FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School.

FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School

You Can Do It: FUN Drama Camp for Homeschool High School

It’s summer break for many homeschool high schoolers! However, we can STILL be logging credits over the summer- in a DRAMATIC way. Drama camp kind of dramatic, that is.

Why Drama Camp for homeschool high school?

For almost two decades, Sister Sabrina ran a drama camp for the local homeschool high schoolers. Most of the 7Sisters’ teens participated (along with dozens of other local homeschoolers)! They all agreed that Drama Camp weeks were the weeks that “Life has meaning”!

In other words, Drama Camp, helped our teens:

  • Develop confidence
  • Learn perspective taking
  • Appreciate their imaginations
  • Build flexibility and resiliency skills
  • Experience true teamwork
  • Stretch what they think they can do and bloom while doing so
  • Learn to “reapply” (deodorant, that it)

What is Drama Camp for homeschool high school?

First thing you need to know about Drama Camp: YOU can do this! Don’t worry about production value and perfection. Put your effort into the bonding of the teens, teamwork and sharing the play. (You can use Sabrina’s user-friendly guide: How to Direct Drama Camp.)

Drama camp is a week or two where teens participate in a dramatic production. Drama camps are different than a community theater production of a famous play in that:

  • There are no audition to get into Drama Camp (they will audition for various parts)
  • Everyone receives a speaking role that fits them (shy or anxious teens will have one- or two-line roles)
  • Drama camp does not have the goals of developing professional actors, simply to have a lovely and fun dramatic experience
  • No sets! Keep it simple!
  • Have an experience with people and characters who can inspire their lives
  • The goal is to have fun, have meaning, have a dramatic experience

Drama camp for homeschool high school format:

  • Drama Camp is “Asset-based community development”
    • We looked at who we had and local available (assets), and then developed the production (adjusted scripts- parts and lines) based on that. The script would be altered over the course of the first week (scripts are living documents).
    • BTW- Need a script for your drama camp! You can find the drama camp scripts (and a how-to guide complete with videos):
  • One week or two weeks long (ours started out with one week but expanded to two weeks because the teens demanded it)
  • Teens work together Mondays through Friday from 9-4 until performance day
    • This is a tight turn around- from having the very first read-through of the play on the first day to the presentation on Saturday two weeks later
  • First day is read through
    • Simply sit in a circle and read line by line around the circle so everyone hears the story for the first time. When the line-read comes to a shy person, they are allowed to say “pass” and that is okay.
    • After lunch, teens get to pick a character they would like to do. Informal, low key auditions take place
    • Then rehearse, rehearse (every day!)
  • Every day at the end of the day, teens write their mail (encouraging notes to their peers about things they noticed that person did well or tried hard that day)
    • Sabrina read over the notes (just to make sure they are okay) and puts them in an envelope for each teen
    • In the morning, first thing, she passed out the mail
    • This built important social skills:
      • Noticing good in others
      • Sharing encouragement
      • Team work
  • Several times per day, the teens would reapply!
    • Sabrina kept labeled deodorants for each teens. Periodically, Sister Kym (who assisted Sabrina on the camps) would call out “Reapply!” Everyone reapplied. It normalized self-care AND made the room smell better.
  • Have a lunch break daily
  • On the Friday of the first performance, they would not only bring lunch but would bring a pillow and blanket. After lunch they would take a rest. Then they would be ready for the performance that day.
  • Sometimes Sabrina would give awards at the end (such as Vicki’s #4 kid had just had his appendix removed and received the reward for the cast member with the fewest body parts)!

Try a Drama Camp with your teens. Email Sabrina if you have questions: Sabrina@7SistersHomeschool.com. While you wait, listen into our discussion on FUN Drama Camps. Also, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast with more drama camp how-tos and this episode with interviews on the set with Drama Camp players.

 

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Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits.

Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

We want homeschool high schoolers to LIKE PSYCH! That’s why Kym and Vicki are talking about engaging activities to enrich Psychology credits in this episode! When you take an engaging text and add some engaging activities you can liven up (and level up) the Psychology credit. This makes the course more memorable and inspiring for teens.

We would like teens to like Psychology if they go into the field (Vicki is always praying for more young people to go into the mental health field- there simply are not enough counselors out there). We would like teens to like Psychology if they do not go into the field. (A good Psychology text can give teens helpful life skills- and lots of interesting information to talk about.)

Vicki originally wrote 7SistersHomeschool’s Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective decades ago when her oldest teens were homeschooling high school. She wanted them to have a Psychology text, but at that time, there were none. She also wanted a Psychology text that would be informed by Christian worldview but NOT preachy. SO she had to create it herself based on her training and work as a licensed professional counselor.

Since that time both Vicki and Kym have taught the course in homeschool co-ops and group classes at their local homeschool umbrella school. They added additional lesson plans based on the chapter topics in the text (with help from fellow homeschool mom and counselor, Gretchen Mahoney). They also added a freebie suggested syllabus that can be adapted for various homeschooling needs.

That’s not to mention all the stuff that Kym does with her umbrella school classes. (She is too busy having fun to write those down!)

