Blog Archives

Coming Out of Hibernation

fall-kidsFall is in the air here in Oregon, reminding me that it’s time to come back online and resume a more normal schedule. School buses are once again motoring around the neighborhoods, the first leaves are starting to fall, and the night air is crisp and filled with the smell of wood smoke. It’s been a busy, interesting, unusual summer, one that I’m sad to see end in spite of my excitement about what the next few months hold. I’ve had a kind of hibernation period for the past few months, allowing me time to withdraw from the world temporarily and work on a new and somewhat scary project… my first book!

For those who have followed me for a while, you already know that over the past couple of years one of my main focuses has been researching and writing about college admissions for homeschoolers. As a former university program director and admissions committee member, and now a homeschooling mom of two boys, this focus is a natural marriage of my two great passions: kids and education. After writing a series of articles on this topic last year, a publisher approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing a book about college admissions for homeschoolers, and there was no way I could say no! So, with a November deadline for submitting my first draft, I’ve spent much of the summer in front of my computer in a continuous cycle of researching, writing, and editing.

The good news is, I’m almost done! The even-better news is, I’ve had a fabulous time and have learned so much that I just can’t wait to share with you. So, I’m going to begin sharing bits and pieces of advice, insights, and just generally cool information over the next few weeks — stay tuned! The first article I’ll be sharing is about the top questions admissions officers ask themselves when reviewing a homeschooler’s application, and I think you might be surprised about at least one or two of them.

But first, a question…

As part of my book research, I’ve been asking college admissions officers about their schools’ policies and procedures for homeschooled applicants. At the end of the interviews, I ask, “What would YOU like to know about? What would help you do your job better/more easily?” Again and again admissions officers are asking:

“Where can I find more homeschoolers? How can I connect with them?”

So, I thought I’d send this question out to you home educators, college counselors, and admissions officers alike:

What is the best way for colleges who are very interested in homeschooled students to connect with us? Some online location? A homeschooling conference? Other?

Please share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, insights — anything that can help us strengthen this bridge between our students and the colleges and universities who welcome them.  This will likely be the topic for a future article, so anything you share will help benefit others!

Happy Fall!!

The Implications of “Turning the Tide” for Homeschoolers

TideIn case you missed it last month, there was a new attention-grabbing report released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education that has caused quite a stir in the college admissions community. Just as many high school students were enduring final exams and simultaneously keeping an eye on the mailbox for college acceptance letters, “Turning the Tide” was released with recommendations that may change the future of college admissions for everyone. At least, that’s what the authors hope…  Read More




Homeschooling and College Admissions

Thanks to for helping us get the word out about our “From Home Education to Higher Education” research! This article was posted on their site yesterday:



Homeschooling and College Admissions – a survey for homeschoolers AND for colleges! Genius!!

My husband and I made the decision to home school our two sons in the middle of their 1st and 4th grade years. It was the end of January, testing season was about to begin again, and we decided enough was enough – it was time for a change. So we jumped into the deep end, knowing instinctively this was the right choice for our family, but without any real plan of what we were going to do or how we were going to do it.

Read More…




2015 Points of Light


Winter Stars

I love holidays, pretty much all holidays, but I have to admit that New Year’s is my favorite. Yes, even more than Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the 4th of July (my other favorites, in that order).  I particularly love the final build up to the new year, that week between Christmas and New Year’s Day when everything is done — all of the decorating, traveling, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining — and it’s time to rest and recover, to pull back from the many details of the recent weeks, and to think about the bigger picture, the vision for what’s to come.  It’s like looking at a blank page, or a fresh new canvas, and imagining all the things you could write or paint in that space. Unlimited creative potential.

I even like that the beginning of the new year coincides with short days, long nights, and cold temperatures — it feels like an invitation to hibernate, to recharge, to dream.  If I were a wild animal, I’d definitely be a bear. During the dark months here in the Pacific Northwest, I light lots of candles in the house, and have beautiful paper stars that I hang in the front window until the first day of Spring. The soft light and subtle warmth inspire me and light the way.

So, now that we are fully into January, I’m putting pen to paper (or rather, “fingers to keyboard”) as I think about and plan the year to come, and I’m particularly excited about several projects, my “points of light” for this year.

“From Home Education to Higher Education” Research

At the top of my list is a research project I’ve begun in partnership with the Oregon Home Education Network.  We’re updating some research conducted in 2004 about perceptions and admissions rates of home schooled students applying to college. Before surveying and interviewing admissions officers, however, we decided to invite homeschooling families to help us shape our research, and in just a few short weeks we’ve had a tremendous response! Families from every region in the country, with the exception of the Mountain region (so far!) have shared their thoughtful questions, concerns, and recommendations with us. I’m so encouraged by the responses and ideas coming through, and know that the results will be rich and useful to everyone in the homeschooling community. If you haven’t had a chance to respond yet, or want to invite others in your community to respond, the “From Home Education to Higher Education: What Homeschoolers Want to Know” survey is still live here.

We’ll begin distributing the online survey to Admissions Officers across the country in early February, and will begin conducting personal interviews toward the end of February. Updates, summaries, and interesting insights will be shared here, so stay tuned! The final (and free!) comprehensive report will be released in early summer on this site and on the Oregon Home Education Network site.

“Emerging Options in Education”

Another project I’m working on this year is an online course called “Emerging Options in Education”, where I’ll be describing all of the new and innovative educational options available to students of all ages these days.  This goes way beyond homeschooling! The course will include descriptions of and links to some fantastic programs and organizations, along with a discussion of K-12 and Higher Education trends that will shape how we learn in the coming years. I truly believe we’re at a tipping point in education, which is exciting, but also confusing for many. I’ve written about this shift already in a prior post, “The Big Education Shift — Are You Ready?”, and this course is designed to help you get ready!

A Podcast? (What do you think?)

Finally, I’m toying with the idea of starting a podcast connected to the “From Home Education to Higher Education” research. In short, I would love to record the interviews I’ll be conducting with university admissions officers and make them available to the homeschooling public. One of the ideas expressed by several homeschooling families is that they would like more direct contact and specific information about admissions for homeschoolers at different institutions, and I’m thinking this might be a good way to connect applicants with those making admissions decisions. Would this be of interest to you? It will take some work, so I want to make sure there’s enough interest before I invest too much time. Let me know!

On the Chinese calendar, 2015 is the year of the ram (or sheep) which signifies gentleness, connection, and creativity. It sounds like a great year to me, and this is exactly what I hope for all of us as we begin to paint the canvas of 2015.