Homeschooling is Figureoutable!

Homeschooling is Figureoutable!

I read a book in parts and pieces at a book store and liked it so much that I later purchased it. The main premise of the book is that Everything is Figureoutable; the ultimate growth mindset. It is a perfect phrase to be continually testifying to yourself. I say it to myself all the time. Cause, true confessions, life makes it easy to get stuck.

We get stuck with people and circumstances. All.the.time.

And Homeschooling, by its very nature, gives us many, many opportunities to get stuck. Stuck, but good.

Homeschooling is Figureoutable!

Most of us have little-to-no training about child-rearing, education, or even the basics of homemaking or bill paying. Many of us can’t cook in early adulthood, don’t like to clean, and avoid paying bills. But adulthood requires that we figure stuff out. That, or we stay stuck and feel frustrated. Sometimes we stay stuck for a very long time. We think we aren’t good with money. Or we missed the grammar gene. Or we are not creative. We keep ourselves stuck because we don’t believe we have what it takes. Can I get a witness?

The good news about homeschooling and home management is that it is figureoutable. And honestly, once we’ve figured it out, it can be gratifying work: soul-filling and world-changing work.

Don’t Get Stuck

However, if you’ve been thrust into homeschooling, or are trying to do it while working, or brought your kids with an undiagnosed learning difficulty home, getting things figured out can be overwhelming. So, let me help with some basic lists of things you might want to figure out. It’s not exhaustive or personalized; it’s just a starting place. A place to take a stand and feel successful once you’ve figured out a few things so that you can continue gaining skills and so that the next success seems even more attainable.

Things you will need to figure out to homeschool well:

  • What is your teaching style?
  • How much time do you have to teach, given your other responsibilities?
  • What are your kids’ learning styles (to shore up your students’ areas of challenge and to utilize their areas of nature ability)
  • What educational pedagogies produce the results you are looking for?
  • Is your student gifted, 2E, LD, or at a traditional grade level? The greater the disparity between your student’s ability and areas of challenge, the more easily frustrated they might feel –and that goes back to the figureoutability –  but that’s a whole different conversation.
  • What is your minimum and maximum budget for books and curriculum?
  • What resources do you have for travel and experience-based learning?
  • What will you give up to homeschool? Time, money, resources, a career, advancement, etc.?
  • Where in your house (or out of it) will you homeschool?
  • What storage areas do you have available to house homeschooling supplies such as books, curriculum, writing utensils, computers, printers, etc.?
  • What will be your basic schedule?
  • What is your goal for homeschooling?
  • What is your strategy for accomplishing your homeschooling goal?
  • Which parent will be primarily responsible for homeschooling?
  • Who will you homeschool with? A co-op, in-person classes, online programs, a hybrid, or UMS?
  • What unique resources do you bring to the table as you homeschool? Are you an RV family? Do you own your own business, travel extensively, or is Grandma available to take one or more of the kids regularly?
  • What will free time look like for your kids?
  • What will your morning and evening routines consist of?
  • How will the homeschooling day begin?
  • How will the homeschooling day end?
  • How will you manage electronics in your home?
  • How will you know if homeschooling is a success?
  • Will you homeschool all of your kids?
  • Will you homeschool them using the same pedagogy and curriculum?

Related things to figure out:

  • How will meal planning, shopping, prep, and clean-up be managed?
  • How will clothes and laundry be managed- gathering, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting clothes away?
  • How will schedules be managed? This becomes more important to figure out as the parent(s) have more outside responsibilities like jobs or caring for an elderly relative?
  • Who will pay the bills and set the budget for homeschooling expenses, activities, experiences, and travel?
  • Who will transport kids to activities, programs, therapies, and the like?

Figuring it All Out

Homeschooling does not have to be complicated. But homeschooling is work. We dedicate time and resources towards it, and like all work, the more we can adequately do the prep work and plan the execution, the more successful we’ll be at meeting our goals and launching our kids.

But don’t worry. What you don’t know currently is figureoutable. And every success you have will lead to another success. Every obstacle overcome is one step closer to your goal. You’ve got this, Momma!

More Resources

If you’re looking for a community of like-minded homeschoolers headed True North, we’d love to have you join our community! Let us help each other “figure it ALL out”  with encouragement and support – plus free training, advice, and resources to help you figure out the challenges you face!

And if you want to read more about homeschool organization and planning, take a look at our resources for Homeschooling 101- Where to Begin and tips for how to Manage My Home & Time or encouragement and resources for families of children with special needs.

Homeschooling and working mom

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: Jr High School

Typical Course of Study: Jr High School

A Typical Course of Study can help you develop a strong plan for homeschooling Junior High School. It can define your purpose in what can feel like an academic no-man’s land! Students are no longer children but are definitely not yet the young adults they will be in high school. Their bodies are changing rapidly, and they can’t even keep up with themselves, preferring to sleep and eat over many other options. Some people want to skip the Jr. High years, pretending it’s just all a bad dream. But these years, though challenging, can be rich academically and set the tone for future high school and adult success!

How Do Tests Help?

Jr. High is typically the time when undiagnosed learning disabilities or processing disorders come to the fore, and getting a good standardized test done now, as a benchmark of student’s ability by grade level, can be really helpful. If you suspect a disability or processing disorder, check out resources such as our Advising. Help is available, though you may have to search for tools. SPED Advising (like ours at True North Homeschool Academy) can save you hours, thousands of dollars, and tears of frustration!

If your student is weak in any of the basics, such as English or Maths, you will want to shore those weaknesses up; particularly reading comprehension and speed and Math literacy, including being strong in the four math functions- addition and subtraction multiplication, and division.

Teenage girl lying on the sofa at home in the living room using smartphone, close up, low angle, close up

What to Focus on in Junior High

a typical course of study for Jr High School will focus on the Core 4 subjects and then add in Electives and Extra-curricular activities.

Jr. High is typically 7th and 8th grade. You’ll want to focus on the Core Four and build from there:

  • English – make sure your student has the mechanics of writing down. Can they write simple sentences, a paragraph, and a three paragraph paper on an assigned topic? Students should be able to write a clear, well-organized simple essay by the end of the 8th. They should understand basic grammar and spelling and be building their vocabulary through more difficult reading.
  • Math – Solidify what they know about math functions, particularly multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages. Students should begin moving into pre-Algebra/Algebra at the end of Jr High.
  • Science – Students should have a basic foundation in nature studies. Jr. High Science will give them a broad overview of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Earth & Space, Physical Science, and an introduction to Lab Reports. They should know the Scientific Method.
  • History- students should have a broad sweeping overview of History, with some details about the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and the Modern World and an understanding of U.S. History. A basic timeline is a great idea. Be certain they have a basic understanding of Geography.

Mother Having Serious Conversation With Young Daughter At Home

Electives and Extra-curriculars

Foreign Language: Jr. High is a great time to introduce a Foreign language if you haven’t already! Latin is a perfect language to start with. It will solidify English grammar basics, build English vocabulary (15000 English words are Latin derivatives), and give them a fun code to crack. Latin also has many moving parts, so it is a good critical thinking skill as your teen learns executive functioning skills. Spanish, Chinese, German, French, and Hebrew are also great ways to hone skills, and students can earn High School Credit while still in Jr. High!

Logic: Face it, most tweens live to argue, and they are not very good at it. Teach them logic and reveal that they’ll be able to recognize fallacies and form logical arguments. Good writers are good thinkers, and this will hone their English skills And math is symbolic logic, which will hone their math skills. Informal Logic is a perfect study for developing tween brains.

Physical Education: ½ credit each year. Regular exercise will help regulate your teen’s emotions, energy to argue, and food intake. Check out our fun Dance at the Movies course, where students will gain skills, earn PE credits and learn to appreciate the beauty of dance.

Music: A general overview of music, including Music Theory, voice, or instrument lessons, will enrich their homeschool program (and their lives!).

Art/Humanities: Give them a general understanding of Form and Color, Photography, Photoshop, etc.

Bible/Apologetics: Students should have a solid overview of the Old and New Testaments and a foundation of Apologetics; an understanding of how to defend their faith.

Computer: Basic Computer Information Systems, Powerpoint, Video Editing, Internet Safety, and Accountability; I highly recommend parents read Glow Kids and make informed decisions about what their students have access to via phones and the internet!

Health- Should include general hygiene and safety, including managing and handling their phones/ internet usage.

Electives for Jr High should be diverse and introduce students to a wide range of opportunities and challenges. In Jr. High students are moving from experience to interest to strategy if their interest is something that they want to pursue and have a clear drive to invest in.

Community Service is a great way to get Tweens to think beyond themselves and understand and support others’ needs.

Books: Of course, make time for reading great literature will expand your student’s horizons, build their vocabulary and help them empathize with others.

Want to know more about credits, transcripts, and standardized tests?

TNHA-BLog-Post-Junior-High-Plan-of-Study-Image-Tween-With-Empathy-Comforts-a-Friend

More Resources and Tools

Survive Homeschooling High School is a comprehensive eBook that will walk you through how to plan and prepare for High School. Or check out our Academic Advising– we offer Standard 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 Jr. 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!

See also our article on a Typical Course of Study for High School.

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:

Transparency & Trust

Transparency & Trust

Transparency & Trust Behind the Scenes

When I go to a new website or business page, one of the first pages I visit is the “About Page.” But I notice lately that it’s difficult to find out who is behind many of the online academies and programs. Personally, I want to know who I’m engaging with, who is taking my money, and what the theology, philosophy, and pedagogy is behind the business and the program. It’s not always easy to find out.

But I guess that’s to be expected. The homeschooling world was a billion-dollar industry before Covid-19 and as a result, it is becoming increasingly common to find wealthy entrepreneurs stepping into the market. Singles who have never homeschooled and may not even have a family or children – and even deep pockets pushing a political agenda who get a lot of easy reach on social media are jumping onto the online homeschool bandwagon.

Recently a friend was unfairly bullied on social media for letting a teacher know that their students would be sitting out of morally questionable material.  I have known teachers whose classes were not approved because of faith-based content. All online programs are not created equal.

As an entrepreneur, I am proud of the business that I’ve created. Of course, it’s been with the help of family, friends, and an incredibly talented team. But still, I love True North Homeschool Academy. It was birthed out of decades of educational theory and practice-beginning years ago with a Master’s Thesis title, “Why Parents Homeschool Their Children”, a family legacy of education, thirty years of homeschooling, and teaching scores of children in co-ops, class days, and online courses. So True North Homeschool Academy is a labor of love and one I am passionate about.

Whose Culture Are You Supporting?

I feel, as you do, that the education of our children is vitally important. People far smarter than me have stated, “Education is the transmission of culture.” (Will and Ariel Durant). It makes good sense to find out who is educating your kids. Just because they are well-known or in the homeschool space doesn’t mean that they have your kids’ best interests in mind.

You should research who is behind any online programming or class. Just like you want to know where your food comes from, whose agenda is behind the entertainment you watch, and what message your children will get from the books you hand them, you should want to know who is running a homeschool company. If you can’t discover who is in charge, where the funding is coming from, or what the company believes, keep looking.

Trust is the Foundation of Our Community

At True North Homeschool Academy we stand behind our people and products. We are a family-owned and operated business and we are homeschoolers who are committed to faith, family, and freedom.

Our teachers are homeschoolers, several of whom were homeschooled themselves. They are all innovative, creative educators. My goal in finding teachers is to connect with creative talent, set up the framework for them to excel, and then get out of the way so that they can make the magic happen. And they do. We have an incredible, international, faith-based team of passionate, innovative teachers at True North Homeschool Academy. We don’t hide who we are or obscure what our core values and beliefs are.

Some people believe that honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. And while that might be true on some level, we believe, as Mike Paul clearly states, trust, honesty, humility, transparency, and accountability are the building blocks of a positive reputation.

I think you would agree that trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Our homeschool academy is about far more than just selling classes. We are building a healthy community, imparting wisdom, and developing cross-generational relationships. AND we are willing to take the risk of being transparent with the belief that we are “giving up”  safety for the sake of something incredible!

We love coming alongside fellow homeschoolers as they journey True North. If you ever have questions or concerns about who we are or where we are coming from, just ask. We’ll be transparent about who we are and what our vision is!

With you on the Journey!

Lisa & the TNHA Team!

Mother and her son holding hands while walking in the nature at sunset.

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!