Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

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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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homeschool middle school independence

When my boy was little I learned he had a “quality time love language”.  Naturally homeschooling was a perfect fit to fill up his love tank since we were side-by-side all day long.  All.Day.Long.

I even discovered lap-booking was perfect for the quality time child, so we did them.  However, once we started middle school he hated them.

I was still reading lesson directions oblivious to the eye rolls. I found myself putting away books and materials frustrated he didn’t help me clean up.  I was planning out his daily schedule and he would complain he hated doing math “first”. He would ask me how to cook something, and I would just lecture rather than let him try.

Middle School encourages independence.

Independence grows best with some space.  I am a slow learner.  It took me a little while to figure this out.  Our sweet time together turned into sour moods and bickering because I was unaware of his growing independence.  Truth be told, I was inadvertently stifling it.

One day I saw a picture of him on my own Instagram account that I felt the scales fall from my eyes.  He looked so big. So grown up. He didn’t look like my baby toe-head anymore.  He looked like a young man, but I was not treating him like one.

So I started off with this new independence thing all wrong.  “Go ahead and get your work done.” I told him over breakfast. No direction. No expectation. Just a flip of the hand and smile.  I was so proud of myself for being so fun.

No surprise he doodled superheroes in his math book for an hour, failed a writing assignment because he neglected to read the directions, couldn’t find his science book, and ended the day overly frustrated. We were both mad at each other.

Middle School is not high school or even college. Just give a little space a little at a time.  No one throws the keys at a young driver without a lesson in the parking lot.

You do not have to …

hover over a middle school student ~ check in often!
plan every activity ~ offer some suggestions and allow them to pick something.
read every word ~ point out where the directions are to be found.
check everything ~ allow them the opportunity to grade/edit their own work.

Successful activities of growing independence will lead to great self confidence.  

But if we constantly do the work for them we are only hurting them in the long run.  We owe that to our children!

If you have a child who is not yet mature and needs more direction, give it to them! Do not compare to what other kids their age are doing. Everyone is different with unique gifts and talents.

Keep evaluating how they are doing and give them a bit more independence or scale back if it is too much.

It is very important to know your child (and how different they are from their siblings).  Give your middle school student some space to grow into who God made them.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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homeschool winter ideas in january

January can be one of the hardest months to get through schooling. By now the hoopla of the holidays are over and we are staring January square in the face. The Christmas tree is finally down, and it’s time to settle back into our homeschooling schedule. The grunts and groans are not only coming from the kids, we feel it too.

One of sport’s greatest strategies is to play each player to his strengths. If Harry can hit well, don’t put him as catcher. If Tom can run, put him in the outfield. Let the New Year work for you by switching things up:

  • Add something new to your homeschool.
  • Do something different.
  •  Switch up the schedule.
  • Play to the strengths of being inside more.
  • Start (or join) a co-op or a book club.
  • Make tents and as a reward, let them do their school work underneath it.
  • Have a Hot Chocolate Dreaming Party next to the fireplace.
  • Plan a slumber party in the living room on a Friday night and talk about family bucket list living This term has expanded in recent years to include goals for certain time frames, such as before I grow up, etc. Kids love to feel that their contributions count and what better way to bond together as a family than to help each other fulfill dreams.
  • Maryalice Leister at encourages families to write down their list so they will have options ready at a moment’s notice. Put their dreams in a jar, write them on a poster, or attach clothespins onto a bucket.

It’s true our kids would much rather be outside building a snowman than studying books. Why not play to its strengths? Study snow, measure snow, taste snow, make snow cones, snow forts, snowmen, chart weather patterns, study Alaska, Iceland, Sweden.

One of my favorite January boosts is to have a Snowman Party! We decorate the house by hanging homemade snowflakes and paper chains. We make fun snowflake stars and bake snowman treats. We invite friends over to share in the fun! Before you know it January will take on new meaning and everyone can settle happily into the New Year.

FREE full download of Snowman Party Directions

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! Check out her blog.


This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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homeschool paper snowflakes for winter activity

This winter was a little bit of a let down for most of the country for a pretty simple reason: it’s been unseasonably warm!  However,  just because Jack Frost forgot to visit doesn’t mean you can’t have winter fun. Here’s how Floridians enjoy winter:

Pretend it’s snowing.

Two years ago we bought several bags of crushed ice from Sonic and made snowmen. It was a great way to enjoy the (non-existent) winter weather.

Enjoy a winter edition family fun night.

Make some hot chocolate,  stick a candy cane in each one and then play some of your family’s favorite games.

If you are lucky enough to live in Florida, go to the beach and build a sandman.

You can also make sand angels and do a polar plunge all at the same time.

Go on a nature hike.

Even though you may not have your “normal” winter weather, it is still cooler than it was in the summer. In Florida, that means there are no mosquitoes! Glory be! Enjoy the outdoors and observe birds migrating through your area that you don’t normally notice. You could take a field guide and identify birds, trees and plants (that makes it a homeschool science entry in your records!) or just relax.

Build a fort.

Maybe the weather won’t cooperate with a snow fort,  but that doesn’t mean you have to nix the idea. Build a pillow fort using the couch and large blankets/tablecloths.

Go skating!

In my experience, it is hard to ice skate without ice, so here’s an alternative. Put on socks and skate around the house. If you have tile you can double this as a chance to mop and play sponge hockey in any main living space. You will be the best parent ever!

Make snowflakes.

This is really easy. All you have to do is fold a piece of paper,  cut the corners, make random small incisions and then unfold. Wala! Instant snowflake.

Just because winter isn’t 32 degrees and snowing doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this time of year. These simple tips and tricks will bring a lot of fun for you and your family. Take a moment out of your busy week, and spend some quality time with your little munchkins.


This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


For more on winter activities, check out this video on Teach Them Diligently 365.

Learning Is Fun

Watch “Learning is Fun”

We’re right in the middle of winter, and as a result, we’re indoors…a lot. Are there creative ways to make learning fun during this season and break up the mundane for ourselves? Let’s chat about that. Bring your creative juices, because this week we’ll explore fun ideas to incorporate in our learning.

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hot chocolate candy cane january

That can mean only one thing. It’s time to relax and evaluate for the new year ahead.

Somehow, we have to pull ourselves back from the great holiday blitz and go on homeschooling. One of the things that helped me most was to realize it would take a little time to adjust — just like back at the beginning of the school year.  It was o.k. to take a deep breath and relax.

Reading aloud makes a cozy winter language activity.

The rhythm can create a feeling of  peaceful re-entry. Pick a book about a winter adventure or new beginnings. Introduce a series that will invite your children to read the other titles in the series, on their own time,  just for fun.

The new year is a perfect time to take inventory of what we accomplished this past semester.

Make special individual time with each child, hot chocolate in hand, and chat about what they learned academically and in real-life skills. Give each child  new journal to record their progress and write down goals for the new spring semester.

It’s a good idea for mom to create a journal too.

Include what worked and what didn’t. No matter how optimistic our beginning-of-the-year goals, failing to reach a few is okay. We learn best through trial and error. Innovation comes from failure. Did you know that Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was invented when a pan of boiled wheat was left in a baking pan overnight? Sounds like homeschooling to me!

Pray and ask God for creative ways to accomplish what you could not.

When I realized my 6th grade daughter was behind in math, I needed to be honest myself. I did not have the time to think through algebra with her. A huge weight dropped off my shoulders when I could admit she needed a tutor. Many teenagers in other homeschool families make perfect tutors. They’re happy about the income and most are open to bartering.

There are plenty of free homeschool checklists online.

Too often we want to keep pushing forward when a little evaluation can yield a better result. Checklists cover social skills, practical living skills, character qualities, and spiritual growth as well as academic milestones for each grade. I use evaluation lists to help me think through my objectives, but I implement them loosely.

Children are not wired the same and develop at different paces. If my child isn’t good at something now, I know in two to four months, he or she will catch on just fine. By backing off for a month or two, then reintroducing a concept, I found my children caught on after all.  All children have their own gifting and learn in their own way. Striving to fit them precisely into a curriculum scope and sequence will only led to tears and frustration. For you and them.

Below are a few points to help evaluate the fall semester:

  • Has your child mastered concepts he was taught in each subject?
  • What special projects did they complete?
  • What books did they read?
  • Are they growing in their extracurricular interests and skills?
  • Do children follow instructions better?
  • Are any of them moving towards self-government?
  • Are they learning to control emotions?
  • Can your preschooler or K5’er sit still longer? Pay attention longer? This was a huge accomplishment for my son!
  • Is your schedule working for you?
  • Can you work smarter and not harder anywhere? If it’s easier for the kids to do math in the morning because you are freshest, then-do it!
  • Are you doing too much? Too many outside commitments?
  • Are you doing enough? Is there a child who is bored and needs to be challenged more?
  • Could you use a mom-time of refreshment? Can you build in some necessary self-care somewhere? Don’t feel guilty!
  • How are chores going? Is it time to graduate someone to more responsibility?
  • Has Bible time been a priority or has it fallen through the cracks?
  • Can I implement hands-on activities to liven a subject up?

Most companies complete inventories. Like them, doing an evaluation can give you a good perspective of how much ground you’ve gained or where you lost ground.  Taking an inventory of your homeschool progress can help refine your focus and objectives. Above all else, you can rest easy knowing learning comes in all forms,  Homeschool children are absorbent sponges and are probably further along that you think!

For a special evaluation treat,  try a hot chocolate snowflake-float with vanilla ice cream and a peppermint stick as you relax and evaluate for the new year.

Blessing to you on your new year!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


Read through our essential homeschool resources for more encouragement!
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The holidays are almost over, and today is the first day of winter.  Schoolwork and school days seem to extend farther into the future than you can see. The days ahead seem like they are dragging on for what seems forever. That’s when you need  tips for surviving the winter homeschool blues.

Sometimes it is good to take a break from routine and do some winter activities that are different from the norm:  hands-on and imaginative.

Take a Walk

On a nice cold day, put the books to the side, bundle everyone up, and go outside for a walk. This activity is great for any age student. At the beginning of the walk, ask the children to find 3 items that represent winter. If they are small, allow the kids to pick up the items, such as acorns, and bring them home. If they are large, use your phone to capture them in pictures .

Once the walk is over, have the students empty their pockets and look at the pictures. Discuss their finds.

Other Winter Nature Activities:

Snowflake Unit Study

Hibernation Unit Study

Studying Trees in the Winter

Preschool: Winter Salt Tray

Indoor Activities for Preschoolers

Snowman Activities for Kids

The Science of Snow

Arctic Mini-World

Nature Study Ideas for January

23 Ice Crafts, Activities, and DIY Decorations for Winter Fun

20 Winter Science Activities

Winter Lacing Cards

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Oil Pastel Winter Tree Art Project

Snowball Paint Art

Snowman Art for Preschoolers

7 Indoor Activities for Toddlers

Holiday Activities Jar

Winter Activities

Pine Branch Printing

Igloo Craft

Puffy Paint Snowman

Snow Slime Recipe

Winter Playdough

Crystallized Snowflakes

MORE Winter Activities…..

Surviving the Winters Blues with Something Yummy

You know all of those cookbooks you have on the shelf? Give each of your students a cookbook,  and ask them to find one new recipe to try. As they pour over the pages, talk about different ingredients, types of foods, ways to cook, and measurement. Once they have chosen their recipes, see what items you need to buy at the grocery store.

Have each child write a list and be responsible for finding each item. Plan a special evening with the family and create each recipe. Get out the table cloth and candles. It might be the strangest, and most fun, meal you’ve ever eaten!

Marshmallow Snowmen

hot chocolate

Snow-Inspired Recipes for Kids

60+ Recipes to Warm up Kids During the Winter

Hot Lunch Ideas for Kids

Melted Snowman Cookies

12 Warm Drinks for Kids

Surviving the Winter Blues With Printables

Because we school at home, we have the option to do fun activities that teach great content. Whether you have tiny tots, elementary kids, or middle schoolers, you can find fun printables that can help spruce up the dull grey days of winter.

Winter Time Fun Pack

Winter Time Math Activity Pack

Winter Learning Fun with Lapbooks

Winter Printables

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Sequencing

Snowflake Counting

Winter ABC Sorting Cards

Winter Spelling Mats

So You Want to Make a Snowglobe?

Number Word Worksheets – Hot Cocoa!

Arctic and Antarctic Unit Ideas

Winter Counting Mats

Snowman Activities for Preschoolers

Winter Charades Printable

Comparing Numbers: Ping Pong Ball Toss

Winter Word Search Printable

Round Up of Winter Printables

Snowman Dot Printables

Penguin Dot Printables

Penguin Sudoku Printables

Winter Printable Pack

Winter Adult Coloring Pages

In the Bleak Mid-Winter Printable Pack

Suriving the Winter Blues at the Library

A change of scenery can make all the difference. Take the schoolbooks, drive to your local library, and find a nice corner. If your library is like mine, you have computers at your disposal, as well as, all kind of wonderful books. As your students finish their schoolwork, allow them to choose books and find a fun game on the computer to play.

Ice Skating Books

Snowman Picture Books

Do You Want to Dress a Penguin?

All You Need for a Snowman

20 Books About Arctic Animals

100 Winter Books Recommended by Moms

Winter and Snowman Books

Warm Winter Reads (Kids and Teens)

Books About Snow

Winter can be cold, dreary, and slow. But if you tweak your schedule just a bit, spring will seem as though it is  right around the corner! We hope you enjoy our tips for surviving the winter homeschool blues!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor, closeup and nature

Anne Marie has a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on Christian Education. She is the author of the blog Future.Flying.Saucers. Anne Marie has a passion for biblically equipping parents and teachers so children can fly for Jesus. On Wednesday nights you will find her teaching Biblical concepts to Awana clubs at her church. All of her Awana and Bible lessons can be found on her blog. You can connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

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timothy plan

Investing Wisely and Morally

Investing Wisely and Morally

There are really only a few things you can do with your money.

You can spend it.  You can save it.  You can give it away. You could throw it away on the lottery, but that would come under foolish ways to spend.  Finally, you can invest it.

The last – investing – can greatly affect how much we all spend, save or give away.

In David McCullough’s biography of the Wright Brothers, who built and flew the first airplane in 1903, the author relates that Orville and Wilbur became rich from their remarkable invention.  Instead of becoming avaricious or prideful, they tried to model stewardship taught to them by their father, Bishop Milton Wright.

Orville liked to say they were “well-to-do” rather than “wealthy,” and often quoted his father: “All the money anyone needs is just enough to prevent one from being a burden to others.”[1]

That’s fine as far as it goes.  But wouldn’t it be even better to have more than enough for one’s own needs in order to have enough to be a blessing to others?  The bishop would no doubt agree, and was just warning against greed.

Complacency Is not a Virtue

Jesus Himself cautioned against the folly of being content to sit on cash or any bounty from God without putting it to good use.

In the Parable of the Talents (a form of money in Jesus’s time) He praises two servants who invest their master’s money and reap dividends, but sharply rebukes a third servant who merely hid the money he was given and so there was no increase.

In Matthew 25: 25, the third servant desperately tries to explain: “And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.’”

