How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

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

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What works for parents?

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

What are your constraints?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are three basic ways to earn a credit:

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

There's not ONE right kind of curriculum!

Then break your four year goals into yearly goals

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

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

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

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

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

Choose your curriculum with these in mind:

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

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

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

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

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How to Choose Curriculum for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

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

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

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

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

Why study Shakespeare in homeschool high school?

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

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

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

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

How do 7Sisters Shakespeare Study Guides work?

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

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

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

Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter?

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

Why did Sabrina choose those particular plays?

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

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

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

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

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How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson.

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HighSchoolInternships #InternschipsForHighSchoolCredit #SherriSeligson #HomeschoolHighSchool

 

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson

When Vicki met Sherri Seligson a few years ago at the beloved 2:1 Conference for homeschool bloggers, she was so excited to find a new friend who is a scientist (Marine Biologist) AND s teacher about internships. It is a great combination!

Many of you are familiar with Sherri through her high school science texts for Apologia AND her marvelous teaching videos (you can check them out on her YouTube channel). BUT you may not be familiar with her guide for internships for homeschool high school.

Vicki asked Sherri to talk today about internships. Homeschool high schoolers are in unique positions to develop internships as Career Exploration and transcript building experiences, so check out this interview with Sherri.

Sherri started out her career as a marine biologist at Disney World. She loved her job but when she started having kids, she and her husband decided she needed a “promotion” to homeschooling mom! They have considered homeschooling their kids as a calling from God.

Sherri homeschooled her four children through graduation. They are grown now. One is doing cancer research and is a profession, one is a full-time musician, one is working on her Masters degree in Counseling, and the youngest is in the Air Force and getting his medical degree.

Sherri has also taught Science to homeschoolers for years. Her mission there is: Seeing God’s hand in creation. She has also written Apologia’s Marine Biology and General Science courses, along with their instructional videos.

Internships for homeschool high school

Sherri has authored an Internship curriculum. It got started when a son was looking at dual-enrollment courses at community college. He saw an internship course in the course catalogue, and felt inspired to find an internship on his own at a video production company. SO he dropped by, applied, interviewed on the spot and was accepted.

Sherri decided to capture his internship for homeschool high school transcript. She wanted to document his experience so she developed:

  • weekly questions for him to answer
  • interview questions for him to ask three coworkers (such as: If you could do this differently, what would you do to prepare themselves for this kind of work? What kind of college directions would they suggest?)
  • logged hours with time and what work he did
  • wrote reflections on business experience and practical skills he learned

On the transcript Sherri called the course: Executive Internship.

When her homeschool friends heard about the internship and the ways they documented it, they wanted tips on how they could create internships for their teens. Sherri put together a workbook to help them. This became her popular Internship Guide.

Want some internship tips from Sherri?

  • Give your teens guidance on health and safety.
  • Explore interests and passions with them.
  • Look for local businesses that use skills that align with these interests. For instance, if a teen is interested in fashion design, there probably are not many local internships available, but look around at things that use some of the skills of fashion: tailors, upholstery makers, etc.
  • Work on networking skills to find people who have those businesses (church, work, organizations).
  • Create an experiential resume. (7Sisters has a guide on how to do experiential resumes, btw.)
  • When they find an internship, create an agreement on expectations (including length of time of internship)
  • Teach them initiative so they find productive things to do (cleaning, tidying) if there is downtime on the job
  • Show a good attitude
  • Show good people skills
  • Dress appropriately and use good hygiene
  • Learn interview skills

Internships can be valuable for showing your teens what they do and do NOT want to do. -Sherri Seligson

One of the best things her son got out of that internship was that he did NOT want to go into the video production field. He could only have known that by being in that atmosphere. (He is her son who became a professional musician.)

  • Finding out what your teen DOESN’T want to do is valuable. Why waste four years of college on something they will hate? (It also saves LOTS of money on a wasted college education.)

Internships look great on a homeschool transcript. College admissions officers like to see internships because it shows initiative and the ability to stick with what they start.

Another benefit: sometimes internships can become paid internships.

For career-bound teens, sometimes internships open the door for career training or an actual job. When employers see a good intern, they sometimes want to keep them on afterwards.

