It’s fall and the weather is crisp and glorious and perfect for a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Why not use this opportunity to teach your teens how to plan an event?
Event planning is a great way to build your teens’ executive functioning skills as it requires creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. These executive functioning skills are tools that will benefit themselves and others as they learn and grow.
While some kids will have natural abilities with these life skills, others will need to be shown a basic structure and be reminded more than once of how to put it into practice.
Event Planning is Easy When Using This Basic Structure
Name of Event:
Follow Up Activities
Supporting books, films & YouTube Videos
Adding Goals Keeps Field Trips Focused
I also like to add in Goals for field trips. Goals can be as simple as, “have fun” and “fellowship” or more academic such as “to grow in our understanding of world politics”. Goals help keep us focused and can help us understand how much of an investment we want to make in terms of both time and money.
Extend the Learning With Follow-up Activities
Additionally, follow-up activities are a great way to extend the learning and fun! Again, simplicity can rule- – carve the pumpkin and roast the seeds; or simple events can turn into larger events- invite friends over for a fall potluck and bonfire!
Supporting books, films, and YouTube videos can preface the event, or be add-ons after the initial event, to extend learning opportunities.
Example of a Simple Plan Using the Basic Structure
Name of Event: Visit to the local Pumpkin Patch
Who Family and friends from co-op
What Trip to the local Pumpkin Patch
When October 2021
Where You Pick Pumpkin Patch; 45 min from home. Need water bottles, simple snacks, and shoes.
How Much $5 car, $10 for corn maze, $4 pumpkin, $4 Caramel apples, and $5 Gallons of cider- $45-50, not including gas.
Examples of Follow-up Activities:
Decorate your pumpkins: carve, paint, or permanent marker, depending on age.
Create a pumpkin vase for fall flowers
Roast pumpkin seeds (recipe below)
Roast pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread
Scoop seeds from pumpkin and clean well. Boil the seeds for 10 minutes; then toast them in the oven at 350 for approximately 20 min (watch so that they don’t burn).
For savory seeds, toss with a few teaspoons of garlic and rosemary, curry powder, or cilantro lime seasoning.
For a sweet and salty snack, dust with a pumpkin spice blend or cinnamon and sugar!
Pumpkin Spice Latte for Momma
Prep Time: 5 minutes, serving Size: 2
2 cups milk
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)
2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
Pour all of the ingredients into a pot and heat over medium-high heat until the coffee is steaming hot. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream & cinnamon. Enjoy!
Event Planning Helps Your Teen & You!
Helping your teen grow their event planning muscles will help them handle projects that require multiple steps and follow through on the tasks assigned to them. It also develops soft skills that are so necessary for them to navigate in today’s world.
And while they are learning, they are helping you. It is important to enrich your family with fun activities that build memories but it can be time-consuming. It may take a couple of times overseeing what your teen is doing, but before you know it, you will be able to provide them with the resources and support they need and let them take some planning off your plate!
February is often thought about as the month of love, romance and relationships. And while, as parents, none of us want to think that our kids might be involved in porn, if they have access to the world wide web, they are being targeted to view porn. And just because this month is all about love and romance, it’s a great time to talk about teaching our kids the difference between real love, Biblical love, sacrificial love, and poor substitutes that will rob them of their dignity and morality.
Create a Safe Place for Kids Who Struggle with Porn
Why bring up such a touchy and maybe even painful subject? Because love does not exploit others, it is sacrificial and good. And if we are raising our kids to be the kind of people who follow 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a, we must talk to our kids about pornography and teach them how to hide their hearts, minds, and souls from this devious parasite. We must also create accountability and safe people and places to go if they struggle with porn.
Love suffers long and is kind; itdoes not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [a]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a
Nearly 27% of teens receive sexts and emails and around 15% are sending them.
57% of teens search out porn at least monthly
51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed porn before their teenage years.
The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.
71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
A 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile dysfunction.
US youths (ages 14-18) exposed to pornography: 84:4% of males and 57% of females
You might also be shocked at the types of pornography teens are viewing:
83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online
69% of boys and 55 % of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online
39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online
32% of boys nad 18% of girls have seen bestiality on line
18% of boys nad 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online
15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography online
And according to Enough.org, “Extreme content is the new norm. Soft porn has disappeared. In 2010 the journal Violence Against Women reported physical aggression in 88.2% of leading pornography scenes and verbal aggression in 48.7%, with 94.4% of the aggression directed towards women and girls. A February 2018 headline in Esquire Magazine read, “Incest is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn.”And according to Enough.org, “Extreme content is the new norm. Soft porn has disappeared. In 2010 the journal Violence Against Women reported physical aggression in 88.2% of leading pornography scenes and verbal aggression in 48.7%, with 94.4% of the aggression directed towards women and girls. A February 2018 headline in Esquire Magazine read, “Incest is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn.”
What are the effects of Pornography?
Studies have shown that kids who viewed pornography for hours each week have less gray matter in their brains than those who did not view it.
Youth that view pornography once a month or more are at a greater risk of developing:
Sexually permissive attitudes
Preoccupation with sex
Inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality
Unrealistic ideas about sexual relationships
Insecurities about body images in females and insecurities about sexual performance in males.
Furthermore, the long-term effects of porn on relationships include abuse and divorce.
Guide Your Children Well
I think we can all agree that porn is a problem. What are we supposed to do about it, short of getting rid of all electronic devices in our home? We need to start by talking to our kids about sex and pornography. Kids under ten targeted for porn is a growing issue, so don’t think that waiting until they’re in high school is a good idea. Expect that by age 12, your kids have been exposed to porn. After you have an initial age-appropriate talk with your kids about porn, develop regular check-in times where you ask open-ended questions. Give your kids time to respond, and create an ongoing conversation with them about sexuality and porn. Look, consider who they’ll talk to about sex, if not you. Again, you are their God-ordained guide.
Talk about sexuality within the context of family and marriage. Define for your kids what healthy, normal, Biblical relationships are and what normal and healthy exchanges of affection are between husband and wife and others.
Straightforwardly talk about sex. Get comfortable with correct terminology and be prepared for awkward questions. Your kids are exposed to global culture, and you are their best guide.
Talk to your kids about what they may encounter online. Let them know that it might be scary or uncomfortable but assure them that they can always come to you and tell you about it. Let them know that others might try to share pornography with them but that they can always come to you and that they should not be embarrassed or ashamed to go and talk to a parent about this.
Trust Your Faith to Direct Your Conversations
Share age-appropriate material with your kids about sex.
Talk with your kids about the difference between porn and real sex. Let them know that porn is fantasy, bodies are altered, staged a certain way, and not private, but carefully curated to market well. Pornography is also ultimately selfish as it is only about satisfying one person -the viewer. Real sex requires good communication, humility and transparency and can be awkward and beautiful as a married couple negotiates their sexual relationship. Marital sex requires thinking about someone besides just yourself.
Talk about consent and personal boundaries. Porn can be violent and can quickly normalize non-consensual behavior. It fuels sex trafficking and enslaves both the people working in the sex industry and viewers. It exploits the weak to feed a billion-dollar “industry.”
Normalize sexual arousal and put it within the context of being created by a loving and creative God, within Christian marriage, and within the context of stewarding one’s heart, mind, and soul for a future spouse. Pornography can easily be likened to having a virtual affair with one’s now or future spouse. This view is not a guilt trip. This is a reality check. Sexuality within marriage is about accountability and covenant.
The Bible is Clear
The Bible is clear about how we are to approach sexuality as followers of a Living God in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not [helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [c]and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Prepare for Awkward Conversations with Your Kids About Porn
While talking to our kids about porn might be awkward and uncomfortable, we must let them know that we are willing to have awkward conversations and can handle the awkwardness. It’s a challenging topic to confront but a necessary one for the sake of their hearts and minds.
Each year there are roughly 15.4 millionhigh school students in America, with 25% of those students from 24,000 high schools. Each of those high schools has a “Best;” the best football player, scholar, performer, linguist, etc. Competition is stiff for both college and university scholarships.
Furthermore, the number of honor students in India is greater than the number of total students in America, and with today’s global market, future college-goers are competing with scholarship dollars and opportunities internationally. Standing out from the crowd will garner your student scholarship money and opportunities that being one of the many will not.
What is a Stand-Out Factor?
A Stand out factor can be many different things but they are most likely to include:
Initiative –student initiated, led and directed
Passion – student has personal investment
Individuality –has to do specifically with the students core values
Strategy –student has strategized to achieve
I would also recommend that a Stand-Out Factor include:
Positive impact on others
Broad Reach & Big Win
With technology so readily available, it’s almost easier to develop your stand-out factor than ever before. Young creative entrepreneurs can self-publish novels, music, videos, and movies. But, publishing doesn’t automatically make something Stand-out. How can you tell if you have developed your stand-out factor?It’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!
What’s a stand-out factor? It’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!
Listen to the podcast!
Lisa Nehring, Director, True North Homeschool Academy
Stand Out Students
Below I’ve listed some of the ideas students that I’ve worked with have actually done to develop their own ability to stand out:
Participate in and win National Competitions- Geography, History, Bible, Poetry
Participate in CAP or Jr ROTC
Turn your interest in performing into becoming a juggler or clown
Turn your interests into an opportunity to impart your knowledge to others and teach a skills you’ve learned in person, or online
Use What You Have
Identify and develop areas where your students show interest or talents and skills they are already using. You might also consider areas that you, as the parent, can coach or develop in your student. If you have a passion or hobby and your student shows interest, I would venture to say that that is an area that would be perfect to develop into a stand-out factor.
Outsource When Needed
On the other hand, each of our kids shows talents and abilities that we might know nothing about. In which case I would encourage you to research and find resources that can develop your student’s interest beyond your knowledge. Resourcing your student doesn’t have to be expensive, as there are so many great online tutorials now. Literally, the world is at your fingertips with the tap of your fingers. At the same time, don’t overlook local resources. My older kids took horseback riding lessons from a National Barrel racer in return for mucking out stalls.
Developing your student’s stand-out factor might garner those students scholarship dollars and opportunities; it might lead to jobs or even a career. At the very least, it will develop your student’s overall sense of ability and accomplishment, as well as soft skills, such as work ethic, communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking.
High School is the perfect time to develop your student’s stand-out factor, through clubs, projects, and course work that helps them understand themselves and opportunities more robustly, such as our Orienteering Course.
If you need help identifying or knowing how to further develop your student’s stand-out factor, we’d love to help! Check out our Academic Advising program and Parent Membership programs!