Do not use individual fund raising accounts

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From Parent Booster USA comes this warning about fund raising accounts:

Do not use individual fundraising accounts (IFAs) without a legal review. The IRS has strict rules on any activity that benefits the individual members of a group. The IRS generally finds IFAs to violate its rules. IFAs are activities in which parents/students engage in cooperative fundraising activities, providing “credit” to the individual “accounts” of those who participate in the fundraising activity(ies). Only in very limited circumstances are IFAs considered legal fundraising activities of booster clubs. Parent Booster USA can provide assistance in obtaining a legal review of an organization’s IFA policy. See also Individual Fundraising Accounts.

I agree with Parent Booster USA, the IRS does not allow nonprofits to establish individual fund raising accounts, where an individual or family get a part of the fund raising proceeds for their personal use.

To learn more about fund raisers for your homeschool group, read my article “Easy Fund Raisers for Homeschool Groups” here

and my blog posts on fund raising here.

Carol Topp, CPA

Special at The Old Schoolhouse magazine

My favorite homeschool magazine, The Old Schoolhouse, is running a special that you should check out!
Receive a 2-year subscription, free Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, and five FREE E-Books for just $17.76!
Sign up early to get all three goodies. It’s only good until July 4th, so don’t delay!

July 4th Sale

I think you’ll love this magazine as much as I do!

Carol Topp, CPA

Blog Carnival: All Things Austen

I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen, one of the finest authors ever. Like many girls of her age, Jane was homeschooled learning reading, writing, music, dancing and foreign language from her home in the Stevenson Rectory in Hampshire, England in the early 1800s.

One of my favorite Jane Austen quotes reminds me of many homeschool mothers:

“Your mother must have been a slave to your education”-Lady Catherine de Berg, Pride and Prejudice

Mrs Bennet and her five daughters

Indeed, we do sometimes feel like slaves to our children’s education. I hope the blog posts shared here encourage you and lighten the load, just a bit!

A woman (or gentleman) of Jane Austen’s era had many facets to her education including reading, writing, art, music, dancing and more to be considered an “accomplished woman.” I hope you enjoy these blog posts on homeschooling.

Extensive Reading

Mr. Darcy claims an accomplished woman demands, “something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.” Pride and Prejudice

Lexi offers The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading posted at Lextin Academy of Classical Education.

Lynn presents Summers Here! Does the Learning Stop? posted at Eclectic Education.

Jenn Schwilling, who reads extensively, presents A Great Reader? posted at DaisyChain Daily Carnival.

Denise asks if a girl and a half can read a book and a half in a day and a half, then how many books can one girl read in the month of June? in Rate Puzzle: How Fast Does She Read? posted at Let’s Play Math!.

Writing and Accounts

“Writing and accounts she was taught by her father;  French by her mother.” Northanger Abbey

TristanDR makes lapbooks of her unit studies as she discusses in Our Civil War Plans posted at Our Busy Homeschool.

Here’s a neat writing exercise to try in your homeschool: A six word story. Tom DeRosa presents A Lifetime in Six Words? Possible. posted at I Want to Teach Forever.

Opinions

“At my time of life opinions are tolerably fixed. It is not likely that I should now see or hear anything to change them.” Marianne in Sense and Sensibility

Deana at The Frugal Homeschooling Mom explains some of the reasons she chose homeschooling for her family in Why Do I Homeschool?

ChristineMM of The Thinking Mother tells about a very busy spring and how that has affected her family’s leisure time as well as helping her let go of unnecessary material possessions, including homeschool curriculum and books in Material Stuff We Own

Pamela tuns a field trip into a philosophical talk about politics and economics in Flower Fields posted at Blah, Blah, Blog

Is there such a thing as “too much” socialization? Read one mom’s opinion and share yours at Lesson Pathways (Christina S.) How Much is “Too Much”? posted at Lesson Pathways Blog.

Janine write about her thoughts on the test results of her daughters in Test Results at
Why Homeschool


Leisure and Games

Jane Austen and her contemporaries spent many hours playing card games such as whist and cribbage, charades, word games and puzzles. They enhance logic and math skills.

Being able to perform mathematical tricks is a great way to build student confidence. Sol Lederman presents Terrific Tic Tac Toe Trick posted at Wild About Math!.

Have you ever taken a math field trip? Tracy Beach presents Math Learning Field Trip Ideas for Homeschoolers posted at Math Learning, Fun & Education Blog : Dreambox Learning.

Art & Music


I couldn’t decide whether to put this post under Reading or Art because it combines the two. Jane Austen would have been charmed! Maureen Spell presents Read & Do: My Heart is Like a Zoo posted at Spell Out Loud.

