Help Your Child Become a Stronger Reader ~ Plus Limited Time Special Offer

The biggest struggle I have had in our homeschool, has been teaching my children how to read. My oldest was an avid reader at an early age. My other 3 children struggled with reading. It took them much longer to be able to read on their own without my help.

Help Your Child Become a Stronger Reader plus a special offer from Reading Eggs! #readinghelp #homeschoolreading #readingeggs #homeschooldeals

I believe my oldest was able to read earlier because I had more free time to work with him. He is 6 years older than my next child. After my 2nd oldest was born they started coming around 2 years apart! At one point, I had one in middle school, one with dyslexia, another that needed weekly physical therapy and a baby. To top that all off, I began working from home shortly after having my fourth child.

It sure is hard to find that balance of being able to spend extra time with a struggling reader, when you have so many other things that you are juggling at once. This is where technology can come in quite handy and really be a blessing in your homeschool. I have to be honest, when I first started homeschooling I wasn’t a fan of putting a child in front of a screen, but sometimes you just have to do what you need to do! There is no judgement here. Sometimes we are in survival mode, and that’s okay, at least we are able to still be with our children everyday.  I am so thankful for the opportunities that are available to us now vs. when I started homeschooling 17 years ago.

I have a child that would get extremely frustrated sitting next to me being pushed to read words outloud that she struggled with. It was a daily fight and so exhausting. I would put this same child in front of a computer reading program, and she would excel! She really enjoys the games because it doesn’t feel like school, and it is exciting and engaging. I would have to set a timer to have her stop, because she would want to keep playing. She was actually learning to read and I didn’t have to do anything!

Reading Eggs is one of those programs that children look forward to doing for their school time! It really does make reading easy and fun! They are offering a special 4 week FREE access to new subscribers. Sign up today and watch your child become a stronger reader this Back-to-School season! A multi-award winning online learning program for children ages 2–13, Reading Eggs supports the essential foundations of reading with its highly engaging lessons, games, and e-books!

You can register for your FREE trial by clicking this link HERE.

Hurry, offer ends October 19th! *Valid for new customers only.

FREE Everything High School Planner plus Blue Print for Life Printables

School is finally upon us, I know many of you are homeschooling a high school age student. I am sure you are still trying to navigate the waters of planning and coordinating their subjects, electives and teaching them the life skills and organization skills they need to be successful.

FREE High School Planner and Blue Print for Life with teaching tips for highschool. #homeschoolhighschool #homeforlearning

Homeschooling through high school is not an easy task. It takes a lot of prayer,  planning and organization. It will be one of most rewarding things you ever do and the time spent one on one with your teen during planning will be help to build your relationship together. If you do not have a highschooler at the moment this planner is still for you. It never hurts to think ahead to the future and have an idea of goals you want to achieve in your homeschool.

The theme of this month’s printable is all about having a blueprint for life for your homeschool. Even you have a high schooler to be this will be of great value just as much as if you are currently homeschooling high school. There are over 50 pages of encouragement from Felice who is a veteran in the homeschooling community. She has successfully graduated FIVE children from Kindergarten through High School Graduation and shares her insider tips with you!

We hope you are blessed by this month’s planner. It includes all the normal monthly planning printables you have all grown to love, (calendars, meal planning sheets and 4 square planner), but includes a very special Blue Print for Life Lesson and Bible Study just for you. There are also additional high school planning helps and goal sheets that Felice has personally used to successfully graduate her children with honors!

Included in this month’s printable pack is:

  • September Monthly Calendar
  • Fun National and USA Celebrations for the Month
  • Home School Goal Sheets
  • High School Goal Sheets
  • Goals for the Month
  • Printable Scripture Cards
  • Plans for the Month
  • BluePrint for Life – Lesson Plan and Bible Study to go along with THIS PODCAST.
  • Planning Sheet for Student and Parent
  • High School Transcript Help
  • Four Square Planning
  • Meal Planning
  • 3 Month Planner
  • And Much More!

You can receive this printable pack and a new freebie bonus pack each month by clicking HERE to sign up now!

Back To Homeschool

Back To Homeschool | Try a new back to homeschool tradition this year! | #backtoschool #homeschool

Back to HomeSchool!

By: Samantha Anne Moss

How do you feel about going back to homeschool? Are you excited, unhappy, or nervous? If you are like me, you feel all three! I am sure that you never complain about school, but for those of you that do, I have a few ideas that should make this school year easier. I will list them in a minute, along with some other suggestions, but first I want to ask you a question.

During the end of summer, do you ever get bored? Well, I do! I seem to find myself saying, “Mom, what should I do?” or “I am bored!” As I am sure you know, moms always help you think of something to do, but most of the time the ideas don’t sound too appealing! Some of my mom’s great ideas consist of things like cleaning your room or doing your chores. Naturally, I immediately find something else to do, especially if those are options for something to do and not chores! When school starts, I am always excited to be busy and learning new things… at least for the first week!

