Category Archives for Tips & Tricks

#1 Secret Rule about Homeschooling a Teenager

#1 Secret Rule about Homeschooling a Teenager

After 15+ years of homeschooling, my oldest is off to college in the fall.

And I have three more kids -- ages 12 to 16 -- who are still homeschooling.

So we have a lot of teenagers at my house right now. And homeschooling teenagers is different than homeschooling young kids.

They’re more independent.

They can make their own lunch and they can do all their own laundry. And, joy, they can drive themselves to activities once they have a license!

But homeschooling teenagers is definitely a different ballgame BECAUSE they are more independent.

You have to approach it differently. You have to structure your day AND your expectations differently.

And the #1 secret to homeschooling teenagers is what I’m going to share today …

It’s a secret that was shared with me years ago by a veteran homeschool mom and now I’m sharing it with you. 🙂

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Hello, ToriAnn Perkey here, and today I want to talk about the number one secret rule when it comes to homeschooling a teenager. I have four kids. They're all in teenager mode. And this year I just graduated my first teenager. Officially, she's headed off to college in the fall, and I'm so excited for her. That means that I officially homeschooled her the entire way through her educational experience all the way from kindergarten.

We actually started in preschool up through 12th grade. And I can't take all the credit. Of course she worked so hard and she is going to go off and do amazing things. And so now that I'm looking back and thinking “What was the hardest thing? What was the secret that I kind of wish I could share with other people about what it took to go from point A to point B with her specifically as a teenager?” And I want to tell you that I think the very hardest thing is actually trusting that she was going to turn out.

Okay, now I know that every teenager is unique, but I'm here to tell you there is a time period in that teenage stage where you look at that kid and you think there is no way that child is going to turn out. There is no way. And it's usually 12, 13, 14. And I know because right now I'm looking at my 12 and my 14 and even my 16, and I think there is no way this child is going to turn out.

And that's what I used to think about my daughter. I used to think she ... she's quirky. She had these quirks that I thought were there was no way she was going to grow out of them. She was really, really distracted all of the time. She had such a hard time getting her schoolwork done. She would take forever getting her assignment completed. She would worry about assignment. She would freak out about assignments. We had fits about writing papers, and we had lots and lots of stress when it came to you know how to do math. And and I would look at her and I would think, “How does this kid become a successful adult?” That's where I would think.

And now I'm looking at her and I'm realizing ... I'm realizing that she has turned somehow, miraculously, into a successful adult. And I don't think it's because we did anything all that special. I think I just needed to trust the process. Trust that her brain was going to kick in. Trust that all these things we were doing we're going to work. And so now that I look at my 12 and my 14 in my 16, I'm working really hard to trust the process there -- to trust that their embryonic adulthood state is going to turn into something amazing as long as we continue along the path that we are going on.

So that's my number one secret rule about getting this homeschooling thing working for your teenagers. It's that you have to trust that what they look like. A 12, 13, 14, 15, even 16 is not what they're going to look like at 18 and beyond. Isn't that exciting and hopeful? I find so much hope in that. So that's my my tip for you today -- my tip.

Now I have other tips that I'd like to offer you as well. I have a special college master list. It's really cool. It's something we started a long time ago with my daughter. I've got one for all my other kids. And it's an easy, easy way to keep track of everything they're doing so that when they get to ... you get to that application stage, you have it all mapped out for you. And it's free in my Homeschool Help Center. Just click on the link above or down below -- you know, wherever you're watching this video. You can go grab that master college list for free.

And I have several other helpful things for you in that Homeschool Help Center as well. And those are for you just to ... you know, help your homeschool be a little bit better, just like these videos. Because you know, I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a successful and confident homeschool mom.

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Homeschooling a teenager in middle school or high school
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How to homeschool with a baby or a toddler

How to Homeschool with a Baby or a Toddler

Are you temporarily homeschooling during the national shutdown? 

You may also want to check out Temporary Homeschooling: How to School at Home During an Emergency.

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Does this sound familiar?

Your older kids are finally ready to learn … sitting with books or on the couch. You’ve got everything settled and your homeschool can actually get started.

AND … the baby starts to scream.

Or your toddler is pulling at the book and won’t let you read.

I totally get it! My youngest was just like that. And it was so frustrating.

But I figured out how to homeschool AND still give my youngest the attention he needed.

So today I’m going to share several ways that you can successfully homeschool with your baby or toddler.


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How to Balance Home and Homeschool


Hello, My name's ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about a question I get asked a lot. How do you homeschool with a baby or a toddler? This is a really good question.

You know, I have four kids. And for a lot of years, while I was trying to homeschool my kids, there was a baby and a toddler - or a toddler - crawling on my legs, sitting on my lap, demanding attention while I was also trying to do school. And I'm here to tell you there are days when it is hard. But there are ways to make it easier. And so today that's what I want to talk about.

How do we do this? And I have five things that I want to cover. Five kind of general principles or ideas that you can try, some of which you may have heard before. And some of which may be you haven't. So let's get started.

Number one. You can do school during nap time. This is one that a lot of people talk about, and they recommend as kind of an easy way to get school done. Put the kid down for a nap. Put the baby down for the nap. Put the toddler down for a nap, until they stop napping, and then get out the math books.

So I think this has value, and I know it works for a lot of people, but I'm going to tell you a little secret. It never worked for me because when it was nap time, I needed a break. And I needed all my kids to take a break, not just the baby or the toddler. I was really tired. My brain was fried. So while this is a doable option, it might not be the best option if you find that nap time is when you get to reclaim a little bit of your mom brain so you could be sane for the rest of the day.

Okay, so the second thing that you can try that I have seen work is that you can create activities to keep them occupied, that you only bring out during school time. Whether this is puzzles or crafts or, you know, some kids actually like to do the schoolwork, and then the toddler will get out their own little paper and do the work sheet - their version of the worksheet. It is something that can work.

On the other hand, I will say that depending on the kid, this is a mixed bag. If you have a kid who delights in as much about making a mess as they do about doing the activity, it's probably not gonna work for you. Also, if you have a kid that bounces from activity activity about every 30 seconds, that toddler - that's not gonna work for you either. But if you have a toddler who will sit and engage in an activity, and you can be engaged in all those activities simultaneously, then it's something to consider.

The third thing that I want to talk about - that as an idea to try - is if you have older kids and younger kids, older kids and toddler baby - what you could do is you can rotate who is assigned to play with the toddler baby while you're homeschooling with another child. This works particularly well  if you're doing a math assignment or you're working on reading - you know those type of homeschooling where you really do need that one on one time. And so you have another sibling assigned to be in charge of the baby or to be in charge of the toddler. And that can work if you can equally distribute the time. And as long as the older siblings are all kind of equally able to take care of the baby and toddler. I never had the luxury of that because my kids were so close together. But I have also heard that that works. Something to consider, something to consider.

Now, the fourth thing that I want to recommend - the fourth way that possibly you could balance this whole baby-toddler thing with the homeschooling - is to set some expectations for your toddler. This one kind of delves into the discipline area, and it can be a little ... I just I want to tread carefully because I totally understand that some kids are easier to discipline than others. I had some that were super easy, and I had some where you would have thought we didn't have any discipline in our house because of the way they behaved with discipline. So totally get that. But I also know that it is okay and appropriate to set boundaries about appropriate behavior.

Let me give you an example. When my youngest was a baby and a year old, he delighted in ruining reading time on the couch. I’d have my other kids. We'd have the book open. We'd all be reading. And he would come up, and he would pull on the book. Or he would pound on my legs. Or he'd pound on the book. Or he tried to climb on my lap. He was super disruptive because he wanted attention at a time when it was inappropriate. And he was not interested in sitting and doing anything else. He wanted my attention.

Well, I needed to set a boundary and tell him that wasn't okay. So for quite a long time - I want to say probably 4, 5 maybe even 6 months - he sat in a high chair in the same room, separated. And he was eating a snack while we read. He was … we could see the kitchen from the couch, and he would sit and eat, but he was contained. Now that worked for a while, but then he started to get loud, and he would make so much noise that being contained wasn't enough. So at that point during the 15-20 minutes that we read, he sat in his crib in his bedroom. It was not torture. It was not painful. And as soon as we were done, I would go and get him. And every day I would explain. I would explain to him that as soon as he could learn how to not be disruptive, he would be allowed to join us for this really fun time that we were having. And it took him a while, but he finally learned that it was more fun to be a part of the family than to be apart from the family.

So something to consider is to put boundaries and to build appropriate behavior training into this time. And if your kids do not let you homeschool to find ways for them to understand that … now I am not recommending, absolutely not, that you put a child in the crib for hours and hours and hours. I'm just not. That would not be appropriate. We're talking for short, contained periods of time where the kid can quickly - or maybe not so quickly in my son's case - learn what is not appropriate behavior.

Now the fifth thing that I want to talk about is kind of adjusting the way that you see your homeschool. A beautiful article that was written years ago about how the baby is the lesson. And when a baby is first born ... when a baby comes into the home, expecting that everything is going to be the same is like expecting that your life is not going to change because you just brought a new human into your house. It's just not gonna happen.

And so if you have a new baby, it is okay to take a break. It's okay to allow yourself to do a lot less. When my baby's came into our home, I would take a couple months off. We would do educational things, including watching educational videos. We would listen to books on tape ... books on tape and then CDs on tape and now audios I. But I was too tired to read, and I was too tired to do most of the fun things that I would plan at other times in our homeschool. I just couldn't do it. And so homeschool very much looked like “What does real life look like when Mom has a baby?” Which, frankly, I think is actually a really good thing to teach kids that life has a rhythm and things change. And sometimes we do a lot, and sometimes we do a little. So adjusting your expectations for your homeschool is also a really excellent way to try to do the baby-toddler thing.

All right, so I have just given you five different ways to handle the whole baby-toddler thing. While you're trying to homeschool babies and toddlers, they are just one of many ways that were trying to balance our home and our homeschool. I get that.

So if you're interested, I've actually written a small pdf book - super quick read - on other ways to balance home and homeschool so that you're not just homeschooling and letting the house fall apart. But you're not just focusing on the house and then letting your homeschool fall apart. It's of way to successfully do both. It's totally free, and I'm going to put a link either up above or down below this video, wherever you're watching it. If you're interested in grabbing that free book, go ahead and click the link, and it is yours.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a successful and confident homeschool mom.

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How to Homeschool with a Baby or a Toddler
How to homeschool with a baby or a toddler
#1 Reason Homeschool Mom’s Need to Take a Break

#1 Reason You Need to Take a Break (as a homeschool mom)

I’m going to get real and honest with you.

This is the first video I’ve posted in 8 months.

And I’ll be honest … it’s been tough. I’ve missed making weekly videos that encourage and help. I’ve missed sharing my thoughts. And I’ve missed interacting with you!

 #1 Reason Homeschool Mom’s Need to Take a Break


Several of you have reached out concerned that something might be wrong. Thank you for thinking of me and my family. 🙂

And yes … things were a little dicey for a bit.

So I took my own advice. And I took a break.

In this week’s video, I’m going to talk about what happened AND I’m going to share why you might need to take a break too!

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Hello, ToriAnn Perkey here and from my homeschool to your homeschool, I want to talk about the number one reason why YOU need to take a break.

Mama, homeschool Mama, you are doing a lot. I know because I'm doing a lot. And every homeschool mom I talk to is doing a lot. And you are not able to do everything 100% all of the time.

Let's think about everything that a homeschool mom is doing. A homeschool mom is managing a home, which includes -- I'm gonna make a list, but it will not include everything -- it includes meal prep and planning, which includes going to the grocery store and purchasing the groceries. It includes laundry. It includes cleaning up the house. (Hopefully a little bit, but maybe not nearly as much as you would like.) It includes driving kids two lessons. It includes character training. And so there's the housekeeping piece.

Then there's the “momming.” So there's the character training and the disciplining and the teaching values and the snuggling and the nurturing and the listening. And on top of that -- on top of that -- you are also planning and teaching and and coordinating field trips. And many of you are also helping run classes or involved in co ops or planning field trips that involve other people or park days. Oh you are doing a lot.

And on top of all of that, you're trying to maintain relationships with other key people in your life, whether it's a husband or other family members. You're trying to do that and you're trying to -- most likely you're trying to serve in other capacities, whether it's in the community or church. The list goes on and on and on, and at times you probably feel like I have felt where the weight of everything you're being asked to do is sitting so squarely on your shoulders that you think it's going to crush you.

Yeah, I've been there. I have I've had times where I feel like I have so much that I am responsible for that I don't know how I can humanly possibly drag myself out of bed to do one more thing. So if you're feeling the same way, or you sense that that's coming, it's really important to take a break. And not just even a little break, but possibly a big break.

One of the favorite things I do, of all the things that I do, is actually sharing and teaching in these videos. One of my very favorite things. But several months ago I was involved in a fairly serious car accident, and I hit my head and I had a concussion. And while I didn't want to believe it at the time, my brain just wasn't functioning as well.

On top of that, we had several other things happen in our homeschool, including all of my kids shifting all of the activities they wanted to do all of the same time. And I was taking on some additional work at our co op in which I had more responsibility, and there were other things going on in my family life and my extended family.

The weight was just a lot, and everything was so much, and I took my own advice -- I made this in a previous video. I took my own advice and I said, “What can I say no to?  What can I take off my plate -- even temporarily -- so that I can breathe?”

And the number one thing that I felt I needed to step back from was making these videos. And part of my heart just broke because I love making these videos. I love sharing. I love teaching. But I also knew that there was a lot of time involved in making these and that as I looked at the priorities and I looked at what I could cut out, this was one of the things.

And so I did take a break, and I didn't know if I would ever come back. I didn't know what it was going to look like. But life has a funny way of sort of sorting things out, and now I get to make them again. I get to make these videos, and I get to share, and I'm so excited.

And there's been other things that were on that priority list that now have fallen off the wayside. Because when you're homeschooling, just like when you're living life, your priorities are always kind of morphing and and changing and switching, and it's really important to consistently and consciously and intentionally be looking at that list of your priorities and saying, “What can I say No to? What can I let go of? What can I lower my expectations on over here so that I can excel where it really matters? Or what can I do to my mindset so that I can allow myself to lower the bar, maybe across the board right now because my life has shifted in a way that I have to do that?”

That is how you successfully manage your homeschool. And sometimes we take a break from homeschooling. Sometimes we take a break from doing other things. Sometimes we take a break from the things that we love the most. And it doesn't mean that we're never coming back to them. It just means that sometimes we need to take a break.

So not that you need this for me, but if you need to hear that someone will give you permission to step back, to re-prioritize and possibly take a break and say no to some things, then I am giving you permission to do that. I promise you -- you as a mom, as a homeschool mom and all the other things you're doing, you will figure out a way to breathe again. The wait will begin to lift, and you will be in a position to come back and revisit the things that matter the most to you and wish you the best.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a successful and confident homeschool mom.

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#1 Reason Homeschool Mom’s Need to Take a Break
#1 Reason Homeschool Mom’s Need to Take a Break
#1 Reason Homeschool Mom’s Need to Take a Break
take a break homeschool mom exhausted
How to answer tough questions others ask about your homeschool

How to answer REALLY tough homeschool questions

They come out of nowhere …

You’re standing in the grocery store line … or at a family gathering … or at the park …

And someone lays a “really tough” homeschool question on you.

How do you respond?

What do you say?

No worries -- I’ve got your back. Here’s what you do ...

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Confident Homeschool Secrets

7 Ways to Create a Homeschool That Works (and you LOVE!)


Hello! My name is ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about how you answer the really tough homeschool questions - the really tough ones, the ones that they come at you out of the blue maybe from a family member or a person in the grocery store line and you just kind of like, “Well… ???

They're hard, and we don't all get the same tough questions, but if you're homeschooling, you are going to get tough questions. So, how do you answer them? How do you answer those really tough questions in a way that makes you feel okay?

Well, you guys, here's the deal. There's no perfect way to answer a really tough question, and because there are so many different kinds of homeschooling questions, I can't really give you the perfect answer for any of them. I can give you some, and we could go on and on and on about those, but I want to talk more about the way you answer a tough question matters almost more than what you actually say.

Here’s the deal. When you answer a question, the way you say it, the tone of your voice, your body language -- those matter way more than the actual words. So, if you get asked a really tough question -- the kind that just throw you for a loop -- and you're like, “I don't know and I'm really worried too” and everything in your voice and your body language says, “I've no idea what I'm doing, and I think I'm destroying my children, and it's a train wreck at our house, and don't even come in my front door because you would see the dishes in the sink, and then the Cheerios all over the floor, and you would see that we haven't folded laundry in 3 weeks, and homeschooling is a train wreck but I just …” -- okay, if you do that, guys, guys, everything about you screams, “I have no idea what I'm doing and it's a train wreck.”

But you can get the same question, and if you can find it in you to stand strong with your feet firmly planted and your shoulders back -- even if you don't feel this -- like you are faking it. Pretend -- you're pretending, you're pretending even if you don't feel it -- and you say, “You know what? You're right. That is a tough question.” And label it a tough question. Say, “Here's what I'm currently thinking. Here's what I'm currently thinking,” which gives you space to change your mind, which gives you space to say I'm still figuring that out. Even if I'm just still figuring that out -- but here's what I'm currently working on or here's what we're currently doing.

Confidence in your voice and in your body language and the way you present that information -- what you're communicating to that other person is “I've got this. I've got this even though I have dishes in the sink, and there's Cheerios all over the floor, and I haven't folded laundry in 3 weeks. I've got this even though we just spent 2 weeks watching screens because we were sick. I've got this even though parts of my life are kind of messy and chaotic and I'm a hot mess. Even though … I've got this.”

If your body language says that, then it doesn't really matter the words you say to answer that really tough question, because what they hear is “I'm confidently handling that really tough question.”

So, that is my recommendation for you. And if you don't feel confident -- like if you're still learning the confidence thing -- I'm here to tell you pretend, pretend. Pull back your shoulders, plant your feet, look them in the eye, and take a deep breath, and say, “That's a really tough question and here's what I'm currently thinking.”

If you can do that, their energy will shift and everything will go more smoothly.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

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How to answer tough questions others ask about your homeschool
How to answer tough questions others ask about your homeschool
How to answer tough questions others ask about your homeschool
When my kids ONLY watched screens in our homeschool

When my kids ONLY watched screens!

Do you ever feel guilty giving your kids screen time?

I certainly have! Every time I would use screens to “babysit” or “keep the peace” - I would feel guilty.


And over the years we’ve tried all kinds of systems to try and keep screens from overwhelming our life.


There are also times when using screens has SAVED my homeschool.

And now that my kids are older, I’m starting to understand that a lot of what I worried about I didn’t need to worry about.

So when did my kids ONLY watch screens? You’re about to find out ...

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Confident Homeschool Secrets

7 Ways to Create a Homeschool That Works (and you LOVE!)


Hey guys! ToriAnn Perkey here, from my homeschool to your homeschool, I have a little confession. There have been times in my homeschool where we have watched a lot of screens as in like months of screens. Is that even okay to say?

Kind of debated whether to say this or not because I don't want to give anybody permission to just watch screens all the time but I think sometimes we hear about these amazing homeschool families and like they don't ever do screens or you feel like you are the only one who plops your kid down in front of screens and I wanted to make this video and talk about this because there have been times in our homeschooling life where we watched a lot of screens.

A couple of the times were every time I had a new baby they just weren't sleeping. I was tired -- like new baby recovery was always really hard for me. So, we watched a lot of screens while I was recovering.

There's also been times when my kids have been super, super sick and not just the one kid but the one kid who'll be sick and then all the other kids are not sick but it's like we can't homeschool because the sick kid's taking all the time and so we actually had several months where somebody was always sick. So, there were so many screens on.

That's happened a couple of times, and we've also had times when other things were going on in my life private, personal things or other responsibilities. I'm not saying this happens all the time, but like the only way I could homeschool was if I put him in front of "Liberty's Kids," and I put him in front of "Cyberchase," and I put him in front of "Bill Nye the Science Guy" and that's what school was.

This is the thing I want to tell you. We didn't do that all the time. I don't want you to think that all of our homeschooling is screens. You guys know that, right? I talk about all the other cool stuff we do. I'm trying to keep it real over here, but - but here is the thing. My kids are turning out pretty darn awesome.

It's not perfect, they're not perfect, but they're turning out okay. They like to learn. They learn lots of things. They all know how to read. They all know how to be creative. They all know how to entertain themselves without screens.

So, screen time in and of itself is not going to destroy your children. If you are in a stage of life where all you can do is get up in the morning, and you're just on survival mode, and it's all you can do is to push the button, then it's okay.

If you go for years - no, I'm not talking about that. But I'm saying new baby, husband loses his job, packing to move. Okay that we watched a lot of screens. Moving across the country - a lot of screens.

It is okay to sometimes have to put your kids in front of screens. You're going to be okay. They're going to be okay. Go back to your regular schedule and then kind of pick up wherever you left off. I am living proof that your kids will be okay.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, I make these videos every week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

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When my kids ONLY watched screens in our homeschool
When my kids ONLY watched screens in our homeschool
When my kids ONLY watched screens in our homeschool

While we don’t watch a ton of screen time most of the time, sometimes we use it quite a bit n our homeschool. Here are my rules for screen time for my kids, whether they’re watching tv or another device. Because screens aren’t inherently bad -- and sometimes they can be just what your homeschool needs! | how much screen time | teenager | baby | toddler | 9 year old | recommended screen time | homeschooling and screen time | home education | #hsmomlife

Screen rules for screen time for kids and homeschool
Why your homeschooled kid doesn’t need a diploma

Why your kid DOESN’T need a diploma if you homeschool

Is a diploma something you need to worry about in your homeschool? 

Crazy answer ... probably NOT!

There is a HUGE misunderstanding about how diplomas and transcripts work … and what your kid actually needs to get into college.

So in today’s video, I’m going to put your mind at ease.

Simplify preparing college applications (no matter how old your kid is)

Download my Master College Application List Template


Hello! My name is ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about the difference between a diploma and an accredited transcript. This is a question that I get all the time. Does my kid need a diploma to graduate from high school? This is a question that you start thinking about more as your kids get older, but the reality is, it's a question that you probably have swimming in your head even when your kids are little because you're thinking -- well, how did they graduate from high school so that they can get into college? Which is the goal!

And I today I want to talk about the difference between the two, because it is a key difference that I didn't understand. And when I started to understand, I was able to better be able to formulate how we were going to navigate doing homeschooling through high school so my kids could still go to college.

So, here's the basic difference. A diploma is a piece of paper that is given from an institution that says you have done what is required to be considered graduated. It does not have any weight or anything special about it other than the fact that an institution gives it. And there's only a couple -- now, this video it may be different by the time you're watching this video -- but at the time of the making of this video, there's only a couple places that say you're required to have a diploma in order to be able to progress.

And the military used to have some rules about diplomas. In the state of Utah the highway patrol says the kid needs a diploma, but almost everyone doesn't talk about the diploma. You only think about that because that was the tangible piece of paper that you received at the end of your high school experience. But the reality is that any homeschool family can issue a diploma to their high school kids because they can say,  “Yes, you went through my homeschool. You graduated.” Print out a piece of paper that says you graduated from the Perkey Academy of Excellence, or whatever. Obviously, I'm the Perkey Academy of Excellence. Okay, our school would be called that possibly. Yours would be something else. But my point is I can give my kids a diploma. It's a piece of paper. 

It's the accredited transcript that's actually going to matter, because if you think about it -- most kids when they're applying to college don't have a diploma -- like, none of them do. because they're applying halfway through their senior year. and they haven't finished high school yet. So, they don't have a diploma. They don't. So, colleges can't ask for a diploma. They aren't going to ask for a diploma. What they're asking for when you apply for college is an accredited transcript. The transcript is a list of all the classes that a student has taken in their high school experience, and if your homeschooling, that may start at 14 when they enter 9th grade. Or it may actually start sooner depending on what you're doing with your kid's education. But it's a list of classes taken each year, and they're broken into subject, and they're given a credit amount.

Now, here's the thing that's really interesting. An accredited transcript is -- well, let me back up. Anyone can make a transcript. If you are a homeschool mom, you can make a transcript of what your kids have taken in their years of school with you. That is totally acceptable. But an accredited transcript is a transcript that is issued by an institution that's been accredited by one of several regional boards throughout the United States. And if you're watching this video outside the United States, I'm going to apologize. I actually don't know how it works in other parts of the world. This is a US-centric video. Sorry about that.

Okay, so back to our regular scheduled programming. If you want an accredited transcript, you have to take classes from an institution -- whether it's a school or an online source that has been accredited -- which means that this regional body has come to this school, they've looked at this schooling entity, and said, “Yes, what you do qualifies to go on this kind of transcript.” And they give them the stamp of approval and they say, “Yes, you can have accreditation.” And different high school students -- so, if you go to one high school for 4 years, you will have one transcript from one school and all the accredited credits -- say that three times fast. The accredited credits come from one place. However, if you have cobbled together an educational experience from lots of different resources, then the accredited transcript will actually have credits that come from lots of different sources.

So, when you're thinking about applying for college what the colleges want is this accredited transcript possibly. Not the diploma. So, you can take the diploma and put it off to the side except for some very specific situations. And you should just research wherever your kids going to go to college because that's going to tell you what you're shooting for.

So, the second piece of this that I think a lot of people don't know that I didn't know until I started doing the research several years ago for my oldest is that when a university is looking for applications, they have a really broad variety of rules about this accredited transcript. Some colleges say you can have an accredited transcript or a portfolio. You don't actually have to have any of those accredited grades if you can do a portfolio of work that shows the things you've been doing, and they all have different requirements about what those will look like, and they actually allow anybody to submit one or the other. It's not just homeschool kids. There are other places that say, “Well, we need an accredited transcript, but we only need 16 credits.”

Now, in Utah you must have 24 credits to get a diploma from your high school, but the college that my daughter is thinking about going to only requires 16 accredited credits -- which is roughly 2 years of high school credit. So, you could do part high school for 4 years and then go do other things and still have that accredited transcript. However, there are some schools that say, “You know what? If you don't have an accredited transcript, we'll just take your ACT or your SAT score and we'll just weigh that higher in the application process.”

So, your kid can actually go to school without an accredited transcript because you've done homeschooling experiences that aren't accredited but are still really valuable. They do well on the ACT and they're still going to be fine. Oh my goodness! There's so much angst around this diploma and this accredited transcript thing when I talk to people, and then I explain it and after I knew it like I was so worried about it but then after I learned it, I was like wait, we have options. We have a lot of options.

So, I hope this video has explained the difference between an accredited transcript and a diploma. If you have questions, put them down below wherever you're watching this video. I'll do my best to answer them. It's just one small piece. It moves you a little bit closer to understanding this whole getting into college thing but it's so, so, so important.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

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Why your homeschooled kid doesn’t need a diploma
Why your homeschooled kid doesn’t need a diploma
Why your homeschooled kid doesn’t need a diploma
Homeschool high school doesn’t need diploma

Why I’m not homeschooling anymore

It’s not what you think … but it’s totally for real!

You’ll have to watch to find out. 🙂

Why I LOVE Bite-Size Reading [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Why I LOVE Bite-Size Reading [FREE DOWNLOAD]

I discovered a secret in my homeschool years ago … read-alouds accomplished more than I had been told by all the books and experts.

Yes … read-alouds (where you sit and read a book together) introduce a wide range of books to your kids.

Yes … you get to discuss and explore topics together.

Yes … you get to enhance your relationships as you engage in a story together.

BUT — along the way, I discovered a special secret to bite-sized read-alouds that no one ever told me about.

And I think it’s my favorite thing!


>> CLICK HERE to download your FREE Massive Compiled Reading Book List

How I Keep Track of it All {Amazon Prime Review}

How I keep track of it all {Amazon Prime Review}

I come across cool resources all the time. Recommendations from friends, in stores, online … from conversation with you!

And it’s important to me to keep track of it all so I can remember my ideas when it comes time to spend a little money or get a little something extra.

I figure I can’t be the only one with this issue … which is why I’m sharing my favorite way to keep track of everything as it comes to me.

Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool

How to help the reluctant writer

It can be soooooo painful!

You sit down and ask your kid to write ONE sentence … one little sentence …

And it turns into begging … “PLEEEEASE … anything … something …”

Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool


It can be soooooo painful!

You sit down and ask your kid to write ONE sentence … one little sentence …

And it turns into begging … “PLEEEEASE … anything … something …”

And they look at you like you with a blank stare -- or they start to cry -- OR they throw their pencil across the room.

BUT - it doesn’t have to be that way! You can work on “writing” without having it turn into a battle or a cry fest.

To do it, you have to break writing down into its parts and pieces, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and then focus your efforts on what’s going to make the most different.

And today -- I’m going to tell you how to do just that!

NOTE: I mention LOTS of different resources in today’s video. If you want to check them out, here are some links:

Spelling Resources

Sequential Spelling Books

Sequential Spelling Online

All About Spelling

Handwriting Resources

Handwriting without Tears

Storytelling Resources

Tell Tale Game

Rory Story Cubes

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7 Ways to Create a Homeschool That Works (and you LOVE!)


Hello, my name's ToriAnn Perkey, and from my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about what you can do and think about if you have a reluctant writer.

I'm talking about those kids who are in elementary school particularly who you say, “Okay, just write a sentence. Just write a sentence.” And they're like, “Oh, I don't want to write a sentence.” And it feels like you are extracting blood from a stone if you ask them to write anything.

Or they get started, and they just seem to sit there forever, and you know that they have great ideas because they can tell them to you, but they won't write them.

Well, today I want to talk about how writing is actually divided into four different sub-pieces that all have to come together to make a writer who can write. And sometimes what happens is developmentally a kid will be ready for two of the four but not the other two. 

So even though you know they can write, they're actually not ready to write.  So, we're going to talk about that today. This is a topic I feel really passionate about because I know that if you push writing too soon, and you're too hard on it, you'll have a kid who - when they hit an age when they might have an amazing thing to say - will hate writing, and they'll just say, “I hate it. I don't want to do it.” And you don't want that to happen.

You want your kids to graduate into an age and a mental space where they like writing and they're excited to write because there's so much good that happens with writing.

So, let's talk about this. What are the four different subtopics that go into writing?

They are spelling, handwriting (or typing is kind in there) … but spelling, handwriting - because most kids don't type at this age - sentence and paragraph structure, and then ideas. And as you can see, you need all four of those to be able to write a sentence on a piece of paper.

You say, “Hey, tell me a sentence about what we did yesterday.”  They have to be able to spell - or at least they think they have to be able to spell - but they have to be able to spell to some extent or you won't have any idea what they're writing. They have to be able to write it - physically write it. They have to be able to structure the sentence in such a way that it actually translates from their brain into something coherent on the page, and they have to have an idea of what to write.

That's a lot of different skills for kids to wrap their brain around, and you might have a kid who's fabulous with ideas. I mean, FABULOUS with ideas, right? They will tell you stories and their dreams and this happened and this happened, but when you ask them to write, they can't because handwriting is hard. Or maybe they're worried about their spelling, even though you've told them it does not matter what it's spelled like, you just want them to put it down! You don't know.

And so my recommendation is this. If you have a kid where these four skills are not coming together seamlessly -- and it does happen -- some kids just kind of pull these skills together and they just write. Yay, for happiness and easiness! But for the kids where it's a little bit trickier, my recommendation is to pull the skills apart and work on them one-on-one, because you don't want to have ideas stagnate while handwriting is being worked on.

So you want to be able to work on them separately, have ideas continue to grow, have the handwriting catch up, or get to the point where the kid can type and then that helps, and then you can put all the skills back together.

There are resources that specifically target each one of these. You don't need to do all of these resources if things are working or if you see that the skill is already developing, but if it's not developing, then finding a resource that specifically targets one of these skills is a really great idea.

For example, if you're working on spelling, then you're going to go find a curriculum just for spelling, and there's a couple that I'm really, really fond of.  One is called Sequential Spelling, and you can do that with workbooks, or they now have an online version. Yay, that we're using.

I really like sequential spelling - and this isn't a review about that - but I like it because it just approaches spelling in a different way for holistic learners, and I guess I'll leave a link to that so you can go check it out. Another one that's super popular with spelling is "All About Spelling," which is a very different style of teaching spelling, but it uses a method that works well with dyslexics. So, these are some different resources. 

If you're struggling with handwriting then the bar none hands down best way to work on handwriting for a kid who's struggling is a program called Handwriting without Tears, and I'll leave a link to that as well. In Handwriting with Tears, we have now been using it with just a couple of my kids. The other ones didn't have any trouble, but a couple needed to work on handwriting, and it is definitely the best program I've seen. I don't get any pushback. Super, super simple, and I'm not even using the teacher guides. We're just using the student manuals. Just a little side note.

If you're working on sentence and paragraph structure, then the best way to work on that is to actually practice having them tell you the sentences and then watch you write them or type them. Have them practice speaking the sentences before they have to write the sentences.  Say, “You know what? I need you to say that in a complete sentence.” Help them learn to structure. Correct their grammar. Correct those things as you're talking to them. So, narration and dictation - and there's lots of resources out there for that, and you can even just use the scriptures or a picture book.  Narration and dictation are really, really good for that. I don't have a specific curriculum for that. I just wanted to let you know.

And then ideas - oh my goodness - I don't know of anybody really struggles with kids having ideas and things to write about when you pull these other skills out. But on the off chance that you want to just burnish those skills a little bit, I love using storytelling games for this.

Storytelling games are all verbally done. They're not written, and they allow the kids to definitely, definitely, definitely practice creating stories, being creative, pulling their ideas out of their head and into a space where they can be enjoyed and experienced together without all of the other things. I have reviewed several storytelling resources over the course of doing this - making these videos - and I will link to those so you can go check out my reviews in the review section, and my videos that specifically talk about those resources.

So, there you have it. There you have it. Break down those writing skills into four separate distinct categories, and if you do that, you are definitely going to find that you can augment the ones that are working, take away the ones that aren't - not take them away, but actually focus on them and help supplement them and bring them up so that in good time all of those skills will come together and take a reluctant writer to a writer that's actually writing.

I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I make these videos every week so that you can be a super successful and confident homeschool mom.

Save for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board!

Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool
Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool
Help reluctant writer motivate to write homeschool
writing for dysgraphia and dyslexia