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Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School.

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

As a parent of a high schooler, there are lots of questions that come to mind. And we are going to answer many of those questions that have been raised, particularly by homeschool high school parents and particularly those looking toward the finish line near graduation and after graduation. Here are our best answers to the questions about balancing academics and fun in homeschool high school!

How do you balance the academic rigors of a good solid high school experience with the wonderfulness of homeschooling?

Many moms want to know how to get all the things that need to be on the transcript done. They want to get:

And that is understandable because there are so many things to get on a transcript!

So, homeschool high school moms are wondering how to get that done.

On the other hand, you want our teens to still enjoy the fun that is supposed to go along with it with homeschooling. You might be wondering about balancing academics and fun in homeschool high school with everything else that is going on.

We have all been through this with our kids. There is a world of things to explore and there are so many cool things to do out there. However, there are these serious academics teens have to accomplish. After all they eventually must either be employed, go to college, or be in the military. And each of these destinations want a transcript.

So, here are some tips on a healthy balancing act

First, you need to know that you’ve got this…and you will not have a perfect homeschool. No one gets to perfection but homeschooling high school can be the best years yet!

Have Goals

Know what you want your kids to experience and accomplish by the time they walk across that stage or the backyard and flip the tassel. Think about what kind of experiences (educationally and otherwise) you want them to have. 

If you keep that in mind, you can weed out some of the things that would be “kind of” good but not necessary for those goals. For example, one goal could be to concentrate on enough math to get them into college but not waste any extra time on unnecessary math course. For instance, if your teens are aiming for History or Humanities majors, they probably do not need to take Calculus in high school.

Check out 7Sisters’ authoritative guide to planning homeschool high school for more help with goals.

Only Choose Core Courses That Meet Their Needs

It could be a fun experience doing all the co-op classes and anything else that is a transcript enrichment focus. However, be sure you are actually choosing the core courses that advance their goals. This prevents wasting valuable time on doing academics that do not advance those goals. 

This way, your teens end up with more time to do the fun stuff. It can be challenging to figure out how to fit it all in, but the idea is that we should not try to fit in the things that are only mildly interesting. For instance, try to only add the interests that can also be interesting beyond high school. Trying to do it all is a recipe for some kind of overwhelming stress at the very least.

Trying to do it all is a recipe for some kind of overwhelming stress at the very least.

Debunk Myths

Are you worried that your teens will not be accepted into college if all their high school courses are not honors level? Good news: It is not true that a transcript with all honors credits is going to beat out another transcript of a student who has leaned into the subject areas for their major. 

This is artificial competition. So, do not allow artificial competition to rule their worlds. Homeschooling high school is more than an awesome transcript. So show their interest development, extracurriculars and volunteerism for a powerful and well-rounded transcript with Honors courses where appropriate. (More on how to choose course levels in this post.)

One caveat, teens who are looking at highly competitive colleges must aim for a more competitive high school experience. Here are two Homeschool Highschool Podcast interviews with teens who aimed for those intense colleges:

There Is More Than One Way To Learn Things

As you re well aware of by now, there is not just ONE way to earn credits!

Specifically, homeschooling does not mean forcing yourself to do the textbook framework or that textbook model for everything. For example:

  • If there is an online asynchronous or live course that would really benefit your teen go with that.
  • Or if there is a fun hands-on co-op course about a topic you teen needs, go with that! 
    • For instance: If your teen wants to study nursing in college, and they’re leaning into anatomy and physiology, go for it!

The beauty of homeschooling high school is the opportunity varied and interesting learning experiences. Do not buy into some goofy limitations that say high school should be primarily through textbooks. If you have not believed that up until high school, you certainly do not need to start convincing yourself of it in high school.  There are so many wonderful ways to learn.

However, textbooks are highly useful. Therefore, when if you are using a textbook, feel free to and take advantage of enrichment opportunities. Adapt textbooks to your needs…or use texts from publishers that are creating adaptable homeschool high school curriculum, like 7SistersHomeschool!

What do you mean by adaptable? What do you mean by levels?

First of all, if you do not understand what we are talking about with levels of credits on a transcript, check out this post that explains choosing course levels.

What we mean when we say that we have created our curriculum at 7 Sisters to be “adaptable” is that we not only allow you to but we encourage you to make our curriculum fit your needs in your homeschool. For example, if you have a teen starting a subject at college prep level, but then discover as the year goes on that it is actually a really difficult subject, it is okay to roll it back to average level.

7Sisters curriculum includes instructions for adjusting levels to meet various teens’ needs. You can easily level up if you find that your teen is breezing through it or easy back if necessary.

I feel there is only one chance to get it right

Academics in high school can feel overwhelming. It can be too easy sometimes to feel like you only have one chance to get it right and you cannot leave any holes. However, if that little voice in your head says that, smack that little voice right upside the head because there are always holes in education! 

That is why we are lifelong learners. There is always something more to learn and teens will have a lifetime to do so. So, take some time for fun.

