• Counting Blessings Instead of Cataloging Worries

    18 November 2014 / Challenges, Encouragement / 3 Comments

    What's that quote from Corrie ten Boom?

    "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."

    It is truly amazing how easy it is to worry.

    Counting Blessings instead of Cataloging Worries even in the face of chronic illness

    Counting Blessings

    Most of us don't even limit ourselves to SIMPLY worrying. We catalog our worries.

    We spend time mentally organizing them into groups related to a common theme. We make chains of worries, one trouble likely to lead to another and so on. We replay tough situations from the past and worry about how to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

    Human beings are really good at worrying!

    I am working hard on leaving worrying behind me. I don't want it to be a part of my life. I don't want it taking the strength out of my days. But I've discovered that I am NO GOOD at simply ceasing to worry.

    Instead, I am finding success as I replace my worries with gratitude. I need to truly, literally count my blessings.

    It's like a little game I play with myself. If I feel anxious about something and catch my mind beginning to churn away about it, I give myself permission to think about it AFTER I've given thanks for at least three blessings in my life right here and now. No falling back on lame-o, vague, generic blessings; I have to be specific and current in my thanksgiving. If, after I've sincerely recognized three blessings in front of me right now and given thanks for them, IF I still want to give energy to cataloging my worries, then I will allow myself to do so.

    You know what? I never want to!

    After I have stopped to count my blessings (really, truly, give thanks for at least three), I find the need for a worry-filled brain-churn has dissipated.

    Homeschool worries?

    Not until I give thanks for our freedom to homeschool, for the friends and community God's created to support us in our homeschooling endeavors, for the precious conversation I just had with my son in the kitchen that might never have happened if he had been attending a traditional school today.

    Financial worries?

    Not until I've taken a moment to truly look at the "roof over our heads" and give thanks for our home, to think back over the countless times God has met a specific need (like the grocery gift cards that got anonymously dropped at my apartment that time, or...), to smile at my reflection in a great outfit I picked up for peanuts off a clearance rack in an outlet for less than $10 head to toe.

    Parenting worries?

    Not until I thank my Heavenly Father for being such a perfect parent who loves my kids much better than I love them, until I savor that unsolicited hug that I actually got from my teenager (yup, it happens once in awhile!) yesterday afternoon, until I meditate with a sigh of relief on the verses in the Bible that say that God's got 'em and His plans for each kid can be trusted to be truly good.

    Maybe when I'm finished counting blessings, I will still have to take a deep breath and do something hard. Maybe I have to tackle a homeschool subject with my kid that is frustrating both of us tremendously. Maybe I  have to go through a pile of bills and decide which ones to handle today because there simply isn't money to pay every single one of them until the next paycheck arrives. Maybe I have to sit a kid down for a tough conversation that will end with me in tears. Life can be hard, and no fake happy-thoughts will change that reality.

    But having replaced my worries with gratitude, I will find I have the STRENGTH to do the hard thing before me.

    Becoming consistently aware of God's loving fingerprints in my life makes it possible to count my blessings instead of cataloging my worries, and leaves me with strength for today.

    What often-overlooked blessings can you give thanks for today?

    How do you combat the urge to catalog your worries?

    God Meets Me Here - A Devotional to Help you Count Blessings in the face of Chronic Illness

    Do you, or does someone you love, suffer with chronic illness?  Lisa's devotional "God Meets Me Here" will encourage and equip you to keep counting blessings in the sick times.


    For practical, encouraging posts from some of our favorite bloggers on the "worry categories" listed above, check these out:

    Dear Homeschool Mom Who's Worried About  Finishing the School Year by Wendy at Hip Homeschool Moms

    I Can't Homeschool Because My Kids are in Middle School by Megan at Education Possible

    How To Negotiate with Credit Card Companies by Penny at Meet Penny

    Parents, Pick Your Battles by Tara at This Sweet Life of Mine

    Peaceful Communication in Your Family by Misty at MistyLeask.com


    Counting Blessings

  • Resources for Reluctant Readers

    13 November 2014 / By Subject, Challenges, High School Language Arts / 0 Comment

    Not all students, even homeschooled students, love to read. Maybe one (or more) even lives at your house!

    We've encountered lots of reluctant readers in our own 7Sisters' homeschools and in our local homeschooling community. With some encouragement from others and some resources for reluctant readers, you can keep this reality from becoming a tragedy in your homeschool.

