Tag: homeschool helps

What I'm Reading

What I am Reading: Starting a Micro Business for Teens

I am blessed to be part of a large homeschool support group in Western North Carolina. Our group has been vital in our homeschool life across the board… socially, academically, emotionally. I can say with confidence that our homeschool story would be much different had we not found this group.

Every year we take part in our group’s enrichment classes. They are parent taught which is really cool because we have so many gifted people in our group with a variety of interests. Our classes serve babies through high school. Although my degree is in Early Childhood Education, I have discovered over the last few years how much I love middle and high schoolers. They stretch me out of my comfort zone. It takes much brain power to keep up with them academically.

As long as I can remember, I have loved looking for ways to creatively make money. As a young child, I sold lemonade on the corner by my house. There was a bus stop for the MARTA bus (Atlanta’s public transportation) right by our house. I would hold my sign high when they would come down the street. The driver would often stop and the passengers would buy lemonade from me. I babysat all through middle and high school. I had a card I carried in my pocket with my rates. I took pride in my babysitting business and gained quite a reputation through the community.

Since being married, I have been a church secretary, a cake decorating teacher, a seamstress, a graphic designer for a magazine, and many other odd jobs. I love to learn new skills and put them to work. When I was trying to decide what class I wanted to teach this past Spring, I remembered one of my son’s goals for school a couple of years ago. He wanted to “make dem monies”… that is for real what he wrote when I asked him to write down his goals… “make dem monies.”

Most teens I know would like to have disposable income so I decided to teach a class that would equip and empower them to do so. I used many resources to pull this class together including the book, Starting a Micro Business for Teens by Carol Topp.

Starting a micro business will help teenagers earn money while learning a lot. A micro business is simple to start, usually home-based, low risk, educational and easy for a busy student to run. This book offers ideas, a business plan, pitfalls to avoid and resources to get a teenager started making money running their own micro business.

Book Description

The book is very well written, concise, and easy to follow. It is practical and covers many areas of business that teens (or any one for that matter) should consider when first starting.

The book is geared for teens. The expecations are realistic. Teens will not go into this book thinking they will open a restaurant and become the next Gordon Ramsey. The author provides many examples of real teens who have had real and successful business ventures.

I was not familiar with the term “micro business” before reading this book. I assumed it was the same as a small business. I was wrong. The difference has to do with the number of employees and the amount of money required to start. A business that requires $50,000 or less to start and has fewer than 10 employees is considered a micro business. Go figure.

The book is filled with practical information including how to start a business with little to no money, usings the skills you already possess, working with purpose to learn and earn, creating a business plan, avoiding scams, and so much more. There is a list with TONS of ideas to help get the creative juices flowing with micro business possibilities.

This book is not for children who are just playing at running a business and it is not for young adults who are wanting to be entrepreneurs. This book takes into consideration the specific needs of teen who still need to do homework and chores and balance a social life.

I was able to use this book (as well as the course by the same author offered through Schoolhouse Teachers) to design my class for 6th- 12th graders. We spent the first couple of weeks learning the basics about starting a micro business. I used Carol Topp’s book as a guide to teach them the difference between offering a good and a service. We talked through logistical things as they began brainstorming. Things like transportation, money needed to begin, advertising, client base, etc.

I showed them a clip from YouTube of the top ten weirdest sales pitches from the show Shark Tank. That got some laughs! My favorite is the guy who wants to “draw a cat for you.” He came up as an example over and over.

We practiced something called “elevator pitches.” Once they had their ideas written and had started their business plan, we pretended they only had the amount of time it takes for an elevator to get from the ground floor to the top of a high rise to convice an investor to buy into the idea (about 1-2 minutes). We also played the game “Snake Oil” to help learn to creatively pitch business ideas. If you haven’t played it, you really should.

Once the students came up with ideas and created basic business plans, they began to design flyers to advertise their businesses. We used the free version of Canva for this assignment.

I had a good friend who is a brilliant entrepreneur come as a guest speaker to the class. She echoed (without even intending to) many of the concepts from the Starting a Micro Business for Teens book.

The class was a hit. Not all the ideas were sustainable. However, we had a dog walker, a babysitter, a make up artist, and a chicken whisperer who really thought through what it would be like to offer their services to the community at large and I wish them the best.

Starting a Micro Business for Teens by Carol Topp is a fantastic resource. It is only 116 pages and easy to read. The book was published by Ambassador Publishing in 2012. There are two other books in the series including Running a Micro Business for Teens and Money and Taxes in a Micro Business. The books are only $4.95 each on Kindle.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate with Amazon. Purchases made through links on this post provide our family with a small commission. Thank you!

homeschool helps

Snow Day Activity Round Up

I have increasingly become not a fan of winter. I am trying to remember that I used to like it. I would relish the magic of a snow covered landscape. I would set bowls out to collect snow for snow cream. We would bake cookies and drink hot chocolate. I didn’t mind the constant wet trail from the door to the dryer where the snowsuits lay in a heap. These last few years, the snow and ice have been trauma triggers for me. They remind me of a time where our family was flipped upside down and placed violently on a different plane of life. The day my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor was also a day when a historic snow storm came to visit our town. Now… I don’t put much stock in the “historic” label anymore. I think we have had at least three of four epic and historic snow storms since then. I am trying to redeem snow days… recapture the magic of it all.

I had surgery on Friday and haven’t been out of the house. Well, let’s be honest… haven’t really been out of bed save for the couple of adventures out to the couch. I have no concept of what’s happening in the world at large. I started seeing school closings in Atlanta yesterday on Facebook. If you live in the Carolinas, it is a good rule of thumb to pay attention to the weather in Atlanta. If they have a dusting of snow, we usually get several inches. It is when the snow comes up from Atlanta that we get the epic and historical storms. Now, of course, I am no weatherman and I know that this is not a fact… but it kind of is.

I woke up this morning to find that our schools have been cancelled as well. I thought maybe I should check the weather and see what is happening. Now, mind you, we are homeschoolers. We do not get snow days. I prefer to give my kids “sun days”… when the weather is so nice and we just want to be outside all day… that is when we cancel school. However… seeing as how I am recovering from surgery and not altogether with it this week, it might be a good idea to step away from the normal rhythms of homeschool and break out a few fun activities.

How does a delight directed homeschooler do snow days? Well… check out this fantastic list of snow day activities. Select a couple, bake some cookies, watch The Magic Schoolbus and some YouTube videos on blizzards, and call it a day.

Snow Day Activity Round Up

  1. Make Snow Paint (Art- Check)
  2. Indoor Ski Ball (PE- Check)
  3. Make a Snow Volcano (Science- Check)
  4. Snow Day Bingo (This one has a FREE Printable)
  5. Indoor Obstacle Course (and many more indoor activities)
  6. Just getting Ice and No Snow??? Make Indoor Fake Snow!
  7. Snow Slime
  8. Have and Indoor Campout
  9. Homemade Playdough, Box Fort, and More
  10. Indoor Snowball Painting

What do you do on snow days? Is it school as usual? Do you take a break from the norm to try out some fun activities? Do you bake? Do you drink more coffee? Play board games? Comment below and share the love!

homeschool helps

Delight Directed Homeschooling with Schoolhouse Teachers

A few years ago, I had the privilege of doing some work for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I was able to see first hand the fantastic and broad range of classes and resources offered.

This year, I began to realize what a truly wonderful resource something like Schoolhouse Teachers is for people who have adopted a more relaxed or delight directed approach to learning.

I try hard at the beginning of each school year to have my spine, my core in place. We use Math U See for math. One aspect of delight directed teaching is knowing your weaknesses. I have never been strong in math. I do not feel confident to teach it apart from a solid curriculum. We chose Math U See quite a while ago and it has worked for our family. This year I also chose to use language arts from The Good and The Beautiful. I actually do feel pretty confident in Language Arts, but my two older girls are experiencing some trouble (for various reasons) and I wanted to give them something consistent. And bonus… levels 1-5 of language arts are available for free as a PDF download!

Top Five Reasons for Delight Directed Homeschooling with Schoolhouse Teachers

# 1 Schoolhouse Teachers is Self- Paced.

Onto Schoolhouse Teachers. My oldest knows that we have adopted this delight directed approach to school and also knows that there are certain requirements to graduate from highschool and be college ready. The way we compromised this year was to sit down and look at what his options could be for language arts, science, history, etc. He is a self motivated learner. He is bright and scores college level on most areas of his yearly standardized testing. Because of this, I really want to give him the freedom to direct his learning (while also providing boundaries and setting him up for success). This is my kid who gets up in the morning and starts school right away. He gets it done so he can move on to what I consider the real school of his day- drawing, animating, and music.

# 2 Schoolhouse Teachers has a wide variety and tons of bonuses!

Schoolhouse Teachers offers a Christian worldview, self paced, online courses with customizeable curriculum. It is the curriculum branch of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. The offer over 400 courses from preschool- highschool as well as help for parents such as a curriculum planning guide. The website is easy to navigate and there is a chat feature for online support. There is a membership fee to pay that covers the entire family for a year (or you can pay monthly). There are no hidden fees like textbooks, etc. Some classes will have a materials list, but usually the materials are items you already have in your home. In addition to the courses offered, you also get access to World Book Encyclopedia online and Right Now Streaming Media. It really is a fantastic deal!

# 3 I do not feel buyer’s remorse.

For my youngest girls, I am using the Schoolhouse Spelling course. It is a simple, daily spelling lesson. Each week, they have a list of spelling words focused on a certain spelling rule or pattern and complete engaging activities to practice daily.

I was also able to look through the many options for elementary Science and find a course that I could use with all three of my girls (1st, 3rd, and 6th grades). And the great thing for someone like me who gets really excited about curriculum for a minute and then overwhelmed by it or bored by it or realizes that it was not the right fit afterall… if a course doesn’t work for us, we can just move on and try a different one without losing money.

# 4 My kids can be involved in building their homeschool year.

My oldest and I sat down and the beginning of the year. I told him that he needed to help me pick a language arts course and science course for the year. I also told him that he was welcome to look through the electives and see if anything interested him. He chose Elements of Literature, Biology, Tinkers Club, and Intro to Architecture. Each course has a description and for upper level courses, transcript information.

#5 No hidden fees and one membership covers the entire family!

We have been so pleased with Schoolhouse Teachers. I cannot recommend it enough. Courses are self paced. Some courses go through the entire year and some are just a few weeks long. You could purchase a membership with Schoolhouse Teachers and build your entire year for all of your children. Right now! Again, there are no hidden fees. Most courses have a recommended materials list, but there are no textbooks to purchase. All curriculum is accessible through the website. Through the end of January, you can join and save big $$$… you can get an entire year for just $90!!!

I am an affiliate for Schoolhouse Teachers. If you click through the links on this blog and decide to purchase a membership, our family will receive a small commission. For that, we thank you. I will say, however, even if I was not an affiliate, I would still endorse this program!

What I'm Reading

What I am Reading: A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and A Great War

I love all things Narnia. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors. I don’t cry often… hardly ever really… it’s a problem. But the Chronicles of Narnia get me. I hate when The Pevensie Kids are grown up and stumble back through the wardrobe and into childhood away from Narnia. It makes me sad every time. I well up with happy, excited tears in “The Last Battle” when they are going further up and further in. I am not as big of a Tolkien fan, but definitely call my children hobbits on a regular basis… due to 2nd breakfasts and their stature.

All that to say, I was intrigued at the title of this book when I saw it come across my Facebook feed. The kids and I read a C.S. Lewis biography a couple of years ago and I was fascinated with the relationship between Lewis and Tolkien.

“A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, And a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18” by Joseph Loconte has 256 pages and was first published June 30, 2015. The book is filled with observations of the political and religious landscape of the West during the time of World War 1. Both Tolkien and Lewis served as soldiers on the Western Front. This book sheds light on how these wartime experiences influenced the writings of these two great authors.

I am not really sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book. I think I was expecting a devotional type reading, not a history lesson. But, then again, I did not read the book description… just the title. I learned quite a bit about the political and religious climate in Europe during the time of World War 1. It was not much different from today. There was very much an advancement in science and technology during that time. The books dives into the rise of communism, Nazism, fascism, and eugenics, highlighting how those who survived the Great War were disillusioned with government, religion, politics, and spiritual morality.

The book was more of a history book than I expected. There were some graphic depictions of life during the war. Tolkien was not a fan of the focus on technology. He felt it would be man’s downfall. Learning about the time period surrounding the writing of Lord of the Rings and Narnia were helpful in imagining what the author’s may have been thinking about as they created these magical lands. The two men lived in an age where people felt hopeless yet were able to inspire hope through their writings.

If you like history, which I do… and you like learning the behind the scenes of things… which I also do, I recommend you give this book a chance. It is a fairly quick read. I think it would be appropriate for upper middle school and high school as well.

A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and A Great War by Joseph Laconte was published by Thomas Nelson

Just in case it needs to be said, I am by no means a professional book reviewer or book critic. I just like to read and share what I have learned. I am also an affiliate with Amazon. If you click through and purchase through links on this blog, our family will receive a small percentage from the purchase. Thank you.