How do I find other homeschool families and connect with other people?

We know – not all co-ops are created equal. Some are not a positive experience, unfortunately. There are a few ways to find other homeschool families to have good experiences with.

  • Your local homeschool organization, state organization or a regional local organization.
  • Show up in a meeting and get involved.
  • You might have homeschoolers at your church, so just ask around at your church. 
  • Public libraries. Homeschoolers flock to public libraries. Ask around at your library or ask your favorite librarian about homeschool groups
  • Talk to one of your adult siblings into homeschooling their kids too so that you could co-op together. 
  • Go to homeschool fairs and events in your area to sign up to and participate in. 
  • Search social media using specific hashtags to find like-minded people and more information about online classes and groups, book clubs, science lab groups, and more in a virtual setting. (For instance, check out the classes our Cousins offer at Collegiate Learning and Spanish Online Curriculum.
  • Go on field trips and get to know the other families there too.

How do we help our kids find a real job after high school?

First, let’s start by defining “real job” because the world is radically different than it was back when you were graduating high school. 

In the past, high school graduates simply needed a job was where they made enough money to have a roommate and get a simple apartment. But it is not the same world. Economically, the world is very different. Housing and transportation costs have changed. Plus there are new, necessary expenses like cell phones and internet.

So, talk with your teens about what a real job means and help them set realistic expectations. Tell them a real job is one:

  • that has room for you to grow
  • and that requires skill as well as continually acquiring new skills
  • as well as opportunities for advancement and/or increased wages
  • that your teen can be proud of and interested in

God did not design only some jobs that matter. 

There are tons of jobs available that your teens probably do not know anything about. Be sure to encourage them to explore careers that are interesting to them and to learn more about them. 

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

When it comes to high school, there are a lot of different things that you need to take into account  when balancing homeschool and fun. You want to make sure that your teen is getting a good education but also having some fun. This can be a tricky balance to strike but it is important. There are plenty of ways that you can have both academics and fun in homeschool high school. It just takes some planning and effort. 

Join us for a discussion on balance!


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Kindergarten Skills for Academics

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Kindergarten Skills for Academics with the Brain CoachUnderlying developmental building blocks are necessary for a kindergarten child to be ready for more formal academics.  From Little Giant Steps’ perspective, kindergarten is the culmination of effective development in six areas.   When there are gaps in one or more areas of development, children can suffer from a myriad of learning challenges and even learning labels like ADD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, CAPD and many others.  Most people try to fix these inefficiencies with curriculum when in fact, curriculum is designed to advance an individual that already has efficient brain development.

The six areas of development (tactility, auditory, visual, manual, language, and mobility) that are the foundation to function are expanded this week.  The precise activities, described this week, can produce better function.

Not only is proper development necessary but the chemistry of our body has to be considered as well.  You can receive a free metabolic consultation after submitting your request.  See details for this and other savings in the handout. Read More!

Education Methods: Unschooling and Delayed Academics

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

unschooling-and-delayed-bodyEducation Methods: Unschooling and Delayed Academics

Podcast #11

In this episode,  Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn discusses Unschooling and Delayed Academics approaches to homeschooling.

Please join us as we travel along this journey on our podcast adventure. Let’s get connected! Learn more about the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and homeschooling in the beautiful state of Florida. If you are interested in homeschooling our convention is every year in May during Memorial Day weekend.

Please visit to learn more about who we are!


Why Do YOU Homeschool?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Why do you homeschoolWhy Do YOU Homeschool?

Why do we Homeschool? Homeschooling, for me, has always been a way of life. I was homeschooled from K through 12th grade and loved the experience. I decided to pursue higher education and graduated in three years with honors. It wasn’t just the opportunities I had but the loving surroundings in which I was able to grow and flourish with love, stability, and Christian spirituality. I attribute my homeschool experience as an excellent springboard for my life and events that took me well into adulthood with fond memories.

My brother and I were not concerned about how other students would treat us as we learned. My brother was “disabled” in the sense of the word, but I didn’t think it was odd that I, two years his junior was on the same grade level. We were free to learn at our own pace, gleaning information on topics that interested us (it seemed) at every turn during school hours or not. I later learned that my mother planned our year ahead of time and often switched topics as our interests became fine-tuned to a particular subject. It appeared to us as if the world was our school, and on many days we were excited to begin.

We were free to learn at our own pace, and often, testing was a form of a game where mom asked us questions and we bunny-hopped, jumped, or skipped to the end, signifying completion. When testing became more formalized, it still was a contest where we tried to beat last time’s score or asked for unique “extra credit” answers that would bring us over the 100 mark. Mom was always sure to comply. My mom didn’t like testing us, but I enjoyed the tests.

