Find Homeschool Resources with HomeschoolHQ

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Find Homeschool Resources with HomeschoolHQ.

Find Homeschool Resources with HomeschoolHQ

Homeschool HQ with Lauren Bordeaux

It’s always exciting to discover new resources for homeschooling, especially ones that cater to high schoolers. It’s truly a blessing to have such a wide range of options available nowadays. One such blessing is through Lauren Bordeaux, the founder of Homeschool HQ. Lauren shares her inspiring homeschooling journey and the creation of this unique app, Homeschool HQ, that aims to revolutionize the way homeschooling families connect and find resources!

About Lauren Bordeaux

Lauren and her husband, both products of public education, initially considered sending their three children to traditional schools. However, a forest preschool experience in Germany opened their eyes to different possibilities for education.  As their daughter flourished in a non-traditional environment, Lauren’s perspective shifted, and she began exploring homeschooling through podcasts and research.

After moving back to the United States and experiencing the challenges of homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauren realized the need for a centralized platform that could gather and organize homeschooling resources. She shared her idea with her husband, and together they started on the journey of building the Homeschool HQ app.

About HomeschoolHQ

When Lauren was looking into homeschool resources and management, she could not find anything comprehensive enough to consider using. There were some lists on Facebook, but they were limited to specific groups, and Lauren wanted to create an aggregate resource that would be accessible to all homeschoolers, such as tools or apps for homeschool organization in mind.

And even though neither Lauren nor her husband had any tech background, they were determined to make HomeschoolHQ happen. They found an online program that allowed them to build the app themselves, and with the help of some friends who are also homeschoolers, they brought homeschoolHQ to life. 

And Homeschool HQ launched just a year ago!

This app is not just “another homeschooling app.” It is a user-populated platform that allows homeschooling families to share and discover resources in their local areas. The app features various categories, including co-ops, classes, field trip ideas, conventions, and more. Users can customize their search radius and save their favorite resources for easy access.

Lauren and her husband are constantly working on updates to enhance the app’s features. In fact, they’re currently awaiting approval for an update that will include a higher education section, allowing homeschoolers to find homeschool-friendly colleges and universities, along with information on admissions, dual enrollment, and scholarships for homeschoolers!

Using HomeschoolHQ In Your Homeschool

With Homeschool HQ, you can plan your homeschooling activities, find local classes, and even organize play dates or nature hikes. The app provides a sense of community and simplifies the process of locating resources tailored to your family’s needs. 

Getting started with HomeschoolHQ is easy. Simply download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store. While there is a subscription fee of $19.99 per year, this nominal amount ensures the availability of high-quality resources and safeguards the app’s integrity. 

Once you are in the app, explore the different categories, save your favorites, and customize your search options to find resources near you.

Homeschool HQ is currently available in the US and Canada, with plans to expand to more countries in the future. The app’s user-driven nature fosters a sense of collaboration and community among homeschooling families. By contributing to the app, users help create a comprehensive resource hub that benefits everyone.

Connect with Lauren + Homeschool HQ

HomeschoolHQ is a game-changer for homeschooling families, providing a centralized platform to discover and share resources. Lauren and her team are committed to enhancing HomeschoolHQ and making it an indispensable tool for homeschoolers worldwide.

The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play Store for users in the US and Canada. You can also find them on major social media platforms. For more information, visit their Homeschool HQ website!

For more information on different apps to help your teens with homeschooling high school, check our our friends at Homeschooling with Technology podcast. We talked to Homeschooling with Technology’s Meryl van der Merwe on our episodes:

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

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A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast- Teen Publishes A Book: A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process.

A Young Author's Journey in the Writing Process

Teen Publishes A Book: A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process

Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for kids to explore their passions and discover hidden talents. One such talented young person is Sophia Errico, a young author who found her passion for writing through homeschooling. Sophia joins Vicki to share her journey about writing her first book. Join us in Sophia’s writing process of her book, The Tree House, along with the valuable lessons she has learned along the way.

About Sophia Errico, a Young Author

Sophia Errico’s homeschooling journey began when her parents made the decision to switch her from public school after the pandemic hit. Initially, it was an adjustment, but she soon realized the benefits of more flexible learning. Homeschooling allowed her to dedicate more time to her love for writing, as she could create her own academic schedule (rather than spending eight hours a day in class). Sophia found herself finishing her assignments earlier, giving her ample time to pursue her passion.

A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process

Sophia’s love for writing blossomed when she joined a writer’s group led by teacher, Miss Keri in our Cousin Cheryl Carter‘s Creative Classrooms at Outschool. This group provided a safe space for Sophia to share her work and receive valuable feedback from her mentor. 

And through her online writing group, the constructive criticism she received helped her grow as a writer and refine her storytelling skills. Sophia also credits her editor for their guidance in shaping her book, The Tree House, into its final form.

The Birth of The Tree House

Inspired by classic TV shows and drawing from her own public school experiences, Sophia was inspired to write her first book, The Tree House. The story revolves around protagonist Chris, a young boy striving to be a better person, and how his world is turned upside down when a new friend joins their group. 

Sophia’s writing process involves allowing ideas to flow as she writes. She welcomes the ebb and flow of inspiration, occasionally facing writer’s block but always pushing through it. 

Sophia emphasizes the importance of editing and revising, acknowledging the valuable input of her editor and mentor, Miss Keri, and her own evolving understanding of writing. She was able to receive her criticism with an open mind and then use that to modify her writing into the masterpiece it is today. 

This is a wise process that could be an obstacle to overcome by even adults in the writing process, but Sophia took the edit suggestions and ran with them! She admits she is much happier with the way it turned out than the way it started. 

And Sophia did exactly what a good writer does – skillfully incorporated these suggestions and feedback to enhance the storytelling inside The Tree House.

The Treehouse by Sophia Errico

The Impact of Homeschooling on Writing

Homeschooling has played a pivotal role in Sophia’s writing journey. With fewer distractions and a more flexible schedule, she has been able to dedicate substantial time to her craft. 

Sophia believes that her homeschooling experience has allowed her to develop her writing skills at a young age. This gave her a head start in pursuing her dreams.

She states:

The cool thing about homeschooling is you can get the lessons out of the way and have more time for writing as opposed to sitting in a traditional classroom for seven or eight hours a day. Even though homeschooling was a little weird to start with [coming from a public school setting], it turned out to be a good thing for developing your talents

Teen Publishes A Book

Sophia’s advice to aspiring young authors is simple yet profound: don’t be afraid to put your work out there. She encourages young writers to seek feedback and embrace constructive criticism as a means of growth. She believes that age should not be a barrier to pursuing one’s passion and encourages young authors to start honing their skills and sharing their stories with the world.

Sophia Errico’s journey as a young author showcases the power of homeschooling in nurturing creativity and fostering personal growth. Her dedication to her craft, combined with the support of her homeschooling community, has allowed her to achieve remarkable success in writing her very first book with an editor’s input. 

Sophia’s story serves as an inspiration to all young teens who aspire to pursue their passions and make a difference through their creativity. We eagerly await her future literary endeavors, and the next book in this series of The Tree House, and encourage young authors everywhere to unleash their creative potential!

Connect with Young Teen Author, Sophia Errico

Look for The Tree House on Amazon by Sophia Errico. It’s a real, physical book, not a PDF. 

And for novice writers, who are not ready to write an entire book, check out 7Sisters Short Story Writing Guides. Novice writers begin with a fun, family narrative. Then they have a rip-roaring time creating a tall tale. They are then ready to write a myth-fantasy short story in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

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

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Study Skills For Homeschoolers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Study Skills For Homeschoolers.

Study Skills For Homeschoolers

Study Skills For Homeschoolers

Some teens are born knowing how to study. However, most teens need to learn study skills. We often hear from homeschool graduates, especially those bound for college, that they need guidance in this area. We asked our 7Sister Marilyn to help explain study skills for homeschoolers.

About Marilyn Groop and Mt. Sophia

Marilyn is an editor of our 7SistersHomeschool textbooks, along with Sarah and Allison. Not only that, but she is also the principal of our local umbrella school, Mount Sophia Academy. This umbrella school has been serving homeschoolers for over twenty years. Hundreds of students have passed through those doors, with more than twenty-six graduating classes to date. It is truly amazing and feels us all with a sense of pride and joy. 

Mt. Sophia Academy serves as a homeschool diploma program, providing academic advising, transcript management, and diploma issuance for high school students. They offer classes for middle and high schoolers, ranging from average to advanced levels. Although they do not teach AP classes, some of their students have successfully taken and passed AP tests. With a diverse group of teachers and a busy schedule of classes on Mondays and Thursdays, a comprehensive education is the goal for the students attending.

Mt. Sophia Academy also offers outstanding academic advising to help students prepare for college and beyond, including guidance in extracurricular activities like sports and choir. They take pride in supporting parents and taking responsibility for the academic aspects of their homeschool high schoolers‘ education.

Here are the study skills for homeschool high schoolers

Marilyn teaches homeschool high schoolers these study skills.

The Importance of Effective Time Management

Time management is one of the most critical study skills for homeschoolers in order to achieve success through high school and beyond. But procrastination is the opposite of this, and quite the demolisher. It’s never a good strategy, especially when it comes to studying. When it comes to subjects like world languages, consistency is key.

Research has shown that cramming is not an effective method for retaining information. Instead of cramming for hours the night before, encourage your teens to spend fifteen minutes each day reviewing vocabulary or concepts. This practice helps information transfer to long-term memory more effectively.

