Category Archives: Business Venture Adventure

A Little Bit About Me

I’m honored and pleased to be featured in Voyage LA, an online magazine featuring LA’s most inspiring stories.  If you’d like to learn  more about me, my experience, and my reasons for opening a homeschool curriculum and consulting business, take a moment to read this interview.

Meet Penny Ross of Tools for the Home Educator in Torrance

One of the challenges about starting Tools for the Home Educator has been the tension between not wanting to draw too much attention to myself and yet, understanding that the business is based on me and my knowledge of the homeschooling market.  I hope that this article will help to build my reputation while avoiding braggadocio.

Can I help you as you educate your children at home?



Two Months as an Entrepreneur!

THE logo v1 colorTools for the Home Educator is two months old! So, what am I learning? (Listed in no particular order)

Tuesdays are better days to sell books than Thursdays. Why? I don’t yet know – please enlighten me!

Sunday night is the best time to catch my target demographic on Facebook.

Saturdays don’t draw any more people to buy books or take workshops than weekdays.

I LOVE books! It’s hard to do paperwork when these wonderful stories are just crying out to me from my shelves. So, I’ve read several books while you all thought I was busy running a store!

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Tips for Budget-Minded Curriculum Shoppers

As the homeschooling market has grown in recent years, so have the number of companies seeking to entice you into purchasing their curriculum. But Pile of bookssometimes those materials and resources can cost a small fortune! What’s a budget-minded homeschool parent to do?

Tip #1 – COMPARISON SHOP.  For example, the 4th edition of Saxon Math 76 costs $103.60 today when purchased directly from the publisher, while you can get it at Christian Book Distributor for $82.89 and Rainbow Resource Center for $76.95. Look at more than just price, however. Discounters may have different return policies than the publisher or author does.

Tip #2 – SHOP ONLINE FOR USED CURRICULUM.  Search using the product’s ISBN number (either a 10 digit or 13 digit International Standard Book Number appearing on the back cover).  Check listings carefully for the condition code and for notes indicating if the item has any highlighting,  missing pages, or if it has been written in. If you will be purchasing components from different providers (for example, a textbook from one and a workbook from another), check very carefully for not only the ISBNs but also for key descriptive words like “updated version.” Not every publisher issues a new numbered edition with updated ISBN number for each update of the book.   Continue reading

Seasons of a Life

Here’s a great post from one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp:

Ann’s post clarifies my tangled thoughts today as I leave behind a season of leadership at Hope Chapel Academy.  My time in this particular job and ministry is over.  My season of day-to-day mothering is over.  Something new is about to be birthed.  We have yet to see where Tools for the Home Educator will go — how God will choose to work through it.

But as I look back upon the seasons my life — Child, Married Lady, Career Woman, Stay-at-home Mom, Homeschool Leader — I so agree with Ann’s point:

You can have it all” — isn’t the whole truth.

No matter where you — it’s never all easy. A crop is made by all the seasons and the only way to have it all — is not at the same time… but letting one season bring its yield into the next.

This is how to have no fear —

each season makes a full year.

So, if like me, you stand at the crossroads of change, let us take comfort from Ann’s conclusion:

There are a thousand ways to be stretched thin and it’s the stretchmarks that a woman wears that can be her thin places, giving her more of God.

The only way to have it all…  is to have Jesus. 

And then like Him — to give it all away –  one quiet wave of grace after another.


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou could win a free 1-hour consultation or a free workshop when you sign up for email updates from Tools for the Home Educator! These updates will come out every week or two; I promise not to flood your inbox with daily mailings. Sign up for the updates at my website, .

The website is up! Not just the temporary page, but the real deal is now online. Check it out, and let me know what you think. It’s still very much a work-in-progress. I plan to add online registration for classes and workshops and photos too.  What else would you like to see on it?

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Birthing a Business

  • Lease signed!
  • Fictitious Business Statement filed!
  • Website Domain Name reserved!

Wow, Tools for the Home Educator is underway! Next month you’ll be able to find me at 25202 Crenshaw Blvd. #219 in Torrance. It’s a smaller space than I had originally planned, so I won’t have as much room for used curriculum or comfy chairs for browsing as I would like. But this space (188 square feet of office plus shared conference room and receptionist) is just the beginning – I can move to a bigger location as the business grows. Starting with a smaller initial financial outlay seemed the smarter way to begin.

Soon I’ll be looking for donated or inexpensive office furniture and bookcases. I’ll let you know the specifics as soon as I’ve graphed the dimensions of the office and figured out how to squeeze the most out of the available space.  And later, I’ll be ready to start accepting donations of used curriculum and to begin buying your gently used teaching resources.

In the meantime, please continue praying for the Lord’s leading in this business adventure and for the myriad details I still need to take care (opening a bank account, getting a resale permit, choosing a logo, and coordinating advertising – just to name a few).

Tools for the Home EducatorAdvice, Books, and Classes!

A Homeschool Business? Is it Possible?

I see several needs within our local homeschool community and this is leading me to a business start-up.  Here’s my current vision statement:littlestorefront

Imagine a room filled with tall bookcases of gently used, relatively inexpensive homeschool curriculum; a plush, cozy rug; and several comfy, cushy chairs. Add a coffee pot, tea kettle, and an experienced homeschool mom/leader. The result will be a homeschool oasis; a place where parent-teachers will want to come to peruse teaching resources, gather useful tips and techniques, ask questions, and receive prayer, encouragement, and inspiration for educating their children at home.

 In addition to the bookstore, services offered will include curriculum counseling,individualized consultations, and workshops. The plan is also to serve as a clearinghouse to inter-connect the many homeschooling resources and programs already available in the South Bay community. Ideally there will be adjacent space available for use by group classes and tutors. There is no need to duplicate services already available, but rather the need is to better match parents with existing resources and then augment as needed.

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