We've been getting questions, so here are a few answers. This is a classic post about homeschooling high school.
Middle school will become high school soon enough... How do you plan for homeschooling those high school years?
It will help if you plan for:
1) Academics that are tailored to your teens' strengths
Subjects that are of interest or in the strengths of your teen should be emphasized. Aim for higher-powered curriculum and rich, stretching experiences in these areas. If your teen is an avid reader- go for advanced level Literature courses. If your teen is good at math, you might plan for AP math from a good online provider such as 7 Star Academy.
2) Academics that compensate for weaknesses
Subjects that are extremely difficult for your teen can be taught at a simpler level (for example, if your teen still needs introductory level writing material, it is better to learn that well in 9th grade before pushing on). Try to major on the strengths and minor on the weaknesses.
3) Help your teen discover new strengths and interests
4) Plan for friends and fun
Homeschooling high school is a great opportunity to develop social networks and discover things about themselves by hanging out with friends.
5) Plan for extracurriculars and competitions
Colleges like to see extracurriculars on transcripts: sports, choirs, orchestras, service organizations, youth groups, chess clubs, etc. Also, a few competitions show drive and determination. Plan for opportunities for these.
High school are the most fun years of all for homeschooling: time for rich education, family, fun, and growth. The most important thing to plan is this: Plan to enjoy this time yourself!
What are some things you are planning for your homeschool high schooler?
Human Development, Psychology, and Career Exploration. These are courses written from a Christian worldview to give our homeschoolers life skills and rich transcript subjects. Download them today!
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Homeschoolers have such a wonderful variety of curricula to choose from these days. We are well set for College Prep high school texts. What to do if a high schooler is an average (level 2) student- that a CP curriculum would either be a waste of time OR above his/her ability?
Here are a few suggestions from the curricula that the 7 Sisters' kids have used:
-7 Sisters Homeschool Literature Guides, Writing Guides, Psychology, and Human Development (written at an accessible level and including instructions for "leveling up" to College Prep, Advanced, and Honors Levels)
-AGS Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2 (originally Globe Fearon)
Shorter lessons, clearly explained, simple word problems appropriate for a non-math brain
-AGS American Government, Economics (originally Globe Fearon)
Just the facts, just the necessary information, well-written
These texts help average high school homeschoolers cover the topics they need for graduation while still giving them time to develop their strengths and interests.
What are some average high school level texts that you have used with your family?
(This is not a sponsored post; the folks at A+ TutorSoft just asked us if we'd review one of their curriculum offerings, and since Algebra is a class I teach every year in our homeschool dayschool, I agreed to take a look at it.)
A+ TutorSoft (www.aplustutorsoft.com) is an up-and-coming producer of math curricula on CD, with an eye on meeting the specific needs of the homeschooling community. This company has worked extensively with homeschoolers to determine what they would like to see in a full-orbed math curriculum, including multi-media instruction and interactive questions/answers following each lesson, worksheets and exams, and solutions guides (not just answer keys) for both. Suggested lesson plans are provided to help homeschooling moms keep track of what’s been done and what’s still left.
The Premium Edition of each math level includes, among other things, Parental Controls which allow the parent to hide/unhide answer keys and solution guides from the student. Additionally, parents can set up the academic year start-date and record student grades. Students can also view their scores and progress reports. For the additional benefits provided, the Premium Edition is the way to go.
If the homeschooling parent is not strong in math (or it’s just been a long time since she’s seen it!), the A+ TutorSoft curriculum course should be a good fit because the concepts are explained and examples provided for each lesson. Especially if the parent is rusty in math, I would recommend that she view the lessons with her student to keep in touch with the topics being studied and to help research answers to questions the student might have. (Don’t forget that YouTube provides excellent videos on just about any math topic you could want to find.)
The particular level of A+ TutorSoft curriculum I’m currently looking at is Pre-Algebra (Premium Edition). Since I teach Algebra I in our local homeschool dayschool, I look for my students to have a good background and understanding in certain areas coming into the class.
These areas include:
- the four basic arithmetic operations with positive/negative integers, fractions, and decimal numbers
- conversions between percents, decimals, and fractions
- exponents and powers (at an introductory level)
- the use of variables in algebra and the ability to solve the most simple algebraic equations
- area, perimeter, circumference, volume, right triangles (at an introductory level)
Of course, pre-algebra covers more than just these topics, but since any Algebra I course will begin by reviewing concepts from the previous level, if a student has a firm-enough foundation in the above areas, he or she will be in good shape to begin Algebra I.
The A+TutorSoft Pre-Algebra course covers all the topics of a usual pre-algebra course, and, in my opinion, goes beyond it. I confess I was a little surprised to see the quadratic formula, factoring of quadratic trinomials, and an introduction to trigonometric functions in a pre-algebra course. I would have preferred to see some of the more basic topics (fractions, decimals, working with negative numbers – I’ve seen many students confused by negative numbers) covered a bit more thoroughly; however, if a student is proficient in these areas already, then moving through the first three units quickly (Numbers Review, Fractions & Operations with Fractions, and Real Numbers & Operations with Real Numbers) will not present a problem.
Things I wasn't crazy about:
- The woman's voice on the CD is rather expressionless (her voice can be heard in the DEMO on the website) and might become tiresome for a student to listen to day after day. The course does provide a "Curriculum Book" on the CD which contains all the lessons in written form which a student may use instead of the "Multimedia Lessons." After reading the lesson and studying the examples, the student could access the multimedia lesson for the interactive questions and answers to check comprehension.
- The solutions keys for the worksheets and exams are lengthy. For example, the solutions key for "Exam 8: The Coordinate Plane and Graphs" is 18 pages long for a 40-question exam. To speed up the process for the parent of grading a test, I would prefer an "Exams Answer Key" for a quick check of answers, and then a "Exams Solutions Guide" to look at for specific problems which the student has gotten wrong. (I recommend giving the student the opportunity to make corrections on his tests to improve his score and, more importantly, to figure out what the correct answer actually is and learn from his mistake.)
If you’re in the market for a pre-algebra course for your student, I recommend you take some time to visit A+ TutorSoft. The DEMO on the site is loaded with information on the features of their curriculum. You might even want to have your child take the Free Placement Test provided so you know for sure that pre-algebra is the right level for him or her. You can find A+ TutorSoft’s homeschool convention schedule at the bottom of their homepage (“Conferences”). If you’ll be attending one of these conventions, stop by their booth to discuss the pre-algebra curriculum. They’ll be happy to answer your questions!
Are you going to GHC Northeast next week in Hartford, CT? Comment on YESTERDAY'S POST with "See you at GHC!" for your chance to win one your-choice item worth up to $30.00 (must pick up your prize in person at our booth at GHC. Contest closes midnight Sat. 6/9/12).
On Fridays we link up to Lisa-Jo at www.thegypsymama.com for a 5-Minute Friday prompt word. 5-Minute Fridays are a chance to just let the words flow out...no over-thinking, no over-editing allowed! Write because words are awesome!
I like to add a challenge and try to connect Lisa-Jo's prompt word (this week it's TOGETHER) to the theme here on the 7 Sisters blog for the week. This week we looked at MATH and FINANCIAL LITERACY. Can I do it? Ready, set, go!
This is a post about the word TWO-GETHER!
Sabrina's Top-Five List of Homeschool Math and Financial Literacy Things That Go Two-Gether:
5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Okay, it's only one book title, but it has 2 dads in it, and this book is a real eye-opener about our personal finances and the core philosophy flaws that many of us have about how to plan for financial stability and success.
4. Work and Pay.
I'm a big believer is having chores that my kids have to do simply because they are members of this family and residents in this house (personal responsibility and service, in other words), but also in giving them the opportunity (even when they are quite young) to do extra work that is NOT on their chore list to earn money for special things they'd like to buy or do. I think it models from the start that no one has to just GIVE them money; they need to work for it. Also maintaining a list of other expected chores, however, shows them that we don't ALWAYS get paid for everything we do in life; some of it is just done out of personal responsibility to those around us.
3. Math Notebooks and Super-Sharp Pencils.
I have enough trouble dealing with the math problems on the notebook page; I can't bear to have a dull, smudgy pencil in the mix as well. A super-sharp point on the pencil creates a neat and tidy sum on the page, and somehow it's less intimidating to me that way. (I know, I know....I have issues!)
2. Math Textbooks and the Internet.
When the explanation in our Math text just aren't quite getting it for me, I think the internet is a great help. I can Google examples of problems, other math-savvy-people's explanations, and if it's REALLY bad, I can email a homeschool pal and say, "Help! I will gladly do something for you and your kids if you will explain this to me and my kid."
1. Sabrina and the Homeschool Community.
Without the support of homeschooling in community with Math-savvy moms, teaching Math to my kids would have been overwhelming to me! I am mighty thankful for my friends who have helped me along the numbered way!
Have you ever watched “Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress”? In this ‘reality’ television show, brides visit Manhattan's famous Kleinfeld Bridal boutique to find their perfect wedding dress. Frequently, a bride’s dream dress is priced sky-high above her budget, and she will choose to blow her budget completely rather than settle for something less than that one dress that has captured her heart. Sadly, this lack of firm resolve and long-term financial planning doesn’t bode well for the days ahead.
As much as we’d all like our every dream to come true, real life tells us we simply cannot always afford the top-of-the-line, newest, latest electronics/cars/fashions. In fact, the opposite may be true; at times we may have only enough money to supply our basic needs – forget the ‘wants’ entirely!
As your children graduate high school and move on to college and ‘real life’, you (and they) will be thankful if they have learned the difference between needs and wants, and how to master their money, rather than being mastered by it.
This is the purpose of a financial literacy course. Our homeschool day school provides such a course to our high school juniors and
seniors, those whose college/ employment years lie just around the corner. These students are introduced to the basic concepts of budgeting and are taught to carefully plan the use of their money based on their values and long-range plans. The normal day-to-day financial realities they’ll be faced with as adults are presented (insurance, taxes, saving and investing options), with special emphasis on the wise use of credit opportunities (credit cards, loans, mortgages) while avoiding credit pitfalls (overspending, burdensome debt).
Our financial literacy course begins with searching out God’s standard regarding our attitudes toward money, and we apply Biblical principles throughout each unit. For example, what is our responsibility to God as stewards of His money? What does the Bible teach in the areas of tithing and giving to the poor? What spiritual pitfalls should we carefully avoid as we seek to wisely invest our money?
Parents play an important role in our financial literacy course as they discuss numerous financial topics with their students in homework assignments throughout the school year: their convictions on tithing, their choice of financial institutions and insurance companies, their budgeting tips, the employee benefits they receive, and many other topics related to financial decisions and situations their children will eventually face. These topics may not come up in normal conversation at home, yet parents who have years of experience handling financial responsibilities can give wise guidance to their children.
Watching a young bride on television grossly overspend on her wedding dress is bad enough; how much greater our dismay would be to watch our own children handle money without wisdom and self-discipline. As parents, we can model responsibility and discipline in our own financial decisions, talk with our children about money matters as they come up in daily life, and provide a financial literacy course to equip our children to be responsible adults who manage their money wisely.
Speaking of being wise: It is not wise to push children educationally ahead of their readiness. Why not slow your early home education down a bit and help your little ones to learn to LOVE learning?
Download our Developmental Approach to Kindergarten for just $3.99 for a quick look at readiness theory and fun in homeschooling the early years!
"I hate math."
"This doesn't make any sense."
"Why do I have to do this stuff anyway?"
"I'm never going to use this in real life!"
"Mom, stop whining. You are setting a terrible example for me."
How is a homeschool to survive when MOM is the one who struggles mightily with Math?
When I was in school, I had a reputation for being brainy. I liked school (I know; it's shocking that I'm a homeschooler now...but it's true!). I breezed through most of my classes without a ton of effort, but all bets were off when it was time for Math each day.
- Fractions started my frustration.
- Exponents exacerbated it.
- Algebra aggravated it.
- Square roots squelched any joy that remained.
- Geometry gently nudged me closer to the edge of despair.
- And Pre-Calc pretty much sealed my doom.
When I found myself homeschooling my kids and we were passing the long division mark, fractions looming large on our Math horizon, I panicked.
So I prayed. Fervently and often I asked God to show me how to handle Math in our homeschool. Here are some of the ways He answered those prayers:
- He calmed my fears and frustrations. Did you know that fear can be contagious? Did you know that frustration can be, too? He put things in perspective in my own heart, showing me that while I had taken my struggles with Math to be a sign of my personal FAILURE AS A HUMAN BEING when I was young, I had probably gotten things a bit out of balance with that conclusion. He reminded me that He wired each of us differently, and that for me words were easy companions and numbers were those people who were a challenge, but with whom I could actually handle small chunks of time. By keeping Math and its hardships confined to a small compartment of my time and effort, rather than allowing it to be a large-font defining label in my heart, I could breathe and avoid dumping my own angst onto my kid as we worked on school each day.
- He helped me be transparent with my kids about my struggles. Wait a minute! Didn't I just say that I needed His help to STOP dumping angst on them? Actually, both were needed - the compartmentalizing of my fears AND the honest admission that they exist. When Mom is the teacher, kids can often feel that she knows everything, has no struggles with schoolwork, and is some kind of unreasonable sadist expecting everything to just instantly "click" in her children's brains. By admitting that Math is confusing to me, by allowing the kids to see me refer to the teacher's manual, look up sample problems on the internet for help, and call in someone else to help us, I was showing humility. As long as I didn't spaz, I was appropriately admitting vulnerability without spreading fear everywhere!
- He showed me new resources to use. I started elementary school using BJU Press Math, and it worked well for the first several years. Heading through the middle school years, however, there just wasn't enough simplified explanation for us. I felt stuck with that curriculum, though, because it was where I'd started and where I'd stayed for several years. By asking friends for suggestions and borrowing various books to compare to ours, I was able to find options that worked better for the higher levels of Math in our homeschool. (Globe Fearon PaceMakers became our favorite for Pre-Algebra and Algebra I, in case you're wondering.)
- He showed me resources with skin on. Although I am a word-geek, I found that I had friends who were Math geeks! When my college-bound, scholarship-hungry, over-achiever daughter asked me to find her a challenging Algebra II to better prepare her for the SAT's, I knew I was in trouble. Bekah was naturally better at Math than I was, but she was still going to need some teaching, and I knew I would be in over my head. So I asked around and found a friend who thinks factoring is a fun way to pass the time while standing in line at the grocery store, but she hates to grade her kids' writing. We swapped. A little Algebra II co-op met at her house for instruction once a week (my daughter, one of my nieces, and the Math Mom's son), and Bekah got the intro to each new chapter and concept, plus she had a resource to contact via email or phone if she got truly stuck working through the rest of the lessons that followed. I had a stack of essays, creative writing, and research papers to grade for 2 kids from Math Mom's family that year. It was a match made in heaven...literally! (Thanks, God!)
- He led me to Teaching Textbooks. I love this program. Click over for yourself if you are not familiar. It costs a bit to get the curriculum home, but it is a great alternative if you have a homeschool where Mom is Math-impaired.
- He gave me kids who understood Math better than I did. Okay, not all of them. Two of my kids struggle with Math. Bekah takes to it well, but she has to put in time and effort to get through all of it (she got that scholarship, btw). My youngest is like my factoring friend in the grocery store; he just thinks about Math concepts to pass the time when he's bored. He is very abstract in his approach; he is irritated at any suggestion that he should just memorize the steps and follow them every time whether he understands why it works or not. (See my vlog below for an example; our experience with linear equations and cookies was classic!) But the bottom line is, he gets this stuff. After we work together through the explanations in the book or online, he often goes away and chews on the idea for awhile, then comes back and expresses it to me in his own way...and I find that the lightbulb goes on in my own head! Isn't God good to give me a gift like that near the end of our homeschool adventure when I am growing old and feeble-minded?
Any other Math-o-phobics out there? What's worked for your homeschool?
Consumer math: how boring but SO necessary for homeschoolers (and everyone)!
In fact, some states are now requiring it for graduation- and I totally agree with the requirement. (If it is required, we have an excuse to actually get it done and not just brush past- there are SO many pressing courses to complete...)
I am always asking my homeschool advisees about their favorite consumer math curriculum. Here are the top picks for the last couple of years:
A number of my homeschooling families have used Dave Ramsey's course with their high schoolers. They found that they can work together as a family or turn the teen loose to do it on his/her own. There are 12 fairly simple lessons based on his Financial Peace University course.
He also has some cute books/packages for kids aged 3-12.
This the text I've used with some of my teens. Not a high-powered text, it is just the bare-bones of what an average young consumer needs to know to prepare for life. Although it is written for average (or even teens with learning differences), a number of my advisees use it so that they can complete state requirements without killing themselves time-wise and effort-wise. This leaves them free to concentrate on their gifts and interests.
You can get used copies very inexpensively.
On Thursday, Sara, our financial guru, will share about financial literacy. She teaches it in our homeschool group classes.
What do you use for consumer math?
(BTW- This is not a sponsored post. We just like sharing our favorites with our friends.)
Don't forget to download a FREE whitepaper this week:
Carry Each Other's Burdens (how to genuinely help a friend in hard times)
Scheduling Backwards (how to get your schedule under control)
AND speaking of Math, here's Sabrina explaining some important Math ideas:
Allison's husband, Wayne, is a math specialist. He creatively teaches his young students challenging concepts in effective ways.
Helping a child get a grasp on place value is as important as understanding that specific arrangements of specific letters make words. Having just ten symbols (0 – 9) with infinite (literally) possible arrangements, a firm grasp on the concept of value being dependent on placement is imperative. How to teach such a vital concept? Simple as straws!
Gather several hundred (yes, 1000+) of any common household object. Drinking straws, craft sticks, and coffee stirrers work best. And a handful of rubber bands in various sizes. This activity can be done by an individual child or a group of children. Begin by dumping all the objects into the center of the workspace. Have the student(s) estimate how many are there. [Estimation is a concept that can be worked on throughout one’s math curriculum.] Next, bundle groups of ten objects and band them together. Converse during this (long) section of the activity about what comes in groups of tens (fingers, toes) and how, when writing numbers, whenever we get to a new group of ten, something happens.
Once all bundles have been made (make sure there are some NOT bundled) talk about how many groups of tens there are. Make small groups of ten (less then ten groups). Show how those groups are named and recorded: 1 group is called ten and written 10; 2 groups are called twenty and written 20; and so on and so on.
Ask what happens once we get to ten groups of ten. Bundle ten groups together and give its name (if no one can say one hundred). Put this hundred group together with some of the individual groups of ten and name and write these group (1 group of one hundred and three groups of ten are named one hundred thirty and written 130; and so on and so on). Make a group which includes the hundred bundle, some tens and some unbundled objects for naming and writing as well.
Bundle another group of ten tens for a second hundred. Repeat the activities in the previous paragraph. Proceed to bundle more groups of tens into hundreds until ten groups of hundred are made. Then bundle, give the name one thousand, and repeat the above paragraph’s activities making sure you name and record the numbers for each grouping.
This activity can certainly be broken up into a multi-day event. Keep all the bundles, they come in handy when one is counting into the hundreds and are a vital visual for adding and subtracting numbers which require regrouping!
Don't forget Sarah Plain and Tall Study Guide just $1.99 this week. Help your elementary homeschooler gain richness from a great story!
And it is still a great time to download a free copy of Scheduling Backwards- a free article to help you get time under control in a simple, sensible way.
Here's Wayne Thorp's sister-in-law Sabrina's place value activity from her video journal, in case you still need more inspiration!
Coaching with 7 Sisters can make the difference between limping into a new year and stepping out with confidence. If you are still unsure about:
- the best way to approach teaching a subject about which you feel less-than-confident;
- how to handle a learning disability or learning difference in your child;
- ways to balance the many demands on your time as you homeschool;
- how much independent learning to encourage vs. one-on-one;
- how to create ways to homeschool in community;
or any other concerns about your homeschool adventure, schedule a coaching session and get some individualized, personal and encouraging input from a homeschooling veteran. Click here to learn more about coaching from 7 Sisters!
If you average up all the years of homeschool experience we have at 7 Sisters Innovative Homeschool Helps, the total comes in somewhere around 15 years or so (if you total all the years each of us have homeschooled individually, the number comes out somewhere around 100, but that looked silly when I typed it, so I put in the average number instead!).
Among us we have taught 27 kids of our own plus the many kids we have homeschooled in community in learning co-ops and homeschool day school programs. When you homeschool for that many years, you find some favorite curriculum options and strategies.
This post shares each sister’s favorite resources for homeschooling high school Math. (If you’d like to learn more about each sister individually, just click on her name.)
BTW, this is not a sponsored post – none of the producers of curriculum we mention here has asked us to review or advertise their materials. We just like to share with other homeschoolers what has worked for us over the years.
We really liked Math U See, Painless Geometry, and for health-related time crunch Keys To… was very helpful. We have only ever done Math at home with mom (and occasionally with Dad). This has generally been a challenging subject for us largely because of differences in learning styles and a severe confidence issue leftover from public schooling.
Saxon Math is what we used for almost all grades for all 3 kids. The kids did a lot independently and with mom one-on-one. Child #3 did Algebra 2 in a co-op setting which worked VERY well for her personality. Child #2 did calculus as a senior independently using the University of Delaware’s curriculum and supplemented by Purlplemath.com.
Over the years, we have used various texts because each of my 5 children was different. We used A Beka, Alpha/Omega, Saxon, Teaching Textbooks, and Globe Fearon. My oldest taught himself math (and got a BA in Math/Computer Science later). The rest have been taught by me. The younger 4 dislike math as much as I do.
We liked Globe Fearon Pacemakers for Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry. Teaching Textbooks worked for Algebra II and Pre-Calc. I struggle with Math personally, and 2 of my 4 kids do, too. My youngest, however, really likes it....weird!
We liked Saxon Algebra I, Algebra II, and Advanced Math, as well as VideoText Interactive Algebra. We used Jacob’s Geometry and Globe Fearon Geometry. One son went to a homeschool day school class for Math; the other sons were taught by mom.
In the early years, I mostly used Saxon Math. I have also used A Beka and Math U See. Around Middle School, I have switched to Teaching Textbooks or Globe Fearon Math. For Algebra II, I have used Saxon again. I have also used Community College classes for math during high school.
Do you have Math suggestions for other homeschoolers? Share 'em here in a comment!
7 Sisters EBookstore now offers resources for many core academic subjects as well as "niche curriculum" you can't find anywhere else. We developed this curriculum to be affordable to our customers and adaptable to a variety of learning levels. Come find what you need to make your homeschool year a success!
30 August 2011 / Curricula, Foreign Languages, Geography, High School, Homeschool Information, Language Arts, Literature, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Teaching, Transcripts, World Languages / 0 Comment
Homeschooling the High School years can be intimidating! It doesn't have to scare you away, though!
I love having a quick reference available at my fingertips whenever I'm tackling a project. As you tackle your new school year (tackle the year, not the student!), here's a quick reference list of some of our most popular posts explaining how to homeschool high school. In case you don't know, 7 Sisters Innovative Homeschool Helps is Allison, Kym, Marilyn, Sabrina, Sara, and Vicki, and we have homeschooled our own 27 kids as well as hundreds of others in co-ops, homeschooling day-schools, and other cooperative homeschooling ventures.
On Earning Credits and Transcript Creation:
On English - Literature and Writing:
On Foreign Language:
On Social Sciences:
On Social Studies:
Have you tried one of our literature study guides yet?
These affordable ebooks (only $3.99 each) are a great introduction to 7 Sisters' curriculum. Written by Sabrina Justison and Vicki Tillman, MA with collaboration by Dr. Gerald R. Culley, Ph.D., these guides help you and your student get the most out of a work of classic literature.
Each literature study guide includes background information, vocabulary, discussion questions, supplemental resources, and answer key. They take the lesson-planning out of English for the duration of the book you are reading.
Download one and see how helpful a literature study guide can be!
Click the book title to order the study guide for The Hobbit, British Poetry, Antigone, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Christmas Carol, Sense and Sensibility, The Invisible Man, Animal Farm, T. S. Eliot's Cats, or A Tale of Two Cities.
From a homeschool mom who reviewed the literature study guide for A Tale of Two Cities:
"Some time ago on 7 Sisters, you gave your "Tale of Two Cities" study guide as a freebie and asked for feedback. Just wanted to say that it looks fantastic and helpful. Love the questions, love the vocab, love the writing suggestions."