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!

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Homeschooling High School for Real People

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck.

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

Vicki is joined this week by Christian Buck, a performance consultant for athletes and teams at colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Brown and Amherst. He helps athletes raise their game by using sport psychology techniques. Chris noticed that sports psychology can help student athletes become better students, also. SO he has written a book: The Sport of School that helps students improve on the field and/or in academics. (Teens from his academic coaching program, Sport of School Academy, have been accepted at competitive colleges such as Cornell, Notre Dame, Tufts, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.)

Homeschool high schoolers, athlete or not, can use some sports psychology mindsets to improve their academic performance. He does not talk about tutoring (although tutoring can be a pretty awesome thing), but rather, helping students raise their motivation.

Catch that? Christian Buck has some ideas that will help our students find their motivation and use it for academic success.

Christian Buck, The Sport of School

Christian Buck, The Sport of School. Photo used with permission.

He begins with the example: An athlete does not have to be prodded to workout in the weight room. It is something they are motivated to do because they know workouts help improve their performance.

So how do you help homeschool high schooler find the motivation, the “want to”, for academic success?

The first step is to understand their natural motivation style. Then you take what you know about your teen’s natural motivation style and apply it to academics!

Chris has found that there are five motivation styles

In his work with athletes, he has identified these styles:

The Workhorse

The Workhorse is the hard worker. They come early to practice and stay late, they do lots of time in the gym, improving their skills. For academics, Workhorses just need to know that the exam or project is the game (and maybe the co-op teacher is the opponent). They can attack the preparation for the exam or project with the same attitude as their athletic preparation. They are ready to “beat the quiz”.

The Rookie

The Rookie just has not learned the rules. He might be plugging along with so-so effort but has not learned the “rule”, that if he wants to play college sports (or get into college), he has to have a competitive GPA. He just did not know. They just need to know the ropes, so help them identify their goal and know the “rules” for getting there.

The Spectator

The Spectator is on the sidelines. They are just watching life go by, not caring if they fail or succeed. They are going through the motions. Teens like this need a personal vision. Help these teens explore and identify what they want to do, who they want to be, where they want to go.  Help teens develop some images and dreams about their future. Then they can start fighting for it.

The Natural Talent

The Natural Talent was born good at just about anything. When they work on things, it is easy for them…until they finally get to something they do not naturally know or beyond their natural talents. These teens tend to skip out on the hard things. They have not learned how to work. These teens need to develop a growth mindset (I can’t do this yet but I will) by finding one thing to work hard on then let that spread to the academics.

The Intellectual

The Intellectual is headed for Ivy League (or the Pachysandra League- the competitive, but not Ivy League, colleges). These teens want to work hard in the academics but get trapped by perfectionism, not thinking realistically about their goals. These teens need to work on flexible thinking and healthily defining success.

Each type of student can find their motivation by knowing their motivation style and working with it!

Christian Buck wrote his book, The Sport of School, to help teens dramatically increase their academic performance. It helps teens find their “hook”, their motivation and belief in themselves.

Listen in to this inspiring chat with Christian Buck and get lots of examples and tips (such as rewards, time management).

You can check Christian Buck out on:

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Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

 

Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens.

Top Ten Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Why shouldn’t high school writing assignments be fun? Let’s have fun with tall tales!

Vicki was raised in Texas back in the olden days. In those early days of television there wasn’t much to watch. So in the evenings, neighbors would join together in the backyard. The kids would chase lightening bugs, watch the jack rabbits and listen to the grownups tell tall tales. Tall tales about Pecos Bill, mostly (being Texas and Pecos Bill was Texan, of course) but also, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and larger than life characters.

So Vicki grew up loving tall tales and taught them to her kids, then to our co-ops and homeschool group classes. We told the tales AND then made up our own tall tale characters and stories. Vicki thinks teaching tall tales to teens is a terrific idea!

Here are ten terrific reasons for teaching tall tale writing to your homeschool high schoolers:

Teens will thank you for this!

Tall tale writing is a great tie-in to your American History studies

Tall tale writing and reading brings to life the culture and traditions of the Old West. Check out a book on tall tales at the library or choose some stories from this website:

American Folklore

Or some classic YouTubes:

There’s a movie tie-in

Have you ever seen the movie Tall Tale? It’s a fun movie that features some favorite tall-tale characters: Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry. Log a few fun, inspirational hours for your American History class by:

  • Watching the movie Tall Tale
  • Wiscussing the larger-than-life characters
  • Discussing the “Code of the West” (Should we modern Americans have some sort of “Code”, ourselves?)

