Fun Activities Teach

fun activities teachFun Activities Teach!  with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast 194

Fun activities teach, right? Or do you believe that learning does not have to be fun to be effective? A little fun can often spark the creativity in your child and lead to learning that happens spontaneously. In this episode, Felice discusses some fun activities that teach and great memories of activities she accomplished with her children to make homeschooling not only a success–but something she has passed down to the next generation (her grandkids!).

Thanks to our Network Sponsor

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Sony Pictures: and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

smurfs movie the lost village

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Show Notes: Fun Activities Teach

Follow Felice’s Pinterest Board: Fun Activities That Teach

Here are some fun activities that teach:

    1. Math: Learning to add using numbered paper (one on each page). Child solves problems by standing on the first number and counting forward to the answer, or backward (or subtraction)
    2. Paper Airplanes – study aerodynamics, air pressure, resistance, etc.
    3. Pond life – Reading, researching, studying and documenting all without twisting their arms!
    4. Teaching Science and Having Fun – creating lab boxes, it is the importance to have all the equipment or supplies handy when doing science projects or experiments.
    5. Bubbles – in the tub, bubbles with a wire coat hanger – surface tension – learn about the science behind a bubble
    6. Baking soda and vinegar – what chemical property does this make? What is it used for? Have fun using a zipper plastic baggie, small paper cup (fill 1/2 full with baking soda) pour vinegar into the bottom of the bag, zip closed, flip and watch it pop! (and make a mess – do this outdoors!)
    7. Magnifying glass and the sun. Make s’mores, harness the power of the sun through magnification!
    8. Bug catchers – with a magnifying glass – catch and release – use nature journal to document.
    9. ART – fabulous fun projects, use fingerprints and paint or ink pads to make fun creatures, studying fingerprints
    10. Crayon relief – with watercolors. How wax repels water (colors).

Culmination Education Events:

  1. Unit studies – Studied Medieval Period. Reenacted a full medieval meal complete with bread bowls for plates, whole chicken, and the kids could even throw the bones on the floor! Children staged a joust complete with pretend swords, damsels in distress and wood horses. (We even had a court jester and neighbors dressed up like the King and Queen!)
  2. Weather Unit with Weather “Man” Broadcast. The children studied weather, learned how to read a weather map, made weather instruments and took readings for weeks, and then each child took turns being a weather man or lady, and we recorded the entire production The children used their own “findings” to give their weathercast.

Copyright 2017, Felice Gerwitz, Media Angels, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Activities That Teach

activities that teach

At some point in your homeschool career, you may find one or more children, dragging their feet, with little shoulders slumped and heads hung. School just isn’t fun. Just think about it. If you were struggling to learn new material how fun would it be? Not much. Especially for a child who has some learning challenges. School can be frustrating. Or for the bright child–school can be boring. So, anytime is a good time to infuse some fun activities that teach, into your day and spark the creative juices.

Download the printable – a fourteen page eBook by signing up for our ezine here. Or if you are already an email subscriber your freebie is here

There are five important points to consider when creating an environment where activities that teach are fun:

Activities that teachActivities should be fun but have an educational purpose.

There are a ton of science videos out there or blog posts that talk about “fun” activities that will allow learning to take place. However fun without a purpose is, well just fun. There is nothing wrong with having fun, but I will not waste my precious time or that of my children’s having fun during school time if that fun does not have an educational hook. I want my children to be so excited, they want to explore the educational topic on their own. I introduced small little science books to my children. One that caught my son’s eye was a “pond life” book. He loved it. My son took his soon *dog-eared” book out to the pond. He looked things up; he raced inside to get me when something was “SO exciting!” He was about to burst. He put things in categories (sorting), he counted (math), he drew pictures (art), he kept a science journal (art-and-writing), and he learned about the animals that were in the habitat (science). That means he had fun, but it had a purpose.

*A side note here. Sometimes we love our books so much we don’t allow our children to use them to their full potential. I had to let go of my love of books (I truly love them!) and allow my kids to use them outdoors. I had an outdoor copy and an indoor copy to allow myself to let go!

Understand the science behind the fun activities.

“Let’s blow up baggies!” Well, that will spark excitement, but just because you can mix baking soda and vinegar and cause a chemical reaction of expanding gas – strong enough to pop open a zip-locked baggie, doesn’t mean your child understands the scientific principle behind the activity. Do they need to understand the chemical equation? Perhaps not. However, a simple explanation of chemical reactions and how different compounds can create the third compound may be the place to start. My pet peeve is those who say that science is magic. Magic means (to a kid) that there is no answer – it is mysterious. A good magician knows there is science and psychology behind his slight of hand. There is no magic! Don’t fall into the trap of calling science magic or your child will not think they need to discover an answer or a conclusion.

Document your findings.

Did the activity go as planned? Why or why not? If you have a science activity or experiment that did not go according to plan, go back to your notes and figure out what went wrong. Compare it to the instructions. Usually, if you document your activity, you will find exactly where you went wrong. My daughter’s “failed” science fair project won her third place in the Regional Science Fair in chemistry. In science, there is no failed experiments – only experiments that proved your hypothesis was incorrect. This idea works for art projects as well. Often mixing the wrong colors will yield a third or fourth color that can be used. I explain to my children that you can’t mess up art (when painting on canvas) because y
ou can always use white paint over the entire thing and start again … or white out one section and have a “do-over.”

Have the supplies on hand.

How frustrating is it to do an activity and not have supplies on hand? Very! That is why I created “lab” kits with easy to find household supplies. Even some chemistry items are easily found in most home cupboards. In my book Teaching Science and Having Fun (MediaAngels, Inc. Publishing) I list the products and supplies to have on hand to allow your children to succeed. And how wonderful to say to your kids, Please get the “chemistry box” or the “physics box, ” and you are ready to go!

Have fun. Make sure your child is engaged and taking part.

So many times I hear parents say the kids are bored when they do activities. Upon further questioning, I find out that the children are watching while the parent does the activity! No wonder the child is bored. Parents–if you want your children to learn, allow them to be the ones who complete the activities. Stop being helicopter parents. Allow your kids to make mistakes. That is how real learning takes place.

I have a podcast on Wow Science Experiments coming soon. Please look for that on as well as the podcast Activities That Teach – Podcast 194.

~ Felice Gerwitz hated science as a child, as a teacher, and as a homeschool mom, but God in His infinite wisdom and mercy gave her two children who loved anything related to science. If he had not started her off slowly with two children (ending with five – and now seven grandchildren), she would not be an author of science-based curriculum nor the owner and operator of Media Angels, Inc. You can find Felice cooking up ideas in the kitchen or on her notepad of ideas for future blog posts and podcasts. Felice lives with four of her children (one is married) in Ft. Myers, Florida.






Appreciating Classical Music

appreciating classical musicLet’s Talk About Appreciating Classical Music with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #193

Is appreciating classical music a priority in your homeschool? Our family has enjoyed many wonderful unit studies surrounding this topic, the children learned how to identify the sounds of the instrument and many of the composers. This has not only expanded their minds but encouraged them in their study of music. Whether you are a classical music fan or a newcomer to studying classical music you will find many ideas and tips for teaching your children about classical music.

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– Sony Pictures: and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

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Show Notes: Appreciating Classical Music

For the kids – Printable Appreciating Classical Music Music Appreciation

Why Study Classical Music?

  1. It is enjoyable
  2. It evokes emotion
  3. The lives of the composers are interesting
  4. It is complex
  5. You might learn the sounds the different instruments makes
  6. It may encourage you to attend the Philharmonic or performing arts center near you (yay! Field trip – add that in the “book”_
  7. You can learn to identify pieces to the composers
  8. It helps you become engaged, you don’t tune it out like you might other music
  9. It is a form of escape – a break from reality
  10. IT may spur your child to learn to play an instrument and create music of their own!

Music Selections Played in this podcast on appreciating classical music:

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach, Jesus Joy of Man’s Desiring
  2. Bach -Tocatta and Fugue
  3. Beethoven – Fur Elise
  4. Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
  5. Brahms – Lullaby
  6. Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
  7. Mozart – Rondo A la Turca
  8. Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite
  9. Tchaikovsky – Sleeping Beauty Waltz

Suggestions for studying classical music for appreciation–Classical Period 1750-1830

  1. Composers – take a week and focus on each one and several of the composer’s more famous pieces
  2. Watch video of composers – stories on youtube etc.
  3. Great Classes – composers series
  4. Music appreciation
    1. Composition and beat (I have a link on this podcast – beat meter and form –
    2. Theme **
    3. Instruments
    4. Placement of instruments in an orchestra
  • **Different forms are:
    theme and variation

Theme and Variation is one thing to learn how to identify.

A theme is a small group of phrases that make up a complete musical idea
then several or altered or modified variations of the theme – the general music is changed by changing tempo, pitch, tonality, meter, texture, rhythm or overall emotional expression. The composer can select one or several variations.

Best Exercises

best exercuses Let’s Talk About The Best Exercises For You and Exercises That Work with Felice Gerwitz

What is the BEST Exercise for you? There are exercises that work and exercises that don’t – and in this podcast, Felice discusses the absolute best exercises when trying to maintain your weight loss as well as some great tips for continuing to exercise and making it part of your routine. In this podcast she asks many questions and works you through possible responses to find the ideal work out for you! Felice is a reluctant “exerciser” who recently decided to change her sedentary habits and turned to exercise as a way to begin… she shares her progress on weight loss and her exercise regime as well!

Thanks to our Network Sponsor

Sony Pictures: and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

smurfs movie the lost village

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Show Notes: The Best Exercises For You

  1. The best exercise is the one you will do consistently
  2. The best exercise is the one that fits your schedule
  3. The best exercise is the one that will be your life long companion


Questions to ask:

 What are your options? 

  1. High impact – Pilates cycling, running/jogging, weight lifting, exercise machine such as a thread climber, stair stepper, running marathons, etc.
  2. Low impact – swimming, jumping on a trampoline, walking, etc.
  3. Average impact –weights – 1lb-3lbs,  stationary bikes, etc.

What is the BEST Exercises for you?

  1. Do you have physical limitations?
  2. What are you doing now? Welcome to the club? I only began exercising recently
  3. What time do you have?
    1. Look at the your schedule?
    2. What are you doing now?
  4. What can you do as a family?

How do you continue exercising through the days, weeks, months and years?

  1. Select an element of exercise you like
  2. Make it a routine – begin with three times a week – two times or at least one time. Typically if you try to create a routine and are only doing it one day it will easily be something you will drop, so try for at least two days.

Habits take time to form – to make a routine a habit try for a least 21-30 days – until it becomes part of your day! And a new you.

The best exercises for you – listen to the podcast for me.

Last thoughts –

                We schedule doctor appointments, lessons for our kids – and all the important things we have to do – how can we not set aside time to be healthy? I never wanted to exercise because to me exercise was sit ups and crunches – I hated it so much I avoided it most of my life. Now I can see the importance of doing a physical activity for my future mobility and health to take care of my family.





Is College Right For You

is college right for youIs College Right For You? And Lame Excuses That Keep You From Going

Episode #50

Is college right for you? Often many students have reasons or excuses for not going. In this podcast, Jean Burk explains how some of these excuses can be overcome with some serious thought.

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Five reasons to go to college

  1. Give you the opportunity to continue your education experience; some jobs require a degree
  2. College opens doors to exciting opportunities like college abroad
  3. Change careers – because of extra courses, college experience
  4. Allows you to have freedom with little responsibility
  5. Allows you to meet new people of different cultures


Five reasons to postpone college

  1. Not motivated enough to do the work that is required
  2. Career focus does not require college
  3. If you have previous family obligations that require immediate attention
  4. Take time off to pursue another a passion. A gap year, take time off to go on the mission field or work for a time-period. Explore various job professions. Time off to do internships. Get pilots license.
  5. Once in a lifetime opportunity right after high school

The recommendation is to take your SAT while you are in high school – your scores will be held for you.

Seven lame reasons not to go

  1. Too expensive
  2. Too hard
  3. Grades are not good enough
  4. Don’t know what to study –
  5. I have something better to do
  6. No one in my family went to college
  7. My friends are not going to college

The Real Kathy Lee – Momfessions

real kathy leeLet’s Meet The Real Kathy Lee Momfessions – with Felice Gerwitz and Kathy H. Lee

Podcast 191

Meet the Real Kathy Lee “momfessions, and discuss her awesome podcast, when she joins Felice Gerwitz to discuss homeschool successes, do-overs and what she wish she had known when she started homeschooling! Kathy was involved in public education and was often in front of other educators discussing how to engage early learners. However she always knew she wanted to homeschool … and she did, all ten of her children. Learn more about Kathy, what she shares on her own podcast [Momfessions here] and how to use the great advice she shares.

Thanks to our Sponsor – Sony PicturesSmurfs: The Lost Village and Download smurfs_discussion_guide

smurfs the lost village

Don’t forget to follow us on iTunes, Google Play, on this website, or download to your computer. Do you have a smart phone? Either an apple or an adroid. Use any podcast app and search for “Vintage Homeschool Moms,” or the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. There you will find this show as well as many other shows on this network, such as, “Momfessions with The Real Kathy Lee” … and please leave us a comment – below and on iTunes, etc. 5-stars please!!

About the “Real” Kathy Lee “momfessions”- Kathy is a mom of ten children, biological and adopted. She is determined and honest, in that she made mistakes…many! She hosts a podcast on this network, “Momfessions ~ with The Real Kathy Lee.” She interviews guests and does solo podcasts weekly. Visit Kathy on her website here.

Show Notes: Meet The Real Kathy Lee Momfessions:

We discussed:

The need to savor every day. We discussed how quickly it (homeschooling) goes by! Also, that every single day isn’t critical.

Homeschool Success: According to Kathy it was the ability to allow her children to play and discover learning during play. In addition, she allowed her children to study according to their areas of interest.

I asked if she could do something over again, what would that be? Homeschool Do Over: Trust my instincts – intuition said it wasn’t best for a specific child and it wasn’

Kathy Lee’s curriculum: The Homesgrown PreSchooler 

When pre-schoolers kids say they want to do school, what this generally means:

  • I want to be big – let the children role playing – setting up pretend school – as a play station…
  • Rotate kids – older child can work with the younger, doing a sensory activity or art project
  • Do together – let the little ones sit there doing something tactile – while you do the read aloud activity with the older children.

Find many more ideas and tips in Kathy’s book as well as on her website. The links are above.

Yearly Evaluations

yearly evaluationsLet’s Talk About Yearly Evaluations with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #190

Do you worry about yearly homeschool evaluations? Each year homeschoolers are required by law to provide evidence of an increase of knowledge. Depending on several factors including location (where you live) and legalities – your state’s policy or homeschool support or “umbrella school,” requirements your stress level can soar! Don’t worry, veteran homeschool mom will help you overcome testing anxiety with practical tools such as understanding your options or identifying which method will work best for you.

second harvest curriculumThanks to our sponsors – Second Harvest Curriculum

Second Harvest Curriculum Website  | Blog and Facebook Page | Twitter Account | and follow on Pinterest

Thanks to our Network Sponsor

Sony Pictures: and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

smurfs movie the lost village

Click here for the FREE Faith-based Movie Guide!

Show Notes: Yearly Evaluations  

Standardized Tests

  • Standardized Tests –for yearly evaluations
    1. Know deadlines
    2. Retest or not
    3. Prepare your kids to sit and bubble in
    4. Don’t cheat
    5. Don’t teach the test
    6. Scores –
      1. Percentile and rankings
      2. Stanine
      3. Grade equivalent

Standardized tests are logic tests they don’t test what a child knows – keep this in mind!  – Listen to College Prep Genius Podcast

  1. Don’t freak out
    1. Keep results in perspective –
    2. Remediation – and
  • Yearly Evaluations – special issues or not
    1. Evaluation is when a teacher (certified) looks over your child’s work progress – typically a portfolio evaluation
    2. Who will you get to do the evaluations?
      1. What to ask evaluator
      2. Simple tests – can be administered
      3. Should get the evaluation on the spot – (I recommend) a letter saying nothing specific goes to the school board
      4. Send school board a basic letter that say your child has made progress.
      5. Don’t like the results? You have the option of turning it in or not.
  • Portfolios for Yearly Evaluations
    1. Simply a 3-ring binder with work progression
    2. A collection of the beginning, middle and end of the year – papers, videos, picture albums, collection of math or writing papers, any tests, or samples of work, list of field trips, books you’ve read as a family and the child individually – any curriculum you’ve used, name and publisher – with of course work samples – I liked to slip sheet some stellar work to highlight in their notebook, lapbooks, etc. – again depending on what is required by law
    3. Your child may be required to be in attendance and most kids love the evaluations so they can show the person all they’ve learned.
    4. Umbrella school requirements –Umbrella school may require attendance
  • Ways to alleviate parental stress:
  1. You don’t have to use the test scores
  2. You can give the test again – or seek a different approach
  3. Seek an evaluation
  4. Start early with fun review
  • Safeguards to ensure that your kids are on track to make progress
  1. Beginning, middle and end of the year check up
  2. Evaluate your year as you move along
  3. Change curriculum or remediate
  • A review process that is fun and effective
  1. Play educational games – low stress for kids
  2. Be relaxed.
  3. Use manipulatives to teach difficult concepts or struggling learners.
  4. Creative teaching: Cooking– to teach fractions, etc.
  5. Look at your curriculum –use assessments as practice.

Related Podcasts

Empower Kids To Learn

empower your kids to learnLet’s Talk About… Empower Your Kids To Learn with Felice Gerwitz and special guest, Jodie Oare

Podcast #189

Have you thought about ways to empower your kids to learn? Join us as I interview Jodie Oare, a successful volunteer, child advocate, and teacher. She wears many hats, mainly that of mom, girl scout leader, preschool teacher, Preschool Director, Bible study volunteer, substitute teacher and so much more! Jodie is my husband’s sister and my amazing sister-in-law. She is always talking about these topics when we sit around and discuss kids and grandkids (what else!).  Now for the first time – ever – Jodie shares her insider’s secrets with you!



Thanks to our Network Sponsor

Sony Pictures: and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

smurfs movie the lost village

Click here for the FREE Faith-based Movie Guide!


Show Notes – Empower Your Kids To Learn:

  1. Create a space and atmosphere where teaching and learning are to take place that supports and confirms the educator’s participation and the learner’s participation by visibly establishing the concept of “WE”.
  2. Communicate to the learners that learning is an adventure (expectations) and that you know where we are going and how to get there because you have planned and have methods/ways to help us enjoy the adventure and to get where we are going (the next level of education/skill).
  3. Establish and communicate routines, schedules, rules, and behavior strategies to encourage engaged participation. Consensus is encouraged.
  4. Present topics/instruction/themes in a variety of modalities/senses. This is the adventure that we are taking, the skill work should be included in the adventure, as well as interesting fact finding and knowledge acquisition. Tangible evidence of the learning adventure reinforces knowledge and provides an opportunity for mastery (owning).
  5. Affirmation of effort supports the engagement and participation of the learner from where they are encouraging continued effort which will create a sense of trust, empowerment, and possibility leading to improvement and advancement.



UPDATED: You Knew It Yesterday – What Happened on the Test?

You Knew It Yesterday - What Happened on the Test?You Knew It Yesterday – What Happened On The Test with Dr. Jan Bedell

Have you ever had that frustrating experience where you were certain your child grasped an academic concept, and then the very next day, she couldn’t recall ever seeing it? Well, it is not just a frustration for you.  The child is often upset as well.  In this episode, Dr. Jan tells her story of inconsistent recall and the frustration it caused her after studying hard only to be unable to recall the information when under the pressure of a testing situation.  The NeuroDevelopmental Approach to life can change all that if you are willing to think differently about education. The brain controls everything that you do. Thus, when you’re applying a solution for a learning challenge, the brain is where you must start. The brain needs to be organized like a container built for storing information instead of a sieve-like structure where everything leaks out. Many children miss developmental steps for good organization of the brain. The good news is that a child who is struggling to learn or who has a learning label like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s or Autism can go back and develop this part of the brain.


Not only must the brain have a good, organized foundation, but it also needs a well-developed auditory and visual short term memory.  For more information on how strategic auditory processing is to overall function, refer back to podcast #14. These functional abilities include: staying on task, maturing to a proper level, socially appropriate interactions, following directions, comprehending and more. A link to free test kits for auditory and visual processing are in the handout below.


After the initial part of the brain’s foundation is established, the next area to consider is dominance.  As neurodevelopmentalists we consider having the same side dominance for hand (you must start here because the hand is genetically predisposed to be left or right),  eye, ear and foot to be most efficient when it comes to retrieving what you have learned. If  a person does not have same side dominance (for example, they are right handed but left eyed or eared or both), one of the most common symptoms is inconsistent recall. One day they know the information and the next day they don’t.  Other symptoms that sometimes accompany mixed dominance include: lack of an analytical thought or logic, extreme emotionality, erratic behaviors, anxiety (test or otherwise), phobias, depression and shyness.  People with mixed dominance often have low self-esteem as many things seem difficult and they relate it to intelligence or lack thereof instead of inefficiency in the brain that can be changed.

little giant steps

The handout with this episode will give you the progression of neurodevelopmental programs that can make learning easier and retrieval of information second nature.  Even beyond that, The NeuroDevelopmental Approach to Life can be effective for more involved situations like those with syndromes (Down, Williams, Fetal Alcohol…) as well as sensory integration issues.


Don’t miss the handout attach here with links to pertinent information and discounts.Click Here for Show Handout!

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Thanks to our Network Sponsor

Sony Pictures: and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

smurfs movie the lost village

Click here for the FREE Faith-based Movie Guide!

Photo Credit: DepositPhoto 2017 All Rights Reserved. @Copyright MyBaitShop

Music 101 In The Homeschool

music 101 in the homeschool
Let’s Talk About … Music 101 In The Homeschool with Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis

Is music 101 the focus in the homeschool? Do you use music in your homeschool? Do you realize the mathematical, emotional and focus as a musician? In this podcast, Felice and Meredith focus on several points to introduce you to thoughts of placing music in your home. Your child is never too young to learn about music!

Podcast: # 188

Our sponsors: please thank them for bringing you this show for free!

Home Music Tools – owned by a homeschool dad! Visit Sean’s Facebook Page

Sony Pictures – Smurfs: The Lost Village 


Show Notes: Music 101: In The Homeschool

  1. Music is mathematical (talk about math in music and how music helps math)
    1. Helps to understand the foundational mathematical element
    2. Helps our children to excel in math
    3. Music may come naturally to children who are mathematical
  2. Music is emotional (a great outlet for emotion in a positive way)
    1. Different types of songs
    2. Rhythm, count – musical instruments
    3. Dance
  3. Studying the Composers
    1. Studying different compositions
    2. Studying musical instruments
    3. Classical music appreciation
    4. Listen to a live performance
  4. How to grow from playing and instrument to being a Musician
    1. Piano lessons
      1. Simple scales
      2. Moving through several octaves
    2. Start with piano
      1. With weighted keys – you can learn music theory
    3. Guitar – a little more tricky
    4. Voice
      1. A voice is an instrument
      2. Develop and grow your voice
    5. A musician:
      1. Practices all the time.
        1. Scales, fingering, drills
        2. Set aside practice
        3. Practice makes permanent
      2. Grow in their gifts
        1. Struggle with one or two things
        2. Take care of their instruments
        3. Learn new things on their instruments
        4. Listen to other players
        5. Performs
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