Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World

This week we will discuss: Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World.

Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World. Help your teen learn to be kind and respectful in a culture that needs the fruit of the Spirit. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #SocialSkillsForTeens #TrainingTeensToBeCivil #LifePreparation

Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World

Join Sabrina, Kym and Vicki for an important discussion about civility. Our world is increasingly unkind and uncivil. Teens are surrounded by political figures on the news who are crude, rude and unkind. Social media is full of ugly, unkind behavior. Civility seems to be going out of style.

This is so contradictory to the love of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. There is no room for unkindness there. If we are wise, we will train our teens to be civil in this uncivil world.

What is the difference between kindness, niceness and civility?

  • Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. The fruit grows in us as we grow in the Lord. It is a spiritual outgrowth of our love for God.
  • Niceness can be not-good. When someone acts *nice* but is actually a manipulative trickster who is trying to get you to do something you do not want to do.
    • So-called *nice people* can include abusive or manipulative friends, family or others (who always do what you want, until they explode).
  • Civil behavior, on the other hand,  is very intentionally good and wants what is best for the other.
    • Civility is not necessarily a natural process.
    • Civility has to be trained into our teens.

Why do we care that the world is an uncivil place?

Because we are all broken, so we can have compassion on other broken people.

When we operate in incivility we tend to emotionally eat each other up. Remember the book Millions of Cats? A peasant with a million cats found that they were a cranky and jealous bunch who got into such a big fight that they ate each other up. Here’s a video of that classic book.

  • We humans tend to take differences and make them a thing of hatred.

What are steps we can use to train our teens to be civil?

Remember: Hurt people hurt people.

  • The first thing you can do when you are about to fight back is to stop long enough to remember that this is a broken person who is acting out of that brokenness. This gives you a chance to calm down.
    • When you are suddenly angry or afraid, neural cortisol floods your brain for six seconds preparing you for fight, flight or freeze.
    • If you wait ten seconds, the cortisol flood will pass on by.
    • If you breathe during that ten seconds, it is even better.
  • Remember when your parents taught you to stop and count to ten? They were right!
  • Beware: The social media negativity feeding frenzy in this dog-eat-dog world.
  • Teach: your teens to ask themselves is there something they can feed themselves with, instead of negativity?
  • Draw emotional sustenance from:
  • Remembering: We are friends together
    • What are our good memories?
    • What are our common goals?
  • In the big picture we are actually on the same page, we are not actually on different teams after all, really.

Do not attack the person. Wrestle with the concept or idea but not the person.

  • Avoid ad hominem attacks. (Attacks on the person to deflect poor skills.)
  • Beware of HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
    • Nothing good can come of your communication if you are in HALT.
    • Take care of these needs and then come back to the issue.
  • Look to your deportment.
    • Look to how you are carrying yourself.
    • If you are about to snap, flatten yourself (take a breath, flatten your facial expressions).
    • Walk away before you hit send or enter. Do not type your angry comment in the comments, type it onto blank document.

Teens who learn to be civil are showing Christlike character. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #Civility #SocialSkillsForTeens #HowToBeKind

How often do you mishear the meaning when a speaker is needed?

  • We sometimes misunderstand non-verbals.
    • Tone of voice
    • The body language
    • Do reflective listening:
  • Ask: Am I understanding what you are saying: repeat what you think you heard, non-judgmentally.
    • They can answer with a tweak of information so that you both are on the same page.

Teens do not come to these skills on their own. They need parents to:

  • Role model
  • Teach teens
  • Help them practice
  • Mom-shaming

There’s not ONE right way to do most of life. Do not judge others. Monitor your own self and emotions.

  • When someone hurts us, they have been listening to some other hurtful voices.
    • We can ask what hurtful voices they were listening to.
  • In the same token, what hurtful voices are we listening to.
    • Sit down with your teens and have some conversations about civility.
  • These conversations with your teens will train teens to be civil in an uncivil world.

 

Here’s another Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode on training your teens to become cultural influencers.

Or check out this post where teens explain how 7Sisters Great Christian Writers course was powerful for their character development.

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Training Teens to be Civil in an Uncivil World

Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon.

Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon. Teens can love science, they just need to know how. Kristin shares inspiring tips!

Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon

Many of us homeschool moms are not thrilled at the thought of high school level science! To tell the truth, many of our teens are not thrilled, either. That’s why we invited our friend, Kristin Moon, of Kristin Moon Science, to help us with ideas for getting our teens engaged in science.

Dr. Kristin Moon is a microbiologist, but just as important, a homeschool mom. (She’s also from Vicki’s hometown, Gainesville, Florida, but that’s beside the point.) Kristin loves to help homeschoolers:

  • Invest in their curiosity to learn that science is interesting and meaningful
  • Develop connections in things they know to things they want to know
  • Have hands-on learning experiences that are truly useful

She shares her love of science at her website in her blogs, online courses, live classes and more!

Kristin Moon, Kristin Moon Science

Photo used with permission

Kristin has homeschooled her two sons since the beginning. She had not planned to homeschool but was inspired by the other homeschoolers in her church (and her love of learning alongside her children) to homeschool all the way through. Kristin found that homeschooling high school years have been the most fun of all.

