How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

If you have been wondering about how many credits your teens need to graduate, you are in the right place! What does it look like each year? Let’s talk about how many credits you need each year for homeschool graduation requirements and make it a bit more practical to understand and follow!

Do you know how many credits your teens need to graduate each year? If not, it’s quite alright as we all know how confusing it can be to figure out the yearly breakdown, especially when we often focus on the overall number of credits needed for graduation. So let’s make it practical and dive into the details!

Understanding State Requirements

First things first, it’s important to meet the minimum credit requirements set by your state. Each state has its own set of credit requirements for high school graduation. While some homeschoolers choose not to follow state requirements, most of us do. 

If you are unsure about your state’s requirements, you can check your state department of Education or reach out to organizations like Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) or National Homeschool Advocacy for guidance. 

Typically, states require between seventeen and twenty-six credits, with the majority falling between twenty and twenty-four. If you are a member of HSLDA, you can also access this information through their resources.

General Guidelines

Although there’s not ONE right way to homeschooling high school, we have gathered some practical guidelines based on our experience raising our own high schoolers and advising others in our local community. Let’s talk about some of those guidelines now that have worked for us over the years. 

Keep in mind that these are not set in stone, and you should always do what is best for your teens. 

College-Bound Teens

Let’s shift gears and talk about college-bound teens. In addition to meeting the state’s homeschool graduation requirements, college-preparation homeschoolers often need to go above and beyond. 

Colleges may look for a higher level of rigor or specific courses on the transcript, so it is a good idea to research the colleges your teens are interested in to see what they are looking for in incoming freshmen. This can help you determine if your teen needs additional credits or more challenging coursework.

For example, some colleges may require three years of World Language, even if your state only requires two. They may also expect four years of Social Studies, Math, and Sciences, even if your state only requires three. It is important to tailor your teen’s transcript to meet these expectations and showcase their interests and strengths.

(Here is more on what college-bound teens should be doing.)

Some motivated teens may have the goal of graduating in three years instead of the standard four

  • This is certainly achievable, but it requires careful planning and a heavier academic load. 
  • By dividing the total number of credits required by your state by three, your teen will need to earn more credits each year. They may need to double up on certain subjects or spread out credits over multiple years to meet their goals. 

Teens Bound For The Workforce

If your teen is not-college bound and aims to enter the workforce after graduation, meeting the state requirements is usually sufficient. 

Divide the total number of credits required by your state by four to determine the number of credits needed per year. 

  • For example, if your state requires twenty credits, your teen would need five credits per year. In states with higher requirements, such as twenty-four credits, your teen would need six credits per year.

If you are unsure whether your teen will be headed towards college or go straight into the workforce, sit down with them to have a serious discussion about their future. If you still cannot come up without a clear path, try some Career Exploration

Another class or two never hurt anybody, and they may be grateful for that if they do decide to go to college!

Regardless of the career path your teen chooses, certain subjects are typically required by most states. These include:

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • History/Social Studies (such as American History, World History, Civics, and Economics)
  • Social Sciences
  • Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, and other elective Sciences). 

Some states may have additiona. requirements, such as:

Although these are the typical subjects required by state, it is important to check your local area for any additional homeschool graduation requirements.

Building A Strong Transcript

One of the great things about homeschooling high school is the flexibility to customize your teen’s education. If your teen has a specific interest or career goal, you can build elective credits around that. This not only adds depth to their transcript but also shows their dedication and passion. 

For example, if your teen is interested in History, they can earn elective credits in specialized areas like World War II or European History. There is no limit to the number of credits your teen can earn as long as they are honestly earned. 

You can create a transcript that reflects their unique interests and accomplishments. Just make sure to keep a balanced approach and avoid overwhelming your teen with too many credits.

For college-bound teens, it’s also important to demonstrate a higher level of rigor on their transcript. This can be achieved through challenging coursework and advanced placement (AP) classes. 

It’s crucial to prepare your teen for the academic demands of college and show admissions officers that they are ready for the next level.

How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

Homeschooling high school allows you the flexibility to customize your teen’s education according to their goals and aspirations. When you understand the credit requirements for graduation, you can ensure your teen is well-prepared for their chosen path, whether it be entering the workforce or pursuing higher education. 

You’re not alone in this homeschooling adventure. We’re all in it together, and we’re here to support you every step of the way!

If you have any questions or need support, join the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook group. It’s a wonderful community where you can connect with other homeschoolers and get valuable advice. 

Don’t forget to explore the resources available on our website, including free articles and downloadable curriculum. Our curriculum has been designed with input from teens themselves, ensuring a meaningful and engaging learning experience. We even offer special discounts for co-ops and reimbursement-friendly options for certain states.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!

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When Mom Is Tired of Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: When Mom Is Tired of Homeschooling.

When Mom Is Tired of Homeschooling

 

When Mom Is Tired of Homeschooling

Homeschool burnout. It’s definitely real.

We all have moments where we feel exhausted and overwhelmed. There are days when we feel like giving up and taking a very long break from teaching. We have all had those moments where we have jokingly picked up the phone to register our kids in school.

However, deep down, we know that homeschooling is the right choice for us. What are you to do in these moments? Let’s dive into some practical tips to help you navigate those challenging moments when you are tired of homeschooling. (Caveat: there are times when we must quit homeschooling, or that it is best for us for one reason or another- there’s not ONE right way to educate your kids!)

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It is essential to remember that it is okay to feel tired of homeschooling and that there are strategies to overcome homeschool burnout. First things first:

  • acknowledge your feelings of exhaustion and frustration!

