Homeschool Secret Weapon

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschool Secret Weapon | The homeschool secret weapon is not the perfect curriculum, perfectly run home, or peaceful household. | #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #secrethomeschoolweapon #helpfformoms #momstips #insiderhomeschooltips #homeschoolersHomeschool Secret Weapon ~ Episode 491

The homeschool secret weapon is not the perfect curriculum, perfectly run home, or peaceful household. While all of those things are great, the true secret lies in the little-known information, and once you get it right, the rest falls into place. Join veteran homeschooling mom Felice Gerwitz as she shares her homeschool experience with you.

Visit the updated website for classes, books, and planners to help you on your homeschool journey.

If you missed my last podcast, Homeschooling Secrets, check it out here.

So…it’s time to dig deep, and I need your full attention. Sure, homeschool moms are great multi-taskers. You may be driving, folding clothes, or perhaps even painting a wall with your kids. (I’ve received emails telling me the favorite activities of my listeners.) But, seriously, I need your attention today because the information I am sharing with you will take some convincing.

It is not that my information is incorrect or that it is flawed in some way; the issue at hand is that humility may get in the way.

I’m not trying to be vague if you have listened to any of my past 490 podcasts a ridiculous number, I know, and I’m still at it; I normally get right to the point.

The Real Secret Weapon

The truth is the secret weapon is you, mom, or dad. Not to put pressure on you more than you possibly put on yourself, but the simple fact is you are it! You are the head of your home, classroom, discipline, and organization in your family, the head honcho, or whatever title you give yourself. Who gives the final word on what happens in your child’s education? You. In regard to your child’s physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being in the palm of your hand. Literally.

How did I come to this conclusion? Carefully. Over the years, I placed blame on various sources, entities, and even my own shoulders for what I considered academic or character struggles my children went through in their life. The curriculum was easy – if my child didn’t “get” Algebra using one book, no worries – we purchased another. Character struggles were the result of a young age (they are too young to get it), too little knowledge (we haven’t covered that yet) or lack of information (we are working on that). But at some point, I had to stop and say, “I can’t blame their teacher because I am their teacher.”

Instead of that statement being a burden, I embraced it. I realized that I could not address the issue without acknowledging my shortcomings. If my child was misbehaving, I had many options, but I had to do something to correct that behavior, or I’d see it again and again. I’d turn into the nagging, repeating parent.

Word on the Street

At every convention I attended, I found the next best thing. Yet, upon implementation, I found that this next-best thing was not what I was looking for, whether it was a book, workbook, video, game, or even a book on scheduling and organization. I discovered that I needed to be “all in” in order to embrace what we were learning and be there to support my child in the process. As homeschoolers, we tend to want to set it and forget it. Give your child a book and walk away and then become frustrated when they walk away from the table and never come back, lose their book, or fail to complete an assignment. This all happened in the course of my 32 years of homeschooling.

My discovery came from many discussions with my husband, homeschool friends, and children. First, my husband shared information he learned from listening to a homeschooled dad of a large family, a Catholic Psychologist he listened to on the radio. He loved this man and his advice, especially to dads.  His advice was that moms hold so much power in their hands. They can determine if the child receives privileges. It is up to them. That is not novel advice, but in the context of homeschooling it becomes powerful. We are with our children 24/7, and our children know what buttons to push; they know when we are tired, or they conquer and divide, tell mom or dad that the other parent gave permission when this isn’t true. Or, they blur the lines of exactly what it means when you ask, “Did you complete your assignment?”

Homeschool Secret Weapons Tool Box:

Having the tools to get the results you need is in your tool chest of homeschool secret weapons. And what are these?

  1. You have the power of yes or no.
  2. You can remove distractions.
  3. You can set boundaries.
  4. You can decide if a child forgoes a snack or a treat.
  5. You can give permission or take it away.

My daughter brought home some friends when she attended a local university. One girl went on and on about how she was now an adult. I asked what age constituted adulthood and, secondly, when she turned said age. She answered eighteen and that her birthday had been a few months prior. So, I concluded you had been an adult for three months? She saw where I was going with it, and my daughter just laughed and rolled her eyes. This friend then proceeded to tell me that she and my daughter had had quite a few conversations, and she considered my interest in her life excessive. (She wasn’t quite blatant, but I knew what she meant.)

I explained, “Well, this household is not a republic or a democracy. It is a monarchy, and I am the Queen.” My daughter had a smile on her face, thankfully because she had heard it before, but this girl was appalled. So I went on to explain further.

You Are The Queen

Being the head of your household and reigning as Queen means caring for those in your charge (your spouse, your children), laying down your life for your kingdom (your family), and providing the best within your means. A responsibility, yes, but a privilege as well. It is a weighty responsibility; we need to refill our tanks occasionally. (I have an upcoming podcast on the topic). Being the Queen is also a thankless job. We do it because we are born into this and thrive if it is done well.

The homeschool secret weapon is our attitude and our outlook on our homeschool journey. It is placing things in perspective and not stressing the small stuff (guilty of both). Honestly, I had to pull away from the homeschool community at large for a time. I had to pull back and reexamine my focus on my spouse and children and regroup. I founded this Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Community out of a need to celebrate what was good in homeschooling with people I knew (the majority of the people on this network are those I know personally or have met in real life). You can trust these podcasters as having your best interest in giving homeschool advice.

Next Step

Friends, you are the homeschool secret weapon, and the question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to realize the power you have and use it wisely? I pray that this information has been helpful and you can use it to benefit your children and your family life. We undervalue our service to our family, or at best; we are too humble to appreciate it — that is why I asked for your full attention at the beginning of this podcast. I know your hearts are good, and you want what is best for your children, and when there are frustrations or difficulties, it is easy to blame others or even your children for their lack of cooperation. Knowing we have the tools at our disposal is a good start.



