from Brown University

Phone conversation summary:

Between 50-60 homeschooled students apply for undergraduate studies to Brown University annually. About 15% are accepted.

The reasons that these student applicants choose to homeschool are various: religion, medical, etc.

Being part of an accredited homeschool program is not necessary. Some homeschooled applicants participate in the Stanford University (EPGY) online program, Clonlara, the "Princeton Homeschool Clearing House", Bob Jones, or are part of a homeschooling co-op.

Brown has two staffers who review homeschooled applicants' files.

Transcripts submitted to Brown should appear relatively consistent with public high school transcripts; four years' work should appear.

The admissions director with whom I spoke explained that, ideally, a one-page or two-page curriculum should be included for each course studied, with books read, and grades (if available, grades are not required!!) being sufficient.

If the homeschooler has studied at a community college, provide that transcript.

Providing four to five references from non-parental teachers is ideal.

The student should take the SAT 1 and as many SAT IIs as they feel comfortable taking (Brown would like to see a re-affirmation of studiousness via SAT scores).

The director with whom I spoke advises applying early. And use Early Decision if Brown is the student's first choice.

Neighbors, neighbors...

New York City people interact with other humans like no other species of American human. Our apartment has wooden floors. It's old. Like most tenants, I refuse to carpet the floors. And our sound-sensitive downstairs neighbors have an inability to differentiate sound from noise.

One day at 7 p.m.:

[Knock, knock]
[I peer through the peephole. A man who I have never seen before is standing on the other side. I open.]

Me: Yes?
Man: Are you putting furniture together or something?
Me: Yes. My son's bed. And the super is here assembling it for me.
Man: Can you do it another time? Our baby needs to sleep.
Me: Uh-huh. Um, actually no. It can't wait. My son needs to sleep on the new bed tonight. It'll take another 10 minutes.
Man: But our baby needs to sleep.
Me: I understand. Unlike the tenants who lived here previously, I am also a parent. I understand what it is like for you. Please be patient. Thanks. [I close the door, and wonder why on earth are these newbie parents putting their 2-year-old "baby" to bed at 7 p.m.????]

Later, at 12:40 a.m.:

[Knock, knock]
[I peer through the peephole. I notice a naked man standing on the other side of the door. I have no idea what to do. But I have a dog now, so...]

Me: Yes?
Man Wearing Only Pajama Pants: Is your dog dancing around or something?
Me: I beg your pardon?
MWOPP: Your dog.
Me: Sorry, didn't realize he was "dancing." [I am now totally confused]
MWOPP: Well, it's 12:40 a.m.!!!!
Me: I realize that. [Observing his lack of attire, I finally decide to close the door]

Dancing? What on earth was he talking about?

It was then that I realized that he and his wife sleep in their living room, where they heard the dog walking around directly overhead. Walking around, I cannot help.

I called my friend, the tenant previous to me who lived in the same apartment.

Me: Hi Ariela. Have you ever had a problem with your downstairs neighbors?
Ariela: OH MY GOD. Are they bothering you, too?

After finding out that they would come up once a month to complain about things like Ariela vacuuming at 7 p.m., my upstairs neighbor, D, from England, offered this story:

His father, a bobby (policeman), was once called to an old lady's house.

Old Lady: Officer, there's a naked man standing outside my window! And I am frightened!
Bobby: [Takes a look through the window to observe the suspect.] Ma'am, sorry but I don't see 'im.
Old Lady: He's there! He's there!
Bobby: [Continues looking] Ah - um - sorry.
Old Lady: You've got to stand up on this chair and lean out the window! I swear you'll see 'im then!

And such is the case with our downstairs neighbors. If they look for noise, they'll find it.


M.I.T. Educational Studies Program

A coordinator at NYCHEA (New York City Home Educators' Alliance, more on that in a later post) just informed me about SPLASH at M.I.T. The good news is that students can enroll in any courses they choose, and as many as they choose, and it's only $20. The bad part is that it's over. Yes, it's true. It's an annual event, held in November.

