Why Study CS Lewis in High School?

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Why Study CS Lewis in High School?

Why Study C.S. Lewis in High School?

Why Study CS Lewis in High School?

This week on HSHSP, Vicki talks about one of her favorite topics: the writings of C.S. Lewis! If you have not ever thought about Lewis for homeschool high schoolers, hang in there. Vicki will explain why studying his works is a good idea.

Here are some reasons why study CS Lewis in high school?:

There are tons of reasons why Why Study CS Lewis in High School. However, we only have time for a few:

It is fun!

Really! Did you read The Chronicles of Narnia to your kids when they were younger? You might have noticed that you were enjoying the stories also. That is because Lewis wrote these stories to be ageless. He said:

A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

The Narnia books really do not grow old. Teens in high school can revisit The Chronicles at a more adult level. Now, they can enjoy and learn from the symbolism and deeper concepts that Lewis embeds in those stories. Then, they can move onto his deeper fiction works, like The Screwtape Letters and The Space Trilogy.

A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest. -CS Lewis

They can learn to think about theological concepts in a different way

Many of our homeschool high schoolers are used to Bible studies with the family or in their Sunday school classes, youth groups or summer camps. However, they can gain a deeper understanding when they turn the theological perspective on its head.

When they read The Screwtape Letters, that is exactly what Lewis does. This novel are the “letters” of an older demon trying to train his nephew on how to be a successful tormentor of his assigned human. In the book, readers learn a bit about the whiles of the devil and the undefeatableness (is that a word?) of God.

While thinking about theological concepts in a different manner, teens can move on to literature studies in The Space Trilogy. This is a series of books:

  • Out of the Silent Planet
  • Perelandra
  • That Hideous Strength

Each of the books takes a Science Fiction look at theology. No kidding! Lewis authored these books in the early days of Sci-Fi popularity (even before space exploration). With the popularity of this genre in mind, Lewis embeds theological and ethical concepts in some deep and compelling ways. (These books might be a little dense for younger teens, however, every reader is different- so do what is best for your students.)

Teens learn to think wisely and to read deeply

As high schoolers, teens can read The Chronicles of Narnia at a deeper level. Lewis embedded a lot of symbolism in his books. While reading, teens can learn to have fun looking for it. For instance:

  • It is obvious that Aslan is a symbol of Christ.
  • Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmond’s betrayal. This, of course, is a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.
  • Prince Rilian in the cavern is a symbol of Plato’s analogy of the cave. (You really need the study guide if you have not studied Plato’s cave.)

However, there are even more symbols that are not quite as obvious. For instance, Lewis takes symbolic themes and integrates them into his stories. (That is why having a study guide to help walk through this discovery process can help teens get the most out of the stories.)

Side note:

CS Lewis preferred to use the word “symbolism” for his works rather than “allegory”. We are sometimes more familiar with the term “allegory” if we have read the Christian classics like Pilgrim’s Progress or Hinds Feet in High Places. That is because allegories require a sharp one-to-one correlation between the character or event in the story and the theological concepts or event.

Instead, Lewis uses symbolism. With symbolism, there does not need to be as clear a one-to-one correlation. Also, sometimes with symbolism, the author is free to simply drop a symbol into a scene or story and leave it there (like a treat or Easter egg).

Why Study CS Lewis in High School? to learn symbolism

Lewis uses symbolism from:

  • Theological concepts

    • Common concepts like redemption
    • Some concepts from mystical theologians
  • Classic Greek literature

    • Such as centaurs and fauns in the Chronicles
  • Traditional philosophy such as Plato’s:

    • Forms
    • Levels of reality
  • More modern philosophic concepts such as “sehnsucht”

    • This is a deep but joyful longing (such as a Christian’s longing for heaven)
    • Here and there, in Lewis’ novels, you will see that he notes a blue flower in a scene. Anywhere you see a blue flower, you know that a moment of sehnsucht about to happen. That is because blue flowers traditionally in German literature and art are symbolic of longing.
  • Concepts from his friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, such as:

    • The numinous: that awesome feeling or lightness and peace when in God’s presence
    • This is symbolically resented in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Lucy meets Aslan again.

So, how can you get hold of study guides for all these? Well, of course, go to 7SistersHomeschool.com and download these guides. (In these study guides, we gradually coach homeschool high schoolers through the process of understanding symbolism and the deep reading processes that Lewis is aiming for in his writings. Also, the guides include backstory and inferential skills development, vocabulary suggestions and assignments for teens who what to level up to Honors.)

Our 7Sisters Literature Study Guides for the novels of CS Lewis help bring a high schooler step by step through developing the thinking and inferential skills that he sought to develop in these books. Our students have told us over the years that these guides, like 7Sisters other curriculum is “da bomb“!

BTW- For teens who would like to delve more into Lewis, here’s a post that discusses writing projects to go along with the books as well as a post on improving writing by reading the works of CS Lewis by a professor who teaches writing.

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Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis.

Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

Sometimes life is tough and you need a little encouragement. These last couple of years have been tough for everyone. That’s why Vicki was chatting with our friend and colleague at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network, Meredith Curtis. She is also a curriculum writer (her website is PowerlineProd.com)

Meredith is the host of the Finish Well Podcast. And she has finished raising a bunch of homeschool high schoolers well! She is the mother of five children: four daughters and a son.

Vicki and Meredith started homeschooling back in the old days when homeschool moms all seemed to wear denim jumpers and drove huge vans. Both ladies kind of broke the mold because they never got around to doing either. However, both us us loved the time with our kids all the way through high school. For instance, we loved to help them develop their interests, skills, faith and character qualities.

Meredith was busy homeschooling her family from 1991-2016, when she graduated her youngest. She was sad to finish up homeschooling. However, she found a renewed need for her experience in her local homeschool co-ops and helping out her oldest daughter who was married and had young children. Therefore, she became a supporter and mentor to those around her.

Through her experiences homeschooling her own teens, Meredith developed curriculum that filled some holes in the material available to homeschoolers. She continues to share her materials and wisdom on her website and podcast.

Both Vicki and Meredith have noticed that our kids were friends through their teen years and (what a blessing!) have remained friends as adults. We have noticed that they will go to each other for comfort or advice in tough times. They find in each other some strength in times of adversity.

How to find strength in adversity for homeschool families

Speaking of adversity…adversity has always been an irritation to Vicki that it happens. She freely admits that, as a young mom, she hoped that by homeschooling her kids in as safe and nurturing environment, they would be shielded from hardships. She quickly found out that, despite her best efforts, she was not in charge of the universe and that tough times happen to everyone.

So how did we find strength in times of adversity? Let’s give some examples:

Some of the best ways to show how to survive adversity is to share specific stories from life. Vicki and Meredith hope you find some strength and encouragement for your tough times.

Church planting

Meredith and her husband are church planters. When they came to Florida to plant churches there, they experienced many times where the finances were low…of course, because building a tithing congregation takes time! There were many times that they prayed together as a family, “Lord, we don’t know how to pay these bills and care  hospitably for these church members.”

She remembers feeling angry or fearful during some of these prayers. That is real. We can be authentic with God. In the end, she found that each month, something happened to get them through.

Friends for our homeschool high schoolers

Vicki’s homeschool high schoolers were always active in homeschool co-ops, group classes, church youth group, choirs and other extracurriculars. Because they had so many experiences with their peers, they developed friendships. Unfortunately, occasionally those friendships would shift, leaving one or the other of her teens feeling sad and lonely.

Vicki found that when she prayed for God to show them new friends, He always answered. Soon, the teens would find that God was bringing a new friend across their paths.

Educational needs

One of Vicki’s kids had several learning disabilities. She prayed for God’s wisdom in training him to overcome the areas of weakness and also to accentuate his areas of giftedness. Not only that, she prayed that God work in her son’s heart to help him notice these gifts and interests in order to build his confidence. In the end, God worked in his life and is now a successful middle school teacher, where he can use his special creative gifts.

Teenage mood swings

There’s nothing like puberty! Meredith found that her daughters, who had been so chill during their younger days, became quite emotional during their teen years. She worked on her own self-awareness and prayer so that she could:

  • Understand what her daughters were going through
  • Support her during all these changes
  • Let go of the fallacy that since she is homeschooling her kids, she could protect them from the tough parts of growth and life

Strength for handling more painful adversities

Sometimes adversities are much more painful and long-lasting. How do we find strength for these adversities?

Chronic illness and severe disabilities

Vicki shares some of the story of her grandson who was born with severe disabilities. Throughout his mother’s pregnancy and all through his young life, the whole family has been praying for this little guy. The way that God has answered these prayers has been giving:

  • each family member the fortitude to pray for him
  • his parents the fortitude to care for him
  • open door for resources for him

When Vicki tells God how he should be running this problem (which God allows her to do), she is reminded that God handles things His way and His way is best…even when we do not like or understand it. Strength and faith grow as she holds onto this.

Caregiving for elderly parents and grandparents

Meredith shares about the time of adversity when her parents, in their seventies, became very ill while they were caring for her one-hundred year-old grandmother. She was needed for daily help for all of them, so found she would need to juggle taking some of her kids to help with the elders and leave some at home to babysit the youngsters. Then her mother died, leaving her father and grandmother. Meredith was heartbroken.

What Meredith needed in that time was the strength simply to function. She found it in prayer and with lots of support from her church community and her own family. On the other hand, she had to find a way to grieve while still caring for the family so she would pull away to work on projects. But finally she learned to explain what she needed to her kids and the family worked together to find a healthy way to adjust their homeschooling and lifestyle.

God showed Meredith that she does not always need to be strong. She can look for his grace in her weakness and find that he can sustain her well.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings and tell God how you feel.-Meredith Curtis

Suggestion for homeschooling parents going through times of adversity

This is a broken world with many adversities. That’s just reality. However, we can get through these challenging times. Here are some of Meredith’s suggestions:

Allow yourself to feel your feelings

Sadness or disappointment need to be acknowledged. Sometimes we need to tell God exactly how we are feeling. Sometimes we need a good friend to talk to (or even a counselor). Eventually we will find strength to keep going…and even move on.

Remember that no matter what things look like, God loves us

Just because you are going through adversity does not mean that God is loving you less. You can hang onto this fact even when in times of adversity when you do not understand what is going on. If you sometimes cannot do this, do not hesitate to talk to a friend, pastor or counselor.

Sometimes it helps to find a Scripture to pray and meditate on

Pray for a Scripture to help keep in mind. In difficult moments, a well-meditated Scripture can give you strength.

You will get so much unsolicited advice, ignore what is not helpful

Remember: no one is perfect, so if you are hearing guilt-inducing advice, turn it over to God and get it out of your mind. It is not your responsibility to explain to or appease folks who give unasked-for advice.

Remember: God is with us

God is with you. He is with you. God is with you. Hang onto that and look for His purposes and work in your life.

Join Meredith and Vicki for encouragement and comfort in this interview. You can reach Meredith at:

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Strength in Adversity for Homeschool Families, Interview with Meredith Curtis

 

 

 

 

Homeschooling a Strong-Willed Teen

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling a Strong-Willed Teen.

Homeschooling a Strong-Willed Teen

Homeschooling a Strong-Willed Teen

We had a request from one of our 7th Sisters to talk about homeschooling high school with strong-willed teens. (BTW- there are six of us 7Sisters, so who is the 7th Sister? YOU are!)

I have to admit that the truth is, if we have more than one kid, we could make a lineup of easy- to hard-to-homeschool teens. If we happen to do that, it is likely that most of us have at least one easier kid and definitely one harder to homeschool. Often that harder to homeschool teen is strong willed.

However, you can be of good cheer! You and your all your teens (even the strong-willed ones) CAN love homeschooling high school- at least most days. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that.

With that in mind, let’s talk about some tips for homeschooling strong willed teens.

There are several mindsets that will benefit us parents of strong-willed teens. Here are a few:

Remember, you and your teens are not enemies (even on bad days)

Pray for God to give you a vision of being a team. To do this, we need an openness to always think of ourselves, even on bad days, as together (not against). This is such a necessary mindset. Keep in mind that God created your strong-willed teen. He has plans for that will. Not only that, but when you have that strong will working WITH you on a project or plan, amazing things can happen!

And those amazing things that happen (not every day but enough days), even strong willed teens come to see themselves as team players. One benefit of this team mindset is that over the years these teens come to see themselves as friendly with their parents.

Of course, this can be a challenge to those of us who were with a highly authoritarian parenting style. If you were raised as “the parent is the authority and the teen must submit”,  AND you want to repeat this with your strong-willed homeschooler, life will have more challenges.

God creates our teens and their personalities

In His infinite wisdom, God gave you the perfect teen with the perfect personality to fit with your personality. NO kidding! God knew it was the very best thing for you to be together through their adolescence.

We can trust God with the process through their homeschooling years. Also, keep in mind that through this process, He is not out to break their wills- or yours. Rather, He is working to mold you both into the image of Christ. Therefore, you both over time grow into the fruit of the Spirit.

For homeschool success with strong-willed teens: Remember you are on the same team!

Now, some practical tips for homeschooling strong willed teens

Okay, so what is the rubber-meets-the-road in tips for homeschooling these teens?

First off, pray

As our Sister Kym always says: Pray first, last and always! The true secret of success is praying for God’s wisdom for raising these particular teens.

Have an easy but helpful resource

We are not affiliates, but there is a wonderful resource for raising these teens: How to Really Love Your Teen by Ross Campbell. This is a book that helps you find a balance of helping these teens get and stay on your team by making them feel loved. While creating this loving atmosphere Campbell also shows useful ways to set rules and boundaries with these teens.

Here are some ideas from Ross Campbell:

  • Eye contact
    • Eyes are the gate to the soul. When you check in with your teens’ eyes periodically, it feels their “love tank” (as Campbell calls their emotional needs).
  • Positive and healthy physical touch
    • All teens (and all humans) need occasional touch, for instance: a pat on the back, a high-five or a quick hug. When you give your teen a quick hug, a high five or a pat on the back, their brains (and yours) release oxytocin, which is a bonding and calming hormone. Not only that, it’s just a nice thing to do.
  • Focused attention
    • Strong-willed teens often will not want to sit down on the couch together for a long chat. It can be hard to find time to be with them in a listening way while they and you are so busy with this phase of life.
    • However, here is something we have found often works: have the teens leave their earbuds at home, then get them in the car for a drive and a walk at a nearby park. You can count this as Phys Ed for the day. At the same time, walks and car drives are often times that teens will talk about something. It does not need to be deep or problem solving, it can be about the level they just beat in their game…whatever. It’s the time together that matters.
  • Unconditional love
    • Teens need to feel loved. This means periodically hear the words, “I love you.” They also need to know that even when they have been a pain in the neck or blown it somehow, they need to know you still love them. (So, de-escalate your own anger before dealing with their irritating behavior.)

Another fabulous resource is Star Finder by Anita Gibson. A homeschool mom herself, Anita shares ways to guide a strong-willed teen so that they discover their strengths and then use their will to make good things happen.

Now, onto tips for educating the strong-willed teen

Here are some practical tips for working with that strong will instead of against it.

Do not hand them a stack of books and syllabi and issue a command: Get this done!

Instead, during the off season, sit together and plan your homeschool for the next year. (In fact, it is good to also work on a together-vision of the high school years.) First do some research ahead of time on planning homeschool high school and gather ideas for resources.

Then get together with your teen. Listen and get their thoughts about high school. Next, if their ideas are totally ridiculous (which they sometimes are), ask questions about their ideas.

Show them some options, for instance:

Keep working to be a team (even if it means lowering your education standards a little bit). When you have a buy-in from your strong-willed teen, they will co-operate better.

Remember, homeschool years are rarely “steady state”. You and your teen discover that what worked in September is totally irritating by January…or maybe it never worked to start with. Model for your homeschooler a growth mindset by working with them to adapt or change how the problem credit is being earned.

Hold onto some basic expectations

As you plan together, let your teen know that there are some requirements you both have to reach. These might include:

  • State graduation requirements
  • Umbrella school or other supervising organization requirements
  • College or vocational school entrance requirements
  • Any personal non-negotiable (although, these may need to be flexible…well, probably will need to be flexible)

Also, make sure you ask them about their expectations for their homeschool high school years. If they don’t have a clue, be sure to add some Career Exploration activities to help them start visualizing the future.

Write all these down. Have a copy for you and for your homeschool high schooler. Remember that Habakkuk 2:2 instructs us to:

Write the vision and make it clear so that those who read it can run with it.

BTW- if you have a creative teen, have them create a vision board based on these expectations and dreams.

These written and/or visual expectations and dreams help homeschool high schoolers stay on their own team.

Teach and plan on time management skills

Also, plan together for the time management and scheduling that you both agree on. This will vary by personality and personal and family needs. A good way to start with this is to do a time audit before doing your planning together. This can help them make realistic adjustments and plans.

Do not nag

Make sure you have regularly scheduled check-ins (on the calendar for you both). This can be daily, weekly or monthly according to the level of responsibility a teen is able to handle.

If you find they are behind, do not nag. Rather, stay on the same page. Talk together about the agreements about the plans you both made for the year and how to recalibrate. Here’s a post you can read together about catching up when you are behind.

Find things to laugh about

Laughter keeps you bonded and is good for body and soul. Anytime you can have laughter it helps education and relationships. If nothing else, watch a funny movie or YouTube together.

Model apologizing

Own your own stuff when you make a mistake. It is good for your soul and theirs.

Also, make sure you model true apologies, such as, “I’m sorry that I lost my temper.” That is a better choice than, “I’m sorry YOU are upset that I lost my temper.” (This, of course, is not actually an apology.)

Remember: there’s no such thing as a perfect teen

Strong willed teens will need more forgiveness and that is okay. God has plans so keep praying and growing together. Strong-willed teens are a lot more work than compliant teens but they are so worth the effort. Hold onto the truth that God has plans for them (and you)!

Join Vicki for a helpful discussion on homeschooling strong-willed teens.

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How to be Ready for College, Interview with Dr. Rachel van der Merwe

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to be Ready for College, Interview with Dr. Rachael van der Merwe.