Back to Homeschool Fun!

So, once the novelty of going back to homeschool has worn off, how do you keep it fun? You may be thinking, “she is crazy.” Well, learning can be fun, but first, you must work hard on the subjects assigned and help with your given chores! Oh, great, I am starting to sound like my mom (not that that is a bad thing)!

If you complete your schoolwork early in the day, you have a better chance of having free time to do your own thing. I enjoy free time activities such as an art project I can work on each day or reading a favorite book. I know when we’ve completed our school work ahead of time our mom surprises us with an unexpected field trip! I love going to museums, parks, or historical sights and learning fun things as well as enjoying time spent with my friends.

Another reason to finish your work efficiently is to allow for time to do science experiments! No fancy kits are needed; we do lots of experimenting with around the house supplies. (My grandmother wrote a book, Teaching Science and Having Fun my mom is even the model on the cover when she was about my age, twelve! This book has home-supply lists and do-it-yourself lab kits.) My family loves to do science experiments.

My brothers favorite is making a baking soda and vinegar explosion. This is a perfect example of something that is cheap, and it is an easy experiment that almost anyone can do. If you want to bring this experiment up a notch then you might consider purchasing (or making) a fake volcano that you can dump baking soda to vinegar into, don’t forget to try different ratios of baking powder and vinegar. My siblings and I, along with our Uncle Mike, did this and had a blast! Our volcano was made of an upside-down cut, aluminum foil (on a tray) and Plaster Paris that was molded around the foil. After it hardened, we painted it! This just shows you that you can have fun and count it as school.

Homeschool Co-Ops are fun, and we have joined several during my years of homeschooling. This puts children in groups, and the activities are led by the parents. This keeps the fun in back to homeschool! Each co-op is different, and you can do many of these suggestions at home as well. There are enough people in my own family to have our own co-op!

Another fun idea is to do a STEM project! (I didn’t know they were called STEM projects until I wrote this, but regardless they are so much fun!) All you need to have on hand for this project is toothpicks and mini marshmallows! You can create engineering marvels such as building bridges, pyramids, and all sorts of other things. We did this fun building project with our co-op, and my brother insisted that it needed to be included in this year’s back to homeschool fun!

It is easy to make almost any design using these tools. My older sister Emma built a pyramid that was bigger than her head! She is very focused when it comes to these types of activities. There is one thing that always gives us a problem that requires quick thinking. The little kids (our younger siblings) tend to like to eat this experiment rather than build it. I must admit that it is not just the little kids that want to eat the mini-marshmallows necessary for this project, my friends and I ate our fair share too! Our co-ops are so much fun and educational. It is also a bonus that I get to see my friends.

I hope that this gives you a different perspective on starting your back to homeschool with a good attitude that lasts throughout the year! Also, the reward of starting and finishing your schoolwork quickly. Who has the time to complain about school work? Especially when there are so many fun things to do once it is done! I hope that you try some of these fun ideas, begin projects that interest you, and do some fun experiments. After all, learning is fun!

To see another article by Samantha Moss visit here.

About the author:

Samantha Anne Moss is a twelve-year-old homeschooler who lives in southwest Florida with her family. She enjoys reading, photography, and playing the piano. Samantha is the second oldest in a family of eight children.

Copyright 2019 – All Rights Reserved Samantha Anne Moss






Not “Back to School” Traditions

We have been homeschooling for over 15 years now. A lot of moms enjoy planning and organizing for their homeschool year and are excited to get back to school. I personally enjoy NOT going back to school! When summer wraps up, and the local schools go back into session, it is my favorite time of year!

Find out about our special Not Back to School Tradition and be inspired to create some of your own. #notbacktoschool #homeforlearning #homeschoolfamily

Most families have a first day of school tradition:

I have always enjoyed celebrating the first day of school with my children. We start our homeschool on Labor Day. Most times my husband has the day off so he can start our school day with us and help to lay down the rules and pray with us on our first day. He will usually go and get donuts, or we will cook a big breakfast.

After breakfast, we give them some first day of school gifts. These are usually school supplies, a homeschool t-shirt or a new water bottle. It’s like Christmas though, and they get so excited and look forward to their gifts! Then we ease into school with the annual first day of school photos. We start our day with prayer, introduce the new subjects and things we will be learning and we get to work!

We have a special “Not Back to School” Tradition as well:

Our family really enjoys camping. We have a camper that we take out often. Camping can be such a fun vacation or staycation for your family. It is inexpensive and there are great memories that can be made. Some people stress out with camping, and yes, it can be stressful getting everything packed up and set up. Once we are finally there we can breathe, relax and enjoy our family!

Since we love camping so much, and we don’t start school until Labor Day, we decided to start the tradition of a “Not Back to School” Camping Trip! We live in Florida, so we love to visit the fun, touristy places that have water or pools,  that are usually busy all summer. Come back to school time, these places are dead! Since we are not going back to school, it is the perfect time to visit these crowded locations. We enjoy camping at Fort Wilderness at Disney World, or at campgrounds on the beach that are usually booked up months in advance. End of August is usually the slow, low peak season and you can find some great deals. You will also find almost empty campgrounds. It’s the perfect time to camp, or hang out on the beach, or visit a waterpark.

We even get our oldest involved with us. We plan our trip a few days before his college classes start back up so that he can come with us. It is a cherished time together as a family. We plan a special dinner out, plan fun campfire meals, and sight seeing and local activities. Since we live in Florida, we make sure to plan a bunch of these around water because it is still super hot! When we come back, we still have a full week after our trip so that I can finish my homeschool planning. I come back refreshed and ready to say goodbye to summer and take on the new school year!

If you enjoy camping with your family you will also enjoy these posts:

Activities Kids Love – camping is a favorite!

101 Staycation Ideas – a staycation is a great “not back to school” tradition!

Teamwork Wilderness Adventure – this is a fun podcast, and would be a great tradition for older teens.

Here are some other fun ideas for “not back to school” traditions:

  • Not Back to School Waterpark Trip – lots of my friends here in Florida, will visit a waterpark on the first day of school.
  • Not Back to School Amusement Park Trip – if you can save up some of your vacation money, visiting an amusement park during the first week of school will guarantee low crowds!
  • Special Lunch out to a busy restaurant – pick a fun, busy restaurant and go during the middle of the week, during the day to celebrate not going back to school
  • Movie Day – go see a popular summer hit in the middle of the day, when everyone else is in school!
  • Beach or Lake Day – visit a beach, lake or spring and enjoy no crowds!
  • I love this tradition from Felice – “We would always go the beach the end of summer each year for dinner. There is a favorite pizza place right by the beach. After dinner, we would take our pictures dressed up with the beach in the background to mark our new year. Then we would go get ice cream!”

What are some of your favorite “Not Back to School” Traditions? We would love to hear them in the comment section!

11 Funky Fresh Back to Homeschool Celebration Ideas (and Giveaway!)

Rock your back to homeschool celebrations with these 11 funky fresh ideas and a $250 giveaway | Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network #homeschool #homeschooling #backtoschool #podcast

Okay, honestly. Are you sitting there wondering what in the world  is a funky fresh back to back to homeschool celebration? It’s that type of back to homeschool celebration idea every homeschool mom needs in order to get back in the groove after a super awesome summer break. You know what I mean. I’m that mom. You’re that mom. So let’s get to it.

Here are your 11 Funky Fresh Back to Homeschool Celebration Ideas.

Funky Fresh Back to Homeschool Countdown

Okay, to make the list, the idea had to have 2 criteria. First, it had to be funky. And by funky I mean it had to be something your kids enjoy, but also might roll their eyes at. (If you allow your kids to roll their eyes. Which of course, no self-respecting homeschool perfectionist ever would.)

Second, it had to be fresh. Fresh as in new and not your typical back to homeschool countdown lists.  And of course, it had to be a back to homeschool celebration.  Are you ready, mama? Let’s do this thing.

1. Host a Popcorn and Movie Party

Don’t dust of those homeschool books just yet. Mom, you have the power to make a back to school celebration they’ll remember all year long. You can host a popcorn and movie party. All day.

Here’s some help:

2. Matching Tee Shirts

Visit your local Hobby Lobby or Walmart and grab some low price tee shirts, tee shirt paint, markers, or even tie dye. Put a tablecloth down on the kitchen table and let everyone go to town designing their own back to homeschool celebration tee shirt. If you want them to match, add your homeschool theme or Bible verse. Voila! Insta worthy.

3. Write a Homeschool Anthem

You can totally do this. Pick a familiar tune, such as your state song or favorite hymn. Change out the words to reflect your unique homeschool. Keep it fun and reverent. Dad can vote on the winner (if you’re the competitive type family), or treat everyone to a trip for soft serve ice cream to celebrate.

4. Start with a Field Trip Someplace Weird

Search out an unusual and  unique to your region field trip spot and make a day of it. It doesn’t need to be educational. Fun is the name of the game. It can be food related, someplace you love to go, or someplace you’ve never been.

If you really can’t stand the thought of someplace unusual, you can still use this idea, try this article, Homeschooling by the Field Trip Method.

For the adventurous moms, (you know who you are):

5. Host an Open House

I know, you’re thinking NO WAY. After all, you get enough flack over homeschooling. The last thing you want to do is invite the naysayers in! I’m not talking about that type of open house. I’m suggesting you organize your homeschool stuff, go ahead and have your first week of homeschooling, and on that weekend invite the welcoming grandparents and family members over to celebrate with you. Show off your best sample from last year or the week and let your more outgoing kiddos share a poem, picture, or paper. Go ahead and brag a little on all those color coordinated binders.

Need some insight or tips? Here you go:

6. Paper Shredding

Every year should be a fresh start for your kids, and for you. Why not make it official? You can pick up an inexpensive paper shredder from Walmart or Amazon for the event. Explain to your students that last year was last year. It’s time for a fresh start. Allow them to pick something from their last year’s work, or write a list that only they read. One by one shred the list or work. When the little ceremony is done, give thanks in prayer for new beginnings.

7. Audio Book Bonanza

If you’re looking for a non visual way to have some non bookish back to homeschool celebration fun, try audiobooks. Let the kiddos draw, craft, play legos, play a board game, or rest while listening to audiobooks. Our family enjoyed Lamplighters, Laura Ingalls, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Your Story Hour.

Need some more audio inspiration? Listen in:

8. Homeschool in Reverse

Be a student in your own homeschool for the day. Let the kids take turns as instructor. Encourage fun and parody. It’s worthwhile to establish ground rules so parody doesn’t get taken too far and feelings aren’t hurt. But, if you’re a family who enjoys and thrives on this kind of fun, let me tell you, you’ll learn heaps about how your kids view their homeschool experience. Keep an open mind and heart.

9. Different Decade Homeschool Day

I could’ve called this one Homeschool Appreciation Day, for truly we stand on the shoulders of giants in homeschooling. Pick a decade when homeschooling wasn’t legal in your state, or when legislation was oppressive. Don’t scare your kids, but do help them see how the freedom to homeschool was hard won. Give thanks in prayer for the freedom to legally homeschool.

Grateful to homeschool research list:

and Internationally:  Finland: Heroic Single Mother Withstands School Officials

10. Christmas List Making Homeschool Style

Who doesn’t love to shop or make a wish list? Collect catalogs from homeschooling vendors, visit, visit your favorite homeschool website, or even buzz the Walmart with notepads in hand. Give each student a budget then make a wish list of items related to learning that you’d love to have show up under your make believe homeschool tree.

11: Back to Homeschool Giveaway

Hey, $250 buckaroos isn’t anything to sneeze at. 🙂 Enter to win the gift card and snag some funky fresh  stuff for your homeschool. Or spend on yourself, Mom. We won’t tell. Best of luck! (Be sure to subscribe to our emails  where everyone gets a FREEBIE & where the winner will be announced!)

Have an awesome, funky fresh back to homeschool celebration. Send us pics! We’d love to celebrate with you.

PS. Some day we can chat about why Homeschool Karaoke didn’t make the list. 🙂

*This article was written for The Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network by Gina Glenn, copywriter and podcast hostess of Mommy Jammies Podcast.

Homeschool Giveaway

It’s Back to (Home) School time!!

It’s that time of year, when many homeschoolers are busy preparing for a new school year.  Some of you may have already started your new year, and some of you may have never stopped!

I’ve gotten together with a great group of bloggers to make getting ready for the new school year just a little bit easier and hopefully a little less stressful on your wallet.  How does $250 sound in helping you buy curriculum, books, games, puzzles, and educational supplies?  Two people will win a $250 gift card to!!

We know homeschooling can put financial strain on families – whether it’s from living on one-income or buying curriculum for your children – the financial aspect of it can be stressful.  Our hope is that we can bless a couple of homeschool families (although we wish we could bless many more) so they can buy the curriculum and supplies they need.

To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Now I know that is quite a few entries for you, but each of these bloggers has generously chipped in their own money to make this giveaway possible, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries.  And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!

Giveaway ends August 16th, 2019 at 11:59pm ET.  Must be at least 18 years of age.  Must be a resident of U.S. or Canada to enter.  Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form for the complete list).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PPS. For more funky fresh (and also serious, sigh) homeschool fun, join the Podcast Family Facebook group.

Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!

FREE All About Teaching Planner Guide and Learning Printables for Kids

Summer is almost over, and that means that many of us have either already started school, or we are planning to very soon. Homeschool planning can be very exciting, it can also be nerve wracking and overwhelming if you are a beginner. FREE All About Teaching Planner Guide and Learning Printables for Kids #ultimatehomeschoolpodcastnetwork #UHPN #freehomeschoolplanners #homeschoolprintables

We have many veterans here at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network that are here to encourage you that you can do this! Maybe you have been doing this homeschooling thing for awhile now and are discouraged or burnt out. We are here to inspire you to keep fighting the good fight and to continue this journey with some new tips and helps. Homeschooling is such a blessing because it allows us the freedom to teach our children in a way that they learn best. It gives us amazing opportunities to let them express themselves in the safety of their own homes and the freedom and time to pursue those interests.

Felice’s own daughter began writing her very first novel at 12 years old because she was passionate about writing. She didn’t know how to write a book, or what was involved in doing so, but together they figured out! They were so successful with this endeavor that she went on to write a trilogy of creation science books for other homeschoolers! Not only did they add more books to the series, Felice was so inspired by her own daughter that they went on to write study guides, and create an entire membership platform which includes all of the books. You can find all of those amazing resources on our Membership Site HERE.

