How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School.

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

Vicki, Sabrina and Kym together again for an episode on a very important topic. We’ve missed seeing each other during this long pandemic. But here we are together to talk about choosing curriculum.

In the old days, there were few options for homeschool curriculum for homeschooling high school. That’s not true any more. Now we have SO many options, that it can be hard to choose curriculum for our teens. NOT to worry: your 7Sisters are here to help!

Now, here are some steps for choosing curriculum for homeschool high school

First off, remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! SO there’s not ONE right kind of curriculum.

Now, look at your big, giant four-year goals.

You don’t want to drive on a long trip and not have an idea about where you where driving. You’ll end up nowhere. Goals are like that for homeschooling! Look at the big picture: What do you want to see in your teens when they walk across the stage (or backyard) at graduation:

  • What kinds of sciences, histories, maths, literatures do I want for them to have experienced?
  • Are they college or career bound?
  • What are their personalities like?
  • What are their interests and abilities?

What works for parents?

  • Some curriculum just won’t work for the parents who have to help their teens learn. For instance, Vicki could not use non-illustrated texts with her teens. She needed photos in texts…except when it was really interesting curriculum such as Philosophy in Four Questions, which was so interesting that no illustrations were needed in order for her to pay attention.

What are your constraints?

  • What are the time demands?
  • What is our financial picture? (No matter what your budget is, you CAN homeschool high school! It’s okay to be where you are.)
    • How can we co-operate with other families? (We co-oped together for fun and money saving!)
    • Are there barters that we can do for teaching or curriculum?
    • Can I reuse curriculum with my other kids as they hit high school?

Beware of the folks who say: You MUST use this curriculum because it’s the right way! (Sometimes, these folks are selling expensive curriculum…ahem.)

What do teens need to cover over homeschool high school years?

Each state has different requirements, check your state Department of Education’s website.

College bound teens: Visit websites for a few colleges of interest to see what they are requiring for applicants.

Many teens (college or career bound) will need will usually need these credits:

  • 4 Language Arts (your choice of Literature themes or general topics)
  • 2-4 Maths (Algebra, Algebra 2, Geometry and possible Statistics and/or Pre-Calculus)
  • 3-4 Sciences with some lab courses (Biology, Chemistry, Health, and other Sciences according to state regulations or future major)
  • 3-4 Social Studies (American History, World History, .5 Civics, .5 Economics, .5 Social Science and/or Geography and Electives)
  • 1-4 World Languages
  • 1-2 Physical Education
  • 1 Fine Arts
  • 1-6 Electives (including Career Exploration, Drivers Education, Technology, etc).
    • Give yourself and your teen the opportunity to “rabbit trail”, that is, explore new interests.
    • Log hours for Carnegie credits if you are not using a curriculum. Check out Homeschooling with Technology podcast for tech elective ideas.

There are three basic ways to earn a credit:

For help with planning, check out our Authoritative Guide to Homeschool High School and our Authoritative Guide to High School Planning.

There's not ONE right kind of curriculum!

Then break your four year goals into yearly goals

What do you want or need to cover each year? For instance (by the way, these are simply “for instances” not suggestions…you choose what is best for your teen):

  • Math:
    • 9th Grade- Algebra
    • 10th Grade- Geometry
    • 11th Grade- Algebra 2
    • 12th Grade- Statistics
  • Literature:
    • 9th Grade- American Literature
    • 10th Grade- British Literature
    • 11th Grade- World Literature
    • 12th Grade- Great Christian Writers

Once you’ve narrowed down the courses you need, to choose curriculum

  • Check out reviews online, such as:
  • If you are looking at classes (co-op, community college, group classes) do some research about the course:
    • Sometimes a wonderful sounding class might now be a good fit because:
    • Teacher has completely different goals than you and your teens
    • For instance: the teacher may aim the science course for science majors but your teen’s goals are more towards sports or public speaking (so they need time to play sports or joining a public speaking club rather than spending endless hours on science homework)
    • Format is not a good fit for your teen

Is it a stressful year? In danger of burnout or exhausted from pandemic? Need to make some change ups?

Choose your curriculum with these in mind:

  • Need a quieter year with more reading and less challenging curriculum?
  • Need a lighter-hearted reading list rather than books full of sadness and loss?
  • Need more restorative time outdoors?

Keep in mind that 7SistersHomeschool.com offers curriculum that is:

  • No-busywork
  • Affordable
  • Downloadable
  • Levelable (gives options for average high school level, college prep or honors levels)
  • Money-back guaranteed
  • Offers co-op discounts (send an email to info@7SistersHomeschool.com for information)
  • At 7SistersHomeschool.com, many of the course have freebie suggested syllabi for you to use with your teens.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for an encouraging discussion on choosing curriculum for homeschool high school.

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How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera.

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera

Most homeschool high schoolers will need a world language on the their transcripts. It can also feel like one of the most intimidating subjects for us homeschool moms to plan, resource, and maybe even teach. How can you handle those World Language credits?

We asked our friend, Anne Guarnera of Language Learning at Home, to help us! Anne holds a PhD in Spanish from University of Virginia and has taught Spanish at high school and college level.

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera. Anne is homeschooling her three sons bilingually (Spanish and English) with instruction in Portuguese- so you can tell that languages are important to Anne and her husband. In fact, these high school sweethearts have lived in several countries. Her husband speaks French, Spanish and Portuguese. Anne speaks Spanish, Portuguese and reads French.

Anne tells her story because she wants homeschool high schoolers and their moms to know that they can do it!

Anne learned Spanish because she was a failed French student. She studied French through high school and wanted to study it in college. She and her future husband had wanted to do study-abroad in Paris for part of their college. This dream ended sadly for Anne when she bombed her French placement test during her first week at college. She read and wrote French competently but her speaking and listening was so poor that she was going to have to go back to French 101.

She was so discouraged (but she sees now that this was God’s leading) that she gave up on French and started Spanish 101 and eventually ended up with her PhD. With her excellent training at University of Virginia, she became fluent, not just in reading and writing, but in speaking and listening, too.

After her bachelors degree, Anne worked in Spanish organizations in Washington, DC. She went back to get her PhD because she wanted to teach Spanish to young people so that they would not experience what she did when she took that heartbreaking French placement test.

Out of her experiences learning and teaching Spanish, Anne shares three tips:

Tip #1 Find your homeschool high schoolers’ motivation

It is much easier to learn if they have articulated their “why”! Learning languages takes hard work (practice), skills development and risk taking (making mistakes trying to speak, for instance). When they remember their why, they will be more willing to invest their time and energy.

For instance, perhaps your teen likes Kpop. Korean might be a motivating language to learn. Or they want to test out of languages for college, so they will work hard in high school so that they can test out. Or they want to become missionaries.

Sit down with your homeschool high schoolers. Involve them in the planning. Take them out to coffee and ask them to envision what learning the language will do with them. Help them develop a vision and a why.

Tip #2 Choose your curriculum wisely

Anne highly suggests that you choose a true World Language curriculum.

She explains that Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are good practice tools but not curriculum. (BTW- she has reviewed Duolingo and other language-learning resources on her website.) Unfortunately these, and many app-based resources do not have the systematic and spiral-structure that a systematic language-learning curriculum will have.

Spiral structure needed in language learning contains constant review and building on levels of skills, one after another. This gives the deep level skills and practice that is needed in order to have the spontaneous speaking and listening of conversation.

Anne has some good reviews on her website to help you choose curriculum.

Tip #3 Remember, your teens will need speaking and listening practice beyond the curriculum

Join a co-op, invite a native speaker to converse periodically, apps and online practice tools, watch videos and television shows in the language or with subtitles. More ideas for having some fun with practice in this post.

Teens need about fifteen minutes per day of  practice beyond the textbook for learning to stick. Designate a practice time (remember, an hour per week will not work as well as fifteen minutes per day).

Connect with Anne Guarnera at:

If you would like more encouragement on teaching Spanish in particular, check out this interview with our friend, Karim Morato. Join Sabrina, Vicki and Anne for an encouraging look at teaching World Languages in Homeschool High School.

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How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

Sabrina and Vicki are so excited we got to be together (on Zoom, anyway). The pandemic has sure made it a challenge to all be together. In this episode, we talked about one of our favorite Literature topics: Shakespeare.

Don’t gasp! Studying Shakespeare can seem intimidating. However, Sabrina has experience teaching our local homeschool high schoolers the works of the Bard that inspires teens to enjoy it. Join us for some of Sabrina’s top tips on teaching Shakespeare!

Why study Shakespeare in homeschool high school?

