HSHSP Ep 149: Got-to-Have Types of Courses for Homeschool Transcript

This week on HSHSP Ep 149: Got-to-Have Types of Courses for Homeschool Transcript.

HSHSP Ep 149: Got-to-Have Types of Courses for Homeschool Transcript. Basic requirements for homeschool transcript for graduation.

HSHSP Ep 149: Got-to-Have Types of Courses for Homeschool Transcript

What kinds of courses do homeschool high schoolers need for graduation?

That is one of our FAVORITE topics! Join Sabrina and Vicki for a rollicking conversation about homeschool transcripts, courses and credits.

In a nutshell, teens need these four kinds of courses for a powerful transcript:

Core academic courses:

  • Core academics are the basic courses all transcripts need. Core academic courses include Language Arts, Maths, Social Studies, Science, and World Languages.
  • The number of credits needed in each of these categories varies by state, supervising organization or college of interest to your teen.

Other courses required by your state, supervising organization or college your teen wants to go to:

These types of course requirements vary widely from state to state. They also vary from family to family. Each family’s needs and interests are different. That’s the joy of homeschooling! Your teens can develop the transcript that is right for each of them. Examples of other courses would be: Fine Arts, Physical Education, Health, Social Sciences, and Drivers Education.

Elective courses:

These are courses that help your homeschool high schooler explore or develop an interest or skill. For teens who don’t have a clue what they are interested in, choose a wide variety of different kinds of courses until they land on something they love. For teens who are already invested in an interest or talent, enrich their experiences with courses in those areas.

7Sisters offers LOTS of elective choices (because we’ve had LOTS of different kinds of teens in our families and in our co-ops and group classes, so we’ve developed curriculum to meet their needs).

Career Exploration courses:

Career Exploration courses may be the most important courses of all. It is such an anxiety-producing experience for teens to come to senior year and feel like they have no direction. Get them started with a comprehensive Career Exploration program (our popular course has been, for years, getting homeschool high schoolers on the road toward their future).

Career Exploration: A Comprehensive Curriculum from 7 Sisters Homeschool

Click image for full product description.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a you-can-do-it discussion of the courses your homeschool high schooler needs!


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Offering history, science, geography, and humanities curriculum and over 100 options of online classes and clubs for homeschool families, the team at Bright Ideas Press creates products and resources that will not only help simplify your life, but also inspire, encourage, and equip you to educate your children.

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HSHSP Ep 149: Got-to-Have Types of Courses for Homeschool Transcript

HSHSP Ep 146: Helping Teens Find Their Passions, Interview with Cindy West

This week on HSHSP Ep 146: Helping Teens Find Their Passions, Interview with Cindy West.

Helping Teens Find Their Passions, Interview with Cindy West. Help homeschool high schoolers explore interests and talents for transcript credit.

HSHSP Ep 146: Helping Teens Find Their Passions, Interview with Cindy West

Join Vicki and our friend, Cindy West, of Our Journey Westward, NaturExplorers, and Homeschooling Gifted Kids. Cindy, who is well-known to many homeschool families,  has been homeschooling for 18 years has specialized in helping her homeschool high schoolers find and develop their interests and passions.

Cindy West of Our Journey Westward shares with Homeschool Highschool Podcast ways to help teens capture their passions as part of their academics.

Cindy West.
Photo used by permission.

Cindy’s teens learned how to identify, develop and make choices for their futures in their homeschool programs. Cindy shares how she helped her homeschool high schoolers lean into their interests and allow them to become passions.

  • Observe: Where do they get excited? Where do they invest their free time?
  • Get experiences: Go on field trips. Do some volunteer work, help others out who are in the field of interest. Go to the library
  • Discuss with experts: Interview adults. See if you can find shadowing or apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Include as part of their academic studies: Develop science, history and/or language arts courses.
  • Include as part of their career exploration electives: Give it an appropriate name and capture it on the transcript.

One of the special things that Cindy has done with her teens is allowing her teens to develop their own courses.

