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!

 12 Ideas for Fun Summer Days at Home


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


Sugar Free Rhubarb Crisp You’ll LOVE


Grain-Free, Sugar-free Rhubarb Crisp

I adapted my old stand-by apple crisp recipe as I am now limiting grains and sugar in my diet.
This actually turned out really yummy!

Rhubarb Crisp in a dish with half of it eaten.
4 cups rhubarb cut into small pieces
1 cup Swerve brown sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds, pulsed in a blender to look like oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease square pan 8 x 8.

Place rhubarb in the pan.

Mix the remaining
ingredients thoroughly.

Rhubarb crisp in a bowl.

Sprinkle over rhubarb.

Bake 30 min or until rhubarb is tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm or cold. I
poured a bit of grass-fed cream on top of mine.

Tasted wonderful!


Gluten Free Energy Bites


Lately, I’ve been trying to eat sugar and grain-free, it can be challenging to find snack options that are both satisfying and nutritious. However, these energy bites tick all the boxes as Gluten-Free Energy Bites.

Here is a really YUMMY recipe for energy bites. They are great to grab quickly.

These energy bites have quickly become a staple in my diet because they’re so easy to make and perfect for when I need a quick snack. You may want to make a double batch. They quickly disappear in my house.

Ingredients for Energy BitesGluten-Free Energy Bites

  • Sliced Almonds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sugar-free Syrup I used Choc Zero. You could use honey instead or any sugar-free syrup)
  • Salt
  • Vanilla

mixer with almonds in it.Chopped almonds.

Recipe for Gluten-Free Energy Bites

1 cup pulsed sliced almonds (you can use pulsed almonds for any recipe that calls for oats.)

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar free syrup or honey- I used ChocZero syrup

dash of salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. cacoa powder

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl, using a spatula or spoon to combine everything evenly. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are incorporated.

Once the mixture is fully combined, use your hands to roll the mixture into small balls. The size of the balls can vary based on your preference, but aim for a size that is easy to pop into your mouth as a quick snack.

Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Energy-Bites that are gluten free.






Bundle Gift


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 Your Children
  2. 20 Ways To Delight In Your Preschooler
  3. 50 Things to Teach Your Kids from the Book of Proverbs
  4. 14 Reasons Why I’m Glad We Homeschooled our Kids
  5. Schooltime Activities for Preschoolers
  6. Consequence Chart
  7. Age-Appropriate Chores
  8. Cleaning Poem
  9. Resources For Easy But Engaging Family Times


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


Valentine Brownies Heart Shaped


I Corinthians 13 Valentine Brownie Hearts

This is a simple way to help teach kids about the true meaning of love as described in I Corinthians 13.

valentine brownies heart shaped sitting on a plate

It only takes 3 ingredients- little heart pans, brownie mix, and tubes of icing to write with.

Make up the brownie mix per directions on box. Spray mini heart pans with olive oil spray, fill hearts 1/2 way with brownie mix.

heart shaped brownies valentine's day on a baking tray


Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes, but keep a close eye on them.

heart shaped valentine brownies fully baked on a cookie sheet.

After they cool, write the characteristics of love on them.

Let children choose which characteristics they want on their Valentine Brownies Heart Shaped.

We wrote ‘LOVE IS’ on a doily and placed it in the middle of our tray and arranged brownie hearts around it.

Then eat and enjoy.

valentines day heart shaped brownies design finished on a plate.

Characteristics of love are:

Love is: kind, patient, not jealous, does not brag, not arrogant, not seeking its own benefit, rejoices in truth, never fails, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Looking for more ideas? This Valentine’s Day Treats with Rice Krispie treats is fun and simple.


Why Your Children Need Heroes


I feel sorry for young people.  Youngsters today are growing up without inspiration. They are growing up in a culture in which virtue and sterling character are viewed as obsolete. Much of our society seems dumbed down, watered down, downgraded.

It’s the Me Generation

It’s the Me Generation. The universe revolves around Me.  Don’t do or say anything that might offend Me. Because…well, I’m Me.

You can tell a lot about a culture by noting who their heroes are.  In our culture, it’s entertainers and pro athletes for the most part. We tend to categorize them in the general term, “rock stars.”  These people may be immoral, hooked on drugs, and emotionally derelict, but their exotic lifestyles appeal to Me.

We old folks grew up in a different environment. Although television was beginning to dilute our cultural heritage with bogus heroes such as Superman and Batman, we kids were still inspired by the lives of real people who had done great things—for others, not for Me.

Heroes of the Past

My mom had invested in a set of beautiful Bible story books which I devoured by the hour. Young David had killed the lion and the bear and finally the evil giant, Goliath (He made me a lifelong advocate for the little guy).  Samson had destroyed 3000 Philistines at his death.  Moses had led Israel across the wilderness, praying down supernatural provision along the way. Noah had spent 120 years building a giant ship to save a remnant of the human and animal species.  None of these biblical characters were portrayed as morally perfect, yet they all had an impact on an impressionable little life.  I never got over the thrill.

cd cover "growing in wisdom"

Along the way, I encountered more heroes. Some of them were real, some fictional.  Television offered cowboy good guys who always wore white hats.  Far better, real life constantly thrust before me examples of people who had done, dared, and suffered great things for causes bigger than themselves.  Our history books introduced us to great Americans (remember that phrase, “great Americans?”) and every school classroom sported a portrait of George Washington.  For a reason.

Born again at sixteen, I began to discover another category of heroes.  Corrie Ten Boom who had suffered in a concentration camp for hiding Jews from the Nazis.  George Whitefield, the great British preacher who led the Great Awakening up and down the American east coast.  John Paton, missionary to pagans so depraved that when his wife and baby died, he slept on their graves to keep the locals from disinterring and eating their bodies. George Muller, who had supported 2,000 orphans by faith, without asking anyone but God for help or even letting their needs be known.  David Brainerd, who poured out his life before the age of 30 in taking the gospel to the Indian tribes.

Sure, boys in my day collected baseball cards. But back then (believe it or not) even sports “heroes” took responsibility for their personal example to the kids who idolized them. They tried to be the kind of people the kids thought they were.  My point is things were different sixty years ago.  Not perfect, but far better than they are now.

Kids Need Heros

Because kids need heroes. Not immortals like Superman who never fail because they are indestructible. But real people with real weaknesses and fears. People who sometimes rise above those fears and win seemingly impossible victories. People of real virtue like Robert E. Lee, so noble in defeat that he was admired by friend and foe alike. There was a time when every town in the South had a school and/or a street named after him, and women brought their babies for him to pray a blessing over them.

black and white photo of Robert E. Lee

One has to wonder when people suggest tearing down a statue, how many of them have even read a biography of the person the statue memorializes.

I’ve pondered on the question of why heroes have such a powerful influence on young lives.  I think one reason is the power of inspiration.  Boys who spend time reading about great men instinctively want to become great men.  To attack great challenges and overcome them.  They see how men in former times suffered, fought and sacrificed for causes bigger and greater than themselves, and became bigger and greater men in the process.

It’s similar for girls, of course. How could a girl read about Corrie Ten Boom and ever be satisfied with a life spent watching soap operas?

Heroes encourage us in our difficulties. And when kids read how Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver rose from slave childhoods to become world changers, it ignites a flame of hope that they too, can one day be world changers as well.

Booker t Washington addressing a crowd

Heroes are life and breath to the optimism of youth. They are hope-givers.  At the same time, they make us ashamed of the littleness of our problems and the pettiness of our excuses.  They make us hunger to be more than we are, discontent with the mediocrity we see around and in us. They challenge us to lift ourselves from the swamp of the mundane and start climbing.

Uncle Rick Audio Book Club

These are some of the reasons that so many of the books I record for the Uncle Rick Audio Book Club are biographies.  I myself thrill to stories like that of Jake DeShazer, who suffered for years through Japanese prison camp tortures and yet went to Japan as a missionary after World War II ended.  I love how George Rogers Clark led his men across 200 miles of flooded, freezing river bottoms to take Fort Vincennes.  And oh, so many others.  Ben Franklin. The Swamp Fox. Stonewall Jackson. Thomas Edison. Fanny Crosby. Patrick Henry. Eddie Rickenbacker. Nancy Hart. Lydia Darragh.

I have worn a number of hats over the years. Each role has had its rewards.  Marilyn and I have met, taught, counseled and learned from thousands of parents and their children.  We’ve been privileged to write books and travel across the country speaking to groups of marvelous appreciative people. But I think that if I had done nothing in my career beyond the delightful work of recording great books for young people, it would have been a wonderful journey indeed.  The fan mail I occasionally get from kids around the country affirms that I’m not the only one inspired by the lives of heroes.

I recently received a wedding invitation from a young man named Michael who has been listening to my audio books since he was a small child.  I have met him only once in all those years.  Now my wife and I are to have the honor of joining his family for this very special day.  It seems that in some small way he views Uncle Rick as a hero in his life.  That’s very kind, but undeserved.   What I’ve done for him anyone could have done. I introduced him to real heroes. And they have helped him grow into the fine young man that he is.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someday he is somebody very special. Maybe even a hero.

~ Rick Boyer

Rick Boyer wears many hats. Parents know him as a speaker/author who tackles the challenges of parenting head-on.  He offers practical, effective solutions based on Scripture and over 40 years of parenting experience.  He and his wife, Marilyn are the authors of many popular books on parenting as well as the Bible-based Character Concepts curriculum.

To homeschooled kids, Rick is “Uncle Rick,” a dynamic storyteller who brings Scripture and history to colorful life and turns them into delightful and life-changing character lessons. The Uncle Rick Audio Book Club offers 2 youth audio books per month for a $10 monthly membership.  Check out his audio recordings at www.UncleRickAudios.com


Empty Tomb Garden Craft


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


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:


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


Obeying Parents -Stories for Kids


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!!