Thursday, July 30, 2015

Test Optional? Really?

Since George Washington University announced it joined the ranks of "test optional" schools, home educators wonder what it means for them.

Though some universities are moving toward test optional for public and private schooled graduates, not all schools are following suit for college-bound, home-educated students. We personally found it wise and helpful to research the admission requirements for our student's top colleges of choice, first and then work to meet those requirements. Though we were pleasantly surprised to find some test optional or test flexible, others were not.

So, which schools are really test optional for home educated grads at the time of research, July 2015?

Adventist University of Health Sciences, Orlando, FL
Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA
Albright College, Reading, PA
Allegheny College, Meadville, PA
American University, Washington, D.C. (home education admissions link)
Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, AR
Bay State College, Boston, MA
Bellevue University, Bellevue, NE
Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston MA
Bryant University, Smithfield, RI
Bryn-Mawr College, Bryn-Mawr, PA
Catawba College, Salisbury, NC
City College, various locations, FL
Clark University, Worcester, MA
Emmanuel College, Boston, MA
Faith Evangelical College and Seminary, Tacoma, WA
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY
Full Sail University, Winter Park, FL
Furman University, Greenville, SC
Providence College, Providence, RI
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

Colleges and universities may be added. Check back soon!

Note: Wording can be confusing. Interpreting the words should, must, advised, required, and recommend is essential. When there are questions, contact the admission office of the university.

When considering test optional universities, homeschoolers may want to consider:
  • Schools which list as test optional for general public and private school graduates, may not have the same policies for home educated graduates. Read the fine print.
  • Though the university may be test optional, supplemental information may be required including a homeschooling philosophy, curriculum used, and methods utilized. 
  • Colleges which accept students without SAT or ACT scores may require validations which may include dual enrollment grades.
  • Researching every college carefully, and recheck requirements yearly. Admission policies do change.
  • Test optional may mean "interview". Work to help your student be interview-ready. 
I have learned it is recommended that students take the SAT or ACT, at a minimum, while in high school. Though there are test optional universities, and the list may continue to grow, there still are many which have very specific application requirements. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Revised Celebrate High School Has Arrived!

The revision--which increased content by almost two-thirds--is here and ready for purchase. Contact Cheryl at or purchase on Amazon.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The PERT: Postsecondary Education Readiness Test

A common question heard around the evaluation table this summer...

"What about the PERT?"

The PERT—Postsecondary Education Readiness Test—is a customized assessment used in Florida to measure students abilities and skills for the sake of course placement for postsecondary studies in the areas of math, reading and writing. The assessment is computer-adaptive—questions are computer-generated based on the previous question—with the results intended to help place students in classes where they will be most successful. There are 30 questions on each subtest. The test is not timed, an advantage for some students. 

For information regarding scoring and course placement, visit

Study guide resources can be found at the following links:
PERT video study resources
Seminole State frequently asked questions

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Benjamin West: Impromptu Mini Study

Celebrate the simple in learning

It's been a few years and a few children ago that we read Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry (yes, the author who wrote the beloved Misty of Chincoteague, another classic worthy of the read). The book introduced us to the Father of American Painting, an artist of whom we were unfamiliar.

Recently, the youngers were introduced to Benjamin and the olders were reacquainted while reading Benjamin West: Gifted Young Painter by Dorothea J. Snow, a biography from the Childhood of Famous Americans series. We were all intrigued, just as we were years ago at our first introduction.

Little known facts we learned:
  • Benjamin wrestled with how his God-given talent could possibly be woven with his Quaker faith, giving his family and his church a new perspective to consider. 
  • Benjamin was creative and industrious, making the best of what he had, from colored clay (insert science study here) to using his cat's fur to make paintbrushes (there is a character lesson of truth telling here but I won't spoil the story).
  • Benjamin was a court painter for King George III. 
  • Benjamin taught famous painters Gilbert Stuart (think famous portrait painter of George Washington) and John Trumbull (think Declaration of Independence
Interesting new vocabulary we learned from our reading journey through Benjamin West: Gifted Young Painter .
  • Satchel
  • Provost
  • Ramshackle
  • Aghast
  • Daub
  • Folly
  • Hautboy
  • Chortled
  • Nape
  • Comely
We finished the COFA biography today. As I read the last word of the book, a little perked up, interested:

"We have to find out more!"

Yes, we can. And so can you! Look up these painters in your favorite set of encyclopedia (yes, they still exist), explore Google images, and watch a few You Tube videos.

A good story sparks an interest.

Our little impromptu mini study sparked a new fire.

"Benjamin influenced many artists. Let's find out more about those artists."
  • Charles Willson Peale
  • Gilbert Stuart
  • John Trumbull
  • Thomas Sully
  • Samuel F. B. Morse

A spark ignites an interest, which in turn lights a new fire.

More to do:
  • Differentiate between portrait and self-portrait. Paint or draw your self-portrait.
  • Create a time line of the American history occurring at the time Benjamin West and the other painters were painting. What events were taking place? Did the painters have anything in common?
  • Talk about other events in American history happening about the same time. 
  • If you had the opportunity to meet Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart or John Turnbull, what questions would you ask them about their work or the time in which they lived? 
  • Learn about the Quaker faith and how it is similar or different from the faith of your family.
  • Read Barbara Brenner's The Boy Who Loved to Draw, biography of Benjamin West. If reading more than one book about Benjamin West, discuss how the books are similar or different. Compare facts in each work.
A spark ignites an interest, which in turn lights a new fire.

That's the ever giving blessing of learning.