Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan.

Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan

Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan

Vicki is so excited to talk in this episode with Amy Sloan of Humility and Doxology, because she is going to bless us with two things!

  1. The opportunity to listen to a second generation homeschooler! This is so much fun for us old timers: What a treat to listen to the wisdom radiating from another generation of homeschooling moms (especially homeschooling moms who were homeschooled themselves)!
  2. The opportunity to glean some wisdom on how to make the most of homeschooling multiple kids without losing the teens. As you may have noticed when homeschool moms are busy with the intensive hands-on learning with the youngers while the teens are doing more independent work. While this is good and right, it can be easy to feel like family learning time gets lost. No fear: Amy’s been through it as a homeschooler and a homeschooling mom of multiple kids (ages 6-16). She has ideas!
  3. BTW- Amy’s husband is a second generation homeschooler, himself!
Amy Sloan Photo used by permission

Amy Sloan
Photo used by permission

Wisdom from Amy: What did she like about homeschooling so much that she decided to homeschool her own kids?

With kids aged six through sixteen, she wanted her youngers to have shared family memories of “family learning or circle time” even though her teens naturally are more active in things outside the home.

This is all the more true as she sees graduation approaching for a couple of her homeschoolers.

So she calls the family together in the morning. Together they share:

She does remember that her teens have many demands of the their time and energy so she is careful not to overwhelm them. She spends some extra circle time with the youngers after the high schoolers are dismissed. (She also remembers that teens sometimes have demands or needs that precludes their participation on some days.)

More details on Amy’s circle time with all the kids:

  • Memorizing longer passages of Scripture (like a chapter or two, a couple of verses at a time, memorized by reading together responsively. For instance:
    • Select passages from Romans (two to six verses per chapter)
    • Sermon on the Mount
    • Favorite Psalms
    • Hebrews 11
  • Memorizing Shakespeare passages
  • Favorite books vary by seasons of life
    • Historical novels
    • Random and fun books such as:
      • King Arthur stories
      • Fairy tales
    • Serious inspiration like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

What kind of buy-in do teenagers need when communicating about family learning?

  • Keep a positive relationship
  • Keep communication open to discussing teen needs
  • Help them pick poetry and speeches that will interest them

What advice, having been homeschooled herself, does Amy have for homeschooling moms of teens?

Amy has found that learning poetry, speeches and classic books together, helps older teens learn more deeply as they work alongside and with their siblings.

Connect with Amy at HumilityandDoxology.com (download her freebie A Year of Memory Work) for lots of memorization ideas along with 100 favorite poems.

(Also, if your family is working on poetry memorization, download this freebie of illustrated classic poems, set to music for memorization.)

Don’t forget to check out her Homeschool Conversations podcast.

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What Military Recruiters are Looking for in Homeschoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What Military Recruiters are Looking for in Homeschoolers.

What Military Recruiters are Looking for in Homeschoolers

What Military Recruiters are Looking for in Homeschoolers

One popular career choice with homeschooling graduates is the military. When Vicki served for eighteen years as an upperclassmen advisor for the local homeschool community, she saw a number of teens prepare for and go into the military- some through the academies, some through ROTC, and some joined right after high school graduation. (There’s not ONE right way to serve in the military, just like there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!)

In this week’s episode, Vicki is joined by Nathan from the Homeschool Project Podcast. He works as a military recruiter and has worked with homeschoolers to help them explore military careers.

Nathan’s family started homeschooling when their kids were in the public school system and they realized that life was just too busy and crazy and never enough family time. They began researching how to start homeschooling and have never looked back.

Nathan has been in the military for twelve years. (After college, he worked in law enforcement for a while, then joined the military- so he can tell the benefits of a military career after having seen “both sides” of careers.)

There are a number of branches in the United States military:

  • Air Force
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Coast Guard
  • Marine Corp
  • Space Force

Here’s some food for thought from Nathan:

  • With the high cost of college education these days, the military is a good choice for financing that degree.
    • The GI Bill will pay for a college education at a number of colleges, along with a housing stipend…AND you can pass your GI Bill along to your kids, if you do not need it.
    • While you are in the military, the government offers tuition assistance for college courses.
  • Please don’t think of a military career as a last resort.
    • Last result is a terrible way to look at a career. The military is not a “last option”.
    • Instead, look at a military career as part of your Career Exploration.
  • The military can be a twenty year career. There is lots of room for growth.
  • The military offers leadership training and growth.
    • This looks great on a resume after a military career.
  • There are hundreds of kinds of careers in the military that offer real-world experience. Here are just a few:
    • Construction
    • Mechanics
    • Doctors and other medical personnel
    • Technical people
    • And MANY more
    • Employers are looking for real-world experience!
  • Military service offers a rite of passage
    • It gives young people a true sense of accomplishment. (For instance, military training is hard, so when they graduate, the feel SO accomplished.)

