“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne
This quotation from Charlemagne is timeless. We have always heard that it is beneficial to learn another language, but do we really believe it? Well, I do.
My Visit to Spain
As a cautious high school student, I boarded my first plane flight to Spain with a group of strangers. Armed only with three years of poorly learned high school Spanish I ventured headlong into a homestay with a wonderfully patient family. Later in my junior year of college, I lived in Córdoba, Spain for an academic year taking classes in Spanish and living life in a Spanish dorm. I quickly had to learn to navigate in my new world.
My Second Soul
So this brings me to my second soul. That summer after my junior year in Spain I was invited by my brother to be a translator on a mission trip to Mexico. I however was not a believer. I was very far from God. A dear friend suddenly died while I was in Spain and the heartbreak of losing him so young shocked me to my core. “What could I say of myself if I passed suddenly as he did?” The big questions of eternity loomed in my heart and my head.
While in Mexico I was paired up with a pastor’s wife and we did door-to-door evangelism together. She used her parallel Bible and I would read and explain concepts in Spanish. It was during that trip after many late-night talks that I surrendered myself to Jesus. I gained my second soul through Spanish.
Why Choose Spanish?
Aside from the beauty of the language and the connections you will make as you study it, Spanish is the language of over 450 million people in the world! By learning Spanish you will be able to understand your native English more. And you will be humbled by how much you do not know about your own language!
I hope you will be able to join me (Emily Harkey) and my students this year in our journey into Spanish with True North Homeschool Academy, or with another curriculum or class – it is truly through the struggles and joys of learning another language that you are able to “possess a second soul”.
More About Emily & Her Spanish Classes
Currently, Emily Harkey teaches Spanish A, Spanish B and section two of our Spanish Level One classes. We are thankful for her expertise. She really immerses the students in the language and culture and she loves the benefits of the interaction students get in her online classes. Hear more from her about her philosophy and teaching styles in the video below:
Thank you, Emily, for sharing from your heart! If you want to learn more about why your child might want to learn Spanish, check out our blog post 5 Reasons to Study Spanish!
Spanish Curriculum Giveaway!
Enter from May 21 – June 4, 2021: True North Homeschool Academy is giving away Spanish curriculum. Enter for a chance to win our self-paced elementary level Spanish curricula from Risas y SonRisas or Level One (used for Spanish 1) or Level Two (used for Spanish II) of the Spanish curriculum, Breaking the Spanish Barrier. It’s an exciting opportunity and one we hope you will ENTER TO WIN! True North offers Spanish classes for your elementary students as well as Spanish for middle school (junior high) and high school Spanish levels 1-3.
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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
Science– Physical 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
Foreign 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.
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A Little About Celebrating Chinese New Year
February 15 kicks off the 2021 Chinese New year, which lasts until January 21, 2022. Based on the Lunar New Year, it is celebrated in Asian countries around the world, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and Tibet, as well as Chinese communities throughout the United States.
My daughter and her friends have a round-robin monthly movie night. This month they’ll be watching Mulan, eating fish, dumplings, and sticky rice cakes while celebrating the Chinese New Year! My daughter is hosting and has spent many happy hours creating Chinese Lanterns, beautiful cut-outs, and banners with sayings on them as decorations. The theme was inspired by her Chinese language class. Of course the color red features prominently and that is because “red” traditionally means “good luck” especially accompanied with gold or black lettering or decoration. These are cheery and beautiful decorations and the pops of red are a beautiful contrast to the dead of winter we are experiencing!
Each Chinese Year is assigned an animal. This is based on the Chinese Lunar Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac is a classification system that assigns animals and related attributes in a 12-year cycle based approximately on the orbital period of Jupiter. 2021 is the year of the Ox. According to tradition, people born during the year of the Ox are considered hard workers, intelligent and reliable. They don’t need to be center stage or demand praise are calm and make excellent leaders.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with Activities
- On Chinese New Year, you’ll commonly see a calligraphy character on a square of red paper, hung in a diamond shape. The character, 福 [fú], means good luck.
- Red envelopes full of money- are traditionally gifted from an elder or parent to children, or to anyone who’s unmarried.
- Firecrackers and fireworks are often set off throughout Lunar New Year, both to ward off an ancient monster called Nian,
- The Lion Dance and Dragon Dance and gymnastic performances are an exciting part of a Lunar New Year parade
Celebrate Chinese New Year with Traditions
- Don’t cry or argue. Talk about happy things to set the tone for the future days.
- Pay your debts before the New Year starts and avoid bad luck.
- Don’t cut your hair or anything else on the Lunar New Year. It is believed that you’ll be severing connections.
- Avoid wearing black or white as they are associated with mourning.
- Don’t do laundry on the first or second day of the New Year. Avoid washing your hair too so that you do not wash your good fortune away.
- Don’t sweep after Lunar New Year’s Eve; you’ll be sweeping away accrued wealth and luck.
- Wear red to attract good luck.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with Lucky Foods to Make and Eat
- Fish – In Chinese, “fish” (鱼 Yú /yoo/) sounds like “surplus” and it’s believed that eating fish will bring an increase in prosperity.
- Chinese dumpling (饺子 Jiǎozi /jyaoww-dzrr/) – legends say that the more dumpling you eat during the New year celebrations, the more money you’ll make in the New Year.
- Glutinous rice cake (年糕 Niángāo /nyen-gaoww/) – symbolizes prosperity. The main ingredients of Nian Gao are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves.
- Good fortune fruit – tangerines and oranges (橙 chéng /chnng/), which sounds the same as the Chinese for “success” (成). They are selected as they are particularly round and “golden” in color symbolizing fullness and wealth.
As with many New Year traditions celebrated around the world, a deep and thorough house cleaning is in order. Getting rid of the old and treating oneself to new, particularly new clothes. Make sure those clothes are new to bring you good luck!
And share the New Year Celebration with those you love- family and friends- eating, giving red envelopes full of money and wishing each other good fortune and ( 新年好 Xīnnián hǎo) Happy New Year!
Studying a Foreign Language is such an excellent way to learn about cultures, geography, and people around the world. Learn more about our Chinese classes (Mandarin, simplified) Elementary, Middle School, Senior High. Chinese, along with Hebrew and Spanish, is one of three Critical Languages taught live and online at True North Homeschool Academy. We offer Spanish, German, French, and Latin as well. Follow our page on Facebook or join our group where our academy students and teachers sometimes share how their foreign language classes have been inspired by the cultures we study and share your ideas for a Chinese New Year celebration!
As a STOA alumni and coach, I have been through multiple classes and curriculum on public speaking and speech. Although some of these courses are great to teach the basics from, there’s still something missing.
I want you to imagine a high school boy who enjoys the sport of basketball. This boy shoots hoops in his driveway every day and watches every game of his favorite team. Maybe he’s even hired a personal trainer to help him refine his skills. After he graduates the boy goes to try out for a college he wants to attend, paid for by a basketball scholarship, but there’s one problem, he’s never actually competed in a game with a team. Obviously, he is not going to be very successful because as much as he knows about the sport, he has no real experience.
Similarly, many students that study speech and public speaking have not had a platform to prove their skill set and receive needed critiques from judges. By competing against other students in their age group, students can test their strengths and weaknesses.
Why Choose Competitive Speech for Homeschoolers?
Competitive Speech may not seem like it’s necessary at all. Can’t a student give a speech to their parents, or local co-op, and improve based on those critiques? They can but only to a limited extent. Judges push students beyond their comfort zone in a way that parents and friends won’t.
How well will the class push the students outside of their comfort zone?
Until the student overcomes their fear of public speaking, there will always be an obstacle in their future. Ultimately competitive speech tournaments are the best at creating the real-world atmosphere that students will face in college and the workplace. This forces the students to have to get out of their comfort zone. Each student is different and some may love public speaking from the start. Even these students will benefit greatly from STOA Coaching and competition.
So, what is STOA?
From the STOA website, STOA is “Stoa is a national Junior High and High School Speech and Debate League serving the needs of privately educated Christian Homeschooling families.”
STOA offers 11 speech events for the 2018-2019 season which runs from August to May. The events are broken down into four categories:
- Interpretive Speeches,
- Limited Preparation Speeches,
- Platform Speeches, and
- Wildcard Speeches.
Within the categories the events are –
- Duo Interpretation
- Humorous Interpretation
- Open interpretation
- Dramatic interpretation
- Mars Hills Impromptu
- Original Oratory
You can find specific descriptions of each event at this link: https://stoausa.org/speech-events/.
How can my homeschool student become prepared to compete in a STOA event?
True North Homeschool Academy offers STOA prep specifically for homeschool students in our live (online) speech course. This course provides instruction and experience in preparation and delivery of speeches within a public setting. Emphasis is placed on research, preparation, delivery, and evaluation of informative and persuasive speaking. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to prepare and deliver well-organized speeches. They will have also developed the interpersonal skills necessary to be effective communicators in an academic setting.
The True North Academy Speech club meetings will run the entire 2nd semester. The students will spend the first and second month learning the basics of speech writing and selecting which speech events they like the most. They can select up to 5 events to compete in for a NITOC modeled (aka qualifying) tournament.
How do the STOA Tournaments Work?
Tournaments are held in most states by local clubs, but each competition is a little different. Tournaments can have either speech or debate, both, or a combination of either. Tournaments will usually have a total of 6 preliminary rounds for speech events, and those rounds will be split into A and B patterns so that the events are split between the 2 patterns. This split means each student will compete three times in the preliminary rounds.
These rounds are usually 2 hours long and preferably will have 3 judges per a room to ensure maximum feedback for the student. After the preliminary rounds, most tournaments will have out rounds(e.g. Quarter-finals, Semi-finals, and finals) depending on the schedule.
For students to qualify for NITOC (Nationals) they must receive 2 “green check marks” from qualifying tournaments during the season. In order to get a check-mark in that event, the student must place in the top 40% of that event.
This season NITOC will be in Dallas Texas from May 20-25 at Dallas Baptist University.
Are you interested in learning more or joining a True North Speech Club? Find more information on our website or feel free to contact us with any questions.
(The following is a guest post from Rebecca Toon, author and creator of Homeschool on the Ranch.)
Did you know rodeo can be counted as a school elective? It doesn’t have to be just an expensive hobby. Yes, it’s expensive. But there are so many lessons and skills learned when your kids rodeo I can’t even count them all.
Two out of our four kids rodeo so far. Our oldest son rides mini bareback ponies and is learning how to rope. Our oldest daughter runs barrels, poles, and is learning to goat tye and rope. Since we’ve started junior rodeos they’ve learned many lessons and life skills that’ll benefit them for years to come.
Let’s talk about the life skills your kids will learn from the rodeo.
Taking care of something other than themselves
This is huge. Kids are naturally selfish. When your kids have to go out in 10-degree weather, unfreeze the water hose, and water, feed, and hay the horses, then they learn a little something about selflessness. Our horses completely depend upon our kids for water and food and I tell them time and time again, if they aren’t watered every day they’ll die. It’s up to them to keep them alive.
This kind of goes along with taking care of the animals, but they also learn the responsibility of keeping up and taking care of all of their tack and supplies. I can’t do it all for them. I won’t. It’s not doing them any favors by doing so.
They know their tack, supplies, rodeo bag, etc. has to be taken care of, oiled on occasion, and loaded up for every rodeo. If it’s not in the trailer when we get to the rodeo, they get to figure something out when we get there. It very seldom happens anymore because they’ve learned to be responsible and take care of it.
Rodeo isn’t cheap. Our kids work on our ranch to earn their entry fees and they work hard. When they have some extra they help us pay for their tack and supplies. Our goal is to help them learn how to manage their money and learn to pay their “bills” first and buy their wants after.
Winning Doesn’t Come Easily
Rodeo is a sport that’s full of let downs. There’s only one winner at the end of the day. It sounds harsh, but that’s just the way it is. We’ve been doing this for a year and a half and our daughter finally won her first check last weekend. My son has won 1.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice, practice, practice. You and your horse have to be in sync. You both have to be the ying to the yang, so to speak. Working in harmony and such. Practice is how you accomplish this. Practicing for the rodeo isn’t anything like walking out onto the basketball court and shooting some hoops. It’s catching your horses, loading them up and taking them to the arena, saddling them, warming them up, actually practicing, then unsaddling, taking them home, and letting them go. All in imperfect weather. It’s a lot of work.
Like I said before, rodeo is full of let downs. It’s a sport that will teach your kids to be a gracious loser. Losing’s not fun, but they’ve learned to have fun without winning.
Since homeschoolers get such a bad wrap for not being socialized, this is a great reason to rodeo. Our kids socialize with all ages of people at rodeos. From parents to teenagers to the kids their own age. These people become your family by the end of the season.
The great thing about rodeo people is they always spur each other on and want to help each other be the best that they can be. You’ll always see the kids helping each other and letting each other know what they did wrong and what they can do to fix it.
My daughter has a teenage friend helping her become better. They’re in competition with each other at the barrel racings we go to, but they both want each other to be the best that they can be.
Rodeo is a lot of work for parents. It’s expensive, it’s tiresome, and a lot of sacrifices are made. I don’t always like it, but I know that we’re making a great investment in our children’s future.
About Rebecca – Hey, ya’ll – I’m Rebecca. I’m a homeschooling mom of 4. I spend my days homeschooling, momin’, blogging, and helping my husband on our ranch. I love encouraging other moms in their homeschooling journey. Visit me over at Homeschool on the Ranch. Keep up to date on my Facebook Page, Facebook group Relaxed Homeschool Moms, Instagram and Pinterest.
When I first made the decision to homeschool my son who was just starting Kindergarten, I began to look at curriculum. I soon discovered there were THOUSANDS of choices! And that was just for one subject! I soon found that there were favorites among homeschoolers – for example, the “Saxon-eers” and the “Math-U-See-ers”!
Electives are sometimes harder, though. Everyone is looking for core curriculum, but electives are based on interests, which can vary widely. While classes and activities are readily available, the sea of information can be overwhelming at times.
Personally, I am a big believer that our children should have some choice in their homeschooling, especially if there are struggles in one or more academic area. That is some of the benefits of homeschooling, and it helps prepare them for making choices and career decisions as teenagers and adults.
Here are a few ideas for pursuing interests through homeschool electives. Some are free, the others are worth every penny…
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves Animals:
Does your child love animals? Does he love to go to the zoo, visit the animal shelter and pet shop?
- Science classes – classes are available on all kinds of topics – oceanology, zoology, entomology…these and more would be subjects this type of child would be interested.
- Pre-Veterinarian classes – hands-on experience by volunteering for a local veterinarian or horse ranch
- Unit studies about specific animals – there are lots available online, or make your own by pulling resources together. For ideas, visit SPED Homeschool’s Curriculum page on Pinterest
- Volunteering at the local animal shelter – Help train and care for animals to help them find their forever home
- Visit zoos and national and state parks – so much can be learned by watching and seeing animals in natural and man-made habitats! Most zoos offer educational programs and classes, and state parks often include educational tours and information.
- TNHA’s Biology Class – an awesome class for learning about animals down to the cellular level.
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves computers:
From Powerpoint to coding, the computer can make schoolwork seem a lot more fun!
- Hour of Code – from pre-reading through high school, a great resource to explore and decide if this might be something you enjoy.
- TNHA’s C# Programming Class – a hands-on class for ages 12 and up!
- Game Design – Love computer games? Learn to design your own with this great class (12 and up).
- Loves Designing and Building – This is my boys – the Future Engineer and the Future Architect!!!
- Lego Club (check your local CO-OP or Library to see if they have one or start your own – Legos build problem solving skills and spatial awareness.
- Variety of Building Blocks – From magnetic blocks to tinkertoys, having a variety of blocks allow children to explore how things might fit together under different circumstances.
- TNHA’s Digital Art and Design – as our world becomes more digital, this is a growing and necessary area to explore and become familiar with!
- TNHA’s 3D Modeling – Pre-recorded awesome class students can complete on their own time schedule! Great ½ credit elective that his fun and exciting!
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves Languages:
Languages help us to understand English better, as well as gives us access to the world.
- TNHA’s ASL I – Hands-on kinestethic language that is fun and useful in so many career and recreational applications! (Used by police officers, firefighters, scuba divers, etc).
- Hebrew Classes from TNHA – Learn about the language and culture of the Bible! By understanding the context, you gain a deeper meaning and appreciation for the Word.
- TNHA’s Latin Class – Latin is the foundation for many languages, it can help you to understand and appreciate many other languages including Spanish, French and Italian.
- Flip Flop Spanish – Conversational, visual Spanish curriculum (See It Say It begins at age 3) – Now also offers a High School Spanish Course – Spanish Geniuses!
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves to cook or Loves Food:
Explore the world through food – try new things and have fun!
- Explore cookbooks together – From Mediterranean to Rachel Ray, cookbooks can be a great learning experience! By trying new recipes, you can explore cultures and foods from around the world. Broaden it into a unit study to explore more about the geography, influences and other factors that go into determining why foods are preferred in different regions of the world.
- Volunteering at the local food bank or food kitchen – Community service can be a great way to meet people from around the world and from all walks of life. It is also a way to teach a giving spirit and a humble heart.
- TNHA’s Culinary Arts class – Fun to do together with your child, or allow your child to explore basics on their own!
Homeschool Electives for the child that loves space:
The moon and space seem so mysterious and far away, bring them closer with some awesome resources!
- NASA has videos, articles and other resources – a great way to explore about the universe and what we know so far
- Hubble Telescope Images – see pictures taken from space and what we are learning about our universe on a daily basis!
- Visit an observatory or planetarium in your area – Most offer educational tours and great resources for learning more!
- Loves Books – From classics to new, books open doors and allow your child to explore different universes!
- Check your local library for reading programs – ours include great prizes for children and even adults!! Also, check your favorite restaurants to see if they have a reading club or would be interested in starting one!
- TNHA’s C.S. Lewis Club – Explore these incredible books in this fun club!
- TNHA’s Classics Club – explore Greek and Roman life through this fun and exciting club while being engaged in some fun projects!
So what do you think? Do you believe in pursuing interests through homeschool electives? What are some of your favorite choices?
Amy Vickrey is a homeschooling mom of a six-year-old and almost two-year-old, and the wife and caregiver of a disabled veteran who struggles with health issues and PTSD. She holds a Masters of Science in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction, from the University of Central Missouri and a Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University. Also, she spent 2 years of college studying Interpretation for the Deaf and Deaf Studies and knows American Sign Language. Her teaching certifications include Special Education, English as a Second Language and Generalist (early childhood through fourth).