So, you’re ready for college and the acceptance letters are starting to roll in.   Congratulations!  I’m sure you’ll rock it.

Good vibes aside, how are you going to pay for it all?  Even after the federal grants come out and the work-study is distributed for the year, most families still have a “parent contribution” to contend with.

And that tuition isn’t going to pay itself.

That’s where scholarships come in.  Believe me, they help big time.  In fact, for many students, they make the difference between going to college or not.

Just so you know, a scholarship is money that doesn’t need to be paid back.  As in, free.  You don’t pay any interest, and there usually aren’t any terms other than staying in school and getting a ‘B’ average.

Scholarships are either one-time awards or — if you’re lucky – sometimes last all four years.  They come in all different dollar amounts, starting at $50 or $100 up to reaching even $10,000 or even more (think: “full ride”).

College scholarships are awarded on the basis of many different things:

  • academic merit (i.e., good grades, high SAT scores)
  • possessing special skills or talents (e.g., flute, acting, Lacrosse)
  • pursuing certain careers (e.g., Engineering, Anthropology, Photography)
  • participation in certain groups or organizations (like Scouting, 4-H, Future Business Leaders, and so on).

There is even a category of so-called “unusual” scholarships floating around out there if you look for it.

Basically, there is a little something for everyone.  And indeed lots of money is available — that is, for those who know where to find it.

Unfortunately, scholarship searches elude many families.  Either that, or people feel they stand no chance of winning, therefore never apply.

Did you know many scholarships aren’t even claimed each year?  Nobody applies!

Imagine that?  Free money — earmarked for your college education – just going to waste.  Such a shame.

Today, I’m going to help you locate college scholarships.  And in my next post (SUBSCRIBE not to miss it), I’ll give you tips for how to apply.

Where to find scholarships?

Start by having the student (not the parent) set up accounts in these 4 places:

Big Future / The College Board


Scholarship America


I know, I know.  They ask for a lot of information you are hesitant to provide, or prefer your student not to answer.  Unfortunately, this is a time to get over all privacy concerns and feelings about over-sharing.  Supply whatever is being asked, and try not to think too much about it again.  (If you want your student to win scholarships, that is.)

Next, begin searching.  Search those 4 places, then branch out your search from there.

Search for scholarships offered by your workplaces, community organizations, nearby schools and programs, religious groups, honor societies, sports leagues, social clubs, business organizations, and everywhere else.

Leave no stone un-turned.  Seriously.  Ask everyone you know if they offer a scholarship, or if they know of scholarships anywhere else.

Additionally, find out if your state offers scholarships that homeschoolers are eligible for.  Often, just by completing a financial aid application, students become automatically eligible to receive state money.

Finally, check out links like this one:

Scholarships for homeschoolers

Look specifically for homeschool organizations that offer scholarships (statewide groups, legal organizations, local chapters, co-ops, mentoring organizations, volunteer groups, and so on).  And if you belong to an organization that does not have one, ask if they’d consider funding a scholarship this year.

There is no need to pay anyone to find scholarships for you.  It’s easy enough to do alone.  If you must, you must.  But, if you and your student make  a schedule and stick to it daily, a few minutes a day will add up to a long list of eligible scholarships within a few weeks.

When searching, look carefully at all information, making sure you’re finding the most recent criteria and application deadlines.

Don’t discount “lottery” type scholarships, either.  Somebody wins them — it could be you.

college prep high schooling


If you’re preparing a high schooler for college, this is the series for you — well, actually for them.  Starting tomorrow, for the next five days, I’ll be sharing tips and information guaranteed to catch the attention of college admissions officers — and most likely, scholarship committees, too.

Check out these topics, and get your student to follow along:

Day 1: Covering the basics

Day 2: Shore up that writing

Day 3: Standing out

Day 4: Tackling those tests

Day 5: Marketing yourself

The series starts tomorrow.

Not a subscriber yet?  Sign up here and I’ll send the entire series right to your Inbox.


Marie-Claire Moreau, Quick Start Homeschool



Want more 5-day posts like this?  Check out:


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There is so much more to science than what kids read in books!  Though written material is great for learning principles, there comes a time in homeschool when parents must recognize that students need practice, too!

Putting scientific ideas into practice means kids actually get to see science in action.  Performing hands-on investigations helps students do what scientists do.  There is just no substitute to hands-on science (virtual experimentation is fine, in a pinch), and in my opinion, physical experimentation should be incorporated into homeschool science as much as possible.

There are literally thousands of science investigations that can easily be performed from home.  A quick web search will yield hundreds of ideas that use ordinary household products and can be performed right out of the kitchen.   Most are fairly inexpensive, too.

Grabbing an idea book is another excellent way to find science experiments to do at home.  One single project book — when combined with  written activities and a couple of other resources – can easily constitute an entire year of homeschool science.

My students and I have been experimenting with some exciting new products from Hallcrest.  Among other products, we have been testing specially-coated stickers that change colors when the temperatures change.  These simple science tools have provided hours of fun and learning for my own kids and for many of the homeschooled children I work with, too.   I admit having a lot of fun using them, too!

It’s so easy to multiply learning just by letting kids try things on their own.  Every one of these designs was created using cold-activated (CAT) stickers and experimenting with water at different temperatures — check out these fun designs:


The stickers we used can be ordered HERE.  Entire sheets (enough for a group) sell for under $10.

Lesson plans for using the stickers in homeschool can be found HERE.  All of the lessons are free!

Hours and hours of science lessons can be planned using these cold stickers alone.  In upcoming posts, I’ll tell you more about some of the other great new products being released over at Hallcrest!


Click the image to find out more (affiliate link):

This is part of my transcript series.  Click HERE for the previous post.  Click HERE for the next one.]

I always suggest creating a one-page transcript.  Despite what you may read about running out of room, I have no trouble including everything I want to list on a single page, and still get a great-looking transcript.  I have had personal success using a one-page design, and my clients have, too. And because I attach a printout of course descriptions with every transcript I create, should there ever be anything that doesn’t fit on the page, it can always be included in the attachment, anyway.

Though others may charge big money to create what they claim is the “best” transcript in the industry, I’m here to tell you there is no magic format that is preferred by colleges and universities.  I have never (to date) come across a format that is universally required, and I have never had a transcript rejected by anyone, anywhere.  If anything, I receive praises from counselors and admissions officers who receive one of my transcripts. That, I believe, is the most important feedback of all.

How to Sign Up?


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The format I use is very straightforward.  It’s comprehensive, without being overcrowded.  It’s neat and easy to follow.  It’s professional, without going overboard on the bells and whistles you might find somewhere else.

Anatomy of a transcript

The parts of my transcript are as follows:

1. The word “Official” appears across the top. This is perhaps the single most important word on the transcript.

2. All student data is displayed prominently.  (This is not the time to skimp on information or worry about privacy.)

3.  I show the yearly GPA and cumulative GPA for each of the 4 years.  Though colleges recalculate GPA when they receive a transcript anyway, remember that transcripts are used for more than college admissions alone.

4. I show the number of credits and grade earned for every course.  These always align with the grading scale I display on the transcript.

5. I list the grading scale used to award grades and credit.  This is applied consistently over the 4 years of high school.

6. I provide an Academic Summary.  I find this is a great at-a-glance look at the student, and I purposely put it right next to the student’s test scores, too.

7. I choose a reasonable graduation date and display it there.  Though part of the Academic Summary, this is worth repeating, as many parents forget to put it on the transcript.

8. I sign and include a statement of authenticity and accuracy.  Though it isn’t necessary, when families request it, I also emboss and/or have the transcript notarized, too.

I provide assistance for families needing help in this area, and I am happy to help you produce a transcript that best reflects your student and his/her 4-year high school plan.

Families creating their own transcripts are strongly advised to follow the guidelines I have outlined above.

This project came about when I purchased a new table and wanted to protect the top.  I didn’t want to hide it under a tablecloth and I don’t like fabric placemats, so I was looking for another solution.

While picking up greeting cards at the dollar store the other day, I noticed they had plastic chargers.  I picked up a half dozen to see what I could do with them.

I love how they came out!

Here’s how I did it.

article supply list

You’ll need:

– as many chargers as you need

– black Krylon Fusion spray paint*

– black Krylon Chalkboard paint (also comes in green!)

*Krylon Fusion is the only spray paint I have found that really sticks to plastic — requires no surface prep, either.

How to do it:

Start with Krylon Fusion.  I spray (outside) into a box propped up against a tree or the side of the garage.  Follow the manufacturers directions.  At first, it looks like this:

article first few sprays

Then, it starts to look like this:article almost done

Cover the top entirely, even the edges.  I didn’t need to spray the bottoms because they were already black.

Once dry, start spraying with the chalkboard spray.  It only takes one coat, but take your time, since this paint is fickle and doesn’t always spray smoothly.  I find shaking the can over and over and clearing the nozzle frequently helps prevent pesky droplets from forming on surfaces.

Let the chalkboard paint dry completely.  I wouldn’t use them for at least 24 hours.

I’m going to bet you find lots of fun uses for these.  Here’s what they look like in our house:


article ideas for usingarticle place setting

Let me know if you try it!

There is little dispute over the need for transcripts for homeschoolers.  It is widely understood that most colleges require them, most athletic organizations require them, most scholarship committees require them, and so on.

But there is another document that is also important for high school record-keeping — a list of course descriptions.  I always  recommend creating a list of course descriptions for every high school student in the homeschool.  I also recommend  creating this document early on (in 8th or 9th grade) and adding to it every year.  This way, nothing is ever forgotten, plus the list is easily finished by the time the student completes high school.

The purpose of having a list of course descriptions is to explain, in some level of detail, each course the student took from grades 9-12.    The list should correspond exactly to the transcript, so that if the two documents were placed side-by-side, one could locate a course on the transcript and find the full course description on the corresponding list.

This may seem excessive to those who have never done this before.  Some may find it too “school-y” or an act of conformance they’d rather not participate in.  I am often asked, “Isn’t a transcript enough?” adding, “I always thought we didn’t have to keep the same records as the schools do.”

The truth is, in many cases, a transcript really is enough.  But think of it this way — homeschool experiences vary quite a bit.   Due to this lack of standardization (by itself, a good thing), homeschool transcripts are all very different, too, and some transcripts are just easier for people to figure out than others.  Having a list of course descriptions acts as insurance — so there is never any misunderstanding about what a student actually accomplished.

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Back to the article,

Besides, isn’t it better to do it, than be caught without it?  (Imagine if a college admissions officer or potential employer were unable to discern the content of a class simply from its title on the transcript?  This could mean the difference between acceptance, a job, or not…)

When preparing a list of course descriptions, include things like:

  • Course title
  • Course number (if taken at a community college or somewhere else)
  • Number of credits
  • Textbooks or other materials studied (include ISBN numbers if desired)
  • General description of the course
  • Name of professor or teacher
  • Duration of the class (particularly if several combined together to form a course or credit)

You’ll find an example at the top of this page, one that looks rather similar to traditional course descriptions at a school.  While this is a traditional format, homeschoolers may choose any format they are comfortable with, plus include any details they feel are worth writing about.  Overall, the goal is that anyone reading the document should be able to glean an accurate picture of what took place in each course each year.

Take a look at this course description for a 1/2 credit on the transcript entitled Driver’s Ed:

Student combined online study guides with DMV-provided materials to study for online driver preparatory courses.  Passed Drug & Alcohol exam and Road & Rules test;  certificates issued via 1-2-3 Driving online driving school. Obtained Texas Learner’s Permit in one attempt.  Student also received driving instruction from parents and began basic road training.

As you can see, descriptions should reflect whatever took place, and may be written in any clear language that is likely to be understood by those reading it.

Some additional tips about course descriptions are in order:

1. When the same course (I mean, exactly the same) was completed more than once, only a single course description on the list is necessary.  Sometimes, families treat physical education this way, because the same kinds of activities are completed for P.E. each year.  On the other hand, if a course changes at all (even just a little bit) from semester to semester, it is important to note the differences using two different course descriptions.  An example of this scenario is illustrated by courses like:  English I, English II, English III and English IV — clearly four different courses, taught at different levels, requiring four different course descriptions.

2. When multiple classes, experiences, subjects and resources are bundled together to form a single course on the transcript (see CREATIVE COMPOSITE) this information should be included in a single course description for which credit was awarded.  This is akin to the “unit study” concept, where multiple activities are combined in the study of one specific thing, thus all of the separate activities used to award credit should be described in the course description.

3. When searching for great course titles or confused over how to word the language in a course description, it can be very helpful to consult the web site or handbook of a local high school or community college.  Great ideas can sometimes come from looking through similar classes and experiences at other schools, and can provide inspiration for what to say for homeschool classes, too.  Talking to other homeschool families is also a great idea, since just hearing what other families wrote can provide insight as to how to create a list of your own.

A list of course descriptions comes in handy in so many different circumstances, once families create one, they may wonder how they did without it before!  All kinds of homeschoolers will benefit from this additional documentation, whether college-bound or not.  Don’t forget to include a copy in the student’s comprehensive record, too!

Maybe you’ve read about household binders before?  But maybe you haven’t found the one that works best for you?

The same thing happened to me.

I printed pages from many sources and created my own binder system.

Turned out, it still wasn’t exactly what I needed.

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What really happens is that the robots are equipped with an innovative software program. This can detect even the smallest changes in the market and the volatility in the market and the dynamic nature of this currency allows the robot to place successful bets and earn more profit for you. Everything happens the way you want, as the instructions or parameters are set by you. This allows you more peace of mind and yet free time to indulge in your passion. You can relax as you know that this program is reliable and it follows all the regulations. It is also associated with respectable brokers and is completely free. Try it once and you will be hooked. Back to the article,

So, I created my own set.  It isn’t as pretty as some of the rest, but it works perfectly for me.

Now, I’m sharing it with you.  It’s 50 pages to grab for free.  Use as many as you need, or, use them all!

The pages include a cover page that you can insert into the clear plastic cover of a binder.  It’s the only color page, and it looks like this:

Household organizer cover only

All of the other pages may be printed using only black ink.

Pages include menu planners, monthly date pages, lists of stuff to keep track of, and lots more — like this page I use to map out an entire month:

April page example


And this list of things I like to keep track of:

Things to do this week sample

Plus this page I use to keep track of books:

Books loaned to friends sample

There are a whole bunch more.

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD the whole set.

To your organization,



P.S.  If you’ve ever downloaded THIS FREEBIE, you’ll want to replace it with this new, updated version.

  • When it comes to curriculum, today’s homeschoolers have many different choices.  What do you want to teach?  What would your child like to study?  Which product best fits her learning style or his skill level?  Finding the right resources can sometimes be overwhelming!Do you want your child to become a genius in trading? Have you made some wrong investment decisions and are scared your child might do the same thing or even worse, be tricked by some investment banker? When you have extra resources today to teach your child a thing or two about trading, you don’t want to pass it up.In this area, you’ll have to opportunity to hear about some of the most popular homeschooler picks, plus some of the lesser-known resources that are equally worth a look.  You’ll even see how to create lessons by yourself.  Choosing CURRICULUM doesn’t have to be hard, if you know where to start. …
    [READ MORE…]
  • family-life

    Family Life

    There is more to homeschooling than just academics.  You have toddlers to chase, meals to plan and children to chauffeur. There are phone calls to make, appointments to keep and bills to pay.  Caring for a parent? Working from home? Juggling visitation?  Your days can get really busy. In this area, we’ll look at ways to balance, streamline and stress-proof your FAMILY LIFE.  Click here to read about juggling it all, household management, meal planning, working while schooling, parenting, protecting your time, and much more. …
    [READ MORE…]

  • laws

    Laws & Legal

    Homeschoolers have the freedom to learn but there are laws  you’ll need to follow.  Understanding state laws is your responsibility, but interpreting the laws isn’t always easy.  There are places that can help.  In this area, you’ll learn where to find the homeschooling LAWS that affect you.  You’ll also find out about legal groups and organizations that can help if you have questions or problems, too. …
    [READ MORE…]

  • methods-and-styles

    Methods & Styles

    No two families are exactly alike. What works for one might not work for another.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to homeschooling, but there are lots of popular METHODS that you can try.  Finding your perfect STYLE can take a little time, but hearing how others do it can help you choose.  In this area, you’ll learn about some of the most common homeschooling methods and styles that other families use.  Click here to read about classical, curriculum, interest-driven, unit study, Charlotte Mason, virtual, coops, Montessori, eclectic, unschooling, Waldorf and more. …
    [READ MORE…]

  • organization-and-scheduling

    Organization & Scheduling

    There are only so many hours in a day.    You want to get it all done, and hold on to your health and sanity, too.  Unless you’re a Super Hero, you can use a little help.  Make the most of every minute with these effective strategies for ORGANIZING your home and SCHEDULING your activities.  Find out how the busiest families can be the most successful and productive, too!  In this area, we’ll look at tips and techniques, forms and charts, plus how to equip yourself for all of the unexpected things that come at you throughout the day. …
    [READ MORE…]

  • support


    No matter where you live and what your homeschooling philosophy, there is a support system out there to match.   SUPPORT comes in many forms, from monthly meetings in your hometown to telephone support to pod-casts and videos and even Internet-based groups, too. In this area, you’ll find resources, groups to join, and loads of activities for your children.  You don’t have to go it alone! …
    [READ MORE…]


Like other basic skills, typing (often called keyboarding) is one of those things homeschoolers should master before graduation – preferably a whole lot sooner.  No student ever complains about knowing how to type, yet many grads lament never taking the time to master this tremendously useful skill.

Parents may introduce keyboarding early on, or wait until it is needed during the child’s life.  I suggest starting in the elementary years so it is almost second-nature by the time longer periods of typing become necessary; but, even introducing keyboarding during high school is never too late.  (See comments about the future of teaching typing, below.)

During high school, a keyboarding course may be given a full- or half-credit on the transcript, assuming it meets the number of hours or level of mastery you require of your students.  Typing tests and printed documents may also be included in a student portfolio as evidence of level mastery, if desired.  In the alternative, keyboarding may be woven into a computer course, a business course, a writing class, a life skills program, or some other practical arts experience designed by you.

Many typing tools exist online, thus finding a favorite for every student isn’t very difficult.  Below, you’ll find a list of about a dozen typing products offered free, online, and [most] without any registration whatsoever.

Check these out for all ages, including adults:


Power Typing

Typing Web Tutor

Peter’s Online Typing Course

Learn 2 Type

Typing Made Fun

Free Typing Game


Try these for the younger set:

Dance Mat Tutor

Typing Learning Game for Kids

Alpha Typing

Keep in mind the proliferation and evolution of modern devices will eventually eliminate the need to teach keyboarding altogether, since most kids will learn entirely on their own.

This is an important skill now. We are becoming completely dependent on devices that need us to type the instructions. Even for earning money through the trading programs we need to have some typing skills. This reminds me of a program that does not need much from you except filling a form and setting the parameters for the robot to follow. This is something anyone can do even if he does not know trading, software coding or quick typing knowledge. The program is called Bitcoin Code and is very popular due to its simplified interface and easy mechanism. You can read more about the algorithm here,

Meanwhile, parents need to make sure all students master basic keyboarding before graduating from homeschool.

Know of any great typing/keyboarding products?  Tell us about it by leaving a COMMENT!

I talk a lot about great habits in my work as a homeschool advocate and mentor.  Though I absolutely believe that respecting children means letting them become who need to be, I also feel strongly that children must develop great habits for a successful life.  And while we all define success differently, most will agree that a solid work ethic and compassion for all mankind are habits that everyone should be encouraged to learn.

Growing great habits in children comes first from modeling great behavior ourselves.  Children watch and learn continuously by what we do.  Believe me, they notice – and begin doing it, too.  Behaviors may be barely noticeable, like the simple act of saying ‘good morning’ to people we meet when leaving the house each day.  Or they may be larger, like working a problem until it has been properly solved.  They’re watching.

Great habits come from consistency, too, allowing habits to become cemented in our minds and become patterns in our bodies.  Children raised with continually changing expectations face obstacles in this area.  Those raised with consistency are on a much faster track to good habits, and  benefit greatly by learning them early  on.

Are parents ever perfect?  Of course not!  That, too, is a lesson for children, who also notice how we handle our imperfections and mistakes.

But overall, watching and learning from the earliest ages produces tremendous benefits throughout the growth years, and beyond.

So, what does this mean for your homeschool?  The answer depends on your style of living.

It could mean rising at a reasonable time and starting school work without being asked.  It might mean stopping to help a sibling who is struggling, or offering to watch a toddler while a parent tends to a different child.  It could mean working through a problem until a solution is found, or not asking for help until all of the necessary steps have been taken (re-reading a lesson, checking a video, or whatever is required in your home).

Great habits could mean jumping in to help with laundry, dinner preparations or something else going on throughout the home.  It might be about answering telephone calls or knocks on the door in ways that create as little distraction to others as possible.  It could also mean moving from subject to subject throughout the day and placing completed work where you like it to go.

In our home, habits include starting school each day without being reminded.  It means checking daily if a test, quiz or lab is scheduled instead of regular lessons.  It means remembering field trip days and other activities, and planning work around time spent away from home.  And it means letting me know before taking a break, instead of doing so without permission, since breaks and down-time are loosely scheduled throughout the day.  But it also includes things like not watching television programs we do not allow and asking permission before visiting web sites or downloading video games without consent.  It includes walking animals at specific times of day, closing doors to keep pets safe and our home clean, and picking up the torn bits of paper and tufts of hair the animals always manage to leave behind.  It includes coming to my aid every time I return home with a car full of groceries and never failing to help when I am carrying a heavy load.  It includes lowering voices if another is sleeping and turning off lights when one leaves the room.  Our children diligently follow chore schedules I publish and the notes I leave throughout the house.  And while it may not be popular in every home, our children know I require a particular style of dress and footwear depending on where we go, and remember to ask me [almost] every single time.

Every family is different, but principles learned in the home are easily applied any time they are needed.  Starting early is helpful, but it’s never too late.