Conversational Homeschooling

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Conversational Homeschooling.

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

Conversational Homeschooling

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

What is conversational homeschooling?

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

This episode is aimed at:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where can I use conversational homeschooling?

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

Organizing Research Paper Material

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

Avoiding Plagiarism

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

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

Writing Transition Sentences and Editing Papers

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

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

Learning about Literature

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

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

Conversational homeschooling for Science or History

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

When is it a good time to practice conversational homeschooling

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

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

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

Good questions for conversational homeschooling:

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

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

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

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

Join Sabrina for an inspirational chat about conversational homeschooling!

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Conversational Homeschooling

Record Keeping for Homeschool High School

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

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

Record Keeping for Homeschool High School

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

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

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

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

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

You need a record keeping system that is sustainable.

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

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

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

Ask yourself these questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Record Keeping for Homeschool High School

COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School

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

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

COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School

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

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

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

Homeschooling high school can look different ways:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Check out your local homeschool community.

There are homeschoolers almost everywhere!

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

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

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

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

Step 4: Check out curriculum.

Curriculum is fun! Give yourself some time:

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

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

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

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

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

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COVID-19 and Homeschooling High School

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

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

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

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

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

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

Tricia Soderstrom

Tricia Soderstrom, photo used with permission

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While the entire family was sick, Tricia concentrated on:

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

Tricia has some tips for organizing important family information:

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

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

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

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

Trica keeps her family organized with:

  • Chore charts
  • Bills and account information in a notebook

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

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

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

Visit Tricia Soderstrom at:

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

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Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

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

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

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

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

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

Ticia’s story of service with her family

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

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

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

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

Ticia Messing of Adventures in Mommydom

Ticia Messing of Adventures in Mommydom. Photo used with permission

Volunteering as a family

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

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

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

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

Volunteering for homeschool high schoolers

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

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

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

How do you handle showing volunteerism on the homeschool transcript?

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

How do you earn the Presidential Service Award?

Ticia suggests:

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

Visit Ticia Messing at:

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

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Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato

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

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

Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Karim’s courses at:

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

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Spanish for Homeschool High School, Interview with Karim Morato

How to be a Homeschool High School Entrepreneur, Interview with Samantha Shank

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to be a Homeschool High School Entrepreneur, Interview with Samantha Shank.

How to be a Homeschool High School Entrepreneur, Interview with Samantha Shank. Homeschool Highschool Podcast. Help your teens get started in business. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #SamanthaShank #HomeschoolHighSchool #HighSchoolEntrepreneurship

How to be a Homeschool High School Entrepreneur, Interview with Samantha Shank

Vicki is joined in this episode by our friend, Samantha Shank. You know Samantha from her LearnInColor.com resources website and from her lovely HSHSP interview on helping teens discover their interests.

Samantha is a homeschool graduate who has used her drive and skills to start successful businesses. She now shares these ideas with young people on her podcast: Learn In Color (on Spotify and Apple). She highlights homeschool graduates and moms of homeschool graduates. They discuss what they loved about homeschool and what they wished they had done differently.

Samantha Shank, LearnInColor.com

Samantha Shank, LearnInColor.com. Photo used by permission.

Samantha is truly the go-to person when it comes to the how-to’s of entrepreneurship. She began dabbling in business when she was in fourth grade and kept expanding her resources through college. (She graduated college debt-free!)

So, what advice would Samantha Shank give to homeschool high school entrepreneurs?

Create a business plan.

Samantha got started on her entrepreneurship journey as a homeschool high schooler. She took a business start-up course from her local Chamber of Commerce. (Note: You can also find free how-to business classes through the Small Business Administration.) The business plans she learned included:

  • Planning
  • Marketing
  • Building a website
  • Banking
  • Taxes

Find a business mentor.

Through her Chamber of Commerce course, she found mentors that guided her through the process of planning and starting a business. Samantha learned: Where ever you are you will find some sort of organization to help you learn about business.

Use your youth to your advantage.

When teens show their effort and ambition at high school age, people tend to go out of their ways to help them. Teens can learn a lot from “mentors”, even at a half-hour at a time. It sometimes is necessary for teens to ask for an appointment or a little time. That is good practice for life: Becoming brave enough to ask.

Learn to network.

Samantha points out that she is by nature, an introvert. Vicki remarked that when she met Samantha at 2:1 Conference, Samantha worked the room, networking like a professional business person who loves networking. That is because Samantha uses her skills and self-talk to do the tasks she does not necessarily love to do, but loves the outcome.

Remember: Be willing to go out of your comfort zone. If you end up looking like an idiot, it is okay! Next time try something new.

Smile.

Whenever teens are at a class, training or networking event, as often as possible try smiling! If they smile long enough, someone will come up and talk to them. (You can get more networking for introverts skills from Vicki’s FREEBIE download at VickiTillmanCoaching.com.)

