Grounding Yourself in Mathematics

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

tips to ground yourself in mathematicsTips to Ground Yourself in Mathematics

By Karen Branch

There’s that moment in every comedy where the befuddled comic relief character says, “Wait a second…” as he notices something like his house was slowly emptied of all its possessions while he was distracted by the clever antagonist.

As parents and teachers, we are hoping to instill that moment of pause that something could be wrong in our math students as they solve problems and come across mistakes.  For this purpose, we ask our students, starting in elementary, to round and to estimate.

Building Math Skills

When the students have an idea of what the answer should be, they have a much better chance at catching a small mistake in their work and getting back on the right track.  Parents and teachers, please dedicate quality time to rounding and estimating with your students.  You’ll see that effort pay off as your child progresses through their math levels.

Estimating in Math

Building on the skill of estimation, I like to show my students how to be confident in the steps they take to solve complicated problems by having them ground themselves in a simple example.  I’ll demonstrate this with a topic all math students dread…fractions.

Imagine a cookie that was broken in half.  You are given half a sugar cookie and your faithful dog Buster has come begging at your feet for a bite of it.  You break your half in half and give it to him.  What actually went into your mouth was one fourth of a cookie.  Mathematically:  half of half is one fourth.  Let’s see that played out:


How did we get from our question to our answer?


We can see that the numerator multiplied times itself all the way across (one times one equals one).


We can see that the denominator multiplied times itself all the way across too (two times two equals four).


Ergo, to multiply fractions, multiply straight across the numerator and straight across the denominator.


Now when your student is facing something like this and can’t remember how to solve it…


…they can ground themselves with the example with the cookie halves and solve with confidence.


Just one simple trick, grounding themselves in an example they know is true, and students go from intimidated to determined with their practice problems.


Try this technique the next time your student is stumped.  Show him that he has the tools to break the problem down and fight for his answer.  When he has earned the answer for himself, his confidence will soar and he’ll be excited for whatever challenge comes next.


To learn more please visit to learn more about how to ground yourself in mathematics.

Podcasts you might enjoy:

Replay | Mistakes Teaching Math

Unlocking Learning Potential

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Unlocking Learning Potential Begins Today | Are you ready to learn how to free your child from the grips of learning struggles and focus on unlocking learning potential | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #NoahsArk #TheFlood #Episode527 #UnlockingLearningPotentialBeginsToday #UnlockingLearningPotentialUnlocking Learning Potential Begins Today ~ Episode 528

Are you ready to learn how to free your child from the grips of learning struggles and focus on unlocking learning potential? In this episode, Felice Gerwitz interviews special guest Dr. Tim Conway, Ph.D., and discusses NOW!® (the Neuro-development of Words), The Morris Center, and The Einstein School; you won’t want to miss it!

I receive some interesting emails from time to time with requests for interviews. Over the year about ninety-nine percent make it to the trash, but this one caught my eye. Dr. Conway owns and operates the Morris Center, which has helped those with dyslexia with great success. In fact, the parent of a student who went through the program was in contact with me about her child’s success.  My own children were struggling learners (some of them), and my background in Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Specific Learning Disabilities (as it was called then) prepared me in some ways and hindered me in others. As educators, we were instructed to “teach to the child’s strengths.” But what about the child’s weaknesses? How do we remediate and not compensate?  

In this podcast, we will discuss:

Dyslexia defined 

Warning signs and red flags that your child is struggling and needs early intervention. (Intervention at any time is beneficial.)

How to test and screen for dyslexia, Dr. Conway shares how.

How to determine effective intervention. 

The key role of Occupational Therapy in language development.

Dr. Morris noted that family history is instrumental in uncovering the likelihood of learning struggles, with an 80% increase in the likelihood of a parent who struggled in some way. He shared some ways to conversationally ask young children different questions (repeat after me) in identifying potential struggles. We learn to read with different strategies, from sounding words out to memorizing words that can not be sounded out (visual memory and auditory memory). Some children leave out sounds, repeat a sound, or perhaps reverse sounds. These are ways to identify struggling learners as well. (Much more on the broadcast.)

Resources for Unlocking Learning Potential: 

NOW! Programs -Advice, Support, and Praise Group

Neurodevelopment of Words- NOW Programs

The Morris Center

YouTube Channel – Unlocking Learning Potential 

The Morris Center Clinics 

NOW Programs  

TED Talk


The Morris Center 

The NOW Program 

Dr. Conways research 

Summer Fun On Shoestring Budget

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Summer Fun On A Shoestring Budget | The summer is in full swing, and you have weeks left before school starts. How do you instill summer fun in the remaining months? What can you do to keep the children from fighting or saying those dreaded words, "I'm bored! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #NoahsArk #TheFlood #Episode527 #UnlockingLearningPotentialBeginsToday #UnlockingLearningPotential #SummerFunOnAShoestringBudget #SummerFunSummer Fun On A Shoestring Budget ~ Episode 527

The summer is in full swing, and you have weeks left before school starts. How do you instill summer fun in the remaining months? What can you do to keep the children from fighting or saying those dreaded words, “I’m bored!” In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom, mom of five, and grandmother of nine will share tried-and-true activities to keep the kids learning, mostly without them knowing!

Visit the website for fun ideas and planners you can print and use.

So, it’s summer or some other time when the children are finding it difficult to use their time wisely. Maybe you are similar-minded and feel that children should not be on a tablet, computer, or television most of the day. What do you do when they’ve exhausted their normal activities and find they’d rather bother each other than find something else to do? This is the time I pull out the activities I save for the proverbial “rainy day,” even if the sun is shining brightly. These activities tend to keep the children occupied and having fun.

Summer is a time to learn a new skill, my children learned to ride bikes in the summer. Or, start a new hobby or sport. Maybe you’ve wanted to teach your children about the explorers or classical music. I wanted to do a classical music study around Christmas and never found time, but I switched it to the summer, and it was so much fun. Even if the children never loved classical music the way I do, they enjoyed learning about the composers and learned how to identify different musical instruments in an orchestra. In the winter months, we attended a concert, and they enjoyed it because they understood a little about compositions and the instruments.

I group my activities into different categories. Ones that don’t take many supplies, just brain power, and others that do take supplies that I try to have on hand. Either way, the results are the same. Mom is happy, and the kids are happier! I break down my list into Indoor and Outdoor Activities and then further break down into the following groups: few or no supplies, some supplies, and many supplies.

Here is a free summer printable for you with ideas: HERE

Indoor Activities for Summer Fun:

Few or No Supplies:

  • Scavenger hunt
  • Word Cross or Activity Pages (try our new planners just for kids – there are pages you can use for this activity)
  • Puzzle pages
  • Make your own puzzle

Some Supplies:

  • Coloring pages
  • Drawing with pencils, colored pencils, or markers
  • Paper airplanes
  • Make a fort with sheets
  • Read
  • Write a story (story starters)

Many supplies:

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Painting
  • Kite Making
  • Water balloons
  • Balloon crafts
  • Homemade rockets

Outdoor Activities For Summer Fun:

Few or No Supplies:

  • Nature walk, see and identify
  • Bird watching
  • Wind activities
  • Collect (rocks, shells, etc.)
  • Races / Tag / Hopscotch, etc.

Some Supplies:

  • Run through sprinklers, slip, and side, or swim
  • Fly kites
  • Bug catchers
  • Make a fort with sheets
  • Make giant bubbles

Many supplies:

  • Cook with the sun
  • Contests: beach ball (how long can you keep it up?) timer
  • Create a map that starts with your yard, neighborhood, etc.
  • Map the grocery store (park, etc.) without going, then visit to see how accurate.
  • Nature hike with backpack and supplies
  • Picnic in the backyard or park

Does this list help you to think of ideas of your own? I hope so, and I’ve included some other links for you to explore with even more ideas.

More Summer Fun Resources:

Summer Fun Water Pressure

Summer Fun: Write A Book 

Summer Fun Project: Write A Book

Summer Fun: Family Business

Summer Projects For Families

Co-ops: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly | Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

co-opsWhat makes homeschool co-ops good? And what makes them bad or downright ugly? Are there certain things that we should look for when we try to find a co-op?

On this episode, veteran homeschooler Christi Deason and I tackle the issue of homeschool co-ops and try to answer these questions. When Christi was homeschooling her children, the landscape of homeschooling and co-ops looked different than it does now. We talk about what has changed and where we see problems developing.


It seems everyone these days who homeschools is involved in a homeschool co-op of some sort. In fact, in the survey we conducted before this interview, all the respondents except one indicated that they had been involved in a co-op at some point in their homeschooling.

But is it truly necessary for all families to even be involved in co-ops?

Our opinion is, simply, no. What works for some, may not work for your family. And there is nothing wrong with being your child’s sole teacher! For the homeschool pioneers, this was normal. Remember, homeschooling is about freedom, and your children will be successful if you follow the Lord’s leading.

So how do you know if co-ops are right for your family?

We give some suggestions to help you determine if a homeschool co-op is right for you and some ideas of what to look for. Here are a few tips:

  • Look for something small
  • Look for something with families you know and respect
  • If your children are young, keep it fun-focused (not academic)
  • Look for something with some flexibility
  • Look for something that fills a true need

Here are some other things to remember:

  • Pray first and ask God if this is the right direction for your family
  • Be okay with the fact that what works this year may not work another year
  • Always be willing to “shift” if things don’t work out

There are some great co-ops out there! Just be careful to pray first and be discerning during the vetting process. Know what you want and don’t settle for any homeschool co-op simply because you think you need to. At the end of the journey, YOU are the teacher and you and your spouse are the ones responsible for your children’s education. God will show you what is best if you trust Him.

This podcast sponsored by Media Angels and the Truth Seekers Novels

Let’s face it, Christian kids are leaving their faith in droves despite all our best efforts. Until now! These novels teach truth, they teach justice and they TEACH children how to defend their beliefs. Now you can spark your child’s interest in Creation without even trying! Using a “novel” approach your children will race through hundreds of pages of heart-pounding mystery, suspense, and edge-of-your seat adventure! Includes the three novels and Literature Guides:  Digital Download.