Teens need to know the original superheroes: the tall tale heros

Pecos Bill was a cowboy who rode a tornado and a huge black horse named Widowmaker. He could shoot the trigger fingers off the bad guys so they couldn’t harm the local citizens! He was rough and tough and always good.

Paul Bunyan was a lumberjack. He had a HUGE blue ox named Babe. He could eat pancakes so big that the griddle required buttering by other lumberjacks with huge butter pats tied onto their feet. They’d ice skate around the griddle to get it ready for pancake batter. He was NO nonsense but very good.

John Henry worked the building railroads. He was a mighty steel driver with a huge and mighty hammer. No one could hold a candle to his strength and speed! He was honest and unstoppable.

These original American heroes were the role models for our American superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, Black Panther and all the Marvel gang. They are strong and good and look out for others.

Tall tales help teens understand our American cultural roots

Tall tale heroes are a sort of American archetype: fictional larger than life versions of ourselves. We Americans want to see ourselves as:

  • Good
  • Brave
  • Standing up for the little guy
  • Doing what is honorable and right

This is exactly what the tall tale characters were (along with being silly and sometimes foolish). When we go back and study and respect these original American icons, it helps us decide how we want to live out these American values. It is an excellent discussion for teens, co-ops and homeschool group classes. How do we as individuals live out American ideals such as goodness, bravery, standing up for the little guy, acting honorably and righteously?

Tall tales are fun to hear and write. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #TallTales

Writing tall tales is a good creative writing project for teens

While there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, we 7Sisters have guided our teens to have four kinds of writing each year:

  • Essays
  • Research Papers
  • Short stories (creative writing)
  • Poetry (creative writing)

One of the most fun and useful kinds of short story writing assignments is tall tales! Tall tale writing is a fantastic way to write a short story because you can’t really do it wrong. No matter how silly it might be, it fits the genre (I mean, really, who rides a tornado- how silly! If it’s good enough for Pecos Bill, it will work for your teens).

Writing tall tales is fun to do individually and even more fun in a group!

Check out these posts that give terrific tips for tall tale writing in your homeschool co-op or group classes.

Writing tall tales is easy because 7Sisters has a step-by-step curriculum that teens love

Check out 7Sisters popular Tall Tale Writing Guide which gives daily assignments for writing a terrific, true-to-form tall tale! Each lesson is fun and non-threatening and builds writing success skills.

Teens tell us they feel so encouraged when they finish their tall tale

Over and over through the years, teens who were intimidated by writing (especially creative writing) have told us that when they finished their Tall Tales Writing Guide, they felt SO excited. They didn’t know they were creative writers, but once it was non-threatening and fun, their creative souls were unleashed. Tall tale writing has been such a confidence booster for many teens!

Tall tale studying and writing can become a tradition that your teens can pass onto their kids someday

Part of the wonder of tall tales is the passing down of stories from generation to generation. Perhaps your teens will tell their kids about Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and the Code of the West…and maybe their OWN tall tales!

Join Vicki for a quick and fun chat about Tall Tales and Teens!

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Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Teens and Anxiety

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast we talk about: Teens and Anxiety.

Teens and anxiety.

Teens and Anxiety

With the world going through a long pandemic, teens are experiencing more anxiety than in the past (the same goes with their parents). Today Vicki discusses how to deal with anxiety for homeschool high schoolers.

Anxiety is part of the human condition; there is no such thing as a stress-free life. Most of the time, anxiety can be manageable. However, if life is stressful for long periods of time, stress hormones can build up in the body and cause:

  • Panic attacks (heart pounding, can’t catch your breath)
  • Digestive issues

These issues are quite easily dealt with using cognitive-behavioral therapy (btw- Vicki practices CBT with her counseling clients). It is worth getting these uncomfortable issues treated and then teens have a lifetime to be able to use their skills!

If anxiety has not built up to the level of experiencing panic attacks or physical symptoms, here are some simple tips that can help:

Parents: if you have anxiety, when you deal with your anxiety it will help the entire household

Parents, whether they like it or not, set the emotional tone for a home. If you set the tone of “yes, I have anxiety but this is how I deal with it”, children and teens grow up to understand that anxiety is a thing but it is a thing that can be managed and helped.

