How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson.

How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

You know a kindred spirit when you meet one, and Anita Gibson is a kindred spirit with us 7Sisters. Vicki is joined again today by Anita to discuss the importance of knowing and believing in your teens. She also shares some simple how-to’s to help. This is SO worth your time and investment!

Vicki first met Anita at their favorite conference (2:1 Conference). When she picked up a copy of Anita’s book, Star Finder, she knew they had the same ideas about life. Anita Gibson is a coach, educational strategist, author.

Anita and her husband homeschooled their kids for over twenty years, all the way from kindergarten to graduation. She was “dragged into homeschooling kicking and screaming” because she was a successful business woman and could not imagine how to fit homeschooling into that lifestyle. But as their kids became school age, they felt the leading of God to homeschool, and Anita obeys God.

Anita describes herself a “hands-on, quirky, butterfly chick”. They did many “nontraditional” educational adventures, like schooling in the park and handling and learning about things outside the home. They had many hours of inquisitive learning and fun.

Her children are now all in their thirties and doing well, so it was the right homeschool program for them! (After all, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool. The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to learn in the way that best fits YOUR family!)

Anita was led to create the lovely book, Star Finder, to share the things she learned homeschooling her kids. Anita’s kids were very different personalities and learners. Her oldest taught herself to read. Her second daughter struggled to read. It was difficult for Anita to watch until she heard God encourage her to realize that she was “prejudiced” because she was making an assumption that all her kids would be like her oldest daughter and if they were not, something was wrong with them. Anita found God saying to her that she had not honored who He had made her second daughter to be. She had to be honest with herself and ask God how to fix it.

God began to show Anita the “beauty of Danielle” (her second daughter). She learned the “beauty of slow”. (Anita is a rabbit, she thinks and acts quickly. She learned that God needs all kinds of people because there are all kinds of things he needs to accomplish.)

God showed Anita a vision of two doctors. One doctor was quick. He would look at a set of symptoms and tell the patient, “Oh, you’re fine” and give a quick but inaccurate diagnosis. The second doctor was slow, he told the patient he would take two weeks to review testing results. At the end of two weeks, the slow doctor had identified a more serious but very fixable problem. God asked Anita, “which doctor would YOU want?”

Slow is beautiful because it is God’s creation, too. Anita learned to love the gift of “slow” and to help her daughter mature in the gift by learning to focus and concentrate on the blessing (such as being able to find things around the house).

Out of this experience and learning how to know and believe in her daughter, Anita felt God leading her to write her lovely book: Star Finder.

The title Star Finder has several meanings:

Learning to find the “star” in each child. (As Vicki says, God makes all kids gifted- in the way He wants THEM to be, not necessarily in the way our culture pushes for in our performance-driven culture.)

STAR is actually an acronym for:

  • Strengths
  • Talents
  • Abilities
  • Resources

Every child has a STAR. As a parent, we want to focus less on weaknesses and more on STARs! When we do that, our kids begin to know and believe in themselves.

When we concentrate on the STARs, the weaknesses seem to be less of a big deal. That is good because, as Anita points out, you can only get a weakness to average (which we should). But we can and should concentrate on the STARs because that is where God is leading!

Our teens do not need to be ashamed of their weaknesses. The weaknesses keep a teen relying on God for help. However, the STARs are the ways God will work in and through them to accomplish His plans.

Unfortunately if parents do not understand the STARs, their teens may begin to see themselves as failures. SO how do parents guide themselves and their kids of all ages through the steps to find and develop their STARs?

Here are Anita’s STAR Finder steps:

  1. Parents take the Clifton StrengthsFinder test.
    1. This is important because parents need to know themselves and not make the assumption everyone is like them. As we parents find our strengths, it is easier to see our kids’ different strengths. Then parents can create an environment of
  2. Teens can now take the teen version of StrengthsFinder or simply watch and discover what their kids:
    1. love
    2. naturally spend time doing
    3. are naturally good at
    4. (as Vicki says, “Be a scientist for discovering your own kid.”)
  3. Identify what irritates you about your young person
    1. For instance, Anita worked with a kid who was always breaking things by taking them apart. He just needed lots of things from the thrift store to break and learn to put back together. When he graduated from homeschooling, he went to college to become an engineer!
    2. Anita’s oldest daughter talked so much it was irritating. She grew up to be a foreign service officer who gets paid to…TALK!
    3. Irritations might be an indicator of a future STAR!
  4. There are nine more steps in STAR Finder! Go get a copy of the book: STAR Finder by Anita Gibson.

Join Vicki and Anita for lots of encouragement in this episode. Also,

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How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time.

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHgihSchool #SportsMom #HomeschoolAthletes

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

Vicki and Kym are together for this episode to discuss how to handle homeschooling and teens who seriously love to play sports at the same time. It is hectic but it can be done.

While Vicki’s teens played various sports during their high school years, they did so as a past time. Kym’s teens were more involved, in fact, her twins played women’s ice hockey all the way through college.

How did Kym end up being a serious sports mom?

