The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Homeschooled and Headed for College: Your Road Map for a Successful Journey Review by Kathy Gelzer

Denise Boiko
Lulu Enterprises
3131 RDU Center Drive, Suite 210
Morrisville, NC 27560

Now that we are getting comfortable homeschooling during the high school years, we are faced with college preparation issues--AP classes, dual enrollment, scholarship applications, and SAT exams. Yikes! Make room for Homeschooled and Headed for College. This hefty 400-page book covers it all and then some.

Having negotiated two children through the high school to college process, author Denise Boiko is well qualified to write this book, which she did with much help from her daughter. Although written with a Christian mindset, the book is primarily concerned with segueing from high school to college, specifically as it pertains to homeschooling families.

The book actually begins with recommendations for teaching junior high students in preparation for the college years. The author then outlines the high school student's coursework plan for all four years, laying out a schedule and course description for both high achievers and the average high schooler. Even if you are comfortable with this part of the journey, this section is bursting with useful tips for credits, records, and transcripts.

After developing a four-year plan and deciding which classes your high schooler will take during the high school years, how do you go about choosing curriculum? Denise Boiko presents options for many styles of homeschooling--more than I knew were available. This exhaustive chapter reads like a brainstorming session and will get your creative juices running as you and your student design courses to meet your specific needs and desires. Sample four-year schedules are included.

The author explains the "five phase" process of a high school course: choosing, planning, making lists and logs, learning, and documenting. Much of this will be tailored by you and your student according to your state's homeschooling requirements, but the organization that is suggested and exemplified is beneficial to see.

Three chapters cover the paperwork associated with homeschooling: grading, record keeping, and the high school transcript. Here you will find various ways of evaluating different subjects, an essay grading rubric, and grading FAQs. The author details a three-folder method of organizing paperwork for your homeschool and also explains how to calculate GPA. Sample transcripts are provided, with guidelines for every segment.

The whys and hows of honors and AP classes (as well as the pros and cons of dual enrollment at a community college) are thoroughly covered. For those who decide to take the community college route, an entire chapter outlines the best way to do that.

What the high schooler does outside of school matters as well. Extracurricular activities, jobs, and leadership opportunities for homeschoolers are covered in two chapters. One of the most practical sections includes a schedule of what you and your student should be concentrating on during each year of high school in the areas of academics, testing, record keeping, extracurricular activities, college hunting, recommendation letters, essays, spirituality, life skills, and finances.

The author provides information on how to go about finding a good college match, listing many characteristics of colleges to watch for and how to ascertain this information. A full chapter is devoted to the SAT and ACT exams: how to prepare, suggested resources, and when to take the exam. SAT subject tests, the PSAT/NMSQT, and other tests are also defined and explained. Even the college application process is fully covered, including the essay, letters of recommendation, and admissions. The money chapter has a financial aid glossary, helpful websites, types of aid available (including some prudent cautions about loans), sources of financial aid, and scholarships.

The last section of the book, entitled "Thriving, Not Just Surviving - And Equipping Your Students for the Real World," covers internships, career choice, survival tips for parents (including a topical prayer list based on the fruits of the Spirit to help you pray for your child), time management skills for busy parents, college social life concerns, stress management for students, a focus on your last summer together, and letting go gracefully.

You can tell Denise Boiko wants others to benefit from her family's experiences and knowledge. There is even an appendix that lists chapter-by-chapter recommended resources, as well as a thorough index to help you locate just what you need. I believe the best way to use this book is with your student. Although much of the book is addressed to the parent, many sections are written directly to the homeschooler. This book is a must if you are homeschooling your high schooler who is, as the titles says, "headed for college." We found it an empowering and encouraging resource. It may very well be the most important college prep book you buy.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2011