Quick Tips for Saving $ on Next Year’s School Books

Trying to stretch your homeschool budget? Here are a few quick tips to help you think creatively and save money on next year’s homeschool books.

1. Spend some time researching what books/curriculum you need and prepare a list. It’s hard to catch a bargain if you are not sure what books you want or need. If you are not settled on the specific books, then make a list of the subjects or unit study themes you plan to work on so you can still bargain hunt efficiently.

2. Do you know another homeschooling family with children at different levels than yours? Approach them with the ideaJar of Money of swapping or borrowing books for the year. Doesn’t matter if they live five states away- media mail is still fairly inexpensive. You will have to be clear with your swap or trade partners on when you may need the book returned or how you want to deal with consumable materials. Making sure swapped books are labeled and covered for protection is also a good idea.

3. Used bookstores – take some time to browse the used bookstores in your area or the nearest big city. You may be surprised to find the books you are looking for on their shelves. Be sure to let the store know what you are looking for, they may have ways to source the books you need inexpensively. If the bookstore also buys books, bring your old books in- you may be able to earn enough in cash or store credit to get the books you need with no out-of-pocket funds.

4. Public Library- have you shared your book-list with the children’s librarian at your public library? Librarians are always making book purchases, why not see if the library will add the biographies or reference books or videos you are interested in to their collection? Doesn’t cost to ask, and it could save you money!

5. Private libraries – Ask the avid readers in your church, your relatives and non-homeschooling friends. Do they have any interesting books on planets or the biography of an explorer on their shelves? Share your book-list with friends – you might be pleasantly surprised to find what you are looking for on the shelf of a friend.

Green apple on books6. Check around online for free e-books and websites. You may not need to purchase a specific book at all- you may be able to collect what you need for free online. There are lots of homeschooling-for-free websites that can assist you. It does take a bit of time and organization to collect online resources, but time and organization don’t cost a dime. To save time, make your search terms more specific, rather than general.

7. AHE Swap – Are you a member of the AHE list? Then you can join the AHE Swap and put the word out for the books you are looking to buy. The families on the AHE Swap list may have just what you need. List a few books of your own and earn some extra book money at the same time.

Do you have an additional quick tip on how to acquire school books inexpensively? Please share your ideas in the comments!

Free Scripture Songbooks

We have a special surprise for you all! A very kind lady from Scotland, UK, named Josephine Woodcock, is sharing two scripture songbooks that she has written with all of our followers.

We have uploaded the songbooks to our Google Drive and we pray that you will be blessed. Book one is titled: Bible Texts To Fortify the Mind for the Time of Trouble. Book two is titled: Bible Texts and SOP to Prepare the Heart to Survive the Storm.

If you have any questions or comments about the music, you can contact Josephine by email at

If you would like to hear a taste of her music, you can listen to her on her YouTube Channel, truthforfreedom7.

Josephine Woodcock, author of the shared Scripture Songbooks

Thank you Josephine for sharing your talents with our AHE Family! May God continue to bless your efforts to share His word with others!

The Joy of Service Can Be Yours

The joy that serving others can bring is more than fulfilling.  You will find that if you are discouraged this will bring encouragement to your own soul.  If you are sad this type of activity will bring lasting joy.  If you are lonely this can bring friendship as you work together with others to spread the gospel.  If you are upset it will help you to focus outside of yourself.  

Serving others and reaching out is very flexible.  There is no set method or formula for going about it but there is one basic thing that will help you.  The first and most important prerequisite is prayer.  That may sound like a very generic prerequisite, but I’m very serious.  God has given me many outreach ideas, and they have all been inspired from God.  I can’t claim any of the credit.  Many times I have thought that God couldn’t outdo Himself with a particular idea, but He does!  He constantly gives me more ideas for reaching out and loving others in His name.  I promised Him one time that if He would keep giving me ideas, I would keep sharing them.  He has been more than faithful!!  Ellen White states that, “The Lord is willing to reveal to you wondrous things… Pray most earnestly for an understanding of the times in which we live, for a fuller conception of His purpose, and for increased efficiency in soul saving.”  (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 514)  The Lord is full of a knowledge of how to turn people’s hearts toward Him, and He has a storehouse of creative ideas as well.  He will reveal to you exactly what you need to know and do.  Just be willing to carry through with the ideas that He gives you!

God is calling each one of us to be missionaries in our sphere of influence.  It doesn’t matter your age.  It doesn’t matter your gender or your ethnic background.  It doesn’t matter your income level.  God designed that each one of us would be missionaries and feel the responsibility of winning souls for Christ.  On page 30 in volume 9 of Testimonies for the Churches, Ellen White says, “God expects personal service from everyone to whom He has entrusted a knowledge of the truth for this time.  Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can be home missionaries in their families and neighborhoods.”   Now is the time for us all to “let our lights so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father, which is in Heaven.  (Matthew 5:16).  Won’t you?

For many more outreach and service ideas, please visit

Thank you, Amy, for taking the time to share such wonderful ideas with us! I pray that each family will be encouraged to find a service activity and make it their own… so they can shine their lights for Christ! This complete’s Amy’s series on service. Please check out her website, listed above, for more great ideas!

Appreciation Goes a Long Ways

Nothing tends more to promote health of body and soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise.”  (MH)

There is nothing quite like a courteous, thankful Christian.  Someone not so famous likes to say to her children: “Never miss an opportunity to say thank you!”  In our busy society and in many lines of work people are extremely quick to complain and to let us know every problem and perceived wrong.  People are much slower to appreciate the positive and this needs to change.  Start to look for things that you can thank other people for.  

One of my very favorite little GLOW packs to carry around is this one.  The tag now generically says, “Thank you for your commit”MINT” to serving your community.”  We also insert a mint and a GLOW tract.  Keep some in your car.  Keep them in your purse or bag.  You can pass these out anywhere!  A grocery clerk who helps you, the bank teller, the pool instructor, the dry cleaning attendant, the mail carrier, any store, or basically anyone who serves you anywhere!  99% of people give a genuine thank you for being thanked.  One swimming instructor was moved with emotion at receiving this small gesture.  With a big smile and hug, she said, “Thank you.  No one ever appreciates me!”  There is always someone to appreciate.  Just look for them!  Incidentally, people love the Andes mint as well!  

In January of 2016, my mom and I had an opportunity to appreciate a lot of hospital staff.  My mom had surgery and before it even happened she asked me if we could make some bags to take back afterwards to say thank you to the people who would help her during her hospital stay.  With this in mind, during her stay we wrote down the names of the surgeons, the PA, the CNAs, the nurses…  My mom was a nurse for many, many years so she wanted to let them know that their care and hard work did not go unnoticed or unappreciated!  We gathered various snack and personal supplies, such as granola bars, crackers, gum, candy bars, chapstick, hand sanitizer, etc, and then put them into bags with medical looking thank you papers on the outside.  We always include a GLOW tract and we added a tag with the person’s name that said, “Thank you for your excellent patient care during our stay!”  When we took these up to the nurses station on the hospital floor that we had stayed on, the nurses were amazed and very grateful for this thoughtful gesture.  This type of thing can easily be done for nursing home workers, secretaries, office workers, garbage collectors, staff at your doctor, dentist, or chiropractor’s office, and a variety of other people.  Just think about those who make a difference in your life on daily basis, even in the small things.  

Saying thank you seems like such a small things but it can leave a lasting impression of happiness for the recipient.  

Thanks, Amy, for another great post! This was post 5 of 6. Come back next Wednesday for another post from Amy on service.

Reaching Out with Glow Tracts

If there is one work more important than another, it is that of getting our publications before the public, thus leading them to search the scriptures.”  (Christian Service 145)

There are a thousand and one ways to creatively pass out GLOW tracts.  Frankly, you don’t even need to be creative about it.  You could just pass them out or leave them places for people to find and that would be fine.  Sometimes, however, that is uncomfortable for people, both the givers and the receivers.  I have found that if you attach the Glow tract to some other little object, it’s much easier to give and it is happily accepted!  

There is not a right or wrong object to attach to a GLOW tract.  You can use anything, but I like to find things that I can buy in bulk and that I can get inexpensively.  Many times this tends to be an edible treat, but not always.  The first item I ever attached to a GLOW tract was a red and white mint candy that you can buy in packs from Walmart or the Dollar Tree.  We made little cards that said “You are worth a MINT to Jesus!”  We put the GLOW tract, the card, and the candy into a 4×5 recloseable bag that you can purchase from JoAnn’s on online.  One elderly church member was tickled by how easy it was to hand these out and how happy people in her small town were to receive them.  People love to get little gifts!!  The goal is for people to be so pleased with the gift that they want to read the tract that came with it.  Sometimes people are even more interested in the tract than the candy.

One particular time my husband and I were in a restaurant.  We were ready to leave so along with the payment and tip, we left a GLOW tract pack with a mint in it.  After getting up from the table we made our way to the restroom before leaving.  When we came out our server, along with another worker, hurried over to us and, speaking eagerly about the tract as she held it up, asked, “do you have any more of these?”  Of course I did!  I fanned them out in front of her and they picked the ones they wanted to read.  I was convinced that people truly are searching for truth, for comfort, for health, for Life.   Sometimes the Source can be found in a tract.  Or at least the seed can be planted!

We have also used Lifesavers and we have taken these little Lifesaver packs everywhere.  One time in particular we took them door-to-door with the purpose of praying with people and writing down prayer requests.  We knocked on the door and let them know who we were and that we had this little treat for them.  I then said, “we’re also praying for people in our community.  Do you have any special prayer requests that we can pray for?”  We had such good response to our offer to pray.  Some were in tears.  Some were so thankful for the prayers.  People had real concerns and were touched that we would pray for them.  We have even had people visit our church because of our time out praying for people in our community.  

One Christmas season we got the whole church involved in making Christmas Survival Kits to pass out in the community.   We needed to collect candy cane mints, tea light candles, gum sticks, Band-Aids, pennies, tea bags, Christmas GLOW tracts, and baggies.  Many people volunteered to donate  supplies and then one Sabbath afternoon after fellowship lunch, we all worked together to assemble the baggies.  We put together five hundred Christmas Survival Kits. Church members took some to give as they did errands.  The school group and are family took the rest of them all over town handing them to people and wishing them a very merry Christmas.  The towns people were very receptive of our gift.  At the bank we were even escorted back to the President’s office so we could share a pack with him.  Later we were accompanied around DHS so everyone working here could have a stress relieving pack.  

Thanks Amy, for another great post of inspiration! This was post 4 of 6. Come back next Wednesday for another post from Amy!

Celebrating ‘the Holidays’ in a Secular World

“When you have a holiday, make it a pleasant and happy day for your children, and make it also a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted. Do not let the day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank offerings for Jesus.” (AH 476)

In my family’s search to make the holidays more Christ-centered, we came across this quote and it has changed how we celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving specifically. We try to be very intentional about making the day pleasant for others and about giving our “thank offerings” to Jesus by way of Matthew 25:40. We enjoy the holidays more now than ever!! Here are a few of the things that we have down to celebrate these days. 

Our very favorite Christmas tradition started about nine years ago and it has evolved over time, but the idea is the same.  We get all sorts of holiday treats ready on Christmas Eve.  Not treats for ourselves, but treats that we can deliver.  We’ve made muffins.  We’ve bought muffins.  We’ve filled small gift bags with snacks and a hot drink packet.  We always tie things up with ribbon and attach a GLOW tract.  We have these ready because right after breakfast on Christmas morning we head out to find the people who are at work.  We made stops at hotels, gas stations, convenience stores, and Walgreens.  Each time we walk in and head straight for the cashier or desk clerk.  We start by singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and we hand them the goodies that we have.  After we finish singing we let them know how much we appreciate their sacrifice and wish them a merry Christmas!  People’s responses are amazing and they are what keeps us doing this year after year.  Many are so pleased that they’ve hugged us, asked us to sing again, started crying, or just beamed from ear to ear.  We always go home filled with so much joy and a little sadness that we ran out of goodies.  It really is the highlight of our day and we’ve come to know that giving “thank offerings” to Jesus really is the best part of Christmas.

For pictures and a few other ideas, follow these links.



Thanks Amy for this wonderful post full of ideas that we can personalize and try with our families! This is post 3 of 6. Come back next Wednesday for another post from Amy.

Cultivating a Lifestyle of Service

The home is the child’s first school, and it is here that the foundation should be laid for a life of service.“  (MH 400)  

I am so thankful that my parents taught me the joy of serving others.  From ingathering as a little child to adopting a home-bound “grandparent” in elementary school to experiencing mission trips in academy, I recall many wonderful instances where my parents helped to lay the foundation for a life of service.  We cannot rely on our churches and schools or outreach programs to do this job for our children.  We must show them how to live a lifestyle of serving others.  Following are five ways to help you get your children excited about service to others!

  1. Make serving a priority in your life!  Stash a blessing bag in your vehicle to give to the next hungry homeless person you see or invite someone for supper who you know is eating alone tonight. Take soup and bread to someone who is home-bound. You can even find shelters and soup kitchens that will let you bring small children to volunteer alongside you.
  2. Give your children responsibilities at home.  Teach them to serve you and one another by washing the dishes, replenishing the toilet paper, and taking out the trash. Affirm their efforts. 
  3. Read books about service and kindness.  A couple of our favorites are Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle and I Like Giving.
  4. Fit giving into your everyday routine.  While shopping, pick up a few extra nonperishable food items to donate, pick up trash alongside the road while taking a walk, or make an extra loaf of bread for the neighbor.    
  5. Say thank you!  Never let a gift or a kind deed go unthanked.  Find opportunities to thank those who don’t hear it often like the mail carrier and the trash collectors. And don’t forget to thank your children!

The earlier our kids see this lifestyle of service in us, the greater chance we have of equipping them for a life of compassion and service for God.  In serving others the blessing is two-fold.  A huge blessing goes to the one who receives, but I believe you will discover that the greatest blessing is in serving. 

Thank you, Amy, for some great encouragement in adding service to our days. This is post 2 of 6. Come back next Wednesday for another post from Amy!