College Prep and Life Skills
September 27, 2017
Mercy Every Minute  

I know that today it seems like your children will be young and needy forever, but I can attest that it will feel like time went by way too fast when you are standing at the graduation of your homeschooled child and looking back. You may be crying tears of frustration and over-tiredness now, but you will be crying tears of gratitude, pride, and thanksgiving sooner than you know.
When do you start preparing them for life after homeschool graduation? Today! We daily raise them up to let them go. One day at a time, one developmental milestone at a time, we are training them to live on their own.
Creating the best path for our kids from birth to life after graduation, starts with goals—daily goals, yearly goals, and life goals. What might your goals be for your children as they grow and learn while still under your covering?
My goals for them might be:
  • To love God, His Word, and His people.
  • To unquestioningly obey God’s instructions and ours.
  • To be able to combat the enemy of their souls: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
  • To develop in their specialized fields (and prayer for wisdom about what those are).
  • To train them academically to read well, write well, research, and perform higher math.
  • To consider their future in trade schools, college, apprenticeships, or entrepreneurial ventures.
  • To teach life skills in finances, cooking, cleaning, and marriage preparation (this is where we are the living example!).
  • To be good citizens, good neighbors, and ministers of the gospel (to love God and love others).
  • To remember that they are ambassadors of Jesus Christ wherever they go.
Help in preparing them for the future:

  • Taking outside classes to put on their transcript helps them learn how to answer to someone else and learn study skills. (Options could be a college class during high school, a class taught by another homeschool mom, or community classes.)

  • Find volunteer, community service, missions, or apprenticeship opportunities during junior high and high school.

  • Prepare them in writing, research, and note taking skills. Kim Kautzer has excellent insight on preparing for college writing here.

  • Gap years: maybe your child needs a year off after high school to consider his possibilities. This is a good time for extended mission trips, volunteer work, or exploring different career options.
No need to fear, homeschool parents! You can do this! The Lord is on your side! He is for you and with you!

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear…” Psalm 118:6


Jeff Ober: Exploring Careers
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Jemma Wolfe  
Audiobooks for “Adulting”: Listen Your Way to College Prep and Life Skills

If there’s one defining characteristic of teens heading into their first year of college or university, it’s that they’re busy. Between navigating classes, meeting tons of new people, and getting their brand-new lives organized, there’s little time to spare for books on self-development. Enter the app: the best way to carry 100,000 books around in your pocket with hands-free, multitasking potential, and the books-brought-to-life quality of fantastic narration. Here are four recommended reads for college prep, life skills, and general “adulting” (that’s millennial-speak for being a grown up!).

1. A favorite in this category for several years has been Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown, narrated by Anjili Pal. It’s a quirky but practical guide to things like fixing your toilet or ending unhealthy friendships, with blogger Brown sharing her insights with her characteristic humor.

2. If your biggest concern about striking into adulthood is how on earth you’re going to keep your room clean, then maybe The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller is more your style. Her minimalist method is especially useful for keeping dorms and small apartments under control.

3. What You're Really Meant To Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential by Robert Steven Kaplan, narrated by Wes Talbot is the perfect listen for anyone still trying to figure things out (and let’s face it – isn’t that all of us to some degree?). He recommends starting with creating your own definition of success and then offers guidance on building a fulfilling life.
4. Another critical skill at this time of life is to get into good
habits, and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, narrated by Mike Chamberlain is a surefire way to get you on the right track. Learn why people struggle to implement change and how to get yourself into routines that will pave the way for a happy, healthy life.

Whether you’re in the car, at the gym, cooking in your kitchen, or simply unwinding on the couch, audiobooks are the perfect way to integrate books into busy lives. Half of being a grown up is simply becoming smart with your time, in every arena of your life: kickstart that journey with audiobooks.

Jemma Wolfe is a communications professional with , an app-based audiobook subscription service. She holds a BA in English Literature from McMaster University and lives near Toronto, Ontario . Jemma's favorite things in life are audiobooks, Earl Grey tea, and travel – preferably enjoyed all at once.

Deciding what to do after high school is a major milestone in a young person’s life. Where he or she goes next will impact his or her knowledge, experience, career path and perhaps his or her future marriage and family. For many students, this decision can be nerve-wracking, with a lot of pressure to make the “right choice.”

As a parent, this season represents an opportunity not only to advise your student on practical next steps but also on how to trust God and make godly decisions. When it comes to God’s calling for our lives, we must remember His main focus is not the destination but the journey. He wants to make us godlier, develop our character, and teach us to trust Him—both in seasons of clarity and seasons of uncertainty.

If your student is struggling to decide what’s next, remind him or her that God’s plan for our lives is not a prescribed path but a journey of twists and turns where we learn to trust His sovereignty and guidance. Encourage your child to resist the urge to compare his or her life to others and instead lean into the unique gifting and calling God has given. Here are some truths you can remind your child of as you walk through this decision together:

  • It’s okay to not have it all figured out. We’re all learning as we go.
  • God is in control. It’s not up to you to figure it out on your own.
  • When you start to feel worry creep in, turn to God and pray for guidance.
  • You don’t have to know the plan for your entire life to take the first step. Sometimes, God wants us to take that next step of faith, and then He reveals the bigger picture.

While making a post-graduation decision is important, nothing is more important than laying a solid foundation of faith and equipping your child to make godly decisions. It’s a skill he or she won’t learn in the average college, but it’s one that will serve him or her throughout life—both today and tomorrow.

Would you like more resources on how to teach your child to make godly decisions? This FREE article includes biblical advice about God’s plan for your life, truths to remember during seasons of uncertainty, and a hands-on worksheet that can help your student discover his or her calling! Download the free resource here !

Looking to get a Jump Start on college? Take a look at the courses available for students online or on campus! Visit to learn more.

Marcy Crabtree
Teaching Life Skills to Teens with ADHD
You're parenting a teen with ADHD. You've made it through some of the toughest years of parenting, including puberty. But shockingly, the symptoms of ADHD didn't magically disappear the way a few well-meaning parents (or even professionals) led you to believe they might.

Now instead of parenting the independent young adult you expected, you find yourself the parent of a teen with ADHD who is struggling in ways that you fear will affect his ability to function well as an adult. You may even be treating your high schooler the same way you treated him in elementary and middle school, taking on the job as his daily conscience.

What should you do now? 

While parenting a teen with ADHD can be as challenging as parenting that young child who could never sit still or be quiet, it's not hopeless. It's true you probably won't want to use the picture-filled chore charts of his childhood, but there are ways you can help your teen learn life skills in a way that respects his growing maturity AND gives him the tools that will benefit him tremendously both now and into adulthood. 

Here are a few ways you can teach life skills to your teen with ADHD.  

Encourage better organization.

To help him with organization begin by helping your teen declutter his room so that everything has a home. Once this is done, encourage him to take a quick fifteen minutes twice a day to put things away, every day. Be sure you are providing whatever your teen needs to stay organized (bookshelves, organizing crates, an extra closet, etc.). 

Break the habit of dependence.

It's imperative that you begin forcing more responsibility on your teen. From doing his own laundry to making his own breakfast and lunch to getting himself up on time, give your teen every opportunity to "fend for himself" rather than continue relying on you to do things he is perfectly capable of doing for himself. 

Teach time management skills.

Most teens with ADHD have a poor sense of time and have relied on mom to move them to the next task, but now is the time to give them the skills for successful time management that they will need for college and work. 

For daily tasks, one way to do this is by using a simple list and a timer. For long-term time management, have your teen begin using a monthly calendar and smartphone reminders. 

Insist on financial responsibility.

ADHD kids tend to be impulsive spenders and struggle with saving money they have earned or been gifted. If you have not already insisted on financial responsibility from your teen, now is the time to do so. Go with your teen to open a bank account so he can begin managing money he receives as gifts, from chores, and even from a job. A good rule of thumb is 60/30/10 -- save 60%, spend 30%, and give 10%.  

Allow natural consequences to happen.

It is difficult to watch our kids make mistakes and allow them to suffer the setbacks of poor decision-making or impulsive behavior. As a mom of a younger child with ADHD you may have been guilty of protecting your child a little too much from natural consequences. But now is the time to let natural consequences teach valuable lessons, while your teen has you to help him navigate these years of learning. Every decision he makes has a natural consequence.

Be his accountability partner.

Having discussions about the necessity of being held accountable both now and for his future success is a necessity. Establishing accountability in different areas of life now will help him when he must be accountable later in life (think college professors, employers, spouse, etc.).

Hopefully, you have established a trusting relationship so that he feels free to come to you for accountability in his relationships, money management, faith walk, online use, and more. If not, then do take the time and whatever else it takes to repair and build that relationship now, before he's out of your house in a few short years.

Remember . . . easy is not our goal here. Parenting is not for sissies. Parenting a teen with ADHD is definitely not. It may be one of the hardest, most rewarding things you will ever do. Take the time to be intentional now. The future success of your teen with ADHD may depend upon it.


Marcy Crabtree is a Christian homeschooling mom to one teen son. An encourager at heart, she is passionate about cultivating relationships with other moms and spends much of her time doing so both on her blog,  Ben and Me , and in social media.
Any school can prepare you for a career, but Grace wants to prepare you for so much more – YOUR LIFE.
When it comes to preparing for life beyond homeschooling, the key is to know your child. Up until recently, the only accepted path was college, and it was a great path if you were an average kind of kid and could play the college game. But for many who were not average, they either scraped by, dropped out, or traveled a different, non-college path.

The thing about our society, world, and even the church is that we don’t look as favorably on people who don’t go to college. That one fact causes homeschooling parents to do some weird and wacky things to their children, forcing them into holes that they were not created to fit into (think round peg in square hole), asking them to do college-prep work in junior high, and downgrading lifeskills to the “extracurricular” category instead of real school.

The truth is…every child has a God-designed path and not every path looks the same. We smile at some God-paths and cringe at others, forgetting that all of the paths are God’s, which brings freedom and should make us SMILE.

Mom, can I shoot straight with you? You’re one of the keys to your children’s happiness. If you smile and cheer as they travel their paths, they’ll live happily ever after. If you act disappointed, make excuses for them to your friends, or try to force them down a different path, they’ll spend the rest of their days feeling as though they're a disappointment or failure.

I could talk more about this…and I have in my new book What’s Next? Affirming God’s Plan for Your Highschooler. Check it out. Use this code for FREE shipping: NOTMYPLAN

Be real,
PS - I'm just about to take off for a fall speaking loop of encouragement. I may be in your area. Here's a list of where we'll be speaking. 
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar
Always be Prepared with College Preparation
Because teenagers change their minds frequently, college preparation is the best way to be prepared for any college or career. Don't spend much time planning on the graduate school or career that your child may eventually need. You know why?
One day it's veterinary school, the next day it's masonry, and the following day they want to be a teacher! It's enough to make your head spin! Instead of changing your plans as the wind blows, focus on general college preparation for every child.

College Bound Children

For college bound kids, it's obviously very important. They need college prep education just to get into college. Your job is to learn about the classes they need to have, the tests they need to take, and the college admission process that maximizes the scholarships you need.

Non-college Bound Children

For non-college bound kids, it's equally important. Some day they MAY decide to go to college – even if they have severe learning challenges or don’t show a glimmer of interest right now. Kids change their minds! And nothing will go wrong if you provide college prep. College prep provides the best education. Even if they never go to college, and this is the end of their only formal education, they still win with college prep. It's not that they MUST go to college because they are prepared for it. Instead, it's so they will be ready for anything, college or career, at any point.

Graduate School Bound

For graduate school bound students, general college preparation is important, too. To be prepared for graduate school, you need two things. First, you need an undergraduate degree that's a good fit. Second, the student must graduate with little to no college debt. Graduate school means additional years of college, and that's expensive. Getting an undergraduate degree without debt is the most important thing and can make the difference between moving forward in college or not.

Always be Prepared

You don’t know what the future holds. Have your children EVER changed their minds? Of course they have! They may change their minds dramatically between career options, and that's OK. The average student may change his mind 7 times, but you can still be ready for anything. The key to success in this situation is always be prepared, like being prepared for an earthquake or having insurance. Instead of thinking “I don’t know what the future holds,” be prepared! Learn about college admission and scholarships early in your homeschooling high school career. 

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar is a dynamic homeschool speaker and   author   of  Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and Scholarships   and  The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships . She is an expert on how to craft a winning   homeschool transcript  and get the big scholarships. Lee understands what it takes to graduate homeschool students who are fully prepared for college and for life. Her practical advice and organized presentations have helped thousands of homeschool parents muster up the courage to complete their homeschool journey. Lee’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school. You can sign up for her free monthly homeschool e-newsletter at , where you can also get a daily dose of high school help. Check out the freebies on the website, with training materials, free classes, and ebooks available for homeschool parents, Free Homeschool Training . ” You can also find Lee on Facebook at . Members - Did You Know?
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is your trade publication. Every quarter it is released, but every OTHER quarter it comes out in print as well as digital (apps). How do you claim your free print magazine? Hit up your dashboard and claim it. Next issue is the Winter one... we're laying it in now and it is BEAUTIFUL. Over 160 pages, glossy, thick. And you don't need to pay a dime to get it. Get over to your dashboard and get your free stuff. Check your dashboard often at the top of the home page. We love to give gifts! - gena 

Stacy Farrell

Plotting a course for life after high school can be a daunting task. Although some people know from an early age exactly what they “want to be when they grow up,” that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. Many people drift into adulthood with no clear target.

With some kids, it’s easy to recognize what careers might suit their temperament and gifts. But with other kids, it can be really hard. And, although we can guide and instruct our children and try to help them set a course for the future, inevitably, the day comes that they must take ownership of their own lives. They must engage in a process of self-discovery.

Unbelievable as it may seem, my firstborn son will soon be twenty and his brother is eighteen. Where did the years go?

In the joyful chaos that was my life after my second son was born a mere 19 months after my first, a dear friend warned me, “The days are long but the years are short.” Looking back to that day now, I marvel at the truth of her statement.

I’m so grateful that my husband suggested we homeschool. Thanks to his leadership, I have a collection of memories of learning side-by-side with my sons. Together, we have studied world history, philosophy, speech communications, debate, art and music history, robotics, farming, and many other engaging subjects.

Now my sons are young men, preparing to embark on a new level of independent learning that will help equip them to lead their own families and make an impact on our world.

A College Degree Is the New High School Diploma

For many employers today, a college degree is the new high school diploma. Some doors simply will not open without one. Knowing this, we set out to find a means of obtaining one without incurring a mountain of debt.

You can read more about our journey here , but the most important thing to remember is that you are not just preparing your children for the next twenty, thirty, or even fifty years; you’re preparing them for eternity. That may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not one you need undertake alone.

We serve a loving God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Ps. 50:10) He knows when even one sparrow falls to the ground. The very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matt. 10:29-30)

Pray for your children. Pray for yourself. Keep the bigger picture foremost in your mind.

If you ask for bread, He’ll never give you a stone. (Matt. 7:9) You can trust Him. Remember, He loves your children even more than you do!

* * *

Stacy Farrell loves to help students cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately. To that end, she created several resources, including: Philosophy Adventure , Creative Freewriting Adventure , Philippians in 28 Weeks , The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions , the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal , and Walking with the Waodani . She has been homeschooling her sons for more than ten years with the support of her husband of more than 20 years. You can learn more about her work at .

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Are they ready? You’ve done everything you can think of, and now it’s time for your kids to step into a new phase of their lives, one in which they will have to make decisions and take responsibility in a million new ways.
Are they ready? Have they learned what they needed to learn academically? Are their transcripts in order? Are they prepared to begin pursuing the dream that is stirring in their hearts?
We cannot answer every one of those questions for you at , but we can help you and your kids prepare to face them head on. From apologetics to academics, college prep to career exploration, and recordkeeping to entrepreneurial skills, all our members have access to a wealth of courses and tools designed to make this stage of their homeschool journey a little easier.
If you’re not already a member of , we would love to have you join us. If you join during our Harvest special now through October 31, 2017, you will not only lock in your membership at a reduced monthly rate but also receive a digital bushel of goodies valued at almost $700! If you or someone you know is interested in designing lessons for our site, please contact Director Bonnie Rose Hudson at .
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of September

If you are looking for a new tradition for your kids during the Thanksgiving season, let me encourage you to look into the Turkey on the Table Kit. This is an adorable stuffed turkey decoration with the mission and purpose to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness in children and families.

The Turkey on the Table Kit comes with the turkey, a storybook, a pen, and the decorated paper feathers that family members can write something on that they are thankful for each day and stick the feather into the turkey for display. Our family put this out as a centerpiece on our table and encouraged the kids each morning at breakfast to think of something that they were thankful for and write it down. At first, the answers were things like Legos and ice cream, but as our discussions grew in depth over the days and weeks, their answers became less superficial as they were noticing the bigger and richer things to be thankful for such as living in a country that is free to worship God, having full bellies, having running water, etc. The creators of Turkey on the Table give a portion of the proceeds to help feed the hungry in our country, which is an added bonus.

It is encouraged to keep the feathers year after year as a reminder of all the things that we have to be thankful for. There are refill packs of feathers available on the website. The retail price of the Turkey on the Table is $39.99, and the refill pack of 13 feathers is $8.99. Considering the fact that this will be a sweet Thanksgiving tradition for years to come, I think that is a good price. ( Read the review here. )

YOU can WIN this set for your homeschool!

TO ENTER : Email Kathleen with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, “ Turkey on the Table ” for a chance to win it for your family!
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