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Homeschool Talks - Ideas and inspiration for your homeschool

Fuel for your homeschool.

Homeschool Talks is an informative podcast about all things homeschooling. We feature exciting interviews with homeschoolers from all walks of life. Each episode is packed with practical tips, inspiring stories, and more.

Episode 14  •  Jul 30, 2018  • 

The College Admissions Process from a Homeschool Perspective: An Interview with Carol Becker

If you’re homeschooling a high schooler, chances are, college is on the radar for your teen. But applying to colleges and figuring out which one is right for your teen can be a tricky process, especially for homeschoolers. Tune in as HSLDA’s high school consultants help guide you through the process, pointing out the most important things to know along the way.

01:14:05 min.
00:00 01:14:05

Episode 13  •  Jul 16, 2018  • 

Homeschooling an Outside-the-Box Child: An Interview with Nathan Clarkson

These days, the pressure to be “normal”—or to have your children be seen as “normal”—seems stronger than ever. We are often afraid to embrace our children for who they are, focusing instead on who the world thinks they should be. Today we want to encourage you by sharing the story of Nathan Clarkson, a young man who has been seen as “different” for practically his whole life. If you are homeschooling a child with a learning disability or mental health struggle, or you want to know more about what it’s like to face these challenges, this is a message you need to hear.

20:40 min.
00:00 20:40

Episode 12  •  Jun 25, 2018  • 

“Just Go Play Outside”: An Interview with Angela Hanscom

Telling kids to go play outside is often an attempt to release their extraneous energy, or to give Mom or Dad a much-needed rest. But did you know that playing outside also has significant mental and physical benefits for children? Today, Diane Kummer is chatting with a pediatric occupational therapist who says that unstructured outdoor play time isn’t just an outlet for childhood dynamism—it’s actually vital for a child’s physical and mental development.

30:17 min.
00:00 30:17

Episode 11  •  Jun 11, 2018  • 

State Senator, Homeschooling Mom: An Interview with Patricia Rucker

It’s easy to talk about the importance of serving your community, but most of the time it takes more than just words to make a difference. Today we want to introduce you to someone who talks the talk and walks the walk. Not only does she homeschool all five of her children—two of whom have special needs—but she also serves as a state senator and regularly volunteers in various service projects in her community. She’s truly a remarkable woman, and we hope you’ll find her story as inspiring and encouraging as we have. That's today on Homeschool Talks.

26:15 min.
00:00 26:15

Episode 10  •  May 14, 2018  • 

Learning through Stories: An Interview with Andrew Peterson

We all love a good story. But have you ever wondered why that is? What is it that makes stories so compelling? Why do we learn so well through them? And how can you, as a homeschooling parent, harness the power of stories to help your children learn and develop? Hear the answer to these questions and more from musician, author, and homeschooling dad Andrew Peterson—this week on Homeschool Talks.

29:34 min.
00:00 29:34

Episode 9  •  Apr 30, 2018  • 

Raising Digitally Responsible Children: An Interview with Leah Nieman

In today’s social media–saturated world, there’s little doubt that digital technology is becoming a bigger and bigger part of everyday life. With that technology comes powerful tools as well as potential dangers. So how can you help your children understand these tools and use them well while avoiding the pitfalls? How can you raise digitally responsible young adults? Hear tips and ideas from homeschooling veteran and digital tech expert Leah Nieman on this week’s episode of Homeschool Talks!

35:56 min.
00:00 35:56

Episode 8  •  Apr 16, 2018  • 

What You Need to Know about End-of-Year Testing: An Interview with Krisa Winn

If you’re a homeschooling parent, chances are the phrase “end-of-year testing” doesn’t exactly give you warm and fuzzy feelings. But many states require some type of standardized testing, and it’s always good to be tracking your child’s progress so you can know the best ways to help him improve. So what do you need to know about end-of-year testing? Hear the answer on the newest episode of Homeschool Talks with HSLDA Special Needs Consultant Krisa Winn.

52:41 min.
00:00 52:41

Episode 7  •  Apr 02, 2018  • 

A Homeschooler in the Foreign Policy World: An Interview with Rachel Wagley

Does your child have a passion for making a difference through politics? Then you won’t want to miss this interview with Rachel Wagley, a former homeschooler and current foreign policy advisor to a U.S. Congresswoman. Rachel is doing some great work in Washington—and today we’re taking a look at her exciting career and learning how homeschooling helped her get to where she is today.

24:15 min.
00:00 24:15

Episode 6  •  Mar 19, 2018  • 

Classical Music in Your Homeschool: An Interview with Kristi Hill

It’s no secret that children who study music can reap great rewards in all areas of life. But what does a good music education actually look like? How can you incorporate great music into your homeschool routine? Tune in to this week’s episode for ideas and inspiration from music teacher Kristi Hill.

52:42 min.
00:00 52:42

Episode 5  •  Mar 05, 2018  • 

Making History Come Alive for Your Kids: An Interview with Dr. Doug Favelo

These days, more and more people don’t know seem to their history—they just aren’t aware of how the past shapes and influences the present. As homeschoolers, we have an incredible opportunity to reverse this trend. We can teach history in such a way that our children really get it—and enjoy it. So how do we actually accomplish this? How can homeschooling parents make history come alive for their children? Join us on today’s episode of Homeschool Talks as we answer these questions and more with Dr. Doug Favelo, a history professor and homeschooling dad.

