Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack- Special Replay.

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack- Special Replay

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack

Vicki and Natalie are so excited to finally connect! We have been waiting to connect to share Natalie’s expertise on homeschooling high school!

Natalie Mack is a retired Navy chaplain’s spouse (after thirty-four years of service). She is a passion military spouse advocate because she knows that the military spouses are the ones who are holding military bases and military families together. The whole family serves!

Not only that, but she is a homeschool mom (who is a passionate advocate for all homeschooling families- and especially military homeschooling families). She has five kids.

  • Her oldest graduated from Liberty University and George Washington University (Masters in International Education- fluent in Mandarin and conversational in Russian). She is currently an International Baccalaureate coordinator for the Washington DC public school system.
  • Natalie’s second daughter is a “kick-butt soccer athlete” who played Division One soccer for Liberty University. She recently completed her Masters in Social Work at Howard University. Besides preparing for her social work career, she is also on a professional indoor soccer player.
  • Her oldest son graduated from American University’s School of International Service. He worked on a Congressional campaign for a season and is now working for a nonprofit.
  • Natalie’s second son is an Honor College student at George Mason University, a Bonners scholar there.
  • Her youngest son is fifteen. He is kind of like an only child now because his siblings are all in college or beyond.

Despite being down to one high schooler at home, Natalie is still super busy. When her kids asked her why she was still so busy, she told them that she is finally doing all the things she could not do when she was homeschooling five kids as a military wife. This is a new season but there is no time to sit around eating bonbons!

These days, when she is not working on lessons with her youngest, Natalie is:

Advice from Natalie about homeschooling high school:

Natalie has gained lots of wisdom over many years of homeschooling high school! Here are a few.

When things feel thankless, remember that someday your teens will be grown up- they will thank you then

Natalie knows from experience. Sometimes homeschool days can be thankless. On those days, you have to keep on keeping on- putting one foot in front of the other. You will make it. You can do this!

Trust the process

You may feel like you are venturing into the unknown when you start homeschooling high school. That is okay. You can do this. Try not to get overwhelmed by the newness of it all (and the fears of failure). You can trust the process where you are learning how to homeschool high school right along with your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens

Of course, while your teens are in high school, academics are priority. However, try not to get so focused on those academics that you do not have time to enjoy your teens. Who says that every day you have to max it out till four o’clock? If you and your teens work on academics intensely all day, every day, you (and your kids) will not have anything left to give.

Use the flexibility of homeschooling to take time to enjoy. You will want your teens to still like you (and it is hard for them to do that if they feel burned out).

There will be bad days when no schooling gets done

No one will go to hell just because it is a rotten day and schoolwork needs to be set aside. Tomorrow is a new day full of grace for you and your teens. You can model resilience for your teens- it is a GREAT life skill.

So on terrible, no-good, very-bad days, remember grace and fresh starts tomorrow!

Join a support group

Natalie knows how the support groups have been important for her homeschool success and encouragement. She suggests to look for:

Remember lots of prayer

Prayer is the key to success! You need God’s strength, grace and peace for the homeschool high school journey! God is there to helpl.

Join Vicki and Natalie for a good dose of encouragement and some tips for homeschooling high school!

Also check out these Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes if you have a teen who is thinking about a military career:

AND check out Natalie’s Ted Talk about homeschooling!

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A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast- Teen Publishes A Book: A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process.

A Young Author's Journey in the Writing Process

Teen Publishes A Book: A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process

Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for kids to explore their passions and discover hidden talents. One such talented young person is Sophia Errico, a young author who found her passion for writing through homeschooling. Sophia joins Vicki to share her journey about writing her first book. Join us in Sophia’s writing process of her book, The Tree House, along with the valuable lessons she has learned along the way.

About Sophia Errico, a Young Author

Sophia Errico’s homeschooling journey began when her parents made the decision to switch her from public school after the pandemic hit. Initially, it was an adjustment, but she soon realized the benefits of more flexible learning. Homeschooling allowed her to dedicate more time to her love for writing, as she could create her own academic schedule (rather than spending eight hours a day in class). Sophia found herself finishing her assignments earlier, giving her ample time to pursue her passion.

