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Friends & Heroes Back-to-School Giveaway!

Hi everyone! I’m excited to kick off 2021 with a fun giveaway for you all! I’ve teamed up with Friends & Heroes and  What’s in the Bible to bring you some great homeschooling curriculum! And best of all, I have a $50 gift card to giveaway for BOTH What’s In the Bible and Friends & Heroes, so I get to pick TWO winners this time! YAY!


If you haven’t heard of them before, the What’s in the Bible DVDs feature Buck Denver and his friends, who take your children through the WHOLE Bible. They’re perfect for the entire family to laugh and learn together. In his first new project since VeggieTales®, Phil Vischer has set out to teach kids (and parents!) the story of the Bible, God’s great rescue plan! They share the stories of Moses, Noah, David, and Jesus, and in this groundbreaking new series, kids will learn how they all fit together to tell one big, redemptive story. This is one journey through the Bible you won’t want to miss!

This 13 volume video series is a hilarious and groundbreaking new way to help your children learn about God, the Bible, and faith! Our kids enjoyed it so much when they were younger, and still talk about some of the videos now that they are teens.

For more information, you can check out my previous review for What’s in the Bible DVDs here!


The F&H Series 2 Bible Curriculum includes:

  • 36 weeks of homeschool Bible Curriculum
  • Each week includes 30 minute to an hour of video viewing (approximately)
  • Fun interactive lessons that dig deeper into many of the Bibles most important stories
  • Approximately 10 minute devotional to help apply the themes of the week’s Bible study.
  • Memory Verses
  • Optional interactive games, puzzles to reinforce each weeks lessons.
  • CD-ROM printables that can be used with multiple children
  • Parent’s/Teacher’s Lesson Guide including answer keys and certificates of completion
  • Student Workbook of activities
  • Friends and Heroes DVD containing full length adventure episodes
  • Multi-Language Version including 10 different languages and subtitles!

Kids will learn to apply God’s truth from timeless Bible stories such as Daniel in the Lions’ DenJesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish, Ruth and Naomi, Saul on the Road to Damascus, and Jonah and the Big Fish.

Check my review of Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum here!

In addition to my giveaway,  What’s In the Bible and  Friends & Heroes are having 2021 Summer PROMOTIONS as well!

  • 10% off purchases of $50 or more
  • 20% off purchases of $125 or more
  • No coupon code needed
  • Promotion ends August 8, 2021

Check them out on Social Media!

Ready for a GIVEAWAY?

I have a $50 Gift Card to Friends & Heroes and a $50 to What’s In the Bible stores so you can choose the curriculum that is best for you! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7 Executive Functioning Activities for Small Children

The basement was a complete mess. Boots, coats, scarves, and hats were strewn all over the floor — right next to the shelves and hooks on which they belonged. When I told my kids to bring their things to the basement, I wasn’t specific enough, I guess.

I didn’t help them scaffold and build their executive functioning skills and so, while I was frustrated, it was mostly with myself.

Executive Functioning Activities for Young Children-The basement was a complete mess. Boots, coats, and hats were all over... I was frustrated with the lack of executive functioning skills my kids displayed.

What is Executive Function?

The official definition of executive functions is that they are a set of processes that have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.

To help your child develop proper executive function skills you must be willing to allow your child to fail.

You need to give your kiddo a chance to figure things out for himself. If your child is attempting something that you know he can do then step back. However, this needs to be balanced with helping when necessary so the child doesn’t get too frustrated.

Basically, parent your child to be autonomous.

Executive Functioning Activities for Young Children


Activities for Young Children to Aid Executive Function Skills

Ask your child explain or teach you something. When you know something well enough you can teach it to someone else. This skill shows not only understanding of order but memory. Pick something simple such as making a sandwich or how to wash a dish.

Play games. Games provide an opportunity to exercise memory, order, and following rules in a low stress and fun way.



Use a multisensory approach when assigning tasks. Orally explain task such as a bedtime routine to your child. If your child is old enough to read, then write the routine down. If not, create a pictorial routine. You may want to explain the routine while playing hopscotch or throwing a ball back and forth.

Encourage flexible thinking. Take an ordinary object and ask your child what it can be used for. Try to encourage your child to come up with as many out of the box ideas as possible.

Use simple worksheets to practice following directions. Puzzles, activities, and worksheets help little ones scaffold their direction following so that they can eventually follow multi-step directions without getting hung up. Try simple worksheets like the one below to practice on. (You can download your own copy of this worksheet for free by clicking the download now button and entering your email address. It will come right to your inbox.)


Wordplay. Another way to encourage flexible thinking is with wordplay. You can create puns, read Amelia Bedelia books together, or tell silly jokes.

Encourage organization simply. If your child has a terrible time keeping her room organized, then provide simple solutions. Provide supply caddies and tote boxes that are clearly marked. For instance, put stuffed animals in one tote and shoes in another or whatever works for you. Use a supply caddy for art supplies so your child can easily see when something is out of place and correct it.

Simple steps that are visual can help a child practice organization.

Got any other tips for teaching little ones executive functioning skills? Share in the comments.

For more great parenting tips check these out:



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The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

Finding an interest-led science curriculum for your homeschool can be a challenge. This approach allows you to mix and match based on what makes sense for your individual learner. It’s so well done, your gifted child will love it!

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

I believe strongly in an Interest-led approach, particular for gifted and twice-exceptional children. It is the absolute best way to challenge a gifted mind while also meeting your child where they’re at developmentally and academically.

Although I absolutely love it, the very real downside is often finding robust curriculum options that support the flexibility an interest-led approach requires. This has been particularly true for us in science.

Why Interest-Led Science Works So Well

The first time I purchased a full science curriculum, I was hoping it would help me fill in the gaps of my son’s learning. It was all encompassing, complete with a textbook and checklists. It progressed through the subject matter sequentially and offered quizzes every chapter.

I am not sure why I started here. Science is an area of natural strength and interest for my son. Textbooks are not.

I spent the first part of that school year trying to come up with ways to make that textbook fun. By the middle of the year, we had abandoned it completely.

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

In the years since, I have taken a much more hands-on, interest-led approach in his learning – especially in science, with much success.

As he has matured however, finding multisensory, activity-based learning options has become more and more difficult. Adding to the difficulty is that he is heading into 9th grade this year.

We need a solid option – high school transcripts are our new normal. It is tempting to want a more formal approach. In fact, for a brief period I wondered if we should try a traditional textbook approach because of high school.

That thought did not last long! The reality is, he has always learned best with hands-on, interest-led learning. Anything less would be less effective and less educational.

Related: The Best Homeschool Geology Study Ever

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

The Limitations of A Traditional Science Curriculum

The reality is that a traditional approach to science usually skips the most educational part – the exploration and experimentation. Science curriculums can often be restrictive and end up requiring more work on the part of the homeschooling parent to “make it fit” their child’s needs.

For all of these reasons, you can imagine how excited I was to learn about a new, mix and match homeschool science curriculum, especially created for more flexibility in interest-based study. 

Science Unlocked For Interest-Led Learning

Let me introduce you to Science Unlocked by Homeschool Science Tools!

Designed for K-12 homeschoolers, Science Unlocked is a leading, all-in-one curriculum program created to teach science at home. Science Unlocked removes the hours-long lesson planning and intimidation by combining a comprehensive, ongoing program with lessons, supplies, and excitement for all ages and abilities delivered right to your door.


The entire program is designed to give you the flexibility and creativity you need to create an interest-led approach to science. It allows you to choose the experiments and lessons around the topics that are of most interest to your child.

Here is how it works.

Related: The Best Homeschool Human Body Study Ever

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

Choose Your Science Unlocked Kits Based On Interests And Ability

My son and I sat down together and looked at the various options for learning. We looked at the areas of study he is most interested in and I also looked at the typical ninth grade requirements for my state.

Science Unlocked kits are available for all ages and abilities in the following levels:

  • Wonder – Ideal for Grades K-2. Includes 6 total hours of instruction and activities per kit.
  • Accelerate – For Grades 3-7. Includes 9 hours of instruction and activities per kit.
  • Launch – Grades 8-12. Includes 15 hours of instruction and activities per kit.

In reviewing all the choices available, we decided on 3 kits for a total of 45 hours of instruction for his first semester.

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

Based on his interests and abilities, we chose:

Crack The Code (DNA study)

Newton’s Notions

Ancient Organisms

Figuring out an interest-led science curriculum for my son has never been this easy!

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

Hands-On Science All At Your Fingertips

When the kits arrived, my son and I were absolutely blown away. Each kit contains everything needed for various experiments. Each kit also includes both a student workbook and teacher’s guide.

The student workbook is dynamic and wonderfully illustrated. This is not your average, worksheet approach to science.

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science


An Example Of How Science Unlocked Supports Interest-Led Learning

As I mentioned, my son and I chose three kits for his first semester. He decided to begin with the Ancient Organisms kit (mostly because he saw that there was plaster included to create his own fossils and animal traces – again, interest-led!).

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

The very first lesson began with a hands-on activity using actual samples of fossils and rock. He was totally impressed with the samples and took great care in his study of them.

The lesson was about determining the difference between a rock and a fossil. After making some observations, he then began experimenting to determine the difference, including a burn test.

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science

He was engaged and excited about learning the entire activity. The level of study as well as the materials provided, were incredibly high quality. Even more importantly, they were completely age appropriate.

It can be extremely difficult to find hands-on learning options and activities for older kids. Not so with Science Unlocked.

The Very Best Interest-Led Option For Homeschool Science


An All-In-One Hands-On, Interest-Led Science Curriculum

Science Unlocked really is a perfect blend of structure and flexibility – exactly what we need to create an interest-led learning environment. And, they make it easy to get started!

First, if you are not sure which level is right for your learner, you can complete their online quiz. This helps take the guess work out of the curriculum planning process!

Then, review the Science Unlocked products  or check out the Science Unlocked Scope and Sequence.  Each kit is designed to offer 1 month of hands-on home science education, but can easily be modified to add more flexibility to your schedule and routine. 

If you want to do a chemistry course, choose chemistry kits only. If you want to do a general science course, choose among chemistry, biology and/or physics (Earth and Space are also coming in December 2021; Engineering and Technology coming in July 2022)

Science Unlocked gives you the flexibility to move around among, and even between, levels to create a program that works for you. It’s completely aligned with an interest-led approach to science.

The result is a well -rounded and engaging science education.

Hands-On Science

Try Science Unlocked Yourself!

I am so impressed with this new homeschool science option and I encourage you to give it a try for your family! Even better, now through August 31st, 2021, Raising Lifelong Learners readers receive 30% their first Science Unlocked Kit with the code RLL30.

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Helping Your Children Develop Good Study Skills

If you want to help your child develop good study skills, keep reading!

A while back, we posted an article about figuring out if you need to teach your child how to study It’s funny, because  at first glance this one may seem like a given–“Of course!” After all, as homeschool parents we are right there with our children, teaching them every subject and walking them through the process of learning each day.

It can be easy, though, to miss the opportunity to sit down with our children and teach them how to study independently. (I went to public school, and I don’t remember ever being taught how to study there either.) The article above (Click the bold-print title of the article in the first paragraph.) will help you understand more about why you may never have realized your child didn’t actually know how to study.

It may sound like a difficult task, but there are some simple ways to start teaching your children how to study. It doesn’t have to be a challenging, scary ordeal! Keep reading to find out more.

Even though I studied a lot when I was in school, I still wasn’t really sure how to teach my children how to study. In fact, my son was in about 8th grade and my younger daughter was in 4th grade before I realized that they might learn and retain information better if I stopped and took the time to actually teach them how to study. I realized that I had been guilty of encouraging my children to “try harder” when I should have been teaching what that looked like (AKA “how to study”)!  I’m sure my children probably often thought, “I’m trying as hard as I can!”

Helping Your Children Develop Good Study Skills

So, how do you teach your children to study? While every child will have to take this information and tweak it here and there to make it work for him or her, there are some basic habits that our children need to develop before making these skills more personal. Here are 7 of them!

1. Teach your child to listen and pay attention during the lesson.

One thing that many students don’t do is simply listen and pay attention during the lesson. Whether the student is listening to an online class, listening to Mom read a story or lesson, or even listening to himself as he reads his own lesson, he needs to really listen and pay attention to what is being taught, said, and read. Try these ideas:

  • It may be that we need to help our students practice their listening skills by reading short passages to them and then asking questions.
  • Some students may simply need to be reminded occasionally to pay attention until it becomes a habit.
  • It might even be helpful to set a timer to go off at intervals throughout the class period or throughout the day for the purpose of reminding the student to pay attention.
  • Younger (more wiggly) children may need to learn to sit still and put on “listening ears,” before getting started.

Whatever system works well for you and your child(ren), implement it! Try out a few different systems, choose what works best for your child, and put that system in place. This is definitely one of the keys to getting ready to improve study skills!

2. Regularly make sure your child actually understands the material.

Besides just listening, the student needs to understand the material. I know this seems basic, but many students just want to get through a lesson quickly, so they don’t take the time during the lesson to clarify information in their minds. Younger students probably get help from the mom/teacher in this area as the lesson progresses because younger students are often taught by the mom (although more and more dads are homeschooling nowadays), and she probably makes sure they understand.

Middle school and older students, though, must take more responsibility for themselves to make sure they understand before moving on. You can help by encouraging them to demonstrate understanding by writing down practical examples or summaries of what they’ve just learned. Or, take a few minutes to discuss the material with your older child. That’s a great way to make your child feel more responsible for learning and to give your child a chance to show off his or her knowledge and skills!

3. Teach your child to skim chapter titles, subtitles, charts and graphs, etc. before reading the chapter.

Another tip that can be very helpful is simply skimming the chapter title, subtitles or section titles in that chapter, charts or graphs used in the lesson, and even the first sentence or two of each paragraph in order to get an idea of the most important information from the lesson. If the student keeps the main idea(s) in his mind, she can more easily recognize information that is pertinent to the lesson and that which is not as important to remember. Part of successful studying is simply narrowing down what’s important to remember and what isn’t.

When I read a fictional book for fun, I enjoy reading a short description of what the book is about before I start reading the book itself. The description tells me a little about what will happen in the book, and that helps me know what to pay close attention to as I read. This same principle applies to reading informational books and textbooks.

4. Make sure your child knows how to take good notes.

Taking good notes is extremely important–especially for older students! Younger students may be given study sheets that have been prepared ahead of time for them, but most older students (middle school and older) are responsible for creating their own study notes. It is very helpful for many students to go through the process of writing down lesson notes and study notes.

I’m the kind of learner who has to rewrite things in order to learn them. Even if writing isn’t necessary for your student to learn and remember the information, it is still a wonderful tool! Writing (and reading out loud as he writes) allows the student to see the information (for visual learners), hear the information (for auditory learners), and do something with the information (for kinesthetic learners). I know that many students don’t like to write, but I wouldn’t rule it out because it can be such a wonderful study habit!

5. Help your child create a study schedule.

Making a study schedule can be helpful. When I was a student and had a test or project or paper coming up, I always put off working on it until the very last possible minute. I could think of a host of “reasons” that I couldn’t study right at that moment. Then, when it came down to the last minute, I finally knew that I had no choice, and I buckled down to study. My children are the same way! I realized this is especially helpful and even necessary for my children. If we make out a study schedule and set aside specific days and times for studying, they are much more likely to study for days (or even weeks) ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute.

6. Use practice tests.

Creating and taking a “practice test” was very useful for my son (who has now graduated from our homeschool). Not only did creating his own test cause him to have to review the information, but it also required him to write or type the information out. Without even realizing it, he was practicing and studying the information over again while creating his own practice test. Then taking the practice test was yet another opportunity to review the information.

If your child isn’t yet ready to create his or her own practice test, there are other ways to create the same effect.  Some curriculums actually come with practice tests, or you can create them, or you can help your child learn to create them. If you have an older child who is willing and able to help, you can even have him/her help out by creating practice tests for the younger sibling(s)!

7. Review information often!

Even if there isn’t a test coming up soon, encourage your student to read over each day’s lesson and the information from previous lessons each day. This is not the same as making a study schedule. This is done every day either after class or at the end of the school day. The student simply reads over her notes and pays close attention to them. She’s not attempting to remember the information, but that will come anyway because she will be seeing the information over and over. Then, when a study session arrives, she may be surprised at how much she already knows!

These are just a few study skills that have worked for my own family. I would love to hear from you about any tips or study skills you can share with us! 

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What’s The Difference Between Interest-Led and Strength Based Learning?

In this special episode of the Raising Lifelong Learner’s Podcast, Shawna Wingert shares valuable information about getting started with strength-based learning in your homeschool. She also answers a frequently asked question: What is the difference between interest-led and strength-based learning?

interest-led and strength based learning

What’s The Difference Between Interest-Led and Strength Based Learning?

“Interest-led learning is just what it sounds like – letting a child’s interests lead the learning process.” The

This is a simple, but accurate definition of interest-led learning. This type of learning involves taking whatever your child is interested in and using it as the basis for their learning activities.

For example, a child interested in cars might read books about transportation and watch You Tube videos about electric energy.

The interest itself defines the educational choices in your homeschool.

Related: Interest-Led Learning and Your Gifted Child

interest-led and strength based

What Is Strength Based Learning?

Strength based learning certainly includes interest as a part of the approach, but it based on a more holistic look at the child.

Three factors typically make up a strength-based approach:

  1. Academic subjects of natural strength
  2. Interests
  3. Learning Style (i.e. visual, tactile, auditory, etc..)

Strength based learning combines the three and then uses them for a large majority of the learning.

Essentially, the formula for strength based learning looks something like this:

Academic Ares Of Strength + Interests Of Child + Child’s Learning Style = A Strength Based Approach To Learning

interest-led and strength based

Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast #126 : What Is The Difference Between Interest-Led and Strength- Based Learning?

Join us in this episode where we answer this question in much more depth and provide concrete examples of strength-based learning in practice.


Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs: Practical Support And Encouragement For Learning With Differences

Different By Design Learning: Strength Based Learning Plan WorkbookNow, Discover Your Strengths: The revolutionary Gallup program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengthsStrengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People FollowParenting Chaos: Practical Support And Encouragement For Parents Of Explosive ChildrenHOMESCHOOLING YOUR CHILD WITH SENSORY NEEDS: A practical guide to helping your child learn with sensory processing disorderRaising Creative Kids: A Collection of Simple Creativity Prompts for ChildrenRaising Resilient Sons: A Boy Mom's Guide to Building a Strong, Confident, and Emotionally Intelligent FamilyThe Big Book of Kids Activities: 500 Projects That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever


Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!

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Beach Bingo! (FREE Printable)

Are you and your family planning a beach trip this summer?  Or are you reminiscing about your last beach vacation or planning one for one next summer? A beach vacation is a perfect way to spend quality time together and make some wonderful memories that will last for years.  Having fun together, whether it’s in the big moments or the little ones, is what truly makes vacations special. We hope this free printable for Beach Bingo only adds to the quality time you get to spend together at the beach!

Beach Bingo

This beach-themed version of the classic Bingo is simple enough for children of all ages to play.  Each square contains an image of something you can spot at the beach. It would be a great activity to bring along in your beach bag for your crew to enjoy while lounging in the sand. The printable includes five different game boards for up to five players!

Download your FREE Beach Bingo Printable here!

To Play:

Print out a game board for each family member. You will want to make sure you either have a pen to mark off pictures or some kind of tokens that can be set on top of pictures. (It would be fun to use shells or pebbles found on the beach as tokens!)  Once at the beach, keep an eye out for real-life sightings that match the pictures on the game boards! As items are spotted, each player will mark that item on his or her bingo board.

To Win:

There are many different bingo patterns. However, the simplest way to play for young children is the version wherein the first person to mark off five pictures in a row wins! If you want to make it a little more difficult for older children, play blackout. Or use one of these printable patterns to make it even more fun and challenging.

I hope that you enjoy this free version of beach-themed Bingo! May it add just a little bit of extra fun and quality time to your beach vacation!

You May Also Like:

campfire tale game

Campfire Tale Card Game

Summer Boredom Busters Hip Homeschool Moms

25 Educational and Outdoor Summer Boredom Busters

kids outside playing

13 Homeschool PE Ideas

How to Make a Beach in a Jar

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Homeschooling With Purpose: A Conversation with Pam Barnhill


In this episode of The Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast, Colleen is joined by her good friend, and fellow veteran homeschool mom, Pam Barnhill. Honest and practical, they talk about planning, what gets in the way on a Monday morning, and provide access to resources that will help homeschoolers at any stage. If you homeschool, or are even thinking about homeschooling, this episode is for you!

homeschooling with purpose


Managing A Classroom vs. Teaching Your Own Children

One thing that both Colleen and Pam have in common is classroom experience. Both worked in schools prior to homeschooling their own children. Both had a similar experience in making the transition home.

(You might be surprised to learn that having a background in traditional education is something that Colleen feels was a hindrance in allowing her to let go and homeschool her kiddos with freedom.) 

Both agree that fundamentally, the biggest shift is that when you are teaching in a traditional classroom, education is defined by the school system. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling, is that it allows for a greater, more expanded definition of education.

homeschooling with purpose


If This Is How A Grown-up Learns, This Is How A Kid Learns.

Pam shares one of the ways her understanding of learning has expanded in her homeschool is acknowledging the reality of how we all learn. She says, “I this is how I learn something…if this is how a grown-up learns, this is how a kids learns too.”

Adult learning almost never requires picking up a textbook. In fact, learning something new as an adult usually involves:

  • Finding a YouTube Video
  • Taking An Online Class
  • Making A Trip To The Library
  • Learning From A Friend

Our children learn in exactly the same ways!

homeschooling with purpose


Homeschool Planning For Real Life

One of the most encouraging parts of this episode, is the practical and honest discussion around homeschool planning. Both Pam and Colleen share a peek inside their homeschool days and discuss how they plan for the unexpected. 

Both employ a kind of “Must-Do List” each day. It is simply a short list of things that absolutely have to get done during the day, every day. Then, the rest of their homeschool plans can be much more flexible and interest-led

Homeschooling With Purpose: Be more confident, less overwhelmed, and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way

These two amazing woman have teamed with Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool, and created a new course for every homeschool mom. 

Brand new? Overwhelmed? Burned out?

This is the course for you!

There are a million ways to make a good homeschool, but zero ways to make a perfect one.

This course provides everything you need to do just that!

Get confident you are on the right path in your homeschool with hand-holding guidance and not an ounce of judgment or guilt. 

RLL Episode 124: Homeschooling With Purpose, A Conversation With Pam Barnhill

More on all of these homeschool topics is in this fabulous new episode. Colleen and Pam share from the heart, and from their years of homeschooling experience. It is like a master-class, all in one podcast episode.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

Better Together: Strengthen Your Family, Simplify Your Homeschool, and Savor the Subjects that Matter Most

The Big Book of Kids Activities: 500 Projects That Are the Bestest, Funnest EverRaising Resilient Sons: A Boy Mom's Guide to Building a Strong, Confident, and Emotionally Intelligent FamilyIntroverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet JoyThe Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System - and How to Fix ItThe Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12 (Prima Home Learning Library)


Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


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Take the Stress Out of Math for All Ages and Grade Levels

Math. Most people either love it or…well…don’t love it. 😉 But it’s a necessary subject, and it’s one most students can learn to love if you find the right curriculum. Math was my best subject in school, and it’s been very difficult teaching it to my teenage daughter since it’s a subject she doesn’t love and that doesn’t come easily to her. I’ve always had trouble figuring out how to explain math concepts to her in a way she can understand. And, to be honest, it’s very hard to be patient with her since it’s often necessary to go over lessons multiple times.

student working on computer

In an attempt to find what would work best for her, we’ve gone through quite a few math curriculums in the last few years. Nothing clicked. Nothing worked well. And nothing helped her enjoy math or feel successful at it. That’s why I’m so excited (and relieved!) to have finally found CTCMath!

Take the Stress Out of Math for All Ages and Grade Levels!

At first, I was leery to try CTCMath because my daughter doesn’t generally enjoy online learning. She typically likes physical/print materials that are very hands-on. I’m thrilled to say that she loves this curriculum!

Top 3 Reasons My Daughter Loves CTCMath

  1. First, with her full schedule, it’s easy to fit math into her day whenever she has time. If she were taking a live online class, she would have to attend class at a certain time and on certain days. She very much prefers having the ability to do a lesson at whatever time works best for her schedule on any certain day.
  2. She likes the fact that the videos that are used to teach lessons are short. For students who aren’t great at math, a long video with lots of information can be overwhelming.
  3. She enjoys being able to review and re-watch videos when needed. If she has trouble with a new concept, all she has to do is watch the video again until she understands it. She loves the fact that the teacher never loses his patience or gets frustrated no matter how many times she needs to review a lesson. 🙂

CTCMath banner

The 5 Top Reasons I Love CTCMath

  1. Learning to use CTCMath was so simple! My daughter did not need any help from me besides setting up her username. Also, there are several helpful videos showing users how to get started and explaining how to use the various tools.
  2. Instead of a regular placement test, CTCMath uses diagnostic tests. This simply means that, instead of doing a placement test, the student jumps in and does a lesson at whatever grade level the parent thinks is appropriate. If that level is too difficult or too easy, the student can then move backward or forward to a different level as needed. Once your child is working at a level that is challenging but not too difficult, you know he or she is at the proper grade level.
  3. CTCMath includes all grade levels. Being able to work at any grade level gives both my daughter and me the confidence that she is learning what she needs to know before she moves on.
  4. It is not Common Core aligned. I don’t like Common Core-aligned curriculum. It’s confusing and often seems to make math concepts more difficult to learn and understand rather than making them understandable and doable.
  5. Parents get emails with progress updates. I love the email reports that tell me how my daughter is doing! They tell me when she logged on, what she finished that day, the grade she made, and even how long it took her to complete the lesson.

I’ve already listed the 5 top reasons I love CTCMath, but there are lots more reasons you might love it! 

  • CTCMath includes math curriculum for students from kindergarten through high school. This means everything from kindergarten math all the way through high school algebra (I & II), geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus is included!
  • If you choose a family membership, up to 5 students (at any ages/grade levels) can use this curriculum! This makes CTCMath affordable for almost any family.
  • The Question Bank allows parents to assign extra practice if they feel like their students need it.
  • If your child enjoys or would benefit from having a printed lesson to review, you can print out the lesson summary at the end of a lesson.
  • There are optional worksheets that can be completed without an internet connection. When you do have internet access, your child can enter the answers and see the solutions.
  • The parent can choose the passing grade for each student.

The video below gives a great overview of this curriculum. It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch! 

We love this curriculum. We don’t have to keep searching. This is the one that will get her through to graduation. CTC Math is helping her to stop saying, “I’m not good at math.” It’s boosting her confidence in her ability to do math and helping her enjoy math so much more than she ever has before! Below you’ll find more information about how to try a free trial of CTCMath, how to use a discount code to get a huge discount, and how to enter for a chance to win a FREE family subscription!

Get a FREE Trial or a Huge Discount on a Subscription!

Click here to get a FREE TRIAL of CTCMath.

And you can get 50% off your CTCMath subscription by clicking this 1/2 Price for Homeschoolers link!

Enter for a Chance to Win a FREE Family Subscription!

CTCMath 12-month Family Membership

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“Free Falling Freedom Towers” 4th of July Game

hands holdi

“Free Falling Freedom Towers” 4th of July Game

Freedom is precious. It’s important. And it’s often taken for granted. Most of us enjoy freedom without having to sacrifice for it. There are many individuals and families who have made sacrifices to maintain our freedom, though, and there are those who continue to sacrifice for the rest of us. This 4th of July game was created for that reason–to help us illustrate to our children the importance of appreciating and valuing the freedoms we have and to understand that freedom really isn’t free. (Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true! And our children need to know it.)

This 4th of July game gives adults a way to illustrate to our children how precious our freedom is and how easily it can be toppled without faith, care, and appreciation. 

hands holding American flag


• ten plastic cups
• eight index cards


Children will compete in teams to see who has enough patience and strength to collapse all of the cups as smoothly as possible.


Have each child (or each team) build a tower out of index cards and plastic cups. They’ll need to build their towers at least five feet apart to prevent accidentally knocking over the opposing child’s/team’s tower. The following illustrations show how to build the tower.


Start by placing a plastic cup rim-side down onto a sturdy table. Place an index card on the cup after the cup is in place.


Repeat that step until you have two towers. Each tower should consist of five cups and four index cards.


You can see in the picture above that there is not an index card on the top of the stack. Index cards should only be placed between cups.


Explain to your children that we are celebrating another year of America’s independence and that we want to remember how, many years ago, we had to earn our independence through hard battles and sacrifices. You might want to explain that we still have people who give their lives to make sure America remains free.

Today we’re going to play a game that will show us how important it is to value our freedom and treat it with care because, if we don’t, it is possible for our freedom to topple just like our towers of cups and cards.


1. If possible, divide the children into two even teams (or have two children serve as opposing teams).
2. Have teams form a line behind each stack of cups and index cards.
3. When you say, “Go!” the first child will have to remove the top index card in the stack.
4. If the whole stack tumbles down, he or she must rebuild it and go to the end of the line.
5. If he or she is able to remove the card without toppling the tower (The top cup should collapse onto the next cup in the stack.), the child moves to the end of the line.
6. The game continues until one team has successfully collapsed its stack.


pic 4 bpic 5


Discuss the fact that, as they played the game, the children had to be very careful when they pulled the index cards out from between the cups. Ask them questions prompting them to explain what happened when they weren’t careful. (The tower toppled.) What happened if they didn’t take their responsibility seriously and tried to work too fast or without paying careful attention? (The tower toppled.)

Talk about the fact that each tower represented our freedoms both as a country and as Christians. If we aren’t careful and don’t treat our freedoms with dignity and defend them with care, the whole thing could topple.

What does it mean to treat our freedoms with care and dignity? (Let your children answer and give guidance as needed.) We should value our freedom and take it seriously. We should stand up for our rights and freedoms and support others who do the same. We should be willing to make sacrifices to remain free because freedom is important!

What does it mean to treat other people with care and dignity? (Again, let them answer and give guidance as needed.) We need to follow the laws of love. We should not hurt each other. We should treat each other with love and care. You may even want to discuss that bad health habits can lead to health problems that impede our freedom of movement and personal independence.

If we don’t value our independence, fail to recognize its worth, and treat it with carelessness, our freedom can topple just like our towers toppled. Leave your children with a sense of hope, though, by explaining that we each have the choice to value our freedom and to value others. If we make the right choice, our freedoms can remain strong and we can stand like tall towers or beacons of hope for others and for our country.

For more 4th of July information and activities, check out these articles!

4th of July art project

4th of July Art Project Tutorial

4th of July coloring page

4th of July Color by Number 

patriotic slime recipe

Patriotic Slime Recipe

Celebrating Summer: Enjoying the Everyday This July

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Every Book List You Will Ever Need For Your Homeschool!

Sometimes, we just need a little help finding the right books for our homeschool. This compilation of book lists is essentially every book list you will ever need all in one place!

children's books for homeschooling

Book Lists For Every Month Of The Year

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of January

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of February 

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of March

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of April   

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of May

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of June

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of July

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of August

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of September

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of October

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of November

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of December

kids reading

12 Exceptional Book Lists To Help You Homeschool By Subject

Awesome Books For Kids Who Love Nature

Books For Animal Lovers 

Books For Insect Lovers 

Must Have STEAM Books

Great Books For Independent Learners

Great Math Books That Aren’t Textbooks

Finding Books For Gifted Learners 

101 Reasons You Need Audiobooks In Your Homeschool

Books To Help Kids Learn About Geology

Fantastic Books For Plant Lovers

Family Favorite Christmas Books

Activity Books For Learning History 

reading to our kids in homeschool

8 Excellent Book Lists For Social Emotional Learning

Books To Help Kids Who Worry 

Books To Inspire Kindness And Thankfulness

Books With Quirky Characters

Books To Help Your Kids Learn Mindfulness At Home

Books That Teach Character

Books To Help Kids Learn About Autism 

Books To Teach Executive Function Skills

Books To Help Kids Learn About Anger

mom reading with child

In my homeschool, having access to book lists like all of these has made all the difference. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I want to support reading together in our learning.

I simply pull up a book list by topic, subject, or time of year and we are essentially ready to go!

These books lists will help you find just what you need, when you need it, in your homeschool.

Take a trip to the library, load up, and happy reading!