Notes for parents:

  • It is okay to get to know the employer yourself. That way if something comes up, you already have that connection. Don’t helicopter, just be polite and familiar to the employers. Know that these adults are influential (hopefully for good).
  • With family businesses, count the educational and new things your teen is learning.
  • Volunteer opportunities can be internships, also. Here’s an episode on virtual volunteer opportunities from Homeschooling with Technology podcast.

Connect with Sherri Seligson at:

For more tips on internships, check out this post.

Join Vicki and Sherri for a practical discussion on internships for homeschool high schoolers.

 

Internships for Homeschool High School, Interview with Sherri Seligson

How to Create and Use a Syllabus for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Create and Use a Syllabus for Homeschool High School.

How to Create and Use a Syllabus for Homeschool High School

How to Create and Use a Syllabus for Homeschool High School

It’s the beginning of a new homeschool year and it’s time to get organized. One of the most helpful tools you can use to help your teens learn time and organizational skills is learning to use a syllabus.

  • Homeschool high schoolers who are headed for college need to be prepared with this skill, since most college classes will use a syllabus (sometimes called a “schedule” or other titles at college level).
  • Homeschool high schoolers who are not college bound will still benefit from learning to use a syllabus. Using a syllabus will help them learn to think and plan so they can be efficient and successful in the workplace.

SO what IS a syllabus?

Basically a syllabus is a chronological summary of a course that a student can use to guide the organization of their studies. This is so helpful because syllabi often include day-by-day assignments or weekly assignments so that a student understands exactly what to do and when.

Syllabi often include other details about the course such as:

  • Text (author, publisher, ISBN if possible)
  • Other materials and experiences (documentaries, field trips, etc)
  • Course goals (brief summary of purpose and goals)
    • This helps teens remember the “why” of the course
  • Topics covered in the course (this can be chapter titles or just topics to be studied)
    • This is useful for teens to understand what is coming up
    • It is also useful for teens who are interested in NCAA sports, the military or that rare college that is not familiar with homeschooling
  • Grading scales
    • Teens really need to know this
    • This helps setting the grade for the transcript
  • Due dates of projects, papers and exams
  • Schedule: Homework assignment listing by day or week in the body of the syllabus

All of this information is good for your record keeping, too!

Using a syllabus helps your record keeping and their organization.

Once you have a syllabus constructed, go over it with your teen and use it to help them plan their schedule for each of their courses. (Check here for more ideas on how to help your homeschool high schooler stay on track through the school year, as well as this interview about time management for teens with Vicki on Vintage Homeschool Moms Podcast.)

It may feel like a boring task, but this is worth the effort. Go over each part of the syllabus with your teen:

Show them the textbook.

Explain the other materials.

Go over the goals, the “why” of the course. Discuss this. If it will be a boring or challenging course, how will it help them…if nothing else: they need it for graduation and it will develop skills in perseverance 😉

What is expected and when for projects, papers and exams.

Then discuss together what the daily timing of what they will study and when. If you include them on the decisions on their daily schedule, it will help them own their education and organization.

Get out a calendar, planner, digital calendar (whatever they feel good about using). Mark the due dates of projects, papers, exams, then schedule backward from there. What is scheduling backwards? It is a simple way to help your teens learn to organize their study time (you can learn details on how-to with our freebie download on Scheduling Backwards). Here is an overview:

Mark due dates on calendar

  • Go back in time to a reasonable start date for the project, paper or study time. Mark that date as “Start project”, “Start research paper” or “Start studying for exam”.
  • Then go forward to the halfway point between the start date and the due date. Mark that as “Be halfway through with…”
  • Then mark quarter-way points and three-quarter-way points.

Mark when homework-to-mom or homework-to-co-op dates will be.

Remember that teens are learning to manage themselves. Most are not ready to manage a syllabus on their own in their first year of homeschooling. That is why you want to work on this together and then check in frequently.

These guidelines for creating and using a syllabus are suggestions. Remember: you are homeschooling in the way that is best for your homeschool high school. There’s not ONE right way to homeschool! Adapt to your family’s needs.

BTW- Many of the texts at 7SistersHomeschool have a suggested syllabus that you can download and adapt to your needs.

Join Vicki for a helpful discussion on creating and using a syllabus for homeschooling high school.

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How to Create and Use a Syllabus for Homeschool High School

Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan

Finish Well Homeschool Podcast, Podcast #114, Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan

In “Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan” episode #114, Meredith Curtis shares easy ways to plan ahead and take advantage of educational opportunities for your teens to get every high school credit possible and make sure the core classes are completed by graduation. Meredith explains that education is a gift and helps you define what gift you want to give your teen, when you should start planning, and how to make and keep the plan flexible. Breathe easier through the high school years with a plan that is purposeful, proactive, and easy to tweak.

 

 


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Show Notes

You can homeschool high school! Really! You can do it!

I decided to make a 5-year plan instead of a 4-year plan for high school from 8th-12th grade.

  • some courses you can use on their transcripts from 8th grade so I thought it would be good to include that in our plan
  • gives us more time and flexibility to get everything done we want to accomplish

What Do You Want to Give Your Children?

Education is a gift.

Gift of a Christ-centered, well-rounded education that will bear good fruit in their lives for years to come.

Think of things you want to teach your teen in high school that will bless them in years to come.

Make a list of your dreams for your son or daughter.

What gift of education do you want to give them?

My list for each child includes things that are the same and things that are unique for each child.

  • Read Communist Manifesto in high school so that they can understand the socialist agenda in American universities and colleges
  • Study worldviews so that they can recognize the different worldviews that are predominate in our culture
  • Memorize God’s Word, applying it to all of lifeRead classic books that have changed the world
  • Use Bible study tools
  • Make and live on a budget
  • Understand physics, chemistry, and oceanography
  • Grow in their gifting of:   (fill in the blank)

Don’t just shove a bunch of classes at them. Choose courses that will benefit them for life and lay a solid educational foundation if they will be going on to college.

What Does Your Teen Want to Learn?

Now it’s your teen’s turn.

What do they want to learn in high school?

Some of them may have a career goal in mind.

Others may have a dream of playing sports at a particular college.

When Should You Start Planning?

Summer before 7th or 8th grade

Build confidence by:

Reading a few books on homeschooling the high school student

Talk to other moms who have (or are!) successfully homeschooling teenagers. Other homeschooling moms can lead you by the hand and help you through the questions and decisions.

Make It Flexible

I sit down and make a five-year flexible plan for each child. This way you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Realize that your plan will change over the years, but it is good to have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish.

What is Your Goal?

I keep a folder for each child’s homeschool plan on my computer with a high school plan file. Each year, I adapt the plan as opportunities arise for them to take various classes.

Pretend that the following is your high school plan for you high school child.  

Eighth Grade: Old Testament Survey/World History I/Algebra I/Western Literature (3.5)

Ninth Grade: Church History/World History II/Geometry/Biology/Oral & Written Communication/British Literature/Spanish I/P.E./Drama (0.25) + Piano (0.25) = 0.5 Fine Arts Credit/Growing in Christ (0.5) + Courtship & Dating (0.5) = 1.0 Character   (8.5 credits)

Tenth Grade: New Testament Survey/USA History/Algebra II/Chemistry/Essays & Research/American Literature/Spanish II/P.E./Sewing (0.5 Homemaking)/Godly Womanhood (0.5 Character)    (8 credits)

Eleventh Grade: Worldview & Apologetics/Government & Current Events & Politics/Pre-Calculus/Shakespeare/Fiction Writing/Drawing & Watercolor (0.5) + Drum Lessons (0.5) = 1.0 Fine Arts Credit/The Christian Family (0.5) + Starts own Business (you make it a course) (0.5) = 1.0 Life Skills    (6 credits)

Twelfth Grade: The Great Commission/Economics & Business & Personal Finances/Calculus/Great Books/College Prep Writing/Runs own business as course 1.0 Life Skills/Leading worship as a course 1.0 Fine Arts   (6 credits)

Total credits (32 credits)

Juggle Things Around Every Year

When Opportunities arise, I take advantage of them–make changes in my high school plan so I can make sure that my teen takes the important/required courses.