A Young Author’s Journey in the Writing Process

Sophia’s love for writing blossomed when she joined a writer’s group led by teacher, Miss Keri in our Cousin Cheryl Carter‘s Creative Classrooms at Outschool. This group provided a safe space for Sophia to share her work and receive valuable feedback from her mentor. 

And through her online writing group, the constructive criticism she received helped her grow as a writer and refine her storytelling skills. Sophia also credits her editor for their guidance in shaping her book, The Tree House, into its final form.

The Birth of The Tree House

Inspired by classic TV shows and drawing from her own public school experiences, Sophia was inspired to write her first book, The Tree House. The story revolves around protagonist Chris, a young boy striving to be a better person, and how his world is turned upside down when a new friend joins their group. 

Sophia’s writing process involves allowing ideas to flow as she writes. She welcomes the ebb and flow of inspiration, occasionally facing writer’s block but always pushing through it. 

Sophia emphasizes the importance of editing and revising, acknowledging the valuable input of her editor and mentor, Miss Keri, and her own evolving understanding of writing. She was able to receive her criticism with an open mind and then use that to modify her writing into the masterpiece it is today. 

This is a wise process that could be an obstacle to overcome by even adults in the writing process, but Sophia took the edit suggestions and ran with them! She admits she is much happier with the way it turned out than the way it started. 

And Sophia did exactly what a good writer does – skillfully incorporated these suggestions and feedback to enhance the storytelling inside The Tree House.

The Treehouse by Sophia Errico

The Impact of Homeschooling on Writing

Homeschooling has played a pivotal role in Sophia’s writing journey. With fewer distractions and a more flexible schedule, she has been able to dedicate substantial time to her craft. 

Sophia believes that her homeschooling experience has allowed her to develop her writing skills at a young age. This gave her a head start in pursuing her dreams.

She states:

The cool thing about homeschooling is you can get the lessons out of the way and have more time for writing as opposed to sitting in a traditional classroom for seven or eight hours a day. Even though homeschooling was a little weird to start with [coming from a public school setting], it turned out to be a good thing for developing your talents

Teen Publishes A Book

Sophia’s advice to aspiring young authors is simple yet profound: don’t be afraid to put your work out there. She encourages young writers to seek feedback and embrace constructive criticism as a means of growth. She believes that age should not be a barrier to pursuing one’s passion and encourages young authors to start honing their skills and sharing their stories with the world.

Sophia Errico’s journey as a young author showcases the power of homeschooling in nurturing creativity and fostering personal growth. Her dedication to her craft, combined with the support of her homeschooling community, has allowed her to achieve remarkable success in writing her very first book with an editor’s input. 

Sophia’s story serves as an inspiration to all young teens who aspire to pursue their passions and make a difference through their creativity. We eagerly await her future literary endeavors, and the next book in this series of The Tree House, and encourage young authors everywhere to unleash their creative potential!

Connect with Young Teen Author, Sophia Errico

Look for The Tree House on Amazon by Sophia Errico. It’s a real, physical book, not a PDF. 

And for novice writers, who are not ready to write an entire book, check out 7Sisters Short Story Writing Guides. Novice writers begin with a fun, family narrative. Then they have a rip-roaring time creating a tall tale. They are then ready to write a myth-fantasy short story in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Thank you to Seth Tillman for editing this podcast and to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!

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Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

Ten Tips for Terrific Transcripts

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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After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College- Special Replay.

After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College

After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College

These days many homeschool graduates (and traditionally-schooled high school graduates) choose to attend community colleges. Join us for an interview Seth Tillman, a community college graduate (and now a graduate from  University of Delaware and an elementary school music teacher, as well as editor of this podcast).

Choosing community college is a great idea! Why?

  • You can come ahead financially (community colleges are SO much cheaper than universities)
  • Plus, you have more time to clarify majors (many times teens need an extra year or two to clarify their majors)
  • You attend smaller classes (as opposed to two hundred students in freshman-level classes at some universities)
  • Also, you earn general education course credits that transfer to many universities
  • You can stay local (saving money and time)
  • A big bonus: you can take community college experiences and opportunities to build your resume
  • One of the biggest bonuses: You can build excellent networking connections

Cautionary note:

Look at transfer college’s requirements, not all courses transfer. Each university or transfer college will accept different courses. Check that college’s *transfer matrix*.  Sometimes community colleges will tell you lots of courses transfer, but they are not always accurate.

Note from Seth:

Even if a community college course is not quite on the transfer matrix, you might be able to appeal. (The advisor to the transfer college major department will handle this with you.) So, be sure to keep your course syllabi.

Make the most of those community college years. If you are at a local college, it might as well be awesome! Here are tips from Seth:

  • Get involved
  • Don’t just go to class, sit in the back and be silent.
  • Go to class every time
  • Arrive early
  • Sit near the front
  • Participate in class
  • Find activities in your department and campus

Study skills tips from Seth:

  • Do it
  • Readings
  • Homework
  • Follow the
    • course syllabus (in many colleges: Academic Honesty Policies, grading policy of the course, texts, explanations of projects)
    • course schedule (readings, homework, exams schedules)
  • Study for exams
  • Stay off the cell phone in class
  • Get enough sleep
  • Explore ways to study and land on one way to study that works for you

TOP TIP from Seth:

  • Say “yes” to opportunities (especially from faculty)! The more *yeses* you say, the more opportunities will come.
  • Saying *yes* builds your resume and creates great networks (and referrals).
  • Get involved in work study.

Managing money is a big issue for college students. Seth was well-prepared in high school for handing his own finances.

Seth’s parting advice:

Don’t let anyone make fun of you going to community college. When he graduated and transferred to the local university, he sometimes got a little razzing for his years at community college. However, he did not allow that to phase him. “They are just insecure and have their own problems.”

More resources for college success

Check below the ad for a video of Seth and friends making the most of their community college education.

Join Vicki and Seth for a discussion of making the most of community college. In the meantime, enjoy these posts.


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Like Arrows!

FamilyLife’s first feature film LIKE ARROWS, explores the joys and heartaches of parenting with a story that spans over 50 years. Join us in theaters across America for a special 2 night showing of LIKE ARROWS followed by exclusive after-show content with the film-makers, including celebrated faith-based film-makers Alex and Stephen Kendrick as well as FamilyLife Today’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Bob Lepine. You’ll leave encouraged and equipped with powerful next steps to make Christ the center of YOUR parenting.

LIKE ARROWS will be in theaters for two nights only, MAY 1ST and 3RD. To view the trailer and find theater info, visit the link below. If you missed the movie in theatres be sure to check out the Digital, DVD and Blueray versions on the website, LikeArrowsMovie.com

Visit here to learn more.


 

Here’s a clip of a performance from Seth’s time at Cecil College in Rising Sun, MD. (Seth on guitar.) Clip courtesy of Cecil College.

 

 

After Graduation: Making the Most of Community College

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How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters- Special Replay.

How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

7Sisters’ Vicki spent eighteen years as an academic advisor to the local homeschool juniors and seniors. Over time, she wrote many, many college recommendation letters for her college-bound seniors. She also has talked with advisors and teachers who have written these important letters.

SO, even if you do not have a homeschooler senior who is headed for college OR your teen is not a senior yet, listen in on this episode. They will be facing the college application process eventually. Vicki shares from her experience and the experiences of her friends over a couple of decades of writing hundreds of college-recommendation letters (and other favors for folks).

Step 1: Ask.

Do not command: “I need you to do something.”

Vicki and her teacher/advisor friends have had many experiences with teens politely asking for recommendation letters. They have also had experiences where teens literally say, “I need you to write me a college recommendation”. SOOOO:

Instead ask: “Could you do me a favor?” OR “Could I impose on you for a favor?” Then add: “Please”.

