Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: homeschooling

high school graduation

For homeschoolers, a more exciting sign of spring than blooming flowers, warmer sunshine, and the arrival of daylight saving time is graduation planning.

Our minds fill with so many thoughts from the practical logistics of the day to the whispers that you might be “less than” and have passed that failure on to your graduate.

Do these thoughts plague you? If so, take courage because every other homeschool parent wrestles with them as well!

Did I teach enough?

Don’t worry. Every homeschool parent has that question. In fact, I asked that of myself when each of my three children was preparing for graduation. We go through mental and actual checklists of typical college prep subjects. We forget the only checklist that matters is God’s. If we have teach our children about Jesus and his salvation, we have completed the necessary checklist. He sees the earnestness of our efforts through the years and will grant increase to our efforts. God will add all other needed things, and we will be amazed at how it all fits together. (Matt. 6:33)

What about a graduation ceremony?

Homeschool groups, co-ops, and state organizations have formal graduation ceremonies. Some families have a special celebration with family members and friends. Some, as in the case of my youngest, just move onto the next phase of life. Don’t worry about what others are doing or what is considered tradition. Have a family discussion about how to celebrate, or not, this life transition. Let your graduate make the call.

What next?

Our society, even the homeschool society, assumes our grads are going to college. But, how about our kids who are not going to college? There are many reasons a high school graduate may not head directly to college, or even go to college at all. Is a plan in place? Have you talked with your teen about the non-college options? Are you ready to answer the question about why college isn’t in the future plans?

What about me?

My youngest finished high school in 2000. Not only was my son making future decisions, but so was I. What would I do now that I was no longer homeschooling? I chose to remain in the homeschool community to help parents who are starting their homeschool journey. I also helped homeschool my grandkiddos. You will have many options if you look around for them. Yes, life will be different. You are entering a new season of your life. Talk with God about where he wants you to go next. He really will meet you in the moment.

Spring is a time to look forward. Look forward to flowers, sunshine, daylight saving time (well, maybe not so much), and graduation. Make the most of this season of change. Celebrate the journey behind you and anticipate the one ahead. Enjoy every minute as you look forward to the new path God has for your child . . . and you.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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A masterpiece

A New Outlook On Art

My 15 year old daughter spends part of most evenings drawing in her journal– looking for ideas online to create a personalized book chronicling her thoughts, activities, and more. Often she calls me in to show me her new idea or drawing and to see if I like what she’s working on. (I always do!) 


This love of art wasn’t always characteristic of her, though. For years, she claimed she had no artistic ability and would hardly draw a thing, being more afraid of failing than excited to create something new.


That all changed, though, when she and her sister joined some of their closest friends to walk through the Creating a Masterpiece course together. Each week, they got to hang out with  their besties and create something amazing! I had no idea what that small investment at a Teach Them Diligently event that year would do for her in the days to come.


I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the time spent and the money invested in Creating a Masterpiece all those years ago. It proved to be life changing for my daughter as it unlocked a creativity in her she didn’t even realize she had. I hope you’ll read on to learn more about this incredible resource for your homeschool and why adding it into your normal routine would be a great thing for your children. I also hope you’ll pick up your own copy to use with your children. I promise you’ll be glad you did– and that thankfulness will only grow as your children do and you realize even more how profoundly impacted they were by taking the course. 


Creating a MasterpieceProud Students

Students work on a piece of artwork that eventually becomes a “masterpiece”! Even first graders know that they usually leave Hidden Acres Art School (Sharon’s studio name) with a project they are very proud of. It may take many weeks of work, but they know their projects will grace the walls of their home. Students are often proclaiming, “I didn’t know I could do this!”

Sharon pushes her students to work on projects that bring a sense of pride and purpose, so they are not easily discouraged. “Every project needs to build up the student! My goal in teaching is to see each child gain a confidence they never had before. This confidence will translate to every other area of life,” Sharon states.Creating a Masterpiece

Well Rounded Artists

Students are treated as young artists to learn confidence and skill, and gain everything possible to succeed. At first everyone in class is taught the same project.  After learning to imitate the art media Sharon does, they are then turned loose to create their own paintings. Children are encouraged to try all types of art media. and become well rounded artists.


