Another Homeschooler Hits The News For Being Pro-Life

This time, it’s a 19-year-old Canadian politician

All things considered, this is nothing short of astounding.

A 19-year-old homeschool graduate and pro-life advocate won a provincial by-election by a landslide Thursday night, becoming the youngest Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario history. – Life Site News

It is sad to say this, but generally, when I see “homeschool” or “homeschooler” in a headline, I assume it isn’t a good thing. I have mixed feelings about this one.

There is no doubt that Sam Oosterhoff is furthering the stereotype that all homeschoolers are conservative Christians. Of course, as a secular homeschooler, I don’t like this. I would prefer for people not to judge me on my homeschooling because every media hit with homeschooling revolves around conservative Christians.

Nevertheless, I do enjoy seeing ‘proof’ that homeschoolers are successful and competent people. I will respect his beliefs although I strongly disagree with some of them.

As far as Canadian politics? Well… I am thoroughly uneducated and won’t even comment. But, it seems like the campaign was… a normal political campaign :D.

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Secular Homeschool Blogging – Rebirth of Rebel Homeschool

Hello everyone! Several years ago when this blog was highly active it was easily one of the best secular homeschooling blogs on the internet.

This blog has just recently changed hands.

Older blog posts

penAll of the content you see before this post is the ‘original.’ We love it. It feels like a strong foundation that we can build upon. And its all still so relevant and helpful.

Our Mission, Our Purpose

It would have been an absolute shame to have let this blog fizzle away into the forgotten corners of the internet. So, we’re rebuilding. What’s our goal? Our ‘mission statement?’ To provide for the secular homeschool community and to nurture its growth. We will provide fresh secular content, resources, reviews, poetry, philosophies, and stories.

There is a clear growing trend — more and more families are homeschooling for non-secular reasons. We are a group of such families. This blog will not be a single voice. This blog will be the voice of several homeschoolers. So if you’re an avid blog reader, and you read blogs to invest in the author’s narrative as well as her (or his) content, pay attention to what account the post is coming from. 🙂 Rebel is our community voice.

Maybe this blog will never re-acquire a following. Or, maybe it will. While our goal in service is to provide, we have personal motives as well. Ultimately, blogging is about discipline. Disciplined blogging allows us to look back into the past. Reference resources that we would rather not bookmark. Recall a technique. Journal our progress. Document our work. It is our own little world, a haven of sorts.

Moving Forward

What is our plan moving forward? As we stated a few sentences ago, blogs are an excellent way of documenting what has been done. We’re now going to document what will be done. …we hope.

  • A theme re-design

Right now, we’re using the default WordPress theme. We want to at least spice things up, if not transfer to a new theme

  • Re-categorize

Moving forward, its nice to be organized. There might be some old posts that could me rearranged. And setting up for the future — lets start out organized.

  • Start posting about niche curriculum opportunities

Two of our parents are primarily interested in sharing some alternative ‘curriculum.’

  • Start posting at least 3 times per week

With several homeschool parents, this shouldn’t be too hard. Right?

Secular Homeschool Blogs

If you run a secular homeschool blog, reach out to us. We would love to connect and spread the knowledge. There are, of course, some blogs that some of us already follow. Some of us will be actively participating in the comments.

That’s all for today. It feels good to sort of ‘clean the slate’ and get ready to start.

Why You Should Teach Your Kids Handwriting

I’ve had it in my head for some time to do a post about handwriting. This post, How and Why to Improve Your Cursive Penmanship, from The Art of Manliness, covers the subject very well.  The Art of Manliness has a lot of high quality content. I recommend it even if you don’t identify as “man”.

Our homeschool journey with hand writing began with my mother. As a profoundly left-handed person in an era that believed that left-handedness was a weakness to overcome, she still somehow managed to acquire a most beautiful Spencerian writing style. She was grimly proud of this accomplishment, and had even won a penmanship award before she was forced to leave school at the end of eighth grade to help support her family. The teachers, she said, would hit her hands with wooden rulers in an attempt to force her to write right-handed. Even with physical pain and shame as motivators, she was unable to make the switch.

When I was born, she vowed never to let anyone attempt to force me out of being left-handed. I’m one of those people who can learn to do things with either hand without being truly ambidextrous. I write left-handed because of my mother’s fierce protectiveness, and do a bunch of other things right-handed. I took my mother’s life-lessons to heart. I let my kids be whatever hand they were wired to be, and taught penmanship even though it was out of style by the time we started homeschooling.

Is teaching penmanship a waste of time?

Many people, including other homeschoolers, thought that teaching penmanship, especially cursive, was an insane waste of time. A lot of people who went to school when penmanship was still taught have memories similar to my mother’s, even if they weren’t left-handed. Now that I have one kid in college and one kid working on her last year and a half of high school, I can say for certain that penmanship was not at all a waste of time, nor does it have to be painful. Though neither of my kids took after their maternal grandmother and her award-winning handwriting, both of them can write decently. They are the envy of their friends. It turns out that in this future of robot maids (Roomba, I Love You!) and computerized everything, decent handwriting is still necessary and in some circles, considered quite posh.

We got through handwriting lessons with a minimum of tears and a regular application of practice. We used Zaner Bloser books. After we finished those, I had each kid pick out a style of calligraphy to learn for fun. The important thing in a homeschool handwriting curriculum is to treat handwriting as an art, not a punishment. Like all art, you don’t learn it in an afternoon, but when you do start to master it, the feeling of accomplishment is huge!

Secular Homeschool College Acceptance

Homeschooling doesn’t last forever. The day will eventually come when students either move on to a college or start job hunting. Recently it has become much easier to be a homeschool student and make the transition to college. In the past, homeschoolers were often met with difficulties when they attempted to apply or gain admission to many universities. In some scenarios the tables have actually turned and homeschoolers have easier admissions. Thanks to their home education, many homeschoolers are able to dual-enroll during high school and enter college with a handful of credits. Sometimes a homeschool student will have even finished an entire AA degree when they graduate from high school.

What Colleges and Universities Accept Homeschool Students?

A better question might be, “Which colleges don’t accept homeschooled students.” More often than not, whatever college or university you or your child is interested in attending accepts homeschool students. There is a possibility they even prioritize them. Colleges like Amherst report that homeschooler’s usually have very thick folders — in a good way — and are often innovators who have lots to offer.

Some colleges like Dartmouth brag that their homeschooled applicants usually have “outstanding” applications. Homeschooling gives these students an advantage because they have received “individualized instruction.”

All homeschool diplomas are ‘official’ as long as they are within the compliance requirements and records of the local county’s school district. However, some college admissions do not even require a high school transcript.

Colleges often seek diversification

Some universities have diversity requirements and readily welcome homeschoolers. Homeschool students only comprise a small fraction of the total applicants. This helps homeschool applications stick out even if the university is not specifically looking to meet a diversification quota.

Tips for Homeschool College Applications

When colleges look at homeschool applicants they rely on materials that help justify a ‘lack of high school grades.’ Colleges love to see portfolios of student work, well written personal essays, personal recommendations, and extra curricular activities.

“Any way a student can demonstrate her or his interests or activities outside of the classroom will help.”

Just like any student, homeschoolers should usually provide colleges with SAT or ACT test scores. SAT Subject Tests are also very useful to colleges. Universities also want to know about high school curriculum including foreign language, science, social sciences, math, etc. Every school is different — some prestigious schools will even accept anyone who has a good enough SAT/ACT score.

One of the best ways to prove yourself to a university is by having early college classes or SAT subject tests under your belt because both of these can count as credit hours for the institution that is reading your folder.

The more challenging extracurricular activities that homeschool applicants can include, the better. This is especially important when applicants are hoping to qualify for scholarships.

Always, always do some research on the university’s website before applying. They will almost always specify if there are additional loops that homeschoolers need to hop through. Some colleges even have special pages purely devoted to helping out home educated students.

Why Colleges Like Homeschoolers

Colleges have reported that homeschools are often more mature than  their public school peers. And many colleges believe homeschoolers are just as well socialized. [source]

Lots of homeschoolers enter into college with more credit than their peers. This is usually because homeschooling offers more opportunities than mainstream education for early college enrollment.

Statistically, homeschooled students often do better than their peers on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Their GPAs are consistently higher. However, GPAs are quite subjective even among public school applicants.

Statistically, homeschooled students are also more likely to graduate college! 66% of homeschool students graduate compared to the 57% average.

People exaggerate just how much colleges like homeschoolers

It has become very popular to over emphasize just how much colleges enjoy having homeschoolers. It is absolutely true that some colleges favorite students are homeschoolers. And some universities heavily advertise themselves as homeschool-friendly. This does NOT mean they will accept any homeschool student. What this usually means is that the college will be overjoyed to accept a homeschool student that has developed his or her talents. The students that are accepted to great universities have stellar records across the board — public school, private school, or homeschool. A well-documented academic record that includes difficult courses, high test scores, and out-of-the-home activities can compete with any public school student.

Start Researching Today

The best piece of advice homeschoolers can take is to make a list of colleges that they are interested in, and then visit their websites. Its usually very easy to find out what colleges want from you.

Theresa Ryder originally wrote an article about college acceptance with a few insights about how her son was accepted into Texas A&M.

I think it’s a fear that plagues many homeschoolers– how will my homeschooled child get into college? The answer for us was pretty much the same way any other kid gets into college.

One thing that made it easy for him is that for the last year and a half, he’s been attending a Richard Milburn Academy. This is not homeschooling, but at the time he entered, I pretty much considered him done with school. He, however, wanted an official state issued high school diploma and this was a relatively painless way for us to get it. He took a few classes that for whatever reason the school/state thought he needed, got stunning grades in them, and poof. He’s accepted into a great college on the basis of that and his good SATs. He knew most of the material in almost every class he took, but he enjoyed the experience nonetheless. He’s graduating next week, top of his class.

I think he could have got into college without the RMA alternative school experience, but it was really personally important to him that he have a state issued high school diploma. There are ways to submit your homeschool transcripts and get a state issued diploma in some states, but not in ours.