Detailed Homeschool Records Made Simple – Video


Do you struggle with knowing where to start with your homeschool records?  Multiple kids, 180 days of school papers, test scores, grades, reading lists, course descriptions, strengths, weaknesses, activities…where do we start?

For the last nine years, I’ve been slowly educated on what is important enough to keep and what to toss aside into the recycle bin.  If you’re under a pile of paperwork wondering how to keep your homeschool records detailed as well as simple, I hope this idea will work for you!

If you don’t see the video, click here.

Start with purchasing one plastic presentation folder per student. 

Fill the folder with page protectors-one for each school year.  Fill the page protector with a year-end summary, grades, attendance, standardized test scores, a picture, and the student’s best work.



Please share your own ideas! We love to hear from each of you!


“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD, 

Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts.  

They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths.” -Psalm 119:1-3 NLT


In Him,

Tara Dovenbarger



10 Things We Don’t Want Our Kids to Learn from Church




It’s supposed to be a safe place for our children to learn about Christ, about His Word, about faith, about love, and about what living for the Lord looks like. 

But sometimes the lessons they learn aren’t words of wisdom that will ground them for life. Instead they are lessons that leave scars on their hearts and undermine their faith.

Here are 10 things we don’t want our children to learn from church…

1. To think church is a place to hide themselves from the world

God calls us to be salt and light in a dark world. Our children will never change the world if they won’t leave the four walls of the church. (Matt 5:13-16)

2. To become judgmental and critical of those who aren’t like them

While the Bible tells us to judge righteous judgement, it also tells us that God is the Judge. Judgement about what is right and wrong is essential. But judging others is God’s job. We need to teach our children that our job is to love people to Christ and leave the judging up to God – and to refrain from criticizing fellow believers who struggle with things they may never have struggled with. (Matthew 7:1)

3. To confuse preferences with doctrine

Music is a preference, not a biblical doctrine. The style of the way a church functions is a preference, not a biblical doctrine. The message is our purpose. The method is the means by which we share our message. The message can never change, but the methods should consistently be changing as our culture changes if we are going to meet people where they are and reach reach them for Christ. (Matthew 23:23-24)

4. To stay stuck in Status Quo and think traditions rule and things can’t change

Churches begin to die out when they start saying, “We’ve never done that before. Why would we change now?” Traditions are important but they shouldn’t prevent us from being current or missional. The Church has to be willing to change because the culture changes, the needs of the community change, the way we reach people today is very different than the way we were able to reach people in the 80’s. Jesus was relevant. He met people where they were. We need to do the same. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)

5. To argue about the insignificant instead of focusing on what really matters most

Too many churches have split over the color of the carpet, whether to use chairs or pews, or whether to call their class a small group or a Sunday School class. The Word of God calls us to focus on the eternal, not get caught up in the frivolous. (Colossians 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:4-6)

6. To be a hypocrite or think that everyone who goes to church is a Christian

Too many have been hurt by those who say they are Christians yet live as if they don’t know God. How often do we meet people at church who appear to be godly, who seem to know the Bible, who even hold teaching or leadership positions in the church, but they are vicious, backbiting, lying, and unloving people who have an obvious disparity between what they know, what they say and how they live? God help us teach our children to live what we say we believe and to be who we say we are. (2 Timothy 2:4)

7. To look at church as a protective Christian bubble and have a misconception of what the Church is and what the Church does

We are called to live on mission – to be missional – to be the church in the community, not just go to church once or twice a week. The Bible says we are the church… the called out ones. What we call the church is actually the building where the Church gathers together and worships the Living God. May we teach our children that we are the church and we go to worship. May we teach our children that, as the called out ones, God calls us to escape the Christian bubble and impact our communities and this culture for Christ. (Acts 1:8, 1 Peter 2:9-12)

8. To think there are positions, power and Christian stars in the church

Bond servants. That’s what we all are. Every Christian has submitted their lives to God to become a servant. In a day when there seems to be Christian celebrities, it’s important to teach our children that Jesus is the only One we worship – that we can’t make an idol out of those who serve Christ along side of us. We honor our pastors and leaders because they have specific roles of service in the body… but Jesus is the star of this eternal show and He is the One who is who gets glory. (Acts 10:34)

9. To get used to being saved and become complacent, comfortable or callous – or to substitute serving God for knowing Him

The church is an amazing, wonderful forever family and when we meet together, it’s beautiful. But it’s easy to grow weary in the work if we don’t focus on Christ. It’s easy to allow ourselves to begin looking at our personal time with God as something we check off our to-do list. It’s easy to try to fill every need and then find ourselves burnt out because we aren’t functioning in the area of our giftedness or doing what the Lord is calling us to do. It’s easy to substitute serving God for knowing Him.