  • Because it makes you look smart (especially seeing it on the homeschool transcript)!
    • Teens feel smart when they study Shakespeare. It sounds so intellectual to say, “I’m studying Shakespeare this year!”
    • Moms feel smart just typing it on the homeschool transcript!
  • Because it helps teens understand the human experience.
    • Many of Shakespeare’s characters have feelings and thoughts that teens have felt or thought. It is eye-opening for them to discover that people for eons of time have had the same human experiences.
  • Because it is an opportunity to experience masterful storytelling.
    • Homeschool trivia: Did you know that Shakespeare’s great storytelling followed the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s storytelling guidelines:
      • Tragedies require that things do not turn out how the reader thinks they should. In fact, the good people are punished for their goodness and the bad guys are rewarded. It causes the reader to say, “That’s not right!”
        • Vicki points out that tragedies can be used to change people’s behavior. For instance, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a tragedy. People read the book and felt that the world could not go on in that tragic way. A response was generated. As Abraham Lincoln reportedly said when he met the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So this is the little lady who made the great war.”
      • Comedies require that things turn out as the reader thinks they should. The good people are rewarded for their goodness and the bad people’s evildoing is revealed and punished.
  • Because when homeschool high schoolers read great books and plays, like the works of Shakespeare, they bring to the reading their own personalities, ideas and motivations.
    • Shakespeare himself wrote with his own personality, ideas and motivations.
    • So when teens read his works (as in all good reading experiences), there is a genuine meeting of the minds.
    • This brings about a challenge to action or growth in thinking.
  • Because Shakespeare’s plays are entertainment
    • In his day, as in our day, there was great production value that gave audiences a wonderful experience.
    • In our day, it is easy to go on YouTube and find excellent productions of his plays for teens to watch. (Check out Bob Jones University’s and Rice University’s productions of Shakespeare’s plays.)

BTW- This summer 7SistersHomeschool will be releasing literature study guides for our favorite Shakespeare plays:

  • King Lear
  • Hamlet
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream

As always, our literature study guides don’t kill the play, are user friendly and adaptable to different levels of interest and ability!

How do 7Sisters Shakespeare Study Guides work?

In 7Sisters Shakespeare study guides, Sabrina encourages teens to watch a performance. Sabrina actually uses “a sort of backwards format” from many other Shakespeare guides.

  • First, she gives a background to the story.
  • Then, she tells them what happens in the story (total spoiler alert). This way teens have in their minds when they watch the production the plotline, the characters (and how to expect them to behave).
  • Next, they watch the performance. (Sabrina points out that students will not be able to follow the entire story, but they will have the basic idea and in watching the performers’ expressions and behavior, they will catch the basic ideas.)
  • Finally, they read the play. They discuss the plot, characters, wordy passages and difficult to understand material, the rhythm (iambic pentameter) and rhyme schemes, etc.
  • Vicki points out how much our teens have enjoyed learning Shakespeare’s plays.

BTW- As a freebie on 7SistersHomeschool.com, there will be a list of phrases the Shakespeare invented. It is a fun discussion tool to start a Shakespeare unit.

Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter?

  • The Globe Theatre had its troupe of actors. They had many plays to memorize quickly. Iambic pentameter helped them quickly memorize their plays.
  • Iambic pentameter also closely mimics our natural speech patterns. (Ever think about that?) Therefore, it is easier to listen to.
  • When teens know trivia like this, it sometimes makes Shakespeare feel more enjoyable.

Why did Sabrina choose those particular plays?

Both of the tragedies have main characters who are similar: The main character thinks he knows who he is and what he is doing in the world but finds out the opposite. But each of the characters is opposite in age (King Lear is in his 80s and Hamlet is late teens). This shows the universality of existential crises.

Both of the comedies have a look a “love” and all the social implications and silliness of finding true love. There is also a wonderful character type who uses words wrong all the time (malapropisms): remember Dogberry the constable in Much Ado about Nothing or Dick Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream? They just can’t get their words right (to hilarious ends).

Want more Shakespeare resources? Check out this interview with our friend, Kat Patrick, on teaching Shakespeare, a freebie from her, and her wonderful courses at Dreaming Spires Home Learning.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a fun chat about teaching Shakespeare’s plays.

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How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School.

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

You may have noticed that some colleges want to see some Social Sciences on the high school transcript. SO what are the Social Sciences and how can you teach them with your homeschool high schoolers? Vicki is here to help!

Does your teen need Social Sciences on their transcript? Maybe! You can check several college websites that your homeschool high schooler might be interested in to find out what they are looking for. HOWEVER, even non-college-bound teens can benefit from a Social Science course. That’s because these courses are about life skills and understanding oneself.

What are Social Sciences?

They are a blend of Science (scientific study and research) and Social/History/Humanities/Anthropology (studying people: the ways the human body and brain work, the ways cultural groups and societies work together, the ways people grow and change over time). They are considered “soft science” as opposed to the “hard sciences” such as Chemistry.