How to be Ready for College, Interview with Dr. Rachel van der Merwe

How to be Ready for College, Interview with Dr. Rachael van der Merwe

We are so excited this week to be chatting with a homeschool graduate, who is also the daughter of our fellow podcaster and friend, Meryl van der Merwe. (With that in mind, you should check out Homeschooling with Technology– you will be glad you did!)

Dr. Rachael van der Merwe is a professor at a university in the Netherlands, where part of her teaching is helping young college students gain the tools for success. Therefore, between her homeschooling experiences in the United States and her experiences teaching college, we knew this was a perfect topic for her to share with our listeners.

Dr. van der Merwe’s story

Rachael and her family are originally from South Africa. While growing up there, she attended school, which she loved. School in South Africa was old-style British education with uniforms and strong education.

However, when the family moved to Tennessee, she was so far ahead of the school system there, they decided to homeschool. Rachael was nervous about starting to homeschool especially she feared the “socialization” question: Would she be too isolated?

On the other hand, she had not had the best socialization experiences in the local public school. The kids there had treated her poorly with “mean girl” questions like: If you’re from Africa, why are you white? or Do you ride elephants?

So when they joined the local homeschooling community Rachael was thrilled to quickly feel accepted in the “rag-tag” group that included a mix of different kinds of people. She found them welcoming! Also they loved asking questions in their co-op classes and learned in ways that fit well with her styles. That fit Rachael’s curiosity-based learning style and develop her interests and skills.

Dr. van der Merwe is now in her first year as Assistant Professor of Media Studies at a University in the Netherlands. Her job there is sixty percent teaching and forty percent research. Rachael is currently researching on digital media in South Africa and how it relates to national identity. While researching, she is also teaching media-related topics to video games, social media, television, film and journalism.

While she is working with her students, she has found her students needed extra emotional support as they all went through the pandemic. With all the grading, teaching and supportiveness, this is a job requiring long hours! Vicki reminded her of the research that showed that a professor who cares has lasting influence on their students.

With the idea of being supportive in mind, Rachael is excited to share some ideas on ways to be ready for college!

Here are Rachael’s tips for college success.

  • Be ready for college by developing independent-learning skills

    • Rachael found that homeschooling is the perfect place to develop these skills. Her parents worked with her to set up her educational structures but she developed her own independent learning skills and time management.
  • Learn time management is necessary for college success

    • Her mother held structured family learning time and meal times. Rachael was in charge of learning to schedule her study and social time. Therefore, she learned time management skills by hands-on practice.
  • Solid reading skills are necessary in high school and college

    • Do lots of reading of different kinds.
  • Talk to your teachers

    • Ask for help. Ask questions. In the first three weeks of each semester, meet with each professor during office hours. Share your goals for the course, ask a question about the course.

Tips for success in college that teens can develop in high school

Rachael also has some tips we can model for our teens that they can develop in high school:

  • Find community
    • Rachael’s family was active in co-ops and other homeschool communities
  • Manage media usage well
    • Model healthy cell phone usage for the family
  • Develop interests
    • She had lots of time to lean into lots of interests.
  • Nudge the development of new skills
    • Rachael’s mother nudged her to do film projects for National History Day. Through this she discovered her love of film and media.
    • She also, at her mother’s nudging, learned coding (which she now uses in her professional research)
  • Encourage exploration
    • Her mom asked questions and encouraged her to explore.
  • Learn public speaking
    • 4H gave Rachael lots of public speaking opportunities.
  • Participate in some competitions
    • Rachael participated in Science Olympiad and Quiz Bowl.

BTW- Dr. Rachael van der Merwe also teaches at her mother’s online FundaFunda Academy for homeschool high schoolers. There, she teaches visual literacy (analyzing visual components of media and the digital world).

Also for more ideas check out our interview with John Lenshow who shares tips for success in college.

Join Vicki and Rachael for a valuable conversation about how to be ready for college.

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Each Homeschool High Schooler is Unique, Interview with Sue Sobszak

Each Homeschool High Schooler is Unique, Interview with Sue Sobszak.

Each Homeschool High Schooler is Unique, Interview with Sue Sobszak

Each Homeschool High Schooler is Unique, Interview with Sue Sobszak

We love those times we can connect with a good friend on the podcast. This week we were able to catch our old friend, Sue Sobszak, to talk about respecting and working with each teen’s uniquenesses.

We met Sue at our beloved 2:1 Conference (a conference for Christian homeschool bloggers) years ago! Sue was one of those folks that just instantly becomes a friend. She is warm and determined and smiles a lot!

Sue and her husband are retired military. As a military family, they have moved around a lot, of course. Because they were moving around so much, Sue’s mother thought that homeschooling would be a good option for their kids, so she suggested it to her husband. Then he came to Sue and suggested homeschooling! That is how they got started!

Their reasons for starting to homeschool when her oldest was very young because they thought their shy child would do better learning at home. Not only that, but they wanted to educate him in the faith as well as core academics.

Then they had a child every two years for ten years, then a sixth child later. That gave them lots of children to educate! So, Sue and her husband homeschooled her kids on four continents and a number of states. Thus, their kids are well-traveled homeschoolers.

Now, four of her kids have graduated homeschooling high school- and report that they were glad that they had homeschooled.

Sue is a respecter of uniqueness and wants to help each homeschool high schooler develop their interests

She has six very different kids with very different interests. Sue sees these differences as gifts, so she works to help teens discover and develop interests.

While each of her kids are different, Sue started out homeschooling high school with a more traditional approach for her oldest. That is because she was new to homeschooling a teen and also, she liked the Classical approach and wanted to try it with him. However, he did have some unique things on his transcript such as a government camp that he attended over the summer. BTW- he is in the military after finishing college through ROTC . (For information on what military recruiters are looking for, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.)

Then when her second son started homeschooling high school, she thought he wanted to go into a wellness field. With that in mind, they were able to get him a job at a wellness center during high school and count it as an internship on the transcript. Afterwards, he gave a presentation to his homeschool co-op about it. Because he had spent time in the field, at the end of the school year, he realized that wellness was not the field for him. (That’s one reason we do internships– to weed out poor-fit jobs.)

That son is a successful entrepreneur after graduating college in two years! He is happy in his field. (BTW- for tips from another homeschool graduate who is now an entrepreneur, check out this interview with our friend, Samantha Shank.)

Her third child had some reading difficulties when she was younger. Therefore, through high school they used a reading app for struggling readers that she was able to use for her books and textbooks. She is NOW an English Literature major in college! That is because she learned that she can read anyway that works for her- and she loves reading and writing in college.

Her fourth child is is college now also. During his homeschool high school years, they were stationed in Germany. While he was there, he developed an interest in film. There Sue found a film camp for teens from all over Europe. That certainly added sparkle to his transcript.

Not only did he do his film camp, Sue was able to arrange an internship with Armed Forces Radio. There, he found a love for communications.

If there is something you would like to do with your kids or for them, ask. There's a possibility that they will say, "yes"!

How does Sue get these internships for her teens? She asks! So, Sue’s advice is:

If there is something you would like to do with your kids or for them, ask. There’s a possibility that they will say, “yes”! And no harm done if they say, “no”!

For instance, Sue wanted to try a flight simulator. So she asked at the local flight training school and they said, “yes”! Therefore, she and her kids got to try one out.

Each homeschool high schooler is unique, so each has had different experiences throughout their educations. For instance, not only have her teens done internships but they have also done programs as they fit her teens’ interests, such as:

Sue’s youngest is unique in that she wants to graduate early. While none of her other teens had wanted to do this, Sue is being flexible with this teen. Right now, they are working on plans to get all her credits in so that she can finish high school at the end of her junior year.

Final thought: Each teen is different. Uniqueness is a gift from God. Therefore you can lean into these gifts and enjoy each homeschool high schooler’s uniqueness.

Now that Sue has fewer high schoolers, she has been investing back into the homeschool community by sharing courses. She is also doing life coaching.

You can find Sue at:

Join Vicki and Sue for a story-filled, encouraging talk about developing teens’ uniquenesses!

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Each Homeschool High Schooler is Unique, Interview with Sue Sobszak

What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins.

What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins

What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins

There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school and so Vicki is excited to talk to a new friend about virtual home learning. Our new friend is Melissa Perkins of Blue Star Virtual Home Learning.

Melissa Perkins is such an interesting person. She is a graduate of Meredith College and a distinguished teaching fellow. Melissa is a world-class educator as well as a former military wife (so has taught all over the world including Central and South America, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia and China). Somewhere along the line, Melissa started bringing her love of teaching online with Blue Star and has grown her organization into a thriving educational resource.

Vicki ran into Melissa in the Facebook world where she enjoys Melissa’s Conscious Educator community.

Melissa started the virtual learning program at the request of her friend who had been homeschooling her son but needed a tutor for her son when she had to go back to work.

Melissa helped him succeed while the family made their lifestyle adjustments. Then her friend’s co-op asked for her teaching support, too. That was three years ago. Since that time, her online home learning platform has gone worldwide. She has virtual offices in Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and is working on opening locations in Great Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Australia.

One of the stand-out principles of the program is the concept of Master Students.

These are young people from toddlers thought adult who work at being their own primary educator. They bring Blue Star in to be their guide. Thus, Blue Star is not a school, per se. Rather, it is an “educational ecosystem” that helps develop the hearts, souls and minds of students and their families.

Blue Star is there to enhance their student’s educations- whether they are homeschoolers, hybrid schoolers (those in a traditional school but taking Blue Star courses to develop student interests and abilities). Melissa wants her students to have educational experiences that are:

  • valid
  • relevant
  • enriching

Melissa’s Blue Star works to support their Master Students’ families as well as the students themselves.

Because Blue Star is not a school, they do not issue credit for courses. Not only that, they make sure their families know that they are not in the education business in order to babysit their students. They want families where the parents are “hands-on involved” in their children’s education.

Melissa calls her staff “educational concierges”.

In other words, they provide some academic administration or “TA-ing”. They help with resources and lesson planning as well as courses. This leaves more time for families to be families and enjoy themselves.

One of the virtual learning distinctives is having an education concierge. This person:

  • Answers questions
  • Walk you and your students through the program
  • Have a weekly meeting with families

Melissa’s story

Her call as a teacher when she was five years old when she began teaching her dolls and stuffed animals. In Melissa’s high school in North Carolina, she was part of a program for future teachers. After that, she became a teaching fellow to have her college education in return for teaching service.

She was inspired by good teachers in her home county of Wake County, North Carolina (the home of great colleges, so there were lots of great teachers available to local schools). Her parents were involved in her educational success.

Once she finished her teacher training, Melissa was excited to begin her teaching career. She was saddened by the archaic resources and systems. Teachers were not included in leadership or planning. She felt sad about the communication between schools and parents- so rather than teachers and parents collaborating, there was an adversarial relationship.

Melissa decided to start innovating to make things better. Her first adventure in innovations was taking a group of high schoolers for study abroad in South Africa. Soon she was teaching in Beijing, as well as leading teacher training there. Through her organization she traveled to numerous regional countries and learned from the many school systems she experienced.

The way Blue Star Virtual Learning works like this:

  • Parents decide to own their kids’ education.
  • They contact Blue Star to develop their four areas:
    • Constellation

      • This is comprehensive learning- an entire educational ecosystem, using diagnostics to help know where to place kids, develop schedules and rhythms. This includes:
        • Master Circles
          • Bonding time once a week with students, virtual teacher and student one-on-one to discuss and explore concepts
        • Master Huddles
          • Bonding with four other students and a Master Guide to dive deep into a subject. These are not credit classes but learning opportunities.
  • Skills Universe

    • This program is for young people in a traditional learning situations (schools) but they want more support when they are not in school. Blue Star provides guides (not tutors) that help delve into issues that cause learning stressors through relationships and “drill down” supports.
  • Twinkling Playhouse

    • This program is learning for toddlers. It essentially gives toddlers an in-home pre-school with puppet shows and other learning adventures. Little ones develop early-learning skills in pre-reading and pre-math.
  • SuperNova

    • These are elective courses for teens such as cooking, sign language and conversational Spanish.
  • PLUS, there are courses for parents!

