Resources

We've done our homework so you don't have to! Check out our resources that will help manage your student! (referral links included)

SAVE $$

Below we have outlined several sites for you to save money! And don’t forget to look for their apps for your phone!  (Please be aware many of these links are referral links – meaning they do not cost you anything extra, but we do receive commission if you use them.)

Most everyone has heard of Ebates, but have you tried it yet?  

I’m not a huge shopper but when  shopping online,  I’ll always go through Ebates. It’s so easy to sign up.

You can add the extension to your browser, so it will automatically ask if you want to go use Ebates.

Click “Yes” and you’ll be taken to the store you are browsing.  Once you’ve completed your shopping, Ebates will let you know how much cash back you’ve earned.  You can keep in your Ebates account to use towards a next purchase or they’ll send a check.  It’s that easy!  Check it out!

Try the Honey App!  

It’s also an extension you can put on  your browser that you use at checkout.

Click on the “H” and it will search coupons for you! If it finds any, it will add it to your checkout and you’re done!  So easy!

You can find it here.

Ibotta is another great app to have on your phone to earn cash back for shopping at participating stores.  

Once you sign up, you choose your rebates at your store, once you’ve purchased it, you scan your receipt and your rebate money shows up in your account.  

The money can be transferred to your bank, PayPal account or via Venmo.  Try it!

I have the Walmart app on my phone and really this is a no-brainer. Everyone has to shop at Walmart sooner or later. I avoid Walmart but sometimes I just have to go, especially when I want to do 1-stop shopping.  

So, when I get home, I take out my receipt, go to the app on my phone. At the bottom menu, choose services. It will open another page of options- choose Savings catcher. Once this opens- it gives you the option to “Add walmart receipt”. You take a picture of your receipt and Walmart will look for cheaper prices of what you purchased at other retailers.  If there are some found, they load the difference in your Walmart account in the app.  You can use the monies to pay the next time you shop at Walmart.  Very easy to use! 

What is $5 Meal Plan?

I am going to try this as I HATE meal planning! They have a 14-day free trial period. (the following is from their website)

$5 Meal Plan is a weekly meal plan service that can make your meal planning as simple as possible. For just $5 a month, we will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. We will save you money, save you time, and save you the stress of having to spend hours each week planning your meals instead of enjoying quality time with your family, unwinding with your favorite show/book/beverage, or whatever else you’d rather be doing!

$5 Dinners is another option. This site has searchable recipes, the $5 meal plan, and freezer meals as well.  She(Erin) also offers e-courses! Check this site out, too!

 

Scholarship Sites

We’ve done a lot of research on finding reliable information about accessing college scholarships.  Below are a few that we’ve found user friendly and all have some great information and resources to find scholarships. 

This website is the official arm of Federal student aid under the Department of Education. It’s a little daunting with the amount of information but well organized. The sections are Prepare for College, Types of Aid, Who gets Aid, FAFSA,  How to Repay Your Loans.  This is probably a good place to start to become familiar with $ for college and vocational schools.

Scholly is a scholarship matching platform. You can download their app on your phone.  Scholly was founded by Christopher Gray. He had won over 1.3 million in scholarship money the hard way and decided to help others by created the app and website Scholly. 

He appeared on SharkTank and won! Christopher has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, BET, Smithsonian Magazine,Cosmopolitan Magazine, Oprah Magazine and more for his work with Scholly and social entrepreneurship. He was also awarded the 2016 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Youth Achievement. 

Scholly also has a great blog that showcases articles by winners of scholarships, surviving college, and Christopher Gray’s top tips!  Download this app now! You can find the blog here.

The Scholarship Workshop LLC, founded in 1991, is an educational service from Marianne Ragins, $400,000 scholarship winner, best-selling author, and motivational speaker. She offers resources for parents and students including online classes, scholarship webinars and books for purchase.   As an additional resource for students, she began awarding the Ragins/Braswell National Scholarship in 1995 and began offering the “Leading the Future II” Scholarship in 2003. To date, they have given thousands of dollars to deserving students.

 

 

 

This site was started by Monica Mathews. She helped her son find over $100,000 in scholarship money.  She shares her tips and strategies. She has a free email series on the 10 Best Scholarship Tips. I’ve joined her email series and it’s helpful and encouraging. It’s a step by step plan on the do’s and dont’s. She also an ebook for parents and students  “How to Win Scholarships: A Guide for Parents in 10 Easy Steps”.  

Her system keeps you organized, helps with finding scholarships, how to get great letters of recommendation, write an persuasive essay, and maybe most importantly, putting together an application package that IS different from all the rest- and get noticed. This is definitely a site worth visiting. It’s from one mom to another helping get money for your student and helping our pocketbooks! Also read her blog here.

Founded in 1998, Scholarships.com has helped students find money for college as well as learn about the entire financial aid process. We are among the most widely-used and trusted free college scholarship search and financial aid information resources on the Internet and have been recognized by high schools, colleges and universities nationwide, among others. On their homepage they have a Search Scholarships Directory tool that allows you to search by academic major, athletics, art, ethnicity, first in family, GPA, minority state name or type. They have been promoted on CNN, AbcNews, MSNBC, Forbes and CBS.

Jocelyn at  The Scholarship System is all about paying for college. She started The Scholarship System to share her own experience of graduating college with zero student loans. Not only was she able to get my entire college experience paid for including 6 months living abroad (in Spain), but she received a cash check each semester for any additional expenses. Her goal in  is to share strategies with as many high school and college students as possible so that they, too, can get their college experience paid for, minimizing their student loans. To date, The Scholarship System has saved families over $720,000 through her online course.

 

Many of you have heard of Clark Howard, he’s another Dave Ramsey type, giving great advice on just about everything.  I kind of forgot him until the Experian hack and I saw a live video of him in front of Experian’s corporate headquarters landblasting them for their lack of security. This made me go to his site and boy does he have a lot to check out.  Visit his guide section/education & student loans for some helpful insights.

PARENTING BOOKS WE LOVE

These books have been read by one or both of us in our parenting journey.  We know how difficult some parenting situations are, and these books have been helpful over the years as we have raised our teens.  Let us know if we are missing a book that has helped you!

Teen-Proofing:  Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager.  I have to say that John Rosemond is my parenting mentor, guru, go-to guy!!!!!!!  I have every single book of his, or did have, because I have loaned out some and never got them back!  He is amazing.  No nonsense, but loving strategies that work.  He terms himself as a parent, as someone who uses “grandma’s law”.  I love him!

Teen-Proofing research was begun by him as a parent of teenagers himself years ago.  This is a great book to refer back to again and again, as are all of his books.  “Managing teens so they make self-protective rather than self-destructive decisions is teen-proofing.”  The book is full of real world examples that are simple to implement.

Learned Optimism:  How to Change Your Mind and Your Life  by Martin Seligman

This was a book that I had to read back when I was still teaching, long before I had my own kids, let alone teenagers, but it was so good that I held onto it.  On the back of the book, the blurb says, “…Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I-give-up’ habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.  These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.”  Huh!  That’s a big mouthful, but really it means that you can learn how to talk to yourself in a more  positive way.  

I had to read it, so I did.  It’s a bit text booky, but really interesting.  I do recommend it because it gives real life examples and you really can use the information to change your life for the better, which in turn will help your kids, your marriage, really all aspects of your life.  It truly might save someone’s life with some of these strategies.

 

The Optimistic Child is a sequel to Seligman’s first book with children specifically in mind.  It shows the relationship between what children think and how it affects their lives.  “This book shows that learning the skills of optimism not only reduces the risk of depression in children but also boosts school performance improves physical health, and provides them with the self-reliance they need as they approach the teenage years and adulthood.”  

Again, a bit text booky, but so applicable!  I have tried to use many of the strategies with my kids in conversations over the years.  As I am skimming through to write this post, I am amazed at all the strategies that I could still use, and thinking maybe I will reread a chapter or two!  

You can teach your child how to talk to him or herself in their heads.  It is amazing how negative we can be to our own selves.  This book and his first show how this is a skill that can be taught (and learned!)  both for adults and kids.  Try it:)

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  

Ok, this is a gem. Pausch wrote this as a “last lecture” which many professors are asked to do imagining that it is the end of their life and wanting to share a great lesson.  He actually was dying, and it truly was his last lecture.  

But, this book isn’t about dying.  His lecture and the book are all about LIVING.  I have read snippets and chapters out loud to my kids at bedtime, in the car on trips, in the middle of a teenage drama scene in our own house…  His words are great, and not to be forgotten.  Life is too short, so get busy!

Cleaning House:  A Mom’s 12-Month Experience to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement  by Kay Wills Wyma 

This book is hilarious.  It is the journal of Wyma’s year of working with her family to get back to the real world.  She has a great writing voice, and I loved everything she had to say.  She breaks down each month’s goal into bite-sized chunks, gives advice to the reader about the ups and downs of living through this experience.

She has a blog called The MOAT blog www.themoatblog.com  (MOAT stands for A Mother of Adolescents and Teens) which I recommend.  She did a bootcamp this past summer with her Cleaning House goals in mind.  

I have 3 boys, and the last thing that I want a future daughter-in-law to say to me is that my son doesn’t know how to help around the house.  All of my boys know how to cook and clean, among other things.  It was nice to read her book for affirmation that I am not the only “mean mom” around!

Ending the Homework Hassle by John Rosemond  

I told you that I was crazy about this guy!  This is again a book that we have gone back to again and again over the years.  Such practical and user friendly advice.  We have used many of his strategies, and I will have to say ALL have worked.  His advice is the type that you do a headslap and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” 

I’m a teacher, and I wish that I had known about this guy back when I was in my 4th grade classroom.  The main thing that I like about this book is that it helps the parent move the child to independence at school which leads to more success at school.  

UTHRIVE:  How to Succeed in College (and Life) by Daniel Lerner and Alan Schlechter, MD. 

They teach a course at NYU on the “Science of Happiness” which is one of the most sought after courses on campus.  It’s a “how to” guide for thriving in college and beyond.  I think that it will also help me improve my parenting, a win-win!

As you know, parenting is the hardest job ever and there is no real “how-to” book. Even though this book is focusing on thriving in college, it is definitely transferable to parenting. While reading, I thought to myself  “I wish I had known this when my kids were younger.”  

Even though my kids are 23, and 19 and I’m in my early 50’s, I can honestly say, this book can really help everyone, no matter what stage of life.  It’s ever too late to improve your relationships.

The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls  I recently spoke with my 6 nieces.  I wanted to know if there was a book that they would recommend for younger girls about growing up.  This was, according to them, their favorite.  They said it made them giggle, and had good explanations.  There is a Care and Keeping of You 2, as well.

The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls  This book wasn’t around when my nieces were younger, but if it had been, they would have read it, too.  These books have great illustrations and treat the subject of growing up in a light-hearted, yet informative way.  

What Your Son Isn’t Telling You Practical advice for you to support your son.  This book does a great job describing what teen guys are going through in today’s world. Teens, and guys in particular, have a more difficult time communicating in general.  This book has lots of real-life stories from teen guys that really help you to understand their thoughts and feelings.

Boys!  Shaping Ordinary Boys Into Extraordinary Men Beausay writes a great book about raising boys.  He gives great suggestions for raising boys by encouraging and appreciating his uniqueness as a guy.

UnSelfie:  Why Emphathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba  “Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want to kids shift their focus from I, me, and mine…to we, us, and ours.”

The Graduate Survival Guide:  5 Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make in College by O’Neal  “… is the ultimate manual for students, identifying five mistakes to avoid making in college. These mistakes can lead to years of pain and expensive life lessons. As Anthony tells students, “The caliber of your future will be determined by the choices you make today.”  Written by someone who made these mistakes and has made it his mission to let other college students know the truth.

Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman   “Filled with thought-provoking writings from Nichole, as well as guest writings from friends including Shauna Niequist and Jen Hatmaker, practical tips, and journaling space for reflection, this book is very refreshing.  Take a few moments to reflect and celebrate the privilege of being a parent and getting to watch your little ones grow—and Slow Down.”

FAVORITE PARENTING SITES

Over the last couple of years, Mel and I have researched the internet for parenting blogs that specifically focus on teens.  Believe it or not, there aren’t that many out there. We think it is because parenting this age group is so difficult and can be controversial.  Below, are our favorites.  We belong to a private FaceBook group and we all keep in touch. We will continue to add as we find those that we thnk will be helpful. 

A mom to 3 kids and has been married for 26 years to her college sweetheart. Her oldest child left the nest in August 2014 to attend Baylor University. He is about to graduate and will move to NEW YORK CITY to begin graduate school at NYU! Her second is a sophomore at the University of Texas. Her baby is 17 and will be a senior in high school this fall. She lives in Tulsa, OK and enjoys hanging out with her family, cheering on her daughter in her various activities, writing, reading, traveling, and even hosting bridal showers for her friend’s kiddos who are taking an even further flight and getting married (yikes!).

 

Created by two Boston moms, their focus is for moms and dad on how to help  tweens and teens navigate real life situations as they grow and mature, along with advice for you as a parent on how to deal with these situations as they arise. They cover everything from technology, social media, sex-ed, bullying/peer pressure, family life, school-related topics and more.

Laurie tells the truth about caring for our families of all generations from the elderly down to the kids-with everything in between.  Her blog started when she was caretaking her grandma.  Now she has teens and tweens, and her grandma has passed.  She is very entertaining!

Again, 2 moms who were on the verge of having their oldest kids leave home for the first time created a great website about all things about growing up and moving on for both your teens and you.  They have many contributors to their website, and many topics are covered.

Kira and Michelle are both Florida moms, so they know a thing or two about sunshine and hurricanes. On any given day in their lives they can experience both, multiple times, and sometime even simultaneously.  Welcome to parenting, right?!

They have 2 boys and 4 girls who are 6, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 15. So, yes, they’ve basically got this whole parenting thing covered from elementary school to high school. You’ve got an issue, they have probably been there and done that! 

Sound like you want to hang out with them? Then subscribe to their Email Newsletter so they can send you plenty of sunshine each week and help you through those hurricanes.

 

Welcome to The Midlife Mamas! At The Midlife Mamas they are all about being in the middle of the newly emerging freedoms and crazy throws of mid-life as both women and mothers.

Do you feel like your body is betraying you and doing odd things that make absolutely no sense? Have your children morphed into people you don’t recognize? Are your parents starting to act like “old” people? Do  they need more help and support from you these days? Do you have that one wiry hair growing out of your chin where nothing grew before? Are you growing more and more into who you were truly destined to be?

If you answered yes to any of these Congratulations! You’ve found your people!

At The Midlife Mamas, you will find great information and conversations on parenting, holistic health, inspiration and motivation, and homemaking. From time to time, she’ll also add in her two cents on life in general.

She’s in the prime of midlife, learning about all the changes and growing into the challenges – hopefully with grace. But some days she just feels more like a fur ball that Bill the Cat hocked up. Maybe you do too.

Welcome to Raising Teens Blog.  Please spend some time with us and join the conversation about the insanity and rewards of parenting teenagers.

As moms, we realize it is your girlfriends who are there when you need them to listen to you, laugh with you, offer advice, and when you need it, give you that encouragement to go out and do what you need to do. We want to be those girlfriends who you turn to for empathy and encouragement.

Raising Teens Blog focuses on topics that we personally are experiencing while raising our teenagers. Some of our most popular subjects deal with teen anxiety, teen dating, and social media. We frequently answer reader questions about everything from how to talk about sex with your teen to preparing for the physical changes that happen during the adolescent years. On this blog, nothing is off limits or too embarrassing to write about. Parenting teens is messy and we feel it is important to voice those challenges that keep mothers and fathers awake at night.

Since starting RaisingTeens Blog, we are proud to say it consistently is recognized by parents, educators, and medical experts for its practical content and exploration of real-life parenting experiences.

COLLEGE RESOURCES

Below are the most helpful sites when researching colleges.  Each has their own unique service and worth reviewing to see what best fits your needs. 

Road to College is a great website full of information. It is an admission consulting service. So for those of you who want to pay for their services, they have programs for 9-12, transfer and grad school programs, student-athletes, essay services etc. Mel and I follow them on FaceBook- Paying For College 101. This group is very helpful. It’s a forum for families to ask questions on how they can pay for college. They just recently had a live webinar on how to fill out the FAFSA and were taking questions.  You can find them at www.roadtocollege.com or on FaceBook.

Mama Bear Legal forms is definitely a site to visit.  A one stop shop to take away all your worries and/or understand legal matters that maybe you didn’t think of- A Health Power of Attorney, Finance Power of Attorney and even a HIPAA release form.   Check it out here.  

Jessica started JLV College Counseling because she has a passion for helping students get to college. While her initial reason for starting JLV College Counseling was to be an independent educational consultant, she found it was not the right fit for her. JLVCollegeCounseling.com has now become a free resource for prospective and current college students, as well as their parents and guardians. Jessica believes that college admission and financial aid information should be available to all students and families, no matter their financial circumstances. Therefore, everything available at JLVCollegeCounseling.com is free and no family will be charged for any information or advice they receive from the site or Jessica. The only “income” Jessica receives from JLV College Counseling is from the ads you may see throughout the site, as well as affiliate links that will always be marked.

 

I really like this site. Very informative when looking for a college that is a good match for your child.  It is run by the Institute of Education Sciences. You can do search by state, degree type,  program/major.  Also has a college affordability search engine that lists tuition and fees by school.  This is a must visit site. Click here. 

This site is run by Michell Kretzschmar.  Let me tell you, she has done her HOMEWORK.  She homeschooled her son and while getting  him  ready to go to college she researched everything.  We receive her newsletters and a lot of what we share comes from her.  Her son received some athletic scholarships, so if you’re interested in how to play that game, check out her resources.  All of them are great!

 

We are all familiar with US News Best College rankings.  But like many of the sites we list, US News also has great resources when researching colleges, how to pay for college and scholarship info.  Check them out here

This website is the official arm of Federal student aid under the Department of Education. It’s a little daunting with the amount of information but well organized. The sections are Prepare for College, Types of Aid, Who gets Aid, FAFSA,  How to Repay Your Loans.  This is probably a good place to start to become familiar with $ for college and vocational schools.

TEST PREP

Test prep is no joke!  We have listed many sites that have been used by our kids or that our friends have recommended that worked for their kids.  One size does not fit all, so you may need to try more than one to be successful.  Good luck!

Khan Academy not only has test prep for the SAT and others, but as you probably know has great videos and lessons by subject.  Also check out their college and career section.

Hi, I’m Louisa from LP Tutoring! I’m a former high school Social Studies and Study Skills teacher. I have 15+ years experience teaching teenagers Social Studies and English content, research and writing, study skills, organization, or planning help. I strive to provide students with more attention and support than is available in the classroom. I want all my students to feel prepared and experience success in school!

In 2016, my beautiful daughter was born and I decided to leave teaching. However, I quickly realized that I missed my students! The kids are the best part of teaching! So, I started tutoring both online and in-person. And I LOVE it! I get the best of both worlds – working with teens and building relationships with their parents plus no grading!

YOUR STORY

So, what’s going on in your house? Is homework time stressful? Do you come back from parent conferences defeated or distressed? Is your teen struggling, but you can’t figure out why? Contact me today because I can help!

If you’re looking for some resources, join my FREE resource library! It’s chock full of checklists, reference guides, and worksheets that will help your teen get organized, improve his study skills, and prepare for AP exams!

The ACT website is more than registering your studnet for the test.  They have lots of resources too! Check out the parent and student section. They have a roadmap to college based on the year your student graduates from high school. 

The SAT website is also full of useful and helpful information.  When I was growing up, you just showed up and crossed your fingers.  If only we had all these resources when I was growing up.  So of course, there is the SAT test prep and test dates listed but also has the PSAT for sophomores and even 8th graders.  

A bunch of self-proclaimed nerds who are dedicated to helping students at all levels approach their test prep needs.  Their website is very user friendly, and they run sales and specials on their products which is great for us parents who have to pay for all of this!