Part 1


Given the cost of a college education today, it is never too early to make use of these tips that weigh merit scholarship funds in your child’s favor:


1.      High SAT/ACT scores still open that door most readily. 


In many quarters, colleges are reducing the value they place on board scores, but for the home- school graduate, they are still considered an important, objective indicator of future success. (And that’s what merit scholarships are for – to attract students who are likely to go on to bring honor and recognition to their alma mater through career achievement and/or community service.)  The best way to maximize scores on these important tests is to build the skills tested into your program early (during the elementary and junior high years).


 What are these skills?  1. Reasoning skills;  2. Reading comprehension skills;  3. Vocabulary skills;  4. Writing skills;  and 5. Math skills (using geometry and algebra).   


We found academic competitions such as Math Olympiad and Math Counts excellent vehicles for practicing the problem solving skills measured by the SATs and other such tests. You can find out about these elementary and junior high competitions at  and . 


Allowing LOTS of time in your program for independent reading can best facilitate reading and vocabulary skills.  There are many vocabulary programs on the market that will work well, as long as they are done in conjunction with (not in lieu of) lots of time for reading.   Guide your children towards the better literature as well.  One mom I know allowed her kids to choose their independent reading material but required at least one Newbery award winner, one biography, one historical fiction, and one non-fiction book a month. This was a good way to direct her kids in the right direction while still allowing room for personal preference.


The writing skills measured center around grammar and usage.  The best way to facilitate this is to write a lot and read a lot.  Kids who do this  may not be able to correctly name the parts of speech, but they develop an ear for language that will help them quickly recognize when a sentence has been incorrectly worded.  High school students can easily prep for the writing portions of college entrance exams by using the Barron’s Guide to the SAT II Writing Test. This text will prepare kids for any of the writing portions.