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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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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Dec 2, 2016

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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Nov 25, 2016

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 18, 2016

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 11, 2016

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 4, 2016

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.

Read more or listen to the rest at

Oct 28, 2016

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 21, 2016

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 14, 2016

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.

Read the rest or listen here:

Sep 30, 2016

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 23, 2016

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 16, 2016

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 9, 2016

“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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