There are many life lessons learned through art:

– Students learn how to solve problems.
– Students learn how to follow instructions.
– Students gain a longer attention span.
– They learn to “never give up”!
– Through art they grow intellectually.Creating a Masterpiece– Students learn how to make wise decisions.
– They learn the importance of committing to a task and following through to the end.
– Students learn to be creative.
– Students learn how to express themselves through art.
– They learn how to create strategies.
– Students learn to receive constructive feedback.
– They learn the importance of dedication.
– They learn the importance of accountability.
– Students learn how art is a way to worship and praise our creator.
– They learn how to shape our culture by expressing their worldviews through the arts.

Look for Creating a Masterpiece at the “Teach Them Diligently” events across the country!





Sharon Hofer, the lady behind “Creating a Masterpiece” teaches 180 homeschool students weekly. Her studio is filled to maximum capacity and her waiting list has several hundred students. But you can welcome her right into your home through this video course.





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Are We Engaged In The Right Battle?

One day last week my son asked me to play a game of chess with him. He had it already set up and was so excited that I agreed to join the game. I was not really engaged, though. My body was playing chess, but my mind was working on something else altogether. It took him all of three moves before I heard “check mate.” He rubbed in that he had beaten me again, told his siblings and his daddy, and generally had a great time with it. I on the other hand realized in an instant the importance of fully engaging in the battle into which I have been called.

As believers, we are in a war right now on many fronts. I don’t think anyone would question that. I wonder, though, if we are fighting the right battles or if we are allowing Satan to make us impotent because we have taken our eyes off the true prize and have no energy or manpower left for the battles that really need to be fought.

The Battle For Home Educators- Fight with the end instead of the means in mind!

We have largely allowed ourselves to be taken out of the spiritual battle as home educators. Satan has caused us to focus and even to fight for home education so much that we have lost sight of the true end we sought initially– that we as families would love the Lord our God with all our hearts and that we would be girded up to fight His battles when they come our way.

I have seen this misplaced loyalty in the news and even through our social media. When someone posts a juicy common core article or  homeschool freedom article, the engagement numbers soar. But a discipleship post sits primarily dormant. This should not be!

Yes, we need to be informed about what’s going on- but not so we can fume or be afraid. No! We must be informed, so that we, like the Apostle Paul at the Areopagus, can intelligently use what people in culture know and understand to point them to Christ. (His speech in Acts 17 is brilliant, weaving culture and history together to point them to Christ.)

The real fight that is ragingWe must rather fight this battle with the end, not the means in mind. The battle should never be strictly for our right to home educate without government influence, though we certainly want to see that maintained. The real fight that is raging, though, is for our families- for the very souls of our children and of our children’s children. That is the battle in which we must engage. It is imperative that we take these freedom-filled days of home education to instill in our children a rock solid foundation of love and devotion to Jesus Christ alone. Every other foundation we would try to give them can be broken down but not the Cornerstone of God’s Kingdom!

The Battle For The Heart of our Children

We must use these days to train ourselves and our children about what love for Jesus looks like– for what is in our hearts will always come out. Love for Jesus will overflow into a life lived powerfully, not running from the skirmishes we encounter. Love for Jesus must manifest a sincere love for people, for Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who were lost. (Often lost people are very unlovable and disagreeable, but those are the ones Jesus came for. We must never forget that we were once counted among them.) Love for Jesus and a passion for serving Him at all costs and instilling those things into our children must be our highest objectives as parents. There is coming a day very soon when the battles that rage in our land are going to necessitate that we take hard stands and dangerous positions as believers. Are we preparing our children for that day?

Oh that we will get our hearts and our minds in the right battle! May we not be so distracted by the fear of losing our rights to home educate autonomously that we miss the time we have to build a solid foundation for our family that is capable to stand even when the real battle comes to our front yard. Our family started Teach Them Diligently with this battle in mind. There will be a ton of material presented that will equip you to be a better home educator, but the real heart of the event is to equip you to be a better parent, to build a stronger family, and to better disciple your children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind. The stakes are high! It is time to gird up, learn all we can, and prepare for battle.

We sure would love to see you there! Register today and gird up for battle. Find an event near you by clicking here.

Get involved in the battle through strategic prayer. Join me in praying for our children and marriages. Sign up here:


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homeschool AOP curriculum

When you homeschool in a city named for a great American patriot, it’s only natural to love teaching and learning history. That’s exactly the case for Caroline Belliveau of Revere, Massachusetts, who has homeschooled her two daughters with Alpha Omega Publications ever since her oldest daughter started kindergarten.

The oldest Belliveau girl uses Monarch online curriculum, while her youngest daughter is using LIFEPAC worktexts until she reaches 3rd grade when she can transition online to Monarch.

With six years of homeschooling experience under her belt, Caroline Belliveau took a few minutes to answer five questions about why she loves homeschooling and using Monarch curriculum.

Q: Why did you choose to homeschool instead of enrolling your children into either a public or private school?

A: We value staying home as a family and being able to work our values into the curriculum. I’m able to give my daughters one-on-one attention, and we’re able to take school at our own pace. It makes school less stressful and more enjoyable.

Q: Why did you decide to use Monarch as opposed to other curriculums available?

A: I knew I wanted to homeschool, so I Googled homeschooling and AOP was the first company to come up. I looked around a little, but I made up my mind pretty much in the beginning. AOP has a really, really good support system, and Monarch offers a large variety of subjects.

Q: What do you like best about Monarch online homeschooling curriculum?

A: The flexibility is probably my favorite part. We’re able to do a lot more. We can go to a museum on a regular weekday, then make up the school day another day. There have also been times we’ve gone on trips and they’ve been able to do that, which they wouldn’t have been able to do in a regular school.

Q: Do your girls have a favorite subject they like to learn?

A: My girls really like science and history. Those subjects are my favorite, too. They were my favorites in school.

Q: What’s the best way to learn more about Monarch?

A: One of the most exciting things about Monarch is that everyone has an opportunity to do a 30-day trial of Monarch to see if you fall in love with it as much as we did. All you have to do is visit and use the promo code MON30TTD.


AOP Homeschooling Logo  Compiled by Carl Van Stryland



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History is a subject students either love or hate. Long lists of dates, names, and events to memorize are dry and uninspiring. If we approach history through the power of story, however, it comes alive, jumps off the page, and is about more than rote memory.

Unless we live through an event, we must to trust the words of historians who write about historical events. Most historians do the best research they can, but they were not eye witnesses to history either. Sometimes, their research is flawed or their conclusions biased.

So how do we know what is true?

Some people, like Abraham Lincoln, and events, like the Civil War, are well-documented. If we want to study Lincoln’s life and impact on the world, we can easily find primary documents to inform us.

What are primary documents?

These documents are papers, journals, letters, and photos created by an individual living in the time period about the events they experienced. One of the arguments people have against historians is a tendency toward bias or a personal agenda.

When we go to original documents, eye witness testimonies bring the details of the times and events to life. We aren’t relying on a historian’s interpretation or worrying about their bias.

There are many primary documents created during Abraham Lincoln’s life. Some allow him to speak directly to us about the situations he experienced as President of the  United States. Others give us background about the events occurring during his day.

abraham lincoln

Documents about Abraham Lincoln’s early life:

Abraham’s Lincoln’s Youth (See words that Lincoln wrote in one of his school books.)
Lincoln’s Sense of Humor (See a business card designed as a joke.)
Virtual Library (Includes links to photographs and learning pages.)
Interactive Presentations (Uses newspaper clipping and photos to teach Lincoln’s days before being President.)
Video of the Kentucky Years from Lincoln’s Birthplace
Under Lincoln’s Hat (Primary Resources)

Documents about Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency:

Sheet Music and Songs Written About Lincoln
Telegram (Telling Lincoln of the surrender of Fort Sumter)
Civil War Maps
Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft (Tells what Washington was like during the Civil War)
Lincoln and General Grant
The Gettysburg Address
Pictures and Lithographs
Lincoln’s Resolution on Slavery

The Emancipation Proclamation:

Drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation
Petition Supporting the Emancipation Proclamation
Petition Requesting Exemption from the Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination:

Lincoln’s Pockets (What were in his pocket’s when he was killed?)
Drawings of the Event and Funeral, including the Reward Poster for Lincoln’s Killer
Anonymous Letter Warning of Lincoln’s Assassination
R. A. Hunt to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, January 18, 1861 (Warning Lincoln of assassination attempt)
James S. Knox, Saturday, April 15, 1865 (Eyewitness account of Lincoln’s assassination)

Other Primary Resources for Abraham Lincoln:

Civil War Trust
Teaching Lincoln with Primary Sources
Documents from TeachingAmericanHistory
2nd and 3rd Grade Lesson Plans Using Primary Documents for Abraham Lincoln

Using primary documents can be fun and challenging. Finding out what really happened during historical events makes dates and names come to life. You may find the more documents you read, the more questions you have. Using original documents to unlock history can transform a dry process of fact memorization into a fact-finding treasure hunt.

