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
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!
I absolutely LOVE the holidays! Just the thought of them makes me smile so hard that my cheeks hurt. In this article, I want to share some of my favorite holiday memories.
As a child, I enjoyed making ornaments at school because I knew that my Mom would treasure them. Our real, six-foot, Douglas fir tree was adorned with three kids’ worth of ornaments and the number grew with every school year. The thing that I loved most was that nothing else went on the tree but those and maybe some garland!
Do you and your family make ornaments of any kind, especially edible ones?
Aside from this, my favorite holiday pastime was stealing the pineapples and cherries off the ham before it went in the oven! My mom didn’t figure out it was me until the bowl disappeared and reappeared empty. I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen after that!
Do you have one in your home who simply can NOT wait for you to stop cooking or to walk away while they sneak in for the kill? Who gets run out of the kitchen at your house?
Making memories is what the holidays are all about! Whether it’s your entire family or only those who live in your home with you, make memories! Start new traditions, too.
I remember the year that we had steak, baked potatoes, and salad for Christmas dinner instead of the traditional foods we were used to having. Let’s just say that there were NO leftovers!
What’s the craziest or most different meal you’ve had for the holidays?
As a teenager, my best friend and I would go to the movies on Christmas morning to keep from having to help with the cooking. By the time we were done, our families were eating and we always seemed to make it home right when the blessing was being said!
Do you have a favorite movie that you like to watch during the Christmas season?
In college, I spent those same times volunteering at local shelters and missions, serving the homeless. I can remember helping to de-bone 250 turkeys, sending 30 back to the restaurant who donated them because they weren’t completely cooked. As I stirred a restaurant-sized vat of cornbread dressing and then moved to open 100 cans of bulk-sized cranberry sauce, I didn’t want to see or hear anything that resembled food!
Do you and your family volunteer anywhere during the holidays or go caroling? What are some of the ways that you spread the love?
This year, one of the things we will be doing is the Luke Bible reading challenge where, beginning on December first, we will read the corresponding chapter of Luke together as a family. According to the challenge, families who participate will read through Jesus’ entire life by Christmas Eve.
Will you be reading anything special as a family during the holidays? Would our holiday booklist be of interest to you?
I’m already preparing myself to argue with my daughter about her selection of Netflix Original Christmas Movies, which seem to make their way to the list on MY profile around this time of the month.
Do you have a favorite Hallmark or a Netflix Original Christmas movie that is part of your family’s traditions? Check out more Holiday Traditions and a list of the new Hallmark movies here- maybe you will find a new holiday favorite.
One important thing about the holidays is to make them your own—that’s what makes them special! Your holiday celebrations don’t have to look like anyone else’s, so don’t stress yourself out trying to overdo things. Most families get into the most financial trouble during the holidays and overspend on pretty much anything during this time!
- It’s okay to give gifts, not to give gifts, or to give gifts on a different day…
- It’s okay to decorate a little, a lot, or not at all…
- It’s okay to rest, relax, and order out instead of cooking…
- It’s okay to celebrate away from home or with friends instead of family…
- It’s okay to have a crowd, a few close friends, or only you and yours…
- It’s okay to take a break from Life itself…
- It’s okay to argue about why matching pajamas are or aren’t okay for your family…
- It’s okay to have an overabundance of hot beverages just so everyone can have their favorites…
The holidays are YOURS, so let them reflect you!
About the author: Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host!
The Advent Celebration Challenge
Enjoy the benefit of our many collective years of homeschooling through the holidays and read some more articles that help bring home the beauty and truth of the season: a helpful reminder that Less is More For the Holidays and our Special Needs Holiday Edition.
Let’s face the challenge of THIS advent season together. Join us at our Facebook Group where we will have live presentations and check-ins to help us all keep our focus during this Christmas season. If you have always wanted to know more about creating a Jesse Tree as part of your celebration or more about Advent itself, you won’t want to miss the adventure! It’s no pressure – just a guide- and we will do it together.
Here is the schedule but we will also post reminders in the group and on our Facebook Page and Instagram so be sure to follow us! Or print out a 2020 schedule HERE.
