Join My Community Hangout! Homeschool Hangout

t is a new year and I have decided to finally start doing monthly community hangouts online! It will be a time to come, ask questions, get to know each other, support each other, and just generally hang out! It will be totally laid back and fun. You don’t need to be a homeschooler or in California to participate. You only need to be on my email list to join in. Right now, I am doing it on a Friday afternoon (the date and link will be emailed out) but I am open to doing it at other times.

But the communication and links for the meetings will be communicated through my email list! Now, through a comedy of errors, my list has disappeared. If you were on it before, I need you to re-subscribe.

I know you may be hesitant to give me your email. But I want to assure you that this list is just for communication with Homeschool Hangout and will never be sold! I am also not going to be spamming you. You will just be receiving Homeschool Hangout’s newsletter with announcements, updates, resources, and links to my content.

If you want to keep up with me and my crazy life, that is a different newsletter over on Substack😉. I hope this is something that interests you all! I want Homeschool Hangout to be a community that serves us all. Oh, in these online hangouts we might also be discussing some real in-person activities but more about that later😉.

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(Originally Appeared on Homeschool Hangout)

10 Tips for Stress-Free Road Trips

Who can afford to take 6 people on a plane for a vacation regularly? I can’t! If we flew anywhere, that be the vacation (plus some;). But one of the benefits of living in Fresno is that I am within driving distance of so many awesome things!

I know that the idea of taking your kids on a road trip can be daunting but with a little planning and smart strategies it can be fun and affordable for all!

1. Get a great dependable travel backpack for women and men! Yes, it should be good for both. This bag should have all your group snacks and necessities for while you are out adventuring. Make sure it is a great bag. I recently had my Day Owl backpack save my computer from a leaking water bottle on a recent business trip. Take the time to get a good bag to save your stuff!

Now, why did I say it should be good for women and men? You are on a family trip. That means it is a group so why should 1 person carry the bag the whole time? You want to make sure you can hand it off to anyone in the group and they won’t be embarrassed ;).

2. Make and use a packing list. Make sure to include cords and prescription meds! I even like to put which bag each thing should go in.

3. Make an itinerary. Are you eating out every meal or taking some with you? Do the attractions you are going to allow you to take in lunch? Lay out the rough schedule and add the food list to your packing list;).

4. Pack snacks for the car and the hotel. Make sure you include napkins, utensils, and the like.

5. Take a file folder with you that contains reservation confirmations, maps with directions, attraction addresses, and phone numbers.

6. Let your bank or major credit card company know you are traveling. They may place a freeze on your card if they don’t know for sure that it is you. When NerdDad and I had only been married a couple of years we went to San Jose for the Embedded Systems Conference and it was our first trip. After 4 days American Express put a hold on any new charges. It was not good, to say the least!

7. Do a little gas planning. Vacation spots tend to have high gas prices so if you could hit the last Costco or bargain gas on your way it could save you big! We have found the Costco in Carlsbad that we hit on our Legoland trips every year! Saved a good amount of money over a gas station right off the freeway.

8. Make sure electronics are charged for the car and then have a spot in your luggage where all the cords go!!

9. Put together a little first aid kit. Bandaids, aloe, wipes to clean cuts, etc. You will find it on the road but it is annoying and expensive to get back to your hotel and realize that you need to go find a place to buy expensive bandaids;). On our first year going to LegoLand NerdBug fell and needed a bandaid. Then NerdDad got a sunburn on his neck. The hotel did have Aloe gel but it was like $10 for a small bottle that didn’t have all that much aloe in it! Now we always pack the first aid kit;).

10. When you are ready to pack up and go home, use your pack list!!! I think it is pretty self explanatory;). I also recommend that after all the kids and luggage leave the room, 1 adult checks under beds, in drawers, and closets! Peace of mind goes a long way on that drive home!!

Come Fill Out Your 2023-2024 California PSA with Me Live! Homeschool Hangout

Is this your first time filling out the California PSA for independent homeschoolers? Have you filed before but wished you could have someone to ask the random questions you think of? Would you like to have me right beside you as you fill out your PSA for this year? For $10 you can! I will be doing more livestreams this year but this is the only one scheduled right now. So don’t delay because this one is coming up soon!

$10 must be paid before your registration is complete. Payment can be made by PayPal or Venmo.

Link to register (or fill out the form here on the page):

(posted first over on

5 of My Summer Essentials for Survival: Nerdmom’s Life

If you don’t know, it gets hot and sunny where I am. We are talking like 100+. I am fat and pale so I am not exactly made for this. Here are the 5 things I need in order to get through being outside, ever, during the summer. I have also had spots of melanoma removed so it isn’t shocking that various sunscreens feature heavily.

My 5 Summer Essentials

Facial Sunscreen

Facial sunscreen is always a must for me. I have a variety of products that love and they work differently for different circumstances.

The Trader Joe’s Facial Sunscreen is a cult favorite for a reason but it is super hard to get ahold of. I did stock up a bit at the beginning of the season but by the end of May, I already was struggling to find it. This lays perfectly under makeup but can actually make you come off a little matte so you won’t get a dewy look.

Since you can only get a few bottles of Trader Joe’s a year, I have to look at other facial sunscreens. I really like the Amazon brand, Solimo Sheer Sunscreen Lotion. It is a little more dewy but there is no white cast so it wears very well under makeup or alone. I also like the fact it is under $6 a bottle.

Regular Sunscreen

Of course, I need sunscreen for the rest of me, especially my arms through the car windows. I can’t be the only one, right? I have been pretty consistently using 1 sunscreen for days I am not in the pool. That is the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer dry-touch sunscreen. I really don’t like the feel of sunscreen on my skin, especially “body” sunscreens. This melts into my skin pretty well. I still feel it but it doesn’t make my skin itch or crawl. When I swim I tend to use whatever zinc-based sunscreen we have on hand.

Bamboo Bra Liners

I mentioned that it is hot here, right? And I am clearly a well-endowed woman. That creates a conflict of comfort. Years ago I discovered a bamboo bra liner at Lane Bryant on clearance, which made them like $20. Well, that was a stellar $20 spend! You just place them in the band of your bra and it totally takes care of the sweat (glow, perspiration, etc). I have worn them to China, Disney World, and numerous church picnics;). Luckily I found some more on Amazon for under $20 and bought myself and my daughters some. Winning! Go pick up some bamboo bra liners over on Amazon.

SPF Lip Balm

My lips need sun protection too so I have picked up some SPF lip balm. I specifically picked up the Sun Bum Tinted Lip Balm that is SPF 15. I chose this because it is tinted and so I can wear it without lipstick getting in the way. I can kind of look pulled together and be protected;). I am also looking at trying the Kiss Tinted Lip Balm from Revlon with an SPF 20. There are lots of colors to choose from with both brands and they are both about $5 regular price.

Waterproof Mascara

My struggles with mascara are real! I have to be really careful with what I normally wear because I tend to raccoon easily, even without heat or allergies. My current favorite is a Lottie London mascara but once it gets hot, everything melts! So I have 2 favorite waterproof mascaras right now. When I want dramatic, super fluffy lashes I go with ELF’s Big Mood Waterproof mascara. I admit it, I love the look of fake lashes and am way too lazy to actually wear them;). For a less dramatic look but still a look with a little bang, I like the iconic Lash Princess False Lash Effect waterproof in black. I know, I know, you are wondering why I don’t wear waterproofs all the time, right? It can be a pain to remove without a cleansing balm and I wear contacts;).

So there are some of my summer essentials!!!

How to Pull Your Child Out of Public School Over the Summer:

Now that the school year is over in many places there is a common question that I get asked. People want to know how to pull your child out of public school over the summer. Especially since the California Department of Education started pulling down the private school affidavit July 1st through September 30th. Well have no fear, it isn’t hard at all. Just take a deep breath and let’s get started. Just a note, the first step is not filing your California Private School Affidavit. If it is still up it is for the 2022-2023 school year.

Table of Contents

Submit a withdrawal letter!

This is something that intimidates people but there really isn’t a lot to it. There are basically 3 things to include:

  • Your student is transferring to “New School Name”
  • Effective date (will not be returning for Fall 2023)
  • Request a copy of all records to be sent to “address of school” and that it should be all records including health and disciplinary records.

That is all there is to it. Sign it and either take it in, email it to the proper person, or mail it in.  Then between October 1st and October 15th just file your California Private School Affidavit. If you would like a sample to modify and submit, you should join my Patreon! It is included in the files I provide to members!

What to do if asked for a completed PSA?

Tell them no.  Yes, I AM being serious. I don’t care when in the year they ask for a copy of the PSA, tell them no. The California Department of Education has provided public schools with a look up tool. All they need is to input the school’s name and it will verify that the school is registered. Also, you can’t file for the 2023-2024 school year until October 1st. And the California Department of Education Private Schools Department has personally emailed me that public schools should know better than to ask.

From the California Department of Education page:

” Affidavit Filing Period

The statutory filing period is October 1 through 15; however, the filing system remains open throughout the school year to accommodate new schools. Schools established between July 1 and September 30, shall wait to file an affidavit until the PSA filing period begins in October.”

What if they won’t provide the records?

First off, if your kids are elementary school ages the records don’t do all that much. You can just blow it off. But if you want them for any reason, they legally must give them to you. California law says that public schools must give the records to the new school. According to California Education Code section 33190, you are a private school even before you file the affidavit. Also, public schools accept Federal money. That then means under FERPA you are entitled to the records just as a parent.

Don’t let anyone push you around! You can totally do this, and the law says you can. This is really all it takes to pull your child out of public school over the summer. Seriously, you are starting on a fabulous journey for you, your children, and your family as a whole! Make sure you check out our Patreon and join our community!

You might also really like: Homeschooling in California: 10 Pros and Cons of Homeschooling You Need to Know

This post originally appeared over on

Kokua Sun Care Unboxing! NerdMom’s Life

I received some great skincare from Kokua Sun Care to try out. I can’t wait to see how it works and I will report back.

Should I Keep Vlogging? NerdMom’s Life Vlog

Things I Mention!

Join Our Growing Homeschool Community!

I am so excited to talk about growing this community and making it more of a community! I have been making videos and homeschooling for a long time. But as my children are getting older I can change my focus to being here consistently! Part of my vision is to build out more of a community and I will use Patreon to do it.

There are a variety of benefits and incentives to join in! Depending on the level, you will get quarterly webinars, online hangouts, a moderated Discord server for you and your families, and even private coaching! If you don’t need a community but want to support us, there is even a $2 level!

Please pop over to Patreon to get details and join our community!

A Look at a Week in the Life: NerdMom’s Life Vlog!

Most of the Things Mentioned

Cousera’s Google Project Management
Time & Tru Hat
Sunscreen Shirt
Cashmere Scarf
My Patreon Announcement Video
My Homeschool Hangout Patreon!
Free Comic Book Day Site

A Pro Nerd Family of Pro Family Nerds.