Happy history hunting!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


For more on teaching history check out this video on Teach Them Diligently 365.

Teaching History Using Source Documents – Interview with Ben Kunkel

Watch “Teaching History Using Source Documents – Interview with Ben Kunkel”

There is great value in approaching the way we teach history by using source documents and real experiences to do so. Join Leslie and Ben Kunkel of the Ashbrook Center as they talk about teaching history to your high school students using source documents– and even throw in some great ideas for making history come alive for your younger students!

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Sign up for a free 7 day trial and explore the extensive content!


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AOP LIFEPAC curriculum

Q&A with a LIFEPAC Mom

When Jennifer Wilging’s only son Tyler was diagnosed with syringomyelia (sih-ring-go-my-E-lee-uh), a progressive spinal cord disease, she knew there were going to be many changes ahead in their lives. Although Tyler had to give up things he loved like competitive gymnastics and trampolines, Jennifer didn’t know at the time how much they would both learn to love homeschooling.

After her first full year of homeschooling , Jennifer answered five quick questions about their on-the-go lifestyle and what she loved about using Alpha Omega Publications’ LIFEPAC curriculum.

Q: Why did you choose homeschooling?

A: We had no choice but to homeschool him. We had to pull him out of public school in the middle of his 3rd grade because he has a rare spinal disease. AOP’s LIFEPAC curriculum has been a real blessing. When we finally pulled him out, the school was like, “We were wondering when you were going to do that.”

Q: Why did you decide to use Alpha Omega Publications?

A: We wanted to be able to homeschool on the road without missing school. We’re on the road a lot for doctor appointments, and the LIFEPAC worktexts are really easy to just throw in a bag and take with us.

Q: What do you love about LIFEPAC?

A: LIFEPAC is so easy, and you don’t have to worry about anything. The worktexts go in order with how they’re supposed to be taught. You don’t have to piece together a whole curriculum. The progression of learning is really easy and well thought out, especially in math. I would have been lost without it.

Q: Besides curriculum, what other methods of learning do you use?

A: Field trips. When we are out and about, we try to experience everything we can. We do field trips with just us, as well as with other homeschool groups.

Q: What are your favorite LIFEPAC subjects?

A: My son is very good at math, and I also really enjoy LIFEPAC History & Geography. I felt like they didn’t teach any of the material in public school, but LIFEPAC goes into so much detail.


AOP Homeschooling Logo  

Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.



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Abeka tips for homeschool success

11 Tips for Homeschool Success

Homeschooling is a wonderful, worthwhile journey, but even the most experienced homeschool parents sometimes need a bit of advice or encouragement. Here are 11 tips for success.

  1. Start with prayer. Even if you don’t do Bible class first, start each day with prayer. You can lead it or take turns praying aloud.
  2. Incorporate multiple learning styles. Abeka’s curriculum and workbooks incorporate the different learning styles, but feel free to add more learning games, reading out loud, experiments, etc. Taking advantage of the different styles of learning (hearing, seeing, and doing) creates a well-rounded education and improves retention.
  3. Stay organized. The best way to stay on track is to stay organized. Keep a daily planner of goals to achieve by the end of each lesson. Jot everything down, from schoolwork to household chores. To encourage focus, try to keep your school space organized, too.
  4. Work with a mentor. Look to other homeschool parents for advice and help. As you get more experience yourself, look for someone you can mentor.
  5. Join a homeschool group. Join with other homeschoolers or co-ops in your area to provide support for each other. Along with offering teaching resources, these groups give your children a chance to socialize with others.
  6. Don’t take on too much. Saying yes to too many extracurriculars can leave you and your kids tired and overwhelmed. Participate in what really matters to your family, and evaluate your commitments throughout the year to see if something should go.
  7. Tackle the hard subjects first. If your children are struggling with certain subjects, such as math or science, teach those in the morning when everyone is more alert. Save the easier subjects for later in the day.
  8. Keep it fun. Look for creative ways to make learning fun. Younger children might enjoy having dolls or stuffed animals in the classroom. You can ask these other “students” questions and have your child answer for them in different voices. Video your older children pretending to be news anchors as they deliver “news”
    that might correspond with a history lesson or book report.
  9. Take breaks. There will be times when you and your children get frustrated. Don’t be discouraged! Take a break. Go outside for some sunshine and fresh air, get a snack, or play a game together.
  10. Realize the curriculum is there to serve you. Use it as a guide instead of a master. You’re in control of your homeschooling, not your lesson plans or suggested daily schedule.
  11. Plan ahead. Start looking ahead to college when your children are in 9th grade. Begin preparing transcripts, taking note of your children’s interests, and even making college visits.



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tea spiced

It may be the right time to change things up a bit with these ten ways to spice up your homeschool in the new year!

1. Read more of the classics aloud.

Think of Charlottes’ Web,  Little House on the Prairie, or Mr. Poppers Penguins.  Read those or similar classics you haven’t gotten around to. Then, try your hand at writing a similar fiction story together as a family. Do a literary analysis by breaking down the story into parts: protagonist, antagonist, theme, plot, setting. Replace your own ideas for each category, and the fun begins! Younger children are great spontaneous story tellers and can give terrific ideas while the older ones can be the scribes and write it down. Try adding literature activities to enhance the story. Make a recipe, craft, art project or do a research paper.

2. Try relaxed schooling to instill a love of learning and less jumping through hoops.

Kids who love to learn become lifelong learners! Give your child time where nothing is scheduled by adding free play time into the day. Kids who are free to think can invent, problem solve, learn to listen to their thoughts and listen to God. Proclaim the ending of each school day at 2pm or 3pm, then don’t look at schoolwork or answer questions until the next day-just be mom and let them just be your child

3. Cook across the globe.

Learn about another culture’s music, food, and art. Try your hand at notebooking by having each child keep a notebook of all the wonderful things learned, drawing pictures and including photos. Interview friends, church members or neighbors from different cultures.

4. Join or start a co-op!

It’s enjoyable learning together. Both kids and moms make friends and a change of environment is refreshing! Check out To Co-op or Not to Co-op in our TTD365 archives for more details. It’s easier than you think and yields great rewards.

5. Use a slow cooker to ease dinner time stress.

Let each child take turns preparing it with you in the late morning. This is great for soups, stews, enchiladas, roasts, chili and so much more! Teach an older child how to plan meals and let them produce a week’s menu plan. Incorporate nutrition education. Help them prepare each meal to give them confidence then assign them one or two meals per week to prepare.

6. Try a new winter sport together as a family – sledding, skiing, ice skating, hiking, or animal tracking.

Being outdoors in winter can be invigorating if you dress warmly. It can also help to stave off those winter blues!

7. Take a risk and reach out to another mom and swap kids for an afternoon.

Your house this week, her house the next week. Chances are pretty good that she needs a break too! Plan a fun but easy craft to keep them busy or just let them free play.

8. Listen to a sermon series as a family from one of your favorite preachers.

After all faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God! Let little ones color or keep hands busy while listening. Teach older children how to take notes.

9. Make phonics cards with preschoolers.

This is a great way to keep little hands busy! Have you kiddos cut an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock in half. Have them cut out their favorite magazine pictures. Afterwards dot the alphabet on half of the sheet so they can trace the letters, then let them paste the corresponding picture on the other half. Hide the cards around the room. Upon finding one, search the house for another object that has the same sound.

10. Take regular teacher in-service days!

I was shocked when I read the local public schools taking off again for another teacher in-service day. Teachers need regular breaks to regroup, refresh and stay up to date on educational techniques. We need to take this seriously! It is one of the most frequent words of advice I give to new homeschooling moms. Obviously, we homeschool moms have different needs. Assess you needs carefully. Remember: going to the grocery store alone my be part of your in-service day, but not all of it! Schedule a teacher day on dad’s day off, so you can take time to get away and breathe!

If you’ve found a way to shake things up a bit when life got overwhelming, let us know by sharing your ideas in our Facebook group or in the comments below!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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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

Yes, I want more from this Homeschooling Community!



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