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

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving.

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

If you are like Vicki, high school math is not your favorite subject. Whether we like it or not, Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry (at the least) are necessary for most homeschool high schoolers graduation requirements. Sometimes our teens do not like math OR are struggling learners so preparing for college math can be intimidating.

This week, Vicki is joined by David Irving of College Ready Math, who brings us some GOOD news: If your homeschool high schoolers can really get the concepts of Algebra down, they will have less trouble with the other courses. AND he has ideas on how to help struggling learners succeed.

So take a deep breath! There’s hope.

David Irving is the writer and publisher of the Parent’s Guide to Better Grades. David created this guide for parents of students in Title 1 schools in Chicago when he was single parenting a teen with ADHD. His son was struggling, so David began tutoring his son. He came up with some things that worked for his son, then later he and his new wife turned it into a guide which the schools snapped up and found success with.

David then brought the guides to schools in Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC and New York City and trained tutors in the methods that worked. The tutors went into the schools, especially those who had lots of struggling students. Then his program spread to religious and independent private schools.

David Irving of College Ready Math

David Irving of College Ready Math. Photo used with permission.

David then started on online company, College Ready Math, to prepare struggling math students to be successful for the mathematics they will face in high school and college. (David has heard from college advisors that sometimes the high school math that students learn do not prepare them well for college-level mathematics courses. They sometimes need to take some remedial math courses at the local community college to catch up. David wants to save some money and time by helping homeschool high schoolers be ready for those college math courses.

David says to concentrate on Algebra. Make sure all the gaps in learning are closed (make sure there is sufficient knowledge of all the Algebra concepts). That is what David’s College Ready math program is about: filling Algebra gaps.

If you homeschool high schooler is a struggling math learner, think about spending extra time on Algebra concepts.

In David’s online program (which is a supplement to the teen’s math text), student’s start with a pretest to determine what concepts need attention. (Or students can start at the beginning for a solid review.)

Here are things that teens need to be ready for college-level math:

  • Learn one concept per lesson.
  • Lessons should be short.
  • Work on mastery for each concept.
  • Learn by video and solving problems together.
  • Practice with repetition as often as necessary.
  • Include test prep for the placement test many teens must take in order to know which maths in college they need (Accuplacer).

David reminds us: If a teen needs to take remedial math courses in college, they do not get college credit for those courses. They do not get credit but they must pay for the courses. So why not make sure the math concepts are solid enough that they can do well on the college placement test.

For more on what colleges are looking for check out this interview with Murray State University’s Associate Provost, Dr. Renae Duncan and our tips at 7SistersHomeschool.

Here’s a thing to note: David’s College Ready Math program is mobile phone friendly. He has found that students who do not have internet bandwidth can still easily access the lessons on their phones.

Contact David Irving and College Ready Math and join Vicki and David for some encouragement for helping struggling learners prepare for college math.

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Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

 

 

 

How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick.

How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

One of the best gifts we can give our homeschool high schoolers is the gift of engagement in their educations. If teens feel interested or connected to their studies, true learning can take place. Vicki is joined this week to discuss ideas on how to engage our homeschool high schoolers with our new friend, Teresa Wiedrick, of Capturing the Charmed Life website and Homeschool Mama Self-care Podcast.

Teresa Wiedrick is a homeschool mom of four. She and her family live in Vancouver, Canada in a lovely wooded countryside. However, they have not been a stay-at-home all the time. With her adventurous physician husband, they have been around the world as far as small villages in the Arctic Circle and the Rift Valley in Africa.

She original found that she wanted to try homeschooling when she picked up the book, The Homeschooling Option by Lisa Rivera. Actually, she wanted to prove to herself that homeschooling was not a good idea- but actually found that it would be the best choice for her adventurous family. Homeschooling gave her high schoolers freedom, which led to curiosity and engaged students.

How do you engage your homeschool high schoolers in education?

