How To Help Teens With Loss

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers! As parents we often feel ill-equipped to talk to others who are grieving. I’ve discussed this in a previous episode that I will link to the in show notes.

When our teens are grieving, we can feel particularly helpless in knowing what to say or do. I’m thankful that my guest, Sarah Arthur, has practical advice for us. Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the author of a dozen books for teens and adults, including Once a Queen and the bestselling Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through The Lord of the Rings. Among other nerdy adventures, she has served as preliminary fiction judge for Christianity Today’s Book Awards, was a founding board member of the annual C. S. Lewis Festival in northern Michigan, and co-directs the Madeleine L’Engle Writing Retreats.

Introduction: In this episode, the host engages in a fascinating conversation with author Sarah Arthur about her upcoming book, “Once a Queen.” The discussion explores the therapeutic aspects of writing and reading fiction, particularly in helping teenagers process grief.

Key Points:

    1. The Power of Writing and Storytelling:
        • Arthur shares personal experiences of using journaling and storytelling to navigate through trauma.
        • Recommends these methods as effective tools for emotional expression and healing.
    1. Encouraging Teens to Write:
        • Discusses creative ways for parents to encourage teens to write, including shared journaling experiences and creative writing sprints.
        • Highlights the importance of providing a creative space for expression.
    1. “Once a Queen” – The Fantasy Novel:
        • Arthur introduces her upcoming book, “Once a Queen,” as a young teen fantasy novel.
        • Draws influences from classic fairy tales, Chronicles of Narnia, and other literary works.
    1. Themes Explored in the Book:
        • Explores themes of family relationships, faith, and the fear of losing childlike wonder as one grows up.
        • Emphasizes the avoidance of explicit content despite being labeled as young adult.
    1. Pre-order Bonuses:
        • Details exciting pre-order bonuses for “Once a Queen,” including digital downloads and a printable journal with creativity prompts.
        • Directs listeners to Sarah Arthur’s website for more information.

Conclusion: The episode concludes with gratitude for the insightful conversation and anticipation for the release of “Once a Queen.” Listeners are encouraged to explore the therapeutic aspects of literature and engage with the upcoming fantasy novel with their families.

Connect with Sarah Arthur:

Book Information:

    • Title: Once a Queen
    • Release Date: January 30th
    • Publisher: Waterbrook

Have a happy homeschool week!

The Most Underutilized Homeschool Resource

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

In this episode, Melanie Wilson discusses the underused resource of people in homeschooling. She shares personal stories and examples of how family members, church members, homeschool community members, neighbors, and friends can enhance a child’s education. Melanie encourages listeners to take advantage of the knowledge, skills, and experiences of the people they know, not only for educational purposes but also to bless and witness to others. She concludes by reflecting on missed opportunities and encourages listeners to involve more people in their homeschooling journey.

Mr. Poppers Penguins Unit Study

Teaching Evangelism with Nancy Wilson

How to Give Your Kids Confidence in Creation with Dr. Carl Werner

Chicken Keeping for Homeschoolers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers! If you’ve ever considered raising chickens, you’ll love this episode. I live in a suburb where chickens aren’t allowed, but we had chickens for several years when I was in elementary school. I absolutely loved what my guest, Dalia Monterroso had to say about raising chickens as a homeschool family.

Dalia Monterroso is a chicken keeper and a popular teacher on the basics of backyard chicken keeping. She speaks and teaches classes on the joys of chicken keeping. She is the creator of the website and YouTube channel “Welcome to Chickenlandia”, podcast “Bawk Tawk”, and an online course called “Chickenlandia’s Backyard Chickens 101”. She also hosted a TEDx talk titled “I Dream of Chickens”. Dalia is the author of the book, “Let’s All Keep Chickens! The Down-to-Earth Guide to Natural Practices for Healthier Birds and a Happier World”, a comprehensive guide for both beginners and experienced chicken keepers. The book has also gained popularity among homeschooling families, who appreciate its educational value as part of their learning curriculum. Dalia lives in Bellingham, Washington with her family, continuing her mission to share the joy and simplicity of chicken keeping to the world. 

Introduction: In this episode, host Melanie Wilson explores the world of chicken keeping and its unexpected connections to homeschooling. She engages in a fascinating conversation with Dalia Monterroso, founder of Chickenlandia, a resource hub for chicken enthusiasts. Dalia shares insights into the joys of raising chickens and the valuable life lessons they offer.

Part 1: The Intersection of Chickens and Homeschooling The discussion kicks off with Dalia explaining the intersection between chicken keeping and homeschooling. She highlights the parallels between caring for chickens and educating children, emphasizing the importance of simplicity and staying true to one’s instincts in both endeavors.

Part 2: Mindful Chicken Keeping and Life Lessons Dalia introduces the concept of mindful chicken keeping, sharing her six rules that translate into valuable life lessons. Listening to intuition, learning from mistakes, and trusting one’s heart are emphasized as crucial skills not only in chicken keeping but in life as well.

Part 3: Bridging the Gap with Chickens The conversation takes an interesting turn as Dalia discusses how chickens help individuals connect with nature and each other. She delves into the therapeutic aspects of caring for these animals, promoting a deeper understanding of one’s roots and fostering compassion for others.

Part 4: Spreading Peace and Joy Through Chickens Dalia shares her vision of chickens as a common denominator across cultures, promoting unity in a world often divided. She emphasizes the simplicity and universality of chicken keeping, encouraging listeners to focus on shared experiences and find joy in the commonality of caring for these feathered friends.

Part 5: Resources and Courses by Chickenlandia To wrap up the episode, Dalia directs listeners to Chickenlandia’s resources, including her online course, book, YouTube channel (Welcome to Chickenlandia), and podcast (Bawk Talk). She invites individuals to explore the wealth of information available on

Conclusion: Melanie expresses gratitude to Dalia for sharing her insights, wisdom, and passion for chickens. The episode serves as an eye-opener, illustrating the unexpected connections between chicken keeping and homeschooling, fostering a deeper appreciation for both pursuits.

Have a happy homeschool week!

Real-Life Personal Finance

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers! I am happy with the personal finance curriculum I used with my kids. And I’m pleased to say that my kids are much better at managing their money as young adults than I was! But when I heard about Charla McKinley’s real-life approach to teaching kids personal finance, I was intrigued.

Personal Finance Guest: Charla McKinley

Charla graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Finance. She went on to become a Certified Public Accountant with over 25 years working in both the corporate and private sectors. While homeschooling her two children, Charla was inspired to write an interactive personal finance curriculum that opens the student’s eyes to the high costs of being an adult. After retiring from homeschooling, Charla continues to teach teens living in Raleigh, NC, and across the country using her Beyond Personal Finance curriculum. Charla’s passion is teaching teens that their choices matter. She is a firm believer that in order to prepare teens for the road ahead they must be given the opportunity to practice making good (and not so good) choices using real dollars before they get out into the world and have real regrets.

I think you will enjoy our conversation and will want to check out Beyond Personal Finance

Takeaways from the Podcast

Teaching personal finance to teens is important to prepare them for real-life financial decisions. Giving teens real-life financial experiences, such as managing an allowance, can help them learn financial responsibility. Parents should allow their teens to make financial mistakes and learn from them. Beyond Personal Finance provides budgeting suggestions and resources for teaching kids about money management. The website offers self-paced and group options for parents to learn and discuss financial topics.

Special Replay: Productivity Tips For A New Year

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers!

It’s a new year and time for a renewed focus on our priorities as homeschooling moms. God has taught me a lot about managing my time this year. One thing I’ve learned is that I don’t have to look for the productivity holy grail. It’s normal for me to search for a new tool, a new schedule, and even a new book to read to inspire me. Newness almost always inspires action!


Now on to the productivity tips you can use this year. My guest today is Amy Michaels. Amy is a teacher turned homeschooler and coach, who has been on the podcast before. I really like her planning and prioritizing strategies and I know you will too.

We discussed:

  • how to determine your priorities as a busy homeschool mom
  • how can we maintain margin in our lives?
  • how can business moms in particular keep family life in focus?

Productivity Tips Resources

A Year of Living Productively

Listen to my previous podcast with Amy here


Have a happy homeschool week!

Special Replay: The Most Important Areas To Organize This Year

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers!

Soon, we’ll be in a new year. It’s that time when many of us think of goals like getting organized. You know you’re unlikely to organize everything in a year, so what are the most important areas for homeschoolers to focus on? My answer may surprise you.

Organize Your Homeschool Life All Year

Before we jump in, I want to offer you the digital version of my book, the Organized Homeschool Life for just $7! This year, you can organize more than just the most important areas of your homeschooling life. You’ll be given 15-minute missions that will help you in curriculum planning, preparing for seasons and holidays, and special areas like organizing a business or hobby.

[button link=”” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] Listen to the podcast[/button]

The Most Important Areas to Organize This Year – Resources

Read the blog post

Change Your Life Bible

Routines with FLYLady

Organized Homeschool LIVE

Have a happy homeschool week and a very happy new year! Hope to see you inside the boot camp.

Special Replay: 6 Christmas Stress Mistakes to Avoid

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Are you already beginning to experience stress this season? The busyness can get to us. But we can make things better by avoiding the six mistakes I’ll discuss in this episode.

[box] Want to read this episode as a blog post? READ HERE or SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES or ON STITCHER[/box]

Christmas Stress Mistakes You Don't Want to Make: Podcast

Mistake #1: Not Planning A Homeschool Break

What we typically do is get busy with other things this time of year. There is more shopping and cooking and even chatting going on. After all, it’s Christmas! Somehow in the midst of all the extra activity, we end up not doing school. But it isn’t a planned break. We just sleep in, do some Christmas shopping, or watch Christmas movies instead of homeschooling. We aren’t doing a Christmas unit study. That’s different. We find ourselves falling into a Christmas break. The result is we feel guilty. We really wanted to get a lot done before Christmas. But we didn’t. And we don’t feel refreshed like we should from a planned break. Instead of falling into a Christmas break this year, decide whether you really are going to do a Christmas unit study. Plan what to do. If you don’t have time to plan, try the Christmas Traditions or Christmas Around the World online unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom. They’re done for you.

If you don’t want to do a Christmas unit study, plan when you are going to take a break and for how long. If you feel behind on your regular studies, decide what you want to accomplish before Christmas. Make a realistic list for yourself and your children. Give your children the option of finishing early if they finish their work early or you finish your family work early. This is the process I used to create the most motivating homeschool planner ever. Continue reading here.


Homeschool Sanity Facebook Page

try the Christmas Traditions or Christmas Around the World online unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom

the most motivating homeschool planner ever

6 Short Workouts You Can Do at Home

The Organized Homeschool Life

Have a happy homeschool week!

Special Replay: How To Have A Saner Christmas This Year

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to have a saner Christmas this year #homeschoolHey, homeschoolers!

I don’t know anyone who wants to have a crazy Christmas–the kind that leads to exhaustion, sickness, and dread of the new year. Instead, every homeschooler I know wants to have a meaningful, peaceful, and joyful Christmas. Of course, we can’t control every part of our Christmas holiday. But I believe there are things we can do to make a saner Christmas more likely. We’ll chat about that in just a minute. But first, I’d like to thank our sponsor for this episode, Kiwi Company.

Have you ever been stuck on how to bring your lessons to life?  My kids have enjoyed Kiwi’s monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun. Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and they are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits. Kiwi Crate was founded by engineer and mom of three, Sandra Oh Lin. She created these kits out of her deep desire to raise kids with the creative confidence needed to become the next generation of problem-solvers and critical thinkers.  I couldn’t agree more with their mission and am excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, visit to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping). These kits make amazing gifts! Join me on Facebook on December 5th at 4E/3C/2M/1P for an inside look at one of the crates that my son can’t wait to get his hands on.


Read the blog post

Christmas in the White House

an online study from Techie Homeschool Mom

declutter your home in a weekend

The Organized Homeschool Life

give them away or arrange to sell them– homeschool used curriculum

Do some research of other curriculum you would like to use next year.

Reverse Charades links on

White Elephant Game


Here are some resources for your devotional time.

12 ways children can give this Christmas.

Which of these tips will help you the most? Let me know in the comments.

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)

Helping Our Daughters Develop Style Confidence

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers! Many of you know that fashion is a hobby of mine. I’ve stopped and started a fashion Instagram account numerous times. In the past year I’ve been listening to the Everyday Style School podcast with Jennifer Mackey-Mary and loving it. She talked about how she deals with the topic of fashion with her daughters and I thought you would love to hear more. If you don’t have daughters but would like to improve your own fashion confidence, you’ll want to listen to the first part of this episode for sure. As Jennifer is not a homeschooling mom, I wanted to share a couple quick thoughts after the interview. Here’s Jennifer.


    • Jennifer introduces herself as a personal stylist and shares her journey into the world of fashion.
    • The conversation touches on the challenges women face when it comes to style and dressing.
    • Jennifer emphasizes the importance of aligning your personal style with your lifestyle and values.
    • The discussion includes insights on the role of mindset in developing a positive relationship with one’s appearance.

Helping Daughters Develop Style Confidence

    • The conversation delves into the dynamics of mothers guiding their daughters in matters of style, especially during the crucial middle school and high school years.
    • Jennifer shares her experiences as a mother and stylist, highlighting the balance between allowing personal expression and maintaining family values.
    • Both hosts discuss the significance of proportion in outfits and how allowing kids to figure out their style can lead to valuable insights.
    • The importance of avoiding criticism of trends and staying open to communication with teenage daughters is stressed.

Debunking Style Myths

    • Jennifer challenges the idea that style has to conform to a specific minimalist or neutral capsule wardrobe, advocating for more creativity and fun in fashion.
    • The conversation touches on the Style Circle, Jennifer’s membership program, which offers a holistic approach to style, covering body shape, wardrobe selection, and personal style.
    • Jennifer discusses the Everyday Style School podcast, aiming to debunk myths around style and empower women with the tools to make getting dressed easy.
    • The interview concludes with Jennifer expressing her mission to inspire women to love the way they look and make the process of getting dressed enjoyable.
    • Throughout the interview, Jennifer emphasizes the individuality of style, the importance of practicality, and the joy that can be found in expressing oneself through clothing.


I know Jennifer has seen mothers try to overpower their daughter’s style and understandably, she wants to guard against that. I do think we want to avoid saying, “You’re X body type” to our daughters because even grown women can struggle with the labels. However, I think fashion is something you can enjoyably explore with your daughter just as you would explore art or music.

One of my friends has read books on fashion with her daughters and the girls have developed great confidence in their unique style. It’s been so much fun to see their choices. My daughter has always seemed confident in her style. She changed outfits multiple times a day before the age of 2! I started off shopping with her when she was little by giving her a few options to choose from. As she matured, she chose the options to try on herself. We haven’t had any disagreements about her choices. If you do have disagreements, consider asking someone you both respect to weigh in. I was called upon to help mediate a fashion disagreement once and a compromise was made.

One thing my daughter and I did that was so much fun is she picked out an outfit for me to try on and I did the same for her. I think we both thought the outfits were hideous on us, but we shared a lot of laughs over it.

I highly recommend Jennifer’s style membership for us as homeschool moms. The included classes are excellent and the capsule wardrobes have everything from athleisure to church-appropriate looks. Be sure to check out her Black Friday sale!

Have a happy homeschool week!

Overcoming Feelings Of Inadequacy

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers! I have done a podcast episode on wondering if we are doing enough in our homeschools. But we also wonder if WE are enough.

Watch on YouTube

My guest is going to help us find the truth about feelings of inadequacy. Sharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of eight books, including Measured by Grace: How God Defines Success, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace and unfailing love. Sharla lives in the Chicago suburbs with her amusing pastor husband. I met Sharla many years ago at a women’s retreat where we were both speaking. Chatting with her encouraged me and I know she’ll encourage you too.


    • Melanie reflects on when she first met Sharla, and her daughter was moving to China 10 years ago.
    • Sharla shares her homeschooling journey and how her husband’s suggestion to homeschool surprised her.
    • The advantage of homeschooling for a pastor’s family—more time for family activities.
    • Melanie and Sharla discuss their initial reluctance to homeschool, despite its eventual positive impact.

Believing You Have Adequate Time:

    • Sharla acknowledges struggling with time management during homeschooling.
    • The challenge of wanting to do everything recommended by homeschooling experts.
    • Emphasizes the importance of seasons and seeking God’s guidance for what is needful in a specific season.
    • Quotes 2 Corinthians 9:8 about God’s ability to provide grace and sufficiency, even in time management.

Believing You Have Adequate Skills and Expertise:

    • Melanie asks if Sharla ever felt inadequate in certain subjects while homeschooling.
    • Sharla admits feeling inadequate in areas like math, science, and teaching reading.
    • Encourages homeschoolers to lean on God’s strength and emphasizes expertise in understanding and loving their own children.

Self-Worth and Comparison:

    • Sharla discusses societal expectations and criticism of homeschoolers, especially women.
    • Talks about signs of unworthiness, such as negative self-talk and unhealthy comparisons.
    • Encourages combatting feelings of unworthiness with scripture, particularly Isaiah 43:4.
    • Melanie and Sharla discuss the importance of celebrating smallness and doing the next thing God has given with love.


Connect with Sharla:

You may also like an episode I did with Deb Wolf on insecurity.

Have a happy homeschool week!