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Teaching Tips You Can Use in Your Homeschool

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

homeschooler-learning-map-skills-studies-globeTeaching Tips You Can Use In Your Homeschool

This blog post sponsored by: Math Mammoth| With Math Mammoth’s clear explanations and mastery-based curriculum, your students will be set up for success in algebra and in real life!

 

After over thirty years of homeschooling, I have so many teaching tips that really work! And, I love my children, and no one loves my children more than I do! No one. So, who is the best teacher? I am (and so are you)!

Even the most highly degreed teacher doesn’t have what you do and with all of the resources available today you don’t need to know the information to teach it. My children’s education has centered around everything from hands-on materials, to science labs taught at home and trips to visit historical sites. We collected rocks in Georgia, climbed mountains (they climbed, I watched), went on hiking trips to various falls, collected fall leaves (we live in Florida so this was a treat), visited Washington DC, went to Canada and New York among many other places. Our learning was experiential and memorable.

And that is the crux. Teaching should be memorable or what is the point? Fast forward and all of my kids are now adults and successful in college, their jobs and with their families.

In a nutshell here are some of my Top 20+ Teaching Tips.

  1. One of my favorite teaching tips is creating a Family Statement of Faith – either a scripture verse or a motto. (As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.)
  2. This is another of my favorites! We begin every day with prayer – praying for others, The Pledge of Allegiance (someone got to hold the flag each day), and basic memory work depending on their age.
  3. A plan. Do you have a schedule? A list of books you will use? An actionable plan with goals.
  4. Don’t recreate the school in the home. Recess, lunch breaks, etc. Do try to take a moving break in between subjects, it helps stimulate the brain… No electronics – not even a computer except if you need it for school.Phones away from the school area.
  5. Organization is your friend. (Links) Organization Link here) Be sure to keep a large notebook with samples of the child’s work for each year. It can be divided into subjects and added to weekly or at least every two weeks. It makes the end-of-the-year evaluation so much easier.
  6. Have time to do school and protect this time from interruption.
  7. Plan outings – field trips, or even trips to the dentist (which can be used as a field trip no matter what the age!) If these are on a master schedule it really helps.
  8. A year-long schedule
  9. Give your children a chance to speak in front of the family. This builds public speaking skills.
  10. Resources – I loved teaching with charts (more on this later), real books, and biographies (will do a podcast on this as well). This network is a great resource UHPN! Homeschool Highschool Podcast, College Prep Genius, Making Biblical Family Life Practical, Homeschool Sanity, Homeopathy for Mommies, Finish Well Radio, Homeschooling with Technology, Life as a Lifeschooler, Soft Skills, and so many more in our More Shows category.
  11. My recommendation with little kids is lots of hands-on and experiential learning.
  12. Teaching phonics, with a tactile approach (saltbox), etc, is important and basic math concepts.
  13. Multiple modalities like reading, writing, listening, discussions, and even acting or presenting the information. While tests are often expected in learning settings I avoided these and instead used opportunities to test my children’s ability to remember.
  14. Reading kids good books begins when they are tiny and in our family extends through their teen years. We read a wonderful series like Little House on the Prarie and so many more. Some of our happiest memories surround reading.
  15. Learning is based on the interest of the child, the interesting information and the instructor’s ability to engage. If you look at school like it is a chore your children will as well!
  16. Memorization using charts. We had number charts, fraction charts, bird charts, birds of prey, the states, the musical instruments in an orchestra and so many other charts. I used these each morning or during our breaks from schoolwork in order to break up the day, and have a fun activity that they enjoyed. I even made up a “test” of sorts. A list of the birds for example and when I pointed to them the kids could tell me the name of the bird.
  17. Read the material ahead and give a brief explanation with key points written on a marker board. (The kids can take notes. Answer questions, orally or by researching it.)
  18. Have the student read a book and write a one or two-page synopsis – they can teach the “class” what they learned.
  19. Incremental – with books you read, and workbooks/questions that are answered.
  20. Unit study. You become immersed in a topic or subject. You teach it through history, science, art – even music. You can study almost every subject (except for math) using this approach.
  21. Student lead – the child can explore topics of interest and learn all about it.
  22. Performances – kids learn by teaching others, as well as giving an oral report. Make this a key part of your homeschool even if you have an only child. Bring over friends and do this together.

Teaching tips that are the most useful are the ones that you feel will make your life easier!

Ultimate List of Read Alouds for Your Homeschool

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

I wasn’t homeschooled, but I can remember loving library time in elementary school. It wasn’t just the books or the break away from the regular classroom. It was sitting on the big round rug listening to the librarian read aloud.

This post sponsored by:Night Zookeeper | Fantastically Fun Learning

Night Zookeeper is a children’s brand on a mission to make learning fantastically fun and help kids unlock their creativity. Our reading & writing program has helped over 1 million children aged 6-12 to develop their reading, writing, and creative thinking skills.

 

The Benefits of Read Alouds in Your Homeschool

ultimate homeschool read aloud book list

There are studies that demonstrate that read-alouds can improve pronunciation, reading speed, and a student’s ability to make connections while reading. Further, “Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent.”1

Beyond studies, as homeschooling parents, we understand that adding read-alouds to our homeschool can foster much more than an improvement in reading and a love for it, it can foster relationship. Relationship is fundamental to a successful homeschooling experience for our families.

 

How to Read Aloud

This might seem obvious. You choose a book and you begin reading aloud. Couldn’t be simpler, right? There are some tips and techniques that can make your read-aloud time a better experience for everyone.

  1. Practice reading aloud. Vary your cadence. Use fun voices for certain characters if that seems fun to you!
  2. Pick a book YOU love when you first begin. If your favorite book is a longer one, try reading just a few chapters at a time, finding a stopping point that leaves them wanting more. This also teaches your child the art of savoring a book for themselves in their own reading. Stumped, this resource is a great guide.
  3. Keep a list of lists. Books lists will help you know the classics, the tried-and-true, the most-loved books. Suggestions: Caldecott winners, homeschooling read-aloud lists, the 1,000 Good Books List, and the Vintage Homeschool Mom reading list podcast. 
  4. Take turns! You don’t have to be the only reader! Even the littlest of your children can take a turn in the read-aloud seat!
  5. Make use of audiobooks and let the narrator take the role of teacher. This works wonderfully during long drives and the dinner-making routine. You can find a wide selection at your library or even Audible.com. Our all-time favorite family read-aloud was Where The Red Fern Grows. Other favorites include The Courage of Sarah Noble, Heidi, and David Copperfield.

What if I Don’t Like Reading Aloud?

If you don’t like reading aloud, it’s likely due to one of the following:

  • it’s a new concept to you and the learning curve seems too great
  • you’ve never developed a love of reading
  • you’re scared of failing
  • you’re tired after a day of homeschooling and homemaking or working and you don’t need to add one more thing to your list

I understand! You don’t have to be perfect at reading aloud, you just have to begin! It’ll be an adventure! Make use of some of the techniques above and master the new skill or allow others (your own children and audiobooks) to help you!

Ultimate List of Read Alouds for Your Homeschool

Elementary

1. Misty of Chincoteague by Margueritte Henry
2. The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett
3. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
4. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
5. Tornado by Betsy Byars
6. The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
7. Bright April by Marguerite De Angeli
8. My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannet
9. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson This one we still quote to this day! So many funnies. Worth the audio version.
10. The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
11. Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
12. The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
13. Star of Light by Patricia St. John
14. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
15. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
16. The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
17. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
18. Walter the Lazy Mouse by Marjorie Flack
19. Mary on Horseback by Rosemary Wells
20. The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds
21. Sox by Beverly Cleary Read belly-laughs happen with this one!
22. The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill Miss Agnes is the type of teacher every homeschool mom aspires to be. <3
23. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
24. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
25. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
26. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
27. The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois A favorite of my kids when they were in the 8-10 year-old range.
28. Riding the Pony Express by Clyde Robert Bulla
29. Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry This was wonderful to read around Kentucky Derby time.
30. Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop An introduction to WW2 for youngers.
31. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
32. Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary Both my boys loved this one!
33. The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff
34. Treasury for Children by James Herriot I love all things James Herriot, and for the parents, the BBC series is a must.
35. The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame  Children love this “put yourself in the place of” imagining of a dragon during the time of St. George the Dragonslayer.
36. Mice of the Herring Bone by Tim Davis Growing up on Highlights magazine, I fell in love with this series of how the ordinary can do extraordinary things.
37. Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey Homer Price belongs on every bookshelf.
38. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling Can you have too much of a good thing?
39. The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thorton Burgess Burgess books were my first exposure to the living books classification. A happy discovery!
40. Betsy-Tacy Books by Maud Hart Lovelace
41. The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers I loved this more than my kids, but still made the list.
42. The Bears of Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
43. Joel, A Boy of Galilee by Annie Fellows Johnston This one is special to me. Not only did I love the book, but lived down the road from Pewee Valley, KY, the author’s town.
44. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
45. Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
46. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert C. O’Brien We also enjoyed the motion picture.
47. Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
48. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
49. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
50. Who Owns the Sun by Stacy Chbosky
51.  The Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
52. The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Middle School | High School Reading List (yes, you can read aloud in the upper grades)

