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Celebrate Back to School!

Celebrate Back to School!

Back to School with Confidence!

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Once you’ve donated and thrown away outdated and worn out items, you are ready to think anew about what’s ahead!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.

Low angle of excited small daughter giving high five to mother and screaming while celebrating successful online shopping using laptop at table in light living room

Back to Homeschool Supplies

  • Lap Desks
  • 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
  • Earbuds
  • Lap Desks 
  • Bluetooth speakers

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? 

  • Live online classes
  • Self paced classes
  • Local co-ops/ class days
  • Community Service
  • Memory Work Time
  • Read Alouds
  • Bible Study
  • Foreign Language Study
  • Music and Art Study
  • PE
  • Fun and down time? 
  • Homeschool Clubs

Home and Homeschool Planning Tips

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
  • Laundry 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. 

  • Science “Lab”
  • Art & Music “Studios” with log sheets
  • Book Nook
  • Group together kids’ kitchen tools, recipe books and cooking supplies
  • Audio Learning Lab
  • Foreign Language Lab
  • Writing Workshop
  • 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.

  • Field trips
  • Vacations
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Co-ops
  • Church and Bible Study
  • Nature Studies
  • 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

  1. Host an Open House for your fellow Homeschool Friends or a Themed Book Event
  2. Create a “Day of discovery” for the first day of school:
    1.  Balloons outside their door
    2.  New toiletry items in the bathroom
    3. A new school planner 
    4. Yummy special breakfast items
    5. Awesome morning basket finds etc.
  3. Plan a bonfire and cook S’more’s with friends
  4. Create a paper chain countdown a week before school begins
  5. Create a vision board for the year
    1. Gather magazines
    2. Tape and glue
    3. Spend time creating together
  6. Create a bucket list for this school year
  7. Have your kids write a letter to themselves for the year- include goals, hopes, dreams and then save it to send to them through the mail at the end of the year.
  8. Take a First Day of School Picture
  9. Make a What We Did this Summer timeline 
  10. Create a first day of school video or Instagram reel, to look back on at the end of the year.  (don’t forget to tag us! @truenorthhomeschoolacademy )
  11. Give your kids a book they’ve been wanting, complete with “Book Worms” to snack on (gummy worms)
  12. Create a school supplies/ books Scavenger Hunt so they can discover what they’ll be learning throughout the year
    1. Find a new backpack or book bag first so that they can add their supplies to it. 
    2. Have them find fun school supplies like glitter pens, stickers, etc.
    3. Have them find actual school curriculum along the way- like Math book
  13. Make a Schultutue! 
  14. Purchase a new board game to play at the end of the day together
  15. Make a school banner and choose a school motto/ colors./ name
  16. Discover what School is like around the world with this short video.
  17. Learn with a messy and fun science day
  18. Celebrate with a messy art Day
  19. Have a Silly String war at lunchtime
  20. Plan and prep special meals throughout the day or plan a special tea and scones event for the first day of school.
  21. Decorate your homeschool room together
  22. Start a scrapbook, Blog or Instagram account together that you add to and curate
  23. Have a “not back to school” celebration- Hit up a park, zoo or museum when everyone else goes back to school or even go somewhere fun for a couple days/ week-
  24. Start your the year off by camping
  25. Play the “M & M” Game with your kids and let them tell you about themselves!  

Podcasts & Blog Posts That Will Help You Plan

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!

Celebrate 4th of July!

Celebrate 4th of July!

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!

Good Food

  • Grilled Chicken or Flank Steak, marinated in soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and a ton of cilantro.Celebrate 4th of July
  • 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 4th of July!

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!

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee, I sing…

Long may our land be bright

With Freedom’s holy light.

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King!

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!

More About the SALE

And stay tuned to all our social media accounts for more information about our sitewide 5% off sale. It is the last sale before our True North Homeschool Academy Classes begin on August 30!

History Classes

  • Adapted History
    US History – Adapted for Struggling Learners (PP)
    $70.00 / month for 10 months
  • Expedition Arctic
    Expedition Arctic
    $197.00
  • Expedition Amazon - Elementary Geography Class online
    Expedition Amazon
    $197.00
  • Adapted History
    US History – Adapted for Struggling Learners
    $697.00
  • TNHA US History Full Year High School Course
    Strategy: War & Peace
    $447.00
  • TNHA JUNIOR HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL GEOGRAPHY ONLINE CLASS
    Geography to Distant Lands – Full Year
    $447.00
  • Ancient History Exploration
    $347.00
  • TNHA Modern History Exploration - Elementary Class Online
    Modern History Exploration
    $347.00
  • TNHA Ancient World History Overview High School Online Course
    Ancient History
    $447.00
Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling

Getting Started Homeschooling

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!

Homeschooling, Where in the World do you Start? Nick Truesdall addresses that here. Getting Started with Homeschooling can also get you started on the right track and 3 Reasons to Homeschool will offer you assurance.

Brandy Olsen-Myers offers this helpful guide for reluctant learners. Or maybe you have a struggling learner?

Brandy Olsen-Myers offers support for first year homeschoolers.

Ticia Messing Homeschoolers are bibliophile. Here are 10 books to get your started with homeschooling! Our favorite classical  Homeschooling Book List! 

Jumpintogenius talks about how to avoid overwhelm.

Meryl van der Merwe Podcast on how to get organized!

Charlene Hess talk about getting started with homeschooling

Has curriculum gotten you down, caused you decision fatigue or just cooking your grits? Shannan helps you get through curriculum frustration!  

Amanda Stockdale has a  great article on Homeschooling Preschool. We love Kindergarten and Preschoool, too and have great resources for you, including Homegrown Preschool and our own live online Kindergarten classes!

Carol Anne Wright Swett starts at the beginning with 10 Questions to Answer Before You Start Homeschooling

Adventus!

Adventus!

Adventus!

adventus!
Pronunciation /adˈvɛntəs/noun
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.
Origin
Mid 19th century. From classical Latin, adventus approach, arrival.

Adventus!

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.
Adventus! It’s almost time. Are you ready? Author: Sonya Hemmings 

Join the Advent Celebration Challenge

Join the group for Advent prep and celebration check-ins all designed to help us keep our focus on the truth and beauty of the Advent celebration!
Grab the pdf of the Advent schedule in the group to print out and then keep it on the fridge for easy reference and reminders!
Hope to see you there!
Executive Functioning Skills

Executive Functioning Skills

Strengthening Executive Functioning

colorful brain is lit up 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

Working Memory

  • 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

Inhibitory Control

  • 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:

  • Visual schedules
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Motivation
  • Planners
  • Organizational techniques
  • Working memory exercises
  • Item lists
  • Self-emotional recognition techniques
  • Flexible seating
  • Slowly introducing differences in schedules to provide flexible thinking
  • Extra transitional times
  • Frequent breaks
  • Timers or alarms during tasks
  • Explicit instruction
  • 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

Resources and Support

If you need to be better equipped in this area, you will want to join us for our SPED Equipping Membership!  We focus on providing support, encouragement and tools for special needs families all week long. We host weekly Equipping seminars with discussions, a Book Club, and Coffee and Chat!  You may also want to find out about our current special needs discounts, check out a listing of resources here and read our blog post, Executive Functioning and Why it Matters in Your Homeschool.

Celebrate with Us!

Celebrate with Us!

Celebrate!

Today I am super excited to be helping my friend Felice Gerwitz from Vintage Homeschool Moms celebrate her 400th Podcast Episode on Vintage Homeschool Moms!! Together several of us have come together to help her celebrate by giving away ONE $200 Amazon Gift Card. As part of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network, True North Homeschool Academy is thrilled to come alongside Felice in celebrating with her and offering you a change to win!

Let me share a bit about my friend Felice.

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:

Media Angels
The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network
The Ultimate Christian Podcast Network