Featured Lesson Designer

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is an online Christian curriculum site for homeschool families. With over two hundred lesson designers and content providers, there are course options for the entire family. Each year, one lesson designer is awarded as The Lesson Designer of the Year. We would like to recognize Carolyn Van Gorkom as the winner this year. You can learn more about her in the Winter 2021/2022 issue. In addition, we awarded Honorable Mentions to A. K. Fielding and Meredith Curtis. You can learn more about A. K. Fielding in the Spring 2022 issue. For this issue, we will hear from Meredith Curtis.

TOS: Would you tell us how you began homeschooling?

Meredith: As a young mom in the late 1980s, I began to meet families at church whose children were polite, kind, and could talk with me about history and books. I loved it! It turned out they were homeschooled, and that piqued my interest. My husband and I attended a seminar where we heard how to lay a Biblical foundation for home education. Scripturally, we were responsible for our children’s education—whether we delegated it or did it ourselves. My husband came home and said, “We’re homeschooling!” For the next two years, I read about homeschooling and asked homeschooling moms many questions. When my oldest child was ready for school, I started teaching her at home. For over twenty-five years, my family had a blast reading aloud, learning together, and building close relationships. Homeschooling has been one of the greatest joys in my life! Now, my oldest daughter is homeschooling her kids.

TOS: What sparked your interest in writing unit studies?

Meredith: At first, I tried to do traditional school at home, but I was so nervous that I would somehow miss something. One day, I saw How to Create Your Own Unit Study by Valerie Bendt. I read the book and was hooked—unit studies sounded so fun and a wonderful way to integrate learning, but I was still fearful. I got my feet wet with Christmas unit studies which were a big hit with my children. We celebrated Christmas with cookies, Anne of Green Gables, the Ingalls family, Little Women, and traveled to other countries and back in Colonial Times. Soon, I was courageous enough to try out other unit studies based on living books. It is so exciting for me to create and teach unit studies. When everything is interconnected, children remember much more than when they learn everything in separate compartments. Friends began asking for copies of my unit studies and other curriculum I had created. With a heart to pass on to others what we were creating for our own kids, Powerline Productions was born. Several of my unit studies flow out of my love of travel and history. I want families who use my unit studies to enjoy the wonder of learning and make memories together. Fostering relationships is just as important as acquiring knowledge and wisdom.

TOS: Do you have any advice for parents just starting their homeschool journey?

Meredith: Take a deep breath and relax. You are on an adventure with a glorious and good God leading you. There are many other homeschooling families who want you to succeed and are cheering you on! You are different from every other set of homeschooling parents out there; your unique homeschooling journey will look a little different. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. Fill your house with wholesome engaging books, art supplies, and educational games. Read aloud, sing songs together, and go for walks. Notice the bird in your oak tree. Read the Bible and pray together. Share family stories with your children. As you continue to educate at home, you will grow more confident and see your teaching skills flourish. You will have productive and happy days as well as really challenging ones. Stay the course and remember the Lord—He will get you to the finish line, and it will be worth it all!

TOS: What is one of your favorite family traditions?

Meredith:We have so many fun ones. One favorite tradition is the “Encouragement Game” we play at birthdays. We tell the birthday person what we love and appreciate about them; then pray over them. There are always tears and hugs. It is so precious. Another one is our Thanksgiving tradition where we share what we are thankful to the Lord for. These two traditions remind us how good God is and how blessed we truly are!

TOS: Thank you, Meredith, for sharing with us about your passion for homeschooling! It is a blessing to hear from a veteran homeschool mom who is passing the baton of faith to the next generation. Be sure to check out Meredith’s courses, Let’s Visit Denmark and Understanding Middle School Health, on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

If you’d like more information about designing lessons for our site, please email the Executive Manager at stmanager@theoldschoolhouse.com.