How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

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

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

How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

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

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

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

Connie Albers

Connie Albers
Photo used with permission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instead, say things like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can you help teens build those strengths?

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

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

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

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

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

Communication and strength-building helps to motive teens!

Connect with Connie Albers:

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

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

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

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How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

Helping Teens Believe in Themselves, Interview with Anita Gibson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Believe in Themselves, Interview with Anita Gibson

Helping Teens Believe in Themselves, Interview with Anita Gibson

Helping Teens Believe in Themselves, Interview with Anita Gibson

To truly be prepared for life and career, homeschool high schoolers need to believe in themselves. We wanted to talk to someone who understands how to help teens find their self-knowledge and self-confidence, so Vicki asked our friend, Anita Gibson. Anita is author of a book on the topic (Star Finder).

Anita joins us today to tell how she works with her local homeschool community to help teens have a great homeschool education and to learn believe in themselves while they create community.

Anita started homeschooling in 1980s in the days when the current homeschool movement was young. Then they started a program for homeschoolers at the request of her church. She has directed that program since 2002. She has had support of her church at a significant level, which is such a blessing. She works with homeschool high school families in Landover, Maryland at First Baptist Church of Glenarden and in Bowie, Maryland at Grace Lutheran Church.

Students learn well in hands-on, individualized environment. This can be done at home. Homeschool groups are great also. Anita has found that her church’s homeschool program has been a blessing to traditional homeschool families and now homeschooling moms who are also working.

Anita knows that homeschooling is the best option for many teens and lack of resources should not hold them back. Homeschool programs that offer local courses, but there are also online courses that help. Anita’s program is about ninety students large and offers courses third grade through graduation.

Homeschooling community is important for teens and for families. Anita believes that we do not have the right to call together a group of people but not create community. That’s why they also provide community experiences by:

  • Field trips
  • Class photos
  • Clubs or interest groups
  • Graduation ceremonies
  • Student council that help solve problems in the community

Teach teens to believe in themselves and in community. -Anita Gibson #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #AnitaGibson #SelfConfidence #SocialSkills

Anita also believes that we create community by giving homeschool high schoolers the social tools that they need to succeed together:

Practical tips for teaching parents who volunteer at the school and students

  • Positive talk (self-talk and talk with others)
  • How to avoid criticism, bullying, and negativity
  • Including people by inviting them to sit with the group or join an activity
  • Watch for new students who might be *out on the edge* and bring them into the group
  • Adults learn to acknowledge the beauty of every child.
    • Even trouble makers can be talked to in ways to help them find their strengths and goodness and lean into new behaviors.

These skills help teens learn to believe in themselves.

These skills are not easy, it can be messy and sometimes sin must be dealt with.

Education strategies that are needed to build teens academic and self-confidence skills.

Anita acts as educational strategist for her homeschool high school families. She does testing and placement and develops an individual strategy for each family.

She also created Project Excel for teens whose parents are working during the day. Project Excel provides location and tutors for homeschool high schoolers in these situations.

Anita Gibson

Anita Gibson. Photo used with permission.

Anita helps career bound teens believe in themselves and prepare for their work life. She helps them develop an academic program that fits their needs with a general diploma (in Maryland, a general diploma requires less math and science, fewer electives and does not require a foreign language credit). These teens can use their time for concentrating on their strengths. They can use their high school years to develop

  • career skills
  • military prep skills
  • life prep skills (including self-confidence skills and practical skills)
  • interest skills
  • Bible and faith skills (not on state requirements)

Anita is so tired of people thinking that if you don’t go to college, you’re a second class citizen. Trades are not a lower class. (In fact, the trades are in high demand and pay well. That’s something that helps a teen believe in themselves.)

College-bound homeschool high schoolers do college-preparatory track. These include courses like:

  • 4 Language Arts
  • 3-4 Sciences and Health
  • 3-4 Social Studies
  • 2-3 Foreign Languages
  • 1 or more Phys Eds and Fine Arts
  • Bible and faith skills

Anita’s note: Don’t freak out when teens ask tough questions about their faith and even doubt. Wrestle with it with them. Do Apologetics courses. Provide them mentors. Let them question and work it out. (Here’s a post about 7Sisters FREE Apologetics curriculum.)

Check out Anita Gibson’s resources:

Join Vicki and Anita for a discussion full of hope and empowerment.

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Helping Teens Believe in Themselves, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to Help Teens Explore Interests, Interview with Samantha Shank

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Help Teens Explore Interests.

How to Help Teens Explore Interests. Samantha Shank of LearnInColor.com shares her story of developing her interests and goals in homeschool high school. #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #SamanthaShank #LearnInColor #ExploringInterestsForTeens

How to Help Teens Explore Interests

One of the most important tasks for homeschool high schoolers is learning about themselves so that they can fulfill who God created them to be. Vicki is joined by our friend, Samantha Shank of Learn in Color and the Learn in Color Podcast  for a lively discussion about the ways she explored her interests and learned to be an entrepreneur while homeschooling. You don’t want to miss this episode!