 

53. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
54. Watership Down – Richard Adams
55. The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
56. A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond
57. The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander
58. Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
59. Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing – Judy Blume
60. The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
61. Ramona the Pest – Beverly Cleary
62. The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier
63. Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech
64. The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 – Christopher Paul Curtis
65. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
66. Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
67. A Girl Named Disaster – Nancy Farmer
68. Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh
69. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key – Jack Gantos
70. M.C. Higgins, the Great – Virginia Hamilton
71. Redwall – Brian Jacques
72. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
73. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg
74. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
75. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
76. Across Five Aprils – Irene Hunt
77. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
78. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
79. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
80. Mary Poppins – P. L. Travers
81. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
82. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
83. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
84. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder
85. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
86. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
87. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
88. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
89. The Indian in the Cupboard – Lynne Reid Banks
90. Watership Down – Richard Adams
91. The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
92. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
93. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
94. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
95. My Ántonia – Willa Cather
96. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
97. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
98. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
99. The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
100. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
101. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
102. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
103. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
104. Silas Marner – George Eliot
105. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
106. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
107. Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes
108. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
109. The Miracle Worker – William Gibson
110. Old Yeller – Fred Gipson
111. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
112. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
113. Summer of My German Soldier – Bette Greene
114. Death Be Not Proud – John Gunther
115. Roots – Alex Haley
116. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
117. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
118. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
119. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
120. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
121. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
122. Across Five Aprils – Irene Hunt
123. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
124. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
125. The Jungle Book (Books I and II) – Rudyard Kipling
126. A Separate Peace – John Knowles
127. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
128. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
129. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
130. The Call of the Wild – Jack London
131. The Giver – Lois Lowry
132. Sarah, Plain and Tall – Patricia MacLachlan
133. Moby-Dick – Herman Melville
134. The Crucible – Arthur Miller
135. Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
136. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
137. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
138. Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
139. 1984 – George Orwell
140. Animal Farm – George Orwell
141. Cry, The Beloved Country – Alan Paton
142. A Day No Pigs Would Die – Robert Newton Peck
143. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
144. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
145. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
146. The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
147. Shane – Jack Schaefer
148. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
149. Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
150. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
151. Antigone – Sophocles
152. Call It Courage – Armstrong Sperry
153. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
154. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
155. The Pearl – John Steinbeck
156. The Red Pony – John Steinbeck
157. Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
158. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
159. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
160. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
161. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
162. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
163. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
164. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
165. Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
166. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
167. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder
168. Our Town – Thornton Wilder
169. Black Boy – Richard Wright
170. Native Son – Richard Wright
171. The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann David Wyss
172. The Pigman – Paul Zindel

 

Happy reading!

1 Archives of Disease in Childhood.

 

Read aloud by Media Angels: (available on Kindle)

 

Choose Your Own Adventure Games in Your Homeschool

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Choose Your Own Adventure GamesChoose Your Own Adventure Games: A Fun Way to Learn!

Homeschooling is a great way to provide a tailored education for your children, and incorporating board games and card games into your homeschool curriculum is an excellent choice.

Choose Your Own Adventure games, along with educational resources, can make learning a lot of fun, whether you’re teaching 1st graders or high school students. Let’s explore how these interactive games can engage students across various subjects and age groups.

