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Thinking of Educating Myself - Studying Alone (NY)

 
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Track
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:56 am    Post subject: Thinking of Educating Myself - Studying Alone (NY) Reply with quote

I live in Brooklyn, NYC. I have just completed the 10th grade.

I wish and expectedly plan to reverse my enrollment in my school, so that I may take up "homeschooling" or "unschooling". My plan is to study alone, at home, and take tests at a physical location outside my home, or via the internet. I want my parents to have no role in my "education" aside from their permission and help in requesting such a private program from the school district.

I want to know if this is possible, and if so - how?

Thank you in advance.
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Jazzy
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Track!

You could certainly take up homeschooling with your parents permission, but you would need to do it in accordance with the homeschooling laws for NY.

Unschooling and homeschooling are not one in the same. Homeschooling is being taught at home. Unschooling is a form of homeschooling that is child led and does not rely on traditional teaching methods. The parents do not tell the teacher what, how or when to study. Students learn as they follow their interests. As they grow older, they choose an academic path based on their goals. Unschooling relies heavily on trusting a student's natural desire to learn. Here's a description for you:

Unschooling

Unschooling is certainly an option, as long as the state criteria are met. Each state treats homeschooling differently. Here's where you can find a summary of the laws in your state:

http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp?State=NY

It sounds like you are very motivated to learn and anxious to begin taking control of your education.

Good luck!
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To summarize the PDF linked from the above page:

Compulsory age: Until the last day of the school year in which you turn 16. You didn't mention your age, but I assume that will be around a year from now, at which point you won't need to worry about any of the legal requirements any more.

Required hours: 900 per year. This is a good deal higher than the US average, but keep in mind that almost anything can be counted as schooling with a little creativity - your daily chores could be considered home ec, for instance, and any physical activities could be phys ed. Take something you already do for fun and apply it to your required hours.

Required subjects: "English, social studies - including American history, participation in government, and economics - math, science, art or music, health, physical education, and electives... patriotism and citizenship, about substance abuse, traffic safety, fire safety." Again, a lot of categories, but some of them overlap, so fulfilling them shouldn't be impossible. The core subjects are required for entrance to college anyway.

Notice of intent: Submit by July 1, or within 14 days of starting homeschooling if July 1 is not conveniently placed.

Individualized Home Instruction Plan: Submit by August 15, or within 4 weeks of starting homeschooling. Must contain your name, age, grade level, a list of the syllabuses, curriculums, materials, etc. you're going to use, the dates you will submit your quarterly reports, and who will be the official "teacher" (in this case, one of your parents, but only for fulfilling the legal requirements).

Attendance: Must be kept for the last 180 days. Just keep a chart where you mark off x estimated hours per day, you don't have to be perfect or write down which subjects were covered in which hours.

Quarterly reports: Must contain the number of hours of instruction during the preceding quarter (just add up the numbers from your attendance chart), a brief description of the content covered for each subject, and a grade or evaluation for each subject (you can basically make these up based on how well you feel you did).

Teacher qualifications: None required, so long as all of the above regulations are fulfilled.

Annual assessment / standardized testing: Sent with the fourth quarterly report each year (the year dating from when you started homeschooling). Can be either a standardized test or assessment, administered by a certified teacher or another "qualified person" (see the PDF for more details). Since a standardized test is required every year in high school, may as well just take a standardized test. Allowed are: "...the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the California Achievement Test, the Stanford Achievement Test, the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, the Metropolitan Achievement Test, a State Education Department test, or another test approved by the State Education Department."
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thank you guys - this is incredibly helpful to me!

I think I will definitely be taking the "Unschooling" route from here. But I wonder - do the "Homsechooling" rules apply to it, or are there different rules?

I lived abroad for a few years, and was placed in the same grade twice, so I am 16. Does this mean the information in that PDF file is irrelevant to me?

My biggest concern has to with higher education.
If I want to begin "Unschooling", how will I take the necessary exams to qualify for College education?

Thanks again!
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mschickie
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you are 16 you do not need to do the paper work unless you want a certificate of completion. The certificate of completion is issued by the superintendent and is only issued if the paperwork is submitted until graduation. You can take the GED which I think you can do in NY at 16. You could also enroll in courses at Kingsboro inorder to fullfill the NYS requirements and get college credit.

Just so you know if you go the full unschooling route it might be a little more difficult to get into college. Most colleges are looking for the courses required for a Regents or Advanced Regents diploma. I am not saying it can not be done it is just more difficult. NYS does not neccessarily accept the online high schools so state schools may or may not take students who have completed their schooling using that method.