Homeschooling Secrets

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschooling Secrets |There are secrets, and then there are homeschooling secrets that you should know| #homeschoolpodcast #whyhomeschool #truenorthacademy #homeschool #TheSecretToHomeschooling #secrethomeschoolingHomeschooling Secrets ~ Episode 490

There are secrets, and then there are homeschooling secrets that you should know. This podcast is not for the faint-hearted! Here we will discuss the truth that, as the Scriptures say, will set you free! This podcast is brought to you by Felice Gerwitz, who will share her top tips for her thirty-two years of homeschooling. Buckle up!

Would you like an open-it-and-go unit study for the entire family? Try Media Angels, unit studies, and great planners to get organized. These can be found on the store page at

Considering Homeschooling

As a young married woman with my first child on the way, I didn’t consider homeschooling, nor was it on my radar. Many years later, I found myself at playgroups with a toddler and hearing people discuss the possibility, so I did what any sane person would do and talked them out of the idea. After all, did they have teaching degrees or certifications as I did? I wasn’t planning on homeschooling but returning to teaching once my school-aged children were enrolled.

What happened instead was after some frustrating meetings with the school system, it turned out my oldest child had mild learning issues and was speech delayed. I placed him in a private school and my daughter in a high-end-high-dollar preschool. I began to research and met a friend whose husband was a doctor, and she herself had a master’s in education and began homeschooling her daughter. She helped me put things in perspective.

After my first frustrating year, I found that I had to make my own decisions and what worked best for my family. Other than following whatever the laws are in your state (and I would have moved if our laws were like some states which mandate what books you can use), we were free to learn in a way that was best for my kids.

I’ve broken these secrets down into various categories. The first is just general information about how to look at homeschooling, the second regards parenting, the third is practical, regarding curriculum, and the last is important in regard to household chores and meals.

So here you go some top-secret tips to help you in your homeschool planning:

Homeschooling Secrets 101 ~ General

  1. Decide your homeschooling philosophy – just like a business has a slogan, come up with one for your family. This will help, I promise. We brainstormed as a family and came up with things like: We are stronger together, Gerwitz Strong, and what we decided upon: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)
  2. Know why you are homeschooling. Is it academic? Is it to help your child with their worldview? Is it to give your child a stable family life? Is it to help your child spiritually or psychologically? Is it for a reason, learning advanced or learning delayed? Is it to avoid the issues plaguing education in our world today?
  3. Get a support group, whether it is a best friend who has your back, your spouse, or a good homeschool support group.
  4. Ignore well-meaning extended family members who think they know what is best. Polite responses include, “Bless your heart; thank you so much for sharing your opinion with me.” It goes a long way instead of arguing your point. (Tell the story of tongue twisters.)
  5. Select a time frame to homeschool. I am going to do this for one year, etc. Time Management for Parents.

Homeschooling Secrets 101 ~ Parenting

  1. Create Memories – Family Bonding Time
  2. Know you are the parent and are in charge. Obedience is not an option, and getting the kids on board is important. Set boundaries. Tell the kids what you expect during a typical homeschool day.
  3. Give kids time to think. Blog post here
  4. Set rewards upon completion of work at the end of the week.
  5. Catch them doing going and encourage the—power of words.

Homeschooling Secrets 101 ~ Curriculum & Planning

  1. Learning begins with life lessons, at home and outside of the home, through hands-on exploration.
  2. Begin with research, and start with Cathy Duffy’s website of top curriculum picks. 101-102
  3. Podcasts – Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network – search any topic
  4. Plan your year – summer is best. Break down your books with monthly/weekly goals
  5. Keep Friday open if at all possible – doable in younger years. Catch-up day, field trips, etc.

Homeschooling Secrets 101 ~ Household

  1. Plan once and forget it. Meals, laundry day, etc.
  2. Routines rather than schedules. Every day is the same, with some revisions (laundry etc.)
  3. All hands on deck. Enlist the kid’s help with chores.
  4. Bulk cooking, so meals are easy during the school week. (Make double each meal and freeze)
  5. Plan trips on one day. Doctor, lessons, grocery (order online and pick up).

Overall the secret to homeschooling is to be true to yourself and your goals and vision. Once I lost that, I floundered. With my oldest two, I had more energy being younger, more resources, and more time overall. When I had my next three after a gap of some years (My story is here), my oldest daughter reminded me to make learning fun for my youngest kids. I did this by adding some hands-on activities like science fair projects and history fairs, giving them time to think and delve into their interests. I also added extracurricular activities like sports; my children, the youngest three, were very good athletes and played competitively and in college. This focus and motivation helped tremendously in their school work.

My homeschool journey felt never-ending at times, but I was committed and all in – the result is we have a family that is very close to each other. My youngest kids even roomed together for a year in college. I have kids who love the Lord and are faithful and, best of all, who know that we are there for them no matter what lies ahead. We are a family, and we are there for each other. And that is the best outcome I could hope for, and I pray that for all of you as well.

How to Teach Science to a Special Needs Child at Home

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Raising a special needs child brings its own unique set of challenges, and teaching them at home can seem daunting. However, science doesn’t have to be one of them. With a little creativity, patience, and a few helpful tips, you can successfully make science learning an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both you and your child. In this article, you will learn about the tips and ideas for teaching science to a special needs child at home, including how to make the subject accessible and engaging, how to tailor activities to your child’s specific needs, and how to make the learning fun. With these simple strategies, you can help foster a lifelong love of science in your special needs child.

How to Teach Science to a Special Needs Child at Home

Science and Special Needs Children

By Felice Gerwitz

Are you interested in action, adventure, mystery, intrigue, and discovery? Well, science contains all these elements and many more! I can just see you shaking your head in denial. Yes, I am using those adjectives in the same breath as science… and adding the word “Special Needs” to the mix. Very few people know my oldest child had some serious learning difficulties, and no matter what I used, he didn’t seem to grasp the concepts.

