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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

What’s a Blue Collar Homeschooler?

Blue Collar Homeschool exists to encourage, resource, and celebrate homeschool learners whose post-high school plans include careers in trades, the military, entrepreneurship, and more.  Not heading to college?  We can help!

Feeling alone in your homeschool journey? Join us!

Have you found it difficult to find mentor moms or peers to connect with on your homeschooling journey?  Are you discouraged when you find yourself in most homeschooling groups where the conversations seem only to support those whose kids are on the college track?  Find a new relational, positive, encouraging group of creative open-minded homeschool parents who will truly support you as you prepare your child for their particular future.  Come join the thousands of members on Facebook for all the help you could possibly hope for!

Resources for Blue Collar Homeschoolers

Strategies to Motivate Your Homeschool High Schooler, A Personalized Learning Plan

Homeschooling a high schooler presents unique challenges, especially when motivation wanes. This stage of education is crucial as it lays the groundwork for future endeavors, be it higher education or career paths. In this post, we’ll explore effective strategies to rekindle the spark of learning in your homeschool high school student, and create a personalized learning plan.

Understanding the Roots of Unmotivation:

Discussing the common reasons why high schoolers, particularly those who are homeschooled, may lose motivation is crucial to addressing and resolving these issues effectively. Here are some key factors:

Lack of Social Interaction:

Homeschooled high schoolers often miss out on the day-to-day social interactions that occur in traditional school settings. This absence of peer engagement can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection, impacting their motivation to engage with their studies.

Social development is a significant part of the high school experience. Without regular interaction with peers, students may feel they are missing out on key experiences, leading to a decrease in enthusiasm for learning.

True North Homeschool Academy’s live, online classes provide students with class interaction and breakout rooms in a secure setting allowing for the social interaction high school students crave.

Limited Exposure to Diverse Perspectives:

In a traditional school setting, students are exposed to a variety of perspectives and ideas from different teachers and peers. Homeschooling can sometimes limit this exposure, which can result in a lack of diverse thought and challenge, potentially diminishing a student’s interest in learning.

True North Homeschool Academy has world-wide enrollment and professional educators from around the world and a variety of Christian faith backgrounds. This diversity allows for a range of perspectives and lively in-class discussions.

Not Seeing the Relevance of What They’re Learning:

High schoolers might struggle to see how certain subjects apply to real life or their future goals. This lack of perceived relevance can lead to disinterest and a feeling that their educational efforts are pointless.

Practical application of knowledge is key in maintaining interest. When students fail to understand how their learning applies to the real world, their motivation can quickly wane. A personalized learning plan is key to holding interest and providing a measuring stick for parents.

True North Homeschool Academy teachers provide in-real-time feedback to students, helping them tie their learning objectives to their long term goals.


High schoolers, especially those aiming for higher education, can experience burnout due to intense academic pressure. This can be exacerbated in a homeschooling environment where the distinction between home and school life is blurred.

Overemphasis on academic achievement without adequate breaks or leisure activities can lead to exhaustion and a loss of interest in academic pursuits. A personalized learning plan alleviates burnout.

At True North Homeschool Academy, the ability to use our distintive online learning platform provides for a virtual separation from home and school. Though we 100% agree that the beauty of homeschooling happens from learning done at home, and statistics prove this.

Education is the Transmission of Culture

So, what does that mean, exactly? Simply put, the Judeo-Christian worldview that many homeschooling parents adhere to should work hand-in-hand with the educational decisions made for their children. A quick look at the public school system demonstrates the way a transmission of culture contrary to your personally held convictions results in a society (individuals, families, churches, and nations) at odds with what Christian parents want for their kids.

What kind of culture do we want to transmit? What are we building?  We believe that parents aren’t just a child’s first teacher, they are the primary agent responsible for transmitting a culture of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. It only makes sense to partner with a homeschool educator who understands that and supports those efforts. That’s what we do at True North Homeschool Academy through carefully vetted teachers, class choices, and academic advising.

Lack of Autonomy and Choice:

High school students are at an age where they seek more control over their lives. If they feel that their education is too structured or controlled by parents or guardians, it can lead to a lack of motivation.

Providing students with choices in their learning process, such as selecting subjects or projects of interest, can significantly enhance their engagement. Developing a personalized learning plan involves parent and student, giving students choices.

This is where True North Homeschool Academy stands out. Students and parents partner with TNHA to hand-pick the courses students want and need. Our advising takes this even further, crafting a high school learning path that is unique to your student.

Inadequate Challenge or Overly Rigid Curriculum:

A curriculum that is not challenging enough can leave students feeling unstimulated and bored. Conversely, an overly rigid or challenging curriculum can be overwhelming and demotivating.

It’s important to strike a balance, ensuring the curriculum is both challenging and adaptable to a student’s individual pace and interests.

True North Homeschool Academy teachers move beyond the curriculm, book, and page to foster discussion and interaction. This approach busts boredom and keeps the teacher in touch with each student to gage overwhelm, the perfect balance.

Technological Distractions:

The pervasive nature of technology and social media can be a significant distraction, leading to reduced concentration and focus on studies.Finding a balance between healthy technology use and educational focus is crucial in maintaining motivation.

True North Homeschool Academy courses are held in our learning management system, eliminating the distraction of social media during school hours.

Personalizing the Curriculum for a Personalized Learning Plan

Tailoring the curriculum to align with your child’s interests is a powerful way to boost engagement in homeschooling. When students see a connection between their passions and their studies, they are more likely to be motivated and involved in the learning process. This creates a personalized learning plan unique to your student.

Here’s how this approach can be implemented:

How Tailoring the Curriculum Boosts Engagement

  1. Increased Relevance: When students see how their interests align with what they are learning, the material becomes more relevant and engaging to them.
  2. Personal Connection: Personalizing the curriculum allows students to form a deeper connection with the material, making learning more enjoyable and meaningful.
  3. Enhanced Creativity: Allowing students to explore subjects through the lens of their interests can foster creativity and innovative thinking.

Tips on Incorporating Passions into Traditional Subjects

  1. Identify Core Interests: Start by having a conversation with your child to understand their passions and interests. These could range from specific hobbies, like music or coding, to broader areas like environmental conservation or space exploration.
  2. Integrate Interests into Core Subjects:
    • Math: If your child is interested in music, you can integrate lessons on rhythm and beat into math, teaching fractions, and patterns. For a sports enthusiast, use statistics from their favorite sport to teach data analysis.
    • Science: A child fascinated by gardening can learn biology through plant life cycles and photosynthesis. An interest in video games can be an avenue to explore computer science and physics.
    • History and Social Studies: Align history lessons with the historical aspects of a child’s interest, like the history of a particular sport, art movement, or technological innovation.
    • English/Language Arts: Encourage them to read and write about topics they love. For instance, a student interested in cooking could explore culinary literature or write essays on the cultural significance of different cuisines.
  3. Project-Based Learning: Create projects that revolve around their interests. For instance, building a small robot for a tech enthusiast or writing and directing a short play for someone interested in drama.
  4. Field Trips and Practical Experiences: Organize field trips or activities that align with their interests. Visiting a local museum, attending a science fair, or participating in community theater can bring their studies to life.
  5. Use of Technology and Resources: Leverage online resources, documentaries, podcasts, and apps that cater to their interests and can be integrated into the educational material.
  6. Invite Guest Speakers or Mentors: If possible, involve experts or enthusiasts in your child’s area of interest. They can provide valuable insights and real-world connections to the subjects being studied.
  7. Flexibility in Assessment: Tailor assessments to include their interests. For example, instead of a traditional test on a novel, a student interested in art could create a comic strip summarizing the story.
  8. Encourage Independent Projects: Allow them to pursue independent projects or research in their areas of interest, guiding and supporting them as needed.

