Search Results for: reading book lists

Need Money For Homeschool Books?

Need money for homeschool books? After all the years of homeschooling I added up the amount of money I’ve spent and let’s just say, I could be driving a luxury car. I’ve homeschooled since 1986 and in that time I’ve purchased thousands and thousands of dollars in curriculum. It was everything from books to math videos (in the hundreds of dollars) to games (one year I spent over $500 in educational games) to educational computer software (thousands – pre-internet) and educational videos.

Where did all these resources go? I made good use of them and still are recycling and using many of those long-ago-purchased products today. That is not to say that I purchased things unwisely or that many books were never used. In this case, I often passed them on in homeschool curriculum sales or gave them to friends. There are some things that I believe every homeschool needs and even if there are freebies on the internet, these sources I believe are invaluable.

In fact I’ve created several shows using just books, you know the ones you find in the library. Yes, there are some great ones available. And I love to put lists together. Here is a list of Summer Reading Books, here is a podcast on Living Books, and here is one on creating (and charging others) a Living Books Library. 

Need money for homeschool books


What are my MUST haves for every homeschooler?

  1. A Bible that is age-appropriate for each child
  2. A good atlas that is grade appropriate.
  3. A historic timeline.
  4. A dictionary (yes, I realize they can hop online but it makes a good reference for those times when the internet – {{gasp}} – is down!
  5. Reading material – historical fiction, biographies, classics, religious titles

That is my shortlist. My bookshelves are floor to ceiling and filled with books and curriculum I’ve collected throughout the years. Many of my favorite resources are no longer in print however they are available online if you dig far enough. I’ll soon post some of my suggestions in an upcoming post. No matter how much I’ve spent buying a good curriculum it is still cheaper than private schools and I’m delighted with my children’s educational milestones, and would NOT trade homeschooling for anything in the world!

And – one more thing  – seminars! Right now our seminar bundle is free – grab your set by subscribing to the email list for the network.  And you receive weekly freebies just for our subscribers as a BONUS.

Our bundles change every few months – so that’s more savings just for you.

o, let me know what you do to save money and visit Carol Topp’s podcast here for great info – about the Myths that Homeschool Moms believe – here.  A real eye-opener.


Must Read Books – Episode 85

All Time Favorite Must Read Books – with Meredith & Felice 

favorite must read booksLet’s Talk About Must Read Books!

Here they are some wonderful book suggestions from Meredith Curtis & Felice Gerwitz – today they share their favorite books with you and explain why these books hold a special place in their hearts!

What makes a must read book for you? Is it the values? Social significance? Biblical impact? Morals? Listen to this episode and learn what Meredith and Felice love, love, love when it comes to must read books! No matter what time of the year some of these books will become family favorites.

Special Sponsor! Media Angels – and – Finish Well Conference 

Contact Felice at any time! Reach her at Felice (at) Media


Show Notes:

Some of the links we mentioned:

Meredith Curtis – Must Read Books: Reading List

Felice Gerwitz – Summer Reading List – for complete list

Other shows recording on reading – Living Books and Living Books Library

Books Meredith mentioned for highschool that were not on my list here see below:

The Listener, Search for Significance, Communist Manifesto, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Picture Book I mentioned – Good Dog Carl

Short Cut Series by Christian author – Sigmund Brouwer


Summer Reading List – Episode 84

summer reading list, the best summer reading lists, summer reading lists elementary, summer reading lists middle school, summer reading lists high schoolLet’s Talk About Summer Reading Lists

Most schools public and private assign reading lists for upper elementary OR middle-high school years — but we, as homeschoolers were never known to be the norm. Right? Right! We beat to a different drummer and in this broadcast Felice shares her love of books, when that came about and how you can foster that love with your children during the summer months. Who says school has to end in May or June? Enjoy the lazy days of summer with some great reading choices and see your child’s imagination and love of learning soar!



Handouts Below

Show Notes – 

A. What are your goals in having your children read books during the summer?

B. Do you want your children to learn to love reading?

C. Do you want to get a head start on your school year by reading good books?

You can find many of these books at the public library or purchase them for your 

Suggested Summer Reading List

Younger Children—K-3


    1. Children’s Bibles / Bible Read Aloud Stories
    2. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmens
    3. Paddington by Michael Bond
    4. The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Anderson
    5. Goodnight, Moon! By Margaret Wise Brown
    6. The Gingerbread Boy—Folk Tale (Grimm’s Fairy Tales)
    7. Stone Soup—Folk Tale
    8. A Crayon for Harold by Ruth Krauss
    9. The Children of the King—Max Lucado
    10. Blueberries for Sale by Robert McCloskey
    11. Little Bear by Minarik
    12. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish
    13. Curious George by H.A. & Margaret Rey
    14. Nate the Great by Marjory Sharmat
    15. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
    16. Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier
    17. A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
    18. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    19. Billy and Blaze (series) by C.W. Anderson
    20. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
    21. Little Bear by Else Homelund Minarik
    22. Elementary & Classics
    23. The Storykeepers (series) by Brian Brown and Andrew Melrose
    24. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
    25. Matilda by Roald Dahl
    26. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
    27. Pocahontas by Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire
    28. Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport by Laura Lee Hope
    29. Cul-de-Sac Kids (series) by Beverly Lewis
    30. An American Girl Series (Addy, Kirsten, Kaya, etc.) by Janet Shaw
    31. Charlotte’s Weby by E.B. White (Stuart Little)
    32. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren


    Upper Level Elementary & Middle School

    1. Cooper Kids Adventure Series by Frank Peretti
    2. Truth Seekers Mystery Series by Christina (Gerwitz) Moss & Felice Gerwitz
    3. Hardy Boys by Frank W. Dixon (read older books in the series)
    4. Nancy Drew by Caroline Keene
    5. The False Prince (Ascendance Trilogy) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
    6. The Sugar Creek Gang Mystery Series by Paul Hutchens
    7. Chronicles of Narnia—Series—The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    8. Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery
    9. The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
    10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    11. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
    12. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
    13. Hoot by Carl Hiasen
    14. National Velvet by Engid Bagnold
    15. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
    16. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (skip the “chant”
    17. Hans Brinker Silver Skates by Mary mapes Dodge
    18. My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
    19. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
    20. Justin Morgan had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
    21. In the Heart of the Rockies by G.A. Henty
    22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
    23. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
    24. Come on Seabiscit by Ralph Moody
    25. Rascal by Sterling North
    26. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
    27. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
    28. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
    29. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
    30. Mary Poppins by Pamela L. Travers
    31. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
    32. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
    33. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr, and Ernestine Gilbreth Carney
    34. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
    35. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    36. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
    37. White Fang by Jack London
    38. The Yearling by Majorie Rawlings
    39. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevnson
    40. The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain
    41. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    42. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
    43. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

High School

  1. The Complete Father Brown Series by G.K Chesterton
  2. Ann of Green Gables
  3. The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. Death of the Nile by Agatha Christie
  5. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  6. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  7. The Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  10. Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield
  11. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  13. The Screwtape Letters (Mere Christianity) by C.S. Lewis
  14. This Present Darkness (Three books in the series) by Frank Perreti
  15. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson
  16. Emma / Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
  17. Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
  18. The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton
  19. Deer Slayer by James Finmore Cooper
  20. Divine Comedy by Dante
  21. Great Expectation by Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
  22. The County of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  23. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway
  24. Les Miserable by Victor Hugo
  25. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  26. Last Days of Socrates by Plato
  27. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  28. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
  29. Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  30. City of God by St. Augustine
  31. Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton
  32. Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis


Homeschool Focus

What is your homeschool focus? #homeschoolpodcast| #homeschool| #homeschooling #homeschoolfocusHomeschool Focus – Creating Memories ~ Episode 476

What is your homeschool focus? If it is not creating memories the children won’t remember what they learned. Sure learning is not always fun and games but there is a time to add a fun element to your homeschool day, and guess what? They won’t even know they are doing school. Our job as parents is to instill in our children a love of learning that will stay with them for a lifetime. Are you up to the challenge? I am! Join me on this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms.

Visit my website at for more information on my books and products. Lots of digital classes and books for immediate download. Check out the website.

After I completed speaking at a homeschool workshop locally, one of the moms approached me and asked me the million-dollar question, “What Ivy League school will your children attend?” What? I looked at her and took a deep breath before answering, calmly and sweetly, “I’m not even sure all of my children will attend college,” and waited for her reply.

After a few seconds of shock, we had a wonderful conversation where I shared my take on education and the focus on my homeschool, raising godly kids that love the Lord. I am happy to say that my youngest just graduated in 2022 from college as one of the top students, Summa Cum Laude, and of only 3,700 cadet graduates across the country to receive the Army’s Distinguished Military Graduate honor. He was a student-athlete as well and received multiple scholarships, and yes, this mama is proud. I have five children and all three who attended college graduated with honors, one Cum Laude and two Summa Cum Laude—one receiving a Masters’s degree. My two non-college grads are doing extremely well in various businesses both self-employed.

Parents the goals of education are your own to make, what will it be? What is your homeschool focus? Whatever it is, I believe that creating memories with your children is important because these memories, like a carefully crafted story, will stay with them long into the future. We all want children that are well adjusted in body, mind, and soul. This means education that is focused on faith, education, and personal pursuits is important.

Homeschool Focus: Creating Educational Memories

Education is usually the only focus that parents place on their homeschooling. It is understandable but is not complete without some or all of the following elements:

  1. Read aloud time. Homeschooling lends itself toward reading to your children, whether it is a historical novel that fits into your study or something that is fun for the entire family. I have several podcasts on the topics of reading lists. Search for Summer Reading Lists, Tips for Actively Reading here
  2. Allowing your child one-on-one time. This is something that is not available in a typical school setting, homeschooling is not recreating the school at home, it is a step up and better.
  3. Setting goals. Without goals, there is no way to move forward. There are checklist planners available monthly for our email list and through the website after they are no longer available for free.
  4. Special assignments. Give your child an option to explore a passion or hobby on their own time, or make it part of the school schedule.
  5. Field trips: This is a wonderful addition to any homeschool education. Try virtual field trips for an added twist of learning at home.

Creating Family Memories

  1. Passing on the family faith. Attending church services together, reading the Bible and praying as a family.
  2. Spending time with your children is the best memory you can make. Start with individual time, perhaps grocery shopping or another quick errand you can do together.
  3. Family games, pizza night, and a designated day for routine activity. This allows the children to have something to look forward to at week’s end.
  4. Family trips. Whether a walk in the park, a family slumber party, or a longer family vacation. Again time to bond with the children away from the usual activities at home.
  5. Special family activities, such as cooking, baking, crafts, or making presents for other family or extended family members.
  6. Visiting those less fortunate whether it is an elderly neighbor or someone in assisted living. Ask your pastor for a church member who would enjoy some company.

Creating Personal Memories

  1. Increase your personal faith in some way.
  2. Keep a personal journal. This is something your children will treasure. Each child can create their own.
  3. Scrapbook for each year. Just highlights of memorable activities.
  4. A personal reading list. What are some great books you would like to recommend?
  5. Bucket list – what are some places you would like to visit or activities? Hot air balloon, hike through Adorandak mountains, or perhaps a trip to Alaska?
  6. Learn something new.


Stress Free Field Trip Tips

In this episode, we will tackle so tried and true techniques to make stressful field trips a thing of the past.Stress-Free – Field Trip Tips

We’ve all been on a field trip that was a disaster. Taking kids who are excited, no matter what age on a trip can be an unforgettable activity. Now add the stress of planning, packing lunch, and all the things that go with it, and well…it is a fiasco waiting to happen. In this episode, we will tackle so tried and true techniques to make stressful field trips a thing of the past.

As a kid I loved field trips, they were the highlight of our year – and they can be for your kids and your family with some of these tips. As with anything, it takes some planning –but with a little help, you can incorporate field trips into your homeschool curriculum.

One of the keys to a successful field trip is to know what you are getting out of the effort. I think we stress when we feel like we packed up the kids, drove to a destination, unpacked the kids and our stuff, trudged around or paid money to trudge around and got nothing out of the effort.

A good field trip is:

  1. The kids are prepared.
    1. They know where you are going.
    2. What is expected? Is this a long nature walk, a museum or a visit to the fire station, etc.
    3. They have a camera, or access to one, something to write or draw with.
    4. Know they must be on their best behavior
  2. The moms and dads:
    1. Bathroom visit before you leave home.
    2. Packed snacks or lunch
    3. Have a camera or cell phone for pictures (charged!)
    4. Have a way to record by writing, taking pictures, pictures of signs or plaques, and gathering information to ask the kids later.
    5. Go over field trip etiquette with the kids. Remember no running, wait for you or ask permission to walk with friends, listen if someone is a guide or explaining, no talking unless necessary.

Where do I begin?

Planning a field trip doesn’t have to be a marathon, in other words, more isn’t always better. Try to join a local homeschool support group in your area, or look at the local events planner to see what is happening in your town.

I have supplied some of the field trip forms I used myself in my homeschool days – here is a few of the forms I used Field Trip Guide.

Check out this Field Trip Packing List!

Be sure to subscribe to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network mailing list to receive this type of planning guide each month in 2018! This guide is also available on the Media Angels Membership website.

Having these forms is a stress buster! I can use these lists to plan for field trips as well. Included in the following pages is a list of topic related field trips ideas and lists to get you started. Feel free to make your own and use these as a starting point.

Where to go?

What are you studying? That should give you a good idea of where to begin. Are you studying astronomy? The nature centers usually have a planetarium or star-gazing night program. Are you studying anatomy? A field trip to a local hospital or doctors office could be arranged. You may also wish to use doctors appointments as field trips. If your children are having routine teeth cleaning you can turn this into a trip by reading some literature about dental hygiene, good health, etc. before your visit. The same with the Vet’s office and pet care.

Field Trip on a Budget:

Begin by looking for free events or those charging a minimal fee. Usually, group rate discounts are the way to go. Gathering a group of 10 or more students is normally very easy to do. In our support group that would amount to one family! Seriously, many times all it takes is a few calls to gather a group of people interested in banding together for a trip.

Does it have to tie into your curriculum?

We try to plan our field trips to coincide with the topics we are currently studying.

Yet, that isn’t always possible. What then? Use the field trips as a bonus to review an already learned topic or to introduce a topic you plan to study in the future. For example, there is a local group that sponsors missionaries and teaches them how to plan food in foreign countries. We didn’t go to the last two field trips at this facility, but plan on going the next time it is offered (or going ourselves as volunteers) as we are currently planting a garden. It wasn’t a topic of interest when it was offered so we didn’t attend.

Be creative and take lots of pictures or have the children draw or notebook their activity once you arrive home. Don’t take all of the enjoyment out of every trip by requiring a full length article or term paper. (Unless your children love that sort of thing!) Remember, you are building memories and what better way than spending time with your children.



Special Replay: Homeschool Curriculum Buying Guide

Homeschool Curriculum Buying Guide | First of all, there is no one perfect curriculum and believe me I’ve made mistakes. When my son was five I purchased a math curriculum and he was struggling so much, I decided to buy another one mid year at someone’s recommendation. That too turned into a disaster. | #podcast #homeschool #homeschoolpodcast Homeschool Curriculum Buying Guide – What to Buy & Where

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels Membership site – where you can find K-12 Science Curriculum, novels, and resources for history and writing.

First of all, there is no one perfect curriculum and believe me I’ve made mistakes. When my son was five I purchased a math curriculum and he was struggling so much, I decided to buy another one mid-year at someone’s recommendation. That too turned into a disaster.

The best way to buy homeschool curriculum is to know what you are looking for. But before you do this, please listen to the past podcasts on the topic of curriculum. There I give you specific questions to think about as well as where to go to get great reviews.

All curriculum will not work for all kids. One child may love a math program while another will struggle to get through a lesson. Look at your kids, take note of what they can do or not do and then go from there. We work to remediate weaknesses and build on their strengths. Parents, if your kids are struggling all day the retention of knowledge is not going to be great. If your child is struggling academically get help. One of the podcasts on this network is – Brain Coach Tips Podcast  visit the podcast page and listen to past podcasts that can help you plan accordingly.

We need to encourage our kids, set up their day in small chunks of learning if they are younger and work on a plan ahead of time to alleviate as much frustration as we can. The next podcast in this series is on using forms in your homeschool—and if you are on the mailing list you are receiving these in the monthly planning packs you can print out to use with your family.

If you are not on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network email list – please join it today. Each month there is a freebie that will help you in your homeschool journey.

How will you teach history? Ancient, World, American? Are you interested in incorporating faith, relationship, family and worldview values?

These are the types of questions you need to ask before you buy.

First, we will discuss what you are looking for, then where to research and finally where to purchase!

Little Kids

  1. Structure begins slowly
  2. Hands-on is a must to build strength in their hands, fine and gross motor skills
  3. Character development and gentle correction toward honesty
  4. Phonics skills
  5. Math concepts – big picture with manipulatives
  6. Art and projects
  7. Music and lessons
  8. Dress up and play
  9. Time for exploration


  1. Books, books, books
  2. Active listening and answering simple questions that become progressively harder
  3. Retelling a story/recall information (preface with listening carefully)
  4. Phonics – Phonics – Phonics and reading skills
  5. Writing skills can begin with open-ended stories, drawing pictures with short sentences.
  6. Copy work
  7. Math concepts with manipulatives
  8. Memorization of facts (including math, science, history, geography)
  9. Art and projects
  10. Music and lessons
  11. Time to explore

Upper Elementary

  1. Concepts are key – are they getting it? If not regroup
  2. Math basics now become the bedrock for higher concepts and application
  3. Reading harder and longer books. (Or remediation if needed)
  4. Grammar Skills. Advanced writing working on reports (book), or smaller one page reports on history and science topics. This can advance into longer papers. Teach writing skills. is incremental and highly recommended.
  5. Health and Anatomy – I find this lacking in children’s education.
  6. Art and projects
  7. Music and lessons
  8. Experimentation – science experiments
  9. Nature studies and exploration
  10. History events – timelines, biographies

Middle School

  1. How is your child doing? Remediation or advancement?
  2. Pre-Algebra or Algebra
  3. Grammar Skills. Writing skills are important. Reports and longer papers.
  4. Science: Botany, Astronomy, Physical Science, Earth Science, Biology, Anatomy, General Science
  5. Literature, or reading books that pertain to subjects studied. Biographies, or events.
  6. Art and projects
  7. Music and lessons
  8. Experimentation – science experiments
  9. History and an understanding of chronology, events etc.


High School

  1. Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus. D Math
  2. Reports and longer papers typically tied into subjects or Literature courses.
  3. Science: Biology, Chemistry (requires more math) Physics, Oceanography, Anatomy, or see topics above.
  4. History: World History, American History, Government
  5. Economics – Macro and Micro
  6. Drivers Education – online to take the test. (Get driver’s handbook)
  7. Books that pertain to subjects studied. Biographies, or events in history.
  8. Sports, Art, Music, Lessons


Okay – now what you have been waiting for … where to buy your curriculum.

Literature and History – real books. Biographies, original sources.