So, pretend there is an opportunity to take chemistry with a pharmacist, I will switch chemistry and physics around. Or maybe the pastor is teaching a worldview course in my teen’s freshman year. I sign her up, but change my plan, moving worldview to ninth grade and church history to eleventh grade.

Some classes, of course, need to be take consecutively (like Math!), but most classes do not!

It helps to have the basic plan, because I realize that all the classes have to fit in somewhere.

Another Idea:

  • Do an intensive class in a month during a break from normal school
  • Do semester classes like colleges do

With math and literature, I don’t recommend shortening the time frame because your child can only do so many hours of math a day before he is burned out! But, this can be a great way to get something “out of the way” quickly.

Your flexible 5-Year Plan is a servant, not a master. In my life it has been a great blessing and helped to guide us through the high school years. I hope it will be a blessing to you!

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Resources

 

American Literature & Research British Literature & Writing High School Class Communications 101:Essays and Speeches High School Class Foundations of Western Literature by Meredith Curtis
Real Men 103: Leadership Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class HIS Story of the 20th Century by Meredith Curtis HIS Story of the 20th Century: High School Workbook by Meredith Curtis
God's Girls 101: Grow in Christ God's Girls 103: Courship, Marriage, and the Christian Family High School Class God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis God's Girls 105: Homemaking by Meredith Curtis

More Podcasts You Might Find Helpful

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #107, 7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio, Podcast #074, How to Get Into College with Meredith Curtis Podcast #050 The Real Kingdom and the Counterfeit Finish Well Radio, Podcast #035, Happy Birthday America!

Planning for College Even During COVID-19 – MBFLP 246

How can you move forward with college plans during a pandemic?

How can you hunt for a college in the midst of a global pandemic? Colleges want students who demonstrate interest in their college. But how can you demonstrate interest in a college when you are sheltering in place under a “stay at home” order?  Join us for this special conversation with Lee Binz, “The HomeScholar”!

With our older kids (all five of them so far!), we spent a lot of time visiting colleges, touring campuses, interviewing professors and campus ministers … but emphasize, on campus.

And now, there are very few people on campus to visit – if the campus is even open, still.

Needless to say, suddenly the rules have changed! But have they?

Colleges still want to meet you, get to know you, and make an estimate whether you’d accept an offer from their school. In normal times, you take the opportunity to meet the admissions staff, walk around campus, and if they invite, absolutely positively show up for scholarship or honors college events!

So during this  time of quarantine, shelter-in-place, and stay-home orders, those in-person visits just aren’t going to happen.

Lee Binz has years of experience counseling and advising homeschooled high schoolers and their parents, on how to prepare for the college application process and how to maximize your chances of success. This episode, we talked with her about how the move to remote meetings and online gatherings has changed the traditional interview process. You’ll hear some surprising advice and some brilliant ideas how you can adapt to this strange, disrupted world, in some of the most traditional institutions.

About Our Guest

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar is a dynamic speaker and author of over 40 books on homeschooling high school, available on Amazon. She is an expert on homeschool transcripts and getting scholarships. Lee’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school. Her free monthly homeschool e-newsletter is a great help, and she has marvelous homeschool freebies  on her website HomeHighSchoolHelp.com. You can also find Lee on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHomeScholar.

A Free Offer from Lee Binz!

Anxiety and feelings of insecurity can come and go. When you are faced with feelings of inadequacy, you may start wondering how to become a better homeschool parent. How do you become successful? Lee has a free ebook that she would like to share with you! Download How to Be a Better Home Educator and you can build a better homeschool with tools (and teens) you have around the house. Whether you are a newbie or veteran, this short ebook can help you become a better homeschool parent.

Other Resources We Mentioned

Lee Binz:  Coronavirus and College Admission

Lee Binz:  High School Tests During Coronavirus

Lee Binz:  How to Prepare for a College Interview (with practice questions)

Hal and Melanie: Our free COLLEGE DECISION RESOURCE PACKAGE

Hal and Melanie:  Paying for College with No Debt and No Fortune

Hal and Melanie: The Unexpected Benefits of Graduation

Hal and Melanie: Entrepreneurship and College

7 Steps to Create High School Classes with Living Books

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #107, 7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books

In “7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books” episode #107, Meredith Curtis shares how she created all of her children’s high school classes. She began the process by listing all the books she wanted her daughter to read. From there, she went on to think about life skills, academic skills, and virtues she longed to see in her son and daughters. Finally, she packaged everything in an easy way where teens could keep their own records.

 

 

 


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Show Notes

It was time for high school and up to that point we had enjoyed a lot of freedom and creativity in our home school. Living books were at the center of our curriculum. When we used textbooks, we read them aloud together.

Could we carry on to high school?

Yes!

Here’s what I did starting when my oldest daughter was in 7th grade. I thought ahead.

Step #1: Creating High School Classes Begins with Prayer

Surrender my children and their high school education to the Lord.

Ask for wisdom and His plan in course creation.

Step #2: Creating High School Classes Requires Book Lists

I made a list of all the books I wanted my teens to write in high school

Classic Literature: Tale of Two Cities, Count of Monte Cristo 

Great Works: Mere Christianity, Wealth of the Nations

Inspirational: God’s Smuggler, Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life

Step#3: Crossing the Finish Line Lists

I also took time to prayerfully consider what virtues, values, habits, academic skills, workforce skills, and spiritual disciplines I wanted to see in their lives

Virtues/Habits/Values: hard work, kindness, servant’s heart,

Academic Skills: essays, research, reading at college level, analysis, advanced mathematics,

Practical/Work/Community/Church Skills: leadership, interview, resume, work with a team

Spiritual Disciplines: Quiet Times, serving at church, evangelize, defend the faith

Relational Wisdom: Purpose dating or courtship, honoring parents, building wholesome friendships.

Step #4: Dividing up Books

I divided my books into different categories which became classes.

Wealth of the Nations, Larry Burkett’s economic books, and Communist Manifesto went into the economics class.

Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, and The Mysterious Affair at Styles went into British Literature.

Bondage Breaker, Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, and From Prison to Praise became part of a Christianity Basics course (God’s Girls 101: Grow in Christ and Real Men 101: Godly Manhood).

The Hidden Art of Homemaking became the foundation of my homemaking course.

Understanding the Times was the main book in our worldview class.

Soon all my books were divided up.

Step #5: Creating High School Classes Requires Creating Assignments

Next, I created assignments that were practical and cultivating academic and life skills.

  • Essays
  • Life Prep e.g. Apartment Project, Mother’s Helper, Change the Oil
  • Interviews to Articles
  • Book Club
  • Speeches

Step #6: Laying It Out for Quick Read & Check Off

Then I laid out the course for over a year and produced handy-dandy check-off sheets.

Step #7: EZ Folder Method

Overview of class, hours chart, and check-off /syllabus went into color-coded folders. Kids now could keep their own records for me. All work went into pockets.

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Examples: Classes I’ve Created

Create a High School Class like Economics, Finances, and Business by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like American Literature & Research by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like Old Testament Survey Class by Meredith Curtis
Communications 101:Essays and Speeches High School Class Worldview Understanding the Times by Meredith Curtis God's Girls 101: Grow in Christ Real Men 101: Godly Manhood
God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis Real Men 102: Freedom, Courtship, Marriage, & Family God's Girls 105: Homemaking by Meredith Curtis Real Men 103: Leadership

More Podcasts about Classes

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #106, 7 Reasons I Teach Newspaper Reporting In Middle School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #096, How I Teach English in High School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #090, Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Badge, Podcast #060, 7 Benefits of Reading Classics

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript.

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

Vicki shares how to create a powerful transcript by building Honors credits. She explains the method called “leveling up” that her family and the homeschool umbrella school that all the 7Sisters’ homeschoolers have graduated from. Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode that explains the concept of “Levels”.

If you have homeschool high schoolers who are headed for college, it is likely they will need to show rigor on the homeschool transcript. How do you handle creating courses with rigor and showing them on the transcript?

Well, it’s complicated! There are not any unified how-to’s. Our advice is:

  • Choose your method
  • Keep it consistent through all core courses (core courses are Language Arts, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies and World Languages)
  • Make sure you create a legend or key on transcript that explains a little about how the level of rigor was achieved
  • Be sure to record along with the title of the course, the level of rigor that your homeschool high schoolers achieved

This is how we do it. First decide on the level for each course:

Level 1: Remedial Level

  • This is not college level. It is for student who are severely behind or have learning disabilities.

