How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

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

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

Everyone who knows 7Sister Vicki, knows she loves poetry and taught her teens (and our local homeschool teens) to love poetry also.

Unfortunately, there are lots of teens teens these days who have been trained by our modern culture to think of poetry in the same way they might think of liver and onions: It might be good for you but UGH! DISGUSTING!

In case your homeschool high schoolers have not had a chance yet to learn to love poetry, Vicki would like to share a few tips on why and how to teach poetry to teens.

One of the ways that Vicki inspired her local homeschoolers to enjoy poetry is teaching them poetry recitation. When they get started with it, teens actually find memorization and recitation to be rewarding (and even fun). For years, Vicki took the local homeschoolers to the regional speech meets for American Christian Schools International (ACSI allowed homeschoolers to participate as long as we provided judges). Often, our teens’ top performances were in poetry recitation.

At the ACSI speech competitions, there was a school from a large urban area. Most of the teens in the school were immigrants or inner-city youth. This school’s teens were always THE top performers in poetry recitation. Vicki once asked their advisor, Molly, why poetry was prioritized at their school.

Poetry builds skills in: *vocabulary *word usage and *communication

Molly explained that poetry gave her teens words: vocabulary,  word usage and communication skills in general. (She had the track record with these kids, too: Many of them, after high school graduation, went to high-powered colleges and became successful professionals, business people and educators.)

Vicki also saw the power of poetry memorization and recitation when she judged the annual poetry recitation at a local Classical school. The students at this school were mostly immigrant or low income, so would benefit from the skills gained from learning poetry. Many of these kids have graduated and become successful adults- poetry being a small but useful communication tool in their educations.

Why is poetry such a useful communication tool?

Poetry uses words powerfully

Unlike prose, every word in a poem has weight. Each word is chosen to convey the most emotion and biggest thoughts possible. Each word is chosen for:

  • Sound
  • Rhythm
  • Meaning
  • Purpose

In poetry, homeschool high schoolers learn ordinary and extraordinary words being used in powerful ways.

Vicki’s homeschool high school Language Arts classes had a poetry unit each year. As teens were learning poetry and then moved onto writing their research paper unit, they wrote high quality papers. This is because they had mastered some higher-order word-usage skills in their poetry unit.

Poetry is fun

Poetry is powerful when it is presented in a lighthearted fashion. Poetry done with good attitude inspires laughter and learning!

How to teach poetry in a way that teens enjoy

Start with inspiration. Show them a YouTube video each day with a cool poem presentation:

Each week in class or individually:

Remember, all 7Sisters curriculum is no-busywork and is level-able to different interests and abilities.

Join Vicki for a discussion on how to teach poetry with your homeschoolers- and be sure to join us next week!

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How to Teach Poetry for Homeschool High School

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 CherylBastian.com 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

The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson.

The Power of a Homeschool Parent, Interview with Anita Gibson

The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson

Vicki is joined this week by one of our favorite friends, Anita Gibson. Anita is the author of Star Finder, face behind the encouraging Facebook group Simply Homeschool. She is now an advisor for Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Anita’s got a lot going on these days. Her youngest just got married and she is busy in the new year as a homeschool advisor. Anita is so busy but she believes that when “you’re called to something, it doesn’t feel heavy.” Being able experience people being helped and blessed is a powerful reward. That’s what Titus 2 women like Anita are doing in this phase of life.

Speaking of being powerful, Anita and Vicki wanted to talk today about the ways homeschooling parents can find their personal power and their resource power!

Anita Gibson

Anita Gibson. Photo used with permission.

Anita wants homeschooling parents to know, that if God has called them to homeschool, He has plans to give them the strength and wisdom to homeschool. Homeschooling can be so intimidating when we start out. As Anita says, “Sometimes you just have to do it scared!”

Here are Anita’s tips for finding your power as a homeschool parent:

Anita has some words of wisdom for us.

Find a place and time to reflect and rest

This may sound impossible, but even homeschooling parents who are ALWAYS with their kids can find a one or two minutes per day to close the door (even the bathroom door), maybe lock it, and reflect on what God has given you and He is walking right there with you.

Remember when God, back in the burning bush, called Moses to serve Him, Moses’ first thoughts were: I can’t do this! But God gave him strength, wisdom, and people to help.

