I Survived The SATs!

The universities that I would like to go to recommended that homeschool students take a standardized test to apply ( why? ) and I chose the SAT without the essay.

 

Preparing

Taking as many practice test as you possibly can ( it sounds extreme but I think lots of practice tests are very important ) help so much! Khan Academy Official Practice made the whole test experience a lot easier. Around 2 months before the test date, I took the first full-length practice test on Khan Academy so it could see where I struggled and where I excelled to make a plan. It recommends what subjects need to be worked on based on the previous practice tests’ scores. Screenshot 2018-01-15 at 1.08.44 PM

Every day up until the test day I spent about 20 minutes – so I didn’t get overwhelmed or burnt out – working on the topics it recommended and every other week I took a full-length practice test to pretend it was the real test day. The week of the actual test I took full-length practice tests every other day because I wanted to get the nerves of the test out a bit. At some point, test scores seem to stop varying much and stick within a range. I had a 90 point range with all of the practice tests. I got around the same score every time except for a few really bad days and one really great score day. My final score ended up being right in this range and the official score had a 70 point range predicting that if I retook the test it would also fall within the same range.

Khan Academy also has lots of tips and tricks on how to take the test. In the comments on their pages, people have shared things about their experiences and lots of helpful tips, too.

 

Registering

All SAT test registration is done through the CollegeBoard. As I had said in the previous post on SATs, it is good to sign up well in advance to get a test centre close by. My uni applications all have a deadline of March 1st for getting the docs in, so this was my only chance to take the test and do well. If I were to do it again, I would take the SATs a little earlier in case my score wasn’t a good representation of my skills. But the benefit is I knew I did my very best this time and it probably wouldn’t be much better if I had taken the test again.

I didn’t do my full registration, I had my mom do it because I was afraid I would miss something. They require a photo which they seem very picky about but really as long as you can tell who you are from the picture it is fine. There is a fee for the test and it is more for those outside of the US. They also want you to fill out info forms for scholarships but those scholarships are just for the US, so I did not fill them out.

 

Test day

I had to get up at 6am, which, as a homeschooler that doesn’t usually have to wake up very early, was the worst part of the whole test, I also didn’t fall asleep until late so that didn’t help, but that’s why coffee exists! The first thing that happens when you arrive at the Test Centre is the check your ID and admission ticket. I went in before it was technically open but that also meant I was one of the first people out once the test was done. After getting ID checked, I went to the Test Room where everyone was lined up and handing in their phones to be set aside during the test, I did not take my phone with me. There was quite a bit of waiting for everyone to get in, which I didn’t really mind since it was my first time ever in a non-university classroom, I liked looking around at everything. The test supervisor handed out test booklets and workbooks, explained the rules and there was signing to agree that you weren’t cheating or anything, and then the first part of the test began. Each part passed by with breaks in between, I made the mistake of not standing up when it was break time and sitting in the chair for 4 hours got very uncomfortable. It was very nice once the test was over and the relief of it being done, and I could get out of the chair.

 

Scores

The scores were sent out about a week later. They email to tell you they have arrived and you can view them through the CollegeBoard website, where they also heavily break the scores down and explain where points came from and where you did well. I was satisfied with my score but I know I could have done better with timing. The time flies by during the actual test.

Official scores are sent to the schools you’ve applied to through the CollegeBoard for a fee to ship them. It took awhile to find the code for the schools since they’re outside of the US but with some searching around they were found. Scores were sent off and that’s it for the standardized test part of the application!

 

 

P.S It’s Peri

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Why Take The ACT Or SAT Test To Apply To Uni In ON?

As a homeschooler in Ontario, it is highly recommended – and required in order to apply to some schools – that you take either the SAT or the ACT standardized tests before applying to university. In Canada, public school students are not required to take these tests unless they are applying to schools outside of Canada, unlike in the United States where every high school student must take these tests.

 

Why take these tests?

It helps the universities bring all the students who did not attend a local high school to about the same playing field and judge them fairly. It can also give them more proof of how well you do in some subjects and that you’ve actually learnt things, basically just insurance that you have actually had an education.

 

What standardized test to take?

There are the ACT, SAT and SAT Subject Tests that can be taken and used for your application. All of the schools I wanted to apply to did not specify if they wanted ACT or SAT and the SAT test date was sooner than the ACT date so I went with the SAT test. One of the schools asked for homeschool students to have taken 3 SAT Subject Tests that correlated to the program you’re applying to, for example, I would have to take the Chemistry, Biology and Math tests in order apply to Kinesiology. However, I was too late for signing up for the Subject Tests and just went with the original SAT test without the essay.  I recommend signing up for the tests well in advance to ensure you get a spot at a test centre nearby and that you can get the tests that you want!

 

More on my experience taking the SAT coming soon! For more on university requirements for homeschoolers in Ontario look here.

P.S It’s Peri

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Tackling Transcripts

My mom and I have dreaded high school transcripts from the start. I didn’t follow one exact curriculum and did courses that worked best for me and took a huge variety of classes so the whole transcript process has been daunting. Luckily, it isn’t really that bad!

The process

Before I go into the process I just need to say if you’re homeschooling high school I highly recommend writing down all educational things you do in detail, even if it’s just slightly educational. We had been keeping track of the courses I was taking, but I think last year and this year I didn’t write down everything I did. Luckily, it wasn’t that long ago so I know what courses I had taken, but if I hadn’t written down things from Grade 9 or 10, I definitely wouldn’t have remembered everything.

So, the first step was to lay out all the courses I had taken and basically “translate” them to public school “language”. Things such as art – I drew freely, took online art requests, art classes, art history and appreciation, etc. – we summarized into Integrated Arts, for convenience to the schools.  The goal is to make everything as easy as possible for the schools and whoever is looking over the applications. We wrote each course on a post-it note and separated them into each grade.  We double checked the required credits for this province to graduate to ensure I had all of the courses, we also checked the required courses for Kinesiology

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Post-its with the name of courses, divided by what grade they were taken in

in university to make sure I was set for that. Everything was good there, so the next step was to move everything into an online spreadsheet. We used Google Sheets and just wrote down each course separated by year. The universities require that you write down how much time and how many weeks you’ve spent on each course. This is a good thing to write down, too! It wasn’t too hard to come up with but it did take awhile to figure out how long was spent and how many weeks since I didn’t usually take summers off and would only take maybe a few weeks per year off. On average I spent 39 hours every week doing school as opposed to the public school average of 35.

Course descriptions

After time spent, grades and all of the courses were written down in the spreadsheet, we had to make detailed course descriptions. Technically, these aren’t part of the transcripts. Transcripts are just the course names, time, and grades, the descriptions are separate and will be uploaded to the schools separately. But since we were already going through all of my courses it made sense to do these at this time, too. This is where it would be most helpful to have everything previously written down and described in detail. It has been a several day process to get through all of the descriptions. I looked up what the courses descriptions were from the websites of the courses and copied all of them into a doc to have all of the info in one spot and not rely on memory for the exact things I’ve learnt. From there my mom and I have been writing descriptions and editing them down so everything is very brief and detailed. It’s pretty time consuming but soon we’ll have them all done and be able to send them to the schools. Once everything is done it will be uploaded to the schools through their student centres and they will alert when they’ve received the docs.

P.S It’s Peri

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Applying To University In Ontario As A Homeschooler

In Ontario, all university applications go through the Ontario University Application Centre ( OUAC ). There are 2 main ways of applications, 101 for students in public high school and 105 for all of those who are not in a public school. And since I am Canadian my application was 105d, standing for domestic. Before any documents can be sent to the universities you have to apply to the schools through the OUAC.

 

OUAC application

The OUAC was actually pretty simple once I realized it wasn’t the full on applications to the schools. The first step was making an account for OUAC and putting in my info about where I lived, how to contact me and where my previous education was from. Next was picking out the programs I’m applying to and what schools. You have to pick 3. And that was it! There’s a fee, which was more expensive than I was expecting but maybe because my applications have to be individually looked over by someone.

 

Acknowledgement and setting up accounts

After applying through OUAC, all of the schools sent emails of acknowledgement, I was excited for this because it makes it seem so real! The first one came within about 3 days and the others took almost a week. With each email, they sent a username and password for my account in each of the schools’ student centre websites and an email address with the school where they would contact me. The first one I spent around 2 hours setting up my account and exploring the student centre site. This is where they contact you, keep track of your application status, finances, choose your classes, basically where you do everything.  I ensured that all of my personal info was right and that they had the right program. Within a day or 2 after getting my account set up, my application had been reviewed and they sent a list of required documents and prefered deadlines.  Now I will be able to send them standardized test scores, transcripts, and other docs they would like. The first major step is done!

 

P.S It’s Peri

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University Requirements For Homeschoolers

I am lucky to have pretty easily picked out the schools that I would like to apply to, which really narrowed down what my requirements as a homeschooler had to be.