Recognize your teens’ vision for their lives. Some teens are born knowing what they want to do with their lives. Those are the easy ones. They are automatically engaged in whatever they learn (as long as they can see how it applies to their vision.

Many teens do not know their vision for their lives yet. Start with helping your teens:

Teens engage better when they have  spent time  investing in their interests. -Teresa Wiedrick

Often their interests change over the high school years. That’s okay- even normal, so do not worry!

For instance, one of Teresa’s daughters wanted to go to medical but somehow shifted her interests to ballet. She is now in professional ballet training). During high school, Teresa helped her daughter explore her medical school interests (easily done by reading her father’s medical books and with whatever activities she could find that were interesting). She also took ballet lessons. Through high school she began to love ballet more and more and could only imaging herself at ballet school.

Help your teens find some independence

Watch out for the tendency to be a heavy equipment mom. (Don’t know what that is? Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast Episode.) Watch your teens push or yearn for some independence or develop unique personalities. Allow them to become who they need to be.

Do your own self-care so you can stay healthy and clear thinking

Teresa’s oldest who pushed the hardest for independence is well loved. However, she also is the type child who will exhauster her mom with all the pushing. Teresa found that she was so busy trying to make things work for her oldest that she had no time for self-care.

Teresa realized that she could not go on like that. She needed to have a set of self-care routines that kept her clear-headed. She wrote a book to help other homeschooling moms find time for self-care- each in their own unique way (after all, there’s not ONE right way to do self-care!)

Also, spend time introspecting (What am I feeling? What am I feeling that way? What am I going to do about it?). Spend time relearning your personality (Vicki and Teresa are big fans of the Enneagram. Check out the fun book The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile– a favorite with millennials, btw.

If you are not healthy and taking care of yourself, you cannot feel fully engaged. Teens catch at LOT by your role modeling!

You cannot make your teens’ lives perfect or make them into your image, but when you understand yourself and stay healthy you can let them become themselves. A teen who is allowed to be themselves have a lower bar to entry in engagement!

Join Vicki and Teresa for a pleasant discussion on homeschool moms, high schoolers and how to engage those high schoolers.

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How to Engage Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Teresa Wiedrick

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako.

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

Our good buddy, Ann Karako, joins Vicki for a fun discussion about the most stressful thing for many homeschool high school juniors and seniors: The college search!

What if you are a mom with a homeschool junior? Ann has some advice for her!

Juniors need to start looking at colleges. Here’s Ann’s suggestion for taking the weight off your shoulders:

We homeschool moms sometimes get the “keeping up with the Joneses” pressure for getting our homeschool graduates into a top-tier college. We feel like if we don’t, we have somehow failed our teens, our families and the entire homeschool movement!

But here’s the truth: Your homeschool high school DOES NOT need to go to a high-powered college to find success in life! We don’t need to carry that top-tier college burden around with us! What is important is this fact:

I’m not trying to fit my kid to a college. I’m trying to find a college that fits my kid!

Our teens have wrinkles! They have personalities. They aren’t perfect. Why set our teens up for college stress by sending them to a college that will be more competitive than they need?

Instead, find a college that has students with whom they CAN compete AND enjoy the process without getting ulcers from the stress.

I'm not trying to fit my kid to a college. I'm trying to find a college that fits my kid!

How can you find a college for “average college-bound” teens? How can you find a college that thinks YOUR homeschool high schooler looks good- even with their foibles?

Check college websites. Look at:

  • The test scores of incoming freshmen
  • The courses that incoming freshmen took in high school

The college that thinks your teen looks good is more likely to cough up some money for them, btw. What is more important, it is the college where your homeschool graduate will feel most contented.

Another tip from Ann: Find out when the application dates are for schools of interest. Some schools have rolling admissions and will start reviewing applications in June of junior year. Most colleges, though, take applications sometime in the fall through early winter. SO start that college search during junior year so you and your homeschool high schooler have less time-crunch.

