Humor and Homeschooling

“Humor is something that thrives between man’s aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because you see, humor is truth.” ~ Victor Borge


Can humor and homeschooling mix?  Of course the can!  Check out this post on using humor in your homeschool.  #homeschooltips #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademyI like to think that I have a killer sense of humor.

My kids are very funny too (I’ve trained them well).

My husband still makes me laugh after 33 years of marriage by singing 70’s songs at appropriately funny times, verbatim and on-tune. We laugh a lot. And that is by design.

Life is hard, it’s difficult, it’s full of tragedy. When we run after God we get to share in His glory and His Majesty, and we also draw closer to the things that grieve Him and break His heart.

We do our fair share of crying around here, too. Life and intentionally raising our kids is serious business and sometimes cry worthy.
And while laughter and humor is not exactly joy, it is the cousin of joy and refreshes our spirits and perspective.

With that in mind, we have been very intentional about laughter, sharing jokes and funnies and cuteness that causes us to smile. We look for humor and share it as often as possible!

Why is humor important in your homeschool?  

(I have been blessed with a guest posting opportunity over at With The Huddlestons.  To finish reading humor and homeschooling please visit the full post here.)

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Back to school for you Homeschooler

Back to school for you Homeschooler


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It’s Back to School for You, Homeschooler!

It’s back to school for you, Homeschooler, along with most everyone else. Unless, of course, you never quit, school year-round or ease into it. Either way, ti’s fun to work in an end of summer/ early fall tradition or two. At least to celebrate the change of weather, new books, or a new season of homeschooling.

What are your back to school traditions?

Morning Basket Homeschool

It’s Back to School for you, homeschooler!

We have really taken the summer off from schooling and will hit the books hard beginning next Tuesday. We are gong to start our week with strong coffee, blueberries, topping gf pancakes, and some rocking good books, such as Say it Like Obama, Here Comes Everybody and Principals of War.  We’ve re-stocked our Morning Basket and besides good books, it’s full o  the Hebrew alphabet and Latin vocab cards and form charts. Throw in some memory work from Philippians and the year is shaping up pretty well. Morning Baskets for Teens. You bet!

We plan on taking a long Labor Day week-end just before our first week of school and will fill it with good reading and an end of summer cook-out/ bonfire, complete with chocolate zucchini cake, some mango salsa and meatballs, swimming and the infamous “bomb.” My 15 yo has been taking our Culinary Arts Class and got her hands on a copy of The Joy of Cooking and the yummy summer fruits and veggies have been transformed into more than just salads.

Back to School for You, Homeschooler!

End of Summer Bonfire!

Back to School Bonfire!

Our back to school tradition always includes an end of summer teen night with good friends, lots of food, a roaring bonfire, delicious hot S’moe’s (they’re called ‘S’mores, Buzz!”) sometimes singing, sometimes poetry reading or recitation, lots of laughing and talking and good memories. If it’s warm enough we’ll throw in swimming, and always include lots of bug spray, and walks through the fields, where the kids have mowed trails through the groves and long grasses.  Lots of watermelon will get eaten as we welcome the next seaon. Good, good times.

Lest We Forget, Planners

As part of our back to school tradition, we re-supply planners. Ds 18 likes a basic school planner, ds 15 likes one with a little more umph. Personally, I am a moleskin BuJu girl.

Throw in some washi tape and some fun stickers (’cause I’m also an old time scrapbooker) and I am a happy planner! Part of our back to School Tradition is outlining our big picture plan, which includes who needs to be where when, whose driving which car and which computer is in use at what times. Just to make sure we have a good overview and the car and computer bases are well-covered.

How do you get ready for the new school year? We’d love to hear from you?

You might also like to read Blended Learning, It Just Makes Sense!


Back to School – Happiness or Blues?

Back to School – Happiness or Blues?

Back to School - Happiness or Blues?

We at True North Homeschool Academy are looking forward to starting our classes NEXT WEEK on September 4th!

For many kids, the idea of going back to school is exciting - seeing old friends and meeting new ones, learning new things, and new experiences!  For children who struggle, back to school can mean embarrassment, having to explain things AGAIN to new teachers, and anxiety about possibly being teased.

  • 13% of children in public schools were reported to have a disability and need special education services (The Condition of Education, 2016)
  • SPED Homeschool reports of up to 35% of students who are homeschooled have a special need or are a struggling learner (Global Trends in Special Education Homeschooling, 2018)
  • Parents who homeschool students who struggle need specialized education and support to help their child be successful
  • This specialized support should look different from public school because HOMESCHOOLING SHOULD NOT BE PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME!

How True North Struggling Learners Program can help make back to school blues disappear!

We have specially designed, research-based classes available to help your struggling learner achieve their goals!

  • Math Games classes

    • Level I- Math Facts - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
    • Level II - Review multiplication facts, fractions, decimals, and percents
  • Reading and Phonics Through Spelling Classes

    • Level I - Using A Reason For Spelling Levels C and D
    • Level II - Using A Reason For Spelling Levels E and F
  • ASL I - hands-on foreign language class!

    • Fourth most popular foreign language in colleges and universities
    • Learn to communicate with individuals with special needs, who are Deaf or hard of hearing
    • Hands-on, visual, great for children who struggle to learn a foreign language in a traditional way
  • Special Needs Academic Advising

    • 1:1 Personal Zoom Meeting
    • Personalized IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) Goals
    • Personalized accommodations and modifications
    • Personalized Curriculum Help
    • Personalized recommendations for grading, instructional strategies and visual aids (if needed)
    • Transcript Consultation as needed

Back to School does not have to be a time of pain and despair! We can equip you with the tools you need to succeed!

For additional Consulting and Tutoring Services, Visit our educational partner, The Thinking and Learning Center.

Special Needs LAUNCH

Our live on-line Special Needs classes are on sale NOW for 30% off as part of our LAUNCH! This includes Math Games I and Math Games II, Reading and Phonics through Writing I and II. American Sign Language continues to be only $299 for 32 week live on-line class! Sign up today!

Freedom & Homeschool

Freedom & Homeschool


I’ve homeschooled for 27 years. I know what I want to accomplish and why. I know how to get it done. These things have not always been true. What has always been true is that I wanted for my children something that I did not feel like I had much of growing up. And that mysterious something was freedom.

What did I want that to look like? Time.  Time for my kids to grow in to themselves without the stupidity and maturity stopping labels of too smart, too stuid, too rich, too poor, too whatever. Time to follow bunny trails and embrace passions and learn and develop as spiritual beings along with their intellectual and social selves instead of being stunted baby believers all of their lives. Freedom to hear the still small voice of God.

We’ve failed in a lot of things but in this one area, this area of giving our kids freedom, in this, we have succeeded. Our kids have spent hours reading and listening to good music, have developed their understanding of how to create and learn and grow and have developed their belief in the concrete, the mystical, and the divine.

In that, dissatisfied creature that I am, I am content. I am not proud. I am satisfied. I have offered 5 people in the world something unique and fulfilling and awe-inspiring and, I believe, eternal.

Lawlessness & Legalism

What they choose to do with it, however, is not something that I can control. And that leads me to the point of this post. Freedom is easily lost, frittered away and unappreciated. Two things crowd out freedom, lawlessness and legalism.

Freedom is oft mistaken for lawlessness. True freedom is anything but. True freedom points the way to something greater than what’s in front of us. It transcends. Those who are free and aren’t disciplined end up rebellious.  They are often ungrateful, entitled and lacking the self-control necessary to maintain status quo or to create something more.

On the other hand, freedom is often, because of our very human nature, tied up in a box and restrained. We want to set controls, make rules, define, clarify and develop. Everything is created twice and those who envision something extraordinary and beyond the norm frequently get hung up. The nitty-gritty necessities of making a way in the world often snuffs out freedom just as fast as devil-may-care lawlessness.


Our kids, who we’ve raised to be adults with eternal souls,  grow up to make their own choices, their own mistakes, and live their own lives. I’ve faithfully, along with the dedicated care and provision of my husband, given my kids freedom. Freedom to think and feel and live how they are called. It’s been a worthy calling and a sweet adventure.

What do you want most for your children?

Need Homeschool Motivation? The Goldilocks Principle to the Rescue

Need Homeschool Motivation? The Goldilocks Principle to the Rescue

Motivation & Homeschooling

Are you worried about maintaining your motivation for the school year ahead? I think I can help with a Principle named  Goldilocks.

Goldilocks Principle

The Goldilocks Principle states that, “humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.” 1 Here are some simple steps to take advantage of this powerful concept in your homeschool.

  1. Make an honest assessment of where your kids are at. Humans love mastering a skill just beyond their current abilities. In order to set academic tasks just there, you need to know what your students current abilities are. The simplest way to asses is to observe your kids and understand their abilities. A good understanding of ages/ stage will be helpful. The Way They Learn, or Ages and Stages is a good place to start. Get clear about human and academic development, realize there can be wide variances in what is “normal” and get to know your child at a deeper level!
  2. Set your kids tasks right at the edge of their current abilities. Humans, big and small,  love a good challenge. They want to be pushed. But not so much that the task seems unattainable. Your kids are no different. They want tasks that don’t condescend to them by seeming too easy. They also don’t want to be given tasks that seem insurmountable and overwhelming, constantly demanding that they work outside of their comfort zone. They don’t always want “fun.” Sometimes they want to overcome something really tough. Motivate them with charts, stickers, rewards and time spent with you. It’s not bribery. It’s reward for a job well done.
  3. Customize your child’s learning. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do just that. What will motivate one child will discourage another. By setting tasks for each child, particular to them, you are able to motivate each student.
  4. Don’t neglect the teacher! One of the ways I’ve maintained homeschool motivation over the past 25+ years is to set challenges before me. How can I streamline the laundry cycle, eat healthier on a budget, learn Latin with multiple kids and demands. In other words, don’t settle for status-quo.

`Understanding this powerful principle can change your homeschool for the better! Utilizing it for even one subject- say the most difficult one- can change your homeschool day, bringing motivation to the otherwise discouraged!

I’d love to hear what you think of the Goldilocks Principle! Is motivation something you think much about as you homeschool? How do you keep motivation going and flowing in your life?

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Lisa Nehring

Lisa Nehring has been married for over 30 years, has five children, 2 graduate degrees and a black belt in homeschooling. She has homeschooled since 1991 and wrote a Master’s Thesis on Why Parent’s Homeschool, including A History of Education in America. She is motivated by good books, strong coffee and finding God’s purpose. She teaches Literature and Composition, Psychology, Intro to Latin and Writing Club for True North Homeschool Academy.

Unified Passion: Finding Fun

Unified Passion: Finding Fun

Finding Fun

This is a story of following and finding fun and flowing excitement through summer. Beings normally July is a month I often found I couldn’t make it through without tears and reassessing my purpose, there have been several factors to instead solidify my direction and bring passion into this season.  

I remember when I heard a father of five boys and girls express how when their family decided to go to a restaurant, often they approached the discussion with seven different opinions. With having three children, my tally of opinions equals five with my husband. Like me, perhaps there’s a variety of decisions you make, some with unity and some with diversity.

On and off, for the past several years, my husband and I have decided upon a theme we wanted to focus on as a growth area for the year.  It’s been finances, discipline, communication, and you get the idea. Perhaps because we ran out of ways to be developed (nah), or more likely the fact we needed to focus on joy – that the theme of excitement, and finding fun, was birthed. 


With two daughters and one son ages 13-18, we started taking ideas from everyone on how they’d describe a day of excitement for the summer.  The results were to include a kickball game, a golf outing, horseback riding, trying a new restaurant and “to be determined.” I knew I had to schedule the kickball game (for my 13-year-old son) as quickly as possible so that we would get it done. I remembered being team captain and rather good at kickball as a child.  Good thing I did, because running made me substantially more tired than it had in fifth grade. Finding fun can leave one winded!


You need to know how the kickball game turned out.  It was scheduled for the fourth of July, it was super humid, sticky hot, and fortunately my oldest had to go into work that day, so the game got cut short by two innings.  She was the all-time pitcher because we had uneven numbers, and she played it well. My other daughter kept us busy with her strong “kicking the ball into the outfield habit.” My husband was the most valuable player and was not on my team, but he shared the outfield with our kick-crazy daughter, her friend and his mother.  My team was my father-in-law, son and his friend. I chased down a few outfielders, found I was again afraid to catch a pop fly, and took a rare, lengthy nap following our win.

In exploring our families list of excitement, it is sharpening my ability to provide for the creative exploration in every person and beyond. There were several laughs through that kickball game, even through the fry pan sunshine and after listening to everyone whine for awhile. Sure, we could have rescheduled, but half of our lives are rescheduled already. From a famous internet sensation, “I ain’t got time for that.”

But the good news is, August is the perfect time to start squeezing in the memories of summer which fulfill its glory in showing us the fun. One July 31st, in mothering days past, where I proudly exclaimed, “I made it through July without any tears!” Only to land a downpour August first.  As we hear the phrase “dog days of summer,” the heat does have a way of depleting energy reserves and ability to truly seek out passion – or in everyday words, making the most of it.

Following Fun

My kickball queen, middle daughter Sierra, is the one who held out on us, saying her exciting moment is “to be determined.”  Perhaps we will have a spontaneous surprise for her, or maybe after the horseback ride and new restaurant she’ll get the idea that we will follow through on her idea. Whatever the case, it’ll be awesome to continue to see these days unfold.


In getting a picture of the zest I no longer want to be without, I hope you will have a renewed vision for the short season of summer remaining and dream some new experiences as a family together. Our family took a trip to Israel in February of 2018, and I had told a friend how I thought I may cry on the last day because of it having the potential to be the last time I would visit.  Instead, I knew I needed to connect with as many students as possible to give them an opportunity to explore the country from home and know their Christian spiritual roots.

In being a little rusty playing kickball, it has actually motivated me to practice catching pop flys with my husband in the yard. Following a diverse list of what brought excitement to different people amazingly brought a unified passion to bring us together. This translates to my hope in teaching for True North Homeschool Academy because in affecting students, and motivating them towards their own “ah ha” moments, I know they’ll share their discoveries with their families and perhaps many more. It will truly be a year of excitement. Finding fun can be foundin the midst of studying and pushing beyond what we know already!

Education has been a highlight of Jen Noble’s career with a special focus on writing and curriculum development. She is presently the English tutor for the University Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which covers coursework through the universities in South Dakota. She also teaches adult students through the SD Universities OLLI program. In publishing her own writing, she’s been included in local and national magazines as well as two Christian book compilations,”I’m Glad I’m a Mom,” and “God Still Meets Needs.” In addition to teaching, she covers South Dakota’s state civil court cases in her role as reporter for Courthouse News. Jen teaching Bible in the Context of Israel for True North Homeschool Academy

Spring Semester Classes & Clubs: Civics: Constitutional Studies, STOA Forensics and Speech, Creating Priorities for Students & Parents! Dismiss