Graduation and Graduation Party Ideas

Graduation & Graduation Party Tips | Plan your graduation and graduation party for your homeschooler with tips and tricks from a veteran homeschool mom


Graduation party ideas may have come sooner on your list of things to Pinterest than you’d planned, but the time is here. How do you plan to celebrate? What are some things you’ll want to remember from your years of homeschooling?

Finally Answering the Critics

Graduation is the day when you officially get to answer the critics without saying a word. When the child you’ve poured hours upon hours of teaching and training into crosses the platform and you hand them a diploma, it just feels GOOD!


I’ve graduated three and will graduate my youngest this year. This means I’ve gotten to answer the critics repeatedly. Homeschooling works. Now it’s up to my kids to make the most of the opportunities they’ve been given.

 Participating in a Homeschool Graduation

There are a variety of ways your homeschooler can participate in a homeschool graduation ceremony. Here are a few:

  • Check with your local homeschool group to see if they offer one.
  • Talk to your church and see if other homeschool families are planning anything.
  • If you’re the only homeschooling family at your church, at least participate with the graduating seniors from public and private school, if the church does a blessing and sending off type of ceremony.

If no opportunities exist, you can do the legwork and put something together yourself. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

The Graduation Party

If you participate in an organized ceremony you might find that it also comes with a little after-party. Celebrating with fellow homeschooling families or even your own church may be enough for your family.

In our experience, we were asked to decorate a table to represent our graduating senior.



My children also decorated their caps.


After returning home, we also had a private graduation party. Here are some things we did for this:

  • We had a taco bar.
  • A   timeline of pictures for the guests to look through was displayed on a table.
  • We had a box for people to leave words of wisdom, like this one.
  • We had jumpy thing (what my daughter calls them) also known as a bounce house or inflatable for the little kids to use while everyone visited.

Tips and Tricks I’ve Learned Along the Way

One of the beauties of homeschooling is the ability to keep the public school traditions you want and scrap the rest. Make new ones! These are some tips and tricks for graduation and graduation parties that I’ve learned that might work well for you, too.

  • Order invitations early. Include your graduating senior in the selection process.
  • Invite everyone and include an RSVP envelope and card. No everyone will attend, but everyone likes to honor the graduate.
  • Create a Facebook group to keep everyone on the same page with planning.
  • It’s a one-day event to commemorate years of work. Focus on what will make a memory.
  • If you’re planning the party outdoors, have a back up in case of rain.
  • Keep a short window of time for the open house. This keeps food fresh, you from being overwhelmed, and guests happier. No one says it has to be an all-day event.
  • Have a discussion with your teen about the potential monies they may receive and plan to put them to use. This can be a savings account or towards school.
  • Don’t spend a bazillion dollars. Do Graduation on the Cheap.
  • Think about gifts your graduate will actually love. Don’t guess, ask them.
  • Bring tissues! It doesn’t get any easier with each one that graduates.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Any special memories? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know!

Literature in the Homeschool

Literature in the homeshcool

Literature in the Homeschool, Part Two

You can listen to Part One here.

a Family Renewal Podcast with the Waynes.

You’ve asked for a more specific list with recommendations that are age-based and appropriate. We really enjoy the missionary biographies from YWAM publishers. That’s not necessarily classical literature, but our kids enjoy it, too. We had one son finish all 48 books in the series!

When we think of literature, we tend to think of those great books. Some books are also great for read-alouds.

You do need to be mindful that not everything that’s considered “classic” is something you should hand to your children unfiltered. There’s a lot of teaching that needs to happen. The Scriptures are our plumbline for what’s good.

Join Israel Wayne every month as he discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is an author and conference speaker who often speaks at homeschooling conferences, and churches, as well as marriage and parenting seminars.

Finally, the information he teaches around the nation will be available to listeners like you. Each broadcast will be about a half hour and will feature interviews and thoughtful commentary from Israel and his guests.

Subscribe in iTunes. 

An author of six books and a regular author in several publications. Israel writes about homeschooling, Christian Apologetics and family-based Biblical discipleship.

Israel is a popular conference speaker who desires to see God’s people learn to think and live Biblically. He is a regular keynote speaker at events nationwide.

Israel publishes frequently on Facebook and Twitter about his thoughts on current events. Follow him online and join in the discussion and learn about events!

Cybersecurity Tips for Homeschoolers

Cybersecurity Tips for Homeschoolers

Cybersecurity Tips for Homeschoolers

Homeschooling has so many advantages, it’s hard to list them all! Direct and consistent teacher-to-student interaction, a tailored education, and better teaching materials are just a few of the many reasons so many families feel drawn to homeschooling. Overall, parents have much more control over their child’s educational experience when they homeschool. However, when it comes to cybersecurity threats and computer viruses, homeschoolers are often more vulnerable and at risk than their public school peers.


The majority of school computer labs have some form of cybersecurity software that protects students identities, keeps them off harmful websites, and protects against malware infection. With so much homeschooling curriculum being based on the web, internet safety and privacy protection is a topic that every homeschooling parent needs to address.


But awareness of this growing issue is just the first step. Communication is the next one. A recent survey shows 33% of parents who named “cyberbullying” as their biggest fear have never talked to their kids about the topic. Navigating the dangers of the internet means being honest with your kids about what’s at stake. Identities can be stolen, data can be destroyed, and cyberbullies can do serious psychological harm.


Educating your kids and engaging in an ongoing dialogue about cybersecurity is one of the most effective things you can do to keep them safe while they learn online.


Be honest

Cybersecurity is serious business. Don’t avoid issues because they’re uncomfortable or complicated to explain. Instead, be honest. Tell your children some online activities are safer than others, and set ground rules for what is and what is not appropriate behavior.


The online world is just like the real world. Not talking to strangers at the park is just as important as not talking to strangers in chat rooms. Leaving your toys out for thieves to steal is just like telling someone too much information online. Avoid dividing the real world from the online one. Instead, bring them together by making these types of connections. Children need consistency, and keeping the rules consistent for on and offline activities will help them understand the dangers of both.


Being honest about cybersecurity also means pointing out the good things about online activities. Keep a balanced outlook. Emphasize they need to be cautious but enjoy the internet. It contains wonderful things to help them grow, socialize, and learn. As they learn better online habits, they will feel safer, confident, and in control. Honesty is always the best policy!

Use your creativity

Cybersecurity concepts like online identities and malware can be abstract concepts, especially for younger children. Use examples and analogies that children can relate to easily. For example, use the analogy that computer viruses work like biological viruses. Explain how one “sick” computer infects another. Personal identities are unique like our fingerprints. Stealing someone’s identity is like dressing up as that person for Halloween so you can steal all of their candy. Find creative ways to relate cybersecurity concepts to their everyday lives.

Build trust

Your child (especially as a teenager!) may assume your concerns are more about spying on their online activities rather than looking out for them. Reassure them you won’t get upset if they accidentally click on something they shouldn’t or if their device gets a virus. Overreacting will likely cause resentment, anxiety, and rebellion. These are all counterproductive to building good habits and trust.


For teenagers, be consistent about your concerns. Make it just as much about protecting devices and information as it is about who they’re talking to online. For small children, reinforce the notion that cyberthieves are tricky, but you can beat them by following the rules.

Go online together

The best way to teach a child something is to show them firsthand. Go online and search for a term that interests them. Then explore the results looking for good and bad websites. Take a tour of the browser’s interface. Point out the address bar, bookmarks, extensions, and the search results. Show them how to close an internet pop-up ad and what to do when they can’t find a close button.


Websites come in different flavors when it comes to data safety. Some talk with your browser using encryption and some don’t. Encryption keeps your data safe. Encrypted sites begin their URLs with “https”. Unencrypted ones have “http”. Browser extensions like HTTPS Everywhere identify unsecure websites from secure ones automatically.

Sit down with them and open their favorite app. Explore its social and/or messaging features. Explain what to do if they receive a message. Show them how to respond to in-app purchase and pop-up ads. If you feel your child isn’t mature enough for messaging, check to see if the app allows disabling this feature.

Use online resources

Another effective way to teach children about online safety is using online resources. Internet safety websites like the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuardOnline has security tips, games, and other online learning resources for parents and guardians. Other sites use videos, quizzes, and other activities to teach cyber security basics to children in a fun and interactive online environment.


You can learn more about online threats and even download a conversation checklist to start a dialogue with your children using the Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Cybersecurity. Downloading free antivirus software will also keep them safe as they practice smart online habits.


The investment you put into talking to your kids about cybersecurity will pay off down the road. The digital world is here, and learning to navigate it is the reality of future generations. Your child’s future success will be tied to their online safety. Helping them create smart online habits at an early age will protect them and keep the internet a fun, safe, and educational place for continued learning.

7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas as a Birthday

7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas as a Birthday

by Meredith Curtis

7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas as a Birthday

“Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday, dear Jesus. Happy Birthday to You!” my children sang heartily as I held the pan of cinnamon buns lavished with cream cheese frosting. The candle flickered as their voices rang out. As the song ended, the younger children blew the candles out.

One more Christmas carol and it was time to eat breakfast while we opened presents.

Christmas Day starts with a special devotional. We read Luke 2, the Christmas Story, interspersed with carols. We read and sing and rejoice. It helps us to remember that Christmas is a birthday.

Would you like to celebrate Christmas as a birthday with your children?

Here are 7 ways to celebrate Christmas as a birthday:

Decorate with Balloons and Streamers

We love to decorate with balloons and streamers on birthdays, so we do it at Christmas, too. We use red and green colors to keep the festive atmosphere matching the rest of the Christmas decorations.

Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Morning

Before you open presents, sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. You can use a birthday cake with candles. We put candles in our frosted cinnamon rolls.

Singing a birthday song to Jesus reminds everyone that Christmas is a birthday.

Wrap Presents for Baby Jesus

We like to buy baby boy clothing and supplies for Jesus and wrap them up. We bring them to church where gifts are collected in a large basket and taken to a Crisis Pregnancy Center after the holidays.

Make a Birthday Banner

Using poster board or a roll of paper, make a birthday banner for Jesus and hang it in the family room or kitchen.

Make Birthday Cards for Jesus

If your family gives birthday cards on birthdays, then make birthday cards for Jesus. These are nice to read aloud before family worship. It refreshes our hearts to hear what others have said to Jesus.

Make a Special Birthday Meal

In our house, we each choose our favorite meal to eat on our birthday. Brainstorm as a family to figure out a meal that Jesus may have eaten and enjoyed. Fish from the Sea of Galilee? Bread with Honey? Dates? You might have to do some research for this one!

Play the Encouragement Game

Another things we do to make birthdays special is to play the encouragement game. Everyone in the family tells the birthday person what they appreciate about him or her. Each family member can share what they love about Jesus and then spent time worshipping Him.

May the Lord bless each one of you with the merriest of Christmases.

Meredith Curtis



Mommy Jammies Night with Karla Archer

Tonight’s topic: Mindfulness and its Connection with Anxiety

(Player at the bottom of the page. )

I believe that learning how to help and support your loved ones who are struggling with anxiety doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

And I believe that anyone can do it, one small step at a time.   Karla Archer | Mommy Jammies Night


Connect with Karla here on Facebook: Her Page

Visit her site and get your free journal pages, Living the Life Fantastic

About Karla:

Despite the fact that my husband and I had our own anxieties as children and adults, it was startling for us to realize that we had four bright, gifted children who were struggling to cope with their own as well. Helping our children navigate anxiety and anxious thoughts felt quite different from managing our own.

We were filled with so much confusion, doubt, worry, and a fear that we were failing our kids and letting them free fall. We desperately wanted to be able to help them cope and lead healthy lives but we didn’t know where to start. Traditional parenting books and tips just weren’t helpful. 

Determined to help, we began searching online, reading books on childhood anxieties, seeking professional help, and talking with teachers and other parents. As we dug deeper, we discovered ways to help our children navigate their own path through a variety of situations. We made it through with a sense of strength, perseverance, and confidence. We even started a local support group for other parents in the same situation.

Today, our children are thriving, happy, and learning to face, share, and manage their own anxieties.

I know you want the same things for your children, and I can help you get there.


Literature in Your Homeschool | Family Renewal Podcast on Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

Literature in your Homeschool and Family Reading

a Family Renewal Podcast with the Waynes.

Join Israel Wayne every month as he discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is an author and conference speaker who often speaks at homeschooling conferences, and churches, as well as marriage and parenting seminars.

Finally, the information he teaches around the nation will be available to listeners like you. Each broadcast will be about a half hour and will feature interviews and thoughtful commentary from Israel and his guests.

Prepare Your Child for Success

Prepare your child for success

Prepare Your Child For Success

We all want our children to grow up to have joyful, successful lives. We educate our children at home to give them the best we can give and pray that they will walk in God’s blessings. Is there more we can do to set them up for a successful life?


DG: The Secret To Success is a message I share with teens and adults on a regular basis. It’s so simple and yet so many people miss it.

What is DG?

DG is Delayed Gratification. Yikes! It doesn’t sound that interesting or fun! But, it can turn everything around. In my podcast I talk about how delayed gratification sets us up for success in our finances, relationships, career, education, and walk with the Lord.

We do the hard work first and save the fun for last.

It sounds to simple, but in a day and age where we want instant gratification and to buy now and pay later, it is hard to resist our flesh and postpone what we want.

How Does DG Work?

If we work hard, save up money, tithe, and live on a budget, we will have money to do some of the things we long for, but not right away. We will have to forego some things to wait to do others, but we will experience the joy of financial freedom (no debt!). Don can’t wait and gets whatever he wants right away. His house is filled with computers, tablets, speakers, screens, and video games, but his credit card is maxed. His wife wishes he would practice DG.

If we wait to be married for romantic pleasures and wait on God to bring a mate who shares our love for Jesus, we will set our marriage up for success.

If we work and finish schoolwork first instead of playing hours of video games (or other distractions) and then getting it done, we will be able to reward ourselves with fun after the job is done!

Unfortunately, many teens and adults that I talk to have already build patterns and habits that are hard to break into their lives. They have to retrain themselves and I share ways to strengthen the DG muscle in my podcast:

However, what a blessing if we can acquire the habit of DG in our young years, so that we walk in delaying gratification as a habit.

How Can I Help My Children Walk in DG?

Of course, we can model it for our children because more is caught than taught.

We can also set up our daily schedule to practice delayed gratification.

Rachel decided that she would start teaching her children to delay gratification. She moved their schedule around purposefully. “Here’s the agenda for the day (chores and schoolwork). If we finish everything with excellence (not mediocrity!), then we will treat ourselves to …. (playing a game, making cookies, doing a messy art project together, watching a short video).”

If the work isn’t finished, there is no reward. This ties hard work and waiting (delaying gratification) to a reward. Her children didn’t like the idea of first that if they didn’t finish their schoolwork, they couldn’t watch a video (their favorite thing!), but Rachel held fast and after a week, the grumbling stopped.

Sally and her kids wanted to go to the Creation Museum, so they figured out how much money it would cost. They got a big jar out and started filling it with money they earned doing extra jobs, having a garage sale, and money gifts from grandparents. When they had enough money, they planned the trip. This strategy built DG into the whole family. They were working hard and waiting for a reward. Now, Sally could have just put it on the credit card, but her kids would have missed out on an important lesson.

Of course, we don’t need to reward all hard work and we don’t need to earn every fun thing, but purposefully structuring our children’s lives in the early years to work first and play later will build that DG muscle and make it easier in the years ahead.

Setting our children up for success isn’t that hard. We just need to be purpose and proactive in teaching them to delay gratification.

God Bless You!

Meredith Curtis

Finish Well Radio at the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network


Mommy Jammies Night with LaToya Edwards

Thank you to tonight’s sponsor: Sony Pictures / Affirm Films: The Star



La Toya Edwards {Mommy Jammies Night}

Hi! I’m LaToya, a certified Christian Life Coach and mentor. I am a recovering perfectionist and control freak who loves old movies, good books, and strawberry Häagen-Dazs® ice cream.  A few years ago I traded in a law degree to stay home and homeschool my boys and I never looked back!

When my first marriage fell apart and I found myself a single mom with two kids trying to be mom, student, and take care of the house I was beyond overwhelmed.

Fast-forward a few years and I was facing the biggest trial of my life.  I was healing from an abusive marriage, my children were dealing with PTSD, and I was struggling to keep my faith in God. I had stopped dreaming and hoping for the future.

One day I found the strength to get up and start moving forward. I started praying, fasting, and studying my Bible like never before. I was able to dream again and live a life full of passion and purpose.  I started enjoying my children and my work.In short, I started living again. And I have only grown stronger and found more peace every single day.

Through trials of divorce, depression, death, and abuse I have learned how to find joy and God’s purpose and plan in broken circumstances. Those hard times were when I grew the most spiritually. I faced my fears and found a strength I never knew that I had. It is my hope that through this blog I can encourage and equip you to do the same.

I don’t have all the answers but I can share my own struggles and a few tips and tricks that have helped me along the way. You will find encouragement and inspiration for growing closer to God and stronger in your faith!  VISIT LATOYA today and be inspired! >>> I want to be inspired!


Tonight’s Topic: Weathering Life’s Storms with LaToya Edwards

Check out her new book:

Come to the well | How to connect with God through journaling - LaToya Edwards

Special thanks to homeschooling dad, musician, and editing professional Sean Dehart


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit to learn more.

Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Veteran Homeschool Mom

Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Veteran Homeschool Mom

Do you have questions you’ve always wanted to ask a veteran homeschool mom?

I’ve been homeschooling and homeschool mentoring long enough I think I’ve heard every question that can be asked. Maybe.

Here’s some I’ve gleaned from around social media along with my opinion answers.

Q: What is the best form of homeschooling?

A: Whatever brings your children home. Seriously. For Christians, providing a Christian education for our children isn’t an option or even a calling. It’s a mandate given by God throughout Scripture. That being said, you want a method of education that does several things. One thing would be to uphold the authority of Scripture. Another would be to allow you to disciple your kids. If you get these two things done, you’ve done a lot. I personally used the Principle Approach method.

Q: How did you trust that in the end your child would be smarter, better off, and not held back?

A: It was really a journey. So much was riding on the oldest doing well. I mean, everyone was watching and waiting for me to mess up or throw in the towel. I had to place faith in the fact that I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do (conviction), and that my method supported that. After that, what good is comparing? Each child’s an individual anyway and God had a plan and purpose for each of them- regardless.

Q: How do you balance housework, meals, laundry…etc, when your kids are young and need more direct instruction and attention?

A: Honestly? Sometimes, barely. Things like a laundromat, crockpot, and tidying as we went along helped. But, we had a lot of cereal for dinner (my husband worked nights), and held sock-mating parties for fun. You do the best you can do. Ask for help if it’s available. I promise it passes.

Q: How did you handle the high school years to make sure they would be accepted into a college?

A: By keeping on track in middle school. We looked at what they thought they wanted to do and what college they wanted to attend (if they wanted to attend college) and had a gap year to focus on any academic weak areas.

Q: What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?

A: If do-overs were a real thing, I’d not listen to what other people thought so much and focus on a strong understanding of the application of Scriptural principles. I’d have tackled more philosophy. Mainly, I’d have spent less time on things that distracted me. And I didn’t have social media to intrude! I’d pointed them to Jesus a lot more!

Q: How do you stay motivated?

A: One day at a time. Write out your philosophy of education, you’re “why” you homeschool. Remind yourself of the blessings.

Q: How do you know if you are doing too much or not enough? In kindergarten when they are starting to learn the foundation of everything how do you know you are teaching enough?

A: The best meter I’ve found for knowing this is by monitoring the stress level in the home. I had one child that hid from me when I brought out the phonograms. Turns out she had a vision issue. If I’d have insisted on her doing them, we may have harmed her love of learning.

Also, gaining consent from the child to be taught. If you have this (through relationship building), you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more schooling. This will also cover the motivation of the child.

Q: How do you shut up your negative thoughts, mommy guilt during these rough high school years?

A: Give yourself grace. Pray. Ask forgiveness when necessary. Don’t give up. God is a parent and look at Adam. It’ll be okay.

Q: How do you plan your homeschool?

A: Pinterest. Just kidding. Kinda. Seriously, though- plan with the end in mind. Think big picture to particulars. Whole to part. There are a bazillion planners for just getting the what you do on what day down. Beyond that- I always journaled my planning.

Q: What about socialization?

A: Fooled ya! You know I’m not going to answer that one!

I hope this has proven helpful to you. If you have a question I’ve not answered, drop me a comment and I’ll try to help!


Gina Glenn is a veteran homeschool mom to four {nearly all} grown children and author of the Principle Approach Primer. You can find Gina at

5 Hidden Benefits to Staying Stuck | Kat Sturtz

5 Hidden Benefits to Staying Stuck | Kat Sturtz


Topic: The 5 Hidden Benefits of Staying Stuck

Get your freebie from Kat here:

Show Notes:

If you’re human, you’ve struggled with managing time, managing projects, and managing life. A 1,000 self-help books and courses won’t help you get past procrastination if you don’t look at the elephant in the room! WHY? Why do you choose to procrastinate? Why avoid projects and things that need to be done?

Join Kat & Gina as they chat about specific action steps you can take to move forward and discover the 5 Hidden Benefits of Staying Stuck!

(Scroll to bottom for player.)

From Kat:

Ready to Rock Your Unique Path to Success?

•  Do the words ” Just Do It ” make you cringe? •  Feel like everyone got the how-to instructions but you? •  Tired of being stuck … confused about what to do next? •  Worried … fearful … lacking confidence? •  Afraid to waste more time on programs that promised BIG … … but left you feeling small and inadequate?

It’s time to try something new. An entirely different approach. One that recognizes what makes YOU unique and will help you finally take those next vital steps forward with clarity and confidence. Best of all, it won’t cost you a dime to take it and put it to good use.

As an experienced author, editor, speaker, business coach, practical intuition expert, and energy techniques practitioner, my passion is helping small business entrepreneurs and service providers who:

  • Have BIG and BOLD dreams.
  • Have a history of modest triumphs but are struggling to get a new or stalled dream moving.
  • Are working hard but seriously doubting if the success they seek is really possible for them.
  • Are wondering why the same smarts and skills and persistence that produced good, even great, results before seem to be failing them now.
  • Are ready for change and committed to taking responsibility to make things happen.



Connect with Kat Sturtz
Facebook page:
Main Website:
About page:

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit to learn more.

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