Homeschooling Curriculum – Are You Making The "Right" Choice?

After deciding to homeschool your child, you now to work out what you are going to teach them. There are many curriculum choices you can make. You can purchase pre-packaged curriculum, make your own curriculum, or you could even teach a combination of both. Some parents prefer to focus their teachings on their religious beliefs. However, it is important to keep an open mind and remember that your children are their own people and they should be taught about the world from many different perspectives. Remember that there is no “right” way to teach your children because the “right” way for one child may not be “right” for another. It is important to be flexible and change your curriculum to tailor to your children as you discover their individual requirements as they grow.

So what is Pre-Packaged Curriculum anyway? Well Pre-Packaged, “school in a box”, or “all-in-one” Curriculum are comprehensive education packages that cover many subjects (usually an entire year worth). They contain all required books and materials. Some even include pencils and writing paper. The intent of the “school in a box” is to try to recreate the school environment in the home. They are typically based on the same subject-area expectations as public schools, which allows an easy transition into school after being home schooled, if desired. They are among the most expensive options for the homeschooled, but are easy to use and require minimal preparation.

The majority of today’s home-educated students use an eclectic mix of materials for their Homeschooling needs. For example, they might use a pre-designed program for language, arts or mathematics, and fill in history with reading and field trips, art with classes at a community center, science through homeschool science clubs, physical education with memberships in local sports teams, etc. This has been proved to be one of the most successful ways of educating the Homeschooled child.

Home educators are also able to take advantage of educational programs at museums, community centers, athletic clubs, after-school programs, churches, science preserves, parks, and other community resources. Secondary school level students often take classes at community colleges, which typically have open admission policies.

One of the major benefits of Homeschooling is the ability to blend lessons using a central theme, for example, a study unit about Native Americans could combine lessons in: social studies – like how different tribes live now and lived prior to colonization; art – such as making Native American clothing; history of Native Americans in the US; reading from a specialized reading list; and the science of plants used by Native Americans. You could use this same technique on another study unit where you chose another broad topic to study.

Homeschooling also offers student paced learning. This is similar to “all-in-one” curriculum and is often referred to as “Paces”. These workbooks allow the student to progress at an appropriate speed that suits their individual needs. They allow the student to master concepts, before moving on to the next subject, instead relying on the speed of the teacher and other students where they may move on to the next subject too quickly or not move on quickly enough.

Another form of Homeschooling is “Unschooling”, that is, an area in which students are not directly instructed but encouraged to learn through exploring their interests. Known also as “interest-led” or “child-led” learning, Unschooling attempts to provide opportunities with games and real life problems where a child will learn without coercion.

Unschooling advocates claim that children learn best by doing. A child may learn reading and math skills by playing card games, better spelling and other writing skills because he’s inspired to write a science fiction story for publication, or local history by following a zoning or historical-status dispute.

No matter which technique you decide to use when you start Homeschooling your children, you should remember to be flexible and revise your teaching choices, as you will need to adapt your curriculum to better tailor to your child’s needs as they become apparent.

Copyright © 2006 Matt Weight

4-Year Colleges vs Technical Schools: Your Choice

College is not for everyone, but that does not mean you shouldn’t pursue some sort of higher education or job training. When you think about your future, what do you envision? Are you doing something you love, or are you just working for a paycheck?

If you are one of the many who is trying to make a decision about where to spend your money and invest your future, read on. This article provides a comparison of 4 year colleges and technical schools. Which one is right for you?

How to choose between 4-year colleges and technical schools:

Ask yourself these questions and then consider the benefits and disadvantages of each type of school.

What are your goals? Do you have a specific career goal? What are your educational goals? Do you want to learn as much as you can about a variety of subjects? Do you want to learn as much as you can about one specific topic (become an expert)?

What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Would you benefit from a shorter more targeted program?

Lifestyle. How will school fit into your life? Would you benefit from non-traditional scheduling such as online, evening, or distance learning? 4-year colleges and technical colleges both offer such options, but it varies by school so check with any schools you are interested in attending.

What do you need? Realistically, what sort of degree or training do you need to pursue your dreams? Research your desired field–know what the requirements are and how they compare to the programs you are considering. The US Department of Education website offers resources for career and training research.

Be a consumer. Check equipment; is it new and up-to-date? How does it compare to the equipment you will be using on the job? Trust me, this can be tedious but it is quite important. After graduation I realized I should have taken more time to research the computer programs employers expected me to know for technical writing jobs. Had I been better informed, I could have taken extra courses dealing specifically with those programs.

Investigate the following: campus size, current and former students, faculty and staff;

Find out if the school is accredited and licensed; Do they make extraordinary claims? Will your credits be transferable?

4-year Colleges

Some people like to learn just for the sake of learning, while some are more focused and driven and use school as a steppingstone for job advancement. If you are interested in more scholarly pursuits a traditional 4-year college might be your best option.

Benefits: liberal arts training applies to many fields, diverse topics to explore, prestige, “college life”

Disadvantages: expensive, time consuming, may get degree in area you no longer wish to pursue, high admission standards and prerequisites, job market may be slower upon graduation-may require additional training

Technical Schools

If college was for everyone, technical schools would not exist. Some people may feel a stigma is attached to technical schools. In a society where attending college has become standard, we lose sight of the value of skills training. People feel abnormal and may be angry if they don’t want to go to college but feel pressured to do so anyway.

Benefits: shorter duration, focused programs, easier admission standards, flexible scheduling, certifications not necessarily offered at 4-year colleges, hands on training

Disadvantages: may be viewed as less prestigious, can be expensive, may be less room for exploration of other subjects, accreditation, for-profit institutions

Many of the fastest growing jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree but do require post-secondary education (education beyond high school) These jobs include:

o Medical Assistants

o Social and human service assistants

o Home health aides

o Medical records and health information technicians

o Physical therapist aides

o Physical therapist assistants

o Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors

o Veterinary technologists and technicians

o Hazardous materials removal workers

o Dental hygienists

o Occupational therapist aides

o Dental assistants

o Personal and home care aides

o Self-enrichment education teachers

o Occupational therapist assistants

o Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

o Preschool teachers, except special education

o Respiratory therapists

For more information on job growth statistics see the Bureau of Labor Statistics webpage.

Remember, the best way to determine what is right for you is to simply know yourself and be informed.

Online Education Background Checks: Employers and Student’s First Choice to Legitimacy!

As higher education becomes more of a determining factor in one’s eligibility for all sorts of jobs and the employers are keeping their consent over quality employment, many job applicants are looking for shortcuts to remain competitive in the marketplace. And since the economic halt had started and finding a job become a harsh business, people are trying to get their way out by forging their educational documents or even buying education to fake “diploma mills.” They don’t even know that this could not only humiliate them in front of their prospective employer but also end their career in a gutter. A total loss of time, money and mental peace.

Every single employer is now looking for the best employee and they are judging their prospective candidate on the basis of education and the legitimacy of their credentials earned during their study. Employers are keeping a close eye on every single incumbent by running comprehensive education background checks as they knows the fact that educational success reveals a great deal about an applicant’s credentials and motivations; and through education background checks, an employer can get an accurate depiction of their qualifications as well their intentions of playing a role in development of the company.

Some Astounding Facts about Forged Education Credentials Caught by Education Background Checks:

  • In 2004, the US General Accounting Office revealed that nearly 200,000 federal employees had at the very least exaggerated education credentials on their resume.
  • SHRM(Society for Human Resource Management): More than 53% of job applicants falsify information on their resumes; one in four candidates misrepresents his educational attainment.
  • ADP Hiring Index: 49% of employment, education and or credential reference checks reveal discrepancies in the applicant’s information.
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners: 41% of applicants lie about their education.

The above inclination of facts about the defined scenario indicates an increase in the likelihood that employer’s who don’t verify education will hire unqualified personnel. Hiring unqualified personnel, in turn, leads to higher employee turnover, forcing the organization to incur expensive recruiting and replacement costs.