Level 2: Average High School Level

  • These are courses with textbooks that have easier reading levels and shorter lessons. Some examples would include: Westfield Studios 101, Pacemaker series.
  • If your homeschool high schoolers complete a Level 2 course it will not prevent them from getting into college.
  • However, the colleges that accept Level 2 courses will most likely be community colleges or some private colleges.
  • Make sure that the Level 2 courses are not in the courses that will become your teens’ college majors.
  • Very few courses should be Level 2 for college-bound teens.

Level 3: College Preparatory Level

  • Most available textbooks are Level 3. Some examples of Level 3 publishers are,Apologia, BJU Press and Abeka.

Level 4: Advanced Level

  • This level is more powerful than college prep.
  • Leveling up the Level 3 to Level 4 in our homeschool umbrella school requires completing a Level 3 course plus one half of another Level 3 course of that same topic.
  • This will earn 1 credit of that course at Level 4.
  • It is an attractive credit to many colleges.

Level 5: Honors Level

  • An Honors level homeschool high school course is similar in rigor to an AP course. However, the title “AP” can only be used by courses specifically approved by  the College Board. They own that designation.
  • Honors level courses are highly rigorous; they require a lot of work. This is worth it for teens who are applying to competitive private or state colleges.
  • Concentrate on Honors level for courses in the general area of your homeschool high schoolers’ future major or interest area.
  • Some competitive colleges want to see ALL core courses at Honors level. Check with colleges of interest for their requirements.

Create a college-attractive transcript by building Honors-level credits. Develop powerful credits by adding extra rigor for Honors courses.

How do you develop Honors credit?

It is hard work. A teen working on a Level 5 Honors credit will be doing about double the Level 3 College Prep.

7Sisters textbooks and Literature Study Guides include instructions (with Literature Study Guides the instructions vary by age and grade). Listen to this HSHSP episode for tips on using the levels feature of 7Sisters curriculum.

Start with:

Textbook average or college prep.

Then add:

  • Add 16 extra real book in interest areas/subject area
  • For example, if Biology will be your teen’s major: choose books exploring an interest such as birds, including:
    Books on Famous Ornithologists, Bird behaviors
  • Write summary of each book

The textbook plus 16 books and summaries become ONE Honors credit.

Another way to earn an Honors credit could be adding a Carnegie credit.

For more information on Carnegie credits check out this post.

Start with:

Textbook average or college prep.

Then add:

  • Logged extra Carnegie Unit of credit (varies by state 120-180 hours of instruction). Make sure you document these hours.
  • Create the Carnegie credit by:
    • Developing an interest through field trips, writing research papers (keys with Language Arts), projects, related volunteer work, related apprenticeships
    • For instance, if your teen’s interest is Psychology, volunteer at rescue mission to see what other people’s lives are like
  • Make these hours useful to your teen.
  • Keep really good logs. Suggestion: have teens log hours themselves. This develops independent learners (or panicked learners if they put logging off too long.)

The textbook plus Carnegie credit becomes ONE Honors credit.

Or try a combination

  • College textbook plus 8 books and half-credit logged hours.

Remember, homeschool high schoolers are doing double credits BUT on transcript they only receive 1 credit. College admissions officers LOVE these Honors credits.

Search Honors credit at 7Sisters for more ideas.

 

When teens develop interest they feel engaged and proud of themselves. It gives them a nice expertise in an area and creates a powerful transcript. When the Honors credit is in an area of their choice, they can use this expertise in a college admissions interview.

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

HSHSP Ep 185: Helping Teens Write Myth Fantasy, Interview with Will Hahn

This week on HSHSP Ep 185: Helping Teens Write Myth Fantasy, Interview with Will Hahn.

