Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: My child’s teacher says if they provide *any* modifications for my child, she won’t be able to graduate with a regular diploma. Is this true?


There is a fine distinction between modifications and accommodations. Modifications DO affect graduation outcomes. Accommodations should not affect the type of diploma your child receives. Therefore, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

High School Diploma with Modifications

Modifications are changes to the actual content your child is required to learn. In other words, she doesn’t have to learn the same things as the other children. If your child does not learn the same things as other students, he may only receive a certificate of attendance or a special education diploma.

If your child is receiving proper remedial instruction for Learning Disabilities such as ADHD, Aspergers, dyslexia, or another learning disability, any modifications made to instruction SHOULD only be temporary.  Modifications are used only until the child can work on grade level.

If your child’s remediation is properly provided and intense enough, he’ll make good educational progress. Your child should eventually have no need for modifications. The receipt of modifications in elementary or middle school should have no affect on your child’s high school diploma.

The BIG trick here is getting your child SUCCESSFULLY remediated in a timely manner. Your child has to have intense services so that modifications are not needed during high school.

Staying on Track for A High School Diploma with Accommodations

Accommodations do not change the level of instruction your child is receiving. They do not provide a reduction in assignments. Accommodations are changes to ways of presenting the SAME information in a viable way for your child. Accommodations also provide alternative methods for a child to convey her knowledge.

Examples of accommodations include untimed tests, having a test given orally, having a scribe for taking notes, having extended time for assignments, allowing assignments to be typed rather than written by hand, and having content read to your child.

Accommodations use the SAME curriculum that other children are given and makes that same instruction accessible to a child with a disability.  Your child still has to learn the same content as other children and will be eligible for a regular high school diploma even if she uses accommodations throughout high school.

Accommodations for spelling on a vocabulary tests should be made because your child KNOWS the word.. The true point of vocabulary words is for the child to know the word and what it means.. Not necessarily spelling.  Not counting off for spelling is a COMMON accommodation for children with dyslexia. Your child may even be permitted to use a Franklin SpellerHigh School Diploma with Accommodations to find the correct spelling of words.

Making Sure Your Child Receives A High School Diploma with Accommodations

What your child needs, and you SHOULD advocate for is “Accommodations.”  Accommodations make instruction and expression accessible to a child with learning disabilities. They help your child perform at her level of cognitive ability.

Modifications can result in your child receiving less than a regular diploma.. usually a “Certificate of Attendance” or a “Special Education Diploma,” so you really don’t want your child to have modifications.  For additional information, take a look at the Accomodations and Modifications section of our Free Online IEP training.

To find specific accommodations that might help your child, you may want to visit the PACER Center parent training and information center at or look at their PDF list of “School Accommodations and Modifications“.

Best Wishes,

Return to Questions

Jul 312013

Are you looking for great homeschool science curriculum for your high school student? 

Do you need science content that is easy for your child to learn? 

Check out these friendly homeschool science curriculum options for Learning Abled Kids.

My FAVORITE homeschool science curriculum for teaching science to an audio-visual learner is the Discovery line of programs. The Discovery Channel’s DVDs are engaging to watch. For students who learn visually, the DVDs are full of images, action clips, etc., and the presenter appears infrequently. In other words, the Discovery Channel DVDs are not a “talking head,” lecture kinds of presentations. The graphics really help visual learners engage with the content and understand concepts.

Standard Deviants Science Programs – These also make a great homeschool science curriculum. If you want a FUN, engaging science program unlike any textbook, a series of Standard Deviants DVDs can be highly entertaining for your high schooler in learning. The Standard Deviants Science Programs have series related to Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Anatomy, Geology, and more. Although we didn’t use these for most of our science programming, the episodes we did watch were excellent. To use as a curriculum, you would need to acquire the entire series in the specific topic area. Your child would watch the programs sequentially. There are associated program study guides available on the Standard Deviants website.

Adaptive Curriculum (AC) for Science and Math provides science and math programming for high school and middle school. All of the AC modules are audio-visual and narrated with clear visual representations to help students understand the topic. Auditory and/or visual learners would probably really like this program. The units also have interactive activities which will be helpful for students with a kinesthetic/tactile learning style. The activities are point-and-click or drag-and-drop nature types of activities. They’re not highly interactive, but it may be enough for some kids. They have demos on their main site at

Apologia Science – Homeschool science curriculum especially designed for high school students with a Creationist viewpoint. The courses are written by a former university professor. They are readable and easy to understand. The courses have experiments which can be performed at home. The curriculum is backed by a question/answer support system. This is the Science curriculum we used and my guys really liked it. Apologia also provides Audio CDs of their textbooks for children with Learning Disabilities. They are a VERY supportive company. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Home Science Tools – Science supplies, articles and experiment ideas! Find homeschool science curriculum, home science kits, microscopes, and everything else you need to make science exciting. Just about ANYthing you could want, this company has! We love them!

Thinkwellhomeschool science curriculum – Online multimedia courses with teaching CD-Roms that are great to use for your homeschool science curriculum. These courses are used in universities across the USA. They are excellent for anyone seeking a college preparatory curriculum. Courses require an online “access key.” Therefore, you’ll want to be certain you use the order option indicating your are taking the course independently from a university if you are ordering for your homeschooled child.

NOVA DVDs & Videos – Great content on a variety of science topics. For visual learners, in particular, this video series helps explain modern scientific exploration and concepts. The detailed, step-by-step process of exploration helps make concepts understandable. The colorful videography engages even “reluctant” learners. This series is particularly wonderful for middle to high school aged children. Although, even at an upper elementary age our children were able to gain a lot of concept knowledge from the series.

Jul 232013

Are you looking for a comprehensive, virtual high school program for homeschooling your child?  Using a virtual high school program can be a great in-between way to homeschool through high school!

Pros and Cons of Virtual High School Programs

Many of the virtual high school providers are “public school at home” programs through a charter school agreement. Using any publicly funded program, where you do not pay for the school, isn’t actually homeschooling. Your child will be enrolled in a public school offered as a virtual high school if it is a paid-for, public charter school.

If your child is enrolled in a public school virtual high school program, then you usually do not have to fill out homeschooling paperwork.  Be sure you know if your child is considered “enrolled in public school” with any option you choose.  It is important for you to know whether you need to file paperwork as a homeschooler or not.

If you enroll your child in a virtual high school which you pay for, then the program is not usually enrollment in a public school. The program may be considered a private school or a homeschool type of program.  Be clear about what type of virtual high school program your child is in and how much responsibility you have for the transcripts and other paperwork.

The primary differences between the virtual high school programs are the level of control you over your child’s program, the cost, and who does the paperwork. With a public virtual high school program, you have no meaningful control over your child’s schooling. Your child has to take designated classes, is generally on a deadline-based schedule, and is given due dates for the assignments. It’s free and the virtual high school does all of the paperwork.

If the program is one you pay for and it’s a comprehensive program, you may have very little flexibility with your child’s coursework.  If the program is paid for by you, and a course-by-course program, you may have complete control within your home schooling.

The pace of learning will vary from virtual high school to virtual high school.  The content being taught in any course you purchase is pre-set. Again, you have no control over the coursework with a public school program and complete control when you are independently home schooling. Your flexibility will vary with the virtual high school programs and/or courses you choose.

About this Listing of Virtual High School Programs

The list that follows is an informational service, not a specific recommendation for *any* virtual high school program. It is a listing of virtual high school programs which serve homeschoolers. Some of the schools listed here are actually virtual public schools offered free to residents in-state.

However, many of the tuition-based virtual high school programs offer their programs to anyone anywhere. Therefore, be sure you check each virtual high school’s specific information about admission limitations and costs.

The following virtual high school options are reputable at the time of listing, but you are solely responsible for researching all aspects of the program you choose.

Over the years, websites have sometimes changed or the domain has been purchased by another entity, so there is no guaranty at the moment you click on any virtual high school link listed below that the site is still a virtual high school.

By using this website and the virtual high school listing in any manner, you agree to accept all liability whatsoever for any outcome you experience. You agree to hold the owners of Learning Abled Kids harmless in every regard. We cannot control other people’s programs, the Internet is a rapidly changing place, and so it is your responsibility to do ample research regarding any program you may choose for your child.

Virtual High School Programs Offered by Universities:

The following virtual high school programs are offered by Universities. They are open to everyone, require payment of tuition, and many provide dual credit.  You may also want to check out scholarship options after virtual high school to see if your targeted college has any scholarships that would be viable for your student should he chose to transition into the college full-time after high school graduation.

Virtual High School Programs that openly serve homeschooled students:

  • Alpha Omega Academy – Independent, Christian Virtual School; Open to everyone; tuition; flexible enrollment; *Students work at their own pace.
  • Connections Academy – K–12, free in any states where they have a charter school presence, not at your own pace in most cases, open to all on tuition basis.
  • K12 Online Schools – Private Program; Open to all; Some students pay tuition based upon state-sponsored program availability, based on Core Knowledge sequence; Courses have specific start and end dates and are teacher-directed.
  • International Connections Academy – Open to everyone, tuition, follows a traditional school calendar.
  • Keystone National High School’s iSchool – Open to everyone; tuition; flexible enrollment; *Students work at their own pace.
  • Lincoln Interactive – Open to everyone; tuition; flexible enrollment; K-12, *Students work at their own pace.
  • Virtual High School – Based in Ontario, Canada; tuition
  • CALCampus High School – Offers a full degree program
  • CompuHigh – Open to everyone; tuition; offers both diploma programs and individual courses for extra credit or a full online diploma curriculum; nationally accredited, private school called Whitmore School. *Students work at their own pace.
  • E-School – Hawaii; only registered Hawaii secondary education students during normal school year; no tuition; In the summer sessions are open to the public secondary school students, homeschool, and private school students and tuition is charged.
  • Florida Virtual School (FLVS) – Free to Florida residents; non-residents pay tuition.
  • Griggs University Home Study International – Seventh-day Adventist
  • Mesa Distance Learning Program – K-12, High School Diploma; Free to Arizona residents; Non-residents can enroll and pay tuition.
  • North Dakota Division of Independent Study (NDIS) – Welcomes homeschoolers; open to anyone; supports students with disabilities.
  • Penn Foster High School (Thomson Education Direct) – Independent, at-home High School Program gives students the flexibility to enroll in a complete High School Diploma program or in individual courses; in business for 75 years.
  • Brainstorm USA – Not a complete Degree program, but offers core curriculum options.

Virtual School Programs that only serve Elementary and Middle school students:

Virtual High School Programs Offered through Public Charter Schools

Other Virtual High School Programs:

The following schools require registration through the local public school and are not recommended at this time:

Jul 232013


You can choose from a variety of great traditional, hands-on, or visually-based Geometry Homeschool Curriculum for your child.

If you’re looking for interactive Geometry FUN, check out our page: Homeschooling Geometry Videos, Apps, and Tools for great geometry videos for kids, free geometry apps, and other tools that will make learning Geometry fun for your child!

The Geometry curricula below are selected for their visual and/or hands-on teaching methods, for detailed teaching, for strong practice with immediate feedback, and other teaching benefits. Many geometry homeschool curriculum options provide DVD teaching presentations to enhance your child’s understanding of Geometry.

