Why 7SistersHomeschool Curriculum is DA BOMB

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Why 7SistersHomeschool Curriculum is DA BOMB!

Why 7SistersHomeschool Curriculum is DA BOMB. Adaptable, affordable, interesting curriculum for homeschool high school. #HomeschoolHighSchool #homeschoolcurriculum

Why 7SistersHomeschool Curriculum is DA BOMB

Homeschooling high school can feel intimidating but these can be the best years yet! You can do it! Your 7Sisters are here to help!

Today Sabrina, Vicki and Kym today shamelessly share reasons why 7SistersHomeschool curriculum is awesome for teens (even for the youngers- we have some things for them, too). The Sisters homeschooled together for decades educating their dozens of children in co-ops and group classes at their umbrella school. As we saw our youngest getting ready to graduate, we realized we had a Titus 2 calling to share what we have learned with younger homeschooling moms.

That’s why when you visit 7SistersHomeschool.com, it might be hard to tell if we are bloggers or curriculum publishers. We are Titus 2 homeschool moms who are sharing all the things we have learned in home educating our teens and helping hundreds of other homeschooling high schoolers graduate and move onto college, military, missions or career. You will find all of our advice in blogs and right here on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

Let’s go WAY back for a little 7Sisters history: Back in the early days of homeschooling, there was no such thing as homeschool curriculum. We had to beg and cajole publishers to sell to us. (In fact, 7Sisters Sara’s father became one of the first homeschool curriculum vendors back in those days. Anyway, in order for our homeschoolers to have curriculum that met their needs, we had to develop much of our own.

That turned out to be pretty cool, because each set of teens we used our curriculum with let us know what they thought. They (and their peers) vetted the curriculum! We have very opinionated kids and we have kids of all kinds of abilities, needs, interests and goals.

Shaping young people to be awesomely fabulous adults.

So what are the things that are distinctive about 7SistersHomeschool curriculum (and make it DA BOMB)?

Friendly

The tone of each text, literature study guide, writing guide or elementary-aged activity guide is accessible and friendly. It is written in the tone and manner that we talked to our co-op and group classes homeschoolers. We avoided the “formal tone” of textbooks because our teens told us they wanted to be talked to like they were respectable human beings.

No-busywork

Have you ever noticed that many textbooks have the same number of pages for every chapter? It seemed to our teens that in making page numbers standardized, texts became filled with busywork or useless data. Teens want to know what is important enough to remember but not busywork or redundant information.

Take for instance, our Literature Study Guides vary tremendously from guide to guide. That’s because the themes and necessary information varies tremendously. We concentrate on one or two important themes and only inferential (not redundant comprehension) questions. Teens actually need to learn the concepts that make each book matter. No worries about busywork and wasted time. So, The Invisible Man Literature Study Guide has more concept development and fewer questions. The Chronicles of Narnia Literature Study Guides need lots of meaty questions to get an adult-level thinking from the children’s stories.

Real-life learning

7Sisters Literature Guides, Writing Guides and texts contain real-life principles and skills. For instance, Financial Literacy trains teens to manage their finances well through life. Even Philosophy in Four Questions trains teens to think and be aware of the ideas running the world. Our underlying heart in all our curriculum is to shape the hearts of soon-to-be adults.

Character-shaping

All of 7SistersHomeschool curriculum is written by Christians. While we aim to be never-preachy, there is a worldview embedded in each text that should encourage teens’ hearts toward character development. But we don’t want to pound teens in the head with Scripture, lest they become irritated. They will have the worldview gently and respectfully in our materials. We want to help each teen to fulfill the unique character goals that God holds for them.

Levelable

7SistersHomeschool curriculum is adaptable to different levels of rigor based on the abilities, needs, interests and goals of each teen. Our materials are written in average or college prep levels for reading and interacting. For teens who need high powered Honors credits, we include meaningful activities for them to add so their transcripts can record rigor. In this manner, all the teens in a family, co-op or group class could read the same Literature book or do the same Health text (or any text) but at the best level of rigor for them. For more on levels, check out these Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes on how to use levels on a transcript and what are levels?

Green

All our curriculum is digital. Everything is a downloadable pdf (and much of it is editable so teens can do all of it on their computers). Many of our teens tell us that saving the environment is important to them (so no paper in these books) AND digital is fun. (Also, if they are taking their text to co-op class, the book can go with them on their phone or laptop.)

However, our copyright notice allows printing for teens who need that, too. Because there’s not ONE right way to use 7SistersHomeschool.com’s materials.

It works for independent study or is wonderful for co-ops and group classes

The texts and guides are quite adaptable for groups. We will even give groups a discount, have many suggested syllabi, and some texts have teacher lesson plans (Psychology and Human Development).

The most important distinctive of 7SistersHomeschool is we genuinely like teens!

Download some 7Sisters curriculum (start with some freebies) and join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for a fun discussion!

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Shaping young people to be awesomely fabulous adults.

Why 7SistersHomeschool Curriculum is DA BOMB

College Safety and Fun for Homeschool Graduates, Interview with Seth and Caroline Tillman

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Safety and Fun for Homeschool Graduates, Interview with Seth and Caroline Tillman.

College Safety and Fun for Homeschool Graduates, Interview with Seth and Caroline Tillman #homeschoolToCollege #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast

College Safety and Fun for Homeschool Graduates

Vicki’s five homeschool high schoolers are all graduated from college now, even her youngest, Seth and his newlywed wife, Caroline. Seth and Caroline loved their years of homeschooling. College was a big change for them both but they loved it and made the most of their experiences there by getting involved in college activities and mentoring relationships. They also made lots of friends.

From the many experiences they or their friends had, Seth and Caroline offered to share some safety tips for homeschool high schoolers who will head off to college (or anywhere in the big, wide world).

