How to Plan a Field Trip to the Local PumpkinPatch
It’s fall and the weather is crisp and glorious and perfect for a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Why not use this opportunity to teach your tweens and teens about how to plan an event?
Event planning is a great way to build your tween/teens executive functioning skills as it requires creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration! All tools that will benefit themselves and others as they learn and grow. Expect that some of your kids will have some natural ability at event planning while others will need to be shown a basic structure and reminded of it.
Event Planning is Easy When Using This Basic Structure
Name of Event:
Follow Up Activities
Supporting books, films & YouTube Videos
Adding Goals Keeps Field Trips Focused
I also like to add in Goals for field trips. Goals can be as simple as, “have fun” and “fellowship” or more academic such as “to grow in our understanding of world politics”. Goals help keep us focused and can help us understand how much of an investment we want to make in terms of both time and money.
Extend the Learning With Follow-up Activities
Additionally, follow up activities are a great way to extend the learning and fun! Again, simplicity can rule- – carve the pumpkin and roast the seeds; or simple events can turn into larger events- invite friends over for fall potluck and bonfire!
Supporting Books, Films and YouTube videos can preface the event or be add-ons after the initial event, to extend the learning, great memories and fun that is sure to be had by all.
Example of a Simple Plan
Name of Event: Visit to the local Pumpkin Patch
Who Family and friends from co-op
What Trip to the local Pumpkin Patch
When October 2021
Where You Pick Pumpkin Patch; 45 min from home. Need water bottles, simple snacks and shoes.
How Much $5 car, $10 for corn maze, $4 pumpkin, $4 Caramel apples and $5 Gallons of cider- $45-50, not including gas.
Examples of Follow up Activities:
Decorate your pumpkins: carve, paint or permanent marker, depending on ages.
Create a pumpkin vase for fall flowers
Roast pumpkin seeds (recipe below)
Roast pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread
Scoop seeds from pumpkin and clean well. Boil the seeds for 10 minutes; then toast them in the oven at 350 for approximately 20 min (watch so that they don’t burn).
For savory seeds, toss with a few teaspoons of garlic and rosemary, curry powder or cilantro lime seasoning.
For a sweet and salty snack, dust with pumpkin spice blend or cinnamon and sugar!
Pumpkin Spice Latte for Momma
Prep Time: 5 minutes, serving Size: 2
2 cups milk
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)
2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
Pour all of the ingredients into a pot and heat over medium-high heat until the coffee is steaming hot. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream & cinnamon. Enjoy!
Event Planning Helps Your Teen & You!
Helping your teen grow their event planning muscles will help them handle projects that require multiple steps and follow through on the tasks assigned to them. It also develops soft skills that are so necessary for them to navigate in today’s world.
And while they are learning, they are helping you. It is important to enrich your family with fun activities that build memories but it can be time consuming. It may take a couple of times with you overseeing what your tween or teen is doing, but before you know it, you will be able to provide them with the resources and support they need and let them take some planning off your plate!
I’m a planner. And a paper and pen kind of planner at that. I’m a sucker for a great planner and have tried many with Bullet Journals being the clear winner for several years.
I’m a minimalist BuJu Gal, so my journals are practical, well-loved and USED. I usually double side them- calendar on one side, and notes, goals and ideas on the other. I have Bullet Journals from years ago that I often refer back to. So, think practical and hard-working BuJu’s, but not so pretty. By the end of the year they are beat to death moleskins that I got every ounce of life out of!
More Than Just A Pretty Planner
I do like pretty, but I am also busy, so beautifying my Bullet Journals just doesn’t happen. Any decoration is purely accidental and usually involves spills of some sort. So, when the opportunity to review the Horacio 2022 Dream Planner came along, I was all in, with the distant hope of practical AND pretty.
Also, have I mentioned I’m a sucker for subscription boxes and generally just love personal mail! The Horacio 2022 Dream Planner “The Best is Yet to Come” box did not disappoint.
This planner arrived like a gift, with tissue paper and plenty of goodies inside:
beautiful gold pen
printed canvas draw string bag to store the planner in – or goodies you collect along life’s way as you are living your plan
a small printed journal, perfect for your bed stand and filled with inspiring scripture verse, beautifully done in calligraphy
a couple of super cool postcards
and finally, the Journal
Y’all. I’m kind of smitten. The Horacio Journal is a hard back, blush leather journal. It’s pretty and practical. It’s the high quality every hard working momma needs from a practical point of view, but also beautiful, to both touch and look at. That’s a “winner, winner, chicken dinner” in my world!
What’s Inside the Journal?
Did I mention that this is a hard working journal? Pretty inside and out and chock full of goodness, including my favorite calendar features!
In the front of the journal is a “Welcome” letter which states, “our goal is to support you, encourage you and challenge you to DREAM BIG with God. At the bottom of the Welcome letter is a scan-able code, to take you to an online community to dream with.
Next, “Dream Planning,” – a page dedicated to reminding you to seek the Lord as you “Dream, Listen, Plan and Pray.” Following that is 4 pages of “Personal Growth” – assessing where you are at, where you want to go, and a page to declare your hopes and dreams for the future.
Next are pages to guide you as you assess where you are at right now, which I love. It’s so important to look back so that you know where to invest, to reach your goals!
Two of my favorite pages are “Generosity Planning” pages. They focus on who you are praying for, making time for and giving to and then “Heart Check” which focuses on letting go, forgiving and taking inventory of fears that are holding you back.
The following pages focus on letting the Love of God conquer specific fears in your life, with a short list of how to take each fear captive and turn it over to God for His refining purpose! This is a planner that encourages and inspires you to live your faith in a purposeful and intentional way.
Did I mention I LOVE this planner?
And Now, The Planner Pages
Finally, the scheduling portion; beginning with a year at a glance. Then, there is a short section on “Seasons” focusing on the New Season of Winter. And then, drum-roll, please there is a Month Overview and THEN- a two page spread per week.
The left hand side has bullets to personalize, dot grids on the bottom, scripture verses, and month in review. The planner’s right-hand side sections are subtly color-coordinated with dot grids. A monthly page lets you add “Praise Reports” and “Notes.”
I LOVE this layout- the calendar view month at a glance, followed by a 2 page spread per week. I’ve been looking for this spread for years, to no avail, which is why I end up making my own each year.
At the end of every quarter are several pages dedicated to a prayer; what you are believing for and then Generosity Planning and Heart Checks, Personal Growth and 90 day goals. Scripture verses, written calligraphy style, are tastefully sprinkled throughout the pages of this delightful, beautiful journal.
It’s the Bullet Journal I want to create each year, but don’t, sans the coffee stains and hastily scribbled notes and scripture verses, brilliant quotes and dreams casting. It’s the Bullet Journal I’ve now found and love.
It’s a Keeper – And A Wonderful Gift Idea!
So, true story, I rarely write reviews anymore; though I really love writing reviews- its’ a time thing. When I choose to review a product, I often gift it when I am done. That is what I intended to do with the Horacio 2022 The Best is Yet to Come Planner. But this one, I’m keeping.
Our readers can get 10% off with the code: 2022ISMYYEAR
Oh, and the postcards? A beautiful welcome letter from the creator, with a discount coupon, an invite to the Dream Planning Podcast, and finally an invite and coupon to the Virtual Dream Planners Summit.
Win a White Marble Planner!
The Horacio Printing Christian Dream Planner is your fresh blank canvas to design your life in 2022. They created it to help you build margin, reduce distractions and build a God-focused schedule. This is not just about what you have to do, it is about who you want to become. Horacio Printing has guided tutorials to help you set up every section of the planner. The best is yet to come!
Sign up to WIN a White Marble Planner at their website. The contest ends November 1st, 2021 so enter right away!
Many of us consider music an elective and one of those homeschool subjects that we may “get to.” But I contend that music is a life skill which informs us in many areas of our lives. Chiefly, It allows our kids to develop executive functioning as well as transferable skills.
I encourage you to carve out time for music. Just consider that you probably already do. What’s on your playlist? How many hours a week do you listen to music while you workout, or are in the car? Music is an integral part of our lives. Accordingly, the songs we listen to, the movies we watch, as well as the worship we offer can change our mood and – above all – lead to redemption.
A Universal Language
Music is a Universal Languages, along with Math and Latin. As has been noted, we can communicate to others with music, even if we lack a common language!
I’ve teamed up with Melissa Grande, a professional Musician and one of our amazing True North Homeschool Academy teachers to talk about some of the obvious benefits of studying music!
10 Benefits of Studying Music
Stress Management & Therapeutic Benefits – Music calms the soul, gives kids the ability to express emotions and work off the wiggles! It utilizes many neural pathways to learning. Music education is kinesthetic, and auditory, but also visual as they develop eye-hand coordination and the ability to read music.
Quick Thinking Skills – playing an instrument requires the student to think quickly. That requirement increases exponentially if they are playing with a band of any kind. Kids become quick thinkers as they have to check what’s going on with other musicians.
Social Skills – these become well developed through music as students learn collaboration & communication skills. Skills are required for coordinating with others in the home about best practice times. Social skills are used when working with other musicians, coordinating with teacher and developing as a performer.
Responsibility and Discipline – are a natural outcome of music studies as students learn to take care of their instruments. It also requires that they focus on practicing and tough out the physical hardship of developing their craft.
Problem Solving – is one of the many gifts of studying any art. Students must simply work to understand the music. The sounds of their instrument and how to create music with others involve problem solving skills.
Time Management and Deadlines – are integral to developing as a musician. You must show up to lessons on time, show up to practice and performances while juggling other responsibilities and demands.
Pride in Accomplishments – (and learning that you have the ability to Do Hard Things). We want good things for our kids, and might even have to guard against serving up fun too often. Instead, teach them to hold out for deep joy and fulfillment when they have overcome and can enjoy their accomplishment.
Perseverance and Patience – we know that good things come from years of practice and investment. Excellence comes with practice. Our kids learn this as they wrestle with loving their instrument and playing music over the long term.
Creative Expression – this might seem obvious but is not to be overlooked. Music allows our kids – and us- creative expression. Who hasn’t lip-synced at the top of their lungs in the car alone? Who hasn’t cried, hearing a touching song, or choked up singing Handel’s Messiah? Music moves our spirit and soul and unlocks hidden emotions and allows us to become more fully human.
Self Expression – along with creative expression, music allows us to express ourselves as individuals. We all have a song to sing and a beautiful story to tell. Music allows us another avenue to share that with others!
A Lot of Bang for Your Homeschool Buck!
Music is one of those courses of study that give you so much bang for your buck. Your kids learn a fantastic academic skill, that can garner them scholarship dollars and amazing opportunities. As they develop their skills, music will help them maintain their positive mental health. They will develop transferable skills that will hold fast throughout their lives.
Not sure where to start with Music Education in your homeschool? Check out True North Homeschool Academy Music classes. We believe in and value music education so much that we offer k-12th grade opportunities that will inspire and delight!
Check Out K-12 Classes to Get Their Creative Energies Flowing
Art & Music I – one of our most popular Elementary classes last year! This is a Charlotte Mason inspired course that teaches Art through the Seasons. Children learn to play the tin whistle along with learning about music.
Art & Music II – for those who couldn’t get enough of Art and Music I. (or for older kids) Students will again have inspiring Art through the Seasons lessons and learn rhythm through bucket drumming!
From Handicrafts to Technology
Take a look at more than 30 electives available on our website. True North Homeschool Academy offers elective courses that are creative and practical.
Advanced Placement for the Homeschooler. Is this even a thing? Launching our homeschooled students can feel trickier than ever before. We have college costs and world view to contend with.
Many homeschooling parents are looking for the least expensive, most time effective way of getting their kids through college, with a degree, vocational training and minimal debt. And for those purposes, you may want to consider Advanced Placement classes (known as “AP”) as part of your overall strategy of launch success.
Q: What is the difference between AP and other college credit options? A: AP is preferred by most colleges because it is created and closely monitored by universities. Dual enrollment & especially CLEP are a hit and a miss–universities prefer certainty.
Q: What is the minimum score necessary to equal credit at college? A: Normally a score of 3 although William & Marry, for example, allows a score of 2. Parents should phone the admission departments at colleges.
Q: How many hours is an AP course worth and how many hours can I take to college? A: 3-6 hours per course depending upon the consenting college. Most college allow 18-28 hours. Vanderbilt, for instance, will transfer in 18 hours but only if the score is 4-5.
Q: When should my student take an AP course. A: When he/she is ready! Normally 11th or 12th grade, but in some cases 10th grade. Speak to Dr. Stobaugh about this.
Q: How much time will my student have to spend completing AP work? A: Normally 1 hour per day (5 hours/week).
Parents must find a cooperating high school. Students will have an option to take the exam onsite or at home digitally.
Here is a list of high schools that administer AP exams:
Dr. Stobaugh has had more than 25 books published including the SAT and College Preparation Course for the Thoughtful Christian (2016), and The ACT andCollege Preparation Course for the Christian Student (2012), as well as a critical thinking literary writing and history series.
He is the pastor of Mt. Laurel United Church of Christ, Boswell, PA, an evangelical Protestant church not too far from the Flight 93 crash. Jim and Karen reside on a farm called The Shepherd’s Glen in the Laurel Highland Mountains, Hollsopple, PA. You can read his blog and order his services at www.forsuchatimeasthis.com.
Each year there are roughly 15.4 millionhigh school students in America, with 25% of those students from 24,000 high schools. Each of those high schools has a “Best;” the best football player, scholar, performer, linguist, etc. Competition is stiff for both college and university scholarships.
Furthermore, the number of honor students in India is greater than the number of total students in America, and with today’s global market, future college-goers are competing with scholarship dollars and opportunities internationally. Standing out from the crowd will garner your student scholarship money and opportunities that being one of the many will not.
What is a Stand-Out Factor?
A Stand out factor can be many different things but they are most likely to include:
Initiative –student initiated, led and directed
Passion – student has personal investment
Individuality –has to do specifically with the students core values
Strategy –student has strategized to achieve
I would also recommend that a Stand-Out Factor include:
Positive impact on others
Broad Reach & Big Win
With technology so readily available, it’s almost easier to develop your stand-out factor than ever before. Young creative entrepreneurs can self-publish novels, music, videos, and movies. But, publishing doesn’t automatically make something Stand-out. How can you tell if you have developed your stand-out factor?It’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!
What’s a stand-out factor? It’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!
Lisa Nehring, Director, True North Homeschool Academy
Stand Out Students
Below I’ve listed some of the ideas students that I’ve worked with have actually done to develop their own ability to stand out:
Participate in and win National Competitions- Geography, History, Bible, Poetry
Participate in CAP or Jr ROTC
Turn your interest in performing into becoming a juggler or clown
Turn your interests into an opportunity to impart your knowledge to others and teach a skills you’ve learned in person, or online
Use What You Have
Identify and develop areas where your students show interest or talents and skills they are already using. You might also consider areas that you, as the parent, can coach or develop in your student. If you have a passion or hobby and your student shows interest, I would venture to say that that is an area that would be perfect to develop into a stand-out factor.
Outsource When Needed
On the other hand, each of our kids shows talents and abilities that we might know nothing about. In which case I would encourage you to research and find resources that can develop your student’s interest beyond your knowledge. Resourcing your student doesn’t have to be expensive, as there are so many great online tutorials now. Literally, the world is at your fingertips with the tap of your fingers. At the same time, don’t overlook local resources. My older kids took horseback riding lessons from a National Barrel racer in return for mucking out stalls.
Developing your student’s stand-out factor might garner those students scholarship dollars and opportunities; it might lead to jobs or even a career. At the very least, it will develop your student’s overall sense of ability and accomplishment, as well as soft skills, such as work ethic, communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking.
High School is the perfect time to develop your student’s stand-out factor, through clubs, projects, and course work that helps them understand themselves and opportunities more robustly, such as our Orienteering Course.
If you need help identifying or knowing how to further develop your student’s stand-out factor, we’d love to help! Check out our Academic Advising program and Parent Membership programs!
Doing an after-action review on last year’s homeschooling might be the last thing on your mind. After all, school’s out for summer! We had a great year, learned a ton, read the best books, and wrote some amazing papers – commence summer schedule, baby!
But before you move on from this year, after-action your homeschool year. If you do, I promise it will save you time, money, and frustration!
What is it?
What is an After Action Review? It’s a structured de-briefing to analyze what happened, why it happened, and how it can be improved for the future.
Personally, I believe that after-actioning our homeschooling year can put our hearts and minds at ease, re-focus our energy and resources and help us be intentional as we plan and prepare for what’s ahead. This type of review allows us to objectively let go of things, activities, curriculum, and even schedules that did not work and embrace what did work. As a result, we can move ahead with confidence!
After Action: Assessment
Homeschooling curriculum, activities, events, clubs and more- what all worked?
What didn’t work in your homeschooling life this past year- curriculum, events, activities, clubs, challenges, etc.
Mom evaluation: did the curriculum work for you? Did you love it, like it, tolerate it, hate it? Did you enjoy using it?
Kid evaluation: did the curriculum work for the kids? Did you love it, like it, tolerate it, hate it? Did you enjoy using it?
Avoidance evaluation: What curriculum did you all avoid; was there anything that did not get used regularly enough to be beneficial?
Super star wins: curriculum that you all loved and couldn’t wait to get to? Double down on that!
Too rigorous or Not rigorous enough?
How did they fit into overall goals?
Was social interaction challenging, healthy and beneficial?
Assess Co-ops, on-line classes and other outsourced programs:
Double check your expectations compared to what the program delivered.
You invested time, money, planning and effort to participate; was it beneficial enough to continue?
Determine what you will continue and what will you change/ get rid of:
Sort and Organize
If it was completed: donate, sell or compost it. If you are keeping it, clean it up and put it back on the bookshelves. Want to keep those sweet memories? Make a scrapbook for a fun summer activity! Remember to go through clothes, shoes, and winter gear while you are at it. The kids grew at the speed of sound this year!
As you after-action, think through areas that you need more training or encouragement in and strategize how you’ll get the training that you need.
Also, determine an area you want to build your own copiousness in this year and make a plan for actually doing it. Nothing keeps homeschooling as exciting as knowing that you’ll all be learning and wrestling together through materials, gaining skills and knowledge! Don’t forget to add in some fun and a break from your regularly scheduled programming so that you are refreshed and ready for what’s next! Looking for awesome community and fellowship? Join our Mom’s Membership. You will benefit from support and three LIVE and interactive events online each week!
Assess what you need to have an amazing next year:
Start with a solid Personalized Learning Plan you’ve created yourself or work with one of our qualified Academic Advisors to create your next amazing school year. Check out the Survive Homeschooling Highschool ebook, full of information about credits, transcripts and electives, charts and helpful information about testing, and more!
After-actioning can give you a great sense of accomplishment for all that you’ve done this past school year and set you up for stellar success in the future as well as a relaxing summer!