  • Divide the year into 36 weeks
  • Explore on the internet what other people cover for those courses
  • Ask teen to pinpoint their interests/goals for the course
  • Find a *spine*, a textbook or detailed, informative book (probably not in the juvenile section) as a base
  • Choose at least one major project: research paper, prepare a presentation, design an experiment
  • Plan out the year, month by month based on the topics of teen interest and what others cover
  • Turn the plan into a syllabus
  • Learn more about this with Cindy’s post on the topic.

Teens who develop their interests in homeschool high school gain important skills for life. Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview with Cindy West.

Cindy’s daughter was passionate about equine studies and developed high school courses to develop those interests. Her son has been interested in guitar, so they have deeply developed this interest and giftedness.

You’ll be blessed by this interview with Cindy West. Visit her website and social media, curriculum AND check out her book on homeschooling gifted kids to learn more!

Take a look at 7Sisters Career Exploration curriculum to help discover interests and gifts. You’ll also enjoy these posts.

Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits

Homeschool Career Exploration: Discovering Interests and Skills


HSHSP Ep 146: Helping Teens Find Their Passions, Interview with Cindy West

Essential Writing in your Homeschool High School

LCP Ep 11: Essential Writing in your Homeschool High School


Essential Writing in your Homeschool High School #literarycafepodcast #homeschoolradioshow #homeschool #highschool #writing #essays
Do you have a middle or high schooler and you are wondering what do you need to teach them for writing for credit or for preparation for college?

Intimidated by the kind of essays that are usually included during high school and are necessary for college applications, standardized tests, and classes?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she shares with you what is considered essential writing in your homeschool high school for high school credit, experience, and college preparation.


Show Notes

Types of Essays to Practice in High School

(This is a list of suggestions starting with the less challenging to more difficult and most common kinds of writing to other kinds of experience you may want to include.)

Informative essay (try a 5 paragraph format for this as your first kind of essay if starting here)

Persuasive/Argumentative essay (common for standardized tests with an essay)

Summary Paper (can be about an essay or article and the author’s viewpoint)


Literary Analytical or Critical essay

Research Paper (MLA is common, but there are also APA and Chicago formats as well)



Narrative (can be a personal anectdote – common for the the college application)

Descriptive (can be describing a scene, person, or object using all senses and can incorporate creative writing)

Process Analysis (step by step writing that would be used in technical writing)

Cover Letter and Resume


Websites with Prompts for Different Kinds of Writing

These sites assist your upper middle and high schooler with gaining practice writing different kinds of essays, including preparing for essays on standardized tests that some college admission offices require and prompts for essays on past college applications that used the Common Application.

Persuasive Essay Prompts

More Persuasive Essay Prompts

General Writing Prompts to Warm up your Early High Schooler

Prompts for Various Kinds of High School Essays

Various Writing Prompts and Writing Activities for High Schoolers

Practice Using Literary Devices in Writing with Valentine’s Day theme


Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share about writing in high schooler that your family has found helpful! I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for February’s topic when we discuss including practice of using higher order thinking skills when reading for all ages. You will be amazed by all the skills and benefits your learners can gain by making a point to prompt them to use various levels of thinking!

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page! And make sure you share this page with other homeschoolers with middle and high schoolers and are wondering how to get started writing in these grade levels!


Essential Writing in your Homeschool High School #literarycafepodcast #homeschoolradioshow #homeschool #highschool #writing #essays



LCP 11 – Essential Writing in your Homeschool High School

HSHSP Ep 145: Movies for Educational Purposes in Homeschool Highschool

This week on HSHSP Ep 145: Movies for Educational Purposes in Homeschool Highschool.

HSHSP Ep 145: Movies for Educational Purposes. Movies can be an inspirational part of your homeschool high school Language Arts program.

HSHSP Ep 145: Movies for Educational Purposes in Homeschool Highschool

Need some fun in your homeschool high school? Think: movies!

Movies and reading can both count for Language Arts assignments?

Movies can’t count as books, but they can be used to learn themes, plots, characters and other tools of literary analysis. Studying a movie can add some sparkle to a year that is getting bogged down in heavy literature books. However, you want to have good tools (like 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guides).

Join Sabrina and Vicki for an enlightening discussion of movies for educational process. Let’s start with another of Sabrina’s famous quotes:

Stories are stories.

So, a story in a movie is still a story.

Stories are Stories. Literature analysis through movies. HSHSP Ep 145: Movies for Educational Purposes.

Learning story analysis skills by watching movies is good for all teens. Homeschool high schoolers with learning difficulties will find analysis skills more accessible when they watch and discuss movies.

So where do you start? Choose one or two aspects of the story to discuss and analyze, even if the movie has lots of outstanding features that could be explored. That way teens can actually learn and hold onto their learning. We suggest 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guides for this.

When teens learn some concepts from a film story, they can then find those concepts when they read books. Making these connections is a necessary facet of education (and an important life skill).

Watching movies as an educational tool, helps teens begin to think that any time they watch a movie, they can use their brains and think about what they are consuming. In other words, when given tools for analysis in a gentle way, most teens will have more critical thinking skills for watching movies any time.

All 7Sisters curriculum is level-able (adaptable for Average- through Honors-level studies.) Homeschool high schoolers who are college-bound Honors level cinema studies will find interesting and meaningful leveling-up activities in 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guides.

The way the Cinema Studies guides work:

  • Students watch the movie.
  • They take notes as they watch the movie on anything that is interesting to them.
  • They watch the movie again several days later.
  • Then they complete the study guide (questions and a writing assignment).

As an aside, Vicki and Sabrina rabbit trailed onto the topic of audiobooks for books and poetry. They noted that Benedict Cumberbach is one of their favorite readers. Vicki has several pins on her Pinterest Poetry board with him reading a poem.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a *moving* talk about movies!

For more creative Language Arts ideas, check out this episode!

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!


HSHSP Ep 145: Movies for Educational Purposes in Homeschool Highschool

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick

This week on HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick.

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick. Tips for helping homeschool high schoolers develop skills for research paper writing.

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick

Our friend, Dr. Kat Patrick, joins us for this episode to help guide through the important task of writing research papers.

Kat has helped us out with an episode about homeschooling in the United Kingdom and the United States AND in another episode, she shared how to teach Shakespeare and enjoy it.

Kat and her family have lived in England for 25 years (where her husband teaches at Oxford). They recently moved to Texas, where Kat was born. Kat started Dreaming Spires Home Learning, a Charlotte Mason inspired online program. She offers lots of popular live courses in lots areas.

Kat Patrick of Dreaming Spires Online Homeschool Courses, Interviewed on Homeschool High School Podcast

Photo used with permission.

Kat is an expert in teaching writing skills. She began teaching research paper writing during her graduate studies at University of Delaware. (Interestingly, just a few miles from where the 7Sisters live, we just never met at that time.) Kat loves teaching the skills of research paper writing, especially in taking notes and noting sources.

As Vicki points out, teens often complain about writing research papers while in high school because they are a LOT of work! However, they often come back to her to thank her for that requirement, because in college they more easily earn top grades in their composition courses. Even non-college-bound skills benefit from writing research papers.

Life skills that all teens gain from writing research papers include:

  • Building attention to detail
  • Building stick-to-itiveness and organization skills for doing large projects
  • Building patience for redos until things get batter
  • Building research skills for life (such as products, trips or services teens will need in life)
  • Building skills to evaluate sources (they can apply this to things they read on social media and elsewhere)

What are some resources Kat recommends?

  • Books (usually more than one book, including more than one perspective)
  • References from library
  • Good Reads website
  • Google Books
  • Sources listed at the bottom of Wikipedia articles (the sources cited in the article), not the article itself
  • Primary sources, including digital documents of out-of-print sources. (Simply Google search: *Primary source for…*). This is good because teens can begin to come up with some of their own thoughts by reading original docusments, rather than only discuss other people’s thoughts. (This is particularly helpful with MLA and Chicago-style papers that are thesis based papers.)

Discuss plagiarism.

  • Help teens understand: How long a quote can you use and how do you cite it? (Follow the guidelines for each paper style: MLA, APA, Chicago Style.) Teens in college can lose scholarships and fail classes if they plagiarize. Here is a post to help explain plagiarism to your homeschool high schoolers.
  • Discuss paraphrasing and citing the paraphrase. (Developing this skills is one reason Kat loves Charlotte Mason’s traditional paraphrasing of books!)

Teach note-taking skills:

  • Remind teens to research before they start the paper or even write a thesis. They need lots of information before they start writing their papers.
  • Use index cards for note taking. Put quotes, statistics and other important information. Put citation information. Number the cards. Using card helps prevent accidental plagiarism.
  • Mind map or spread out the cards on a table to help teens organize their thoughts.

Teach time management skills:

Work with teens with solid dates on when they start researching, finish their cards, complete the first rough draft, final draft, etc. 7Sisters freebie Scheduling Backwards can help with this. All of 7Sisters’ Research Paper Writing Guides are chunked out into day-by-day assignments to help homeschool high schoolers stay on track.

Kat suggests this order for writing research papers.

  • Research
  • Write the first draft of the paper
  • Read the paper and find the gaps in the information presented
  • Research to fill in gaps
  • Rewrite
  • Check citations
  • Edit for grammar, punctuation, etc
  • Complete a final draft

Kat also includes these 2 fascinating requirements that truly help her homeschool high school students succeed as writers:

  • Students keep a journal where they daily record what they have done on their research paper.
  • At the end of the paper, she has her students write a *review* of the paper-writing process. It is a self-reflection about what they have learned about the process and the topic.

There are many styles of research papers, however, these are the most commonly used papers for high schoolers:

Check out Kat’s online courses such as English Literature that includes writing extensions, including research papers as well as multi-genre experiences with Prezis and plays. Also visit her at:

Keep an eye out for Dr. Kat Patrick’s upcoming text on Chicago-style research papers. Also, download Kat’s FREEBIE: Shakespeare Copywork.

Join Vicki and Kat for this fun discussion on research papers, your teens will benefit from the tips you learn!

You’ll also enjoy these posts and this HSHSP episode with more information on research papers.

Suggested Syllabus for 7Sisters MLA Research Paper Writing Course

What are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One?

High School Research Paper: Should You Choose MLA? APA? Other?

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick

Finding, tracking and winning scholarships

Finding, Tracking and Winning Scholarships

Episode 15: Finding, tracking and winning scholarships

1. Finding Scholarships

* Use Scholarship Search Engines
My favorite scholarship search engines:

Other scholarship search engines: Peterson’s, Fastweb, Cappex, Collegeboard, Scholarships.com

* Scholly App

* Local school websites

* Google search – “scholarship” + major / hobby / achievement etc

* Facebook – follow people like Monica Matthews

2. Tracking Scholarships

* put all scholarships and requirements and deadlines on Google sheets and share with your child
* child updates when it is submitted
* create a dedicated email for scholarships

3. Winning Scholarships

* Use Google sheets to track volunteer hours, workshops attended etc so you have all the info at hand
* Parent should research see what the chance is of their child winning anything – look for previous winners, read winning essays, watch winning videos
* Keeping it all organized on Google sheets means you shouldn’t miss deadlines, leave anything out.
* Use spell checkers / Grammarly (also human eyes!)

—> Check out our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy‘s summer challenge for high schoolers. Part of the challenge helps students figure out what they need to do to win scholarships, and where to find them. And students can win money in the challenge to put towards their college tuition!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Finding, Tracking and Winning Scholarships

Teaching Your Struggling Writer How to Write

LCP Ep 10: Teaching your Struggling Writer How to Write

Helping Your Struggling Writer #homeschool #homeschooling #writing #strugglingwriters #teachingstrugglingwriters #literarycafepodcast
Have you ever seen your learners with “a deer caught in headlights” look when holding a pencil over a blank piece of paper?

Is it a struggle to get your child to write down more than a word or two?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she shares tips and practices in getting even your youngest learners more comfortable putting pencil to paper and conveying their thoughts into written words.

You’ll soon be using these techniques every day in your own routine easily and naturally.


Show Notes

Quick Writing Practice Opportunities

Post cards or letters to friends or relatives about a trip or event.

Pen pals.

Science nature journal or sketch pad with captions or labels on a nature hike or walk.

Grocery lists or other lists – favorite things, to do’s, menu, people.


Thank you notes for birthday or Christmas.

Birthday cards or other cards, including invitations.

Posters, flyers, brochures, book jackets.

Journal or diary (can be just a sentence or more about their day).

Scrapbook or photo album with captions or names underneath.

Use invisible ink or secret code to make writing more interesting and fun.

Write using different media and materials – colored pencils, gel pens, scented pens, colored paper, chalkboard, white board, window or mirror, eraseable writing pad (the one with the plastic pencil and you lift the plastic sheet up to erase your writing.), driveway with chalk or water with a brush, large poster board or paper with paint, write in sand or at the beach.

Creat slide shows with Powerpoint or Google slides or Prezi.

Collaborate and take turns writing a story, taking turns one sentence at a time.

Write a story as a character or famous person using “I”.

Interview someone for real or pretend and write down what they say.

Write about an event or nature hike using “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why”, and “how” to tell you what to write about.

Write a revision of a well-known story revising an event or a character in the story in your retelling. Write a new ending. Keep it a simple story like Red Riding Hood, The Three Bears or Three Little Pigs, or The Gingerbread Man.

Websites to Help You Draw and Write Your Own Story

These sites assist your child in creating a picture for a scene or multiple scenes in a story either drawing your own picture or using graphics they supply. Once they create the picture/s, they can type in the story and either read it online or print it off for their own book.

Story Jumper

Read Write Think Printing Press

Story Starters by Scholastic

My Storymaker

Writing with Writers

Imagine Forest

Writing Prompts

If you choose to use writing prompts as a topic instead of the retelling of a read aloud or a short simple story, I highly recommend you let your struggling writer draw a picture of the scene that comes to mind from the writing prompt. This way they can write about what they see happening in the picture and it will be less challenging for them to verbalize a story from the prompt. (Remember – in the podcast we discussed that creating a story from scratch takes the writer away from focusing just on getting over the overwhelm of putting words in a sentence on paper.)

Writing Prompts for Kids

Free Writing Prompts

Daily Writing Prompts

180 Journaling Writing Prompts

251 Free Creative Writing

Writing Prompt Printables for all Ages


Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share about how your family has overcome the “deer caught in headlights look” or the overwhelm of putting pencil to paper! Or, what techniques from this podcast or list of ideas you found helpful! I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for January’s topic when we discuss essential writing skills in the upper grades! You will definitely want to catch this episode to make sure you are preparing your children for college and life with their writing.

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page! And make sure you share this page with other homeschoolers whose children struggle with writing or even those just trying to make it easier and more fun!

Helping Your Struggling Writer #homeschool #homeschooling #writing #strugglingwriters #teachingstrugglingwriters #literarycafepodcast



Valuable Benefits from Reading Classic Literature in your Homeschool

LCP Ep 9: Valuable Benefits from Reading Classic Literature in your Homeschool


Stack of classic books for valuable benefits from reading classic books in your homeschool podcast #homeschool #homeschooling #languagearts #classicbooks #classicliterature #literaturestudy #literarystudy #highschoolliterature #highschoolliterarystudy #middleschoolliterature #middleschoolliterarystudy #homeschoolhighschool #homeschoolmiddleschool #literarycafepodcast #homeschoolpodcast


Do you cringe when you think about “classic literature”?

Are you intimidated by the thought of tackling challenging vocabulary or complex sentences that seem to go on and on?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she shares important benefits from reading classic literature, starting with easier books and working your way (and their way) up and through more challenging works as they progress through middle and high school.

There are so many academic and personal benefits that you most likely have not considered in reading classic books, but make the effort extremely worthwhile. They range from the very practical like expanding vocabulary to developing your child’s understanding of themselves, their world, and their individual viewpoints and worldviews.

Show Notes


Here is a summarized list of the benefits from the podcast. Please listen to the podcast for details and examples about these benefits.

When I use the term “classic literature”, I am not referring to the ancient literature of Socrates or Sophocles or Oedipus Rex. I am discussing books that have withstood the test of time and have earned a valuable place in our culture and on our bookshelves based on their theme and content or their rich use of language to express ideas.

I have compiled lists of suggested book titles for middle and high school for your reference when considering what books to include in your literature study.

Suggested Middle School Reading List

Suggested High School Classic Literature Book List

Important Benefits from including Classic Books in your Homeschool Literature Study

Learn to Appreciate the Written Word as a Piece of Art

When reading quality literature, we can envision a picture in our minds the scene the author is expressing through the written word. Through vivid descriptions, imagery, literary devices and other writing techniques, we are brought into the world or story that the author is describing. We can hear, feel, or see what the characters experience. We absorb the mood and get to know the characters through their dialogue.

Writing is a craft on paper, much like that expressed by artists with paint on a canvas. What we are reading has so much more meaning and we appreciate and enjoy it more when we can understand the techniques that a writer has used to transport us into another world for the moment.

Learn to Understand and also Absorb Complex and More Interesting Sentence Structure

Classic books, especially as you enter high school level literature, contains more complex and sophisticated sentence structure. If we start exposing our children to easier to understand classic books in middle school, they become accustomed to the longer and more complex sentences and how to tackle them when reading. When they enter high school, it will be less daunting to read some of the more challenging works because of the practice they have already gained.

Our children will also start to speak and write in more interesting sentences, because they actually start to absorb this way of expressing themselves. It comes naturally.

Enrich and Expand Vocabulary

When your children are regularly exposed to a more challenging vocabulary increments at a time, your children will become adept at using the sentence around the word to decipher the meaning of the word in its context. This is a very important and practical skill. They also more easily learn and retain the meaning of the word in the context of the sentence and the story, as opposed to weekly vocabulary lists that are not attached to a memorable story.

These words will then appear more naturally in their speech and their own writing.

Practice Identifying and Analyzing Worldview

In this day, it is important that we help our children identify worldviews that exist today and appear in the written and spoken word as it is presented in books, social media, television, and movies. We need to share with them our family viewpoints, morals, values, and our personal worldviews. Through this filter, we can then identify worldviews in speech and written word we come across or study with our children. It’s important to compare the viewpoints presented by others to our own personal worldviews and determine if they fit with our own and accept them or reject them.

It is through this study and discussion that our children develop their own views and are prepared to enter the world ready to stand by their own beliefs or be swayed and habitually change their viewpoints depending on their surroundings.

Classic literature with its content, themes, and viewpoints is a wonderful resource for this practice and discussion. Wordviews have been presented and have changed throughout literary time periods through history. (In the podcast, we have discussed this with more detail.)

Looking at Literature as a Reflection of History and Society

Because writers do not write in a vacuum and live during different time periods in history and changes in society, their writing will reflect their surrounding events and societal views and their own experiences. When we read classic books, we get a front row seat to events and feelings and beliefs of that time period of that author or of the story.

We can see why and how we are today because of the progression of ideas, events, and beliefs that have come before the present we are experiencing.

Looking at Literature as an Influence on History and Society

Writers not only write about events and beliefs around them to reflect what is happening, but also to influence those events and beliefs to bring about a change. Examples would be Thomas Paine’s Common Sense or Harriett Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Both were written to influence society and instigate change.

The written and spoken word can be powerful tools. Learning to identify pursuasive rhetoric helps our children learn to use these tools effectively and be able to discern when this rhetoric is being used to persuade them to adopt an idea or a belief.

Develop and Practice using Higher Order Thinking Skills

When interpreting and analyzing literature for its worldview and meaning and tying in our own views and experiences, we have the perfect opportunity to practice higher order thinking skills. From comprehending what we are reading to synthesizing what we have read to meld those ideas with our own, there are different kinds and levels of thinking skills that are naturally incorporated in reading and discussing a classic book.


Identify and Explore Universal Themes found in Literature and in Life

Classic books are a great opportunity to look at the theme presented in the story and compare it to life and our own personal experiences. These themes might be jealously, greed, grief, love, pride, revenge, or good versus evil. When we read about and explore a theme of a story, we have the opportunity to look at the consequences of actions of the characters and learn lessons from their experiences.

