Many of us consider music an elective and one of those homeschool subjects that we may “get to.” But I contend that music is a life skill which informs us in many areas of our lives. Chiefly, It allows our kids to develop executive functioning as well as transferable skills.
I encourage you to carve out time for music. Just consider that you probably already do. What’s on your playlist? How many hours a week do you listen to music while you workout, or are in the car? Music is an integral part of our lives. Accordingly, the songs we listen to, the movies we watch, as well as the worship we offer can change our mood and – above all – lead to redemption.
A Universal Language
Music is a Universal Languages, along with Math and Latin. As has been noted, we can communicate to others with music, even if we lack a common language!
I’ve teamed up with Melissa Grande, a professional Musician and one of our amazing True North Homeschool Academy teachers to talk about some of the obvious benefits of studying music!
10 Benefits of Studying Music
Stress Management & Therapeutic Benefits – Music calms the soul, gives kids the ability to express emotions and work off the wiggles! It utilizes many neural pathways to learning. Music education is kinesthetic, and auditory, but also visual as they develop eye-hand coordination and the ability to read music.
Quick Thinking Skills – playing an instrument requires the student to think quickly. That requirement increases exponentially if they are playing with a band of any kind. Kids become quick thinkers as they have to check what’s going on with other musicians.
Social Skills – these become well developed through music as students learn collaboration & communication skills. Skills are required for coordinating with others in the home about best practice times. Social skills are used when working with other musicians, coordinating with teacher and developing as a performer.
Responsibility and Discipline – are a natural outcome of music studies as students learn to take care of their instruments. It also requires that they focus on practicing and tough out the physical hardship of developing their craft.
Problem Solving – is one of the many gifts of studying any art. Students must simply work to understand the music. The sounds of their instrument and how to create music with others involve problem solving skills.
Time Management and Deadlines – are integral to developing as a musician. You must show up to lessons on time, show up to practice and performances while juggling other responsibilities and demands.
Pride in Accomplishments – (and learning that you have the ability to Do Hard Things). We want good things for our kids, and might even have to guard against serving up fun too often. Instead, teach them to hold out for deep joy and fulfillment when they have overcome and can enjoy their accomplishment.
Perseverance and Patience – we know that good things come from years of practice and investment. Excellence comes with practice. Our kids learn this as they wrestle with loving their instrument and playing music over the long term.
Creative Expression – this might seem obvious but is not to be overlooked. Music allows our kids – and us- creative expression. Who hasn’t lip-synced at the top of their lungs in the car alone? Who hasn’t cried, hearing a touching song, or choked up singing Handel’s Messiah? Music moves our spirit and soul and unlocks hidden emotions and allows us to become more fully human.
Self Expression – along with creative expression, music allows us to express ourselves as individuals. We all have a song to sing and a beautiful story to tell. Music allows us another avenue to share that with others!
A Lot of Bang for Your Homeschool Buck!
Music is one of those courses of study that give you so much bang for your buck. Your kids learn a fantastic academic skill, that can garner them scholarship dollars and amazing opportunities. As they develop their skills, music will help them maintain their positive mental health. They will develop transferable skills that will hold fast throughout their lives.
Not sure where to start with Music Education in your homeschool? Check out True North Homeschool Academy Music classes. We believe in and value music education so much that we offer k-12th grade opportunities that will inspire and delight!
Check Out K-12 Classes to Get Their Creative Energies Flowing
Art & Music I – one of our most popular Elementary classes last year! This is a Charlotte Mason inspired course that teaches Art through the Seasons. Children learn to play the tin whistle along with learning about music.
Art & Music II – for those who couldn’t get enough of Art and Music I. (or for older kids) Students will again have inspiring Art through the Seasons lessons and learn rhythm through bucket drumming!
From Handicrafts to Technology
Take a look at more than 30 electives available on our website. True North Homeschool Academy offers elective courses that are creative and practical.
