6 Random Tips for the Organizationally Challenged

The Organizing Challenge

Organized Homeschool mom plans her day with a plannerI don’t know whether some kind of momentum builds from taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, or if we’re eager to start a new year on the right foot, or if we just start getting antsy being cooped up inside, or a combination of all three catalysts, but January seems to be the time of the year when we all start thinking about organizing, scheduling, and just generally getting our lives in order!

If you’re like me, you’ve been binge cleaning (whether or not you see much in the way of tangible evidence) and looking around your house for ways you can stash the clutter a little better…a desk here, an Ikea cube unit there, a shelf or two over here.

In my little tribe on Facebook, many moms share a similar struggle to me: getting organized and following through on plans. I can’t say I have all the answers or have conquered this struggle yet, but I have learned to manage my “disability” over the years and have discovered some tricks and ideas that have worked for me. So I want to share those with you!

  1. Ask God First
  2. Install (and use!) the ToDoist App
  3. Find a Homeschooling Planner That Fits Your Style
  4. Get Rid of the Broken Shoelaces
  5. Handle Mail and e-mail Immediately
  6. Keep a Gift Bin

Ask God First

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 16:9: “A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” It’s a reminder that, while planning is good, it’s really God who directs each day. So, doesn’t it make sense to just go ahead and consult Him first?

I usually try to pray through my to-do list every day while I’m still in bed. I also pay attention to what God puts on my heart first thing in the morning. Often, even before I’m fully awake, I will hear the Lord speak to me about things I need to do that day.

Install and Use the ToDoist App

Once upon a time, I tried a daily to-do list. I would write it out in the morning, get to about half the items that day, then keep it for the next day and add more. It ended up a big, long, never-ending scribbly mess! Then I tried transferring to a new paper each day. Do you know what it’s like to write out every single item that I didn’t complete on a new sheet? Depressing, that’s what! I didn’t need to slowly and painfully write out my failures each day.

But, the alternative was not good. With no list, I forgot about so many important things I needed to do! (It’s not cool when you forget to pay bills, for example.) Then I finally found the ToDoist app on my phone – there is a desktop version that syncs with the phone app too so we can stay organized everywhere! I love it because I can move things around from day to day instead of looking at scribbles and feeling frustrated by all I didn’t get to. Somehow the neatness of it is helpful to me…and the ease of moving things. Try it and see if it works for you!

Find a Homeschooling Planner that Fits Your Style

In case it’s not horribly obvious, I am a Type B person. I hate planners and planning in general, and I’ve never found one that I was in love with. So, naturally, I just created my own! The Lifeschooling Vision Planner is designed for extremely flexible people like me…but it’s also adaptable to those who require a little more structure. I love it! During the month of January, it’s included in a full kit of lifeschooling resources for an amazing introductory price!

Another great planner is the Beyond Blessed Planner by Ana Willis. This planner has it all! If you want to organize your entire life on paper, this one is for you. Includes sections for homeschool mission, annual goals, monthly goals, monthly spending tracker, meal planner, pantry inventory, food journal, water intake, and so much more! It truly is all-encompassing. And the best part is it’s filled with Scripture from cover to cover.

If you just need a basic, down-to-earth daily planner for the budget-conscious, check out the Best Homeschool Life Planner by Christine Zell. It will give you just enough guidance to not become yet another burden to keep up with. It includes an attendance record, monthly and weekly page spreads that include reading and field trip logs, and customizable bullet pages.

Whatever your style and personality, do some research and find what works for you. If it doesn’t work, don’t force it! Move on until you find the right fit. It’s important to find something to help direct you through each homeschool day.

Get Rid of the Broken Shoelaces

I am the classic, “But I might be able to use that someday” girl! Over the years, I have learned that it is burdensome to hang onto everything because it’s a reminder of all the projects and ideas that I can never find time to get to. If you’ve owned it for a few years, it’s time to get real with yourself. You probably won’t ever use it. Plus, maybe you can pass it on and bless someone who can!

My friend Barbara is great at this! My youngest son even picked up on it and talks about how Mrs. M. is always getting rid of stuff! Once when she came over to help us organize and purge, I “reasoned” with her that I could use some of these things and that I didn’t want to waste them and end up needing them someday. “Well,” she said, “I love to bless others with things I’m not currently using. I just always pray that God will bring that type of item back to me later if I end up needing it, and so often He has done that.” Her response really helped change my thinking in this area! Sometimes hanging on to things is a lack of trust for God to provide in His timing.

