Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: Help

group of friends together

Sometimes it’s hard to admit we may need help with our home school.

Understandably, we may be overwhelmed with a curriculum choice, lesson plan, need for organization, home school itself, or the motivation to want to teach class. It is during hard times such as these that we should ask for help. Too often, as home school parents, we feel the pressure to ‘measure up’ with other home educators whom we feel have it all together, so we don’t ask for help. We stubbornly or pridefully persist in finding our own solution; and we continue to sink, possibly getting in over our heads before reaching out. This reminds me of an experience I had, related to this observation.

It seemed like a very simple plan. We were studying a unit on biology, and I decided to take full advantage that our house fronted a lake. We’d just purchased a brand new microscope. I decided to give my children a new experience, to see a little bit of pond life and an amazing creature called the amoeba.

I explained all of this to them as I pulled on my husband’s rubber fishing boots. (Little did I now that this was mistake number one, the boots were way too big.)

Once I was ready, I walked out to the backyard with six laughing, shouting, and very excited children running ahead. (“See,” I thought to myself, “I knew I could make biology fun!”)

Stay on the Bank

Giving the kids one final encouraging warning, “STAY ON THE BANK,” I waded into the lake, specimen jar in hand, while envisioning what impact this type of hands-on experiment would have on their learning and possibly their future career choices. Then it happened. As I took my third step into the water, I felt one foot begin to sink just a tad deeper than the other. I quickly steadied myself, so as not to plunge headlong into the murky lake. But, I was in trouble. As I attempted to bring my left foot even with my right, I felt my foot coming out of the boot, so I pushed my foot back into the boot to try to put it firmly back on. (This was mistake number two – trying to force my foot back into the boot only caused it to sink deeper into the mud.)

Still undeterred, I decided to pivot on my right foot and place it evenly with the left and head another way.
Yet, to no avail, for the right foot was sliding out of that boot as well. To my horror, my big boots were stuck in the mud, and with a maneuver in either direction, I felt myself sinking.

While trying to remain calm (and trying to look cool), realizing the children were closely watching my every move, I tried to think of a plan of action that did not include yelling for my husband. I couldn’t think of one.

My feet were not going anywhere, no matter how tightly I curled my toes to try and lift the big boots up. So, now, not quite so calmly, I shouted, “Go get your dad and tell him I’m stuck in the mud out in the lake.”

Three children raced to be the first to deliver the message, and three stayed to ask if I wanted them to come in and help. Unfortunately, the tranquil learning environment I had intended had quickly turned chaotic. I saw my husband’s face as he raced out the door, and knew at once the message he’d been given might have been a bit more dramatic than necessary. The dog was barking at all the commotion, the three children who’d remained faithfully at the bank were now screaming for their father to “ hurry up” and rescue me.

To The Rescue

What a blessing my husband was, so loving and understanding of who I was. He lifted me up and pulled me out of the water, leaving the boots behind, and carried me to the bank, all the while suppressing a chuckle. He was indeed that day my hero.

We also have heroes all around us, in support groups, friends, spouses, when we feel ourselves sinking under the stresses of teaching and training our children. Yet, to have access to the greatest rescuer of them all, our heavenly Father, is the most wonderful blessing imaginable. Just as I called for my husband’s help, knowing he would come, the Father is waiting to help when we call.

Article provided by Kristine Malingowski.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

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boy with cape and sunglasses

Dragon Slayers

Boys are conquerors by nature! Ask any mom who has one. If they aren’t jumping off the furniture they’re slaying pretend dragons. It flabbergasts us women but it’s best to heed the wisdom of dads, “Leave them alone, they are learning to be men!”

After further research I discovered how in utero a male child experiences a chemical wash over the right side of his brain, causing it to shrink. This alteration forces males to act more left brained, think logically and act physically. All perfect for hunting, conquering and producing! But not as easy to multitask as us woman, who can do five things at once. I’m sure a great design from our heavenly Father so we could raise children and cook at the same time!

