissions. The money chapter has a financial aid glossary,
helpful websites, types of aid available (including some prudent
cautions about loans), sources of financial aid, and scholarships.
The last section of the book, entitled "Thriving, Not Just Surviving - And
Equipping Your Students for the Real World," covers internships,
career choice, survival tips for parents (including a topical prayer
list based on the fruits of the Spirit to help you pray for your
child), time management skills for busy parents, college social
life concerns, stress management for students, a focus on your
last summer together, and letting go gracefully.
You can tell Denise Boiko wants others to benefit from her family's
experiences and knowledge. There is even an appendix that lists
chapter-by-chapter recommended resources, as well as a thorough
index to help you locate just what you need. I believe the best
way to use this book is with your student. Although much of the
book is addressed to the parent, many sections are written directly
to the homeschooler. This book is a must if you are homeschooling
your high schooler who is, as the titles says, "headed for college." We
found it an empowering and encouraging resource. It may very well
be the most important college prep book you buy.