BookShark Discount Sale

Save $20 off a purchase of $100 in September!

I’m excited! I met the Director of BookShark at the FPEA conference last May. We got to chatting and I was impressed with the BookShark company and its curriculum offering. Although our homeschool approach is to unschool, the way we do that is to supplement our boys’ interests with loads of books. Outside of Legos, books are the most frequent item that you will find lying around our house.

BookShark is a literature-based curriculum, thus they have tons of books. And maps. And workbooks. And..

BookShark has agreed to offer Homeschool Helpdesk subscribers $20 off a purchase of $100 during the month of September. That’s 20% off! That is the BIGGEST discount BookShark offers and they are offering this to our little Gainesville homeschool community. SWEET!

Books on sale? I’m in!

If you are a Homeschool Helpdesk subscriber, look for a special email coming your way on September 1st to get your discount code. Then shop til you drop!

If  you’re not a Homeschool Helpdesk subscriber, then sign up! Email Subscribe

In case you didn’t know, BookShark is a complete, literature-based, homeschool curriculum developed for Kindergarten to Eighth Grade students. Their curriculum uses literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations and hands-on experiments that extends education beyond the typical textbook memorization. Here is a link to their site where you can check out their curriculum packages for your child’s grade level: BookShark Company

BookShark carries some familiar curriculum like Saxon and Singapore Math, Story of the World, Worldly Wise and Handwriting without Tears. Plus they carry complete science kits (I love that Kindergarten covers Biology, Botany & Physics!), markable timelines and maps and other supportive resources that I haven’t found elsewhere.

Here is a list of all their products: BookShark All Products

The Story of Exploration _ BookShark

Check out The Story of Exploration that covers explorers you may not have heard about. Only $10 ($8.00 with discount!)

Detectives in Togas_BookShark


What about Detectives in Togas? Yeah, that’s going in my shopping cart. My oldest has been fascinated by ancient history for over two years now. Only $8.00 ($6.40 with discount!).


This Timeline spiral can be used from Kindergarten all the way through 8th grade. Cool! My kids love timelines! Timeline_BookShark

One of my goals for the Homeschool Helpdesk is to support the Gainesville homeschool community (and surrounding North Florida communities!) with resources targeted to homeschoolers.

So in upcoming months, I’ll be contacting more local area businesses, curriculum providers, and other educational places of interest to see if they are interested in promoting homeschool-specific classes, discounts, field trips, etc.

I hope you’re psyched about this special discount promotion! I know I am! I love actually owning good, quality books that my kids can turn to over and over again instead of returning them every three weeks to the library. It’s fun to have our own mini-library and even “fun-er” to buy homeschool curriculum on sale!

Happy homeschooling!


PS: Post a comment below and let us know what you decide to buy! The BookShark list is extensive and I’d love to know what you found – maybe you got a gem I didn’t see!

PPS: BookShark is not an advertiser of the Homeschool Helpdesk, nor is the Homeschool Helpdesk a BookShark affiliate. We offer this special promotion strictly as a service to the Gainesville Homeschool market and will not receive compensation of any kind.



Sea Turtle Summer

Weaving Zoology into our Summer Homeschooling

My eldest son has had a fascination with turtles since he was two. I have no idea why. They aren’t especially cuddly. They’re only mildly cute (in my opinion). Plus they don’t really interact with you. I know this because we’ve had a Three Stripe Mud Turtle for several years now. He was a gift to Jack for his third Christmas.

The mud turtle drives me crazy. That’s because when we got him, I swore the only way I would approve this acquisition was if the turtle didn’t land on my chore list. Yet, he did. Guess who cleans that smelly tank every six weeks. Ugh.

As a mama committed to supporting my kiddos’ interests, I try my darndest to find turtle-y things to add to our education toolbox.

Last year at Lubee Bat Conservancy, I ran into the folks at the Sea Turtle Conservancy. They had these amazing Florida sea turtle posters and I asked where I could get some. Turns out that all you have to do is fill out a form on the Sea Turtle Conservancy website and they will send you one set of five posters for free to use in your homeschool classroom.

Click here for the Sea Turtle Conservancy Free Poster Form

loggerhead-poster kemps-rdiely-poster hawksbill-poster









We like to leave learning “lying around” so I promptly purchased some cheap poster frames at Walmart and hung these in the playroom. Guess what? Jack insisted that I read every single word on every single poster to him. Immediately. Without a break. Love it.

This summer, we are upping our turtle-ante and going to join a Guided Sea Turtle Walk. Kids have to be at least seven years old to attend and Jack just turned seven, woot! During the months of June and July, the Sea Turtle Conservancy invites the public to join them Monday through Friday nights for a guided night tour in hopes of catching loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Click here to learn more and make a reservation: Sea Turtle Conservancy Guided Sea Turtle Walk.

I’m pretty sure we’ve watched every turtle movie made. If a Guided Sea Turtle Walk is too aggressive, another way to incorporate some turtle love into your home is the movie Turtle: The Incredible Journey. We got our copy from Amazon and the mixture of music, narration and filmography is striking. It’s not really sad, either, as some nature shows can be.

What are you doing this summer? Any off-the-beaten-path activities like sea turtles? Please share below!

Happy homeschooling,


PS: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means at no additional cost to you I earn a small commission on those links where you click and purchase. Thank you for your support in this small way!

250 Free Science Museums

ASTC Science Center Travel Passport Program

Pricing updated 9.21.2016

Last weekend we celebrated our eldest son’s 7th birthday in Orlando. We did NOT go to Disney. Really. Instead we found a fantastic Hilton hotel using my hubs reward points that has a discounted Disney breakfast, three pools and allergy-free rooms. If you don’t have reward points it’s only $79/night. Wow, you can’t beat that.

However, Mickey Mouse waffles and a few high-fives with Minnie, Donald and Pluto at Sunday breakfast were the extent of our Disney experience.

Instead, we chose to spend our weekend at the Orlando Science Center for free. Yeah, I said: FREE! The normal price for our family of four is $90. As a homeschool family, we look for discounts whenever we can because homeschooling can be quite a resource drain, right?

How did we get such an exceptional deal? Through the ASTC Science Center Travel Passport Program. As a member of a science center or museum participating in the ASTC Travel Passport Program, you are eligible for benefits such as free general admission when you travel outside of your local area. This includes museums all over the United States, btw.

Disney breakfast with Pluto

Discount breakfast

Orlando Science Center Orange Juice

Making orange juice

Orlando Science Center Weather Forecaster

Future weatherman






So if you are a member of the Florida Museum of Natural History ($125 for a family membership as of Jun 2015), you can show your FLMNH Membership Card at participating ASTC museums, such as the Orlando Science Museum, and get in free or at a reduced rate. Wow!

However, I bought my membership through MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Homeschool families receive 50% off a Limited MOSI membership for a party of 5 or 8! As of 2016, MOSI Party of 5 Explorer Membership is $149 (meaning $74.50 for homeschoolers). Upgrades to MOSI’s  Ultimate membership is also available. Visit the Membership Desk on your next visit to MOSI to sign up. Note: You can also give MOSI a call or email at to order a homeschool membership.

If you don’t have a Homeschool I.D. card you can order a free card here: Homeschool Helpdesk Free I.D.

Another Florida museum that is part of the ASTC program is the Great Explorations Children’s Museum in St. Petersburg. What a fantastic imagination-based, hands-on museum for younglings ages 4-10. My favorite part was the pizza making station – I’m still itching to recreate the clever foam and flannel toppings. Genius! You can check out that homeschool field trip here: Tampa Homeschool Field Trip.

So all-in last weekend, our family spent a weekend away for less than $200. Our hotel was free, thanks to my hubs reward points and the bestest museum ever (according to Jack and Eli) was also free. How nice is that for a Happy Homeschool Birthday?

I hope this homeschool resource tip is helpful.

Happy homeschooling,


PS: If you know of some killer discounts for Gainesville-area homeschoolers please share by leaving a comment below.

$50 Share a Review Contest!

Win A $50 Gift Certificate in our Review Contest!

Wow, what an amazing few months it has been since we launched the Homeschool Helpdesk website. Our Saturday Short n Sweet email is getting rave reviews, our Facebook audience is growing and we’re receiving loads of great emails from the Gainesville-area homeschool community – thank you!

Your support and encouragement is inspiring and keeps me writing, updating and working to find new resources. We love all the feedback you are sending via email, texts and in person, yet now we want to share your ideas with everyone in the community. So we are launching a contest where each review you submit automatically enters you for a chance to win $50 at local Gainesville establishments; Cymplify Coffee, Satchels Pizza, or Ward’s Supermarket (your choice, of course!).

Crazy good, right?

However, we are also giving away FOUR gift certs to Publix for $15…that’s a nice hunk o’ change out of that grocery bill that you can spend on a nice cuppa! Yeah!

Woot, woot! So what do you have to do? Go to any resource on the Homeschool Helpdesk website, click on the “Reviews” tab, login and leave a review. Your feedback can be positive, neutral or negative, just make sure it’s thorough and not pithy…we want to learn from your experience not just read a thumbs up.

To get the full contest rules and more guidance on leaving a review, click here: Share a Review Contest.

Contest is open now through April 30, 2015.

Hugs to you all! You’re the bestest!


PS: Winners will be announced on our Facebook and Pinterest Pages.