A polite request will usually earn a letter that is happily written with lots of good detail. A command will get the minimal effort required for the task- just sayin’.

Step 2: Make it easy for the recommender to write the letter.

Give the recommender a write-up of your accomplishments or special memories you have together that will make a good recommendation story. Great recommendation stories are based on narratives, not just statements like: Sally is a great student.

A good list of accomplishments or a paragraph about special memories together will help the recommender write a great story about you. This will give the recommendation letter sparkle. (Also, the write-up will help jog their memories- sometimes it’s hard to remember everything when one is put on the spot.)

Step 3: Provide the resources for sending that information.

If the recommendation is supposed to be a mailed letter, give a self-address, stamped envelope to the recommender. If it is an online recommendation, make sure they have any digital information they need such as:

  • what institution will send emails requesting information
  • whether they are will be considered a recommender, teacher or advisor

Most colleges these days want digital recommendation letters. It helps if you clearly explain which format their recommendation letter will need to be.

Step 4: Do not be a cranky nag.

If the person is running late, ask if there is anything you need to do to help. However, do NOT nag. That just makes things worse. If you need to get a backup recommender, do that. However, most recommenders get the job done quickly.

Step 5: After the favor is done, say “thank you”.

You never know if you will ever need another favor, so leave a feeling of gratitude…do not burn bridges. Remember, you may need a second favor. If you have been pushy or rude, your recommender may not be happy about helping out again.

Besides, showing gratitude is always the right thing to do.

Step 6: Return the favor.

This is not the same as buying a favor. It is a way to show appreciation. For instance: Make the “thank you” a written thank you note. Snail mailed. It is a powerful way to show appreciation.

If you had asked a big favor (such as making your request at the last minute) bring some cookies or some other show of appreciation.

Other notes:

  • Be sure to ask for the favor with plenty of time.
  • Be sure to ask in private (not in front of a bunch of people).

Join Vicki for a quick discussion on asking for college recommendation letters. You’ll enjoy this episode with more information on preparing for college. Also, enjoy this post!

12 Steps to Choosing a College Major

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How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

Career Exploration: What’s Included?- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Career Exploration: What’s Included?- Special Replay.

Career Exploration: What's Included?- Special Replay

What’s Included in Career Exploration?

One of our favorite courses in homeschooling high school is Career Exploration. It is genuinely a valuable life preparation course. Join Vicki and Kym as they share their experiences and what’s included in Career Exploration.

There are all sorts of teens when it comes to career and Career Exploration

There’s not one right way to be a teen or to be ready for future careers.

  • You know, some kids are born knowing that they want to do when they grow up.

    • Take for instance, Vicki’s daughter, who wanted to be a photographer from the time she was a child.
  • Some kids figure it out while they are in their young teens.

    • An example of this is Kym’s husband, who as an adolescent liked to shoot pool at his buddy’s house. However, in order to shoot pool, they had to move the dad’s accounting paperwork off the table. Doug was fascinated by that paperwork and from that time, he wanted to be an accountant.
  • On the other hand, some teens love everything!

    • It’s SOOOO hard to choose just one career! (Kym’s daughters had a list of about twenty chosen careers during their high school years.)
  • Some careers happen serendipitously.

    • For example, Vicki’s oldest son earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. During his last semester, his professors had a talk with him and told him that he should go to graduate school for Philosophy. He now has his PhD in Philosophy and teaches for Stanford University’s online philosophy-based high school.
    • BTW- Dr. Tillman authored 7Sisters’ Philosophy in Four Questions and co-authored 7Sisters’ History and Philosophy of the Western World.
  • Some teens think that they will go into one career…until they try an apprenticeship.

    • Once they got into the nitty-gritty of the job, they found there were aspects of that career that turned them off. These teens choose different careers but sometimes kept the original interest as hobbies or avocations. For instance, Kym’s son loves music. During high school he taught children’s music classes for a private school. He loved music but he did not like teaching children. So he did not choose music as a college major.
  • Other teens do not have a clue about what they want to be until after several semesters of college or a couple of years in the workforce.