By integrating a child’s passions into their learning journey, homeschooling can become a more fulfilling and inspiring experience. This approach to a personalized learning plan not only helps in keeping the student motivated but also nurtures a deeper love for learning.

At True North Homeschool Academy, curriculum personalization begins with choice. With over 140 classes to choose from, it doesn’t get any more personalized than that.

Setting Realistic Goals and Rewards:

Setting achievable goals is a fundamental aspect of effective learning, especially in the context of homeschooling. Achievable goals help maintain motivation, provide a clear sense of direction, and foster a sense of accomplishment. This Here’s a deeper look into their significance and how a reward system can be effectively integrated:

Significance of Setting Achievable Goals within a Personalized Learning Plan

  1. Provides Clear Direction: Clear, achievable goals give students a roadmap to follow, making it easier for them to focus and stay on track.
  2. Enhances Motivation: Achievable goals are motivating because they are within the student’s reach. This sense of attainability encourages students to put in the effort required to reach them.
  3. Boosts Confidence: Each time a student achieves a goal, it boosts their confidence and reinforces their belief in their ability to succeed.
  4. Promotes Time Management: Setting goals helps students learn to manage their time effectively, an essential skill for both academic success and life in general.
  5. Encourages Self-Assessment: Achievable goals allow students to assess their progress and adjust their strategies, fostering a habit of self-reflection and continuous improvement.
  6. Prevents Burnout: By breaking down the learning process into smaller, manageable steps, achievable goals can help prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed, reducing the risk of burnout.

Creating a Reward System with Your Student’s Personalized Learning Plan

  1. Align Rewards with Interests: Choose rewards that are meaningful to your child. For example, if they love reading, a new book can be a reward. For a sports enthusiast, attending a live sports event might be motivating.
  2. Small Rewards for Small Goals: Set up small rewards for achieving short-term goals. This could be as simple as extra playtime, a favorite snack, or a movie night.
  3. Bigger Rewards for Major Milestones: Reserve larger rewards for significant achievements, like completing a challenging project or reaching a major milestone in their curriculum.
  4. Non-Material Rewards: Not all rewards need to be materialistic. Extra time with parents, choosing a family activity, or an extended bedtime can be highly effective.
  5. Involvement in Choosing Rewards: Involve your child in deciding the rewards. This gives them a sense of control and makes the reward system more motivating.
  6. Balancing Rewards with Intrinsic Motivation: While rewards are effective, it’s important to balance them with the cultivation of intrinsic motivation. Encourage your child to appreciate the value of learning for its own sake.
  7. Celebrate Achievements: Make a point to celebrate when goals are met. Positive reinforcement and recognition can be a powerful motivator.
  8. Flexibility: Be flexible with the reward system. If certain rewards aren’t working or if goals need adjusting, be open to making changes.

By setting achievable goals and creating a thoughtful reward system, you can help your homeschooled high schooler stay motivated and engaged. This ultimately leads to a more fruitful and enjoyable learning experience.

True North Homeschool Academy leadership supports goal setting and rewards with each class, class assignment, and choice of classes offered.

Incorporating Practical Life Skills into a Personalized Learning Plan

Integrating practical life skills into a homeschooling curriculum is essential for preparing students for adulthood. These skills equip them with the necessary tools to manage their personal and professional lives effectively and independently.

Importance of Practical Life Skills

  1. Real-World Application: Life skills have direct applications in everyday life. Learning these skills ensures that students are prepared for real-world situations and challenges.
  2. Promotes Independence: By mastering practical skills, students become more self-sufficient and confident in their ability to handle various aspects of adult life, from managing finances to taking care of their health.
  3. Decision-Making and Problem-Solving: Life skills education enhances critical thinking, allowing students to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.
  4. Prepares for Future Responsibilities: Whether it’s managing finances, understanding health and nutrition, or navigating professional environments, life skills prepare students for future responsibilities as adults.
  5. Balances Academic Learning: Integrating life skills with academic subjects provides a balanced education that values both intellectual and practical knowledge.

Integrating Life Skills into the Curriculum

  1. Financial Literacy:
  2. Cooking and Nutrition:
    • Include cooking classes where students learn to prepare healthy meals.
    • Teach about nutrition, meal planning, and grocery shopping on a budget.
    • Integrate chemistry (e.g., baking involves chemical reactions) and mathematics (e.g., measuring ingredients, scaling recipes) into cooking lessons.
  3. Time Management:
    • Teach students how to create and manage a schedule or planner.
    • Discuss setting priorities and how to allocate time effectively for different tasks.
    • Integrate these practices into their daily study routine.
  4. Basic Home Maintenance:
    • Teach basic skills like sewing (to mend clothes), basic carpentry, or gardening.
    • Integrate physics or environmental science lessons into these activities.
  5. Health and Wellness:
  6. Digital Literacy:
  7. Career Planning and Job Skills:
  8. Civic Responsibility:

By incorporating these life skills into the homeschool curriculum, students not only enjoy a well-rounded education but are also better prepared for the challenges and responsibilities of adult life.

TNHA offers a variety of classes, workshops, and partnered opportunities for students to learn about life skills.

Fostering a Growth Mindset as Part of a Personalized Learning Plan

The concept of a growth mindset, developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, is a transformative approach to learning and personal development. It revolves around the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. This contrasts with a fixed mindset, where abilities are seen as static and unchangeable.

Impact of a Growth Mindset on Learning

  1. Enhances Persistence: Individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to persist through challenges, viewing them as opportunities to learn and grow rather than insurmountable obstacles.
  2. Encourages Risk-Taking: A growth mindset fosters a willingness to try new things and take risks, crucial for learning and innovation.
  3. Improves Resilience: It builds resilience by helping learners to view failure not as a reflection of their abilities, but as a natural part of the learning process.
  4. Promotes Openness to Feedback: Those with a growth mindset see feedback as a tool for improvement rather than criticism of their abilities.
  5. Facilitates Adaptability: A growth mindset encourages adaptability, an essential skill in an ever-changing world.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset in High Schoolers

  1. Praise Effort, Not Just Achievement: Focus on praising your child’s effort, strategies, and persistence rather than just their achievements or innate abilities. This reinforces the idea that effort leads to success.
  2. Encourage Learning from Mistakes: Normalize making mistakes as part of the learning process. Discuss what can be learned from each mistake and how it can be an opportunity for growth.
  3. Model a Growth Mindset: Demonstrate a growth mindset in your own life. Talk about your challenges and how you’ve overcome them through effort and learning.
  4. Set Learning Goals: Encourage your high schooler to set learning goals, rather than performance goals. Emphasize the importance of the learning journey over the final outcome.
  5. Teach the Brain’s Ability to Grow: Educate them about neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change and adapt – which scientifically supports the concept of a growth mindset.
  6. Encourage Perseverance: When they face challenges, guide them to persist and find different strategies or solutions, rather than giving up.
  7. Provide Opportunities for Challenge: Encourage them to take on tasks that are outside of their comfort zone. This could be learning a new skill or subject that doesn’t come easily to them.
  8. Use Constructive Language: Use language that fosters a growth mindset. Replace statements like “I can’t do this” with “I can’t do this yet.”
  9. Discuss Real-Life Examples: Share stories of people (historical figures, scientists, artists) who succeeded through perseverance and learning from failures.
  10. Encourage Self-Reflection: Foster a habit of self-reflection where they can recognize their growth and understand areas where they can improve.

