The future of work is an important topic. It’s where our kids will live. We are training our kids for that future, whether we are mindful of it or not. Homeschooling offers us many opportunities to prepare them.
Today’s students will be working at jobs not yet created, working in technology that is just now being developed, and will be part of a fast-paced and ever-changing world. Technology is developing at a rapid pace!
Today’s workforce is quad-generational with different values, motivations, and work styles. Work is less structured and more agile. Employees want flexibility and immediacy and customer expectations are growing; they want immediacy in response and getting their needs met. Furthermore, technology is accelerating the pace of business.
What Economies will Play the Biggest Roles in the Future?
Big Tech Economy
Let’s take a look at each of these economies and consider some of the new technology that will affect and change the future!
Big Tech Economy:
Robotics & Automation
AI will affect industries across every aspect of life:
3- D Printers
3-D Printing is changing industries across the board
Sensors more widely adapted for business
The expansion of data will require more analysts
Behavioral scientists & Gamification experts
help people detox
get the most out of people
People looking for sustainable lifestyles
Tech will be stewarded and managed by IT
Managers and automation will take over many dull, dirty and dangerous jobs
Living high tech will force us to embrace emotional work
As always, I recommend start with the end in mind and working backwards. What kind of lifestyle does your student want to have, where do they want to live, what work do they believe in and want to invest in doing?
Assess your student, your current resources, and your location, as all of these offer various challenges and opportunities.
And don’t forget that you are one of your student’s best resources. What are your areas of interest and trained vocation? Your kids have a jump start on whatever it is you share with them, because of what you already know.
If you aren’t sure where to start to prepare them for the future of work, begin with a typical course of study and build from there. Still unclear? Our Academic Advisors would love to help you craft a plan for success!
True North Homeschool Academy classes that will set your student up for future success:
As you can see, homeschooling provides unique opportunities to prepare for the future of work! If you want to read more about how to help your children explore careers take a look at our blog post on How to Accelerate Your Career as a Homeschool Student and take a look at the classes mentioned above to learn specific skills.
Homeschooling has been an educational alternative since the late ’80s, eventually becoming legal in every state. It wasn’t really until 2020 that homeschooling was normalized as the entire world stayed home and muddled through homeschooling, homeworking, home sanity keeping. (#pandemic) Everyone quickly understood that homeschooling took planning, intentionality, and investment.
We began homeschooling in the early ’90s- the second year that Sonlight was in business- a big breakthrough in the market. It meant we had options beyond the traditional textbook approach of Abeka, Bob Jones whatever curricula the public schools were throwing away.
Mentoring Our Children
That was thirty years ago, and in that time, homeschooling has burgeoned into a billion-dollar industry. What does that mean for the homeschooler? It means choices, opportunity, and freedom. And, honestly, it can mean overwhelm as we all manage decision fatigue- not just with homeschooling, but with managing life during a unique time in history. Homeschooling was growing before 2020, and it has expanded exponentially with curriculum, online learning opportunities, and more. And while areas co-ops and class days may not be meeting as of yet, there are plenty of opportunities still around! And, because of the pandemic, you now have the entire world experimenting with online teaching. That means world-class teachers are at your fingertips!
Homeschooling means you own your children’s education- you are not outsourcing to a government or private system. But because of the plethora of choices now available to you and with so many people working part or full time, while they homeschool, it often means that we are coaching or mentoring our students through their academic life.
How do we make the best decisions and navigate the millions of choices?
Understand what a typical course of study is – possibly within an educational pedagogy.
Set priorities and a budget – include money for books, supplies, resources, online classes/ experiences, travel, equipment, co-ops, opportunities. Does it have to cost a fortune? No, but like many things, it may come down to time or money- which do you have more of?
Craft and implement a workable plan.
What is a typical course of study?
It starts with the Core 4 – Math, English, Science, and History, and for Christians, the Bible
Often includes electives such as a foreign language
Add in extra-curricular activities and other electives. For example, in the high school years, you’ll want to consider adding health, art, music, geography, etc.
Keep things simple and doable. Start with the basics such as math and English for all grades, then add in science and history. I am not advocating a class or a curriculum for each subject. I am simply saying, consider how you’ll teach these areas.