Homeschooling can be a demanding task, with demanding kids, and it is natural to feel overwhelmed at times. Remember, homeschool mama self-care is vitally important. (BTW- check out our Cousin Teresa Wiedrick’s delightful book: Homeschool Mama Self-Care. You will be glad you did.)

Remember that feeling tired does not make you a bad homeschooler or parent. Give yourself permission to feel and recognize that it is okay to take a break when needed. 

Take a Step Back

It is important to give ourselves permission to take a step back and take a break. Whether it is an hour, a day, or even longer, giving ourselves time to recharge can make a big difference. 

Try having a brutally honest conversation with yourself about your current season in life. Talk to your spouse or your teens to reevaluate your homeschooling journey and remind yourself why you chose this path in the first place. 

Oftentimes, simply making a decision and realizing you have options can be freeing and energizing.

Embrace a Change of Pace

When you are feeling burned out from your current routine, consider shaking things up a bit. Try scheduling your homeschool activities differently or take a temporary break from your regular curriculum. 

Plan a unit study week focused on a subject (such as these unit studies based on movies) everyone is interested in or embark on a field trip that sparks creativity and excitement. 

When you introduce something different to your normal routine, you will give your brain a pattern interruption and activate your creativity.

And let’s not forget the power of prayer. Seeking guidance from God can provide us with the wisdom and strength we need to overcome exhaustion when you are tired of homeschooling. 

Prioritize Self-Care

It is almost too easy to neglect self-care as a homeschool parent when you are so focused on your homeschool high schoolers’ education. Even though you already know that taking care of yourself is essential for your overall well-being and homeschool success, it is still one of those things that can fall by the wayside.

To prevent that, make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and engaging in regular exercise/fitness. You do not even need to commit a fitness queen- just a minimum effective dose of self-care can help.

If you or your teens need time alone, create space for quiet activities like reading or watching a movie. Understanding your family’s needs and finding the right balance is key.

And when exhaustion rears its warning, allow yourself a “sick day”, or a day off, and rest. Doing this mindfully teaches your teens the importance of taking care of their own physical and mental health.

Engage in Fine Arts

It is important to model healthy ways of dealing with fatigue and stress rather than taking it out on our family members, which is more prone to happen when we are drained.

Instead of continuing the cycle of burn out, choose to have a creative day! By calling it a “Creative Day,” you and your teens will be engaging in activities that bring you all joy and laughter. (Log those as Fine Arts hours.)

Fine arts can be a wonderful outlet for both parents and children, providing a break from the usual routine and allowing us to express ourselves. Give your brain a break and simply just “do” without thinking.

When you are tired of homeschooling, you can take a day to focus on creative activities like painting, nature sketching, or watching a drama performance. Engaging in the creative process also releases oxytocin, making you and your teens feel better.

And here’s an unexpected perk: Keep a log of your fine arts activities to track your progress toward transcript goals. Yes – these types of activities count in fulfilling transcript requirements! 

Seek Support

Let’s not forget the power of community. Reaching out to other homeschooling parents for support and encouragement can make a world of difference. 

Seek opportunities to connect with different people or homeschooling families. Plan activities together or trade homeschooling days to provide a change of scenery. 

The 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook group is a great place to connect with like-minded individuals who understand the challenges of homeschooling. Share your feelings, seek advice, or simply find encouragement from fellow homeschoolers. 

Remember, you are not alone in your exhaustion, and together we can lift each other up and find renewed energy for our homeschooling journey. (For more ideas  check out these sanity savers for when you need a homeschool break from our Cousin Angela Taylor at Schooling with Grace.) And overall, as our Cousin Natalie Mack shares in this post: God’s grace covers our doubts.

When Mom is Tired of Homeschooling

Homeschool burnout is a common experience for many parents, but it does not mean you are failing. If you are feeling tired, know that it is okay to take a break, seek support, and prioritize self-care. 

 Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for this discussion and stay encouraged, take care of yourself, and keep embracing the adventure of homeschooling!

Remember, you are the 7th sister, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

You’ve got this!

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post and to Seth Tillman for editing the podcast.

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Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling.

Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

You know it if you have one: an overachiever. Some homeschooling high schoolers cannot stop! While being an achiever is a good thing, teens who cannot find the place where enough is enough are in danger of burnout or anxiety issues.

While not all teens are overachievers, it is important to address the concerns of parents who notice their capable teens heading towards burnout. Let’s dive into the topic of helping our overachieving teens find balance in homeschooling.

Understanding Overachieving Teens

Overachieving teens, especially in the homeschool community, value accomplishments. So they engage in numerous academic and extracurricular endeavors. These teens do not necessarily  they love everything they do. Rather, they think they need to do these things in order to get to the next place in life as successfully as possible.

Whether they engage in NCAA-type athletics, academics, or arts, these teens tirelessly build impressive transcripts. They are aiming for competitive colleges. Whether driven by the desire for a full-ride scholarship or a competitive transcript, these teens can be at risk of hitting a wall halfway through junior or senior year. 

Anxiety, burnout, and panic attacks may become issues if we do not address overachievers’ need for balance. Here are some ways you can help.

Setting Realistic Expectations

As a parent, it is crucial to sit down with your teen and reflect on the expectations you may have unintentionally conveyed. Discuss whether a full-ride scholarship to an Ivy League school is the only path to success. Help your overachieving teen understand that there are other colleges and career paths that can lead to fulfilling lives. Not every teen needs to attend an Ivy League school or obtain a full ride scholarship. 

Realistic expectations can alleviate the pressure and allow teens to pursue a healthy balance in homeschooling between academics and personal well-being. 

Be honest and clear on your part on what your expectations are, and then let them say what their expectations are. Then, talk about how realistic these expectations are, really! See if they can be reeled in to find a healthy level of lifestyle and achievement.