Kym and her husband both love sports, but as Kym describes it, she was always the “bubble kid” always the last chosen or the first cut from the team at her small high school. All her four kids participated in sports at some level. Her older two decided the sports were not as fun when the competition got serious in high school (although her son still plays sports as an adult, just for fun.)

Kym’s youngest, the twins, first got the sports bug in pre-school while Kym was working part-time at the YMCA. They saw brochures for hockey and asked to play. Kym started them out by trying all the sports the Y had to offer. Then they graduated to the roller hockey team there.

Then after watching Disney’s Mighty Ducks movie, they decided that they were determined to play ice hockey. They presented their desire with business-form presentations. Doug and Kym decided they had better pray about it. They prayed daily from then all the way to their college hockey careers.

Benefits of playing sports:

  • Belongingness and connections (the twins have gained lifelong friends from their years in the intense togetherness of hockey league)
  • Fitness
  • Quick thinking skills and reactions
  • Activity burns off stress hormones and releases dopamine (a mood enhancing hormone)

After roller hockey, the girls played on a community mixed-gender league. However, when the boys hit puberty, Kym and Doug moved their diminutive twins to woman’s hockey. (Kym says that there is something magical for the girls to play on a girls’ team.)

Kym and Doug knew that the women’s sports leagues were more serious and quite expensive. They prayed and God provided equipment and finances for the twins’ hockey experience. They also prayed that hockey would not be come an idol. After prayer they stayed clear on their goals.

How do you stay clear on the goals?

  • Prayer (as Kym always says, “Prayer: first, last and always)
  • Discuss the goals as a family.
  • Remember the goals that must stay clear are the athletes’ goals and also the family’s goals. (If you goals do not match, it can be dangerous. Remember, parents who live vicariously through their teen-athlete’s goals end up burning out their teens and damaging the parent/teen relationship.)
    • Practice
    • Games
    • Playoffs
    • All Stars
    • Tournaments
    • Summer camps

High school athletes and parents should stay clear and unified on their goals. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolAthletes #SportsMom

Much of Kym’s hockey-mom years were in the car. Kym and her girls came to love this time because:

  • They had awesome conversations about deep, funny and personal things
  • They had uninterrupted time to study (car-schooling)
  • They had time for awesome audiobooks
  • They learned out to *fill the moment*/time management
  • Kym found drive time (when her husband was at the wheel) was a great time for grading papers for her daughter’s work or her group Spanish classes.

Kym also found connections with other hockey moms, the moms on her daughters’ teams and random hockey moms she meets in real life. (Vicki remembers when we were at our favorite conference: 2:1 Conference3 and Kym and Marci Goodwin of Snarky Homeschool Moms podcast were both hockey moms. It was so delightful to see the light come on in both moms’ eyes when they shouted, “You’re a hockey mom, too?!”…then they spent ages together “talking shop”.)

Kym’s daughters decided not to try NCAA college-level sports but rather, find a college with a well-run college club team. (They knew NCAA-level sports would not leave them enough time to join other college extracurriculars and rigorous study.) The twins ended up at the University of Delaware where they played all four years.

As you know, most high school and college athletes do not usually end up playing professional sports. However, based on those wonderful sports experiences, the girls found that they wanted to stay in sports at a support level. One of the twins is in graduate school studying Performance and Sports Psychology. The other twin works with a travel agency that works with sports teams.

Join Vicki and Kym for an enlightening discussion. Also, check out these posts and episodes that will help you as a sports mom:

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How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez.

Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez. Many moms are working homeschool moms these days. Here are some tips to make it fun.

Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez

These days there are many, many mothers who are homeschooling and working a paid-job at the same time. Some started out homeschooling and added working as family needs arose. Some were career moms who started homeschooling because of COVID-19 or simply because that was best for their families.

There’s not ONE right way to be a homeschool mom! Working moms can also be happy homeschool moms!

That’s why Vicki asked her friend, Julie Smith Mendez, to join her for a discussion about being an homeschool mom with a career. Julie is a Career Coach and also invests in the homeschool community by supporting moms who are both working a job and working as homeschool moms.

Julie has two homeschoolers: eighth grader and sixth grader. Julie is also a Career Coach (another reason Vicki enjoys chatting with Julie, since Vicki is also a Career Coach).

Because of Julie’s husband’s career, they move every two years, often overseas. Homeschooling presented itself as a great option when her oldest was facing kindergarten.. Homeschooling would require fewer transitions when they had to move mid-year. Nine years later, they are still homeschooling and have found it to be fun and a perfect fit for her family.

Julie became a career coach when they were stuck between assignments for her husband’s work, with the expenses of living in Washington, DC. She had been a career coach before she had her girls, so she found that she could re-engage the career she loved (and could work from home).

At the time, Julie became the only working homeschool mom in her Washington DC homeschool groups. The first couple of years she felt like a unicorn in her homeschool community. It was especially noticeable when she had to start saying to her friends in regards to some homeschool activities, “Sorry, I can’t do that, I have to work.”

