This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Conversational Homeschooling. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Sabrina is here today to share ideas about conversational homeschooling. While Sabrina made up the phrase, it fits Sabrina’s style of homeschooling her high schoolers. You will be SO encouraged by Sabrina’s ideas for teaching teens.
What is conversational homeschooling?
Real learning for teens often occurs during conversations. Have you ever noticed that? Moments of true insight will occur during a formal or even, informal chat with your homeschool high schoolers. (Actually, the same thing is true for adults, we bet you have noticed.)
This episode is aimed at:
- New homeschool high school moms
- Current homeschool high school moms
- All homeschool moms, actually
During homeschool high school, moms often become less a teacher and more a resource manager as our teens gain independent learning skills:
- Choose the curriculum
- Create syllabi
- Create rubrics
- Organize field trips
- Organize labs and hands-on learning
- Guide booklist choices
- Documentaries and movies to watch
- Grade papers
These are all important and vital for learning but we sometimes lose some of the fun of homeschooling. However, we can remember that really cool learning happens in discussions.
You may have noticed this yourself. Think about when you have been learning a new hobby or skill; or studying a new topic in Bible study. You will probably have studied and practiced and feel pretty good about what you are learning. However, if you have coffee with a friend and tell her about what you are doing, it will truly cement the information.
Think: Data in, learning starts—learning happens when the data (words) come out!
Where can I use conversational homeschooling?
There are many situations where conversational homeschooling will increase your teens’ educational success.
Organizing Research Paper Material
The idea of conversational homeschooling is useful for helping teens with their first research papers. Many teens feel overwhelmed by the process. They need help organizing their data and capturing it in a proper research-paper format. Study guides can really help ease them through the process but discussions with mom can be invaluable in helping teens organize their thoughts about what they are learning.
Over the years as many of us 7Sisters have taught research writing in homeschool co-ops and group classes, we have noticed the challenge teens have in organizing their thoughts. Teens who cannot organize their data and thoughts sometimes fall into the problem of plagiarism. They cannot figure out what to say and where and sometimes end up cutting and pasting from a useful website. (Here are some tips to help teens avoid plagiarism.)
Moms can help with this! They can hold check-ins with their teens and allow then to talk about the things they are learning and then talk through outlining their papers. If carried on in a friendly, chatty manner, teens can come away feeling confident in what they have learned and more organized for their writing.
Writing Transition Sentences and Editing Papers
Transitional sentences are needed for MLA research papers and editing skills are needed for all research papers. Help your homeschool high schoolers by holding a conversation about transition sentences and editing. Give them some good examples and
- Ask, “What makes this a good transition sentence?”
- Then have them figure it out themselves and tell you what they think.
- Did you check your paper using your rubric?
Learning about Literature
Another place conversational homeschooling can be useful is in Literature. Try having a conversation with your teen about the characters or themes in the books they are reading. One easy way to facilitate this is to look through their Literature Study Guides and find some inferential questions (questions that do not have a single “right” answer, but instead, ask the student to think things through, perspective take and infer meaning from information given).
Have a discussion together about those inferential questions. This helps teens to truly grow in their critical thinking skills!
Conversational homeschooling for Science or History
- Ask you teen to explain something that has captured their interest about what they are learning?
- Ask them what was confusing?
- Ask them what made them want to explore more about the topic?
When is it a good time to practice conversational homeschooling
- The dinner table, if everyone is sitting around the table together. (Sometimes not so easy for busy teens.)
- Car rides. It is totally amazing how much teens will chat in the car (if you tell them, no earbuds for this trip). Have some questions in your mind to ask your teens about their various courses.
- One on one time, anytime.
Be sure to avoid slipping into correcting and criticizing if you see faulty thinking. Instead ask questions such as:
- Hmmm. Tell me more about that.
- Interesting thought. What brought you to that conclusion?
Good questions for conversational homeschooling:
- What is your favorite thing you worked on this week?
- What surprised or interested you about this?
As teens articulate what they are learning, it becomes much more “theirs”!
Remember: You will never say to yourself: Boy, I am really upset I wasted that fifteen minutes in the car talking with my teen about their research paper.
Also remember: there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! Find your own favorite ways to homeschool high school.
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