We can compare our own thoughts and feelings from our own experiences and examine them and learn from them. We begin to understand these “universal life truths and human experiences”.

This leads to our next benefit.

Understand and Develop Empathy and Sympathy for Others

A scientific study examined children when they read fiction versus non-fiction and they found children learned something when they read fiction. From reading about different characters and their experiences and being able to see and be a part of the characters’ thoughts and feelings in reaction to those experiences, the children in the study developed an understanding and empathy for those characters.

They were able to learn to take what they learned from those characters and those experiences and transfer an empathy to other people who were feeling a certain way because of the discussions about those characters and comparing their experiences to their own experiences. The children were able to project what they would do and how they would feel and act toward others in different circumstances that demonstrated an understanding of the feelings and motivations of other people. Practicing this with characters in literature helped them to develop this skill.

So you can see that studying classic books does not have to be a dreaded experience of convoluted sentences and long and difficult words and thoughts. It can be a wonderful practical experience to acquire not only academic skills that will help them in college, but important life skills to bring them into adulthood.

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share about how your family has studied any classic books! Any great book titles or authors to suggest? I would love to hear from you!


Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for December’s topic when we look at ways to help your struggling writer learn to write! Don’t miss this episode as I share practical and easy ways to help your writer get over the frustration and “the deer caught in headlights look” when faced with a blank piece of paper.

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page! And make sure you share this page with other homeschoolers with middle and high school aged children!

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HSHSP Ep 137: What Are Umbrella Schools for Homeschool High School?

This week on HSHSP Ep 137: What Are Umbrella Schools for Homeschool High School?

HSHSP Ep 137: What Are Umbrella Schools for Homeschool High School? Otherwise known as hybrid schools, university-model schools or charter schools. Either way they are good resources for many families.

HSHSP Ep 137: What Are Umbrella Schools for Homeschool High School?

What kind of support is there for homeschooling high school families? There is so much these days. One of the most valuable supports is the umbrella school.

Join Sabrina, Kym and 7SistersHomeschool’s Marilyn as they discuss umbrella schools.

Other names for umbrella schools include: charter schools, university-model schools, hybrid schools, one-day schools.

7SistersHomeschool’s birth came out of Mt. Sophia Academy, an umbrella school registered as a non-public school in Delaware. Since its inception in 1996, Marilyn has served as principal, Vicki was academic advisor for 18 years, Sabrina, Kym, Sara, and Allison have served as teachers and other leadership positions.

Umbrella schools are generally designed to help homeschooling high schoolers as:

  • A liaison with the state Department of Education
  • Accountability
  • Transcript service
  • Academic and career advising
  • Optional on-campus courses
  • Support groups

When families are part of an umbrella school, the school is support for you, but you are still the in-charge person. They are not homeschooling your children FOR you but WITH you.

If you are a member of an umbrella school, be sure to

In the group classes, teachers usually provide a syllabus for course. This will provide information on assignments, tests, projects, along with texts and grading scales.

Tips for parents who are teaching umbrella school courses.

  • Help set a friendly and inclusive atmosphere.
  • Set atmosphere of brining new teens in an accepting them.
  • Teach teens how to do classroom discussion, explain how it works. (Sabrina has some great ideas, listen in!)
  • Use *participation chips* to encourage classroom discussion (Sabrina and Kym give out poker chips for participating, which give teens extra credit OR teens must earn X-number of chips each class.)
  • Talk about expectations on the first day.
  • Talk about respect of each other, adults, facilities.
  • Train teens to initiate questions on homework and assignments, rather than parents. This is a great life skills.

Join Sabrina, Kym and Marilyn for this helpful discussion on homeschooling high school with umbrella schools. You’ll also enjoy these posts:

5 Steps for Catching Up When Your Homeschool High School is Behind.

Helping Teens Learn to Use a Syllabus

How and Why to Write a Syllabus

How and Why to Write Course Descriptions

HSHSP Ep 137: What Are Umbrella Schools for Homeschool High School?