This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Believe in Themselves, Interview with Anita Gibson. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
To truly be prepared for life and career, homeschool high schoolers need to believe in themselves. We wanted to talk to someone who understands how to help teens find their self-knowledge and self-confidence, so Vicki asked our friend, Anita Gibson. Anita is author of a book on the topic (Star Finder).
Anita joins us today to tell how she works with her local homeschool community to help teens have a great homeschool education and to learn believe in themselves while they create community.
Anita started homeschooling in 1980s in the days when the current homeschool movement was young. Then they started a program for homeschoolers at the request of her church. She has directed that program since 2002. She has had support of her church at a significant level, which is such a blessing. She works with homeschool high school families in Landover, Maryland at First Baptist Church of Glenarden and in Bowie, Maryland at Grace Lutheran Church.
Students learn well in hands-on, individualized environment. This can be done at home. Homeschool groups are great also. Anita has found that her church’s homeschool program has been a blessing to traditional homeschool families and now homeschooling moms who are also working.
Anita knows that homeschooling is the best option for many teens and lack of resources should not hold them back. Homeschool programs that offer local courses, but there are also online courses that help. Anita’s program is about ninety students large and offers courses third grade through graduation.
Homeschooling community is important for teens and for families. Anita believes that we do not have the right to call together a group of people but not create community. That’s why they also provide community experiences by:
- Field trips
- Class photos
- Clubs or interest groups
- Graduation ceremonies
- Student council that help solve problems in the community
Anita also believes that we create community by giving homeschool high schoolers the social tools that they need to succeed together:
- Embracing differences
- Creating welcoming environment: creating a culture that is not only inclusive to itself but is willing to reach out to others. Learning that difference is not bad. (Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode on creating a welcoming culture.)
- Handling conflict (Here’s an HSHSP episode about handling conflict with mean moms.)
- Learning problem solving skills (Anita’s student council is trained to troubleshoot issues in the school or between peers, so that they are empowered to create a healthy community)
Practical tips for teaching parents who volunteer at the school and students
- Positive talk (self-talk and talk with others)
- How to avoid criticism, bullying, and negativity
- Including people by inviting them to sit with the group or join an activity
- Watch for new students who might be *out on the edge* and bring them into the group
- Adults learn to acknowledge the beauty of every child.
- Even trouble makers can be talked to in ways to help them find their strengths and goodness and lean into new behaviors.
These skills help teens learn to believe in themselves.
These skills are not easy, it can be messy and sometimes sin must be dealt with.
Education strategies that are needed to build teens academic and self-confidence skills.
Anita acts as educational strategist for her homeschool high school families. She does testing and placement and develops an individual strategy for each family.
She also created Project Excel for teens whose parents are working during the day. Project Excel provides location and tutors for homeschool high schoolers in these situations.
Anita helps career bound teens believe in themselves and prepare for their work life. She helps them develop an academic program that fits their needs with a general diploma (in Maryland, a general diploma requires less math and science, fewer electives and does not require a foreign language credit). These teens can use their time for concentrating on their strengths. They can use their high school years to develop
- career skills
- military prep skills
- life prep skills (including self-confidence skills and practical skills)
- interest skills
- Bible and faith skills (not on state requirements)
Anita is so tired of people thinking that if you don’t go to college, you’re a second class citizen. Trades are not a lower class. (In fact, the trades are in high demand and pay well. That’s something that helps a teen believe in themselves.)
College-bound homeschool high schoolers do college-preparatory track. These include courses like:
- 4 Language Arts
- 3-4 Sciences and Health
- 3-4 Social Studies
- 2-3 Foreign Languages
- 1 or more Phys Eds and Fine Arts
- Bible and faith skills
Anita’s note: Don’t freak out when teens ask tough questions about their faith and even doubt. Wrestle with it with them. Do Apologetics courses. Provide them mentors. Let them question and work it out. (Here’s a post about 7Sisters FREE Apologetics curriculum.)
Check out Anita Gibson’s resources:
- Star Finder is a book that gives parents principles to help their teens believe in themselves by identifying and developing their:
- Every child is a star. Star Finder by Anita Gibson helps you develop the resources that helps your homeschool high schoolers become the star God made them to be!
- Anita Gibson Education Facebook page
- Homeschool Moms Motivation Lab Facebook group
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