“Mom, you can just homeschool me!” My 8-year-old daughter begged. Her excitement and hope confused me.
She did great in school, had so many friends, and wasn’t struggling academically at all. It was at home the meltdowns occurred. Her frustration would reach a boiling point that would bubble over and leave tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks. Her wide blue eyes would spill over with tears, and the sparkle was becoming rarer. It was at home, not at school, that the temper tantrums would occur.
I laughed. There is no way I could homeschool her. We fought with each other all the time. Our frustration would reach points where I am not sure we liked each other at all. Oh sure, we loved each other…but we really didn’t enjoy spending time together. Homeschool her? Why would I? We would kill each other. I DID NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE TO HOMESCHOOL THIS CHILD.
God Had Other Plans
I prayed, “God if you want me to homeschool my children, I need you to change my heart.” I was sure the answer would be to leave them in the amazing school they were in! They were doing so well. All three of my girls had great friends. They had teachers I loved! GREAT teachers. A community that involved parents and families.
Also, I Do Not Own Any Denim Jumpers!
And then I had an epiphany. I realized I missed my children. I could tell my youngest was a struggling learner, and my oldest was growing up so fast. That middle child, the one that just wanted her mommy to see her, she just needed to not be overwhelmed by the end of the day. Our days consisted of getting up early, loading up to drive to school, being at school all day, activities at night, go home, fast supper, clean-up, do homework, get ready for the next day, and repeat. This is what everyone does! I was a substitute teacher in my children’s school, and I got to see them every day…but they could never be my focus.
I will never forget trying to work through a math lesson while teaching my daughter’s class. She was so frustrated, but I couldn’t help her. I knew I could help her at home, and my job was to work with the other students. I then figured out she was copying her neighbors’ work in order to just get it done. I sat her down that night to talk with her and realized that she was hurting by the end of each day. She was exhausted. She needed more. More time to work at her own pace, more time outside, more sleep, more mom, and more family. How on earth could we handle more?
I Guess I am Homeschooling
I decided that I would pull her out for a year. I wasn’t committing to more than that. My original plan was to take her out for a year and leave her sisters in school. This wasn’t just any school. This school required parent involvement. 4 hours per week, per child. It was small, and there was a waiting list!
Wading In With One
OK God. I can do this. One foot in, one foot out. Let’s compromise? I will homeschool this one, for now.
My youngest child just wasn’t getting it though. She never had. Reading was really tough for her, number sense just wasn’t there. She was sweet, sensitive, and an amazing friend to everyone. Everyone told me, “Don’t worry. Developmentally she’s on track!” But I knew. Something wasn’t clicking for her. Once she found out I was going to be home with her sister, it became a non-issue. She had always wanted to just stay with me. At the end of her first day of kindergarten, she said to me, “I don’t know how to read, naptime is too short, I don’t think I need to do that anymore.”
I Can Homeschool Two
Ok God. These 2. I can homeschool these two. They are both young enough. I can teach them at home. My oldest however, I can’t teach her. She is so smart! I could never challenge her enough!
My oldest came to me shortly before the school year was up. “Mom, I don’t know, but I think I want to be at home too.” Ok. Don’t panic. I can talk her out of this.
And here I am finishing my fourth year of homeschooling, and I am probably doing it wrong. I am definitely not doing what I envisioned. I don’t have more patience, I still fight with my middle daughter about her math lessons.
God Will Fill in the Gaps
We don’t have only great days, and I never feel like I am doing enough. So many nights I lay in bed. “God, I did my best but we both know it wasn’t enough. I need you to fill in the gaps.” I have faith He will.
What we do have? Laughter when we trip up. Together we learn, we play, we explore, we grow.
The truth is we are involved in each other’s lives. WE LIKE EACH OTHER! Love has always been a given, but now, most days, we want to spend time together.
We want to make our home a culture of learning. Do I ever see that school bus go by and think, “Hmmm…I would have so much time if….”?
Would I change the decision to follow the calling God put on me to homeschool my children?
Rebecca Lundgren lives in South Dakota with her husband Jeremy, three daughters, and their zoo of adopted animals. While her family never intended to homeschool, she has learned a lot along the way. Her background includes a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from South Dakota State University. Before she began her homeschool journey, she taught in Public Schools k-12, English as a Second Language (ESL) k-6, and directed an Early Childhood program. In addition to homeschooling, she is a well-loved teacher at True North Homeschool Academy where she teaches Jr High Classes. She loves camping and hiking with her family, reading, crafting, and children’s ministries.
For more of this type of you-can-do-it encouragement read Managing My Home and Time, Using teamwork in Your Homeschool, or Homeschool While I Work? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!
We have been involved in Biblical Feasts and Festivals for many years, having practiced them with both Christian and Jewish Believers at our home and at theirs.
We have studied them utilizing great resources, such as Robin Sampson’s, A Family’s Guide to Biblical Feasts and Festivals, and Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman, along with the Bible and good Jewish friends. I have shared some of what we have learned in my unit study, The Celebration of Sukkot.
Our family life has been nourished by ancient traditions that have fed our souls as we practice the Old Testament Feasts and Festivals and recite what have now become familiar prayers and sing traditional songs, such as Dayenu.
There is great learning to be had about one’s faith and tying together Old and New Testament relevance when you study the Biblical Feasts and Festivals. This is one of the reasons we are offering Biblical Feasts and Festivals as a one-semester class, taught by Rabbi Arthur Fischer.
If we want our children to never give up and never give in when it comes to their values and beliefs, we must teach them hope. Hope is what led the bruised and battered nation of Israel back to our homeland, and it is hope that will lead our world to the Messianic Era.
~ Yael Eckstein from Generation to Generation
When I had a chance to review Yael Eckstein’s, (of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews), latest book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children, I jumped at the chance.
Ms. Eckstein takes a unique approach to the importance of Biblical Feasts and Festivals, by focusing on the theme of each one.
The main focus of the book is l’dor v’dor- from generation to generation.
She begins, naturally, with Shabbat, and covers eight holidays – showing us ways in which we can pass on important lessons through each one.
- Shabbat – Teaching our Children Priorities
- Passover – Teaching our Children to Seek Knowledge
- Shavuot – Teaching our Children Gratitude
- Tisha B’Av – Teaching our Children Hope
- High Holy Days – Teaching our Children Forgiveness
- Sukkot – Teaching our Children Faith
- Purim -Teaching our Children Courage
- Tzedaka – Teaching our Children Generosity
Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse, then a quote from a Rabbi or Jewish teaching, and an explanation of the holiday, including how Yael and her family celebrate each holiday.
At the end of the chapter, there is a page-long explanation of how the feast or festival is celebrated in the New Testament; ways to teach our children the theme of each chapter, a special note for parents and then Scripture Memory verses from both the Old and New Testaments. Sprinkled throughout is Jewish vocabulary that illuminates the Scripture.
This is a jam-packed little book, easy to read and very accessible; and a lovely way to learn about and incorporate the deep meaning of Scripture into your family culture.
Perfect for families who are just beginning their exploration of Biblical Feasts and Festivals as well as those who have already jumped into understanding the rich correlation between Old and New Testament. Yael Eckstein, as expected, does a beautiful job of integrating the importance of Jewish meaning and themes with New Testament faith.
An important and accessible book for families who long to see their children raised and living in the living faith of The Book.
For more information on the book, visit the website at www.generationbook.org.
About the Author
The author, Yael Eckstein, is President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, whose vision for building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews has been translated into the largest Christian-supported humanitarian agency helping Jews in Israel and around the world.
You can learn more about the organization and Rabbi Eckstein at the website International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
For more than 2,000 years, the Jewish people have preserved and maintained their faith from generation to generation, despite being exiled from their land and suffering persecutions, pogroms, and even the Holocaust, where six million Jewish women, men, and children were killed at the hands of the Nazis. In her book, Generation to Generation, Fellowship President, and CEO Yael Eckstein unlocks the keys to how the Jewish people have successfully passed on the legacy of faith through the family and offers insights into how Christians can incorporate these principles within their own families to pass on a strong and living faith.
