Making Biblical Family Life Practical

Valentine’s Day on a Budget – MBFLP 288

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

Why Celebrate Anyway?

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

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

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

(resources follow … )

Some Resources You May Find Interesting

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

Our weekly email “LoveBirdSeeds”

Love poetry from the Bible

Surviving the Break with Your College Students – MBFLP 287

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

Parent Understanding

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


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

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

Changing Channels

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

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

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

We dig deeper into the questions in our blog post here

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

Tickets and showtimes here!

Kids and Chores – MBFLP 286

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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


Some Resources We Mentioned

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

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

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



Getting Schoolwork Done – MBFLP 285

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Part 2 on getting our kids to work – What about school work? That’s really the daily job for our children – whether it’s homeschool or any other educational system. What can we do to overcome their natural resistance to school, and how can we encourage good habits in the pursuit of knowledge? We’ve homeschooled our eight children from the beginning and we have some practical ideas that have really helped us along the way!

0:55 – How our motivation affects the kids’

2:29 – The risk and cost of missing the actual point of education

4:54 – Protecting the love of learning

6:19 – Distinguishing a struggling learner from a lazy learner

8:36 – Temporary learning struggles happen, too

10:29 – a word from our sponsor CTC Math

11:44 – The trap of mis-placed goals

13:20 – Practical ideas to get the work done

Helpful Resources

Materials to help struggling learners available on our website

Our book No Longer Little talks about the common learning struggles of pre-teens in early adolescence – and how to work through them


How Can I Get My Kids to Work? – MBFLP 284

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

It’s one of the most common questions we get – “How can I get my kids to work?” Surveys find that a large number of families don’t expect their kids to do chores – and many that do, have a running battle over getting them done cheerfully. This episode, we’re talking about a balanced, Biblical attitude toward our children’s work (as well as our own), and what we can do to encourage them in it!


“Sparing chores spoils children and their future selves, study says” – Ami Albernaz, Boston Globe (12/8/15)

“Is Quiet Quitting Real?” – Jim Harter, Gallup (9/6/22)

Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy

Scripture Referenced

Children playing in the New Jerusalem – Zechariah 8:5
It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth – Lamentations 3:27
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord ... – Colossians 3:22-23
In all labor there is profit … – Proverbs 14:23
Do all things without complaining and disputing – Philippians 2:14

Things We Learned When Times Were Tight – MBFLP 283

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

A lot of families are struggling during this economic downturn. It’s not the first time we’ve been through it, either. How do we respond in a positive, faith-directed manner to the undeniable challenges of the day? What can we learn and what can we teach our kids as we make our way through?




Homeschooling a Bunch of Levels at Once – MBFLP 282

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

There are a lot of new homeschoolers this year, and many families may be wondering, “How will we ever manage to teach two, or three, or six grade levels at the same time?” It’s possible – Melanie has taught six students with a toddler underfoot, more than once! But there are some tricks to the trade that make it workable. This episode we talk about changes in expectations and choices of curriculum that make the difference when you have more than one grade to teach!

Homeschooling looks different than institutional schools – for a reason

You have to recognize that classroom schools are set up and operated a certain way for efficiency with groups. If you’re homeschooling, you don’t have to manage twenty-five 5th graders – you have several different grades, with one student in each one. Have we ever heard of this?

Of course – the one-room schoolhouse. For an example, read about Laura Ingalls’ school in Little Town on the Prairie – it’s a great description of how she managed a room with beginning readers and high school students at the same time. That’s not unlike a large homeschooling family!

Curriculum choices will be different, as well as the way we use them, compared to classroom schools. The whole endeavor needs a fresh look at what we plan to accomplish and how that should look – but you’ll be glad you made the effort!

We homeschooled eight children and have graduated six so far – two still at home! And there have been times when we had a high school senior, a sophomore, two middle-schoolers, two elementary students – and one “pre-K”. And you know, all six of our graduates have gone on to college with academic scholarships, which tells you this can work. This episode may give you the hope and encouragement you need to press on with this challenging adventure. 


Homeschooling When YOU Have a Chronic Illness – MBFLP 281

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

It’s one thing when you’re homeschooling a child with a chronic illness – sometimes that’s the only way they’ll get an education! But what if Mom’s the one who’s struggling? What if you’re a parent with health issues, but you’re convinced that homeschooling is the best for your kids? How can you manage your days, your illness, and your expectations? We’ve had to deal with this ourselves, and it CAN be done – let’s talk about it!

Bonus Story

We didn’t get to this in the program, but there’s an interesting and encouraging story about long-term illness and doing good things in the midst of it. Susannah Spurgeon was the wife of the legendary British preacher Charles H. Spurgeon. She often helped him proofread and correct his published sermons and book manuscripts, and when she developed a debilitating condition that often confined her to bed, she was still able to do that. When she proofread his book Lectures to My Students, Susannah remarked that it should be in the hands of every minister in England; shortly afterward, she became the manager of the church’s new book fund. Over the last 28 years of her life, she shipped out over two hundred thousand theological books to needy pastors – all while dealing with a life-restricting illness.

Read more here!

Melanie says that her months – many months – on bed rest gave her opportunities to teach our children life skills as well as academic material, simply because many of the household tasks were off limits to her. It really became a matter of looking for what she could do, rather than give in to the legitimate frustrations of what she couldn’t.


Things We Referenced

Genesis 50:20 – “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good … ”

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.



Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Homeschooling a Child with a Chronic Illness – MBFLP 280

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


Everybody goes through seasons of illness – summer colds, seasonal flu, an occasional injury – and most of the time, we can take a few days off to get over them. But what if your student has a condition that doesn’t get better with a week in bed? How can you homeschool a child who has an illness that has to be managed day by day, hour by hour? Is it even possible?

We have to say YES – we’ve homeschooled kids through all sorts of long-term or chronic illnesses. It doesn’t look like other families’ home schools, maybe, but it’s our home school and we’ve been pleased with the results. So let’s talk about some realities of homeschooling a child with a chronic illness!

Things We Referenced

2 Corinthians 1:3-4Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

David McCollough, Mornings on Horseback
This is a detailed look at the childhood and home life of the young (and very asthmatic) Theodore Roosevelt. It’s interesting to see how little “Thee’s” illness and his refusal to let it hold him back led to his vigorous “Rough Rider” and “Bull Moose” years of adulthood. Like all of McCollough’s books, Hal highly recommends it!

NEXT: Homeschooling When YOU Have a Chronic Illness



Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Teaching Character with Stories – Talking with Rick Boyer – MBFLP 279

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Stories are powerful tools to teach and illustrate character – think of Jesus’ parables! We can use stories the same way. This episode we’re talking with Rick Boyer, father of a large family, about how he’s used narratives to teach his own children, and now reaches out to thousands with audiobooks and commentary. Plus we’ll talk about some resources we offer as well!

Things We Referenced

Two audiobooks of your choice every month plus new member video section and weekly story podcast
Spring Promo (through May 31) – American History bundle of 22 e-books included in the subscription purchase

We’re speaking at the 2022 Florida Homeschool Convention!

This week we’ll be traveling to the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando for one of the biggest homeschool events in the country! We’ll be speaking on raising boys, parenting middle schoolers, homeschooling more effectively with less stress, and providing what your special learners need – whether they’re struggling or gifted. Plus we’ll be talking with support group leaders in the Leaders Forum on Thursday. If you’re coming to Orlando, we’d love to meet you – stop by our booth (number 911) and let us know you’re a podcast listener.

CLICK HERE for more information! 

(If you know you’re going, click here to get our detailed schedule)