When planning, you’ll want to consider your approach. Does your family prefer a traditional textbook approach, a classical approach, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, or a unit study approach? Various pedagogies come with pros and cons. Your chosen homeschool style will inform your focus, curriculum, and time expenditures.
I recommend that you create a word document to help you plan your subjects, curriculum, and the skills you want them to learn. Once you plan these, you can more easily budget.
What are your non-negotiables – the must-learn skills and subjects for your family?
Our approach was heavily influenced by the great books and the classics, with a heavy dose of science and the arts. Your focus may be more STEM-oriented. This is important to think through. Why? Because the shiny object syndrome exists in the homeschooling world, like everywhere else! And look, we all want the best for our kids, so we think this curriculum, or those books, or this parenting information will help us get to their best. But less is often more, particularly when it comes to our kids and education.
They don’t need everything. They need the basics – math and literacy, a thirst for knowledge, and the skills necessary to learn.
Other things to consider:
How much money do you have to spend? Prioritize your non-negotiables and find quality materials.
Freebies -quality materials are literally everywhere for free. Here I have listed a few:
But there are also exceptional courses or experiences available that are an investment. For example, learning Biology, Chemistry, or Anatomy & Physiology from Dr. Kristin Moon at True North Homeschool Academy will set your future nurse or doctor up for success in a way that goes through a textbook haphazardly won’t. Learning Politics or Strategy from Adam Pruzan at True North will set your future analyst or politician up in a way that little else will.
Opportunites for “extras” such as camps, class days, lessons, hands-on activities, readers, travel- all of the things that go into creating and crafting an exceptional life should not be overlooked. Do you need a microscope or pottery lessons, or a horse or dog to train? Will your kids compete in sports or academic opportunities, Boy Scouts, AHG, or TeenPact? These opportunities often cost money and time. Can you budget or barter for it?
Create a plan.
Your plan can be a simple table or grid on a word doc with subjects listed down the side and the school planning year across the top.
For each student, fill in the current levels of math, language arts, science, history, foreign language, electives, physical education, music, extracurriculars, church events like youth group or Bible study, and community service projects that they will be involved in during the year.
U.S. Lit. & Comp
On-line True North with Mrs. Hemmings
Novel in a year
Who Dun It
Online with Mrs. Curtis; Nov challenge
Science of Marvel
Online with TNHA Mrs. Grande
Online with TNHA Mrs. Hemmings
Online Chinese with Mrs. Cao
Work-out with Dad
Music/ Art/ Theater
One Act Play/ Jan.
Math Games/ Art/
Community Center Tues
TeenPact 1-day Camp
TNHA Family Camp
Black Hills SD
Comedy- dry bar, Trey Kennedy
There Has Never Been a Better Time to Homeschool
In conclusion, you can take it from veteran homeschool moms like me – there has never been a better time to homeschool! We have so many choices and opportunities that we can involve our kids in each year. We can avoid decision fatigue when creating a simple plan that focuses on curricula and activities that fit within our educational philosophy. Your plan should organize the basics and allow them to pursue their interests. Remember to keep it simple, create a budget based on your priorities, take advantage of free stuff, and set them up for success in their chosen fields with classes from in-real-life or online experts when needed.
I’ve said before that sleep can never be overrated. It’s so important to get adequate rest when one is working hard. And let’s face it, managing a home, parenting and homeschooling are all hard work. It takes brainpower including creativity, critical thinking and communication skills, a fantastic sense of humor, and the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome in almost any given situation. Phew! I get tired just thinking about it!
Years ago I heard Jesse Wise (Mom to Susan Wise Bauer) say that there was little that a nap or a snack couldn’t fix. I think it’s an important reminder that our kids often need simple re-sets and re-fuel to function well.
And it’s not bad advice for us mommas, too. I have said for years that good sleep is cheap medicine, and we would all do better to adequate time off from work, including homeschooling, and make sure that we have good, uninterrupted sleep, and rest when we need it.
So, how do you rest- especially those of us who are working, homeschooling, managing house- the list is endless-and how do you get a great night’s sleep?
Schedule Sleep. Put it on the calendar.
What days will be screen-free?
What days will be work-free?
What days will be free from formal schooling?
When will you and the kids begin winding down in the evening –schedule 30 minutes for your wind-down routine?
When will you and the kids go to sleep at night?
When will you and the kids wake up in the morning? Regular wake-times help with better sleep
Create end-of-day routines for both kids and you so that you can get good sleep.
Cut down on the caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
Cal-Mag drink or lotion
Screen-free for an hour before bedtime
Supplements if you take them
Epson salt foot bath or bath
Relaxing music or bedtime story
Simple phrases or cues for kids, such as bedtime stories
Lights lowered and household activity quieted
Turn off the Wi-Fi and gather phones for the evening
Create sleeping spaces that are welcoming and cue rest/sleep.
Make bedrooms screen and electronic free, including phones
Block out light
Block out noise – use a white noise machine or fan if you need it
Set up a cool room temperature
Create a peaceful environment that is set aside for sleeping
No reading or eating or other activity in bed
Paint your bedrooms a soothing blue – blue sends a message to your brain that you’re in a calm environment, lowering your heart rate and your blood pressure. Yellow and Green are also great colors for bedrooms, while purple, gray, brown, and red stimulate your brain and rev you up
Establish regular sleeping and waking habits.
Manage stress before going to sleep- journal, pray, practice deep breathing
Staying on Track
Getting adequate sleep improves performance and reaction times, including emotional regulation and judgment, as well as thinking skills such as memory, critical thinking, and creativity.
As every Momma knows, sleep deprivation can lead to grumpiness, lack of cooperation, and bad attitudes. Adequate rest and deep sleep are imperative for doing the very important and high-energy work of homeschooling.
Need help keeping on track? Our Mom’s Membership site is all about supporting you to do the hard work of homeschooling.
Pedagogy is the method and practice of teaching, especially an academic subject or theoretical concept.
There are several distinct Homeschool Pedagogies. These are helpful to know as you research curriculum, consider your family’s abilities and challenges, and future goals.
Pedagogy is distinct from the method’s delivery; you can utilize a classical pedagogy at home, in a co-op, or an online venue. Just as educational pedagogies vary, so do delivery methods, and it’s good to know and understand both. For example, an online program might utilize a classical, textbook, or unit study approach.
You might also have heard of Pedagogies referred to as Methodologies. What’s the difference? Pedagogy is a discipline that deals with the theory and practice of education; in other words, why are you doing what you are doing. The Methodology is the practical application of the theory, so Pedagogy deals with the theory, and Methodology is the practical application of that theory.
This Pedagogy is named after, not surprisingly, Charlotte Mason. Mason believed that traditional educational methods expected too little of the student while, at the same time, interacting with them in a way that was too harsh. This method focuses on “living books” rather than twaddle. Living books are books written well and authored by those who love their material. The method also emphasizes narration which is a verbal retelling of the material rather than the use of worksheets and quizzes to determine what a child is learning. Rather than focusing on seatwork, learning happens through exploration, hands-on activities, and nature study. The emphasis is on short lessons that take advantage of a child’s attention while they are interested and focused. While Charlotte Mason believed whole-heartedly in studying nature, she believed that a child’s nature should not be left unbridled but reined in by good habits; thus, Habit Training is an important piece of the Charlotte Mason pedagogy.
Trivium – the 3 paths: Grammar, Dialectic (or Logic), and Rhetoric. These stages are primarily language-based. The Grammar stage focuses on memory work and the study of Latin. Students progress in their studies by furthering their understanding of logic, critical thinking, and the art of argument. As they continue to gain influence and mastery, they become the expert and the teacher in the rhetoric stage.
Quadrivium –the 4 paths. These areas of study are more Math based and often tackled in the later years: Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music.
Course work is integrated throughout studies. Students make connections about the importance that each subject plays in working towards an integrated whole of understanding the universe. There is an appreciation of the importance that history and language studies play in this integrated approach.
This term was coined by John Holt, who was one of the forerunners of the homeschooling movement and a public school teacher. The term originally referred to people leaving traditional or government schools. Holt advocated for providing resources for your child, being aware of their interests and passions, and letting those be the guiding factor in your student’s education. The main tenant of his writing was that play was a child’s work and that children are learning all the time. He believed that children should direct their own studies, and parents were to be mentors and guides to help children reach their individual educational goals.
Children take responsibility for their own learning
Students learn through natural life experiences
Adaptable and an excellent way to take advantage of unique lifestyles like Globe schooling or Road schooling
Prominent Educator Raymond and his wife, Dorothy Moore, were probably the first to talk about Unit Studies, also known as Delight Directed Learning. Their method was to manage your homeschool time by blocks of time each day devoted to time working around the house, time for table work (what would be considered traditional school work), and Unit Studies or Delight Directed learning. For instance, if you are studying about the Revolutionary War, you would create a unit learning the weaponry or clothing of that time period, incorporating writing and cooking projects about this time period, and reading letters or works of fiction about this time period. A student is learning more as a result of integrating subjects. Their interest and a love of learning are retained since they are immersed in the topic and learn more than a list of facts about that subject.
The textbook method of education uses texts to convey the information. This can be a very effective way to convey large and complicated bodies of information. This method requires that the student can read and understand the text and has the ability to take effective notes for study. It is often used in conjunction with a teacher giving live or pre-recorded lectures. Textbooks are particularly beneficial for upper-level subjects and grades.
Prominent Features of this Pedagogy
Conventional & Traditional
Can make use of readily available resources
Any other large textbook company such as Prentice Hall
While many people do homeschool “eclectically,” this can be either a well thought out pedagogy and method or an educational salad- or a combination of both.
It is picking and choosing what one likes or appreciates from one pedagogy and leaving behind what one doesn’t. And, as very few homeschooling curriculums or pedagogically “pure,” we are all probably homeschooling somewhat eclectically anyway.
What is your preferred Homeschooling Pedagogy? We’d love to hear about it and we chat about all things homeschool in our Facebook group – please join in the conversation!
The Accidental Homeschooler. It kind of went something like this, “Mom, you can just homeschool me!” My 8-year-old daughter begged. Her excitement and hope confused me.
She did great in school, had so many friends, and wasn’t struggling academically at all. It was at home the meltdowns occurred. Her frustration would reach a boiling point that would bubble over and leave tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks. Her wide blue eyes would spill over with tears, and the sparkle was becoming rarer. It was at home, not at school, that the temper tantrums would occur.
I laughed. There is no way I could homeschool her. We fought with each other all the time. Our frustration would reach points where I am not sure we liked each other at all. Oh sure, we loved each other…but we really didn’t enjoy spending time together. Homeschool her? Why would I? We would kill each other. I DID NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE TO HOMESCHOOL THIS CHILD.
God Had Other Plans
I prayed, “God if you want me to homeschool my children, I need you to change my heart.” I was sure the answer would be to leave them in the amazing school they were in! They were doing so well. All three of my girls had great friends. They had teachers I loved! GREAT teachers. A community that involved parents and families.
Also, I Do Not Own Any Denim Jumpers!
And then I had an epiphany. I realized I missed my children. I could tell my youngest was a struggling learner, and my oldest was growing up so fast. That middle child, the one that just wanted her mommy to see her, she just needed to not be overwhelmed by the end of the day. Our days consisted of getting up early, loading up to drive to school, being at school all day, activities at night, go home, fast supper, clean-up, do homework, get ready for the next day, and repeat. This is what everyone does! I was a substitute teacher in my children’s school, and I got to see them every day…but they could never be my focus.
I will never forget trying to work through a math lesson while teaching my daughter’s class. She was so frustrated, but I couldn’t help her. I knew I could help her at home, and my job was to work with the other students. I then figured out she was copying her neighbors’ work in order to just get it done. I sat her down that night to talk with her and realized that she was hurting by the end of each day. She was exhausted. She needed more. More time to work at her own pace, more time outside, more sleep, more mom, and more family. How on earth could we handle more?
I Guess I am Homeschooling, even if I am an Accidental Homeschooler
I decided that I would pull her out for a year. I wasn’t committing to more than that. My original plan was to take her out for a year and leave her sisters in school. This wasn’t just any school. This school required parent involvement. 4 hours per week, per child. It was small, and there was a waiting list!
Wading In With One
OK God. I can do this. One foot in, one foot out. Let’s compromise? I will homeschool this one, for now.
My youngest child just wasn’t getting it though. She never had. Reading was really tough for her, number sense just wasn’t there. She was sweet, sensitive, and an amazing friend to everyone. Everyone told me, “Don’t worry. Developmentally she’s on track!” But I knew. Something wasn’t clicking for her. Once she found out I was going to be home with her sister, it became a non-issue. She had always wanted to just stay with me. At the end of her first day of kindergarten, she said to me, “I don’t know how to read, naptime is too short, I don’t think I need to do that anymore.”
I Can Homeschool Two
Ok God. These 2. I can homeschool these two. They are both young enough. I can teach them at home. My oldest however, I can’t teach her. She is so smart! I could never challenge her enough!
My oldest came to me shortly before the school year was up. “Mom, I don’t know, but I think I want to be at home too.” Ok. Don’t panic. I can talk her out of this.
And here I am finishing my fourth year of homeschooling, and I am probably doing it wrong. I am definitely not doing what I envisioned. I don’t have more patience, I still fight with my middle daughter about her math lessons.
God Will Fill in the Gaps for the Accidental Homeschooler
We don’t have only great days, and I never feel like I am doing enough. So many nights I lay in bed. “God, I did my best but we both know it wasn’t enough. I need you to fill in the gaps.” I have faith He will.
What we do have? Laughter when we trip up. Together we learn, we play, we explore, we grow.
The truth is we are involved in each other’s lives. WE LIKE EACH OTHER! Love has always been a given, but now, most days, we want to spend time together.
We want to make our home a culture of learning. Do I ever see that school bus go by and think, “Hmmm…I would have so much time if….”?
Would I change the decision to follow the calling God put on me to homeschool my children?
Rebecca Lundgren, The Accidental Homeschooler, lives in South Dakota with her husband Jeremy, three daughters, and their zoo of adopted animals. While her family never intended to homeschool, she has learned a lot along the way. Her background includes a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from South Dakota State University. Before she began her homeschool journey, she taught in Public Schools k-12, English as a Second Language (ESL) k-6, and directed an Early Childhood program. In addition to homeschooling, she is a well-loved teacher at True North Homeschool Academy where she teaches Jr High Classes. She loves camping and hiking with her family, reading, crafting, and children’s ministries.
Over the years I’ve heard many complaints and negative aspects of testing. It seems like one of those subjects that every homeschooler has an opinion about. It’s true that testing is not for every child. But are there good reasons to test, even if your state does not require it? I say yes!
When can testing be helpful?
To gain experience.
Like it or not, testing is part of our society. We take tests to drive, to gain access to college, even to serve in the military. It never hurts for your children to have at least a little testing experience under their belts. Some students are naturally gifted at testing while others struggle more, but it’s probably safe to say that everyone can use some extra practice.
To know where you stand.
Yes, there are times when testing may not accurately represent your student’s knowledge, but you may also find yourself pleasantly surprised at what your student does know. I think that sometimes our children read and glean things that we don’t even realize. They can learn from a wide variety of sources, so sometimes a subject you perceived to be a struggle is right on course. Other times we may have missed something important. Testing can point out these strengths and deficits.
For peace of mind.
Sometimes as homeschool moms it’s hard to know if we are doing enough, or being enough. There’s been more than one day when I’ve felt like I was failing my children. Testing often shows me that things aren’t nearly as bad as I think. Maybe that math I’ve worried about all year is actually on grade level, or maybe there are places reading can be improved. Either way, I know where we stand, and I can correct what I need to and lay aside worries that I don’t need to visit.
True North includes a 15 minute review of the scores with a teacher/advisor FREE
The Performance Series test is available for grades K through 12 in the following subjects:
Can be submitted for state requirements
Can be taken more than once throughout the school year at no extra cost to you
A personal consultation is included in the cost. Use this time to review scores and ask about recommendations for your student based on results.
True North Homeschool Academy offers bundles for families with multiple students and for co-ops Bundles save you money: bundles of 5 (save $6 per test!), bundles of 10 ($22 per test) and bundles of 15 ($20 each) all offer a substantial discount. You still get all of the benefits mentioned above, but receive a group discount.