How to teach teenagers about managing money (when you’re not doing so great yourself)


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Teach Teenagers About Money

It’s tough to teach teenagers about managing money, especially if you’re not doing so great yourself!

But we all know that money management is an important skill that your teenagers will use every day of their adult life. They may never use Algebra II again, but money skills are vital.

I have an episode of the Dollars and Sense podcast to help you teach teenagers about managing money. Click here to listen

Our motivation to be teaching teenagers about money

  • Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government.
  • We want them to avoid excessive debt. Did you know that college debt now exceeds credit card debt? Unbelievable!
  • Someone is watching you! So teach them how to avoid the mistakes you made.
  • We want to avoid boomerang kids, who are adults that return to live in their parents’ home, usually for financial reasons. Imaging the movie “Failure to Launch -Homeschool Style!” Always remember, we are raising adults, not children.

How to Teach Money Skills to a Teenager

  • Go with a natural style. Talk about money, what things cost, what people earn, decisions and trade-offs  a you go about your day. Stores are a great place to talk about money and choices.
  • Use real life examples. Share your own money stories (good or bad)  or those of people you read about in the news.
  • Get someone else to teach your teenagers. For example: Sunday school class, Scouts, or a homeschool co-op class. See the Resources below for curriculum that works well in a group setting.
  • Make personal finance a required class for graduation from your homeschool high school. The Resources below has several options for curriculum.

What to Teach Teenagers About Money

  • What things cost and what jobs earn.
  • Career exploration and post high school education.
  • Checking accounts and financial software such as Quicken or Ace Money Lite (it’s what I use and it’s free)
  • Budgets. One teenager I know is given $150/month as an allowance, but she has to buy everything: clothes, food, entertainment and gas.
  • Avoid credit card debt, but start building credit history in college.
  • Student loan debt. With her dad out of work, one college student chose a state school when shown the debt she would have from staying at a private college.
  • Taxes and federal spending. My husband says it’s his goal to raise taxpayers! We should all want that.
  • Entrepreneurship. My Micro Business for Teens books help a teenager earn money while learning a lot about business. Starting a Micro Business, a public television show features six students who started their own micro businesses. Ethan pays his own cell phone bill by teaching guitar and Linnea paid her way to China by tutoring.
  • Investing. Try a stock market simulation game.

Resources mentioned in the podcast

Schoolhouse Teachers  offers my Career Exploration 8 week class

Free! National Endowment Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Curriculum

Generation Change for youth groups and Foundations in Personal Finance for schools at

Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money from 10 weeks, individual or class use

Money Matters for Teens Ages 15-18 Edition by Larry Burkett (oldie but still available on

Micro Business For Teens books at

Starting a Micro Business television show on YouTube

Our federal budget graphically displayed at

Tax return simulations from the IRS at Understanding Taxes


I hope you’re on your way to raising money-smart teenagers!

Carol Topp, CPA

Formerly Dollars and Sense now Homeschool CPA on Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

How to teach homeschool teenagers about money


How do I Teach Politics to My Kids?

Politics today | How do I teach my kids politics? |homeschooling

Politics today | How do I teach my kids politics?Raising homeschooled teenagers in this current political climate is not fun, and that, my friends, is putting it mildly.

I’m frustrated. No, wait. I’m angry! Just think of all the years, I have spent as a parent raising children to love the Lord, do what is right, play fair, share, compromise, and think of others.

I teach my children to think, to form opinions that are sound. If they disagree, they can state these politely and without malice. It is the art of rhetoric and argumentation that is based upon evidence whenever possible. I work at modeling character qualities, not always successfully, but I try, because I know that character is caught more so than it is taught.

And what does the government do? It undermines my parental authority because I care. I care about my rights as a citizen… and my children have watched and listened as I’ve taught them how I feel about the following:

  1. The new health care plan.
  2. The raising of the debt ceiling only to hand a future generation the bill.
  3. Non-compromising politicians on both sides who use well-orchestrated press releases, and  buzzwords that incur the wrath of my remote control to change the channel.
  4. The disregard for many of the articles of the Constitution that leaves me stunned.
  5. The repayment of a fallen soldier’s loyalty with total disrespect of memorials and funds.

Who is to blame? We are.

As we waste our time blaming sides, our rights are being stripped away one by one, and my children see this, clearly. They ask: what can we do?