Homeschooling my own children was an easy choice, especially since I have the loving support of my husband, who was not homeschooled but had cousins who were through high school. We both want to offer our children an excellent education both academically as well as with the foundation of Christianity. Homeschooling, we both agree, will accomplish that desire for our family. I am excited knowing my children will experience the same things that I had growing up: the freedom to talk and discuss profound religious truths, question when those teenage years come up, and know that my parents never discounted our questions as childish or rude, but listened and directed with love and concern. I also love having a flexible schedule, except for offering my young children a little more structure than my mom gave us. Mom is almost perfect in the proverbial “Mary Poppins” sense, is an icon of the homeschool movement, and is well-loved…But I can’t do everything just like her! In fact, I learned that from her. She told me to think for myself, stand my ground, and always cheer me on when confronted with tough decisions and whatever life crisis crops up.

I have only just begun my journey with my young children; the oldest turned five in January. With almost a year of schooling completed, I have come to realize what a tremendous undertaking homeschooling can be for the entire family. We have had the most incredible year in terms of growth, enjoyment of each other’s company, and of course, the element my mom used, “fun.” We have learned much and had a few ups and downs along the way. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment and dedication. It takes a totally unselfish love for your children that supersedes what the world says is “normal” in regard to traditional schooling.

I remember a story recounted by my mom. She had us in a high-end preschool where academics were stressed, thinking that was important for my speech-delayed brother. I went along for the ride, so to speak, and made friends quickly, as did my mother. When it came time for school, Mom decided to homeschool my brother, and of course, I followed suit. She received a call from a friend one morning (I was too young to remember), who felt “sorry” for my mother. You see, she had rushed through the morning, gotten her child on the school bus, and was sitting down in a wrecked kitchen with a cup of coffee before she tackled the day. She told my mom she was sorry for not getting a “break.” My mom recounts, “I told her that I was sitting in bed, with my second cup of coffee, still in pj’s with two kids flanked on either side, pillows fluffed, and reading. We had completed our religion books, Bible, and history. Breakfast was long done and washed and put away, and we would soon dress and do a few more chores before we headed upstairs to our school room to tackle some math, writing, and other activities.” This friend didn’t call again, feeling sorry for my mom. In fact, we felt sorry for ourselves if we did not complete school by noon, so we had the day to explore our world!

For the success of a lifetime homeschooler, I believe it is a decision, not something to revisit every year. It is similar to reviewing your marriage and deciding yearly if it works out for you! Marriage is a commitment, and for my family, so is homeschooling. We will give it our all. We don’t micro-analyze it looking for an out, looking at what they are “missing” in the school bazaar, fund-raisers, track and field events, or the like.

We feel it is ordained by the Word of God, and we know, by His grace, we will continue with the tradition of raising a mighty people who love and will serve Him in thought, word, and deed! If you are considering homeschooling, I ask you to prayerfully consider what the Lord wants for you, for your life, and for your family. Do not look left or right; look straight ahead. If the Lord ordains it, He will give you the blessings and grace to continue. Don’t take my word for it; take His.

Christina Gerwitz Moss is a Christian, wife, and homeschool mom of four precious blessings, and she is the daughter of Jeff and Felice Gerwitz (Media Angels). While still a homeschooler, Christina desired to be an author. She urged her mom to write a series of novels. However, her mom turned the tables and urged Christina to try her hand. The results were a mother-daughter team, and the highly successful novels are loved by many and sold on many online venues such as Christian Book Distributors. The Truth Seekers Mystery Series was born, three action-adventure, mystery, and suspense novels. Christina completed the last one as a college freshman.

Nurturing Your Children | A Guide to Homeschooling Success | Free Planner!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey there, students and parents! September is here, and it’s that time of year when we get back to school, whether it’s in a classroom or at home. This month, let’s set some goals and aim for greatness in our homeschooling journey. Imagine unlocking your full potential and making learning a fun adventure with your children!

Tailoring Education to Your Child

One of the amazing things about homeschooling is that you can customize your learning experience. You get to choose the curriculum and schedule that works best for you and your child. This allows your child to focus on absorbing and understanding information at their own pace.

Recognizing Strengths and Working on Weaknesses in Your Children, Self,  and Homeschool

We all have things we’re great at and areas where we could improve. Homeschooling allows us to identify our strengths and weaknesses and work on both. By doing this, we can grow in every aspect of our lives, not just academically.

Developing a Love for Learning in Your Children

As homeschooling parents, we want our children to love learning. And that’s not limited to textbooks! We’re also interested in nurturing their character and values. Learning is not just about facts; it’s about becoming better individuals.

Setting Goals and Planning Activities

In this guide, you’ll find help in creating goals for the month. Plan out activities, reading time, game nights, household chores, and even charitable work with your church and community. Having a plan in place helps keep things organized.

Hands-On Learning

Learning isn’t just about reading and writing; it’s also about doing. Try immersive learning experiences, unit studies, and topical studies that cover various subjects. Let your child study topics they’re passionate about; it’ll make them unique and self-reliant adults.

Encouraging Independence in Your Children

As your child grows older, give them more say in their studies. You can help them succeed by providing support and guidance. Overcoming challenges takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Planning for the Months Ahead

Take a moment to look at upcoming holidays and events. While plans may change, having an overview helps in scheduling. The coming months can be hectic, so let’s get organized early.

Time to Be Kids

Remember, it’s crucial to give your children downtime. They don’t need to be overscheduled. This planner helps you find that balance.

 Enjoy the Journey

Homeschooling is not just about academics. It’s about exploring the world, seeking answers, and challenging ideas through experiments and discovery. Make learning an exciting adventure!

So, as we kickstart this school year, let’s aim for greatness. Use the tools in this planner to stay organized and focused on your goals. And most importantly, enjoy your time with your family and the wonderful journey of learning. Have a fantastic September!

Christina Moss

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Neuroplasticity – Rewiring The Brain

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

neuroplasticity rewiring the brain

Neuroplasticity – Rewiring The Brain with Dr. Jan Bedell

Podcast #19

Neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain? Hmm? Do we really have to use such an unfamiliar word?  Yes, to describe the amazing gift that God has given us we can start with a big word and break it down.  It really is quite simple – “neuro” is having to do with the brain and “plasticity” is the ability to change.  Our brains are changing all the time. This is really good news when you have a struggling learner or a child with a label like dyslexia, ADD, ADHD or autism.  The key is knowing how to fuel the brain with the right kind of stimulation so it builds new pathways.  From these new pathways, the brain can receive, organize, process and store information well enough to bring it out and use it in everyday life.  With the right kind of stimulation, your brain can take little developmental steps to achieve giant strides in academics and overall function.  That is what happens when you use the products and services of Little Giant Steps.

In this episode, you will hear the experience of a teacher that had taught first grade for 17 years before using The NeuroDevelopmental Approach in her classroom in year 18.

It made a huge difference for her students and can make a difference for you and your family as well.  Applying just a little information can make all the difference in your child’s future.  We shouldn’t leave out the adults either!  It is never too late to change the brain.  Two ladies in their 50’s, one a reading tutor and the other a Montessori teacher who had always struggled with reading comprehension, raised their reading comprehension score by 3 ½ years in only four months’ time.   And guess what? They didn’t do any specific reading program.  All it took was organization and specific stimulation to the brain and their abilities radically changed.



Visit our sponsor Little Giant Steps for information about

  • Free auditory processing kit – here
  • Help for math facts – here
  • Brain boosting products – here



Keep Calm and Homeschool On, Interview with Carla Fuller

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Keep Calm and Homeschool On, Interview with Carla Fuller.

Keep Calm and Homeschool On, Interview with Carla Fuller

Carla Fuller: Keep Calm and Homeschool On

Do you always have calm days? I doubt it. That’s why we’re diving into the important topic to keep calm and homeschool on!

Because let’s face it, sometimes we all need a little injection. Vicki is excited to day to chat with our friend, Carla Fuller, about the topic of calm homeschooling!

Besides holding double Masters degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy as well as Child and Family Studies, Carla is a high school educational consultant for HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). Carla’s calm and wise demeanor is truly infectious, and she shares her homeschool journey, tips for reducing anxiety, and advice for homeschooling high school with grace.

About Carla Fuller

Carla Fuller’s homeschool journey began in a serendipitous way. As a marriage and family therapist, she worked on a radio show called Teen Talk, a show that was all about providing a platform for teenagers to call in and talk about their struggles. It was a way to prevent risky behaviors and promote mental health. On the show one day, Carla met a homeschooled teenager who completely blew her away with her maturity and calmness. This encounter sparked Carla’s interest in homeschooling, and she tucked the idea away for later.

Fast forward to meeting her husband and starting a family. They decided to give homeschooling a shot. Little did they know that this decision would shape their lives in incredible ways.

Initially, they took it year by year. However, as they saw the benefits for their boys and their family, they continued homeschooling all the way through high school. Now their sons have graduated and are in college. Their oldest son is pursuing political science while their youngest is studying engineering at a Virginia University. Talk about an amazing journey!

Unfolding the Homeschool Journey

Now, let’s get down to business and talk about that sense of calm and homeschool on that Carla brings to the table. Homeschooling high school can be a nerve-wracking experience:

  • The fear of messing up our teens
  • Or the pressure to cover everything
  • And the worries about college and the future.

It’s enough to make anyone’s blood pressure skyrocket. But Carla is here to save the day with some tips to lower that blood pressure and bring back the calm.

First and foremost, Carla reminds us that our teens are still works in progress.

Carla emphasizes the importance of observing and including with our teens in planning their homeschool years. Development of their unique selves (personality, interests, gifts) takes time, and it’s a process of unfolding. 

She encourages parents to detach from the pressures of gotta’s and should’s.

Instead focus on understanding their teens’ needs and interests. Watch what’s developing in your teens, listen to what they are telling you, and partner with them in their journey. It’s all about discovery and exploration.

By cultivating a strong relationship and engaging in conversations, parents can alleviate the pressure they put on themselves and their children.

Discovering Passions

And here’s a little secret: parenting is all about discovery too. We have no idea who’s being sent to us when we become parents. It’s a wild ride of surprises and unexpected twists. 

Carla’s homeschooling approach involved exposing her sons to various activities and observing their natural interests. From tinkering with Hot Wheels tracks to creating imaginary countries on maps, her sons’ passions became apparent. (Our friend, Anita Gibson, calls this “finding their star”.)

When high school arrived, Carla and her husband focused on incorporating these interests into their curriculum. Her oldest son was interested in political science, even traveling abroad for mission work, while her youngest delved into robotics and engineering studies.

Transcripts and Resumes

When it comes to capturing these unique experiences on transcripts, Carla explains that some activities are best suited for resumes. She suggests focusing on the core academics and listing the rest on a resume. 

For instance, her son listed mission trips, robotics camps and music performances on his experiential resume, showcasing his diverse skills and interests. The resume can come in handy for college applications and even job applications down the line. 

Remember: All of life is education

Advice for Homeschooling High School

For parents starting their homeschooling journey with a 9th grader, Carla has a few sage suggestions:

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Create a basic academic plan together with your child to help set goals and expectations 
  • Understand your state’s requirements and explore potential colleges early on to alleviate stress later

Carla emphasizes that it’s impossible to cover everything, but by focusing on the tools of learning and fostering a sense of curiosity, your teenager can continue their educational journey beyond homeschooling.

Letting Go and Enjoying the Process

But here’s the thing: you can’t do it all. Carla reminds homeschooling parents that they are not in control of the outcomes. Putting pressure on ourselves to control every aspect of our children’s education is unnecessary. Remember: All of life is education (learning takes a lifetime and there’s just no way to cover everything during high school). 

Let go of that pressure and focus on giving your teens the tools to learn for themselves. And if there are any gaps, don’t fret. Dual enrollment can be a lifesaver. Colleges often have resources that we humble homeschoolers may not, so take advantage of them. 

And remember, you’re not in control of the outcomes. Trust the unfolding process and in the plans that God has for your kids. Have faith that the plans God has for their children will come to fruition. 

Reflecting on her own life, Carla acknowledges that our trajectories are rarely straight, and unexpected detours often lead us to where we need to be.

Embracing Support and Community

Homeschooling can sometimes feel overwhelming, but Carla reassures parents that they are not alone.  Organizations like HSLDA and supportive homeschooling communities exist to provide guidance, resources, and a sense of camaraderie. 

Building a community around you, linking arms with others who understand the journey, can make all the difference.

Carla Fuller: Keep Calm and Homeschool On

Homeschooling high school can be a beautiful and rewarding experience, filled with opportunities for growth and discovery. Carla Fuller’s wisdom and calm demeanor remind us to observe, partner with our children, and trust the unfolding process. To keep calm and homeschool on!

By focusing on the tools of learning, embracing flexibility, and building strong relationships, we can navigate the homeschooling journey with confidence and joy. So take a deep breath, remember that you can do this, and enjoy the adventure of homeschooling high school!

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post and to Seth Tillman for editing the podcast.


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Easy Way Curriculum Planning | Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

easy way curriculum planning | Curriculum Planning The Easy Way? It never gets old, the feeling of excitement OR dread when you are planning your homeschool curriculum. #Homeschool #homeschooling #podcast #easycurriculumEasy Way Curriculum Planning

Special Replay | Episode 252, Easy Way Curriculum Planning

Curriculum Planning The Easy Way?

It never gets old, the feeling of excitement OR dread when you are planning your homeschool curriculum. What is curriculum? It is the books, and the methodology you will use to homeschool your children. I won’t go into all the styles of homeschooling, this has been done in other podcasts.

Thank you to our sponsor, Route 60 – The Biblical Highway. In theaters September 18th & 19th only

Easy Way Curriculum Planning:

An overview of methods and links to these podcasts on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network are as follows:

  • Charlotte Mason
  • Classical Method
  • Unit Studies
  • Principle Approach
  • Textbook and Workbook
  • Unschooling and Delayed Academics
  • Homeschooling Elementary Years
  • Homeschooling Middle School
  • Homeschooling 101

There are more, and that is an eclectic approach mixing some of these methods.

For example, I used the Unit Study method for the majority of the elementary years, but I supplemented it with textbooks when needed or unschooling, allowing the children to pursue or go off on tangents that interested them – or an idea that was sparked by our unit study.

This type of learning is the most effective because the children are excited to learn and that is when most “real” learning takes place. I notice this now in my older children. My son was interested in weaponry – making weapons after studying ancient history. This carried on in later years and my son has made throwing stars, knives out of steel, a sword, a bow and arrow, and display cases. It is a fun hobby that he does in his spare time.

My daughter, on the other hand, learned her love for oceanography after studying the topic and went on to Scuba dive, getting her advanced certificates while in college. This daughter has gone on to homeschool her children.

We are going to take a quick commercial break and when we come back we will discuss planning your year – using the 4-Square Planning Method. We’ll be right back.


Okay – where were we? Planning your Curriculum.

