Stacey Lane of Layered Soul used our Human Development text this year with her high schoolers. Join us for some tips on the way she developed the course for her kids:
Have you heard the term…”The World is My Classroom?” Maybe you have wanted to incorporate more real-life experiences into your school?
Human Development from a Christian World View by Vicki Tillman is a course that naturally lends itself to the world being the classroom.
Reading through the table of contents helped me to start brainstorming ideas to provide hands-on experiences.
Before we started the book I had my daughter take a Safe Sitters class. Our local hospital provides classes to teens who are looking to start babysitting.
Since the first four chapters cover “Prenatal Life to the Preschool Years” I looked for an opportunity for my daughter to be a mother’s helper. A close friend was due to have her third child the end of September and her oldest was 3½. She was able to read the chapters the day before and then answer the questions after spending the morning with the girls.
Our local Young Life started a group, Capernaum. This group provides respite care for parents of special needs children. Once a month teens are paired with a buddy and spend the afternoon playing. This group has allowed my daughter to form relationships with children she may not have had the chance to. It really helped her to understand Chapter 5 “The Elementary Years”, especially looking at the education of those with special needs.
Of course Chapter 6 “Adolescence” and Chapter 7 “Young Adulthood” were easily addressed by her personal real life experiences, which I won’t give too much detail about. One must be very sensitive to blog about this age group. I did have her read the books; Boy Meets Girl, Say Hello to Courtship by Joshua Harris and Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.
Chapter 7 “Senior Adulthood” spurred on a variety of ideas. We were able to support my Mom’s church monthly bingo at the local nursing home. Our mime group, Louder Than Words, performed a few different times for local assisted living and nursing homes. Just being at the locations helped to give a clear picture of how life can look different for the aging population.
Overall this one was of our favorite classes this year. I do believe having the different activities really helped to bring alive the material discussed in each chapter.
Take a look at Human Development from a Christian Worldview.
Here is Stacey's kids' Mime Team:
Here is one of my favorite You Tubes that I show my Human Development homeschoolers:
My son, Nathan, teaches English at Soonchunhyan University in Korea. Throughout homeschooling high school, his love of world history/literature, languages, and international friends laid the foundation for his job. We studied world history/literature through our co-op, real books, and media. Here's his advice for homeschoolers:
What is it that excites you? What do you find yourself wishing you had more time to do? What are you good at?
As you think about the rest of high school, college and beyond (for yourself, or for your child),
I encourage you to think about those three questions. As Americans, as Christians, as homeschoolers, figuring out what to do with our lives can be a challenge. While I do not believe that God has only one career plan for you set in stone, I do believe he has lovingly created you with a mix of gifts and passions that are uniquely yours. These gifts and passions should lead – with many false starts and wrong turns – to a job and life that are exciting and rewarding to you and that touch a part of the world with some unique aspect of Christ’s love.
For me, it’s a passion for other languages and cultures. I have loved England, I think, as long as I have been sentient. As a boy, I used to dream of being a missionary to the Amazon. In high school, I was completely obsessed by all things Russian. In college, I fell in love with World History as a subject – Armenia, India, East Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America. My junior year of college brought a pair of experiences that changed my life forever – first forming deep friendships with a diverse group of internationals at a summer job, and then studying abroad in England for a semester. My memories of that summer in 2003 – making my Russian friends teach me phrases, which I would scribble down
on napkins, or visiting Manhattan for the first time with a group of Poles – still make me smile; and England! – I was in love with everything about it. Both experiences awoke in me a profound sympathy for and interest in internationals. What a thing to leave your home and live in another country! What a thing to speak a second language! I have been enthralled ever since, and this passion has been nudging me – with the false starts and wrong turns I mentioned earlier – along a path that I find as deeply meaningful and energizing today as I did ten or fifteen years ago.