Samantha is the oldest of her six siblings, all homeschooled for at least part of their educations. Her parents were working parents who allowed and encouraged Samantha to explore interests. One of her earliest interests was history. As early as fourth grade, Samantha was impacted by the tragedies of the Holocaust. The more she learned about it, the more she wanted to share with others.

She started blogging when she was 14 years old and developed an audience among homeschooling families. She began sharing resources and ideas for teaching World War II, the Holocaust and other history topics.

While still in high school, Samantha started exploring the ideas of entrepreneurship. During her mornings, she would attend community networking meetings and learned about business from business people.

Today, Samantha is a college graduate who is a full-time entrepreneur. She creates curriculum supplements at LearnInColor.com such as:

Make time for teens to explore interests and ideas. It's good education. #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #InterestDevelopmentForTeens #HealthyAdolescence

During her homeschool high years, Samantha learned how to explore interests by:

Exploring rabbit trails

When Samantha had a random thought or was curious about something that was inspired by what was learning, her parents encouraged her to stop and explore that idea. This required the courage to set aside curriculum for a while and allow her to research these interests.

*Advice for Homeschool Moms: Try not to be overly bound to the curriculum and syllabus. We all know our homeschool high schoolers must complete their credits for graduation, but we also want to them discover who God made them to be. That often comes in the off-curriculum explorations in life.

Asking questions

Do not be afraid of questions. Take time to research the questions, explore options and idea. This takes time, but finding some answers gave Samantha the ability to take next steps as she explored her interests.

This might take the form of doing interviews. Samantha frequently met with business owners and interviewed them for their entrepreneurial stories.

Sharing what she learned

Samantha shared on her blog. Homeschool high schoolers can share what they learn as they explore their interests on their own blogs or with co-op, family and friends.

*Advice: Trust your trustworthy teens. Samantha’s parents were trusting of Samantha to get her work done.

*Advice: Prepare to be busy. Samantha’s parents were willing to drive Samantha to interviews and experiences. They believed in her and God’s plans for her.

*Advice: Avoided helicopter parenting. Don’t run the show for your homeschool high schoolers. Let them do the exploring. (Check out this HSHSP episode on Heavy Equipment Mothering.)

Finding networks

Samantha found KidBlogger network which also helped her grow her blogging skills and influence.

Learning to set goals

Samantha developed the goal to graduate from college debt free. She realized her blogging business could help with that but that she should diversify her income streams. She looked into college scholarships for her academics (she had good SAT scores) and also found beauty pageants (we’ll talk about that on another podcast interview later).

Showing interests on the transcript

Her advice: Take college choice seriously. Look into college search and majors and spend some time on it. (Download this freebie from Vicki’s Coaching website about choosing college majors and check out our blogpost on starting college search.)

Working hard

Samantha graduated college in two and a half years. She pushed because she wanted to stay debt-free taking 17-24 credits at a time, with some of those online at another college. She kept her goals in mind and worked hard.

In her homeschooling high school years, Samantha also worked hard doing several things:

  • Managed Pinterest accounts for bloggers (Samantha began doing this at 15 years old)
  • Create content for other bloggers (Samantha designed products and wrote for other bloggers from high school and through college)
  • Kept up her blogging and networking

Building relationships

Samantha chose well for her goals with her small college. She was able to communicate with her professors and had good mentoring relationships with them. She was open about her goals and work schedule. Often, they could work with her to help her achieve her goals.

Join Vicki and Samantha Shank for a fun episode on helping teens explore their interests.

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How to Help Teens Explore Interests

Leadership Skills for Introverts and Extroverts

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Leadership Skills for Introverts and Extroverts.

Leadership Skills for Introverts and Extroverts. Homeschool Highschool Podcast shares tips for training all teens in basic leadership skills for the little and large times where they will have to lead. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #LeadershipForIntrovertsAndExtroverts #LeadershipSkills

Leadership Skills for Introverts and Extroverts

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym are together again for a rousing talk about leadership. Everyone becomes a leader somewhere in life! Whether teens are introverts or extroverts somewhere in life:

Leadership is for everyone: extroverts and introverts. Charismatic people and quiet people. Everyone is a leader sometime!

Natural born leaders are charismatic. They walk into a room and just take over. However, most people are not natural born leaders. The problem is that lots of times in life, teens cannot sit back and wait for a leader to walk in and do the leading. Many times, there is not a natural born leader present.

How can we develop leadership skills for introverts and extroverts?

  • Understand that each kind of leader is truly unique and that is wonderful!
    • Understand that you do not need to be an extrovert to be a leader.
    • Understand that you do not need to be an extrovert to be a leader.
    • Understand that you do not need to be an extrovert to be a leader. Catch that? 🙂

Give teens the tools to lead in little and large ways. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #LeadershipSkillsForTeens

In a group setting, answer the question: What is the purpose of this group?

    • Is it a relational or ongoing group?

      • This requires more dedicated work, of course, from introverts and extroverts.
    • Introverts and extroverts remember your non-verbal communication: Shoulder back, chin up, smile
    • Introverts: Acknowledge someone else is in the room, look at a new person briefly as they enter the room and smile
      • When you get a chance, notice something you have in common with the person, make a quick comment
  • Extroverts, look over the whole room, enjoy it but then find one new person and say something personal to them
    • Extroverts often will automatically draw a crowd, so when you notice a person who is new and bring the crowd to them
  • Parents can start out groups by acknowledging the purpose of the group and the expectations of the culture there
    • Extroverts often have a lot to say, so learn self-awareness and the purposes of the group. Remind yourself of the power you have to create good. Remind yourself, the group is not about them. It’s about the purpose of the group.
    • Extroverts can ask a question out loud to the group that relates to the group:
      • Who’s ready for their book report presentation?
      • Who else stayed up too late finishing their book report?
    • Introverts can ask those same questions to the person next to them. Either way, this is leadership.
    • In class discussion, everyone needs to take leadership momentarily:
      • Quiet people need to give themselves permission to speak up
        • Have I contributed lately? If not, what can I give to this group today?
      • Extroverts need to create a pause and make space
        • When is the last time I created my own silence so others can speak.
      • Sabrina and Kym use poker chips in their group classes.
        • They give three poker chips to each student. The chips stand for a class contribution. Each person needs to say something in class discussion for each chip. They need to use all three chips (but only three chips).
    • Teachers:
      • Remind students regularly about the purpose of your group, the culture they are creating and expectations.
      • Watch students, the quieter teens have non-verbals to let you know they have something to say. As a teacher, you can pause and say to that student, “Go ahead”.
        It is okay to make mistakes.
      • Teach students piggybacking:
        • Yeah, I thought the same thing. Or that’s interesting you said that because when I read it, I felt just the opposite.
      • Rabbit trailing:
        • Allow it for a moment, then “can we go back to the topic we started with”
    • Wrapping up or ending a gathering
      • This is difficult for extroverts sometimes.
      • If a teen is a named leader they can say:
        • Okay, we have come to the end of our meeting. Let’s head outside and finish any discussions later.
        • Use alarms on phone to give a heads up that wrap up is coming, then another alarm to say time is up. Then say, “My phone is saying time’s up!”
      • Remind members of Go Do’s. It is another way to wrap up the meeting
  • Is it a one-off situation?

    • Introverts can sit back and relax, then go home!
    • You do not have to talk to everyone in the room, but extroverts will love chatting with strangers.
      • Introverts might need to have a book and read, if long enough, comment on the other’s book. This gives an introvert connection, so if the other needs something there is already connection.

Have conversations with your teens about leadership in their various settings. They will enjoy their experiences more when they feel empowered to be leaders in any situation. Then be sure to give them encouragement for honest trying.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for this rollicking episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast. You will also enjoy these episodes on leadership.

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Leadership Skills for Introverts and Extroverts

Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers.

Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers. Build relationships over enforcing rules to help your teens fulfill who God made them to be. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #ConnieAlbers #RelationshipsBeforeRules #ParentingTeens

Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

We are so excited this week to be joined by a special friend, Connie Albers. Connie is a homeschool mom and leader, guest on Focus on the Family and author of a parenting book that we love: Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.

As you may have noticed, we 7Sisters do not talk often about parenting philosophies. There are several reasons for this:

  • There’s not one kind of child or teen
  • There’s not one kind of parent
  • There’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of parenting philosophy, in our opinion

The lovely thing about Connie’s book, Parenting Beyond the Rules, is that she is not offering a philosophy, simply a discussion about the necessity of emphasizing relationships when raising teens. When we read her book, we felt like she was reading our thoughts. We 7Sisters have always said what our friend and fellow podcaster, Melanie Wilson at Homeschool Sanity, always says: relationship over rules!

Connie Albers

Connie Albers
Photo used with permission.

So, we asked Connie if she would join us for a discussion about the importance of relationship building with our teens. Join us for an inspiring interview.

Connie homeschooled her five kids through graduation (including several years of having five teens at the same time). Connie found that her teens rarely jumped out of bed happy and chomping at the bit to do their calculus lessons. But, Connie found a few secrets that helped her and her teens through these years:

She found that when you prioritize relationships through coming to know:

  • our teens’ temperament
  • the heart of our teens
  • what’s going on around them
  • then, there is less grumpiness and rebellion!

Emphasizing relationships is not easy. It takes longer to walk along beside teens. Concepts and life in general, is harder for adolescents. Teens often doubt themselves. It is easy for them to think they were standing in the wrong lane when smarts were handed out.

You have the job to discover, develop and cultivate the gifts God has given each teen, so that they can be the person God has made them to be (not to be their brother, or mother, or friend).

You have the job to discover and cultivate the gifts that God has given each teen. Connie Albers shares how to emphasize relationships to develop teens' gifts. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #ConnieAlbers #ParentingTeens #BuildingRelationshipsWithTeens

How can you discover and develop your teen’s gifts? Connie suggests:

  • Observe the little things your teens do
    • Become a student of your teen.
    • Connie kept a notebook on each kid where she jotted down interesting observations. She found that over time, these observations helped her help her kids discover their gifts.
  • Notice what your teen could spend all day (even skip lunch because it is so interesting)
    • What are the paths of their curiosity?
    • What are their interests? Daydreams? Wondering?
  • Plant seeds of possibilities
    • I noticed this about you…
  • Reframe personality glitches, to help them work towards good rather than glitches
    • Words need to fall into a tender place in your teens’ heart
    • Show them the positives and negatives of personality styles
  • Help them find places to use these gifts for God’s glory and relationship building
    • Let them know you believe in them and are encouraging them all
    • This infuses them with determination to dig deeper and build courage

You as a parent, become your teens’ scientist and their guide.

