Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian.

Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian. Helping teens fulfill who God made them to be.

Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian

Cheryl Bastian is a homeschool advisor. Her calling is empowering homeschool parents based on her experiences as a homeschool mom of eight. (Her children range in ages from five through thirty-one, so she has seen the gamut of homeschooling from kindergarten through graduation.)

Cheryl learned early on that homeschooling at its best is a “tutorial process” that helps homeschoolers develop their interests and abilities.  Like we 7Sisters always say is that homeschooling parents get to bring out the best that God has created in our kids and help it develop. Cheryl has found this is exactly her job as a homeschool mom and trains parents in working with their homeschoolers.

Cheryl has served as evaluator and advisor in her state for twenty-five years and has found that the homeschooling families that love their educational processes the most are the ones who are employing interest-led studies.

What is interest-led learning for homeschool high school?

They are an extension of the unit studies we did with our kids when they were younger and tailored to:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you working on?

Cheryl gives the example of her son’s Boy Scouts Eagle Project. He was building a shed. She found that in doing the project, he was:

  • Doing research
  • Learning basic construction skills (.5 credit)
  • Learning basic architectural drawing (.5 credit)
  • Learning construction math (elective hours)
  • Learning professional writing

The homeschool transcript is a one-page snapshot of who your high schooler is and is interested in, so she captured all these on her son’s transcript.

Cheryl also gives the example of her daughter, who when she was a high school senior, helped get Cheryl’s mom into a new level of care. She:

  • Helped care for her grandmother
  • Attended financial-planning meetings
  • Attended living and care team meetings
  • Learned about adult geriatrics
  • Learned advocacy skills

Cheryl’s daughter logged her hours in each category and was able to capture a Care and Concerns for the Elderly elective credit.

BTW- the way Cheryl decided on the name of the credit was by doing a Google search for elder-care courses in local colleges. Then she compared course descriptions to the things her daughter learned.

For documentation on interest-led courses, Cheryl has her homeschool high schoolers:

  • Keep logs of hours (note what was done, when and where- keep it basic)
  • Keep documentation (photos/scrapbooks, emails, reports, letters)
  • Also has discussions with homeschool high schoolers on planning, updates and accountability

So, Cheryl has been able to help her teens make the educational most of the circumstances life has given them!

When working with homeschooling parents, Cheryl advises parents:

  • Be an observer of your teens:
    • What are they naturally drawn to?
    • What are they doing with their time?
    • What makes their eyes light up?
  • Help them capture these things on their transcript as electives.
    • This creates a transcript that truly shows your teen’s interests and abilities.
  • Make yourself available for discussions
  • Arrange interviews or lunch dates with someone engaged in that interest
  • Find volunteer work or training in a related area
  • Teach them professional writing (for instance, writing letters)
  • Teach them to ask for favors
  • Teach them time management
  • Keep yourself open to ideas and phases in your teens’ lives.
    • Even your non-verbals can relay your interest and caring: Smile, relax your shoulders, listen attentively
    • Remember: Questions invite relationship. Do not be afraid of their questions. It just means your teens are on the edge of solving a problem.
  • Welcome unexpected events and experiences.
  • Remember, your teens are on a journey in life. They do not know all of God’s plans yet, nor do you. Allow God to guide and unfold their future by providing encouragement and opportunities.
  • Remember, there’s no ceiling on learning.
  • Remember, God has plans!

These are truly the life skills that will help your homeschool high schoolers succeed in life.

Check out Cheryl Bastian’s Celebrate Simple at and her Celebrate Simple Facebook page , and her high school book: Celebrate High School.

And join Vicki and Cheryl for this encouraging chat.


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Interest-led Learning for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Cheryl Bastian

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