As a mother of six children, three of whom are 18 or older, I know very well the joys and concerns that go along with shepherding our children into their adult years! As a fallible parent limited by my own experiences and perspectives in life, I know that it can be difficult to know or think of everything that my children need to know to safely and responsibly navigate the adult world. That’s why I’m so glad that I found out about this cool new opportunity for my young adults: Illumenedge18.
Created by an attorney with a background in social services who saw many young adults facing difficult consequences due to ignorance or irresponsible behaviors, this site is designed to quickly, carefully, and thoroughly educate a young adult on their rights and responsibilities in the adult world.
I was pleased to be able to check out this site and utilize it with my children that are 16, 18, 20, and 24 years old. The courses included at Illumenedge18 are:
- Personal Relationships & the Law
- Driving Laws Every Young Driver Must Know
- Tenants, Landlords, and Leases
- Cash, Loans, Debts, and Promises
- Safe Surfing
- Collateral Damage: Consequences When You Damage Your Legal Reputation
- Crime…and its Aftermath
- Work and Paying Taxes
- License, Insurance, and Registration Please
Each course is easy to navigate and work through, with short sections to read, explaining the topic in a clear, personable way that anybody would be able to understand. Even for those that do not like to read on screens, the amount of text is short enough and formatted in such a way to make it easy and pleasant.
Some of the courses can be worked through in as little as 20 minutes, some up to about 45 minutes. After going through all of the topic information, there is a quiz at the end of each course, so you can see how well you understood the information.
I noticed that amidst the general information there is quite a bit of Tennessee-specific information as well. I asked the owner for more information about this, and she said that the site currently does feature TN-specifics since she is a Tennessee resident and has particular knowledge of those laws. As she sees the interest in this site grow, she will be seeking to expand into a more comprehensive site. Although I was puzzled about the Tennessee specifics originally, I still felt that the general information was valuable and useful to use even though we live in a different state.
Just to give you an idea of the Tennessee content, for instance when discussing laws about getting married, it refers to the age for that state for getting married with and without parental consent. In the section about jobs, it refers to specific laws for TN. So of course if you live somewhere else you’d want to refer to the specifics for your location, but you’ll still have the general idea about the laws that are common within the United States.
My teens and young adults enjoyed the courses and felt that it was an easy site to navigate, and that the information was presented in a way that was helpful and informative. They also mentioned that it felt good to see all of this information in one place, where they could learn about things that they may not have ever thought about before, and to help them know how to think and prepare for upcoming opportunities and decisions (like living on their own).
One thing I felt good about was the range of course topics. I’m sure most parents hope (and expect!) that their children are not going to grow up and have issues with crime, dangerous driving, problematic relationships, or unscrupulous employers or coworkers. Unfortunately, everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes things happen that surprise, shock, or disappoint us. We may never think to explain to our children some of these topics, but they or their friends may truly benefit from understanding these legal responsibilities and consequences that they could be facing for foolish behavior. This site has done the legwork to tell our young adult children what they need to know, and removed the burden from parents to have to think of each and every one of these topics. I think that’s a very valuable service.
Illumenedge18 has a very easy structure to work with. You pay one flat fee of $40 for unlimited access to all the courses for your whole family for a month. If you have ever had the misfortune of having to pay legal fees, court costs, increased insurance rates due to poor driving habits, or had to hire a lawyer, you know that this is a huge bargain. I would absolutely recommend this to all parents with students that are 17+ years of age, and would require them to work through all the courses. A motivated student could get it all done easily in a week, or you could spread it out a full month if you wanted to.
This review was underwritten by Illumenedge18. All opinions are those of myself and my family members that utilized the courses.
I think most parents today realize that, while awesome and helpful and fun in so many ways, the internet also has inherent dangers that we need to be careful of. And don’t even get me started on all the issues with screen time and sensible limits!
In our family, we’ve used an internet safety filter on our computers for probably at least 10 years or more, and while it has been a comfort to have it, it’s not been all that I needed it to be. Every time my kids get a new kindle, phone, or game system, I go through the dance of trying to set up parental controls, and hoping that I’m doing it right, but never really feeling sure that I’ve covered all the bases to keep them safe. And THEN, what about when their friends come over and brings their phones or devices with them? I don’t know what’s safe or not safe on those items at all. Eesh. It’s a lot of responsibility, and even if you trust your kids, you definitely can’t trust that nothing bad will pop up in front of your kids and lead them on a path that you don’t want them on.
Recently I found out that the service we’ve been using is going out of business, so I knew we needed something else for our basic coverage on our computers. Thankfully, I found out about Torch, and it’s a solution to most of my additional concerns about the other devices as well.
Torch is a wifi router that has internet filtering built right into it. Basically, it works to filter content before it comes into your home. Every device that’s connected to it will be able to be made safe for your family, according to your specifications. As a person who really, really hates setting up new technology, Torch is fairly painless. They say it should take about 5 minutes. For me it was a little longer because I didn’t realize that our setup with a combo router/modem required a different approach than it will for folks that are just replacing a router. Once I understood that, it was fairly straightforward to get it going.
Parents can login to the Parental Dashboard to set up users and devices, set bedtimes or other time limits for users, and select what types of content you want filtered for your home. You can choose categories, as well as enter specific sites that you want blocked. There are currently over 30 categories, including adult sites/porn, various types of social media, violence, extremism, weapons, hate, gambling, and more. You can customize this as you see fit.
The Parental Dashboard can be accessed on your computer, tablet, or phone, so even if you’re off at the store or at work, you can manage what’s going on if you need to. The Dashboard also offers you Reporting, so you can see what your kids have been doing online.
Things I liked about it the most:
One thing that I really appreciate about Torch is that it is a tool that helps me control when devices are available. We’ve tried various methods over the years for handling this issue, but overall none have been entirely successful. (Yes, if my kids were perfect, that would have helped, but alas, they are normal kids….) Torch allows me to set my time frame solution once, and forget it. It’s done. So if I want the kindles and game systems to stop being available for my teens at 10pm on school nights, that’s how it goes down even if I’m not there to enforce it. Boom. The end. Parent power!
And if we’re having a hard time getting people to focus on chores or some other task because of all the bright and shiny things vying for their attention on their devices? I can easily hit Pause for the whole house, and amazingly, chores can get done at lightning speed! It’s amazing how motivating the lack of internet access can be. lol
As a family that uses out laptops for school time, I wanted a solution that lets the computers be on, but the rest of the devices off. All I had to do was create a user for School and attach the laptops to that, and give it the parameters I wanted, and then each kid can have their personal devices set for other parameters. For instance, if I don’t want any gaming or kindle access til after school, and stopped before bedtime, that’s easy to set up too.
What it won’t do:
- While I think Torch is a great help for keeping my family safer, it isn’t a replacement for actual parental oversight and awareness.
- If someone turns their phone from wifi to 4G, Torch is no longer working for them. Internal parental controls on all devices are still important and you need to learn how to use them. For my kids, all devices other than computers have parental controls with browsers turned off, app store turned off, and limits on types of music, TV, and movies that can be watched. All that still needs to be there, because most of their devices are portable and aren’t always home, having their content filtered by Torch.
- If you, like us, have a combo router/modem, your Torch is going to connect to that, instead of replacing it. That means that you’ll have to change the password on your old wifi network, therefore forcing everybody to link up with Torch for their wifi instead. If they can still use the old wifi, they can bypass Torch, and that’s not what you want.
Specs and Details:
Torch covers up to 4000 square feet and offers 1 gig per second connection speed
It’s attractive! You won’t hate seeing this on your desk.
Torch will help you
- Pause the internet
- Set bedtimes
- Customize for each child
- Block bad content including adult content
- See reporting and insights to know what your kids are doing online
Torch is available for a one time purchase of the wifi router, and then a monthly fee of $9.99. The purpose of the monthly fee is to support the continuous need for indexing new sites as they come up, and keeping ahead of all the new ways that bad guys have to try to mess with your family through the web. Having seen my own longtime filtering service go out of business, I can see that it is essential for a business like this to have the proper financial setup to be able to keep doing their job of keeping our families safe. That being said, you are not locked into any time commitments for the monthly fee. If you ever choose to stop paying that, you’ll still have the working router and the ability to manually block websites through the Parental Dashboard.
Click here to visit the Torch website.
This review has been underwritten by the kind folks at Torch.
If grammar gets groans at your house, you’ll love Grammar Galaxy. Using story to engage children in every aspect of language arts, Grammar Galaxy isn’t your typical English curriculum. In fact, moms tell author and homeschool mom, Melanie Wilson, that their children beg to do the lessons every day!
This week I’m hosting a fabulous giveaway from Grammar Galaxy Books. One fortunate winner will receive:
Grammar Galaxy Nebula (Volume 1 for 1st – 6th graders) in the winner’s choice of print or digital
Grammar Galaxy Protostar (Volume 2 for 3rd – 6th graders) in the winner’s choice of print or digital
Winner can be from anywhere in the world! YES, even a non-US resident can win and choose the physical books! Woot!
The value of this giveaway is $120!
What Your Child Will Learn in the Galaxy
Short, comical stories teach concepts in a memorable way. Students discover the havoc that ensues when the evil Gremlin tampers with the English language. Fiction books are labeled as nonfiction and begin coming to life. Rhyming poems and books are ruined when Word Harmony matches words that don’t rhyme. Classic books are relegated to a long-term care library and can’t be checked out.
The royal English children invite students to become fellow grammar guardians in order to save the galaxy from crises like these. Students or teachers read one of the mysteries. Vocabulary words are defined in the text. Discussion questions follow each lesson to check for understanding. Students then complete a corresponding mission in the mission manual that reinforces the concepts. Missions require a minimum of written work and typically include a game or activity to engage students.
Grammar Galaxy: Nebula, the first in a series of language arts texts for first to sixth graders, teaches:
*reading skill development
Grammar Galaxy: Protostar, the second in a series of language arts texts for first to sixth graders, teaches:
Grammar Galaxy is a great choice for homeschoolers, teachers, and parents:
*Who want their student to have excellent reading, writing, and speaking skills
*Who want their student to spend less time doing seatwork and more time reading and writing
*Who have a student who is a beginning or reluctant reader (1st/2nd grade and up) or who has mastered Nebula skills (3rd grade and up)
Free for all!
Everyone who enters will be able to be guest guardians with a free, complete lesson from Nebula and Protostar.
At first glance, it can easily seem that the arts has solely been the domain of white men, for white men, until the last hundred or fewer years. Thankfully, there is plenty of diversity within the history of the arts, if we are willing to seek it out.
This new collection includes 30 printable works of art featuring people of color, from a wide range of artists, from the 1400s to the 1800s. You’ll learn about prominent men and women that were active in the arts world, politics, and their communities, and enjoy a glimpse into various cultures and time periods that is interesting and diverse.
This month our subscribers can get this collection completely FREE! Enter your email here and we will get you set up!
You may also enjoy this blog post and talk I did about Why Black History Should Matter to Homeschoolers.
Have you ever been going along in life, doing seriously awesome at several things, but then you’re automatically pointing out everything you AREN’T doing well right now? It’s crazy! We moms tend to be so hard on ourselves, and act like we should be able to maintain every area of life at an A+ level.
Let’s think about this:
An Olympic athlete that just won a medal was not also at home organizing their closet or baking brownies with their kids.
A business person that just closed a multi-million dollar deal was not also reading Story of the World to their kids that were snuggled up with blankets all over the living room.
A mom that successfully got the dog to the vet to fix what ails is not a mom that can also be weeding the perfect English garden or taking her children to the art museum.
Let’s not do this to ourselves, ok? When we do well at something, could we just cheer ourselves on and appreciate our efforts and growth and loveliness? Without pointing out all the still-waiting areas of our lives?
That’s the one thought I want to share with you today. Be your own biggest cheerleader! See the many good things you do and just say, “Hooray! That’s awesome! I love it that I got that done!” And if the thing you got done was resting while you recovered from illness, or nursed the baby, or cleaned a sweet little face, or loved your husband, or got the pencils sharpened, that all counts too.
All of the pieces and parts of each day and the love and care you pour out for your family matter a big, whole bunch. Let’s treat ourselves like we believe it, ok?
I would love it if you’d comment and tell me some things that you have been doing great at recently! Take 2 minutes and do it. Then I can cheer you on, too. 🙂
Affiliate links have been used in this post.
Who would love to do some self-paced online courses for music appreciation with your kids? I’d love to share about some from Gena Mayo of Music in Our Homeschool. She has 4 courses that will teach your kids about composers, styles, and musical concepts, while at the same time being so much fun! Check out the free preview lessons at the bottom of each course page.
Each course comes with lifetime access and is self-paced, so students can do it independently. My middle and high schoolers are current working through the musicals course and the 20th century music appreciation course. We love it!
This week we are having an awesome giveaway where one lucky person will win lifetime access to all four courses, since Gena has decided to partner with us in a giveaway. This is almost a $200 value!
Here are descriptions of the 4 courses:
- Lessons to read
- Videos to watch
- Complete each lesson in 15 minutes.
- More material is included if you’d like to expand the time or the days on a particular lesson.
- Some of the lessons include the harp, Patriotic music, and a cappella singing, Handel’s Messiah, and birds in classical music.
- Ten lessons on ten different musicals.
- Read about the story and background.
- Watch video clips.
- Work on one printable per lesson.
- Take an online quiz.
- Explore links to outside sites with other materials to enrich your study.
- The ten musicals are Annie, Seussical, Cats, James and the Giant Peach, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mary Poppins, Newsies, Annie Get Your Gun, The Music Man, and The Wizard of Oz.
- Semester course
- 18 lessons
- All videos and printables included
- Use for high school credit
- Appropriate for K-12th grades
- Some of the composers and styles include Josquin Desprez, motets, concertos, Bach, Handel, orchestra, harpsichord, Mozart, opera, and Beethoven, and much more.
- Full-year course
- 36 lessons
- All videos and printables included
- Use for high school credit
- Appropriate for K-12th grades
- Some of the composers and styles included are John Phillip Sousa, Ragtime, Big Band, Opera, Puccini, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, Jazz, Folk Music, Film Music, John Williams, John Cage, serialism, Schoenberg, and more!
Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish Baroque painter in the 1600s. I just love his work, both because of the wide range of subject matter and styles that he did so well, but also because of the beauty and warmth that come through so many of his works, particularly those featuring his family. So often old time portraits can seem stoic and severe, and to me Rubens shares devotion and chemistry in relationships that seem very much in tune with a way people of the 21st century can appreciate and relate to!
This collection features 19 printable works of art in this collection, ranging from Biblical themes, ancient Greece, royalty and wealth, genre works, and many beautiful portraits featuring his family. You will love this collection!
I’m giving it away FREE in January to our Subscriber Perks Members! (which is also free to join) Click here to get started with your free art today!
You can also watch my little show and tell about this collection here!
If you are a Christian homeschooling family that’s looking for materials that will educate your children about creation and a biblical view of origins, you will love this!
Mission: Imperative offers DVDs, books, and actual safari excursions that are focused on creation-related topics, including materials specifically for children.
Their The Adventures of Ranger Mike DVDs are geared toward teaching kids about creation mysteries in a fun way.
In Search of Behemoth: While sneaking quietly through the grass, Ranger Mike comes across some huge creatures. He is on a quest to find some clues about the age-old puzzle of “behemoth.” The Book of Job mentions behemoth, and Ranger Mike shows how the Bible can solve this mystery!
Hide and Seek: Something’s there! Lurking in the shadows! What is it? Join Ranger Mike in South Africa as he plays and unusual game of “hide and seek” while trying to solve the mystery of the elusive “monster.” During the adventure he’ll show all sorts of secret wonders of God’s creation.
The giveaway has ended. Our winner is Christina. Thanks to all who entered!
Are you wanting to be educated, encouraged, and equipped in your homeschool journey? Then you will want to attend one of the Great Homeschool Conventions in 2017!
The 2017 dates and locations are:
TEXAS Homeschool Convention, Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX – February 23-25, 2017
SOUTHEAST Homeschool Convention, TD Convention Center, Greenville, SC, March 16-18, 2017
MIDWEST Homeschool Convention, Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH, April 20 – 22, 2017
CALIFORNIA Homeschool Convention, Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, CA, June 15 – 17, 2017
This year, GHC will feature more than 230 speaking sessions, led by a world-class featured speaker roster which also includes a number of highly-focused special tracks.
- Cynthia Tobias, a regular contributor and radio broadcaster for Focus on the Family, will be speaking in our Parenting Track along with Norm Wakefield, Drive Thru History’s Dave Stotts, Dr. Thomas White, Pastor Randy Frazee, and more.
- J. Warner Wallace, atheist-turned-Christian author and homicide detective, will speak to our teens during the Real Faith for the Real World teen track.
- Sarah Mackenzie, Dr. Christopher Perrin, Adam Andrews, John De Gree, Dr. Carol Reynolds, S.D. Smith, and more, are back and better than ever, presenting invaluable sessions for the Classical Education Track.
- New this year is our Charlotte Mason Track with guest presenters Brandy Vencel, Dr. Jen Spencer, and Sheila Carroll.
- Janice Campbell will be sharing her wisdom and years of experience as a seasoned homeschooler in the Homeschool 101 track structured to guide beginning homeschooling families and those just considering homeschooling.
- Our College Track, sponsored by Cedarville University, will address theme Life Beyond High School: How to pay for and go through the process of choosing the right college.
In addition to these focused tracks, we also have a host of other speaking sessions covering how-to’s and tips of teaching math, language arts, science, writing, foreign language, and more. Check out our posted workshop preview which is only a sample of what is to come.
Moms will benefit from sessions encouraging them to continue their homeschooling journey, despite the obstacles and stresses that may be involved.
Children will have the option to enjoy a conference of their own! Hosted by Giant Cow Ministries, your children will love this high-energy, Biblical-based children’s conference.
A huge exhibit hall will be available for you to explore all the best curriculum and homeschooling resources available under one roof. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes! Many of the curriculum authors will be present to answer your questions and help you decide which curriculum best fits your child’s learning style. There is no better way to make that all-important curriculum decision than to have “hands-on” access to every possible resource, right before your eyes.
As each day winds down after a full schedule of presentations and shopping, you will have the opportunity to spend valuable time with your family and enjoy the evenings at our special events.
Jeff Foxworthy Live! 13 Million Albums Sold….Largest Selling Comedian of all Time! Coming to the Texas Homeschool Convention.
Jeff Foxworthy is one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country. He is the largest-selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy Award nominee, and best-selling author of more than 26 books. In 2014, he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Widely known for his redneck jokes, his act goes well beyond them to explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature, a style that has been compared to Mark Twain’s.
Holocaust Survivor Dr. Inge Auerbacher
Coming to Texas!
Holocaust survivor Dr. Inge Auerbacher will give an account of her time spent in a concentration camp beginning as a 7-year-old child. She spent the worst years of her life surviving as best she could with her family in the cruelest of conditions. Her story helps us to “Never Forget.” Dr. Auerbacher is living history that you and your children may never have the opportunity to witness again.
Coming to all four 2017 GHC events!
Christian homeschooling dad and musician Andrew Peterson will perform on Thursday evening and lead a very special workshop session on Friday morning! As a musician in Nashville, he has “been about the business of quietly changing lives in four-minute increments.” Join us for an evening enjoying Andrew’s music, as well as his special Friday morning session!
Coming to Texas and California events!
We are very honored to also welcome Nick Vujicic! Born without arms or legs, Nick has chosen to be “better instead of bitter.” He will deliver an inspirational and compelling testimony about his determination to enjoy the life and purpose God has given him.
Coming to all four 2017 events!
Michael Franzese, former mobster with the feared Colombo crime family, will give his testimony as a born-again Christian. This session is described by past listeners as “…open and honest…fresh and unique. Audiences are captivated by stories of his personal experiences in organized crime and genuinely affected by his powerful anti-crime messages and eye-opening revelations.”
Coming to the MidWest event!
Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005, and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from his studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.
Coming to the SouthEast, MidWest, and California events!
Many moons ago—before the invention of Ritalin or the Internet—a young, broke college student named Roberto Antonio Smiley (Bob) signed up for a stand-up competition at his Student Union Building. The prize money was $500, which was nearly 5 months rent for the “efficiency” closet Smiley was living in at the time. Though he had never stepped on a stage, and the only prior laughs he had gotten were due to his colossal leprechaun ears, he went for the gold. When he arrived, his only competition was a grown man wearing an oversized sombrero with no act…so…he won the money and the tender hearts of his fellow students. The rest is history.
Coming to the MidWest event!
John Crist continues to gain momentum as one of America’s young rising stars of comedy. Crist’s style of edgy but clean comedy keeps him on the road for a whirlwind schedule of over 250 live shows per year.
When asked how he finds the inspiration to write jokes, Crist says, “Shoot, I grew up in the south. My dad is a pastor, and I was the third of eight homeschooled children. Coming from a background like that, how do you not write jokes?!”
FREE Gifts to all that register:
As an additional benefit, those who register for the convention receive the following:
- A free Andrew Peterson album download (8 songs, a $7.99 value!)
- Free streaming access ($59 value) to all twelve episodes of “Ancient History” as well as “The Gospels” (episode 1) from our friends at DriveThru History. (Don’t wait though—the free access to these awesome history episodes is available only until October 1, 2017.)
- A free download of The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers e-book by Mike Berenstain (a $1.99 value) E-book offer is from the publisher, Zondervan.
- A free download of Focus on the Family audio recording: Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom ($9.99 value)
- A free download of Adventures in Odyssey episode of Amazing Grace ($1.99 value)
Don’t forget to book your accommodations! Partnering hotels offer great rates to convention attendees, but our reserved blocks of hotel rooms sell out quickly, so be sure to book early. Find a hotel here.
As you can see, this coming year is going to be better than ever. We strive to educate by presenting speakers who are professionals in their field and who can better prepare you for the journey, aspire to encourage you as you connect with like-minded, grace-filled families, and endeavor to equip you with comprehensive curriculum choices in the largest homeschool curriculum halls in the country.
Our mission is to help you and your children’s homeschooling journey so that it may be more successful and less stressful in your God-given right to home-educate your children.
Invite your friends and family to a homeschooling event like none other!! Early-bird discounts are on-sale now.
Here’s what others are saying:
I was so overwhelmed as this is my first year homeschooling. I walked away with a greater sense of confidence and direction.
My husband got the encouragement he needed to be a part of our homeschool experience.
The quality and variety of speakers is what sets this convention apart from others.
Definitely the place to go to get answers to any questions you may have about curriculum.
Go! It’s worth every minute and every penny!
Great Homeschool Conventions is very thankful for their sponsors: World News Group, World Vision, Focus on the Family/Adventures in Odyssey, National Center for Life and Liberty, and Cedarville University!
This giveaway has ended. The winner is Leesa. Congratulations!
After our wonderful giveaway last month for the membership to The Online Ballet Studio, I decided it was time to explore ballet in art. It has certainly been an enduring and popular subject in art, and this collection includes 20 pieces from Degas, Renoir, Macke, Repin, Manet, Metcalf, and Somov. Not only are these pieces often very beautiful, but you’ll get to see different styles and approaches to depicting dance. (candid or portrait style? monochromatic color scheme, or pops of color? figure study or snapshot of the culture?)
Right now you can get this collection for FREE when you join our Subscriber Perks Membership! (which is also free!) Click here to get yours now.