Personal Finance for Students of All Ages


Image by AMagill via Flickr

Beginning with the graduating class of 2014, personal finance is a required subject for Ohio public school students. Given the state of economic affairs, I think this is a credit that will benefit all students. It’s never too early to begin showing and discussing money affairs with our children. I have some resources that you can incorporate into your math curriculum or teach as a separate topic.

My Family Counts workbook is free and can be downloaded and used to introduce and discuss with your elementary students ideas such as needs versus wants,saving, spending, giving, setting goals, budgeting, and banking transactions. There is also a free online game called Nicklesberg that you can register your student and is designed for students 3rd to 5th grade.

Looking for a homeschool curriculum? Many people recommend Dave Ramsey’s course.

Dave Ramsey Financial Peace The Foundations in Personal Finance for Homeschool Student Text is a comprehensive, 288-page student soft-cover consumable. It provides students an opportunity to learn, practice, and apply important personal finance knowledge and skills. The 12 chapters are aligned with the National Standards for Financial Literacy.

Here are several online courses for your high school student if you’d like to have your scholar do it this way.

Practical Money Skills for Life has a FREE downloadable course for your 9-12 grade student.

This dynamic financial literacy curriculum for 9 – 12 graders features engaging design, student-centered activities, research projects, discussion points, and tools and resources–all designed to engage students in learning the personal finance skills they need to succeed in life after high school.

Time4Learning is affordable if you have a student that can move through the coursework  fairly quickly. It is $30.00 per month and you may quit at any time. I have copied the description from the website

High School Personal Finance

The high school Personal Finance curriculum is organized into thirteen exercises that cover topics such as balancing a checkbook, avoiding debt, saving for home ownership, preparing for retirement, and performing investments using a program designed to simulate real stock market transactions. This course is designed to help students understand economics as a whole, and the importance of financial responsibility, both in college and beyond.




Portfolio Review Time!


You are almost finished with school! Yippee! Now what do you need to do to continue homeschooling next year? Here in Ohio you will need to have your child’s academic progress assessed. This can be done through a portfolio review (also known as a written narrative) or taking a standardized test. Since I have a portfolio review business, I am going to concentrate on this.

There are many advantages to portfolio reviews. I have listed what I think are the most common reasons.

  • If you have a child who is not yet reading or fluency and speed are being developed, a portfolio review is an excellent option to testing.
  • Perhaps you have a “Wiggly One” who has not been used to sitting for a long period of time, written narratives are perfect for them!
  • Many homeschool curricula doesn’t follow the typical public school academic courses and of study or Common Core so what your child has studied will not be tested that particular year.
  • The time is much shorter than testing. 30 minutes is all the time we need, while testing takes between 3-9 hours, depending upon the test.
  • You can use this form of assessment throughout all of your scholar’s academic career (senior high too).
  • It is affordable. My fees are $40.00 for each student. I will give you the state required form needed to continue homeschooling and I also send you an electronic feedback form that is for your own personal reference.
  • It is perfect for students who have special needs. I have tutored ASD students and I have also had several families come for reviews.
  • If you are an unschooler or don’t use textbooks, portfolio reviews (written narratives) allow you to showcase your academic year.
  • I only need to see and evaluate work samples, not your student, so there is no stress to your child being interviewed or quizzed.
  • I successfully homeschooled and graduated my own children. 🙂

If you are new to the portfolio review process and would like detailed information concerning this option please read the post, Understanding Portfolio Reviews under my Portfolio Review Tab that I believe will be especially helpful.

Please email me at to set up an appointment if you live in the Cincinnati area. I have some evening appointments if day appointments are not possible. I have a NEW Option for anyone who can’t come to my house or meet me at a nearby coffee shop because of distance or an extenuating circumstance. I am offering Skype appointments. If you are interested in this option please let me know when you email me.

I look forward to meeting with you,

~ Lisa

Language Arts Games to Play


Sometimes it’s just hard coming up with a way to reinforce grammar and spelling lessons. Instead of workbooks, how about some games? Your student will be engaged longer with the subject and with more than one of the senses involved, will better retain the information. So, pull out the games and have fun!


Word Games

  • Scrabble and Scrabble Jr. are not only ways to work on spelling, but these games require some strategy in the placement of words on the board. Mathematics skills can be reinforced as well if scorekeeping is involved. You can purchase it as a board game or you can get the app. for FREE!
  • Scattergories (pick a general category and write 10 letters of the alphabet going vertically) You don’t even have to purchase the game! You can create your own. Set the timer for one minute. Each player reviews their words and whoever has the most wins that round. Determine how many points will win the game ahead of time.
  • Boggle is a great game to play for middle school and older students. This online version has a timer and you can see how many words you can spell within the allotted time. Not only is this an online game, but it can be a board game to play with the whole family. You cab also purchase it as a board game if you like. Click Here
  • Mad Libs are fun, nonsensical stories that you fill in the blanks. A review of parts of speech and even giving a mini lesson helps students to think of adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs (plus others) to complete the story. You can download stories or purchase them. You can even download a free app of the game!

Book Lists for Middle School

imagesI am sorry I couldn’t come up with an interesting title for this topic, but being direct works too. 🙂 It’s easy to keep up with reading ahead of your children when they are young readers, but it becomes more difficult as the books get longer. I am posting some lists here for you to be able to determine which ones are appropriate for your student. I don’t like getting caught off guard and trying to find a book while I am at the library. There are thousands to choose from at the library and I wander around pulling books off the shelf, reading the insides of dust covers.  After spending several moments of doing that, I  realize that the book is not suitable for my student and have to begin all over again. Thus, wasting time while I could be doing something else. I hope to save you from the same fate.

Middle School Lists

Suggested Classic List  This particular list has done part of the work for you as it has a description behind each title. don’t be intimidated that it says 8th grade if you are wanting a book for a 4th grader because there are titles that are lower leveled readers.

Good Reads Classic List This list has 83 titles listed and a rating/ review of each book.

Classic Middle School  This list has levels behind them, and I am not sure I agree with all of the placements, but you can determine that for your reader. A blogger has taken this list and written a description for each of the books. For details on specific books Click Here

Have a good week!



The First Thanksgiving : Reading and Writing


Here are some reading and writing activities for Thanksgiving. The first activity is a  mini book called  The First Thanksgiving. The book has seven pages which is perfect for young readers. You can also use thees pictures that  summarize the page of information you are reading. There are only six pictures, but the last two pages of the mini book  are similar so there is only one picture to represent both of them. (They are not anything fancy, but it serves the purpose. Feel free to use this idea and get other pictures if you don’t like my selection.) For Thanksgiving pictures, click here-> Thanksgiving Retelling. Cut these out for the activity. Give your student a piece of blank paper and have them write the title, The First Thanksgiving on the top of the page.

After your student reads one page, give him/her a choice of two pictures and choose which one best describes what s/he had read. Glue them on to the First Thanksgiving paper s/he created. Then have him/her write the numeral of the event  in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture. Do this for each page until the book is finished.

After all of the pictures are glued, it is his/her turn to tell you about each of them that s/he had glued onto the paper. Mission accomplished, the retelling of the story is easily done since there is a pictorial representation to refer to when explaining what s/he read.

If you want, you can have your student write out the story on Thanksgiving  themed paper or do one or both of these copywork pages:  Thanksgiving copywork   Thanksgiving copywork2 You can also have your student color the mini book too if you have time.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family,