 A Diagnosis of Special Needs

I had never planned to homeschool my child. I was an educator who had taken a break, or so I thought, to raise my children until they entered school. Well, all of that changed when I began to notice that my precious baby was delayed in so many of the normal milestones. I didn’t receive a diagnosis until he was four years old, and when I did, it hit me with a ton of bricks. My child had a form of Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 21. This abnormality was little know in the day, and what I do know now is that he is very high functioning with an IQ at the norm.

 Still, the books for our first year of homeschooling did not measure up. My child was having difficulty with some of the books. He just wasn’t showing the same enthusiasm he did when we went to the library and checked out non-fiction books. I also noticed strange things, such as the fact that he couldn’t wait until a rainstorm ended.

 You see, we live in Florida in an area once known as the Cypress Slough. [Translation for those of you not from this area it floods during the summer rainy season!] Both of my two older children loved to wear big rubber boots and carry their treasures in a red wagon, which they towed along. They asked so many questions, such as, “Mom, what do frogs eat?” Or “Mom, how can you identify a poisonous snake is it red on black or black on red?” Yikes! It’s time to get out the books.

 If they found new pets, they spent more time researching and categorizing, and learning than I could ever get them to do with my hand-picked curriculum. 

Seeking the Lord for Direction in Our Homeschool

As I began to pray, the Lord opened my eyes to see that, gosh, they really like science, and they are doing all this learning on their own with a little encouragement. I could really teach them so much. As an aside here, by planning your curriculum ask the Lord to help you. It is amazing how he will! So, slowly my curriculum began to look a bit different, incorporating many hands-on activities.

Science in Our (Special Needs Sensitive) Homeschool

I believe science is the study of the wonderful world God has given us. You can learn so much with so little. You don’t need expensive lab equipment, to begin with, or even at all. Teaching Science is important for many reasons. It utilizes all of the senses; it encompasses reading, comprehension, writing, spelling, mathematics, history, and critical thinking. Science is not cut and dry. It requires research and hands-on activities.

 There is a natural overlapping of subjects if you are doing hands-on science, especially in the younger grades. I found I was covering most of what was “required” for the year just by enjoying Nature Studies. In fact, we covered two years of science in one without realizing how many concepts were included.

Best of all, with science, there is a discovery process that takes place. The child must seek and look for the answers. Special needs children, especially those that enjoy being outdoors, really gravitate to this type of focus.

Science Tip: Enjoy the Outdoors with Your Children

A friend of mine owns an equestrian center, and often horses are used with special needs children with great success. Look for those little thoughts of gems in your area and find a place that encourages special needs kids, to attend. 

My children both had fun with horses at a young age. Their mother, however (me), is deathly afraid of horses. I did ride a horse once on a nature trail. And I think my children enjoyed the outing more because they could see me on a horse!

Enjoy the outdoors with your family. If you live in the city, there are parks you can frequent, small potted plants you can grow easily with very little space, and learn all about the wonders of science from a child’s perspective.

Speaking of Unit Studies

This tends to happen, especially if you are doing unit studies. You usually tend to delve into a topic in detail much further than you would in a textbook.

 If you have considered unit studies yet are concerned about missing something academically for the year, you may want to invest in a scope and sequence, which gives information about what a child should be covering in each grade level. (My book contains a science scope and sequence.)

Learn to Love Science

No matter what your approach to teaching science is, I feel most children will love science if given half a chance. I believe half of the battle in homeschooling is attitude. If you love it, they’ll love it if you don’t, well, they won’t either. 

Remember that even if you don’t love science, it is a required subject. They have to learn it sometime. I would hate to think that many children would be introduced to it at the high school level without enjoying all the exploration, experimentation, and fascination that can come when they are younger.

 Make a promise to teach science this year on a regular basis. I know it’s easier said than done. If needed, make a sign and hang it up, reminding yourself that you made a promise to teach science. Many public school systems are using science and technology schools to lure students into less desirable neighborhoods.

Yet, most public schools spend less than 1 hour per week on science in K-3 and around 3 hours per week in grades 4-6. In surveying a group of my personal friends, I found that most left science out of their elementary curriculum and were more interested in learning the 3-Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic). Many left science for the end if they had extra time. Translated? This means they are not teaching science at all. Who, as a homeschooler, has an abundance of time?

Parents Are Equipped to Teach Science, Especially to Their Special Needs Child at Home

 Did you know that the number one reason parents put their child back into high school (after playing sports) is that they don’t want to teach or don’t feel qualified to teach high school science? Well, how many parents are qualified to teach reading, spelling, or any of the 3-R’s? Many have said they learned along with their children. Why should teaching science be any different?

 I never took High School chemistry or physics in school didn’t learn how to teach it as an educator, yet I was able to teach these topics to my children. Arrange labs with a brave group of her friends! 

I have found the resources to help us; that is how it should be for you too. One of the best tools you can give your child is the ability to research questions they have. A high school teacher with the answers isn’t going to follow your child around for life and answer their most pressing questions. And yes, my child has been accepted to a university for further study after high school.

Learn to Schedule and Become Organized

This is not a talk on organization, but I have learned that with organization, you will lower the frustration of every member of your family! How do you get organized? It has literally taken me 12 years of homeschooling to learn how to schedule my homeschool/ business/ household chores/, and my husband’s business, and I‘m not done yet! Organizing under construction… Life has gone on much smoother with planning.

Plan on Scheduling Science In

 How do you schedule science? a. Once a week? b. Every day c. Every other day. The choice is yours…d.

Never is not an option.

One of the simplest ways to schedule is to take several calendars and look at them. I use two together, first a yearly calendar, as I begin by mapping out the approximate no. On days I plan to do formal school, I use a monthly calendar with holidays and other scheduled events as far in advance as possible. I then coordinate the two, blocking out no school days.

 Look at the number of days you plan to school. Look at the curriculum you are planning to use if your book has lessons. You may do one a day, so that’s easy to plan. If your curriculum has chapters try to approximate how long it will take you to complete. One week or two? If you are doing a unit study, the rule of thumb is 6-8 weeks.

 Another important part of any schedule is to have a formal daily plan. You do many of the same things daily without thinking about it… yet formalizing it in writing may show you areas with wasted blocks of time.

 For example, I found I was doing laundry every day. With five children, that may seem normal, but if we all pitch in and work hard, we can narrow it down to once a week. This leaves free time for other things. If you learn to schedule the entire day (ahead of time), your weeks, months, and years will go so much better. It is amazing how much you will get done, and with that comes a sense of accomplishment and that “YES!” This is the way it should be.

 Setting Goals and Establishing Follow Through

Why don’t we set goals and follow through? Because it takes work and time we don’t have, it seems insurmountable on the surface. I believe that some people are naturally organized. The Lord has blessed me with many things but skipped the organizational gene. I had to learn the hard way: Or the way many of you have learned. First, I read some books to glean some information: translated (with children), which means a book that should take several days to read and take weeks. Then, you put the book aside, procrastinate for a few months, and when things come to a boiling point you decide to do something about it.

 Here are some goals I have made in my science program through the years.


  1. Exploring and Discovering: (I tend to say this is for younger children, but if you have never done “science” before, you can start this at any age.) Give them opportunities I gave my 3-year-old bubbles when he took a bath. He soon learned that bubbles only form when he blew gently, then he learned bubbles could be blown again without dipping the wand into the jar by catching another bubble and gently blowing. He learned that bubbles stuck to some surfaces and popped when they encountered another he may not understand the physics of a bubble, but this is the beginning of learning. Slowly you can add some structure as they begin to explore and discover. The key here is to expose them to many opportunities.
  2. Learning Concepts: Beginning with the Scientific Method, which is: observation, collecting and classifying, prediction and finding answers, proving a conclusion, evaluating and interpreting findings, and discussing results.
  3. Applying Knowledge: The goal is to be able to apply what they have learned in new situations. This can be as simple as using the principles of heat to boil water or as complicated as using the study of carbon dioxide production in yeast to make bread.

 Science is Important, Especially for Your Special Needs Child

 I pray that I’ve convinced you that science is important, and with scheduling, you can find time to include it in your curriculum. Now, how will you keep a record of all the exciting things you will do? You may consider having your children make a record of what they observe or discover.

So, whether you are using a textbook, unit studies, or winging it, there are some ways to make your year really fun and learn in the progress Don’t limit yourself to these ideas.  I hope this will spur you on to think of many more ideas!

About Felice Gerwitz

Author and speaker, Felice Gerwitz, is an outside-of-the-box thinker. Her books reflect a love of learning and education with an eye toward retention.

She is a graduate of Florida Southern College and a former teacher with a degree in Elementary Education, Learning Disabilities, and Early Childhood Education. She began Media Angels Publishing in 1994.

Eight of Felice’s titles have been selected by noted book reviewer Cathy Duffy in both her 100-Top and 101-Top Homeschool Curriculum Picks. Her science fair book was selected as book of the month by God’s World Publishing.

There are no coincidences in life, so Felice believes it is by Divine Intervention that she publishes curriculum with a Biblical Creation focus and many other educational products.

Felice owns and podcasts at the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network and the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. Her podcast topics include homeschooling, parenting, spiritual life, and a podcast for aspiring authors and podcasters.

She is an Author-Consultant and sought-after conference speaker. In her spare time, you can find Felice whipping up a batch of cookies, spending time with family and friends, or jetting off to exotic baseball and softball fields to watch her college kids play!

One More Child (Book & Podcast)

One More Child EBook

One More Child follows the author’s struggles following the couple’s decision to have a vasectomy after their first child was diagnosed with Mosaicism, a rare genetic disorder. This decision was not made lightly, but twelve years later, they opted to have a reversal. During the ensuing years, questions poured in from well-meaning friends, especially after three more children were added to their family–such as“How old are you?” and “Why is there such a gap between your children?” Through their example, however, other couples began to rethink their own decisions, and some opted for reversals as well. The author hopes that One More Child will encourage families to consider that “happily ever after” can happen in real life—even with surprising twists and turns. The author hopes that One More Child will encourage families to consider that “happily ever after” can happen in real life—even with surprising twists and turns.

Order the E-Book from Media Angels. 

Order the Physical Copy from

Listen to the Podcast on the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spark Creativity in Your Child: Write Fiction

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

spark creativity in your child team them to write fiction

Are you ready to help your child transition from being a casual storyteller to a budding author? Are you ready to teach your child to write?

When it comes to writing, it’s natural for children to need guidance, and for many writers, the writing process is an intimidating endeavor. However, developing these skills can be a beneficial and empowering experience for your child, one that will provide them with lifelong confidence.

In this article, you will learn the essential steps for teaching your child to write effectively so that they can turn their ideas into reality. You’ll learn the importance of creating an environment that encourages creativity and discovers the power of tracking progress, developing a routine, and forming inspiring habits.

By the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll have all the resources you need to support your child in becoming an active participant in the world of writing. You’ll be challenged to spark creativity and write fiction!

Spark Creativity: Write Fiction

By Felice Gerwitz

Many children overflow with wonder, imagination, and sometimes crazy ideas. But others look at that blank paper before them, pen grasped with a deer-in-the-headlights fear. Frustrated, parents often resort to canned curriculum, expensive online resources, or teacher-directed lessons, which can leave a child with papers that mimic those of the adult teacher rather than anything from their imagination.

Tools Necessary to Write

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are the staples in most homeschool homes, but fiction often takes a back seat. Even if your child enjoys writing, it may be sporadic at best, with many beginning but not finishing the task at hand.

The idea of this brief article is to give you the tools necessary to write. For a comprehensive guide to writing good fiction, I highly recommend “Reach for the Stars: A Young Author’s Fiction Workbook” by Susan K. Marlow.” Susan is the author of a series of novels for a traditional Christian publisher. For those of you (like me) who shun workbooks, please know the word is used because the children can write in this book if desired. That is where the “workbook” title comes in rather than a formula approach.

Teaching Your Child the Elements of Good Fiction

Before you can begin writing fiction, your child needs to understand the elements of good fiction. These should be memorized and placed in the top corner of your child’s rough draft (by your child). Keeping a reminder in order for the elements to be covered in the work is useful. The five elements of good fiction are character, setting, problem, plot, and solution.

I highly recommend you teach literature analysis with age-appropriate books. Your child can pick out each of those elements with your help, to begin with, and then can continue this with additional books until they understand what the elements mean and where there is an emphasis of one over the other. Some literature is plot-driven, while others are character driven.

Putting the Writing Puzzle Pieces Together

Teaching the elements of good fiction is part of the battle, but how do you put those puzzle pieces together into a story that your children will be happy to share with family and friends? Part of the battle is attitude. “Oh, my child is not creative,” one parent shared. Determining whether or not the child has been creative in the past has nothing to do with the future is the first obstacle to overcome.

Developing Characters for Your Story

Taking each element of fiction, we can layout out a wonderful story. The place I like to begin is the character. In the show I hosted on Blog Talk Radio (Information in a Nutshell: Radio for Authors), I interview many fiction authors and rarely does an author write plot motivated narrative. Most of the authors write character-driven novels. Why? Because your character can be so many different things limited to your imagination. So how do you spark that creative imagination in your child? Ask questions.

The Art of a Good Question

A good story or story idea begins with asking questions. This appears in children at the age of two. Many children speak at this age, and that is the time of the hundreds of questions. “Mommy, why is the sky blue?”, “Mommy? Why is the grass green?”, “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?” By the third Mommy, we have become bleary-eyed and wonder, WHY does my child ask so many questions? Well, after the first two-year-old experience, we quickly learn this is a state of extreme learning, and the children are asking questions to learn. Many times a harried parent squelches this inquisitive mind by telling the children to stop asking so many questions.


Do you realize the WHY is an important element used in creative writing?

Adding to the “why” is the “what” or the “What if?” question. Deciding on the main character’s gender, supporting characters if any, and place to set the story is another hurdle. Will this be an adventure story? Or maybe be a mystery? Will this be historical fiction? Could it be a story set in the future? Once your child determines character gender and locale, you are ready to begin.


Here is an example of the dialogue you can have with your child who has determined the story is an adventure in the wilds of the rain forest with the main character being a sullen city kid named Chad:

  1. Why is  Chad in the rainforest?
  2. Where is his family? Does he have a family?
  3. Is this situation life-threatening? If so, why?
  4. Why is Chad sullen?
  5. Where is Chad heading? Does he have a guide?
  6. What decision can Chad make that is life-threatening?
  7. What happens that makes Chad even more upset about the situation?
  8. Is he lost alone at any time?

Perhaps you have difficulty deciding on a character and a setting. For those seriously “idea” impaired, I begin with a beloved story and have them add a character. Most children do not like to write, so I’d begin with an oral telling of the story, let’s say “Anne of Green Gables,” and add another friend named “Henry” who is the class clown and he is always getting himself in trouble.

Here are some surefire ways to spark your child’s creativity:

  1. Play acting. If your child is stuck, have her act out the role.
  2. Story starters. Use canned ideas that end with a cliffhanger in order to jump-start your child’s ideas.
  3. Discuss great movies. Discuss how the plot might have changed if the character made a different decision.



Felice Gerwitz is a homeschool mom, author, and publisher, owner of Media Angel, Inc. She and her then-homeschooled daughter, Christina (now graduated and an adult) penned three novels for teens that are all in their second printing. Felice teaches online writing classes, hosts a podcast for aspiring authors each week, and has 17 books to her credit, with eight titles chosen by Cathy Duffy in her Top 100 Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum.

The Incredible Joy of Curating Your Own Book Collection

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Have you ever sat in a cozy room, surrounded by the comforting presence of thousands of books?

If you’re like me, this is the perfect escape from the world outside; and it’s not just a place to relax but also a private haven of learning and exploration. As a book collector, I know how rewarding it can be to fill up your home with books. The digital age may have its merits, but nothing quite compares to the feeling of building your very own home library, especially for kids.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of having a personal book library at home, along with some tips to help you get started. We’ll also explore how to stay on top of book trends, so you can make the most of your collection. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how to create a home library that feels both comforting and educational for the whole family.

joy curating books


For the Love of Books

Written by Felice Gerwitz

My house overflows with books. I am a collector, and I have enjoyed the years of homeschooling as an “excuse” for feeding my passion! Now, I know times are tough, and the home-library mentality is slowly being eroded by the E-Book craze, used book sales, and trips to the library. While all those things are good to an extent, there is still nothing like the experience of a child starting his very own book library.

Children Curating Books

My children have a shared collection of books. These include those passed down from their older siblings, inherited books, and even books passed down from mom and dad. The children also have their own personal collection of books.

My youngest, an avid reader, currently houses the collection of my youth, which is proudly displayed in his room at the very top shelf of his book library. Do you remember The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Beldon? Well, I had most of those books.

The Hardy Boys were left over from my New York cousins’ visits to Florida. Space was tight, and they couldn’t leave their books behind. I couldn’t imagine how they could leave their prized possessions so easily, but at the time attributed it to their being “boys”. It didn’t matter to me. I easily read and digested those books as well, and any book for that matter that came close to within my reading radar.

Personal Books Collections

My book collection began late, in the Third grade. My cousin, a college professor, who was married but childless, felt it was her mission to introduce me to the world of reading. She later went on to adopt two children, but in the time that she waited for her own to mentor, she practiced on me. The trip is as vivid now as those years past. Instead of our normal shopping and ice cream, we began at the bookstore, where she promptly selected and reminisced about each title.

It began over ice cream the week before when she asked me if I liked reading. When I answered in the negative, I thought she was going to drop her rocky road as she looked at me in horror. When I assured her I could read but disliked it as a pastime, she quickly masked her shocked expression and turned the conversation to what was a passion at the time, drawing and artistic pursuits. That all changed with that first trip to the bookstore.

Volumes of Volumes

The sheer volume of books purchased, eight titles, was mind-boggling to me at the time. Little Women, My Friend Flicka, Bobssey Twins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms, and the like topped my pile of books. I couldn’t bear to hurt her feelings and say I didn’t want any of these books. When I arrived home, my mother was so excited to see them as she was an avid reader but a working mom. She and I sat down together to examine each book, and my father promptly built me a wooden bookshelf to house my collection.

I still have every one of those books that have survived all these years. They have been read and enjoyed by my own children and hopefully by my grandchildren someday. I think the idea of keepsake books was at the back of my mind when I penned the Truth Seekers Mystery Series with my daughter Christina. The number of children who have read the series is astounding; many borrow the books from a friend but then urge their parents to obtain their own copies. They don’t just read the books once, but many times.

The Incredible Joy of Curating Your Own Book Collection

I think each child’s book collection holds special meaning. It is by far one of the best and long-reaching investments in their education that you can make. Author (Secret Code Time), Paula Stevenson, is a librarian. She discusses the ways she was able to talk to her daughter, Sky, about life truths, through the pages of a book.

Begin your children’s book collection today. You won’t regret it!



Do you sit at the side of a crib and wonder what your relationship with your child will be in years to come? Do you wonder what it will be like; will you have a communication relationship that has no boundaries? Or have the years slipped by too quickly, and you now feel like there is an impenetrable wall that goes up anytime you try to talk to your child?  Join this mother-daughter team as they recount hilarious antics and reminisce about heartfelt moments that forged an unbreakable bond that would last a lifetime. Come along on their journey as they take you step-by-step through how to build a bridge of communication with your children from an early age and how to mend and restore a broken parent-child relationship.

From Media Angels.



5 School Break Boredom Busters That Homeschoolers Will Love

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Boredom Busters | On this episode, Crystal shares a list of five school break boredom busters that homeschool parents and kids will love! Even better- most of these activity ideas will keep your kids learning. | #militaryhomeschoolmoms, #military moms, #homeschool #bordeombusters #boredom #homeschooltips5 School Break Boredom Busters That Homeschoolers Will Love ~ Episode 38

On this episode, Crystal shares a list of five school break boredom busters that homeschool parents and kids will love! Even better- most of these activity ideas will keep your kids learning, but shhh, it’s our secret!

We are quickly approaching the time of the year when public and private schools alike are anticipating Spring Break, with summer soon to follow. Many homeschoolers are also planning their vacation week. While some families plan road trips or visits to amusement parks, others prefer a low-key agenda that includes natural learning opportunities for their children.

Or, you and/or your kiddos may simply be feeling a bit burned out with the normal day-to-day homeschool routine and need something new and different while taking time away from school books and worksheets.

Whatever your reason, if you’re looking for ideas on keeping your kids occupied, you’re in luck! On today’s episode, Crystal shares some great spring break activities that your kids will love. And most of these activity ideas will keep your kids learning, but shhhh it’s our secret!

  • Give those new recipes a try! Need ideas? Try these kid-friendly recipes.
  • Start a garden! It’s really pretty easy! If you need some inspiration, watch this great YouTube video on how to get a simple garden going.
  • Scavenger hunts galore!
    • Color-themed
    • Location-themed
    • Alphabet-themed
    • Easter-themed or other holiday themes
    • If you are looking for more ideas, check out these fun scavenger hunt ideas for kids!
  • Camp out under the stars! In addition to the ones mentioned in the podcast, here are some other family-friendly backyard camping ideas you can enjoy with your kids.
  • Get crafty! Here are some crafty projects, with links, so you can follow the step-by-step instructions and recipes:
    • Homemade slime: This recipe only requires two to three ingredients to make a basic slime, or your kids can make a puffy slime if that’s what they like. This craft is a perfect chance to learn about chemical reactions and how the ingredients interact to create the slime. Note: since this recipe calls for borax, this craft project is better suited for older kids, as they’ll understand that they can’t eat the slime!
    • DIY bird feeders: What to do with those plastic jugs leftover from water and milk? Well, save them for this project! Your kids will enjoy using recycled plastic jugs to make their bird feeders. Once up, your kids will see and learn about all the birds that venture into your yard.
    • Build a bug hotel: Another DIY project you can do using recycled materials mixed with some nature is a bug hotel. Little kids will love the silliness of building a hotel for bugs, all while learning about the different bugs that might want to stay there!

So, there you have it!  My list of five school break boredom busters that homeschool parents and kids will love!  Try them out, and let me know what you think! And if you have any other ideas for keeping the kids busy, please share!

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

Got questions, comments, or 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!


Relationship Building

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Relationship Building |It was so much fun to talk with the author, speaker, homeschooling momma, pastor’s wife, and baker,  Katie Trent, as we talked about Creative Relationship Building| #homeschool #onlineeducation #devotional #homeschoollife #homeschoolonline #bible #learn #learnmore #learning #scripture #relationshipbuildingRelationship Building

Relationship Building. It was so much fun to talk with the author, speaker, homeschooling momma, pastor’s wife, and baker,  Katie Trent, as we talked about Creative Relationship Building!

I love Katie’s simple but effective 3 step process to building amazing Relationships with her kids!

Plan to:

  1. Begin a conversation
    1. Ask questions- remove the word, ‘why.”
    2. Engage
    3. Listen
  2. Connection
  3. Cooking/ Camping/ Cleaning- or other Activity

And remember, “You don’t have to be the “fun” Mom 24/7.” Taking an intentional 10 minutes a day to focus, connection and communicate with each other! You’ll be glad that you did.

You can find Katie at

Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families:

Recipes for a Sweet Child: Creative, Bible-based Activities to Help Your Family Thrive:

**Free preorder bonus bundle {$85 value} when you preorder Recipes for a Sweet Child. It releases 8.8.23 but is available everywhere now for preorder. Go to to grab your free bundle and a copy of the book!

At True North Homeschool Academy, we believe that Education is the transmission of Culture, and we are fully committed to transiting a culture of Truth! We offer live online and self-paced Bible Classes that inspire, and delight, and will have your kids deep diving into Scripture in a new way as they Encounter the Living God!

Discover True North Homeschool Academy » True North Homeschool Academy

Shop our Classes Shop Online Classes for Homeschoolers » True North Homeschool Academy

Bible Classes Shop Online Classes for Homeschoolers » True North Homeschool Academy

#homeschool #onlineeducation #devotional #homeschoollife #homeschoolonline #bible #learn #learnmore #learning #scripture

Special Replay | Top 10 Faith Building Activities

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Having fun and learning while teaching the faith, yes! Faith-building activities are discussed, as well as ways to help your children see the spiritual connection between faith and the Bible.Faith Building Activities Episode 325

Having fun and learning while teaching the faith, yes! Faith-building activities are discussed, as well as ways to help your children see the spiritual connection between faith and the Bible.

So, we all want to help our children grow in the Lord; in fact, the Scriptures tell us this Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. And of course, Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

Scriptures as Faith Builders

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between thy eyes. And thou shalt write them in the entry, and on the doors of thy house.

There are so many more Scriptures as well! However, the most amazing thing I’ve learned, and I am sure you’ve experienced this, is that our kids pick up our worse habits! And, I’m sure it is because it is the ones that are modeled the most – yes, I’m talking to myself here as well. But the good news is that if we model great behavior, praying, reading our Bible, and doing Bible Study, the kids will also pick up our habits.

Prayer as a Faith Builder

First, stop and pray. Ask the Lord how best to teach your children. Ask the Lord to help you to find those teachable moments that bring home the love and compassion the Lord has for each one of us and especially His unconditional love for us!

You know, when you look at other religions outside of Catholicism and Christianity, you find that the gods that these faiths worship require different things. Some require obedience and submission, others require worship or ritualistic sacrifice. Our God only requires our obedience and love, and He returns His love to us.

Christianity is the truth. It is the real thing. It is not a falsehood. And, with that comes an amazing responsibility to teach our children and share the good news.

Here are my top 10 favorite Faith Building Activities:

The First 5 Faith Building Activities

  1. Attending Church
  2. Praying as a family – before meals, in the evening.
  3. Daily praise reports – what are we thankful for each day? We do this every evening after our evening prayers or devotionals
  4. Reading the Bible – and add a journal for older kids, be sure to check out this podcast on Teaching the Bible
  5. Listening to good Christian audios: Such as Christian music, or teaching audios like Adventures in Odyssey

And 5 More Faith Building Activities

  1. Watching good Christian films, for example, on sites like PureFlix.
  2. Story Starters: make a list of questions such as: What would Jesus do? Give them different scenarios, such as when mom asks you to pick up your clothes, help with the dishes, or do chores in general.
  3. Games that teach Christian concepts – One we use to play as kids focused on the need to trust. What you would do is have someone stand in front of an adult and tell the kid to fall back. Most of the time, kids just can’t let go. The idea is that God is there all the time for us, and we need to let go to feel his arms around us, His embrace. Another fun game that was in the handout link on the show notes is giving two different kids a set of combination locks. One is given the combination, and the other isn’t. One will struggle, and the other will open the lock easily. The point here is to show that when we try to do things on our own, without listening to God, we struggle. But if we listen to God and follow His instructions, things will go so much easier.
  4. Acts of service. Helping at a food kitchen, collecting clothes and gently used toys to donate, visit the elderly at nursing homes.
  5. Memorizing Scripture and Prayers.


Friends, remember that the best way to teach about our faith is by demonstrating your love of God to others and setting an example. I pray that this podcast has been helpful and ask that you share the show with a friend, give me a star rating on iTunes or any podcast app where you listen, and please join me next week when I discuss helpful tips for parenting.


Ready for Adventure in Scripture

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Ready for Adventure in Scripture |David Nekrutman of the Isaiah Project is here to discuss their new Homeschooling Program, Biblical Excavations, and their brand spanking new Critical Thinking program, your Sabbath Invitation| #homeschoolpodcast #whyhomeschool #truenorthacademy #homeschool #readyforadventureinscriptureReady for Adventure in Scripture

Ready for Adventure in Scripture? David Nekrutman of the Isaiah Project is here to discuss their new Homeschooling Program, Biblical Excavations, and their brand spanking new Critical Thinking program, your Sabbath Invitation.

David brings 22 years of understanding with him as he has been working in Jewish-Christian Relations in various capacities for years. His heart is to strengthen the relations between Christians and Jews and create an atmosphere conducive to welcoming the Messiah and fully ushering in the Messianic Kingdom on earth.

Biblical Excavations and Your Sabbath Invitation goes beyond a devotional approach to reading the Bible and dives deeply into the Hebrew understanding of the text. After all, Jesus was Jewish, and his context and worldview were Hebraic. As a result, we can more clearly see and understand the nuances and meanings behind the text.

