A Homeschool Mom’s Devotion: Keeping a Calm and Quiet Heart


A Homeschool Mom's Devotion: Keeping a Calm and Quiet Heart

One of the many blessings I received from writing our newest high school course, World History I, was reading through the entire Bible again, as the Bible is one of our primary references for the first two units of the course.

My reading plan directed me to read the books in chronological order, with a psalm at the end of each day’s reading. Finishing with a psalm every day gave me a chance to cycle through the psalms a number of times. I loved it!

I have continued the habit of ending my morning Bible reading with a psalm, and in my quiet time this morning I was encouraged — I hope you will be encouraged, too.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things too great and marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, 

like a weaned child with its mother,

like a weaned child with its mother.

Psalm 131: 1-2

 What a beautiful picture.

…no worries about all the  undone things I see around me

.…no worries about a loved one who will soon be with Jesus

….no worries about another loved one who doesn’t know Jesus

Your Worries Might be Different…

... not getting enough sleep because of the baby

…the eight year old who still can’t read, the middle schooler who won’t write, or the high schooler who just isn’t getting algebra

…month left at the end of the money

…starting homeschool later than planned

…not knowing whether your kids are learning

not sure you are doing “enough” in your schooling

I’m praying for you and for me.  That we would just be content to know we are safe and secure in the arms of Jesus, and be reassured that He is Sovereign.

Pray with me…

Oh Lord, help us to calm and quiet our minds and our hearts. Remind us that this is how you want us to live, able to step back from the circumstances of our lives, especially those we don’t understand and have no ability to control … and choose to be calm, relaxed, peaceful and as reliant upon You as a baby in her mother’s arms, not wanting for or worrying about anything…  just content to be held. 

What worries would you add to the list?  Do you have difficulties stepping back, as I do, and keeping a  calm and quiet soul in the middle of difficult circumstances?

Image credit: David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.com

What Subjects do we Cover?

What subjects do we cover

And how do we cover them?

We get this question all the time, so here is our extended answer.  =D


Although we do not cover the Bible as a subject, we do use the Bible for teaching history. Our curriculum often refers to the Bible, particularly during the Ancient and Renaissance and Reformation historical periods.  We cover the days of Creation (in science) and include Scripture memory work during the Ancients, as well.

Particularly with your younger children it’s important to use the real words of the Bible when teaching history (actually, we see it as HIS-story). In our Christian homeschooling curricula we refer to Biblical events as Bible ‘accounts,’ rather than Bible ‘stories,’  to help smaller children to understand that these events actually happened.

In our middle school daily lesson plans, as students mature, we help them start thinking about author’s bias and learning to examine what they read, hear and watch according to biblical standards.

In our high school courses we often examine leadership, author’s lives and works, and historical characters and events in relation to what God tells us in His Word.  In fact, in our World History I high school course, which covers the Ancients through the Renaissance & Reformation, we read significant portions of the Old and New Testaments.

When we include memory work or Scripture within our curricula, we have used the NIV or the ESV.  We hope you include the Bible and Scripture memory work in your homeschool, using the translation you are most comfortable with. Our curricula, though sometimes used by people of different backgrounds, are written from a Reformed, biblical worldview.


Train up a Child Publishing (formerly Epi Kardia) uses whole, living books as recommended by Charlotte Mason to teach the subjects of reading, history, science, language arts and fine arts.

We divide history chronologically into nine periods, and use that as a framework from which to teach the other subjects we cover.

Timeline, globe, map, and other geography activities, as well as projects for individuals and groups, are suggested in each historical unit of our Unit Programs using the books listed and round out the subjects included in our curricula.

Our book selections are based on the quality of literary value, Biblical relevance, historical correctness and depth, and/or outstanding illustrations. Our homeschooling curriculum utilizes the best of the best children/young adult literature we can find. One or more of the authors of this homeschooling curriculum has read each book recommended in our programs and high school courses.

To see the history topics covered in our Daily Lesson Plans, view our scope and sequences for each of the grade levels.


We include science from kindergarten through eighth grade, but do not include science in our high school programs, since colleges want to see specific courses with labs covering specific topics in a particular way. We leave that to others’ expertise!

For kindergarten through eighth grade, science topics are integrated into the history focus, but not forced. For example – for science during the Ancients unit, we study Creation Science, the Desert (where much of the action takes place in history), and Science in the Ancient World. During the Middle Ages unit, we study Plants and Herbs, Herbal Medicine, and Forests/Trees – all part of daily life during that time period. Where ever possible, the science topics relate to the core history reading.

We read non-fiction science-based books as well as ones that include hands-on experiments, projects and other science-related activities. The books in our programs are recommended and selected based on strong science concepts, excellent graphics and examples, and/or valuable experiments.

Like Charlotte Mason, we encourage parents to spend time outdoors in nature observation as well as inside reading. Nature journals were a big hit with our kids, so we describe in our curriculum how to keep nature journals and encourage you to get outside as often as the weather where you live allows.

To read more about the science topics covered in our Daily Lesson Plans, view our scope and sequences for each of the grade levels.


Language arts consists of reading, phonics, composition, literature, grammar, poetry, vocabulary and spelling.  Whew!

Copy work and dictation integrate history, literature and science with grammar studies and other language arts. Copy work, reading assignments, narration prompts and discussion questions are provided in our structured Daily Lesson Plans and are taken directly from history and science reading and from Scripture.

With our unstructured Unit Programs, you choose the books you want to read (from our pre-read book suggestions), the copywork, spelling and vocabulary. Our Unit Program Teacher’s Manuals include detailed instructions for you describing how to teach phonics, spelling, grammar, punctuation and handwriting. In addition, spelling, grammar and handwriting checklists are provided to assist parents in selecting copy work. Writing skills beyond copying are established beginning in the intermediate grades. Memorization of poetry and excerpts from literature are also part of the language arts design.


Music and art (painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture) from each time period is studied not only to give students a clearer picture of the historical period, but also to develop a love of the gifts that God has given to His children. Materials selected for these subject areas were based on developing a desire to learn more about the arts without exposing children to more “worldly” materials.

Our structured Daily Lesson Plans include regular picture study and music study as well as a look at architectural innovations during the different periods of history.

In our daily lesson plans we often provide web links featuring art of a particular time period. (Make sure you supervise your kids on the web.) Also note the links to art museums around the world on our Helpful Links page.

In our high school literature and history courses, we include the arts in the variety of assignment choices provided. We have plenty of writing assignments, it’s true; but we also include assignment choices such as drawing a diagram or building a model of the Tabernacle (World History), illustrating a scene from a book (our literature courses), creating a musical piece (World History), so you can truly customize your high schooler’s learning experience by including the arts.

For food for thought on  how to view the teaching of the fine arts, please see a blog post in our archives by one of the curriculum’s authors, Beth Hempton: How Fine are the Fine Arts?

Do you have any questions about what we cover or how we do it? List them in the comments (and we will answer every one) or email us at infodesk@trainupachildpub.com. =D

Anxious about Homeschooling? Don’t Do These Three Things

anxious about homeschooling

You are getting ready to start school again (or just started) and already the anxiety is building.

You have homeschooled awhile, but you still don’t think you are doing it right. Your oldest is telling anyone who will listen she wants to go back to ‘real’ school. Your kids are groaning about starting back again.  You are on the defensive and feel your inner ogre taking over.

You were sure when you started that homeschooling was the best route to take, but now that you are on that path, you are plagued with doubts: am I covering the right things? Am I doing enough?  Are my kids actually learning anything? Am I really cut out to do this on my own?

What should you do?

Don’t do these three things!

  1. Throw in the towel and stop homeschooling. Put the kids back in public school. Make your relatives happy. Just give it up and do what “everybody else” is doing. After all, you went to public school, didn’t you? You made a few mistakes and wandered down some wrong paths, but you eventually got back on track, right? (I’m talking about myself here.)
  2. Take out a second mortgage and put your kids in a hybrid homeschool program you can’t afford. Then THEY can make all those decisions about how to teach your kids and at what pace they need to learn. Yes, it will be stressful to have to conform to someone else’s schedule for your family and your slower learner will have some problems keeping up, but he will just have to conform….or you will have to help do his work….
  3. Buy another boxed textbook curriculum. You know it is dull and feels like “public school at home,” but at least you’ll know you are covering enough. All the worksheets and tests you need are there so you won’t have to worry about evaluation. Whether the kids are actually learning anything is another matter, but maybe it will feel less like torture be better this year….


Before you do anything rash, just stop and think a minute.  I want you to write down what you would like your homeschool to be like. How do you envision it working? What would you be studying? How would your kids be?  How would you be? What would be different?

After you have described what you would like your homeschool to “look like,” I want you to send your description to me at dana@trainupachildpub.com .

The first step toward making things better is identifying how you would LIKE things to be!

Soon we will talk about some additional steps to take to bridge that gap!

How to Help your Student Choose a College Major


by Dorita Deierlein

Did you know that according to Gallup poll data people who use their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to say they have an excellent quality of life?

One important step in the process of identifying a career based on your student’s strengths is choosing the right college major.

Is your high school student undecided when it comes to choosing a college major, or does he know what he wants to do? Selecting college majors and careers is exciting, but often involves uncertainty and questions. However, there are ways you as a parent can assist your student in selecting a college major.   Begin by seeking God’s direction as you and your student explore his God given strengths, values, and interests.

Explore Strengths

Strengths involve skills, qualities, and personal characteristics that come naturally. They are part of the way God designs us. In what area does your student naturally excel? Strengths can be hard for us to identify in ourselves so it can be helpful for your student to ask others to assist him in discovering strengths. What do friends, family members, and authority figures respect and appreciate in your student? Look for places of excitement, energy, enthusiasm, and motivation. Working in areas that utilize our strengths is motivating and energizing.

Identify Interests and Passions

What does your student love to do? What are his favorite courses in school? Think about activities where he has been so engaged that he lost all track of time. Have your student describe his ideal job. What would he find joy in doing each day? Also ask him what he doesn’t enjoy doing.  Being aware of what you don’t enjoy doing is helpful in giving direction.  Is it realistic that this interest can support your student, or is it more appropriate as a hobby?  Even if it is better suited as a hobby, there is often an element or theme of that interest that can be part of a college major or future job.

 Discover Core Values

What matters most to your student? Core values are traits or qualities that represent an individual’s highest priorities, fundamental beliefs, and core driving forces.  Knowing your core values makes decision-making easier and more effective. When we are in alignment with our core values we are living authentically and stress and frustration are reduced.

Practical suggestions for exploring careers and college majors

  • Have him identify three jobs that use his interests, values, and strengths
  • Talk with people who work in careers that interest him and encourage him to make appointments to shadow some of them
  • When he talks with people in careers of interest, suggest he find out what college majors prepared them for their work
  • Look for volunteer opportunities in areas that interest him
  • Research together the field he is considering

As you approach this season in your student’s life, be encouraged. Explore together and have fun discovering how God uniquely created your student. Approach this with a learner’s mindset and remember that your student will continue to acquire and build skills throughout his life. Encourage your student to also seek God’s direction.  He created your child with specific interests, values, and strengths and will lead you both as you seek His guidance.

What have you and your student discovered as you explored college majors?

Dorita Deierlein, former home schooling mom, now life coach, partners with students, young adults, parents, and empty nesters as they navigate life’s transitions and seek God’s next best step. To find out more about how Dorita can assist you contact her at dorita@doritalifecoaching or visit her website http://www.doritalifecoaching.com.



Seven Ways to be a Rock Star Homeschool Mom

seven ways to be a rock star mom

This is one of our most popular back-to-school posts! If there is any point here that you are going to be working on this year — or that you think you SHOULD be working on, will you tell me in the comments?

It’s back to school time!

The summer is winding down, and for some of you the new school year has already begun!  Reflecting upon my many back-to-school years, I offer you some food for thought about being a Rock Star homeschool mom.  :)

1. Academics are important – but relationships are more important.

Always remember that the child is more important than the work.  I know you agree, in theory… but sometimes when one is correcting a wiggly, uncooperative kid – for the fourth time in an hour – it is hard to remember.  Put away the math book.  Stop and talk for a while with your child and try to determine what is going on in his head instead of just lowering the boom.

In the same vein, relationships with siblings are more important than the work.  In our house it is not permissible for siblings to fight and tear each other down physically or verbally.  Stop and referee, require apologies and make things right before trying to get back to work.

One more relationship  to talk about – the one between you and your husband.  Don’t put that on the back burner for 15 years while you teach school.  It is SO easy for us to put the kids before our marriage, and when we do so we are not doing ourselves or our children any favors.

2. Don’t stress over things you can’t control.

Allow a little margin in your life.  I say this from experience!  I am the Queen of Overcommitment.  As soon as you squeeze too many responsibilities on your plate, the most inconsequential thing can put you into a tailspin – and everyone in your path suffers.  Uh huh.  You can relate.  When you homeschool there are things to which you need to say “no.”  Beneficial things.  Fun things.  Learn to say no.  If you have trouble with this, learn not to commit without talking with your husband about it first. (Then you can blame it on him when you say no.)  Just kidding. =D

3.  Worry about the big things and let the little things take care of themselves.

You are not going to teach them everything they need to know and they certainly are not going to remember everything you teach them. In my view the important things are:

  • Where are are your children in terms of their spiritual life?  This is of utmost importance in our home. If it is in yours, too, is it reflected in your daily conversation and how you spend your time?
  • Teach your kids how to discipline their minds to listen, to learn and to find information on their own.
  • Train them to own their own work, manage their own belongings (including school supplies) and their own spaces.
  • Give your children opportunities to serve others and rub shoulders with people of all ages.
  • Teach them to communicate with others politely, tactfully and kindly.

Let me ask you — what do you remember about what you learned in school (the academic part, I mean)?  If you are like most of us, you don’t remember all that well.  What you do remember is what engaged your interest.  The projects you worked on, research you did, some of the papers you wrote. Which leads me to number 4:

4.  Study your children; identify their passions and how they learn best.

What do they enjoy the most? What do they do in their play time?  What grabs their attention?  What do they talk about?  What do they like to read or learn about in their free time?  What do they learn quickly and easily? Do they automatically grab a book or search the Internet to learn something?  Do they like to listen to music?  Do they like to talk about what they are learning?  Do they frequently move around a lot while they are learning something?  Do they like drama?  Art?  Music?  Playing with Lego blocks?  Educate yourself about learning styles and try to identify yours and theirs.

5.  Cultivate a love for learning.

The best way to do this is to be an enthusiastic learner yourself.  Generate some excitement about learning new things.  READ.  Let them see you read.  Provide lots of stimulating reading material – at or below your children’s reading level.  Let them choose whatever they want to read for a daily fun-reading time.  (Shh- this will also improve their reading comprehension and fluency, but don’t tell them.)  This is not a school thing, it is a fun thing. (It is all in the marketing.)  Go to the library frequently.  Choose to buy magazine subscriptions in the areas of your child’s interests for Christmas and birthdays. Talk about what you are learning.  Regularly go around the table at dinner telling each other about the most interesting or surprising thing you learned that day.

6.  Take the time to be prepared.

You don’t always have to be perfectly organized and prepared to homeschool.  BUT, it make school much easier if you make an effort to be ready.  If you are prepared, you are more confident.  If you have confidence in yourself, your children will have more confidence in you as their teacher. This is especially important if you have recently taken your child out of public or private school.  Strategies that help:

  • Put your things away and teach your kids to do the same. (See #3)
  • Avoid clutter like the plague.
  • Take time to prepare lessons in advance.  Ask yourself — do I understand this?  Do I need to look anything up first?  Do I have the supplies I need?  Have I allowed enough time for this lesson?  What are the younger ones going to do while I teach this?
  • Take an occasional “teacher work day” and spend some concentrated time during holiday/summer breaks to get ready for school
  • Ask your husband or a friend to take the kids for a few hours a week so you can plan and prepare for the next week.

7.  Don’t try to be a friend to your kids.  They need you to be a parent first.

I’m not suggesting that you be an authoritarian or dictator, or that you shouldn’t worry about ‘getting along’ with your children.  I’m just recommending that you  be a parent first – set clear expectations of what is acceptable behavior in your home and how children are going to behave when school is in session. When you assign school work, make sure your children understand exactly what you expect.  Be consistent with your discipline. Expect children to always be respectful to you and other adults.  You are laying a foundation for them to be secure, for school to be successful and for friendship as they become older.

Do any of these particularly resonate with you this year? Which one(s)?