Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: preschool

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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reading aloud to chidren

Few things appeal to me more than the idea of curling up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee, a good book, and a warm, handmade afghan while snow glitters outside. The only thing more desirable in that picturesque image is my three children quietly occupied with their own books and hot chocolate.

If you have struggling readers, as I do, cozy winter read-alouds are the perfect addition to that dreamy scene.

Life rarely (ok, pretty much never) works out in picture-perfect ways. In addition to my two struggling readers, I have one busy fella that will sit still only long enough to read Lego directions.

Rather than giving up on my perfect vision, I’ve compromised a little bit. For years now, we’ve enjoyed read-alouds on winter afternoons. They are a great way to share my love of books and reading with my reading-skeptical crew.

Turns out, they love stories. They just aren’t fans of the actual practice of reading. Yet.

Here are my best tips on how to use family read-alouds to share your love of reading and good books with reluctant or struggling readers in the family.

Be Patient and Don’t Give Up.

As I said, my kiddos love stories and have plenty of patience for long books, as long as they don’t have to do the reading themselves! Our afternoon reading time can last for two hours or more.

If reading aloud is new to your family, your kiddos might only have the patience for a few pages or a chapter at a time. Stick with it daily. Their interest, and ability to follow for longer periods of time, will grow.

Use Their Comprehension Level.

This guideline is particularly important for struggling or reluctant readers. They might only be able to read Pete the Cat independently, and that’s boring! But, they can understand The Chronicles of Narnia if you’re reading it to them. Now that’s exciting stuff!

Using comprehension v.s. reading level helps them love books, expands their vocabulary, and exposes them to great writing while their independent reading skills mature.

You can easily check comprehension every few pages, or at the end of a chapter, by asking some questions. Back up and re-read as needed. Remember:  you are growing comprehension as you stretch and expand patience and attention.

Pick Good Books.

Since you’re reading aloud at a higher level than they can read themselves, you are exposing them to a wider variety of literature, writing styles, and information.

My crew loves adventure stories. I love history. So, we do a lot of historical fiction together. Fantasy adventure is another family favorite here. We take turns picking out books. We just started A Wrinkle in Time.

I can also fit in a lot of biographies if I consider these guidelines:

*Have we studied this person in school?
* Have we heard about the person on the news?
* If not, is the person around their age?
* Does the book have a narrative-style within their age & interest level?

Let Them Multi-task!

I have found our children can follow along better when their hands are as occupied as their minds. A good way to start is to read aloud while they eat lunch. We also let them build Legos, do hand sewing or stitching, color, draw/sketch/doodle, use sticker books, or other quiet activities.

I allow anything they can do without making me raise my voice to be heard. Again, by checking in every few pages or chapters you can make sure they’re following along. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised how letting them “play” while I read keeps them focused for much longer periods than if they only sit and listen.

Incorporate Non-Reading Elements!

Follow up by watching a movie adaption together. Read the Little House series and then go to a frontier museum. Read a biography and then google images of your main characters together. After reading the Viking Quest series by Lois Walfrid Johnson, we looked up Viking food recipes and had a fun cooking day. You can also go the reverse direction. Let a movie you watch or news story you hear lead you to some books on the topic.

 

Need more fun ideas to get you percolating?

*Have pajama day while you read aloud together in someone’s bed.
*Depending on your story, read by candlelight, lantern, or flashlight.
*Read outside in the woods, in a fort, or bundled up on the porch in bad weather.
*Read winter-themed or seasonal books.
*Have a special snack time while you read.
*If you have strong readers, take turns reading aloud.

What is your favorite, cozy winter read-aloud? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Authored by Tabitha Philen of Growing up Homeschooled/Meet Penny

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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snowman in the snow hand made

What is a Word Family?

One of my favorite ways to help young readers learn to read is to use the patterns found in word families. What exactly is a word family? Word families are words that share the same ending chunk (rime), but have different beginning beginning parts (onsets). For example, words such as cat, bat, sat, fat, that, and mat are all a part of the -at word family.

The How Behind Word Families

There are several reasons reading and writing by word families are helpful.

For example, word families can help those younger readers who struggling with blending words together. Word families also help kids write new words by their shared patterns. Let’s say your child knows how to spell cat. But in his writing, he needs to spell bat and he’s not sure how. You can say, “How do you spell cat?” (Child spells C-A-T). Now you can help him relate it to a word he knows by saying, “Well, since bat and cat are in the same word family, all you have to do is take off the c on the front of the word and put a b there instead.”

Reading new words by word families works very much the same. When your child comes across an unknown word that is a part of a word family, relate it to a word he already knows that has the same pattern. It is absolutely amazing how many words can be read and spelled simply using the most common short and long vowel word families.

Christmas Tree Word Family Sorts

To integrate a little Christmas fun into your word sorts, download this FREE Christmas Tree Word Family Sorting activity. It features 10 short vowel patterns and 10 long vowel patterns.

cut out the ornaments and sort on the trees by word pattern | Teach Them DiligentlyPrint out a Christmas Tree mat with a certain vowel pattern you’d like your child to work on (say, short o). Then print out the corresponding ornaments. Cut the ornaments apart, mix them up and ask your child to read each word and sort them on the correct tree (using the pattern on the star as your guide). You can choose from the patterns created or there is also a blank Christmas Tree and ornament template for you to write your own.

Also included in the pack is this writing template. After your child sorts his ornaments, he can write the pattern in the star and then record all his words on the trees with lines. Merry Christmas!

 

To download a FREE copy of Christmas Tree Word Family Sorts, click HERE!

 

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Becky is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings who keep her on her toes {and knees}. Desiring an “outlet” to share her ideas and passion for literacy, she started www.thisreadingmama.com, where she posts printables, literacy curricula, and learning activities.

 

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christmas placemat

Advent Christmas Season

With Christmas quickly approaching and our to-do list ever growing; we may wonder how to keep the kids busy and focused in the right direction. One of my favorite holiday projects has been to make placemats for the Advent Christmas season with an easy cut and paste method that helps to keep those important reasons for the holiday season in clear view.

How to Make Placemats

homeschool craft project

We save Christmas cards sent to us each year so we have an abundance lying around and its great way to up-cycle them. Then we trim and glue them in collage fashion on large 11 x 14 inch construction paper. There may be a special Christmas card sent from cousins overseas last year or ones from grandparents and close friends.

I start by clipping the corners of the construction paper then place it on top of holiday wrapping paper and cut around it. Now I trim the wrapping paper one inch all around and glue it in the middle.

One year we wrote Happy Birthday Jesus on holiday stationary to add in! I even added Language Arts by having the children write a sensory poem to glue in the middle then add all the Christmas cards around it.

  • Christmas sounds like…       (have your child fill in the blank) 
  • Christmas looks like…
  • Christmas smells like…
  • Christmas tastes like…
  • Christmas feels like…

We retell the Nativity Story by using those types of Christmas cards and gluing them onto the paper. Some cards even have the names of Jesus on them written in beautiful script: Prince of Peace, Immanuel, Messiah. We cut those out to use as embellishments. The dollar store is a great place to find inexpensive cards if you don’t have any to use or throw a Trade Old Christmas Card’s Party. When finished, laminate the placemats inexpensively at the local teacher’s store or Office Max. Little ones love to sit and eat all through the season on these festive placemats! They can recount the nativity story scene by scene and keep the most important things in front of them.

For more crafts visit my blog Homeschooling for Jesus.

New Millennium Girl Books Author-homeschool writing books

 

Jan May is author of New Millennium Girl Books: Christian mid-grade novels for girls and interactive creative writing books that hook even the reluctant writers! She is also a fifteen year homeschool veteran and creative writing teacher. Jan enjoys igniting creativity in children and believes that given the right tools and encouragement, any child can write and love it!

