Life Skills: Helping Teens Achieve Goals & Enjoy Life

Life Skills: Helping Teens Achieve Goals & Enjoy Life

For many people, it seems like life has two options: achieving goals and enjoying life. Neither one of them seems as if they are one hundred percent fulfilled. There seems to be a broad spectrum on the scale of go-getters and over-achievers to those who slack in all departments.

How many times have you heard your student saying they don’t have enough time or they are overwhelmed with all the things? For so many homeschool families, the demands of work, career, education, family, and homeownership seem overwhelming. All while striving to teach our families how to achieve goals and enjoy life in a balanced manner.

Avoid the Overwhelm

Do you wish you had someone to partner with you in helping your teens learn to achieve goals and enjoy a balanced life?

We are doing that for you with the Life Skills 101 course offered at True North Homeschool Academy!  Your students will learn how to prioritize life, learn how to set and achieve goals, and sharpen skills for living life on their own as an adult.  In this full-year course, four broad areas are covered in depth. They include:

  • Finding Balance
  • Setting & Achieving Goals
  • Managing Life Areas
  • Time Management

Throughout the course, students will learn how to navigate these various areas as they prepare for launching into the next phase of life.

Finding Balance

If you think about life being balanced, you might envision a seesaw in the position of being directly balanced in the middle with no ups, no downs, and simply managing to stay in the middle ground.

What does it mean to be in balance, if life has its difficulties? When you are in balance, you maintain your equilibrium while life’s ups and downs come to visit. Of course, you go through the various emotions as circumstances both good and not so good work their way through life. 

Being in balance means intentionally, no matter how hard it is, choosing how you will show up under any given circumstance.

Do your teens need to learn how to achieve balance? In Life Skills 101, we will discuss ways to:

  • Take inventory of the various areas of life.
  • Create and implement a plan for finding and keeping life in balance.
  • Create action steps to help bring things back into balance when things get challenging. 

Sometimes, the unexpected can throw you off. In Life Skills 101 we teach how to hit the reset button when life throws you a curve and knocks you off balance. 

Setting & Achieving Goals

Does your student want to author a book, be a young entrepreneur, or simply get to appointments on time and have a clean room?  Learning how to break large goals down into manageable tasks is at the core of the Life Skills 1010 curriculum. From identifying a dream or aspiration to making a plan to achieve it, this class allows the student to take the time to dream, research, investigate and plan for the future.

It’s like a snowball effect. We will focus on how to start small and continue rolling that snowball down the hill. Before they know it, your kids will have a boulder of success coming their way! 

Managing Life Areas

Teaching teens to manage all the things of life is a full-time job! Letting go and letting them step into managing their own lives, can bring a sense of panic to every homeschool mom. The Life Skills 101 course partners with families to teach teens how to live a whole, full, and complete life. Learning to break your life down into categories and then addressing each. This creates a launch pad into adulthood that your teen can return as they expand the skills and confidence on living life successfully. Throughout the full-year course, students will learn what it takes to become independent and manage these aspects of daily life.

  • Cleaning & Organizing
  • Food shopping & meal planning
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting & personal finances
  • Resume, cover letter, and interview skills
  • Workplace expectations

Time Management

At the end of the day, so many life skills are achieved by learning solid time management. Students learn how to identify the most important tasks and how to say no to time-wasting activities, or behaviors. Students will sharpen their skills in:

  • Task management
  • Prioritization
  • Balancing work and play

Throughout the course students will use a variety of technology and digital tools to create projects, turn in assignments and find the best tools to help them successfully navigate life in a digital environment. 

 

Life Skills for a Successful Launch into Adulthood.

There are many challenges each of our kids will have to face. Let’s help them learn how to achieve goals, fulfill dreams, and live a life they love. Find more information about Life Skills 101 here.

Looking for help with teaching your teen Life Skills? Life Skills 101 Orienteering and Entrepreneurship. Taught live online at True North Homeschool Academy!

Join us on Facebook too – our page Life Skills for Homeschooled Teens is a great community and we share tips and laughter along the way!

Typical Course of Study: Jr High School

Typical Course of Study: Jr High School

A Typical Course of Study can help you develop a strong plan for homeschooling Junior High School. It can define your purpose in what can feel like an academic no-man’s land! Students are no longer children but are definitely not yet the young adults they will be in high school. Their bodies are changing rapidly, and they can’t even keep up with themselves, preferring to sleep and eat over many other options. Some people want to skip the Jr. High years, pretending it’s just all a bad dream. But these years, though challenging, can be rich academically and set the tone for future high school and adult success!

How Do Tests Help?

Jr. High is typically the time when undiagnosed learning disabilities or processing disorders come to the fore, and getting a good standardized test done now, as a benchmark of student’s ability by grade level, can be really helpful. If you suspect a disability or processing disorder, check out resources such as our Advising. Help is available, though you may have to search for tools. SPED Advising (like ours at True North Homeschool Academy) can save you hours, thousands of dollars, and tears of frustration!

If your student is weak in any of the basics, such as English or Maths, you will want to shore those weaknesses up; particularly reading comprehension and speed and Math literacy, including being strong in the four math functions- addition and subtraction multiplication, and division.

Teenage girl lying on the sofa at home in the living room using smartphone, close up, low angle, close up

What to Focus on in Junior High

a typical course of study for Jr High School will focus on the Core 4 subjects and then add in Electives and Extra-curricular activities.

Jr. High is typically 7th and 8th grade. You’ll want to focus on the Core Four and build from there:

  • English – make sure your student has the mechanics of writing down. Can they write simple sentences, a paragraph, and a three paragraph paper on an assigned topic? Students should be able to write a clear, well-organized simple essay by the end of the 8th. They should understand basic grammar and spelling and be building their vocabulary through more difficult reading.
  • Math – Solidify what they know about math functions, particularly multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages. Students should begin moving into pre-Algebra/Algebra at the end of Jr High.
  • Science – Students should have a basic foundation in nature studies. Jr. High Science will give them a broad overview of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Earth & Space, Physical Science, and an introduction to Lab Reports. They should know the Scientific Method.
  • History- students should have a broad sweeping overview of History, with some details about the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and the Modern World and an understanding of U.S. History. A basic timeline is a great idea. Be certain they have a basic understanding of Geography.

Mother Having Serious Conversation With Young Daughter At Home

Electives and Extra-curriculars

Foreign Language: Jr. High is a great time to introduce a Foreign language if you haven’t already! Latin is a perfect language to start with. It will solidify English grammar basics, build English vocabulary (15000 English words are Latin derivatives), and give them a fun code to crack. Latin also has many moving parts, so it is a good critical thinking skill as your teen learns executive functioning skills. Spanish, Chinese, German, French, and Hebrew are also great ways to hone skills, and students can earn High School Credit while still in Jr. High!

Logic: Face it, most tweens live to argue, and they are not very good at it. Teach them logic and reveal that they’ll be able to recognize fallacies and form logical arguments. Good writers are good thinkers, and this will hone their English skills And math is symbolic logic, which will hone their math skills. Informal Logic is a perfect study for developing tween brains.

Physical Education: ½ credit each year. Regular exercise will help regulate your teen’s emotions, energy to argue, and food intake. Check out our fun Dance at the Movies course, where students will gain skills, earn PE credits and learn to appreciate the beauty of dance.

Music: A general overview of music, including Music Theory, voice, or instrument lessons, will enrich their homeschool program (and their lives!).

Art/Humanities: Give them a general understanding of Form and Color, Photography, Photoshop, etc.

Bible/Apologetics: Students should have a solid overview of the Old and New Testaments and a foundation of Apologetics; an understanding of how to defend their faith.

Computer: Basic Computer Information Systems, Powerpoint, Video Editing, Internet Safety, and Accountability; I highly recommend parents read Glow Kids and make informed decisions about what their students have access to via phones and the internet!

Health- Should include general hygiene and safety, including managing and handling their phones/ internet usage.

Electives for Jr High should be diverse and introduce students to a wide range of opportunities and challenges. In Jr. High students are moving from experience to interest to strategy if their interest is something that they want to pursue and have a clear drive to invest in.

Community Service is a great way to get Tweens to think beyond themselves and understand and support others’ needs.

Books: Of course, make time for reading great literature will expand your student’s horizons, build their vocabulary and help them empathize with others.

Want to know more about credits, transcripts, and standardized tests?

TNHA-BLog-Post-Junior-High-Plan-of-Study-Image-Tween-With-Empathy-Comforts-a-Friend

More Resources and Tools

Survive Homeschooling High School is a comprehensive eBook that will walk you through how to plan and prepare for High School. Or check out our Academic Advising– we offer Standard Advising, SPED Advising for nontraditional learners, and NCAA Advising for those looking to compete for an NCAA position.

It’s a great time to be homeschooling, and the options for Jr. High School Homeschooling are better than ever! Check out our live online dynamic, interactive classes taught within an international community by world-class teachers! Students interact and work together- we believe excellent education takes place within a community!

See also our article on a Typical Course of Study for High School.

Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling. You’ve made the decision to go for it Now what? Any new adventure can seem overwhelming, and anything new we try takes trial and error. The Education of our kids is so important and we just don’t want to mess it up! Because of that, we’ve gathered some of our favorite articles for you! Articles that will inspire, encourage and propel you to greatness!

Homeschooling, Where in the World do you Start? Nick Truesdall addresses that here. Getting Started with Homeschooling can also get you started on the right track and 3 Reasons to Homeschool will offer you assurance.

Brandy Olsen-Myers offers this helpful guide for reluctant learners. Or maybe you have a struggling learner?

Brandy Olsen-Myers offers support for first year homeschoolers.

Ticia Messing Homeschoolers are bibliophile. Here are 10 books to get your started with homeschooling! Our favorite classical  Homeschooling Book List! 

Jumpintogenius talks about how to avoid overwhelm.

Meryl van der Merwe Podcast on how to get organized!

Charlene Hess talk about getting started with homeschooling

Has curriculum gotten you down, caused you decision fatigue or just cooking your grits? Shannan helps you get through curriculum frustration!  

Amanda Stockdale has a  great article on Homeschooling Preschool. We love Kindergarten and Preschoool, too and have great resources for you, including Homegrown Preschool and our own live online Kindergarten classes!

Carol Anne Wright Swett starts at the beginning with 10 Questions to Answer Before You Start Homeschooling

Typical Course of Study: High School

Typical Course of Study: High School

As the world of Homeschooling has expanded and options have increased and become more focused, it’s a great time to be homeschooling. Frankly, the options for High School Homeschooling are better than ever! As the world of homeschooling has expanded and the unknowns of the next school year loom, parents of high schoolers are wondering how to plan for what’s ahead. A basic understanding of a typical course of study can be a simple and helpful guide to planning the future, even when that future seems uncertain!

You should focus on the Core 4 subjects for high school and then add in electives and extra-curriculars. Some of this will depend on what type of transcript you are creating and where your students plan to land after high school. Vocational programs, college or university, ivy league or conservatory, or the Military all warrant focusing on different aspects of your student’s learning program.

I will link to classes that we offer here at True North Homeschool Academy since we try to create our classes with a typical course of study plan in mind for each age group. Still, you should choose the curriculum or classes that work the best for your family. It’s always awesome if you decide that means our online classes, but we want this blog article to help you make an amazing transcript for your high schooler even if TNHA classes don’t fit your plan.

Typical Course of Study: High School

Let’s start by looking at high school as a four-year program. This will give us a long view approach and help us determine what classes make sense within our subject areas. I’ll list each subject and then a common 4-year course of study. You are going to want to focus on the Core Four and go from there:

 

English– 9th-grade Literature & Composition, World Lit & Comp, U.S. Lit & Composition, British Lit, and Composition

(English can also include spelling, vocabulary, short story, novel writing, Speech and Rhetoric, Poetry,  etc.).

Math – Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Personal Finance

SciencePhysical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology or other advanced Science

History World Geography, World History, U.S. History, Government & Economics

(History can also include other areas or times of History like Ancient History)

Once you have these planned, it will be so much easier to fill in with electives and extracurricular activities.

Typical Course of Study: High School – Electives and Extra-curriculars

Father and son timeForeign Language– this can be any Ancient or Modern Language. Keep in mind that Latin is a fantastic foundation for grammar and learning how to learn a Foreign Language, and Critical Languages are a great way to earn Scholarship Dollars; French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, Latin

Physical Education – ½ credit each year. Check out our amazing Dance at the Movies for a fun credit of P.E!

Music – a general overview of music, including Music Theory, Voice, Songwriting, or instrument lessons count as well. Check out our Music at the Movies for a fascinating look at the power of music in culture!

Art/Humanities – a general understanding of Form and Color, Photography, Photoshop, etc.

Bible/Apologetics Studies – should include a general overview of the Old and New Testament, Church History, and Apologetics. It used to be expected that every educated person had a general understanding of the Bible and could easily reference books and passages. Take time to read and discuss the Bible together and memorize Scripture. Awanas and the Bible Bee are excellent programs to commit the Bible to memory.

Basic Computer Information Systems – Powerpoint, Video Editing, Internet Safety, and Accountability.

Health – should include general health information, introduction to addictions, cybersecurity and addictions, ages and stages, reproductive health.

Vocational & Career Interests including Entrepreneurship – in today’s quickly changing market and the gig economy that they will inevitably be a part of, it’s important for your students to explore Vocational and Career Options as Life Skills and Personal Finance.

Typical Course of Study electives can vary and be wildly diverse. Think about student’s areas of interest, as well as what’s available to them. Many students delve deeply into a subject area that really piques their interest, like art, drama, music, electronics, etc. And don’t forget to provide a robust reading list for your high school students, which should include short stories, novels, plays, and poems.

High School is also a time to explore new areas of interest so take some time to seek out and expose your student to activities and unique experiences.

A typical course of study for your high school should also include Community Service– I would recommend 15 hours a year or more. It’s tricky with Covid, but you can always write letters to service men and women, collect coats or food for the local coat drive or food pantry. You might have to get creative, but high schoolers typically are creative.

Please make time to teach your students about internet safety and how to protect themselves from addictions, pornography, and perpetrators. Teach them how to manage social media and how to be accountable. Getting snared in addiction at a young age can have devastating implications for them. I highly recommend Glow Kids for every parent and young adult.

 

Testing Options and More

ACT Test Prep can save you thousands of dollars in Scholarship earned, National Latin Exam looks great on a transcript, and our Performance Series test is a straightforward way to assess where your student is at and helps them gain confidence with standardized tests.

Want to know more about credits, transcripts, and standardized tests to ensure your high school student is getting a typical course of study? Survive Homeschooling High School is a comprehensive eBook that will walk you through how to plan and prepare for high school. If you have a good handle on your high school plan but want help with the logistics of a transcript or assigning credits, you may want to check out our Academic Advising- we offer Academic Advising, SPED Advising for nontraditional learners, and NCAA Advising for those looking to compete for an NCAA position.

It’s a great time to be homeschooling, and the options for High School Homeschooling are better than ever! Check out our live online dynamic, interactive classes taught within an international community by world-class teachers! Students interact and work together- we believe excellent education takes place within a community!

And, in case you didn’t know, we offer Bundles for terrific savings.

We hope you have found our quick guide to a typical course of study for high school helpful. We invite you to join our Facebook group to let us know and to chat with other homeschool parents about credits, transcripts curriculum, and everything homeschool.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read these:

Get Some Sleep!

Get Some Sleep!

Get Some Sleep!

I’ve said before that sleep can never be overrated. It’s so important to get adequate rest when one is working hard. And let’s face it, managing a home, parenting and homeschooling are all hard work. It takes brainpower including creativity, critical thinking and communication skills, a fantastic sense of humor, and the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome in almost any given situation. Phew! I get tired just thinking about it!

Years ago I heard Jesse Wise (Mom to Susan Wise Bauer) say that there was little that a nap or a snack couldn’t fix. I think it’s an important reminder that our kids often need simple re-sets and re-fuel to function well.

And it’s not bad advice for us mommas, too. I have said for years that good sleep is cheap medicine, and we would all do better to adequate time off from work, including homeschooling, and make sure that we have good, uninterrupted sleep, and rest when we need it.

So, how do you rest- especially those of us who are working, homeschooling, managing house- the list is endless-and how do you get a great night’s sleep?

Schedule Sleep. Put it on the calendar.

    • What days will be screen-free?
    • What days will be work-free?
    • What days will be free from formal schooling?
    • When will you and the kids begin winding down in the evening –schedule 30 minutes for your wind-down routine?
    • When will you and the kids go to sleep at night?
    • When will you and the kids wake up in the morning? Regular wake-times help with better sleep

 

Create end-of-day routines for both kids and you so that you can get good sleep.

    • Adequate water throughout the day
    • Adequate green therapy throughout the day
    • Adequate exercise and movement throughout the day
    • Don’t eat late in the evening
    • Cut down on the caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
    • Cal-Mag drink or lotion
    • Screen-free for an hour before bedtime
    • Supplements if you take them
    • Epson salt foot bath or bath
    • Relaxing music or bedtime story
    • Simple phrases or cues for kids, such as bedtime stories
    • Lights lowered and household activity quieted
    • Turn off the Wi-Fi and gather phones for the evening
    • Limit napping

 

Create sleeping spaces that are welcoming and cue rest/sleep.

    • Make bedrooms screen and electronic free, including phones
    • Block out light
    • Block out noise – use a white noise machine or fan if you need it
    • Set up a cool room temperature
    • Create a peaceful environment that is set aside for sleeping
    • No reading or eating or other activity in bed
    • Paint your bedrooms a soothing blue – blue sends a message to your brain that you’re in a calm environment, lowering your heart rate and your blood pressure. Yellow and Green are also great colors for bedrooms, while purple, gray, brown, and red stimulate your brain and rev you up
    • Establish regular sleeping and waking habits.
    • Manage stress before going to sleep- journal, pray, practice deep breathing

 

Staying on Track

Getting adequate sleep improves performance and reaction times, including emotional regulation and judgment, as well as thinking skills such as memory, critical thinking, and creativity.

As every Momma knows, sleep deprivation can lead to grumpiness, lack of cooperation, and bad attitudes. Adequate rest and deep sleep are imperative for doing the very important and high-energy work of homeschooling.

Need help keeping on track? Our Mom’s Membership site is all about supporting you to do the hard work of homeschooling.