Top 5 Reasons to include Literature Study in your Homeschool

After teaching literature and writing in many settings for many years, I have concluded there are five important reasons to include literature study in your homeschool for your middle and high school students. #homeschool #curriculumAfter teaching literature and writing in many settings for many years, I have concluded there are five important reasons to include literature study in your homeschool for your middle and high school students. Some benefits are academic while others are more in the personal and character development realm. But, I feel that all of them contribute to a student’s understanding of themselves, their world, and their individual viewpoints. I have them listed here in no particular order because everyone will have their own priorities as to which is most important.

Practice Analyzing World Views

Literature is usually written in the worldview of the author. Occasionally, an author writes a literary piece in a different worldview from his own based on the narrator of the story or to present a different worldview for the reader’s examination and analysis.

You can usually divide worldviews into two categories, Christian and Secular/Humanist. The middle and high school years are the optimum time to have discussions about worldview and your family’s own views. From there, you can have valuable discussions centered around topics that your children encounter when reading different pieces of literature.

For example, dystopian book series have become popular recently and are an excellent opportunity to discuss the events and characters that are included in these stories. As a Christian family you will want to take advantage of the natural discussions about good vs. evil, absolute vs. relative morals, and your family’s beliefs that will arise as you read some of these books.

Older novels are also prime material for practice for your children to apply their worldview filters when reading and deciding where they stand on the issues presented in the story. Examples of these kinds of novels would be Frankenstein, 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Parents will want to make sure to read these books beforehand to decide if the book is a good fit for your family and prepare themselves for a discussion.

Develop and Practice Higher Order Thinking Skills

Literature study is also a great opportunity to help your children develop and practice using higher order thinking skills. Analyzing the worldview of a novel or story is just one level or kind of thinking skill. There is a list of others from comprehension and knowledge when recalling facts and details about a story to comprehending what an author is trying to say to the reader.

Moving up the hierarchy of skills, your children can practice applying what they know from their own experiences to what they are reading in a story and compare and contrast what they are reading to their own experiences or to events in the story. From here, as they get older and have more practice in analyzing literature, they can begin to have those worldview discussions about specific moral issues in the story and debate the side of their worldview against the author’s point of view or debate both sides of an issue.

The development and the practice of these higher order thinking skills are necessary to children’s development of their own beliefs and the ability to articulate and argue those beliefs. It assists them in “knowing who they are and what they believe”, an important characteristic in self-identity and confidence. This was an important foundation in our homeschool pursuit and mission in my family. It’s paid off very well.

Practicing Empathy and Understanding Motivation of Others

There have been scientific studies that have shown that when children read and discuss the characters and events of a fictional story, they develop empathetic skills and understanding of the actions and motivations of others.

Reading a fictional story presents the reader with an opportunity to follow a character through different kinds of circumstances and watch how those circumstances affect the character and his feelings and subsequent actions. Readers develop empathy for that character as they get to know the character and are then also affected by what happens to that character. Having discussions about the characters and their feelings about certain events helps children to sort through their thoughts and own feelings.

Analyzing characters in stories and what is motivating them to act certain ways or have specific personality characteristics assists children in examining the motives of others through the practice they receive from this kind of literary analysis. This understanding can be transferred when trying to understand other people in their own daily interactions.

Literature is a Reflection of History and Society

Throughout history the spoken and written word has kept record of historical events and views held by a society during different time periods. When reading literary pieces, readers can learn about the time period in which the author lived or is writing about, as well as common viewpoints and practices of society at that time. Even a piece of fiction is a reflection of history and society of that literary time period and is of valuable consideration to understand where a society has been and where they are in the present and how they got there.

Literature from all over the world reflects societal, religious, and philosophical beliefs to shed light and an understanding on that part of the world. Sometimes, a pendulum movement can be seen from one literary time period to another in what a society believes is important at the time.

For example, literary time periods from the Puritan to the Modern times reflect a swing from a Christian worldview to a Humanist viewpoint and back again several times when looking at the topics and expressions of the authors in their written pieces. These viewpoints were affected a lot of times by what was happening in history and society around them as the authors were writing these stories.

Literature can be an Influence on History and Society

As literature can be a reflection of history and society, the opposite is true as well. Authors have used the spoken and written word to influence the events of history and the beliefs of a society.

Studying speeches and novels written by people of varying time periods will demonstrate the power of the spoken and written word when expressed effectively and the importance of those words and their connection to key historical events and societal views of the time.

Supposedly, when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he commented, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” This shows the influence a book such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin can have on the course of history and society and belief systems of a time period.

Even a pamphlet with the title “Common Sense” influenced history and the outcome of where we are today.

Studying literature does not have to be a mysterious and muddled discussion of symbols and hidden meanings that an author buried in a novel for us to decipher or a long list of comprehension questions.

Studying literature can be an interactive exercise and discussion in discovering ourselves, who we are and what we believe in, using the literary piece as a spring and jumping off point and vehicle for the discussion.


Literary Cafe PodcastKatie Glennon has a monthly podcast, Literary Cafe Podcast, where she discusses all things Language Arts for all ages with practical ideas, tips, and suggested resources to help you in teaching Language Arts in your homeschool. You can also find her at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage and a Facebook Group, Homeschool Language Arts Corner, where she expands on what she shares in her podcasts. With 30+ years in education and having graduated two sons, she hopes to share ideas with you that allow you to better enjoy your homeschool journey!

 

FREE November Planner and Holiday Printables

We have another wonderful freebie bonus for our subscribers this month!

Thanksgiving is the theme of this month’s planner. This is a 65 page set full of encouragement to focus on our family, and friends and the things that we are thankful for. There are sweet sentiments and prayers to help you keep your focus, as well as practical ideas and helps to keep you organized and on track for the busy holiday season.

Included in this printable packet is something for your whole family:

  • November Planning Printables
  • Best Recipes
  • Calendar: National and USA
  • Encouragement Printables for Mom
  • 10 Tips for Holiday Planning and Guide
  • 7 Pages of Recipes
  • Healthy Recipe Substitutes
  • 4 Square Step-by-Step Fall Party Planner
  • Grocery Planning Printable
  • Mini Book of Thanks for Kids
  • November Fun Ideas and Games
  • Thanksgiving Table Name Tags
  • Printables for Games
  • Veterans Day Printable
  • Kid’s School Planner
  • Printables and Scripture Copywork
  • Journal Pages

You can download this planning pack by clicking HERE to sign up now!

 

How to Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Day from Bright Ideas Press

Back in the “olden days”, memorization was a big part of school. They memorized poems, essays, books, and documents. I always think about Little Town on the Prairie and how Laura was called on to recite American History by memory from Christopher Columbus through the presidency of John Quincy Adams. Somewhere along the way it was decided that memorizing was unnecessary and some thought it was even harmful to children’s creativity. But children especially have a huge capacity for memorization and memorize things all of the time. Memorizing is a great was for children to increase their vocabulary and learn different language patterns, helping them to become better readers and writers.

One thing the children and I love to do is memorize poetry. I know what you are thinking, that you do not have time to add poetry memorization to your already busy school day. But this is something we only spend around 10 minutes a day on and it is our favorite part of the day. Poetry is fun to read, easy to memorize, and often uses wonderful vocabulary and imagery. Children and adults of all ages and work on memorizing poetry together. You can add poetry easily into your homeschool day.

How to Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Day with Bright Ideas Press - and a fun giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #poetry

Each morning after our Bible lesson, it is poetry time. We have a book of poetry that has a variety of poems by different authors and poems of varying lengths. The first day we are starting a new poem, I read the title, name of the author, and the entire poem. Then I read each line and the children read it after me. The next day we start memorizing sections of the poem a little at a time. If for instance a poem has three stanzas, I will read the entire poem first, then just read the first stanza a line at a time and have the children repeat each line after me. The next day I read the entire poem again, do the first stanza altogether and we work on the second stanza by me reading and them repeating the lines after me. After we are done with our new poem for the day, we recite a few poems we have already memorized altogether.

I have been amazed at how easily the children have memorized the poems. They can do them much faster than I can! It has also amazed me how much they enjoy reciting the poems. There have been some days that I have been running behind in the morning and have thought that I would skip it that day but they always ask to do poems. We have spent some time looking up information on some of the authors and they have even tried their hand at writing a few poems themselves. I have noticed too that the more we have memorized, the easier it has become and the children have been able to memorize longer Bible verses and entire passages in Scripture as well.

Take 10 minutes a day and add some poetry memorization to your homeschool. You will be glad you did!

Ready to add poetry to your homeschool day? Grab the newest, updated product in the Bright Ideas Press store …. Young Scholar’s Guide to Poetry.

 

 

Enter for a Chance to Win a A Young Scholar’s Guide to Poetry from Bright Ideas Press

The authors of this curriculum walk incrementally with young writers through the process of composing their own poetry and encourage their individual creativity.  Includes 32 weekly lessons covering biographies of famous poets and explanations of key poetic devices, easy-to-use timeline and maps, poet info-cards and game directions, poetic device cards, poetry puzzle cards, student reviews, answer keys, coloring pages, poetry reading and resource list, and more.  Click here to enter for a chance to win!


Homeschooling Moms are busy!  Bright Ideas Press gets that. And that’s why they promise to publish Christian-oriented curriculum that will fit into your hectic lives, curriculum that is both affordable and easy-to-use with children of different ages at the same time. Curriculum that busy Moms love! The team at Bright Ideas Press prays that their products and resources will not only simplify lives but also inspire, encourage, and enable parents to effectively educate their children.

 

How to Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Day with Bright Ideas Press - and a fun giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #poetry

Top 5 Homeschooling Mistakes to Avoid from Luma Learn

Hi friends, Tina here from Luma Learn. Like you, I’m a homeschooling mama myself. I was recently reminiscing about my personal homeschool journey and thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made while homeschooling my children. Having 7 little blessings from almost 17 years old down to 4 years old, I’ve definitely made my fair share of mistakes! Although I’ve made lots, I’m going to share with you 5 of the biggest homeschooling mistakes I’ve made. If there’s one thing we homeschooling mamas do well, it’s relate to other people’s feeling of failure!

Top 5 Homeschooling Mistakes to Avoid from Luma Learn - plus a great giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #mistakes

MISTAKE #1

Feeling Like I Had To Do Everything in One Year

Can anyone relate? It certainly is a blessing that homeschooling has grown so much that we now have lots and lots of opportunities available to us that weren’t there previously. But, Moms, sometimes too many opportunities can be a curse. Ever have a year where you felt as though you spent the majority of your days in the car? I’ve felt like that and often longed for more regular days (as I would call them) where we weren’t obligated to go anywhere and the children could simply get their school work done that they needed to.

I realized over many years that the “ultimate” wasn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. I wrote a blog post on this exact subject and thought it might help you consider some things about time management for this school year…and beyond!

MISTAKE #2

Allowing Education to Become an Idol

Oh man, this one was a doozy! Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why am I doing this again?”

I’m sure many of us are familiar with Deuteronomy 6:6-7 which tells us to diligently teach “these words” to our children when we sit in our houses and walk by the way and lie down and rise. Hmm…that’s an awful long time…as in, the ENTIRE day!

What exactly is it that we’re supposed to teach our children? God wants us to teach them His word. Our primary goal should be to instill upright living in our children, but oftentimes, academic goals begin to trump our spiritual goals.

I’ve definitely been guilty of this one! In fact, Zuli and I had a conversation on the Luma Lounge about this. The Luma Lounge is our new avenue to encourage homeschool moms. It’s just 2 homeschool moms chatting about mom issues that affect all of us. Have a watch

MISTAKE #3

Searching and Searching for the Perfect Curriculum

In the past, I have spent countless hours scouring websites, attending homeschool conventions, and perusing various curriculums. I’ve spent way more money than I should have, and to top it all off, I still felt as though I didn’t have the right curriculum!

I was nervous, upset, and frustrated. I felt as though others knew things that I didn’t. Have you felt like that? Well I’m here to tell you that you should not worry! Take courage and read this blog post from Luma Learn’s Zuli Paulus-Rosenow.

 

MISTAKE #4

I Tried to Teach Everyone the Same

Do you feel like you’re beating your head against a wall trying to teach one of your children? Perhaps you’re not considering their learning style. Many of us have multiple children, and if there’s one thing we know rather well, it’s that each child is different!

Well not only is each child different, but oftentimes their learning styles are completely different as well. In my homeschooling journey, I had heard of the three learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic), but I never fully understood it all until I experienced it.

Zuli and I chatted about this in another Luma Lounge episode recently. Have a watch

 

MISTAKE #5

I Tried To Do It All On My Own

Years ago I realized that I was striving to be wonder woman, both in my home and in my homeschooling. I realized that my pride prevented me from utilizing great resources that were out there because I thought I could do something better myself.

It hit me one day that if we truly believe that God has gifted every individual with unique talents, then why not utilize other people in our children’s education? Our children actually gain wonderful insights when learning from others who are passionate about their area of expertise. So whether that’s a co-op, online class, or local organization, make sure to glean from other’s talents!

I truly hope that by reading my personal struggles you’ve been encouraged to continue on your own challenging journey. We all make mistakes; homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. We can do this, Moms! We’re in it together, and there’s always other moms out there who know exactly how we feel.

 

 

Enter for a Chance to Win a Research Writing Course from Luma Learn!

Luma Learn is giving away a Research Writing Class in honor of our 5th Birthday!  In this course students will learn how to conduct academic research and organize it into a well-written paper on the topic of their choice. We will take it step by step, from creating outlines to how to properly reference sources. Students will be taught how to use Google Scholar and read academic journals. They will receive consistent feedback on how to improve the quality of their writing as well as how to incorporate their own critiques and analysis of the research into their paper. The goal of this class is to prepare students for the research university courses will require them to complete. Although there are no prerequisites for this course, students will be expected to have some familiarity with basic English writing skills which I will help them further develop.  Enter here!

 


Hi!  I’m Tina Piper, CEO of Luma Learn and Homeschooling Mom. Luma Learn was birthed because we saw a desire for something that wasn’t available to homeschooling families, a convenient, one-stop marketplace for online homeschool classes.  We didn’t want to enroll in a school, and we wanted to have options in the courses we chose for our own children.  That’s why you’ll find that not all classes on Luma Learn are semester-long classes.  Most are, yes, but there are also lots that are shorter courses which become a great supplement to some of our already planned out yearly curriculum. 

 

For teachers, we wanted them to feel supported in their teaching, empowered with technical support, and encouraged to grow their own online teaching business. With Luma Learn, teachers can offer their courses for whatever price they choose, which means that not only do we have some of the lowest prices around, but teachers earn more of their chosen course price than they do elsewhere!  Incredibly, there are even some free courses on the marketplace. By the way, if you know someone who’d be interested in offering their courses through Luma Learn, please encourage them to watch this fun video.  They can always find out more information about offering online homeschool courses on the Luma Learn marketplace here.

Last but not least, we want Luma Learn to be a hub of encouragement for homeschooling moms.  We all need support, and it’s so good to just hear that encouraging word to press on, keep going, don’t give up!  We’d love to have you follow us on social media as well as subscribe to our list so that we can support you on this journey.

 

 

Top 5 Homeschooling Mistakes to Avoid from Luma Learn - plus a great giveaway!  #giveaway #homeschool #mistakes

Homeschool with Vision and Purpose with True North Homeschool Academy

Homeschool with Vision and Purpose with these tips from True North Academy! (Plus TWO advising giveaways!)  #homeschool #vision #giveaway

The Oxford Dictionary defines vision as, ” The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.” Do you have a vision for your homeschool? What is your purpose? 

Maybe you are lost and don’t understand how to homeschool with vision & purpose. Keep reading to learn how to define & implement your homeschool vision.

First, what is your compelling reason for homeschooling?

Also known as, what is your why? What makes homeschooling the number one choice for your family? Compelling reasons can include (but are not limited to) social, emotional, spiritual, academic, physical, and familial concerns. 

A compelling reason may be that your child was bullied to the point of physical harm, or maybe their academic needs are better met at home. Some families have children with health issues or that are so involved in a sport, or another endeavor, that it takes hours of training each day. Maybe your family simply wants more time together. In other words, your compelling reason is going to be as unique and individual as your family.

Why is your compelling reason important? Because there will be hard days. I can promise that there will be days when you want to give up and quit. On those days, your compelling reason will continue to propel you toward the finish line. Plus your compelling reason will be the basis for all of your other decisions.

Next, align your long-term goals with your compelling reason.

Are you homeschooling for religious reasons? Then you will want spiritual goals at the top of your long-term goal sheet. Maybe your family is homeschooling for a better academic experience. Then educational goals will top your list. These goals are not your to-do list for next week. These are your end goals. What do you hope to accomplish? Where do you want your children to be at the end of their journey?

What if you have more than one compelling reason? It seems that most of us do and that’s okay! Simply rank your list in order of importance. If academics are the most important, then put those on the top of the list. The purpose is to develop a clear strategy and plan.  

Then, create short-term goals and develop a plan.

The short-term goals are where the rubber meets the road so to speak. These are the actions that will lead to accomplishing your long-term goals. If your goal is religious, your short-term goals may include memorizing large passages of scripture or studying theology and Bible History. Perhaps you have a child that desires entrance to a specific university. Then a full transcript, tailored to that university, would be your action plan.  

In short, it’s a trickle down system. The compelling reason drives the long-term goals. These, in turn, determine the short-term goals. The action plan is formulated based on these short-term goals. So your action plan may include daily literature study or electives tailored toward the medical field. All of this will look different for each family.

(Need help defining your action plan? It may be time to check into our Essential Academic Advising!)

Finally, be flexible.

In the end, homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. And during the race, it’s not uncommon to encounter some speed bumps. Your short-term goals will likely change and evolve over the years. It could be that your compelling reason even changes. A family is an everchanging system. People grow and change, and as a result, so do their goals and dreams. 

Be flexible. A plan is only a valuable tool, not a method of torture. If you fail to let your plan grow with your family, it will just be a hindrance. Use it, grow with it.

So what are you waiting for? Find your homeschool vision and purpose today. It will take your homeschool from ordinary to extraordinary!

TWO Giveaways! Win an Essential and Special Needs Advising Package from True North Academy!

The Essential Academic Advising gives you a clear a personalized path and tools to navigate,  no matter what age your homeschool student.  AND – Our Essential Academic Advising Plan takes the worry out of Homeschooling your Special Needs or Struggling Learner so you can enjoy the process!  Click Here to Enter!


Need help with your vision & purpose? Contact True North Homeschool Academy; we will be happy to help!  True North Homeschool Academy is committed to coming alongside parents to provide an exceptional on-line learning experience that exceeds the highest academic standard for for 6th-12th grade students in a flexible and affordable learning environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschool with Vision and Purpose with these tips from True North Academy! (Plus TWO advising giveaways!)  #homeschool #vision #giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson About Struggling Learners from Notgrass History: Sir Winston Churchill

A Lesson About Struggling Learners from Notgrass History: Sir Winston Churchill - and don't miss the special birthday giveaway!In May 1940 Adolf Hitler’s Nazi forces were spreading across Europe. Country after country had either fallen to Germany’s military or buckled under Nazi pressure. The Germans pushed toward the English Channel.

By the end of May, about 400,000 British, French, and Belgian troops were trapped on the French coast along the Channel. The British military was in a race to rescue them before Hitler destroyed them. British leaders feared the worst and believed they might only be able to rescue one in four or maybe even just one in ten.

When the Belgian king surrendered his army to the Nazis on May 27, the situation grew even more dangerous. What happened amazed the free world.

From May 27 to June 4, French, Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian ships worked alongside the British Royal Navy to rescue the troops from the French port of Dunkirk. Assisting these naval forces were trading ships from the British merchant marine and more personal boats owned and piloted by volunteer British citizens than anyone will ever know.

In the end, the Germans killed, wounded, or captured 68,111 British soldiers. However, the British and their allies rescued 338,226 men, including Belgian and French soldiers.

England had not been invaded since Norman forces under William the Conqueror landed there and defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. If the Nazis had their way, that was all about to change. Though a large British force had been evacuated, they had left behind a massive amount of supplies and equipment, which the Germans confiscated and later used against Allied troops.

This is where our struggling learner enters our story. Sir Winston Churchill had been serving as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for sixteen days when the evacuation of Dunkirk began. He was sixty-five years old and had become one of the most eloquent men in the history of England with an intellect few could match.

Few, if any, who knew Winston Churchill could have imagined this when he was a little boy taught at home by a governess or later at school. His marks were terrible in math, in French, in Latin, and in Greek. In any subject that interested him, he excelled. If it did not interest him, he was considered a miserable failure in the eyes of both his teachers and his parents. His test-taking skills were abysmal. During one crucial exam, he was unable to answer a single question—even the answers he knew.

When parents of students came to school on one special day, the boys were paraded in front of them in the order of their school performance. At the end of the line was Winston Churchill.

Early in his school experience, Churchill became fascinated with the English language. He became an excellent writer and speaker, too, in spite of his lisp. After becoming an officer in the British army and while serving in India, Churchill had long hot days with almost no responsibilities, so he devoured books about things he wanted to know and thought would be important in his future career. He hoped to serve in Parliament like his father before him.

Many in England would have surrendered to Germany as other European nations had done, but not their Prime Minister. On the day the last man was rescued from Dunkirk, Churchill ended his speech to the British House of Commons with these words:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

A boy whom no one believed in finally grew up. He took longer than most boys do, but he grew up in the end. And in World War II, he led the United Kingdom to a victory few could have imagined when he came to power in 1940.

 

Sir Winston Church, His Son Randolph (Named for Churchill's Father Whom He Idolized), and His Grandson Winston.

Sir Winston Churchill poses with his son Randolph (named for Churchill’s father, whom he idolized), and his grandson Winston. Sir Winston Churchill said, “All babies look like me.” I think he was right. Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

 

Don’t despair if your child is not at the place that other people–or maybe you yourself–think he should be right now.

God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

You never know when God will place one of those children in just the right place at just the right time to do something amazing–maybe in a nation, maybe in a village, or maybe in a home. Every single child is made in God’s image, including the ones who call you Mama or Daddy.

Enter to Win a $150 Notgrass History Certificate!

This is a great prize for any homeschool family who needs an amazing History curriculum!   Notgrass History curriculum is designed so that one child can use it independently or multiple children can study it together. They give you flexible tools that you can adjust to the needs and abilities of each student.  Notgrass History combines narrative lessons, primary source documents, historical novels and biographies, and hands-on projects with a Christian worldview that upholds the Bible as God’s word and honors Jesus as Savior of the world.  Enter for a chance to win a $150 Notgrass History gift certificate, which you can use to purchase anything at notgrass.com.
They offer curriculum and resources for elementary, middle school, and high school.  Click Here to Enter!

 


About the Author

Ray and Charlene NotgrassCharlene Notgrass is a follower of Jesus and a veteran homeschooling mother. She received a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Middle Tennessee State University, where she met her husband, Ray, in the political science department. After graduating they were married in 1974. Ray and Charlene are lifelong history lovers and began writing homeschool curriculum in 1999. They enjoy classic literature, traveling together, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Charlene loves to encourage homeschooling mothers, whether speaking at homeschool conferences, counseling mothers individually, or through her blog, Daily Encouragement for Homeschooling Mothers. Notgrass History publishes curriculum for all ages, including courses about world history, American history, civics, government, and economics.

Check out the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network giveaway from Notgrass History!

 

A Lesson About Struggling Learners from Notgrass History: Sir Winston Churchill - and don't miss the special birthday giveaway!

 

 

Top 20 Homeschool Podcasts

top 20 homeschool podcasts | The Top 20 Homeschool Podcasts by speakers, authors, bloggers and moms and dads just like you! #homeschool #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #top20homeschoolpodcast

Meet my friends! The top 20 Podcasts on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

I’ve seen many lists of top homeschool podcasts, but this list is important and special to me. This is the list of the top 20 homeschool podcasts on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network! People measure success in different ways and I feel the network has been successful first because it has been an answer to prayer and second because it has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of homeschool families. Many of these shows have thousands and thousands of downloads. But to me, there are things more than numbers — although we have over TWO MILLION downloads; more importantly, you are about to meet the people who work hard to create amazing podcasts – the best in homeschooling, as well as the wonderful support team of those who help run this network!

While we are saying Happy 5th Birthday to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, we have many gifts for you! PRIZES! Currently, we have amazing giveaways from our sponsors – to enter all the contests please visit our giveaways page on this website here.

How does our network work?

  1. Join our eZine for up all the upcoming shows and freebies such as our weekly printables.
  2. Listen to the shows on this website. You can play any show you want for free.
  3. Download the shows on your computer. Listen on your time.
  4. Stream the shows on any podcast app on your phone or computer. Instructions here.

Our Sponsors Bring You This Podcast Network for Free:

When I began in 2013 I handled everything. Any small techie issues, updating the website information, sending out the newsletter (and often breaking the code), and all of the social media. Now, thanks to our listeners and amazing sponsors like Notgrass, WriteShop, True North, Luma Learn, Bright Ideas Press as well as all of our participating podcasters we can bring you contests as well as our network!

Our Team. A Big Thank-you to the following people:

Joy Rhodes: This website could not run without our behind the scenes techie, Joy! She is the one we all turn to for website issues and sends out our weekly eZine with free printables for you each month.

Gina Glenn: Any social media you see is orchestrated and scheduled by Gina. She is an amazing asset and our go-to person for anything social!

Thanks to our special brand ambassadors: Longtime podcast listener Orilla Crider and virtual assistant, Nakisha Blain. These ladies are so helpful in sharing our podcasts with all of you!

To the original Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network podcasters who began alongside me, I want to say thank-you!

I am blessed to be joined by so many of my friends, many who began five years ago alongside me. Some original podcasters now have shows in archives but they are still available! These friends have current shows and took a chance. I had no experience (other than the three years I spent podcasting, elsewhere), I had no idea what number was good for downloads, about feeds, tags or graphics. My goal was not to make money but to serve the homeschool community and allow you to access the podcasts for free.

Thanks to:

So, who funded the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network the first few years? Media Angels, Inc. my publishing company. The majority of the investment came from the sale of books, audios, and downloadable products. As the owner of this website, my goal is always to bring you the best of homeschool focused podcasts!

Success equals helping one homeschool family at a time!

I’m grateful the Lord gave me this idea years ago to create a homeschool podcast network with some of my friends, fellow homeschoolers, authors, conference speakers, and bloggers. All of us love to encourage you –  while our curriculum, our family size and even where we worship may look different — we are united in our belief that the Lord called us to homeschool and it is our job to encourage you!

top 20 homeschool podcasts | The Top 20 Homeschool Podcasts by speakers, authors, bloggers and moms and dads just like you! #homeschool #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #top20homeschoolpodcastSo, let me introduce you to our top 20 podcasters and their shows…

Vintage Homeschool Moms – flagship show with Felice Gerwitz — Over 300+ podcasts! 

