How to Homeschool and More on TaskCurrent

How to Homeschool and More on TaskCurrent

I’ve spoken of my fondness for TaskCurrent before, but now you might say we’re in a relationship.

I’m one of their featured authors currently providing streams on homeschooling, fitness motivation, and dealing with difficult people.

If you own an iDevice, I highly recommend you download TaskCurrent at the App Store.

TaskCurrent allows you to sign up for streams–a topic-focused series of mini blog posts with associated to-do’s. These are like little shots of wisdom and advice that take no time to read.

Here’s what LifeHacker had to say about TaskCurrent. I like that the developers want family-friendly content and they’ve been really wonderful to work with.

I’ve created one stream for new homeschoolers and those who love them.

If you’re brand new to homeschooling, you will love my How to Homeschool stream as it makes the process very simple, with the best resources to get you started. But if you’re a veteran, you’ll love my stream, too. It’s the perfect thing to recommend to people who ask you how to get started homeschooling. Have I mentioned that it’s free? You’ll find it in the education category.

I’ve also created two streams for motivating you in fitness and relationships.

The first is 15 Days of Fitness Inspiration. I’ve collected 15 videos, articles, and blog posts that will help you finally get fit. It’s like 5-hour Energy for fitness, without the shakes and insomnia. You’ll find it in the Health & Fitness Category.

The second stream I authored that may be of interest is a series on dealing with difficult people. I combined a number of blog posts I’ve written on the topic into a series of advice. Unfortunately, this has been a really popular topic for me! You’ll find it in the Relationships Category.

I will have more streams available in the future, but for now:

  • please download the free app
  • subscribe to one or more of my streams
  • and spread the word!
  • If you like my streams, please rate them. (If you don’t like them, I don’t mind if you’re too busy to rate.)

When you share this on your favorite social media, you will help people find my streams (and other helpful streams) on TaskCurrent and God willing, help change people’s lives. Thanks in advance for helping me help others!

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10 New Apps to Get Things Done

10 New Apps to Get Things Done

One of my hobbies is trying new applications to make life easier, more productive, or just more fun. These ten applications have been added to by productivity arsenal in recent weeks.

  1. ActiveInbox You may recall my love affair with Goodtodo. The Goodtodo website and accompanying iPhone app helped me get to inbox zero and stay there. There was only one thing I didn’t like about it and that is that it isn’t fully integrated with Gmail, my email client of choice. In other words, while I could forward emails into Goodtodo (and that’s the point), I often had to go back into Gmail to access emails with lots of links, as these aren’t clickable in Goodtodo. I had heard of ActiveInbox before, but was put off by the Getting Things Done moniker. I don’t use every aspect of the GTD approach. What I didn’t realize is that ActiveInbox does everything that Goodtodo does and more. While it’s not meant to be your primary task manager, that’s exactly how I’m using it and I love it. I have the paid version and feel it’s worth every penny.


2. Springpad Everyone knows Evernote and lots of people love it. I liked it, too, but had a         particular frustration. I didn’t like that I couldn’t make a checklist that I could easily rearrange         or easily make a note that was a task to complete. Springpad does that and more. The user         interface is much more appealing to me as well.


3. SmartPad Even though I have my tasks neatly organized in ActiveInbox, I have days when I don’t know how I’m going to fit it all in. One app I love to use in that situation is SmartPad. This iPad app tells you how much you can get done given your schedule and time you have to work. If you dawdle, you can watch the tasks you hoped to accomplish fade from possibility. SmartPad will soon integrate with a SmartDay website which will make the app even more user friendly.

Mark Forster Free_app_wunderlist_task_manager_1



4. Final VersionWunderlist The man pictured above is not an app, but Mark Forster, who comes up with a new productivity approach every few months. As long as you don’t think of the “Final Version” as the be-all-end-all, but rather as a fun way to gamify your task list, you might enjoy it. I like to use it when I am feeling unmotivated and then Wunderlist is the iPhone app I use. As you tap the stars to indicate that this is a task you prefer to do before the last starred task, the items are put in order at the top of the list for you to begin working on.


5. Clear This is another iPhone app that works for doing the Final Version or just as a great list app. The beauty of it is its simple, clean interface. To make an item a priority, move it up on the list and it’s in the red zone. To add an item between items, simply spread your fingers apart to make room for the new one. If you just want a simple means of organizing tasks in terms or priority, Clear is a great option.


6. Schedule Planner Pro Research shows that we accomplish more of the tasks we schedule. This iPhone app not only allows you to schedule your tasks, but compare what you actually did with what you planned. It’s not perfect, but I love the concept and will use the app when I am working on schedule discipline.


7. Task Current I think of the  Task Current iPhone app as a Fun To Do list that I can use to inspire me or even as a reward for doing less-than-fun to do’s.


8. Fitocracy Fitocracy is a seriously addictive website/iPhone app for people like me who thrive on compliments. This diverse community will make you feel like a million bucks for completing your workout, whether you’re a seasoned exerciser or just getting started. There are groups for Christians, but I’ve found the whole community to be very supportive. I was doing squat thrusts at 11:00 p.m. just to finish a “quest” and earn the approval of my fellow fitocrats. What on earth?

9. Daily Feats In case you were wishing there was a pat-on-the-back app for things like housework and parenting, I have good news. Daily Feats gives you points, social approval, and even tangible rewards for doing tasks related to your goals. While company reps are often giving out what are called “props” and sharing links to their products, I’ve found it to be welcome as the products are appropriate to my goals.

10. 750 words Are you a writer who wishes there was a social gaming app to help you get writing done? There is! Earn points for logging 750 words into this writers’ website and compare yourself to others with writing muscle.

What new apps have you found for getting things done? 



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High Score House Scores Well With Chores

High Score House Scores Well With Chores

I believe I have tried just about every chore system ever devised. My current system of having morning and evening chores that rotate daily has lasted the longest. But the kids and I seem to thrive on change. So when a friend sent me a link to High Score House, a free online chore manager, I thought I would give it a try.

I’ve tried computer or iPad-based chore systems before, but when you have six kids and one computer, it just creates computerized chaos. But we now have multiple computers and several Apple devices that can use the High Score House website or app. I’ve been having some difficulty with logins on other computers, so we still have some conflict over whose turn it is to check off chores, but I’ve alerted the site developer and I’m hopeful the problem will be resolved.

Here’s what I love about High Score House.

  • First, the website and apps are FREE! Their website mentions that they will have some paid add-ons in the future. But you’re only risking a little time in using it now.
  • Second, I have an easy way to check to see what’s supposed to be done. I look at the iPhone app and I can not only see which chores each child was supposed to do, but the school subjects as well. That has been a serious problem for me. Each child has his or her schedule of chores and homework to complete, but it entailed a lot of page flipping to see what was supposed to be done on a given day. Often, it was just too much trouble to check.
  • Third, the system takes very little time to use. With other systems, being late in approving chores was a big problem. That isn’t the case at all with High Score House. I can see “old tasks” for each child. I can also approve everything a child marked as complete with one click or touch.
  • Fourth, rewards can be added that appeal to every child. I added a number of rewards like stay up an hour later, get ice cream, and choose dinner that I knew they would like, but I’ve asked them for their ideas, too. They keep coming up with them. Kids can choose which rewards to work toward and can see their progress.
  • Finally, I love High Score House because the kids are motivated to do additional unscheduled tasks. In fact, the kids have been fighting for the chance to sharpen pencils and organize movies into cases! I have plans to add additional tasks like putting game pieces back into boxes and even scanning photos.

As of January, 2012 there are some changes I am hoping to see with the program, too.

  • First, I hope they add more chore icons. They have some good ones now, but more would be great.
  • Second, I would like the kids to be able to collect their star points with one click. They seem to have to collect them individually, which is somewhat rewarding for them, but creates a line at the computer.
  • Third, I hope some of the bugs get worked out. I need to be able to login without using a Facebook account. When my son clicks on the star for the workout task (yes, that’s in there, too!), it locks up the whole website. We’ve used a different icon in the meantime.
  • Fourth, I would love to be able to see all my kids’ activities for a given day so I can quickly approve tasks without going in and out of menus. That’s an issue when you have six kids!
  • Fifth, I would have had an easier time entering chores if I could have entered it once and then clicked on the days and times each child was to do it. Currently, you can only specify that more than one person is to do a chore on the same day and time.
  • Sixth, my kids have requested that they be able to pool stars to get one reward. That isn’t a huge issue as I’ve explained they could use their stars for a cash reward that they could pool.
  • Finally, I would love to see some kind of motivating chart or calendar so kids can see how they’re doing over time.

Overall, High Score House is a great, free motivational tool that can be of benefit to homeschoolers. I haven’t been asked to review it, nor have I received anything for doing so. If you try it, let me know what you think! Are there other systems that work better for your family?


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