Handle Mail and e-mail Immediately

Okay, confession time. I don’t do this…at least, not with my e-mail. But I think it might be time! I currently have over 50,000 e-mails sitting in my inbox. (Ridiculous!!) I was very inspired the other day when my mother-in-law told me that the high executive she used to work for at a large national bank (I believe he was #3) left at the end of each day with an empty inbox. How freeing! He went through e-mails right away, handled them, and then deleted them. Sounds like a New Year’s goal for me!

I am much better with my paper mail, however. It comes in and I immediately put it all where it belongs. I’ve stopped trying to read every catalog and sales ad. If I don’t have time and it doesn’t pertain to my life right now, it goes right in the garbage. Gone are my early married days of piles of mail all over the house!

Keep a Gift Bin

I stole this idea from my mom who always kept a stash of children’s birthday gifts at the top of her closet when we were young. If we got invited to a birthday, we just “shopped” that bin and never had to worry about rushing at the last minute.

I do this now and it’s very helpful to me since I am so disorganized by nature! Not only does it save me at the last minute when I realize Sunday morning after breakfast that there’s a church baby shower, but it also saves me money since I can pick up items on sale at any time. (Or even re-gift unwanted birthday or Christmas gifts…shhhhhhh!)

Start Somewhere – Even if it’s Not Perfect

Even if you feel you have so far to go with scheduling and organizing your life, I think the important thing is just to start somewhere and find a rhythm. Once you get one little area consistent, you can move on to bigger goals.

I often think of the verse, “Despise not the day of small things.” Sometimes we have to just start somewhere, even if it’s not perfect. I’ve spent years trying to get my act together, so if you struggle as I do, I feel your pain! 😆 Celebrate the little successes and don’t beat yourself up for being imperfect.

Remember, God made you who you are for a reason. Just because organizing isn’t your strength doesn’t mean you can’t still be a successful homemaker and homeschooling mom. God sees your efforts and He does not reward us based on performance. He sees your heart and He meets you where you are and fills in the gaps. Aren’t you glad? I sure am!

 

About the Author: Danielle Papageorgiou has been homeschooling, or “lifeschooling,” for 18 years (she counts birth as day 1!) and runs a blog, LifeAsALifeschooler.com. She has a passion for helping other homeschoolers learn how to homeschool in a way that does not compete with family life, but actually enhances it…homeschooling done in a spirit of freedom, not legalism. She believes that each family is unique and God has placed in each child special gifts and desires that He wants to use. The verse that guides the Papageorgious in their pursuit of lifeschooling is Matthew 6:33, “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and ALL these things will be added to you.” (Emphasis mine). Danielle has been married to her amazing husband, Jon, for 20 years and they have three talented and fun children, Konur (18), Elleina (15), and Korban (8).

Brand New Character Counts Planner: Awareness

We have some exciting things in store for our loyal listeners in this new decade. If you have been signed up as a subscriber with us, you may have noticed something brand new and different this month. Felice has created a new bonus subscriber freebie on character traits. There will be a new character trait theme each month and we are so excited to use these in our homeschool!

Why did we choose the theme of Character to focus on this year?

Well, character qualities are more than just a list of desirable attributes we want our children to have.  Good character opens the doors to good jobs, and the motivation to work hard and to do well. It is not easy to be consistent, however it is so worth it. Good character can be encouraged, practiced and demonstrated on a regular basis in your home. The best part of this character planner is that you can all build stronger character together as a family. It is said that character is caught not taught so there is a big responsibility as parents to demonstrate the character traits we want our children to copy. We all know how our children can very easily imitate our bad behaviors. So, we want to change that and have them imitate good behaviors from now on. That’s the entire goal of this new planner.

Why I am excited to use this new study:

I am personally excited about using this new planner because it will help give me a certain focus for our homeschool each month. Having a specific theme to work on for an entire month will help to solidify that character trait. If I don’t have a plan in place then I usually am not able to complete the extras that I want to do. Especially in a new year, I always have so many ideas of things I want to work on with my kids. One of those has been wanting to do character studies and extra Bible studies with my girls. It’s hard for me to be consistent with this. I know what I want to do, I just don’t know how to implement them successfully.