However, when they moved to Pennsylvania, they found themselves in a blue-collar community, where most of the homeschool moms worked: gigs, side-incomes, part-time outside the home and business owners. She was excited to be part of the community that was creatively working while homeschooling. She loved *not being the only one*. She loved being part of a community that valued flexibility and resilience of her new homeschooling community.

Now, Julie has found that many homeschool moms are in some manner, bringing in an income. (This is especially true during COVID-19 because many, many American families have suddenly become working homeschool families.)

What are some skills that Julie uses for happy working while homeschooling?

Julie uses the analogy of spinning plates. Julie says that working while homeschooling is like managing those plates: you run from plate to plate and keep them spinning. BUT, you spin one plate at a time!

  • The important thing to remember is that this hectic time is temporary. Eventually your homeschoolers graduate, and even before they graduate, they become more and more independent learners, so the plate-spinning job becomes easier over time.

Julie makes a point of self-care (sometimes that simply looks like taking a shower). For Julie, during this time her self-care can look like:

One thing that helps her manage self-care is knowing that her daughters are watching her and learning how to manage adulthood from her habits and routines.

  • Julie found she has to live life and treat herself the way she wants her daughters to treat themselves, the way she wants them to accept being treated by others. She and her husband have the saying, “There’s no medals for martyrdom.”

Teach your kids to do chores.

  • For instance, Julie’s girls do laundry to learn integrity and attention to detail.)

Tips for homeschool working moms: Treat yourself the way you want your kids to treat themselves. -Julie Smith Mendez on Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Remember! Teach your kids by your lifestyle the way you would like them to live their lives. While you will not manage their adult lives, these years are so influential in self-concept and ideals.

Julie has found that she loves homeschooling and working while homeschooling. As the 7Sisters say, “There’s not ONE right way to homeschool!”

Julie began her career coaching career as a young adult in New York. She loved knowing she was helping people get their life needs met. Once the digital world grew, Julie got married, she found that she could carry that career anywhere they traveled for her husband’s work. She helps people with career coaching for everyone’s needs *soup to nut* from best career-fit, job search, resume work, and more.

You can connect with Julie Smith Mendez at:

Join Vicki and Julie for an encouraging discussion about working while homeschooling! Also, check out another HSHSP interview with our working-mom friend, Stacey Lane Clendaniel.

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Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez

How to Create Music Appreciation Credit for Transcripts

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Create Music Appreciation Credit for Transcripts.

How to Create Music Appreciation Credit for Transcripts. Homeschool high schoolers need a Fine Arts credit. What if they are not artsy?Try Gena Mayo's tips.

 

How to Create Music Appreciation Credit for Transcripts

Most homeschool high schoolers need a Fine Arts credit for graduation. That is easy for teens who have interest in the arts. But, what if they are not artsy? That’s where arts appreciation credits come in. In this episode Vicki is joined by our friend, Gena Mayo, of Music in Our Homeschool. She is going to share a simple way to create a Music Appreciation credit for the homeschool transcript.

Gena is one of 7Sisters old-time homeschool friends. When we first started out, we met Gena at our favorite conference (2:1 Conference). She coached us along and gave us encouragement and practical tips for blogging and digital business-running. So, as we got to thinking about the stress that our non-artsy friends feel when they need to help their homeschool high schoolers earn that Fine Arts credit, we turned to Gena.

Art Appreciation credits, simply put, are credits that introduce students to the ideas of one or more art forms. Arts Appreciation credits can cover just about anything that helps your teens appreciate that art. Homeschool high schoolers could earn different Arts Appreciation credits:

  • Music Appreciation
  • Visual Art Appreciation
  • Drama Appreciation, including Drama Camp
  • Dance Appreciation

What else would you add to that list?

Photo used with permission

Gena Mayo is an expert in music credits. That’s why it is so wonderful to have her with us to discuss Music Appreciation credits.  She studied Music Education in college and taught Music in traditional schools for five years. When she and her husband started their family, they decided to homeschool. They now have eight children (two in college, two in high school, two in middle school, two in elementary).

Gena started teaching Music Appreciation in her homeschool co-op. The kids were learning 20th Century History. Gena knew that music was integral to understanding the culture and happenings of that time. She eventually turned that co-op course into an online course which your teens can experience today.

She realized that music is actually important to each time in history so she expanded her course offerings on Music in Our Homeschool to other time periods.

SO how does Gena suggest easily earning a Music Appreciation credit for transcripts?

Let’s go with Music in Our Homeschool because it is self-paced, independent learning for teens (and teens actually like it):

Middle Ages through Classical Era (500-1799 AD)

  • 18 weeks for one semester

Romantic Era Music (1800’s)

  • 36 lessons

20th Century Music

  • 36 lessons

Each course:

  • Can be completed:
    • One lesson per week through year
    • Or two lessons per week through a semester
  • Discusses composers who were influential in each era.
  • Includes inks to videos so teens can see professional performances of each musical piece.
  • Gives suggestions for activities (choose the best-fit activity for your teen’s needs, abilities):
    • Special writing and reading assignments
    • Other ideas

Your homeschool high schoolers could earn up to a full credit for 20th Century or Romantic Era, if they log their hours and listen to all the music.

