Search Results for: academics

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School.

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

As a parent of a high schooler, there are lots of questions that come to mind. And we are going to answer many of those questions that have been raised, particularly by homeschool high school parents and particularly those looking toward the finish line near graduation and after graduation. Here are our best answers to the questions about balancing academics and fun in homeschool high school!

How do you balance the academic rigors of a good solid high school experience with the wonderfulness of homeschooling?

Many moms want to know how to get all the things that need to be on the transcript done. They want to get:

And that is understandable because there are so many things to get on a transcript!

So, homeschool high school moms are wondering how to get that done.

On the other hand, you want our teens to still enjoy the fun that is supposed to go along with it with homeschooling. You might be wondering about balancing academics and fun in homeschool high school with everything else that is going on.

We have all been through this with our kids. There is a world of things to explore and there are so many cool things to do out there. However, there are these serious academics teens have to accomplish. After all they eventually must either be employed, go to college, or be in the military. And each of these destinations want a transcript.

So, here are some tips on a healthy balancing act

First, you need to know that you’ve got this…and you will not have a perfect homeschool. No one gets to perfection but homeschooling high school can be the best years yet!

Have Goals

Know what you want your kids to experience and accomplish by the time they walk across that stage or the backyard and flip the tassel. Think about what kind of experiences (educationally and otherwise) you want them to have. 

If you keep that in mind, you can weed out some of the things that would be “kind of” good but not necessary for those goals. For example, one goal could be to concentrate on enough math to get them into college but not waste any extra time on unnecessary math course. For instance, if your teens are aiming for History or Humanities majors, they probably do not need to take Calculus in high school.

Check out 7Sisters’ authoritative guide to planning homeschool high school for more help with goals.

Only Choose Core Courses That Meet Their Needs

It could be a fun experience doing all the co-op classes and anything else that is a transcript enrichment focus. However, be sure you are actually choosing the core courses that advance their goals. This prevents wasting valuable time on doing academics that do not advance those goals. 

This way, your teens end up with more time to do the fun stuff. It can be challenging to figure out how to fit it all in, but the idea is that we should not try to fit in the things that are only mildly interesting. For instance, try to only add the interests that can also be interesting beyond high school. Trying to do it all is a recipe for some kind of overwhelming stress at the very least.

Trying to do it all is a recipe for some kind of overwhelming stress at the very least.

Debunk Myths

Are you worried that your teens will not be accepted into college if all their high school courses are not honors level? Good news: It is not true that a transcript with all honors credits is going to beat out another transcript of a student who has leaned into the subject areas for their major. 

This is artificial competition. So, do not allow artificial competition to rule their worlds. Homeschooling high school is more than an awesome transcript. So show their interest development, extracurriculars and volunteerism for a powerful and well-rounded transcript with Honors courses where appropriate. (More on how to choose course levels in this post.)

One caveat, teens who are looking at highly competitive colleges must aim for a more competitive high school experience. Here are two Homeschool Highschool Podcast interviews with teens who aimed for those intense colleges:

There Is More Than One Way To Learn Things

As you re well aware of by now, there is not just ONE way to earn credits!

Specifically, homeschooling does not mean forcing yourself to do the textbook framework or that textbook model for everything. For example:

  • If there is an online asynchronous or live course that would really benefit your teen go with that.
  • Or if there is a fun hands-on co-op course about a topic you teen needs, go with that! 
    • For instance: If your teen wants to study nursing in college, and they’re leaning into anatomy and physiology, go for it!

The beauty of homeschooling high school is the opportunity varied and interesting learning experiences. Do not buy into some goofy limitations that say high school should be primarily through textbooks. If you have not believed that up until high school, you certainly do not need to start convincing yourself of it in high school.  There are so many wonderful ways to learn.

However, textbooks are highly useful. Therefore, when if you are using a textbook, feel free to and take advantage of enrichment opportunities. Adapt textbooks to your needs…or use texts from publishers that are creating adaptable homeschool high school curriculum, like 7SistersHomeschool!