For homeschool high schoolers there are three paths to joining the military

If you have homeschool high schooler, it is a NOW is good time to discuss these three paths if they are thinking about military careers.

Path 1: Enlistment

Enlisted service members must be 17 years old, with parental consent (or 18 years old, on your own). Juniors and seniors can be thinking about enlistment. Begin the process during your senior year. Nathan recommends:

  • Researching each branch of the military: what jobs are available, requirements for joining, etc. (You might have an interest you think is not available in the military- but you might be surprised!)
  • Interview a veteran. (Call the local Veterans Administration- they will connect you or the local VFW.) Ask about the “goods and bads” of military life.
  • Talk to a recruiter. (You will not get tricked into joining or coerced into joining.) Bring a list of questions.
    • When you go to see the recruiter, they will prescreen you to see if you are qualified for military service. This will include:
      • If you have a criminal background or drug use.
      • If you have a medical background that precludes service.
      • They will run a background check and credit check.
      • After there is approval from the prescreen, your teen will take the ASVAB test. (It is a career interest/ability test designed specifically for the military.)
      • Your teen will have a physical with a military doctor.
      • They will check to see if you can do pushups, sit ups and can run.
  • If you are qualified, you decide if you want to join.
  • If you decide to join, you will begin to discuss jobs based on your ASVAB results. (You can prep for the ASVAB, if you wish.)
  • You teen could service as little as four years or a full twenty years.

Path 2: Officer Candidate School

Officer Candidate School requires a college degree and approval from a panel.

Path 3: Academy

The service academies are universities where students graduate as military officers and are automatically put into the fleet of their branch of the military’s service. This is the most difficult path and should be started in their freshman year of high school. The academies look at a student’s academic rigor, volunteer activities, athletic endeavors, and leadership experiences.

The military services are looking for homeschoolers

For homeschoolers here are some specific things military recruiters will looking for:

The military services are looking for homeschoolers. Nathan reports that homeschoolers get some of the highest scores on the ASVAB. They are often polite, have done good research and have a plan about what they want out of the military.

Feel free to ask Nathan and his wife more about military life and military families. Homeschool Project Podcast has an episode with even more details about military life, check it out.

And check out our interview with Gretchen Mahoney about preparing teens for military careers.

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How to Handle Shakespeare for Homeschool Co-ops

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Handle Shakespeare for Homeschool Co-ops.

Teaching Shakespeare in Homeschool Co-op

 

How to Handle Shakespeare for Homeschool Co-ops

Sabrina and Vicki love Shakespeare and they love teaching Shakespeare for their homeschool co-ops. They have had so many fun experiences with their high schoolers as the teens learned about Shakespeare and a few of his most famous plays.

So what are some ways to handle Shakespeare for your homeschool co-op?

Keep it fun! Don’t scare the teens off by taking his works too seriously!

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school and there’s not ONE right way to teach Shakespeare.

Show the teens the timelessness of some of his characters. (Some of the character types are folks you can run into today. Look for Sabrina’s Literature Study Guides for Shakespeare to help with this.) You can start with this FREEBIE on timeless expressions that Shakespeare gave us.

Also, check out this episode with Sabrina that has more ideas on teaching Shakespeare.

Traditional Academic Co-op (Let’s call it Sylvester)

The Sylvester co-op feels comfortable with textbooks, scope and sequences, syllabi, and grading assignments with rubrics. When approaching teaching Shakespeare, Sylvester co-op teachers will plan for a formal atmosphere. They will spend a lot of time translating Elizabethan English into modern English. They will teach iambic pentameter with counting syllables and finding accents in lines of words. They will discuss rhyming couplets. They might even do some copywork with this FREEIE from our friend, Kat Patrick.

This is all fine and dandy! (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to teach Shakespeare!) But Sylvester co-op, here’s word of advice: You might be tempted to ONLY do those things. Sabrina recommends that Sylvester gets a little loose and have fun. How to do that?

