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?

HSHSP Ep 123: Successfully Scheduling Your Homeschool Highschool Year

This week on HSHSP Ep 123: Successfully Scheduling Your Homeschool Highschool Year!

HSHSP Ep 123: Successfully Scheduling Your Homeschool Highschool Year

HSHSP Ep 123: Successfully Scheduling Your Homeschool Highschool Year

We know that many homeschooling moms love scheduling…and many DON’T. However, highschool needs organization and scheduling if you’re going to achieve your goals (and your teen graduate in 4 years).

What is the one right way to schedule your homeschool highschool year?

There’s NOT one right way to schedule but there are some tips for developing a schedule that works for you.

Here are some tips for successfully scheduling your homeschool highschool year:

Start with the end in mind.

  • Set a 4 year goal. What do you want your teens to have accomplished by the time they graduated (on the transcript and in real life). When they walk across the stage at graduation, what kind of person do you hope your teens will be?
  • Read this post on how to set goals.
  • Write out your mission (click here for a guide).
  • Create an idea of the kind of homeschool environment you hope.

Schedule backwards.

Scheduling Backwards Freebie from 7SistersHomeschool.com

Click image for information on this helpful freebie.

  • Looking at the end goals, start by working backwards.
  • Decide what kind of educational year you want
  • Mark the halfway point on the schedule. Then ask where should we be in the curriculum by halfway through the year.
  • Mark special dates
    • portfolio reviews
    • missions trips
    • scheduled guests visiting
    • co-op field trips
    • drivers ed
    • sports competitions and performances
    • holidays
  • Now decide how much should be done on each subject day by day
    • The number of pages (or chapters) in the text divided by the number of weeks in the year or number of days in the year
  • Create your syllabi

When life happens or things go wrong, give yourself grace then get back to the schedule as soon as possible.

Remember to include teens in the planning process, so that they can own their education.

Be sure to write your goals down.

Have an accountability partner.

If you need some support, you might enjoy some coaching from Vicki at VickiTillmanCoaching.com.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for this helpful discussion. Also enjoy these posts and episodes:

HSHSP Ep 42: Highschool Goals and Planning

HSHSP Ep 43: Highschool Planning and Teen Personalities

HSHSP Ep 44: Including Teens in Highschool Planning

HSHSP Ep 123: Successfully Scheduling Your Homeschool Highschool Year

Homeschooling Multiple Ages


Homeschooling Multiple Ages! How does a homeschooling parent possibly educate older kids while at the same time juggling preschoolers, toddlers, and babies? Is it even realistic to think we could do a good job while spinning so many homeschool plates?

On this episode of Homeschooling in Real Life, Fletch and Kendra talk about how they’ve managed to homeschool 8 kids, how to structure a day so that schooling actually gets done, and how mom can survive and thrive during the demanding years of homeschooling multiple ages.


:50 Fluff – LOST, Father’s Day, Publishing, Summer Vacation
7:25 Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Part 1
18:16 – Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Part 2
33:35 The show is over. Goodbye!


Recommended Resources:
Three Essential Keys to Homeschooling Multiple Ages
Preschoolers and Peace Website

Betty the Surf Dog – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Rasta The Chocolate Lab – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Previous Episodes Mentioned:
All of them

Music clips used on this episode:


Allow the magic of the internet to deliver Homeschooling In Real Life to your tablet or smart phone. Let us show you how easy it is:

  1. Follow this link to our iTunes page.
  2. IMPORTANT STEP: Under our big red HomeschoolingIRL logo, just click on View in iTunes
  3. The iTunes program will automatically launch and take you to our podcast page.
  4. FIRST – Click SUBSCRIBE. Voila! All or our podcasts will come directly to your computer and smart phone.
  5. NEXT – Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. Remember the best reviews are 5-stars (hint hint!).
  6. Thanks for being one of our listeners! HIRLers rock!


  1. You can listen right on this page. There is an audio player below.
  2. You can listen on your iPod, Smartphone or tablet. Open the PODCAST app on your device, search podcasts for “HomeschoolingIRL” and click subscribe. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  3. Subscribe to the HomeschoolingIRL website and you will be notified when every new episode is released. Follow this link and begin your FREE SUBSCRIPTION.

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

HSHSP Ep 75: Fine Arts Electives Give Transcripts SPARKLE!

This week on HSHSP Ep 75: Fine Arts Electives Give Transcripts SPARKLE!

