How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler.

How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

This is college application season for many college-bound homeschool high schoolers. It can be a stressful time for these teens (and their parents), especially if this is the first child heading off to college. How can you be sure your homeschooler is completing the forms well. What is a homeschool parent’s role in the process.

7Sisters Vicki served the local homeschool community for almost two decades as college admissions advisor. In her work with homeschool high schoolers and trainings with college admissions officers, she picked up some tips that have been helpful to her five homeschool graduates and hundreds of other local teens. In honor of college application season, Vicki is sharing some basics of the process to get you started.

Ten tips on how to apply to college as a homeschooler

Tip #1: Write your application essay early

Trust Vicki on this. If your homeschool high schooler writes his/her essay early. We would tell our local advisees to write their essay during the summer, that would give them time to have parents or teachers look it over and give advice…AND do multiple rewrites. Even if the topic changes at application time, details can easily be tweaked once the guts of an essay is created. Remember multiple rewrites take a good essay to a great essay (use grammar checkers like Grammarly to help.)

Also, if you have a college that allows your teen to skip the essay, don’t skip! That essay might give your homeschooler an edge if there is a lot of competition for entrance.

If your homeschool high schooler will be using the Common Application or other applications that publish essay prompts early or have standard prompts, it is much easier to start that essay. Even if an essay prompt is not available for their preferred college, have your teen choose an exciting or inspiring story from their life and write an essay to be tweaked later.

For help: Here’s a freebie post and a downloadable college admissions essay writing guide from your 7Sisters.

When they apply, teens are letting colleges know who they are. So they need to put their best foot forward.

Tip #2: Ask for recommendation letters letter early

PLEASE, take us seriously on this. Recommenders need a little time to write an excellent recommendation. Give them time.

Also, if your recommender will be writing a paper recommendation, give them self-addressed, stamped envelope to the college. If your recommender will be writing a digital recommendation, let them know where the link will be coming from. (And also approximately when it will come, so they can check the spam file if it seems late.)

ALSO, please train your teen to ask the recommender politely. In fact, use the word, “Please.” This is a skill that will help them the rest of their lives. AND when they are done with the recommendation, be sure to have your teen thank them.

Your teen can (and in many cases) should give the recommender a fact sheet about themselves and/or a resume to help them fill out the recommendation with good details.

Tip #3: Find out what the colleges are looking for

Make sure this is shown clearly on your homeschool high schooler’s transcript. Check the college website for “requirements for incoming freshmen” or “requirements for application”. Sometimes, you and your teen will best find this information on a college tour or online workshop with admissions officers. Check out this interview with Dr. Renae Duncan, Associate Provost of Murray State University (ret.).

Tip #4: Make sure your teen’s transcript is complete with grades through the point they apply

Colleges often want to know that teens are not goofing off their senior year, so they will ask for first quarter grades (and often, first semester updates). This means that moms need to have the transcript up to date! Here’s a post on how to do this.

For tips on how to create transcripts and what to include, along with an editable transcript template, check 7Sisters.

Tips #5: PDF your homeschooler’s transcript for online applications

Sometimes an un-pdf version transcript gets scrozzled.

NOTE: If you are sending in a paper application, you might have to have the transcript sealed and/or stamped. Check with admissions officers at the college for this information.

Tip #6: Have your homeschooler take his/her time in completing the application

College applications take a long time to complete. If your teen puts off the application process until the last moment, they will not be able to put their best foot forward.

Keep in mind, when your teen is filling out their application, they are talking to a real person. Have them write in complete sentences where applicable using a professional version of their own voice. (Do not fill out applications for your teen.)

Tip #7: Have your teen think about which schools to apply to ahead of time

For many teens three to five colleges is a good number. (If they are applying to twenty schools, they have not done their research. This will waste their time.)

  • Choose one college as a reach college but might be too expensive or competitive. (This would be an act of God if they get in.)
  • Aim for a college that your teen would truly like to attend and are a solid fit. NOTE: If you can find a college’s average SAT or ACT scores of admitted students. Aim for colleges where your teen’s scores are similar.
  • Aim for an easy, guaranteed acceptance college. This school would be fine but not a dream college, per se.
  • Aim for a financially-reasonable college. College debt is such a problem. (And why many homeschooler are doing their first two years at community college these days.)
  • For more tips check this post and another Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.

Tip #8: Decide when to apply

Some colleges give dorm preference, better financial aid opportunities and/or other benefits to students who apply early.

If your teen is applying to a reach school, regular admissions might be better, since it is easier to get bumped to a waitlist with early applications. (Of course, each college handles this differently.)

Some teens need extra time deciding. So give them space to pray and research. They may need to skip early admissions.

Tip #9: Teens need to remember they are selling themselves with their essays and applications. This is not bragging!

Many homeschoolers are concerned that they will be prideful if they tell their outstanding points and stories. Just have them remember it is God who makes them successful, so writing about it is not bragging!

Tip #10: Pray

Teens can have a lovely growth process through their college application process if they know that as they roll their works on the Lord, he will direct their path.

Also, check out this useful Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode for first generation college students.

Hey, join our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group so you can ask college application and other homeschool questions to all your 7th Sisters!

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How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

 

Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID.

Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

Well, we’ve never been HERE before. Handling homeschooling and the holiday season during a pandemic. Covid has changed things for everyone, even your big sisters Sabrina, Vicki and Kym. So we got together to talk about it and to share some tips and encouragement.

