Category Archives: Frugal Homeschooler

Do It Yourself No-Cost Driver’s Training for California Homeschoolers: Homeschool Hangout

Today we are talking about how you can conduct your child’s driver’s training in the state of California if you are a private homeschooler for no cost. Yes, you heard me. You can legally conduct your own driver’s training for your child as an independent homeschooler in the state of California. How awesome is that? 

So first up, I am not a lawyer. I do not pretend to be a lawyer. I don’t even play one on television. This is purely what has worked for us and is not constituting any form of legal advice. Once again not a lawyer not giving legal advice.

We all know in public school now that they don’t really offer driver’s training and many don’t even offer driver’s education. As a homeschooler (and just a person who values money) I was very intimidated by the cost of paying for driver’s training. So when I started hearing rumblings by people who’ve been around a little longer than me saying you don’t have to pay for driver’s training. I was like what? So the real question is, how do I save $400 for 6 hours of instruction? To be clear, driver’s training is usually just about 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. I got pointed in a direction by a friend and the research began! 

This is the process that worked for me. I will be very honest, I’ve read a lot of the education codes having to do with homeschooling in California. I didn’t really find anything in the DMV write ups (vs forms) or in the education code regarding this. Basically, I haven’t found a law or law explainer. Mostly, I just found forms. But, I have done this process from the beginning all the way through to a licensed driver with my 17 year old. We are about to begin it again with my 15 year old.

You can use this process to do both driver’s education and driver’s training. We only did driver’s training. Frankly, our time was worth the $10 we spent on a Groupon for a driver’s education class. But as I said, this is a process good for both if you would like.

The big part of this experience is going to be guided by the DMV form DL396. Basically, this goes to the occupational licensing section of the DMV. So let’s take a look at that form real quick.

A Look at the DL396

  • The first thing you do is choose your type of school. If you are here, I am assuming you are a Home School or Private Satellite Program.
  • Now enter your basic information. This will match the PSA information. A CDS code is only issued to schools with more than 6 students so if you are part of a PSSP, you need to get that from your group admin. For those of us with less than 6 students, we don’t have one. Nor do we have a School ID number. Don’t worry about it, leave them blank.
  • You are the requester, not your PSSP if you are in one. This is basically where you want it and who they will follow up with if there are questions. 
  • The date of request is the date you are doing this.
  • At the bottom of section one you can put the dates you need them. If you want them ASAP you can put today’s date but if you don’t need them until the next semester, put that.
  • In Section 2 you just select what applies to you. We are not public or charter schools. So don’t check it;). Then check the next 2 boxes in Section 2. This just says that you are going to teach the actual law and responsibility to your student and keep the records. 
  • In Section 3 there are a variety of boxes and you only choose the ones that apply to you. 
  • You are not a private secondary school really. A school like Fresno Christian or Memorial would qualify as that. Don’t check those.
  • You will need to include a copy of your PSA.
  • Decide if you are doing both Driver’s Education and Driver’s Training and mark the appropriate boxes.
  • You are not teaching “non-classroom” Driver’s Education. If you hire out Driver’s Education, they will issue the completion certificate. So leave all 3 of those blank.
  • Section 4 is just your expected amount of students for the year. That’s it.
  • Section 5 is where you list anyone who will be part of the official teaching and mark parent. Because you are a parent, you don’t need to worry about a teaching credential or a background summary.
  • Then sign it.

That is it for that form! Next, we move onto DL396A. Another fancy-sounding form but it just requests supplies. You put your school name at the top and select what you need. Remember that you are a homeschool. The majority of items come in private secondary or homeschool. So just make sure you choose the homeschool option. 

You will also need to keep a copy of DL803 in your drawer. Some people say to send in a copy every year, I haven’t found anything official that actually says that. So I just keep it in my file cabinet. It tracks your issuing of the completion certificates. You don’t actually do anything with it but keep it in case there are rogue certificates out there, you can answer for where yours went.

That is basically all there is to it! You need to mail in the completed DL396, DL 396A, and a copy of your PSA. You will get your supplies in the mail and are good to teach! There are more stories and anecdotes in the video but this written article seems to be long enough to bore you. So I leave you to watch the video for all the details of how we personally handle it with our kiddos. Let me know if you have any questions!

Through Walk of the California Homeschooling Affidavit (PSA) for 2017-2018

Here is a walk-through of this year’s PSA that independent homeschoolers in California need to fill out. This is only for homeschoolers that do not take part in charter schools and are not included in a larger group that files for you. 

Not any real changes from last year and is still super easy. If you need to get more details on how to homeschool in California you can pop over to How to Start Homeschooling in California for all the information and relevant links. 

(This is not legal advice by any means but a basic walk-through based on my knowledge of 10 years of homeschooling in California. )

10 Fun & Educational Youtube Channels & Playlists

10 fun and Educational Youtube

Youtube is a fun and scary place. There are so many things there that it is hard to sift through the cat videos for something of substance. That is why I did some sifting for you! Here are 10 fun and educational Youtube channels and playlists perfect for any homeschool family or nerd!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego! Nothing like a great nerdy throw back! A user on Youtube (Bubblebear83) has put together a playlist!!!

TED talks to watch with kids is a playlist that TED has put together.  Some great talks!

Doodling in Math Class by ViHart is one of my absolute favorites! We have been watching her since before she was working for Khan Academy. She is NerdPie’s favorite;). 

Mathemusician Stuff is another great ViHart play list. I love music and math, need I say more?

Crash Course is a series done by the VlogBrothers. It is a ton of subjects and super entertaining. My kids and I really like it. It is probably considered high school level but all my kids watch most of them. 

Crash Course Kids is just like Crash Course but aimed at elementary aged kids. 

Space Time is done by PBS Digital Studios. It is really fun, interesting, and well done. And who doesn’t love space?

PBS Game/Show is obviously done by PBS. It is all about video games and that is inherently cool. It isn’t a review show but actually about gaming and video games. Like things like How old is Virtual Reality.

It’s Okay to be Smart is the last PBS show on my list. Joe Hanson hosts it and talks about science and life. 

Life Noggin is another science in life channel. They talk about things like sleepwalking and science of super powers.

Bonus: This isn’t a playlist but a grouping. Remember Eureka? It was a math series on PBS back when I was a kid. It is cartoony and mathy and awesome! Check it out! 

Yes, Youtube can be so educational! So check out some of these great lists! And what awesome educational faire do you watch on Youtube? Let me know in the comments. 

10daysbutton This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 


10 Math Card Games

10 Math Card Games NerdFamily


It isn’t shocking that math skills are built by repetition. It is also well known facts that we remember having fun and if we are learning at the same time, we remember that too! In that spirit here are some fun math games to play with your kids! All you need is a standard deck of cards. You will have learning and quality time! Can’t beat that!

1) Multiplication Math War: Flip cards and who ever yells out the multiplication fact first wins the cards!

2) Guess my number: Basically 20 questions. Are you a factor of 10? Are you higher than 3?

3) Make the highest number: Deal out 4 cards. Who ever can make the highest total (using addition or multiplication) wins.

4) Go Fish Add Up/Subtract Down: This is great for preschool kids. If you have a four you could ask for a 5 or a 3. Teaches number order.

5) Largest pile: Come up with a total goal (say 20) then deal out cards evenly among the players and who ever can get to 20 with the largest amount of cards wins. You can chose addition and/or subtraction.

6) Addition Math War: Flip cards and who ever yells out the addition fact first wins the cards.

7) Factor Family: Deal out 5 cards and the first person who can make a factoring relationship with all 5 wins. Say you get a 2, 3, 5, 10 and 6. You could go obvious and say 1800 (all multiplied together) or go a bit smoother with 60. 10 time 6 is 60 and 5, 3, and 2 are factors. The lowest number wins because that is the best factoring relationship.

8) Skip Series Rummy: Like regular rummy but instead of runs (1,2,3) or groups of 3 you are looking for skip runs (2, 4, 6, or 1, 3, 5).

9) Sum 10 memory: Instead of looking for boring pairs you are looking for pairs that add up to 10.

10) Make up a math sentence: You are dealt a card. You must make up a math sentence that results in that number. Round 2 is to deal out 2 cards. 1 card is the answer to the math question and 1 is in it.

10daysbutton  This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 


Fun around the Lego site

Misfortune's Keep(Edited)

Do you like playing with Legos and want more bricktastic action? There is lots of special features, games and videos that I’m going to lay out to you right here right now. This post will tell you my favorite things and why I like them.

1:Watch product videos and mini movies. For almost every product there is a product video. The product animations using the pieces that you get in the sets. Plus it has a descriptions of all the moving pieces. My favorite is set number 70605 Misfortune’s Keep. It has hidden cannons, disc shooters and the pirate jet taking off from the launchpad. It also has four-armed djinn Nadakhan possessing the soul of famed teacher Sensi Wu. 

2:Play different games of different types. There are many games, some I haven’t tried, that go along with the lego stories. My favorite is called Skybound. The evil Djinn Nadakhan is stealing parts of NINJAGO Island to rebuild his realm of Djinjago in the sky. Playing as Jay you must battle him and his gang of SKY PIRATES to rescue Zane, Nya, Lloyd, Cole and Kai to take back the stolen lands and rebuild NINJAGO.

3:Watch short stories on Lego city made by  other kids. On Lego city you can watch Fan Created Videos made by other kids. They make it using the LEGO Movie Maker app. These use Stop Motion Animation to animate the app.

4:Look at the cool sets available. On the Lego site there is information and images for every set. Click on Products, choose an image, look on the top, and click products again. There are so many products to look at. You can also look at Lego sets on Amazon.

I hope this post has filled you in on the fun you can have on I hope you can have as much fun as I always do. 



This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 


Fun with Coding


What can be more nerdy than coding games? By that I mean games about coding, not writing games in code. That would be a different post entirely. I am a huge believer that every one needs to learn how to program in today’s day and age. It isn’t just for kids who someday want to be engineers but for anyone who may use a computer and do business. But it isn’t boring to learn at all. 

A look at the site on my Lenovo Yoga!

I started putting together a fun list of coding games and activities and then I realized that there was a hub that had them all, So let me go through the list of great coding activities that they have!

Star Wars:Building a Galaxy with Code, Minecraft Hour of Code, and Code with Anna and Elsa all deal with blocks of code that you arrange into features, environments, and structures in the various worlds. I believe that these were all released specifically for the Hour of Code. 

Then you get into the tutorials games in Javascript. Tinker has a great game with their Code Monsters. They build in logic steps to fight. There are different levels of difficulty. There is also the Khan Academy tutorials. My kids are big fans of their Javascript tutorials. 

Thinkersmith has a full unplugged activity available. It has to do with students putting together simple instructions and then having them followed exactly. It teaches the programming thinking without a computer. Something commonly refereed to as a low level computer science;).

 Have a tablet or phone? They can try Lightbot. It deals with developing the logic for programming, especially dealing in loops. 


So have your kids check out for some programming fun and learning. 

10daysbutton This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 

Directed Lego Play

Lego Glasses

What can be nerdier than quality Lego time? Nothing! But even with the geekiest kid sometimes they hit a wall. The whole “I’m bored” and “I don’t know what to do” happens even with Lego fans. So what is the nerdy parent to do?

Directed Lego play

The idea of directed play is the idea that you lay out a road map or help your kids develop a road map. When they are toddlers directed play often means things like a play schedule where you play with the kitchen set for 30 minutes and then 30 minutes with the toy animals. But what does that look like with older kids?

Ideas. It is all about helping them have ideas. Yes, you could just buy them a set of themes Legos but that doesn’t last forever;). Help your kids find their inspiration and figure out a building project before they sit down. You can go through your house or life and come up with ideas. For example, most of my kids wear classes. So that inspired my oldest to make Lego glasses. So come up with an idea and have them go work on it! 

LegoAdventureBookThere are also tools you can get to help! My kids received a copy of The Lego Adventure Book. It has blueprints of how to build a variety of things, many of which are real life items.

My kids loved it because it gave them a starting point to make more complex things.

My daughter made a restaurant. In it she put an ice machine that she saw in the book. She has also used a lot of other components to create a whole scenario that she then made a story and played it all afternoon.  

There are a bunch of these books in the series! 


If you don’t have books you also have the Lego site! They have all the building instructions online for free! So if you are scouting around looking for ideas you can actually get the instructions for free. Then just pair them with the blocks you have and adapt from there. 

So help your kids find a project, inspiration, and a focus!!! 


 This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 


5 Free Online Math Game Sites



Here in the Nerdfamily house we love both math and video games! It is a great way to get your math skills sharp, develop new ones, and have a ton of fun. I thought I would put together a list of great free games but I thought it would be better to have the Nerdster do it! So this list is all written by him!

Shepard software is an educational site that has many games of all sorts of themes. I really like how they have fun games that really make you think. And there are quiz’s that test what we know.
Hotmath is a site with a few math games. I like how it has just a few games but all of them can be set to suit you. You can play math games of different types. (note from NerdMom: This has junior high and up games)
Funbrain is a site with a bunch of games for kids young and old. It is cool how I can do something young and easy or at my level. It also leads to one of my favourite games: Poptropica!
MathBlaster is a game that needs a profile but be warned . . . Unity or FireFox is needed to play. I like how they have space themed games and non-math activities. And you can play with friends!
MathPlayground is full of games. I really like how it has equation creations that use math to draw and animate. I also really like sugar sugar, where you use drawing to solve problems.

10daysbutton     This is part of the 10 Days of Nerdy Fun!!! Make sure you hop over to see what other great post of nerdy fun that will be shared! 

Amazing Box of Free Stamps and Educational Resources!


I got a phenomenal box of goodies from Stamps Teach Plus! If you are a homeschooler, or any type of educator, and have students in 3rd through 5th grade you qualify! They only send out boxes July-December but take sign ups all year!

There was so much great stuff in the package they sent me! They had great curriculum ideas of every sort and genre! From people in history to quarter horses to Superman! Check out my video and sign up for your own box!



Free Printables for Geeky Valentine’s Day Cards

Geeky Printable Valentines
Kids go out every year looking for Valentine’s Day cards that represent their personality. But when you pop into the shops rarely do you find great geeky Valentine’s cards for the geeky kids! And when you look online they can be quite pricey. So why not print them off for free? Here are 4 geeky Valentine’s Day cards with a varying level of crafting to get them into give able shape!

First up are the straight printables!

Brain Power Boys has a collection of great “boy friendly” Valentine’s that my girls love too! They range from robots to superheros and are super cute! Just print and hand them out!

Heidi Schulz has the most adorable Doctor Who Valentine printables! They cover everything from Oods to Daleks to Angels. These are another print and go!

If you want to do just a bit more work we can pop over to a Star Wars theme! Design Wash Repeat has the coolest Yoda Best Valentine’s Day printable! They get kicked up to the next level with just the addition of a glow stick!

And if you want to go even geekier and nerdier… the coolest for last! Left Brain Craft Brain has awesome Light Up Circuit Valentine’s. While they sound complicated, they are so easy! If you can use white glue, you can make these!

Remember, even geeks can represent with their Valentines! So how are you and your kids letting your geek flag wave?