The Social Sciences cover many subjects. You can choose the topic(s) that fit your teen’s needs:

Some colleges consider these to be Social Sciences:

  • Civics/Government
  • Economics

Other colleges want to see Social Science subjects such as:

  • Psychology
  • Human Development
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Political Science
  • Cultural Geography
  • sometime: Linguistics

Social Sciences: Good for transcript and life prep

Vicki’s homeschool high schoolers all covered Psychology and Human Development as credits on their transcripts, as well as partial credits in Linguistics and Cultural Development. They used 7Sisters Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective and Human Development from a Christian Worldview.

These curriculums cover the scope and sequence required for the subjects, but brought down to an average high school level so that most teens can read, enjoy and get benefit from the courses. Both texts include meaningful activities that teens can add if they want to level up their course to Honors.

How do you record Social Sciences on the homeschool transcript?

It’s according to what your teen needs!

  • If they need an elective, then record “Psychology” or “Human Development” (or whichever course) in the “Elective” section of the transcript.
  • If they need another Social Studies credit (or half credit), record it in the “Social Studies” section of the transcript.
  • If they need another General Science credit, record it in the “Science” section of the transcript. (Note: this cannot take the place of required “hard sciences” like Chemistry and Biology on the transcript.)
  • We 7Sisters have most often recorded the Social Sciences in the “Elective” or “Social Studies” sections of the homeschool transcript.
  • As you can see, there’s not ONE right way to handle Social Sciences!

BTW- If you need to understand more about how to handle homeschool transcripts, don’t wait until senior year! 7Sisters has an Authoritative Guide on how to handle transcripts as well as a downloadable, editable transcript template with instructions.

Hopefully your teen can take a Social Science course that will inspire them and give them some practical life tools. You can use a textbook or pull together a Carnegie unit credit of your own. (More info on a previous episode on Formats for Homeschool High School Courses.)

You can also choose the level at which level of rigor at which your teen is learning these courses:

  • AP level: These will usually be online courses  (AP courses must be approved by the College Board)
  • CLEP level: These courses are aimed at preparing students for a CLEP exam
  • Consider it an introduction to the topic and to gain life skills but handle it in a more lighthearted manner
    • That is why we present 7Sisters Psychology and Human Development courses in our don’t-kill-the-subject manner
    • We find that teens tend to like the course, then teens who need more College Prep or Honors level, really enjoy adding the specific extra material and activities for leveling up that we provide.

Discuss with your teen their goals for Social Sciences (and your goals for their high school work):

  • Non-college bound teens can do average level courses
  • Community-college bound teens can chose
  • Many colleges will want to see at least College Prep level, some will want to see Honors (check their websites)

Give your homeschool high schooler a syllabus for the course

Syllabi help teens stay on track with their coursework and take some pressure off of you.

If you have access to these courses at a co-op or group classes, it might be fun!

These are subjects that lend themselves to lively discussion and fun activities in a group. (If you would like to teach the texts in your co-op, check out the teacher lesson plans for Human Development and Psychology. Don’t forget to talk to us about co-op discounts.)

You can also take some Social Sciences through dual enrollment at the local community college

This has been a good use of time for some homeschool high schoolers. It has also been stressful for some (they can be work-intensive courses).

There’s not ONE right way to handle the Social Sciences for your homeschool high schoolers. Have fun with them!

Join Vicki for some practical tips on teaching Social Sciences for your homeschool high schoolers.

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How to Plan Homeschool Graduations

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Plan Homeschool Graduations.

How to Plan Homeschool Graduation

How to Plan Homeschool Graduations

Whether it is your first or your fifth homeschool graduation, planning homeschool graduations can be stressful.  You want it to be memorable AND something you can manage. Add to it the stress of planning during Covid. We asked our 7th Sisters some things that have worked for their homeschool families.

Planning tips for homeschool graduations:

Start your planning process with this important fact: Just as there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, there’s also not ONE right way to hold a graduation event. For real. You and your teen should have a chat or two. Ask what they need and what do you need (you count, you did a lot to help this homeschool high schooler to get to the point of graduation)!

Decide if you want an event

Some graduates only want a pat on the back and maybe their favorite meal. Some would like an event. Hey, some of us moms NEED that event for closure; it’s okay to have an opinion. (I know that for me, I needed that graduation ceremony to celebrate all we had done as a family. My teens were glad that they had that significant event, once it was done.) Come to a workable and respectful compromise.

Decide what kind of ceremony you will hold

There are lots of ways to hold a graduation ceremony:

  • Hold a get together in the backyard or at a local park (I’ve been to a number of these events)
  • Have a big event with your local homeschool umbrella school or co-op (this is what our family has always done)
  • Have a drive-by event with a short speech in the front yard (popular during this Covid season)

Choose a date

To help you decide on a date, think about:

  • When will Covid regulations be lifted in your area? (Determines how many folks can come, thus the date.)
  • When can the family come?
  • When are facilities available (if you will go somewhere besides home)?

Do you want someone to film or live stream it?

This is very popular these days. Start looking early for a friend, family member or professional to handle this.

Will you send graduation announcements?

Will you want to send traditional announcements from a local printer? (Grandparents often like these because you can enclose a photo that they can put in their wallets and show their friends?

Will you create your own announcements or post cards?

  • You can create your own notes online with websites like Shutterfly or Canva  (We are not affiliates, btw.)
  • Handmade announcements are popular with many of our local homeschool graduates.

Remember to send the announcements early so that folks can make plans.

We highly suggest you create a diploma (and keep a copy of the official transcript with it)

You can make your own:

  • Buy parchment and an “official stamper” at the local office supply store and create your own. (Check Pinterest for samples.)

You can purchase one online from Homeschool Diploma (we are not affiliates)

  • We have found over the years that graduates occasionally need to show a diploma or send a copy of the diploma to prospective employers, military and even graduate schools.

For the transcript:

Will your teen wear a cap and gown?

There’s not one right way to handle this. I always like to have the visual of my graduate wearing the cap and gown AND the joy of moving the tassel on the cap from left to right (or right to left, there’s no real protocol for that)?

  • If you are ordering cap and gown do so EARLY. Shipping is slow sometimes, these days.
  • Some of our homeschool friends have ordered from Homeschool Diploma or Jostens (we are not affiliates)

Plan the ceremony and afterwards

Join Vicki for a you-CAN-do discussion on how to plan homeschool graduations!

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How to Plan Homeschool Graduations

Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington.

Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

One of Vicki’s favorite things is personality tests. She has found that understanding her teens’ personalities helped her tweak her homeschool program for each teen. Thus, she was so excited to connect with Sandra Etherington of Family Personalities. Sandra is a Myer-Briggs Type Indicator expert and advisor. She helps homeschool families match homeschool styles with personalities.

Sandra first ran into MBTI (Vicki’s favorite personality test, btw) in the corporate world. She loved it so much she went to school and got special certification to help family members understand each other. She joined Vicki today to explain how Myers-Briggs can help you plan your homeschooling program and curriculum geared for each teen.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that gives each person a four-letter score. Each letter has a meaning and the combinations of letters truly give insight into the things that “fill a person’s bucket, ” as Sandra says.

She also points out that each person’s four-letter combination is not a rigid result. We can function in any letter we need to, but we feel happiest functioning in the ways our letters are combined.

Sandra shares that parenting and homeschooling teens can be so much fun when each family member understands their MBTI score. It can be such a relief to understand why each person thinks and feels based on their personalities.

The four letter scores of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are:

  • INTJ
  • INTP
  • INFJ
  • INFP
  • ISTJ
  • ISTP
  • ISFJ
  • ISFP
  • ENTJ
  • ENTP
  • ENFJ
  • ENFP
  • ESTJ
  • ESTP
  • ESFJ
  • ESFP

I= Introvert (we fill our bucket/are energized by time alone)

E= Extrovert (we fill our bucket/are energized by time with people)

S= Sensing (we prefer taking in informations facts, details, practicality, experience)

N= Intuition (we prefer taking in information through the big picture, ideas, theories)

T= Thinking (we prefer making decisions through using logic and objectiveness)

F= Feeling (we prefer making decisions through approaching the decisions emotionally- our emotions and other’s emotions)

J= Judging (NOTE: this does not mean being judgmental) (we prefer to approach our outer world in order with planning and structure)

P= Perceiving (we prefer to approach our outer world spontaneously, not making a conclusion until you have all the information, keeping options open)

Sandra reminds us that one personality style is not better than another, they are simply different.

How can we work with our homeschool high schoolers’ different personalities?

Let’s start with an example: If you’re a parent who prefers Judging, we want to follow a schedule and plan in details. If your teen is a P she will be spontaneous and hate planning and schedules! It takes patience and prayer to work together. (That’s what patience and prayer are all about!)

Now let’s look at teens:

  • If they are J’s, they will want schedules, clear plans and routines. They are generally good with follow-through and will follow rules.
    • As a parent, include and/or be aware of their own plans. This means doing planning together and do regular check-ins. Allow extra time for transitions. Allow them to finish one activity before switching to another.
  • If they are P’s, they will want freedom to make their own rhythms, they will want to be spontaneous and perhaps mix study and play. They may have difficulty making decisions (because by making a decision, they cut off other opportunities). They like to be playful and impulsive. Can have trouble with follow-through.
    • As a parent, give stopping points/deadlines then allow them to work on their own/in their own style. Limit structure and rules. Build in flexibility (maybe your homeschool high schooler wants to do math all day for a couple of days then make up for that on the last day of the week). Have an outside accountability person (for instance, an umbrella school) when possible. Tend to work better under pressure.
  • If they are S’s, they want their texts and classes to be practical and realistic.
    • As a parent, choose hands-on curriculum that is step-by-step oriented. (Such as 7Sisters’ Essay and Research Paper Writing eworkbooks). Start with facts and details, then build up to main points. (If they are SJ, they will want to break projects down into chunks.)
  • If they are N’s, they want their texts and classes to start with the big picture. They prefer to understand the ideas behind the things they will be learning.
    • As a parent, you have to start with the purpose/the why of the course, give that big picture. Allow them to use their big ideas. If you need to review, have them solve the problem a different way without overdoing repetition.

Are you curious to find out more? Check out Sandra’s work on Family Personalities website and podcast. Start with her freebie downloads!

Join Vicki and Sandra for an enlightening chat!

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Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving.

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

If you are like Vicki, high school math is not your favorite subject. Whether we like it or not, Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry (at the least) are necessary for most homeschool high schoolers graduation requirements. Sometimes our teens do not like math OR are struggling learners so preparing for college math can be intimidating.

This week, Vicki is joined by David Irving of College Ready Math, who brings us some GOOD news: If your homeschool high schoolers can really get the concepts of Algebra down, they will have less trouble with the other courses. AND he has ideas on how to help struggling learners succeed.

So take a deep breath! There’s hope.

David Irving is the writer and publisher of the Parent’s Guide to Better Grades. David created this guide for parents of students in Title 1 schools in Chicago when he was single parenting a teen with ADHD. His son was struggling, so David began tutoring his son. He came up with some things that worked for his son, then later he and his new wife turned it into a guide which the schools snapped up and found success with.

David then brought the guides to schools in Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC and New York City and trained tutors in the methods that worked. The tutors went into the schools, especially those who had lots of struggling students. Then his program spread to religious and independent private schools.

David Irving of College Ready Math

David Irving of College Ready Math. Photo used with permission.

David then started on online company, College Ready Math, to prepare struggling math students to be successful for the mathematics they will face in high school and college. (David has heard from college advisors that sometimes the high school math that students learn do not prepare them well for college-level mathematics courses. They sometimes need to take some remedial math courses at the local community college to catch up. David wants to save some money and time by helping homeschool high schoolers be ready for those college math courses.

David says to concentrate on Algebra. Make sure all the gaps in learning are closed (make sure there is sufficient knowledge of all the Algebra concepts). That is what David’s College Ready math program is about: filling Algebra gaps.

If you homeschool high schooler is a struggling math learner, think about spending extra time on Algebra concepts.

In David’s online program (which is a supplement to the teen’s math text), student’s start with a pretest to determine what concepts need attention. (Or students can start at the beginning for a solid review.)

Here are things that teens need to be ready for college-level math:

  • Learn one concept per lesson.
  • Lessons should be short.
  • Work on mastery for each concept.
  • Learn by video and solving problems together.
  • Practice with repetition as often as necessary.
  • Include test prep for the placement test many teens must take in order to know which maths in college they need (Accuplacer).

David reminds us: If a teen needs to take remedial math courses in college, they do not get college credit for those courses. They do not get credit but they must pay for the courses. So why not make sure the math concepts are solid enough that they can do well on the college placement test.

For more on what colleges are looking for check out this interview with Murray State University’s Associate Provost, Dr. Renae Duncan and our tips at 7SistersHomeschool.

Here’s a thing to note: David’s College Ready Math program is mobile phone friendly. He has found that students who do not have internet bandwidth can still easily access the lessons on their phones.

Contact David Irving and College Ready Math and join Vicki and David for some encouragement for helping struggling learners prepare for college math.

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Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

 

 

 

How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick.

How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

One of the best gifts we can give our homeschool high schoolers is the gift of engagement in their educations. If teens feel interested or connected to their studies, true learning can take place. Vicki is joined this week to discuss ideas on how to engage our homeschool high schoolers with our new friend, Teresa Wiedrick, of Capturing the Charmed Life website and Homeschool Mama Self-care Podcast.

Teresa Wiedrick is a homeschool mom of four. She and her family live in Vancouver, Canada in a lovely wooded countryside. However, they have not been a stay-at-home all the time. With her adventurous physician husband, they have been around the world as far as small villages in the Arctic Circle and the Rift Valley in Africa.

She original found that she wanted to try homeschooling when she picked up the book, The Homeschooling Option by Lisa Rivera. Actually, she wanted to prove to herself that homeschooling was not a good idea- but actually found that it would be the best choice for her adventurous family. Homeschooling gave her high schoolers freedom, which led to curiosity and engaged students.

How do you engage your homeschool high schoolers in education?

Recognize your teens’ vision for their lives. Some teens are born knowing what they want to do with their lives. Those are the easy ones. They are automatically engaged in whatever they learn (as long as they can see how it applies to their vision.

Many teens do not know their vision for their lives yet. Start with helping your teens:

Teens engage better when they have  spent time  investing in their interests. -Teresa Wiedrick

Often their interests change over the high school years. That’s okay- even normal, so do not worry!

For instance, one of Teresa’s daughters wanted to go to medical but somehow shifted her interests to ballet. She is now in professional ballet training). During high school, Teresa helped her daughter explore her medical school interests (easily done by reading her father’s medical books and with whatever activities she could find that were interesting). She also took ballet lessons. Through high school she began to love ballet more and more and could only imaging herself at ballet school.

Help your teens find some independence

Watch out for the tendency to be a heavy equipment mom. (Don’t know what that is? Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast Episode.) Watch your teens push or yearn for some independence or develop unique personalities. Allow them to become who they need to be.

Do your own self-care so you can stay healthy and clear thinking

Teresa’s oldest who pushed the hardest for independence is well loved. However, she also is the type child who will exhauster her mom with all the pushing. Teresa found that she was so busy trying to make things work for her oldest that she had no time for self-care.

Teresa realized that she could not go on like that. She needed to have a set of self-care routines that kept her clear-headed. She wrote a book to help other homeschooling moms find time for self-care- each in their own unique way (after all, there’s not ONE right way to do self-care!)

Also, spend time introspecting (What am I feeling? What am I feeling that way? What am I going to do about it?). Spend time relearning your personality (Vicki and Teresa are big fans of the Enneagram. Check out the fun book The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile– a favorite with millennials, btw.

If you are not healthy and taking care of yourself, you cannot feel fully engaged. Teens catch at LOT by your role modeling!

You cannot make your teens’ lives perfect or make them into your image, but when you understand yourself and stay healthy you can let them become themselves. A teen who is allowed to be themselves have a lower bar to entry in engagement!

Join Vicki and Teresa for a pleasant discussion on homeschool moms, high schoolers and how to engage those high schoolers.

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How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako.

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

Our good buddy, Ann Karako, joins Vicki for a fun discussion about the most stressful thing for many homeschool high school juniors and seniors: The college search!

What if you are a mom with a homeschool junior? Ann has some advice for her!

Juniors need to start looking at colleges. Here’s Ann’s suggestion for taking the weight off your shoulders:

We homeschool moms sometimes get the “keeping up with the Joneses” pressure for getting our homeschool graduates into a top-tier college. We feel like if we don’t, we have somehow failed our teens, our families and the entire homeschool movement!

But here’s the truth: Your homeschool high school DOES NOT need to go to a high-powered college to find success in life! We don’t need to carry that top-tier college burden around with us! What is important is this fact:

I’m not trying to fit my kid to a college. I’m trying to find a college that fits my kid!

Our teens have wrinkles! They have personalities. They aren’t perfect. Why set our teens up for college stress by sending them to a college that will be more competitive than they need?

Instead, find a college that has students with whom they CAN compete AND enjoy the process without getting ulcers from the stress.

I'm not trying to fit my kid to a college. I'm trying to find a college that fits my kid!

How can you find a college for “average college-bound” teens? How can you find a college that thinks YOUR homeschool high schooler looks good- even with their foibles?

Check college websites. Look at:

  • The test scores of incoming freshmen
  • The courses that incoming freshmen took in high school

The college that thinks your teen looks good is more likely to cough up some money for them, btw. What is more important, it is the college where your homeschool graduate will feel most contented.

Another tip from Ann: Find out when the application dates are for schools of interest. Some schools have rolling admissions and will start reviewing applications in June of junior year. Most colleges, though, take applications sometime in the fall through early winter. SO start that college search during junior year so you and your homeschool high schooler have less time-crunch.

How can you handle college tours?

Ann and her homeschool seniors do not do any college tours until they receive acceptance letters. They have found it a waste of time and money to travel to campuses that would not admit her teens. Once the letters are in, THEN they go on some visits.

Instead:

  • Do virtual tours on the college’s website
  • Do google satellite searches for the campus
  • Read online opinions from students and graduates

(Of course, the college tours have not happened IRL during COVID, anyway. All the tours have been virtual.)

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to do college tours!

