Author: Beau Mueller

Best Interactive Maps

5 of the Best Interactive Maps for Kids

Are you looking for a great interactive map for the special children in your life? Well, look no further! Bring geography to life using our suggestions for 5 of the very best interactive maps on the market.

In a Hurry?

Are you looking for just the top recommended interactive map for kids? Our highest recommendation goes to the award-winning Best Learning i-Poster My World Interactive Map. If you are looking for something advanced with all the bells and whistles, check out the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe.

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we personally love and that have our highest recommendation. We appreciate your supporting The Moneywise Teacher! Now onto our review of the best interactive maps for kids.]


What are the Best Interactive Maps?

Here are our picks for the top 5 interactive maps currently available:

    1. Best Learning i-Poster My World Interactive Map
    2. Playautoma Explore World Map Jigsawa Floor Puzzle
    3. Think Gizmos Interactive Talking USA Map
    4. LeapFrog LeapReader Interactive World Map Puzzle
    5. Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

1) Best Learning i-Poster My World Interactive Map

Best Learning i-Poster My World Interactive Map. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

Our top recommendation is the Best Learning i-Poster My World Interactive Map. This educational tool has earned many high-quality awards including Mom’s Choice Award, Creative Child Awards 2019 Product of the Year, and Tillywig Toy Brain Child Award.

Besides the awards and the many strong, positive reviews on Amazon, this product speaks for itself. The map itself is made using a high quality fabric frame. This frame makes it easy to use as a play mat or it can hang on the wall at your students height. You will need 3 triple A batteries to make this map work, but lucky for you the first 3 batteries are free!

When it comes to the learning component of this interactive map, the options are endless. You can help your kids/ students learn about each country’s flag, landmarks of importance, the language spoken or the population of each country, the capitals of each city, and of course fun facts! Once your students have gained their knowledge they can begin to quiz themselves using the question mode.

This interactive map is best suited for children ages 5 and up. The use of this educational tool will not only teach your students geography, country environments, and Earth science, but also improve their memory, concentration, and problem solving skills.

Best Learning i-Poster My World Interactive Map Specifications:
  • Recommended Ages: 5-12
  • Dimensions: 36 x 1 x 27 Inches
  • Item Weight: 15.5 Ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 2.07 Pounds
  • Batteries: 3 AAA Batteries Required (included)


2) Playautoma Explore World Map Jigsaw Floor Puzzle

Playautoma Explore World Map Jigsaw Floor Puzzle. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

To begin using this interactive map you need to put together the large 48 piece jigsaw puzzle. A great way to begin the understanding of our Earth’s geography. From there you will need to download the free application on either an Android or iOS device. Then you can let the educational journey begin!

As kids use the app they will be able to learn about a variety of geographical facts such as country flags, currencies, monuments, and more! You can also guide children through an education about the different continents, bodies of water, and countries.

That is just the puzzle, but also included are 3 more maps that you can use to even further help your students gain knowledge. Each of the maps are also capable of being used with the application so that children can play educational games, every teachers dream, students having fun while learning! Another useful aspect of the application is the quizzes that are integrated and interactive based upon what they have learned throughout their journey of using this interactive map set!

Playautoma Explore World Map Jigsaw Floor Puzzle Specifications:
  • Recommended Ages: 6-12
  • Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.7 x 2.1 Inches
  • Item Weight: 1.34 Pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.36 Pounds
  • Technology Requirements: iOS and Android Phones and Tablets with a minimum of 2 GB of RAM
  • Free Mobile Application


3) Think Gizmos Interactive Talking USA Map

Think Gizmos Interactive Talking USA Map. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

Next on our list of the best interactive maps for kids is this awesome learning toy from Think Gizmos. Kids can use this map to learn over 500 facts on the United states! Capital cities, climate and general knowledge can all be explored. There is even a fun quiz mode where kids can test their knowledge.

Kids love the fun, bright and engaging design. Another great feature of this particular interactive learning map is that it can be mounted on the wall. Perfect for the classroom, playroom or bedroom!

This also requires 3xAAA batteries, but the first set is included.

 

 

Think Gizmos Interactive Talking USA Map Specifications:
  • Recommended Ages: 6+
  • Dimensions: 24 x 12 x 2.1″
  • Item Weight: 1.34 lbs
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 lbs
  • Batteries: 3 AAA Batteries Required (included)


4) LeapFrog LeapReader Interactive World Map Puzzle

LeapFrog LeapReader Interactive World Map Puzzle. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

This interactive map for young kids is a vibrant 2-sided jumbo map puzzle.

To make full use of this awesome product you will need either the Tag Reading System or LeapReader Reading & Writing System (sold separately).  We highly recommend you purchase the map in conjunction with one of the two systems.

The map comes with 30 fun learning activities and over 300 engaging touchpoints. Kids can learn about countries, continents, how to say “hello” in various languages and a whole lot more!

 

 

LeapFrog LeapReader Interactive World Map Puzzle Specifications:
  • Recommended Ages: 4-8
  • Size: 21 x 6.5 x 8.8”
  • Weight: 1.41 lbs


5) Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

Oregon Scientific Smart Globe. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

Our last recommendation is actually is not a map per se, but rather a globe! If the special kids in your life love interactive maps they will definitely love this globe.

This globe is a little bit pricier, but provides a wide range of learning experiences while being portable and easy to use!

Kids will use a special stylus pen to touch anywhere on the globe, and from there they will be able to listen to all the fun facts that are programed into the globe! There are over 2,000 pieces of information about all of the countries found on our planet. Children will be able to learn information about each country’s capital, history, national anthem and more! The excitement of such a fun educational experience is supported by the sturdy stand in which the globe sits on, as well as a special holder for the SmartGlobe pen.

After your students have learned all that they can the can play the 19 different games this interactive globe includes. This will allow them to test their knowledge in a fun and engaging manner. To take it one step further, you can download the Oregon Scientific SmartGlobe AR Application to allow this globe to be brought to life! Students will be able to see 3D pictures of animals and dinosaurs based on different locations on the globe.

If you are interested, be sure to also check out our review of 5 of the best interactive globes on the market today.

Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Specifications:
  • Reccomended Ages: 5+
  • Item Dimensions: 16.2 x 13.2 x 13 inches
  • Item weight: 4.34 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 5.34 pounds
  • Powered by Batteries (3xAA Included)


Best Interactive Maps for Kids – What’s Your Favorite?

Now that you have read about our top 5 recommended interactive maps (and globe!)  we hope that you have been inspired to spice up those future history, geography, or astronomy lessons for your children and/or students.

What is your favorite interactive map or globe? Share with us in the comments below!


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Board Games that Teach Money Skills to Kids

6 Great Board Games That Teach Money Skills

Great board games are fun, engaging and can be wonderful learning tools! Here we share 6 of the top rated board games that teach money skills to young children.

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we truly love and recommend. Thank you for your kind support of The Moneywise Teacher! Now onto our review of 6 awesome board games that teach money skills to kids. Header Image © Stephan Dinges /Adobe Stock]

1) Cashflow for Kids

Cashflow for Kids. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

We start our list of board games that teach money skills to kids with Cashflow for Kids. This game was developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the #1 selling personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad. He considers the game the realization of his vision for an interactive tool for financial education for children.

This highly engaging board game simulates real life situations and financial strategies in ways that both children and adults love. Through this game, your kids/students will gain insight into how money and investing work.

2-6 Players, Suggested for Ages 6+. Check the Price of Cashflow for Kids on Amazon HERE

2) The Allowance Game

The Allowance Game. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

The Allowance Game is an involving, skill-building game where players race around the board while doing “chores” to earn their “allowance”. After earning money, they can then spend it on things they want or save it.

This game is wonderful for teaching kids how to to identify money values. As children play, they learn to make change, handle money and more.

 

 

2-4 Players, Suggested for Ages 5-11. Learn More About The Allowance Game on Amazon HERE

3) Money Bags – A Crazy Coin Counting Game

Money Bags. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

As the name suggests, Money Bags – A Crazy Coin Counting Game offers a fun way to teach children money-counting and combining skills.

The object of this game is to earn money while winding along a cartoon path. Money is earned by landing on “chore” square, labeled with a practical task, such as setting the table or an entrepreneurial endeavor such as opening a lemonade stand.

To collect money, the spinner determines which coins can or cannot be used, an excellent element to the game that encourages problem-solving and critical thinking.

 

For 2-4 Players, Suggested for Ages 7+. Learn More About Money Bags on Amazon HERE

4) Exact Change

Exact Change. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

Exact Change is similar to UNO in that the goal of the game is to play all of your cards first. You can discard cards by matching the color of the last card, its value, ($1.00 on $1.00, etc.), or by making EXACT CHANGE.

For example, if the last card played was a quarter, and you had two dime cards and a nickel card, you would be able to combine and discard all three of them at once!

This game is among the best board games that teach money skills to young kids.

 

2-6 Players, Suggested for Ages 6+. Learn More About Exact Change

5) Pay Day

Pay Day. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.

Pay Day is a simple but fun game. Kids will learn how to get from payday to the end of the month. The object of the game is simple: have the most money at the end of the game!

Each square on the board has an event such as receiving mail (insurance offers, bills, etc.) or buying a deal (property). Players will learn how to save and may only start or add to their savings on pay day.

This classic game is great for social interaction. It can also be very quick as games can last as little as 15 minutes.

 

2-4 Players, Suggested for Ages 8+. Learn More About Pay Day

6) ThriveTime for Teens

ThriveTime for Teens. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Board Games that Teach Money Skills - ThriveTime for Teens

Our final game in our list of the best board games that teach money skills is ThriveTime for Teens, which can give teens a real look at finances.

During the course of the game, players have to navigate major life decisions such as paying for college, deciding whether to utilize credit cards, starting a business, investing and more. This game even gives teens the option to give back financially to the community.

 

2-6 Players, Suggested for Ages 13+. Learn More About ThriveTime for Teens

Other Great Board Games to Teach Money Skills?

I hope you will try some of these games with your children and/or students!

Have you downloaded our huge list of 112 teacher freebies yet? Among the freebies are some great games you can download and print for free! If you know of any other great board games that teach money skills to children or would like to comment on the games above, please leave your comments below!


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Teacher Freebies 2018

13 Teacher Freebies For EVERY Educator in 2019!

We admit, the title of this post about teacher freebies is a bit misleading.  In truth, this list includes links to THOUSANDS of 2019 teacher freebies.

These 13 freebies are either individual freebies you can claim today, or links to online resources with hundreds (or thousands!) more freebies – worksheets, activities, lesson plans, you name it.

We tried to select a variety of teacher freebies that would suit most, if not all educators.  Besides some great stuff for your class, your students and/or your school, there are some freebies here for YOU too.  You deserve to be rewarded too, right?

That said, on to the free stuff!

1) Audible

Get a free 30 Day trial + Two free premium audiobooks. Great for professional development or entertainment purposes.

Choose from over 180,000 audiobook titles to help make your commute to and from school more bearable! Audible, an Amazon company, offers the world’s largest selection of digital audiobooks and spoken word content.

“With Audible, customers can listen anytime and anywhere to professionally-narrated audiobooks across a wide range of genres.”

2) ClassCentral

Thousands of free online courses from top universities like Harvard, MIT and others. Great for your own professional development or for ideas/inspiration for your own classes!

3) Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft is offering all qualifying teachers (and students!) Microsoft Office 365 for free! You will also get 1TB of online storage. This one’s a no-brainer if you qualify.

4) Teachers Pay Teachers Freebies

Teachers Pay Teachers currently offers over 500,000 printable teacher freebies, including lesson plans, worksheets, activities and more! Spans pre-K to 12th grade.

5) Swagbucks

Swagbucks is the largest online rewards site that gives free gift cards to its members for their online activities. Members receive free gift cards for taking surveys, shopping, searching the web, watching videos, and playing games.

Educators get a $5 signup bonus!  Swagbucks you earn can be redeemed used at Amazon, Target, Walmart and many other retailers.

6) Switch DVD & More

The “Energy Film & Education Project.” Educators can get a free copy of the award-winning documentary on DVD plus access to a curriculum and study guide, as well as access to more online resources.

7) Free Book – Expert Secrets

Expert Secrets is a book that could change your life. The goal of the book is to teach you how to leverage your teaching expertise to create a side income by creating a mass movement of people who will pay you for your advice. If this sounds complicated or unbelievable, all we can say is watch this video, be inspired and grab your free copy of “Expert Secrets” today!

8) United for Human Rights Info Kit

Get a free DVD, The Story of Human Rights booklet, and a guide you can use to help bring about awareness and understanding of human rights and to start making a difference!

9) Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited allows you to access the best books and magazines currently available.  Whether you want to binge read the Harry Potter series again, need fresh lesson plan ideas or want to check out the newest version of your favorite magazine, Kindle Unlimited is simply a great product from Amazon.

Educators get a free month to try out this fantastic service.

Best of all, Kindle Unlimited works on any device!  You don’t need to own a kindle to enjoy Kindle Unlimited.  Free kindle apps allow you to access your kindle library anywhere!

10) Free Technology for Teachers

A regularly updated and massively popular blog that features hundreds if not thousands of the newest free
technologies
, apps, etc. that teachers can use in their classrooms.

11) Help Prevent Underage Drinking Kit

SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is offering a free underage drinking prevention kit that includes a teaching guide, poster, worksheets and a family guide.

12) IdentityForce

Identity thieves are everywhere. Last year over 12 million individuals were victims of this faceless crime. Get protected today with a free two week trial of this top identity protection service.

13) Grammarly

Great for educators and students alike. This free, must-have tool corrects more than 250 types of grammatical mistakes, while also catching contextual spelling errors and poor vocabulary usage.


You’ve Got 99 Problems and Teacher Freebies Ain’t One!

This is just a small sample of teacher freebies we were able to find, there are 99 more in our Ultimate list of 112 Teacher Freebies! You can download the full list via the “Get the Ultimate List” box below.

Save yourself and/or your school some money and grab that list today. There’s truly something (or a lot of things!) for everyone there.

13 Awesome Teacher Freebies for Every Educator in 2018

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Kids Learning Globes Reviews

5 Top Rated Kids Learning Globes Reviewed

Interactive kids learning globes can be a fun and engaging way to teach geography to kids. Here we share 5 of the highest rated learning globes for children that are both awesome and affordable!

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we truly love and recommend. Thank you for your kind support of The Moneywise Teacher! Now onto the awesome kids globes for you.]

What are the Best Globes for Children?

Here are Our 5 Top Recommended Kids Learning Globes:

  1. Oregon Scientific Smart Globe
  2. USA Toyz 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe
  3. Learning Resources Puzzle Globe
  4. Shifu Orboot: The Educational, Augmented Reality Based Globe
  5. Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe

1) Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

Oregon Scientific Smart Globe. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Kids Learning Globes - Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

We start our review of the best kids learning globes with the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe. This learning toy allows kids to learn over 2000 fun facts, listen to national anthems of different countries, history and more. One of the cool features of this one is that kids can touch around the globe using the “SmartGlobe” pen. There are digital touch points all over both the globe and stand base.

Included with this smart globe are 19 engaging games that help teach kids about world facts. There’s a ton of functions and ways for kids to quiz themselves. And recently, Oregon Scientific has built in an augmented reality component to this globe that allows children to use the Oregon Scientific app to bring the globe to life with animals and dinosaurs!

Most feedback on this product is very positive, with a common complaint of this particular learning globe being that the default setting can be too loud. However that was a minor complaint among otherwise fantastic reviews.

Specifications of the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe:

  • Suggested for Ages: 5+
  • Item Dimensions: 16.2 x 13.2 x 13 inches
  • Item weight: 4.34 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 5.34 pounds
  • Powered by Batteries (3xAA Included)


2) USA Toyz 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe:

USA Toyz 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Best Learning Globes for Kids - 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe

The 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe from USA Toyz is not only a kids learning globe, but also a constellation map and nightlight! Also included with this globe is a downloadable constellation app.

Children who love to gaze at the stars will absolutely love this one. They will be able to spot no less than 88 awesome constellations. A handy illustrated guidebook is included that will help kids learn the names, location and mythology of each constellation.

This globe is light at only one pound but also very durable. If features a sturdy chrome steel base that is built for stability.

One of the only complaints about the globe is that is small, so if you are looking for a bigger globe then you should probably pass on this one. However, the smaller size (16.2 x 13.2 x 13 inches) of this one is made perfect for fitting on a desktop or dresser.

Specifications of the USA Toyz 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe:

  • Suggested for Ages: 3+
  • Item Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Item weight: 1 pound
  • Shipping weight: 3.77 pounds
  • Powered by AC


3) Learning Resources Puzzle Globe:

Learning Resources Puzzle Globe. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Learning Resources Puzzle Globe Review

Next up on our review of learning globes for children is the The Learning Resources Puzzle Globe.

This globe for kids is perfect for teaching the basics of geography via interactive tactile play. While not as high tech as the other globes, this fun, engaging 14-piece puzzle globe can help teach even pre-K kids the names of the continents, oceans, famous landmarks and more.

This learning toy comes as a set of 14 pieces, including a spinning globe, 6 continent puzzle pieces 6 labels for the continents, and a sheet of blank label stickers. Those of you know your geography may be wondering why only 6 continent pieces? Antarctica is actually represented by a stationary bottom piece.

The Learning Resources Puzzle Globe comes with high praise, including being recommended by the Mom’s Choice awards and the Parents’ Choice Foundation. It has our highest recommendation as well!

Specifications of the Learning Resources Puzzle Globe:

  • Suggested for Ages: 3+
  • Item Dimensions: 13.5 x 10.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Item weight: 2.35 oz
  • Shipping weight: 3.77 pounds


4) Shifu Orboot: The Educational, Augmented Reality Based Globe:

Shifu Orboot: The Educational, Augmented Reality Based Globe. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Shifu Orboot: The Educational, Augmented Reality Based Globe Review

The Shifu Orboot augmented reality globe is among the best kids globes for helping to spark imagination and creativity! The globe itself doesn’t require a power source. Rather it is run entirely from the app.

Categories in the app include maps, weather, cultures, monuments, inventions and animals for a wide range of countries around the world. All of these are in 3D and enhanced with music and voices!

Within the app are also a bunch of puzzles and activities. Children can solve mysteries, take interactive quizzes and collect rewards along the way.

Besides the app-based globe and companion app, this learning toy comes with a helpful guide and a fun travel kit. Included are a passport, stamp, and country flag stickers that your kids should love.

This interactive kids globe is one definitely worth checking out!

Specifications of the Shifu Orboot: The Educational, Augmented Reality Based Globe:

  • Suggested for Ages: 6+
  • Item Dimensions: 9.8 x 9.8 x 13 inches
  • Item weight: 2.65 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 2.9 pounds


5) Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe:

Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Best Kids Globes - Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe Review

Our final product in our list of the best kids learning globes is the multiple award-winning Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe, which includes more than 10,000 geography questions!

Up to 4 players can play the quiz game and can select various quiz categories, including the U.S.A, Canada, the World or ALL categories. Features include automatic scoring, question repeat, a help button, jacks for headphones or an AC Adapter (sold separately) and adjustable volume.

One small complaint about this talking globe is that the volume is on the softer side. Also, this is one of the pricier options.

This globe has won dozens of toy and education awards including from Teachers’ Choice, Parents’ Choice, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Award and others. If you are looking to instill an appreciation for the countries, people and cultures of the world, this might be a great choice for you!

Specifications of the Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe:

  • Suggested for Ages: 8+
  • Item Dimensions: 14.1 x 14.1 x 19 inches
  • Item weight: 6 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 6.05 pounds
  • Powered by 4xC Batteries (Not Included)


Kids Learning Globes – What’s Your Favorite?

We hope you have found our list of the best kids globes useful towards your quest to find a perfect globe for the special children in your life! If you have your own favorite learning globe for children, please share it in the comments below.

Here are links to the 5 learning globes we feature here as well as some others on Amazon. If you are interested in using games for teaching, please be sure to also check out our list of the best money board games for kids.


Kids Learning Globes Pinterest

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Best Electric Pencil Sharpeners Review

The 8 Best Electric Pencil Sharpeners for Classroom Use

The days of manual pencil sharpeners are gone. They usually take too long to use and break easily. Yes, you need an electric pencil sharpener for your class! However, which one should you choose?  If you are you having a difficult time trying to find the best electric pencil sharpeners for classroom use look no further!

Read on for eight great options to choose from when looking for an awesome classroom electric pencil sharpener.

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we truly love and recommend. Thank you for your kind support of The Moneywise Teacher! Now onto our review of the best electric pencil sharpeners for you.]

What is the Best Electric Pencil Sharpener for Classroom Use?

Here are our top 8 picks:

    1. X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener
    2. School Smart Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener
    3. AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener
    4. OfficeWorld Electric Pencil Sharpener
    5. JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener
    6. X-ACTO Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener
    7. Ruiya Office Electric Pencil Sharpener
    8. Zmol Electric Pencil Sharpener

1) X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener

X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
X-Acto Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener Review

The first item in our review of best pencil sharpeners for classroom use is the X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Sharpener. It’s available in a beige color, which makes it perfect for classrooms.

It has been made to a commercial grade which means it can handle being used all day long. This is a great benefit if you have a particularly large class of students.

There are dual helical cutters that are effective at providing you and your students with precision while sharpening your pencils.

We were impressed with how they’ve implemented a Pencil-Saver function too. This is great for preventing you from sharpening your pencils too much. So, if you’re tired of dealing with pencils getting too sharp and breaking easily, this could be an excellent solution.

While some find it makes a little more noise than they were expecting, the motor operates with power that’s reliable. You can also feel confident in keeping your students safe as a result of the SafeStart feature.

Specifications of the X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 5.5 x 7.5”
  • Weight: 5.4 lbs
  • Material: Steel
  • Powered by batteries


2) School Smart Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener

School Smart Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Smart School Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener Review

Next on our list of the best electric pencil sharpeners for teachers is the School Smart Electric Pencil Sharpener.  We liked how this one has an area that collects all of the pencil shavings that makes it super easy to clean out. The sharpener also doesn’t work unless this storage unit is attached to prevent any accidental messes.

The motor is heavy-duty and is very reliable to use. With the helical steel blade that’s available, you’re able to use this machine consistently to sharpen pencils on a daily basis.

In order to allow students to use the sharpener safely, there are rubber pads included that have anti-skid properties. These are excellent for allowing your students to sharpen their pencils with stability and safety.

An auto-pencil stop function has been incorporated too. This is fantastic for preventing you from over-sharpening your pencils. So, you’re able to get the perfect sharpness every time.

It’s available in sleek gray or black colors that look superb in classrooms.

Some people have mentioned it doesn’t always sharpen pencils 100% evenly. However, the vertical design makes it super easy and quick to use.

Specifications of the School Smart Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 5 x 7.2″
  • Weight: 2.9 Pounds
  • Powered by AC via the provided plug


3) AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener

AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener Review

With the high-quality helical blade, you’re able to sharpen colored and No. 2 pencils reliably more than 6,000 times! This is also due to the high-grade electrical motor that has been fitted.

We were impressed with how it takes just 3-5 seconds to sharpen pencils. Therefore, you won’t have to waste any learning time in your classrooms.

The auto-stop function that’s available means that the machine will automatically stop sharpening pencils. Therefore, you and your students will be able to sharpen your pencils perfectly every time.

Teachers have been loving how there are 3 sharpness modes available. These include sharp, medium, and blunt. So, you can be more specific with how sharp or blunt you want the pencils to be.

We also liked how there’s a storage box that collects the pencil shavings that makes it easy to clean out. The sharpener only works when this unit it attached to prevent shavings from making a mess of your classroom.

Some find that they have to hold pencils tightly to sharpen them properly. Although, a suction cup is available at the bottom that makes it stable for students to sharpen their pencils.

Specifications of the AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 3 x 3.3”
  • Weight: 1.28 lbs
  • Material: Steel
  • Powered by AC
  • 2-year warranty


4) OfficeWorld Electric Pencil Sharpener

OfficeWorld Electric Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
OfficeWorld Electric Pencil Sharpener Review

If you’re looking for a machine that can sharpen pencils fast, this OfficeWorld option is one to consider. You’re able to sharpen pencils within 5-10 seconds.

The helical blade that’s available is effective at sharpening pencils reliably. This is especially the case since there’s an auto-stop feature included. This means the machine will automatically stop when the pencil is sharpened to perfection.

With the diameter of the entrance where the pencil goes being just 8 mm, you can feel confident in knowing that this machine is safe for younger students to use.

Some users have mentioned how there were hoping for the pencil sharpener to be a little more powerful. Having said that, it’s very versatile as you can use it to sharpen charcoal, colored, and No. 2 pencils.

A pencil shaving container is available which makes it effortless to empty out and keep your classroom clean.