Interactive Learning with Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Choose Your Own Adventure games are not just a fun way to pass the time; they can also serve as valuable educational tools. These games allow students to navigate their own adventures, making decisions that impact the outcome of the story. They’re great for independent work and encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Engaging Across Subject Areas

These games can cover a wide range of subject matter. There’s a game for every interest, from social studies to math skills, English language arts, and science topics like the rock cycle. Younger students in 3rd grade can use them to explore the early years of history or discover the United States, while older children might delve into concepts of world history or learn about Native Americans.

Easier Access to Online Games

In the digital age, having easier access to educational resources is essential. The latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge allows you to access these online games. Websites like Google Drive or Google Slides provide access to a variety of educational activities and lesson sets for different age groups.

Comprehensive Homeschool Curriculum

By incorporating “Choose Your Own Adventure” games into your homeschool routine, you can create a comprehensive K-12 curriculum that covers multiple subjects. These games can supplement your lesson plans, and students can explore different time periods, practice math skills, and develop their social skills while having a lot of fun.

Interactive Learning for Middle School Students

Middle-grade books often fail to engage students, but Choose Your Own Adventure games bridge the gap between fun and education. These games can be a game-changer for middle school students who need a new way to learn about history, the Middle Ages, and more.

Resources at Your Fingertips

In addition to the games themselves, many educational publishers offer free resources that can enhance your homeschool curriculum. Recommended resource links can lead you to free lesson plans, picture books, and index cards to supplement your lessons.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Homeschooling isn’t just about what happens within your home. It’s an opportunity to provide your child with a unique and enjoyable learning experience. “Choose Your Own Adventure” games can be a vital resource to make learning a lot of fun and fight against the summer slide.

Prepare for the Future

These games can also help your child develop important skills for the future, such as creative writing, problem-solving, and critical thinking. They can also engage in hands-on vocational education activities and learn about a variety of careers.

Incorporating Choose Your Own Adventure games into your homeschool routine can be a fun and effective way to enhance your child’s education. It offers a new way to explore subject areas and engage with various time periods and concepts while making learning a lot of fun.

So why not try adding this interactive element to your homeschool day and watch your child’s love for learning grow?


Resources to Get Started

Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Gameschooling In Your Homeschool – The Power Of Play

Choose Your Own Adventure Games from TPT

The Ultimate Guide to Gameschooling: Transform Your Homeschool Routine with Game-Based Learning

 

Embrace October with the Fall Sweep: Your Organize-IT Guide

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

October is upon us, and it’s the perfect time to embark on a transformative journey towards a more organized and serene home. The Fall Full House Sweep is here to guide you through this process, room by room, helping you create an oasis of calm before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins. In this blog post, we’ll outline the essential steps to declutter, organize, and refresh your living space, allowing you to enjoy the upcoming months with a sense of peace and tranquility.

October Organize It Planner | Fall Sweep edition

Step 1: Capture Before Pictures

To kick off your home transformation, grab your smartphone and take before pictures of each room. This step not only satisfies our desire for instant gratification but also helps uncover hidden clutter that we’ve grown accustomed to over time. These “before” snapshots will serve as a powerful motivator and a reference point for your progress.

Step 2: Gather Supplies

Before diving into the decluttering process, gather the necessary supplies. Besides standard cleaning items, make sure you have:
– Black trash bags (a must to prevent second-guessing your throw-away decisions).
– A cardboard box for donations (to avoid confusing donations with trash).
– Baskets and bins for organizing and relocating items within your home.

Pro tip: You don’t need to splurge on expensive baskets; dollar stores and thrift shops often offer affordable options.

Step 3: Tackle Visible Clutter

This month’s focus is on visible clutter rather than digging through drawers or emptying entire closets. By addressing what’s in plain sight, you’ll quickly transform your living space, making it comfortable and welcoming for guests during the holiday season.

Step 4: Set Overall Goals

In addition to decluttering and organizing, consider setting overall goals for the month. This could involve planning homeschool activities, scheduling reading time, hosting game nights, and dividing household chores. Don’t forget to include charitable work with your church and homeschool community. Choose activities that align with your family’s values and help your children grow into well-rounded individuals.