Prepare a “Shark Tank” business presentation.

Samantha had a chance to participate in a business presentation contest after her entrepreneurship class at the Chamber of Commerce. She won and received $1200 in start-up capital and flew to Miami for a regional competition. Teens never know what similar opportunities they may run into, so have that presentation ready!

Samatha’s business at that time was creating reusable paper towels. Later in homeschool high school, she switched to webpages and digital marketing. She also speaks at schools and youth organizations on how to start a business when you are young.

Believe in yourself. Give yourself permission to explore your dreams.

Young people can be successful entrepreneurs. Give it a try!

Young people can be successful entrepreneurs. Give it a try!

Find a need and a target audience.

Once teens find that need and audience, it is easy to start building a business and business plan.

Interview people in your audience so that want and need.

Pivot, change, and tweak your business when necessary.

Sell your products.

Sell on Facebook, live, Pinterest, places where local people hang out who like your products.

Find someone to handle the legal and banking set-ups

Teens cannot do this on their own until they are eighteen years old.

Samantha kept building on her entrepreneurship opportunities. She now has several businesses:

  • LearnInColor.com. Homeschool teaching aids and WONDERFUL blogposts. (Vicki was so excited when she met Samantha and she learned that this was the LearnInColor person that she was always sharing pins from her Pinterest page.)
    • Want a discount? Samantha gave us this coupon code: LOVETOLEARN for 20% off
  • Public Speaking (This year she is speaking at all the Teach Them Diligently homeschool conferences.)
  • Graphic design for homeschool and educational organizations
  • Library
  • She is also in graduate school (using her scholarships from her beauty pageant experiences.)

Samantha Shank is a true inspiration! Join Vicki and Samantha for a helpful and friendly chat! (Also, homeschool high school entrepreneurs can benefit from taking 7SistersHomeschool’s Financial Literacy from a Christian Perspective.)

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How to be a Homeschool High School Entrepreneur, Interview with Samantha Shank

How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson.

How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

You know a kindred spirit when you meet one, and Anita Gibson is a kindred spirit with us 7Sisters. Vicki is joined again today by Anita to discuss the importance of knowing and believing in your teens. She also shares some simple how-to’s to help. This is SO worth your time and investment!

Vicki first met Anita at their favorite conference (2:1 Conference). When she picked up a copy of Anita’s book, Star Finder, she knew they had the same ideas about life. Anita Gibson is a coach, educational strategist, author.

Anita and her husband homeschooled their kids for over twenty years, all the way from kindergarten to graduation. She was “dragged into homeschooling kicking and screaming” because she was a successful business woman and could not imagine how to fit homeschooling into that lifestyle. But as their kids became school age, they felt the leading of God to homeschool, and Anita obeys God.

Anita describes herself a “hands-on, quirky, butterfly chick”. They did many “nontraditional” educational adventures, like schooling in the park and handling and learning about things outside the home. They had many hours of inquisitive learning and fun.

Her children are now all in their thirties and doing well, so it was the right homeschool program for them! (After all, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool. The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to learn in the way that best fits YOUR family!)

Anita was led to create the lovely book, Star Finder, to share the things she learned homeschooling her kids. Anita’s kids were very different personalities and learners. Her oldest taught herself to read. Her second daughter struggled to read. It was difficult for Anita to watch until she heard God encourage her to realize that she was “prejudiced” because she was making an assumption that all her kids would be like her oldest daughter and if they were not, something was wrong with them. Anita found God saying to her that she had not honored who He had made her second daughter to be. She had to be honest with herself and ask God how to fix it.

God began to show Anita the “beauty of Danielle” (her second daughter). She learned the “beauty of slow”. (Anita is a rabbit, she thinks and acts quickly. She learned that God needs all kinds of people because there are all kinds of things he needs to accomplish.)

God showed Anita a vision of two doctors. One doctor was quick. He would look at a set of symptoms and tell the patient, “Oh, you’re fine” and give a quick but inaccurate diagnosis. The second doctor was slow, he told the patient he would take two weeks to review testing results. At the end of two weeks, the slow doctor had identified a more serious but very fixable problem. God asked Anita, “which doctor would YOU want?”

Slow is beautiful because it is God’s creation, too. Anita learned to love the gift of “slow” and to help her daughter mature in the gift by learning to focus and concentrate on the blessing (such as being able to find things around the house).

Out of this experience and learning how to know and believe in her daughter, Anita felt God leading her to write her lovely book: Star Finder.

The title Star Finder has several meanings:

Learning to find the “star” in each child. (As Vicki says, God makes all kids gifted- in the way He wants THEM to be, not necessarily in the way our culture pushes for in our performance-driven culture.)

STAR is actually an acronym for:

  • Strengths
  • Talents
  • Abilities
  • Resources

Every child has a STAR. As a parent, we want to focus less on weaknesses and more on STARs! When we do that, our kids begin to know and believe in themselves.

When we concentrate on the STARs, the weaknesses seem to be less of a big deal. That is good because, as Anita points out, you can only get a weakness to average (which we should). But we can and should concentrate on the STARs because that is where God is leading!

Our teens do not need to be ashamed of their weaknesses. The weaknesses keep a teen relying on God for help. However, the STARs are the ways God will work in and through them to accomplish His plans.

Unfortunately if parents do not understand the STARs, their teens may begin to see themselves as failures. SO how do parents guide themselves and their kids of all ages through the steps to find and develop their STARs?

Here are Anita’s STAR Finder steps:

  1. Parents take the Clifton StrengthsFinder test.
    1. This is important because parents need to know themselves and not make the assumption everyone is like them. As we parents find our strengths, it is easier to see our kids’ different strengths. Then parents can create an environment of
  2. Teens can now take the teen version of StrengthsFinder or simply watch and discover what their kids:
    1. love
    2. naturally spend time doing
    3. are naturally good at
    4. (as Vicki says, “Be a scientist for discovering your own kid.”)
  3. Identify what irritates you about your young person
    1. For instance, Anita worked with a kid who was always breaking things by taking them apart. He just needed lots of things from the thrift store to break and learn to put back together. When he graduated from homeschooling, he went to college to become an engineer!
    2. Anita’s oldest daughter talked so much it was irritating. She grew up to be a foreign service officer who gets paid to…TALK!
    3. Irritations might be an indicator of a future STAR!
  4. There are nine more steps in STAR Finder! Go get a copy of the book: STAR Finder by Anita Gibson.

Join Vicki and Anita for lots of encouragement in this episode. Also,

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How to Know and Believe in Your Teens, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time.

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHgihSchool #SportsMom #HomeschoolAthletes

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

Vicki and Kym are together for this episode to discuss how to handle homeschooling and teens who seriously love to play sports at the same time. It is hectic but it can be done.

While Vicki’s teens played various sports during their high school years, they did so as a past time. Kym’s teens were more involved, in fact, her twins played women’s ice hockey all the way through college.

How did Kym end up being a serious sports mom?

Kym and her husband both love sports, but as Kym describes it, she was always the “bubble kid” always the last chosen or the first cut from the team at her small high school. All her four kids participated in sports at some level. Her older two decided the sports were not as fun when the competition got serious in high school (although her son still plays sports as an adult, just for fun.)

Kym’s youngest, the twins, first got the sports bug in pre-school while Kym was working part-time at the YMCA. They saw brochures for hockey and asked to play. Kym started them out by trying all the sports the Y had to offer. Then they graduated to the roller hockey team there.

Then after watching Disney’s Mighty Ducks movie, they decided that they were determined to play ice hockey. They presented their desire with business-form presentations. Doug and Kym decided they had better pray about it. They prayed daily from then all the way to their college hockey careers.

Benefits of playing sports:

  • Belongingness and connections (the twins have gained lifelong friends from their years in the intense togetherness of hockey league)
  • Fitness
  • Quick thinking skills and reactions
  • Activity burns off stress hormones and releases dopamine (a mood enhancing hormone)

After roller hockey, the girls played on a community mixed-gender league. However, when the boys hit puberty, Kym and Doug moved their diminutive twins to woman’s hockey. (Kym says that there is something magical for the girls to play on a girls’ team.)

Kym and Doug knew that the women’s sports leagues were more serious and quite expensive. They prayed and God provided equipment and finances for the twins’ hockey experience. They also prayed that hockey would not be come an idol. After prayer they stayed clear on their goals.

How do you stay clear on the goals?

  • Prayer (as Kym always says, “Prayer: first, last and always)
  • Discuss the goals as a family.
  • Remember the goals that must stay clear are the athletes’ goals and also the family’s goals. (If you goals do not match, it can be dangerous. Remember, parents who live vicariously through their teen-athlete’s goals end up burning out their teens and damaging the parent/teen relationship.)
    • Practice
    • Games
    • Playoffs
    • All Stars
    • Tournaments
    • Summer camps

High school athletes and parents should stay clear and unified on their goals. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolAthletes #SportsMom

Much of Kym’s hockey-mom years were in the car. Kym and her girls came to love this time because:

  • They had awesome conversations about deep, funny and personal things
  • They had uninterrupted time to study (car-schooling)
  • They had time for awesome audiobooks
  • They learned out to *fill the moment*/time management
  • Kym found drive time (when her husband was at the wheel) was a great time for grading papers for her daughter’s work or her group Spanish classes.

Kym also found connections with other hockey moms, the moms on her daughters’ teams and random hockey moms she meets in real life. (Vicki remembers when we were at our favorite conference: 2:1 Conference3 and Kym and Marci Goodwin of Snarky Homeschool Moms podcast were both hockey moms. It was so delightful to see the light come on in both moms’ eyes when they shouted, “You’re a hockey mom, too?!”…then they spent ages together “talking shop”.)

Kym’s daughters decided not to try NCAA college-level sports but rather, find a college with a well-run college club team. (They knew NCAA-level sports would not leave them enough time to join other college extracurriculars and rigorous study.) The twins ended up at the University of Delaware where they played all four years.

As you know, most high school and college athletes do not usually end up playing professional sports. However, based on those wonderful sports experiences, the girls found that they wanted to stay in sports at a support level. One of the twins is in graduate school studying Performance and Sports Psychology. The other twin works with a travel agency that works with sports teams.

Join Vicki and Kym for an enlightening discussion. Also, check out these posts and episodes that will help you as a sports mom:

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How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez.

Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez. Many moms are working homeschool moms these days. Here are some tips to make it fun.

Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez

These days there are many, many mothers who are homeschooling and working a paid-job at the same time. Some started out homeschooling and added working as family needs arose. Some were career moms who started homeschooling because of COVID-19 or simply because that was best for their families.

There’s not ONE right way to be a homeschool mom! Working moms can also be happy homeschool moms!

That’s why Vicki asked her friend, Julie Smith Mendez, to join her for a discussion about being an homeschool mom with a career. Julie is a Career Coach and also invests in the homeschool community by supporting moms who are both working a job and working as homeschool moms.

Julie has two homeschoolers: eighth grader and sixth grader. Julie is also a Career Coach (another reason Vicki enjoys chatting with Julie, since Vicki is also a Career Coach).

Because of Julie’s husband’s career, they move every two years, often overseas. Homeschooling presented itself as a great option when her oldest was facing kindergarten.. Homeschooling would require fewer transitions when they had to move mid-year. Nine years later, they are still homeschooling and have found it to be fun and a perfect fit for her family.

Julie became a career coach when they were stuck between assignments for her husband’s work, with the expenses of living in Washington, DC. She had been a career coach before she had her girls, so she found that she could re-engage the career she loved (and could work from home).

At the time, Julie became the only working homeschool mom in her Washington DC homeschool groups. The first couple of years she felt like a unicorn in her homeschool community. It was especially noticeable when she had to start saying to her friends in regards to some homeschool activities, “Sorry, I can’t do that, I have to work.”

However, when they moved to Pennsylvania, they found themselves in a blue-collar community, where most of the homeschool moms worked: gigs, side-incomes, part-time outside the home and business owners. She was excited to be part of the community that was creatively working while homeschooling. She loved *not being the only one*. She loved being part of a community that valued flexibility and resilience of her new homeschooling community.

Now, Julie has found that many homeschool moms are in some manner, bringing in an income. (This is especially true during COVID-19 because many, many American families have suddenly become working homeschool families.)

What are some skills that Julie uses for happy working while homeschooling?

Julie uses the analogy of spinning plates. Julie says that working while homeschooling is like managing those plates: you run from plate to plate and keep them spinning. BUT, you spin one plate at a time!

  • The important thing to remember is that this hectic time is temporary. Eventually your homeschoolers graduate, and even before they graduate, they become more and more independent learners, so the plate-spinning job becomes easier over time.

Julie makes a point of self-care (sometimes that simply looks like taking a shower). For Julie, during this time her self-care can look like:

One thing that helps her manage self-care is knowing that her daughters are watching her and learning how to manage adulthood from her habits and routines.

  • Julie found she has to live life and treat herself the way she wants her daughters to treat themselves, the way she wants them to accept being treated by others. She and her husband have the saying, “There’s no medals for martyrdom.”

Teach your kids to do chores.

  • For instance, Julie’s girls do laundry to learn integrity and attention to detail.)

Tips for homeschool working moms: Treat yourself the way you want your kids to treat themselves. -Julie Smith Mendez on Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Remember! Teach your kids by your lifestyle the way you would like them to live their lives. While you will not manage their adult lives, these years are so influential in self-concept and ideals.

Julie has found that she loves homeschooling and working while homeschooling. As the 7Sisters say, “There’s not ONE right way to homeschool!”

Julie began her career coaching career as a young adult in New York. She loved knowing she was helping people get their life needs met. Once the digital world grew, Julie got married, she found that she could carry that career anywhere they traveled for her husband’s work. She helps people with career coaching for everyone’s needs *soup to nut* from best career-fit, job search, resume work, and more.

You can connect with Julie Smith Mendez at:

Join Vicki and Julie for an encouraging discussion about working while homeschooling! Also, check out another HSHSP interview with our working-mom friend, Stacey Lane Clendaniel.

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Working While Homeschooling, Interview with Julie Smith Mendez