Could you please give me a minute (and review my books)?

3Homeschoolbooks

Have you benefited from reading any of my books?

Did Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out make starting co-op a little easier?

Did the information in The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization get your organization tax exempt status?

Have you read through the list of practices to avoid embezzlement in Money Management in a Homeschool Organization? (yes, unfortunately, homeschool groups can be a victim of theft)

Could you please leave a short blurb on Amazon? It doesn’t have to be long. Just a sentence saying something like:

Really helpful!

Clear and easy to understand.

Essential for running a homeschool organization.

Here’s the links to make it easy for you.

Homeschool Co-ops book the original edition had 16 reviews, but this new edition has only 5 reviews :(. It needs a boost.

IRS and Your Homeschool Organization book (This book has zero reviews! I really need your help here!)

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization book (This book has zero reviews, too! It really needs some!)

I appreciate your time and effort!

Thank you!

Carol Topp

Scouts don’t allow individual fundraising account (and neither should you!)

BoyScout

 

I am frequently asked questions about fundraisers for homeschool groups, especially about individual fundraising accounts.

What’s in Individual Fundraising Account?

An individual fundraising account is any method by which a nonprofit group credits an individual or family for some or all of the funds raised by that individual or family. Usually, credit is given for sales of products and services at the organization’s fundraising events.

Aren’t IFAs used by a lot of youth organizations?

These IFAs are very common, especially in scouting and  youth sports. In the past, youth organizations followed some simple guidelines  that they thought made the practice of creating IFAs acceptable. Here’s an example of an IFA policy.

I’m a conservative CPA and always discouraged the use of any IFAs. I’m not alone. ParentBooster.com strongly discourages IFAs and Trail Life USA  disallows IFAs for their members.

Boy Scouts discontinuing Individual Fundraising Accounts

And now it appears that the Boy Scouts USA has also changed their policy regarding IFAs. According to BobwhiteBather.com,

Source: http://bobwhiteblather.com/new-policy-prohibits-individual-scout-fundraising-accounts/

… the Boy Scouts of America is beginning to inform units that they may no longer allocate fundraising proceeds to “Scout accounts” for the private use of members to pay their expenses. This goes against a longstanding recommendation that units should use fundraising to allow individual Scouts to pay their own way. The new policy was first found buried in a publication aimed at councils on running effective product sales, which was released late last summer, and most recently appeared in Fiscal Policies and Procedures for BSA Unitsa summary of frequently-asked questions about unit finance.

 

FYI, the Boy Scout document cited above says quite clearly, “Funds raised by the unit from product sales belong to the unit. They may not be transferred to the Scout.”

So, my advice to homeschool organizations is unchanged:

  • Do NOT set up individual fundraising accounts.
  • If you have them now, STOP!
  • If you conduct fundraising, do not record how much each family brought in.
  • Do not have a system where tuition or dues are reduced by the amount of fundraising a family conducts.

You may find your organization can still function quite well, or even better without individual fundraising accounts like Becky’s homeschool group did.

Carol Topp, CPA

More Money Myths Homeschool Moms Believe. Dollars and Sense Show #14

DollarsSenseShow#14

In this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp and her guest Susan Raber of AtHomeAndSchool.com discuss more money myths that homeschool moms believe.

Listen to the show here
From Episode #13 of the Dollars and Sense Show, Carol and Susan discussed three money myths:

Myth #1: Just a Little More Money is All I Need…

Myth # 2:  I Need …..

Myth # 3:  It was on sale; I saved a lot of money!

On today’s show, Carol And Susan discuss two more money myths.

Myth # 4: Homeschooling is Expensive:

A study of 220 families spend between $300 and $1,000 per family each year. Private schools cost from $3,000-$10,000 year.  That’s expensive!

Truth:  Homeschooling is time consuming.

“Opportunity cost” is the cost of passing up a choice when making a decision.

Money tip:  Make up a homeschool budget.  Include books, field trips, classes, magazine subscriptions.

 

Myth # 5: I’ll use it someday

Truth:  You don’t know what the future holds

Ask yourself:

  1. Am I going to use it now or in the near future? Beware of buying things with the reasoning, ‘I’m not sure when I’ll use it, but I’ll use it someday.’  Tell yourself, “If it’s that good, it will be there when I need it.  If not, something better will replace it”
  2. Where is it going to go?  Make sure you have a clearly designated space otherwise it increases your clutter.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Five Money Myths and remember them as we enter the homeschool convention shopping season!

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on April 24, 2014 when Carol will start a series on tips for teenagers or parents wanting to start a micro business.

 

Money, Taxes and the Homeschool Family

My latest article “Money, Taxes and the Homeschool Family” is in this month’s edition of The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

Read the entire article here

The Old Schoolhouse magazine is  completely online and FREE.

You don’t even have to give your email to read it. How coo is that?

You might want to visit page 34 too!

Carol Topp, CPA

Teach teenagers about money: Dollars and Sense Show # 10

DollarsSenseShow10

In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses teaching your teenagers about money.

Listen to the show here 

Show notes:

Recap: Our motivation to be teaching kids about money:
Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government.
Avoid excessive debt. College debt now exceeds credit card debt.
Someone is watching!
Avoid boomerang kids. We are raising adults, not children

How to Teach
Natural style. As you go about your day. Real life examples.
Get someone else: Sunday school, Scouts, Homeschool co-op
Focused teaching: Family nights, games, books

What to Teach: Teenagers

  • What things cost and what jobs earn.
  • Career exploration. Post high school education.
  • Checking accounts and financial software (Ace Money Lite is free)
  • Budgets. One teenager is given $150/month in allowance, but she has to buy everything: clothes and gas.
  • Avoid credit card debt (but start building credit history in college)
  • Student loan debt. With her dad out of work, a college student chose a  state school when show the debt she would have.
  • Taxes and federal spending
  • Entrepreneurship. Micro Business for Teens. Ethan pays his own cell phone bill. Linnea pays her way to China.
  • Investing. Stock Market simulation.

Resources:
Career Exploration article Pursuing Their Dreams: Career Exploration for High School Students

Schoolhouse Teachers offers my Career Exploration 8 week class

Free! National Endowment Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Curriculum http://www.hsfpp.org/

Generation Change for youth groups and Foundations in Personal Finance for schools at http://DaveRamsey.com

Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money from Crown.org 10 weeks , individual or class
Money Matters for Teens Ages 15-18 Edition by Larry Burkett (oldie but still available on Amazon.com)

Micro Business For Teens books at http://MicroBusinessForTeens.com

Starting a Micro Business television show on YouTube

Our federal budget graphically displayed at http://WallStats.com

Tax return simulations from the IRS at Understanding Taxes www.irs.gov/app/UnderstandingTaxes

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on February 27, 2014 when I will discuss tax breaks for homeschoolers.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Teach pre-teens about money: Dollars and Sense Show # 9

DollarsSenseShow9

In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses teaching your pre-teens about money.

Listen to the show here 

Show notes:

Recap: Our motivation to be teaching kids about money:
Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government.
Avoid excessive debt. College debt now exceeds credit card debt.
Someone is watching!
Avoid boomerang kids. We are raising adults, not children

How to Teach
Natural style. As you go about your day. Real life examples.
Get someone else: Sunday school, Scouts, Homeschool co-op
Focused teaching: Family nights, games, books

What to Teach: Pre-teens

  • Allowance. Not always in cash. Try a clothing allowance
  • Savings Account. Power of compound interest. Match their savings.
  • What things cost. Houses, cars, pets, clothes, etc. Explain sales tax.
  • What people earn. Occupations.
  • Start earning money. Extra chores around the house or for family and neighbors. Really motivated kids should read Micro Business for Teens

Resources:

Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls money badges
The Secret of Handling Money God’s Way from Crown.org Ages 8-12. 12 lessons. individual or class
Money Matters for Teens Age 11-14 Edition by Larry Burkett (oldie but still available)

Career Exploration article Pursuing Their Dreams: Career Exploration for High School Students
Schoolhouse Teachers offers my Career Exploration 8 week class
Micro Business for Teens
Starting a Micro Business television program on YouTube

Kids can play popular online money management games such as Road Trip to Savings, Financial Football, Peter Pig’s Money counter, Money Metropolis, Financial Soccer, Record shop tycoon, Burger Restaurant

 I’m not familiar with these games, so if you have an opinion for or against, please drop a note in the comments.

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on February 13, 2014 when I will discuss teaching your teenager about managing money.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Teach kids about money: Dollars and Sense Show # 8

DollarsSenseShow8

In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses teaching your elementary age kids about money

Listen to the show here 

Show notes:

Our motivation to be teaching kids about money:
Someone is watching!
Avoid boomerang kids
We are raising adults, not children
Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government.
Avoid excessive debt. College debt now exceeds credit card debt.

How to Teach
Natural style
Deut 6:6-7enThese commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Get someone else: Sunday school, Scouts, Homeschool co-op
Focused teaching: Family nights, Games, Book work

What to Teach: Elementary kids

  • Divisions of Money:Give, Save, Spend. Bank with three compartments
  • Money is limited. They must make choices.
  • Delayed Gratification.
  • Plan ahead. Create a shopping list. Plan a dinner. Start an allowance. Have them save for a goal.
  • Respect things. Furniture, other people’s items, pick up their clothes, don’t lose your calculator

 

Resources:

Family Times Virtue Pack (songs, meal time cards, bedtime stories, etc) from www.Crown.org
ABC’s of Handling Money God’s Way www.Crown.org
Money Matters: Family Night Tool Chest by Jim Weidmann
Junior’s Adventures and more from Dave Ramsey
Books by John Rosemond

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on January 30, 2014 when Carol will discuss teaching your pre-teens about managing money.

 

 

Teach preschoolers about money: Dollars and Sense Show # 7

 

DollarsSenseShow7

In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses teaching your preschooler about money

Listen to the show here 

Show notes:

Our motivation to be teaching kids about money:
Someone is watching! so, be a good example
Avoid boomerang kids (those who leave home, only to return, usually because of financial problems)
We are raising adults, not children
Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government. Use testimonies. Listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio show for examples of financial mistakes and how to correct them.
Avoid excessive debt. College debt now exceeds credit card debt.

 

How to Teach

Natural style

  • Deut 6:6-7enThese commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
  • Stores, Eating out

Get someone else

  • Sunday school
  • Scouts
  • Homeschool co-op

Focused teaching

  • Family nights
  • Games
  • Book work

What to Teach: Preschool

  • “Mine” (self-centerness) needs to be corrected in preschoolers
  • Benign Deprivation. From John Rosemond author of The New Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children. “Give them all of their needs and only 25% of their wants”
  • Vitamin N: Give them protection, affection and direction, but say “no” more often than “yes”
  • Don’t do for children what they can do on their own.

Resources:

Family Times Virtue Pack (songs, meal time cards, bedtime stories, etc) from www.Crown.org
ABC’s of Handling Money God’s Way www.Crown.org
Money Matters: Family Night Tool Chest by Jim Weidmann
Junior’s Adventures and more from Dave Ramsey
Books by John Rosemond

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on January 16, 2014 when Carol will discuss teaching your elementary-age kids about managing money.

 

 

Homeschool co-op teachers not returning curriculum. What to do?

Stackofboks2

Over at the Facebook page I am A Homeschool Group Leader, Sharon asked the following:

 (our homeschool co-op) has a policy that the teacher is to turn over the curriculum that wasn’t consumed to the board, but that has not been happening. What do you do? If you collect the curriculum, where do you store it?

Shanna offered this advice:  I would let the teachers know that if the group reimbursed them, then it belongs to the co-op. We do collect the curriculum. For years, it set on a book shelf in my office (school room), but I needed the space for my stuff. This year we purchased a cabinet at Lowes & it is now in my garage. I label & number all the books. I keep an inventory in Excel & when a teacher has a book, I write their name next to it in the Inventory.

Peggy added:  If it belongs to the co-op, I would find a way to store it. If you plan to reimburse, perhaps only do partial and say the remaining will come when they turn it in. (This could be cost-prohibitive, however for many.) Otherwise, I would send them an invoice with the amount they owe, or that they can turn in the books.

Patricia had more ideas: We let the teachers know at the beginning of the class that when the class ends they are to turn in any materials that the group paid for. When I receive it from them, I put it in totes labeled “Lending Library.” I post a list on our website of the curriculum that is available for use, and families “check it out” like you would at a public library. They use it for the semester or the year, and return it. This allows the entire group to benefit from the purchases that we have made as a group. I do write our group name boldly on the curriculum, and I put all consumable materials in a binder, and label “Do Not Write In This Book” on the worktext.

Thanks for the great advice and tips!

Carol Topp, CPA