Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

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

Ten Tips for a Terrific Transcript

Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

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

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

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

    Click image for full description.

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #1

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #2

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

Transcript Tip #3

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

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

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

Start the transcript in the 9th Grade

Transcript Tip #4

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

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #5

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

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

Levels can be used for other courses also.

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

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

Check this post for details on levels on a transcript.

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

Transcript Tip #6

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

Transcript Tip #7

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

  • Weighted or
  • Unweighted

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

Transcript Tip #8

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

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

Transcript Tip #9

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

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

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

Transcript Tip #10

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

Include this information at the top of the transcript:

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

This distinguishes your teen from other applicants with similar names.

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

Want more support?

Check out

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

Join Vicki for encouragement and tips for terrific transcripts!

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A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers.

How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers

 

How to Find Scholarships for Homeschoolers

College is SO expensive! Scholarships can really help alleviate the financial burden. We are often asked to share tips for finding college scholarships, so that’s what we will do in this week’s episode!

Let’s start with some good news and bad news about college scholarships

There is good news, so take a breath! On the other hand, there is bad news, also. With that in mind, let’s get the bad news over with.

Here’s the bad news about finding scholarships for homeschoolers:

So many homeschool families feel a “keep up with the Joneses” pressure for their homeschool high schoolers. The pressure tells them that their teens must have a full-ride scholarship to college…or else they have all failed. Homeschool moms need to show their success by their homeschool graduates getting totally free college.

We know there are programs and people who peddle the idea that they can help you find those full-ride scholarships. However, the difficult truth is that VERY FEW teens get full-ride scholarships to college. Very few.

In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics’ recent National Postsecondary Student Aid Study found that in 2015-16 (the most recent study) seventy-two percent of undergraduates received some sort of financial aid. However, only 0.2 percent received $25,000 or more in scholarships.

So if your homeschool high schoolers do not go off to college with a full scholarship, that means they are normal. My advice to you? Get out of the comparison game. You and your family are supposed to be your family…not the Joneses.

Here’s the good news about finding scholarship for homeschoolers:

The good news is that there is scholarship money out there. In fact, that NCES study also found that in the 2015-16 academic year, $61 billion in scholarships were awarded to 1.58 million students. Thus, there was scholarship money available. All told, approximately one in eight college students received an average of $4202 per student.

Every $4202 helps.

With that in mind, may I ask you a favor? Do not miss the joys of homeschooling high school because you are fretting about how on earth your teen can work hard enough and long enough to win a full scholarship to their favorite college.

Make the most of high school and help your teens do their best, but do not miss the fun of these wonderful years.

Neither you nor your teen are a failure if she doesn't get a big scholarship

So let’s look at scholarships and financial help for homeschoolers

There are a number of ways to help reduce your homeschool graduate’s financial stress about college. BTW- Here’s a college-planning timeline to keep you organized.

File the FAFSA

The first thing you need to know, is that many scholarships and most financial aid require you and your teen to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is a long application that both you and your teen will complete online. It asks for your prior, prior year’s income (two years ago), as well as the same from your homeschool graduate.

The FAFSA helps determine if your teen is eligible for various Federal Aid programs and is the open door to many scholarships. For instance, some of the Federal Financial Aid programs include:

  • Federal Subsidized Loans (must be paid back)
  • Pell Grants (need-based grants, not required to be paid back)
  • Some other grants and opportunities such as SEOG grants
  • Work-study programs

Once the FAFSA is filled out, the government sends your information to the college of your choice. At that college, the financial aid committee hashes out the details of what you will actually receive.

Look at community colleges

Many states have free tuition for the first two years of college, or through receiving the Associates in Arts degree. Each state has different rules for these programs. Check your state department of education’s website to find out.

Tuition discount discounts at local colleges for local residents

Many colleges have tuition discounts for local residents. Check the college website to see if your local college includes one of these programs. Each college is different with its rules for these program (some require a certain GPA, for instance).

Merit-based scholarships

These are scholarships that vary from college to college. With that thought, you and your teen will need to see which merit-based scholarships are available. Which one fits your homeschool high schooler’s accomplishments?

Some merit scholarships include:

  • Academic (for very high GPA, SAT/ACT scores or academic awards)
  • Artistic (be sure to take your portfolio with you for college tours- ask for an appointment with the dean or academic advisors for that major)
  • Athletics (for high-performing athletes). Check with your teen’s coaches and college of interest’s athletic director to find out what they are looking for.

Demographic scholarships

Some scholarships are based on who you are, rather than what you have accomplished. For instance:

  • Children of military veterans
  • Special groups of people, according to the interest of a college

Needs-based scholarships

These scholarships, or tuition discounts, are given to students based on financial need.

One thing to know about these kinds of scholarships is that the amount of the needs-based scholarship is affected by (reduced by) other scholarships that come from other sources. This does not mean that teens should not apply for other scholarships.