Order your set today.

Homeschool Grades | Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Crystal discusses the ins and outs of homeschool grading. And hopefully, by the end of the show, you’ll better understand how to grade your homeschooler and come away with a few tips to keep it all organized. | #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #homeschool #education #homeschooling #homeschoolHomeschool Grades: How to Assign and Track Your Learner’s Progress


In this episode, Crystal discusses the ins and outs of homeschool grades. And hopefully, by the end of the show, you’ll better understand how to grade your homeschooler and come away with a few tips to keep it all organized.

How to Assign and Track Your Learner’s Progress

Episode #35 –  So, you’ve decided to homeschool your kiddos. Everything is ready- from the best homeschool curriculum to the perfect learning space in your home.  You’ve got all your bases covered! Or, you thought, until someone asks how you’ll grade your homeschooler. That’s when it hits- how are homeschoolers graded? If this sounds familiar, or you just want to be sure you’re doing things correctly- then you’re in the right place!

A perspective on homeschool grades

Any experienced homeschooling parent will tell you one main perk of homeschooling is its flexibility.  Yes, there are requirements in each state that may direct how many hours you have to educate your child, and there may even be requirements specific to what grading system you must use; however, most often, parents are free to decide what best suits their family’s needs.  So, evaluating your homeschooler’s progress comes down to one central question: to grade or not to grade?

Why does grading matter?

The answer to this question depends on a couple of factors.  First, if your state requires letters or percentage grades for homeschooled students, there is no way around it; you must grade your homeschoolers.  If there are no specific requirements, whether to grade or not becomes more of a personal choice.

What about college?

Many homeschooling families choose to wait until high school before introducing a structured grading system, and this is because their students will be entering college in a few short years.  Implementing grades at this level helps colleges assess the student’s competency and readiness for college-level learning.  However, for those not keen on switching over to formal grades, a grading system is not necessarily the “golden standard” for homeschoolers entering college.

The ‘how and when’ of grading

As highlighted above, grading your homeschooler is often a personal choice.  If grading is what feels right, then go for it.  But it is essential to find a grading system that works best for you and your students.

Luckily, there are several different grading systems to choose from.  Some options include:

  • Grading percentages: This system is a 0-100 percent grading scale, often used along with letter grades.
  • Letter grades: This option includes using grades from A to F.
  • Standard-referenced grades: This system compares students with other students using a letter grade (this system may be more difficult with smaller groups of students).
  • Mastery level: This grading system uses terms such as “masters” or “passers” to show students’ comprehension of a subject.
  • Standard scale: This option uses pass or fails only.
  • Absolute standards: Parents can compare their student’s learning and work against the established competency levels (most school districts provide expected learning goals for each grade level, which parents can use for this grading system).
  • Narrative grading: This system includes a written assessment of student learning and allows for personalized tracking.

For grading art and other subjective assignments, options include:

  • Focus on other concepts like art appreciation or comprehension of a topic, which may include additional parts to an assignment, such as narratives and oral presentations to demonstrate knowledge.
  • Grade according to effort and following directions.
  • Simple rubrics that include the student’s input to encourage self-reflection on learning.
  • Standard grading using a 1-4 scale (4= exceeds expectations, and 1 basic).

How to record and track your homeschooler’s grade

Fortunately, as with grading systems, there are plenty of options for logging and tracking grades:

  • Journals
  • Flow sheets
  • Rubrics
  • Spreadsheets
  • Websites

Listen in to learn why grading matters and options for grading. Some examples include percentage and letter grades, pass or fail, standard, and narrative grading.  And while these grading systems are easy to apply to subjects such as English and math, a different approach is often needed for more subjective lessons, such as art. Fortunately, there are many options for grading subjects like art as well.  Lastly, once you’ve decided which way to go for grading, there are great options for tracking your student’s progress.  From journals to websites, there are plenty of choices to keep everything organized, making it easy to find when you need it.


Psychological Effects of Grades on Students – Edsys Blog

Applying to College as a Homeschool Student: What to Know | Applying to College | U.S. News (

Art Teacher Tips: How do you grade art? (

Join Crystal and her guests each week as they bring relevant information to equip you, stories to encourage you, and content to inspire you. You don’t have to go it alone, tune in to the Military Homeschool Podcast, and be energized in your military homeschooling journey!

How to listen:

  1. Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher
  2. Subscribe to your favorite podcast listening app
  3. Or listen right here (just scroll down)

Got questions or comments, or have show topic ideas? Contact Crystal via email at or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

 Please subscribe, follow, and share with all of your military homeschooling friends!

Evolution Taught To Kids | Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Evolution Taught To Kids As Truth | I've heard it all! Evolution has nothing to do with a kid's faith. But when evolution is taught to kids as truth the problems begin. It is one of the reasons that kids leave their faith as they get older. | #podcast #creationscienceEvolution Taught To Kids As Truth ~ Episode

I’ve heard it all! Evolution has nothing to do with a kid’s faith. But when evolution is taught to kids as truth the problems begin. It is one of the reasons that kids leave their faith as they get older. There are many excuses given for how a kid raised in a Christian, God-loving home can leave their faith behind. Maybe the kids never believed. Maybe they didn’t really mean it when they accepted the Lord as their personal Savior. Maybe they didn’t make their faith their own, or they weren’t really “saved.” No one can answer this question other than the person who once believed and now doesn’t.

In my experience talking to hundreds of parents in the years since I co-authored my first book on the topic of Creation, in 1994 the common theme was, evolution. The child bought into the lie taught as fact in the schools they attended. The biggest question I’ve asked is why is a theory taught as a fact? I think the answer is as varied as the person asking the question. Again, the common theme is because the “other” (Creationism) is faith and evolution is science. Evolution is a theory. It is not a scientific law.

Science, Faith, and Truth

In fact on further examination evolution contradicts scientific laws like Thermodynamics. But of course, we sweep this under the rug. Upon digging deeper we also learn that Darwinian evolution is discounted (because the fossil record never substantiated Darwin’s theory) and neo-Darwinism is in. Or is it? Now scientists think neo-Darwinism is in need of a replacement.

Many Christian households teach a Biblical Creation as stated in Genesis 1: God created… and many also are at a loss on how to fit their faith into evolution. News Flash! You don’t have to “fit” faith into evolution because evolution is a lie. Is there microevolution, changes within a kind. Absolutely. But macroevolution – goo to you by way of the zoo is a myth. Now scientists realize that what they thought was DNA “junk” randomly evolving human genome can’t happen. In fact, 95% of human genomes can not evolve. Really? We knew this. So, why do evolutionists keep insisting that Genesis is a myth?

Evolution Taught To Kids as Truth – The Problem

Once kids are taught that evolution is a “valid” theory (aka educated guess) kids think their parents lied, or worse. They park their faith at the door and feel that maybe Genesis is the fairy tale. In my many years of study into creationism and evolution, I learned that kids need to be taught both of the faith systems because truthfully both are based upon faith. We have faith in the unseen, we were not present when God created the world and we were not present when the big-bang or whatever other theory started the world, and from this disorder came order – and everything in between. There are many theories of origins and as demonstrated earlier, they keep changing. Some Christian believe that Almighty God chose to begin the world by evolution (Theistic Evolutionists).

Debating Evolution Taught to Kids as Truth

So much of this has been debated and truthfully, it is up to each one of you to make this determination on your own. But, I’m warning you, if your kids are brought up with a strong faith and yet believe in evolution as a theory of molecules-to-man, they will be hard-pressed to defend their faith when they are in higher education. My co-author on the Creation Science Series, Jill Whitlock use to lament that those who believed in Theistic Evolution were lost, souls. I don’t go that far. Sure, you can believe in God, have a relationship with the Almighty and still believe in evolution. But what a loss.

Explaining to children that the Bible (especially Genesis) is an allegory or fairy tale, and then jumping to Genesis 1:27 – “Oh, but we believe that God created Adam and Eve, just not as He said in Genesis. You see, these organisms evolved and then at some point when a human was formed, God infused a soul into the first man and then the first woman, and called them Adam and Eve.” That is confusing to say the least. We must believe that Almighty God used death and destruction and “chance” as the molecules formed themselves eventually into a human, to then infuse a soul? Wow.

Never mind that there is no evidence that evolution happened. No fossil record. No verifiable scientific data. Only a theory.

Why are people so adamant that Creationism is false? That Genesis is not to be read literally? Because then a person must change and follow God and the “rules” which they believe are limiting.

Recently some big names in the Christian world have abdicated their faith. They’ve decided they are no longer Christians because of the “definition” of what it means to be a Christian. In the same sentence they added – oh, by the way, I am also getting divorced. We see the tragedy of sin in the priest scandal. We see pastors of various denominations falling prey to sin. How does this happen? It begins by turning away from the truth and coming up with the slang of the day “speaking your own truth.”

And when evolution is taught to kids as truth then nothing is sacred.

Kids begin to question:

  • We don’t have to believe the Bible as written?
  • Do we have to believe in Noah’s ark? That was pretty far fetched, anyway.
  • Jonah and the whale – yeah, that was hard to believe, too.
  • Moses parting the Red Sea – yeah, totally weird.
  • Jesus born of a Virgin? How can that be?
  • Jesus the Son of God? Wow. I don’t know.
  • Jesus and the miracles of the loaves and fishes. How can that happen?
  • Jesus dying for our sins? If Adam and Eve didn’t exist then why did he have to die?
  • Jesus rising from the dead? Not sure about that one either.

Never mind that the disciples that walked with Jesus (except for John) were all martyred for their faith as well as thousands upon thousands of Christians. You don’t give your life for a myth or allegory.

