Are you wasting the middle school years? Part 3

(Missed the beginning? Go here for part 1. )

Have you thought about volunteer or community service activities?

During the middle school years, there should be some amount of volunteer work. It doesn’t have to be much. Twice a year is good enough between 6th and 8th grades. Example: Boxing canned goods at the local food bank or being a helper for your church Awana or Vacation Bible School program. If your child has participated as a youngster he might want to volunteer to help with games, reading stories, distributing snacks, etc. Just ask! If you are willing to drop them off, the church will graciously accept the help! Again the goal is to find something he truly enjoys doing and might be able to do on a more regular basis in high school (weekly or monthly). Everything will go on their high school resume and be listed on the college application.

If your teen has found their passion, brainstorm ideas for volunteer activities that may be related. We are...

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Are you wasting the middle school years? Part 1

Most parents consider Middle School or Junior High as a ‘pass-through’ between grade school and high school. Sure, your child has a little maturing to do. But is that all there is? Should we allow them to continue, as usual, doing the typical after-school activities and playing with friends? …Not necessarily.

Those years between elementary school and high school have a purpose. From kindergarten through 5th grade, your child has mostly been playing with friends on the schoolyard and after school. Maybe she’s had opportunities like taking ballet, or music lessons or participating in community sports. That’s great! But now is the time to find what she is really passionate about, and not just continue the same old activities ‘just because we always have.’

You have 3 years, 6th, 7th and 8th grade, including summers, to offer opportunities for your child to explore NEW ideas and new activities. After my son’s 4th week-long summer camp one...

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Decisions affecting college debt

Many ways of finding money for college

During our travels over the last 4 years, we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the talents of many street musicians. I always contribute a little to show my appreciation. But what goes through my mind is the real possibility that this young person could very well be paying off student loan debt. 

The average college student graduates with $30,000 in college debt.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Decisions made as a family as well as by the student are made LONG before college which either lead to school debt or freedom from debt. 

I agree that the sticker price of higher education is huge in many cases. The same state school I attended more than tripled over the 30 years between when I left and when my children began. 

As I was growing up, the conversation never began, ‘If you go to college’ it was always, ‘When you go to college.’ And all 4 of us kids graduated from either...

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I need ANOTHER email for scholarship applications??


I’m one of those parents that is very much involved in the scholarship search process. But whoever is doing the searching, parent or the teen, you’ll need to have a separate email for the sole purpose of searching for scholarships.

You WILL BE inundated DAILY to apply for scholarships, and it’s easier to delete what doesn’t apply to you, if they are not mixed in with your personal emails. You can decide if you want those emails to be downloaded daily to your your computer or if you will go online to review them each day.

I advise getting a free, unique, email from gmail to use for scholarship searches. It can be anything you want (exp: [email protected]…. where ABC is your teen’s Initials.) Sounds crazy but you will THANK ME later!

For more high school to college guidance sign up to receive email notifications when new info is posted!

Happy Scholarship Hunting!

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What's Your 'Why'?


I believe your child has the potential to achieve his dreams. I do things differently with that end result in mind, leaving nothing on the table. I do this by teaching parents the step by step system I used to get my kids into their 1st choice colleges with over $100,000 in scholarships.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why your do it!”-Simon Sinek.

The same is true for your teen with regard to his/her getting scholarships, getting into college, and getting a job. WHY do you want to go to that college? WHY are you the best candidate for that scholarship. WHY do you want that job? Certainly there’s a financial component. But as Simon describes in his TED talk, the money is the result, not the direct motivation. The true motivation is deeper than that. Otherwise, if it were all about the money the rate of success would be smaller.

Why do you volunteer at THAT charity? Why do you work for that store? Why did you choose those electives? The more you...

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Choosing Homeschool Teen Curriculum

Let your homeschooled high school student help choose curriculum for a particular subject. Whether you attend a homeschool convention together, go to a resale store, or ... order it online with a 30 day money back guarantee...
Narrow it down to two or three textbooks, then let your teen make the final selection. Vendors use different fonts and photos that will appeal to your student. So let them choose.
Having ownership in the decision, they are more willing to give it a fair chance.

My teens were given an opportunity to choose between Abeka and Bob Jones University Press for both Literature courses and History courses. Both vendor curriculums filled the purpose quite well. For high school maths and sciences I did the research and made the choice for them. And yes, I used different vendors throughout my homeschool from an early age. The only thing I encourage sticking with is high school math. Be sure your high school math curriculum will cover everything needed. Then try to...

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Take Entrance Exams as Early as 8th or 9th grade!


Most often the idea of taking college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT is not introduced until the spring of high school junior year. The theory behind waiting until that time says that (1) the student is unprepared for the content and (2) taking the exams at an earlier age causes undue stress and anxiety for the student. However, my experience is very different.

Clearly students are not expected to perform well when taking these exams prior to Junior year. But that's the point. Tell your teen, 'Don't stress. It doesn't count'. Taking it multiple times, 'cold' (with no preparation), allows the student to get used to the format of the exam as well as the learning to ignore typical test taking distractions. For example: pencil or foot tapping noises, sneezing or coughing, rain on a tin roof. They also learn what items to bring and how to handle the broken pencil point, or calculator battery dying, in a low stress environment.

I recommend taking the ACT (or...

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Attn: 8th & 9th Graders: Why you should take the PSAT in 9th & 10th grade!

PSAT/NMSQT: If you are in 8th or 9th grade in the Spring, talk to your High School NOW about taking the PSAT/NMSQT in mid October. Some schools order the exams in the spring and you want to be certain they have an exam for you, although schools are allowed to adjust their numbers as late as September. (Homeschooled families may have to contact several schools-public and private-to find a school that will allow you take the exam with their students. You will have to pay a small fee~$25)


8th and 9th graders should take the PSAT/NMSQT exam in October this coming Fall for practice, in their 9th and 10th grade year. Do NOT let high school counselors or anyone tell you 9th or 10th graders take the ‘PSAT-10’ or ‘PSAT-8/9’ and not the real PSAT/NMSQT. That’s BS! There is no rule against it! Make sure they order for you the real one. Why spend the money and time otherwise? Take the real test with real high school Juniors. Freshman and sophomores may not...

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Social Media Can Kill Your Teens Future


Social Media Can Kill Your Teen’s Career & Future!

To parents of teens & college students, & those that teach & counsel them. If you haven’t had this discussion, & if you have, remind them again & again.

Every employer, scholarship agency & college is monitoring perspective student/interns social media content. This before they hire you, and during employment as an adult! Creepy, I know. But hear me out.

Companies don’t want to be seen in a negative light. On your own time, you are still an employee: What you do, who you are, reflects on them.

Potential illegal activity should go without saying. But the following can & have been cause 4 dismissal.

Alcohol, holding a glass of wine, being drunk, get tagged in a post or photo you’re NOT EVEN IN, but now you are associated with the behavior.

Personal Faith
Gun rights

When your faith is strong, it’s likely you’ll post or ‘like’ something that...

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