The tests that you would take for college credit are the CLEP tests. Here is the link http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html

Hope this helps.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, incredibly useful information. Thank you, mschickie.

But let me get this straight. I can drop out of school, start "unschooling", study by myself, and then just take the "CLEP" exams and get the college credit I need to get into the college of my choice?

Is it really that easy? What I need is to know precisely how to do two things - start unschooling, and get into college.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe you still need to notify the district of your intention. For College you would still need documentation of the courses you are studying and create a transcript. Not all colleges will accept homeschoolers but most will if you have the transcript.

Here is a link on some articles and tips for homeschoolers and college
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/C/College.asp

Here is an article on unschooling high school
http://www.homeschool.com/advisors/McKee/default.asp

I know you wanted to take the CLEP test, how are you planning to study for these? I am not as familar with unschooling as we are using traditional textbooks and courses for our 16yr old. I am sure it can be done. Do you know where you want to go to college and/or what you want to major in? If you know where you want to go you might want to talk to admissions and see what they suggest you study or take. Don't forget to take your SATs or ACTs too.

You can create your own independent study program using whatever materials you need. Just remember that 108 hrs of study is what is normally needed for 1 unit in NYS and 80 hrs for 1/2 a unit. So if you are making up a course for English that has your studying certain pieces of literature that you would need to complete approximately 108hrs to complete that unit. You might also want to keep track of what you are studying and the time incase a college asks for that information (it is rare but some admissions offices may).
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elliemaejune
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Track wrote:
Again, incredibly useful information. Thank you, mschickie.

But let me get this straight. I can drop out of school, start "unschooling", study by myself, and then just take the "CLEP" exams and get the college credit I need to get into the college of my choice?

Is it really that easy? What I need is to know precisely how to do two things - start unschooling, and get into college.


I think you are misunderstanding what "unschooling" is. Unschoolers, who still must follow the law to the letter, learn all sorts of things, in all sorts of ways, and many don't do anything that looks the slightest bit like school. That's why it's called "un"school.

No state law recognizes such a thing as "unschooling," which is a philosophy.

If you are 16, then I guess you could withdraw yourself from school, but I wouldn't call it "dropping out." The *school* might call it that, but you aren't a drop-out.

You might check with your community college. Classes you take there may be transferrable to a 4yr college; there's no reason you couldn't start earning college credit now.

FTR, not all colleges accept CLEP credits. You would want to check with the colleges you're interested in attending to see what their policies are.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those links were very helpful, thank you again.

So, if I'm getting this correctly - I can simply write a letter to the school district regarding my intentions to quit school, "drop out" of it, and when I am ready take the standardized testing required to acquire the college credit I need to enter the college of my choice; all without a scholarship?

What I don't want is to take courses. I want to do everything by myself, and then simply take whatever tests are asked of me. Is that possible, and how can I take college-credit-bearing tests without being enrolled in a school?
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The course are just the subjects you are studying. It can be set up in a multitude of ways. You can use a text book, library books, on line lectures, videos whatever works so you learn the material. If you expect to pass the CLEP test you still need to do work and study.

I am not sure of what you mean by without a scholarship? Every college is different in what they will accept for credit and their standards for admission. Most schools will accept CLEP tests for credit but if you do not have the requirements for admission they still might not accept you.

I am unclear on how you expect your unschooling to go. Most unschoolers do not use textbooks but do alot of hands on learning. What subjects are you planning on taking? If you have finished 10th then you should have the following units completed

2 math 2 social studies 2 english 2 science and possibly your art/music and a few electives.

You would still need 2 english and 2 social studies ( which includes one unit of American history, one-half unit in participation in government, and one-half unit economics) health is also required if you have not done that.

I am also not sure if you would need to do the standardized testing after 16. I know we are doing it because we plan on getting a letter of completion in lieu of the diploma to help with college admissions so we are filing all the paper work each quarter.

Maybe contact this group in the City and they can direct you to a district contact who can give you a little more guidance. http://www.nychea.org/index.html

Homeschooling does not have to be rigid but most colleges are going to look for some sort of structure on a transcript. What do your parents say about the whole thing? What are your expectations of how you will learn? I am sure that you can do enough independent study to do well on the tests but what are you planning on using and what are you planning on studying.
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unschooling is more applicable to elementary school, imho - high school and preparation for college require somewhat more of a direct focus, and study of subjects you won't necessarily enjoy. What you should do is find out what coursework you need to complete to (a) graduate with a regular high school diploma and (b) get into the college of your choice, then cover the material and CLEP, AP, or DSST. The exception would be lab science courses, which are probably easier done at your local community college than at home. Also take the SAT and/or ACT (more than once if you don't do well the first time). Once you've done all this, and assuming you score well, you should have an excellent shot at scholarships. Test scores are test scores, colleges won't care that you homeschooled for the last few grades.