So, they decided to share these engaging activities to enrich Psychology credits in this week’s Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode!

Here are some ideas for doing cool things to help teens LIKE PSYCH!

Idea #1: Teach in any order you please, in any way you please

Engaging activities help teens like Psych!

Ideas for learning about the brain

  • Make a model of the brain using homemade dough (using guidelines in the text)
  • Watch a video of a dissection of the human brain (Kym likes it but only offers this to students with a strong constitutin)
  • Watch an interactive brain video or download an interactive brain app.

Ideas for perception

  • Do the optical illusions and look more up online
  • If you are in the Philadelphia region, go to the Franklin Institute exhibits about the brain and perceptions OR if you are not in the area, check out their teaching resources
  • Discuss branding in advertisements
  • Spend a while experiencing different odors and note emotional reactions

Ideas for genetics

  • Discuss nature versus nurture in your own family
  • Make some fun Punnet squares based on family traits (think: Does ADHD run in the family? Does anxiety run in the family? Does color blindness run in the family?
  • Look up the work of seeing eye dogs (visit one if you can)

Ideas for learning

  • Discuss how the concept of Pavlov’s dogs have been integrated into American culture
  • Watch clips of classic television shows where classic conditioning occurs
    • Here’s a link to Kym’s favorite YouTube clips from Big Bang Theory https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=social+learning+theory+big+bang+theory+

Ideas of the history of Psychology

  • Have students create a short presentation on a topic from those chapters
  • Discuss which of Freud’s concepts are in the common vocabulary

Ideas for communication

  • Discuss non-verbals (and how reading non-verbals are affected by Covid-related mask wearing)
  • Play games where you act out emotions with non-verbals and have others guess which emotions
  • Practice saying sentences with the emphasis on different words and note the difference of connotation

Ideas for needs and motivation

  • Draw your own Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Discuss how the pandemic affected where various people groups experienced the Hierarchy of Needs
  • Discuss how being low on the hierarchy might affect school success
  • Write a paper about what you would take if you were going to be stranded alone on an island
  • Watch the movie: Castaway

Ideas for personality

Ideas for sleep

  • Keep a sleep log for a week (what they did before they went to bed, what were they doing and thinking about as they went to sleep, the quality and length of sleep)
  • Watch videos on how sleep deprivation affects reaction time in driving or test taking (see the Lesson Plans)
  • Discuss how sleep apnea affects quality of sleep

Ideas for abnormal psych

  • Remind students not to diagnose themselves or anything else and to NOT stress about this chapter
  • Discuss abnormal psych in a way that is not judgmental or fear-mongering
  • Don’t dwell here but tell teens we want to concentrate on the good things we can do

Ideas for psychological health and helping others/crisis intervention

Ideas for psychological testing

  • Discuss which tests teens have experienced and which ones they might experience soon (like SAT or ACT)
  • Discuss reliability and validity of tests

Ideas for Christian counseling and careers in counseling

Ideas for understanding research and statistics

Kym quoted her father (who worked for FBI): Figures don’t lie but liars figure!

  • Discuss critical thinking and validity of information. Find examples of poor and good research and statistics use

What would you add to our list? Add your ideas in the comments and join Kym and Vicki for this discussion on engaging activities to enrich psychology credits!

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Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School.

Psychological First Aid for Homeschool High Schoolers

Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School

The process of adolescence can be a challenge for teens: hormones, metacognition and challenging questions, figuring out friendships. Just like we need bandages and antibiotic in the medicine cabinet, it is good to have some first aid tools for the broken hearts and stressors of teen mental health.

In fact, this kind of first aid can (and should, perhaps) be practiced daily! Kym is teaching Psychology at our local homeschool umbrella school’s group classes this year. This topic comes up and the teens are finding it helpful, so we thought we would share it today.

Here are some tips on daily psychological first aid for homeschool high schoolers!

Psychological First Aid #1: Self-care

God made us whole beings: spirit, soul and body. Sometimes when we feel stressed or down, it can help just to do more basic physical care:

  • Water
    • Our brain cells are mostly water. Water is the transport mechanism within the cell. Our nerve cells make our neurotransmitters that run all our body’s thinking and doing. They need the water to move the neurotransmitter production through the brain cell. So if teens are low on water, their nerve cells can’t do their work efficiently.
  • Fruits and vegetables
    • Our neurotransmitters are in part made from the micronutrients in our food. So, if we want our neurotransmitter production to really work, we need those building blocks. Take, for instance, one of the necessary “switches” along the neurotransmitter process is made from folic acid. Or, for instance, the healthy bacteria in our gut give off by-products that travel up to the brain and give the signal to the brain to feel better. When we eat good probiotics (as in yogurt or kimchi) it helps us feel better!
  • Exercises
    • When teens move their muscles, their nerves create dopamine. That’s a neurotransmitter that helps with mood and focus. (Have teens experiment with doing a little exercise before they have to concentrate on a tough school lesson.)
  • Good sleep
    • Whether teens like it or not, they need sleep (so do we moms)! Our brain cells bathe in spinal fluid while we sleep to keep our brain healthy and focused
  • Breathing

Idea: Invite teens to keep a log for a week on these basic self-care items. Have them daily record how they are feeling emotionally and physically each day also.

