Strategic Quitting

Strategic Quitting

Strategic Quitting

Business guru Seth Godin says, “Strategic Quitting is the Secret of Successful Organizations.”

Wow. Let that sink in during January of 2021. Because it felt like we all did a lot of quitting in 2020- quitting regular meet-ups with friends, live church, eating out, going to the gym, co-ops, class days, etc.

But that’s forced quitting, and hopefully, we’ll all be back to our life-giving communities SOON.

Strategic Quitting in Business

What about the things we need to give up: things that waste money, time, energy, goodwill, and our personal or collective resources? You know- the chocolate caramel treats you started buying in bulk around, say, March. Quitting that skanky show (you know the one). You won’t let your kids watch it, but you know isn’t so healthy for your attitudes either. The overpriced coffee you buy that blows your budget and supports causes you don’t—that type of quitting.

This month- as you think through habits and dreams, assess what you can cut out. Think through the fluff and fat. Lean up.

If you are in business, what you need to quit might be super obvious- or not. I was getting a recurring charge of $12.99 for a service I didn’t use (no biggie, but glad I caught it), and I was automatically enrolled in membership from a class that cost $129 a month (a definite biggie that I didn’t catch until several hundreds of dollars later (ouch)!

But that’s business. How does this apply to homeschooling?

Strategic Quitting in Your Homeschool

Strategic Quitting Blog Post. I quit calendar note.

Are you clear about your academic, life, and soft skills goals for each kiddo, and are they current? A quarterly mom assessment is not a bad idea.

Are your kids moving forward, or are they frustrated and stuck?

Are you, as the homeschooling teacher, frustrated and stuck?

Remember the Goldilocks Principle as you teach and train your kids: not too hard, not too easy, one step beyond what they know. If you, or your kids, are constantly frustrated by a subject or skill, it might be time to quit giving in to that frustration.

Get some testing, invest in a mentor, or an academic advising session. Those kinds of investments cost pennies on the dollar, point you to effective tools, tips, and curriculum, plus save your child (and you) years of heartache and frustration.

Let’s Quit These Things Together

Do you dread using the curriculum you purchased but feel guilty about tossing it aside? Quit the mom guilt. Sell it or gift it and do something else. There’s plenty of great curriculum out there (some of it free) that will bring you joy. Quit cheating yourself because of guilt. And if you need permission,  as a homeschooling vet of 30 years, I’m giving it to you.

Are you wasting time by not having clearly established rhythms and routines for your day? Quit letting life control you and set a realistic, doable schedule for you and your family. That means taking time to be aware of the natural rhythms and routines y’all have. It means being a student of your family.

Are your kids up way before you and ready to be productive, but you stayed up too late grabbing “me time”? Do you frequently sleep through your kids’ most productive hours of the day? Quit giving in to your emotions. Plan and schedule time so that you get re-fueled in a healthy way that feeds your entire family.

Are you constantly spending money on eating out because you didn’t meal plan? Quit putting off the inevitable. You and your people are going to need to eat. Multiple times a day, in fact, and learning how to plan meals and implement that plan will save you thousands of dollars and your health in the long run.

Is your clean unfolded laundry a permanent fixture on your couch because you ran out of time to fold and put it away? Quit thinking the laundry fairy will come to your rescue. Your Grandma probably had a weekly system that went something like this,  “Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, etc.” Create a doable laundry system; wash and dry throughout the week and then set aside 1-3 hours a week where everyone folds, hangs up and puts away laundry.

Addition by Subtraction

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Make 2021 the year you QUIT.

Quit anything that creates distractions and diverts you from your mission. This year, determine to GAIN peace, sanity, and productivity.

Need help, inspiration, and a community of like-minded mommas heading true north? Our Membership Site is just what you are looking for!

Strategic Quitting Infographic Things to Quit in the New Year Quit giving in to frustration - find solutions instead. Quit the mom guilt. Quit that curriculum that isn't working. Quit letting the urgent control you - plan your routine. Quit running on empty - stragtegize time for re-fueling. Quit putting off the inevitable - plan & budget meals. Quit magical thinking - the laundry fairy doesn't exist. Create a chore system that works for your family.