    Resources for Reluctant Readers - Favorite Posts for Helping Kids Who Aren't Natural Bookworms

    Resources for Reluctant Readers

    Below are links to some of our most popular posts, those offering resources for helping reluctant readers become GOOD readers even if they aren't natural bookworms.

    Scroll down to the bottom of the post, too, to read suggestions for building on a great book (like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol) for lots of rich learning in a variety of subject areas.

    Have you had success helping a reluctant reader? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

    For teens and tweens:

    For Struggling High School Students

    A List of Book Titles Recommended by Teens in our Community

    Practical Steps Toward Success for a Teen or Tween

    Student-Recommended Series for Middle School Readers

    Ideas for Helping Teens Form Relationships with Classic Literature (Even When It's Hard to Read)

    For younger students:

    Lighthearted Encouragement from One Mom's Experience

    Recommended Titles and Ideas for Inspiring Bored Kids

    5th Grader's Story of Getting Past the "Books-Block"

    Case Study: Elementary Student Hates to Read



    Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is packed with learning

    Unit Studies are fun for the younger homeschool grades, but what can you do to bring various subjects together in high school?

    Many homeschool parents would agree that it's tougher to take a unit study approach in high school because of the depth of subject matter that needs to be covered or mastered for a high school transcript credit.  But giving our high school students special mini-units of learning can be a great break from their regular school routines, and can also pack a LOT of education into a short period of time.


    Here's an example of how you might use Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol for several types of learning.

    Log the hours you spend on the various activities and add them to the appropriate subject on your transcript as enrichment (for more on logging hours for Carnegie units of credit, click here).

    Read the book.

    It's not very long, so it's not overwhelming.  It's a familiar story, so it won't frustrate reluctant readers.  It's Dickens; it's a classic; it "counts" on a high school book list.

    Watch one or more movie adaptations of the story.

    There have been SO many movies made from this story!  For a student interested in film (or one who needs fine arts hours), choose 3 or more movies and analyze the similarities and differences among them.  Watch with family and friends.  Make snacks.  Make a night of it!  But have lots of lively discussion about what worked well and what fell flat in each version.

    Turn A Christmas Carol into lots of learning in your homeschoolUse our literature study guide to spark discussion.

    Explore themes, characters, relationships, symbols and more.  Write based on the ideas you discuss.

    Look into the history of Scrooge's London.

    "Are there no prisons?"  he asked.  "And the Union workhouses?"  "The Treadmill and the Poor Law?"  These ideas are offered by Scrooge as a solution for the poor.  Study about the wretched conditions of the poor in London in the mid-1800's.  Study about boarding schools.  Learn how to play the many games mentioned in Stave III when Scrooge visits his nephew Fred's house.  Play them with family or friends.

    Check out the food described in the story.

    If your student is interested in culinary arts, find recipes and cook up a Dickensian Christmas dish or two!

    Study the author.

    Charles Dickens had a fascinating life.  Read about him.  Watch a good biographical video like this one.

    Investigate currency.

    A shilling...a farthing...a half-crown.  Huh?  Here's a cool website that explains old English money.

    Martha Cratchit worked for a milliner.

    Do you have a student interested in fashion or sewing or design?  Explore hat design, an important part of British fashion in the 1800's.  Start with this Vintage Fashion Guild website.

    Sing carols of the day.

    Scrooge turns away carolers who sing "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen."  What other carols would have annoyed Ebenezer as he walked the streets of London?  Sing 'em out!  Dickens called his story A Christmas CAROL because he wanted it to be "sung again and again" to fan the Christmas spirit into flame.

    Hone your public speaking skills.

    Dickens gave readings of his famous work (something many felt was beneath him), and was known for being dramatic and altogether wonderful.  Can your student take a stab at a dramatic reading of part of A Christmas Carol?  Public speaking is a very important skill to cultivate during the high school years.

    Art appreciation.

    John Leech provided the original illustrations for A Christmas Carol, four woodcuts and four hand-colored etchings.  Learn more about these kinds of illustration.

    What ideas can you add to this list?

    A Tale of Two Cities literature study guideLove Dickens so much that you want to read more?  Check out our literature study guide to accompany A Tale of Two Cities.



    Resources for Reluctant Readers

  • Is It Wise to Homeschool a Bullied Child?

    03 November 2014 / Challenges, Encouragement, Helping Each Other / 2 Comments

    Even the U.S. Government has a site dedicated to understanding bullying and putting a stop to it.