If the studies aren’t planned out I usually fail to complete them. What I love about this new planner is that all the hard work is done for you. It is literally open and go. It’s a planner for teaching the character trait but all the planning is done for you! So this is planner and a family character study all in one. All you have to do is print it out, read the encouraging introduction and get started. It is so easy and I can’t wait to incorporate it into our daily morning time and family devotions.

Each month we will providing a new Character Counts planner with a new theme to work on for that month. This month’s planner is all about the character quality of Awareness.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide of Awareness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Journaling Pages
  • Activity Sheets on the Character Trait
  • Family Goals
  • Certificate of Completion

Make sure to keep an eye out on our weekly ezine, where you will get directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner. The planner access information will be located at the bottom of each email.

If you are not signed up as a subscriber yet, you can do that HERE. You will receive a new Character Counts Planner in your inbox each month!

FREE Change Your Mindset Simplify and Plan January Family Planner

It only seems like it was yesterday, that we were wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. We were discussing all our plans for the holidays that we would spend with family and friends. I was sharing our favorite Christmas Eve recipes and family traditions, and now here we are in a brand new decade! It is now the year 2020 and we want to wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

A new year always brings about much reflection and thought. This year is special though as we have entered a whole new decade. It just seems so very big. For many of us, it doesn’t just have us reflecting on the past year, it has us reflecting on the past TEN years! This can bring about many thoughts and memories, good and bad. Reflection is a good thing. It can help us to focus on our priorities. What do we want to change and improve in our lives and in our families? What goals and plans do we want for our family?

Simplify and Plan

Sometimes planning can be overwhelming and feel like an insurmountable task. Especially when you are looking at a blank calendar with 12 months ahead of you! Yet, it doesn’t have to be like that. One way to look at accomplishing our goals and dreams is by having a plan in place. It doesn’t have to be a grand, elaborate plan with tons of steps. It can be simple and it starts by thinking through what you need to do. You need to think about how to simplify your thought process. It is a complete change of mindset.

If you know Felice well, you know that she is very successful and works in an organized chaos. She will be the first to admit it in her podcasts.  Many of the best creatives work like this! She created this planner for you to use this entire year and it is completely free to our subscribers. It has been the key to her family success and we hope it will bless you as well. This planner is chock full of great tips and advice from a busy working mama of many and is a life-line to those that live in an organized chaos! Everything that you can think of, that you would need help with in this new year has been covered in this packet.

This planner is almost 100 pages! It covers so many things and will take you step-by- step through changing your mindset and simplifying in the new year. You will go through how to:

1. Take one step at a time.
2. Deal with the present moment and don’t stress the future.
3. Realize your limitations. You can not say, “yes” to everything.
4. Stream line.
5. Detach.

This is by far our largest planner yet! Included in this month’s printable pack is:

  • Encouragement and steps on how to change your mindset
  • Family Motto and Goal Worksheet
  • New Year Mindset Worksheet
  • Time Saving Questionnaire
  • Time Saving Tips and Time Saving Plan
  • Goals Worksheet
  • 4 Square Planner
  • Monthly School Planning
  • Quarterly School Planning
  • Academic Records and Printables
  • Household Planning and Organization Forms
  • Health and Wellness Sheets
  • Cleaning and Chore Charts
  • Meal Planning and Grocery Lists
  • Journal Pages
  • Reading and Book Report Lists
  • Scripture Copywork
  • High School Planner
  • Transcript Printables
  • Planner for Kids
  • And so much more!

 

You can receive this printable pack and a new freebie bonus Character Counts Character pack each month by clicking HERE to sign up now!

 

Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition

I love finding out the different ways that families celebrate with their Christmas traditions. Some of them are very unique and fun, with something random and obscure that was just passed down as a family tradition. Others may be more traditional, like attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and opening one present.

Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition with recipe card! #holidaytraditions #familydinner #soupandsalad #homeforlearningblog #uhpn

There are also different cultural ways that families celebrate that may differ from one culture to the next. I have some friends whose family have a mix of different cultures throughout. They all get together for a formal Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. They eat very late, and then they open all of their presents at midnight. Christmas Day is then spent with family and children playing with their toys. If you don’t have to get up early the next day then staying up so late wouldn’t be a problem! This was always such a fascinating idea to me.

Since I love hearing so much about other families and their traditions I thought it would be fun to share our very own Christmas Eve tradition:

This tradition started 5 years ago. We used to gather up the family and drive to the other side of town for family dinner. We then ended up at another family member’s church for a late night Christmas Eve service. This was always so exhausting with small children, and we really wanted to attend our own home church. Somehow, I was able to entice my in laws to attend our church and have dinner at our house instead.

