The Homeschool Solutions Show with Pam Barnhill

By Pam Barnhill

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The best homeschool content on the web streaming straight to your earbuds every Friday. Includes blog posts from Pam Barnhill, Sarah Mackenzie, Brandy Vencel, Mystie Winckler and more.

Episode Date
HS 120: 5 Ways to Build Your Homeschooling Confidence by Kelly George

It’s no good looking all calm and serene in the face of criticism if you then go home and collapse into a snivelling heap, all confidence destroyed, convinced you’re setting your children up for a lifetime of failure.

Here’s how to build your homeschooling confidence so criticism enters one ear and sails straight out the other, never thought of again.

Except for a giggle with your homeschooling friends about the ridiculous things people say to you, of course.

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Aug 08, 2018
HS 119: How to Help Your Kids Memorize Anything by Pam Barnhill

Memory work is a big part of what we do around here. And while for some people, memory work would suggest feelings of drudgery and drill and kill, the reality couldn’t be farther from that. We love our memory work and have fun with it.

The kids get great satisfaction in learning a new poem or a series of math facts. These “hooks” become saved in their brain to be excitedly called forth during the liturgy at church, at a science museum or demonstration, or during story time at the library.

We memorize because of those feelings of satisfaction and to create those hooks of information.

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Aug 03, 2018
HS 118: Will You Send Them to High School? And Other Homeschool Questions I’m Asked by Emily Copeland

I’ve found myself listening to opinions about home education, advocating it, and answering homeschool questions in some of the most unexpected places and times since we began homeschooling in 2009.

From family and friends to acquaintances to complete strangers, people have plenty of concerns and questions about homeschooling.  Some of those questions come so frequently that it feels like deja vu and some come so frequently that I’ve developed canned answers.  Shameful, I know!  

Here are my 5 most-asked homeschool questions and how I answer them.

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Jul 27, 2018
HS 117: How to Teach Multiple Grade Levels in Math Without Losing Your Mind by Kate Snow

Struggling to squeeze all of your children’s math lessons into your homeschool day? Here’s 6 ways to streamline your math teaching so that you can fit multiple grade levels into your schedule!

I recently received an email from Tiffany, who was debating whether to continue using Singapore Math. Along with some other issues, she wrote: “I’m finding it difficult to fit 3 separate Singapore math lessons in each day.”

Whether you use Singapore Math or not, and whether you have two, three, or five kids (or more!), I bet you’re nodding your head in agreement. Math eats up a lot of time in homeschool schedules.

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Jul 20, 2018
HS 116: How to Make your Homeschool Plan Not Feel Like a Big Guess by Pam Barnhill

Laura wanted to do this homeschool thing just right. She had struggled in the past, but this year was going to be different. Her homeschool planning was going to be perfect. So she started by buying a fresh, new homeschool planner.

You know the kind. It had months of lesson plan grids that started in August and went all the way through the following summer.

Laura began the year feeling compelled to write things in every box. Successful homeschoolers have a plan, and she wanted to be a successful homeschooler.

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Jul 13, 2018
HS 115: Don't Fail Your Kids: 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before They Graduate by Dachelle McVey

The oldest just graduated from high school. For the last year, while preparing for him to leave the nest and live on his own, my husband and I began to realize we may have failed him when it came to essential life skills he needed to survive. We spent 17 years educating him, providing for him, making sure he was well-rounded and knew how to play most sports. But, we failed him on some of the simplest of tasks that we took for granted.  Don’t fail your kids like we almost failed our son! Here are 10 life skills for teens who will soon have to navigate the world without their parents.

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Jul 06, 2018
HS 114: Textbook-Free History by Amy Sloan

History has been one of my favorite subjects since childhood.  Some of my best memories involve family read-alouds, historic road trips, and abundant field trips.  One summer our vacation involved traveling for 2 weeks to various Civil War battlefields, stopping at every single historic marker along the way.  When we got to one museum it had already closed for the night, so my mom knocked on the door until the caretaker came.  Mom being Mom, she got us in for an after-hours tour.

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Jun 29, 2018
HS 113: The Issue is not the Issue by Lynna Sutherland

When Matt and I were first married, one of our ongoing fights was about counter space.  Matt took a practical approach.  Anything you use on a regular basis should stay on the counter top.

In the bathroom, the toothpaste, deodorant, and shaving cream should be stored on the counter.  In the kitchen, the cutting board and toaster stay up top all the time. 

In my view, spaces should be clear and free of clutter, save the cute color-coordinated themed containers we registered for and received as wedding gifts! 

It may have seemed that we were fighting about counter space.  But we later came to realize, as many wiser people before us have put it, that "the issue is not the issue".

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Jun 22, 2018
HS 112: How Three Lists Can Save Your Homeschool… And Your Sanity by Pam Barnhill

I got an email this morning that almost made me break out into hives.

It was from a popular homeschool planning company that was touting their ready-made homeschool plans. Now having done this homeschool mentor thing for a number of years I know that people really want plans that are already made — after all we sell ready-made Morning Time plans for just those folks (and I use them myself!!).

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Jun 15, 2018
HS 111: How a Homeschool Mom Can Worry Less and Do More

Most days I feel like my brain is a sieve. Can anyone else relate? It is full, absolutely full to the brim, and I am hustling like crazy to plug all the little holes and keep everything from running out of it.

Remember to pay the bills.

Remember to make the dental appointment (I have a referral for my son to get a tooth pulled. It is dated 2-5-18 and that appointment is still not made.)

Remember to give the dogs their heartworm medication.

Switch the laundry before it sours. Stir the chili before it burns. Read to the kids before they grow up and leave forever. *sniff*

So when I say that I take the time to sit and plan my out my homeschool year (yes, the entire year) in the summer, I am not saying that to brag or show my superior organizing skills.

Yes, I admit to being a checklist mom, but honestly, I do this because it is the only thing that saves my sanity during the school year.

Without a plan, school would simply not get done. And that’s not a good thing when homeschooling is how you educate your children.

Read more or find links:

Jun 08, 2018
HS 110: It’s Time for the Checklist Homeschool Moms to Stop Apologizing by Pam Barnhill

My kids piled out of the mini-van and chatted happily, heading in the door of the donut shop. It was hot — almost 100 degrees on this mid-July day. But it was the first day of school and that means donuts.

This was not some spontaneous decision made in the moment, but instead, a planned (and beloved) tradition that makes the first day of school something we anticipate instead of dread.

We always start school on a Wednesday. We always start with just a handful of subjects. We always start with a tidy school room. And we always get donuts. Why? Because we like it that way and also because mom is a checklist mom.

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Jun 01, 2018
HS 109: Four Keys to a Homeschool Plan That Will Actually Work by Pam Barnhill

Last week I told you all about Laura and how her homeschool plan actually created more stress in her life than it did peace.

It happens. A lot.

This week I am back, as promised, to give you four important keys you can use to create a plan that doesn’t feel like a guess, but instead, a tool to help you homeschool strong for the entire year. This is how to get it done.

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May 25, 2018
HS 108: Five Steps to a Fabulous Summer Plan by Pam Barnhill

Ah summer. Swimming pools, ice cream, and hours free to get bored do what you want. I loved summer because our days are more relaxed. I love a break from the structured school time and the feeling of needing to get a litany of school work accomplished each day.

But if I am not careful our summers turn into a marathon of cartoons, video games, and YouTube (Does anyone else’s kids like to look up their current passion on YouTube and watch all the videos?)

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May 18, 2018
HS 107: Why I Homeschool 4 Days a Week: No More Stressed Out "Friday Mom" by Deana Wood

Not all Fridays are great. Sometimes they bring out Friday Mom. You know the kind of Fridays I mean. They should be fun. But they turn into stress.

For example, on a recent Friday morning, we had one hour before we had to leave home for a field trip. Of course, you know what happened—chaos.