Teach deep breathing

Anxiety is experienced in the body as a dose of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). It helps your teens to be able to run more quickly when the lions are chasing them. Unfortunately or fortunately, there are no lions these days, so stress hormones tend to stay in the body waiting to be used. That is the restless, muscle-achy feeling of anxiety.

God, in his wisdom, gave an antidote for stress hormones: oxygen. And it’s free! (For teens who have Apple watches, their watch actually tells them to breathe- tell your teens to pay attention to that.)

  • To deep breathe:
    • Breathe in through your nose (count to at least 5), try to fill your stomach with air, too
    • Breathe out like a birthday candle (purse your lips and breathe out slowly- count to at least 7)
    • The cool thing about the slow breathe-out  is that your teen is activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that says: It’s okay to calm down.
  • Once or twice a day do a deep breathing exercise:

Stay hydrated

If you are hungry, your stomach growls to tell you it needs food. One way your brain cells tell you they are dehydrated is sending anxiety signals. (Brain cells are mostly water, so they cannot do their work, if the water levels are too low.)

Eat healthy foods

The neurotransmitters (the signals that the brain cells make) that help manage mood, energy and anxiety are made from the micronutrients in real food: real proteins, fruits and veggies, probiotics. This is one reason we ask our kids to take their Health class in high school. It helps them own their own self-care. Look at 7SistersHomeschool’s High School Health for the Whole Person.

Get exercise

Teens need to move their bodies more than any time in life. The pandemic has crimped their style for many teens, which is contributing to anxiety. BUT it is SO important to anxiety management and academic success. Moving the body, increases oxygen and also dopamine (for better mood and concentration) and proteins necessary for concentration. (Food for thought: It might be easier to focus on difficult courses if teens exercise first.)

If your teens are too pandemic-stuck to come up with their own exercise ideas, perhaps some family walks or hikes on the weekends might help kickstart the process.

Anxiety is managed with: *Self-care *Thought-care *Lifestyle *Fun *Creativity

Laugh

Proverbs 17:22 reminds us that a “merry heart doeth good like a medicine”. (God is always right, you know.) It turns out that when we laugh, our brains release endorphins and oxytocin. These are mood enhancing and healing hormones.

Be creative

God is a creator and he make us to be creative, also. In fact, using the creative part of the brain activates calming parts of the brain. Creativity can look like:

  • Art projects
  • Doodling
  • Photography
  • Sewing
  • Building
  • Poetry
  • Dance
  • Creative writing
  • Singing
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Creating music on Garageband
  • Cooking

The most important thing that teens need to know about creativity is that they do not need to be good at it. The point is creating, not being “best” or “expert”.

Work on thought patterns

Teens often think negatively about themselves: If I can’t be good at this when I start out, I am a failure. (This causes avoidance and shut-down- writing papers the night before due dates!) Teach teens the power of “yet”. I’m not good at this yet, but I’ll keep working and get better. This is called a growth mindset.

  • Limit: “What if thinking.”  Don’t only plan for disasters. If your teen’s brain says “what if something bad happens”, have them add an empowered way to handle it. “If that happens I can do this.” Then start training the brain away for “what its” (because they usually don’t happen, anyway).
  • Catch self-critical thought and statements
  • Catch them on things well-done or well-tried and compliment
  • Give them a mentor that can model self-care, self-talk, self-confidence

Have new experiences

People need new things. During the pandemic we have all had too much of the same, same, same. This causes anxiety. However, anytime you do something new, when you get home, your brains release oxytocin (healing and bonding hormone).

Remember, if things get too anxious, talk to your family doctor and counselor. Anxiety is such a help-able thing!

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Teens and Anxiety

Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett.

Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

We are so excited this week to be able to catch up with our good friend from the beloved 2:1 Conference, Carol Anne Swett. Carol Anne is better known as the Homeschool Answer Mom!

Carol Anne graduated her sons from homeschool high school a few years ago, but she has stayed busy in the homeschool community. She is like we Sisters at 7SistersHomeschool: We are Titus 2 women who help the next generation of homeschool moms.