  1. Decide your method. Which will you select? It really depends on the method of homeschooling you select on how to plan your curriculum. Here I’m assuming you have the curriculum in hand or are thinking about what you want to do for the coming year. If you study the different methods of homeschooling, textbooks, unit studies or unschooling the variety of options are endless. Regardless to your method you still need to accomplish, even if you are unschooling – that is not using any set curriculum and using student-led topics, you still need to accomplish learning for the year. This needs to be planned at some point and scheduled. If you are using the Classical approach there are various cycles, so you want to look at your student’s age/grade and figure out where they are in the study or approach. Charlotte Mason uses experiential, literature and nature studies. For the Principal each subject is based on Biblical principles and students are taught to think and reason using a Christian worldview and ideas using a notebook method to research, reason, relate and record. It still requires books which takes us to the next point.
  2. Look at how many weeks you will schedule your homeschool. Typically we homeschool 180 days of school, 5 days a week, for a total of 36 weeks. Just divide the number of days a week you want to homeschool into 180 days of school and that will help you. I used a yearly calendar and circled the days we would school in pencil. Just think! There are 52 weeks in the school year. If you homeschool 36 of those weeks it gives you plenty of downtime – time to take a break.
  3. Look at your books – where will you begin? It is different if you are using different methods. Here are some example of two methods I am most familiar with and ways to set them up.
  4. Textbook/workbook – take the number of days you will homeschool, the number of pages in the book and divide the number of pages by days. So if there are 320 pages in your child’s math book and 180 days it will take 1.7 days to complete – so, doing 2 pages per day will allow you to complete the book in 160 days which gives you 20 days of cushion. Cushion time: This is a great relief to homeschool families, to have the time to get ahead of if you take a break, you’ll know how many days you can miss without getting behind.
  5. Unit study – plan your topics for the year. Then, decide how many weeks you will use to study the unit. The best unit studies take at least 6-8 weeks of study. My own Creation Study Guides used this method.  In this amount of time, you can read about the topic, do science or history projects and really delve into the topic thoroughly.
  6. Schedule in time for breaks such as field trips — Schedule time for vacations. Even staycations. Also include breaks for planning, planning time for long weekends, vacations
  7. Field trips were a big part of our homeschool and needs a number all of its own. You can schedule your field trips around the topics you are studying or just schedule your field trip as a stand-alone. We studied the ancient Greeks and Romans and then we decided to visit various restaurants to sample Greek and Roman foods.

Route 60

Route 60: The Biblical Highway will release in theaters nationwide on September
18th & 19th, 2023, where attendees will witness the roads that Jesus walked on.
Discover the history, witness the healing, and realize the hope along Route 60, the
Biblical Highway.

Helping Teens Handle Discouragement

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Handle Discouragement.

Helping Teens Handle Discouragement

Helping Teens Handle Discouragement

Let’s face it, as humans, we all experience moments of discouragement. Our teens are no exception. Let’s explore some practical ways in helping teens handle discouragement as they navigate through these uncertain, kind of “weird”, challenging times.

Join Vicki for encouragement on helping teens to handle discouragement in healthy ways.

Tackling Difficult Academics

One common source of discouragement for teens is struggling with challenging academics. Whether it’s precalculus, algebra, or geometry, it’s easy for them to feel stuck and believe they’re not good enough. Even us adults, we would feel a little defeated in the face of those math monsters. 

And when they’re feeling down, motivation goes out the window, making it a real struggle to get anything done. We’ve all been there, right? 

As homeschooling parents, it’s essential to provide support during these moments. A few ways to show your support are:

  • Start by making eye contact and allowing them to express their frustrations. 
  • Let them vent and get those negative thoughts out of their system. 
  • Instead of correcting them, help them find their positives. 
  • Remind them of a time when they actually enjoyed something academic.
  • Let them know they can take a break from this tough stuff and recalibrate the next day. 

Help them remember that there is some light at the end of the academic tunnel, even if it means going back in time a little. Sometimes a day or two off is just what the doctor ordered. Our friend CJ over at Homeschooling Through High School swears by it. 

So, take a breather, go on a drive, or plan a fun field trip instead of banging their heads against those textbooks. Helping teens handle discouragement and failure is no easy task, but with a little creativity and ingenuity, it can be done. 

Take a break and recalibrate.

Finding Support

Sometimes teens are dealing with subjects that are just way out of our league as parents. You know which ones I’m talking about…science labs, super tough math, or anything that makes us scratch our heads in confusion. 

In those cases, it’s time to think outside the box. When you have to “teach what you don’t know” and you both are at risk of discouragement:

Thinking outside the box and finding alternative ways to tackle tough subjects can boost your teen’s confidence and motivation. The point is to find creative solutions to tackle those discouraging subjects head-on.

Adjusting Curriculum

Not every teen needs to follow the same academic path. If your teen is heading towards a trade school, the military, or pursuing a literature major in college, it may be worth reevaluating their curriculum. Here are 50 ways to “scrap your schoolbook” 🙂

Dropping unnecessary subjects, like precalculus, can alleviate unnecessary stress and provide opportunities to explore more relevant topics. Then choose some curriculum that might be a better fit. Financial literacy, for example, could be a valuable alternative. 

Remember, just because something is available to do doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for everyone. Scale back and let your teen focus on what truly matters for their future path.

Navigating Life’s Unexpected Twists

Sometimes discouragement for teens isn’t just about academics. Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs, and our teens can feel down when things don’t go as planned. They might think, By now, I should be doing this and that, or I really wanted to do this, but it’s not happening

It’s all part of the rollercoaster ride called Life. When “life happens”, help your teens focus on the good in the present and have hope for the future. Remind them that even though things may not be going as planned right now, they have enough to get by. 

They have food, clothes, and a support system that believes in them. And guess what? The future holds amazing things for them. 

Be their role models, showing them that we’re living in the present with hope in the future, believing that good things are on the horizon. It’s all about navigating the present and the future with faith and hopefulness. We can’t lecture our teens into feeling better, but we can guide them through it.

Coping with Changing Friendships

Now, let’s talk about friendships. Discouragement for teens can happen when they and their friends seem to be heading in different directions. Even us moms go through those friendship changes. It can be downright discouraging. 

When your teen comes to you, pouring their heart out about how they don’t understand what’s going on, let them process it. Let them express their frustrations and just be there for them. 

Of course, if there are negative behaviors on their part, like bossing everyone around or throwing temper tantrums, it’s an opportunity to teach them some valuable life skills. In these particular moments, simply help them work on their self-control and how they interact with others. 

But sometimes, friendships just naturally evolve, and that’s okay. Assure your teen that they are amazing individuals, and there are plenty of friends waiting for them in the future. Together, you’ll get through this rough patch. 

Remember, it’s all about the present and the future. This might feel weird and discouraging right now, but they still have friends, acquaintances, and activities that bring them joy. And in the future, they’ll build an incredible network of awesome people. Here’s a post on making friends in college that can help with high schoolers, too.

Recognizing Signs of Depression

Here’s a little something to keep in mind: sometimes discouragement for teens can escalate into more serious issues like depression or anxiety. It’s crucial to be vigilant and recognize the signs. 

Lethargy, disinterest, excessive crying, or isolation may indicate a depressive episode. Bouncing back becomes a real challenge, especially when they’re bombarded with one discouraging moment after another. 

If you notice these symptoms persisting, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Reach out to your family doctor or find a counselor who specializes in working with teens. Remember, addressing mental health concerns is vital for their overall well-being.

We don’t want discouragement to take root and overshadow their lives. We want them to be healed, whole, and filled with hope. Feel confident in knowing there are resources out there to help them – and you – and it’s a beautiful thing to witness their journey towards freedom from those depressive episodes.

Creating Positive Experiences

When discouragement rears its ugly head, it’s time to create some positive events. When helping teens handle discouragement, as homeschooling parents, we can’t fix everything, but we can inject positivity into our teens’ lives. 

Take a break on the weekend and do something out of the ordinary with your teens. Plan spontaneous outings or activities that they won’t expect. Explore local state parks, museums, or nature trails. The change of scenery and the shared experiences can work wonders.

While they may initially resist, these experiences can lift their spirits and release healing and bonding hormones in their brains. When you engage in a new activity or go on a field trip, their brains release oxytocin, the healing and bonding hormone. Their brains get a little zap of positive vibes. 

Think outside the box, check out local newspapers or online resources for weekend activities, state parks, museums, nature trails, you name it. Just do something different. You might not be able to fix the world for your teens, and you can’t magically make those math lessons disappear, but you can inject a little positivity into their lives. And that is worth its weight in gold.

Helping Teens Handle Discouragement

Dealing with discouragement for teens is a challenge every homeschooling mom faces. By implementing these strategies, you can support your teens through difficult academic moments, navigate changing friendships, and help them find hope in uncertain times. 

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Join the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook group to connect with a supportive community of homeschooling moms. Together, we can empower our teens and help them overcome discouragement.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post and Seth Tillman for editing!


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CJ’s Tips for Homeschooling High School 

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: CJ’s Tips for Homeschooling High School!

CJ’s Tips for Homeschooling High School

CJ’s Tips for Homeschooling High School 

Vicki was SO excited to chat with her new friend, CJ of Homeschooling Through High School! CJ has a wonderful YouTube channel full of helpful, fun and authentic posts about homeschooling high school. She (and sometimes, her delightful family) have so many cool ideas and insights on resources.

The teenage years are often thought of as tumultuous and unpredictable, making the idea of homeschooling a teenager seem like a daunting one. There can be an initial skepticism about homeschooling in the high school years – from both newer homeschool parents and teens – regarding its potential to meet the educational needs of teenagers. Many parents worry that their children will miss out on social interactions and opportunities for growth.