When you know what things God has made you to love and to excel in, follow them fearlessly – you never know where he will take you, but it is sure to be amazing. A very brief example: this past December, I was itching to get abroad again, so I bought a ticket to Europe and spent almost two weeks of my Christmas holiday in Belgium and Germany. On my first Sunday over there, I was in Brussels, Belgium. For church I chose a small, Protestant service and arrived after a long walk along Brussels’ winding streets. The church felt strangely American – think a southern Baptist or Charismatic building – though it was French-speaking. A visiting pastor (of Central African Republican
heritage) happened to be giving the message, and I listened in awe as it proved to be the exact message I needed to hear at that point in my life. After the service, in my broken French, I complimented the pastor, and we got into a conversation that ended with him and his wife inviting me to lunch. After lunch, they helped me shop for a few items I required, and then we parted. Thus, in the matter of a morning and afternoon, the passions God has given me opened the door to new friendships with French-speaking Christians in Belgium, and my knowledge of the world and God’s kingdom grew by a little more. Now, following these same interests in other languages and cultures, I am about to embark on a new adventure teaching ESL abroad. I know it will be hard, but I look forward to the doors that God will open for me.
My path has been twisted and confusing at times. Yours will be, too, I’m afraid. But keep God close to you, and he will keep you close to him. Explore the interests and talents he has given you, and you will find a life in which the rewards and joys far outweigh the sorrows.
What paths are you exploring?
An important part of Nathan's homeschool high school experience was to do some good career exploration. He used this curriculum. You can pick it up in our 7 Sisters ebookstore and then visit my Vicki Tillman Pinterest Career Exploration board for more good stuff.
Start off with our FREE Career Exploration Questionnaire that gets the brainstorming started with questions about the influential role models in your homeschooler's life.
In case you need a little encouragement, here is Sabrina's vlog on A Work in Progress:
Whether you homeschool or not, middle school and the early years of high school are an important time for building independent learning into your student's skill-set. Some children "own" their work and charge forward with no problem. And then there's the other 90% of the population!
Here are some ideas for equipping students with independent learning skills:
There's a very good reason that most of our "how-to" posts here at 7 Sisters include that as a bullet point. God knows things about your child's abilities, struggles, and internal wiring that you simply do not. On your knees before your child's Father asking for His guidance is always the right place to begin.
Frame it for yourself, then for your child.
Here's a video journal I recorded when Jonah and I were wrestling mightily with independent learning in our homeschool. When you have a firm framework in your own mind, you are ready to move on in the process with grace and wisdom.
A critical part of becoming an independent learner is understanding the long-term goals and being involved in deciding how to go after them. Your child needs an adult conversation with you about the transition from Mom-directed education to student-owned life-long-learning. He will come to understand the framework (that we are ALL works in progress) so he will not be destroyed by his mis-steps, nor will he grow weary in plugging on.
It's a FREE download in the EBookstore...
CLICK HERE to get a copy of Scheduling Backwards to use with your student and to use for yourself!
When your child begins to think in terms of God's plan for his life, his education will make more sense to him, and the motivation will begin to come from his spirit rather than just his choice to obey his parent's direction.
Play with strategies.
Some kids do well with traditional planners, and some kids would rather have their teeth drilled. It's important to respect that what works for you may not be a great fit for your child. If the traditional planner approach flops for your kid, try some of these options -
* A master planner for the whole family with blocks in it that are set aside for "Mom-available to help" and "Independent schoolwork" but not with any specific assignments listed. This helps some kids determine what they can do un-aided and what needs help....a step in the independence process.
* A list of tasks that must be completed by a set day, but not a specific schedule. This may require mom to take a lot of deep breaths if student waits until the last minute to do the work. Let the grades speak for themselves; let the consequences be REAL.
* A pocket timer is a great tool for some students. If the timer hasn't gone off, then the "independent schoolwork time" is not over yet.
* Flexibility with "school time." If your child is a night-owl, perhaps doing schoolwork in the evening is actually a GOOD strategy. If it's not a good fit for you, have him do his independent work then, and save subjects where he needs your help for earlier in the day. There's not actually a right or wrong to the time at which academics are tackled. The goal is to learn, and being flexible about when and how is empowering to a student as he gradually gains independence.
Evaluate progress regularly.
The goal of independent learning is not going to be reached overnight. Or this week. Or this month, probably. It may not happen this year. It is a process. If you try things and they must be discarded as ineffective, guess what? It's working! You just ruled out one approach! At least once a month, or even once a week, have an adult conversation with your student. Together, evaluate what is effective and efficient in your homeschool and what is simply frustrating.
It is important to have friends. Proverbs 18:24 talks about it:
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. KJV biblegateway.com
The 7 Sisters Homeschool just got back from some road trips. We moms have such fun together!
After homeschooling together for many years- we've done co-ops and group classes, choirs, service clubs, rhetoric teams, sports, and field trips together. We feel like sisters and our kids feel like siblings. We support each other through tough times and good. We laugh, we confront, we pray, we learn- together. So do our kids!
It is important to have homeschool friends. They help us moms with our homeschool and motherly identities. Friends help our kids build strong identity- and they help each other grow.
I send my youngest to Sara to do Algebra II (I stink at math). I send him to Sabrina for literature because she and her lit guides inspire him to think great thoughts (and he insists on having her teach him this). I send him to Marilyn for essays (and even sometimes to Allison for research papers) because I really don't like to teach those. They trade off their kids to me sometimes, too- history (World History and Philosophy coming in June), psychology, human development... It varies year by year. We believe in homeschooling in community.
We are thankful for our supportive families. We are thankful for our supportive friends. Praise God that He gave us Proverbs that told us about friendship, we all looked for those friends and He abundantly supplied!
How do your homeschool friends support you?
Here's Sabrina's shy thoughts on socialization:
7 Sisters had such a great time at the Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention. We met lots of friends and had the chance to share about homeschooling middle schoolers. We shared a little of our talk last week. Here is some more info:
Middle schoolers have two different personal tasks to explore:
Children at this age are busy learning to be competent and productive. They are particularly interested in finding out what they are “best” at and like to feel that they are generally successful in a number of things. A child who does not receive encouragement and reinforcement for a job well done will tend to feel inferior to his peers and may feel that he is unable to do anything well. (Excerpted from our Human Development from a Christian Worldview text.)
As they enter their teen years, children begin a new task: understanding and accepting their own uniqueness as well as their place in society. Both aspects of identity are vital in order for a teen to face life in a healthy manner. (Excerpted from our Human Development from a Christian Worldview text.)
God makes each middle schooler to have unique gifts and abilities. You, as parent, can help him/her try new things, go new places, and meet new people in order to begin to discover some of the gifts and abilities.
Some of the things our various kids have tried during middle school include:
Sports: soccer, baseball, hockey, dance
Music: choirs, orchestras, church praise teams, instrument and voice lessons
Art: various art and craft lessons
Drama: drama camp (click here for some FREE drama material from Sabrina)
Cinematography: local homeschool cinematography club
Church Service: volunteering in nursery, local missions trips
Homeschool Youth Group: new friend skills, service projects, adventures
Group and co-op classes: learning new skills like: "take one and pass the rest" Sometimes learning together made a tough subject more fun (like Marilyn's Middle School Essay)
Other new stuff: vacations that include historic sites, museums, nature hikes
All these helped the kids find and develop things they were good at and begin to enjoy (not just be embarrassed about) their own uniqueness.
What are some skills or talents your middle schooled homeschoolers are exploring and developing?
Marilyn and I presented a workshop about Homeschooling Marvelous Middleschool today at Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention. Here's a quick look at homeschooling your middle schooler:
1. Middle school is a roller-coaster ride of changes for our kids and YOU as their parents are the best people to help them hang on- and even have a great time!
2. Every middle schooler is different- and they really start to notice their differences during the early stages of puberty.
Sometimes they begin to worry about not being good at anything, not feeling attractive, or being awkward socially. You can be their #1 cheerleader during this time!
3. Physical changes as they begin those years may include a pre-growth-spurt weight gain along with physical changes including oily skin and hair (and body odor).
You can make "health class" include tips on how to proactively handle those socially awkward body changes that can cause problems at that age: greasy hair, unwashed face, dirty teeth, body odor (including stinky feet), and yesterday's t-shirt. Knowing that they must brush, wash, change clothes and work on being presentable is empowering (even if they complain a little).
4. Cognitive changes help them to think more scientifically and logically.
As the brain develops, the middle schooler has more capacity for deep thinking and problem solving- and self-awareness. Sometimes you may notice an increase in self-doubt over these years because they become so self-aware. Help them to remember the gifts God created in them (and to explore new ones). AND give them
opportunities for using their growing thinking capacities- more science experiments, discussion and writing. (Also note that this is an irregular process- most kids won't be able to consistently practice logical thinking until they are well into their teens.)
One way you can invest in this new cognitive power is easing them into essay writing (our Middle School Essay curriculum is based on a gentle, short, daily-for-8-weeks lesson plan).
5. You can help them grow during this time by allowing them more voice in choice of academics.
If they have interests or special abilities, they might like to help you decide how to experience those subjects (maybe more unit studies or a special textbook).
6. You can help them grow by gently remediating in subjects where they struggle so they will feel more confident when they start high school.
However, you should concentrate on their strengths and let them have fun! These are the last years before you have the rigor of logging credits for the transcript. Make the most of opportunities for hands-on learning, projects, and field trips! (Not that you must give those up in high school- just have more work to record them.)
I'll try to share more from the workshop later... but I'm pooped from the long, exciting day. If you're at GHC come by and say "HI"!
Here's Sabrina's suggestions on getting the writing process started:
This is a classic homeschool high school post that I've updated.
The cool thing (or confusing thing) about which subjects to put on a transcript, is that there is no uniform code about what needs to be covered and when. SOOO, you get to cover what your student needs, in the order he/she needs it.
However, it is helpful to have some guidelines, so here they are:
1) Check your state homeschool laws to see what your state requires. You can check Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s website for this information.
2) Check your local colleges to see what they are looking for in their incoming freshmen.
Some basics (adapt to your state laws and your family needs):
4 credits of English (Language Arts) (Language Arts is complicated. If you'd like to see how our umbrella school handles it, click here.)
4 credits of Mathematics (many colleges require a minimum of the following)
-Consumer Math/Financial Literacy
4 credits of Social Studies (many colleges require a minimum of the following)
-American History 1 credit,
-World History 1 credit,
-Geography .5 credits,
-American Government .5 credits,
-Economics .5 credits
-Social Science .5 credits (Psychology, Sociology, etc)
4 credits of Science(many colleges require a minimum of the following)
-Biology 1 credit,
-Chemistry 1 credit,
-Health 1 credit (General Health, Anatomy and Physiology, or Human Development)
- Physical Science, Physics, Environmental Science, Marine Biology (check the colleges you like, some are requiring Physics)
2 or 3 credits World Language
-must be in the same language (many college require 3 credits)
2 credit Phys Ed
1 credit Fine Arts
-might be Art, Drama, Music
1-4 credits Career Exploration
-Career Exploration courses
-various apprenticeships and volunteer work
-specific introductory training courses such as Early Childhood Education
-subjects of personal interest such as Home Ec, Bible, Philosophy, Worldview, Psychology,
-extra courses in Art, Science, History, or Literature
22-26 total credits required by many colleges
What are some interesting courses you are doing with your homeschoolers?
Here are Sabrina and I chatting about why Psychology and Human Development should be on a transcript:
Don't be afraid of homeschooling middle school. These are some wonderful years and can be the best years yet!
All the Sisters at 7 Sisters have homeschooled our middle schoolers. We've had lots of ups and downs- it has been worth it all. Here are 5 tips we've learned for homeschooling middle school:
1. Prepare for high school
We used middle school to do some remedial work to bolster subjects that were weak. Some of our kids could also do a little academic stretching at this age (like writing official essays)... but we learned to...
2. Have fun
These are the last years before counting credits for transcripts, so we tried not to kill their love of learning
with overwork or busywork. Instead, we included rich experiences and adventure. We did lots of things with co-ops, group classes, choirs, sports, and with our families (or course).
3. Push social skills
Middle schoolers often feel clumsy- physically and socially. We tried to teach social graces and hygiene. We weaved these into group activities and spontaneous moments at home. Knowing that they could carry a conversation, read non-verbals, and not look and smell disgusting helped them feel comfortable around peers and adults. For the inexpensive and easy guide to social skills we Sisters have used click here
4. Fortify their spiritual foundations
American young people leave the church in young adulthood at the rate of 70% these days. Some people think that lack of actual Bible knowledge and spiritual foundations contribute to this. Middle school is an important time to fortify Bible and prayer basic skills. Some of our kids did this through Awana. We tried to integrate spiritual discussions into life, as well as encouraging personal devotions.
5. Explore interests and talents.
Some of our middle schoolers would feel stressed by not knowing what they wanted to do when they graduate from high school. We tried to encourage them that middle school is time to explore- not settle down. We tried to make opportunities to invest in interests and talents (and if they felt they didn't have any interests or talents- lots of different kinds of experiences helped them explore).
We loved our middle school years. Hope you have fun with yours, too!
Hope to see many of our friends at the Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention this week. Drop by our table and say "Hi", ok? (And check out Sabrina's workshop on Drama, and Marilyn and me speaking on Middle School.)
Here's Sabrina's vlog on the importance of essay writing:
There's been some hoopla lately in the homeschool community over the National Core Standards. I'd like to have a chat about this coming from the perspective of a 25-year homeschooling parent (and academic advisor to the local homeschool community for 16 years)- see if I can allay a few fears.
Here are some faqs:
What are the National Core Standards (Common Core, as it is officially called)?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. (www.corestandards.org).
What is a Core Standard?
Core standards are statements of educational goals. They are broken down into bite-sized (line-item-type) goals in order to (allegedly) make them easy to follow. "Educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning."(www.corestandards.org)
Here's a sample of what one specific standard looks like:
English Language Arts Standards » Reading: Literature » Grade 9-10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
What does that mean in Homeschooling English?
In English (Language Arts)- the Reading/Literature curriculum for 9th and 10th grade:
Make sure the student can read a passage and clearly explain what a that passage says (paraphrase it) and give inferences (between-the- lines info). The student's explanation should be well-thought-out and complete.
Reader's Digest version: Discuss with your student what he/she reads. Have him/her explain the passage and make sure he/she is able to pick up the nuances of the passage.
Who is creating this Common Core?
A consortium of educations and researchers in the public sector. These core standards have been adopted for use in the public schools of 45 states.
What subjects are covered?
English Language Arts and Math (and the ways ELA and Math influence Social Studies and Science- ie: how to read a textbook). When you actually read the standards, we homeschoolers tend to do most of them- in our own manner.
Must homeschoolers follow the Core Standards?
NO! Homeschoolers are required to follow their individual state's homeschool regulations. That is ALL they must follow. Most states only require certain subjects be taught- not the details on what to teach within each subject. For a list of homeschool requirements, see Home School Legal Defense's website.
Should we be concerned about the Core Standards.
Yes and No.
Here's the No: It is not likely that federal standards will be forced on private educators like homeschoolers. Even if the legislators got itchy to pass legislation forcing this, they would remember the infamous HR6 of 1994 which attempted to require that all full-time teachers be certified in any subject they teach. The outcry was so astounding that under the leadership of Dick Armey (R-Tx), the requirement was dropped for private, religious, and home schools.
Here's the Yes: Many of us homeschoolers are independent thinkers. We want to raise our children in the manner that we feed led by God or our own convictions. Historically, American politics has honored the rights of the individual. In education, traditionally, regulations were passed by state and local governments who knew the most about their local populations. Over recent years, however, more and more decision-making has slipped over to the federal level. These Core Standards (while not produced by the government itself) are another move to "nationalize" education.
How will the Core Standards affect homeschooling my kids, then?
The major effect you will see is in your textbooks. If you use a secular program or even a Christian program, the textbooks will be aligned to the Common Core. In actual effect, you will mostly see some tweaks in terminology. (Every text will use uniform terms. You may have noticed if you've hopped curricula that each publisher has had its own terminology. This will be standardized.)
Achievement tests, such as the Terra Nova 3, are now aligned to the Common Core. Again, homeschoolers generally cover the Core Standards in our educational programs, so our students who are required to test should do just fine. If you are nervous, do a practice test/curriculum.
Do I need to take any action?
Hey, you're homeschooling, aren't you. Then of course you take action. It's what homeschoolers do!
Here are some action steps:
You shouldn't homeschool without it. They provide homeschool-related legal support. ALSO, HSLDA's team has powerful lobbyists, they advocate on a federal level for legislation and support of homeschooling.
2. Stay up-to-date on important homeschool research and results at National Home Education Research Institute.
Nheri reports on solid research being completed on homeschooling. You can find out about the 2 million homeschoolers in the US: that their achievement test chores are higher, on average, than their non-homeschool peers and MUCH more.
Naturally! We should be praying for our leaders and all those in authority!
Homeschooling means great education, great families, great ideas, and GREAT opportunities to pray and to remain eternally vigilant.
SO, be encouraged, not intimidated! (And check out our FREEBIES, terrific curriculum, and prayer journals at our Ebookstore!)