What do you mean by adaptable? What do you mean by levels?

First of all, if you do not understand what we are talking about with levels of credits on a transcript, check out this post that explains choosing course levels.

What we mean when we say that we have created our curriculum at 7 Sisters to be “adaptable” is that we not only allow you to but we encourage you to make our curriculum fit your needs in your homeschool. For example, if you have a teen starting a subject at college prep level, but then discover as the year goes on that it is actually a really difficult subject, it is okay to roll it back to average level.

7Sisters curriculum includes instructions for adjusting levels to meet various teens’ needs. You can easily level up if you find that your teen is breezing through it or easy back if necessary.

I feel there is only one chance to get it right

Academics in high school can feel overwhelming. It can be too easy sometimes to feel like you only have one chance to get it right and you cannot leave any holes. However, if that little voice in your head says that, smack that little voice right upside the head because there are always holes in education! 

That is why we are lifelong learners. There is always something more to learn and teens will have a lifetime to do so. So, take some time for fun.

How do I find other homeschool families and connect with other people?

We know – not all co-ops are created equal. Some are not a positive experience, unfortunately. There are a few ways to find other homeschool families to have good experiences with.

  • Your local homeschool organization, state organization or a regional local organization.
  • Show up in a meeting and get involved.
  • You might have homeschoolers at your church, so just ask around at your church. 
  • Public libraries. Homeschoolers flock to public libraries. Ask around at your library or ask your favorite librarian about homeschool groups
  • Talk to one of your adult siblings into homeschooling their kids too so that you could co-op together. 
  • Go to homeschool fairs and events in your area to sign up to and participate in. 
  • Search social media using specific hashtags to find like-minded people and more information about online classes and groups, book clubs, science lab groups, and more in a virtual setting. (For instance, check out the classes our Cousins offer at Collegiate Learning and Spanish Online Curriculum.
  • Go on field trips and get to know the other families there too.

How do we help our kids find a real job after high school?

First, let’s start by defining “real job” because the world is radically different than it was back when you were graduating high school. 

In the past, high school graduates simply needed a job was where they made enough money to have a roommate and get a simple apartment. But it is not the same world. Economically, the world is very different. Housing and transportation costs have changed. Plus there are new, necessary expenses like cell phones and internet.

So, talk with your teens about what a real job means and help them set realistic expectations. Tell them a real job is one:

  • that has room for you to grow
  • and that requires skill as well as continually acquiring new skills
  • as well as opportunities for advancement and/or increased wages
  • that your teen can be proud of and interested in

God did not design only some jobs that matter. 

There are tons of jobs available that your teens probably do not know anything about. Be sure to encourage them to explore careers that are interesting to them and to learn more about them. 

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

When it comes to high school, there are a lot of different things that you need to take into account  when balancing homeschool and fun. You want to make sure that your teen is getting a good education but also having some fun. This can be a tricky balance to strike but it is important. There are plenty of ways that you can have both academics and fun in homeschool high school. It just takes some planning and effort. 

Join us for a discussion on balance!

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Kindergarten Skills for Academics

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Kindergarten Skills for Academics with the Brain CoachUnderlying developmental building blocks are necessary for a kindergarten child to be ready for more formal academics.  From Little Giant Steps’ perspective, kindergarten is the culmination of effective development in six areas.   When there are gaps in one or more areas of development, children can suffer from a myriad of learning challenges and even learning labels like ADD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, CAPD and many others.  Most people try to fix these inefficiencies with curriculum when in fact, curriculum is designed to advance an individual that already has efficient brain development.

The six areas of development (tactility, auditory, visual, manual, language, and mobility) that are the foundation to function are expanded this week.  The precise activities, described this week, can produce better function.

Not only is proper development necessary but the chemistry of our body has to be considered as well.  You can receive a free metabolic consultation after submitting your request.  See details for this and other savings in the handout. Read More!

Education Methods: Unschooling and Delayed Academics

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

unschooling-and-delayed-bodyEducation Methods: Unschooling and Delayed Academics

Podcast #11

In this episode,  Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn discusses Unschooling and Delayed Academics approaches to homeschooling.

Please join us as we travel along this journey on our podcast adventure. Let’s get connected! Learn more about the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and homeschooling in the beautiful state of Florida. If you are interested in homeschooling our convention is every year in May during Memorial Day weekend.

Please visit www.fpea.com to learn more about who we are!

FPEA Logo

Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

Job Hunting Skills for Homeschool High Schoolers

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

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

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

#1 Develop an experiential resume

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

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

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

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

#2 Develop a cover letter

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

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

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

#4 Make a list

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

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

#5 Make the ask

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

#6 Look for help wanted signs

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

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

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

#8 Work on interview skills.

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

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

#9 Got the job!

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

This builds the resume for the next job!

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

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

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

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Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

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

About Sue Sobczak

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

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

Embrace Individuality

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

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

You Won’t Mess Up Your Kids

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

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

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

Character Development

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

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

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

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

Prepare for the Future

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

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

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

Have a Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

Take It One Year at a Time

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

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

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

Advice For New Homeschool Moms With Sue Sobczak

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

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

Connect With Sue

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

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

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

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

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

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

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

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Natalie about homeschooling high school:

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

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

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

Trust the process

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

Take time to enjoy your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens

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

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

There will be bad days when no schooling gets done

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

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

Join a support group

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

Remember lots of prayer

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

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

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

AND check out Natalie’s Ted Talk about homeschooling!

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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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  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
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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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Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling.

Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

You know it if you have one: an overachiever. Some homeschooling high schoolers cannot stop! While being an achiever is a good thing, teens who cannot find the place where enough is enough are in danger of burnout or anxiety issues.

While not all teens are overachievers, it is important to address the concerns of parents who notice their capable teens heading towards burnout. Let’s dive into the topic of helping our overachieving teens find balance in homeschooling.

Understanding Overachieving Teens

Overachieving teens, especially in the homeschool community, value accomplishments. So they engage in numerous academic and extracurricular endeavors. These teens do not necessarily  they love everything they do. Rather, they think they need to do these things in order to get to the next place in life as successfully as possible.

Whether they engage in NCAA-type athletics, academics, or arts, these teens tirelessly build impressive transcripts. They are aiming for competitive colleges. Whether driven by the desire for a full-ride scholarship or a competitive transcript, these teens can be at risk of hitting a wall halfway through junior or senior year. 

Anxiety, burnout, and panic attacks may become issues if we do not address overachievers’ need for balance. Here are some ways you can help.

Setting Realistic Expectations

As a parent, it is crucial to sit down with your teen and reflect on the expectations you may have unintentionally conveyed. Discuss whether a full-ride scholarship to an Ivy League school is the only path to success. Help your overachieving teen understand that there are other colleges and career paths that can lead to fulfilling lives. Not every teen needs to attend an Ivy League school or obtain a full ride scholarship. 

Realistic expectations can alleviate the pressure and allow teens to pursue a healthy balance in homeschooling between academics and personal well-being. 

Be honest and clear on your part on what your expectations are, and then let them say what their expectations are. Then, talk about how realistic these expectations are, really! See if they can be reeled in to find a healthy level of lifestyle and achievement.

Clarify Their Goals

Encourage teens to clarify their ultimate goals for college and beyond. Does their career path require an Ivy League degree? Many fulfilling careers do not.

Also, it is crucial to understand that not every excellent student secures a full-ride scholarship. Accepting this realization (knowing some things will be out of their control- including scholarships) can alleviate undue pressure on overachievers. 

Happiness is often a common goal for teens, but what does happiness mean to them? Research suggests that individuals who contribute to the greater good tend to experience greater happiness. Sometimes, overachievers who are stuck in all-day academics feel better and more balanced with they add service projects to their schedules.

Discuss the importance of finding meaning and purpose in their pursuits, whether through their career or personal hobbies.