Kids think in ways that many adults tend to think and if we begin questioning the truth of the Bible or a loose interpretation of it, then nothing is sacred. Friends, don’t believe me. Research creationism side-by-side with evolution. No one has all the answers but evolution is sure based on a bunch of theory by scientists who have very little if any evidence that points to a conclusion that is substantiated.

Hug your kids. Teach them the truth. You will be happy you did.

Are you ready to host your own Creation Camp — at HOME?  

Each day you study one day of God’s amazing Creation! One Week of Full Activities or break it up into a longer period of time. Your choice.

Comes complete with all the instructions, a Kids’ book you may copy for multiple children, supplies that can be shared and a Teacher’s Instruction Manual.  Teacher’s Manual includes complete day by day instructions, reproducible sheets, and complete directions for each experiment, activity, and art project, and the answer keys!  Student notebook: Students receive a notebook with activities sheets, crossword puzzles, vocabulary games, word search, and a separate field guide book that they can put together and decorate.

Everyday Peacemakers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Everyday Peacemakers | Are you a peacemaker? Recently I've been convicted that I need to aim toward that goal, in a focused way. As parents it is not always easy to have peace or to facilitate peace among our children or even our spouse | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #NoahsArk #TheFlood #Episode526 #EverydayPeacemakers #PeacemakersEverydayPeacemaker

Are you a peacemaker? Recently I’ve been convicted that I need to aim toward that goal, in a focused way. As parents it is not always easy to have peace or to facilitate peace among our children or even our spouse. In this podcast, we explore the elements of peacemaking and show your children through examples how to demonstrate this gift with others.

Are You A Peacemaker?

As a parent, you will more than likely find some portion of your day spent keeping children from fighting or keeping the peace between your child and spouse. If you have a large family, you are definitely in this role whether you want to be or not. I never considered myself a peacemaker, especially with two younger siblings. They were seven and eight years younger than me, and my role was firmly entrenched. I thought I was the boss. I didn’t have an opportunity to babysit for other families since my parents had a built-in babysitter. But, I didn’t mind. I realized later that I was in the role of peacemaker because I kept the two brothers (only thirteen months apart) from fighting.

We all strive for peace in our homes, it makes it so much easier to manage our household when our children get along. We find that our days go so much better and we can actually accomplish much! In order for this to happen, we must have cooperation and an understanding that can be forged, especially when the children understand the consequences. Before I deliver into specifics, I wanted to share with you what a quick search turned up.

If you search for the definition of a peacemaker, you will be disappointed with the results of an AI-generated search. AI, as we know, lacks heart, and here is an excerpt of what I found.

THIS IS AI-GENERATED ONLINE  – Read bits of it aloud and comment. 

“A peacemaker in your family is often the person who takes on the role of mediator, intermediary, and mediator to pacify those who are irritable or angry. This role is often assigned to them by their parents or caregivers when they were young, and it can be a heavy burden to carry. The peacemaker’s job is to keep the peace by smoothing out differences and avoiding conflict, often at the expense of their own needs and desires.”

(This was AI-Generated online.) Do your own search, does it lack heart? Let me continue reading, see if you agree or disagree with these statements: (FIRST READ then comment).

Characteristics of a Peacemaker

  • They are often drawn into complaints of tension with other family members

I don’t think any of us are drawn into complaints. I do believe we set the record straight, and either we allow our children to figure out a beneficial solution or we help them in some way.

  • They may have a hard time saying no or setting boundaries

That is not true – if you are a peacemaker, you do set boundaries – otherwise, chaos would ensue – if there is no peace!

  • They may prioritize others’ needs over their own

Umm – yes, this applies to all parents. By definition, a good parent is selfless – not to the detriment of the child (in other words, we don’t let them act horribly), but we do many things we’d rather not like get up in the night, to care for our children when they are hurt or sick, cook, clean, you know, parent!

  • They may struggle with anger or assertiveness

That is rich! Because you are a peacemaker you are angry? Assertive – yes, I can see this, but angry. How can peace and anger co-exist? Don’t you love AI?

  • They may feel responsible for others’ emotions and well-being

This one is not as much of a stretch. I think we sometimes fail at parenting because we want everyone happy and sometimes blame ourselves, but again, that is part of parenting.

It goes on about the effects of being a peacemaker and the difficulty one has in this role, but I will spare you that list. What I will say is that the answer to breaking free from the role of a peacemaker is narcissism. The suggestions, I believe, are ridiculous. I do believe that being a peacemaker means communicating effectively and assertively; in addition, it means setting boundaries. Harmony in families takes place when there is mutual respect. Often respect is expected but not given in return. We found this out with our teen son. He knew how to tell his younger siblings how to act and what to do. However, the same standard did not apply to him. This is sometimes how we as parents are seen by our children. Do what I say and not what I do. Just as in expecting good character, it should be demonstrated by our daily actions in order to be copied.

This brings me to the list of suggestions and ideas that may be beneficial to your family. The first is from scripture – Matthew 5:9:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  Yes, Jesus meant women too – sons and daughters of God. To be a peacemaker means to be peaceful yourself. You know how we never put ourselves first (most of us, that is)? Now might be a good time to take a look at your schedule and get up a bit earlier or stay up a bit later and relax. For me this was a bath nightly. It was a luxury to have thirty minutes alone and relax. I was so rejuvenated afterward and it helped me to sleep. (That is, until I had to wake up to feed the baby.) What is it that you can do to create that little bit of time when you can think or just relax? Getting recharged is important.

Here are some past episodes and blog posts you may enjoy:

Relax and Refresh

Encouragement for Moms

Summer Planning  Sign up to receive our latest planner.

Creating a Home Mindset

Everyday Peacemaker – Conflict Resolution

How do you deal with conflict? Do you expect your children to figure it out on their own (typical in larger families), or do you get involved? This is a huge indicator of how loud or effective the conflict resolution will turn out. I watched my grandchildren right before an event my daughter was hosting. Two of the siblings ran upstairs (one chasing the other) demanding a toy that the other had “taken.” My daughter continued to finish her preparations, and other than asking the boys to keep it down, there was no other comment. When the older of the two grandsons came downstairs, I quietly said, “You are blessed that you have the mother you have because if I was your mother, you would have been in trouble. You do realize that making your brother angry is not productive.” He answered, “Yes, grandma, but if you were my other, you would have nipped this with (he named another sibling) who apparently started the incident, taking the item and handing it off to the youngest, knowing the alteration would take place! I laughed and said, “Yes, heads would have rolled.” We both laughed at that.

We parent differently. The boys did figure it out loudly, but apparently, that is allowed. If my daughter micromanaged every situation, it would be exhausting. The children, however, have some parameters (not a right or wrong, just an observation) that allow this behavior.

Look at your parenting style. What behaviors (right or wrong) do you allow? This is an indicator of the behavior of the children. I realized that I was a “threatening repeating parent” after attending a parenting seminar. Once I realized this I learned how to remedy it by actually following through and doing what I said I would do (in the threat). The children quickly learned it was no longer an empty threat and mom would follow through.

Being a peacemaker can be taught as well – asking your children, especially those who tattle, if they are being peacemakers (you may need to define this first). Here is the breakdown of how this looks:

  1. Telling on each other (when it is not life-threatening) is a way to get someone in trouble for no good reason.
  2. Ask the child if he is being a peacemaker or trying to get his/her sibling in trouble.
  3. If he answers in trouble, ask for an apology and better yet, to apologize to the sibling.
  4. Taking it one step further ask your child how he can encourage his brother/sister to make good choices.

My daughter often asks her children if they are making a good choice. This is a great way to put the responsibility on their shoulders. It is effective, and the response (or lack of response) is telling.

Making a good choice can be something you practice. You can put the children through different scenarios (all of the Character Planners contain lessons that focus on the character and questions the children can answer and act out!) Check out the Media Angels store here – There are two twelve-pack planners and here is another one (smaller bundles available as well)

In addition, teaching the children that choices have consequences is part of the “follow-through” I discussed above. Focus on the Family has a great article here that covers some of the same points and additional ones. The main idea is that if you attempt to bring the family together do it in positive ways ahead of the conflict. When bored, children find ways to entertain themselves, and unfortunately, it is to the detriment of others! Keeping the family united and under one roof is the goal of many; having peacemakers in your family is a blessing we shouldn’t take for granted. I pray this episode was beneficial.  Please share this episode with a friend and until next time!

Science Labs on a Budget

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Tried and True Science Labs |Tried and true science labs depend on good equipment but also a good curriculum. |j #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #teachingsciencelabs

Science Labs on a Shoestring Budget

Want to do science at home? Tried and true science labs are finally easy to do at home. With labs on a shoe-string budget, you will find the information you need to stock your science lab at home.

What is contained in a tried and true science lab?

All purpose science kit.

Biology Kit

Chemistry Kit

Physics Kit

Tips on keeping all of your materials organized.

Where to purchase “real” science equipment.

Science labs depend on good equipment but also a good curriculum. This book has hundreds of recommended books and many are available in libraries.

Tried and true lab sheets!

An added bonus to this book contains blank science experiment sheets – we’ve used these over the years with our children and hundreds of children have used them in science labs I’ve hosted. These lab sheets will keep the kid’s notes organized and are great for science lab notebooks.

Author and publisher, Felice Gerwitz of Media Angels, Inc. will discuss tried and true science labs to incorporate science labs within the home – this presentation is taken from her book, Teaching Science and Having Fun.







Top Ten Time Savers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Top Ten Time Savers | We all need to save time each day, and I have learned the hard way that making the time to get organized needs to become a priority and not an afterthought. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #NoahsArk #TheFlood #Episode524 #TopTenTimeSavers #TopTenWhat are the time savers that can help you each day? How do you implement them in a life that is already overflowing with things to do, and people to see? Every mom has her best-kept secrets on productivity and getting things done, and in this podcast, Felice Gerwitz shares her top ten with you.

Top Ten Time Savers ~ Episode 524

We all need to save time each day, and I have learned the hard way that making the time to get organized needs to become a priority and not an afterthought. This actually came to me at homeschool conferences. And, it was thanks to people like you, who share your hearts with conference speakers, that I was able to reflect on my own life. One of the most enjoyable parts of speaking over the years at the conference was the people I met and how much I learned from all of you. Your insights and experiences have been invaluable in shaping my understanding of productivity. Oftentimes it was to take a closer look at my life and actually get it as together as people seemed to think that I had my life! I mean, to get to speak at a conference, you have to know what you are talking about, right?

Sure. On topics of teaching science, implementing hands-on teaching methods in your homeschool, creating winning science fair projects, writing and publishing books, and wait for it…”Getting Things Done” in your homeschool!

Questions I was typically asked at homeschool conferences:

“How did you have time to write books and homeschool?” My answer? I made the time.

Another asked, “How do you do so much?” My answer? “I do many things, but not all of them well.”

or my favorite, “When I grow up I want to be like you.” (I smiled and thought — is she saying I’m old?)

Time Savers That Help!

Okay, all kidding aside, what are some time savers that help? I have a list that I will share and then explain. The list contains things to help you now with time saving, but really, it goes deeper. It is a matter of training yourself to compete in this world of disorder and distraction and come out on top (or at least in the top ten)!

Top Ten Time Savers:

  1. Saying no.
  2. Putting things in their place. Finding your things a place if they don’t have one. (Keys, books, etc.)
  3. Do it now.
  4. Write it on a mega list. (electronic – Evernote – or Notes on Mac)
  5. Child discipline
  6. Avoid distractions.
  7. No phone conversations/ texts
  8. Errands/ appointments on one day
  9. Shop online
  10. Get refreshed

Number One: Saying No! 

Moms, quit volunteering. I know it is fun, it makes us feel productive, but it is a time suck. Maybe do it for one year, but not consistently. People will take advantage of you, and I learned that it was better to pour the time and effort into my own family rather than work myself to the bone and ignore my husband and kids because I had to prepare 42 cupcakes for co-op and plan a lesson because otherwise it would not get done. There is a season for volunteering, it is not when you have little ones and no energy or time. Harsh? Maybe, but true.

Number Two: Putting Things In Their Place 

How many hours have you spent searching for things? Lost keys, books, toys, papers? Am I right? If you have a place to hang your keys (or leave them in a special pocket in your purse, a file for papers, a notebook for homeschool papers, a homeschool shelf, or a bin for books, it will save you a lifetime of searching.

Number Three: Do It Now

Do you know it takes brain power to put things off for later, especially if you forget, or it weighs upon your mind? I try to do things as soon as possible that need to be completed whenever I can. I have found in over thirty years of being in business that the busiest people I know are the ones who get back to me the fastest. When I asked for recommendations for books I was writing, those who I thought would never do it got back to me within the hour in some cases and one day in another. They’ve taught themselves how to be productive.

Number Four: Mega List

I have mega lists for various things, groceries are one. I take off the things I don’t need and I’m off to the store. My latest is sticky notes near the refrigerator, and I write down what we need to replace when we need it. It saves so much time. I keep lists of my kid’s sizes and now grandkids’ sizes so that when I shop, I have these handy. It is a good practice and one that is helpful. But, where is your list? Some people use Evernote. I like to use the notepad on PCs –they even have tabs (but be sure to save it –two places! or Notes on the Mac.

Number Five: Discipline

How much time do you waste on misbehaving kids? Hours. Kids, many of them, have a hard time understanding cause and effect. Implementing this simple process will help you tremendously and free up time but it takes follow through on your part. Are you ready? Set parameters and keep to it. For example, sit your children down (three and older) and explain to them the consequences of misbehavior. The younger the child the teaching moments will come as the child is misbehaving. For example, leaving the remote control alone. If you do not have it out of reach but do not want children touching it, explain the consequences if they break the rules. It is simple but effective only if you follow through. With teens, my philosophy was to say there was going to be a punishment; however, I had to pray about it and would let them know. It only took one time for them to understand that mom having a bit of time to think about a punishment rather than react was allot worse than reaction. We have many podcasts on the topic of the discipline on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Number Six: Avoid Distractions

What is your number one distractor? For me, it is many things. Often, when I sit down to work, the thoughts of twelve other things I need to do jump into my mind. I either write down the important ones or ignore them and yes, it takes mega discipline to do that. However, avoiding distractions is important to getting things done. I’m not talking about your kids or husband here, but I do know it is those little things that get us sidetracked.

Number Seven: Phone/Texts

When I first started homeschooling, we all purchased answering machines (yes, it was a thing) so that we could avoid picking up the phone in order to focus on our homeschooling. Phone calls were distracting. Now we have texts and while I agree it is way shorter to text than talk, it is still distracting. Put your phone in another room, and if you must, set up a ringer for special people that call so you will know if it is a parent or your spouse.

Number Eight: Errands

I group errands and appointments, if possible, close together and on one day so only a portion of my time is disrupted rather than two or three days a week. I also do some of my errands in geographical locations. Save so much time.

Number Nine: Shop Online

Don’t judge, but I started even doing my grocery shopping on occasion online. One of us picks it up or I have it delivered. When I am in a bind, it is so helpful and saves me money and time.

Number Ten: Refreshed

I realized some years back, after I was physically sick, that I had to take control of my health; otherwise, there might be dire consequences. So many of you have your hands full, and my daughter, with nine children, four teens, and the rest under the age of twelve, is an example of this! If you can ask your relatives for help, or partner with a friend. One of my friends had several she traded off with for babysitting services. She’d watch their kids when needed as well. It was so helpful. Sometimes she’d go to a park to pray and felt she was refreshed after this time alone with the Lord.

If even one of these things is helpful, I’m glad! There are many printable planners on the website you can download that may help! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and please share this episode or podcast with a friend if it has been helpful.

Organization Hacks For The Busy Mom

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Organization Hacks For The Busy Mom | In Five Minutes or Less Ready for some organization hacks that can save you hours of time in just five minutes? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz will share a proven method for reclaiming your time. The podcast may run a little longer than five minutes, but the time you'll save is worth it | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #NoahsArk #TheFlood #TheArkandTheDarkness #OrganizationHacksForTheBusyMom #OrganizationHacks #BusyMomOrganization Hacks For The Busy Mom – In Five Minutes or Less ~ Episode 523

Ready for some organization hacks that can save you hours of time in just five minutes? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz will share a proven method for reclaiming your time. The podcast may run a little longer than five minutes, but the time you’ll save is worth it.

Ready to take control of your time? Visit the Media Angels website for a range of products, planners, and other time-saving tools. We’re here to support you on your journey to better time management.

As a busy mom, I felt that some days nothing was accomplished! In fact, I called it a win if I had the children clothed, fed, and safe for the day. Many times I felt frustrated because I was wasting so much time finding lost items, to say nothing of never getting to errands that needed to be completed. So, after much frustration, I sat down and made a plan. In fact, it came to me as I was cleaning up yet another of my little one’s spilled juice. (This was before the days of sippy cups; be happy for those innovations, Mom!) Remember, you’re not alone in these struggles.

Method for Organization Hack #1

The first thing I did was take a sheet of paper and fold it into four squares. On each square, I wrote one thing. My headings used to say – Personal Needs – Kid’s Needs – Must Do Today – Errands for the Week. But it morphed into the samples below that I used each week during the days I homeschooled my children. Faith – Kids – School – Household. This simple act of organizing my tasks into these four categories brought a sense of relief and control to my chaotic days.

4-Square Planner – Blank

4 Square Planner – Filled Out Example

It doesn’t matter what your headings read; what is underneath them counts. Start small.

Questions to Answer – Organization Hack #2

  1. What has to get done today?
  2. What can wait for another day?
  3. What will make you feel better if it gets done today?

If you can answer these questions, that will help your anxiety and allow you to accomplish more. I have learned that when I stress, I can’t think; when I can’t think, that’s right! Nothing gets done. When I was able to plan out my 4 squares weekly, the checks beside the list grew because I had all the things clearly laid out and briefly. I didn’t make long, detailed lists; there wasn’t a need.

Routines – Organization Hack #3

I didn’t have detailed plans because many things on the list were routine items we did each day.

  1. Wake up, make coffee, pray
  2. Wake up, kids (if you are not already up). If the older children are up, they are to play quietly until breakfast.
  3. Eat breakfast (mom reads Bible story and short lesson).
  4. Start school (another set schedule).
  5. Lunch / one or two chores as time permits
  6. Finish school
  7. Lessons, sports, free time, etc.

Errands – Organization Hack #4

Going on errands used to be a time-and-day wrecker! I learned to plan for multiple errands on one day and to plan a route so that I could mimimze my time. I would think about where I needed to go and plan my errands (if possible) to the closet to the house first (on the right side of the road), with the last errand being the closest to the house that needed cold or frozen things stored -such as groceries. At times I needed to go to the bank and it was opened yet, so I’d leave that for on the way home. Now we have apps that make auto deposits, and checks you can deposit via apps!

Yet even those times need to be planned. If you are doing household chores, plan a time for paying bills or checking emails. Do not, and I repeat, do not check emails or social media first thing in the morning. Which brings us to hack number five.

Ignore Distractions – Organization Hack #5

Please recognize and ignore distractions, this will free up hours of your time. There are things that are our weaknesses, let’s just agree we all have them, we are human after all! I had to learn that even with a business, I had to ignore my emails, or I would get sucked into the vortex of trying to answer the major ones and finding that hours had gone by without me knowing it. My kids didn’t bother me because if they did, they’d have to start their schoolwork. I didn’t hop on social media until everything was finished and I could set a time for my time spent.

This method, making a plan, answering a few questions, having routines, organizing my errands, and ignoring distractions saved me hundreds if not thousands of frustrating hours. When people ask me, “How did you have time to write a book, create a class, or host a podcast?” Now you know why. You have the inside scoop. Any one of these methods will save you time.

Start small and see if any of them work for you – and let me know! Share this podcast with a friend and thanks so much for stopping by.