    • Teens don’t need to know everything about the future when they graduate homeschool high school- but they will be off to a MUCH better start if they have a sense of direction!

Career Exploration is a necessary life preparation course in high school!

It may not be mandatory, but it certainly is important!  That’s because most people will need to have some sort of income during their adulthood. Whether teens go into a job or trade, military or college after high school graduation, it is wiser to have some preparation and choice-making out of the way.

What’s included in Career Exploration?

There’s not ONE right way to handle Career Exploration. We are sharing the 7Sisters’ version of Career Exploration curriculum. We developed the curriculum many years ago when Vicki’s oldest and his homeschool friends were in high school. They were all wondering about what to do next with their lives.

In order to address the teens’ needs, Vicki used her training as a counselor and career coach to develop a comprehensive but simple curriculum This is what it includes:

A look at role models who have influenced your teen in positive ways:

  • What were their careers?
  • What did they like or dislike about their jobs?

For religious teens: a talk about the will of God

  • How to look at how God looks at career and career choices.

Defining or discovering interests

  • Many teens have lots of interests.
  • Others haven’t had time to explore things that might interest them.
  • Help them look into interests: discover or develop them.

Respecting and defining skills, gifts or talents

  • All teens are gifted, skilled or talented in some kind of way. It is important to explore and develop these.

Understanding their “career values”

Career values are the values (lifestyle factors) that are meaningful to each person. These values include things like:

  • Work/life balance
  • Income needs
  • Work setting comfort

Apprenticeships or internships

In many cases, these apprenticeships or internships open doors (or convince teens to choose a different career).

These things are what Career Exploration is all about!

Join Vicki and Kym as they share about their work with homeschool high schoolers on the Career Exploration journey.

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Homeschooled and Headed for College- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooled and Headed for College- Special Replay.

Homeschooled and Headed for College

Homeschooled and Headed for College

Our 7Sisters’ own homeschoolers have all graduated. While most of them went to college, others headed for the workforce. That’s cool! But today we want to talk about our college-bound homeschool high schoolers!

Many homeschool high schoolers are planning to attend college. How about yours? We know there’s not one right way to homeschool high school AND there’s not one right way to do life after high school. Some teens are call right into the workforce, military or missions. Others must go through college.

For teens who are homeschooled and planning for college, we’ve got some helpful information to think about.

Remember, these are tips. You know what is best for your homeschool high schoolers.

As experienced homeschool moms and community leaders, we’ve learned some insider tips. What experience do we have?

  • We have graduated all of our homeschool high schoolers and all the college-interested teens attended a college of their choice.
  • Vicki has served as academic advisor for local homeschool upperclassmen, helping hundreds graduate and gain acceptance at a college of their choice.
  • Sabrina and Kym have, for decades, taught homeschool co-op and group classes and mentored college-bound students (including writing many, many college reference letters).
  • However, we can’t say that Quella the seeing eye puppy (who helped us record this episode) has helped many teens get into college yet. Maybe someday…

From our feet-on-the-ground experience, we have got helpful information for you regarding the questions we often receive:

First, you need to know that you and your teens can do this! Now, here are the questions.

Join Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Quella the seeing eye puppy for a lively and helpful discussion about college preparation and application!

Also, check out this resource for helping keep calm and homeschool on:

Mindfulness Activity: Progressive Relaxation VickiTillmanCoaching.com

Click here to download freebie how-to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Use Levels with7Sisters Curriculum- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Use Levels with7Sisters Curriculum-Special Replay.

How to Use Levels with7Sisters Curriculum

How to Use Levels with7Sisters Curriculum

We 7Sisters have graduated twenty-plus of our own from homeschooling high school. In our own grads we now have:

  • College graduates in various fields (and various degrees)
  • Teachers and college professors
  • Tradesmen
  • Artists and actors
  • Real estate agents
  • Equine professionals
  • Police officers
  • Lawyers
  • Personal trainers
  • Homemakers

As you can see, we 7Sisters we had lots of high schoolers with different levels of interest and needs. We found that we could make the most of homeschooling high school by using different levels of academic rigor for teens different needs and abilities.

You have probably noticed that there is a LOT of difference in homeschool high schoolers. They have different:

  • Interests
  • Abilities
  • Goals

Teens have different goals.

  • Teens who are headed to competitive colleges or state universities, need competitive transcripts.
  • Others who are headed to community colleges or smaller, less competitive colleges need solid transcripts.
  • Teens who are headed into the non-college careers who need life and career preparation more than competitive core classes.
  • Others who needed remedial work needed to concentrate on that.

We also know that our teens have different interests

Homeschooling allows us to place emphasis on the areas they want to explore by increasing the “levels of rigor” of their interest courses. You cannot make every course the highest level (Level 5) in every interest area, but you can choose some. So, how do you know what level of rigor for your high schoolers’ courses? Talk to your teen!

Levels and the homeschool transcript

You can tailor the homeschool transcript to meet each individual needs by teaching courses at the level of your teen’s needs. If your teen is working on average high school level and is not headed for college, you often can skip adding levels of rigor to their course listings on their transcripts.

On the other hand, for teens heading to college, your high schooler will probably benefit by including the level of rigor for each course right in each course’s title. Here are two posts that go in-depth for working with levels on the transcript:

How to Use Levels with7Sisters Curriculum

7Sisters Literature Guides include instructions for enjoying our popular Literature Guides at:

  • Level 1 (Remedial)
  • Level 2 (Average)
  • Level 3 (College Prep)
  • Level 4 (Advanced)
  • Level 5 (Honors)

Each guide covers only one or two literature themes so we don’t kill the book. There is also vocabulary, a little background information, comprehension and inferential questions.

  • Use higher levels for college bound teens who are English, Communications, History, Humanities majors
  • Or use Level 2 for a workforce-bound teen, adapt by using questions as discussion rather than writing (see each Literature Guide for more Level 2 information)
  • Level 1 (Remedial) is for teens with learning difficulties (adapting by choosing which questions and vocabulary are useful to them; also use adaptive technology for listening and writing)

7Sisters Elective Courses:

  • Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective.
    • The text includes a grid that tells you how to handle each level. It is written at Level 2, so it is fun and comfortable to read for most homeschool high schoolers. Each chapter includes extra activities and exercises that will enrich the course and help level-up the course (or come up with your own). The higher the Level the student desires, the more meaningful activities the student will complete.
  • Human Development from a Christian Worldview. 
    • The text includes a grid that tells you how to handle each level. It is written at Level 2, so it is fun and comfortable to read for most homeschool high schoolers. Each chapter includes extra activities and exercises that will enrich the course and help level-up the course (or come up with your own). The higher the Level the student desires, the more meaningful activities the student will complete.

Check out Cathy Duffy’s Review of American Literature. It is in-depth and helpful.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for more about using levels with 7Sisters curriculum.

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Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.

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How to Use Levels with7Sisters Curriculum

Homeschooling in Imperfect Circumstances-Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling in Imperfect Circumstances- Special Replay

Homeschooling in Imperfect Circumstances

Homeschooling in Imperfect Circumstances

Have you noticed that real life does not actually look like:

  • The Pinterest-perfect pictures on your well-curated Pinterest boards?
  • Or the Instagram filtered and perfectly staged IG posts?
  • Even the Facebook fabulous, perfect family photos?

If you are like most of us (well, ALL of us 7Sisters), then your family looks like a real family living in real life, real circumstances. SO let Sabrina and Vicki offer you a little homeschool real-life encouragement for you.

We are all homeschooling in imperfect circumstances most of the time

Recently, Sabrina had a conversation with a person who has been working through some challenging circumstances. Through this unasked-for time of growth, he has learned to frame the way he is handling life by saying:

Circumstances being what they are and me being who I want to be, I have decided to…

Notice what he has discovered: We know in imperfect circumstances, we humans can tend to think this way:

Circumstances being what they are and me being who I am…

See the difference? If we focus on who we are right now, we can become focused on our limitations. On the other hand, if we focus on who we want to become, we open the door to possibilities and even more availability to God working in and through us!

(However, remember to keep things balanced. God made us in special ways and each person it unique. When we remember and build on our God-given gifts and personalities, we are available to making good things happen.)

While we are working on balance, then, think about who you are and who you want to be at the same time. With that in mind, hold onto God’s grace and allow him to help you grow.

Circumstances being what they are and me being who I want to be, I have decided to...

With that said, let’s talk about homeschooling in imperfect situations

Most of us are homeschooling in less than perfect situations. That is just life! Here is some encouragement for some challenging situations.

Homeschooling in financially challenging situations

Have you noticed how much FABULOUS curriculum is out there. Oh man! If we could only buy a fraction of the cool texts, courses or programs that are available to our homeschoolers, our kids would have an amazing education!

However, money is often tight. In challenging financial times, we can say:

Financial circumstances being what they are. And me being the flexible and create person I want to be, we will be creative with what we can afford and trust God for good education.

Vicki recalled when she was homeschooling her kids in the early days of homeschooling. In those days, there was not much variety in the homeschool curriculum market. Not only that, but the curriculum that was available was expensive. Unfortunately, the marketing for those curricula was guilt and fear oriented: IF you do not use our curriculum, you are not homeschooling correctly!

In those early days, there was so much pressure to homeschool “right” because there were truly “truant officers at the door” occasionally. However, Vicki’s family had five homeschoolers and a very limited budget but she knew (especially for homeschooling high school) that she wanted to do a good job! (More on choosing curriculum here.)

She was never able to afford the “right” curriculum. So she had to say:

Circumstances being what they are. And me being the good homeschooling parent I want to become, I will trust that God has our family where he wants us. Not only that but it is “right” for me to create our own curriculum that fits our kids’ needs (and not be whiny and complain-y person while I was at it).

Vicki’s homeschool mom-friends were in the same boat at the time. They were thinking the same thoughts. Together, they began creating curriculum for their kids and co-ops. Because their kids are all encouraged to have well-thought-out opinions, they gave feedback on the curriculum. Thus, it was refined until they ended up with the materials that became 7SistersHomeschool.com‘s  curriculum offerings.

SO, good can come out of financially challenging circumstances!

The homeschool mom who does not feel competent to homeschool

What if you are a mom who wants or needs to homeschool but you do not feel competent because:

  • You did not go to college
  • Or you are not a natural writer
  • Maybe you hate math
  • Or you do not know everything already
  • Maybe you are a busy, working mom

Here is a suggestion, think about saying to yourself:

Circumstances being what they are, and me being who I want to be, I can learn to work creatively and model a growth mindset for my kids. I can farm things out and develop resources for my homeschoolers.

Sabrina shares about her own experiences homeschooling her family. She felt concerned about whether she was competent to homeschool her kids because she only had a year and a half of college. Not only that, but she severely struggled in her college math class.

Her math struggles haunted her as she began to homeschool her kids.

She tried several math curriculums with her kids, but realized that she was passing on her math anxiety to her homeschoolers. Then she said to herself:

Circumstances being what they are, and me being who I want to be (a wise and calm mother who is creative with her resources), I will find a different solution to the math problem!

Then she realized that she could swap resources in her local homeschool co-op and umbrella school. Sabrina is a wonderful literature teacher. She swapped teaching literature to the homeschool high schoolers, while another mom taught her kids math! It was perfect!

So remember, life is full of imperfect homeschooling circumstances

In any circumstance, you can choose to become the person that God created you to become. He is working in and through you, to make you a model of creativity. trust and growth mindset for your kids. So keep saying:

Circumstances being what they are and me being who I want to be, I have decided to…

These are just a couple of examples, but remember, that God is a God of redemption. He likes making new things out of brokenness.