  • They can pare things down and do brief overviews and simply log hours until they meet state’s requirements for a credit.
  • (It is always good to log hours to keep that paper trail for earning credits. Check out this post for proving your credits mean something on the homeschool transcript.)

Music Appreciation like this can be integrated into your homeschool high schoolers’ History credits (check out our Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode on Combining Credits).

  • If your family or co-op is studying 20th Century History, have your high schoolers do the 20 Century Music Appreciation course. Log the hours for History and/or Music Appreciation.
  • If your family or co-op is studying World History, add Middle Ages through Classical Era Music Appreciation and Romantic Era Music Appreciation. Again, log the hours for History and/or Music Appreciation.

Music Appreciation credits can ignite teens' love of music

What else can be included in Music credits (added to Music Appreciation credit hours or separately listed on the homeschool transcript)?

  • Log hours for these to decide whether your teens earned .25, .5 or 1 credit each.
    • Music Theory
    • Private Music Lessons (Voice, Instrument)
    • Musical Theater
  • Sometimes when teens are exposed to Music Appreciation, they want to explore more musical topics. Sometimes they will carry that into life, such as:
    • Singing or playing instruments in church or community choirs and bands
    • Singing or playing music in groups at college

Ready to get started?

Check out Gena’s many, many courses, including some freebies. (Even moms sign up and take her courses for fun.)

Use the coupon code: 7Sisters

  • for a 20% discount through August 31, 2020!

You can find Gena at:

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Create Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits.

Create Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits. Use integrated-learning style combined credits to build a college-attractive transcript.

Create Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits

One of the ways to build a college-attractive transcript is to develop credits that have what college admissions officers call “sparkle” or “pop”. These are credits that show that your homeschool high schooler has worked on exploring interests and developing talents.

We at 7Sisters help our teens develop some sparkle on their homeschool transcripts by combining credits. (You might call it “integrated learning” or even high-school level unit studies.) Join Vicki today as she give an example of some ways one of her homeschool high schoolers combined credits for a powerful transcript.

Vicki’s youngest son, Seth, has graduated from high school now, but when he was a teen, he was part of his church’s worship team. He played guitar, sang and sometimes, led worship. As adolescents will do, he asked probing questions like:

  • Why do we sing the kinds of songs we sing at our non-denominational church?
  • Why do some churches have different kinds of music? Some have hymns with organ and piano. Some sing a cappella hymns…or chants.
  • What’s the right kind of music?
  • How did we get to this kind of music?

Asking questions is a developmentally appropriate part of adolescents (have your teen take a Human Development course to understand this). So we leaned into his questions by spending several years exploring:

  • His Christian faith
  • The history of Christian music
  • The theory and skills of music

We integrated many of Seth’s high school courses around his Christian Music questions (since these questions defined his interests).

There's not just ONE way to create meaningful credits for a powerful transcript.

We have done this concept of combining credits (or integrated learning) in our other classes.

For instance, I had a goal of developing thinking skills in my homeschool high schoolers, so wanted them to learn Philosophy.

A simple Life Skills elective by combining credits that several of my homeschool high schoolers completed:

Check these other ways we have combined credits with our homeschool high schoolers.

BTW- How did it all turn out? Seth is a college graduate now, works as an elementary school’s music teacher and leads worship at his church.

Join Vicki for an informative episode on Combining Credits. And while you are at it, 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group is a great place to join and ask questions. SO would you join us there, too?

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Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits

What Colleges Like to See from Homeschoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What Colleges Like to See from Homeschoolers.

What Colleges Like to See from Homeschoolers. Homeschool high schoolers who are aiming for college get helpful tips from academic advisors Marilyn and Barb.

What Colleges Like to See from Homeschoolers

What are colleges looking for from homeschoolers? What are the latest tips for successful college applications? Vicki is joined today by 7Sister Marilyn and our good friend, Dr. Barbara Varnell. Both ladies serve as high school advisors for the local homeschool community and have helped hundreds of teens get into college. They are going to share their latest tips!

Things are always changing in the college application process. This are always changing in what makes homeschoolers college attractive. So, let’s jump in with some updates from Barb and Marilyn:

Colleges like to see the Common Application (or their own application)

You have heard of Common Application (we simply call it “Common App”). But just in case you have not heard of it, Common App is an application that a number of colleges accept. High school seniors complete one application that is then sent to several colleges of their choice. Common App makes life much simpler since teens only need to fill out on application instead of an application for each college.

Tip from Marilyn and Barb:

Sometimes it works works better for homeschool high schoolers who do lots of interesting and unique activities to choose the individual colleges’ applications. These college applications often allow teens to highlight their unique offerings better than the Common App. Barb tells the story of her daughter’s application to Pennsylvania State University. Penn State’s application was so much better at allowing her to show off her creative high school extracurriculars. SO, take a look at each college’s application and compare it to the Common App.

Some colleges like to see SRAR

SRAR (Self Reporting Academic Record) is a list of your homeschool high schooler’s courses and the grades for those courses. It is separate from the Common Application and also from the transcript. Not all colleges require the SRAR so check colleges of interest to see their requirements.

In most cases, transcripts will also be required at some point in the admissions process.

Tips from Marilyn and Barb:

  1. Do not wait until senior year to compile a transcript. Start early. Start in 9th grade and add to it yearly. You will be glad you did! (It will save many hours and tears while trying to regather and reconstruct all the records of those busy high school years.)
  2. When you send in the actual transcript, make sure that it accurately lines up with everything on the SRAR. If not, it is possible the acceptance offer a student receives might be rescinded.

Start early! Do not wait until senior year to compile a homeschool transcript.

Some colleges like to see SATs and ACTs

In some parts of the country, the use of SAT and ACT exam scores has changed. For many years, colleges in the north and east often required the SATs, while southern colleges preferred the ACTs. Recently many of our eastern colleges have switched to asking for ACTs instead of SATs. Many colleges are not requiring these entrance exam scores at all (they are not requiring SATs or ACTs).

Tips from Marilyn and Barb:

  1. When your homeschool high schooler takes an SAT or ACT exam, tell them not to choose a college to receive those scores. Wait and see how the scores turn out. There may be times when a teen will be better off not reporting their scores to a college at all.
    1. Vicki remembers a year when score reporting first became optional at a local college. Unfortunately some of the local homeschool community’s brightest and most active teens had SAT scores that were fine (and would have earned them scholarships in other years). In this particular year, their SAT-score competition was fierce and these students lost out in the scholarships. If they had applied without the scores, they might have been eligible for other kinds of scholarships.
    2. Barb tells about a local homeschooler who did not have great ACT scores but was a leader with the local students. This student applied to one college that required the scores and one that did not. The college that required ACT scores gave such small scholarships (based on ACT score) that she could not afford to attend that college. The college that did not require ACTs looked at her transcript and saw her academic and leadership performance and gave her a full-ride scholarship.
  2. If your homeschool high schooler is not a great standardized test taker, make sure you bulk up the transcript with:
    1. High level courses
    2. Extracurriculars (that the student is involved in for two or more years)
    3. Leadership opportunities
    4. Take quirky (unusual) courses
    5. Competitions and awards
    6. Service and community work (this is a great thing to emphasize in the college admissions essay)
    7. For more ideas about a great transcript check
  3. Colleges look for these things because they are looking for the kind of student that will make their college work well (and look good)

Colleges like to see Letters of Recommendation

Marilyn and Barb have found that some colleges and military academies ask for letters of recommendation from teachers who have taught the student specific courses (and within the last two years). If your teen is looking at one of these colleges or military academies, make sure your student takes those subjects in their junior and senior years from someone else:

  • Co-ops
  • Umbrella schools
  • Community college/dual enrollment

Tips from Marilyn and Barb:

  1. College application is a game. You have to play the game. Play the game.
    1. If you do not like a specific college’s game, choose a different college.
  2. Reference letters from academic advisors and teachers make a difference .
  3. Teens need to ask nicely when they ask for a recommendation letter.
  4. Teens should have behaved well in their course, shown integrity and put forth good effort so the teacher has something to write about.
  5. Teens should give a recommendation-letter writer plenty of time (think at least two weeks).
  6. Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode on how to ask for a recommendation letter.

Some colleges like to see a College Application Essay

Start early. Have your teen hammer something out during the summer after junior year based on last year’s Common Application essay questions. Many years there are several new questions to choose from, but they are similar enough year to year that once a basic essay is written, it can be tweaked to match the new year’s questions. (The Common App has recently been keeping the questions the same from one year to the next.)

Tips from Marilyn and Barb:

  1. Start early. Revise often.
  2. For help writing that important essay, download 7SistersHomeschool.com’s guide to writing the college admissions essay.

For more on what colleges are looking for, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview with Associate Provost of Murray State University, Dr. Renae Duncan. Dr. Duncan also joins us for a discussion on how to choose college degrees.

Join Vicki, Marilyn and Barb for solid tips on what colleges like to see from homeschoolers.

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How to Prepare Homeschoolers for NCAA Sports

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Prepare Homeschoolers for NCAA Sports.

How to Prepare Homeschoolers for NCAA Sports. Help your high school athlete prepare well for NCAA eligibility with these tips.

How to Prepare Homeschoolers for NCAA Sports

There are some teens who God has gifted with athletic ability. Some of these teens feel called to play NCAA sports in college. That’s great but is not always as easy as it might seem.

Homeschool teens who would like to play official college sports must start preparing during high school. Sometimes teens and their parents can feel overwhelmed by the process. Where do you even start?

That’s why Vicki asked 7Sister Marilyn and our good friend Barb Varnell t0 join us for a discussion on how to prepare homeschoolers for NCAA sports. (BTW: You’ll also love this interview with Barb’s daughter, Sara, about becoming a veterinarian and this compelling discussion with both of them about whether one can be a creationist and professional scientist at the same time.)

Marilyn and Barb have been homeschool leaders for decades and have brought our homeschool umbrella school‘s athletic program up to status that will prepare eligible teens for NCAA applications. (The program included swimming and soccer.)

Our homeschool umbrella school, Mt. Sophia Academy, was the first homeschool program that was DIAA (Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association) approved. This was a huge undertaking because DIAA wants to make sure that all Delaware athletes are receiving a genuine education. This made our teams able to compete against other DIAA schools and tournaments. This also made our homeschool athletes eligible to apply for NCAA.

Marilyn and our first athletic directors worked diligently with DIAA to make clear what their rigorous standards would look like for homeschoolers in our Mt. Sophia Academy sports programs. These requirements included:

  • Taking a certain number of courses at Mt. Sophia Academy’s group classes (for accountability and oversight purposes)
    • At least 16 credits need to be from approved providers such as umbrella schools or online schools
  • Core courses must be at Level 3 (College Prep) or higher
  • Core course catalogue must be on the umbrella school website (with courses approved by NCAA)
    • Science, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, World Languages
      • With course descriptions with:
        • Scope and sequence
        • Texts and other curricula, specific amount of work required in these
        • Tests
        • Grading
        • Other things as NCAA decides

Marilyn cautions that NCAA applications, just like college applications, are a game. You simply have to play the game by the rules.

Advice from Vicki: If you need your coaches and teachers to be willing to go above and beyond for you (for helping find recruiters and writing letters for you):

  • Be coachable
  • Be team player
  • Practice LOTs
  • Show diligence at practice
  • Help out
  • Start early

Advice from Marilyn:

  • Do summer camp opportunities at a college near you or at a college of interest
  • Have a video created of you playing
  • Start early

Advice from Barb:

  • Do not aim for graduating early, even if that is possible. Especially for boys, they need an extra year of physical development and sports training
  • Start early

Note: There’s not ONE right way to apply to NCAA college sports. A homeschool high schooler can apply individually (not as part of a homeschool umbrella program) to NCAA schools.  Individuals applying to NCAA colleges will need to supply:

Be sure to start in 9th Grade. Check out NCAA website for their requirements for how to prepare homeschoolers for NCAA sports.

Need some encouragement? Listen to this Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview with a Mt Sophia Academy graduate who swam with our umbrella school in homeschool high school. He is now a swimmer at Harvard University.

Want to hear from a homeschool mom who has been through the process successfully with her teens? Our own, Felice Gerwitz, of Vintage Homeschool Moms talks about NCAA on this episode.

What if your homeschool high schooler would like to play sports while they are in college but do not want to play NCAA-level sports? What are some options? Our local homeschool graduates have gone on to play:

  • College club hockey (Check out this interview with 7Sister Kym’s daughter, Kendall. She and her twin, Carlie, played University of Delaware’s Women’s Ice Hockey at club-sports level.)
  • Intramural college sports
  • Church leagues just for fun

Join Vicki, Marilyn and Barb for a encouragement for your teen athlete.

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How to Prepare Homeschoolers for NCAA Sports

Service and Leadership Teams for Homeschool High Schoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Service and Leadership Teams for Homeschool High Schoolers.

Service and Leadership Teams for Homeschool High Schoolers. Build your teens' skills for adulthood and life by developing their volunteer and leadership opportunities. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #ServiceForTeens #LeadershipSkillsForTeens #ServiceAndLeadershpTeam

Service and Leadership Teams for Homeschool High Schoolers

Homeschool high schoolers need a little SALT in their lives. What is SALT? Service and Leadership Teams! Join Kym and Vicki for a helpful and SALTy discussion.

SALT is an acronym for Service and Leadership Team.

All teens need training in how to serve and lead because they will all serve and they will all lead at some time in life:

  • Many will become parents (who both serve AND lead)
  • Some will be a church server or leader
  • Some will be community servers or leaders
  • Some may become politicians who both serve and lead
  • Some will be leaders at work

If homeschool parents can give their homeschool high schoolers training in service and in leadership while their teens are still at home they are equipping them for important parts of adulthood.

Vicki points out that in her work as a mental health counselor, she has found one of the best ways to overcome social anxiety is to do volunteer work. Since many teens experience self-doubt and a little social anxiety, service can help.

Vicki and Kym have been involved in creating leadership and serving training at their local homeschool umbrella school. In fact, at Mt Sophia Academy, the staff models servant leadership and invite the students in on the servant leadership by inviting them to:

Teens naturally hang back. Many of them are nervous (or teen-lazy) and do not naturally volunteer to help out. IF you invite them to join you in doing chores or other service-type opportunities, they will join in. AND what you find is that they feel better about themselves when they finish their time of volunteering.

How do you ask teens to join you in serving?

  • Offer an invitation (guilt free)
  • Do not demand (or even tell them the solution to the clean up problem, just an invitation)
  • Have a curious tone (not bossy tone)
  • Who can do this?
  • Find a way teens can be comfortable

SALT Teams: Service and Leadership Teams for homeschool high schoolers. All teens need training in how to serve and lead because they will all serve and they will all lead at some time in life

Help teens understand that leadership is not just being a *front man*. Leadership IS service, it is being part of something (which is what volunteering is about). Servant leadership helps teens feel they belong.

One of the tenants of health (a good immune system) is a feeling of belongingness. So when you give teens the gift of servant leadership, you are actually helping them be healthier.

Kym addresses the myth that extroverts want to be part of the team and introverts want to be left alone. Extroverts might like to be noisy and the center of attention, but introverts need to be part of things, too (even if they have to go home and recharge afterwards).

There’s not ONE right way to serve or to part of a SALT team!

Kym leads Mt. Sophia Academy’s SALT team. The teens at the umbrella school lead by serving in many ways.

  • Serving by cleaning
  • Serve by using soft skills. Kym (and Vicki, while she was still serving at the umbrella school) trained the homeschool high schoolers on basic social skills:
  • Serving by projects that the teens come up with and run. (Kym trains them on planning by Scheduling Backwards and answering Who, What, When, Where, Why.)
    • Coat drives for students in the inner city
    • Food drives (The church where they meet has a food pantry they like to fill.)
    • Toy drives for children in the local children’s hospital (so the children can take them home with them)
    • Supplies for animal shelters
    • Play on the ad-hoc worship team for umbrella school events

Join Kym and Vicki for this SALTy episode and give your teens the tools they need to be part of a Service and Leadership Team. Also, check out these posts and episode on serving and leadership:

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Service and Leadership Teams for Homeschool High Schoolers

How to Use Movies as Literature Studies

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Use Movies as Literature Studies.

How to Use Movies as Literature Studies. Cinema studies as literature studies is a solid part of Language Arts credit for high school. Here is how to make it work. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #MoviesForLearningLiterature #CinemaStudiesForLiteratureLearning #MoviesForLanguageArts

How to Use Movies as Literature Studies

Teens love movies and there are so many excellent movies out there. Why not make movies part of your homeschool high schoolers’ Language Arts credits?

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a lively discussion about one of Sabrina’s favorite topics. Sabrina is a movie buff from way back and is 7SistersHomeschool.com’s expert in turning good movies into good literature studies.

How can that be legit?

First off, teens can’t just watch movies and count then as books. BUT they can count them as some of their books, IF they interact with the movies in a Language Arts way.

Many states and even countries, like Canada, include studying movies as part of Literature. They do this by including literature themes into the study of the movies.

How can you use movies as literature studies?

*One way is to: Read the book, then watch the movie, then compare and contrast. (Or listen to an audiobook, then watch the movie.)

Sabrina and Vicki point out they like Benedict Cumberbatch reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis or poetry of all kinds. (Check out Vicki’s Poetry Pinterest Board.)

You can use a movie along with literature analysis of the movie because:

  • Movies are stories.
  • Just like books are stories.
  • Stories are stories.

Whether it is a movie or a book, there is a story being told.

Just listening to an audiobook is not cheating, watching a story being told in movie form isn’t cheating. As Sabrina says: If you use literary analysis skills to study the movie, it works just as well as studying a book.

This is a benefit for students who read slowly or have dyslexia. Sometimes reading a book takes all their energy and they have little left for literary analysis. In watching movies to practice literary analysis, they have more energy to learn these skills.

You can’t just do this willy-nilly and expect it to be a learning experience. Literary analysis is more than *what you liked about this movie*.

How can you turn a good movie into a good literary analysis experience?

Well, you could start with 7SistersHomeschool.com’s Cinema Studies for Literature Learning (since Sabrina created them and did the work for you).

Like all 7Sisters’ Literature Study Guides, Sabrina chooses one or two literary themes per movie and really delves into them. This gives homeschool high schoolers an wonderful opportunity to gain skill and comprehension about those themes. (This method differs from many programs that will try to pull all the literary themes out of a book or movie and totally overwhelm many high schoolers. Then, they hate the experience, rather than having learned from it.)

7Sisters’ Cinema Studies Guides never try to kill the movie!

How to use 7Sisters’ Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guides:

  • Before watching the movie, read the introduction to the study guide. It will:
    • Give an overview of the movie
    • Give some background information about the author or story
    • Explain the one or two themes to watch for in the movie
  • As they watch the movie:
    • They watch for the literature themes that they learned about in the introduction to the guide.
    • Take some notes as you watch
  • Wait a few days, watch the movies again
  • After the movie:
    • They answer questions or writing prompts that help them learn the literature analysis topics that are important to that story
    • Be sure on writing prompts to follow good writing skills:
      • First draft
      • Rewrites
  • For students who struggle with writing, this can be done in a discussion format

Movies as  literature studies are not only good for students with learning struggles. Average teens and gifted teens pick up skills for making inferences and connections, as well as reenforcing literature themes when they learn from movies with a good study guide.

To help with this, 7Sisters’ Cinema Studies for Literature Learning includes special activities especially for interested or gifted teens to earn an Honors credit. (This looks good on a homeschool transcript, BTW.)

When you set the goal for your homeschool high schoolers to gain some skills to understand good stories and why, they can apply these skills in other settings and make connections for further learning on their own. That’s what good literary analysis is about. That is why it is good to learn that skill in small chunks like we do with 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guides.

Your homeschool high schoolers are going to have a wonderful time when you learn how to use movies as literature studies. For more information on using movies as literature studies check out this HSHSP Episode.

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How to Use Movies as Literature Studies

How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers.

How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers. Tips for helping teens find their motivation for life preparation and success. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #MotivatingTeens #HowToMotivateTeens #ConnieAlbers

How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

Most of us homeschool moms would rather motivate than manage our homeschool high schoolers. Motivating teens is an important topic.  That is why we asked one of our favorite motivational speakers, Connie Albers, to talk about ways to be successful motivator!

As you know, Connie Albers is the author of Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy. She is a homeschool mom of five (all the kids have graduated now) and leader, as well as speaker and interviewee on popular podcasts such as Focus on the Family (catch an interview with her on Focus on the Family at this link).

Connie joined Sabrina and Vicki for a delightful discussion about how to motivate teens.

Connie Albers

Connie Albers
Photo used with permission.

Connie’s five adult children all have had different temperaments and learning styles. She learned a lot about how to work joyfully with teens through all her experiences with them. As she finished her homeschool adventures with the last graduation, Connie felt led by God to share what she has learned by going to her homeschooling sisters with her hands stretched out and help answer the questions:

  • Is it worth it?
  • Can I make it?
  • How do I actually do it?

(That’s SOOO kindred spirit with 7Sisters! That’s why we LOVE Connie!)

Connie believes every homeschool high schooler needs a picture of what could possibly be for them:

  • What are their future possibilities?
  • What can they contribute to society and to their families?
  • What can they do to make themselves to feel good about themselves? (As you have probably noticed, some teens may have a little too much confidence, but most of them are wrestling with the questions of: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? What is special about me? Why do I feel bad about myself?)

The excited thing is that we homeschool moms can learn to motivate our teens by:

  • Studying our teens
  • Spitting out what we see in a way that builds their confidence and gives them glimmers of hope about what they can do if they are willing to put the time and effort into cultivating their talents and gifts

Connie has found that what teens need for motivation is loving communication:

Do not belittle a teen’s struggle by saying things like:

  • Oh, it’s easy…
  • Oh, it’s simple all you have to do is…

This actually makes our teens feel dumb. It’s only easy to us because we have already mastered the tasks. To our homeschool high schoolers much of what they are learning is hard. Higher academics levels are difficult. Teens have to not only learn but to learn they must become:

  • Masters of time management
  • Developed in higher levels of thinking

Instead, say things like:

  • What about this is giving you a hard time?
  • What part of this don’t you understand?
  • How can I explain this in a different way?
  • How about we take a break from this and do something different for a little while?

All of these give our teens the idea that we value, understand and respect them.

Teens: We have to strengthen their strengths and teach them to manage their weaknesses. Connie Albers on the Homeschool HighSchool Podcast #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeSchoolHighSchool #FindingTeenStrengths #ConnieAlbers

This leads to the idea that when we motivate our teens, we have to understand what their strengths are. Some homeschool high schoolers are good at math but not everyone is good at math. Other teens are gifted in other areas.

We have to strengthen their strengths and teach them to manage their weaknesses.

So, some teens are not good at algebra. That is not their strength, but they do need to know how to budget, go to the grocery store, do their taxes, how to invest and borrow. Manage the weakness by specializing in the practical.

So as parent, you can say to your homeschool high schoolers: I see this in you, point out the strengths and help to build them. It is like laying a stone path for them: stone by stone you build the path, so that they can continue to take the next path.

Then if they get a B on an algebra test, you do not have to get upset because are not trying to turn a weakness into a strength.

Teens become motivated when the realize they don’t have to be good at everything, they have to be great at a few things.

This increases teens confidence. Confidence is motivating! When teens are motived they are less likely to be resistant and bitter toward their parents.

As a homeschool mom you have the ability to customize education to help your teens to build their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.

How can you help teens build those strengths?

  • Find mentors who are interested in the same time.
  • Give teens time to daydream and create.
  • Give them downtime.
  • Find courses and volunteer work that give them a taste of that strength

God has made each teen creative, innovative problem-solvers. But often by the time teens reach high school, we have driven this out of them because we have things they need to accomplish and checklists to fulfill. We haven’t given them time to foster the creativity and innovation. Don’t fall for that. Give your teens time.

Remember: in ten years eighty percent of the current jobs will not exist. People who are creative and adapt quickly, who aren’t afraid to try new things and picture new things will become problem solvers for the changing economy and job markets.

Help homeschool high schoolers to develop flexibility while they develop interests by giving them extra options!

  • Ask your homeschool high schoolers, “I invite you to consider…” to keep options open and flexible.
  • Then outline the “Why” of why they might want to consider that idea.

Communication and strength-building helps to motive teens!

Connect with Connie Albers:

When you see her talk at conferences, be sure you say “Hi!”, she loves that!

Join Connie, Sabrina and Vick for an inspiring and encouraging discussion on how to motivate teens.

For more on discovering and exploring your homeschool high schoolers’ interests:

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How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers