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Host a Christmas Craft Party

Host a Christmas Craft Party

Hosting a Christmas Craft Party can be a fun way to celebrate the season with a small group of friends, build community and relationships and allow your kids a way to create fun crafts that are gift worthy. 

Making it Happen

  • Set a Date and time. Early afternoon works well. Plan on 2-3 hours for crafting and visiting.
  • Decide on an age range and crowd; teens only, or grades 5 and up, Mother/Daughter etc. This will allow people to choose appropriate crafts.
  • Ask everyone you invite to each bring a craft with enough supplies for a specific number of kids, plus a few extras for mistakes and tagalongs. Also, ask them to bring clearly written instructions and an example of the craft. This will be helpful to the kids. 
  • For parents who aren’t naturally “crafty”, you can direct them to some fun and simple craft sites or offer ideas for “Christmas Crafts”.  You may want to ask a couple of parents to bring snacks, drinks etc. if you know they will not want to be in charge of a craft.
  • Send the invites and include an R.S.V.P. so you can plan to have enough supplies and treats.

The Day of the Crafting Party

  • You might want to provide holiday music, lights, and decorations – but remember, simple can be just as fun! 
  • Provide festive snacks, a self-serve hot chocolate, tea and coffee bar, Let others know to bring treats, too, if you are open to that. An open snack/ drink buffet works well as parents/ kids move about crafting and visiting. 
  • Set  up various workstations – card tables and chairs, areas at the peninsula and dining room table, etc. so that as people arrive, they can set up their craft at a station. Additionally, they should set up printed instructions, as well as an example of the craft  already made.
  • If their craft requires hot glue guns, the stove, microwave or other more difficult items, ask parents (or teens) to stay at the station to supervise. 

Now the Fun begins!

Parents and kids move from workstation to workstation, creating crafts. It’s helpful for the hostess to have a place for crafts to sit or dry while people visit and move about. You could have a specific spot set aside with paper plates and kids names on them to gather their crafts between stations.  Additionally, have large paper bags or boxes available for people to collect their crafts in or let people know to bring their own. 

Be sure to take plenty of pictures that you share after the day of the party! 

Pro Tips 

Crafts don’t have to be super complex to be a lot of fun and something the kids really enjoy. 

Kids love making items that they can give to family as Christmas gifts, or hang on the tree. 

Expect a mess but let people know how much mess you’ll put up with. Glitter might be a no-go at your house, and that’s o.k. as long as people know ahead of time.

Popular Crafts

  • Ornaments
  • Pourable soap
  • Soup and beverage mixes
  • Gift tags
  • Peg dolls
  • Nature crafts
  • Shrink art
  • Shadow box ornaments
  • Chip Clips
  • Jewelry

You could use this as an opportunity for your tweens and teens to gain some life skills by coordinating the party with you. This makes a great homeschool group or co-op party idea too.

You may decide to do it every year. It’s a great way to share the season with others and will provide many happy memories of crafting and visiting!

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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!

Music is a Life Skill

Music is a Life Skill

Many of us consider music an elective and one of those homeschool subjects that we may “get to.” But I contend that music is a life skill which informs us in many areas of our lives. Chiefly, It allows our kids to develop executive functioning as well as transferable skills.

I encourage you to carve out time for music. Just consider that you probably already do. What’s on your playlist? How many hours a week do you listen to music while you workout, or are in the car? Music is an integral part of our lives. Accordingly, the songs we listen to, the movies we watch, as well as the worship we offer can change our mood and – above all – lead to redemption. 

Close-up of female hands correcting music score

A Universal Language

Music is a Universal Languages, along with Math and Latin. As has been noted, we can communicate to others with music, even if we lack a common language!

I’ve teamed up with Melissa Grande, a professional Musician and one of our amazing True North Homeschool Academy teachers to talk about some of the obvious benefits of studying music!

10 Benefits of Studying Music  

  1.  Stress Management & Therapeutic Benefits – Music calms the soul, gives kids the ability to express emotions and work off the wiggles! It utilizes many neural pathways to learning. Music education is kinesthetic, and auditory, but also visual as they develop eye-hand coordination and the ability to read music.
  2. Quick Thinking Skills – playing an instrument requires the student to think quickly. That requirement increases exponentially if they are playing with a band of any kind. Kids become quick thinkers as they have to check what’s going on with other musicians.
  3. Social Skills – these become well developed through music as students learn collaboration & communication skills. Skills are required for coordinating with others in the home about best practice times. Social skills are used when working with other musicians, coordinating with teacher and developing as a performer. 
  4. Responsibility and Discipline – are a natural outcome of music studies as students learn to take care of their instruments. It also requires that they focus on practicing and tough out the physical hardship of developing their craft.
  5. Problem Solving – is one of the many gifts of studying any art. Students must simply work to understand the music. The sounds of their instrument and how to create music with others involve problem solving skills.
  6.  Time Management and Deadlines – are integral to developing as a musician. You must show up to lessons on time, show up to practice and performances while juggling other responsibilities and demands. 
  7. Pride in Accomplishments (and learning that you have the ability to Do Hard Things). We want good things for our kids, and might even have to guard against serving up fun too often. Instead, teach them to hold out for deep joy and fulfillment when they have overcome and can enjoy their accomplishment.
  8. Perseverance and Patience – we know that good things come from years of practice and investment. Excellence comes with practice. Our kids learn this as they wrestle with loving their instrument and playing music over the long term.
  9. Creative Expression – this might seem obvious but is not to be overlooked. Music allows our kids – and us- creative expression. Who hasn’t lip-synced at the top of their lungs in the car alone? Who hasn’t cried, hearing a touching song, or choked up singing Handel’s Messiah? Music moves our spirit and soul and unlocks hidden emotions and allows us to become more fully human.
  10.  Self Expression – along with creative expression, music allows us to express ourselves as individuals. We all have a song to sing and a beautiful story to tell. Music allows us another avenue to share that with others! 
Pretty young musician playing classic digital piano at home during online class at home, social distance during quarantine, self-isolation, online education concept

A Lot of Bang for Your Homeschool Buck!

Music is one of those courses of study that give you so much bang for your buck. Your kids learn a fantastic academic skill, that can garner them scholarship dollars and amazing opportunities. As they develop their skills, music will help them maintain their positive mental health. They will develop transferable skills that will hold fast throughout their lives. 

Not sure where to start with Music Education in your homeschool? Check out True North Homeschool Academy Music classes. We believe in and value music education so much that we offer k-12th grade opportunities that will inspire and delight! 

Boy with a clarinet plays music. Online music lesson concept

Check Out K-12 Classes to Get Their Creative Energies Flowing

  • Music at the Movies– a life changing Music and Apologetics course! Pair this with Strategy: War and Peace for an integrated approach to world view and history !
  • Introduction to Music Theory -learn the Basics of Reading Music
  • The Art of Songwriting – perfect for budding musicians and writers! 
  • Introduction to Voice – learn how to sing- this course can also count towards science credits.
  • Art & Music I – one of our most popular Elementary classes last year! This is a Charlotte Mason inspired course that teaches Art through the Seasons. Children learn to play the tin whistle along with learning about music.
  • Art & Music II – for those who couldn’t get enough of Art and Music I. (or for older kids) Students will again have inspiring Art through the Seasons lessons and learn rhythm through bucket drumming! 

From Handicrafts to Technology

Take a look at more than 30 electives available on our website. True North Homeschool Academy offers elective courses that are creative and practical.

  • Photography & Digital Technology - One Semester
    Photography & Digital Technology – One Semester
  • Health - High School - One Semester
    Health – High School – One Semester
  • New Testament Studies: The Four Gospels
    New Testament Studies: The Four Gospels
  • Art & Music Around the World- One Semester
    Art & Music Around the World- One Semester
  • Graphic Design With Canva
    Graphic Design With Canva
  • How to Study Your Bible: Biblical Genres
    How to Study Your Bible: Biblical Genres
  • Dance - One Semester
    Dance – One Semester
  • Foundations of Faith: God's Existence and Creation
    Foundations of Faith: God’s Existence and Creation
  • Spanish IV
    Spanish IV
  • Health - High School
    Health – High School
  • French - Level Two
    French – Level Two
  • Introduction to Computer Science - Full Year Class
    Introduction to Computer Science – Full Year Class
  • Dance - Full Year
    Dance – Full Year
  • Journalism
    Journalism
  • American Sign Language 1
    American Sign Language 1
  • Art & Music Around the World
    Art & Music Around the World
  • Introduction to Computer Science
    Introduction to Computer Science: Part Two – One Semester
  • The Four Gospels - One Semester
    The Four Gospels – One Semester
Life Skills: Helping Teens Achieve Goals & Enjoy Life

Life Skills: Helping Teens Achieve Goals & Enjoy Life

For many people, it seems like life has two options: achieving goals and enjoying life. Neither one of them seems as if they are one hundred percent fulfilled. There seems to be a broad spectrum on the scale of go-getters and over-achievers to those who slack in all departments.

How many times have you heard your student saying they don’t have enough time or they are overwhelmed with all the things? For so many homeschool families, the demands of work, career, education, family, and homeownership seem overwhelming. All while striving to teach our families how to achieve goals and enjoy life in a balanced manner.

Avoid the Overwhelm

Do you wish you had someone to partner with you in helping your teens learn to achieve goals and enjoy a balanced life?

We are doing that for you with the Life Skills 101 course offered at True North Homeschool Academy!  Your students will learn how to prioritize life, learn how to set and achieve goals, and sharpen skills for living life on their own as an adult.  In this full-year course, four broad areas are covered in depth. They include:

  • Finding Balance
  • Setting & Achieving Goals
  • Managing Life Areas
  • Time Management

Throughout the course, students will learn how to navigate these various areas as they prepare for launching into the next phase of life.

Finding Balance

If you think about life being balanced, you might envision a seesaw in the position of being directly balanced in the middle with no ups, no downs, and simply managing to stay in the middle ground.

What does it mean to be in balance, if life has its difficulties? When you are in balance, you maintain your equilibrium while life’s ups and downs come to visit. Of course, you go through the various emotions as circumstances both good and not so good work their way through life. 

Being in balance means intentionally, no matter how hard it is, choosing how you will show up under any given circumstance.

Do your teens need to learn how to achieve balance? In Life Skills 101, we will discuss ways to:

  • Take inventory of the various areas of life.
  • Create and implement a plan for finding and keeping life in balance.
  • Create action steps to help bring things back into balance when things get challenging. 

Sometimes, the unexpected can throw you off. In Life Skills 101 we teach how to hit the reset button when life throws you a curve and knocks you off balance. 

Setting & Achieving Goals

Does your student want to author a book, be a young entrepreneur, or simply get to appointments on time and have a clean room?  Learning how to break large goals down into manageable tasks is at the core of the Life Skills 1010 curriculum. From identifying a dream or aspiration to making a plan to achieve it, this class allows the student to take the time to dream, research, investigate and plan for the future.

It’s like a snowball effect. We will focus on how to start small and continue rolling that snowball down the hill. Before they know it, your kids will have a boulder of success coming their way! 

Managing Life Areas

Teaching teens to manage all the things of life is a full-time job! Letting go and letting them step into managing their own lives, can bring a sense of panic to every homeschool mom. The Life Skills 101 course partners with families to teach teens how to live a whole, full, and complete life. Learning to break your life down into categories and then addressing each. This creates a launch pad into adulthood that your teen can return as they expand the skills and confidence on living life successfully. Throughout the full-year course, students will learn what it takes to become independent and manage these aspects of daily life.

  • Cleaning & Organizing
  • Food shopping & meal planning
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting & personal finances
  • Resume, cover letter, and interview skills
  • Workplace expectations

Time Management

At the end of the day, so many life skills are achieved by learning solid time management. Students learn how to identify the most important tasks and how to say no to time-wasting activities, or behaviors. Students will sharpen their skills in:

  • Task management
  • Prioritization
  • Balancing work and play

Throughout the course students will use a variety of technology and digital tools to create projects, turn in assignments and find the best tools to help them successfully navigate life in a digital environment. 

 

Life Skills for a Successful Launch into Adulthood.

There are many challenges each of our kids will have to face. Let’s help them learn how to achieve goals, fulfill dreams, and live a life they love. Find more information about Life Skills 101 here.

Looking for help with teaching your teen Life Skills? Life Skills 101 Orienteering and Entrepreneurship. Taught live online at True North Homeschool Academy!

Join us on Facebook too – our page Life Skills for Homeschooled Teens is a great community and we share tips and laughter along the way!

High School Life Skills Classes

Click the image to see the full class description and schedule!

  • Photography & Digital Technology - One Semester
    Photography & Digital Technology – One Semester
  • Health - High School - One Semester
    Health – High School – One Semester
  • Graphic Design With Canva
    Graphic Design With Canva
  • Introduction to Computer Science - Full Year Class
    Introduction to Computer Science – Full Year Class
  • Introduction to Computer Science
    Introduction to Computer Science: Part Two – One Semester
  • Life Skills 101 - One Semester
    Life Skills 101 – One Semester
  • Adapted Life Skills
    Adapted Life Skills
  • TNHA ONLINE CLASS IN VIDEO EDITING
    Video Editing Basics
  • TNHA Personal Finance Course for High School Homeschoolers
    Personal Finance
  • YES
    Photoshop
  • Speech & Rhetoric
    Speech & Rhetoric
  • Entrepreneurship
    Entrepreneurship
  • Middle school or Junior High Students who want to be challenged may also join this high school level class.
    Photography & Digital Technology
  • Economics - One Semester
    Economics – One Semester
  • Leadership for the digital age online class for high school homeschoolers
    Leadership for the Digital Age
  • TNHA Life Skills 101 online high school and junior high class
    Life Skills 101
  • Career Exploration
    Career Exploration
What are Soft Skills?

What are Soft Skills?

What are Soft Skills?

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 mores. For kids with learning disabilities, however, soft skills can be elusive and confusing.

Hard skills are easily definable skills that are often job-specific, such as knowing how to speak German, code a computer, or write in cursive; those skills that get us the job.  Soft skills are more difficult to define and are those skills that allow us to keep the job. You know the adage,

“You are hired for your hard skills, you’re fired for your soft skills.”

What are Soft Skills?

3-t have recently heard about the “4 C’s of Education.” These would include

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration (Teamwork)
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Creativity

Public Schools are beginning to work specifically to train kids in these basic soft skills, as they are so necessary for success in academics, job ability, and stability, and managing and maintaining healthy relationships.

Communication

Communication, in particular, is easily identified as the queen of soft skills, as without it, we can hardly function.

Communication Skills Consist of 4 areas:

  1. Verbal
  2. Written
  3. non-verbal
  4. spoken

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.

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 various seasons.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is the ability to analyze facts and form a conclusion, using deductive and inductive reasoning, formal and informal logic, and the scientific method. Critical thinking allows us to be proactive, instead of constantly reactive, strategize, and take the long view, deferring our own short term gratification for long term pay-offs.

 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.

Time and Distraction Management

Time and Distraction Management is the ability to manage one’s time effectively to accomplish small and large tasks, repetitive as well as on-going tasks. This also has to do with the ability to manage distractions, be that a little sibling, social media notifications, or our self needs or interest. Developing good time management habits is critical to being able to interact with the world maturely.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility and Adaptability require having the ability to change and flex as needed. Our world is growing increasingly complex with radical and sudden shifts occurring on both a micro and macro scale. We must teach our kids to flex and adapt as needed as well as to know how to set appropriate boundaries and to stand firm when time and circumstances demand it.

Work Ethic

Work Ethic is the value that hard work is intrinsically valuable and worth doing for its own sake. Having kids who are diligent and detailed oriented in their work can mean the difference between success and failure in so many areas of life.

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.

 Loyalty

In a world that makes it increasingly easy to “block” or “ghost” someone, loyalty is a soft skill worth developing. Standing by one’s faith, family and friends is the mark of someone with integrity and other well-formed, soft skills. Everyone is irritating, demanding, and in need of salvation and standing by and next to each other while recognizing our own and each other’s humanity is what being loyal is all about. The soft skill includes patience, kindness, self-control, and the willingness to overlook the other’s failings.

Integrity

Integrity is the foundation of all soft skills. It is the quality of basing our behaviors on principles instead of situations, being honest and morally upright—integrity based on the Gospel of Truth, instead of our own or others’ desires.

What are Soft Skills? Soft skills are those skills that take a lifetime to master and can always be improved upon.

All of us have soft skills that come naturally to us, and those that are a struggle. Regardless, we can all develop a lifestyle of learning so that we continue to grow and develop to glorify God-given who He has made us to be, and in doing so, shine His light in a world that is growing increasingly dark.

What are Soft Skills and Where do I Find Out More About Teaching Soft Skills?

Click on the links in this post to view courses offered by True North Homeschool Academy teachers who have goals that are aligned with yours as a homeschool parent.

We believe in the importance of Soft Skills so much that we host a weekly podcast on Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age!

Please join us over at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network for more great discussion and information on Soft Skills!