Seth and Caroline Tillman

Seth and Caroline Tillman, photo used with permission

So here are Seth and Caroline’s tips for college safety and fun for homeschool graduates

Seth is a elementary music education teacher in a local public school. Caroline first worked in the retirement industry but recently transferred to the University of Delaware as academic advisor and assistant to the UD Health Professions program. Both of them have had the adventure of spending part of their year teaching or advising remotely. (Check out Seth’s videos for his music students.) They believe in paying the things they have learned forward to current homeschoolers to help them prepare for college or employment situations.

Safety Tip #1: Walk in a group

As often as you can, especially at night. If you will be late at the library, call a friend and talk to a friend while walking and use “Find My Friend” app on your phone. (Predatory people tend to prey on lone individuals, so groups are best when possible.)

Safety Tip #2: Lock your dorm or apartment doors when you leave

You would think this is not something you really need to tell teens. But Caroline shared that she saw the poor outcome of roommates or friends not locking doors a number of times. (Keep a key on a hair tie if you find keychains are too cumbersome.)

Safety Tip #3: Ride share advice

Ask the driver what YOUR name is. Make sure they and their car look like the descriptions you were told when ordering the ride. Also look for the lit sign in the windshield of the car (Uber or Lyft have signs). If you can, ride with a friend on the ordered ride.

Safety Tip #4: If you are walking around with listening to music or podcasts, leave one earbud out

This makes you more aware of your environment, especially for crossing roads but also for unusual things that might need your attention.

Safety Tip #5: Use the share your location app on your phone

But only share that with close, safe friends. It is not a social media app!

Safety Tip #6: Have a friend who leaves their phone on sound at night for you (and you for them)

If you have car trouble, locked out of their apartment or are in an uncomfortable situation, phoning a friend can be a life saver.

Safety Tip #7: When going on college tours what kind of campus safety measures are in place at the school.

For example, at University of Delaware there are safety blue lights regularly around the campus for calling for help. It is so important for schools to be considering safety of their students!

Safety Tip #8: When going to an event, make sure that at least one or two of your group will stand up for you

Let there be an understanding that if things get uncomfortable, you can say to your friend, “I need to go” and they will actually leave with you.

Teach safety skills as well as academic skills for your college bound teen.

Okay, now for some uncomfortable topics. Sometimes we homeschool parents try so hard to shelter our teens, that we find it extremely difficult to discuss “adult” topics with our young adults as they leave for college. (As Seth says, your kids are not kids anymore when they leave for college, they are adults…young adults but adults, so need to be prepared for an “adult” world.) Naivety will not work for new adults.

Safety Tip #9: When encountering alcohol, if you see someone heavily intoxicated, please do not leave that person alone

Be aware of your surroundings. If you see someone who is not okay, call the university police or 911. If it is someone you know and you feel safe, help them get back to their dorm. When calling 911, remember it’s better to have folks mad at you about it than have someone die from alcohol poisoning. Also, there is usually a medical amnesty policy that protects you from getting in trouble when you call 911.

Safety Tip #10: Know what alcohol poisoning looks like

From Mayo Clinic’s website: confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing, irregular breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature, passing out and cannot be wakened.

Seth and Caroline graduated from a state college. Seth points out that alcohol is common in state colleges, so they were not surprised to see these kinds of things. He also has lots of friends who went to small private or Christian colleges. In the smaller schools, these things happen, too (but mostly in secret).

Safety Tip #11: Monitor what you are drinking

This is difficult to talk about but important. No matter where you are whether restaurants, parties or get togethers. Vicki jumped in on this to add that, as a counselor who works with college students, she has worked with a number young women who have been “roofied” (a date rape drug slipped into their drink) while at a public gathering. So:

  • Keep a lid on what you are drinking when possible
  • If you go to the bathroom, have a trustworthy friend watch your drink
  • If you start to feel bad and feel like you are “blacking out” and you do not have a trustworthy friend with you but are at a public place, ask staff for help
  • If you feel frightened, call 911

Safety Tip #12: If you are choosing to drink (or have friends that choose to drink) alcohol, understand that not all alcohols are alike

Some are stronger than others. Learn about it ahead of time.

Safety Tip #13: Offer rides if you have a car

Of course, keep boundaries (some people might think you are an endless free ride) and remember that you can offer but not everyone feels comfortable accepting rides.

Safety Tip #14: Offer your dorm to a safe friend if they are stuck on campus late in the evening

Of course, only if you know they are safe friends

Safety Tip #15: Know what harassment and consent look like

If you see someone who appears uncomfortable, (and you are safe) walk up to the person who looks uncomfortable and talk right to that person. If you do not feel comfortable, feel free to call 911. Don’t just walk away, err on the side of keeping people safe.

If you are in an uncomfortable situation and do not feel safe, it is okay to lie in order to stay safe, as in: “Sorry, I can’t go with you, I have to meet my roommate here.” Or give out a fake phone number. Remember that actually if you find you are making someone feel uncomfortable, stop and walk away.

Safety Tip #16: Take a self-defense class

It is a genuinely valuable investment of time

Safety Tip #17: Parents: teach your male sons to be respectful

Teach them to be gentlemen. Teach them no means no. Teach them the value of all God’s creation. Teach them good manners.

NOW before you feel terrified for your young adults (and also we aren’t advocating for any unhealthy behaviors, we just don’t want young adults to be naive), here are some GOOD things that happens in college:

  • Going out to eat with classmates so you get to know them better and enjoy class together more.
  • Inviting classmates to study groups at the library (especially those in your major)
  • Joining a healthy fraternity and sorority (not all of those organizations are about partying and wild living, rather some are about service or building their major)
  • Joining the university choir
  • Joining an interest group or club
  • Getting an on-campus job (Caroline worked in the college creamery, Seth worked in events)
  • For more tips on making friends in college, check out this post

Join Vicki, Seth and Caroline Tillman for an empowering discussion. Also check out the college success tips interview with their friend, Kendall Smythe.

Watch one of Seth’s digital classes for his elementary music students (his school was online last fall due to COVID-19).

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College Safety and Fun for Homeschool Graduates

Advice for Moms of New Homeschool High Schoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Advice for Moms of New Homeschool High Schoolers.

Advice for Moms of New Homeschool High Schoolers. Homeschool moms give tips for high school success. #HomeschoolHighSchool

Advice for Moms of New Homeschool High Schoolers

Know someone who is just starting to homeschool high school? Pass this episode along to them! Sabrina, Vicki and Kym have lots of encouraging tips for success and enjoying the high school years with your teens.

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym are part of the 7SistersHomeschool team. We love to pass along the things we learned in homeschooling our dozens of teens for dozens of years, along with decades of advising and teaching our local homeschool high schoolers in group classes and co-ops. Titus 2 in the Bible tells us that the “older women should help along the younger women” (that’s the 7Sisters version, anyway). So that’s what we are about at 7SistersHomeschool.com and that’s what the Homeschool Highschool Podcast is all about.

So with our love for you all, here is advice for moms of new homeschool high schoolers!

There are so many things we want our new homeschool high school moms to know but here are some things we have learned the hard way or the easy way (from the moms who mentored us).

The first and most important tip we have for you is this: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!

There are so many teens and they are all unique. There are so many different families and they are unique. We are free to adapt curriculum and goals to fit our teens’ and family’s needs!

There is no place for mom-shaming in homeschooling high school!

So do not allow any too-enthusiastic (or too-judgmental) mom to tell you that you MUST use a certain curriculum or teach a certain way.

There is no such thing as a Pinterest-perfect home or Pinterest-perfect homeschool.

As our friend, Colleen Kessler of  the Raising Lifelong Learners podcast says, “every day you must juggle a lot of balls, so every day you need to wake up and decide which balls you need to drop today.”

There’s no such thing as a Pinterest-perfect homeschool…because there are all these people involved and people are not perfect! Which leads to the next bit of advice:

Have grace for yourself, your teens and your homeschool community.

There will be things that happen that are not so pretty… they may be funny… or sometimes not. Maybe you and yours will get on each other’s last nerve. Maybe your science experiment might almost burn the house down (not that Vicki is mentioning herself or anyone like that…ahem…). Maybe you are all exhausted. That is where grace comes in. Accept God’s grace and give it to each other.

There's no such thing as a Pinterest-perfect homeschool

If you are feeling stressed and start to feel guilty that you are not a good homeschooling high school mom, remember this bit of advice: Motherhood is all about guilt.

It is not awful to feel guilty, it is simply part of motherhood. So turn it over to God and allow his grace and his growth to work in you and yours. (BTW- Have you had a chance to have some fun with different types of homeschooling high school moms? Check out our episode on Heavy Equipment Motherhood.)

So never underestimate the power of a deep breath.

Give yourself permission to stop, breathe, recalibrate. Stress is going to hit. The goal is not about avoiding stress, discomfort and pain as a parent. The road is bumpy. The battle is enormous, but it is SO worth it. It is SOOO worth it.

As Kym says, “Homeschooling high school is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

You have lots of time to learn how to do this homeschool high school thing. Your teens have lots of time to learn it, too. Be good to each other. Understand you might doubt yourself. We all know teens tend to doubt themselves. This is a long project but you all can do it!

Help teens lean into exploring, discovering and developing the plans and callings that God has given them.

Homeschool high school years are the best years for helping teens glimpse God’s mind for them. 

Career Exploration is one of the most important courses for teens.

Teens can explore and discover the ideas God has for them. If teens don’t have a clue about their future, start with this episode. If they have some settled interests, check out this episode. And check out 7Sisters’ Career Exploration Bundle.

Build a meaningful transcript with courses that build interests and skills.

Have your teens learn with textbooks and non-traditional courses. (Don’t forget to document!) Remember, all of life is education!

What courses do your teens need?

We have that here for you in this post.

How do you teach what you don’t know?

You can’t be an expert on everything. We want to help our teens become independent learners, so here are some ideas:

Know the answer to the eternal, infernal question: What about socialization?

First off, let’s be clear about the definition: Socialization means to pass on the values, norms and traditions from one generation to the next. Homeschooling, we believe, is a wonderful format for that! But also, our teens are not hiding out in the basement for four years. Check out this post and this HSHSP episode.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle

Homeschooling high school will change your life and will begin to be a special, unique lifestyle for you. It will affect your entire life rhythm.

How do you choose curriculum?

Check out this post from 7Sisters and this one from our friend, Samantha at Learn In Color. AND:

Last advice:

  • Vicki: You CAN do this!
  • Kym: Enjoy the journey. It will be good. AND pray, first, last and always!
  • Sabrina: You be you!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for encouraging advice for moms of new homeschool high schoolers.

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our iTunes page.
  2. IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in iTunes
  3. This will take you to iTunes and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
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PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
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Advice for Moms of New Homeschool High Schoolers

Dealing with Tough Topics in American Literature

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Dealing with Tough Topics in American Literature.

Dealing with Tough Topics in American Literature. How to have uncomfortable discussions.

 

Dealing with Tough Topics in American Literature

American Literature is a staple of high school Language Arts. Teens are at an excellent age to wrestle with some of the difficult concepts and topics that arise through American Lit readings. That is wonderful and tough on moms because sometimes we, ourselves, feel uncomfortable with some of the topics. So how do you deal with these uncomfortable topics?

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym join forces today for a comfortable chat about uncomfortable topics in American Literature.

Things that can be distracting and uncomfortable in literature can actually be enriching when dealt with wisely. (This is timely because, if your teens are aware of the turmoil in the world around them, you can use some of these ideas to start discussions that help them grow and become healthy adults.)

FYI: We are basing our discussion on a post that Sabrina wrote a while back but that homeschool moms have often told us has been helpful to them.

So how do you deal with tough topics in American Literature (and all Lit courses)?

To start with, when teens read something that is uncomfortable to them, most of them find it impossible to ignore. (As adults, we often have developed a skills of ignoring or shelving things that are uncomfortable so that we can go on and enjoy the story.)

Often teens will stop and say things like, “I don’t like that!”, “Why is that in the book?”, “What does that mean?”

As Vicki points out, Sabrina had lots of experience dealing with these questions, with her own teens but especially in our local homeschool group classes. When teens asked pointed questions like those, Sabrina had a way of making space for them, while maintaining a healthy atmosphere. Here are her tips:

Moms, start with acting skills and non-verbals:

  • Say inside your head, “I will not freak out! I will not freak out.”
  • Keep a slight smile on your face.
  • Sit in a relaxed posture.
  • Before you respond, take a deep breath. (Never underestimate the power of a deep breath.)
  • Validate that teen for having the courage for bringing up the question.
    • “I’m glad you were brave enough to bring that up. How did you feel when you read that?”
    • “I’m glad you brought that up, I’m glad you notice you are uncomfortable.”
  • Then, be honest, “To tell the truth, this passage makes me uncomfortable too…” (Do not jump into a lecture here, just allow a pause.)
  • Often, when teens are validated and adults are calm and honest about how they feel, the young people calm down and hostility tends to fade. (Often when teens talk in a hostile way, they are doing do so because they are afraid they will be shut down or criticized for their thoughts or feelings.
    • They will present their discomfort as anger (maybe even anger at you).
    • If you enter into that discomfort with them and say, “I’m really uncomfortable with that too, let’s see what we can learn from it…”, teens will often say, “Oh, she’s on my side. She understands what I’m feeling and thinking.”

Sabrina never rushed into correcting teens for their viewpoints. For us moms, when we are uncomfortable (or want to spare our teens the “pain of thinking incorrectly”, we will rush into “fixing their thoughts or viewpoints”.

Avoid telling teens the right way to think immediately. Unfortunately, if we slip into this, teens will feel unheard and disrespected. Instead, find the common ground of acknowledging the discomfort. This makes room for healthy and productive discussion and growth (maybe for teens and moms alike).

Discussing tough topics? Never underestimate the power of a deep breath.

Next, afford the same respect you and your teens gave each other to the characters in the story

  • Ask, “When this character was faced with this situation, what do you think was going on in his mind? What did he see as his options? Put yourself in his shoes…what are your options?”
  • Then sit quietly and let them think it through. Suggest they imagine being an actor trying to climb into their character.
    • This is very valuable because teens (and many adults) think that things should be a certain way, but when they put themselves into another person’s (character’s) experience, and try to imagine and see what that person went through, it helps them evaluate things from a more gracious perspective.
    • This doesn’t mean that they will (or should) agree with the choices the character makes, but at least, they have climbed into another’s perspective and then learned something about understanding people in context. (This is an important adulting skill!)
  • This ties to literary elements (understanding characters’ motivations, needs, personalities, setting and context), so you are preparing teens for their SAT’s and being better literature studies.
    • It helps teens also ask themselves, “How will this book affect me?”
    • This also helps teens break free from their natural “adolescent egocentrism” (see Human Development).
  • Follow up with, “How would Jesus have handled this character or situation?” “What would Jesus do or not do?” “How would He respond?” (Avoid preaching or cheesiness, help them think of the character/personality of Jesus.)
  • Remember, asking teens what they think and why rather than jumping in quickly to tell them what to think, will lead to growth for them. Often, after talking for a while, teens will look at you and ask what YOU think.
  • Teach teens to read with their brain and their spirit turned on!
    • If teens just answer, “I don’t know…”, start with comprehension (what was happening, why, what changed), then have them perspective take.

Teach teens to read with their brain and their spirit turned on!

Then teach teens to apply this skill to real life

Teach them to sit before responding, relax and breathe and look for opportunities for perspective taking.

Kym has some wise advice:

There are a lot of things that are going on around us now that– regardless of our perspective on things–it can be really hard to learn to just be uncomfortable. And yet, sometimes, that’s where that’s where our greatest learning it. Even if all we’re doing is learning that somebody else that I know deals with discomfort even more that I do…They’ve had to learn to do this all the time. It’s a big, powerful lesson.

Like Sabrina’s teaching ideas? You’ll find her kinds of questions and literary themes in American Literature Study Guides.

What makes 7Sisters Literature Study guides unique? They concentrate on growth in inferential skills while learning critical thinking skills, in a no-busywork and friendly format.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for a comfortably uncomfortable discussion on dealing with tough topics in American Literature.

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our iTunes page.
  2. IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in iTunes
  3. This will take you to iTunes and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
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Dealing with Tough Topics in American Literature

Conversational Homeschooling

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Conversational Homeschooling.

Conversational Homeschooling. Tips for making learning stick while creating a good relationship with your teen.

Conversational Homeschooling

Sabrina is here today to share ideas about conversational homeschooling. While Sabrina made up the phrase, it fits Sabrina’s style of homeschooling her high schoolers. You will be SO encouraged by Sabrina’s ideas for teaching teens.

What is conversational homeschooling?

Real learning for teens often occurs during conversations. Have you ever noticed that? Moments of true insight will occur during a formal or even, informal chat with your homeschool high schoolers. (Actually, the same thing is true for adults, we bet you have noticed.)

This episode is aimed at:

  • New homeschool high school moms
  • Current homeschool high school moms
  • All homeschool moms, actually

During homeschool high school, moms often become less a teacher and more a resource manager as our teens gain independent learning skills:

These are all important and vital for learning but we sometimes loose some of the fun of homeschooling. However, we can remember that really cool learning happens in discussions.