Carol Anne’s sons were different in personality. Her first son went to college as planned. However, at the end of his first semester at college, he refused to go back. He then switched to the local community college where he was happier. (That’s because there is not ONE right way to handle life after graduation.) He is now a UX designer for Nationwide Insurance in a career he truly enjoys. (As the Fletchers at Homeschooling IRL always said: We are not in charge of the outcomes for our kids.)

Carol Anne’s second son was a born with a strong will. When he was fourteen years old, he announced he was quitting school when he turns seventeen. By the time he was seventeen, they were irritated with each other and both were ready to graduate early. He only had two credits left to earn. They could have gone for a GED, he decided to go to the community college for two dual enrollment classes.

This son went to the community college for those two credits. At Thanksgiving he announced to his parents that he was going to go on through college and then to graduate school at Vanderbilt. He decided to get his degrees in Psychology! (Today, he is an EMT and working on his paramedic training- and all his youthful stubbornness has helped him persevere!)

Carol Anne has since then, work to help parents craft the best transcript for their teens, especially with a mind that they might end up in college.

Remember: God has all our teens under His care. -Carol Anne Swett

Carol Anne has this tip: Keep your faith in God- that He has plans for your teens. You can trust Him! Your teens are under His care!

Here are some of the practical credits she has helped parents find for their reluctant learners:

Find out what your teens are interested in

For instance, one teen Carol Anne worked with raised heirloom rabbits. In working with him and his parents, they were able to find several credits:

  • Raising Heirloom Rabbits/Animal Husbandry
  • Social Media and Marketing
  • Basic Small Business

When this young man graduated, he had confidence to go onto college to study business.

Find out your teens abilities and passions

Another young woman had a profound brain injury. This young woman worked training dogs. She was able to earn credits in:

  • Dog training
  • Dog breeding
  • Social media
  • Website design
  • Practical reading about dog training and raising

Another teen worked with his family flipping houses. He earned credits in:

  • Construction skills
  • Planning
  • Small business

Another teen worked on the family farm and learned:

  • Agriculture
  • Tractor repair

Teens who babysit learn:

How do you document creative and practical credits? Check out these posts:

Once you find out what your teens wants to do, if it is a trade, take him to the local community college and let him/her start his trade classes.

  • That way, when they graduate, they are ready to start a meaningful career! Remember, not ALL teens need to go to college.
Carol Anne Swett, Photo used with permission

Carol Anne Swett, Photo used with permission

Join Vicki and Carol Anne for a sweet conversation. And find Carol Anne Swett at Homeschool Answer Mom. (She answers all the emails there in person.) You will also find her at Terri McKee’s Homeschooling Special Needs Online Conference.

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Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

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

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

Everyone who knows 7Sister Vicki, knows she loves poetry and taught her teens (and our local homeschool teens) to love poetry also.

Unfortunately, there are lots of teens teens these days who have been trained by our modern culture to think of poetry in the same way they might think of liver and onions: It might be good for you but UGH! DISGUSTING!

In case your homeschool high schoolers have not had a chance yet to learn to love poetry, Vicki would like to share a few tips on why and how to teach poetry to teens.

One of the ways that Vicki inspired her local homeschoolers to enjoy poetry is teaching them poetry recitation. When they get started with it, teens actually find memorization and recitation to be rewarding (and even fun). For years, Vicki took the local homeschoolers to the regional speech meets for American Christian Schools International (ACSI allowed homeschoolers to participate as long as we provided judges). Often, our teens’ top performances were in poetry recitation.

At the ACSI speech competitions, there was a school from a large urban area. Most of the teens in the school were immigrants or inner-city youth. This school’s teens were always THE top performers in poetry recitation. Vicki once asked their advisor, Molly, why poetry was prioritized at their school.

Poetry builds skills in: *vocabulary *word usage and *communication

Molly explained that poetry gave her teens words: vocabulary,  word usage and communication skills in general. (She had the track record with these kids, too: Many of them, after high school graduation, went to high-powered colleges and became successful professionals, business people and educators.)

Vicki also saw the power of poetry memorization and recitation when she judged the annual poetry recitation at a local Classical school. The students at this school were mostly immigrant or low income, so would benefit from the skills gained from learning poetry. Many of these kids have graduated and become successful adults- poetry being a small but useful communication tool in their educations.

Why is poetry such a useful communication tool?

Poetry uses words powerfully

Unlike prose, every word in a poem has weight. Each word is chosen to convey the most emotion and biggest thoughts possible. Each word is chosen for:

  • Sound
  • Rhythm
  • Meaning
  • Purpose

In poetry, homeschool high schoolers learn ordinary and extraordinary words being used in powerful ways.

Vicki’s homeschool high school Language Arts classes had a poetry unit each year. As teens were learning poetry and then moved onto writing their research paper unit, they wrote high quality papers. This is because they had mastered some higher-order word-usage skills in their poetry unit.

Poetry is fun

Poetry is powerful when it is presented in a lighthearted fashion. Poetry done with good attitude inspires laughter and learning!

How to teach poetry in a way that teens enjoy

Start with inspiration. Show them a YouTube video each day with a cool poem presentation:

Each week in class or individually:

Remember, all 7Sisters curriculum is no-busywork and is level-able to different interests and abilities.

Join Vicki for a discussion on how to teach poetry with your homeschoolers- and be sure to join us next week!

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How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian.

Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian. Helping teens fulfill who God made them to be.

Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian

Cheryl Bastian is a homeschool advisor. Her calling is empowering homeschool parents based on her experiences as a homeschool mom of eight. (Her children range in ages from five through thirty-one, so she has seen the gamut of homeschooling from kindergarten through graduation.)

Cheryl learned early on that homeschooling at its best is a “tutorial process” that helps homeschoolers develop their interests and abilities.  Like we 7Sisters always say is that homeschooling parents get to bring out the best that God has created in our kids and help it develop. Cheryl has found this is exactly her job as a homeschool mom and trains parents in working with their homeschoolers.

Cheryl has served as evaluator and advisor in her state for twenty-five years and has found that the homeschooling families that love their educational processes the most are the ones who are employing interest-led studies.

What is interest-led learning for homeschool high school?

They are an extension of the unit studies we did with our kids when they were younger and tailored to:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you working on?

Cheryl gives the example of her son’s Boy Scouts Eagle Project. He was building a shed. She found that in doing the project, he was:

  • Doing research
  • Learning basic construction skills (.5 credit)
  • Learning basic architectural drawing (.5 credit)
  • Learning construction math (elective hours)
  • Learning professional writing

The homeschool transcript is a one-page snapshot of who your high schooler is and is interested in, so she captured all these on her son’s transcript.

Cheryl also gives the example of her daughter, who when she was a high school senior, helped get Cheryl’s mom into a new level of care. She:

  • Helped care for her grandmother
  • Attended financial-planning meetings
  • Attended living and care team meetings
  • Learned about adult geriatrics
  • Learned advocacy skills

Cheryl’s daughter logged her hours in each category and was able to capture a Care and Concerns for the Elderly elective credit.

BTW- the way Cheryl decided on the name of the credit was by doing a Google search for elder-care courses in local colleges. Then she compared course descriptions to the things her daughter learned.

For documentation on interest-led courses, Cheryl has her homeschool high schoolers:

  • Keep logs of hours (note what was done, when and where- keep it basic)
  • Keep documentation (photos/scrapbooks, emails, reports, letters)
  • Also has discussions with homeschool high schoolers on planning, updates and accountability

So, Cheryl has been able to help her teens make the educational most of the circumstances life has given them!

When working with homeschooling parents, Cheryl advises parents:

  • Be an observer of your teens:
    • What are they naturally drawn to?
    • What are they doing with their time?
    • What makes their eyes light up?
  • Help them capture these things on their transcript as electives.
    • This creates a transcript that truly shows your teen’s interests and abilities.
  • Make yourself available for discussions
  • Arrange interviews or lunch dates with someone engaged in that interest
  • Find volunteer work or training in a related area
  • Teach them professional writing (for instance, writing letters)
  • Teach them to ask for favors
  • Teach them time management
  • Keep yourself open to ideas and phases in your teens’ lives.
    • Even your non-verbals can relay your interest and caring: Smile, relax your shoulders, listen attentively
    • Remember: Questions invite relationship. Do not be afraid of their questions. It just means your teens are on the edge of solving a problem.
  • Welcome unexpected events and experiences.
  • Remember, your teens are on a journey in life. They do not know all of God’s plans yet, nor do you. Allow God to guide and unfold their future by providing encouragement and opportunities.
  • Remember, there’s no ceiling on learning.
  • Remember, God has plans!