My parents were Italian immigrants who fled to this country because of Mussolini; they came to the United States of America, because it was the Land of the Free. My parents insisted I speak English and were happy they became American citizens. They taught my brothers and me that education was important and entrepreneurship was the key. They owned a bakery, ran a dress shop in the basement. My father finished the dresses in our home, for those who did not want to buy off-the-rack clothes. My parents  later purchased and ran a very successful restaurant. We lived many places: New York, outside of Ontario, Canada, and in Winter Haven, Florida. My parents were not afraid of hard work; they taught me that very well. They taught me that freedom was won with integrity and honor – and most of all we must be informed.

So can you imagine my chagrin when I heard my smart, beautiful, happy go-lucky, softball-playing teenage daughter told me, “I just don’t care anymore, Mom. I’m tired of being angry.”


This was her response to an invitation to watch the news with me, and, it was a conservative news station. She doesn’t care? How did that happen? Didn’t I teach her better? Didn’t my carefully-selected history and government classes with God as the focus and the Constitution as a pillar show her time and time again that if you don’t care your rights will truly be stripped?

Yes, I did teach her better, and I know her response was a defense mechanism because she was weary of hearing the bickering on T.V., and so am I! As a Christian I know my hope is in God, not politicians, but I will not stand idly by. I will be praying. Every single one of those politicians has my prayers, because my God is a righteous one and His ways are not mine. I continue to hope for my children and for my country, the Land of the Free.

How are you encouraging your children with our current political mess? I want to know.


Felice Gerwitz is the moderator of Current Issues & the Constitution with her brother-in-law, Professor Wilson. The show airs in the archives.

Sponsored by: Media Angels Membership Site

media angels membership


Need help? Look Up.

Need help look up | homeschool encouragement through faith

Need help? Look up!

Recently I’ve taken to looking at the sky. It isn’t a normal for me. I’m usually preoccupied with the many things happening in my life. I see the sky, but I don’t really see it. What is typical for me is the daily routine of life that I motor through, you know, the daily chores, teaching, cleaning, working, cooking, and shopping.

I don’t often stop to smell the roses or look at the clouds.

At church I’ve heard many sermons lately about being thankful in all circumstances, especially those in which we have no control. Our pastor unfolds story after story with real examples about people who have no reason to be thankful and yet they are. One of my long-time friends is a pediatrician. She stopped practicing long ago to be a full-time wife and mother. Her children are now adults and she took up missionary work. This was short lived as she was diagnosed with cancer. (In remission now, please join me in praying for Mary.) Yet she praises God in all things! At coffee one morning she shared how touched she was by the splendor of God’s work in the beauty of nature and how she feels it is a gift just for her.

How thankful am I?

Colossians 3:15 says: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

And so I’ve been thanking the Lord for everything — and I mean everything. The fabulous days, and the not-so-fabulous ones as well. As a result, it is as if the blinders have been taken off and I’m seeing the clouds for the first time. I’m enthralled with the formations, the color, and the Lord seems to be blessing me with these beautiful arrays! Just as my friend shared, I feel that it is a gift just for me!


Need help look up | homeschool encouragement through faith Need help look up | homeschool encouragement through faith

The first photo was taken in the early morning. Isn’t that an amazing sky? I’ve never seen anything like it. Only the hands of God can create that type of pattern and beauty. The second is a late afternoon sky which is typical for this area.

By looking up, I see the beauty and majesty of God and it gives me time to pause and to wonder!

What ways do you combat depression– feelings of insecurity or general blah in your homeschool day? Please share your ideas and tips with me … or if you need help in a certain situation, let me know. Post your comments below.

Be sure and listen to Felice Gerwitz at Vintage Homeschool Moms podcast.

My Kids Fight

Hate to disappoint you. We are not a perfect, Christian, homeschool family. Well, we do homeschool and we are Christians … but the perfect part? Therein lies the problem. You see many of us have these high hopes that homeschooling will insure that our kids get along – or that at the very least, will learn how to get along. Of course when things don’t work out the way we expect we are floored.

My Kids Fight! Out of five children there have been arguing and fighting at different times during their lives. Sometimes it was the oldest and the youngest. Other times it was the two youngest. I remember once being so frustrated that I made my oldest two, my son and my daughter sit face-to-face until they could “stand” to be around each other. Their words were “I can’t stand to be around him/her.” Well, that took care of them saying those offending words. The rest took work.