Ask yourselves: Why has Shakespeare remained so popular all these years? Now you can answer yourselves: Because it’s good storytelling with good characters.

While there is strange language, important form and structure, there is lots of interesting stuff to discuss in co-op. Take for instance: Discuss Much Ado About Nothing. It is a Shakespearian rom-com! Anyone who has seen a modern romance-comedy can find points of connection back to Much Ado About Nothing!

Organic, Bordering on Unschooling Co-op (Let’s call it Beatrice)

The Beatrice co-op might be a bit all over the place. They might be allowing a go-with-the-flow, find-a-passage-to-read co-op. They will probably be acting out favorite scenes in a light-hearted manner.

That is all groovy! (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to teach Shakespeare!) But Beatrice co-op, here’s a word of advice: You might be tempted to just have fun with interacting with favorite scenes. However, Sabrina recommends spending a little time explaining why Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter.

You know why? Because Shakespeare’s plays were produced by a company (SO many plays for one company to remember, line after line after line). But what Shakespeare knew (like many of his playwright peers) was that the rhythm patters of Shakespeare’s plays made heavy memorization of lines possible (and quicker). That’s because the rhythm of iambic pentameter is similar to English speech patterns and the musicality of the rhythm aids the memorization.

A fun activity for a co-op like Beatrice is to take a conversation the students just had over lunch, write it down, and then change it to iambic pentameter!

The Somewhere-in-between Co-op (Let’s call it Bob)

The Bob co-op is so moderate, a bit of fun, bit of strenuous academics. You have a lot going on at your co-op. You could choose a couple of scenes for creating a readers theater production.

Readers theater is a bit more than just a reading around the room- that’s fun, though, try it sometime. Rather, you will cast students as specific characters. They will read over and study them ahead of time, they read the script as part of the performance.

Usually characters wear black with one special piece that helps identify the character- like the “fool” character wearing a jester’s hat. This piece can be anachronistic, too- like a sea captain wearing a modern sailor hat.

Readers theater works great on Zoom, btw!

I guess our co-ops were a bit Sylvester-sh, Bob-ish AND Beatrice-ish because our homeschool high schoolers did all these activities with their favorite teacher, Sabrina!

SO, how do you handle Shakespeare for homeschool c0-ops?

One way is to use 7SistersHomeschool’s soon-to-be-released Literature Study Guides for Shakespeare! Sabrina has created these guides based on the activities she did with our teens. The guides will include:

  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Mid-Summer Night’s Dream
  • Hamlet
  • King Lear

Like all 7Sisters study guides, they will be no-busywork, don’t-kill-the-play. They will focus on the timelessness of the plays and characters, a little bit on form and structure, and links to good productions of Shakespeare’s plays for the teens to watch.

Join Vicki and Sabrina (and the Bard) for an inspirational discussion! For more on teaching Shakespeare, try some ideas from our friend, Kat Patrick.

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Homeschool Mom: Take a Break, Interview with Latonya Moore

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschool Mom: Take a Break, Interview with Latonya Moore.

Homeschool Mom: Take a Break, Interview with Latonya Moore

Our friend, Latonya Moore from Joy in the Ordinary, joins us once more for a chat full of encouragement. Latonya is a familiar friend on Homeschool Highschool Podcast with episodes on getting middle schoolers ready for high school and being an African American homeschooling family.

Latonya is one of the most encouraging and gracious people we know. Although she is not a chatty person, when she says something it is definitely worth hearing. That’s why Vicki wanted to talk to her about an important topic from one of Latonya’s latest Joy in the Ordinary Podcast episodes: Taking a Break.

Since we last talked to Latonya, she and her daughter were in a serious car accident. It has been a long and difficult recovery for them. Through this, Latonya has learned so much on surviving difficult times. As Latonya says, all these ups and downs “make us who we are”. (Vicki points out what a healthy attitude that is: Trials and good times make us who we are rather than we are victims in trials.)

In Vicki’s work as a counselor, she has found that traumas, such as car accidents, affect spirit, soul and body in a person. When she asked Latonya what was bringing her through her in all those areas of recovery, Latonya shared:

  • Her daily prayer: Latonya has adapted Joshua 1:9 as a prayer for herself and for her family:
    • God has commanded us: We are strong and courageous. We are not afraid; we are not discouraged, for the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.
  • Staying in touch with her own story.
    • Because Latonya’s life has not always followed a “traditional” path, she has learned to watch God work in her and open doors for her. She reminds herself that she can relax and be encouraged that things will work out okay through God. God knows her situation and he is working.
  • Stay flexible.
    • Latonya found that rigidity would not help her succeed. She educates homeschoolers in the way that works at each phases of life (good times and hard times).
    • Vicki notes that this is a marvelous example of growth mindset. (Here’s a post with resources to develop a growth mindset.)
  • Be open to new things.
    • Latonya found that during her recovery, online courses have been enormously helpful in keeping her daughters on task academically. The digital world of classes:
    • “Crates” that come in the mail also helped keep the fun in schooling. Her daughters love these crates (even though they are aimed for younger folks, they still have fun with them):
  • Stay open to God’s open doors.
    • For instance: As Latonya was using Outschool for courses with her daughters, one thing led to another, Latonya started teaching on Outschool. She sent a video of her online class to the Outschool team and they hired her as a consultant for them and the other teaching teams. Now she is an administrator on staff. In return for her service to the organization, Latonya has been blessed: she shares about the way the Outschool staff have, in turn, supported her through her trials and good times.
  • Stay open to the ways God wants to use her at the moment.
    • She has adjusted her rhythms  for her podcast, blog and Facebook group.
  • Hold onto faith and family.
    • Latonya as found strength in her gratitude for her faith and her family. She has also found comfort and explaining her needs to God and her family. Through the trial of the recovery process, Latonya and family have drawn closer than ever.

One of Vicki’s favorite podcast episodes from Joy in the Ordinary is Take a Break. She asked Latonya to explain what taking a break means to her:

When we take a break, we give our minds and bodies a chance to rest and apply.

  • Taking a break allows us to listen to others and think creatively.
  • It allows you to take a nap or just do something light, if you need to do so, check your calendar (self-care is SO important). It allows time to ask, “What do I need to let go of?”
  • Beware of “I can’t because…” (especially if fear of what other folks think is keep ing you from taking a break).
  • Take stock of the privileges you have and take advantage of them.
  • Don’t talk yourself out of taking a break when you need it.

After we take a break, we have more energy to be present and available in the rest of life! Great lessons learned from great trial in her life; and good inspiration for us all.

Connect with Latonya Moore at:

Join Vicki and Latonya for advice to take a break!

Also check out more encouragement for homeschool moms with this interview with Misty Bailey.

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Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

When Vicki was in graduate school for counseling, she specialized Human Development. She loved it so much because as a mom, she was watching Human Development develop in her own kids! After all Human Development is the study of how people grown and change from womb to old age.

So, when her kids started to homeschool high school, she wanted them to have a Human Development course for their homeschool transcripts. She felt like it would be great life preparation, since it is likely that they would interact with people the rest of their lives and understand why people at different ages do different things would be helpful. It would help them understand their baby brother learning object permanence or their grandfather who always told the same stories over and over.

Unfortunately for Vicki, there was no high school Human Development text available to homeschool high schoolers, especially one from a Christian worldview. SO, what to do? In typical 7SistersHomeschool fashion, Vicki wrote her own text! Also in typical 7SistersHomeschool fashion, she wrote 7Sisters Human Development from a Christian Worldview text to cover the necessary scope and sequence but with no-busywork and readable (and enjoyable) by an average teen. Then, in typical 7SistersHomeschool fashion, she included instructions for leveling up to Honors credit in a meaningful way for the college-bound teens.

What is Human Development in Homeschool High School?

The study of the physical, cognitive, emotional and social changes that people experience as they grow from womb to old age.

For instance, adolescents go through a cognitive process called metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to think about thinking. Metacognitive teens think about who they are, what they feel, what the believe and why things are what they are. When teens learn from their Human Development course that the metacognitive process they are experiencing is natural and normal, they can enjoy the process!

Also, Human Development learn their two-year-old siblings (or the kids they are babysitting) are stomping their feet and saying, “NO!” (Toddlers are going through the early stages of finding out they are individuals. They find out where their personhood “stops” by testing out “No!”

They also learn about why their parents push them to accomplish stuff (middle-aged parents are in the “generative stage”- needing to be productive).

Is Human Development a good course for homeschool co-op?

It sure is! Human Development can be a blast! Not only do homeschool high schoolers have the chance to learn and discuss what they are learning and experiencing in their own families, but there are so many fun things that can be done in the co-op setting.

For instance, homeschool co-ops can:

  • Invite moms to bring their babies to class and discuss their pregnancies, delivery process (a favorite story of our local teens is our 7Sister Kym telling the story about finding out she was having twins when the twins were born!)
  • Watch the babies and see how they interact and guess what they are learning and doing.
  • Invite toddlers to class, provide them homemade clay or blocks and watch them play.
  • Invite kindergarteners to class and do fun exercises together like walking on chalk lines or hop on one foot. Give them crayons and watch them draw.
  • Invite grandparents to come and talk about their lives: adventures, parenting their own kids, what they are doing now.

Homeschool co-ops are also a wonderful place to allow teens to present projects they have done related to things that interest them about Human Development.

Hey, did you know that we will provide a homeschool co-op discount for Human Development from a Christian Worldview and all our texts?

Also, you can find lesson plans for co-op teachers and a suggested syllabus for your homeschool co-op classes.

Is 7SistersHomeschool’s Human Development from a Christian Worldview a preachy text?

No way! Teens do not need to be preached at! However, the idea that God created people is implied through the text.

Join Vicki for an informative chat about her favorite subject: Human Development!

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FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School.

FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School

You Can Do It: FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School

It’s summer break for many homeschool high schoolers! However, we can STILL be logging credits over the summer- in a DRAMATIC way. Drama camp kind of dramatic, that is.

Why Drama Camp for homeschool high school?

For almost two decades, Sister Sabrina ran a drama camp for the local homeschool high schoolers. Most of the 7Sisters’ teens participated (along with dozens of other local homeschoolers)! They all agreed that Drama Camp weeks were the weeks that “Life has meaning”!

In other words, Drama Camp, helped our teens:

  • Develop confidence
  • Learn perspective taking
  • Appreciate their imaginations
  • Build flexibility and resiliency skills
  • Experience true teamwork
  • Stretch what they think they can do and bloom while doing so
  • Learn to “reapply” (deodorant, that it)

What is Drama Camp for homeschool high school?

First thing you need to know about Drama Camp: YOU can do this! Don’t worry about production value and perfection. Put your effort into the bonding of the teens, teamwork and sharing the play. (You can use Sabrina’s user-friendly guide: How to Direct Drama Camp.)

Drama camp is a week or two where teens participate in a dramatic production. Drama camps are different than a community theater production of a famous play in that:

  • There are no audition to get into Drama Camp (they will audition for various parts)
  • Everyone receives a speaking role that fits them (shy or anxious teens will have one- or two-line roles)
  • Drama camp does not have the goals of developing professional actors, simply to have a lovely and fun dramatic experience
  • No sets! Keep it simple!
  • Have an experience with people and characters who can inspire their lives
  • The goal is to have fun, have meaning, have a dramatic experience

Drama camp for homeschool high school format:

  • Drama Camp is “Asset-based community development”
    • We looked at who we had and local available (assets), and then developed the production (adjusted scripts- parts and lines) based on that. The script would be altered over the course of the first week (scripts are living documents).
    • BTW- Need a script for your drama camp! You can find the drama camp scripts (and a how-to guide complete with videos):
  • One week or two weeks long (ours started out with one week but expanded to two weeks because the teens demanded it)
  • Teens work together Mondays through Friday from 9-4 until performance day
    • This is a tight turn around- from having the very first read-through of the play on the first day to the presentation on Saturday two weeks later
  • First day is read through
    • Simply sit in a circle and read line by line around the circle so everyone hears the story for the first time. When the line-read comes to a shy person, they are allowed to say “pass” and that is okay.
    • After lunch, teens get to pick a character they would like to do. Informal, low key auditions take place
    • Then rehearse, rehearse (every day!)
  • Every day at the end of the day, teens write their mail (encouraging notes to their peers about things they noticed that person did well or tried hard that day)
    • Sabrina read over the notes (just to make sure they are okay) and puts them in an envelope for each teen
    • In the morning, first thing, she passed out the mail
    • This built important social skills:
      • Noticing good in others
      • Sharing encouragement
      • Team work
  • Several times per day, the teens would reapply!
    • Sabrina kept labeled deodorants for each teens. Periodically, Sister Kym (who assisted Sabrina on the camps) would call out “Reapply!” Everyone reapplied. It normalized self-care AND made the room smell better.
  • Have a lunch break daily
  • On the Friday of the first performance, they would not only bring lunch but would bring a pillow and blanket. After lunch they would take a rest. Then they would be ready for the performance that day.
  • Sometimes Sabrina would give awards at the end (such as Vicki’s #4 kid had just had his appendix removed and received the reward for the cast member with the fewest body parts)!