Special Note About Geometry Homeschool Curriculum Options:

Before diving into available geometry homeschool curriculum, I wanted to let you know about two great resources we used when my guys got stuck on geometry proofs and a couple of concepts that I had difficulty explaining to them.

We used both Purple Math and Khan Academy videos to supplement our regular Geometry curriculum.

For whatever geometry concept your homeschooler is having trouble understanding, you will probably be able to find an alternate explanation on Purple Math or Khan Academy that will make more sense to your child.

Geometry Homeschool Curriculum Options:

Geometry Homeschool Curriculum** Schaum’s Outline of Geometry, 5th Edition: 665 Solved Problems + 25 Videos (Schaum’s Outline Series) – You CAN’T BEAT IT for the price!  I used Shaum’s for Trigonometry and I LOVED it!  The teaching is concise – no fluff or long-winded explanations.  I highly recommend Shaum’s if your child is inclined towards math and learns relatively quickly.  There are a number of practice problems. but I wouldn’t classify it as a “lot” of problems, so this program wouldn’t be the best choice if your child has memory difficulties and requires a lot of repetitive practice.

**Math-U-See – This is a great hands-on geometry homeschool curriculum and the explanatory DVDs are great. The texts are plain, which can be beneficial for a child with ADHD or one who is distracted by a visually complex text. The printing is all black and white, uncluttered, and very straightforward. These texts may be the best of the lot for those wanting simple presentation for a child who does not require visual graphics to understand the content. The teaching DVD sessions are SHORT, which is particularly beneficial for children with ADHD who need a short lesson each day. The program introduces one concept at a time, so it tends to provide less confusion and distraction than a lot of geometry homeschool curriculum choices. If you need in depth explanation or visual diagrams, you will likely find the program falls short as a standalone program. However, it can be awesome when combined with some of the Homeschooling Geometry Videos, Apps, and Tools. We loved Math-U-See and it is very popular among the Learning Abled Kids’ support group members.

Geometry Teaching Textbook – The direct instruction approach used in Teaching Textbooks is well-liked and effective for MANY of the Learning Abled Kids’ support group members’ kids. Teaching Textbooks takes a step-by-step, explicit instruction approach to teaching each level of math, including Geometry. When using Teaching Textbooks, students can read the lesson, watch teaching video, work practice problems, watch the explanations of the practice problems, have the assignment graded for immediate feedback. Of particular benefit is the immediate ability to watch solutions for any problems the student missed. The level of review in the Teaching Textbook Geometry homeschool curriculum is helpful for a lot of kids.

**Thinkwell – Thinkwell has algebra, geometry, and higher math programs.  Thinkwell primarily provides teaching video content with a human instructor teaching through white-board technology.  The content is very similar to what a student would receive in a classroom, but the videos can be watched anytime, anywhere, in an isolated, undistracting setting.  They can also be watched over and over so a child can take as much time as needed to learn about Geometry.  We used Thinkwell for Pre-Algebra, and will use it for Algebra.

Catchup Math – If your child has a difficult time with math, this program is a mastery-based program that will review basic concepts with your child as needed. “Catchup Math covers Grade 6 Math up through Geometry, Algebra 2 and College Developmental Math, drilling down to elementary school topics as needed.” Because the program goes back and reviews basic concepts as needed, it can help fill in the learning gaps for your child as he works on Geometry. The main thing to be aware of is that this program covers MORE than Geometry. If you select this program and use it through completion, your child will have covered concepts for Algebra 1 and 2 as well as Geometry. Be sure to check out the free trial before buying to see if this geometry homeschool curriculum suits your child.

**A Beka Academy DVD Program – This geometry homeschool curriculum is provided at a college preparatory level. It has a lot of neat elements, like having the DVD instructor show the word “parenthesis” when she introduces parenthesis. This helps a 2e child see how the word is spelled, hear what it sounds like, and to see what parenthesis look like at the time of introduction. The book is colorful, with many visual drawings & diagrams to demonstrate concepts, and presented in a clear, concise manner. While this geometry homeschool curriculum is pricey, I think it will be worth the money for any college-bound student needing to learn Geometry. The only downfall of Abeka’s teaching DVDs is using a real classroom setting.. Sometimes the showing of other students can be a distraction to the viewer. This is particularly true when a student in the video works a problem incorrectly, it can be confusing to a child who is watching the DVD even though the errors are corrected by the teacher.

**Saxon Math and D.I.V.E. DVDs – Many children benefit from the detailed step-by-step geometry homeschool curriculum that Saxon offers. This math program builds upon itself with plenty of repetitive practice, cementing the concepts cognitively. The Geometry texts are plain. Little in the way of visual content is provided. While the program provides in-depth explanations and spiral teaching of concepts, the lack of visuals may be an issue for highly visual learners. Saxon’s D.I.V.E. CDs have each step in solving a geometry problem appear on the screen and the steps are explained by the instructor. When the problem step pops onto the screen, it isn’t always evident exactly which term the instructor is discussing in the explanation, yet advanced homeschool students often find this method provides a quicker pace and they are fine with it. There are several parents in the Learning Abled Kids’ support group who find this geometry homeschool curriculum helpful for their kids too.
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**Switched On Schoolhouse Geometry – We switched to the S.O.S. Math programs after difficulty with careless errors in a large number of traditional text-based problems. S.O.S. provides immediate feedback by giving a “correct” or “try again” response to the student in the interactive problems. S.O.S. is a visual software program which provides the instant feedback that is often essential for children with learning disabilities. Additonally, the S.O.S. software provides visual and auditory reinforcement through teaching text, text-to-speech features, and teaching video clips. The S.O.S. geometry homeschool curriculum is available in the 10th grade level.

**ALEKS Math – We used S.O.S. as our primary geometry homeschool curriculum and used ALEKS Math for a spiral, comprehensive, practice program. ALEKS is an intelligent learning system that adjusts instruction to the mastery level of the student. Periodically reassessments are given to the child to check for retention.  If a child has forgotten content previously mastered, the content is presented again.  This program is a fabulous geometry homeschool curriculum for insuring a child has comprehensive mastery of all content.

Chalkdust Geometry – Chalkdust teaches through a combination of DVD teaching and the textbook like several of the geometry homeschool curriculum above. When learning Pre-Algebra, we initially selected Chalkdust as our program of choice because this geometry homeschool curriculum is colorful and the teaching DVDs were important. The teaching is very traditional in nature with an instructor at a chalkboard, teaching and explaining Geometry. This geometry homeschool curriculum is a solid choice and good for a child who learns well through the traditional classroom instruction model.

Be sure to check out our great Homeschooling Geometry Videos, Apps, and Tools!

Jul 232013

ALGEBRA! Perhaps the most feared subject by homeschooling moms in general.

Fear NOT, for behold–Here are algebra homeschool curriculum options with features to help your learning abled kid learn algebra.

These algebra homeschool curriculum are selected for their visual and/or hands-on methods for teaching high school students and are commonly used in homeschooling.  Some sites are provided for their “FUN” math enrichment, allowing students to explore, play, and enhance their understanding of algebraic concepts. Other sites are complete algebra courses for high school level homeschooling.

Brief Aside for Fearful Parents

Before we talk about algebra homeschool curriculum for your high school student, I wanted to talk to you briefly about your options. If you are apprehensive about teaching your child high school algebra because you don’t remember much from algebra or you doubt your own abilities, you might want to consider a refresher course for yourself. If you plan to teach your child directly, it could save you time to have a review first. For review, Parents Learn Algebra is designed specifically for parents. I have not personally used the Parents Learn Algebra program, so let me know if it is helpful for you or not. 😉 ALSO, the Practical Algebra, Self-Teaching Guide is a very well-liked option. 😉

Resources to Use as or in Addition to Your Algebra Homeschool Curriculum

Many of the algebra homeschool curriculum below include math teaching videos. Your high schooler may be able to learn the algebra more easily through the audio-visual teaching. Sometimes a student gets “stuck,” and the explanation being used doesn’t make sense, so some of the resources can be really helpful.

When my guys got stuck with their algebra homeschool curriculum and I wasn’t sure how to explain the concepts to them we used Purple Math’s and Khan Academy’s free teaching videos online.  It is fairly easy to locate videos that teach whatever math concept your child is having trouble understanding through one of these resources or via YouTube videos.  We sometimes used one or the other, and sometimes both!

High School Algebra Homeschool Curriculum Choices:

Algebra Homeschool Curriculum

Hands-on Equations is a great multi-sensory program that helps kids conceptualize and understand equations. Since equations are at the very heart of Algebra, Hands-On Equations is an excellent program to use as you transition from division and fractions into equations. While we have pre-calculus programs, one of the biggest math conception jumps actually occurs with the transition from simple computation into application and reasoning using equations. Therefore, I think of Hands-On Equations as a “pre-Algebra” program that will benefit any child who is struggling to make the transition from elementary-middle school math into high school math.

**Coolmath Algebra – hundreds of really easy to follow lessons and examples that can help your child be successful in learning algebra.

**Coolmath’s Graphing Calculator – this is a tool that can help make Algebra visual. It’s not really an algebra homeschool curriculum.

**Math-U-See – A great homeschool curriculum at the elementary levels, but somewhat less rigorous at the upper math levels. The explanatory DVDs and Videos are great. The texts are plain. The printing is all black and white, uncluttered, and very straightforward. This algebra homeschool curriculum may be the best of the lot for those wanting simple presentation where the child does not require visual graphics to understand the content. If you need in depth explanation or visual diagrams, you will likely find the program falls short of your needs.

Catchup Math – If your child is struggling with high school math, this math and algebra homeschool curriculum is a mastery-based program that will review basic concepts with your child as needed, and progress through mastery of high school-level math. “Catchup Math covers Grade 6 Math up through Geometry, Algebra 2 and College Developmental Math, drilling down to elementary school topics as needed.” This program is a good overall math program, but is especially good for kids who are struggling with Algebra. Because the program goes back and reviews basic concepts as needed, it can help fill in the learning gaps for your child as he works on Algebra. The main thing to be aware of is that the program includes both Algebra 1 and 2 as well as Geometry, so it isn’t “just” an Algebra program. Be sure to check out the free trial before buying to see if the program suits your child.

**A Beka Academy DVD Program – This algebra homeschool curriculum is provided at a college preparatory level and is my favorite of the Algebra I & II video-based programs. It has a lot of neat elements, like having the DVD instructor show the word “parenthesis” when she introduces parenthesis. This helps a 2e child see how the word is spelled, hear what it sounds like, and to see what parenthesis look like at the time of introduction. The book is colorful, with many visual drawings & diagrams to demonstrate concepts, and presented in a clear, concise manner. I did not, however, care for the Pre-Algebra (as of May 2005), as the text was black-and-white with few visual aids. While the program is pricey, I think it will be worth the money for any college-bound student needing to learn Algebra. The only downfall of Abeka’s teaching DVDs is using a real classroom setting.. Sometimes the showing of other students can be a distraction to the viewer. This is particularly true when a student in the video works a problem incorrectly. This can be confusing to a child who is watching the DVD even though the errors are corrected by the teacher. Therefore, you’ll want to consider how much of a problem this may be for your learning abled kid before selecting this algebra homeschool curriculum.

**Chalkdust Algebra – Larson, Roland, & Hostetler – Chalkdust videos and most texts provide excellent presentation of Algebra. The Pre-Algebra is, in my opinion, better than A Beka’s Pre-Algebra, and the Chalkdust Algebra is equal to A Beka’s. Chalkdust uses accredited Houghton-Mifflin textbooks and primarily provides the accompanying teaching videos. The videos feature an instructor who works through the samples step-by-step and the videos focus solely on the instructor and problem being solved. There are no “distractions” in the Chalkdust videos, but students using this algebra homeschool curriculum have complained of always seeing the back of the instructor’s head. The price of this program is also a hindrance to many parents, but it is well worth the money if you can manage it.
Chalkdust PreAlgebra Books- Aufmann, Barker, & Lockwood
Great Chalkdust Video Demos and Reviews
See the Algebra textbooks by Larson, Roland, & Hostetler 

**Addison-Wesley Algebra – Hornsby, Lial, & McGinnis – An excellent option that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, this algebra homeschool curriculum is provided at a college preparatory level. Some of the college level texts have horrible reviews, but the Beginning Algebra and other High School level courses have excellent reviews. The teaching DVD set is available for less than fifty dollars. Even though the textbook itself is pricey, the low price of the DVDs make this an affordable option for those seeking a “traditional” text book with thorough explanations and teaching DVDs. You’ll pay about half as much for the text, solutions, and teaching DVDs for Lial’s mathematics than you will for Chalkdust or Abeka. In comparison, the DVDs are equal in quality, but the text is slightly less appealing, visually speaking. The print is small and there is a lot of text packed on each page. There are a reasonable number of visual diagrams and other visual elements.
Lial Introductory Algebra Video Sample
Or see Margaret Lial’s Algebra Books Listed

**Saxon Math and D.I.V.E. DVDs – Many children benefit from the detailed step-by-step algebra homeschool curriculum that Saxon offers. This math program builds upon itself with plenty of repetitive practice, cementing the concepts cognitively. The Algebra texts are plain. Little in the way of visual content is provided. While the program provides in-depth explanations and spiral teaching of concepts, the lack of visuals may be an issue for highly visual learners.
Buy through
Saxon Math on

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Uncle Dan’s Algebra – Dan sent me home-copied DVDs of his algebra homeschool curriculum to view, as well as a link to his downloadable workbook. If you are looking for a low-cost, complete, Algebra solution, “Uncle Dan’s Algebra” may suit your needs. The program costs a fraction of the price of many other programs with teaching videos and text. This program uses incremental steps that are well explained by Dan in the videos. His slow speech provides ample processing time for kids who process information slowly, particularly those with auditory processing issues. Instructions are specific on the videos, leaving no doubt about when to stop the tape to work problems. The (Workbook and Solution Key) texts are “print-it-yourself” documents on CD and are straightforward and uncluttered, providing practice problems, quizzes, and tests. Dan will send anyone a FREE copy of the Algebra Workbook file via email attachment. You get video lessons that are as good as any. It’s a good package for the money, but nothing fancy at all. “Uncle Dan’s Algebra” is definitely “Homespun”, not a commercially published program in that there is no fancy packaging or DVD labels, etc. Dan copies the DVD’s himself, labels them, and ships them, keeping the price low. It’s a one-man operation. Dan will answer your questions about his algebra homeschool curriculum by e-mail, making him one of the more reachable producers of such a package.

Switched On Schoolhouse Math – We switched to the S.O.S. Math programs after difficulty with careless errors in a large number of traditional text-based problems. S.O.S. provides immediate feedback by giving a “correct” or “try again” response to the student in the interactive problems. S.O.S. is a visual software program which provides the instant feedback that is often essential for children with learning disabilities. Additonally, the S.O.S. algebra homeschool curriculum provides visual and auditory reinforcement through teaching text, text-to-speech features, and teaching video clips. The S.O.S. programs are available for all grades up through Pre-Algebra (8th), Algebra I (9th), Algebra II (11th), Geometry(10th), and Pre-Calculus (12th) in High School.


Jul 122013

SO Your High School Homeschool Years Have ARRIVED! 😀high school homeschool graduate

Congratulations! Or should I offer my condolences?

CONGRATULATIONS, INDEED on reaching your high school homeschool years!

Although you may be shaking in your shoes with the thought of a High School Homeschool, YOU can do this! Even if you are eager to forge ahead, high school homeschool can be a challenge with your learning abled kid.

Many parents are intimidated by subjects like Algebra, Chemistry, and Economics.  Take heart.. There are MANY good options for providing a high school homeschool education for your child.

The pages in this section will help you navigate through your options for high school homeschool. While I have not fully developed this section of the website yet, these resources will get you started:

High School Homeschool Resource Pages

Homeschool High School Programs Options

Learn about your high school homeschool options in our Homeschool through High School Section. Beginning to homeschool your child in high school can seem exciting and overwhelming. However, there are countless options and resources to help your child succeed while completing a high school diploma. This section explains your options to help you in your decision making.

Virtual High School Options

In this section you will find an extensive list of high school homeschool programs offered through virtual school providers. There are public charter schools, paid programs, and other virtual high school options. Some of the charter programs are actually public schools. If you choose one of those, you will not actually be homeschooling. However, using a virtual program can be a great alternative for kids who prefer to learn at home or who need to be out of their traditional high school.

Free Online High School Options

This page provides great high school homeschool course options. You can use the courses in this section to create a full high school program for your child. Simply follow your state’s high school graduation requirements and pick courses to fill those requirements in your child’s high school homeschool.

Accredited Homeschool Programs

If you want an accredited program for your child’s high school homeschool, visiting the accreditation page is a good idea. You may or may not want to use an accredited program. Using such a program will provide credibility, but you’ll be trading that for flexibility. Only you can make this tricky decision for your child’s high school homeschool.

Planning for college can be a lengthy and time-consuming process if done properly. There is a lot to consider! I hope to have a new section to share the steps needed to prepare for college available here too.

Probably one of the most important places to start college preparation is in looking for scholarships for students with disabilities, for students in your state, or in your child’s areas of interest. We used An Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Home Business Curriculum For Teen Entrepreneurs-Homeschooled…or Not! – Teach Your Teen How To Start A Business At Home With Our Standards-based 45 Lesson Course! Includes Worksheets, Email Support And A Huge Resource Center With Hundreds Of Free Homeschool Links, Tutorials, Videos And Audios. No Prev Biz Knowledge Needed!

Jul 122013

What are your Homeschool High School options?

Homeschool High SchoolYou have choices!

Your Homeschool High School Options Include:

  • You can Homeschool High School through one of the accredited homeschool programs,
  • Have your child to earn a high school diploma through an unaccredited homeschool program,
  • You can Homeschool High School, then create your own transcript and a portfolio, or
  • Have your child take the G.E.D. to prove he has reached the necessary level of educational competence.

To Accredit or Not?

If you choose the first homeschool high school option, you will find homeschoolers who don’t feel an accredited diploma is ‘necessary’, and it is not ‘necessary’. However having an accredited diploma can help your child if your child can be successful with accommodations.

For a child with a specific learning disability, an accredited diploma can add credibility to their high school studies. However, there will likely be hoops you have to jump through to get necessary accommodations. Here’s a key point: IF you are going to use a virtual or correspondence high school program anyway, using an accredited program won’t make a huge difference. Either way, accredited or not, if you enroll your child in an outside program, you’re no longer “in charge” of your child’s education.

In deciding between a virtual school or a correspondence school, consider your child’s individual learning needs. Some of the virtual schools are more favorable towards students who struggle than others. In particular, look for programs that permit a child to work at his own pace. You might want to inquire about timed tests as well because some exams given on the computer might be timed. IF you choose a correspondence school, your child can complete the exams with an open book in his own time. This can be a necessary accommodation for some students, easily provided at home through the correspondence school.

If you want choose to use one of the accredited homeschool programs, there are accredited ‘oversight’ or virtual high school programs, hybrid homeschool programs, umbrella programs, and virtual academies. I have collected resources regarding these types of opportunities. I have a link to the resources at the bottom of this page. However, be SURE to CHECK the accreditation of the program you choose to make sure they are still accredited.

Transcripts When You Homeschool High School

If you’re using an accredited program as you homeschool high school, then they will probably provide your child’s transcript. You won’t have to worry about creating one.

If you homeschool high school independently, you will need to create a transcript for your child. I recommend Lee Binz’s Total Transcript Solution to help with everything you need to know about creating a great transcript for your child. Lee is a well-known, successful, veteran homeschooling mom who has homeschooled high school.

Unaccredited Homeschool High School Programs

There are a lot of moms who don’t want to have to figure out every course requirement. They have trouble picking curricula and feel overwhelmed at trying to homeschool high school themselves. They may also want more freedom and flexibility than an accredited program provides.

In such cases, there are comprehensive programs provided by companies that are not accredited and are complete packages. Sonlight Curriculum, Classical Conversations, The Master’s Academy Artios program, Veritas, etc. (NOTE: these programs are not accredited at the time I’m writing this–You should check to see if that has changed!! Similarly accredited homeschool high school programs can LOSE their accreditation, so ALWAYS check the actual status of a program before you use it.)

Another great option for your homeschool high school program is FREE Online High School courseware. There are an increasing number of free comprehensive education providers online. There are also open courseware initiatives through colleges and universities. Depending upon your child’s abilities, you can pick courses at different levels in different subjects.

These types of programs offer more flexibility than most accredited homeschool high school programs. Some of the complete curriculum programs aren’t as flexible as a do-it-yourself program can be.

Grow Your Own Homeschool High School Program

If you want to create your child’s own homeschool program, you can simply select curriculum that meets his needs for each course. You should consider the entrance requirements for college(s) your child is interested in too. If you use the do-it-yourself route, you will need to create a transcript for your child.

A transcript is simply a professional looking report which includes your child’s name, address, phone number, birth date, date of graduation, a list of classes completed, and grades. You don’t have to tediously assess and track grades throughout high school. You can simply provide grades as your best estimate, or personal opinion, of the level of work completed by your child. Do try to be objective in assigning grades. Again, I recommend Lee Binz’s Total Transcript Solution.

A portfolio, in addition to a transcript, can be used to help you share your child’s activities, work experiences, volunteer efforts, and achievements. Simple portfolios can be just as effective. They might be more effective than complex portfolios with an overabundance of information. Put as much as you want into your child’s portfolio, but don’t feel like you have to put everything your child ever did in there.

Let Your Child Get A G.E.D.

The “General Education Diploma” G.E.D., is a good, quick means of closing out your child’s high school career if your child can pass the tests. If your child is 16 or older, and not attending high school, he may take the G.E.D. When your child has completed his high school studies, you can indicate that all necessary work has been completed on the G.E.D. form. When your child takes the G.E.D. and passes, he will have fulfilled the requirement of having a high school diploma or the G.E.D. for college entrance purposes.

The Bottom Line for Homeschool High School

The biggest key in preparing your child for college is to insure he has the necessary foundation for completing college-level course work. For if your child gets into college, but isn’t capable of completing the work, then going to college will be a waste of time and money. It would be better to spend an extra year or two in study to insure success in college.

Additionally, you may have to deal with other learning issues. When children hit their teens, particularly children who have struggled with learning for years, they may become more reluctant to engage in school work. Your child may not even be interested in college by time he reaches high school. If your child is becoming an increasingly reluctant learner, you may want to consider a program to help him see better results with less effort.

After considering the options for your child’s high school years, you will need to seek out specific programs to help you teach your child effectively. The following pages contain listings of many programs for meeting your child’s high school homeschool needs at home.

Homeschool High School Program Options

Accredited Oversight & Distance Education Programs:
Oversight programs allow you to homeschool your child while submitting evidence of work completion to a company who will ‘certify’ your child’s progress. When your child has finished the entire course of study, the company will issue an accredited diploma. They will handle transcripts for your child’s college applications.

Virtual High Schools are increasing in number. Almost every state has a virtual high school of some sort these days. Some of the schools only offer select courses for advanced placement, restrict eligibility, or have other limitations. Many states are forming Virtual High Schools which are able to grant full diplomas. There are also a great number of independent virtual high schools.

Some virtual high schools operate like a traditional high school, using textbooks, deadlines for assignments, exams, etc. Others allow students to begin a course at any time, work at their own speed, and provide interactive online tools for learning.

You will want to carefully pick your child’s program to make sure it is a good fit for your child’s unique needs.

I have listed many schools with limited programs because I believe schools will expand their offerings. I also think the number of programs offering complete degree programs will increase. Plus, listing every school I can find provides you with the highest number of choices.

As I learn of a new school, I add its information. I am linking to new sites on an ongoing basis. The lists are never going to be “complete” because there are always new options! So check out the choices listed on the linked pages below, but look beyond them if you don’t find what you need.

After your student is moving along with high school, you may want to start looking at An Ultimate Guide to Scholarships because many scholarships are solely for high school juniors or seniors, and you won’t want to miss out on those opportunities.


Jul 122013

ALL About Accredited Homeschool Programs as options for your high school student. Learn about accreditation and find accredited homeschool programs.accreditated homeschool programs

This article is all about accreditated homeschool programs. After you understand the pros and cons for using accreditated homeschool programs, you may find our lists of homeschool high school options helpful:
Virtual High School Programs for Homeschooling High School
Distance Education Programs for Homeschooling High School

What is an Accredited Homeschool Program?

To become accredited homeschool programs, the program undergoes an examination. The accrediting agency examines the school, comparing it against a set of standards, to determine if the institution meets their requirements. The standards are often based on “best practices.” The agency examines different pieces of the program such as student services, teacher qualifications, technology usage, curriculum, financial policies, etc.

Schools do not have to be accredited to offer diplomas. Any institution can develop and offer courses “for credit”, and issue degrees. Courses from unaccredited homeschool programs will not have the same credibility as similar courses from accredited homeschool programs. This is because no oversight agency examined unaccredited course offerings to determine if minimal quality standards were met in the delivery of instruction.

That’s not to say unaccredited programs aren’t as good, or maybe even better than accredited program. In the world of public education, public schools and colleges put more stock in accredited homeschool programs. Some colleges require accreditation, but many do not. SO, it is wise for you to look at the requirements for colleges your child may want to go to.

How Accredited Homeschool Programs Might Benefit You

If your child is using one of the accredited homeschool programs, then it is more likely his homeschool courses will be accepted by another school. Say, for example, you become extremely ill or are killed in an accident, it might become impossible for you to homeschool. If your child has to be enrolled in a local school, will they accept the courses your child completed as part of your homeschool?

It depends. You’d want to know your local school system’s requirements for accreditation or acceptance of “transfer” credits for your child’s school work to date. Some schools only accept accreditation from one of the BIG Regional accreditation agencies. They won’t accept some accreditation from Christian or other agencies. Some won’t accept any incoming credits unless your child can pass a test for the subject.

For example, our local school system requires the students take “End of Year” course tests for each already completed course. If the homeschooled student passes the EOY test, she gets credit for the class. If she doesn’t she has to take the course over again. If your child finished the courses in 9th grade, and is in 11th grade when she takes the test, it could be really difficult to pass the tests. She might end up having to repeat all of her high school courses in our county. And that is even if the parent has used one of the accredited homeschool programs!! :-O It’s kind of scary!

Another benefit is that some colleges require diplomas from accredited homeschool programs for college admission. If your child has such a diploma, then he will be more readily accepted. Some scholarships similarly require that diplomas be from accredited homeschool programs.

One of he nicest benefits of many accredited homeschool programs is that the program provider makes your child’s transcript and issues the diploma. You wouldn’t have to worry about those items.

Drawbacks of Accredited Homeschool Programs

If you chose one of the accredited homeschool programs will lose some degree of control over your child’s education. You may not have any flexibility in course materials or course choices. This can be a significant issue for a Learning Abled Kid if the program only uses text for teaching.

You have to abide by all of the accredited homeschool programs rules. A lot of accredited homeschool programs require proctoring of tests, have deadlines for assignments or tests, and don’t allow your child to “re-do” a unit or assignment. With my guys, if they failed a unit, I liked to be able to start the unit over and rework it since the whole point is to learn the content.

Also, not ALL colleges require accredited homeschool programs. In fact, an increasing number of colleges accept homeschoolers without any oversight from accredited homeschool programs. Therefore, accredited homeschool programs aren’t necessary if you are flexible about your child’s college choices.

Back on a sudden traumatic illness or event, if your child is not in an accredited program, that doesn’t mean your child HAS to be put in a traditional school. You may have relatives or friends that would be willing to commit to homeschooling your child. Consider your options as part of your decision about whether to use an accredited homeschool program.

Oversight programs allow you to homeschool your child while submitting evidence of work completion to a company who will ‘certify’ your child’s progress. When your child has finished the entire course of study, the company will issue an accredited diploma and handle transcripts for your child’s college application. That can ease your mind if you don’t mind losing your freedom of choice over your child’s education.

There are significant trade-offs for using accredited homeschool programs. Be sure you’re willing to be constrained by their rules and requirements and willing to give up your freedom in exchange for greater “acceptance” by traditional educational entities. Only YOU can make the decision about which is right for you!

You may find our lists of homeschool high school options helpful for picking an accredited homeschool program to be of interest.
Virtual High School Programs for Homeschooling High School
Distance Education Programs for Homeschooling High School

Jul 122013

Free Online High School through Open Courseware

Free Online High School options
There is a new move to make courses available via “open” courseware. Many of these new programs provide “open enrollment”.

Open Courseware provides academic courses free to anyone for use in learning. Usually there are no explicit ‘credits’ earned. Neither is there a high school diploma granted through the use of open courseware. The courses are “just” courses.

However, open courseware is great if you need a free online high school option. Through open courseware, you can find courses about a wide variety of topics. You can pull courses together and create your own free online high school diploma plan. Your child can finish high school by completing a free course for each required high school subject.

Some courseware is at the university study level. I have a separate section for college level courses below. There are also a lot of classes at the high school level. Having classes at different levels can help you create a flexible program for your child’s education. Unlike ordinary high school classes, your child can take classes at different levels of high school or college depending on how advanced his learning is.

Since open courseware is at your child’s own pace, it is ideal for use as homeschooling curriculum. These free online high school course options also work very well for Learning Abled Kids who need to take their time to master a subject.

Free Online High School Course Options for Your Child

If you are looking for an online high school school program that will provide all of the classes, paperwork, and teaching for your child, please visit our Virtual High School listing page.

The programs on this page are not formal schools. They do offer free educational courses, usually taught via video. However, these are not schools so they don’t track your child’s program or have a formal educational plan. You can use these classes to BUILD a complete, free online high school program for your child. However, please be aware that you ARE homeschooling if you’re using these courses so be SURE to comply with the Homeschooling requirements in your state if you build a program for your child using these courses. Free Online High School Courses

One FABULOUS option for free online high school is the Khan Academy. has free online high school and college level instruction.

Khan’s courses include Math, Science, Social Studies and more. The instruction includes both teaching videos and text-based instruction. Khan is also adding instruction in a variety of other subject areas, so I expect people will eventually be able to use it for their entire homeschool high school program. 😀

Hippocampus Free Online High School Courses

Hippocampus is another wonderful option with hundreds of teaching videos sorted by subject. Hippocampus offers the following subjects:

  • Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Advanced Math
  • Statistics & Probability
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science
  • Economics, History, Government, Sociology, Humanities
  • English
  • Religion

C12 Free Online High School Courses

As a third option, C12 is a viable option for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses ( The C12 courses are designed for high school students. They are “at your own pace.” The courses cover most of your typical high school subjects with a few extras. The site has a lot of elements (images and videos), so I found it to be somewhat slow loading on our Internet. However, if you have high speed Internet, this may be a great free online high school solution for you.

Free Online High School Math Programs

Purple Math – Primarily focused on providing help with Algebra.

MathTV – High school level math teaching videos. These are great for kids who don’t like to read or who prefer audio-visual instruction.

WolframMathWorld – This is an extensive math resource site. It focuses on high school and college level math instruction. The content is mostly text-based.

Searching for Other Free Online High School Courseware

You can find a variety of courses by searching for them in the “Open Courseware Finder” ( or through Edx (  Through the OCW Finder or EdX, you will find a wide range of available classes offered through institutions such as:

  • Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Tufts University
  • Utah State University

Free Online High School through COLLEGE LEVEL Open Courseware

In using College Level Open Courseware, you simply download the syllabus. Then obtain the text(s) and-or resources required for the course.  When you have the materials, you simply follow the syllabus for your child’s class. Some courses include sample exams and assignments that you will have to grade yourself. This is a small inconvenience in relation to having the pre-made course available for free.

There is also a trend towards “Open Enrollment” at the university level.  Open enrollment permits any student who wishes to study at a higher academic level to enroll in college courses.  It is assumed a student is qualified enough to be taking the class if he wants to enroll. It would not be wise to enroll your child in a university class simply because you can, if he is not prepared for that level of study.

Open enrollment universities are just as rigorous as those requiring an application process. Be aware, your student can fail just as easily at an open university as he could at a closed one. Therefore, if your child wants to attempt college level exams, I’d recommend careful consideration to determine your child’s likelihood of success.

Areas of preparation you’ll need to consider before enrolling your child in an Open University are:

  • Is your student advanced enough academically? One way you can assess this is by having your child take either the ACT or SAT college entrance exam. See if your child scores at a level required for admission by most colleges. Aside from testing, cover the ‘usual’ college prep material until your chlid has a reasonable understanding of the material.
  • Does your child know how to write a college essay or research paper of adequate quality for a passing grade? Many students don’t have the necessary skills to succeed in the heavy writing environment in most universities. If your student lacks writing skills, I’d suggest investing in the Student Writing Intensive (SWI) (at a minimum) from the Institute for Excellence in Writing before enrolling in any college level class.

    The SWI course was designed as a 10-hour weekend seminar with DVDs. Therefore, your child CAN go through this program relatively quickly. Have your child complege the course on a slower schedule for mastery purposes. Given the time, let your child go through the course over a few weeks.

  • Does your child have the desire to work on university level classes?  Whether “open” or not, work at the college level is recorded. It will count towards your child’s overall degree progress and GPA.  If your child is not motivated to work at the level required for a decent grade in a university course, it might be better to wait.  You would not want your child to ‘ruin’ his GPA because he is too young or unmotivated to do well in class.  Thus, it is not advisable to ‘force’ your child into university level classes. If he does not feel prepared or doesn’t want to work that hard, it can be disastrous if you force the issue.

You can find listings of Open Universities at these locations:

GOOD LUCK, and happy learning!