Clarify Their Goals

Encourage teens to clarify their ultimate goals for college and beyond. Does their career path require an Ivy League degree? Many fulfilling careers do not.

Also, it is crucial to understand that not every excellent student secures a full-ride scholarship. Accepting this realization (knowing some things will be out of their control- including scholarships) can alleviate undue pressure on overachievers. 

Happiness is often a common goal for teens, but what does happiness mean to them? Research suggests that individuals who contribute to the greater good tend to experience greater happiness. Sometimes, overachievers who are stuck in all-day academics feel better and more balanced with they add service projects to their schedules.

Discuss the importance of finding meaning and purpose in their pursuits, whether through their career or personal hobbies.

Also, it is wise engage in financial literacy discussions to help them understand their future needs and goals. Incorporating financial literacy, into goal-setting discussions can guide teens in aligning their career aspirations with realistic financial goals. Tools like the Career One Stop website can provide valuable insights into salary expectations and suitable career paths.

Exploring Career Options

To avoid burnout, it is wise to guide your teen in exploring realistic career options which can help support their overall goal. Incorporate Career Exploration, including researching different careers and their corresponding salaries to help them set achievable goals. 

Visit college campuses, attend college tours, and look for scholarships that align with their career aspirations. By doing so, you can help your teen understand the possibilities and make informed decisions without overwhelming themselves.

3Ws Self-awareness page freebie from Vicki Tillman Coaching

Download this 3Ws Self-awareness page freebie from Vicki Tillman Coaching

Building Self Awareness and Time Management

Teach your overachieving teen the importance of effective time management. Conduct a time audit to help them visualize how they spend their time. Encouraging teens to perform a time audit can reveal imbalances in their daily routines. 

Often, overachievers focus heavily on academics while neglecting self-care, socializing, and sleep. Overemphasis on academics at the cost of social interaction or adequate sleep is a recipe for long-term issues.

Encourage them to strike a balance in homeschooling by making adjustments to their schedules. Ensure they are getting enough sleep, engaging in social activities, and taking care of their physical and mental well-being.

Educational resources like the 7Sisters health curriculum can help teens understand the importance of sleep and overall wellness, fostering a more holistic approach to their activities.

Learning From Leadership

In cases where teens are involved in extracurriculars with strong leadership, like sports, it is wise to discern the healthy and potentially harmful influences these figures may have on them. Sometimes you have wonderful role models of coaches, but sometimes they are a little quirky in their personalities. So you need to look into their leadership more to see what kinds of things they are learning from this coach and if they are healthy. 

Developing Self-Awareness

Help your teen develop self-awareness by asking them to reflect on their emotions and actions. Encourage them to journal or have conversations about how they feel, why they feel that way, and what actions they can take to address those feelings. 

Fostering self-awareness can help them make healthier choices and prevent burnout. They can look at the log over time to see where a lot of their time has gone. This can help them visually see where their time is going.

Teaching teens the “three Ws” – What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this? What am I going to do about it? – aids in developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Applying these questions to themselves and others fosters empathy and realistic goal setting. (Here’s a freebie 3Ws journal from Vicki’s life coaching website.)

Sometimes overachieving teens have a strong-willed streak. Here’s a post to help.

Supporting Friendships and Relationships

Recognize the importance of friendships and relationships in your teen’s life. We recommend that overachieving teens spend quality time with friends regularly. This social interaction is vital for their emotional and mental health. Encourage them to spend quality time with friends and engage in activities outside their academic pursuits. 

If you need to make an assignment to socialize with their friends, then make it an assignment. There is nothing wrong with giving them a homework assignment of spending at least some time every week in person in real life with some friends.

Sometimes it is just necessary to have friendships in a digital format, but they need that friend time.

Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

Finding balance in homeschooling is essential for overachieving teens to avoid burnout and lead fulfilling lives. We want our teens to be healthy and productive people that, in the long run, glorify God by their personalities and their choices and behaviors. 

If you are the parent of an overachiever and need some other ideas, one of the coolest places to discuss things is at the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook Group.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post.

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
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  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source 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!

OR PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

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GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it!

GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it!

 

Are you wondering about the complex and stressful GPA for your child’s homeschool transcript? Well, fear not! There are effective strategies and resources available to help you navigate the intricacies of calculating GPA on a homeschool transcript. With a little help, you can ensure that your homeschool high schoolers’ academic achievements are accurately reflected.

To help you along, here are a few insights about GPAs, along with practical tools you can use to figure them out!

There’s Not ONE Right Way To Handle GPAs

Even though some families are lucky enough to be in an umbrella school or a charter school that does the GPA figuring, even in those situations, moms may still want to use a different method of choosing the GPAs. That’s okay.

The thing is, there is no right way or wrong way to do GPAs. If your child is college-bound, you will most likely need to include GPA on the transcript. However, non-college bound teens do not necessarily need GPA (unless they are going to a trade school that requires it). 

Understanding GPAs

The GPA is a way of summarizing, academically, what your teen has done successfully (or not) in their homeschool journey thus far. It is like a second eyeball on how well your child is doing overall in his or her courses. You can quickly figure out an overall GPA at the end of each of their high school years- or wait until senior year.

We 7Sisters, at the end of each year, we calculate the GPA for that year. For example, at the end of freshman year, we will figure out that year’s GPA. Then we will update it each year. Therefore, at the end of sophomore year, it will be the GPA for freshmen and sophomore year, and so on.

One pro about handling the GPA in this way is that your teen gets to see how much progress they have made. This is especially nice if your teen (or mom) has a little bit of a rugged start to their freshman year. Seeing their GPA go up year after year gives many teens a sense of accomplishment.

On the other hand, you may simply wait for senior year. That is okay in many circumstances.

Sample homeschool transcript

Here’s an example of a homeschool transcript.

 

Decide How Often You Want To Calculate The GPA

You need to decide – and stick to – how often you calculate your homeschool high schooler’s GPA by choosing one of the examples above. 

BTW- Sometimes once your teens have applied to college, different colleges may want a mid-senior year GPA update. 

Decide To Have A Weighted Or Not Weighted GPA

The next thing you need to decide is whether or not to have a weighted GPA. Some courses in some schools are weighted, so if you have a teen taking an AP course one of those schools instead of getting an 4.0 for an A grade, they might get a 4.5. This means they get more weight on a higher-powered course.

However, you do not have to have weighted GPAs in the courses in order to have your teens standout on college applications. That is because colleges use special algorithms when evaluating submission applications of the students. Colleges will not compare apples to oranges – or unweighted courses of students against weighted courses of other students. Instead, colleges have a way using their algorithm to unweight the weighted courses in order to make fair comparisons.

If you do not want to have weighted GPAs, that’s perfectly okay. (We 7Sisters and our umbrella school did not weight grades- and we have helped hundreds of teens get into the colleges of their choice). So, for our homeschool high schoolers, an A was a 4. 0. 

Also, if you want your teens to receive an academic scholarship, deciding to weight or not weight courses will not affect their chances. It did not hurt our teens nor any of the ones that we have advised over the years. 

Ultimately, it is completely up to you whether you decide to have weighted GPAs or not.

Remember: There’s no standardized anything in transcripts or education. You just do the clearest and best job that you can, and trust God through the process.

The GPA is a way of summarizing your teen's academics.

Calculating the GPA: Decide What The Lowest Passing Grade Will Be

One of the things you will need to do in calculating the GPA is to decide what is the lowest passing grade that a course can have for transcript.

For our 7Sisters’ high schoolers, our lowest was underneath a C. (Sometimes, if our teens got this grade, we had our teens retake the course until they had mastery… because in homeschooling we are more after mastery than we are GPA.) 

In many traditional schools, a D is the lowest passing grade. Unfortunately, for teens aiming to go to a competitive college, a D on the transcript is not going to work very well for them. Even if they passed the course, it will not give them any kind of benefit in a competitive situation. Instead, it will work against them. 

NOTE: On transcripts, you should include is a key that’s on the transcript, a legend like on a map, that shows how grades are assigned. 

7Sisters Homeschool has an editable PDF transcript that you can download and use yourself and fill in the legend yourself. 

Calculating the GPAs: Determine What Percentage Will Be Assigned To Each Letter Grade

Now that we have discussed the theories and understanding of GPAs, let’s talk about actually figuring them out. For your courses, determine what percentages are going to be assigned to each letter, such as A, B, and C. 

For instance, we know that a 100 on a test would mean an A, and that is easy to figure out. But you will also want to know what the lowest A would be, because every school has a different determination on what the low end and high end of each grade letter is. 

In our case, with 7Sisters students:

  • The lowest A would be a 92 or a 93
  • The lowest B might be an 82 or an 83
  • The lowest. C might be a 72 or 73

It’s a very simple way to calculate the grades and the GPA if you just have A’s and B’s and C’s.

However, many traditional schools get very complex by having  A’s and A minuses and B’s pluses and B’s and B minuses and C pluses and C’s and C minuses. You can do this too, if you want to, because there’s not one right way.

For instance, you might say that:

  • the lowest A might be a 93 but
  • an A minus might be a 90 and
  • the B+ might be an 87, a
  • regular B might be an 83
  • and the lowest B be an 80,
  • and so on down through the letters.

Caution: Don’t do this randomly or change the way you do it halfway through the semester. Once you decide the way you’ll calculate the grades and GPA, be sure to stick with it to make things easier on yourself. Put that in your course description up front or in your syllabus so that you have something to back up in your records.

This way, when you have to fill out the guidance counselor part of the college application, you will know what your teen will be using for colleges, and you will be able to really quickly explain how you assign grades in your homeschool. (BTW- you can find tips for the Common Application, including the guidance counselor portion, in this post from our friend at BJ’s Homeschool.)

MORE Calculating the GPAs: Assign the Overall Percentage and Grade Points Of A Class

At the end of a semester and again at the end of the year, you will assign course grades. This might be an accumulation of tests, papers and course work (but we also included attitude as well- similar to class-participation grade).

Once you have the overall grade, you will take that average and assign it a grade point. For instance:

  • A = 4 (92 to 100)
  • B = 3 (82 or 92)
  • C = 2 (73 to 82) 

If you are doing the complex one, you can break that down further this way, for instance: 

  • A minus might be a 3.6
  • B plus might be a 3 4
  • B might be 3.2
  • B minus might be a 3.0. 

You can get as complex as you want as long as you keep how you are grading stated within your course descriptions or your syllabus so that you have a record for it. This grading system will also be included in the legend on your transcript. 

GPA and transcripts! You can do this!

Assign Grade Points To Courses

Once you have decided the grade points, decide which courses are going to get those grade points.

You do not have to give a grade point to every single course you could. In our case, we just gave a grade point to the core courses because that showed the guts of their academics and the things that they would mostly be facing in their first couple of years in college, the general education courses.

Core courses usually include:

  • English/Language Arts
  • Math,
  • Social Studies
  • Sciences
  • World Languages

These are courses that would receive a grade point because they are the core courses. The remainder of the courses are considered to be electives. We did not include these in the GAP. However, some families choose to give everything a grade point, including all the electives. Do what is best for your family.  

Get the Grade Point Average

Each core course, for us, gets an assigned grade point, and to keep up with this, you can create a spreadsheet. Add those grade points up, just old-fashioned math, and then divide it by the number of courses in order to get the grade point average.

