Deer Run Camps and Retreats: Deeper Faith. Greater Adventures. Stronger Bonds.

Deer Run offers premier summer camp experiences that are action-packed fun for kids, age 5 to 18, and family camps for parents, kids of all ages and grandparents. Whether you choose day, adventure or overnight camps for your kids or family camp, everyone will experience days filled with outdoor fun, discover strengths, explore adventures, forge friendships and complete challenges—creating life-long memories!

Deer Run is a traditional, Christ-centered nondenominational camp on 100 scenic wooded acres, located just ten miles south of historic downtown Franklin. Your child experiences the dynamics of the outdoors in a small group with a diversity of kids from a variety of schools and communities, and are unplugged for the week, which eliminates distractions and enables them to connect face-to-face with others and learn from mature counselors who are excellent role models. Being unplugged also strengthens their social skills, helps them focus on relationships and just enjoy having a great time being outdoors and involved in games and recreational activities.

Registration is all-inclusive; there are no add-on activity costs. Each camper also gets a themed camp shirt and a video link to download their camp session video. Discounts for siblings or multi-sessions are available plus an option for monthly payments. And bus transportation for day and adventure day campers is available from six area locations.

OVERNIGHT CAMPS: One-week, six-night sessions are offered for preteens (completed grades 3–5) and youth (completed grades 9–12). Two-week sessions are available for ages 12-15.

Campers are divided into small cabin groups by age and gender. Cabin group activities include zip line adventures, 45-ft climbing tower, paintball, archery range, rec games, leap of faith, giant swing, archery tag, lake activities (waterslide, aqua park, swimming, round Corcl boats, kayaks, canoes, zip line), age-appropriate small group Bible study and more.

Large group co-ed activities include rec games, the cardboard boat regatta race, nightly music and worship plus a dynamic, challenging speaker each night.

Campers also choose one individual track for the week to develop abilities in specialized areas such as fishing, wilderness skills, self-defense, drama, percussion and ukulele.

Meals are an important part of the camp experience, so Deer Run chefs use fresh ingredients for healthy, delicious kid-friendly meals. A full salad bar and fresh fruit are available each day.

DAY CAMPS (age 5 through completed grade 5) and ADVENTURE DAY CAMPS (completed grades 6-8) are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with an option for extended care hours from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Drop campers off as early as 7:30 a.m. for morning games without paying for extended care.

Day Campers enjoy lake activities (previously mentioned), pedal kart races, recreational games, BB guns, archery, crafts, 45-ft climbing tower, obstacle course, creek wading, nine-square-in-the-air, gaga ball, carpetball, tetherball, playground, fun songs and interactive age-appropriate small group Bible study.

Adventure Campers learn Outdoor Education and Survival Skills plus participate in lake activities, archery range, obstacle course, leap of faith, nine-square in-the-air, gaga ball, carpetball, BB guns, 45-ft climbing tower and interactive age-appropriate small group Bible study.

Adventure Campers are grouped into smaller “learning groups” during their adventure skills time to participate in shelter building, fire starting, fire building, knot tying, navigation, archery, lashing, knife safety, fire competitions and archery competitions.

FAMILY CAMPS: A vacation with a purpose — for all ages! This is an all-inclusive, everything-planned-for-you, life-changing experience. Just pack and show up to enjoy a variety of activities, relaxation time and delicious meals. Choose from a 6-night weeklong camp in June or July or a 3-night Labor Day Weekend camp. This is an opportunity for your family to create long-lasting memories, experience the outdoors, grow spiritually and strengthen relationships. Registration includes all activities and meals, a private room in upscale lodging and a Deer Run shirt for each family member.

Your family also has a personal college-age assistant to help with your kids when needed. During couple time — where you’ll learn valuable marriage and parenting tips — childcare is available for ages 4 and under, while ages 5 and up participate in camp activities with the college-age assistants.

OPEN HOUSES: Families are invited for come-and-go walking tours of the camp facilities on Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. — March 18, April 8 and May 6. Meet the camp directors and some of the summer staff. No reservations are needed.

REGISTRATION: Register at or call 615.794.2918 if you have questions about the camp program for your child or family. There are no registration deadlines, but spaces fill up quickly so register soon to get your preferred dates.

See you this summer at Deer Run!

RightStart™ Math is looking for a Event Assistant in Nashville

 RightStart™ Math is looking for a Event Assistant to work our booth at the TTD-TN Convention in Nashville,TN March 8th - 10th 2018. If you have used RightStart™ for several years and would like to earn some extra money please contact us via phone at 1-888-775-6284 or via email at info [at] rightstartmath [dot] com.

Homeschool discount for The Christian Worldview Film Festival and Guild

We’re excited to share that The Christian Worldview Film Festival and Guild will be held at The Factory at Franklin, March 12-17. There will be over 60 Christian Films showing this year that will encourage and strengthen viewers in their walk with the Lord. All films have been vetted for consistency with Scripture, and any films with more mature/intense themes are clearly marked in the program guide, so you can be confident in bringing your children along.
For those interested in the filmmaking process, there will also be talks from over 25 speakers, including Stephen and Alex Kendrick (War Room, Courageous), Mike Nawrocki (Larry from VeggieTales) and Bruce Marchiano (The Visual Bible). Regardless of ones level of experience or interest in filmmaking, or how many days they are able to attend, they will find something which will encourage them and draw them closer to Christ.
The week is split into 2 portions: Monday through Wednesday is the Filmmakers’ Guild, consisting of intensive Biblical worldview and technical training. Thursday through Saturday is the Festival, where the screenings of films will take place, as well as keynote presentations from some of the top Christian filmmakers of recent years. With Rally Day and the Student Congress tournament taking place on Wednesday, the Festival provides a rare opportunity to see how the skills they are developing can be used to impact the culture for Christ.
For anyone is interested in attending, we’re offering a 20% off coupon code for registration. Children under 6 are already free (with a $1/ticket processing fee). Please feel free to share this code with the homeschooling community at large who might be interested in attending. Registration costs increase on March 1.
Coupon Code (case sensitive): ff18hs20off
If you have any questions, about the event, please direct them to the Christian Worldview Film Festival Facebook page.

2018 Summer Camps at Bowie Nature Park

Half Day Camps

Art in Nature – 8-12 year olds (June 11th-15th)

Bring out the nature-loving artist in your child.  Campers will spend time outside learning to see the beauty of nature and develop artworks based on their discoveries. On Friday parents and friends are invited to an exhibition of the art campers created during the week.         

Fun with Nature—5-7 year olds (July 9th-13th)
This week is all about having fun in nature!  Campers will make nature art and play games as they learn about the world around them.  Everyone will have a chance to fish at the end of the week! 

Wacky Weather—5-7 year olds (July 23rd-27th)
This camp is all about how weather forms and how it affects the world around us.  We will use many tools and fun experiments to learn about all types of weather.
Full Day Camps

Wild Weather-8-12 year olds (July 16th-20th)
We will be focusing on the extreme side of things in this week-long weather camp.  The campers will harness the power of lightning, create a tornado with their own two hands, and ultimately learn how to predict the weather!

Nature Navigators—8-12 year olds (June 25th-29th)
Learn how to load your trail pack, read a map, and navigate with a compass.  Each day campers will discover a new way to traverse the world around them and will be faced with a treasure hunt that can only be found using different ways of navigation!

Rockin’ Minerals—8-12 year olds (June 18th-22nd)
Spend the week rocking out! Learn about unique rocks, minerals, fossils, and geological features around the world and here in TN. Have a chance to sift for fossils, explode a volcano, create a rock collection, and much more!
For more details, check out the website, contact the program director Nancy Jackson at 615-799-5544 ext. 2, or email her at programdirector [at] fairview-tn. [dot] org.

Taekwondo Teaches Courage by Karla Grove

Courage is an integral part of what we teach at Franklin Family Taekwondo. It is such a valuable skill in life. It takes courage for a child to learn to advocate for themselves, to voice their own opinions and feelings. It takes courage to survive your first job interview or apply to a college. It takes courage to stand up to a bully, and it takes courage to walk away. 
We had a young boy once who was afraid to kick and punch toward another person. He was 5 years old when he started training. For a whole year, we could not get him to engage in sparring. We kept trying and kept encouraging him. He had his sparring gear on and his partner would kick and punch in his direction. But this little boy would just stand there. Until one day.
I will never forget the day when he broke through that shell. He found the courage within him to throw one punch. He was so excited about that one punch. Within just a few minutes he was engaged in his first ever sparring match. The smile on his face was priceless. He turned to his mom and yelled across the school, “I'm doing it Mom!” With tears on her face, she hugged my neck and thanked me. This little guy and his new found courage went on to become an awesome black belt. 
Yes, it takes courage to break a board. It also takes courage to stand in front of someone who is trying to kick and punch you. But you may not have thought about the courage it takes to trust your own skills and to kick and punch back. The development of these skills has an extremely positive effect. As a student’s skills build, they realize that they no longer have anything to prove to others. This is one of the most effective ways to stop bullying, both for the perpetrator and the victim. When you have nothing to prove, simply walking away is much easier to do. 
We offer daytime classes for Homeschooled students. To learn more about Taekwondo lessons, check out Franklin Family Taekwondo online, visit them at 1113 Murfreesboro Rd. Ste. 101, Franklin, TN 37064, or call 615-538-8360.

Begin Anew needs teenage homeschoolers to volunteer!

Begin Anew empowers individuals to overcome the obstacles caused by poverty by providing education, mentoring, and resources. The program provides three curriculum tracks for students: High School Equivalency test preparation, Computer and Job Skills, and Life Skill English. Enrollment in our services is open to persons of all faiths and culture. Begin Anew serves the Middle Tennessee area through five locations in Nashville, Madison, and Franklin, Tennessee.

Begin Anew is looking for teenage homeschoolers who would want to volunteer with our organization. We are also in need of childcare volunteers. If you're interested in either volunteer opportunity, contact Laura Flemming by emailing: volunteer at beginanew dot org.

Home Alone with Kids by Jennifer Smeltser

January brings continued cold weather in Tennessee and the only thing many of us want to do is just stay home. That may seem like a good idea, and I am sure it is, unless that leaves you with a house full of stir-crazy children. Although you may be tempted to send them outdoors to play, your mom instincts will probably set in reminding you of the frigid temperatures. So, what do you do?
Cooking is probably the last thing on your mind. Kids in the kitchen can become a very messy situation. Believe it or not, it is a sure way to engage your children (regardless of their age) in an experience they will enjoy. Your choice of creation does not have to be a full course meal, but instead can be a fun food project. Depending on the number of children you have, allow each one to choose a cookie flavor and let them bake a batch. Another idea is to let them bake a gingerbread house and decorate it. Yes, I know Christmas has passed, but the yummy taste of gingerbread and houses covered in candy is a year-round treat for children.
School may already be in session, but take a break for one day and enjoy a themed movie day.  The Star Wars saga is a favorite in our home. I grin and bear it, because my children love all of the movies. What movie series do your children enjoy? Ask them! If nothing comes to mind, have your movie day focus on a theme or pick a favorite actor and watch all of their movies. Put on your comfortable clothes or keep your pajamas on after waking up in the morning, make some popcorn and settle in for a day of movie entertainment. Something else to make the movie day more fun and yummy is to prepare some sweet treats (veggies too) and other munchies to eat and enjoy. Plan to have enough food to keep stomach full, so there will be no need to pause the film for you to cook.
Homeschooling is all about learning, so keep that rhythm going. Life skills never get old. In fact, those skills will carry with your children far into adulthood. You can conduct an all-day “seminar” for your children at home. Do an overview of some life skills like cleaning (ex: washing down furniture, wiping off doorknobs and light switches, etc.), doing the laundry or washing windows. Some other ideas are teaching individual skills from how to sew on a button to the proper way to floss and brush their teeth.
If you have book readers, allow your children to read whatever they have an interest in, all day long. If reading is not preferred, there are a number of books on tape or CDs they may listen to and enjoy. For those of you who have children that need more than just someone reading a book consider audio drama adventures. You may have seen old time pictures of young children listening to radio adventures in days gone. The children appeared to be silent and intensely engaged in whatever radio drama that was playing. You may be surprised to see the same expressions from your children when they listen to an audio drama. Although many older radio dramas are still entertaining, in recent years, newer audio dramas have been produced using improved technology as well as seasoned actors.
Audio Dramas
Although it is fun and can sometimes be a relief to get outside and away from home, there are so many ways you may enjoy your children while being “trapped” indoors with them.

Jennifer Smeltser writes for HomeLife Academy. HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. For more of Jennifer's articles, visit the Homeschool Roster.

Homeschool discounts at Carnton and Carter House

The Battle of Franklin Trust (Carnton and Carter House) is offering special deals for homeschoolers. Currently, homeschooling families can get into both houses for the price of one. It does not matter the size of the group, all they have to do is make a reservation. Contact Sarah Falck, Education Coordinator for The Battle of Franklin Trust at (615) 794-0903 or (615) 791-1861 or e-mail sarah at boft dot org. For more information about Carnton and the Carter House, check out The Battle of Franklin Trust's website.

British Swim School now hiring Swim Instructors

British Swim School of Williamson-Smyrna is a new swim lesson program opening in January 2018 in Franklin. We are currently hiring for full-time and part-time swim instructors. We are looking for outgoing, reliable individuals who enjoy working with kids and can teach children and parents in a fun, dynamic environment. No prior swim experience is necessary.

To apply, email Paul.garboczi@ at britishswimschool dot com.

Lifeguard Certification Training to be Offered this Fall

Summer is over, but it is not too early to start preparing your teen for summer job opportunities. The typical place teens seek a summer job is in retail or fast food areas. Although many skills may be learned, that is the whole summer - the time to be outside and enjoying the sun, spent usually indoors. If your teen is seeking a different opportunity where their job speaks summer and sun, they may want to consider becoming a lifeguard. With that decision comes the need for lifeguard certification training and they may become certified through the Williamson County Parks & Recreation Department.

A job as a lifeguard is typically viewed as a summer job, but did you know lifeguards are employed throughout the year? Along with public recreation facilities, lifeguards are hired at private pools and event locations with swimming pools. The lifeguard certification will also cover First Aid/CPR/AED, so participants who successfully complete the course will be able to use those skills in other jobs that require that type of certification (ex: babysitting). The certification is also good to have for general life skills and could also count towards the Health requirement for high school graduation.

A lifeguard certification course will be offered during the fall break Wednesday through Saturday, October 11-14, and held at the Indoor Sports Complex (920 Heritage Way, Brentwood, 37027). Students must be 15 years old or older on the day of or before the final day of the course. Those interested must register in person and registration is limited to 10 people. A pre-course swim test is required.

Pre-Course Swim Test
All participants must complete and pass both swim tests prior to starting the class. There are three skills you must successfully complete.

• Three hundred (300) yard (six laps) continuous swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both and demonstrate rhythmic breathing. Swimming on back or side is not permitted. Swim goggles are allowed.

• Tread water for two minutes without stopping, using only the legs and hands must be placed under armpits.

• Ten pound (10-pound) brick test: swim 20-yards using front crawl or breaststroke, when the brick is beneath you in the water, surface dive feet first or head first in seven to 10 feet of water to retrieve the 10 pound brick, return to the surface and swim 20-yards on your back with both hands on the brick back to the starting point, exit without using a ladder or steps. Goggles are not allowed.

Students must be able to swim 300-yards without resting; complete the 10-pound brick test in one minute and 40 seconds and tread water for two minutes without stopping. All of the classes are mandatory, so students must be able to attend all four days. A $125 fee is due the first day of class after the student completes the pre-course swim test. Although the time may become more flexible, plan to attend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all four days of the course.

Registration is currently open and will remain open until all of the spaces are filled. Contact Kristin by e-mail at kristinp at williamson-tn dot org or telephone (615) 370-3471, ext. 2122. 

Jennifer Smeltser writes for HomeLife Academy. HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. For more of Jennifer's articles, visit the Homeschool Roster.