God actually is here to give you resources, inner strength and wisdom to homeschool!

Increase your knowledge about homeschooling

  • No matter where we are in the process, there is always something new to learn about homeschooling (well, isn’t this ALL of life? ALWAYS learning?)
  • If you are a newbie homeschooler:
    • What are your state laws?
    • Who can you connect with? (Look for kindred spirits. You don’t need to join every group, look for groups and people that feel comfortable to you.
    • Learn from folks in these groups how to do it. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
  • What are the available support systems, digitally (like Anita’s Facebook group and 7Sisters Facebook group)?
  • Find podcasts (like some of our favorite Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network podcasts about homeschooling high school). Check out these:

Minimize the rest of your life

There are probably some things you will need to set aside for this phase of life. This is because even homeschool moms need to be able to focus on homeschool…and a little margin.

  • Planning
  • Quality time for presence with your homeschoolers
    • Setting aside phones, work and laundry to be totally focused on your homeschooler so that you know well their:
  • Personalities
  • Strengths
  • Struggles
  • Interests
  • (If you haven’t checked out Anita’s book StarFinder, do)
  • Your kids don’t need 24 hours focused attention, but you need enough time to know them.

The more you are  in God's presence,  the more his life  flows through you. -Anita Gibson

Concentrate on relationship during the homeschool high school years

As our friend, Melanie Wilson, says: Relationship before rules. Your relationship with your teens is what will be most enduring. Concentrate on making it a good relationship.

Get organized

If you don’t feel organized, you will feel out of control and chaotic. You don’t need to be an organization expert, just enough organization to keep your peace (and your teens’ peace).

  • Do your planning (check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School)
  • Create syllabi for your homeschool high schoolers’ courses
  • Agree on schedules that work for your teens (get their buy in)
  • Agree on environment
    • Do you need to have a “do school in your clothes, not pjs” system
    • Do you need to have a space to homeschool
  • Do you need a chore chart?
    • Anita has found a study that teens’ brains works more slowly in a cluttered environment because it is spending some time processing all the stuff as they try to focus on their studies.

Life is so much better when there is the right about of structure for your homeschool!

Grow in your faith in God

Anita found the most help in finding her power as a homeschooling mom as she did Bible studies that helped her understand God and herself.

Deepening your relationship with God and yourself helps homeschooling parents:

  • Confront and heal their fears
  • Confront and heal their tempers
  • Create a loving, healthy and calm environment for family and learning

The more you and your teens are in the presence of God, the more we become like Him.

Join Vicki and Anita for a powerful discussion on the power of homeschool parents (and find Anita at AnitaGibson.com), and check out our other interviews with Anita: Getting to Know and Understand Your Teens and Helping Teens Believe in Themselves.

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The Power of Homeschool Parents, Interview with Anita Gibson

How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot.

How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast

How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot

We may be separated by miles due to Covid, but we (Sabrina, Vicki and Kym) have found each other for a first podcast in the new year! Just hearing each other’s voices as we recorded was a reboot to our spirits! We SO miss seeing each other IRL!

Speaking of reboots and January! January is a great time for homeschool families to review, recalibrate and reboot their goals and curriculum! So let’s talk about it!

So what happens when we get to the middle of the school year and things are not working so well?

Plan as we might, life happens, or curriculum is a bad fit for our teen, or the co-op or digital class is just not working, or unexpected other opportunities came up that pushed some curriculum into the background. This is just the way things work! It’s okay, well really, it’s pretty normal.

So what do you do when you need to homeschool mid-year reboot?

Remember: you can do this! Here are some steps:

FIRST: Take a deep breath!

As Sabrina always says, “Never underestimate the power of a deep breath!” A deep breath gives you a chance to pause and lower your stress limits.

Never underestimate the power of a deep breath! -Sabrina Justison Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Second: Remind yourself it’s okay to recalibrate

It is not a failure to recognize that something may need adjusting in your homeschool. It’s not a failure, it’s wisdom!

Third: Pray

As Kym always says, “Pray: first, last and always!” This may sound cheesy, but really: pray!

Fourth: Evaluate options

What is it that you need to change in your homeschool mid-year reboot?

  • Do you need to change the schedule?
    • When life and other things have trashed the schedule, bring the family together and talk about it. What is going on for each person? How long will it last? What is more realistic for the rest of this school year?
    • As Vicki always says, “Remember to get your teens’ buy-in.”
  • Do you need to tweak the goals for your homeschool high school? Talk about it with your teens:
  • Are you having a curriculum fail?
    • Sometimes a curriculum just does not work. It is difficult to toss the curriculum when you have invested time and money in it. However, it is hard for teens to learn well when they are miserable.
    • Remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. So, know that it is okay to reboot the curriculum when what you have is not working.
    • Remember: There is value in your money, but there is more value in modeling letting go and being flexible when necessary.
  • Are you finding your teens needing to level-up or level-down the rigor of a course?
    • College-bound teens need to show a high level of rigor for their core courses and key electives on their homeschool transcripts. One way to do earn that rigor is with a highly challenging curriculum. This is wonderful when the curriculum is a good fit for the teen. However, by homeschool mid-year reboot time, your teen may have found that the text is above their interest or capacity (time-wise or learning-wise).
    • One thing that you can do is work with your teen to level-down the text and level-up the logging (get a college-prep curriculum instead and add logged hours in meaningful learning activities to increase the rigor).
  • What about a club, co-op or class that is just now working for your teen?
    • In these cases, there will be an impact on others. This is challenging because you do not want to create bad feelings or extra work for others. However, there are times when stepping away is most important for everyone’s health. Sometimes, however, teens need to learn the fortitude and resilience of sticking with something they are not loving. The way to handle this? You and your teens pray and discuss.
    • Remember: Grace is the thing that is most important.
    • Remember: Character development is a high priority. Which character trait is God working on with you and your teens?
    • If you need to make changes, communicate well (and graciously) to your teens and to those in the club, co-op or class.
  • What if your teen is just having a bad year and nothing seems to make your teen happy? That your teen is just miserable?
    • Communicate with honesty and grace.
    • Concentrate on what is working.
    • Be honest.
    • Pray, of course.
    • Remember: Teens may have more going on than their behavior lets you know about. Sometimes, there is underlying anxiety or depression (or they might be experiencing some form of bullying) that is making it hard to concentrate or get un-stuck. In those times, you can’t wish it away or ignore it away. Get the support they need. (This is role modeling that getting help when needed.)
    • If you need to have a tough or exploring conversation, get some food and if there is a social-distance-safe friend who can help with the conversation, bring them in. Then gently talk together.
    • Sometimes in a tough, tough year, you and your teens will need to pull way back on curriculum and spend a month or so on electives and logged hours. This can sometimes rebuild confidence and love of learning.

Remember, if things are tough, neither you nor your teens are failures. God doesn’t make failures. Breathe, pray, recalibrate. Homeschool mid-year reboot: You CAN do it!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for an encouraging discussion on ways to redo and recalibrate the homeschool year.

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How to Do a Homeschool Mid-Year Reboot

 

Encouragement for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Misty Bailey.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Encouragement for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Misty Bailey.

Encouragement for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Misty Bailey

Vicki is joined this week by our friend, Misty Bailey of the lovely encouraging podcast: Joyfully Homeschooling Podcast. Misty is back again (her previous interview with us shared how to NOT be intimidated by homeschooling high school.)

Misty has been homeschooling since 2009. Misty was originally a school teacher but wanted to homeschool her kids. She started with kindergarten with her oldest and has been at it since. She now has a high schooler, middle schooler and elementary schooler.

Misty found that homeschooling (and raising) teenagers has not only been a calling, but also a challenge! She reminds herself often about that as her roles change year to year. Because of the developmental phases that teens go through as they find their own identities and callings, homeschool moms must adapt often.

So how do we adapt with our homeschool high schoolers and not become helicopter moms?

One of Misty’s first challenges came when her oldest came home from summer camp and announced that she was going to become a missionary and serve in India. Misty’s first gut reaction was to say “no”! She did not want to have her daughter get married and have grandchildren on the other side of the world.

Of course, she prayed about it and God reminded her that she and her daughter were not ONE person, that God may have completely different callings for Misty and Misty’s daughter. God did not expect her to agree with Him about her daughter’s calling. She is not Misty’s person, she is God’s person.

Once Misty surrendered her heart to God about her daughter, doors opened for her daughter to go on missions trips. (Now with the pandemic and all missions trips on hold, Misty even feels sorrow for her daughter’s delayed dreams.) Misty is learning to let go.

Part of homeschooling teens is learning to let go. Misty Bailey on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast

This story, of course, reminds Vicki of her saying: A mom’s mind plans her way, but God directs her path.

Misty’s eighth grader is a young scientist who wants to grow up and become a veterinarian. ANOTHER adaptation to a heavy math/science curriculum. (She is doing courses through Nelson Academy right now. BTW- we are not affiliates, just passing on information.)

Misty’s encouragement for homeschool moms:

  • Let teens have a say in their curriculum (credit levels, electives)
    • Listening is an important mom skill!
  • Let go and let God where it comes to your teen’s callings
  • Be clear about the musts (the subjects that need to be on transcripts)
  • Help them explore their interests
    • Be willing to invest time and money in their interests and goals, as much as God enables you
    • Remember to pray so you know how to adjust time, energy and financial budgets
  • Be adaptable
  • Let your homeschool high schoolers make some mistakes and learn about natural consequences of their decisions
    • They may make some mistakes on curriculum or course choices, time management choices, etc. But they learn resiliency skills by bouncing back from mistakes. It also helps them avoid perfectionistic tendencies.
  • No matter how old your homeschool high schoolers are, they still need their mom
    • Listen, make time and space for them, love and accept them right where they are
    • Allow them to ask questions and hold tough conversations
  • Relationship trumps academics
    • Even though academics are important, of course

BTW- Misty’s daughter loves 7Sisters’ Fantasy Short Story Writing Guide and Career Exploration Bundle.

Check out Misty’s Joyfully Homeschooling podcast. Finding Joy in the Journey website (signup for her newsletter and get a freebie).

Don’t forget to sign up for 7SistersHomeschool.com’s email list (we love to share specials and freebies, too), as well as our Facebook group and Instagram.

And if you’re new to homeschooling, check out all these resources from our Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network family!

Join Misty and Vicki for some encouragement for homeschool moms!

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Encouragement for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Misty Bailey

How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

This week on Homeschoool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens.

How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

Vicki and Kym love to talk about compassion and other soft skills. Why? Because they know that teens need to be equipped with various soft skills in order to succeed in life. Employers are often looking for evidence of soft skills when interviewing potential employees. Soft skills help teens to manage friendships and networks successfully.

Here are some important soft skills for homeschool high schoolers to master:

In this episode, Vicki and Kym are discussing the soft skill: compassion (or empathy).

Kym recently read an article about respectful and compassionate ways to communicate with people with disabilities. This is an important issue to Kym because she and her family raise Seeing Eye Puppies (check out our episode about their puppies).

Conversing with other teens with their other-abled teens or people who are different can be a wonderful way to spread the love of Christ in the world. Teens can often feel awkward when they are in a new situation, especially with people who are new or have a difference of any kind. (Check out this episode on helping teens create a welcoming culture in their homeschool and church communities.)

We, as homeschool parents, can equip our teens to grow beyond the discomfort and gain confidence in their conversational and compassionate skills. (This is actually an excellent addition to Health class.)

Here are some easy skills to help build compassion skills with homeschool teens:

  • When you meet someone different, do not gawk
  • When you talk with someone different, look at them while you talk
  • Greet them with a warm tone in your voice
  • Young children may want to ask a new person about their disability. If they ask politely, that is fine. It is a good conversation starter. However, with teens many people who are new to a group or who have disabilities want to be talked to as if they are a welcomed, included person.
  • Include the new or different person in activities and group conversations. Invite them to join in.
  • These things take practice, so having some family practice times for using compassion skills. Role playing is a great way to practice compassion skills. Take turns playing the new or different person and the welcomer. (Practice makes awkward conversations not-awkward!)
  • Have five questions to ask any new, newish, or different questions, for instance:
    • I’m So-and-so, what’s your name?
    • How did you find this group?
    • What do you like about homeschooling?
    • What is your favorite thing to do?
    • Do you have siblings? Do they homeschool?
  • As part of Health class, learn about common adaptive devices such as cochlear implants, hearing aids, service dogs, etc. Be willing to get comfortable with people using adaptive devices.
  • Make your own expectation of being willing to make adjustments in teaching (as in co-op settings). Teach your homeschool high schoolers to be flexible and willing to make adjustments in a group.
  • Maintain a personal growth mindset. (Check out this post and this resource list.)
  • Teach your homeschoolers that God looks at us through the eyes of compassion. If He is compassionate towards us, shouldn’t we also model compassion when dealing with other people?
    • Help your homeschool high schoolers to see all people as creations of God.
  • Read current articles on differences and disabilities.
  • For more practical tips, check out this post from our friend, Charlene, at Hess Unacademy

Compassion, like any soft skill, does not come naturally to many teens. Yes, at some level compassion will be *caught* by being around compassionate parents and leaders. At a practical level, though, compassion must be *taught* and practiced. That’s why it is called a *skill*. The cool thing is: a teen with skills is a more confident teen!

Join Vicki and Kym for a compassionate discussion about compassion!

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How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: 7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey.

7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey

7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey

Kathie and Vicki recently met, although Kathie has been around for a long time with her Character Corner website. Vicki was excited to find another homeschool mom who shared a fun sense of humor while taking homeschooling seriously. She had to be serious about homeschooling: she homeschooled her eight children all the way through graduation. That’s thirty-one years of homeschooling! (Her youngest graduated four years ago.)

Kathie spends a lot of time with her fifteen grandkids now. She enjoys trying to keep their names straight! In non-COVID holidays, they have lots of fun and noise together (as well as day to day life.)

Kathie began the Character Corner back in the 1990s (that is a LONG time ago). She has always shared resources she used and enjoyed, as well as creating curriculum for younger homeschoolers. Kathie enjoys sharing character development without being preachy or legalistic.

We had some fun discussing things NOT to do while homeschooling high school! (We know our 7th Sisters don’t really needed to be reminded, though!)

Here are 7 ways to make your teens miserable!

Being too controlling with your teens.

It often backfires if we homeschooling parents try to over-control our teens. While our kids needed a lot of control when they are very young, we want to them to develop self-control and God-control by the time they are adolescents.

It can be hard, as parents, to back off or ease off when we are used to being protective (and developmentally appropriate).

However, backing off can protect our teens hearts. SO here are the 7 things to NOT do.

Being the mom of teens requires lots of listening.

Don’t treat your teens with respect

If a parent talks over, over corrects or criticizes their homeschool high schoolers, they are being disrespectful and unloving. As parents, we need to do more listening and less critiquing. Allow them to share ideas and the feelings in their hearts. For more on realistic expectations, check out Sabrina’s talk on this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.

Fear our teens’ questions

If a parent is afraid of our teens questions. Part of adolescence is asking hard questions, even about faith, family values and politics. Listen and wait. For more on having hard conversations with teens, check out this Homeschool Highschool episode.

Never being happy with their decisions

If we spend all of our energy preventing our teens’ goofy decisions, we will break their spirits. We want to encourage them, ask questions, trust them and sometimes allow them to make mistakes.

This develops our faith in God, our trust in God.

Criticize them to their siblings

Bad idea! There’s nothing more hurtful to hear a parent complaining about them to their sibling (or anyone else). Bring your complaints to God, spouse and the teen. Work it out. This develops the fruit of the Spirit self-control in us moms. (You have probably noticed how homeschooling “helps” us developed so much fruit of the Spirit.)

Don’t bother to make our teens feel accepted

Sometimes parents, in easing off with their teens, might forget to stay connected with them. Teens, like all children, thrive on acceptance but even more so because they are in years of growth and change so often feel insecure about themselves. They crave knowing their parents’ unconditional love. So try not to slip into constant criticism.

Parents can show acceptance in actions and in words. (Think about love languages.)

While we parents have the pressure of making sure our homeschool high schoolers have marvelous transcripts, we never want them to feel like that is our primary objective in parenting.

Act as if helping them is a BIG inconvenience

Sometimes we parents are tired, for goodness sake. If we sigh and act inconvenienced if our teens need a ride to a friend’s house or activity, they will feel de-valued and hurt. There is a balance, of course, so plan together as a family (but allow some reasonable spontaneous activities). Someday, they will all be grown and maybe we can catch up on some rest!

