Homeschool Pitfalls

Homeschool Pitfalls | Homeschooling is the right choice, but how do you avoid the homeschool pitfalls that will sabotage your success? In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom Felice Gerwitz shares her thirty-two years of experience with you! | #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #homeschoolpitfalls #homeschoolhelp #helpforhomeschoolHomeschool Pitfalls and Help ~ Episode 486

Homeschooling is the right choice, but how do you avoid the homeschool pitfalls that will sabotage your success? In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom Felice Gerwitz shares her thirty-two years of experience with you!

Visit the Media Angels website for books, and bundles, especially the self-paced set, “How-to-Homeschool Blueprint.”

Did you know that I was hesitant to try homeschooling? When I heard a friend mention her hopes of homeschooling, I talked her out of it! This friend was overwhelmed with her four children, didn’t have a set bedtime, and walked around sleep deprived. I explained that homeschooling took some discipline and that having a parent who was awake and attentive was important! When I began homeschooling some time after, this friend was upset with me! And, rightly so.

Your decision to homeschool should be your own, and being persuaded by someone, even someone well-meaning, is not a good thing!

Today homeschooling is the best option for your children. You know the state of the school system. It was bad in the past; today, it is worse. Parental rights are called into question. What the heck is going on in our world?

When I began homeschooling my son while my daughter was in preschool, I looked at it as a way to help my struggling learner. It was a short-term goal. In other words, I was “trying” homeschooling without thinking of making it past six months. This was in 1986-87, and I never looked back. It became a lifestyle for us, and I built relationships with my children that are strong to this day, even as they are adults.

One of the fallacies is making your homeschool ideal or identical to the public or private school. Having said this, there is always an exception to the rule. My sister-in-law homeschooled her two grandkids for a year using the same books as the school because they planned on reintegrating the children into the school system. In this case, it was a good idea, and she was not only highly successful, but she was also able to raise their test scores with the one-on-one attention she gave the girls.

It is not fun; all fun and games. A good friend of mine used to say homeschooling is not fun, yet she homeschooled her boys K-12, and they not only learned several foreign languages but were proficient in fencing. How is that not fun?

I am going to go through a list of pitfalls in two parts. The first deals with hearsay about homeschooling, and the second is in regard to the act of homeschooling. Please join our Facebook group if you have questions about homeschooling or want to connect. Homeschool Podcast Network Family

Homeschool Pitfalls – Combatting the Lies:

  1. You do not have enough time.
  2. You don’t have an education degree.
  3. You work full-time.
  4. It is too restrictive.
  5. You have to recreate the school at home (use all the same books)
  6. Your kids won’t get into a good college.
  7. You won’t have time for yourself, and you won’t have a break from your kids.
  8. People who homeschool are strange.
  9. Your home is too small, and there is no room.
  10. You don’t have money to homeschool.

Homeschool Pitfalls — Challenges

  1. Lack of vision or goal
  2. Lack of organization
  3. Unruly children
  4. No routine
  5. Failure to check the schoolwork
  6. Uncompleted assignments
  7. Unsocialized kids
  8. Unable to play sports
  9. Lack of knowledge (parent)
  10. Unable to teach

Homeschooling is what you make it. If your children are unruly, the focus needs to be getting the kids under control. Teaching cause and effect is amazingly successful. I have several podcasts in a collection I call “Just For Kids” (search for that term, and you will find them). These are geared toward children, and they are highly effective.

Kids want to be heard and appreciated, just like us! Listen to their needs and focus on the entire child, not just academics. I know you can do it, and don’t forget to join our Facebook group – Homeschool Podcast Network Family on Facebook or share your concerns in this post on the website.

January Organize It Freebie

It’s January, and for many of us that means new resolutions. What if this year, instead of a resolution, you join us for the themed printables we offer for our subscribers?

The printables offer you tangible support and accountability to prioritize the things that matter and get done the things that must be done.

Imagine your 2023 as one of organized action. How much could you accomplish in your home and homeschool if you had a partner (the printable!) pointing the way to success.

 

 

What is in the January Organize It! Freebie?

This month’s checklist has everything you need to plan for success.

A peek at what’s inside:

Organizational Overview
January Organizational Topics
Organizational Guide
Organization Objectives
Household Organization
Finance Organization
Homeschool Organization
Personal Organization
Overall Monthly Plan
Blank Monthly Calendar
Four Square Planner
Meal Planning
Organize Your Meals
Organize Your Month-Suggested Topics
January Organization List and Blank Forms
January To-Do List (Suggestions) and Blank Forms
Organize Your Cleaning (Suggestions) and Blank Forms
Weekly and Daily Chores (Suggestions) and Blank Forms
Organize Your Homeschool
Chore Schedule and Blank Forms
Chore Chart
Weekly Check-Off Sheets and Reading List Form


Download the monthly checklist sent out in each weekly ezine; these are available to subscribers only.

The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. Sign up for the freebie so you don’t miss it.

You can sign up HERE as a subscriber if you are not signed up.

 


Why become organized?

Organization will free up time to do what you’d like. It also allows you more time and energy to accomplish your goals. This also allows more time with our children and
spouse. When we are running around picking up at the last minute or cooking dinner, there is less time to spend with the family.

Organization begins with checklists and a plan for your finances, household, homeschool, personal needs, events, and appointments. How do you deal with all of these in an organized manner? That is what we will discuss in this planner. Organization is more than arranging things in a closet or going through your unused items. While neat closets, drawers, and purging unused items are essential, they are only the tip of the overall planning necessary to run a home.

Running a business for many years has encouraged me to run my home similarly. While moms and dads hold many titles, one that escapes us is chief of staff! We have children, some are too young, but others are underutilized. I know that my children became helpful when given specific tasks and the encouragement to help. It is easier to do things independently, but if we want responsible children, we must train them early and well.