 

 

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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More Blessed to Give

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“More Blessed to Give”

The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year to instill in your children the joy of giving. 

How are you instilling the joy of giving in your kids? 

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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!)

Marie 

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.

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

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young girl with mom on laptop computer

There are many ways to help your child become more proficient in typing skills.  And, it can be achieved without paying an arm and a leg for proper keyboarding skills, as many are free.

Typing programs can make it enjoyable for kids to learn. Imagination Soup has compiled an impressive list that may be beneficial for your student. Here are just a few options:

There are definitely more resources where these came from, and many according to each child’s specific need. Online typing  tutors such as Power Typing and Kiran’s Typing Tutor Software, are also options. These will help strengthen their skills upon learning proper techniques, etc.

Another recent program called TypingWeb, is free and offers tracking and games. It can be good to add supplements in curriculums for skills that may easily fall through the cracks.

Technology is constantly advancing. It is essential to keep kids aware of and on top of new techniques, while keeping a balance with old fashioned skills. Typing is also important in enhancing future job skills, blogging, business, and much more.

Even though we want children writing with good old pencil and paper, it’s crucial to get them proficient with typing skills as well in their writing for college papers, etc. Keeping kids in the dark will only hinder their development.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

Check out this article on the “Giving Kids the Freedom to Create“, for more information on getting your children to draw, write and more.

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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.

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

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

 

 

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boy with paint on hands

Simple Thanksgiving crafts for preschoolers foster celebration and motor skills. Little guys are highly visual and love hands-on activities. Don’t be shy about using this approach.

Here are a few ideas to try with your preschooler. Remember, sometimes it’s okay to be messy. Messy is fun! It’s the process, not the product, that’s important.

Paper Turkeys

Begin with this easy paper turkey. Here are the materials you will need:

  • Multi-colored feathers (can be found at any craft and hobby shop)
  • Brown, orange, red, and white construction paper
  • Black marker or black Sharpie
  • Scissors
  • Glue

If you know your child gets frustrated with the cutting process, pre-cut the pieces. Have the parts ready to assemble onto the little turkey bodies. Be sure to pre-cut the eyes, wattle, and beak. The turkey body can take any shape you wish, including the one in the picture above.

Have your preschooler glue on their turkey parts and presto – a cute paper turkey. If you make one in advance for them to see, remind them not to worry about making their turkey look exactly the same. Their effort, and the fun they have while creating, matter more than the appearance of the final product.

Make the experience  more exiting for older pre-K’s and elementary ages. Foster fine motor skills when you let them trace the eyes, wattle, and beak. Allow them to cut out the shapes. Hint: the less fine motor control a child has, the larger the tracing templates need to be.

It’s okay if they don’t turn out perfectly. These imperfect first attempts will provide fond memories for years to come if you laminate the final products.

Handprint Turkeys

This is a fun but messier craft activity. Your preschooler will get a kick out of this one. You may experience a few giggles during the process. You will need:

  • Construction paper (red, brown, or yellow)
  • Fall color paints: red, yellow, orange, and brown
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue
  • Paintbrushes

I like to get a paintbrush for each color that I will be painting on their hands. It may also be a good idea to have a small basin of soapy water on the table for quick hand clean ups when you are done.

Use brown paint to cover the entire underside of the palm and create the turkey body. Then, paint each finger a different color. This process may tickle and cause giggles and squeals. Grab a video camera to catch some of the laughter to playback next year for more giggles.

After the hand is ready to print, press down onto your desired construction paper color and press firmly. Dip those little hands in the basin of water you put out ahead of time to save yourself extra clean up!

After the turkey has dried, add on googly eyes and write what your child is thankful for in each feather. Laminate these projects for adorable Thanksgiving place mats. If you want more than one hand on the construction paper, you can paint both hands.

Sugar Cornucopia

This has been a definite hit with my preschoolers in the past. This fun to put together, yummy treat makes a great Thanksgiving Day table favor.

Gather your  cornucopia supplies:

  • Sugar Cones
  • White Frosting (edible glue)
  • Fruit shaped fruit snacks, Runts Candy, or fruit shaped cereal
  • Craft Stick

Place the white frosting in a small plastic bowl and use the craft stick to spread the white frosting inside of the sugar cone. After that has been completed, stick on the fruit shaped items and let set until frosting has hardened. This is a quick little edible craft. The results are awesome!

Egg Pilgrims

In addition to a few hard-boiled eggs, you will need these supplies:

  • Googly Eyes
  • Black Construction Paper (Boy Pilgrim)
  • Coffee Filters (Bonnets for Girl Pilgrims)
  • Glue
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Egg Carton
  • Yarn

After the eggs have been boiled and cooled, stick into individual egg carton holders. You can cut these apart or choose to leave them whole. Cut out little pilgrim hats from construction paper. Black top hats for boys and little bonnets out of coffee filters for girls. Glue on desired color yarn for hair. Then, glue on hats. Attach the googly eyes and let dry. Draw on the nose and mouth with a Sharpie marker.  You will have cute little egg pilgrims to decorate your table.

 

For more simple Thanksgiving crafts for preschoolers, visit http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2014/08/200-fall-crafts-kids-activities.html

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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.

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

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

 

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

The Key to Teaching Your Kids About Money… is to Start Young

If you’ve wondered whether it’s too early to start teaching your kids about money, consider this excerpt from Let’s learn about money! Teaching young children about money, an article published by Penn State Extension:

As children grow and start to make choices, they learn that people, things, and money have value. These concepts form the foundation for understanding the importance of spending, sharing, and saving.

In other words, it’s never to early to understand money.

Start Young Road Map

At Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU), we couldn’t agree more. Our conviction is that earlier is better to begin developing not only an understanding of money, but also the biblical values of generosity and stewardship. It’s why we created Start Young Savings and Spending Accounts and the FREE Start Young Road Map: A Guide for Training Financially Responsible Kids to help you get started.

And because this is for you and your kids, the digital guide is designed to capture and keep their attention as they learn.

The fun, free and downloadable Start Young Road Map includes money management ideas for kids ages 0-7. The digital guide is packed with practical ideas that you can use in everyday life to introduce your kids to a foundation of concepts to earn, give, save and spend.

For example:

  • How they can earn money in small ways
  • Ideas for sharing to teach giving
  • How to build good savings habits
  • Using everyday events to teach financial foundations

And the Start Young Road Map is just the beginning, as it helps to get your creative juices flowing. For example, here’s another idea inspired from the guide.

To get your kids excited about vacation and make saving fun, create a “Vacation Fun Fund” jar that everyone in the family can add to during the year and cash in at vacation time. You can also work money concepts into your kids’ imaginary games, like playing pretend restaurant or store. The ideas are endless.

And, if you have kids of various ages you want to train to handle money more wisely, there’s a portion of Start Young Road Map dedicated to pre-teens and a section for teens as well.

To get started teaching your kids about money, follow this link for free access to Start Young Road Map: A Guide for Training Financially Responsible Kids

About the Author:

 

In 28 years of marriage, Rachel Soto and her husband David have welcomed six sons into their family. Those boys gave her 15 years of homeschool experience; she taught them through high school. With the boys off to college or on their own now, she returned to work at Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU). When she’s not working, she enjoys cooking, reading, coffee dates with friends and even an occasional nap.

 

 

 

 

Looking for more great articles about teaching your children how to manage and steward their money? Check out Pizza Prepares Kids To Make Sense Of Money, To Build Kid’s Money Handling Habits, Start Young, and Common Sense Savings Skills That Aren’t So Common on the Teach Them Diligently 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 TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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