Also, it is wise engage in financial literacy discussions to help them understand their future needs and goals. Incorporating financial literacy, into goal-setting discussions can guide teens in aligning their career aspirations with realistic financial goals. Tools like the Career One Stop website can provide valuable insights into salary expectations and suitable career paths.

Exploring Career Options

To avoid burnout, it is wise to guide your teen in exploring realistic career options which can help support their overall goal. Incorporate Career Exploration, including researching different careers and their corresponding salaries to help them set achievable goals. 

Visit college campuses, attend college tours, and look for scholarships that align with their career aspirations. By doing so, you can help your teen understand the possibilities and make informed decisions without overwhelming themselves.

3Ws Self-awareness page freebie from Vicki Tillman Coaching

Download this 3Ws Self-awareness page freebie from Vicki Tillman Coaching

Building Self Awareness and Time Management

Teach your overachieving teen the importance of effective time management. Conduct a time audit to help them visualize how they spend their time. Encouraging teens to perform a time audit can reveal imbalances in their daily routines. 

Often, overachievers focus heavily on academics while neglecting self-care, socializing, and sleep. Overemphasis on academics at the cost of social interaction or adequate sleep is a recipe for long-term issues.

Encourage them to strike a balance in homeschooling by making adjustments to their schedules. Ensure they are getting enough sleep, engaging in social activities, and taking care of their physical and mental well-being.

Educational resources like the 7Sisters health curriculum can help teens understand the importance of sleep and overall wellness, fostering a more holistic approach to their activities.

Learning From Leadership

In cases where teens are involved in extracurriculars with strong leadership, like sports, it is wise to discern the healthy and potentially harmful influences these figures may have on them. Sometimes you have wonderful role models of coaches, but sometimes they are a little quirky in their personalities. So you need to look into their leadership more to see what kinds of things they are learning from this coach and if they are healthy. 

Developing Self-Awareness

Help your teen develop self-awareness by asking them to reflect on their emotions and actions. Encourage them to journal or have conversations about how they feel, why they feel that way, and what actions they can take to address those feelings. 

Fostering self-awareness can help them make healthier choices and prevent burnout. They can look at the log over time to see where a lot of their time has gone. This can help them visually see where their time is going.

Teaching teens the “three Ws” – What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this? What am I going to do about it? – aids in developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Applying these questions to themselves and others fosters empathy and realistic goal setting. (Here’s a freebie 3Ws journal from Vicki’s life coaching website.)

Sometimes overachieving teens have a strong-willed streak. Here’s a post to help.

Supporting Friendships and Relationships

Recognize the importance of friendships and relationships in your teen’s life. We recommend that overachieving teens spend quality time with friends regularly. This social interaction is vital for their emotional and mental health. Encourage them to spend quality time with friends and engage in activities outside their academic pursuits. 

If you need to make an assignment to socialize with their friends, then make it an assignment. There is nothing wrong with giving them a homework assignment of spending at least some time every week in person in real life with some friends.

Sometimes it is just necessary to have friendships in a digital format, but they need that friend time.

Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling

Finding balance in homeschooling is essential for overachieving teens to avoid burnout and lead fulfilling lives. We want our teens to be healthy and productive people that, in the long run, glorify God by their personalities and their choices and behaviors. 

If you are the parent of an overachiever and need some other ideas, one of the coolest places to discuss things is at the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook Group.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post.

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
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  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
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  6. Thanks!

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GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it!

GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it!

 

Are you wondering about the complex and stressful GPA for your child’s homeschool transcript? Well, fear not! There are effective strategies and resources available to help you navigate the intricacies of calculating GPA on a homeschool transcript. With a little help, you can ensure that your homeschool high schoolers’ academic achievements are accurately reflected.

To help you along, here are a few insights about GPAs, along with practical tools you can use to figure them out!

There’s Not ONE Right Way To Handle GPAs

Even though some families are lucky enough to be in an umbrella school or a charter school that does the GPA figuring, even in those situations, moms may still want to use a different method of choosing the GPAs. That’s okay.