For instance, if you had five courses such as language arts, math, social studies, science, and world language, you would add up all of the five grade points. Once you add those up, divide by five, and that would give you the average GPA, or grade point average. This grade point average is what goes on the transcript.

As mentioned, some of the transcript services automatically calculate the GPA based on the courses added. If you use a transcript service like this, you don’t have to do the math yourself. And if you want to add more courses in there, like electives, especially if those are really powerful for your teen and you really want to show those off, you can throw those in the GPA too. 

GPA on Homeschool Transcript

As you can see, there is no right way to do this!

Once you have all this together, what happens is then you have a nice GPA that goes on the transcript in the way that’s best for you and your teens. And when they go to apply for college, they have something that is understandable to the colleges they’re applying to. 

This accumulation of grades and averages inspires your teen also because they see how hard they have worked and a literal progression of that hard work. It ends up being a huge motivator!

If you want to access a GPA calculator, you can do that here.

More Resources for transcripts and GPAs

GPA and transcripts! You can do this!

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
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Teens and Complicated Christmas- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast- Teens and Complicated Christmas- Special Replay.

Teens and Complicated Christmas- Special Replay

Teens and Complicated Christmas

Some years are just tough! What if you or a family you know has experienced: illness, divorce, financial or family loss, or other difficult situation?

Though the rest of the year might be challenging, when Christmas comes along, it can be really hard for teens (and adults) to know what to do with their feelings. It is hard for them especially if their feelings are not such “Christmas-y” feelings.

How do you help teens (and the rest of the family) in complicated Christmases?

The first way to help teens (and parents) deal with complicated Christmases? Start with getting rid of “musts”.

One must is the need to have fancy, expensive Christmases. It is good to talk to teens- be real with them. They are old enough- after all, lots of them are taking Financial Literacy courses.

One way Sabrina’s family has handled financially tough Christmases, it to share with each other the gifts they would love to share together. They can even draw pictures, make collages or other creative ways to have fun with the “wish I could give you” gifts.

Next, Christmas can get complicated with scheduling. It is good to over-communicate about it.

Teens often have jobs that keep them busy during the holidays. Not only that, but they often have special events and performances…along with their siblings (and their parents). SO much going on.

  • So, over-communicate. Keep a calendar and talk about it.
  • Also, give and model grace about all the schedule juggling (and help teens remember to give and model grace also).
  • Help them remember to ask about what they want or need to do. AND we parents can try to frame our requests as questions, not demands.
    • They need to learn that when we say “yes” to something, we are automatically saying “no” to something else.

What if the complicated Christmas includes someone being sick?

Help your teens understand that it is okay to rest if they are sick. It is okay for it to be hard. Help them to think creatively and resiliently on ways that the family can make something good happen- despite (or after) the sickness.

It is really hard for teens if someone they love has died.

Well, truly, loosing a loved one is hard for the whole family. Teens often feel the loss during the holidays acutely because they are in the developmental phase where they are thinking and feeling deeply.

It helps to understand how to grieve as a family if we use the metaphor of concentric circles:

  • The person in the most center circle is the one who is most deeply affected by the loss of the loved one.
    • That person will need to have the most input on what they will need or can handle during this Christmas season.
    • Let them know that “NO” is a complete sentence. If you or your teen cannot handle a Christmas event this year, it is okay.
  • People on the outside circles, are less affected by the death of the loved one.
    • They need to tell those in the inner circles how to grieve or to put their grief away so that “Christmas isn’t spoiled”.

What if your family has experienced divorce?

While we may wish it had never happened, sometimes families experience divorce. Christmas are always complicated after a divorce: where will the kids be on Christmas day, what will happen with the old, family traditions, how will everyone feel because there are two places kids need to be during one holiday?

Sabrina, who has been through a divorce, recommends:

  • Have a no-slam policy.
    • It does NOT help kids feel good about Christmas, when a parent talks ugly about the ex. This is really important for teens.
  • Create new traditions.
    • Some of the old traditions must be put away. See if you can start a new tradition.
  • Make safe spaces.
    • If one of the kids get upset and cry, allow it and love on them.

Join Sabrina, Kym and Vicki for a discussion on helping teens through complicated holiday seasons.

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Handling Holiday Homeschool Hassles- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Handling Holiday Homeschool Hassles- Special Replay.

Handling Holiday Homeschool Hassles- Special Replay

Handling Holiday Homeschool Hassles

Let’s talk about Christmas. Yay! It’s the season to be jolly… Or the season to feel behind on everything. As we approach the holidays and there are lots of normal homeschool things going on in the month of December. There are lots of unusual homeschool things going on in the month of December.

This week on the podcast, Sabrina, Vicki and Kym would like to to encourage you to think through your Christmas break:

  • Your exciting expectations
  • Everyone’s Christmas break needs
  • Your Christmas break wants

Then you can plan wisely for a good Christmas break. (Because during the holidays, if you do not plan, you get what you plan for!)

Clarifying expectations as a way of handling homeschool holiday hassles

Sabrina’s teenagers liked to think of Christmas break as break from homeschooling. They did not have to think about pre-calculus or chemistry labs or research papers over a two-week break.

But sometimes mom has a different expectation.

  • Mom might be thinking about homeschooling through the holidays, as in: there is going to be break for a day or two and then maybe a week of catching up on lessons that have fallen behind.
  • Or maybe Mom wants to have a chance to do some fun Christmas unit studies for a week or two. (Check out Twas the Week Before Christmas Bundle for fun learning activities for the whole family.)
  • Or maybe there is going to be break for a day or two or three or four or five, but there’s also going to be travel and some house cleaning.

