Black Friday Deals for Homeschoolers

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Black Friday means leftovers, line-ups (unless you shop from home which I personally think is much less stressful) and the best deals of the year. I’ve compiled some of the best online Black Friday 2014 Deals for homeschoolers to share with you.

Black Friday Sales for Homeschoolers

Save $25 on Notebooking Pages Lifetime Memberships. Our family has been using Notebooking Pages for a few years now and we love it! They have something for students of every level and continue to add more and more wonderful resources regularly. Cyber Week Membership Sale

Bible Road Trip 50% off with discount code: GiveTHANKS.Half-Off-Bible-Road-TripBright Ideas Press has 20% off with the code gobblegobble.

2014 Black Friday Sale BIP
We are huge fans of the Chalk Pastels art lessons. They are our favourite art lessons. Right now, get 25% off this bundle.25% Off Art For All Ages Curriculum Bundle
The Character Badges Bundle is on for 40% off.

We Choose Virtues is offering 30% off everything with the code Holiday30.

We Choose Virtues Sale

Basic Shapes for Beginners will be 30% off starting December 1. Basic Shapes for BeginnersSave $15 off a Meet Penny Premium Membership and gain instant access to over $150 in printables, lessons and ebooks.

Paradise Praises is running a Thanksgiving Sale on all of their resources including the very popular Melk, the Christmas Monkey.
A+ Tutor Soft Interactive Math has 50-75% off their online curriculum.
Not Black FridayGrapevine Studies is holding Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Check their website for details.
Grapevine StudiesOf course, Amazon has almost everything to fit a homeschooler’s needs and they are having Black Friday sales all week long!

Homeschool Momma – What You Need to Hear Today

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

I’ve been homeschooling for many years, more than a dozen in fact, but I still have days of discouragement and doubt. Sometimes, I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Insecurities creep in and I second-guess myself.

Homeschool Momma: What You Need to Hear Today Image Copyright: oliverstockphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

The words I tell you today are the truth. They are what I need to hear and want you to hear it too.

You know your kids best.

Those little (and not so little) critters running around? You know their moods, their hearts, their triggers, their facial expressions, their fears, their dreams, what works for them and what doesn’t. You love them enough to put in the time to figure out how they learn best. You are best equipped to teach them just by virtue of the depth of your knowledge of them.

What works for one family may not work for another.

Every family is unique. Looking from the outside in, it may seem as if another homeschool family has it all together. You may want to try to emulate what you see them doing but what works for them may not be a good fit for your family. You also aren’t seeing them on their bad days! Since you know your family best, you can best determine what will work for you. This may take trial and error and may need to change in certain seasons of your life.

It’s ok to change your plans.

There are times when even halfway through the year, you may need to change your curriculum or your plans or even your entire homeschool method if you find it’s not working for you. It’s ok to admit that something isn’t working and try something else. After all, you know your kids best!

I started as a very “school-at-home” type of homeschooler and then after two or three years swung over towards the unschooling side, which was a wonderful fit for my disorganized self and for the two sons that were school-age at the time. Fast forward a few years to when some of our younger, special needs children were school-age and attempting to unschool was a disaster. What had worked for years with their brothers was now stressful and painful. I had to re-evaluate and I came to admit that my special needs kids needed more structure, plenty of brain breaks, and more sensory opportunities. Change was hard but worth it.

You don’t have to get it all done today.

You have until your child is 18 or older to teach them everything you think they need to know. You don’t need to tackle algebra when they’re six or even worry about how you’re going to tackle it later. Concentrate on today. Teach them one thing and then another and then another. Eventually, it all adds up to be many things.

Some days it’s ok to throw your plans out the window.

There are days. You know the kind of days I mean…days when no matter what you try to do, things are not going to go as planned and kids are going to whine and moms are going to yell or lock themselves in the bathroom. Those days, sometimes it’s just best to throw the plans out and spend the day cuddling on the couch or enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. A spontaneous field trip or treat may be just what’s needed to turn things around.

Take time to enjoy the little moments.

There are hard days, but it is a privilege to homeschool because you get to be there to witness the little things, the a-ha moment, the light in their eyes when they master a new skill, the hug in the middle of the day for no apparent reason, the no-small-miracle of siblings getting along. Take the time to soak it in. They grow up so quickly. People used to tell me that and I swept it aside in my mind until they were right and my oldest was grown and gone. Now I know all too well how true it is and I am trying to do a better job of savouring the time with my younger ones.

You are succeeding.

You will always feel behind but as long as your child knows that they are loved by you and by God and is learning something, anything, you are succeeding.

I know that there are days when you might look longingly at the big yellow bus and wish your kids were on it because it’s hard and exhausting (I have those days still), but when the breakthroughs come and you see your child’s face light up because they grasp a new concept or created something themselves, think of what you would have missed if they had been on that bus. You have the privilege of this time with them. It’s time you’ll never get back. It’s a gift.

Give hugs liberally. Teach them to love books. Show them God’s love. Be in the moment. Appreciate them. Let them see you help others. Be willing to change. Apologize for your mistakes. Get to know them more every day. Treasure it. Give yourself grace.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Homeschool Encouragement on Pinterest.

Holiday S’Mores

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Roasting marshmallows over the campfire is one of the quintessential childhood memories. Making those marshmallows into s’mores makes it all the better. In the dead of winter when kids are for the most part stuck inside, getting surprised with s’mores can turn an ordinary day into a memorable one!

Holiday S'Mores in 2 unique flavoursWhen I saw the new Peeps holiday in the craft store (of all places!), I knew right away that I was going to use them to make some fun s’mores for the kids.

There were two types that I got…Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Reindeer Peeps and Gingerbread Flavoured Marshmallow Gingerbread Men Peeps. I knew that the gingerbread ones would taste great with chocolate and graham crackers and I decided to try mint with the chocolate mousse flavoured ones to give them even more of a Christmas taste.

I made some on regular graham wafers and others on gluten free graham crackers so that Einstein could also enjoy this surprise middle of the week, for no reason at all treat!

For the gingerbread flavoured s’mores, I used Jersey Milk chocolate and for the chocolate mousse flavoured ones, I used Mint Aero for some and After Eight bars for others (the After Eight bar tasted better in my opinion but the Mint Aero is nut free which is a consideration for us because Miss Optimism has a severe nut allergy and we liked that the Mint Aero ones showed green and brown when melted).

Holiday S'Mores

I melted the chocolate on top of the graham crackers in the microwave and then placed the Peeps above before topping with another graham cracker. The kids were super excited to try them. There wasn’t a clear consensus about which holiday s’mores flavour was better but all of them were quickly devoured!

This is an easy little thing you can do to change things up for an after school snack or homeschool break time that will delight your kids. Of course because you can make these in the microwave, kids can easily make them too.

Rice Krispie Candy Houses (a Gluten Free Gingerbread Alternative)

Christmas Sticky Tree

Easy Christmas Fabric Wreath

Show Me the Money: The Best Blog Income Reports

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

It is possible to make money blogging. It does not happen overnight. It requires time, hard work, passion, dedication and some might say, even a little bit of luck. One of the tools that I have used in order to help me learn how to make money with my blog is reading other blogger’s income reports. Many of these reports include far more than just a breakdown of income and expenses.

Show Me the Money: The Best Blog Income ReportsImage Copyright: avian / 123RF Stock Photo

Blog income reports often include strategies that have proven effective, well-researched ideas, formulas, and links to articles on everything from SEO to marketing to photography. I feel that my time is well spent reading these earning summaries and then analyzing what I can take away and apply to my own blog.

I have come away with monetization strategies, technical information, traffic building suggestions, new social media algorithms, links to check out, and best of all, encouragement and hope that making an income with blogging is achievable.

The best blog income reports inspire!

These are some of the most thorough and informative blog income reports that I’ve found:

Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn’s reports are possibly the best known and while some may argue that it is the shockingly high amount of income he is now generating monthly, I believe they have been well received because of the quality of information they include on not just the what of the numbers, but the how.

Pinch of Yum – It is so neat to see the progression of over 3 years of income reports. They’re also pretty to look at and I’ll admit, that makes me want to read them even more! These reports are so in-depth and provide a lot more information than just the numbers. I will warn you that you can get lost in their reports for hours!

The Chaos and The Clutter – These are my income reports and as they evolve and as I evolve, I add more and more information to them. I try to be transparent about what’s working well for me and what hasn’t worked out the way I’d hoped. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers who were generous enough to share their tips when I was getting started, so I hope to pass that encouragement along.

Monthly Blogging Income Reports

Dollars and Roses – There haven’t been new ones added in awhile but there is such meaty goodness in the long list of existing reports, they are well worth your time. I met Jeff and Mandy when they spoke at a blogging conference I was at last year and was inspired by their honesty.

Side Income Blogging – These ones date back to 2011 and I find it encouraging to see the progression. It’s a good site for other blogging information as well.

Blogging on the Side (Paula) – Again, this is a site that has information about blogging so it is helpful to poke around a bit. Both Paula and Becky both have sites other than Blogging on the Side and are quite candid about their growth which is what makes their individual income reports so fascinating.

Blogging on the Side (Becky) – This links to one month only so you’ll have to use the links within this post to access the rest of her reports. I found the specifics of her sponsored posts very interesting.

I Heart Arts and Crafts – I think it’s important if you’re going to be researching online earnings to look at different niches. It’s easy to find reports on food blogs and traditional mommy blogs, but the kids’ craft and activity sites don’t tend to share this type of information so it’s nice to see it here.

Pulling Curls – Somehow, Hilary makes her blogging reports seem fun (while still providing a lot of good information)!

The Blenderist – A blog does not need to be huge or making a ton of money for you to be able to learn from their income reports and the information shared in them.

Donnie Law – I find these really interesting and transparent. I like to see when people aren’t afraid to say what isn’t working for them as well as what is.

Pro Food Blogger

Super Mommy Club

Moms Make Money

Retired by 40

A Life in Balance

Toot Sweet 4 Two

Less Than Perfect Parents

Matthew Woodward

The Endless Meal

On the Cutting Floor

Culinary Scientist

Bargain Mums

Fitness Fashionista

Thrifty T’s Treasures

Looking for more information about making money online? You may be interested in following my Blogging board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Blogging on Pinterest.

If you are looking to turn your blogging into a serious income, I highly recommend looking into Elite Blog Academy. It’s an online course taught by Ruth Soukup, the author of How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul. I am six weeks into the course (it’s recommended that you do it in 12 weeks) and it has been amazing! What I got out of just the first two weeks was worth the cost of the entire course. It’s a time commitment and I don’t suggest you do it unless you’re very serious about taking your blog to the next level, but if you are ready, it is phenomenal.

And starting on November 28, the course is being offered for one week only for its introductory price before the price goes back up. It’s a savings of $100 so if you’re considering signing up, now is the best time to do so.