The thing is, there is no right way or wrong way to do GPAs. If your child is college-bound, you will most likely need to include GPA on the transcript. However, non-college bound teens do not necessarily need GPA (unless they are going to a trade school that requires it). 

Understanding GPAs

The GPA is a way of summarizing, academically, what your teen has done successfully (or not) in their homeschool journey thus far. It is like a second eyeball on how well your child is doing overall in his or her courses. You can quickly figure out an overall GPA at the end of each of their high school years- or wait until senior year.

We 7Sisters, at the end of each year, we calculate the GPA for that year. For example, at the end of freshman year, we will figure out that year’s GPA. Then we will update it each year. Therefore, at the end of sophomore year, it will be the GPA for freshmen and sophomore year, and so on.

One pro about handling the GPA in this way is that your teen gets to see how much progress they have made. This is especially nice if your teen (or mom) has a little bit of a rugged start to their freshman year. Seeing their GPA go up year after year gives many teens a sense of accomplishment.

On the other hand, you may simply wait for senior year. That is okay in many circumstances.

Sample homeschool transcript

Here’s an example of a homeschool transcript.

 

Decide How Often You Want To Calculate The GPA

You need to decide – and stick to – how often you calculate your homeschool high schooler’s GPA by choosing one of the examples above. 

BTW- Sometimes once your teens have applied to college, different colleges may want a mid-senior year GPA update. 

Decide To Have A Weighted Or Not Weighted GPA

The next thing you need to decide is whether or not to have a weighted GPA. Some courses in some schools are weighted, so if you have a teen taking an AP course one of those schools instead of getting an 4.0 for an A grade, they might get a 4.5. This means they get more weight on a higher-powered course.

However, you do not have to have weighted GPAs in the courses in order to have your teens standout on college applications. That is because colleges use special algorithms when evaluating submission applications of the students. Colleges will not compare apples to oranges – or unweighted courses of students against weighted courses of other students. Instead, colleges have a way using their algorithm to unweight the weighted courses in order to make fair comparisons.

If you do not want to have weighted GPAs, that’s perfectly okay. (We 7Sisters and our umbrella school did not weight grades- and we have helped hundreds of teens get into the colleges of their choice). So, for our homeschool high schoolers, an A was a 4. 0. 

Also, if you want your teens to receive an academic scholarship, deciding to weight or not weight courses will not affect their chances. It did not hurt our teens nor any of the ones that we have advised over the years. 

Ultimately, it is completely up to you whether you decide to have weighted GPAs or not.

Remember: There’s no standardized anything in transcripts or education. You just do the clearest and best job that you can, and trust God through the process.

The GPA is a way of summarizing your teen's academics.

Calculating the GPA: Decide What The Lowest Passing Grade Will Be

One of the things you will need to do in calculating the GPA is to decide what is the lowest passing grade that a course can have for transcript.

For our 7Sisters’ high schoolers, our lowest was underneath a C. (Sometimes, if our teens got this grade, we had our teens retake the course until they had mastery… because in homeschooling we are more after mastery than we are GPA.) 

In many traditional schools, a D is the lowest passing grade. Unfortunately, for teens aiming to go to a competitive college, a D on the transcript is not going to work very well for them. Even if they passed the course, it will not give them any kind of benefit in a competitive situation. Instead, it will work against them. 

NOTE: On transcripts, you should include is a key that’s on the transcript, a legend like on a map, that shows how grades are assigned. 

7Sisters Homeschool has an editable PDF transcript that you can download and use yourself and fill in the legend yourself. 

Calculating the GPAs: Determine What Percentage Will Be Assigned To Each Letter Grade

Now that we have discussed the theories and understanding of GPAs, let’s talk about actually figuring them out. For your courses, determine what percentages are going to be assigned to each letter, such as A, B, and C. 

For instance, we know that a 100 on a test would mean an A, and that is easy to figure out. But you will also want to know what the lowest A would be, because every school has a different determination on what the low end and high end of each grade letter is. 

