Sign-up to receive 9 Best Business Ideas

If you're like most of my readers, you're committed to your family and creating the best home life possible. But the truth is, if you've given up one income to homeschool your kids, you may be struggling to make ends meet. That's why I wrote this special report, The 9 Best Business Ideas for Homeschool Moms, in which I help you design the best business to complement your family's goals. There's only one way to get it—by subscribing to my weekly blog updates here:
 
 

Lifestyle

Are you ready to achieve what really matters in 2016?

I love this time of year. The busyness of Christmas is over, the guests have gone home, we are still on winter break and snow often drifts down from the sky. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I also love the weeks that follow. I especially like this time because it is a time of reflection and goal setting. I get excited about what the new year will bring and I want to do what I can to achieve what matters and make it my best year yet.

How about you? Are you looking forward to, or dreading, this upcoming year? My hope and prayer for you is that you are getting excited as you look ahead to what 2016 holds in store for you.

I would love to share with you my 4 best strategies for achieving what matters in this brand new year. Continue reading 4 Ways to Achieve What Matters in 2016

Read more

Earn an income online

And so can you!

Two-thirds of all homeschool, stay-at-home moms want to create an income from home. But they want to design something that complements their lifestyle and maintains their priorities – family first.

Last week, we discussed why an online business beats out a brick and mortar shop every day of the week. While I love my local brick and mortar company, it requires a staff to run it. Otherwise, I would be tied to the facility for 12 or more hours each day. I don’t have that kind of time or freedom to be away from my children for that amount of time.

My online business, however, is flexible. I work the hours I want when I want. I can turn on the product creation and the marketing as I see fit, working around my other priorities and family’s schedule.

Start a business around something you are already good at.

In this post, I would like to introduce you to 4 ways any homeschool mom can earn an income online. I say “introduce” because we’ll go into these at much greater depth in future blog posts. However, there is one thing that every online businesswoman needs so I will mention it now. It is an online presence. This online presence can take the form of a blog, a website, a podcast, a youtube channel or social media platform.

So, get ready to take notes and put on your brainstorming cap, because here we go!

Continue reading 4 Ways Any Homeschool Mom Can Earn an Income Online

Read more

Online business better for homeschool moms

 

And why you should consider starting a business online!

The survey you took last week was very telling!

65% of my regular readers enthusiastically welcome blog content on the topic of creating an online business from home while homeschooling your kids. The remaining 35% were equally split between, “don’t care” and “please don’t.” While I would love to make everyone happy (who doesn’t?), I know that I cannot possibly accomplish that. So, this post marks my official shift in blog content, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t blog about homeschooling and general family life from time to time. 🙂

If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to your family and to creating the best home life possible. But the truth is, if you’ve given up one income to homeschool your kids, you may be struggling to make ends meet. That’s why I’m shifting the focus of my blog to help home school parents just like you.

Continue reading 4 Reasons Online Business Beats Brick and Mortar

Read more

Do these results surprise you?

Last week, I asked my readers to take a survey about the direction of my blog. Hundreds of you were super helpful by filling out the 3 minute survey questionnaire here.

The answers were very revealing of this community. But in a good way!

6306132745_347e21a6e8_o

Most of my readers are married (but certainly not all) and are between the ages of 35 and 55. However, we have a good representation of youth and sage among us too.

51% of you have 2 or 3 children, 36% have more than that and 13% have fewer.

While 25% of you have been homeschooling for 3 years or less, 50% have been homeschooling for 8 years or more. That leaves 25% in the middle – homeschooling for 4-7 years. Wow, you all are amazing and dedicated teachers for your kids. Kudos to you! Good job!

Money is super tight for a small percentage of you; moderately tight for most and comfortable for some. It’s a classic bell curve. But if you had more money in the budget, these are the things you would do with it:

Continue reading Here are the Survey Results

Read more

Have you ever fallen off the wagon? I most certainly have. I have fallen off the healthy eating wagon, the exercise wagon, the daily devotions wagon, the prayer wagon and most recently, the blog wagon. It’s just part of human nature to fall off these wagons, I guess (unless I’m the only one). Or maybe it’s just the nature of rickety wagons… hmmm…

Continue reading She’s back in the saddle!

Read more

Finish Well – Part 3 of a 3-Part Series

Part 1 – Start Fresh

Part 2 – Stay Strong

Why should we finish well? Why should we continue down this path that we started?

finish-race2

Frankly, I’ve seen the fruit and experienced the blessing of homeschooling my teens through high school. Does this mean it’s for everyone? Maybe not. But I can tell you how my family has been blessed with homeschooling, not just in the early years, but through junior high and high school as well.

Public schools, especially in the upper grades, are dangerous places. Bullying, verbal abuse and peer pressure are rampant. And it’s not that kids are just getting an earful; they can be physically attacked and coerced against their will.

But I’m not here to tell you about the dangers of public school. You have the nightly news for that. I would like to share with you the blessings of homeschooling to the finish line.

My kids are not perfect. We have had some rough moments as our teens have navigated their teen years, learning what it means to grow up and become an adult. We have had tense moments and times when we have cried like babies because we didn’t know what to do next, BUT…

Our kids are amazing young people! We love to be around them. But we don’t lock them up at home either. We have acclimated them into the “real world” through extracurricular activities and taking classes at the community college. They have spent large amounts of time with other teens through theater, sports and our church youth group.

Homeschooling our young people has allowed them some opportunities they might not have otherwise had:

  • Apprenticing and job shadowing
  • Classes at the community college
  • Serving at church and para-church ministries
  • Serving on short-term mission teams
  • Spending time with their younger siblings
  • Traveling around the country and the world
  • Starting small businesses

So, how do you finish well? There are two opposite approaches… which one is better?

  1. 1. Just keep going (AKA press on). Sometimes, it is just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other because you see the light at the end of the tunnel and you are determined to get there. This light could be the end of a school day, a school week, a school year or an entire education. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose sight of that finish line. Focus on it and you will get there.
  2. 2. Look up (AKA stop and smell the roses). Look into the faces of your children and truly see them. Take a hard look at your schedule and determine if it needs tweaking. Open your eyes to the opportunities around you and make the most of them. Sometimes we are in so much of a hurry or so determined to accomplish something, that we lose the joy. Don’t lose the joy!

Is one of these approaches better than the other? Not really? Pick the one that will work for you today – either plodding ahead or stopping to smell the roses. You can always use the other approach tomorrow, right? I find myself using either approach, depending on my mood or whatever else is going on around me. Sometimes it is better to just keep plowing forward; while other times it is more necessary to stop and catch my breath and enjoy my surroundings.

The main thing to realize is that this journey we have chosen is exactly that… a journey. And a journey begins with one step and then continues with another and another, until before you know it, there are miles between you and where you started. You may still have miles to go, but take heart…

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams, Jr.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway

In a few months, I’ll be participating in my first race. I’m on a team with 11 other women for the Portland to Coast – a walking race approximately 130 miles from Portland to the Oregon coast. I am the first leg. Obviously my focus is on starting well so that I set my team up for a great race. The middle portion will be the hardest (I have a leg in there too), but the finish is the most critical in many ways. Don’t let it just happen by default. Be pro-active, positive and make the most of your final years with your student.

So, to recap what we have covered over these 3 blog posts…

Starting fresh might mean that you first need to take a break, even a vacation, or just change it up a bit to keep the material fresh and from becoming burnt out by routine and monotony.

Staying strong involves identifying the source of your strength, digging deeper for reasons and conviction to continue homeschooling. It also includes finding support, establishing a solid routine, and learning to say “no”.

Finishing well is something we do because we believe in the journey and we trust that this path we have started is worth finishing.

Do you feel like you need some help? Please check out our Homeschooling ABCs and Upper Level classes, which have been written for you, the homeschooling parent, to help you homeschool with confidence and for success. Why walk this road alone when you can have someone who has already walked it help guide the way for you?

Homeschooling is a journey, but it is the most rewarding journey that I have taken yet. Are you weary on this journey? Seek the help you need to make it enjoyable once again. Perhaps one of our courses will be the very thing that will lighten your step.

Are you lacking confidence? Lean in to your decision to homeschool. Embrace it, even if it feels uncomfortable for a time. You will go through peaks and valleys during your homeschool journey. It is inevitable. It’s important to remember that the most growth happens in the valleys.

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

And then remember that you can always…

God bless you!

Terri

Read more

Yesterday we talked about Starting Fresh when you feel stressed and burnt out with homeschooling. That was Part 1 of a 3-part series.

But how you can stay strong and run the race of homeschooling that you have chosen for your family so that you don’t get to that breaking point? That’s what I would like to address today. You need to follow a 5-Step Plan that will keep you from the cliff of burn-out and frustration and squarely on the road of successful, joyful homeschooling.

strongwoman

Read on about the 5 Steps to Staying Strong in Homeschooling…

Continue reading Stay Strong in Your Decision to Homeschool

Read more

Brain dump notebook style

Part I – A Fresh Start

Are you tired after teaching for 9 months?

Do you long for a fresh start, to make next year better than this one coming to a close?

Would you rather just put your head in the sand and not think about it until August?

I hear ya! I have felt all of those emotions and then some. Yet today, our first day of summer break, I found myself thinking about next year, strategizing on areas I can improve, considering the ways to help one child excel in a certain subject and another child in a different subject.

How about you? Have you started thinking about how you can make next year better yet? Or are you still thinking about this possibility:

Great idea, huh? Well, maybe not!

Great idea, huh? Well, maybe not!

How can we find the joy in the midst of the battle of wills? How can we continue to create lesson plans and teach subjects day in and day out when we are getting tired? Or when we are getting bored? Or when we are plain old fed up?

Over the years, I have received many interesting comments, such as…

  • “Why are you trying to shelter your kids from the world?” Um, duh!
  • “What about you? Don’t you need some time away from your kids?” Yes, but not all day. J
  • “You must be some kind of superwoman because I think that I might go loony if I had to be around my kids all day.” I understand.
  • “Parents make the worst teachers.” Really?
  • “Your kids are going to turn out to be unsocialized misfits.” I thought that geekiness was “in” these days?
  • “What if your kids can’t get into college?” Well, that’s a reasonable, if misguided, fear.

Getting bombarded with these kinds of comments can really make you second-guess yourself, can’t it? How many of you have second-guessed your decision to homeschool at some point along your journey? I have.

But the lowest point that I have reached in my homeschooling wasn’t because of these types of comments. My moment of true doubt and fear came when I found myself alone with no one to turn to or talk to when I reached my maximum capacity.

It happened like this…

I had been teaching my kids at home for 11 years (this was about 5 years ago). My oldest child had just finished her sophomore year of high school. At that time, I also had an 8th grader, a 4th grader, a 3rd grader and a kindergartener. I also had a 3 yo.

I should have felt well established, confident and secure in my decision to continue, right? But I didn’t.

I looked around and realized that I was the only one left of my peer group still homeschooling. We had quite a crowd of friends homeschooling while the kids were younger. We swapped subjects and children with each other. We formed a co-op together. We took our kids to the same extra-curricular activities, field trips and events.

One by one, these families decided not to continue to homeschool. There were many reasons, but most of them boiled down to these two:

  1. The parents didn’t feel confident to teach the higher grades.
  2. The parents were tired and burnt out.

Our co-op could no longer continue because the number of homeschooling families plummeted. I found myself at a crisis point. My kids were feeling lonely and isolated. I was feeling overtaxed with 5 kids now to teach ranging from high school to kindergarten and a busy 3 year old to keep out of trouble.

We had been living this lifestyle for so long and yet I suddenly felt unable to go on.

I had reached a new decision point in my life. I could follow the crowd, or I could start fresh, stay strong and finish well. I chose the second option and I would like to share with you how I did it.

 anne-of-green-gables (1)

“Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it,” Anne Shirley of Green Gables.

Isn’t it great that we get to start fresh? We can make a brand new fresh start at the beginning of the school year. But you know, we can also start fresh each week, each day. We always have an opportunity for a fresh start.

Thank goodness, right?

Here are some ways to make a fresh start when you need one:

  1. Take a break. You don’t want to reward stubborn behavior, but butting heads isn’t the solution either. Sometimes we all need a break from the daily grind. Some ways you can take a break would be:
    • field trip,
    • spring cleaning,
    • plant the garden,
    • science museum,
    • reading day,
    • serve a widow,
    • organize stuff for a garage sale,
    • go to the library, go to the park, etc.
  2. Change it up! Try something new. Guess what? You are not married to your curriculum. There is really only one thing you are married to – your spouse. Try something different and see if it helps. Maybe the curriculum you are using isn’t fitting the way your child learns. Try something different. You don’t’ have to spend a lot of money on experimentation.
  3. Take a vacation, especially if the weather is wonderful.
    • We do take a summer vacation because there is no place more glorious than the Pacific Northwest in the summertime (well, that’s my opinion).
    • But we also take snow days for sledding and snowboarding;
    • Spring and fall days for festivals, hiking, biking, and swimming.
    • We rarely take days off school on school holidays, such as Presidents Day, etc. We just keep plugging along.

Now, I probably made it sound like you should rarely have regular school days, with regular school subjects and regular school assignments. Actually, no, this couldn’t be further from the truth – you should have a schedule and a routine (it’s good for everyone) – but these ideas are for you to fall back on when you are feeling stressed and burnt out.

Because the truth is that the #1 reason that homeschooling families stop homeschooling is because the mom is fried. It’s not because of a job loss, health problems, aging parents or other external reasons. These can often be overcome by sheer determination and creativity. But the homeschool mom who is burnt out does not run the race like she wants to or the way that she set out to. These ideas that I have presented are to help you when feel a weight of stress pressing down on you or when you start to feel quick-tempered, sad, annoyed, confused.

Stay posted for tomorrow’s post on how to Stay Strong so that you are less likely to reach burn out stage to begin with! Do you need any help getting back on track? Check out Homeschooling ABCs and Upper Level Homeschool for the encouragement and equipping you need to homeschool for success.

Question: What are some ways that you start fresh when you need a “do-over”?

Read more

Are you wrapping up your school year or homeschooling through the summer? Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, we take a summer break to enjoy the glorious weather. There is no place lovelier than Oregon in summer. Well, that’s what we think anyway.

As an aside, when we lived in Texas, we schooled though the summer and took longer breaks during the spring and fall when it was more fun to go outside.

Anyway, we are thinking through our summer plans and the trips that we will take. We’ve got two trips up to Washington and a trip down to California planned. Plus, we’ll go camping at least once or twice.

In any case, it looks like we’ll be spending some time in the car. We don’t mind the kids watching a movie or two, but prefer that they spend the majority of their time in the car reading good books or playing games.

How about you? Do you have any road trips planned?

You may just need some great books and activities for all that time that you will be trapped (I mean, blessed!) with your kids in the car. Even a 2-3 hour car ride can get awfully long if you do not plan some activities or bring some good books for the trip. We have hand-picked our favorite KQ resources to make the time you spend in a small, crowded space for long periods of time… well, bearable!

In fact, there are only a couple days left to get some great resources for up to 50% off. You can check it all out here:

road-trip-sale

Perhaps you are planning now for the 2014/2015 school year already? Good for you! You can never plan too early. If you are planning / hoping to include any of these resources – What Really Happened, A Child’s Geography, Presidential Scrapbook, Star-Spangled State Book and more – this is the time to stock up! Many of these titles will not be discounted below retail prices again this year. Prices discounted from 25-50% off. Enough said… the prudent shopper will know what to do.

Here is the link to the sale again:

http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/Road-Trip-Sale.html

Sale continues through Monday, May 19th at midnight. If you have any questions or need any assistance, write to helpdesk@knowledgequestmaps.com.

Bon voyage and may the wind be ever at your back!

Question: What are your best tips for making family memories on a road trip?

Read more