While reassuring us of providence (And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19), the Bible gives ample advice about managing our wealth.

The Book of Proverbs comes down hard on laziness.

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6: 6-8)

Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.” (Proverbs 24:27)

Financially speaking, this means making wise investments with our time and money before spending what we have on non-essentials.

Teaching them Young

It’s almost never too early to teach children to truly value money and understand that there are ways to save it, increase it and not spend it foolishly.

Children can be given jobs or allowance and asked to place the proceeds into four jars – one for tithing, one for saving, one for investing and one for spending.  They can set a goal to buy something they want, and learn about budgeting while they see progress toward their goal as the jars fill.

Ambitious older kids can operate lemonade stands or sell cookies that they paid for themselves so they can learn profit and loss.  For older children, purchase of a share or two of stock that they can check regularly helps them understand the power of investing but also its risks. For teens, opening a checking account and obtaining a card with a tight credit limit can teach money management.

An Eternal Perspective

The whole idea of investing is to increase our money.  But it can also be a way to impact the marketplace with our values, and our place in eternity.

Many well-known corporations and stock funds profit from people’s propensity for sin.  They trade in pornography, abortion, gambling, anti-family entertainment, tobacco and alcohol, immoral lifestyles, and some even aid and abet human oppression, human trafficking, slave labor, terrorism and Christian persecution.  Others are characterized by greedy management that treats its employees and even its stockholders badly.

You don’t have to be a Christian to want to invest your money in companies that make the world a better place.  But Christians and Jews have the added insight through the Scriptures that all of our money belongs to God, not just the amount we tithe.  So, it’s not unreasonable to take responsibility for how our money is used in the marketplace, including investing.

Until fairly recently, Christians did not have a way to differentiate investments or choose financial advisors who would avoid profiting from companies that promote moral corruption.

The Rise of BRI

Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) began in 1992 when pro-life activist and financial expert Art Ally sought to assist churches in providing Biblically sound retirement resources for pastors.

Two years later, in April 1994, Art founded Timothy Plan, named after two verses in I Timothy that Art’s wife Bonnie thought best defined the fund’s purpose:

5:8:  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

22:  Do not lay hands suddenly on anyone, and do not partake of other men’s sins.  Keep yourself pure.

Biblically Responsible Investing means putting money into stocks or mutual funds that do not profit from promoting or peddling sin.

In addition to the Timothy Plan, there are a variety of other BRI-centered investing firms.  More information can be found at the Christian Investment Forum.[2]

Nearly $16 trillion is invested in mutual funds.[3]  About 68 percent of that is held by Christians, as well as 41 percent of all money invested in securities.[4]

Imagine the impact on society if more people conscientiously put their money where their values are.

[1] Quoted in David McCullough, “The Wright Brothers” (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015), p. 259.
[2] Christian Investment Forum website, About Us, at:
[3] 2015 Investment Company Fact Book, 55th Edition, Investment Company Institute, Washington, D.C. (
[4] 2014 Religious Landscape Study, conducted June 4-Sept. 30, 2014. Pew Research Center (

Robert Knight


Robert Knight is an author and Communications Advisor for Timothy Partners.  Some of this material was drawn from a curriculum from the Timothy Plan for family economics called “Stewardship:  God’s Plan for Financial Success.”

Written by Timothy Plan founder Art Ally, the 112-page workbook, which, along with brief video segments of a couple discussing their income and giving, offers a Gods-eye view of money, investing, giving and cultural impact.  Learn more at



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We at Teach Them Diligently are driven in our mission of encouraging you to seize the role God has for you while helping you move forward with greater confidence as a servant of Christ. We truly do believe that homeschooling when done Biblically will strengthen your family in countless ways. Here are all the places you can connect with Teach Them Diligently to find resources and connection all year long. 

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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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Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention
2435 East North Street, Suite 1108 PMB 363
Greenville, SC 29615

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