Essential study skills memory

Essential Study Skills: Memory

Memory is like a muscle that is strengthened with use. Before we talk about how to develop it, let’s talk about goals.

Are your students studying only what is necessary to pass a test? Or are they studying to truly understand the material?

The destination determines the path….

Art possesses a worldview.

How to Introduce Your Children to Great Art and Music

Most of what I learned in public school K-12, I’ve forgotten. But much of what I learned while homeschooling my children has literally transformed my thinking.

Isn’t it cool how homeschooling gives us another opportunity to be educated?

Phonics or Sight Words

Phonics or Sight Words?

When the time came to teach my two young sons how to read, my homeschool mentor/dear friend Beth recommended I keep things simple….

3 Tips for Storytime

3 Tips for Storytime

Cuddling together on the couch… exploring new worlds through the pages of story… learning significant character lessons through noble (or ignoble) characters….

Stories can connect us!

Make Music with Our Lives

Stress-free Homeschooling?

One writer compared stress to the tension on a stringed instrument: Too much tension, and the strings snap. But without tension, there is no music—only a dull, raspy sound.

Is there a way we can use stress to “make music” with our lives rather than become so overwhelmed by it that we “snap”?

Are you equipped to educate your children

Are you equipped to educate your children?

What keeps you up nights? Do you find yourself fighting to overcome fear? Do you ever lie awake wondering whether you are equipped to educate your children?

Prone to Wander Devotion

A Homeschool Hymn Study Devotional

All that You require of me is to do my best. There is no shame in my honest shortcomings. If I fail, You will tenderly teach me through failure….

Boy Playing Guitar


Music has an amazing ability to influence our moods, which, in turn, can influence our actions. That’s powerful.

We would be wise to educate our children on the power of music…

5 mistakes parents and students make when planning for college


Do you know the five mistakes parents and students make when planning for college?
The words affordable, efficient, and effective aren’t typically associated with college. But they can be accurate descriptors of your student’s college experience.

Russell and Gary Quito cathedral



We hear it so often that it’s become cliché. But I suppose, if you don’t homeschool, there’s no way to know how many “social” opportunities are available to homeschoolers….

Russell poison fishing


As Russell explains in this video, his family typically spends their Sunday afternoons playing frisbee together or watching a movie. However, the Waodanis’ Sunday afternoon activities are a bit different from his.

Have you ever heard of poison fishing? If not, you’re about to hear Russell explain it….

eternity in their hearts

Eternity in Their Hearts

In the final hours of childbirth, before I pushed my firstborn out into the world, my pain intensified and I slipped into survival mode….

More than 36 hours of laboring had thoroughly exhausted me. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.

My doctor sat on a rolling stool at the foot of my bed. He tried to assist me during a “tsunami” contraction. As he lifted the lip of my cervix over my baby’s head, involuntarily, I shrieked and shoved him across the room.

All my energy spent, though I had hoped to give birth naturally, I surrendered to an epidural….


(This post may contain affiliate links.)

Surprisingly, 30 minutes after that horrifying needle slipped into my spine, I found myself joking with the medical staff, revived and ready to push.

Homeschooling is a little like giving birth.

Truth-be-told, I might not have survived the birth of my son without medical assistance.

Although I’m no expert on birthing babies, and I realize many have strong opinions on the subject, (every momma has a story to tell), it sure seems to me like the final years of homeschooling share a lot in common with childbirth.

I have homeschooled our two sons since the beginning, and now they are both in high school. As graduation day appears on the distant horizon and the weight of academic requirements, career planning, and college choices begin to intensify and my strength and endurance begins to wane, it is easy to slip into “survival mode.”

This is no time to shriek and shove, but it is a fine time to surrender—to The Great Physician.

Just as I needed my doctor to guide and assist me when I gave birth to my firstborn son, I need The Great Physician to guide and assist us through the final years of our homeschool journey.

Courage and Conviction Required

Our need for God becomes even more apparent when I hear stories of what my sons might encounter once they graduate.

In Worshipping the State, Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., tells a story about incoming college students who were forced to participate in an exercise intended to shame and punish those who held “politically incorrect” opinions.

All the students were required to stand along one wall if they supported social causes that included the right to gay marriage or abortion—and along another wall if they did not.

As you might guess, biblical values and those who stood for them were perceived to be “oppressive.”

Although there is more to this story, it is safe to say that this college has become a model that other colleges are beginning to emulate. (God help us.)

It gives us a glimpse into the type of challenges our children are likely to face as they leave the shelter of our homes.

This is not the future I envisioned for those sweet babies I once held in my arms.

If I did not have faith in Jesus, such stories could lead me to despair. However, Jesus warned us that in this world we will have trouble.

Thankfully, He followed that warning with incredibly good news…. (Wait for it.)

He has overcome this world! (John 16:33)

Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom.

Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It can help us resist the temptation to sin.

Thinking back to that college “exercise,” I’m reminded of another warning. Jesus said that if we are ashamed to be publicly identified with Him and His Words now, He will be ashamed of us when He returns in glory with His angels (Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26).

A sobering thought!

So how can I help equip my sons gain the conviction and courage to stand for truth?

Turning to the Book

Early in our homeschool journey, a number of Bible verses surfaced as the guiding principles for our homeschool.

Today, when I find myself slipping into a worldly mindset—focusing exclusively on temporal concerns and losing sight of the bigger picture—I revisit those Scriptures and regain a biblical perspective.

Consider these facts:

Our children may invest 4 years attending college, and perhaps 40 years working in one or more careers, but they will spend endless years in eternity.

Men Who Understand the Times

Forewarned is forearmed.

The first Scripture, 1 Chronicles 12:32, impressed upon me the need to raise “men who understand the times and know what to do.”

Our family places a high value on critical thinking.

Consequently, in addition to math and science, we study history, economics, philosophy, and apologetics.

(In fact, we created Philosophy Adventure, a curriculum that presents ancient Greek philosophy from a biblical worldview.)

We use resources that present each subject from a distinctly biblical worldview. And we take time to discuss controversial issues and how they are perceived by different worldviews.

Take every thought captive.

Thought precedes action.

The next Scripture impressed upon me the need for mental purity.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… (2 Corin. 10:5)

My sons, (like the rest of us), will experience trials and temptations. When they do, how they respond will depend greatly upon their thoughts.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil. 4:8)

In our home, we often discuss how nothing is hidden from God.

Before we even think—much less speak or act—God knows what’s on our minds (Ps. 139:2).

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. (Ps. 139:2)

Thankfully, by reading and reflecting upon His Word, we can fill our minds with God’s thoughts.

Always be prepared.

Use words.

Although our actions may communicate what we truly believe, we also need to communicate with words.

If my sons are serious about following Jesus, some of their choices will set them apart from the crowd. When that happens, people may ask why.

In 1 Peter 3:15, we’re told to be prepared to answer their questions with gentleness and respect.

Consequently, we have invested a great deal of time developing our communications skills. Speech and debate club and tournaments have been an excellent place to practice them.

Make the most of every opportunity.

Seize the day!

Ephesians 5:16 urges us to make the most of every opportunity for the days are evil.

Some days we seize; some days we stumble. We are grateful for God’s new mercies every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).

My sons know that one day they will stand before God to give an account of what they did with the talents He entrusted to them (Luke 19).

They know that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).

We all understand that we have been given quite a lot. I pray that this understanding continues to impact their work ethic and the choices they make throughout all the days of their lives.

Take aim.

I have heard it said that we begin dying the moment we are born.

Peering into the eyes of a newborn, that’s hard to believe.

It’s also hard to believe how quickly that newborn can become a young man.

Although my focus rightly shifts now to helping my sons prepare for college and plan their careers, it is essential we labor with eternity in mind.

All of this life is preparation for the next.

In the midst of the demands of homeschooling—and the demands and distractions of life—we must not lose sight of our ultimate goal.

As C. S. Lewis wisely observed in Mere Christianity:

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.

This article was originally published in the Annual Print Edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Copyright 2015, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC

Making the most of High School


If you are homeschooling high school in America, undoubtedly, your student will be studying American History. We’ve studied a lot of history in our house — ancient history, world history, the Renaissance and Reformation….

However, at the start of the 2016 school year, we had yet to complete a systematic study of all periods of American history. So, when selecting courses for dual enrollment, American History 1 and 2 were natural choices.

(If you’re just joining us now, you might not know that dual enrollment enables high school students to earn college credit for the courses they study.)

CollegePlus reimagined as Lumerit Scholar

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 7

In the midst of our CollegePlus studies, the program underwent a major transformation. Consequently, we decided to “interrupt our regularly scheduled programming” to explain this change.

College Plus Reimagined As Lumerit Scholar

What inspired the change?

We’ll start with a little history… …

teaching to the test

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — PART 6

One of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is the freedom to customize your child’s education.

Without formal testing, it is unreasonable to expect a teacher who is responsible for a large classroom of students to know with certainty whether those students are comprehending the material presented.

But in the intimacy of the homeschool environment, there are a variety of ways to make this assessment. …

A Study of Worldviews with Lumerit

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — PART 5

Do your children see the world through the lens of Scripture?

Everyone has a worldview. It is the “lens” through which we view everything around us. Most people blindly accept theirs from the culture in which they live. However, Christians are called to cultivate a biblical worldview. …

when boys become men


My homeschool mentor warned me, “One day, you may want to stop calling Roger and Ryan your boys and start calling them your sons.” I’m so grateful for her wise words.

When Boys Become Men

It happened so fast! Long days crawled past while years flew by. But today, there’s no doubt — my boys have become men.

(We marked the transition with a special gathering detailed in Celebrating Manhood — a rite of passage guide.) …

Plotting a course

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 3

Plotting a course for life after high school can be a daunting task. Although some people know from an early age exactly what they “want to be when they grow up,” that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Don't run from the mirror (why you need to teach)

Don’t Run from the Mirror — Why You Need to Teach!

You Will Be Faced With A Critical Choice

Is everything is going well in your homeschool now? Just wait. If your experience is anything like many of us, the day will come when you encounter difficulty and discouragement in your homeschool. When you do, you’ll be faced with a critical choice: run … or overcome.


Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 2

Have you ever had a wonderful opportunity derail your lesson plans?

Shortly after my two teenage sons, Roger Dean and Ryan, officially started Lumerit/CollegePlus, my husband announced that he was taking us on a week-long vacation to Texas to visit his 88-year-old father.

Learning at the speed of life

(This is part 2 in our series. If you missed our first post, you can find it here.)

In 2005, Granda Farrell had moved back to his home town, a thousand miles away from us. We missed him. (I miss him now.)

It had been far too long since our last visit. Although I was thrilled at the thought of seeing him again, I felt a bit of stress not knowing what impact this unexpected trip might have on our studies. …