The Other Cunning Problem: Online Degree Scams aka Diploma Mills:

The second biggest and most souring, surging problem for employers are fake diploma mills which are playing a role in instigating fraud among the innocent people. These online cheap diploma/degree making factories are looting people for fast track degrees.

Diploma mills and degree mills as well as various websites, advertise very realistic, physical diplomas and transcripts, which have been found to deceive many employers. Therefore, with the striking statistics of resume fraud, employers should think twice about using physical diplomas as proper evidence of a degree. Because the requirement for education qualification has become so demanding, education fraud is becoming more prevalent, as are the establishments of diploma mills.

Consequently, in order to combat education fraud, laws have recently been passed in which companies who manufacture fake degrees and diplomas are considered to have committed a Misdemeanor.

Why and How Education Background Checks Can Maintain Equilibrium Between Employers and Job Seekers?

Many employers view particular educational qualifications as a key factor in seeking new employees. Moreover, education is a prerequisite for many positions because it ensures applicable knowledge of a subject matter, or more importantly, a required license for the position.

Educational history may be the most commonly falsified information on an application or resume. Some estimates place the incidence of resumes containing erroneous education information as high as 30 percent. Clearly, employers should be extremely cautious. And they are not accepting copies of a degree from candidates as proof of their graduation given that it can simply be a clever forgery paid for by the applicant.

Education background checks or education verification is the only way to prevention not only for the employers but also for the people who are looking for education but a legitimate one.

Current System of Education Background Checks and Degree/ Diploma Verification Are Not Enough!

  1. At present, human resource departments in companies directly contact the concerned educational institution and undertake verification. This is no longer a viable solution, considering the increase in the number of recruitment’s, and the time taken for verification. This is also not a fool proof method.
  2. A second method, often adopted by many of the larger corporations, is to outsource their employment verifications to background screening companies, who maintain large personnel databases.

Online Education Background Checks is the Most Modern and Guaranteed Way to Nab a Forged Educational Document with a Plus of Diploma Mill Identification:

Online education background checks is the system of online degree, diploma and education verification. The system consists of a database of fake colleges and universities and as well as the misdemeanors who faked their documents in past. It is now the best free online resource for the employers as well as for the students, who can check their institutions as well. It’s a killer product for the keen employers as well as for the legitimate education seeking students.

Benefits for Employers Using Online Education Background checks:

  • Employers can be able to save themselves from a negligent hiring lawsuit.
  • Employers can be able to hire the best qualified employee for their respective positions.
  • Online education background checks are fast then conventional education verification process, enabling an employer to make quick hiring decision.
  • Online education background checks can save money and good amount of time.

Benefits for the Students Using Online Education Background checks:

  • Assurance that the institution is meeting certain educational quality standards.
  • Reasonable grounds for believing that the institute will continue to meet them.
  • Assurance that their Degrees will be widely accepted by the employers, professional associations, other colleges and universities.
  • Belief that their Degree will reap the benefits associated with sound and high-quality educational standards.

Concluding Remarks:

Falsified education credentials have become a serious issue in the workforce; it breaches the faith on employees who are involved, especially when it can directly affect other employees and the company as a whole. It is also a serious blunder on the part of the employer who should have done proper education background checks; a mistake that could essentially hinder their current position.

Education background checks for employment; verify the certification, training, or educational claims of a job applicant. The universities, colleges, vocational schools, etc. are checked to verify dates of attendance and graduation, degrees or certifications obtained, majors studied, GPA, and honors received by a potential job candidate. The verification of education process is an important part of a quality pre-employment background check.

Although a federal law has been implemented to target diploma mills that give out phony diplomas, the problem still exists and is far from being corrected. In the meantime, employers and students must remain steadfast about conducting education background checks that include verifying academic credentials and institutions for their legitimacy.

The online qualification verification and diploma/degree mill checking system is significant source of help to the employers and students looking for easy and free of cost education background checks.

What If I Don’t Get Into the School of My Choice?

