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!

Coming October 12th: The Homeschool Upgrade Summit

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Our mission as parents is monumental:

To raise our children to be disciples of Jesus Christ who know their God and seek His Kingdom above everything.

But wow — is it ever a fight to stay on target.

Our enemy knows the power of our mission, and he’ll use any means possible to keep our eyes down, looking to worldly success. We’re confronted by anti-God systems and patterns everywhere we turn, even in our own homeschool cabinets, and especially in our own hearts.

We’ve got to keep looking to Christ and find a way to integrate a God-centered mindset into our children’s education. It’ll take a serious upgrade from where we’re at now — and then? It will impact eternity.

So join us for the Homeschool Upgrade Summit to get back to our mission: We’ll climb past the distractions of worldly success and UPGRADE our vision, relationships, academics, and success — to a life of victory and joy through family discipleship.

Rick and I are so glad we are able to be a part of the Homeschool Upgrade Summit and we will be teaching How to Delight in Your Children. All the virtual video sessions will be encouraging as you watch and apply God’s truth to your homeschool and family life.

Register now for this online event, coming October 12-16, 2020 — free for a limited time! There are so many good speakers!

How’s it work?

The Homeschool Upgrade Summit is a week-long event featuring video sessions in a personable, interview-style format — just like having coffee with your favorite speakers! It’s all free the week of October 12-16, 2020, and also features the Homeschool Summits Exhibit Hall (with lots of only-here discounts) so you can invest intentionally into what’s best for your family.

Homeschool Summits has been producing top-of-the-line web events for over four years. This fall’s brand-new event will help you skip the burden of worldly success and pursue a life of discipleship in your every-day homeschooling.

Get ready for a week of mission-focused encouragement & application — and watch your family flourish as you seek first the Kingdom of God together!

Register Now

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 12 Ideas for Fun Summer Days at Home

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collage for summer ideas

Fun Summer Days at Home

When my kids were young, I liked to try to do some fun things that weren’t a part of our normal school year- to make summer days more fun. These are simple, inexpensive or free ideas that really just let kids be kids. There’s no need to get fancy or expensive. Kids’ imaginations are the best toy, when encouraged to be used, and simple fun is usually the most fun!

So- before summer bids farewell for another year, here are some simple, yet fun ideas you can enjoy with your kids.

Continue reading  12 Ideas for Fun Summer Days at Home

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 Ideas for Road Trip Fun in the Car

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Summertime is here, and it’s time for vacation or fun day trips!

I just took a few of my grand kids to the lake last week (about an hour away) and I heard the age-old question from one of them, “When will we be there? Are we there yet? How much longer?”

Time drags for little guys when they are all excited to be somewhere and yet we just keep driving.

Here are some fun suggestions for things that have worked for us over the years to keep little ones occupied and excited (and to help you keep your sanity!!)

Continue reading  Ideas for Road Trip Fun in the Car

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Summer Time Tip: Assign Chores for Next School Year

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Summer is always the time I would reassign chores to each of my kids.

I made a master list of everything that needed to be done in our home on a regular basis. Then each summer, I would run off a new copy of the list and evaluate who in our home was the best choice for each chore for the next year.

The reason I did this in the summer was because that was the best time for training each child in the chore they were responsible for. It doesn’t work to just say, “Go clean the bathroom”, for instance. Your child will do what they think makes it clean but they need to be instructed and trained as to how to do it correctly.

It’s kind of fun to change up the chores each year so everyone learns how to do all the chores eventually, and since we’re not doing school in the summer, I took that time to train everyone. By training them in their chores in the summer, the school year would flow more smoothly, rather than having to train in chores as well as doing school work.

Continue reading Summer Time Tip: Assign Chores for Next School Year

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Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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Ideas for Easy Family Devotions with Kids.

In raising our 14 kids I can’t say we’ve always been consistent in family devotion times with the kids. It actually got much harder as the kids got older and had so many out of the home commitments. But before we got to that stage, we had fairly consistent family Bible times.