This program includes beautiful videos, podcasts, text, and an in-depth study guide to allow your student to dive deeply into a beautiful understanding of God’s invitation to celebrate the Sabbath with him. This program will change your understanding of how you think and read Scripture, approach Sabbath, and your relationship with a Living and Holy God!

Isaiah 66:23

Genesis 18:19

Biblical Excavations – sign up for a Sample Class

Your Sabbath Invitation – a self-paced course offered through True North Homeschool Academy- perfect for High school students to do together as a family or as part of your Morning Basket

Isaiah Project

Should Christians Keep the Sabbath audio

Your Sabbath Invitation YouTube

David Nekrutman | Facebook

Grab our FREE Homeschool Printables Pack!

Check out our live online classes, Advising, and testing at

True North Homeschool Academy is your trusted academic partner. Discover True North Homeschool Academy today!

Family Bonding Time

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Family Bonding Time |How can you create that special family bonding time when everyone has different schedules?| #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #homeschool #relationships #parentchild #buildingfamilybonds #bondingwithchildren #FamilyBondingTimeFamily Bonding Time ~ Episode 489

How can you create that special family bonding time when everyone has different schedules? In this podcast, Felice shares some ways that are more than playing games together.

Check out and the wonderful books and products on the website. Check out the Character Planners that are geared for the entire family. They are written specifically to involve the family in demonstrating the character trait throughout the month and are more than just worksheets. They contain many group activities.

A few weeks ago, I attended a wedding for the son of some dear friends with a large family. During this time, I was able to catch up with the children who are now grown up! One of the sons, who now has two children of his own, shared how he remembers catching his first fish in our pond and all the good times our families had when we camped together. He said he had such a happy childhood that he was now creating memories with his family.

As parents, we crave close ties with our spouses and our children. If you had a good childhood growing up, you want to recreate that experience, or if you feel your childhood was lacking in some way, you want to remedy this with your own children. However, as parents, we often fail to work at our relationships, and for most of us, it is enough to crawl into bed with the thought, “Glad I made it through today!” When my children were little and mobile, I told my husband they were all safe for one more day. It was a daily struggle to corral little ones and homeschool the older children. If any of these experiences mirror yours, you understand that a family that gets along and is close is sometimes an oddity.

Most of us spend our time correcting and working with the children in one area or another that closeness and relationships take a back seat, especially when you have so much filling your day. I realized at different times in our lives that we needed to work together as a family. This was especially important as my children were getting older, and our lives would soon take different trajectories.

Family Bonding took place over read-aloud books in the evening, with camping, with short day trips during a time in our lives when longer trips were not possible. Family bonding happened over the campfire in our backyard or my husband building a tree house and the kids making me lunch so we could do “school” in the treehouse loft. Bonding occurred when my husband made the kids breakfast and let me sleep in. I woke up to a stillness and quiet that had me bolting out of bed, only to find the four of them by the edge of our pond, out front, eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.

Sometimes our family forged bonds when we least expected it, and even with the age gap between the older two and the younger three, there is something there that is more than siblings but true friendship. How do you recreate this experience in your own homes? I will share with you some of the activities that worked well for us.

When you enjoy family time together, you are creating a legacy. A tradition that may be passed down from generation to generation. This is something to consider when gathering ideas for future use. In our family, we were unable to take a long vacation. We took one ten-day vacation that was coupled with a wedding and two other shorter trips of about five days each, one in a rented RV. Yet even though our vacations were limited due to my husband’s work constraints, we still forged memories. We took day trips on Saturday to visit nearby museums, parks, notable historic structures such as an old library and a historic train, and activities such as the Strawberry Festival in a nearby town every February. We had picnics at the park and viewed the night sky in our own backyard.

We also had our family tradition of Friday evening pizza and movie night. This changed when the children grew older and became involved in sports. So, we selected another evening that was free as our pizza night. We had a game night on a rare occasion, as my son said, “We think we are a game family, but we are really not!” Too many tough competitors in this family. We enjoyed games, but most were educational during school hours.

As my children became older and their schedules varied, we still worked on family time when we were together. This included various activities, some made up at the spur of the moment (that I want to collect in a book someday soon), and others were long and thought out. I wanted the children to pray for each other, and my focus on the gifts Scripture talks about – the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. I focused on: Kindness, generosity, joy, charity, self-control, faithfulness, peace, and patience. (There are 12 in all, but my focus was on these.)

I handed everyone door hangers with a beautiful mountain or ocean picture and a Bible verse on the front one year. On the back, they were to place stickers with each of the “Fruits of the Spirit,” the ones that were our focus. Once this was completed, I asked them to write their names on the hanger. I then collected the door hangers and had each person select one from with the names hidden. Once they identified the item’s owner, I asked them to pray for a few minutes and ask the Lord which ones they would select to pray for each day. Then put a star next to that attribute and hand the hanger back to the person. I selected one of my sons and picked Faithfulness and Patience for him — some picked two. We wrote down the attributes and put them in our Bible as a reminder to pray. Even if we were miles apart, we could be assured of each other’s prayers.

This year I gave Christmas cards to each person and had them select a random name. If they selected their own name, they placed it back in the box. I then talked about being an encouragement to each other; my husband says that our home is a place to feel safe and loved and that they can come to each of us for help whenever needed or just to talk. I then asked everyone to write a card to this person that they could keep all year long as a reminder that they are loved and encouraged. We didn’t do this immediately as I wanted time to think and pray. This is a reminder, as I have my card in the Bible, that I am loved and cared for.

You can adapt these activities to younger children by selecting a name for each person to pray for, and then in your evening prayer, you can spend time praying for each other. Explain to the children the seriousness and importance of this activity. Whether you are praying for a character quality, such as “diligence,” or quality, such as “faithfulness,” the importance of knowing your family is there for you is really the crux of what it means to bond as a family.

I pray these activities to spur ideas of your own and understanding that each person feels valued, cherished, and loved will repair many of the hurts within families and those from outside.