Well, as today’s special guest, CJ shares her personal story of how she went from being skeptical about homeschooling to becoming a passionate advocate. Join us as we explore the reasons behind her decision and discover some valuable tips for homeschooling high school successfully!

Unveiling the CJ’s Homeschooling Journey

CJ begins her story by admitting that she used to think homeschooling was only for weird folks. I think we’ve all been there at this point, right? However, fate had other plans for CJ when she met a homeschooled young man who would later become her husband. 

But as time went on, she found herself pregnant with our first child and that’s when things started to change for her. The world seemed to be getting out of control with schools cutting out art and music and prayer – all the values she grew up with were slowly disappearing. 

Despite her initial resistance, CJ found herself reconsidering homeschooling as a viable option. She realized the importance of instilling Christian values and character into her children’s education. She wanted to give her future kids a solid Christian education, and paying for private school for each child was just not feasible. 

After much contemplation, her and her husband had a light bulb moment and decided to take the plunge into homeschooling. 

“Yep, the one who swore she’d never do it became a homeschooling mama.” – CJ

When her oldest hit middle school, the reality of high school started to sink in. CJ noticed a trend where many parents throw in the towel at middle school and would send their kids off back to public school during the high school years. A lot of reasons for this is due to the lack of confidence in themselves for teaching high school material as well as the overabundance of oppressive doubt in doing a job well done. 

And if this is the way that’s best for your family – going to pubic school high school when it’s time – there is nothing wrong with this if that’s what fits your family. However, for CJ, she had gained so much confidence during the middle school years that she just knew she could handle high school too. And she knew that she could always look for the very many homeschool high school resources available these days so she didn’t have to do it all alone. 

Tips for Homeschooling High School Successfully

It’s through these CJ’s researching, experiencing, and others’ resources that she learned so much about homeschooling during the high school years. From planning out the classes to teaching (or not teaching!) certain classes, there are so many incredible ways to homeschool your high school – it’s not all cookie cutter! 

Here are a few of CJ’s most valuable tips for homeschooling your high schooler:

Build a Strong Relationship

CJ emphasizes the importance of fostering a healthy parent-child relationship. This is key. Sometimes, it’s essential to prioritize bonding over academics. Taking a break from algebra to enjoy a fun outing or simply spending quality time together can do wonders for both the child’s well-being and the homeschooling experience.

“The relationship you have with your child is more important than any subject you’ll ever teach.” – CJ

“The relationship you have with your child is more important than any subject you'll ever teach.” - CJ

Weekly Meetings

Treat yourself as the mentor and guidance counselor for your high schooler. Have regular check-ins to discuss their progress, address any challenges, and provide support. These meetings encourage open communication, help identify areas that require improvement, and allow for spiritual growth. 

Utilize Resources

You don’t have to do it all. CJ dispels the misconception that homeschooling through high school requires mastering every subject. There are numerous resources available, including free curriculum options, co-ops, enrichment programs, and knowledgeable individuals within the community who can supplement your teaching. Outsourcing subjects that may be outside your expertise ensures a well-rounded education for your child.

And hey, if your neighbor happens to be a surgeon and wants to teach biology, why not take advantage of that? It’s all about finding what works for you and your child.

Dual Enrollment

Consider dual enrollment in local community colleges or online schools for your high schooler. This option allows them to earn both high school and college credits simultaneously. 

However, it’s essential to evaluate whether your child is ready for the challenges of college-level coursework and if it aligns with their goals and maturity level.

Embracing the Teen Years

Remember what we said at the beginning of this blog post? About how most parents refer to the “dreaded teenage years” as doom and gloom? CJ encourages parents to shed that negative chatter surrounding the teenage years. 

Despite the stereotypes, she found the high school years to be a blast – some of the most enjoyable and rewarding years of her homeschooling. Why? Because teenagers are capable of engaging in meaningful conversations, exploring their identities, and building strong connections with their parents. 

Surrounding you and your teen with like-minded individuals who are uplifting and supportive can make these high school teen years even more fulfilling.

​​CJ’s Tips for Homeschooling High School 

Homeschooling through high school may seem daunting, but CJ’s story proves that with determination, support, a few well-utilized resources, and running with the confidence you built over the younger years, it can be a truly enriching experience. By prioritizing relationships, maintaining open communication, and embracing the unique opportunities homeschooling offers, you can guide your high schooler to success!

Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone. Reach out to the homeschooling community, tap into available resources, and enjoy the journey of homeschooling through high school. You can make the high school years a rewarding and memorable experience for your children. 

Connect with CJ

If you’re considering homeschooling your high schooler or are already on this exciting journey, be sure to check out CJ’s Homeschooling Through High School YouTube channel for more tips, inspiration, and encouragement on homeschooling through high school.

Also, you’ll love her review of 7Sisters Animal Farm Literature Study Guide.


Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!


  1. Follow this link to our iTunes page.
  2. IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in iTunes
  3. This will take you to iTunes and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review* and give us some stars and a comment to help others find us more easily.
  7. Thanks!

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