An interview with the Lamberts of Five in a Row

When we began our homeschool journey 9 years ago, one of the first items I purchased was one of the Five in a Row manuals. It did not take long for me to purchase all of their manuals. They were written by Jane Claire Lambert and her daughter Becky Jane Lambert Schoeppner. One of the highlights in my homeschool journey was meeting Steve and Jane Lambert at a homeschool convention in Cincinnati, OH a few years ago. You can see their love for the Lord and homeschool families in person and in their writing. I am very honored to have had a chance recently to ask the Lamberts some questions, so you can get to know them better.

Steve, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Can you tell us a bit about your family. You have been in the homeschool market a long time, and you have touched many lives in the process.

We began homeschooling in 1982. Both of our daughters are married to wonderful men. Becky and Troy have been married 11 years and have four great children. Becky handles Five in a Row operations, shipping, etc. in addition to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom, wife, homeschool mother and church leader. Carrie and Michael have been married 7 years and have one adorable daughter. Carrie and Michael are both involved with Five in a Row as website designers, product designers and more in addition to their own freelance work as graphic artists, website designers and professional photographers.

Can you tell us how God is using you to minister to homeschoolers today?

We continue to travel and speak at state conventions as keynote speakers. In addition we’re actively involved on our website forums each day offering encouragement and advice. We serve on the national board of directors of First Class Homeschool Ministries, and together with Jay & Heidi St. John we do a homeschool marriage retreats called “Real Life Marriage” workshops for Christian homeschool couples.

When did you hold your first marriage encounter weekend, and what led you to hold it?

We began in 2007. We’ve actually only done a total of 5 events because we can’t afford to do them very often. The logistics of getting the St. Johns from Washington State and us from Missouri to where ever we’re invited are complicated with travel and hotel costs what they are these days. However, we are committed to do what we can, because we have seen such an outright attack on marriages in recent years.

You recently had a marriage encounter weekend. Would you like to tell us about it? From what I read, it is not your typical weekend.

No, it’s really not “typical” of marriage weekends. We lay our own lives open in a very vulnerable way. Then we challenge couples to get real with one another and get real with God. The sad truth is that there are few places where it’s less comfortable to “be real” than churches and homeschooling circles. We’re supposed to have all of our ducks in a row at all times and look good. But any hope of healing broken and hurting marriages begins with getting real; taking an honest look at our own lives and the condition of our marriage. First we have to get real with ourselves- then with God and with our partner. We can’t heal broken marriages in 24 hours, but we can put hurting couples on a path that will lead to healing if they have the courage to walk down that path.

How did you become involved in First Class Homeschool Ministries?

I (Steve) was the keynote speaker at the WATCH conference seveal years ago. (Washington Association of Teaching Christian Homes) Jay and Heidi St. John served as president of the state organization at that time. As we dialogued before, during and after the conference we discovered that we both had a heart for connecting homeschoolers and local churches into a life-giving, mutually supportive community. The more we talked the more we felt connected and eventually Jay & Heidi asked us to serve on their Board of Directors for FCHM. It’s been a tremendously rewarding relationship.

What’s new with Five in a Row? I have noticed that you have branched out a bit in recent years.

The homeschool market has changed dramatically since we began homeschooling nearly 30 years ago. Five in a Row has won countless awards and been recognized in so many gratifying ways, but we’re wanting to stay connected to the new generation of homeschoolers today. To continue our vision of effective, great academics acquired through lessons that promote a deep love of learning, and that are presented in a way that cause families to grow strong together, we need a more interactive internet experience for parents, and more ancillary products that can help fill niche needs for each unique homeschool family, etc. We are working on all of these. It also means, in many cases, helping nurture young couples in the area of life skills: Marriage, Christian discipleship, parenting, etc. So many young couples today that grew up in the 80’s really don’t have any known, working model for what marriage and parenting should look like.

We’re also very proud of a new product called “small talk” which is a professionally developed set of diagnostic tools and parent-directed therapies for the more than 10% of children who suffer from speech and language delays. Author Cari Ebert is a professional pediatric speech pathologist and she has offered homeschool parents a complete program for about what one diagnostic testing session would normally cost.

Remind us of your websites, and where we can find more information about your ministries.

Gosh. There are so many these days. Thank you for letting us share them.

Our primary website is which is where readers will find 10 forums for daily support and much more

Our digital and downloadable products are found at

Small Talk is available from

Jane’s regular nature blog is

Steve’s Monday-thru-Friday blog of homeschool encouragement and teaching ideas:

First Class Homeschool ministries is

Our homeschool marriage retreat website is

Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to tell us about the ministries you and Jane are involved with. May God richly bless you for the time you have both taken to minister and mentor homeschool families across the world.

An interview with Mrs. Candace of Sonbeams

Let me introduce you to one of my publishing friends, Mrs. Candace of Sonbeams. I was delighted that she was willing to participate in an interview with me. I spent some time reading her information on the Sonbeams website, and I found myself more energized about teaching my preschooler this fall. When you have one preschooler left in the bunch, you tend to be less enthusiastic about teaching preschool — again —- for the 6th time. Kind of like potty training for the 6th time. Somehow, preschool had become just another thing to do. But after reading through her website and looking at her beautiful family, I am off to a better mental start on my school year with my preschooler.

Mrs. Candace, tell my readers a bit about your family.

Well, first and foremost, I want to share that we are a family that loves the Lord. We desire HIS will for our lives above anything else.

My husband is a great supporter of my staying at home with our children. We both realize that our children are a blessing from God,and know that He has given us the responsibility to ‘train them up in the ways of the Lord’. We firmly believe that we will be held accountable for the job we do as parents, and don’t take this task lightly.

I am a former preschool teacher, nanny, piano teacher, and children’s choir director. Children have ALWAYS been a part of my life, and I’m praying always will be. I stay at home with our children, and will be the first to admit that I’m far from the perfect mother/ housekeeper/ teacher. :) All I can do is do what God has asked me to do – and to the best of my ability. His grace takes it from there.

We have 5 children, 4 living with us. Our oldest is a 5 year old son, always ready to learn something new. It’s really a challenge to find new things for him to do! Next in line is our 3 1/2 year old daughter, she’s also our only daughter. A tender heart, eager to serve, full of love – she’ll be starting ‘school’ this fall.

The next blessing for our family joined our Heavenly Father before they were born, and we’re excited to one day meet them in Heaven! God graciously gave us a son the following year, and life hasn’t slowed down since. DS2 will be two in August, and he will be doing Sonbeams on a VERY basic level. It’s impossible to make him believe he’s not as big as the older two. :)

Last, but not least, we have a 3 month old son. He fills our days with smiles and baby noises, hugs and kisses.

As you can imagine, there’s never a dull moment, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We are looking forward to learning to plant a garden in the near future at our new home, as well as trying to raise some hens for our own egg supply. Life itself will be a big teacher for us over the next few months.

After looking at your website, I was energized and excited about teaching my preschooler this year. Tell us how Sonbeams came about.

I guess you could say our oldest is partly behind Sonbeams, aside from the Lord’s direction. :) He has always been ready to learn something new, and I began using what I had on hand to teach him. Much to my surprise, he was reading at 3 1/2 years old! BTW, I’m not counting on another child like this.

I pulled from my experiences working in a preschool years ago as I put together lessons for him. There was that ‘one thing’ that had always bothered me in public preschools though, and was a big reason I left – you don’t have the freedom to place the Lord as the foundation. You aren’t supposed to talk about Him at all, yet are encouraged to share other beliefs/holidays.

I didn’t want my son to just learn his letters and numbers, I wanted him to learn about the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and how can we fear and reverence Him if we don’t know anything about Him?

I also needed something cheap (can I use that word?). As a stay at home mom, we can’t afford to buy lots of curriculum books. We do buy clearance books sometimes, but I needed something more in the line of ‘hands on learning’. While some prefer premade materials, I personally like the option of being able to do/make things alongside of my children. We have fun, and I feel they learn more that way.

I started putting things together in line with the Bible. For instance – In the beginning. What was in the beginning besides God? Nothing! So we started by learning the number 0. Who was the first man? Adam. Adam starts with what letter? A!

Colors – what is the payment for sin? Death, and Jesus paid the price for ALL our sin by the shedding of His blood on the cross – which is red.

Each weekhas a Bible verse, and for A it is Romans 3:23. “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. ‘All’ starts with A, and what is the opposite of all? None, nothing! Maybe it’s just me, but tying school in with Scripture is exciting, and reveals the wisdom of the Lord.

I love that your preschool program is focused on Biblical teaching. How long does it take to go through one of your typical lesson plans?

This varies depending on each child, and even more so if you have more than one child. I really only had 2 ‘hands on’ children when we started this, and each day could be done in 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes more, sometimes less. When baby #3 entered the picture, the day stretched out MUCH longer. We don’t do all of our school at one time, but instead spread it out through the day.

I like to share with members that they don’t have to complete every single thing written in the guides. They are guides, something to give them ideas of what and how to teach. My oldest still begged for more, but at times, our school day was too much for our daughter. I truly believe at this age you need to go with the needs and abilities of each child. Keep it fun and light!

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

Of course! I’d love to invite them to visit Sonbeams and follow our blog. This year Sonbeams will be taking a little different approach. While the membership still gives access to the guides from last year, I plan to add to that unit studies this year (but at no extra cost). My main goal last year for families that wanted to start right away was to get the Scriptural part done first. This year I’m planning on adding some more hands on/fun activity type things to the membership, as well as more activities for younger children.

Besides the curriculum, we also just released a new collection of ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs. These are a perfect fit with the lesson guides, as each week’s letter memory verse is put to music. I am a pianist, so sitting at the piano and playing tunes is fun. I also used to teach children’s choir. The Lord began placing tunes in my head and fingers as a way to help my children learn their verses. Before I knew it, He had put together a product to minister to others as well! This project has been amazing to work on, and I’m excited to see how the Lord will use it in the lives of others.

My most important goal with Sonbeams is simply to plant seeds of truth into children’s lives. My calling has always been to children, and I have such a love for them. They are honest and sincere, and their hearts are so open to knowing and loving our God. Thank you so much for allowing me to share with you, and I’d like to offer a discount to your readers should they desire to visit the site. Enter 10OFF at checkout to receive a 10% discount on all Sonbeams products.

I also have a newsletter list, and subscribers receive perks such as private sales, discounts, previews on new products, etc.

Mrs. Candace

Thank you for joining us today, Mrs. Candace. It has been a pleasure getting to know you a bit better. And I am looking forward to a new school year with my preschooler.

For the record, I am not being given any renumeration or products for the series of interviews I am conducting with various homeschool publishers. They are wonderful, Christian friends, and I sought to do these interviews for my readers to get to know these publishers better. It seems that it is becoming the norm for bloggers to mention if they are being paid or given perks for sharing links these days.

Fall Homeschool Festival at Biltmore House

Mark your calendars for the Fall Homeschool Festival at Biltmore House and Gardens. This year it will be held on October 1 amd 2, 2009. The theme is, “Living Large: Biltmore Estate and the Turn of the Century.” They encourage particpants to dress in early 20th Century attire.

Cost: $20.00 per person age 5 and up. Payment is due at the time of reservation.

Dining options: Pack your own picnic, or purchase a box lunch for $7.00 with an advanced order.

There are also upgrade options for visiting the Biltmore House both days. The 2nd day upgrade does not include the homeschool activities.

There are also specialty tours available.

Contact Group Sales for more information at 866-851-4661 or

More information will be posted on their website soon.

We went a few years ago for the Farm Days at Biltmore, and it was well worth the travel and expense.

I forgot about this interview with Jessica Hulcy

On May 11, 2009, I posted the following interview with Jessica Hulcy of KONOS.

On Monday, May 18, 2009, Jessica Hulcy was in a terrible car accident. She is currently at home recovering from her injuries. You can read more about the accident and her recovery on her Caring Bridge Page at the following address:

Prayers for her continued recovery are appreciated by the family. There is also a fund that has been created to help the family with the medical costs.

A Review of Astronomy Notebooking Journal by Jeannie Fulbright

Recently, I received a copy of Jeannie Fulbright’s new Astronomy Notebooking Journal. We have long been fans of her elementary science books, and the addition of the notebooking journals makes them even more student friendly. Ms. Fulbright lists a lesson plan at the beginning of the notebooking journal that will correspond with the textbook for Exploring Creation with Astronomy. She tells you what pages to read in the textbook. She only gives notebooking assignments twice per week, so it is not an overwhelming amount of work. There are lesson plans for 28 weeks, so there is flexibility in using the books. Or you can do lessons more than twice a week and cover more than one book per year. The Botany Notebooking Journal is also ready, and I have heard that she is working on the notebooking journals for her other books.

But let me tell you more about the Astronomy Notebooking Journal. It is spiral bound for easy student use. And the pages are designed with plenty of room for the student to write and personalize. There are also review questions for each lesson. I particularly like the cross-word puzzles and mini-books at the end of the journal. I have 5 boys, and they do not particularly enjoy lapbooking, but this notebooking journal is something they can use without too much prodding from their teacher. We have found that lapbooking involves too much cutting and writing for little boys. So I am happy to have something that will give us a few mini-books and journal pages without being overwhelming. These notebooking journals are written for children ages kindergarten through grade 6.

I would give Ms. Fulbright 5 stars for these notebooking journals, and that says a lot coming from me. I have tried a lot of materials over the years. This was a very easy decision in adding to my website.

Office Depot Star Teacher Breakfast

I have been researching the Teacher Appreciation Events in my area. I have attended the Office Depot event for many years. They give a wonderful bag of goodies plus breakfast! YUM! Here is the link to their website for more information:

You will need to enter your zip code to get the dates for your area. The breakfast is usually on the Saturday of the event. Call your store to verify the date and time for the breakfast. It is worth the trip!

Office Max Teacher Appreciation Day

I received a card in the mail today from Office Max. It was an invitation to their Teacher Appreciation Day. In the store in Hickory, NC, it will be on Sunday, August 9, 2009. It does not list a time, so I am assuming it starts when they open that day. I found information online on their website after doing some digging. If you go to, you will see information at the bottom for Teacher Appreciation Day. Here is the link to the page that they take you to from the previous link

This date is actually better for me than a Saturday, since I will be at Love to Learn on August 8th.

Happy Anniversary!!! Microscope Giveaway!! MFL-06 Duo Scope

7/28/2009 – Comments are now closed! Thank you for participating!
The winner came from one of my Facebook entries……..drumroll please
The winner is Melissa. I have sent an email to you through Facebook. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
It’s time for my annual microscope giveaway in honor of my anniversary with Discount Home School Supplies. It has been 4 years since I started the journey in selling homeschool books.
Here is the information you need to know for the microscope giveway:

The contest is open to residents of the United States only. I am sorry that I cannot offer this internationally at this time.

You can enter by leaving a comment on this blog entry (if you don’t have a blogger account, leave me an email address), becoming a fan and leaving a comment on Facebook, or by emailing me at You can do all three for more chances to win! (Only one entry per method per person.)

The contest will end at midnight on Monday, July 27, 2009. I am not going to be picky with EST standard time versus Pacific Time. I will be in bed asleep that night when the contest ends. I will get up on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, and tally the entries from the sources of entry. Then I will have a random drawing.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would tell your friends and send them to this blog. I am not making it mandatory for you to enter the contest. But the more people who know about it, the more people who will learn about my website.

You can also receive FREE shipping on any order that is $25.00 or more. This is a limited time offer for FREE shipping. Visit my website Discount Homeschool Supplies to take advantage of this deal!

This is a great time of year to order homeschool materials. When August rolls around, I see more backorders from publishers. The earlier you order, the better chances you have of getting your items quickly.
Here’s the technical info on the microscope:
Two Microscopes in One!
Two-in-One Combination Microscope
with over 50 pieces of accessoriesby Premiere Microscopes
Included with your order will be a FREE copy of
The World of the Microscope Book!
Introducing the newest member of the My First Lab series! Two light sources allow this microscope to magnify both slides and solid objects! View slides, coins, plants, stamps, insects, jewelry, and more!You would need two instruments to view what this one does–a basic biological scope to look at specimens on a slide (light shines up from under the slide and through the tissue) and a traditional stereo or dissecting microscope to view solid objects at lower power (light shines down onto the specimen to be observed). This new Duo Scope with dual lighting allows for both types of applications! Cordless battery power makes it portable for field study. Priced to fit any budget with the same fine quality as our other scopes.
  • 10X Eyepiece, 4X, 10X, 40X
  • Objectives40X, 100X, 400X Magnification
  • Real optical lenses
  • Dual Focusing Knobs
  • 2 LED lights, above and below
  • Uses 3 AA Batteries (not included)
  • CE Certified
  • Vinyl dust cover
  • 5 blank slides
  • 1 concave slide (well)
  • 4 prepared slides
  • 2 bottles of stain
  • Forceps
  • Scalpel
  • Plastic Test Tube
  • Plastic Petri Dish
  • And more!!!