Try a Drama Camp with your teens. Email Sabrina if you have questions: Sabrina@7SistersHomeschool.com. While you wait, listen into our discussion on FUN Drama Camps. Also, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast with more drama camp how-tos and this episode with interviews on the set with Drama Camp players.

 

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Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits.

Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

We want homeschool high schoolers to LIKE PSYCH! That’s why Kym and Vicki are talking about engaging activities to enrich Psychology credits in this episode! When you take an engaging text and add some engaging activities you can liven up (and level up) the Psychology credit. This makes the course more memorable and inspiring for teens.

We would like teens to like Psychology if they go into the field (Vicki is always praying for more young people to go into the mental health field- there simply are not enough counselors out there). We would like teens to like Psychology if they do not go into the field. (A good Psychology text can give teens helpful life skills- and lots of interesting information to talk about.)

Vicki originally wrote 7SistersHomeschool’s Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective decades ago when her oldest teens were homeschooling high school. She wanted them to have a Psychology text, but at that time, there were none. She also wanted a Psychology text that would be informed by Christian worldview but NOT preachy. SO she had to create it herself based on her training and work as a licensed professional counselor.

Since that time both Vicki and Kym have taught the course in homeschool co-ops and group classes at their local homeschool umbrella school. They added additional lesson plans based on the chapter topics in the text (with help from fellow homeschool mom and counselor, Gretchen Mahoney). They also added a freebie suggested syllabus that can be adapted for various homeschooling needs.

That’s not to mention all the stuff that Kym does with her umbrella school classes. (She is too busy having fun to write those down!)

So, they decided to share these engaging activities to enrich Psychology credits in this week’s Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode!

Here are some ideas for doing cool things to help teens LIKE PSYCH!

Idea #1: Teach in any order you please, in any way you please

Engaging activities help teens like Psych!

Ideas for learning about the brain

  • Make a model of the brain using homemade dough (using guidelines in the text)
  • Watch a video of a dissection of the human brain (Kym likes it but only offers this to students with a strong constitutin)
  • Watch an interactive brain video or download an interactive brain app.

Ideas for perception

  • Do the optical illusions and look more up online
  • If you are in the Philadelphia region, go to the Franklin Institute exhibits about the brain and perceptions OR if you are not in the area, check out their teaching resources
  • Discuss branding in advertisements
  • Spend a while experiencing different odors and note emotional reactions

Ideas for genetics

  • Discuss nature versus nurture in your own family
  • Make some fun Punnet squares based on family traits (think: Does ADHD run in the family? Does anxiety run in the family? Does color blindness run in the family?
  • Look up the work of seeing eye dogs (visit one if you can)

Ideas for learning

  • Discuss how the concept of Pavlov’s dogs have been integrated into American culture
  • Watch clips of classic television shows where classic conditioning occurs
    • Here’s a link to Kym’s favorite YouTube clips from Big Bang Theory https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=social+learning+theory+big+bang+theory+

Ideas of the history of Psychology

  • Have students create a short presentation on a topic from those chapters
  • Discuss which of Freud’s concepts are in the common vocabulary

Ideas for communication

  • Discuss non-verbals (and how reading non-verbals are affected by Covid-related mask wearing)
  • Play games where you act out emotions with non-verbals and have others guess which emotions
  • Practice saying sentences with the emphasis on different words and note the difference of connotation

Ideas for needs and motivation

  • Draw your own Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Discuss how the pandemic affected where various people groups experienced the Hierarchy of Needs
  • Discuss how being low on the hierarchy might affect school success
  • Write a paper about what you would take if you were going to be stranded alone on an island
  • Watch the movie: Castaway

Ideas for personality

Ideas for sleep

  • Keep a sleep log for a week (what they did before they went to bed, what were they doing and thinking about as they went to sleep, the quality and length of sleep)
  • Watch videos on how sleep deprivation affects reaction time in driving or test taking (see the Lesson Plans)
  • Discuss how sleep apnea affects quality of sleep

Ideas for abnormal psych

  • Remind students not to diagnose themselves or anything else and to NOT stress about this chapter
  • Discuss abnormal psych in a way that is not judgmental or fear-mongering
  • Don’t dwell here but tell teens we want to concentrate on the good things we can do

Ideas for psychological health and helping others/crisis intervention

Ideas for psychological testing

  • Discuss which tests teens have experienced and which ones they might experience soon (like SAT or ACT)
  • Discuss reliability and validity of tests

Ideas for Christian counseling and careers in counseling

Ideas for understanding research and statistics

Kym quoted her father (who worked for FBI): Figures don’t lie but liars figure!

  • Discuss critical thinking and validity of information. Find examples of poor and good research and statistics use

What would you add to our list? Add your ideas in the comments and join Kym and Vicki for this discussion on engaging activities to enrich psychology credits!

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Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School.

Psychological First Aid for Homeschool High Schoolers

Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School

The process of adolescence can be a challenge for teens: hormones, metacognition and challenging questions, figuring out friendships. Just like we need bandages and antibiotic in the medicine cabinet, it is good to have some first aid tools for the broken hearts and stressors of teen mental health.

In fact, this kind of first aid can (and should, perhaps) be practiced daily! Kym is teaching Psychology at our local homeschool umbrella school’s group classes this year. This topic comes up and the teens are finding it helpful, so we thought we would share it today.

Here are some tips on daily psychological first aid for homeschool high schoolers!

Psychological First Aid #1: Self-care

God made us whole beings: spirit, soul and body. Sometimes when we feel stressed or down, it can help just to do more basic physical care:

  • Water
    • Our brain cells are mostly water. Water is the transport mechanism within the cell. Our nerve cells make our neurotransmitters that run all our body’s thinking and doing. They need the water to move the neurotransmitter production through the brain cell. So if teens are low on water, their nerve cells can’t do their work efficiently.
  • Fruits and vegetables
    • Our neurotransmitters are in part made from the micronutrients in our food. So, if we want our neurotransmitter production to really work, we need those building blocks. Take, for instance, one of the necessary “switches” along the neurotransmitter process is made from folic acid. Or, for instance, the healthy bacteria in our gut give off by-products that travel up to the brain and give the signal to the brain to feel better. When we eat good probiotics (as in yogurt or kimchi) it helps us feel better!
  • Exercises
    • When teens move their muscles, their nerves create dopamine. That’s a neurotransmitter that helps with mood and focus. (Have teens experiment with doing a little exercise before they have to concentrate on a tough school lesson.)
  • Good sleep
    • Whether teens like it or not, they need sleep (so do we moms)! Our brain cells bathe in spinal fluid while we sleep to keep our brain healthy and focused
  • Breathing

Idea: Invite teens to keep a log for a week on these basic self-care items. Have them daily record how they are feeling emotionally and physically each day also.

Self-care is good for body and soul. Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Psychological First Aid #2: Variety

Too much same, same, same creates anxiety. Too much screen time causes anxiety. Try thes:

  • 20/20/20
    • Every twenty minutes, look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. This gives eyes a break and a bit of variety for the brain.
  • Look at something green.
    • Plants and trees have some anxiety reducing hormones, but just looking at a tree helps the body calm itself. (Have you heard that Japanese and Korean cultures sometimes practice “tree bathing”? They take meditative walks where there are trees. The pheromones from the trees and the trees’ beauty help keep the walkers feeling healthier.)
  • Laugh
    • A merry heart does good like a medicine. When we laugh, our bodies create endorphins which help us feel better emotionally and help build our immune system. Ask your teen to make sure they are having a good daily laugh!
  • Social contact
    • Family is important but teens also need other human beings. In person is nice but digital (if safe) is okay. Being with other humans is necessary for anxiety management.

Psychological First Aid #3: Podcast Episodes

Check out these episodes with more ideas for staying healthy psychologically:

 

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Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush.

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

Gap years are becoming a more and more popular idea. Our new friend, Jonathan Brush, offered to talk about this concept with us.

Jonathan Brush is president and CEO of Unbound, an organization that develops young Christian leaders, and Ascend, a gap-year program. Jonathan himself is a homeschool graduate and homeschools his kids. Two of those have graduated, one is in high school, with more to follow. He’s “been there and has been there”!

Jonathan was a pioneer as a homeschooler: he was the first homeschool graduate to attend his college. Then he went on to work for the college as director of admissions for eleven years. Then he worked for several year for College Plus (some of us old timers remember those early days of online college opportunities). College Plus became Unbound and is thriving in the new format!

Jonathan Brush BeUnbound.com

Jonathan Brush Photo used with permission

Unbound’s Ascend gap-year program is timely. With the expense of college, it is wise to have future plans sorted out at least somewhat before they launch into that commitment. Jonathan points out that high schoolers are expected to have answers for questions about the future that they don’t even know how to ask yet: What’s your future career? What’s your major? (With the implication that if they don’t know the answers, they are sunk.)

This is not not the best way to handle career decision making. Teens often can’t know their future yet, because the job market is so ever-changing that there will be careers in a few years that don’t even exist now.

Gap year is a logical response to this. Gap year is a great way to stop and move from an “I have to have the answers paradigm” to an “I am asking questions” paradigm. Let me ask questions and move through a process of growth and discovery. Gap years give teens an opportunity for that.

Jonathan also points out that higher education has changed over the last few years. Traditionally, teens went immediately to college, lived in dorms, graduated in four years. These days, there are so many formats and timelines for college, that young people have choices that best fits their needs. Delaying one year will not negatively impact homeschool graduates.

Some questions homeschool high schoolers can ask about gap year:

If your homeschool graduate would like to take a gap year, use the time to move through this list of questions.

  • Do I need a college degree?
    • If I can’t immediately answer “yes”, then don’t start getting one yet. If you answer “no”, don’t get guilted or pressured into tackling a college degree. You can always get a degree later if you find it is necessary.
  • How can I begin an exercise of curiosity and answer these questions:
    • What would I like to learn about?
    • What kinds of things to I want to do?
    • What’s the best way to do that?
  • Gap years can be years of travel, study, work, missions, exploration (or programs like Ascend).

Gap year is an intentional process of discovery!- Jonathan Brush on Homeschool Highschool Podcast

The key for a successful gap year is to be deliberate!

Keep working on clarifying the questions you want to ask and follow up with plans for exploration.

Here’s a plan:

Use a “deciding forward” model.

This is a simple way to learn into exploration and decision making.

  • Step 1: Decide on a goal, not a fancy goal, just something simple that can be measured as success (it can be a small success goal or a larger success goal.)
  • Step 2: Decide on a first step and carry it out
  • Step 3: Lock in your learning: Reflect on what you learned in that first step
  • Step 4: Decide if you want to keep on pursuing this goal or change goals (this is the purpose of gap year- exploration! Deciding not to pursue something is as important as deciding to pursue something.)
  • Step 5: Decide on a new goal or a new next step. Keep moving!

Some things homeschool graduates have done for gap year:

  • Travel or take a trek
  • Earn some general education or exploring-interests college credits
  • Make some money and learn to manage money well
  • Explore careers of different kinds
  • Ministry, volunteer work or missions
  • Unbound program

Just remember to live deliberately! Think about what you want to do next. Follow the process and repeat as often as necessary. It is a way to intentionally live forward.

Gap year is an intentional process of discovery!

What is the role of parents in gap years?

Use a coaching model:

Keep asking the questions of the above model with your gap year homeschool graduates. (Don’t give answers, rather, help them think through their own answers. Keep asking questions.)

Unbound organization

Unbound is a projects-based education company. There’s a place for hard-core academics but not for all students. Jonathan has found that many young people need real skills more than they need the on-campus college degree. Students at Unbound work on real projects that really prepare them for the workforce. They also work on team projects to gain the team-member skills necessary for today’s job market. Teens work on leadership roles in various team capacities as well. Graduates of Unbound earn a certification as well as employable skills.

Unbound is a mostly online program. There are three live events (all expenses are paid to go to the events) as well. This is a variable-length program (one-three years).

There is also opportunity to work on transferrable college credit for those who want or need this.

There are networking and employment opportunities at “graduation” from the program.

This makes a phenomenal gap year program.

You can find Jonathan Brush on Facebook, Instagram, the Be Unbound podcast and his Unbound Youtube Channel.

Join Vicki and Jonathan for an enlightening discussion on gap years.

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Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

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

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What works for parents?

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

What are your constraints?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are three basic ways to earn a credit:

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

There's not ONE right kind of curriculum!

Then break your four year goals into yearly goals

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

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

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

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

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

Choose your curriculum with these in mind:

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

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

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

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

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How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School