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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:
 
 

homeschooling

Schedule your books

Have you ever been so wooed by a product description that you have purchased it right on the spot? Or so convinced by friends or cyber-buddies that your children’s education will not be complete unless you use a certain curriculum? Perhaps you have felt so intimidated about teaching a certain subject that you have purchased everything available on the topic to be sure that you cover it adequately and not leave holes in your children’s education.

Whatever the reason, many well-meaning homeschooling parents over-buy when it comes to curriculum. This is certainly not an unforgivable sin – in fact, I am the first one to say that we should not skimp when it comes to providing the atmosphere and resources for our kids’ learning.

But let us discuss some ways we can control the financial outflow during this season of buying.

Here are five ways that you can avoid over-buying and successfully plan for a bountiful year of learning:

1. Make Your Plan – Take some time to map out your upcoming school year. What subjects would you like to cover? How does each of your children learn best? How much time will you have to devote to schooling each day? What subjects will your children need you by their side and which ones can they study independently? These are big questions. Take one child at a time and map out some goals. Take into consideration his/her age and preferred learning style. Take stock of his progress in each subject area. Will you need to emphasize a particular subject more now because of overlooking it in past years? Are there subjects that he is truly motivated in and can pursue more independently, thereby freeing up your time as the teacher? Make for yourself a rough plan and schedule for your family and then move onto step #2.

2. Take Inventory – Scan your bookshelves and dig through those cabinets to find your educational resources. Pull out those unused math books, grammar and spelling workbooks, literature guides, etc. Make three stacks – 1. Will Never Use, 2. Might Use Someday, and 3. Will Use This Year. Take a look at stack number 2 again and ask yourself, “When will I use this?”, “Who would I use this with?”, and “What am I waiting for?” If you truly feel like you have a good sense that you will actually use the resource sometime in the near future (a year or two) then put it away until next year. If you just cannot nail yourself down on when you would use it or what the circumstances would be for you to use it, put this book or curriculum with stack number 1.

assess curriculum

3. Clear It Out – Take your books and curricula in stack number 1 and get rid of them. The best thing you can do with used educational resources is put them up for sale. Someone out there is looking for what you already have and are not using. There are many online places that you can sell your school books – homeschoolclassifieds.com, Facebook Used Homeschool Books page, and many others. Place a reasonable price to it, then add another couple bucks to the price and sell it “postage paid”. This means that you as the seller will take care of the shipping costs (this just seems simpler to me and the buyer feels like she is getting a good deal). Media mail is the cheapest way to send books and other media products – CDs, video’s, curriculum in binders, etc.

4. Buy The Basics First – Now take stock again of what you have and what you now need. Buy your basic subjects first – math, grammar, spelling, history, science. You may even find some of what you are looking for on those used swap boards while you are listing your items to sell. If you have time, wait until these arrive before purchasing anything more at this point.

5. Fill in the Gaps – Once you receive your basic materials, read through them. Take notes of what else you are going to need to fill out the program. Does the math program that you chose require that you purchase manipulatives? Does the grammar book contain writing exercises and does it meet your requirements for a good writing program, or will you need something more? Does the history curriculum contain geography lessons? Will you need notebooks, composition books or planners for each child? Finally, decide how much time and energy you will have to devote to the extras, such as hands-on projects, foreign language study, logic, music, art and look for materials that will fit the bill.

Follow these five steps and you will bring spending under control. Educating our children is not cheap these days and does require some financial outlay, but we do not have to buy everything out there to ensure that our children receive the best education possible. Your commitment to raising your children well, training them to be contributors to the family, and spending time with them – over the books or playing in the backyard – is what will bring about educational success. There is no perfect curriculum just waiting to be discovered – it is you that will make the difference in your children’s lives.

Blessings to you on your educational journey. Now, back to Homeschool Scheduling

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A little organization now means less chaos later.

Every August, we homeschool moms start feeling a little rise of panic in our chests as we consider all that we must accomplish before the beginning of school. We have books to buy, activities to schedule, lesson plans to create, rooms and closets to organize. It’s time for a little organization.

bookshelf organization

It’s tempting to skip this step and get right to the good stuff – buying new Ticonderoga pencils topped with perfectly formed rosy red erasers, fresh shiny notebooks in every color of the rainbow, cellophane wrapped packages of 3×5 cards, sticky notes, highlighters, rulers, and markers. It’s enough to bring a smile to every homeschool mom and child. A fresh new year with no mistakes in it… yet!

BUT before you go shopping, let’s get our house and mind in order. Only then will we know where we are going and what we need to get there. Continue reading August = Organization for Homeschool Moms

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burnout

Have you ever experienced bone-weary burnout?

Burnout has a way of creeping up on us. It begins with a quiet sensation of listlessness, followed by annoyance, accompanied by an occasional outburst of unexpected anger that you didn’t see coming.

burnout

Great idea, huh? Well, maybe not!

Some homeschool moms may carry on for years before experiencing burnout, while others may experience it yearly, generally in the spring. Because, goodness, by then we are just plum worn out from teaching school all year long.

If you, like me, are feeling a sense of despondency, fatigue, or angst, it is time to head off burnout at the pass. This is the time of year that we can intentionally set up our children, routine, and schedule for success as we finish the year strong. Continue reading Help, I Feel Burnout Coming!

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the paradox

Do you ever feel just a little bit crazy?

It’s no wonder!

You have children to teach, the family to feed, laundry piling up, and if you are an entrepreneur, you also have a business that needs attention or it’s going to shrivel up. There is so much that you need to do on any given day that you may lack focus. And even more so, you may lack clarity. If you don’t know what you are working towards, then how can you possibly know what you should be working on? See previous post for some help.

This, my friend, is the homeschool mompreneur’s paradox – you have a business for the purpose of supporting your family and yet little time to devote to it. You have an incredible idea for how you can serve others and yet lack a clear direction for how to reach your target audience. You have a passion to support, encourage, and inspire others through a business venture and yet lack the funds to get it off the ground.

Would you be surprised to hear that you don’t necessarily need more skills, more money, or more time to start or grow your business? You have been especially gifted to bless the world with your unique gifts and talents. There is just one thing you need:

The roadmap! Continue reading The Paradox – Homeschooling and Running a Business

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how to make deposits on your blog

And why the words “I can’t afford it” are a cop-out!

I hear it all the time…

I would buy that curriculum, but I can’t afford it.
That car is too expensive, dear; we can’t afford it.
I would save for retirement, but I can’t afford it.
I would tithe, but we can’t afford it.
I would homeschool, but we can’t afford it.
I would buy that toy for you, honey, but we can’t afford it.
We can’t go on that trip. It’s too expensive and we can’t afford it.

I have heard myself say those very words over the most diverse things as well. In the not too distant past, I have been known to utter that phrase when refuting purchases that span anywhere from $5 to $5000. How about you? Do any of these scenarios below sound familiar to you?

Continue reading How to Afford Almost Anything

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homeschooling and home business

Discover the Magic of Mapping out Your Week

Homeschooling is a growing movement. More and more parents are choosing to teach their kids at home for reasons that include individualized instruction, efficient use of time, the abundance of excellent curricula available, and the quality time they get to spend with their kids.

But for many families, to homeschool means to give up one parent’s income, which can become a financial hardship. What many families don’t realize, though, is that homeschooling does not preclude earning a second income.

Everyone is allocated the same 168 hours per week. The important idea to consider is how we use these hours. Let’s break it down.

Homeschooling takes less time than traditional schooling, because school time is more focused and intentional. You don’t need to use any of your time for assemblies, roll call, bathroom breaks, lining up, etc. Most families can be finished with their studies before noon, if they start around 8:30 or 9am. So, if it takes your children 3-4 hours per day to finish all their subjects, then you can allot 15-20 hours to homeschooling each week.

If you sleep for 56 hours (8 hours per night) and reserve 60 hours to “other” activities (such as errands, cleaning, meal prep and recreation), you still have 32+ hours left that you can devote to creating a second income. I spend about 20 hours per week running our two businesses from home (4.5 hours on 4 afternoons a week).

So, the time is there, if we use it wisely. But that is certainly not the only obstacle to working from home. As homeschooling moms, we are responsible for the care and supervision of our kids 24/7. All working parents need some type of child care, even those who work from home. However, public school parents utilize the school system, which provides built-in childcare. Homeschooling parents who wish to focus on work or building a business just need to get creative. That’s not a problem since creativity is our specialty!

supervision 24/7

We are responsible for the care and supervision of our kids 24/7.

Here are some ways that creative homeschooling moms have carved out some uninterrupted work time: Continue reading Homeschooling & Home Business: A Match Made in Heaven

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Earn an income online

Discover the best business ideas for busy homeschoolers

What would you do with an extra $25,000+ a year? How about $50,000 or $100,000? A home-based business can provide you with an additional income to pursue the dreams you have for your family. I have heard many homeschooling moms say that with the addition of $25,000 or more to their annual income they would:

  • Remodel their home
  • Save for future college tuitions
  • Travel the world with their family
  • Purchase quality school resources
  • Pay off debt, including mortgage

However, for stay-at-home, homeschooling moms, trading time for dollars in the form of a job isn’t always the answer. You homeschool your kids because you believe that you can provide them with a quality education that includes teaching your family values. And that requires your presence.

I have been running my own business and working from home for 15 years. This has provided me with freedom to schedule my own hours around my family’s activities. It has also allowed me to invest in my kids’ education, travel around the world with my family, and begin remodeling our home. My husband works from home now too, so he has been able to spend more time with the kids than he ever dreamed possible.

We love the life that we have designed. And I want to help you design your ideal life too. I have just finished writing the special report – The 9 Best Business Ideas for Homeschool Moms. It’s available now and you can download it below.

Are you ready to stop worrying about having enough money to pay the bills each month, design a business that fits your unique educational choices, and create the lifestyle you’ve always wanted for your family?

Then click the image below to download your copy of…

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You’re a parent, so you know…A few hours after posting the 1st video in the FREE series, “3 Keys to Cracking the History Code,” I was in the kitchen with my two youngest kids. We were making lentil soup, which I haven’t made in a few years. But remembering that I like it, I convinced the kids to join me in chopping and dicing veggies for this delicious earthy stew.

My son, who is seven years old, says, “Mom, I am going to try this dinner tonight and I think that I am going to like it.”

I reply, “Okay, that’s good, honey. Why do you think you are going to like it?”

And this is the awesome part!

He says, “Well, lentil stew was one of Napoleon’s favorite meals. He also liked chicken and other ‘non-fussy’ foods. He was more of a soldier than a king in some ways.” He grins, sets down his knife and salutes.

Continue reading Out of the Mouths of Babes

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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!

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This is just a quick note to remind you that today is the last day of the World History Sale. If you are studying Ancient History or Medieval History or Renaissance or Modern History and you like saving money (from 25% – 40% off), then be sure to take a look at the items on sale this week.

Sale items include timelines, maps, historical biographies, mobile apps and more. Let this be the year that you round out your history program with some great tools that bring history to life.

http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/World-History-Sale.html

On another note…

finish-race2When I talk with people about homeschooling and encourage them to continue and not “throw in the towel,” I often use the analogy of a race. I’ll talk about how exciting it is to be standing at the starting line, how easy it is to get tired and distracted during the middle, but how important it is to finish well.

This weekend, I get to put flesh on my analogy. I will be competing in my first race. But I’m not running; I’m walking. I am race walking in the Portland-to-Coast, a 130 mile walking relay race. I am on a team with 12 other amazingly strong homeschool moms. I am walking the first leg and will set the pace for my team. Eeek.

The race will take us 2 days to complete. We’ll walk during the days and we’ll walk all night long. We’ll catch a wink of sleep when we can, but I doubt it will be much. The moment we all look forward to the most is the moment when we walk with our anchor teammate across the finish line. We are looking forward to celebrating that accomplishment together as a team.

I hope and pray that you will have a great year in homeschooling. Yes, it is like a race. And while a little nerve-wracking, it is not too difficult to get started. But it can be difficult sometimes to continue and especially to finish. May I encourage you to find some teammates who will walk alongside you and encourage you along this journey. We cannot do it alone. We need each other.

God bless! And may the wind be ever at your back.

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