Hey there, homeschooler! Can you believe it’s about time to prep for the coming school year? Summer is rushing by, as it always does, and back to school sales are starting up again.
Before you are in the midst of all of the fall activities starting back up, take some time to prepare so that you can get back to school with confidence!
The best way to start the next school year off fresh is to make sure your starting point is clean and uncluttered!
Declutter from Summer
Get rid of outgrown/ unused clothes and shoes
Host a Coat or Clothes Drive for your local shelter.
Sort through School Supplies and get rid of outgrown or worn-out items
Sort through School Workbooks, Curriculum and Textbook, Compost, throw and donate worn out and outgrown items.
Once you’ve donated and thrown away outdated and worn out items, you are ready to think anew about what’s ahead! It’s going to be a great year!
Tips for Shopping
Have your kids help with the planning and shopping:
Ask them what they want to study and how they want to learn it.
Give them a budget, catalogs and see what they come up with.
Award a prize to whoever finds the best deal!
If you are curriculum shopping, it might help to check out our Typical Course of Study for High School and Typical Course of Study for Junior High.
Make plans to get the books you need. Decide whether you will be going to the library regularly or purchasing books.
Remember that back to school sales are a great time to get supplies for your school year activities, crafts and hobbies.
Back to Homeschool Supplies
New Water Bottles
New Fun Socks or PJ’s
Fill a backpack for a student in need or donate a meal to the food pantry together.
Purchase homeschool family t-shirts
OR create tie-dyed homeschool shirts for field trips or bleach dye them.
Don’t forget the digital tools your kids will need. Now is a good time to purchase, upgrade or replace them.
Password Organization tools
A plan for organizing each students online work- papers, passwords,
Internet safety and classes or clubs.
Noise Dampening Ear phones -public spot for online classes.
Basket to gather phones and other electronics at night so everyone gets a great night sleep
Tablets/ cases/ chargers
Computers/ cases, chargers
Extra Charging cords and power banks
Develop Daily Habits
You’ve got the stuff, now consider HOW you are going to manage your days and weeks.
Waking and Sleeping/ Nap routines
What soothing rituals can you incorporate into your daily routine to cue your and your kiddos that it’s time to start or end the day? Here are a few ideas:
Peppy or soothing music
Smoothie or fruits and greens drink
A brisk walk or a family read-aloud.
Plan and Create a Morning Meeting or a Morning Basket.
When we had a houseful of kids, starting the day off with the youngest calmed and soothed them. Our Morning Basket was one of the most fun parts of our day and we all loved gathering to study together!
Other Tools and Resources That Make Homeschooling Easier
Do you need to think about adding in any of the following?
Plan for the Inevitable so that you can manage keeping the house clean and people fed and clothed while homeschooling and possibly working as well.
Meal planning, shopping and prepping
General pick-up and cleaning plan
Create Learning Stations in your home to build routine and muscle memory. You don’t need vast amounts of space. You can really create a “station” with a simple basket or shelf.
Art & Music “Studios” with log sheets
Group together kids’ kitchen tools, recipe books and cooking supplies
Audio Learning Lab
Foreign Language Lab
PE course or equipment/ log sheets
Unit Study or Lap book/ Scrap-booking
Think about Weekly/ Monthly/ Seasonal Routines and Events/ Happenings
What days off or prep time is needed for each, who is budgeting, doing the prep and clean up afterwards? Remember to add these to your calendar so you can quickly see what is coming up and avoid scheduling conflicts.
Church and Bible Study
Weekly Meeting with each student to go over planner and assignments from 6th grade on up
Weekly Family Planning Meeting
Vacations/ trips for travel
Create First Day or Week of School Events
Host an Open House for your fellow Homeschool Friends or a Themed Book Event
Create a “Day of discovery” for the first day of school:
Whether you are a veteran homeschool parent with years under your belt, or new to home education altogether, we hope that you will find some ideas here that inspire your “back to homeschool” celebration!
Advanced Placement for the Homeschooler. Is this even a thing? Launching our homeschooled students can feel trickier than ever before. We have college costs and world view to contend with.
Many homeschooling parents are looking for the least expensive, most time effective way of getting their kids through college, with a degree, vocational training and minimal debt. And for those purposes, you may want to consider Advanced Placement classes (known as “AP”) as part of your overall strategy of launch success.
Q: What is the difference between AP and other college credit options? A: AP is preferred by most colleges because it is created and closely monitored by universities. Dual enrollment & especially CLEP are a hit and a miss–universities prefer certainty.
Q: What is the minimum score necessary to equal credit at college? A: Normally a score of 3 although William & Marry, for example, allows a score of 2. Parents should phone the admission departments at colleges.
Q: How many hours is an AP course worth and how many hours can I take to college? A: 3-6 hours per course depending upon the consenting college. Most college allow 18-28 hours. Vanderbilt, for instance, will transfer in 18 hours but only if the score is 4-5.
Q: When should my student take an AP course. A: When he/she is ready! Normally 11th or 12th grade, but in some cases 10th grade. Speak to Dr. Stobaugh about this.
Q: How much time will my student have to spend completing AP work? A: Normally 1 hour per day (5 hours/week).
Parents must find a cooperating high school. Students will have an option to take the exam onsite or at home digitally.
Here is a list of high schools that administer AP exams:
Dr. Stobaugh has had more than 25 books published including the SAT and College Preparation Course for the Thoughtful Christian (2016), and The ACT andCollege Preparation Course for the Christian Student (2012), as well as a critical thinking literary writing and history series.
He is the pastor of Mt. Laurel United Church of Christ, Boswell, PA, an evangelical Protestant church not too far from the Flight 93 crash. Jim and Karen reside on a farm called The Shepherd’s Glen in the Laurel Highland Mountains, Hollsopple, PA. You can read his blog and order his services at www.forsuchatimeasthis.com.
Each year there are roughly 15.4 millionhigh school students in America, with 25% of those students from 24,000 high schools. Each of those high schools has a “Best;” the best football player, scholar, performer, linguist, etc. Competition is stiff for both college and university scholarships.
Furthermore, the number of honor students in India is greater than the number of total students in America, and with today’s global market, future college-goers are competing with scholarship dollars and opportunities internationally. Standing out from the crowd will garner your student scholarship money and opportunities that being one of the many will not.
What is a Stand-Out Factor?
A Stand out factor can be many different things but they are most likely to include:
Initiative –student initiated, led and directed
Passion – student has personal investment
Individuality –has to do specifically with the students core values
Strategy –student has strategized to achieve
I would also recommend that a Stand-Out Factor include:
Positive impact on others
Broad Reach & Big Win
With technology so readily available, it’s almost easier to develop your stand-out factor than ever before. Young creative entrepreneurs can self-publish novels, music, videos, and movies. But, publishing doesn’t automatically make something Stand-out. How can you tell if you have developed your stand-out factor?It’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!
What’s a stand-out factor? It’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!
Lisa Nehring, Director, True North Homeschool Academy
Stand Out Students
Below I’ve listed some of the ideas students that I’ve worked with have actually done to develop their own ability to stand out:
Participate in and win National Competitions- Geography, History, Bible, Poetry
Participate in CAP or Jr ROTC
Turn your interest in performing into becoming a juggler or clown
Turn your interests into an opportunity to impart your knowledge to others and teach a skills you’ve learned in person, or online
Use What You Have
Identify and develop areas where your students show interest or talents and skills they are already using. You might also consider areas that you, as the parent, can coach or develop in your student. If you have a passion or hobby and your student shows interest, I would venture to say that that is an area that would be perfect to develop into a stand-out factor.
