All posts by LeeAnah James

Product Review – Night Zookeeper

There are so many games and supplements out there for math but we found something pretty special for to use for our English and creative writing supplement. Let me introduce you to Night Zookeeper. This online learning system is designed to foster a love of writing through a series of prompts. Students are asked to design characters, give them personalities and describe their actions.

Ease of Use: The kids enjoyed the ability to login on their own. They have access to their characters in the “Your Zoo” tab, they can write, respond to messages, play games and watch lessons.

Your Zoo – Students have the option to create characters or collect characters drawn by other users.

Write – Students can free-write, follow prompts, or even read books. A built in messing platform also allows them to comment on the writings of others.

Games – Students are encouraged to sharpen their writing, spelling and reading comprehension skills through a variety of games. A leaderboard encourages competition and gives them the opportunity to follow new friends.

Lessons- These are engaging instruction videos that introduce things such as sentence structure and parts of speech.

Blog – The blog highlights writings and drawings from various users.

Projects – Various users are able to collaborate on and share literature on specific themes.

Messages- These messages come from the Night Zookeeper program encouraging new activity from the student.

Pros: The program is very interactive, great colors and looks very modern. Night Zookeper does a great job of encouraging the student to take the next step. It doesn’t seem to be paced by grade which allows students to see writings of others at various proficiencies.

Things of note: I was caught of guard by the messaging feature but decided to monitor it rather than remove access completely. The Night Zookeeper tutoring team moderates all content that comes through the platform before publishing. A child can’t do anything in real time – their movements (writing, drawings and comments) get moderated first to ensure a safe and positive environment.

Parent Dashboard: I liked that the parent portal allows you to see exactly what the child has written as well as the comments they have given and received.

Pricing is just $5 a month per child and can be taken in one lump sum of $59.99 for a single child subscription and $77.99 for 2-3 children. The monthly single price is $12.99/month for a single child subscription and $15.99/month for multiple. 

I would recommend this. It took some prompting to get my kids to get started but after the first few uses they requested to “play” Night Zookeeper which makes it a win in my book.

21 Lessons from a 30 Day Family Vacation

1. Self care matters. For the first time in as long as I can remember I took time to do what I wanted. When I was tired I took a nap. When I wanted to be creative I stopped what I was doing and took time to be creative. This time has allowed me to be intentional about filling up my cup.

2. I love being outside. I can stay inside for weeks at a time focusing on a project or flushing out an idea but this vacation has taught me that I really love being outside and there’s something recharging about being in that energy.

3. I love seeing outside from inside. I love being able to look out on my window and see nature almost as much as I love being a nature itself.

4. Habits matter. This month I really got to watch my habits pay off. Continuing my morning routine has been such a blessing not only to me but to my team and the people that I love and serve.

5. Forgiveness may mean changing perspective. I started this vacation heartbroken and I realized that sometimes I have to change my perspective in order to forgive. Rather than focus on what someone else said or did I took time to focus on my expectations of my relationships and whether or not they serve my life.

6. Fear is the biggest hinderence to success. This is one of the best times of my life financially and it is mind-blowing to realize the only thing that held me back from achieving this earlier in my life was being afraid. Being afraid of making fool of myself. Being afraid of not being good enough. Being afraid of investing in myself and losing. The best thing I could have ever done was invest in a coaching program that I couldn’t afford. It stretched me to figure out how I could afford it and as a result my life has changed.

7. Who you surround yourself with is important. Fill your circle with those who are wealthy: spiritually, physically amd financially. They may not all be the same person. I have always been spiritually wealthy. I have people that pray for me and nourish my soul. It’s my inheritance it’s been passed down for generations and as a result there is a peace in my soul that is unexplainable. I want to pass that on. I get to pass that on.

8. Prayer matters. Starting every day from a place of gratitude allows me to view my day from a perspective of gratitude, opportunity, and graciousness.

9. Take opportunities to lead. Sometimes it’s easy to hang out in the background and let others take the lead but I’m learning in this season I’m called to use my voice.

10. Take opportunities to follow. I’m also called in the season to listen. I have blind spots and when I ignore those who point them out I miss the opportunity to grow in that area.

11. Verbal fast are a thing. – “Take time to be quiet and to keep your peace.” Thanks Lucinda Cross

12. Kids are mirrors. My outer voice becomes my kids inner voice. I get to choose if that voice is critical or encouraging. If it encourages them to move out of fear or from a place of strong character. My foot steps become their roadmap. The way I give and receive love will be a model for them.

13. People have to be ready to make a move before they make a move. Some people want to be ready but just aren’t ready yet. Holding space for them may mean being available when they are ready but not pushing them until they are.

14. People who are ready to make a move thrive on accountability, encouragement and instruction.

15. Being a flawed leader gives others room to exercise their gifts. I don’t have to be perfect. When I show my flaws it show people what’s possible despite what they view as limitations.

16. Naps are awesome!

17. You don’t have to be loved in return. Live in love anyway. Some people may never have the capacity to love you the way you love them. The thing about true love is reciprocity is not a prerequisite.

18. When we lead with generosity we live in reciprocity. Luke 6:38

19. People will only treat you the way you treat yourself. People mirror your behavior of your treatment of self. If you want to be honored, show yourself honor. Thanks Monique Connor

20. Worry is prayer in the negative. Stop praying for the bad things to happen by feeding it energy. As a man thinks in his heart so is he.

21. Life is now. This past month has been incredible. I’m so grateful for this life that we have. We’ve been able to make in the past four months what we brought in for the whole year about 4 years ago. It’s taken work, intention, and for us to be uncomfortable at times but we are done putting off the life we want to live. Life is now.

If you want to connect with us and see what we are doing in our business to be able to homeschool full-time and travel the nation shoot us a message. We love helping others discover and live their purpose!

Mom, are you a preacher?


By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another. John 13:35 AMP

“Mom, are you a preacher?” Summer (age 8)

“No why do you ask?”

“You’re so nice, you’re never negative, are you a preacher?”

First, let me say I do have moments of negativity. I am human but it is sweet to see that my kids see and know my heart.

Initially, I told Summer no. Then this scripture was impressed upon my heart and I had to go back and correct my answer. I explained it to her like this:

“Is God in your heart?”

“Yes, mommy.”

“How do you know?”

“I feel God.”

“How do I know that God is in your heart?”

“See the Bible is clear in John 13 Jesus told His disciples that everyone would know them by how they love. Not by their wealth, not by their intelligence but by the way they intentionally and unselfishly show concern for others.

When you are kind to your brother or sister, that shows that you love God. 1 John 4:20 says, ‘if you say you love God but are mean to your sibling, then you are a liar.’ I know it is hard but the Holy Spirit can help you be kind.”

I don’t know if she got it and I am not confident that this will stop future fights with her siblings but I am blessed to know that she is paying attention to what I try so hard to do. Show God’s love. If you are a follower of God let me challenge you to love and have an unselfish concern for everyone you connect with today. Some people are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, lonely, or irritated. Be gracious, willing to forgive, and find ways to unselfishly show concern for others.


Thank you for the many ways you show me love. In you, there is no lack there is only abundance. I have more than enough love to give. You love me when I feel unloveable. You forgive me when I choose to do the wrong things. You let me know you are by my side when I am fighting for what is right. You have given me more than enough. Help me to love generously and unselfishly. Help me to be intentional about sharing the way you make me feel with others. Show me ways to make other people feel special without thinking about how I can gain. Please forgive me for all the times I withheld my love from others or treated others negatively. Help me be more like you. I love you and I want to be known as yours by my actions not just by my words.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Lesson I Hope You Get From Raising Dion ***SPOILER ALERT***

First let me warn you again this post will have spoilers so if you want to see the Netflix show Raising Dion without spoilers you’re going to have to check another review.

This review is solely based on my thought and not that of my children. They have not seen the movie and they probably won’t see it for sometime. The villian in the movie is too scary for one of our tender-hearted kids.