Re-Set for the Win!

Re-Set for the Win!

Re-Set for the Win!

I hear all the time that you need to “de-school” when you bring your kids home from public school. It drives me crazy because it’s probably not what your kids really need.

People say this because it places blame on something external (school) and removes guilt (you didn’t know what else to do, you’re not sure what you are going to do). But it’s really a myth.

What kids need when you bring them home from public school is a re-set.

A “re-set” allows for a growth mindset. De-schooling implies that school is the problem. And really it’s probably a delivery problem, or a pedagogy problem, or a seasonal problem; not necessarily a school problem.

 

Don’t De-School

Why not? I’m glad you asked. School is an important aspect of our culture. To “de-school” assigns a negative aspect to school. And I get it- maybe school was a negative thing in your kids’ life. But, listen; as parents, we need to help our kids learn to re-frame. This is a really important skill. And schooling will be a part of their lives for a while, maybe a long while, depending on what they do in life.  And we want our kids to have a growth mindset when it comes to school, academics, and education, right?

 

Re-Set for the Win!

Re-sets imply that you are looking for alternatives, aren’t stuck, and realize that you have options. Even homeschoolers need the occasional re-set. Like when you run into Covid and it wrecks your schedule, or you go back to work but keep homeschooling, or someone gets sick or has an accident or your kids become teenagers or you hit menopause. What was working might not work anymore. But, seriously, it’s not that big of a deal. You just hit re-set.

So, what’s a re-set, anyway?

A re-set is when you set, adjust, or fix in a new or different way.

As I look back, I see some examples of re-sets in my life that I’d like to share:

  • When we moved across the country with five kids, one of which was a nursing babe, we spent the spring painting the house from ceiling to floorboards and packing up. Lots of life skills, great books on tape, and hospitality happened that spring!
  • When we lived in a hotel for six weeks and then ten months in a rental after our house fire. We spent hours at the hotel pool, watched a crazy number of movies, and listened to Story of the World on CD so much that my then 9-year-old had parts of it memorized. We did Writing With Ease every morning poolside because my then littles revealed in the routine of school. Once we hit the rental, we spent hours sorting, inventorying damaged belongings and staining, painting, tiling, drywalling, brick-laying, etc as we remodeled. Maybe not a very “scholastic” year, but boy-howdy, our kids learned a lot of life skills, like dry-walling, but also resiliency and how to tackle a massive project – like a house remodel.
  • When I went back to work and we kept homeschooling- we made use of enrichment and academic co-ops and did school 3 days a week. Our Morning Basket was a really important part of our staying connected during that time.
  • When all of our kids grew up and moved on to college and beyond except our youngest. She does the majority of her school online now and our homeschooling consists of great discussions and her sharing newfound knowledge that goes beyond my expertise in areas that are of great interest to her.

Re-sets are just part of life and can provide a positive re-frame. Especially when you find yourself pivoting in your educational choices or in life in general. As we head into 2021, it’s a great time to assess what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what needs a re-set.

Tell me your thoughts on the issues! I’d love to know!

Experience Based Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens!

Experience Based Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens!

The greatest gifts are not wrapped in paper but in love!

The holiday season is just around the corner! Gift-giving is an important part of our Holiday tradition, along with stringing miles of lights and decorating multiple trees, filling our large farmhouse with holiday cheer!

If you are in a rut with gift-giving or feel like it’s materially oriented and has lost the joy of giving and gratitude, consider giving gifts that will contribute to experiences and that you can share together.

Hobbies & Shared Experiences

What hobbies, skills, or crafts grab your kids’ interest that you could encourage? Is there a local guild or artisan around who could mentor them? What about including YouTube links in a card as part of the present?

One son has been greatly interested in blacksmithing. I found some professional equipment for him used, along with a potential mentor, who is also now on the look-out for us for additional materials. The equipment isn’t new (some of it is antique) but it’s in great condition and good enough quality that he can get his feet wet without a huge financial investment. We were excited to find a former homeschooler, turned YouTuber, whose contact information will be part of the gift.

Books, Magazines & The Arts

Don’t forget magazines as a present that gives all year long.

Don’t limit your selections to “kids” magazines- we’ve had issues of Science News, National Geographic, Biblical Archeology Today, Artifax, and others laying around for years.

It has always amazed me how much information our kids glean, and what interests are piqued by reading books and magazines that are beyond their “ability” or from a different worldview than we hold. Reading and discussing articles together is a great way to have a conversation that can go far beyond the topic!

We’ll also be purchasing some Met Opera tickets to enjoy together- did you know that you can experience the Met live as they stream live performances, probably to a city near you.

The website includes great information about the performances, performers and so much more! During the actual live stream, you’ll get to hear interviews with the directors, performers, and producers, see behind-the-scenes staging and production, and be invited into a unique world of music, dance, and theater!

Learn & Support Local Artists

Our area hosts a small film festival that shows indie films and documentaries, many of which are award winners. Because it’s local, we often get to meet people somehow related to the film and hear interesting tidbits about the film selection along with other unique details. Our local festival shows films bi-monthly at local theaters, the crowd is often interactive and friendly and the movies are thought-provoking and discussion-worthy!

Call your local movie theater and see if there’s a film festival in your town!! Our local festival is great about making sure we know which movies are not suitable for youth and children, but you can always check the listing ahead of time to ensure that they are wholesome. We are buying season tickets this year as a family gift and look forward to some great viewing!

Create your own film festival at home with these fun scratch-off posters. Commit to a regular monthly or bi-monthly viewing with your kids and sit down to some classics like The Princess Bride or Karate Kid. Invite some friends and family and make it a party! 100 Movie scratch-off poster- books, places.

The Great Outdoors & Togetherness

Hit the trails!

Most cities have lovely bike or walking trails. Our mid-sized city has tens of miles of biking trails. Give commitments to biking somewhere together on a regular basis. Make it even more fun by adding in some early morning pedals to get coffee or hot chocolate together- or commit to evening summer rides to a favorite restaurant or Shakespeare in the park!

Give your kids coupons with times and dates, committing to a weekly conversation and coffee date – just you and them – sans electronics.

Not sure what to chat about? Check out our free list of Tween/ Teen Winter Convo Starters.

Get creative this Holiday season and celebrate your interests and relationships!

I’d love to hear about your creative, relational, or experience related gifts!

About the author: Lisa Nehring’s most memorable gifts were an engagement ring tied into a church Christmas ornament and a month-long backpacking trip to the High Uinta’s Wilderness areas – two grand adventures that changed her life. Along with gathering gifts (and gratefully receiving them) she owns, blogs, and teaches here at True North Homeschool Academy, which offers live online and self-paced classes, clubs, transcripts, testing, Special Needs resources, a vibrant active support community and more! Working at a job she loves and is passionate about, along with homeschooling, is one of her most favorite gifts of all!  You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and hanging out in her Facebook group; True North Homeschool Tribe.

 

 

Creating a Christmas Shopping Budget with Your Kids

Creating a Christmas Shopping Budget with Your Kids

Creating a Christmas Shopping Budget

At True North Homeschool Academy, we are proponents of teaching teens how to budget while they are still at home.

A fun and easy way to introduce the life skill of budgeting with your kiddos is to allow them a specific amount to do their Christmas shopping with and then have them create a budget with the money.

It’s not a difficult task and can be quite fun. In fact, my teens love budgets because it permits them to spend money, and hopefully, your teen will feel the same way!

So, get the Christmas budget download worksheet, and let’s get started.

Super Simple Christmas Budgeting

  • Have them go down the name category listing friends, family, and mentors for whom they want to buy gifts.
  • Next, real quick, have them jot down any particular ideas they have for gift ideas. If they aren’t sure, have them leave it blank.
  • Now, have your teen write at the top of the money section their TOTAL amount of money they have to spend.
  • Talk through cost for different items they definitely want to purchase.  They may also want to brainstorm, creating some of their gifts.
  • And finally – once all the money is spent on paper, encourage your teen to take the budget with them and have fun Christmas shopping!

Christmas budget lesson – DONE!

We hope you love the FREE Christmas Budget worksheet. We have included a bonus Christmas Wishlist worksheet as an early holiday gift to you all!

If you are planning your Christmas homeschool lessons and celebrations now you may also want to take a look at other helpful articles like our Holiday Book Ideas, and Unique Gifts for Tweens & Teens, creating Holiday Traditions, and Celebrating Christmas!

The True North Homeschool team is wishing you a sweet Christmas season, sweet homeschool families!

Homeschooling Is for High School

Homeschooling Is for High School

I’ve homeschooled for twenty-nine years and one thing that has remained consistent in the homeschooling community is that homeschoolers get nervous when it’s time to think about homeschooling high school.

However, in today’s times, it’s easy (and fun) to homeschool during the high school years!

What makes it so great to homeschool high school?

First, you can customize the curriculum for your student.

The online world has exploded, and blended learning is genuinely the homeschool high schoolers’ secret weapon.

Online education makes it easy for our teens to pursue areas of interest and passions, adding a depth of knowledge that can’t be recreated in a public school setting.  Your children will have time to read widely and then dive deeply into subjects that interest them.

We’ve known many homeschool high schoolers and graduates who have traveled extensively doing missions work in the country and internationally, in big cities and small villages, on medical and teaching and drama teams.

This customized hands-on training is a valuable life experience – one that can’t be replicated in a classroom.

If something isn’t working, you can change it.

Not every student, or even every sibling, learns the same way. With homeschooling, we have the opportunity to teach the way our children learn best. Maybe you have a hands-on learner AND an online learner in your family. You can accommodate both of their needs by homeschooling high school.

Next, opportunities for electives have exploded.

Online courses abound, both live and pre-recorded or self-paced.  You can find OCW (Open Course Ware) from colleges and universities.  YouTube and Ted Talks are also fantastic for high school students. The options are so numerous it’s hard to keep up with it all!

Electives can also be pursued at your local college or trade school.

Learning opportunities are only limited by your ability to get out and pursue them.

Technology allows foreign language and cultural studies to be up close and personal.

For example, my daughter interacts weekly with her Hebrew language instructor. He is in Israel and we are in the upper north Midwest; worlds apart and yet uniquely connected. Fellow students will be traveling to Israel later this year and plan to meet the Rabbi on their travels.

The world has gotten smaller and more accessible!

Homeschooling during high school is growing in popularity, and with this growth comes more opportunity!

Today, there are camps that market specifically to the homeschooler.

Some of these include TeenPact, Summit Ministries, Patrick Henry Camps, and more. Don’t overlook local offerings! My kids have been heavily involved in theater and performing Shakespeare for years, thanks to local enterprising moms with vision and talent.

And if you are worried about college credits and what’s beyond high school, take heart.

Here, too, opportunities abound. Many states offer inexpensive dual enrollment credits, many of which can be completed online. Post High School programs such as Apprentice University and Praxis offer kids fantastic life skills, job training, and opportunities for networking, all while allowing the kids to work while schooling.

They can graduate debt-free and skill-rich.

Also, homeschool high school help is available right at your fingertips.

You can outsource classes that you are insecure about teaching, or that you simply don’t have time for.  If your child is struggling, help is easy to find. Google is an excellent source of information, and if you are still struggling, you can find academic advising or consultation.

Online support groups also abound!  For example, our Facebook group, True North Homeschool Tribe is a great place to find wisdom and encouragement for homeschooling your high schooler.  We share curriculum, resources, great jokes, and support. You aren’t doing this alone!

Homeschooling high school affords us time with them before they launch into the world as independent young adults.

Relationships built during these high school years are priceless!

The days may be long, but the years are oh-so-short.

Homeschooling High School allows us to enjoy that precious time with these amazing young people whom we love so much.

Not sure where to start homeschooling High School? Our Academic Advising program is designed to take the worry and stress out and leave you with an actionable plan that will launch your students well!