Create a Story

Do you have a struggling writer? I know that a couple of my kids have been reluctant to write, mostly because they didn’t know how to get started or what to write about. Enter Create a Story. This little book walks your writers through the process of writing a story in a fun and creative way.

In this edition, they give you two story options

  1. The Vikings
  2. The Arctic

Each section provides you with some background information about the different options. The informational section is brief so it’s great for those that would be intimidated by a lot of reading, but you could also have more advanced learners dive further by doing more research to add to their story. As soon as they are done reading about their topic, the book dives right in. It helps them to

  • Choose and develop various characters
  • Create a plotline
  • Design a setting
  • Come up with a problem
  • It even suggests having one of the characters have a trusty pet.
  • I also love that it gives some suggested word choices to help avoid repetative word usage.

One thing I would suggest if you have a young struggling writer is to not be overly critical. Sometimes it’s beneficial to just let them write. As their love for writing grows, then you can gently come in and offer corrections. If they are currently having a difficult time, just let them have fun with it and that’s what I love about Create a Story. It makes writing fun! So head on over to their site and check out how you can get your hands on this great book. 


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“Like a wildflower; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people never thought you would.”

I found this pretty little flower growing in a crack in the sidewalk the other day and I had to snap a picture of it. Here this beautiful flower was growing in the most unlikely of places. How many of us are like this flower? Or rather, how many of us could be like this flower, but let outside influences keep us from thriving? This little flower didn’t need everything to be perfect to take root and grow. It found an opportunity, regardless of what the circumstances were, and grew.

How many of us are like this flower? Or rather, how many of us could be like this flower, but let outside influences keep us from thriving? This little flower didn’t need everything to be perfect to take root and grow. It found an opportunity, regardless of what the circumstances were, and grew.

So many of the things I’ve done in my life, I’ve had people ask me, “Well why would you want to do that?” Homeschooling, fitness instructor, event planner, making wedding cakes . . . quite literally all of these things I have done I have had someone say, “well why would you want to go and do a thing like that.” “It will be too hard.” “Why are you wasting your time?” If I hadn’t let go of my fear and doubt and made the decision to grow, even when all the odds were against me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

If I hadn’t let go of my fear and doubt and made the decision to grow, even when all the odds were against me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I still have a lot of growing to do, but am grateful for the opportunites to be like that little flower and to look in the small cracks of life and grow.

Have you had moments where you’ve bloomed where you’ve been planted or have you let fear and self doubt keep you from becoming who you are supposed to be. You are capable of AMAZING things so go and plant yourself in unusual places.

Dear Falling Behind

Dear Savvy Homeschooler-

teacherMy mother-in-law is a teacher at a public school and when I told her I was considering homeschooling my kids she told me that when formerly-homeschooled kids come into her classroom they are always behind. I obviously don’t want my kids to fall behind academically, so how do you make sure they receive an education that is on par with their peers so they can get into the college they want?

Dear Falling Behind,

First, I would like to ask your mother-in-law how many homeschooled students did she know personally that came back into her classroom that were all behind. Did she know maybe know a couple personally or just hear about kids coming to school and being behind? Either way, it doesn’t classify EVERY homeschooled kid as being “behind.” I put behind in quotations, because what does behind mean? Does it mean that your child isn’t learning everything that a child might be learning in a public school classroom? Then sure, they might be behind. But did you stop to think that a public school student might be behind too? Are there not classrooms with student’s that don’t know how totest read or understand math concepts being taught? Are there students that just study to pass a test, but aren’t really retaining any important information? But if testing is your gauge for success, then there are plenty of statistics done that show that homeschoolers test higher on average than public schoolers.

Here’s some food for thought: It just might be possible that homeschool kids are learning things at home that might not be being taught in the classroom, like the constitution or the bill of rights. constitution_we_the_peopleThese are things we’ve discussed as early as kindergarten in our home, but is the kindergarten up the street teaching those things? Probably not. So yes, there might be gaps in my third graders education because the third grade classroom that he could be currently attending is learning about cloud formations, but we learned about the periodic table of elements. Maybe during fourth grade we will study the weather and cloud formations. Do you see what I’m getting at here? In our home we study what we want to learn about, not what the state tells us we should be learning.

So unless you want to create a classroom setting in your home, check with heiwa_elementary_school_18your local school district to see what each grade is learning, then have individual lessons for several hours each day with each child that year, then go for it. But I can almost guarantee that you are setting yourself up for burnout and failure and almost definitely ruin the love of learning in your child/children.

As for your concern with you child getting into college, there are TONS of homeschoolers that have gone on to college. Colleges are actually seeking out homeschoolers because they are self-learners and highly motivated. A lot of public schoolers have had all their education spoon fed to them and don’t know how to learn for themselves and come to college not knowing how to learn or study, whereas homeschoolers have been learning that way their whole lives. A lot of colleges don’t even require a high school diploma or GED. It just requires the SAT or ACT and a portfolio of their work in high school. And the cool thing about the ACT is you can take it as many times as you want till you get the score you want. So if college is the goal of your homeschool student, then go for it! Nothings stopping you!

I think the hardest part of homeschooling is stepping out of the public school mindset that we have all been fed our whole lives. We feel we have to learn X,Y,Z at ages 5,6 and 7 because they will fail in life if they don’t. We feel we lieshave to be sitting at our desk for 6 hours a day to learn anything because if a child is in school for 6-7 hours a day then they must be learning that whole time…which is a BIG FAT LIE! We feel that if our child is not around 30 other children their same age for most of the day then they will be socially backward. Another BIG FAT LIE! These misconceptions are SO, SO hard to break out of, no matter how long you’ve been homeschooling for. If you were not raised in a homeschool family, then you probably attended public school, so that is all you know as the norm. Why would you think anything else would work? Especially when so many rumors have been spread about the homeschool realm. And why wouldn’t a public school teacher feel extra strong about homeschooling? I get it! Their very profession is being challenged. But there are lots of teachers that have quit their chosen profession due to seeing from the inside just how broken the system is and chosen to homeschool. What does that say? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

But the simple answer to your above questions is: Could your child be behind? Maybe. If for some reason you have to put them back in school, will they be able to catch back up quickly? Yes. And can your child still get into college? YES!


Dear Social,

Dear Savvy Homeschooler,

How do you make sure your kids get enough social interaction? My oldest is REALLY social and I worry that he might get lonely being homeschooled.

Dear Social,

This is probably the most asked question I get about homeschooling. How will they get enough social interaction without being in public school?

two young girls laughing behind another girls back

The question I always give in return is do you really want them learning THAT kind of social interaction that they get in public school? And by THAT, I mean backbiting, bullying, vanity and comparison, apathy, defiance . . . I could go on and on. Dr. Michael Slavinski, an education researcher stated, “The mass socialization conducted within schools has brought about a proliferation of delinquent behavior with this nation’s youth.” He notes “students bodies are increasingly riddled with violence, drugs, promiscuity, emotional disorders, crime, contempt for authority, desperate behavior, crime, illiteracy and peer dependency – just to name a few.” I don’t know about you, but that is definitely not an environment that I want my kids to be around when trying to learn and grow into well-rounded members of society.

A common misconception that the public has about homeschooling is that homeschoolers sit around the kitchen table all day, never interacting with anyone outside of their family and that couldn’t be furtherpictapgo-image from the truth! On average, homeschooling families spend AT LEAST 5 times a week outside of their home engaging in social activities. For my family, there is not a single day that goes by that my kids don’t meet with other kids or adults. We have writing class, coop, fitness groups, weekly church activities, baking, Lego and art classes, field trips, play dates, choir . . . seriously, I could keep going! My children are far from socially deprived! I will say though, you do have to put yourself out there! If img_0300you are an introvert, such as myself, sometimes that can be a challenge. But it does get easier and you only have to put as much on your plate as you want. There are times where we do less so that we can focus more on our family relationships, which really, in my opinion the most important! I always tell my kids that if you don’t have the energy to be nice to each other then you don’t have the energy to play with your friends. That works every time! My kids LOVE to be with their friends, but they also LOVE to be with their family! And as a mom, I LOVE that! You do have to cultivate those relationships though! Siblings fight! I don’t need to tell you that. But when you set forth the premise that family comes first, a shift starts to take place. img_4969 They begin to really value those ties with each other. I LOVE my family and I want my kids to love their family, which is what I LOVE about homeschool. That social interaction that we have with each other on daily basis that if in public school we would miss out on being away from each other for so many hours each day. I’m rambling…Sorry! I’ll move on now!

I also want to point out that homeschooled high school kids also have more time to be able to have paying jobs as well as participating in volunteer workimg_0106 and community service without sacrificing educational pursuits or religious activities. I hope that I am illustrating here that homeschooled kids are not hermits. They are active members of society and go on to be productive adults.

If you want research to back up that previous statement, there was a study presented at the National Christian Home Educators Leadership Conference that found that homeschool graduates far exceeded their public and private school counterparts in college by ranking highest in 42 of 63 indicators of collegiate success. They were also ranked as being superior in four out of five achievement categories, including socialization, as they were assessed as being the most charismatic and influential.

Now granted we all know that “one” family that is socially awkward and maybe they do stay home more than others, but maybe they don’t! Maybe they are just socially awkward whether they are homeschooled or public schooled! Yes there are socially awkward homeschoolers. But guess what? There are socially awkward public schoolers! The platform for their education doesn’t make a difference! In fact, studies have shown that those that our outside the social norm often fair better in a homeschool setting and come away with more confidence without being put in a public school setting where they are torn down and constantly ridiculed for being “different.”

She’s gonna kill me when she finds out I put this picture on here! 🙂

So there you have it! That’s how I feel about socialization. I know there are plenty of kids that go to public school and do fine dealing with what goes on there, but I am so grateful that my kids don’t have to deal with that! I look at my 13 year old daughter who is going through those special teen years (you know what I’m talking about) and am so glad that she is in an environment where she can be lifted up and maintain her knowledge of her self worth. I love the confidence she has and knowing her personality, I know that would not exist if she had been in school these past 9 years. There just wouldn’t have been enough time at home for me to repair the damage done at school!

So if you are considering homeschool and worry about socialization, you can set that worry aside! Trust yourself and know that you will find a way to get all the interaction that your child needs.






Dear Cha-Ching,

Dear Savvy Homeschooler,

How much do you usually spend on homeschooling curricula and supplies? Do you get any tax breaks at all since your kids don’t attend public school?money

Dear Cha-Ching,

This is a great question, but the answer varies greatly. The amount I spend each year totally depends on the budget we set for me to spend. Sometimes I will come up with a wish list with necessities on one side and extras on the other and then sit down with my husband and go over what we are able to afford. I want to point out though that you actually don’t need to spend any money to homeschool. There are a million free resources out there! All you have to do is Google what you are looking for and put the word “free” in front freeof your search and you will find more than what you will ever need. But I feel like that can sometimes take a little more work to piece everything together and personally I usually don’t have the time for that. I like just ordering a curriculum and being ready to go.

This year I probably spent close to $350, but that is for 4 children and I do have a good supply of other materials I’ve collected over the years. Some of the materials that I ordered this year actually have less expensive PDF versions of their product that you can print off yourself. I prefer to have a hard copy of everything, but it is totally an option.

If you are finding that you want some educational materials that don’t fit within your budget, there are SOME programs offered by SOME states that will provide funding for your school supplies. They take the tax dollars that would go towards your child in a public school and allow you to use a portion of those dollars to go towards an alternative education. Just know that this often comes with strings attached and those strings, depending on the state, can be very short. These programs tend to fall under the umbrella of a public school umbrellaand you usually have to report to a certified teacher each week and turn in work samples on a regular basis to stay compliant to receive your funding. In some states it’s pretty low key, while others it can seem like a full time job to keep up with the amount of paper work they want you to fill out. So make sure you know all the details before signing on the dotted line. There will also be hard-core homeschoolers that might tell you that by receiving state funding that you are not an actual homeschooler. You are still controlled by the school system and the government. I will leave that for you to decide. I can see both sides and have experienced being in a program where I receive funding and have been outside of programs and both have their pros and cons.

As for tax breaks, I’m sad to say as of right now, there are not. It is incredibly frustrating, but it is what it is. I know there are homeschool advocates out there fighting to change that, but so far the answer is no. The closest you can get is using those umbrella programs that I talked about earlier. But don’t let that deter you. You can spend next to nothing or have a top tier budget and your child will still receive a great education. It just takes a little searching,design planning and the knowledge that YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS! Who knows your children better than you? And monetary provisions shouldn’t be a reason to not homeschool, especially in our day and age where we have every bit of knowledge right at our fingertips. We just have to look! So tell yourself I WAS MADE FOR THIS and then start believing it!






Dear Clash

What do I do if I “clash” with one of my kids when it comes to teaching them things?

child-fight“Clashing” with your kid or kids is a totally valid concern. When faced with a head- strong child or a child that has a learning disability can leave you ready to throw your hands up in the air screaming “I GIVE UP!!!” This scenario often times takes place even when you have your child in school, so how in the world are you supposed to have them home all day and expect to educate them?

Thankfully, when you homeschool, you have a lot more freedom with what and how you educate your child vs. what and how the public school forces you to teach them. The following is a list of ways to approach a child that is struggling with you teaching them or learning in general.

  • Reevaluate educational materials being used. Is your child maybe bored with the curriculum? Is the curriculum not stimulating enough? Or maybe it’s over stimulating. The good news about homeschooling is you are not married to one curriculum! You can switch if what you have selected isn’t working. Give it a couple of tries and if it’s not working… move on! My daughter has ADD and over the years has used 4 different math programs. I have loved that we can change things up if we need to.
  • Take a small break. We all can become overwhelmed and sometimes we just take-a-breakneed to step away for a little bit, take a breath outside for a minute and then come back. I want to emphasize “small” break. No more than 10 minutes should do. You don’t want to become so side tracked that the work doesn’t get done. But if you both feel that you are about to lose your cool, take a step back, regain your composure and then try again.
  • Find some outside help. I am very blessed to have a husband that is very supportive of me homeschooling our children and that he understands things can get stressful with the kiddos. On days where I’m not meshing well with one our offspring, he comes home and takes over to help get things done. If you don’t have that option find a tutor. If you can’t find one locally, guess what? There are actually online tutors. Pretty awesome, right?!
  • Maybe rethink your education technique/learning style. Some kids learn really well with workbooks and textbooks, where other kids might need a more bookshands on approach. It might take a little more research on your end as the parent, but if it helps your child learn, why not try it? Hands on, real life experiences can be just as educational, if not more so, than textbooks and workbooks.
  • Sometimes you just have to enforce the suck it up method. There are plenty of times in life when we have to do things we don’t want to do but need to get done. It’s not always fun to have to do this technique, but there will be times where your child just doesn’t want do the work. To bad, so sad! It just needs to get done. There might be tears, but stick it out! They’ll figure it out.

family-pic-1These are just a few ideas of how to help you get through some of the tough days when you just aren’t quite melding with your child. Every parent has “clashing” moments with their kids, some more than others. It’s how we handle those moments that can define our educational experience as a family. You will find that not only will you learn secular materials along side with your kids, but you will also learn patience, self-discipline, confidence, cooperation, determination, flexibility, as well as a whole host of other virtuous traits that will help you develop a stronger relationship with each of your children.