Math, Science, Electives:

  1. From the Individual Publisher (get on their mailing lists for discounts). Saxon, Chalkdust, Apologia Science
  2. Homeschool Conferences – you can talk to the publisher! Added bonus. Please bless them by buying from them instead of cheaper online.
  3. Christian Book Distributors
  4. Rainbow Resources, Timberdoodle
  5. Christian Book stores – homeschool section.
  6. Used Curriculum Sales; Amazon/ eBay – but you won’t have the new book (rarely) or support from the publisher.
  7. Amazon Storefront – Media Angels has a storefront –but often other sale options are suggested.
  8. Abe Books – where we bought many of our novels and literature
  9. Great Courses – secular but many of the classes are wonderful.
  10. Facebook groups – Book swap or sales

In the upcoming series, I podcast on great educational websites. We used several websites to supplement our homeschool studies. However, do not ignore books! The information you can get from books is still superior in many cases to a snippet you read online.

I hope this has helped you to decide what you need as well as where you can purchase the books in person and online.

Help! I Want To Change My Curriculum – Special Replay

Are you ready for a change? Are you saying, "Help! I want to change my curriculum? If so, join Felice as she gives you some things to look for when looking for your perfect books!Let’s Talk About… “Help! I Want To Change My Curriculum” with Felice Gerwitz  – Special Replay

Do you want a change? A change in curriculum? In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom, Felice Gerwitz gives you the tools you need to select the best curriculum you can for you and your family.



Show Notes – Help! I Want To Change My Curriculum…

I can give you all my favorite books and curriculum, but my tastes might not be yours. In fact, often what I love in books – is not what others like. And vice versa, so, here are some things to look for, with details in this podcast. Below you will find links to some great resources that go along with each of the following points. If you need help and want to change your curriculum, this show will give you the tools you need.

  1. Homeschool state requirements – go here to find your state
  2. How do you want to teach?  – Methods Podcast Here
  3. Learning Styles – Here
  4. Workbooks – pros and cons
  5. Reading Books List Here and Must Read Books and Summer Reading List
  6. Reviews – Best Unbiased Homeschool Reviews

Photo Credit: 2016 all rights reserved, @Goodluz

Homeschool Year End Shortcuts

Are you ready for some homeschool year-end shortcuts?  Are you finished with your school assignments or are close?Homeschool Year-End Shortcuts ~ Episode 467

Are you ready for some homeschool year-end shortcuts?  Are you finished with your school assignments or are close to them being done? Well, now is the time to show how much you’ve accomplished this year. Here are some of my best-kept year-end secrets. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

Visit Media Angels to find out more about curriculum and summer reading books for your children.

Year-end has such a final ring to it, and often I’d cringe thinking about all the work I had to do, paperwork that is to finish off our school year. It turned into a nightmare until I finally clued in that it was something I needed to do all year long and it made my end of the year a breeze. So much of this depends on your state laws, and how they require homeschoolers to report student progress. Some states are less strict than others. It also depends on whether or not you are using an online curriculum that reports grades and progress for you or if you are putting together a portfolio (with or without your child’s help) in order to see growth and progress throughout the year.

Homeschool Year-End Shortcuts ~ The Questions

Here are some questions to ask before you dig in:

  1. What are my state homeschool requirements and how will I fulfill this with an end-of-the-year report or summary.
  2. Are my children required to take standardized tests? Can the ACT or SAT fulfill this requirement (middle school and up)?
  3. What type of progress report or portfolio (samples of the child’s work in each subject area) will I compile?
  4. What is missing?
  5. Do I have my child’s reading list for the year? This includes textbooks, workbooks, and other curriculum guides as well as books that were assigned or were read to the children as a family.

How do you keep track of your progress? One of the best ways is to create a portfolio of your child’s accomplishments, even if they are enrolled in an online school or class. It is wonderful to create new ones each year or to keep adding to a master portfolio year after year. Doing it during the school year is a plus because it cuts out the mess of trying to create this at the end of the year. One way that makes this painless is with a memory keepsake the children can help put together.

Catch this replay – Yearly Evaluations

Yearly Evaluations

Best Homeschool Year-End Lists

My best homeschool year-end shortcut is not to have to scramble because you’ve been putting together bits and pieces throughout the year. Here are some things you can add to your portfolio or the children can add to a memory keepsake:

  1. School days or hours *calendar suffices
  2. Awards
  3. Reading lists
  4. Special projects such as science fairs or history fair
  5. Art projects or samples (pictures) of artwork.
  6. Chapter tests or summaries
  7. Reports
    1. Book reports
    2. Subject related reports
  8. Samples of quizzes
  9. Clubs or sports
  10. Hobbies or accomplishments

Homeschool Memory Keepsakes

With a memory keepsake, the children will take pride in adding their special ribbons or pictures of sports trophies. Perhaps they’ve learned a difficult music piece for the piano, or sing in the choir at church. All of these things are “school-related” and can be added to a memory book with pictures or even just a list. If you keep track of progress throughout the year it is so much easier and it is fun to see how much has been accomplished.


  1. Gather completed work samples weekly or at least monthly.
  2. Enlist the children’s help.
  3. Use the best samples from different subjects. Minimum of twelve per subject.
  4. Use samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
  5. Make a plan to document special events.
  6. Create Calendars that you can use to jot down memorable events.
  7. Tests? Grades? Optional in most states, add this to the end-of-year lists
  8. Keep track of schooling days each week/or month
  9. Use pictures whenever possible.
  10. Stop and evaluate.

Sometimes it is unavoidable and leaving things to the last minute can not be helped. If this is the case, don’t panic. Use copies of your child’s best work and put together a reasonable timeline of accomplishments. This can include extracurricular activities. For many years I assigned the children reports based on our field trips. This was one way to make the fun field trip tie into schoolwork and they were able to practice their writing and spelling skills with this project.

I love the idea of keeping a yearly memory book or portfolio because it shows you that yes, you have accomplished so much during the school year. And, if you have not? No worries there is always next year. I believe if your children are working to their ability even if it does not fit into the academic plan that is okay. I had some struggling learners and some children that were gifted, and struggling learners who were gifted. This is one of the bonuses of homeschooling it helps to allow your children to succeed in a safe and loving environment. Encourage your children daily, and believe me I know it is hard at times. After five children completed their homeschool journey successfully I’m happy to report they are now all well adjusted and thriving adults! All those times I worried about spelling or reading lags were wasted time. Enjoy your children and your homeschool journey and hug your kids daily, telling them how much you love them.

7th and 8th Grade College Checklist

Is your 7th and 8th grader thinking about college, do you need a college checklist? There is no time like present and there are ways to prepare early, only if you are interested in those scholarship opportunities!7th and 8th Grade College Checklist ~ Episode 89

Is your 7th and 8th grader thinking about college, do you need a college checklist? There is no time like present and there are ways to prepare early, only if you are interested in those scholarship opportunities!

Visit Jean Burk at  Jean offers online classes, in-person and live online sessions as well.

Listen to past episodes here on College Checklists:

Ultimate College Checklists Grades 9-10 here.

College Checklists 11-12th grade here.

Creating good study habits is a good way to prepare for college. Does your child have what it takes? Studying takes time and practices like anything else your child does. Study habits and taking good notes is important as well. Setting up your child for success the earlier the better. One of the keys is studying a foreign language, some colleges look for at least four years of study.

College Checklist:

What can you do to prepare (listen to the podcast for details, here is a thumbnail sketch).

  1. Start to think about future careers. (Visit College Ed) a free website.
  2. Read great books. For a list of the top of 100 books, your child should read before college. ( Parents be aware some of these books may not be appropriate – so check into them before you assign them to your child.
  3. Work on core subjects, math, reading, and writing. Very important.
  4. Study strong subjects, electives are fine, but be strong on subjects.
  5. Foreign language study.
  6. Take practice tests, ACT, and SAT. Sign up for the website (minimum age is 13 for SAT, younger for ACT).
  7. Sign up for CLT test online – code on the podcast for a deep discount.
  8. Before 9th grade read good books.
  9. Talent searches – some colleges look for young students to give scholarships.
  10. Leadership types of goals.

Starting test prep in middle school takes off the pressure when the children are older. If your child takes their time younger to get ready to study, they will be able to work smarter and not harder.

Organized Homeschool Forms – Special Replay

Being organized in your homeschool means selecting the right homeschool forms to make your life so much easier.Special Replay: Organized Homeschool Forms

Being organized in your homeschool means selecting the right homeschool forms to make your life so much easier. Do you want to avoid burn out? Do you want your homeschool year to just flow instead of coming to a screeching stop? Well, it can happen if you have some forms to make it easier.

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Well, friends, it is time to get out that paper and pencil or visit the website for the show notes because this episode is going to be packed with the information you need to make life easier. I purchased all kinds of fancy planners throughout the year and found that the one that made the most sense for my life was a huge calendar (the wall is preferable) and a 4-Square Planner (I have some templates for you with the show notes). This was the best method. Ever. If only I had found it earlier in my homeschool journey.

I thought I needed forms for everything and found out I had a big mess! And those gigantic planners – they were more confusing.

I found the 4 Square Planner by accident – and it was something I was making up on my own. You don’t have to purchase anything – it is in every printable – planner we give away each month on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network – and it works!

Take a sheet of paper – you can use a spiral notebook if you don’t want to lose the paper and make a grid. One line in the middle of the paper and one across. (Those who are perfectionists have my permission to use a ruler!).

Write the 4 most important things in your day. Mine grid has the topics of Faith, Kids, School and Household. That is pretty much all-encompassing of a homeschool mom’s day. You can also do 4 grids that are the seasons – Fall – Winter – Spring or Summer. Begin with whatever season you are currently into thumbnail sketch your year. You can use the grids – of course, you will need more paper.

Friends, I use this system to plan out my podcasts now as well as to organize events, trips or my husband’s schedule. It helps to have a central place to put items that take you out of the home.

Ask yourself these questions about homeschool forms:

  1. What is my biggest obstacle to using planning forms?
  2. What planning forms do I like?
  3. What type of planner do I like?
  4. Can I keep organized with a calendar?
  5. Can I use a calendar instead of forms for some of my planning?
  6. Can I use a wall calendar as a master plan and a smaller notebook calendar for a daily plan?
  7. Can I use the 4-Square Planning method effectively in my home?
  8. Do I like to plan from August to July – a school year?
  9. Do I like to plan yearly from January to December?
  10. What is the easiest way to keep track of my forms? Digital or printed?

Analyzing these questions will help you figure out the best method for you!

The second set of questions – yep, there is more!

  1. How do I want to store the information? Digital or Paper
  2. Do I want something portable?
  3. Do I want to keep papers, samples and important information in one place?
  4. If I am using paper where will it be – file, three-ring binder – or spiral notebook

I always kept a yearly three-ring binder with important information, the kid’s schedules, master lists, and their grades/ evaluations from each year. Keeping it in one place was easy for me. Of course, this was a 3” Mammoth binder and not portable.

I really like a month at a glance scheduler because they work best for me. Again, use what works for you.

I have some great online tools that are free and I am so thankful for Meryl host of the Homeschooling with Technology – one of my new favorites is Trello.

Just think of it as one large piece of paper with sticky notes. It is a wonderful way to organize things and allow your family to add to it – you can add assignments, plan and more.

This is great when you share it with your family members – you can listen to Meryl’s podcast (link is in the show notes or go to her podcast page or follow her on your podcast app – her shows are great, informative and do not overload you with techie stuff!).

5 Ways Homeschool Parents Can Use Trello

You can also use Google Docs and share your schedule – I have mine connected to my phone. I have reminders set up so I don’t forget an event or to do something important. You can use the word processor on Google Docs to share papers and

Scheduling Forms:

Check off List, Book Reading List, Book Report, Movie Report: Homeschool forms

Field Trip Guide: Field Trip Guide

Sample Homeschool Mom’s Schedule: ChristinaMoss-DailySchedule

HSLDA – Statewide requirements for homeschooling here.


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