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Welcome back to “Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool.” In this episode, host Pam Barnhill gives you a sneak peek of the upcoming course, “Navigating High School, A Guide to Confident Homeschooling.” In this excerpt, Pam shares a candid conversation with guest speakers and homeschool moms Laney Homan, Dawn Garrett, and Heather Tully. 

Homeschooling high school isn’t merely about checking off boxes on an academic syllabus but it’s about nurturing a well-rounded, capable individual ready to face the world beyond high school. As parents and educators, we must equip them not just with knowledge, but with confidence, resilience, and adaptability. Tune in for some practical advice and wisdom on how to prepare your high schoolers for success.

Listen to the Podcast

Pam Barnhill [00:00:02]:
Feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling? Wondering how you can streamline your day and boost your family’s success. Welcome to Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool. I’m Pam Barnhill, fellow homeschooler and your guide to quick, effective solutions. In each episode, we dive into practical, actionable tips that fit your busy life. Whether it’s curriculum choices, time management, or creative teaching methods, we’ve got you covered. And the best part, it’s all in bite sized ten minutes. Hi there, and welcome to the 10 minutes to a better homeschool podcast. We have a special treat for you this week. The first of 2 excerpts from our brand new course, Navigating High School, A Guide to Confident Homeschooling.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:43]:
This course is going to be coming out in April. It’ll be starting April 2nd. We’re also gonna have a presale of it during my birthday sale beginning on March 15th and that’ll be the cheapest price you can get it. So be sure to sign up for our newsletter and keep an eye out for that one. The first kind of content are 5 mindset audios that we have that are conversations with homeschool moms, all of whom have graduated at least one child and homeschool moms of many children. Some have graduated quite a few children. So these conversations are going to help you calm your fears and shift your mindset when it comes to homeschooling high school. That’s the sample that I’ve got for you today is a 10 minute excerpt from one of those conversations.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:32]:
So it’s very organic, very conversational. There’s some laughter involved. And inside the course, there’s also a workbook to help you work through some of these fears and mindset issues. Now next week, we will have a sample of the second kind of content from the course and that is a piece from our resource library. The resource library about homeschooling high school has all kinds of articles and expert interviews in there for you so that it answers your questions about things like, how do I teach lab sciences at home, and how do I help my kid with math class when I can’t remember algebra? So those kinds of things are also covered in the course as well. So we wanted to give you a couple of different samples, 1 on this episode and 1 on the next episode of what that high school course is gonna be like so you could decide if you’re going to check it out when it comes out in April. Alright. Enjoy the excerpt.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:31]:
Welcome back to Navigating High School, a guide to confident homeschooling. Okay. So the next fear we’re going to address is this fear that we sometimes have, how can I be sure that they learn everything that they need to know? And what we’re telling you is you’re gonna have to make a little bit of a mindset shift and that’s because you can’t prepare them for everything. You don’t have to. It’s not possible to do. And so you’re not gonna be able to answer this question. How can I be sure that they learn everything? And Laney, I think you’ve got an illustration that illustrates this just beautifully.

Laney [00:03:12]:
So when my oldest went to college, you know, it was a big deal getting him into college. And we, like, we were both very proud of that. And he did all the things and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was gonna be. But I still had all of these nagging fears in the back of my mind before he went to school. And that was, like, is he really gonna be prepared for his classes? Is he really gonna be able to write a paper? Is he adequately prepared for his calculus class? And, you know, I’m a mom, and I’m stressing, and I’m thinking about all these things. And when he came home after his 1st semester of college, we sat down and we had a chat. And I asked him, I said, okay. Like, you went to college as a homeschooler.

Laney [00:03:53]:
How do you feel about your preparation? Did you feel adequately prepared, and are there any gaps that I need to fill for your younger siblings as I am continuing to educate them? And he looked at me, and he thought about it. And he was like, well, mom, you should have taught me to dance. Apparently, there was, like, a social for all the freshmen not long after he got to school. And he felt a little awkward because he hadn’t had an experience of, like, a high school dance that he had gone to because he had chosen not to do that in high school. And so it just kind of made me chuckle inside because I was like, here I was fearing that you weren’t prepared for the academic side of things, and you’re like, yeah. I just didn’t know how to dance when I got to college. So it helped me to reframe my perspective on what they might actually need to know when they’re taking steps into whatever’s next for that child.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:54]:
Do you want fewer arguments, less tension, and true excitement during language arts learning? Night zookeeper is the answer. Night zookeeper is a game changing language arts program that takes the stress out of teaching by making it fantastically fun and engaging for your child. The program teaches spelling, grammar and punctuation, vocabulary, reading and writing through a preplanned language arts curriculum that your child can use independently, freeing you up to focus on other tasks. Night ZooKeeper has hundreds of word games, interactive video lessons, and inspiring writing prompts to keep your child engaged all year and boost their confidence. Your child will also get written feedback on their writing from real tutors, so you don’t have to be the bad guy. Thousands of homeschool parents have found success using night zookeeper to transform their children’s attitudes towards language arts learning. Parents like Ali Midday, one of the member liaisons Pam. Ali’s 3 oldest kids have been using Knight ZooKeeper, and they absolutely love the feedback that they get from the writing tutors and the ability to create their own characters.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:06]:
They are having so much fun. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to the stress of teaching language arts, give Night ZooKeeper a try. Click on the link in the description to this podcast for a 7 day free trial and 50% off of an annual subscription.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:25]:
Isn’t that just the thing? It’s like we we’re often focused on the academics so stressed out about the academics in our homeschool.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:29]:
And there’s really a whole myriad of things, a whole myriad of skills that they need for the rest of their life, you know, when they leave, of skills that they need for the rest of their life, you know, when they leave us. So how are we helping them seek the knowledge that they need? And how are we giving them a taste to savor knowledge? And can you teach them everything?

Heather Tully [00:06:53]:
Yeah. I’m gonna say you can’t. And that’s okay. Knowledge isn’t a specific list that we check off. It’s not an empty bucket that we’re filling all these facts into. And, I was telling Dawn earlier, I thought about Dickens and his novel, The Hard Times. And there’s that student who thinks he knows what a horse is because he can list all the number of teeth the horse has and how tall the horse is. That child had no idea what a horse was.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:26]:
He had never been in touch with a real horse. He didn’t have a love of what a horse was. And so a fact doesn’t equal knowledge. That equals information. That’s different. And you’re gonna have gaps in how much information any one person has.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:43]:
Yeah. I mean, everybody has gaps. I mean I don’t.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:48]:
Which is a tell sign she does. I work with her.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:52]:
I can guarantee you she has gaps. Right? So who

Pam Barnhill [00:07:52]:
do you guarantee you she has gaps. Right? So who determines what they need? Right? Who who is out there saying, well, this is exactly what every human being needs to know by the time that they turn 18.

Dawn [00:08:06]:
The state of Ohio.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:08]:
Really? Okay. I live in Alabama. I’m not

Pam Barnhill [00:08:13]:
quite sure that I care what the state of Ohio.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:17]:
But but there is kind of this almost a ridiculousness to this idea that somebody out there, some arbitrator is determining this is what every 18 year old needs to know. For sure. And there, I mean, there’s certainly, we have specializations. We have different things that we’re good at. We have different things that we do. And there, there really is no one way for everybody to know everything that it is they need to know. So if we’re not teaching them a complete body of knowledge because we can’t, then what are we teaching them? How do we prepare them for the next step?

Dawn [00:08:53]:
Well, I think the first thing you have to do is you have to know your childhood. You have to know who they are, what they know. You don’t need to know what they need to know. You need to know how they begin to know and Yeah. And acquire knowledge and integrate it into their lives and express it from their lives.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:15]:
And can I point out that this comes from conversation? This comes from relationship. This comes from connection. It might not happen with that 8th grader going into the first part. This is something that’s going to develop over time as you’re having these conversations with your kid about what they wanna do in life, where they wanna go next, and what do they need to help them get to that next step?

Dawn [00:09:37]:
It might not happen during lessons. It might happen when you’re driving them somewhere in their captive audience. It might happen in a coffee shop. It might happen as you’re taking a walk. It shouldn’t happen during a period of contention either. Right.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:51]:
Right. Right. Where you’re forcing them. And and we’ve said this before, you know, your job is to get them to the next step. Right?

Laney [00:09:58]:
Right. And they’re also taking ownership. Well, I think it’s also important to note that I mean, you know, your child, you’ve raised them. There’s a good chance you’ve been homeschooling them for many years now and you know their strengths and their weaknesses. And you’re probably beginning to understand who they are as a person. And all of those things are going to play into what is appropriate to teach them in their high school years. Yeah, but it’s individualized for each student. It’s not, you know, as Dawn said, it’s not a checklist from a particular state or as Heather said, it’s not a checklist of any particular body of facts.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:39]:
Yeah.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:39]:
Yeah. Okay. So there are some things that we feel, as group, that students do need to know.

Dawn [00:10:46]:
Well, and and there are things that kind of we have experienced, like, oh, these are things that maybe we could have done a little better too.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:54]:
Absolutely. Okay, Cara. So let’s talk about some of these skills because they tend to be life skills.

Dawn [00:11:00]:
They tend to be life skills. So, my son is dual enrolling for his senior year, and he was doing all of his enrollment and figuring out how the college credit plus money was being applied to his courses. And he had to, shocker, email a person

Pam Barnhill [00:11:15]:
Oh, they hate email. At college. They hate email.

Dawn [00:11:19]:
And it was traumatic. So, communication skills with people, logistics skills for how do I get a parking Pam? How do I where do I find a parking spot? How do I find a classroom in a campus? Mhmm. Yeah. Yeah. Like, do you know that the first floor rooms mostly start with a 1 and the second floor 2nd floor rooms mostly start with a 2 and, you know, like, it just those little bits of general knowledge that they may not have gotten in your house.

Laney [00:11:51]:
I think, you know, in our homeschool, we often joke and call specific things that I realized after the fact that my kids didn’t learn were like, oh, homeschool fail on my part. You know, the child that couldn’t spell their last name and told you were much too old. I mean, not high school, though.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:07]:
Not high school. But,

Laney [00:12:10]:
you know, there are these these gaps that happen, and sometimes you look up and you’re like, oh, I maybe I should have addressed this because they’re not happening because your child had never had to locate a classroom if they had been doing homeschool and online classes. So it’s a new experience. So begin to consider some of the things that they might encounter in whatever their next step is gonna be, and consider, like, the executive function skills needed to, like, address those next steps. Because sometimes they are moving into an environment in which they haven’t navigated before. And teaching them some of those things is really far more important than making sure that they have the academic checklist down.

Dawn [00:12:51]:
Well, and we talked about being at elbow through high school. I dictated a couple of emails for my son to send to the counselor and said, these are the things we need to know. 123, blah, blah. And and so that was being at elbow for him so he could work on that skill.

Laney [00:13:10]:
But you weren’t doing it for him. You were having him go through the motions of doing it while you were coaching him through the process. Correct.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:17]:
And so he learned. So next time, he can do it.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:23]:
Thank you for tuning in to Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool. Remember, small changes can make a big impact in your homeschooling journey. If you want more tips and resources to enhance your experience, check out our free homeschool better together community. You’ll find additional tools, guides, and a community of supportive homeschoolers just like you. Visit community.pambarnhill.com to learn more and join us. Until next time, keep on homeschooling.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Key Takeaways About Teaching High Schoolers

  • Recognize that it’s okay not to teach everything. Parents can’t prepare them for every possible scenario.
  • It’s essential to focus on cultivating a well-rounded education.
  • Shift the mindset from a checklist approach to understanding that knowledge is not just a collection of information but also includes life skills, communication abilities, and the capacity to adapt to new environments.
  • Emphasize the importance of engaging in conversations and building relationships with high schoolers to understand their individual strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, which can help guide their education.
  • Advocate for a supportive approach that involves coaching high schoolers through practical experiences, allowing them to learn the skills needed for the next stage of their journey, whether it’s college, work, or other endeavors.

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