I have an amazing soup recipe that I have tweaked over the years that my father in law always requests that I make. It is a labor of love, so I don’t make it often. I offered to host Christmas Eve dinner at our house with the promise of Tortellini soup, and a new tradition was instantly born!

Our Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition:

I love making soup, because you can simmer it on the stove all afternoon, turn it off and it’s still going to be hot an hour later. You can even keep it warm in a crockpot, but I like to make mine in a large stock pot. For our Christmas Eve tradition, we attend the early Christmas Eve service at our church. This is usually around 5pm. That give us the afternoon to clean the house, to get it all ready for Christmas and to prep our soup and salad.

The reason this soup is a labor of love is because there is so much chopping involved. This soup has lots of herbs and veggies, and chopping it all up can take awhile. It is totally worth it though! If you love Italian food, and hearty wholesome soups, this is the soup for you. The entire family loves it, even small children! Once the soup has simmered for awhile, the last step is to add the tortelilnis. Since we plan on eating when we get home from our church service I leave this step out until we get home. Our service is short so we are home within an hour and the soup is still hot. If you plan on eating after church and will be gone awhile I recommend putting your soup in a crockpot.

My in-laws will meet us at church, and when service is over we come back to our house for dinner. I love the compliments when they walk in the door because the house smells absolutely amazing! I turn the soup back on and add the tortellinis for the final step. We usually snack on some cheese and crackers while the soup finishes up. This soup is very hot so I like to give it some time to cool off before we eat it. We go ahead and ladle it into bowls so it has some time to cool. While it is cooling down we go ahead and make our salads. I like to make a very light salad with fresh lettuce from our garden, cucumbers, tomatoes, freshly grated parmesan cheese and Olive Garden Italian Dressing. Once we are done with our salads the soup is ready to go!

After dinner there is very little clean up as we only have one pot, and bowls and salad plates. It is super easy and makes for a relaxed and simple evening. When dinner is over we read a Christmas story together, and the grandparents hand out gifts. This is such a cozy, sweet and simple tradition we look forward to each year.

I have included my recipe for you below. You can save the image and print it out for your own recipe book. This has been tweaked over the years to make it large family friendly and is a double batch recipe. You can half this if you need to, but it does freeze very well. This will easily feed 10 people with about a quart, maybe more for leftovers. My father in law happily brings some home with him every single time.

 

 

 

It’s Not Too Late To Send Christmas Cards

It’s Not Too Late – Send Digital Christmas Cards

A group of colorful christmas cards laid out on a table.The holidays are a season to spend time with family and friends. But there will inevitably be people you don’t get to spend time with. This provides a perfect opportunity for you to encourage your children to create digital Christmas cards. A card is always a great way to let others know that you are thinking of them at Christmas. Online cards can be sent at any time during the holidays so it is never too late to add someone to your digital Christmas card list!  

Life Skills

Not only are your homeschoolers using their creativity online to make the digital cards, but they are practicing what they have learned. They are also learning about new tools and life skills. When children and teens make digital holiday cards they will use the following valuable skills:

  • Writing: a holiday card needs at least a short message on it. This gives your children the opportunity to practice writing using good grammar and correct spelling.
  • Creativity: the act of creating the digital card will allow them to express their own personalities and make something unique.
  • Techie skills: using online tools to create digital holiday cards is a great way to help your children hone their computer skills. 

Types of Digital Cards

There are at least three types of digital cards they can create: e-cards, printed cards that they design online and interactive digital cards.

E-cards

There are many online websites that offer the ability to create and send e-cards for free. Typically there will be a limited choice of the type of card and the graphics for the card. But you do still have input in the final product and your children should be able to add their own message. 

This type of card can be created by younger children with some help from an older sibling or a parent. Even if children can’t write, they can dictate their message. Websites like Smilebox even allow you to add some fun music!

The website at Hallmark ecards has lots of cute animated cards to choose from. You can add your own message and select a font and style for the message to be written in.

Printed Cards Designed Online

Everyone enjoys getting snail mail – and your children might want to create a card that can be displayed on a mantlepiece. If they aren’t talented enough to hand draw their cards, being able to create digital cards will be a big help. Tools like Canva and Adobe Spark make designing cards easy, even for those with little artistic ability. 

You don’t need to pay to use the basic versions of these tools, and your children will really be able to be very creative in what they produce. Your only cost will be printing the card and mailing it.

Interactive Digital Cards

Challenge your children to take their holiday cards to a whole new level by coding them as an interactive card! The easiest programming language to do this with is Scratch. You can learn more about the Scratch programming language in episode 37 of the Homeschooling with Technology podcast. 

It is really easy for children and teens to learn, but if they need a little help, consider enrolling them in FundaFunda Academy’s Scratch Christmas Coding contest. Not only will they learn the basics of Scratch for just $5, but they will also be eligible to win a gift card. And of course, they will gain the knowledge of how to create a very cool interactive card that will wow family and friends. You can find all the details of the contest HERE.

Practical and Fun

As you can see, online and digital cards can be done quickly and sent out right away so it really is never too late to send them. Plus, creating digital holiday cards is simple enough for children of all ages! This project gives them an opportunity to use and learn valuable skills.  And of course, the recipients will feel loved and remembered when they receive them. So put the kids in charge of the holiday cards this year and check that task off your to-do list, mom! 

Scattered colorful christmas cards and a digital image overlay with title Go digital-its-not-too-late-to-send-christmas-cards

FREE Ultimate Christmas Planner and Countdown Printables

Can you believe that it’s already Christmas time? I am blown away by how fast this year has flown by. It seems like we were just planning goals and resolutions for the New Year. Then summer was already here and back to planning and organizing a new homeschool year. Now Thanksgiving is over and it’s already Christmas time. I guess that’s what happens when you are busy raising a family, homeschooling and living life!

FREE December Planner and Christmas Countdown Printables

Christmas is truly my favorite time of year. It is finally cool enough to break out sweaters and boots here in Florida, which makes it feel nice and cozy. We love listening to Christmas music, decorating our home, and looking at Christmas lights as a family. We try to do a very light school work and focus on spending intentional family time together. I like to pick some baking and treat making projects that become a yearly tradition that we always do together. We also hit the craft stores and I let my girls pick out some nice crafts to work on. We will turn on Christmas music and spend an entire afternoon painting and enjoying one another.

The Christmas season is always hustle and bustle with running everyone around from one event to the next. It gets even busier when you have children that are performing in holiday Christmas plays, musical recitals or dance events like the Nutcracker. Slowing down gets harder to do when there is so much going on. It’s important to try to be intentional with slowing down as much as possible and enjoying the season. Spending time with your family and keeping our focus on Jesus and the gift that He is to us is what I try to prioritize.

The Ultimate Christmas Planner will help:

This month’s planner will be very helpful to keep you on track this busy season. When things are planned out and organized your time will be freed up to focus more on your family. In this planner you will find the frame work for planning out your holiday gift giving, your meals and even your holiday parties. This packet is full of encouragement, beautiful prayer cards and Christmas scripture quotes that have a beautiful Christmas theme. These are great for hanging up around your home for some sweet holiday décor.

The same organization freebies and homemaking, homeschooling calendars are also included for you, along with extra Christmas planning tips and tools in this 80 + page printable pack. My children always look forward to the free printables that were created specifically for them. They are super excited for the scripture chain countdown, we did it last year and they really enjoyed it! It’s not too late to start the Christmas count down either. We got behind this weekend with Thanksgiving being so close to the first day of Advent this year, that I was just able to get our printables printed out to work on at home with my girls. Since I have 3 daughters I am using this with it works out fine to double or “triple” up if you miss a few days!

Included in this month’s printable pack is:

  • Christmas Craft Ideas
  • Christmas Gift Ideas and Lists
  • Baking and Recipes
  • Planner for School
  • Stress Free Holiday Prep
  • Last Minute Holiday Prep
  • Countdown for Holiday
  • Holiday Planning Check Off Lists
  • Journal
  • Scripture Copywork
  • Activities for Kids
  • And much more!

https://ultimateradioshow.com/giveaways/

You can receive this printable pack and a new freebie bonus pack each month by clicking HERE to sign up now!

 

Remembering Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Day

Remembering Pearl Harbor Day and World War Two Sepia toned collage of Mustang planes, WWII tanks and soldiers graves.The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, has been seared on the heart of Americans. We remember because we cannot forget.

Early in the morning, the sleepy stillness of a tropical paradise was rudely interrupted. “Tora! Tora! Tora! (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!)” Lieutenant Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, the lead bomber, commanded the other bombers at 7:53 in the morning, using the code-word for the Japanese Imperial Navy to begin their surprise attack over United States Army and Navy bases at Pearl Harbor.

