Planning for a New School Year

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Summertime has typically been my favorite time for planning my homeschooling for the upcoming year. Overtime, you will find what works for you, but here are some suggestions that have helped me and my family over the years.

A great place to start is considering the past year regardless of where your student(s) attended school: public, private or homeschool. For my first step, I spent some time evaluating where each of my kids were socially, academically, spiritually, and physically. Then, I would prayerfully determine where we needed to make changes or stay the course from the previous year. This process would enable me to set new goals and plan opportunities that would meet their needs or our families’ needs for the new school year.

My next step would be to purchase a desk calendar (or use a digital version), typically August-July, and map out our vacations, holidays, and special trips to visit family. Then, I would block out 36 weeks for school. Most curriculum and schools use a 36 week calendar (or 180 days).

Next, I would consider co-ops, sports, music or art lessons, college calendars, clubs or groups that take into account each child’s unique bent and needs. If I knew when lessons, teams, co-ops, or classes met for the year (or when the season began and ended), then I would add those to the annual calendar.

Finally, the most practical step for me each year was using the Weekly Planner worksheet (included here for your use). First, I would block out family commitments, chores, church, and family time. In order to stay organized with 4 kids, each one would have their own color. I would color code blocks with each of their lessons, practices, youth groups or clubs, and classes. At last, I mapped out when we would home school during each day. If we didn’t have enough time to get our school work done, then back to the drawing board I would go.

With high schoolers, we became a little more structured with the core subjects (math, science, history, English and foreign languages) and needed electives that take more time. By considering each student’s graduation plan (those requirements needed by colleges and those required by our family’s goals), I could make a schedule that included driver’s education, community service, dual credit and jobs, as well.

Just remember, this is just a blue print, and every year, we encountered changes to our plans. “Best laid plans of mice and men . . .” always comes to my mind with a little chuckle.

It is important, and sometimes difficult, to remember to include the LORD in the process. He can bring direction, wisdom, and insight. Throughout the years, God has been my constant adviser. Only He knows what the year will hold and will faithfully prepare you for it.

If you would like more ideas, tips and tricks on planning, and even organization, plan on attending any of my upcoming seminars and workshops. Need more one-on-one help, see my Academic Advising link in the menu or email me at to discuss the different options.

Community Service: A Priceless Endeavor

Now is the time to sign-up for summer community service opportunities. Application deadlines usually come due around April/May. Check with your city departments, as well as, local events that you and your students may already participate in regularly or have a passion for supporting.

Ideas include City Zoos or City Museums, City Libraries, City Animal Shelters, City Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Churches’ Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Camps, Sport Events (like 5K/10K/Marathons), After-school Childcare Facilities, Clubs and/or Ministries that care for others less fortunate, Homeschool Convention and Events, Long Term Care and Rehabilitation Facilities, or assisting elderly neighbors with yardwork, cooking or cleaning.

It is never to early to have your children serving their community. Whether the neighbor next door or joining an organized effort with your church or a program that supports and serves a particular people group.

As middle school students, you and your children can serve at the zoo, church, boys and girls clubs, libraries, food pantries, and pet adoption centers.

The benefits are endless: character growth being the most important. Students learn compassion, patience, submission, work ethic, interests and aptitudes, leadership, kindness, responsibility, problem solving, and faith. Being organized and learning time management comes in a close second.

By the time your child is in high school, they should begin pursuing opportunities that interest him/her. With homeschooling, the possibilities are endless! You have the time and the flexibility to be creative in your service to others. As they progress through high school, they need to look for opportunities to grow in leadership and character.

We are called to follow Jesus’ example in this, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 Serving others, in any capacity, is a priceless endeavor and worthy of our time.

If you are looking for more ideas or need help adding their community service to their high school resume, feel free to contact me:

Digital PSAT 8/9 and PSAT NMSQT – fall 2023

This fall, the CollegeBoard PSAT 8/9 and PSAT NMSQT will be administered digitally. The testing window will be October 2-31, 2023. The date available for your 8th grade student, freshman, sophomore and/or junior student will depend on the testing center you choose.

As a homeschool student, you can sign up with any local high school or private school to take the PSAT depending on availability. Check with their administrative or counseling office to reserve a spot for your student by September 1, 2023. Most likely, schools will require you to bring your own laptop. There will be a small fee for the cost of the test payable to the school.

One tip for preparing includes testing your device for compatibility to the new testing platform. You can do that at this link:

Also, another tip is for your student to become familiar with the testing platform through practice. Your student can do that at this link:

For more information about standardized testing for 2-year, technical, and 4-year colleges and universities, see my previous blog on: College-Readiness-Tests-and-Test-Prep

Interested in knowing more about home educating a high school student, check out the Workshops, Classes and Seminars for upcoming events.

Aptitudes, Interests, Skills and Giftings: How are you wired?

Before beginning the process of searching for colleges or skill training in a technical field, it is helpful and informative for your student to spend some time in self-reflection and possibly complete a few different aptitude, interests and gifting tests.

