Free educational internet gaming for summer with reviews


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There’s quite a few sites that offer learning games for students offering free membership for the summer. This is such a great way to sharpen your students skills and help you decide which educational sites are worth paying for as well. Just click the links below to get started. They do require you sign up for free membership with a homeschool co-op, this online co-op offers a lot of great resources and ways to connect. one of the best things about the free trials I’m going to mention today, is that they don’t ask for a credit card that annoyingly gets billed if you don’t fight to cancel. These are actually free trials with no strings attached.

First, but not necessarily best is  Always Icecream and Clever Dragons. My first impression of this one is that it feels like a cross between reading eggs and IXL, which is really cool, but offers more parental control options such as options to assign certain games to you student. The free codes allow the parent to sign up, up to four children for free. Always Icecream and Clever Dragons was designed with homeschoolers in mind. One thing I was sure of is the separation of girls from boys with the website. The Always Icecream is for girls and the Clever Dragons is for boys. There doesn’t seem to be any issue with the segregation of the genders, except I feel like it might put limits based on gender that don’t need to be there, but I’d have to spend more time with it to know for sure about that. Please comment below if you have any thoughts on this. This has a wide range of ages that can benefit from it.

To get the free offer for this summer, copy and paste the link below into your browser.

Second, is Taken Charge Siri and the curious code. This game is great for kids second grade and up in my opinion, though it is listed for kids third grade and up. I have a child who just completed first grade this year. He enjoys it, but I have to help him with some of the reading in the game and such. It guides kids through the inter workings of computers and such. So for example, at the end of the first level, my 7 year old knew the parts needed to build a desktop computer and by the end of the second level, he knew what each part did. It has a super Mario feel with a story line behind it and really nice graphics. This game is a good one for kids like my son, who at the age of 6 already knew he wanted to be a computer graphics designer and has began learning some basics to this already. With computers being such a big part of our future, it seems like a good game for kids who have an interest in the way of computers. There is instructions to use it for free for more then one child. This game isn’t supported by Android yet.

Click and paste the following link into your browser to get instructions.


Third, is Miss Humblebee’s Academy. This is focused on children preschool age, and is to help them get ready for kindergarten. This game works for both your pc and your handheld device.

Click the link below and paste into your browser to get instructions to use it free this summer.






Should your student recieve a paycheck for their school work?


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Many successful students from around the globe share one thing in common. Parents who reward their academic successes. paycheckEven adults who enjoy their work keep better attendance and higher performance at their place of employment for one common goal. Payment. Teaching kids from an early age to earn a paycheck is an excellent idea. High school students who are paid in cash each report card with the amount based on the grade often work harder then those who don’t. For example, the student that gets 3 A’s could receives $50 dollars for each A and $25. for each B, nothing for a C and below, unless you have a student that struggles to make C grades. Parents need to gage an appropriate amount of payment based on individual circumstance. A student that earns straight A’s is looking at a fine paycheck for each report card, yet still within a reasonable amount for the parent to be able to cough up. For homeschool students that don’t operate based on a grade system the student could be paid based on each major report, or piece of work, but it needs to be clear to the student what will be paid and for what before they begin their work. One of the worse things a parent could do with this is promise payment for a particular goal then not pay their student, or even worse, weasel out of paying as much as agreed with a salesman tactic. This teaches students a very twisted concept about our world and if you are a parent who operates this way towards your child, be advised, one day you will be looking to your children for your care, and it will not be pretty for you. Even if you are a parent who plans to have your millions built up so that others can provide for your elderly care, unforeseen things happen more times then not, and your money can not buy the love of your children at the end of your life, so treat them with care now, if you want to receive it from them in your last years. Chances are you may care more then about it then you do now. Ok, enough with the parental warning.

For middle school students cash method usually works great too, but don’t forget to add perks as a real employer would. Such as, if you get X amount of A’s, you get to go to an amazing summer camp, or to do anything that appeals to the student.

Elementary students respond well to stickers at the top of their papers that they worked so hard on, but eventually that may loose its luster it is helpful to up the antics. Having a prize bag with goodies inside that the child is rewarded with after each page or completed assignment is a great motivator.


“Paychecks” for your preschool or elementary age student


But don’t let those ideas limit yours. Keep the paycheck something that motivates your student and change it as they need. Zoo trips, or even paychecks for little ones in the form of letting them pummel mom or dad with water balloons can bring serious motivation to get them upping their efforts.

We love to see you comments of what worked for your student as a paycheck.




Common Core math



common coreWhen I was a child I was placed in a class at the age of eleven that was an experimental class for students who were high achievers. One of the things that operated differently in the class, was how we were taught math. We were taught the same math that you know now as “common core”, however, we were taught in a way that actually made sense, and it was actually a good thing.

The problems with common core. First, common core math has become a moral issue. It’s all in the wording. Teaching a child from a young age that two numbers equal a number that they don’t equal is in fact a grim moral failure. Instead of being asked if 6 plus 8 equals 10. Then informing the child that they are incorrect when they answer no. The teacher lies to the student and makes them question everything that makes sense in their brain, invoking hopelessness in the child. It is nothing other then a lie. Teaching children to lie at such a young age is a tragedy that I am amazed to see it happening in our public school system to such a serious degree. When we were taught common core so many years ago in that experimental class, we were taught, how to make the magic number with the other two numbers, then told what numbers do we need to add to the soup to find the desired number. This approach is truthful, logical, and helpful. If the approach is good, then it can actually be used to get students to think outside the box and use a part of their brains that they otherwise wouldn’t. If the wording that is being used to teach common core was used in a court of law within the USA, it would have no ground to stand on. However, teaching our children, particularly from such a young age, to accept this type of wording, well it sets our future generation up for failure. It destines them for failure from a moral standpoint, because when these same students grow up to be employed as things such as lawyers and judges, they will have already learned to accept false statements as the norm. Anyone who knows anything about the courtroom, knows that everything in the courtroom falls on the weight of the law and its interpretation. I hate to think of the kind of interpretations of the law a judge who was taught from such a young age that lies are truth. It may sound extreme to the parent or even the teacher who is using it every day in their classroom, but when you cut through the crap, the truth is the truth. Our country is stabilized by our legal system. If it falls, we fall.

The second problem with common core. I find it interesting to see how concerned people are with the education quality of home school students, when the most uneducated people I have met attended public school their entire life. Many high school students who have never known anything but a public school still can barely read, if they can read at all, they struggle to perform basic long division and the list goes on. While it is going to take everything in me not to become distracted with the topic of public school failures, please keep it in mind while I bring the topic back to focus of the second problem with common core math. Students need to be set up for success in every school setting. Common core being forced on children that are not ready to learn math in a way that makes their brain do backflips will make these students more likely to give up. Students who feel it is too tough, or like they are just not smart enough to learn a concept just find other ways to get by in school. They cheat, and fail and even learn a little here and there just enough to pass a test, but many were made to feel so negatively about it, they are doomed to never retain what is being taught. As someone who has a history as a college student in early childhood brain development I can say it is proven that patterns taught to children at young ages, usually stick. So what will our society look like after this generation grows up and so many students were taught from such a young age that they aren’t going to bother try because they will fail? A lot of people who can only work in jobs where thinking is minimal if any job at all. If common core continues to dominate our schools then America’s future is going to be grim.

It is unprecedented how many parents and even teachers feel negative about common core math and the ways it is being presented to our children. Children are sensitive to the adults in their environment. They know how negative all the adults feel about it, yet they are being forced to do it by those same adults because our leaders in our country require it. This is another concept that goes against what America stands for. We stand for freedom, life and liberty. This in no way promotes or teaches freedom, life or liberty.

I presume that the “experimental” class that I was put in as a child was received well by our leaders. Sadly, it seems that this good thing is being input into our society in ways that not only negate anything positive that may come from it, but also promote failure of our country as a result of its use.




Home School Burnout


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staleThinking back to my own public school days is one of my major motivators for homeschooling my own children. The days of hum drum boring classrooms where little learning took place, and most of the work we did was completed at home in the form of homework. Though it wasn’t all bad, I cringe to think of all the time we wasted on routine exams and stagnant environments that hardly seemed like a recipe for learning. Bored kids burnt out, just learning enough to pass each test, only to forget it almost as soon as they knew it, learning in ways to boring to stick. Many of these kids who are schooled this way, never learn to think outside the box. They grow up and get stuck working for someone else, rather then being that innovative business person.

Hearing homeschool parents ask how to beat their own school burnout I think I want to scream “You’re doing it wrong, hurry and change it before you make the same mistakes that many of our public schools are making. Don’t throw away your chance to make homeschool the better choice!” Just to be on the non judgmental side it seems appropriate to add that it’s not that it’s not entirely possible for everyone to eventually become susceptible to some kind of educational burnout. But from my experience, so far burnout hasn’t been necessary part of the picture unless you allow it to be. As a parent who has a child who has seen what works and what doesn’t, I’ve seen these how some things work. The majority of homeschool parents I know have more then one age student, so the tips aren’t in any special order. If you don’t need them now, you might have a child grow into that age and remember, or have a friend who needs the advice.

It’s all about the kind of thinking outside of the box that we want our own kids to learn, but for them to learn it, we must model it. Start by throwing away the notion we must sit at the desk from 8 to 2 with lunch at noon and complete worksheet A3 today and A4 tomorrow. You get the idea. Be analytical of your child’s needs as well as your strengths as a teacher. Keep in mind that while some states require a certain amount of hours and days and have more specific rules then other states, it’s smart to make those rules work for you and your kids as much as you can. If your state requires 180 days of recorded instruction, no one says it must be Monday through Friday except holidays. Throw away the schedule (not the record) and school on the days that work for your family.

Growing your day in a way that works for you is the best bet. If your kids want 15 bed time stories, go to bed a little earlier and practice reading with your kids for 3 hours before bed instead of a forced 45 minutes at 11am.

Work around the rest of the day, and involve your favorite things. playing a soul inspiring cd, and eating your favorite healthy snack can make the worksheets that you want your children to do seem more like a spa experience then a rigorous forced learning experience.

Let your child have some say in what you do. Make them feel empowered, and watch their willingness to work grow.

Make where you are work for you. Burning your favorite scented candles or practicing math problems in front of the fire place light. Have things that reduce stress to make your common learning environment a relaxing one. Wind chimes, an open door to the patio, or just going out on the patio can go a long way. A stressed child who feels forced isn’t going to retain. And a stagnant environment isn’t doing your stress levels any favors. Our children are sponges, feeding off of our energy, whether it be positive or negative, if you feel it, they will too.

Take it outside. If you live by the water or have a park you can do some work at, mix it up and get some of it done outside.

Keep it exciting. Tons of science experiments will kick start their little brains and help them to settle down for those less exciting school topics. Keep the sensory stuff involved in your experiments. Sensory development is vital to their brain function.

Find the teachable moments, then create some more. How many skittles do you have? have many red ones? how many green ones? how many all together? Can you eat 3 and tell me how many are left? Then be a sneaky parent and add math lingo to your conversation and kids barely seem to notice that they just had a math lesson that actually stuck at 5 years old.

Game time should be learning time. Geography games for kids, puzzles of the states, shapes, math problems are an amazing way to set concepts in stone in your child’s mind. Most major book stores have a huge selection for learning games like these.

Throw out the standard curriculum. Instead, set a list of what you want your child to learn for the year and make sure you hit all the topics through out the year, this takes strategy on the parents part, but is well worth the effort. Even in the states that require less formal homeschool instruction.

Move on when they are ready. Making a child do 50 multiplication problems a day when they really understand the concept is great if it brings that child pleasure. But the odds of that are slim. So instead do some multiplication refreshers here and there a couple times a week then move on to the next math topic for goodness sake. Public schools are so guilty of this. That’s what is so great about homeschooling. We can cater to our kids needs, as we play the part as their exciting private tutors.

Keep it positive. For the younger students it is amazingly helpful to refer to their school worksheets as their games with a smile. I’ve yet to see a kid cringe at solving a math page after being raised to view them as a game to see if it can be won. Add some competition when they are ready by seeing how fast they can complete the page of subtraction problems, or do the same sheet with them and pretend to be real competition for them and see who wins first. Let them win enough for the little ones, it’s a great way to give a confidence boost. Confidence is the core requirement for kids to be willing to continue to learn.

Don’t force the things that aren’t there yet. Each child’s brain develops at a different rate. Even Einstein didn’t hit the common core mark for reading development. So why should your child? Depending on if children are auditory learners or not, will greatly effect how old they are when they learn to spell. They all develop at different rates. Sadly, it doesn’t seem that those who created common core have been trained at all in early child brain development. So make sure you are. Don’t push their weaknesses, just nurture those weaknesses and focus on their strengths.

Get some learning games on the computer up in here. is an amazing program for math. Some great charter schools use this program and it’s worked well for my homeschooled kids. It makes sure they are sharp with their math skills and up to par for their grade level. is a good one for preschoolers to get them ready.

Get your own education on how your child’s brain works. If your child struggles in math, get them first into puzzles. Start as easy as they need to and work up from there. Once they get to the 500 piece puzzles, use puzzle glue to make art for their wall. What does this have to do with brain development? The part of the brain that is active when people do math is the same part of the brain that is active when working puzzles, the more they work puzzles and the younger they start the better, and easier math will come to them. This is taught in early childhood education college classes and I’ve seen it proven effective in my own kids. Knowledge of brain development can go a long way for making learning easy and rewarding. Setting your child up for a smooth learning process, which builds their confidence and makes for happier homeschool days.

Go above and beyond with their interest. If your child is really interested in one topic, don’t force all the others, let them really focus in on what they are interested in. An interest is an opportunity.

Have a dance party. Take time out to crazy dance in the middle of your primary students assignment for a boost. Kids love having a crazy mom or dad for a teacher who knows how to party at learning time. Improving both your attitudes is the key. Sending the message learning time is fun. If you keep your good attitude while they are 6 and 7, they will have learned it and keep it when they are older. One fundamental to study skills is knowing when and how to blow off steam so you’re ready to go again.

Don’t forget physical activity. Kids who are physically active learn easier. One of the reasons is it helps oxygen get to their brain and they need to be physically active to thrive in brain activities. Enroll them in what they enjoy activities like sports, dance, gymnastics.

Eat healthy. Studies show caffeine and stimulants found in chocolate and sugar actually make the brain sluggish, so avoid to much of them if you want to avoid frustration. Brain foods like broccoli actually help the neurons in the brain connect, so learn the brain foods and enjoy them together.

Know your stuff. If you don’t know how to do your 7th grade students math. They won’t feel like they can either. Even if you bring in a tutor. Children believe they are capable of what their parents are. If they see you’re sharp, the will have the confidence to be sharp too.

Join a co-op. Homeschool c0-ops can be a good way to get you some rest and your child a little group learning with other parents. Some have fees to join. Often good ones have low fees and parents are expected to chip in on the teaching to make things flow, but while other parents have their work times, you can find your time off.

Break out the positive reinforcements. Keep the reward stickers handy for the little ones. You get a paycheck for the work you do, why shouldn’t they? This is a really good way to send a message to your child while they are young.

Get them involved in the public school events if they are in high school public school sports and things of that nature can really help them to be well rounded. Once they are in upper grades they should be busy with plenty of volunteer opportunities and working toward earning scholarships.

Take plenty of zoo, aquarium, ice skating, farm days to do things of that nature. Homeschool groups often offer field trip days to go as a group, most places offer discounts to large groups. If you can’t find a homeschool group, start one so you can make it as awesome as you know It can be.

Travel. traveling is a huge opportunity for learning and teachable moments. Travel to a foreign country with your high school student and give them assignments to complete on the government of the country you travel to before they go. Learning how other countries use money and different languages is so important to learn and actually going there will be a strong motivator for them to care about what they are learning and to see how knowing this is important. Traveling to a new state can be an opportunity to have your third grade child journal about everything they saw and learned and did. It’s an important time for children to learn to get into writing, and there’s nothing like writing about their new adventure to get them excited about writing and about what they learned in that new place.

Pen pal. Connect with other homeschool families in far away places. Have your children include pictures and small gifts like friendship bracelets. 4th grade is a really good age for this. This is also a good way to get them into writing. If your child has an aunt or grandparent or other family member who would be a good pen pal that lives far away, don’t forget to utilize that opportunity as well if you can get them interested. The more you can get them writing, the better.

As homeschool parents we have opportunities that shouldn’t be missed. So make homeschooling a treat, make it an indulgence of learning that is so enjoyable that what your children learn must stick in their minds long term.








US high school classes while living overseas


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free-world-map-thWhile the amount of American students who are overseas for part of all of their high school years isn’t clear, none the less, there’s a great deal of them. Many of these students want their high school years to be in America, but they find themselves in a position that makes that a difficult order to fill. Or does it? Now there’s options available to these students that makes it easier then ever. In fact many students living in America are choosing to school using these new options over attending their local public schools in person. What is it? Live online webcasting of the classroom. Students all over the world, find this to be the best option for them for various reasons. Many areas in the US don’t offer great public schools, some students have health issues that keep them from attending school in person, scheduling conflicts, and deciding to homeschool, are just some of the reasons students are choosing these classes. Many of these students face difficulty in trying to transfer credits from country to country as they travel, particularly military family kids. Online accredited classes are an amazing solution to many of the problems students face. It offers them academic stability, as well as so much more.

Some examples of overseas American students who may want to utilize online webcast classes are, as mentioned before, kids of military families, families who travel during the school year, and in some cases missionary family students. In certain circumstances, missionary families are subject to the foreign countries attendance policies. Short term missions trip kids will likely find these classes in their best interest.

Hslda academy offers classes that count towards college credit as well as high school credit. Even the tuition paid to the high school classes paid through the hslda academy doubles toward college classes.

There’s numerous accredited courses available online. Of course they each work differently. After much research, the one that I chose for my own student is the hslda academy. It offers live webcasts to the classroom each week students login to the classroom and interact with the class. Parents can use the curriculum as a fill in for a home school schedule, they can mix classes with other accredited courses to tailor the perfect fit for their student. Hslda academy offers Math, English, world history, microeconomics, and more.

Please share the current coupon code below on your social media and with your friends.

For hslda academy discount go to and use discount code PTIVBCY, can be combined with multiple other discounts.









Home School entrance into Ivy League College


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Growing up in public school I so wrongly assumed fellow students must be on a better path than the home school students. Yet as an adult I look at those same people and the most successful ones were, you guessed it, home schooled. A particular friend I knew grew up in home school,  went on to college, later she achieved a rewarding career as a landscape architect working for the city. She now works this amazing dream job in one of the largest cities in the US with her beautiful office in an amazing high rise.   As a parent who pulled my child out of public school her second grade year to offer her what public school was lacking, I’ve heavily invested in so many ways over the years for her education. She also worked very hard to become academically excellent. So as she nears her senior year in high school we both wanted to KNOW that an Ivy League college is a reality for her. One thing that is very important is the high school diploma. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has an option for members to purchase watermark transcripts for such a professional touch, as well as high school diplomas that home school parents can issue to their students. But how respected will they be by Ivy League colleges? One of the first steps in achieving this is to make sure that the students work and transcripts meet the legal requirements for their state for graduation. The HSLDA assists their members in understanding the laws for their state.  One of the HSLDA’s founders Mike Farris also is the founder of Patrick Henry College. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense that particular college will hold classes offered by the HSLDA with a high regard. Enrolling your high school student in the HSLDA online academy is an awesome option for high school home school students. Patrick Henry College in Virginia is a well respected college that has had many students that have gone from there onto Harvard, Georgetown, and more. The academy’s website even advertises:

“When you take online Advanced Placement courses through the HSLDA online Academy, every tuition dollar you spend will be matched with a Patrick Henry College tuition scholarship. In other words, you get to use your academy tuition money twice: once in high school, once in college!”  

Needless to say, adding the classes to your high school students transcripts for the classes they took at the HSLDA academy is one awesome thing we can do to help to get them on the right track for admittance in great colleges.  The academy has a live feed to the class, making it more personal. Some colleges offer this type of class online as well, so it is a good way for your student to get his/her feet wet into this world of learning. The link to the HSLDA academy is If you become a member you get 50 to 100 dollar discounts on each class, there are discounts for early registration and in addition to this if you use the code PTIVBCY you get another discount, you can use all the discounts combined.

Along the way over the years testing your student annually yourself can help you figure out where learning gaps are, so that those areas can be focused on, making your student more of an asset to colleges when the time comes.  AP classes go towards college credits and some online schools such as the one mentioned before offer these, they will make your student more appealing on college applications. If you become a member of the HSLDA, they offer help writing transcripts that appeal to colleges as well as offer other resources that fill in the gaps that the average parent may need help with.

Having your child do volunteer work and partake in sports teams, helps make them well rounded and in turn more appealing to colleges as well.  Make sure these things are clearly documented. Some states have public high school sports programs that will allow your home school student to participate on their teams.

There is scholarships out there for home school students, so your student should be applying for these as much as possible. They help keep your cost down as well while making it clear to colleges that your student will do extra work to help him/her to make college a reality. Keep a portfolio of their best work, this is handy for applying for scholarships as well as for helping to create their college portfolio.

Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke, are just some of the colleges who are actually recruiting home school students.  Many colleges have admission spaces open specifically for home school students only.


Reflections of a homeschool mom

Our weekly library book reading led to me overhearing, and of course becoming involved in yet another common core conversation. This was the third person this week  who I’d listened to their tale of woe of how their child was struggling to meet common core standards. While I know that all three of the children in these conversations were bright, two of them were placed in special needs classes given there inability to meet common core standards in time.  And while I’m aware just as much as the next adult that a 6 year old who is placed in a “special” class to help them come up to speed with the rest of the class isn’t any less smart then the rest of the class, but more likely has a different learning pattern then what is being offered, or perhaps less of an interest in what is being taught. The child undoubtedly has received the message loud and clear that they are stupid, or at least “special” in a bad way.

Albert Einstein who was ‘late’ in learning how to speak fluently, and in learning to read made the comment, “But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Thankfully, home school offers parents and children the ability to teach children in a manner that is more individually catered for each child as he or she needs. So each child can excel where they are ready, and not be shamed where they are still just not there yet. Just as Albert Einstein took a little longer for the English side of his brain to develop. Normal child brain development rarely causes a child to be ready to both do math and English at an equal rate of development. One side of the brain handles one and the other side of the brain handles the other, so depending on which topic the child is more gifted in, that side will mature first, leaving the other as more difficult for the child to grasp. Forcing the later on them to early can be detrimental for their self confidence. The single most deciding factor that decides how successful A child will grow up to be is their self confidence. What can we do to help? There’s so much. Start by homeschooling your child, or become active in volunteering in your child’s school. Spread the word. Join the Home School Legal Defense Association who fights for educational freedoms.  What else can we do to help? Write your ideas.