These are truly the life skills that will help your homeschool high schoolers succeed in life.

Check out Cheryl Bastian’s Celebrate Simple at CherylBastian.com and her Celebrate Simple Facebook page , and her high school book: Celebrate High School.

And join Vicki and Cheryl for this encouraging chat.

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Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian

The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson.

The Power of a Homeschool Parent, Interview with Anita Gibson

The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson

Vicki is joined this week by one of our favorite friends, Anita Gibson. Anita is the author of Star Finder, face behind the encouraging Facebook group Simply Homeschool. She is now an advisor for Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Anita’s got a lot going on these days. Her youngest just got married and she is busy in the new year as a homeschool advisor. Anita is so busy but she believes that when “you’re called to something, it doesn’t feel heavy.” Being able experience people being helped and blessed is a powerful reward. That’s what Titus 2 women like Anita are doing in this phase of life.

Speaking of being powerful, Anita and Vicki wanted to talk today about the ways homeschooling parents can find their personal power and their resource power!

Anita Gibson

Anita Gibson. Photo used with permission.

Anita wants homeschooling parents to know, that if God has called them to homeschool, He has plans to give them the strength and wisdom to homeschool. Homeschooling can be so intimidating when we start out. As Anita says, “Sometimes you just have to do it scared!”

Here are Anita’s tips for finding your power as a homeschool parent:

Anita has some words of wisdom for us.

Find a place and time to reflect and rest

This may sound impossible, but even homeschooling parents who are ALWAYS with their kids can find a one or two minutes per day to close the door (even the bathroom door), maybe lock it, and reflect on what God has given you and He is walking right there with you.

Remember when God, back in the burning bush, called Moses to serve Him, Moses’ first thoughts were: I can’t do this! But God gave him strength, wisdom, and people to help.

God actually is here to give you resources, inner strength and wisdom to homeschool!

Increase your knowledge about homeschooling

  • No matter where we are in the process, there is always something new to learn about homeschooling (well, isn’t this ALL of life? ALWAYS learning?)
  • If you are a newbie homeschooler:
    • What are your state laws?
    • Who can you connect with? (Look for kindred spirits. You don’t need to join every group, look for groups and people that feel comfortable to you.
    • Learn from folks in these groups how to do it. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
  • What are the available support systems, digitally (like Anita’s Facebook group and 7Sisters Facebook group)?
  • Find podcasts (like some of our favorite Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network podcasts about homeschooling high school). Check out these:

Minimize the rest of your life

There are probably some things you will need to set aside for this phase of life. This is because even homeschool moms need to be able to focus on homeschool…and a little margin.

  • Planning
  • Quality time for presence with your homeschoolers
    • Setting aside phones, work and laundry to be totally focused on your homeschooler so that you know well their:
  • Personalities
  • Strengths
  • Struggles
  • Interests
  • (If you haven’t checked out Anita’s book StarFinder, do)
  • Your kids don’t need 24 hours focused attention, but you need enough time to know them.

The more you are  in God's presence,  the more his life  flows through you. -Anita Gibson

Concentrate on relationship during the homeschool high school years

As our friend, Melanie Wilson, says: Relationship before rules. Your relationship with your teens is what will be most enduring. Concentrate on making it a good relationship.

Get organized

If you don’t feel organized, you will feel out of control and chaotic. You don’t need to be an organization expert, just enough organization to keep your peace (and your teens’ peace).

  • Do your planning (check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School)
  • Create syllabi for your homeschool high schoolers’ courses
  • Agree on schedules that work for your teens (get their buy in)
  • Agree on environment
    • Do you need to have a “do school in your clothes, not pjs” system
    • Do you need to have a space to homeschool
  • Do you need a chore chart?
    • Anita has found a study that teens’ brains works more slowly in a cluttered environment because it is spending some time processing all the stuff as they try to focus on their studies.

Life is so much better when there is the right about of structure for your homeschool!

Grow in your faith in God

Anita found the most help in finding her power as a homeschooling mom as she did Bible studies that helped her understand God and herself.

Deepening your relationship with God and yourself helps homeschooling parents:

  • Confront and heal their fears
  • Confront and heal their tempers
  • Create a loving, healthy and calm environment for family and learning

The more you and your teens are in the presence of God, the more we become like Him.

Join Vicki and Anita for a powerful discussion on the power of homeschool parents (and find Anita at AnitaGibson.com), and check out our other interviews with Anita: Getting to Know and Understand Your Teens and Helping Teens Believe in Themselves.

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The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot.

How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast

How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot

We may be separated by miles due to Covid, but we (Sabrina, Vicki and Kym) have found each other for a first podcast in the new year! Just hearing each other’s voices as we recorded was a reboot to our spirits! We SO miss seeing each other IRL!

Speaking of reboots and January! January is a great time for homeschool families to review, recalibrate and reboot their goals and curriculum! So let’s talk about it!

So what happens when we get to the middle of the school year and things are not working so well?

Plan as we might, life happens, or curriculum is a bad fit for our teen, or the co-op or digital class is just not working, or unexpected other opportunities came up that pushed some curriculum into the background. This is just the way things work! It’s okay, well really, it’s pretty normal.

So what do you do when you need to homeschool mid-year reboot?

Remember: you can do this! Here are some steps:

FIRST: Take a deep breath!

As Sabrina always says, “Never underestimate the power of a deep breath!” A deep breath gives you a chance to pause and lower your stress limits.

Never underestimate the power of a deep breath! -Sabrina Justison Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Second: Remind yourself it’s okay to recalibrate

It is not a failure to recognize that something may need adjusting in your homeschool. It’s not a failure, it’s wisdom!

Third: Pray

As Kym always says, “Pray: first, last and always!” This may sound cheesy, but really: pray!

Fourth: Evaluate options

What is it that you need to change in your homeschool mid-year reboot?

  • Do you need to change the schedule?
    • When life and other things have trashed the schedule, bring the family together and talk about it. What is going on for each person? How long will it last? What is more realistic for the rest of this school year?
    • As Vicki always says, “Remember to get your teens’ buy-in.”
  • Do you need to tweak the goals for your homeschool high school? Talk about it with your teens:
  • Are you having a curriculum fail?
    • Sometimes a curriculum just does not work. It is difficult to toss the curriculum when you have invested time and money in it. However, it is hard for teens to learn well when they are miserable.
    • Remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. So, know that it is okay to reboot the curriculum when what you have is not working.
    • Remember: There is value in your money, but there is more value in modeling letting go and being flexible when necessary.
  • Are you finding your teens needing to level-up or level-down the rigor of a course?
    • College-bound teens need to show a high level of rigor for their core courses and key electives on their homeschool transcripts. One way to do earn that rigor is with a highly challenging curriculum. This is wonderful when the curriculum is a good fit for the teen. However, by homeschool mid-year reboot time, your teen may have found that the text is above their interest or capacity (time-wise or learning-wise).
    • One thing that you can do is work with your teen to level-down the text and level-up the logging (get a college-prep curriculum instead and add logged hours in meaningful learning activities to increase the rigor).
  • What about a club, co-op or class that is just now working for your teen?
    • In these cases, there will be an impact on others. This is challenging because you do not want to create bad feelings or extra work for others. However, there are times when stepping away is most important for everyone’s health. Sometimes, however, teens need to learn the fortitude and resilience of sticking with something they are not loving. The way to handle this? You and your teens pray and discuss.
    • Remember: Grace is the thing that is most important.
    • Remember: Character development is a high priority. Which character trait is God working on with you and your teens?
    • If you need to make changes, communicate well (and graciously) to your teens and to those in the club, co-op or class.
  • What if your teen is just having a bad year and nothing seems to make your teen happy? That your teen is just miserable?
    • Communicate with honesty and grace.
    • Concentrate on what is working.
    • Be honest.
    • Pray, of course.
    • Remember: Teens may have more going on than their behavior lets you know about. Sometimes, there is underlying anxiety or depression (or they might be experiencing some form of bullying) that is making it hard to concentrate or get un-stuck. In those times, you can’t wish it away or ignore it away. Get the support they need. (This is role modeling that getting help when needed.)
    • If you need to have a tough or exploring conversation, get some food and if there is a social-distance-safe friend who can help with the conversation, bring them in. Then gently talk together.
    • Sometimes in a tough, tough year, you and your teens will need to pull way back on curriculum and spend a month or so on electives and logged hours. This can sometimes rebuild confidence and love of learning.