Teen years are sometimes challenging, they are doing the hard job of growing up. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #ConnieAlbers #ParentingTeens #BuildingRelationshipsWithTeens

Teen years are sometimes challenging. They are trying to push back sometimes because they are doing the hard job of growing up. They are trying to find:

  • When can I assert myself?
  • When can I say something snarky and it not be disrespectful or rude?
  • When can I make my own decision?
  • What will I hear as a result of that decision?

We are archeologists: digging for the treasure in our teens and then polishing it up to help it shine

  • The polishing takes time
  • The polishing takes patience

How do you handle this phase?

  • Keep the end in mind
    • Remember that you are parenting toward the time when they are out of the home and on their own
    • Remember your are not your teens’ best friend.
  • There is a balance of rules they still need and trust them to manage themselves. To keep the balance, we have to master the art of the pivot.
    • Allow them to make some mistakes (blowing an exam because they did not prepare well), then learn from those mistakes.
    • You still have to manage safety.
    • You still have to oversee some self-care.
    • Help them know they are always under some kind of authority, whether it is your or society’s.
  • Remember your calling: Your teens have a calling that you help prepare them for
  • Remember the danger of unbending rules.
    • Establishing relationships means establishing rules that matter,
    • Then begin adjusting or easing off when teens have shown they can manage themselves.
    • Responsible teens have more freedom and thus, more self-government.

These ideas are captured in Connie’s book Parenting Beyond Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.

Connie’s purpose in writing her book is to encourage parents to truly enjoy the years with your teens. (They are the best years yet!) It discusses:

  • Casting a vision for your family
  • Understand your teen’s world
  • Understand your teen’s personality
  • Listening to your teen’s words, spoken and silent
  • Monitoring your own mouth
  • Take healthy steps when their is pain or conflict
  • You can be emphasizing relationships during the teen years.

Connie encourages us: Adolescence can be some of the best years, but when the times are painful:

  • You can step back
  • You can listen and be painters of possibilities in our teens’ lives
  • You can remember that they are a masterpiece of God’s making
  • You can be assured that God uses imperfect parents to shape and help teach and train their teens in the way they should go

Connect with Connie at:

Strengthening Families with Connie Albers on FB

And check out this interview with Connie on Focus on the Family.

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Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World

This week we will discuss: Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World.

Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World. Help your teen learn to be kind and respectful in a culture that needs the fruit of the Spirit. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #SocialSkillsForTeens #TrainingTeensToBeCivil #LifePreparation

Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World

Join Sabrina, Kym and Vicki for an important discussion about civility. Our world is increasingly unkind and uncivil. Teens are surrounded by political figures on the news who are crude, rude and unkind. Social media is full of ugly, unkind behavior. Civility seems to be going out of style.

This is so contradictory to the love of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. There is no room for unkindness there. If we are wise, we will train our teens to be civil in this uncivil world.

What is the difference between kindness, niceness and civility?

  • Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. The fruit grows in us as we grow in the Lord. It is a spiritual outgrowth of our love for God.
  • Niceness can be not-good. When someone acts *nice* but is actually a manipulative trickster who is trying to get you to do something you do not want to do.
    • So-called *nice people* can include abusive or manipulative friends, family or others (who always do what you want, until they explode).
  • Civil behavior, on the other hand,  is very intentionally good and wants what is best for the other.
    • Civility is not necessarily a natural process.
    • Civility has to be trained into our teens.

Why do we care that the world is an uncivil place?

Because we are all broken, so we can have compassion on other broken people.

When we operate in incivility we tend to emotionally eat each other up. Remember the book Millions of Cats? A peasant with a million cats found that they were a cranky and jealous bunch who got into such a big fight that they ate each other up. Here’s a video of that classic book.

  • We humans tend to take differences and make them a thing of hatred.

What are steps we can use to train our teens to be civil?

Remember: Hurt people hurt people.

  • The first thing you can do when you are about to fight back is to stop long enough to remember that this is a broken person who is acting out of that brokenness. This gives you a chance to calm down.
    • When you are suddenly angry or afraid, neural cortisol floods your brain for six seconds preparing you for fight, flight or freeze.
    • If you wait ten seconds, the cortisol flood will pass on by.
    • If you breathe during that ten seconds, it is even better.
  • Remember when your parents taught you to stop and count to ten? They were right!
  • Beware: The social media negativity feeding frenzy in this dog-eat-dog world.
  • Teach: your teens to ask themselves is there something they can feed themselves with, instead of negativity?
  • Draw emotional sustenance from:
  • Remembering: We are friends together
    • What are our good memories?
    • What are our common goals?
  • In the big picture we are actually on the same page, we are not actually on different teams after all, really.

Do not attack the person. Wrestle with the concept or idea but not the person.

