Category: Save Money

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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Grammarly Review 2018

Grammarly Review 2019: Should You Go Premium?

There are different grammar checkers online available online in 2019, free and paid, and Grammarly is one of the best-known ones. The platform offers a free and premium version. The premium version will run you $29.95 a month currently unless you bundle months together to get a discounted rate. Read on for our Grammarly review of both the free and premium versions of this excellent software.

Grammarly Review - Subscription Plans

Subscription Plans from Grammarly

After putting the premium version to the test, here are a few insights on whether it is worth going premium with Grammarly.

Grammarly Review – Pros for Teachers

One tool that could cut teacher’s time in half when grading papers is the plagiarism tool. Grammarly claims that the cloud-based software scans over 8 billion websites to look for plagiarized content. With this powerful tool, I can see this being a much-needed shortcut for teachers when grading student’s papers.

Teachers can use this extra time to focus on helping improve their students overall writing and style.


Also, when using the program in Microsoft Word, you can change the type or genre of the article you’re either writing or proofreading. You do have to add Grammarly to Word by following the prompts from your profile on the Grammarly website.

With genres like essay and research papers to choose from in the academic section, you can move through papers using the grammatical styles associated with each kind of writing. Adding the Grammarly tool to Word and the plagiarism tool are both only available through the premium membership.

2019 Grammarly Review for TeachersGrammarly Review – Helpful Tools for Writing

Another perk of going premium is being able to look at advanced issues in your writing. When using the free version, Grammarly lets you know there are “X” amount of advanced issues that you can see IF you upgrade to premium.

If you tend to write more than the average person and are interested in improving your writing skills and grammar, being able to look at the advanced issues is one of the best tools the software provides.

Personally, I tend to write in the passive voice more than I want in my writing. The premium version of the grammar checker has helped me work towards breaking this habit. Also, it breaks the habit of using any repetitive words and even suggests synonyms that may fit better with your wording.

Also, the ease of use of the software is great. Adding extensions to your browser and Word are simple and using the grammar checker is self-explanatory.

Grammarly checks over 250 types of grammatical issues, spelling mistakes, and enhances the vocabulary of the user in the premium version. What I found using the tool is that they do deliver well on all of these categories.

The Drawbacks

Grammarly does have a few drawbacks.

It’s grammar suggestions may not always make sense regarding what you’re trying to write and get across to the reader. At this point, you have to use your best judgment in going with the suggestion or sticking with your original writing.

An example of this is when the passive voice is necessary, and it wouldn’t make sense to use the active voice in the context of your writing. Grammarly tends to do this in different style tips and suggestions. Just check the context and decide on what sounds better to you.

Also, when using the browser extension, Grammarly hasn’t picked up on how writing may differ on your personal social media. Sometimes when you add new statuses on different platforms, it’ll pick up multiple errors on abbreviations and social lexicon.

Just clicking through these and being able to post can be time-consuming as well as irritating.

Grammarly Review 2019 – The Verdict

Grammarly has a lot to offer to anyone who takes their writing seriously or grades any papers in an educational setting.

With only a few drawbacks, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. The writing enhancing tool, whether in the free or premium version, does help writers create better content and helps break any old writing habits.

If cost isn’t a factor for you and you enjoy improving your writing skills, the premium version may be a tool you’ll find useful.

Overall, if you plan on writing more than the average person or you’re an educator who does need to proofread constantly, I would recommend the premium tool. If you don’t grade papers often or need to write much, trying the free version out would probably cut it for you.  Start with the free version of Grammarly here.

We hope you have found this grammarly review helpful. Have you tried Grammarly’s premium version? What did you think of the grammar checker’s tools?

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chemistry set for kids

8 Amazing Chemistry Sets for Kids in 2019

Are you looking for an awesome chemistry set for kids? Here we share 8 of the best children’s chemistry sets currently available in 2019!

1) Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids

Is this the best beginning chemistry set for kids? Many kids and parents think so! We start our list with a kit that has a ton of positive reviews, the Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids. This very affordably priced children’s chemistry set comes with a whopping 50 science experiments.

Along with 16 out-of-the-box experiments, there are 34 additional STEM-learning inspired science activities. The kit comes with very easy-to-follow instructions for kids, but as you’ll see from the review below, kids tend to have a blast exercising their creativity without the instructions! Highly recommended.

Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids – Sample Amazon Review

“I am revising the star rating from 4 to 5. The main reason is that the kids are still just in love playing “science”. The directions have been thrown out and they just go to town and are completely entertained. Both the 4 and 8 year old are in love. Complete imagination takes over and it’s lovely.”

Suggested for Ages 7+. Learn More About The Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids on Amazon HERE

2) Evviva Sciences Crystal Growing Kit

The Evviva Sciences Crystal Growing Kit is the top rated crystal growing chemistry set on Amazon and allows kids to easily make their own crystals.

The manufacturer even has a “Make your Own Crystals or Your Money Back” guarantee. If instructions are followed, kids will end up with 5 beautiful crystal rocks after working with this science kit!

Evviva Sciences Crystal Growing Kit – Sample Amazon Review

“We have bought countless crystal growing kits-we follow the instructions to a T on every one of them. THIS kit is the only kit that actually grew crystals. BIG crystals!!! We started seeing the crystals come up out of the solution and were seriously excited we had finally found a kit that worked. My 7 year old is really into the science kits-he loved this, but, then again, so did my 3 year old. Okay, and mom and dad had fun, too!!!”

Suggested for Ages 7+ Learn More About The Evviva Sciences Crystal Growing Kit on Amazon HERE

3) Playz Explosive Kitchen Lab


Next on our list of top chemistry kits for kids is the Playz Explosive Kitchen Lab.

This exciting, easy-to-use children’s chemistry set is loaded with value and comes with more than 26 experiments, 41 tools, ingredients and a 36 page activity/lab guide.

Playz Explosive Kitchen Lab – Sample Amazon Review

“SO AWESOME! The quality of the supplies in this kit are top notch and the book is very easy to follow along with. My 7 year old absolutely loves this kit and will be purchasing from this vendor again very soon. We homeschool and have been looking for a quality SCIENCE kit.. We found it!”

Suggested for Ages 8-13 Learn More About Playz Explosive Kitchen Lab on Amazon HERE

4) Barbie Fundamental Chemistry Kit

The Barbie Fundamental Chemistry Kit from Thames & Cosmos allows kids to make slime, fizz, crystals and more! One commonly cited drawback to this set is that the experiments can only be used once. Other than that, it comes highly recommended!

Barbie Fundamental Chemistry Kit – Sample Amazon Review

“Purchased for my daughter for Christmas and she’s loving it! We are taking our time completing the different experiments, but she has really enjoyed the couple we have done so far. Recommend for kids who love to learn and love Barbie!”

Suggested for Ages 4-8. Learn More About Barbie Fundamental Chemistry Kit on Amazon HERE

5) Click-a-Brick Creative Chemistry: Crystals & Slime Science Kit

Continuing our review of top chemistry sets for kids is the Click-a-Brick Creative Chemistry: Crystals & Slime Science Kit, which includes many items that will help turn your little one into a true chemist!

This chemistry kit also comes with two robust study guides where kids can track the results of each experiment and compare.

Click-a-Brick Creative Chemistry – Sample Amazon Review

“What a great science kit! It has everything you need to conduct some really cool experiments; and a few things from home obviously. The guides are colorful and easy to follow – and they even have a section for notes so that you can document results! Great purchase!”

Suggested for Ages 6+ Learn More About The Click-a-Brick Creative Chemistry on Amazon HERE

6) Happy Atoms Magnetic Molecular Modeling Set

This set stands out among the many molecular chemistry sets on the market. The Happy Atoms Molecular Magnetic Modeling Set allows children to build, scan and identify molecules.

Included are both a digital and physical chemistry set, as well as a free “Happy Atoms” app (free download), a scanning mat and more!

Happy Atoms Molecular Magnetic Modeling Set – Sample Amazon Review

“This is a fantastic tool for kinesthetic and visual learners! Out of the box my 8 year old played with this for almost two hours. The magnets are just the right strength, the “atoms” are well made, and they feel good in your hands as you assemble molecules. The set itself is a five-star gem. GET IT. Your kids will learn SO much and have an amazing time doing it! “

Suggested for Ages 10-17 Learn More About The Happy Atoms Molecular Magnetic Modeling Set on Amazon HERE

7) Kids First Chemistry Set

Kids First Chemistry Set Review Another great chemistry set for kids is the appropriately named Kids First Chemistry Set, which gives kids the chance to identify different chemicals through conducting the 25 provided experiments. Your young chemists can safely explore simple chemistry with common household substances and the provided lab equipment such as beakers, test tubes and more.

Kids First Chemistry Set – Sample Amazon Review

“We did some looking at a wide variety of options for a chemistry set before choosing this one. The options ranged between lower-priced (almost nothing useful inside the box and too expensive (some stuff inside the box, but apparently not that much). This one seemed to have good instructions and it provided some chemistry-like utensils and tools – but no chemicals; the girls are learning about chemistry from what’s available in the kitchen.”

Suggested for Ages 8+ Learn More About The Kids First Chemistry Set on Amazon HERE

8) Edible Candy! Food Science Chemistry Kit

Edible Candy! Food Science Chemistry Kit ReviewOur final product in our review of the chemistry sets for children is fun to experiment with (and eat!) Edible Candy! Food Science Chemistry Kit, which combines STEM concepts with hands-on science projects.

This edible chemistry set is loaded with value and comes with 40 experiments, 27 tools and ingredients and a 56 page lab guide! Well worth checking out!

Edible Candy! Food Science Chemistry Kit – Sample Amazon Review

“This is a neat little set that is full of educational activities for both boys and girls. Its always a plus when you can eat at the end of the process. I do think for what was included and the price you could do the same by researching online but that would take time and energy which is essentially what we are paying for in the set. The booklet and recipes are easy to understand for an adult, but may be a little confusing for a child. Adult supervision is needed with this. Also some off the recipes do call for other things that are not included in the set and some recipes call for optional items. This is perfect for our homeschool or just for a child who loves science or cooking.”

Suggested for Ages 8+ Learn More About The Edible Candy! Food Science Chemistry Kit on Amazon HERE

What’s Your Favorite Chemistry Set for Kids?

