Best Marriage Tips

Best Marriage Tips Ever | After 40+ years of marriage I have some of the best marriage tips ever and these really work. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #marraigetips #marriage #happymarriage @godlymarriageLet’s Talk About Marriage – Best Marriage Tips!  

with your host Felice Gerwitz

After 40+ years of marriage, I have some of the best marriage tips ever and these really work.

You are probably thinking… oh great! Another know-it-all podcaster trying to tell you how to make your marriage work! Well, I have 35 years under my belt – I’m no expert, but I’m a hard-headed, first-generation Italian, New Yorker, married to a German-Irish-American! It has taken years of give-and-take to make our marriage great. And, I wanted to ask some others who have been married for years to chime in with their tips! This podcast contains advice from:

Carol Topp: Dollars & Sense Radio ; Hal & Melanie Young: Making Biblical Family Life Practical; Meredith Curtis: Finish Well Radio ; Andy & Kendra Fletcher: HomeschoolingIRL 

Show Notes:

Scriptures to Study in Regard to Marriage:

  • Genesis 2:22-24
  • Proverbs: Some I love!! Proverbs: 5:18-19 ; 20:6-7; 30:18-19; 31:10
  • Matthew: 19:4-6
  • 1-Corinthians: 7:1-6
  • Mark: 10:6-9
  • Ephesians: 5:22-33
  • Links: 

Test – Learn Your Love Language

Recommended Books:
The Bible!

Look for Books on “Love Language” at the library or your favorite book store.

Advice and Tips:

Jeff Gerwitz: Keep Communication and Smooch Them Often!

Felice Gerwitz: Don’t go to bed angry: A. You both agree to solve your issues before bed — B. Understand the resolution will be a compromise for Both of You! and If you love giving gifts – A. Don’t expect anything in return and B. Accept gifts graciously

Carol Topp: One key to marriage success is to set aside time each day to catch up, even if it’s just 10 minutes. A co-worker gave me this advice over 20 years ago and he was right! My show BTW my husband and I had our 30th Anniversary this year.

Hal Young: When God created marriage, the very first reason the Bible gives is companionship – “It is not good that the man should be alone,” God said (Genesis 2:18). We should make it our goal to make our mate our best friend as well as our spouse. That takes time and commitment, but don’t we know how to keep up a friendship? Why not use the same relationship skills in our marriage? Their show, Making Biblical Family Life Practical and you can find it on this network  – here is an easy way to find them –( and they wrote a wonderful book on marriage “My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses.” (

Meredith Ludwig Curtis: Another Mom with a large family, who has a show on this network specifically for teens and that is Finish Well Radio – – she is married to a Pastor and says, “A key to marriage success: Put Jesus first! Serve Him together! Love Him together! Raise godly children together! Change the world together!”

Andy Fletcher: We were given two pieces of advice. The first was very simple: Outserve one another. If you make it your goal to out serve your spouse, you will be in the right mindset. The second piece of advice was just silly: … you’ll have to listen to their podcast to find out! Catch their show on homeschooling and marriage,  What Homeschooling Does to Marriage

New Year Memory Book

New Year Memory Book ~ Episode

Want to remember all of those great memories? You can with a new year memory book your kids create. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it can hold those treasures that are priceless!

Check out the Media Angels books on Media 

I have some fun novels for kids – one is A Few Minutes with God which is a story about two kids who are siblings who have identical dreams. Another is a series of books, The Truth Seekers Mystery Series that focus on two siblings who are great at solving mysteries and uncovering truth… just like the series name. These books can all be found on my website.

This is another show that is Just For Kids – so get your kids and get ready to make some memories!

Okay kids I want to ask you a question – what was your favorite Christmas gift this past year. Okay, now what was your favorite birthday present this year. What about the year before? What about two years ago? See my point? We can sometimes remember things from the past, especially presents we receive but often we can’t remember those really important memories like the times we spend with our families on a nature walk, or a backyard picnic or maybe building a fort in the living room with sheets and towels. These are things that are fun to look back on and remember those good times.

Why do we like to remember good times? Because sometimes we are sad and we think that everything is going wrong. We all have days like that when we are feeling like we just want to go to bed an have a “do over” the next day. But, when we keep a journal, or a memory book and write or draw some of the things that are special that happen during the year we can go back and revisit and remember those good times.

How do you make a memory book?

  1. You can use a notebook with lines.
  2. You can take blank pieces of paper and staple or glue them together.
  3. You can use a notebook with plastic slip sheets to preserve pages that have fun things you might find in nature.
  4. You can use pages you create on a word processor such as a publishing program or maybe – you can get a free account and try it out, and you can make all kinds of pretty graphics and things with their free templates.

What are some things you can put in your memory book?

  1. You can put in field trips that were fun or special.
  2. You can add things you find that are special – for example, my kids use to find snakeskins and wanted to put them in slip sheets – I still find them to this day whenever I’m cleaning out old files, and they are still as new as the day they found them long ago.
  3. You can add pictures you draw or have taken with a camera and print them out. SO many people leave things on a phone or camera that it is fun to have pictures that are printed.
  4. You can add special journal entries about special things that happen, or school papers you’d like to save like a story.

Have you thought about the things that are special to you? What are some things you’d like to remember? Do you know I still have a small autograph memory book from when I was younger? In this book I had things like the names of my friends and even their signatures. Autograph books were fun in those days and we would go around asking people to sign our books. One of my friends put in a rhyme when she learned I was moving to Canada. It said, “May our friendship last until America drinks Canada Dry.” Canada Dry was the name of soda pop! Yes, I did live in Canada from third grade to sixth grade. But we moved back to the United States when I entered the seventh grade. It is fun for me, even as an adult to have something from my childhood.

What would you like to write about in your memory book. Maybe you like the idea of an autograph book and want to start one of those. For those of you who don’t like to write, remember you can draw or take pictures to make this memory special.

Whatever it is, make it unique. How can you do this? Well, one way is with an online service. I saw a memory book that was pictures people uploaded on a website and had it printed into a book. It was a gift to a grandparent and it was a wonderful gift. So, maybe you want to use some of the things in your memory book as a gift to a grandparent or even one of your parents. Have fun with this and enjoy the memories you make with your family. Each family is special and unique and I hope you put an effort to get along with your siblings and listen to your parents!
Thanks for joining me today and I’d love to hear how you are sharing your memories with your family and friends!


Staycation Planning

Staycation Planning | If you are not sure how to plan a staycation, stay tuned – this episode is just for you! We will learn how to plan your staycation and enjoy the time with family and friends. #podcast #staycation #homeschoolpodcastStaycation Planning Episode 349

If you are not sure how to plan a staycation, stay tuned – this episode is just for you! We will learn how to plan your staycation and enjoy the time with family and friends.

  1. Be sure to take the time off.
  2. Indulge – reading, events, food.
  3. Make a plan for the day, week-end or week.
  4. Research

Begin by brainstorming. What are some of the things in your area that you could do with the kids, and maybe even with just your husband? In our area these things revolve around water sports. There is boating, Skiing, Jet skiing, parasailing, fishing, SCUBA diving, and more. We have a shell museum, actually two – we have a hands-on museum for kids, and a small zoo nearby.

There are sporting events such as baseball. We have two indoor ice-skating rings and an island nearby. There are also many outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, outdoor concerts at the local mall and more. There are art events, theatre and music festivals. Once you have a list of ideas, narrow it down to the top ten.

Which of these top ten ideas are feasible? Now it is time to make a plan.

Five Things To Think About In Staycation Planning


  1. What is the amount of money you will spend for these events?
  2. If you do not have a set budget think about a max you are willing to spend each day?

Activity or Event or Both

  1. List your event – be sure to figure in the time.
  2. Is this free or is there a cost?
  3. How long will it take to get there?
  4. Will you pack breakfast/ lunch or eat out?

Planning – Schedule

  1. What is your time frame?
  2. Can you take the time off of work?
  3. Do you plan to go out to eat? If so, where?
  4. What will you do during the day – the more planned out the better your vacation will go even if the schedule deviates.


  1. Try something new.
  2. Enjoy an appetizer/ or dessert or both
  3. Go to restaurants that are family owned and not chains.
  4. Think of conversations you can have with your family.
  5. Take your time – there is no hurry! You are on vacation.


  1. Relax! Make a decision you will enjoy yourself (think about how much money you are saving!)
  2. Enjoy each other.
  3. No drama – set boundaries for fighting, etc.
  4. Make time to see the little things you would normally overlook.
  5. No work. This is a vacation so be sure to leave your work behind temporarily.
  6. No electronics during the outing.
  7. OR – your kids can enjoy unlimited electronics if you decide this is their vacation!
  8. Relaxed dress – unless you are going somewhere that requires fancy clothing.
  9. Enjoy the events – look at the little things and enjoy!
  10. Praise God each day and what are your thankful for?





Joyful Kids

Joyful Kids | This is an episode just for kids! Can you be joyful? Do you think someone would say, "There are those joyful kids again!" No, well in this episode I am going to show you some special things about joy and how you can be joyful each and every day.| #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschool #joyandkids #joyfulkids #kidsandjoy #joy #childrenattitudesJoyful Kids – Yes, This Means You! Episode 418

This is an episode just for kids! Can you be joyful? Do you think someone would say, “There are those joyful kids again!” No, well in this episode I am going to show you some special things about joy and how you can be joyful each and every day. If you want to give your parents the best present every no matter what time of the year it is, this is an important podcast to listen to!

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – One More Child book — A Few Minutes With God 


Other episodes you may enjoy:

Christmas Memories

Special Christmas DIY Gifts

Christmas Eve Celebrations

Some people are naturally happy, and this might or might not be you. But, wouldn’t it be nice if people thought of you as a happy person? Do you know any people that are happy or seem like they are happy? What makes someone happy? Let’s think about this.

  1. You get something you want.
  2. You get your own way.
  3. You get to have a special food you like to eat.
  4. You do not have to do school work or homework.
  5. You get to do a hobby or something fun that you like to do.

I am sure you can add to this list but this is enough to get you started. Did you notice that all of these things, one through five are all about you. What is in it for me is a pretty selfish way of living your life, and that is why people are so miserable and not joyful. When things are all about you and not others it is difficult to have joy in your life because we can always find something wrong – something we did not get or something that did not turn out as well as we would have liked it to!

What are some of the things that make you joyful or another word for joy can be happy, but joy I believe is a deeper sense of happiness. Here is why.

Did you know that joy is a choice. You can either decide you want to be joyful or not. You can say, “Wow, today I don’t want to be upset or mad and I am going to choose to be joyful.” Does that work? You may be thinking no, but it does! You can choose to be miserable or joyful. It is as easy as that. And, I am going to show you what I mean.

First, if you have our joyful planner that will help. It is freely available in the month of December if your parents are on our mailing list, but if not your parents can find it on my website. That will help you, but here are some things I am talking about.

    1. When you wake up decide to smile. Yes, it is that easy. Put a smile on your face. Maybe you do not smile often so you may want to practice this in front of a mirror. You don’t want to scare people in your family by showing your teeth without a grin!
    2. Say something nice to others. Maybe you don’t know what to say, so practice. You can say, “Your hair looks nice,” or “Can I help you with anything today,” (This might be something dangerous if your mom or dad is eating something–it might cause them to choke if it is not something you say often, so use caution when saying this! And, yes I am kidding!) Think. What can you say that is nice to someone. It can be a compliment or an offer to help.
    3. Help without being asked. Would you believe this will bring joy to your life? Just doing something kind for someone else is payment enough. If you can do it without expecting praise that is even better!

Did you notice numbers 1-3 are all about other people? Being kind, smiling at others, being helpful. All about other people and that is the key to happiness and joy. People who give of their time and talents are much more joyful than those who are selfish. Yes, this is true and I am sure it is a statistic somewhere. Truthfully if you get in the habit of smiling at those in your family you will find that they can’t help to smile back at you.

This is just the beginning of deciding that you will be happy and find something each and every day to be thankful for. Each day you can find something, some little thing to be thankful about. Look at your family and start there. Some people do not have families and some people have even less than you do.  Yes, somewhere in the world this is true. The most important things in your life are free. The air we breathe and the joy that a smile brings to the heart of someone sad or lonely. These are things you can do, starting today.

What else can you add to this list on being joyful and choosing joy each day? Are there joyful kids in your home? I am sure if you start this trend you will find that others in your family will also choose joy! I pray this happens in your own life.

Best Gift Giving Tips

Best Gift Giving TipsBest Gift Giving Tips with Meredith Curtis and Felice Gerwitz Episode 384

Best Gift Giving Tips are easier than you think. Here are some great ideas for gifts that will last throughout the year.

Another great show is here – Gifts You Can’t Unwrap

I’m so excited to talk Meredith Curtis who is the queen of Christmas! Meredith is the “Christmas girl” and likes to turn her home into a Christmas Wonderland — on a budget!

Both Meredith and I have big families, and sometimes it is difficult to juggle both school and home. We’re going to talk more about that but, also how to save money while living within the big family budget!

Here are some quick tips to get you started.

  1. Plan to make schoolwork lighter in December and set some deadlines for Christmas vacation.
  2. Try to do Christmas related unit studies. Read Anne of Green Gables, or a very British Christmas, or study Christmas during Colonial America. We learned not only how people celebrated Christmas, but we would learn as we read through the book aloud. And we also watched Christmas movies and made crafts, created recipes and had tea. When we studied a British Christmas, we tried to cook a goose and we read a Christmas Carol aloud.  All of our projects had a purpose. For example handwriting in December focused around Christmas letters and addressing Christmas cards. One of our crafts with wrapping Christmas presents.
  3. One of our projects was making a Christmas budget and Christmas shopping. One of our school projects was creating Christmas gifts.
  4. We baked Christmas cookies. So we would bake cookies and freeze them or we made gifts in a jar. And so by the end of the unit study, we had read all these delightful picture books, but we had also finished all of our presents for neighbors and people at church and all we had to do the final day was just delivered them, you know, right before Christmas.

A focus on Christmas really put things into perspective and to make the time for the things that we really want to do rather than feeling like we have to do the things on a checkoff list and what better time than Christmas!

Best Gift Giving Ideas:

  1. Christmas Carols – if you can sing, give the gift of music.
  2. Prayers – record some prayers and create a CD as a gift.
  3. Keepsakes – whether they are handprints or pictures, be sure to put the date on the gift.
  4. Budget gifts – set a price point or limit.
  5. Books – add to a series of books, or begin a new series as a gift with a few books to begin. Shop used book stores.
  6. Movies – something that is a keepsake like The Star Movie for example. Or the Nativity.
  7. Home-baked goods such as breads, quick breads like pumpkin loaf, cinnamon rolls, or cookies.
  8. Mixes – you can give as gifts. Use decorative tins. Be sure to add the recipe taped to the outside.
  9. Create a recipe book, duplicate and give as gifts. You can print out recipe cards for ease if you want to make your own homemade version.
  10. Create gift photo books. These are wonderful and can be stored easily.



Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories | What are your favorite Christmas memories? Each year we have so many wonderful memories of Christmas but soon we forget. Here is the solution! A Christmas Memory book! In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice shares another just-for-kids episode with you! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #christmasmemories Christmas Memories – Episode 417

What are your favorite Christmas memories? Each year we have so many wonderful memories of Christmas but soon we forget. Here is the solution! A Christmas Memory book! In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice shares another just-for-kids episode with you!

Don’t forget a kid favorite! Novels for tweens – that are Christian based. Check out the Media Angels kids series, Truth Seekers Mystery Series and the book, A Few Minutes with God!

Check out the Media Angels books on Media 

Be sure to go to – a copy of the Christmas Memory Book

Holiday Memory Book-2020

Advent Calendar: Here

What are your favorite Christmas memories? Was there a special gift you received? Maybe a special food you get to eat during the holidays. Is it a favorite activity, like roasting marshmallows or sipping hot cocoa when it is cold outside. Maybe it is a visit from special family members like grandparents or cousins. Do you like the Christmas decorations? The special books that your parents may read, or a special trip you take for example going camping or visiting a relative or friend?

There are so many different things that happen around Christmas time but often we forget these things once the holiday is over, and so in this episode, I want to share with you a special book I’ve put together just for you! A Christmas Memories Book. You can print it out and put it in a notebook or binder and add to it each year. Or, maybe this will give you an idea of creating one of your own. What are those memories that make Christmas truly special?

Sometimes the most important things are the things that cost nothing! This can be praying in what we like to call the count-down to Christmas, and that is the days before called Advent. It is a time when we gather as a family each night and light one candle per week as we read a passage from the Bible. Then we pray for special intentions. For example, “Peace on Earth,” or we pray for “Those who do not have anyone special to pray for them.” This is a time to think about what is truly important at Christmas time and that is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I want you to think about the best toy or gift you ever received for Christmas. Do you remember this? Did it break? Did you lose it? Did it not meet your expectations, that means when you got the gift did it not seem as special as you thought it would be? This happened to me when I was a kid. I wanted a camera so badly and when I finally got the camera I wanted that printed the instant pictures I was super disappointed. For one thing, the pictures were not that great and for another, the film was super expensive. It was better to wait to have your pictures printed rather than have a camera that prints out instantly but the quality is not that great. Today we have wonderful cameras on our phones and rarely do we ever print anything out!

