About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 22 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

Empty Tomb Garden Craft

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My grandson was up today to have a fun day with Nana.

Empty Tomb Garden Craft

It’s Feb. 24, so I figured it was a great time to plant our Empty Tomb Garden or Resurrection Garden that we’ve done in the past. The celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and the grave is the most important event in all of history.

Of the supplies needed: I only had to buy the terra cotta tray which I found at Lowes. The rest of the supplies I had in my shed. You may very well have many of them on hand, as well, which makes this a budget-friendly activity, as well!

The kids get the fun of going out and collecting some pebbles, twigs, rocks- so that is fun for them and a great way to involve all ages in this project.

Supplies for the Empty Tomb Garden Craft

I followed the supply list and instructions from http://wearethatfamily.com/2012/03/diy-mini-resurrection-garden/ You should check it out, too, and make one with your kids, in time for the Easter Season.

  • Terra cotta mini pot (tomb)
  • Terra cotta small tray
  • Small pebbles (one bag was plenty for three)
  • Grass seed
  • One small bag of potting soil
  • Small twigs and Large rock (smaller than a child’s fist) from the yard
  • String or a Glue gun
  • Spray water bottle

Instructions for the Empty Tomb Garden Craft

  1. Begin by adding the terra cotta mini pot which will be your tomb. Place it near the back of the plate so the other pieces can be added in front of the tomb.

Easter Boys craft with dirt

2. For little ones it is easy for them to add the rocks in front to fill in the space.

Working on the empty tomb garden craft

3. Next, cover the top of the tomb with dirt to form a hill over top.

Filling with plate with dirt

This part is fun for them.

Boys craft for Easter

It can get messy but don’t stress. It all cleans up.

4. Now to add the grass seed.

Adding dirt for the craftJust have them sprinkle a little bit all around the pile of dirt and then push the seeds gently into the dirt.

5. Add the Cross made of twigs.

Empty Tomb Garden CraftFor this part you can tie the cross together with string like we did or if you want to glue them with hot glue you can. We like to tie ours together with string.

6. Spray the Easter tomb dirt with water.

A finished empty tomb craftTake time every day to spritz your dirt and grass so that the grass seed can grow tall and green. I have my spray bottle next to our garden and should only be a few days before the grass begins to grow in your Resurrection gardens too.

FAQs about the Resurrection Garden Tombs

How do you get the Resurrection Tomb?

By making one with a terra cotta pot, dirt, stones, twigs, and grass seed. I’ve not seen sets to purchase for these but they are quite simple to make.

What other ways can you make this craft?

The Resurrection Tomb can be drawn by kids who enjoy drawing and there are also ways to make a paper mache tomb and that may be something your older kids would enjoy too.

7. Enjoy the finished Resurrection Garden that reminds us of the death and resurrection of Christ our Savior.

I read The Easter Story According to Matthew to him so he knew what this craft was all about. I LOVE the pictures in this book. The words are taken directly from the Bible.

How fun crafts are with your kids! Hope you enjoy doing this with your little guys.

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Valentines Day Ideas for Kids

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Here is a very simple way for little ones to make Valentines Day Craft Ideas for kids. Here are the supplies you’ll need- doilies, glue, and Sharpie pens (I used silver).

Valentines Day Ideas for Kids using Doilies

Valentines Day Ideas for Kids- I Corinthians 13-Style

We alternated the colors- red and white. On each little heart doily, we wrote one of the characteristics of LOVE from I Corinthians 13. Then we put glue on the big heart doily to attach the little one to it. Very simple but fun homemade gifts from the heart. Ruby made 5 of them!

Kids glueing Valentines crafts

I did it with my grandkids and they made Valentines for Mom and Dad. You can make these as a Valentine family project and give them to shut-ins, elderly people at church, a neighbor, friend, or anyone you want to encourage.