HSHSP Ep 185: Helping Teens Write Myth Fantasy, Interview with Will Hahn. This popular homeschool teacher share tips for fun high school writing project. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #MythFantasyWriting #HighSchoolWritingProject #WillHahn #HighSchoolFantasyWritingProject

HSHSP Ep 185: Helping Teens Write Myth Fantasy, Interview with Will Hahn

At 7SistersHomeschool.com there are six of us: Sabrina, Vicki, Kym, Allison, Sara, Marilyn. So WHO’S the 7th Sister? YOU are!

But did you know we have *7th Brothers, too*? We do! In fact, any homeschool dad is a 7th brother when he reads, teaches or listens to 7Sisters podcasts, blogs or curriculum.

We are so excited to be joined by one of our 7th Brothers: Will Hahn. Will is a popular local homeschool dad and teacher, Will Hahn. Many of our local teens will tell you that his writing, literature and history courses are their favorites!

Will is an author also of popular several fantasy series, including The Lands of Hope (and narrator of audio versions of his books and the books of several other authors). The Lands of Hope are written in the legendary Tolkien-esque style.

One of the most popular courses that Will teaches to local homeschool high schoolers is Myth Fantasy Writing. He uses 7SistersHomeschool.com’s Myth-Fantasy Writing Guide which is based on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic myth-fantasy genres. This is a five-week short story writing guide which guides any teen (those who love writing and those who don’t) through a step-by-step process that produces a five-page myth-fantasy short story.

Lewis and Tolkien have a pattern of writing with the plot and specific types of characters:

  • Their stories include extensive backstory called the *subcreation*
  • Idyllic openings
  • Foreshadowing
  • Problems
  • Denouement
  • Other steps that teens will find in the 7Sisters Myth Fantasy Writing Guide
  • Specific characters such as the wise guide and friends from what should be incompatible people groups
  • And most important: the return to old truths. Myth Fantasy share a thought-provoking truth in some way.

Will writes a short story each year right along with his eager (or intimidated) students. (He highly recommends this *learning right alongside our students* style of teaching…very homeschool!) Most of what he did was to tell the class how well he was doing and that the *teacher was thinking it was fantastic*!

Will’s students have written fairy tales, allegory fantasy, Greek-myth style or classic myth fantasy using the steps in the 7Sisters Myth Fantasy Writing Guides. He encourages his students to inspire their stories by thinking about life, about things that concern them, things that they want to wrestle with.

Give your teens a fun writing project that will help them think about important truths: Myth Fantasy Short Story. It will build creativity and conscience.

Advice from Will Hahn about teaching 7Sisters Myth Fantasy Writing Guide:

  • Follow the weekly format and daily lessons in the guide. (This is a five-week curriculum that produces a five-page myth fantasy short story.)
  • Don’t overdo this first five-page story. You can add to it later…hey, turn it into a book.
  • The five-page format is SO achieveable to most homeschool high schoolers. Most kids are not going to be writers, but they will grow up with a story to tell: maybe they will carve wood or work in an office. Teens who have written a truth story, a myth-fantasy story gain some skills in telling the stories of life.
  • Don’t skip drawing the map.
    • One student who was very down to earth wanted a far-north story. She used Google Earth to find the most northern village in America. She used this for her map and the inspiration for her story.
  • If teaching in a class setting, have the students each week read an excerpt, for instance: the first sentence of the story. Then share the completed story at the end.

Like all 7Sisters curriculum, the Myth Fantasy Short Story Writing Guide is adaptable:

  • Honors-level credit by following instructions for a longer paper
  • Tips for adapting the assignments with *average* or more struggling learners
  • Help homeschool high schoolers find their own stories to tell. 7Sisters Guides are intentionally adaptable but remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool.

The writing guides also include a rubric for grading.

Did you know that 7Sisters offers other short story writing guides? While the guides can be completed in any order, here is the traditional order:

Author and Homeschool Dad, Will Hahn. Photo used by permission.

Author and Homeschool Dad, Will Hahn. Photo used by permission.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Will Hahn for a delightful story of teaching Myth Fantasy writing to your homeschool high schoolers! Check out Will and his writings at:

And for MORE on homeschool high school short story writing, check out this episode of the Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

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HSHSP Ep 185: Helping Teens Write Myth Fantasy, Interview with Will Hahn

HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

This week on HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum.

Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum. Combine Career Exploration and Language Arts for a meaningful, life-changing English credit for the homeschool transcript. #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #HomeschoolLanguageArts #HighSchoolEnglishCredit #HomeschoolHighschoolPodcast

 

HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

In Vicki’s years as a homeschool advisor and career coach, one of the saddest things she has watched is the stress that 11th and 12th graders often feel if they are not settled on what they are going to do when they graduate. Do you have a teen like that? It’s okay. There are non-intimidating ways to help them explore.

High schoolers really need to do LOTS of career exploration. This is especially true when they are not sure what they want to do for a college major or career. The problem for many homeschool high schoolers is that their schedules are packed. Often their core academics and transcript-building extracurriculars leave them little time to squeeze in something as nebulous as official Career Exploration.

So, let’s talk practical. One practical way of helping Career Exploration happen for your teens who are not sure about their future careers, is integrating it into their academic curriculum.

That’s right! Combine Career Exploration and academics and help your teens earn doubly useful credits.

Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

Let’s take Language Arts as an example of a great place to combine Career Exploration and a core academic. It is an interesting, useful (and maybe even fun) way to handle one year’s Language Arts.

Here is a way to combine the Career Exploration with the Literature and Writing components of the yearly Language Arts credit. (Want more information on what is included in a complete high school Language Arts credit? Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.)

Combine Career Exploration and Language Arts for a life-changing homeschool transcript credit.

Language Arts and Career Exploration combined: Literature experiences

When combining Literature and Career Exploration, keep in mind this principle. Teens should be exposed to LOTS of different careers and role models, even those they wouldn’t be interested in at all. This broad understanding of the idea that there are lots of different opportunities helps prepare their brains for exploring career ideas.

Read some biographies. Any biography is good, even if it is not a career your teen will ever do. (For reluctant readers, think about audiobooks.)

Some of 7Sisters’ homeschool high schoolers’ favorites have been:

  • Joni
  • God’s Smuggler
  • Something Beautiful for God

Homeschool high schoolers are not usually called to be saints or Bible smugglers or evangelists with a disability but any biography a teen reads will expand their thoughts about the ways God uses extraordinary circumstances and ordinary people in those circumstances.

Read some books to help homeschool high schoolers understand themselves

Some good books on self understanding include:

  • What Color is my Parachute for Teens by Carol Christen and Richard Bolles (career interests)
  • Emotional Intelligence 2:0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (emotional awareness)
  • The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Audiobook versions are good for books like these sometimes. Remember: Any book your homeschool high schoolers read can go on their booklist! (Ever wonder how many books your teens should read at different ages, goals and abilities? Here’s a post to help you decide.)

Language Arts and Career Exploration combined: Writing experiences

Homeschool high schoolers need to do a fair amount of writing each year, including at least one research paper and some essays. (For guidelines on how many papers teens should write according to age, interests and abilities, check out this post.)

First, have your homeschool high schoolers do some personality tests.

This will give them some good *research* on themselves! If you go to Vicki’s coaching website, you can download a freebie: Personal Discovery Links. These are free versions of a number of serious (and not so serious) personality tests. If your teens are limited in their time, have them do the first test (a free version of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Vicki’s favorite personality test) and the last two tests (both are career interest surveys). Find the links at VickiTillmanCoaching.com

Now, take the personality test results, use these in writing essays and a research paper.

Choose the research paper style that suits your teens needs. Here’s a post that will help you decide between

  • APA research paper
  • Chicago-style research paper
  • MLA research paper

You can also have your homeschool high schoolers visit these websites and investigate different careers.

  • They can choose four or five interesting-sounding careers and write a page or two on each for a research paper titled something like: Interesting Career Ideas.
  • Or a 5-paragraph essay on each career they looked at.
  • These are the websites:
  • CareerOneStop.org This is US Department of Labor’s website that tells:
    • Job descriptions
    • Videos
  • BigFuture at College Board

You can also have your homeschool high schoolers do career shadowing or interviews with people in different jobs.

  • Write a 5 paragraph essay about each.
  • Write an end of the year wrap-up essay about themselves.

You can all the course: Career Exploration Language Arts or Language Arts 9 (or 10 or 11 or 12)

HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum