Lessons Learned from God’s Plant Helpers ~ plus a $100 giveaway

Plants have always played a big role in my life. From the time I was little into my adult years, the forest and fields were dear to my heart. And, when I had children, I made sure to encourage this same love in them through outdoor learning adventures. We trekked through the woods on hiking expeditions, sometimes following letterboxing clues.

Lessons Learned from God’s Plant Helpers plus $100 Giveaway.

We visited nature centers, preserves, and caves. And, whenever possible, I encouraged them to see—really see—the trees and plants surrounding us. If God speaks to us through his creation, he speaks to us through his plant helpers, too. What secrets does God wish to share with us through them?

Invasive species, if left unchecked, take over.

An invasive species is one that is not native to the area, but brought in artificially. Very often, human activity is the root cause, but not always. Whatever way it happens, trees and plants that aren’t supposed to be there take up residence. Because they tend to be aggressive, adaptable, and hardy, they crowd out the native plants. Soon, the landscape is full of the invasive species and the whole habitat changes. It is no longer able to sustain the native wildlife. All the beauty and diversity leaves. Sometimes, a controlled burn is necessary to eliminate the problem.

Think about what happens when an “invasive species” (or new bad habit) enters our lives. If we don’t address it right away, it can spread like a weed. It becomes harder and harder to get rid of it and pretty soon, we succumb. We end up needing a “controlled burn” from God to get rid of the entrenched bad habit. Then, we need to cultivate good habits again and be on our guard.

Deep roots allow us to stand when a storm hits.

When hurricane winds hit or a tornado, are the trees uprooted? Almost never. Sometimes they crack or branches are broken off, but very seldom is a tree pulled out of the ground and blown about. The root system of a tree is as extensive underground as it is above ground. Not only is it able to stand in the worst storm, but it also lives through harsh winters. Why? Because of its deep roots!

Jesus tells us to build our houses on the rock so that when the wind and rain comes, we aren’t blown over (Matt. 7:24). We cannot minister to others, providing protection and shade, if we have shallow roots.

Even in a desert, if there is a little bit of soil mixed in the sand, life blossoms.

Did you know that the only deserts that have plants and animals are in the Americas and Australia? African and Asian deserts cannot support life, but these can. The reason is that the American and Australian deserts have a small amount of soil in them and they tend to get a little more rain. Not a lot. Just a bit more. But, this small difference makes all the difference. And, because plants can grow with this small amount of soil mixed into the sand, animals can flourish, too.

God can do amazing things with that little bit of faith you hold on to in the midst of life’s deserts. He can bring blessing in your life and use you to bless others.

Beware the pretty flowers.

Some of the prettiest flowers bring pain and suffering. Think of the beautiful rose, so fragrant and silky. But, hidden beneath its blossoms lie painful thorns. The delicate lily-of-the-valley, with its nodding bells and inviting aroma, delivers death to anyone who ingests it. These flowers—and many more—remind us to exercise caution when confronted with attractive options. Sometimes that opportunity that sounds so perfect ends up ruining us.

Nothing is ever wasted.

When plants die, they become part of the soil or forest floor. Insects, fungi, and microorganisms reduce the plant to dust and thus, the dead becomes part of the living. From acorn to leaf and from pollen to root, God doesn’t waste anything. He is the great recycler. And in our lives, he takes what was once dead and breathes life into it. And we are reborn into His Kingdom.

The next time you are running through the forest or prairie, exploring the dunes, or driving through an American desert, try to really see the plants. God is teaching. Always.

$100 Natural Living Gift Card Giveaway!

 

Crunchy Christian Podcast, Master Herbalist and veteran Christian unschooler, Julie Polanco, shares hope, how-to’s, and a bit of humor from her unschooling family’s adventures as city homesteaders pursuing God’s best naturally. Visit her website, Julie Naturally, for more information about how she can equip you in four areas of natural Christian living.

FREE Character Counts: Punctuality Character Planner

This month’s subscriber only freebie is perfect for a new school year, and a busy Fall schedule. It is on the topic of punctuality. We all know that homeschoolers are not known for being on time. A big joke is that we don’t send our kids to school because we don’t want to get up early to take them! All joking aside, punctuality is a very important character trait to teach our children. Being late is a bad habit that can be hard to break, and it is important to start teaching them when they are young.

FREE Character Counts Punctuality Character Planner

Why punctuality is important:

The stigma that homeschoolers are always late is not a good one. It really does paint us in a bad light. I know it is extremely difficult if you aren’t used to getting up early, to try to get everyone ready and out the door on time. This is even hard to achieve when you have multiple children of all ages, including babies and toddlers. Most homeschooling families have a lot of small children, so it does make it harder for those mamas. It is important to try to make it on time.

I remember leading a homeschool group once and being so frustrated on field trip days. There would be many families waiting at a business for the rest of the families to arrive so that we could all go in together as a group. It was embarrassing and frustrating to the company that allowed us to come and tour their facility. That’s when we started changing the times to 15 minutes earlier so we could actually be on time!

With this month’s theme being on punctuality, Felice shares her heart and her experiences with you. She talks about how when she was an adult, she struggled with being late and getting her to kids to places on time. She also shares some many practical tips and advice on how she was able to break that habit with her children. This month’s planner provides some serious reflection on this topic. Your kids will have a chance to really think about why it is important to be on time. How being on time demonstrates care and love for others, and how to avoid being late by preparing in advance.

What is in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner helps you to easily plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of punctuality.  Like always, the planning is done for you, which makes it completely open and go. It is also customizable, meaning you can pick and choose what you would like to use. The planners are not dated so that you can use them at any time. We like to print ours out and store them in a character training binder. You can easily access them and pull them out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on in your family. They are also a great addition to a morning Bible time. These are designed to be simple and fun, with activities for your entire family to participate in together.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Punctualilty vs. Tardiness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Flexibility and Your Gifts Journaling Sheets
  • Activity Sheets and Create a Poster
  • Punctuallity Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Motivational Words Worksheet
  • Punctuality Blue Print
  • Create a Punctuality Poster
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

Savings and Encouragement for the New School Year

Homeschooling is an amazing thing that you can do for your children and your family, but it’s not always easy. It comes with a lot of sacrifice. It can be expensive, and it may seem very overwhelming, especially during the planning season. Today I want to share with you some amazing deals Felice has put together to help you save money and get lots of encouragement for the new school year.

The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network  is a place for you, the homeschool mom, dad to enjoy quality productions in audio format. We bring you the best Christian, homeschool speakers who will inform, inspire and encourage listeners around the world with their podcasts. Our podcasts are completely free to listen to and will help you to be refreshed, refilled and equipped with encouragement today!

We also create curriculum, unit studies, and lots of video and audio resources to help you on your journey from our publishing company Media Angels. We are running some amazing specials through the middle of September.

You don’t want to miss these amazing deals:

The Homeschool Blue Print

Are you new to homeschooling and/or interested in the most important aspects of homeschooling? You will find personal homeschool coaching classes, videos, interviews with experts and veterans. We also cover special homeschool topics such as Using Tech in Your Homeschool, Having Time For Everything, Teaching With Living Books, How I Survived Homeschooling and more! This would be a great gift to a friend who is brand new to homeschooling, or for some extra encouragement for yourself.

  • Retail Value: $50.00
  • Special Sale Price: $20
  • Use Special Promo Code BLUE50 for 50% off, which makes it only $10!

 

Media Angels Ebook Bundle

If you enjoy digital resources that you can use over and over again with all your children you will love our ebook bundle from Media Angels. This is a Cathy Duffy Top 100 & 101 Top Curriculum Picks! Media Angel’s e-Book Bundle includes the full Science Unit Studies, Activity Packs including hands-on experiments, Teaching Science, Field Trips, Secret Code Time, A Few Minutes with God and features three novels – our popular Truth Seekers Mystery series which include The Missing Link, Dinosaur Quest at Diamond Peak, and Keys to the Past Unlocked. Three literature guides also accompany the novels. Digital Download.

  • Retail value: $100
  • Special Sale Price: $29.00

31 Days to Podcasting: Podcast Blueprint 

Podcasting is currently all the rage! Have you considered starting your own family podcast or perhaps your children want a podcast of their own. Here you will find the insider’s guide to what makes a good podcast, how to set up each episode and how to conduct interviews or be on another podcast as a guest. Also contains must know information on how to make money podcasting. You will also receive access to our private facebook group for encouragement and helps.

  • Retail Value: $50.00
  • Special Sale Price: $40.00
  • Use Special Promo Code: POD50 for a 50% discount making this course only $20!

Truth Seeker Mystery Series

Have you heard about our Truth Seeker Mystery Series written by a homeschool teen?
These novels teach truth, they teach justice and they TEACH children how to defend their beliefs. Now you can spark your child’s interest in Creation without even trying! Using a “novel” approach your children will race through hundreds of pages of heart-pounding mystery, suspense, and edge-of-your seat adventure! Includes the three novels and accompanying Literature Guides: Digital Download.

  • Retail Value: $50
  • Special Sale Price: $30.00
  •  Use Special Promo Code: TRUTH50 for a 50% discount.

Character Counts Planners

Our Character Counts Planners are very popular as they are an easy, open and go character study that is perfect for all ages with activities for the entire family. A new one is available each month as a subscriber only freebie. Since we have gotten lots of requests for our character studies, we have bundled our past studies together for 6 months of Character Study and character training tools!

We offer them in 3 and 6 packs:

The 6 pack includes:

Patience, Justice/Honor, Thriftiness, Awareness, Decisiveness, and Forgiveness ~ $30.00
Use coupon code CHARACTER30 to take 30% off the set!

The 3 packs include:

Character Counts: Awareness, Decisiveness, and Forgiveness OR Character Counts ~ Patience, Justice/Honor, Thriftiness

  • Retail value $15.00
  • Take 25% off each set of 3 with coupon CHARACTER25

FREEBIE ALERT:

We are giving away a FREE Ultimate Homeschool Planning Guide when you sign up for our weekly ezine.
This planner is almost 100 pages full of encouragement and printables to plan and organize your family, and your entire homeschool year! There are planning sheets, time saving tips, household forms, chore charts, meal plans, grocery lists, homemaking, homeschooling forms and more!

Sign up HERE and you will receive an email with a special password to access the Ultimate Homeschool Planning Guide PLUS this month’s Free Character Planner.

We pray you have a wonderful new homeschool year!

 

 

FREE Character Counts Planner: Flexibility

I was excited to get to preview the new subscriber freebie for this month. It’s another timely theme, on the character trait of Flexibility. Our kids sure have had to learn about being flexible in 2020. There have been many changes and unknowns. It can drive the sanest person insane, and can be very difficult to children who thrive on routine. It’s been very difficult for me who thrives on a routine as well!

FREE Character Counts Planner: Flexibility

We have been staying home much more than normal. Especially since March! Homeschoolers are usually home more often than others most of the time. Yet since March, we really haven’t been able to go much of anywhere. We never got to finish our homeschool co-ops and extra curricular activities that we looked forward to each week. Then summer time is here and we can’t even look forward to the normal summer.

It seems like all our normal summer events are cancelled. There are no more craft days at the local craft store, no dance camp, no summer camps, VBS is cancelled, and the list goes on. Everyone is finding themselves at home more this summer. One thing I have noticed about being home is that there are a lot of character traits that I need to work on with my children. I know I am not the only one who feels this way!

Teaching our kids flexibility:

Being flexible doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you have multiple children you will see these differences very well. I have 3 kids that are very easy going, go with the flow, take things as they come type of personalities. I have another that has to have a schedule, and a planner and a routine. She needs to know what is going to happen before it happens and what the plan is.

You can only imagine how difficult things have been and the emotions we have been dealing with around here since the shut down. Even the children with the go with the flow attitudes have faced waves of disappointment. The one who needs to know what is happening next is dying that she doesn’t know what is happening next as things change daily around here!

It’s hard to teach our kids to be flexible in times of uncertainty. Yet it is so important to teach them to find a balance, it will pay off in the long run. This planner will help you learn to find that balance, but working together as a family.

What’s in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner this month will help you to easily plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of flexibility.  The planning is already done for you, which makes it completely open and go. You can also customize it for your children. My favorite part of these planners is that they are not dated so that you can use them at any time. I have been printing mine out and storing them in a special binder specifically for character training. These are also great to pull out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on within your family unit. We also enjoy using them in addition to our morning Bible time. These are designed to be simple and fun, with activities for your entire family to participate in together.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide on Flexibility – Adaptability vs. Inflexibility
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Flexibility and Your Gifts Journaling Sheets
  • Activity Sheets and Create a Poster
  • Flexibility Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Motivational Words Worksheet
  • Flexibility Blue Print
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

How do I get my teen to listen to me and get the results I want?

How do I get my teen to listen to me and get the results I want?As a life coach to families with teens, I hear this common complaint from parents: – “my teens don`t listen to me, and as a result I always have to nag them.” Likewise, I hear these complaints from my students: – “my parents don’t listen to me, they don’t understand me, and they are always nagging me.”

Parents and teens are co-creating this relationship and neither parties are hearing or listening well. The consequence to family relationships create nagging-frustrated-parents and unmotivated-apathetic teens.

As parents, we need to assess and end this negative recurring pattern.

Join me and explore crucial questions that demonstrate how we as parents can communicate differently so teens listen and respond with more relationship and respect.

Consider these questions:

What is your vision for your teen?

Where do you want your teen to be in 5- or 10-years’ time?

What character qualities do you want to see?

How are you preparing your teen for adulthood?

What IS your role as the parent? Is it to fix their problems, find their solutions, rescue them from failure, make sure they are happy, healthy, and comfortable, or be the expert in their lives?

Perhaps we need to rethink our role as the parent?

What if we were not meant to be the immediate-and-ever-present expert on our teens nor were we meant to solve all their problems or make sure they are comfortable and happy?

In fact, we do not have to be the expert to prove we are good parents. Let this mindset go. Breathe and give yourself grace. They NEED to see themselves as capable experts, and so doing, realize their capabilities.

We do not need to play “super-parent-to-the-rescue” anymore. Intentionally and gradually letting go of being the expert, we will inspire our teens to be more receptive, relational, and responsible.

How are your expert-parent-superpowers inadvertently holding your teen back?

Let`s explore this crucial concept: by doing less, we gain more.

Break the pattern and re-calibrate relationships

  1. Shift your parenting.

We need to make a transition from “telling our teens what to do” (we are the expert) to helping them “tell themselves what to do” (they are the experts). Shifting our role helps our teens become more competent and confident in their own abilities.

How?

Change your parenting FROM the expert manager/controller TO the expert mentor/coach.

Here are the distinctions between a manager/controller and a mentor/coach:

  • A manager/controller gives (my) advice and has an imposed agenda
  • A mentor/coach has a conversation with a (teen`s) self-discovered agenda

A manager has a solution-focused-mindset – constantly giving advice – fixing problems – finding solutions because it`s all about the (my) agenda/results – external outcomes and success.

A coach has a conversation which involves connection and curiosity, with no pre-determined agenda, allowing the other person to be heard and therefore discovering a unique, organic agenda.

The key is to listen to hear the heart. No judgment. No advise. No solving. No telling what to do. No nagging!

Let go of (our) results-driven-agenda.

When we, as parents, get more focused on our own agenda (results we want to see in our teen), we tend to become critical and judgmental especially when teens disappoint and do not achieve or perform according to our expectations. Results-driven-parenting discourages teens and affects relationships.

 

Re-frame our manager mindset.

When we let go of what we want, we are more relaxed and freer to enjoy our teens and this creates more peaceful connections. When parents shift from a solution-focused-mindset and show up in a connection-focused-mindset, this changes the narrative and the negative pattern.

 

Mathew 11:28-30: “Come to me all those who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in spirit and I will give you rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

  1. Listen to connect

An expert coach listens well!

When we listen well, we create a shift in family dynamics which improves receptibility. Teens want to be heard; they want to know that parents are interested in their opinions/ideas, and value their feedback. This builds trust and respect – the basis of any relationship.

“Without question, the greatest emotional need of people today is the need to be understood. And to understand we must listen.” Dr Tim Elmore

How well are you listening?

How well do you really understand your teen?

What do you need to let go of?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen Covey

I’m sure you know of people who do not listen well. They jump into the conversation with a solution, advise or interruption and disregard your feelings, even with good intentions.

How does this make you feel?

How does this affect your relationship?

What if you respond in the same way to your teen?

How does this affect your closeness?

Whose voice gets heard?

Whose voice gets drowned out?

 

Listening well nurtures trust and respect and communicates value and appreciation which deepens relationships as teens feel heard. When we open the conversation by giving them space to think, share ideas, and build trust in a non-judgmental environment, they will respond better because they will listen better.

 

Can your teens trust you with the truth about their feelings?

How do you come across?

How are you respecting your teens and how are they respecting you?

 

Great parents listen and connect well!

 

Conclusion:

  • We get the results we want by not focusing on the results
  • We get the results we want when we let go of being the expert
  • We get the results we want when we are being who we need to be

The better we connect, the more influence we have with the best outcomes. When our teens feel validated and heard, they will listen and become more engaging and receptive. This leads to more responsibility as they become more confident in their own abilities and see themselves as capable experts.

 

Here is the gold: When we give them space (and) they trust us; they (will) come to us for advice and listen. We get to be the expert at the appropriate time! And we get to see more positive results in their lives. It`s all about timing!

 

How does life coaching help students? Coaching uses tools and strategies to help with motivation, organization, goal setting, time management, mindsets & limiting beliefs, relationships, communication, self-management and discovering interests, values, strengths, abilities, career path.