Specifications of the OfficeWorld Electric Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.2 x 3.2”
  • Weight: 0.73 lbs
  • Material: Steel
  • Powered by AC, 4xAA batteries (Not included) or USB


5) JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener

JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener review

Here’s another great vertical option!  The helical blade that’s available inside this sharpener is heavy-duty, which means that you can rely on it for a long time. We were impressed with how this blade is able to sharpen pencils within just 5-10 seconds.

An auto-stop feature has been implemented which works effectively to stop sharpening the pencil after it has been perfectly sharpened. This is a great feature that allows you and your students to sharpen pencils to perfection, hassle-free.

It can sharpen charcoal, No. 2 pencils, and colored pencils. It’s also super easy to use. All you need to do is insert the pencil into the entrance and the machine will automatically work to start shaving the pencil.

The 8 mm diameter of the entrance ensures that younger students can remain safe as they can fit their fingers into the hole. A

It’s a little louder than some were anticipating. However, teachers have been appreciating how they can keep their classrooms clean due to the reservoir. It collects all of the shavings so that you can easily dispose of them.

Specifications of the JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.2 x 3.2”
  • Weight: 0.73 lbs
  • Material: Steel & plastic
  • Powered by AC or 4xAA Batteries (Not included)


6) X-ACTO Pro Pencil Sharpener

X-ACTO Pro Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
 X-ACTO School Classroom Electric Sharpener Review

This X-ACTO Pro Pencil Sharpener is an awesome option for classrooms because it has been made with a quiet motor. Therefore, you and your students can sharpen pencils without causing any distractions.

The durable construction of this pencil sharpener also ensures that it will last you for a long time. It’s able to withstand classrooms with lots of students!

We also liked how there’s a Flyaway cutter function available. This works to automatically stop the machine once a pencil has been sharpened. This is a great feature that makes achieving perfectly sharp pencils a breeze.

While some people have mentioned they have issues with the auto-stop function, you can be sure that this sharpener is safe as it incorporated a helical steel cutter that has been designed to prevent kids from accessing it with their fingers.

Specifications of the X-ACTO Pro Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 8 x 5.7″
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Material: Steel
  • Powered by AC


7) Ruiya Office Electric Pencil Sharpener

Ruiya Office Electric Pencil Sharpener . Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Ruiya Office Electric Pencil Sharpener Review

With the auto-stop function that’s available with this sharpener, your students will be able to prevent over-sharpening. So, you can rely on this machine to sharpen your pencils perfectly on a daily basis.

There’s a shaving tray available that catches all of the shavings to make cleanup easier. The machine doesn’t work unless this tray is connected to prevent accidental messes.

We were impressed with how quick this sharpener works as it only takes a matter of seconds.

There are some users who have been a little disappointed with the power of the sharpener. However, it’s a downside that many can overlook because of how you can adjust the sharpness between 0.45 and 0.95mm.

The compact design makes this an ideal option if you have a classroom that’s feeling too cluttered. It’s also lightweight to ensure that you can move it around easily.

Specifications of the Ruiya Office Electric Pencil Sharpener :

  • Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.4 x 3.5″
  • Weight: 0.56 lbs
  • Powered by AC or AA batteries


8) Zmol Electric Pencil Sharpener

Zmol Electric Pencil Sharpener. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon.
Zmol Electric Pencil Sharpener Review

We conclude our list of the best electric pencil sharpeners for classroom use with the Zmol Electric Pencil Sharpener.  You and your students are able to use this pencil sharpener easily as it starts working automatically as soon as you insert a pencil. In addition to this, an auto-stop feature is available which stops the machine once your pencil has been sharpened properly.

A storage unit is included which catches all the shavings to make it easier to clean. The machine won’t work unless this unit is connected to stop shavings from creating a mess.

A helical blade has been used which can sharpen pencils more than 6,000 times without signs of wear. Teachers have also been liking how there are 3 sharpness modes available. This lets you choose between sharp, medium, and blunt.

You may have to be wary about how much pressure you use while sharpening pencils as it can affect how powerful the blade and motor are able to work.

Having said that, it works to sharpen pencils remarkably quick. On average, it takes between 3 and 5 seconds. Therefore, your students won’t have to waste time sharpening pencils and can focus on your lessons more.

Specifications of the Zmol Electric Pencil Sharpener:

  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 4.8 x 3.5″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Powered by AC


What’s Your Favorite Electric Pencil Sharpener?

That concludes our review on some of the best electric pencil sharpeners for classroom use that are currently available. We hope that the details we’ve outlined for you in our review are useful in helping you to pick the best electric pencil sharpeners for your classroom!

Feel free to comment what your favorite electric pencil sharpener is below. It could be helpful for other fellow teachers!


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teacher loan forgiveness programs

6 Teaching Loan Forgiveness Programs Reviewed

If you are still struggling with student debt, have you looked into teaching loan forgiveness programs?

Here I outline 6 student loan forgiveness programs for teachers.  Please check them out, you may qualify to get some or all of your student loans forgiven!

1) Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

First on our list of teaching loan forgiviness programs is the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This program was initialized in 2007 with the aim of encouraging more people to work in public service, including at schools.  PSLF forgives William D. Ford Direct Loans (including direct PLUS loans, direct consolidation loans, direct subsidized loans, and direct unsubsidized loans).

Please see the PSLF eligibility requirements here. To summarize the conditions for qualifying for this program, you must:

  • Make 120 consecutive (10 years!), of on-time, full payments, starting no earlier than 10/1/2007
  • Work full-time in the Peace Corps, Americorps, or a public service organization (schools qualify!) for the entire time the payments were made

This is definitely a difficult program to qualify for, but if you meet the above conditions, than this program is well worth looking into. See the PSLF certification form here.

2) Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness

The goal of the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is to encourage people to become (and remain) teachers. It is a generous program that allows for up to $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness.

Here is a summary of the eligibility requirements for this program:

  • Eligible loan types include unsubsidized student loans and direct subsidized loans
  • The loans must have been established after 10/1/98, and at least one of the teaching years must be after the 1997-1998 school year.
  • You cannot be in default
  • You must work for five consecutive, full years as a teacher, at least one of the years at a qualifying school:
  • The qualifying school must be in a Title I qualified district
  • The qualifying school must have more than 30% of students qualified for Title I services
  • The qualifying school must be listed in the government’s directory of qualifying schools.
  • Teachers at a qualifying educational service agency are also eligible

In most cases, teachers are eligible to get $5,000 of their loans forgiven. “Highly qualified” math, science, and special education teachers may be eligible to receive up to the full $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness.

Download the application for this program here.

3) Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation

With the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation program you can get up to 100% of your Perkins loans forgiven, including any interest you have accrued! Teachers only have to teach full time for a year to receive benefits:

  • You will get 15% of your loan cancelled after years one and two.
  • For years three and four, you will get 20% more of the loan cancelled each year
  • In the fifth year, you will get the final 30% of your Federal Perkins loan cancelled.

Here’s what qualifies for the Perkins loan cancellation program. You can:

  • Teach in a school that serves students from low-income families (see if your school qualifies as “low-income” here) or;
  • Be a special education teacher (including for infants and toddlers) or;
  • Teach in a field that your state has defined as having a teacher shortage in, such as science, bilingual education, math, foreign language, etc. or;
  • Teach at a private school that is a nonprofit or;
  • Teach part-time at multiple schools, as long as you meet the other requirements or;
  • Teach preschool or pre-K, only if your state classifies them as part of elementary education

To get the application form for this program, contact the office where you went to college that administers the Federal Perkins Loan program.

4) Stafford Loan Forgiveness

The popular Stafford Loan Forgiveness program provides qualified individuals up to $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness.

However, it is a very difficult program to qualify for. You must:

  • Work full-time for 5 consecutive years at a Title I qualified elementary or secondary school, with 30% of students who qualify for Title I services or at a school listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools
  • Not be in loan default
  • Not have taken out any direct loans or FEEL Program Loans before 10/1/98.

One big plus of this program is that teachers can take advantage one of the Federal Student Loan Forbearance programs during those five years. If you are having difficulties making payments, this is a great option and could really help your short-term finances.

See the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Application form here.

5) Federal TEACH Grants

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program provides up to $4,000 per year to qualifying college students who will become teachers.

TEACH Grants are unique in that they are the only type of teacher loan forgiveness provided before debt is accumulated. Other loan forgiveness programs, of course, provide forgiveness after you have taken on student debt.

These grants will provide as much as $4,000 per year to college students who:

  • Intend to teach at a school that serves primarily students from low-income families
  • Are enrolled in a teaching credential providing program
  • Plan to teach full-time for at least 4 years
  • Plan to teach in a “high-need” field

6)  State and City Sponsored Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs

Fortunately, there are also many state and city teacher loan forgiveness programs. Rather than list them here, I will share with you an excellent resource.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has put together a searchable database of state and city loan forgiveness programs, classroom donation programs, as well as various awards and grants.

In addition, your district school board should be able to point you in the direction of any city or county funded loan forgiveness programs.

Save Money on Your Student Loans and Get $100!

If you cannot get all of your loans forgiven with teaching loan forgiveness programs, please also consider student loan refinancing. We recommend checking out Sofi. Fixed rates start at 3.50% and variable rates start as low as 2.13% APR (with AutoPay). Sofi members save an average of $14,000! Apply here and you will receive a $100 bonus when you refinance.

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Teacher Home Loans in California

A Guide To California Teacher Home Loans

If you are a teacher in California looking to buy a home, you are in luck!  California educators have access to some of the best teacher home loan programs in the country.  Teacher home loans in California are available from a variety of sources.

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of your options for teacher home loans in California. Read on for our guide of the best teacher mortgage options in California!

Here are 4 California Teacher Home Mortgage Options Worth Considering:

  1. LendingTree
  2. CalHFA School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program
  3. CalHero Teacher Home Loans
  4. MyCommunity California Teacher Mortgages

1)LendingTree California Teacher Home Loans


Our #1 recommended provider of teacher home loans in California is LendingTree. With LendingTree, you can easily compare up to five educator-friendly teacher home loan in California offers!

Whether you are purchasing a home, refinancing, looking for a home equity line of credit or seeking a reverse mortgage, we highly recommend LendingTree.

If looking at any of the other California teacher home loan options that follow, we recommended you take a look at LendingTree first! This will give you the most options. Furthermore, it can help you make an informed decision on which California home loan for teachers is best for you. Highly recommended!

Compare offers from up to 5 educator-friendly California Teacher Home Loan Providers on LendingTree HERE

2)CalHFA School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program

CALHfa Teacher Loans

Second on our list is CalHFA’s School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program (STEAP). This program provides down payment assistance to first time homebuyers who qualify.

To sum up, this program is available to all teachers, school district employees, support staff and administrators. To be eligible you must be working at a K-12 California public or charter school. If you are an employee of a county or continuation schools or district offices you should be eligible as well.

3)CalHERO Teacher Home Loans

CalHERO Teacher home loans

Next on our list is the CalHERO teacher home loan program. Benefits of this program include no income limits, reduced fees from lenders and discounted interest rates. In addition, down payments can be as low as 3.5%. To qualify, your credit score can be as little as 600.

Don’t worry if you have purchased before. This California home loan program is not only for first time home buyers! Moreover, it can also be combined or layered with other assistance programs.

Learn more about the CalHERO Program HERE

4)MyCommunity California Teacher Mortgages

We conclude our list of California home loan options with the MyCommunity Teacher Mortgage (MCTM) program. The MCTM offers California educators access to a low down payment mortgage option.  Additionally, borrowers with this program can benefit from discounted Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and more flexible down payment options.

This program is also not limited to first time home buyers. but does have a household income limit.  The current limit for borrowers is 140% of the county Area Median Income.

National Teacher Home Mortgage Programs

Of course, there are some national programs that you should consider as well.  Be sure to check out our list of the top 4 top teacher home mortgage programs for more home loan options for educators.

Explore Your California Teacher Home Loan Options Today!


In conclusion, when searching for teacher home loans in California do not forget to compare rates and other benefits. Again, our highest recommendation is to start your comparison shopping on LendingTree today HERE.

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LIttle Passports Review

Little Passports Review 2019: Is This Subscription Box Worth It?

Little Passports is a subscription box service that offers four fun and creative ways to explore the world for a wide range of ages. Our Little Passports review includes a look at all four of their monthly subscriptions, including Early Explorers, World Edition, USA Edition and Science Expeditions. Is this subscription box service worth it?  We think so!

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we truly love and recommend. Thank you for your kind support of The Moneywise Teacher! Now on to our review of Little Passports for you.]

Introduction to Little Passports

Each of the subscriptions starts with the arrival of a suitcase packed with various fun and engaging items.  After that, monthly packages will arrive that include more fun stuff, including activity booklets, stickers for the kids to decorate the suitcase, souvenirs and a whole lot more.

Without further ado, here’s our comprehensive Little Passports review, with details and recommendations for each of the four editions.

Little Passports – Early Explorers Review

Little Passports Early Explorers ReviewFor preschool-aged kids (3-5) Little Passports offers its Early Explorers subscription box. Early Explorers allows young children the chance to explore themes like dinosaurs, oceans or music.

During the first month of this subscription, your kids will receive a cute orange suitcase, a world map, a luggage tag, stickers, and an activity booklet.  After that, the ongoing monthly packages include toys, souvenirs, trading cards and much more!

“My son loves his package every month and so do I! The activities encourage his natural curiosity and excitement about the world around him. We can’t wait to see what all the other subscriptions have in store as he grows up!”

Suggested for Ages 3-5. Learn More About The Little Passports Early Explorers HERE

Little Passports – World Edition Review

Little Passports World Edition ReviewThis popular monthly subscription includes souvenirs and allows kids to learn about a new country every month through hands on activities.

Right away, kids will receive a suitcase, passport, wall-sized world map, collectible country coin and coin board, adorable animal squishies and much more.  Ongoing monthly packages will help kids discover a new country every month.  Each month the subscription packages include toys and souvenirs for each country, new collectible country coins, activity sheets, sticks and a whole lot more!

The Little Passports World Edition is recommended for children aged 6-10. Here’s what one mom had to say about this edition:

“When she sees the little white package in the mailbox she gets so excited and runs inside to get her luggage. This is so great at encouraging her thirst for knowledge and her interest in other cultures. Thank you for this!!”

Suggested for Ages 6-10. Learn More About The Little Passports World Edition HERE

Little Passports – USA Edition Review

Little Passports USA Edition ReviewThis edition is recommended for ages 7-12 and helps children discover the USA with fun and educational puzzles, games and crafts. Among other goodies, this version comes with fun and hands-on activity journals for each state.

The first month of the Little Passports USA edition includes an impressive amount of items to help kids get started.  These items include a field guide, scratch book, wall-sized USA map, super fun photo scavenger hunt and more.

After that, two new states are featured each month with stickers, postcards and a 32 page state journal with a ton of activities for your kids.

“Cheaper than a round trip ticket to explore the great states and so much fun. These hands-on activities help keep them engaged and focused as they watch the world unfold before their very eyes!”

Suggested for Ages 7-12. Learn More About The Little Passports USA Edition HERE

Little Passports – Science Expeditions Review

Little Passports Science Expeditions ReviewLittle Passports Science Expeditions is a great subscription box service for any young scientist. Children who engage with this subscription can learn critical thinking and problem solving skills while also exercising their creativity.

Initially, your children will receive a very cool tote bag, a science lab notebook, a forensic science experiment kit, fingerprint analysis card and an engaging booklet with more games and activities.

After that, the ongoing monthly packages will allow your kids to solve real-life scientific mysteries every month!  Besides receiving hands-on science experiments every month, kids will engage with a 16-page comic book with bonus activities. One happy parent had this to say about Science Expeditions:

“My kids love learning science through hands-on activities.  Kids learn by touching and doing not by memorizing facts.  Little Passports breaks down complex ideas into kid-sized pieces, bringing concepts to life.  It really helps them relate to what they are learning.”

Recommended for Ages 9+. Learn More About Little Passports Science Expeditions HERE

 

Video: “Little Passports Brings our Family Together!”

“It Brings Our Family Together” from Little Passports on Vimeo.

Little Passports Review – Conclusion

Little Passports has our highest recommendation.  For all of the subscriptions, you can subscribe on a monthly basis at a slightly more expensive per package rate or opt for a 6- or 12-month plan. There are also some add-on products — like dolls, books and activity games that you can purchase for an additional fee.  See all of Little Passports products here.

Buy Little Passports today with a $20 off coupon on any subscription.  Use the code EXPLORE at checkout.

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Top 5 Tax Programs for Teachers

The 5 Best Tax Software Programs for Teachers in 2019

One question we get every year around tax time is: what is the best  tax software for teachers?  With this article we try to cover 5 of our top recommended options for educators’ unique tax needs.

These online tax software options range in price and functionality but should have you covered and save you some money too.  Even the priciest options should be cheaper than hiring a professional to prepare your return.  In fact, some of them are truly free, at least for educators with simple returns!

Read on for our review of what we believe are currently the 5 best tax software programs for teachers in 2019.

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we truly love and recommend. Thank you for your kind support of The Moneywise Teacher! Now on to our list of awesome tax software for teachers.]

Our Top 5 Recommended Programs for Educators:

1) TurboTax

2) H&R Block

3) Tax Slayer

4) Liberty Tax

5) FreeTaxUsa


 

1) TurboTax for Teachers


TurboTax - Best Tax Software for Teachers

Possibly the biggest name in Tax software, most educators cannot go wrong by choosing TurboTax. It is currently our #1 recommended tax software for teachers.

This year’s version will search more than 400 tax credits and deductions (including the Educator Expense Deduction) to see which you qualify for.

TurboTax guarantees teachers their maximum refund and 100% accuracy.  Learn more about the TurboTax teacher discount and see if you qualify for the free version of TurboTax here.


 

2) H&R Block for Teachers


H&R Block is #2 on our list of best tax software for teachers and also has our highest recommendation.

Benefits of using H&R Block include no hidden fees and unlimited help via chat.

One feature that sets H&R Block apart is the ability to get your all or part of your refund as an Amazon gift card.  What’s more, if choosing this option, you’ll get an additional 5% added to your refund!

Like TurboTax, H&R Block also offers a free version for filers with simple returns.  If you have  more complicated taxes, definitely take advantage of your 25% H&R Block teacher discount here.


 

3) TaxSlayer for Teachers

TaxSlayer is a great choice for educators who want a simple data entry option.  This program’s “quick file” option is a blessing for those who want a simplified filing process.  This program has the distinction of being the highest rated tax software for ease of use.

As with the other recommended tax filing software recommendations for teachers, TaxSlayer has a free option.  The paid options are very reasonable as well.


 

4) Liberty Tax for Teachers


Liberty Tax for Teachers

Liberty Tax is a great option for educators who are savvy and experienced with filing their own taxes. The program allows you to choose what aspects of your return you want to work on and when. It even offers up helpful recommendations along the way, warning you if you enter information that might trigger an audit. Audit protection is even included in the price!

Liberty Tax is not as user-friendly as our top 3 options, but is very affordable and will definitely get the job done for you.

 


 

5) FreeTaxUSA for Teachers

Last but not least on our list of best tax software for teachers is FreeTaxUSA.  FreeTaxUSA is unique in that Federal Tax Filing is 100% free for both simple and complicated returns. Furthermore, state returns only cost $12.95!

One useful feature is that if you filed with TurboTax or H&R Block last year, you can conveniently upload your return from last year.

All in all, this no frills option is perfect for educators who like to save money and who are OK with less bells and whistles.


 

We hope you found this list of our top tax software programs for teachers helpful. We truly believe any of these 5 options will be great for you.  Please let us know what you think of our list in the comments below. If you have a personal favorite tax program for teachers we have missed, please let us know that in the comments as well!

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Money Books for Kids - 5 Top Children's Books on Money

Money Books for Kids – 5 Top Children’s Books That Teach Money!

Unfortunately there is generally a lack of financial education in most schools today. That said, it usually falls on us as teachers and parents to instill money skills. Money books for kids can be a great way to start young kids on the path to a solid financial foundation. To help you and the important kids in your life, here are 5 of the top children’s books that teach money skills!

What are the Best Money Books for Kids?

Here are Our Top 5 Children’s Books That Teach Money:

  1. How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!
  2. Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Children
  3. The Kids’ Money Book: Earning, Saving, Spending, Investing, Donating
  4. Go! Stock! Go!: A Stock Market Guide for Enterprising Children and their Curious Parents
  5. Finance 101 for Kids: Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss

1) How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!

Could this be the best money book for children? Many kids and parents think so! We start our list with a children’s book on money that comes highly recommended, How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!. This book is billed as being for any parent who wants to raise unspoiled and financial savvy children.

This humorously-written book is packed with lively illustrations and seeks to make difficult concepts easy to understand. Young readers will learn the basics of earning, saving, investing and spending their money.

2) Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Children

Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Children is a fun, informative and engaging money book for kids.

As the title suggests, this money book for kids is focused on helping children grow their money. Topics covered include saving, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

3) The Kids’ Money Book: Earning, Saving, Spending, Investing, Donating


Next on our list of top money books for kids is The Kids’ Money Book: Earning, Saving, Spending, Investing, Donating.

This book teaches children how to make the big bucks, invest, create a budget, invest and donate to charity! Importantly, part of the focus of this book is to help kids understand the difference between needs and wants. Entrepreneurship is also covered.

4) Go! Stock! Go!: A Stock Market Guide for Enterprising Children and their Curious Parents


Fourth on our list of the best money books for kids is the Go! Stock! Go!: A Stock Market Guide for Enterprising Children and their Curious Parent.

This book utilizes a cartoon-like style to help kids understand the stock market. Children will have fun learning the fundamentals of investing, stocks and bonds with this 5-star rated story.

5) Finance 101 for Kids: Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss


Our final featured money book for kids is Finance 101 for Kids: Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss .

Next in our list of money books for kids is an informative and entertaining book that covers many important topics. It seeks to help kids on their path to making savvy financial decisions. Topics covered include the history of money, earning, saving, investing, giving, credit, the stock market and more!

Money Books for Kids – What’s Your Favorite?

I hope you will read some of these fantastic children’s money books with the special kids in your life. If you have your own favorite money book for kids, please share it in the comments below! You may also be interested in our list of games that teach money skillst to children

Money Books for Kids Pinterest

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Teacher Home Loans – 4 Top Programs in 2019

Are you a teacher looking to buy a home and need help with financing? Please consider some of the special mortgage programs that cater specifically to educators. In this article we are excited to share 4 of the top providers that currently offer teacher home loans!

Our 4 Top Home Loan Programs for Teachers

Our list of teacher home loan providers in 2019 include:

1) LendingTree for Teachers
2) Educator Mortgage Program
3) Teacher Home Advantage
4) NEA Home Financing Program

Why Should you Explore Teacher Home Loans?

First off, these programs were created with educators in mind. They may offer some perks and/or discounts that you may not get from traditional financing options. One of the perks includes discounted closing costs or lower interest rates. Some programs even can make a donation to your school. All this considered, teacher home loans might very well be what you are looking for when you wish to finance the purchase of a home.

Without further ado, here are the 4 best teacher mortgage programs available for professional educators:

1)LendingTree Teacher Home Loans


Our #1 recommended provider of teacher home loans is LendingTree, where you can easily compare up to five educator-friendly home loan offers!

Whether you are purchasing a home, refinancing, looking for a home equity line of credit or seeking a reverse mortgage, LendingTree has our highest recommendation.

If looking at any of the other options that follow, it is highly recommended you take a look at LendingTree first! This will give you the most options. Furthermore, it can help you make an informed decision on which home loan for teachers is best for you! Highly recommended!

Compare offers from up to 5 educator-friendly Teacher Home Loan Providers on LendingTree HERE

2)Educator Mortgage Program

Teacher Home LoansThis is a really interesting program from Supreme Lending that anyone in the education industry is eligible to apply for. The highlights of the Educator Mortgage Program include:

  • Discounted Closing Costs – Supreme Lending is offering up to $800 in reduced closing costs to educators.  If you qualify, you will receive a credit on your HUD-1 settlement statement for up to $800.
  • Discounted Real Estate Agent Fees – The Educator Mortgage Program looks to work with real estate agents who want to give back. As an educator, you will receive a credit on your HUD-1 settlement statement up to $800 from participating Real Estate Agents. These funds can be used for any fees, prepaids, seller fees, or new escrow account set up for your new loan.
  • Fast Loan Process – Supreme Lending emphasizes that educator clients are given highest priority. Educator loans are handled expeditiously so as to ensure “a smoother and more enjoyable experience.”
  • Donation to Your School– With the Educator Mortgage Program, a donation of to $200 will be made to the school program of your choice. If you work with a participating real estate agent, an additional $200 will be donated, for a total of $400, to the school program of your choice!

Visit the Educator Mortgage Program’s website for more info on their teacher home loans. They offer various home buyer mortgage programs including FHA loans, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, USDA, Jumbo and more.

3) Teacher Home Advantage

American Pacific Mortgage Teacher Home Advantage LoansThe Teacher Home Advantage program by Pacific Home Mortgage offers various options for teacher home loans.   These range from:

  • FHA Loans – Federally backed loans with a low fixed rate, great for the educator who is a first time home buyer.
  • Conventional Loans – These are not backed by the government and usually require a larger down payment. However, one advantage of these loans for teachers is that monthly mortgage insurance is not generally required.
  • USDA Loans – 0% down loans that are insured by the government. These loans are only offered in “rural” areas. The fact that these loans require no down payment puts home ownership within the reach of many educators.
  • VA Loans – If you are a veteran, this could be a great option for you. Like the USDA loan, it does not require a down payment.
  • Home Path Program – This program is only available for the purchase of Fannie Mae owned homes. It offers educator borrowers low down payment options, flexible terms, no mortgage insurance and no appraisal fees.
  • “Making Home Affordable” Program – Teacher Home Advantage works directly with this program. Basically, it includes opportunities to help borrowers make their monthly payments more affordable. In other words, it allows homeowners the chance to decrease their current mortgage payments, even if they’re “upside down” in their home.
  • Teacher Next Door – This program (more specifically HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program) offers Pre-K through 12th grade teachers a wonderful opportunity. Make a contribution to community revitalization while receiving a substantial 50% discount on the list price of a home! The limitations of this program are that you must commit to live in the property for 3 years, and qualifying homes must be located in HUD-designated revitalization areas only.

Learn more about these different programs and what the Teacher Home Advantage offers educator clients here.

4) NEA Home Financing Program®

NEA Home Financing Teacher Home LoansOffered through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the NEA Home Financing Program® is offered as a benefit of the NEA Member Benefits program.

Some of the features of this program include:

  • Competitive interest rates and fees
  • Low down payment options
  • A wide variety of home financing choices
  • Conventional and jumbo loans, with both purchase and refinance programs available
  • As an NEA Member bonus, you’ll receive a $500 award card when you close a purchase or refinance

Learn more about the NEA Home Financing Program® here.

State Teacher Home Loan Options

Many states have teacher home loan programs that are unique to that particular state. For example, we have put together a guide to teacher home loans in California and will be adding info about other states soon!

Explore your Teacher Home Loan Options Today!

When searching for your teacher home loan do not forget to compare rates and other benefits. Again, our highest recommendation is to start your comparison shopping on LendingTree today HERE.

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best homeschool curriculum

Best Homeschool Curriculum – 13 Top Recommendations

Cathy Duffy is the know-all when it comes to homeschooling. She has reviewed hundreds of homeschool resources to help educators and parents shopping for. We reached out to her and asked: “So, what is the best homeschool curriculum?”

Here’s a handful of Cathy-approved homeschooling educational picks available on Amazon. We hope that these 13 recommended resources will save you from countless hours of shopping around for the best homeschool curriculum.

Best Homeschool Curriculum – Elementary Math & Science

Life of Fred Elementary Math

Best Homeschool Curriculum - Life of Fred Elementary Math

If you have yet to hear of Life of Fred, you are in for a treat. Developed by math teacher Dr. Stanley F Schmitt, this story-based math learning series has taken the homeschooling world by storm! In this series, learners follow Fred and his pals through life while learning math concepts along the way. Truly, kids often don’t even know they’re learning something until they are told!

Each Life of Fred book has a single topic, like Apples, Ice Cream, or Money. (Yes, our Moneywise Teacher readers will love that one!) Cathy recommends that you supplement your students’ math learning with social studies or science based around the same topic!

Check the price of Life of Fred Elementary Math HERE

Math Lessons for a Living Education

 

The premise of Math Lessons for a Living Education is that“content, story, and the ability to show math in real life” is what makes a stellar math curriculum! In real life, there are no barriers between “subjects.” As an example, when cooking or baking, we use reading, logical thinking, and measuring skills. This exceptional series is committed to teaching math in the same organic way!

Check the price of Math Lessons for a Living Education on Amazon HERE

Math Mammoth Light Blue Series

 

A favorite of homeschool parents, the Math Mammoth series constitutes a full elementary mathematics curriculum for 1st-7th grades. With this series, kids can learn on their own with the comprehensive student books.  The focus with these book is on conceptual learning.  They are visually engaging, and chapters are organized by topics and themes.

One very happy homeschool parent said about this series: “We have tried three different math curriculum programs but this one seems the best for the teacher and student.”

Check the price of Math Mammoth Light Blue Series on Amazon HERE

A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft, Inc.)

 

This interactive math curriculum can make the homeschool math journey easy.  A+ Interactive Math can do it all–teaching, grading, and tracking! This program allows you to personalize lesson plans in order to target exactly what your student needs. A bonus is that you can choose the best format for you  (and your students) – CD, eBooks or online!

Check the Price of A+ Interactive Math Products on Amazon HERE

 

Mathematical Reasoning Level A

This engaging book presents kids with a fun and colorful explanations, examples, and charts. These wonderful lessons are perfect for teaching your kindergartner mathematical foundations.

Check the price of Mathematical Reasoning Level A on Amazon HERE

enVision Math

Envision Math Homeschool curriculum review

This visually rich and fun curriculum focuses on one topic at a time, which should allow your child to master a concept before moving on to the next one.

Included with each enVision Math Homeschool Bundle are a Student Edition Worktext and a Teacher Edition CD-ROM.

Check the price of Envision Math Level 1 on Amazon HERE


Best Homeschool Curriculum – Elementary Reading & Writing

Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis can be a wonderful tool for K-3 learners as they seek to perfect their English grammar. This set comes with animated shorts, books, quizzes, and music videos. Lots of learning styles are covered here!

Check the price of Grammaropolis on Amazon HERE


Spelling Workout

best homeschool curriculum - spelling workout

 

Spelling Workout will help create a solid foundation of phonics principles. Included are puzzles, riddles, and activities that will keep your students engaged.

Included in each bundle are a Student Edition, Teacher Edition and Parent Guide.

Check the price of Spelling Workout on Amazon HERE


Best Homeschool Curriculum – Middle School Math

Life of Fred Beginning Algebra

Life of Fred Intro to Algebra for Homeschool

 

Back to Life of Fred! Algebra learners and beyond will love the stories and learn the concepts through holistic learning. It is recommended that if your advanced learner is new to Life of Fred that they start from the beginning. This re-learning of concepts will help them get up to speed and can set them up for success.

Check the price of Life of Fred Beginning Algebra on Amazon HERE


Life of Fred Financial Choices

Best Homeschool Curriculum - Life of Fred Financial Choices

Considering the theme of this website, we would be remiss to not include a recommendation on a homeschool curriculum that instills strong financial decision-making. The Life of Fred Financial Choices book is definitely a great intro and a great resource for helping you teach money skills.  Be sure to supplement this with these 5 Great Board Games that Teach Money Skills.

Check the price of Life of Fred Financial Choices on Amazon HERE


Best Homeschool Curriculum – Middle School Social Studies

myWorld Social Studies

Best Homeschool Curriculum - myWorld Social Studies

 

This sets a foundation for students to become engaged citizens by learning about US politics and history. Includes a teacher’s guide for every chapter, lesson plans, editable tests and even audio podcasts on each subject!

Check the price of myWorld Social Studies on Amazon HERE


Best Homeschool Curriculum – Science for the Family

Magic School Bus Nature Bundle

Magic School Bus Nature BUndle for Homeschool

This set comes with four science kits and covers topics like the weather, “going green” (recycling, composting, etc.), solar energy and “wonders of nature” (fun stuff like ant hill building, dissolving an egg shell and more!).

Check the price of Magic School Bus Nature Bundle on Amazon HERE


Science Detective A1

With this series, your science detective kids will engage in mind-building exercises! Science Detective prepares students for more advanced science courses and also gives them opportunities to build their reading comprehension and reasoning skills.

Check the price of Science Detective A1 on Amazon HERE


Best Homeschool Curriculum – Your Picks?

We hope this selection of 13 recommended homeschool curricula has helped you decide on your own personal best homeschool curriculum. Please let us know in the comments what you think, and also if you have any recommendations for any picks we might have missed!

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Side Gigs for Teachers: Author Interview

“Side Gigs for Teachers: Ways to Actually Make Money” – Interview with Co-Author Jackie Bolen

In the recently published Side Gigs for Teachers: Ways to Actually Make Money  Jackie Bolen and Jennifer Booker Smith seek to show educators how to earn extra money in their spare time. We reached out to co-author Jackie Bolen and asked her some questions about the book and side hustling in general. We hope you enjoy the interview and be sure to grab your copy of Side Gigs for Teachers today!

1) What inspired the two of you to write this book?

Jennifer and I are both “retired” teachers who met while teaching English in South Korea. Of course, we’re not really retired and are still super busy doing a million things! She’s traveling around the world, and I’ve since moved back home to Canada.

We got started with self-publishing books, developing websites, and putting materials on Teacher Pay Teachers while still teaching in Korea. But these days, we’re both making a full-time living off of our side-gigs.

We hope to inspire other teachers out there (ESL and otherwise) to get their own side hustle going on. It’s an excellent way to earn a bit of cash in your spare time, or even make it into a career like we have. If you’re not happy in the classroom, need a break, or just want to have a bit more cash in your bank account at the end of the month, there are options out there!

2) About how many side gigs for teachers does the book cover?

We divide the side-gigs up into two categories: Active, and Passive.

By “active,” we mean things like tutoring, pet sitting, or test evaluating. Basically, you have to work one hour for one hour of pay with these side-gigs. We discuss 14 of the best ones for teachers options in detail. Teachers have a lot of skills like public speaking, writing, and knowledge about certain areas so why not put that to good use to make some extra money?

The second category of side gigs are passive ones. By “passive,” we mean that you have to put a lot of work (or money with investing) in up-front, but that you can earn money for years down the road. Some of the examples are self-published books, affiliate websites, and investing in the stock market. We give you all the details for how to get started with seven of these ones.

3) Can you tell us about two or three of your favorite side gigs for teachers covered in the book?

There are a few that I’m currently using to make a full-time income. Jennifer and I have 20+ self-published books that you can find on Amazon. The first one took a lot of time, effort and frustration! But, we’ve learned so much along the way that the process has gotten much easier over time.

I also develop Amazon affiliate websites. Basically, I review products on Amazon and if people click a product link on my website, and purchase something on Amazon, I get a commission. This side-gig is good for people who have a very, very long-term vision. It can take a year or two of solid work before you ever earn you first dollar. But, there is huge potential to make this into a full-time job for yourself.

Jennifer is the guru of all things Teachers Pay Teachers. You can put your course materials on that website and people pay you to download them. If you already spend a lot of time creating some awesome stuff, why not make a bit of extra money off of it?

4) What kind of teachers do you think can be successful with side hustles?

I really think that just about anyone can start a side hustle. There are a million and one different ones so you’re sure to find a side-gig or two that will work for you. In our book, we talk about 21 of them, and I’d be very, very surprised if you read the book and couldn’t find one that would work!

However, the people that do the best with starting a side-hustle are usually motived, and are also long-term thinkers. It can a while before you start to get some traction in terms of earning serious money. The key is to believe in what you’re doing, work smart, and also be willing to put in some serious effort to get things off the ground. Of course, perseverance helps a lot. You will get some motivation though when you earn your first dollar from your side hustle.

5) For a busy teacher just getting started trying to make money on the side, what kind of general advice would you give them?

The best advice I could give you is to start with one side-gig. It can be tempting to try and get a million things up and running, but in reality, you’ll have more success if you master one thing. Give yourself at least six months before trying another one.

The other thing I would say is to just start NOW! Actually, yesterday was the best time, but it’s not too late today. You can spend months and years researching and thinking and planning, but it’s better to just make some forward progress in terms of action. You WILL make mistakes. Everybody does. Learn from them and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

6) Besides your books, do you have any recommended resources for teachers getting started with side gigs?

I am a huge fan of Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income. He interviews the top people in the online business world.

7) Anything else you would like to tell us or share with our readers?

You can find me online at www.jackiebolen.com. I’m happy to help you out by answering a question or two. I also offer consulting via Skype for more detailed advice about getting a side-gig up and running. Get in touch!


Author Bio: Jackie Bolen is a former ESL teacher in Korea who turned her side-gigs into a full-time job in Canada. She’s an author, website developer and lover of all things passive income, and online business. You can find her at www.jackiebolen.com.

Side Gigs for Teachers: Ways to Actually Make Money is available now on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions!

 


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30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success - Gina Horkey Interview

Educators: 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success? Interview with Gina Horkey

We are excited to announce that going forward we will be featuring regular interviews with financially savvy educators and other awesome personalities.  It is our hope that these interviews will serve as motivation and inspiration for you!   To kick things off, we share our interview with Gina Horkey, freelancer extraordinaire and creator of  “30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success: A Course for Brand Spanking New Freelancers.”

For this interview, we asked Gina a handful of questions relating to educators and freelance writing.  Without further ado, here are our questions followed by Gina’s compelling responses!

What qualities make a good freelance writer? Do you think educators are (in general) well-suited for freelance writing?

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I think you should probably enjoy writing at the bare minimum.

Being good at it or having decent writing chops is helpful, but can also be learned and improved over time. The best qualities are probably having a thick skin and fierce determination – success from freelance writing comes from putting yourself out there consistently and following up. I.e. marketing yourself and doing the work.

I think teachers and educators are definitely prime candidates for freelance writing.

As an educator you’re likely pretty good at teaching and imparting helpful information on students. Writing as a medium accomplishes the same thing – you’re communicating and educating an audience of readers and ideally helping them to improve their lives in some way.

How much can a part-time freelance writer expect to earn?

Of course I have to say it depends. 😉

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It depends on these factors:

  • Your niche. Some niches are higher paying, like personal finance or healthcare.
  • Your experience. As you gain experience (and samples) as a writer, you can command higher rates.
  • Your confidence. If you don’t believe you’re worth a certain rate, you won’t ask for it.

From my experience, new freelance writers tend to start out around the $30-50/article mark and work their way up. More experienced writers command hundreds of dollars per post.

Using myself as an example, freelance writing is only a portion of my diversified business, so I’d consider it “part-time.” I average $2,000-3,000 from just writing in an average month with just a few key clients.

Can you share a success story of an educator who successfully freelance writes?

There are actually a fair amount of teachers that have gone through my course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success . Many of them have actually started a mastermind together for accountability and because they have so much in common.

Here’s Philippa’s story, for example:

Leaving teaching was not an easy decision to make, and working out what to do next was even harder!

I was an English teacher, so writing seemed like the perfect fit. Except, people can’t seriously write for a living can they?

When I realized that there was a market for writing website content, updating Facebook or creating tweets, I couldn’t believe it! This wasn’t even a career option when I was a school (which really wasn’t that long ago!).

Initially, I started VA work, but soon realised that I wanted writing to be my main focus. I decided to invest in Gina’s 30DOL course and it helped me to no end! It made everything seem so easy, and totally achievable.

As Gina was writing her 30DOL VA course , I had just landed my biggest client to date and I was thrilled when Gina asked me to create a case study about it for the course. It was amazing seeing “Lesson 10 – Philippa’s Story” pop up in my inbox.

That course, combined Gina’s blog posts and the Facebook group have really helped me move my freelancing up a notch. I now confidently cold-pitch regularly (teachers are not known for being sellers, not in our nature) and have this weekend been working on my latest new client’s website content!

I still can’t believe that people pay me to write.

It is a dream come true. I don’t make enough to do it full-time yet, but while working in my non-teaching day job, freelancing is keeping me motivated, satisfied and happy. I am on the way to the balanced lifestyle I want, and am much, much, much closer to it than when I was teaching!

Besides your own course, do you recommend any particular resources (websites, books, etc.) for educators looking to get started with freelance writing?

Yahoo Style GuideOne of the recommended resources that I came across was The Yahoo Style Guide! It’s a great (and very comprehensive) guide to help you learn how to write for the web.

My friend Sarah also has a site called, Life After Teaching, which helps educators that are looking to transition out of teaching find their way. She also has a book with the same name that you can find on her website.

Anything else you would like to say to educators interested in supplementing their income with freelance writing?

Most people let fear (or any number of excuses that disguise themselves as something else, but really are fear – lack of time, lack of direction, needing everything to be perfect, etc.) hold them back from taking action and pursuing a new direction.

Don’t let that be you.

Instead, punch fear in the face and do it anyway. When I started, I decided I was either going to succeed or fail hard trying.

Why not you, why not now?

Punch Fear in the Face

About Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers. Additionally, she’s a professional writer and online business marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the financial services industry. Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. If you’re interested in starting a freelance career, take Gina’s FREE writing course to kickstart yours today! Click here to get the first lesson sent to your inbox.

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