Reading Fiction as a Christian – MBFLP 299

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

We’re both avid readers, and we’ve raised a whole nest of readers – our house is full of books — and not just the parents’! We’ve talked about some our personal favorites, but this episode we’re looking at whole genres of fiction. How should we, as Christians, approach fictional literature? Are there any kinds to beware of? What do we think about science fiction, fantasy, suspense, romance, mystery, or other sorts? And how do we sort the range of material in each group? If you’re a reader, or you have kids who are, check this out!

Passages we referenced:

King David and the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-15)

Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-28)

The parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

To do evil is like sport to a fool, 
But a man of understanding has wisdom. (Proverbs 10:23)

“I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, 
Even to give to every man according to his ways.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

“For the LORD does not see as man sees;for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7)

Episodes about discernment:

222 – Teaching Discernment

191 – Talking About the Movies

133 – Watching with Discernment 

and more! Browse the archives for more ideas and encouragement!

PLUS get this free resource – our downloadable Reading Pack!


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What To Expect Senior Year – MBFLP 298

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

It’s an exciting milestone in a homeschooling family – high school graduation just around the corner! Or maybe it’s on the horizon and approaching fast. Either way, what can you do to prepare yourself and your student for this big transition?

We’ve graduated six so far, so we’re talking about things we found helpful as we lined up our teenagers for the big step coming up!

Episodes You Might Find Helpful:

291 – Graduation Early, or Late? 

246 – Planning for College (even during COVID)

234 – Teaching “Adulting”

230 – College Without Debt or Fortune

226 – Unexpected Benefits of Graduation

210 – Entrepreneurship and College

206 – Doubling Down on Seventeen

205 – Preparing Your Teens for More

163 – Apprenticeship

147 – What Time is Curfew?

130 – Interviewing for Job and College 

126 – Growing in Christ at a Secular College

… and more! Browse the whole archive to find more about parenting teens and interacting with your college students and young adults.

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Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers Around – MBFLP 297

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschooling doesn’t (and shouldn’t) look like a classroom school. One big difference is multiple ages together – and sometimes, the younger ones aren’t even school-age yet! How do you manage to teach your older kids while you have nursing babies and demanding toddlers in the room? It’s possible – we did it for our eight kids! – so, in this episode, we talk about how to make it work in your family, too.

Thank you to our sponsor, Route 60 – The Biblical Highway. In theaters September 18th & 19th only. Please check the website to learn more about this wonderful movie.

Resources We Mentioned

What does a multi-grade classroom look like? Check out Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, particularly Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years

For ideas about homeschooling the very young, and some great picture book recommendations, CLICK HERE

And speaking of picture books – here’s an earlier episode where we talked with a retired school librarian (Hal’s mom!) about the value and the joy of classic children’s books



Bringing History to Life! – MBFLP 296

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

We’ve seen that understanding history can help us navigate the present, too! The question is, how can we help our children learn to appreciate history like we do? What can we do to spark their interest, to make it memorable, and bring it to life for them? This episode we talk about several things we’ve built into our homeschooling family life to elevate history from dry lists of names and dates to a lively narrative of people, places, and ideas – in short, a grand story!

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math. CTC is a highly rated math curriculum for homeschooled students for grades K-12. The family math package makes it ideal for large families at a low price. Visit the website for more information.


Why Teach History? – MBFLP 295

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Here in the technology-driven 21st century, why should we bother our kids with names and dates from the past? Shouldn’t we be looking forward, not backwards? Does history really have much bearing on the world our children will inherit, and how they deal with it?

We would say emphatically YES, we need to learn history! There’s a strong Biblical example to support that, and experience should tell us that we can learn from the past – what to do, and what not to do. But the question may be, how do we teach the subject in a way that doesn’t kill any interest our children might have?

In this episode, we’re looking at why and how we teach history to our own kids, and why we all love it so much!

This podcast is sponsored by Route 60: The Biblical Highway

Our audiobook version of Hero Tales from American History

Historical fiction in audiobook form

Scripture We Referenced

“Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you;
Your elders, and they will tell you …” (Deuteronomy 32:7)

The establishment of the Passover feast:
“And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” (Exodus 12:26-27)

(There are many passages describing children asking their father, “What is the meaning of this?”, and the father taking the opportunity to explain the purpose of the memorial to the glory of God – see for instance, Exodus 13:11-16; Deuteronomy 6:20-24; Joshua 4:21-24; and more)

Don’t Skip the Picture Books – MBFLP 294

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Do you have a precocious reader? We’ve had some! And when they’re being homeschooled – and around grownups all day – their vocabulary can be surprisingly rich. So should we move them on into the youth books, and skip over the picture books and beginning reader stuff? Or is there a purpose for enjoying the simple books together, even when your child could read more complex things?

This episode we’re talking with Hal’s mom, Norma Young, a retired elementary school librarian with nearly three decades of choosing quality children’s literature for young kids. There is indeed a good reason to enjoy the books we grew up with, and read them to our children just like they were read to us!

A resource we mentioned:

The Love of Reading – a downloadable collection of recommended reading lists for all ages, three helpful workshops on teaching reading, and discounts on other materials too!

This episode brought to you by Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs 4 Weeks Free

A Healthy Marriage, Day to Day (with Roger and Jan Smith) – MBFLP 293

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

What makes a marriage last? How do you build a strong and stable relationship for hard times and good times? Is it something more than just being “lucky in love”? This episode, we’re talking with our friends and fellow teachers, Roger and Jan Smith. Between us, we have eighty years of marriage, twelve children, and a lot of practical experience! So join us as we chat about the ideas and habits we found most effective at creating and maintaining a healthy marriage from day to day!

Scriptures We Referenced


[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:22, 25)

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Resources You Might Find Helpful


Parenting With Influence by Dr. Roger Smith

Roger Smith, MD – website

“Parenting Matters Now” – vlog 

My Beloved and My Friend: How to be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses – our book on marriage!

To find out more about Hal and Melanie speaking at your church, group, camp, or retreat, go to

Parenting with Influence with Roger and Jan Smith – MBFLP 292

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week, we’re talking with our friends Roger and Jan Smith, veteran homeschool leaders and speakers, about Roger’s new book, Parenting with Influence. The parents of four adult children, Roger and Jan share the principles they found helpful preparing their kids to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, without resorting to legalism or overbearing control. It’s a worthwhile book and this is a wide-ranging and entertaining conversation!

Graduation – Early or Late? – MBFLP 291

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschoolers have the blessing of flexibility on so many issues – and graduation timing is one of them. Should you plan to graduate your student at 18? What about the precocious kids who might earn a diploma by 15? Or kids with health or learning issues, should they graduate later? We’ve had all three situations – this episode we’re talking about what we decided and what we learned!

Different Rules, Same Family – MBFLP 290

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


“You never would have let me do that,” says the older child. “Why can’t I do the same thing as my brother?” demands the younger. Parents may find themselves caught between competing complaints! But the fact is, many of our family rules can and should change as our children grow and mature – and that means different rules in the same family. This episode, we talk about why that is, and how we can explain it to our kids!


Things We Referenced:

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:11)

Surviving the Break with Your College Student (ep. 287)
Thoughts on giving liberty to adult children, while protecting younger siblings from influences they aren’t ready to handle

Our free downloadable guide to “coming of age” ceremonies

Bored kids? Here’s a great list of 101 things to do this summer! 

This episode brought to you in part by