33:40 min.
00:00 33:40

Episode 4  •  Feb 21, 2018  • 

How CPS Investigations Affect Children and Families: An Interview with John Rosemond

What does a healthy environment for a child’s psychological and emotional development look like? And what happens when the stability of that environment is threatened? Join HSLDA Vice President of Litigation and Development Jim Mason as he talks with family psychologist John Rosemond to answer these questions and examine the effects that CPS investigations have on children.

33:09 min.
00:00 33:09

Episode 3  •  Feb 05, 2018  • 

How Homeschooling from Rest Helps You Connect with Your Kids: An Interview with Sarah Mackenzie

If you’re a homeschooling parent, you know as well as anyone that a homeschool can often seem like the last place in the world to find rest. You might not even have time to think about rest. But for author, blogger, and homeschooling mom Sarah Mackenzie, the idea of teaching from a state of rest has completely transformed the way she thinks about homeschooling—and more importantly, it’s helped her make meaningful connections with her kids.

37:37 min.
00:00 37:37

Episode 2  •  Jan 22, 2018  • 

Homeschooling When Life Gets Crazy: An Interview with Tiffany Jefferson

For most people, craziness is like a season—it comes and it goes. But if you’re a homeschooling parent, it may seem like crazy is a perpetual state of being. So how can you stay sane even when it seems like things are falling apart and you aren’t making and progress? Tune in to hear from blogger and homeschooling mom Tiffany Jefferson.

26:58 min.
00:00 26:58

Episode 1  •  Jan 08, 2018  • 

Balancing Grace and Accountability in Parenting: An Interview with Dr. Mike Kucks

One of the hardest things that we parents encounter is figuring out how to balance grace and accountability with our children. How do we set the right boundaries, and how do we respond when our child crosses the line? Hear the answer to these questions and more as HSLDA President Mike Smith chats with homeschool dad and college professor Dr. Mike Kucks.

43:37 min.
00:00 43:37

Homeschool Talks is the successor to HSLDA's now-retired radio program, Homeschool Heartbeat. To browse the Homeschool Heartbeat program archives, click here.

About Homeschool Talks Podcast

Are you a homeschooling parent looking for practical tips on teaching your kids, or simply someone who is interested in learning more about homeschooling?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Homeschool Talks is an informative podcast about all things homeschooling. We feature exciting interviews with homeschoolers from all walks of life, and each episode is packed with down-to-earth guidance, inspiring stories, and more.

To get started listening, you can use the player above, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, follow our RSS feed, or subscribe to our email list.

We are always looking for new ideas and feedback, so if you have something to share, please don’t hesitate to let us know by sending an email to info@hslda.org with “Podcast” in the subject line.

Mike Smith

Mike Smith and his wife Elizabeth, along with Michael Farris and his wife Vickie, incorporated Home School Legal Defense Association in 1983 and were the original board members. Mike grew up in Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy and served for three years before attending law school at the University of San Diego. He graduated in 1972 and was admitted to practice law in the state of California shortly thereafter. He is licensed in Virginia, California, and Washington, D.C.

In 1981, Mike’s life changed drastically when he heard a radio program that introduced him to the idea of homeschooling. Mike and his wife began homeschooling one year at a time to meet the academic and social needs of their children. After several years, however, it became obvious that God had exposed the Smith family to homeschooling for many other benefits, including spiritual development and family integrity. All of Mike’s children are now grown, and three of the four were homeschooled.

When he started with HSLDA, Mike began defending homeschooling in California both in court and before the legislature. In 1987 he came to HSLDA full-time, serving as its vice president until 2001, when he became its president. In addition to serving as President of HSLDA, he also is HSLDA’s lawyer for California, Nevada, and Puerto Rico.

Mike’s favorite part of his job is going to homeschool conferences and meeting those he calls America’s greatest heroes—homeschooling moms.

Diane Kummer

Diane and her husband Tom homeschooled their two children from kindergarten through 12th grade using a variety of teaching options. Both of their children went on to college and are now well into their careers.

Diane joined the staff of Home School Legal Defense Association in 2005 to help develop HSLDA’s Homeschooling Thru High School program. As the HSLDA Consultant Program Administrator and one of HSLDA’s High School Consultants, Diane regularly speaks nationwide at homeschool conferences and presents high school symposiums, sharing from her experiences and her imperfect (but real) homeschooling days! Her practical and encouraging high school seminars provide information that inspires parents to continue teaching their teens at home with confidence.

Diane enjoys writing articles (such as regular columns for HSLDA’s Home School Court Report magazine as well as articles for other publications), brochures on high school topics, and a monthly high school newsletter filled with helpful tips. She reviews new resources and provides personal consultation to HSLDA members.

Diane loves math and taught high school math classes for homeschooled students for many years. She also led a homeschool group of over 200 families, while coordinating classes and activities.

In her free time, Diane enjoys teaching ladies’ Bible studies and being involved in pro-life ministries. Having graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management, she enjoyed a banking career prior to starting a family and beginning her homeschool adventure.