Self-care is good for body and soul. Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Psychological First Aid #2: Variety

Too much same, same, same creates anxiety. Too much screen time causes anxiety. Try thes:

  • 20/20/20
    • Every twenty minutes, look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. This gives eyes a break and a bit of variety for the brain.
  • Look at something green.
    • Plants and trees have some anxiety reducing hormones, but just looking at a tree helps the body calm itself. (Have you heard that Japanese and Korean cultures sometimes practice “tree bathing”? They take meditative walks where there are trees. The pheromones from the trees and the trees’ beauty help keep the walkers feeling healthier.)
  • Laugh
    • A merry heart does good like a medicine. When we laugh, our bodies create endorphins which help us feel better emotionally and help build our immune system. Ask your teen to make sure they are having a good daily laugh!
  • Social contact
    • Family is important but teens also need other human beings. In person is nice but digital (if safe) is okay. Being with other humans is necessary for anxiety management.

Psychological First Aid #3: Podcast Episodes

Check out these episodes with more ideas for staying healthy psychologically:

 

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Psychological First Aid in Homeschool High School

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush.

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

Gap years are becoming a more and more popular idea. Our new friend, Jonathan Brush, offered to talk about this concept with us.

Jonathan Brush is president and CEO of Unbound, an organization that develops young Christian leaders, and Ascend, a gap-year program. Jonathan himself is a homeschool graduate and homeschools his kids. Two of those have graduated, one is in high school, with more to follow. He’s “been there and has been there”!

Jonathan was a pioneer as a homeschooler: he was the first homeschool graduate to attend his college. Then he went on to work for the college as director of admissions for eleven years. Then he worked for several year for College Plus (some of us old timers remember those early days of online college opportunities). College Plus became Unbound and is thriving in the new format!

Jonathan Brush BeUnbound.com

Jonathan Brush Photo used with permission

Unbound’s Ascend gap-year program is timely. With the expense of college, it is wise to have future plans sorted out at least somewhat before they launch into that commitment. Jonathan points out that high schoolers are expected to have answers for questions about the future that they don’t even know how to ask yet: What’s your future career? What’s your major? (With the implication that if they don’t know the answers, they are sunk.)

This is not not the best way to handle career decision making. Teens often can’t know their future yet, because the job market is so ever-changing that there will be careers in a few years that don’t even exist now.

Gap year is a logical response to this. Gap year is a great way to stop and move from an “I have to have the answers paradigm” to an “I am asking questions” paradigm. Let me ask questions and move through a process of growth and discovery. Gap years give teens an opportunity for that.

Jonathan also points out that higher education has changed over the last few years. Traditionally, teens went immediately to college, lived in dorms, graduated in four years. These days, there are so many formats and timelines for college, that young people have choices that best fits their needs. Delaying one year will not negatively impact homeschool graduates.

Some questions homeschool high schoolers can ask about gap year:

If your homeschool graduate would like to take a gap year, use the time to move through this list of questions.

  • Do I need a college degree?
    • If I can’t immediately answer “yes”, then don’t start getting one yet. If you answer “no”, don’t get guilted or pressured into tackling a college degree. You can always get a degree later if you find it is necessary.
  • How can I begin an exercise of curiosity and answer these questions:
    • What would I like to learn about?
    • What kinds of things to I want to do?
    • What’s the best way to do that?
  • Gap years can be years of travel, study, work, missions, exploration (or programs like Ascend).

Gap year is an intentional process of discovery!- Jonathan Brush on Homeschool Highschool Podcast

The key for a successful gap year is to be deliberate!

Keep working on clarifying the questions you want to ask and follow up with plans for exploration.

Here’s a plan:

Use a “deciding forward” model.

This is a simple way to learn into exploration and decision making.

  • Step 1: Decide on a goal, not a fancy goal, just something simple that can be measured as success (it can be a small success goal or a larger success goal.)
  • Step 2: Decide on a first step and carry it out
  • Step 3: Lock in your learning: Reflect on what you learned in that first step
  • Step 4: Decide if you want to keep on pursuing this goal or change goals (this is the purpose of gap year- exploration! Deciding not to pursue something is as important as deciding to pursue something.)
  • Step 5: Decide on a new goal or a new next step. Keep moving!

Some things homeschool graduates have done for gap year:

  • Travel or take a trek
  • Earn some general education or exploring-interests college credits
  • Make some money and learn to manage money well
  • Explore careers of different kinds
  • Ministry, volunteer work or missions
  • Unbound program

Just remember to live deliberately! Think about what you want to do next. Follow the process and repeat as often as necessary. It is a way to intentionally live forward.

Gap year is an intentional process of discovery!

What is the role of parents in gap years?

Use a coaching model:

Keep asking the questions of the above model with your gap year homeschool graduates. (Don’t give answers, rather, help them think through their own answers. Keep asking questions.)

