Thanksgiving Roll A Story

I've created a fun Thanksgiving writing prompt. All you need is a die and a pencil. With each roll you'll choose your description, character, setting, and conflict. Then you'll get to plug them into a story. It will look something like this:

Once upon a time there was a (description) (character) who lived in a (place). More than anything he/she wanted (conflict). But (then you get to create why they can't achieve or obtain their want). So, (then tell how they were able to over come it).

Writing prompts are really fun and are an excellent way to help kids to start writing. I even included a place for them to draw a picture of their story. You can download it here.


Thanksgiving Mad Lib

One of the ways that I practice grammar is by using Mad Libs. It is a fun way to help my kids remember what all the different parts of speech are. I made a fun Thanksgiving Mad Lib for my monkeys and I would like to share it with you too!

Just subscribe to Hippie Mama's newsletter and you'll get a free download.


Name That Noun

When I started homeschooling oh so many years ago, my oldest couldn't read very well. I decided to just take it easy and we started to play games instead of reading. It completely worked. He has become an amazing reader.  I used the reading games for all my kids and all of them can read well and actually enjoy it too.

I wanted some games for grammar that would do the same thing for my kids that the reading games did. But alas, I was not able to find any, so I made my own!! I am excited to show you my first game, Name That Noun. It's a fun game that helps teach about the four different types of nouns. You take turns turning over a card and read what is on it. It will say something like, book or grandma, you then have to decide if that is a person, place, thing, or idea. The game also comes with an answer sheet just incase you're not sure what the answer is.

I am using it with my 1st grader to teach him what a noun is, but all my kids like to play. You can download the game here.


Poetry and Tea Time

Every week we read poetry. In my mind it was going to be this beautiful scene where my darlings nestled in by me as I read lovely poetry. We’d sip our pretend tea and laugh and cry at the inspiring words. However, that is not what my kids want to do when we read. My girls might cuddle up to me, but we are sorely outnumbered by boys, and the boys would prefer to wrestle and talk about farts. 

I have found some helpful ways to trick, I mean, "inspire" them, to come and sit down for tea and poetry time. First, we have a legit, old tea set; I was able to find one for free! Second, since we don’t actually drink tea I let them pick any Kool-Aid flavor for our beverage; on cold days we have hot chocolate. Third, I literally sweeten the deal with some homemade delicacies. I make most of our treats out of almond flour and honey, and they are ridiculously delicious. And lastly, if they don’t sit quietly (within reason) I keep reading more poems. That probably sounds bad, but it is always done in fun. Of course when we finish reading a poem we all snap, because that’s how cool kids applaud poetry. 

My husband already had an impressive poetry collection. I have used his books at times, but I also want to know a little more about the poet and poem without having to put forth a lot of effort. That’s super lazy of me, but also very true. I found a great series called Poetry For Young People. They tell a little bit about the poet and some of the poems have explanations. 

My kids love our poetry and tea time. They don’t always love listening to the poetry, but they love my terrible British accent, our “tea”, and the treat. I have high hopes that someday the poetry will mean a little more to them, but for now I’m content to just have fun.


Math Worksheets-Subtracting With Regrouping

When you’re starting to homeschool it is easy to spend money all the new fancy books, curriculums, and supplies. I’m completely guilty of this. When I started I paid over $200 for the WORST grammar program on the planet! It was awful. You had to watch a long, horrible video everyday of the dullest teacher ever to be able to know what to teach the next day. I dreaded watching it every time.

Although it was a terrible program it taught me that just because something costs a lot doesn’t make it better than something that is inexpensive or even free. When my kids are starting to learn math I found that it saves us a lot of money to not invest in a math book until they have their basic math skills down.

And if I have learned anything with homeschooling it is to try to make everything more fun. There’s no doubt that kayaking is fun, so why can’t subtraction practice be fun as well? Combine the two with this kayaking themed worksheet and answers from When you’re done, find more ways to practice subtraction here.

I personally learn better if I can watch someone else doing something, so I made this video of how I teach subtracting with regrouping. The weirder I am, the better my kids do. I’m sure that is one of Newton’s Laws.

10 Reasons I Still Love Homeschooling After 10 Years

Can you believe it? I’ve been homeschooling now for 10 years! A lot has happened in the last 10 years; I’ve had more kids, I’ve moved a few times, and life has thrown us some curve balls that completely blindsided us. One of the things that hasn’t changed is my love for homeschooling. It is a decision that I never regret. Believe me, there have been days that I thought I was losing my mind, days of exhaustion, and days of crying (the kids and me), but for every bad day we’ve had there have been dozens of great days.

I thought I would put together my top 10 reasons why I still love homeschooling. As a disclaimer I got really excited writing this and overused the word love. My apologies, but know it is because I’m truly passionate about having my monkeys home with me.

1. My children have not become social rejects. I don’t know why so many people think that homeschooled kids will get no social interaction. Do you really think I lock my kids up in the basement so they won’t see other humans? No! My kids have lots of opportunities to be with other kids. They have church activities, jobs, sport teams, dance groups, and co-op, just to name a few. I also have a lot more say about the caliber of kids that my monkeys are surrounded by. Good friends make a huge difference. My kids actual wonder how school kids have time to hang out with their friends when they have so much homework to do. Which brings me to #2.

2. No homework!! Did you read that? Absolutely no homework. My husband said that technically everything we do is “homework” and then laughed because he thought he was so funny, but you know what I mean, no school work at night; when they finish their school work, they’re done for the day. They now have plenty of time to do whatever they want. Play with friends, read, play their instruments, go outside, or go and do something fun as a family. Which conveniently brings me to #3.

3. Lots of time for family and vacations!! I love the flexibility we have with our schedule to spend time as a family. If we want to go on a little trip, we go. We want to stay out late one night; we sleep in the next morning and start school a little late. Also, we’re together all day. Maybe that sounds like your living hell, but I absolutely love it. I love how close I am with each of my kids. My husband also takes a kid every now and then and goes on lunch dates. I love that they get to spend quality one on one time with dad.

4. My kids can learn at their own pace. When I started homeschooling I thought my kids needed to be at a certain level; it turns out, they don’t. I had a very hesitant reader, we went back to the basics when he was in first grade and he was barely reading. We made it fun and enjoyable instead of being frustrated with the difficulty he was having with reading. By 4th grade he was reading the Odyssey. I learned very quickly to just relax and go at my kid’s pace. Some of my kids are above their level on math and others are struggling. I am able to push the ones who are able to keep up and slow it down for the ones not understanding. Eventually, they all catch up when they’re ready.

5. My kids have life skills. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen 20 year olds complain that they don’t know how to “adult”. I used to laugh, but now I don’t think it’s so funny. These kids know how to pass a test, but have no idea how to prepare a meal, do their laundry, run a house, or maintain a yard. I think it is great that I get to teach my kids how to do these things. My oldest three are working on being able to cook 10 different dinners, 5 breakfasts, and bread without any assistance. All my kids do their own laundry, clean the house, and maintain the yard. My kids being able to take care of themselves is what inspired my parenting by neglect. Essentially, I’m training them to put me out of a job. 😃

6. My kids are developing a love for learning. To me, this is huge. At the end of the day NOBODY cares if you aced High School. Seriously, nobody. Some of the most successful people I know did terrible in High School. To be honest, I barely passed. I would rather have my kids studying and learning on their own because they are passionate about something instead of being really good at passing tests. My oldest boy reads science books, for fun. My 2nd boy reads economics books, for fun. Yes, that sounds incredibly nerdy, but I love that on their own time they are studying. 

7. My kids have time to be kids. I love this. When I was a kid I unsurprisingly did a lot of weird things. I climbed trees, made The Kool Klub, put on performances and then made the neighbor kids pay to watch me, I rode horses, got bucked off horses, and all sorts of other weird things. I love watching my kids build tree houses, make plays, climb trees, play kickball, and all the wonderful weird things they do. The other day we were given some hand me down clothes my kids were so excited to play dress up that I had to postpone school for an hour just so they could play. I love that!

8. This is kind of a selfish one, but I get to keep learning. I am studying right along with my monkeys. I have read so many books since I started homeschooling. I have studied history, science, and I even do math with my kids. I’m reading poetry and listening to classical music. I even know who Plutarch is and I’ve read some of his writings. I look up Greek philosophers for fun. Homeschooling has awakened my own passion for learning.

9. Homeschooling saves us money. I save money on not having to buy school clothes, I don’t have to pay any school fees, and I don’t have to contribute to the millions of fundraisers that schools have. I don’t have to get backpacks or all the supplies that schools require. I save on gas on not having to drive my kids to and from school everyday. With all that extra money lying around I am able to spend it all on books.

10. And finally, life is too short to not spend time with your kids. Recently, there was a little girl I was following on Instagram who had a tumor and despite her family and Doctors' best effort, she passed away. The family happened to homeschool and cherished all the time they had with her before she passed. I don’t mean to be morbid, but life is way too short to not spend it with the ones you love. My oldest is almost 16 and I only have a few years left with him before he moves out of the house. I want all the time with them that I can before they go their own way. 

There you have it. My top 10 reasons why I still love homeschooling. I asked my husband why he loves homeschooling. Here are some of his reasons: Our kids are independent thinkers, smaller amount of negative peer pressure, the time we have with them, they’re getting a good education and developing a deep love for learning. He kept going on and on, but I couldn’t type fast enough and he didn’t want to repeat himself. 

I then thought I should probably ask my kids if they even like homeschooling and if they do, what do they like about it. Luckily, they all said they like it. Here are some of the reasons why they do: It’s a lot of fun, we can study things that we’re interested in, I can be myself, if I have too much energy I can run around outside for a little, I like being challenged, I’ve developed a love for learning, there’s no detention, I like being able to do fun things as a family in the day, and my very favorite response was, we never get put in the corner with a dunce cap on. Seriously? Dunce cap! I don’t even know where he got that, but I burst out laughing.


I Am Too Afraid...

Through the years I have had moms come to me letting me know that they want to homeschool their kids. They pick my brain on schedule, curriculum, running the house and so on. I get so excited for this mama and her family, only to find out that in the end she is too scared to homeschool.

I get it. Ten years ago I had the strongest feeling that I was supposed to homeschool my babies. At the time I had five kids and my oldest was only six. Some people were supportive, but the majority was not. I was told how hard it would be, how it would be impossible to homeschool so many kids especially with a baby, I don't have a teaching degree and other little tidbits of negative thoughts. 

I panicked. You're right. I'm completely inadequate to teach my own kids. Who do I think I am? So I stuck my kids in school, for a month. A month of hell. I had a first grader, kindergartener, pre-schooler, and two babies. I was driving non-stop, volunteering at the school, and doing homework at nights. I had to do all of this with my two littles in tow. I'm actually glad it was so awful because it gave me the courage to pull my kids out of school.

When I pulled my kids out I had no idea what I was doing. Absolutely no idea! So, we painted pictures and read stories while I started researching homeschool. Here is the best part, nobody died and nothing awful happened. It was quite the opposite, I grew, they grew, and we grew closer together as a family. 

It is easy to look at someone who has homeschooled for years and compare yourself to them. They make it look so easy and fun. The truth is that it took a lot of work to get there; a lot of praying, studying, and many, many mistakes. 

So how does one get past the fear and find the courage to homeschool or -insert whatever you're too afraid to do here-?

First, let's look at the circumstance: I want to homeschool my kids (or whatever it is you want to do)

Second, what's your thought about it? Do you think it will be too hard, that you won't know what you're doing, or that you're going to mess up your kids and they'll end up living in the sewers?

Third, when you believe that thought how do you feel? Scared, anxious, stressed, nervous.

Fourth, what action do you take when you feel that way? When you panic and believe that you can't do it, well then you better put them back into school.

Fifth, the result. This could be a plethora of things. Depending what your reason was for wanting to homeschool in the first place. You could still have to drive to and from school everyday, not enough family time, too much homework, and so on.

Let's switch this all around and give it a more positive spin.

Circumstance-I want to homeschool my kids.

Thought- I can do this. I have taught my kids to walk, talk, eat, and a whole lot of other things. I am confident I can teach them.

Feeling-Excited for the adventure and at peace that I won't be on someone else's schedule.

Action-Spend time with your kids. Make memories and have fun growing together.

Result-You get to spend quality time with your family and have strong relationships.

Now the circumstance is the same in both scenarios, the only difference is your thoughts. My little nephew said it best when he said, "Whether you think you can or can't, you're right."




Homeschooling Through Junior High and High School

A while back I was asked for ideas on homeschooling through Junior High. I feel like, at least for me, that when something is unknown it can feel intimidating. I too, was worried about how to homeschool my children when they got to Junior High, but as we have now done it for the last three years I realized that there was nothing scary about it.

When thinking about how to homeschool through Junior High and High School the first question you need to ask yourself, and your kid, is what is your plan? Do you want to graduate from High School? Do you want to skip it all and just start with college classes? Do you want to get your GED? Do you want to go to a trade school? Once you know the answer to that question it's much easier to pick your plan.

My three oldest have opted to get their GED. Their school schedule is pretty much the same as before, but it includes time to study for their GED. The fun thing about their schedule is that it also includes subjects that they are really interested in. My second boy loves economics and finance, so his schedule includes books on those subjects. Just reading that previous sentence screams, my kid is homeschooled. Seriously, what 14 year old reads economics for fun? Also, my boys have time allotted each day for personal development. My oldest boy loves writing, so that would be a great time for him to work on his book. 

A friend of mine has her two kids enrolled in Junior High with a path of not graduating. That way they can take the fun classes at school and do the rest at home. Some of the classes they take are: theater, wood work, and orchestra.

Other friends of mine have their kids in a special charter school for homeschoolers. They only go to the school twice a week and do the rest at home. When they graduate from High School they will also graduate with their Associates.

And my last example is my friend with a daughter who is an incredibly talented painter. She plans on getting her GED and then attend art school.

There really isn't a wrong way to do it. To me, it is more important to instill a love for learning than it is to teach my kids to pass a test. Also, in a world that seems to just keep getting busier I am so grateful that I get to have so much quality time with my kids, especially my teenagers.

I asked my kids what their thoughts were on being homeschooled through Junior High and if they felt like they were missing out on the social scene of school. They don't feel like they're missing out on anything. Sure, they have days where they get a little bored, but overall they're quite content. They said they have plenty of time to hang out with friends through co-ops, church activities, seminary, and because they don't have homework in the afternoons they have plenty of time once they finish their school work. 

Homeschool and Newborns

Ah, homeschooling when you have a brand new baby. That sounds ridiculous, and to be honest, it kind of is.  There is a quote from Shakespeare that I love, "Expectation is the root of all heartache." Too true. I had high expectations that because I'm a seasoned mom and seasoned homeschooler everything would be so easy. But new baby made sure to spice up our lives and make things really exciting.

We did school all the way up to the birth of the baby, and all the kids watched the birth, so that counted for science for at least a couple of weeks. :) We took the full week off right after baby came, but they were all acting so bored that by the second week we started doing school again.

Our school became very different after baby. If I wasn't completely exhausted I would read aloud to the kids and then meet with them individually for their "Minute with Mom". If I was completely passed out on the couch with baby they would do school on their own and then play outside so they wouldn't wake me. 

Now that the baby is two months old we are getting into a better routine of school again. Thankfully, it is summer and we have a much lighter load. The kids are only required to do math, scriptures, and literature. 

We started homeschooling when baby number five was six months old. My oldest was only six so we didn't need to do much. We'd read, play some games, and write our letters. Pretty simple. When I had baby number six I let my kids watch educational shows like Magic School Bus. We took a longer break from school with that baby, but they get bored when we take too big of a break.

So, basically what I'm saying is there is no right way to homeschool with a newborn. There are so many unknowns that you just have to do your best. Somedays you actually teach, somedays the TV teaches, but eventually babies start sleeping and everything works out.



I think learning about geography is fun. I have high hopes that if I continue to teach my kids about geography my husband will one day take us to all the places we have learned about. I've even gone as far to start teaching the kids languages of places I want to visit. I think I'm wearing him down.

Any who, because I don't have a million dollars and I'm not willing to start selling my organs for cash we have to learn about geography in a different way. 

If you didn't know already, I like to do things in a more creative/unique way and geography is no exception. I'm a big fan of learning things through songs. I know some pretty random stuff because I know them in a song. Many years ago my sister in law showed me a great book called, Singin' Smart. It has a bunch of awesome stuff put to music. It has all the presidents of the US, explorers, days of the week, states, countries, and a whole lot more. 

During a term I pick an area of study. I print off a map that has all the names of the countries or states. We sing along while looking at our map for about a month. Then, I give them an empty map and they work on filling it in as we sing. 

My daughter was willing to make this video with me so she could sing the song with me. Thank heavens she did!! Her voice is amazing! I sound like a poor animal dying.

Sexy Semicolon

Yes, you read the title correct.

Have you ever had to teach grammar rules to someone who doesn't necessarily want to learn grammar? It can be incredibly boring and painful. 

Years ago when I was teaching my older kids about semicolons it just wasn't making any sense. So, I started being silly and telling them about "sexy semicolon". All of the sudden grammar was fun and they were understanding what I was trying to teach them.

I feel like if there was an award for most creative ways of teaching grammar, I would win. Enjoy my weird little video on Sexy Semicolon.

Summer School

One of my little darlings looked lovingly at me this morning and sweetly complained about how she did not want to do any school in the summer. I kindly gazed into her eyes and rolled mine. We usually do school throughout the summer, but this particular child is having a hard time right now not being like everyone else and she REALLY does not want to do school this summer.

Because of her general grumpiness about the whole summer school shenanigans we ended up having a great discussion. What would happen if dad decided not to work at all during the summer? He would not make money, we wouldn't have food, clothing, and eventually a house. What happens if you decide to not take care of your health and body all summer? You will gain weight, be uncomfortable, and possible health problems. We continued on with several discussions until I finally said, "What would happen if we didn't learn all throughout the summer?" She seemed to understand why I ask them do some learning throughout the summer, but we may need to have this discussion a few more times to really let it sink in.

With that being said, I don't want to overload them, or me. We have a very simple schedule and I wanted to share it with you. We only do school Monday-Thursday and as soon as they are done they are welcome to go and be wild and free. They still have to get up, eat breakfast, and get their chores done by a certain time if they want the privilege of playing with friends.

Everyday my kids need to do their math, read their scriptures, and practice piano. They all have a history book or a biography to read and a classic. I let them pick which classic they wanted to read. Yes, my son really did pick Odyssey. 

For my two oldest, who are 14 and 13, I gave them a little extra because they know what they really like. Ethan, wants to be a writer. He reads like a mad man and has been working on several books. He loves reading about how to be a writer. Porter loves economics and finances. I find it funny that my big guitarist who loves rock music is really, really into that stuff.  He also is doing a program through Praxis about being an entrepreneur. 

A very rough idea of our daily schedule goes something like this: 

Eat breakfast by 8:30, have all chores done by 8:45, read scriptures as a family, then everyone goes and works on their own stuff, while I take each kid in with me for about 5 minutes for, Minute with Mom, where I check their work from the day before. We eat lunch around noon. Then they can play with friends, be wild and free, or we go swimming. 

If a friend invites them to go somewhere early in the morning then they know that they have to get their school done the night before. 

Battle of the Brains

I think that if you give anything a clever name it automatically becomes awesome. I'm sure there is some research done on that subject to back me up, but for now you will just have to take my word for it.

Several years ago I came up with The Battle of the Brains. It is a major battle we have at the end of every term. I quiz them on all the new things we learned over the term, and some years I have even thrown in some physical challenges, just to make it more interesting. At the very end of our battle the winner is awarded a beautiful bouquet of flowers and bragging rights.

Our first event this term was geography. We had been learning all the states in the US. They were given a blank map and had to fill in all the states.

One of my kids actually got all 50 correct, I was impressed. 

Second event was translating Greek into English and breaking down word root origins. I realize both of these things make us seem super nerdy, but I'm totally ok with that.

The third event was math. They were timed with how fast they could do some multiplication problems.

The final event was a huge quiz. It covered what we had learned in Shakespeare, our artist, our composer, our poet, lakes and oceans, and basically anything else I wanted to throw in there. This was definitely the hardest part.

I then sent all the kids outside while I totaled up all the scores. Once the scores were totaled I called them all in for an award ceremony.

My Porter has been the champion for years, but this year he lost his title to his little brother, Joshua. 

Joshua got all the states correct and all of the Greek translations correct. He ended up missing one in math, but he had such a huge lead that no one could catch up to him.

Who wouldn't want to win this bouquet?!? 

After the winner has been gifted the grand prize we have a pizza party. Here is the catch, only kids who finished all their books are invited to come. Luckily, all the monkeys finished because it is super awkward when one of them doesn't.

Can you believe how much pizza they eat? Seriously, my kids are pigs. They went through four boxes like it was nothing. It is honestly quite impressive if I wasn't the one who was paying for it.


Studying Shakespeare can be, well, boring. Super, duper boring. Have you ever read Shakespeare? Here is a little tidbit from Othello:

'Zounds, sir, you're robb'd; for shame, put on
your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise;
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say.

What? Seriously, what?

Reading Shakespeare definitely has a beauty to it, but it can be incredible difficult to understand.

So, instead of just reading Shakespeare with my kids complaining and rolling their eyes, I decided to teach it a bit differently. 

First, I read this version of the play.  I really like these books. They tell the story in a way that anyone would be able to understand, even my very simple mind. They also have little drawings, which my kids think are funny, and let's be honest, I think they are funny too.

Second, I pick an exciting scene from the book and then we read the real scene in Shakespeare's own words.

And finally, one of my darlings rewrites the scene in a modern day, or whatever era they choose, setting. We then film it and they get to edit it in iMovie. 

The whole process takes us one term.

Here is their version of Othello. It's really good, I heard they were up for a bunch of Oscars.

Teaching Preschoolers How to Read

When I started homeschooling, all those years ago, one of the things that scared me the most was teaching my kids how to read. I know that probably sounds silly, but I was terrified that I would completely mess up and I would have these weird homeschool kids who couldn't read.

With each kid there have been different challenges. My oldest, who went to preschool and Kindergarten, couldn't actually read. When we started homeschooling I had to completely start over with the basics for him. We had to play games and make it fun. It took some patience and creativity, but eventually he became a really good reader.

My next three kids taught themselves. These ones trick you, thinking that you're amazing, when in reality, they're amazing.

My next kid could memorize very quickly. She could easily memorize all the little books, so I had to just take random words and really teach her how to sound them out. Once she figured out how to sound our words her reading really took off.

Now, I'm on my last kid. It is a bitter sweet thing to teach the last one to read. I'm including a few videos of how I teach little ones how to read. The biggest advice I have is to RELAX!! Don't think they need to be on any specific level on reading. Make it fun and enjoyable, and the love of reading will naturally come when they're ready.

I had to make two videos because my little monkey knew his first book too well. The second video shows how I teach him to sound out words. He enjoys reading and always wants to do more, so I do more. Some of my other kids could only handle one new page at times. I am very flexible and go with the mood of each kid. 

Power Hour

I was with some friends a while ago and they were telling me about quiet time. How there is a set time in the day where everyone is quiet. I think the idea of this is awesome, but the probability of it actually happening, I thought was low.

My house is crazy loud. I'm loud, my kids are loud, and my husband is loud. We then all try to talk louder than the other person so we can be heard. It is often ridiculous. 

I had nothing to lose, so I figured I would try quiet time. 

Day 1

I inform the monkeys that we are going to be having quiet time. There is crying, there is complaining, but after everyone has finally relaxed there is silence!! For 60 whole minutes there was beautiful, golden, no one talking, silence! It was awesome. Immediately after the 60 minutes there was pestering. Oh, but that golden hour was so worth it!

Day 2

No one cries. Wahoo! We are already progressing. I inform everyone that it is quiet time. I set out snacks on the table, they come to the table, eat, and do their school work. It was glorious. This time when the timer beeped no one pestered anyone else. Awesome.

Day 3

No one complains, cries, rolls their eyes, or even moans. We have victory!! They all came around the table, ate their snacks, and did their school work. 

We will be continuing with our hour of silence. We only do it Monday-Thursday and then they can be loud mouth schmucks the rest of the time. Another bonus from quiet time is that the kids actually got their school work done!! Hallelujah! Kids who were taking well into the afternoon to finish could now finish before lunch, or even shortly there after.

Also, during quiet time I can work with each kid one on one, in another room, and have no distractions. I love one on one time with my kids. They are my favorite weirdos.

Lastly, you may be thinking, "Hippie Mama, how in the world are you getting your kids to be quiet?" Well, I'm glad you asked. Duct tape is always an option, but I don't want anyone to run away, or call the cops. So we have natural consequences. If you're not quiet, you do not receive any snacks. And for some reason the all mighty snack is a pretty powerful bargaining tool. If that doesn't work for your kid, then let them know that they will lose a privilege that means something to them, such as, playing with friends, reading non-school books, and etc. 

Also, I changed the name to Power Hour, so it sounds super cool. Ask my friends, I'm great at making up names for things. Seriously, changing it to Power Hour has helped them think of the time as getting work done, instead of boring, quiet time. 

We have been doing this for a few weeks now and it is going well. Everyone knows what to expect, and everyone is quiet, even my wild four year old.

Best of luck to anyone else crazy enough to try this. I hope you also enjoy your glorious 60 minutes of heaven!