How can you handle college tours?

Ann and her homeschool seniors do not do any college tours until they receive acceptance letters. They have found it a waste of time and money to travel to campuses that would not admit her teens. Once the letters are in, THEN they go on some visits.

Instead:

  • Do virtual tours on the college’s website
  • Do google satellite searches for the campus
  • Read online opinions from students and graduates

(Of course, the college tours have not happened IRL during COVID, anyway. All the tours have been virtual.)

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to do college tours!

Choose colleges that have the major or program for what your teen wants to study

Junior year is a good time to work on choosing the college major or program that your homeschool high schooler will want to study. Ann has found that it is difficult to do serious college searching if her teens do not know what they are going to college to train for. (Check out this HSHSP episode on choosing college majors.)

Another tip from Ann: If your homeschool high schooler is not settled on a college major, do some career exploration now! College is a lot of money to spend on an undetermined major!

Choose colleges that have the extracurriculars that are important to your teen

One of Ann’s homeschool high schoolers wanted to play softball in college. There were several colleges that she liked that had her major, but only one had a softball program available to her. Ann’s daughter chose the college with the softball program because that would make college fun and meaningful while she worked on her major!

Remember, there’s not ONE right-fit college for your teen

Another tip from Ann: There are SO many colleges out there. There are lots of colleges where your homeschool high schooler will grow, learn, succeed and enjoy their education!

Another tip from Ann: It’s all about attitude! Tell teens it is there job to go to college and make the most out of their experience. Learn as much as they can while they are there. Choose to make it a good experience!

Remember: It’s not that hard to get into college

Just look for the one that fits your kid! (Vicki remember that in the eighteen years she served as a homeschool advisor, she found that ALL the homeschool graduates who wanted to go to college went to college.)

Join Vicki and Ann for a lively discussion! For more on the college search, check out this post.

Want more wisdom from Ann Karako? Check her work out at:

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College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

Homeschooling High School for Real People, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling High School for Real People.

Homeschooling High School for Real People, Interview with Ann Karako

Homeschooling High School for Real People

Many of our friends know our friend, Ann Karako, from her popular website: Annie and Everything and from her wildly popular Facebook group: It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School. We are so excited to chat with Ann today about one of our favorite topics: Homeschooling high school when you are just ordinary folks!

Ann has a high school senior this year! The last of her five kids who have graduated from homeschool high school. We agree with Ann that the high school years are the best years of all!

Ann’s mission is to encourage REAL families enjoy and have success homeschooling high school (and you don’t need a magic formula to do it.) Real people are simply average people…which is what most of us are! (In fact, we talk about how to be a mom of a just-average teen in an earlier episode.)

Ann gets frustrated with all the SHOULDs that some people and publishers foist on new homeschooling families. You SHOULD do this and use this curriculum. They seem to promise that if you do “A, B, and C” your teen will graduate with a full-ride scholarship to some Ivy League college.

The problem is, that most teens do not get full-ride scholarships to Ivy League colleges, no matter what they do or what curriculum they use. Usually the teens that do get those fancy scholarships were super smart to start with. Most teens are smart, but in their own way- not Ivy League smart. The result is that teens and parents can find themselves feeling guilty or like failures because their teen graduated but not as spectacularly as those FEW future Ivy Leaguers.

So, for those of us who are ordinary folks, here are Ann’s tips for homeschooling high school for REAL people

Ann’s teens have been real teens. They sometimes:

  • Argued with her
  • Did not earn great grades
  • Had stress

They have been real teens, but they have (along with Ann) loved the homeschool high school years. That is because Ann worked at matching curriculum, causes and activities to her teens’ needs with the goal that everyone ENJOYS the high school years.