Both Kristin’s teens have some learning difficulties with dyslexia or ADHD. She has been able to tailor her curriculum to allow them to run ahead in areas of their giftedness and interests (like math and science) and take their time in areas of struggle. Now both boys are taking college classes and doing well. (One son in at at state university and one still in homeschool high school while taking dual enrollment courses.)

Kristin learned the love of science while in college. When she was in her freshman Biology class, she learned about the beauty of the way DNA works. She was so inspired that she chose Microbiology as her major. She went onto graduate school for a PhD in molecular biology and specialized in viruses. She wanted to have a research career. That is, until she found out how much she loved being a mom and teaching her own kids.

As the word got out in her local homeschool community that there was a scientist in their midst, Kristin had the opportunity to start teaching science in local homeschool co-ops. She loves inspiring intimidated homeschool high schoolers to engage in science! Kristen has become a science ambassador of sorts!

As Kristin always says: Anyone can love science, they just haven’t learned what they love about it yet!

Want some specific ideas for helping teens learn to love science? Let’s talk about DNA:

With her local homeschool co-op friends and online, Kristin does some DNA detective work:

  • She talks about hemoglobin in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
  • She gives the amino acid sequences to the teens in a handout.
  • Then she guides them through the process of making those genes into hemoglobin.
  • She discusses sickle-cell anemia (which is a genetic illness where the hemoglobin gene has a mutation that causes the cell to collapse on itself).
  • Then she helps the teens discover and identify the amino acid mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia.
  • Teens get so excited when they have had a chance to do a little scientific sleuthing!

Then she gives them instructions on extracting DNA at home with fruit and rubbing alcohol and also on their own cheek cells. She shows them how to examine the DNA, so that they can get engaged in understanding themselves and the way God made them.

BTW: What is important in science? The text or the experience?

Sometimes parents worry that if they do too much *discovery science* that their high schoolers will not have time to complete their textbooks. That might be so. Do you ever remember completing a science text when you were in high school? We believe that completing the entire textbook might not be the number one priority (in fact, the homeschool umbrella school that the 7Sisters’ teens have attended only requires 3/4 completion of the texts). Here are Vicki and Kristin’s thoughts:

  • Vicki points out that this kind of engaging teens in science is more important than finishing the entire science textbook.
  • Kristin says it is more important to learn to think like a scientist than finish a book.
  • Activities and exploration help build these skills.
  • In fact, every time they have a question, teens should develop the discipline to look it up online (most of them have a computer in their pockets, these days).
  • This is all science!
  • (Log it as lab time…)

Got more questions? More curiosity?

Your homeschoolers can sign up for Kristin’s courses at the online at KristinMoonScience.com or at the academies of two of our friends:

Also check out this fun freebie on creating family pedigrees!

Want more help in engaging teens in science?

Join Vicki and Kristin for inspiration and encouragement! Have some fun with science!

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Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon

We Don’t Mom-Shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast

This week on HSHSP: We Don’t Mom-Shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

We Don’t Mom-Shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Join Vicki and Sabrina, together in the same room for this week’s episode! It’s been a while since they have found the time to get together, what with Sabrina traveling so much. Hey, if you need an inspiring speaker with a gripping story, contact her.

In this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast, we are talking about *mom-shaming*. In short: we don’t mom-shame!

Mom-shaming is easy to fall into: When life isn’t working out how we want it to, it is easy to project our frustrations onto other (whether we know we are doing it or not). Then we begin to judge. Then we begin to correct others (whether they asked for it or not). Then we begin to fix others (whether they asked for it or not). That’s mom-shaming.

Mom-shaming is especially easy when we are on social media, because the barriers to slow us down are so low. That’s sad because when we mom-shame, we create a culture of fear.

We don’t mom-shame at 7Sisters or here on HSHSP.

Motherhood is all about guilt, so it is easy to feel guilty without our friends’s help.

We don’t mom-shame! With age we 7Sisters have learned a thing or two about grace and patience over the years (whether we asked God to teach us that or not). All our homeschoolers have graduated and we found that they all have different:

  • Personalities
  • Needs
  • Abilities
  • Interests

We could tailor their academics and extracurriculars into a box that some friend, some speaker or some publisher says we should use.

But tailoring our many kinds of kids into another person’s box is a destructive strategy.

Instead, we recommend that you look at each child. Ask yourself:

  • What can you invest in them?
  • What tools can you give them individually?

Then boldly begin to invest in your homeschoolers the best that you can, knowing that you will be good enough by God’s grace…but that you will need His grace.

boldly begin to invest in your homeschoolers the best that you can, knowing that you will be good enough by God's grace...but that you will need His grace.

In the early days of homeschooling, there were a few big voices (opinionated thought leaders who sometimes said that homeschooling needed to happen THEIR way). Now that we have the internet, there are not just a few big voices. Rather, there are many voices and a some of them will say THIS is the way to homeschool. They sometimes imply the ominous: If you don’t homeschool OUR way, you are dooming your kids!

The real truth is: Our kids and our families are on a journey of growth and discovery. Each journey is different. We need to be sensitive to the needs of each of our homeschoolers. That’s why we don’t mom-shame.

Remember: We invest in our kids the best we can but God is in charge of the outcomes. (Thanks to our friends, The Fletchers at Homeschooling in Real Life, for that quote.)

