Parent, Teacher, Giver of Knowledge – Ready to make learning fun again?
This is a guest blog post from MyEduCrate.
MyEduCrate seeks to provide children diverse opportunities that promote creativity, innovation, exploration and the motivation needed to continue to grow as a learner. The MyEduCrate team works with parents and the community to share our expertise in developing your child’s skill set and provide advice that fosters learning outside the classroom in ways that will have your child excited about learning.
As parents and teachers we have spent over 30 years combined designing lessons and activities to best meet the needs of our students. Our areas of expertise include; a B.A. in Elementary Education, an M.E. in Curriculum Instruction and Technology Integration, Human Resources and Educational Psychology, Certified k-6, ESOL endorsed and Gifted Certified. Teaching is a robust profession with tons of opportunities to share our passion with you.
We understand that each child is unique and we commend you for choosing an alternative path to educating your child! We at MyEduCrate can help parents provide more authentic hands on learning experiences that will support and inspire your child in a FUN way.
Want to learn more about MyEduCrate? Click here for a recent Homeschool.com e-blast about our product.
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you change your mindset?
Gardening: A Summer Homeschool Family Experience
This is just one of the phenomenal articles in Homeschool.com’s virtual magazine Summer Fun
Includes #96 on Homeschool.com’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list – Plant a garden—think sunflower playhouse!
Are you looking for activities and hobbies to do with your children this summer? Start a garden! It can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. There are many, many options when it comes to gardening. Gardening will bring many educational opportunities to your family, and will produce quality, nutritious food in the process! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Choose type of garden
There are different methods of gardening, and you need to decide which will work best for your family. Have your children research the different methods, and let you know which way they think would work best. Let them be very involved in the whole process. The more they do, the more they will learn.
Different methods include: raised beds/square foot gardening, vertical gardening, tilled rows, and container gardening. Or if you have the funds and the time to learn, you could try hydroponic gardening.
If you decide to build garden boxes, let the kids help as much as possible. This will help teach math and construction skills!
Choose a location
Most plants need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day, so make sure your garden spot receives plenty of sunlight. If you don’t have a location that gets full sun, have your children find out which plants grow well in part shade. Also, be mindful of pets. You may want to build a small fence around your garden if you have dogs or free ranging chickens, as they could destroy your young plants.
Choose type of plants/seeds
Are you going to use heirlooms or hybrids? Which plants need to be started from seeds? Which should you buy as plants?
Have fun and make art with the garden!
Make a teepee out of cane poles, or some sort of tall stick, and plant green bean seeds around each stick. As they grow up the poles, they will form a green bean teepee! This is something we will be doing this summer.
You can also plant sunflowers in a square, leaving space for a door, and they will grow into a sunflower playhouse. This will amaze and thrill your children. What’s more fun than playing in a house made of sunflowers?!
Another fun tip: you can take the in-tact bottom part of an organic head of lettuce, or celery, and put it in a bowl of water. Place in a sunny location and change the water every day or two. It will start to grow. Once it grows a bit, you can plant it in your garden. This is a lot of fun for kids to do!
Consider having your children keep a garden journal to keep track of which plants you grow each year, how well they produce, things you learned, what worked well and what didn’t, etc. This will help you to plan better for next year’s garden, and will really help increase the educational experience for your children. They may become master gardeners in a few years!
If you have several children, it may be fun to give them complete control over one vegetable each. They would have full responsibility for caring for those plants; planting, weeding, watering, and picking the produce. If they’re old enough, or if applicable, they could also be responsible for preserving their vegetable, by canning them, dehydrating them, or freezing them. They could learn all 3 methods, and find out which method works best for their particular veggie.
Gardening provides endless opportunities to learn! These include:
- Hard work
- Working together as a family
- Research skills
- Planting and caring for seeds/plants
- Responsibility; the garden must be cared for regularly, or it will die out.
- They learn where food really comes from, and gain the ability to provide for themselves.
- Math; you need to plant things certain inches/feet apart from each other.
Easy plants for beginners include:
- Peas (require support)
- Green beans (require support if they’re pole beans)
Alix St. Amant is a stay at home wife to a wonderful man, and mother to two sweethearts. She spends her days teaching her children about Jesus, keeping her home, blogging, and increasing her knowledge of herbs and essential oils. She is an herbalist, and has a passion for natural, healthy living, and loves to share that knowledge with others. She is also passionate about natural childbirth. She runs a small business out of her home selling her natural remedies, supplements, and body care products. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
This is a guest blog post from Alpha Omega Publications.
4 Ways to Spark Your Child’s Interest in Daily Devotions
With so many activities and gadgets vying for your child’s attention, sparking her interest in daily devotions can be a challenge. Discover four Bible study strategies that help parents instill a lifelong passion for learning God’s Word within their children.
- Make devotions a lifestyle.
Begin holding family Bible studies the day your child is born. Sure, those early weeks are exhausting, but the sooner you incorporate devotions into your new schedule the easier it’ll be to maintain the routine. By the time your child is able to participate, he will have an excellent in-home example of the importance of spending time in God’s Word.
- Pray for guidance.
Each time you open God’s Word, take a moment to ask Him for guidance and understanding as you study. Before, during, and after devotions are great times to join hands and ask God to help your family put the things you learn into practice throughout the homeschool day.
- Ask for a recap.
Take an interest in what your child is learning in Sunday school or confirmation by discussing the lessons after class. Knowing that you’ll ask and that you’re genuinely interested provides extra incentive for her to concentrate and retain key points.
- Eliminate distractions.
We’ve all heard (and likely given) this bit of advice a thousand times: Turn off the TV and put the cell phones away! Obvious as this tip seems, it’s easy to get caught up in waiting for an important phone call or leaving the TV on in the next room while you’re scrambling to squeeze in devotions before bedtime. The whole family is likely to get more from your study if you take a few extra seconds to unplug from technology before you begin.
Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, educational books and games, support services, family entertainment, and an accredited online academy. To learn more, visit www.aop.com or call 800-622-3070.
This is a guest blog post from ACTÍVA Products. The company is offering a special discount of 20% to Homeschool.com readers. Please use the discount code HS1 at checkout.
ACTÍVA Products make art lessons fun with our wide range of easy to use products and quik sculpt starter kits. Including art as part of your child’s homeschool education offers a variety of opportunities.
How Art can benefit your child
- The activity of creating art can help fine motor skills develop, especially in young children.
- Language development is assisted through art. Simply talking about colors, shapes and what you are creating help children learn new words and express their own ideas.
- Deciding what to create as an art project and describing how it will be made helps with decision making and problem solving. By choosing different materials the child becomes aware that they are being allowed to explore their own inventiveness.
- Art and history work well together and art projects are a fun way for children to learn about different cultures, artists and ancient civilizations.
ACTÍVA Products specializes in providing a wide range of art and craft materials for use in art lessons. All of our products are non toxic and wheat and gluten free.
We also have crafts projects and lesson plans to follow and print off from our website.
A couple of our most popular products along with art project ideas are available in fun kits for you to try!
CelluClay is an instant paper mache clay, just add water and it’s ready to use.
Rigid Wrap plaster cloth is perfect for making many projects, covering an armature and providing a smooth finish.
The Camp Crafters Quik Sculpt Kit is a simple craft kit that gives children the chance to work with paper mache. This Paper Mache kit contains: 2lbs of White CelluClay Paper Mache & Complete Instructions for 12 Projects.
The Quik Sculpt Science kit contains two 4” rolls of Rigid Wrap plus 8oz of CelluClay Instant Papier Mache and complete instructions for 12 fun filled projects!
ACTÍVA also offer a selection of air dry clay, molding materials and colored sand. To browse our product range visit www.activaproducts.com
We are offering a special discount of 20% off both kits for you to try our products. Please use the discount code HS1 at checkout.
Summer Vacation…with a Charlotte Mason Flair!
This is just one of the GREAT articles in Homeschool.com’s virtual magazine, Summer Fun
Year round homeschooling.
What image does that phrase invoke for you? Perhaps a negative one…a not so glorious summer spent with your children sitting at the kitchen table reluctantly toiling over workbooks and textbooks for several hours a days while all their friends and the neighbor kids play outdoors, go biking and swimming and just hang out.
No thanks, you say. Not interested in that at all whatsoever.
Sure, it would be nice to have a little extra flexibility throughout the traditional school year. Start a little later and enjoy the rest of the summer season. Take a little bit more time off around the holidays. Longer breaks just because. More freedom. More flexibility. More time to breathe. Time to simply be.
But then there’s the reality of it all…after the busy school year, you really need to just be done.
Well, you can have your summer vacation AND homeschool year round too. Just shift your perspective and revamp your summer vacation with a little Charlotte Mason flair!
Choose some interesting whole and living books to read aloud (at bedtime, tea time, or during lunch) or listen to an audio book on your car rides (#22 on Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list). Pick from those beloved books and stories that you remember from your childhood that gave you the warm fuzzies or find something new to explore together. Snuggle up on the couch for a bit on a hot afternoon or sprawl outside on the grass or picnic blanket and lose yourselves for a while in another world.
Start a weekly tea time tradition with your children. Enjoy some sweet tea or ice cold lemonade. Have a variety of yummy snacks available – perhaps even take the time beforehand to make something special together. Then grab a good book and enjoy coming together and reconnecting while you eat, drink and read. What better time to enjoy reading some of those living books!
Venture out on some nature walks with friends and start a family nature study project. Plant a butterfly garden, go frogging on a rainy night, grow some giant sunflowers, raise a few caterpillars or tadpoles, start a baby snail nursery or toad habitat. Live with your project over the whole season. Explore, observe, connect, discover…get messy.
And certainly don’t forget all those real life, hands on experiences. Trips & travel (# 54 on Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list), summer camps, fairs & festivals, museums, re-enactments. Do something new together. Try something out. Go someplace different. Make your children’s world just a little bit bigger.
Homeschooling year round with the Charlotte Mason method can be just as flexible as you need it to be. It’s not about a particular curriculum or “doing school”. It doesn’t have to start in August and end in May and there are no required hours or subjects. Instead, the focus is on your children and on providing a wide variety of meaningful, real-life learning experiences. It’s about emphasizing connections and relationships and exposing them to new and interesting people, places and ideas. And the reality of this approach is that whether this learning takes place during the official school year or during summer vacation, every second of it counts as “school”.
So go ahead! The summer season is a perfect time to implement some of Charlotte Mason’s lovely ideas into your family’s learning lifestyle. Enjoy your summer vacation…with a Charlotte Mason flair. :)
A second generation unschooling mom to 3 goofy, nature loving, sports obsessed kids, Rebecca shares about her family’s learning lifestyle at Down a Rabbit Trail: Interest Led Learning with a Charlotte Mason Flair. Join them as they venture off the path to follow the rabbit trails of life. Interest-led learning…with a Charlotte Mason Flair. (http://downarabbittrail.blogspot.com/).
For our Summer Fun virtual magazine, we asked our Facebook readers, “Will you be homeschooling through the summer?” and here are their replies–
Shannon – I will be. Why stop learning/teaching just because the school system does? That’s why (in my opinion) so much of the beginning of each school year has to be used on reviewing and sometimes relearning what was taught/learned the year before. I know teachers need a break, but I teach my son on a daily basis whether it’s school work or not, so why not keep it going…life doesn’t have to get in the way… you can still take vacations and whatever else around your homeschooling.
Amber – We will be doing it year-round because none of us are good at routine — I think if we stopped everyone would have a really bumpy beginning. It is just part of their day, so I don’t think they will even notice it is “summer” break time.
Robyn – We are starting this year. What else is there to do when it’s over 100 degrees outside? lol. We work 3 days a week year round and co-op on Mondays.
Jennifer – I’m thinking we will, mainly to stay with a routine and to start to integrate my youngest into “class” time as well. Plus, like Robyn said, what else is there to do when it’s 100 + degrees outside!
Nikki – Yes, we do – although we only focus on reading and math during the really warm days. It helps maintain and improve their skills so they don’t start forgetting and slip backwards over summer break.
Gretchen – We do. Though we take frequent mini vacations and we reduce the amount of learning activities in each day. That gives us plenty of time to enjoy typical summer fun and still progress with learning.
CaroyPepe – I take a week off every 8 weeks of work.
Angel – We are beginning to. It’s just so much a part of our lifestyle it feels awkward and unnatural to just up and stop. Besides, who says you can’t homeschool and enjoy the weather at the same time?
Cara – Yes, we do, but we take June off to enjoy summer before it gets too hot. It’s nice to take breaks throughout the year…helps keep us from getting burnt out and also we don’t forget everything and have to start over again after such a long break.
Amanda – Nope, but we do not follow the regular school year either. My kids don’t like the heat so they get some time off in fall/winter when they actually go outside and play.
Amy – We do, but my kids are kinda nerdy and like to learn stuff. So we change up the curriculum and keep going.
Rachel – I will be (we’re at the tail end of our first year). As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand how 2-3 months of inactivity can damage a child’s learning processes and retention. There doesn’t need to be structured lessons every day, but learning and reinforcement of skills should continue.
Kim – In Minnesota we have 3-4 months of really nice outdoor weather. We need to spend it outside enjoying summer!
Will you be homeschooling through the summer? Please let us know on Facebook!
Includes #1 from Homeschool.com’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list – Make YOUR OWN list–what do you want to do this summer? Go camping? Swim weekly? Learn to ride a horse? Now share your list with your parents. Our list is great–but your list might be even better!
Also, this is just one of the GREAT articles in Homeschool.com’s Summer Fun virtual magazine!
Summer is almost here you guys!! It’s seriously my favorite time of year. The kids are out of school, the pool is open, its no longer freezing cold outside… these are ALL reasons to celebrate! And I don’t know about you, but even though I know summer is the same length as the other three seasons, it always feels like it’s the shortest one.
Three years ago, we decided to stop letting our summers fly by in the blink of an eye. And we decided that it was time to start actually doing all the awesome things we always talked about doing. We wanted to make the most of our summers, cramming in as many fun and memorable family experiences as possible.
That summer, in 2011, we created our very first summer bucket list. We crossed all 22 things off our summer bucket list and we had the most incredible summer! We went to a waterpark, we watched fireworks in the park, we ate s’mores, we had a water balloon fight, and we splashed in the waves of the Atlantic AND Pacific Oceans!
And we’ve done it every year since. The summer bucket list has now become a Solar family tradition. We look forward to it every summer because it helps us make sure we create lots of memorable experiences for our family! We love summer bucket lists so much that we created the Summer Bucket List Challenge and invited families all over the world to join in on the fun!
So what exactly is the Summer Bucket List Challenge? Well… it’s free and it’s fun for everyone! Sign up for our Challenge and you’ll get prompts to help build your own summer bucket list and stay motivated about checking stuff off the list! We also have lots of great resources on our Summer Fun page including a great Facebook community, Pinterest inspiration board, and weekly giveaways all summer long!
Ready to get started?! Just click here to get signed up!
Josh and Jenny Solar are parents to three kids, Max, Ava, and Lia (and a basset hound named Banana). In addition to being full time photographers, they created The Happy Family Movement in the spring of 2011 to encourage and inspire family togetherness through memorable family experiences and simple ideas for happy family living. The overarching goal of The Happy Family Movement is to rewrite the way our generation views raising kids… to seek out a happy family and find the JOY in parenting all over again.
Music Can Keep Kids Learning Over The Summer
This is just one of the excellent articles in Homeschool.com’s virtual magazine – Summer Fun
Learning an instrument is also a listing in Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list
This is a guest post written by Laura Yeh.
Summer is here and parents are looking for ways to keep their kids entertained, engaged and learning. Playing a musical instrument is a great way to keep kids in learning mode. When students play a musical instrument, they are doing more than polishing their skills on their particular instrument. They are using their brains in ways that will boost their ability to learn when they return to school for the fall. One of the biggest benefits of music lessons and practice is requiring kids to use their problem-solving skills. Learning to play a piece of music requires them to break down complex passages into smaller parts, identify the core problem and come up with a solution. These are the same skills students use to solve problems in math and other academic subjects.
I teach violin at the St. Louis School of music and I know that not all families have the time, resources and or interest to devote to private instruction and buying or renting a violin, cello or piano. For these families, I have found the ocarina is a great instrument to introduce kids to music. It is small enough to fit in a pocket, inexpensive and easy to play. Even young kids can pick out simple tunes quickly through online lessons or method books.
The ocarina is also small enough for kids to take it with them wherever they go, to the park, pool or on vacation. And it has a pleasant sound, even in the hands of a beginner.
Ocarinas belong to a class of instruments called vessel flutes that developed in various ancient cultures around the world. They are usually made of clay or plastic and played by blowing with various degrees of pressure into the ocarina and changing the pitch by fingering holes in the instrument.
The ocarina can be a springboard to other instruments that require a higher level of commitment. Kids can ease into learning some of the basic aspects of pitch and rhythm and develop confidence to inspire them to keep learning. If they show real promise and enthusiasm they can always go on to a more difficult, expensive and time-consuming instrument later.
The ability to learn on your own really sets the ocarina apart from many instruments. This is not something you would want to try with violin for instance, as it can be really painful for both the person trying to learn and those listening. Even with instruments considered easier to learn, like guitar, beginners should seek out a teacher. If you are going to do something, aim to do it well because you won’t get the same benefits if you do it badly.
Whatever instrument you and your child choose, get your child in the habit of practicing on a daily basis. For the more challenging instruments, I encourage students to continue their lessons with their teacher over the summer. Those who skip summer lessons end up having to go back and re-learn things in the fall.
Here are some tips for parents who want to introduce their child to a musical instrument:
See which instrument excites your child. It’s never a good idea to just pick an instrument and tell the child they are going to learn it. Taking your child to a concert is a great way to introduce a number of instruments at once. If they like a particular one, take them to a music store or someplace they can touch and try it. If they are not enthralled with a particular instrument, show them others until you find one that sparks their interest. They should like the sound of the instrument and want to play it.
Find your child’s favorite style. Don’t be disappointed if classical violin or piano is not your child’s favorite. They can get the same benefits from learning various different styles of music. The idea is not to be too narrow or limiting but to let your child explore.
Make music part of your home life. Kids that have come to me from homes where families don’t sing or listen to music regularly often learn a lot slower than those who enjoy music on a daily basis. If a mom has been singing to her child since infancy, the child will have a more developed sense of pitch and timing. Music is like a language. If you are really immersed in it, constantly listening to it, you are going to pick up the language much more quickly than by studying it as a separate part of your life.
Make the timing right. When a child can begin learning an instrument depends on the instrument and the child. For violin I recommend most students start between 3 and 5 before they have school and other activities vying for their attention. Depending on methodology, 4 or 5 is a good time to start learning piano or guitar. Guitar, violin and cello come in fractional small sizes suitable for little ones. Students need to be a bit older for most wind instruments — about 7 for flute, about 9 for clarinet. The exception is the ocarina, which can be started as young as 3. Of course children can start singing as babies.
Be involved with your child. It’s important for parents to be involved with their child’s music practice. Younger children especially won’t know how to practice without some parental guidance. Kids often want to play through a song – if they get stuck at a certain spot, their inclination is to go back to the beginning. Parents can help by encouraging them to work on the difficult parts separately, and then put them back into the song.
With music, parents have the wonderful opportunity to share with their children an activity that is creative, stimulating, inspiring and fun. Music is also the perfect avenue for children to learn the discipline, skills and confidence that can help them in academics and all areas of life. Learning to play music well builds creativity, persistence problem-solving, and other skills that can help children in schoolwork and in life. Regardless of the instrument, every kid should get the opportunity to experience the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes from learning to play.
About the Author: Laura Yeh is a performer and music educator trained in the Suzuki method of instruction who teaches violin and ocarina at the St. Louis School of Music to children as young as 3 and adults. Laura and her husband Dennis have collaborated with ocarina makers around the world to produce new models of the ocarina, an easy-to-learn wind instrument with ancient roots. They have designed and produced many unique and innovative ocarinas sold by STL Ocarina (http://www.stlocarina.com).
Why your artistic teen should start a business this summer
This is a guest blog post written by Crystal Parker from inspiremyartist.com
WANT OTHER IDEAS FOR SUMMER ACTIVITIES?
CHECK OUT HOMESCHOOL.COM’S 101 THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER LIST!
As a kid I was a class 1 entrepreneur. In elementary school I traveled around the neighborhood earning quarters polishing shoes. I shoveled out driveways with 4 feet of show for 20 bucks a pop in middle school. Not joking. I grew up in moncton nb, Canada; look it up! Then I hit high school and went to work at McDonalds. Downer eh?
What if I had started my own business instead? Invested that time into building my own brand of modern chainmaille jewelry (which was a hobby at the time), or started selling wedding pencil portraits? Or even started busking balloon animals at the city markets (something I already did for charity). Instead of investing in my creative abilities I spent 20hrs a week at Mcdonald’s smelling of old french fries and grease.
So why didn’t I start a business when I had creative ideas I could have ran with? The same reason most teens settle for McDonalds. It’s easy guaranteed income. It’s safe. And it was expected; no one told me I could do otherwise.
Teens, you don’t need a guaranteed income! Parents, your teen doesn’t need a guaranteed income! There’s no other time in their life they’ll be so secure and safe to take risks with income. Teens do not have rent, food bills, power bills or bills of any sort.
Adults everywhere dream of breaking away from their day job to start their own businesses, but they don’t. They can’t. They’re just making ends meet as it is and they have families that depend on them. So they work hard in their jobs and try to get promoted.
Businesses are more than numbers and finances they require creativity and energy. Artistic teens are well equipped to find creative solutions. Their creative passion can carry them through tremulous early stages, and the desire for spending money will double their motivation.
Personally, I have just started my own creative business now at 28 with 3 kids. If your teen wants to start a business they should do it now while they have less obstacles.
Parents encourage your teens to enjoy their youth and do something they have passion for instead of giving their most energetic years away for minimum wage. Better to make no income and have the memories and experiences of pursuing something they are passionate about.
And which looks better on a resume or college application? Worked four years at McDonalds part time or built my own business from scratch? Or even: built five businesses, one of which was successful? Entrepreneurs are cool and they stand out as more valuable.
I’m going to share some steps to help your teen find a business idea and get started:
Steps to find a creative teen business idea:
Find a specific problem to solve.
There are many problems around us that can be solved creatively.
Find problems to solve by talking to people (In your community, at meetups, on the internet.), or by checking out the services wanted section of kijiji.
Some example problems:
Upper class working mom is looking for unique playhouse for her backyard so that her daughter will have the best playhouse in the neighborhood and the other children will want to play with her daughter.
A bride wants to make her reception unique and special for her guests.
A local business is hosting a community event and looking for entertainers that will make it a success.
My business is helping homeschool moms who want to provide their artistic teens with high school level art curriculum that goes beyond copying the teacher, and can be done independently.
Find a creative solution.
A creative solution is one that solves the problem in a way that makes the person with the problem excited to pay. Artistic teens can use their skills to solve problems doing things that they enjoy doing.
Here are a couple creative solutions for the examples:
Upper class working mom – I can design a unique princess castle for your little princess that will make her the belle of the neighborhood, and organize the construction using a local contractor.
Bride – I can provide a personalized wedding photo booth with props and costumes and will deliver, setup and takedown. Additionally, I can stay with the booth, take the photos and create a memory book to enjoy for years to come.
Local business – I have a unique style of performance art where I quickly paint a large canvas with my fingertips to create a stunning landscape that does not appear until the last few seconds. In addition to entertaining your guests the paintings can be auctioned off for charity which will get a write up in the local newspaper and lots of positive press.
In my business my solution is an online art curriculum that functions like a high school art course to teach techniques and principles in multiple mediums and provide challenging art projects that encourage creativity. In addition I’m building a community atmosphere by including free access to a private community group where students can get feedback and encouragement.
Be super specific and know your ideal customer.
Don’t try to solve everyone’s problem. Pick one type of person and one problem. Who do you think the mom I mentioned would be more willing to hire? The local carpenter who builds chairs, decks, kitchen cabinets and playhouses or the young woman who’s designed three princess themed playhouses?
Why is it that way? Ever hear the expression jack of all trades, master of none. If you focus on one specific area and skill set you quickly become very good at it and that makes you the superior choice.
Find out if real people are willing to pay.
Just because you’ve got a cool idea to solve a real problem doesn’t make it a winner. Talk to real people who have that problem and ask them if they’d be willing to pay. If you can get at least a couple people agree to pay you, then you’ve got a working business.
Build a portfolio.
Once you’ve decided on the problem, the solution, the ideal customer and know they are willing to pay then you need to build a portfolio.
That means you need samples of your work solving that exact problem in a way that would appeal to your ideal customer. Your portfolio is what you show any prospective customers to persuade them you can solve their problem.
While I’m still building my course, I’m giving away a free ebook on my site called, “The minimum a homeschooler needs to start painting with acrylics” that allows parents to experience how learning through creativity can inspire their artistic teens. This functions as a sample of what I have to offer in my business.
Price for success.
Do quality work and change a quality price. People are willing to pay for quality, and if you undercut yourself and charge less than you are worth, it will not be long before you give up.
Yes, there are brilliantly talented artists on etsy selling jewelry for low prices, but they’re not doing themselves or their customers any favors. They’ll burn out because they can barely pay for materials and then their jewelry will no longer be available to anyone.
If you’re offering a valuable service or product and you’re not making more than a burger flipper you need to either raise your prices or find another problem to solve.
Some websites to help artistic teens get started:
An encouraging article by a homeschooled teen from Indiana about why teens should start a business.
Author Carol Topp teaches teens to start micro businesses. 60 minute free PBS video lecture on getting started.
Free guide to help adults make money on the side but excellent principles for teens as well.
A website that teaches how to sell art online. I haven’t used the content from this site, but it’s interesting enough that I might try it sometime in the future.
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Why Should Homeschoolers Learn How to Code?
Many teachers and administrators in schools across the country are debating how and when to add coding to their curriculums. Parents of homeschoolers are asking themselves the very same questions. Parents often find that teaching code can spark a long-lasting interest, prepares kids for a wide variety of career choices, and hones important skills.
Coding teaches valuable skills
First of all, what is coding, exactly? There’s a lot of acronyms and esoteric terms in the world of coding: HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby, etc. It can be overwhelming. On the most basic level, coding is how we communicate with computers, and what we use to build and run websites, apps, video games, and more. Learning to code is like learning how to speak and write in this language.
Steve Jobs once said, “Everyone should learn how to code, because it teaches you how to think.” When kids learn how to code, they learn how to break large problems down into smaller parts. Coding teaches kids logical thinking, problem solving, and clear communication—highly transferrable skills that apply to math, science, reading, and many other areas.
Coding can also open up a virtually unlimited creative outlet. Your child already spends a lot of time with phones, tablets, and computers, consuming technology and digital media. Learning how to code introduces a whole new element of creativity into this experience. They can take their love of Minecraft to the next level and begin building their own mods, or they can build their own video game or app. It’s highly rewarding for kids to create their own projects and show them off to friends and family.
Prepare for the economy and job market of the future
Creating apps and video games is fun. But there are plenty of practical reason to learn how to code, too. Lots of high-paying new jobs are being created by new technologies, and the supply of candidates doesn’t meet the demand. By 2020, there will be an estimated 1.4 million computer specialist job openings, and U.S. universities are on track to produce enough candidates to fill 29% of them. These jobs aren’t only projected in the technology sector, but also in healthcare, education, defense, and many other areas.
Your child may not be interested in coding, but they’ll never know until they try. And as with learning a new language, it’s often easier for younger people to learn coding principles. If they do enjoy coding, they’ll sharpen essential problem solving and creative skills, and they’ll have a head start in preparing for the high tech job market of the future. There are many options available that make coding simple and fun, like Tynker for younger kids, Hour of Code, or Tech Rocket.
James Knutila is Editorial Lead at Tech Rocket, a great online destination for kids and teens to learn coding, game design, and graphic design.