Homeschool Co-ops 101 by Karen Lange, Book Tour & $25 Amazon GC Giveaway

homeschool co-ops 101

Read to the end for Book Review and Giveaway Information 

Essential co-op tools, tips, and options for today’s homeschool families.

Thinking about joining or starting a homeschool co-op? Not sure if a co-op is a good fit? Homeschool Co-ops 101 weighs the pros, cons, and creative options available for today’s homeschool family.

  • Section 1 includes essential, digestible info on co-op ingredients such as planning and organization, schedules, teaching, finances, and addressing conflict and burnout.
  • Section 2 shares a sampling of co-op games and activities, and
  • Section 3 contains five hands-on unit studies. These ready to use studies include lessons on Leonardo da Vinci, Birds of Prey, Public Speaking, Tall Tales, and Creative Writing, and are suitable for co-op or home use. This section also includes unit study guidelines that are easily customized to suit any topic.
  • Section 4 offers suggested books, curriculum, and other resources.

Karen Lange has gathered insight from years of co-oping and now shares her own and others’ experiences in this valuable and encouraging handbook.

Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available at:


~~~Barnes and Noble~~~


karen langeAbout the Author

Karen Lange, her husband, and three children were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her experience includes serving as a local homeschool support group coordinator and consultant for a state homeschool network in New Jersey. Karen’s children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for homeschooled teens.

You can connect with Karen at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.

homeschool co-ops 101


My Review

I am a homeschool mom of fifteen years and have helped lead three different homeschool groups. Therefore I have a vested interest in this topic and am happy to offer this book review.

This short, straight-forward book contains practical advice and useful steps on organizing, teaching, and scheduling co-ops, along with other helpful hints and numerous resources. I particularly like that Karen considers different family goals in her suggestions. She also recommends that families be flexible while searching for the right co-op fit. Lange states:

It may take a while to find the right organizational setup for your co-op. This is to be expected when working with new situations, unexpected circumstances, and varied personalities. The co-op experience mirrors the homeschool journey; there are ups and downs, trial and error and resulting adjustments. Do not be discouraged; count it as a good and necessary part of the process.

I recommend this inexpensive book for anyone considering joining or starting a homeschool co-op.

The Giveaway

Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced December 5, 2013. Good luck!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Karen Lange. The author provided me with a free copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101 to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Gods at War by Kyle Idleman – Book Review

gods at war kyle idleman

Occasionally I read a book that turns my world upside down. This is one such book. In Gods at War, Kyle Idleman defines and explains idolatry at its deepest level, yet uses down-to-earth language, heart-felt stories, and humor to connect with his readers.

Idleman introduces the subject of idolatry, worshiping false gods, by using case studies to help define it and explain why it’s necessary to identify idols in our lives.

“A god is what we sacrifice for and what we pursue.”

The author asks pointed questions to help us spot gods in our lives. These aren’t surface questions like: Do you worship money? Instead he asks the reader to look at bank statements to analyze spending habits. He also asks questions like:

“Where do you go when you’re hurting?”

“What worries you?”

Idleman helps readers see how the past and the culture influence which gods we worship and explains that God is jealous and does not want to share His throne with other gods.

After laying this groundwork, Idleman pinpoints nine different gods classified into three categories, the temple of pleasure, the temple of power, and the temple of love.

What I found eye-opening was the level to which idols root and where they can be found. For instance, I already knew food was an idol. However, I was unaware that, at times, food is a means to a different end, pleasure. For more on this, read this post.

Moreover, I unearthed other idols in my life. In an earlier post, I wrote, “I have been feeling frazzled, stressed, and agitated, an indication that something is amiss.” My schedule has been tight and I haven’t accomplished the goals I set for myself. I knew there was a problem but couldn’t identify it. Then I read this:

“Goals can become gods. You start to serve them, live for them, and sacrifice for them.” (Gods at War)

I allowed my schedule and goals to rule my life. In the midst of a hectic summer, I have been kneeling before a false god, the god of achievement.

At the end of each of the nine “god of . . .” chapters, Idleman reminds us that:

“Idols are defeated not by being removed but by being replaced.”

“Until that god is dethroned, and the Lord God takes his rightful place, you will not have victory.”

I highly recommend this book. It will change your life. For more information or to order this book, click here.

gods at war

Greek gods: Not so Ancient

Greek gods: Not so Ancient

I don’t know when or why I ordered the book Gods at War by Kyle Idleman from the library, but it arrived two days ago. I am only on page 24, and have had to stop, ponder, and discuss parts of the book with my husband a few times already. It’s one of those books—one requiring digestion and prayer.

gods at war

Gods at War is about idols, mini-gods we pursue in our lives.

Coincidentally, I am reading next year’s curriculum books for my children and started D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths last week. The opening paragraph of this book reads:

“In olden times, when men still worshiped ugly idols, there lived in the land of Greece a folk of shepherds and herdsmen who cherished light and beauty. They did not worship dark idols like their neighbors, but created instead their own beautiful, radiant gods.”

Most of us have at least heard of a few of the gods D’Aulaire writes about: Zeus, Pandora, Aphrodite, etc.

Book of Greek Myths

As I read both books, the parallels became apparent. The Greek gods symbolize the gods we worship today. There is Athena, the goddess of wisdom, Aphrodite, goddess of love, Nike, spirit of victory, Apollo, god of light & music, Artemis, goddess of the hunt, and Dionysus, god of wine. We don’t worship Aphrodite, but do we worship love or sex? In other words, do we allow the pursuit of love (or victory, wisdom, food, or alcohol) to become the reason for our existence? Do our actions suggest that our real god or gods are love, wisdom, victory, food, or alcohol and not the One True God?

If those don’t apply to you, consider Hephaestus, the god of smiths and fires, who is hard-working and peace-loving. Pandora, whose insatiable curiosity caused her to release Greed, Vanity, Slander, and Envy. Metis, goddess of prudence. Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus. And Zeus, the all-powerful lord of the universe, who is controlling and conniving. I have to admit to bowing down to a few of these gods more than once in my lifetime (read: in the past few days).

Mix in a bit of Eris, spirit of strife, Ares, cruel god of war, moody and violent Poseidon, and Hades, lord of the dead, whom mortals fear, and you have a recipe for disaster. This family does not get along! They do not live peacefully together. Zeus overthrew his father’s throne and constantly looks over his shoulder to see if one of his children will do the same to him. Talk about gods at war!

Similarly, there cannot be more than one god in our lives. Like the Greek gods, they cannot play nice. They are in competition with each other, battling for control. It creates dissension, unrest, and uneasiness.

Idleman states:

“When we hear God say, ‘You will have no other gods before me,’ we think of it as a hierarchy; God is always in first place. But there are no places. God isn’t interested in competing against others or being first among many.

God will not be part of any hierarchy.

He wasn’t saying ‘before me’ as in ‘ahead of me.’ A better understanding of the Hebrew word translated ‘before me’ is ‘in my presence.’”

I must admit I hadn’t looked at it from this perspective before.

So what hierarchy have we placed God on?

What other gods are battling for our attention?

My curiosity is peaked, my ears are perked, and my knees are bowed—to God, the Creator of the Universe. In the midst of my hectic schedule, I have been feeling frazzled, stressed, and agitated, an indication that something is amiss. I am ready (at least today) to expose the false idols and put God in His rightful place. What about you?

Cleaning House – Book Review

The following is a review of the book Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma. When I initially received the book I intended to give it away on this blogsite. However, after reading it, I decided to keep the book so I can use it as a resource.  I guess you’ll have to pick up a copy for yourself.


Cleaning HouseThis book is for anyone who believes his/her children need to learn responsibility and accountability. Cleaning House was written by Kay Wills Wyma and covers a span of twelve months in which she embarked on an adventure, which she calls “The Experiment,” to rid her household of youth entitlement and teach her children basic life skills.

I found the book easy to read, as well as engaging and challenging. Wyma’s honesty and transparency in telling her story is refreshing. She owns up to her faults as a mother who has enabled her children to the point of becoming dependent, spoiled, and ill-equipped to function properly in society. But instead of throwing up her hands in defeat, she decides to do something about it.

Each month for a year she introduced a new job for her children to master. These tasks included normal household duties such as keeping their rooms orderly, as well as character issues such as acting mannerly. Wyma gives practical steps to accomplishing her objectives as well as underlying motives for her decisions.

The author uses humor mixed in with everyday life examples to explain the reasoning behind her decision to begin The Experiment, how she implemented it, and the results. Throughout the book, Wyma offers great nuggets of truth in a relatable style. For example, after she trained her children on how to serve others and act mannerly, she states, “When they inhale the fresh air of service, self-centeredness is exhaled out. The two can’t occupy the same space.” Toward the end of the book, Wyma declares, “When we started out, I didn’t expect all the side benefits I’ve been witnessing. What was born out of frustration with my unintentionally overindulged kids has become an interesting case study in the myriad benefits associated with equipping. The biggest of these being the kids’ capacity to see beyond their own immediate desires and look instead to the needs of others.”

I highly recommend this book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Winters Family Implementation

kids cleaning

Many of the jobs Wyma tackled have already been adopted in our house. For example, my children maintain an orderly bedroom, go grocery shopping with me on a regular basis, and have their own cleaning responsibilities. But the author of Cleaning House inspired me to step it up a notch.  An area we have fallen short is yard work. So a few weeks ago I purchased a Badminton/Volleyball kit as an incentive for my younger children to do some yard work. The kit is their pay for completing 10 hours of work. This benfits both them (they are learning how to complete yard work and are motivated to do so) and Don and me (we are motivated to teach them how to pull weeds, rake, and clear debris).

What about you?

What chores or tasks are your children responsible for?

What new tasks would you like to teach them?

*To catch up with Kay or order her book, visit her blogsite here.