Self Care for Life Transitions for Homeschool Moms

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Self Care for Life Transitions for Homeschool Moms.

Self Care for Life Transitions for Homeschool Moms

Self Care for Life Transitions for Homeschool Moms

Life’s transitions can be challenging, especially when juggling homeschooling responsibilities. But self-care is a vital component of sustaining your ability to care for others – and not a selfish act. Proper self-care can help manage stress and ensure that you are emotionally and physically prepared for whatever life throws your way. Let’s talk about how we do our self-care for life transitions while we’re being healthy moms of adult young people and caregiving for older people.

What are Life Transitions?

Life transitions are periods of change and adjustment that we experience throughout our lives. These can include both expected and unexpected events, such as starting a new job, getting married, moving to a new city, or going through a loss or illness. 

These transitions can bring about a range of emotions and challenges, from excitement and anticipation to uncertainty and stress.

During these times of transition, it is important to prioritize self-care in order to maintain mental and emotional well-being. This means taking the time to focus on your needs and engaging in activities that bring you joy and peace. 

It also involves being mindful of your thoughts and feelings during this time, acknowledging them without judgment.

We used to do a lot of this. We’ve had different transitions in life.

We transitioned our kids through high school and then graduation, and that’s a big transition. And as they’re doing their adult things, all of a sudden, we have adult kids and aging parents at the same time.

When your kids graduate high school, especially the oldest, that could be a tough life transition. 

Another one, like us, is when we had twins. We didn’t know we were having twins until the second one showed up!

Practicing Self-Care Strategies

There are lots of ways to practice self-care during life transitions.

To soothe your mind and help choose calm over anxiety, engaging in a deep conversation with another person can be incredibly effective. Surrounding yourself with individuals who positively impact you can be nourishing for the spirit.

J.O.Y.

We homeschool moms often are trained that self-care is selfish! In fact, we were taught the acronym J.O.Y (Jesus, Others, Yourself)- with the implication that we are selfish if we manage to include the Y in the acronym. We have often been conditioned to believe that Jesus and Others matter- but not you.

However, we have to keep body, soul and spirit healthy. If we do not, will can burn out or get sick. Engaging in activities that nourish your spirit, such as playing an instrument or gathering with supportive friends, can significantly impact your well-being. 

As Kym says,

Joy: If you don’t include the Y, all you have have is JO!

Joy: If you don't include the Y, all you have have is JO!

Recognizing God’s presence in everyday moments and finding joy in simple pleasures like nature can be profoundly restorative.

Let us note two things so that everything needs to stay in balance:

We don’t want to get so caught up in self-care that we invent the word: YJO!

Also, be careful of escaping uselessly (as in hours of scrolling). Instead, do something good for body, soul or spirit if you are working on self-care.

Community and Support Systems

Lean into your support systems. We should be looking out for one another and sharing what we learn along the way. Having some prayer partners, or bffs that you can have coffee breaks with (or simply texting during tough times).

(Trivia for health class: when you have a nice conversation with friends, it literally down-regulates your vegus nerve- which helps you feel calmer and improves your immune system.)

Noticing practices

In transition times, it is helpful to take moments here and there to notice something outside that God has created. (Vicki notes a helpful noticing practice is the Ignatian Examen mindfulness prayer practice.) Kym points out that in stressful times, taking walks in nature are one of her most important self-care tools.

7Sisters Homeschool Facebook Group

One place to ask for help is in the 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group. There’s such a nice bunch of sisters there. People will reach out and not just answer each other’s questions but also share information to help each other. (Remember, there are six of us 7Sisters. So who’s the 7th Sister? YOU are!)

Sharing is beautiful.

Planning For Self-Care

One thing I think some people don’t think about in terms of self care is how to plan for it wisely. Scheduling self-care activities is crucial.

You are placing a priority on something when you give it a spot in your planner. And we often put things on there that need to be paid or meetings that we need to attend, even things like medical appointments and deadlines. But we don’t put on the calendar the time to rest, to enjoy nature, to pray, to create, to grow. 

And by putting it on your calendar, you are telling yourself this has priority and this is an important thing.

Of course, you cannot always plan for every transition. Sometimes life happens. In those times, treat yourself and the family with grace, ask for help, and keep breathing!

Teens need to learn self-care, too

Check out this post to get lots of tips for helping teens handle tough times.

Self Care for Life Transitions

Self-care is a non-negotiable aspect of navigating the homeschooling journey, especially during significant life transitions. Taking care of yourself is not just beneficial for you but also for those you care for. Start putting it on your calendar today and witness a huge beneficial transformation!

BTW- Our 7Sisters’ Cousin, Teresa Wiedrick, is a specialist in self-care for homeschool moms. Check out her podcast, Homeschool Mama Self-care and her FB group: Homeschool Mama Support Group.

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

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Christmas in July! Holiday Family Story Project

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Holiday Family Story Project.

Have Christmas in July: Holiday Family Story Project

Holiday Family Story Project

Planning your next homeschool year? Let’s talk about holidays (it’s Christmas in July)!

Are you looking for an engaging and educational project perfect for the week after Christmas? Join Vicki for a discussion of 7Sisters’ Holiday Family Narrative. It is an activity not only brings families together but also enhances your homeschool high schoolers’ writing skills! They can turn cherished family stories into written narratives and create lasting keepsakes while honing their creative writing abilities.

Holiday Family Narrative 7SistersHomeschool.com

Rediscovering Family Stories

During holiday gatherings, families often reminisce about past events, sharing anecdotes about relatives and memorable moments. These stories, whether frequently told or nearly forgotten, can serve as the foundation for a wonderful writing project. 

Encouraging teens to capture these narratives on paper preserves family history and provides a meaningful way to redirect potentially uncomfortable holiday conversations.

What are Family Narrative Guides?

7Sisters Holiday Family Narrative Writing Guide is a downloadable workbook that helps students transform spoken stories into written stories, focusing on character development, storyline structure, and appropriate dialogue. Simply put, teens can turn a given family tale into a well-crafted story using these guides!

(BTW- 7Sisters Homeschool offers another affordable Family Narrative Guide designed for one-week projects. In a family narrative, you simply take a general family story.)

Family Narrative Short Story Writing

In the Holiday Family Narrative, you could pick either a Christmas story or any kind of holiday family stories come up. You are using the holidays as an excuse to capture that story down on paper.

Teens simply ask relatives to tell holiday stories.  Once the story outline and details are gathered, the Family Narrative Guide helps students through the writing process. Teens will learn to develop characters, set the mood, and structure the story effectively. 

After completing the narrative, students can turn their stories into cherished keepsakes. Whether through binding, creating a scrapbook, or designing a cover using tools like Canva or PicMonkey, the final product can be shared with family members as a special memento. 

Academic Benefits

When teens engage in creative writing projects, they also strengthen their overall writing skills. For instance, creative thinking helps teens to write well when they take on more formal assignments like research papers and essays. 

Example of a Family Story Project

My great grandmother lived in Louisville, Kentucky in the farmland around the town, during the early days of the Model T Fords. In her little neck of the woods, a bit outside the city limits, everybody’s telephones were connected. (You may have heard of party lines, where the telephone line goes from house to house, and everybody in the neighborhood can be on the same line at the same time. 

Which also means, if you wanted to be a nosy neighbor, you could pick up the phone and listen in on the conversation of others’ that were on the line. 

My great grandmother saved up money to buy herself a model T Ford.

And this was the biggest deal in that town. All the little farm families around where she lived were so excited. Everybody wanted to see that model T Ford, and she was excited to drive it.

Once it was delivered, she got into her little model T Ford, and she drove it from her house into town. When she drove, she would pass the next house and then the next house. 

And as she passed these houses, the neighbors would pick up their phone and tell them that she just passed by. Everybody would be on the party line waiting for her to pass so they could tell everyone on the party line. It became a big, excited ordeal.

Granny's Model T

Then her husband wanted his chance to drive the car. 

He climbs into the Model T, and he drives by all the neighbors, who are again just so excited to see the car driving by. It goes down the party line that he’s passing by, and he turns around and comes back and it goes back up the party line. 

And as you know, he’s never driven a Model T Ford before; he’s always driven his horses. With the new car, they’re going to also park this Model T in the barn. 

Normally, when he gets in the barn with his horses, he would say, “Whoa..” and the horses would stop. Then he could unhitch them, put them in their stalls, and so on. Horses are very obedient. 

Similarly, when he drove the Model T Ford into the barn, he told the Model T to “Whoa, whoa…” But the Model T didn’t stop. Instead, it just went right through the back wall of the barn. 

This is an example of a family narrative story. And you can see, it’s endured generation to generation because it’s so cute and just so special to that time period in history.

Gathering Family Stories

Part of the Holiday Family Story Project, then, is to get your teens to pry stories out of their relatives. These stories could be a certain time period or a trip they went on. 

Your teen will gather these stories from their relatives so they can start somewhere with the project.

Developing the Story

Once your teen has the basic outline of a story or even just some details, have them ask a few more questions to flesh it out.

Like our example story above, they could find out what kind of clothes they wore in those days? What color was the Model T?

Ask questions to drag out as much information about these stories that they can.

Use the 7Sisters Narrative Guides

Use the 7Sisters Holiday Family Story Project the week after Christmas to work through the process each day. It will help your teen turn the story they heard into a story on paper. 

They will also include character development and be able to describe the family members and share about their personality.

The Family Narrative Guides will take your teen through the entire process of developing the storyline, adding in simple dialogue, and structuring the appropriate mood of the story.

Editing and Finalizing

Before you bind the story to finalize it, make sure your teen does their editing for it first. Because if you’re going to share it with the relatives, you want to make sure this copy is edited well. 

Once the final draft is ready, then you could take it to get bound, either at an online printing source or to a local copy shop, or even make your own DIY binding. Make additional copies, too, for other relatives to enjoy.

Once your teen puts it all together, you all have a really cool keepsake for the whole family to enjoy for years to come!

Holiday Family Story Project

As you can see, turning family stories into written narratives is a delightful and educational post-Christmas project for homeschool high schoolers. Not even just for post-Christmas enjoyment, though, but any time during the year. 

Download Holiday Family Narrative and help preserve family history as well as improves writing skills and having fun. Teens can create meaningful keepsakes that will be treasured for years to come through these family narrative guides by 7Sisters Homeschool!

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

 

Fun Financial Literacy – Interview With Mindy Muller

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Fun Financial Literacy – Interview With Mindy Muller.

Fun Financial Literacy - Interview With Mindy Muller

Fun Financial Literacy – Interview With Mindy Muller

Are you looking for innovative ways to make financial literacy fun and engaging for teens? Our special guest, Mindy Muller from Wealthy and Rad, is a homeschool mom who turned the challenge of financial education into an exciting adventure! Discover how Mindy’s journey from public school frustrations to homeschooling triumphs paved the way for a vibrant, hands-on approach to teaching finance to high schoolers.

BTW- Some folks ask us about sharing info about curriculum from other publishers when 7Sisters provides our own version of Financial Literacy. That’s because we believe that homeschooling is a community. We do not compete, we life each other up. So we are excited to share our friend, Mindy’s Financial Literacy materials! (For an explanation of what Financial Literacy courses include, check out this Authoritative Guide post.)

About Mindy Muller

Mindy Muller, a mother of five, was frustrated with the overwhelming homework load and lack of meaningful learning in public school, like many homeschool moms today. And, like them, Mindy decided to take a stand. 

She researched the detrimental effects of excessive homework and communicated her findings to her children’s teachers. But while some teachers were supportive, others were resistant. 

One of the teachers even targeted Mindy and her kids when she refused to have her kids doing all the homework!  This led Mindy to consider homeschooling. And, inspired by a dream, she embraced the role of educator for her family, finding it to be a fulfilling and successful experience!

Her oldest was pulled out of public school and into homeschooling in her junior year of high school. Now, she works for a solar company.

Mindy’s triplets have graduated as well. One is a surgical technician, another one is climbing the corporate ladder for Jiffy Lube, and the third is still in a college.

And Mindy’s last daughter, she decided to re-attend public school, which is always somewhat of an internal struggle for us homeschool moms when or if our kids mention the desire to go to public school. As you can imagine, Mindy’s heart was heartbreaking because she enjoyed homeschooling her other four so much. 

However, her homeschool story may not be over just yet – her daughter is reconsidering returning to homeschool! Sometimes we have to live and learn, depending on our personalities. 

Every one of our homeschool stories is different – not a single one will ever be the same. And this holds true to every one of Mindy’s children’s educational experience.

Experimenting With Fun Financial Literacy Activities

Mindy’s passion for financial literacy was sparked when her husband was laid off in 2016. Observing her children’s spending habits, she realized the need for a more engaging financial education.

Teaming up with her business partner Kendra, they experienced creating a curriculum that made learning about finance fun and interactive. This is when Wealthy and Rad was born.

The approach to understanding financial literacy involves games and activities that bring financial concepts to life. These kinds of activities help ensure that teens not only understand but enjoy the learning process.

One standout activity is the Compound Interest Game, where teens use corn kernels to simulate earning and investing money. It’s hands-on games like these that help students grasp the power of compound interest in a fun and memorable way. 

Mindy says: Compound interest is remarkable. That’s how the average person becomes a millionaire, through compound interest.

Because poor health is a significant financial strain on the average budget, Mindy also created other activities that focus on investing in health and education. This allows students to use real money to make meaningful choices that impact their well-being and knowledge. 

These fun financial literacy activities are designed to be immersive, making financial literacy a dynamic and enjoyable subject.

Creating Wealth and Rad

Mindy felt like kids needed something that was a little more engaging for financial literacy. Through the successful use of the curriculum in their local commonwealth, Mindy and Kendra were inspired to share their curriculum with a wider audience. 

Wealthy and Rad now offers group and independent study options, complete with engaging materials and support for teachers. Their website features colorful, interactive content that makes financial education accessible and exciting for teens across the globe.

Fun Financial Literacy – Interview With Mindy Muller

Mindy Muller’s journey from public school struggles to homeschooling success is such an inspiration! Through the creation of their fun financial literacy curriculum, Wealth and Rad, financial literacy can be engaging for teens, transforming traditional teaching methods into exciting hands-on activities.

Their story is a testament to the impact of innovative education and the power of homeschooling to meet the unique needs of each family!

Connect with Mindy and Wealthy and Rad

Are you ready to make financial literacy a fun and engaging experience for your homeschooler? Visit Wealthy and Rad to explore their curriculum and discover how you can bring these exciting activities into your home. 

They have several different curriculums, such as for group study or independent study. 

You can also visit the Wealth and Rad Facebook page and join their Facebook community group, where  you can ask questions. 

You can also find them on Curriculum Square by searching Wealth and Rad on the website.

And remember, it’s not too late (or too early) to get a financial literacy curriculum on your kids’ schedule. 

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

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Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers- Special Replay.

Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

It can be really stressful for teens to look for their first jobs. They are stressed because they have never done this before and often do not know where to start! And face it, it is been a LONG time since we moms have had to search for a first job! Want some tips to help? Join Vicki for this quick, concise coaching session on job hunting skills for homeschool high schoolers.

So as a quick, encouraging review on what to do. Here are ten tips.

Here are some basic tips that help teens as they look for their first job.

#1 Develop an experiential resume

Teens may think they do not have anything they could put on a resume because they have not had a “real” job yet. However, they CAN create an experiential resume.

Experiential resumes highlight skills that teens have been developed through their volunteer work, travel or other experiences. By the time a young person reaches high school, they have lots of skills. Homeschool high schoolers can highlight those on a resume that shows various experiences rather than showing a job timeline. Some experiences they might include would be:

  • Volunteer experiences
  • Travel experiences
  • Interesting academics that show ability to go above and beyond the average
  • Hobbies and special interests
  • Extracurriculars

You can download 7Sisters Experiential Resume Writing Guide to help your teens with this project.

#2 Develop a cover letter

A cover letter explains why your teen wants a job at a specific job at a specific place. Teens will not always need a cover letter for entry-level jobs. However, knowing how to write one will help if they find a job that needs one. You can download 7Sisters Cover Letter Writing Guide to help with this.

#3 Ask reference-givers permission to list them as references.

This is one of the most important job hunting skills for homeschool high schoolers. Teens will need to list some references on most applications. Reference-givers need to have a politely-worded request ahead of time and a follow-up thank you afterwards. I highly recommend you have your teens read this post on how to ask for favors and not leave a terrible impression.

#4 Make a list

Many first jobs come from people you or your teens know. In fact, networking is the way many jobs are found- even jobs well into an adult’s career. SO, sit with your teens and make a list of people your teen knows:

  • youth pastor
  • friends’ parents
  • relatives
  • co-op teachers
  • coaches

#5 Make the ask

Once your teens know their “network”, they can ask each person if they know of any job openings. Have your homeschool high schooler rehearse telling each of those people they are looking for a job. Then they can also ask if they know anyone who needs help. Here is a Great episode on how this worked for our friend Angela’s son.

#6 Look for help wanted signs

Tool around local businesses and the mall. See if you see any “help wanted” signs. If so: have your teen run in, drop off the resume. They may be given an application to fill out right then and there (or more likely: told to apply online). If they are filling out an application in person, remind them to take a breath, be calm and write neatly.

#7 Look for online applications from bigger corporations or for local grocery stores or businesses

Your teen can look on job sites like Indeed or Monster OR simply look at local stores’ websites. (Help them spot spam on Indeed or Monster- jobs too good to be true.)

#8 Work on interview skills.

Practice questions and non-verbal. Have questions ready to ask in return. Here are some links to interview skills handout and article.

Remind your homeschool highschoolers to: Show up early, dress professionally, bring a copy of their resume along with pen and paper for notes.

#9 Got the job!

Remind your teens to: Show up early for work with a smile. Give everything 100%.

This builds the resume for the next job!

#10 Make sure you include Career Exploration on the homeschool transcript

These first jobs can count as a Career Exploration elective. Here’s a how-to for that. And if your homeschool highs chooler has not completed a comprehensive Career Exploration course, you might want to consider it as an important part of the upcoming year’s curriculum!

Hope you get some encouragement with this quick, helpful chat with Vicki!

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Careers that Don’t Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Careers that Don’t Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart- Special Replay.

Careers that Don't Require College

Careers that Don’t Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart

God creates all kinds of children. All kinds of children develop all kinds of interests and giftings. We need to make sure that teens are not pressured into going to college if their callings include careers that do not need a college degree. Why waste talent, time and money on that?

One our of favorite topics at 7SistersHomeschool is Career Exploration (in fact, our Career Exploration text is one of our top sellers), so Vicki was really excited to be joined for this HSHSP episode by Susan Stewart of Practical Inspirations. Susan serves the homeschool community as advisor and blogger (and now has a book: Harried Homeschoolers). She has three homeschool graduates who are all doing well careers and life. None of them have college degrees.

Here are thoughts from our discussion on careers that don’t require college.