Find IFCJ on FB
If you are interested in learning more about Biblical Feast & Festivals, check out the semester-long class from True North Homeschool Academy which is taught weekly live online from Israel. We offer Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew which both include some study of traditions and culture also taught by Rabbi Arthur Fischer.
It’s that time of year again – back to homeschool!
Homeschoolers use their educational freedom to teach their kids in a style and on a schedule that suits their family. That means that some homeschool all year ‘round, others started weeks ago, and some have not yet begun.
It’s the same here at True North Homeschool Academy -some of our online classes have started while others, including our homeschool clubs, will begin later on in September.
We have found that even though we are not returning to a “school building,” home educators have their own back to school traditions. There is excitement in the air as many of us are beginning a new homeschool year, meeting new students and friends, sharpening those Ticonderogas, and cracking open our shiny, new curriculum.
Some families have simple traditions such as purchasing new p.j.’s, kicking off the year with a field trip, or participating in the online National Homeschool Spirit Week, which is the 4th week of September every year.
We asked some of the Academy teachers to share their favorite “Back to Homeschool” traditions and words of advice as we roll into a fresh (and maybe a little challenging) homeschool year.
Traditions We Love
Dana Hanley is our German teacher and her first day of school tradition involves making Schultueten and filling them with candies and small school supplies. It is a German thing, but over there, the class party is on the first day of class, not the last day of class. Dana says: “ I really like that general attitude. Last year, we did a brand new outfit for each kid, too, because I randomly thought how much I loved getting new school clothes when I was a kid. All of my kids are asking to repeat that one!”
Pets are welcome too in the Pool homeschool room!
Tamara Warner Pool shared with us some words of wisdom and a peaceful way to begin the homeschool year. “My children needed a consistent rhythm and flow to their days, so we would gently enter our new school year and gently exit it for our break times. We don’t have “First Day” photos, and we didn’t have “Last Day” parties, but we did celebrate small accomplishments and goals achieved when any of them crossed a “finish line.” If we were involved in a coop or activity, we would build up to that so everyone was prepared for whatever disruption that would bring to our routines.”
Dr. Kristin Moon reminisced about when her kids were younger. One fun tradition they had was that they got the day off on their birthdays (hers too!). As the kids got older and co-ops and college classes mandated, they come to class even on their birthday that changed, but they all still remember those days fondly. She advises us to prioritize relationships over the curriculum. “We get so caught up on finishing books or getting through a lesson plan that it can be easy to overlook when a kid just wants some mom time. As homeschoolers, we can put the books and lesson plans aside when our kids need us to. Don’t ALWAYS be in teacher mode. Yes, as homeschoolers, we are always learning, but don’t turn everything into a forced lesson. It’s ok to go to the beach and enjoy each other’s company; you don’t have to quiz them on how tides are formed. My third piece of advice: don’t get so wrapped up in your role as a homeschool mom that you forget the person who you were created to be. Continue to make time for friendships, your health, your marriage, and your hobbies.”
Sonya Goodwin Hemmings encourages us to: “Be careful as you tailor your students’ education not to eliminate all of the obstacles that threaten to stand in their way. Struggle always precedes growth. It is quite essential. And when parents and their children pray and persevere together through a difficult subject or even a difficult year, the rewards that lie on the other side —shared knowledge, special bonding, and confidence to dig into the next challenge — are incredibly sweet.”
Emily Harkey counsels homeschool parents to “Pray…a lot!” and offers practical tips and reminders. “Think about dinner when you wake up and use a crockpot or Instapot as much as tolerated by your people. Make eating cereal for dinner a special treat when needed. Give lots of hugs and smiles and affirmations throughout the day, especially to your older kids who can work on their own while you work with your littles. During the younger years, remember that if you’ve been able to touch the three R’s every day: reading, writing, and arithmetic- that is an EXCELLENT school day…even if you are unable to replicate it again in another week’s time. Give yourself some slack and grace. Take a teacher’s “in-service day” when you need it and have your kids clean while you take a day away to work on you, and go to the dentist or get your hair cut. Organization and routine is your friend. Pray for your kids and all those who influence them.”
BJ Prammon, our Art teacher, points out that “back to school” can be casual and doesn’t have to be routine. “Our most prominent tradition for back to homeschool is really our lack of formal tradition. I never remember to take a “ first day of school” picture. Back to school shopping really doesn’t happen until October. I don’t like making school charts, and my kids don’t like following them. Even as I write this, I haven’t gotten around to ordering a social studies curriculum for my oldest. I’ll get around to it. We start on a different week every year, with different curriculum and different learning strategies, different goals, and, frequently, different opinions. If any of that could be rolled up into some sort of formal stab at useful information, I suppose it would be this: Don’t let what other people are doing dictate your own groove. Don’t let what last year looked like keep you from exploring this year to its fullest potential, even if last year was a really good year, but especially if last year was a ‘bad’ one.”
Whether you are already back in the swing of things or still in the planning phase, what we can all take away from this collective wisdom is that the key to a great start is concentrating on keeping a school/life balance and focusing on what works for our family.
A huge thank you to these True North Academy Teachers for taking time out of their busy schedules to share with us!
Getting Started with Homeschooling
Homeschooling is not Rocket Science, but as the world discovered this past spring, it is also not sitting around all day eating bonbons. The big question this spring has been, HOW DO I GET STARTED? Well, here is a quick guide to getting started.
First Things First
Check your State Laws and make sure you have everything in order. Need to sign a letter of intent or register your kids? Get it done.
You can find Homeschool Laws by State at HSLDA.
Create Your Action Plan for Schooling
This consists of your Vision, Mission, and Goals. The more detailed you are now the less confusion will ensue later. Like every big project, the more time that you devote to planning, the more effective the implementation will be, even when it’s not going as planned.
Spending time on “set-up” can save a lot of time (money) and irritation down the road.
Creating a Vision, Mission, and Goals:
- Determine your WHY. What’s driving you to Homeschool? Write it all down. Write down your frustrations, hopes, dreams, and expectations. Then distill it all into one simple sentence. Post it somewhere you’ll see it, so you don’t forget. Habbakuk 2:2 This is your Vision- your BIG picture; the long view vision for educating your kids.
- Determine your Mission for the Year. What will you get done? Write this down by child in the following areas: Physical, Mental, Social, Spiritual.
- Determine Your Goals. These should be SMART– Specific, Measureless, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Smart goals are the small, incremental steps necessary to complete the mission.
Create Your Action Plan for Managing Your Home
Successful Homeschooling consists of:
- Time Management
- Household Management
Set a simple schedule to guide you. Here are some ideas for things to include in your program and ways to organize your week.
- Weekly Family Meetings – gather together weekly as a family to coordinate schedules, online classes, meals, and extra-curricular. Divvy up driving, pick-ups, and deliveries.
- Weekly Individual Student Meeting -Set aside time each week to meet with each homeschool student. Go over schedule, responsibilities, due dates, etc.
- Collective Daily Gathering –You can organize this time as a simple Morning Basket, a family devotional, or memory work. We used our Morning Gathering time as a combination of the above and included Memory Work, Bible Study, and Poetry. We schedule an hour a day and love meeting and learning together!
- Work on skills in the morning/concepts in the afternoon. This is a great way to organize your day. Take advantage of fresh minds and attitudes for the more complicated skill-based subjects like Latin or Math in the morning and then more concept-based learning like Literature, Bible, History in the afternoon.
Create a simple plan for meals and laundry.
Housework is a job, homeschooling is a job, and if you are working vocationally, you have that job as well. Make a simple, do-able plan for getting laundry, food, and kitchen responsibilities taken care of. It will keep everyone sane, sanitary, and satisfied.
Life is seasonal and if you are just starting out, plan simply. Start simple and plan to get it done. You can grow into complexity once you’ve got a system and level of comfort with the new normal of adding homeschooling to your day.
Batching is a simple and effective solution to tasks.
Develop routines for laundry. When we had seven people at home we would switch around laundry from washer to dryer daily and then fold and put away all on one day. Put away laundry when it’s folded. Just do it.
Bulk shop once a month and then mini-bulk shop weekly.
The less often you go to the store, the more money you’ll save. Shop with a list and batch cook, or at least batch prep. I usually sauté soup veggies en masse and then have soup ingredients ready to add together to make a delicious pot of homemade goodness that feeds many and can be easily stretched. Have “fast food” meals, like soup, fajitas, tacos prepped, and ready to heat and serve on your busy days. Eat the same basic meals. Bagels and eggs for breakfast, left-overs/ salads for lunch, meat, veggies, potato, or rice for dinner.
Before you even look at a curriculum, determine what your mission is for each student, what goals you want to accomplish, and then what subjects those goals fall into. From there choose curriculum.
There are thousands of curriculum choices and everyone has their favorites. The best curriculum is the one that gets done, so don’t feel like you need to chase every shiny object. I choose curriculum based on solid educational pedagogy, like Cross Seven, that is easy to use but allows for further exploration.
Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Outsource any classes that you don’t feel equipped to teach, such as Foreign Languages, plus those you don’t have the time and energy to handle or those in your student’s area of interest for exploration to maximize opportunities. Homeschooling can look like whatever you want it to look like!
Keep it simple (always!) and start with the core four:
For younger students, focus specifically on number fluency and literacy. Choose simple but effective programs that are non-consumables like Alpha-Phonics with Explode the Code along with Poetry, which is a great way to get your kids learning to play with beautiful language and imagery. We also love Right Start Math, which includes Math games. Perfect to add to your Morning Basket or to use with multiple ages.
For older kids, you should begin to focus on growing in reading fluency and understanding. Choose curricula or online classes that teach simple literature analysis and various forms of writing. If you are considering outsourcing some of these, take a look at True North Homeschool Academy’s courses on Essay Writing, Research Papers, and Creative Writing.
For Science, choose a curriculum or class that has a focus on discovery and wonder in the early years. Older students can move into more formal studies which should start with a basic and thorough understanding of the Scientific Method and then delve into foundational sciences like Earth and Space, Biology, and Chemistry.
History is the importance of what happened before, what’s happening now, and our place in it. For those coming from a Judeo-Christian point of view, it includes the important concept that all people, places, and time lead to the Cross, and our part to play in a lost world, awaiting heavenly redemption. Students should have a broad sweeping overview of history, which is why we love studying timelines, along with specific areas, including state, U.S., and World History, Geography, and Economics.
If you have questions or need help choosing age/ stage appropriate resources, we’d love to help! Join us over at True North homeschool Tribe Facebook group or ask about our academic advising.
Focusing on open and go, non-consumable programs, especially for content-based curriculum will save you time and money. A Classical Spine, like Cross Seven in the early years, will give your kids a solid foundation for whatever future studies they pursue.
It is wise to spend time and money on helping our kids explore their interests. Literature-rich resources as well as in real-life experiences like field trips, campaigns, clubs, and camps can be inexpensive ways to teach at home. Add these enriching experiences to your homeschool program as your time and resources allow.
Some curriculum is better than others but the main thing that you want to keep in mind is that if you love it, you’ll use it. If you don’t like or understand the layout or content, you likely won’t! – Lisa Nehring, True North Homeschool Academy Director
Over the years we have used unit studies, note-booking, textbooks, online courses, clubs, camps, websites, certifications, field trips, books, movies, CD’s co-ops, class-days, and more.
Learning can take place almost anywhere, at any time. As you get started, remember, start simple.
It is so easy to add in resources as you discover areas of interest, skills that need to be honed, and the world that needs exploring. Above all, have fun. Education is the transmission of culture and it allows you this beautiful space and time to impart to your children the things most important to you; the real things. Enjoy the journey, it is time well spent.
Not sure what your focus should be?
Our team of Academic Advisors has years of experience in homeschooling, choosing curriculum, and the ages and stages of child development. We have advisors with experience planning for students with Special Needs and supporting those families. Our advisors are ready to encourage you and help you create an amazing, doable plan.
Need a like-minded tribe to journey with? Our Parent Equipping Membership is a great place to start and our Getting Started Homeschool Printable Planning packet was created to help you create a plan, write out your goals, and your vision while keeping your home and students on track. Download it free.