Among all of us at 7SistersHomeschool, we've homeschooled 26 children through graduation and taught hundreds of others in co-ops and group classes over the past 20+ years.
While homeschooling high school in particular, we found that sometimes the available homeschool curriculum options were a poor fit for our kids OR were so full of busywork that they left us no time to do the education of REAL LIFE.
Out of our particular expertise and areas of interest and passion we developed curricula that have been the RIGHT fit for our homeschooling high schoolers' educational and time-stewardship needs. As our own homeschooling years drew to a close, we fine-tuned these resources and created ebook homeschool curricula to share with other home educating families.
Our collection of ebook homeschool curriculum resources includes:
- Literature Study Guides
- Writing Guides
- Human Development
- Financial Literacy
- Career Exploration
- World History and Philosophy
- Early Childhood Education (a High School Course)
- Spiritual Walk
- Christian Apologetics FREE from Good Answers Ministries
- Elementary School Resources
Our kids (and the kids in our classes) have found that 7Sisters homeschool curriculum is AWESOME because of:
1. The conversational tone and friendly style of instruction.
Material is not presented in an overbearing, overly serious manner. It does NOT include time-wasting busywork.
2. The Christian worldview of the etexts and guides.
3. No busywork or over-teaching.
Our kids got GREAT education and still had TIME to develop the other things a transcript needs (the arts, athletics, service, extra-curriculars, competitions.)
4. The easy level-ability.
Many colleges are requiring that the "academic level" of each core class be reported on the transcript. (There is no standard method, but here is a post about How-to Determine Levels drawn from what we've learned.) Each downloadable guide and text includes EASY instructions on ways to tweak the level of the material to fit the needs of your high schooler and his/her transcript.
5. 7Sisters homeschool curriculum ebooks work well for independent study or in a co-op or class setting.
We have designed the curriculum to work flexibly with students at various grade levels across high school so that homeschool co-ops can really enjoy using it without the teacher having to do a lot of adapting.
Here is a general idea of how levels work in a 7 Sisters curriculum ebook (specific, clear instructions are in the front of each downloadable guide or text):
-Level 2 (Average High School): Some of the work done verbally, no special assignments.
-Level 3 (College Prep): Work from the text completed per instructions in text, no special assignments.
-Level 4 (Advanced): Work from the text completed along with some special assignments such as projects, special-topic books, or papers.
-Level 5 (Honors): Work from the text completed along with a rigorous number of special assignments including projects, special-topic books, or papers.
Some of our teens completed Honors- or Advanced-levels in their courses. Some of our teens did not need to spend time on Honors assignments, instead they needed to concentrate on apprenticeships while still earning a solid diploma based on honest work. These completed Level 2 and Level 3 work in their curricula.
Ready to get started with 7Sisters homeschool curriculum?
* Click to visit the ebookstore and browse our comfortably-priced titles. Read customer reviews scattered throughout the product descriptions to see just how much of a blessing our ebook curriculum can be to your homeschool.
* Read blog posts organized by category to boost your confidence for homeschooling high school.
* Send us an email with specific questions! We love encouraging other homeschool parents.
Happy New Year!
Homeschoolers need lots of encouragement to stay motivated. They need to share ideas for inspiration. They need to equip those who are newer to the adventure than they are.
Favorite Homeschool Posts 2014
In the spirit of "journeying together," we offer this Round Up of some of our most popular posts from the last year.
Here (in no particular order) are links to some of the favorite homeschool posts from 2014.
Electives make for a powerful transcript. Colleges are looking for much more than the basic core academics. Students who are not college-bound need lots of intentional career exploration as well. This post has been wildly popular for folks who are trying to craft a personal, powerful high school experience for their teens.
This one suprised us with all the traffic it generated. It began as a simple tribute to Labor Day, to the history behind the holiday, and then grew into a couple of posts in series that explored this concept in ways that would be meaningful to our high schoolers. The books discussed in this post are all titles that will generate really cool discussion with your teens...and some of them may be books you've never thought of in this light before!
Essays. Gotta write 'em. Gotta think about how you're going to do that well. Might as well take a FREE lesson from your sisters to get you started!
These movies (mostly appropriate for high school students) are rich with imagery that brings periods to life, ideas that challenge our thinking, and characters that inspire. Some of these are movies made from books that we also recommend adding to your reading list.
Our dear friend and homeschool buddy locally shares her struggle with COPD and other health issues in this touching post. She also shares concrete, powerful, faith-filled strategies for thriving rather than simply surviving.
This post brought to a close our series on Financial Literacy (which is so much MORE than simple Consumer Math), and it seems that many of you were eager to hear what actually went into developing the new curriculum Financial Literacy from a Christian Perspective by Sara Hibbard Hayes due for release Jan. 31, 2015. Read Sara's personal homeschooling story, and learn how it led her to write this unique, interactive etext.
Losing a loved one is tough. Saying goodbye to her at Christmas time is even tougher. While time does not heal all wounds (Jesus is the Healer), it does offer a different perspective on pain. Those of you who know us at 7Sisters know that we are fiercely honest about the fact that life is hard, and there are no cookie cutters that provide a guaranteed outcome for family, or homeschooling, or anything else. Sharing our personal pain from time to time allows us the chance to stand together in humility and prayerfully look to the future for all of us with hope.
Wow, this one just gets shared and shared! (And we LOVE that! Thank you!!) The first in a multi-part series taken from a workshop for homeschool conventions, this practical, in-depth look at teens and reading equips homeschoolers to move beyond simple comprehension questions and assignments, encourgaging teens to form a relationship with the book they're reading. Develop inferential and evaluative skills, interpret, and observe...all of these pieces of the reading puzzle come together for bookworms and reluctant readers alike in this Teaching Literature series.
Vicki Tillman's extensive experience with LD and spectrum kids in her counseling practice inspired her to write this excellent post. It's for the parents of special needs kids AND the parents who want their own families to better understand folks they encounter who have special needs in all walks of life.
This one hit a hot button somewhere! We are not even remotely anti-college at 7Sisters (many of our own kids went on from homeschool to college and even to graduate degrees). But we also do not believe that college is for everyone. This post looks at successful career pathways for after high school where no college is required, and offers ideas for exploring those options while still in your high school years.
So many ways to encourage the artistic side of your teen! This post offers ideas and practical ways to document the learning as you go.
The real-life peek into Vicki Tillman's homeschool as her fifth and final child graduated from high school.
Favorite Homeschool Posts 2014
Happy New Year! Wisdom from some folks who had a way with words...
New Year Quotes
"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective."
- G.K. Chesterton
"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
- T.S. Eliot
"Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer."
- Sir Walter Scott
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'...”
- Alfred Tennyson
“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”
- William Arthur Ward
"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
"Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man His Son hath given; While angels sing with tender mirth, A glad new year to all the earth."
- Martin Luther
"Be always at War with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you, a better person."
- Benjamin Franklin
"Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties."
- Helen Keller
New Year Quotes
The Christmas holiday season is almost over; the beginning of a new calendar year is looming on the horizon. The mid-year point in a traditional academic year is a good time to take stock and evaluate. This week on the blog, we'll be encouraging you with ideas for recovering from fall semester mistakes and making the most of the coming spring semester opportunities.
Here are three tips for beginning a mid-year homeschool checkup:
1. Take it slow.
Quick question for ya: What day of the week is it, anyway???
If you are like most of us, the whole rhythm of homeschool life has been off for weeks now. Allow yourself time to recover your house (decorations do NOT put themselves away at my house, either). Don't expect yourself or your kids to be immediately 100% on top of the game; you may need a few days to ease back into your typical homeschool schedule. Try setting progressive goals, aiming for a bit more academic accomplishment with each day of a regular school week, and see if you can't get back in the swing within a week rather than a day. As you add back in each chunk of learning, take a close look at it. How does this subject feel at the almost-half-way point of the school year?
2. Ask hard questions.
A little honest evaluation as January begins can be worth its weight in gold. Talk to your kids. Talk to your spouse. Talk to yourself. Talk to the Lord. Is that unit study approach you planned for History working out like you hoped it would? Did that timeline you set for writing the research paper turn out to be cruel and unusual punishment? Were there areas that got skimmed-over in the fall, and you need a new approach to stay accountable this spring semester? It's better to face the hard questions now than to wait until the academic year is almost over.
3. Make homeschooling healthy.
There's a reason people join the gym every January; the start of the New Year is a popular time to begin (or begin again) a healthier lifestyle. The same is true for homeschoolers, and our kids can learn a lot from a parent's honest priority-shifting in the interest of health. Don't just think about your physical health. At the same time that there may have been WAY too much sugar in your diet, has there been too little Bible reading and prayer? Did your brisk walking habit fall by the wayside when the Christmas tree went up? Have you and your spouse had too much time with extended family gatherings and not enough time for attention to your marriage? Give yourself a check-up (physical, emotional, spiritual and relational) and encourage your kids to do the same.
Is Writing one of the subjects that took a beating during the fall semester?
Let our writing guides help! Essays, poetry, research papers and short stories all get some friendly help from these comfortably-priced downloadable ebook guides offering 6-10 weeks of writing instruction. Click to view descriptions and excerpts from each in our ebookstore!
A special Christmas guest post from 7Sisters' dear friend, indie fantasy author and homeschool dad Will Hahn. This post is running concurrently on Will's blog. "Classics You've Never Read: The Tale We All Tell" is posted with permission.
You could guess this installment’s topic with your eyes closed, inside a burlap bag. From the basement room of a neighborhood that has no electric lights. Because it was, like, the Dark Ages. So I don’t do mystery, sue me. What other classic would I be reviewing in the week of Yule except Charles Dickens’ absolutely immortal- A Christmas Carol.
Dickens' A Christmas Carol
I can feel your impatience from across the internet, so let me give you the summary in two bullet points.
* Yes, this is a fantasy classic.
* And no, you haven’t ever read it. Not really.
A Spiritual Experience
Now I don’t want any sass on that first point– Marley was dead, to begin with, there is no doubt whatever about that. Then this dead guy, he talks for an entire scene, and Scrooge can rave about blobs of mustard all he likes, but even HE says he believes it.
Add three ghosts, trips across time and space, walking through walls and an old man spending the coldest night ever recorded on earth in his nightshirt, and what you have there is a fantasy tale. Light on combat, I’ll grant you, but a ripping good fantasy yarn nonetheless. Horror and the supernatural are strongly allied to fantasy and always have been. The main difference, in my view, is the growth of character across the tale. Eighteen movies where a cabin/car/boatload of teens run screaming from Risen Guy with a weed-whacker, and what has anyone ever come away learning?
But Scrooge– graduate degree in Goodwill and Charity, in one night.
And this is YOUR tale, rather ours. We all tell it, because we all continually live it.
The only real choice you have with A Christmas Carol is to figure out what part of the story you’re in. And decide how long you’ll stay there.
Scrooge and You, Both Misers
Not me, you exclaim? I’m warning you, no chance you’ll escape this one. The popularity of Christmas Carol is a tidal-wave of evidence. Why does every actor on earth want to play him? Why do we all listen to it, on the radio, in 19 major films, in 39 stage versions (since 1974, half of them running continuously). There have been three Scrooge operas, a graphic novel with Batman as him, over 200 major productions either repeating the story directly or putting a “modern” touch on it. There’s a steampunk version of this tale, one where he’s a TV producer, one where Scrooge is played by just about the hottest woman on the planet, and another where Tiny Tim’s disease is causing the zombie apocalypse.
You think you’ve read this tale? Please, you don’t even know which character you’re playing. Yeah, it’s not good news. But prove your literary worth and pass the quiz first.
Scrooge by the Book- Is it in the Story? (True or False)
1) His clerk asks him for extra coal in the beginning
2) Scrooge watches his younger self lose the love of his life
3) The ghosts come at 1, 2 and 3 o’clock
4) Scrooge sees himself in the future
5) Scrooge visits Crachit’s house on Christmas Day
All false. You’ve been remembering one of the many excellent video versions, which take details of the character arc to heart and amplify the essential meaning Dickens started with. The book’s too short for TV! And that’s fine. But why bother with a 160 year old novella unless everyone– directors, screenplay writers, major actors and you watching at home– responded to something there?
Point: you respond to a tale this powerfully this well this long, because you identify with a major character. And Christmas Carol has only one.
The chief thing about a miser isn’t that he’s rich, or that it’s only about money. Misers are unhappy. They deny everyone their wealth, starting with themselves. There’s a word for the condition a miser lives in. It’s called misery. Scrooge is quite correctly described as sad, weird, funny; as his nephew points out, the only one hurt by all his crabbing is himself. Our lives reflect this and it’s seldom money- it might be patience, or good humor, or our love, or– ahem– our writing talent, but we hold it back and don’t share it enough.
And we need to change. Your heroes need to change- why else are people reading your novella? Many wise online coaches have written about conflict, but Dickens gives us a more detailed map of the how and when. Here is where the spirits come in. You might call them muses.
A Reader’s Progress- Scrooge’s Character Grows
Marley comes to warn Scrooge and his principal impact is based on fear. Scrooge needs to be jogged out of his complacent habits, convinced there are consequences to his actions beyond what he can see, and forced to consider that he must change. The fear is important, but alone it’s not enough. As soon as Marley leaves, the miser is trying to settle back into his old ways, muttering “humbug” again. But he is still off-balance and open to-
- The Ghost of Christmas Past whose chief influence is to fill him with regret. Seeing that he was once happy, and that he used to respond more kindly to people around him, Scrooge becomes truly sad (not miserable, which for a miser is just a form of self-pity). He tells the spirit he can bear it no longer- she has scraped him out like a gourd. Based only on regret for his mistakes, though, Scrooge will not change- he pushes down the cap over the spirit’s light to get rid of it. For more progress in his arc, Scrooge needs-
- The Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows him happiness and gives him desire. There’s a Chinese proverb that speaks of how sorrow hollows you like a man creating a pot. Now you can contain more joy. Scrooge sees others making merry despite much less wealth than he possesses and comes to desire that happiness again. If left here, he probably wouldn’t be quite so crabby, for a while, but it’s still not enough. Scrooge must be pushed that final step to action by-
- The Ghost of Christmas Future, who doesn’t simply terrify him but gives Scrooge a sense of consequence. Misers like us mortals are not only selfish, or rather we’re selfish in part because we can’t see for sure the best thing to do with our talents. Easy to say how stupid it is for an old man to hoard money- but remember, Scrooge doesn’t think he is a miser. None of us do. By seeing his future, Scrooge realizes his choices matter. He could make the wrong one. He has been so far. His fate and Tiny Tim’s are linked: and in the event of death, the boy has nothing to fear, whereas Scrooge… that’s not just fear, it’s an impetus to act.
If a man gave away all his money but had not changed inside, it would be about as effective as a knight in my tales defeating a dragon without effort. Scrooge on Christmas Day has become “light as a feather, as giddy as a schoolgirl”. He is an imp– speaking in riddles to the boy outside his window, sending the turkey anonymously to Bob Cratchit. He is unafraid to appear a fool; he knows he has already been one. He understands it’s important to use his money, not to be known for doing so. He is exchanging his treasures here for those in heaven. Just one more remarkable feature of Dickens’ writing, that he so clearly points to a moral and religious purpose without using the G-word (even in vain). Scrooge accomplishes a transformation of character that the world has responded to across all media for sixteen decades. We know, deep down, who he’s talking to.
The 19th Century Indie
Dickens did here what all us authors, writers, chroniclers want to do with our work. More than readers liking the story, more than loving it, he changed how people lived. Did you know:
* He wrote Christmas Carol as Plan B? His original idea was to pen a political tract, urging Parliament to do more to help the poor, and children, etc. He decided that a parable about Christmas would be better. I don’t think he was wrong.
* His tale brought us not just Scrooge, but “Merry Christmas” itself! In Dickens’ day there was still some Puritan in England’s make-up, believing that celebration and liberality were wrong. He was out to change that, and he did.
* He finished the work in less than six weeks, with a deadline (Christmas 1842) looming over his head as pressure. The spirits were with him.
* He elected to self-publish! Took a percentage-royalty instead of flat fee. And he didn’t do that well on it- the book’s popularity was almost immediate but his returns weren’t as great as he’d hoped. Public readings (early video!) and reprintings eventually made up the gap (but Dickens was already well-off). He did the slow-burn!
* Dickens also spear-headed the blasphemous idea that you could publish longer tales, like his other novels, in shorter formats released as serials. Hmmm…. and by making each chapter so cheap (just a ha’penny or so) even the masses could afford to buy a copy.
So, the more things change. And if Dickens was prefiguring so many of our publication choices, we might want to take his writing style to heart as well. Check any article about the history of Christmas Carol to see the impact his tale had on the world: other great writers heaping praise and vowing to give generously, factory owners reduced to tears or closing shop for Christmas after seeing the play. Face it, you got to get a piece of this.
Start with yourself. I urge you all to read A Christmas Carol- the verb there was “read”, but see it too if you like. Learn from your fear, desire the happiness that comes with giving, and make good choices to change the world. Scrooge learns it’s never too late. But the flip-side of that maxim is also true- what day better than today?
A Merry Christmas to you all. God bless us indie authors, every one.
Yep, me too. (Will playing Scrooge in 2006 at the local children’s theater.)
Will occasionally pontificates on Classics You’ve Never Read. His earlier reviews can be found here.
And a P.S. from Will --
BTW: The best of the lot in my opinion? Albert Finney, the musical version.
Dickens Christmas Carol
Pinterest is all the rage. I’m not on it, but I love the concept. It a place to capture images, ideas, plans, ideals for every occasion. I think that Pinterest is really just an outward, shareable copy of something we all as women have internally. We have our own mental Pinterest board full of images and ideals of how each aspect of our lives should be.
From big to small these ideas are all carefully catalogued and never far from our mind’s eye.
* We know what our homes, jobs, and family should look like.
* We know what our family dinners and activities should be.
* We have images for our relationships – how they should function - out children, our marriages, our friends and extended family members.
* We have a category for our future, set up sometime in the past - college life, marriage, career, children, our children’s marriages, grandchildren, our retirement lifestyle - are all displayed somewhere on this mental board.
These images become or are made from our expectations.
Christmas provides the opportunity for an entire Pinterest board of its own. We mentally see in living color how our decorations should look, how many batches of cookies should be baked, what the family photo should reveal about our loving clan. The ideals go much further than outward appearance. We know the ideals of emotion, attitude, and interpersonal relationships which coincide with the season. We should be cheery, joyful, friendly, patient, gracious, enjoying and making memories, delighting in family time and the joy of giving.
Reality does not always match our pins, though.
* Our decorations can be more work and make the house harder to clean.
* The tree cutting outing becomes an ordeal because it is cold, the kids are tired and hungry, and your husband is grumpy about trying to get the tree tied on the car.
* The cookie baking day with Mom makes a mess and doesn’t match the memory-making ideal. (Or maybe Mom does not like to bake cookies.)
* Our family photo does not come out because someone was in a bad mood!
* Our Christmas does not look like our own mental image, never mind Currier & Ives.
Deeper than these outward pictures, our attitude and emotions sometimes don’t match our ideal image either.
We feel impatient, annoyed, rushed, behind, maybe even a little down.
If I’m honest, sometimes I DO care whether or not I’m given a gift and what that gift is.
The same inconsistencies between our images and reality invade every aspect of our lives and the other people in our lives. We often see our plans and expectations unrealized in our own life and those around us.
As Christians, our pins include a whole wall of Christian life and the Church. And, I dare say, for those of us who have grown up in the church, the collection of ideals we have for our lives and other Christians and the church is vast. We can become disappointed and discouraged by these unrealized expectations. We can give up on others or become angry or disillusioned with them. If our reality matches our ideal image, we think we are fine with God; if it does not we flounder.
Worst of all, we limit God by focusing on our self-made Pinterest board. We may have created these images based on great ideals, even godly ones, but we have still created it ourselves. Perhaps this Pinterest board is an idol. Even our prayers and dependence on God can become tied to this idol. We ask God to make our reality or our loved one’s reality fit these ideals. We are asking God to color the pictures we have made. God is bigger than that. He wants to paint a masterpiece, not color in our coloring book. His plans are far bigger and better and more eternal than any ideas we have in mind. (Isaiah 55: 8)
Jonah 2:8 gives us profound wisdom - “Those to cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that would be theirs.”
We do not want to miss the enormity of God’s grace.
He is creator. He is redeemer. He is making all things new. He can make a better painting than our coloring book allows - even using some really awful things.
The first Christmas gives us a wonderful illustration - Mary’s image of her life probably included quiet, respectable family life in her small village, married to a hardworking carpenter, raising children, and caring for her home. With the angel’s announcement, her future completely diverged from that ideal, but she chose to accept God’s grace and plan instead and joy, glory, and closeness with God resulted. (Luke 1: 39)
Let’s make this Christmas our practice session. Join me in choosing to lay down our Pinterest board images, each moment, with each activity, with each emotion, and choose God’s grace instead. It will be infinitely more satisfying and eternal.
On December 18, 2014, Allison and I saw the 5th anniversary of our big sister Heather's homegoing.
When we were kids, she irritated the tar out of me on a regular basis, taught me about beauty products (note: NEVER use Vaseline for a hot-oil treatment for your hair), was bossy, sang with me loudly in public places (to upset Allison), knew EVERYthing (or so she thought), made me laugh, hurt my feelings, and once wrote a spoof-musical with me in the wee hours of the morning.
When we were grown up, we went for long stretches with hardly any communication, brainstormed gift ideas and event-planned for family celebrations, had sometimes-awkward get-togethers (because aren't we ALL a little awkward, really?), spent hours in deep conversation, and once got so silly in a fancy steakhouse that we couldn't stop laughing and our husbands were embarrassed to be seated with us.
Perspective on Family, Faith and Love
When she got sick with pancreatic cancer, we suddenly talked every week even though we lived 1,000 miles apart. We sat and held hands in doctor's waiting rooms even though when we were little she would shriek if I dared to touch her in public. We made tacky, inappropriate jokes during chemo treatments because it's better to laugh than cry sometimes. And we reminded each other that God is God, He is good, and He loves us.
Now that she is gone, I realized that she helped me learn some stuff:
* People are often annoying, but they are important.
* Relationships are hard work, but they are of immeasurable value.
* You don't always like the people you still choose to love, and that's okay.
* People can be wrong and it not really matter that much.
* Sometimes an inappropriate joke is actually a statement of faith and hope.
* Family is messy and complicated, but it should not be taken for granted.
* Love -- no matter exactly what shape it takes at a given time -- is always worth it.
* God is God, He is good, and He loves us.
(See you, Heath....and thanks for the opal ring. I smile every time I wear it.)
Looking beneath the surface for deeper meaning is an important part of life. It should be an integral part of how we read books with our homeschoolers, too. Literature study guides from 7Sisters don't waste time with surface comprehension questions that feel like busywork to teens. Instead, they help readers dig deeply to find meaningful pieces of the story that might actually seem to MATTER in real life. Have you tried our study guides with your high school students yet?
For ideas on how to help those who grieve, download Carry Each Other's Burdens FREE from our ebookstore.
Perspective on Family, Faith and Love
In my service as a homeschool high school academic advisor, I often get these questions:
"What's the difference between an APA-style research paper and an MLA-style research paper"
"What on earth IS an APA-style research paper?"
"Does my teen NEED to know how to write an APA-style research paper?"
Difference Between APA and MLA
SO, let's have a teeny-tiny, mini-course on high school research papers.
Research papers serve several different purposes.
-Placing students in charge of their own inquiry-based educational situations (in other words, homeschoolers have a chance to dig in and learn about something that is important to them).
-Providing opportunities for homeschoolers to stretch academically (and sometimes personally), as they deal with formatting, details, and data.
-Experiencing valuable preparation for college-bound homeschoolers.
MLA-style Research Papers are perhaps the most common format.
-The most important distinctive of an MLA-paper is that the homeschooler will need to provide a THESIS STATEMENT in the first paragraph.
-The body of the paper is spent illustrating or defending that thesis.
-MLA-papers rely on transition sentences to move the reader from topic to topic.
-There are distinctive citation and reference page rules.
-For an easy-to-follow, encouraging, no-busywork guide to MLA-style research papers, I like Allison's Research Paper Writing Guide the best!
APA-style Research Papers are completely different from MLA-style papers!
-There is NO thesis statement! In fact, the entire point of an APA paper is to give the appearance of objectivity and a thesis implies an opinion.
-Instead of a thesis, the homeschooler presents a topic and provides information about that topic. (Kind-of like an old fashioned "report"- remember those from elementary school?)
-At the END of the paper, the homeschooler may add an opinion in the conclusion section but NOT before.
-Transition sentences are not needed.
-In order to move the reader from one section of the paper to the next, APA-style uses Section Titles and Sub-section Titles. (Kind-of like magazines articles...)
-APA-style papers are formal in tone. There is no use of the words "I", "you", or "we". No contractions are allowed, either.
-There is a distinctive citation, reference page, title page, and page numbering format.
Feel a bit overwhelmed and want help with an APA-style Research Paper? Check out our Introductory Guide to APA Research Papers. In this friendly, light-hearted guide, I take the homeschooler through the complex maze of APA-rules so gently that it is almost easy! It has a semester's worth of step-by-step instructions for learning the format, choosing topics, finding resources, and actually constructing the paper. (I LOVE APA format.)
High schoolers may use MLA-style or APA-style on just about any topic that pleases them. However, in college, they will often find that English-type classes use MLA and science-type classes use APA. So a little of experience with both formats is a good idea for college-bound students.
Just to add to the confusion. When you surf the net, you might find that there are conflicting sets of information on HOW to write an MLA- or APA-style paper. That's because there are different "editions" of those styles. All that matters is that you pick one of the "editions" and stick with it for the entire paper. THEN when your homeschoolers arrive at college, they will find that each professor has some different requirements- but by then, they'll be ready to follow whatever rule comes their way.
Also, while MLA and APA are the most common formats of college-style research papers, there are other formats that individual professors or departments might employ. There is the Chicago-style and CSE-style, for instance. If your homeschoolers are adept at the basic MLA and APA formats, they'll be ready to jump in and learn these formats with little stress.
I really do recommend introducing research paper writing in a non-threatening, don't-take-ourselves-too-seriously, encouraging manner. That is why we are sharing the writing guides that we have used with our own kids and local homeschoolers for years. Research Paper Writing Guide (MLA format) by Allison Thorp, and Introduction to APA Research Paper Writing Guide by me .
Here are some tips from Sabrina on writing papers!
And visit our 7 Sisters Homeschool You Tube Channel for more writing tips!
Difference Between APA and MLA
Writing MLA research papers can be stressful, whether you write them for a traditional classroom or as part of your homeschool education.
MLA Research Paper Thesis Statements
Many students agree that writing a good thesis statement for an MLA research paper is the toughest part of the challenge.
According to Allison Thorp, author of 7 Sisters' Research Paper Writing Guide ,
"The thesis statement is the most important part of your research paper. Think of it as the hinge on which the door is hung and swings. It holds everything together and gives it purpose."
Here are some tips from Allison's Research Paper Writing Guide to help you create a thesis statement that really works.
- First, ask yourself some questions. What is the point of my research? What do I want my paper to do? Will I tell my reader something new, offer a new slant on this topic? Do I have a solution to offer to a problem? What is my theory on this subject? The answers to one or more of those questions may help you begin to craft a good thesis statement.
- Incorporate key words into your thesis statement. By the time you have completed some preliminary research on your topic, you should have a few words that you know will be important in your paper. These key words should be a part of your thesis statement.
- Make sure that your thesis statement is a full, declarative, compound sentence (one with dependent clauses) that is specific; it should only address what you will be covering in your paper.
Allison's Research Paper Writing Guide provides more than simply helpful tips like these.
It is a step-by-step breakdown of the process of writing an MLA-style research paper. It provides examples at each point, suggests a time-frame for accountability, recommendations for working out a problem or "stuck spot," and more.
Do I sound like I'm writing a review of this curriculum? I am!
My son, Jonah, has used it for two years now as he's tackled MLA-style research papers in our homeschool.
I LOVE this resource. Highly recommended!
While we're on the subject of research papers, here's a link to my vlog about Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism. Feel free to share this important resource with parents of teens everywhere....whether they homeschool or not.
MLA Research Paper Thesis Statement
In my years as a homeschool advisor, I’ve worked with many students who will not shine in testing situations. When they take SATs or ACTs, the results look nothing like their abilities. The parents ask what to do?
Master Portfolio for Homeschool High School Student
A growing number of colleges these days have changed their stance on college-entrance type exams. Some have waived the requirement. Some (like community colleges) never did require these tests. Some will accept a Master Portfolio for a homeschool high school student in lieu of testing or along with testing.
Our local parents who choose a Master Portfolio option for their students will follow these guidelines:
Master Portfolio Instructions
The master portfolio for a homeschool high school student is an alternative to testing for students who should not take standardized tests like the SAT or ACT or Terra Novas.
The master portfolio is simply the best of all a homeschool high schooler’s work and experiences in one large binder. The master portfolio should include:
1) Large section dividers for each year of high school: 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade
2) Smaller dividers for each subject covered each of those years. At the minimum, have a divider each year for:
3) Other smaller dividers should be included in the year taught, for each subject that was not a four-year subject.
4) As an introduction for each year divider, give a list of courses completed in that year
5) In each subject divider for each year, explain:
-the name of the course
-how much credit was earned
-the manner in which the credit was earned (textbook, Carnegie hours-logging, other)
6) For each year’s Language Arts credit, include:
-vocabulary and grammar tests
-public speaking log
7) For each year’s math credit include:
-name of textbook
8) For each year’s social studies and sciences include:
-name of textbook
-any other pertinent information
9) For each Carnegie-hour course, include:
-additional material to illustrate the learning experience (photos, certificates, report cards, brochures)
10) Add section dividers for each year’s extra-curriculars, service hours, and competitions.
11) Attach a transcript to the beginning of the binder’s materials
Master Portfolio for Homeschool High School Student