HSHSP Ep 75: Fine Arts Electives Give Transcripts SPARKLE!

HSHSP Ep 75: Fine Arts Electives Give Transcripts SPARKLE!

College admissions officers look at thousands of transcripts each year. How can your homeschool highschooler stand out? Fine Arts electives give transcripts sparkle. It’s one way to catch their attention!

Join Sabrina for an eye-opening interview with Dr. Duane Cottrell, Associate Professor Choral Music Education at University of Delaware. Duane is not only a professor at UD but also has homeschooled his own children, which helps him understand and explain what homeschoolers need to know about Fine Arts on the transcript and in college.

Dr. Duane Cottrell University of Delaware Music Dept

Dr. Cottrell explains the current job climate where often:

  • Soft skills learned in Fine Arts make great employees in many areas
  • Right brained skills learned by teens who have studied the arts help build the creativity needed to compete in a career world new kinds of jobs are being invented every year

Dr. Cottrell explains the music major choices  such as (and why a homeschool highschooler might choose one:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music (Liberal Arts degree)
  • Bachelor in Music (Music Education, Music Performance)
  • AND whether or not a graduate degree is required for success
  • AND how to find out specifically what your teen’s favorite colleges are looking for in their applicants

Sabrina and Dr. Cottrell also share how to handle Career Exploration in highschool so that they can clarify major choices.

Join us for a real-life, practical information about Fine Arts Electives!

5 Reasons You Need Fine Arts in Homeschool High School

Why Waste High School Credits on Career Exploration?

HSHSP Ep 75: Fine Arts Electives Give Transcripts SPARKLE!



HSHSP Ep 71: Newbie Homeschool Highschool Mom: You CAN Do It!

This week on HSHSP Ep 71: Newbie Homeschool Highschool Mom: You CAN Do It!

HSHSP Ep 71: Newbie Homeschool Highschool Mom: You CAN Do It!

HSHSP Ep 71: Newbie Homeschool Highschool Mom: You CAN Do It!

We can remember those days long ago when we were getting ready to homeschool highschool. We all were SO intimidated! There’s so much riding on a successful highschool experience…could we pull it off?

Yes! We found out that homeschool highschool years are the best years yet! Here’s what we have to say to you:

You CAN Do It!

Now that we have graduated our youngest and helped hundreds of local homeschool highschoolers graduate and go onto college and/or career, we can assure you that this it true. You CAN do it!

We’d like to help you get started homeschooling highschool! Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for some homeschool highschool bewares:

  • Comparison
  • Guilt
  • Perfection paralysis
  • Trend pressure
  • Curriculum hoarding

PLUS ways to avoid them!

AND 3 secrets for SUCCESS at homeschooling highschool.

What Does a Teen Need Most from Homeschool High School?


New Help for Homeschooling High School Parents!


After you listen to this encouraging episode, drop by Homeschool Sanity and learn some ways to avoid curriculum addiction!

HSHSP Ep 71: Newbie Homeschool Highschool Mom: You CAN Do It!


HSHSP Ep 70: What Happens When the Last Kid Graduates?

This week on HSHSP Ep 70: What Happens When the Last Kid Graduates?

HSHSP Ep 70: What Happens When the Last Kid Graduates?

HSHSP Ep 70: What Happens When the Last Kid Graduates?

The idea of graduating the youngest kid inspires LOTS of mixed emotions:

  • Joy
  • Relief
  • Sadness
  • Confusion
  • Existential crisis
  • and MORE!

What happens when there are no more teens at home to educate? No more souls to guide and mold?

Recently the entire team at 7SistersHomeschool.com (sponsors of HSHSP) got together for our annual retreat. All 6 of us got together to discuss our experiences when the last kid graduates. We’ve all graduated our kids, 26 of them graduated homeschool highschool!

We’ve also helped hundreds of homeschool highschoolers in our local community find success in highschool, graduate and move onto the next phase of life. Some of those entered careers, military or homemaking immediately; most of our local homeschool graduates have gone onto college.

As our teens and our other local teens have been transitioning into adulthood, we’ve had the opportunity to discuss what happens next with many homeschool moms.

This episode of HSHSP, we discuss what happens when the last kid graduates:

  • Does time simply stop?
  • Does God have a plan?
  • Can we trust him for next steps?

That may sound silly when you see it in writing, but it doesn’t FEEL silly when you close that last textbook! Join us for some experienced wisdom, encouragement and guidance for getting started on that next part of life.