By instilling a growth mindset in your high schooler, you are equipping them with an attitude and approach that will benefit their educational journey and their personal and professional lives beyond school.

Utilizing Technology and Online Resources in a Personalized Learning Plan

Technology, when used strategically, can greatly enhance the learning experience for homeschooling high schoolers. However, it’s also important to balance tech use to avoid overreliance and distractions. Here are some suggestions on how to effectively incorporate technology into learning:

Enhancing Learning with Technology

  1. Educational Apps and Games:
    • Utilize apps that specialize in various subjects, like math, science, language learning, or coding.
    • Look for interactive games that promote problem-solving and critical thinking.
  2. Online Courses and Tutorials:
    • Enroll in online courses from platforms like TNHA for a more structured learning experience.
    • Use YouTube tutorials for visual and practical learning in subjects like science experiments, history, or art.
  3. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR):
    • Use VR to explore historical sites, museums, or even outer space in a more immersive way.
    • AR apps can bring complex concepts to life, like visualizing molecular structures in chemistry.
  4. E-books and Online Libraries:
    • Access a vast array of books and academic papers online which can be more cost-effective than traditional textbooks.
    • Use e-readers with highlighting and note-taking features to enhance reading and comprehension.
  5. Podcasts and Educational Videos:
    • Listen to educational podcasts on various topics, ideal for learning on the go.
    • Use documentary films and educational videos to supplement learning with visual and auditory material.
  6. Collaborative Tools:
    • Use tools like Google Docs for writing and collaborative projects.
    • Utilize project management tools to teach organization and time management.
  7. Learning Management Systems (LMS):
    • Organize the homeschooling curriculum using LMS platforms that allow you to track progress, submit assignments, and receive feedback.

Cautioning Against Overuse and Distractions

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: Establish rules for when and how technology should be used for educational purposes. This helps to separate learning time from leisure time.
  2. Monitor Screen Time: Keep an eye on the amount of time spent in front of screens and ensure it’s balanced with offline activities.
  3. Encourage Digital Literacy: Teach your child about responsible technology use, including the importance of privacy and the risks of excessive screen time.
  4. Create a Distraction-Free Environment: During study time, ensure that devices are used solely for educational purposes. Utilize apps or settings that limit access to distracting sites or apps.
  5. Promote Balanced Learning: Encourage a mix of traditional learning methods, like reading physical books, handwriting notes, and engaging in hands-on activities, to complement digital learning.
  6. Regular Breaks: Implement regular breaks to prevent eye strain and mental fatigue. Encourage physical activity and time outdoors.
  7. Foster Interpersonal Skills: Ensure that technology does not replace essential face-to-face interactions. Encourage your child to engage in social activities and group learning where possible.

By thoughtfully integrating technology into your homeschool curriculum, you can greatly enhance educational engagement and effectiveness. However, balancing this with offline activities and mindful usage is key to ensuring a well-rounded and healthy learning environment.

TNHA offes live (via Zoom) online, dynamic (access to the teacher and class interaction). These classes based on the SAMR model of education. The SAMR model of education is framework of education that “… is a framework that orders strategies for classroom technology implementation into four stages.“

S- Substitution A- Augmentation M- Modification R- Redefinion. 

This framework is applied to the homeschool model through the use of technology, gamification, multi-media presentations, publishing, and more.  

Creating a Structured Yet Flexible Learning Environment:

Creating a balance between a structured routine and flexibility is essential in homeschooling to maintain interest and effectiveness in learning. Additionally, having a dedicated learning space plays a crucial role in facilitating focused and organized study while implementing a personalized learning plan. Here are some tips and insights on these aspects:

Balancing Structure and Flexibility

  1. Establish a Core Routine: Set a basic framework for daily activities, including start and end times for study, breaks, and recreational activities. This provides a sense of predictability and stability.
  2. Incorporate Flexible Learning Blocks: Within the daily schedule, include blocks of time where your high schooler can choose what they want to study. This choice can increase their engagement and motivation.
  3. Vary Teaching Methods: Use different teaching methods and resources — like videos, interactive activities, field trips, and practical experiments — to keep the learning experience dynamic and interesting.
  4. Adapt to Your Child’s Rhythms: Recognize and adapt to your child’s natural learning rhythms. Some students may be more alert in the morning, while others may perform better in the afternoon or evening.
  5. Regularly Review and Adjust the Schedule: Periodically review the routine with your child and make adjustments as needed to accommodate their changing interests and educational needs.
  6. Include Spontaneous Learning Opportunities: Be open to spontaneous educational opportunities, such as impromptu field trips, special projects, or exploring new interests that suddenly emerge.
  7. Balance Group and Individual Learning: If possible, include both individual study and group activities in your routine, balancing solitary focus with social interaction.
  8. Set Aside Time for Review and Reflection: Regularly schedule time for reviewing what’s been learned and reflecting on the effectiveness of the learning process.

Importance of a Dedicated Learning Space

  1. Enhances Focus: A dedicated space for learning helps to minimize distractions and allows for better concentration.
  2. Organizes Resources: It provides a place to organize educational materials, technology, and resources, making them easily accessible and helping to keep the learning process streamlined.
  3. Creates a Learning Environment: Having a specific area set aside for study helps to mentally prepare students for learning, creating a clear separation between study time and leisure time.
  4. Promotes Responsibility: A dedicated space can encourage students to take responsibility for their learning environment, keeping it tidy and organized.
  5. Adapts to Learning Needs: The space can be customized to suit the learning needs and preferences of the student, whether it involves quiet for reading, space for building projects, or technology setup for digital learning.
  6. Supports Specialized Equipment: For certain subjects, such as art, science experiments, or music, a dedicated space can accommodate specialized equipment or materials.
  7. Provides a Place for Display and Celebration: The learning space can be used to display educational achievements, projects, and learning aids, which can serve as motivators and points of pride.

In summary, balancing a structured routine with flexibility keeps homeschooling engaging and effective. A dedicated learning space significantly contributes to a focused and organized educational environment. Tailoring these elements to fit your child’s unique needs and learning style is key to a successful homeschooling experience and the creation of a personalized learning plan.

Strategies That Work to Create a Personalized Learning Plan

In conclusion, it’s vital to remember that each homeschooling journey is as unique as the student undertaking it. What effectively motivates and engages one student may not have the same impact on another. This diversity in learning styles, interests, and responses is a natural aspect of the educational process. This is especially true in the personalized context of homeschooling.

Parents and educators should approach homeschooling with patience and persistence. Recognizing that finding the right balance of strategies and techniques is often a process of trial and error. It’s important to remain open to adapting methods, experimenting with new approaches, and continually tuning into the evolving needs and interests of the student.

The ultimate goal of homeschooling extends beyond academic success; it’s about nurturing lifelong learners.

This involves cultivating skills, attitudes, and habits that prepare students. Not just for exams or immediate educational milestones, but for the diverse challenges and opportunities they will encounter throughout their lives. Emphasize curiosity, resilience, adaptability, and a love for learning as key qualities to instill.

As parents and educators, celebrate each step of progress, however small, and remain supportive and encouraging, even through challenges and setbacks. Remember, the journey of learning is a marathon, not a sprint, and every student’s pace and path and personalized learning plan will be different.

Above all, the journey of homeschooling, with its unique challenges and rewards, offers an invaluable opportunity to strengthen the bond between parents and children. This builds a foundation of mutual respect, understanding, and a shared love of learning. Stay committed, stay flexible, and watch as your homeschooler grows not just in knowledge, but in character and capability, ready to face the world ahead with confidence and curiosity.

How Outsourcing Math Saved My Homeschool

How Outsourcing Homeschool Math was the perfect decision for our family.

Growing up, my mom always said, “Gina, you never finish anything.” And somehow, that got stuck in my head. To be fair, she wasn’t talking about outsourcing homeschool math. She was talking about swimming lessons, gymnastics, projects started and stopped. And, she was right.

It wasn’t until I was (much) older that I realized what a gift those words would be to me.

The introspection they sparked lead me to several realizations about myself, including the truth in her words — I do leave things unfinished.

But, that’s just one way of looking at it. The gift came when I realized why I don’t. It wasn’t a lack of interest, passion, or boredom. It was a way of letting go of things that were meant to be let go.

Coming Back Around to Outsourcing Homeschool Math

Loop scheduling is popular in the homeschooling world. I use it for all.the.things. — especially in my business life. It’s called follow up. So, what’s that to do with homeschool math? Let me explain.

I’ll be frank. The words ringing in my ears of not finishing things kept me looping and looping and looping my children’s math. Why? I didn’t want to fail them. I held on to all subjects tightly.

And you know what? I failed them anyway. Because I should’ve embraced the gift of letting some things go. In this case, I needed to outsource homeschool math.

The Struggles with Homeschooling Math

Truth be told, I believed all the slick marketing regarding math in our homeschool. Find the right curriculum and it doesn’t have to be hard to teach math.

I guess that could be true, depending on the child, but it was not true in our homeschool.

Honest moment here: After Algebra 2, count me out when it comes to math. I love statistics, but the rest of it – bleh. Which was holding my kids back. They needed the opportunity to embrace a love of math. This would be crucial for:

  • pursuing higher level science
  • all things college
  • overcoming the stigma of homeschoolers + math = forgetta’ ’bout it!

I needed a better solution. And (unselfishly), I needed to not teach math. I really needed to outsource homeschool math.

Discovery of Outsourcing Homeschool Math as a Solution

Once I’d made the decision, my kids embraced this 110%. I began the search for a homeschool tutor.

Here are some things I did to outsource our homeschool math:

  1. We checked with local homeschool groups and found highly recommended and affordable tutors.
  2. We used YouTube for concepts.
  3. Online and video driven math curriculum became a staple in our homeschool.

Things began to turn around.

Benefits of Outsourcing Homeschool Math

The biggest benefit far and away was their math confidence. And for me, it became totally okay to say, “I don’t know, ask your math teacher.”

Beyond that the more tangible results included improved math understanding, great scores on the ACT, and a budding love of math. For some of the kids, we’ll say an improved toleration. 🙂

Overcoming Concerns and Challenges of Outsourcing

When I talk with homeschool parents today, I can relate to their frustration and overwhelm about teaching subjects that aren’t necessarily our biggest strength or in our immediate wheelhouse. They, too fear letting go. Like they’ll be a quitter or something. It’s not quitting. So let that go.

The other obstacle I hear to outsourcing is finding the right tutor or resource. This is a matter of research, and honestly, trial and error. But, it’s okay to pivot at anytime in your homeschool.

Lastly, the challenge of cost. Back in the day, I paid around $40 an hour for a tutor. I had four kids, so there’s some math for you. 😉 I totally get it. It wasn’t easy, but we found a way.

That’s one of the reasons I really love True North Homeschool Academy. It’s affordable, and the kids get real-life math pros for teachers. Let me tell you, these math teachers mean business. They want your kids to really get it!

Tips and Recommendations if You’re Considering Outsourcing Homeschool Math

or any subject, for that matter.

  • Do your own due diligence. Research your options. Ask around. Make a list of non-negotiables.
  • Count the cost. Do a pros and cons list; outsourcing vs. at home teaching.
  • If you make a yes decision, think of creative ways to afford it if that’s an issue. Grandma might really like the idea of gifting a math class.

Conclusion: You Are Still the Parent

You know your kids better than anyone else. You’re still their parent. I finished homeschooling my children about 4 years ago, and I wish I’d had the options and choices parents have today.

And while that may be overwhelming to you at times, it’s a true blessing.

And outsourcing our homeschool math? Best decision, as a homeschool parent, I ever made.

Hat tip to Bonita Tyler & Cathy Alger (tutors).

Math Resource from TNHA

How to Teach High School Science in Your Homeschool

How to teach high school science in your homeschool.

In the high school years, many homeschool families start to look more seriously at the tools and resources they use with their high school students. Science is the number one outsourced subject for high school. This is especially true for college-bound homeschoolers. There are a number of reasons why, including: 

  • students what teacher-led hands-on experiments
  • science labs, science labs, science labs
  • high school level science is more advanced
  • the homeschool mom is already teaching multiple grade levels and has no bandwidth for one.more.thing

 These are all very valid reasons to consider a homeschool co-op or outsourcing partner. Let’s look at some ways you can incorporate different types of high school science courses as the homeschool parent.

Looking at the High School Curriculum

When it comes to elementary students, it’s easy to work in science. Younger kids love the local library and a unit study, field trip, or simple text book can get the job done. Who needs lesson plans? 

High school is a different animal. Field trips are still a great way to teach a love of learning in science for the student who isn’t science-minded. But for the serious student who needs credits in earth science, physical science, labs or virtual labs, we might need more than a living book or hands-on activities.

It’s helpful to begin with the end in mind. And that starts before we choose our homeschool science curriculum. It starts with a plan for high school. Our older students need a strategy for high school! So, let’s start there. 

A Plan for High School with College Admission in Mind

Let’s start by looking at high school as a four-year program. This will give us a long-view approach and help us determine what classes make sense within our subject areas. I’ll list each subject and then a common 4-year course of study. You are going to want to focus on the Core Four and go from there:

Once we’ve confirmed we have a plan for our Cour Four, including science, we can add in extra curriculars, community service, academic testing, etc. But, we really want to nail a core subject, like science. We want to do more than have our bases covered. Can a standard high school science textbook do that? Do we need to focus on a college prep science? Common questions about science include:

  • how many years of science do we need?
  • how do we figure a high school credit?
  • is there a homeschool high school science curriculum available? 
  • what can we do in middle school science to prepare us for high school?

Hands-On Projects for Science

You don’t have to approach science form the traditional linear method at all. Even if that’s what you did last year and every year for as long as you can remember. You can cover the scientific method, lab reports, and science experiments in a unique way. 

  1. Biology:
    a. Dissection: Study animal anatomy through dissections of organisms like frogs, earthworms, or squid. b. Microscope Investigations: Explore the microscopic world by examining cells, microorganisms, or plant structures.
    c. Ecosystem Study: Create a small ecosystem in a terrarium or aquarium, and observe the interactions among plants and animals.
  2. Chemistry:
    a. Chemical Reactions: Perform experiments to observe chemical reactions, such as the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano.
    b. Titration: Teach titration techniques with real acids and bases to determine their concentrations. c. Electrolysis: Show the principles of electrolysis by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen gases.
  3. Physics:
    a. Build Simple Machines: Construct simple machines like pulleys, levers, or inclined planes to understand their mechanics.
    b. Kinematics: Use a smartphone app or a motion sensor to analyze the motion of objects.
    c. Electric Circuits: Create and experiment with simple electric circuits to learn about current, voltage, and resistance.
  4. Astronomy:
    a. Stargazing: Observe celestial objects through a telescope or binoculars, learning about constellations and celestial events.
    b. Solar System Models: Build scale models of the solar system using everyday objects to understand planetary distances.
    c. Meteorology: Track and record weather data, including temperature, humidity, and precipitation.
  5. Environmental Science:
    a. Water Quality Testing: Collect water samples from local bodies of water and test for pH, dissolved oxygen, and pollutants.
    b. Soil Analysis: Analyze soil samples for composition, pH, and nutrient content.
    c. Ecological Surveys: Study local ecosystems by identifying and documenting plant and animal species.
  6. Geology:
    a. Rock and Mineral Identification: Collect and identify rocks and minerals, learning about their properties and origins.
    b. Fossil Hunting: Search for fossils in your area, and create a mini-museum with your findings. c. Earthquake Simulation: Create a model to simulate seismic activity and understand plate tectonics.
  7. Computer Science:
    a. Coding Projects: Learn programming through coding projects in languages like Python or JavaScript. b. Robotics: Build and program robots to perform specific tasks or follow lines.
    c. Web Development: Create a website or web application from scratch.
  8. Forensic Science:
    a. Crime Scene Investigation: Set up a mock crime scene and learn forensic techniques like fingerprint analysis and DNA extraction.
    b. Blood Spatter Analysis: Experiment with blood spatter patterns to understand crime scene reconstruction.
  9. Health and Anatomy:
    a. First Aid Training: Learn essential first aid skills, such as CPR, wound care, and dealing with common medical emergencies.
    b. Anatomy Models: Use anatomical models to study the human body’s structure and systems.

Remember to tailor these activities to your student’s interests and any specific curriculum requirements. Additionally, safety should always be a priority, so ensure you have appropriate safety equipment and guidance for any experiments involving chemicals or potentially hazardous materials.

Text Books for Science

Using a high school science textbook can be an effective way to teach science in your homeschool, but it’s important to make the material engaging and meaningful for your high school student. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Read and Discuss: Begin by having your student read the textbook chapters. Encourage active reading by taking notes and highlighting important concepts. After each section or chapter, discuss what they’ve learned. Ask questions to check their understanding and encourage critical thinking.
  2. Hands-On Experiments and Activities: Complement textbook reading with hands-on experiments and activities that align with the content. This provides a practical understanding of scientific principles and makes the learning experience more engaging. For example, if the textbook discusses chemical reactions, conduct experiments to demonstrate these reactions.
  3. Supplementary Resources: Use other resources to supplement the textbook. This could include online videos, documentaries, educational websites, and additional books. These resources can provide different perspectives and enhance the learning experience.
  4. Real-World Applications: Discuss how the scientific concepts in the textbook apply to the real world. Explore current events, news articles, and case studies related to the subject matter. This helps students see the relevance of what they’re learning.
  5. Projects and Research: Assign research projects or science investigations related to the topics covered in the textbook. These projects can be independent or collaborative, and they encourage students to dig deeper into specific areas of interest.
  6. Labs and Field Trips: If possible, set up a home laboratory or participate in field trips to museums, science centers, or natural settings. These experiences provide hands-on learning and allow students to apply what they’ve learned from the textbook.
  7. Practice Problems: Many science textbooks include practice problems and exercises. Encourage your student to work through these to reinforce their understanding and develop problem-solving skills. You can also find additional problem sets online.
  8. Online Forums and Discussions: Join online science forums or discussion groups where students can interact with others studying the same material. This can provide a sense of community and allow students to ask questions and learn from peers.
  9. Assessments: Use the textbook’s built-in assessments or create your own quizzes and tests to gauge your student’s comprehension of the material. These assessments can help you identify areas that may require more focus.
  10. Timely Reviews: Regularly review and summarize what’s been learned. Periodic reviews help consolidate knowledge and prepare for exams or assessments.
  11. Incorporate Technology: Utilize educational apps and software to enhance learning. There are various interactive simulations and tools available that can help students grasp complex concepts.
  12. Critical Thinking Exercises: Encourage your student to think critically about the content. Have them analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information, and perhaps even debate or present arguments on related topics.
  13. Personalize the Curriculum: Tailor the curriculum to your student’s interests. If they have a specific interest in a subfield of science, explore it more deeply through additional resources and projects.

Remember that flexibility is key in homeschooling. Adjust the approach as needed to meet your student’s learning style and pace. The goal is to make science education enjoyable, relevant, and effective.

Online Courses for Science

Online courses can be an excellent choice for homeschool parents when outsourcing high school science education for several compelling reasons:

  1. Expert Instruction: Online courses are often taught by experienced educators who specialize in the subject matter. This ensures that your child receives quality instruction and gains in-depth knowledge of the science topics.
  2. Diverse Curriculum: Online courses offer a wide range of science subjects, including advanced and specialized courses. This allows homeschooling parents to choose courses that align with their child’s interests and future academic or career goals.
  3. Consistency: Online courses typically follow a structured curriculum with clear learning objectives and milestones. This helps maintain consistency and ensures that your child covers the necessary content.
  4. Interactive Learning: Many online science courses incorporate interactive elements, such as videos, simulations, quizzes, and virtual labs. These resources make learning engaging and can deepen your child’s understanding of complex scientific concepts.
  5. Self-Paced Learning: Some online courses allow students to learn at their own pace. This flexibility is beneficial for high school students with varying learning speeds, allowing them to move at a comfortable rate through the material.
  6. Assessment and Feedback: Online courses often provide regular assessments and feedback, which helps parents and students gauge progress and identify areas that may require additional attention.
  7. Access to Resources: Online courses typically provide access to a wealth of supplementary materials, including textbooks, articles, and additional resources. This can be particularly useful for students who want to delve deeper into a subject.
  8. Independence and Accountability: Online courses encourage students to take responsibility for their learning. They learn how to manage their time, meet deadlines, and stay organized, valuable skills for college and beyond.
  9. Real-World Skills: Some online science courses integrate practical skills like laboratory work or data analysis, preparing students for future science-related careers or college-level courses.
  10. Parental Support: While online courses offer expert instruction, parents can still provide valuable support. Homeschooling parents can assist with questions, facilitate discussions, and guide their children through the course material.
  11. Flexible Scheduling: Online courses often provide flexibility in terms of when and where the student can complete the coursework. This can be helpful for families with busy schedules or those who travel frequently.
  12. Cost-Effective: Online courses can be a cost-effective option compared to hiring a private tutor or enrolling in traditional brick-and-mortar school programs.
  13. Access to Experts: Online courses may connect students with subject matter experts, guest lecturers, or online communities that offer valuable insights and networking opportunities.
  14. Customization: Many online courses offer customization options, allowing you to tailor the curriculum to your child’s specific needs and interests.

It’s important to research and choose reputable online course providers or institutions. Verify that the courses align with your state’s educational requirements if applicable, and ensure that the technology and resources necessary for online learning are readily available to your child. Overall, online courses can provide a well-rounded and comprehensive science education for homeschool high school students while offering the flexibility and support homeschooling parents may need.

True North Homeschool Academy for Online Science

True North Homeschool Academy’s Formula is Student-Focused, Academically Sound, and Intentional About Relationships

 We know there are a sea of homeschool curriculum options available to you. We also understand opting for an online homeschool experience might be intimidating. Rest assured, we’re here to support YOU in YOUR homeschooling journey.

Everything we do, every class offered, every teacher hired is with you in mind.

Homeschooling should be:

  • fun
  • build your family relationships
  • be academically strong, and engaging. 

Our teachers are available to students and parents with a quick email or during the live, dynamic teaching. Students connect during class, making new friends. Students see that there are other homeschoolers in this world, learning alongside them. Parents can know these parents have the same core values (it’s baked into our homeschool pedagogy and mission statement!) It’s the True North Homeschool Academy difference. 

We offer live (via Zoom) online, dynamic (access to the teacher and class interaction), classes based on the SAMR model of education. 
The SAMR model of education is framework of education that “ is a framework that orders strategies for classroom technology implementation into four stages.

S- Substitution A- Augmentation M- Modification R- Redefinion. 

This framework is applied to the homeschool model through the use of technology, gamification, multimedia presentations, publishing, and more. 

Science Offerings

Navigating the Great Homeschool Convention: A Great Way to Connect with the Homeschool Community

Homeschooling is a journey filled with challenges and triumphs, and one of the greatest resources for both veteran homeschoolers and newcomers alike is the annual homeschool convention season in the United States. These events provide a great way for homeschool families to connect with the larger homeschool community, discover valuable resources, and find inspiration to enhance their homeschooling journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore how attending a great homeschool convention, like the Great Homeschool Convention and its regional counterparts, can be a great place for homeschoolers to come together, learn, and grow from the best home education speakers!

The Great Homeschool Convention: A Beacon for Homeschoolers

The Great Homeschool Convention is one of the most prominent and highly anticipated events in the homeschooling calendar. Held in various locations across the United States, this convention serves as a great place for homeschoolers to gather and learn from experienced educators, speakers, and fellow homeschool families. What makes it truly great is its commitment to fostering a sense of community among attendees. While it’s an in-person event rather than an online event, taking place at the convention center, it’s a great opportunity for the following reasons:

Connecting with Veteran Homeschoolers

One of the greatest benefits of attending the Great Homeschool Convention is the opportunity to connect with veteran homeschoolers. These individuals have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, making the convention a great way for newcomers to gain valuable insights and advice. Whether you’re just starting your homeschooling journey or you’ve been at it for years, there’s always something new to learn and discover. From practical ideas to in-person conversation,  this home educators convention is a great time to for the entire family.

Regional Conventions: Bringing the Greatness Closer to Home

In addition to the Great Homeschool Convention, many regional conventions are organized throughout the United States. These events offer a great way for homeschool families to connect with their local homeschool community. Regional conventions are often more accessible for families who can’t travel long distances, providing a great place for networking and learning within your own region. Before you go, check out the list of workshops, list of speakers, hotel discounts, and vendors in the huge homeschool curriculum exhibit hall. That’s the best way to plan your trip!

Curriculum Fair: Finding the Perfect Resources

One of the highlights of any homeschool convention is the curriculum fair. Here, you can explore a vast array of educational materials, from textbooks to online courses, hands-on science kits to art supplies. It’s a great place to shop for your homeschooling needs and see firsthand what materials align with your educational goals. This is so helpful to new homeschoolers!

Addressing Special Needs in the Homeschool Community

Homeschool conventions also cater to the needs of families with special requirements. Many offer workshops and resources designed to support special needs homeschooling. Attending these sessions can be a great way to connect with other families facing similar challenges and to discover specialized resources and strategies. Make a list of important information you hope to gather from the event, and any special needs curriculum exhibitors who can offer practical help to homeschool parents of special needs students. You’re sure to find info-packed workshops and maybe even make new friends!

Homeschool Events: More than Just Conventions

While the Great Homeschool Convention and regional conventions are the cornerstone of homeschool convention season, there are numerous other homeschool events throughout the year. These may include workshops, field trips, and local gatherings. Staying connected and involved in these events can be a great way to maintain a sense of community and support year-round.

Pack Your Bag and Get Ready for the Next Homeschool Convention

The homeschool convention season in the United States is a remarkable time for homeschool families to come together, learn, and grow. Whether you’re seeking guidance from veteran homeschoolers, exploring curriculum options, or addressing special needs within your homeschooling journey, these events offer a great way to connect with the homeschool community. So, mark your calendar, prepare your questions, and get ready to be inspired at the next homeschool convention near you. It’s a great place to be!

Lisa Nehring @ GHC

Don’t miss us at the Great Homeschool Convention! Be sure to opt-in to the Tribe to be notified.

Lisa Nehring @ Great Homeschool Conventions

Don’t miss us at the Great Homeschool Convention! Be sure to opt-in to the Tribe to be notified.

How to Homeschool Like a Pro: Advice from a Veteran Mom to a Newbie!

Hello, new homeschool mom,

WELCOME to homeschooling!  Take a breath and sit in this moment where everything is new.  Now, before you begin panicking and wondering, “what have I gotten myself into?” take another deep breath and know you have this.

There are a million different resources- thousands of different companies- and so many other families who have made the same choice you are making for your family right now.  With all of that information easy to find, right there are your fingertips, you will begin to feel overwhelmed.

So take this moment to step back and write down somewhere, “Why is this the best choice for your child?”

Everyone’s reasons will be different.  Everyone’s families are different.  What works for your friend who has been homeschooling forever and what works for you will be different.  Not BETTER – just DIFFERENT.  Hold your vision for your child loosely- because it will change and grow.  They will change and grow,  YOU will change and grow.

Now- First thing is first. 

You need to develop the culture of your family’s learning.  I say “families” with intention.  When I started my journey, I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like.  I envisioned cozy conversations in my living room.  I even bought a coffee pot that was insulated, so I could sip hot coffee while my children sat with me gathered at the table, in the living room snuggled on the sofa, or cuddled on my bed for a read-aloud. 

I had my dear husband build me a homeschool table and even created a room in our home for homeschooling materials and learning. 

Each child had a crate for their very helpful school supplies that they could find at a moment’s notice.  I had a schedule.  I went to my first homeschooling conference with a wheeled crate for all the curriculum I was going to buy- and a fresh new notebook to keep all of my helpful learning in.  (I do need to admit my notes were beautiful) I had this!  I had a schedule, it was going to be great.

Then… In about 1 hour I spilled my coffee all over the $200 worth of curriculum I had just purchased.

The curriculum that was going to develop and grow my super-smart children into whatever their little hearts wanted to be.  I don’t believe in omens, but I could have taken it as a sign for sure.

All it took was 2 weeks before the schedule was also spilled on. After getting poked with the very sharp Ticonderoga pencil (homeschooling mom must) in the first week as I collapsed onto the couch in exhaustion and frustration, I remember tears. 

The beautiful table that my husband built for us and the crates meant to hold all of the necessary supplies soon became catch-alls for everything but school supplies. 

One beautiful day I had enough. 

I sent the kids outside and told them to build a primitive structure- use their imaginations. (can anyone guess what I was using for history?).  I frantically called a friend confessing to her that I had lost my mind,  I can’t homeschool my kids.  They aren’t doing what I want them to do at all.  Surely, they would be learning more in public school. 

During this conversation- one child comes in and asks if they can pillage the recycling bin.  Vaguely I realize they don’t understand the assignment. Deep sigh- “Sure- whatever.”  My friend asks me, “What are they doing right now?” and I tell her- she chuckles and says, “No- they are working together.  Remember how frustrated you were that they were fighting all the time?  Are they fighting right now?”

Of course, I am paraphrasing here- but that was the gist. 

After a bit of calming down, encouragement, and my friend reminding me what I really cared about my girls came running in to show me what they have created.

As I followed my giggling group outside, I realize that they did understand the assignment better than I had.  They taught me what actually mattered to OUR FAMILY- and I knew what they had actually accomplished was way bigger than the lesson I had envisioned for that day.  The lesson that I could just move to the next day is on my plan.  They had created the magical world of ‘Fairyvania” together.  They had stories about how their little village worked.  How they collected water and even a little bit about the way their fairy society functioned. 

More importantly- they had worked together to accomplish something, not in my plans. 

At that moment I resolved to hold all of my plans very loosely and be at peace with an imperfectly perfect family.  To make room for my children’s imaginations and personal growth- and to apologize to them when I mess up and have expectations that really are not their problem. 

I decided to focus on the culture I wanted to create for our family.  So dear new homeschooling mom.  Welcome to this new thing, your family is doing.  Embark on this adventure.  It will be a swerve-y, bumpy, roller coaster ride.  But it is all your family!!!  Doing it together is the point. 

Written by Becky Lundgren, Veteran Homeschool Mom
Writer and Teacher at True North Homeschool Academy and Homeschool Mom Encourager

Start Smart: #Homeschooling Preschool & Kindergarten Fast & Fun?

Start Smart: #Homeschooling Preschool & Kindergarten Fast & Fun?

Getting Started – Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

Getting Started – Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten: I’ve had several young Mommas (so young I could be their Momma!) ask me about homeschooling preschool and kindergarten recently. The biggest challenge for littles is keeping them engaged. Most still have a relatively short attention span, are quickly tired, and need to be fed and watered at regular intervals. Habit is key- routine is your safest bet.  

(Still considering homeschooling? Check out our post on three reasons we love homeschooling.)

So what are my tips for getting started – homeschooling preschool and kindergartners?

Are you considering making the homeschooling leap with your preschool or kindergarten child? Do you feel overwhelmed and under prepared? Let's us help you! At True North Homeschool Academy we strive to make your homeschool journey a success while fighting your overwhelm. Check out these great tips on homeschooling preschoolers and kindergartners. #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #homeschoolingpreschool #homeschoolingkindergarten #newhomeschooler

Tip #1 – Morning Baskets

I would recommend developing a morning basket for littles. This method means they get your attention first thing, right after breakfast.  This basket is a great way to think about what you want your littles to learn and how to organize it. Morning Baskets for littles can include card matching games, Kumon workbooks, Memory CDs, Poetry, Simple Bible Stories, Phonics, and math games if they are ready for them.

After years of doing this, I recommend over-planning before you get started and then going with the flow once you start. With littles, like with anything else, you don’t get what you want; you get what you plan for. With littles, you often get lots of surprises, too, right?!

Tip #2 – Add in age-appropriate chores.

Kids do what you inspect, not what you expect, BUT they do need to know what you expect, too! One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from Andrew Pudewa is that if your child keeps asking for help, they need help. This seems simple- well, it is, really, but it might not come naturally! Life skills are a big part of homeschooling preschoolers and kindergartners.

Tip #3 – Add in Some Books

If you live with books and magazines, your kids will think having them around is normal. My kids love books on tape. We use Sonlight, Bethlehem Books, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press catalogs as reading lists. Ranger Rick, National Geographic for Kids, Ladybug, and Boys Life have all been favorite magazines around here.

Pre-Reading: Read aloud 15 min a day. There are so many adorable books on everything under the sun; don’t limit your read-aloud to baby books.

Curriculum Suggestions for Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergartner

I think some table time is good at this age because it helps kids get acclimated to regular study. Art or History Cards are great to look at, even for pre-readers. Usborne, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press all have beautiful ones.

Christian Studies- Arch books are a fabulous way for your littles to get a great introduction to basic Bible stories with pictures that they’ll remember for a lifetime. We also loved and read out loud to our kids a couple of different Children’s Bibles, including the Golden Children’s Bible.
We had tons of felts, and teaching Bible stories through felts is always an attention grabber.

IEW Language Acquisition through poetry memorization– this is a fantastic program and easily accessible for littles, especially with the CD. There are four sections of 20 poems each, starting with simple, short poems and ending with epic dramatic re-tellings. Andrew Pudewa (who put the program together and recites the poems) has incredible diction, so your kids will hear fantastic vocabulary and superb storytelling.

Letter and Number recognition– we used Kumon and Usborne workbooks, colorful, easily accessible, and fun. There are tons of complete programs available.

Phonics- We always used Alpha Phonics in conjunction with Explode the Code. There are other great products out there. We took the low-cost, no bells, and whistles, practical approach.

Bible Study– Arch books, Bible Memory, reading a good quality Children’s Bible, Veggie Tales, Veritas Press, or Bible Study for All Ages Bible cards.

Memory Work – When our youngest was four, she learned 160 VP history cards that year (even though she was a pre-reader), along with 24 history sentences, several hundred facts related to grammar, geography, Latin, poems, and more because we regularly and diligently used CDs and table time to review. She also learned the letter sounds and started on a notebook-sized timeline. I say all of this so that you realize your littles are capable of learning a LOT.

This is NOT to say that you should set them at the table and force information down their throats. Kids this age, however, can learn a ton through CDs, good DVDs, books, and great visual aids such as flashcards. Also, if you have older kids, why not include your younger kids? They are sponges. If you start early “training their brains to retain,” you’ll be amazed at how much they really can and do retain as they grow older.

More Fun Ways of Getting Started Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

Outside play, exploration, and nature walk – Nature journaling and nature tables are an excellent way for kids to display the cool things they’ve found as they explore the great outdoors! Homeschooling your preschooler and kindergartener should always be fun!

Read-aloud – At least 15 minutes a day; more is better ; )

Crafts and Art – There are so many fun art books, but in any case, an easel, paper, and paint is always appropriate. Colored shaving cream is excellent for bath/shower painting. And hey, how about a shower tile wall- works great as a whiteboard and for painting- easily wipes off- all for $15 bucks.

Gardening – This can be in the yard, with containers, or how about a Fairy Garden?

Open-Ended toys – Brio Trains, Playmobile, Duplos/Legos, Stuffed Animals. Pinterest has some adorable pins of old entertainment centers rehabbed as play kitchens. Add some felt food; and old pots, pans, and measuring cups.

Art Supplies – Easels, paint, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners, colored paper, stickers, colored rice bins, colored shaving cream to “Paint” in the bathtub, Whiteboards around the house (make a whiteboard wall with shower tile or several smaller lapboards), chalkboards and magnet boards (easily made with some chalkboard or magnet paint).

Unstructured Outside Play – Trampoline, playhouses, daily walks, parks, swimming, Gardening, Sandboxes, Swings,

“Sound exploration” – Musical makers. Kids love making sounds.

Cooking- My kids have all loved to help cook in the kitchen. Usborne’s First Cookbook is full of fun and simple recipes.

Gross motor skill development–  For years, we had a “Step 2” playscape, complete with a ladder and slide, IN our house.

Sandbox or table– a friend built a sandbox in their basement for their kids, and we had a sand table on our front porch for years.

Fine motor skill development – Have plenty of pens, pencils, and markers around for the kids to play with, sewing cards, and small toys (once they are past the “everything in their mouth” stage- legos, of course.

Travel/ field trips –  What better way to learn about the mail than actually visiting the Post Office? These types of learning experiences make learning fun AND educational.

Singing – the Wee Sing series, with books and CDs are full of old favorites.

Daily Prayer – Family evening prayers, with everyone snuggled in a bed together, is a gentle way to teach your littles about what’s important to you. We have each child pray, youngest to oldest, ending with Daddy blessing each child. If your kiddo doesn’t know what to pray for, just help them along following ACTS (Adoration, Confessions, Thanksgiving, Supplication). We would have them repeat a simple sentence or two, such as, “Thank you, God, for this day.” This year, we made an Easter garden.

Finally, as a word of caution…..Limit screen time for Preschool and Kindergarten!

There are so many apps, computer games, DVDs, etc., and they are all fascinating. We use some but in limited quantity. You want your pre-Ker neurology to be hard-wired to people and words, not electronics. Studies have shown that kids learn language skills by interacting with people-NOT screens.

For littles, almost everything they encounter is new and amazing. It’s so fun to explore the world together and to see it through fresh eyes. You don’t have to be super planned, but some planning does help, and kids, again, thrive on routines. So what are you waiting for? Take the leap to homeschooling preschool and kindergarten today!

Like what you see here but need more? Check out our post on Homeschooling Basics.

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5 Reasons to Study Spanish!

5 Reasons to Study Spanish!

Have you ever considered teaching your child a foreign language?  It’s a dilemma many homeschool parents face.  When you start, what curriculum to use, and why do our students need to learn a foreign language anyway?  At True North Homeschool Academy, we believe that learning a foreign language has many benefits.  See just a few of them below.

Why learn Spanish? Here are 5 Compelling Reasons.

1) There are currently 20 million people studying Spanish right now!

Of all the foreign languages to study, Spanish might be the most popular, and for a good reason. There are approximately 437- 527 million Spanish Speakers worldwide, depending on which list you look at, but it’s definitely in the top 5 languages spoken worldwide.

2) Spanish is also spoken and understood by over 52 million people in the United States.

But buckle up because that number is going to grow! By 2060, the Latino population of the U.S. will reach close to 130 million, making it the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, overtaking Mexico, and increasing the Spanish language’s global standing.

3).  Spanish, as a language, has a bright future.

With Spanish speakers on the rise, not only in the U.S., It is currently ranked as the second most important language for British citizens to learn.

4).  Spanish will increase your employability.

The Spanish market is a huge demographic for companies to target. Currently, the Latin American market has a 1.5 trillion dollar purchasing power (according to Forbes), making Spanish-speaking employees more valuable than ever to employees as they tap into this profitable market.

5) Understanding Spanish will allow you more opportunities.

These opportunities may come as the chase to travel, work, or study abroad with a richer experience.  Speaking Spanish will also open up an entire entertainment world, with Spanish You-Tubes, television, and movies produced in Spanish.

Why learn a foreign language? For the health and brain benefits, of course!

  1. Learning a foreign language can stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s! Mono-lingual adults showed signs of cognitive decline up to 3 years earlier than bilingual adults.
  2. Bilingual children score higher on problem-solving than monolingual kids. Learning a new language can improve overall cognitive functioning, including how second-semester you are. In other words, bi-lingual people are better able to observe and understand their surroundings, as well as edit out distractions. Bi-lingual people are better able to spot misleading information. Isn’t it interesting that Sherlock Holms, Lord Peter Wimsey (great fictional detectives), and their creators, Sir Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers, were bi or multi-lingual?
  3. Learning a foreign language enhances your understanding of your mother tongue.   Learning a second language causes a student to look carefully at sentence structure, grammatical functions, and the nuances of vocabulary. A fun aspect of Spanish is that it’s a derivative of Latin. Latin words significantly influence English. You probably know some Spanish and Latin vocabulary already!
  4. Learning a second language enhances memory and vocabulary.  These benefits allow students to score better on standardized tests!
  5. Learning a second language is good, clean fun! Kids naturally love to talk and write in codes, and a foreign language is just that. A terrific code to decipher for young minds eager to learn and develop! The early your child learns a second language, the more confident and adept they will be at learning multiple languages!

So are you convinced that your child needs to learn Spanish but not quite sure where to start?

If you are looking for a great second-semester memory-enhancing, code-deciphering, FUN class, check our Spanish for Children or Beginning Latin! Classes meet live online each week with a passionate, invested multi-lingual speaker.

Looking for a self-paced option? We have Self Paced Spanish!

(Wondering if live, online homeschool courses are right for you?  Check out the reasons we love live classes!)