So in the brokenness of your imperfect circumstances, you can trust God to help you become the homeschooling mom he wants you to be. Share your stories and questions with us here or on our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group, please!

Join Sabrina and Vicki for encouragement about homeschooling in imperfect circumstances. You CAN do it!

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Financial Literacy for Homeschool High Schoolers- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Financial Literacy for Homeschool High Schoolers- Special Replay

Financial Literacy for Homeschool High Schoolers

Financial Literacy for Homeschool High Schoolers

How do you go about preparing homeschool high schoolers for managing money throughout their lives? Financial Literacy is a life skills math credit that many teens will use WAY more often than their high school math. Join Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Eagle, the Seeing Eye puppy for a fun discussion of Financial Literacy curriculum.

Lots of us homeschooling parents did not have Financial Literacy courses in their high school days. Remember back then? The emphasis was taking lots of rigorous academic maths and sciences so that we would look competitive to colleges. Consumer Math or Financial Literacy was looked down on- a waste of credit-earning time. Often, those practical courses were reserved for non-college bound peers.

Then came 2008, when the economy crashed! Some economists believed that poor personal financial management (including too much mortgage debt) was part of the problem. Education officials realized that many teens graduated from high school with no financial training. In reaction to this, many state education departments began to require that high school transcripts include Consumer Math so that teens could be ready with at least basic life-preparation, money-management skills.

But Consumer Math might not be enough for many teens. If they want real-life preparation for not just money, but for:

  • making financial decisions that will work for them, not against them
  • wisely planning for the future
  • other financial considerations

Teens need more than Consumer Math for a financially successful future. They need Financial Literacy!

A penny saved is a penny earned is just the beginning. Give your teens financial skills for a lifetime.

So, what is the difference between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy?

  • Consumer Math covers the basics such as creating a budget and balancing a checkbook.
  • Financial Literacy covers Consumer Math PLUS planning for the future, finding the right insurances, banking, credit and more.

Where do you find Financial Literacy courses

There are several good financial training courses. We, of course, like 7Sisters’ Financial Literacy because it covers all the bases of Financial Literacy courses but also trains students on how to find information (and where to avoid information). It is a fun, interactive, internet-based, practical curriculum that teens love…and actually use. Homeschool high schoolers finish the course with a life financial plan.

As soon as 7Sisters’ published our Financial Literacy course, our teens began using it and teaching it in our local homeschool co-op and group classes. The curriculum was vetted by the teens, who gave valuable feedback on how they learn best. Many teens are now adults and still using the skills they learned from their Financial Literacy course.

Vicki shares that her youngest was one of the first students to use this curriculum. He started budgeting and planning for the future in eleventh grade and is now grown with a solid job, marriage, home and reasonable lifestyle. This is because he started learning and applying Financial Literacy skills in his youth.

You can also find online Financial Literacy courses that are presented by schools such as:

Is Financial Literacy a Math credit or an Elective credit?

That’s a good question. Financial Literacy can be either a Math or Elective credit, according to your teens’ goals. For non-college-bound teens, or for teens who are not aiming for a competitive college, they can usually use Financial Literacy as a Math credit (after all, it employs a LOT of math, right?). For teens aiming for a more competitive college, it is a good idea to count Financial Literacy as a Life-Skills Elective.

Want some fun when your homeschool high schoolers are learning Financial Literacy?

Check out these posts with lots of cool, practical ideas for learning about money.

Start off with sharing few blog posts that explain the benefit of learning Financial Literacy.

Then, you can add some fun to your Financial Literacy course with games. Here are some favorite Consumer Math games.

Your teens will benefit from taking Financial Literacy, but don’t take our word for it. Check out these posts from 7Sister Sara’s sons Luke and Joel. You’ll also enjoy this Dollars and Cents Podcast episode on How to Teach Kids about Managing Money.

Financial Literacy for Homeschool High Schoolers