I know, you are so ready for a summer break. Sleeping in, swimming, camping, and vacation. I hear you. I’m just as ready as you are. But, I also remember just how hard it was to get back into the swing of things with homeschooling come Back-to-School time. So, this year (Home) School is in for summer!
There are tons of really good reasons to homeschool year-round, but today I’m going to share what I think are 5 great reasons to homeschool over the summer. Let’s dive in! 😉
1. Choosing to homeschool this summer gives you the freedom to break at other times.
Embracing the summer as a time of learning can let you flex when things come up during the year. And they do come up, don’t they? Someone gets sick, family visits, you travel during the holidays. Summer learning affords you the freedom to break when you need to without feeling behind or guilty. You set the pace.
2. Summer homeschool can help prevent that “summer slide” we hear about.
I know, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if your kids were anything like mine, that heat can be just as disrputive as a snow day. The heat makes kids lithargic. They tend to gravitate towards the air conditioning and often times a screen. Why not capture the screen time for learning?
4. Master a new skill.
Often times our school year is packed. We’re focused on the essentials and it’s hard to fit in a purely interest-based class. It might be time to learn a new language, master the math we’ll need for Chemistry next year, or hone our essay writing techniques. Even preparing for next year with a class on Study Skills can give a real advantage.
5. Getting a preview of coming attractions.
Summer classes at True North Homeschool Academy are a great way to preview how the classes work in the fall. Our classes are particularly designed to support our full year classes. Students will meet fellow True North Homeschool Academy students, learn from one of our world class teachers and learn to navigate our online campus!
We’re here to support your homeschooling choices, happy to answer your questions, and provide you with an educational option that helps lead your kids True North. We’d love to see you this summer!
Bundle Your Summer Classes & Save!
Summer Bootcamp Bundle allows you to choose 3 Summer Classes for 20% off over ala carte classes!
Choose from fourteen Summer Classes that will build students academic skills, setting them up for future academic success! Our classes are particularly designed to support our full year classes. Students will meet fellow True North Homeschool Academy students, learn from one of our world class teachers and learn to navigate our online campus! Choose from the following:
Let’s face it, we homeschoolers love figuring things out. As a group, we DIY homeschooling. It’s in our DNA. While everything is “figuroutable” — it’s not always the easiest path to follow, is it?
A History of Homeschooling
When homeschooling got its start, materials were limited, groups were non-existent, and laws were strict. In fact, it was illegal in many states. The first homeschoolers were true pioneers. They invented DIY homeschooling because they had to! We truly stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before us.
Homeschooling Has Changed
Homeschooling has seen a lot of changes, and friends, that’s a good thing. The craziness of 2020 has accelerated some of the changes, and we now have more homeschooling families than ever before. So, why are we still DIY homeschooling? What can we do differently and why should we?
Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach [the words of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The Bible also tells us we don’t have to do it alone. Two are better than one, because they have good return for their labor. Iron sharpens iron. We’re to use our gifts to minister to others. When we know the truth, we’re to be helpers to the truth. We’re to provoke one another to good works. We’re one body, with members.
This sums up my point — we need one another. We can DIY homeschooling, but we don’t have to.
The World Has Changed (Sort Of)
The world has changed. We’re more connected than at any time in history. What hasn’t really changed is human nature. Let’s be honest, it’s the realization of the continuity of human nature that’s part of why we homeschool in the first place. As Christians, we feel a responsibility to our children to provide for them and protect them from the worst in human nature.
We also want them to see the best in people and be prepared to live and work in the world God has given us. It is our Father’s world, after all. He wants us to tend to it and the people he puts us in touch with.
Homeschooling prepares our kids for that.
With all of this connectedness, we need to be diligent to our responsibility to our children. And again, we don’t have to do that alone. We don’t need to DIY homeschooling.
Moving Beyond DIY Homeschooling
True North Homeschool Academy was born out of a passion to equip and nurture parents as they intentionally educate their children.
We’ve been offering live online classes for over a decade, and have collectively been involved in alternative education in the form of private schools, classical academies, yeshivas, co-ops, class days, classical charters, online academies, and more.
We believe that Education is the Transmission of Culture. We are coming from a decidedly Judeo-Christian point of view. We are people of the Book.
True North Homeschool Academy teachers are a group of passionate, qualified, creative educators providing carefully curated Core Courses and Clubs, delivered by utilizing cutting-edge technology, gamification, and solid academic pedagogy. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities of homeschooling.
Making Your Homeschool Your Own
I know many will choose the DIY homeschooling route. And I’m here to support all homeschoolers. But, if you’re looking for support, accountability, and connection, I encourage you to consider our live, online, interactive classes.
A partner in homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to have a cookie-cutter homeschooling experience. And you don’t have to DIY homeschooling. Pick and choose what works best for YOUR family. Make your homeschool your own.
I understand homeschool mom anxiety. I am a teacher and a homeschool mom who has struggled with the college question. And, I get this question ALL the time; “Can my homeschooled kid get into college?”
It is usually accompanied by explaining how the homeschool parent has made unconventional decisions about their kids’ education (check, you homeschool). What I hear through all of the details is Homeschool Mom Anxiety:
Did I do enough?
Did I focus on suitable material, subject or lesson?
Can my kid compete?
Can my kids hold their own once they start interacting with a group of peers?
Let me assure you, your kid CAN get into college.
While Homeschool Mom Anxiety can be Intense, Let’s Look at the Facts.
Homeschool standardized test scores are generally higher than public school test scores overall.
Homeschooled students score about 72 points higher than the National Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) average.
The average American College Test (ACT) score is 21. The average score for homeschoolers is 22.8 out of a possible 36 points.
Homeschoolers are at the 77th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Homeschoolers have also consistently won.
Scripps Spelling Bee
Apangea Math Contest
3M Young Scientist Challenge
National Geographic Bee
USA Mathematical Olympiad
So, yes, homeschooled students can get into college, compete well and succeed in traditional performance-based environments and competitions.
Homeschooled students go to college, university, Ivy League schools, Conservatories, Military Academies, and everywhere else public school kids go.
Speaking of colleges and homeschool mom anxiety, what are the expectations of college admissions boards?
Test Scores, Transcripts, Community Service, Extracurriculars, the Students Stand-Out Factor, essays, and references. They’ll look at the package they ask the student to submit, and then they’ll accept or deny your student entrance to their school.
Post-Covid, the path to college acceptance is shorter than ever before. My youngest daughter got accepted into a private college with a hefty discount based on the application and a homeschool transcript. That’s it. No test scores, references, or other supporting documentation is necessary.
In my experience, parents have been asking the wrong questions, particularly since 2020.
The more relevant TWO QUESTIONS homeschooling families need to be asking are
How will my kid pay for college?
Is college essential?
The Rising Costs of College
If you’ve been following college costs for the past couple of years, you realize that they have skyrocketed. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average price of tuition and fees came to:
$38,070 at private colleges
$10,740 at public colleges (in-state residents), not including room, board, and expenses
$27,560 at public colleges (out-of-state residents)
With additional fees for room and board, which average to:
$13,620 at private colleges
$11,950 at public colleges
You read that right.
It costs between $22,000 to $51,000 PER YEAR to attend college.
Since most kids don’t generally have $100- $200,000 laying around, and the expected rate of parent contribution is often ridiculous, student loans are often the go-to.
You’ve heard me say it before, the average college student graduates in six years, not four, with an average of $37,000 in debt.
But approximately 40% of students who start college drop out, and many have already incurred debt. Debt cannot be bankrupted; it increases exponentially if the payer takes a forbearance or deferment. Debt can financially cripple a young adult for life.
Holy Buckets, Batman! That’s a lot of responsibility for most young adults, many of whom have never made a significant purchase before college.
Is College the Next Best Step?
For those who believe college is the best next step, I would encourage parents to help their young adults run a cost/ benefit analysis. Talk to someone in the working world who is in their potential career field and consider pay/ benefits and vocational costs in terms of time and money. What will be the actual ROI (Return on Investment) of their college degree?