Rather, it means that high school seniors should decide where they want to put their time and energy. Perhaps instead of spending hundreds of hours on scholarship searches, they might find a better use of their time and effort.

Other scholarships

Now, down to the actual scholarship hunt. Here are some ideas:

  • For teens who decide to go on a scholarship hunt, one resource to check out is Fastweb.com. It touts itself as “your connection to scholarships, colleges, financial aid and more”.
  • Look for local organizations who are investing in the community through scholarships.
  • Think about your teen’s niche. For instance, if your teens has a skill such as farrier that might earn them a scholarship from the National Farrier’s Convention (I just made that organization up, btw.)
  • If they are involved in a local organization, it might have small scholarships for local teens.
  • Scholarship competitions.
  • Our friend, Meryl, at Homeschooling with Technology podcast has even MORE information on tracking down scholarships.
  • Also, the College Prep Genius podcast has a bunch of little known scholarships.

All of these scholarships work well for homeschool graduates who will not be receiving needs-based financial aid.

Google these organizations and find out if they have scholarships available. If you find that they do, be sure to follow their rules to the letter.

The most important thing to remember is: You do not need to get an ulcer over this. The most important things are to educate your teens, train them for adulthood and help them become good people. God has plans for your teens.

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

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  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
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A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

How to Teach Co-op Classes

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Co-op Classes.

How to Teach Co-op Classes

How to Teach Co-op Classes

Are you teaching your homeschool co-op’s classes for teens, this year? Feel a little intimidated? That’s normal and okay. However, you can have the best years yet with homeschooling your homeschool teen co-op courses!

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. In that same way, there’s not one-right way to homeschool co-op!

So, what are the practical tips for handling teaching co-op classes for teens?

We 7Sisters have taught homeschool co-op and group classes for decades (even online homeschool classes). We have found a few tips that make teaching the teens go so much better. These same ideas will help you if your co-op is online this year, too.

Know the subject and topic that you are going to teach

I know that sounds obvious, but just in case you were told to teach “History”, you will need to make sure which history you are going to teach! Will it be American History, World History, a special elective History topic? Or will it be a Social Studies/Social Science topic like Geography, Economics, Civics or Psychology? It is so much easier to plan and prepare when that much is clarified!

Clarify the goals for this course

Make sure you are on the same page with the rest of the co-op on these important goals:

Will the class be:

  • One semester
  • Full year

What are specific goals for the course? For instance:

  • We will have completed a curriculum by the end of the (semester or year)
  • Students will have been introduced to the topic through experiences and discussion over the (semester or year)
  • Other goals or a combination

If you are clear about your goals, others can know up front what to expect (and adjust their expectations- or do something somewhere else).

Discover what curriculum or materials you will use.

One way to explore curriculum and material ideas is to bring the topic up in a Facebook group. Homeschool moms in groups are often thrilled to share about what they have used, along with what they liked and did not like. Some of our favorite Facebook groups are:

Be sure to read the descriptions of materials on the publisher’s website? You can usually contact the publisher at their “contact me” or chatbot with specific questions. Also, don’t forget to look at excerpts on their site as well as look for co-op discounts (like 7SistersHomeschool’s fabulous co-op discounts).

Be certain about the level of instruction you are aiming for

Will you be working with:

  • A group of college-bound teens who like intense academics?
  • College-bound teens who just need to get this course out of the way?
  • Career-bound teens who just need the basics?
  • A mixture of the above that will need a mixture of levels of rigor?

Write a course description

This will be something that parents will want to see. Also, occasionally colleges, college athletics or military recruiters will want to see course descriptions.

Course descriptions include:

  • Title of course
  • Curriculum and methods of instruction (text, real books, inquiry-based activities, projects, field trips or whatever)
  • Topics to be covered (you can use table of contents in textbook)
  • How the course will be graded
  • Amount of credit the teen will be earning
  • Level of rigor at which the course will be taught

Create a syllabus

Email or give your homeschool high schoolers a copy. The syllabus will let your students know what to do each week for class. This helps teens develop independent learning skills. Also, for college-bound teens, learning to use syllabi is perfect college-prep skills!

A good idea to include in your planning and syllabus is to include one or more of the following:

  • Hands-on projects
  • Field trips if possible
  • Tests and/or papers

BTW- at 7Sisters we have a guide for how to create a syllabus along with suggested syllabi for many of our courses.

Field trips are fun for homeschool co-ops

When it is time for co-op to start, at the beginning of each class, include a grabber

Grabbers are a way to get students’ heads in the game for each class- it grabs their attention and gets them focused on the lesson at hand. Some grabbers include:

Encourage discussion times in the class

One way to handle this is to use poker chips.

  • At the beginning of class, give each student three or four poker chips (unless there is an extraordinarily shy teen or one with a disability that makes verbal participation difficult).
  • The students get to hand back a chip for each question they answer or on-topic comment they make.
  • When they are out of chips, they have done their talking for the day. (This slows the over-talkers down and encourages the quieter ones to speak.)

Ask for feedback through the year

Periodically during the year, ask your homeschool high school class:

  • What were your favorite topics so far?
  • What were your favorite projects, field trips or activities?

As far as covering the material in a textbook, there are several ways to handle this in your co-op class

  • Have teens read that day’s lesson ahead of time
  • Read it together in class
  • Read it yourself, week by week, and then teach it. Teens can read it later as homework.

At the end of the year, give each student some personal feedback

Don’t just give them a final grade, but also give each student a positive comment about a strength you saw in them over the year. This can have a big impact in the teen’s life.

Be sure to check out 7SistersHomeschool’s Authoritative Guide to Homeschool Co-ops. That post has SO much free information. While you are at it, check out these Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes about co-ops:

Hey, also, don’t forget that there are other awesome podcasts here at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. One of the most helpful is Homeschooling with Technology. You will be amazed at how much rich information and how many resources you will find there. PLUS there are TONS of episodes about Homeschool Co-ops at Homeschool CPA podcast.

Join Vicki for a discussion on teaching homeschool co-op classes for teens.

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College Success Tips for Homeschool Graduates, Interview with John Lenschow

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Success Tips for Homeschool Graduates, Interview with John Lenschow.

College Success Tips for Homeschool Graduates

College Success Tips for Homeschool Graduates

Vicki is joined this week by John … He is a professor at John Brown University. He also teaches youth group in church and leads missions trips. John had a chance to be involved in the homeschooling world through his own college studies. He had a course in his Masters program on Christian education and learned about homeschooling in that light. This got him excited about homeschooling. Then his sister decided to homeschool her two children and he has had a chance to watch homeschooling in action there. So, although John has no children of his own, he loves the homeschool community and educational choice.

When John began to teach at John Brown University, he noticed in the ministry and Bible classes he was teaching that homeschool graduates shined. He was impressed with their ability to be self-starters and have a good attitude. (He has been teaching at John Brown University for fifteen years. BTW- this John Brown is not the famous John Brown of history class. Rather, this John Brown was an evangelist who started a trade school that became a university. They recently celebrated their one hundredth anniversary as a Christian university.)

When his niece and nephew started homeschooling high school, John’s sister asked him to teach his Bible classes to her kids. They were living in different states but he was able to teach them online.

Vertical Academy

John started Vertical Academy out of this project for helping his nephew and niece to shore up their biblical literacy and worldview, based on the courses he teaches at college. (The Vertical Academy offers self-paced digital and live zoom classes on the Old Testament, New Testament, and Foundations of Christian Faith.)

His classes work on teaching teens to see the big picture and historical context on Scripture. Then he helps his students learn skills for application to their lives. Check out Vertical Academy.

With John’s experience as a college professor, he has a heart to see young people succeed in college. You can check out Vertical Academy for these college success tips, too.

Here are the things that John has found are helpful for homeschool graduates who are starting college.

Start your journey to college success by reviewing the skills you are learning in homeschool high school.

Your college-preparation study and life skills (hone these skills in high school so you are ready to use them in college):

At college, think about each class as a series of relationships. Relationships take:

  • Time
  • Effort
  • You get out of them what you put into them

There are four relationships in a college class:

  • Best friend
  • Next best friend
  • Third and Fourth best friends

Your syllabus is your BEST friend in college classes.

Your best friend in the class is your syllabus

Therefore, treat this syllabus as you would your best friend. Spend time with it, read it, follow it

  • Syllabi might follow different formats: hard copy, email, moodle…whatever form it comes, follow it! It will inform you about important things you can use for success:
  • It will tell you which textbooks to get
    • Your syllabus will tell you what to read. Read it.
    • If you read your text before class, you will know some about what you are going to learn, this will help the information stick better.
  • Put due dates for assignments and tests on your calendar at the beginning of the semester. Schedule backwards from there.
  • Understand the policies and procedures of the class.
  • Know how much each assignment is worth.

If you know your best friend well, you won’t irritate your second best friend by asking questions about the class that are on the syllabus!

The second best friend in your college class is your professor

Professors are there to help students- not to punish or keep them from passing! Feel free to communicate with them:

  • Send emails with questions that are succinct, that state your case. Check your email for replies.
  • Visit your professor during office hours. Really. Do this, especially if you have a question.
    • Try not to linger after class to ask; he or she may have another class to rush to.
  • Remember, it is not a bother to your professor for you to visit during office hours. Teachers want you to come by during office hours.
    • It helps to get to know a student and give them a boost in their learning.

The third relationship is class content

Class content covers many things:

  • Books
  • Lectures
  • Videos
  • Discussions
  • Assignments and project
  • Any other content

Take advantage of the time you have. Use it and the class content to your advantage. This will help you treat each content area as an opportunity to learn.

The fourth relationship is your peers

Get to know them! You do not need to make them your best, best friends. However, your peers in class can help you succeed in college.

  • Find a study group (teach each other)
  • Do your best with group projects
  • If you miss a class, a good peer relationship can fill you in and share notes

Bonus tips:

John has some bonus tips for college success.

  • Get to class on time!
    • If you come late to class, it is distracting and says something about how you view the class.
  • Do not leave early.
    • Vicki is always reminding teens not to close their books or computers until the teacher is through teaching! This shows respect.
  • Remember, if you have had a bad relationship with a class in the past, give your college classes a fresh start. You may find you love these new relationships.

Join Vicki and John for a helpful look at college success for homeschool graduates. While you’re at it, check out Vertical Academy.

Also check out these helpful college-readiness episodes:

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

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

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

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Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School.

Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School

Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School

For homeschool high schoolers, one of the most time consuming components of English/Language Arts is the writing. Then one of the most time-consuming components of ELA for homeschooling parents is the grading and goal-setting process. We receive so many questions on goals and grading writing that we decided we should talk about it here on the podcast.

Let’s start with grading. Here is the simple answer for grading writing assignments: Use a rubric!

What’s a rubric?

A rubric is a tool that helps homeschool parents know what value to assign each aspect of their teens’ writing assignments. There are a gazillion ways to create a rubric, based on what is being emphasized in each writing project.

Where do you find rubrics?

You can create you own rubrics or download one off the internet (there are SO many variations on the internet, so you will find something that feels right to you).

For your convenience, we 7Sisters have saved you the time and trouble and included rubrics in our writing curriculum for:

You can even adjust the rubrics to fit your goals for your homeschool high schoolers!

Goals for writing in homeschool high school

Which leads us to the next questions that we receive so often:

  • “I don’t know what the goals should be for my teens’ writing each year. Help?”
  • “I don’t really like writing myself, so how can I set goals for my teens?”
  • “How can I know the priorities for writing?”

Let us help out a bit. Let’s define what the most helpful goals for writing can be. (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, so you adapt our advice to your own family’s needs.)

Goals for writing: What is the heart and soul of writing?

One of the things we have noticed over the years is that sometimes writing curriculum focuses so much on the mechanics of writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation) that there is absolutely nothing left for fun or inspiration.

Teens often need purpose, meaning and inspiration in their writing. Teens often do best when they know the “WHY” of writing. Do you know the why of writing, BTW?

The purpose of writing is communication!

The purpose of writing is communication.

The purpose of writing is communicating so that people understand what teens are feeling, thinking, learning, being inspired by. So they should ask themselves for each assignment, “What am I trying to communicate here?”

  • For instance, in a comparison and contrast essay about something. The purpose is to help the reader understand what you thought about the similarities and differences of whatever is being compared.
  • For a research paper, the purpose is to communicate what your teen has learned about a subject while doing their research on the topic. (As opposed to the idea that a research paper is about a teen’s opinion about what they are learning. The goal of research papers is information presentation, not opinion presentation.)

One of the best gifts we can give our teens is lots of practice organizing and communicating their thoughts. High school writing can help train teens on thinking and sharing those thoughts through life.

If a teen starts a writing project with those goals in mind, and the grader keeps those goals in mind, life will be easier for both! SO, start out each writing project with a discussion with parent and teen on the goals. Make it clear. Go over the rubric together.

BTW- We 7Sisters have graded SO many papers over the many years of teaching our kids and others. It has not been unusual for teens to complain about writing. However, after graduation and teens have entered adulthood, they have often come back to us and said, “thanks for all the writing”!

Also, know that grading and goals will vary for teens who have different abilities

All teens are different. This is good. So grading cannot be one-size-fits-all!

  • Teens who struggle with reading and writing, will need a simpler rubric and adaptations of goals.
    • BTW-if you have a struggling writer, go easy on the red-pen corrections. Instead, work together on several revisions with lots of encouragement.
  • A teen who is headed to college as a humanities major will need lots of writing with higher-level thinking and word usage. Adapt your rubrics to their needs.
  • Teens who are reluctant but able, need to concentrate on fun, short assignments at first, then gradually grow the assignments.
  • Teens who overthink things, need page limits.

So think about what your teens’ abilities, personalities and goals for after graduation are. As the parent, you know your teens and their needs. Adapt goals and grading to fit those needs.

For lots more information on writing requirements and grading for homeschool high schoolers, check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide post.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for an informative discussion on goals and grading for homeschool high school writing.

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Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

Why Teach Human Development in Homeschool High School?

When Vicki was in graduate school for counseling, she specialized Human Development. She loved it so much because as a mom, she was watching Human Development develop in her own kids! After all Human Development is the study of how people grown and change from womb to old age.

So, when her kids started to homeschool high school, she wanted them to have a Human Development course for their homeschool transcripts. She felt like it would be great life preparation, since it is likely that they would interact with people the rest of their lives and understand why people at different ages do different things would be helpful. It would help them understand their baby brother learning object permanence or their grandfather who always told the same stories over and over.

Unfortunately for Vicki, there was no high school Human Development text available to homeschool high schoolers, especially one from a Christian worldview. SO, what to do? In typical 7SistersHomeschool fashion, Vicki wrote her own text! Also in typical 7SistersHomeschool fashion, she wrote 7Sisters Human Development from a Christian Worldview text to cover the necessary scope and sequence but with no-busywork and readable (and enjoyable) by an average teen. Then, in typical 7SistersHomeschool fashion, she included instructions for leveling up to Honors credit in a meaningful way for the college-bound teens.

What is Human Development in Homeschool High School?

The study of the physical, cognitive, emotional and social changes that people experience as they grow from womb to old age.

For instance, adolescents go through a cognitive process called metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to think about thinking. Metacognitive teens think about who they are, what they feel, what the believe and why things are what they are. When teens learn from their Human Development course that the metacognitive process they are experiencing is natural and normal, they can enjoy the process!

Also, Human Development learn their two-year-old siblings (or the kids they are babysitting) are stomping their feet and saying, “NO!” (Toddlers are going through the early stages of finding out they are individuals. They find out where their personhood “stops” by testing out “No!”

They also learn about why their parents push them to accomplish stuff (middle-aged parents are in the “generative stage”- needing to be productive).

Is Human Development a good course for homeschool co-op?

It sure is! Human Development can be a blast! Not only do homeschool high schoolers have the chance to learn and discuss what they are learning and experiencing in their own families, but there are so many fun things that can be done in the co-op setting.

For instance, homeschool co-ops can:

  • Invite moms to bring their babies to class and discuss their pregnancies, delivery process (a favorite story of our local teens is our 7Sister Kym telling the story about finding out she was having twins when the twins were born!)
  • Watch the babies and see how they interact and guess what they are learning and doing.
  • Invite toddlers to class, provide them homemade clay or blocks and watch them play.
  • Invite kindergarteners to class and do fun exercises together like walking on chalk lines or hop on one foot. Give them crayons and watch them draw.
  • Invite grandparents to come and talk about their lives: adventures, parenting their own kids, what they are doing now.

Homeschool co-ops are also a wonderful place to allow teens to present projects they have done related to things that interest them about Human Development.

Hey, did you know that we will provide a homeschool co-op discount for Human Development from a Christian Worldview and all our texts?

Also, you can find lesson plans for co-op teachers and a suggested syllabus for your homeschool co-op classes.

Is 7SistersHomeschool’s Human Development from a Christian Worldview a preachy text?

No way! Teens do not need to be preached at! However, the idea that God created people is implied through the text.

Join Vicki for an informative chat about her favorite subject: Human Development!

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Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits.

Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

Activities to Enrich Psychology Credits

We want homeschool high schoolers to LIKE PSYCH! That’s why Kym and Vicki are talking about engaging activities to enrich Psychology credits in this episode! When you take an engaging text and add some engaging activities you can liven up (and level up) the Psychology credit. This makes the course more memorable and inspiring for teens.

We would like teens to like Psychology if they go into the field (Vicki is always praying for more young people to go into the mental health field- there simply are not enough counselors out there). We would like teens to like Psychology if they do not go into the field. (A good Psychology text can give teens helpful life skills- and lots of interesting information to talk about.)

Vicki originally wrote 7SistersHomeschool’s Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective decades ago when her oldest teens were homeschooling high school. She wanted them to have a Psychology text, but at that time, there were none. She also wanted a Psychology text that would be informed by Christian worldview but NOT preachy. SO she had to create it herself based on her training and work as a licensed professional counselor.

Since that time both Vicki and Kym have taught the course in homeschool co-ops and group classes at their local homeschool umbrella school. They added additional lesson plans based on the chapter topics in the text (with help from fellow homeschool mom and counselor, Gretchen Mahoney). They also added a freebie suggested syllabus that can be adapted for various homeschooling needs.

That’s not to mention all the stuff that Kym does with her umbrella school classes. (She is too busy having fun to write those down!)

So, they decided to share these engaging activities to enrich Psychology credits in this week’s Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode!

Here are some ideas for doing cool things to help teens LIKE PSYCH!

Idea #1: Teach in any order you please, in any way you please

Engaging activities help teens like Psych!

Ideas for learning about the brain

  • Make a model of the brain using homemade dough (using guidelines in the text)
  • Watch a video of a dissection of the human brain (Kym likes it but only offers this to students with a strong constitutin)
  • Watch an interactive brain video or download an interactive brain app.

Ideas for perception

  • Do the optical illusions and look more up online
  • If you are in the Philadelphia region, go to the Franklin Institute exhibits about the brain and perceptions OR if you are not in the area, check out their teaching resources
  • Discuss branding in advertisements
  • Spend a while experiencing different odors and note emotional reactions

Ideas for genetics

  • Discuss nature versus nurture in your own family
  • Make some fun Punnet squares based on family traits (think: Does ADHD run in the family? Does anxiety run in the family? Does color blindness run in the family?
  • Look up the work of seeing eye dogs (visit one if you can)

Ideas for learning

  • Discuss how the concept of Pavlov’s dogs have been integrated into American culture
  • Watch clips of classic television shows where classic conditioning occurs
    • Here’s a link to Kym’s favorite YouTube clips from Big Bang Theory https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=social+learning+theory+big+bang+theory+

Ideas of the history of Psychology

  • Have students create a short presentation on a topic from those chapters
  • Discuss which of Freud’s concepts are in the common vocabulary

Ideas for communication

  • Discuss non-verbals (and how reading non-verbals are affected by Covid-related mask wearing)
  • Play games where you act out emotions with non-verbals and have others guess which emotions
  • Practice saying sentences with the emphasis on different words and note the difference of connotation

Ideas for needs and motivation

  • Draw your own Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Discuss how the pandemic affected where various people groups experienced the Hierarchy of Needs
  • Discuss how being low on the hierarchy might affect school success
  • Write a paper about what you would take if you were going to be stranded alone on an island
  • Watch the movie: Castaway

Ideas for personality

Ideas for sleep

  • Keep a sleep log for a week (what they did before they went to bed, what were they doing and thinking about as they went to sleep, the quality and length of sleep)
  • Watch videos on how sleep deprivation affects reaction time in driving or test taking (see the Lesson Plans)
  • Discuss how sleep apnea affects quality of sleep

Ideas for abnormal psych

  • Remind students not to diagnose themselves or anything else and to NOT stress about this chapter
  • Discuss abnormal psych in a way that is not judgmental or fear-mongering
  • Don’t dwell here but tell teens we want to concentrate on the good things we can do

Ideas for psychological health and helping others/crisis intervention

Ideas for psychological testing

  • Discuss which tests teens have experienced and which ones they might experience soon (like SAT or ACT)
  • Discuss reliability and validity of tests

Ideas for Christian counseling and careers in counseling

Ideas for understanding research and statistics

Kym quoted her father (who worked for FBI): Figures don’t lie but liars figure!

  • Discuss critical thinking and validity of information. Find examples of poor and good research and statistics use

What would you add to our list? Add your ideas in the comments and join Kym and Vicki for this discussion on engaging activities to enrich psychology credits!

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Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush.

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

Gap years are becoming a more and more popular idea. Our new friend, Jonathan Brush, offered to talk about this concept with us.

Jonathan Brush is president and CEO of Unbound, an organization that develops young Christian leaders, and Ascend, a gap-year program. Jonathan himself is a homeschool graduate and homeschools his kids. Two of those have graduated, one is in high school, with more to follow. He’s “been there and has been there”!

Jonathan was a pioneer as a homeschooler: he was the first homeschool graduate to attend his college. Then he went on to work for the college as director of admissions for eleven years. Then he worked for several year for College Plus (some of us old timers remember those early days of online college opportunities). College Plus became Unbound and is thriving in the new format!

Jonathan Brush BeUnbound.com

Jonathan Brush Photo used with permission

Unbound’s Ascend gap-year program is timely. With the expense of college, it is wise to have future plans sorted out at least somewhat before they launch into that commitment. Jonathan points out that high schoolers are expected to have answers for questions about the future that they don’t even know how to ask yet: What’s your future career? What’s your major? (With the implication that if they don’t know the answers, they are sunk.)

This is not not the best way to handle career decision making. Teens often can’t know their future yet, because the job market is so ever-changing that there will be careers in a few years that don’t even exist now.

Gap year is a logical response to this. Gap year is a great way to stop and move from an “I have to have the answers paradigm” to an “I am asking questions” paradigm. Let me ask questions and move through a process of growth and discovery. Gap years give teens an opportunity for that.

Jonathan also points out that higher education has changed over the last few years. Traditionally, teens went immediately to college, lived in dorms, graduated in four years. These days, there are so many formats and timelines for college, that young people have choices that best fits their needs. Delaying one year will not negatively impact homeschool graduates.

Some questions homeschool high schoolers can ask about gap year:

If your homeschool graduate would like to take a gap year, use the time to move through this list of questions.

  • Do I need a college degree?
    • If I can’t immediately answer “yes”, then don’t start getting one yet. If you answer “no”, don’t get guilted or pressured into tackling a college degree. You can always get a degree later if you find it is necessary.
  • How can I begin an exercise of curiosity and answer these questions:
    • What would I like to learn about?
    • What kinds of things to I want to do?
    • What’s the best way to do that?
  • Gap years can be years of travel, study, work, missions, exploration (or programs like Ascend).

Gap year is an intentional process of discovery!- Jonathan Brush on Homeschool Highschool Podcast

The key for a successful gap year is to be deliberate!

Keep working on clarifying the questions you want to ask and follow up with plans for exploration.

Here’s a plan:

Use a “deciding forward” model.

This is a simple way to learn into exploration and decision making.

  • Step 1: Decide on a goal, not a fancy goal, just something simple that can be measured as success (it can be a small success goal or a larger success goal.)
  • Step 2: Decide on a first step and carry it out
  • Step 3: Lock in your learning: Reflect on what you learned in that first step
  • Step 4: Decide if you want to keep on pursuing this goal or change goals (this is the purpose of gap year- exploration! Deciding not to pursue something is as important as deciding to pursue something.)
  • Step 5: Decide on a new goal or a new next step. Keep moving!

Some things homeschool graduates have done for gap year:

  • Travel or take a trek
  • Earn some general education or exploring-interests college credits
  • Make some money and learn to manage money well
  • Explore careers of different kinds
  • Ministry, volunteer work or missions
  • Unbound program

Just remember to live deliberately! Think about what you want to do next. Follow the process and repeat as often as necessary. It is a way to intentionally live forward.

Gap year is an intentional process of discovery!

What is the role of parents in gap years?

Use a coaching model:

Keep asking the questions of the above model with your gap year homeschool graduates. (Don’t give answers, rather, help them think through their own answers. Keep asking questions.)

Unbound organization

Unbound is a projects-based education company. There’s a place for hard-core academics but not for all students. Jonathan has found that many young people need real skills more than they need the on-campus college degree. Students at Unbound work on real projects that really prepare them for the workforce. They also work on team projects to gain the team-member skills necessary for today’s job market. Teens work on leadership roles in various team capacities as well. Graduates of Unbound earn a certification as well as employable skills.

Unbound is a mostly online program. There are three live events (all expenses are paid to go to the events) as well. This is a variable-length program (one-three years).

There is also opportunity to work on transferrable college credit for those who want or need this.

There are networking and employment opportunities at “graduation” from the program.

This makes a phenomenal gap year program.

You can find Jonathan Brush on Facebook, Instagram, the Be Unbound podcast and his Unbound Youtube Channel.

Join Vicki and Jonathan for an enlightening discussion on gap years.

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Taking Gap Year after Graduation, Interview with Jonathan Brush

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School.

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Social Sciences for Homeschool High School

You may have noticed that some colleges want to see some Social Sciences on the high school transcript. SO what are the Social Sciences and how can you teach them with your homeschool high schoolers? Vicki is here to help!

Does your teen need Social Sciences on their transcript? Maybe! You can check several college websites that your homeschool high schooler might be interested in to find out what they are looking for. HOWEVER, even non-college-bound teens can benefit from a Social Science course. That’s because these courses are about life skills and understanding oneself.

What are Social Sciences?

They are a blend of Science (scientific study and research) and Social/History/Humanities/Anthropology (studying people: the ways the human body and brain work, the ways cultural groups and societies work together, the ways people grow and change over time). They are considered “soft science” as opposed to the “hard sciences” such as Chemistry.

The Social Sciences cover many subjects. You can choose the topic(s) that fit your teen’s needs:

Some colleges consider these to be Social Sciences:

  • Civics/Government
  • Economics

Other colleges want to see Social Science subjects such as:

  • Psychology
  • Human Development
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Political Science
  • Cultural Geography
  • sometime: Linguistics

Social Sciences: Good for transcript and life prep

Vicki’s homeschool high schoolers all covered Psychology and Human Development as credits on their transcripts, as well as partial credits in Linguistics and Cultural Development. They used 7Sisters Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective and Human Development from a Christian Worldview.

These curriculums cover the scope and sequence required for the subjects, but brought down to an average high school level so that most teens can read, enjoy and get benefit from the courses. Both texts include meaningful activities that teens can add if they want to level up their course to Honors.

How do you record Social Sciences on the homeschool transcript?

It’s according to what your teen needs!

  • If they need an elective, then record “Psychology” or “Human Development” (or whichever course) in the “Elective” section of the transcript.
  • If they need another Social Studies credit (or half credit), record it in the “Social Studies” section of the transcript.
  • If they need another General Science credit, record it in the “Science” section of the transcript. (Note: this cannot take the place of required “hard sciences” like Chemistry and Biology on the transcript.)
  • We 7Sisters have most often recorded the Social Sciences in the “Elective” or “Social Studies” sections of the homeschool transcript.
  • As you can see, there’s not ONE right way to handle Social Sciences!

BTW- If you need to understand more about how to handle homeschool transcripts, don’t wait until senior year! 7Sisters has an Authoritative Guide on how to handle transcripts as well as a downloadable, editable transcript template with instructions.

Hopefully your teen can take a Social Science course that will inspire them and give them some practical life tools. You can use a textbook or pull together a Carnegie unit credit of your own. (More info on a previous episode on Formats for Homeschool High School Courses.)

You can also choose the level at which level of rigor at which your teen is learning these courses:

  • AP level: These will usually be online courses  (AP courses must be approved by the College Board)
  • CLEP level: These courses are aimed at preparing students for a CLEP exam
  • Consider it an introduction to the topic and to gain life skills but handle it in a more lighthearted manner
    • That is why we present 7Sisters Psychology and Human Development courses in our don’t-kill-the-subject manner
    • We find that teens tend to like the course, then teens who need more College Prep or Honors level, really enjoy adding the specific extra material and activities for leveling up that we provide.

Discuss with your teen their goals for Social Sciences (and your goals for their high school work):

  • Non-college bound teens can do average level courses
  • Community-college bound teens can chose
  • Many colleges will want to see at least College Prep level, some will want to see Honors (check their websites)

Give your homeschool high schooler a syllabus for the course

Syllabi help teens stay on track with their coursework and take some pressure off of you.

If you have access to these courses at a co-op or group classes, it might be fun!

These are subjects that lend themselves to lively discussion and fun activities in a group. (If you would like to teach the texts in your co-op, check out the teacher lesson plans for Human Development and Psychology. Don’t forget to talk to us about co-op discounts.)

You can also take some Social Sciences through dual enrollment at the local community college

This has been a good use of time for some homeschool high schoolers. It has also been stressful for some (they can be work-intensive courses).

There’s not ONE right way to handle the Social Sciences for your homeschool high schoolers. Have fun with them!

Join Vicki for some practical tips on teaching Social Sciences for your homeschool high schoolers.

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Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving.

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving

If you are like Vicki, high school math is not your favorite subject. Whether we like it or not, Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry (at the least) are necessary for most homeschool high schoolers graduation requirements. Sometimes our teens do not like math OR are struggling learners so preparing for college math can be intimidating.

This week, Vicki is joined by David Irving of College Ready Math, who brings us some GOOD news: If your homeschool high schoolers can really get the concepts of Algebra down, they will have less trouble with the other courses. AND he has ideas on how to help struggling learners succeed.

So take a deep breath! There’s hope.

David Irving is the writer and publisher of the Parent’s Guide to Better Grades. David created this guide for parents of students in Title 1 schools in Chicago when he was single parenting a teen with ADHD. His son was struggling, so David began tutoring his son. He came up with some things that worked for his son, then later he and his new wife turned it into a guide which the schools snapped up and found success with.

David then brought the guides to schools in Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC and New York City and trained tutors in the methods that worked. The tutors went into the schools, especially those who had lots of struggling students. Then his program spread to religious and independent private schools.

David Irving of College Ready Math

David Irving of College Ready Math. Photo used with permission.

David then started on online company, College Ready Math, to prepare struggling math students to be successful for the mathematics they will face in high school and college. (David has heard from college advisors that sometimes the high school math that students learn do not prepare them well for college-level mathematics courses. They sometimes need to take some remedial math courses at the local community college to catch up. David wants to save some money and time by helping homeschool high schoolers be ready for those college math courses.

David says to concentrate on Algebra. Make sure all the gaps in learning are closed (make sure there is sufficient knowledge of all the Algebra concepts). That is what David’s College Ready math program is about: filling Algebra gaps.

If you homeschool high schooler is a struggling math learner, think about spending extra time on Algebra concepts.

In David’s online program (which is a supplement to the teen’s math text), student’s start with a pretest to determine what concepts need attention. (Or students can start at the beginning for a solid review.)

Here are things that teens need to be ready for college-level math:

  • Learn one concept per lesson.
  • Lessons should be short.
  • Work on mastery for each concept.
  • Learn by video and solving problems together.
  • Practice with repetition as often as necessary.
  • Include test prep for the placement test many teens must take in order to know which maths in college they need (Accuplacer).

David reminds us: If a teen needs to take remedial math courses in college, they do not get college credit for those courses. They do not get credit but they must pay for the courses. So why not make sure the math concepts are solid enough that they can do well on the college placement test.

For more on what colleges are looking for check out this interview with Murray State University’s Associate Provost, Dr. Renae Duncan and our tips at 7SistersHomeschool.

Here’s a thing to note: David’s College Ready Math program is mobile phone friendly. He has found that students who do not have internet bandwidth can still easily access the lessons on their phones.

Contact David Irving and College Ready Math and join Vicki and David for some encouragement for helping struggling learners prepare for college math.

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Help Struggling Learners Prepare for College Math, Interview with David Irving