Remember, if things are tough, neither you nor your teens are failures. God doesn’t make failures. Breathe, pray, recalibrate. Homeschool mid-year reboot: You CAN do it!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for an encouraging discussion on ways to redo and recalibrate the homeschool year.

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

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OR PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

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How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot

 

Encouragement for Homeschool Mid-year, interview with Felice Gerwitz

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast we have: Encouragement for Homeschool Mid-year, interview with Felice Gerwitz.

Encouragement for Homeschool Mid-year, interview with Felice Gerwitz

Encouragement for Homeschool Mid-year, interview with Felice Gerwitz

One of the blessings on homeschool communities (online communities as well as IRL communities) is meeting new and fascinating people. One fascinating homeschool friend that we have been blessed some years ago to meet (at our beloved 2:1 Conference) is Felice Gerwitz. Felice is the head of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network, which may sound a bit intimidating. Felice is not intimidating (but she is a natural persuader/influencer).

We ran into Felice in the elevator a number of times at 2:1 (a conference for Christian homeschool bloggers). After we both attended the same how-to-podcast workshop, Felice approached me and said, “We need a high school podcast!”

Clearly, this had been at the back of my mind (of all the workshops I was attending that morning, I chose to attend one on podcasting by future fellow podcasters, Andy and Kendra Fletcher of Homeschooling IRL. When Felice told me a high school podcast was needed, I instantly saw that we could and should do it! Homeschool Highschool Podcast was born!

So, I finally had a chance to catch Felice, just in time for some encouragement for homeschool mid-year. (Encouraging homeschool moms is one of Felice’s many passions!)

Felice is a veteran homeschool mom, from way back in the early days of homeschooling (some of us old-timers remember those days: hard to find and obtain curriculum, lots of time with legislators and state officials working to make homeschooling laws work for homeschoolers, and more).

Felice’s five kids are all homeschool graduates now (the last two are now in college). Felice started her business career with Media Angels when she was pregnant with her third child. She was a frequent speaker at conferences as well. She published homeschool how-to’s, curriculum and faith-based inspirational books. Then she added the podcast network as podcasting became a thing. Her podcast, Vintage Homeschool Mom, was the first on the network and an all-time favorite with listeners.

Felice came from a family of immigrants. She is first generation American whose parents worked hard and wanted their children to go to college. Felice became an elementary education (with certifications for learning disabilities). When one of her children showed learning struggles, she found her local resources inadequate. Her sister-in-law was already homeschooling and encouraged Felice to use her own training to best help her child. This was life changing for Felice.

This has worked! Her kids have all learned in ways that best fit them. Here’s the encouragement for homeschool mid-year from Felice.

A homeschool mom's job is to come alongside her teens. -Felice Gerwitz

  • Invest in your teens’ strengths and interests
    • Let them explore, provide them opportunities, allow them to be who God made them to be, allow them to make mistakes and take reasonable risks
    • Her kid who loved to tinker, works with their contractor dad and has a profitable side gig of buying things, fixing things and selling them
  • Don’t stand in your teens’ way, even if you want something else for them
    • For instance, her tinkering son was a star pitcher at high school level and was recruited by colleges. He did not want to go, but to work and be in business. This was difficult for Felice. God used her priest to encourage her to get out of God’s way and let God develop her son into the man HE wanted.
    • Fixing tools and equipment became his specialty as Felice allowed him to develop his passion.
  • Look for courses that will get your kids truly excited.
    • Felice provided her tinkering son a business course by Carol Topp (of Homeschool CPA podcast). This helped him get excited about the business possibilities of his tinkering skills.
    • Felice found dual-enrollment courses that expanded interests help by her other kids when the time was right.
    • Felice allowed her son to explore and prepare for the military (even though she felt nervous about it).
      • She found veterans for him to interview and be mentored by.
  • No matter what you and your kids do, pray.
  • Imagine: a homeschool mom’s job for homeschooling high school is to come along side her teens.
    • Build relationship (as parents, do not worry about being their friend)
    • Allow them to process ideas and experiences without correcting or forcing them to your will
      • Ask questions, avoid expounding your personal goals.
    • Help them find healthy friends (the five people they are around most will shape them)
    • Remember: NO teen is perfect (nor are their parents)

Find Felice and her resources

Join Vicki and Felice for some precious encouragement for homeschool mid-year!

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Encouragement for Homeschool Mid-year, interview with Felice Gerwitz