Category Archives: Homeschool

Life is Fragile

You can find out more about Todd, Debbie, his eight children, their RV, and ministry at

Ten minutes ago (as of this writing) I decided to check out the Caring Page of a dad-friend whose wife has cancer. She’s been battling it for just over a year and I have prayed so many times for her healing and for my fellow husband and father. I pulled up the page and my breath caught when I saw the words, “service times.”

She had stepped into Glory just a few days ago and now the husband was a widower and the children were without a mother… and I felt broken for them.

I talked with her and her husband just before she found out she had cancer. She was bubbly and outgoing, in contrast to her “get ‘r done” husband. They homeschooled and had several children of all ages.

Now she’s gone and they’re alone. My heart aches for them as I put myself in their shoes. And yet, I am so busy doing busy stuff… getting ready for the first homeschool convention of the season… writing articles… doing life. Even in the rawness of their loss I’m afraid I’ll miss the good stuff at my house.

I feel like Martha who was “distracted by all her service.” I’m afraid you might be too, Mom.

But it’s spring and we’re about to celebrate the Resurrection. Because HE lives my fellow dad and his children can face tomorrow… and I can enjoy today the precious gift of family.

So my fellow parent, can I ask you to pray for Brian and his children AND can I urge you to enjoy some springtime weather and the Resurrection with yours? Today, right after you read this, close your school books and enjoy all three together.

Maybe get out those Resurrection Eggs from the closet, read the last couple chapters of John… or Matthew to your kids, and then go do something fun (ice cream from Dairy Queen, a bike ride, or some family chore).

Life is fragile, things change quickly, and HE is RISEN!


PS – I may be speaking at a homeschool convention near you. Click here to see my speaking schedule. Like to have me speak to your church, banquet, or homeschool group? Contact me.

“The Familyman”


The Familyman – Website

The Familyman Show – Weekly Todcast

The Familyman Weekly – Weekly email for dads



Teaching Entrepreneurship to Children with Disabilities

Deb Maubach started homeschooling her 4 entrepreneurs in 1983 before homeschooling was popular and founded Homeschool Entrepreneur in 2006 before entrepreneurial education was popular, too. She’s also considering Greenland for retirement in the future before it becomes popular.

A child with a disability can mean many things. It can include something as severe as being confined to a wheelchair or a child that cannot talk or respond to you. Though milder on the disability scale, it is no less exhausting or challenging to deal with a child with a behavioral or attention disability. Even children with genius I.Q.s are often challenged socially and struggle with some of the most basic life skills.

Disabilities seem to lie on both ends of what some consider ‘normal’. Most educational and teaching methods are geared to that normal range of ability. The beauty of homeschooling is the freedom you have to design your curriculum to the mental age, ability, and specific challenges of each child. We’re excited that entrepreneurship education is becoming more common on the menu of options parents have to choose from.

We were blessed with four healthy children that we decided to homeschool from birth through high school graduation, with the exception of our oldest child. We initially began her homeschool when her first grade teacher suggested she would benefit from the type of one-on-one education that homeschooling could offer. I guess that was our first exposure to teaching a child outside of the normal range! We gave up after one year, but started again four years later at the encouragement of our pediatrician. It was the 80’s, so opposition was high and support was low for those making such a radical choice!

All four of our children had various challenges to overcome, but our two youngest were formally diagnosed with a disability; one with ADD and one with Down syndrome.

Like most homeschool families, our approach to each child was very different! Our son with ADD had us quite concerned when at 6 years old he still struggled with colors and letter identification. However, when he started to spout off the answers to his older brother’s advanced math problems without the use of paper or calculators, we knew we were dealing with a different sort of disability than first suspected.

Before Josh was formally tagged with ADD, we discovered that he responded very well to the type of hands-on activities that entrepreneurship education offered. What we had interpreted as an intelligence-based disability (I hope he isn’t reading this!) was simply a very different learning style than his older siblings. He wasn’t learning because he had difficulty paying attention to auditory instruction and would zone out even under threat of being sold to traveling gypsies. However, when we gave purpose and activity to that same instruction, Josh began to thrive.

Despite allowing him to be labeled with ADD, Josh caught up very quickly once we mastered his learning style. He enjoyed the benefits of several entrepreneurial pursuits up to and through college. Fortunately, with a little extra help, he was able to transfer his unique learning habits to college life. To our delight and amazement, he not only finished college, but graduated cum laude with a Business Finance degree.

Now, at 30 years old, he’s happily and gainfully employed as the Sales Director of a moderately large company that gives him the time he craves to be with his wife and three young children. How many of us can say we love our job and enjoy going to work every day?

We give God the glory for his success, and for showing us how entrepreneurship and teaching outside of the box could make such a dramatic difference. I shudder to think of what may have happened if we had put him into a traditional school setting.

In my next article, I’ll talk about my son with Down syndrome and what we did to help him.

See you next time,

Deb Maubach

It’s a Soggy Day in the Neighborhood

You can find out more about Todd, Debbie, his eight children, their RV, and ministry at

It’s hard NOT to think about spring when the weather is warm and a pond-sized… POND has taken over a third of our yard. I even had moments of weakness where I wished for COLD and SNOW. What is wrong with me??!!

It passed quickly, and now I’m back onto thoughts of fresh spring breezes and flowers pushing up through the landscape. I want to use words like… colt… frolicking… spring meadow… and I DON’T write with those words. But the warm-up causes me to think… fresher thoughts and beckons (there’s another one of those words) me to adventure.

Have you felt some of that “beckoning?” That’s spring talking to you, Mom. And it says it’s time to throw off the doldrums of winter and… get your hair cut cute and different, clean out the closets, CLOSE your school books and go do some REAL learning… some bucket-list learning.

I just added a location to my bucket list yesterday. I’ve always been a big Mister Rogers fan and in light of the 50th anniversary of his show I was looking for a Mister Rogers Museum. A quick Google and I found one in Pittsburg, PA which houses many of the props used in the show like his sweater, King Friday‘s castle, X the Owl’s tree, and lots of the original props and puppets. Talk about an amazing field trip. That’s why we homeschool.

Now you may not be a Mister Rogers fan but there are plenty of other places “beckoning” to be crossed off your bucket list like the sandhill crane spring migration (Google all these), the garter snake exodus up in Manitoba, the strawberry festival in Plant City, FL, the daffodil festival in Holland, MI, or the Monarch butterfly return to… somewhere.

Spring is the time for learning and for crossing things off bucket lists. Because that’s the thing about a bucket list: it doesn’t do any good to HAVE a list–the important thing is to cross things off. And it won’t happen, unless you hear the beckoning call of spring and DO IT.

I’m so glad you’re my neighbor (Mister Rogers taught me that) –


PS – I just did an AWAYcation podcast. It’s a mix of fun and information. You can listen to it here.

“The Familyman”


The Familyman – Website

The Familyman Show – Weekly Todcast

The Familyman Weekly – Weekly email for dads


Start Fresh in Spring

Mari Almon, Director of Advertising for Homeschool Buyers Co-op, lives in central Florida. Married to Steve, they are both thrilled that their two children, Liz and Jon, had the opportunity to graduate high school from home. In her spare time Mari enjoys traveling, hiking, fishing, and perennial gardening. To reach Mari, email her at

Are you needing a fresh start – something new to get your children motivated again? It’s easy to get into a rut in the winter. It’s been cold outside. Spring is the time for all things new! All good things require periodic evaluation and change. Consider how you can put the excitement, fun and adventure back into your homeschooling.

Revolve your homeschooling around active, hands-on learning like hands-on science experiments, field trips, the local history center and historical place and even Civil War reenactments. Trips to the beach and the local lake or pond can also involve meaningful lessons.

Figure out exactly what you must accomplish before the year’s end. It’s probably less than you think. Find ways to accomplish the “school work” out of doors or on the way to something fun in the car – this is called “carschooling”. Play educational car games. Sing your lessons. Read fun books about the topics you are learning about. Add some activities to reading – drawing pictures about the most interesting part of the book. Make sure that your children are interested in learning by finding out what they are really interested in. Ask them what they would like to learn about and try hard to make that happen.

Use this as an example to create your own themed lessons: Over a week or so, read a chapter book together about ships or pirates. Look up pictures of big pirate ships and other kinds of ships in books or on the internet. Take time to appreciate their beauty and intricacy. Talk to them about life on a ship. What would they eat? Where does the cook get his food and where is it stored? What are the sleeping arrangements like? What kinds of jobs do the people on the ships have to do to keep the boat afloat? How many pirates does it take to run a boat? Ask if they would like to live that way. Play pirate games. You can make math or alphabet “pirate Bingo” by cutting out pictures of pirates or a pirate hat, laminating them and using those as game pieces. Use those game pieces and others you can think of to count, add and multiply. Use “ship vocabulary” – this might involve spelling and definitions. Ask your children to draw a picture or create their own ship using Popsicle sticks or other material. Together, find out where the nearest shipyard is and get the directions. If the trip will be long, ask your children to help you locate other places nearby that may be of interest. Let your children help map out the trip and ask them to calculate the number of miles round trip and the length of time it will take to get there and back. Please notice that you are not doing all of this. Your children learn a lot while taking responsibility to research and help with arrangements like this. On the day of the trip ask everyone to pack a small bag with some paper and pencils and crayons and possibly a camera for taking notes, drawing pictures on the way and back, and getting pictures of interesting sites. Remember to pack a ball or Frisbee or something else you all can enjoy playing with later.

While driving to the shipyard, play car games to get some studies in and to make the trip go faster. Listen to books or stories on CDs. When you arrive, take the tour, and explore everything! Take pictures – pose at the helm and the stern. Pretend to be the cook in the galley. When you’ve seen everything you all want to see, then go find a place to enjoy a picnic lunch (of course everyone helped make and pack this meal) and after everyone’s full and lazy, relax and read a fun book about life on a ship. Don’t forget to take the time to PLAY before going home. The next day ask your children to write a short story – leave the content open ended as long as they write a story that involves ships and/or pirates and includes an agreed-upon number of their vocabulary words. Make sure they check their spelling and grammar. They can include art if they want to. Have several new books about boats and ships around for them to pick up to explore and enjoy.

You could expand on this and keep the theme going for a long time by including games, game pieces, stories and books about fish and mapping and other things that you can relate back to pirates and ships. Science and math activities about sonar can be interesting as well as lunar, weather, and climate effects on the ocean. Navigation and the stars would also be appropriate as well as world geography and cultural studies. There are all sorts of programs for tracking hurricanes, and ocean topography is very interesting. All of these can be explored by just about any age of children if you scale the information appropriately.

Relax, have fun, and make memories.

We’ve Got Sprouts!

Award-winning author D.S. Venetta lives in Central Florida with her husband and two children.
It was volunteering in her children’s Montessori school garden that gave rise to her new series Wild Tales & Garden Thrills, stories bursting with the real-life experiences of young gardeners. Children see the world from a totally different perspective than adults and Venetta knows their adventures will surely inspire a new generation to get outside,
and get digging.

Holy nitrogen—we have sprouts! Did you ever think this day would come? You’ve prepared, patiently waited, tended to, and nurtured your seeds until finally they’ve burst through the surface. Did you hear? We have sprouts!

The whole neighborhood can hear you tap out your happy dance, so relish the moment and dance away—you’ve hit your first milestone. A big one, too, because as you may have noticed, not all your seeds germinated. Like people, seeds develop at different rates. It’s a fact of life. But rather than simmer in sorrow over the ones that didn’t make it, let’s rejoice in the little green seedlings we do have, and focus on how best to keep them healthy and happy.

If you started them indoors, it’s your job to see they grow to a decent size before transplanting to the great outdoors. Your plants will appreciate a gradual introduction to the heat and sunlight, a process known as “hardening off.” Try moving them to the patio, or a side of your home where there’s indirect sun, as this will help them adjust to their new surroundings before being thrust into the full sunlight of the garden.

If you must wait weeks before heading outside (due to chilly temperatures), you might need to transplant them into a larger container—the larger the container, the larger the roots can grow—while still indoors. Gingerly remove the entire root ball of dirt (go easy on that stem as it’s still fragile!) and transfer the seedling into the awaiting container, at least twice as large as the current container.

Once you’re ready to move them fully into the garden, simply follow the same transplanting procedure mentioned above, but this time, you’ll dig a hole twice the size of the current root ball (give ‘em a little space to grow). As you secure their place in the garden bed, lightly pat the soil around them. Form a “well” around their base to capture water, then follow with a good soaking. You can add a shot of “starter” fertilizer or mix in a bit of fish emulsion. The latter is gentle and easily absorbed. As they grow larger, add mulch around the small plants to keep the soil moist.

While we’ll talk about feeding your plants in more detail next time, here’s a quick rundown on the basics. The nutrients of any fertilizer are listed on the package, with the larger numbers representing N-P-K, or nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium. For an easy guide on which elements you’ll need, remember: nitrogen = green leaves, phosphorous = big roots and fruits, and potassium = overall wellness.

What does this mean? When you’re growing lettuce, broccoli, and any plant that is mostly “leaves,” you’ll want to give them a healthy supply of nitrogen. For plants like tomatoes, watermelon, onions and carrots, pile on the phosphorous to encourage “root and fruit” growth. Are your plants exhibiting a general malaise, or seem stunted? Give them some potassium.

Rejoice in your early success! We’ve still a few months to go before harvest.

There’s a season for everything

More specifically, a temperature. I live in Florida, so gardening is a year-round adventure for me. However, not all climates lend themselves to being outdoors like the Sunshine State. And the great outdoors is where gardens thrive. Sure, we can use greenhouses to “trick” Mother Nature and grow just about anything, anytime. But most gardeners… Read More

March-Themed Learning

It’s all about making an educational connection: locating fun activities, interesting to your children — subjects to discuss and learn about. I find it harder to get the educational juices flowing when it’s cold outside. Is this true for you? Take heart — spring is in the air! March 20th is the first day of… Read More

Try It, You’ll Like It

Hey Mom and Dad, The snow is swirling and piled up as I write this. It’s mighty pretty… but I’m sick of it and wish it would all melt away and make way for spring. That’s what I really need — some sunshine and warmth, green grass and flowers. But today is snowy and cold.… Read More

How to Improve Reading Fluency

For most children reading fluency develops by itself as they read. The more they read the more fluent they become. After reading a word enough times they are able to read it instantly without thinking or sounding it out. However if you have concerns about your child’s reading fluency there are some things you can… Read More

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How are you and your family celebrating love today? How are your children learning to love today – and every day? Love is much more than character education. In the Bible, Jesus commands us to love. Love is the “glue” that helps us build close healthy relationships with others in all areas of their lives,… Read More