  • Avoid ad hominem attacks. (Attacks on the person to deflect poor skills.)
  • Beware of HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
    • Nothing good can come of your communication if you are in HALT.
    • Take care of these needs and then come back to the issue.
  • Look to your deportment.
    • Look to how you are carrying yourself.
    • If you are about to snap, flatten yourself (take a breath, flatten your facial expressions).
    • Walk away before you hit send or enter. Do not type your angry comment in the comments, type it onto blank document.

Teens who learn to be civil are showing Christlike character. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #Civility #SocialSkillsForTeens #HowToBeKind

How often do you mishear the meaning when a speaker is needed?

  • We sometimes misunderstand non-verbals.
    • Tone of voice
    • The body language
    • Do reflective listening:
  • Ask: Am I understanding what you are saying: repeat what you think you heard, non-judgmentally.
    • They can answer with a tweak of information so that you both are on the same page.

Teens do not come to these skills on their own. They need parents to:

  • Role model
  • Teach teens
  • Help them practice
  • Mom-shaming

There’s not ONE right way to do most of life. Do not judge others. Monitor your own self and emotions.

  • When someone hurts us, they have been listening to some other hurtful voices.
    • We can ask what hurtful voices they were listening to.
  • In the same token, what hurtful voices are we listening to.
    • Sit down with your teens and have some conversations about civility.
  • These conversations with your teens will train teens to be civil in an uncivil world.

 

Here’s another Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode on training your teens to become cultural influencers.

Or check out this post where teens explain how 7Sisters Great Christian Writers course was powerful for their character development.

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Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World

Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon.

Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon. Teens can love science, they just need to know how. Kristin shares inspiring tips!

Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon

Many of us homeschool moms are not thrilled at the thought of high school level science! To tell the truth, many of our teens are not thrilled, either. That’s why we invited our friend, Kristin Moon, of Kristin Moon Science, to help us with ideas for getting our teens engaged in science.

Dr. Kristin Moon is a microbiologist, but just as important, a homeschool mom. (She’s also from Vicki’s hometown, Gainesville, Florida, but that’s beside the point.) Kristin loves to help homeschoolers:

  • Invest in their curiosity to learn that science is interesting and meaningful
  • Develop connections in things they know to things they want to know
  • Have hands-on learning experiences that are truly useful

She shares her love of science at her website in her blogs, online courses, live classes and more!

Kristin Moon, Kristin Moon Science

Photo used with permission

Kristin has homeschooled her two sons since the beginning. She had not planned to homeschool but was inspired by the other homeschoolers in her church (and her love of learning alongside her children) to homeschool all the way through. Kristin found that homeschooling high school years have been the most fun of all.

Both Kristin’s teens have some learning difficulties with dyslexia or ADHD. She has been able to tailor her curriculum to allow them to run ahead in areas of their giftedness and interests (like math and science) and take their time in areas of struggle. Now both boys are taking college classes and doing well. (One son in at at state university and one still in homeschool high school while taking dual enrollment courses.)

Kristin learned the love of science while in college. When she was in her freshman Biology class, she learned about the beauty of the way DNA works. She was so inspired that she chose Microbiology as her major. She went onto graduate school for a PhD in molecular biology and specialized in viruses. She wanted to have a research career. That is, until she found out how much she loved being a mom and teaching her own kids.

As the word got out in her local homeschool community that there was a scientist in their midst, Kristin had the opportunity to start teaching science in local homeschool co-ops. She loves inspiring intimidated homeschool high schoolers to engage in science! Kristen has become a science ambassador of sorts!

As Kristin always says: Anyone can love science, they just haven’t learned what they love about it yet!

Want some specific ideas for helping teens learn to love science? Let’s talk about DNA:

With her local homeschool co-op friends and online, Kristin does some DNA detective work:

  • She talks about hemoglobin in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
  • She gives the amino acid sequences to the teens in a handout.
  • Then she guides them through the process of making those genes into hemoglobin.
  • She discusses sickle-cell anemia (which is a genetic illness where the hemoglobin gene has a mutation that causes the cell to collapse on itself).
  • Then she helps the teens discover and identify the amino acid mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia.
  • Teens get so excited when they have had a chance to do a little scientific sleuthing!

Then she gives them instructions on extracting DNA at home with fruit and rubbing alcohol and also on their own cheek cells. She shows them how to examine the DNA, so that they can get engaged in understanding themselves and the way God made them.

BTW: What is important in science? The text or the experience?

Sometimes parents worry that if they do too much *discovery science* that their high schoolers will not have time to complete their textbooks. That might be so. Do you ever remember completing a science text when you were in high school? We believe that completing the entire textbook might not be the number one priority (in fact, the homeschool umbrella school that the 7Sisters’ teens have attended only requires 3/4 completion of the texts). Here are Vicki and Kristin’s thoughts:

  • Vicki points out that this kind of engaging teens in science is more important than finishing the entire science textbook.
  • Kristin says it is more important to learn to think like a scientist than finish a book.
  • Activities and exploration help build these skills.
  • In fact, every time they have a question, teens should develop the discipline to look it up online (most of them have a computer in their pockets, these days).
  • This is all science!
  • (Log it as lab time…)

Got more questions? More curiosity?

