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Interview with Obsessed with Learning

Mother-daughter duo Tami Parker and Billie Rinehimer are co-owners of Obsessed with Learning, which creates downloadable resources for teachers. Billie had been my son's 3rd & 4th grade teacher at a small Christian school, and knowing about their business, I reached out to them about designing additional activities for those who might want to turn The Advent Investigator into a classroom or homeschool study. They outdid themselves! You can find the free version on my Resources page or purchase the expanded version in their Etsy store or on Amazon.

Enjoy this interview with Billie & Tami!

Two women, a mother and daughter, stand next to each other.

Tell us about your teaching backgrounds.

Billie: I was a full-time teacher for 12 years. I taught a variety of grades from elementary to high school English. I finally landed in middle school where I taught English the last half of my career and absolutely loved it. I taught in Christian schools 10 out of those 12 years and really loved that I was able to weave the Gospel throughout my lessons. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to teach part-time at a Christian homeschool co-op and I am teaching my two children at home as well.

Tami: Education has been my life for the last 31 years. Previously, I was a classroom teacher for third through fifth grades, which I loved every moment. Currently, I am an Elementary Librarian, as well as a Writing Coach for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Most importantly, I am definitely an avid fan of Children’s Literature.

Furthermore, I am the author of three books with more on the way. The very first book I wrote was an e-book titled Moses Went Strolling and What Did He See? I received the idea after attending my daughter (Billie) and grandson’s Sunday School class where I helped as her assistant. One particular Sunday, my daughter read the story of Moses and the Israelites walking through the Red Sea to the children. This sparked my imagination of what it must have been like for the Israelite children watching through towers of water and the amazing sight they took in. I love being able to continue to impact education in a variety of ways. Even though I teach in a public school, I also have a heart for the Gospel and love that our resources and books can align with that.

How did you end up creating your business, Obsessed with Learning, and what resources do you provide for teachers?

Tami: I started selling products I used myself in the classroom on Teachers Pay Teachers in 2012. Since I always wanted to write books for my students, one of my very first products was a digital book and accompanying activities titled Pardon Me, Mrs. President. The story is about a young, female turkey that does not want to be the star of the White House’s dinner table at Thanksgiving.

As I continued on this journey of creating resources for the classroom, I saw how much of a blessing it was to others. Thus, I began to pursue it wholeheartedly, working at night after school and on the weekends. My daughter joined me in the summer of 2020. Since then, we have added an Etsy store titled Obsessed With Learning as well as a website with weekly blogs.

Together, we provide many educational resources for teachers. We love to create captivating bulletin boards, as well as educational book companions for picture books, fun and interactive research projects to accompany middle school novels, and lots and lots of writing resources to encourage students to enjoy the awesome adventure of writing their own stories.

What interested you in developing a workbook to accompany The Advent Investigator?

Billie: When you approached us with the desire to create a workbook to accompany The Advent Investigator, we jumped at the opportunity. We have always focused on making resources specifically with any teacher in mind, whether teaching in a public or private school. This past summer, we felt the nudge from the Lord to expand our resources to Christian school educators and Sunday School teachers. We started small with the addition of bulletin boards that have beautiful Bible verses on them. We want to eventually incorporate full Christian units and when this opportunity presented itself, we knew it was ordained from God. With my experience teaching in Christian schools, specifically with pre-teens and teens, and my mother’s experience with our business, design, and creating, I felt like it was an ideal situation.

Describe the two levels of workbook that are available and how you envision them being used.

The first level of the workbook contains 2 pages for each lesson/section that is in The Advent Investigator. These pages have the same questions, prayer prompts, and *For Further Investigation sections that are at the end of each chapter. We created space for answers to be written in the handbook. We also added a Connections segment in which students answer questions that relate to the lesson and that also relate to them specifically. Additionally, there is space for students to write their thoughts and feelings after prayer and a place to record and learn important vocabulary from each lesson.

The second level of the workbook is the Enhanced version. It has everything that is in the first level but added sections such as an Enrichment area, which seeks to really dive into an element that the lesson mentions. It is cross-curricular and explores geography, science, history, or deeper biblical themes. The Enhanced version also contains an Artistic Expression section in which students memorize and color Bible verses and have a place to illustrate their thoughts. There is a Newspaper Article Project with everything a student would need to complete their own investigative newspaper article. The Enhanced Version also has a *For Further Investigation Notebook. There are extra resource pages and last but not least, there are crossword puzzles and word searches to help review the vocabulary used.

Both are available for digital download.

Give us an example of one of the enrichment activities that you were excited to come up with.

We specifically love Lesson 18’s enrichment section. Lesson 18 is about Jesus’s Star that guided the magi. In the enrichment section, students will explore the differences between the kinds of stars that scientists have hypothesized was the actual bright star. Then, students record their findings and create their own hypothesis as to which type of star guided the magi. We love that it explores science. Connecting science to God, the ultimate scientist, is an awesome way to dive into the Bible and learn more in the process.

Thank you, Billie and Tami, for your time and all of your hard work on the teacher resources!


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