By spreading out study sessions and engaging in regular review, students can improve their long-term memory and overall understanding of the material.

Doing the Work and Meeting Deadlines

Another crucial aspect of successful studying is actually doing the work. Completing assignments and meeting deadlines are fundamental skills that all high school students should develop. 

While there may be occasions when prioritizing certain tasks becomes necessary, encourage your teens to make time for their academic responsibilities. It’s essential for students to develop awareness and take responsibility for their academic responsibilities. Doing so will help them develop discipline and be better prepared for college and beyond.

Seeking Help and Asking Questions

Encourage your teens to seek help when needed. It is important to reach out to teachers for clarification or assistance when it is needed because waiting until the last minute or struggling silently can hinder progress. 

Students can build a rapport with their teachers and gain a better understanding of the material from asking questions, attending office hours, and actively engaging in class. This skill is invaluable in college as well, where seeking assistance becomes even more crucial.

Effective Note-Taking

Taking thorough and organized notes is another one of the essential study skills for homeschoolers. Marilyn’s daughter, for example, found that transcribing her class notes shortly after the lecture improved her understanding and retention of the material. 

Research suggests that handwriting notes can enhance memory and understanding, as it requires active engagement with the material and synthesis.  Encourage your teens to experiment with different note-taking methods and find what works best for them.

Test Preparation and Repetition

Preparing for tests requires consistent effort and repetition. Avoid last-minute cramming and instead review material regularly. Regular review and repetition are key. Repetition helps solidify concepts in long-term memory. 

For subjects that require memorization, consider creating quizzes or using online tools like Quizlet to reinforce learning. 

Teach your teens the importance of test corrections. By analyzing mistakes and understanding the correct answers, they can better prepare for cumulative exams.

Here are more study skills for test taking.

Study Skills For Homeschoolers

Developing effective study skills is crucial for homeschool high school students, particularly those planning to attend college. Mastering will equip your teen to excel academically. As homeschool educators, we have the opportunity to instill these study skills in our students, setting them up for success in their academic journeys and beyond.

These skills are not just about achieving good grades, they also foster discipline, critical thinking, and lifelong learning habits. Embrace the process of helping your teens develop these study skills, knowing that they will reap the rewards in their future endeavors.

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

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Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

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

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

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

    Click image for full description.

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #1

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #2

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

Transcript Tip #3

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

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

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

Start the transcript in the 9th Grade

Transcript Tip #4

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

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #5

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

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

Levels can be used for other courses also.

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

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

Check this post for details on levels on a transcript.

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

Transcript Tip #6

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

Transcript Tip #7

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

  • Weighted or
  • Unweighted

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

Transcript Tip #8

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

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

Transcript Tip #9

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #10

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

Include this information at the top of the transcript:

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

This distinguishes your teen from other applicants with similar names.

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

Want more support?

Check out

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

Join Vicki for encouragement and tips for terrific transcripts!

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After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College- Special Replay.

After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College

After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College

These days many homeschool graduates (and traditionally-schooled high school graduates) choose to attend community colleges. Join us for an interview Seth Tillman, a community college graduate (and now a graduate from  University of Delaware and an elementary school music teacher, as well as editor of this podcast).

Choosing community college is a great idea! Why?

  • You can come ahead financially (community colleges are SO much cheaper than universities)
  • Plus, you have more time to clarify majors (many times teens need an extra year or two to clarify their majors)
  • You attend smaller classes (as opposed to two hundred students in freshman-level classes at some universities)
  • Also, you earn general education course credits that transfer to many universities
  • You can stay local (saving money and time)
  • A big bonus: you can take community college experiences and opportunities to build your resume
  • One of the biggest bonuses: You can build excellent networking connections

Cautionary note:

Look at transfer college’s requirements, not all courses transfer. Each university or transfer college will accept different courses. Check that college’s *transfer matrix*.  Sometimes community colleges will tell you lots of courses transfer, but they are not always accurate.

Note from Seth:

Even if a community college course is not quite on the transfer matrix, you might be able to appeal. (The advisor to the transfer college major department will handle this with you.) So, be sure to keep your course syllabi.

Make the most of those community college years. If you are at a local college, it might as well be awesome! Here are tips from Seth:

  • Get involved
  • Don’t just go to class, sit in the back and be silent.
  • Go to class every time
  • Arrive early
  • Sit near the front
  • Participate in class
  • Find activities in your department and campus

Study skills tips from Seth:

  • Do it
  • Readings
  • Homework
  • Follow the
    • course syllabus (in many colleges: Academic Honesty Policies, grading policy of the course, texts, explanations of projects)
    • course schedule (readings, homework, exams schedules)
  • Study for exams
  • Stay off the cell phone in class
  • Get enough sleep
  • Explore ways to study and land on one way to study that works for you

TOP TIP from Seth:

  • Say “yes” to opportunities (especially from faculty)! The more *yeses* you say, the more opportunities will come.
  • Saying *yes* builds your resume and creates great networks (and referrals).
  • Get involved in work study.