You may have noticed this yourself. Think about when you have been learning a new hobby or skill; or studying a new topic in Bible study. You will probably have studied and practiced and feel pretty good about what you are learning. However, if you have coffee with a friend and tell her about what you are doing, it will truly cement the information.

Think: Data in, learning starts—learning happens when the data (words) come out!

As teens articulate what they are learning, it becomes much more "theirs"!

Where can I use conversational homeschooling?

There are many situations where conversational homeschooling will increase your teens’ educational success.

Organizing Research Paper Material

The idea of conversational homeschooling is useful for helping teens with their first research papers. Many teens feel overwhelmed by the process. They need help organizing their data and capturing it in a proper research-paper format. Study guides can really help ease them through the process but discussions with mom can be invaluable in helping teens organize their thoughts about what they are learning.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Over the years as many of us 7Sisters have taught research writing in homeschool co-ops and group classes, we have noticed the challenge teens have in organizing their thoughts. Teens who cannot organize their data and thoughts sometimes fall into the problem of plagiarism. They cannot figure out what to say and where and sometimes end up cutting and pasting from a useful website. (Here are some tips to help teens avoid plagiarism.)

Moms can help with this! They can hold check-ins with their teens and allow then to talk about the things they are learning and then talk through outlining their papers. If carried on in a friendly, chatty manner, teens can come away feeling confident in what they have learned and more organized for their writing.

Writing Transition Sentences and Editing Papers

Transitional sentences are needed for MLA research papers and editing skills are needed for all research papers. Help your homeschool high schoolers by holding a conversation about transition sentences and editing. Give them some good examples and

  • Ask, “What makes this a good transition sentence?”
  • Then have them figure it out themselves and tell you what they think.
  • Did you check your paper using your rubric?

Learning about Literature

Another place conversational homeschooling can be useful is in Literature. Try having a conversation with your teen about the characters or themes in the books they are reading. One easy way to facilitate this is to look through their Literature Study Guides and find some inferential questions (questions that do not have a single “right” answer, but instead, ask the student to think things through, perspective take and infer meaning from information given).

Have a discussion together about those inferential questions. This helps teens to truly grow in their critical thinking skills!

Conversational homeschooling for Science or History

  • Ask you teen to explain something that has captured their interest about what they are learning?
  • Ask them what was confusing?
  • Ask them what made them want to explore more about the topic?

When is it a good time to practice conversational homeschooling

  • The dinner table, if everyone is sitting around the table together. (Sometimes not so easy for busy teens.)
  • Car rides. It is totally amazing how much teens will chat in the car (if you tell them, no earbuds for this trip). Have some questions in your mind to ask your teens about their various courses.
  • One on one time, anytime.

Be sure to avoid slipping into correcting and criticizing if you see faulty thinking. Instead ask questions such as:

  • Hmmm. Tell me more about that.
  • Interesting thought. What brought you to that conclusion?

Good questions for conversational homeschooling:

  • What is your favorite thing you worked on this week?
  • What surprised or interested you about this?

As teens articulate what they are learning, it becomes much more “theirs”!

Remember: You will never say to yourself: Boy, I am really upset I wasted that fifteen minutes in the car talking with my teen about their research paper.

Also remember: there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! Find your own favorite ways to homeschool high school.

Join Sabrina for an inspirational chat about conversational homeschooling!

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Conversational Homeschooling

Record Keeping for Homeschool High School

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Record Keeping for Homeschool High School.

Record Keeping for Homeschool High School. How do figure out a style of record keeping that actually works for you and your teen? 7Sisters has help!

Record Keeping for Homeschool High School

Sabrina is wants to share about record keeping with our many 7th Sisters today. (Remember, HSHSP is brought to you by 7SistersHomeschool.com. There are 6 of us Sisters Sabrina, Vicki, Kym, Marilyn, Sara and Allison. Who’s the 7th Sister? YOU are!)

Homeschooling high school requires a lot of record keeping. This is something that many of us 7Sisters do not love. But we must keep our paper trails so that we graduate our homeschool high schoolers with a solid backup or proof of what they have done. This might be as simple as a transcript, but often we want to have more records to back up the transcript, just in case.

Remember: there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! So there’s not ONE right way to do record keeping. You get to decide what is best for you, your teens and their future.

So what kind of record keeping for homeschool high school do YOU need?

There are almost as many ways of record keeping as there are homeschooling families. If will help if you think about these two ideas:

You need a record keeping system that is sustainable.

  • Some homeschool moms love planners! Planners often help keeping track of all your homeschool “stuff”.
  • Some homeschool moms find planners unsustainable, but they can keep work at track of papers.
  • Some homeschool moms will find they must learn the skill of keeping track of paperwork.

You need a record-keeping system that fits your personal style.

  • You cannot just copy someone else, no matter how impressive. You have to be you.
  • God made you to be a unique person and that is good in His eyes. (He made your teens to be unique, also.) You can develop a record-keeping system that works in your unique situation.

Ask yourself these questions:

These questions will help you figure out why kinds of record keeping will work for you and your family.

  • Who are you?
  • What are the things that make you, you?
  • What is important to you?
  • How do you currently manage your:
    • Calendar
      • Family schedule
        • Medical appointments
        • Family times together
    • Household management schedule
      • Meal planning and prep
      • Shopping
      • Home and car mainenance
    • Church schedule
    • Homeschooling schedule
    • Community schedule
    • Work schedule
  • Does mom do everything or are the responsibilities spread throughout the household? Or is your family free-roam and things get done when they get done?
  • These all make up the feel and structure of your unique family and homeschool. What works for your family, works for your family.

