Homeschool Advice from an Expert

Wouldn't it be great 
to chat with a homeschooling expert?

Well, Nancy Bjorkman probably comes about as close as possible to that description.

She is often surrounded by a crowd at the Heppner's Legacy booth in our Homeschool Iowa Conference Exhibit Hall.

Nancy is an incredible source of information, enthusiasm, energy, and encouragement.

And she's back with us this year as an exhibitor and a speaker!

Nancy Bjorkman speaking at the Homeschool Iowa Conference
2019 Homeschool Iowa Conference

We asked Nancy to share some words of wisdom with Iowa homeschoolers, and she responded with this heart-to-heart offering.


It’s that time of year when you are considering what school will look like next year in your home. Will you stay with what you’ve been doing? Tweak it a bit? Or make a clean break for something new?

If you were sitting across from me in our shop, I’d ask you several important questions to help you find the pieces to fit your family and students’ needs.

What are your long-term goals for your children?

If these have never been clearly defined, it’s time for a homework assignment, for, without a destination in mind, how will you know the path to follow?

What things do you want to be sure to instill in your children before they leave your home?

These goals would most likely include things like Personal Faith, Family Relationships, Love of Learning, Character, Life Skills, Finding Personal Purpose (Who Has God Created Each of Them to Be?), etc.

I encourage you to stop and take some time to create a list. Then, armed with these goals, you’ll be ready to find tools to help develop them.

Are you new to homeschooling?

It’s important to remember that this year is going to be about transition and “figuring it out.”

Don’t take a big leap into too much curriculum.
Don’t try to recreate traditional school at home.
Isn’t that the point of homeschooling?

Start slowly with a subject or two
• while you get to know your children in a new way,
• while they re-learn to love learning, if needed, and
• while you determine what routine fits your family style.

You can add a subject at a time over a few months to avoid drowning.

Taking time to build this strong foundation will pay off as you move forward.

If you’re a continuing homeschooler, what have you been using?

Is what you've been using helping you to meet your goals, both academic and long term?

If something or part of that something isn’t working, change it.

That’s the freedom of homeschooling.

You get to individualize for your students’ needs and make changes when that would be beneficial.

What kind of person are YOU?

Your style as a parent is just as important as your children’s styles.

Don’t fall to the pressure to use what everyone you know is using “just because.”

If you’re a more relaxed parent, then a more relaxed school is okay.

God made you the parent of your children, and what you have to give is part of His plan for each of them.

Nancy Bjorkman at the Homeschool Iowa Conference Exhibit Hall

Are you considering buying a “boxed” curriculum because that feels safer?

I encourage you to step out, be brave, and be willing to create your own “box.”

So many moms come to me saying that they bought a full curriculum, paid more to do so, and then found that they didn’t like it all or that parts of it didn’t fit their family.

Even companies that produce "packaged curricula" allow you to select the components that work best for you and your family.

There are so very many great resources available that together could do an amazing job delighting and educating your children.

Many of the best are not part of a publisher’s “box” because they are written by a passionate expert rather than a publisher trying to do it all.

Explore your choices in math, science, social studies, and language arts. This will cost less and give you more flexibility to directly meet your family’s needs, schedule, and style.

Will you be teaching multiple children?

Though subjects like math and language arts are skill sets that build in a sequence over a period of time, science, social studies, and other electives can be learned together.

Maintain your sanity, build family unity, and save money by choosing curriculum that is geared to multiple grades and written for homeschooling.

No matter your answers to the questions above...

Remember these few things:

  • Start with prayer.
  • Set realistic goals remembering that you are preparing your children for a lifetime of learning.
  • Let your children have a say in some areas, especially things like science and social studies.
  • Listen to your heart, not just the reviews.
  • Be flexible and willing to change it up if the need arises, even midyear.
  • Remember that "Less is More." Don’t overdo your purchases. You can always add more as the year progresses.

Enjoy the Journey!

This is an amazing adventure that you are on.

You will make some mistakes. That’s all part of the process.

And you’ll learn and grow with your children along the way.

By keeping your eyes on the most important goals and not spending your energy comparing yourself to others, you’ll find the ability to stay grounded and can actually enjoy the journey itself.

Nancy Bjorkman at the Homeschool Iowa Conference Exhibit Hall

by Nancy Bjorkman, who owns (with her husband, Brad) HEPPNER’S LEGACY, a homeschool store in Elk River, MN, where they delight in ministering to the unique needs of families year-round, and where parents say, “Come for the books. Stay for the therapy.™”

Nancy began as the ultimate homeschool skeptic. But now, after 20+ years teaching her own four children, she has become the “go-to lady” for many and a champion of the cause.

She's a certified teacher and has spoken at homeschool conferences in over 10 states where she is known for her enthusiasm, energy, and encouragement.

Having graduated all of her children, Nancy finds it exciting to have graduated herself to being a mentor for other homeschool families. Though she stays busy as a bookstore owner, mentor, and speaker, her favorite times are spent with her growing family (grandkids - yeah!).

  • Time & Home Management
  • Meal Management in an Age of Fast Food
  • Where Do I Begin?: A Workshop for New and Prospective Homeschoolers (offered at Thursday Homeschooling 101 Mini-Conference)


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