Outsource When Needed
On the other hand, each of our kids shows talents and abilities that we might know nothing about. In which case I would encourage you to research and find resources that can develop your student’s interest beyond your knowledge. Resourcing your student doesn’t have to be expensive, as there are so many great online tutorials now. Literally, the world is at your fingertips with the tap of your fingers. At the same time, don’t overlook local resources. My older kids took horseback riding lessons from a National Barrel racer in return for mucking out stalls.
Developing your student’s stand-out factor might garner those students scholarship dollars and opportunities; it might lead to jobs or even a career. At the very least, it will develop your student’s overall sense of ability and accomplishment, as well as soft skills, such as work ethic, communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking.
High School is the perfect time to develop your student’s stand-out factor, through clubs, projects, and course work that helps them understand themselves and opportunities more robustly, such as our Orienteering Course.
If you need help identifying or knowing how to further develop your student’s stand-out factor, we’d love to help! Check out our Academic Advising program and Parent Membership programs!
Doing an after-action review on last year’s homeschooling might be the last thing on your mind. After all, school’s out for summer! We had a great year, learned a ton, read the best books, and wrote some amazing papers – commence summer schedule, baby!
But before you move on from this year, after-action your homeschool year. If you do, I promise it will save you time, money, and frustration!
What is it?
What is an After Action Review? It’s a structured de-briefing to analyze what happened, why it happened, and how it can be improved for the future.
Personally, I believe that after-actioning our homeschooling year can put our hearts and minds at ease, re-focus our energy and resources and help us be intentional as we plan and prepare for what’s ahead. This type of review allows us to objectively let go of things, activities, curriculum, and even schedules that did not work and embrace what did work. As a result, we can move ahead with confidence!
After Action: Assessment
Homeschooling curriculum, activities, events, clubs and more- what all worked?
What didn’t work in your homeschooling life this past year- curriculum, events, activities, clubs, challenges, etc.
Mom evaluation: did the curriculum work for you? Did you love it, like it, tolerate it, hate it? Did you enjoy using it?
Kid evaluation: did the curriculum work for the kids? Did you love it, like it, tolerate it, hate it? Did you enjoy using it?
Avoidance evaluation: What curriculum did you all avoid; was there anything that did not get used regularly enough to be beneficial?
Super star wins: curriculum that you all loved and couldn’t wait to get to? Double down on that!
Too rigorous or Not rigorous enough?
How did they fit into overall goals?
Was social interaction challenging, healthy and beneficial?
Assess Co-ops, on-line classes and other outsourced programs:
Double check your expectations compared to what the program delivered.
You invested time, money, planning and effort to participate; was it beneficial enough to continue?
Determine what you will continue and what will you change/ get rid of:
Sort and Organize
If it was completed: donate, sell or compost it. If you are keeping it, clean it up and put it back on the bookshelves. Want to keep those sweet memories? Make a scrapbook for a fun summer activity! Remember to go through clothes, shoes, and winter gear while you are at it. The kids grew at the speed of sound this year!
As you after-action, think through areas that you need more training or encouragement in and strategize how you’ll get the training that you need.
Also, determine an area you want to build your own copiousness in this year and make a plan for actually doing it. Nothing keeps homeschooling as exciting as knowing that you’ll all be learning and wrestling together through materials, gaining skills and knowledge! Don’t forget to add in some fun and a break from your regularly scheduled programming so that you are refreshed and ready for what’s next! Looking for awesome community and fellowship? Join our Mom’s Membership. You will benefit from support and three LIVE and interactive events online each week!
Assess what you need to have an amazing next year:
Start with a solid Personalized Learning Plan you’ve created yourself or work with one of our qualified Academic Advisors to create your next amazing school year. Check out the Survive Homeschooling Highschool ebook, full of information about credits, transcripts and electives, charts and helpful information about testing, and more!
After-actioning can give you a great sense of accomplishment for all that you’ve done this past school year and set you up for stellar success in the future as well as a relaxing summer!