If teens’ expectations and Mom’s expectations are different, there can be a lot of disappointment about Christmas break.

So communication and goal setting together might be a really good idea

Parents, try to give teens at least some of what they would like while setting clear goals for Christmas break:

  • Homeschooling expectations
  • Holiday special events
  • Relaxation and refueling expectations

Working the homeschool triage

Over the holidays, there are so many competing activities and competing people around the holiday season:

  • Visits with folks that you don’t usually get to see
  • Family gatherings, parties and special celebrations
  • Christmas plays
  • Fine arts productions
  • Concerts
  • Cookie baking day

All the while, for homeschool high schoolers, there are often looming  deadlines

  • mid year reviews
  • big co-op project
  • research paper that’s been assigned for umbrella-school or online-school class

Vicki’s family always treated the competing needs and wants kind of like “Battlefield Hospital”:  you triage them.

What is a homeschool triage?

  • You do the most critical and time-sensitive things first.
    • For instance, if we have an SAT coming up or a mid year review and we are significantly behind, they are prioritized. They get worked on first.
  • The things that are not going to be much trouble, you do that last.
    • Vicki’s kids like history, so that subject gets bumped to the middle because they will get caught up on their own because they just do that for fun.
  • In the middle you do the things that are good to do and will take some attention but are not critical.
    • In Vicki’s house, that would be electives like Career Exploration. It can wait until after the holidays.

Don’t forget your own self-care

So how can we take care of our own needs? Sometimes homeschooling moms get exhausted while handling homeschool holiday hassles.

We often can find a way of handling hassles that is going to be accommodating and respectful of everybody’s needs.

Think about the beauty of the community that you have:

  • homeschool community
  • family community
  • neighborhood community
  • church community

Can you and another mom in your community work out some “rest times”? For instance:

If I have your kids at my house one day so the kids can have a sleepover, you can sleep in. Then they sleep over at your house, and I get to sleep in.

One of the things that Vicki needs is a time when nobody’s talking to me. So, in January each year she goes on a silent retreat for a weekend. The kids have “sleepover” with just dad or at a friend’s house.

Sabrina has a blended family with seven kids between them-several of them married. It is unrealistic or them to say,  “we would really like to see everybody either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day”.

So instead, they have a Merry New Year’smas sometime in the month of January when people’s calendars actually will cooperate. On that day, (Saturday or a Sunday afternoon) they do a big open house potluck get-together. That’s what we love one another. That’s how Jesus is glorified, right?

Another great self-care idea is to check out our Cousin Teresa Weidrick‘s self-care for homeschool mama’s resources:

There are some hassles. That’s okay. Face it and then give yourself a break!

Handling Holiday Homeschool Hassles

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Leadership Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Leadership Skills For Teens.

Leadership Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

Leadership Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

Do you know what one of the most critical skills is that your teen can possess? Leadership skills for high schoolers. Everyone has the potential to be a leader in some way, whether it’s within their family, community, or church. Even small acts of leadership can make a big impact. 

The Importance of Values

One important aspect of identifying areas of leadership development is having a clear set of values to guide your decisions. We came up with a mnemonic called the GOOF at our homeschool umbrella school. It stands for:

  • Respecting God
  • Respecting Others
  • Respecting Ourselves
  • Respecting the Facility

We made it fun and memorable by creating a silly orientation video that explained the GOOF to our students. It became their guiding principles, and we saw them using it in their interactions with each other. It’s all about carrying oneself with respect and kindness.

Teaching these values can provide a strong foundation for teens to make decisions and navigate various situations with integrity and respect.

Leadership for Introverts

You might think that extroverts have a natural advantage when it comes to leadership because they are outgoing and love being around people. But here’s the thing: introverts can also develop strong leadership skills. 

When it comes to developing leaders, we knew that we could not just focus on extroverts. We wanted to empower introverts as well. That is why we taught them to understand themselves better, to know when to be quiet and listen, and when to take action. 

Extroverts often have natural people skills but still need guidance on effective leadership. On the other hand, introverts can build confidence through leadership training, enabling them to fulfill their potential. It is all about finding a balance and allowing everyone to participate fully.

Understanding oneself is crucial in developing leadership abilities. And building confidence and finding their own unique way to make a difference is a skill that will carry them through their whole life.

Fostering Welcoming Skills

One of the key soft skills we taught our students is how to be welcoming. We cannoy emphasize enough the importance of teaching high schoolers how to be welcoming and inclusive. 

One way we did this was to  encouraged them at our umbrella school was  to look out for those who might be on the outskirts or sitting alone at a table. Our teens learned to reach out to them. A simple smile or a friendly conversation can make a world of difference. 

We even loaded lunchroom tables with shared activities like board games and puzzles to break the ice and create connections. 

When they create connections and make others feel valued, teens develop important leadership qualities such as empathy, communication, and teamwork.

The Power of Service Projects

Service projects were another important aspect of our leadership training. Engaging in service projects is an excellent way to develop leadership skills and build confidence in high schoolers. Not only do they help build confidence, but they also teach the value of giving back. 

We have seen our students grow and develop through these projects, and it id amazing to witness the impact they can make in their communities.

Through volunteer work, teens learn the value of giving back, develop problem-solving skills, and gain a sense of accomplishment.

Nurturing Leadership in Passionate Pursuits

As our teens have grown into adults, we have seen the lasting effects of their leadership training. They continue to apply those values and skills in their everyday lives. Whether it is through their jobs, volunteer work, or personal pursuits, they are making a difference and inspiring others.

Leadership is not limited to a select few. Every teen has the potential to be a leader in their own way. By instilling values, providing opportunities for growth, and encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones, we can help them become the leaders they were meant to be.

