Category Archives: Homeschool

My New Article In The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


If you are thinking to the future about your kids growing up and graduating, you might be interested my my article published today in The Old Schoolhouse magazine. You can read it here, titled “Let Us Finish Well”.


Guest Post- Talia DeAndrea “Just Cry”…A Teen Girl Whose Writing Inspires Me


Let me tell you about this girl, she is the real deal. I have known her since she was a young child and though she is just 14 her writing inspires me! In fact, her dedication has kept ME writing, and I hope you’ll take a moment to check out her blog. Support this budding artist. She has published a beautifully done devotional book for kids already, and truly means what she says here. Please share her blog with kids and teens in your life. They will be blessed. I have to admit, I love her entire family. They are creative, wonderful people. Her precious sister Haley is a singer/songwriter and at 16 just recorded her first album. I would definitely recommend that too, it is heartfelt and beautiful. I am delighted to present to you, Talia DeAndrea Read the rest of this entry

Best Resource for Missionary Realism


We are watching a set of DVDs called Travel the Road. The subtitle sums it up well: Two guys. One Mission. Zero guarantees.

These episodes have two young men who want to tell people about having a relationship with Jesus. They saved up money, got passports, and set out. They are very honest with what delights them, endangers them, and even scares them. Seeing graphic things that other cultures do as part of everyday life can be difficult to watch. But, it’s real. Front row. Their schedule is go where God seems to open doors until the money runs out. It takes every ounce of romanticism about this lifestyle and rips it up. In its place?  A magnificent display of dedication, adventure and how desperately people need hope.

Since we homeschool, these DVDs will be part of a Missionary Studies course including great biographies. There is one idea, but regardless of how you school, all children I believe will benefit from these. Popcorn and movie night once a week perhaps?  They are captivating for all age groups, and… might just be life changing.

Help With Homeschool Planning


Every year I spend countless hours planning for the upcoming school year. It is a lot. Of. Work. Partly due to making things harder than they have to be.  I found something this year that has made the planning less stressful, in fact there are several books that I think would be very helpful to new homeschooling families, or those with younger children. Wish I had found them years ago. Number one is the planning book…

1. Debra Bell’s Ultimate Planner series. We have used other calendars, unsuccessfully, but this one is different. The focus is teaching the parent how to implement self teaching methods to the student. It walks you through steps in a way that I haven’t seen in other products through the years. This product is worth every penny. For high school planning, this resource is valuable! If you are starting out with High School, it is worthwhile to check out books specifically devoted to that age group. Debra Bell has the most exhaustive one I have seen.

2. The Checklist by Cindy Downes. Buy it. It is spendy, and fantastic. It will help you organize learning as it happens, it is phenomenal, truly.

3, While I didn’t read the entire book, I could see how helpful it would be do someone considering this journey within a few chapters. Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath, You Can Do This! by Terrie Lynn Bittner covers every topic you would have questions about. Page 322-323 contain especially well written answers to the most common question. If you  homeschool already, you are familiar with the “S” question.

4. Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson is the one gem I wish I had found 10 years ago. I would have used it for the foundation of all our years, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I would recommend anything by Sally Clarkson for mothers, period. She is a treasure.

5. Decided at the last second this was too good to leave off the list. Homeschooling moms need encouragement. Here it is, by a refreshingly honest author, Jackie Wellwood. One Hundred and One Devotions for Homeschool Moms, buy one for a friend too if you are able. It will be appreciated!

I came across a listmania on that has an excellent compilation of choices for further reading.

Also, check out a more extensive list on the top of my blog, the tab is labled Home Education. If you have specific questions I can help you with, please send me an email. God bless you on this amazing journey. The fruit becomes abundant in the teen years, don’t be afraid to go for it!

Levi Coffin House and The Underground Railroad


Julie Campbell from is my special guest writer today. You’ll enjoy her post about the Levi Coffin House in central Indiana, and the connection to the Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad Adventure

A few days ago, I walked in the long-forgotten footsteps of runaway slaves.
My feet touched the same smooth ash floorboards as theirs did over 170 years ago when they were rushed through a side door and silently led upstairs to a cramped hiding place.
My hands touched the same walls that symbolized refuge and safety to these refugees seeking a better life.

