Empower Yourself and Your Children

Things change.

State statutes.

University admission requirements. 

Employment prerequisites. 

I had one of those moments. 

My second son applied to a local state college almost six years ago.

Admission was smooth and relatively easy compared to the essays I had to write for our first son's application to a highly selective university. Though I haven't personally had a student apply to college for several years (I am excited to be doing so again as we graduated another senior this year), I stay in the loop by researching and continuing education because of the privilege Mike and I have of walking along side parents as they help their learners take their unique right next steps. Keeping in the know is what we love and enjoy! 

This week I was reminded of the misinformation which continues to circulate. It happens innocently with the greatest intention being the offering of assistance one person to another. However, though well-intentioned parents (and "experts") may offer their insights and experiences, it is important to remind one another to do our own research and recheck sources. It never hurts to ask more questions.

Requirements change.

For example, when our son applied to the local state college six years ago, the only requirements were a test score (ACT, SAT, or CPT--now the PERT) and a final home-generated transcript or affidavit of high school completion. This week, however, I learned another requirement has been added: a copy of the student's original Letter of Intent filed with the district when the home education program was established. 

A requirement was added since my son applied. I could have easily given parents errant information, unknowingly of course. However, my intention is to always provide families with as accurate and up-to-date information as possible, hence I was prompted to do a bit of research after talking with several parents. Without a refresher--research into current requirements--I could have easily passed along misinformation to other parents based on what I heard instead of what I knew. 

Let's encourage one another to empower ourselves. 

In addition, keeping track of important papers is necessary. As Mike and I are scheduling annual evaluations, often parents mention they "have no idea as to where the learners Letter of Intent has been placed." After learning of the new requirement (at least for this state college), I see the importance of us reminding one another (gently) to be mindful of where we place legal documents. Yes, indeed the county might have a scanned copy to pass along as a replacement, however, personally I feel more comfortable knowing all my documentation is in one place--perhaps a digital file or a paper/accordion file folder. Older children and young adults can learn to keep and organize their records and paperwork as part of this process. 

Let's encourage one another to keep track of necessary documents. 

Our actions impact our children. Having adult children, I understand (with new fervor) the importance of teaching and encouraging my younger children to empower themselves--the hows, wheres, and what fors of finding reliable sources, collecting information, and solving problems. When children are encouraged to empower themselves, and see parents empowering themselves--asking questions, identifying problems, and then seeking out and finding solutions. They've lived and experienced the results of personal empowerment.

Let's encourage one another to empower our children. 

Things change. 






Cumulative Folders, Home Education Style!

I realized early in my son's eighth grade year that I would, one day, play the role of guidance counselor for my homeschooled high schooler.


I would be the liaison between school (us!) and college.

I was the keeper of all things official.

Yep, me, until the student was 18 (that is the topic of another intentional high school blog). No qualifications or degrees, "just" the mom who was overseeing the learning taking place in our home. If I didn't keep the records, no one would. The records I kept would influence my student's post secondary career (no pressure, right?)

From that day on I kept anything potentially important in what I called the cumulative folder. Little did I know how valuable this folder would be. In our son's senior year, when we were in the middle of applying to six colleges--some highly selective--the folder became a gold mine, one of those things you tell people you would grab if the house were aflame.

Having all the information we needed in one place saved me time. I am also pretty sure it saved my senior-year mom sanity!

No one I knew had kept a cumulative folder of high school records so this was new territory for me.

And, I was not a naturally-organized person.

To keep our student's cumulative documents (not the work associated with each school year- I kept those work samples in another binder) safe in one place, I purchased a 3 1/2 inch binder and some colored-tab separators to help keep paperwork organized. Armed with plastic protector sheets and a hole-punch, I sat down to begin compilation of the cumulative folder. I started by labeling tabs we needed and then added tabs along our journey. During the junior and senior year as we began contacting colleges, I added tabs for copies of completed applications (print the online application submitted, if possible, for future reference when submitting other applications), scholarship applications (again print a completed application or submitted essays for subsequent applications), acceptance letters, and financial aid notifications. Once our grads entered college, I continued to add tabs for medical records, grades and award notification,  and FAFSA and financial aid applications (past applications were helpful throughout the college years).

What tabs did we find helpful?

  • Activities
  • Awards
  • Certificates and Certifications
  • College Admissions Requirements
  • College Applications
  • College Major Requirements
  • Community Service/Volunteer Hours
  • Dual Enrollment Documents
  • Financial Aid Applications (printed summary pages, too)
  • Financial Aid Offers
  • Grades
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Medical Records
  • NCAA Eligibility
  • NCAA Home School Core Course Worksheets
  • Scholarship Applications
  • Scholarships Awarded
  • Test Scores
  • Transcripts
  • Work Experience
  • Writing Samples

These are tabs include all the tab titles we have used for four unique high schoolers (two grads who then completed Bachelor degrees, and two current high school young adults). Not all tabs were needed for each young adult. In fact, some of my high schoolers have little to no cumulative paperwork. 

Consider your young adult and his or her unique circumstances. Choose a method which complements both the learning, the accomplishments and the college and career goals. If you decide a cumulative folder would be helpful--aside from other paperwork required by your home education laws--these tab titles may be helpful. 

YOU can celebrate high school!


This blog post is intended to offer an example of personal experience. It is in no way intended to be legal advice and should not be taken as such. Parents own the sole responsibility for the training and education of their children.