Learning for Boys

A light bulb went off in my head. I would need to approach homeschooling my son differently than my daughter. He would learn all the same things, but in a different way.

I gave my son as many hands on learning experiences that I could find. We took walks and found bird nests, made salt relief maps, prepared biscuits and stew from the Oregon Trail, hatched chicken eggs, raised baby ducklings, made our own flashcards, went on field trips, discovered caves, drew birds, planted gardens and the list goes on!

During sit down book times if he needed to get up and move around I was lenient. If he spilled his milk three times a day, I was patient.

Sometimes when we think our sons are being difficult we need to remember these limitations! I told my son about what I had discovered. He was relieved! He would remind me many times, “Mom you gave me three things to do at once and are overwhelming me. I only think with one side of my brain!”

The revelation was a godsend. My son is brilliant! He went on to become an honors student in college and won scholarships. Thankfully I found out early on that I needed to be tender to his God-created maleness and it has made all the difference!

A couple of hand-on curriculum I have found boys love:

Spies of the Revolutionary War Writing Unit and Lapbook

Each writing exercise uses visual, auditory, or hands-on projects sure to engage every type of learner. Make a battle drum, create your own secret code, or memorize parts of a famous speech. Develop a spy character and write about it! Even the reluctant writer will dive into the writing pool!

Warfare by Duct Tape

Bring Ancient History to Life! Re-enact history, defend honor, vanquish the enemy and take dominion… or just plain have fun! Warfare by Duct Tape specializes in books that teach you how to create your own historically based duct tape weapons, armor and costumes.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

Homeschool Workshop

Attending a Teach Them Diligently Convention in 2019 is one change that is guaranteed to help your homeschool– and bless your family! We hope you will make that a priority!

Sign up for the Teach Them Diligently newsletter to receive more great articles!

Read our Blog, join TTD365, follow on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up to attend one of our homeschool events!

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alphabet refrigerator magnets

Here are eight fantastic ways to promote pre-reading skills (without mess or fuss!) using alphabet refrigerator magnets.

8 Ways to Use Refrigerator Magnets - All About Learning Press

The letter sets with uppercase and lowercase for the activities below are perfect because the color of the letters match the letter tiles used in All About Reading and All About Spelling, but you can use any set that you have on hand. And if magnets don’t stick to your fridge, you can do these same activities using a metal baking sheet or the front of your dishwasher.


Alphabet Soup

Pour all your letters into a sauce pan or soup pot. Have your little one give the soup a stir and dish up some “Alphabet Soup”! Hold out your bowl while your young chef serves you up some “A Soup” or “F Soup” (or whatever variety is the special of the day!).

Alphabet Train

Mix up the letters in random order. Show your child how she can make a “train” by placing the letters in alphabetical order, singing the Alphabet Song as she goes.

Letter Lookout

Help your child recognize that there are letters everywhere! Pick out a few picture books or boxes of food. Have your child choose a magnetic letter from the fridge and try to find that same letter in the book or on a box.

Mix-n-Match ‘Em

Arrange the letters right side up and have your child organize the letters in matching sets. For example, can she find all the letters that have long sticks? How about short sticks? Can she find letters with circles? How about letters with dots? Sort out all the red letters. Can she find the letters in her name? How about the letters in her friend’s name?

Hide-n-Go Letter Seek

Scatter your letters around your school room or living room. (To avoid frustration, be careful not to hide them TOO well!) Give your child a basket and encourage her to say the name of the letters as she collects each one. You can use this activity to increase phonological awareness by calling out the sound of each letter instead of the name of the letter. Download our free Letter Sounds app if you need to refresh your memory on the sounds of the 26 alphabet letters.

Dig for Buried Letters

Bury your letters in a large bowl filled with lentils, rice, or cracked wheat. Have your child dig for the letters with a magnetic wand. As she finds each letter, have her shout out the letter’s name and the sound it makes.

Go Fish

You can use your magnetic wand for this activity too! Make a fishing pole by tying a string to the end of a yard stick and then tying the magnetic wand to the end of the string. Spread your refrigerator magnets on the floor, and it’s time to go fishing! Have your child dangle the magnet wand to catch “fish.” Have her say the name and/or sound of each “fish” she catches.

Word Wranglers

This one is the most advanced of all the activities, but it’s perfect if your child is at the beginning reading stage. This activity will help your child learn that you can create new words by manipulating and changing sounds. Build an easy three-letter word on the refrigerator. See how many new words you can make by changing the beginning and/or ending sounds. Here’s one using beginning sounds: Start with cat. Change the beginning sound to make fat, pat, and hat. Now start with bug and change the ending sound to make bun, bus, and but.

In Summary

Interacting with letters helps your little ones get ready for reading and spelling. With these simple activities, your child will develop print awareness, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and listening comprehension—four out of the Big Five Skills that lay the foundation for learning to read and spell. (To add the fifth pre-reading skill, motivation to read, share some great picture books with your child!)


Author info:
Marie Rippel, curriculum developer of the award-winning All About Reading and All About Spelling programs, is known for taking the struggle out of both teaching and learning. You can connect with Marie on Facebook and Twitter.



This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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A Hands On Approach To Educating Your Preschoolers

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“A Hands On Approach To Educating Your Preschoolers”

During this video session we will define the components of a quality preschool education, identify some of the important skills preschoolers need to learn, and learn how to create lessons and activities using a thematic hands on approach and look at lesson examples.

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seven closed doors to choose from

The year has brought about changes in our family’s homeschool. I let go of many of my pre-conceived notions about home education. The difference has been great. We still don’t live in a “Pinterest-perfect” house or run our school in a picture-perfect way, but we are all growing and changing and becoming more like the individuals God created us to be. For that, I am thankful!

I realized that if God called me to homeschool because of discipleship, and I was allowing my ideals or what I thought others expected of me to distract me from that most important task, I was failing in my calling. Our homeschool looks very different as a result. (You can learn a little more about how the Lord taught me that in “My Homeschool Doesn’t Have To Look Like Your Homeschool.”)

So often, just when we think we have it all figured out, something changes. Those changes may be due to finances, becoming a single homeschooling parent, loss of job, health issues or the normal year -end/beginning assessment of the year to come.

The changes (and stresses) associated with homeschooling do not stop there. There’s the risk of burnout and the never–ending necessity to truly place God first and taking time every day to reconnect with our spouses.

Regardless of what causes the change – change is change and it can be stressful.

So, what can we, as homeschooling families do to help one another during these changes? Perhaps you are changing curriculum, moving, or nothing at all (other than the grades your children are in). Either way, we want to know so we can pray with and for you and encourage you during this year’s homeschooling journey.

Suggestions for handling change:

  • Pray – alone and with a spouse.
  • Find friends you can discuss the changes with.
  • Write down your ideas and identify if they will help you achieve your over all goal for your family.
  • Talk with your children. Identify their strengths and where they need to grow.
  • Last but not least, take it slow.  Change takes time!

Now, it’s your turn. Share your changes for the homeschool year. Leave a comment below.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


Homeschool Workshop

Attending a Teach Them Diligently Convention in 2019 is one change that is guaranteed to help your homeschool– and bless your family! We hope you will make that a priority!


To learn even more helpful homeschooling tools, click here to sign up for the newsletter.

Do you want more articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!



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washer and dryer

Do you wonder how to encourage responsibility in your homeschool? Are you dreading the holidays because you feel rushed and frazzled? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing more and asking less if we think we can get it all done faster without help.

Finding ways to encourage responsibility will give you breathing room in this busy time. Sharing examples from the Pilgrim’s story is a wonderful way to teach your family about the need for shared chores around the home.

Pilgrims’ Responsibilities

The seeds of self-government and democracy grew out of  the first harsh winter when many Pilgrims starved. After landing in their new land, the Pilgrims planted a communal garden. Sadly, not everyone wanted to do his fair share and considered the task someone else’s responsibility. As a result, 45 of 102 colonists died of illness and starvation the first winter.