Susan starts off with a little encouragement for homeschool moms:

  • Things aren’t perfect
  • Things fall apart sometimes
  • You are not a failure because of that
  • We are not God, he has simply given you the job of raising his kids
  • God has made you enough for what he has given you

Susan and her husband did not have the homeschool goal of raising kids who go to college. Their goal was training Godly adults. So they concentrated on life skills and teaching to their homeschoolers’ needs and interests.

Susan reminds us: Not all teens are called to go to college!

Redefine success. We can fall into the trap that in order to be successful, our teens must earn a four-year degree. That is not true. Success is growing and fulfilling God’s plans!

Susan reminds us that her three kids learned that their career callings did not need college degrees. Her husband is an electrician and so her kids knew by watching their dad that career satisfaction comes from a satisfactory career, not necessarily a college degree!

  • Her kids were tired of education so graduated and just “got a job”. Her daughter got a job with a tech company and is now in management, climbing the ladder.
  • One son had some learning difficulties. He tried photography but decided he loved repairing mechanical instruments. His trouble shooting skills have made him valuable to his company.
  • One son started out in the Marines. After his stint, he made the most of his love of travel by becoming an over-the-road truck driver. He loves earning a living by doing the thing he loves: seeing America.

Susan says: We homeschoolers need to remember not be snobs about jobs. If a job is honorable and fits a person’s needs, it is a good job.

We homeschoolers need to remember not be snobs about jobs. If a job is honorable and fits a person's needs, it is a good job.

Because her older homeschool high schoolers were not interested in college, Susan invested in her children with some life preparation skills and experiences which included:

  • Part-time jobs (watering plants at a local plan nursery). Began resume building
  • Service opportunities (they did Meals on Wheels, library volunteer)
  • Job application skills (resume, interview skills, filling out application- especially answering short essay questions)
  • Financial Literacy
  • Community involvement (they did theater and other community activities)

Susan’s homeschool graduates have found that these extracurricular activities on the high school transcript can be as important (or even more important) in early employment opportunities.

Sometimes there is some discussion on whether homeschooling families should bother with an official transcript and diploma. Susan felt like it was a good investment for her teens. Vicki pointed out that sometimes employers want to see the transcript and/or diploma. This is also true sometimes when getting a passport or college applications,  if they decide to go to college later.

What are some careers that don’t require college?

Trades

  • Training can include:
    • Union courses
    • Apprenticeships
    • Classes at local community college
  • Carpenter
  • Welders
  • Surveyors
  • HVAC
  • Mail carriers
  • Railroad workers
  • Masons
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Truck drivers
  • Painters
  • Steel workers
  • Construction contractors
  • Line workers
  • Electricians

Service

  • Training can include
    • Apprenticeships
    • Special courses
    • Classes at local community college
  • Cosmetologists
  • Barbers
  • Dog groomers and trainers

Technology

This field is growing so quickly, there is no way to keep up with the job descriptions. Here’s a try:

  • Training can include
    • Apprenticeships
    • Special courses
    • Classes at local community college
  • Computer-user support
  • Junior data analyst
  • Digital marketer
  • Podcast and digital media editor
  • Web developer

Arts

  • Training can include
    • Apprenticeships
    • Classes at local community college
  • Photography
  • Local dance teachers

Retail, Food Service and Banking

  • Training can include:
    • Learning hands-on
    • Avail themselves of free training within the corporation
    • Taking courses on MOOCs such as EdX

Fitness and Personal Training

  • Training can include:
    • Training schools
    • Apprenticeships

Real Estate

  • Training can include:
    • Courses from various agencies

Law Enforcement

  • Training includes:
    • Specialized academies

Military

Gap Year

Some teens need a year to transition from homeschooling high school before they settle into seriously thinking about a career. Here are some of Susan’s suggestions for a gap year:

  • Get an entry-level job
  • Travel
  • Do short-term missions
  • Volunteer in a local ministry or organization
  • Check out this interview about Gap Year on Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  • Volunteer in a local ministry or organization

Want some more ideas about homeschooling high schoolers who are not called to go to college? Check out these HSHSP episodes:

Join Vicki and Susan for this encouraging episode and check out Susan’s resources.

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Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobszak.

Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

If you are a new homeschool mom, and you just need a little boost of encouragement, or if you have been homeschooling and need to recalibrate and find that encouragement, then you’ll love the tips from today’s guest: our Cousin Sue Sobszak! After reading the advice for new homeschool moms laid out by Sue, be sure to check out her coaching website for even more support on your homeschooling journey.

About Sue Sobczak

Sue is a retired nurse practitioner and is now a life coach. She and her husband are both retired from the army and have six kids, three of whom have graduated from college, two are currently in college, and their youngest is in high school. 

Sue and her family have homeschooled while moving around the United States and even in Germany through their military jobs. This means they have experience with different laws and making homeschooling work in various situations.

Embrace Individuality

One of the tips for new homeschool high school moms from 7SistersHomeschool is that there is not ONE right way to homeschool. It is important to remember that every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. 

Do not feel pressured to follow a specific method or approach just because someone says it is the right way. Our goal as homeschooling parents is to do what is best for each individual child. God has created each teen uniquely and given them gifts, and as homeschooling parents, we have the privilege of tailoring their education to meet their specific needs and interests. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to homeschool.

You Won’t Mess Up Your Kids

Many parents worry about whether they are capable of homeschooling and fear that they might mess up their children.  It is common to feel uncertain and worried about whether we’re doing enough or teaching them everything they need to know. But the truth is, learning is a lifelong journey.

Our kids will continue to learn and grow even after they graduate. Even if we do not have all the answers, our teens’ ability to learn and adapt will help them succeed in life beyond homeschooling.

If there are gaps in their education, they can always learn those things later when they need to- after all, ALL of life is education! The important thing is to foster a love for learning and a curiosity that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Character Development

While academics are important, the significance of character development in homeschooling cannot be emphasized enough. Focusing on building good character traits, such as perseverance, resilience, and adaptability, can leave a permanent impression on our children’s lives. 

For Sue’s family, character development was a top priority. While academics are important, her family focused on building good character traits in their children. This emphasis on character has had a lasting impact on them, and they’ve grown into responsible and compassionate individuals. 

Sports, travel, and other real-life experiences provide excellent opportunities for character development. Sue incorporated sports and travel into their education, as these experiences help teach them valuable life skills. Sports, in particular, teach resilience, teamwork, and the ability to learn from failure.

Sports, travel, and other real-life experiences provide excellent opportunities for character development. -Sue Sobczak

Prepare for the Future

As parents, it is essential to consider our children’s post-high school plans when designing their homeschool education. While it is impossible to predict exactly what they will want to do, having a general idea can guide your educational choices. 

Whether they are college-bound, considering a gap year, entering the military, or starting a non-college job, tailoring their education to align with their future goals can better equip them for success. This doesn’t mean you have to mimic the public school system. Rather, it’s about preparing them for their chosen path and meeting any specific requirements they may need to fulfill.

Electives, internships, and mission trips can provide valuable experiences and skills that align with their aspirations. These opportunities allow students to explore their passion areas and gain practical knowledge that can enhance their future career prospects. It also provides them with a chance to network and form connections in their desired fields. 

Have a Purpose

Having a clear purpose for homeschooling can help guide your decisions and provide motivation during challenging times. Take some time to reflect on why you chose to homeschool and what you hope to achieve. (If you have never written your homeschool mission statement, download 7Sisters’ encouraging guide.)

Sue encourages parents to write down their purpose and refer to it when things get tough. This purpose will serve as your guiding light on tough days when you question your decision. 

Your purpose might be to instill strong Christian values, foster a love for learning, or provide a safe and nurturing environment for your children to grow. 

Having a purpose will give you direction and clarity throughout your homeschooling journey. It will help you prioritize what truly matters and let go of unnecessary stress. 

Homeschooling is not just about academics. It’s about nurturing your child’s whole being and helping them develop into well-rounded individuals.

Take It One Year at a Time

Homeschooling is a dynamic and ever-evolving process. Instead of overwhelming yourself with long-term plans, focus on one homeschool year at a time. 

Flexibility is key, as life circumstances may change, and your children’s needs may evolve. Embrace the freedom homeschooling offers and adapt your approach as necessary.

You don’t have to plan out every detail in advance. You can take it day by day, minute by minute.

Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

Homeschooling can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both parents and children. You are not alone in this homeschooling adventure. There are many resources and a supportive community available to you. 

You can do this, and your dedication and love for your children will shine through in their education. Stay encouraged and keep embracing the joy of homeschooling.

Connect With Sue

If you are looking for more guidance and support on your homeschooling journey, be sure to check out Sue’s coaching website, where you’ll find valuable resources and coaching services. She also has a helpful blog to read her experiences from her own homeschooling years. 

You can also enjoy her wealth of wisdom in this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode: Each Homeschool High Schooler is Unique.

AND you do not want to miss her sage advice about how to get free college credit through CLEP and Modern States.

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

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Resources for Struggling Students, Interview with Cheryl Carter

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Resources for Struggling Students, Interview with Cheryl Carter.

Resources for Struggling Students, Interview with Cheryl Carter

Resources for Struggling Students, Interview with Cheryl Carter

When looking for fantastic resources for homeschooling high school students, it can be a hit or miss situation at times. For this reason – but many more reasons – we are so excited we share with you all about The Capable Scholar by founder Cheryl Carter! Cheryl shares her expertise and insights on supporting struggling learners, building confidence, and preparing students for college and beyond. Let’s explore the world of The Capable Scholar and discover how it can empower your homeschooling journey, along with learning about some fantastic resources for struggling students!

About Cheryl Carter

Cheryl Carter is a seasoned homeschooling parent with five children, two of whom have already successfully completed their homeschooling journey and achieved impressive academic milestones, with another in graduate school, and her younger two twins currently in their teens. 

In addition, Cheryl is one of our 7SistersHomeschool Cousins. These are homeschooling good friends who offer resources and/or support that we can trust. You can see what they  have to offer on 7Sisters’ Stuff We Like page.

With a background in special education and as a college professor, Cheryl has dedicated her career to helping struggling students excel in their studies. Her passion for empowering students with learning differences led her to create The Capable Scholar.

The Capable Scholar is a comprehensive resource that focuses on helping students with learning differences, disabilities, and those who simply struggle academically. Cheryl believes that every student is capable of success and aims to instill confidence and a love for learning in each student she works with. 

About The Capable Scholar

The Capable Scholar offers a range of resources, including a writing curriculum, Outschool classes, personalized support, and even opportunities for students to get published.

One unique aspect of Cheryl’s approach is teaching grammar through the students’ own writing. She’s found that students with learning differences thrive when they can apply grammar rules to their own work. 

In fact, some of her students have even gone on to get their work published, building impressive portfolios for college admissions.

It’s important to note, however, that The Capable Scholar is not just for students with formal diagnoses or IEPs. If you are a parent who knows your child is struggling, even without a specific label, she’s here to help. Whether it’s writing or math, Cheryl can provide the best strategies and approaches to ensure your student’s success. 

On The Capable Scholar, you’ll find Cheryl’s writing curriculum, which covers grades 6 to 12, and even extends into the first year of college. It’s designed to build confidence and provide the necessary skills for college-level writing.

Additional Resources for Struggling Students

In addition to using the writing curriculum at The Capable Scholar, Cheryl recommends focusing on English, math, history, and science. 

For English, the Grammar Review inside The Capable Scholar is a great resource that covers all the essentials. 

When it comes to math, she suggests using a college remedial algebra book like Martha Liao’s or the Life with Fred series. These resources ensure your student masters the necessary algebra skills for college.

For history and science, she highly recommends exploring the CLEP exams. They offer a less stressful alternative to traditional exams like the ACT or SAT, which can be overwhelming for students with anxiety. Modern States and 7Sisters have excellent resources for CLEP preparation.

One final tip for resources is to use checklists to keep track of what your student needs to accomplish. This helps them see their progress and builds their confidence. 

And remember, it’s never too late to fill in any gaps in their learning. There are programs available, like the REWARDS program, that can help students of all ages master essential skills.

Resources for Struggling Students- Interview with Cheryl Carter

It’s important for parents to remember that they do not have to do everything exactly like a traditional school or other homeschoolers. Homeschooling your teens is about finding what works best for your student and providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Every student is unique, and it’s crucial to tailor their education to their specific needs. 

It’s all about believing in your students and helping them believe in themselves. 

Connect with Cheryl

You can find more information and access Cheryl’s resources on The Capable Scholar website. BTW- Cheryl also helps college-prep teens with their writing skills. She shares her advice for college preparation that should be done now with us at 7Sisters.

And remember, you are not alone on this homeschooling journey. We are here to support you every step of the way!

For more resources for struggling learners:

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

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Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack- Special Replay.

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack- Special Replay

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack

Vicki and Natalie are so excited to finally connect! We have been waiting to connect to share Natalie’s expertise on homeschooling high school!

Natalie Mack is a retired Navy chaplain’s spouse (after thirty-four years of service). She is a passion military spouse advocate because she knows that the military spouses are the ones who are holding military bases and military families together. The whole family serves!

Not only that, but she is a homeschool mom (who is a passionate advocate for all homeschooling families- and especially military homeschooling families). She has five kids.

  • Her oldest graduated from Liberty University and George Washington University (Masters in International Education- fluent in Mandarin and conversational in Russian). She is currently an International Baccalaureate coordinator for the Washington DC public school system.
  • Natalie’s second daughter is a “kick-butt soccer athlete” who played Division One soccer for Liberty University. She recently completed her Masters in Social Work at Howard University. Besides preparing for her social work career, she is also on a professional indoor soccer player.
  • Her oldest son graduated from American University’s School of International Service. He worked on a Congressional campaign for a season and is now working for a nonprofit.
  • Natalie’s second son is an Honor College student at George Mason University, a Bonners scholar there.
  • Her youngest son is fifteen. He is kind of like an only child now because his siblings are all in college or beyond.

Despite being down to one high schooler at home, Natalie is still super busy. When her kids asked her why she was still so busy, she told them that she is finally doing all the things she could not do when she was homeschooling five kids as a military wife. This is a new season but there is no time to sit around eating bonbons!

These days, when she is not working on lessons with her youngest, Natalie is:

Advice from Natalie about homeschooling high school:

Natalie has gained lots of wisdom over many years of homeschooling high school! Here are a few.

When things feel thankless, remember that someday your teens will be grown up- they will thank you then

Natalie knows from experience. Sometimes homeschool days can be thankless. On those days, you have to keep on keeping on- putting one foot in front of the other. You will make it. You can do this!

Trust the process

You may feel like you are venturing into the unknown when you start homeschooling high school. That is okay. You can do this. Try not to get overwhelmed by the newness of it all (and the fears of failure). You can trust the process where you are learning how to homeschool high school right along with your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens

Of course, while your teens are in high school, academics are priority. However, try not to get so focused on those academics that you do not have time to enjoy your teens. Who says that every day you have to max it out till four o’clock? If you and your teens work on academics intensely all day, every day, you (and your kids) will not have anything left to give.

Use the flexibility of homeschooling to take time to enjoy. You will want your teens to still like you (and it is hard for them to do that if they feel burned out).

There will be bad days when no schooling gets done

No one will go to hell just because it is a rotten day and schoolwork needs to be set aside. Tomorrow is a new day full of grace for you and your teens. You can model resilience for your teens- it is a GREAT life skill.

So on terrible, no-good, very-bad days, remember grace and fresh starts tomorrow!

Join a support group

Natalie knows how the support groups have been important for her homeschool success and encouragement. She suggests to look for:

Remember lots of prayer

Prayer is the key to success! You need God’s strength, grace and peace for the homeschool high school journey! God is there to helpl.

Join Vicki and Natalie for a good dose of encouragement and some tips for homeschooling high school!

Also check out these Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes if you have a teen who is thinking about a military career:

AND check out Natalie’s Ted Talk about homeschooling!

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Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe.

Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe

Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe

If you are looking for something to enhance the homeschool experience for high school students, there is a range of tools and resources available. From technology and career preparation to organization and community service, these tools can help students thrive academically and beyond. Here, we want to dive right into the top tech tools with our friend, Meryl van der Merwe, fellow podcaster at Homeschooling With Technology as well as owner of Funda Funda Academy. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of homeschooling with technology!

BTW- Meryl has shared her wisdom with Homeschool Highschool Podcast several times. If you have missed them, check these episodes:

About Meryl van der Merwe

Originally from South Africa, Meryl moved to the United States 20 years ago and decided to homeschool her children due to their advanced academic abilities. 

Meryl’s passion for teaching led her to start teaching online and eventually establish Funda Funda Academy, where she and a team of teachers offer a wide range of online classes. 

On top of Funda Funda Academy, Meryl ventured into podcasting and connected with Vicki, our very own 7Sisters Homeschooler, through the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast network, their shared podcasting network.

Merrill’s amazing podcast is called Homeschooling with Technology. If you are looking for resources on the best technology for homeschooling, this is the podcast you don’t want to miss. 

Tech tools are especially helpful for producing polished writing projects. (Photo purchased from Shutterstock.com)

Favorite Top Tech Tools for Homeschool

Let’s talk about some of the best technology for homeschooling you can use that happens to be Meryl’s favorite top tech tools that she encourages you to check out. 

Grammarly

First up is Grammarly. Grammarly is a free app that helps with grammar and spelling. It’s like having a personal editor that highlights any mistakes you make. Good grammar is important for high school writing requirements.

It is incredibly helpful, especially when writing essays or any other written work. Trust me, your teens will thank you for introducing them to Grammarly.

Vocabulary.com

Next on the list is Vocabulary.com. This is another free tool that is fantastic for building vocabulary. It is essential for understanding what you read and improving your writing skills. 

Plus, having a strong vocabulary is crucial for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. And here is a little secret: even though many colleges are going test-optional, scholarships still require test scores. 

It’s important to help your children develop a robust vocabulary and thanks to Vocabulary.com, it becomes a fun and engaging process!

Google Apps

You are probably familiar with the Google apps, but let’s emphasize their importance. Many college students use these apps for group work and collaboration. 

It’s essential for your children to be familiar with Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms. They are free and incredibly useful for organizing and working together on projects.

Canva

Another tool beloved by Meryl is Canva. It’s like the one tool to rule them all when it comes to graphic design! 

Canva started as a simple tool for creating graphics, but it has grown into a powerful platform with features for photo editing, video creation, and even comic strip design. It is free and user-friendly, making it perfect for creating portfolios, marketing materials, and more. 

Not only that, but it also has thousands upon thousands of templates, including but not limited to, business cards, presentations, videos, worksheets, printable activities, planners and schedules, and much more. 

It also includes a print-on-demand feature for, say, creating and ordering invitations, business cards, flyers, or even prints on a t-shirt!

ChatGPT and AI Tools

AI may be somewhat intimidating for some but it really is here to stay. Instead of fearing it, try to embrace it and its many capabilities.

One AI tool is ChatGPT. It can be used for brainstorming ideas, improving essays, and even generating content. 

Even so, it’s important to teach your children to use AI responsibly and not rely on it entirely. AI is a tool, not a replacement for critical thinking and creativity.

Online Services

The first online service opportunity is Zooniverse.org, where kids can participate in citizen science projects. This allows them to contribute to real scientific research while learning about various topics. 

The second online service opportunity is a platform within the Library of Congress site called By The People, which allows volunteers to transcribe historical documents. It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn about history and gain valuable experience while also making a difference.

Top Tech Tools With Meryl van der Merwe

These are just a few highlights, and there are countless other tools and resources out there. Children should be encouraged to use these tools responsibly and with a discerning eye, always keeping in mind that their contributions and actions can have a real impact. 

Technology can truly enhance your homeschooling experience and prepare your children for the future. Don’t be afraid to explore and try new things. You’re not alone on this journey. We’re here to support and guide you every step of the way. 

Connect With Meryl van der Merwe

If you want more in-depth information on the top tech tools for homeschooling, be sure to listen to the Homeschooling with Technology podcast

You can also visit her website, Funda Funda Academy, or join her Homeschooling College Bound Teens Facebook group.

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

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Helping Teens Make New Friends

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Make New Friends. Give your high schoolers the networking skills that will help them now and in adulthood.

Helping Teens Make New Friends

Helping Teens Make New Friends

Delivered by 7SistersHomeschool’s very own licensed professional counselor, Vicki is here to talk about one of her most favorite topics: helping teens make new friends. In Vicki’s other hat, besides having raised her kids through the homeschooling process, she’s worked with all kinds of teens on how to make new friends. No matter where you are in life, there are times where you need a new set of friends, whether that’s moving to a new area, joining a new church or breaking up with a homeschool co-op group. You’ll learn all the pointers you need to know in these tried and true tips!

Share Basic Life Skills

First, know that helping teens make new friends doesn’t mean you make the friends for your homeschool high schoolers. We can’t do this for our teens, but we can give them the skills needed to pursue friendships, for making those friends themselves, and for creating their own network. This is a skill that, if learned now, can apply to the rest of their lives, well into their careers.

Also, work with your teens on basic life skills so they can have the tools already in their toolbox to use. And they need to know they can choose to use these or they can choose not to use these tools. It’s their choice. As long as teens feel like they have a choice in something, they will very often use those skills. 

Even shy teens can learn skills like these to build their confidence.

Find New Things To Try Locally

When your teen finds some things to try, this doesn’t mean it’s something that they are already passionate about, nor is this necessarily something they want to do. They just need to try some new things. It’s one of the most important things we can do for learning and practicing skills and actually discovering some things that we don’t know whether we like or not until we try it. 

Local Support Groups

If you’re new to an area, or you’re beginning your homeschool journey brand new, look around your local area and start simple. Find some things that have other teens involved. For instance, look to see if there is a local homeschool support group or other organization. That is a good place to start looking, and then see if they have a youth group. Check out their website, or see if they have an online schedule or calendar to see what is happening.

Local Classes

If there’s not a support group with just some youth activities, are there some classes that they can take locally? Regardless if they need the class or not, enroll your teen in an umbrella school class or two at a homeschool umbrella school or someplace where there’s group learning. 

Church Youth Groups and Service Organizations

For teens, church youth groups and church missions trips are another way to be around other teens doing something.

Service organizations for teens that are out in the community, such as library volunteers or food bank volunteers. See what different things are available where there are groups of teens going out and/or volunteering. Maybe even have your teen join a sports team. All those things are places where teens will meet new people.

Help teens pick one thing to try.

Pick One Thing to Try

Once you pick a thing, unless they’re an extroverted teen, you don’t want to overwhelm them with 42 different things. What you do, instead, is make an agreement with your teen on what they are going to try. 

For instance, have your teen agree to give that specific activity or organization a try. In most cases, you will know how it fits after at least two sessions or two events. Sometimes you will even know after the first time that it’s not a good fit.

Give It An Honest Go

There have been times when Vicki visited new churches or new organizations and nobody is at the door to greet or welcome her. No one spoke to her the entire time of the meeting or event, not a soul spoke a word to her. 

If this happens to you, just know they’re not your people.Realize there is never a lost event and that you will always come away with an insight or new perspective or learning something new. 

But don’t stop there. Although it’s definitely not fun, you can even try it twice to see if that was a fluke the first time, to see if someone will talk to you the second time.

What most often happens is that, upon the second or third visit to an organization or group, you’ll notice a shift. The initial tension or formality begins to fade, making interactions more relaxed and straightforward. This ease develops as familiar faces become friendlier, and the overall atmosphere becomes more welcoming. 

It’s during these subsequent visits that true connections start to form, and it becomes noticeably easier to engage and collaborate, them with you and you with them.

Let Your Teen Handle the First Visit On Their Own

Before you arrive at the group or event, it’s important to not accompany your teen inside the building (unless there’s a specific rule stating otherwise). Teens must navigate this event independently. 

Extroverted kids likely won’t mind handling this on their own, while introverted ones might feel anxious. In such cases, it’s okay to discuss how far into the building you’re willing to walk with them. However, it’s crucial not to impose. Instead, respond to your teen’s cues.

Tips To Help Your Teen Warm Up to the New Setting

Magic Non-verbals

Before they step out of the car, encourage them to place their hands on their hips. This simple gesture can boost their confidence, preparing them to face the event on their own terms.

Adopting a posture with arms akimbo and counting to fifteen — thousand one, thousand two, and so on — has an interesting effect on our bodies. This stance, even if held for just a few seconds, triggers the release of testosterone. Yes, even women have testosterone coursing through their bodies.

This hormone boosts confidence. It’s like a biological encouragement that says, “You can do this.” And so, you do.

Before any significant event, it’s valuable to discuss these techniques. It’s not something to spring on someone last minute, say, in the car ride over. Share these strategies in advance: “Here are some skills we can use.”

Just before entering the venue, encourage a slight adjustment in posture: pull the shoulders back and lift the chin slightly — not too high, but just enough. When we’re anxious, we tend to hunch our shoulders and lower our chins, gazing down at the floor, closing ourselves off. However, adopting a posture with shoulders back, chin up, and a gentle, Mona Lisa-like smile can transform our nonverbal communication.

These “magic non-verbals” make us seem more approachable, signaling to others that it’s okay to engage with us. Have your teen employ these nonverbals before walking into the building and then periodically check throughout the event to ensure they’re maintaining them. Shoulders back, chin up, and that soft smile can make all the difference, inviting positive interactions and boosting your confidence.

Learn more about non-verbals in 7Sisters Introduction to Psychology.

Hold Something In Your Hand

This confidence invites people to come and talk to you. Generally, within a certain period of time, somebody’s going to wander over and start talking. If it’s one of those events where you are socializing, and there are snacks, tell your teen to grab some snacks so that they have something to hold in their hand.

This is called a tool. And you don’t even have to like whatever it is you hold in your hand. You don’t have to eat it all. You just need to have something in your hand. There’s something about holding something in your hand that is appropriate for the setting, like a cup of soda or some cookies, that makes you even more open for people to come and talk to.

Scan the Room

Once there is something in your hand, if no one is talking to you yet, go stand near the table where the snacks are at, and then scan the room. Look to see where the clusters of people are, if there’s anybody on the outskirts that might be a new person too.

Because believe it or not, there’s new people at things all the time. And if you see someone that’s just standing by themselves, kind of at the edge and, maybe looking a little bewildered, walk slowly over to them and smile and greet them. Ask them a question. They’ll greet you as well and hopefully they’ll ask you a question back.

Prepare Questions Ahead of Time

Have questions that you’ve already planned ahead of time that you can pull out of your pocket. Some questions you can ask are:

  • If they’re an old timer here
  • What do they like about that group
  • Do they have any siblings
  • If you’ve been homeschooling long, what’s your favorite subject,

Just ask them questions. When you talk to somebody and you ask them questions, and they start talking about themselves, they feel like you like them, even though you don’t know them yet. And they are more likely to ask you some questions in return. This helps them feel connected and comfortable to you. And you’ve already got a first friend. 

Popular Kid Syndrome

For younger teens, very often they worry about cliques and popularity, especially if they’ve been in a public school system or some traditional setting for a while. Think about the kingdom of Heaven.  When Jesus came, did He go hang out first with the popular kids? He was looking for people who weren’t the popular kids because in God’s kingdom, it’s backwards.

The kids who might be shy are the ones that are more popular kingdom-wise. We have to have the boldness and the faith to set aside worrying about talking to the wrong person. Take that pecking order mentality out of your younger teens brains and have them thinking along the lines of God’s kingdom. How do we want to be in God’s kingdom in this group?

The John Maxwell Story

Here’s a story that complements this tip: In one of his books, John Maxwell recounts a memorable journey from the airport to a conference with a friend. They shared a cab and, being naturally sociable, struck up a conversation with the driver. 

Eager to learn about the driver’s life, Maxwell and his friend peppered him with questions, uncovering fascinating stories about his family and experiences. Throughout the ride, they shared nothing about themselves except for their destination, the conference they were speaking at.

As the cab approached the conference venue, the driver, preparing to say goodbye, expressed his enjoyment of the conversation and wished them well at the conference. Remarkably, despite knowing little about Maxwell and his friend beyond their participation in the conference, the driver felt a sense of acceptance and connection. 

This interaction epitomizes the Christ-like virtue of showing genuine interest in others, fostering a feeling of warmth and acceptance with a simple, attentive conversation. And that becomes the beginning of a friendship.

Remember, tell your teen to keep those non-verbals going as often as they can. 

Describe Themselves

In between events, have your teen work on being able to describe themselves. You can start this before you go to an event, but definitely keep this an ongoing conversation.

Questions to incite self-description:

  • Who are you? 
  • What do you like to study? 
  • What do you want to do after high school? 
  • Do you have any hobbies? 
  • Take some personality tests. What are your personalities? 
  • What are the service projects you’ve done? 

This way, if people ask your teen questions, they don’t have to stare at the floor, fumbling on what to say as they’ll already know how to answer these questions.

One way to practice describing themselves is through a speech class. Have them write an elevator pitch about themselves, which is what they could say to somebody about themselves. Or, act like they have a business and they are between the first and third floor of an elevator ride.

An elevator pitch is something very short, just little soundbites they can say about themselves. 

Once they establish their elevator pitch, have them practice a little bit at home on how to continue a conversation. When they say something about themselves, have them as the person a follow-up question.

The Second Visit or Event

Once your teen gets to the second event, one of the best things to do is for them to start looking for ways to get involved. If there’s a service project, a side project, or people set up for cleanup, for example, they want to get involved doing those things because that gets them in on the kinds of kids who also do things. And those kinds of kids are generally the friendlier and more fun kids over time. 

What can they volunteer for? The people who are engaged and active are the ones that are more likely to be the ones who are friendly over time.

Volunteering can open doors to new friendships and other things. When you’re volunteering to help out, you’ll be working alongside people. You’ll likely carry on a conversation with them, and just that little moment of conversation is the beginning of a connection, taking a stranger to an acquaintance level. 

And maybe if they volunteer enough together, they might become homeschool friends. At minimum, they will have some acquaintances every time they go to that meeting, where they will have someone to talk to and do the service together. Doing projects together is one of the very, very best ways to start making new homeschool friends. 

What Went Well

To wrap it all up, one of the most important things we want to do is make sure your teens are telling you what went well. 

Let’s be realistic. Not all teens are going to want to talk about it because some of them just need to think about it. Suggest or encourage them to tell you a few things that went well so they can put that into focus and see it as a positive experience, shedding any anxieties from it in the future. 

When you leave an event and head home, your mind often races with thoughts of regret: “Why did I say that? Why didn’t I do this?” This self-criticism and guilt can lead to unnecessary stress, teaching your brain to associate these social events with negative feelings. Your brain starts to signal “danger” at the thought of attending future events, fearing the stress that may follow.

However, it’s crucial to shift this mindset. Instead of them dwelling on what went wrong or what they didn’t do, have them focus on the positive aspects of the experience. Have them think about what went well, what felt good, and end their day on a note of positivity and gratitude. 

Though it might sound cliché, embracing a positive outlook and gratitude can significantly impact your mental well-being. Remembering the positives and expressing gratitude deactivates the stress response in your brain and activates the regions associated with smart thinking and emotional health.

From a counselor’s perspective, ending an event with a sense of gratitude not only aligns with the biblical encouragement to give thanks but also places you in a better biological and spiritual state. Focusing on the positives encourages your brain to view future events more optimistically, making you more likely to approach them with enthusiasm rather than anxiety.

Helping Teens Make New Friends

When you follow these tips, you’ll find it easier to help your teen make new homeschool friends. We hope these tips help!

Don’t forget, we have the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook group too. It’s a really friendly and supportive Facebook group, where people share all kinds of homeschool high school questions and feedback, sometimes about younger ones all the way to a lot of high school stuff. It’s such a good, supportive place!

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

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