So, if you are working with your teen and not seeing immediate signs of leadership, do not worry. Keep an eye out for their passions and interests. Look for opportunities where they can shine and make a positive impact. And do not forget to have conversations with them about leadership experiences, both big and small.

Leadership Skills for Teens

Building areas of leadership development in high schoolers is crucial for their personal growth and future success. There is not one right way to do it. Leadership is not limited to a select few but is a skill that can be cultivated in every student. 

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!

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College-Prep Writing for Homeschoolers, Interview with Cheryl Carter

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College-Prep Writing for Homeschoolers, Interview with Cheryl Carter.

College Prep Writing for Homeschoolers, Interview with Cheryl Carter

College-Prep Writing for Homeschoolers, Interview with Cheryl Carter

If you have a homeschooler who is headed for college, the topic of college-prep writing for homeschoolers is valuable. We are joined today by Cherly Carter is the founder of Collegiate Learning (recently rebranded as The Capable Scholar). Her homeschool curriculum and online courses company is popular with all kinds of  homeschool students. However, she has plenty to say about college preparation.

We are glad to spend time with Cheryl as she shares her insights on the power of college- prep writing.  She also talks about the process on how to put it all together so that your high schooler can become a confident writer and excel in college.

Meet Cheryl Carter

Cheryl Carter is not only an experienced homeschooling mom of five but also teaches college and is the founder of Collegiate Learning/The Capable Scholar. She started the organization as a ministry to provide unique resources and courses for homeschoolers. The courses aligned nicely with her passion to help struggling writers, reluctant writers, and special needs writers succeed in their college level writing skills.

Because writing is such a crucial skill for college-bound students, Cheryl emphasizes: writing is simply thinking on paper. 

Cheryl encourages young people that everyone has the ability to think, and therefore, everyone can write. She encourages parents to validate their teens’ opinions and thoughts, fostering an environment where writing becomes an expression of their ideas.

Writing is simply thinking on paper. Cheryl Carter

Building Strong Writing Skills

Cheryl believes in empowering students to believe in themselves as writers. She teaches them two essential aspects of college-prep writing

  1. developing a strong thesis
  2. creating a compelling theme. 

A thesis serves as the guiding force behind an essay, while a theme focuses on what the writer wants the audience to think, know, and feel. By mastering these elements, students can craft well-structured and impactful pieces of writing.

There is a uniqueness to each student’s writing style, just as the Bible’s authors had distinct voices. Students should feel free to express their thoughts and perspectives authentically by focusing on their strengths and honing in on areas for improvement, giving them growth in their writing requirements.

And that’s just it: Writing should be a lifelong journey of growth and self-expression.

Validating students’ opinions and thoughts and helping them overcome self-doubt is an important part of writing. By providing constructive feedback and focusing on specific areas for improvement, you can help your teen build confidence and become a strong writer. (These are skills that are built at Collegiate Learning/The Capable Scholar in Cheryl’s college- prep writing course.)

Preparing For College…And Making A Difference

For homeschoolers planning to attend college, Cheryl can help you with that! She advises students to explore classes related to their intended majors and interests, even before entering college. By delving into subjects that align with their passions, they can gain a head start and demonstrate their commitment to their chosen fields. 

At Collegiate Learning/The Capable Scholar, Cheryl has been teaching classes to foster growth of college level writing skills and providing support to homeschoolers who are preparing for college admissions. She firmly believes that taking the time to prepare for admission tests and essays can make a huge difference in a student’s acceptance rate. 

She also works one-on-one with her students to develop strong academic writing skills which will be essential in any college setting. By helping her students hone their writing skills, Cheryl is ultimately helping them make an impact in the world!  

According to Cheryl, homeschooled students have the potential to be change agents in society. In her classes, she encourages students to pursue their dreams and aspirations, even if they face doubts or skepticism from others. 

And several of Cheryl’s students that she has mentored have gone on to achieve remarkable accomplishments and make a positive impact in various fields.

College-Prep Writing

Cheryl’s passion for empowering homeschooled students as writers shines through each time she discusses the importance of writing, building strong writing skills, and overcoming writing challenges. Her insights and resources provide invaluable support for homeschoolers preparing for college, such as with her homeschool curriculum company, Collegiate Learning/The Capable Scholar.

Writing is a journey of self-expression and growth. With the right guidance and belief in their abilities, homeschooled students can become confident writers, ready to tackle the challenges of college and make a difference in the world.

If you are interested in learning more about Cheryl Carter’s resources and classes, visit her website, thecapablescholar.com. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to unlock your child’s writing potential and set them on the path to success.

For more on the kinds of writing college-bound teens should do, check out this post. Also, for tips on goals and grading writing assignments, check out this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!

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How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters- Special Replay.

How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

7Sisters’ Vicki spent eighteen years as an academic advisor to the local homeschool juniors and seniors. Over time, she wrote many, many college recommendation letters for her college-bound seniors. She also has talked with advisors and teachers who have written these important letters.

SO, even if you do not have a homeschooler senior who is headed for college OR your teen is not a senior yet, listen in on this episode. They will be facing the college application process eventually. Vicki shares from her experience and the experiences of her friends over a couple of decades of writing hundreds of college-recommendation letters (and other favors for folks).

Step 1: Ask.

Do not command: “I need you to do something.”

Vicki and her teacher/advisor friends have had many experiences with teens politely asking for recommendation letters. They have also had experiences where teens literally say, “I need you to write me a college recommendation”. SOOOO:

Instead ask: “Could you do me a favor?” OR “Could I impose on you for a favor?” Then add: “Please”.

