Hey there, homeschooler! Can you believe it’s about time to prep for the coming school year? Summer is rushing by, as it always does, and back to school sales are starting up again.
Before you are in the midst of all of the fall activities starting back up, take some time to prepare so that you can get back to school with confidence!
The best way to start the next school year off fresh is to make sure your starting point is clean and uncluttered!
Declutter from Summer
Get rid of outgrown/ unused clothes and shoes
Host a Coat or Clothes Drive for your local shelter.
Sort through School Supplies and get rid of outgrown or worn-out items
Sort through School Workbooks, Curriculum and Textbook, Compost, throw and donate worn out and outgrown items.
Once you’ve donated and thrown away outdated and worn out items, you are ready to think anew about what’s ahead! It’s going to be a great year!
Tips for Shopping
Have your kids help with the planning and shopping:
Ask them what they want to study and how they want to learn it.
Give them a budget, catalogs and see what they come up with.
Award a prize to whoever finds the best deal!
If you are curriculum shopping, it might help to check out our Typical Course of Study for High School and Typical Course of Study for Junior High.
Make plans to get the books you need. Decide whether you will be going to the library regularly or purchasing books.
Remember that back to school sales are a great time to get supplies for your school year activities, crafts and hobbies.
Back to Homeschool Supplies
New Water Bottles
New Fun Socks or PJ’s
Fill a backpack for a student in need or donate a meal to the food pantry together.
Purchase homeschool family t-shirts
OR create tie-dyed homeschool shirts for field trips or bleach dye them.
Don’t forget the digital tools your kids will need. Now is a good time to purchase, upgrade or replace them.
Password Organization tools
A plan for organizing each students online work- papers, passwords,
Internet safety and classes or clubs.
Noise Dampening Ear phones -public spot for online classes.
Basket to gather phones and other electronics at night so everyone gets a great night sleep
Tablets/ cases/ chargers
Computers/ cases, chargers
Extra Charging cords and power banks
Develop Daily Habits
You’ve got the stuff, now consider HOW you are going to manage your days and weeks.
Waking and Sleeping/ Nap routines
What soothing rituals can you incorporate into your daily routine to cue your and your kiddos that it’s time to start or end the day? Here are a few ideas:
Peppy or soothing music
Smoothie or fruits and greens drink
A brisk walk or a family read-aloud.
Plan and Create a Morning Meeting or a Morning Basket.
When we had a houseful of kids, starting the day off with the youngest calmed and soothed them. Our Morning Basket was one of the most fun parts of our day and we all loved gathering to study together!
Other Tools and Resources That Make Homeschooling Easier
Do you need to think about adding in any of the following?
Plan for the Inevitable so that you can manage keeping the house clean and people fed and clothed while homeschooling and possibly working as well.
Meal planning, shopping and prepping
General pick-up and cleaning plan
Create Learning Stations in your home to build routine and muscle memory. You don’t need vast amounts of space. You can really create a “station” with a simple basket or shelf.
Art & Music “Studios” with log sheets
Group together kids’ kitchen tools, recipe books and cooking supplies
Audio Learning Lab
Foreign Language Lab
PE course or equipment/ log sheets
Unit Study or Lap book/ Scrap-booking
Think about Weekly/ Monthly/ Seasonal Routines and Events/ Happenings
What days off or prep time is needed for each, who is budgeting, doing the prep and clean up afterwards? Remember to add these to your calendar so you can quickly see what is coming up and avoid scheduling conflicts.
Church and Bible Study
Weekly Meeting with each student to go over planner and assignments from 6th grade on up
Weekly Family Planning Meeting
Vacations/ trips for travel
Create First Day or Week of School Events
Host an Open House for your fellow Homeschool Friends or a Themed Book Event
Create a “Day of discovery” for the first day of school:
Whether you are a veteran homeschool parent with years under your belt, or new to home education altogether, we hope that you will find some ideas here that inspire your “back to homeschool” celebration!
Certain Holidays get celebrated big time at our house, and the 4th of July is one of them! We love this country and the principles it was founded on. But we don’t consider ourselves proud Americans- more like grateful Americans. We had the opportunity to choose our education, vocation, spouse, faith, location, and lifestyle. Is it any wonder that people are clamoring to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave?
So, yep, we celebrate by decorating the house with red, white, and blue buntings that look about perfect on our 100-year-old house, along with Old Glory flying, friends to celebrate with and fun to be had by all!
Family recipes, activities and traditions are an important part of every holiday – here are some of ours!
Grilled Chicken or Flank Steak, marinated in soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and a ton of cilantro.
Deviled Eggs: My deviled eggs are de rigor for holidays and perfect as is. Peeled boiled eggs, sliced in half. Smash yolks with real mayonnaise and mustard to taste. Set egg white halves on your beautiful carnival ware deviled egg plate, spoon the generous yolk mixture into each half. Sprinkle with paprika and enjoy. Perfection!
Veggie Tray: all the veggies. Sour cream with Spike and lots of Dill if you want a dip.
All the Fruit in a scooped out watermelon half. Get fancy and scallop the edges if you want.
A beautiful charcuterie tray
And Cheesecake, with berries and a swirl of chocolate, or topped with berries, like ours!
Easy Punch: Grape juice with 7up and Lemonade and lots of ice, because we can our own grape juice every year and it’s just part of the summer holidays. Serve in pint-sized mason jars, of course.
Celebrate with Good Fun!
We often spend the afternoons doing target practice and then eat. When everyone is full and just smoozing, everyone gathers together and my husband reads the Declaration of Independence out loud.
We take time to read the signers names. It’s sobering. These men, and their families, were willing to give up so much for an ideal. An ideal that we have all reaped the benefit of. I am grateful to each one of them for their vision and willingness to sacrifice for the long view.
Declaration of Independence
Reading the Declaration of Independence used to be the main focus of Independence Day celebrations in small towns across America. A national remembrance and vision casting for who we were and are as a country. It’s worth re-visiting annually. As one of my favorite pastors, Skip Heitzig says, “Truth needs a memory”.
Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about the importance of reading the Declaration of Independence as they celebrated the 4th of July, (she and her sisters have it memorized, of course) and natural law on which this country is founded!
Fireworks & Savings!
And then come the fireworks. We live in a state that allows fireworks and our property is situated so that we have an entire valley to light up.
At True North Homeschool Academy, we appreciate and celebrate Faith, Family, and Freedom. In celebration of this great country, we are offering a store-wide sale. Thanks for standing with us, in appreciation for this sweet land of liberty!
More About Freedom & Our Nation’s History
If you’d like to learn more about the values that our country was founded on, check out Politics, Philosophy and Economics, taught by Adam Pruzan. Classes are filling up and we can’t always add a second section, so take advantage of our last sale of the year and sign up now for a live online class where the students and teacher engage in discussions about our heritage.
This is the perfect time of year to tune in and listen to our five-part Podcast Series Authentic Values which speaks directly to the ideals this country was founded on. Download these episodes and add some learning to your summer road trips!
Getting Started Homeschooling. You’ve made the decision to go for it Now what? Any new adventure can seem overwhelming, and anything new we try takes trial and error. The Education of our kids is so important and we just don’t want to mess it up! Because of that, we’ve gathered some of our favorite articles for you! Articles that will inspire, encourage and propel you to greatness!
1.Roman History – ceremonial entry and reception of an emperor, pope, king, or other ruler or religious leader, into a city, town, institution, etc.
2. historical The arrival of the first Anglo-Saxon settlers in post-Roman Britain.
Mid 19th century. From classical Latin, adventus approach, arrival.
It’s almost time. Time for the reflection, anticipation, and celebration that mark this special season. Time to remember the first coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ — who humbled himself, became human and walked among those he had come to rescue. Time to look ahead to his second coming — because, let’s face it, this world is so ready for a repeat. And time to rejoice in his continued presence with us while we await his return.
I love incorporating new advent ideas into our family celebration each year.
Some of the things we’ve done as our children have grown from toddlers to teens include:
Decorating a Jesus and Me tree, hanging a new advent-related ornament (with an attached Bible verse) each day.
Unveiling a new daily piece of a Playmobil nativity scene, placing Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning.
Creating an advent calendar with alternating daily acts of kindness and special outings.
Including readings and assigned listening to sections of Handel’s Messiah from Cindy Rollins’ book Hallelujah during our morning meetings.
Following the adventures of the characters in Arnold Ytreeide’s advent books: Jotham’s Journey, Bartholomew’s Passage, Tabitha’s Travels.
Playing a different Christmas music CD every day in the early morning hours to help our household ease into the daily routine.
And always, always, lighting the advent candles.
Several years ago, I was inspired to create my own rustic version of an advent wreath centerpiece using items I gathered from around the house. From my kitchen cabinets, I pulled out a bronze-colored tart pan with fluted edges and arranged five 4-ounce clear glass canning jars inside. Into each jar, I poured some Epsom-salt snow and placed a tea light candle.
I tied purple craft twine around three jars, pink around one jar, and white around the center jar to attach the following Latin labels:
1. Spes (hope)
2. Caritas (love)
3. Gaudium (joy)
4. Pax (peace)
5. Christus (Christ)
And in between and around the jars, I nestled fragrant evergreen trimmings snipped from the wreath on our front door, as well as small pinecones, and decorative berries from wreaths of years past. I loved it so much that now I re-create it every year!
Now that I’m only homeschooling the youngest two of my four children (ages 13 and 15), I’ve been looking for some new advent ideas. I think I’ve settled this year on reading through Henry van Dyke’s The Story of the Fourth Wise Man, as well as studying the history of a selection of Christmas carols.
And, of course, we’ll set up our centerpiece and light our candles each day.
Executive functioning skills regulate, control, and manage one’s thoughts and actions. To put it succinctly, executive functioning skills are what manage the brain.
You probably don’t even think about your own executive functioning or that of others. Unless, of course, you are confronted with a situation in which executive functioning is not, in fact, functioning. Most of us intuitively understand the importance of executive functioning and have a sense of what it is as well as a concern when we don’t “see” it in others. Certain times of fast growth, such as the tween/teen years can affect a child’s executive functioning, especially as the teen brain/body is doing some “Brain Pruning.”
But for some people, executive functioning is more naturally difficult or possibly impaired. These diagnoses can include ADHD, ADD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Processing Disorders, Dementia, and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Three Main Categories of Executive Functioning Skills
The ability to pay attention and to organize
The ability to plan and prioritize; being organized during tasks school or work and the ability to set and meet goals
Task initiation- taking action to get things done (motivation)
Keeping key information in mind while completing a task
Cognitive Flexibility (Flexible Thinking)
Understanding different points of view
Being able to adjust behavior to an unexpected change in the environment or schedule
Regulating one’s own emotions, including controlling and appropriately channeling one’s feelings
Self-monitoring (keeping track of what you are doing) and self-awareness (how is one doing in the moment).
Controlling urges to “do”, thinking before acting or responding, exhibiting deferred gratification as well as perseverance.
Obviously, executive functioning skills are important – they allow us to interface with the world appropriately, build, and keep significant relationships and hold jobs.
How Do Executive Functioning Disorders Manifest?
People with executive functioning issues may exhibit one or more of the following:
Impulse or emotional control
The ability to begin, organize, plan and follow through on task completion
The inability to listen or pay attention
The inability to manage one’s time
The inability to multi-task or juggle multiple tasks, even if they are sequential
Short term memory issues, including an inability to remember what they’ve just heard
Difficulty following a sequence of steps
Difficulty changing from one task to another
Socially inappropriate behavior such as angry or aggressive behavior, statements about self-harm or destruction of property
If you suspect you or someone in your family has issues with executive functioning, all is not lost! You can accommodate or learn coping skills.
Teaching Coping Skills
Tips and tools to ramp up those executive functioning skills include:
Working memory exercises
Self-emotional recognition techniques
Slowly introducing differences in schedules to provide flexible thinking
Extra transitional times
Timers or alarms during tasks
Organized homework or assignment binder
Parent/student contract agreement
Clearly defined academic and social expectations
Logic games, puzzles, and coursework
Executive Functioning is the management of the brain. For kids with executive functioning disorders, it is important to fortify them with resources, materials, and processes that will help them with those struggles throughout life. ~Lisa Nehring
Felice began homeschooling in 1986 when her two children were little and she thought it might be temporary. In fact, her husband told her to try it for six months and if homeschooling didn’t work, to put the kids in school. Well, she started her journey and her two kids thrived. Later when her family increased…by three more children, she continued on and successfully completed thirty-two years in 2018 graduating her last of five children. Mentoring homeschool moms is a passion! Felice has lots of homeschool experience to share with you. Be sure to check out Vintage Homeschool Moms and prepare to be inspired, encouraged, and supported in your homeschool journey.
For more encouragement, you can find Felice here too: