Stand Out!

Stand Out!

Stand Out: How to Maximize your High School Years

Each year there are roughly 15.4 million high 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.

Group of people working in charitable foundation. Happy volunteer looking at donation box on a sunny day. Happy volunteer separating donations stuffs. Volunteers sort donations during food drive

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
  •       Uniqueness
  •       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:

  • Write, perform and publish a quality play, book, music or film
  • Develop art skills like throwing drawing and painting, pottery, creating stained glass windows/ lamps, blacksmithing, etc and enter art contests
  • Hike a trail for a cause or a challenge 
  •  Raise money to travel abroad and serve on a mission            
  • Breed and trademark a type of fruit or flower
  • Breed and sell a pet- iguana, dogs, miniature cows
  • Win money as a prize bowler, archer, skier, etc.          
  • Start a business, track your earnings and impact
  • Help run a state or national political campaign, work as a legislative Paige,
  • Study and Perform Shakespeare
  • Learn multiple languages, particularly Critical Languages
  • Travel internationally; create guidebook or blog about travels, do international community service or charity work
  • Do hundreds of hours of Community Service 
  • Build a functioning web-site
  • Build something impressive- like a Robot, Drone or Plane, or replicate all of the Enterprises’ ships as models 
  • Earn a license or Certification– pilot’s, drone, PADI
  • Learn tech- 3-D Printing, Robotics, Photoshop, Photography and it’s many digital uses!
  • Earn Awards such as the  National Latin Exam, German National Exam 
  • 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
two female soccer players on the field

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!

Athletic Young man swimming the back crawl in a pool. Swimming competition.
Why Learn German?

Why Learn German?

Why should your child study German? Honestly, the best reason of all is simply because they want to. Whether the interest comes from family heritage, an interest in history, or just that it sounds “cool,” that internal drive is what motivates students to move beyond requirements to any level of mastery.

Benefits of Learning The German Language

Most of the benefits provided by learning German are common to learning any foreign language:

  • It satisfies college requirements.
  • It increases a student’s understanding of English.
  • It increases a student’s ability to recognize context clues.
  • It increases cultural understanding, both of their native culture and the culture of the target language.
  • It broadens perspectives and shows new ways of looking at the world.

German has the added advantage of being delightfully literal.

 

A Good Teacher Makes Language Learning Less Intimidating

I took German in high school because Russian wasn’t offered. I had never really thought much about language before that. Spanish made more sense, or so everyone told me, but I did not enjoy my eighth-grade introduction to Spanish. Fortunately, I had two excellent German teachers whose teaching styles perfectly matched my preferred learning style.

The first was Ms. Glendening. She opened the doors of wonder for me and a whole new world of language. When I wasn’t able to afford to go on the class trip to Germany, she was visibly disappointed. She then searched for a scholarship opportunity that paid for a year of study abroad. My second teacher was living in Germany.

As a teacher, I try to emulate the best characteristics of both: immersive, meaningful, playful, and encouraging.

 

Beautiful postcard view of the famous historic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber on a sunny day with blue sky and clouds in summer, Franconia, Bavaria, Germany

 

Parts of German grammar can be intimidating. There is no getting around gender or case or adjective endings. How tedious this is for students has a lot to do with how it is taught, however. One of the clearest methods I know is a simple sentence-building activity that visually demonstrates how German sentences are put together. I turned it into a sort of simple choose-your-own-adventure type game. This grammar drill ended up the most requested game for our end-of-year party.

If a student develops a passion for German that brings them beyond college requirements, there are, of course, other benefits.

  • German is the dominant language of the EU, with more native language speakers than any other European language. It is the second most spoken second language (behind English).
  • Germany has the largest GDP of EU member countries.
  • Germany directly invests over $10 billion into the US economy. Several German companies have satellite offices in the US.
  • It is the language of Goethe, Schiller, Kafka, Brecht, Beethoven, Mozart, and many others.
  • German immigration has greatly influenced American culture.
  • Many of the world’s most significant works in science, theology, psychology, history, and literature are written in German.
  • Plus, binge-watching your favorite television series sounds like more of an accomplishment in German!

Join us this fall on the wonderful adventure of learning German! German I, German II, and National German Exam Test Prep are all available and taught by Dana Hanley.

Project & Presentation Samples

These are examples of some of the projects complete by students in our online German classes.

Brochures:

 

Video Presentations:

Life Skills: Helping Teens Achieve Goals & Enjoy Life

Life Skills: Helping Teens Achieve Goals & Enjoy Life

For many people, it seems like life has two options: achieving goals and enjoying life. Neither one of them seems as if they are one hundred percent fulfilled. There seems to be a broad spectrum on the scale of go-getters and over-achievers to those who slack in all departments.

How many times have you heard your student saying they don’t have enough time or they are overwhelmed with all the things? For so many homeschool families, the demands of work, career, education, family, and homeownership seem overwhelming. All while striving to teach our families how to achieve goals and enjoy life in a balanced manner.

Avoid the Overwhelm

Do you wish you had someone to partner with you in helping your teens learn to achieve goals and enjoy a balanced life?

We are doing that for you with the Life Skills 101 course offered at True North Homeschool Academy!  Your students will learn how to prioritize life, learn how to set and achieve goals, and sharpen skills for living life on their own as an adult.  In this full-year course, four broad areas are covered in depth. They include:

  • Finding Balance
  • Setting & Achieving Goals
  • Managing Life Areas
  • Time Management

Throughout the course, students will learn how to navigate these various areas as they prepare for launching into the next phase of life.

Finding Balance

If you think about life being balanced, you might envision a seesaw in the position of being directly balanced in the middle with no ups, no downs, and simply managing to stay in the middle ground.

What does it mean to be in balance, if life has its difficulties? When you are in balance, you maintain your equilibrium while life’s ups and downs come to visit. Of course, you go through the various emotions as circumstances both good and not so good work their way through life. 

Being in balance means intentionally, no matter how hard it is, choosing how you will show up under any given circumstance.

Do your teens need to learn how to achieve balance? In Life Skills 101, we will discuss ways to:

  • Take inventory of the various areas of life.
  • Create and implement a plan for finding and keeping life in balance.
  • Create action steps to help bring things back into balance when things get challenging. 

Sometimes, the unexpected can throw you off. In Life Skills 101 we teach how to hit the reset button when life throws you a curve and knocks you off balance. 

Setting & Achieving Goals

Does your student want to author a book, be a young entrepreneur, or simply get to appointments on time and have a clean room?  Learning how to break large goals down into manageable tasks is at the core of the Life Skills 1010 curriculum. From identifying a dream or aspiration to making a plan to achieve it, this class allows the student to take the time to dream, research, investigate and plan for the future.

It’s like a snowball effect. We will focus on how to start small and continue rolling that snowball down the hill. Before they know it, your kids will have a boulder of success coming their way! 

Managing Life Areas

Teaching teens to manage all the things of life is a full-time job! Letting go and letting them step into managing their own lives, can bring a sense of panic to every homeschool mom. The Life Skills 101 course partners with families to teach teens how to live a whole, full, and complete life. Learning to break your life down into categories and then addressing each. This creates a launch pad into adulthood that your teen can return as they expand the skills and confidence on living life successfully. Throughout the full-year course, students will learn what it takes to become independent and manage these aspects of daily life.

  • Cleaning & Organizing
  • Food shopping & meal planning
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting & personal finances
  • Resume, cover letter, and interview skills
  • Workplace expectations

Time Management

At the end of the day, so many life skills are achieved by learning solid time management. Students learn how to identify the most important tasks and how to say no to time-wasting activities, or behaviors. Students will sharpen their skills in:

  • Task management
  • Prioritization
  • Balancing work and play

Throughout the course students will use a variety of technology and digital tools to create projects, turn in assignments and find the best tools to help them successfully navigate life in a digital environment. 

 

Life Skills for a Successful Launch into Adulthood.

There are many challenges each of our kids will have to face. Let’s help them learn how to achieve goals, fulfill dreams, and live a life they love. Find more information about Life Skills 101 here.

Looking for help with teaching your teen Life Skills? Life Skills 101 Orienteering and Entrepreneurship. Taught live online at True North Homeschool Academy!

Join us on Facebook too – our page Life Skills for Homeschooled Teens is a great community and we share tips and laughter along the way!

Typical Course of Study: High School

Typical Course of Study: High School

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

SciencePhysical 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

Father and son timeForeign 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.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read these:

College & Career Round-Up

College & Career Round-Up

College & Career

Homeschooling high school can be tough! We’ve pulled together some great articles and resources for you during this month’s College and Career focus. So without further ado:

Information on High School Planning Resources

Prepping and planning for High School seems to get even the most stoic homeschooler a bit frazzled. Not to worry, we’ve been there done that and have great resources available for you! Our first piece of advice is to create a plan that includes a basic course  of study, fill in with areas of interest and work a solid strategy to get you where you want to go! And if you don’t want to go it alone, we’d love to come alongside you on the journey. In fact, that’s what we do!

Information on Testing

Testing can highlight student abilities, shine light on areas of struggle and garner thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships! Don’t overlook the power of testing!

Articles on What’s Next

It’s a fast paced and changing world our young adults are entering into. College is but one of many options that include apprenticeship, military and entrepreneurship! A good strategy will get your student farther, faster  and save them from unnecessary debt!

Let us know if you found our round-up of high school resources helpful and drop us a comment about resources you like! We love to provide our readers with relevant information!

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!