 

My signature coaching GO PROGRAM curriculum is for students 13-18 years. It is a personal development and life prep 15 week zoom online curriculum. Students learn listening and communication skills as they coach each other in zoom break-out rooms. This is the most fun part of the course and the students LOVE this interaction! This curriculum is unique as I involve parents in the learning process. I value a three-way partnership (coach-parent-student) as communication with parents is key to student success. I send out weekly parent emails with regards to what students are learning. In addition, I meet for two group parent zoom coaching sessions to discuss progress, and how parents can support their student. Essentially, I give parents coaching tips and tools for preparing their teen into adulthood. These essential group parent sessions are offered as bonuses.

 

I have a special gift for Media Angel subscribers with no expiry date. Receive 30 % off and enroll 6 students in a class or receive 50% off and enroll 8 students in a class. This is perfect for home school groups, co-ops, youth groups or any groups your teen belongs to.

 

Watch a video version of this post. Join my Facebook page and stay in touch or sign up for free tips and tools to connect with teens on my website.

 

About the Coach:

Mandi is originally from Zimbabwe, Africa and she successfully homeschooled and launched her 3 sons (20, 21, 24 yrs.) and two of them have their own online businesses. Mandi believes that children learn best through real life experiences as they delight in their learning and explore their interests. Mandi continues to serve home school families and as a certified academic life coach, career coach and ACC ICF coach, she offers life coaching to parents, teens, and young adults. Mandi understands the challenges parents face with regards to preparing their teens for adulthood and coaching supports families on this journey. Proverbs 20:5 “The purpose in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Parents have an important supportive role in their children’s lives by drawing out their God given potential. Mandi lives in Clovis CA with her husband and three sons who are “in and out” of the nest as they transition into a new season. Soon, they will fly from the nest for good. God speed! 😊

Lists For Back To School–Plus $200 Rainbow Resource Giveaway

back to school lists One of the greatest inventions was the idea of keeping track of things with a list, and what better way to celebrate Back to School, than with a series on lists! I’ve tackled organization with the disclaimer that I’m not naturally an organized person. In the series on organization I’ve taken back and overturned the chaos of messy piles and will soon be looking at a newly organized and CLEAN home! I’m excited.

In fact, I mentioned to my sister-in-law the other day how excited I was to have one top shelf almost cleared off. Okay, I admit — I’m a work in progress. I’ve decided that what works for me is cleaning in small bursts. If I can clean one section of a room and keep it clean, then clean another section in a weeks’ time I have a clean room! The key is keeping it clean.

But, we were discussing homeschooling … so, the list can be massive but take or delete what you’d like. I’ve created a podcast on the topic here as well. See what you think. The lists are over on the podcast post- on VintageHomeschoolMoms episode 96  – Amazing Lists For Homeschooling – so don’t forget to download yours.

An overview of the topics of the podcast began with listing making in general for your homeschool.

Lists for back-to-school

Select Your Curriculum and Order It:

By this time many of you have your curriculum; however I know many of you are still ordering books as we speak! There are many great book selections from Cathy Duffy on her website of homeschool reviews. She wrote a series of books on the topic of the Top Homeschool Picks. My own books have been selected in two of her books. So, once you’ve selected your books – order them! I know many of you enjoy free products, but if you do get these, be sure to keep them in a file so you can find the when the time comes.

Organize Your Homeschool Space:

Atmosphere – atmosphere – atmosphere – let your learning space be a place that is conducive to learning. Be sure to check for clutter, keep books contained and be sure to pick up after each school day. Whether you school in the kitchen, on the dining room table, back porch (as we did one year while our house was being remodeled), or you have a specific room for school, make sure it is organized.

Organize Your Supplies:

I love office supplies – seriously, I could spend hours in office stores. However, discount stores are much more reasonably priced when it comes to school supplies. Every year I purchased the kids new spiral notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils; and when they got older, mechanical pencils, pens and highlighters. We keep all of our saved work (the ones we will keep to show for evaluations) in a big 3-Ring binder book.  That is handy all year so as I see papers that are worthy of inclusion I will ask the kids to place them in the book. You will have to help the really little ones. I also purchased a good 3-Ring Notebook-all-in-one that has multi-subjects and multi-pockets. Once the kids were in high school we no longer needed this type of binder. It just didn’t hold enough papers. They prefer spiral notebooks anyway to keep all their notes within. I like to surprise the kids with one, two or three special things. Like the year I purchased time-line notebooks, or special school supplies and holders. It is after all the first day of school when I pass out the new books and supplies, so I like to make it special.

Organize Your Books:

messy homeschool shelves organized

Shelves – Before and After They Were Organized! http://www.HomeForLearning.com

How exciting – new books! I love to get the new school books for the year, even if it means I’m pulling books from the shelves and placing them on another! Many beloved books are keepsakes, and we’ve added them to our library. These were used for many years ago, by their older siblings. Organizing the books on one or two shelves helps the children to have easy access. I am going to admit that after many years of homeschooling my bookshelves are a wreck! I organize reading books for literature, books I will read to them and I give them their school books such as Math to keep at their own desks. It makes it easy for me to see whether or not they’ve completed their reading lists by a quick view of the shelves as well as their check-off lists. Here is a picture of one set of shelves that are going to be organized and another set that is almost completed!

Organize Your Year:

You’ve got the books – now take out a calendar and look at how long it will take you to complete the books on hand. For example, if a science book has 300 pages you would divide the number of pages by the number of school days. Here in Florida we school for 180 days so do the math! Be sure to leave holiday days – for example, if you are taking days off for vacations, Christmas holiday break, etc., you want to plan for these times as well. Once you do this with all your books you can move onward.

Unit Studies – or Theme Studies:

For unit studies, I always gave myself six-to-eight weeks to complete the study. Many times it didn’t take us that long, so we filled in the time with extra reading, field trips and fun television shows or videos that kept us on track. Other times, if it was something mom didn’t like studying – like insects, we’d motor through the unit study and move on to the next one. I’d also give myself some planning time in-between to find additional books or plan out my days. However, I knew exactly what we’d study for the entire year or I could loose valuable time trying to make it up on the go!

homeschool scheduleOrganize Your Day:

Years ago I was very frustrated that the kids were having difficulty completing their work. My husband asked me to create a simple check off list. When they were younger it included time –so for example where math was it would say 30-min. All the kids had to do was check off Math when they did the work. Every week they turned it in for special stickers, a movie night, or something else fun we had planned. No checkoff list meant an extra chore. You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school.

Once you get your books the ideal is to divide pages by the number of weeks in the school, for you textbook people and create a schedule like this chart.

Here is another version to download: Example Check Off Lists-2

You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school.

You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school. I have a daily check off list I give my children as well – for a copy go here: blank copy and another one here: Example Check Off Lists – Younger and older ones here: Example Check Off Lists-Older

Whatever format you use – even if you un-school – it is nice to keep track of your progress – and it helps the children become familiar with check-off lists!

Organize Your Child’s Work station:

We’ve homeschooled on the kitchen table, on the back porch, out of a book bag on the way to doing errands, in the car on audio cassette and CD (by the time mp3 came along, my kids had outgrown “car learning”, and in a desk in a designated room. We’ve done it all in the years since I first decided to homeschool. So, what is the common thread in homeschooling in various places? Keep your stuff together! Some homeschool moms keep clear bins with plastic lids and contain their school stuff there. Other’s school out of a closet or shelf. Whatever you do give your child ample space to spread out.

What is on your list? Share yours with all of us!

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Deposit Photo – photo credit – stuartm

It’s Back to (Home) School time!!

I’ve never been more thankful for the freedom to homeschool my kids as I am this year.  I can’t imagine the uncertainty, stress, and overwhelm that many families are feeling right now with not knowing what the upcoming school year will look like.  As homeschoolers, our plans for the upcoming school year have likely not been disrupted or derailed, schooling will take place in our homes this fall (or year-round if you are in that camp).  Plans may have changed some as jobs and financial situations may have changed; so many families, homeschoolers or not, are feeling the strain of the economy’s decline.  Maybe you don’t have the funds to get your favorite or usual curriculum this year, or maybe you don’t have the budget to buy any at all.  Maybe you are brand new to homeschooling; you’ve decided to take your child’s education into your own hands, to have more control in what and how they’ll learn, and you had to cut back your work hours or quit altogether to do just that.

Well, I’ve teamed up with a great group of homeschool bloggers that would like to help and bless a few homeschool families this year.  We wish we could bless more, but we will be able to give THREE families $200 to spend at Rainbow Resource Center to buy curriculum, resources, and supplies for their homeschools.

To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Now I know this is quite a few entries, 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 July 31, 2020 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).

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FREE Character Counts Planner: Determination

Have you been enjoying the character planners each month? We like to use these during our morning time and use them like a Bible study tool. The activities are fun and engaging and great for all ages. This month’s character theme is on determination. This planner will be a huge help in teaching your children a healthy way to balance out the trait of determination.

FREE Character Counts Planner: Determination text with image of hikers on top of a mountain.

There are many character traits that do not come naturally to children. Those like patience, forgiveness and gentleness, we have to teach and help focus our children on. We are constantly pointing them towards good behavior choices and working on ones that they struggle with.

Determination is not one of those traits we have to work hard to teach our kids. It’s actually kind of the opposite. As a parent spending time with your children close to 24 hours a day, you know that our kids can be pretty determined at times. From babies, and toddlers, to strong willed teenagers, determination is something that we are all born with.

Teaching Determination to Children:

So if determination is something that are children already have, then how do we teach it? Well, many children will be determined to tie their shoes, or put on their clothes by themselves. They may be determined to work hard in a sport, or a talent they have. Those same children may not be very determined to keep their rooms clean, or complete their school work on time. Or they are determined to whine until they get what they want! It is all about finding a balance, and steering that determination in a good way.

This is where teaching and guiding them come in. We can reward the good behavior, and praise them for trying when something is hard. When they complete a task that isn’t very pleasant. This character study will help guide your children towards an end goal, and give you the tools you need to praise them in the process. You will enjoy how family oriented it is, with tasks to help your entire family stay on track and hold each other accountable.

What’s in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner this month will help you to easily plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of determination. It will help your children analyze that they need to work on, by helping them identify the gifts God has given them. The planning is already done for you, which makes it completely open and go. There is also room for personalization to customize it for your children as well. The character planners are not dated so that you can use them at any time. I have been printing mine out and storing them in a special binder specifically for character training. These are also great to pull out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on within your family unit.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide on Determination
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Determination Journaling Sheets
  • Activity Sheets on determination and your gifts
  • Determination Blueprint
  • Motivational Words Worksheet
  • Family Activities and role-playing ideas that demonstrate determination
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

FREE Character Counts Planner: Thriftiness

Have you been enjoying the character planners each month? We personally use these during our morning time. The activities are fun and engaging and we enjoy doing them as a family. This month’s character theme is the character trait of thriftiness. This planner will be a huge help in teaching your children the character trait of thriftiness!

Character Trait of Thriftiness | Free Planner | #freeplanner #charactertraits #thriftiness #kidsplanner #kidscharacter

If you spend any time with homeschoolers on a regular basis, you will see that we are a pretty thrifty group. Many homeschoolers operate on a single family income so they have to be thrifty in order to maintain their lifestyle. Thriftiness can come naturally to some people, and it can be harder for others. If you have multiple children you will probably see this in each of their different personalities. Thriftiness is something that does need to be taught and is really an amazing life skill for our children to learn to emulate.

Teaching Thriftiness in Children:

We have grandparents that gift money to our children for birthdays and holidays. Or our children may earn money from odd jobs. I have one child who wants to go shopping and spend that money the day after she receives it. It literally burns a hole in her pocket and drives her crazy not being spent! Another child will save some for spending, and some for savings. Another child will save 100% of it for something expensive and special and will sit on that money for a long time. Much to the dismay of her spending sister.

My oldest child is now an adult and is very frugal with his money. He doesn’t mind spending money, but he always makes sure that he finds a good deal, or a coupon first. He always looks for gift card deals or cashback before making a purchase. His friends sometimes tease him for being “cheap”, but I am so proud of him. He definitely grew up helping me cut coupons and watched me search for the best deal before I purchased anything. It’s neat to see them grow up and “adult” with the life skills that we have trained them in our homes.

Teaching Thriftiness and budgeting vs. saving and spending is a great life skill to work on with your teens. This planner would be great to use as a one on one study with your teenagers and incorporate it into home-ec and a life skills elective credit too.

What’s in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner this month will help you to plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of thriftiness. It will help teach your children how to budget, and how to save money. As always, it comes with lots of practical applications. The planning is already done for you, which makes it completely open and go. There is also room for personalization to customize it for your children as well. Our character planners are not dated so that you can use them at any time.  We like to keep them all together in a character training binder. They would be great to pull out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide on Thriftiness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Journaling Pages on Happiness and Money
  • Activity Sheets on being thrifty and your gifts
  • Spending vs. Saving and Budgeting Worksheets
  • Thriftiness Blueprint
  • Family Goals and Savings for Vacations
  • Family Activities and role-playing ideas that demonstrate Thriftiness
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

Character Trait of Thriftiness | Free Planner | #freeplanner #charactertraits #thriftiness #kidsplanner #kidscharacter

Congratulations Class of 2020

Congratulations Class of 2020 | Are you a 2020 graduate from either high school or college? If so, congratulations class of 2020! You did it. You accomplished something wonderful and I am joining your family to say, "Well done!" Now comes the fun part...| #homeschoolblogpost #collegegraduation #graduates2020 #2020homeschool #homeschool2020 #homeschoolgraduates #highschoolgrads2020 #highschoolgraduates2020 #collegegraduates2020

Yahoo! Congrats Class of 2020

Contest details below – Starts May 9 and ends on June 6th! 

*My own daughter, Anne is graduating from college with almost a 4.0 (and we just got word that she received the Summa Cum Laude distinction!)… and she is missing her college graduation! I started thinking about ALL of you who are missing out as well. So, I decided to honor all of the high school AND college graduates with a chance to win a gift card and to post your pictures on our Facebook Group and Pages for extra points.

Are you a 2020 graduate from either high school or college? If so, congratulations class of 2020! You did it. You accomplished something wonderful and I am joining your family to say, “Well done!” Now comes the fun part, all the decisions that must be made. They are pretty similar in some ways and different in others!

The ways the graduating class of 2020 is the same:

High School and College

  1. The decision about higher education – high schoolers decide if they are going on to college and college students decide if they are going to graduate school. For some of you this may have changed since January, and maybe several times.
  2. Work – are you getting a job while in school?
  3. You’ve completed your studies and now are looking for a job.
  4. May take a gap year before beginning further education.

The ways the graduating class of 2020 are different:

  1. College students may be able to get higher-paying positions even for the same job.
  2. High school students in the workforce are usually entry-level positions.
  3. College students may have more experience for a job position.
  4. Many college graduates go on to higher education rather than stopping.

I am sure there are many more similarities and differences but the biggest thing you both have in common is that it is a starting place for something more and amazing. This is your ONE life to live – how will you live it? Will you make great choices, will you regret some choices you’ve made, will you learn from your mistakes? Yes. Yes. and Yes. A life that is well-lived has it’s windy roads and bumpy trails. It isn’t a straight path but filled with right and left turns sometimes on the path least traveled. What will be your mark? Your legacy?

Most of us don’t sit around and contemplate the meaning of life, but one person that I admire did! Mother Teresa a little nun that made a huge difference in the lives of people who could never pay her back in any way, said this, “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is a beauty, admire it. Life is bliss, taste it. Life is a dream, realize it.

And to help you to dream big – I’m offering you a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card – just for you! I couldn’t let your college graduation go on without at least some type of gift, and what better than something you can use for your future! Best wishes for a blessed graduation day, with family!

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FREE Character Counts Justice Planner

I personally look forward to the new Character Counts Planner and character study that Felice creates for us each month.  We tend to use these studies before we start our homeschool day in the morning. We love how there are always a lot of activities that are great for the whole family to work on together.  This month’s character trait is Justice.

justice character planner text on image of books and hour glass and gavel.

There are many in this world today that want everything to be fair and equal, balanced and just. How do we encourage our children to stand up for what is honorable, just and true without giving up their own rights? It sure is something to think long and hard on in this day and age. As we have all seen with the shut down in many areas of our country, there hasn’t been a lot of justice going on. It is important to teach our children to stand up for what is right. Many of our liberties were taken away in the hopes of staying safe during this time.

In the meantime, how can we teach our children about Justice?

Justice can be taught in several different ways. This planner will cover a few different ways to teach justice and honor.

  1. Being just is also being honorable. When you act justly and right, you are acting in an honorable way. Acting just and being called to justice is following through on God’s plans for us.
  2. Being just is loving your enemies and doing unto others as you would have them do unto others. Talking with our children about being just and honorable will show them that being self-centered is not how things work.Teaching our kids how to play fairly, and include others can help them choose right decisions.
  3. Justice also pertains to the law and rules that are set in place for us. You can dig very deep into this while discussing unjust things in the world, and how laws are put into place to protect and bring about justice. There are also many examples in the media today, where justice needs to be served and isn’t. Or where people are fighting to change things and make them better. These are all great things to discuss and talk about with your children.

What’s in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner this month will help you to plan out a 4 week study on the character trait of Justice and Honor. It will help you teach and guide your kids on how to learn how to be just, and live a life of honor. As always, it comes with lots of practical applications. The planning is already done for you, which makes it completely open and go. There is always lots of room for personalization and customization for your children and family too.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide on Justice/Honor vs. Injustice
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Journaling Pages
  • Activity Sheets on the Character Trait of Justice
  • Laws vs. Rules Definitions and Worksheets
  • Printable Quotes and Bible Verses on Justice and Honor
  • Justice Blueprint
  • Family Goals
  • Family Activities that Demonstrate Justice and Honor
  • Certificate of Completion

Our character planners are not dated on purpose!  You can use them at any time.  I like to keep them all together in a character training binder. They would be great to pull 0ut when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on.

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.