Clare_Host says, Good Evening friends, and thanks for joining us tonight. We are so pleased you decided to join us as we sit down and chat with Lisa Whelchel this evening. Helping out with tonight’s event we have the lovely applehost (love that red dress), the radiant daisyhost (what a cute flower print) and the ever-energetic ezrihost (can’t beat electric green). We also have Fritzpw_host with us this evening, who must have missed the memo on casual dress, nice tux anyway, Fritz.
Clare_Host says, Lisa, it is great to have you back with us again… Welcome!
Clare_Host says, Fred…take it away!
nissi3 asks, I have a 4yr old daughter, do you have any advice for beginning homeschool with her ?
Lisa_Whelchel says, I’d say take it easy and do a lot of playing together if possible… Some arts and crafts… Perhaps gets some math manipulatives to play with. She doesn’t have to be taught with them, just let her play with them! At around 4 1/2 or 5, I highly recommend the phonics program called Sing, Spell, Read and Write! I used that program to teach all three of my children when they were 5.
hsing21 asks, Do you keep your child or children on a schedule during your school day?
Lisa_Whelchel says, That’s the ideal! At the same time, part of the beauty of home schooling and the reason it works for us is the flexibility. The goal is a schedule because the kids need that structure, the exception being flexibility. The kids really love having a schedule.
guest1027 asks, Have your kids asked or made any hints about joining a traditional school
Lisa_Whelchel says, All three of my children attended a traditional school last year. This was so I could write “The Facts of Life and Other Lessons My Father Taught Me.” It was great experience for all three (all four) of us really! Even as wonderful as it was, all three of them prefer home schooling and want to continue indefinitely.
guest1031 asks, do you have a family homeschool vision/plan?
Lisa_Whelchel says, I would have to say that my goal is to prepare my children for whatever God has called them to do or be. For each one of them, that is different. Haven already desires to go into government. So her plan is to attend Patrick Henry College, which is a highly academic college. She will need to prepare very diligently, especially in anticipation of SATs in order to get into this college. Clancy desires to go on a DTS (Discipleship Training School) with Youth With a Mission after graduation from High School. Then she wants to become a wife and mother. Tucker has a different plan for his life every week! If I were a guessing person, I can’t imagine that God would not use his mouth, enthusiasm and heart for anything other than Youth Ministry! (I haven’t said that out loud to him… We will both wait and see what the Lord has to say about that!) But as you can tell, there would be drastically different visions and goals and ways to get there for each child. I would say the overriding vision for our whole family is that they would learn to know God, trust Him enough to obey Him so that they might find His will and goal for their lives.
Clare_Host says, Lisa, how old are your children?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Tucker is 12 and in 6th grade. Haven is 10 and in 5th grade. Clancy is 9 and in 4th grade.
guest1076 asks, What made you decide that homeschooling was for you? Was it any specific event or was it a series of things
Lisa_Whelchel says, The first reason I began to look into home schooling was for purely financial reasons. I always assumed that I would enroll my children in private school. Having three children three years in a row and living on a one-income pastor’s salary and having lost all the money I made on The Facts of Life… That wasn’t an option. That’s when I began to look into home schooling. There are many wonderful public schools and public school teachers across this nation but there are also some scary ones… Especially in Los Angeles! So I thought I would “tip toe” into home schooling. I called my aunt who is a public school teacher in Texas (Aunt Polly) and asked her what she recommended I do to prepare my kids for school when they were in kindergarten. It’s not mandatory in CA for kids to be sent to kindergarten so I decided to try out home schooling by trying it out for kindergarten. My aunt recommended I get a good phonics program and an early Math workbook that taught basic addition, subtraction and number recognition. By the end of that year, Tucker could read, write, do basic Math and we loved it! We just invited Haven to the home school table the next year. It got to the point where they were too far ahead of grade level even if I had wanted to put them into a traditional school situation… But then why mess with a good thing?? Home schooling works for us!

Chatmaster shouts, Lisa Whelchel and her family have been traveling across America in an RV. Read some of their experiences in Lisa’s journal. Just goto

Chatmaster shouts, Looking for more homeschooling information? Advice? Suggestions? A Sounding Board? Check out’s Homeschool Channel

Chatmaster shouts, Join us on May 9th at 9p.m. ET for our first ever round table discussion in Chat on the TNIV. Our guests will be Rev. Tim Bayly and Dr. Wayne Grudem, who oppose the TNIV. They will be joined by Dr. Mark Strauss and Dr. Ron Youngblood, who support the TNIV. May 9th at 9PM ET.

madchatter asks, Is public school ever the RIGHT choice for a family? If so under what circumstances?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Absolutely! I know some fabulous kids and fabulous teachers who obviously think the public school system is exactly perfect for them! There are many situations where this is the right thing for individual families. It’s just that I happen to love home schooling and so that’s the team I cheerlead for.
hsing21 asks, What do you find is the biggest challenge for moms that homeschool?
Lisa_Whelchel says, I would guess setting and keeping the home schooling as the priority of each day. It’s awfully easy to get distracted by a phone call or a quick run to the grocery store (or a sink full of dishes) or answering a couple of emails! It takes a lot of self-discipline to turn on the answering machine, save the laundry for the evening and the emails for the middle of the night!
Lisa_Whelchel grins
guest1048 asks, I am already hearing the dreaded question “What about socialization?” Do have a tactful, but meaningful answer?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Sure! The problem of socialization for our family is how not to indulge in too much! Between church and neighborhood friends, baseball practice, gymnastics, home school drama club, and AWANAS, school can get lost… Much less any meaningful family time. Socialization is not a problem except that they have too much of it!
guest1075 asks, I hear you have recently affiliated with Alpha Omega. How will your kids use their stuff?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Right now they are using the Switched On Schoolhouse computer software curriculum. They love it! And even more importantly… I love it! It’s a great fit for our family at this season of life. The lesson’s structure is self-contained, the grading is done automatically, there’s enough variety and interactive games and videos to make it interesting for the kids and best of all… I know that at the end of the school year they have covered everything they need to cover to stay on track. Next year we will add the Online Academy option. With this addition, the kids will have access to a teacher by phone or email and who will also grade the more subjective questions and reports while helping walk them through the higher math and science. For those of you in the chat room who thinks this sounds interesting… I’m working out a plan with AOP to offer a discount to my friends. If you would like more information on the computer software or online academy, send an email to my manager at As soon as I get the discount in place and more information about the programs I will send it on to you!
hawaiibassgirl asks, Do your children take a standardized test every year?
Lisa_Whelchel says, yes they take the SAT Exams every year.
guest1107 asks, do you feel homeshooling better protects kids from peer pressures of drugs, sex etc.?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Absolutely! I have the power to make sure my kids primarily hang out with the kids I want them to hang out with. I take that authority and responsibility seriously. They may not always agree with me but I will protect them and that means letting them know whom they can spend time with and whom they can’t. Home schooling affords me that luxury.

Chatmaster shouts, Learn more about Lisa Whelchel and what she does with her days. Follow her journal entries at

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cristaq asks, Do you have any relatives who give you a hard time about your homeschooling decision?
Lisa_Whelchel says, No .. I’ve been real fortunate to have a lot of support. At least that I know of… There may be a few peripheral people who I may not know about… But I’m blissfully unaware!
Lisa_Whelchel smiles
waterfalls1 asks, Were you home schooled Lisa?
Lisa_Whelchel says, I would have to say my education did closely resemble home schooling for Jr. High and High School. I went through public school through 6th grade. After that I was tutored on the set and when I wasn’t working I had packets from a Christian School that are actually home school curriculum. They were called PACE packets. That is how I was able to graduate from high school at 16 so that I could work a full day on the set. I doubled up on the PACE packets.
guest1031 asks, do you have any homeschool mentors?
Lisa_Whelchel says, From the very beginning, Mary Pride has been a source of inspiration and resource. I highly recommend her book “The Big Book of Home Learning”, especially Volume I, “Getting Started”, for anyone seriously considering home schooling.
cristaq asks, Lisa, how did Steve feel when you first wanted to homeschool?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Because we kind of “tip toed” into it, experimenting with Kindergarten, it really wasn’t an issue until it was time for them to enter 1st grade. By that point, the “proof was in the pudding!”
nissi3 asks, Does your husband participate in homeschooling?
Lisa_Whelchel says, He participates in Home schooling by going to work every day so I can stay home and home school. I will have to say that this year he has been helping out a lot more. As the kids get into Math that I’ve forgotten and have no desire to relearn! I plan to hand them over to him on many more occasions as they proceed to Jr. High and High School.
guest1121 asks, How do you handle having different age groups in the classroom?
Lisa_Whelchel says, I love it! I can teach them most all of the science, history, geography, literature and Bible all together around the kitchen table. For us that’s what home schooling is all about. It’s not about separating them to go off into different parts of the house all day… But drawing closer together.
cristaq asks, Lisa, how do you go about choosing your curriculum?
Lisa_Whelchel says, We have done something different every year depending on our family circumstances and what the kids need to accomplish that year. I’ll have to say that I think our all time favorite was the years when we had a much more eclectic curriculum and did more hands on science experiments, field trips and unit studies. But that’s not a viable option, not only for what the kids need to accomplish, but also my time is limited with my writing and speaking. That’s why the computer curriculum and online academy is a Godsend at this time.
smitty74 asks, Have you done any unit studies? which do you prefer?
Lisa_Whelchel says, First let me say that it is my personal opinion, if the mother can pull it off, that the unit studies are the very best way to teach a child because they will remember so much more of what they have learned because it’s tied to so many different methods of learning. But it sure is a lot of work! And it takes a lot of time and a lot of commitment! I usually put my own unit studies together, but I also really like KONOS. I realize that I should probably say that I like Weaver, which is Alpha Omega’s unit studies, but I’m not really familiar with their curriculum.
guest1048 asks, I’ve heard of homeschool burnout…have you ever had this, and how did you get over it?
Lisa_Whelchel says, I have never had home school burnout mostly because I run a pretty relaxed home school environment already. I try to make sure the kids stay on target for Math and Language Arts. If we get that in a day or even get basically what we need to cover in a week then I’m happy! For the elementary ages everything else is gravy, in my opinion, and much more fun to learn through books, field trips, discussions and videos.
guest1027 asks, Lisa, how do home-schooled children get their high school diplomas? I mean do you have to send away for one ?
Lisa_Whelchel says, In our situation, we are part of a “covering school” which takes care of all of the records, [laugh]files, grades, immunizations and everything else the government wants to have. They also take care of a high school diploma. I also enjoy being a part of a home school covering school because then I don’t have to worry about all the records. I can just concentrate on teaching the kids. Of course there are many more bonuses to being part of a covering school… We also have a home school sports league, drama club, science co-op and home schooling mother teas to interact with other moms.

Chatmaster shouts, Join us on May 9th at 9PM ET for our first ever round table discussion in Chat on the TNIV. Our guests will be Rev. Tim Bayly and Dr. Wayne Grudem, who oppose the TNIV. They will be joined by Dr. Mark Strauss and Dr. Ron Youngblood, who support the TNIV. May 9th at 9PM ET.

Chatmaster shouts, if you would like more information about Alpha/Omega’s Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum please email

Chatmaster shouts, Tonight we are focusing on her being a homeschool mom, but you can learn more about Lisa Whelchel at her web site

madchatter asks, Lisa, tell us about your upcoming homeschool book.
Lisa_Whelchel says, it’s called, “I’m Thinking About Home Schooling.” It will be published in April of 2003. Imagine walking into 12 different homes and being able to watch 12 different family situations with 12 unique home schooling methods. Do you think you would find it easier to determine if home schooling was right for you and if so which direction would work best for your family after interacting with these families?? That’s the premise of the book. Instead of chapters I’ll be describing different home schooling situations from large family to single working mother to home schooling on the road to father as primary as primary teacher. With all the different home school curriculum and methods described you will be able to witness these situations. My desire is by the end of the book, each family will be able to identify the situation and method that will work best for their situation and be inspired that they too can home school. By the way, for all you home schoolers out there, I’m going to need your help! I’m beginning the research on the book even now and that will include interviewing families with unique home schooling situations and a variety of home schooling methods. If you are interested in helping me would you take the time to go to my website at and sign up for my monthly e-letter. (If you haven’t done so already.) I plan to send out an e-letter next month soliciting responses to questions that I’ve prepared to find families to interview. Please pass this information on to all the home school families you know either through your own groups or bulletin boards. I need a lot of people to sign up for the e-letter so I can reach them and find these home schooling families to interview. Thanks a bunch!
setfreebygrace asks, can a single parent homeschool
Lisa_Whelchel says, Yes, and that will be one of the situations that I will be most eager to talk about in my book. I personally know of a few single parents who home school and do a wonderful job! There are many different ways to make this work and I hope to suggest a few of them in the book. My hats off to any parent that is that committed to their children… It’s a lot of work!
smitty74 asks, what are some general don’ts for the first year of homeschooling?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Thanks, a great question. Don’t try to do too much! You’ll burn yourself out and quench the spark for learning in your kids… Especially in the early grades. Even if you’re home schooling for the first time in the upper grades, take a few months to unwind… Debrief… Reconnect as a family and reestablish parental authority and discipline. Spend time reading books aloud and going on field trips and exploring personal interests together before you jump in to get them at grade level. You’ll eventually get there but it will be a lot easier and a lot more fun!
Clare_Host says, Wow… This has been great Lisa, do you have any parting thoughts for us?
Lisa_Whelchel says, Even having spent an entire hour cheerleading home schooling, I don’t believe that home schooling is for everyone. There are moms, dads and kids that are just not wired for it. That is not only “okay” but that’s the way God put us together as a body of different parts. Don’t feel guilty if you’re just not cut out for home schooling and don’t force it. Find out where God wants you to be… Whether public school, private school, Christian school or home schooling and jump in with BOTH feet! Know that you’re doing what God created you to do not what someone else says you need to be.
Clare_Host says, I want to thank you all for another great chat time here in the auditorium. It has been great to hear from Lisa about homeschooling. Don’t forget to check out more information at Homeschool Channel. Also mark your calendars for May 9th at 9PM ET when we will hold our first ever round table discussion in Chat. The topic will be the TNIV with guests Rev. Tim Bayly and Dr. Wayne Grudem, who oppose the TNIV. They will be joined by Dr. Mark Strauss and Dr. Ron Youngblood, who support the TNIV. GODSPEED!
Lisa_Whelchel waves

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