However, I began to see a pattern emerging…one child in particular had difficulty getting along with…well, everyone. My difficult child is a handful. He was a handful as young and even as he got older and we found he struggled academically. Mine was tough love. I expected allot from him, and often he delivered. One thing he learned—and that was to be detail oriented, when it came to what others in the family should and should not do. Unfortunately this perfectionism wasn’t applied to his own life.

Do your kids fight? Homeschooling isn't a magic wand. Our kids are still human. Tips and guidance to help you through.

I know – it’s easy to cry, “Help! My Kids Don’t Get Along!” After the relief that comes with getting it off my chest, I decided some things needed to change and namely me.

  • The way I reacted.
  • The discipline I meted out.
  • The realization that yelling did not help.

I quickly learned that micro-managing could only go so far. I once heard a seminar given by a renowned child discipline advocate that stated when the child is young redistricting bad behavior is necessary but as the child grew we, as parents could relax a bit more. This did not happen in this child’s case. Teaching him self-control proved to be a formidable task and sadly is ongoing. So, what do you do with the difficult child? Or children in general that do not get along? Here are a few of my go-to methods for those times that I am at wits end.

My short list on child behavior modifying techniques:

  1. Pray: When I’m at a loss I ask the Lord in prayer for help, even when it comes to the perfect punishment. HE has been amazing with HIS answers… and believe me, some were short of miraculous in nature in their effectiveness. [Listen to the podcast here for details.]
  2. Punishment vs. Crime: Be sure the punishment fits the “crime” … if your child misbehaves at dinner consider having them eat a cold dinner alone, or doing the dishes. My teenage son has done many dishes when it is not his turn due to causing a fight at the dinner table, or acting rudely. This of course is spelled out way in advance.
  3. Tell your kids what to expect: if you are going into a store, make sure they know to keep their hands behind their backs when looking at things or IN their pockets for little ones. Older children know ahead of time if they break something they will pay for it. Just be clear of expectations.
  4. Make sure you child understands what the punishment will be. If that is not a deterrent, think of another punishment. [You can’t (well you can but it does not go over very well) come up with punishments on the fly… often the punishment is out of anger or frustration and will not curb the event from happening again.]
  5. Repeat back: often I ask my kids to tell me what I said. In that way there is no confusion or the words, “I didn’t know that is what you said!” It is clear to all.
  6. Keep it short. Long explanations are often tuned out – after the first two minutes. Keep it brief and on target.
  7. Encourage. When a child is doing something good, let them know you appreciate it. Catch them and reward good behavior.
  8. Mentor: some children need extra work and practice. When children are young, practice calling their name and having them walk or run toward you. Reward this with a hug and praise. The same thing with hand holding. My grandkids hate to hold hands in the parking lot and I witnessed an accident as a child in the parking lot. So, when they are with me they know to hold my hand, or they will not be allowed to go.
  9. Prepare: Are you prepared to turn the car around on the way to a fun field trip if your children will not behave in the car? Are you prepared to pull off the road when you need to discipline. Believe me, I’ve done both of these things and the reactions are astounding, loud, and are not repeated. It only takes one time of us being firm for our kids to get the idea and respond.
  10. Relax/Anger: parenting isn’t easy. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t get easier… little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems. Righteous anger is fine – reacting out of anger rarely works out well for either party. Be sure your life is filled with prayer and rely on God for that extra strength that is sometimes needed to get through the day!

Remember the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in one day.” It is worth repeating and remembering. Parenting is an ongoing effort and in the process we learn about ourselves, our children and best of all, if done correctly our memories will be wonderful and lasting.



Need Money For Homeschool Books?

Need money for homeschool books? After all the years of homeschooling I added up the amount of money I’ve spent and let’s just say, I could be driving a luxury car. I’ve homeschooled since 1986 and in that time I’ve purchased thousands and thousands of dollars in curriculum. It was everything from books to math videos (in the hundreds of dollars) to games (one year I spent over $500 in educational games) to educational computer software (thousands – pre-internet) and educational videos.

Where did all these resources go? I made good use of them and still are recycling and using many of those long-ago-purchased products today. That is not to say that I purchased things unwisely or that many books were never used. In this case I often passed them on in homeschool curriculum sales or gave them to friends. There are some things that I believe every homeschool needs and even if there are freebies on the internet, these sources I believe are invaluable.

In fact I’ve created several shows using just books, you know the ones you find in the library. Yes, there are some great ones available. And I love to put lists together. Here is a list of Summer Reading Books, here is a podcast on Living Books, and here is one on creating (and charging others) a Living Books Library. 

Need money for homeschool books


What are my MUST haves for every homeschooler?

  1. A Bible that is age appropriate for each child
  2. A good atlas that is grade appropriate.
  3. A historic timeline.
  4. A dictionary (yes, I realize they can hop online but it makes a good reference for those times when the internet – {{gasp}} – is down!
  5. Reading material – historical fiction, biographies, classics, religious titles

That is my short list. My book shelves are floor to ceiling and filled with books and curriculum I’ve collected throughout the years. Many of my favorite resources are no longer in print however they are available online if you dig far enough. I’ll soon post some of my suggestions in an upcoming post. No matter how much I’ve spent buying good curriculum it is still cheaper than private schools and I’m delighted with my children’s educational milestones, and would NOT trade homeschooling for anything in the world!

And – one more thing  – seminars! Right now our seminar bundle is free – grab your set by subscribing to the email list for the network.  And you receive weekly freebies just for our subscribers as a BONUS .

Our bundles change every few months – so that’s more savings just for you.

And, just in time for the shopping season, I’m offering a flash giveaway, (ends 5/24/2017 at 8 am est) Don’t forget to check out the Media Angels website for specials – we have them all the time, and coupon offers to eZine subscribers as well.

So, let me know what you do to save money and visit Carol Topp’s podcast here for great info – about the Myths that Homeschool Moms believe – here.  A real eye opener.


My Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Character Building

Homeschooling’s number one aim for many families is character building. I know when I started out, I wanted curriculum that built character! How about you? Are you looking for homeschool curriculum that builds character? I’ve been homeschooling since 1993, and I’ve got some favorites to share with you!

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Character Building

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Character Building

When we start thinking about what it means to build our children’s character what do you think about? I think about all the things that go into a child’s heart and mind. What are they watching, listening to, and reading? This never changes as they grow.

I once heard a story of a type of worm that cattle get when they graze that invades the nasal cavity and eventually attacks the brain. This always stuck with me as an example of our children in the world. They graze through so many things. What will invade their hearts and minds? I wanted to make sure that the ratio of things was always in my favor for as long as I had the influence to make that happen.

When my kiddos were very small we used a lot of song and books on tape. Steve Green and Your Story Hour were favorites. My own children even loved Shari Lewis’s One-Minute Bible Stories. Another favorite was the Arch books.

Children get older

As my children grew, it would take more than knowing the stories and hiding God’s word in their hearts, they would need to wrestle with concepts and a little theology to deepen their character. We grew to love family study time and found The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History a good choice for deep thinking that still taught the who, what, when, and where. We began to study the cause and effect of men and their actions in God’s Word and develop an understanding of God’s Providence.

Children as young adults

When my children all became of an age (we had enough overlap) and their homeschool studies took them to more and more independent learning I knew I had to find things that really challenged them! I turned to an in depth study (don’t let the name scare you off!) of Universal History by Ms. Katherine Dang.

History is a great tool to teach character because it allows your children to sit as a witness to those men and women who’ve gone before them and reaped and sowed. It shows them the role of conscience in the life of a believer and why to “go against conscience is neither right nor safe” for it is the “most sacred of all property” and the role of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in forming it to build good character!

For additional character building resources, I recommend:


Raising Children with Good Character by LaToya Edwards (Mommy Jammies Night)

Activities That Teach

activities that teach

At some point in your homeschool career, you may find one or more children, dragging their feet, with little shoulders slumped and heads hung. School just isn’t fun. Just think about it. If you were struggling to learn new material how fun would it be? Not much. Especially for a child who has some learning challenges. School can be frustrating. Or for the bright child–school can be boring. So, anytime is a good time to infuse some fun activities that teach, into your day and spark the creative juices.

Download the printable – a fourteen page eBook by signing up for our ezine here. Or if you are already an email subscriber your freebie is here

There are five important points to consider when creating an environment where activities that teach are fun:

Activities that teachActivities should be fun but have an educational purpose.