There’s not ONE right way to run a family. A good system for you and your family is the one that you finds works best for you all.

The way you go after success in your family and homeschool needs to be a reflection of the individuals in your home.

No matter what you decide to use for record keeping, please keep records.

In the end, you need to be able to assure that the credits earned by your homeschool high schooler mean something. You need to be able to assure yourself or an employer or college that a credit earned was a credit earned. That the papers were written and the books were read and the hours for Carnegie credits happened.

We want to maintain our integrity as homeschooling parents for the sake of our homeschool high schoolers’ future. Record keeping in some form helps with that.

Remember: The way you go after success in your family and homeschool needs to be a reflection of the individuals in your home.

  • If you have a loose-style/free-roam/organic family, think about having a place in the house that finished work lands:
    • A box
    • A table top in a room (not in the kitchen, hopefully)
    • Set a day once a week or month where you grade and file papers and tests, add up logged hours
    • Place them in some sort of file system (portfolio, crate)
  • If you enjoy more discipline and organization:
    • Think about creating a crate per high schooler with hanging folders for each subject.
    • Regularly go through the crate and grade tests and papers and update adding logged hours
  • Or use your planner to keep papers that need grading, then add them to a file.

IF you fall off your record keeping for homeschool high school, do not criticize yourself.

  • God is a God of grace. Forgive yourself and work on getting back on track.

If you want your teens involved (which we do recommend), there are a couple of ways to handle this process:

Join Sabrina for an encouraging discussion about record keeping for homeschool high school. Also check out our interview on record keeping with our friend, Ann Karako.

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Record Keeping for Homeschool High School

COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School.

COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School. How to start homeschooling high school during pandemic.

COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School

This week Sabrina has encouragement and resources to help you and your family get through the COVID-19 pandemic. She is especially interested in helping out those who are new to homeschooling high school, either after homeschooling middle school OR if you are a “suddenly homeschooler” due to the quarantines.

Please share this episode with friends and colleagues who will be starting homeschooling high school in the fall.

How do you get started homeschooling high school during COVID-19?

Homeschooling high school can look different ways:

  • For those of you who are “unintentionally homeschooling” due to the affects of COVID-19, but are still registered with a local high school. The responsibility for instruction will continue to rest on the school. Your student will simply follow the scheduled online classes provided by the school and follow the assignments given. However, you parents will probably find that you are supervising more of the educational process than before the quarantines.
  • If you are homeschooling high school, (whether a homeschool middle school graduate or a new to homeschooling family), you now have something you did not have much of in the past: choice! This might sound intimidating but do not worry. Sabrina will share four practical ways to make these curriculum and format choices!

Here’s a bit of encouragement: Homeschooling high school is just an extension of the parenting you already do. You now get to extend your family’s interests, values, and goals into a truly purposeful education for your teen.

So what are Sabrina’s four steps for homeschooling high school during COVID-19?

First off, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, so do not allow anyone to pressure you that you MUST follow their “philosophy”. For COVID-19 and homeschooling high school, give yourself permission to explore and learn about how your teens learn best. Here are four steps for handling COVID-19 and homeschooling high school.

Here's a bit of encouragement: Homeschooling high school is just an extension of the parenting you already do.

Step 1: Find out about your state (or international location’s) homeschool laws. Find out the requirements for high school graduation.

The easiest way to do this is check out Homeschool Legal Defense’s website. This is a marvelous organization that, decades ago, helped make homeschooling legal in all states. (We always suggest joining HSLDA. There are lots of worthwhile benefits. (BTW- We are not affiliates, just thankful for the work they do.)

Step 2: Check out your local homeschool community.

There are homeschoolers almost everywhere!

  • Check for Facebook groups for your community or state. (Hey, join our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group and ask ALL the questions you want. There are so many 7th Sisters who want to help. 7th Sisters? Who are they? Well, there are 6 of us in 7SistersHomeschool. The 7th Sisters are all our homeschool friends, including YOU!)
  • Google support groups in your area or state.
  • Google *umbrella or hybrid schools*, diploma programs or group classes for homeschool high school.
  • Sabrina points out that these local homeschool groups are the places that we 7Sisters met! We homeschooled our kids together with these groups. Our a couple of our kids fell in love and got married. As our kids graduated from homeschooling high school, we began publishing the curriculum that we developed for them and the local homeschool group classes at 7SistersHomeschool.com

Step 3: Check out online community for homeschool high schoolers.

There is SO much available online! It can be overwhelming. Invite your teens to help choose.

Some of the online group classes that are taught by our friends include:

Step 4: Check out curriculum.

Curriculum is fun! Give yourself some time:

  • Think about your educational style:
  • What do you like? Do you remember high school or college? What did you like or not like?
  • What does your teen like or not like as far as classes and subjects they have already done?
  • Try to concentrate on things (subjects, interests, talents) your teen loves. Here are some posts that help develop interests and capture them on the homeschool high school transcript.
  • Remember there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! There is never a mistake. If you choose a curriculum or philosophy that you try out and you or your teen hate it, toss it and get another! It is okay.
  • Here’s a post about our informal philosophy…but there’s not ONE right way! 
  • Here’s a post and a download we developed to help you choose curriculum.

BONUS Step 5: During COVID-19 and homeschooling high school…Pray! As our 7Sister Kym, says: Pray first, last and always. Ask God for guidance and to help your build wonderful relationships with your teens!

Need some help and encouragement in the practical parts of homeschooling high school? Check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide post series. (We have TONS of posts just waiting to help you right on 7SistersHomeschool.com.)

Join Sabrina for hope and encouragement as you homeschool high school with your teens during these crazy times!

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COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom.

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolingWithChronicIllness #TriciaSoderstrom

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

Sometimes life hands out challenges that we would rather not face. Chronic illness is one of those challenges that can make day-to-day functioning challenging. One of the most common chronic illnesses is Lyme Disease, which can be so debilitating physically and mentally. In fact, the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that 86% of healthcare spending goes toward treating chronic illness and that 31.5% of Americans are living with multiple chronic illnesses.

We have been thinking about our homeschool mom-friends who are successfully homeschooling their high schoolers (and youngers) while dealing with chronic illnesses. Vicki contacted our friend, Tricia Soderstrom, of Abounding in Hope with Lyme to share some encouragement and tips.

Tricia Soderstrom

Tricia Soderstrom, photo used with permission

 

Tricia was a mom of four kids. She has three homeschool graduates and one middle schooler.

When Tricia was pregnant with her youngest she started having symptoms of exhaustion. Her obstetrician told her it was related to her age (because she was close to forty years old by that time). Unfortunately after her son was born, her symptoms became worse. Her fatigue was overwhelming, even to the point of sleeping so deeply she did not hear her baby crying at night. Her husband would have to wake her up.

Then she began having so much pain that she had difficulty holding the baby and moving around. She began experiencing brain fog and having difficulty with her memory.

Her oldest was twelve years old at the time and her next oldest was ten. They and her husband were enormous helps during that time. (Especially important was her husband’s prayer and support.)

She pushed her doctors but most of them discounted her symptoms, saying that Tricia was simply “stressed out”. She spent two years going to specialists trying to get an answer to these challenging symptoms. Finally she found a doctor who listened to her and tested and began treating her for Lyme Disease.

Vicki points out that she has seen this type of thing happen with several of her counseling clients who have chronic illnesses. The illnesses are often discounted as anxiety or depression and left untreated until, after long searching, the client finds a doctor who will listen and help. Vicki points out that anxiety or depression may occur along with a chronic illness, as a side effect of the illness or related to the frustration of being ignored by doctors.

However, counseling will not cure a physical illness. Counseling helps with the anxiety and depression, but it is not going to fix illnesses that doctors need to fix. So, yes, get counseling for the anxiety or depression but also push for the treatment you need from your doctors.

During the most difficult times of her illness, Tricia’s family made adjustments:

  • Her husband took charge of being homeschool supervisor and resource manager.
  • They switched from lots of library-books/real-book approach to homeschooling, to using the simpler “canned” curriculum, where her kids could open the book and do the daily work.
  • They moved from a daily structure/schedule, to a more organic homeschooling rhythm.
  • They moved from a high expectation (of mom, for herself in her part of homeschooling) to an acceptance of doing “good enough” homeschool-momming.
  • They gave their homeschoolers lots of free-time for interest-led learning and self-directed learning.
  • They maintained a few important outside-the-home activities, such as piano lessons because they were important to the kids.

With chronic illness: adjust curriculum, adjust expectation, hold onto grace. Tricia Soderstrom. Homeschool Highschool Podcast #HomeschoolHighschoolPodcast #HomeschoolingWithChronicIllness

Vicki reminds listeners that we do not live in a storybook world. When hard things happen, we adjust the best we can. Graciousness and humility are important character traits for hard times. Lowering high expectations and doing “good enough” are important for real life.

Within a couple of years, Tricia’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. One by one, all her kids picked up Lyme or PANS. Then her husband was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

Now that her kids were sick, the family had to adjust their homeschooling expectations again. It was a hard time, but again, they adjusted their expectations and curriculum.

While the entire family was sick, Tricia concentrated on:

  • Doing what they COULD do for homeschooling. (She kept realistic goals for the circumstances.)
  • She studied her homeschoolers:
    • To know them well
    • To be their cheerleader
    • To encourage them in God’s word and His love
    • To pray for them
  • To build on what they could do, rather than worry about what they cannot do

Tricia has some tips for organizing important family information:

  • Keep a notebook or journal that includes:
    • Each person had a section that includes
    • Daily health (with chronic illness, this is a daily log)
    • Their medications
    • Doctor visits and testing

Tricia could walk into a doctor’s office with the notebook. This helped the doctor diagnose her youngest kids and keep up with the family’s health.

BTW- As Tricia would explain her notebook to audiences at her speaking engagements, people began asking for help creating their own notebooks. Tricia created the ebook:

Risk Management for the Homeschool Mom (check this out along with Tricia’s other resources at Abounding in Hope with Lyme).

Trica keeps her family organized with:

  • Chore charts
  • Bills and account information in a notebook

Vicki points out that teens benefit by keeping personal journals that help them become self-aware, including daily asking themselves the 3W’s:

  • What am I feeling?
  • Why am I feeling that way?
  • What am I going to do about it?

This helps teens “become their own scientists”, to know themselves well, and to be able to care for themselves well or advocate for themselves well.

Visit Tricia Soderstrom at:

Join Vicki and Tricia Soderstrom for an encouraging and help chat about chronic illness and homeschooling high school. Also check out these resources:

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Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ticia Messing

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ticia Messing.

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ticia Messing

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ticia Messing

One of the best ways to build a sense of community, good character and a strong transcript is through service opportunities. We asked our friend, Ticia Messing of Adventures in Mommydom, to talk with us today. She has prioritized volunteerism for her teens and has found that these opportunities have been life-changing for their family.

Ticia’s story of service with her family

Ticia has been homeschooling her kids from the beginning. She began her blog when her kids were in preschool, so she has been at it for a long time.

Today her three homeschool high schoolers enjoy the ability to concentrate on interests in history, movies and volunteering!

Ticia and her teens have loved homeschooling high school so far. Interestingly, her teens are all in the same grade. This simplifies organizing curriculum. However, Ticia is amused about what will happen to her in a few years when they all graduate!

One of the most important part of their homeschool plans is finding volunteer opportunities for her teens. As long as her teens can remember, her family has been in a church plant. Ticia began teaching service to her preschoolers helping set up chairs at the YMCA where the church met.

Ticia Messing of Adventures in Mommydom

Ticia Messing of Adventures in Mommydom. Photo used with permission

Volunteering as a family

They have also gone as a family on missions trips to the Navajo reservation and also to the Navajo who do not live on the reservation. They found that life on the reservation is like going to a third-world nation. Churches and families there often did not have running water, and thus, no plumbing. Their service looked like this:

  • They helped dig holes for outhouses at churches and did restoration on church and community buildings.
  • They also sorted clothing donations for the families.
  • They also collected Christmas bags at the local boarding school that was created for the Navajo children who live too far away from any school to travel their daily.

The Messing’s connections to the Navajo have been particularly poignant since the outbreak of COVID-19. As of this writing, the virus has been devastating to the tribe. The percentage of infection and death is the highest in the nation.

BTW- If your family would like to donate to the under-resourced Navajo medical staffs to help them fight COVID-19, here are Ticia’s recommendations:

Volunteering for homeschool high schoolers

As her kids entered high school, they could do more independent service project:

  • Ticia’s high schoolers run their church’s VBS along with lower-resource churches in Houston. This year, they planned on running VBS in neighborhood front yards (subject to the opening up regulations in their state).
  • Her daughter does clerical work at the church along with data entry. One of her twin sons helps direct the parking lot traffic at their church. Her other twin son teaches the preschool Sunday school class.
  • Ticia’s daughter loves animals, so she also volunteers at the local animal shelter. (In fact, she has earned the Presidential Service Award each year since she was eight years old.)
  • They help out at the local “serving center” where local people can purchase food and goods at bargain rates.

Include service hours on the homeschool transcript. Volunteering makes a strong transcript and builds character.

How do you handle showing volunteerism on the homeschool transcript?

7 Sister’s families are part of a local umbrella school that includes “Service Hours” at the bottom of the transcript. They also list the organizations they have volunteered for and the years they volunteered there. This is powerful for college-bound teens.

How do you earn the Presidential Service Award?

Ticia suggests:

  • Check out the website
  • Find a sponsoring organization (Ticia’s Daughter is in American Heritage Girls. Rotary Club is one organization that helps sponsor teens.)
  • Log hours to earn one of the levels: Bronze, Silver or Gold

Visit Ticia Messing at:

Join Vicki and Ticia for an inspiring discussion about volunteering in homeschool high school. Also check out these other discussions about service work:

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Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato.

Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato. Teaching your teens Spanish if you aren't an expert is easier with Karim's help!

Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato

Teaching your teens Spanish can be an intimidating adventure. Ever felt intimidated by world languages? Karim Morato joins Vicki to help you out! Karim is not only a native Spanish speaker, but an expert educator in teaching Spanish. Karim has a website with amazing, online Spanish courses from homeschooling elementary through high school.

Karim (born in Guatemala) had just finished her education degree with, as a newlywed, her Bolivian-born husband asked if they could homeschool when they had children. He remembered the missionaries he grew up with had homeschooled their children and he wanted to keep it up. They both agreed that they would like to raise their family to be bilingual, and that homeschooling would facilitate that.

Karim and her husband went to their first homeschool convention five years before their children were born. They now have three children. (Her oldest graduated homeschool high school this spring!) They found homeschooling SO appealing!

First off, Vicki wanted to know some of the advantages for her children of being raised bilingual speakers. Karim explains:

  • Karim’s oldest, love science and math, but her college resume highlight is her bilingual abilities and her understanding of several cultures.
  • All the kids are comfortable when the family goes back Guatemala or Bolivia to visit family because they can comfortably communicate with their relatives.
  • It has made the world so much bigger to them. They have more experiences than other children when they can speak and think in two languages.

Karim started her website Spanish Homeschool Curriculum to help her homeschool friends who had no clue how to teach Spanish to their children. She knew that many parents would like to start as early as elementary school to give their children a taste of bilingual speaking. She also knew that homeschool high schoolers need world languages on their transcripts.

Her key to teaching Spanish to all ages is that her courses deeply connect the language to the culture. This brings an emotional connection to the language study. That is important because Spanish is an emotional language! Culture is key.

Teens are excited to learn Spanish when they know the "WHY"!

The next important part of teaching Spanish for homeschool high school is helping teens understand the “WHY” of learning the language:

  • Spanish helps teens with career opportunities and advancement
  • Spanish helps teens in international travel (or even in travel to certain parts of the United States)
  • Spanish helps teens have a good transcript
  • Spanish helps teens have a practical chance a becoming bilingual

Karim started her website to help students gain Spanish skills with online, self-paced courses. Parents are still in charge (they have not lost control of their teen’s education) but they have the joy of having an expert do the heavy lifting. Parents help teens set goals and keep their pace: they become resource manager for their teens. Karim teaches and handles the expertise (and the grading!).

After clarifying the students’ “Why”, Karim works on motivation for the homeschool high school Spanish learners. They talk about mindset for success.

Then Karim leads the teens on the journey of learning Spanish online. Homeschool high schoolers learn:

  • Vocabulary and Grammar in context of “why” and motivation
  • Cultural Study
  • Putting the language together in writing and speaking in an interactive process that teaches the brain to think in Spanish (Karim has found that even students with some learning difficulties can succeed in this format.)

Students have tests and assignments in each module. They have the ability to retake tests so that they can develop mastery.

Karim says that Spanish is a language that keeps building. There are several levels in her course and each course includes review so that they do not loose skills. At the same time, she is moving her homeschool high schoolers from parroting information to speaking, describing, emoting and thinking in Spanish.

Karim emphasizes that teens learn to speak Spanish well by starting imperfectly and improving over time. It is okay to make mistakes.

You can find Karim’s courses at:

Join Vicki and Karim for help in teaching Spanish for homeschool high school!

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Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato