3 Reasons to Homeschool

3 Reasons to Homeschool

Everyone decides to homeschool for different reasons, but I want to share with you our top three reasons to homeschool.

Our homeschooling story began in 1991 way back in Southern California. We have continued to homeschool across the country, with numerous children (most of whom have now graduated) for the following reasons:

(Still unsure about homeschooling? Check out Should I Homeschool?)

Reason #1 – Education

Our kids are getting a solid education. Is it perfect? No. Are there gaps? Yes. Is that normal? I think so. Do we continue to hone and improve what we do? Yes.

Educating our kids at home has streamlined the academic process for the simple reason that there are fewer people to manage, no classes to change or halls and lockers to navigate, and no worksheets to slow us down. We learn the lesson; we move on. This pace has given our kids plenty of time to do things like scouts, sports, travel, read voraciously, study art, plant gardens, create things, help us re-build an acreage, serve others, write novels, participate in horseback riding, karate, and soccer, and pursue so many other interests.

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Reason #2 – Faith

Homeschooling allows your kids to have time to refine, define, and own their faith.

Of course, it doesn’t take homeschooling to allow kids to own their faith, but it does allow them time to own it before the world and peers, and a whole host of other voices, come along to batter and beat it into something almost, but possibly, not quite Christian. Our kids leave our home with a solid understanding of the Bible, including its history, language and culture, the history of the church, the importance and personhood of Jesus, and a glimpse at how imperfect people attempt to live a life of vibrant faith.

Is it perfect? No. Do we fail? Yes. Is that normal? I know so.

Kids grow up and decide and determine what values they’ll follow, what memories they’ll treasure, and which they discard. The voices of the world are loud and noisy, and there is no guarantee that any of our kids will grow up to follow much of anything they’ve been raised with. The whole idea that if we raise our kids a certain way, it will guarantee specific values and lifestyle in our kids is idolatry, pure and simple.

We get to follow God and be faithful to what He has called us to do. Our kids also have that choice- to hear and obey, or not. Twenty-eight years into this stint of homeschooling has taught me some hard lessons, and one of the most challenging has been to realize that everyone works out their own salvation with fear and trembling. We don’t get to take our kids, or our spouses, or anyone else to heaven — just us. But we can sure do our part on behalf of others, including our kids.

That being said, raising our kids with an understanding of the Bible, history, literature, critical thinking skills, and a knowledge of Faith is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. What they do with that gift is up to them.

Reason #3 – Family

It’s a busy world. Homeschooling has allowed us to spend hours together, playing, reading, learning, building, re-modeling, cooking, gardening, arguing, and laughing together. The good side of that is that everybody knows each other. The downside of this is that everybody knows each other.

Is it perfect? No. Do we get on each other’s nerves? You betcha’.

But really, how many people do you ever get to know well in life? Precious few. Add in social media and life online, and it’s no wonder that people are, literally, getting lonelier. Homeschooling has given our family time to sit around the fire watching fireflies and the Milky Way,  discuss great books, history, literature, and ideas for hours.  We can travel, sightsee, and fall in love with God’s world and each other. Quality time almost always demands quantity time. Our family has been blessed with plenty of both, and it has enriched each of our lives.

What are your top 3 reasons for homeschooling? Are they the same as when you first started or have they changed?

(Just now deciding to take the homeschooling plunge? Check out our post on Homeschooling 101.)

Do you currently homeschool? Or maybe you are considering it. Check out the three reasons why we homeschool. Are your reasons the same? Do you have anything you would add? #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #whywehomeschool

Online Learning: A Homeschool Primer

Online Learning: A Homeschool Primer

Online Learning

Online live interactive classes teacher for elementary, middle school and high school students of True NorthThe world of online learning is burgeoning, the options varied and choices better than ever before. And that was before Covid 19 hit the streets and forced public schoolers home! So many choices, so many opportunities. How does one choose? Not all online education is created equal. Here’s a beginner’s guide to sorting options!

What to Look For in Online Classes

A Primer

Check the “About” page of whatever program you are considering. Many on-line programs are now run by savvy business owners, looking to make money from the billion-dollar alternative education market.

That’s just good business but it might not be a good fit for your student or your family.

Things to Think About:

  • Do their values align with yours?
  • Do they contribute to causes that concern you?
  • Are they privately or government-funded?
  • If they are privately funded, what is the underlying value system of the people or organization behind the school? I had to dig pretty far into a very popular on-line company to find that they were privately funded by alt-right Conservatives.

Consider the Company’s Underlying Educational Philosophy

Remember, everybody who is providing you an education is also providing an ideology and a world view. There are no exceptions to that. So, when you consider on-line education, think about:

  • Who gets your money?
  • Who they are funding?
  • What ideology or value system is being conveyed

Don’t forget that companies that market to homeschoolers might not understand and appreciate the flexibility of the homeschooler.

Speech class live interactive for homeschoolers to practice writing and performing speechesThe Evolving Homeschool

Homeschooling IS changing. This month proved that in a profound way. Both parents still work, but they need oversight. And that is fine. But homeschoolers have far more flexibility and can adapt and change things up as needed for fun, greater learning, and unusual opportunities.  Make sure that whatever company you are working with understands and cares about the adaptability and flexibility that homeschooling can afford.

Because you have options. Credits don’t have to come out of a book. Each platform and program is different and can utilize a plethora of various on-line tools.

Questions to ask about any program you are considering:

  • Asynchronous vs. Synchronous learning- are the students learning the same materials, but at different times (like with Khan Academy), or are they learning the same materials, at the same time (like with True North Homeschool Academy).
  • Can students see/hear and interact with other students?
  • Can the student engage with the teacher personally, or only through “chat”?
  • Will the teacher respond to “chat” during class time?
  • Does the program have access to a virtual white-board, chat-room, break-out rooms, audio or video recording?
  • Can you get a copy of the video recording if you miss a class or is it posted where you can access it?
  • Is there screen sharing and will the teacher utilize multi-media in their classroom?
  • How will assessments be delivered?
  • Will grading be done by the teacher?
  • How frequently are grades given?
  • Is the teacher accessible by phone or email during the duration of the class time?

And while we’re talking about FAQ’s, this might be the biggest one of all:

The Accreditation Question

What is accreditation?

Accreditation refers to an accrediting board that sets the standard for an organization and ensures that they meet those standards. Accrediting boards vary widely, so don’t assume that because a school is accredited that it necessarily means that there are clear quality controls in places. Accreditation is a spendy endeavor, and we in the homeschooling world know the value is questionable.

Furthermore, accreditation might demand that the school utilize licensed teachers, many of whom have fled the public-school system. Accreditation and teachers’ licenses are no guarantee of quality education. They are a guarantee of conformity – for better or worse.

Questions to ask:

  • What accreditation do you carry?
  • What does the accrediting agency oversee?
  • How does accreditation affect the cost of classes?
  • What percentage of your teachers are from the public-school system?
  • Is being a licensed teacher a requirement for teaching with this company?
  • Who has experience with homeschooling in your company?
  • Will you be considered a homeschooler by the state in which you reside?
  • Will you have to register as a homeschooler in your state, regardless of their accreditation?

When You Need Accreditation

If you live in one of the few states that will not accept homeschooling high school credits and you plan to put your student back into public school at some point during their high school career.

Why You Don’t Need Accreditation

It’s expensive and that expense will be passed down to the consumer. Most colleges, universities, tech schools, internships, and jobs don’t care. They’ll be looking at test scores, applications, essays, and references. Accreditation is often simply a marketing tool.

When Accreditation IS Important

After high school and when looking at colleges or universities, accreditation becomes important. You will want to go to an accredited school if case you ever transfer or want to go to graduate school.

Other Things to Consider

  • Does my state recognize homeschooling high school credits?
  • In what instance would I need (i.e. need to pay for) an accredited program?

 Non-accredited Institutions

These programs set themselves up and will let you know the standards that they utilize in order to meet the demands of the customer. Marketplace demands offer correction as needed.

What types of Online Programs Are Out There?

Live Online Classes

This refers to real-time interaction between teachers and students. This can happen on a variety of platforms such as Skype, Go-to Meeting, or our personal favorite, Zoom. Schools vary widely on how they utilize this format. Some schools allow the students to see the teacher and interact with them only via chat. Others allow students to see and interact with both the teachers and students- it is a virtual classroom. Teachers are often highly qualified to teach their subject matter and engage with the kids. Students, also, can see and interact with their classmates, and often online friendships are formed.

Questions to Ask About Live Online Classes

  • Does this school allow my students to interact in real-time, during class with the teacher and other students or not?
  • When can my student engage and interact with the teacher and other students?
  • Will the teacher simply be lecturing the student for the entirety of each class or is there an interactive component to the virtual classroom?
  • What benefits are there to this type of learning over and above a self-paced, pre-recorded program?

What About Self-paced Classes?

  • Self-paced classes refer to those classes where students log in to a platform and watch or listen to pre-recorded classes, either video or audio.
  • Students work through the information at their own pace, doing the assignments when they are ready to do them and reviving a grade based on homework assignments, quizzes, tests and projects which are graded via computer or docent.
  • Students do not engage with a teacher, but simply the material.

Questions to consider about Self-paced Classes Online:

  • Is my student self-motivated enough to complete these courses?
  • Is the quality of the program worth our time and money?
  • Is there an option that is not passive learning?
  • Is there a less expensive alternative?

Online live classes teacher for elementary students of True North

What About Blended Online Programs?

Blended programs involve using a combination of self-paced information and live online interaction. Often, the students go through material at their own pace and then meet with a live tutor or have grading done by a live tutor on a regular basis.

Questions to consider about the blended program:

  • When and how does live, interactive learning take place?
  • How are the assessments done?
  • What qualifications does the teacher bring to the class?
  • Does my student have the self-motivation to complete the course?

Types of Online Schools

One-time Classes or Workshops

These classes are offered one at a time, by an individual or group of people who have gathered together to offer their expertise. Often you’ll see homeschool parents whose kids have graduated developing and offering classes in an area that they are passionate about.

Marketplace

This is a company that allows teachers to offer classes. There is no vetting of teachers’ qualifications or world view, though teachers must often teach from a secular, “objective” point of view, especially if the program takes government funding, including vouchers.   Teachers offer classes they want to teach, and set their own terms including pricing, length of course, etc. and then pay the overseeing company a percentage of what they make on the class. Teachers teach, the company takes care of logistics and may provide a background check. Prices and quality of teaching can fluctuate wildly.

Questions to ask about Marketplace Courses:

  • Who is funding the company?
  • Do I want to fund this organization?
  • How will I determine the quality of the classes?
  • How will I determine credit or grades for the work my kids have done?

Curriculum Suppliers Now Offering Online Classes

Many successful homeschooling curriculum companies have taken their curriculum to online classes, such as IEW, Memoria Press and The Well-Trained Mind. These companies have branded themselves and are furthering their brand through courses, with vetted teachers, set meeting times and grades. Classes meet 1-4 times a week live on-line with homework assigned and graded. The cost can be prohibitive and classes may fill quickly though.

Full-service Programs

Full-service homeschool programs offer live online and self-paced classes, testing, advising and more. A Full-Service program offers the flexibility that homeschoolers need, classes that suit your needs and a fundamental understanding and respect for the homeschooling lifestyle while helping you navigate the way from K-12th grade. They will help you successfully launch your students into higher education or the working world. These companies have often been founded by home educators who started umbrella schools in their local area and then went online to provide more robust services to families in their region and beyond!

Here are some types of full-service programs to consider:

A Consortium

This is a group of dedicated teachers or homeschoolers who come together to provide classes, usually pulled together by a long-time homeschooler who loves to teach and has some talented friends.

A Membership Site

This type of program is usually self-paced. Families pay a monthly fee and have access to whatever classes and services are offered. Fees may vary for the same site, depending on services offered.

What to Think About When Planning to Use Online Classes

There are a lot of great options out there and they offer many benefits to your child. Educators agree that these are some other educational components you need to think about when you are planning to use online classes in your homeschool. You should think through all these aspects of an online school or class if you think it is something that will benefit your family.

  • Dynamic learning – requires the student to actively participate in the course material, responding to the teacher’s questions, prompts, possibly using break-out rooms and doing group activities. Assessment tools can include quizzes, tests, as well as projects, presentations, essays or dramatic performances.
  • Passive learning – allows the student to sit while they are being lectured to or show a presentation of some sort. Assessments are usually done via quizzes and tests.
  • Asynchronous learning – communication is not in real-time and the teaching/ learning can take place at different times and different places. Because the learner views information and responses at different times and from different places, there is much flexibility. The teacher does not have to be “live,” and content can be delivered via written, audio or video recordings.
  • Synchronous learning – communication is in real-time so teachers and learners meet at the same time although they are in different places. Learners view content at the same time so responses can be immediate. Because of the set meeting time, there is less flexibility than with asynchronous learning. The teacher is “live” via whatever platform is utilized for transmission.
  • The Learning Management System/ Course Management System – (or LMS/ CMS) allows on-line schools and teachers to deliver course materials, correspondence, lessons, assessments, and grading and other features electronically.

Why Choose Online Classes?

With all the amazing resources out there why choose an online class or academy? Well there are many reasons your family may want to adopt this type of educational resource as part of your homeschool. Here are just a few we thought of:

  • Outside accountability
  • World-class teachers are just a “click” away
  • Friendships and relationships form  with students and teachers from around the world
  • Colleges and universities are making use of online education and LMS/CMS- give your student a jump-start on understanding how an online system works
  • The quality of teachers you might not find locally
  • Exceptional and unique classes that might not be found in your community
  • A wonderful supplement to a traditional day school or homeschool
  • To build independence and pride in one’s academic achievements
  • Because the Goldilocks Syndrome is at work, and our kids want a challenge

About True North Homeschool Academy

We hope this article is helpful to you if you are thinking about investing in online classes. If you have not considered it as a benefit to your homeschoolers we hope you will see now how adding an online class component to your homeschool can contribute to a well-rounded home education.

This blog is part of True North Homeschool Academy and we blog here because we love homeschooling and believe in education.

Each semester we are excited to provide live online and self-paced classes, delivered by exceptional teachers who love homeschooling- and love their subject matter. We are teaching from a Judeo-Christian point of view with a love for the flexibility and freedom homeschooling brings to the table. Yet we provide grading and assessments, to ensure that your student is learning, growing and excelling in each class. Students see, hear and interact with their teachers and fellow students from around the world.

We value a rich education and you will see from our course selections that we firmly believe it should be vibrant, creative and will allow your children to stretch and grow. Students develop real-world relationships and real-life skills.

Check out all of our fall classes!

Register now for fall classes that are online, live and interactive for all ages

Getting Started – Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

Getting Started – Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

I’ve had several young Mommas (so young I could be their Momma!) ask me about homeschooling preschool and kindergarten recently. The biggest challenge of littles is keeping them engaged. Most still have a relatively short attention span, are quickly tired, and need to be fed and watered at regular intervals. Habit is key- routine is your safest bet.  

(Still considering homeschooling? Check out our post on three reasons we love homeschooling.)

So what are my tips for homeschooling preschoolers and kindergartners?

Tip #1 – Morning Baskets

I would recommend developing a morning basket for littles. This method means they get your attention first thing, right after breakfast.  This basket is a great way to think about what you want your littles to learn and how to organize it. Morning Baskets for littles can include card matching games, Kumon workbooks, Memory CD’s, Poetry, Simple Bible Stories, Phonics, and math games if they are ready for them.

After years of doing this, I recommend over-planning before you get started and then going with the flow once you start. With littles, like with anything else, you don’t get what you want, you get what you plan for. With littles, you often get lots of surprises, too, right?!

Tip #2 – Add in age-appropriate chores.

Kids do what you inspect, not what you expect, BUT, they do need to know what you expect, too! One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from Andrew Pudewa is that if your child keeps asking for help, they need help. This seems simple- well, it is, really, but it might not come naturally! Life skills are a big part of homeschooling preschoolers and kindergartners.

Tip #3 – Add in Some Books

If you live with books and magazines, your kids will think having them around is normal. My kids love books on tape. We use Sonlight, Bethlehem Books, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press catalogs as reading lists. Ranger Rick, National Geographic for Kids, Ladybug, Boys Life have all been favorite magazines around here.

Pre- Reading: Read aloud 15 min a day. There are so many adorable books on everything under the sun; don’t limit your read-alouds to baby books.

Curriculum Suggestions for Homeschooling Preschoolers and Kindergartners

I think some table time is good at this age because it helps kids get acclimated to regular study. Art or History Cards are great to look at, even for pre-readers. Usborne, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press all have beautiful ones.

Christian Studies- Arch books are a fabulous way for your littles to get a great introduction to basic Bible stories with pictures that they’ll remember for a lifetime. We also have loved and read out loud to our kids a couple of different Children’s Bibles, including the Golden Children’s Bible.
We had tons of felts, and teaching Bible stories through felts is always an attention grabber.

IEW Language Acquisition through poetry memorization– this is a fantastic program and easily accessible for littles, especially with the CD. There are four sections of 20 poems each, starting with simple, short poems and ending with epic dramatic re-tellings. Andrew Pudewa (who put the program together and recites the poems) has incredible diction, so your kids will hear fantastic vocabulary and superb story-telling.

Letter and Number recognition– we used Kumon and Usborne workbooks, colorful, easily accessible, and fun. There are tons of complete programs available.

Phonics- We always used Alpha-Phonics in conjunction with Explode the Code. There are other great products out there. We took the low cost, no bells, and whistles, a practical approach.

Bible Study– Arch books, Bible Memory, reading a good quality Children’s Bible, Veggie Tales, Veritas Press, or Bible Study for All Ages Bible cards.

Memory Work – When our youngest was four, she learned 160 VP history cards that year (even though she was a pre-reader), along with 24 history sentences, several others hundred facts related to grammar, geography, Latin, poems and more because we regularly and diligently used CDs and table time to review. She also learned the letter sounds and started on a notebook-sized time-line. I say all of this so that you realize your littles are capable of learning a LOT.

This is NOT to say that you should set them at the table and force information down their throats. Kids this age, however, can learn a ton through CD’s, good DVD’s, books and great visual aids such as flashcards. Also, if you have older kids, why not include your younger kids? They are sponges. If you start early “training their brains to retain,” you’ll be amazed at how much they really can and do retain as they grow older.

More Fun Ways to Learn while Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

Outside play, exploration, and nature walks – Nature journaling and nature tables are an excellent way for kids to display the cool things they’ve found as they explore the great outdoors! Homeschooling your preschooler and kindergartener should always be fun!

Read-alouds – At least 15 minutes a day; more is better ; )

Crafts and Art – There are so many fun art books, but in any case, an easel, paper, and paint is always appropriate. Colored shaving cream is excellent for bath/shower painting. And hey, how about a shower tile wall- works great as a whiteboard and for painting- easily wipes off- all for $15 bucks.

Gardening – This can be in the yard, with containers, or how about a Fairy Garden?

Open-Ended toys – Brio Trains, Playmobile, Duplos/Legos, Stuffed Animals. Pinterest has some adorable pins of old entertainment centers rehabbed as play kitchens. Add some felt food; and old pots, pans, and measuring cups.

Art Supplies – Easels, paint, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners, colored paper, stickers, colored rice bins, colored shaving cream to “Paint” in the bathtub, Whiteboards around the house (make a whiteboard wall with shower tile or several smaller lapboards), chalkboards and magnet boards (easily made with some chalkboard or magnet paint).

Unstructured Outside Play – Trampoline, playhouses, daily walks, parks, swimming, Gardening, Sandboxes, Swings,

“Sound exploration” – Musical makers. Kids loving making sounds.

Cooking- My kids have all loved to help cook in the kitchen. Usborne’s First Cookbook is full of fun and simple recipes.

Gross motor skill development–  For years, we had a “Step 2” playscape, complete with ladder and slide, IN our house.

Sandbox or table– a friend built a sandbox in their basement for their kids, and we had a sand table on our front porch for years.

Fine motor skill development – Have plenty of pens, pencils, markers around for the kids to play with, sewing cards, small toys (once they are past the “everything in their mouth” stage- legos, of course.

Travel/ field trips –  What better way to learn about the mail than actually visiting the Post Office? These types of learning experiences make learning fun AND educational.

Singing – the Wee Sing series, with books and CD’s are full of old favorites.

Daily Prayer – Family evening prayers, with everyone snuggled in a bed together, is a gentle way to teach your littles about what’s important to you. We have each child pray, youngest to oldest, ending with Daddy blessing each child. If your kiddo doesn’t know what to pray for, just help them along following ACTS (Adoration, Confessions, Thanksgiving, Supplication). We would have them repeat a simple sentence or two, such as, “Thank you, God, for this day.” This year, we made an Easter garden.

Finally, as a word of caution…..Limit screen time.

There are so many apps, computer games, DVD’s, etc., and they are all fascinating. We use some but in limited quantity. You want your pre-Ker neurology to be hard-wired to people and words, not electronics. Studies have shown that kids learn language skills by interacting with people-NOT screens.

For littles, almost everything they encounter is new and amazing. It’s so fun to explore the world together and to see it through fresh eyes. You don’t have to be super planned, but some planning does help and kids, again, thrive on routines. So what are you waiting for, take the leap to homeschooling preschool and kindergarten today!

Like what you see here but need more? Check out our post on Homeschooling Basics.

Are you considering making the homeschooling leap with your preschool or kindergarten child? Do you feel overwhelmed and under prepared? Let's us help you! At True North Homeschool Academy we strive to make your homeschool journey a success while fighting your overwhelm. Check out these great tips on homeschooling preschoolers and kindergartners. #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #homeschoolingpreschool #homeschoolingkindergarten #newhomeschooler

How to Fail as a Homeschooler

How to Fail as a Homeschooler

(Portions of this post originally appeared on the Golden Grasses website- by Lisa Nehring)

It’s that time of year when parents are re-evaluating schooling options for their kids. I hear over and over again, “I want to homeschool (or my kids want to homeschool), but I’m so worried I’ll fail.” Having homeschooled for 25 years, we’ve seen it all. Wild homeschooling success and wild, abject homeschooling failure. Here is my not so subtle list about how to fail as a homeschooler. Check it out. Maybe it will help you evaluate whether or not you have what it takes to succeed as a homeschooler.

(Wondering why we homeschool? You can find the answers here.)

1- Stop Learning 

I mean you, the Homeschooling Teacher. The first law of the teacher is to know the material, which takes time and energy. If you want to fail as a homeschooler, model NOT learning. Model NOT reading, model intellectual apathy, fed on a diet of social media, low standards, and cultivated disinterest.

2- Be Prideful about your Kid’s Success and Ability

Be haughty and prideful when it comes to your own child.  They already know it all, why learn more? Your child is “too good” for every program out there. Also, refuse to let your child mingle with children you deem “less-than.” This not only sets them up to fail in homeschooling but also in life.

3- Never Ask Questions

Cultivate the attitude of disinterest; what you don’t know is boring. Asking questions requires vulnerability and humility. Don’t show either.

True North Homeschool Academy Facebook Group

3-Be Stingy & Hoard

Opportunities, people, competitions, curriculum, knowledge; you need to keep whatever good thing you have to yourself. Don’t share, promote, develop, or go beyond your circle. Keep in mind the toddler rules, “What’s Yours is Yours and What’s Mine is Mine, What’s Broken is Yours.”

4- Be Fearful

Homeschool because the world is scary, and public schools are of the devil. Be reactive. Be closeted and fearful. Homeschool because there is nothing better. Hunker down for the coming of apocalypse zombies.

5- Be Lazy

Have the attitude that no matter what you do or don’t do as a homeschooler, it is better than what the public schools do or don’t do. So if you really don’t “do” school or even train your kids, that’s okay.  At least it’s better than what the public schools are doing, anyway, right?

(Trying to figure out how to succeed at this homeschooling gig as a Busy Mom, check out our post on Sacred Sanity – A Busy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling.)

6- Be Tolerant

Let your kids run wild in the name of homeschooling freedom. Allow them to break the rules, to be rebellious, to set a low standard for others at classes, co-ops, field trips, to subtly jeer and undermine. This tolerance gives the impression that all homeschoolers have low standards and ensures that no homeschoolers will be allowed that field trip in the future. It also provides that any homework assigned will be mocked, that work itself is not that important, and that co-ops should cater to the lowest common denominator.

7-Be Irresponsible

Make excuses; make them often and frequently, for yourself and your kids, regarding academic standards, character issues, things left undone, and overdone. Don’t take responsibility to educate your kids.

8- Be Idolatrous

Idolize your child, and their individuality to the point of extreme. Idolize creativity while sacrificing discipline. Buy into the cheap imitation of chaos theory that free expression without tools, time, or discipline will produce creative talent beyond our wildest dreams. In keeping with this, teach to your kid’s strengths (if you teach at all) and let their weaknesses go unchecked.

I’m sure that there are other ways to fail as a homeschooler, but these are the ones I’ve personally most often encountered over the years. And, True Confessions, My name is Lisa, and I’m a Homeschooling Failure myself, having participated in all of these at one time or another. Admission, so those in the know tell me, is the first step towards recovery. Good thing, because next, in honor of those in recovery as Homeschooling Failures, I’ll post How to Succeed as a Homeschooler.

(Have you decided that you’re ready to begin? Check out our post on Homeschooling 101!)