Your homeschoolers can sign up for Kristin’s courses at the online at KristinMoonScience.com or at the academies of two of our friends:

Also check out this fun freebie on creating family pedigrees!

Want more help in engaging teens in science?

Join Vicki and Kristin for inspiration and encouragement! Have some fun with science!

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Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon

We Don’t Mom-Shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast

This week on HSHSP: We Don’t Mom-Shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

We Don’t Mom-Shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Join Vicki and Sabrina, together in the same room for this week’s episode! It’s been a while since they have found the time to get together, what with Sabrina traveling so much. Hey, if you need an inspiring speaker with a gripping story, contact her.

In this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast, we are talking about *mom-shaming*. In short: we don’t mom-shame!

Mom-shaming is easy to fall into: When life isn’t working out how we want it to, it is easy to project our frustrations onto other (whether we know we are doing it or not). Then we begin to judge. Then we begin to correct others (whether they asked for it or not). Then we begin to fix others (whether they asked for it or not). That’s mom-shaming.

Mom-shaming is especially easy when we are on social media, because the barriers to slow us down are so low. That’s sad because when we mom-shame, we create a culture of fear.

We don’t mom-shame at 7Sisters or here on HSHSP.

Motherhood is all about guilt, so it is easy to feel guilty without our friends’s help.

We don’t mom-shame! With age we 7Sisters have learned a thing or two about grace and patience over the years (whether we asked God to teach us that or not). All our homeschoolers have graduated and we found that they all have different:

  • Personalities
  • Needs
  • Abilities
  • Interests

We could tailor their academics and extracurriculars into a box that some friend, some speaker or some publisher says we should use.

But tailoring our many kinds of kids into another person’s box is a destructive strategy.

Instead, we recommend that you look at each child. Ask yourself:

  • What can you invest in them?
  • What tools can you give them individually?

Then boldly begin to invest in your homeschoolers the best that you can, knowing that you will be good enough by God’s grace…but that you will need His grace.

boldly begin to invest in your homeschoolers the best that you can, knowing that you will be good enough by God's grace...but that you will need His grace.

In the early days of homeschooling, there were a few big voices (opinionated thought leaders who sometimes said that homeschooling needed to happen THEIR way). Now that we have the internet, there are not just a few big voices. Rather, there are many voices and a some of them will say THIS is the way to homeschool. They sometimes imply the ominous: If you don’t homeschool OUR way, you are dooming your kids!

The real truth is: Our kids and our families are on a journey of growth and discovery. Each journey is different. We need to be sensitive to the needs of each of our homeschoolers. That’s why we don’t mom-shame.

Remember: We invest in our kids the best we can but God is in charge of the outcomes. (Thanks to our friends, The Fletchers at Homeschooling in Real Life, for that quote.)

So, want our advice?

  • Motherhood is all about guilt.
    • We will never do good enough in our own eyes. We can do the best we can.
    • The needs are infinite and we are finite, so we must daily go to HIM on how to handle things.
    • Sometimes this looks like a programmatic curriculum or philosophy, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • While each of us are individuals, we are also in need of community.
    • We can be good sisters in community.
    • When we feel the need to fix someone, pray first, ask a question…privately.
    • A kind question, not a leading question, not a point-out-your-problems question
    • If done in public, questioning is unkind and invites little but defensiveness.
    • Ask yourself: What is my intent?
    • Are you guided by humilty (beware of pride or fear on your part)?
    • Look to be a sister, a support, do not fix your sister.
  • Model this for your kids.
    • With curriculum: You kid-shame if you have feel you “have to do it this way, kids, suck it up and just do it.”
    • That could lead to shaping character that is harsh and rigid and teaching them to feel helpless and frustrated.
    • If they are writing a paper with seven tabs open that do not have anything to do with. If they are clearly doing something wrong, it is a parent’s job to point that out.
    • If they are struggling or bored, try something like this: “I see you are not liking Chemistry. What is not working for you?”
    • Ask questions that show you care, you are curious about what is working and what is not.

This is why 7SistersHomeschool.com’s curriculum exists. It is adaptable, no-busywork to fit many homeschoolers’ needs. However, we know that it will not fit everyone because there’s not ONE right way to do homeschooling! (So, we have a money-back guarantee.) To help adapt curriculum to needs: In each text or literature/writing guide, there are instructions on how to adapt to various goals and abilities. Also check out the syllabus available for many of the texts.

We want you to feel more confident as you grow in God’s work in you and your homeschoolers.

Check us out at 7SistersHomeschool.com

Join Vicki and Sabrina for encouragement and support and NO mom-shaming!

We don’t mom-shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias

This week on HSHSP: How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias.

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias. Tips for teaching teens organizational life skills that help them succeed in academics. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #homeschoolorganization #TeachingOrganizationToTeens #TatianaAdurias

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias

Our friend, Tatiana Adurias from Purposeful Motherhood, joins us for a discussion about teaching homeschoolers organizational skills. Tatiana is the mother of six homeschoolers ages….through college graduation. She has learned by necessity the necessity of an organized homeschool. Here are some of her experiences.

Tatiana began homeschooling when her oldest son was in third grade. He asked to homeschool! Tatiana, at that time, was finishing her teaching credentials so was not excited about that! However, circumstances made homeschooling important in his third grade second semester. Tatiana gave in and started homeschooling him and his younger sister. She felt unprepared and did not enjoy the experience. So back to school he went next fall.

When Tatiana’s son was in sixth grade he came back to her and asked to homeschool again. He explained to her that he was more mature now and could manage himself better. He also researched homeschooling, created a powerpoint presentation with twenty-five reasons he should homeschool and gave a speech about it to his parents. Tatiana respected his requests and began to get started.

Tatiana is very authentic. She explained that the first three years were rough for several reasons, but they kept learning together. Before she knew it, she was homeschooling comfortably and had all her children learning at home!

Vicki really appreciates Tatiana’s honesty. Homeschooling is not all easy, not every day goes smoothly, but when we are determined to grow together, homeschooling is a beautiful thing!

What shifted for Tatiana so that she loved homeschooling? She began to actually see the benefits. She saw her son’s ability to:

  • Excel in his academics
  • Had time to explore his interests in filmmaking
  • Develop his own personality

Our friend, Tatiana Adurias from Purposeful Motherhood, joins us for a discussion about teaching homeschoolers organizational skills. Tatiana is the mother of six homeschoolers ages....through college graduation. She has learned by necessity the necessity of an organized homeschool. Here are some of her experiences.  Tatiana began homeschooling when her oldest son was in third grade. He asked to homeschool! Tatiana, at that time, was finishing her teaching credentials so was not excited about that! However, circumstances made homeschooling important in his third grade second semester. Tatiana gave in and started homeschooling him and his younger sister. She felt unprepared and did not enjoy the experience. So back to school he went next fall.  When Tatiana's son was in sixth grade he came back to her and asked to homeschool again. He explained to her that he was more mature now and could manage himself better. He also researched homeschooling, created a powerpoint presentation with twenty-five reasons he should homeschool and gave a speech about it to his parents. Tatiana respected his requests and began to get started.  Tatiana is very authentic. She explained that the first three years were rough for several reasons, but they kept learning together. Before she knew it, she was homeschooling comfortably and had all her children learning at home!  Vicki really appreciates Tatiana's honesty. Homeschooling is not all easy, not every day goes smoothly, but when we are determined to grow together, homeschooling is a beautiful thing!  What shifted for Tatiana so that she loved homeschooling? She began to actually see the benefits. She saw her son's ability to:  Excel in his academics Had time to explore his interests in filmmaking Develop his own personality  Tatiana's most strenuous three years homeschooling were the years she was educating all six kids, with three in high school down to kindergarten. What helped?  She learned how tot get her homeschool organized! Here are Tatiana's tips: Focus energy on the needs of the oldest. Adapt the curriculum to his/her needs and then teach the curriculum (adapted) to the whole family. Teach the same history to the entire family. If they are able, have the near-aged youngers go ahead and take the same high school maths and sciences and languages as the oldest homeschooler. (BTW- one of 7Sisters Literature Study Guides is especially designed to work with the whole family: Anne of Green Gables Literature Study Guide...and it is FREE!) Tatiana has found that working together creates close family bonds and good friendships between siblings. They also can do some group projects together. Teach your homeschoolers independent learning skills. She sets expectations. She lets her kids know that she believes they can meet the expectations. However, she concentrates on warmth and grace. This is a balance. She teaches her middle schoolers that working rigorously is good preparation for life and for high school learning. She also teaches them that she believes they can do it. She teachers her high schoolers to do independent work. See 7Sisters post on developing independent learners for more specific skills. See this 7Sisters post on developing independent writing skills. Tatiana's gift to herself is learning how to relax. She relaxes her own soul (think: fruit of the spirit). Check out this post from Vicki's coaching site on mindfulness for folks who are not naturally mindful. She does not micromanage. She believes in her kids and they believe in themselves. Find family routines that work for you and your homeschoolers. She teaches her kids that being part of a family includes chores and academic responsibilities. Tatiana does not have a specific schedule. She simply gives her kids chore and school responsibilities and they set their own schedules. She finds that when her homeschoolers graduate, they are prepared to do the adulting in college and beyond. Tatiana gives this advice: Remember, you are homeschooling people, so be willing to adjust expectations when you need to so that each kids can learn and grow in their own individual way.  Check out Tatiana Adurias' encouraging website Purposeful Motherhood.  You can find her on Facebook at Purposeful Motherhood!  Tatiana will soon be releasing a short course for homeschooling mothers and middle schoolers! It is a five-day questionnaire guide for preparing college-bound middle schoolers for high school. Sign up for her mailing list for release date!  For more excellent tips on getting yourself organized, check out our friend Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast's episodes on organized homeschooling life.  How to Get Your Homeschool High School Organized The Most Important Areas to Organize This Year  Join Vicki and Tatiana for this encouraging discussion on how to get your homeschool organized.

Tatiana’s most strenuous three years homeschooling were the years she was educating all six kids, with three in high school down to kindergarten. What helped?

