Theta Zeta Chapter
Theta Zeta, the first ESA chapter in the State of Illinois, is excited to offer this opportunity to recognize the academic achievements of home school high schoolers in the Bloomington area. Eta Sigma Alpha advocates homeschooling as a viable and successful educational methodology and members act as liaisons for homeschooling to the general public, colleges, universities, and the media.
The purpose of this chapter is to assist college-bound students by giving them experiences in leadership and service while encouraging their character and scholarship. Theta Zeta is led by the students who elect an executive cabinet each fall. Although adult sponsors are in place to guide members, the students themselves plan and carry out their own ideas.
Students must be entering ninth through twelfth grade and be home schooled at least 51%. This percentage permits students to receive instruction from someone other than their parents for less than half of their educational program allowing them to benefit from community college dual enrollment, enrichment classes, and sports opportunities.
The national organization has mandatory requirements for membership based upon standardized test scores. Unlike our public school counterparts whose honor society (NHS) is based upon grading scales that differ from school to school, these objective, nationally normed scores have distinguished ESA membership as more prestigious according to NHS administration. Competitive colleges and universities as well as scholarship programs have become more and more intrigued by this honor society devoted solely to home school students. Acceptable test scores include:
One of the mandatory membership requirements of Eta Sigma Alpha, the National Homeschool organization, is that a parent may not have access to test materials. Following a directive from them, Theta Zeta is not able to accept test scores taken from any online test.
If national Eta Sigma Alpha requirements are met, the Theta Zeta Chapter requires prospective members to complete an application form and submit it along with a copy of the acceptable scores from a test taken within the last twelve months. On the application form, students are asked to write a brief paragraph about why they are interested in joining and the names and contact information of two individuals other than their parents whom the students have asked to write letters of recommendation. These two additional requirements by Theta Zeta are intended to help prepare college-bound high schoolers for the future and to give sponsors insight about the new members.
There are no application fees and no obligation to join after submitting an application. All submitted information is confidential and will not be released to any outside organization or agency. Applications are accepted through August 31 each year and reviewed the first week in September. Students will be notified by mail within two weeks of the membership committee's meeting. Students may also apply in December to join Theta Zeta in January.
New members are added at an induction ceremony held in late September and early January. Only current members with letters of reference from another chapter can transfer to the Theta Zeta Chapter mid-year. After induction, members are asked to pay a $20 annual fee to help cover expenses.
The goal of Theta Zeta is to be a blessing to academically talented students, not a burden; therefore meetings are held only once a month in the Bloomington-Normal area. Members may miss two meetings each year and maintain active status; however, exceptions may be made by the executive cabinet for work, scheduled classes, or special circumstances.
Current members meet in August to prepare for the induction ceremony; new members begin in October. The December and May meetings are more social and open to guests. Students will decide in October what the focus of the remaining meetings will be; these are tailored to goals and interests of the group. Guest speakers such as guidance counselors and field trips to technology and chemistry labs have been planned in past years.
Theta Zeta members participate in monthly meetings, an annual Christmas party, a yearly fundraiser, and several service projects. They work together in the community service projects, so they are able to bond as a group as they are serving others. Each Spring, the group hosts a project that is of service to the local homeschooling community. For example, Theta Zeta has hosted the Homeschool Open House and the Homeschooling Through High School Night at the Normal Public Library. Additionally, the sponsors help the members by providing verification of service hours which may be helpful in acceptance to competitive universities.
Theta Zeta sponsors a commencement ceremony for all home school high school graduates in the Crossroads Area Home School Association. Graduating ESA members are provided an ESA honor stole and a gold honor cord for the ceremony. If you need any information regarding the ceremony, please contact the Homeschool Graduation Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officers and Duties