Home School Consortium – What Is It? How Does It Work? And Will the Kids Get Into College?

Want to know more about how a homeschool consortium works? Benita Oliver, of the Hudson Valley Consortium, answers frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents

What is the Consortium?

The Hudson Valley Consortium is a not-for-profit Limited Liability Corporation. We welcome all Christian students regardless of denomination, race, or ability level. Our goal is to provide opportunities that enrich families and help keep their students in the home school  environment through high school. We want to help families keep home schooling!

The Consortium provides a large variety of academic and enrichment classes for home school students engaged in middle and high school level work as well as a variety of social experiences including formal and casual dances, field trips, dress up theme days, a yearly graduation ceremony, clubs (yearbook/ political/ bible study), private music lessons and a bi-yearly high quality drama production.

The Consortium works on three levels. Some talented students and their families use the classes as a jumping off point and add additional assignments, field trips, lectures, and discussion to add depth at home. Other families find the teacher’s expectations in a given class to meet their needs fairly well. These families often find that minimal parent supervision is required for a given class. However, some students need extra support in one or more key areas like English, math, and science. These students need more than the weekly class time to be successful. Our Learning Labs provide extra instruction and guided help with homework for students that need or want this extra support.

Students may take any number of classes or Learning Labs. While most families in our program enroll in a full day or two of classes at Consortium, a few take only one or two classes. Families may choose to combine our classes with their own home school program, community college or other programs. We offer a wide variety of options in a given class period.

Additionally, monitored study halls and private music lessons are available throughout the day on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30-4:30. We offer private music lessons for all band instruments, viola and violin, piano, as well as electric, acoustic and bass guitar. If students are present at the Consortium during our class times, they must be enrolled in a class, study hall, Learning Lab or private music lesson.

Will my Kids get into college without a high-school degree? How well does the Consortium work?

In the last three years 100% of our graduating senior went on to college. Many of our students choose to begin college at SUNY Albany or HVCC. However, our students have been accepted to top level private colleges ( Middlebury, Hamilton, Union ), top public universities ( University of Wisconsin, University of Massachusetts, various SUNY institutions), almost all Christian colleges (Gordon, Messiah, Liberty,Houghton ) as well as all our local colleges (RPI, Sienna, St. Rose, Sage, HVCC) .

This year almost half of our graduating seniors scored over 2100 on their SATs. Several students received the top academic scholarships offered by a given college. The combination of our program with dedicated home school parents seems to be working very well. Admissions officers value recommends from teachers that know students well. On-line courses can not provide the same level of interaction with teachers or socialization experiences with peers valued by quality colleges.

What does Consortium cost and how much work is expected of parents?

Consortium is neither a homeschool co-op nor a school. Teachers are subcontracted to teach a given subject. Classes cost between $100.00 -$200.00 a semester. At registration families pay only for classes they choose. A study hall costs $15.00 a semester. In addition there is a building ( about $65.00 per family) and an insurance fee each semester.

Families may choose to pay a $50.00 a semester fee or choose from a variety of  volunteer options at registration. Parental involvement ranges from hours every week to those who just drop off their students and leave. Many parents donate big chunks of time in order to keep our costs very low.

Can anyone join?

Families will not be required to join LEAH; however, parents and students will need to feel comfortable signing a non-denominational statement of Christian faith. We will want to talk to you and make sure we can meet your needs. Occasionally, families mistake our program for a cheap private school. We will want to talk to new families and make sure we are on the same page with  similar expectations.

Can I come check it out in person?

Yes. Parents and students are welcome to check out the program and observe classes. Please send Benita Oliver an email at softenyourheart (at) yahoo (dot) com if you would like to make an appointment.

Families may also enjoy our open house on April 28, 3:15-5:15 at Grace Fellowship. Most of the teachers will give a short talk about their plans/classes for next year.

Consortium Fall 2011 Course Descriptions

British Literature (Full Year Course) Amy Cunniff

Come along and get lost in the worlds of Tennyson, Dickens, Eliot & Kipling as we study late 19th century British Literature. By close examination of these works, students will learn literary concepts, such as: conflict, rhyme & meter, theme, and genre.

We will be using Lightning Literature which, in addition to teaching literature, places an emphasis on composition. Students will be expected to complete numerous writing assignments that will deal with literary analysis.

Grades: 9-12; Cost:Fall Semester Cost: $167 ($115 + $52 materials fee)/ Spring Semester Cost: $115 / Sibling Cost $100/ Additional Siblings: $130 ($100 + $30 materials fee)


  • Lightning Literature & Composition Guide
  • Great Expectationsby Charles Dickens
  • Silas Marnerby George Eliot
  • Complete Stalky & Co.by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Importance of Being Earnestby Oscar Wilde

Academic Writing: Mastering Essays, Research Writing & SAT Essays Amy Cunniff

This class is designed to help your student master essay writing of all kinds! We will cover the entire writing process for composing great essays. Throughout the year we will write various types of essays such as: personal essays, definition essays, basic persuasive essays, cause-effect essay, problem-solution essays & essays of argumentation.

Although we will not be writing a formal research paper, there will be essays where students will need to do outside research to successfully complete their assignments, and as a result will learn to quote and cite outside sources. A third component of this class will be writing instruction and grammar review for the SATs. Students will be writing and fine tuning essays from practice SAT tests, in addition to answering sample grammar questions.

Cost:Fall Semester cost: $150 per student, which includes The Daily Spark SAT
prep book. $100 will be charged for any additional siblings in the class.


  • Writer’s INC: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning
  • The Daily Spark – SAT: English Test Prep

Introduction to Literature (Full Year Course) Amy Cunniff

This class will be so much more than reading books! This year students will be exposed to reading great works by authors such as Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robert Louis Stevenson – just to name a few. It also has a little bit of everything: poetry, short stories & unabridged novels.

We will be using Lightning Literature which systematically teaches literary concepts such as: setting, sharing culture through writing, character development, and symbolism. In addition to teaching literature, this curriculum focuses a great deal on composition. Students will be completing various writing assignments throughout that year, which will develop skills such as: rewriting in your own words, sentence structure, details in writing, and literary analysis.

Cost:Fall Semester Cost: $190 ($115 + $75 materials fee); Additional Siblings: $130 ($115 + $15 materials fee); Spring Semester Cost: $145 / Additional Sibling Cost $105


  • Lightning Lit & Comp: Student Guide & Workbook
  • A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens
  • A Day of Pleasureby Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • My Family and Other Animalsby Gerald Durrell
  • Stories & Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
  • Selected by Harold Bloom
  • The Hobbit by by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Math 6 (Full Year Course) Terri Rice

Math 7/6 teaches compound interest; functions and coordinate graphing; integers; exponential expressions; divisibility concepts; prime factorization; ratios and proportions; radius, circumference and pi; statistics and probability; and complementary and

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student (payable to Terri Rice) $5.00 per semester copying fee; Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking); Text: Saxon Math7/6.

Math 7 (Full Year Course) Terri Rice

The first semester will cover the number line, place value, divisibility, fractions and percents, polygons, prime numbers and factors, decimals, ratio, and scientific notation. The second semester will cover average, signed numbers, complex fractions, multiple unit multipliers, angles, Pythagorean theorem, polygon formulas, 2-step equations. Classroom time will include computation drills, instruction for the following lessons and review of previous concepts.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student; $5.00 (copy fee); Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking);Text:Saxon Math 8/7.

Algebra A – Math 8 (Full Year Course) Terri Rice

The first semester will cover decimals, angles, divisibility, prime numbers, fractions, exponents, average, area, rate word problems, rectangular coordinates, roots and percent. The second semester will cover circles, fractional part word problems, ratio, signed numbers, algebraic phrases, 2-step problems, complimentary/supplementary, distributive property, Roman numerals, and profit/interest. Classroom time will include computation drills, instruction for the following lessons and review of previous concepts.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student;$5.00 (copy fee); Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking); Text:Saxon Algebra A, Third edition

Algebra 1 (Full Year Course) Terri Rice

The first semester will cover polygons, number sets, order of operations and inverse operations, algebraic expressions and equations,  factoring, exponents, inequalities, percents, and coordinates. The second semester will cover real numbers, square roots, consecutive integers, function, coin and motion problems, graphing.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student;$5.00 (copy fee); Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking); Text:Saxon Algebra 1, Third edition.

Algebra 2 (Full Year Course) Terri Rice

The first semester will cover polygons, exponents, equations, decimals, percent, various word problems, radicals, factoring, angles, uniform motion, some proofs, sine, cosine, tangent, quadratic equations, and imaginary numbers. The second semester will cover polar coordinates, more proofs, unit conversions, completing the square, chemistry and physics style problems, quadratic formula, direct and inverse variation, slope, functions, graphs,
complex numbers, and logarithms. Classroom time will include computation drills, instruction for the following lessons and review of previous concepts.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student;$5.00 (copy fee); Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking); Text:Saxon Algebra 2, Third edition; Prerequisite:Algebra 1.

Advanced Mathematics/Pre Calculus (Full Year Course) Terri Rice

The first semester will cover complex numbers, geometric figures, geometric proofs, trigonometric functions, logarithms, and parabolas. The second semester will cover statistical distribution, matrices, ellipses, hyperbolas, combinations, permutations, and trigonometric identities. Classroom time will include computation drills, instruction for the following lessons and review of previous concepts.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student;$5.00 (copy fee); Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking); Text:Saxon Advanced Mathematics, Second edition; Prerequisite:Algebra 2.

SAT Math Prep Special Math Help Terri Rice

This course will review concepts of numbers and operations, algebra, geometry (not geometric proofs), data and statistics as well as problem solving strategies.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130.00 per student; $10.00 (copy fee); Optional semester charge: $60.00 (Homework Checking); Text: Barron’s Math Workbook for the New SAT, 3rdEdition

Comedic Improvisation Andy Zawacki & Sharon Paluch

Are you good at coming up with things, being spontaneous and creatively funny? Well, if not, don’t worry, looking silly has never been funnier. Actors are teamed up, situations are provided, characters are established, but the final outcome is up to you! Improvisation is a very important  element in the development of the acting craft, because it teaches students to not become so reliant on the script and anticipatory with their acting.

Cost:Semester Cost: $100

Play: To Be Determined Andy Zawacki & Sharon Paluch

Auditions for Consortium Actors’ Fall 2011 production will take place between June 6 and June 8, 2011. All parts will be given out prior to registration. Because we do not have confirmation from a rented theatre, we cannot provide performance dates at this time, but we are planning for an October 2011 performance. More information, including the play selected, will be available later in the semester.


United States History Andy Zawacki

In this course, students will examine United States History from its foundation to the Civil War. Of particular emphasis will be a concentration on the Constitution. The second half of the course will be offered in Spring, 2012.

Cost:Semester Cost: $150.00; Grades:9th-12th; Text:United States History in Christian Perspective: Heritage of Freedom, A Beka.

Earth Science Unit Study Class Pati Robinson

Topics to be covered over the course of a whole year (28 weeks) are as follows:
Weather and climate, Water (cycle, oceans, environments, chemical properties) Earth’s Surface (mapping, soil, erosion, fossils); Inside the Earth (rocks, minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes); Astronomy (Solar System, Gravity and Motion, Stars.)

Cost:Semester Cost: $200.00 (Includes lab and material fees);

Grades:9-12; Text:No Text

Painting, Sculpture and Drawing Linda Connell

This class is taught by Linda Connell, a veteran art teacher of the NY public school system where she taught for forty years. This course includes drawing, painting and sculpture. This class is entirely hands-on. The emphasis is on each student developing his or her own talent through various artistic mediums.

Cost:Semester Cost: $130 (Includes Materials)

Aikido –  Japanese Martial Art Sensei Irvin Faust

This class is fun, practical, and educational for every one of all ages! Sensei
meets students at their individual skill level and adjusts his pace and techniques to the specific group. Students will learn safe and fun warm-ups, how to take falls, and techniques of self defense. Students will also improve their strength, reflexes, balance, endurance, and flexibility. Typical activities include having two students learn how to take falls safely by switching between being the attacker and defender. Students even learn some words in Japanese! Cost:Semester Cost: $100.00

Ballroom/Social Dancing For Students AND Parents Fred Astaire Dance Studio

Ballroom dancing is a life skill that comes in handy at weddings, charity events, colleges formals and various other situations. It is also a lot of fun!

This course will be held at Fred Astaire Dance Studio which is about a mile up the hill from Grace Fellowship. Just like this year, available parents will carpool students to the studio and back. These classes are taught by the classically trained owners of the studio. These professional dancers were trained in famous schools in Russia and the Ukraine. Their style is classy and conservative.

Because the owners have enjoyed working with our wonderful Consortium students, we are getting a huge price break. The price listed below is less than half of their standard rate. The 24 students currently enrolled have given extremely positive feedback regarding the studio, teachers and the general experience.

Cost:Semester Cost: $140.00.

Modern World History Helen Hagen

After the survey I decided to switch to teaching this class in order to mirror the public school system’s coverage of world history over a two year period. This class takes a more in depth view of the last 200 years of world history. My history class from last year focused more on ancient history.

This interactive, two-semester course encompasses modern world history, geography, and international politics. Class time will be a mixture of lectures, weekly quizzes, games, debates and group activities. One individual and one group project will be assigned each semester: these projects will be presented to the class. My goal is to provide students with the opportunity to practice thinking deeply about both history and our Christian walk in relation to our changing world. Class participation is a major part of each student’s grade. A fair amount of each class time will be spent asking and answering questions.

Cost:Semester Cost: $150.00 (Includes textbook and workbook); $100 if you are purchasing your own text and workbooks.

Public Speaking/Debate Topics in Government and Current Events Helen Hagen

Christian young adults sometimes find themselves unable to present their ideas to others in a secular world. I think it is essential that they be prepared to clearly state their political, social and religious beliefs clearly and logically in a solid manner in which they will be taken seriously in our changing world. After becoming familiar with basic logic and a set of strategies for different kinds of arguments in class, students will be asked each week to
research a given topic either from the text or a current newspaper/magazine.

Students will practice “taking sides” of a given issue. We will work on anticipating an opponent’s points, tone, body language, delivery, speaking clearly, and organizing information for the most impact during a debate. I am patterning this class after classes I taught at home to my older children. I was inspired to teach it this year by my oldest daughter. She felt that the skills she learned in this class allowed her to be true to herself, and yet still be successful in a secular college and now gradschool.

Cost:Semester Cost: $125.00 (Includes textbook); Class Limit:14

Zumba Fitness Class Concetta Snyder

Zumba is a Latin-inspired fitness class that blends Latin and other international music with dance movements. It combines fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body using an aerobic/fitness approach. This provides a unique balance of cardio and muscle-toning benefits. Cost:Semester Cost: $100.00

Basic Spelling Sue Poore

This class is intended to revive and keep fresh the principles of spelling. The goal is to achieve recognition and mastery of letter arrangement or syllables within select word groups, nail down the proper spelling of common sight words, as well as being able to distinguish and properly use words with more than one spelling and meaning(i.e. two, too, to). A spelling list and reinforcement exercises will be part of the weekly homework and access to a good dictionary will be imperative. Cost:Semester Cost: $115.00 (includes materials)

Loving His Word (Psalm 119:140) Sue Poore

A weekly Bible study class aimed at fostering a love for His Word, what can be gleaned from Biblical people or situations, and “how do I apply that to my life?”. Reasonable homework assignments will be given to compliment the class. Cost:Semester Cost: $115.00 (includes materials.)

General Psychology Charlene Padula

This class will be offered for college credit through Davis College SPRING 2012

This course is designed to provide a basic introduction to the principles of the science of human behavior. The course will consider the topics of the historical roots of psychology, the physiological basis of behavior, motivation, perception, emotions, and personality. More information will be given before registration for the Spring Semester.

Where To Go:

Grace Fellowship Church
20 Delatour Rd # 1, Watervliet, NY 12189-2310
(518) 785-4959

Questions? Contact Benita Oliver at softenyourheart (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Similar Posts