Summer is a nice time to try a mini co-op. Here’s a cute idea for a music co-op that is simple but fun and memorable! Plan a summer mini music co-op

Katherine found here are plenty of cultural activities available for children, even in her tiny town in Maine. sign us up! posted at No Fighting, No Biting!.

Mom can study art and be an accomplished woman! ~Kris~ presents Time for Mom: Drawing posted at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


Dancing

“There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the finest refinements of polished societies.” Sir William Lucas, Pride and Prejudice

Dawn writes about her local homeschool group’s annual cotillion. It’s a wonderful idea that teaches manners and etiquette! Hold a homeschool cotillion

The Accomplished Woman

“A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing and the modern languages…” Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

Laura Grace Weldon presents Transferring Enthusiasm posted at Laura Grace Weldon. There is something vitally important transmitted when one person’s enthusiasm sets off a spark in others. This sort of spirit can’t be reproduced in any curriculum. That’s why, whenever possible, we learn from people who are passionate.

Christine Field is an accomplished woman in the field of law (no pun intended). She is offering a free year of legal representation (and a bonus) to homeschooling families as Barbara Frank Online describes in Free Legal Coverage for Homeschooling Families

e-Mom presents an excerpt from an interview with author Jill Savage Living With Less so Your Family Has More posted at C h r y s a l i s ?.

The Educated Man

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy

“His mind is well informed, his enjoyment of books exceedingly great, his imagination lively, his  observation just and correct, and his taste delicate and pure” Elinor describing Edward Farrers in Sense and Sensibility.

C.L. Dyck presents The World as Narrative posted at Scita > Scienda. A post from Scienda guest blogger Marc Schooley — beautiful writing by an intelligent man: “The world is a narrative, not a science project.” Marc muses on hurricanes of change, the passing of his father, and the final homecoming of heaven.

Rhonda Miller discovers the bent her two sons have in their learning styles in Bent Homeschooling posted at Parent Community and Forum.

Dave Roller shares a few things he picked up (literally and figuratively) at a recent home school convention in Conventional Wisdom posted at Home School Dad.

Get your boys interested in reading Jane Austen! Robin Phillips shares how in Jane Austen for Boys: 7 Topics to Inspire Their Reading posted at Crack the Egg.

I hoped you enjoyed this Carnival of Homeschooling: All Things Austen.

Next week’s host will be Roscommon Acres.

Money Myths That Trip Up Homeschoolers

Over at Parent at the Helm, they are running my series on

Five Money Myths That Trip Up Homeschoolers

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Myth #1:  Just a Little More Money Will Solve All My Problems

Truth: Problem is not lack of money, but lack of contentment

Read more here.

Carol Topp, CPA

Teens and Taxes

You know me as the HomeschoolCPA, but about this time every year, I do a lot of individual tax returns.  One issue seems to confuse a lot of American families:

When does my teenager owe taxes? What about babysitting income? Is it taxable?

Taxes for teenagers can be confusing, so I am hosting a live webinar to help parents understand taxes for their teenagers.

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Teens and Taxes live webinar


Thursday, March 4, 2010

9 pm EST, 8 pm CST, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PST

The live web class will be hosted via Talkshoe, a podcast service. There is no charge for the webinar, but I do ask that all attendees register so that I can send you a handout and reminders.

By registering, you will also be able to purchase a copy of my ebook Teens and Taxes: A Guide for Parents and Teenagers for only $7.50, 50% off the regular price $14.95

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My ebook, Teens and Taxes is a very helpful guide for parents.  Although the ebook is helpful, it is not necessary for you to have a copy in order to benefit from the webinar.

During the webinar , I will be discussing

  • When does a teenager need to file a tax return
  • Should a teenager file their own return?
  • Can a parent include their teenager’s income on their return?
  • Do babysitters need to file a tax return?
  • How much money can a teenager earn before they owe taxes?
  • Can I still claim my teenagers as a dependent?

There will be time for your questionseither via on-line chat or by phone.


Here’s how the webinar works.

After you register by sending me your name and email, you will receive an e-mail from me with:

  1. A link to the webinar where you can listen via your computer and participate in the on-line chat room to type in a question.

  2. A phone number and code that you may use if you wish to listen into the webinar but cannot be at your computer. You will be able to hear everything I say and can even ask questions over the phone.

  3. A handout you may print to take notes during the webinar

  4. A link to purchase Teens and Taxes: A Guide for Parents and Teenagers for only $7.50, 50% off the regular price $14.95

I will also send you a reminder email the day before and the morning of the webinar.

Register today, buy the ebook Teens and Taxes for a discounted price and get your questions ready for Thursday, March 4!

Carol Topp, CPA

More lessons from a homeschool co-op

Faye had so many good lessons she learned from her homeschool co-op, I’m splitting them into two parts. here’s more great lessons learned from someone in the trenches of a homeschool co-op.

6.  Sometimes kids won’t like the class you are teaching; some may even decide to drop out after a few weeks.  Try not to take it personally.

7.  A co-op with mixed ages provides amazing opportunities for older kids to learn how to be around, and help, younger kids.  My little guy made so many connections with the older boys; it was wonderful.  And, having the older kids play with my son was a huge help to me.  Bonus–I may have found a future babysitter!

8.  There is nothing like a good game of Twister to shake things up a bit.  Read my Twister article to learn about our fun!

9.  It may take some effort to stick with a co-op.  After all, you probably had a routine before you joined the co-op, but don’t give up.  A co-op can really liven up your weekly schedule, not to mention all the new avenues can open for your kids.

10.  The more you can help, the better the co-op will be.  If you have a few extra minutes, see if something needs to be set up, or cleaned up, or put away.  If you have an idea for a class/program/field trip, share it with the planning group. One of our co-op families held a “tie dye” day and invited everyone to their house for a day of messy, creative fun.  I will never forget the site of all those tie-dyed shirts, blowing in the breeze on the clothesline.

11.  If one idea doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to toss it or tweak it.  We had started a MathCounts program, but for some kids that just didn’t work.  So, another mom gathered some awesome math games and brought them to the co-op for the kids who were a little intimidated by MathCounts.  The result?  The math games were a HUGE hit; kids were helping to get their parents out the door on time, so they wouldn’t be late for math games!

12.  Let your kids have fun, and don’t force them to try everything.  Sometimes just being exposed to new things will pique their interest in something different, which may encourage them to give it a try.  A co-op should be educational, but it should also be enjoyable.

I completely agree with everything Faye learned, especially #10 on everyone helps and #11 on staying flexible. They are so important in a homeschool co-op and so easy to forget! Thanks for sharing your experiences Faye!HSCo-opsCover

If any of you want to learn how to start a co-op or run the co-op you belong to in a better way, order my book, Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

Carol Topp, CPA

Carnival of Homeschooling

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling!   Our theme this week is:

As Time Goes By: Reflecting on 25 Years of Marriage and 12 Years of HomeschoolingIMG_4033

In 2009 my family celebrates two milestones, our oldest daughter graduates from homeschool high school and my husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage (today!), so I’m reflecting on the passage of time.

Before you begin

IMG_4720 - CopyThis is Dave and I before we were married, setting the stage for marriage with a period of engagement. Like engaged couples, parents just starting to homeschool can be excited and fearful at the same time.

Teri’s Take asks Will you begin homeschooling this fall?

Praiseworthy Things asks parents to consider the important question, What About Preschool?

Percival Blakeney Academy compares Home Schooling VS Home Cooking

Why Homeschool has a video of John Taylor Gatto talking about the purpose of Public Schools brainwashing and preparing for factories.

Starting to homeschool

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Our family went from just the two of us to four when we added two daughters. We had a lot to learn as parents and many parents learn a lot as they begin homeschooling. I am so grateful for the parents and experienced homeschoolers that shared their wisdom with us.

Wired For Noise shares a review of a book set that is great for beginner readers in Reading Together

The Frugal Homeschooling Mom adds reason number 8 in Why Homeschool? Eight Reasons (and more to come)

Terri Sue Bettis presents Homeschooling an Only posted at Cricket’s Corner.

explore-discover-learn asks Why do Kids Bully? and offers  Bully and Cyberbully Printables

Terry presents Art Supplies Can Spark a Child’s Creativity posted at My Creativity Blog.

Growing and learning

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This is one of my favorite pictures from early in our homeschool journey.  My daughter is about seven and is pretty happy to show us her spelling book! Notice little sister peeking out from behind her shoulder. Our daughters kept growing and learning as these homeschool bloggers also continue to do:

Purls of Wisdoms blogs about learning styles in Homeschooling Styles

Whippasnappa’s Blog notices the changes in her children because of homeschooling in Thoughts on Homeschooling

C h r y s a l i s tells us that stargazers across the world are in for a major event next month. Scientists say that on July 22, a total solar eclipse will be visible from India, China, and parts of the South Pacific in The Eclipse Will Look Like a Diamond Ring

Barbara Frank Online asks Is your young teen sleeping through the summer? in The Young Teen in Your House

A Mountain Mom shares The process of being organized.

ChristineMM presents Homeschool Stuff Reorg Before & After posted at The Thinking Mother.

Freehold2 discusses an important topic in Copyright and Homeschoolers

Kathy presents Airborn: Homeschool Review posted at Homeschoolbuzz.com Reviews.

Jen presents My Homeschool Recipe posted at Cage Free Monkeys.

Jimmie presents Living Math Curriculum Review posted at The Curriculum Choice.

Travel and field trips

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My husband used to say that the money we saved by homeschooling meant we could take really big field trips and here’s a picture from one of our biggest “field trips” ever-to China in 2003. We all learned so much and see the world differently as a result of traveling. Here some homeschool families share their travels near and far.

Summers’ Family Adventures enjoys Cleveland’s Metroparks in Rocky River Nature Center

Kimberly from Life of a Homeschool Family visits a local museum in Macon Museum of Arts & Sciences

Home Spun Juggling shares photos from her recent trip to the aquarium in Sharks, Jellies, and Penguins, Oh My!

Amy from Neighborhood Clubhouse explains How Homeschooling Families Can Find Free Travel Accommodations

Dave from Home School Dad explains a service project his family did in Oh Where is My Hairnet?

Susan presents Riding the Escalator posted at The Expanding Life.

Continued commitment

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My daughters have continued to be committed to homeschooling all the way through high school. This picture shows their books from one year of high school!  They really felt a sense of accomplishment when they saw their book towers!  The following posts will encourage you to continue in your commitment to homeschool.

Aimless Conversation discusses the importance of setting goals in Homeschooling With a Purpose

Loving Learning at Home reflects on her homeschool life in Assessment Time; Reflection Time

Homeschooler Cafe’ encourages other homeschool parents in Just Hang In There!

See what the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers will be using next school year in Our 2009-2010 Curriculum

Kiwi Polemicist is concerned about homeschooling freedoms in Sweden in Update: Sweden wants to outlaw homeschooling done for religious and philosophical reasons

Take Dana’s poll How Involved are Dads in Homeschooling? at Principled Discovery

Beverly’s Homeschooling Blog shares Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl was homeschooled. Pfc Bergdahl is a soldier being held captive in Afghanistan

Milestones and celebration

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Here is my daughter, Emily, on her graduation from homeschool high school. Quite a milestone in her life that we’re happy to celebrate! Of course milestones mark an event, usually an ending, but in Emily’s case this milestone is a beginning as well as she heads off to Grove City College in PA this fall.

Homemaking 911 celebrates a milestone in Christina is Graduating This Month

Amanda presents I Think I Can, I Think I Can, Wait? Yep, I Know I Can! posted at The Daily Planet.

From my other blog I share Homeschool High School Graduation and Sending Your Kids to College.

Wrap up

Thank you to all the bloggers that shared their posts! I hope you have enjoyed this reflection on our family life and marriage. No matter where you are on your path, remember that the joy is in the journey!

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This final picture is Dave and I at a family celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. We haven’t changed a bit, right?  Wrong! Of course our past 25 have years have changed us for the better, I hope.  Homeschooling our daughters has been a rewarding, fulfilling experience.

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be at Small World. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of homeschooling using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.  The deadline is Monday July 27 at 6 pm PST.

Carol Topp

Pictures from Virginia Homeschool Convention

I was excited to be invited as a speaker to the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) 2009 convention. I spoke on leading a homeschool group, having a family budget, micro business for teenagers, 501c3 tax exempt status and being a WAHM (Work at Home Mom).  I also talked to dozens of homeschool leaders, parents and teenagers that stopped by my booth.

My booth to meet and greet homeschool leaders from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and surrounding states.

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My booth helper, friend, co-op member and fellow WAHM (Work at Home Mom), Katy Daum (tall one on the left) and me in front of our booth.

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At the Leaders lunch with Exhibit Hall Coordinator, Tammy Bear (left), an extraordinary, organized, lovely lady!

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I met my virtual friend, Janice Campbell (right) of Everyday Education, in person. She had a lovely booth.

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The Exhibit Hall at HEAV. I was also pleased that Paul Suarez from The Old Schoolhouse (the next aisle over) stopped by my booth.

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What a great weekend.  I enjoyed meeting so many homeschool parents, teenagers and leaders.

Carol Topp, CPA

Carnival of Homeschooling

The latest Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Principled Discovery.  She has chosen a field guide  to homeschoolers as her theme “to attempt to describe this fascinating specimen of educational freedom and gain a greater understanding of its habits, habitat and daily life.”  Very clever and lots of good posts on homeschooling.

My post on insurance for homeschool groups is there.

Carol Topp, CPA

Milestone: Graduation Day for my first born!

Today, my first born , Emily, will graduate from high school.  this is quite a milestone in her life and mine.  12 years of homeschooling! It’s been a privilege and an honor.  I’ve lea093rned so much by homeschooling her, and of course she has learned a lot, too!

I won’t say it’s been pure joy, bit it comes close. 3rd grade was pretty rough with lots of phone calls to the “principal” (my husband at work) about her stubbornness.  Put two type A, opinionated people together and you’ll have some conflict.  But in the end we are so much closer for working it out instead of giving up. High school has been great. It is fun and exciting to see her grow and develop.

Congratulations Emily! Your dad and I are very proud of you.

Carol Topp, CPA