Having homeschooled for 25 years, we've seen it all. Wild homeschooling success and wild, abject homeschooling failure. Here is my not so subtle list about how to fail as a homeschooler. Check it out. Maybe it will help you evaluate whether or not you have what it takes to succeed as a homeschooler. #homeschooling #homeschooler #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Why Use Homeschool Academic Advising?

Why Use Homeschool Academic Advising?

Why do you need homeschool academic advising?

As homeschooling parents, we are called upon to choose curriculum, teach the kids, keep track of credits and graduation requirements and guide our kids to a successful launch. We are the school board, administration, academic advisor and teacher, all rolled into one.

It can be difficult to do all of that on one’s own. I’ve heard several times on homeschooling forums and message boards who state that their parents didn’t help them navigate college or career and they came out just fine. And while I do believe that resiliency and grit are often overlooked and possibly under-expected, I caution parents against leaving their kids to figure it out on their own for two compelling reasons.

Time and Money 

The average student in American is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in 6 years instead of 4 with $37,000 in debt. Couple that with the fact that only about half of all students who enter college complete it and you could have a very expensive recipe for disaster.

Hacking High School for Future Success

The savvy homeschooler will view homeschooling high school as the opportunity for two things:

  • Time to explore new opportunities and options
  • Time to prepare for a successful launch

When I am putting together our “school” for each school year I am thinking about academics. I am also thinking about extra-curricular, camps, internships, sports, clubs and other possibilities. I am thinking about how my kids are developing and growing in unique areas (developing their “otherliness”), how to develop their professionalism in specific areas of interest, what kind of personality skills or traits that they need shoring up on, or natural areas of ability that can be further developed.

(Need more great career advice for your homeschool student?  Check out all our other great career readiness posts!)

Why hire someone when you can DIY Homeschool Academic Advising?

So, what does this have to do with Homeschool Academic Advising? Many, if not most, homeschooling parents short change the high school years. They under-credit what they have done, don’t know where to invest time and energy based on students interests or callings because they are worried about what a transcript “should” look like.  They tend to forget to think about things like camps, awards, sports, roles, responsibilities, and community service.

That’s where a seasoned Academic Advisor is helpful.

I see the credits you overlook because it’s your normal. For example, I recently worked with a high school student who basically flunked most of last year’s courses. After digging a bit deeper I discovered that he had extensive camping and fishing experience – like he provides fresh fish each year for more than one family; has hundreds of hours of Community Service (mowing and plowing his Grandmas and neighbors driveways and walks) works full time laying fiber optic cable (because he has such an amazing work ethic and is a responsible worker), and has re-built a diesel engine for the truck he bought with cash that he’d earned watching YouTube videos.

Along with identifying a processing disorder and getting him the academic help he needed, I was able to create a transcript for him that reflected the hard working, high PIQ (Performance IQ), kind and generous young man he was. Additionally, we were able to lay out a doable plan that will get him the professional certification he needs in life to earn the kind of money he should, given his abilities, despite academic struggles.

Similarly, I worked with a family earlier this year who has hopes of graduating from college while still in their teens. This student has the intellectual capability of doing just that but he is also very interested in going into an art field, doing creative, free-lance work. His Personalized Learning Plan included CLEP and Dual Enrollment classes.  These classes were coupled along with developing an online presence, going to professional conferences, developing his artistic abilities, and going to graduate school in a location that would allow him to create the best connections possible.

Story Telling and the Art of High School & Career Counseling

Here’s the deal. At heart, I’m a writer, a teller of stories. I love listening to people, hearing their hearts and learning about the story they’ve lived so far and the story that God is writing. From there it’s easy to create an Action Plan that makes sense, to resource the students and parents with camps, classes, competitions, books and ideas to make the story they are living be cost and time effective and lead to success.

Whether you have a fast burner or struggling learner- We Can Help!

Whether your student is on a fast track or struggling to just keep going, we can help. We have worked with homeschooled students from around the world for many years- from profoundly gifted to disabled. Along the way, we’ve mentored everyone from Olympic hopefuls to kids who use P.T. for PE credit. We have helped kids go on to Internships, the military, community college, State and Christian colleges as well as Ivy League schools. Every student has a story and we would be honored to work alongside you to help write the next amazing chapter!

Check out our Podcast on Soft Skills, Academic Advising, Orienteering Course.

Do you have a plan for your child's high school years? If not, it's time to make one! Check out the perks of homeschool academic advising. #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #academicadvising #homeschool