The following summer,  William Bradford decided to change strategies. He gave the Pilgrims personal responsibly over their own gardens. Knowing they would only eat what they cultivated with their own hands, everyone was motivated to work harder to prepare for the second winter. The abundant fruit of their labors was the inspiration for the first Thanksgiving!

Promote Personal Responsibility

As homeschool moms, we can follow the example of William Bradford by encouraging personal responsibility and self-government. Our homeschools will run much more smoothly. We moms will find time for a much deserved break!

The basis of self government is simple. If you govern yourself, others won’t have to. (Teens like this one!) When we focus on this character issue, we are teaching them to discipline inner desires. Education is more than academics. There may be times when academics give way to character training. Below are ways to incorporate responsibility and self-government into our daily routines.

Give them responsibility for maintaining their own homeschool basket or desk.

Ownership fosters responsibility.  If you know you are in control of an item or area, you take pride in what you are doing. There may be a learning curve when falling down on the job impacts the convenience of others. But, that’s real life. The sooner we learn what we do affects the welfare of others, the better able we will be to handle that reality as adults.

Don’t be a hover mother.

This was one of my son’s biggest complaints. Foster a feeling of pride and accomplishment by allowing them to do a project or chore their own way. When chores include ownership, they can actually graduate from doing it from obedience to doing it because it needs to be done.

Teach consequences, but be gentle.

We all learn by trial and error. Learning based in self discovery sticks with a child a long time. Instead of being harshly critical, ask questions that encourage self-discovery. “What can we learn from what happened here,” and “What do you know now that you didn’t know before?” are good places to start.

Throttle your expectations.

Don’t criticize when it’s not done up to par. Ask them kindly, “How do you think this could be done better next time,”  or “Now that you’ve done this chore a time or two, what have you learned that enables you to do it faster and more completely?”

Teach structure and routine.

As homeschoolers, we have the distinct privilege to order our day  and include chores as an educational foundation of responsibility. Give each child a daily chore for the benefit of the family along with personal chores. As a part of a larger group, the family, we all have a responsibility to take care of each other and make our family strong.

When they are old enough, make them ruler over more.

Kids need to learn how to take care of belongings. Encourage teens to do their own laundry. When they go off to college, this skill will benefit them. Encourage their growing insights with comments like: “We clean up our art supplies to keep them in good condition,” and “We take care of our bodies to stay healthy and avoid disease.”

Kids with higher self-esteem tend to be more responsible.

Build a sense that they are lovable and appreciated. Send messages of unconditional love:

“I’m so blessed to have you as my child.”
“I love spending time with you.”
“You are really good at that!”
“I love you no matter what!”
“I am proud of you, and I believe in you.”


“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” – Chuck Palahniuk


“Every person who has changed the world has taken responsibility for something that mattered not just to them, but to mankind.” – Mike Stutman


This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.



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Chores and Responsibilities

Watch the Free Video, “Chores and Responsibilities”

Teach Them Diligently 365

As parents, we all want to instill a sense of responsibility into our children, but how we go about that varies as our children grow and mature. This week, we’ll take a look at our family’s Daily Five to see how this system has helped us stay on top of chores at our house and helped teach the children to be responsible along the way.

Become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for access to more!

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Couple holding hands

One of the most heartbreaking things that David and I have been faced with since starting Teach Them Diligently is the realization of just how intense the attacks on God’s families really are. We have talked with countless individuals and couples through the last several years who have recounted to us the struggles they have had in their marriages, and far too many have crumbled under the pressure.

Why is this? Why would Satan have such a strong strategy in play for breaking apart the marriages of Christian homeschool families? Why would so many couples be facing such intense pressures and having such a hard time fighting for what was once the most beautiful relationship in their life?

Satan wants what is not his!

Since the beginning of recorded history, Satan has exalted himself and desired that which was God’s. He fell, along with a large number of other angels, because he wanted the glory and adoration that was due to God alone. Since that time, we have learned that he comes to steal and destroy and that he is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  If you and your family have determined like  Joshua  that “we will serve the Lord,” you have dedicated yourself to Him… and Satan is jealous.

The enemy knows that the strongest human relationship and God’s building block of culture is the family, and he has been relentless in his pursuit to tear it down. He has devalued culture’s view of it; he has distracted us from working on it; he has made us so busy doing “good things” that sometimes we find ourselves neglecting the best; and sometimes he has thrown temptations at us at just the right time to completely destroy the trust we had built.

How greatly we have underestimated our enemy!

Our Marriage Prayer

Many years ago, when we had but 3 tiny little children, I composed a prayer for David and I. Since that day, we have had it prominently  on display in our bathroom to remind us to always lay our marriage on the altar and lift this precious relationship before God’s throne every single day.

This simple prayer I composed is based on my study of I Peter 4, and I pray it is as helpful of a reminder for you and your spouse as it has been for David and me.

May we be clear-minded and self-controlled so that we can pray. —How important it is to exercise self-control in our marriages! When we allow our emotions to run wild and overtake our judgment, it really does become hard to even talk to God about what is going on in our lives. We first need to pray for clear-thinking and self-control, so we can pray effectively for our marriage.

Above all, may we love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.— Oh, how we need to allow love to cover a multitude of sins within our families. How easy it is to hold grudges, remember offenses, be easily offended, and lash out at the one we hold most dear. Love deeply, friends! Your spouse is a most precious gift on this earth!

May we offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. — Have you ever found that you are more accommodating of others than you are of your spouse? Should that be the case? Of course not! I want to make David feel wanted and welcome at all times. I want our home to be his favorite place to be. I want to show him even more hospitality than I show anyone else… and I want to do it without grumbling or making note of all that I’m doing. (Sometimes drawing attention to all we’re doing is a big temptation, isn’t it?)

May we use whatever gift we have received to serve each other.– God has gifted each of us in very special and unique ways. Do you utilize those gifts to serve your spouse– or are you only looking at opportunities to serve others? God really got my attention with this one. The gifts God gave me should most definitely be utilized in the service of my spouse and children. They should never just get what’s left-over of me. I wonder if many times this isn’t a big tool Satan uses in his quest to destroy our families. We are too spent to serve at home, so our spouses are truly only getting the brittle pieces of us that remain after we have given all we have to others.

When we speak, may we do it as one speaking the very words of God.– Oh, how our speech must be representative of the way God would have us communicate. Does your spouse get the very best of your speech? Are you as careful in the way you craft your words when you are talking to him or her as you are when speaking with others? If not, why? Why are we so careless in the way we speak to our spouses? Why do we expect them not to bristle at things we would never say to anyone else?  (Or at least we would never say it the same way!)

When we serve, may we do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised!— May our marriages be strong and healthy, pointing a lost world to the God Who created family in the first place. May we recognize that it is only by His grace and in His strength that we can live peacefully and lovingly within our marriages. May we be willing to serve Him and serve our families in all things.

Get your own copy of the Marriage Prayer I created years ago.

You can download a free printable PDF of Our Marriage Prayer  by clicking here.

I would also love for you to download my ebook about praying for your children. It’s merely a compilation of verses that I use to pray for my kiddos, but it offers a lot of great prompts for you as you seek God’s face for those most important to you.

This month, we have been talking about our marriages in Teach Them Diligently 365, and on Friday, we’ll  be looking even more closely at this prayer and how to protect our marriages. I would love for you to join us there. Learn more about TTD365 and how you can get involved here. 

Finally, I sincerely invite you to join us onsite for Teach Them Diligently in 2018. A large focus of the events is on strengthening our marriages, and many have even noted that it’s like a “homeschool marriage retreat.” :) There is no investment too large to make in your family, and I believe with all my heart that attending a TTD will be a great blessing and benefit to you. If you have any questions about the event, or if you just want me to pray with you about your marriage, family, or anything else you have going on, please never hesitate to send me an email. I would love to get to know you!

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on

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