Episode 93: How to Transition to High School — by Alyssa Woolf

I love this guest podcaster and her flair for homeschooling high school her way. Alyssa Woolf from YourUnbusyLife.com has great advice for the transition to high school — including ideas you might not have heard before.

The best thing about listening to someone else's input is then you either get great ideas you can use — or you don't. Because in the end it's about what works for YOU. But it is ALWAYS a positive to be willing to hear from others and then evaluate for yourself what you want to keep!


When your homeschooled teen is ready to transition to high school, here are some things to consider from one veteran homeschool mom.

This episode is sponsored by my Transcript Cheat Sheet, my Transcript Template, and Taming the Transcript

The great thing about the Transcript Cheat Sheet — other than it's free! — is it’s going to tell you exactly what is required on a transcript and what’s not required. And best of all, there is a sample transcript in there. It’s one of my kids’ transcripts. Name has been redacted to protect the guilty, but it is an actual transcript that got sent to colleges and actually earned a scholarship.

Another way to get a sample transcript is to purchase my Transcript Template, which is a PDF that you can fill in all of your kids’ data and print out to make your own transcript for them, which is super easy. It’s very reasonably priced at $5.99 and gives you an easy way to make a transcript.

Then thirdly, if you still have questions about transcripts or just want a how-to manual, my book, Taming the Transcript walks you step by step through how to create a transcript so that you know that you’re not missing anything important and you’ve done it in a way that colleges are going to think is valid, which really isn’t that hard to do as always, but if you would like a step-by-step manual, then the book Taming the Transcript is what you want to take a look at.

As always, we've gotchu here at Not That Hard to Homeschool.com!

Episode 93: How to Transition to High School – by Alyssa Woolf

You can also listen at these outlets/apps — be sure to follow and leave a review!

Related Resources:

Your Unbusy Life — Alyssa's website

The Unbusy Mom — Alyssa's podcast

How to Create an Impressive High School Transcript

How to KNOW Your Homeschooled Teen Will Get Into College

Career Exploration: An Elective Curriculum by 7Sisters

How to Choose the Best Major for Your Teen

Episode 88: Why and How to Apply Structure and Rules for Teens

3 Powerful Tips to Train Time Management for Teens


Ann Karako: Hi, this is Ann Karako and you are listening to episode 93 of the, It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School podcast. Welcome to another episode of It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly, provide the high school education that is best for your teen and your family. I'm your host Ann Karako from notthatcardtohomeschool.com.

Hello, and welcome. I'm excited about today's podcast episode. It is our last one for the year 2022, so that's exciting. There will not be any other podcast episodes probably until maybe even February of 2023. I do tend to take January off just as the time to get organized and reconfigured for the new year. I don't like to do that over the holidays. Sorry, I'd like to spend my holidays as holidays. Go figure.

Anyway, today's episode is fun because it's from somebody that you may not have heard of before. Her name is Alyssa and she blogs at yourunbusylife.com, and she also has her own podcast called The Un Busy Mom. Today she talks about how she transitioned her homeschooled teens into high school, and I know that you and I both love to hear other perspectives about this whole thing because obviously, I don't know everything, and each new person you talk to might give you a new idea that you hadn't had before, and so I think the same is true today.

Alyssa has some great things to say, some great ideas for how to make this transition, and I think that you will be helped by giving a lesson. I'm going to let her take it away, and then I'll be back at the end.

Alyssa: Hi there. This is Alyssa from The UN Busy Mom, where I teach you how to simplify your home, create routines that work for you, and up-level your mom mindset. Today we're talking about how to transition your teen to high school chores, grades, and all. First off, I want you to set the stage with your young teen. These means show her a high school transcript, sampler. Give her a visual of what it means to check off one math, one history, one science, a foreign language, all of that year by year because you know how important freshman year is, but you need to give her a chance to really see it, not just hear you talk about it.

Point out how loading up on the basics like Spanish or PE in freshman year is going to help her out when she's a junior or a senior and working a part-time job, getting more involved in activities and prepping for the ACT, maybe even doing some dual enrollment at your local community college. Now, once she's seen what a typical first year in high school looks like, let's give her back the rates. Math, science, those choices are pretty much set in stone. You need algebra. You're supposed to take physical science, but language versus grammar versus literature, Spanish or French, what kind of computer class or which type of history, that's where she can choose.

Go to town. Encourage her to pick the subjects she's most interested in for those non-essentials. There's nothing wrong with stepping back from your role as the ultimate homeschool planner and a lot of good to be had by letting her take ownership of her own schooling. Now, this is also a good time to point out that not every state has the same graduation requirements. Did you know that you don't have to have four credits and math, four credits of English, and four credits of science to graduate? Though it would really be helpful if you want a STEM career.

Let her know that even at this stage, she could tailor her course load in senior year to reflect the major she's going into, AKA drop classes she doesn't want. Though it is always a better idea to keep your options open and not skip all the math and science classes beyond the minimum. Just asked my dad when his high school counselors told him he could graduate without the last two years of math science, which was true, but they didn't tell him that if he wanted to be a nurse and an engineer and he did, that he had just self-selected out.

He was not too happy with his both high school options. Now, it's time to paint the picture of what your teen could do with her life, AKA, where we bring in a little career planning. Now, if your teen has a major interest or two already, feel free to tailor your suggestions towards that. If not, for the majority of you, select a handful of majors or future jobs to give your young teens an idea of what's out there.

Now, please do go beyond. You can mean engineer or a doctor or a lawyer. You need to think detailed and concrete, a specific job or a specific field, something that she could actually imagine herself doing and loving based on her personality characteristics. I'm talking about being the high school math teacher, a physical therapy assistant, an online marketing professional, AC mechanic, physician's assistant, that sort of thing.

Now, you as a homeschooling mom, get to look up online, of course, the course of study at one of your local universities, either a big state school or a well-known private college, or maybe one of your community or and junior colleges. Bookmark the tabs the school drone pilot, computer programmer, high school teacher, physical therapist, or digital marketing/business.

Next, you're going to show your team how these different majors lead into careers. There's a little wiggle room here because whatever company she works for is going to specialize her further, but these majors are a starting point to make sure she's got the basic skills down. Then the company is going to train her in exactly how they want to do things. Now, case in point, there's no such thing as a major for structural liaison sheet metal and bolts engineering, which is what my husband does.

Well, did you know how he got there? By studying mechanical engineering, like the most basic engineering major of all at college. Then the first company he worked for placed him as a liaison engineer within the structures department and the structures department had him specialize in wing materials and fasteners, and the rest is history. He's a happily specialized mechanical engineer. Encourage your team that even if her ideal career is highly specific to the degree that it can't even be found at a college, she's likely to find the right stepping stone, AKA major for it anyways.

Ann Karako: Hey, I just want to drop in here real quick and say that this episode is sponsored by three products of mine that are related to one another. You heard Alyssa mention showing your teen a sample transcript so that they can get an idea of what to expect about high school. Well, the easiest way to get one of those is to go onto my website, notthathardtohomeschool.com on the homepage and scroll down to where I offer my transcript cheat sheet and put your email address in there and receive that transcript cheat sheet for free in your email.

The great thing about the transcript cheat sheet is it's going to tell you exactly what is required on a transcript, what's not required, and best of all, there is a sample transcript in there. It's one of my kids' transcripts. Name has been redacted to protect the guilty, [laughs] but it is an actual transcript that got sent to colleges and actually earned a scholarship.

That's the easiest way to get a sample transcript, like right now. Another way to get a sample transcript is to purchase my transcript template, which is a PDF that you can fill in all of your kids' data and print out to make your own transcript for them, which is super easy. You can find that by going to the shop menu item on notthathardtohomeschool.com, and it's very reasonably priced at 599 and gives you an easy way to make a transcript.

Then thirdly, if you still have questions about transcripts or just want to how to manual my book, Taming the Transcript is available on my website, again, under the shop tab. Also on Amazon, it walks you step by step through how to create a transcript so that you know that you're not missing anything important and you've done it in a way that colleges are going to think is valid, which really isn't that hard to do as always, but if you would like a step by step manual, then the book taming the transcript is what you want to take a look at. I just want to let about all these things in case you are wondering how can I find a sample transcript to show my teen. Now how. Back to Alyssa.

Alyssa: Now, lastly, let's bring this down to the nitty gritty, the course level. Half your team browse the required courses listed under each major she's thinking about. Then you point out what pre-reqs each course is calling for. Comp two, Advanced Calculus, Differential Equations, Biology, Chemistry, and almost every other course in the science department, every single computer programming course that college offers. Show her how each field of study has some basic building blocks that she can find at the local community college level.

If you're interested in doing that. Your local junior college is going to offer computer programming 101 and 102, creative writing calc two, digital graphic design. In fact, the possibilities are endless. She just has to give herself a couple years for her interest to settle out into a few defined career paths, and if not, no need to worry. She can at least knock out all those general electives at your local community college, and skip all those boring freshman classes when she does go to school. I'm talking Western Civ one and two, comp one and comp two, speech, college algebra, one science, that kind of thing. What about living with a high school? Let's bring it home with some practical tips for homeschooling family life as your teen hits high school. What should her chore load be? How much should you expect from her? What about jobs, grades, extracurriculars, and more?

First off, I don't recommend loading your high schooler with chore [unintelligible 00:10:42]. Hopefully, she already knows the basics of how to clean house and help you food prep in the kitchen. If that's the case, pass some of her chores down to her younger siblings. They need an opportunity to learn how to clean and cook after all. This lets her focus primarily on adjusting to the high school course load, plus grades account.

Now, I will say, if she doesn't know how to clean and cook, high school is the perfect time rather, your last opportunity to insist on an ultra-practical home tech and consumer math course. AKA, how to cook, meal plan food prep, and grocery shop for a family, plus how to enter purchases and budgeting software, track loans or get out of debt progress and make wise spending allocation choices when setting your new budget for the year.

On the flip side, I wouldn't just let her escape completely on helping around the house. Find out what works for her homeschooling schedule, which may be Saturday-only chores and none on your school days, and keep her involved in the family upkeep. You're respecting her time as a student and how she functions best, while at the same time insisting on a minimum contribution to the family she's living in, plus [unintelligible 00:11:49] from and room she's using.

Your standards don't have to go totally by the wayside just because of this marker called a High School. In fact, they shouldn't, but don't make it this big, huge burden that she's drowning under while trying to get good grades, finish your homework. Don't forget, her brain needs downtime too. Remember, her younger sisters and brothers are seeing how she's handling school at a higher level and [unintelligible 00:12:12].

They're looking, they're taking notes. What's mom going to want me to do when I'm a teen? What schedule am I going to have to keep to get those chores done plus a lot of extracurriculars, plus high school? You're setting the tone for your homeschooling life for years to come, but no pressure. Remember, you can change up this any semester. You don't have to let this your schedule get locked in as the “Right way of doing things for next year,” okay?

There you have it, how to give your teen a visual for what transcripts are all about, how to start some career planning with [unintelligible 00:12:44] plus, how to assign chores when your homeschooler gets to high school. These are the tips I use to make my teens' transition to high school a lot more practical and hands-on, AKA, realistic to her. Thanks, Anne, for mentoring me in all this. Now it's time for you. What are you going to focus on with your teenagers you've prepped for the big high school homeschool transition? Don't worry, it's not as hard as you thought. You got this. That's all for now and this was a list from The Unbusy Mom.


Ann Karako: There you go. I hope you learned something new, I know I did. I definitely loved all of her very specific ideas for careers and course names, totally fun. Everybody does this thing differently. The more people that you can learn from or hear about, then the more ideas you have to either apply or decide not to apply in your own little world. Remember, it doesn't have to be that hard, because, for the most part, you can choose what is going to work best for your teen and your family, and for you, that is always what we're about here.

I do think that Alyssa's information has been super helpful. Take what you can, and don't be intimidated by anything that isn't going to work for you. As always, I've got tons of related information on my blog about lots of things that Alyssa had to say, so you know how to find it. Go to podcast in the top menu @notthathardtohomeschool.com, click on that, scroll down until you find episode 93, and click on that.

Scroll down that page until you find the related resources which will be links to all of the articles that I have or many of them anyway, that relate to what Alyssa is saying in this episode. Also, will include links to her resources, because if you liked what she had to say, then you might want to go find more. Y'all I just want to tell you to have a wonderful holiday season, enjoy your family, take a break re-energize yourself and I'll see you back here in either January or February, but most likely February. Thanks for being here today and I will see you then.

It's Not That Hard to Homeschool

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