I like to know what I am doing each day. This can only happen with a list of daily goals. Successful business people do not put things off; they look over their lists before starting the next day. My husband knows what his construction crew is working on, usually a week or more ahead of schedule. Otherwise, he’d have employees sitting around, getting paid for doing nothing, which would affect the bottom line. In our homes, the bottom line is time and a happy family, which is sacrificed in chaos.

As with anything we do, balance is important, as well as keeping realistic goals and expectations. If you are a mom with little ones, you can accomplish less than a mom with teens. I am happiest
when I can see my accomplishments, yet I had many years of sacrificing my goals to have kids fed and a house that didn’t look like a train wreck when dad got home. (Not that he ever complained!)
Setting up routines, keeping to specific schedules, and knowing what events are upcoming will go a long way to running your household in a way that is not stressful.

This is why I’ve created this planner, to help you feel supported as you support your family in whatever endeavors you choose to take on.

Subscribe today.

Begin Homeschooling

Begin Homeschooling | Begin homeschooling for the first time or consider it for the future, but there is no time like the present to discuss the joys of homeschooling. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz, veteran homeschool mom of over thirty years, shares her insider tips. #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #howtohomeschool #homeschoolingBegin Homeschooling ~ Episode 485

Begin homeschooling for the first time or consider it for the future, but there is no time like the present to discuss the joys of homeschooling. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz, veteran homeschool mom of over thirty years, shares her insider tips.

Check out the great books and classes on the Media Angels website and especially the self-paced set, “How-to-Homeschool Blueprint.”

My thoughts about homeschooling have changed over the years. I began homeschooling as an alternative to a pricey private school that was not filling my son’s needs. Homeschooling was a challenge my husband gave me as well as a six-month trial period; if we failed, I would place my son in another private school. In the meantime, my daughter attended a morning program at a preschool.

Not only did my son flourish and accomplish so much more than he had in school, but we also decided to homeschool my daughter. We spent many happy years homeschooling and attending field trips, and our focus was academic but faith-based. I found myself writing a curriculum to fit my children’s needs and, years later (in 1994), started a publishing company, Media Angels, focusing on curriculum with families in mind.

I homeschooled my five children and graduated with my last child in 2017 after thirty-one years of homeschooling. Three of the five children went on to college, and all graduated with high honors. The other two are highly successful in their chosen professions.

Why did my focus on homeschooling change from pure academics to faith focus? I figured anyone could learn reading and math, history, and science, but what would be the foundation I wanted for my children as they grew older? What was the legacy I wanted to leave? What was my hope for the next generation?

My thoughts about who should begin homeschooling have taken on a more serious direction in light of the craziness plaguing our educational system. When I was in college, my major was Elementary Education, with certifications in Early Childhood Education and Specific Learning Disabilities. I taught for two years and quickly learned I would not return due to many things that have just escalated in today’s world. For one thing, the administrators make unilateral decisions without any care for the parents or their input. For another, the treatment of the children in the schools as a commodity, a number to service rather than the people behind the name.

I’m not putting down all teachers; I was a teacher that was my major in college, my daughter is a teacher, and my sisters-in-law, in fact, two of them, one retired, were teachers. It is not the teachers it is the system in public education.

Now I believe that it is every parent’s duty to consider homeschooling their children today. If you can not physically teach them everything, your focus needs to be on what you can provide for them when you have them at home. Secondly, if your child is in school, you must know what the school is teaching your children.

Years ago, a friend of ours, who is a successful attorney, obtained copies of the novels the children were required to read for literature class. It turned out that this Christian school was requiring that the children be open to ideas that most parents would not approve of – and my friend was, of course, mortified. It turns out that that same novel required reading in my daughter’s secular university, and it was so offensive to her that she decided to drop out of the class. She was a communication major and needed the literature credit but opted to take another professor. My homeschooled graduated daughter knew when to draw the line.

Our children in the educational system today are like the frog in a pot of lukewarm water over the stove, slowly being boiled to death. They do not realize the issues because it is very slow information filtering. If you disagree, you are canceled or told you are intolerant by the people who preach tolerance.

So, why should you homeschool? This is a question that only you and your husband can ask, but the focus is again on what you want your children to take with them into their future? Do you want them to believe everything that some outside entity tells them? In college (in the late ’70s), we were told to forget everything our parents taught us. This is supposed to make the students feel like they are adults and have the ability to make up their own minds. And our kids should, especially if they have a grounding in faith and morals.

Make a list:

Why begin homeschooling?

  1. Faith focused
  2. Become a close-knit family.
  3. Be in charge of your curriculum.
  4. Know what your children learn.
  5. Teach your personal worldview

Your list may have many more items, which is as it should be, focusing on what you want your children to learn. We are a faith-filled, close-knit family. While the kids are grown, and some live out of town or even state, we hear from them often and catch up on what is happening in their lives. They come home for the holidays, and we rejoice when we are all together. My kids also talk to each other regularly, which makes me happy.

Our kids’ education was enhanced by incorporating field trips and hands-on learning. Our children visited various states, added to their collections, and learned about the world around them in more than just books. Their education was well-rounded. Three of my children were gifted in sports and played with teams throughout the state. One of my children wrote a series of books with me. They are still in print. Check out the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, a well-loved action-adventure set with a wholesome theme.

I believe that homeschooling should focus on academics, yes but also on your children’s interests. I’ve talked to children at homeschool conferences who act bored with life, and when I ask them if they have interests or a hobby, they look at me blankly. One of the gifts of homeschooling is allowing your child time to think. I believe in our overstimulated world; our kids are distracted by the latest and greatest shiny object without thinking about what they want to do with their lives. Having a focus on learning and allowing your child to explore interests of their own is a significant first step to lifelong learning. bout

What is lifelong learning? It is the drive and the desire to look things up, search for answers, and challenge yourself to be the best you can be. It is looking at defeat as an opportunity to learn and move forward. When do kids in the typical school system have the ability or opportunity to do this? They don’t.

I put together a set for you to download – it is the Homeschool Blueprint and available on the Media Angels website under self-paced learning. Give it a try and see what you think. It includes many of the forms I’ve used throughout my homeschool journey.

The most wonderful tool that is my legacy to all of you is this Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and all of the broadcasts from homeschool parents. These podcasts come to you for free, and I hope you can subscribe to these shows on your favorite podcast app – Vintage Homeschool Moms is heading toward year ten, and it has been a delight to serve all of you.

 

Special Replay | Goals and Solutions For A Really Happy New Year

Goals and Solutions for the New YearLet’s Talk About Your Goals and Solutions For A Really Happy New Year

with your host, Felice Gerwitz

*Replay of Podcast 114*

 

Goals and Solutions For a Really Happy New Year – Show Notes:

  1. Your personal goals
  2. Family goals
  3. Household goals
  4. Goals for change
  5. Goals for growth

Be sure and check out the 12-Month Undated Planners

Our most popular printables are now undated! You’ll get all 12 months of undated printables to use in your home and homeschool.

A peek at what’s inside:

  • Checklists Guide – This is a breakdown of how to use the lists for the month, with suggestions to help you get started.
  • Objectives Worksheet
  • Weekly Planning Worksheet
  • Blank Printable October Calendar
  • Four square planners: Faith, Kids, School, and Household
  • Evaluation Weekly Worksheets
  • Motivational Posters and Scripture Posters
  • Printable Monthly Checklist
  • Fun Things to do in Printable
  • Monthly Holidays Printable Sheet
  • Field Trip Planning
  • Reading Log
  • Organization Checklist
  • Chore Schedule Blank Sheet
  • Quarterly Planning
  • School Planning Sheets
  • Sample School Schedules to Follow
  • Homeschool Weekly Planning Sheets
  • Meal Planning Helps and Suggestions

These are not single-page printables. Each printable is full of useful and actionable checklists that you can start implementing right away. They will come in a zip format.

Back To School After The Holidays

back to homeschool after holidaysBack To School After The Holidays

First, Happy New Year! I pray for a wonderful and blessed New Year for all of you!

The most wonderful time of the year for many people is the celebrations during Christmas and New Year – however, with the holidays fast behind us it is time to take a look at the new year, and homeschooling is a big part of our lives. How are you approaching the coming weeks? Are you jumping right in? Are you taking it slow and easy? Are you planning to delay school for a week? In the past, I’ve done all of the above, and here are the results:

Jumping  into school right after the holiday:

Pros:

  1. Get the kids back into a routine
  2. It allows you to get ahead and therefore end earlier once your lessons are complete for the school year.
  3. It keeps down the discipline problems that tend to happen when kids have too much time on their hands.

Cons:

  1. You may not be ready for school to begin.
  2. There is still a mess from the holidays to clean up.
  3. No one feels ready for school.

Taking it slow and easy after the holiday:

Pros:

  1. Introducing one subject at a time allows kids to acclimate to the routine.
  2. Remediation if needed – helps to go over past learned information.
  3. It helps to get everything organized and plan for special projects or experiments.

Cons:

  1. What do you do the rest of the day if only one subject is introduced a day?
  2. Most kids do well with routine, and what happens when you keep changing daily?
  3. Keeping track of more subjects and planning.

Whatever you decide, be sure you are ready. There is nothing like “losing” your class very quickly when mom is looking for printables on a specific subject on the computer – hops on Facebook for a second (that turns into 15 minutes), and then looks up to see everyone is running around, or outside…okay, for those of us who live in Florida this happens. Really!

Do you have some after-holiday tips that have worked well? Share them with us.

 

Christmas Final Touches

Christmas Final Touches | The countdown is on with Christmas right around the corner, now is the time for Christmas final touches. It's time to enlist your family, extended family and even your friends. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz will share some last-minute ideas with you. | #podcast #Christmasfinaltouches #Christmasideas #ChristmaskidsChristmas Final Touches ~ Episode 484

The countdown is on with Christmas right around the corner, now is the time for Christmas final touches. It’s time to enlist your family, extended family, and even your friends. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz will share some last-minute ideas with you.

If you are on our email list, you can find many great for the entire family:

Best Christmas Ever

Christmas Memories

Last Minute Christmas Prep

Christmas Countdown

Sponsorship –

And, as we know those little touches are what make the holiday special. Of course, there is food and decorations, but what about those things that touch the heart? I love small arrangements of flowers on the table, or candles (even if I never light them!). There are things I do each year that are loved by all. A small note or gift does not need to be expensive, but it will mean so much if it is heartfelt.

The key to creating a home that is inviting is to remember that less is more. Decorations can be understated and still look great! And remember that when you buy gifts.

What do you have left to finish before Christmas? Most lists look something like this:

  1. Shopping for food.
  2. Finish shopping for gifts
  3. Baking
  4. Cards
  5. Last-minute events or get-togethers.

Whatever is on your list give it some thought. Is it something you really need to do? I use to send out over 100 Christmas cards each year to family and friends. Once social media became popular I sent out a Merry Christmas to friends while I still sent out Christmas cards to relatives. My list now is whittled down to about 35 people. This was one of the things I really struggled with and it took me so much time because our relatives expected a Christmas letter with the card. How do you condense your entire year on one page?

Then there are the final touches when it comes to gift buying. Some people are blessed with the wisdom for buying the right thing. My mother-in-law was a great listener, and she would listen to what people said all year long and from that made her gift purchases accordingly. I love to bake and that is something that I was able to take to friends, especially people like my CPA and hairdresser. It soon became a favorite and it was easy to make and so much less expensive than buying a gift card or a gift.

This is why I consider the idea of incorporating the heart of Christmas which is love and self-giving for others. Christmas is a time to tell those we love how much we appreciate them. Who are the people you admire and why? I admire my son in the military because he told me that he makes an effort to make the best out of difficult situations, he has chosen to see the positive and live his life by example for himself and others. That touches me and the idea of making the best out of horrible situations is something that we should all strive for, especially during this time of hardship for many. Showing our appreciation comes in many forms but for me, it is sending a handwritten card and note.

If I gave you a notepad and asked you to jot down the heart of Christmas what would you write? If you can pause this audio and take the time to do so, if not, let me share my list with you.

The heart of Christmas contains words such as:  faith, joy, love, companionship, family, festivities, decorations, and food that might top the list. The main ingredient to include in the final touches of Christmas is the idea of celebration. We are celebrating the coming of our Savior as a child for the salvation of mankind, but not just anyone – you and me. It is an open invitation that we can accept at any time of the year. Our celebration if not Christ-focused will fall flat. My husband and I were listening to a faith-based audio recording lately and it talked about a man who was a well-known atheist and how touched he was when someone gave him a Bible. It didn’t change his belief but he said if Christians believe that Christ is truly God, they should be handing everyone Bibles. That is truly an inspiration for us all.

I’d like to take that one step further. Sharing our faith is wonderful but living our faith is the best thing we can do – we must be an example. The true meaning of Christmas is something that is talked about but not often understood. In a word the true meaning is love. Love for God, appreciation for the gift of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. It is a time for celebration and family whether it is two, or three people, or more. If you have a large family or a small one, it doesn’t matter. Being together is the most important thing of all.

As we approach Christmas Day the final touches that make the holiday special vary from family to family. One of my friends who moved to Florida from up North would spend the day at the beach with a picnic lunch. This is non-traditional but something she and her family enjoyed. If you have listened to my past podcasts about holiday preparations, you will know that I reuse so many items from year to year and minimize the cost of buying things that are disposable. In this way, there is a sense of comfort for my family and those who celebrate with us. They know what to expect.

What are some final touches you will add to your family celebration? Will it be a handwritten note expressing thankfulness or the joy of being part of the family? One year I spoke to my children about the greatest gift and that is the Christ, celebrated traditionally on Christmas. I discussed the fact that each of us has a gift and that we should identify that gift in others. Then we randomly selected a family member’s name and wrote to that person the gifts they exhibited. Many of those gifts were things like generosity, listening, time spent together, gift-giving, kindness, etc. What a wonderful final touch to our holiday celebration to do an exercise like this as a family.

Little children don’t need very much and are often overwhelmed by too many gifts. Making family memories with those final touches is important. It can make the difference between having children overtired and grumpy. Taking little ones out to see the Christmas light decorations in your neighborhood, making hot chocolate and cookies then sitting to hear a Christmas story, playing a simple game, or watching the children put on a play are all things that will be treasured memories in the future.

Of course, the final touches can include food and decorations, but the memories that stay with us year after year are the things we do and events we plan. Gifts come and go and change from year to year, but holiday traditions can begin and grow each and every year. I’d love to hear about your family traditions and the last-minute Christmas touches you will add to your list this year.

May you be blessed this wonderful season of Christmas, and I will pray for all of you this year~

 

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Thank you to our Sponsor | 5000 BLANKETS


Inspired by a true story, 5000 BLANKETS will encourage you to give to others. Find hope this holiday season when you see 5000 BLANKETS in theaters. Exclusively in theaters December 12 & 13! Coming to PureFlix!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

great gifts your kids can make for christmas vintage homeschool moms on the ultimate homeschool podcast network

Great Gifts Kids Can Make – Special Replay

Are you ready for the just for kids series? Here are some great gifts kids can make! And for cheap. The holidays are coming soon and you may be thinking about what to buy people in your family. Well, it is time to think about this and to be on the lookout for the things people really need.

Here are some more great podcasts for gifts kids can make!

  1. Gifts Kids Make
  2. DIY Christmas Gifts
  3. Thanksgiving Crafts
  4. Gifts Especially for Mom

I’m going to give you some great ideas about the things that your family may want and also some ideas about how to make things instead of buying them. Sometimes you will need to look at information online, so make sure you have an adult with you. They can use the links I have on my show notes page. Some of these gifts take the help of an adult, so you may want to ask another adult –not the person you are making this gift for, to help you! I am a grandmother and I love to help my grandchildren to make things for their parents or even their aunts, uncles, or cousins.

I love handmade gifts much better than store-bought gifts because it shows that the person making them cared about me and took the time and used their talents to make them. I’m going to share some of my favorite gifts. One is potholders. Some of these were decorative, meaning you can’t really use them on hot things, but they looked pretty when hung up on the wall. Others were paintings or pictures. Sometimes the kids made my jewelry—and I must admit that I did not wear the necklaces or even earrings they made. But, my mother—their grandmother did! She loved the bead necklaces, so she just added the ones the kids made her to the group of necklaces she already wore.

 

So, here are some things I want you to do.

  1. Look around. So, here is where your deep-deep-undercover skills come in. You don’t need binoculars for this assignment, but you do need to look around you and think about what people need or want. Does your mom or dad have a favorite mug they use every morning? If you look at the things your parents like, maybe your mom or dad collects different things. My grandmother loved wind chimes, and I do as well. These are easy to make. Or you can’t have enough hot pads for the table. So, take some time to look around.

 

  1. Think about the gifts you liked. Think about the gifts you get and try to remember your favorite presents. What are they? So many times, we cannot remember any super-favorite gifts because they either broke or we didn’t really enjoy them that well. I wanted a camera, but when I got one, I didn’t use it that much. Why did I want a camera? Because I liked painting and I thought I could take pictures of the things I wanted to paint to make it easier to remember what I wanted to paint. I could paint, but only if I looked at a picture. So, think about why you liked the gift—and maybe your reason is like mine.

 

  1. How much time to make a gift do you have? Often we don’t have as much time to make a gift—but then we can be creative. I’m going to give you some great ideas of some other podcasts I did for creating gifts that might help you. Easy gifts are ones that take the things you have around your house, and here is a great insider’s tip—did you know that you can turn things that are broken into presents? Yes, you can, and for pennies!

 

  1. How much do you like crafts or making gifts? If you say not very much—don’t worry! I have a great solution for you, so hold tight. The solution I have will have some that are super-fast-gift-giving ideas. But even though it is fast, you must put some thought into what you will do and wrap it up beautifully.

 

  1. Do you have a talent that can be turned into a gift? Time to think—again! What is something that you do well that can be turned into a gift? Can you draw or paint? Can you bake? Can you make something out of wood –or even legos? Do you collect things? Think. Think. Think.

 

So, here you go –here are my top 5 gift-making ideas for kids.

  1. Office accessories. For example, a pencil holder. Yes, I know this sounds lame, but it is one of my mom’s favorite gifts that I gave her. Here is how you do it. Supplies: A middle-sized empty can of playdough or fast-drying clay, pasta shells, seashells, old buttons, or something to stick on the clay.

You cover a can with clay, and then you can use pasta shells, buttons, or even seashells to cover the can. Have someone help you to put a clear spray over the can, or you can even paint the pasta shells ahead of time. You don’t even need glue because the shells stick really well.

Once it dries you can add some pens, pencils, highlighters, or sharpies to this set! You can use a variation of this covering a small box and using it to hold office supplies like paper clips.

  1. Decorations: For example, wall art. You need a piece of art paper, glue, and either spray paint like white or some other solid color. You will need an adult to help you. Also, look for a place where your family can put these on the wall—sometimes, you do not have much wall space, but be creative. Can you put these pictures in a hallway or even the bathroom? Do you have plants in your yard that would not miss a few leaves? Or even weeds that might work? You can take a big piece of art paper, like watercolor paper, or even a piece of thick cardboard and pick an odd number of leaves. Bigger leaves work well—but they may be hard to find in the winter. You can even use twigs, pine needles, or pieces of pine cones. Be creative! So, what you do is you make a design on a piece of paper. Once you have a design in mind, you can glue these things to the paper. Be sure you do not have dirt on your leaves, twigs, etc. Once glued, allowed it to dry. Then, take a solid color of spray paint and paint over the entire thing—you may need an adult to help you and do this somewhere where the overspray won’t be a problem. You can also take a large brush—like a wall paintbrush- and paint a solid color. Believe me, this looks great! You can make a pair of pictures to hang up. They do not need to be big.

 

  1. Personal care items. For example, hand scrubs. You will need a glass container with a lid, sugar or salt, and some type of essential oil. You can even add a few drops of light oil like olive or cooking oil.

 

In the winter, especially, our hands tend to get dry, and you can easily make a sugar scrub with a few items. You can use sugar or salt, and what you do is measure out one cup of sugar or salt in a bowl, add a few drops of essential oils like lemon or even lavender (ask your parent’s permission for these things!), and stir them up. Many people like to use sugar for a sugar scrub, but I actually like the salt scrub better. You then add a few drops of oil. Put a tiny bit of oil in a bowl, add ¼ of a teaspoon, and mix it up. How does it smell? If you can not smell anything, you may want to add a few more drops of oil. Now, you can place this in a glass container, add a ribbon, and wrap it up! Variation: You can make bath salts as well. This is super cheap, and it works great. (One of my favorite presents) Take Epsom salts and just add a few drops of essential oils and mix them together, then place them in a mason jar. Add ribbon and wrap it up!

  1. Fun Gifts Wind Chimes, hot-pads, and vases. Now it is time to get creative. If you are not holding on, I saved the best and easiest gift for last! So, you need scraps, broken items, and creativity for this gift. Wind Chimes: You can make wind chimes using things that make noise. Is there a bent spoon, fork, or something that your parents are throwing away that, when it clinks together, makes a nice tinkling sound? You can make a wind chime.

Hot pad: Did a pretty glass dish or glass break? Instead of throwing it away, with your parent’s permission, ask if you can keep the flat pieces. You can use scrap tile or wood to cover the bottom with material or felt. That is to keep it from scratching a countertop or table. Then you can draw a picture and cover it with the glass, OR you can make a pretty mosaic out of the broken glass. Be careful; glass cuts. You will need clear-drying glue for this activity. Flower vase. Do you like to bring your mom flowers from the yard—they may be weeds, but they still are pretty! You can search for a tiny container that does this… keep an eye out! Often, small olive jars or small containers that your mom or dad buys at the store are thrown away or used to recycle. You can use these as a flower vase. Either add a ribbon to the top and tie it or you can use sheets of tissue paper. Tear off the sheets of tissue paper and use clear drying glue. You can paint on the scraps of tissue paper. You can even use a mason jar and add a candle for a pretty votive light. Again, ask for things that your parents have around the house, and be on the lookout!

 

  1. Gift Cards: One Free Gift Card – you will need note cards or small pieces of paper and neat handwriting, or do this on the computer and cut it out!

Another of my favorite gifts includes gift cards from my kids to me! For example, one free car vacuuming and cleaning up, one free car vacuuming, neck rub, doing the dishes or babysitting the little kids. Believe me, your mom, dad, or grandparents will love these gifts! And the best news you do not need any craft or artistic talent to do this. And, for fun, you can wrap it in a small box, but the small box in a bigger box and keep wrapping it up—again, ask your parents for permission to use cheap wrapping paper and tape!

So, what do you think? Do you like any of these ideas? I listed other ones in my post, but these take a little more work, sometimes even spending money on supplies. Do you have a favorite gift idea? Please share it with me!

Links for the parents:

These crafts looked great –but they need an adult to help. Marbled Coasters


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Inspired by a true story, 5000 BLANKETS will encourage you to give to others. Find hope this holiday season when you see 5000 BLANKETS in theaters. Exclusively in theaters December 12 & 13! 


Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Last Minute Christmas Gifts Ideas | What do you do for that hard to buy for person? How about some great last-minute ideas? Over the years I have a list of great things to help you without much planning or spending lots of money! #ChristmasGifts #HomeschoolPodcast #Podcast #ChristmasIdeasLast Minute Christmas Gifts ~ Episode 483

hat do you do for that hard to buy for person? How about some great last minute Christmas gifts? Over the years I have a list of great things to help you without much planning or spending lots of money!

I have found that personal gifts are difficult to buy but my best buying tip is to think about things they may enjoy eating. One year we gave away mason jars filled with ingredients to make cookies. Layered looks nice, but baggies are more practical especially when mixing the ingredients. What about homemade bread? You can buy tiny loaf pans you can bake in that are festive and perfect for gifts. It is always fun to receive something that is personal

Have you checked out the calendar lately? Is it time to freak out? What do you do for that hard to buy for person? Don’t worry, I’ll share some things you can have on hand for the times you need something quick!

Thanks to our sponsor

Here are some other shows you may enjoy:

Best Christmas Ever

Christmas Memories

Last Minute Christmas Prep

Christmas Countdown

I love giving gifts. I love to give gifts that have value but are not ridiculously expensive. It depends on your individual budget, but many times we give gifts based on what we want to give rather than on what the person wants.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts …The key to giving gifts is threefold:

  1. Know the person
  2. Have a budget
  3. Listen

This is great for your individual family and some of you have special traditions. You may have a special way you handle gifts within your own family. My daughter’s family (a household with eight children ranging in age from sixteen to three) select a name to gift one other person among the children. Another friend with a large family purchased large, plastic Christmas storage bags and filled it with wrapped gifts for each of her children. There was no scrambling to find gifts under the tree. She kept her gifts to under twenty dollars. Another friend purchased each child and Christmas ornament for each year. When they were adults, they took these with them. It was a wonderful keepsake.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Take a Trip!

Perhaps you take a trip instead of giving each other gifts. This is something I think that adults enjoy more than kids. If you do something like this, perhaps consider sharing a few inexpensive items with each other that are meaningful on Christmas. Having something on hand for gift-giving is not always possible, especially if you have a budget. But I promise these ideas won’t break the bank. I know we all love to purchase personal gifts but that isn’t always possible.

Here are some suggestions for inexpensive last-minute Christmas gifts:

  1. Think about storage if you are short on space. Under the bed in a flat storage bin is one idea.
  2. My favorite isles are the discount isles in stores such as Hobby Lobby. I picked up about ten nice kites for several dollars each. These are stored there until I needed them. I can also pick up craft books and art books at discounts.
  3. Gift cards are great, and while impersonal, they are enjoyed by most. If you are on a budget you may consider restaurant gift cards. You can get them in smaller increments. Buy ones that have two or three restaurants on the card. By having these on hand you will be ready in case a friend “unexpectedly” brings over a gift and you have nothing in return. I have other ideas upcoming. I would buy gift cards to my family’s favorite restaurants and often you get a free $10 card or more with a larger purchase. You can use the gift card to pay for your meal and then gift the smaller increment.
  4. Once again depending on how you celebrate the gift exchange, you may want to keep an ongoing list of age-appropriate gifts handy. Over the years our list has grown but crowd favorites are roller blades for the teen and under set, airsoft for the fifteen and older sets, and Rubik’s cube for eight and older. (Tell Mike’s story)
  5. Some families like to give one main present and then have some filler gifts. For example, a pair of roller blades and the filler gifts are pads, a helmet, and a homemade gift card to the roller rink with a note that they can redeem to bring a friend after the holiday.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts Include:

For Kids:

  1. A book on how to make paper airplanes with a small pack of colored heavyweight papers.
  2. A craft or drawing book with a small gift card for supplies.
  3. Watercolor pencils and a pad of blank paper
  4. Yarn crafts: including yarn
  5. Gift cards
  6. Christmas Ornaments
  7. Slingshot
  8. Rubik’s cube (a crowd favorite)
  9. Origami book and paper
  10. Binoculars

For Adults

  1. Plants
  2. Decorative towels
  3. Recipes: recipe card and cheap card holder that you decorate
  4. Cutting boards
  5. Gift cards
  6. Christmas ornaments
  7. Framed family pictures.
  8. Homemade trail mix in a decorative mason jar.
  9. Homemade bread such as pumpkin (you can bake these and freeze them).
  10. Re-gift (be sure you write down the name of the person who gave you the gift!)

On Hand Gifts

Smaller gifts that I have on hand (when my children were little and now for the grandkids) are as follows:

  1. Parachutes: family favorite and nice ones are about six dollars for three and made of cloth instead of plastic. (Kid favorite!)
  2. Airplanes – These are the quick kind you can put together and fly
  3. Glow sticks. Evening gift
  4. Bubbles
  5. Cracker Barrel novelty items such as puzzles and games.

One more last-minute favorite gift idea, especially for people who are difficult to buy, is a gift of food. Most people enjoy eating, so food is a favorite. One year we gave away mason jars filled with ingredients to make cookies. Layered looks nice, but baggies are more practical, especially when mixing the ingredients. What about homemade bread? You can buy tiny loaf pans you can bake in that are festive and perfect for gifts. There are many ready-made mixes that you can make at home as well if baking is not your thing. It is always fun to receive something personal with some extra thought behind it.

Well, there you have it! Gift ideas that won’t break the bank and will help you with those who are hard to buy for. Keeping to a budget this time of year may be difficult, but putting thought behind a gift, even if it is not lavish, is important.