A polite request will usually earn a letter that is happily written with lots of good detail. A command will get the minimal effort required for the task- just sayin’.

Step 2: Make it easy for the recommender to write the letter.

Give the recommender a write-up of your accomplishments or special memories you have together that will make a good recommendation story. Great recommendation stories are based on narratives, not just statements like: Sally is a great student.

A good list of accomplishments or a paragraph about special memories together will help the recommender write a great story about you. This will give the recommendation letter sparkle. (Also, the write-up will help jog their memories- sometimes it’s hard to remember everything when one is put on the spot.)

Step 3: Provide the resources for sending that information.

If the recommendation is supposed to be a mailed letter, give a self-address, stamped envelope to the recommender. If it is an online recommendation, make sure they have any digital information they need such as:

  • what institution will send emails requesting information
  • whether they are will be considered a recommender, teacher or advisor

Most colleges these days want digital recommendation letters. It helps if you clearly explain which format their recommendation letter will need to be.

Step 4: Do not be a cranky nag.

If the person is running late, ask if there is anything you need to do to help. However, do NOT nag. That just makes things worse. If you need to get a backup recommender, do that. However, most recommenders get the job done quickly.

Step 5: After the favor is done, say “thank you”.

You never know if you will ever need another favor, so leave a feeling of gratitude…do not burn bridges. Remember, you may need a second favor. If you have been pushy or rude, your recommender may not be happy about helping out again.

Besides, showing gratitude is always the right thing to do.

Step 6: Return the favor.

This is not the same as buying a favor. It is a way to show appreciation. For instance: Make the “thank you” a written thank you note. Snail mailed. It is a powerful way to show appreciation.

If you had asked a big favor (such as making your request at the last minute) bring some cookies or some other show of appreciation.

Other notes:

  • Be sure to ask for the favor with plenty of time.
  • Be sure to ask in private (not in front of a bunch of people).

Join Vicki for a quick discussion on asking for college recommendation letters. You’ll enjoy this episode with more information on preparing for college. Also, enjoy this post!

12 Steps to Choosing a College Major

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How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

Career Exploration: What’s Included?- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Career Exploration: What’s Included?- Special Replay.

Career Exploration: What's Included?- Special Replay

What’s Included in Career Exploration?

One of our favorite courses in homeschooling high school is Career Exploration. It is genuinely a valuable life preparation course. Join Vicki and Kym as they share their experiences and what’s included in Career Exploration.

There are all sorts of teens when it comes to career and Career Exploration

There’s not one right way to be a teen or to be ready for future careers.

  • You know, some kids are born knowing that they want to do when they grow up.

    • Take for instance, Vicki’s daughter, who wanted to be a photographer from the time she was a child.
  • Some kids figure it out while they are in their young teens.

    • An example of this is Kym’s husband, who as an adolescent liked to shoot pool at his buddy’s house. However, in order to shoot pool, they had to move the dad’s accounting paperwork off the table. Doug was fascinated by that paperwork and from that time, he wanted to be an accountant.
  • On the other hand, some teens love everything!

    • It’s SOOOO hard to choose just one career! (Kym’s daughters had a list of about twenty chosen careers during their high school years.)
  • Some careers happen serendipitously.

    • For example, Vicki’s oldest son earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. During his last semester, his professors had a talk with him and told him that he should go to graduate school for Philosophy. He now has his PhD in Philosophy and teaches for Stanford University’s online philosophy-based high school.
    • BTW- Dr. Tillman authored 7Sisters’ Philosophy in Four Questions and co-authored 7Sisters’ History and Philosophy of the Western World.
  • Some teens think that they will go into one career…until they try an apprenticeship.

    • Once they got into the nitty-gritty of the job, they found there were aspects of that career that turned them off. These teens choose different careers but sometimes kept the original interest as hobbies or avocations. For instance, Kym’s son loves music. During high school he taught children’s music classes for a private school. He loved music but he did not like teaching children. So he did not choose music as a college major.
  • Other teens do not have a clue about what they want to be until after several semesters of college or a couple of years in the workforce.

    • Teens don’t need to know everything about the future when they graduate homeschool high school- but they will be off to a MUCH better start if they have a sense of direction!

Career Exploration is a necessary life preparation course in high school!

It may not be mandatory, but it certainly is important!  That’s because most people will need to have some sort of income during their adulthood. Whether teens go into a job or trade, military or college after high school graduation, it is wiser to have some preparation and choice-making out of the way.

What’s included in Career Exploration?

There’s not ONE right way to handle Career Exploration. We are sharing the 7Sisters’ version of Career Exploration curriculum. We developed the curriculum many years ago when Vicki’s oldest and his homeschool friends were in high school. They were all wondering about what to do next with their lives.

In order to address the teens’ needs, Vicki used her training as a counselor and career coach to develop a comprehensive but simple curriculum This is what it includes:

A look at role models who have influenced your teen in positive ways:

  • What were their careers?
  • What did they like or dislike about their jobs?

For religious teens: a talk about the will of God

  • How to look at how God looks at career and career choices.

Defining or discovering interests

  • Many teens have lots of interests.
  • Others haven’t had time to explore things that might interest them.
  • Help them look into interests: discover or develop them.

Respecting and defining skills, gifts or talents

  • All teens are gifted, skilled or talented in some kind of way. It is important to explore and develop these.

Understanding their “career values”

Career values are the values (lifestyle factors) that are meaningful to each person. These values include things like:

  • Work/life balance
  • Income needs
  • Work setting comfort

Apprenticeships or internships

In many cases, these apprenticeships or internships open doors (or convince teens to choose a different career).

These things are what Career Exploration is all about!

Join Vicki and Kym as they share about their work with homeschool high schoolers on the Career Exploration journey.

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