18 Tips for Maximizing Homeschool Conventions

Spring and summer generally offer more opportunities to go to a home educator's conference or convention. You can spend a good bit of time and money at these events. When you prepare ahead of time you can minimize wasted time and money. Here are my top 18 tips for maximizing these opportunities:

1. As early as January, research the events that are within reach - time, money and geography wise.

2. Once you have your list of possible events, determine if you want to plan on going to one or more of these events.

3. Make a list of your goals for going - Sample goals:

Homeschoolers and College: Private or Public University?

Your student may be interested in both the local public university and the expensive private one across the country -- which one is actually cheaper?! When it comes to comparing colleges, it's important to remember that the financial differences between attending a private school and a public school are negligible. Most public schools are tied to their state's money, and because of the current economic crisis, the cost of public university is going up while the number of scholarships is going down. Meanwhile, many private schools are doing fairly well and tend to have huge scholarships. Even though their sticker price may be overwhelmingly large, the amount that students actually pay to attend is significantly smaller.

When comparing colleges, use reference books like the US News and World Report College Guide to determine real costs. After you've decided which colleges you think you might want to visit, get out the college guide and look at each college. Start by looking up the average SAT score for each college.

How to Write Really Great College Application Ess`ys for Homeschool Success

One of the keys to winning big scholarships is to write really great application essays. The problem with application essays is that they have to be technically perfect, self-reflective essays. I know that can be a problem! I've had teenagers, and I know that "technically perfect" is a very difficult thing to get your children to do in an essay. I also had boys, and I know that self-reflection for boys is extremely difficult. Technically perfect, self-reflective essays are a difficult thing that can take a lot of time. Therefore, make sure that you have lots of time to get these essays done.

One way to do this is to have your child begin practicing their application essays when they are a junior, even as the basis for their junior year English program. When they apply to college, they will have a variety of essays to draw from. If you have a senior, I encourage you to hit the ground running the first day of senior year. Make sure their first writing assignment is a college application essay. Even if they haven't decided what colleges they want to apply to, grab a college essay topic and have your child write on it.

A Better Way to Homeschool: Using Notebooking To Add Creativity and Depth To Your Lessons

As a homeschooler, you have total freedom to express yourself and what you are learning in a way that suits your learning style and personality. With many, many, many curriculums to choose from, it is understandable to see why many homeschoolers are falling into the worksheet mentality.

Worksheets are easy to assign. Worksheets are either done or incomplete. Many parents enjoy the boundaries offered by a worksheet; but is that the best for your child?

Ask yourself these questions:

    Is the assignment my child is working on destined for the trash can?
    Will my child understand the topic better by completing this assignment?
    Is my child excited to finish the task at hand?
    Does my child look for ways to share this assignment with others? Are they proud of their work?