Regarding age - the law says "until the last day of the school year in which you turn 16", and since the next school year starts in September and you've already turned 16, you're good to go. No legal requirements.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should make things more clear.

mschickie wrote:
The course are just the subjects you are studying. It can be set up in a multitude of ways. You can use a text book, library books, on line lectures, videos whatever works so you learn the material. If you expect to pass the CLEP test you still need to do work and study.


My intent is to study using textbooks and whatever information I can find on the internet. Which will be the bulk of my material, is yet to be concluded based on their usefullness.

mschickie wrote:
Most schools will accept CLEP tests for credit but if you do not have the requirements for admission they still might not accept you.


What could these requirements be?

mschickie wrote:

I am unclear on how you expect your unschooling to go. Most unschoolers do not use textbooks but do alot of hands on learning. What subjects are you planning on taking?


I'm not exactly sure which route I should take. As mentioned a few sentences above, I would simply like to study at home without the aid of a teacher or obligation to make it to a certain building every day with gaining next to nothing what I can gain by studying alone.
I'm not sure how I can learn the necessary subjects, required for college admission by any sort of "hands on" learning. That does seem more fit for pre-middle-school material, for which once does not need to "study".
I just want to do my exams and get into a college I can get my degree in without going to school - that's it.

mschickie wrote:

You would still need 2 english and 2 social studies ( which includes one unit of American history, one-half unit in participation in government, and one-half unit economics) health is also required if you have not done that.


I have taken many regent tests before. If I leave, would their validity be maintained, and will I be able to add them to my collection, instead of taking them again? My lack of understanding of the system has me worried.

mschickie wrote:

I am also not sure if you would need to do the standardized testing after 16. I know we are doing it because we plan on getting a letter of completion in lieu of the diploma to help with college admissions so we are filing all the paper work each quarter.


I will do what is best. That seems to be this so-called "standardized testing", and filling out a transcript. Can I really get a diploma if I send in the right paper work? I don't know why they would want to know anything but the knowledge in my head, but if it will help, I will send whatever is necessary for yielding the best results.

mschickie wrote:

Homeschooling does not have to be rigid but most colleges are going to look for some sort of structure on a transcript. What do your parents say about the whole thing? What are your expectations of how you will learn? I am sure that you can do enough independent study to do well on the tests but what are you planning on using and what are you planning on studying.


I plan on getting into a college in which I can the degrees necessary to become an Optometrist. That is my currect goal. If I stay where I am, and lose the next two years to boredom and frustration, I might have a better shot than if I leave.. so I want to know just how much better, and what I have to do to make it as small as possible, or as big as possible if in the other direction.

Theodore wrote:
(a) graduate with a regular high school diploma


Can I really "graduate", and with a regular highschool diploma, if I leave school? I was lead to believe otherwise, according to the reading material suggested to me which specified the state laws.

Theodore wrote:
(b) get into the college of your choice.


I really have no problem doing the work necessary - I just want to know that there is a clear and identically simple path to getting admission into a good college without finishing the last two grades inside that building, frivolously wasting my time.

Theodore wrote:

Once you've done all this, and assuming you score well, you should have an excellent shot at scholarships. Test scores are test scores, colleges won't care that you homeschooled for the last few grades..


That's my point. If I score well, will I still need a scholarship? Wouldn't any college I want accept me with open arms.. or would a scholarship be the same, except with paid tuition?
And are you certain that they wouldn't care that I have left school? It just seems to me that.. if I leave school, no college will ever want me no matter how high I score. There is no repent for those who leave the warm embrace of the internal school system, is what I have heard. But as usual, I am skeptical and will not accept such a negative truth.

Theodore wrote:

Regarding age - the law says "until the last day of the school year in which you turn 16", and since the next school year starts in September and you've already turned 16, you're good to go. No legal requirements.


Does this mean that I am longer even required to go to school?
In that case, can I just not return in September?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

track wrote:
What could these requirements be?


These requirements are dependent on the college. Here is a link so you can see what one might require http://www.baruch.edu/undergrad/requirements.html#freshman

track wrote:
I have taken many regent tests before. If I leave, would their validity be maintained, and will I be able to add them to my collection, instead of taking them again? My lack of understanding of the system has me worried.