  1. We are all in this together.
  2. We all need the Lord. Prayer will help!
  3. If you love the holidays, you can look for God’s grace to help you and yours adjust.
  4. If you don’t like the holiday season, take even better care of yourself.
  5. We need to have an attitude of gentleness and compassion toward each other.
  6. Avoid the words “must” or “should”… this year, we can’t must or should much of anything. We will have to hold our expectations lightly!
  7. Prepare to be flexible.
  8. Be compassionate and gentle towards others about changes or cancellations of favorite community or family events.

  1. Create for your kids and teens some other special (albeit, smaller) events (Zoom events, acappella app sing alongs, outdoor events, Christmas Caroling with social distancing for senior citizens in the community and church)
  2. Hold honest and loving conversations with the family about financial restraints due to the pandemic.
    1. Create healthy, wholesome reframes: We can’t have lots of “store-bought” stuff but perhaps a family event: drawing and creating Christmas cards and gift wrap, check Pinterest for homemade gift ideas, learn stenciling, calligraphy or other fancy handwriting styles (check YouTube). Watch Ezra’s YouTube for ideas.
    2. Maybe for this year, follow Sabrina’s family tradition: Christmas gifts are only silly or sentimental (and inexpensive)
      1. Silly family inside-joke sayings on a home-printed tshirt
      2. An acrostic made from everyone’s name
      3. Include a family game to play as they open the gifts, if possible (silliness is good!):
        1. Scavenger hunts
        2. Sing alongs
        3. Dramatic readings of favorite childhood books
  3. So many people will not be able to travel this year. If you are holding a family stay-at-home Christmas holiday.
    1. So, remember to do something new instead:
      1. Have a special but different breakfast
      2. Zoom with the extended family
      3. Drop off food to quarantined family members
      4. Hold a Christmas movie marathon
      5. Go on a Christmas hike
      6. Perhaps have each kid plan something special each day of the holiday break
      7. Make sure everyone can have a little while to grieve the losses of the traditional Christmas events, but then role model “bounce back” (resiliency) for the kids.
        1. You can tell them: It’s okay to be sad, but don’t stay sad. We will make good memories this Christmas season.
        2. Validate the loss, then CHOOSE to create good things in the face of the losses.
  4. Dealing with the uncertainty of church events.
    1. Uncertainty can be tough (and irritating). So self-monitor. Try to keep yourself in a grace-filled, fruit-of-the-spirit attitude.
    2. Your family can choose the meaning of a special event at church that we might not be able to experience this year. Choose a way for your family to honor the meaning of that event at home. This takes prayer and creativity, but that is what God’s love is all about!
  5. Remember: It is okay that this Christmas doesn’t look like other Christmases.
  6. Remember again: Gentleness and compassion!

And check out 7Sisters freebie unit study posts on:

AND download our popular Twas the Week Before Christmas Curriculum and Activity Bundle (Literature, Writing, Science, Social Studies, Languages, and fun… with something for all ages).

AND keep yourself encouraged with our suite of Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes on handling the holidays:

And encouraging holiday episodes from our fellow podcasters:

This holiday season, remember what we learned from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: God bless us everyone!

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Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts.

What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

The most common questions we receive about homeschooling high school are about transcripts. We understand. Transcripts are important! They are the key to getting into college and are proof that high school actually did happen! So Vicki decided to chat with all of you, our 7th Sisters, about what to include on the transcripts.

BTW- Before we even get started, we want to remind you that 7SistersHomeschool.com has an editable transcript template with a complete how-to guide in our estore for your instant download! There are also oodles of posts at 7Sisters, including the popular Authoritative Guide to Homeschool Transcripts. Check them out by searching “transcripts” in the search bar!

First thing, why should you give your teen a homeschool transcript?

We know that a number of states do not require homeschooling parents to issue a transcript. In those states you are totally allowed to say, “Hey, you’re done! Congratulations,” and then move on with the rest of life without a transcript.

However, if you can, we have heard a number of stories about grownups who needed a high school transcript:

  • Upon applying to college after being in the workforce for a few years
  • Upon entering graduate school, even though a local college had not required it for undergraduate studies
  • Upon applying for a significant career-change job

So, you can be gracious and kind to your homeschool high schoolers to keep a transcript throughout high school, then issue a completed transcript when they graduate. Years later, they may come back and thank you.

A wise woman keeps up with the transcript, starting in 9th grade!

Now, what do you include on homeschool transcripts?

You do not need to have a highly polished, professional-looking transcript, just get something. Here’s what to put on the transcript.

At the top of your transcript:

  • Your homeschool’s name, or simply the words “High School Transcript”.
  • Your student’s full name
  • Your student’s date of birth
  • Your address

Sections for each of the four years of high school:

  • Grade and year (9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade) along with the actual school year for that grade (for example: 9/2020-6/2021)
  • Courses taken that year, starting with the core courses: English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Phys Ed, Fine Arts, all the Electives that year
    • Be sure to use the specific course title, (for example: One year for ELA your teen may take American Literature, so use “American Literature” for the course title)
  • Note that homeschoolers will often have more credits (particularly electives) than their traditionally-schooled peers. That is because we believe that all of life is education, so we include all valuable learning experiences.
  • How do you know if your teen has earned a credit? Check out posts on earning credits at 7SistersHomeschool.com.
  • Beside the title of the course, record the

Summary of courses (optional):

  • This is a grid that shows that the core courses were taken each year and the electives that were recorded each year

At the bottom of the transcript, list extracurriculars:

  • List the extracurricular activity (sport, community work, clubs, etc) along with the years involved
  • Some colleges want to see long-term engagements and community mindedness

At the bottom of transcript, list competitions:

At the bottom of the transcript, record GPA:

  • For instructions on determining GPA, check out this post.
  • Do you weight GPA’s? We don’t. We have found that colleges have formulas that make the weighting of applicants’ GPAs the same across the board.
  • Remember: You cannot use the name “AP” for a course unless it is a College Board approved course.

At the bottom of the transcript, record the date of graduation.

Join 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group for more homeschool high school support (also our friend Ann Karako has an amazing Facebook group).

Homeschool high school: You CAN do it! Homeschool high school transcript: YOU can do it!

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What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript.

How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript

How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript

At 7SistersHomeschool.com, we often receive questions about how to show the level of rigor of high school courses on the homeschool transcript. It is a good question. Before we get started, remember there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. That means there’s not ONE right way to record levels of rigor. Even in the traditional school setting,  there is a variety of methods for this.

That said, Sabrina is sharing today about the way we have recorded level of rigor on our homeschoolers transcripts. It has worked well for decades and is still being used by our local homeschool community. Here goes:

So, a credit is a credit, right? Not really. There is a huge range of the kinds of credit teens are experiencing. For example: 9th grade English/Language Arts is WAY more work with many more components than, say, a 9th grade Social Studies credit. ELA includes reading, reading with analysis, writing of various kinds, vocabulary, grammar, public speaking…it’s a LOT. There is more work that goes into the life preparation that teens learn as they handle their ELA experiences.

On the other hand, studying American History (or another History) does not need as many hours. Your teen will be mastering information and materials in history class. There are a variety of ways to do this but it is less complex than ELA.

So, each credit is not the same.

Now, college admissions officers are looking for a certain kind of student that will enhance their student body and meet their college’s goals. The starting point of their evaluation of each student is their application, which includes their transcript. All credits are not the same in the level of rigor of the work completed.

Admissions officers do not know your homeschool high schooler. They do not know how awesome they are and how hard they have worked. All they have is an application with its transcript (and reference letters, of course). The transcript is vital because it gives a snapshot into all the things these busy admissions officers need to know about your teen!

In order to do their work as well as they can, they explain to schools about the things they are generally looking for.  One thing they are looking for is evidence of the levels of rigor at which your homeschooler has worked on each particular course. Thus, the idea of showing “levels” for each course helps admissions officers get a glimpse into your teens:

  • interests (especially for a major)
  • abilities
  • willingness to work hard at academics

So, showing credit levels on homeschool transcripts is valuable for the college application process.

Adjusting credit levels to teens needs and interests also helps you tweak high school courses so that they are best-fit for each student. Hey, that’s one thing that is SO awesome about homeschooling. We can tailor courses to meet our teens needs and interests!

For instance, perhaps a teens love Biology and is thinking about that as a college major. You might not only have your teen complete the Bio textbook and labs, but add lots of field trips, hands-on experiences, paper-writing, interviews and documentaries.

You want to show all this work on the transcript!

That’s what leveling-up is about for the homeschool transcript.

How can your teen show interests and abilities on the transcript?  Show  credit levels!

Here’s an overview of credit levels for the homeschool transcript.

Level 1 Remedial

This is for students with special need and truly struggle in certain areas. High school is a great time for remediating and skill building. This is wonderful! Homeschooling is about giving teens the things they need. If your teen needs remediation, go for it. (Level 1 courses, however, are not good for college-preparatory transcripts.)

Level 2 Average

This is a credit for average high schoolers. These are courses that most students can take and master well. They are not intense courses, not time consuming, not really college prep. These are courses that are good for workforce headed teens.

Level 3 College Prep

These credits are courses that prepare students for college. Courses include more intensity of assignments and require more time and work than a Level 2. Teens who do well in these courses are learning good academic skills (independent learning, study skills, time management) and subject preparation. College-bound teens should often be able to do much of this work with supervision but not much hand holding (although this varies by teen, after there’s not ONE kind of homeschool high schooler). Many homeschool textbooks are written at Level 3 College Prep. If a teen has a Level 2 text, add extra hours of experiences to bring this credit to level 3.

Level 4 Advanced

These credits are more rigorous (thus more competitive on the homeschool transcript). Your student can earn this credit by adding on about another 1/2 credit’s learning experiences to their textbook work. This can be done with reading extra real books (think rigor, so maybe 10 moderately-sized books) or 60-68 hours of field trips, research and paper writing, hands-on activities, interviews and shadowing experiences.

Level 5 Honors

These credits are highly rigorous. They require about double the work of an average high school credit. Add to textbook learning: 120-180 hours of reading extra real books (think rigor, so maybe 10 moderately-sized books) and 60-68 hours of field trips, research and paper writing, hands-on activities, interviews and shadowing experiences.

Many teens will not need Level 5 courses for all their courses. Choose core courses or electives that advance their college-major interests and/or abilities. Do not overload your teen (unless they are aiming for a military academy or highly-competitive college).

On the homeschool transcript, record the title of the course WITH the level at which the work is done. Be sure to include a key or legend at the bottom of your transcript that briefly explains how the levels are earned.

Do you weight these courses differently? There’s not ONE right way to handle this. Colleges have an algorithm that allows them to compare apples to apples on weighted and unweighted credits. (Thus, we don’t bother weighting.) Check out these posts for more on GPA and weighting.

Choose wisely on levels for your homeschoolers. Check out this episode on realistic expectations and for how to use levels with 7Sisters curriculum.

Join Sabrina for practical wisdom on how to handle credit levels on homeschool transcript.

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Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina.

Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina

Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina

It’s been a busy year for Sabrina, Vicki and Kym. With families’ needs and COVID keeping us apart, we have not had the chance to record together often. However, we MISS hearing the encouragement from Sabrina. You can always see her weekly on Facebook live (here’s a link to a recent episode). This week, though, Sabrina was able to slow down enough to share what God has on her heart about helping teens set realistic expectations for their high school years, so that you both can enjoy the process.

We all know we can be easily influenced by others. Some folks are followers and some are leaders. That’s okay! But whether you are a follower or leader you will experience the power of influence at times.

In our homeschool communities, we experience influencers all the time. This is good but sometimes, we can be too easily influenced. OR sometimes we refuse to take in wise information with humility, even if it would be helpful.

In homeschool communities, like 7Sisters Facebook group, we can ask questions and get help from our fellow homeschoolers. However, sometimes, we need to find time alone to pray and ponder about our homeschool questions. The only one who truly knows YOUR homeschool high schoolers is God (of course). You know your teens, but never as well as God knows.

This is also true of you. Only God knows you fully. Each day He can show us something about ourselves, because even we do not fully know and understand ourselves.

How does this apply to homeschooling high school? Each year, if we are wise, we set goals and expectations for our homeschool high schoolers. We are thinking about the future and plan wisely.

However, expectations can be problematic if they are not realistic expectations:

  • If our expectations are too low, our teens may loose motivation and be bored. You may find your teen meets those goals but will not be inspired by their work, and may not grow  and mature in education, perseverance, resiliency, character and personality.
  • If our expectations are too high. Sabrina sees this more often in homeschool families: Every course needs to be leveled up to honors, every extracurricular needs to be done, along with tons of service hours and maybe even a part-time job.
    • This often goes along with extremely high expectations that these parents have for themselves: Staying on top of grading, we are going to make every opportunity happen while we run our home business and run a church Bible study.

These expectations can be dangerous to our teens, our families and ourselves!

Prayer alone with God will help you set realistic expectations for you and your teen.

Why do we allow those extremely high expectations to happen? It is because we allow the community to set the expectations for us. We don’t set our expectations into place by first seeking the God who actually knows us and knows his plans for us and our homeschoolers.

What would be an example? Say for instance, a homeschool mom with four kids (elementary, middle school and the oldest is starting homeschool high school). She is caring for the household, doing all the homeschooling and working her part-time virtual assistant home business. She is busy with diverse tugs on her! Perhaps her expectation is now that she has a teen, that oldest child can help with the little ones’ lessons. This works well in some situations!

This homeschool mom will need to beware of the fine line between asking the new high schooler to take too much responsibility for the younger siblings’ education. She will need to be aware of keeping the helping to a reasonable and rewarding level for youngster and high schooler. Mom can help by keeping planning, oversight, responsibility and record keeping stay with mom. Teens are great with reading to youngsters, helping them with craft or science projects or taking them on nature walks. If the bar is too high for the teen, there will be stress and possible resentment. Mom will need to remember that homeschool high schoolers have developmental things they personally need to learn about and deal with, along with high school level academics. Keep a good balance.

On the opposite side of homeschool high school, there might be a homeschool mom who has a teen with distinct learning issues. Perhaps her goals for her new high schooler is to have her teen experience lots of career exploration: shadowing a lawn care service or other trade, perhaps. This is wonderful. Mom will need to remember that there are also academics that need to be completed, even though it is more difficult for her teen. Mom should not set the bar too low. For instance, don’t skip the classics! Her teen can still do classic reading by reading abridged versions, listening to an audio or family read aloud, or even watch the movie version (study guides will help make this an appropriate learning situation- do one together). Writing needs to be done, but should be adjusted to basic skills and the life-skills writing they will all need in adulthood. Mom should not communicate to her teens that they are limited by “can’t” or “don’t bother”. Reading and writing are life skills that teens need for adult-level communication!

So step away from community when setting expectations and goals for your homeschool high school year. Pray and ask God for his ideas. Ask him: What will be good for your teens: spirit, soul, body and socially? Ask him: What will be good for you and the rest of the family? (Teach your teens to listen to God also.)

There will be benefit, blessing and growth in this. In the end, it will give your more to bless your community!

Join Sabrina for encouragement and wisdom about setting realistic expectation for your homeschool high schoolers.

Be sure to join us in our Facebook group and check out our Pinterest boards and Instagram!

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Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina

Ways Organizations Can Help Prevent Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Ways Organizations Can Help Prevent Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger.

Ways Organizations Can Help Prevent Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

Ways Organizations Can Help Prevent Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Our friend, Candice Dugger, of Bullied, Broken, Redeemed joins us again for this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast. We wanted to talk about ways organizations can help their staff and members learn and teach bullying prevention.

In our last chat with Candice, she explained ways to help prevent bullying for our own children, but we felt we should also help give some resources for the many of us moms who are also involved in homeschool, church and community organizations. When organizations have the tools to establish and anti-bullying culture, they can truly be blessings to all involved.

When Candice and her family started homeschooling, she was surprised to find that there were few resources about bullying that were available. She was concerned, especially witht the rise in cyberbullying, that there were not tools for homeschooling families. That is why she started Bullied, Broken, Redeemed and why she is sharing these tips.

Tips for establishing an anti-bullying culture

Tip #1: Acknowledge we have an issue

Candice says that sometimes we homeschooling parents feel because we are homeschooling that are kids are in a “bubble” where there will be no bullying. However, homeschooling families tend to be active in their homeschool, church and community organizations and because there are broken people in many organizations, they may run into a bullying situation at some point.

Tip #2: Training to help our organization staff and leaders is helpful

  • How can adults learn to identify bullying in the groups they help with?
  • What is the difference between conflict and bullying?
  • Where can they find words and tools for helping their young people to:
    • Identify bullying
    • What to do when they see a bullying behavior

Even at homeschool co-op, give staff and teens tools for bullying prevention

Tip #3: Develop a policy on bullying and a code of conduct

Discuss also if the policy will extend to cyberbullying outside the organizations specific activities. (For more on policymaking for homeschool co-ops, check out this episode from our friend Carol Topp, at Homeschool CPA podcast.

  • What happens if someone makes a complaint of bullying?
  • Can reports of bullying be anonymous?
  • Who is the person(s) to report bullying to?
  • What are the procedures for teachers/staff to follow in reporting bullying?
  • What will be done with the report of bullying?
  • What tools for self-advocating will be used for training young people about bullying?
  • What format for teaching anti-bullying skills will be used and when?

Creating a structure for an organization to deal with bullying empowers everyone from child through staff through leadership with the tools they need. Young people who learn the tools of dealing with bullying are equipped with a lifelong skill.

If you are a co-op mom pulling together resources for teaching about bullying prevention next year:

  • Create a co-op handbook and put bullying policies in place
  • As the homeschool year starts, do a basic training about bullying and expectations for dealing with it. Give young people space and procedure to talk about it.
  • Remember, bullying is not a simple teasing, simple conflict or a simply walking-away behavior. It is a cruel behavior that has the intent to put a person down and harm them.
    • Candice points out that suicide is the leading cause of death in children aged ten and up, and that bullying is often behind it. This is common enough that it is given a name: “bullycide”
  • Candice points out that, “Evil only bows to authority”.
    • So co-op kids need to know who are the authorities at co-op
    • If the authority addresses the bullying, it stops. If it is allowed to continue, it will continue and escalate.
  • Authorities can understand that kids who bully are projecting their brokenness, so bullies need boundaries to be set by authorities. At the same time, authorities need to have a plan about addressing the brokenness.
    • Candice’s workshop Understanding Gen Z Bullies is a helpful tool for getting things set up.

Want help training your staff to create a bully-proof culture? Candice’s organization has a number of tools:

  • Video training for staff on understanding Gen Z bullying
    • Candice tells us that they will release a course soon: 16 full weeks with test, vocabulary, and certificate of completion and release for individuals and groups same time. I’m also adding a bonus option for faith based groups to be able to discuss. That delayed my full release a week or two. What if we have your listeners email me for 10% off available through November 30th. Contact us: https://www.bulliedbrokenredeemed.com/contact-us/
  • Video training for students of various ages on understanding Gen Z bullying
    • Accompanying materials with activities, role plays, tools for interaction and advocacy, tools for healing
  • One-on-one and group training, weekend retreats (when COVID is not preventing)

You can find Candice Dugger at:

Join Vicki and Candice for an informative discussion about ways organizations can help prevent bullying.

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Ways Organizations Can Help Prevent Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

Learning Logic Through Games, Interview with Dr. Micah Tillman

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Learning Logic Through Games, Interview with Dr. Micah Tillman.

Learning Logic Through Games, Interview with Dr. Micah Tillman

Learning Logic Through Games, Interview with Dr. Micah Tillman

Learning logic skills is good life preparation for teens. (We know that when we watch the current news and social media environment, right?) Learning logic is also fun for teens when it involves gaming.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast, Vicki interviews her oldest son, Dr. Micah Tillman. Micah has a PhD in Philosophy and has taught logic at high school and college level for years. Micah’s exploration of logic began in high school with his high school math adventures. These were the early days of homeschooling when there wasn’t much curriculum available for homeschoolers. In order for Micah, who actually liked math, to cover calculus in senior year, we search and finally found Saxon Calculus (new at that time).

Micah had to teach himself calculus because his mom was not very good at math. Rather than help him understand the problems when he was stuck, she simply put on her counselor’s hat and said, “hmmm” to his questions until he solved them out loud. Micah used those skills as a math tutor during graduate school.

Micah was a Computer Science major for his undergraduate degree at Messiah College (now University) where he had to take lots of math. He found out that, while he could do math- and there was lots in his major, he didn’t love it like many of his peers.

For graduate school Micah switched to Philosophy for his studies. He worked as a math tutor for undergrads and found out that he actually did love Algebra. He found out that math has vocabulary of fear: you do “problems” and “exercises”. So he wanted to lessen his students’ fears by helping them think in less fearful language.

After earning his PhD from Catholic University, Micah taught college students Symbolic Logic. He found he was having a blast solving logic problems but his students were miserable, just like his undergrad tutees. He asked himself, “Why do I find it fun but my students are not?”

Micah’s dissertation had been on Edmund Husserl who was also a mathematician and philosopher. Husserl worked on trying to show that the rules of mathematics followed from rules of logic. He then went on to study how signs work, such as +-= . (He then went on to study language and mind, as well.)

Micah’s studies of Husserl led him to solve the problem of students fearing and hating logic by making logic into a game. He changed the ideas of symbolic logic into shapes and colors. This made the ideas of logic concrete and more understandable.

Micah wrote a computer program that turned logic into a mystery puzzle-solving game. The computer game format helped his students learn logic and like learning logic. The game was an “anthropomorphized (human-like qualities) card game” which taught students to play through the steps of logic in a fun way. He used that course to his college students for several years. Then he made it available (for free) on his website.

Micah now teaches 9th and 10th graders the philosophy of math and science for Stanford University’s prestigious online high school. While he’s between classes with his students, he works on an updated version of his logic computer game.

Teens don't ask, "Why do I have to do this?" when they are learning from games. - Dr. Micah Tillman

By the way, you might be thinking:Why learn logic through games?

  • As Micah points out, when faced with a course teens don’t like, they ask, “Why do I have to do this? How am going to use this when I grow up?”
  • He also noticed that they never say that about gaming. Imagine a teenager saying, “Why do I have to play this computer game? How will I use it when I grow up?”
  • Teens learn better when they like what they are doing. Many teens like computer games, so learning logic through a game makes it fun (and more efficient learning).

The name of the computer game that Micah developed is: Chambergon Battle Logic.

Through the game, you help little characters (happy characters and angry characters) work out their feelings which sneakily teaches them logic.

Why is it useful for a homeschool high schooler to learn logic?

Micah says there are several sides of this:

  • Learning logical thinking builds critical thinking skills. It helps teens learn to evaluate when someone presents evidence and a conclusion to them about something in life, whether the evidence is strong and the conclusion is strong. This can be applied to politics, science, music, advertising and more.
  • Learning logical thinking is play. It is a fun way to have recreation (and recreation is often the source of scientific innovation).
  • Learning logical thinking is good exercise for the brain. Mental discipline builds attention and skill.

How can you get hold of Chambergon Battle Logic for learning logic through games?

Go to Chambergon.com and check out the two things there:

  • You can download the original game along with a textbook and user manual. This is free!
    • You can count this as a one-credit high school course. You get an A for the course when you beat the game.
  • Micah is currently porting the game to the Unity and Unreal game engines. It will probably end up on Unreal. (Gamers will understand what this means.)
    • Keep an eye out for information on the new format!

Also catch Micah’s contributions to 7SistersHomeschool:

  • Micah co-wrote with his mom: History and Philosophy of the Western World). Check out this HSHSP interview with Micah where he explains why teens need to learn philosophy.
  • Then at the request of his youngest brother and his friends (who wanted more real philosophy skills after being inspired by History and Philosophy of the Western World), Micah wrote Philosophy in Four Questions.
    • This is a genuine philosophy course that is accessible to teens (the boys all said it was their favorite course in high school). The text answers the four questions that philosophers ask:
      • What is there?
      • How do we know?
      • What should we do about it?
      • Why?

You can find Dr. Micah Tillman at MicahTillman.com (check out his stuff about fractals).

Join Vicki and Micah for an inspiring talk about learning logic through games. And thanks to Seth Tillman for editing!

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Learning Logic Through Games, Interview with Dr. Micah Tillman

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson.

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HighSchoolInternships #InternschipsForHighSchoolCredit #SherriSeligson #HomeschoolHighSchool

 

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson

When Vicki met Sherri Seligson a few years ago at the beloved 2:1 Conference for homeschool bloggers, she was so excited to find a new friend who is a scientist (Marine Biologist) AND s teacher about internships. It is a great combination!

Many of you are familiar with Sherri through her high school science texts for Apologia AND her marvelous teaching videos (you can check them out on her YouTube channel). BUT you may not be familiar with her guide for internships for homeschool high school.

Vicki asked Sherri to talk today about internships. Homeschool high schoolers are in unique positions to develop internships as Career Exploration and transcript building experiences, so check out this interview with Sherri.

Sherri started out her career as a marine biologist at Disney World. She loved her job but when she started having kids, she and her husband decided she needed a “promotion” to homeschooling mom! They have considered homeschooling their kids as a calling from God.

Sherri homeschooled her four children through graduation. They are grown now. One is doing cancer research and is a profession, one is a full-time musician, one is working on her Masters degree in Counseling, and the youngest is in the Air Force and getting his medical degree.

Sherri has also taught Science to homeschoolers for years. Her mission there is: Seeing God’s hand in creation. She has also written Apologia’s Marine Biology and General Science courses, along with their instructional videos.

Internships for homeschool high school

Sherri has authored an Internship curriculum. It got started when a son was looking at dual-enrollment courses at community college. He saw an internship course in the course catalogue, and felt inspired to find an internship on his own at a video production company. SO he dropped by, applied, interviewed on the spot and was accepted.

Sherri decided to capture his internship for homeschool high school transcript. She wanted to document his experience so she developed:

  • weekly questions for him to answer
  • interview questions for him to ask three coworkers (such as: If you could do this differently, what would you do to prepare themselves for this kind of work? What kind of college directions would they suggest?)
  • logged hours with time and what work he did
  • wrote reflections on business experience and practical skills he learned

On the transcript Sherri called the course: Executive Internship.

When her homeschool friends heard about the internship and the ways they documented it, they wanted tips on how they could create internships for their teens. Sherri put together a workbook to help them. This became her popular Internship Guide.

Want some internship tips from Sherri?

  • Give your teens guidance on health and safety.
  • Explore interests and passions with them.
  • Look for local businesses that use skills that align with these interests. For instance, if a teen is interested in fashion design, there probably are not many local internships available, but look around at things that use some of the skills of fashion: tailors, upholstery makers, etc.
  • Work on networking skills to find people who have those businesses (church, work, organizations).
  • Create an experiential resume. (7Sisters has a guide on how to do experiential resumes, btw.)
  • When they find an internship, create an agreement on expectations (including length of time of internship)
  • Teach them initiative so they find productive things to do (cleaning, tidying) if there is downtime on the job
  • Show a good attitude
  • Show good people skills
  • Dress appropriately and use good hygiene
  • Learn interview skills

Internships can be valuable for showing your teens what they do and do NOT want to do. -Sherri Seligson

One of the best things her son got out of that internship was that he did NOT want to go into the video production field. He could only have known that by being in that atmosphere. (He is her son who became a professional musician.)

  • Finding out what your teen DOESN’T want to do is valuable. Why waste four years of college on something they will hate? (It also saves LOTS of money on a wasted college education.)

Internships look great on a homeschool transcript. College admissions officers like to see internships because it shows initiative and the ability to stick with what they start.

Another benefit: sometimes internships can become paid internships.

For career-bound teens, sometimes internships open the door for career training or an actual job. When employers see a good intern, they sometimes want to keep them on afterwards.

Notes for parents:

  • It is okay to get to know the employer yourself. That way if something comes up, you already have that connection. Don’t helicopter, just be polite and familiar to the employers. Know that these adults are influential (hopefully for good).
  • With family businesses, count the educational and new things your teen is learning.
  • Volunteer opportunities can be internships, also. Here’s an episode on virtual volunteer opportunities from Homeschooling with Technology podcast.

Connect with Sherri Seligson at:

For more tips on internships, check out this post.

Join Vicki and Sherri for a practical discussion on internships for homeschool high schoolers.

 

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson

Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger.

Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

NOTE: This episode contains discussions about bullying, harassment and suicide. Sensitive listeners should listen with discretion. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

We are investing in National Anti-bullying Month with this interview with Candice Dugger. Many of you are familiar with Candice because of her work on the Reimagine Education Online Conference. You may also know her with her diligent work helping families find resources to deal with bullying. Her Bullied, Broken, Redeemed workshops and resources are popular in churches, homeschool organizations and businesses nationwide.

Vicki asked Candice if she could share with us about bully-proofing teens.

Candice Dugger Photo used with permission

Candice genuinely cares about young people and their wellbeing.

Candice got started homeschooling in an unusual way. It began with fear, anxiety and pain. Her kids had been in both public and private schools. When her oldest was in seventh grade, Candice noticed there was something wrong. He had gone from being a happy, joyful kid who liked school, to a child she did not recognize. He was withdrawn, angry and his grades were dropping. While he had some learning differences, they had always been able to stay on top of school success. So what was wrong? She discovered that bullying was overwhelming her son.

She realized that she needed to start homeschooling her son.

It took about six months for Candice to gather her resolve to start homeschooling. She had come from the corporate world but had been sick for several years. The illness caused her to slow down and truly see the pain her son was in. Then, at a school IEP meeting for her son, she watched the failure of the school to meet his needs. That was the breaking point. She said: “That’s it! We are homeschooling!”

Fortunately, the next week was the state homeschooling conference. She got training and resources there to start.

Candice feels that homeschooling truly saved her son’s life. As they have unpacked the true level of bullying her son experienced, she realized the pain of his experiences and have seen him healing.

She realized she had to help families around her who were upset over the bullying their children were experiencing. Some families reported elementary-aged students who had suicide plans because of the desperation they were feeling about the bullying they experienced. Candice started the organization Bullied, Broken, Redeemed.

When she started homeschooling some of her family was concerned about her ability to homeschool because of her poor health. Candice is not one to be easily deterred, though. The first thing she did was “flip my son’s education on its head”. The schools had concentrated on his weaknesses. He began to see himself as defined by his weaknesses, this was dangerously compounded by the attacks of cyberbullying and in-person bullying at school.

So, instead of spending 80% of their time on his weaknesses, Candice spent 80% of their time focusing on what he could do well. She spent most of her day speaking life, value, and truth back into him. She surrounded him with things he could be good at: sports, history, wilderness and survival topics.

As he succeeded in these courses, his confidence grew and his healing from the damage of bullying progressed. By the time he finished eighth grade, he had blown through three years of high school history curriculum because he was believing in his own abilities.

They took it slow on areas of needed growth. For every ten successes he had, she introduced one topic in his areas of needed growth.

Now at 17, he is doing dual-enrollment courses. Traveling to colleges to earn D1-D2 sports scholarships. Attended, with his mom, to the World Conference of Christian Psychologists and Psychiatrists last October to collaborate with specialists on GenZ bullying. He has trained as a life coach to work with children who have been bullied.

Homeschooling provides a healing space for teens who have been bullied

Candice started Bullied, Broken, Redeemed because she found there were so few resources for parents. Her organization trains parents, teachers, students, organizations in bully-proofing, healing and actions to take if they find bullying.

Here are some facts parents need to know about GenZ bullying:

  • There are different spaces where bullies bully:
    • Schools
    • Groups
    • Cyberspace
    • Gaming space
  • The bullying in the digital world often happens after 10:00pm at night
  • Children as young as elementary school ages are experiencing bullying (some to the point of suicidality)
  • The damage done to children can last a lifetime if they do not get the help they need

What can parents do for bully-proofing their teens?

  • Help them understand the difference between conflict and bullying
  • Understand tough but necessary safety topics like
    • assault (physical and sexual)
    • bullycide
    • sexting
    • cyber and gaming bullying
  • Use resources at Bullied, Broken, Redeemed
    • These include books for parents to read with their kids. Do the questions together. (There are workbooks for middle schoolers and high schooler.)
    • Learn to use the resources that train parents on documenting, reporting, code words, talking about triggers.
    • Then work on ways to help young people heal. (Such as illustrations, writing in invisible ink, light therapy, music therapy, metaphors, and journaling to heal.)
    • The books include tips for protecting children and teens

Bullying can happen in so many places. We homeschooling families like to believe that we can totally protect our young people, but in her work as a counselor, Vicki has run into bullying incidents in social media and gaming groups, at church youth groups, in Scouting. Young people need to be aware of the possibility of bullying and the necessity of reporting this to their parents.

Parents can be sure to respond kindly with their young person, report it appropriately and give tools to their kids.

Join Candice’s Facebook group: Bullied, Broken, Redeemed

Find more resources at:

And more resources from Candice

Join Vicki and Candice for an encouraging discussion on bullyproofing and healing your teen. We will have Candice back for another episode where we will discuss ways homeschool and Christian groups can bullyproof their organizations.

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Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

Non-fiction Writing for Homeschool High School, Interview with Janet and Geoff Benge

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Non-fiction Writing for Homeschool High School, Interview with Janet and Geoff Benge.

Non-fiction Writing for Homeschool High School, Interview with Janet and Geoff Benge

Non-fiction Writing for Homeschool High School, Interview with Janet and Geoff Benge

Let me tell you, Vicki was so excited for this week’s interview. When her oldest homeschoolers were still very young, she ran across a series of biographies (Christian Heroes, Then and Now) by Janet and Geoff Benge. The first biography she read to her kids (the story of Adoniram Judson) was so inspirational, that they made a practice of reading the books as often as they could afford to by another.

So, Vicki was thrilled when she got a chance to hear Janet Benge talk at the beloved 2:1 Conference (for homeschool bloggers). Vicki made a point of chatting with Janet afterwards and next thing you knew, Janet and Geoff made time for an interview on Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

Janet and Geoff love to inspire young writers for writing non-fiction. Teens can sometimes feel intimidated by writing, especially the non-fiction topics, so make sure you listen in on this week’s episode.

Janet and Geoff are from New Zealand. Janet was originally an elementary school teacher and Geoff a chef. They had no idea God had planned for them to write. When they joined Youth With a Mission with their young daughter. After a time on a mission ship, they were stationed in the Philippines. They found this service changed their lives forever (one way it changed was that they adopted a child there).

Janet and Geoff Benge of Christian Heroes: Then and Now biography series

Janet and Geoff Benge Photo use with permission

 

Janet and Geoff were deeply touched by the poverty and needs of the people in the community they were serving. She began a newsletter for their supporters back home to raise funds to help their community. The newsletter became so popular, they were asked to write the national newsletter for YWAM. They were soon asked by Ginny Rogers (the sister of the founder of YWAM) to come to Texas to attend a workshop on book-writing by John and Elizabeth Sherrill (authors of the Cross and Switchblade and other Christian classics of that generation).

God miraculously provided for them to attend when an old friend tithed the sale of their farm. They were able to attend the workshop. It was revolutionary to Janet and Geoff’s writing. They learned that:

  • Books are crafted
  • There are techniques for leading a reader along
  • They could learn these techniques

Janet and Geoff next became ghost writers with their new skills (for about fifteen years). Geoff is a great partner, so their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. Then they launched into their biography series for YWAM, at YWAM’s request because they had been to homeschool conventions where the few biographies they saw were boring and uninspiring. YWAM new that missionary stories are powerful and exciting. So Janet and Geoff started writing: Christian Heroes, Then and Now (now 35 books) and also  Heroes of History (now 33 books).

Janet wants to encourage young writers that learning difficulties do not need to keep you from writing. She is ADHD and dyslexic.

Here are Janet and Geoff’s tips for non-fiction writing for homeschool high school!

When you choose a person to write about begin to read about them:

  • Read books. Janet says ABEbooks.com is a good resource for used books
  • If there is an organization aligned with the person, check their website. You can even contact them and see if there is someone you can interview about your person
  • Get a since of the person
  • Read about their time period and location for background information
  • Interview the person, if alive, if possible (or a family member)
  • Look for little bits of interesting information or stories

Begin to organize material by time period in their lives

  • Make connections between events or ideas that can connect the time periods
  • Fact check if there are areas where the information is fuzzy
  • Remember to understand the person in context of their times and locations

How to decide what to include and what to drop in writing

  • Remember you can only give a flavor of the person’s life and events
  • Remember your audience, but you do not have to be a “Polyanna”
  • Concentrate on events and ideas that shows the person’s character

Reading and writing biographies can help inspire teens to make the world a better place. Janet and Geoff Benge

The Benges love to inspire their readers. One of their biggest blessings is to hear from parents that one of their biographies was the first book their kid ever loved.

Vicki asked Janet and Geoff who were their favorite stories. Janet listed Adoniram Judson, because he kept serving and facing down obstacles despite struggles with mental health. Geoff mentioned David Bussau, who Geoff had the opportunity to interview personally and found that David understands poverty and able to come up with wise solutions. Geoff also was inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

If you have a homeschool high schooler who wants to write a book:

  • Get started with essays, shorter narratives, a research paper about a person (Check out 7Sisters’ writing materials to get started and listen to this HSHSP episode.)
  • Experiment with some journalism
  • Get feedback on your writing
  • Read, read, read
    • See how other’s write
    • When you find a book you love, read it several times, note how they start the book in the first chapter
      • How did it start?
      • How much information is presented?
      • How many characters are introduced?
        • How are they introduced?
      • How is the time period introduced?
      • How is the conflict introduced?
        • How is the main story hinted at?
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Take a class on writing (you can find them online). Janet and Geoff have taught writing in live settings and are working on an online version now.

Check out Janet and Geoff Benge’s Christian Heroes: Then and Now; and Heroes of History at YWAM.

Vicki asked Janet and Geoff if they had any advice for homeschool high schoolers. They said, “These are tumultuous times. Dig in. Find others who have lived through difficult times. Biographies can help inspire you through these times. Also, keep notes, you may be writing your own story in the future.”

Join Vicki, Janet and Geoff for an inspiring interview!

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Non-fiction Writing for Homeschool High School, Interview with Janet and Geoff Benge