Issue 15 | July 13, 2012 | Design Your Own Courses!

Newsletters Archive

We love to hear about successes your students have experienced because of NARHS.  Our featured student has a lot to celebrate.

Before that, read about the importance of writing a course description.

What exactly is a Course Description?

A Course Description (CD) is simply the who, what, where, when, why and how of your homeschool self-designed courses! Course descriptions begin with a paragraph on what was studied, what books, materials, and labs were used, for each self-designed class. This permanent record can include field trips, events, competitions, anything that paints a clear picture of your child's unique education. You can even include methods of grading, test scores, etc.

Why create course descriptions? If you write the CD before the study begins it will help your student to stay on track, but it also creates a solid record for colleges to peruse in the future. You and the student can be reminded of the goals of this course of study.  It will keep you from getting side-tracked  (however, if you do make a wonderful discovery of something you want to learn more about, just create another course description!)

Course descriptions that include the objectives from the get-go give you, the evaluator, some criteria from which you can grade the student's accomplishments somewhat objectively.  Those objectives also give the student guidelines for the parameters of study, quality of out-put expected, and new material to master.
See the "Goals-Based Grading Tool" at this link for an efficient way to write course descriptions that can be evaluated.


NARHS received this jubilant letter from Claudia Neely, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, regarding her graduating home schooled daughter, Bethan:

Bethan NeelyBethan was accepted to every college she applied to: Duquesne University, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Eastman School of Music and Oberlin Conservatory.  After going over the scholarship offers, she chose Westminster Choir College of Rider University. She will attend their Honors College, and won their highest academic scholarship, the Presidential Scholar's Scholarship for $21,000 per academic year.  She also won their top organ performance scholarship.  She will be attending college almost for free!

None of this would have been possible without NARHS.  By doing her academic work around her music career, Bethan was able to focus on her music, winning numerous awards and now scholarships.  She also helped with inner city music programs and our church's music program, plus learning her beloved glassblowing and blacksmithing.

I can't thank NARHS enough.  It has been a wonderful experience for Bethan, and choosing her academic interests has really helped her feel ready to do Honor's College. At Westminster Choir College she has to attend choir, and the Westminster Choirs perform each year at Carnegie Hall, with the New York Philharmonic, and her senior year she will tour Europe.  As a Westminster student in Princeton, she can take classes at Princeton University as well.  NARHS helped make al of this possible.

After reading this letter, I remembered what Steve Moitozo used to say in his NARHS workshops, "It is not the diploma applying to the college, it is the student applying."  Bethan had become highly accomplished in her specialty, because home schooling allowed her the time.   Colleges don't turn down quality candidates like Bethan Neely.