 

Requirements and the to-do list

Requirements vary from school to school but the basic idea of what they want is all the same.

  • Results from a standardized test such as the SATs or ACTs. – To make sure you are up to par with the students coming in from public schools.
  • Transcripts of high school courses. – To see what you’ve done over the years.
  • Cover letter describing the curriculum you used to homeschool, why you homeschooled and your plans for your university journey.
  • And required courses for the program you’re going into.

 

Finding requirements

Some schools are very accepting of homeschoolers and have everything laid out nicely with regards as to what they want to see, others were harder to find and said that it would be best to just go to public school. I found the easiest way to find what the homeschool student requirements were was to just Google the school name and “homeschool requirements”. Contacting an admissions officer would be a good step, too. All of the requirements felt a bit overwhelming, but one step at a time and they’re all getting done and it’s not as bad as it seemed at first!

 

P.S It’s Peri

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Homeschooling Vs Public School For Grade 12 – Why I Continued Homeschooling

Lots of people go to public high school for at least the final year of homeschooling high school, the universities recommend it and it can be simpler. But, after much debating, I decided to try to pioneer my way through the last year of homeschooling high school and into the world beyond.

Why I continued homeschooling

There were benefits to both going to public school and homeschooling this year. Going to school would make applying easier, I wouldn’t have to find the right standardized tests for each school, wouldn’t have as much work to do personally on applying so I could focus on the schoolwork itself. But there were many downsides to going to school: having never been to public school before, the whole situation would take getting used to. I’ve spent many years trying to stand out from public school and going to school for the final year would be setting me back, in my opinion. So, I decided to stay. Personally, there are many benefits to staying, such as: being able to stand out in university applications because every homeschoolers’ application is individually evaluated, so there is no chance of mine being missed. No getting used to a new environment of a public school, I can do courses that specifically relate to what I would like to go to university for so I am more prepared and it looks better on applications, more free time and less stress because I have more control over my application and schoolwork. Plus, it is an adventure to go through this not-so-common process!

And since I have not found much on life as a homeschool high school student, I hope to keep this more updated about the process of applying and how things are going! If you have any questions or there are posts you want to see, let me know in the comments!

 

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Still Alive And Coming Back

 

Hello!

Yes, I am still alive. Thanks to everyone who still follows, I will be getting back into active blogging and will be documenting my final year of high school, the process of applying to universities and my life along the way!

If you have any questions or things you’d like to see in upcoming posts, please let me know in the comments!

 

P.S It’s Peri

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Balance + Motivation

One of my words for 2017 is “balance”. Balance in schoolwork, social life, mood (LOL??), workouts, food, just balance in everything.

 

 

Motivation

As a homeschooler, I find one of the problems is motivation and actually getting schoolwork done ( #homeschoolproblems ). You have to be pretty self-driven especially if you take a lot of the control over your own work and curriculum. There isn’t really the peer pressure to get things done, or time limits, you can just stay in bed all day and never have to get out. It isn’t a bad thing but I find I need to be doing stuff, to actually get out of bed and get dressed and leave the house, in order to stay sane ( slight exaggeration ), so it’s super important to me to try to stay motivated and get things done, that’s where balance comes in.

 

 

Balance

I am really bad at balance. Like really bad. I procrastinated most of my schoolwork last year until the last month before summer break and got it all done then. I was highly motivated because it was almost the summer, and I couldn’t get summer break without having done any work. Learning doesn’t really work that way, though, and I’m thinking I should change my ways of binge learning. No more ( or at least less ) procrastinating, and no more time spent in these “down”, no motivation periods.

 

Balance in being social

There are times when I will barely be home from all the things going on, then there are times when I won’t leave the house for about a week straight. I would really like to change this because those weeks when I don’t leave the house can become very boring and the others very overwhelming.

 

Balance in schoolwork per day

When I do schoolwork, I usually do it after breakfast then right up to when I go to bed with taking breaks for tea, dance and running. But then I get burnt out because that’s all I do all day.

 

Balance in workouts

I often don’t really take days off of working out, except one day I do not run and have about 2 hours worth of dance class. Usually, I don’t take breaks just because I don’t know what else to do.

 

 

The plan

First and foremost – get motivation, and for it to be constant motivation instead of the sudden spikes of heavy motivation. I’m not quite sure what that would be to me, and I’m going to work on finding out what is motivating. Currently, I know that stretching after a tough run is motivating because I love stretching and it’s so relaxing, it’s like a reward once the workout is over. And in the morning if I make a little sweet potato hash that motivates me to get up and get cooking.

 

Schoolwork balance

I need to set certain times for myself that I should be working, like do schoolwork for a bit in the morning then lunch break, and for all the afternoon plus workout break, then that’s it for the day so it’s not too much. Oh, hey I just set my schedule right there! Then I need to take long-term breaks as well, like actually not doing things on the weekend. Now I’ll just need to find things to do in the breaks.

 

Workout balance

One word – yoga. Balance is the whole point of yoga, isn’t it? Or something along those lines. Yoga is not as strenuous as always running, and it’s stretching which I love!

 

Social balance

This can be hard because my friends who go to school often can only get together when there’s time off of school, so it all tends to be at around the same time. But I will try to spread out things and keep a little busy all the time!

 

 

Officially getting back to school tomorrow so more posts on homeschooling are coming soon! Also, do other homeschoolers struggle with balance, too? What keeps you balanced? And what do you do in your break time?

 

P.S. It’s Peri

 

 

 

 

Looking Back

Sometimes I can be a bit too sentimental and it seems so old fashioned or melancholy but it’s kind of nice to look back on the year and see what happened since it felt like it flew by with nothing happening.

 

January

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, January was not the best. Instead of taking 2 months off of school in the summer I took 1 the previous summer and then half of December off and half of January. After Christmas was over I was very bored, there weren’t that many people I could talk to, I wasn’t pushing myself to do my best in anything, I wouldn’t get tired because I was only taking a little walk for my exercise and I need more than that. But in February I worked to fix all that!

 

February

I tried to surround myself with people I had met and tried to make new friends online, it was pretty successful and I met lots of great people and would call with 3 of them every day which really helped me get to know them and others! During the day I would wake up super late because of being on calls all night oops LOL, and do school, dance and walk. Not a lot of change from now. For school I did Math U See as always, then some French videos off of YouTube which helped me learn to pronounce things but didn’t really work with me for learning words, I worked on Khan Academy’s computer programming a lot then, too.

 

March

This was when I started to really journal so this is more documented! I remember just being really bored in March, baking a lot because I wasn’t sure what else to do lol, I started digitally drawing. School was pretty much the same as in February.

 

April

The first week in April was a dance competition and I got to help out at some of the dance classes while others were at the competition. I got my haircut for the first time in 5 years. And it was my birthday, all I can really remember from my birthday is making muffins at 3 am for breakfast, otherwise, I didn’t know what to do for it. And I got braces, can’t forget that! I started to feel more motivated in school so I did Georgia Public Broadcasting’s chemistry course and Khan Acdemy’s biology.

 

May

More dance competitions, more drawing, I talked to someone who was going to school for illustrations and decided that I wanted to work on that more. Every day in May I did at least 200 squats, which was crazy but it really built strength fast! Took lots of pictures of spring showers, got lots of school done, assisted with a dance class for a bit, made a contentment plan, got my first phone, walked outside and explored the area a lot. In May I was pretty motivated since spring had arrived and it would soon be summer! It was a good new start from the winter.

From a walk.

 

June

June was the end of dance classes for summer, there was an end of year recital and my company choreographed a dance together for it, I started to run a tiny bit, baked lots, started my hummus obsession, tried to finish up all the school I had procrastinated before it was summer break, put up our trampoline for the summer and got really sunburnt and that was probably the most I was outside all summer. No one ever talks about how hard it is to put a trampoline together, but it’s really hard. A bunch of my friends started calling every night. I decided that I liked Troye Sivan’s music.


A sunrise before I had gone to bed one very late night.

 

July

Finished all the school that needed to be done before the break. Started summer break!! Basically, all I did in July was stay up for most of the night with my friends LOL which was so much fun and I definitely do not regret! That also sparked my newfound love for coffee in order to actually stay awake during the day.


More super late night sunrise.


Coffee and a half eaten black bean brownie.

August

The same thing as July!! But at the end of August, I had Summer Dance that is all afternoon spent at the studio learning routines, strength and conditioning, stretching, it’s one of my favourite parts of summer! I got to go see some world class theatre, as well. I also discovered the TV show Glee which I was really late to but now I love it. And dyed my hair purple!



Random pics.


Hair dye mess.

September

I got to see the journals of the author of my favourite book series Anne Of Green Gables which was such a cool experience and these particular journals were very exciting with stories of proposals. It always inspired me to journals more. Got them bottom half of my braces, which hurt a lot more than the tops. My one cat ran away for 11 days and we got a call from a couple who he had decided to go stay with, we got the cat back now. Started working on really running and strength building, again. And also went back to doing school and was highly motivated so got lots done. Dance started again, as well. Started to question if I should continue homeschooling. More posts on this later!! I did a little work with my dad. Fewer calls happened as friends went back to school and started to get busy. It was a new start to the school year and I was highly motivated to get as much school as possible done! Added in other subjects that I was interested in like Khan’s Wi-Phi Wireless Philosophy and Khan’s health course.

A picture of Lucy Maude Montgomery in her journal.

October

My friends and I decided to put on an awards show, which we’re now doing for every season. We all suggest categories that there will be awards in, then nominate 3 of us for the award and make polls online. Everyone votes between a couple dedicated voting days, then two people “host” the awards and make a YouTube video together of them announcing who has won. I was one of the hosts for the first one and it took quite awhile to come up with everything so most of my time that wasn’t spent working out, dancing, or doing school, was spent on the videos and the rest of the awards for a good 2-3 weeks of October. It was also Canadian Thanksgiving so there was lots of cooking and visiting family.


Pumpkins!


Leaves changing colours.


Thanksgiving cake fail.


Driving home from thanksgiving visits.


First snow!

 

 

November

By November a lot of my motivation from before had faded, and I started to realise how many things need to be changed to work better for me. Most of November was spent researching universities, careers, laying out pros and cons to going to school, trying to figure out what needs to be changed here, all things I’m still trying to figure out and I will definitely write more on these!

Fresh apples.

Corn maze.

Troye Sivan concert!

December

Still trying to figure out how things need to be changed, more university research, less motivation for school and everything. Then Christmas! See Christmas 2016. Then it brings us to the end of the year and now!
Christmas market.


Snowy mornings.


Cardinal visiting.

 

Not a tonne happened in 2016 which isn’t really a bad thing! What were some of the highlights of your 2016?

 

P.S. It’s Peri

2017 Goals

I really love goal setting, it’s probably the OCD in me that wants to take some control in life. Plus it’s so nice after accomplishing goals. And I think it helps me get closer to where I want to be in life? Or at least it makes me think I am, which is good enough.

 

Where I want to be in a year.

The first thing I do before setting the new goals is try to imagine where I want to be at this time next year. Where I am? What have I accomplished? Has there been major changes in my life? How do I feel? This often doesn’t actually help at all because I can barely imagine where I’m going to be tomorrow let alone a year. It also might set too high expectations, but I like to think I’m a pretty reasonable person.

For the next year I haven’t really pictured where I want to be in a year. This year I was thinking more like “If I could do this past year again, what would I do differently?” I have been craving change. I want to change lots of things this year but not go too crazy. My motto is “rebirth” and “live”.  Just improvement and change.

 

A few of the things I would like to accomplish over the coming year:

  1. To be less anxious. I’ve often struggled with anxiety so I would like to work on keeping it under control and managing stress.
  2. To be kinder to myself. Sometimes I just get a little too critical of myself.
  3. Enjoy being content more. It sounds kind of weird but I like being not happy sometimes or I take being content for granted.
  4. Take more risks. I’ve always been afraid of risks but there’s not a lot of fun in not taking any.
  5. Work harder on being social. It doesn’t just magically happen.
  6. Get school things organized, make a new schedule style, stay motivated, and make it more enjoyable.
  7. Get things together for university.
  8. Job shadow more and/or volunteer, get a job.
  9. Learn to drive!! I keep putting it off.
  10. Keep pushing myself in my workouts and maybe do a 5k or something like that.

 

Categories

I have a big binder that I write down all the goals in and can keep coming back to and see what I have accomplished and add in more. There are 12 categories I have made for myself.

  1. Health and fitness
  2. Self improvement
  3. School
  4. Career
  5. Finance
  6. Style and self care
  7. Interdependence
  8. Friends, social, relationships
  9. Creativity
  10. Fun
  11. Blog
  12. Dance

I kind of know what things I want to accomplish in each of these categories and just take a day to write out all of the goals then make a game plan to get these things done!

 

Game plan

This is the really hard part that I like to procrastinate! But if I’m feeling productive I’ll try to make a plan on how to complete these goals. I haven’t done this for this year yet, but it’s coming!

A couple months ago I read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens ( Honestly really good but sometimes I couldn’t stand the cheesiness, I would definitely recommend reading it, though! ) and it was really helpful with tips on setting goals, prioritizing, and completing the goals.


I’ll be working on my goals for 2017 throughout the year, but this is how I’m going to start out. What are some of your new year’s goals?

 

P.S. It’s Peri