There are a ton of science videos out there or blog posts that talk about “fun” activities that will allow learning to take place. However fun without a purpose is, well just fun. There is nothing wrong with having fun, but I will not waste my precious time or that of my children’s having fun during school time if that fun does not have an educational hook. I want my children to be so excited, they want to explore the educational topic on their own. I introduced small little science books to my children. One that caught my son’s eye was a “pond life” book. He loved it. My son took his soon *dog-eared” book out to the pond. He looked things up; he raced inside to get me when something was “SO exciting!” He was about to burst. He put things in categories (sorting), he counted (math), he drew pictures (art), he kept a science journal (art-and-writing), and he learned about the animals that were in the habitat (science). That means he had fun, but it had a purpose.

*A side note here. Sometimes we love our books so much we don’t allow our children to use them to their full potential. I had to let go of my love of books (I truly love them!) and allow my kids to use them outdoors. I had an outdoor copy and an indoor copy to allow myself to let go!

Understand the science behind the fun activities.

“Let’s blow up baggies!” Well, that will spark excitement, but just because you can mix baking soda and vinegar and cause a chemical reaction of expanding gas – strong enough to pop open a zip-locked baggie, doesn’t mean your child understands the scientific principle behind the activity. Do they need to understand the chemical equation? Perhaps not. However, a simple explanation of chemical reactions and how different compounds can create the third compound may be the place to start. My pet peeve is those who say that science is magic. Magic means (to a kid) that there is no answer – it is mysterious. A good magician knows there is science and psychology behind his slight of hand. There is no magic! Don’t fall into the trap of calling science magic or your child will not think they need to discover an answer or a conclusion.

Document your findings.

Did the activity go as planned? Why or why not? If you have a science activity or experiment that did not go according to plan, go back to your notes and figure out what went wrong. Compare it to the instructions. Usually, if you document your activity, you will find exactly where you went wrong. My daughter’s “failed” science fair project won her third place in the Regional Science Fair in chemistry. In science, there is no failed experiments – only experiments that proved your hypothesis was incorrect. This idea works for art projects as well. Often mixing the wrong colors will yield a third or fourth color that can be used. I explain to my children that you can’t mess up art (when painting on canvas) because y
ou can always use white paint over the entire thing and start again … or white out one section and have a “do-over.”

Have the supplies on hand.

How frustrating is it to do an activity and not have supplies on hand? Very! That is why I created “lab” kits with easy to find household supplies. Even some chemistry items are easily found in most home cupboards. In my book Teaching Science and Having Fun (MediaAngels, Inc. Publishing) I list the products and supplies to have on hand to allow your children to succeed. And how wonderful to say to your kids, Please get the “chemistry box” or the “physics box, ” and you are ready to go!

Have fun. Make sure your child is engaged and taking part.

So many times I hear parents say the kids are bored when they do activities. Upon further questioning, I find out that the children are watching while the parent does the activity! No wonder the child is bored. Parents–if you want your children to learn, allow them to be the ones who complete the activities. Stop being helicopter parents. Allow your kids to make mistakes. That is how real learning takes place.

I have a podcast on Wow Science Experiments coming soon. Please look for that on as well as the podcast Activities That Teach – Podcast 194.

~ Felice Gerwitz hated science as a child, as a teacher, and as a homeschool mom, but God in His infinite wisdom and mercy gave her two children who loved anything related to science. If he had not started her off slowly with two children (ending with five – and now seven grandchildren), she would not be an author of science-based curriculum nor the owner and operator of Media Angels, Inc. You can find Felice cooking up ideas in the kitchen or on her notepad of ideas for future blog posts and podcasts. Felice lives with four of her children (one is married) in Ft. Myers, Florida.






Special Needs Homeschooling 101

special needs homeschooling 101

Special Featured Author Dr. Jan Bedell

Do you have a child with special learning needs?  While every child is unique and needs specialized attention, some seem to require more. They struggle to progress through typical milestones and traditional curriculum and approaches don’t help them.   That was my dilemma with my first born, Jenee’.  When she was 5-6 years old, I remember thinking that I could do better than what I was observing in her school classroom but being educated as a public school teacher in the 70’s the public school mindset is all you know. That is until God opened my eyes of understanding for a different way. When Jenee’ was 9, God led me to home school and it changed my life. Homeschooling was the best decision I ever made. If you are concerned that you might not have the skills or training, don’t be.  God will show you the way; he will equip you as he calls you.

No matter where you are in your journey with your special needs child, whether you are just now considering home school for this special person in your life or are a veteran, all need encouragement and equipping past our current knowledge level.  My prayer is that you find that in Podcast #25, “Special Needs Homeschooling 101.” In this episode, I will share more of my journey and how God led me every step of the way.

Fear can be one of the biggest battles for a mom of a special needs child. What does the future hold for this child? What if people make fun of him or misinterpret his action? What will happen when I am not here to help her? Will friends be a part of his life? How do I afford all these therapies that she needs? Remember this: fear is like a magnet that goes into the future and pulls toward you what you do not want. In Job 3:25, Job said, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” God tells us 365 times in the Bible not to fear.  Having a child that seems to be more vulnerable than most makes these admonishments not to fear easier “read” than “done.” It is important that you push back against these fears as they are counter-productive and often cause the child to experience anxiety as well. What’s a mom to do?  Well, when you are tempted to fear, replace that thought with this one: Faith goes into the future and pulls toward you what you do want.  I often tell the parents of my clients to think of it this way. The God of the Universe that flung the stars into their exact place in the sky has our precious little or big ones right in the palm of his hand.  How much more secure can we be?

Be sure to listen to Brain Coach Tips #25: Special Needs Homeschooling 101 on the Ultimate Home School Radio Network. This podcast, sponsored by Little Giant Steps, contains some specific strategies and curriculum recommendations to make life easier for you and your child.  It airs April 13, 2017 and includes:

  1. How I laughed more and cried more over my special child than anything else in life.
  2. Seeing what God might be doing in you through the experience of having a special needs child
  3. Creating and celebrating every small step along the way.
  4. Keeping yourself encouraged
  5. Equipping yourself for success through The NeuroDevelopmental Approach to Life.

About the author

Dr. Jan Bedell is an author and creates a podcast weekly on the topic of special needs, on Brain Coach Tips, here. She is the creator of a dynamic curriculum for parents of children who learn differently. Her program and seminars have given hope to many. Visit her website at Little Giant Steps.

Homeschooling with the Principle Approach, an Overview

Homeschooling with the Principle Approach an Overview

homeschooling principle approach overview

I’ve been homeschooling my four children since 1997. My youngest child will graduate next year. Over the years I’ve seen many homeschooling methods rise. Homeschoolers are smart cookies and tend to seek the best for their families.

A little of my story…

My oldest child had been in a private Christian school, classical in nature. He would come home in the evenings with homework that consisted of repetitious parotting. The idea was learning took place by rote memorization. It made sense at the time, but I did feel strongly we could do just as well at home without the private school price tag.

We got a copy of World Magazine in the mail and ran across an ad for the Noah Plan. It’s idea of appealing to Scripture as our source of reasoning spoke to my heart. We ordered the Plan.

The plan came and I sat on the floor surrounded by a giant dictionary and big red books. And I cried! I was overwhelmed! My own re-education was about to begin. And that’s where we’ll begin today, with a little education. 😉

I’ll share the rest of my story another day.

Defining the Principle Approach

So, what IS the Principle Approach? It’s the re-discovery and re-statement of the historic truths or principles of God’s Word on which the character of our American founding was built. It’s the Christian method of reasoning from the Bible and from it how to comprehend all subjects. Yes, all.

Seven Key Principles of America’s Christian History and Government

There are seven key principles that were identified and restored by Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater.

  • God’s Principle of Individuality
  • Christian Principle of Self-government
  • America’s Heritage of Christian Character
  • Conscience is the most sacred of all property.
  • Christian form of American Government
  • How the Seed of Local Self-government is Planted
  • Christian Principle of American Political Union

What the Principle Approach Can Accomplish

A Principle is “the source, origin, or cause of a thing; that from which a thing proceeds.” – Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Did you know our nation had a Gospel purpose? Read the Mayflower Compact and discover for yourself. The Principle Approach can restore this by the radical idea that a new civilization is built upon a new man (Christ, the new Adam) through regeneration and the resulting liberty of the Christian individual extends to the civil sphere.

Do you know what it means to think governmentally? We do it everyday. It’s simply asking “who or what is in control”, who is doing the directing or regulating. Think about a self-governed person, one who has been redeemed and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This individual might extend Biblical principles in his home, church, and civil sphere.

The 4 R’s of the Principle Approach

Children (and teacher!) are taught a method of learning to uncover universal principles and how to apply them. This is called 4 R’ing.

  • Research- studying God’s word to identify basic principles of live and living
  • Reason-reasoning from the principles identified and applying them to homeschool subjects (or any subject)
  • Relate- expounding the principles and relating the truths to individual Christian character
  • Record- the use of writing to create a written record of the way in which the principles are applied. A notebook (sometimes called the Notebooking Method) is the tool used.

The Distinctives of the Principle Approach

  • Demonstrates that the history of Christianity and the history of America can’t be separated
  • Restores our heritage of Christian scholarship
  • Brings both student and subject into harmony with the Word of God
  • Brings a unity of subject through a diversity of teachers and subjects
  • Recovers the Biblical origin and purpose of each subject by copious use of defining our terms
  • Unifies Biblical principles with supportive ideas and facts
  • Produces Christian scholarship and character necessary to supporting our families, churches, and nation

Feeling overwhelmed with that information? Don’t worry! We just needed a big picture to start. I’m confident anyone can learn the Principle Approach. I did. My four children have. I’ve taught numerous moms. You can do it!

Additional resources:

Education methods: The Principle Approach

Make Your Homeschool One-of-a-Kind

Mighty Works of God


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Using Movies to Teach

Using Movies to Teach

Using movies to teach in your homeschool

Going to the movies as a family today is hard. Before you even get to the issues of time, money, and motivation, you have to discern what’s appropriate for a family to see together.

Not easy. 

We’re bombarded with so many messages that are contrary to family and faith when we walk in a movie theater, our tendency is to skip this form of recreation completely.

What if, though, as Christians we redeem those movies that do make the list of family friendly? What if we could use movies to teach in our homeschool?

A look at Smurfs: The Lost Village

from PluggedIn review:

“The past two big-screen Smurf outings carried a relatively high-price-tag combination of live-action and animation. They were Hollywood movie-template concoctions with just enough silly, just enough sweet and just enough kick-’em-in-the-Smurfside snark to supposedly “appeal to the whole family.”

Thankfully, this newest Smurf flick sorta shoves, er, Smurfs that cynical strategy onto the junk heap and goes back to the kid-movie drawing board. Frankly, the Smurfs: The Lost Village‘s creators do something really brave: They make a movie … just for kids.

Yeah, there’s a just a dash of potty humor. But this all-animated kid’s fare never winks at the adults watching. It never splashes viewers with pop-culture gunk or doles out tucked-beneath-the-surface innuendo that it hopes little guys won’t catch. Nope, Smurfs: The Lost Village is a rollicking story aimed exclusively at youngsters.

Don’t be locked into someone else’s label for you, it tells the tykes. Give of yourself, care for others, do your best, and most of all, be there for the ones you love. Why? Well, because those are all the right things to do.

And that’s a pretty Smurftastic set of messages for kids … and for parents, too, come to think of it.”


Redeeming qualities of Smurfs: the Lost Village

Five teachable themes*


  1. The Source of our Identity. Smurfette must learn who she is in relation to the other Smurfs. In a day when identity is a buzzword, we can ask our children, “Who are you?” and teach them they are God’s handiwork.
  2. A Servant’s Heart. One way we discover who we are is through serving others. We can ask our children, “How can you serve God to show love?”
  3. Courage to Act. In a culture that shouts to just “go with the flow” and leave bravery behind, Smurfette is an example of bravery when she sets out to discover what’s beyond their Smurf village. We can encourage our children to follow her lead and remind them of the ordinary men and women of Scripture who did great things.
  4. Our Past Doesn’t Define Us. Smurfette’s origins want to keep her from acts of bravery and the discovery of who she is. We can use this as a springboard to point to Scripture’s teachings on Grace. We can share the Gospel with our children.
  5. Loved into Being. The beautiful message of Papa Smurf’s care and love for Smurfette is a redeeming type of love that shows love overcomes evil. We can ask, “How did God love humankind into being?”

My teens and I will be seeing Smurfs: The Lost Village and look forward to the discussion it generates. Let me know what you think when you see it!

*Five teachable themes taken from the Smurfs Discussion Guide made available from Affirm Films.

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