Managing money is a big issue for college students. Seth was well-prepared in high school for handing his own finances.

Seth’s parting advice:

Don’t let anyone make fun of you going to community college. When he graduated and transferred to the local university, he sometimes got a little razzing for his years at community college. However, he did not allow that to phase him. “They are just insecure and have their own problems.”

More resources for college success

Check below the ad for a video of Seth and friends making the most of their community college education.

Join Vicki and Seth for a discussion of making the most of community college. In the meantime, enjoy these posts.


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Like Arrows!

FamilyLife’s first feature film LIKE ARROWS, explores the joys and heartaches of parenting with a story that spans over 50 years. Join us in theaters across America for a special 2 night showing of LIKE ARROWS followed by exclusive after-show content with the film-makers, including celebrated faith-based film-makers Alex and Stephen Kendrick as well as FamilyLife Today’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Bob Lepine. You’ll leave encouraged and equipped with powerful next steps to make Christ the center of YOUR parenting.

LIKE ARROWS will be in theaters for two nights only, MAY 1ST and 3RD. To view the trailer and find theater info, visit the link below. If you missed the movie in theatres be sure to check out the Digital, DVD and Blueray versions on the website, LikeArrowsMovie.com

Visit here to learn more.


 

Here’s a clip of a performance from Seth’s time at Cecil College in Rising Sun, MD. (Seth on guitar.) Clip courtesy of Cecil College.

 

 

After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College

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Handling Depression in Teens, Interview with Natalie Mack

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Handling Depression in Teens with Natalie Mack.

Handling Depression in Teens, Interview with Natalie Mack

Handling Depression in Teens, Interview with Natalie Mack

As homeschooling parents, we wear many hats and play multiple roles in our children’s lives. One such navigator of life is military wife, homeschooling mom, and business owner, our Cousin Natalie Mack. Natalie talks about the importance of being aware of the unique challenges our teens may face, especially when it comes to mental health. She and Vicki also discuss the impact of military life on teens as well as how to support them in prevention of and in response to handling depression in teens.

About Natalie Mack

Natalie, a retired Navy chaplain spouse, has been adjusting to this new phase of life recently. Four of her five children have graduated from college, and now all that’s left is their 10th grader to homeschool. 

But throughout the homeschooling years, this military family has been serving their country. This often required moving at the drop of a hat, so Natalie is used to adapting to new challenges, or big changes, of life.

Alongside homeschooling, she runs a consulting and mentoring business called Natalie Mack, where she focuses on military homeschooling. She also works with HSLDA as the military community outreach coordinator. As you can see, she wears many hats, just like all homeschool moms do!

Military Life and Teen Adjustment

Military families serve their country as a unit, and the adjustments required during frequent moves can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging for everyone involved. While some children may embrace change with excitement, others might struggle with the constant adjustments. 

Military kids do not always have a choice in these moves, which can lead to bouts of depression or difficulty adjusting. As homeschooling parents, we have the advantage of spending more time with our teens, allowing us to identify potential signs of depressive episodes or adjustment difficulties.

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Teen Depression

Be vigilant in observing any changes in your teenagers’ behavior. Depression in teens may manifest as:

  • increased isolation
  • lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • excessive sleep
  • irritability
  • bouts of anger.

It is crucial to differentiate between normal teenage development and signs of depression.

The winter months, particularly in certain regions, can bring about a condition known as winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Teens, in particular, may feel the effects of SAD more intensely due to their hormonal changes. 

The lack of sunlight during this time can affect our teens’ optic nerves, impacting their emotional well-being. Symptoms of SAD can range from:

  • feeling down and lethargic
  • to experiencing difficulty concentrating and sleeping excessively. 

In order to help them, teach them some coping skills for teenage depression can help, for instance:

  • light therapy and
  • increased outdoor activity are important interventions to consider.
  • If you notice a persistent pattern of negative behavior or a decline in their overall well-being, seeking professional help from a pediatrician or mental health counselor is advisable.

Practical Tips for Supporting Teens

So, what can we do to help our teens during these challenging times? We use coping skills for teenage depression. First and foremost, it’s essential to rule out any underlying biological factors by consulting with a pediatrician or family doctor. Sometimes, physiological issues like anemia or thyroid imbalances can mimic depressive symptoms. 

Once we have ruled out any medical concerns, we can explore therapeutic options. Many teens find counseling to be beneficial and even trendy. It provides a safe space for them to express their feelings and work through any challenges they may be facing.

Because we homeschool and are with them all day, we have the opportunity to model healthy habits for our teens. Encouraging them to spend time outdoors, engage in physical activities, and maintain a balanced diet can make a significant difference. Nature has a calming effect on our minds, and even a short walk can help activate our brain’s healing centers. 