Two minutes later, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was crippled. Ships lay at the bottom of the ocean. Planes were just smoking ruins. In two waves, from six different Japanese aircraft carriers, more than 300 planes attacked the American base with fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes. Four United States battleships were sunk and the other four were damaged. Other ships, subs, and planes were destroyed too. 4,000 Americans were killed or wounded.

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor a big surprise?

Well, it should not have been a surprise. Let me take you back in time.

A Power Shift

At the end of the 1800s, Japan was going through a huge shift. The shoguns were on their way out and the emperor’s power was increasing. Along with that, Japan was taking notice of what was going on over in Europe. After all, the Europeans were busy beavers in the Pacific with all kinds of colonies like French Indochina and Dutch Indonesia. Japan started thinking about colonizing sleepy little Korea.

When Prussia beat France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Japan saw Prussia as the one to imitate and became very militaristic. Even the emperor started dressing in military attire. In addition, Japan started moving in on Korea. China didn’t like it because China wanted to rule over Korea. They ended up going to war and Japan won in 1894! Her winnings were Port Arthur and Taiwan. She also got to kick China out of Korea. The Western world was not happy! They raised such a ruckus that Japan grudgingly gave Port Arthur back to China.

With China out of the way, Russia moved into Korea and started butting heads with Japan. This led to war and guess what? Japan won! Japan beat a European power! The world stood up and took notice! In 1910, Japan formally annexed Korea.

Making Deals

During World War I, Japan told England that she would fight Germany in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, but if she won the war, she would get Germany’s territories. Japan extended its territory by taking over Germany’s colonial possessions in China and Oceania.

In 1927, Japanese military leaders secretly drew up the Tanaka Memorial, a blueprint for armed conquest of the Far East. The plan was to drive the Westerners out of the Pacific and have “Eight Corners of the World under One Roof.” Japanese young men were taught from an early age how to engage in battle and taught that it was their duty to die if necessary to help Japan fulfill its divine destiny of conquest. Starting in 1931, each graduate of the Japanese naval academy had to answer this question: “How would you carry out an attack against Pearl Harbor?” and Japan invaded Manchuria.

Japan started creeping over the Great Wall to conquer the rest of the nation in the mid-1930s. Ruthlessly, the Japanese soldiers pillaged, plundered, raped, looted, and murdered 100s of 1000s of Chinese, remembered as the Ningling Massacre. Those who survived were enslaved. Westerners were thrown into concentration camps and many died in those camps.

In 1940, Japan signed a treaty with Hitler and Mussolini; the Pact of Steel. The United States was not happy with Japan’s behavior and economic sanctions and trade embargoes. “Hit ‘em where it hurts,” leaders rationalized. However, Japan dug their heels in, refusing to retreat or surrender. By the time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, she was already occupying Manchuria, China, Korea, Vietnam, and Formosa (Taiwan).

Japan’s Overall Plan

Early in the morning on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers headed to other destinations in the Pacific like the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Midway, Guam, Shanghai, Malaya, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. Japan’s goal was to get Western nations out of Japan and occupy all of the Pacific as a mighty empire. At 8:10, the USS Arizona was bombed, sinking with more than 1,000 men trapped inside. The USS Utah was gone, too. The other 7 ships were badly damaged. Dry dock, airfields, planes were all damaged. It was almost impossible to take to the skies, to fight back. Though the battleships were destroyed, all of our Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers were away from base and praise God, storage depots, repair shops, shipyards, and submarine docks remained intact.

Did America lay down and take defeat and refuse to fight such a formidable foe? No way! As the United States President Franklin Roosevelt said:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a day that will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.”

He asked Congress to declare war and added: “With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounded determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us, God!”

So Help Us God

To war, the United States went- facing a formidable foe. But, that determination paid off and though the first months of fighting were discouraging, the tide turned with the Battle of Midway. On December 7, we remember the devastation of Pearl Harbor, but that wasn’t the end of the story. On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies. World War II ended in victory!

Would you like to learn more about World War II and what Japan was like in the 20th Century? Check out the textbook, HIS Story of the 20th Century and to discover ways to teach 20th Century history the fun way with Teach 20th Century History the Fun Way. You can listen to my podcast: Life Lessons from 20th Century History: Pearl Harbor on December 2 at Finish Well Podcast.

Until Next Time,
Happy Homeschooling!
Warmly,
Meredith Curtis

Meredith Curtis, pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom of five amazing children, and grandmother to 3, loves Jesus, leads worship, homeschools, writes, mentors ladies, and sometimes even cooks dinner! She believes that all of life is a grand adventure with so much to learn and discover about Jesus. She is the author of Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, HIS Story of the 20th Century, Americana Newspaper Reporting, and God’s Girls Beauty Secrets, as well as Bible studies, unit studies, curriculum, and high school courses. Meredith wants to encourage Christian ladies and families to enjoy a joy-filled life filled with the Presence of God. Visit Meredith at Powerline Productions  jshomeschooling.com, meredithcurtis.com, at the Finish Well Podcast, and on Facebook. Find out how to get 50% off unit studies like the one mentioned for a limited time as part of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale at the webstore. 

Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers | My children were little in the days of Mr. Rogers Show. I remember him as a kindly man, who seemed to listen and talk slowly. For many years, Mr. Rogers was a pleasant memory yet he came to the forefront after I viewed the movie, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. | #homeschool #mr.rogers #abeautifulday A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood ~ Mr. Rogers Legacy

My children were little in the days of the Mr. Rogers Show. I remember him as a kindly man, who seemed to listen and talk slowly. But I didn’t give him another thought until recently. For many years, Mr. Rogers was a pleasant memory yet he came to the forefront after I viewed the movie, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. This film showed a multi-dimensional and complicated man, one I was enthralled with, and afterward, I wanted to learn every single thing I could about him!

This movie was based upon a true event, and as with movies, many different aspects of his life were condensed. But the article was an interesting read. The journalist sent to interview Mr. Rogers wrote from the heart about how he was impacted by the meeting and it is still available online. The article entitled, “Can You Say…Hero?” was written by Tom Junod.

The acting was wonderful and the storyline took us through some twists and turns. There were tense scenes as well as those that made you laugh, even those that cause tears. There were no theatrical special effects, but the long-lasting effect was even better.

The compassion and caring that Mr. Rogers showed others was priceless and truly made me want to be a better person.

This movie inspired me to:

  1. Listen carefully when others speak.
  2. Sloooowwww down my life…and, realize that time is under my control and not the other way around.
  3. Realize that what I say and do can impact people for life.
  4. Really look at the people God puts in my life and really see them.
  5.  Make the time for the things in life that are really important.

This movie is a life changer. It makes you realize that each of us lives a life of many choices. We can make the right choices that will ultimately leave a legacy, and what a wonderful example in Mr. Rogers. The movie truly is a perfect ministry tool. You can see the love of God through a person without the mention of pious words or empty promises. This movie is on my gift-giving list this year. A Beautiful Day is truly beautiful.


Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Three Easy Ways to Organize The Holidays

Three Easy Ways to Stay Organized This Holiday Season

A holiday planner on a cream colored background with Christmas Gifts and ornaments.These three easy ways to stay organized will help your family enjoy a fulfilling and peaceful holiday season this year.

You may be so overwhelmed that you can’t possibly imagine staying organized through the holidays. I understand! But it is possible, and it doesn’t require a professional organizer or even a professional therapist like me to make it happen.

Spend just a few moments with me here, and I think you’ll agree.

3 Easy Tips

#1 Don’t give up your healthy habits

There’s a good chance you’ve already established some habits that give you homeschool sanity. They might be things like:

• Personal or family devotions
• Having the kids do chores
• A morning-time routine
• Running the dishwasher each night
• Daily exercise
• Getting to sleep at a decent time
• Drinking plenty of water or eating a variety of vegetables

We benefit greatly from the habits we’ve established. But for some reason, some of us (ahem, guilty!) think that because it’s the holidays, we should take a break from our healthy habits. We stay up late, indulge in lots of treats, and tell ourselves we’ll get back to our routine later.

There’s just one problem: Getting back to our routine becomes difficult. The kids are whining about it- or we are. We feel sluggish and unmotivated. We figure we’ll start fresh in the new year with homeschooling, cleaning, and exercise.

Don’t get me wrong. Taking a break for the holidays can be rejuvenating. But it should be planned. Otherwise, we feel like failures and our kids start behaving like they have a substitute teacher. Know what I mean?

Bottom line: If you want a different routine over the holidays, don’t fall into it. Plan for it.

#2 Begin the holidays with the end in mind

Organization will be long forgotten if we don’t have a vision for the holidays we want. To crystallize that vision, discuss the following with your family:

• Activities you want to commit to
• People you want to spend time with
• Food you want to enjoy
• How you want to feel
• How you can honor God this holiday

Before I had a vision for our holidays, I wore myself out buying piles of gifts and staying up late to wrap them. I saw that my children wanted time to rest and enjoy playing with their new gifts with their siblings on Christmas morning instead of jumping into the car to drive a long distance. I was exhausted by going to church on Christmas Eve late, getting my jumping kids to bed, and then getting gifts laid out and put together for the next day.

You can’t organize what you don’t know. When you are clear on what is most important to you and your family during the holidays, you can make decisions about what to stop doing. You can also confidently add activities that matter most to your calendar. You can shop for gifts with a limited list. You won’t be constantly adding one more thing.

A clear vision will make any number of holiday planners functional for you. Otherwise, you’ll be overwhelmed by the various pages. And your planner will end up in the box with the broken ornaments.

Bottom line: Discuss the holidays with your family and agree on how you will make them meaningful.

#3 Plan your day

Once you’ve committed to keeping up your daily habits and you have a shared vision for your holidays, you’re ready to plan one day at a time. If you don’t plan daily, you’re very unlikely to get many of those holiday to-do’s done before Christmas Eve. And you’ll be disappointed. Ask me how I know.

Your daily plan is where you will make a loose schedule that includes time for your habits, your holiday tasks, and everything else you have to do in a day.

Often homeschool moms tell me that their day never goes according to plan. I understand! I have six kids (the adult kids ask me for as much as the kids at home), two dogs (who have been fighting lately), and a husband who works out of our home.

Even with interruptions, the truth is that you will have more peace of mind and will get more done WITH a plan than without one. Each time you are interrupted, don’t throw up your hands in despair. Interruptions ARE our life. Instead, simply return to your plan. Start where you are.

Bottom line: Create a plan for each day during the holidays that includes your habits, your holiday tasks, and your other to-do’s.

Don’t Wait!

Don’t be tempted to wait until after the holidays to get organized – it’s a time when we most need organization! I offer a free sample of my Organized Homeschool Life book and planner that can help you get started. Grab it here. Then listen to How to Have a Saner Christmas This Year and I Deserve a Donut After All That Homeschooling (on avoiding holiday weight gain) from The Homeschool Sanity Show.

Which of these steps is most likely to help you stay organized this holiday season?

Let me know in the comments.

About the author: Dr. Melanie Wilson is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six. She is the host of The Homeschool Sanity Show and the author of The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner, A Year of Living Productively, and Grammar Galaxy, a language arts curriculum.

If you want a different routine over the holidays, don’t fall into it. Plan for it. Click To Tweet

FREE November Planner with Stress Free Checklist and Printables

November is finally here, and that means that the holiday season is kicking off for many of us already! I can not believe that the year is almost over. It seems like we have all just gotten into a good routine with our new homeschool year, and now we throw the holidays into the mix! What is a busy homeschooling mama to do?

FREE November Planner and Holiday Tips and Printables to help your holidays be stress free. #uhpn #homeschoolpodcast

All of the holiday activities, as well as extra curricular school and sports activities are in full swing during the Fall. It seems like we are constantly running back and forth from one event to the next trying to keep our heads above water. I know I constantly struggle with what to make for dinner and when to feed everyone! It can all be so overwhelming if you don’t have some kind of plan or organization in place.

Thankfully, this month our Subscriber Only FREE printable pack is about the best planning tips for Thanksgiving. It is also full of activities to keep your kids busy while you plan out your weeks and month. Felice shares her heart with you as she talks about the fruits of our labor in homeschooling our children. She shares how that still continues for her today even though her youngest has graduated. This packet is full of encouragement, beautiful prayer cards and quotes with a lovely Thanksgiving theme that you can hang up around your home this Fall.

Your children will love the free printable activities created just for them. The same organizational freebies and calendars are included for you, as well as additional planning tips and tools for Thanksgiving in this 65 page pack.

Included in this month’s printable pack is:

  • Stress Free Planning Tips and Pages
  • Planner for School
  • Entertaining With Kids
  • Last Minute Holiday Prep
  • Countdown for Holiday
  • Check Off Lists
  • Journaling Pages
  • Scripture Copywork
  • And much more!

You can receive this printable pack and a new freebie bonus pack each month by clicking HERE to sign up now!