This month’s printable pack shares their story, and it encourages you to allow your children the freedom to create and learn from their experiences in your homeschool. You will be inspired by Felice’s stories of how different her children are, and where they are at in their adult lives now, and be encouraged in your journey. Not only is there encouragement and prayers for your new school year, there are over 50 printables to help you along the way. I especially love the teaching tips! In addition to encouragement and helps for you, there are always fun printables included to keep your kids busy while you pray over and plan for your new school year!

Included in this month’s printable pack is:

  • Planner for School
  • Goals for the New School Year
  • Teaching Tips
  • Teaching with Laughter
  • Wonder Bubbles
  • Memory Work
  • Printable Check off Lists
  • Printable Journaling Pages
  • Scripture Copywork
  • Fun Printable Sheets
  • And Much More!

You can receive this printable pack and a new freebie bonus pack each month by clicking HERE to sign up now!

Teaching Tips

homeschooler-learning-map-skills-studies-globeTeaching Tips You Can Use In Your Homeschool

After over thirty years of homeschooling, I have so many teaching tips that really work! And, I love my children, and no one loves my children more than I do! No one. So, who is the best teacher? I am (and so are you)!

Even the most highly degreed teacher doesn’t have what you do and with all of the resources available today you don’t need to know the information to teach it. My children’s education has centered around everything from hands-on materials, science labs taught at home and trips to visit historical sites. We collected rocks in Georgia, climbed mountains (they climbed, I watched), went on hiking trips to various falls, collected fall leaves (we live in Florida so this was a treat), visited Washington DC, went to Canada and New York among many other places. Our learning was experiential and memorable.

And that is the crux. Teaching should be memorable or what is the point. Fast forward and all of my kids are now adults and successful in college, their jobs and with their families.

In a nutshell here are some of my Top 20+ Teaching Tips.

  1. One of my favorite teaching tips is creating a Family Statement of Faith – either a scripture verse or a motto. (As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.)
  2. This is another of my favorites! We begin every day with prayer – praying for others, The Pledge of Allegiance (someone got to hold the flag each day), and basic memory work depending on their age.
  3. A plan. Do you have a schedule? A list of books you will use? An actionable plan with goals.
  4. Don’t recreate the school in the home. Recess, lunch breaks, etc. Do try to take a moving break in between subjects, it helps stimulate the brain… No electronics – not even a computer except if you need it for school.Phones away from the school area.
  5. Organization is your friend. (Links) Organization Link here) Be sure to keep a large notebook with samples of the child’s work for each year. It can be divided into subjects and added to weekly or at least every two weeks. It makes the end of the year evaluation so much easier.
  6. Have time to do school and protect this time from interruption.
  7. Plan outings – field trips, or even trips to the dentist (which can be used as a field trip no matter what the age!) If these are on a master schedule it really helps.
  8. A year-long schedule
  9. Give your children a chance to speak in front of the family. This builds public speaking skills.
  10. Resources – I loved teaching with charts (more on this later), and real books, biographies (will do a podcast on this as well). This network is a great resource UHPN! Homeschool Highschool Podcast, College Prep Genius, Making Biblical Family Life Practical, Homeschool Sanity, Homeopathy for Mommies, Finish Well Radio, Homeschooling with Technology, Life as a Lifeschooler, Soft Skills, and so many more in our More Shows category.
  11. My recommendation with little kids is lots of hands-on and experiential learning.
  12. Teaching phonics, with a tactile approach (saltbox), etc, is important and basic math concepts.
  13. Multiple modalities like reading, writing, listening, discussions, and even acting or presenting the information. While tests are often expected in learning settings I avoided these and instead used opportunities to test my children’s ability to remember.
  14. Reading the kids good books begins when they are tiny and in our family extended through their teen years. We read a wonderful series like Little House on the Prarie and so many more. Some of our happiest memories surround reading.
  15. Learning is based upon the interest of the child, the interesting information and the instructor’s ability to engage. If you look at school like it is a chore your children will as well!
  16. Memorization using charts. We had number charts, fraction charts, bird charts, birds of prey, the states, the musical instruments in an orchestra and so many other charts. I used these each morning or during our breaks from schoolwork in order to break up the day, and have a fun activity that they enjoyed. I even made up a “test” of sorts. A list of the birds for example and when I pointed to them the kids could tell me the name of the bird.
  17. Read the material ahead and give a brief explanation with key points written on a marker board. (The kids can take notes. Answer questions, orally or by researching it.)
  18. Have the student read a book and write a one or two-page synopsis – they can teach the “class” what they learned.
  19. Incremental – with books you read, and workbooks/questions that are answered.
  20. Unit study. You become immersed in a topic or subject. You teach it though history, science, art – even music. You can study almost every subject (except for math) using this approach.
  21. Student lead – the child can explore topics of interest and learn all about it.
  22. Performances – kids learn by teaching others, as well as giving an oral report. Make this a key part of your homeschool even if you have an only child. Bring over friends and do this together.

Teaching tips that are the most useful are the ones that you feel will make your life easier!

10 Tech Tips and Tricks for Homeschool Families

homeschool mom planning and using tech to schedule her homeschool10 Tech Tips and Tricks for Homeschool Families

By Meryl van der Merwe


Homeschooling is time-consuming and homeschool moms are constantly juggling many things at once. I decided this was the perfect time of the year to share 10 tech tips and tricks that help me to be more productive and organized. Best of all, these tools are free!

Simplify Your Life With Google Drive

If you aren’t already using Google Drive and the Google Drive apps, be sure to listen to episode 2 of my Homeschooling With Technology podcast to learn other ways you can use these amazing apps! Google Drive apps make it easy to share anything: documents, spreadsheets, slides, surveys and more can all be shared with your children, husband, and homeschool friends.

Using Google for Homeschool Assignments

When your children submit assignments using Google docs or slides, you can comment and make suggestions for improvements right in the document. Because you simply share the Google Drive files with others, you are both always looking at the latest version. You save time and effort (and confusion) since you avoid emailing multiple files back and forth! If another user accidentally messes up someone else’s changes you can easily go back to an earlier version! Google saves your changes automatically.

Send Large Files Using Google Drive

Ever tried to email a video or other large file to someone and you can’t because the file is too large? Just upload it to Google Drive and then share the link and you are set!

Organize Links With Evernote

How many times have you found an amazing website, read a great blog post, or watched an interesting video – and thought you would remember where you saw it? Bookmark them all so you can come back to them whenever you want. There are many ways to bookmark links, but my favorite is to use Evernote. Create folders and save links in the relevant folder so they stay organized. If you use the Chrome browser, there is an Evernote extension that lets you “clip” any URL or highlighted text to save it in your folders.

Keep Your Browser Uncluttered

Maybe you are like me – really bad at having a LOT of tabs open at the same time. Recently I discovered a tool that has helped me declutter my browser. Often when I see something mentioned in a newsletter or a blog post that looks interesting, I am not yet certain that I want to save it. Now instead of keeping the tab open (which slows down my poor laptop dramatically), I use Toby! It allows me to drag the open tabs into a storage place. The Toby extension is available for the Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers which makes the process super fast. Now I assign things I see to Toby and when I am ready to go through them, I open a new tab – and there they are.

Digital Scheduling Tips

When you use technology to schedule your children’s schoolwork and chores, it is simple to update their schedules every week or even daily. Effortlessly copy the parts of the schedule that remain the same and only update what needs to change.  Move part of the schedule to another day using Google Sheets or the Google Calendar. These are both great scheduling tools but my personal favorite is Trello. With Trello you can have lists for each child and use those to post their assignments or chores for each day. They can check tasks off as they complete them allowing you to keep track of how they are doing. Trello is available for desktop or as an app, so it is ideal for teens who like being on their phones.

Online Study Tools

Online flashcards are great study tools! Websites like Studystack and Quizlet allow your students to learn with games and create their own flashcards. This is a fun way for them to review and hone their memory skills!

Streamline Grocery Shopping

For years now I have used the Anylist app on my iPhone. My husband and teens each had it on their phones so that whenever someone noticed something was running low they could add it to our list. The app is also great for keeping track of supplies for homeschool projects. With Anylist the shopping list is updated and on my phone, so no more shopping lists left at home! And if my husband is stopping at the grocery store on his way home, he can pick up everything else on the list and save me a trip.

Proofreading Tricks

Use Grammarly as your proofreader. Add the Grammarly extension to your Chrome toolbar and you have an automatic grammar and spelling checker everywhere you type online. In fact, it is what I am using as I type this post! Teach your children to use it to check their work. If you don’t use a Chrome browser, you can still sign up for Grammarly. Just cut and paste your child’s essay and Grammarly will highlight errors.

Stay Informed and Get Inspired

Keep up to date with your favorite podcasts! As you teach your children, don’t forget you need to grow and learn yourself. I struggle to find time to read the many blog posts I find, but podcasts have become my favorite way to self-educate. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network has many shows that are useful to homeschool students and parents.  The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network website (right here) makes it easy to find podcasts from experts on homeschooling and Christian parenting. You can subscribe and listen on your favorite apps, listen right here from the website or sign up for a weekly email with links directly to all your favorite homeschool podcasters.

In fact, if you found these tips and tricks useful, be sure to subscribe to my podcast, Homeschooling with Technology for more on using tech to simplify your homeschool and your life! Each podcast episode is just 15 minutes long but is full of practical information you can use every day. The beauty of following your favorite podcast is that you can listen while you exercise, on trips to the store or while waiting to fetch a child from an activity. You don’t even have to listen to a whole podcast at a time – sometimes it takes me all week to listen to a long episode. Most podcasts (mine included) have show notes, so it is easy to look up a resource that is mentioned when you get back to your computer.

More Planning Tools

Finally, it’s back to homeschool season and some of the best resources for planning a curriculum, adding fun to your lessons, creating a new schedule or organizing your days, can be found online. Visit with me at the Homeschooling With Technology podcast this week and find many more Online Resources to Help you Select Curriculum. I invite you to join in the discussion with the rest of our online community on Facebook and gather more ideas with us on Pinterest and Instagram.

Did you find these tips and tricks useful? Which are you already using and which do you plan to try? I would love to know – so leave me a comment here or email me!

Inspiring Kids To Be Honorable

Inspiring Kids To Be Honorable

Is inspiring kids to be honorable possible? Yes, it is but it takes consistency and a “secret” ingredient as you will soon learn! In our rush to raise the perfect child, we are missing the main point of parenthood and that is modeling the behavior we want to encourage our children to have. There is no one method that is going to ensure that your kids stay on the straight and narrow, but here are some things I’ve learned in my years of parenting since my first child was born in 1980. Yeah, do the math, that was quite some time ago!

People who are honorable are those that believe in a cause and have the backbone to stick to their moral code. These are the people who do heroic things, who care about what is important and ignore the rest, and who are an example for us all. People who are honorable can be trusted and counted upon because if they give their word, and their word is believed. Do we want that for our kids? Of course, we do!

Inspiring Kids to Be Honorable | Is inspiring kids to be honorable possible? Yes, it is but it takes consistency and a "secret" ingredient as you will soon learn! | #homeschool #honorablekids #honor


Warning! Rocky Road Ahead.

  1. Kids learn what we demonstrate not what we say.
  2. The best parents can raise kids that are ungrateful, loud and unproductive. Ask me how I know.
  3. The things you do go way further that the things you say.

I have five kids and while I love them all – we have to love our kids, right? I’ve have to be honest here and say that sometimes I had to pray to the Lord to help me love my kids. I’m being honest here.

Why do we have difficulty with some of our kids? When we see they are dishonest we look at the problem, not perhaps the reasons behind the why. For example, why do kids lie?

  1. Avoid getting in trouble – they don’t want to handle the punishment.
  2. Lie to self – ourselves can’t handle the truth.
  3. Don’t care – so what – it’s not that bad.

In the Bible, we read in Genesis that all that God made was good. After each creation we read the word, “God saw that it was good…” God created us good but our first parents were tempted by sin and so are we if we are honest and so are our kids. But all is not hopeless!

Inspiring Kids To Be Honorable means setting boundaries.

Some kids just don’t listen in the way you want and when your rules and regulations run out what are you going to do when a child doesn’t follow you leading? My husband and I lead by example but one thing we lacked was follow through! For some of our kids, a threat was all it took, for others they were, in my husband’s words, “gamblers.”

Here is what I can say without a shadow of a doubt and I hope these words find their mark within your heart. We can only lead our children to become honorable kids, we can’t make them.

We must model the behavior and encourage our children to do the same.

In raising our children, we had a big gap between our first two children and out last three. With the first two, video was new, the internet was slow and dial-up and smartphones were not invented yet. With the last three, CD players were in all the rooms, because how else could they listen to Adventures in Odyssey? And, soon iTouch was the latest device with mp3 making its debut. Our computers were never in the bedroom and security was on all devices. I made it my mission to become a techie and stay one step ahead of my kids. (Mike in college class couldn’t get to a website.)

I believe the greatest deterrent to Inspiring Kids To Be Honorable is the fact that our time is so limited and taken up with needless activities. Social media is a time waster in my opinion and all of the new apps just take more and more time away from our kids.

We want to instill kindness, honesty, values such as being respectful of family and friends, praying daily and making Christ the center of your life and our children’s lives. We want our kids to display modesty, be a lady or a gentleman – and of course realize that in our house anyway, chivalry is not dead!

Allowing Our Kids To Fail Is Key:

We also need to allow our kids to fail and that parents is something I have trouble doing … I tend to micromanage and when my kids come to me with a problem I am a problem solver! However, we need to ask them what they think and how they will approach the problem/ issue.

Allowing kids to fail in the safety of their own homes – my husband says we constantly save our kids and don’t allow them the bumps and bruises they need to thrive.

The problems escalate when we don’t correct dishonorable conduct. Our children will learn that they can get away with things and gamble. They will learn dishonorable habits. Kids lie for example because they are selfish and none of us want kids that are brats.

Our society also causes narcissistic activities – with selfies and social media that if focused on us, what we are doing and self-absorbed kids that feel entitled. Social media allows lying to happen more easily and allows for people to act in a way that they would never do in person. Keeping our kids off of social media as much as you can, especially when they are young is key.

In addition, if our kids are not corrected for their behavior and if they don’t have a grasp on self- control they will grow into kids that can’t handle differences. We see this today as well with kids that who act out when they hear things they don’t agree with, the term “snowflake” was attributed to college kids who had a meltdown after the Presidential election of 2016. People react violently when their views are not accepted by others, and lies are at an all-time high when it comes to people spreading false stories. Fake news is even a buzz word.

If you have young children that is wonderful news because it helps to start early! We can teach our children to do right over wrong and it should be done with love. Harsh discipline and punishments usually work in reverse or you will train your kids to be abusive adults. Yes, we must make sure our kids listen but the biggest key is praying. Yes, praying to God for help in your discipline. I can tell you story after story about how this has worked in my own parenting when all else fails.

Teach kids about paying it forward. Doing things for others without reward! For example volunteering. Volunteer at the nature center, plant trees, or set up your own volunteer situations.

Ask your church for families that need help, or visit the elderly at nursing homes. (Only well kids – elderly people get sick easily.)

The pull on our kids is very dangerous and very real. Just the other day a parent shared the need to discuss something morally reprehensible with her child because the issue came up with some friends. The blessing is the ability to discuss and the responsibility of parents to be the one discussing.

Inspiring Kids To Be Honorable:

  1. Lead by Example – our kids need to be grounded in what is right and true. Talking to kids helps but parents need to lead by example. You want your kids to read the Bible – then, you better be reading the Bible. (What you watch, read, etc.)
  2. Keep communication open with your children. Do they trust you to now “flip out” when they come to you with a question or problem? Tell them you are there for them and be there for them.
  3. Be Preemptive – what is being discussed today? Make sure it is age appropriate but be ready to give an answer. Moral divergence of today is alarming, but are you willing to look into gender issues so that you can discuss this your children when you/ they are ready? I had a discussion with my college kids this summer about the LBGT community, rights and learned a few things from them as well. Happily, our opinions are in alignment but I was ready with discussion questions if not.
  4. Know your kids – sometimes I feel that parents think their kids are strangers and they don’t understand them. I remember answering one of my students sarcastically when they said I didn’t understand teenagers, “Oh, yes you are right. I went from fifteen to twenty-three overnight and skipped all the years in-between.” This caused the student to pause and of course, laugh when he realized the humor in his statement and mine. We all went through what our kids are going through and our parents, I am sure wanted us to be honorable! Think back and remember your earlier years! (Some people say that you should tell your kids what you did wrong – sometimes I feel that is a license for kids to model their parents.)
  5. Let go and let God. The Almighty, if you are a believer is ultimately in charge of your life and ideally, this means God’s got this!





Get a Personalized and Custom Home Education with Bridgeway Academy

If you have multiple children that you are homeschooling, you know that every child has a different way of learning and taking in information. There can be lots of struggles and tears when your child isn’t being taught the way that they learn best. This is also how so many children can slip through the cracks in a school classroom setting. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can absolutely tailor our children’s education to be the best personal fit for them.

Get a Personalized and Custom Home Education with Bridgeway Academy #bridgewayhomeschoolacademy #bridgewayproud #homeschoolpodcastnetwork

If you have been homeschooling for any amount of time you know how overwhelming it can be to try to come up with curriculum that is the perfect fit for your children. This is why I am excited to share an amazing resource that we found that will do all the hard work for you! Bridgeway Academy was founded in 1989 and is a long distance, accredited academy for grades K-12. They understand that every child learns differently and they have come up with a wonderful solution with their homeschool program.

With their distance learning homeschool academy, you will get a personalized and custom home education for your children. With options to pick and choose the classes that will be the best fit for your children is a way to tailor their education just for them. They have classes for visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners. Bridgeway Academy has so much flexibility because they understand that there is not a one size fits all curriculum!

You can choose from:

Unique Homeschool Programs

There are two different types of customized homeschool programs. Choose from the option of different curriculum kits and textbooks tailored to your children’s specific learning style. You can also choose from the popular online homeschool courses to mix and match your child’s education. These online courses have a live teacher and other children in an online classroom setting. There are tons of courses to choose from that are as unique are your child. They offer courses for Kindergarten up through the 12th grade.

Private Homeschool Academy

Bridgeways’s private homeschool academy gives you all the benefits of a private school education with the flexibility of school at home! Being an accredited private school, you know that you are protected as a private school. There is no need to worry about keeping track of your records. This is great for a family that may have two working parents and doesn’t have the extra time to teach. It also works well for a parent who needs some extra help with record keeping and guidance.

What is so special about this academy is that it will give your child a personalized and custom home education. With each Total Care Package that will be designed to your child’s learning style. It includes everything you need to homeschool them. All the curriculum, grading, record keeping and support from an academic advisor all year long.

Get a Personalized and Custom Home Education with Bridgeway Academy #bridgewayhomeschoolacademy #bridgewayproud #homeschoolpodcastnetwork

If you are a busy, homeschooling parent who would like some help tailoring their child’s education in a hands-off way, then Bridgeway Academy may be the perfect fit for you!

Find out how you can get started building a personalized and custom home education for your children HERE!