Practicing gratitude and finding moments of laughter can boost serotonin levels and promote a positive outlook. Look for ways to add this into your everyday conversations with them and, if necessary, go look for your teen just to spend some quality time with them.

Sometimes regular "doses" of nature can help
teen's blues.

Coping Skills for Teenage Depression

Lastly, there is no shame or blame in dealing with depression. It is crucial to approach this topic with compassion and understanding and to create an environment free from shame or blame.

As parents, we may feel a sense of guilt or worry, but it’s essential to remember that seeking help is a positive step towards healing. Depression is a treatable condition, and with the right support, our teens can overcome it.

Avoid attributing their struggles to a lack of faith or personal failures. Instead, listen attentively, offer empathy, and reassure them that seeking help is a sign of strength. Encourage open dialogue, allowing your teen to express their thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Homeschooling provides a unique opportunity for teens to explore their interests and plan for the future. However, the uncertainty and pressure associated with decision-making can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. 

Engage in conversations surrounding their aspirations, provide resources, and offer guidance where needed. Starting fresh is a normal part of life, and your support can help alleviate any fears or doubts they may have.

Handling Depression in Teens with Natalie Mack

As homeschooling parents, we have the privilege of being intimately involved in our teens’ lives. By recognizing the unique challenges they face and using coping skills for teenage depression, we can better support their mental well-being. You are not alone in this journey, and together, we can create a nurturing environment where our teens can thrive.

Check out Natalie Mack’s Tedx Talk and other resources at her website.

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

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How to Schedule the Homeschool High School Year

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Schedule the Homeschool High School Year.

How to Schedule the Homeschool High School Year

How to Schedule the Homeschool High School Year

While it may sound boring, finding the right homeschool high school schedule is important.  The great thing is, there’s not just ONE right way to homeschool high school. 

Let’s explore the three basic ways for scheduling the high school year 

You might even develop your own unique schedule. However, it’s easy to start with one of these three scheduling styles.

Year-Round Approach

Let’s start with a year-round approach. Instead of cramming all academics into one part of the year, this method integrates learning into everyday life. 

Families following the year-round schedule have several different strategies:

  • Some families allocate three days a week to traditional academic work, such as core courses. Then they reserve the remaining two days for extracurricular activities or family field trips.
  • Other families prefer a five-day academic week with a full week off each quarter for bigger projects or travel. 

The year round approach allows for more frequent breaks throughout the year. Not only that, but taking breaks every few weeks instead of one long summer break, students can avoid burnout and maintain their motivation for learning.

However, it’s important to note that the year-round homeschooling approach may not be suitable for all families scheduling the high school year. Some students may struggle with the frequent breaks and require a more structured traditional schedule.

It’s also important to consider any state or local regulations regarding homeschooling schedules, as some areas may require a certain number of instructional days or specific breaks throughout the year.

The key is to find a balance that works for your family and allows for flexibility.

Block Scheduling

Now, let’s talk about block scheduling. This approach is perfect for teens who prefer to focus on one or two subjects at a time before moving on to the next. Instead of juggling multiple subjects each day, they can dedicate their time to completing an allotted amount of work, increasing their focus and productivity.

With block scheduling, you can divide the day into larger chunks of time for each subject or activity. For example, your teen could have a two-hour block for math in the morning, followed by a one-hour break before tackling their science work for two hours in the afternoon. 

The goal is to create a homeschool high school schedule that suits your teen’s learning style and keeps them engaged.

This method also allows for more flexibility in terms of how long it takes to complete a certain task. If your teen needs extra time to understand a concept or finish an assignment, they can use the designated block of time without feeling rushed or behind schedule.

Just remember that, when scheduling the high school year, aim for flexibility. Your schedule can always be adjusted as needed. 

Two Semester Year

Lastly, we have the traditional two-semester schedule, which is a common choice for many homeschooling families.

The two-semester year approach involves dividing the year into two blocks, or terms, of fifteen or eighteen weeks each. This method aligns well with college-bound or trade school-bound students who are familiar with semester blocks. 

You can also customize the length of your semesters based on your state requirements and your family’s needs. For instance, you may want to consider trimesters or quarters if that suits your family’s needs better. 

The advantage of this homeschool high school schedule is the familiarity it provides and the ease of record-keeping for transcripts. It allows for a structured and organized approach to homeschooling high school. 

However, the two-semester year schedule may not work well for students who struggle with longer blocks of time or have difficulty staying focused for extended periods. In these cases, a shorter schedule with more frequent breaks may be more beneficial.

It is important to find a balance between structure and flexibility when it comes to scheduling the high school year. Some students thrive on routine and structure, while others may need more variety in their learning environment.

If you decide to use the two-semester year schedule, it is essential to plan ahead and set clear goals for each semester. This will help keep both parents and students on track and motivated throughout the school year.

