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Whine!! I didn't sign up to be guidance counselor!

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My oldest will be entering high school age next year. When we started homeschooling 11 years ago with my 3yo and 1yo, we jumped in with both feet, bought the whole lifestyle, and planned to homeschool until college. Until now, I never realized that I have to be teacher, parent of a teen (roll eyes), and GUIDANCE COUNSELOR. I have to plan the 4 years of high school to prep my child for college. I thought it would be easier since my oldest knows exactly what he wants to do. IT IS NOT so easy (whine, whine.) I just spent 2 more hours today researching and I just can't wrap my head around what to do for high school, in what order, what colleges want, what kind of volunteer programs to sign up for and HOW TO PAY FOR IT ALL!


Ds is the absent minded professor who will willingly work if someone else lines up the job for him and he actually does not have to talk to strangers. He shudders in fear at having to actually talk to people about doing their lawns. He turned down a paying job at the karate studio, not because he didn't want to teach, but he was terrified at the prospect of answering the phones and having to greet people at the door. He is the poster child for the quirky "unsocialized" homeschooler - except that he is way more socially adept than I was at his age and I went to school. My mom had to line up my babysitting jobs and had to drag me by my hair to the mall to make me apply for a job. (She told me that if I didn't apply, I would have to make my own way home - about 5 miles. )


Talk me down from the ledge, folks!!

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... sign up to be a guidance counselor that is. The thing is that you are in good company here with the Well Trained (Losing Your) Mind Guidance Counselor Association.


My advice (my eldest is a rising senior so I certainly cannot claim a successful transition from homeschool to college) is to stay calm, read everything you can about homeschooling high school, and read everything you can about the college application process.


A few things that I've found valuable:


this site (thank you, Susan Wise Bauer)


Yahoo groups (particularly http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschool2college/





and, if you're religiously conservative,



the website Admissions Advice which is not a homeschooling site



the book Homeschooling High School: Planning Ahead for College by Jeanne Gowen Dennis. See: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=2_kIGH2w6Z0C&dq=gowen+dennis+homeschooling&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=e84WC9vUcY&sig=rQl47yFwsQH4zmGZ0Em1xVPknZM




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the Well Trained (Losing Your) Mind Guidance Counselor Association.


Ooh! I love that Kareni! WTLYM Association. So that's what's been happening! I'm afraid every year I impart some of my grey matter to my dc and permanently lose it in the transfer. :001_smile:


And to the OP, you can do it. Looking from where you are to college entrance seems daunting. It still does at times for me. What helped me was to start at the end and work my way back to 9th grade. In other words, look at what colleges want to see, hs grad requirements for your state (if it applies) and any scholarship requirements (we have a state program here). Then loosely map out the 4 high school years. The key is *loosely* as courses may come up which you hadn't planned for, a science may be available the next year but not this year, writing may need extra emphasis in a particular year, etc. But if you know where you are headed, you can fill in as the years progress.


Talk to others in your area that have home educated at least one to college. Take them to lunch and ask all your questions. You shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel completely. In fact, folks here have been *very* generous to share course descriptions, sample transcripts and solid advice.


You will have a learning curve. But, you did it when you were starting this whole adventure and, while it seems to count so much more now, it's really just buildling on the foundation that you've laid for these many years.


Many blessings. Welcome to the hs board!


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To the impressive list of yahoo groups (I have been or currently ama member of ALL of those listed!) I would like to add one more source of info --




The parents who post on it are a VERY uptight bunch, but it is FULL of information. Be selective about where you poke and how much you let the people there influence your thinking -- but it is a goldmine of information.

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Sorry, but I just had to use your name in the title line! And I love how your pic doesn't look like a "dirty Ethel" at all.


As far as the guidance counselor goes, I think it's my favorite part. Yeah, there's a lot of grunt work involved, but it's always rather startling to speak to my friends who have publicly schooled kids in high school. The parents know so little of what's going on or what their kids need to or should be doing (on average, of course). I think I even know more about stuff than our local high school counselor, though I believe he was hired as a coach and got the counselor job to boot. But all the kids at that school are depending on this guy to know something and help them get where they want to go!?! I really love knowing exactly what my kids are doing and when, how they need to prepare for X,Y,Z, and all those things. Not that there's any great secret there, or anything too difficult. But I like being in charge of all that, and helping my kids learn to be in charge of themselves and their education. I think we all "own it" a little more that way. Can't say, "But my counselor didn't tell me I needed that...."


Still, I do hear what you're saying. It can be a little scary when you begin to think in terms of your child's college/future. But get off the ledge! You can handle it if I can!

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I mentioned this book before: What High Schools Don't Tell You. Caveat: it made me ready to jump from the edge. However, based on your description, I would have your soon-to-be-high schooler read it (I'm having mine read it over the summer). Might make for more motivation on summers, jobs, etc.


I don't think everyone does anywhere near what the author recommends. However, the kids who get their pick of colleges DO. It's not for everyone, but it outlines what the ultimate program is. By the time you read the book, I guarantee you will know WAY MORE than almost any high school counselor. Better to think this through before freshman year than in the middle of senior year. YMMV


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Guest sebastian

I agree with all of the advice above (especially collegeconfidential.com - you will learn a lot). Here's another one - collegeboard.com (although I loathe ETS!). This is where you register for SAT and can get test prep info and info on colleges and college prep. There's a section specifically for home schoolers, too. If your child has a school in mind already, then enter it on the collegeboard search, and a profile of the school will pop up. Look at the high school preparation requirements as a guideline - I would do them as a minimum. I would consider "recommended" prepartion as "required" also. If your child is clueless about future colleges, then pick a few from different categories - state school (large & small), privates (in and out of state), liberal art colleges and universities, etc. In my experience, most schools want to see the basics - math, English, history and science - every year. I would strive for a minimum of two science lab courses and two years of a foreign language. Of course, the more competitive the college, the more language and labs courses you should have. It would help the colleges evaluate your child (and validate "mom" grades) if they took some dual-enrollment courses or AP courses. Strive for the most rigorous courses your child can take. If they are aiming for highly competitive colleges, then make sure they have some extracurricular activities that they feel passionate about (music, drama, sports, etc.), try to get some leadership positions, volunteer or have a paying job, and enter competitions (local and national) if they excell in some area. They will need at least two other people for recommendations (church leader, cc instructor, coach) etc. so make sure they are out there in the community. Other sites with general college prep info are Spark Notes and Princeton Review.

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I was just cleaning my bookshelves because there will be a homeschool booksale in our area in a few weeks. I bumped in to LOTS of "guidance counselor" - type books. I had no idea I had so many! (The sad thing is that I have discarded a number along the way -- these are the ones I recommend!)


Home-Designed High School

The High School Handbook

The Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts

Homeschoolers' College Admission Handbook

Reading Lists for College-Bound Students

A Is for Admission

Acing the College Application

Looking Beyond the Ivy League

Colleges That CHange Lives

Get a Jump

What Colleges Don't Tell You

Choosing the Right College

All-American Colleges


I guess I can open up a guidance department in my house!

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Yes, I am starting the guidance counselor journey too. My children are younger, but I am glad that I am starting this learning curve now because one will probably be engineering-bound. Yikes! I have a lot to learn over the middle-school years. Thanks for posting--the replies have been very helpful to me as well.

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Well Trained (Losing Your) Mind Guidance Counselor Association. I like it.


My oldest has applied to and been accepted at 5 colleges and still hasn't made up his mind about where to go. Somebody come over and be his counselor for a few days please.


The counselor part is much harder for me than the teacher part.


The websites and books that have been recommended to you are all great. Sign up, read, don't scare yourself. It is doable. Do your future self a big favor and plan to start visiting at least local colleges the summer before the junior year. My ds is having trouble visualizing what kind of school he wants to go to - so far every one we have visited has been crossed off his list.


It will all be okay.

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The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School by David and Laurie Callihan. David and Laurie homeschooled their five dc (who were all six years apart!) here in NY; they all graduated and went on to college.



Most of their dc are married now; last I knew one was the admissions person for the Focus on the Family Institute.


Laurie wrote the REA test prep book for the CLEP Biology test.


David and Laurie have their own website. They live in FL now, where they teach 8th grade math and science respectively in a ps! They sometimes speak at homeschool conventions, too. :-)



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Thanks for all your help and advice. I am down from my PMS-induced ledge and ready to take on the challenge for one more day. I was getting freaked out because my son wants to be a scientist and I just don't have access to good science labs here. I do, however, want to make sure that ds has had rigorous lab work before college. I had thought I was going to do Teaching Company Chemistry this summer and enroll him at the CC for a lab, then college chemistry. But driving him to the CC was going to put a big damper on my schedule for the activities for the other 2 kids as well as interfere with him taking an online Latin class through Regina Coeli. After sort of plotting out the 4 years, I realized that he will be able to take 4 semesters of science at the CC before he graduates, so I was getting myself in a tither over nothing (at least on that subject).


Now the question is, do I pay the big bucks for a distance learning honors chem class through Northwestern's Learning Links, do I try to do this at home, or do I just have him do Physics at the local co op? The do this at home option isn't a great one because I am not the most structured person and I have 2 other kids to work with, so it is unlikely that we will finish. Northwestern's option could be a good one, but it will cost $$ and the lab will be fairly limited to what we can do at home. The co op's classes have not impressed me as being rigorous.


Now, on to my next panic-inducing subject!

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Um. Isn't it your kids' responsibility to research their future college choices? It's their life, after all.

Maybe we do things differently over here, but generally Australian parents allow themselves to be dragged along to Open Days at the unis, and that's about it. They help research, but don't take responsibility for it!


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So, are you saying that your children choose their academic path by themselves? That they make the decisions about their future at 14? I just have a hard time with the concept that a 14 year old has the experience and foresight to know what they need for the next 4 years so that they can have options for the next 12. If it is so hard for me, someone who went to high school and college, how can I expect a 14 year old to be able to do it himself? I expect him to help, but I can't provide the guidance if I haven't a clue, myself.

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