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C.S. Lewis: Literary Mentor

C.S. Lewis: Literary Mentor

Discovering C.S. Lewis

I discovered C.S. Lewis (affectionately referred to as Jack) years ago as a college Senior. I started with the Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve always been a reader who delves into a body of work, and then branching out to read about the author. The problem with C.S. Lewis’s work is that it takes time to mull, think, integrate, re-read and mull some more over   My speed reading pace was slowed by deep thoughts and truths that C.S. Lewis demanded I pay attention to.  After beloved Narnia, I branched out and discovered the Space Trilogy, Till We Have Faces, and The Great Divorce; some of my favorite books to date.


Book mentors have held me in good stead in life and I have several. None can replace Jack however, and our family quotes and refers to his work often. Besides reading his books, we’ve read biographies about his life and watched movies about his books and the man himself. Jack has been a mentor and a friend to me, though I have lived in a different time and place, expanding my understanding of what it means to live life well.

Literary Mentors

If you don’t have Literary Mentors of your own, I highly suggest it. These are people whose writings have influenced and shaped your way of thinking and interacting with the world. They may or may not be your contemporary, but you  can engage with them via their writing. When I find an author I really enjoy, I tend to read their body of work. I often go well beyond that, reading about the author themselves, finding out about the time and place that shaped and formed them and their literary skill. Some of mine have been C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, and even Dr. Suess.

C.S.Lewis Club

If you can’t get enough of C.S. Lewis, why not join Amber Fonseca for a fantastic adventure this fall as she facilitates our C.S. Lewis club! She’ll be leading students (8th grade and up!) through the reading of both Surprised by Joy and Pilgrim’s Regress. If you haven’t yet discovered these two gems (or even if you have!), you won’t want to miss the opportunity and learning that comes from interacting with challenging text and ideas in a group setting! Blended Learning is a fantastic way to create a more rich and engaged Homeschool high-school experience!

Join our FB Group for a discount on Clubs! Check out more great on-line classes and opportunities!

This club is designed to be a 1/2 credit +.



The Lost Art of Letter Writing

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Letter Writing

Our 23 year-old is at Army Basic right now, training for the Nat Guard. Our only communication from him for several weeks, other than an awkward scripted phone call, has been writing and receiving letters. He has been faithful to write each one of us, and we have committed to making sure that we all write to him regularly as well.

In doing so, I realized that as a culture, we don’t write letters anymore. My 15-year-old wasn’t even sure how to address an envelope. She wasn’t exactly sure what went into a letter. It’s been an interesting, eye-opening opportunity.

Letter Writing in the Past

When I was growing up, letter writing was what people did. I have letters in the attic from my grandparents, parents, sisters and friends. Both Grandma’s wrote in the same exact, tiny, beautiful cursive. I had pen-pals around the country, some were daughters of my Mom’s college friends, some girls I met at camps; some I wrote to for years. My mom wrote to my Gram each and every week on a yellow legal pad, dated, with news of her only grandkids, work and what was weighing on her mind. They still talked by phone regularly, but Mom’s letters got mailed every single Friday, and I know they were a special, treasured gift upon receipt. While most of us write emails by the tens, a hand written letter is a rare commodity in todays electronic age.

Letter Writing as a Gift

Writing letters is a personal gift. This week, both the 18 year old and 15 year old spent over an hour thinking, mulling, writing, creating little doodles on letters, for their older brother. They didn’t write anything earth shattering but they did take time to tell him about our puppy’s latest antics, how the new trees are growing, about drama camp, and to remind him that they loved and missed him and summer wasn’t as great without him here.

My daughter and I found a funny card to send him this week-end, and it reminded me of the quirky little MailGram’s I would receive from my Grandpa when I was little. A funny little stuffed doll, with a telegram and $5. I still have one of those little dolls in the attic, along with letters from Grandparents whose love and care for me I took for granted as a part of life growing up.

Letter Writing in History

I started thinking about how much history we have as a result of letters. Abigail Adams’ letters to John are legendary, and as a team that helped shape and form an entire country. Martin Luther King Jr rallied for justice, writing letters from jail, quoting Paul, letter writer extraordinaire, as evidenced by much of the New Testament. Dwight Eisenhower, nine years before he became president, rallied the troops as they fought against tyranny on D-Day by exhorting, “Liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.” My brother in-law has a letter from a President, framed and proudly displayed, as would I! And there are so many more.  If letter writing is a lost art, I hope that you take a few minutes to revive it this week. Write a hand-written note to a friend, or relative, or a young Army recruit whose family doesn’t. Few people get mail anymore and the very act of writing in your own hand conveys time and care.

How to get your kids started with letter writing?

Determine who you will be writing. If you can’t think of anyone who would enjoy receiving a letter, contact your local nursing home, or church or contact Operation Gratitude.

  1. Show them how to address a person on a letter. One usually begins with, “Dear ___________,”
  2. Talk about 2-3 things, 1 per paragraph. For instance, the weather where you are at, what birds or wildlife you are seeing, your garden, recent activities you have been a part of, what you are cooking, books you are reading, etc. Make it personal and engaging. Include humor or jokes if appropriate. Ask the recipient about how and what they are doing, share a memory.
  3. Show them how to end a letter, with a sign-off; for instance, Cordially, Sincerely, Affectionately, Love, Warm Regards, All the Best, etc.”
  4. Have them sign their name.
  5. Talk about the importance of legibility.
  6. Sketches and neat doodles add to the personal aspect of the letter.
  7. Teach your kids how to address an envelope. Their address in the upper left hand corner, the recipients in the middle with which part of the address on which line as well as where to place the stamp.


For inspiration, her are some works of epistolary writing (yes, it is it’s own genre!). Check out the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis to begin with and then check out this list of letters from Presidents, and a great list of other books based on letters.

We’ll be talking about the power of the pen, and letter writing in our Creative Writing Club this year! Designed as a ½ credit course, your student will have a lot of flexibility to spread their literary wings, while still developing their writing skill and style.

The C.S. Lewis Club is designed as a half credit, 1 semeseter class that will delve into lesser known works of one of the great writers of our time!

Essential Tips for Homeschooling High School

Essential Tips for Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling High School can be intimidating, to be sure. But, for some reason, you are or have considered it, and you are ready to take the plunge! Many people are intimidated by homeschooling High School because they feel like they can’t cover all of the subject areas adequately.

Why are we so afraid?

Well truthfully, for most of us, it HAS been years since we took Algebra.  We might never have been that good at writing, or we don’t have a good handle on history or science. And seriously, WHAT is a credit and how do we do we create a Master Plan of Action to get through these next couple of years with our strong-willed, bored, lazy, overly compliant, non-compliant, willful, just wants to read all the time, hates math, never wants to read ever, delightful, funny, sleeping all the time, hungry ALL the time teenager?!  Honestly, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!

Will you be homeschooling high school? Check out essential these tips now! #homeschooling #highschool #homeschoolonline #truenorthhomeschoolacademyThe good news, actually the GREAT news is, that homeschooling high school has never been easier. Resources and materials for homeschooling High School have exploded the last couple of years, making it possible to craft an academically rigorous, delight directed, interest-led, affordable program for your teen!

So what are these resources, and where do you find them?

Online Learning

On-line resources are more diverse and range from free to expensive, with amazing content and quality. Some classes are live, some are pre-recorded, and some are animated. We’ve done our fair share of online courses ranging from Latin National Exam prep, Math, Greek, Pre-law, Marine Biology, Chemistry and more. On-line classes can fill in areas that you aren’t prepared or qualified to teach.

(If you are looking for live or pre-recorded online classes check out our catalog for some great options!)

Local Homeschool Groups

Closer to home, most cities have a plethora of homeschool class days, co-ops and academic programs that are inexpensive to participate and easily accessible. Our regional Homeschool Facebook page lists area groups and contact information. Many of us are involved in more than one group at a time, depending on our schedules and kids interests.  Additionally, area points of interest have begun to offer homeschool specific programs, such as our local Outdoor Campus.Image may contain: 3 people, people dancing, people standing and indoor

Having homeschooled in different areas of the country, it’s been my experience that the local homeschool community usually develops its own culture and unique offerings. We know of one large city that hosts a huge Homeschool Prom. Our smaller city hosts a yearly dinner dance, and we also have a rich and diverse theater program for kids of all ages, with Drama Camp,  a yearly festival of One Act Plays and a Shakespeare Camp, where kids perform a full-length Shakespeare Camp!

Online Support Groups

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Then there’s probably a group online that can help you out. Other homeschooling moms are extremely helpful, and more than likely there’s one out there who can answer your questions. A simple Facebook (or Google) search will likely lead you to a wide variety of online homeschooling groups.  There all your questions can be answered. Don’t skip this valuable resource!

(Are you looking for a fantastic online support group?  Check out the Help Homeschooling High School group on Facebook.)

How does one take advantage of all of the amazing possibilities open to homeschoolers these days?  You create a learning plan.

In my opinion, having helped hundreds of homeschoolers from around the world as an Academic Advisor, the most straightforward way to get through high school is to create a learning plan. This plan should include academics, family values, extra-curriculars, sports and more!

If you need help with this, check out our Academic Advising package! We provide credit evaluation, a Personalized Learning Plan, standardized testing, vocational testing and more!

Questions Answers Signage

Homeschooling High School can be such a rich, rewarding experience with the right plan and resources. Lucky for all of us, they are more available than ever before!

You might also be interested in Latin Math & Music- Universal Languages and C.S. Lewis: Literary Mentor.

5 Super Smart Clubs for Home School Students

5 Super Smart Clubs for Home School Students

Let’s talk Clubs 

When I was growing up we were involved in clubs, it was just part of life. We were Girl Scouts for years, part of a square dance club complete with crinoline poufed skirts, were in Music Clubs and community service clubs. People just did clubs. It was a great way to learn new skills, meet new people, get out of the house and create amazing memories!

My kids have participated in a ton of clubs over the past quarter of a century- Girl and Boy Scouts, Lego League, Music Clubs, Art Clubs, Horse Clubs, AYSO, Larping, Theater & Book clubs, Service clubs and more. The beauty of a club is that it is usually full of awesome learning and looks like fun!

Academics & Fun

Clubs can provide both academics and fun for our Jr. and Sr. Home School High School students In my opinion and experience, clubs takes some of the pressure off of academics, allowing the kids to learn and experience rich and varied skills and opportunities. As a Transcript Artist, I see a lot of homeschoolers selling themselves short on credits because they often forget to count clubs, service work, hobbies and areas of interest as “credit” on their High School Transcript. (Check out the Free Logs we make available to you on the front page of this web-site!).

For instance, my newly graduated son has had a serious interest in history and weaponry for years. This Christmas he found himself the happy recipient of a few encyclopedias on the history of weapons. He Larps regularly with friends -an informal club of sorts -and he has spent countless hours creating armor, swords, distaffs and more out of foam noodles, duct tape, cardboard, plastic and even more duct tape. It’s not a “class” per se, however, the amount of time he has put into not only learning about weapons, but constructing and crafting them, could certainly count for credit. Don’t think kids learn much through this type of activity? When watching movies, he can tell almost immediately if the armor is appropriate to the times. That’s history and craftsmanship, right there!

Super Smart Clubs Homeschool Students

5 Super Smart Clubs for Homescool Students

  1. Classics Club Facilitated by classicist Gus Henebry, this is the perfect club for students interested in taking the National Mythology or Latin National Exam (think scholarship money!), history, mythology or anything related to the Ancient World.
  2. Teacher Amber Fonseca is offering a 1 semester C.S. Lewis Club. If you don’t yet love C.S. Lewis, join this club and find out why he is considered on of the theological greats of the last century. Perfect for students intereste literary analysis, in-depth discussion and rhetoric skills!
  3. Writing Club will be a challenging, fun and interactive class with weekly writing prompts, understanding tropes and developing style, opportunities to read your writing out loud and so much more! If you are looking for a Creative Outlet for your writing, this is the club for you! Taught by experienced writer and teacher, Lisa Nehring, buckle up for a lot of fun and writing challenge!
  4. Allison Mitchell is offering a Spanish Club for all Spanish Levels. Each session will be theme based, such as eating out, travel, etc and Ms. Mitchell will guide the students in an immersion experience to gain fluency and ease of Spanish language usage. Of course, students can also participate in our Spanish I, Spanish II or Spanish III classes, but this is not a requirement for Spanish Club.
  5. Entrepreneurship is a new Club offering, taught by Lisa Nehring. Is your student interested or growing an existing business? This is a perfect club for them to explore business ideas and opportunities!

Each club will be worth at least a 1/4 credit per semester or 1/2 credit per year- so all of the fun of the a club, none of the pressure of a traditional course, and credit to boot! Of course, students and parents are welcomed and encouraged to add more to the club to make it full credit worthy (and we are happy to provide guidance on that, if you need it).

If you are looking for a Club that you don’t yet see, please let us know! We might just be able to make it happen!