Dave Ramsy says it so much better than I do in Borrowed Future, an excellent documentary on the crazy debt that begins incurred the lack of intense scrutiny that parents and young adults should be bringing to bear on college costs and degree ROI.
And it’s not that there are no scholarships and opportunities that will bring college costs down. Still, since 2020, even scholarships have gotten thin, as people’s regular giving and contribution habits have changed.
College costs are not limited to financial debt but can have long-lasting effects on a student’s worldview, politics, faith, and so much more. While college classes might not instigate change for students, extracurricular activities are. And with college students spending less than 3 hours a day on academics and more than ever before on “Student Life” that guides students towards socialism and secularism, it’s time to rethink college in the traditional sense.
Anti-Education I am Not
Look, besides having five kids, my husband and I have five graduate degrees between us; we are hardly education averse. We both love to learn and have raised five inquisitive auto-didacts. But times, they are a-changing, and it’s time to get innovative and creative about education, degrees, and vocational training.
And who better to do that than homeschooling families? We’re so used to thinking outside the box that this should be second nature for us.
Is College Necessary?
In the past, having a degree paid dividends for the student. You can bank on the financial benefits of having a degree, and the more advanced a degree one holds; generally, the higher salary one makes. But most of the articles and charts that this information is based on don’t consider the financial debt and burden of student loans.
In the past, getting a degree was about so much more than just earning a piece of paper. It was the traditional pathway to adulthood for many of us, and we launched our career success as adults. Many of us met lifelong friends, not to mention our spouses in college, discovered artistic and intellectual areas of interest and passion, and, just as importantly, we learned how to learn.
Without college, how will our young adults find friends suitable mates and hone their intellectual pursuits and abilities? I talk to Moms from all over the country every week, and I can assure you I’m not alone in my query.
It’s Time to Develop the Art of Non-conformity
As if we haven’t done so already, being homeschoolers and all. Look, the world has changed and continues to change. You’ve heard me talk about this 4th Industrial Revolution that we’re in, right? And with every revolution, careers and industries die, and extraordinary opportunities and fortunes are to be made. But, it’s also a time of upheaval, so old ways and paths just might not work or be worth the price to be paid.
Ease Your Homeschool Mom Anxiety and Re-negotiate What College Looks Like
College is a worthy pursuit, but there is no reason to do it all on campus. Dual Enrollment, CLEP, and Community College classes can get your kids ahead for pennies on the dollar. And while DE is limited to pre-high school graduation, CLEP exams can be done even while students attend college classes. Also, parents, it’s never too late to talk to your kids about finishing college in 4 years or less. The longer they are in college, the higher the cost or debt. So, finishing sooner than later saves them time and money.
Everybody needs Entrepreneurship
In my reading and studying on the future of work and education, one topic that comes up repeatedly is Entrepreneurship. It’s so crucial that some colleges require students to take Entrepreneurship as part of their required program credits. And Peter Thiel, former PayPal CEO who created the Thiel Fellowship, is so committed to Entrepreneurship that he offers 24 students two years and $100,000 to get things done.
Former Homeschooler and pageant winner Samantha Shank created materials for educators, has a successful TpT store, and is currently graduating with an M.S. in Education debt-free. She wants to purchase her first home, financed by her TpT store and website.
With online tools, entrepreneurship is easier than ever to jump into. Of course, time-honored ways of making money still exist, like clearing houses (my sister and I cleaned houses all through high school, making $30-$50 way back in the day), lawn service, and babysitting. But, there are so many new ways to earn a buck now, too- like selling on Teacher’s Pay Teachers.
Check out our Mega List of Jobs for Tweens and Teens
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And while certain degrees and fields might require higher education, like the medical and legal profession, even those fields are changing with innovative AI and robotic development. What’s needed for licensure or certification now, but be different in the field in 5-10 years.
Develop Marketable Skills
While not everyone’s cut out to be an entrepreneur, making room in your junior and senior high school schedule to develop marketable skills just makes good sense. At the very least, your kids are creating a robust transcript, and they might even be discovering a lifelong passion, vocational path, or lucrative side- hustle that pays their way through college, as Samantha Shank discovered.
Homeschool Mom Anxiety
While we live through a time of shifting and upheaval, we don’t need to worry about our kids getting into college. The relevant questions, particularly post 2020, are:
How will they pay for it
Is it worth it given what they will pursue vocationally
Entrepreneurship and Marketable Skills Training are two sure-fire ways to set your kids on the path to Future Success!
If you are looking for skills training for your tween or teen, particularly in marketable skills that are applicable now, check out our wide variety of classes that allow kids to make money now: Entrepreneurship, Video Editing, Photoshop, Computer Science, Computer Illustrator, Graphic Design and more!
It’s a new year and time to dream big and envision what’s ahead! Are you struggling with setting goals for the New Year? I love breaking out my new Bullet Journal and setting up the yearly and monthly calendar pages and thinking through hopes and dreams.
BUT, I break down a bit on the goal setting! For most years, I already have a rough schedule, with work related trips penciled in, along with house and business projects. Therefore, adding “goals” can feel daunting. I begin to feel like I’m already hemming myself in with stuff to get done and the year hasn’t even started yet! Plus, if your year goes like mine often does, it’s important to leave flex room for the unexpected blessings and challenges which inevitably take place.
That being said, I also recognize the power of writing things down. So, I have this tension between not wanting to get too specific, but also wanting to live fully in the coming year. What’s a girl to do? If you, like me, have followed the 4 Present Rule, this should look familiar
The 4 Present Rule:
Something they Want
Something they Need
Something to Wear
Something to Read
It’s such a fun and simple way to organize gift giving!
Why not organize the New Year in a similar fashion? This new way of looking at the New Year will help you clarify where you’ll be intentional about, providing clarity as you invest your time, money and resources!
Organize the New Year
Word of the YEAR! _________________________
Something I Want
Something I Need
Something I’ll Share
Where I’ll Succeed
This simple exercise can help us sort through what’s important and where we want to focus our time, money and energy. It can clarify our calling and vision, which is always helpful as both can be easy to lose sight of in the midst of daily responsibilities.
Planning using a “Word of the Year” can be so clarifying. What’s our focus? One year my word was “PRAY”. I purchased a 1 x 4 foot piece of art that says, “Pray Big” (I get that it’s two words, not one, but work with me here). I wrote down scripture verses about prayer, which I kept in my Bullet Journal, and kept a prayer jar. My word of the year offered focus, clarity and a constant adjustment as I headed True North.
Clarify & Simplify
We all have wants and desires.
Being clear about what I want allows less important wants to diminish, and allows me to brainstorm about how to get what we ultimately want. What do I need to sacrifice, invest in, double down on to really, truly attain what I want?
We all have needs.
Identifying my needs allows me to put time and energy into an area that I might have neglected or pushed off. As a result, I can identify those areas that are simply wants, not needs, and then re-categorize and focus our priorities.
We all have something to share.
We all have wisdom, strength and resources that will benefit others. Identifying where I’ll share keeps me from that easy path of good intentions and takes me down the road of generous giver.
We all have areas in which, if we allow ourselves to dream, we hope to succeed!
Identifying where I’ll succeed this year allows me to believe in my own success, plan and work for it, and ultimately benefit from it.
Write the Vision
Habakkuk 2:2 says, Write the vision, make it plain. The simple act of writing can bring our hopes and dreams to fruition! As you can see, writing down our hopes for the future is simple, but powerful! I challenge each of you to take some time as we head into the New Year to write down your big, God-sized Dreams!
Resources for a Successful New Year
Not sure what direction to head with homeschooling? Our Academic Advising is just what you are looking for! Our experienced Advisors save you time and money and take your student farther, faster! Homeschooling success is in YOUR future!
True North Homeschool Academy specializes in education. To us that includes equipping and encouraging parents as they learn with their children. We support families not just students.
Check out the free printables and links below and find out more about our True North Navigators. It’s a membership group for parents with fellowship, mentoring, an online book club, and monthly learning sessions that focus on encouraging and equipping you to be the best Christian home educator you can!
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!