    • Melissa knows parents want to learn also. Sometimes they want courses simply to develop an interest. Other times, they want to develop a career-related skill. So Blue Star offers virtual learning experiences in:
      • A+
      • MAC IOs
      • Pre Nursing
      • GED support
      • AND much more
    • Adult learners tell Melissa that they enjoy the one-on-one attention of the teaching.

Blue Star Virtual Learning gives families, digital and non-digital learning experiences- with lots of outdoor and hands-on experiences.

Interested in virtual learning?

Talk to Melissa Perkins about Blue Star Virtual Learning at the Conscious Educator Facebook group or Instagram and Clubhouse.

Join Vicki and Melissa about virtual learning.

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Homeschooling Tips for Military Families

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling Tips for Military Families.

Homeschooling Tips for Military Families, Interview with Nathan and Anita from Homeschool Project Podcast

Homeschooling Tips for Military Families

We’re so excited to be joined again with our friends, Nathan and Anita from the Homeschool Project Podcast! They are a military family, as are many of our homeschool friends, so join us today for some encouragement from a military homeschool family to other military homeschool families OR to homeschool families who want to understand their military homeschool-friends!

Nathan and Anita are currently stationed in Ohio. They have been serving for twelve years. (Let me clarify. Nathan is a military recruiter- the guest on an Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode about what military recruiters like to see in homeschoolers. However, when one member of the family is serving in the military, the entire family serves because they must be adaptable to all the lifestyle needs of military service members.)

Nathan and Anita homeschool their three kids, ages four through twelve. They started their podcast last year to talk about their homeschool adventures.

They started thinking about homeschooling several years ago, when their daughter was finishing pre-k.

At that time, Nathan got to thinking about homeschooling. Anita was busy in her career as a nurse and loving it. However, she respected his opinion so kept thinking about it.

One thing that triggered their thinking about homeschooling was a meeting with their pre-k’s principal who told them they should hold their daughter back a year. They went forward with their traditional school plans for the time. But then, one night while bathing her young son she realized she was truly seeing her child for the first time that day. She decided she wanted a lifestyle that was not so harried, but rather, had time for noticing.

Another incident that moved them closer to homeschooling was a night when they were helping their daughter with her homework. She was seven years old and so tired after a school day. Watching her, they decided they wanted something better for their daughter. After that, Anita spent the rest of the researching how to homeschool. Then they were ready for Anita to retire and to launch their homeschool.

As Nathan says, he has never been the type to believe life has to be what everyone tells you it has to be: Mom and Dad both work, come home after a long day to feed the kids and put them to bed, then do it over again the next day. The only family time really is Saturdays. That’s not the life he wanted for his family.

Life can be centered around a healthy kind of education situation. For us, that was homeschooling! -Nathan and Anita

They decided that life could be centered around a healthy kind of education situation for their kids…and that was homeschooling!

Life does not need to be centered around school all day and homework all evening. There is more to life than schoolwork. Homeschooling allows their family to have a marvelous education AND time for fun, exploration, play and simple family time.

Nathan and Anita started their podcast because Nathan loves podcasts! Also, they wanted to be able to pull together all the information they were learning about homeschooling and a homeschool lifestyle into one place in order to help other homeschoolers. They figured that they can bring folks along as they learn…and to learn from others as they interview them.

The podcast also gives them a special kind of community that goes with them, even if they must relocate due to military orders. (They have found there are many, many homeschooling military families.)

What’s it like being a military homeschooling family?

Anita shares that homeschooling allows some stability when Nathan’s military schedule changes a lot. Military lifestyle means lots of changes and moves, but homeschooling stays as a constant.

Homeschooling also helps them feel close. This is important for military families because there are difficulties involved in being a service family. That close knit support system is a true help.

Anita has also found that homeschooling allows some creative flexibility that helps military families. For instance, when a dad is deployed, families can work ahead in schoolwork, so that when he is home they can set aside school and enjoy family time. Or if dad has a rotating day-to-day schedule, families can work their lessons so that his days off match theirs.

Here are some tips from Nathan and Anita to help military families who are starting to homeschool:

Vicki loves the resources and hopefulness that Nathan and Anita bring to homeschooling families, especially military homeschool families. Please check out their podcast and pray for all our military families. Join us for encouragement for military homeschooling families- and folks who care about them.

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A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Helping Teens Own Their Education, Interview with Meryl van der Merwe

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Own Their Education, Interview with Meryl van der Merwe.

Helping Teens Own Their Education, Interview with Meryl van der Merwe

Helping Teens Own Their Education, Interview with Meryl van der Merwe

Homeschool high schoolers need to develop independent learning skills. As they do this, they start to own their education. That’s why Vicki is excited to talk with our friend, Meryl van der Merwe from the Homeschooling with Technology Podcast. (BTW- If you have not checked out that podcast, you are missing out SO many good resources! Check it out.)

Meryl and her family moved to the United States from South Africa. They started homeschooling because they moved to the US in the middle of the school year. However, the family loved homeschooling so much that three of her four graduated from homeschool high school. (Look for an upcoming interview with her daughter, Rachel, who is a homeschool graduate and is now a college professor.)

Even though Meryl’s own children are all graduated, Meryl stays connected to the homeschool community through the podcast and FundaFunda Academy (online courses and academy for homeschoolers).

One gift Meryl gave her teens was a voice in their education, so when her youngest approached high school age, she asked to go to a traditional school. Meryl allowed her to own her own choice and give it a try!

Which brings us to this episode’s topic: Helping teens own their education

Most homeschool parents want our high schoolers to own their education, to become independent learners and independent adults. With that in mind, let’s check out Meryl’s tips that have worked for her family.

Give teens a voice in their education

As we mentioned, Meryl’s youngest went to a traditional school. That was what she wanted to do. On the other hand, her older three children homeschooled through graduation because they wanted to.

Also, Meryl gave her homeschool high schoolers a voice in the selection of courses and curriculum. Parents need to create the framework based on state graduation requirements and what they are planning on doing after high school.

For some guidance on a high school framework, here are some helpful posts:

As you work with your teens on choices for homeschool high school, help them look at:

  • Interests
    • Electives– they can explore interests and earn elective credits
    • Specific History and Science course topics (for instance, Meryl’s daughter liked art so she earned some Art History credits).
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

To help homeschool high schoolers make curriculum choices, try doing some research. Then present it to your teens

You can ask for input in 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group or Meryl’s Facebook group Homeschooling College-bound Teens.

Collect some curriculum and elective ideas and allow your teens to rank them according to their interest as:

  • Love it
  • Maybe
  • Meh
  • Nope

Meryl has found that her teens like online courses. To make it even better, online courses are available all over the place:

Relationship is key to homeschool success. -Meryl van der Merwe

Remember: Relationship is more important than academics

Try to keep in mind that choice-making is part of relationship building. As teens become part of their educational choice-making process, they gain confidence in themselves and in you. (Not only that, but if they make a choice and later on find they do not like it..it was their choice!)

Teens need to make mistakes, it is part of their growth process. This builds a growth mindset, which helps them own their education.

Help teens learn to own their own schedule

Help them understand their own rhythms and needs while learning to set goals (download this SMART goal freebie). Teach them time management skills. Then let them experience the consequences if they make a mistake.

Of course, keep in mind the framework of the family’s needs (mealtimes, events, etc).

Use as much YES as possible

Whenever possible, give a “yes” to teens. That way, when you must say “no” it will bring less pushback. You will have to step in sometimes with more information. For instance, if a teen wants a light academic schedule but wants to go to a competitive college, have them research admissions requirements and costs for those colleges. That might change their goals.

BTW- For the college search, Meryl’s FundaFunda Academy has a gamified college search summer project each year. It’s open to the public. Check out her Summer Challenge on her Facebook group, Homeschooling College-bound Teens. (7Sisters helps provide material for this each year. It’s fun!)

Help them choose extracurriculars

Teens need a well-rounded lifestyle to be healthy. Also, college-bound teens need extracurriculars on their transcripts. Here are some of Meryl’s for owning their extracurriculars.

Join Vicki and Meryl for inspiration for helping teens own their education.

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A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Ten Terrific Tips for Transcripts.

Ten Tips for a Terrific Transcript

Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

Transcripts are vitally important as record of all the work your homeschool high schoolers have done. Who needs need a high school transcript:

  • Homeschool graduates who want to serve in the military (check out this interview with a military recruiter)
  • Non-college-bound homeschool graduates who will be going into the workforce. (Most employers do not ask to see your teens’ transcript, but it does happen occasionally.)
  • College-bound homeschool graduates

    How to Create a High School Transcript. Create meaningful transcripts with this editable PDF transcript, course checklist and detailed guide.

    Click image for full description.

BTW- 7Sisters has a transcript kit that includes an editable template and detailed instructions.

So if your teen needs a transcript, it might as well be the most advantageous transcript you can produce. With that in mind, here are ten tips for a terrific transcript!

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. Also, there’s not ONE right way to create a transcript. So, do what is best for you and your teens.

Transcript Tip #1

You need it. You may not be required by homeschool law to produce a transcript, but your teen will likely need it at some point.

In my years as the upperclass advisor for our local umbrella school, I found that transcripts can be important years after graduating from high school.

  • I remember one graduate school insisting that one of our graduates produce her high school transcript, even though she had just graduated with her undergraduate degree from a four-year college.
  • Another young man was required to produce his high school transcript for a new job years after homeschool graduation.

Transcript Tip #2

It should be easy to read. As we have often noted: there is not a standardized format that your homeschoolers’ transcripts need to follow. However, the most useful transcripts are easy to scan quickly to get an idea of who your teens are.

Transcript Tip #3

Start in ninth grade. You will thank me for this tip. Can you imagine getting to senior year and needing to dig through years of portfolios and crates and boxes, trying to piece together a transcript? (We have had to help a few homeschoolers do that. While we made it happen, it’s tough.)

You don’t need that stress. Go ahead. Start in ninth grade!

The cool thing, as you watch that transcript develop year to year, you and your teens will feel SO proud of what they are accomplishing. As the transcript builds each year, teens can really feel proud of their successes.

Start the transcript in the 9th Grade

Transcript Tip #4

Keep the format consistent year to year, especially the order of the courses your teen completes. Take for instance:

  • List English/Language Arts first each year
  • Then list Math next each year
  • After that list Science
  • Then list History

You do not need to follow this format, per se, but do order the courses. That way admissions officer, military recruiter or human resources personnel can quickly scan to make sure your teen accomplished all they needed to in high school.

Also, choose the titles for the courses wisely. Here’s a post to help you choose the names for courses.

Transcript Tip #5

Show the level of rigor your homeschool high schooler worked at for each core course:

  • English/Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Levels can be used for other courses also.

Simply record the level of rigor right next to the course title on the homeschool transcript. For instance:

  • Level 1: Remedial
  • Level 2: Average high school
  • Level 3: College prep
  • Level 4: Advanced
  • Level 5: Honors

Check this post for details on levels on a transcript.

This lets colleges or military recruiters know that your teen can handle rigorous academics.

Transcript Tip #6

Include a legend or key on the transcript. Because there is no standardized format for Levels, you will need to include a key or legend on the transcript to explain how the levels are earned.

Transcript Tip #7

Have a GPA recorded on the homeschool transcript. Decide whether you want that GPA:

  • Weighted or
  • Unweighted

For instance, a weighted GPA might be greater than 4.0 to reward teens for their hard work. On the other hand, when applying to colleges, the GPA tends to undo the weighting so that they can compare student to student.

Transcript Tip #8

Include testing scores. If your teen is taking SAT or ACT, it is good to include those scores on the transcript.

Although teens often are often asked these scores as part of their college applications, it is good to have them on the transcript also. That’s because of the “skimmers”. In other words, having the testing scores on the transcript helps admissions officers skim the transcript and turn up LOTS of good information.

Transcript Tip #9

Include extracurricular activities and competitions on the transcript. This is so beneficial for teens who participate in chosen activities for a couple of years in a row. It makes the transcript look so powerful.

Also, include service hours on the transcript. Volunteering shows strength of character and willingness to be involved in the community. Not only that, but these projects helps them when they build their experiential resume.

It is also good for nostalgia when your teens are grown and on their own. You and they can look back and remember all the cool things they did!

Transcript Tip #10

Make sure you include identifying information for your teen. (This seems so obvious, but hey, we are homeschoolers and our kids don’t have to put their names on papers. In the same way, it is easy for us to forget all the important identifying information on the transcript.)

Include this information at the top of the transcript:

  • Student’s full name
  • Complete address
  • Email address
  • Your homeschool’s name or the word “Homeschool” at the top. (This is optional.)

This distinguishes your teen from other applicants with similar names.

These tips are tips that have worked for us and our advisees. Remember: there’s not ONE right way to build a transcript so do what is best for you and yours.

Want more support?

Check out

And for more homeschool support, check out our sister podcasts right here on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network:

Join Vicki for encouragement and tips for terrific transcripts!

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  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. Choose RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

      1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
      2. Choose the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
      3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
      4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
      5. Choose *Subscribe*
      6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*

 

 


A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers.

How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers

 

How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers

College is SO expensive! Scholarships can really help alleviate the financial burden. We are often asked to share tips for finding college scholarships, so that’s what we will do in this week’s episode!

Let’s start with some good news and bad news about college scholarships

There is good news, so take a breath! On the other hand, there is bad news, also. With that in mind, let’s get the bad news over with.

Here’s the bad news about finding scholarships for homeschoolers:

So many homeschool families feel a “keep up with the Joneses” pressure for their homeschool high schoolers. The pressure tells them that their teens must have a full-ride scholarship to college…or else they have all failed. Homeschool moms need to show their success by their homeschool graduates getting totally free college.

We know there are programs and people who peddle the idea that they can help you find those full-ride scholarships. However, the difficult truth is that VERY FEW teens get full-ride scholarships to college. Very few.

In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics’ recent National Postsecondary Student Aid Study found that in 2015-16 (the most recent study) seventy-two percent of undergraduates received some sort of financial aid. However, only 0.2 percent received $25,000 or more in scholarships.

So if your homeschool high schoolers do not go off to college with a full scholarship, that means they are normal. My advice to you? Get out of the comparison game. You and your family are supposed to be your family…not the Joneses.

Here’s the good news about finding scholarship for homeschoolers:

The good news is that there is scholarship money out there. In fact, that NCES study also found that in the 2015-16 academic year, $61 billion in scholarships were awarded to 1.58 million students. Thus, there was scholarship money available. All told, approximately one in eight college students received an average of $4202 per student.

Every $4202 helps.

With that in mind, may I ask you a favor? Do not miss the joys of homeschooling high school because you are fretting about how on earth your teen can work hard enough and long enough to win a full scholarship to their favorite college.

Make the most of high school and help your teens do their best, but do not miss the fun of these wonderful years.

Neither you nor your teen are a failure if she doesn't get a big scholarship

So let’s look at scholarships and financial help for homeschoolers

There are a number of ways to help reduce your homeschool graduate’s financial stress about college. BTW- Here’s a college-planning timeline to keep you organized.

File the FAFSA

The first thing you need to know, is that many scholarships and most financial aid require you and your teen to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is a long application that both you and your teen will complete online. It asks for your prior, prior year’s income (two years ago), as well as the same from your homeschool graduate.

The FAFSA helps determine if your teen is eligible for various Federal Aid programs and is the open door to many scholarships. For instance, some of the Federal Financial Aid programs include:

  • Federal Subsidized Loans (must be paid back)
  • Pell Grants (need-based grants, not required to be paid back)
  • Some other grants and opportunities such as SEOG grants
  • Work-study programs

Once the FAFSA is filled out, the government sends your information to the college of your choice. At that college, the financial aid committee hashes out the details of what you will actually receive.

Look at community colleges

Many states have free tuition for the first two years of college, or through receiving the Associates in Arts degree. Each state has different rules for these programs. Check your state department of education’s website to find out.

Tuition discount discounts at local colleges for local residents

Many colleges have tuition discounts for local residents. Check the college website to see if your local college includes one of these programs. Each college is different with its rules for these program (some require a certain GPA, for instance).

Merit-based scholarships

These are scholarships that vary from college to college. With that thought, you and your teen will need to see which merit-based scholarships are available. Which one fits your homeschool high schooler’s accomplishments?

Some merit scholarships include:

  • Academic (for very high GPA, SAT/ACT scores or academic awards)
  • Artistic (be sure to take your portfolio with you for college tours- ask for an appointment with the dean or academic advisors for that major)
  • Athletics (for high-performing athletes). Check with your teen’s coaches and college of interest’s athletic director to find out what they are looking for.

Demographic scholarships

Some scholarships are based on who you are, rather than what you have accomplished. For instance:

  • Children of military veterans
  • Special groups of people, according to the interest of a college

Needs-based scholarships

These scholarships, or tuition discounts, are given to students based on financial need.

One thing to know about these kinds of scholarships is that the amount of the needs-based scholarship is affected by (reduced by) other scholarships that come from other sources. This does not mean that teens should not apply for other scholarships.

Rather, it means that high school seniors should decide where they want to put their time and energy. Perhaps instead of spending hundreds of hours on scholarship searches, they might find a better use of their time and effort.

Other scholarships

Now, down to the actual scholarship hunt. Here are some ideas:

  • For teens who decide to go on a scholarship hunt, one resource to check out is Fastweb.com. It touts itself as “your connection to scholarships, colleges, financial aid and more”.
  • Look for local organizations who are investing in the community through scholarships.
  • Think about your teen’s niche. For instance, if your teens has a skill such as farrier that might earn them a scholarship from the National Farrier’s Convention (I just made that organization up, btw.)
  • If they are involved in a local organization, it might have small scholarships for local teens.
  • Scholarship competitions.
  • Our friend, Meryl, at Homeschooling with Technology podcast has even MORE information on tracking down scholarships.
  • Also, the College Prep Genius podcast has a bunch of little known scholarships.

All of these scholarships work well for homeschool graduates who will not be receiving needs-based financial aid.

Google these organizations and find out if they have scholarships available. If you find that they do, be sure to follow their rules to the letter.

The most important thing to remember is: You do not need to get an ulcer over this. The most important things are to educate your teens, train them for adulthood and help them become good people. God has plans for your teens.

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