My children sat in the same wagon that had smuggled these brave souls past slave hunters to a red brick house on the Underground Railroad. On one occasion 17 slaves hid in this small wagon…

And I thanked God for freedom.
I wondered what would motivate men like Levi Coffin risk their lives for people they didn’t even know.
Was it love for their fellow man? The ability to look beyond color and see slaves as who they really were – people just like themselves? Conviction? Faith? Bravery? Maybe all of the above.

Whatever the reason, Coffin’s house still stands brave and strong in Fountain City, Indiana, a monument to the man who helped more than 2,000 escaped slaves taste freedom.

My children and I have been fascinated with the Underground Railroad ever since we read Freedom Train, a biography of Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who led thousands of her people to freedom. Coffin and Tubman met somewhere on the Underground Railroad route, although the exact location is not known. I’m sure they hit it off instantly.
During the two-hour tour of this “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad, we marveled at the facts and stories told to us by two very knowledgeable guides.
Here is just a sampling of what we saw and heard:
*Levi and Catharine Coffin were Quakers who moved to Indiana from North Carolina in 1826 because they opposed slavery.
*In the 1840s, strong, healthy adult slaves were worth $1,000 each – that’s around $26,000 in today’s money. On nee occasion, a      wagon concealing 17 – yes, that’s right, SEVENTEEN – slaves arrived at Coffin’s side door.
*A rare indoor well helped conceal the fact that there were more people living in the house than usual. If the Coffin children would have been seen going to an outdoor well for water 10 or more times a day, people may have become suspicious.

*Once, Coffin helped rescue two little girls from slave hunters by smuggling them out of a nearby house dressed as boys and hiding them INSIDE beds in one of his upstairs bedrooms. The girls were talking and giggling so much he had to put them in two separate beds!

*The most well-used hiding spot in the house was in the garret/attic in the upstairs bedroom. This was a tiny space under the sloping roof of the house, with a three-foot tall door leading to it. The door could be concealed by moving the bed in front of it.
Can you imagine hiding in this cramped space on a 90 degree day for more than 12 hours? Slaves were not allowed to move around at all during the day, but they were able come out of the garret in the evening. As I peeked inside the tiny hiding spot during our tour, I could almost hear their whispered conversations about freedom and their shared hopes and dreams of life as free men and women.
If you live remotely close to east central Indiana, I highly recommend a trip to the Levi Coffin house. History will come alive for students and adults alike who have studied the Underground Railroad.
The house is located at 113 N. US Highway 27 in Fountain City, Indiana (close to Richmond). Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children (ages 6-18). For more information, call the museum’s information line at (765) 847-2432.
( Ugh.Forgive any formatting errors, they reflect my own skill set today not the original writer’s! )

Homeschooling Ideas And Reviews


We are in our 10th year of homeschooling.

Schooling at home seemed like an appropriate fit when we began. It has morphed into a different mindset over the years. Not the intent just to school in a home environment, but to truly educate these young minds. To inspire them to educate themselves, and become adults who always chase knowledge. It is a privilege, and we believe God’s will, for us to journey on this path. We could never have imagined how it would change all of our lives. To increase our awareness of the world at large.

Now, we’ll have two high schoolers! I’ll be shifting this page to focus more on reviewing products that will help for this age group. It is a new frontier, high school, but an exciting one!

If you have questions, I am happy to help answer them if I can. Use the contact button at the top of the page. Sometimes I will write about this, sometimes I will steer you over to thought provoking pages on other sites. If you are just starting out, or in need of encouragement, these books have been invaluable.

For the parent Books:

Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson- Wish I had this from the start

A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick

How To Create Your Own Unit Study by Valerie Bendt

One Hundred and One Devotions For Homeschool Moms by Jackie Wellwood

The Unschooling Handbook: How To Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom by Mary Griffith

Christian Unschooling by Teri Brown- Whether  you agree with the philosophy, you’ll benefit by the encouragement of choice

Any books by Linda Dobson

Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe by Todd Wilson

The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling by Barbara Frank

The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell- For High School this is awesome, no need to fear!

How To Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and Onto Learning by Carol Barnier- This book was so helpful with distractable child

To Help:

Highly recommend membership in HSLDA, Home School Legal Defense Association – Their resources are priceless

Catalogs I love:


The Rainbow Resource

The Vision Forum

Sonlight Catalog


The Old Schoolhouse -been helping me since day 1

Homeschool Enrichment- first place I was ever published!

Eternal Encouragement – Formerly known as TEACH, still has great homeschool resources

Want to read my latest homeschool article? has it posted at

The Gift of Time”  originally published in The Old Schoolhouse magazine

Before we even began high school, we heard nervous conversations about the dreaded SAT (insert creepy music).  Clearly it strikes fear into the heart of many.  However, I am truly relieved to have found an awesome program to put those fears to rest. College Prep Genius: The No Brainer Way To SAT Success is a three part program designed by Jean Burk.

Within the first few pages it becomes clear that the author is dedicated to helping kids prepare for the SAT. She has a sincere desire to help students get do well, and win scholarships.  With commitment from us to work at it, she breaks it down into manageable steps. It doesn’t have to be a mystery, the SAT. It is just a test. Granted, it is an important one, but with preparation the student can know what to expect and how to succeed to the best of their abilities.

Here is what you get in the program:

  • College Prep Genius Textbook- There is a solid, lengthy section on introducing the SAT, and then each section is covered in detail. It includes working toward scholarships, definitely a bonus.
  • College Prep Genius DVD- The author goes through 12 lessons that correspond with the information in the book.  It is designed to be used for personal, classrooms of any kind, and homeschool co-ops.
  • College Prep Genius Workbook

My daughter was pleasantly surprised at how the program was laid out, and is able to use it on her own. When I give occasional reviews, if the product is not good, I’ll let you know the truth. This is a top notch product. The cover of the book says “Featured on NBC, CBS, FOX, and The Homeschool Channel”. My teen no longer fears the SAT, she sees there are logical patterns and will be more confident to approach the test later this year.

Check out her site for additional helpful info at

Visual Latin Review and Coupon Code!


I was unconvinced that Latin would be necessary for my kids to learn, until I saw a sample of Dwane Thomas’ teaching. I liked it so much (it made me laugh!) that I asked if I might review it for them, and they generously agreed-even giving you a coupon codeVisual Latin just plain rocks. Yep, who knew Latin could be funny?  Let’s get the details out here and I will tell you why I think it is worth a try for your family too. Here is the product information from their website

Visual Latin | 3 DVDs

Product Description

These 3 DVDs include everything you need for Latin 1. (Each of the 3 videos are less than 10 minutes each, so you get between 15-25 minutes of video per lesson.)

WORKSHEETS: Includes PDF worksheets and lessons as files accessible on the DVD or via the internet.

Part of the hesitation with Latin, is the boredom factor. This truly is unlike any other program you might have seen. The day before we started school this year, my kids both were decidedly UNexcited to do Latin. After the first video, it is suddenly the class they can’t wait to do! The teacher is down to earth, funny, and delightfully imperfect in his delivery.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking it is not a serious course. It is. The people at Compass Cinema are focused on making you successful. Their website is clear in defining how to extend this into a high school credit course, the PDF’s are easy to find and print out, and there is personal support with this company. They answered my emails and questions quickly.

You can either buy the DVD’s or download the lessons to your Ipod. They even give the option of dowloading just sections of the lessons if that is more cost effective to break it down. There is a Visual Latin II that we’ll continue with next year. I do hope you won’t be intimidated by Latin, because with a course like this available the drudgery is taken out, and the excitement for learning is put in. Did I mention the videos are funny? Just making sure…

The folks at Visual Latin have agreed to give you a coupon code for 1o% off the purchase for the next three days. Use CHRISTA10