Choose colleges that have the major or program for what your teen wants to study

Junior year is a good time to work on choosing the college major or program that your homeschool high schooler will want to study. Ann has found that it is difficult to do serious college searching if her teens do not know what they are going to college to train for. (Check out this HSHSP episode on choosing college majors.)

Another tip from Ann: If your homeschool high schooler is not settled on a college major, do some career exploration now! College is a lot of money to spend on an undetermined major!

Choose colleges that have the extracurriculars that are important to your teen

One of Ann’s homeschool high schoolers wanted to play softball in college. There were several colleges that she liked that had her major, but only one had a softball program available to her. Ann’s daughter chose the college with the softball program because that would make college fun and meaningful while she worked on her major!

Remember, there’s not ONE right-fit college for your teen

Another tip from Ann: There are SO many colleges out there. There are lots of colleges where your homeschool high schooler will grow, learn, succeed and enjoy their education!

Another tip from Ann: It’s all about attitude! Tell teens it is there job to go to college and make the most out of their experience. Learn as much as they can while they are there. Choose to make it a good experience!

Remember: It’s not that hard to get into college

Just look for the one that fits your kid! (Vicki remember that in the eighteen years she served as a homeschool advisor, she found that ALL the homeschool graduates who wanted to go to college went to college.)

Join Vicki and Ann for a lively discussion! For more on the college search, check out this post.

Want more wisdom from Ann Karako? Check her work out at:

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College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

Homeschooling High School for Real People, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling High School for Real People.

Homeschooling High School for Real People, Interview with Ann Karako

Homeschooling High School for Real People

Many of our friends know our friend, Ann Karako, from her popular website: Annie and Everything and from her wildly popular Facebook group: It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School. We are so excited to chat with Ann today about one of our favorite topics: Homeschooling high school when you are just ordinary folks!

Ann has a high school senior this year! The last of her five kids who have graduated from homeschool high school. We agree with Ann that the high school years are the best years of all!

Ann’s mission is to encourage REAL families enjoy and have success homeschooling high school (and you don’t need a magic formula to do it.) Real people are simply average people…which is what most of us are! (In fact, we talk about how to be a mom of a just-average teen in an earlier episode.)

Ann gets frustrated with all the SHOULDs that some people and publishers foist on new homeschooling families. You SHOULD do this and use this curriculum. They seem to promise that if you do “A, B, and C” your teen will graduate with a full-ride scholarship to some Ivy League college.

The problem is, that most teens do not get full-ride scholarships to Ivy League colleges, no matter what they do or what curriculum they use. Usually the teens that do get those fancy scholarships were super smart to start with. Most teens are smart, but in their own way- not Ivy League smart. The result is that teens and parents can find themselves feeling guilty or like failures because their teen graduated but not as spectacularly as those FEW future Ivy Leaguers.

So, for those of us who are ordinary folks, here are Ann’s tips for homeschooling high school for REAL people

Ann’s teens have been real teens. They sometimes:

  • Argued with her
  • Did not earn great grades
  • Had stress

They have been real teens, but they have (along with Ann) loved the homeschool high school years. That is because Ann worked at matching curriculum, causes and activities to her teens’ needs with the goal that everyone ENJOYS the high school years.

You can homeschool high school confidently, competently, contentedly. -Ann Karako

Ann feels like anyone can homeschool high school:

  • Confidently
  • Competently
  • Contentedly

Confidently homeschooling high school

  • You can be confident when you researched your state laws for homeschooling high school
  • You can be confident when you research the requirements that they will need in order to do what they aim for after high school (college, vocation, etc)

Competently homeschooling high school

  • Find the resources that will fit your teens’ needs (that is what Facebook groups are for, like It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School or 7SistersHomeschool). Join the group, describe your teen and get some feedback from other homeschool moms
  • Read blogs on how to grade papers and tests and create syllabi

Contentedly homeschooling high school

  • Beware of “keeping up with the homeschool Joneses”. They are not you and your family!
  • Lean into the way God made your teens: enjoy their uniqueness, their interests, skills, abilities and goals.
  • Remember your own needs and wants.
  • Tailor the family’s educational experiences to meet the families needs: and enjoy it!
  • Have time to simply talk to your teens and enjoy the high school years.
  • Discuss your teens educational and life goals and help them achieve them.

Want encouraging how-to homeschool high school resources from Ann Karako? Check out her books: Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School and Homeschool High School Planning Book.

Also check out Ann Karako’s podcast: It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School!

You will also be blessed by our other interviews with our friend, Ann:

Join Vicki and Ann for an episode full of encouragement!

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
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OR PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

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Homeschooling High School for Real People