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Is Home-schooling an option for San Francisco Bay Area Children

By Keith Watkins

Due to the questionable state of our nations public school systems and the current strains placed upon our countries current economy a growing number of families are deciding to educate their children at home. The decision to home-school is a home-schoolerspersonal one and usually a difficult one. Ultimately making the decision to take control of your children’s education can, at first, appear to be overwhelming to a parent but more and more families are making the decision to home-school everyday. Homeschool students have been growing by an estimated 8 percent annually in the U.S. and as of 2007 totaled about 1.5 million.

In many places home-schooling is a legal option for parents who wish to provide their children with an alternative learning environment other than the ones that exists in nearby schools. While academic and religious reasons dominate the motivations for most home-schoolers, parents cite numerous other reasons ranging from a dissatisfaction with the public schools in their area to the desire for better academic test results and in a lot of instances parents cite the price of private school educations as being the determining factor for an ever increasing amount of families. Students who are gifted or have special needs benefit from a home school opportunity because they can learn at their own pace, whether they need to spend more time on a lesson or delve deeper into the content as a way of satisfying their intellectual curiosity. To that end, home schooling offers parents the opportunity to ensure mastery of a concept before moving onto the next, while public schools merely require a demonstration of understanding before moving onto the next concept, largely due to time constraints. 

Other students that benefit from a home school setting are those who live in rural areas and riding a bus for an hour each direction is more a waste of time than anything else. 

Home-schooling can literally be life changing. It creates personal growth for both the parent and the child. Nothing you will ever do in life will have a more profound effect on your child and your family’s future as home-schooling.

Although every families home-school is unique, certain home-schooling “styles” have become universally very popular. Most home-schoolers do not follow one style or method. Instead, they select the ideas and suggestions that fit their family and eventually end up with a method all their own.

Below are some of the most often used popular home-schooling styles found.

School-at-Home Method

Unit Studies Method

“Relaxed” or “Eclectic” Home-schooling Method

Unschooling Method

Classical Home-schooling Method

The Charlotte Mason Method

The Waldorf Method

The Montessori Method

Multiple Intelligences Method

DVD/Video Schooling Method

Internet Home-schooling Method

Did you know that the Scripps National Spelling Bee Winner for 2007 was a local Danville, Ca.San Francisco Bay Area home schooler. Evan O’Dorney, the home-schooled eighth-grader, easily aced “serrefine” — a noun describing small forceps — to become the last youngster standing at the 80th annual 2007 spelling bee. Plus, every year home-schoolers are admitted to hundreds of colleges in at least five different  countries. Those who prepare thoroughly can actually be admitted to some of the colleges of their choices with full scholarships.

Most parents are unaware of the fact that parents don’t need to be California licensed to educate their own children at home.  Home educators may establish, in California, a private school based in their home by filing a Private School Affidavit with the California Department of Education (CDE).

The affidavit does not license, evaluate, recognize, approve of, or endorse a private school. The State of California accredits neither public nor private schools. The affidavit itself is a statistical tool, and necessary to effect the pupil’s exemption from compulsory public school enrollment and attendance. By filing an affidavit you are showing intent to establish a private school, and informing the state, as required by law. Parents have been legally using this provision for many years to conduct their own home-based private schools.

Parent support groups and networks are a terrific way to get started by collectively facing challenging situations, the beneficial offerings of encouragement from other parents, the sharing of ideas, socialization and generally a way to reduce the overall stress of getting started.

If your student is into to sports, he or she may be able to participate at certain schools without actually attending. I have a personal friend that attends a charter school in Oakland, CA. His son is the leading scorer on the varsity basketball team at the public school in his local district. His dad often jokes stating that, “he shows up at games and no one in the home stands has any idea who he is”.

The California Virtual Academies  web site has plenty of free quality information and is a very good place to start your search. They are actually funded by the state of California and use the K¹² curriculum to offer California students in grades K-12 an exceptional online learning experience. With individualized learning approaches, the California Virtual Academies provide the tools kids need to succeed—in school and beyond into their college years.  Here is a news video report describing California Virtual Academies.

Below is an overview of the California Virtual Academies program:

  • Our experienced, California-credentialed teachers, who are available online, by phone, and during face-to-face meetings.
  • The individualized, engaging K¹² curriculum, which covers both the core subject areas and electives. Based on decades of education research, this curriculum packages high-quality lessons with mastery-based assessments that ensure students achieve success at each and every level. Find out more about K¹².
  • The online planning and assessment tools, resources, and hands-on materials ranging from textbooks to microscopes, rocks and dirt to beautifully illustrated classic children’s stories, and much more. 
  • Our active, supportive school community, which organizes fun and informative monthly activities where CAVA parents, students, and staff share their successes, helpful hints, and more. 
  • The high-quality, tuition-free public education that enables a learning experience that is individualized for each child.
  • We’re fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for all academies, grades K-12.


For more information on a distance based home school program please visit Laurel Springs School. Laurel Springs School is an accredited, college prep private school offering distance learning programs and teacher services for students in grades K-12. Laurel Springs uses web-based communication tools, a standards-based curriculum, and personalized instruction to offer students the highest quality home education experience based on your child’s learning style.

In conclusion, there are many many available options if home-schooling is of interest to your family. There are also many support groups, school affiliations and internet based organizations to assist in getting you started and also to guide families through the maze of of their newly discovered educational freedom. But first do the necessary research by Googling “Home School Organizations” in your City and State to gather as much information as possible.

Local San Francisco Bay Area home schooling parents should plan a visit to the upcoming 23rd Annual Christian Home Educators Bay Area Convention April 24-25, 2009. This event will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Stop by the Bay Area College Planning Specialists booth for additional information concerning financial aid and scholarships for home-schooled students.

So, whether or not you are a parent who home schools your child, the next time you hear someone make a negative remark about parents educating their children at home, keep some of these points in mind. Consider all the benefits that a home school program offers parents, and their children. You might be pleasantly surprised at the many available options that exist for  families and that of their students future in education.

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Filed under: Bay Area, Career Path, Career Search, College Financing, College Planning, College Workshops, Consultants, Home Schooling, Parental Guidance, Public Service, Scholarship, Social Networking, Students, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Home School Requirements

By A J Adams


the-college-prosHome school requirements can be quite different depending on your location. Every State has its own set of regulations regarding homeschooling as does each County and school district. They can vary from States like Arizona where you just have notify the County that you’re going to homeschool and get on with it, to States like Missouri where they tell you what you have to teach, how many hours to teach it and the student must undergo regular testing to verify it was taught.


With this said, if you’re considering homeschooling, the first step in your research should be to find out the requirements in your State and school district. You can probably find out the State requirements over the Internet. Instead of contacting your local school district office, I would try and find a local support group or forum for homeschooling in your area. Some

school districts aren’t very happy about the whole idea of homeschooling and might not be very forthcoming with good information. The forums and support groups will have the correct information you need. Once you have it, you can decide if you want to go further in the process.


A good source to know about is the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They too have information on every State regarding homeschooling. They also have a page for used homeschool books and supplies.


After you have satisfied the local school board or County office regarding home school requirements, there’s a couple of other things to keep in mind before your start teaching. It’s a good idea to keep good records of the classes you teach and the performance of your student. You may be asked to present them at some point as proof of your teaching. In grades K-8, a portfolio of each subject would be a good idea. In grades 9-12, an actual

transcript should be put together.


The grade school portfolios can be a somewhat informal record of your student’s work for each year. It could be in the form of a collection of his work bound into 3-ring binders with one for each subject and new ones being purchased for each new year of classes. 


You can go onto the Internet to see what types of high school transcript forms are available and it might be good to check with your support group to see what they suggest. If you already know what college your child might attend, it would also be a good idea to check with their admissions department to understand what proof of education they need and in what form. Generally a high school transcript is a list of classes you have taught and the grade earned in each one.


You’ll need to know before you begin teaching high school what your local school board’s requirements are for graduation. It will normally be a list of subject areas with the minimum number of credits required for each. Traditionally 1 credit in high school equals 120 hours of class work. Typically 20 credits of various subjects are required for graduation. But if the student plans to attend college, others suggest additional study to the

tune of 22-29 credits. The extra credits would be earned in subject areas relating to your student’s probable major or area of interest in college.


Meeting your local area’s requirements for homeschooling is usually achievable, but before you spend any more time thinking or planning for one, be sure and check out exactly what your local home school requirements are. 


About the author:

Mr.Adams comes from a family with many teachers. Discussions about homeschooling led to a lot of research, which led to a series of articles being written. He and his wife also own and maintain a website at

l where you can download a 10-part mini-course on homeschooling.

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Filed under: College Planning, Home Schooling, Mothers, Parental Guidance, , , , , ,

How To Find About Online Scholarship Programs

By John Goldman

the-college-prosWith college costs skyrocketing uniformly, scholarships prove to be an effective measure to make your education more economical. But you can’t get scholarships if you don’t apply under defined parameters. You need to be smart while applying for scholarships.

Online scholarship websites are an immense source of information. Some websites supply databases and you can hunt for the most suitable scholarship. Some accumulate lists according to fields such as scholarships for Law, Nursing, Teaching and Military studies.

Some of the popular websites who provide exclusive information about getting online scholarships are Fastweb, CollegeNet; a scholarship acts as a benefit or a fiscal aid to support the candidate to carry his or her studies.

One source of acquiring scholarships that is unnoticed are online colleges and universities. As these institutions are not considerably established, many people are under the wrong notion that they don’t have any scholarships available. Even though
some colleges may not offer, they should never be neglected.

Nowadays, all the signs indicate that the internet will play a very crucial role in education; it becomes important for students to ensure they put some efforts in browsing the internet for online scholarships. The internet has been the most advanced modus operandi to get any information. It has numerous advantages.

More scholarship information can be stored via internet as compared to any physical library. To get scholarship online, the foremost thing is to use a scholarship search engine. This facilitates to filter scholarships which are not suitable to the individual. This would enhance to make research easier, accurate and much faster. In addition, several colleges and universities are allowing students to gain their degree online. The internet has played a pivotal role in getting scholarships easily and allow you to obtain degree without borrowing a great deal of money.

As an example we can see how feasible it would be to get an online scholarship for a Law school. One of the easy ways to obtain a Law scholarship is via internet. First, visit relevant website. Then scroll down until you find “apply for a law scholarship”
and then click on it. Once you have clicked on it you will be taken to a page that says – download the school reference scholarship kit and you will get to see the next available dates for law school admissions.

Once you click the download button the second page will open in Adobe Reader. Now, fill the application carefully and print once you are done with it. Then mail the application. Ensure that you keep phone numbers and address of the school in case you need to get in touch with them.

Scholarship can be obtained via any one of these source too:-

Guidance counsellors: Before starting to explore possible scholarship available one must consult guidance counsellors. They can be a rich source of information for local scholarships.

Non-profit organizations: Many non profit organizations facilitate meritorious students by taking responsibility of their education funds. Community foundations: They have a provision of giving fiscal aid in the form of grants and scholarships to people in the area.

Labor unions: Labor unions play crucial role by pumping funds for education for their members and dependent children.

Houses of worship: Members of local house worship can be benefited. But religious organizations may have some available.

Chamber of commerce: This is a boon for students who wish to pursue their career in business and public service. Sometimes you can get small scholarships to local students.

About the author:
John Goldman is one of the foremost advisors in matters relating to Government Grants,Scholarships and Financial Aid.For more information on how to locate scholarships, view our CollegeScholarship Guide

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Filed under: Admissions, Applications, College Debt, College Financing, Grants, Law Schools, Med School, Mothers, Nursing, Nursing schools, Online Universities, Scholarship, single parent families, Tuition, Universities, , , , , ,


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