Bay College Planning Specialists

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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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Would You Fix the Economy?

Over the weekend I read this article from the St. Petersburg Times Sunday Newspaper . The Business Section’s question to the public was

“How Would You Fix the  Economy?”

The following was, by far, the BEST idea submitted.

Dear Mr. President,
Patriotic retirement:

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force – Pay them  
$1 million apiece severance with the following stipulations:

1.They retire immediately. Forty million job openings – Unemployment  fixed.

2.They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered -Auto Industry fixed. 

3.They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis  fixed. 

It can’t get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress and their  
constituents pay their taxes…

Filed under: Banks, Branding, Consultants, Social Networking, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Stretch Your Horizons With Study Abroad In Italy

By Anne Harvester

If you are a college student, you know that it can be tough finding a job once the-college-pros13you have completed your degree program. It helps to have additional experience that you can list on your resume. One excellent way to add to the education portion of your resume is with a study abroad program, where you might choose to study abroad in Italy. Italy is just one of many wonderful European countries where you can study for a summer, semester or year, as well as take part in research projects, which will not only earn you credits that you can apply to your college degree but will also give you experiences that will help to make your resume stand out from the rest.

You might wonder how you could finance such a trip. You will want to check in with your college’s financial aid office to see if financial aid that you receive can be applied toward a Italy study abroad program. Often times, this is the case.

You will then want to go online and look at several programs based in Italy. Study abroad programs vary as to time of year available, as well as classes available, so you will want to see what is offered that will apply to your degree program at home. 

Programs vary, so it pays to check on all of the details before you sign up for any study abroad in Italy programs. Some programs are offered for English-speaking students, and this may make your transition to Italian study easier. Determining where you will stay while you study abroad in Italy is also important. Many times, accommodations are available on campus or nearby in apartments.

Least you think all of your time will be spent in the classroom, think again. You will have many opportunities in between studies to explore Italy. Study abroad programs often offer excursions off campus that allow you to see many of the sights for which this country is famous. Take a guided tour of the architecture of the famous cities, or enjoy a wine tasting and eat regional specialties while you are in this beautiful country.

One of the best aspects of study abroad in Italy programs is the multicultural nature of the setting. You will meet students and teachers from around the world, get to know them, and learn about other cultures. This is a valuable asset for resume building when you return home.

About the author:

Anne is director, student services and study abroad in Italy, for EuroLearn. Their Italy study abroad program led to her experience growing in these studies.

Filed under: Admissions, Campus Lifestyle, Career Path, Classes, College Financing, College Planning, Internships, Out of State Tuition, Parental Guidance, Public Service, Students, Summer school, Tuition, Universities, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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