I hope you will try some of these wonderful chemistry sets with the special kids in your life. If you have your own favorite chemistry set for kids, please share it in the comments below!

Here are links to the 8 kids chemistry sets we feature on Amazon. Be sure to also check out our list of games that teach money skills!

Chemistry Set for Kids

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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.

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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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) TeacherVision Free Trial

TeacherVision offers thousands of classroom management tools, lessons plans, whiteboard-compatible books, games, worksheets and a whole lot more.  Currently, they are offering a free 7-day all-access pass.  After that, it’s only $7.95/month for complete access.


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!

1) Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

Kids Learning Globes - Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

We start our list of 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.

Included with this smart globe are 19 engaging games that help teach kids about world facts. 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 reviews for this product are very positive, with a common complaint of this particular learning globe being that the default setting can be too loud.

Oregon Scientific Smart Globe – Sample Amazon Review

“This may be the most wonderful gift I ever bought my grandson!! There are so many functions, ways to quiz yourself, and I’m learning too. He loves world geography and this globe has it all. Languages, money, fun facts,capitols and so much more. I love the USA map on one side, he says the state and the capitol before he touches it just to check himself. It came with the batteries and was ready for play right out of the box. I like that it says goodbye when he turns it off, so no wasted batteries from being left on. He is seven but this is great even for high school kids. The shipping was Amazon Prime fast, and the price was right. I’d recommend this to anyone. What a fun way to learn!”

Suggested for Ages 6+. Learn More About The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe HERE

2) 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe

Learning Globes for Kids - 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe

The 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe is not only a kids learning globe, but also a constellation map and nightlight! This globe also features an interactive globe app.

The 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe – Sample Amazon Review

“This is a wonderful globe! Some of the reviews made me afraid it was going to be cheap or something, but it’s not! It’s bright and colorful, the smaller size is perfect for fitting on a desk or dresser easier, the plug and switch work fine, and the constellations night light feature is just so super cool. At first, when I flipped the switch I thought the light wasn’t working, but then turned off the overhead room light and bam! I realized that the light in the globe lights up the constellations, not the regular globe view. It feels sturdy and solid and it doesn’t feel or look cheap. Great product!”

Suggested for Ages 3+. Learn More About The 3-in-1 Illuminated World Globe on Amazon HERE

3) Learning Resources Puzzle Globe

Learning Globes for Children - Learning Resources Puzzle Globe
Next on our list of learning globes for children is the The Learning Resources Puzzle Globe.

While not as high tech as the other globes, this fun, engaging 14-piece puzzle globe can teach kids the names of the continents, oceans, famous landmarks and more.

Learning Resources Puzzle Globe – Sample Amazon Review

“This globe is fantastic! I purchased it for my kids 4 and 8 as my husband does quite a bit of international travel and I thought it would be a fun way for them understand where in the world he is and the routes he takes to get there and home. It has been a HUGE HIT with both of my kids- and they have been fighting over it since it arrived a few days ago!”

Suggested for Ages 3+. Learn More About Learning Resources Puzzle Globe on Amazon HERE

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

The Shifu Orboot augmented reality globe is among the best kids learning globes for helping to spark imagination and creativity!

Shifu Orboot – Sample Amazon Review

“I was initially in two minds to purchase the Shifu Orboot for my daughter but once I got it, I feel it’s the best Christmas gift I could have given my daughter … she simply loves it … it’s very informative as it tells you details about the different animals in the different countries, culture, maps , inventions and monuments !!! My daughter gets to learn a lot and we happy that she enjoys her gift…. it’s the best gift u can give ur child !!!”

Suggested for Ages 6+. Learn More About Shifu Orboot on Amazon HERE

5) Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Globe

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.

GeoSafari Talking Globe – Sample Amazon Review

“I got this globe for my 7 year old niece and she absolutely loves it! We were also very happy to see how much her 3 year old brother was interested in learning along with her (admittedly with a much short attention span). The questions were incredibly wide-ranging and they provoked all sorts of discussions and sharing of family travel adventures through the generations which was great! Would recommend.”

Suggested for Grades 3+. Learn More About The GeoSafari Talking Globe on Amazon HERE

Kids Learning Globes – What’s Your Favorite?

I hope you will try some of these games with your children and/or students! 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 e sure to also check out our list of the best money board games for kids.


Kids Learning Globes Pinterest

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Teacher Bankruptcy

Teachers: The 5 Most Common Causes of Bankruptcy and How to Protect Yourself

As educator wages struggle to keep up with rising costs of living, teacher bankruptcy unfortunately is far too common.

Teacher Bankruptcy – What are the Causes?

While in the past bankruptcy was a means of evading creditors, today the pandemic has a more sinister basis. Ranging from poor money management skills to personal calamities such as divorce and medical emergencies, financial pressures today are pushing many Americans to file for bankruptcy. Here we look at the top 5 most common causes of bankruptcy. How can you avoid a teacher  bankruptcy and becoming a part of the bankruptcy statistics?

Medical Expenses

Teacher Bankruptcy - Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are the leading cause of bankruptcies in the United States today. Rising medical costs coupled with deteriorating health due to poor lifestyle choices combine to exert extraordinary pressure on individuals and families in the US today.

To avoid going down this road, try the following. Take care of your health. Fewer visits to the doctor mean fewer expenses. Find an insurance plan with low deductibles and other extra payments that fits your needs. Are you eligible for the deductions? Finding out could save you money.

Losing a Job

Teacher Bankruptcy - Losing a Job
Whether through downsizing, retirement or resignation, losing a job always comes with a financial shock. The regular paycheck may be gone, but bills keep coming in. If you cannot find a job fast enough, this pressure can exhaust your savings and leave you with few options.

If you are still employed, avoid this bankruptcy trap by building up your emergency fund. Put aside 6 months to a year of living expenses. If you do lose your job, you will be able to survive for this period without the need to touch any of your other investments or savings.

Poor Use of Credit

Teacher Bankruptcy - Credit Card Debt
Excessive use of credit is the third trap that leads many to bankruptcy court. Splurging on expensive things bought using credit is a poor financial choice. Yet many will do this without a second thought. The trap here is the fallacy that credit cards offer free money.

To avoid this, limit your use of credit cards and other forms of credit. In fact, go as far as only having one credit card, which you can easily track. You may also consider using a debit card instead of a credit card, so you know you are only spending what you have.

Separation/Divorce

Teacher Bankruptcy - Divorce / Separation
Divorces and separations come with serious financial ramifications that leave many a divorcee bankrupt. Legal fees coupled with other costs such as child support and alimony may leave one or both partners financially strained.

Considering in some cases the court can decree back payments, this is a common reason for bankruptcies in the US. To avoid this, maintain a good handle of all your assets and obligations so that if this does happen, you are prepared.

Unforeseen Expenses

Teacher Bankruptcy - Unforeseen Circumstances
These occur through loss of property from natural disasters, theft, fraud and a host of other reasons. When this happens, the affected party is usually unable to recoup the loss. If the loss was tied to some form of lien or income, they may find themselves financially overwhelmed. To protect yourself, maintain insurance on all properties that you deem crucial to your financial wellbeing.

While some of these reasons for teacher bankruptcy are unavoidable, in most cases sound planning, judicious fiscal discipline, and adequate preparation can mitigate, if not avert, these financially-ruinous events.

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Planning a School Trip

Planning a Successful School Trip

Field trips are an integral part of a student’s education. Whether it’s a day outing or an educational getaway, field trips should be fun, engaging, and safe. With the current climate surrounding safety within the educational system in the United States, it’s especially important to plan field trips meticulously. New teachers and experienced veterans alike can benefit from checking these boxes when planning their next field trip.

Decide Where You’re Going

This may seem like common sense, but to justify your field trip to the school district, parents, and students, your trip must be educational in some way. If you’re a history teacher, consider all the local historic landmarks you could take your students to. Science teachers can take theirclasses to museums, economic teachers can take their students to local businesses – the options are limitless, as long as the trip and activities align with what you’re teaching your class.

Plan Accordingly

Depending on the scope of your trip, you may need to start planning as far as a year in advance. For example, if you’re planning a trip to another country, you’ll need to notify parents and orchestrate a way for students to obtain travel visas and passports. Conversely, if you’re heading to a local museum, you’ll need to send out permission slips and book a bus for your field trip. You’ll also need to make sure the trip aligns with your academic calendar.

Be Wary Of Cost

As you’re working through the logistics of your field trip, including transportation and admission, be mindful of the total cost you’re expecting students and their families to cover. This is especially true if you’re working within a budget provided by the school. If the trip is going to be costly, consider hosting a fundraiser or two to generate excitement and money to help cut the total cost.

Seek Approval

You can’t take your students anywhere without the proper permissions. This includes approval from your administrator. To do so, draft a proposal that provides all the information about the trip, including how it will be educational to students and relate back to the curriculum you’re teaching.

Prep Your Students

As a teacher, it’s important to ensure your trip aligns with your lesson plans. Just like you would a lesson, set objectives for the trip. Plan activities around the things you’ve taught in the classroom so that your students connect their experiences with their education.

Prep The Parents, Too

Notifying the parents of your students about everything from the logistics of the trip to what to pack and the lessons to be learned is of paramount importance. Hold an assembly to keep parents informed. Allow plenty of time to field questions and concerns they may have. Create an itinerary. Regardless of the length of your trip, you’ll need to plan a schedule for the take. Take your curriculum, student interest, and time into consideration when doing so. If your trip takes place over a long period of time (a weekend, two weeks, etc.), budget time accordingly, leaving room for free time.

Set Guidelines

Typically, students must meet educational requirements to attend a field trip. This means they’re in good standing with the school academically, have all the required permission forms
signed, and completed any kind of activities you outlined must be completed prior to the trip.

The whole point of working this hard to orchestrate a trip is to have fun with your students. Watch all of your hard work pay off – take your students on an educational field trip!

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Teachers Down Payment

How to Save for Your First Down Payment on a Teacher’s Salary

With rising real estate prices across the board, not to mention in locations with a high cost of living already, buying your first home can seem daunting. You may be planning on buying your first home in a few years, but using these tips today will help you slowly start to save for that first down payment.

Originally, most mortgage companies requested a 20% down payment, which in today’s world can seem a little out of reach. However, with a few years of planning, you may be able to grasp this goal with a teacher’s salary.

Anything under 20% for your down payment may require you to pay PMI – or private mortgage insurance – on top of your mortgage payment, home insurance, and property taxes. Also, with this down payment, you can build up enough equity so that when you do go to sell your home, the closing costs and fees don’t eat up all of your investment.

However, there are a few ways to get a lower down payment as well if the 20% isn’t feasible when you’re ready to buy.

How to Save for your First Down Payment on a Teacher's SalaryCheck out Teacher home loan programs

There are many different teacher home loan programs out there, that allow you to buy a house without a 20% down payment.
Most of them do require some sort of initial investment. FHA, for example, only requires 3%. Even if you plan on investing 20% at the start, you can get some neat perks like discounted closing costs and even donations to your school.

If you do decide on a lower down payment, you may want to continue using some of these tips to ensure you hit 20% equity before you go to sell your home. Be sure to check your mortgage loan for prepayment penalties if you do plan on making any extra principal payments.

Figure out your monthly goal

First, you’ll want to decide the price range of homes you’ll plan on looking at. Next, you’ll want to get prequalified with a lender to see what interest rates and programs you qualify for. Also, this is a good time to see if you need to do any work on your credit as well.
You can also use sites like Karl’s Mortgage Calculator to help you figure out future monthly payments depending on what you pay for your home and the down payment.

Set up an emergency fund

Even while you’re saving for a down payment, emergencies still happen. If you start out with savings that will cover three to six months of expenses, it’ll help you stay on track for your down payment when you need a sudden car repair or have a medical expense.

Planning for emergencies in advance helps you stay focused on your other goals.

Get a savings account

Open up a savings account with your bank or find one online. Make sure it’s an account that you can easily pull the money out of when needed.

You can set up an automatic deposit from your paycheck each month if your employer uses direct deposit. This is the best way because your money never touches your main spending account and eventually you’ll get used to seeing the net amount in your checking each month.

Adjust your budget

You’ll want to set your budget up so that you can reach your goal each month. You may have to change some of your spending habits or even give up some extravagances for the luxury of buying your home. Some ways to cut spending is checking with credit card companies on lowering interest rates. If you pay on time each month with the required amount, you can call in and tell them you want a lower rate.

Also, you may look at renting a moderately nice apartment instead of the three-bedroom house with a huge backyard, or you may want to trade in your car for a lower car payment if that saves you money. Anything that you can cut, even barely, will add up over time.

Use extra income wisely

Anytime you receive any large income outside of your regular salary, consider putting all or most towards your down payment savings. Tax returns are great opportunities to build up your nest egg. If you do any side jobs or summer jobs, try budgeting some of that income into the mix as well.

Your main goal is to funnel any kind of extra income into reaching your goal faster. Saving for a down payment can take a couple of years, but the equity you create will be worth it.

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Children's Consignment Sales - Save & Earn

Ways to Save & Earn at Children’s Consignment Sales (Even if you don’t have Kids!)

If your town is anything like mine, you will see advertisements for multiple children’s consignment sales, especially when the seasons change. After seeing the droves of vehicles at one of these sales year after year, I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. After experiencing this sale first hand, I realized that there were ways to save and earn money at these events, and as a teacher extra funds are always welcome.

How the Sales Operate

What I did not realize about these sales is that they sell so much more than children’s clothes. They sell toys, books, electronics, bedding, cribs, car seats, strollers, shoes (all sizes), maternity clothes, and junior sized clothes.

To sell, one signs up as a consigner and labels all of the items to be sold; each sale has a specific way. There is generally a small entry fee and they take 20-30% commission. When the sale is over, just pick up the items that did not sell and the money earned. It is that simple.

Ways to Save

These sales rely almost solely on volunteers. Volunteers sign up for a two to four hour shift and can choose to work before, during, or after the sale. The trade-off for these hours is that the volunteers can shop before the public. If you want to save as much as you can, sign up to volunteer. Also, some of these sales have a “First Time Mom’s Club” where if one is expecting or has a child under one year of age, the mother can shop first without having to volunteer.

Another way to save is to make a list. Since these items sell for at least 50-90% off the retail price, it may be hard to not fill your bag full of all the adorable clothes. However, since there is no return policy, beware not to over buy, or you will not get the most “bang for your buck”.

Generally, on the last day of the sale, many items are marked 50% off or more. After buying all of the essentials, it may be worth your time to return and see what is left. If you have a little money left to splurge, getting items at an even deeper discount is completely worth it.

Ways to Earn

If you have children, selling their clothing items and toys will earn money; one simply needs to make sure they have the potential to earn enough to make it worth the time. If you only have a few items to sell that will barely cover the entry fee, it may not be worth the time. So what if you only have a few items, or do not have children?

Being a teacher can give one an advantage to earn more at these sales. When a sale approaches, ask students if they have any gently used clothes that they, or their siblings, have outgrown; this is especially helpful if one teaches elementary school. If at the high school level, it is still beneficial to ask because many of these sales accept clothing through junior sizes. Also ask if they have toys, books, or anything else the sale may take.

If you are involved in any other social group whether through a church or civic organization, ask them as well. The more items you have, the more potential there is to earn.

Going All Out?

This may be a stretch, but if you do not have any sales like this in your area, it may be worth looking into starting one. In my town, the individual that runs the sale keeps all of the profit since the entire staff is volunteers. This may be unrealistic with the time frame a teacher would have to work in, but it may be something to consider.

In Closing

These children’s consignment sales can be a great way to save an earn money. Below is a list of sales in the Tennessee/Georgia region and a website that has multiple cities to search. If you do have one in your town, but have never been, it is worth the time to check it out.

Chattanooga, TN:

https://chattanooga.jbfsale.com/sellView.jsp

https://dkdkgoose.com/chattanooga/

Ringgold, GA:

https://www.theboutiqueforaweek.com/

Cleveland, TN:

https://alc4kids.wordpress.com/

This website has multiple cities listed:

https://consignmentmommies.com/

Happy Savings!

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The Real Cost of Higher Education for Teachers

The Real Cost of Higher Education for Teachers

According to the No Child Left Behind act and Common Core, public school teachers in grades pre-k through twelfth must have a teaching certification—typically the result of an undergrad teaching degree—and must partake in continuing education, earning a set amount of credits or hours per licensing timeframe.

Continuing education can take a variety of forms, including traditional college credits, seminars, or professional development courses, and specific requirements vary from state to state. Some states like Arizona require 180 clock hours, while others, such as Iowa and Maryland, require six semester hours. Then there are states—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island specifically—that have no state regulations for continuing education, instead leaving it up to individual school districts to determine what its teachers need.




For many years, most school districts provided its teachers in-house training and workshops to help offset the expenses of continuing education, but as costs become higher and budgets become lower, this is not nearly as common and teachers are having to find—and fund—their own continuing education.

Why Continuing Ed?

There’s no doubt, the better teachers teach, the better children learn. Improving the quality of teaching students receive is the most important factor for student success. That’s why there’s such a focus on continuing education. It’s designed to help teachers improve teaching skills, learn new technologies, and find innovative ways to prepare America’s youth for the future.

Although there’s a huge range of styles and topics in continuing education, here are some common themes:

  • Anti-bullying
  • Character development
  • Incorporating classroom technology
  • Common Core
  • STEM promotion
  • Literacy
  • Special needs

Real-Cost-of-Higher-Education-Pinterest

The Traditional Master’s of Education

For some teachers, earning a Master’s of Education is the optimum choice, but for others it’s not. Graduate level courses tend to be more expensive than other continuing ed options, with the advance degree averaging from $12,000 for less expensive online universities to $200,000 and up for Ivory League schools. According to the National Center for Educator Statistics (NCES), teachers with advanced degrees earn, on average, 11 percent more in public schools and eight percent more in private than their BA-only counterparts. Over the years, that 11 percent adds up.

Yet for new teachers, earning a Master’s degree right out of undergrad may not be the best bet. Nearly 50 percent of school teachers quit teaching during the first five years, and that’s not good odds for that kind of investment. Instead of going straight through to graduate school, consider getting some real classroom experience. Make a commitment to teach for at least two to three years before deciding to pursue higher education. By that point in time, you should know if teaching agrees with you and if it’s something you want to do for the rest of your life. If so, start looking into colleges and universities. If not, give it a few more years before deciding. After all, there’s other, less expensive ways to earn those continuing education credits.

National Board Certification

For those who are looking for a certification that’s recognized across the country, the National Board Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the best choice. Given from the independent non-profit, this certification takes more than a year to earn and is the highest mark of professional accomplishment in the field of education. To be eligible, you must possess a Bachelor’s of Education and have at least three years teaching or school counseling experience, as well as a valid teaching license, in applicable. Candidates must complete a computer-based assessment and create a portfolio that showcases their abilities. The certification process does has a $2,500 assessment fee, but since it lasts a lifetime, it will more than pay for itself. Most school districts offer salary incentives for those who complete the process and some may assist with the fee. Some teacher unions, educational institutions, and educational non-profits also offer assistance for National Board Certification.

Federal TEACH Grant

The federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant is a readily available grant for both teachers and students in the education field. You can apply for up to $4,000 per year, with a maximum of $16,000 for undergraduate studies and $8,000 for advanced degrees. To be eligible for the TEACH grant, an agreement must be signed that lists specific teaching requirements that must be meant within eight years. These include things like working in low income districts or in high demand fields. If the individual fails to do so, the grant becomes an unsubsidized Direct Stafford loan and repayment must begin.

Other Options

With thanks to modern technology, continuing education comes in a wide range of environments. There are online classes, weekend seminars, afterschool workshops, traditional classrooms, and self-study. Education for teachers has never been easier or more convenient. And although the cost of continuing education for teachers is going up, it’s making our teachers better and benefiting our students immensely.

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Teacher Savings on Car Insurance

Teacher Savings on Car Insurance and Major Vehicle Repairs

Despite one’s best efforts, sometimes costly vehicle repairs are unavoidable. This can be due to an accident, neglect, or a vengeful student skilled at avoiding camera detection in the parking lot.  When it comes to these repairs, it is good to know what car insurance providers have special deals for educators, how to save on engine repair, and how to save on interior and exterior body work.

Car Insurance Providers with Teacher Deals

If major repair work is required on a vehicle, and it is due to an accident, it will generally involve your insurance company. Two major car insurance providers that offer special educator incentives and discounts are Horace Mann and Liberty Mutual.

Horace Mann insurance proudly displays that they were “Founded by Educators for Educators”. They offer a program called Educator Advantage® that adds certain perks to their insurance policies. The most significant perk includes “a waiver or reduced deductible for covered vandalism losses on or near school property, or while at a school-sponsored event.” So if a passive aggressive student bent on revenge decides to slit your tires or key your car, it most likely will be covered. This program also offers added roadside coverage, new car replacement if a new car is deemed a “total loss”, assistance with veterinary bills if your pet is injured in an accident, and liability coverage if you transport students in a vehicle they insure.

Liberty Mutual offers Teacher’s Auto Insurance which also covers instances of vandalism on or near school property. They also offer Personal Property Coverage which covers stolen teaching materials or school-owned property up to $2,500. Another advantage is their Collision Coverage, which covers your car if you are driving it for school business.

Major Repairs on Engine/Transmission

According to Robert Bookout, owner of Bookout’s Tire and Lube for over 40 years, “The cheapest car to have is the one you already own.” Paying outright for repair damage can be costly. It may be difficult to not think about a new vehicle when one gets a $2500-$3000 repair bill on a transmission or engine, but in the end it is generally cheaper to pay this bill rather than purchase a different vehicle.

When it comes to the engine/transmission , a repair shop is generally better than a dealership because they have more specialized equipment. To find the best shop, ask other individuals about who repairs their vehicles and do a search for local providers. After narrowing the results, see which ones have the best reviews. Also if they offer any type of military or student discount, always ask if they will extend it to teachers as well.

Interior and Exterior Repairs

For interior repairs, an auto upholstery shop or an auto trim shop will usually be the best. Sometime engine repair shops can recommend a good provider for this; if not, it is back to the faithful word-of-mouth and internet search.

Exterior work can be completed in a few different ways. There are shops that will do all exterior work or you can choose to go to a specialist for each different item that needs to be repaired. If only repairing one specific part of the car, a specialty shop may be the best route since they will have more expertise in that specific area.

When researching a shop, ask them if they have used parts that they either receive from a supplier or a vehicle junk yard. If there is a local junk yard in your area and the shop does not partner with them, it will be worth your time to call and see if the junk yard has the specific undamaged part your vehicle needs; this will make the repair cost significantly less.

For tire repair, ask local shops if they keep any moderately used tires. Some shops advertise used tires, so check there first. If money is tight, and on an educator income it definitely can be, used tires will hopefully last until enough can be saved to purchase new ones.

In Closing

Many non-accident repair bills can be avoided by simply keeping up with vehicle maintenance; you can read how to save on that here. Since many repair bills can quickly reach thousands of dollars, using the tips listed above will help keep the price as low as possible. This leaves more money for us to buy classroom supplies; just kidding!

The author would again like to thank Tommy and Robert Bookout for their expertise in writing this article.

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6 Top Continuing Education Scholarships for Teachers

6 Top Continuing Education Scholarships for Teachers

Often dubbed a labor of love, there are many challenges associated with the teaching profession. Chief among these challenges is the cost teachers face when continuing their studies or pursuing career development opportunities. This list of six top continuing education scholarships for teachers is most useful for those who are committed to making a lifelong career of educating the nation’s children and powerfully impacting lives.

The Renshaw Fellowship

Administered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), the Renshaw Fellowship has three grants available to its fellows – 5 awards of $15,000 each, 3 awards of $10,000 each, 7 awards of $5,000 each. Applicants must be members of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and currently pursuing their doctoral studies or have applied to doctoral programs in education. Awardees can use the funds at their discretion to cover either living or tuition expenses. Students attending pre-professional programs such as in medicine, law, divinity or business are ineligible.

AFCEA Educational Foundation STEM Scholarships

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Educational Foundation Stem Scholarships benefits at least 50 students working towards a degree or license that will allow them to teach a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering or math) at the grade K-12 level at a US school. The scholarships value between $2500 and $5000. Applicants must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited college or university. Those working towards their license must have received at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM major. The expected date of graduation or completion of studies cannot be in the same year the scholarship is to be awarded. Undergraduate students are ineligible.

E.A.C.H. Early Childhood MINNESOTA

The aim of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood MINNESOTA scholarship program is to improve commitment and stem high staff turnover in the field by encouraging early childhood and school-age care professionals who want to further their education and improve their compensation. T.E.A.C.H (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) offer varying types of scholarships, with most awarding recipients with benefits that cover majority costs of tuition and textbooks, along with travel stipend and paid release time. To be eligible, applicants should already be working as child-care professionals or early childhood educators, and gained acceptance into a Childhood Development or Early Childhood Education degree program at an accredited two or four-year college in Minnesota. Center directors, approved trainers and professional development specialists, family child care providers, and staff at early childhood and school-age care programs are eligible.

Paul R. Wolf Memorial Scholarship

Paul R. Wolf Memorial Scholarship program, administered by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, is meant to encourage college students who display keen interest in entering the teaching profession with specific focus on teaching Surveying, Mapping, or Photogrammetry. A scholarship of $3,500 is awarded to the selected student who must be a member of ASPRS and enrolled in a graduate program that will allow them to pursue a career in teaching one of the three subjects mentioned.

Prospective 7-12 Secondary Teacher Course Work Scholarships

The Prospective 7-12 Secondary Teacher Course Work Scholarships is administered by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and supported by the Texas Instruments Demana-Waits Fund. A scholarship valued up to $10,000 is awarded to a college student to help finance their studies as they pursue a career as a secondary math teacher. To be eligible, applicants must presently be completing their sophomore year of college, and scheduling for full-time study at a four or five-year college or university. Applicants need to be studying toward a diploma that will allow them to become certified teachers of secondary school math.

TEACH Grant

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is a federal grant program aimed at giving students financial assistance as they pursue their teaching and education degrees. The grant, valued up to $4,000 per year, is awarded to students completing or planning to complete prerequisite course work for pursuing a career in teaching. A condition of the grant is that the recipient sign an agreement, committing to work in a high-need field, at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing their course of study or otherwise no longer enrolled in the program for which the TEACH Grant fund was received. Eligible students must be enrolled in a TEACH Grant eligible program, and be scoring above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test or maintaining a cumulative GPA no lower than 3.25.

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8 Tax Savings Tips for Teachers

8 Tax Saving Tips for Educators

With tax season upon us, you may be crunching numbers, collecting tax documents, and wondering about a possible refund.

There are a few ways for you as a teacher to potentially receive even more of a tax refund! Learn how with these 8 Tax Saving Tips for Educators.

1) Educator Expense Deduction

Educators who teach kindergarten through twelfth grade and work at least 900 hours a year at a school providing elementary or secondary education can use the $250 deduction for unreimbursed expenses. Married educators can deduct $500 for these expenses, using $250 individually.

Who exactly can use the deduction? Any of the following as long as they meet the school and 900-hour requirement.

  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Instructor
  • Principal
  • Aide

Expenses include books, supplies, and computer equipment used in the classroom. Some restrictions apply to the deduction and decrease the amount an educator may take. An example is taking tax-free withdrawals from Coverdell education savings accounts.

2) Income Outside of School

Anytime you make income outside of your W2, you have to report the income yourself. This “self-employed” income is subject to taxation and can incur a penalty if you’re not withholding enough or paying it throughout the year.

If you have a side hustle or even tutoring in the summer where the check is made out personally to you, you need to be either withholding more tax on your teacher’s salary to cover the tax for your side project or you can set up quarterly payments.

Working with your tax professional can help you set up the correct amount with either strategy.

3) Continuing Education


If you take courses that you cover the costs for personally, you can deduct up to $2000 a year. This amount may differ in higher income brackets. While this is not yet a permanent deduction, the Compromise Tax Bill was renewed for 2015 and 2016.

This deduction is an above-the-line credit meaning it decreases your overall adjusted overall income that is taxable. This helps about other deductions dependent on your AGI as an added bonus.

Pursuing continuing education? Be sure to check out our article with 6 Top Continuing Education Scholarships for Teachers.

4) Charitable Donations

Throughout the year, you may be asked for many donations as a teacher well-known in the community. Be sure to keep record of these as they do add up. This is an itemized deduction on your tax return. If you have other deductions like mortgage interest and other itemized items, this category is a good one to keep up with.

Also, if you buy anything that you donate to your school, these can become a charitable donation as well.

5) Working Parents Deduction

While you’re educating the young minds of the future, someone may be educating or watching over your even younger mind of the future.

Whether using a babysitter, nursery, day care, or preschool for childcare, working parents can get a certain amount depending on income and age of the child. Keeping receipt of these expenses can help get you a larger refund.

6) Student Loan Interest Deduction

If you have lingering debt and interest payments, you can deduct up to $2500 for tax purposes. The great thing about this credit is it comes off of your taxable income. This won’t be affected by whether you itemize deductions or not.

Single filings under $80,000 for their adjusted gross income qualify for this deduction while married filing jointly have an AGI limit of $160,000.

It covers interest payments from loans that helped pay for tuition, books, room and board, and other necessary expenses for continuing education. There could be some adjustments if you have employer assistance or Coverdell withdrawals.
Tax Savings Tips for Educators

7) Travel Expenses

If you travel to conferences, events, and school-sanctioned conventions, you can keep a log of your mileage and get a tax deduction. Also, if you have an overnight stay, lodging and meals can become a factor for tax savings as well.

Any educators required to travel between different school buildings during their work day can also log the miles to deduct as well. Checking up on the yearly mileage rate can help you calculate the tax break.

8) Medical Expenses

If you itemize deductions and have  medical expenses that you paid out of pocket (premiums, fees to offices, medical transportation, etc.) that exceed 10% of your AGI, you can deduct these expenses.

Only the expenses that exceed this amount can be included in your itemizations but can help out on your refund.

Finding That Tax Break


With these tax saving tips for educators, you can find a few ways to help bring back more of your money come April 15th. Working with your tax planner can help you make 2015 a great year and even start creating your best tax strategy for 2016.

We are happy to share that a couple of companies that offer educators free tax software. The First is Turbo Tax, which makes a promise of “Max refund, guaranteed.” File your Federal & State Taxes for $0. An alternative to TurboTax educators might consider is OnePriceTaxes.com, which offers “Easy, Accurate & Fast Online Tax Filing”.

This article contains information for general guidance only. Please consult with professional accountants, tax planners, and financial advisors on specific financial situations.

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