Unbound organization

Unbound is a projects-based education company. There’s a place for hard-core academics but not for all students. Jonathan has found that many young people need real skills more than they need the on-campus college degree. Students at Unbound work on real projects that really prepare them for the workforce. They also work on team projects to gain the team-member skills necessary for today’s job market. Teens work on leadership roles in various team capacities as well. Graduates of Unbound earn a certification as well as employable skills.

Unbound is a mostly online program. There are three live events (all expenses are paid to go to the events) as well. This is a variable-length program (one-three years).

There is also opportunity to work on transferrable college credit for those who want or need this.

There are networking and employment opportunities at “graduation” from the program.

This makes a phenomenal gap year program.

You can find Jonathan Brush on Facebook, Instagram, the Be Unbound podcast and his Unbound Youtube Channel.

Join Vicki and Jonathan for an enlightening discussion on gap years.

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Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School.

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

Vicki, Sabrina and Kym together again for an episode on a very important topic. We’ve missed seeing each other during this long pandemic. But here we are together to talk about choosing curriculum.

In the old days, there were few options for homeschool curriculum for homeschooling high school. That’s not true any more. Now we have SO many options, that it can be hard to choose curriculum for our teens. NOT to worry: your 7Sisters are here to help!

Now, here are some steps for choosing curriculum for homeschool high school

First off, remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! SO there’s not ONE right kind of curriculum.

Now, look at your big, giant four-year goals.

You don’t want to drive on a long trip and not have an idea about where you where driving. You’ll end up nowhere. Goals are like that for homeschooling! Look at the big picture: What do you want to see in your teens when they walk across the stage (or backyard) at graduation:

  • What kinds of sciences, histories, maths, literatures do I want for them to have experienced?
  • Are they college or career bound?
  • What are their personalities like?
  • What are their interests and abilities?

What works for parents?

  • Some curriculum just won’t work for the parents who have to help their teens learn. For instance, Vicki could not use non-illustrated texts with her teens. She needed photos in texts…except when it was really interesting curriculum such as Philosophy in Four Questions, which was so interesting that no illustrations were needed in order for her to pay attention.

What are your constraints?

  • What are the time demands?
  • What is our financial picture? (No matter what your budget is, you CAN homeschool high school! It’s okay to be where you are.)
    • How can we co-operate with other families? (We co-oped together for fun and money saving!)
    • Are there barters that we can do for teaching or curriculum?
    • Can I reuse curriculum with my other kids as they hit high school?

Beware of the folks who say: You MUST use this curriculum because it’s the right way! (Sometimes, these folks are selling expensive curriculum…ahem.)

What do teens need to cover over homeschool high school years?

Each state has different requirements, check your state Department of Education’s website.

College bound teens: Visit websites for a few colleges of interest to see what they are requiring for applicants.

Many teens (college or career bound) will need will usually need these credits:

  • 4 Language Arts (your choice of Literature themes or general topics)
  • 2-4 Maths (Algebra, Algebra 2, Geometry and possible Statistics and/or Pre-Calculus)
  • 3-4 Sciences with some lab courses (Biology, Chemistry, Health, and other Sciences according to state regulations or future major)
  • 3-4 Social Studies (American History, World History, .5 Civics, .5 Economics, .5 Social Science and/or Geography and Electives)
  • 1-4 World Languages
  • 1-2 Physical Education
  • 1 Fine Arts
  • 1-6 Electives (including Career Exploration, Drivers Education, Technology, etc).
    • Give yourself and your teen the opportunity to “rabbit trail”, that is, explore new interests.
    • Log hours for Carnegie credits if you are not using a curriculum. Check out Homeschooling with Technology podcast for tech elective ideas.

There are three basic ways to earn a credit:

For help with planning, check out our Authoritative Guide to Homeschool High School and our Authoritative Guide to High School Planning.

There's not ONE right kind of curriculum!

Then break your four year goals into yearly goals

What do you want or need to cover each year? For instance (by the way, these are simply “for instances” not suggestions…you choose what is best for your teen):

  • Math:
    • 9th Grade- Algebra
    • 10th Grade- Geometry
    • 11th Grade- Algebra 2
    • 12th Grade- Statistics
  • Literature:
    • 9th Grade- American Literature
    • 10th Grade- British Literature
    • 11th Grade- World Literature
    • 12th Grade- Great Christian Writers

Once you’ve narrowed down the courses you need, to choose curriculum

  • Check out reviews online, such as:
  • If you are looking at classes (co-op, community college, group classes) do some research about the course:
    • Sometimes a wonderful sounding class might now be a good fit because:
    • Teacher has completely different goals than you and your teens
    • For instance: the teacher may aim the science course for science majors but your teen’s goals are more towards sports or public speaking (so they need time to play sports or joining a public speaking club rather than spending endless hours on science homework)
    • Format is not a good fit for your teen

Is it a stressful year? In danger of burnout or exhausted from pandemic? Need to make some change ups?

