Online Education For Kids

…where homeschooling and learning is fun!

   Nov 05

For Homeschoolers on the Verge of Calling it Quits

Piles of books, completed tests waiting to be graded, notebooks full of to do lists, scraps of paper, and pencils… all the miscellaneous daily products of homeschooling. As a “neat” lover, these bits of disorganization and mess just really push me over the edge at times. This is not to mention the daily stress of making sure that work is completed, books are read, and multiplication tables practiced. Sometimes, it just puts me in a… bad mood. It’s overwhelming, and seriously intimidating.   I have to admit, there are many times that I want to act like our youngest and sit on the floor and cry in a heap of pity party. Or. Maybe. just maybe… quit.

Then, as I sit and look at the mess surrounding me, I see the note placed on my desk earlier by my next youngest daughter. A note that expresses her love for me and thankfulness that I love her and take such good care of her. She’s thankful that we spend all day every day together, and she loves me even when I’m frustrated and grumpy. Wow. It’s clear she doesn’t see things the way I do… she sees it from the eyes of a child. The important things aren’t necessarily the cleanliness of our school room, or that her tests from 3 weeks ago aren’t graded. She sees the important things counted in minutes and days… time spent together. That’s exactly what homeschool is, and investment of time.

Forget the minor details, choose the things that will last and provide joy and amazing memories in days to come. Choose laughter, and take the time to purposely invest in your children. The tests that need graded will wait… in fact, they can wait awhile!

Isn’t it amazing how one little note of love and gratitude from an 11 year old can change your whole perspective?

   Oct 05

Cake Decorating Day Oct. 10

I love using sneaky methods to teach my kids valuable lessons. One of the “queens” of sneaky learning is cooking. Let’s think for a minute, how many different things is a child learning when they are cooking?


Following directions


Motor skills

Kitchen safety

Waiting for expected outcomes… hopefully teaching patience

Amazing Chocolate Cake Recipe

Mix together the wet ingredients, then add in the dry ingredients. Put into 2 round 9″ or one 9×13 greased pan. Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes/ cool for 10 before removing.

2 c white sugar

1 3/4 c flour

3/4 c cocoa powder

1 1/2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t baking powder

1 t salt

2 eggs

1 c milk

1/2 c vegetable oil

2 t vanilla

1 c boiling water


Icing (gotta have icing – it’s cake decorating day!)

3/4 c butter

1 1/2 cocoa powder

5 1/3 c powdered sugar

2/3 c milk

1 t vanilla

Cream butter til light and fluffy – Mix remaining ingredients together in mixer and spread on COOLED cake.


See original recipe here:


   Sep 29

Popcorn Month

I love using special days as a way to jump start an “interest study.” The month of October is Popcorn Month, and would make a perfect reason to study popcorn in a variety of ways.


PBS History of Popcorn

Small portion of fresh homemade Popcorn







Create a history of popcorn timeline along with loads of fun!


Take time to research which states are the top “corn producing” states in America. It’s great to know where your popcorn comes from!


Exactly what is it that makes popcorn pop? Find out the science of popcorn.

Measure the popcorn prior to popping, after the corn has been popped, and calculate the difference in weight. What is missing?

Watch a video showing just how corn pops.

Video Showing How Pop Corn pops

Video on Popcorn from field to table.


As a creative writing exercise write an essay on the chronological story of popcorn from the field to your mouth!


   Sep 24

Why in the world would you homeschool?

I started homeschooling a long time ago… over 11 years to be exact. When we started things were very different, and homeschooling was definitely not as easy or as accepted as it is today. But things have changed… what a relief!

What do you think has caused the change?

1) Socialization used to be the BIG topic. For good reason, when homeschooling started there weren’t many people to hang with. Which caused some families to be “loners.” Though I have to admit, even those that didn’t have loads of homeschool friends still turned out great… so in reality was there ever really a “socialization” issue?

2) The cost of homeschooling has definitely changed for the better. Homeschooling can now be done for very cheap or even free using the internet or the public library and some creativity.

3) The public schools are not what they used to be. In today’s world the public schools have all kinds of issues – we’ll save that for a later post. But let’s just say, I don’t let my children spend the night or go off with people that I don’t know. I definitely don’t know the school teachers, and my children would be spending more time each day with them than with their family. Somehow, I think that’s just backwards.

4) Homeschooling is actually a bit more convenient (at least for a big family) than sending children off to school. I can’t even begin to imaging what it would cost to buy school clothes and lunch foods and then preparing the afore mentioned each day. Not to mention getting them to school, to any extracurricular activities, and music lessons. It’s actually giving me a headache. Though there is more involved in preparing and determining what my children will learn each day, it is truly MUCH LESS STRESS.

What’s your view of homeschooling today?


   Aug 25

Learn about Labor Day! great online webquest to learn more about Labor Day!

Labor Day is one of our national holidays, but do we understand why?

1. Go to this Explanation of Labor Day to answer these questions.

Why do we celebrate Labor Day?


Who do most people credit for starting the celebration of Labor Day?


When did the first Labor Day occur?


Which President signed Labor Day into law?


What do other countries call their Labor Day?


2. Celebrate Labor Day with a special Labor Day Spelling List

3. Do a Labor Day craft with these super fun Labor Day Pinterest Ideas.

   Jun 17

Summer Learning CAN equal FUN!

Summer… I look forward to it all year. I know, I am supposed to  be the mature one around here. Yet, I think I look forward to the more relaxed lifestyle that we lead during the summer than the kids do. It is just a much needed break that really renews and invigorates me. If it wasn’t for a bit of time off in the summer, homeschooling in the fall would be impossible.

Even though I like to take a break in the summer, I still try to keep the kids learning. Their little minds are so active and really are constantly learning in some way. Why not maximize on their cognitive interests? I try to organize several websites that I want the children to visit over the summer break to catch up on math or vocabulary. To make it as simple as possible, I add them to my favorites bar so all the kids have to do is click on each site I want them to visit.  These sites range in interest from vocabulary games to math and science fun. The kids usually have a great time playing and taking a break from the heat… while I sit back with a contented smile knowing that they really are learning through all that laughter!

   May 28

Our Summer Homeschool


Yes, we are… most homeschoolers are asking the big question right now. Should we homeschool during the summer or not? Well, personally… I need a summer break. Yet, for my kiddos I know that they need to give their brains a bit of a workout during the summer or when we start up officially in the fall… it will be a very. very. bad. day.

So, even though I plan on requiring a little brain work this summer… it won’t be alot and hopefully my kids won’t be forced to rebel!

1) Each morning, I plan to have them start the day with some lessons in Time4Learning Summer. Once they completed about six lessons (2 in each math, LA, and 1 in science and 1 in history). The lessons are typically funny and engaging and the time really flies by for the kids.

2) We’ll use Spelling City for their summer learning program that also includes fun games and interesting vocabulary lists.

3) And then we’ll read -read – read!

   Apr 24

Getting Ready for Summer Learning

Cozumel, Mexico - Going here in January! Hope it is as beautiful as this picture suggests. :DI know, this post just might not be the most popular post – especially with the kiddos. Yet, this year I am realizing that I need my children to keep on working through the summer. There are alot of areas that I feel they are slack in and could use the extra work. We’ve talked about it this week, and I must admit I felt as if their stares would burn a hole right through me.

Though my children do school just about every single day, there are still some gaps that I have noticed. So, our goal this summer is to fill in the gaps and get ready for the next “official” grade.

My first grader has a bit of dyslexia. She is struggling with reading, and is getting pretty frustrated. I plan on keeping her working on basic phonics skills and small readers throughout the summer. We will use the first grade language arts lessons from T4L to help her review what she has already learned. I also love Bob books, and will use those in conjunction with a Disney princess early reader. (simply because she adores Disney princesses!)

My third grader does well with her writing and grammar… however, at our house this is the pivotal year for multiplication tables. She understands multiplication, but just doesn’t have the “facts” down. We will be working through those during the summer- getting them to the rote memory stage. I love using kids learning software along with other math learning games.

My seventh grade twins are both doing fairly well. They are currently writing their first research paper (translate- I’m losing my hair). They also have begun learning some basic algebra. So, during the summer we are going to continue using Time4Learning as a supplement and reviewing the spelling lessons through Spelling City’s customizable lists.

   Feb 26

Homeschool Standardized Test Options

♥ TruthAs one of the fastest growing methods of education, options available for homeschoolers are growing accordingly. Over the years, the availability of different types of standardized tests has made testing our homeschool children much easier.

Getting Started with Standardized Testing

Standardized Test requirements by state is the first place you should look. It’s vital that you know and understand what your state requires from you as a homeschooler. Once you’ve determined if your state requires you to administer a standardized test to your children, you can move ahead with complying.

Which Standardized Test is Best

While there are many different tests available as options. There are a few that stand out simply because they are tried and true. A few of those are:

The Stanford 10 – We’ve used this test for many years. It’s a good option and one that can be given easily with a group of students. Typically this is a group administered test, however there are 3rd parties who allow for you to purchase this test from them and administer at home.

The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – This is a great test that I’ve used many times. This test cannot be administered by a parent, it requires that a professional with necessary qualifications administer the test. This test is great for students who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia. The proctor can account for those differences in each situation.

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills – another “oldy but goody”… I took this test as a young child. Though updated several times since then, this test is definitely a good example. This test is also typically group administered, but is available through many different 3rd party test providers.

The OLSAT and CogAT tests test School Ability Index or what used to be known as Intelligence Quotia or IQ.

Where’s a Good Place to Take the Test

While some people have begun to take their standardized tests online, I do prefer tests of this type to be done in person. However, ease of use makes the online option very desirable for most homeschoolers. You can usually take standardized tests with your local homeschool co-op. There are also 3rd party testing centers where you can test.

Which Tests Should We Take

There are two types of standardized tests that are most commonly given to school aged children. These consist of achievement tests, and ability tests (IQ). Achievement tests test what the child has been able to achieve or learn over the course of the year.   If you test every year, you don’t need to test IQ (School Ability Index-SAI) each year. The SAI tests a child’s innate ability to learn. Most often when taken together the tests compare the child’s abilities to what they are actually achieving… letting us as parents know if they are really applying themselves.  The School Ability Index doesn’t change dramatically over a year. I would suggest that the SAI test be given once every 3 years. In our state of GA, testing is only required once every 3 years. So, when we do test – I usually do a combo test. This year we will be using the Stanford10/OLSAT for the last time. The Stanford will be retiring after this year.

Should we take different tests for different grade Levels?

Whether your child is using elementary homeschool curriculum or high school you can use the same “brand” of test. In fact, I would suggest sticking with that brand of test as you school your children. It’s not a huge concern, but each test is a little different and staying with one style of test will help you compare their achievement more acurately.

   Feb 15

Tips for Protecting Your Children Online


Using the internet to educate our children has so many benefits. There are hosts of wonderful resources out there that make our homeschooling endeavor so much easier. It even has the capacity to make boring subjects exciting! Yet, there is a dark side to this treasure trove of information. The dark side of the internet can affect you and your family before you even realize it. In fact, research shows that 1 in 4 families have had to deal with a destructive internet issue within their family unit.

Over the last several years,the growth rate of distasteful sites on line has increased exponentially. So much so that these sites are now intrusive. In other words, you can no longer be safe on the internet by “minding your own business.” Children and adults alike are just no longer safe to search the internet without some sort of protection.

At our house we use the internet daily for our online learning. This means constant use of the internet. With this constant use, we are exposed with a constant threat. From child predators, to identity theft, to pornography our children are not safe without some form of protection. For ultra conservative homeschoolers and even freethinking homeschoolers this is a necessity. Though it takes a bit of time to set up, there are great free online filters available. If you don’t have a filter installed on each computer in your homes, take time today to set one up. Many are free, they’ll help you keep your child’s innocence, and give you some peace of mind.

Here are a few suggestions

1)     You can download a free filter account from K-9 Web Filter or Safe Families. There are other types of filter software available that will give you more flexibility. These usually cost about $40-$80.

2) You will need to set up a new free private email (you can have this email delivered to your regular email account) just for this purpose. Tell no one the password to this email. The Web filter will send notifications and password resets to this email.

3) You’ll need to set up your account. The safest way to set up most filter accounts is to select “custom.” In this way, you can choose exactly which categories you want to keep blocked.

4) You can block specific sites that you may be concerned about. Simply find their internet address and enter it into the program.

5) You can also add specific web sites that you always want to allow. On our filter program, I had to specifically enter all of the Time4Learning websites that are used in order for us to do our daily school work.

6) Take time to review your filters. I like to revisit my settings and double check that nothing is getting through every couple of months. The K-9 filter I mentioned above now has an ipad filter that is available as well.

7) Don’t be afraid to require your kids to let you have access to their email, facebook, and other social media sites. This may seem intrusive, but it really is just making sure that they aren’t getting involved in dangerous situations… tough love is sometimes part of parenting.