In the next couple of posts I plan to share some of the things we did that proved successful but not overwhelming to accomplish, as well as some of the resources we developed that can be picked up and used without prep time on Dad or Mom’s part. Rick was a dad who had a physically intensive job so he would come home very tired and not at his creative best, so something that did not require a lot of preparation was important for that reason. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation.

Family Devotions don’t have to be in-depth, or extremely time-consuming. They don’t have to follow a particular formula, and you don’t have to have visuals and activities planned out to accompany your time together in order to “make it work”.  What is important, really, is that you try to set aside some time to simply lead your family in listening to God’s word and discussing it together. If you want to do more, great! But, if you cannot- don’t lose heart! Do what you can. Little is MUCH when God is in it!

Here are Easy Ideas and Resources for Family Devotions:

Continue reading Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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How to Teach Your Children to Spend Time in the Word

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How can you instill the practice of studying God’s Word into your children? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But, let me share with you what we did with our own children….

From the time our children were babes in the bassinet, we played Bible audios for them at sleep times. It would be a comfort to them and help them to settle down to turn on their Bible CD’s. Pretty early on, Rick recorded audios for them and explained difficult words and meanings to them which was actually teaching them how to meditate on God’s Word. This also served to show the kids that God’s Word was practical and interesting to listen to.

We read Bible stories to our little people and had a Friday night Bible quiz each week asking questions from our reading during the week. We would reward them for answering questions, and it encouraged them to be attentive during reading times- to want to “pay attention on purpose.”

Continue reading How to Teach Your Children to Spend Time in the Word

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Tips for Teaching Preschoolers

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tips-for-teaching-preschoolers

Preschool is one of my favorite ages to teach. The love of learning is so strong. Everything is so exciting and fun for this age. With my own preschoolers, my goal was to be sure not to squelch but enhance that God-given love of learning. These tips for teaching preschoolers is from personal experience.

I do believe a schedule benefits children by building in them a sense of security. For this reason, I scheduled times to work with my preschoolers so they knew what to expect and what was expected of them.

Tips for Teaching Preschoolers:

 

1. Keeping Preschoolers Occupied

I found early on that to a large degree, my success in home schooling many ages at one time was dependent on how I managed my preschoolers. Preschool children have the potential of being a major distraction to the learning environment and must be handled wisely.

Continue reading Tips for Teaching Preschoolers

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More Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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Family devotion time doesn’t need to be complicated. I remember little Matt when he was about 3 or 4; he would get his pillow and stretch out on his back underneath the coffee table every night with his feet up in the air touching the bottom of the tabletop. We never let our kids disrupt family time by running around being loud, but expected them to listen quietly. Matt, listening quietly, would fall asleep every time! Sweet memories. It’s okay. They’ll pick up a whole lot more than you think even if it appears that they aren’t being really attentive.

So, continuing with suggestions for easy Family Bible Times, let me share with you several more ways we spent time together as a family learning about God. (Miss Part 1? Read it here)

Continue reading More Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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Part 3: Obedient Hearts: Obedience- It’s Not Always Easy (a true story illustration)

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Character-Concepts-Alvin-York

Sergeant York – Obedient Heart in Action 

“… A great story to illustrate to your children how obedience may be hard for the moment, but will lead to greater good in the end.” ~Rick

If you’ve ever seen the wonderful 1941 movie, Sergeant York you’re already acquainted with the story of the Tennessee mountaineer, a hard-drinking, brawling, straight-shooting country boy who became the most famous American hero of World War I.

Continue reading Part 3: Obedient Hearts: Obedience- It’s Not Always Easy (a true story illustration)

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Setting Your Kids Free

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Do you feel bound by your curriculum? Do you feel guilty if you don’t do every problem? Are your kids overwhelmed, bored, or frustrated on a regular basis? I want to encourage you to free your children and free yourself, too!

A simple tip to remember is to give your child enough practice to challenge them, but not so much that you overwhelm them. I wish there were a simple rule for how much to give them. I used to think the textbook writers knew this and what was provided in the curriculum is exactly what every child needed. Boy, did I ever find out the hard way!

Continue reading Setting Your Kids Free

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