Virtual School Resources: September 2012   

Friday, September 28, 2012

Win The $10,000. Scholarship Sweepstakes from GradSave!

I've been sharing with you recently about the awesome program GradSave offers for saving for college. It saddens me when I talk to people who think college is not an option as they just don't have the money. Planning for college should not happen in your child's junior year! I have a junior, and we have been planning for college since she was born! That does not mean you should not do it at all if you do already have a child in high school, but it does mean you should begin right away. 

The U.S. Census Bureau reports each year on the difference in salaries from an individual with a college degree versus just a high school diploma, and it is typically double! I feel like it is my job to give my kids the best start in life I can, and for us, as a family, education plays a huge part.

You can open a GradSave account right now (it's free!) and start with as little as $10. Make a commitment to continue to add and watch your college fund grow! The GradSave site has lots of information available to you, too, like how to open a 529 account so you can receive the special tax benefits allowed by your state (529 plans can differ from state to state.) You can even read testimonials from Happy GradSavers!

Right now GradSave has a special promotion saving you $10 when you open and make a deposit in a GradSave account! You'll see the $10 come off when you check out. Easy!

I'm excited to share with you a way that you could win $10,000. to begin or add to your child's scholarship fund! 

The GradSave $10,000 Scholarship Sweepstakes is easy to enter! You could be their next scholarship winner! What are you waiting for? Good luck!

I will be chronicling our journey to college over the next couple of years, so I hope you'll be back to read more. I'd love it if you subscribed!

Eligibility. If you are an individual legal resident of the United States (except for the State of Rhode Island) or the District of Columbia and are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry, you are eligible to enter the Sweepstakes. Our employees, their immediate family members (spouses, domestic partners, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren), and our affiliates, advisors or advertising/promotion agencies (and their immediate family members) are not eligible to enter the Sweepstakes.

Prize. We will award one (1) Grand Prize Scholarship that will be payable, at the option of the winner, either as (i) a deposit of $1,000 per year for the next 10 years into a child’s college savings fund ($10,000), or (ii) an up front payout of $4,000, which represents the present value of an investment in a college savings fund for a 1 year old with withdrawals starting at age 17 and a 6% compounded annual rate of return on such investment (This just shows you how a college savings fund grows…); provided that, if the winner is a resident of the State of Florida or the State of New York, such winner must select the upfront payment of $4,000.  IN THE CASE OF A SINGLE PAYOUT OPTION (I.E., OPTION (II) ABOVE), ACTUAL FUTURE VALUE OF SCHOLARSHIP MAY VARY BASED ON THE RETURN RATES OF YOUR PARTICULAR COLLEGE SAVINGS FUND AND/OR THE AGE OF CHILD.

Odds of Winning. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Certain promotions will be held where additional entries will be awarded as prizes for action, which may include liking us on Facebook, entering free photo contests, etc.  Check our home page at for more information on these free promotions.

This post was sponsored by GradSave. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Free Halloween Printables!

My blogging buddy Cheryl over at Moms & Munchkins has the most adorable Halloween printables available for free! 
Visit her and see for yourself!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Give the Gift of College Education with GradSave!

How often have you wondered what kind of gift would be really helpful to new parents? I've been to so many baby showers where the mom-to-be got tons of diapers and other baby items, some that will probably never be used. And clothes? I am thinking only people who don't have children buy outfits in 0-3, right? Unless they were preemies, they wear that outfit once! Don't get me wrong, I remember how awesome it was to open all those great gifts at my baby showers. Having so many new items for my girls was so much fun! But here's a question. How many people would remember what you got them ten years later? It's not that it wasn't a great gift, it's just that they are in a different place now. However, if you had given them a $25. or $50. gift card for GradSave, they would have started a savings plan for college and that money would have grown tax-free from the time they put it in the 529 account! Do you think they would remember that gift?

Setting up an account with GradSave takes just a couple of minutes. I know, because I set mine up! You make a profile page for your child (or grandchild!) and let family and friends know about it. They can just go to the link you provide through email, Facebook, or other social media outlet, and they can buy a GradSave gift card to make a contribution. It really is so easy!

And right now you can save $10. on your GradSave purchase! That's right, $10! Just go to GradSave and place your order and you will see $10. deducted when you check out! I told you it was easy!

I'd love to hear about your experience with GradSave! Be sure to come back and share how easy it was for you to give the gift of college education!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Free Reading Horizons Webinar

Teachers know that not all students respond to the same instruction with the same degree of understanding. Effective teachers know how to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of each learner. Whether you are a traditional classroom teacher or a teacher of students with special needs, Reading Horizons Discovery was designed with you in mind!
This webinar will address:
  • The new format of the Reading Horizons Discovery direct instruction materials specifically designed to enhance our proven program.
  • A description of the various resources provided with each Reading Horizons Discovery lesson that were created to save teachers time when planning lessons.
  • Elements of Reading Horizons Discovery software that were expertly constructed to provide highly-individualized instruction, including a unique "Response to Intervention/Instruction Loop."
Title: Reading Horizons Discovery: Enhanced Differentiated Instruction
Date: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM EDT
This is a free webinar. Sign up today so you don't miss it!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Family Entertainment Extravaganza!!

Welcome to the Family Entertainment Extravaganza!
Big thanks to Tales From the Nursery and Callista's Ramblings for hosting this great event where a group of awesome bloggers are giving away amazing prizes to share with your family!

Have you heard that The Magic School Bus turned 25? 

I'm excited to be giving away a first time on DVD 3 pack of 
The Magic School Bus!
Entering is easy! 
Just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

GradSave $1,000 Challenge

I have a Junior in high school so we are starting to plan for college. As of now, she wants to go to a very expensive private art school. Some of the students who have graduated from this school have gone on to work at PIXAR and Disney, which is her dream. We want to give her every opportunity to accomplish her goals, but $40,000 a year is a LOT of money!

I'm reading every book I can get my hands on to learn more about scholarships and any grants available to her. It's a lot of work, but I think it will pay off.

I just recently read about a program that is NOT a lot of work, and I'm joining! GradSave is giving away *$1,000. to the first 10 people who reach the GradSave $1,000. challenge. Why? Because they want to show you how easy to is to begin a savings plan for your child's college education!

Here's all you have to do:

  1. Open a GradSave college savings registry and start saving.
  2. Share your GradSave $1,000. Challenge on Facebook and email to friends and family.
  3. Contribute yourself and let family members know they can help.
Check out the GradSave $1,000. Challenge and get started today!

This post is sponsored by GradSave.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Virtual Schools should NOT be viewed as an Investment opportunity

I have wanted to write about this for some time, and I can't be quiet any longer.

K12 has had so many problems in so many states that it is affecting the public's perception of the validity of virtual schooling. I find this disturbing as my children attend a virtual school that is amazing. Florida Virtual School has been such a blessing to our family. These teachers want to see my children do well, and they have.

One of the owners of K12 is billionaire Michael Milken. Does the name ring a bell? Perhaps because I was a stockbroker before I had kids, I know the name well. Michael Milken went to jail for securities fraud. Check out this excerpt from an article in BloombergBusinessweek from June of 2011:

"K12 expects to generate $500 million in revenue this year—it earned a $21.5 million profit last year—and its stock has doubled in value since the company went public in December 2007. The financial success of K12 has shown that Milken—the 1980s junk-bond king, convicted felon (securities fraud), and health-care philanthropist—has figured out how to profit from public schools. But while online education may have paid off for Milken and other investors, it's less clear that K12 is benefiting its students."    

And from the Spokesman Review, August 1, 2012
"K12 brought in a profit of about $13 million in the last fiscal year. Total revenues were $685 million, an increase of 31 percent over the previous year. The company estimates the market could grow exponentially in the coming years – to between $5 billion to $50 billion. To keep profits high, K12 has told shareholders it will cut costs next year by $20 million."

My blood boils just reading this. I don't know the answer, but I do want to say to my readers, PLEASE investigate fully the virtual school you choose for your child. I have seen for-profit private schools get in trouble, and yes, it is sad, too, but when a company that has such a huge share of the online school market is showing horrendous results for student progress and making that kind of money, Houston, there is a problem.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

App Review: How My Body Works

How My Body Works, a new app from De Agostini, one of Europe's largest publishers of entertainment and educational publications, is a fun way for kids to learn about the human body. Featured as Italy's App of the Week, this is De Agostini's first entry into the U.S. market. 

This is such a fun way for your kids to learn about the human body! 3D female and male models lead you through an interactive adventure through the human body, to explore the body systems and organs.

If you've seen the classic book, How My Body Works, you will recognize this information.  My 13 year old is taking biology. As much as she loves science, she is really struggling a bit with this honors biology class. I think this app will help her tremendously.

Gorgeous artwork makes these lessons so appealing, and so much more interesting than a boring textbook. Our kids are so into technology that textbooks have become boring to them. The interactive features of this program will keep their interest much longer than a book ever could. The characters and sounds are so cute! Your kids might just forget they are learning!

Covering the sensory system, circulatory system, digestive system, respiratory system, locomotor system, nervous system, reproductive system,  as well as the urinary and lymphatic systems, this app is extremely in-depth.

The sensory unit is free, and is a great way for you to try the app out. Buying the extra systems is well worth the price. Wouldn't it be cool if, instead of playing games, your kids asked to play How My Body Works? 

I can't wait to hear what you think! Come back and share!

I received a complimentary app of How My Body Works for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Too Cool For School Giveaway Hop~The Magic School Bus!

Welcome! You've found the Too Cool For School Giveaway Hop hosted by BloggerPR
Summer has come to an end. Can you believe it? 

Many of us have already started school again, but we're still scrambling to replenish those school supplies and get all of the requirements on those supplies lists. 

To ease the pain of the end-of-the-summer-blues, BloggerPR decided to host a giveaway hop to help everyone win some of those back to school necessities!  

This event will run from September 1st through 9th, which gives you plenty of time to 
hop down the linky list below! 

But before you go, enter to win a 3pack set of the newly released Magic School Bus on DVD! 
This set is being released for the first time this week! You can read all about The Magic School Bus 25th anniversary in my review where you can also find a link to printables you can use with the DVDs!
I'm so excited about this that I'm giving it away on Virtually Yours, too!
Enter in the Rafflecopter below!

Each blogger is giving away prizes valued $20 or more, so be sure to visit everyone! 
Good luck and have a great school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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