High School

Recently, Tuesdi was asked by Baltimore's Child to answer some questions concerning the home schooled high schooler.  The article will be in Baltimore's Child in August.  There were a few other people interviewed so this should be an interesting article. Here are the answers to the questions asked of Tuesdi. 

Baltimore's Child Article about Home Educated Teens/High School click here to see the actual article

1. Please provide your official title, name and overview of your organization/school and contact info for publication.
Rev. Tuesdi L. Harmon
Executive Director
Many Paths of Natural Learning
301 498 4739

Beth Wecht
Many Paths of Natural Learning
High School & Transcript Program

Many Paths of Natural Learning (MPNL) http://www.MPNL.org <http://www.MPNL.org>  is a  Umbrella / Church Exempt School  http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/nonpublicschools/npchurch/ MPNL is a Umbrella School registered with the department of Education to oversee home instruction in Maryland. We are a "inclusive" Umbrella. Respecting others beliefs is a must for joining our group. We comply with the Comar. 05 http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/13a/13a.10.01.05htm laws governing home instruction for umbrellas.
2. What are the basic/traditional requirements for home educated high school students in Maryland?
MD Department of Education has a minimum of 21 credits as identified in COMAR 13A.03.02-.04A
http://eroosevelths.pgcps.org/guidance/HS_Grad_Q_and_A.pdf.  Student must also meet the service learning requirement and they must TAKE AND PASS the Maryland High School Assessments.

Please provide the distinction between a high school diploma (through a non-public school) and a GED. Is one "better" or more accepted in the job market/at colleges than the other?  The differences between the public school diploma and Non Public Schools is that in public school you must take and pass the the MD High School Assessments. The passing scores for the subjects are in  Biology 391- 400,  Algebra/Data Analysis 402- 412, English 386 - 396 and Government 387 -394 or a combined score of 1600.  Homeschoolers and NON Public Schools are not required to take the MD H.S.A.

Another difference is that Umbrella / Church Exempt Schools may look beyond the educational scope determined by the DOE to verify and award credits for their students. Under the MD DOE a "credit" is defined as successful demonstration of a specified unit of study. Umbrellas may use this method for determining a credit and they may use other documentation such as hours invested in subjects and work hours of life study skill to determine a credit or they may use the Carnegie Credit Unit in awarding credits. A Carnegie Credit is a measure of time spent on the material, not the quantity of work accomplished. One credit of high school equals 120 hours of class work, or 160 periods of 45 minutes each. Umbrellas may also take parts or portions of credit work over the length of high school years and combine them for a unit or credit. Umbrellas may award 8th grade work as a high school credit as can public school but the verification of the credit may differ.

The GED is needed for some trade school and military admittance in lieu of a state diploma. GED's are not required to gain entry to colleges. Usually a portfolio, SAT testing and ACT test scores are needed. For that reason the GED is not necessarily an asset to homeschoolers. In the years past and in some market places a GED is a detriment to a student who may be perceived as a high school drop-out, failing school or was kicked out of high school. This perception is NOT something that a hard working homeschoolers would appreciate.

Umbrella high school programs may not be " accredited " Being accredited would defeat the purpose for a independent learner who may take resources from many sources, and not just a narrowly defined course of study by the DOE. Furthermore, colleges look beyond "accredited" when they go through the application process with homeschoolers. Umbrellas work very hard at making sure the students transcript reflects their abilities and helps the parents through a difficult and time consuming process.

Usually their is a fee involved for the service of a high school transcript portfolio program. The fee involved varies and is for the consultants time, for their cultivation of resources and record keeping and for submitting transcripts and support letters to colleges. Transcripts that are well done and professional in content do hold weight and regard when presented to colleges for admission. It takes a lot of time for umbrellas to cultivate, information, resources and know-how in developing a high school program.  Umbrellas also have to keep long term records, write letters of support for the students to help them achieve their goals. High School Transcript Programs that are run under an Umbrella helps students facilitate their educational goals in finding resources and information to better help the family and student through the high school/college process.

It is reassuring to know that Umbrellas have at their disposal all the same guidelines for making a transcript as the public schools. It is a benefit to homeschoolers that Umbrellas are able to develop a High School Diploma and Transcript Portfolio Program in order for homeschoolers to have the same advantages in presenting a professional and detailed transcript for the college bound student.

Yes, Homeschoolers can create their own transcript, themselves! Although many families appreciate the high school programs run by Umbrellas Schools. Parents and students often do not know how to translate their annual reviews into a simplified transcript form. Nor do they know what terms to use, how to award credits, calculate grades and they are often frustrated at making a class description for the classes and credits they have documented. There are many books and resources on the subject of transcript and portfolios. Yes, you can do it yourself! But it is clear that many homeschoolers are in need of High School Transcript and Portfolio Services. High School Programs run by Umbrellas are sounding boards for families, a collaboration of efforts, supporting the families in prioritizing and highlighting the more important materials and in developing the actual transcript and portfolio.

The diploma and portfolio process for Umbrellas can be more detailed and show the depth and scope of the students work and ability. Umbrella schools can invest more time in developing the transcript take a personal approach with the students career planning and may develop a transcript that fits the individual students needs, goals, highlighting the students potential, their desire, their passion and their understanding that goes beyond that of just test scores! There is a personal relationship that develops between family and umbrellas as they work "together" to develop a transcript that best fits the needs of each individual student. How great for homeschoolers that Umbrellas may go beyond the scope of just reviewing homeschoolers and puts the students future career and goals in high regard.

