Writing Club is one of the highlights of our week here at True North Homeschool Academy. We meet twice a month for a time of writing, reading, skills building, discussion of great books and smart goals. Students are writing plays, novels, poetry and more!
We are expanding our clubs at True North Homeschool Academy to include Speech, Debate and Art Club! Why? Because homeschool clubs are an essential part of Jr. and Sr. High School! Don’t believe me? Here are ten great reasons why your 7th-12th grader should be in a homeschool club!
Homeschool Clubs offer accountability.
In a homeschool club, students meet regularly with others with similar interests and abilities, setting goals and report progress to their classmates and club mentors. Writing down and sharing goals is a sure-fire way to move ahead with them!
Homeschool Clubs provide a diverse learning environment.
Rubbing shoulders with those who know more than you allow students to have something to reach and strive for. In our Writing Club, we have students aged 12- 17 with a broad range of ability, experience, and passion. The older kids encourage younger students and provide amazing role-models.
Homeschool Clubs offer mentorships.
Being a mentor for those who don’t know as much as you do gives students a chance to hone their own abilities. The best way to learn something exceptionally well is to teach it. In writing club students with experience are reaching out to younger students to offer advice, encouragement and support, share contests, online resources, editing, and more!
Homeschool Clubs are skill building.
Clubs allow students to grow and develop their skills in ways that they possibly wouldn’t seek out on their own. Our writing club has delved into songwriting, comedic sketch writing, and more based on the interest of club members!
Homeschool Clubs are low stress but offer high rewards.
Clubs allow students to immerse oneself into an area of interest without a huge time or monetary investment. Jr and Sr high school is the perfect time for students to explore various areas of interest. Clubs give students support to explore and develop in areas that may lead to career interests, lifelong hobbies, friendships, and professional skills!
Homeschool Clubs are a great way to earn credits.
Clubs are a low-stress way to earn credits. Our writing club is automatically worth a half a credit a year but students can earn up to a full credit of writing, depending on their goals and commitment. This allows students to build their transcript in a low-stress fun way!
Clubs often offer side benefits.
Because our good writers are readers, our writing club does a weekly “Book-Share” too. Students learn about different genres, learn assessment tools and participate in co-authoring quarterly “Tweens and Teens Book Recommendations,” which are published on our blog. Also, students have the opportunity to write blog posts for our blog, allowing them to publish before a fairly wide audience while still in high school.
Homeschool Clubs offer more freedom than a traditional classroom.
For example, homeschool club members can socialize with people that they have things in common with. In our Writing Club, we often do break-out rooms with smaller groups. The kids work on projects together, like writing poems or songs and have a blast laughing, brainstorming, and coming up with amazing ideas together.
In a Homeschool Club, everyone is there because they want to be there.
They are already interested in the subject matter which makes it easier to make friends! People tend to be warmer and more engaged when it’s something they want to do versus something they have to do. In our Writing Club, kids are meeting and talking with kids from around the country both inside (and outside of class).
Homeschool Clubs allow students to have input!
On the suggestion of one of our Writing Club members, we have writing “buddies.” Kids were paired up randomly with someone else in the class. This is because kids wanted to be able to continue writing prompts, share ideas, and brainstorm outside of class. The enthusiasm is contagious and some writing buddies are even writing stories together!
Clubs. We LOVE them at True North Homeschool Academy because we LOVE watching students learn, grow and develop into people who are passionate and eager to engage in the world around them!
What are you waiting for? Join a Club for Spring! At True North Homeschool Academy we offer:
Ever wondered if your homeschooler is prepared for high school? When your homeschooler is about to enter high school you may question a few things:
Where did the time go?
How will you get everything “done” before they graduate?
Will they be accepted to _______ (insert college, votech school, adulthood)?
Will they be successful?
Yep, everything’s getting real.
How can your homeschooler be prepared for high school success? There is so much to think about and so much curriculum to wade through. Not to mention that perhaps you feel like you have to give up the delight directed or unit study approach you took to homeschooling in the elementary and junior high years. Today I will make it easy for you. Here are some skills your student needs to be prepared for high school.
Writing and Presentation Skills
Regardless of what your child ends up doing vocationally, they will be required to do some type of writing and or presentation skills. Before your student gets to high school, they should be able to write a complete and well thought out sentence, paragraph, and 5 paragraph essay. If not, now is the time to really focus on these skills.
Can your student stand up and do a simple 1-2 minute presentation on a subject of their choice? If not, now is the time to find opportunities for them to do so. (Be sure to check out our Speech and Debate Clubs to help with these skills.)
Honing students math skills in junior high is imperative if they are going to succeed at high school level math. Students should easily be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide, manipulate simple fractions, decimals and percent’s, calculate basic grocery story math such as making change and calculating a tip. Deductive reasoning and simple logic should be manifesting themselves in how your kiddos engage and interact with you and the world.
Health and Wellness
Health and wellness skills are necessary for a student to be prepared for high school. Students should be taking responsibility for basic self-care as well as health and fitness. Engaging in sports or working out should be a regular part of their lives. Kids worn out by hard physical exertion are also less likely to argue and bicker and most people enjoy a challenge. (Check out the Goldilocks Principle to learn more.)
We live in a world where pleasure and ease abound. Teaching our kids to discern between good and right activities and entertainment and what is not can save them from heartache, addiction, and more. Teach them to protect themselves with internet and phone filters, having good definitions of wholesome and life-damaging, and being humble enough to have accountability. Helping them find a tribe and a purpose as they enter high school will take a lot of pressure off of them.
We live in a digital world. Your kids need to know some basics like how to keyboard, make their way around google docs, send email and netiquette. Learning simple programming will open options they wouldn’t otherwise have. Also, understanding how to present themselves online as well as protect themselves online will help them navigate online opportunities and challenges more successfully.
Science is all about observing and viewing the world with wonder and awe. Having a clear understanding of the scientific method, how to really study something well, revealing in the marvel and joy of creation- these are all cultivated skills that will hold students in good stead as they face high school and beyond. In a time when cultivated disinterest seems to be a norm, being intrigued not only cultivates awareness, but also gratitude.
Having a clear sense of history by the time one enters high school is a great gift to the student. It orients them to time and space, gives them a clear understanding of other cultures. It can also save them from the academic sin of anachronism, as well as helping them begin to develop empathy and compassion for cultures, people, and places that are not their own. (Check out our Claritas & More program.).
Bible and Theology
Having a clear sense of who one is and who they are in relation to a living God is a gift. Building on basic Bible stories, delving into Apologetic and Church History gives kids an even deeper sense of who they are, their place in the world, and God’s sovereignty.
Soft skills are another way to ensure your homeschooler is prepared for high school. These are things like manners, executive functioning, problem-solving, time and distraction management. Skills that are not easily measured but will allow your kiddo to survive and thrive in the world, despite their vocation or position in life.
Tween & Teen Book Recommendations from our Writing Club!
Because writers are readers, book reviews are a regular part of our bi-monthly Writing Club! Check out what our True North Homeschool Academy Tweens and Teens are reading and see if you can’t find something new to add to your book list!
The Knight & Kingdom series by Chuck Black -5*
Cross Roads by Paul Willis -5*
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel -3.5*
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis -5* An insightful, thought-provoking piece, done by the ever brilliant CS Lewis, on the old, well known Cupid and Psyche myth. Something to be aware of: this book is a CS Lewis masterpiece, and therefore if you do not look past the face of this book, then you have missed the entire point of CS Lewis. This is a layered book. And I mean LAYERED. Though the writing is simple enough, the ideas, metaphors, and insight are all pretty hefty. Don’t read this if you aren’t ready to think deeply.
The Visitation, Frank Peretti -4* A burned-out pastor struggles and grows in his faith as a man claiming to be Jesus shows up in his town. Supernatural events turn the small town upside-down…he must take action. Good read overall- drags towards the middle, but once you get towards the end you’re almost afraid to put it down!
Silas Marner, By George Eliot – 5* Set in old England, it walks through the life of a falsely accused weaver and his slow redemption.
Fahrenheit 451; Ray Bradbury -5* What would happen if books were illegal? What would happen if America gave up on substance and chased after pleasure? Ray Bradbury looks into this idea in his classic, award-winning Fahrenheit 451. From the view of a Firefighter, whose whole job is to burn books, life isn’t going well. His wife almost commits suicide, he isn’t happy, and war is on the horizon. Through curiosity, and something like instinct he starts to snitch books, and after a particularly rough day, decides to see what’s inside them, which launches him into a odd sort of journey, or adventure, but I think it’s a little more interesting than that, I just don’t know what else to call it.
The Unwanteds -5 *
The Hobbit by Tolkien- (fantasy) -5* Bilbo was a hobbit. He didn’t do much, and he didn’t go anywhere. But he had a friend who happened to be a wizard, who decided that it is about time Bilbo ought to have an adventure. After being horrified at the amount of personality that can fit into the small body of a dwarf, not to mention their appalling manners, Bibo eventually joins a bond with the plus-sized personalities of the dwarfs and has the opportunity to have a riddle contest not only with a dilapidated hobbit but also a dragon. Plus he also gets to sing songs with elves, and travel through giant spider infested forests. What more could you ask for?
The Menagerie Trilogy by Sue Ann Carter Sutherland -5*
The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer Nelson -5*This is the story of a mischievous prince ascending to his throne despite the many obstacles. Five stars.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien -4* When Frodo Baggins inherits a magical ring, he is thrown headlong into the quest of a lifetime. This epic novel tells a story of love, bravery and the extraordinary battle between good and evil. Although rather long, it is a suspenseful and action-packed read to the very end.
Michael Vey series, by Richard Paul Evans 4* This seven-book series is the story of teenagers with abilities involving electricity. It is not strictly Christian, but an adventurous read.
Kensuke’s Kingdom by M Markpuro -4.5*
Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland -5* -Clay, Tsunami, Sunny, Starflight, and Glory must save the world with their awesomeness. A giant war is raging…but what can five dragonets do? Sutherland gives wonderful voice to her characters, and though it’s at an easy reading level, you can’t put it down until you’ve read cover to cover (or book 1 to book 5).
Michael Vey series, by Richard Paul Evans. 4*This seven-book series is the story of teenagers with abilities involving electricity. It is not strictly Christian, but an adventurous read.
The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer Nelson. 5*This is the story of a mischievous prince ascending to his throne despite the many obstacles.
The King of Shadows (Shakespeare’s Time) -5*
Carry on, Mr. Bowditch -5* (colonial America)
The Star Under the City -5* (WWII)
Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz -5* (WWII)
Michael O’Shaunessey and his parents are spies in Germany during WWII. When he joins (infiltrates) the Hitler youth, things get complicated. This is a fantastic book. Humor, suspense, history, adventure…this book has got it all.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell -4*
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie -5* One word: Fascinating! I don’t agree with all of his policies, but the amount of examples he gives as evidence of success is astounding! Dale Carnegie not only has an amazing writing style, and wonderful stories, but his content is worth looking into. Whether you are in the workplace, with your kids, or with human beings in general, How to win friends and influence people could be the answer to well, some, your problems.
The Mystery & the Minister’s Wife Series -5*
The Secret of the Golden Cowrie by Gloria Repp- 5* This book is about a little girl trying to find a precious shell while escaping danger along the way.
So there are our top book recommendations. How about you? What are you reading?
Book recommendations given by our amazing Writing Club members: Parker, Hannah, Emily, Gabi, Malachi, Ada, Venetia, and Sydney.
(Interested in joining the True North Homeschool Academy writing club? You can check it out here.)
(Stay tuned all the way to the end and enter to win the Take Time for Art Ancient Greece Unit. It’s $107 value!)
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.)
I am always on the look-out for quality art programs for high school students. As a closet artist drawing instruction and the fundamentals of art have been non-negotiables in our homeschool. Couple these basics with several years of high-quality art instruction at co-op by some talented homeschool Mommas, along with some professional art instruction and well, we have high standards. And we have had a hard time finding homeschool art instruction or materials that meet the mark.
Enter Take time for Art: Hands-on Art History by Penny Hayes
First, we received a box of beautifully packaged, high-quality art materials. Each student pack comes with all but the most basic and common art materials and supplies needed to complete each of the projects featured. This actually makes the program so much more enjoyable because all you have to do is keep the project pack neatly and carefully packed together in a large, durable zip-lock bag for storage; meaning that your materials will be ready to use when needed.
We chose Ancient Greece instead of Ancient Egypt, or Ancient Rome because my 18-year-old son is an old hand at re-creating historically accurate weaponry and costumes and he was quite curious about the Spartan helmet included in the pack.
The program is a winning combination of online history, art instruction, and hands-on creation.
Ancient Greece’s program includes 16 units that vary in length between 5 and 22 minutes. Each unit covers a specific period and is a visual feast of artwork, compellingly narrated by Penny.
About every fourth lesson is an art project. For this set, the projects were:
an octopus painting, reminiscent of frescos found in Ancient Greece
a tile painting
a foil relief picture
a 3-D Spartan Helmet
These are not cheesy, elementary projects, but very nice, artistically delightful projects that are suitable for gift giving. Our art group included a 15-year-old artist, an 18-year-old artist and a 24-year-old nurse who does not consider herself an artist, all of whom are or were homeschooled. My two kids have had extensive art training and are quite good in their areas of interest, but the great thing about these projects is that provide a very solid base that allows your kids to follow the projects exactly or get creative.
Penny does an exceptional job of explaining and showing in detail each art project. Penny’s explanations are thorough and complete, and the lessons are neither too rushed or too drawn out.
Penny also includes the name and artist of each piece of artwork displayed in the Credits. Under “Resources” there is a brief welcome letter, materials, a pacing guide and resources needed to create each project. The Pacing Guide is actually a curriculum guide and includes art and history questions. This is a great introduction to basic art terms. Also included is a video on the color wheel and instructions on how to make one.
This program could quickly be turned into an art history class if the parent wants to have the kids memorize the artwork included, of which there is an impressive amount.
Also included was a unit titled, “On the Road with the Apostle Paul.” This is a lovely rendition of the Road to Damascus story, told in gorgeous artwork, again with Penny narrating. It is clever in all the best sense of the word, and a unique look at an important event in church history.
My kids were a bit worried that this program was going to be childish and silly but they spent several happy hours talking about the history, looking up and cross-referencing things Penny had mentioned (we are die-hard history people, too!). The art projects the kids chose to focus on gave them several happy hours of creative relaxation. Furthermore, the end results were lovely! Also, included were art mats and suggestions for how to complete the projects for every day use.
Lastly, Penny teaches the kids how to make a Roman Road in a cup. A simple but profound aspect of the Roman world and a lesson in construction that isn’t crazy messy but gets the point across.
I loved the thoroughness of the program, the attention to detail and Penny’s gentle and sweet spirit as she guides young artists through history and art!
This is a unique and well-done program and is definitely worth the cost, especially considering that you can have more than one student accessing the course at a time. Do yourself a favor and purchase the art supplies when you order the class so that you’ll have artist quality supplies at the ready.
The actual lessons add up to about 3 hours and each project will take between 1-3 hours. Each program is easily worth ¼ credit of art; combine two for ½ high school credit of Art, History or Elective credit. This program is easily accessible to kids in elementary school throughout High School and beyond and would make a lovely present for the historian or budding artist in your life!
The Classical Method of Education is on the rise and gaining in popularity among home and private schools.
What’s the draw? I believe it has to do with the fact that people realize that it’s a time-tested method of education with proven results! Perhaps you’ve have heard of the three stages of the Trivium: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.
During the Grammar stage, the student memorizes easily and well. Some curriculum developers have capitalized on this by marketing programs that feature, almost exclusively, memory work. The beauty of this stage is to encourage memory work, while building abundance in a variety of areas, exposing children to a mixture of experiences and environments in which their minds can develop and grow. Memory work is only one aspect of an excellent education.
However, we believe that Repetitio Mater Studiorum. In other words, repetition is the mother of learning. In order to learn, one must memorize. Once we’ve remembered something, we own the information.We have done serious memory work in our home for over a decade, ranging from poetry, Shakespeare, the Bible, speeches, plays, humor, and quotes. This memorization, coupled with extensive reading, a wide array of experiences, and other excellent curriculum has provided us with a rich and fascinating education and created a love of learning in our students!
Here are our top 7 Reasons for Completing Memory Work
Your brain is a muscle. If you exercise it, it will get stronger, be more flexible and be able to do things you never imagined you could! The more you memorize, the more you learn.
Teaching your child how to memorize teaches proper study skills! Memorization is discipline for the mind. Kids who can remember efficiently and well know how to think in a way that is focused and diligent. Memory work leaves sloppy laziness behind!
Memory work creates a context for everything you know- no one can think or live in a vacuum, and memory work helps each person create a rich and varied setting in which new information and knowledge can live and grow! We think with the ideas that we hold in our memory. Without a rich store of memory to draw on our brains are mush!
Memorizing vast amounts of information will allow you to make amazing connections across subject areas in a way that simply cross-referencing won’t do for you.
If you couple memory work with logic skills (Dialectic Stage) and writing and speaking skills (Rhetorical Stage) you will be well prepared professionally, regardless of what career field you choose to enter.
Memory is learning. If you haven’t memorized it, you’ve merely over-viewed it; not mastered it. To be an expert in any field requires knowledge that you own. A.K.A. knowledge you’ve memorized!
Maturity and wisdom demand that we learn grow and develop. Referencing Google or Wikipedia won’t lead us to maturity or wisdom. We must know (learn and memorize), understand and discern to grow in maturity and wisdom.
At True North Homeschool Academy, we’ll be offering a memory-based program for your K-7th graders; Classical Memory and More, with Claritas. This program will cover Timeline, History sentences, English and Latin grammar, Geography, Math, Bible, and Hymns.
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