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May 11, 2018
HS 106: Because Doing All the Things Won't Work by Mary Wilson

Laundry sits in piles upstairs. There are two loads waiting to be folded and two are sitting in the washer and dryer. Campfire scented top sheets are tossed haphazardly on the floor so I don’t forget to wash them next.

None of these piles include my own laundry which is overflowing in a basket down the hall. I have only tackled the towels and the boys’ clothing so far and I can’t seem to even finish that task.

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May 04, 2018
HS 105: I'm the Homeschool Mom Without An Education Degree by Emily Copeland

Isn’t it interesting that a homeschool parent’s qualifications or lack thereof can cause objections to homeschooling? For whatever reason, there’s this notion that only those with a background in education are truly capable of teaching and training children and teenagers.

Here’s the thing, I am that homeschool mom without an education degree. I am that parent in question and I want to shout it loud that it can be done and done well.

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Apr 27, 2018
HS 104: 8 Ways to Make Math More Fun by Kate Snow

I always feel pulled in two different directions in February.

One on hand, the Fun Mom in me wants to live large. She wants to shake up the daily routine, toss out the boring old schoolbooks, and spend February setting the kids’ enthusiasm afire with fascinating hands-on projects from Pinterest.

But on the other hand, the Responsible Mom in me would really like to get the math book done by the end of May. (And she’s not so sure she can pull off that watermelon clipper ship.)

Fortunately, you can be the Fun Mom and still make progress in the math book with these eight ways to shake up your math routine.

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Apr 20, 2018
HS 103: Ten Big Fat Homeschool Fears (& How to Conquer Them) from Bookshark

Ask any veteran homeschool mom whose kids have already graduated from high school, and she will reassure you:

  • She had the same fears you have now.
  • She realizes now how pointless most of those fears were.

What a difference 10-15 years of hindsight makes! But you don't have to wait that long. Let's look right now at ten of the biggest and most common homeschool fears so you can face—and more importantly, conquer—them.

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Apr 13, 2018
HS 102: Why Self-Editing is Hard for Kids … and How to Make It Easier! by Kim Kautzer

I hear it all the time.

We’re having self-editing issues. For some reason, my children believe they are perfect writers! They can never find any spelling or grammar mistakes.

Surprise, surprise! Most children simply don’t get the whole editing thing. They like what they wrote and can’t understand why you want them to—gasp!—look for ways to improve it.

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Apr 06, 2018
HS 101: How To Improve Bad Attitudes in Your Homeschool by Cindy West

Do you ever have bad attitudes in your homeschool? I love homeschooling and my children usually do, too. But, sometimes the homeschooling attitudes in our house just stink.

Have you ever wanted to wring the necks of grumpy kids who whine about every single task set before them. Or dole out about a hundred chores every time you run up against obstinate behavior?  Me, too.

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Mar 30, 2018
HS 100: How to Enjoy Homeschooling… (Just Because We Can!) by Sarah Mackenzie

In my earliest days of homeschooling, I had ideas about what our homeschool would actually look like.

You know what I mean… right?

And then we actually started homeschooling. And it just never looked quite like that initial vision.

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Mar 23, 2018
HS 099: Six Homeschool Morning Time Myths and Why They Are Just Not True by Pam Barnhill

About five years ago the days in our homeschool were simply learning math facts, phonics, and letter formation. Yawn.

Sure we read a picture book or two, but I had a two-year-old who sapped all the energy I used to have for putting together elaborate unit studies. In addition my kids had informed me in no uncertain terms that they wanted nothing to do with making another lapbook

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Mar 15, 2018
HS 098: Our Morning Meeting: 6 Steps to a Low Stress Homeschool by Dachelle McVey

I am not a morning person. My kids are not morning people. Unfortunately, my husband IS a morning person. This became very apparent when we all went on a week-long homeschool field trip. My husband would wake early, run to the gym, and return to the hotel very chipper — and talkative (ugg!).

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Mar 09, 2018
HS 097: How to Make the Most of Your Homeschool Convention

Long before I was asked to speak at the Great Homeschool Conventions I was an attendee.

In fact, convention time each year made me rather giddy. I almost always went with friends. We would make a road trip and a weekend of it.

I would plot my speaker schedule like a general manages an attack, walk every single aisle of the vendor hall just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and I still have my rolling cart which held everything from water bottles to emergency snacks. And I just learned so much and felt renewed and refreshed every single year.

This year I imagine my experience at the convention will be much more, um, nerve-wracking to say the least, but I cannot wait to meet all of you there.

In order to make the most of your convention experience I have made a little Plan Your Year Convention Planning Pack that you can get here for FREE. It contains the forms you need to plan your best convention experience.

Read more and find the free handouts at

Mar 02, 2018
HS 096: The Homeschooling Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making by Pam Barnhill

When my daughter was two years old she had the cutest habit of picking up her toy cell phone, holding it to her ear, and making a noise somewhere between a growl and disgusted sigh. “Look,” we would laugh. “Where did she learn that?”

Until one day I was driving down a stretch of rural highway we often traveled and my phone dropped a call yet again. The noise of disgust was barely out of my mouth when I realized exactly where Olivia picked up that little habit. Whoops.

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Feb 23, 2018
HS 095: Sometimes It’s Easier To Do School Than Not To Do School by Pam Barnhill

“Everyone was up late and needs just a quiet day.”

“We’ve been working so hard, a day off is just what we need. “

“We missed lessons yesterday, I’m not motivated today."

Do any of these sound familiar to you? They used to be all-too-familiar to me. Not only that, some of them are still tempting from time to time.

But now I know a truth: schooling consistency breeds consistency.

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Feb 16, 2018
HS 094: Three Ways You Might be Sabotaging Your Homeschool by Pam Barnhill

The morning light was thin, blue, and cold. It was cozy under my blanket though as I sipped my coffee. I had an edifying book in my lap — who am I kidding — I was scrolling Facebook on my phone.

One kid was asleep, two were upstairs watching “educational” cartoons, and frankly, I was in no hurry to start my school day.

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Feb 09, 2018
HS 093: It's Not that Hard to Homeschool High School by Ann Karako

I have been a somewhat lonely homeschooler for the past several years. It began when we chose to homeschool high school — and most of our homeschooling friends did not. True story: out of the 20-30 families we knew who homeschooled back when our children were in the early elementary grades, I can think of only a handful of them that continued homeschooling through the high school years.

I confess that this bothers me.


Feb 02, 2018
HS 092: Purposeful Homeschooling: Keeping Your Vision in Mind by Sara Jordan

There’s a common adage that says if you lose your why, you lose your way. In other words, if you forget why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’re not going to get very far. You’ll be easily sidetracked by distractions, discouragement, and disappointments. If you don’t have a firm grasp on your reason for following your chosen path, you can get derailed. This is part of why I believe in purposeful living, which includes purposeful homeschooling.


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Jan 26, 2018
HS 091: 25 Ways to Rule Your Homeschool by Katrina Oldham

Being a mom is tough work. Being a homeschool mom is crazy tough work! Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned homeschool mom, these 25 practical tips and words of encouragement will keep you trekking along in your homeschooling journey with your chin up!

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Jan 19, 2018
HS 090: What to Say (and what NOT to say) When You Meet a Homeschool Mom by Ashley Fox

Did you recently meet a homeschooler for the first time? Did a friend or family member just shock you by announcing they will be homeschooling their children? Are you concerned but don’t know just what to say?

Look, I get it. When we decided to homeschool I knew exactly one homeschool family. It’s different. It’s weird. You don’t quite understand it. I mean, why would anyone want to do this? It seems so… hard.

But what do you say?

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Jan 12, 2018
HS 089: Morning Time for All Ages by Pam Barnhill

I think my family has entered the golden age of Morning Time. My three kids range in age from 6 to 10. We have no toddlers to disrupt us (though don’t be fooled in thinking things are too quiet) and we have no teens who need to rush away to complete a list of requirements to earn credits.

It is just us, together, learning to love beauty.

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Jan 05, 2018
HS 088: When Making it From Scratch Isn't Good Enough by Pam Barnhill

Somehow over the years I have become the pie cook for our family holiday gatherings.
I would like to think it is because I make the best pies. More likely it is because my mom thinks there are always other deserts around if I happen to ruin the pies. If I ruined the cornbread dressing? Well that's another story, isn't it?
My secret to perfect pie crust? I buy it from the little doughboy in the freezer section -- two frozen 9" deep dish at a time.
What I have come to learn from years of making pies is that scratch is not always better.

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Dec 29, 2017
HS 087: The Best Teacher by Mystie Winckler

Repetitio mater memoriae.

This Latin motto, which apparently is used within the Latin classroom primarily and not embraced as a defining motto like the others so far, means Repetition is the mother of memory. This is supposed to spur you on to chant those declensions, but I think the truth contained therein should spur us on in much more than language acquisition.

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Dec 22, 2017
HS 86: Love the Year You're With

Out of control. Disorganized. Fly by the seat of my pants. Does the start of the school year always feel this way?

I don’t think it does. I am pretty sure that our past school years have followed the plan a bit more closely. But I can’t be sure.

What I am sure of is that the kick-off for this 2016 school year was far from a touchdown. It feels more like life intercepted the ball and ran the other way with it and I am watching the ball leave my side of the field without a plan to get it back.

Read or listen to the rest at

Dec 15, 2017
HS 085: The Blessings of Holiday Traditions for Preschoolers by Pam Barnhill

As the holidays descend upon us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the tasks that fill your to-do lists each day.

You might question whether it’s all worth it in the end, but rest assured that the extra work surrounding this time of year really does pay off, since these traditions have an extremely positive impact on a preschooler’s life.

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Dec 08, 2017
084: Host a Christmas Picture Book Cookie Exchange

Recently we had a great time by having friends over for our very first picture book Christmas cookie exchange. We had a few good friends over on a balmy December afternoon to share some of our favorite picture books and picture-book inspired cookies.

This party was so easy to plan and hold. All we did was invite a few friends over and ask them to bring their favorite Christmas picture book, plus a treat inspired by that book. That was it.

We didn’t need any other food, drink, and with it being Christmas the decorations took care of themselves.

Read or listen to the rest here:

Dec 01, 2017
HS 083: Motivate Your Kids by Teaching Them to Have a Growth Mindset by Marianne Sunderland

If you’ve been around the Homeschooling With Dyslexia web site or Facebook page for long, you know how I love to learn about learning. Since I learn completely differently than 7 of the 8 kids that I homeschool, you could say it is a bit of a necessity. Good thing I have learned to enjoy it!

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Nov 24, 2017
HS 082: 10 Reasons I'm Thankful for Homeschooling by Cindy West

With each new school year that rolls around, I always seem find a renewed energy and vision for homeschooling. Rather than wait until Thanksgiving or when the blahs of winter kick in (when it seems to make sense to write a post about why I’m thankful for homeschooling), I thought I’d harness this joyful beginning-of-the-school-year energy to list all those reasons now.

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Nov 17, 2017
HS 081: How to Homeschool Preschool and Love It

Homeschooling preschool doesn't have to be complicated. It took me at least one child to figure that out, but once I did we enjoyed our preschool days so much more. Have a listen!

Nov 10, 2017
HS 080: Opportunities My Teens Are Missing Because We Homeschool High School by John Karako

I will freely admit that our children have missed out on some things because we homeschool high school. There is no doubt that there are experiences that the public school provides that we just cannot replicate in our home. Some people even quit homeschooling at this level, because they don’t want their children to miss out on anything.

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Nov 03, 2017
HS 079: How Moms Benefit from Reading Aloud

Let’s say you are convinced that reading aloud to your children is the best thing you can do for them. You line up your reading selections, you plan your morning time, you are prepared to overcome the obstacles of wiggly bodies and wandering minds. You say that this is exactly the boost your homeschool needs.

The first day comes, and you eagerly dive in. But then you find yourself stumbling over the words. You run into words you can’t even pronounce, let alone understand. After a short time, your voice becomes strained and tired. Hmm… this isn’t as much fun as you thought it would be. Maybe it just won’t work for you.

Read the rest or listen at

Oct 27, 2017
HS 078: How to Have a Successful Morning Time from the Very First Day by Pam Barnhill

When my family started doing Morning Time my kids were little and it wasn’t quite the homeschool buzz word it is now. There was very little Morning Time pressure in those days — we just liked learning together.

Now, it seems that everywhere you turn people are talking about all the riches they are doing in Morning Time. Which is great — except when it starts to stress people out.

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Oct 20, 2017
HS 077: How to Find Your Homeschooling Joy Again by Jessica Smartt

I’m about to tell you my dirty secret. I’ve kept swallowing this one back down for the past year. Sometimes (more often than not?) I don’t enjoy homeschooling.

There. It’s out.

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Oct 13, 2017
HS 076: 6 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome the Fear of Failure by Alexandra Eidens

As a teacher, I’ve noticed one factor that consistently holds students back in the classroom: fear of failure. When my students are afraid to fail, they typically respond to challenges in one of two ways.

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Oct 06, 2017
HS 075: How Technology Can Enhance Your Morning Time by Pam Barnhill

It almost seems incongruous. Morning Time, the bastion of great literature, beautiful music, truth, goodness, beauty… and high-tech gadgets?

But, oh mama, it is true. There are ways moving into the 21st century can enhance the Morning Time habit you are building in your family. Here are three ways some easy Amazon purchases can make your Morning Time better.

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Sep 29, 2017
HS 074: 8 Ways to Hold Your Independent Learners Accountable

As homeschoolers, we all know the value of teaching our kids how to become independent learners. We work hard to pass the mantle of teacher from ourselves to our students. And we thrill as we see them picking up this mantle and running with it.

They are checking items off their lists, reading books, doing research, and filling their minds with lots of amazing information about science, history, geography, and more. Or are they?

What if your independent learners aren’t learning at all? What if they’re breezing through their work in order to get to free time? What if they’re skimming through the books? What if they’re killing time and not really learning what they say they are?

Listen or read the rest at

Sep 22, 2017
HS 073: Secrets about Schedules by Mystie Winckler

Does the word schedule make you break out in hives? Do you picture yourself harried and deflated at the end of a day on a schedule? Maybe for you, like me, that’s a vivid memory, not a theoretical picture.

There’s a lot of visceral reaction against schedules in the homeschool world, and I totally get why. I mean, can I schedule diaper blowouts and my doorbell ringing and the toddler pulling an open bag of powdered sugar onto herself? Where does that go in the schedule?

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Sep 15, 2017
HS 072: Your Biggest Read Aloud Mistake by Pam Barnhill

When she was six, my daughter told me she didn’t want to learn to read because then I might stop reading to her. Nothing could be further from the truth, but then six-year-olds aren’t known for their logic, are they?

Lucky for her it wasn’t too long after that I stumbled upon Andrew Pudewa’s talk, Nurturing Competent Communicators.

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Sep 08, 2017
HS 071: Innovative Homeschooling: Let's Talk Literature by Mary Wilson

Homeschooling parents love literature lists. love. love. love.

Quality literature is an important part of our homeschools. Historical fiction. Classics. Biographies. Non-fiction. The list goes on. and on. and on. Till we finally narrow down the titles we will attack for the school year.

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Sep 01, 2017
HS 070: To the Homeschool Mom with the Middle Schooler by Tonia Lyons

Homeschooling a middle school kid? We are and, I'll be honest, it's been a bit of a roller coaster. This letter I'm writing is really to myself - reminding me that these years are just as precious and probably even more important than our early homeschooling years.

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Aug 25, 2017
HS 069: Dear Self: Why You Stink at Homeschool Consistency by Pam Barnhill

Dear Self,

I am here today with some tough love.

Because I do love you, and I know this homeschooling your kids thing is important to you. And yet, you struggle with homeschooling consistently.


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Aug 18, 2017
HS 068: Why I Need A Scheduled Routine by Dawn Garrett

There’s this false dichotomy that pops up in the homeschool world. “You shouldn’t have a schedule, you should have a routine.” It sounds all well and good, a wonderful idea for folks who have an established routine or are not easily distracted.

Not so for many of us. Not so for me.

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Aug 10, 2017
HS 067: Homeschooling, Seriously

* Contains Christian content “My child will never have a job where he needs to know algebra. We’re just teaching consumer math and being done with it.” “I know God isn’t preparing my child for college, so I don’t plan to worry too much about high school requirements.” “As long as my kids know the Lord, the rest of it doesn’t really matter.” “Neither my high school children or I are interested in history. I think we’re just going to do a quick lapbook (*written for elementary students) and count it as a credit.” “My kids give me so much grief about science that I’ve decided to stop teaching it for now. It’s just too hard to fight them.” “I know I need to get more serious about school, but ball practice two mornings a week, ball games at least one or two nights a week and co-op classes on Monday afternoons are really messing up my schedule. We’re trying to fit school in, but we’re so behind.” “God will fill in the gaps.” Above are actual comments I have heard within the last four months. They concern me. Read the rest here:

Aug 04, 2017
HS 066: My Mama Won't Talk Funny: Exciting Read-Alouds Without Character Voices by Pam Barnhill

I know there are some moms out there whose character voices during read-aloud time rival the work of Oscar-winning actors.

I am not one of those moms.

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Jul 28, 2017
HS 065: 5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Preschool Math into Your Day by Lisa Healy

It seems like everyone you meet is obsessed with STEM or STEAM-focused activities nowadays. Should you worry about this with your preschooler?

There is certainly no need to jump right into formal schooling with a little one, but it never hurts to start incorporating mathematical learning into your everyday fun.

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Jul 21, 2017
HS 064: Could it be Dyslexia? Signs of Dyslexia by Marianne Sunderland

If you are like I was when we had our first struggling reader some 17 years ago, and know nothing about the phenomenon called dyslexia, you may be wondering, as I did, how to know if someone you know is dyslexic or not.

It is no great mystery. There are quite a few signs of dyslexia that are easy to observe.

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Jul 14, 2017
HS 063: How to Create a Flexible Homeschool Plan by Pam Barnhill

I have never been very flexible — physically or otherwise.

I have always envied those people able to do splits (never done one) or be laissez faire about missing deadlines (never missed one in my yearbook adviser days).

Then I became a homeschool mom.

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Jul 07, 2017
HS 062: Why Your Homeschool Schedule Isn't Working (And Two Simple Ways to Fix It) by Tonia Lyons

Homeschooling is hard work. Juggling the daily homeschool schedule with managing the kids, the daily chores, the meal planning, and a few minutes for yourself (most likely hiding in the bathroom with a piece of chocolate) doesn’t leave much time for other pursuits. Part of the problem?

Your homeschool schedule.

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Jun 26, 2017
HS 061: 5 Ways Our Sons Will Be Different If We Homeschool Them by Michelle Caskey

I recently heard from a mom who was concerned that if she homeschooled her son, she would be judged by other parents for it and that her son would likely be labeled as quirky. I hated to break it to her… but she was right. Even though homeschooling is on the rise across the country, it is still not the cultural norm. If we homeschool our sons they WILL be different than if we send them to school.

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Jun 23, 2017
HS 060: The Hack That Will Simplify Your Homeschool For Good by Pam Barnhill

Chaos is not my thing. Not that anyone really likes it, but some most folks roll with the punches better than I do.

The kids are yelling. The dog is tracking mud through the kitchen while he yips incessantly at said children. A pot is boiling over on the stove.

And in the midst of this I am supposed to be teaching reading, or math, or the kings and queens of England. I struggle.

Oh, I really do. You too?

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Jun 16, 2017
HS 059: Balance + Homeschooling: How We (Try To) Do It by Alicia Hutchinson

“I don’t know how you do it. I know I never could.”

The common response when people ask where my kids go to school and I respond with “home.” To which I mutter something back about how it’s not as hard as you might think and we’ve never really known anything different…it’s just what we do.

But I get what they mean. When you’re peeking into somebody else’s life that is so very different than your own, our common response is, I have no idea how they do it.

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Jun 09, 2017
HS 058: Our Year Round Homeschool Summer Schedule by Dachelle McVey

Often the question comes up. Do you school year round or do you take a summer break? It’s a legitimate question that has different answers and reasons depending on who you ask. We school year round, but we don’t keep a regular schedule during the summer. We have a more relaxed Year Round Homeschool Summer Schedule.

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Jun 02, 2017
HS 057: Herding Cats: How to Read to Toddlers and Preschoolers Who Won’t Always Sit Still by Pam Barnhill

The other day, a friend asked me for help with a problem she’d been having in getting her toddler to sit still whenever she read to him.

She knows my daughter loves books as much as my husband and I do, and since I taught first and second graders to read during my years as an elementary school teacher, she figured I’d have a few helpful tips to pass along.

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May 26, 2017
HS 056: So You Think You Want to Homeschool by Dawn Garrett

When I found out about homeschooling, I was shocked.

Then I watched and thought and was intrigued.

Then I decided that it was what I wanted to do.

Then I fell in love with and married a man who was all for homeschooling our future family.

Then we had a baby (and two more).

I started to study. I read all kinds of books on homeschooling and educational philosophy. I spent hours and hours reading and participating on the Well-Trained Mind Forums. I read lots of blogs - well that wasn't new.

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May 19, 2017
HS 055: The Myth of Independence by Heather Woodie

Let’s talk about independence.

Some homeschoolers want more of it like it’s the Holy Grail of home education. Others counter with the criticism that homeschooling is not meant to be a solitary activity.

So, which is it?

Let’s explore some ideas in The Myth of Independence.

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May 12, 2017
HS 054: Ten Steps to the Perfect Homeschool Plan by Pam Barnhill

The perfect homeschool plan is not elusive. In fact it is easy to create the perfect plan for your family if you begin by considering the needs of your family, considering your limitations as a homeschool teacher, and avoiding common pitfalls.

Planning means following a series of prescribed steps that will ensure that you have a plan that is going to work.

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May 05, 2017
HS 053: Three Homeschooling Essentials You Can't Buy Online by Tonia Lyons

When someone asks about my favorite homeschooling resources, I give the usual list - white board, dry erase markers, lots of notebooks, and a library card. I could share that list of resources today but I think I'd rather take a look at a few different things that you'll need for homeschooling that you can't buy at WalMart or Amazon. These are my homeschooling essentials.


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Apr 28, 2017
HS 052: Helping the Perfectionist Child by Marianne Sunderland

Do you have a perfectionist child? One that is unsatisfied with pretty much anything they accomplish? Sometimes even when they’ve done a good job? It’s sad to watch our kids missing out on the joy of creating art or music, playing sports or other competitive activities that could bring them such a sense of accomplishment.

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Apr 21, 2017
HS 051: The Best Homeschool Lesson Planner Might Not Be What You Think by Pam Barnhill

Sometimes I tend to over-complicate things. Why do one math curriculum when you can do two? The best curriculum is the one with the most pieces, right? Since I’m a homeschool teacher I need a fancy lesson plan book, don’t I?

Not so fast there homeschool supermom. Before you get mired down in the idea of a complicated homeschool lesson planner, consider the purpose of teacher lesson plans.

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Apr 14, 2017
HS 050: Diligence is Key to the Well-Run Homeschool by Sara Dennis

When you were in school, did you ever play around all semester before attempting to cram all the information into your head the night before a test? I did! To be honest, it never worked.

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Apr 07, 2017
HS 049: Creating a Book Club for Kids by Mary Wilson

One topic I receive a lot of questions about is starting a book club for kids. And while a lot of information about my book clubs can be found on this blog and my YouTube channel, I thought I’d answer some of your most common questions.

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Mar 31, 2017
HS 048: Five Secrets of Great Library Trips With Kids by Pam Barnhill

We went through a long, dry spell where we did not go to the library at all. I had a two-year-old, four-year-old, and six-year-old and frankly it was just not enjoyable to do.

I couldn't look for books, the kids were distracted by everything shiny the library had to offer (everything that was NOT a book), they wanted to run down the stacks and NOT be quiet. It was a long, dry spell, and I suffered no small amount of guilt for it.

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Mar 24, 2017
HS 047: Three Ways to Incorporate Movement and Improve Focus by Crystal Wagner

There was a stack of books sitting next to me on the driveway. We had just finished reading Aesop’s Fables and I told the girls to go play for ten minutes. I set the timer and got up to stretch as well.

This was the routine for most of our school days for the first three years of our homeschooling. We completed two lessons (a reading and an activity), then took a 10-minute break for them to run and play. Even when my oldest was in third grade, we reverted back to this schedule on days she found it difficult to focus or if we took our lessons to the park.

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Mar 17, 2017
HS 046: 11 Tips for Raising Readers by Cindy West

Did you know March is National Reading Month? Because living books are so very good, every month is all about reading in our house! But in honor of this annual celebration of reading, I thought I’d take some time to share some of my best tips for raising readers.

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Mar 10, 2017
HS 045: How to Avoid These Six Homeschool Planning Pitfalls by Pam Barnhill

Three years ago my husband was deployed with the Alabama National Guard. Since we are a Guard family, we know that it can always happen, but this one took us a little by surprise. He was tagged to go with a unit that was not his own and therefore two years earlier than what we had expected.

It’s tough when you think you have two extra years to get your stuff together… and then suddenly you don’t. Can I get a hooah?

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Mar 03, 2017
HS 044 How to Bring Geography To Life for Your Middle Schooler by Pat Fenner

One of my kids’ favorite subjects over the years has been – hands down – geography. Although they are all avid readers, there’s something about the hands-on and multi-sensory approaches and applications to “real life” of this subject.

There are a myriad of ways to teach it, and an equal amount of fun, interesting and practical ways to apply it. I realize, however, that not all kids feel the same way. So if you have kiddos who may be asking “Why do we have to study geography?” or “How on earth (no pun intended!) will I be using geography when I grow up?”, here are some practical ways to teach the subject.

Actually, with some of these approaches, unless you tell them, they won’t even realize they are learning geography!

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Feb 24, 2017
HS 043: The Imperfect Homeschool by Colleen Kessler

Do you do what I do? Lament about your imperfect homeschool, while comparing yourself to others you know? Their homeschool looks perfect.

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Feb 17, 2017
HS 042: Beat the Yellow Bus Blues :: Combat Homeschooling Burnout by Pam Barnhill

Ahem. I know I can’t be the only mom who has ever said, “If you can’t learn this from mama, then you are just going to have to go to school to learn it.” Please tell me I am not. It’s possible I have even said it more than once. Homeschooling is tough. It’s not for wimps or sissies, but requires strong doses of prayer, faith, and Diet Coke. And February is the toughest month of all.

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Feb 10, 2017
HS 041: 6 Tips for Teaching Early Readers by Cindy West

Do you have a child who began reading well at three or four years old? A child who reads far above grade level? A child who soaks in more books in a year than you’ve read in your entire life? Do you wonder what to do with all that advanced ability?

Just how do you proceed with gifted early readers?? Here’s what I did.

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Feb 03, 2017
HS 040: The Hardest Parts of Homeschooling (That no one likes to talk about) by Alicia Hutchinson

I watched the other moms from the basketball team laugh about a joke I didn’t get. Something about the school counselor or someone who forgot to bring treats for the class party–again. It stings a little, being the outsider. We’re beings created to feel like we belong to a group of people.

I love homeschooling, I’m not saying I want to give that up just to get the joke, but it’s worth noting that there are things people don’t tell you when you start homeschooling–the hard stuff no one wants to mention.

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Jan 27, 2017
HS 039: Dealing with the Homeschool Meltdown by Pam Barnhill

I had one of those stellar mommy moments a few weeks ago. You know the ones, right? Where you are just not at your best and your frustrations (with yourself and them) only escalates your behavior into something you would rather soon forget.

Please tell me I am not the only one.

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Jan 20, 2017
HS 038: I'm Just So Glad He Didn't Sit on the Line

I am just so glad he didn’t sit on the line …

All those years ago — the pre-school teacher would hold me after class:

“Mrs. Anderson,” she’d say in a patient tone … (I was 29. I felt like I was the one in trouble.)

“He just doesn’t want to sit on the line during story time.”

During the drive home, my inner rebel would emerge.

What 3 year old does, really?

felt the questions bubble up.

Followed by the ideas.

And now I’m just so glad.

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Jan 13, 2017
HS 037: The Unique Power of a Homeschool Parent: Innovation

Innovator is my word for this homeschool year.

in·no·va·tor ˈinəˌvādər/ noun 1. a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products. I am an educational innovator. I am on the cutting edge of bringing education into the 21st century. I am in the practice of creating new methods, ideas, and maybe even products.

And I am not the only one.

The power of educational innovation rests in the hands of every homeschool parent on this planet.

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Jan 06, 2017
HS 036: Homeschool Resolutions You Can Keep by Pam Barnhill

It's the new year and if you are like most homeschool moms, then you are hashing out which New Year's resolutions you want to make.

And while we are deciding to lose another ten pounds and keep our bathroom cabinets organized, another area we might consider resolving about is our homeschools. Unfortunately, so many resolutions are often forgotten by mid-January, lost in an overwhelming sea of good intentions and high-expectations.

I know it has happened to me many times. I begin the year ready to start strong, with no fewer than fourteen new habits on Day 1, and then by January's end, I am exhausted and back where I started December 31.

In an effort to avoid resolution burn-out, here are some tips I am going to try this year to make those resolutions work for me.


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Dec 30, 2016
HS 035: What Homeschool Moms Really Want for Christmas by Pam Barnhill

It’s that time of year. Time to get ready for Christmas. Homeschool moms are making angel costumes, dusting off the Baby Jesus and setting up the nativity. We are hanging our stockings, stirring up some egg nog, and singing “Joy to the World.” And like everyone else, we are making our Christmas list too. I, myself, have been both a bit naughty and a bit nice this year — after

Homeschool moms are making angel costumes, dusting off the Baby Jesus and setting up the nativity. We are hanging our stockings, stirring up some egg nog, and singing “Joy to the World.” And like everyone else, we are making our Christmas list too. I, myself, have been both a bit naughty and a bit nice this year — after

We are hanging our stockings, stirring up some egg nog, and singing “Joy to the World.” And like everyone else, we are making our Christmas list too. I, myself, have been both a bit naughty and a bit nice this year — after

And like everyone else, we are making our Christmas list too. I, myself, have been both a bit naughty and a bit nice this year — after all I am a homeschool mom in need of grace. But I am making my list anyway with

But I am making my list anyway with hope that St. Nicholas will soon be here. Here are a few things that are on it. I’m thinking they might be on yours as well.

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Dec 23, 2016
HS 034: How to Homeschool Consistently by Mystie Winckler

Have you ever started off your day by watching a movie, turning on the television, mindlessly clicking around Facebook, or skimming your online news feed?

It happens.

Does it affect your mood? We’re fooling ourselves if we say it doesn’t.

I know I am tempted – and often give in to the temptation – of checking my email and “catching up” online first thing in the morning. Even if I get up before the kids and take a walk and read my Bible, if I then open up the laptop and lose myself online while the kids are getting up and having their breakfast, it does not help my mindset.

It does not help me get the day rolling. How we begin our days sets the tone for the whole day. What we put first communicates most to our kids and to ourselves, even unconsciously.

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Dec 16, 2016
HS 033 The Psychology of Homeschooling with a Toddler by Lynna Sutherland

Homeschooling. With a toddler. Need I say more? As homeschool families everywhere start back to school, there seems to be an echo across the Internet. “We had a great first day back, but the toddler …” The echoes are reverberating in my soul, and I haven’t even started back to school yet.

Over the summer, we’ve kept a very loose routine because, as I am sure you know, when you’re a mom, there is no such thing as a day “off”. If you don’t provide some form of structure, you end up spending mom energy on household and relationship disasters instead. So we’ve kept our Bible time and some independent math and Latin practice. And even this amount of schedule has just about stretched my big kids + preschoolers + toddler mama-ringmaster capacity.

If you search the Internet, you can find tons of fantastic posts about strategies for keeping toddlers busy while you homeschool. I really liked this one. And if your toddler is the kind who would just eat the busy bag, try this one. I’m not going to spend time on strategies for the toddlers. I want to talk about strategies for you.

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Dec 09, 2016
HS 032: Easy Tips for Poetry Tea Time by Pam Barnhill

We have been doing poetry tea parties since the kids were really little.

I stumbled on the concept from Charlotte Mason home educators like Julie Bogart and Elizabeth Foss well before my own kids were school-aged and fell in love with the ideas of pulling out the nice linens, finding a book of poems to read, and sharing time together over a treat in the afternoon.

I know from your emails that tea parties are something people find intimidating, but really they don’t have to be. Here are a few of the tips we use to make them doable and easy.

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Dec 02, 2016
HS 031: Homeschooling When the Kids Try to Throw You Overboard by Lara Molettiere

This week has been rough. Last week was off-kilter, too. We are in a season of change. Our homeschool is changing, our therapy schedules changed, and the boys are changing. And there’s been a coup. At least it feels that way.

“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Throw your teacher overboard . . . .”

Yep. That’ a pretty good summation of what our house/homeschool has felt like. Anyone else had that kind of day/week/season? Here are a few tips for homeschooling when your kids try to throw you overboard.

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Nov 25, 2016
HS 030: Fun vs Joy in Homeschooling by Pam Barnhill

I have totally given up on the idea that learning must be made fun for the student. It was an idea that ruled the first two years of our homeschooling and quite frankly, I'm a little bitter about it now.

I feel like in many ways I have short-changed my children and their abilities, because I did not throw the idea over long ago. Fortunately, childhood is forgiving and our recovery is going well.

The reality is, much of learning, especially in skills subjects like reading, writing, and math is just plain hard work.

I am a firm believer in making sure the work we do is developmentally appropriate even if it is not on the same timeline as the schools around us. I am also a proponent of giving a child the time they need to master something.

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Nov 18, 2016
HS 029: Are You Reacting to or Controlling the Atmosphere in Your Home by Crystal Wagner

Have you ever had one of these days… There are just some days you want to join the fussy crowd.

You wake up and are feeling confident about the day. Then you walk past your child’s room and say, “Good morning!” The response you receive is less than enthusiastic and you think, maybe she will cheer up before breakfast. She just needs to wake up. Then you sit down to eat. She’s not in a bad mood. She’s not even upset or angry. She’s just rather blah.

The other daughter wakes up in a good mood, snuggles with you for awhile, and is pleasant and cheerful through breakfast. But later in the morning when she is supposed to be practicing her piano lesson she begins by BANGING on the keys in frustration. Your first response is to feel despondent—“Great! Another one of THOSE days.”—and join the grumpy crowd.

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Nov 11, 2016
HS 028: Tips for Balancing Homeschooling and Housekeeping by Tonia Lyons

Homeschooling is such a blessing for our family – I really believe it has created a family bond that we would not have had if we’d chosen another educational route for our daughter. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult!

One of the biggest issues I’ve found is learning just how hard it is to keep up with all the housekeeping chores while we’re homeschooling. Over the years, we’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that help us keep up with those daily housekeeping chores.

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Nov 04, 2016
HS 027: Do the work of homeschooling by Brandy Vencel

Is this your first week of homeschooling for the year? It is for me. I always start our new homeschool year the week of my youngest child’s birthday because I really enjoy adding that kind of stress to the first week of school.

Whether the stress in your homeschool week is normal life stuff, like birthdays or long to-do lists, or abnormal life stuff, like surprises and emergencies, the fact remains that homeschooling isn’t always easy. It just isn’t. This is because homeschooling is just like anything else: it’s work, and you have to actually Do It.

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Oct 28, 2016
HS 026: How to Feel Less Busy Even When You Can't Be by Pam Barnhill

There's a common misconception by many non-homeschoolers that what homeschoolers do all day is stay tucked inside their houses reading classical literature and practicing for the National Spelling Bee.

This misconception feeds into the whole socialization myth that continues to plague every homeschool mom who ever lived. Typically the reality is much, much different than the perception for most homeschoolers I know.

So we were in good company about late September when I realized that I had filled our schedule for the year with far more activities than I was comfortable squeezing into our week. And yet, I also found myself unable to give up some things due to commitment and totally unwilling to give up all the rest.

Faced with a year of busyness and stress, I started to consciously consider how I might fool myself into thinking I am less busy than I actually am. Or in other words, what is the zen of busy and how can I squeeze it into my life. ;-)

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Oct 21, 2016
HS 025: How to be a Cool Mom (And Why You Should Want to Be) by Jimmie Lanley

We recently had a pool party with a group of Emma’s homeschool co-op friends, and I’ve been told again that I’m a cool mom. I’m not a cool person. I’m kind of nerdy, actually.

So how do I get this label? It’s not merely that I do these things (although they help):

  • make a monster pan of homemade mac-n-cheese and two giant chocolate chip cookies for a pool party
  • let the kids make a crazy fort in the sunroom with every available blanket, bean bag, and pillow
  • take Emma and a friend to an Ed Sheeran concert and crowd in with the rest of the fans

Being a cool mom is a much deeper issue than the money you spend, the time you sacrifice, and the quantities of chocolate and cheese that you buy. It’s a matter of the heart.

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Oct 14, 2016
HS 023: We're Losing the Culture War by Pam Barnhill

Don’t show up to a culture war without a culture. — Professor Carol Reynolds

The world is after the hearts of your children.

No, I am not saying that to leave you shaking in fear. Don’t be afraid, mama, because you’ve got chocolate and Jesus and a plan. There is no need to fear.

Instead I just want you to ponder that statement a while. Make no mistake that there is a culture war going on. The world has a myriad of distractions to pull our kids’ attention from the ideas that have shaped our culture.

If we are not giving our children an education in that culture, then they will be ill-equipped to fight the war. We live in a world that delights in the crass over the beautiful, that encourages the easy choice over the good one, and rewards relativism over truth.

But fighting a culture war is hard.

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Sep 30, 2016
HS 022: Sometimes I Feel Like Quitting by Sarah Mackenzie

Quitting homeschool, that is. And I thought I should tell you that. So often, we homeschoolers make this journey sound like its all roses, all the time.

We have a tendency to talk up the benefits of homeschooling constantly. After all, there are many: improved academic opportunity, better socialization, increased family time, the ability to weave our values all throughout the curriculum…the list goes on (and on).

We talk up homeschooling because we like to talk about it, but we also do it because we are constantly defending our choice to educate at home.

At least I know I am.

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Sep 23, 2016
HS 021: Home School Requires Commitment by Mary Prather

What does homeschooling REALLY require?

The current trend seems to be hybrid schools, box programs, online schools, or homeschool communities that claim to be the "answer" to a successful homeschool experience.

Granted, all of these things can be great HELPS in homeschooling. I have, however, seen some claim to be all you would need to homeschool your children. I disagree.

A successful homeschool lies within the homeschooling family. Never forget the HOME in homeschool.

In this four part blog series we will delve into COMMITMENT, LOVE, CONSISTENCY, and COURAGE it takes to homeschool our children and homeschool them WELL.

First and foremost, a successful homeschool requires COMMITMENT.

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Sep 16, 2016
HS 020: Why You Shouldn't Start Your Homeschool Day with Math by Pam Barnhill

“Love is the beginning and end of education, because love is the way we become more human.” — Stratford Caldecott, Beauty in the Word

I’ve heard the advice, and I’m sure you have too. You should always start your day with math.

Kids need to tackle difficult subjects while their brain is fresh.

Kids need to get the hardest thing out of the way first.

Kids need to eat that frog so they don’t procrastinate.


I am all about personal productivity and doing hard things first to get them out of the way, but let me let you in on a little secret: homeschooling has very little to do with personal productivity.

Homeschooling is about relationships.

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Sep 09, 2016
HS 019: Ten Gifts of Homeschool by Emily Copeland

Have I mentioned lately how blessed we are to be a homeschool family? Sure, homeschooling takes work and there are sacrifices to be made. Let’s not forget that our home constantly looks lived in, but the gifts we receive in return are priceless.

Today, we celebrate the gift of homeschool! Here are just a few reasons homeschooling is a gift to our family.


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Sep 02, 2016
HS 018: My Biggest Homeschool Regret by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley

I used to dread kindergarten pick-up.

My little guy would board the bus at 7:50 am.  He looked adorable climbing up those big steps with his oversized backpack and book in hand. The book was as oversized as his backpack.

In kindergarten, he read big books: Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Hobbit. He didn’t notice that people noticed. I noticed that they noticed, but I was just so thankful he was content at send-off.

Unfortunately, pick-up was another story. I’d get to the pick-up line at around 11:00. I’d spend the next fifteen minutes wondering how pick up would go.

Would the teacher hand me a white slip today?

Would she make a negative comment about his day?

Above all, would there be tears in those big brown eyes?

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Aug 26, 2016
HS 017 10 Reasons to Add Morning Time to Your Homeschool

Do you ever have one of those mornings? The kind where nobody wants to get moving (including you). Nobody has a good attitude. Nobody can bear the thought of one more day of long division.

It happens more than I care to admit around here. Which is why I have a secret weapon for starting school days.

No, it’s not coffee (ok, it is just a little bit). Instead it is Morning Time.

Morning Time is a time when everyone in the family can come together for a period of family learning. Most families include some form of the “3Rs” in Morning Time — reading, ritual, and recitation — but no matter what they choose to do, the most important “R” is relationship.

I’ve got ten reasons for you why Morning Time is the perfect addition to your homeschool.

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Aug 19, 2016
HS 016: How a Homeschool Mindset Changes Everything by Kara Anderson

Homeschooling has broken me, I think. I didn’t realize it until last week.

That it has broken my brain. That it’s broken the way I think about everything.

But I’ve never been more sure that I’m a homeschooler raising homeschoolers, and I’ve never felt stronger in my convictions.

Like with so many things, I have Dave Grohl to thank. But let me take a step back …

When my son was 6, he expressed an interest in learning piano. And like all parents, we immediately tried to figure out how to move a 1,000-lb piece of history into our living room as cheaply as possible.

I put a thing on Facebook. My friend Jes responded.

It took 4-grown men and a moving truck.

Read the rest or listen here:

Aug 12, 2016
HS 015: What I Learned This School Year by Alicia Hutchinson

It’s been quite the school year, there’s no question about that. We moved across the country, we hung out for five months with family, did school in their basement, house shopped on the weekend, then moved again to another state.

There were many times this year that I questioned everything, but now, looking back, I realize that it’s all ok. Even in the craziest of school years, there’s been lessons learned. Kids will learn, no matter what. It’s like a train you can’t stop. We can’t stop–and we won’t stop.

That’s right, they learn no matter what.

When we moved to Minnesota at the beginning of April, school took an immediate halt. We didn’t do our regular school for a good three weeks. I started to worry about this, as I had only planned on taking a week off and I was feeling like we were slipping farther and farther behind. But some things happened that I didn’t see coming.

They didn’t learn new math concepts or finish memorizing the prepositions, but they did learn other things.


Aug 05, 2016
HS 014: Three Ways I'm Bringing my Basket this School Year by Pam Barnhill

You know that awkward moment when your best friend asks you what you thought of her book? And you liked it, you really liked it, but the English teacher in you wants to ask, “Are you sure somebody didn’t help you with this?”

Because it’s just that good.

You talk to someone every single day — so much so that your husbands have their eye-rolling synchronized at your antics — and you just never really know what they are capable of do you?

That was me last summer when Sarah released the first edition of Teaching from Rest. My feelings were a combination of proud and awestruck, and I wasn’t the least bit surprised when Classical Academic Press contacted her to publish the print version (though I may have squealed like I was).

That print version is on the shelves, and I am supposed to be writing a review. But now I’ve totally blown my objectivity and can’t gush without you rolling your eyes, so instead I’m going to tell you a little-known secret about this book.

Lean closer.

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Jul 29, 2016
HS 013: The Case for Creativity by Amber Kane

When I was a kid my two favorite things to make where, drawings of the Rice Krispie characters and to create paper balls. When I say paper balls, I don’t mean that I just crumbled a piece of paper into a ball, that would be kind of lame, and not worth writing about. I mean that I soaked strips of paper in water, and carefully laid each piece over the last, forming a 3D paper ball.

While I continued to enjoy art and creating, my confidence in my ability waned, as it does for most students starting at around 3rd grade. I began to believe that I couldn’t draw, and thus, I couldn’t draw. It’s funny how when we tell ourselves enough times that we can’t do something, eventually it becomes true.

While in college, during my sophomore review, the nerve wracking time when you stand in front of a group of professors with your artwork, and they tell you if you’re good enough to continue with your major. One of the professors commented that my drawings were a bit “grungy and messy.” But she didn’t stop there, she continued, why don’t you pay attention to your style, and your voice as an artist, work to bring more of that into your work.

That advice always stayed with me. Because in that moment I knew two things, one, I’d passed and didn’t have to change my major, and two I realized that I could have a voice as an artist, and I remembered that young girl that “invented” paper balls, and I went in search for her.


Jul 22, 2016
HS 012: Memorization's Role in Our Home by Tara Vos

The role of recitation and memorization has taken on a deeply personal role for me as a homeschool mom over the last several years. I first began to consider recitation while studying various homeschool methods as a new homeschool mom.

I could see the value of memorization in education, but it didn’t feel like a good fit for my son. His memory was terrible. My daughter on the other hand remembered everything she heard or saw. I figured that memory was something you were either good at or you were not. I decided not to waste my son’s time with recitation since he wasn’t good at it.

Fast forward a few years down the road, and it wasn’t just memorization that seemed to trip up my son. When he couldn’t quite get a handle on reading we gave him time as many suggested. As time went on reading still wasn’t happening. We discovered that he is dyslexic.

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Jul 15, 2016
HS 011: Why You Need a Prepared Curriculum by Pam Barnhill

Anytime you write a book there are bound to be misconceptions. Write a book on homeschool planning and there are SURE to be misconceptions.

After all, the Internet is filled will homeschooling moms, each one an expert on their own home and their own children — as well they should be! These moms have their own ideas of what works and what doesn’t, and they are all exactly right for their families.

Which is why I wrote Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace with multiple disclaimers that my way is not the only way and there are thousands of way to plan. That is why I put in the samples folder, included the audio and all those links to blog articles, for the reader to see that others do it differently than I do and that is awesome.

Having said that, though, I am about to make a bold assertion and that is this: you need a prepared curriculum.

Listen to the rest or read it at

Jul 08, 2016
HS 010: What's Your Homeschool Personality by Mystie Winckler

I love the Myers-Briggs personality typing. Myers-Briggs – the personality system that gives you four letters – offers a vocabulary for talking about the different ways that people relate to each other and the world around them. It’s been so helpful to me in learning how to understand and value other people’s responses to ideas and situations – including my children’s.

I’ve written before about how personality typing helps me understand my kids, and I’ve written a brief explanation of how the Myers-Briggs system works. Today I want to take this a step further and use the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Temperament Index) categories to help us understand our strengths and weaknesses as homeschool moms. I can’t help myself. I’m an INTJ and so I love systems like this.

When we realize that we’re trying to imitate a type totally opposite our own, we can realize why we feel defeated and beat up. Not only that, we can take a step back, value that other type’s abilities, yet shift our own energies toward what will work for us.

When we know our own type and what that means for us, we can automatically filter out curriculums and opportunities that won’t work for us. We don’t have to try it and crash and burn first. We can see that it’s not going to mesh. We also don’t have to feel bad about what doesn’t work for us, and we can better understand why something works for our friend when it doesn’t work for us.

When we know our personality type we can also see where we need to outsource, where we need to get help, where we’re going to have to budget recovery time and just what kind of recovery time we need. Recovery and refreshment plans for each personality type will be a post all it’s own. :)

Today, let’s look at how our personality types inform us of our homeschool style, strengths, and difficulties.

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Jul 01, 2016
HS 009: How I'm Using Spiral Notebooks to Simplify Homeschooling by Sarah Mackenzie

I’m not feeling quite as fly-by-the-seat as I often do because I’ve got a new system for keeping track of school assignments, and it’s rocking my world. I love finding ways to simplify homeschooling, and this method really takes the cake.

I’ll tell you all about it, and then you have every right to say, “Of course, Sarah. Why haven’t you done this all along?” like I said to myself when my friend first showed me how it’s done. :)

Here’s what happened.

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Jun 24, 2016
HS 008: The Most Important Person in Your Homeschool Plan is Not Your Kid by Pam Barnhill

In this world there are two kinds of people. People who buy any old planner and just use it, and people who buy multiple planning products and never really use any of them.

There’s quite possibly a need for a twelve-step program for that last group. The people in the last group aren’t wishy-washy. Instead they are optimists. They are always sure that a better way has to be out there. So they keep searching.

I can fall into a similar trap in my homeschool planning. (Hello! Raise you hand if you’ve ever clicked “Buy” on a totally new math program on a cold, dark, tear-stained afternoon in mid-November. I can’t be the only one.)

I keep searching and searching for the better way, the path of least resistance, the greener patch of grass, the silver bullet — any number of cliched phrases that will allow me to rest my weary homeschool mom body and my frazzled brain.

Read the rest at

Jun 17, 2016
HS 007: Aligning Your Academic Year with the Calendar Year by Dawn Garrett

One of many options is the running of our Academic Year. Traditionally in the US, school runs fall to spring with summers off. This is a wonderful option, one which many homeschoolers follow for their Academic Year. I would like to present another option, which is to align your Academic Year with the calendar.

Jun 10, 2016
HS 006: Don't be a Curriculum Slave by Brandy Vencel

Do you know what a curriculum slave is? I’m sure you’ve met one before — perhaps you’ve been one before. (Or perhaps you’re one now, in which case we’ll try to help set you free in the course of this post.) A curriculum slave thinks the curriculum is her master, and she has to follow whatever the curriculum says — to the letter. The curriculum slave doesn’t allow herself to think about what is best for her students — or even for herself as a teacher. Instead, she exists at the curriculum’s beck and call, and when she doesn’t fulfill its requirements, she beats herself up.

Listen to the rest...

Jun 03, 2016
HS 005: Warning: Your Homeschool Plan Isn't Going to Work by Pam Barnhill

The search results taunt me. “Creative homeschool: A lot of ideas” “Great homeschool/education ideas” “Using Pinterest as a free homeschool curriculum” (<—- Really!? Isn’t that akin to “Eat homemade ice cream for dinner for 13 years”?)

I give up. I just can’t live up to all the homeschool hype. The mummified chicken. The salt dough maps. The notebooking page for a third grader that has more lines than my kid could fill in a month. He burst into tears over that stupid notebooking page (no, I wasn’t requiring him to write on every line) and honestly I felt like crying with him.

Because homeschooling shouldn’t be this difficult. Because I am supposed to enjoy staying home with my kids each day. Because it’s all my own fault. Listen to hear the rest...

May 27, 2016
HS 004: Best Tips for Creating a Homeschool Daily Schedule by Pam Barnhill

I wish I could tell you that I have the formula for the perfect homeschool day, but sadly I do not. All I know for sure is that there are no two homeschool days that are exactly alike and whatever you plan, it will often not go exactly as planned.

Yes, having a plan in place is important. If we don’t, the overwhelming nature of the task before us will paralyze us. So here are my best tips for creating a daily schedule that inspires you to get things done.

May 26, 2016
HS 003: Loop Scheduling vs Block Scheduling - Which is Right For Your Homeschool? by Pam Barnhill

Can I answer this question with a question? (No, not that question -- another one.) What do you want to accomplish with your homeschool schedule? Which scheduling method you use depends on what you are trying to accomplish in your homeschool, because both types of schedules lend themselves well to accomplishing very different goals. Block scheduling is used to organize your homeschool subjects in such a way that you are doing fewer of them at any given time. This allows you to focus deeper on fewer things throughout the day, have less anxiety because you are tracking less at any given time, and go more deeply by spending more time on a subject. Loop scheduling on the other hand is a way for you to reduce the stress in your homeschool that comes from skipping or missing subjects because they are assigned to specific days. Loop scheduling doesn't really allow you to do more or less in your day -- just not be upset by which thing you should do next. Let's take a look at a few examples of both to see how this plays out. Listen to hear the rest...

May 25, 2016
HS 002: Why Do You Do What You Do, Homeschool Mom? by Pam Barnhill

Recently I took part in an online conversation with homeschool moms about the value of cursive writing and whether it should be taught in a homeschool. It was a polite, but lively conversation and a number of people weighed in on the topic.

The most surprising things about it, was that instead of relying on their own family goals or the latest research on the subject, so many families were basing their decision to teach cursive or not on the whims of the public school.

"They don't learn it any more in the schools in our town" and "My friend who is a teacher says..." were common refrains That got me to pondering. If pressed, many homeschooling families can succinctly spell out why they homeschool.

Homeschooling is tough; it is likely someone won't be homeschooling long past the first few months of eight-year-old math angst, without that knowledge of purpose and conviction.

In addition, most homeschoolers can explain quite well why they follow a specific homeschooling philosophy. Whether they are Charlotte Mason because they believe in a broad, liberal arts education for even the youngest child, or are Unschoolers because they believe you can't learn anything by coercion, they have thought enough about the philosophy before taking it on to know why they wear the label.

Where I see a lack of forethought on the part of homeschoolers is in thinking about the whys of their day-to-day subjects and schedule. Much thought and deliberation goes into the purchase of curriculum, yet how much thought goes into the idea of why even buy curriculum to do a subject in the first place?

Listen for the rest...

May 24, 2016
HS 001: Five Things Every New Homeschool Mom MUST Know by Pam Barnhill

I see it time and time again. Desperate pleas for help from new homeschool moms come across the feed of our local homeschool group.

"I am pulling my son out of second grade tomorrow, and I don't know where to start."

"We are thinking about homeschooling our kids in the fall, and I need to know what curriculum to buy for a fifth grader?"

"I've got to get my junior out of school -- she is miserable. How can I make sure she gets her Algebra credits?"

You are out there -- moms who have made a decision to homeschool -- and you are not alone. Some of you agonize over it for weeks and months, a few have to make a rush decision because of a bad situation at school.

You may be scared and unsure and wondering if you are going to ruin your kids by doing this. Yeah, let me tell you right now, you are not. But I know that is a hard thing to take at face value. So let me give you five things to keep in mind to help you on your journey...

May 23, 2016
HS 000: Hey! It's Episode Zero ? What the Show is All About

In episode 000 I introduce myself and give you the down-low on what the Homeschool Solutions Show is all about. Each super-short episode is an audio blog of a piece of great homeschooling content previously published online. You can find an index of episodes as we add them each Friday on

May 18, 2016