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Homeschooling and Socialization: A Cause for Concern?

Homeschooling and Socialization: A Cause for Concern?

Parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of very good reasons, and the evidence has proven that homeschooling and socialization aren’t at odds with the success of homeschooling. Let’s dive into some facts.

Homeschooling for Good Reason

If you’re considering homeschooling, you’ve likely come to that point for any number of good reasons:

  • a desire to transmit a culture or worldview to your child
  • academic opportunity
  • build a strong family unit
  • traveling sports
  • the opportunity to involve your child in entrepreneurship
  • travel or RV life
  • special needs or twice-exceptional child
  • a child has been bullied
  • safety not found in public schools
  • the cost of private schooling

Isn’t Homeschooling and Socialization Important?

Yes, it is. But, how do we actually define socialization? Is it only peer-to-peer interaction? Or is it reasonable to define socialization as the ability to be social with individuals from all ages and walks of life?

Statistics indicate that homeschoolers have positive outcomes regarding socialization, and in some instances even better.

So, when we talk about homeschooling and socialization, what are we really talking about? What are we actually being asked?

Socialization or Accommodation

There may be a true concern from some about the child’s ability to interact with others. Actually, what may be being asked is how well-adjust the child might be to the ways of the world. Are they accommodating? Will they bend to the demands of the culture at large?

Homeschoolers with vision have something else in mind. They do want to pass on a culture, but not the one the world hands them. At True North Homeschool Academy 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. 

So, why then do we care about socialization? We care because socialization helps us with our most important given task, to share the Gospel.

Life Skills, Soft Skills,

Now, this doesn’t mean we’re raising little missionaries in the traditional sense. It means “always being ready to give an answer for the hope that we have.” So, what kind of socialization do we need to have in order to make an impact for the Kingdom? Two things: life skills and soft skills.

Life Skills are the building blocks of knowing what to do and how to do it in our personal life. Learning these things requires a level of socialization. We do by seeing others do. We apprentice. And we are an apprentice to others.

Think of how Jesus apprenticed to his earthly father, Joseph. Ponder how that prepared him for the task given him. Life skills are essential.

Soft Skills are those personal attributes that allow us to interact well with others, allowing us to have peaceful and healthy relationships.

They are also known as power skills or personality traits. Soft skills are those skills that everyone seems to understand implicitly. They are related to manners and social moves. For kids with learning disabilities, however, soft skills can be elusive and confusing. This is the art and science of socialization!

And this type of socialization is necessary for every single person, including homeschoolers. As homeschoolers, we have to be able to think creatively and critically to communicate with the world around us. As Christians, this is essential in sharing the Gospel and helping others find True North.

Finding True North

In a nutshell, this is the entire point of socialization – the ability to transmit truth and help others find their hope in Christ, their True North.

Education is the perfect companion to this socialization, but it doesn’t have to take place in a traditional school setting where peer-to-peer socialization is the measure of successful socialization.

We are called to give an answer (defense) for what we believe with gentleness and respect. This goes beyond mere logic (though we do love our Logic!) and relies on the soft skill of communicating with creativity, clarity, and grace.

That’s socialization homeschoolers can feel good about.

Preparing Your Kids for Socialization

Homeschooling is more than school at home, it’s the school at the heart of the home. And this is such a great opportunity to embrace training in socialization for the Gospel.

True North Homeschool Academy is committed to equipping and nurturing parents as they educate their children. We believe that Education is the Transmission of Culture and are coming from a decidedly Judeo-Christian point of view. We are people of the Book. 

So, how can we help? We have the only small-class, live, dynamic education platform designed for homeschoolers on a mission.

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.

Providing more than academics, we give our students the opportunity to develop wisdom. They collaborate and learn with students from around the world. A perfect setting to socialize in a way homeschool parents can trust.

Summer and Fall Classes and Clubs are Enrolling Now.

3 Secrets to Raise Motivated Leaders in Your Homeschool

3 Secrets to Raise Motivated Leaders in Your Homeschool

Did you ever think that you are the answer to the world’s leadership crisis? Yes, you! You can change the world by raising motivated leaders in your home school.

At every age, these secrets work to build leaders.

Secret #1: Integrity Matters

Beyond punishment for dishonesty, reward your children when they are honest, singing their praises. When they do the right thing, shout it from the housetops so they know you are proud of them. Make it more important in your eyes than a home run or a great test score. Value integrity and model for your kids that it is a value worth living!

Secret #2: Leaders are Motivated Learners

Provide opportunities for your sons and daughters to pursue learning about things that delight their hearts. If your son loves archery, do a unit study on the Middle Ages. If your daughter loves horses, let her science class be an independent study on horses and how to care for them.

Model enthusiasm for learning by reading and researching. Let your kids know you love to learn.

Secret #3: Leaders Lead

Give your children and teens opportunities to lead. They don’t have to plan the family vacation on their own, but they could plan family night once a month or choose what color to paint the bathroom.

Give them access to the decision-making protocol in your house. Let them have a voice and participate in the final direction your family takes—at least once in a while.

Cultivate a heart for others, especially younger children, the elderly, and those less fortunate. When your family is observant—seeing needs and taking positive steps to meet them, you are also cultivating that heart in your children year after year.

Leaders lead because they care about others. When my daughter realized a homeschool dad who was going back for his degree needed help with College Algebra, she offered to tutor him. She saw a need and met the need.

Logical thinking is a great tool for your future leaders. True North offers Formal Logic focused on the structural validity of arguments and Informal Logic where students study and master 29 logical fallacies. These high school courses are great options for your future leader.

Leadership and Soft Skills

Leadership and Soft Skills

When we think of a leader, we tend to think of someone who is charismatic, smart, and a “take charge” – that go-to person in any situation. We look at a leader as someone who has know-how (hard skills), but I can tell you – it’s also someone who has soft skills. Leadership and soft skills go hand-in-hand. 

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills are those personal attributes that allow us to interact well with others, allowing us to have peaceful and healthy relationships.

They are also known as power skills or personality traits. Soft skills are those skills that everyone seems to understand implicitly. They are related to manners and social moves. For kids with learning disabilities, however, soft skills can be elusive and confusing.

4 C’s of a Soft Skills Education.

These would include:

  1. Collaboration- Collaboration is better known as teamwork. Can you lead, follow, and interact maturely with other team members? Do you problem solve and handle your own emotions well, or are you causing problems for others on your team? Do you understand the team hierarchy well? Are you willing to lead, follow, and get out of the way? All of these skills go into being a good team player, at different times and in various seasons. A good team player, 
  1. Communication- Employers are currently stressing the need for students to have excellent communication skills, including the ability to persuade by written and spoken communication. In particular, they want to hire those who can “sell” (i.e., persuade) both orally and using the written word.
  2. Critical Thinking- Employers are currently stressing the need for students to have excellent communication skills, including the ability to persuade by written and spoken communication. In particular, they want to hire those who can “sell” (i.e., persuade) both orally and using the written word.
  3. Creativity- Creativity is all about thinking outside the box, generating new ideas or tweaking old ones to fit new situations, and interacting with materials, people, and resources in unique ways.

These soft skills are essential tools in the leadership toolbag. 

What is Leadership?

Leadership is both the ability to research and prepare for what’s ahead as well-being to lead, guide, or instruct a group or individuals, teams, or organizations.

Increasingly we want our children to step up and lead when called upon, especially in the world we currently live in. We want them to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. 

They don’t need charisma, they need that internal ability to govern themselves and lead by example, be willing to speak up, and encourage others to be leaders in difficult situations.

Preparing for Leadership with Soft Skills 

Preparing tomorrow’s leaders starts with soft skills. One of the most important soft skills is the art of persuasion. 

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed trying to explain your point-of-view to someone, especially in today’s online environment, you can see just how important this skill is. 

That’s why I am taking part in the Life Skills Leadership Summit

Leadership and Persuasion

The Art of Persuasion, by Lisa M Nehring

One skill that current employers is finding lacking in new hires is the ability to sell. With the constant shorthand of texting and 9-second tik-toks and reels, the fine art of Persuasion is being lost. Why is the ability to sell so important? What are some ways that parents can help their kids develop this skill?