So you didn’t get into the school of choice, now what? Whatever happens, do not give up on your dreams of going to college. A higher education is very important in the world we live in today. If you don’t get into your first choice school you may have to start out at a junior college and then apply to the school of your choice. This can actually be a great way to get in.

As many as 25% of freshmen drop out in the first year, overall about 33% of students drop out in college. This means that if you wait and apply for that perfect school in your sophomore or junior year you probably have a better chance of getting in. First of all you have proved that you are not going to quit and second, the school has more space for sophomores, juniors and seniors.

There is a lot of pressure put on students to choose a big name school or at least a large University.

There are many reasons to choose a smaller school. The first and probably most important is class size. You are going from High School where your largest class was probably only 40 students to a college where the classes can be a big a several hundred. That alone can be tough to handle. By going to a smaller school you can attend smaller classes and work your way into the college atmosphere; after all, there are a lot of changes in your life going from High School to college.

By attending a Junior college you will be able to complete your general admission classes, explore your major and decide if that truly is what you want to do. It is very common for students to change majors. According to Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of an online school resource website, 50% of college-bound students change majors two to three times. Don’t be afraid to say that you really don’t want to be a music major, but want to study English! The first few years of college are perfect for trying out new classes. Then by the time you are a junior your general admission classes are done and you probably have a good idea of what you want to study. You may even find that your first choice school is no longer where you want to study. Remember as you go through school nothing is set in stone. You do want to pick a major as soon as you can, but don’t worry about changing.

Overall, don’t panic if you don’t get into your first choice school. There are many other options out there for you. If you have done your homework in High School you have another option already chosen. If not look around and find another school to apply to. The most important thing is not to give up on going to college.

School Choice and Voucher Implementation

Advocates believe more school choice will allow better student-school fit than public education. But others maintain better matching will not improve performance unless financial pressures improve educational practices. A voucher-based educational market linking funding to pupil counts based on parental choice could motivate improvement, especially in inefficient public schools, eliminating allocations unrelated to student achievement. This market model of school choice assumes an efficient market of equivalent products, buyers and sellers of comparable size, mobile market entry and exit, and perfect knowledge among market participants. Although no market is entirely efficient, this model’s proponents believe vouchers would increase competition and yield more efficient achievement-to-cost ratios.

The Market and Public Schools

Public-school advocates argue it is inappropriate to view public schools in a market context. They note that beyond individual instructional effects, public schools influence social cohesion, with some research suggesting more school choice would increase racial and socioeconomic segregation, thus decreasing social cohesion. But established housing patterns already relatively segregate schools today. Choice proponents maintain vouchers could break the school-housing link. This claim cannot yet be evaluated, because broad voucher systems have not yet been implemented. Another argument against vouchers has been that competition would result in fewer resources for the most needy students; however, little evidence exists on how vouchers might impact spending on public schools or distribution of spending.

Another reason to be skeptical of the market view of schools is the crucial role information plays in market efficiency. Inadequate parental information about schools’ quality may result in poor choices. Many schools, though, are providing more information in public report cards. Studies show positive relations between parental choice and school quality, suggesting parents make academically beneficial decisions. This relationship seems strongly related to the school’s or community’s socioeconomic status. Because of unavoidable inequalities in school and student achievement, even perfect parental information and school access cannot guarantee equal distribution of gains. Whatever the market conditions, unless families base choices on academic quality, not features like proximity and cocurricular programs, increased competition may not boost achievement.

Competition’s Impact on Schools

Since theory alone cannot determine vouchers’ feasibility, evidence on school choice should be considered. Of many competing forms of school choice, open enrollment within and between public school districts and private-public school competition parallel most closely the likely effects of voucher programs. Research on these choices has produced mixed results.

Public-Sector Competition

A study of open enrollment in Chicago, where half of high-school students chose to change schools, showed changing did not significantly raise changers’ graduation rates or harm those left behind, except in the case of Chicago’s “Career Academies,” where those attending experienced small benefits. These results suggest better school-student fit can improve outcomes. Since such intradistrict choice does not affect revenue, it may not stimulate school improvement; thus interdistrict choice, threatening student loss, seems a better model of competitive educational markets. Anecdotal evidence indicates interdistrict choice leads to innovations to attract and keep students, even when few actually move. Moreover, studies of interdistrict competition with virtual choice due to large numbers of area districts showed competition led to improved school quality and student performance.

Public-Private Competition

Since an area’s private and public schools compete, a market-based argument suggests competition should improve local student outcomes. Though one study found increased private-school enrollment led not to greater public-school achievement but greater resource investment, this finding seems ungeneralizable. Given public-school funding’s complexities, including possible reciprocal effects of private-school enrollment on area revenues, simple correlation between private-school enrollment and public school funding cannot be predicted. Factors like parental preference, community affluence and educational demand, and private-school establishment where public ones are weak all need accounting for. By considering effects of public-school quality and community features on private-school supply, researchers have found competition from private schools benefits public-school students’ performance. Gains are modest, with public-school test scores and graduation rates rising less than 5%, implying vouchers would not significantly elevate public school efficiency unless students found private schools much more attractive. Differences between these school sectors need further scrutiny.

Student Outcome Differences

Comparing test-score differences between the sectors’ students has yielded mixed results. Recent evidence showed positive private-school effects, especially for urban minority pupils, but the largely nonexperimental data did not rule out alternative causes of improvement. But even if private schools’ student achievement is not clearly superior, their educational cost may be. Private-school education, especially Catholic, can cost 50% less per pupil. If achievement is equivalent and these costs are accurate, then private schools are more cost-effective. However, these estimates ignore subsidies masking additional costs. Also, private schools often enroll advantaged children, who are inherently less costly to educate. Such student differences and unobservables like parental motivation to support education hinder valid comparison of the two sectors’ efficiency in producing achievement.

Voucher Experiments

Since educational experiments use random assignments and control groups to eliminate the need to account for background and unobservables, they are more comprehensible and useful in gaining public support than other means. Though political constraints have limited voucher experiments, recently several providing data on school-sector differences have been privately funded, targeting low-income urban students in various grades. Students were randomly chosen by elective lottery to receive modest vouchers. Postvoucher surveys showed attending private school benefited African Americans. In two years, their test scores narrowed the national Black- White achievement gap by up to one half. These effects were large compared to other interventions like class size reduction. However, assessments did not control for peer effects, so improvement may have been due to student, not school, quality. Also, missing effects for non-African Americans remained unexplained, and attrition may have biased results towards better pupils. Finally, imperfect randomization, possible experimental-setting influences, and failure to account for varying school quality in both sectors argue caution in generalizing from the experiments’ results.

Voucher Policies’ Likely Impact

While voucher experiments furnish evidence favoring general voucher implementation, the possibility of peer effects warns that a general policy rendering both school sectors demographically similar might eliminate a key ingredient that makes private institutions motivate change. Further, nonexperimental evidence, though inconclusive, is important for predicting voucher-policy effects. The evidence of unobservables and other nonmarket explanations of achievement gain indicates optimizing these might cause improvements more efficiently than costly voucher plans. It is also unclear whether increased private-education demand would be met by better schools. Economic theory suggests that the most efficient private schools are now thriving in high-demand markets and that additional schools may be weaker than many public schools, eliminating incentives for change. Another unknown is the voucher plans’ impact on public-school funding. Again, competition might produce public education providing less social support than the current system. As voucher plans change student distribution across schools, affecting social cohesion, trade-offs are likely, as schools sacrifice qualities like diversity for achievement. Voucher programs could be designed to motivate public-school support through taxation, but the effects of such incentives are unknown, as are the effects of voucher plans’ administrative costs.


Although results are mixed, evidence on school competition supports the notion that it improves student outcomes. Despite significant differences between public and private schools, especially in teacher compensation and student outcomes, it is unclear whether schools or students account for differences. Voucher experiments show a positive private-sector effect. But existing theory and evidence suggest future voucher policies’ success depends on policy details like private-school requirements and the size, eligibility, and financing mechanism of vouchers. Though cautious optimism is warranted, socioeconomic effects of widespread voucher implementation are uncertain.