Look around you this Christmas. Notice the beautiful decorations, enjoy each sip of your favorite drink, and make some new holiday traditions of your own! Here are some things that families like to do to celebrate the Christmas Holidays:

  1. Use an Advent calendar or wreath and pray each day or evening as the count down to Christmas begins. You can start this at any time. Be sure to read different Bible passages you can read the Nativity passages in the New Testament, but don’t forget the prophetic ones in Isaiah that talk about the coming Messiah!
  2. Read each evening from a special book. Some families like favorites like the Christmas Carol or the Night Before Christmas. What is your favorite book? Take this out and maybe this is a great time for a new family tradition to begin.
  3. Does your family like to bake? What are the Christmas cookies that you enjoy? Write these recipes in your memory book. There are some special recipes that are passed down from family to family that are very important and can be lost or forgotten. This way you will have your own copy.
  4. Plan a special trip. This can be a picnic in the park if you live somewhere that is not so cold – if you live in a cold area, do a drive through looking at the Christmas lights at different homes in the early evening. Or maybe put lights up on your own home for others to enjoy. When you get home think about your favorite part of this even.
  5. Spend time as a family. Look around you! Being a kid only lasts a short time. This is a special time to journal and remember because soon you will be grown up, have a job and a family of your own. So, enjoy this time with your family.
  6. Make a special Christmas ornament. This can be with a family picture or it can be something you draw. Be sure to write the year you made this and place it on the tree.
  7. Secret notes. Write a note to someone in your family that is kind and positive and put it somewhere they will notice. Do not sign it! It is nice to say things that are nice and special to encourage others.
  8. Make an outdoor fire with your family of course, and roast marshmallows -even if it is cold! You can bundle up and tell stories about past Christmas events or ask your parents to share their favorite Christmas past stories with you!
  9. Joyful attitude. Each morning wake up with a smile on your face – or one soon after you wake up – and greet each person in the family with a smile when you see them first thing in the morning. They will wonder what is going on, but smiles are contagious!
  10. Be kind! It is not always easy to be kind to others, but try this Christmas season to be joyful and uplifting to those in your family and only say things that are kind…or nothing at all!

Can you think of other things? I am sure you can! Use this as a beginning of making your own Christmas special this year! And, I pray a joyful and blessed Christmas on each one of you!

Special Replay – Best Ever DIY Christmas Gifts

Do it yourself or DIY is all the craze, but only when it is simple and the gifts are truly worth giving.The Best Ever DIY Christmas Gifts Episode 311

I know, we’ve heard it before the best ever DIY Christmas gifts often are more expensive than buying something on sale at the store. But, when you have a large family or many additional family and friends to consider these gifts are a life saver.

Thanks to our sponsors – The Truth Seekers Mystery Series – brought to you by Media Angels, Inc.

Do it yourself or DIY is all the craze, but only when it is simple and the gifts are truly worth giving. One year I received bath salts that smelled great and were different colors. When I looked at them closer I noticed the coloring was actually food coloring and could turn my skin the bright yellow, green and purple of the bath salts! Needless to say, this item was not used for baths at all.

Here are my go-to rules for DIY Christmas Gifts:

  1. Must be tried and true. This is not the time to experiment.
  2. Nice presentation. No one wants to open a box to see a hot-glued mess.
  3. Something someone would actually want. Think cheesecake vs. fruitcake.
  4. Take into account dietary needs. These days there are gluten, dairy and nut allergies. Stay away from these offenders if at all possible.
  5. Gift certificates do not need to be impersonal. Stay tuned to learn more!

The best every DIY Christmas Gifts can be every bit as charming as a high priced item that more than likely will break, wear out or possibly be something that is returned or regifted. Think about the person you want to gift an item. What are their likes? Dislikes? Take these into account.

Here are a few of the favorite gifts I have given and received:

  1. Recipe book: Tried and true family recipes. Think about making these into a book online that can be duplicated.
  2. Coupons: The kids have gifted me with coupons for the following and all were much appreciated! Car wash, make beds, wash dishes, babysit, neck rub, vacuuming, organizing.
  3. DIY personal: Bath Salts, Homemade Sanitizer, Rag rug,
  4. Food: Applesauce + recipe for muffins; Tomatoes + recipe for sauce; Pumpkin + recipe for pie; Fat Bombs + recipe; Baked goods + recipe; Mixes + recipe and decorative containers
  5. Gift Certificate to a: nature center, zoo, museums, amusement parks, Amazon, bookstore, coffee store, etc. Make it personal by going with the person whenever possible to enjoy their gift.
  6. Slide presentation with pictures
  7. Prayer audio
  8. Painting or other art projects
  9. Decopauge – a favorite saying or special memento on a wood plaque.
  10. Experience: Rooftop star gazing, impromptu road trip, see hot air balloons, country visit or city visit, camping

Thanksgiving Memory Book

Thanksgiving Memory Book | What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Another episode just for kids! Join Felice as she shares her encouragement to notice those little things that are important to appreciate. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #thanksgivingmemory #memorybook #thanksgivingmemoriesThanksgiving Memory Book ~ Episode 416

What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Another episode just for kids! Join Felice as she shares her encouragement to notice those little things that are important to appreciate.

Check out the Media Angels books on Media 

Be sure to go to – episode 416 and you will find a copy of the Thanksgiving Memory Book – Thanksgiving Memory Book

Thanksgiving is a time to make memories and share joy with others. A fun craft is to take branches and make a Thankful tree. You add leaves to the tree and on each, you can put a word that reminds you of something you are thankful for.

Think About This:

What are you thankful for? People may ask you that question and you may say, “I don’t know!” I get it, sometimes it seems that the questions you get asked don’t really have good answers. Here is a challenge for you. Do you think you can do this? Start looking around. What do you see?

Here are some possibilities. You see people in your family, you see the things that you own, you see the things that are part of your world. Maybe a pet, or something you think is important. It may not be valuable meaning it costs lots of money, but it is valuable to you.

So what are those things? Maybe you are thankful for:

  1. Your family.
  2. Your home.
  3. You brothers or sisters.
  4. Your friends.
  5. Your toys.
  6. The food that you eat.
  7. Your pets.
  8. A favorite vacation.
  9. A favorite sport you play.
  10. A hobby you have.

These are just a few of the things you may be thankful for. We did this quickly, but you can take more time to do this on your own. So, the next time someone asks you what you are thankful for you will be able to answer it quickly.

Have you ever had a super fun time doing something and wish you had pictures or written down exactly what you did? How about keeping a memory book? Have you ever kept a journal? A memory book is something like that.  I have a free one you can download here: – Thanksgiving Memory Book

You can add things like what you are grateful for but you can also list who was at your celebration, what you did, and what you ate. Maybe your family plays games. What is it that made the day special. What are some traditions that your family does every year? Think about this.

  1. Do you have your celebration at your house?
  2. Do you go somewhere special for Thanksgiving?
  3. Do you eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy?
  4. What is your favorite dessert?

One time, friends of mine lived far away from their family and friends, in fact, they had just moved to a new town. So they decided they wanted to have a different type of Thanksgiving and had a picnic. They had turkey sandwiches, and fun sides, and they played games at the park. The kids all said it was one of their favorite Thanksgiving memories. Have you ever heard that what makes something special is what you put into it? You might not think the food at Thanksgiving is very good, maybe you don’t like turkey and gravy. But, either way what you are celebrating makes it special to you. (Remember – what are you putting into the celebration?)

I had another friend who used Thanksgiving as a day to help out at a soup kitchen, a place that cooks meals for the poor. She said she felt so thankful for all that God had given her that she wanted to give of her time for others. That is truly being unselfish, isn’t it? Each person can give from what they have and share it with someone else. You can do this in your family as well.

Whatever you do to celebrate this happy day, I pray that you make memories that you will always remember. I hope you have a very special thanksgiving with your family and your friends. Even if you have a turkey sandwich at the park this year, make it the best Thanksgiving memory ever!


Test Prep Mistake 1 Test Books

Test Prep Mistakes 1 | Have your kids been told not to write in their SAT test books? Well, that is test prep mistake 1 test books and misinformation! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschool #testprep #ACT #SAT #CollegePrepTest Prep Mistake 1 Test Books Episode 85

Have your kids been told not to write in their SAT test books? Well, that is test prep mistake 1 test books and misinformation! This is a series of mistakes parents and students believe and Jean shows you the facts and even where to find them on the college board website and how to nicely let your test proctor know, without being rude.

Did you know writing in your test book (which gets destroyed after the test and belongs to you anyway) is one of the best ways to raise your scores? In this episode, Jean shares insider information with you. Often mistakes are made and this podcast sets the record straight.

Free stuff from Jean!

Let me set the record straight: Not only are you allowed to write in your booklet, I encourage it and it’s not just me. The test-makers encourage it too. (links below)

Think with your pencil

Crystallize your thoughts on paper than solely working out problems in your head. Rather than sift through all the ideas that constantly come and go, you can clear your mind, clear the fog, gain some clarity, and simply write your ideas, or working, down. This strategy is also referred to as brain-dumping. 

Silly mistakes happen when your mind skips over something that could be instrumental in your understanding. In stressful exam conditions, you need to stack all the odds in your favor. Just note it down in your test booklet. 

There are several main learning systems and you will generally show a preference for one over the others: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Reading/Writing (which is a subset of Kinesthetic). The more systems you can engage in, the better the learning retention. In an exam situation, you can use this to your advantage by engaging Visual and Kinesthetic (and to a minor extent the Auditory system if you subvocalize when you read).

In all sections of your paper, use your pencil to markup, circle or underline the important parts in the question itself. Where you have multiple choice questions, cross out the wrong responses as you encounter them, to reduce your options. There is only ever one correct answer. If there are two that are very similar (or ostensibly the same answer where you cannot tell the difference), then that usually means they are likely both wrong.

When you read purposefully with your pencil at-the-ready, you will avoid the need for multiple re-readings of the same material.

The process of elimination is key

An incredibly useful strategy in every part of your test (except maybe for the essay) is to physically cross off those answers that are definitely wrong, first, and as you encounter them.  That’s a heck of a lot of potential clutter. Not only that, to have to read and reread wrong answers wastes precious time. If you ever go back to check answers and if wrong answers are marked, you can quickly revisit your process and not have to rework everything from the beginning. 

What this mark-up strategy is invaluable for is avoiding something called “decision fatigue”. Once an answer is excluded, it can be dumped—and out of your awareness—for good. Otherwise, your mind could be plagued by indecision and way too many options. “Resolve to resolve,” is what I like to say. Your mind will stay fresh, sharp, and alert.

Mark-up is helpful to locate the “low-hanging fruit”—or the easy marks, through a process of elimination. Give questions a ten-second once over. If you don’t know how to answer it quickly and correctly, mark it and move on. Come back to it later. If you have the opportunity to take a few passes through the test, you’ll continually knock off the easiest questions first.

A very important strategy is to have a specific way for you to denote the difficult questions, the ones you need to go back and review if you have time. Make it unique. Maybe an asterisk. What I like to do is to draw an open circle. When I go back for review and I am satisfied I have the answer—and so I know not to revisit that question yet again—I fill in the circle to make it solid.

Your annotation system means you can always be gainfully busy checking and improving your score.

Tips summarized:

  1. Identify the low-hanging fruit, the easy questions you can knock off.
  2. Use a process of elimination to identify fewer options as your final answer. Then work only on those.
  3. Mark those questions you cannot initially do quickly. Most people use an asterisk. I use an open circle that I fill in once I answer that question to my satisfaction.
  4. Go back and review questions unsure of or answered, until there is nothing more you can do, or you run out of time.

Seems crazy but don’t read the passages first. Read the questions. Underline the key words—especially comparative terms—in the questions before reading the passages. The questions will prime your brain to look for the right information on the first scan and detailed read of your passage. When answering your questions, you’ll be able to skip up to 75% of the passage. 


Math problems and pencils seem destined for each other. Remember however, that many of the questions don’t need full working out to find the right answers. Sometimes it will be as simple as eliminating the obviously wrong choices.

  • There will be times when you are not allowed to use your calculator and use of mental arithmetic is your only option. Don’t work out answers on a calculator if you don’t need to. 
  • You may be given ‘scratch paper’ but the booklet can always act as one.
  • Note down formulas and acronyms at the top of your paper.
  • Keep focus and avoid mistakes by writing down even the simplest of things. Just as with the Reading section, if you have to go back to review a difficult question, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off. If you encounter a difficult problem, then some amount of work will help you review it later.
  • When you’re given a diagram, mark it up with all the data that you’re given within the question. Many drawings are often not to scale so proportions derived by your intuition won’t necessarily be correct. If a drawing is not scaled correctly, redraw it.

There are a limited number of question-types you can and will be asked. At College Prep Genius you will learn how to approach each and every one of these. There are specific strategies that will see you power through by being quickly able to identify the type. Use your pencil to note what strategy you need to solve it. 