In our case, with 7Sisters students:

  • The lowest A would be a 92 or a 93
  • The lowest B might be an 82 or an 83
  • The lowest. C might be a 72 or 73

It’s a very simple way to calculate the grades and the GPA if you just have A’s and B’s and C’s.

However, many traditional schools get very complex by having  A’s and A minuses and B’s pluses and B’s and B minuses and C pluses and C’s and C minuses. You can do this too, if you want to, because there’s not one right way.

For instance, you might say that:

  • the lowest A might be a 93 but
  • an A minus might be a 90 and
  • the B+ might be an 87, a
  • regular B might be an 83
  • and the lowest B be an 80,
  • and so on down through the letters.

Caution: Don’t do this randomly or change the way you do it halfway through the semester. Once you decide the way you’ll calculate the grades and GPA, be sure to stick with it to make things easier on yourself. Put that in your course description up front or in your syllabus so that you have something to back up in your records.

This way, when you have to fill out the guidance counselor part of the college application, you will know what your teen will be using for colleges, and you will be able to really quickly explain how you assign grades in your homeschool. (BTW- you can find tips for the Common Application, including the guidance counselor portion, in this post from our friend at BJ’s Homeschool.)

MORE Calculating the GPAs: Assign the Overall Percentage and Grade Points Of A Class

At the end of a semester and again at the end of the year, you will assign course grades. This might be an accumulation of tests, papers and course work (but we also included attitude as well- similar to class-participation grade).

Once you have the overall grade, you will take that average and assign it a grade point. For instance:

  • A = 4 (92 to 100)
  • B = 3 (82 or 92)
  • C = 2 (73 to 82) 

If you are doing the complex one, you can break that down further this way, for instance: 

  • A minus might be a 3.6
  • B plus might be a 3 4
  • B might be 3.2
  • B minus might be a 3.0. 

You can get as complex as you want as long as you keep how you are grading stated within your course descriptions or your syllabus so that you have a record for it. This grading system will also be included in the legend on your transcript. 

GPA and transcripts! You can do this!

Assign Grade Points To Courses

Once you have decided the grade points, decide which courses are going to get those grade points.

You do not have to give a grade point to every single course you could. In our case, we just gave a grade point to the core courses because that showed the guts of their academics and the things that they would mostly be facing in their first couple of years in college, the general education courses.

Core courses usually include:

  • English/Language Arts
  • Math,
  • Social Studies
  • Sciences
  • World Languages

These are courses that would receive a grade point because they are the core courses. The remainder of the courses are considered to be electives. We did not include these in the GAP. However, some families choose to give everything a grade point, including all the electives. Do what is best for your family.  

Get the Grade Point Average

Each core course, for us, gets an assigned grade point, and to keep up with this, you can create a spreadsheet. Add those grade points up, just old-fashioned math, and then divide it by the number of courses in order to get the grade point average.

For instance, if you had five courses such as language arts, math, social studies, science, and world language, you would add up all of the five grade points. Once you add those up, divide by five, and that would give you the average GPA, or grade point average. This grade point average is what goes on the transcript.

As mentioned, some of the transcript services automatically calculate the GPA based on the courses added. If you use a transcript service like this, you don’t have to do the math yourself. And if you want to add more courses in there, like electives, especially if those are really powerful for your teen and you really want to show those off, you can throw those in the GPA too. 

GPA on Homeschool Transcript

As you can see, there is no right way to do this!

Once you have all this together, what happens is then you have a nice GPA that goes on the transcript in the way that’s best for you and your teens. And when they go to apply for college, they have something that is understandable to the colleges they’re applying to. 

This accumulation of grades and averages inspires your teen also because they see how hard they have worked and a literal progression of that hard work. It ends up being a huge motivator!

If you want to access a GPA calculator, you can do that here.

More Resources for transcripts and GPAs

GPA and transcripts! You can do this!

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

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!

OR PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*
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