May we teach our children that greater than God’s call on our lives to serve Him is His call on our lives to know Him. (Matthew 22:36-40)

10. To think that the church is divided because of denominations, color or culture

The church is not a denomination… it is comprised of those who have been born again and become part of the family of God. Denominations exists for a variety of reasons. Some try hard to stand strong on what they believe the Bible teaches, others hold fast to traditions or family ties… ultimately, none of us can say we are infallible or that we have perfect understanding about every doctrine. And the church is not a divided entity, it is one church and Jesus is the head of the church. Some Christians worship in a specific church because the culture is familiar and comfortable… but color or culture should never divide those who Christ died to make one. (John 17:21, Ephesians 4:4-6)

There are a million and one things I want my children to learn at church – but there are some things I don’t want them to learn. 

Do you agree or disagree? Have you seen any of these things that ought not be in the church?


5 Super Cool & Helpful Mom Apps



“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” Ephesians 5:16 (NLT)

Have you ever felt like there just wasn’t enough time in your day? Like you couldn’t get it all done? Here are 5 super cool apps that can help make your mom life a tad easier.


1. BABY CONNECT ($4.99)babytracker2

A Great way to keep up with your children’s activities, schedules, routines, etc…

  • Track daily information about children: feeding, diapers, sleep, mood, activities, medicines, photos, …
  • Several authorized users can be specified for each child: parents, family, daycare staff, … Entries are immediately securely synchronized on each user account
  • Parents and Child Care staff can easily exchange messages via the application
  • Available on iPhone/iPod touchiPadAndroidWindows Phone devices, or with a browser by logging to


2. SITORSQUAT (FREE)0213_apps_sitorsquat1

Okay… so this is for every mom who has a toddler who has to go potty NOW! Who’da thunk it? But there is an app to help you find a bathroom really fast!

Long hailed as a must-have app by the likes of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, SitorSquat records and allows you access to bathroom information around the world. Need to find a place to breastfeed or change a quick diaper? SitorSquat will help you find the nearest public bathroom to fit your needs, and it will even show you images of what to expect, with user reviews. Free.


3. MY BABY TODAY (FREE) unnamed

What a great way to NEVER forget those special moments… when your baby took her first steps, when your child lost his first tooth, or how tall your little one is on her first birthday.

Promising to give new parents support, reminders and reasons to laugh 24/7, Baby Center’s new all-in-one My Baby Today app will keep you on track once your little one arrives. Neat features include a personalized calendar for your child’s development, helpful checklists and reminders, and a photo album, along with health-care and feeding advice for all of life’s “Is this normal?” moments. 


4. WEBMD BABY (FREE)preview-iphone

What a great app for moms! Health info and emergency help right at your finger tips!

This app provides easy access to doctor-approved health information—from illnesses to emergency symptoms and newborn care tips—whenever and wherever you need it. You’ll also receive weekly content packages for baby’s first two years, with guidance geared to her specific age and stage.




What mom wouldn’t love a personal assistant? This is the next bed thing. 

Organizes your to-do lists and tasks, simplifies your grocery lists, schedules appointments by syncing up all your calendars and more.

AND… if you’re short on time, the location assistance feature finds out if you are near any places where you can complete your errands.



Let the Education Begin


Motherhood. We tend to think of this as a season for teaching. We bear the responsibility for a tiny life and for the next 18 years – or more accurately for the rest of our lives – it is our responsibility to guide, correct, and teach these God-given blessings. That’s what I thought anyway.

It didn’t take me very long after giving birth to my first son to realize that the one who was going to do most of the learning was ME! One of my favorite sayings when coming upon a new challenge quickly became, “No one tells you about this before you enter motherhood!”

At first it was very concerning as I realized daily all the things I didn’t know, but over time I have come to embrace the learning process. I now know that I would never be what I am today if it were not for the education that has taken place throughout my years as a mother.

As I began my mom journey, I was encouraged by the Bible verse, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd: He will gather the lambs in His arm, He will carry them in His bosom and will gently lead those that have their young.” Isaiah 40:11 (AMP)

As I struggled with making decisions; dealing with crying babies; breaking up toddler fights; and knowing how to handle medical crises, homework assignments, and broken hearts, I often felt unprepared. This typically led to times of discouragement and doubt. But when I discovered this verse in Isaiah, I was encouraged to know that I was not alone in the mothering process. The Lord was really the One Who would shepherd my children – and even more than that He would lead me as I led them!

I gave in to the learning process. I recognized that to be a good mother all I have to do is follow the Good Shepherd.

By seeking Him daily through His Word, asking His guidance, and giving myself the freedom to learn through my mistakes, I grew as an individual right along with my children – and I was a lot easier to live with!

Through the years, I have continued to grow because there are always new challenges. And as any woman with children knows, a mother never stops being a mother. It is a journey of learning, leading, and following that lasts a lifetime.

So don’t be discouraged. Make it your priority to follow the Shepherd Who carries the lambs in His arms and gently leads the nursing young. Let the education begin!


What No Mom Wants to Talk About

no mom 2

Don’t TV stations do a great job of pulling you to a must see show? I had seen the ads for Tyra and knew it was one I didn’t want to miss.

In her very frank way, the talk show host was dragging all “private” issues out in the open as she interviewed a panel of teen girls. The topic: sexting. The surprise guests: their mothers. Wow were they surprised as these moms heard their thirteen, fourteen and fifteen-year-old girls talk freely of the explicit language and NUDE pictures they regularly exchange with their friends. The shock on the mothers’ faces proved they had no idea it was happening. The nude girl on the phone was a totally different girl than the daughter in their home…or so they thought.

I don’t know about your community, but it is a common occurrence for my girl to see phones passed around in her school. It’s no secret. She and every other student know exactly what the kids are sharing.

“Nudes” as they are called, fall under the topic “No Mom Wants to Talk About”. Tough conversations are more than uncomfortable, but we must have them. Nudes have become common place in our kid’s culture. We cannot pretend it is not happening. When we turn an eye, we’re turning to hide.

For starters, Mom, it is important to know who your child is on social media with. Are you following her on Instagram, Twitter or Snap Chat? Is the boy at the supper table each evening the same guy on Instagram? Is she one girl when praying at night, and a different one when texting in the dark?

Maybe you don’t follow your child because they have protested; pulled the “privacy” card. In our house you have a right to your privacy when you begin paying for the roof over your head. Giving too much privacy when a child is still maturing puts a child at risk.

As their parents, it is our responsibility to challenge our kids to live a life that honors God in every aspect of their lives, and social media is no exception. This is the platform where they can begin to display their bravery with their faith, like Peter did. 

In Acts 5, Peter was being pushed and pulled by those around him who called the shots, the guys who determined who was in, and who was out (they had so much power they could determine who would live and who would die!) Peter’s answer to these dudes was “It is better to obey God rather than men.”

Does the life of our kids’ reflect Peter’s statement?

Standing for something when everyone else is falling for everything is beyond hard. Yet in 2 Timothy 1:12 ESV, Paul challenges Timothy, “ which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”

Don’t be afraid to challenge your child.  Who are they going to be, and what are they going to stand for?

And before you have some words to say, take some time with some words to pray:

Jesus, help ___________ to want to stand up for you. Holy Spirit, whisper to her if she is being fake. Empower her to be real and choose to obey you. Amen.

Ask your child to be honest today. Is the the girl she is projecting and the girl she is at home one and the same?


Lynn - Headshot  edited   Lynn Cowell is a Proverbs 31 speaker and the author of several books including her newest “Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants”. Lynn helps set girls and women on the path toward wise choices by leading them to the only love that can fill the love gap in their hearts. Her husband and their three children live in North Carolina where they love hiking, rafting and anything combining chocolate and peanut butter. Connect with her more at