In this section, you also have very limited time per question. Without factoring in reading time, you have 36 seconds on the ACT and 47 seconds on the SAT. There simply is no way to finish on time. You need a system.

Here’s another hint: By marking one of the 13 recurring grammar problems, it is easier and quicker to find the correct answer. For example, if the underlined part of the passage contains the words, “not only” then circle it and find the answer choice that contains, “but also”. As you can see, there are rules you can learn to set you right.


You will handwrite your essay using the provided four-lined, blank pages. Print your work or use cursive, but either way, just make it legible. 

It’s worth remembering that the SAT essay is optional, but you will learn a reliable essay template at College Prep Genius to make it a shoe-in. You should always write the optional essay for many reasons (which is not the subject of this article).

What if someone at the test says you can’t mark your test booklet?

If you are in any doubt as to the permitted use of the test booklet, or you think others (such as the proctor) at the exam might be unsure, then be prepared. Download and print the official information found in the College Board tweet, and have it ready to present. The official College Board Student Guide notates several times: “Use the test booklet for scratch work.” You will also find information that states, “you will not receive credit for anything that you write in your test book.” 

Remember, mark-up your paper, cross out what you deem to be the wrong answers, and transfer your chosen answers to the answer sheet.

Something is awry if you’ve been asked to write your name on the cover of your booklet but told not to write inside. If for some reason, you are told not to or were prevented from writing in your booklet and it affected your score, then call SAT or ACT immediately. At the very least, you could be offered a refund or a future free test. You can also contact

International testing

If you happen to be taking the test in an international center, then know there may be an exception to the booklet writing rule. This is quite normal and has more to do with booklet availability. You can request to write in the booklet if you do so before you sit the test. Make sure you do. Not being able to write in the booklet puts you at a great disadvantage.

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​Paying for College Secret—The PSAT!

If your score sits within a certain predetermined range, you could be in the running for many amazing scholarship opportunities from many colleges.Imagine getting a $100,000 or more for scholarships before the senior year because of your PSAT score. If your score sits within a certain predetermined range, you could be in the running for many amazing scholarship opportunities from many colleges. Take this test seriously—that’s my firm advice. Then, with the right approach and timing, your efforts could reap great financial rewards!


And tuition is not the only thing your awards can pay for. If you score highly enough on your PSAT and qualify for a National Merit ranking, a full-ride might also mean room and board, unlimited laundry, cafeteria passes, study abroad stipends, honors dorms, new computer, spending cash and graduate money—now, that’s the stuff of a great many college dreams! 


Colleges love to brag about their National Merit Scholars as they represent the top one percent of the nation. They’ll often go the extra mile to compete and attract you to their school. They may even sweeten the pot and add more compelling benefits to entice you… and wave free computers or additional spending money in front of you.


You can only take the PSAT once a year, which is generally offered the third week of October, on either Wednesday or Saturday. This school year, they are administering one on January 26, 2021. For a small fee, you can sign up for the PSAT at most local high schools. 


Any preparation you do will mean you have a significant advantage over others. Did you know that the best way to prepare for the PSAT is to prep for the SAT? Both these tests rely on your skills of logic and critical thinking to answer the multiple-choice questions, which have tricky answer choices, many designed to purposely mislead you. So, practice is always time well-spent.

You need to know the PSAT—just like the SAT—is a beatable test. It doesn’t measure your IQ and doesn’t test what you’re learning at high school. You can actually learn the recurring patterns and rules found on every test and learn to answer questions in 30 seconds or less.


If you want to gain an early edge, take the PSAT 8/9 in both eighth and ninth grade and PSAT 10 in the sophomore year. Testing at these times does not count for the scholarship contest, but if you’re serious about making your future easier to afford, then the benefits outweigh the objections you might have. You get to familiarize yourself with the testing environment, gain test maturity and lessen anxiety. You may as well. Your future is going to be peppered with standardized testing instruments and they may very well determine the jobs and careers you follow, not just to get you into a tertiary institution.



Jean Burke is the host of College Prep Genius, here to teach you all the tips and tricks in which you can ace the SAT and get FREE money for college (no strings attached)! Jean Burk’s program will give you all the inside information on how to get money for college, put together a college transcript, and become a logic-based thinker. Jean will debunk myths & misconceptions, all while providing you all the information on how to stop fearing the SAT.