You can also customize the length of your semesters based on your state requirements and your family’s needs.

For instance, you may want to consider trimesters or quarters if that suits your family’s needs better. 

There's not ONE right way to schedule the homeschool year.

Practical Tips for Implementing Your Chosen Schedule

Now that we have explored the three main options for scheduling the high school year, let’s dive into some practical tips for implementing your chosen homeschool high school schedule effectively! 

Get a Planner

When creating your schedule, it’s important to have a planner or calendar to keep track of all your commitments and activities. Start by marking down any field trips, family events, or major commitments that you know will be happening throughout the year. Then, determine which courses will be one-semester courses and assign them to either the fall or winter/spring semester. 

Incorporate Creative Education

Factor in creative education activities, such as holiday projects or special read alouds, which can be counted as educational days. Make sure to balance academics with enriching experiences.

Personalize Study Schedules

Sit down with your teen and discuss their preferred study schedule and time management. For courses that will be done at home, work with your teen to decide how many days a week and how much time they will dedicate to each subject, taking into consideration their learning style and individual goals.

Set SMART Goals

Regarding goals, this is a great opportunity for them to set goals and develop good time management skills. Encourage your teen to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) for themselves. This empowers them to work towards their aspirations and develop a sense of ownership over their education. (Download this free SMART goals worksheet for your teens.)

Scheduling the High School Year

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, no one-size-fits-all approach. The key is to find a homeschool high school schedule that works for your family’s unique needs and preferences. 

Whether you opt for a year round approach, block scheduling, or the two-semester year, the goal is to create a balanced and engaging learning environment. Give yourself permission to explore, be creative, and mix and match different scheduling methods until you find what works best for your family. 

If you ever need guidance or support, don’t hesitate to reach out to the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook community. We are all in this together, and together we can create an amazing homeschooling experience for our high schoolers!

And a special thanks to Seth Tillman for editing and to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post.

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Why High Schoolers Need to Write Research Papers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Why High Schoolers Need to Write Research Papers.

Why High Schoolers Need to Write Research Papers

Why High Schoolers Need to Write Research Papers

Let’s talk about the often dreaded task of writing research papers in homeschooling. Is this topic taboo in your household?

We understand that while some students may enjoy the process, many find it challenging and overwhelming. However, there are several benefits of writing research papers, such as:

  • developing critical thinking skills
  • character development and
  • preparing students for future endeavors

It is one of those things we need to embrace, imperfections and all, so let’s dive talk about it.

The Benefits of Writing Research Papers

First of all, there are academic benefits from writing research papers:

  • learning about a specific topic in-depth
  • practicing following styles like
    • APA
    • MLA or
    • Chicago

Seeking Outside Help

Sometimes, parents may not feel equipped to teach research paper writing, or the dynamics between parents and students may become tense during the process. In such cases, it is perfectly acceptable to seek outside help. 

We encourage homeschoolers to connect with experienced writing teachers who can provide the necessary guidance and support. There are many options these days:

There is no shame in admitting that writing is not your strong suit. We all have different strengths and weaknesses as homeschooling parents. The important thing is to find support and guidance in the areas where we need it. 

When we acknowledge our limitations and give ourselves permission to seek assistance, we empower ourselves and our homeschool high schoolers. Then, they can excel in areas where we may not feel confident.

Why Are Research Papers Important?

Research paper writing is not just about academic skills. It’s also about character development and critical thinking. In today’s information-rich world, we have access to an overwhelming amount of information, where facts and opinions are readily available at our fingertips. 

Our teens have grown up in this information-saturated environment, but not all information is reliable or accurate. That is where research papers come in. They teach our teens how to evaluate the information they find. 

It is like learning to sift through the Niagara Falls of information and discern what is trustworthy and what’s not. 

Filtering Information and Broadening Perspectives

By writing research papers, our teens develop strong critical thinking skills and learn to navigate the vast sea of information available to them. They learn to filter out misleading or biased sources and recognize different perspectives on a topic. 

This broadens their understanding, fosters open-mindedness, and equips them to interact with diverse ideas and people. These skills extend beyond the research paper and find relevance in everyday life. As they grow into adulthood, they will be better equipped for

  • analyzing news articles
  • evaluating online information or
  • engaging in meaningful discussions.

Research papers offer an ideal platform for honing these skills, which are essential for their future, whether they are headed to college, the workforce, or any other path. 

Builds Perseverance

Plus, research paper writing also builds perseverance. This comes from the process as it requires multiple drafts and revisions. 

Writing a research paper is not a one-and-done task. It takes time to do careful research, evaluation, and synthesis of information to create a coherent and well-structured paper.

If you or your teen feel inexperienced or under-experienced in writing research papers, do not worry! 7Sisters has you covered in the realm of research paper writing! We offer research paper writing guides for:

These guides are affordable and designed to be user-friendly, with step-by-step instructions and different syllabus options to fit your schedule.

Overcoming obstacles and completing a research paper teaches our teens that they can do hard things. It is a valuable life lesson that will serve them well in any endeavor they pursue. 

Life Preparation

While some students may argue that they will never need to write a research paper outside of homeschooling, the skills they acquire during the process are invaluable. 

The ability to think critically, evaluate information, and communicate effectively will serve them well, regardless of their chosen path. These skills are transferable to various situations, such as:

  • verbal communication
  • online discussions or
  • even job interviews. 

Writing research papers helps to equip students for a future that demands strong analytical thinking and effective communication.

Research Papers

As you go on the research paper writing journey, remember that it is not just an academic exercise but a preparation for life, shaping your teen’s thinking and enriching them as individuals. 

Join Sabrina and Kym for this helpful discussion.

For more help on research papers, check out these posts:

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

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How to Get Teens Interested in Writing

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Get Teens Interesting in Writing.

How to Get Teens Interested in Writing

How to Get Teens Interested in Writing

We all know that not every teen loves writing. Some find it boring or just do not see the point. Other high schoolers struggle with the writing process, so they want to avoid it. But the truth is, writing is a skill that they will need in life, whether it’s for school, work, or personal communication.

The teens who do not naturally love to write need inspiration and short writing assignments to build their skills and confidence. When you can give them fun or useful writing assignments, reluctant writers often find that they do not mind writing after all!

So let’s explore some ways to get teens interested in writing and make it more enjoyable for reluctant teens.

Create An Experiential Resume

One practical way to get teens to enjoy writing is by helping them create an experiential resume. This type of resume focuses on their non-paid experiences, such as service work, competitions, or community activities. 

It’s a great way for teens to showcase their skills and interests without relying solely on traditional job experience. When teens see their completed experiential resume, they tend to feel more confident. It is a great way to get them interested in writing!

For help with the experiential resume, 7Sisters has a short, no-busywork, downloadable guide for teens.

Write Cover Letters 

Another useful writing project for teens is learning how to write a cover letter. These letters are essential when applying for jobs or internships, and having a template or guide can make the process much easier for teens. 

7Sisters has a simple, basic cover letter guide that can guide homeschool high schoolers through the process/

Practice Filling Out Job Applications

Filling out job applications is another form of writing that teens will encounter. While it may not be an essay, it is an opportunity for them to practice writing and persevere through the process.

Encourage your teens to complete job applications, whether on paper or online, and support them in developing this important writing skill.  These skills will come in handy for teens job hunting as they prepare to enter the workforce or pursue their own business endeavors.

As teens prepare for the real world, they will need specific short-form writing skills. The Professional Writing Bundle provides a comprehensive guide to writing business letters, complaint letters, organizational newsletters, product reviews, and more. 

These skills are valuable to get teens to enjoy writing and will come in handy by equipping them for success in various professional settings, like becoming entrepreneurs or working in a service industry, among other areas.

Do Fun Writing Projects

But writing does not have to be all serious and practical. It can also be fun! If your teen has not discovered the joy of writing yet, consider starting with simple and enjoyable writing projects, like silly poetry couplets or short stories. 

Get teens interested in writing by allowing them to be creative and playful with their writing, where they can discover the joy and satisfaction of expressing themselves through words. These activities help them develop essential writing skills without feeling overwhelmed:

  • Fun or Nostalgic Projects
    • Engaging teens in writing can be achieved by connecting their writing assignments to personal experiences. Encourage them to write family narratives (sharing funny or memorable stories from their family history). 
    • 7Sisters also a Creative Chronicling guide, a fun writing project not only helps homeschool high schoolers develop storytelling skills but also creates a meaningful keepsake.
    • Another creative and fun project is writing tall tales allows teens to unleash their creativity and imagination while practicing character development and dialogue.

Essays and Research Papers

Of course, it is also important for teens to develop their research and essay writing skills– even for reluctant writers. Essays and research papers are essential for developing critical thinking and communication skills because these types of writing help them clarify their thoughts and effectively communicate their ideas. 

While not all teens may be college-bound, these writing exercises help them refine their thought process, express themselves coherently, and learn to research and analyze information effectively. 

You can start teens out with a simple report by downloading our freebie on research papers for reluctant writers. 7Sisters also gives step-by-step guidance and short lessons in our APA research paper writing guide can help teens gain confidence in their ability to tackle these more complex writing tasks. 

Here are more tips for helping teens get their research papers done.

How To Get Teens Interested In Writing

Writing may not be every teen’s favorite activity, but when approaching it in practical and engaging ways, we can inspire them to discover the value and enjoyment of writing. Not every teenager will all of a sudden fall in love with writing when you do these tips, but it still helps get teens to enjoy writing a little bit more and develop the necessary skills and confidence to succeed throughout life.

