The Homeschool Solutions Show with Pam Barnhill

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.
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The Homeschool Solutions Show with Pam Barnhill


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May 26, 2017

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 19, 2017

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 12, 2017

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 5, 2017

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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Apr 28, 2017

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 21, 2017

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 14, 2017

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 7, 2017

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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Mar 31, 2017

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 24, 2017

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 17, 2017

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 10, 2017

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 3, 2017

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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Feb 24, 2017

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 17, 2017

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 10, 2017

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 3, 2017

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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Jan 27, 2017

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 20, 2017

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 13, 2017

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 6, 2017

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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Dec 30, 2016

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 23, 2016

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 16, 2016

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 9, 2016

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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