Our Ministry



Dave and Barb Shelton - 2009







Introduction to Us Personally


My Homeschool Background & Experience

The Heart of My Message











NOTE!  Clicking on any of the icons down

theright side of the page will get you somewhere

here at my website!




Hello!  I am Barb Shelton, and I along with my wonderful husband, Dave, operate a ministry to homeschoolers out of our home in Longview, Washington ~ the real Washington!  Dave is the back (and funny) bone of our family and of our business and ministry.  Without his hard work, dedication, and servant's heart, our ministry would simply not be.  I couldn't even begin to do what I do without him!    


We have been married since July 19, 1975 and we homeschooled starting in 1982 – 24 years as of our ending date of February 26th, 2006, when Carlianne, our youngest, graduated from our homeschool ~ Tree of Life Learning Center, and then Tree of Life High School. Here's a picture of all of us on that very day ~ my last "official" day of homeschooling!   



I actually never looked forward to ending that season of my life!  I mean, I knew it would end, but I didn't look forward to it, anxious for it to happen.  But the Lord leads us through each and every season, so rather than grieve what is no longer (for TOO awfully long), I embraced this next season with joy.  ...  So our homeschooling "career" has now actually ended, but not our ministry to homeschoolers!!!  In fact, I am now actually FREER to minister to those the Lord brings our way!!!  I am thoroughly enjoying ministering to homeschooling moms via monthly stampin' oases..




Here is a more recent picture of our family ~ at a Family Reunion this last summer (2009):



From left to right:  Dave, me (Barb), Carlianne (23), Weston (2), Sharnessa's husband, Sam (32), Tory (30), Jonah (4), Tory's wife, Chrissy (30), Sharnessa (32), holding Chase (4).


Backing up almost a decade...  Samuel Sandén married Sharnessa on August 19, 2000, (see Sharn and Sam's Sharnessa and Sam's Wedding page) and Chrissy became my daughter ~ oh yeah, and Tory's wife too! ~ on August 26, 2000.  (see Tory and Chrissy's Wedding Page)  Yes, you read that right! ~ the two weddings were one week apart!  And we even lived to tell about it!  In fact, it was a wonderful ~ though exhausting ~ experience!  So now we have FIVE children instead of three!  And three grandchildren, too!!!!!!!!!!!






My Homeschool Background & Experience:



On to our ministry...  My books and seminars resulted in my inadvertently becoming a "homeschool pioneer" without ever intending to do so!  I have written several books for homeschoolers, but that’s the easy part; Dave does all the producing of these books, as well as all the processing of orders. He is truly the "wind beneath my wings," my prayer support, our business manager, and an awesome dad! Together we are a team. Without my books and tapes, of course, we would have nothing to offer; but without Dave doing what he does, there would be no offering of it!  (And, by the way, GOD is the wind beneath OUR wings!!!)


The core of our ministry is focused on a course I offer to parents (not kids!) on homeschooling ~ what "true education" is all about. It's called a "Season of Re-education and Renewing of the Mind."  I believe this should be the starting point for every parent thinking about homeschooling, or burning out on methods that were never designed to get you where God wants to take you!  (and your family!)  For an introduction to my course, click on the flower basket to the right.


~ I've taught numerous homeschool seminars around Washington State since 1984, and in 1994 I "went national" and have spoken in Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona. I do not seek out speaking engagements, but consider any invitations I receive.  Info on this is at my "About Barb Speaking" page, accessible via the microphone. (Click here for my current Speaking Schedule.  Note: I am not doing a lot of speaking right now.  In fact, I do not pursue speaking engagements at all.  I consider all invitations, but this is not the season of my life for a lot of speaking, so don't be surprised at how few speaking engagements there are!)


~ As a freelance writer, I have been published in Teaching Home Magazine and Virtue Magazine, and was a contributing editor for the Lifestyle of Learning journal for two years several years ago. I have been interviewed on two homeschool radio programs. (Click on the inkwell to read about my pen name and my maiden, both of which are just a little odd.)


~  I designed a homeschool course called a "Season of Re-education and Renewing of the Mind" (mentioned above) which is done entirely by correspondence, right in your own home. It is sponsored by Triune Biblical University of Kelso, Wash. This course is presented here at my website starting at the page you'll get to if you click on the quilt square to the right. (The intro to it which gives you an overall picture of what it's all about is linked above; this quilt square takes you to the actual course description.)


~ I have a Bachelors Degree in Christian Education from Triune Biblical University, have tutored primary through college grammar, and have attended numerous homeschool seminars and conventions.


~ I co-founded the School Biz Co-op in 1990.  I coordinated over 50 field trips, and enjoyed going on them, however, the season for so (too) much involvement outside the home passed, and I now prefer a more peaceful home life, with field trips being more selectively chosen and spaced out.  (Read Marilyn Howshall’s book Come Home From Homeschool for insight on this!)


~ I have written seven books for homeschoolers wanting to pursue true education and not merely imitate school at home. These include: Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la;  The Homeschool Guide-a-log;  Lab Science: The  How, Why, What, Who, 'n' Where Book; Field Trips & Extra-Curricular Activities;  Washington State History & Government: The Search-It-Out Route;  The Booklet Building Book;  The Make-My-Own Phonics Book;  and The Homeschool Jumpstart Navigator for Younger Kids.


~ Wanting a non-couch-potato approach to state history, I designed a hands-on, feet-on approach to it called Washington State History and Government: The Search-It-Out Route, which is the name of the book I wrote with my historian Dad, Lee Edtl’s input. (I have to admit that my real reason for doing the book was that I was historically illiterate due to an unfortunate brain-dead condition in my school years.)  Click on this map of Washington to go the page this book is sold on; scroll down to the very bottom.


~ The "main work" of our ministry is the book Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la which, among other things, presents a flexible framework for doing high school on an independent basis. I started it in 1991, shortly before our first year of homeschooling our first high schooler (but we were in our tenth year of homeschooling), then added a few minor revisions in 1996, part-way through their collective high school experience.  I then revised and updated it in 1999 after having graduated Sharnessa and Tory from our own homeschool, "Tree of Life Learning Center," both of whom we homeschooled "from scratch" all the way through to graduation. This new revision is and has everything I wanted it to have and is a thorough representation and presentation of our entire high school homeschooling experience!  (And the cover even has full-color photos!!!)


~ But I feel my best "qualification" (after the fact that God deemed me qualified, just like He does all homeschooling parents) is the "fruit of our labor": our three children. To know them is to see real live evidence that homeschooling works!  This was a great relief, by the way!  I was just sure I'd ruin our kids if they spent that much time with ME!






The Heart of My Message:



All of my speaking and writing is on topics of vital interest to burning-out as well as brand new and wanna-be homeschoolers. My books and workshops are sprinkled with humor, girded with scriptural truth, and loaded with practical forms, ideas, and encouragement. You'll be challenged, irritated, and moved to laugh, cry, think and re-think your views about education, and best of all, get set free or freer) in Jesus!"  All of my resources reflect my "lite" approach to homeschooling that is based on the verse in Matt. 28:11 in which Jesus says "My yoke is easy, my burden light."  Using a combination of vulnerability, humor, and God's Word, my heart is to inspire parents to pursue God's unique plan for the education of their children, and I offer much practical help in doing so. 


I am especially excited about helping those needing to recover from or wanting avoid the pitfalls of listening to the loud and numerous voices of the world, and hear the voice of the Lord for their own unique children; to refresh and equip the brethren (the "sisteren") and help them grasp God's vision for the education ~ the true education ~ of their children.






Bear couple border by:

The plaid heart is from: 

The typing lady and green book with

turning pages are from:

(No longer in operation)

The blinking smiley face is from:

Book stack, green hearts, inkwell, quilt square, 3 kids,
and wedding cake (same colors ours!)  are from:   

The house and the Daddy bear with 3 babies (personalized just for me by Helena!) are from:



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