    We all fear our kids being bullied. We work hard to parent them in such a way that they will never bully another person. We try to counsel them wisely about what to do if they witness bullying. But what happens when a bullying situation becomes so severe that it may be necessary to remove children from school for their protection?

    Vicki Tillman (yes, 7Sister Vicki!) is a licensed professional counselor. She has addressed this subject in the past in this classic post that offers insight on the subject of when it might be wise to homeschool a bullied child.


    In my work as a counselor, I often help children who are being bullied at school work to become bully-proof. Sometimes the problem seems to have reached crisis proportions and the parents decide to remove their child from the toxic environment and homeschool for a season. 

    homeschool a bullied child

    Consider it Carefully: Is it Wise to

    Homeschool a Bullied Child?

    I was tickled when I ran across an essay in Psychology Today called Mean Girls and Homeschooling Moms. In the article, Laura Brodie, an instructor at Washington and Lee University, discussed a trend she has noticed: when children are being persistently bullied at school (despite the school administration's best efforts to stop it), some parents are bringing their children home for their education.

    She noted the story of Katrina Stonof, author of the Stone Soup book blog, who brought her elementary-aged son home after repeated bullying (name calling, teasing, being stuffed into a trash can). She homeschooled her son for several months,and later enrolled him in a charter school.

    Brodie also told the story of Beth and Shari, who moved to a new town when Shari was starting middle school. The first year went fine, but by 7th grade, she became the target of a particularly sly and cruel group of girls. She was pushed, had clothes stolen, was harassed by phone, and more. At one point the police were involved. Alert teachers and administration could not stop it. Finally, Beth brought Shari home to finish out the school year.

    This is what Beth had to say:

    "By taking her out of the situation and homeschooling, we showed Shari that she was the most important factor in this equation. We love her and would do anything for her. It enabled her to take a breather, to let her figure out what she was made of, to role play and learn how to say "back off b****" (oh yes, we taught her many fabulously foul phrases), and to grow as a person and gain her self confidence back (totally absent at this point). It may not be right in every situation or for every family, but it was right for Shari." (www. Psychology Today)

    In my 16 years as a homeschool advisor, I have worked with some families who made this choice for their bullied child. Sometimes the student takes the chance to get back on his/her feet emotionally and then heads back to school. Often, the family becomes immersed in the supportive homeschool culture, loves it, and never returns to a traditional school.

    Either way, the parents were brave enough (and had the resources and support) to help out their suffering child.

    Have you ever had that experience?


    homeschool bullied child
    Sometimes a bullied child loses confidence in himself. One way to help restore that confidence is to arm him with specific social skills. Our Social Skills for Children teaches 10 important social behaviors to help empower children. The skills are taught by role play with the parent and then peers. Fun and easy and only $3.99.


    I found these insights interesting as I read some of the information at StopBullying.gov. I had never given much thought before to the power of labels, and the accidental way in which labeling a child a "bully" or a "victim" may make the problem worse rather than helping to solve it.

    The news is never short of heart-breaking stories about bullying behavior on the teen and young adult scene in the form of hazing incidents and the like. While homeschooling is not the answer to bullying, it is certainly worth consideration when a bullying situation presents itself.

    What might happen if the children bullying others had parents who recognized the power of their involvement in their child's life?

    How can we, as parents and homeschoolers, lovingly bring bullying behavior to the attention of a child's parent?

    Have you had any experience helping a parent deal with their own child's behavior...as a bully, as a child hurt by another's bullying behavior, or as a witness to bullying? What can you recommend?

    Homeschool a Bullied Child


  • Teaching Teens Perseverance

    30 October 2014 / By Subject, Challenges, High School Language Arts, Homeschool High School / 0 Comment

    Encourage your teen to emulate faithful servants, not celebrities! Teaching teens how to build strong character is no easy job, but exposing them to the real-life stories of people who have struggled and triumphed with integrity and godliness can help. Endeavors like teaching teens perseverance will become easier when you introduce them to people like Joni.

    Teaching Teens Perseverance

     Teaching Teens Perseverance

    Joni: An Unforgettable Story Literature Study Guide (Joni Eareckson Tada’s autobiography) inspires your homeschool high school student without killing the joy of the book with busywork.

    Do you know Joni's story?  A diving accident at the age of 16 left Joni in a wheelchair, a quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down.  But read what happened after that...and be inspired to trust God to do amazing things in your own life!

    Your teen interacts with the ideas of perseverance and redemption from the life of this great Christian role model in this 12-page study guide. The etext contains:

    -background information

    -comprehension questions by chapter

    -suggestions for supplemental activities

    -answer key

    High school is the perfect time to develop powerful Christian character traits. This $3.99 comfortably-priced study guide assists your diligent mentoring in your teen’s life.

    For an overview of Joni's story and to order her book, visit the Joni and Friends ministry website at www.joniandfriends.org.

    Read the book, work through the study guide, and watch this remarkable video, in which Joni shares her testimony after decades in a wheelchair. 

    Perspective, challenge, encouragement and inspiration!

  • Build Your Homeschool Student's Strengths - 6 Simple Ways

    22 October 2014 / Challenges, Helping Each Other / 0 Comment

    Find ways to build your homeschool student's strengths while you also help with redeeming their weaknesses.

    1) Let your homeschooler see your delight in learning something new.

    Do you enjoy exploring new topics, reading new books, researching new ideas? Do they hear your excitement as you relate what you have learned?

    Build Your Homeschool Student's Strengths

    Build Homeschool Student's Strengths

    2) Enter into his or her areas of interest and encourage learning more.

    Show an interest in their passions and help them to explore them. We did unit studies on things of interest to various children when they were young - a pirate unit for the boys and a horse unit for my horse-crazy daughter.

    3) Keep your lesson times age-appropriate.

    A first grader can’t sit still very long, so keep instruction brief and interspersed with other activities.

    4) Take advantage of teachable moments.

    Yes, your children will roll their eyes and tease you about turning everything into a “lesson”, but they will remember these moments for years to come.  (Okay, don’t turn everything into a teaching lesson, but you get the idea).

    5) Find curriculum that balances your teaching style and your child’s learning style.

    What works well for one homeschooler doesn’t always work for the next one. It’s both frustrating and brings variety to life.

    6) Limit exposure to things that are not “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise” while exposing your children to the finer things.

    Teach them about the wonders in nature. Read good books. Watch good movies. Explore museums and historical sites. Go to worthy plays, musicals, and concerts. Show them fine art. Read the Bible and memorize scripture. Fill their minds with things that are good.

    What are some ways you build your homeschooler's strengths?
    high school essay writing  curriculum
    Choosing curriculum with NO BUSYWORK leaves more time in your schedule to pursue things that are areas of strength for your child. Take a look at excerpts from our writing guides for Essays, Poetry, Research Papers, and Short Stories to see what we mean!


    Build Your Homeschool Student's Strengths

  • How to Learn from Failure with our Teens

    17 September 2014 / Challenges, Encouragement, Homeschool High School / 1 Comment

    Homeschool transcripts show high school years full of academics, electives, service, career exploration and more. Homeschool parents want a glittering record of awesome accomplishments in place by graduation.  But failure is bound to happen sometime...somewhere...with something.

    learn from failure with teens

    Learn from Failure with Teens

    A teen may experience academic failure, but it's just as likely to be failure to achieve a goal of some other sort. Being cut from a sports team says, "Failure!" to teens. Not getting hired for that first-choice part-time job speaks it, too. While no one will deny that these moments hurt, we can see something powerful and truly GOOD come about as we learn from failure with our teens.

    Trying things is an important part of high school, and trying new things almost guarantees some failures along the way.  New endeavors, or new levels of commitment to something only dabbled-in before help students determine their direction for after graduation, grow as individuals, and form relationships with like-minded people.  Truth is, no one is good at everything, and no one really loves everything he or she tries.

    While teaching commitment is a priority as we build character in our children, it also needs to be okay to try something and determine that it is not a great fit and not worth continuing.  We need to teach our kids the difference between quitting and deciding to end something.



    is what we do when we're tired of doing something that costs us. It is a reaction to something outside of us that makes us uncomfortable.

    Deciding to end something

    is the result of a careful, intentional evaluation of an endeavor. When we wisely determine that our time and energy would actually be better spent elsewhere, we may decide to end something because doing so is best.


    Learning to choose between good and better...

    between what is a good fit for someone else but feels way out of my area of strength and calling...

    between something that can be peripheral but not a core priority for this season...

    these are life-equipping skills that our kids need to make good choices in the decades to come as well as right now.

    Even academic "failure" can be a good thing.  Most students hit a subject in high school that is a real stretch.  Especially for kids who have always found academic success near at hand, facing that first "failure" (for some of these kids they think that getting anything less than 100% is failure!) is confidence-battering.  Allowing them to perform poorly while encouraging them to do what is possible for THEM equips them to understand that they are going to struggle and do things less-than-perfectly in life, and sometimes a job barely done is truly all that is possible.

    May I share a personal story?

    When I was a teen, I had a heart for people with suffering from mental illness. The vocal ensemble with which I sang in high school performed Christmas music at our state psych hospital, and I decided some time after that to volunteer twice a month on Saturdays with the occupational therapists, using the arts to help patients in their recovery. After about 6 visits, I decided to end my volunteer service there.


    I didn't quit; I decided to end my service.

    I carefully evaluated how things were working out and talked it over with my parents. I found that the level of personal boundaries necessary for successful work with psych inpatients was not something I possessed at just-turned-18. I felt like I was failing because I wanted to be a help to these folks, but all I knew was that conversations kept going scary places when I was with them, and I was fighting wicked stomach-aches before the end of the volunteer day because I was so nervous. My goal was to be a kind and positive influence in the lives of people battling for their mental health. I determined that I could not achieve that goal in the setting before me.


    I believe in hard work.  I believe in teaching our kids to stick to it when things get tough.  But I also know that any person's identity has to be tied to more than his ability to achieve whatever goal is before him.  We need to be able to fall short of a goal with peace and gratitude for the God who loves us all in our insufficiency.  We need to help our teens understand how to extend grace to themselves and to others when they don't hit the bullseye.


    Can we be brave enough to learn from failure with our teens?

    Can we have honest conversation with them as they look at something hard in their lives?

    Can we resist the urge to be snow-plow parents, moving all the obstacles out of their way so they won't struggle, protecting them from discomfort...because we know that would only lead to teaching them to be quitters?


    Can we also fight the fear of what others might think of us if we face the truth that a class, or a job, or a relationship, or a sport, or a service project is actually NOT yielding fruit that is worth the cost to our teen?


    I love seeing my teen succeed in high school.But I'm praying for the boldness to also love seeing him fail, failure with peace and with courage and with the ability to learn from it all.

    I want to learn from failure with my teen.

    learn from failure teens

    For a tremendous true story of failure and redemption, read Charles Colson's Born Again with your homeschool high school student! 7Sisters NO-busywork literature study guide helps you dig into this powerful account of what one man learned from failure.

  • Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk

    12 September 2014 / Challenges, Helping Each Other / 0 Comment

    There are 3 questions below that we've heard this week from some of our homeschool friends:

    (Some of you are shy and share with us but feel funny posting here...which is always fine! Feel free to email thoughts and concerns to sabrina@7sistershomeschool.com!)


    Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk

    Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk


    - How do I deal with stall tactics? My kid seems to have so many pressing needs when it's time to work on a school task. Tweens and teens come up with some REALLY creative stall tactics. How can I get 'em moving on the school work without turning every day into a battle?

    - Do you approach your homeschool high school day in terms of HOURS of schoolwork, or a specific list of tasks to accomplish, or some other way?

    - My teen is terrible at following directions. Driver's Ed is coming up soon and I worry that this is going to mess him up in trying to earn his driver's license. How can we improve direction following for a kid who is smart, just struggles in this area for some reason?

    Do you have help to offer? C'mon, don't keep all your great ideas to yourself!


    Offer ideas to help homeschoolers conquer the challenges above, or start another topic in your comment; it's up to you.


    If you need Homeschool Help: YOUR TURN to Talk!

    Tell us what's bugging you, frustrating you, confusing you, intimidating you. Let's all put our heads together and see if we can help each other.

    If you can offer someone else Homeschool Help: YOUR TURN to Talk!

    Tell us what's working great in your homeschool. Share success stories -- you are not bragging, because we ASKED you to tell us the good stuff to encourage us all.

    On Saturdays, we want you to comment here. There's no set theme. This is an "open thread" post.


    These simple rules will suffice:

    1. Start your comment with a topic word or phrase, like "Algebra I," or "editing writing," or "time management." That will make it easy for people to scroll through and read more on the topics that most interest them.

    2. If you are responding to someone who already commented, use the SAME topic they used.

    3. Keep it judgment-free! We need encouragement. We need ideas. We don't need to slam each other if we disagree. There are no cookie-cutters for creating homeschool success.

    4. If you share a link, make sure it's relevant. Spammy links will be deleted by admins.

    That's about it!


    What's going on in your homeschool this week?

    Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk

  • Battling Negative Homeschool Attitude With a Change in Perspective

    08 September 2014 / Challenges, Helping Each Other / 0 Comment

    A new academic year is under-way. Let's take a moment to look at our homeschools. How are things going?

    Do you feel like you're still in that warm, fluffy, sunshiny part of the year...or are you feeling frustrated? Difficulties can strike unexpectedly in our homeschools. Regardless of how you are feeling about things at any given moment, you're most likely doing better than you think!

    What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are. –C.S. Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew

    Although this is a quote from a children’s book series (The Chronicles of Narnia), it holds some wisdom for us grown-ups, too.

    homeschool attitude


    Homeschool Attitude

    Allow me to rephrase:

    What we see in other people and what we hear other people say, depends a great deal on how we see ourselves (and listen to ourselves). It also depends on what sort of personality we have.

    If we change perspective (the way we are seeing and listening to ourselves and the people around us) we can avoid unhelpful attitudes and behaviors. This can be a key that opens a door for healthy change. Take a look at this:

    Unhelpful look at self Unhelpful look at others Helpful look at self and others
    Self-critical Critical of others At peace with self and world, as much as circumstances allow
    Perfectionistic Avoidant Can take life as it comes, with mistakes and imperfections
    Finding things to worry about or denying there are problems Nagging or *sticking head in the sand* Change what can be changed (mostly *you*), accept the things that cannot be changed (*mostly others*)
    Living in the past or postponing life for the future Unforgiveness of others or brushing aside relationships while you strive for future goals Living in the present, being respectful of past and future


    Here’s an example:

    The cashier at the local grocery store snips at you and stands staring into space while you bag all your own groceries. If you take the perspective that she is trying to offend you or has a bad attitude you will feel angry. If you take the perspective that she thinks you look funny and have bad breath, you will feel embarrassed. You might have a panic attack if her behavior reminds me of your abusive first grade teacher.

    homeschool attitude

    Unhealthy perspectives can eventually change your personality (for the worse). You could allow yourself to become the kind of person who is rude to cashiers or makes other people do your shopping.

    On the other hand, changing your perspective might change your experience:

    What if you find out that the cashier’s husband just filed for divorce, her father is extremely ill, she lost her wallet with the cash from her paycheck, her first grade child is failing math and she couldn’t find her dog this morning?

    “Poor girl,” you might be thinking… and WILLINGLY bag your own groceries.

    A change in perspective can change your experience. A lifestyle of keeping healthy perspectives helps improve one’s personality.


    Try changing where you stand by changing your perspective, you’ll see more peace and strength in your life.


    homeschool attitude

    Help your homeschool high schooler learn about perspective through solid, but not stolid, curriculum (that looks GREAT on a transcript).


    Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective,

    Human Development from a Christian Worldview, and

    World History and Philosophy!

    These user-friendly, not fussy, e-texts help your homeschooler understand himself better and the world around him better- while building a powerful transcript!

    And for a video encouraging a new perspective, listen to Sabrina's reminder; we are ALL works in progress.

  • Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk

    29 August 2014 / Challenges, Encouragement, Helping Each Other / 0 Comment

    We want to try something new this school year here at 7Sisters.


    Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk

    Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk


    If you need Homeschool Help: YOUR TURN to Talk!

    Tell us what's bugging you, frustrating you, confusing you, intimidating you. Let's all put our heads together and see if we can help each other.

    If you can offer someone else Homeschool Help: YOUR TURN to Talk!

    Tell us what's working great in your homeschool. Share success stories -- you are not bragging, because we ASKED you to tell us the good stuff to encourage us all.

    On Saturdays, we need you to comment here. There's no set theme. This is an "open thread" post.


    These simple rules will suffice:

    1. Start your comment with a topic word or phrase, like "Algebra I," or "editing writing," or "time management." That will make it easy for people to scroll through and read more on the topics that most interest them.

    2. If you are responding to someone who already commented, use the SAME topic they used.

    3. Keep it judgment-free! We need encouragement. We need ideas. We don't need to slam each other if we disagree. There are no cookie-cutters for creating homeschool success.

    4. If you share a link, make sure it's relevant. Spammy links will be deleted by admins.

    That's about it!


    What's going on in your homeschool this week?

    Homeschool Help: Your Turn to Talk

  • Homeschool Transcript for a Special Needs High Schooler: 7 Areas to Capture

    19 August 2014 / By Age Group, Challenges, Helping Each Other, Homeschool High School, Homeschool Transcripts / 0 Comment

    How does a homeschool high schooler with special needs develop a good transcript?
    transcript for special needs high schooler

    Transcript for Special Needs High Schooler

    A homeschool high schooler with special needs should have a transcript that reflects a rich education full of experiences and gift-development. The transcript for special needs high schoolers should also be honest about academics- a child who is not capable of doing Algebra II, should not have some cheesy version of it appear on the transcript. (Simply note in the legend/key of the transcript that he was educated according to his abilities and suggestions given by his diagnostic testing. I recommend that testing be attached to the transcript at graduation, so that helping agencies, like community college or vocational rehabilitation are adequately informed.)

    Here are a few tips for developing a great transcript for a special needs high schooler:

    1. Concentrate on strengths- find an area or two and level up or show as specialty course.

    Lean into them for a leveling-up experience or a special course. Why not have a full credit in Civil War Studies or Auto Mechanics? Click here to find out how to level up or earn an alternate (specialty course) credit.

    transcript for special needs high schooler

    2. Compensate in weak areas

    Homeschool high school is the time for your special needs teen to remediate where there are academic Dedicate some time to:

    -Writing skills

    7 Sisters is can be helpful to some special needs homeschool high schoolers because there are daily, short lessons. Your teen may need supervision or may need to discuss and dictate, according to his/her abilitieis. Start with our FREE whitepaper on writing research with reluctant teens. Then follow up with story writing or essay writing.

    -Inferential reading skills

    Build inferential reading skills (Edcon’s Bring the Classics to Life are great at this. Btw-ignore the alleged grade levels).

    -Literature-reading skills

    7 Sisters Literature Study Guides are no-busywork and clearly understood by many high schoolers. You may work together in a discuss/dictate format. Try our FREE Anne of Green Gables Literature Study Guide for starters.

    -Math skills

    Try Pearson Education’s Pacemaker Math series

    -Science skills

    Try Westfield Studios. Their courses are delightful but be sure to follow the syllabus.

    transcript for special needs high schooler

    3. Have LOTS of sparkle on the transcript: community involvement, appropriate competitions, service opportunities

    This is where your special needs homeschool high schooler can shine. Plow into those talents and strengths. Volunteer at church- nursery, sound system, worship team/choir. Get involved in local homeschool organizations or in the case of spectrum teens- look into local autism/Aspergers support groups. Play a sport. Join a music group.

    Look into competitions. There are lots of online opportunities- looks at Scholastic, local college sometimes sponsor science fairs, Poetry Outloud, Lego Robotics Leagues, National History Day, etc. Your teen doesn't need to win- just have the experience for his transcript.

    Volunteer at local food banks, libraries, missions organizations.

    Show these appropriately on the transcript for a special needs high schooler, not as credits, but as extracurriculars.

    4. Try some apprenticeships

    Discuss with your special needs homeschool high schooler good work ethic skills: promptness, politeness, industriousness. Then let him/her try his skills with a time-limited apprenticeship. Look at local farms, florists shops, libraries, offices. Record these on the transcript under Career Exploration. Sherri Seligson has a great book on Interning

    5. Teach interviewing skills

    Practice with your high schooler some interview skills. Even if your homeschooler has special needs, he/she will need basic skills: dress business casual or business, sit straight, hands on knees, look toward/at interviewer, answer in complete sentences, have some questions to ask the interviewer. Record this as Career Exploration.

    Check my Homeschool Career Exploration Pinterest board for posts on interview skills:


    6. If needed, update diagnostic testing if he/she will need compensations at college level

    Not all teens need to go to college, but if your special needs homeschool high schooler feels led to go- it might be time to get some diagnostic testing. Look at a local educational psychologist or psychological testing service. The test results will include a list of needed compensations, if applicable.

    Include a summary in the transcript legend/key and attach the testing.

    7. Pray

    You know this, anyway. Does your teen know how to turn to God for help and guidance? Record Religion on the transcript.

    What are some suggestions you would make for homeschoolers with special needs?


    Transcript for Special Needs High Schooler

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