Aptitudes: capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; “natural ability to learn or perform in given areas” regardless of exposure or environment

I use to help students learn more about how they are innately wired, how their interests guide their calling, and how this combined knowledge can inform their career and major research.

YouScience’s Aptitude and Career Discovery application “uses a series of 11 engaging exercises or ‘brain games’ to measure 9 aptitudes that are key to career performance: idea generation, numerical reasoning, spatial visualization, sequential reasoning, inductive reasoning, visual comparison speed, timeframe orientation, vocabulary, and work approach. The results include a review of your strengths, suggested careers that best fit your aptitudes and interests, and detailed information on over 500 careers including a personal fit analysis, job responsibilities, salaries, job forecasts, and educational pathways.”

“What’s YouScience? | Discover careers perfect for you” from YouScience on Vimeo:

I also use a the free SHAPE Test to help students understand how their spiritual gifts, heart (passions), abilities (skills), personality and experiences do shape their purpose and calling in life as well.

The YouScience and SHAPE Test are best for students 14 years and older. To begin the conversation, though, with middle school students, I use a free Career Interest Survey. This allows the student to begin to see how they are uniquely wired with strengths and interests that eventually may lead to a career path and purpose for their lives.

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been fearfully and wonderfully made. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.    PSALM 139:13, 14a, 16

Every person has a unique purpose and calling on their lives that are God-given. Our family, our experiences in life (both good and bad), our strengths and weaknesses, our innate abilities and aptitudes that have been wired into us before our birth, have purpose and intention. Finding that purpose and to see our calling applied is a gift and a worthwhile pursuit.

“Education must be oriented to preparation for a calling and not just training for a career.”  Steven Garber, The Fabric of Faithfulness

From here, I advise students on their academic plans for both high school and post-high school, whether military, career, tech school, 2-yr college, or 4-yr university. This includes career and major research, as well as, college research that best aligns with their unique wiring.

To utilize my services in this process, you can purchase the YouScience program and schedule a one hour Consultation (at a discounted rate) as a package deal, or it can be completed as part of the College and Career Prep Course for your juniors and seniors.

If you are looking for more in-depth assistance and long term coaching, feel free to contact me: to discuss my one-on-one academic advising options that might be the best fit for your family.

College Readiness Tests and Test Prep

In gearing up for college applications, students need to begin preparing for college readiness tests no later than their freshman year.

In middle school, you can assist your students by teaching study skills and test taking skills. Taking timed tests, working with and without a calculator, completing bubble sheets and personal information on the test key, eliminating wrong answers, drawing illustrations for word problems, being familiar with common root words and grammar rules, and discerning main ideas from large reading passages are a few of the skills your student will need to experience prior to high school.

Each test option offers different support and scope of testing depending on age and need. The practice in middle school is worth the money and test experience, as well as, the knowledge of possible gaps that you can add to the following year’s plan.

In high school, it is important to begin preparing your student for the SAT, ACT, CLT, and/or TSIA2 (accuplacer). All four tests are to determine college readiness for your student. One or more of these tests are required for college admission, core scheduling, and/or dual credit for 2yr and 4yr schools.

For Test Prep, I can recommend the following free opportunities for each:

Official SAT Prep:

ACT Prep:

CLT Prep:

TSIA2 Prep (specifically for dual credit and 2yr colleges):

(create account separate from your collegeboard account

For paid course and classes, I can recommend the following:

To create a baseline and to minimize anxiety, you can begin to sign up by taking any of the tests at the following sites. Your high school student needs create their OWN account at their OWN email. You can set up a dedicated email address for all things college and share that information in order to assist your student. Most of the sites listed allow you to create a parent account to mirror your students’ account. Also, encourage your student to share the login info with you so you may help them in times of deadlines, etc.




TSIA2: sign up with your local community college’s testing department

I realize this is a lot of information that might even spark a few more questions especially concerning PSAT and understanding test-optional. Feel free to reach out to me by email: with questions or to set up a one-one-one consultation to handle all your test planning for your student.

Internships, Apprenticeships and Gap Year Programs for Leadership Training

Internships, Apprenticeships & Gap Year programs are a great way to get experience and learn about different industries, ministries and institutions and how they operate. Personally, you can gain job skills and learn whether or not if that industry, ministry, or career option is a good fit for you.

Patriot Academy – Leadership Conference & Constitutional Defense

The Gap at Sawmill Meadows – Discipleship & Mentorship Program

Gospel for Asia – World Apprenticeship Program for 18yo+

Summit Gap Year – Two Semester Program for 18yo+

YWAM Tyler Discipleship Training Programs

Serve Israel Special Ops Summer Mission Trip (18-35yo)

Royse City Teen Court – amazing program for juniors and seniors! (23-24 year Program Info COMING IN JULY)

I will add to this page as I learn of more opportunities. If you know of any opportunities, please email me at

Dyslexia, learning challenges, and a few helpful resources

I recently answered a question from a mom on a homeschool fb site about dyslexia. Here a a few suggestions to help you get started in looking for resources.

As my children faced different challenges in their learning, I began doing research to find ways where I could assist them to be more successful.

I looked into learning styles for the receiving, the storage, and the retrieval of knowledge. The idea was to incorporate the various learning styles in my day for optimal learning for all my children. From there, I noticed the individual strengths and weaknesses of my children as they progressed and how I could can engage them in all lessons, especially using their strengths. Here is a basic explanation to get you started:

Once I discovered that there were more complicated challenges at play, I began to ask more experienced teachers and home educators for help. One resource that helped me the most was I learned a lot from them and used their tools to help my daughter learn to read. The individualized services cost but their advice and tools for learning are priceless.

Another one of my children struggled with dysgraphia, and my search began again. I ran across Dianne Craft and was so very grateful for her videos, advice, tools, and helpful information for right brain learning and dysgraphia.
I’ve used her materials to help lots of students in tutoring math and students in overcoming dysgraphia. Again, so priceless!

Following the advice of one of my kids’ co-op teachers, I look into eye therapy and prisms for glasses to help with learning challenges. Both made a dramatic and immediate difference with my children – jumping their reading levels by 2-3 years in 3 months. Our therapeutic eye doctor retired, but I believe you can still find others. They work on strengthening the eye muscles to control the moving of letters when they read. Very effective! See for more info.

Lastly, reach out to resources like for one-on-one assistance and personal training with dyslexia and other learning challenges you might encounter.

I hope this is helpful on your homeschooling journey. Children love to learn and love to please. We can help develop these loves and find ways to help every child learn. Need more information? Feel to reach out to me: or see my free seminars for more help: Workshops, Classes and Seminars.

The High School Transcript

The purpose of the high school transcript is to create a legal document detailing courses taken over the last four years of a student’s high school education. It may not be “required” if your student never attends a four year university, but it is the legal documentation proving a successful completion of their education that supports the awarding of his/her diploma.

At any time in the near or far future, your child may be asked for his/her high school transcript for college application, tech school, private school, employment, or even scholarship awards. Better to be prepared and ready!

There are two designs for transcripts: one that details all the courses by school year and one that details all the courses by subject matter. Either is acceptable and recognizable in the college admissions process. Here are two examples:

Sample Transcript by Year

Sample Transcript by Subject

Items that must be included in the transcript: Full name according to birth certificate, date of birth, name of school, parents’ names if applicable, student contact information (email, cell phone or both), address, completion year of individual courses, letter and number grades, amount of credit for each individual course, grading scale, notations if courses taken as dual credit or with a co-op, grade point average, graduation date (once completed), parent (or admin) signature and date, and notary signature and date. Adding official entrance exam scores like SAT, ACT, or CLT are optional, yet sometimes helpful to the process.

The key to building and creating a thorough transcript is keeping sufficient records. For each year, it is best to keep a list of courses taken, curriculum used, grades acquired, and time spent. These all play a part in determining course names, credits and grade point averages.

In the Building the High School Transcript Workshops, we will work together to plan, organize and create the high school transcript for your student.

If you are looking for more individualized assistance in producing a professional transcript ready for college applications, feel free to contact me:

High School Resume

Building the high school resume begins during the middle school years. Students can begin to look into ways to serve the community, play sports, get involved in their church youth group, serve in missions, look for leadership opportunities, and eventually seek internship and job opportunities. Colleges are also looking for students who take more challenging coursework to add to their resume.

Throughout the high school years, keep records, awards, emails, grade reports, and team rosters. As a student is completing their junior year, it is important to prepare the resume for college and scholarship applications.

Here are a few categories to consider: Volunteer Experiences, Work or Job Experiences, Extracurricular Activities, Athletic Experiences, Awards and Recognition, Honors Education/Coursework, Leadership Positions, Internships, Organizations

Here are a few sample resumes:

If you are looking for more ideas or would like me to work with your student personally on building their resume, feel free to contact me:

Spiritual Gifts and Calling

Unique. Purposeful. We are all unique in our aptitudes, gifting, talents, skills, experiences, and passions. We all have a purpose and calling on our lives.

As students begin the process of researching next steps post graduation, I recommend taking some time to understand spiritual gifts and how those gifts and individual experiences inform his/her personal calling, vocation, and future service.

One of my favorite resources has been the S.H.A.P.E. test and materials by Eric Reese: SHAPE: Finding & Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life.

The assesses Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. The results can give students insight into how God has not only ‘knit them together’ but uses all their experiences for the unique plans He has for them.

Though I do not necessarily endorse the other free Bible studies offered on the link above without reviewing each one, I have worked through Mr. Reese’s book as a small group study with a class of high school seniors. It was eye-opening to my seniors to see how God has used every circumstance in their lives, good and bad, to deepen their faith and serve Him and others more intentionally.

At minimum, the results, which can be emailed back to the student and parent or church leader, can initiate conversations as students plan their community service in high school, career goals, majors and their purposes for higher education.

If you are looking for more ideas or would like me to work with your student personally on assessing their gifts and calling, feel free to contact me: