15 Feb 2017

If you visit with me you’re sure to hear the words, “I heard on a podcast recently,” come out of my mouth within the first few minutes of our conversation. While in the past many folks followed their favorite blogs, there is now a sweeping move towards keeping up with content through podcasts. In fact, many prolific bloggers are transitioning towards the podcast realm as a way to be distinguished in the saturated online space.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is kind of like a radio program, but you can play any episode of any show at your own convenience and as often as you’d like for free. Some broadcasts are short—under ten minutes. Others last an hour or longer. Some shows are monologues by an individual; others are conversations between two or more co-hosts, and you will even find shows where one host regularly interviews various guests. As the blogging landscape changes, the development of audio-blogs is also growing, and some bloggers are even recording their old posts as audio content. While most podcasts are merely audio files, more are developing with video as well. Topics are as varied as you can imagine; if you have an esoteric interest, chances are somebody somewhere has a podcast related to that topic!

Why listen to a podcast?

I love the flexibility listening to podcasts gives me. I can do the dishes, fold the laundry or clean the bathroom while my mind and ears are occupied by scintillating conversations. Anytime you would ordinarily listen to music, you can also listen to a podcast: in the car, while exercising or while rocking in a hammock drinking lemonade. Oh wait! Homeschool moms don’t do that every afternoon? Aside from personal entertainment, inspiration and education, I have also found that podcasts can be an excellent teaching tool. The kids learn about science, economics, culture and more using a variety of shows. Just like any other source for content, some episodes may be inappropriate for young children. Please use your own family’s discernment and standards as you begin listening to podcasts as a family.

How do I listen to a podcast?

If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to a particular podcast and all their recent episodes will automatically download to your computer, or you can just download individual episodes. There are also numerous apps available on smartphones and tablets both for Android and Apple users including Stitcher and Overcast. Most podcasts also have a way to stream individual episodes directly from their webpage.

Some podcasts to get you started:

Here are a few podcasts I would recommend to get you started, many geared especially for homeschoolers and/or parents. Have fun exploring and finding your own favorites!

Homeschooling IRL

IRL means ‘In Real Life,’ and Kendra, from Preschoolers and Peace, and her husband, Fletch, definitely keep it real on their podcast, discussing topics you “might not hear discussed at your local homeschool convention.” A major theme in their podcast is hope shifting, best defined as when we put our hope for our own or our kids’ salvation or safety in anything other than Jesus. Spoiler alert: homeschooling won’t save your kids.

Read-Aloud Revival

Host Sarah Mackenzie inspires us to build our family culture around books, interviewing guests like Andrew Pudewa, Jim Weiss and Rea Berg. My kids enjoy the final minutes of the show with a segment of children from around the world who have called in with their personal book recommendations.

Homeschool Snapshots

This show gives you a glimpse of the homeschooler next door. Pam Barnhill, a prolific homeschool blogger and podcaster, interviews homeschooling moms from a variety of educational and family-living perspectives. I also highly recommend her other podcasts: Your Morning Basket and The Homeschool Solutions Show.

Inspired to Action

Host Kat Lee is here to give a pep talk to all you moms. She reminds us that God created us in particular to be the moms to our own children. Her Christ-centered show interviews many guests on a variety of topics related to parenting and raising Christian families.

God-Centered Mom

Heather MacFadyen, a mom to four boys, wants to help moms in the process of replacing “me with He.” Her authentic guests point us toward a Perfect God rather than the misguided idea of the perfect mom.

Center for Lit

The Andrews have produced a show of depth and insight as they discuss and debate a Christian approach to literature, and more broadly the arts and culture. I could see this being a fabulous podcast to listen to with your high school student and to use as a jumping off point for discussion.

Schole Sisters

This is a podcast for the restful classical homeschooling mama, with co-hosts Brandy Vencel, Mystie Winkler and Pam Barnhill.

Brains On!

Here’s a science podcast for the kids that the whole family can enjoy! It is clever and engaging. Be aware that it comes from an evolutionary perspective that comes through more strongly in some episodes than in others.

5 Minutes in Church History

Do you only have five minutes? Then you have time for this podcast! Stephen Nichols gives a brief introduction to people, events and places that have played a significant role in church history.

Melody, Mystery, and Mayhem

This is a podcast produced by the Burr family, and it is full of delightful songs, stories and interviews that all ages can enjoy.

Can’t get enough of podcasts? Here are some other suggestions: Cultivating the Lovely, What Should I Read Next, The Homeschool Sisters, Planet Money, How to Do Everything and The Simple Show. What new shows will you discover?

Amy Sloan and her husband, John, are second-generation homeschoolers to five children, adventuring together in NC as they pursue a restfully-classical education. If you hang out with Amy for any length of time, you’ll quickly learn that she loves overflowing book stacks, giant mugs of coffee, beautiful memory work, and silly memes. Amy writes at HumilityandDoxology.com (where this article first appeared) and hosts the “Homeschool Conversations with Humility and Doxology” podcast. Find Amy @HumilityandDoxology on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.