Grab your free ticket
! Join some of your favorite homeschool speakers and leaders as we strive to raise leaders in this generation. 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click through the link and make a purchase, Lisa Nehring / True North Homeschool Academy makes a small commission. Thank you.

How to talk to you kids about porngraphy

How to talk to your kids

February is often thought about as the month of love, romance and relationships. And while, as parents, none of us want to think that our kids might be involved in porn, if they have access to the world wide web, they are being targeted to view porn. And just because this month is all about love and romance, it’s a great time to talk about teaching our kids the difference between real love, Biblical love, sacrificial love, and poor substitutes that will rob them of their dignity and morality. 

Create a Safe Place for Kids Who Struggle with Porn

Why bring up such a touchy and maybe even painful subject? Because love does not exploit others, it is sacrificial and good. And if we are raising our kids to be the kind of people who follow 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a, we must talk to our kids about pornography and teach them how to hide their hearts, minds, and souls from this devious parasite. We must also create accountability and safe people and places to go if they struggle with porn.

Love suffers long and is kind; itdoes not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [a]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a

Statistics Tell the Hard Truth About Porn Use

Think your kiddos are immune? Here are the statistics: 

  • Nearly 27% of teens receive sexts and emails and around 15% are sending them.
  • 57% of teens search out porn at least monthly
  • 51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed porn before their teenage years.
  • The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.
  • 71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
  • A 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile dysfunction.
  • US youths (ages 14-18) exposed to pornography: 84:4% of males and 57% of females

You might also be shocked at the types of pornography teens are viewing:

  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online
  • 69% of boys and 55 % of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online
  • 39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online
  • 32% of boys nad 18% of girls have seen bestiality on line 
  • 18% of boys nad 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online
  • 15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography online

And according to Enough.org,  “Extreme content is the new norm. Soft porn has disappeared. In 2010 the journal Violence Against Women reported physical aggression in 88.2% of leading pornography scenes and verbal aggression in 48.7%, with 94.4% of the aggression directed towards women and girls. A February 2018 headline in Esquire Magazine read, “Incest is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn.”And according to Enough.org,  “Extreme content is the new norm. Soft porn has disappeared. In 2010 the journal Violence Against Women reported physical aggression in 88.2% of leading pornography scenes and verbal aggression in 48.7%, with 94.4% of the aggression directed towards women and girls. A February 2018 headline in Esquire Magazine read, “Incest is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn.”

What are the effects of Pornography?

Studies have shown that kids who viewed pornography for hours each week have less gray matter in their brains than those who did not view it. 

Youth that view pornography once a month or more are at a greater risk of developing:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sexually permissive attitudes
  • Preoccupation with sex
  • Inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality
  • Unrealistic ideas about sexual relationships
  • Insecurities about body images in females and insecurities about sexual performance in males.

Furthermore, the long-term effects of porn on relationships include abuse and divorce.

Guide Your Children Well

I think we can all agree that porn is a problem. What are we supposed to do about it, short of getting rid of all electronic devices in our home? We need to start by talking to our kids about sex and pornography. Kids under ten targeted for porn is a growing issue, so don’t think that waiting until they’re in high school is a good idea. Expect that by age 12, your kids have been exposed to porn. After you have an initial age-appropriate talk with your kids about porn, develop regular check-in times where you ask open-ended questions. Give your kids time to respond, and create an ongoing conversation with them about sexuality and porn. Look, consider who they’ll talk to about sex, if not you. Again, you are their God-ordained guide. 

  • Talk about sexuality within the context of family and marriage. Define for your kids what healthy, normal, Biblical relationships are and what normal and healthy exchanges of affection are between husband and wife and others. 
  • Straightforwardly talk about sex. Get comfortable with correct terminology and be prepared for awkward questions. Your kids are exposed to global culture, and you are their best guide. 
  • Talk to your kids about what they may encounter online. Let them know that it might be scary or uncomfortable but assure them that they can always come to you and tell you about it. Let them know that others might try to share pornography with them but that they can always come to you and that they should not be embarrassed or ashamed to go and talk to a parent about this. 

Trust Your Faith to Direct Your Conversations

  • Share age-appropriate material with your kids about sex. 
  • Talk with your kids about the difference between porn and real sex. Let them know that porn is fantasy, bodies are altered, staged a certain way, and not private, but carefully curated to market well. Pornography is also ultimately selfish as it is only about satisfying one person -the viewer. Real sex requires good communication, humility and transparency and can be awkward and beautiful as a married couple negotiates their sexual relationship. Marital sex requires thinking about someone besides just yourself. 
  • Talk about consent and personal boundaries. Porn can be violent and can quickly normalize non-consensual behavior. It fuels sex trafficking and enslaves both the people working in the sex industry and viewers. It exploits the weak to feed a billion-dollar “industry.” 
  • Normalize sexual arousal and put it within the context of being created by a loving and creative God, within Christian marriage, and within the context of stewarding one’s heart, mind, and soul for a future spouse. Pornography can easily be likened to having a virtual affair with one’s now or future spouse. This view is not a guilt trip. This is a reality check. Sexuality within marriage is about accountability and covenant.

The Bible is Clear

The Bible is clear about how we are to approach sexuality as followers of a Living God in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not [helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [c]and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Prepare for Awkward Conversations with Your Kids About Porn

While talking to our kids about porn might be awkward and uncomfortable, we must let them know that we are willing to have awkward conversations and can handle the awkwardness. It’s a challenging topic to confront but a necessary one for the sake of their hearts and minds. 

Additional Resources: 

Podcast

Communicating with our Kids about Pornography with Hal and Melanie Young Podcast

Books

Every Man’s Battle

Every Young Man’s Battle

Raising Real Men

Porn accountability

Covenant Eyes

Accountability 2You

The Penny Challenge – An Easy Way to Stay Thankful This Season

The Penny Challenge – An Easy Way to Stay Thankful This Season

As Thanksgiving approaches followed closely by Christmas, life can get a bit… hectic! This week’s life skill tip is all about simply being thankful! Haven’t heard of The Penny Challenge? Stay tuned for this fun and simple way to instill thankfulness!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

As my household, we could use this reminder as well.

A pile of bright pennies.

So, we are doing a penny challenge.

Each of us are being given some pennies to hide around the house. Over the next week or two, as we find them, we are to think of something we are thankful for that has happened on that day. Then the finder of the penny gets to keep the penny. It might be simple, but sometimes a simple token; like a penny, can remind us to pause and be thankful for our many blessings!

Raising Thankful Kids

We want to create teens that are thankful in season and out of season. It might be the key to helping them push through that hard time. And look, we know hard times will come; it’s the nature of life! Counting his blessings made all the difference for Willie Nelson,

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

Even better the BIBLE says it!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A homeschool mom holds lemons to her eyes with a smile.

Sure, life is going to throw you lemons, but if you can see that those lemons are helping you become who you were meant to be not only will you be more pleasant to be around as you go through that season, you will also be on the lookout for ways to make that lemon work in your favor.

If your kids love gamifying learning -and which one doesn’t, be sure to check out Classical Memory classes as well as Personal Finance. Both classes, along with many others at True North Homeschool Academy are specifically designed to make learning FUN, with interactive, dynamic games, challenges and great discussions!

Teach Your Teen to Plan an Event

Teach Your Teen to Plan an Event

How to Plan a Field Trip to the Local Pumpkin Patch

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:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3.  When
  4. Where
  5. How much
  6. Follow Up Activities
  7. 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.

Homeschool Dad slicing pumpkin to toast seeds with kids

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
  • Make Pumpkin Spice Lattes (recipe below) 
  • Save seeds to grow next spring

Supporting Books/ Films/ YouTube Videos 

Pumpkin Seeds for Snacking

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!

Homeschool mom and daughter having a picnic

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!

We’ll offer Event Planning this spring in our Student Clubs for students ages 11-18, so be sure to check out our Student Enrichment Clubs memberships!