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 halandmelanie.com

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


Rules and Relationship – MBFLP 289

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Rules are a good and necessary part of running a home and raising a family. Why do our best efforts sometimes breed resentment or even rebellion, when it’s all so well-intentioned? This episode we’re looking at the crucial balance between rules and relationship in our home!

Scriptures We Reference

The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-21

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
     Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)

So then, my beloved, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  (James 1:19-20)

The repentance of Ahab – 1 Kings 21:17-29


Valentine’s Day on a Budget – MBFLP 288

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Like it or not, February 14 is just around the corner. Maybe you’ve got big plans, but maybe you don’t have the funds for a romantic getaway. With eight kids and a limited budget, we’ve been there! This episode we’re talking about ways to make the most of the holiday without spending a fortune!

Why Celebrate Anyway?

The Bible describes several holidays which were instituted by God for the people of Israel. When they gathered to celebrate Passover, the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Tabernacles, the Jews were to take the occasion to remember God’s blessings in history and the present.

The holiday of Purim was created by the people themselves, to memorialize the nation’s deliverance from genocide (as recorded in the book of Esther). Even though it’s not a pilgrimage festival like the ones God commanded, the Bible does record the celebration of Purim in favorable terms. It’s easy to draw parallels to our own holidays, like the Fourth of July to celebrate our nation’s independence, or Thanksgiving to remember God’s blessings. They’re not mandated by Scripture but they are opportunities to talk about God’s working and God’s gifts.

Valentine’s Day may be low on the priority list, as “holy days” go, but we think it’s a good time to think about our relationship with our mate and to enjoy some time to focus on one another. It’s like birthdays and anniversaries, but everyone celebrating the same day! We hope you have a good one –

(resources follow … )

Some Resources You May Find Interesting

Valentine’s resources including conversation starters (as mentioned in the program)

Our weekly email “LoveBirdSeeds”

Love poetry from the Bible

Surviving the Break with Your College Students – MBFLP 287

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

The holidays are upon us and we are looking forward to having our college students home again! But to be realistic, there’s always a transition to bringing our young adults back into the household – and often both the student and the family ends up frustrated. This episode we’re talking about things you can do – on both sides – to make the visit as smooth and pleasant as possible for everyone!

Parent Understanding

If you went to college, you remember the rush of exam week – and the mental and physical exhaustion at the end of it! Especially at Christmas and the end of the spring semester, your student will be arriving after a really tough week or two. We try to keep that in mind for their first several days home.


Our unspoken hopes and preferences can set us up for disappointment and conflict. Maybe we parents look forward to seeing our young adult, but we’re also looking forward having his help around the house again! For his side, maybe he’s hoping for some relaxation from the stress of college — or possibly, he has projects or homework to finish during his holiday. Maybe the younger siblings want a lot of attention from their big sister, when she really needs some peace and personal space – at least at first.

The best way to deal with these issues is to communicate ahead of time – gently, in love – and be willing to listen to one other and seek to accommodate everyone. All of those expectations are common and valid – the difficulty is how to address them all. If we cultivate patience and understanding together, we can probably find a mutually agreeable pathway.

Changing Channels

When Hal was working a corporate job, he had to remind himself on the commute home, “I have to leave the office door closed behind me and put on my family hat now.” No matter what stress or disaster he’d left at work, when he came in the door, he knew the kids would be excited to see him, Melanie would be tired and need compassion, and he’d have to be ready to show love and concern to everyone at home.

Our college students need to think about that, too. While they’re making the trip home, they need to consciously prepare themselves to be part of the family culture at the end of their trip. The way they live or even just survive on campus is a separate issue to what happens at home — and they need to change gears before they get here.

In both cases there will be time and opportunity to share their struggles and disappointments, to seek advice and sympathy, but that will come after the initial rush of returning. Everyone will be happier at the end if the wanderer is ready to greet and be greeted first, and then seek the serious conversations after!

We dig deeper into the questions in our blog post here

And a word from our sponsor, Affirm Films’ 5000 Blankets – coming soon to select theaters, December 12 and 13

Tickets and showtimes here!

Kids and Chores – MBFLP 286

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Part Three of our series on work – Your kids and their chores! We have eight kids and with some health challenges around, it was really necessary that everyone contribute to running the house. This episode we deal with some common questions: Should children be paid for chores? Are we making tasks too difficult for kids to handle? What’s appropriate to teach and expect from different ages? How do you handle chores for children with developmental or health issues? And what do you do to keep everyone from getting overwhelmed?


Some Resources We Mentioned

Our book Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys talks about training your sons in diligence

Our book No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope talks about training your sons and daughters to be producers, not consumers, and stewards of the money and things which God gives them

Craftsman Crate is our subscription box that teaches adult-level skills that will challenge and entertain your teens (and adults too!)