College Admissions: Don’t Do This!

This is the cliff notes of our podcast with Hannah Tung past college admissions counselor and now a professor at a major Christian college.  If these cliff notes look interesting, listen to the podcast for the full details!

 

1. Unprofessional References- like Jesus. References are very important to the process and colleges take them seriously. This is not a time to do creative writing. Also, know that the people you write down on references will be very honest. Take them out for coffee before they write the reference you can communicate your desires and your heart for your future to your reference.

2. Only give what is asked for. If they ask for three references, give only three.

3. A big part of the application process comes after you submit your application. Visiting the campus, phone calls

4. Be professional and respectful in all circumstances.  Address the college staff by their full name and don’t be too familiar with the staff you have just met.

5. Dress appropriately.

6. Be open enough to ask your friends what they think of your teenage student to see if there are character flaws that may hurt his college admission interview. Treat a friend to Starbucks and ask them to do a mock interview with your student.

7. Essays matter. Both in content and grammar.

The biggest takeaway is that essays, academics, and life experiences all matter. Don’t pay attention to only one area, assuming that will get you into your 1st choice college.

 

 

 

Does Curriculum Matter For College Applications?

With Guest Speaker, Hannah Tung.  Hannah was first a college admissions officer and is now a professor at an accredited private college. She has experienced all sides of college admittance and student performance in college.

Our ultimate goal may not be to have our kids go to college, but it doesn’t hurt to think towards that goal until it becomes clear which direction your student will go.

  1. Unless you are going to an Ivy League college, the school doesn’t care what curriculum you used. All they care about is did you learn the subject to the entry level standard for college.
  2. If you plan on doing a heavy math degree, then yes, you should choose an upper-level math program in high school to help with that.
  3. It is more important to keep a record of your student’s subjects and transcripts the moment the kids are in 9th Start in 7th grade to practice and get it down by 9th grade. You can ask for a sample transcript from your local high school.
  4. Your school name doesn’t matter, so have fun with it! What matters is that you stay consistent with writing the name of your school on all forms and application. The one piece that connects all random documents together is the original application, with the school name on it.
  5. The professionalism of your transcript is much more important! The formatting and look of the transcript is important and you should do what you can to make it look as professional and “mainstream” as possible.
  6. It is evident when students have been given higher grades on their transcripts than what was the appropriate grade once the student is in class. Give your kid the correct and honest grades!
  7. Homeschoolers fail in being able to listen to a lecture, take notes, and write a paper on the lecture. Due to mom sitting across the dining table with a reading based program, it’s important to train your upper-level high schooler to be able to do lectures. Watch Ted Talks or listen to Podcasts and assign a paper on them. This will greatly help their college-level learning.
  8. Running start or Dual Enrollment programs are wonderful! Most universities look at transfer students differently. It really differs on the college and degree desired on if they prefer transfer students or not.
  9. Take your students to the schools they are interested in! It really helps to make decisions.
  10. Call the college to ask what they are looking for in good applicants. Colleges are happy to give you all sorts of information!

Super Practical Meal Planning

This is the quick notes in written form of our podcast on February Slumps! If you’d like to listen to the full talk, please find us in your podcast app!

First things first… don’t use papyrus or comic sans font. Hahaha! You have to listen to the podcast for more on that.

  1. Get an InstaPot. It seriously is worth all of the hype. It is a legit pressure cooker that saves so much time.
  2. Get Dollar Store clear plastic bins. Gather all the dry ingredients for dinner and label it “Monday”. So on Monday, you can grab the bin and know all the ingredients are right there. Also, the kids know that what is in the plastic bins are, without a doubt, not for snacking!
  3. Prep all fruits and veggies on Sunday night. Meghan dices and chops all veggies and puts them into Ziplock baggies. She can pull them out quickly on that night’s dinner, ready to be thrown into the InstaPot!
  4. Do a themed day meal: Taco Tuesdays, Spaghetti Saturdays, Meatless Mondays. This narrows the “what should we eat?” questions. Plus, kids love routine, especially if it’s a favorite meal, they don’t mind eating it every week.
  5. Stick to the grocery list and stick to your budget. It eliminates extra decisions made if you try to wiggle where there is no room. Keep it simple!
  6. Go shopping less but buying both fresh and frozen fruits and veggies. We eat through fresh produce first and then towards the end of the grocery shopping weeks we will eat meals using the frozen produce. This will allow going grocery shopping less often and still get proper foods.
  7. If you are new to meal planning, start with just one day a week of meal planning. Then work up to multiple days a week of meal plans. Start small and build on it over time so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or waste food if you go all out the first time meal planning. Start small and work from there.

 

What We Don’t Do During the “Regular” School Year

This is the quick notes in written form of our podcast on February Slumps! If you’d like to listen to the full talk, please find us in your podcast app!

There is SO much that we want to share with our children. How do we pick and choose what to teach them and when? Especially for those who go to Classical Conversations, it can be tough to figure out the supplemental “must dos” throughout the traditional school year.

We school 11 months out of the year. Meghan takes December off, I take July off. So with that kind of schedule, it lends itself to block scheduling. Here’s what we don’t do during the traditional school year (which means we do these things in the summer months).

  1. Not super heavy in Latin. Meghan will be using Sing Song Latin this summer Molly will be using Henle Prep Latin(https://www.henleprep.com/) with her 4th and 6th grader this summer.

 

  1. No real curriculum for 4 year olds or younger. But a great book to do some basic work is the Learning Bridge books from Costco that are usually for sale in the Spring and Summer months.

 

  1. Spelling/Penmanship I want the kids to focus on creative writing, proper MLA format, fact checking, and grammar. I push aside poor penmanship and spelling for the time being so we can focus on the things that a computer program can’t fix. Ha!

 

  1. In depth science projects. I keep those for the outdoor summer months when we can get a little messier or are able to study the earth and all the science that goes along with that! Science projects take a lot of time when done right. So we wait to allow for lots of time.  Check out Homeschoolsciencetools.com for super cool kits to dissect!

 

  1. Organized Sports. We love sports and being active, but it’s so time-consuming! But the kids do 2-hour ice skating once a week and rock climb indoors. In the summer the kids run hard, of course.

 

  1. We don’t go crazy with cleaning or allowing huge messes when it’s avoidable. My kids reuse their plates and cups all day long. That’s right, the breakfast plate gets rinsed off and reused for lunch. Or I use a paper towel for a “plate”. Less mess=less time cleaning.

 

  1. The kids make their own meal to save mom time. Having the kids making their own meal allows me time to get school prepped for whatever subject is coming up next. It totally saves time! Meghan’s kids make breakfast. Molly’s kids make their own lunch.

 

  1. Do our own grocery shopping. Click List saves alllll the time in the world! And money too 🙂

 

Should We Take A Summer Break?

This is the quick notes in written form of our podcast on February Slumps! If you’d like to listen to the full talk, please find us in your podcast app!

Both Meghan and I school year round. Her family takes December off, my family takes July off. Other than that, it is close to business as usual. There are many out there who question if going through the summer for school could benefit their family. This is our thoughts on it!

What is a summer break? You are playing in the pool and camping. You are reading a book and doing nothing else. No education is accomplished. Just having fun and no education is happening! That is what we call a “break”.

What’s close to a break, but more like active rest? When you are hiking, instead of just talking and hanging out, you take the time to point out leaf shapes, ask about what kind of dirt you are walking on, and what animals are indigenous to the area while singing the 50 states song.

What is continuing on with school? Your normal day or you do block scheduling. You’ve put off science during the standard school year so that you can study botany in great depth in the summer when everything is growing.

Answer these questions to decide if schooling through the summer is right for your family. 

  1. What’s the weather like? Do you live in the south where the summers can be brutal? Then do school in the summer so you can enjoy your mild winters! Or vice versa for those Midwestern states!
  2. Have you honestly completed the required work by legal state standards? Each state is different in their homeschooling laws. Have you covered all the material the state has set out for you?
  3. Have your kids completed the work you and your spouse set out to accomplish? If you know in your heart of hearts that you’ve had a little too much fun at the park this Spring and didn’t complete the work you should have; then keep working!  When we are honest with ourselves, it doesn’t take another person or a published checklist to know if we have completed an appropriate amount of school. Just like some kids need to take summer school in the public education system, we too may need to work through the summer if life got in the way of school this year.

We aren’t being too academic. We are training our children to have a great work ethic.

  1. Is it worth the routine upheaval? You know if your kid will benefit from the break, then great! But if September is a battleground due to months of a break and the schedule upheaval that comes with it then maybe a break may not be worth the stress of retraining the routine.

 

 

 

The February Slumps

This is the quick notes in written form of our podcast on February Slumps! If you’d like to listen to the full talk, please find us in your podcast app!

It seems that every February there arises a general sentiment among homeschool moms: “UGH!” That’s about the best way to describe it. Ha! We’ve reached the 100 days of school mark (if you are counting… which Meghan and I don’t). It has been winter for months and Spring seems like it will never come. We all sit around in our couch, hot cup of coffee in hand, and beg for Jesus to miraculously take the cold away.  But this is where us mamas get to demonstrate to our kids that, we too, can rise above our feelings and get the job done. It is virtue training at its finest.

Here are some quick tips on how to overcome those February blues!

1. Take joy in the progress made! Take a moment or go on a date night with your husband to discuss and write a list of all the knowledge your kids know that they didn’t know in September. I know for me, it is seeing my kids recite the multiplication table, all of the main geographical parts of Africa, what in the world an animal cell is, committing to memory Exodus 20,  and how to play more advanced songs on the piano. And that’s just a few of the things.  WOW! We’ve accomplished a lot in these short month.

2. If you are honestly getting burnt out, take a subject off of your plate. Come back to that subject in June after you’ve completed the other major portion of your school. If you go from June-September with that one subject, that’s three whole months immersed in one subject and you will be caught up by next school year. We all have 1 hour a day in the summer months that we can dedicate to study.

3. If you feel pressure due to the amount of work you have left to finish school, feel free to not make yourself finish school by June 1st. There are more families than you know that do year-round school to allow for life to happen throughout the year.

4. If you honestly DON’T get burnt out mid-school year, that’s totally ok too! Don’t feel like you “aren’t doing enough” just because you aren’t as burnt out as others. It’s ok to feel just fine about where you are at in your school year.

5. Create an education goal for mid-April. Set this mini goal to keep your head in the game and to stop thinking about the far off June date. One day at a time. One week at a time. And soon enough it will be June!

6. Take a break alone! Take an hour, day, weekend… whatever you can manage to restore your soul to continue to lead your children well.

Let us know your thoughts on the mid-school year slumps!! What ideas do you have to help get to Spring?