Raising Dion is a hero’s origin story about a young boy, his widowed mother, and his awkward an overstepping Godfather. When Dion starts exhibiting miraculous abilities the people in his life respond just as you would imagine. There’s so many feelings: shock, fear, doubt, and of course the desire to immediately protect Dion.

These feelings, coupled with the wild ride that is the discovery of Dion’s supernatural powers cover a glaring issue that you don’t recognize until the very end of the movie, if you recognize it at all. That issue is the sneaky adults.

Jason Ritter plays Pat, Dion’s Godfather in the movie. He is always there, accommodating and lets Dion get away things his mother would not. In the beginning of the movie Nicole (Dion’s mom) tells Pat not to let Dion have soda and ice cream at the pizza parlor because he got in trouble at school. That evening he lets Dion have both. Red flag #1 not obeying moms instructions.

Later on Dion is in a scientific lab where he isn’t supposed to be and Pat advises him not to tell him mom. Red flag #2 Pat aligning himself as an ally to Dion, a child, and not his mom, an adult. This type of behavior plays throughout the movie. Pat has little to no boundaries with Dion which as a viewer you may understand because this child has super powers. Who wants a superpowered tantrum?

Then it is revealed. Pat has powers too and needs Dion to heal him. His placating behavior had nothing to do with Dion being happy and everything to do with Pat exploiting Dion to get what he wants. This is called grooming behavior. Predators use this method to align themselves with a child they are drawn too in order to get the child to comply with their requests.

We see this dynamic play out when Dion’s mom finds him in the process of healing Pat and tells him to stop. Pat knows that Dion healing him will come at the cost of his life, yet he insist on Dion trying. Dion’s mom tell him to move away from Pat, to which he responds, “He needs me.”

Predatory adults will make a child feel as if they have a responsibility to that adult. So here’s a few things I look out for as a parent and things I teach my kids to look out for. Sneaky adults will initiate or even encourage secrets. They will say things like, “It will be our secret.” Instead of, “Its okay I will tell your parent.” Sneaky adults put their needs first even if it can cause the child harm. For example, taking them somewhere inappropriate or allowing them to be exposed to something “by accident” and not telling the parents.

So how can you combat sneaky adults? By asking questions. I ask my kids the following.

1. What was the best part?

2. What was the worst part?

3. Any secrets?

4. Anything weird?

5. Anything else you want to tell me?

I asked these questions no matter what. No matter where they go whether it’s Grandma’s house or to hang out with a new friend. This keeps them from being alerted if I feel like a person maybe a sneaky adults. It also gets them in the habit of answering these questions without feeling like they’re going to get in trouble. Hope this helps you and your kids recognize sneaky adults.

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Battling Perfectionism

I used to replay my day before falling to sleep. Every comment said, by myself and others. Every mistake made, actual and assumed and I would choose this self-punishment over rest. I would get up the next day, tired, defeated, frustrated and determined to get it right.

I had some good days. Days where everything went right. Silent pats on my back for a job well done, crises averted by my careful words and expert planning. This perfectionist attitude was taking over my mind.

The small fox destroys the vine. Let me tell you, those small foxes are tricky. They seem small, insignificant, and harmless but they are extremely damaging and life-threatening.

Small foxes can destroy dreams, destroyed dreams cannot manifest into destiny. So here are things I do to battle the perfectionist mindset.

1. Tell on myself- My husband is confident, funny, and honest. I trust him. So wither I say something that comes off too flirty or too cold I can tell him. He usually responds by teasing me and making me laugh. Sometimes I have to go back and apologize to a person I may have offended, but it helps to have someone I can be honest about myself with. I have learned that my greatest gift can also get me into trouble and that is my way with words. I have to totally rely on God to keep me in check.

2. Journal- If I don’t want to talk about how I am feeling I can write it down. I don’t write my mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, I change to focus and journal about a scripture or the things I am thankful for. (Philippians 4:8)

3. Say no- Jesus needed rest. Its okay to say no simply to take a breath. Sometimes we need to stop to clearly hear from God. (Mark 6:31)

4. Take the risk – If my only concern in failure I must take the risk. In the parable of the talents, a master was leaving his home to travel. He gave talents to each of three servants according to their abilities. One man invested and doubled his money, another also was able to double what he was given. The third man hid his talent. He made no profit so it was taken away. (Matthew 25:14-30). It was the man who was too afraid to act who was punished. Inaction is worse than failure.

5. Recognize and Appreciate the Seasons – Everything has seasons. There are some seasons in which I am able to accomplish so many things at once. It is as if times stands still for me. Then there are times where there are not enough hours in the day to complete even the smallest tasks. I have learned to roll with it. When things are running smoothly I seize the opportunity and when it is time to rest I try to do that too. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I hope these tips help you on the journey of self-care. Life can get hard so we must be our advocates for health and mental wellness.

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Eggs and Hearts

My four-year-old boy KJ is fun! He is rough and smart and… destructive. He often leaves a trail of broken toys, trinkets, and household items in his wake. He breaks things for different reasons. To see how they are made. Out of frustration or retaliation. Even just to see what the consequence will be.

I am trying to raise kind, compassionate, mindful children which meant I needed to address this issue. I needed to teach my son that not only was this action unappreciative it was also unkind and hurtful. These actions could have unforeseen consequences for both himself and others. While praying for wisdom concerning this manner God answered my prayer in the form of an idea.

So I went to work soft boiling a half dozen eggs. I wanted the eggs to be messy when broken but cooked enough so the kids wouldn’t get sick if ingested. I handed KJ one cooked egg and said,

“This egg is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

The first egg broke within fifteen minutes. I explained that this was my egg and I was sad that it was broken. He cleaned up his mess, then he was put in time out for 3 minutes. I gave him a new egg and repeated the speech.

“This egg is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

The next time around he lasted 30 minutes and this time when the egg broke it made a huge mess and left a trail of egg in his wake. He came to me crying (by now he understood the consequence that came with the broken egg. He tried to explain but I stopped him, reminding him that the egg was in his care and it was really important that he protect it. I told him,

“When we break other peoples things sometimes it affects other people too. Your sisters can not walk over here until we get this cleaned up, no one can sit in the chair we just cleaned until it dries. Our decisions sometimes have unforeseen circumstances.”

The time after that he held on to the egg for an hour. Each time he took more and more care of my egg. By bedtime, he held the egg close carefully aware of AR (19 mos.) and SJ (6). He was learning his lesson. So was I. See peoples hearts are like these soft-boiled eggs.

Wither in friendship or romance when one opens their heart they are saying,

“This heart is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

I am so proud of my little guy and I pray that I am as careful with hearts as he has learned to be with soft-boiled eggs.

The Great Homeschool Convention Review


This year I had the pleasure of going to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Texas. It was amazing! There are so many things I want to share, so I’m going to break it up by days.

Day 1

On Thursday the 15th my mom and I get to the convention center and start to set up. I have to be honest I was overwhelmed. I did not realize how many vendors would be there. I also did not realize how elaborate some of these booths would be. They were amazing! Some booths had a setup that allowed you to walk into the convention center and look up and see their advertisements or displays right away.


I was feeling a little anxious and inadequate. So we dropped all of our boxes off with our product and run to the Dollar Tree to find stuff to pretty up my vendor table. The doors open and they one of this convention there are so many people. The very first hour is young white kid about 16 years old comes over to our table grabs one of our shirts explain to us what the one drop rule is historically and then dives into Acts 17:26.

I was so impressed by this kid and his parents who have homeschooled him because they are awesome! Of course, he ends up buying a shirt later on in the convention but this was just an example of the bright future of homeschooling.


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Running a booth was a little intimidating because I’m not really a salesperson, so it was hard to deal with some people avoiding the booth altogether because they don’t want to be sold anything and then other people being weary, wondering what we’re about and gauging whether or not my brand represented what they believed or who they are. I wanted to yell, “Hey guys! I’m nice I promise.” Thankfully most of the interactions at my booth were positive. However, going forward I will be a much nicer, engaging, consumer to booth owners when I am just an attendee at these kinds of things.

Day 2

I came into the convention center on Friday the 16th feeling really confident. I knew what to expect from the types of people that were at the homeschooling convention and I was really excited to engage with people again. This is also the day where I caught my first class called Integrating Cultural Diversity using Homeschool Curriculum you Already Have.

This class was so much fun! We didn’t have a huge turnout but I really felt like there were the exact people there that God wanted in that class. The presentation part of the class was about 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of the class, we made some activities that I will add to the site this week. During the craft time we discussed race, multiracial families, resources for different cultures, and exploring different cultures; it was a whole lot of fun.

I will be creating cultural book list and posting them to this blog in the upcoming weeks just to share some of the books that we have read and some of the books I plan to integrate into our library this year.

Day 2 I sold out of all of my books! I was really nervous but thank God I was next to a booth with an established author Aaron and Joyce Kook. They’d run into this issue before in their many years of writing and selling books and simply encouraged me to set up a form and allow people to direct order the books.

I follow their advice and continued to sell books throughout the day. I learned that support can be found anywhere. Those women in my class on Cultural Diversity really connected with me. I felt like they were rooting for me and that gave me a lot of confidence and a great feeling of support. They inspired the creation of this shirt.

Day 3

My mom and I got into the convention center and right away we had people at our table asking questions about our book. Since I’d sold out of the book I converted half my table into an activity station so children could recreate the activities we made in the cultural awareness class.

We got a lot of great feedback and interaction at our booth and at 11:30 that morning I went and taught my class titled Emotional Intelligence for Teens. This class had a great turnout. You can check the class out here.

The feedback I received from the class really warmed my heart. People felt like they’d received tools, to help them strengthen their emotional resolve, improve their communication skills, and live a more fulfilled life. I had people find me after the class to talk to me about the things they’d learned and I had people in tears, come and talk to me about how just what they’d read in the first part of my book, touched them. You can pick up your copy of the book here.

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All in all, it was an amazing experience I cannot wait to go to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Ontario this June. If you are in the area I highly recommend you get tickets the classes the curriculum vendors, the wealth of information will be well worth it.

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Thank You So Much

FAMILY (314 of 318)

This has been an exciting time for Melanin Taught! The love and support we’ve gotten, has almost been overwhelming. I’ve gotten tons of messages and emails asking how to support Melanin Taught and I’ve come up with five ways you can be a blessing to us.

1. You can buy your homeschool supplies from our online store. We have pencils, puzzles, and all sorts of materials needed for the activities listed on our blog. We are adding items to our store daily. You can click here to visit or you can type in your web browser.

2. You can buy a Melanin Taught t-shirt. These shirts are comfortable with catchy sayings. By clicking here you will be able to purchase shirts for men, women, and children. We even have hoodies!

If you want to support us but don’t have any extra money at the moment, don’t worry here are three more ways you can support, us without spending a dime.

3. By clicking on our Dosh referral link and connecting a card, we will get a referral bonus and you will get cash back for purchases made at approved retailers.

4. If you live in California, you may qualify for a program that allows you to get cash back for cutting back on electricity. Click here to use our referral link.

5. We are grateful for all of your support. We would also like to ask you for your prayers. We appreciate you praying that God gives us direction, insight, and wisdom when it comes to raising and homeschooling our kids.

Thank you! Click here to like and follow our Facebook page!

The Great Homeschool Convention

I love teaching, I love homeschooling and I love Jesus! So of course when I heard about the opportunity to be a seminar speaker for The Great Homeschooling Conventions I had to apply. Well, my application for an Emotional Intelligence for Teens workshop was accepted and I will be teaching on March 17, 2018, at The Great Homeschooling Convention in Texas!

I am so excited, and this has really kicked some of my goals into high gear. One of them being completing my latest book on Emotional Intelligence. Just a few weeks ago I was at My Own Kind Of Beautiful‘s vision board party and now I am watching my dreams unfold. I have launched a t-shirt campaign to cover travel expenses and the feedback has been great.



You can get your Melanin Taught shirt or hoodies here. We even have kids sizes available. If you have ideas for sayings for shirts we should put in our store please leave it in the comments below.

Thank you all so much for your support. It truly means the world to me.