Many Paths of Natural Learning Educational Consultant Beth Wecht and Director of the MPNL High School program would recommend a few books for the high school and college bound students.
Homeschooling the Teen Years by: Cafi Cohen
Homeschoolers' College Admissions Handbook by: Cafi Cohen
And What about College?' (seems to be just an older version) by: Cafi Cohen
Colleges That Change Lives by: Loren Pope
The Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts by: Loretta Heuer

3. How does your school/organization prepare home educating families/teens for high school and/or the credentials/ transcripts needed for a high school diploma/GED? And then college/trade school admission? We at Many Paths of Natural Learning (MPNL)http://MPNL.org treat each students needs individually. We draw from many resources and guidelines, both state and national in awarding high school credits, and guiding scopes and sequences. We can tailor each transcript to meet the needs of the student and their personal goals. We have more leeway in accepting alternative learning for credits such as personal experience and work related knowledge or mentoring the student may have received. Parents and students are very involved in the process and have input in the direction of the transcript and diploma.

Many Paths of Natural Learning Umbrella also facilitates educational programs, organizes discounts and subscriptions for our members, reducing costs and bringing quality resources to the student.  MPNL organizes  workshops to discuss homeschooling topics such as "Homeschooling Through the High School years", "The Transcripts and Portfolio Process" and" High School Record Keeping". Our educational consultants take time to keep themselves up to date on high school and college issues. This benefits all our members both in our Umbrella and our support group members, who may review through the county or else where, but especially for those families who feel they need our transcript/diploma program. MPNL hosts guest speakers and facilitates opportunities for our members to meet and mingle with other homeschoolers. It is important that our Umbrella and Support group members are exposed to as much resources and educational choices so they may take advantage of materials and resources that will better enhance their children's homeschooling education and experiences.

We encourage all our members, Umbrella and Support group members to use as many tools, resources and support from as many different areas to better help them find the right direction for their child's education.  Knowledge is power and we believe in sharing and giving back to our members as much information as we can facilitate. We try to "empower" our members so they know that they are an "Active" participant through the homeschooling and high school process. There is not one "RIGHT" way to homeschool or to facilitate the high school years with transcripts and portfolios. There are many resources for guidelines on transcripts, samples of scope, sequence, state norms and national norms, all of these resources are guidelines. Many of these resource can be found on the Maryland Homeschool Resource Network http://www.mhrn.com <http://www.mhrn.com>  and on the Many Paths of Natural Learning web site http://MPNL.org. Umbrella Schools are not bound to follow any "One" particular path. We can cultivate from many different "Paths" making for a unique and personal journey. This enhances students opportunities and opens up the world as their classroom and taking away the fear and apprehension during their high school years.                   

4. What educational options do home educated teens have? Home schooled student have all the same career choices and educational options as any other public school student. Sometimes a bit more as they have the opportunity to build into their educational programs hands on experiences and alternative educational choices.  Including spending more time developing a deeper understanding of the subject. This makes for a better prepared student who is passionate, self motivated and often exceeding the minimum 21 credit hours required for graduation. Allowing students to participate fully and invest in their continued educational growth. Homeschool students often come into colleges more motivated, less stressed, eager to learn and better prepared to take on the college learning atmosphere. In fact many homeschoolers are duel enrolled and take college level classes before they graduate high school where they are already prepared to continue their education goals and careers. Making for a easier transition into the college academia lifestyle.       
5. What advice/insight can you give to parents considering virtual or correspondence schools, continuing to teach independently at home, even enrolling their high schooler into a traditional public/private high school?  Any advice I would give would be to follow their own "Path" and their own interests! That following their own career choices and paths they will have less burnout and enjoy the learning process so much more. Understanding "the limitations to your goals" are not obstacles but rewarding challenges. I would say that whatever the educational choices are that parents should take into consideration the individual student. There is not a one size fits all in education! No matter what path the families choose, homeschooling, private school or virtual school they should follow the child's interests and learning styles, just because you like something or a resources "your child may not", and knowing that, you can save a lot of undue stress and frustration between you and your children.

6. Any other words of wisdom, especially as to how best to prepare/present a home educated child for life AFTER high school?
Homeschooling is a family process where the family works together in providing opportunities to their children. Many Paths of Natural Learning supports the family in the direction they and their children wish to explore! It is important to us that our families are not conflicted, stressed or battling over educational direction. That we encourage families to work together and understand that  parents, child and the Umbrella are all working for the same goals. We are all working hard in the best interest of a mentally healthy child and a close family relationship!  After all, the family structure is more valuable than any educational knowledge. Our goals are to do our very best to make sure families are respected for their insight into their children and their children's goals.

When all is said and done, the relationship between parent and child is precious and worth protecting. As Pat Farenga said at a conference a few years ago "Don't sacrifice your relationship with your children at the alter of education". So with this as our guidepost, our direction and concern, we at Many Paths of Natural Learning are assured that our children will be well prepared for what life has to offer. Most if not all home school families I have met and know are very involved in their children's life and educational choices. They want the best for for their children in every area including adult life.  Parents are overwhelmingly supportive of their children and their goals. They work very hard to make sure they have the best resources and opportunities they can financially provide. Parents look to our MPNL Umbrella to support them and treat them with respect and trust! They appreciate that we do our best to alleviate their fears in homeschooling and that we develop an atmosphere of trust between MPNL and the family. Many Paths of Natural Learning holds the belief that "learning is a life long process and homeschooling is a family adventure!"


Rev. Tuesdi L. Harmon
Executive Director
Many Paths of Natural Learning

http://www.MPNL.org <http://www.mpnl.org/>
Many Paths of Natural Learning Umbrella-Support Group
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein
Maryland Homeschool Resource Network http://www.mhrn.com <http://www.mhrn.com/>
Fun and Educational Book :)