Choose your curriculum with these in mind:

  • Need a quieter year with more reading and less challenging curriculum?
  • Need a lighter-hearted reading list rather than books full of sadness and loss?
  • Need more restorative time outdoors?

Keep in mind that 7SistersHomeschool.com offers curriculum that is:

  • No-busywork
  • Affordable
  • Downloadable
  • Levelable (gives options for average high school level, college prep or honors levels)
  • Money-back guaranteed
  • Offers co-op discounts (send an email to info@7SistersHomeschool.com for information)
  • At 7SistersHomeschool.com, many of the course have freebie suggested syllabi for you to use with your teens.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for an encouraging discussion on choosing curriculum for homeschool high school.

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How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera.

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera

Most homeschool high schoolers will need a world language on the their transcripts. It can also feel like one of the most intimidating subjects for us homeschool moms to plan, resource, and maybe even teach. How can you handle those World Language credits?

We asked our friend, Anne Guarnera of Language Learning at Home, to help us! Anne holds a PhD in Spanish from University of Virginia and has taught Spanish at high school and college level.

How to Teach World Languages for Homeschool High School, Interview with Anne Guarnera. Anne is homeschooling her three sons bilingually (Spanish and English) with instruction in Portuguese- so you can tell that languages are important to Anne and her husband. In fact, these high school sweethearts have lived in several countries. Her husband speaks French, Spanish and Portuguese. Anne speaks Spanish, Portuguese and reads French.

Anne tells her story because she wants homeschool high schoolers and their moms to know that they can do it!

Anne learned Spanish because she was a failed French student. She studied French through high school and wanted to study it in college. She and her future husband had wanted to do study-abroad in Paris for part of their college. This dream ended sadly for Anne when she bombed her French placement test during her first week at college. She read and wrote French competently but her speaking and listening was so poor that she was going to have to go back to French 101.

She was so discouraged (but she sees now that this was God’s leading) that she gave up on French and started Spanish 101 and eventually ended up with her PhD. With her excellent training at University of Virginia, she became fluent, not just in reading and writing, but in speaking and listening, too.

After her bachelors degree, Anne worked in Spanish organizations in Washington, DC. She went back to get her PhD because she wanted to teach Spanish to young people so that they would not experience what she did when she took that heartbreaking French placement test.

Out of her experiences learning and teaching Spanish, Anne shares three tips:

Tip #1 Find your homeschool high schoolers’ motivation

It is much easier to learn if they have articulated their “why”! Learning languages takes hard work (practice), skills development and risk taking (making mistakes trying to speak, for instance). When they remember their why, they will be more willing to invest their time and energy.

For instance, perhaps your teen likes Kpop. Korean might be a motivating language to learn. Or they want to test out of languages for college, so they will work hard in high school so that they can test out. Or they want to become missionaries.

Sit down with your homeschool high schoolers. Involve them in the planning. Take them out to coffee and ask them to envision what learning the language will do with them. Help them develop a vision and a why.

Tip #2 Choose your curriculum wisely

Anne highly suggests that you choose a true World Language curriculum.

She explains that Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are good practice tools but not curriculum. (BTW- she has reviewed Duolingo and other language-learning resources on her website.) Unfortunately these, and many app-based resources do not have the systematic and spiral-structure that a systematic language-learning curriculum will have.

Spiral structure needed in language learning contains constant review and building on levels of skills, one after another. This gives the deep level skills and practice that is needed in order to have the spontaneous speaking and listening of conversation.

Anne has some good reviews on her website to help you choose curriculum.

Tip #3 Remember, your teens will need speaking and listening practice beyond the curriculum

Join a co-op, invite a native speaker to converse periodically, apps and online practice tools, watch videos and television shows in the language or with subtitles. More ideas for having some fun with practice in this post.

Teens need about fifteen minutes per day of  practice beyond the textbook for learning to stick. Designate a practice time (remember, an hour per week will not work as well as fifteen minutes per day).

Connect with Anne Guarnera at:

If you would like more encouragement on teaching Spanish in particular, check out this interview with our friend, Karim Morato. Join Sabrina, Vicki and Anne for an encouraging look at teaching World Languages in Homeschool High School.

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How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

Sabrina and Vicki are so excited we got to be together (on Zoom, anyway). The pandemic has sure made it a challenge to all be together. In this episode, we talked about one of our favorite Literature topics: Shakespeare.

Don’t gasp! Studying Shakespeare can seem intimidating. However, Sabrina has experience teaching our local homeschool high schoolers the works of the Bard that inspires teens to enjoy it. Join us for some of Sabrina’s top tips on teaching Shakespeare!

Why study Shakespeare in homeschool high school?

  • Because it makes you look smart (especially seeing it on the homeschool transcript)!
    • Teens feel smart when they study Shakespeare. It sounds so intellectual to say, “I’m studying Shakespeare this year!”
    • Moms feel smart just typing it on the homeschool transcript!
  • Because it helps teens understand the human experience.
    • Many of Shakespeare’s characters have feelings and thoughts that teens have felt or thought. It is eye-opening for them to discover that people for eons of time have had the same human experiences.
  • Because it is an opportunity to experience masterful storytelling.
    • Homeschool trivia: Did you know that Shakespeare’s great storytelling followed the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s storytelling guidelines:
      • Tragedies require that things do not turn out how the reader thinks they should. In fact, the good people are punished for their goodness and the bad guys are rewarded. It causes the reader to say, “That’s not right!”
        • Vicki points out that tragedies can be used to change people’s behavior. For instance, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a tragedy. People read the book and felt that the world could not go on in that tragic way. A response was generated. As Abraham Lincoln reportedly said when he met the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So this is the little lady who made the great war.”
      • Comedies require that things turn out as the reader thinks they should. The good people are rewarded for their goodness and the bad people’s evildoing is revealed and punished.
  • Because when homeschool high schoolers read great books and plays, like the works of Shakespeare, they bring to the reading their own personalities, ideas and motivations.
    • Shakespeare himself wrote with his own personality, ideas and motivations.
    • So when teens read his works (as in all good reading experiences), there is a genuine meeting of the minds.
    • This brings about a challenge to action or growth in thinking.
  • Because Shakespeare’s plays are entertainment
    • In his day, as in our day, there was great production value that gave audiences a wonderful experience.
    • In our day, it is easy to go on YouTube and find excellent productions of his plays for teens to watch. (Check out Bob Jones University’s and Rice University’s productions of Shakespeare’s plays.)

BTW- This summer 7SistersHomeschool will be releasing literature study guides for our favorite Shakespeare plays:

  • King Lear
  • Hamlet
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream

As always, our literature study guides don’t kill the play, are user friendly and adaptable to different levels of interest and ability!

How do 7Sisters Shakespeare Study Guides work?

In 7Sisters Shakespeare study guides, Sabrina encourages teens to watch a performance. Sabrina actually uses “a sort of backwards format” from many other Shakespeare guides.

  • First, she gives a background to the story.
  • Then, she tells them what happens in the story (total spoiler alert). This way teens have in their minds when they watch the production the plotline, the characters (and how to expect them to behave).
  • Next, they watch the performance. (Sabrina points out that students will not be able to follow the entire story, but they will have the basic idea and in watching the performers’ expressions and behavior, they will catch the basic ideas.)
  • Finally, they read the play. They discuss the plot, characters, wordy passages and difficult to understand material, the rhythm (iambic pentameter) and rhyme schemes, etc.
  • Vicki points out how much our teens have enjoyed learning Shakespeare’s plays.

BTW- As a freebie on 7SistersHomeschool.com, there will be a list of phrases the Shakespeare invented. It is a fun discussion tool to start a Shakespeare unit.

Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter?

  • The Globe Theatre had its troupe of actors. They had many plays to memorize quickly. Iambic pentameter helped them quickly memorize their plays.
  • Iambic pentameter also closely mimics our natural speech patterns. (Ever think about that?) Therefore, it is easier to listen to.
  • When teens know trivia like this, it sometimes makes Shakespeare feel more enjoyable.

Why did Sabrina choose those particular plays?

Both of the tragedies have main characters who are similar: The main character thinks he knows who he is and what he is doing in the world but finds out the opposite. But each of the characters is opposite in age (King Lear is in his 80s and Hamlet is late teens). This shows the universality of existential crises.

Both of the comedies have a look a “love” and all the social implications and silliness of finding true love. There is also a wonderful character type who uses words wrong all the time (malapropisms): remember Dogberry the constable in Much Ado about Nothing or Dick Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream? They just can’t get their words right (to hilarious ends).

Want more Shakespeare resources? Check out this interview with our friend, Kat Patrick, on teaching Shakespeare, a freebie from her, and her wonderful courses at Dreaming Spires Home Learning.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a fun chat about teaching Shakespeare’s plays.

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How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School.

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

You may have noticed that some colleges want to see some Social Sciences on the high school transcript. SO what are the Social Sciences and how can you teach them with your homeschool high schoolers? Vicki is here to help!

Does your teen need Social Sciences on their transcript? Maybe! You can check several college websites that your homeschool high schooler might be interested in to find out what they are looking for. HOWEVER, even non-college-bound teens can benefit from a Social Science course. That’s because these courses are about life skills and understanding oneself.

What are Social Sciences?

They are a blend of Science (scientific study and research) and Social/History/Humanities/Anthropology (studying people: the ways the human body and brain work, the ways cultural groups and societies work together, the ways people grow and change over time). They are considered “soft science” as opposed to the “hard sciences” such as Chemistry.

The Social Sciences cover many subjects. You can choose the topic(s) that fit your teen’s needs:

Some colleges consider these to be Social Sciences:

  • Civics/Government
  • Economics

Other colleges want to see Social Science subjects such as:

  • Psychology
  • Human Development
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Political Science
  • Cultural Geography
  • sometime: Linguistics

Social Sciences: Good for transcript and life prep

Vicki’s homeschool high schoolers all covered Psychology and Human Development as credits on their transcripts, as well as partial credits in Linguistics and Cultural Development. They used 7Sisters Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective and Human Development from a Christian Worldview.

These curriculums cover the scope and sequence required for the subjects, but brought down to an average high school level so that most teens can read, enjoy and get benefit from the courses. Both texts include meaningful activities that teens can add if they want to level up their course to Honors.

How do you record Social Sciences on the homeschool transcript?

It’s according to what your teen needs!

  • If they need an elective, then record “Psychology” or “Human Development” (or whichever course) in the “Elective” section of the transcript.
  • If they need another Social Studies credit (or half credit), record it in the “Social Studies” section of the transcript.
  • If they need another General Science credit, record it in the “Science” section of the transcript. (Note: this cannot take the place of required “hard sciences” like Chemistry and Biology on the transcript.)
  • We 7Sisters have most often recorded the Social Sciences in the “Elective” or “Social Studies” sections of the homeschool transcript.
  • As you can see, there’s not ONE right way to handle Social Sciences!

BTW- If you need to understand more about how to handle homeschool transcripts, don’t wait until senior year! 7Sisters has an Authoritative Guide on how to handle transcripts as well as a downloadable, editable transcript template with instructions.

Hopefully your teen can take a Social Science course that will inspire them and give them some practical life tools. You can use a textbook or pull together a Carnegie unit credit of your own. (More info on a previous episode on Formats for Homeschool High School Courses.)

You can also choose the level at which level of rigor at which your teen is learning these courses:

  • AP level: These will usually be online courses  (AP courses must be approved by the College Board)
  • CLEP level: These courses are aimed at preparing students for a CLEP exam
  • Consider it an introduction to the topic and to gain life skills but handle it in a more lighthearted manner
    • That is why we present 7Sisters Psychology and Human Development courses in our don’t-kill-the-subject manner
    • We find that teens tend to like the course, then teens who need more College Prep or Honors level, really enjoy adding the specific extra material and activities for leveling up that we provide.

Discuss with your teen their goals for Social Sciences (and your goals for their high school work):

  • Non-college bound teens can do average level courses
  • Community-college bound teens can chose
  • Many colleges will want to see at least College Prep level, some will want to see Honors (check their websites)

Give your homeschool high schooler a syllabus for the course

Syllabi help teens stay on track with their coursework and take some pressure off of you.

If you have access to these courses at a co-op or group classes, it might be fun!

These are subjects that lend themselves to lively discussion and fun activities in a group. (If you would like to teach the texts in your co-op, check out the teacher lesson plans for Human Development and Psychology. Don’t forget to talk to us about co-op discounts.)

You can also take some Social Sciences through dual enrollment at the local community college

This has been a good use of time for some homeschool high schoolers. It has also been stressful for some (they can be work-intensive courses).

There’s not ONE right way to handle the Social Sciences for your homeschool high schoolers. Have fun with them!

Join Vicki for some practical tips on teaching Social Sciences for your homeschool high schoolers.

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How to Plan Homeschool Graduations

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Plan Homeschool Graduations.

How to Plan Homeschool Graduation

How to Plan Homeschool Graduations

Whether it is your first or your fifth homeschool graduation, planning homeschool graduations can be stressful.  You want it to be memorable AND something you can manage. Add to it the stress of planning during Covid. We asked our 7th Sisters some things that have worked for their homeschool families.

Planning tips for homeschool graduations:

Start your planning process with this important fact: Just as there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, there’s also not ONE right way to hold a graduation event. For real. You and your teen should have a chat or two. Ask what they need and what do you need (you count, you did a lot to help this homeschool high schooler to get to the point of graduation)!

Decide if you want an event

Some graduates only want a pat on the back and maybe their favorite meal. Some would like an event. Hey, some of us moms NEED that event for closure; it’s okay to have an opinion. (I know that for me, I needed that graduation ceremony to celebrate all we had done as a family. My teens were glad that they had that significant event, once it was done.) Come to a workable and respectful compromise.

Decide what kind of ceremony you will hold

There are lots of ways to hold a graduation ceremony:

  • Hold a get together in the backyard or at a local park (I’ve been to a number of these events)
  • Have a big event with your local homeschool umbrella school or co-op (this is what our family has always done)
  • Have a drive-by event with a short speech in the front yard (popular during this Covid season)

Choose a date

To help you decide on a date, think about:

  • When will Covid regulations be lifted in your area? (Determines how many folks can come, thus the date.)
  • When can the family come?
  • When are facilities available (if you will go somewhere besides home)?

Do you want someone to film or live stream it?

This is very popular these days. Start looking early for a friend, family member or professional to handle this.

Will you send graduation announcements?

Will you want to send traditional announcements from a local printer? (Grandparents often like these because you can enclose a photo that they can put in their wallets and show their friends?

Will you create your own announcements or post cards?

  • You can create your own notes online with websites like Shutterfly or Canva  (We are not affiliates, btw.)
  • Handmade announcements are popular with many of our local homeschool graduates.

Remember to send the announcements early so that folks can make plans.

We highly suggest you create a diploma (and keep a copy of the official transcript with it)

You can make your own:

  • Buy parchment and an “official stamper” at the local office supply store and create your own. (Check Pinterest for samples.)

You can purchase one online from Homeschool Diploma (we are not affiliates)

  • We have found over the years that graduates occasionally need to show a diploma or send a copy of the diploma to prospective employers, military and even graduate schools.

For the transcript:

Will your teen wear a cap and gown?

There’s not one right way to handle this. I always like to have the visual of my graduate wearing the cap and gown AND the joy of moving the tassel on the cap from left to right (or right to left, there’s no real protocol for that)?

  • If you are ordering cap and gown do so EARLY. Shipping is slow sometimes, these days.
  • Some of our homeschool friends have ordered from Homeschool Diploma or Jostens (we are not affiliates)

Plan the ceremony and afterwards

Join Vicki for a you-CAN-do discussion on how to plan homeschool graduations!

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How to Plan Homeschool Graduations

Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington.

Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington

One of Vicki’s favorite things is personality tests. She has found that understanding her teens’ personalities helped her tweak her homeschool program for each teen. Thus, she was so excited to connect with Sandra Etherington of Family Personalities. Sandra is a Myer-Briggs Type Indicator expert and advisor. She helps homeschool families match homeschool styles with personalities.

Sandra first ran into MBTI (Vicki’s favorite personality test, btw) in the corporate world. She loved it so much she went to school and got special certification to help family members understand each other. She joined Vicki today to explain how Myers-Briggs can help you plan your homeschooling program and curriculum geared for each teen.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that gives each person a four-letter score. Each letter has a meaning and the combinations of letters truly give insight into the things that “fill a person’s bucket, ” as Sandra says.

She also points out that each person’s four-letter combination is not a rigid result. We can function in any letter we need to, but we feel happiest functioning in the ways our letters are combined.

Sandra shares that parenting and homeschooling teens can be so much fun when each family member understands their MBTI score. It can be such a relief to understand why each person thinks and feels based on their personalities.

The four letter scores of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are:

  • INTJ
  • INTP
  • INFJ
  • INFP
  • ISTJ
  • ISTP
  • ISFJ
  • ISFP
  • ENTJ
  • ENTP
  • ENFJ
  • ENFP
  • ESTJ
  • ESTP
  • ESFJ
  • ESFP

I= Introvert (we fill our bucket/are energized by time alone)

E= Extrovert (we fill our bucket/are energized by time with people)

S= Sensing (we prefer taking in informations facts, details, practicality, experience)

N= Intuition (we prefer taking in information through the big picture, ideas, theories)

T= Thinking (we prefer making decisions through using logic and objectiveness)

F= Feeling (we prefer making decisions through approaching the decisions emotionally- our emotions and other’s emotions)

J= Judging (NOTE: this does not mean being judgmental) (we prefer to approach our outer world in order with planning and structure)

P= Perceiving (we prefer to approach our outer world spontaneously, not making a conclusion until you have all the information, keeping options open)

Sandra reminds us that one personality style is not better than another, they are simply different.

How can we work with our homeschool high schoolers’ different personalities?

Let’s start with an example: If you’re a parent who prefers Judging, we want to follow a schedule and plan in details. If your teen is a P she will be spontaneous and hate planning and schedules! It takes patience and prayer to work together. (That’s what patience and prayer are all about!)

Now let’s look at teens:

  • If they are J’s, they will want schedules, clear plans and routines. They are generally good with follow-through and will follow rules.
    • As a parent, include and/or be aware of their own plans. This means doing planning together and do regular check-ins. Allow extra time for transitions. Allow them to finish one activity before switching to another.
  • If they are P’s, they will want freedom to make their own rhythms, they will want to be spontaneous and perhaps mix study and play. They may have difficulty making decisions (because by making a decision, they cut off other opportunities). They like to be playful and impulsive. Can have trouble with follow-through.
    • As a parent, give stopping points/deadlines then allow them to work on their own/in their own style. Limit structure and rules. Build in flexibility (maybe your homeschool high schooler wants to do math all day for a couple of days then make up for that on the last day of the week). Have an outside accountability person (for instance, an umbrella school) when possible. Tend to work better under pressure.
  • If they are S’s, they want their texts and classes to be practical and realistic.
    • As a parent, choose hands-on curriculum that is step-by-step oriented. (Such as 7Sisters’ Essay and Research Paper Writing eworkbooks). Start with facts and details, then build up to main points. (If they are SJ, they will want to break projects down into chunks.)
  • If they are N’s, they want their texts and classes to start with the big picture. They prefer to understand the ideas behind the things they will be learning.
    • As a parent, you have to start with the purpose/the why of the course, give that big picture. Allow them to use their big ideas. If you need to review, have them solve the problem a different way without overdoing repetition.

Are you curious to find out more? Check out Sandra’s work on Family Personalities website and podcast. Start with her freebie downloads!

Join Vicki and Sandra for an enlightening chat!

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Understanding Teens and Homeschool Success with Personality Tests, Interview with Sandra Etherington