So, want our advice?

  • Motherhood is all about guilt.
    • We will never do good enough in our own eyes. We can do the best we can.
    • The needs are infinite and we are finite, so we must daily go to HIM on how to handle things.
    • Sometimes this looks like a programmatic curriculum or philosophy, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • While each of us are individuals, we are also in need of community.
    • We can be good sisters in community.
    • When we feel the need to fix someone, pray first, ask a question…privately.
    • A kind question, not a leading question, not a point-out-your-problems question
    • If done in public, questioning is unkind and invites little but defensiveness.
    • Ask yourself: What is my intent?
    • Are you guided by humilty (beware of pride or fear on your part)?
    • Look to be a sister, a support, do not fix your sister.
  • Model this for your kids.
    • With curriculum: You kid-shame if you have feel you “have to do it this way, kids, suck it up and just do it.”
    • That could lead to shaping character that is harsh and rigid and teaching them to feel helpless and frustrated.
    • If they are writing a paper with seven tabs open that do not have anything to do with. If they are clearly doing something wrong, it is a parent’s job to point that out.
    • If they are struggling or bored, try something like this: “I see you are not liking Chemistry. What is not working for you?”
    • Ask questions that show you care, you are curious about what is working and what is not.

This is why 7SistersHomeschool.com’s curriculum exists. It is adaptable, no-busywork to fit many homeschoolers’ needs. However, we know that it will not fit everyone because there’s not ONE right way to do homeschooling! (So, we have a money-back guarantee.) To help adapt curriculum to needs: In each text or literature/writing guide, there are instructions on how to adapt to various goals and abilities. Also check out the syllabus available for many of the texts.

We want you to feel more confident as you grow in God’s work in you and your homeschoolers.

Check us out at 7SistersHomeschool.com

Join Vicki and Sabrina for encouragement and support and NO mom-shaming!

We don’t mom-shame at Homeschool Highschool Podcast

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias

This week on HSHSP: How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias.

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias. Tips for teaching teens organizational life skills that help them succeed in academics. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #homeschoolorganization #TeachingOrganizationToTeens #TatianaAdurias

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias

Our friend, Tatiana Adurias from Purposeful Motherhood, joins us for a discussion about teaching homeschoolers organizational skills. Tatiana is the mother of six homeschoolers ages….through college graduation. She has learned by necessity the necessity of an organized homeschool. Here are some of her experiences.

Tatiana began homeschooling when her oldest son was in third grade. He asked to homeschool! Tatiana, at that time, was finishing her teaching credentials so was not excited about that! However, circumstances made homeschooling important in his third grade second semester. Tatiana gave in and started homeschooling him and his younger sister. She felt unprepared and did not enjoy the experience. So back to school he went next fall.

When Tatiana’s son was in sixth grade he came back to her and asked to homeschool again. He explained to her that he was more mature now and could manage himself better. He also researched homeschooling, created a powerpoint presentation with twenty-five reasons he should homeschool and gave a speech about it to his parents. Tatiana respected his requests and began to get started.

Tatiana is very authentic. She explained that the first three years were rough for several reasons, but they kept learning together. Before she knew it, she was homeschooling comfortably and had all her children learning at home!

Vicki really appreciates Tatiana’s honesty. Homeschooling is not all easy, not every day goes smoothly, but when we are determined to grow together, homeschooling is a beautiful thing!

What shifted for Tatiana so that she loved homeschooling? She began to actually see the benefits. She saw her son’s ability to:

  • Excel in his academics
  • Had time to explore his interests in filmmaking
  • Develop his own personality