She learned how tot get her homeschool organized! Here are Tatiana’s tips:

Tatiana gives this advice: Remember, you are homeschooling people, so be willing to adjust expectations when you need to so that each kids can learn and grow in their own individual way.

Check out Tatiana Adurias’ encouraging website Purposeful Motherhood.

You can find her on Facebook at Purposeful Motherhood!

Tatiana will soon be releasing a short course for homeschooling mothers and middle schoolers! It is a five-day questionnaire guide for preparing college-bound middle schoolers for high school. Sign up for her mailing list for release date!

For more excellent tips on getting yourself organized, check out our friend Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast’s episodes on organized homeschooling life.

Join Vicki and Tatiana for this encouraging discussion on how to get your homeschool organized.

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript.

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

Vicki shares how to create a powerful transcript by building Honors credits. She explains the method called “leveling up” that her family and the homeschool umbrella school that all the 7Sisters’ homeschoolers have graduated from. Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode that explains the concept of “Levels”.

If you have homeschool high schoolers who are headed for college, it is likely they will need to show rigor on the homeschool transcript. How do you handle creating courses with rigor and showing them on the transcript?

Well, it’s complicated! There are not any unified how-to’s. Our advice is:

  • Choose your method
  • Keep it consistent through all core courses (core courses are Language Arts, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies and World Languages)
  • Make sure you create a legend or key on transcript that explains a little about how the level of rigor was achieved
  • Be sure to record along with the title of the course, the level of rigor that your homeschool high schoolers achieved

This is how we do it. First decide on the level for each course:

Level 1: Remedial Level

  • This is not college level. It is for student who are severely behind or have learning disabilities.

Level 2: Average High School Level

  • These are courses with textbooks that have easier reading levels and shorter lessons. Some examples would include: Westfield Studios 101, Pacemaker series.
  • If your homeschool high schoolers complete a Level 2 course it will not prevent them from getting into college.
  • However, the colleges that accept Level 2 courses will most likely be community colleges or some private colleges.
  • Make sure that the Level 2 courses are not in the courses that will become your teens’ college majors.
  • Very few courses should be Level 2 for college-bound teens.

Level 3: College Preparatory Level

  • Most available textbooks are Level 3. Some examples of Level 3 publishers are,Apologia, BJU Press and Abeka.

Level 4: Advanced Level

  • This level is more powerful than college prep.
  • Leveling up the Level 3 to Level 4 in our homeschool umbrella school requires completing a Level 3 course plus one half of another Level 3 course of that same topic.
  • This will earn 1 credit of that course at Level 4.
  • It is an attractive credit to many colleges.

Level 5: Honors Level

  • An Honors level homeschool high school course is similar in rigor to an AP course. However, the title “AP” can only be used by courses specifically approved by  the College Board. They own that designation.
  • Honors level courses are highly rigorous; they require a lot of work. This is worth it for teens who are applying to competitive private or state colleges.
  • Concentrate on Honors level for courses in the general area of your homeschool high schoolers’ future major or interest area.
  • Some competitive colleges want to see ALL core courses at Honors level. Check with colleges of interest for their requirements.

Create a college-attractive transcript by building Honors-level credits. Develop powerful credits by adding extra rigor for Honors courses.

How do you develop Honors credit?

It is hard work. A teen working on a Level 5 Honors credit will be doing about double the Level 3 College Prep.

7Sisters textbooks and Literature Study Guides include instructions (with Literature Study Guides the instructions vary by age and grade). Listen to this HSHSP episode for tips on using the levels feature of 7Sisters curriculum.

Start with:

Textbook average or college prep.

Then add:

  • Add 16 extra real book in interest areas/subject area
  • For example, if Biology will be your teen’s major: choose books exploring an interest such as birds, including:
    Books on Famous Ornithologists, Bird behaviors
  • Write summary of each book

The textbook plus 16 books and summaries become ONE Honors credit.

Another way to earn an Honors credit could be adding a Carnegie credit.

For more information on Carnegie credits check out this post.

Start with:

Textbook average or college prep.

Then add:

  • Logged extra Carnegie Unit of credit (varies by state 120-180 hours of instruction). Make sure you document these hours.
  • Create the Carnegie credit by:
    • Developing an interest through field trips, writing research papers (keys with Language Arts), projects, related volunteer work, related apprenticeships
    • For instance, if your teen’s interest is Psychology, volunteer at rescue mission to see what other people’s lives are like
  • Make these hours useful to your teen.
  • Keep really good logs. Suggestion: have teens log hours themselves. This develops independent learners (or panicked learners if they put logging off too long.)

The textbook plus Carnegie credit becomes ONE Honors credit.

Or try a combination

  • College textbook plus 8 books and half-credit logged hours.

Remember, homeschool high schoolers are doing double credits BUT on transcript they only receive 1 credit. College admissions officers LOVE these Honors credits.

Search Honors credit at 7Sisters for more ideas.

 

When teens develop interest they feel engaged and proud of themselves. It gives them a nice expertise in an area and creates a powerful transcript. When the Honors credit is in an area of their choice, they can use this expertise in a college admissions interview.

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript