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How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus DVD and Coursebook Review by April Elstrom

Rachael Carman and Leslie Nunnery
Apologia Educational Ministries
(888) 524-4724
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220/340
Anderson, IN 46016

How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus is a video course, accompanied by a coursebook. The course is practical, engaging, manageable, and most importantly, it’s an incredible pep talk for homeschool moms. Although it’s primarily designed for those who are new to the homeschool journey, it is also refreshing for those who have been on the journey awhile.

Rachael Carman and Leslie Nunnery are both well-known leaders of the homeschool community. Rachael and her husband are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries, and Leslie is the founder of Teach Them Diligently conferences. They have each been in the homeschool trenches themselves, as well as interacting with homeschool moms on a regular basis. They’ve homeschooled the scary high school years, and Rachael has graduated students who went on to college. These are the moms you want to seek out for advice.

The How to Homeschoolcourse contains fifteen lessons and is available in both digital download form and physical form (DVD and softcover book). Each lesson includes a short two-tofour-page chapter in the coursebook, as well as a twelve-minute video lesson. For me, it worked best to read the chapter as an introduction to the video then view the discussion between Rachael and Leslie. After I’d viewed the video lesson, I returned to the assignments at the end of that chapter to do my homework. The homework provides practical steps to personalize the lesson for yourself, and to research the topic more, if needed.

This is one of the best homeschool support books/courses I’ve read in my eighteen years of homeschooling. I enjoy reading, but honestly, the videos made all the difference! I loved watching Rachael and Leslie chat like wise, older friends, seeing them springboard off each others’ thoughts, hearing what they learned from their family’s experiences, and being blessed by their humility and humor as they shared. They were so encouraging, and just real.

One of the best aspects of the How to Homeschool course is that it’s broken down into manageable lesson sizes. Although the thought of a weekend retreat and completing the whole course at once sounds wonderful, it isn’t necessary. You can easily read a chapter and watch the lesson within a half-hour time period. Then you can work on the assignments as you have moments in your day before moving on to the next lesson. So, nap time, bed time, and early mornings will easily allow you to work through this course.

I was very impressed that Rachael and Leslie didn’t claim to have all the answers or the right way to homeschool your children. This isn’t one of those courses. In fact, they continually emphasize that each family is different and you need to find what works for your family. Instead, they share mistakes they’ve made, lessons they’ve learned, and even ideas that others have found useful. Their goal is to help you succeed in homeschooling your unique children and to instill confidence and peace that you can do this!

Through my eighteen-year homeschooling journey, I’ve heard many of the ideas that Rachael and Leslie shared, but it was helpful to hear them again. I needed to be reminded to return to that routine, to double-check work accomplished at the end of each day, to schedule one day out per week, and to pray, pray, pray! The chapter about the husband-and-wife relationship was also a much-needed nudge. Although I have already graduated three high school students, it was still incredibly helpful to listen to the chapters on homeschooling high school and post-high school decisions.

As a homeschooling veteran, I often find others asking me for advice on how to begin their homeschool journey. Usually, I point them to a dwindling collection of website links (as many have become defunct over the years) or suggest they pick up some of my favorite books. I now have a new resource to suggest that I know will help them find their way. How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus will be at the top of my list from now on.

-Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017