Finished Valentine Day craft project

Here are the characteristics of love:

Love:

is patient

is kind

is not jealous

does not brag

is not arrogant

is not easily provoked

does not seek its own benefit

does not keep an account of wrongs suffered

bears all things

hopes all things

endures all things

rejoices with the truth

Keeps every confidence

Proudly holding a finished Valentine Doily Craft Doily Valentine Craft for kids

 

Here is the finished Valentines Crafts

Finished Doily Valentine Crafts for kids

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Obeying Parents -Stories for Kids

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We all struggle as parents to know how to best teach our kids obedience. We’ve all felt the embarrassment when a child pitches a fit in the grocery store over wanting some item you don’t want them to have or when they ignore the direction you give them in front of your friends at church. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to teach academics to kids who just won’t listen and cooperate with us. We’ve all been there.

It’s easy to react to our kids instead of remembering what our God-given responsibility is. It’s not just to get them to be more compliant to us and thus make our life easier, but to teach them to recognize and deal with sin in their hearts. When they learn to obey us as parents, it is training them to have obedient hearts to the Lord later in life and THAT is why it’s so crucial.

Kids learn so much more effectively when they are given a story to help them relate to the experience of others. Kids will forget information, but they won’t forget stories. Over our many years of training our 14 kids, we’ve found stories to be super effective in teaching obedience.

Bible Story about Obeying Your Parents 

Here are some examples of what we found worked:

Bible stories – I Corinthians 10:11 in speaking of the Israelites, it says, “ Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  In other words, events/stories from the Bible were written so that others coming later could learn from the consequences, experiences, and lessons that God used to teach the Israelites. Psalm 102:18 says, ” Let this be written for the generation to come, so that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.”

We are to teach our kids lessons from people’s stories from the Bible, moral stories from our lives or lives of people we know, and true stories of obedience from history- real people who made real choices to be obedient.

Meeting WWII Soldiers

This was our aim with our kids and we have created resources with stories that do just that for you to use with your kids. It wasn’t easy coming up with stories as we were raising the kids at the same time. I would have loved to just be able to pick up a book to help me out, so that was our intent on creating these resources- to make your job easier with lessons we knew to be effective.

Moral Stories on Obedience to Parents

So, I’ll briefly share some examples of those stories with you so you have a better idea of what I’m talking about.

 

  • Crossroads of Character: Learning to Make Wise Choices contains everyday life stories covering 12 basic character qualities EVERY child needs to know. One of those is obedience. For this, we tell the story of two of our grandsons who went with Granddad for a fun day at the farm. They grapple together with a moral decision to obey or disobey as they wait for Granddad to come back with the tractor. They face the temptation to go feed the horses’ grass but have been warned not to go close to the horses as the fence is electric and may shock them. When they choose to cheerfully obey, they are later rewarded by Granddad taking them for a ride on the horses. This story provides you with a simple kid-friendly definition for obedience and a Bible verse as well as a real-life example.

Also in this book are 11 more examples of character choices. (appropriate for ages 3-12) Purchase Crossroads of Character

 

  • Character Trails: Learning to Walk in Paths of Righteousness covers 12 more character qualities providing for each a story from the Bible, a moral story from real life, and a true story from American history.

Stories for kids

For example, they learn joyfulness from Paul and Silas and Fanny Crosby, compassion from David and Mephibosheth and Florence Nightingale, and attentiveness from Samuel in the Bible and Lydia Darragh during the War of Independence as well as real-life stories from kids their own age. (appropriate for ages 5-12) Purchase Character Trails

Christian Stories on Obedience

Here are some more stories we provide about obedience:

  • Portraits of Integrity- A Family Treasury contains a story about Sergeant Alvin York during World War I who started out as a conscientious objector and ended up receiving the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Honor medal for silencing 35 German machine guns and capturing 132 prisoners in an amazing and heroic way thus illustrating obedience in a way kids won’t forget. This is one of 45 true stories illustrating character to kids and adults as well. (ages 7- adult)
  • Last, but not least we tell the story of Judy the English Pointer( and only official canine prisoner of war) who because of her obedience to her master in World War II saved the lives of many men as well as received the Dickin medal after the war. Purchase Portraits of Integrity

Kids of Character Bible Study offers youth devotions on obedience, providing short answer questions to look up the answers from the Bible to see what God’s Word has to say about obedience. It’s not just something mom and dad are telling them to do -see what God has to say about obedience (and 44 other character traits)and the blessings of choosing it. This study also gives you several application questions we called “If”s” to prepare your kids in advance for real-life situations involving obedience that they will face, guiding them to choose wisely. Purchase Kids of Character Bible Study

So, I hope this provides you with the practical help you need to teach your kids why to obey and how to obey and concrete examples of those who have made the hard choices and received the blessings of obedience in their lives. Enjoy the stories!!

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Christian Family Goals

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So, a new year is upon us! It’s the time we all stop to evaluate and see if we are on the right track and usually there is much we want to change. It’s also too easy to get caught up in stressing about things that won’t mean anything in terms of eternity. Temporal concerns are definitely with us and need consideration and planning, but being a mom who now has all grown kids and remembering what it was like to have a busy, crazy, noisy household for MANY years, I thought I’d reflect on what goals really mattered to help you gain perspective.

Yes,  this winter I’d like to get my living room floor, which gets much traffic, refinished. My couches are worn and a couple that aren’t real leather, are starting to peel. I have organizing to do in the attic and all my cabinets. I have a goal to simplify and get rid of stuff I no longer need and maintain a space for all those things I really do need and many more, just like you, but a season has passed for me. Yes, I still have a lot of contact with my kids and want to have input into their lives but it’s a different season than it used to be when I had little people living under my roof and dependent on me for all their needs. 

green sprouts just starting to grow.

 If you still have kids at home, you still need to make the most of that special, impacting time with them. Time is short, even though it doesn’t feel like it often. So here goes. Here are some Christian family goals that really matter:

 

  1. Cultivating your own spiritual walk– This is easy to neglect, but vital. Don’t let someone else make you feel guilty if you don’t spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning. That may work great for you, but during my 47 years of raising kids, it was never my strong time. It changes according to kid’s ages, husband’s schedule, etc, but I wanted to give the Lord my BEST time and it often was not first thing in the morning after being up with fussy or nursing babies, sick kids, etc. In fact, early morning was NEVER my best time- it was a drowsy time. Sometimes, it was naptime , sometimes late at night, but the point is, find the time you are most alert and available and give God your best attention to His Word and prayer. Have a plan in mind- something you are searching out in Scripture or a daily Bible reading plan-change it up every year but find what works for you at the season you are in and stick to it. You’ll be a better Christian, wife, mom, friend, neighbor for it.
  2. Cultivating your relationship with your husband. This is so easy to overlook when you are in the midst of many little people demanding your constant attention, but again, it’s very important and a top priority after your relationship with the Lord. Find time to spend together communicating. It’s ok for kids to have a quiet time to read, play quietly, etc. It’s actually good for them. Until the kids were old enough to babysit, it was hard to get away together, but we did occasionally even if it was just going out for ice cream or a walk.  Your kids will be out of your home before you know it. I’m saying that after 47 years of kids in my home, it happens faster than you think. Take time to appreciate each other- and that takes some creativity and planning.
  3. Guiding your kids to have a spiritual walk, daily time with the Lord– Time spent in the Word- reading, studying, practical application Plan time for the kids to spend with God and guide them as needed as to how to do that effectively. We for years had quiet time at little guys’ naptime and that’s when older kids would do devotions and the house was actually quiet. That worked for a number of years till kids got jobs, etc. We have multiple Bible study books(and flashcards and Bible CD’s for memorization) you may find helpful for all ages of kids to help them dig insights from the Word to apply to daily life. 

Kids of Character Bible study– 45 basic character qualities everyone needs to know- looking up short answer questions from the Word

Proverbs People Collection– learn of the people you will meet in life and how to relate to them 

Growing in Wisdom– 32 negative kinds of behavior and the corresponding positive qualities seen through the lens of God’s Word and what he has to say about them

Living the Fruitful Life– how to apply the fruit of the spirit to your life- what is it and how to apply

Words of Wisdom– get a grip on the power of your words and you will have a real advantage in life

Power in Proverbs-learn to dig out insights from the Word on multiple topics so you will be able to do this your entire life when you need God’s wisdom on a topic

  1. Time memorizing the Word, teaching Scriptures according to the need– every negative character quality you may be struggling with has a corresponding positive quality. We need the wisdom of God to put off the wrong and put on the right. If your child is struggling with anger, for instance, have them learn what the Word says about anger and about self-control. (Growing in Wisdom can help you with this ) Rick recorded Scripture and we had the kids listen at naptime/bedtime or even playtime. They learned so much Scripture without even trying and it helped to guide them as they grew and came back to mind to help supply direction in a time of need. It was one of the best and easiest things we did to teach them the Word of God. See all of the Uncle Rich Scripture Audios here.
  2. Time to spend with each child– studying them, being committed to their success, learning their weaknesses, strengths, desires, goals, dreams, what inspires them, what discourages them, things they want to accomplish, helping them with those goals, above my own goals. This takes time and evaluation. Each child is so unique and it takes quality time to know them and convince them you are committed to their success. I discuss this in detail in some of my podcasts- Moments with Marilyn
  3. Quality time to serve others as a family– This is SO important. We need to invest in our kids, but we need to teach them to invest in others so they learn life is not just about them. God has left us here to serve and we have received some of our richest blessings as we reach out and serve others as a family. We talked about teaching your kids to care here in this podcast. 
  4. Serving in your church in whatever capacity you can. I must qualify this. Find a way to serve in whatever season you are in. If you have a lot of little people you may not be able to serve in ways others can. Even if it’s notes of encouragement to others or visiting shut-ins, taking meals to new moms- whatever you are able to do in your busy season. It’s so important for kids to grow up investing in others.  When it’s a way of life when little, they will carry that over to be way of life as they grow up and some of our biggest blessings have been ministering to others.

Beyond this, evaluate each possibility to see if it fits the season you are in now. Remember, you won’t get this time back.  

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

 

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Obeying Parents-Story for Kids

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We all struggle as parents to know how to best teach our kids obedience. We’ve all felt the embarrassment when a child pitches a fit in the grocery store over wanting some item you don’t want them to have or when they ignore the direction you give them in front of your friends at church. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to teach academics to kids who just won’t listen and cooperate with us. We’ve all been there.

It’s easy to react to our kids instead of remembering what our God-given responsibility is. It’s not just to get them to be more compliant to us and thus make our life easier, but to teach them to recognize and deal with sin in their hearts. When they learn to obey us as parents, it is training them to have obedient hearts to the Lord later in life and THAT is why it’s so crucial.

Kids learn so much more effectively when they are given a story to help them relate to the experience of others. Kids will forget information, but they won’t forget stories. Over our many years of training our 14 kids, we’ve found stories to be super effective in teaching obedience.

Here are some examples of obeying parents that we found worked:

Bible stories: I Corinthians 10:11 in speaking of the Israelites, it says, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” In other words, events/stories from the Bible were written so that others coming later could learn from the consequences, experiences, and lessons that God used to teach the Israelites.

Psalm 102:18 says, “Let this be written for the generation to come, so that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.

“We are to teach our kids lessons from people’s stories from the Bible, moral stories from our lives or lives of people we know, and true stories of obedience from history-real people who made real choices to be obedient. This was our aim with our kids and we have created resources with stories that do just that for you to use with your kids. It wasn’t easy coming up with stories as we were raising the kids at the same time. I would have loved to just be able to pick up a book to help me out, so that was our intent on creating these resources to make your job easier with lessons we knew to be effective.

Examples of Obeying Parents – Stories for Kids

So, I’ll briefly share some examples of those stories with you so you have a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Crossroads of Character: Learning to Make Wise Choices contains everyday life stories covering 12 basic character qualities EVERY child needs to know. One of those is obedience. For this, we tell the story of two of our grandsons who went with Granddad for a fun day at the farm. They grapple together with a moral decision to obey or disobey as they wait for Granddad to come back with the tractor. They face the temptation to go feed the horses’ grass but have been warned not to go close to the horses as the fence is electric and may shock them. When they choose to cheerfully obey, they are later rewarded by Granddad taking them for a ride on the horses. This story provides you with a simple kid-friendly definition for obedience and a Bible verse as well as a real-life example.
Also in this book are 11 more examples of character choices. (appropriate for ages 3-12)
•Character Trails: Learning to Walk in Paths of Righteousnesscovers
12 more character qualities providing for each a story from the Bible, a moral story from real life, and a true story from American history. For example, they learn joyfulness from Paul and Silas and Fanny Crosby, compassion from David and Mephibosheth and Florence Nightingale, and attentiveness from Samuel in the Bible and Lydia Darragh during the War of Independence as well as real-life stories from kids their own age.(appropriate for ages 5-12)

Purchase Character Trails

 

Here are some more stories we provide about obedience:

•Portraits of Integrity-A Family Treasury
contains a story about Sergeant Alvin York during World War I who started out as a conscientious objector and ended up receiving the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Honor medal for silencing 35 German machine guns and capturing 132 prisoners in an amazing and heroic way thus illustrating obedience in a way kids won’t forget. This is one of 45 true stories illustrating character to kids and adults as well. (ages 7-adult)

Last, but not least we tell the story of Judy the English Pointer( and only official canine prisoner of war) who because of her obedience to her master in World War II saved the lives of many men as well as received the Dickin medal after the war.

Kids of Character Bible Study
offers youth devotions providing short answer questions to look up the answers from the Bible to see what God’s Word has to say about obedience. It’s not just something mom and dad are telling them to do -see what God has to say about obedience (and 44 other character traits)and the blessings of choosing it. This study also gives you several application questions we called “If”s” to prepare your kids in advance for real-life situations involving obedience that they will face, guiding them to choose wisely.
So, I hope this provides you with the practical help you need to teach your kids why to obey and how to obey and concrete examples of those who have made the hard choices and received the blessings of obedience in their lives. Enjoy the stories!!
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Bundle Gift

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Here are your Mega Bundle Resources:

Just click on these links to access them and then you can save them or print them.

  1. Character Qualities to Teach
  2. I’ll Start Being a Good Mom
  3. 10 Ways to Encourage
  4. Delighting Key to Keeping Their Hearts

Who We Are:

Rick and Marilyn Boyer are true pioneers of the home education movement. They began teaching the eldest of their fourteen children at home in 1980 and are still actively home schooling their three youngest children today.

Rick and Marilyn have authored several books on home education and Christian parenthood and have spoken at conferences all across America and in several foreign countries. Their books have been translated into a number of foreign languages and have circulated around the world. Their ministry, Character Concepts, encourages parents through the resources they publish, their speaking ministry, this website, regular newsletters, and their articles, which have been published in several leading homeschooling magazines.

Marilyn is always appreciated for her keen and warmhearted insights into parenting while Rick, with his humorous, folksy style has been called “the Will Rogers of the homeschooling movement.”

CharacterConcepts.com grew out of the day-to-day life of Rick and Marilyn Boyer. The Boyers wanted their fourteen children to have fun-to-use, Bible-based character training materials but couldn’t find an organized character curriculum. So they designed fun projects to teach character lessons from Scripture. As time went on, they began to combine their ideas into an age-appropriate curriculum so that other parents could have the benefit of their experience. Now, the Character Concepts Curriculum and the Boyers’ large selection of parenting and home schooling books and recordings give parents the hands-on tools to train up “kids of character!”

Rick and Marilyn Boyer Then:

 

Rick and Marilyn Boyer Now:
Homeschool Family

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Character Trails Anniversary

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The Character Trails Book is…

It’s A Big Anniversary

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we released Character Trails, the second book in our Character with the Cousins series, but it has!

We know many of you have followed the ‘cousins’ through the 4 books in the series. SO, to celebrate we thought first of all, we’d catch you up on what those cousins have been up to the last 10 years and some of their goals for the future. Ten years makes SUCH a difference.

 

Discount for November:

Also, for the month of November, we are offering you a 30% discount on Character Trails: Learning to Walk in Paths of Righteousness. AND, I asked the cousins to recommend some of the Character Concepts and Uncle Rick Audios that have been their personal favorites through the years and we will offer weekly specials on those throughout the month.

