Welcome to Our Not So Pinterest Worthy Homeschooling Room


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Once upon a time I dreamed of having a homeschooling room, and then we moved and I had one. It was beautiful with huge cabinets to store books and a long table that could fit all two of my students, plus plenty of room for a desk for my third student. There was a place for a small couch to cozy up with books and great sunshine pouring in the windows all day long.

A real life homeschooling room, plus a major tip for creating your own!

We used  that ideal homeschooling room for about two months. Actually, to be completely honest I think it was really about two weeks.

You see, my oldest child just didn’t do well having 2 siblings in the same room as him. He got too distracted and got very little done each day. Another child ended up memorizing both his siblings’ memory work, but never did seem to get much else done.

Eventually I ended up letting my oldest do his school work in his room and I let the other two move to the bigger and more comfy couch in the family room.

And so the homeschooling room sat empty except for a cupboard full of books. Eventually even those were removed when we converted it to a 4th bedroom so that our boys no longer had to share a room.

Welcome to Our Not So Pinterest Worthy Homeschooling Room

A real life homeschooling room, plus a major tip for creating your own!

My children are teenagers and don’t often allow me to post photos of them on the blog anymore. They did, however, approve of this photo exposing their blanketed legs for your viewing. (eh, whatever this is truly what homeschooling looks like most days)

And this is what homeschooling now looks like.

That is me working on the apple laptop and those are two kids wrapped  up under blankets.  All of us use handy fold away tables for desks. My oldest son is in college now so it is just the three of us.

In this photo my two children are working on their Time4Learning subjects. Currently they are doing both English and History through Time4Learning. I love how I can set up a daily timeline for them to follow with just a few clicks inside the parent section of the website. I also love that most of their school work is marked for me. I just have to grade the writing assignments.

At the end of the year record keeping is a breeze. I simply print out the report that shares with me their grades on all their tests and quizzes and then I perform a simple math equation to create a course grade average and BAM! I have a final grade for their transcripts.

With both children now in high school this is what really sold me on using Time4Learning–record keeping is so simple.

High school level courses at Time4learning are currently $30 a month for up to four subjects. Elementary level courses are $15 a month for up to four courses.

We could use Time4learning for math and science and not pay a dime more, but the children really enjoy Apologia science and Teaching Textbook math–plus this means they are not on the computer all day.


A real life homeschooling room, plus a major tip for creating your own!

Which brings me to the second part of my homeschooling room tour

This is the laundry basket that holds the books needed for Apologia science and Teaching Textbook math.

I had grand plans of getting these at least onto a bookshelf, but halfway through our first year without a homeschooling room to store our books they were still on the floor and at that point I decided that they were really handy right here so why change things.

Not Pictured

But wait–there is more. We use one desk drawer to hold all the disks needed for science and math.

I am horrible at pronouncing scientific words so I decided a long time ago to get my children the books on MP3 CDs so they could listen along as they read and learn how to properly pronounce their science terms as a result.

I have the children store the disks in the desk drawer so they don’t get crushed by the weight of the school books.

Yes, our homeschooling room isn’t very Pinterest worthy. I don’t think you could really even call it a homeschooling room. It is really our family room with homeschooling books in it.

But it works for us and that is what matters most.

Homeschooling mama, create a homeschooling room that works for you and your family. And if you create the one of your dreams and it doesn’t work–well, go with the one that does and convert that room space into something more usable.

our family uses time4learning.comOur family has used Time4Learning for several years now and we are very happy with it.

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10 Ways Thrifty Families Cut The Cost Of Summer Fun


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Taking part in summer fun can be hard on the wallet. However, it doesn’t have to be when you know a few thrifty tips to help you cut the cost of summer fun.

10 ways to save money on summertime activities.

10 Ways Thrifty Families Cut The Cost Of Summer Fun

1. Summer Reading Programs

Most libraries hold summer reading programs for children that come with some awesome prizes such as coupons for free ice cream from local businesses. In our town we are blessed with a library that runs a summer reading program for kids, teens, and adults. The different age groups often get the same rewards so our family can go for a round of ice cream together free of charge.

2. Free Community Events

Concerts in the park, parades, and more are just some of the free community events offered by many towns and cities. Check out your community’s newspaper for a listing of events.

Also don’t forget to look for low-cost rainy day activities such as free bowling or free summer movies offered in many communities.

 25 free or low cost ways to keep the kids busy this summer.25 Free Or Low Cost Ways To Keep the Kids Busy This Summer

3. Use What You Have

Sand can be scooped into a reused plastic ice-cream container  just as well as fancy sand bucket. Bubbles can be made out of dish soap and water. The lawn sprinkler is the original splash pad.

Chances are you have plenty of materials sitting unused in your home that could make for some great summer fun. Go treasure hunting.

If you are coming up empty handed, search Pinterest for some ideas.

4. Create A Playground Group

My friends and I did this when our children were little and it was a lot of fun. Before summer begins, get your friends together somewhere or start a Facebook group where you can all chat, and create a list of local public parks in your area. Also note who is willing to have the whole gang over to play in their own backyard.

Pick a day and time that works well for everyone. On playground day pack up the kids and a snack to share and go to the playground of the week.

We usually threw in at least one backyard pool event each summer too.

10 ways to save money on summertime activities.

5. Cool Treats At Home

Nothing says summer more than cool treats like ice cream or popsicles.

Save your wallet some serious strain by purchasing these treats on sale at your local grocery store and serving them as a family treat (psst…save even more with these 6 grocery saving apps).

Perhaps Friday night could be ice cream sundae night or Monday afternoon could be popsicles after sprinkler time in the backyard.

Of course, you can save even more money by making your own popsicles. Simply invest in a high quality popsicle mold like this one and fill it with whatever your heart desires (search Pinterest for homemade popsicle ideas).

Another fun summer thing to try is making your own ice cream. My family enjoys making this simple, 3 ingredient, no machine ice cream recipe, which we add our own flavorings to.

Psst…sometimes it is nice to take the whole family out for treats. For those nights use gift cards earned from programs such as Swagbucks (see my list of 18+ point reward programs to figure out which point program suits your family’s lifestyle).

6. Use Coupons

For Summer trips to the water park, try daily deal sites like Groupon.

For coupons for cool treats, look in that junk mail–it just might surprise you what you find. Also don’t forget to sign up for email programs offered by ice cream shops in your area, chances are they will send out coupons from time to time in their emails.

7. Split Treats

My husband and I love a quick date to the local privately owned ice cream shop in our area. To keep the price down (and our waistline too) we split a banana split or strawberry shortcake.

5 ways thrifty people save money on day trips!5 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Day Trips

8. Pack Food

Invest in a family sized cooler and it will soon pay for itself when you start filling it with snacks and drinks for your summer day trips.

A cooler also comes in handy for mini trips too, such as a morning at the park, or an afternoon at the beach.

Buy each member of your family their own insulated reusable water bottle or cup and make sure to  fill them up and place it in the cooler before any outing.

Keep several freezer packs in your freezer so that if you forget to take them out of the cooler one time you are still ready to go for the next trip. Simply grab one freezer pack out of the freezer and place the one you forgot about in the freezer.

Make sure you also have containers to pack lunches in too. My family has used these 2 compartment lunch boxes for years for our road trip picnics.

9. Raid The Dollar Store

Yes, it is true most dollar store items are not long-lasting, but sometimes summer items don’t need to be.

I find the sun fades our summer toys no matter what I have paid for them so when my kids were little I spent perhaps $10 to $15 each summer on new shovels, pails, beach balls, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes and more to keep the kids busy in the backyard all summer long.

Don’t forget to check the art supply section for craft items that will come in handy on those rainy summer days.

Free 2 page printable checklist to help you have your best yard sale.This printable checklist will help you toss clutter and gain cash

10. Resell Your Items To Create A Summer Fun Account

Pretty much every year I either hold a yard sale, a Craigslist blitz or I go crazy listing things in Facebook Buy and Sell Groups and the proceeds go towards our annual summer family camping trip.

My Reselling page is full of tips to help you get the most for your items. I also have a printable checklist that will help you go through your house room by room grabbing as many things as possible to resell. My motto is toss clutter & gain cash!

There is nothing better than a bright and airy home free of clutter and a pile of cash in your hand in exchange for your hard work that you can then go spend on building some fun summer memories with your family.

Summertime can be fun without being a strain on the wallet.

What do you love to do in the summer time with your family?

Other Posts To Help You Plan Your Thrifty Summertime Fun

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3 Things I Am LOVING Lately: June 8th


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3 Things I Am Loving Lately What about you

The crazy days of summer have hit our home. This summer seems even more busy than usual, but we have exciting reasons for it to be. We are busy with preparations for our 5 to 6 month long RV trip planned for late this year or early next year. Part of that prep is having our two teenagers finish as much of their homeschooling as possible before we leave. Another part of it is reselling as much as possible to help raise money for the trip and leave our home in great shape for the home sitter while we are gone.

yard sale

First Thing  I am LOVING Lately….

A successful yard sale

We kicked off our reselling efforts with a yard sale. I brought in $302 between the hours of 8 and 3 last Friday. I thought that was pretty good. In the end I had one truck load to send to the thrift store and a smaller truck load to resell through eBay, Craigslist or Facebook.

If you are planning a yard sale soon here is a list of my yard sale articles..


Second Thing I am LOVING Lately ….

More stuff about to leave my home!

This upcoming week a city near me is having a homeschooling secondhand curriculum sale. I am preparing to take part. I have gathered all the school books we no longer need into one area of my home and plan to spend sometime figuring out fair market value for them.

My hopes is to raise just as much money as I did from our yard sale.

root beer floats

Third Thing I am LOVING This Week…

A family round of root beer floats!

The grocery store had root beer and ice cream on sale so naturally that lead to a round of root beer floats for the family.

We are pretty particular about how we prepare our root beer floats around here.

What is something you are loving lately? Tell me about in the comments below.

Let’s get to know one another! Join me on Facebook and/or Instagram. Those are the places I hang out and chat.

Join Checkout 51 And Claim A Rebate Before June 15 and receive $5

checkout 51

Checkout 51 is offering $5 to new sign ups who use a referral link (these words in blue are mine) to sign up and claim a rebate by June 15th 2016.

If you are already a Checkout 51 user you can still earn the $5 bonus by referring friends. You will receive $5 for each friend who signs up and claims a rebate before June 15 2016.  You should see a banner inside the Checkout 51 app that when you click on it will give you the links you need to share your referral link with your friends.

Here is a tutorial I wrote on how to use Checkout 51 to save money on your groceries no matter where you buy them.

(please note the cash out threshold for Checkout 51 is $20. When your account reaches $20 or more you can request a check)