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The Undecided Student

The Undecided Student

What do you do with an undecided homeschool student?

Many use the terms work, job, career, and vocation interchangeably. While it’s true that each involves working and a wage, having a career and vocation means more than just a paycheck. They describe a type of work where your passion, purpose, skills, and the marketplace collide. In the words of theologian Frederick Buechner, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”

While some students seem destined for a particular vocation at an early age, it is common for today’s students to near high school graduation without a plan. Parents can encourage informed early-career-direction decisions. It starts with helping teens identify who God made them be, supporting them as they explore occupations, and finally, helping them develop goals and create an action plan. By partnering with and encouraging them in this important decision, they can graduate high school with a vision for their future.

Help an Undecided Student Build Identity

Nothing is more foundational than being rooted in Christ. Assisting teens in forging strong, positive identities is one way to help them form true convictions and stand firm in them regardless of what everyone else does. Google “Who I am in Christ.” Print and review as a family. Emphasize that work is part of God’s plan and that He designed them for a purpose.

Be generous with your praise, affirming skills, and natural abilities you have observed.

Ask questions that help identify likes and dislikes and what is important: What kinds of interactions energize you or drain ​​you? Do you like to work with facts and data, or prefer people-oriented activities? Are your decisions objective and logic-based, or are your decisions based on how they may impact others? Do you like to discuss your ideas, or do you prefer time alone to make decisions?

Encourage busy teens to enjoy downtime, strengthening their creativity and problem-solving skills. Schedule time to pursue hobbies and to invest in electives, sports, and other team activities that build skills and reveal interests.

Explore Career Options for the Undecided Homeschool Student

A better motto than “You can be anything you want to be” is “Be all you can be!

Researching careers online will help teens better understand occupational profiles that match their interests and personalities. Set a goal for how many careers to research. Information should include primary duties, the education or skills needed for working in that field, the work environment, and the median wage. Discuss the findings. Check out CareerOneStop.org.

Utilizing a career assessment tool at age 16 may further identify vocations that match God-given interests. Informal assessments are readily available on the web.

These are self-interpreted and can lack reliability, so they are best used to generate discussion. Fee-based or formal assessments are more comprehensive and statistically validated. A trained career counselor can interpret the results to identify best-fit careers and college options. Look for a comprehensive assessment that covers the four components of vocational design: personality, interests, skills and abilities, and values. Check out CareerDirect.org.

Good Career Planning

Good career planning includes building curiosity and excitement toward participating in the marketplace. Use your networks to introduce people in occupations that interest them and match their vocational design. Thinking about a career sector rather than a specific occupation will generate a bigger list of options that match their interests. Encourage them to prepare a list of questions by Googling “informational interview.” Practice interview skills to improve their confidence level.

Take advantage of the flexible schedule of homeschooling. Facilitate opportunities to learn outside of the classroom through part-time work, volunteering, and job shadowing. This will help confirm interests and build a resume with skills that employers value.

(Do you need more great career ideas? Check out our posts on Career Readiness & Career Exploration.)

Set Goals and Take Action with Your Undecided Student

By integrating the gathered information and identifying the education, training, and skills needed for the career sectors, plans and goals can be determined. Don’t worry about choosing one specific occupation at this stage. Goals can be categorized into five pathways: four-year STEM-related college degree; four-year liberal arts college degree; two-year vocational degree or certificate; apprenticeship training, military, or workforce; and gap year or travel.

Teens with a healthy and productive level of parental guidance and support have a much better chance of making good college and career choices. Here are some questions: Which post-secondary institutions offer the programs needed? What is the cost for completion? How will it be funded? Can affordable or free college credits be earned in high school? What are the prerequisites or admission requirements? What courses should be completed during high school? Besides education, what experiences or skills would be valued? Together, you can develop a plan for high school, aligning them to support post-graduation goals.

Many students are more motivated when they have a defined purpose and set personal goals. Those who write down their goals are 50% more likely to achieve them. Work to break down their goals into specific, manageable tasks with timelines for completion. Change is constant, so capitalize on preparations for success after high school, no matter their choice.

Need Additional Help?

Need help preparing your student for their career path?  Check out our Academic Advising Program at True North Homeschool Academy.

©2019 Cheri Frame

Cheri Frame is a homeschool parent of three graduates, a certified Career Direct® Consultant, and the author of Credits Before College: A Comprehensive High School to Graduation Guide. She advises parents and students on how to earn affordable college credits in high school, choose a career, and graduate college debt free. Cheri and her husband live in suburban Minneapolis.

Why Homeschoolers Hate Math

Why Homeschoolers Hate Math

I sighed and dropped the math materials onto the table. My children’s laughter and wriggling twittered into silence as their faces now reflected my own anxieties. I was burdened with perfectionism, lack of confidence, and my own math-relationship baggage. There are several reasons why homeschoolers hate math. Perhaps this is the main one. 

What’s Your Relationship with Math?

Charlotte Mason explains “Children are born persons…with possibilities for either good or evil” and that parents-teachers are “limited to three educational instruments – the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas.” Our children may be born with talents that make certain skills easier to learn than other skills, but they are not born with love or hate of any subject. Their attitude is shaped by their experiences and environment, and Charlotte calls this atmosphere.

Our children have a bad relationship with math because we have not properly introduced them to the subject. We prejudiced them against it from the start with mutterings, sighs, anxiety, and frustration. We must revisit and repair our own relationship with math so we may model and nurture a proper one.

Repairing Our Relationship with Math

Let’s start at the beginning:

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness….And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

In the first 4 verses of Genesis, we see form (or shape), volume, measurement, time, and the beginning of symmetry and pattern – all mathematical distinctives. When we see the application of math in the beauty of creation, might we begin to enter a place of wonder and delightfully infuse this into the atmosphere of our home education? One may enjoy nature without fully understanding it, and the same applies to math. If we approach the subject with a sense of discovery (instead of dread), we begin a lifelong interest in something larger than ourselves.

Understanding and Application

No matter our level of mathematical talent, we can develop our math skills as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of how math is hidden all around us. What we do understand, we may then apply. Those who understand more will be more adept at application, and that is their gift and responsibility. We are all limited in our understanding, and it is an act of humility to actively learn what we can while appreciating those who can go further.

Once we have corrected the atmosphere, we may move on to the discipline of habit. Math requires attentiveness, focus, and regular interaction. The disciplined student will reap the rewards of steady growth in mathematical comprehension as well as the skill of precision and the virtue of patience. Mastery is the goal at each level, and repetition of levels may be necessary. 

Growing with Math

We must grow past the initial memorization of processes and move into the understanding of principles. The question now becomes “Why do we solve this problem in this way?” Now it’s important to either understand math or partner with someone who does. Hire them, barter with them, but do what it takes to acquire personal assistance in comprehending mathematical principles.

When partnering with a text, tutor, or teacher, be sure that learning and assessment are purposeful. Do not fall into the trap of doing math just to say it was done, move on, and do more math. This is the fallacy of the teachers in 2 Timothy 3:7 who cause others to always learn but never come to a knowledge of the truth. Math comprehension is just as important as reading comprehension and doing math because “that’s the way it’s done” is like only knowing sight words. Move into comprehension.

Math is our Friend

Dear Parent, if you never moved past rote math and into the beauty of understanding, please stop hitting your head on the wall and begin to model the path of the humble learner. Normalize the humility of not knowing all the things and still being curious. This is the presentation of living ideas – noticing symmetry in nature, measuring ingredients while adjusting a recipe, counting fingers and toes, planting seeds at the correct depth and distance, and asking the lady behind the paint counter how to calculate the number of gallons needed to paint the room you measured together. Let me introduce you to my extraordinary friend, Math.

Just use the coupon code: July4TNHA5 at checkout and save 5% off of your entire cart. No exclusions. Including our award-winning CTC Math classes! 

The coupon expires soon, so go ahead and start planning for Fall 2022 and your best homeschool year ever with True North Homeschool Academy. 

Article was written by Mrs. Tamara Pool.

Tamara Pool

Tamara Pool

TNHA Teacher: Latin I, section II; Medieval World History, National Latin Exam Prep, and Study Skills

One of Tamara’s favorite things is encouraging parents and inspiring teens to pursue deep relationships with God and family and embrace their educational journey. Tamara has served as a writer, conference speaker and homeschool consultant for over 10 years. When she’s not teaching, you’ll find Mrs. Pool enjoying family time, making (or tidying) a creative mess, or studying for her Master of Arts degree in Classical Studies.

How Online Learning Can Level Up Your Homeschooling Game

How Online Learning Can Level Up Your Homeschooling Game

You Can Homeschool, Online Learning Can Help

With the current state of the world, many parents are finding themselves in the position of homeschooling their children. While this can be a daunting task, there are many resources available to help make the transition smoother. One of the best resources available is online learning. Online learning can help to supplement or even replace traditional homeschooling methods, and it has many benefits. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the ways that online learning can level up your homeschooling game.

Benefits of Online Learning

Flexible Planning

One of the great things about online learning is that it provides a more flexible schedule. Homeschooling can be a full-time job, and it can be difficult to find the time to fit everything in. With online learning, you can set your child’s school day up in a way that works for you. You can also take advantage of online resources to help you plan and organize your homeschooling schedule.

Range of Online Courses Available

Another benefit of online learning is that it offers a more diverse range of courses. When you homeschool, you may be limited by the courses offered by your local school district or by what you are able to find online. With online learning, you have access to a much wider range of courses. This means that you can tailor your child’s education to their specific interests and needs.

Individual Learning Experience

Online learning also provides a more individualized learning experience. In a traditional classroom setting, it can be difficult for children with different learning styles to get the attention they need. With online learning, each child can learn at their own pace and in their own way. This means that your child will be able to learn in a way that is best suited for them, and they will be more likely to retain the information they are taught.

Preparing Children for the Future

Finally, online learning can help to prepare your child for the future. Many jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago now require some level of online skills. By getting started with online learning now, you can give your child a head start in developing the skills they will need to be successful in the future.

Opportunity for Social Interaction with Online Learning

Some parents worry that online schooling won’t provide enough social interaction for their kids. However, there are many ways to ensure that your child still gets plenty of social interaction. You can sign them up for extracurricular activities or have them join a homeschooling co-op. You can also connect with other families who are homeschooling and set up playdates or field trips. With a little planning and effort, you can make sure that your child gets plenty of social interaction. Our live, virtual dynamic classes have a social outlet baked in. The classes take place via Zoom, where students interact with other students and the teacher.

Is Online Learning a Good Fit for Your Family?

As you can see, online learning has many benefits. If you are considering homeschooling your child, online learning should definitely be a part of your plan. With online learning, you can give your child the best possible education while still maintaining a flexible schedule and providing a more individualized learning experience. Online learning is an excellent way to level up your homeschooling game.

Do you homeschool your child? What online learning resources do you use? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Celebrate 4th of July!

Celebrate 4th of July!

Certain Holidays get celebrated big time at our house, and the 4th of July is one of them! We love this country and the principles it was founded on. But we don’t consider ourselves proud Americans- more like grateful Americans. We had the opportunity to choose our education, vocation, spouse, faith, location, and lifestyle. Is it any wonder that people are clamoring to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave?

So, yep, we celebrate by decorating the house with red, white, and blue buntings that look about perfect on our 100-year-old house, along with Old Glory flying, friends to celebrate with and fun to be had by all!

Family recipes, activities and traditions are an important part of every holiday – here are some of ours!

Good Food

  • Grilled Chicken or Flank Steak, marinated in soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and a ton of cilantro.Celebrate 4th of July
  • Deviled Eggs: My deviled eggs are de rigor for holidays and perfect as is. Peeled boiled eggs, sliced in half. Smash yolks with real mayonnaise and mustard to taste.  Set egg white halves on your beautiful carnival ware deviled egg plate, and spoon the generous yolk mixture into each half. Sprinkle with paprika and enjoy. Perfection!
  • Veggie Tray: all the veggies. Sour cream with Spike and lots of Dill if you want a dip.
  • All the Fruit is in a scooped-out watermelon half. Get fancy and scallop the edges if you want.
  • A beautiful charcuterie tray
  • And Cheesecake, with berries and a swirl of chocolate, or topped with berries, like ours!
  • Easy Punch: Grape juice with 7up and Lemonade and lots of ice, because we can our own grape juice every year and it’s just part of the summer holidays. Serve in pint-sized mason jars, of course.
Celebrate 4th of July!

Celebrate with Good Fun!

We often spend the afternoons doing target practice and then eat. When everyone is full and just schmoozing, everyone gathers together and my husband reads the Declaration of Independence out loud.

We take time to read the signers’ names. It’s sobering. These men, and their families, were willing to give up so much for an ideal. An ideal that we have all reaped the benefit of. I am grateful to each one of them for their vision and willingness to sacrifice for the long view.

Declaration of Independence

Reading the Declaration of Independence used to be the main focus of Independence Day celebrations in small towns across America. A national remembrance and vision casting for who we were and are as a country. It’s worth re-visiting annually. As one of my favorite pastors, Skip Heitzig says, “Truth needs a memory”.

Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about the importance of reading the Declaration of Independence as they celebrated the 4th of July, (she and her sisters have it memorized, of course) and the natural law on which this country is founded!

Fireworks & Savings!

And then comes the fireworks. We live in a state that allows fireworks and our property is situated so that we have an entire valley to light up.

At True North Homeschool Academy, we appreciate and celebrate Faith, Family, and Freedom. In celebration of this great country, we are offering a store-wide sale. Thanks for standing with us, in appreciation for this sweet land of liberty!

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee, I sing…

Long may our land be bright

With Freedom’s holy light.

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King!

More About Freedom & Our Nation’s History

If you’d like to learn more about the values that our country was founded on, check out Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, taught by Adam Pruzan. Classes are filling up and we can’t always add a second section, so take advantage of our last sale of the year and sign up now for a live online class where the students and teacher engage in discussions about our heritage.

This is the perfect time of year to tune in and listen to our five-part Podcast Series  Authentic Values which speaks directly to the ideals upon which this country was founded. Download these episodes and add some learning to your summer road trips!

More About the SALE

And stay tuned to all our social media accounts for more information about our sitewide 5% off sale. It is the last sale before our True North Homeschool Academy Classes begin on August 22! You’ll want to be on our mailing list to grab your coupon code! Subscribe here:

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History Classes

  • World Geography: Expedition Australia live online class taught via zoom
    World Geography: Expedition Australia
    $389.00
  • Live online homeschool class for Geography - Expedition Everest
    Geography – Expedition Everest
    $389.00
  • Medieval World History taught live online for homeschoolers
    Medieval World History
    $539.00
  • World History of the 20th Century taught live online for homeschoolers
    World History of the 20th Century
    $539.00
  • Middle Ages Exploration taught live online for homeschoolers
    Middle Ages Exploration – Elementary
    $439.00
  • high school world history class taught live online for homeschoolers
    World History – Strategy: War & Peace
    $539.00
  • TNHA JUNIOR HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL GEOGRAPHY ONLINE CLASS
    World Geography – Full Year
    $539.00
  • TNHA Modern History Exploration - Elementary Class Online
    Modern History Exploration
    Product on sale
    $419.00
  • American History in Films
    American History
    $539.00
Latin, Math, Music: Universal Languages

Latin, Math, Music: Universal Languages

Latin, Math & Music: Universal Languages

Latin, Math, and Music are the three universal languages. In other words, they transcend the cultural barrier and speak to people regardless of what language they were raised with. It’s a great time to be learning all three and if your homeschool doesn’t integrate them into your program already, now it is the time! Students who understand the three universal languages have more tools in their toolbox as they interact and communicate with the world!

Universal Language: Math

Math is symbolic and defines shapes, space, time, volume, and concepts. As you can see math concepts go way beyond a simple math text. You don’t need to share a language to share the beauty and simplicity of math. Students do need math to cook, build, create, shop, and so much more.

Universal Language: Music

Music is evocative but also keeps time, allowing us to understand something basic or complex with emotion, cadence, and rhythm. The beauty of music allows us to respond to each other and the universe despite ability, age, reason, or language. We all know that music can reduce anxiety and stress, refocus our energy, and helps us memorize and hold on to memories.

Universal Lanuage: Latin

Latin because it is the basis of western culture and the root of so many romance languages. The Ancient world was governed by this fascinating language it and it was integral to the formation of western culture. This fascinating language teaches your kids critical thinking skills, vocabulary and so much more!

Latin, Math & Music: Simplify Your Homeschool Journey!

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the plethora of choices available. Homeschooling offers an abundance of riches that can offer us so many possibilities, but also decision fatigue! You do not need to feel lost and burdened by how much you could do; take heart and simplify! Focusing on Math, Music, and Latin would allow you to provide a superior education to your kids!  Personally, I would add in some fantastic Bible studies, and you would be golden!

Create a Plan, Get a Homeschool Partner

Like me, you might not have considered these three subjects as actual languages and it is a bit of a paradigm shift to think of them as such. Doing so allows us to see the importance and beauty of each, and gives us a great apologetic for spending the time, money, and resources needed to really dive in with all three of them.

Online opportunities abound to learn these three amazing languages; including both free and paid options. Our Academic Advising team is ready to walk you through a typical course of study, based on your student’s needs and goals and help you create a Personalized Learning Plan that is affordable and doable.