Be sure to listen to this week’s podcast where I interviewed the cousins (Lauren was out of town, so she wasn’t able to be present). Cassidy, Luke, Anne, Adam, and Melody were all available to share a little bit of their lives with you.

Boyer Cousins Then and Now:

Just for fun, we had Cass stage a photo like the one on the cover of Character Trails, ten years later. The actual log they sat on for the cover picture is now thoroughly rotten, but we found a similar one in our same patch of woods.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

Character Training Curriculum:

Character Trails teaches kids 12 basic character qualities, providing stories from the Bible, history, and everyday life for each one as well as suggestions for practically implementing each one as they learn it. Our aim was to put character definitions and implementation on a level kids approximately ages 6-10 could understand.

So for the entire month of November 2021, get 30% off the Character Trails book. It would make a great Christmas gift for other families.

Purchase more Character Training Curriculum at www.CharacterConcepts.com

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Bundle

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Conference Special #1

We are excited you have been a part of the Conference. We love sharing with homeschoolers and we pray these resources will be a blessing to your family. Click below to download them.

I want the Mega Bundle Resource

 

Conference Special #2

“We absolutely love the Uncle Rick audios! My three youngest listen to them at bedtime many nights a week. I love his gentle reading voice as well as explanations along the way. What a terrific way for my children to hide God’s Word in their hearts!” Happy Listeners

Our special promo includes a bundle of products worth $130!

Details: Sign up for the Uncle Rick Audio Club Subscription.

For $10 a month,  you get to download and keep any two audiobooks each month. ($30 value)

For this special promotion, when you sign up, you will receive the bundle of digital products below. Our complete satisfaction guarantee is always in place – if you’re not happy, neither are we!

  • Uncle Rick Holiday E-book $15
  • Cowboy Sam E-book Collection $55
  • The Runt AudioBook – $15
  • Dynamic Stories of Great Trailblazers Series- Discovery Readers ebooks- $45

 Sign Me Up for Uncle Rick Audio Club

 

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Bundle Download

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Here are your Mega Bundle Resources:

 

  1. Resources for Easy, but Engaging Family Times
  2. 14 Reasons I’m Glad We Homeschooled
  3. Character Qualities for a Mom
  4. 20 Ways To Delight in Your Preschooler
  5. Age-Appropriate Chores
  6. Character Qualities to Teach
  7. Consequence Chart
  8. Why Am I Doing This?
  9. Homeschooling & Preschoolers Too
  10. Identifying Offenses
  11. My Kids Hate School
  12. School Time Activities
  13. Bible Quiz
  14. Bible Quiz Answers

Who We Are:

Rick and Marilyn Boyer are true pioneers of the home education movement. They began teaching the eldest of their fourteen children at home in 1980 and are still actively home schooling their three youngest children today.

Rick and Marilyn have authored several books on home education and Christian parenthood and have spoken at conferences all across America and in several foreign countries. Their books have been translated into a number of foreign languages and have circulated around the world. Their ministry, Character Concepts, encourages parents through the resources they publish, their speaking ministry, this website, regular newsletters, and their articles, which have been published in several leading homeschooling magazines.

Marilyn is always appreciated for her keen and warmhearted insights into parenting while Rick, with his humorous, folksy style has been called “the Will Rogers of the homeschooling movement.”

CharacterConcepts.com grew out of the day-to-day life of Rick and Marilyn Boyer. The Boyers wanted their fourteen children to have fun-to-use, Bible-based character training materials but couldn’t find an organized character curriculum. So they designed fun projects to teach character lessons from Scripture. As time went on, they began to combine their ideas into an age-appropriate curriculum so that other parents could have the benefit of their experience. Now, the Character Concepts Curriculum and the Boyers’ large selection of parenting and home schooling books and recordings give parents the hands-on tools to train up “kids of character!”

Rick and Marilyn Boyer Then:

 

Rick and Marilyn Boyer Now:
Homeschool Family

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