Saturday, November 23, 2013

Experiential Learning-- Intern with a Congressman

A recent email from my Congressman, Rush Holt, reminded me of one of the many perks of teen homeschooling: internships. Because homeschoolers are not bound by the hours of brick-and-mortar schools, they are able to intern during traditional working hours. 

Congressman Holt is currently accepting applications for Congressional internships in his offices in West Windsor and Washington, D.C. for the spring of 2014. According to his email:

Congressional interns are selected on a competitive basis and contribute in many ways to my work for central New Jersey, including aiding in legislative research, attending congressional hearings, helping address New Jerseyans’ problems with federal agencies, conducting community outreach, and helping with administrative duties.  Further information is available on my website, and the application deadline for the spring semester is December 12.

An up-close Civics credit plus a chance to check out a possible career path all rolled into one! Rush Holt isn't the only Representative to offer internships, so if this type of experience appeals to your teen and you don't live in NJ-12, why not look into opportunities with your Congressperson? Or keep the experience more local--look to your representative in the NJ State House or your town council. If your teen does pursue an internship, I hope you'll share the experience with us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

GED News

Every year, some homeschoolers choose the GED path to a high school diploma, but as I wrote back in July, that path is about to change. Not only is the Pearson VUE-GED getting a new look for 2014, but the NJ State Department of Education has proposed offering two alternatives: the ETS HiSet and the McGraw Hill-TASC.

Beginning in January 2014, the GED will be offered as a computer-based test (only those who qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act may still take the test on paper). The HiSet and TASC will be offered on both paper and computer through 2016. All three tests include subsections on writing, reading, math, science, and social studies which must be passed to earn the state diploma. All three tests must align with Common Core by 2016.

To learn more about the exams' history and background, fee structure, testing specifications, and passing scores, see the NJ Department of Education's Discussion Summary.

If you take one of the exams, I hope you'll let us know which path you chose and what you thought of the experience. Good luck!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heigh, Ho, Come to the (College) Fair!

If you're in the greater Philly/Central NJ or South NJ areas, next week presents 2 opportunities to ask hundreds of college admissions officers your questions about applying to and attending their schools. 

Pennsylvania Convention Center
Sunday, November 10

Atlantic City Convention Center
Thursday, November 14
9am-noon and 6 pm-9 pm
Workshops on college athletics, financing, essay writing/letters of recommendation, the Educational Opportunity Fund, application process

These fairs are BIG. To make the best use of your time, I suggest
  1. Check the "list of colleges attending" to narrow your focus to 10 schools
  2. Do some research to find out the basics on schools of interest (e.g. school size, majors offered, admit rate) 
  3. Prepare a short list of questions to ask each admissions officer. These should be questions that aren't already answered on the school's website. Two questions I like to ask are: What type of student is successful at your college? and What credentials do you want to see from homeschooled applicants?
  4. Check the list of workshop times and remember to allow time to attend any workshops of interest
  5. When you get to the fair, plot out the locations of each school of interest and take the most efficient route 
  6. Take notes!
  7. Consider registering in advance 
  8. For more college fair tips, visit the National Association for College Admission Counseling website