Also, contact our sponsor, Vicki Tillman at VickiTillmanCoaching.com for life transition coaching via Skype or phone.

BTW- there are 6 of us at 7SistersHomeschool.com…who is the 7th Sister? YOU are!!

Omega Moms: Life After Last Kid Graduates

What Retired Homeschool Moms Tell Me

HSHSP Ep 70: What Happens When the Last Kid Graduates?

HSHSP Ep 66: Preparing Middle Schoolers for High School


This week on HSHSP Ep 66: Preparing Middle Schoolers for High School.

HSHSP Ep 66: Preparing Middle Schoolers for High School What life and study skills do middle schoolers need in preparing for highschool?

Preparing Middle Schoolers for High School

Are you preparing middle schoolers for high school? Are they ready for the rigors of high-school level studies? Feeling stressed about it?

Never fear! HSHSP is here to help. With years of homeschooling middle school AND high school we have discovered a few REALLY helpful tips!

Some parents get SO stressed out about the high school years. They fearfully ask themselves: Can our tween do high-school level academics? Should we make our tween jump ahead to high-school level textbooks?

You know what we tell those parents? WHEN your tween is a teen and is IN high school, they will be developmentally ready for high school academics. While some middle schoolers are advanced academically, most are not. Why push an average-level tween to do super difficult academics? That’s a recipe for burnout!

Rather than push your middle schooler before they are ready for high-school academics, think about this:

One of the surprising things we’ve learned is that high schoolers need life skills and study skills that are a bit more complex than they needed in middle school. If they begin working on those during middle school, they won’t need to play catch up while they are trying to keep up with their academics.

THAT’S important stuff middle schoolers can do to prepare for high school.

Join Sabrina and Marilyn for an important episode on life skills and study skills that middle schoolers need when preparing for high school!

You may also enjoy these posts from 7SistersHomeschool.com.

Homeschooling Average Middle Schoolers: High School Can Wait!


Top 10 Goals for Homeschool Middle School





HSHSP Ep 66: Preparing Middle Schoolers for High School

How can you help a middle schooler be ready for the rigors of high school?

HSHSP Ep 65: Homeschooling in UK and US

HSHSP Ep 65: Homeschooling in UK and USHSHSP Ep 65: Homeschooling in UK and US

We’re SO excited for Episode 65! We’re talking to our friend, Kat Patrick today!

Kat has lived for 25 years and homeschooled her kids in England (United Kingdom). Her family’s recent move to Texas is quite a change for them!

She is chatting with us about the differences in homeschooling between the UK and the US! Things are quite different there but homeschooling is popular. You don’t want to miss this fun geography lesson!

Kat is a fascinating person. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Delaware, the very university where several of the HSHSP team’s homeschool graduates are going to college. She moved to England and has enjoyed 25 years there.

When her teens began homeschooling highschool, Kat found that she needed to develop her own English course for her homeschool highschoolers because she couldn’t find a best-fit course for them. That course soon became an internet program with students all over the world. You can check her program out at Dreaming Spires Home Learning.

Dr. Kat Patrick adventuring in the US. Used with permission.

Dr. Kat Patrick adventuring in the US. Used with permission.

Kat blogs at boyschooling.blogspot.com. She is a contributor to Learning Tangent homeschool magazine.

Here’s a wonderful article about Kat’s family and their homeschool that was done by a major newspaper in UK (the SAT that article refers to is more of an achievement test, not a college admissions test).

Join us for this wonderful chat about the difference between homeschooling in England and US.



HSHSP Ep 64: Grammar- Gotta Have It!

HSHSP Ep 64: Grammar- Gotta Have It! Highschool grammar is a must!HSHSP Ep 64: Grammar- Gotta Have It!

You’d think that after 8 years of grammar through elementary and middle school, that teens wouldn’t need to study grammar any longer!

We’ve noticed in our years as homeschool advisors and homeschool moms, that teens in this generation need grammar more than ever. How about essays include lines like:

What do u think about…?

Its more then I can bare. ROFL!

In this day of texting and automatic spellchecker, some embarrassing and unprofessional things can happen in writing. Teens need the skills to edit their own work after the automated tools finish!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Marilyn for ways to make highschool-level grammar useful, if not fun!


And if your teen is struggling about future career and college major choices, contact Vicki@VickiTillmanCoaching.com.


Why Teens Hate Editing Papers and How to Help

4 Steps to Help Teens Learn Revising and Editing Skills