An Interview with Judy Sarden: Practical Help for Homeschoolers

Jul 11, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Author, blogger, small business consultant, and homeschool speaker Judy Sarden has a heart for homeschooling families. Out of this love she has written a book called Sarden’s Practical Guide: How to Start Homeschooling. In between her speaking engagements, we recently had the opportunity to interview Judy, and she shared a little about her background and how her family entered the homeschooling world. Read on to learn more about Judy.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been homeschooling? What led you to choose a homeschooling lifestyle?

I am going on my seventh year of homeschooling. I was a corporate attorney for nearly twenty years before coming home to homeschool my children. I am currently an author and national speaker on education topics. Homeschooling had never been in my vocabulary before—I was actually planning to send my children to private school. But once I started doing research on school curriculum, school socialization, and other aspects of school life, I knew that my son would not be a good fit. Homeschooling allows me to take both children as quickly or as slowly through material as they need to go. And with the kids heavily involved in sports, homeschooling provides them with time to play and just be kids.


When you speak at homeschool conventions, what topics do you enjoy sharing the most?

I speak about life skills, using the Socratic method to teach kids to think, working while homeschooling, and the challenges facing African American homeschooling families. But I love talking to new homeschooling parents or parents who are thinking about homeschooling. People who are even considering taking on their children’s education are so brave! Making the decision is truly an exercise in love and sacrifice. But it can be terrifying because most of us were not trained to be educators. Helping those parents walk through their fears and answering questions is my passion.


How did you discover IEW? What led you to use IEW in your homeschool?

Several moms had recommended IEW to me over the years. Whenever I would discuss my challenges with teaching my son how to write, at least one mom in the group would highly recommend IEW. So after several false starts using a variety of programs, I spoke with an IEW consultant at a homeschool convention and decided to make the investment. I was initially put off by what appeared to be a high initial investment but, considering how much I had spent on several programs that didn’t work, I bit the bullet. And it ended up being one of the best investments in my homeschool.


How do you implement IEW in your homeschool? Is there one particular IEW curriculum you really love? If so, which one?

I have purchased Teaching Writing: Structure and Style and two theme books, Bible Heroes and All Things Fun & Fascinating (I reviewed these on my blog). I started with the Bible Heroes theme book when my children were in early elementary. After watching each unit of the TWSS, I would then do that unit in the theme book.

Using the theme book helped me to understand how the program is supposed to work so that I could then apply the principles to other writing assignments. I purchased the All Things Fun & Fascinating theme book when my oldest started fifth grade. This gave me a refresher in the details of implementing the program and also gave me an open-and-go vehicle for writing assignments for those weeks that I didn’t have the time, energy, or creativity to come up with an independent writing assignment.


We see you’ve written a book on homeschooling called Sarden’s Practical Guide: How to Start Homeschooling. Tell us a little bit about that.

My book is geared toward the parent who is looking to start homeschooling and has no idea where to begin and also toward the parent who needs to reboot their homeschool. I’ve written it to help the parent who has several months to plan, and I also speak to the parent who has to pull their kids out of school immediately, without time to plan.

I’ve written it to be an easy read that walks parents through each step they need to take in order to get up and running. This is not a theoretical book—it offers practical “do this next” guidance to homeschool parents. It helps parents think through scheduling, the type of homeschool they want, working while homeschooling, de-schooling and other helpful topics. My intention is that it answers questions that I had when I was first thinking about homeschooling.


We hope you enjoyed learning more about Judy and her experiences with utilizing IEW. To learn even more about her, check out her blog,

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