I began this show the last week of September of 2013 even though our launch was in October. In that way, if anything went wrong we could catch it! On my show, I share the experience of over 30 years of homeschooling! I’m a graduated homeschool mom (my last of five homeschooled children graduated in 2018).  Many months I have themes, this month is “Stress-free” and these podcasts contain the ideas that worked, shortcuts and a heartfelt message that you can do it! I also share on the Creation Science Podcast some of the best from my creation expos. I am blessed to rank as NUMBER THREE on our network! (And that is fine with me! I’m a proud “mama” and love to see my podcasters do well even if they “beat” my numbers!)

Hal and Melanie Young – Making Biblical Family Life Practical Over 200+ Podcasts!

With their North Carolina accent, homeschool parents, husband and wife Melanie and Hal share not only their humor but their extensive parenting advice, marriage, raising sons and real-world issues! Listen in and it will soon YOUR favorite. They talk about large families, homeschooling, and heart issues as well. You may meet them in real life since they are keynote speakers and travel extensively on the homeschool conference circuit. Congratulations on ranking NUMBER TWO on our podcast network!

Carol Topp – Homeschool CPA Podcast & Dollars and Sense Over 145 Shows

Carol is a graduated homeschool mom who studied for her CPA exam while homeschooling! Hence, Homeschool CPA! On this network we are flexible and Carol came to me asking if she could rebrand her show from Dollars and Sense with a focus more about saving money, careers and more to her show now that deals with running homeschool programs and money management. Carol podcasts twice a month!

Meredith Curtis – Finish Well Radio

Meredith is a graduated homeschool mom and her husband Mike is Pastor at Powerline Church. Meredith along with many teens and young adults from their church help the listener to grow in Christ. With many timely shows that help teens prepare for life after graduation, Meredith podcasts the first Monday of every month. If you have teens this show will be such a blessing especially in the world where we find ourselves today.

Melanie Wilson – Homeschool Sanity – Hundreds of Podcasts

Melanie is a homeschool mom, a Christian clinical psychologist with six kids! So there is no mystery why she titled her show, Homeschool Sanity! Melanie has amazing insight and currently ranks as our NUMBER ONE podcaster for the second year in a row! Go, Melanie! Her show airs every Tuesday and she shares much of her insights and fun tips with you.

Israel and Brook Wayne – Family Renewal

Our second husband and wife team, Israel and Brook Wayne! The Waynes share big family living and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel travels extensively. He is an author and conference speaker so look for him at homeschool conferences. The Wayne’s podcast one time per month.

Gina Glenn – Mommy Jammies Night

Gina took over the monthly show, Mommy Jammies Night some years ago and has rebranded and shares some interviews with amazing moms who will bless you! Gina is a graduated homeschool mom with four children and has volunteered for a wide variety of ministries over the years. She has a heart for helping you the homeschool mom. She is one of the sweetest people I know and you will enjoy her show!

Sue Meyers – Homeopathy For Mommies

Sue is a homeschool mom who used homeopathy to reclaim her health and those of her children. Sue wrote a book for her children and grandchildren about homeopathy and I love her book and refer to it often! Her show is well on it’s way to one of the top shows with over thousands of downloads each week! Congratulations Sue, your show ranks NUMBER FOUR.

Jean Burk – College Prep Genius

Jean joined our network soon after we launched and I co-host this much-needed podcast with her twice a month. Jean writes and updates her College Prep Genius curriculum often to keep current with the SAT and ACT changes. She is the authority on all things college prep testing. Join us to listen to her advice which has helped earned both of my younger children college scholarships!

The Homeschool Highschool Podcast

Everything high school happens here with Vicki, Sabrina, and Kim our ladies from the 7 Sisters! These ladies know their stuff and have over twenty years of homeschooling advice, tips and more. Need transcript advice, information about classes or just encouragement? This is the show for you! You will enjoy their heartfelt advice and humor!

New Shows!

Felice Gerwitz – Creation Science Podcast

I share podcasts from my Creation Science Expos much of the information comes from my experience as co-author of the Creation Science Series with Jill Whitlock. These books were mentioned in the 100 and 101 Top Homeschool Picks by Cathy Duffy. You can find more information at the Media Angels website.

Peaceful Mom Talk – Marianna Chambers

Marianna has a wonderful voice and when I listen to her podcast it makes me feel calmer! As a brand new podcaster, Marianna is helping moms who feel overwhelmed by their blessings! If you want to hear sage advice about parenting, talking to children calmly and ways to deal with stress when we are overwhelmed be sure to tune into her show. She podcasts one time per month.

Literary Cafe Podcast – Katie Glennon

Katie homeschooled for fifteen years and shares some of her insights into the world of literature, language arts and writing. She has wonderful tips and ideas to make your homeschool easier. That is what our podcasters do, they come alongside you and Katie shares her vast knowledge and experience with you! She podcasts one time per month.

Life as a Lifeschooler – Danielle Papageorgiou

Danielle use to podcast elsewhere and has moved over her shows to our network! We are so excited to have a podcast with not only a focus on interviews, but also on sharing a wealth of information with you from various people. People you’d love to sit down and chat with about homeschooling and parenting if you had the chance! You will enjoy this wonderful show and visiting two times a month with Danielle and her special guests.

Homeschooling with Technology – Meryl van der Merwe

Meryl not only has a wonderful British accent but a love and expertise in the world of technology. Having homeschooled, taught coding and runs a website for those who want to learn more, she shares the best advice about apps, ways to improve productivity and her techie skills with all of us! She is the newest on our list of podcasters! Please join me in a warm welcome for Meryl!

More shows on the network! 

And there is more! We have a sister network you might not know about. The Ultimate Christian Podcast Network hosts podcast that will bless you with Christian focused shows. But, I could not do this without all of you our listeners.

Is there a show or topic you want to hear more about? Please share it with all of us!

Maintaining Momentum Through the Homeschool Year

Maintaining Momentum through the Homeschool Year - with Homeschool Highschool PodcastThere really is a rhythm to the homeschool year, and whether you school according to a traditional academic year (Sept. – May) or follow your own schedule, the rhythms are helpful to recognize. Every homeschool family hits moments of “stuck,” and it’s encouraging to recognize the natural rhythms that can help you get unstuck without anyone getting too frustrated with anyone else. Here are the months of the traditional academic year with notes on the rhythm that tends to match them as a starting point:

August : Gear up! Everyone feels excited. This year is going to be the best ever!

September: We are establishing the year. We are creating good habits and schedules that will be good for all of us.

October: We are in the swing of things. This feels good. We are getting stuff done.

November: Umm…that part’s not working like we thought it would. Can we change it? Is it okay to make adjustments?

December: Isn’t it Christmas yet? Can’t we play???

January: Come on, y’all. We need to wrap our heads around how to make this school year a success. We got this.

February: Okay, new strategies are working pretty well, but I keep finding myself thinking about how much fun it will be NEXT year when we __________ (fill in the blank).

March: Are we really this close the year-end? Oh, my! But we haven’t done a thing yet about ___________ (fill in the blank)!

April: Get ‘er done. Get ‘er done. Get ‘er done.

May: Hurry up! Finish up! We are SO close!

June: Woot!

July: So, next year calls for…

Maintaining momentum through the homeschool year means first recognizing that inspiration and positivity ebb and flow. It’s just the way humans respond to tasks that take a long time to accomplish. It’s okay that you and your kids don’t wake up every day ready to conquer the educational world!

Mom sets the tone in most homeschools. Yes, that can be a heavy mantle to wear, but it’s true for most families. When we are discouraged, our kids pick up on it. When we PRETEND to be positive when we are not in reality, our kids pick up on it. Having honest conversations is good for everyone in the house.

Setting long-term goals and then turning them into short-term goals by scheduling backwards from the deadline (here’s a free download that can help with Scheduling Backwards) will often get the ball rolling. Parents and students working together to set goals and evaluate progress is healthy for all!

Making time for fun, meaningful conversation outside of the normal homeschool setting can help students and parents remember the long-term goals, agree on the short-term goals that will get them there, and celebrate all that has been accomplished thus far. Try taking a drive in the car and talking there, or going out for a quick bite and talking in a restaurant. Your students want to succeed and so do you; see if you can join forces to tackles the distractions and frustrations that are common to all and come out the other side victorious. You really CAN find yourselves maintaining momentum through the homeschool year!


If you enjoyed this blog, please check out The Homeschool High School podcast on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network!

Sabrina and Vicki are your Big Sisters as they share the experience they’ve gained in over 20 years of homeschooling. They are the talky-2 of the 6 Sisters at 7SistersHomeschool.com. They are often joined by their other sisters, Kym and Marilyn OR other 7th Sisters! When YOU join us at The Homeschool Highschool Podcast, YOU will be our 7th Sister, too! Hooray!!

Come be our 7th Sister each week for The Homeschool Highschool Podcast, Tuesday mornings at 9:00 am EST!

 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining Momentum through the Homeschool Year - with Homeschool Highschool Podcast

When Our Precocious Homeschooler Suddenly Went Flat

When Our Precocious Homeschooler Went Flat with Hal and Melanie Young from Making Biblical Family Life PracticalOur first son was a precocious learner—he was reading at four years old, and before long he was two years ahead of his age group in math. We just congratulated ourselves that our child was brilliant, homeschooling was awesome, and we were fantastic parents.

And then he hit the wall. At the age of ten, math was taking three hours to finish—and sometimes that was all he got done in a day. He lost his focus, he struggled in things that had been easy, and he convinced himself he was no good in school.

What happened? Simple – he was on the way to adolescence.

What we didn’t realize until later was that it is perfectly normal for kids to hit an academic slump when they start their pre-teen transition. In fact, it’s so common, school systems intentionally plan for fourth grade to be a catch-up year. It’s a developmental stage that they all go through.

The reason they struggle is two-fold. On the one hand, their brains are beginning a transition from childhood to an adult configuration. The part which handles executive functions—concentration, focus, judgement, priority-setting—literally unravels. It will come back together with some new functionality, like abstract reasoning and the ability to connect ideas across subject lines, but for several months, they truly lose some ability in school.

What’s more, the hormonal surge that starts the familiar changes of adolescence creates an emotional whirlwind. They become uncertain and overreact to difficulties, and when school becomes harder, they can lose confidence in themselves—even give up trying.

What can we do to help our kids through this challenge?

We find the most important things are to protect their love of learning and bolster their academic confidence. Set those as your two primary goals for these transitional months and you’ll lay a foundation for success in high school!

  • Recognize this for what it is—a time of transition. Don’t assume their sudden struggles are laziness or rebellion. When you see unexpected emotions, doubts, and academic floundering together, it’s time to adapt—not discipline. They all go through this.
  • Explain and encourage them through this time. Tell them why they are having trouble keeping their temper or remembering their vocabulary words—and explain that this is a temporary problem! It’s especially important with boys; their intellectual growth spurt happens in high school, and if they were already struggling before this time, they may give up before they ever hit their stride.
  • Don’t push them beyond their development. You wouldn’t expect your five-year-old to slam-dunk a regulation basketball goal, right?—you let him finish growing up. The same thing happens in academics. Even an early learner has to wait for some things to catch up. Abstract reasoning, for example, doesn’t appear until the end of this transition; you won’t be able to teach your 8-year-old to do algebra, no matter how smart she is. Give it time.
  • Go broad and deep, not further. If your child seems to hit a wall in a subject—math in particular—don’t keep pushing. Instead, explore other subjects on the same level. Dig deeper into things they are succeeding in, and let their brains mature a bit more before you take the next step up.
  • Embrace their interests. Kids this age typically have an obsessive interest in something. It may be dinosaurs, horses, warships, the Middle Ages, baseball—fill in the blank with your own child! They will naturally study the things which captured their imagination. If you need him to write a paragraph or do a research project, adapt the curriculum to leverage those interests. Instead of a lame prompt like “What I did last summer,” assign him, “What is the value of space exploration?” or “Explain the process for training falcons.”

We’ll say it again—this is commonplace and temporary, so when you see the signs, change your focus to protecting their love of learning and bolstering their academic confidence. It’s one of the important ways your relationship will change as your son or daughter becomes a young man or woman!

Want to know more about how to make the teen years great? Check out our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope. You’ll find out more about dealing with middle schoolers and pre-teens on everything from schoolwork to family relationships to media use and spirituality. It’s available from http://www.nolongerlittle.com/ or Amazon.com.


With humorous banter, laser beam insight, and lots of practical advice, Hal and Melanie Young address real world issues, current events, marriage, parenting, raising sons, and family life on Making Biblical Family Life Practical. They’ll encourage and inspire you to walk out the Word of God in your family — and work toward reforming our culture, too. Click here to check out their podcast!

Why I Miss Having Little Ones (and you will too)

Why I Will Miss Having Littles - and why you will too! From The Real Kathy Lee - Enjoy these early days! Click to read more on the blog.As I was enjoying my leisurely stroll through Sprouts, I found myself staring at this momma and her little girl. It seemed I kept running into them at every aisle. I couldn’t help but overhear their delightful conversation. I wanted to hear her little voice as she described the gummies she wanted. I wanted to ask her questions about the cereal characters she was admiring. I wanted to compliment her sparkly red shoes.  Suddenly, I found myself very jealous.

A few weeks later, I did it again. I started watching a mom push her two little ones around the store. This time I started talking to them. Making silly faces. Encouraging them as they “drove” their buggy. Quickly, I told the mom that I had ten kids, so she wouldn’t be worried that I might be trying to take one of hers. What was happening to me? Seriously, I was becoming obsessed with small children.

It continued. While retrieving my membership card at the gym, I noticed a pair of toddler tennis shoes sitting on the counter. I picked them up, imagining the little boy that had left them behind. He was probably so engaged in play that he ran out the door, without even a thought of those silly shoes. His mom probably became frantic when she realized that he had left them, but was too exhausted to make the haul back to retrieve them. I big smile came over my face as I thought back to the time my kids wore such tiny shoes.

A few days later, it hit me. I realized what was happening. My youngest was nine. I was done with the infant stage, the terrible twos and the preschool years. I no longer had little ones in my home and I MISSED it. You heard me. I missed it. I know, I know… you are reading this and thinking; GIRL if I could just have one day without my little ones. I was there, too. However, now I miss it (and you will too)!

A few days later, it hit me. I realized what was happening. I was done with the infant stage, the terrible twos and the preschool years. I no longer had little ones in my home and I MISSED it. You heard me. I missed it. I know, I know… you are reading this and thinking; GIRL if I could just have one day without my little ones. I was there, too. However, now I miss it (and you will too)!

 

  1. I missed singing them lullabies.
  2. I missed the nighttime snuggles.
  3. I missed the aha moments.
  4. I missed them wearing mermaid dresses with their cowgirl boots.
  5. I missed all of the “firsts”!
  6. I missed their voice.
  7. I missed the way they mispronounce their words like marote and thinger.
  8. I missed their imaginative stories.
  9. I missed their struggle towards independence.
  10. I missed the wonder in everything.

In the blink of an eye, they go from begging you to read Goodnight Moon for the hundredth time to borrowing your car, so they can go watch the moon with their girlfriend. I know it is hard to fathom. I know your days are long and you can grow weary. Take a deep breath, enjoy it…savor it. Every exhausting moment will be missed.

 


The REAL Kathy Lee is an honest podcast for REAL moms.  Kathy H. Lee Eggers shares the most important thing she has learned – grace is a beautiful thing.    The Real Kathy Lee is about getting REAL – talk about real life… real motherhood. Topics will include helicopter parenting, how to really connect with your children, how to find your joy in motherhood, why every mom needs an “all by herself” vacation, how to refrain from jumping in the car and just driving away, and why saying YES is the most powerful response to a young child’s requests.   Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage) and get ready to laugh, maybe cry, and hopefully be incredibly encouraged on this beautiful journey of motherhood.

Click Here to see more from The Real Kathy Lee on Kathy’s Podcast page.