You can homeschool high school confidently, competently, contentedly. -Ann Karako

Ann feels like anyone can homeschool high school:

  • Confidently
  • Competently
  • Contentedly

Confidently homeschooling high school

  • You can be confident when you researched your state laws for homeschooling high school
  • You can be confident when you research the requirements that they will need in order to do what they aim for after high school (college, vocation, etc)

Competently homeschooling high school

  • Find the resources that will fit your teens’ needs (that is what Facebook groups are for, like It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School or 7SistersHomeschool). Join the group, describe your teen and get some feedback from other homeschool moms
  • Read blogs on how to grade papers and tests and create syllabi

Contentedly homeschooling high school

  • Beware of “keeping up with the homeschool Joneses”. They are not you and your family!
  • Lean into the way God made your teens: enjoy their uniqueness, their interests, skills, abilities and goals.
  • Remember your own needs and wants.
  • Tailor the family’s educational experiences to meet the families needs: and enjoy it!
  • Have time to simply talk to your teens and enjoy the high school years.
  • Discuss your teens educational and life goals and help them achieve them.

Want encouraging how-to homeschool high school resources from Ann Karako? Check out her books: Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School and Homeschool High School Planning Book.

Also check out Ann Karako’s podcast: It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School!

You will also be blessed by our other interviews with our friend, Ann:

Join Vicki and Ann for an episode full of encouragement!

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Homeschooling High School for Real People

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck.

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

Vicki is joined this week by Christian Buck, a performance consultant for athletes and teams at colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Brown and Amherst. He helps athletes raise their game by using sport psychology techniques. Chris noticed that sports psychology can help student athletes become better students, also. SO he has written a book: The Sport of School that helps students improve on the field and/or in academics. (Teens from his academic coaching program, Sport of School Academy, have been accepted at competitive colleges such as Cornell, Notre Dame, Tufts, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.)

Homeschool high schoolers, athlete or not, can use some sports psychology mindsets to improve their academic performance. He does not talk about tutoring (although tutoring can be a pretty awesome thing), but rather, helping students raise their motivation.

Catch that? Christian Buck has some ideas that will help our students find their motivation and use it for academic success.

Christian Buck, The Sport of School

Christian Buck, The Sport of School. Photo used with permission.

He begins with the example: An athlete does not have to be prodded to workout in the weight room. It is something they are motivated to do because they know workouts help improve their performance.

So how do you help homeschool high schooler find the motivation, the “want to”, for academic success?

The first step is to understand their natural motivation style. Then you take what you know about your teen’s natural motivation style and apply it to academics!

Chris has found that there are five motivation styles

In his work with athletes, he has identified these styles:

The Workhorse

The Workhorse is the hard worker. They come early to practice and stay late, they do lots of time in the gym, improving their skills. For academics, Workhorses just need to know that the exam or project is the game (and maybe the co-op teacher is the opponent). They can attack the preparation for the exam or project with the same attitude as their athletic preparation. They are ready to “beat the quiz”.

The Rookie

The Rookie just has not learned the rules. He might be plugging along with so-so effort but has not learned the “rule”, that if he wants to play college sports (or get into college), he has to have a competitive GPA. He just did not know. They just need to know the ropes, so help them identify their goal and know the “rules” for getting there.

The Spectator

The Spectator is on the sidelines. They are just watching life go by, not caring if they fail or succeed. They are going through the motions. Teens like this need a personal vision. Help these teens explore and identify what they want to do, who they want to be, where they want to go.  Help teens develop some images and dreams about their future. Then they can start fighting for it.

The Natural Talent

The Natural Talent was born good at just about anything. When they work on things, it is easy for them…until they finally get to something they do not naturally know or beyond their natural talents. These teens tend to skip out on the hard things. They have not learned how to work. These teens need to develop a growth mindset (I can’t do this yet but I will) by finding one thing to work hard on then let that spread to the academics.

The Intellectual

The Intellectual is headed for Ivy League (or the Pachysandra League- the competitive, but not Ivy League, colleges). These teens want to work hard in the academics but get trapped by perfectionism, not thinking realistically about their goals. These teens need to work on flexible thinking and healthily defining success.

Each type of student can find their motivation by knowing their motivation style and working with it!

Christian Buck wrote his book, The Sport of School, to help teens dramatically increase their academic performance. It helps teens find their “hook”, their motivation and belief in themselves.

Listen in to this inspiring chat with Christian Buck and get lots of examples and tips (such as rewards, time management).

You can check Christian Buck out on:

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Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

 

Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens.

Top Ten Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Why shouldn’t high school writing assignments be fun? Let’s have fun with tall tales!

Vicki was raised in Texas back in the olden days. In those early days of television there wasn’t much to watch. So in the evenings, neighbors would join together in the backyard. The kids would chase lightening bugs, watch the jack rabbits and listen to the grownups tell tall tales. Tall tales about Pecos Bill, mostly (being Texas and Pecos Bill was Texan, of course) but also, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and larger than life characters.

So Vicki grew up loving tall tales and taught them to her kids, then to our co-ops and homeschool group classes. We told the tales AND then made up our own tall tale characters and stories. Vicki thinks teaching tall tales to teens is a terrific idea!

Here are ten terrific reasons for teaching tall tale writing to your homeschool high schoolers:

Teens will thank you for this!

Tall tale writing is a great tie-in to your American History studies

Tall tale writing and reading brings to life the culture and traditions of the Old West. Check out a book on tall tales at the library or choose some stories from this website:

American Folklore

Or some classic YouTubes:

There’s a movie tie-in

Have you ever seen the movie Tall Tale? It’s a fun movie that features some favorite tall-tale characters: Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry. Log a few fun, inspirational hours for your American History class by:

  • Watching the movie Tall Tale
  • Wiscussing the larger-than-life characters
  • Discussing the “Code of the West” (Should we modern Americans have some sort of “Code”, ourselves?)

Teens need to know the original superheroes: the tall tale heros

Pecos Bill was a cowboy who rode a tornado and a huge black horse named Widowmaker. He could shoot the trigger fingers off the bad guys so they couldn’t harm the local citizens! He was rough and tough and always good.

Paul Bunyan was a lumberjack. He had a HUGE blue ox named Babe. He could eat pancakes so big that the griddle required buttering by other lumberjacks with huge butter pats tied onto their feet. They’d ice skate around the griddle to get it ready for pancake batter. He was NO nonsense but very good.

John Henry worked the building railroads. He was a mighty steel driver with a huge and mighty hammer. No one could hold a candle to his strength and speed! He was honest and unstoppable.

These original American heroes were the role models for our American superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, Black Panther and all the Marvel gang. They are strong and good and look out for others.

Tall tales help teens understand our American cultural roots

Tall tale heroes are a sort of American archetype: fictional larger than life versions of ourselves. We Americans want to see ourselves as:

  • Good
  • Brave
  • Standing up for the little guy
  • Doing what is honorable and right

This is exactly what the tall tale characters were (along with being silly and sometimes foolish). When we go back and study and respect these original American icons, it helps us decide how we want to live out these American values. It is an excellent discussion for teens, co-ops and homeschool group classes. How do we as individuals live out American ideals such as goodness, bravery, standing up for the little guy, acting honorably and righteously?

Tall tales are fun to hear and write. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #TallTales

Writing tall tales is a good creative writing project for teens

While there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, we 7Sisters have guided our teens to have four kinds of writing each year:

  • Essays
  • Research Papers
  • Short stories (creative writing)
  • Poetry (creative writing)

One of the most fun and useful kinds of short story writing assignments is tall tales! Tall tale writing is a fantastic way to write a short story because you can’t really do it wrong. No matter how silly it might be, it fits the genre (I mean, really, who rides a tornado- how silly! If it’s good enough for Pecos Bill, it will work for your teens).

Writing tall tales is fun to do individually and even more fun in a group!

Check out these posts that give terrific tips for tall tale writing in your homeschool co-op or group classes.

