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Homeschool Convention Speaker Review

Homeschool Convention Speaker Review
I would love to speak at your local homeschool convention! I try to provide helpful, concrete information in an upbeat way.  My job is to remove the fear of homeschooling middle school and high school, and I love encouraging parents at conv...
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Meet Me at Convention!

Meet Me at Convention!
Can you feel the spring in the air? I can!  And, if you've been around homeschooling long enough, you know that can only mean one thing.... It's almost convention time!   Conventions are great for allowing you a chance to do continuing...
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OCEAN Conference Top Notch Encouragement

OCEAN Conference Top Notch Encouragement

 OCEAN Conference Top Notch Encouragement

The OCEAN Conference in Oregon was SUCH an encouragement to me! I loved getting together with like-minded parents, trying their best to homeschool through high school with confidence.  A homeschool conference is an important part of your homeschool year too. Even if you can’t attend one, do something to refresh and encourage yourself during the off-season, so you can start fresh next year.

The first day our winner was Allison, a 9th grader who was talking to me about high school. She is thinking about becoming a nurse, and I’m an RN, so we had a lot to talk about.  She was so thrilled because the beach towel she won looked EXACTLY like her cell phone cover! Same colors, same stripes… it was totally meant to be!

The second day our winner was Jennifer. She stopped by my booth to say she was so thankful for all the free help she received over the years. She said her 12th grader was successful with college admission and scholarships thanks to using all the free resources on my website, and taking my free online classes!

During that weekend, I gave 6 presentations. Would you like to treat yourself to this convention experience?

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Washington State Convention Super Fun!

Washington State Convention Super Fun!

Washington State Convention Super Fun!

The Washington Homeschool Convention was SUPER fun!  Did you go to a homeschool convention this year?

Homeschool conferences are a great investment in your continuing education as a homeschool parent, and I really do encourage you to go to a conference each year.

At the Washington Homeschool Organization Convention, I had the opportunity to meet one of my Gold Care Club members in person! It was awesome to meet Rene!

Our first winner was Carissa, and she was thrilled to win! She is 12-years-old, and has just completed her very first year of homeschooling!  Are you nervous about your first year? This article may help: A New Beginning: Homeschooling High School for Freaked Parents.

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Featured Expert Interview on

Featured Expert Interview on
I was a featured expert at Would you like to hear my interview? This might be encouraging for you today!

Homeschooling Through High School – You Can Do It! - Lee Binz

The more you find out about homeschooling high school, the less scary it sounds, and the less intimidating it becomes. Listen to this podcast on and be encouraged today!

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My Husband LOVED These Audio Stories

My Husband LOVED These Audio Stories
With any curriculum, it's the FIT with the child that is the most important consideration. No matter how wonderful a curriculum might be, it has to be interesting and engaging, so the child can learn.  I have to say, this new curriculum was a great fit for me and my husband, and we learned a lot from it.

I was thrilled to be able to look over Diana Waring's new addition to history, called "History Revealed, Volume 3: World Empires, World Missions, World Wars (AD 1800–1900)" by Diana Waring and Answers in Genesis. It looked beautiful, of course, as all new curriculum will look. Anybody who’s familiar with Diana Waring’s history books knows that they are unique in the world of homeschool history curriculum.  Written from a biblical worldview, extraordinarily comprehensive, and adaptable to any student’s individual learning style, the only thing I have to complain about is that this curriculum wasn’t around when my own children were homeschooling!

Like her previous volumes, Volume 3 of Diana’s world history series, World Empires, World Missions, World Wars overflows with exciting, well-written resources that will engage your students. My husband actually unpacked the box when it arrived, and was blown away by everything that’s included: a student text, a teacher’s guide, 3 different CD sets, an elementary activity book, and test resources. In fact, once he started listening to the CDs, he took them in the car everywhere he went, and wouldn’t let me have them back until he was done!

After I’d read and listened too, I knew why he was so impressed.  Too often it seems as though our study of history, even when we come at it from a biblical perspective, tends to artificially separate out events into either secular or sacred.  We read about wars, then we read about missionaries, then we read about cultures, and then we read about spiritual movements—all separate from each other. If you want your children to study history in a way that includes God’s activity and involvement in the lives of individuals and nations, this is the curriculum you should use.  Diana weaves the events of history together in a way that helps your students understand that historical events don’t happen in isolation, and that God has been intimately involved for millennia in the affairs of men.

While the biblical emphasis is enough to set this curriculum apart, the capstone to History Revealed is how it meets the needs of students with different learning styles, providing activities for every mode: “thinkers (just the facts, ma’am),” “feelers (let’s do it together!),” “intuitors (I have an idea!),” and “sensors (let me get my hands on that).”  My children learned primarily through reading—they were mostly “thinkers—but I know that if we’d used the CDs that accompany this curriculum, all that time we spent in the car driving to lessons would have been turned into some great learning time. We loved using ‘living books’ in our homeschool too, and History Revealed utilizes many of them in its study of the geography, music, art, science, etc. of each time period.

Diana’s enthusiasm and love for God’s unfolding plan sparkles forth from both her written and spoken word, and you can’t help but become enthusiastic along with her when you read and listen! You can tell I’m a fan—and I think you will be too.

You can find Volume 3 of History Revealed at many curriculum providers including and Amazon.

Grab a copy of my quick and easy to read kindle book: Homeschool Curriculum That's Effective and Fun.

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Update: Children Grow Up and Leave Home

Update: Children Grow Up and Leave Home
People have been asking me for an update on my kids.  My boys are all grown up - they are men now and not boys anymore.  I could give you an update, but really, I want to give you more of a warning.

Children grow up. They leave home. They stop leaving messes.

The other day my kids came over.  I needed an excuse to make cookies, but I also made them dinner and we all watched a movie together.  It was lots of fun!  A few days after they left, I realized something was different about my living room.

There was music on the piano...chess pieces littered the table...

Wow!  All those years homeschooling my children and feeling frustrated at messes, and now here I am HAPPY to have a little bit of proof that they came over to visit and had fun! What once seemed so annoying now brings me such warm feelings!  Who knew?

Here is a brief update, because some have asked for it:

Kevin is still playing chess, but not very often.  He works full time as an electrical engineer and software engineer and loves it.  He is also a part time student getting his masters in engineering, and he is constantly studying "just for fun."  He is married to his beautiful, sweet wife Liz (who also works as my Office Manager) and they have a lovely home nearby.  Alex is still playing piano, but not very often. He graduated with a double major in Political Economy and Rhetoric. He lives nearby and tutors students in all subjects.  We talk a lot about the state of education and curriculum options, and he loves encouraging others to love learning.

Homeschooling is a season of life, not a life sentence.

Enjoy what you are doing, and the stage of life you are in right now. It won't last forever - that's a promise. It's also a warning, because one day you'll face the empty nest and wonder why you were ever so annoyed with scattered chess pieces and random sheet music on the piano.


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Whining About Work

Whining About Work
This is me when I need to write more blog posts.

Haha! OK, not really, I don't actually cry like a baby.  But yup, I sometimes complain and whine when faced with work. Now it's your turn.  Have you even thought unhappy thoughts when you had to cook dinner? Again. Every. Night. Over. And. Over. Or have you ever felt inconsolable when faced with paying bills? That never ending, constant, and recurring torment.

So is it surprising then, when our children complain about school?  Probably not.  But we can hope they handle hard work as maturely as we do.  We can hope they don't wail and whine, right? We can teach them how to handle struggles and work and disappointment the way adults do.  We may not always like it, but we usually get it done. Sometimes nobody even knows we are complaining inside.

Look at what you are expecting of your children.  Are you expecting too much?  Sometimes when they whine and complain, it's actually for a good reason.  If you were expected to work 18 hour days, that wouldn't be reasonable, and nobody would fault you for verbalizing your displeasure.  In the same way, when your teenager expresses unhappiness about their work load, look first to see if you are actually expecting too much.

Sometimes, just sometimes, our teenagers are right, and their work load really is too much to bear without crying like a baby.  Other times they cry like a baby over reasonable expectations and simple assignments.  Our job is too check once in a while, to make sure we aren't asking too much. One quick way to see if they are doing too much is to estimate how many hours you expect them to work on school each day.  If it's more than 8 hours, it's too much.  If it's less than 4 hours in high school, then it's probably too little.

Don't expect your teenagers to be perfect.  We aren't perfect either.  Just expect them to do a reasonable amount of work, with a reasonably pleasant attitude most of the time.  And assess their work load once in a while to make sure your expectations are really reasonable for teenagers.

Do you enjoy our monthly newsletter, “The HomeScholar Record?”  If so, would you write a brief review here, so others can benefit from it too?  Thanks!!

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The HomeScholar Online Christmas Party

The HomeScholar Online Christmas Party

Join me for fun and games, laughter and friendship, giveaways and prizes!

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Planning Thanksgiving Dinner and High School Graduation

Planning Thanksgiving Dinner and High School Graduation

What are you plans for Thanksgiving Dinner?

I'm going to my daughter-in-law's home, and both sides of the family are getting together to share the job of cooking. It’s going to be a great time, relaxing with family.  To make the day more enjoyable, we all planned ahead and discussed what we would bring.  I know I needed to started cooking early on Thanksgiving day.

Think about all you are making.  Appetizers or chips and veggies with dip. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, vegetables, rolls.  Pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and coffee. It’s going to take a lot of work to get this meal made.  It will take careful planning to get the whole meal on the table HOT all at once.

- Parents who successfully pull it off, they know the drill.
- Plan your menu in advance
- Read recipes, so you know how to make each dish
- Decorate in advance.
- Cook ahead what you can.
- Carefully time when you put each item in the oven.
- Set the table the night before

Successfully homeschooling high school is very similar!  It takes planning and preparation and timing.
- Plan your goals each year so you know what you're doing
- Read about college admission so you can get scholarships
- Encourage delight directed learning when you can.
- Plan in advance for the high school courses you need.
- Carefully time high school tests
- Set yourself up a successful junior year, so you are prepared for the frantic event.
Homeschooling high school is NOT impossible.  It just takes some planning.  It's really just like Thanksgiving dinner!  Plan ahead, work ahead, and come out ahead!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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The HomeScholar is in the Top 100!

The HomeScholar is in the Top 100!
It’s always great when someone says something nice about you, isn’t it?!  I was thrilled when recently namedThe HomeScholar website as one of their Top 100 Educational Websites for 2013!  What an honor!  I even get to use their Top 100 Seal on my blog! is having a February Freebie event, and I have contributed some prizes and giveaways.  Why don't you check it out? Freebie February Deals

Every year, asks their product testers to send them a list of their favorite educational websites, which they then research and rank, and this year, The HomeScholar was included in their High School list.  It’s great to know that so many people find our website so helpful, because that’s my mission: helping parents homeschool through high school.

If there’s anything I can do to help YOU in your homeschool, I’m HERE!  Check out my free webinars, ebooks, newsletters, and other resources, all available to help support you in your homeschooling.

Are you curious about The HomeScholar? Find out more here!
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Words I Hate

Words I Hate
There are certain words I hate.  They don't seem to be important for homeschooling.  Although I know it can be useful for some people, many of these words have their roots in public schools.

literary analysis
umbrella organization
norm or normative
alternative education

In fact, to me some words just scream "Certified teacher!  Lookout!"  Some things are useful - even important - with public school children or in a brick and mortar school.  That doesn't mean they are words that are important for homeschoolers, or in your homeschool.

What words do YOU hate?

Do you need help with college admission essays? Learn how to have your student write a compelling story about themselves so colleges will listen.
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Help! I need opinions for my book title!

Help!  I need opinions for my book title!

I need some opinions on a book title!  I'm just about done with my next book.  This one is about college application, admission, and scholarships.  It's going to include information about curriculum, testing, finding colleges, elite university admission, check lists for junior and senior year, merit and need based scholarships, letters of recommendation, application essays, competitions, interviews.  Tons of college admission stuff.  Very different from my last book about homeschool records.

We decided we like having the main title called "Courting the Colleges"  because we are including a scripture verse and a quote from the Princess Bride on every chapter.  So what I'm really looking for right now is a subtitle.  I need something long that clearly spells out exactly what is in the book, but hopefully in a fun, catchy way.  For example, this title is HILARIOUS and so it's very catchy:  The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging (I just about died laughing!)  I don't need something THAT funny, though.  I guess I'm not thinking "hilarious" so much as "catchy."

Can you please share ideas for a neat title and subtitle?  Do you like "Courting the Colleges"??

Here are some ideas we are pondering:
How to Win the Love of Your First-Choice University and Earn Quick Admission and Huge Scholarships
Secrets Homeschoolers Know about Wooing and Winning University Admission and Scholarships
A Successful Homeschooler’s Secrets for Wooing and Winning University Admission and Scholarships
How to Help Your Homeschooler Woo and Win University Admission and Scholarships
Help Your Homeschooler Woo and Win University Admission and Scholarships
A Homeschooler's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Finding the Perfect College for Your Unique Child
How to Prepare your Homeschool Student for College Admission and Scholarships
How to Find a University that will Love your Child and Shower Them with Huge Scholarships!
A Homeschooler's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies to Woo and Win the Perfect College for Your Child
Learn a Homeschooler's Secrets for College Admissions and Scholarships: Strategies for Finding, Affording, and Loving the College of Your Dreams
Secrets for College Admissions and Scholarships: A Homeschool Family's Guide to Finding and Affording the College of Your Dreams

Here are some other books on amazon on the same subject - don't want to sound too similar:

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
A Is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges
Countdown to College: 21 To Do Lists for High School: Step-By-Step Strategies for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Graders
What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College: A Top Consultant Explains the 13 Fatal Application Mistakes and Why Character Is the Key to College Admissions
College Admissions - A Step By Step Guide Through the Process
How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)
The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging
College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
How to Make Colleges Want You: Insider Secrets for Tipping the Admissions Odds in Your Favor

I am now the Seattle Homeschool Examiner.  You can read my homeschool articles here.
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Why did you decide to homeschool high school?

Why did you decide to homeschool high school?
I hesitated to start because I didn't want to be over-protective. 
My younger son is anaphylactic to peanuts.  He is one of those children you read about that could die if exposed to the smallest, microscopic speck of peanut. I didn’t want to over-protect my children, and it was very difficult to balance protecting him from a life-threatening allergy and over-protecting him so he didn’t know how to care for his own life-long condition.

I hesitated to start because I was overwhelmed by my children's academic needs.
Both of my children are highly gifted, and it was extremely challenging to homeschool them.  I was always unsure, always anxious about how to keep them challenged without exposing them to things beyond their maturity level.  In the beginning, it was a concern about making their reading challenging but appropriate for their age.  Later on I had concerns about dual enrollment in community college, and whether that might be a good fit for them.

I continued because homeschooling was awesome!
Once we began homeschooling, it was such a perfect fit for my family that I never seriously considered quitting.  I did have times of extreme anxiety.  It seemed like sometimes I could barely sleep!  And I worried! I worried that my children would suddenly rebel, or misbehave somehow, and I wouldn’t be able to teach them.

Back-to-school Nerves
Each fall we started our academic school year on Labor Day.  I wanted my husband to be at home and help me through the first day of school.  Nothing bad ever happened, but I was still anxious and my husband was happy to be available just to calm my nerves.  Yup.  Nervous Nellie!  That was me!

How about you? 

Everyone makes the decision to homeschool for their own reason.  My job is to make sure you don't make a decision based on fear - so you can listen to your heart.  I don't know what is right for your family, but you do. If you decide to homeschool through high school, there is a LOT of support available. I'm here to help you finish the job, and finish strong!

Why did you decide to homeschool high school?

Learn how to homeschool with confidence with my Preparing to  Homeschool High School DVD.  It will help take the fear away.
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Labor Day Watermelon Party

Labor Day Watermelon Party
Labor day is a great time to try some of these recipes I found on Pinterest!

On the 4th of July, I made the Flag Cake!

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