Let’s encourage and support our teens on their writing journey, helping them unlock their potential and thrive in any future endeavors!

If you have any questions or want to hear about other parents’ experiences with getting their teens interested in writing, join the 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group. We’re all here to support and learn from each other.

And a special thanks to Seth Tillman for editing and to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post.

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Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course.

Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

For years, parents of homeschool high schoolers asked us for some Shakespeare materials. As you know 7Sisters curriculum is mostly homeschool and mostly fun- no busywork but good education.  Finally, Sabrina captured the Shakespeare work she has done with our local homeschoolers with a self-paced online course. It covers one semester of high school Shakespeare experiences.

Our goal is to help homeschool high schoolers experience Shakespeare the way he intended – as entertainment! Let’s dive into the details of this fun Shakespeare online course and share how it can transform the perception of Shakespeare.

Breaking the Shakespeare Stereotype

Do you remember your high school days when studying a Shakespeare play felt like a chore? It’s time to leave those cringy and boring experiences behind. We understand the struggle all too well.

Here’s the thing: we have found a way to make Shakespeare fun and enjoyable for our own kids! And now, we want to share that experience with all of you!

Shakespeare was an entertainer, writing for both the educated upper classes and the common people. His plays are filled with universal themes and relatable characters. 

Once you start approaching his plays with the intention of being entertained and connecting with the characters, you will be blown away by the power of his stories! His works explore universal themes and relatable characters that transcend time and place.

It’s a new perspective on Shakespeare that changes everything. 

So, that’s exactly what we share with teens in this Shakespeare online course. It’s a one-semester course where they will explore four plays: two tragedies, two comedies. Not only that, we even dive into some Shakespearean sonnets. Our aim is not to turn teens into Shakespeare experts, but to help them appreciate and enjoy Shakespeare’s work.

The Course Structure

This self-paced online Shakespeare course is designed to make learning enjoyable and stress-free. The course is hosted on the Teachable platform, which provides a user-friendly interface for seamless navigation. Once you create a free account, you can easily purchase the course and access the sixteen individual lessons. Each lesson includes a video where Sabrina shares her insights and thoughts on the week’s topic.

Study Guides and Homework

There is a bundle of Shakespeare study guides as the framework to accompany the online course lessons. (We also offer them as individual guides for specific plays like:

These guides provide Shakespeare education with analysis, vocabulary exercises, and summaries of the plays. Homework assignments are based on the study guides, allowing students to engage more deeply with the material, and they include recommended performances to watch.

Parents can easily grade their teens’ work using the included answer keys, and there is also a chance for students to write responses to prompts that explore the universal themes in the plays.

The Magic of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

In addition to the plays, the course also includes two weeks dedicated to Shakespeare’s sonnets. These beautiful poems offer a different perspective on his writing style and allow students to explore the power of language and emotions. 

By analyzing and discussing select sonnets, teens can unlock the beauty and depth of Shakespeare’s poetry.

Shakespeare Education: Engaging with Shakespeare’s Plays

One of the key aspects of our online Shakespeare course is watching performances of the plays. You will receive high-quality recommended productions available for free on YouTube, ensuring that accessibility is not a barrier for your kids to get their Shakespeare education.

After watching the plays, students are encouraged to discuss and answer questions related to the characters, themes, and their personal connections. This interactive approach helps teens develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for Shakespeare’s work.

Lifetime Access and Co-op Opportunities

We believe in the importance of sharing resources within families and homeschool communities, so here’s the best part: once you purchase our Shakespeare online course, you’ll have lifetime access to it, meaning younger siblings can benefit from it in the future. Just like our ebook curriculum, we want you to be able to use it with multiple children or even share Shakespeare within your homeschool co-op

Speaking of co-ops, if you’re interested in doing the course with your co-op, reach out to us at info@sevensistershomeschool.com, and we’ll work out a generous discount for you to ensure everyone can participate without violating copyright.

Free Download: Expressions that Shakespeare Gave Us

As a fun teaser, we have a freebie on our website that explores expressions coined by Shakespeare called Expressions that Shakespeare Gave Us. It’s a fun download that introduces you to some of Shakespeare’s famous quotes. 

You will be surprised to discover how many common phrases actually originated from his works. It’s a great way to get started and realize just how much Shakespeare has influenced our language.

Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

Don’t let past experiences or preconceived notions deter you from exploring the magic of Shakespeare with your children. With passion and expertise, our self-paced online Shakespeare course offers an engaging and enjoyable journey that your teens will not only appreciate but also connect with the characters and themes on a personal level. 

Embrace the opportunity for your kids to experience the joy and entertainment that Shakespeare intended, and let us guide you through this remarkable literary adventure!

If you have any questions or need further information, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to support you in your homeschooling journey. We value our 7Sisters Siblings community and love seeing it grow!

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!

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