Homeschoolers are not required to take Regents exams. Even if you re-entered the public school you would not be required to retake them. The standardized test that homeschoolers in NY are not Regents. They are acheivement tests (usually Iowa, STanford or the PASS test). You can either arrange to take them on your own (usually you need some one certified by the company to administer it) or the school district can arrange the testing for you.


track wrote:
I will do what is best. That seems to be this so-called "standardized testing", and filling out a transcript. Can I really get a diploma if I send in the right paper work? I don't know why they would want to know anything but the knowledge in my head, but if it will help, I will send whatever is necessary for yielding the best results.


You do not get an actual "dipolma" but instead the district would issue a letter of completion which is pretty much the same thing just not as fancy. Most colleges will accept that along with a written transcript. If you want a letter of completion your parents would have to send a letter to the district (contact the homeschool director http://schools.nyc.gov/StudentSupport/StudentAttendance/HomeSchooling/default.htm) telling them you will be homeschooled next year. Do not worry that it says you need to send the letter before July 1, parents have the right to pull their child at any time. You and your parents would need to submit an individualized instruction plan. It sounds more complicated than it is. The district will send you the form and you list what classes you are doing and what you are going to use as your textbooks or study guides and how you would be evaluated (does not have to be tests it can be just a summary of the work) You need to complete 990 hours of school a year. Your parents are required to submit quarterly reports which basically report what you have been covering and how many hours you have completed. It sounds harder than it is. I just do it on an excel sheet and fax it over to our district. You would also have to take an achievement test each year. While this is not required for you to be homeschooled Superintendents will not issue the letter of completion unless they can see that you have met all the requirements.

track wrote:
That's my point. If I score well, will I still need a scholarship? Wouldn't any college I want accept me with open arms.. or would a scholarship be the same, except with paid tuition?
And are you certain that they wouldn't care that I have left school? It just seems to me that.. if I leave school, no college will ever want me no matter how high I score. There is no repent for those who leave the warm embrace of the internal school system, is what I have heard. But as usual, I am skeptical and will not accept such a negative truth.


Most scholarship programs and colleges will not care if you have been homeschooled. My nephew just graduated from a community college that he attended on a full scholarship. He was pretty much homeschooled his entire life. He will be attending an excellent 4 year school next year. I have met a large number of homeschooled students who have attended college, some on scholarships some not. Now this is not to say that every scholarship program will be open to you or that every college will accept a homeschooled student but if your scores are high enough and the work you are doing at home challenging enough I would say that probably 95% of Colleges will take you.


Since you seem like a responsible and mature teen I think you could do this. The only thing that I can think is that you might need your parents help on is if you are doing a science with a lab and since you are looking to enter the medical proffession I would say you should go heavy on the science classes.

I hope what I have provided helps. Have you talked to your parents about what they think about this? You can do the majority of the work yourself but they should be at least supervising since they are responsible for the paperwork end of it.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, if I get this correctly..

In order to get into a good college I need to get my letter of completion, which I will get by taking a single achievement test each year and submitting a work sheet, classifying and noting what I have been doing, and by taking other certain exams that anyone is eligable for - every those who "dropped out" of school.

Without the letter completion - how much harder will getting into the college of my choice be?

Is there a list of the exams I have to take in order to get into that college?

What you have provided helps me see the road ahead more clearly, but I still require someone who can draw me a correct path to make it to my destination. I am trying to do that myself, but there are too many obsticles and blank spaces. Hopefully the questions above will clear those and fill them in completely.

Oh, and thank you for your compliments. They mean a lot coming from a person I respect.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have a particular college you are looking at? Depending on your SAT scores and your transcript most colleges will accept homeschoolers. CLEP tests are also accepted by most colleges. A letter of completion in NY is the equivalent of a diploma for almost all colleges. If you have a couple of schools you are interested in then it might help you focus on exactly what you need to study. Most colleges do not care if you were homeschooled, public or private schooled as long as you know the material and have the proper skills. Not having the official diploma should not prevent you from getting into college as long as you have completed the equivalent work.


As for exams that you need to take in order to obtain entrance to college you would either take the SAT or the ACT. Most schools will accept either but you need to check with the individual College or University. CLEP tests can be taken in 34 different areas http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/exams.html
Many of the tests cover subjects that are required by NYS for high school so if are indepth with your studies you should be able to do ok on the tests.


Here is a link to a local district that has a good manual on homeschooling that you can download. It provides examples of the forms that need to be submitted so you can see what is involved. http://www.rhnet.org/vollmer.cfm?subpage=479

I think that pdf should answer most of your questions.
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