Our friend, Tatiana Adurias from Purposeful Motherhood, joins us for a discussion about teaching homeschoolers organizational skills. Tatiana is the mother of six homeschoolers ages....through college graduation. She has learned by necessity the necessity of an organized homeschool. Here are some of her experiences.  Tatiana began homeschooling when her oldest son was in third grade. He asked to homeschool! Tatiana, at that time, was finishing her teaching credentials so was not excited about that! However, circumstances made homeschooling important in his third grade second semester. Tatiana gave in and started homeschooling him and his younger sister. She felt unprepared and did not enjoy the experience. So back to school he went next fall.  When Tatiana's son was in sixth grade he came back to her and asked to homeschool again. He explained to her that he was more mature now and could manage himself better. He also researched homeschooling, created a powerpoint presentation with twenty-five reasons he should homeschool and gave a speech about it to his parents. Tatiana respected his requests and began to get started.  Tatiana is very authentic. She explained that the first three years were rough for several reasons, but they kept learning together. Before she knew it, she was homeschooling comfortably and had all her children learning at home!  Vicki really appreciates Tatiana's honesty. Homeschooling is not all easy, not every day goes smoothly, but when we are determined to grow together, homeschooling is a beautiful thing!  What shifted for Tatiana so that she loved homeschooling? She began to actually see the benefits. She saw her son's ability to:  Excel in his academics Had time to explore his interests in filmmaking Develop his own personality  Tatiana's most strenuous three years homeschooling were the years she was educating all six kids, with three in high school down to kindergarten. What helped?  She learned how tot get her homeschool organized! Here are Tatiana's tips: Focus energy on the needs of the oldest. Adapt the curriculum to his/her needs and then teach the curriculum (adapted) to the whole family. Teach the same history to the entire family. If they are able, have the near-aged youngers go ahead and take the same high school maths and sciences and languages as the oldest homeschooler. (BTW- one of 7Sisters Literature Study Guides is especially designed to work with the whole family: Anne of Green Gables Literature Study Guide...and it is FREE!) Tatiana has found that working together creates close family bonds and good friendships between siblings. They also can do some group projects together. Teach your homeschoolers independent learning skills. She sets expectations. She lets her kids know that she believes they can meet the expectations. However, she concentrates on warmth and grace. This is a balance. She teaches her middle schoolers that working rigorously is good preparation for life and for high school learning. She also teaches them that she believes they can do it. She teachers her high schoolers to do independent work. See 7Sisters post on developing independent learners for more specific skills. See this 7Sisters post on developing independent writing skills. Tatiana's gift to herself is learning how to relax. She relaxes her own soul (think: fruit of the spirit). Check out this post from Vicki's coaching site on mindfulness for folks who are not naturally mindful. She does not micromanage. She believes in her kids and they believe in themselves. Find family routines that work for you and your homeschoolers. She teaches her kids that being part of a family includes chores and academic responsibilities. Tatiana does not have a specific schedule. She simply gives her kids chore and school responsibilities and they set their own schedules. She finds that when her homeschoolers graduate, they are prepared to do the adulting in college and beyond. Tatiana gives this advice: Remember, you are homeschooling people, so be willing to adjust expectations when you need to so that each kids can learn and grow in their own individual way.  Check out Tatiana Adurias' encouraging website Purposeful Motherhood.  You can find her on Facebook at Purposeful Motherhood!  Tatiana will soon be releasing a short course for homeschooling mothers and middle schoolers! It is a five-day questionnaire guide for preparing college-bound middle schoolers for high school. Sign up for her mailing list for release date!  For more excellent tips on getting yourself organized, check out our friend Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast's episodes on organized homeschooling life.  How to Get Your Homeschool High School Organized The Most Important Areas to Organize This Year  Join Vicki and Tatiana for this encouraging discussion on how to get your homeschool organized.

Tatiana’s most strenuous three years homeschooling were the years she was educating all six kids, with three in high school down to kindergarten. What helped?

She learned how tot get her homeschool organized! Here are Tatiana’s tips:

Tatiana gives this advice: Remember, you are homeschooling people, so be willing to adjust expectations when you need to so that each kids can learn and grow in their own individual way.

Check out Tatiana Adurias’ encouraging website Purposeful Motherhood.

You can find her on Facebook at Purposeful Motherhood!

Tatiana will soon be releasing a short course for homeschooling mothers and middle schoolers! It is a five-day questionnaire guide for preparing college-bound middle schoolers for high school. Sign up for her mailing list for release date!

For more excellent tips on getting yourself organized, check out our friend Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast’s episodes on organized homeschooling life.

Join Vicki and Tatiana for this encouraging discussion on how to get your homeschool organized.

How to Get Your Homeschool Organized, Interview with Tatiana Adurias

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript.

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

Vicki shares how to create a powerful transcript by building Honors credits. She explains the method called “leveling up” that her family and the homeschool umbrella school that all the 7Sisters’ homeschoolers have graduated from. Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode that explains the concept of “Levels”.

If you have homeschool high schoolers who are headed for college, it is likely they will need to show rigor on the homeschool transcript. How do you handle creating courses with rigor and showing them on the transcript?

Well, it’s complicated! There are not any unified how-to’s. Our advice is:

  • Choose your method
  • Keep it consistent through all core courses (core courses are Language Arts, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies and World Languages)
  • Make sure you create a legend or key on transcript that explains a little about how the level of rigor was achieved
  • Be sure to record along with the title of the course, the level of rigor that your homeschool high schoolers achieved

This is how we do it. First decide on the level for each course:

Level 1: Remedial Level

  • This is not college level. It is for student who are severely behind or have learning disabilities.

Level 2: Average High School Level

  • These are courses with textbooks that have easier reading levels and shorter lessons. Some examples would include: Westfield Studios 101, Pacemaker series.
  • If your homeschool high schoolers complete a Level 2 course it will not prevent them from getting into college.
  • However, the colleges that accept Level 2 courses will most likely be community colleges or some private colleges.
  • Make sure that the Level 2 courses are not in the courses that will become your teens’ college majors.
  • Very few courses should be Level 2 for college-bound teens.

Level 3: College Preparatory Level

  • Most available textbooks are Level 3. Some examples of Level 3 publishers are,Apologia, BJU Press and Abeka.

Level 4: Advanced Level

  • This level is more powerful than college prep.
  • Leveling up the Level 3 to Level 4 in our homeschool umbrella school requires completing a Level 3 course plus one half of another Level 3 course of that same topic.
  • This will earn 1 credit of that course at Level 4.
  • It is an attractive credit to many colleges.

Level 5: Honors Level

  • An Honors level homeschool high school course is similar in rigor to an AP course. However, the title “AP” can only be used by courses specifically approved by  the College Board. They own that designation.
  • Honors level courses are highly rigorous; they require a lot of work. This is worth it for teens who are applying to competitive private or state colleges.
  • Concentrate on Honors level for courses in the general area of your homeschool high schoolers’ future major or interest area.
  • Some competitive colleges want to see ALL core courses at Honors level. Check with colleges of interest for their requirements.

Create a college-attractive transcript by building Honors-level credits. Develop powerful credits by adding extra rigor for Honors courses.

How do you develop Honors credit?

It is hard work. A teen working on a Level 5 Honors credit will be doing about double the Level 3 College Prep.

7Sisters textbooks and Literature Study Guides include instructions (with Literature Study Guides the instructions vary by age and grade). Listen to this HSHSP episode for tips on using the levels feature of 7Sisters curriculum.

Start with:

Textbook average or college prep.

Then add:

  • Add 16 extra real book in interest areas/subject area
  • For example, if Biology will be your teen’s major: choose books exploring an interest such as birds, including:
    Books on Famous Ornithologists, Bird behaviors
  • Write summary of each book

The textbook plus 16 books and summaries become ONE Honors credit.

Another way to earn an Honors credit could be adding a Carnegie credit.

For more information on Carnegie credits check out this post.

Start with:

Textbook average or college prep.

Then add:

  • Logged extra Carnegie Unit of credit (varies by state 120-180 hours of instruction). Make sure you document these hours.
  • Create the Carnegie credit by:
    • Developing an interest through field trips, writing research papers (keys with Language Arts), projects, related volunteer work, related apprenticeships
    • For instance, if your teen’s interest is Psychology, volunteer at rescue mission to see what other people’s lives are like
  • Make these hours useful to your teen.
  • Keep really good logs. Suggestion: have teens log hours themselves. This develops independent learners (or panicked learners if they put logging off too long.)

The textbook plus Carnegie credit becomes ONE Honors credit.

Or try a combination

  • College textbook plus 8 books and half-credit logged hours.

Remember, homeschool high schoolers are doing double credits BUT on transcript they only receive 1 credit. College admissions officers LOVE these Honors credits.

Search Honors credit at 7Sisters for more ideas.

 

When teens develop interest they feel engaged and proud of themselves. It gives them a nice expertise in an area and creates a powerful transcript. When the Honors credit is in an area of their choice, they can use this expertise in a college admissions interview.

How to Create Honors Credits on Homeschool Transcript

Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Interview with Tiffany Jefferson

Can you homeschool lots of kids? Yes, you can! Here are tips for homeschooling multiple ages in this interview with Tiffany Jefferson.

Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Interview with Tiffany Jefferson. Can you homeschool lots of kids? Yes, you can! Here are tips from a mom of 10 homeschoolers. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolMultipleAges #HomeschoolingMultipleAges #FinishWithJoy #7SistersHomeschool

Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Interview with Tiffany Jefferson

Tiffany Jefferson is a happily married homeschool mom of 10 children (7 sons and 2 daughters, ranging from ages 22 to newborn). Tiffany loves being a mom and always tells her kids she would gladly do it over again.

Tiffany and her husband started homeschooling after her oldest three children were in public school. When her third child and first daughter entered first grade, they began to have doubts. Her daughter was bright and curious. They saw the classroom system being a discouragement for her. Thinking that they wanted to build, not stifle, their daughter’s inquisitiveness, they began to explore the idea of homeschooling.

Tiffany Jefferson of Finish With Joy.

Photo used by permission.

Fortunately, there were a couple of homeschooling families at her church. They helped them comply with state homeschool laws. They helped Tiffany learn the ropes and even gave them homeschool curriculum to explore as the figured out what would be best fit for their kids. (This was nice for the first year: NO curriculum decisions that first year.)  Tiffany and her husband felt so blessed and encouraged.

When she started homeschooling, they started with just that one daughter, whose needs would be best met at home. Of course, it was not always an easy adventure. Tiffany tells about the time she told her husband, “I feel like I’m giving up all my free time!”

And being a truth-teller, her husband replied, “You are.”

But what a great investment of her time!

Tiffany’s truth-telling advice to other moms homeschooling multiple ages: There is a lot you give up. But what you gave up is no comparison to what you gain.

The first year there were tears and struggles but the priceless joy of watching her daughter’s gains. They learned to pray at tough times and set things aside for the day, pause and do something else. She learned to give herself permission to hit the pause button; she found she not have to finish every lesson, every day.

The second year, Tiffany and her husband brought her oldest two sons home for their education. Eventually, she was homeschooling kids from high school ages down to kindergarten.

Remember: You can hit PAUSE. You don't have to finish every lesson every day. Tiffany Jefferson on Homeschooling Multiple Ages.

Here some of Tiffany Jefferson’s tips for homeschooling multiple ages:

  • Pray. First and foremost.
  • Find a homeschool support group if possible.
  • Find curriculum that could be used with multiple children.
  • Enlist the help of your older children.
    • On any given day in the Jefferson home, you will find one sibling will be holding a baby, another playing with the toddler, or an older child listening to a younger sibling read.
  • Work on household management skills.
    • As in teach your children to do chores, get them involved. Another bit of wisdom from Tiffany’s husband: Delegate to them what they can do so that you can do what only you can do.
  • In curriculum, you do not ever have to do every lesson in the teacher’s manual for your curriculum.
    • The teacher’s manual is a guide, not your master.
    • Be flexible, if it is a tough day, adapt down, switch to a hands-on, independent activity or drop the lesson.
  • Develop independent learners beginning 7th or 8th grade. Tiffany teaches them to:
    • Use a planner
    • Develop their own lesson schedule and enter it into the planner on a weekly basis
    • Create deadlines and schedule backwards for projects and papers. (Check out 7Sister Sabrina’s popular freebie Scheduling Backwards on a way to do this.)
    • Utilize a grading bin for finished work ready for mom to grade.
  • Remember, just like parenting, children become more and more able to help themselves.

When her oldest son was a high school senior, Tiffany was experiencing a difficult pregnancy. She was on bedrest, but the structure they had implemented helped the family’s homeschool to carry on.

When her oldest teen graduated from homeschool high school, it was exciting for him. He knew what he wanted after graduation, so he developed his own system for college choice and application. They also looked to their local umbrella school’s advisor for guidance and a list of deadlines to work on. (What are umbrella schools? Check out this HSHSP episode.)

Now the oldest has graduated from college. Two of her kids are in college. The rest are high school, middle school, elementary school or younger. SO many homeschoolers in a family full of grace!

You're giving up your free time, but you gain so much more!Tiffany Jefferson on Homeschooling Multiple Ages. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolingMultipleAges #TIffanyJefferson #FinsihWithJoy #7SistersHomeschool

More advice from Tiffany on homeschooling high school when you have a bunch of youngers:

  • Pray, of course! (And with your husband, if possible.)
  • For the first year, watch your level of outside the home commitments.
  • Understand the biblical mandate to educate your children in ways that are beyond the academics (Deuteronomy 6:7). Homeschooling is 90% character development and 10% academic (for kids and moms, alike).
  • Remember, you have been your child’s teacher all along. You are equipped.

If you would like to contact Tiffany Jefferson for consulting, visit her at her website Finish With Joy.

Like her Facebook page Finish With Joy and her Instagram profile.

Tiffany’s bio:

Tiffany is a blogger, speaker and entrepreneur.  As founder of The Homeschool Helper, she uses over a decade of homeschool experience to equip parents with the tools to succeed in their homeschool journey.  As a mentor to mothers, she’s passionate about teaching women how to honor their husbands and create peaceful home environments. You can find her encouraging women, sharing Scriptural truths and helpful tips at her blog Finish with Joy, on Facebook and Instagram.

Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Interview with Tiffany Jefferson

Keeping Up With Homeschool Paperwork, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on HSHSP Ep 192: Keeping Up With Homeschool Paperwork, Interview with Ann Karako.

Keeping Up With Homeschool Paperwork, Interview with Anne Karako. Anne shares realistic tips for staying on top of the endless homeschool task for moms. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolPaperwork #HomeschoolOrganization #AnneKarako #DealingWithHomeschoolPaperwork

Keeping Up With Homeschool Paperwork, Interview with Ann Karako

We are joined again this week by our friend, Ann Karako, of Annie and Everything. We are talking about PAPERWORK!

Who LOVES paperwork…Crickets…crickets…That’s right. Most homeschool moms do not love paperwork.

Ever felt overwhelmed with the tons of paperwork in your homeschool? It is a necessary part of education, but not much fun to keep up with!

Vicki shares that during her years of being homeschool advisor, she sometimes found overwhelmed moms bringing in boxes of unsorted paperwork to their mid-year reviews because they got overwhelmed and gave up. Vicki and the mom would sort and grade, then develop a system that would hopefully work for that mom to help her keep up!

Ann encourages us that she’s felt been there, done that. For instance, her daughter needed a GPA for sports recently. There was some scrambling to pull it together but it got done.

Ann handled the event by saying to herself:

  • Life happens
  • I won’t place a boatload of guilt on myself
  • I don’t need to be a perfect mom or a perfect grader

Did you hear that? Maybe I’ll share it again:

  • Life happens
  • I won’t place a boatload of guilt on myself
  • I don’t need to be a perfect mom or a perfect grader
Ann Karako

Photo used with permission

Want Ann’s advice? She encourages homeschool moms to decide:

  • What really must be graded
    • You do not need to grade EVERY single thing!
    • Anne does not grade daily work. She feels like daily work is simply learning activity and is not fair to be grading that. Daily work is practice! They need to make mistakes and learn and correct, not be graded.
    • If teens are allowed to learn and not have perfection on first try, they won’t be frozen by fear of failure.
    • When moms try to grade daily work, they often get bogged down.
  • Instead, grade these assignments:
    • Things that show mastery, (things usually done at the end of a textbook chapter)
    • tests (because that requires review and practice and shows they learned)
    • papers
    • projects
    • lab reports

Ann reminds mom, though, that big piles of paperwork are bad news.

When you have a huge pile, you might find things get lost along the way. That is not helpful when concepts build on one another (such as math). You do not want this to happen!

  • Own up to your failures when you get behind
  • Adjust grades if you made a mistake in instruction (or you got behind on grading which cost your teens some accurate learning)
  • Be honest but you don’t have to be rigid
  • You can drop lowest grade, then average the rest of the test
  • You can give extra credit assignments:
    • reading a book
    • writing a paper
    • doing test retakes for partial score
  • When grading look for growth and redemption. If there is a problem due to instruction, you can help.

But remember this key principle! In high school, teens need to come to you when they need help on academics. They need to learn to advocate for themselves.

  • Their diligence is a factor in their grade, if they did not ask for help when they needed it, you do not need to adjust grades!
  • Better to fail and bounce back by asking for help at home than waiting to learn that resilience when they are at college.

Teach your teens each day (and remember it yourself):

  • Start fresh.
    • This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
    • His mercies are new every morning.

Handling paper is an issue. There is paperwork everywhere. Be merciful to you! Get tips on handling paperwork with Anne Karako and Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

Handling paper is an issue. There is paperwork everywhere. How does Ann handle grading?

  • When Ann’s daughter has something to be graded, she places it in Ann’s grading “inbox”. Ann grades everything there and records the grade on the papers. Discuss grades with her teen. If grades are poor, decisions are discussed about what to do. 80 or above, no extra credit or redo. Redo’s get half credit.
  • Graded papers go into a file folder. Ann’s file is not divided into subjects. Instead, she waits until the end of the semester she places everything into folders for the subject. Then she averages the grades for each subject. Then she records that average on the top paper for each subject and puts it back into the file until the end of the year. At the end of the year the final grade can go onto the transcript.
  • See how easy it is to do, when you follow Ann’s process? Why have a mountain when you can have a mole hill?

Join Vicki and Ann for fun and encouragement about PAPERWORK!

And check out Ann’s encouragement at:

Want more encouragement on homeschool organization? Check out these posts from 7SistersHomeschool.com

And this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschool Organization.

Keeping Up With Homeschool Paperwork, Interview with Ann Karako

HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Interview with Ann Karako

HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Interview with Ann Karako. Our friend, Ann, shares things she has learned about homeschooling and community.

HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Interview with Ann Karako.

HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Ann Karako. Popular homeschool guide, Ann, shares about community for moms homeschooling high school. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolCommunity #CommunityForHomeschoolMoms #AnnKarako #HowToHomeschoolHighSchool

 

This week on HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Interview with Ann Karako

Vicki is excited this week to be joined by an old digital friend, Ann Karako. Many homeschoolers are familiar with Ann. She is the popular homeschool blogger at Annie and Everything and many of us homeschooling high school parents are involved in her HUGE Facebook community: It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School!

Ann and her husband have five kids, who have homeschooled all the way from pre-kindergarten. She dropped her fourth homeschool graduate off for freshman semester at college this September, so she just has one more high schooler to go!

They started homeschooling their kids in the beginning because of the inspiration of their kids’ babysitters who were homeschoolers. These teens were such great role models for their kids that they wanted to give their children a similar formative experience. Homeschoolers are the best advertisement for homeschooling!

Now entering their 21st year of homeschooling, Ann is grateful for each year!

Ann has also spent her homeschool years investing in the homeschool community. Community formation is Ann’s calling. Ann found that when she started homeschooling the middle school years, her homeschool support system was thinning because many parents were intimidated by the thought of homeschooling the higher grades. By high school, Ann had only a couple of homeschooling high school family/friends.

Ann Karako

Photo used with permission

Ann knew that the high school years are marvelous for homeschooling, but they could also be challenging with paperwork, credits and hormones to deal with. She knows we need the homeschool mom support more than ever.

Vicki and Ann both found that homeschooling in community helped so much in:

  • Swapping out subjects with other moms (like giving dissections for Biology to moms who do not mind doing them, or writing to moms who love writing)
  • Getting advice and support

As she was facing those homeschooling high school years, she woke up one morning and decided to find a digital community for herself. Thus, she started It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School. There are tens of thousands of moms in the group who ask questions and share advice on:

  • Curriculum choices
  • Logging credits
  • Transcript development
  • General encouragement

Ann does not put us with “YOU SHOULD’s”. She does not allow that in her facebook group because she knows there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. (Have you ever heard that from the 7Sisters, too?) She encourages everyone to give advice without “shoulds”. This attitude keeps the conversation leaning into mentoring, encouragement and support for moms who are homeschooling high school (and available 24/7).

Vicki tells Ann about the Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview with Misty Bailey, who shared about how to not be afraid to homeschool high school. Misty told Vicki that her main inspiration for homeschooling her teens was Ann Karako.

Ann’s influence was available because she is determined to invest in other homeschooling families. As Ann learned about things that worked in homeschooling her high schoolers, she shared what she learned in her popular website, Annie and Everything. Ann tells the story of doing her high school research (which included researching the public school requirements and feeling intimidated and irritated. Her husband reminded her that they are homeschoolers so they don’t HAVE to do high school like the public schools. Ann has been determined to share this: do what is right for your teens).

Ann reminds us the only thing you absolutely must do is follow your state homeschool law!

Homeschool moms need hugs, too. Check out encouragement and verbal hugs at Annie and Everything, and the Homeschool Highschool Podcast.

Find information and community for homeschool moms with Ann Karako at:

HUGS for homeschooling high school. Help Understanding Grace Strength. This is Ann’s online paid membership community ($10/month). It is for Christian homeschooling moms of teens. She will discussing Christian parenting, homeschooling and curriculum in a safe setting where moms do not need to calm down their *Jesus talk*. There  daily discussions and monthly themes and live get togethers. Ann is spending daily live-time there now.

Ann also has two books about homeschooling high school:

Also don’t forget to check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide series (lots of how-to, in-depth informational posts)

Join Vicki and Ann for this encouraging discussion on homeschooling community for homeschool moms.


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HSHSP Ep 189: The Importance of Homeschool Community, Ann Karako

HSHSP Ep 188: Mentoring Relationships for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Jamie Erickson

This week on HSHSP Ep 188: Mentoring Relationships for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Jamie Erickson.

HSHSP Ep 188: Mentoring Relationships for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Jamie Erickson. Encouragement for homeschooling high school moms.

HSHSP Ep 188: Mentoring Relationships for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Jamie Erickson

We are joined today with popular author and fellow podcaster Jamie Erickson of the Mom to Mom Podcast and the Unlikely Homeschool blog. We are talking about the importance of mentoring for homeschool moms.

Jamie is married to her high school sweetheart. Her husband was homeschooled and wanted to homeschool their kids. It took some convincing but once they started homeschooling, she has known it is the best way to educate her kids. (As Vicki says: A mom’s mind plans her way but God directs her paths.)

Today on Homeschool Highschool Podcast, Jamie and Vicki are discussing mentoring relationships!

Jamie’s first homeschooling mentor was her mother-in-law, who was a pioneer in homeschooling in her area. (Jamie knows that supportive mother-in-laws are often an exception to other’s experiences.)

Jamie grew up in a home where only her mom was a Christian, which had some challenges. She met her husband at in college in Florida, married him and moved back to his home state of Minnesota. While it was the frozen north to her, she found warm women who knew how to bring a new person into the fold. These women were mentors, further down the path of life, who reached behind and lifted her up.

She experienced a poignant mentoring moment when she was pregnant with her fourth child and had a home full of very young children. She was sitting at a women’s church meeting, the youngest one there. The leader asked if there were any prayer requests. She was tired and was going to ask for prayer about it but tears of exhaustion came out first. These gracious women encircled her, prayed, then followed up with meals and babysitters so she could take a nap.

Jamie determined to pass forward this beautiful act of support and mentoring to other young moms.

Jamie remembers seeking out moms who still had homeschool high schoolers or had graduated their teens and asked for a mentoring session. They brought bags of curriculum and lots of encouragement and advice. These events really encouraged Jamie.

However, these events were not common. Jamie knew that if she had a hunger for mentoring, there were others who felt the same need for support in their homeschool journey:

  • Dealing with loneliness
  • Bearing the weight on shoulders of homeschooling
  • Finding it difficult to ask for help (often because there are too many naysayers in their lives)

So she began teaching about mentoring and encouraging other homeschool moms to mentor. She advises that homeschool moms:

  • Admit you need help
  • Invite others into your space to be helped
  • Become a helper, a mentor, right where you are

Jamie says we need to have three kinds of mentoring relationships in our homeschool lives:

  • A Mother:
    • One who is further down the road in the homeschool journey. She has been there, done that. She is a woman we can contact with questions, ask for advice and prayer.
  • A Sister:
    • One who is walking along the same path as we are. She is a woman we can get real and raw with, field trip together or just call for prayer. I can reach across the aisle to and help each other.
  • A Daughter:
    • One who is not as far along in their homeschool walk. One who is a little behind you and pull her along, giving her encouragement and help in the same way you have been helped by others.

When you have a homeschool high schooler, it is lovely for them to have a mentor, too!

Jamie’s family made the decision, when her oldest was young, that they would work to find mentoring relationships for her. One way Jamie has found mentors for her daughter is through volunteer work. (We all know how important service is to our homeschool high schoolers’ personal development AND their transcripts. Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode with information on service hours for your teens.)

She and her daughter have been volunteering at a mother-daughter weekend at a local Bible camp for years. Through that experience, her daughter started actually working there. Out of that, natural mentoring relationships with young college-aged women have formed. It has been amazingly powerful for them.

Also joining a homeschool co-op has been important to her high school daughter’s life. The homeschool moms have been role models and mentors for her in “big, lavish ways”.

Have you had a co-op experience? If not, do you want to start one? Check out this authoritative guide from 7SistersHomeschool.com on co-oping and these HSHSP episodes: How to Start a Co-op Teens Will Like.

Jamie has recently published a mentoring book for homeschool moms: Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God and Teach Your Child with Confidence.

This book is not a how-to book, it is a book of hugs around moms’ necks, encouragement and the heart of where her encouragement comes from (Christ). Check it out at HomeschoolBravely.com and read the first chapter there.

Jamie’s podcast is Mom to Mom (hosted by Jamie, Kate Battestelli and September McCarthy). These seasoned homeschool moms have sixteen kids ranging in age from thirty to 6 years of age. Jamie started the podcast because she wanted a mentoring podcast with seasoned homeschool moms (which these moms certainly are). It is a podcast for every season of mothering.

Want to connect with Jamie Erickson, check out the Unlikely Homeschool, Mom to Mom podcast and grab her book!

Join Vicki and Jamie Erickson for this encouraging interview!

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HSHSP Ep 188: Mentoring Relationships for Homeschool Moms, Interview with Jamie Erickson