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If you're like most of my readers, you're committed to your family and creating the best home life possible. But the truth is, if you've given up one income to homeschool your kids, you may be struggling to make ends meet. That's why I wrote this special report, The 9 Best Business Ideas for Homeschool Moms, in which I help you design the best business to complement your family's goals. There's only one way to get it—by subscribing to my weekly blog updates here:


Why should we study history? To inspire!

The age-old question that has some fairly standard answers, such as…

  1. So that we don’t repeat it.
  2. To understand the present and shape the future.
  3. Because it is our collective memory.

But I say that we should study history so that we may be inspired to greatness and leadership, willing to serve as vessels for positive change in a beautiful, if somewhat chaotic, world.

While studying history can certainly dishearten us, it can also inspire us. In children, history tends to inspire. It becomes the inspiration for their play as they imagine themselves as the heroes in a desperate and critical moment in time. Continue reading Studying History Will Inspire THIS…

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It’s time to launch that book!

Last week, I delved into the initial aspects of launching a book, from writing to editing to project management. This week, we’ll fall headlong into the second half of the book launching process – finalizing, printing, pre-selling, and publishing (AKA launch day!).

I briefly mentioned a couple fantastic tools last week in Part I of The Anatomy of a Book Launch – Scrivener and Mind-Meister. I want to reiterate how much these tools have served me during my book-writing process. In essence, they keep me organized. And without organization, it is nearly impossible to actually finish your book. So, stay organized by using great tools. They will help you finish your project.

Also critical to finishing your book project is outsourcing. Do not try to do it all! I have outsourced some of my research, photography, editing, layout, activities, recipes, book lists, and more. Writing a book is a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) all by itself, so let others do the tasks they can. You can outsource pretty much everything except the actual writing (well, you can hire a ghost writer, so that can be outsourced too, if you really want to).

I tried something very non-traditional when I was writing my last book – A Child’s Geography: Explore the Classical World – in 2013 and it was a beautiful experience, so I just subjected myself to the process again for my current book – A Child’s Geography: Explore Medieval Kingdoms. I crowd-sourced the editing. Now, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t hire a professional editor for the final pass-through, but it does mean that I opened up my book manuscript to 300 pairs of eyes to comment on and critique.

Here is what I did: Continue reading The Anatomy of a Book Launch, Part II

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Welcome to the 3rd video in the series… 3 Keys to Cracking the History Code. My name is Terri Johnson and I am your host today as we continue to explore this fun topic.

DOWNLOAD Sacagawea Here! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

But first, let’s do a brief recap…

It’s difficult for a history curriculum to cover every event and angle of History. History is a multi-faceted subject and most curricula find it more manageable to focus on just one of the facets – the WHAT of history.

But history is a story. And a story has several key elements, which are:

Characters, Plot, Setting and Context

In other words, the WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN

Your history program should have the WHAT covered, which is the plot, the sequence of events. That is what it is designed to do. But what about the other 3 elements?

Continue reading Context Sets the Stage

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Welcome to the second video in the series…

3 Keys to Cracking the History Code

My name is Terri Johnson and I am your host for all 3 videos.

Download the Map Trek Sampler Here! You’ll get 32 maps you can start using right away.

Last week, we discussed the 3 keys to crafting a complete history program that is enjoyable, understandable, and easy, and then I revealed the first one. Let’s do a brief recap…

Most history curricula fall short in painting a complete history picture, but through no fault of their own. History is a multi-faceted subject and most curricula focus on just one of the facets – the WHAT of history.

But history is a story. And a story has several key elements. These are:

Characters – WHO
Plot – WHAT
Setting – WHERE
Context – WHEN

Your history program should have the WHAT covered. That is what it is designed to do. But what about the other 3 elements?

Continue reading Every Story Needs a Setting

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History is one of those subjects that divides people. Some people love studying history and are fascinated by it and others are either confused or bored by it. Why this dichotomy?

Right now, you can purchase the complete set of biographies at 40% off the retail price. Check it out here!

I’ve been teaching history for 17 years. If I were to ask someone to define history, here is an answer I might receive. “History is a list of events that happened throughout time.” defines history this way:

the branch of knowledge dealing with past events. (Sounds boring!)

the aggregate of past events. (Sounds confusing!)

Merriam-Webster’s makes it uber simple with this definition: events of the past.

Okay, so it’s no wonder that some people do not enjoy history. If not taught correctly, it can be vague, overwhelming, confusing or downright boring.

Continue reading 3 Keys to Cracking the History Code

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You’re a parent, so you know…A few hours after posting the 1st video in the FREE series, “3 Keys to Cracking the History Code,” I was in the kitchen with my two youngest kids. We were making lentil soup, which I haven’t made in a few years. But remembering that I like it, I convinced the kids to join me in chopping and dicing veggies for this delicious earthy stew.

My son, who is seven years old, says, “Mom, I am going to try this dinner tonight and I think that I am going to like it.”

I reply, “Okay, that’s good, honey. Why do you think you are going to like it?”

And this is the awesome part!

He says, “Well, lentil stew was one of Napoleon’s favorite meals. He also liked chicken and other ‘non-fussy’ foods. He was more of a soldier than a king in some ways.” He grins, sets down his knife and salutes.

Continue reading Out of the Mouths of Babes

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Have you ever fallen off the wagon? I most certainly have. I have fallen off the healthy eating wagon, the exercise wagon, the daily devotions wagon, the prayer wagon and most recently, the blog wagon. It’s just part of human nature to fall off these wagons, I guess (unless I’m the only one). Or maybe it’s just the nature of rickety wagons… hmmm…

Continue reading She’s back in the saddle!

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This is just a quick note to remind you that today is the last day of the World History Sale. If you are studying Ancient History or Medieval History or Renaissance or Modern History and you like saving money (from 25% – 40% off), then be sure to take a look at the items on sale this week.

Sale items include timelines, maps, historical biographies, mobile apps and more. Let this be the year that you round out your history program with some great tools that bring history to life.

On another note…

finish-race2When I talk with people about homeschooling and encourage them to continue and not “throw in the towel,” I often use the analogy of a race. I’ll talk about how exciting it is to be standing at the starting line, how easy it is to get tired and distracted during the middle, but how important it is to finish well.

This weekend, I get to put flesh on my analogy. I will be competing in my first race. But I’m not running; I’m walking. I am race walking in the Portland-to-Coast, a 130 mile walking relay race. I am on a team with 12 other amazingly strong homeschool moms. I am walking the first leg and will set the pace for my team. Eeek.

The race will take us 2 days to complete. We’ll walk during the days and we’ll walk all night long. We’ll catch a wink of sleep when we can, but I doubt it will be much. The moment we all look forward to the most is the moment when we walk with our anchor teammate across the finish line. We are looking forward to celebrating that accomplishment together as a team.

I hope and pray that you will have a great year in homeschooling. Yes, it is like a race. And while a little nerve-wracking, it is not too difficult to get started. But it can be difficult sometimes to continue and especially to finish. May I encourage you to find some teammates who will walk alongside you and encourage you along this journey. We cannot do it alone. We need each other.

God bless! And may the wind be ever at your back.

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We began homeschooling 16 years ago when my oldest was just 5 and entering kindergarten. About two years into our journey, we decided to read the Little House books and do a unit study with them. We used Margie Gray’s Prairie Primer as our spine and then added all kinds of fun supplemental books and resources to go along with it, such as The Little House Cookbook, My Little House Craft Book, Laura Ingalls Wilder Country and Diana Waring’s Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder, part of the Experience History Through Music series.


This last resource became a family favorite. We listened to the music long after we finished reading the Little House books. In fact, we just kept the cassette tape (remember, this WAS the 90’s) in the car for entertainment while running errands around town or during long road trips. Our little family of 4 memorized all of the songs and wore that tape out. We eventually purchased the other tapes in the series – Westward Ho! and America – and did the same with those cassette tapes… played them over and over until we wore them out.

As the years went by, our little family of four – two parents and two kids – grew to become a bustling family of eight. We continued our homeschooling journey and each child in turn read through the Little House books as they reached school age. However, the youngest two never had the chance to listen to those beloved Diana Waring tapes because they were no longer around when they were born into our family.

Fast forward several more years…

This past spring I heard a rumor that Diana Waring was bringing BACK this amazing folk music, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history! The Experience Music Through History series was going to be back in print. I couldn’t wait! I asked if I could be first in line to write a review because I wanted to get my hands on these before anyone else did!

After the books and CDs (yes, I said CDs! This is 2014 after all) arrived in the mail, I told my kids it was time to hop in the car to pick up their dad from the airport. I even had one of my adult children with me that day. I said nothing, but I just inserted the CD into the player and waited for reactions. My oldest began singing all of the songs by heart and the younger ones joined in the fun with clapping and knee-slapping and giggling over the wonderful lyrics.

And since that day, we have been singing the songs nonstop. Enter our home this afternoon and you might hear any one of these tunes:

1. Wait for the Wagon
2. Green Grows theLaurel
3. The Old Chariot
4. Buy a Broom
5. Sweet By and By
6. Rock Me to Sleep
7. Buffalo Gals
8. A Railroad Man for Me
9. Beware
10. Pop! Goes the Weasel
11. Oft in the Stilly Night
12. The Girl I left Behind Me
13. My Sabbath Home

I think Wait for the Wagon, The Old Chariot and Buffalo Gals are our three favorites. If you want to have a knee-slapping good time, check out Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder along with the other two volumes in the series. I wonder which songs your family will like best. Enjoy!

EHTM1EHTM2EHTM3By the way, the individual titles in the series are $18.99 each, but if you purchase all 3 during the month of July, you can get them for the special price of $50 for the set. Great deal!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Experiencing History Through Music in exchange for my honest review of the materials. What you just read is my honest review.

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Are you wrapping up your school year or homeschooling through the summer? Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, we take a summer break to enjoy the glorious weather. There is no place lovelier than Oregon in summer. Well, that’s what we think anyway.

As an aside, when we lived in Texas, we schooled though the summer and took longer breaks during the spring and fall when it was more fun to go outside.

Anyway, we are thinking through our summer plans and the trips that we will take. We’ve got two trips up to Washington and a trip down to California planned. Plus, we’ll go camping at least once or twice.

In any case, it looks like we’ll be spending some time in the car. We don’t mind the kids watching a movie or two, but prefer that they spend the majority of their time in the car reading good books or playing games.

How about you? Do you have any road trips planned?

You may just need some great books and activities for all that time that you will be trapped (I mean, blessed!) with your kids in the car. Even a 2-3 hour car ride can get awfully long if you do not plan some activities or bring some good books for the trip. We have hand-picked our favorite KQ resources to make the time you spend in a small, crowded space for long periods of time… well, bearable!

In fact, there are only a couple days left to get some great resources for up to 50% off. You can check it all out here:


Perhaps you are planning now for the 2014/2015 school year already? Good for you! You can never plan too early. If you are planning / hoping to include any of these resources – What Really Happened, A Child’s Geography, Presidential Scrapbook, Star-Spangled State Book and more – this is the time to stock up! Many of these titles will not be discounted below retail prices again this year. Prices discounted from 25-50% off. Enough said… the prudent shopper will know what to do.

Here is the link to the sale again:

Sale continues through Monday, May 19th at midnight. If you have any questions or need any assistance, write to

Bon voyage and may the wind be ever at your back!

Question: What are your best tips for making family memories on a road trip?

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