There is, however, some other good news. M.I.T. has enrichment classes on Saturdays, held in the Spring and Summer. For thirty American dollars for an entire semester, your child can study stuff like Computer Platforms, Network Programming, Starting a High-Tech Company, London between the 18th and 19th Centuries, Fusion Energy, the History of Race in the Western World, and elementary Calculus by Problems and Examples (no kidding, it's for 6th graders, too).

M.I.T. has been offering the Educational Studies Program since 1957.



from Wellesley College

Hello LaMai,

I hope that this email finds you well. Each year about less than 1% of
our applicant pool are students who have been homeschooled, and there are
a number of those students who do choose to matriculate at Wellesley.
There are no specific policies governing the application process for
students who have chosen homeschooling. You and your parents need to
research the best way for you to build academic skills which are
equivalent to those established through traditional, well rounded high
school curricula leading to a liberal arts education. You will need to
take the required standardized tests (currently the ACT, or the SAT I and
three SAT II’s) and need to develop both verbal and mathematical skills.
When it becomes time for you to apply for admission, you will need to
document your academic accomplishments. You will submit a record based on
your work, such as a bibliography of what you have read or examples of the
courses of study you have pursued. Since homeschoolers choose diverse
ways to develop and augment the curriculum they design, what you submit
will show your proficiency and your unique strengths. Each year the Board
of Admission does receive and assess applications from homeschooled
students. Some of these students have gone on to become very successful
at Wellesley.

If you have any futher questions, please feel free to respond to the email
or call me at XXX.XXX.XXXX.

Niceee Admissions Guy '00
Sr. Assistant Director


LaMai's note: I clearly indicate in all my communications that I am an adult, and include my real name so that anyone who chooses to, may Google it.


LaMai represents.

LaMai drank a glass of wine last night with these guys.

And did I mention it was George Clooney's party?

(from left: Heath Ledger and Matt Damon)


Goblet. Fire.

Why do we watch these films? Because they're entertaining. And because Jason Isaacs, AND Ralph Fiennes now appear in them. Miranda Richardson was a treat to see, too. I believe someone was toying with my brain when she appeared in this film with that "Dance With a Stranger" hairdo.


from Dartmouth College

Hello and thank you for your interest in Dartmouth!
Unfortunately, we do not have current statistics on homeschool admissions. Every year there are a few homeschooled students in the admissions pool and they are read with the same care and thoughtfulness as other students. The onus is on the applicant to send us as complete information as possible about their academics. Evaluations are key, from whomever you would deem an instructor. We'll also need to see any evaluation of your work that is available. It is also important that you complete required standardized tests.

I hope this was helpful. Good luck in your college process!

Assistant Director of Admissions
Dartmouth College

LaMai doesn't know...

What to make of this. Except to refer to the "LaMai's thoughts out loud" section of this post.


Leftie days (and the new crack)

I am a rightie. A is a leftie. And he, of late, has taken to learning to play acoustic-slash-classical guitar. We recently looked at photos of Jimi Hendrix. Of Paul McCartney. Of Kurt Cobain.

And A decided he would feel comfortable playing guitar as a leftie.

Mind, A previously played violin, but everyone must use his rightie on the violin bow. Because being a leftie in a symphony orchestra doesn't look so...great. So A played violin with his right hand, and strummed guitar with his right hand until he realized that there might be a way that a leftie can play guitar comfortably: as a leftie.

So, after A's decision to explore more left-edness, I went to our local guitar shop.

Me: Hi. I would like to have the strings on my son's guitar changed for a leftie.
Guitar Shop Guy: No.
Me: ?
GSG: Tell your kid to play a while with his right hand. This business is designed for right-handed playing. It will become too expensive to buy left-handed equipment.
Me: Uh-huh. Well, I understand. I mean, I use my right hand for nearly everything. But it doesn't seem fair to turn away a kid's request because of future concerns. If he doesn't like it, we'll have the strings changed back.
GSG: Tell him to play with his right. It'll be too hard to play with his left.
Me: Do you not change guitar strings for lefties?
GSG: I do. All the time. But have him try his right.
Me: [Sigh]

In other news, I am learning to knit. Knitting is like crack. Yes, I like that for a t-shirt: Knitting is the New Crack.

A: Can I try that?
Me: No, get your own yarn.
A: Mom!
Me: Get your own yarn.
A: Just show me one thing. Please.
Me: Get your own yarn.

Thank you, Karina at Booze and Yarn.


from U Penn

Dear Ms. LaMai,

Thank you for your message. Although we do not receive many applications from home-schooled students, the numbers are rising each year. This year less than 1% of our freshmen class self-identified as home-schooled students.

We recommend that a home-schooled applicant provides as much information about their curriculum, grading, mode of instruction, and reasons for choosing home-schooling. We also prefer to see letters of recommendation from non-family members. Ideally, letters from private tutors or college professors provide a more objective perspective on the student’s abilities.

I hope this information is helpful.


Associate Dean of Admissions

from Williams College

LaMai--we have no home school-specific stats, though anecdotally I can
assure you they graduate at the same rate as traditionally educated
students. Some of them have been among our most interesting
applicants these last few years!

As applicants, we would evaluate whatever transcript/documentation
the students can provide. If they've been home schooled via a HS
"clearing house" curriculum we often will receive a traditional
transcript. If not, a list of courses, reading lists, major papers,
grades from college or correspondence courses will do.
Recommendations from a non-family member instructor would be helpful
if available. We'll also evaluate testing the same as a traditional


from Amherst College

Hi LaMai,

Here are our admission statistics for home-schooled applicants over the last 3 years:

Class of 2008: 21 applied; 4 accepted

Class of 2007: 19 applied; 4 accepted

Class of 2006: 15 applied; 3 accepted

When evaluating applications from home-schooled students, we look for detailed information concerning their curriculum including a description of all courses of study plus any accreditation information. In addition to our general testing requirements, we encourage home-schooled students to submit the results of any additional SAT II subject tests or AP exams. Furthermore, we will accept additional recommendations from any individuals with whom the student has worked in an academic capacity. The remainder of the application review is consistent with our review of all applicants.

If you have future questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Take care.

Mr. Admissions Fellow

Amherst College

Amherst, MA 01002


a little survey...

LaMai is sending letters to top universities across the United States. The questions I am asking include, "How many homeschooled students apply to your institution for undergraduate studies annually, and how many are accepted/how many matriculate? What studies/courses completed do you look for in a homeschooled student's transcript?"


This (partial response) from Cornell University:

Dear LaMai,

Thank you for your interest in Cornell University. Students who are schooled at home usually have no independent high school transcript and often ask about what they should include on their application to Cornell. In order to understand and appreciate the depth and variety of your experience, the selection committees require the following for all four years prior to entering college:

1) English: list of books (including textbooks and other anthologies) you have read each year; how many papers and how long (indicate which are creative and which are expository writing); any research papers (list titles and length of each).

2) Social Studies: list of textbooks and books you have read each year; how many papers (topics listed) and how long; what independent research projects (titles and length).

3) Foreign Language: list of textbooks you have read each year; list projects and/or papers; descriptions and dates of visits to other countries.

4) Science: textbooks you have used each year (description of topics covered if you did not use a textbook or used only part of the book); list of experiments and/or field trips; any projects or research done (titles and time spent).

5) Mathematics: textbooks (covering which topics) you have used each year; any independent projects (titles and time spent).

In addition, you should submit scores from any standardized examinations (state, SATs, ACTs, APs,) you have taken or transcripts from any college courses.

We hope this list will help you prepare your application and feel confident that you have presented your academic accomplishments well.

Best wishes,
The Admissions Staff


then later, this communication was sent to me:

Dear LaMai,

We do not maintain statistics for home-schooled students (beyond the number
of apps) since they represent a very tiny part of our applicant pool (For
2005, we received 39 applications from home-schooled students out of 24,444
total freshman applications).


Cornell Maiden at the Admissions Office



Due to a pronounced pattern from the western atmosphere called NaNoWriMo, this site will experience exceptionally withering levels of blogging due to novel writing-induced blogging drought throughout the month of November.

Drought conditions may vary, but expect only light precipitations of blogging throughout this month.

Thank you for your patience.


film crew fun.

They arrived, and left, and then we got ready for bed, and Napoleon climbed into my bed. I tried to give him a little peck before sleeping, myself, and he bit me. Hard. On the nose.

Blood came out. More blood came out. Grab the towel, it's not stopping.

I am okay now, just a little rattled and am sporting what looks like two vampire bites on my nose. Napoleon felt badly after what he did, and retreated to his crate for the entire evening. We have much work to do on the doggie. He is intelligent and pushy, and constantly tests us. After a midnight phone call to Victoria, our dog trainer, I resigned myself to the realization that it's tough love time. Nappo is going down on the totem pole. No bed privileges. And fewer privileges overall.

Prussian blue girls: Thanks to you, Bill Maher made anti-homeschooling comments on the latest episode of his show Real Time with Bill Maher. And who came to the defense of homeschoolers? Tom Snow, of Fox News. Give me a break. I am thanking Fox News for defending homeschooling?

LaMai's thoughts (out loud):

There are crappy public schools.
There are crappy private schools. [note: LaMai attended one or two such schools]
There are crappy homeschoolers.

Please don't brand us cool homeschoolers, who want our kids to know more and see more of the world and the people in it, as the uncool ones who don't. Thank you kindly.



Film crew coming to the apt. tonight. Must clean apt.

Little blogging today. My apologies.

quick announcement

If you would like to join the Fellowship of the NaNoWriMo, shoot me an e-mail. It's free to join. I send you an invitation to join the blog, and you just post and tell us about your progress/obstacles/fears/etc., during NaNoWriMo month. Then we all go out and drink martinis when we're done. Every day.

Just kidding. Just shoot me an e-mail to maitresse@gmail.com. For info about NaNoWriMo, go here.

And on the roster from last year I have me, Caletta, L, another Lisa, Diane, Writing and Living, and Rebel. So whoever would like her name (um, we're all women here, how odd, let me scout for a guy, shall I? oh no, then I'll have last year's problem) included, or not included, let me know.

photo: ScoobyDoo Dude Style, Village Halloween Parade, credit to whoever took it and posted it on Flickr.


Halloween is our Mardi Gras

And LaMai has proof here. And here. And here.

And here.

A spent the evening with a school friend at the Village Halloween Parade. On the subway train to pick him up, I shared the ride with Gene Simmons, JFK Jr., and a Canadian Mountie. I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee, and found Frida Kahlo there.

Camera, LaMai, camera, next time.


"Here we go!

Posted by Chris Baty on 2005/11/1 2:01:08 (1665 reads)

And we're off! Happy noveling everybody!

You can update your word count and novel excerpt by clicking Edit Profile, then looking for the "Word Count and Excerpt" link to the left. Also! A new WrimoRadio episode is up!

And we've put a sneak-preview link to the new Author Pages on everyone's profile. The novel excerpt parts of the new pages don't work yet, but as soon as they do, we'll swap those beautiful pages right in.

Also, in anticipation of the change-over, be sure to go into Edit Profile and click on the Regional Affiliation link. Choose at least one region close to your area (or close to your heart), and then make that your "Home" region through toggle magic. From that point forward, our wise server hamsters will place your home region at the top of your stats list, so you can see how your region stacks up against other wordy areas around the world.

All of this is sounding like technical gibberish, I know. But trust me. Do it. You will like it.




And oh yeah, A is joining in the fun but I am giving him a 25,000 word count responsibility. AND: The Fellowship of the NaNoWriMo.v2 will be up today. I will archive all the old posts, but we are starting fresh there. Anyone who wants to sign up this year, let me know. Maitresse@gmail.com