Read along with Franklin
August 20, 2014, Edition 

What's a co-op, and how do I start one?             

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is YOUR trade magazine for family education. Stay subscribed to this newsletter because this is the place where we give FREE education gifts on a regular basis. Read the magazine anytime, 24/7 at It's the Family Education Magazine!
Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family

Homeschool co-ops can be a wonderful answer to prayer for some people, or they can be a temptation to more busyness. It all depends on how God is leading you each year for each child, how the co-ops are run and what they are used for, and what your family dynamics are at this season in your life. I believe it takes prayer and wisdom every day of every year on how involved your family can or should be in anything.


You can either attend a homeschool co-op or you can start one! Here's my take on the Benefits and Cautions of attending Homeschool Co-ops:


Benefits: 1) Your children have the opportunity to learn things that you may not have the time or ability to teach alone. 2) They have the opportunity to learn from someone other than you. 3) You have the opportunity to use your gifts and talents in teaching a subject to bless other homeschoolers. 4) The children get to socialize with other like-minded kids. 5) They are great for those with older children who need specialized classes and great for those with younger children who want to expose them to a class setting. 6) They are helpful for having something tangible to show what your children have learned. 7) It's a great thing to say to those who question your homeschooling, "My kids are in a co-op where they are learning this and this and this..."


Cautions: 1) You may find yourself spread too thin especially if you are running to piano practice and group meetings on Monday, soccer and ballet practice on Tuesday and Thursday, co-op on Wednesday, library and errands on Fridays, etc. 2) If you have only younger children, just getting out and about is more difficult, let alone preparing to teach a class. 3) There is a danger of relying on co-op classes as a replacement for teaching at home, and not merely as a supplement to your teaching. If you find yourself saying something like, "I didn't have much time to teach my kids this week, but that's okay, cuz they'll get it at co-op" then you know something is wrong. 5) Making sure your Christian worldview is upheld by all the teachers and 6) Co-ops can be a huge time commitment inside and outside the classroom.


To find out more about Co-ops, here are some great articles:


10 Essential Elements of a Thriving Homeschool Co-op

To Co-op or not to Co-op-That is the Question

ABC's of Co-Ops


The wonders of co-ops are numerous, and many times are an answer to specific prayer. You might just be the one called to start a co-op in your area! Just use wisdom and discretion as you plan your days. You don't want to forget your first priorities of God and family and you don't want to be running around so much that your children don't know what it means to be home where they belong.


So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12




Mango Languages

Mango Languages Homeschool Edition
, a fun and engaging approach to foreign-language learning. With over 60 languages
to choose from, start a conversation today at

Raising Real Men    

Years ago when our children were young we were part of a co-op that still brings a smile to our faces. It was called Friday school and we did it every Friday afternoon for eight weeks in the fall and eight in the spring. It was nothing like most co-ops we hear about today.

Instead of hiring a teacher, we all worked together. The moms (and some dads) each volunteered to teach what they knew--or to work with the children or to set up or clean up. We offered whatever classes the moms were willing to teach, so sometimes we had language courses, or cooking, or art, or music, or science lab. It was kind of fun seeing what turned up each semester.


Friday school didn't cost anything unless we had to buy some supplies or donated to thank the church for their hospitality. It was truly cooperative: we all worked together to make it happen. No drop-offs, just lots of community.


We miss those days. A co-op doesn't have to be complicated or hard or expensive. In my mind, the best kind of co-ops isn't, especially for students under high school age.


We love spending time with other homeschoolers and sharing everyone's unique knowledge and experience with our children; it enriches us all. Co-ops are great for that. There are a few things co-ops shouldn't do, though:


A co-op should never make you feel like you can't homeschool on your own. Co-ops should empower and enrich your family. You may miss it if you leave, but it shouldn't make you doubt you can teach your own.


A co-op shouldn't be a strain on the family finances. Remember, it's an extra, not required. Let it go if you need to.

You shouldn't farm everything out. Your children need you. They need interaction with you in their schoolwork. Don't outsource everything or you'll miss out on some of the best parts of homeschooling.


Remember, one size does not fit all. The highly academic (or athletic, or musical) co-op that was great for your oldest might be exactly wrong for younger children. Stay involved in a local support group so you don't lose your entire social group if a co-op doesn't work for later children.


It's been a long time since we've been able to be involved in a co-op (finances are tight and we are on the road much of the year). We have some incredibly happy memories from co-ops of the past, though. We hope you'll be able to find something like it--or start one yourself!


Your friends,

Hal & Melanie


Join us Thursday, August 28th for a FREE webinar with Hal and Melanie and Lee Binz, the Home Scholar! Click here to register so you'll have a seat for A Homeschool Parent's Guide to High School Grades, Credits and Transcripts!


Explore the brand new Modern History Portfolio Junior.
Classical, rigorous... adorable.

The Familyman 

I love the idea of homeschool co-ops (definition: a group of homeschooling moms who gather together with purpose and for support). Of course, the purpose behind the homeschool co-op varies with each group.


Some meet to share teaching responsibilities, some meet for field trips or activities, and others gather for social reasons or just to encourage each other. The important thing to remember is to pick a group that meets YOUR needs (no, you're not being selfish). For example: if you need encouragement that can only come from another homeschool mom, then don't go to an "academic focused" co-op. If you do, I guarantee you'll leave each meeting feeling more discouraged than when you arrived.


Don't have a support group? Then start one. Don't be scared; it doesn't have to be any more than inviting your homeschool mom friends for an hour or two to sit in a circle and talk and/or pray. See if a couple husbands or older teens would play some games with the kids while you meet or meet at night and leave the kids at home.


If you don't know what to talk about, ask the ladies these simple questions: Why do you homeschool? What is the hardest part of homeschooling right now? Fill In the blank: "I sometimes feel like tossing in the towel because ________________."


That should get any group of moms talking and sharing. The trouble will be stopping them when the time is up.


If you feel the need for encouragement or don't feel like there are any good co-ops in your area, I'm betting there are other moms who feel that way as well. So do it. Start a group. You don't have to name it, have refreshments, or have some kind of program. Just find a place to meet and ... meet.


By the way, did you know that if you live within 5 hours of northern Indiana, you can have me speak to your homeschooling group during the school year? I love speaking at support groups and co-ops and because you live close to me, it's super easy. Just click here to get the ball rolling. To see my fall speaking schedule, click here


Be real,



A division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! No limits!



We're spotlighting two of our classes on today. Check out these course preview videos all about Geology with Patrick Nurre of Northwest Treasures and the brand new Renaissance History class with Rhonda Clark. Their course material remains archived, so you can jump into either course at any time, all on your own schedule. 



Click on image to see video.

Renaissance History

Click on image to view video.

One membership to serves your entire family, regardless of how many children you are homeschooling or what their ages are. There are no per child fees, and courses range from preschool to high school. If you've never had a membership to the site before, you can sign up for a welcome basket and a free thirty-day trial. You can buy a monthly subscription or purchase an entire year  for $139 and save over 10%. Try it today.


It's here! Don't miss out on the daily sales happening through August!
Each item will be available for the
special sale price on the dates listed. 


August 20 - WannaBe Series     


August 21 - Homeschool Dialogues       


August 22 - WeE-Book 20 Bundle      


August 23 - Shocking Truth about Electricity     


August 24 - High School Planner     


August 25 - Curiosity Files Series   


August 26 - Intermediate Planner  

2014 EE Awards
Vote for the 2014
The Old Schoolhouse 

Excellence Awards.


Take a short survey and let us know which  

homeschool materials are your favorites.


Receive a free 2014-15 Schoolhouse  

Digital Planner just for voting!  

Voting closes September 15,

so vote today!



Homeschooled Beta Testers Needed!


Homeschooled Kids 11 - 18 needed as beta testers for an online community where kids can meet new friends with the same interests.

Lifegroove is an online community where creative kids can meet like-minded friends in a safe social media environment and talk about their passions. Parents can have connected accounts if they choose, and help their kids learn how to socialize online. The nature of the site is positive and supportive.


Please contact Kim Goodell at for a beta code. Codes will be issues to the first 1000 homeschoolers to respond.

Here are some examples of the groups:

Animal Lovers - Animation - Art - Book Lovers - Gamers - Kid Video Makers - Kids Who Cook - Minecraft - Photography - Photoshop for artists - Photoshop Battles - Programming For Kids - and MORE!

Adopting a pet means you
commit to taking care of it
through its entire lifetime. 
TOS Article
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.



Get your copy of the

2014 Annual Print Book
Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


You'll get a year's worth of homeschool support in over

280 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers.

This is a
magazine you'll refer to again and again.

Get your copy of the TOS 2014 Print
Annual Edition
today and pay just $15.

Or you can buy both the 2014 and the
2013 Annual Print issues for $25!

Free shipping to U.S. only.



Now you can be a TOS affiliate and earn some extra cash!

Would you like to earn 20% commission on TOS items that family and friends purchase through an affiliate website? It's easy, check out this page for more information. Once you are signed up, you simply share your unique affiliate link with family and friends. If anyone purchases anything from the TOS website using your affiliate link, you receive a 20% commission. There are even buttons available to help you promote your affiliate link on your website or blog.

Sign up today here.   

Contest Corner 
For the month of August, 2014


Captivated: Finding freedom

in a media captive culture


Captivated Movie 

Do you ever feel like media has taken over your life and the lives of your family? You are not alone. While there are many benefits to using different types of media, it also leads many parents to wonder, "How much is too much?" At Media Talk 101, Phillip Telfer explores that question. In his DVD documentary, Captivated, he takes a hard look at television, computers, gaming, cell phones, and social media websites and the effects they have on us and our children.


One of the biggest issues in parenting is protecting our children, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. With interviews featuring doctors, experts, and people who have overcome their own media addictions, Captivated looks at media from a Biblical perspective and seeks to encourage others to examine their own lives and relationship with various forms of media. (. . .)


Read the reviews here!


YOU can WIN this!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Captivated" for a chance to win* the DVD for your family!  


In this week's issue:

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner

TOS  EE Awards

Molly Green

Take a look at
what's new now at
Blessings in the Community
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse 

TOS Magazine

Read the magazine free at
or download the free mobile apps at

The Old Schoolhouse
 has MORE for you!

Check out these resources:

Who We Are:

"I am amazed at the number of times I open The Homeschool Minute newsletter and have the opportunity to read EXACTLY what I need that day! Thank you so much for putting a real face on homeschooling." 


  --Michelle Sager 

Liberty Twp, OH  

"I really appreciate all the information and the many uplifting articles in your magazines. Invaluable. Thanks for all you're doing to help us homeschoolers.


 --Kathy P.
Stanton, TX

"Only just this past week have I seriously checked into the content of the site ... May I just say wow?!"  


  --Janelle Chille 

Mason City, IA 

"I really enjoy reading all the THM articles. I learn a lot from Todd Wilson's column. [He's a] funny guy who speaks the simple truth! Thank you very much!"


Brandon, FL  

"I look forward to THM every Wednesday. I really enjoy Deborah's articles. For some reason, it must be God, she always writes about what I am needing to hear. Her ability to put scripture and God in the middle of all her articles keeps me coming back. I recently have been enjoying the Youngs' [articles] because I have a young man (10) in my house. The encouragement of the Youngs is fabulous. I thank God for parents like them that pave the way for parents like myself and my husband."

--Racheal Fowler

 Glen Burnie, Maryland

"So love reading TOS on my iPad from cover to cover every month!!!"

--Leigh Anne McGrady
 Dunwoody, GA
"I love the new TOS app! So convenient. So quick. All the encouragement I need at my fingertips ... any place at any time."     


"Thanks ever so much. I love the encouraging articles! I really loved the list of 25 all in one place. Nice to have this little bit of "free" encouragement in my mail. I don't have funds to subscribe or purchase frills and with also working more than half time I don't have time to search it out. May God bless you exceedingly."



rural Kansas

"I absolutely love Todd's column. He always seems to put things in the proper perspective, and it keeps me from getting all stressed and anxious. Thanks Todd, and thanks TOS!!"

--Johnne Orelchikov  

East Texas 

Have you been blessed by

The Homeschool Minute™


Start reading the July/August issue NOW!
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.