Teaching The Underground Railroad With Danika Cooley

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


In this episode of the Home School Sanity Show, Melanie Wilson welcomes back Danika Cooley to discuss her latest additions to the Who What Why series, which is designed to teach Christian history.

Sponsor: Reading Eggs

With Reading Eggs, your homeschoolers will enjoy a highly personalized learning journey, designed to support them at every stage. Plus, you’ll get four programs in one with your subscription – Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspress, Reading Eggs Junior, and Fast Phonics. Our interactive lessons are based on scientific research and feature colorful animations, fun music, and exciting rewards to keep your children motivated to learn.

“My kids are homeschooled and this is the best reading and math site that I have ever found. My son started not knowing all the letter sounds and within a few months he was reading at a first grade level.” – Mehdi C.

Segment 1: Introduction to the Who, What, Why Series

    • Danika Cooley introduces the Who What Why series, which focuses on God’s hand in history.
    • The series releases three titles at a time: “Who” (biographies), “What” (historical events or inventions), and “Why” (theology and history).
    • The new titles in the series are centered around the abolition movement, a significant historical event heavily influenced by Christianity.

Segment 2: Why Abolition and the New Titles

    • Danika explains why she chose to focus on the abolition movement for the new titles.
    • Abolition was a movement that affected millions of people and was primarily spearheaded by Christians, making it crucial for children to understand.
    • The new titles include Who Were the Abolitionists?, What Was the Underground Railroad?, and Why Did Slavery End?.

Segment 3: Impactful Stories and Lessons

    • Melanie asks Danika about the stories and lessons that made a significant impact on her while researching and writing these books.
    • Danika discusses the incredible stories of abolitionists, their journeys to faith, and their contributions to the movement.
    • She emphasizes the importance of understanding what Scripture says about slavery and the application of Scripture in history.

Segment 4: Modifying the Content for Younger Audiences

    • Melanie and Danika discuss the challenge of addressing slavery for a younger audience and how to modify the content.
    • Danika explains how she focused on calling slavery a sin, showing how it broke families, and using appropriate language for younger readers.
    • The importance of not shying away from history but presenting it in a way that young readers can understand and engage with is emphasized.

Segment 5: Teaching Slavery and Abolition to Children

    • Melanie asks for advice on how parents can effectively teach their children about slavery and abolition.
    • Danika suggests bringing everything back to God’s Word and discussing biblical principles while using historical context.
    • She recommends reading aloud with children, discussing real-life examples, and addressing abstract concepts concretely.
    • Danika emphasizes the importance of having discussions about biblical worldviews with children.

Segment 6: Additional Materials and Activities

    • Danika mentions that she has created lap books and crafts to complement her books, which are available for free.
    • She suggests reading additional books and narratives about figures like Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman, depending on the age and maturity of the child.
    • Some of these books may be suitable for older children but should be approached with care.

Segment 7: Encouraging Critical Thinking and Applying Scripture

    • Danika shares the importance of teaching children about civil disobedience from a biblical perspective.
    • Melanie and Danika discuss the relevance of this topic and how it can lead to deeper conversations about faith and action.
    • Danika emphasizes the need for children to know what the Bible says, apply it to their lives, and think through issues biblically.

Segment 8: Future Titles in the Who What Why Series

    • Danika reveals that future titles in the series will explore the Exodus movement, Jesus in the New Testament, and continue to cycle through history.
    • There are discussions about expanding the series to cover even more historical events.


Melanie thanks Danika for joining the show and discussing her latest books and the importance of teaching children about Christian history and biblical worldviews.

For more information on Danika Cooley’s books and the Who What Why series, visit whowhatwhyseries.com.

How To Adopt A Dating Philosophy That Fits Your Family

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Melanie introduces the topic of dating philosophies and their extremes and encourages parents to find an approach that is just right for their family.

This episode is sponsored by the Route 60 movie.

The Extremes of Dating Philosophies

Melanie introduces the topic of dating philosophies and their extremes. Discusses the “too strict” philosophy born out of fear of negative consequences and wrong partners. Mentions the extreme position of advocating courtship instead of dating, involving parental involvement and no kissing. Highlights challenges of implementing the “too strict” philosophy, especially with strong-willed teens. Shares examples of success stories and failures within this philosophy.

Explores the “too lax” philosophy rooted in fear of losing the parent-child relationship. Discusses lack of enforced rules, including premarital sex and sleepovers. Presents examples of both successful and unsuccessful outcomes within this philosophy. Points out potential consequences such as broken homes and strained relationships.

Finding the “Just-Right” Approach

Melanie encourages listeners to avoid extreme approaches and seek a balanced perspective. Advocates teaching through fear of natural consequences rather than punishment. Shares personal story of the power of fear of consequences. Recommends using resources like the video Sex Still Has a Price Tag to illustrate real-life consequences. Suggests sharing examples of well-adjusted couples who adhered to biblical principles. References Tommy Nelson’s Bible study on courtship from the book of Song of Solomon.

Advocates coaching approach by asking open-ended questions and guiding discussions. Emphasizes that rules should be tailored to each family’s values and dynamics. Discusses the importance of maintaining open communication and dialogue with teens. Advises parents to prioritize their relationship with their children while discussing dating. Highlights the need for affection and attention, even in the teenage years. Reminds parents to show humility and be willing to adapt their approach. Discusses the significance of prayer in shaping a child’s dating experiences. Shares the historical example of Augustine’s mother’s prayers influencing the faith of her son and the church. Encourages listeners to find the right dating philosophy and make changes when needed. Emphasizes the value of humility and flexibility in parenting. Have a happy homeschool week!

3 Keys To Staying Sane While Homeschooling Strong-Willed Kids

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


In this episode, we’re addressing a common challenge among homeschoolers: homeschooling strong-willed children. While strong-willed kids have potential to be world changers, homeschooling them can be overwhelming. Tune in to discover three key strategies to maintain your sanity while homeschooling strong-willed kids.

This episode is sponsored by the Route 60 movie.

Step 1: Limit Opportunities to Rebel:

Strong-willed children tend to rebel against rules, especially when rules seem arbitrary. A poorly conceived rule can trigger defiance and disrespect. Suggested solution: Limit the number of rules and make sure they’re essential, connected to safety and values. Focus on rules that truly matter, and eliminate those that trigger unnecessary conflict. Seek a balance between respecting authority and avoiding nonsensical rules.

Step 2: Provide Constructive Challenges:

Strong-willed kids thrive on challenges; without them, they may challenge parents. Offer avenues for constructive challenges to redirect their energy. Allow competition: Engage in sports, games, self-competition, or challenges related to various subjects. Provide leadership opportunities: Let them supervise younger siblings or teach a subject, fostering responsibility. Assign passion projects: Engage in ambitious endeavors like starting a business, writing a book, or pursuing a skill.

Step 3: Express Unconditional Love:

Assure your strong-willed child that your love is unwavering. They might assume you prefer easygoing children over them. Make an effort to show appreciation and approval for their unique traits, including their strong will. Lovingly address defiance, disobedience, or immoral behavior – discipline is a form of love. Discipline, combined with love, nurtures a healthy parent-child relationship.


Homeschooling strong-willed children is a journey filled with challenges and rewards. By limiting arbitrary rules, providing constructive challenges, and expressing unconditional love, you can maintain your sanity and build a strong parent-child bond.

In our next episode, we’ll delve into finding a dating philosophy for your family. If you found this episode valuable, don’t forget to subscribe, leave a review, and share it with fellow homeschoolers. Until next time, have a wonderful week of homeschooling!

Overcoming Options Overwhelm

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


    • Homeschooling options have exploded over the years, leading to overwhelm.
    • Three steps to escape overwhelm and make confident choices.


With Reading Eggs, your homeschoolers will enjoy a highly personalized learning journey, designed to support them at every stage. Plus, you’ll get four programs in one with your subscription – Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspress, Reading Eggs Junior, and Fast Phonics. Our interactive lessons are based on scientific research and feature colorful animations, fun music, and exciting rewards to keep your children motivated to learn.

“My kids are homeschooled and this is the best reading and math site that I have ever found. My son started not knowing all the letter sounds and within a few months he was reading at a first grade level.” – Mehdi C.

Step 1: Adopt a New Mindset:

    • You won’t feel guilty for not reading every book in a library – apply the same to homeschooling.

Step 2: Establish a Good Routine:

    • Incorporate loop scheduling to rotate through options on specific days or times.
    • Open time blocks for spontaneous options, especially for unschooling approaches.
    • Routine helps strike a balance between must-dos and desired options.

Step 3: Take a Break from Constantly Evaluating Options:

    • After making choices, step away from evaluating more options.
    • Turn off curriculum emails, social media accounts for a while.
    • The pursuit of slight improvements isn’t worth the stress and distraction.


    • Mindset shift, routine establishment, and controlled engagement with options help overcome overwhelm.
    • Prioritize making memories, connection, and meeting core requirements.
    • Don’t let option overwhelm steal your joy and confidence in homeschooling.

6 Signs You’re Trying To Do Too Much

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Introduction: In this episode, I address the common concern of homeschooling parents trying to juggle too many tasks, curriculum, and activities in their homeschooling journey. I outline six telltale signs that indicate you might be taking on more than you can handle and provides valuable insights for finding a healthier balance.

Sponsor Message: This episode is sponsored by Grammar Galaxy, an elementary language arts curriculum designed to make learning engaging and enjoyable for kids. With short, story-based lessons, Grammar Galaxy ensures that your children won’t even realize they’re doing schoolwork. Visit funtolearnbooks.com/samples to try a free lesson and discover the joy of learning with Grammar Galaxy.

Signs You’re Trying to Do Too Much:

1. Worried Overload: If you find yourself constantly worried about how everything will fit into your homeschooling plans, it’s a clear indication that you might be trying to do too much. Trusting in your ability to manage your schedule is important.

2. Friends’ Reactions: When you share your homeschooling plans with friends and their reactions involve raised eyebrows, laughter, or exclamations of disbelief, it’s time to reconsider if you’ve taken on more than you can handle.

3. Lack of Margin: Having every moment of your schedule accounted for without any unscheduled time can lead to stress and burnout. Allowing room for unexpected events is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance.

4. Neglecting Self-Care: If your plan doesn’t include time for essential self-care activities, such as adequate sleep, hobbies, exercise, and quality time with your spouse, you’re likely trying to do too much. Prioritizing self-care ensures your well-being and effectiveness as a homeschooling parent.

5. Falling Behind: Not being able to complete your planned tasks, lessons, or activities consistently is a sign that you’ve overcommitted. Struggling to keep up can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

6. Resistance from You and Your Kids: Feeling resistance or reluctance to start your homeschooling routine indicates that your expectations are too high. If both you and your kids are resisting, it’s time to reevaluate your approach.

Finding Balance and Solutions: To regain balance, reflect on your motivations and goals for each activity in your homeschooling plan. Seek guidance from trusted friends or family members who can provide honest feedback. Embrace the idea of trusting in God’s plan for your homeschooling journey and prioritize the essential aspects that align with your purpose.

Conclusion: Remember that homeschooling is a unique journey, and finding the right balance between curriculum, activities, and self-care is essential for a successful and fulfilling experience. By recognizing and addressing the signs of overcommitment, you can create a homeschooling routine that brings joy, growth, and meaningful learning to your family.

Have a happy homeschool week!

Homeschool Freedom With Connor Boyack

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers! For me and for so many of you, homeschooling is about freedom—the freedom to educate our children ourselves, the freedom to teach our values. It’s a freedom that we often take for granted. Sometimes it’s a freedom that feels at odds with government education and programs.

I am happy to have  Connor Boyack join me for an enlightening discussion of freedom in homeschooling. Connor is a popular speaker at the Great Homeschool Conventions, but we have not had a chance to connect there. He is founder and president of Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. Named one of Utah’s most politically influential people by The Salt Lake Tribune, Connor’s leadership has led to dozens of legislative victories spanning a wide range of areas such as privacy, government transparency, property rights, entrepreneurship, education, personal freedom, and more.

Author of over two dozen books, Connor is best known for The Tuttle Twins books, a children’s series introducing young readers to economic, political, and civic principles.

Connor lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two homeschooled children. I hope you appreciate his perspective as much as I did.

We discussed:

    • why homeschool moms experience burnout
    • how we can preserve homeschool freedom
    • entrepreneurship for our kids

Homeschool Freedom Resources

Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto


Childrens Entrepreneur Market

Tuttle Twins

Tuttle Twins & the Miraculous Pencil

Tuttle Twins & the Leviathan Crisis

America’s History, Volume I

Tuttle Twins on Facebook

Connor Boyack on Instagram

How To Make The Most Of A New Homeschool Season

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

In this podcast episode, Melanie Wilson discusses her 25 years of teaching her six kids and helping other families with their homeschooling journey. She reflects on her journey as a homeschooler and talks about her passion for speaking to homeschoolers, creating curriculum, and writing. She encourages listeners who are entering a new season of homeschooling, whether due to their child going off to college, starting a new job, or other life changes.

Melanie shares some tips for making the most of this new season. She suggests looking back and appreciating how far one has come in their homeschooling journey, considering the goals they had when starting homeschooling and whether they’ve achieved them, and reevaluating the curriculum, approaches, and activities they are using in their homeschool. She also emphasizes the importance of taking time to rest, evaluating priorities, and trying something new to keep homeschooling exciting and engaging.

Melanie wraps up the episode by inviting listeners to share their plans and experiences for the new season and highlights her upcoming video version of the podcast on YouTube.

Grammar Galaxy free samples

Fast Grammar free sample

Karla Marie Williams latest episode

Special Replay: How To Handle Your Tween Daughter’s Emotions

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey, homeschoolers!

This week I am creating a podcast based on a very popular guest post I wrote for LikeMindedMusings.com. Specifically, how to help your tween daughter handle her emotions. I’m looking forward to sharing some tips with you if you have a tween daughter, who also seems to have emotions, if you know what I mean.

But first, I wanted to share two things with you. I am going to be speaking at five Great Homeschool Conventions this year. I am so excited to meet you. I’ll be in Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, California, and Florida. Make sure you get registered at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com so we can chat!

The second thing I wanted to share is that I have begun answering reader questions on my YouTube channel. If you have a  question you’d like me to answer, email me at Psychowith6@gmail.com or message me on social media. I won’t share your name or identifying details, but I can share the information with others who have the same question.


I want to thank the sponsor for this episode, Change in the Air. Change in the Air is a new film releasing Oct 19th that you won’t want to miss! A peaceful community is forever changed when a mysterious young woman moves in. As the quirky locals embrace her, their lives soon improve. But, they can’t help notice that their strange new neighbor has a secret…Change in the Air will release in select theaters, and digitally on Oct 19th. Go to ChangeInTheAirMovie.net to see if the film is playing near you, or purchase or rent it the day it comes out! Change in the Air – in theaters and digitally on Oct 19th.

Resources for Managing Tween Girls’ Emotions

How You Are Changing by Jane Graver

Download Your Free Lesson How to Handle Changing emotions Girls Created to Shine


There are apps like this Period Tracker

Listen to Homeschooling Through Hormones

Have a happy homeschool week!

Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Change is in the Air Movie

This story embraces the imperfections that make us human, offers a way to set ourselves free and asks us all to take a good, long look at the wild birds in the sky.

Watch the trailer here!

Special Replay: 6 Back-to-Homeschool Mistakes Veteran Homeschoolers Don’t Make

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey homeschoolers! I hate to be the bearer of bad news for those of you who don’t homeschool year round. But yes, back to school is right around the corner. I have wise advice for making back to school the best it can be, whether you are a new or veteran homeschooler. This episode we will discuss six mistakes that veteran homeschoolers don’t make when it comes to back-to-school.

Sponsor – Truth Seekers Mystery Series

But first I would like to thank our sponsor– Truth Seekers Mysteries– for sponsoring the podcast.

Let’s face it, Christian kids are leaving their faith in droves despite all our best efforts. Until now! With the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, your children will become engrossed in a wonderful story that teaches about justice and how to defend their beliefs. Now you can spark your child’s interest in God’s wonderful Creation without even trying! Using a “novel” approach your children will race through hundreds of pages of heart-pounding mystery, suspense, and edge-of-your-seat adventure! There are three novels and study guides in the series. Visit the TruthSeekersMysterySeries.com.

Back-to-Homeschool Resources

Read the blog post

I have guides that well help you choose the best science, language arts, and math curriculum for your family.

Writing Kids Love

120 more ideas for Back to Homeschool from ASLRochelle.com.

Add to Plan to Eat

Six-Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

Source: allrecipes.com

Course: Main Course

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Total Time: 20 min



  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers drained
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 container light sour cream


  1. Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

Amount Per Serving (6)

  • Calories: 214
  • Protein: 17.2g
  • Sugar: 2.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 27.2g
  • Fat: 4.9g
  • Cholesterol: 32mg
  • Sodium: 1482mg
  • Fiber: 6.7g

Powered by
Plan To Eat

If you’d like to make cooking a part of your homeschooling this year, consider the excellent Kids Cook Real Foods curriculum.

Instructions for The Organized Homeschool Life Planner

a previous episode of The Homeschool Sanity Show on organizing, FLYLady gave us wise advice for cleaning up after every subject. Conclusion

If you avoid these six back-to-school mistakes, you are well on your way having a peaceful and blessed back to homeschool. Have your curriculum, school space, special back-to-school surprise, meal plan, reasonable goals, and maintenance plans ready. That is my prayer for you.

Which of these mistakes have you made?


Special Replay: Habits of the Organized Homeschool Mom

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey homeschoolers!

This week we are discussing habits of the organized homeschool mom. If organization doesn’t come naturally to you as it doesn’t for me, I think you’ll enjoy this episode. First, if you haven’t listened to the last two episodes I did on planning, you’ll want listen to them first.

Organizing didn’t come naturally to me. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. But today I feel like I’m organized enough to do everything God has called me to do as a homeschooling mom. If you’d like to take a shorter journey to organization than I took, this article is for you. These are the habits of an organized homeschool mom.

Resources for Habits of the Organized Homeschool Mom

Read the blog post

Why Happy Homeschool Moms Are Planners

How to Keep Happy Planning Going

Diona Navarro website, Instagram, Etsy shop

using an app for prayer time

Where once it was challenging to find curriculum that worked well in a homeschool setting, now we’re tearing our hair out trying to decide what to buy and what to use once we buy it.


I attended a kindergarten graduation with my second son and was wowed by the kindergartners who performed musically for the ceremony. These children seemed so advanced. My son sat at the graduation, clearly not paying attention to the ceremony at all. It’s so ridiculous now, but I thought he and I were lacking something. That son ironically grew up to be an advanced student and a part of our church’s worship band. I didn’t begin pressing him to do more after that kindergarten graduation, but I could have. I could have let fear about not measuring up add to the burden of homeschooling instead of the joy of it.

I asked Diona to talk about The Organized Homeschool Life, which is a plan for helping us to be the organized homeschool moms God has called us to be. Listen to what she said on the podcast.

The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner will help you to create the habits of an organized homeschool mom. First, every day your planner will direct you to spend time with the Lord. Rather than having long lined pages to complete that aren’t realistic for busy moms like us, you’ll have a few lines on which to write your gratitude to God, the word you heard from God, and your response to Him in prayer. Even if all you do is just complete that part of your daily plan, you’ll feel connected to the Lord.

The next habit The Organized Homeschool Life helps you develop is routines. Each day you’ll create a basic schedule for your day. You’ll be guided in the process of creating a routine with a helpful printable. Once you’ve created a workable routine, creating a loose schedule of specific tasks for the day will be easy and gratifying.

The third habit The Organized Homeschool Life helps us develop is decluttering. You’ll be challenged to declutter after Christmas, to declutter bedrooms, clothing, used curriculum, and the places in your home that tend to collect clutter. In the Organized Homeschool Life Facebook group, you’ll receive prompts to remind you to keep up your decluttering habit.

The Organized Homeschool Life also helps you have realistic expectations. Each challenge is made up of four steps that take just 15 minutes each. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do in such a short period of time. The Organized Homeschool Life Planner includes space for your organizing task of the day, so you’re reminded to stay on track with these missions or other organizing tasks you need to do.

In studying my own productivity for a year, I found that on average I completed just six tasks a day, aside from my routine tasks. That’s why there is space for just six tasks on your daily planning page. It feels amazing to complete your task list for the day and not feel like a failure because you haven’t done all 30 of the items on your overly long list.

Finally, The Organized Homeschool Life is a plan. You can develop your own plan for organizing your homeschool life or you can save yourself time and use or tweak mine. The Organized Homeschool Life gives you a starting point. Each week, the four steps of the challenge for the week are outlined for you in a very short read in the book. The weekly planning page in the planner lists the steps for the week, allowing you to plan when to do them. The planner is organized into months and weeks but isn’t dated, so you can start organizing your homeschool life at any time.

I want homeschooling moms have the peace and joy that I have in planning an organized homeschool life. That is why from now through November 17th, 2018, you can gift yourself both the book and planner at launch pricing. Whether you prefer digital books and planners or you love having a printed book and beautifully spiral-bound planner to use, you’ll find both here.

[button link=”https://grammargalaxybooks.com/product-category/Homeschool/” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] Organize me![/button]

Not sure you can keep up the organizing habit? Be sure to check out How to Keep the Happy Planning Going. You can also give The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner a try with the Christmas Planning challenge. You’ll receive sample pages that will tell you if the The Organized Homeschool Life is for you before the sale is over. Click the image at Homeschool Sanity to sign up for it.

Which of these habits has been the biggest struggle for you? Comment and let me know.

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