Have a blessed Christmas, and I pray these ideas are helpful!

Thank you to this month’s Sponsor: 5,000 Blankets

Last Minute Thanksgiving Treats

Last Minute Thanksgiving Shortcuts | With Thanksgiving just around the corner here are some last-minute Thanksgiving treats sure to please. The key is ease, things you may already have on hand, and ideas that won't be too costly. | #shortcuts #thanksgiving #thanksgivingshortcuts #podcast #podcastkids #homeschoolpodcastLast Minute Thanksgiving Treats ~ Episode 482

With Thanksgiving just around the corner here are some last-minute Thanksgiving treats sure to please. The key is ease, things you may already have on hand, and ideas that won’t be too costly. In this podcast, Felice shares her best-kept secrets with you!

Visit MediaAngels.com for wonderful novels for your homeschooled students. The wholesome Truth Seekers Mystery Series as well as A Few Minutes with God. Immediate download or order the print books just in time for gift giving. Visit the store here.

I’m all about preparing ahead of time and yet, sometimes I look at the calendar and stress! How did all those weeks fly by what I have left to do will take three weeks instead of the one week I have. So, what am I going to do? I’m going to sit down, with a nice cup of calming tea, raspberry is my tea of choice, and make a list. I use to hate lists, in fact, I would make lists and then go off what I remembered was on my list instead of actually looking at it. No wonder I forgot things on my grocery list. I did have a great memory and for the most part, remembered what I needed to buy but not always. The same with planning for the holidays which I began hosting many years ago.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Treats ~ The Easy Way:

  1. Refrigerator treats, things you do not need to bake.
  2. Dips and chips.
  3. Finger foods.
  4. Pre-made foods.
  5. Fruit platters

Whenever I have a diverse group of guests, like babies to sixty-something-year-olds, I want to have a variety that even the little ones will enjoy. I’ve found that fruit fits that bill, and it came, courtesy of extended family! My daughter’s mother-in-law makes a wonderful fruit platter. A mixture of cut-up fruits, and sometimes she brings packaged and pre-cut fruit, and then she serves it with the fruit fluff. It consists of an 8-oz package of cream cheese and one jar of marshmallow cream. It is easy, festive looking and best of all the kids and adults love it.

Salty treats – Take a sliced cheese (or use firm cheese slices) and sandwich it between mini-pretzels – bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (425 for about 10 minutes) until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with spiced or regular mustard. These are yummy but must be made before serving.

Tried and true is pepper jelly over 4oz of cream cheese. Place the cream cheese on a microwavable plate, pour a generous amount of pepper jelly on top, and place in the microwave for about one minute or less. It depends on your microwave, but you want to slightly soften the cream cheese and heat the jelly. Serve with crackers. (Even the kids love this.)

Gouda cheese wrapped in crescent rolls is another favorite. Buy a half pack of crescent rolls (4) and lay them out end to end to make a square. Place a round gouda cheese on top and cover tightly. You can keep this in the frig overnight or for a day or two until you bake. The oven temperature is 350 for about ten to fifteen minutes. The cheese will be warm and gooey and the rolls light and fluffy! You may want to make two of these as they go fast. Place a small knife or precut the portions. Let cool for a few minutes.

Another goodie is anything dipped in chocolate. This does take some prep time, but it so easy. I take large strawberries that I leave whole with the tops on and wash them several times (usually with a few drops of vinegar then rinse). I line a cookie sheet with paper towels and allow the strawberries to air dry. Then once dry (or I pat them with paper towels to hurry the procedure) I dip them in pre-melted (one bag of your favorite semi-sweet or sweet chocolate chips). I melt the chips in the microwave thirty seconds at a time and stir with a fork. Once it is creamy and melted (chocolate burns so be careful), I carefully dip the dried fruit one at a time and place them on another cookie sheet lined with wax paper. If you are blessed to live in a cold climate the chocolate will harden quickly. If not, you will need a quick zap in the frig – be careful not to leave them overnight. These are best fresh. You can get creative if you have time and melt white chocolate chips and drizzle them over the hardened chocolate. Sometimes these sell for $2 each!

You can also chocolate-dip large pretzels. I dip half in chocolate and leave half plain. I’ve dipped graham crackers – each graham cracker has four perforations and I crack these evenly (or not – you get to eat the mess ups) and dip half in chocolate and leave half plain. Again, wax paper and cookie sheets are ready to chill if needed. The kids love making these easy treats as well.

Dips are another great way to serve veggies or pita chips. You can use prepared guacamole, salsa, or a homemade dip such as cream cheese with Knorr packaged seasoning. Their official website is here with lots of food ideas and tips. I keep some of the packages on hand for last-minute prep. My favorite dips are a cold spinach dip that is easy to make and store. You can serve this with loaf bread that is torn into strips or purchase (or make) round bread that you cut up to dip.

Another favorite is mini-meatballs. Do you know I use to hate meatballs? I hate to admit this because being first generation Italian you are supposed to love meatballs! I finally found a recipe I love it is easy to make and it freezes well. I use a small ice cream scoop to keep the size small and bake them in the oven. Once you cool them you can freeze them and take them out when needed. The sauce is optional but yummy. The key to the recipe I like (by Bobby Flay) is that he uses three types of meat. In the past you could find this meat already packaged, now it is harder to get. The meats are beef, pork, and veal. The veal is a tricky meat to find. I’ve made these meatballs with beef and pork and they were still yummy. Due to copyright, I don’t want to list the ingredients here, but you can find them online with a quick search, “Bobby Flay Meatball Recipe.”

My go-to favorites are pulling things out of my freezer, such as small cakes I’ve baked during the year. I use small rounds and have an assortment of vanilla and chocolate cakes. I can serve these frosted or plain with fruit such as raspberry or strawberry, and whip cream. I bake when I have time and keep things in one section of my chest freezer which I keep on the back porch.

And, the last-minute prep idea that works every time is to buy something packaged and already made. Okay, don’t judge but we are talking about last-minute Thanksgiving treats here!

For quick clean up sever the appetizers and desserts on disposable platters. Or get fancy and use those glass platters (I have them in all sizes) that I bring out just for special events and they go with everything. Enlist help. If someone asks what you want them to bring over assign a sweet or salty treat – or better yet, ask them what they’d like to bring. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends! I pray you have a blessed time!

 

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Kids | Are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year? I'm sure you and your family have special holiday traditions but in this podcast, I am talking about thanksgiving in that you are thankful. That you have an "attitude of gratitude." | #celebratingthanksgiving #thanksgiving #podcast #homesacchoolpodcastCelebrating Thanksgiving – Just For Kids ~ Episode 481

Are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year? I’m sure you and your family have special holiday traditions but in this podcast, I am talking about thanksgiving in that you are thankful. That you have an “attitude of gratitude.”  And, not just for all the good things. Join me, Felice Gerwitz for this special Just For Kids episode (and bring the kids! all are welcome).

Visit MediaAngels.com for wonderful novels for your homeschooled students. The wholesome Truth Seekers Mystery Series as well as A Few Minutes with God. Immediate download or order the print books just in time for gift giving. Visit the store here.

Okay kids, think fast! What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving? Wait. What? Some of you said the food and others said you don’t like the traditional foods, like turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Do you like those little cranberry nubby things? You know, the cranberry sauce? Maybe you said, “yes” to this and maybe you said, “no.” We all have things we like and dislike. But just like you have a choice in liking or disliking the things you eat, you also have a choice. We can choose to be happy and thankful! And only you (and your attitude) can make it the best day ever! What do I mean? Well, that’s what I want to share with you.

Attitude is everything when celebrating Thanksgiving or just living life each day.

Sometimes we have this idea of what should happen, right? Let’s say you are going to your grandparent’s home for Thanksgiving. Each year you have a really good time. There is good food and your grandmother even makes sure she has chicken nuggets or something you like very much to eat. She also has games or crafts for you to do, and her house is like a park. There is a pool and a pond, there is air hockey and ping pong upstairs, and you are excited about seeing your cousins or playing outside. That is until you show up! You learn your cousins are sick and can’t come and it is raining outside. Does this mean that you have a terrible time? Maybe. But, maybe not.

Did you know that being sad or miserable is a choice? It is something we do, and we have the ability to be sad or happy. Sure, if we are out for a walk and it starts raining buckets of water we won’t be thrilled that we are soaking wet. But, at least it is not buckets of hail or snow and we are freezing cold. Do you see? You look at the bright side or you find the good in things. If you were caught in a rainstorm you might say, “This is great, now I don’t have to wash my hair tonight.” I hope you don’t say that, but you know what I mean, right? You are trying to see the good instead of the bad in things.

Do you want to be angry? Miserable? Really sad? No? Well great! That means you would like to know more about the attitude of gratitude. What is it and why do you want to know more? Well, I am so glad you asked.

We should have an attitude of gratitude. This means that you are thankful and grateful for everything big and small.

  1. Gratitude (being grateful) is a choice.
  2. It can become a habit, but it takes practice.
  3. It helps us to be happy instead of sad.
  4. It helps us to be adaptable when there are changes in our life.
  5. It encourages us to look for the good instead of the bad.

What are some ways that you can practice being grateful?

  1. Seeing the good in things.
  2. Express your gratitude with words.
  3. Celebrate the little things.
  4. Chose to be happy.
  5. Make a list.

Remember being grateful is a choice and we celebrate Thanksgiving for many different reasons. But one reason remains, to be together with our family and our friends. It is a way to show others that we appreciate all that they do. If you have people over to your own home do you have to help to clean up? Or do you see how much work your mom or dad does, maybe with the help of your older brothers and sisters? There is a ton of work that goes into having people over to your house. You don’t want them to open the front door and see a pile of dirty laundry or a mess the dog made, right? Of course not! So, we prepare and plan to get things just right. And sometimes everything looks great and sometimes there are last-minute things we have to do. Either way, we chose to be happy in the preparation and once the guests arrive.

Being available to your family is wonderful as well. Does your mom or dad need help? You won’t know unless you ask them. Are you willing to help? If not look at the reason why. Did you know that sometimes even adults don’t feel like doing things they are supposed to do? Believe me, I don’t always feel like preparing meals or baking for when the company comes over. Part of being grown up is doing the things we don’t want to do, and if you have an attitude that says, “I wish you would not come over,” your guests will know this when they come!

Can you imagine going to your grandparent’s home for Thanksgiving and finding that your grandmother made Turkey sandwiches and potato chips, and is serving store-bought cookies for dinner? You might say, “Yay!” if you like Turkey sandwiches, but that is not what you would expect. Am I right? But we make the best of things no matter what we find when we walk in.

When my grandchildren come over to my house the first thing they ask is “Grandma, what are we having to eat?”

What they should say is, “Hi Grandma! Thanks for all the hard work you are doing so that we can come over and eat some of our favorite foods.”

I am only partially kidding, because who doesn’t want to hear that from your son or daughter or your own grandkids? We all want to hear that gratitude that thanksgiving, that I appreciate all you are doing for me, and how can I help.

This all takes practice, it does not happen overnight, but the one thing I want you to take away from this podcast is that you are in control of your own feelings. And if you want to be happy, excited, and thankful it takes deciding that you will find the good in things that happen. Are you ready to be grateful? Are you ready to be happy about the little things? Are you ready to be a nicer person to everyone you meet? It takes only one person to make a change and that person is you! Congratulations on a life that is happier and fuller and I pray that this podcast has made you think of how you can be a blessing to others, not only at Thanksgiving but all year long.