Treat people outside the home with more kindness than the folks at home

You know the drill, fussing all the way to church and then walking into church with smiles on our faces. Teens are over that!

This can be hard for us moms. Motherhood is such a character developing experience!

BONUS Reason: Don’t have a relationship with them but give advice anyway

Relationship building requires time and attention. It requires a lot of intentionality for busy moms and busy teens. But as we build in the relationship, we earn the right to give advice when appropriate.

Some of the ways Kathie invested in her homeschool high schoolers included:

Make availability time (that means, stopping what we are doing when they have something on their minds). It’s great that our teens want to talk to us! Stop, make eye contact and listen as often as possible.

Try to be fun- at least put a smile on your face by faith. (Teens don’t want to hang around a grumpy mom…and it’s hard to see God in a grumpy mom.)..

For more ideas, Vicki shared about How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Teens in this post at Character Corner.

Join Vicki and Kathie Morrissey for a fun discussion on ways to make teens miserable 🙂

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7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey

How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler.

How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

This is college application season for many college-bound homeschool high schoolers. It can be a stressful time for these teens (and their parents), especially if this is the first child heading off to college. How can you be sure your homeschooler is completing the forms well. What is a homeschool parent’s role in the process.

7Sisters Vicki served the local homeschool community for almost two decades as college admissions advisor. In her work with homeschool high schoolers and trainings with college admissions officers, she picked up some tips that have been helpful to her five homeschool graduates and hundreds of other local teens. In honor of college application season, Vicki is sharing some basics of the process to get you started.

Ten tips on how to apply to college as a homeschooler

Tip #1: Write your application essay early

Trust Vicki on this. If your homeschool high schooler writes his/her essay early. We would tell our local advisees to write their essay during the summer, that would give them time to have parents or teachers look it over and give advice…AND do multiple rewrites. Even if the topic changes at application time, details can easily be tweaked once the guts of an essay is created. Remember multiple rewrites take a good essay to a great essay (use grammar checkers like Grammarly to help.)

Also, if you have a college that allows your teen to skip the essay, don’t skip! That essay might give your homeschooler an edge if there is a lot of competition for entrance.

If your homeschool high schooler will be using the Common Application or other applications that publish essay prompts early or have standard prompts, it is much easier to start that essay. Even if an essay prompt is not available for their preferred college, have your teen choose an exciting or inspiring story from their life and write an essay to be tweaked later.

For help: Here’s a freebie post and a downloadable college admissions essay writing guide from your 7Sisters.

When they apply, teens are letting colleges know who they are. So they need to put their best foot forward.

Tip #2: Ask for recommendation letters letter early

PLEASE, take us seriously on this. Recommenders need a little time to write an excellent recommendation. Give them time.

Also, if your recommender will be writing a paper recommendation, give them self-addressed, stamped envelope to the college. If your recommender will be writing a digital recommendation, let them know where the link will be coming from. (And also approximately when it will come, so they can check the spam file if it seems late.)

ALSO, please train your teen to ask the recommender politely. In fact, use the word, “Please.” This is a skill that will help them the rest of their lives. AND when they are done with the recommendation, be sure to have your teen thank them.

Your teen can (and in many cases) should give the recommender a fact sheet about themselves and/or a resume to help them fill out the recommendation with good details.

Tip #3: Find out what the colleges are looking for

Make sure this is shown clearly on your homeschool high schooler’s transcript. Check the college website for “requirements for incoming freshmen” or “requirements for application”. Sometimes, you and your teen will best find this information on a college tour or online workshop with admissions officers. Check out this interview with Dr. Renae Duncan, Associate Provost of Murray State University (ret.).

Tip #4: Make sure your teen’s transcript is complete with grades through the point they apply

Colleges often want to know that teens are not goofing off their senior year, so they will ask for first quarter grades (and often, first semester updates). This means that moms need to have the transcript up to date! Here’s a post on how to do this.

For tips on how to create transcripts and what to include, along with an editable transcript template, check 7Sisters.

Tips #5: PDF your homeschooler’s transcript for online applications

Sometimes an un-pdf version transcript gets scrozzled.

NOTE: If you are sending in a paper application, you might have to have the transcript sealed and/or stamped. Check with admissions officers at the college for this information.

Tip #6: Have your homeschooler take his/her time in completing the application

College applications take a long time to complete. If your teen puts off the application process until the last moment, they will not be able to put their best foot forward.

Keep in mind, when your teen is filling out their application, they are talking to a real person. Have them write in complete sentences where applicable using a professional version of their own voice. (Do not fill out applications for your teen.)

Tip #7: Have your teen think about which schools to apply to ahead of time

For many teens three to five colleges is a good number. (If they are applying to twenty schools, they have not done their research. This will waste their time.)

  • Choose one college as a reach college but might be too expensive or competitive. (This would be an act of God if they get in.)
  • Aim for a college that your teen would truly like to attend and are a solid fit. NOTE: If you can find a college’s average SAT or ACT scores of admitted students. Aim for colleges where your teen’s scores are similar.
  • Aim for an easy, guaranteed acceptance college. This school would be fine but not a dream college, per se.
  • Aim for a financially-reasonable college. College debt is such a problem. (And why many homeschooler are doing their first two years at community college these days.)
  • For more tips check this post and another Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.

Tip #8: Decide when to apply

Some colleges give dorm preference, better financial aid opportunities and/or other benefits to students who apply early.

If your teen is applying to a reach school, regular admissions might be better, since it is easier to get bumped to a waitlist with early applications. (Of course, each college handles this differently.)

Some teens need extra time deciding. So give them space to pray and research. They may need to skip early admissions.

Tip #9: Teens need to remember they are selling themselves with their essays and applications. This is not bragging!

Many homeschoolers are concerned that they will be prideful if they tell their outstanding points and stories. Just have them remember it is God who makes them successful, so writing about it is not bragging!

Tip #10: Pray

Teens can have a lovely growth process through their college application process if they know that as they roll their works on the Lord, he will direct their path.

Also, check out this useful Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode for first generation college students.

Hey, join our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group so you can ask college application and other homeschool questions to all your 7th Sisters!

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How to Apply to College as a Homeschooler

 

Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID.

Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

Well, we’ve never been HERE before. Handling homeschooling and the holiday season during a pandemic. Covid has changed things for everyone, even your big sisters Sabrina, Vicki and Kym. So we got together to talk about it and to share some tips and encouragement.

  1. We are all in this together.
  2. We all need the Lord. Prayer will help!
  3. If you love the holidays, you can look for God’s grace to help you and yours adjust.
  4. If you don’t like the holiday season, take even better care of yourself.
  5. We need to have an attitude of gentleness and compassion toward each other.
  6. Avoid the words “must” or “should”… this year, we can’t must or should much of anything. We will have to hold our expectations lightly!
  7. Prepare to be flexible.
  8. Be compassionate and gentle towards others about changes or cancellations of favorite community or family events.

  1. Create for your kids and teens some other special (albeit, smaller) events (Zoom events, acappella app sing alongs, outdoor events, Christmas Caroling with social distancing for senior citizens in the community and church)
  2. Hold honest and loving conversations with the family about financial restraints due to the pandemic.
    1. Create healthy, wholesome reframes: We can’t have lots of “store-bought” stuff but perhaps a family event: drawing and creating Christmas cards and gift wrap, check Pinterest for homemade gift ideas, learn stenciling, calligraphy or other fancy handwriting styles (check YouTube). Watch Ezra’s YouTube for ideas.
    2. Maybe for this year, follow Sabrina’s family tradition: Christmas gifts are only silly or sentimental (and inexpensive)
      1. Silly family inside-joke sayings on a home-printed tshirt
      2. An acrostic made from everyone’s name
      3. Include a family game to play as they open the gifts, if possible (silliness is good!):
        1. Scavenger hunts
        2. Sing alongs
        3. Dramatic readings of favorite childhood books
  3. So many people will not be able to travel this year. If you are holding a family stay-at-home Christmas holiday.
    1. So, remember to do something new instead:
      1. Have a special but different breakfast
      2. Zoom with the extended family
      3. Drop off food to quarantined family members
      4. Hold a Christmas movie marathon
      5. Go on a Christmas hike
      6. Perhaps have each kid plan something special each day of the holiday break
      7. Make sure everyone can have a little while to grieve the losses of the traditional Christmas events, but then role model “bounce back” (resiliency) for the kids.
        1. You can tell them: It’s okay to be sad, but don’t stay sad. We will make good memories this Christmas season.
        2. Validate the loss, then CHOOSE to create good things in the face of the losses.
  4. Dealing with the uncertainty of church events.
    1. Uncertainty can be tough (and irritating). So self-monitor. Try to keep yourself in a grace-filled, fruit-of-the-spirit attitude.
    2. Your family can choose the meaning of a special event at church that we might not be able to experience this year. Choose a way for your family to honor the meaning of that event at home. This takes prayer and creativity, but that is what God’s love is all about!
  5. Remember: It is okay that this Christmas doesn’t look like other Christmases.
  6. Remember again: Gentleness and compassion!

And check out 7Sisters freebie unit study posts on:

AND download our popular Twas the Week Before Christmas Curriculum and Activity Bundle (Literature, Writing, Science, Social Studies, Languages, and fun… with something for all ages).

AND keep yourself encouraged with our suite of Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes on handling the holidays:

And encouraging holiday episodes from our fellow podcasters:

This holiday season, remember what we learned from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: God bless us everyone!

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Homeschooling and Holidays during COVID

What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts.

What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts

The most common questions we receive about homeschooling high school are about transcripts. We understand. Transcripts are important! They are the key to getting into college and are proof that high school actually did happen! So Vicki decided to chat with all of you, our 7th Sisters, about what to include on the transcripts.

BTW- Before we even get started, we want to remind you that 7SistersHomeschool.com has an editable transcript template with a complete how-to guide in our estore for your instant download! There are also oodles of posts at 7Sisters, including the popular Authoritative Guide to Homeschool Transcripts. Check them out by searching “transcripts” in the search bar!

First thing, why should you give your teen a homeschool transcript?

We know that a number of states do not require homeschooling parents to issue a transcript. In those states you are totally allowed to say, “Hey, you’re done! Congratulations,” and then move on with the rest of life without a transcript.

However, if you can, we have heard a number of stories about grownups who needed a high school transcript:

  • Upon applying to college after being in the workforce for a few years
  • Upon entering graduate school, even though a local college had not required it for undergraduate studies
  • Upon applying for a significant career-change job

So, you can be gracious and kind to your homeschool high schoolers to keep a transcript throughout high school, then issue a completed transcript when they graduate. Years later, they may come back and thank you.

A wise woman keeps up with the transcript, starting in 9th grade!

Now, what do you include on homeschool transcripts?

You do not need to have a highly polished, professional-looking transcript, just get something. Here’s what to put on the transcript.

At the top of your transcript:

  • Your homeschool’s name, or simply the words “High School Transcript”.
  • Your student’s full name
  • Your student’s date of birth
  • Your address

Sections for each of the four years of high school:

  • Grade and year (9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade) along with the actual school year for that grade (for example: 9/2020-6/2021)
  • Courses taken that year, starting with the core courses: English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Phys Ed, Fine Arts, all the Electives that year
    • Be sure to use the specific course title, (for example: One year for ELA your teen may take American Literature, so use “American Literature” for the course title)
  • Note that homeschoolers will often have more credits (particularly electives) than their traditionally-schooled peers. That is because we believe that all of life is education, so we include all valuable learning experiences.
  • How do you know if your teen has earned a credit? Check out posts on earning credits at 7SistersHomeschool.com.
  • Beside the title of the course, record the

Summary of courses (optional):

  • This is a grid that shows that the core courses were taken each year and the electives that were recorded each year

At the bottom of the transcript, list extracurriculars:

  • List the extracurricular activity (sport, community work, clubs, etc) along with the years involved
  • Some colleges want to see long-term engagements and community mindedness

At the bottom of transcript, list competitions:

At the bottom of the transcript, record GPA:

  • For instructions on determining GPA, check out this post.
  • Do you weight GPA’s? We don’t. We have found that colleges have formulas that make the weighting of applicants’ GPAs the same across the board.
  • Remember: You cannot use the name “AP” for a course unless it is a College Board approved course.

At the bottom of the transcript, record the date of graduation.

Join 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group for more homeschool high school support (also our friend Ann Karako has an amazing Facebook group).

Homeschool high school: You CAN do it! Homeschool high school transcript: YOU can do it!

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What to Include on Homeschool Transcripts