Writing tall tales is easy because 7Sisters has a step-by-step curriculum that teens love

Check out 7Sisters popular Tall Tale Writing Guide which gives daily assignments for writing a terrific, true-to-form tall tale! Each lesson is fun and non-threatening and builds writing success skills.

Teens tell us they feel so encouraged when they finish their tall tale

Over and over through the years, teens who were intimidated by writing (especially creative writing) have told us that when they finished their Tall Tales Writing Guide, they felt SO excited. They didn’t know they were creative writers, but once it was non-threatening and fun, their creative souls were unleashed. Tall tale writing has been such a confidence booster for many teens!

Tall tale studying and writing can become a tradition that your teens can pass onto their kids someday

Part of the wonder of tall tales is the passing down of stories from generation to generation. Perhaps your teens will tell their kids about Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and the Code of the West…and maybe their OWN tall tales!

Join Vicki for a quick and fun chat about Tall Tales and Teens!

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Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Teens and Anxiety

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast we talk about: Teens and Anxiety.

Teens and anxiety.

Teens and Anxiety

With the world going through a long pandemic, teens are experiencing more anxiety than in the past (the same goes with their parents). Today Vicki discusses how to deal with anxiety for homeschool high schoolers.

Anxiety is part of the human condition; there is no such thing as a stress-free life. Most of the time, anxiety can be manageable. However, if life is stressful for long periods of time, stress hormones can build up in the body and cause:

  • Panic attacks (heart pounding, can’t catch your breath)
  • Digestive issues

These issues are quite easily dealt with using cognitive-behavioral therapy (btw- Vicki practices CBT with her counseling clients). It is worth getting these uncomfortable issues treated and then teens have a lifetime to be able to use their skills!

If anxiety has not built up to the level of experiencing panic attacks or physical symptoms, here are some simple tips that can help:

Parents: if you have anxiety, when you deal with your anxiety it will help the entire household

Parents, whether they like it or not, set the emotional tone for a home. If you set the tone of “yes, I have anxiety but this is how I deal with it”, children and teens grow up to understand that anxiety is a thing but it is a thing that can be managed and helped.

Teach deep breathing

Anxiety is experienced in the body as a dose of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). It helps your teens to be able to run more quickly when the lions are chasing them. Unfortunately or fortunately, there are no lions these days, so stress hormones tend to stay in the body waiting to be used. That is the restless, muscle-achy feeling of anxiety.

God, in his wisdom, gave an antidote for stress hormones: oxygen. And it’s free! (For teens who have Apple watches, their watch actually tells them to breathe- tell your teens to pay attention to that.)

  • To deep breathe:
    • Breathe in through your nose (count to at least 5), try to fill your stomach with air, too
    • Breathe out like a birthday candle (purse your lips and breathe out slowly- count to at least 7)
    • The cool thing about the slow breathe-out  is that your teen is activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that says: It’s okay to calm down.
  • Once or twice a day do a deep breathing exercise:

Stay hydrated

If you are hungry, your stomach growls to tell you it needs food. One way your brain cells tell you they are dehydrated is sending anxiety signals. (Brain cells are mostly water, so they cannot do their work, if the water levels are too low.)

Eat healthy foods

The neurotransmitters (the signals that the brain cells make) that help manage mood, energy and anxiety are made from the micronutrients in real food: real proteins, fruits and veggies, probiotics. This is one reason we ask our kids to take their Health class in high school. It helps them own their own self-care. Look at 7SistersHomeschool’s High School Health for the Whole Person.

Get exercise

Teens need to move their bodies more than any time in life. The pandemic has crimped their style for many teens, which is contributing to anxiety. BUT it is SO important to anxiety management and academic success. Moving the body, increases oxygen and also dopamine (for better mood and concentration) and proteins necessary for concentration. (Food for thought: It might be easier to focus on difficult courses if teens exercise first.)

If your teens are too pandemic-stuck to come up with their own exercise ideas, perhaps some family walks or hikes on the weekends might help kickstart the process.

Anxiety is managed with: *Self-care *Thought-care *Lifestyle *Fun *Creativity

Laugh

Proverbs 17:22 reminds us that a “merry heart doeth good like a medicine”. (God is always right, you know.) It turns out that when we laugh, our brains release endorphins and oxytocin. These are mood enhancing and healing hormones.

Be creative

God is a creator and he make us to be creative, also. In fact, using the creative part of the brain activates calming parts of the brain. Creativity can look like:

  • Art projects
  • Doodling
  • Photography
  • Sewing
  • Building
  • Poetry
  • Dance
  • Creative writing
  • Singing
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Creating music on Garageband
  • Cooking

The most important thing that teens need to know about creativity is that they do not need to be good at it. The point is creating, not being “best” or “expert”.

Work on thought patterns

Teens often think negatively about themselves: If I can’t be good at this when I start out, I am a failure. (This causes avoidance and shut-down- writing papers the night before due dates!) Teach teens the power of “yet”. I’m not good at this yet, but I’ll keep working and get better. This is called a growth mindset.

  • Limit: “What if thinking.”  Don’t only plan for disasters. If your teen’s brain says “what if something bad happens”, have them add an empowered way to handle it. “If that happens I can do this.” Then start training the brain away for “what its” (because they usually don’t happen, anyway).
  • Catch self-critical thought and statements
  • Catch them on things well-done or well-tried and compliment
  • Give them a mentor that can model self-care, self-talk, self-confidence

Have new experiences

People need new things. During the pandemic we have all had too much of the same, same, same. This causes anxiety. However, anytime you do something new, when you get home, your brains release oxytocin (healing and bonding hormone).

Remember, if things get too anxious, talk to your family doctor and counselor. Anxiety is such a help-able thing!

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Teens and Anxiety

Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett.

Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

We are so excited this week to be able to catch up with our good friend from the beloved 2:1 Conference, Carol Anne Swett. Carol Anne is better known as the Homeschool Answer Mom!

Carol Anne graduated her sons from homeschool high school a few years ago, but she has stayed busy in the homeschool community. She is like we Sisters at 7SistersHomeschool: We are Titus 2 women who help the next generation of homeschool moms.

Carol Anne’s sons were different in personality. Her first son went to college as planned. However, at the end of his first semester at college, he refused to go back. He then switched to the local community college where he was happier. (That’s because there is not ONE right way to handle life after graduation.) He is now a UX designer for Nationwide Insurance in a career he truly enjoys. (As the Fletchers at Homeschooling IRL always said: We are not in charge of the outcomes for our kids.)

Carol Anne’s second son was a born with a strong will. When he was fourteen years old, he announced he was quitting school when he turns seventeen. By the time he was seventeen, they were irritated with each other and both were ready to graduate early. He only had two credits left to earn. They could have gone for a GED, he decided to go to the community college for two dual enrollment classes.

This son went to the community college for those two credits. At Thanksgiving he announced to his parents that he was going to go on through college and then to graduate school at Vanderbilt. He decided to get his degrees in Psychology! (Today, he is an EMT and working on his paramedic training- and all his youthful stubbornness has helped him persevere!)

Carol Anne has since then, work to help parents craft the best transcript for their teens, especially with a mind that they might end up in college.

Remember: God has all our teens under His care. -Carol Anne Swett

Carol Anne has this tip: Keep your faith in God- that He has plans for your teens. You can trust Him! Your teens are under His care!

Here are some of the practical credits she has helped parents find for their reluctant learners:

Find out what your teens are interested in

For instance, one teen Carol Anne worked with raised heirloom rabbits. In working with him and his parents, they were able to find several credits:

  • Raising Heirloom Rabbits/Animal Husbandry
  • Social Media and Marketing
  • Basic Small Business

When this young man graduated, he had confidence to go onto college to study business.

Find out your teens abilities and passions

Another young woman had a profound brain injury. This young woman worked training dogs. She was able to earn credits in:

  • Dog training
  • Dog breeding
  • Social media
  • Website design
  • Practical reading about dog training and raising

Another teen worked with his family flipping houses. He earned credits in:

  • Construction skills
  • Planning
  • Small business

Another teen worked on the family farm and learned:

  • Agriculture
  • Tractor repair

Teens who babysit learn:

How do you document creative and practical credits? Check out these posts:

Once you find out what your teens wants to do, if it is a trade, take him to the local community college and let him/her start his trade classes.

  • That way, when they graduate, they are ready to start a meaningful career! Remember, not ALL teens need to go to college.
Carol Anne Swett, Photo used with permission

Carol Anne Swett, Photo used with permission

Join Vicki and Carol Anne for a sweet conversation. And find Carol Anne Swett at Homeschool Answer Mom. (She answers all the emails there in person.) You will also find her at Terri McKee’s Homeschooling Special Needs Online Conference.

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Practical Credits for Reluctant Learners, Interview with Carol Anne Swett

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

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

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

Everyone who knows 7Sister Vicki, knows she loves poetry and taught her teens (and our local homeschool teens) to love poetry also.

Unfortunately, there are lots of teens teens these days who have been trained by our modern culture to think of poetry in the same way they might think of liver and onions: It might be good for you but UGH! DISGUSTING!

In case your homeschool high schoolers have not had a chance yet to learn to love poetry, Vicki would like to share a few tips on why and how to teach poetry to teens.

One of the ways that Vicki inspired her local homeschoolers to enjoy poetry is teaching them poetry recitation. When they get started with it, teens actually find memorization and recitation to be rewarding (and even fun). For years, Vicki took the local homeschoolers to the regional speech meets for American Christian Schools International (ACSI allowed homeschoolers to participate as long as we provided judges). Often, our teens’ top performances were in poetry recitation.

At the ACSI speech competitions, there was a school from a large urban area. Most of the teens in the school were immigrants or inner-city youth. This school’s teens were always THE top performers in poetry recitation. Vicki once asked their advisor, Molly, why poetry was prioritized at their school.

Poetry builds skills in: *vocabulary *word usage and *communication

Molly explained that poetry gave her teens words: vocabulary,  word usage and communication skills in general. (She had the track record with these kids, too: Many of them, after high school graduation, went to high-powered colleges and became successful professionals, business people and educators.)

Vicki also saw the power of poetry memorization and recitation when she judged the annual poetry recitation at a local Classical school. The students at this school were mostly immigrant or low income, so would benefit from the skills gained from learning poetry. Many of these kids have graduated and become successful adults- poetry being a small but useful communication tool in their educations.

Why is poetry such a useful communication tool?

Poetry uses words powerfully

Unlike prose, every word in a poem has weight. Each word is chosen to convey the most emotion and biggest thoughts possible. Each word is chosen for:

  • Sound
  • Rhythm
  • Meaning
  • Purpose

In poetry, homeschool high schoolers learn ordinary and extraordinary words being used in powerful ways.

Vicki’s homeschool high school Language Arts classes had a poetry unit each year. As teens were learning poetry and then moved onto writing their research paper unit, they wrote high quality papers. This is because they had mastered some higher-order word-usage skills in their poetry unit.

Poetry is fun

Poetry is powerful when it is presented in a lighthearted fashion. Poetry done with good attitude inspires laughter and learning!

How to teach poetry in a way that teens enjoy

Start with inspiration. Show them a YouTube video each day with a cool poem presentation:

Each week in class or individually:

Remember, all 7Sisters curriculum is no-busywork and is level-able to different interests and abilities.

Join Vicki for a discussion on how to teach poetry with your homeschoolers- and be sure to join us next week!

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How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School