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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!  

How to Fail as a Homeschooler

How to Fail as a Homeschooler

(Portions of this post originally appeared on the Golden Grasses website- by Lisa Nehring)

It’s that time of year when parents are re-evaluating schooling options for their kids. I hear over and over again, “I want to homeschool (or my kids want to homeschool), but I’m so worried I’ll fail.” Having homeschooled for 25 years, we’ve seen it all. Wild homeschooling success and wild, abject homeschooling failure. Here is my not so subtle list about how to fail as a homeschooler. Check it out. Maybe it will help you evaluate whether or not you have what it takes to succeed as a homeschooler.

(Wondering why we homeschool? You can find the answers here.)

1- Stop Learning 

I mean you, the Homeschooling Teacher. The first law of the teacher is to know the material, which takes time and energy. If you want to fail as a homeschooler, model NOT learning. Model NOT reading, model intellectual apathy, fed on a diet of social media, low standards, and cultivated disinterest.

2- Be Prideful about your Kid’s Success and Ability

Be haughty and prideful when it comes to your own child.  They already know it all, why learn more? Your child is “too good” for every program out there. Also, refuse to let your child mingle with children you deem “less-than.” This not only sets them up to fail in homeschooling but also in life.

3- Never Ask Questions

Cultivate the attitude of disinterest; what you don’t know is boring. Asking questions requires vulnerability and humility. Don’t show either.

True North Homeschool Academy Facebook Group

3-Be Stingy & Hoard

Opportunities, people, competitions, curriculum, knowledge; you need to keep whatever good thing you have to yourself. Don’t share, promote, develop, or go beyond your circle. Keep in mind the toddler rules, “What’s Yours is Yours and What’s Mine is Mine, What’s Broken is Yours.”

4- Be Fearful

Homeschool because the world is scary, and public schools are of the devil. Be reactive. Be closeted and fearful. Homeschool because there is nothing better. Hunker down for the coming of apocalypse zombies.

5- Be Lazy

Have the attitude that no matter what you do or don’t do as a homeschooler, it is better than what the public schools do or don’t do. So if you really don’t “do” school or even train your kids, that’s okay.  At least it’s better than what the public schools are doing, anyway, right?

(Trying to figure out how to succeed at this homeschooling gig as a Busy Mom, check out our post on Sacred Sanity – A Busy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling.)

6- Be Tolerant

Let your kids run wild in the name of homeschooling freedom. Allow them to break the rules, to be rebellious, to set a low standard for others at classes, co-ops, field trips, to subtly jeer and undermine. This tolerance gives the impression that all homeschoolers have low standards and ensures that no homeschoolers will be allowed that field trip in the future. It also provides that any homework assigned will be mocked, that work itself is not that important, and that co-ops should cater to the lowest common denominator.

7-Be Irresponsible

Make excuses; make them often and frequently, for yourself and your kids, regarding academic standards, character issues, things left undone, and overdone. Don’t take responsibility to educate your kids.

8- Be Idolatrous

Idolize your child, and their individuality to the point of extreme. Idolize creativity while sacrificing discipline. Buy into the cheap imitation of chaos theory that free expression without tools, time, or discipline will produce creative talent beyond our wildest dreams. In keeping with this, teach to your kid’s strengths (if you teach at all) and let their weaknesses go unchecked.

I’m sure that there are other ways to fail as a homeschooler, but these are the ones I’ve personally most often encountered over the years. And, True Confessions, My name is Lisa, and I’m a Homeschooling Failure myself, having participated in all of these at one time or another. Admission, so those in the know tell me, is the first step towards recovery. Good thing, because next, in honor of those in recovery as Homeschooling Failures, I’ll post How to Succeed as a Homeschooler.

(Have you decided that you’re ready to begin? Check out our post on Homeschooling 101!)

Having homeschooled for 25 years, we've seen it all. Wild homeschooling success and wild, abject homeschooling failure. Here is my not so subtle list about how to fail as a homeschooler. Check it out. Maybe it will help you evaluate whether or not you have what it takes to succeed as a homeschooler. #homeschooling #homeschooler #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

3 Reasons to Homeschool

3 Reasons to Homeschool

Everyone decides to homeschool for different reasons, but I want to share with you our top three reasons to homeschool.

Our homeschooling story began in 1991 way back in Southern California. We have continued to homeschool across the country, with numerous children (most of whom have now graduated) for the following reasons:

(Still unsure about homeschooling? Check out Should I Homeschool?)

Reason #1 – Education

Our kids are getting a solid education. Is it perfect? No. Are there gaps? Yes. Is that normal? I think so. Do we continue to hone and improve what we do? Yes.

Educating our kids at home has streamlined the academic process for the simple reason that there are fewer people to manage, no classes to change or halls and lockers to navigate, and no worksheets to slow us down. We learn the lesson; we move on. This pace has given our kids plenty of time to do things like scouts, sports, travel, read voraciously, study art, plant gardens, create things, help us re-build an acreage, serve others, write novels, participate in horseback riding, karate, and soccer, and pursue so many other interests.

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Reason #2 – Faith

Homeschooling allows your kids to have time to refine, define, and own their faith.

Of course, it doesn’t take homeschooling to allow kids to own their faith, but it does allow them time to own it before the world and peers, and a whole host of other voices, come along to batter and beat it into something almost, but possibly, not quite Christian. Our kids leave our home with a solid understanding of the Bible, including its history, language and culture, the history of the church, the importance and personhood of Jesus, and a glimpse at how imperfect people attempt to live a life of vibrant faith.

Is it perfect? No. Do we fail? Yes. Is that normal? I know so.

Kids grow up and decide and determine what values they’ll follow, what memories they’ll treasure, and which they discard. The voices of the world are loud and noisy, and there is no guarantee that any of our kids will grow up to follow much of anything they’ve been raised with. The whole idea that if we raise our kids a certain way, it will guarantee specific values and lifestyle in our kids is idolatry, pure and simple.

We get to follow God and be faithful to what He has called us to do. Our kids also have that choice- to hear and obey, or not. Twenty-eight years into this stint of homeschooling has taught me some hard lessons, and one of the most challenging has been to realize that everyone works out their own salvation with fear and trembling. We don’t get to take our kids, or our spouses, or anyone else to heaven — just us. But we can sure do our part on behalf of others, including our kids.

That being said, raising our kids with an understanding of the Bible, history, literature, critical thinking skills, and a knowledge of Faith is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. What they do with that gift is up to them.

Reason #3 – Family

It’s a busy world. Homeschooling has allowed us to spend hours together, playing, reading, learning, building, re-modeling, cooking, gardening, arguing, and laughing together. The good side of that is that everybody knows each other. The downside of this is that everybody knows each other.

Is it perfect? No. Do we get on each other’s nerves? You betcha’.

But really, how many people do you ever get to know well in life? Precious few. Add in social media and life online, and it’s no wonder that people are, literally, getting lonelier. Homeschooling has given our family time to sit around the fire watching fireflies and the Milky Way,  discuss great books, history, literature, and ideas for hours.  We can travel, sightsee, and fall in love with God’s world and each other. Quality time almost always demands quantity time. Our family has been blessed with plenty of both, and it has enriched each of our lives.

What are your top 3 reasons for homeschooling? Are they the same as when you first started or have they changed?

(Just now deciding to take the homeschooling plunge? Check out our post on Homeschooling 101.)

Do you currently homeschool? Or maybe you are considering it. Check out the three reasons why we homeschool. Are your reasons the same? Do you have anything you would add? #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #whywehomeschool

Manage My Home and Time?

Manage My Home and Time?

Manage My Home and Time?

Manage My Home and Time? Them’s fightin’ words, aren’t they? Though they may be, it’s important as working homeschooling mamas that we get a routine set in place so that we aren’t wondering if the insurance money is really worth it or before we decide to put them on the big yellow bus that rides by our house every morning!

Here are some things that you can do to make it easier to manage your home and time:

  • Use a curriculum that teaches all of your kids at once—there are some out there that will teach them all the same thing, but on a different level, which minimizes your prep time and allows you to put that time to better use.
  • Use visual and written checklists—put your kids in charge of their progress, giving them something to work towards.
  • Get a solid meal prep routine—even if you start with family favorites, having meals prepped and ready to cook at a moment’s notice will definitely help.
  • Take a break to catch your breath when needed—if chaos seems to be coming through the air vents at every turn, then you might need to catch yourself. BURNOUT IS REAL!
  • Toss out your plans and let the kids lead—there will be times when what the kids want to do will outweigh the pros of our well-oiled plan. Child or interest-led learning works, too!

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So, how is all of this going to help me manage my home and time?

Even using ONE of these will give you one less thing to do on a given day. The more that you have in place, the more you can breathe, and your home will run more smoothly.

The key to making all of this work is to encourage your kids to be as independent as possible. Make it to where they don’t have to come to you every second while you’re working! You know how it goes…they don’t need anything at ALL until you sit down and start to work, throwing you into a Mom Tantrum. Sit down with them and let them know that you aren’t to be disturbed when you’re working unless it’s an emergency and don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member, or fellow homeschool mom for help!

If at all possible, teach your kids to help each other! Their methods may not be the same as yours; however, if they get the concept, just smile, shake your head, and walk away. Who cares if they are using a stuffed alligator and Oreos to help teach greater than and less than!

Another thing—know that outsourcing doesn’t make you a bad parent! If there is a co-op, tutorial, or drop-in program in your area that has what you need, USE IT! There are programs out there that don’t require that moms teach a class in order to stay involved.

Lastly, if you have little ones, consider working in a place where they can play while you work. A mom I know packs her kids up and takes them to Burger King, where they have a play place for the kids on those days when she REALLY needs to focus. Where can you go?

(If you like this post, be sure to check out Sacred Sanity, A Busy Mom’s Guide to Survival.)


Blog Contributor Tammie Polk


Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host! To find out more about Tammie, please visit her website.




Are you feeling overwhelmed with your homeschool life? Maybe you are wondering if it's possible to manage your home AND your time? Check out these great tips from guest contributor Tammie Polk, to find out how it IS possible to manage it all as a busy homeschool mom. #homeschooling #homeschoolmom #timemanagement #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Sacred Sanity – A Busy Mom’s Guide to Survival

Sacred Sanity – A Busy Mom’s Guide to Survival

Sacred Sanity – A Busy Mom’s Guide to Survival

If you are reading this, I will assume you are like me…A momma trying to figure it all out, a busy mom. A mom wanting to rip the capital “S” off your chest, so you can just BE.  Amongst all of the to-do lists and responsibilities, you just want peace and sanity. I’m sure you have lessons to plan and teach, meetings to attend, errands to run, meals to cook, date night, gym time, Dr.’s appointments, cuddles to give, blogs to write, reports to finish, bathrooms to clean…The list could go on for days! It’s exhausting reading it all!

I get it! As we speak, I am multi-tasking. Armed with my noise-canceling headphones, I attempt to write this blog uninterrupted. Unrealistic, I know. I still can hear the whines of my daughter; I get asked for a snack 100 times and have to break up fights. Saturdays are supposed to be a day off. For me, Saturday is MY business/studying workday. The problem, however, is my other responsibilities don’t cease. So, how do I manage? How do I find balance between all on my growing lists? How do I keep my sanity sacred, so I don’t burn out and yell at everyone due to my stress? These are on-going questions running through my mind on a daily basis. And I’m sure you too in moments of silence have similar questions.

After a season of extreme burnout and anxiety, I embarked on a journey to figure out how to homeschool, grow my business, and manage my home without losing my sanity.

Here is what I have discovered to keep my sanity:

  1. My Sanity is Sacred: If I am not at peace and in a healthy place mentally, emotionally, or physically…everyone suffers. If we put ourselves 1st and fill our cups intentionally every day, we can pour out to our jobs, businesses, children, spouses, and homes from an overflow. Then, we will not be empty by days end. So, find your source(s) and fill up.
  2. I MUST Ask or Pay for Help: I let go of the idea that it is only my responsibility to manage everything in my home. It is just not possible; Not every day. I made room in my budget for someone to come clean my main living area and bathrooms. I also increased the kids cleaning responsibilities. Doing so made room and time for more creativity in my lessons and also my business plans. Why? Because for many of us, cleanliness=clarity & creativity. Putting my oldest two boys in a drop-off Tutorial that meets 2x’s per week gave me some much needed time for quiet, cleaning, work, or even to shop.
  3. Take Deep Breaths: Oftentimes, we go through each day shallow breathing. I recently began implementing several “breath breaks.” Every hour or so, I take at least three deep breaths. It is amazing how this simple act can bring calm, clarity, and gratitude. Slowing down in this way can give us perspective and guide us appropriately through our daily decisions, whether career-related or personal.
  4. Set specific priorities: For me, home comes first, then business and career goals. I prioritize my goals within each of those categories and focus on 3-5 at a time; per season. For me, my capacity is limited, and I am ok with that. With a small list, I can operate at a level of excellence without feeling overwhelmed or burned out.
  5. Stay in my Lane: I do my best not to compare. This requires I frequently disconnect from social media. Comparison oftentimes keeps us “grinding” to the point of severe burnout and exhaustion. Find your flow and operate in it. Don’t worry about how much everyone else can get done in a day with ten kids on their hip. That may be great for them, but detrimental to you and your family. Every family has a natural flow or rhythm that leaves room for everyone to thrive. Figure out what works and stay there.

 While this is my personal list for keeping my sanity sacred as a busy mom, I hope you can glean some helpful nuggets to implement so you can grow successfully both at home and professionally.

(If you like this post you may also like our post on homeschool mom encouragement.)


Ashley Gilbert is a Certified Life and Recovery Coach and the founder of I Can.  She is passionate about creating dynamic classroom and one-on-one coaching experiences to promote self-awareness, freedom, and empowerment for women. Her unique twist on dance and movement classes help women walk in confidence and self-love…beyond the dance floor. Ashley and her husband are also co-founders of Ground Zero, where she serves as a women’s addiction Recovery Coach. Most recently, she authored a book called “Real Women on the Journey.” With all she does professionally, Ashley’s first priority, however, is to her family. Being best friend and wifey to her husband of 12 years, and homeschooling her three amazing children.
To keep up with Ashley’s happenings and weekly blogs, please visit
Do you often struggle to keep your sanity as a busy mom? As a homeschool mom the world often feels like chaos. Check out these tips for being maintaining sanity as a busy homeschool mom. #homeschooling #homeschoolmom #truenorthhomeschoolacademy