Step 5: Create a Thriving Home Environment

As homeschooling families, you spend a significant amount of time at home. Therefore, creating an environment that supports learning, relaxation, and entertainment is crucial. Allow your children the freedom to pursue their interests and avoid over-scheduling. The Organize-IT Planner is designed to help you strike a balance between organization and leisure, making your home a place of peace and value.

You Can Do It

As October unfolds, embrace the Fall Full House Sweep as an opportunity to revamp your living space and lifestyle. This comprehensive guide will lead you through the process of decluttering, organizing, and setting meaningful goals for the month. By investing your time wisely, you can achieve a clutter-free home, enjoy more quality time with your family, and create an inviting environment that fosters peace and serenity.

Have a fantastic October, and may your home be your haven of tranquility!

Grab the Free October Organize It! Planner and Get the Fall Full House Sweep Started Today

 

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Why Do YOU Homeschool?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Why do you homeschoolWhy Do YOU Homeschool?

Why do we Homeschool? Homeschooling, for me, has always been a way of life. I was homeschooled from K through 12th grade and loved the experience. I decided to pursue higher education and graduated in three years with honors. It wasn’t just the opportunities I had but the loving surroundings in which I was able to grow and flourish with love, stability, and Christian spirituality. I attribute my homeschool experience as an excellent springboard for my life and events that took me well into adulthood with fond memories.

My brother and I were not concerned about how other students would treat us as we learned. My brother was “disabled” in the sense of the word, but I didn’t think it was odd that I, two years his junior was on the same grade level. We were free to learn at our own pace, gleaning information on topics that interested us (it seemed) at every turn during school hours or not. I later learned that my mother planned our year ahead of time and often switched topics as our interests became fine-tuned to a particular subject. It appeared to us as if the world was our school, and on many days we were excited to begin.

We were free to learn at our own pace, and often, testing was a form of a game where mom asked us questions and we bunny-hopped, jumped, or skipped to the end, signifying completion. When testing became more formalized, it still was a contest where we tried to beat last time’s score or asked for unique “extra credit” answers that would bring us over the 100 mark. Mom was always sure to comply. My mom didn’t like testing us, but I enjoyed the tests.

Homeschooling my own children was an easy choice, especially since I have the loving support of my husband, who was not homeschooled but had cousins who were through high school. We both want to offer our children an excellent education both academically as well as with the foundation of Christianity. Homeschooling, we both agree, will accomplish that desire for our family. I am excited knowing my children will experience the same things that I had growing up: the freedom to talk and discuss profound religious truths, question when those teenage years come up, and know that my parents never discounted our questions as childish or rude, but listened and directed with love and concern. I also love having a flexible schedule, except for offering my young children a little more structure than my mom gave us. Mom is almost perfect in the proverbial “Mary Poppins” sense, is an icon of the homeschool movement, and is well-loved…But I can’t do everything just like her! In fact, I learned that from her. She told me to think for myself, stand my ground, and always cheer me on when confronted with tough decisions and whatever life crisis crops up.

I have only just begun my journey with my young children; the oldest turned five in January. With almost a year of schooling completed, I have come to realize what a tremendous undertaking homeschooling can be for the entire family. We have had the most incredible year in terms of growth, enjoyment of each other’s company, and of course, the element my mom used, “fun.” We have learned much and had a few ups and downs along the way. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment and dedication. It takes a totally unselfish love for your children that supersedes what the world says is “normal” in regard to traditional schooling.

I remember a story recounted by my mom. She had us in a high-end preschool where academics were stressed, thinking that was important for my speech-delayed brother. I went along for the ride, so to speak, and made friends quickly, as did my mother. When it came time for school, Mom decided to homeschool my brother, and of course, I followed suit. She received a call from a friend one morning (I was too young to remember), who felt “sorry” for my mother. You see, she had rushed through the morning, gotten her child on the school bus, and was sitting down in a wrecked kitchen with a cup of coffee before she tackled the day. She told my mom she was sorry for not getting a “break.” My mom recounts, “I told her that I was sitting in bed, with my second cup of coffee, still in pj’s with two kids flanked on either side, pillows fluffed, and reading. We had completed our religion books, Bible, and history. Breakfast was long done and washed and put away, and we would soon dress and do a few more chores before we headed upstairs to our school room to tackle some math, writing, and other activities.” This friend didn’t call again, feeling sorry for my mom. In fact, we felt sorry for ourselves if we did not complete school by noon, so we had the day to explore our world!

For the success of a lifetime homeschooler, I believe it is a decision, not something to revisit every year. It is similar to reviewing your marriage and deciding yearly if it works out for you! Marriage is a commitment, and for my family, so is homeschooling. We will give it our all. We don’t micro-analyze it looking for an out, looking at what they are “missing” in the school bazaar, fund-raisers, track and field events, or the like.

We feel it is ordained by the Word of God, and we know, by His grace, we will continue with the tradition of raising a mighty people who love and will serve Him in thought, word, and deed! If you are considering homeschooling, I ask you to prayerfully consider what the Lord wants for you, for your life, and for your family. Do not look left or right; look straight ahead. If the Lord ordains it, He will give you the blessings and grace to continue. Don’t take my word for it; take His.


Christina Gerwitz Moss is a Christian, wife, and homeschool mom of four precious blessings, and she is the daughter of Jeff and Felice Gerwitz (Media Angels). While still a homeschooler, Christina desired to be an author. She urged her mom to write a series of novels. However, her mom turned the tables and urged Christina to try her hand. The results were a mother-daughter team, and the highly successful novels are loved by many and sold on many online venues such as Christian Book Distributors. The Truth Seekers Mystery Series was born, three action-adventure, mystery, and suspense novels. Christina completed the last one as a college freshman.

5 Ways to Combat a Bad Day

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

5 Ways to Combat a Bad Day | Blog article from Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network5 Ways to Combat a Bad Day

Five ways to combat a bad day? Really? Yes. And I’ve seen my share. There have been several of those in the last few weeks. Either I’m sick, the kids are sick, someone forgot to complete an assignment, dinner time is around the corner, and I forgot to remove something from the freezer, etc. etc., etc.

Can you relate? We’ve all had those days. How do we combat a bad day?

Sometimes, I think it would be better if I had stayed in bed. Or better yet, I want a “do-over.” I wish life were like a white-marker-board and I could erase and start over. However, duty calls… the kids, the laundry, the meals, the school. You know, a typical day of homeschool life.

What do you do? How about taking a deep breath?

At times like this, it helps to remember that the Lord who called me to homeschool will also provide and provide abundantly IF I remember to ask. You see, I’m a very capable over-achiever. I often created personalized spelling lists and taught my kids grammar lessons by crafting sentences using their names or those of family or friends. And what about those fantastic homemade meals I made? Let me tell you! Let’s see…homemade muffins for breakfast; great “squished” (Panini) sandwiches, with apple slices and mini-carrots for lunch; and three-course meals, often including a beautiful homemade dessert.

No wonder I was exhausted!

But the Lord provided and abundantly! I began first by repenting for my over-achieving ways. I didn’t need to win my kid’s approval or awe! They loved me just as I am, whether or not I baked homemade muffins from scratch every morning. The same thing happened with my husband. He was okay with quick meals or making his own lunch. This took the pressure off of me to always be there for everyone. Especially as my children are older and now the house sports all teens again. Many day’s meals revolve around sports practice or games, and quick meals – mostly bigger meals made over the week-end and repurposed for week-day leftovers work well.

However, you deal with your over or under-achieving ways – include the Lord in your plans. While I love to bake, there are times when it isn’t possible due to a hectic schedule. On other times like today, when the crisp, cool air begged for an apple crisp or apple pie, I baked both! I know that each of us is different, but if you are overwhelmed or feel guilty that you aren’t keeping up with the Pinterest mommas – rest assured, me too!

Here are some surefire ways to combat that bad day.

  1. Take one-thing-at-a-time.
  2. Do the most important first – that day, the rest can wait.
  3. Avoid the subject that is frustrating (at least for today).
  4. Do something outside of the ordinary. Make a picnic lunch, even if it means eating in the living room. Bubble baths with bathing suits on could be what the little ones need when fussy on a rainy day.
  5. Leave the house. Sometimes, a change of scenery helps, whether walking around the block or just going outside to let off some steam.

What can you add to this list – what helps to turn that very bad, no-good day into a winner? Share your ideas with us!

PS: Don’t forget, Mom… take a few minutes, and think about one thing you can be thankful for and hold on to that thought for the day. And I’ll pray your next day is better.

The Joy Of Getting Things Done!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

the Joy of getting things done blog post by Felice GerwitzThe joy of getting things done! I can see very big changes that have taken place in my life. And it took a very simple commitment on my part and sticking to it! You see, I’m married to a procrastinator who is also a perfectionist. On the other hand, I like to get things done the minute I hear about it, or sooner, and I think perfectionism was one of those gifts the Lord skipped in my life. As long as I have been married, I’ve become more like my husband… and he’s become more like me, not always so concerned about perfectionism.

Now factor into the equation ­homeschooling responsibilities, a business or two, and you will find deadlines regularly missed, meals that would never grace the cover of a magazine, and piles of clothes needing to be folded and put away. That, in a nutshell, epitomized my life –but not anymore.

Five things took me from over the top back to doing the things I enjoy!

Five Things That Restored My Joy

My five things are not brain science. They are effective ways to get out of a rut and into a productive flow that makes you and your family feel so much better and happier. And this didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been implementing these steps in the last nine months but finally realized they were working very well!

How can you go from being overworked, overstressed, and overcommitted? For each person, it will be a little different, but the first is the identification of the culprits. There are some things you can change and others you cannot.

For example, one year, as we ended a great year of homeschooling, my husband asked for help. He asked me to start a home inspection business, set up a company, and schedule time for a whole week’s training class in another town. All this time, he still had a construction business that was thriving.

Typically, this is something I thrive on, creating and doing. However, I was planning my second oldest child’s wedding and caring for three children ages ten, seven, and five!

Unchangeable Commitments That Robbed Me of Joy

At times, some commitments are unchangeable. This can be an elderly parent needing your help, a special needs child (or more), or unavoidable health issues. Yet identification goes a long way – it does help you understand why you are tired, depressed, or just out of sorts, and once you have a finger on the problem, it is easier to make changes.

For me, the first thing I realized was this truth about joy:

There are some things I can change and others I can’t, and it was up to me to change my attitude.

I’m great at throwing self-pity parties. It is self-defeating!  I had to realize I was the main reason I was miserable and overworked and needed to change.

This came about as my health began taking a toll – I finally reached a point where I was not feeling great. I occasionally suffer from migraines, but they were coming about more frequently than ever. And, I also realized I was eating antacids at an alarming rate, and they were not helping.

I don’t do doctors or hospitals – and let me say we have a doctor in the family, extended family, and very good friends in the medical profession that I love dearly as friends! So, going to the doctor wasn’t an option for me. I have dabbled in health and wellness since my mother died in 1999. We keep healthy, eat right, and use natural remedies when necessary. So, it has worked well for us.

I realized much of my illness was stress-related. So it was up to me, through prayer, to begin doing what I preach and listen to that still word from the Lord. I realized I needed an attitude check. The Lord has gifted me with the ability to multi-task. I know I’ve heard those studies where it is not practical. But, as I type this, my daughter, with her restricted license, is driving me home from her softball practice. The radio is on, and I’m typing.

Attitude Adjustment = More Joy

So, back to attitude – mine needed a significant overhaul. I needed to realize that I was the cause of my illness and that something needed to change. So, I decided to make the time to do what I enjoyed.

I made a list – and for those who know me, I detest lists – so yes, desperate times require desperate measures. I made a list of all the things I enjoyed.

My list looked like this:

  1. Coffee and relaxation each morning before I began the day time to wake up.
  2. Prayer time daily – before breakfast.
  3. Time to read good books.
  4. Baking
  5. Relaxing baths.
  6. Time with the family – no computer or cell phone nearby.
  7. Vacation time.
  8. Date night with my husband.

The first thing I want to share with you, which I’m sure you’ll understand immediately, is attitude.

A good attitude and one that is Christ-focused is necessary for anything to change for the better. It’s the key joy.

If you aren’t happy, no one else will be happy –if you pretend to be happy but are not on the inside, that is even worse! For some, just saying no isn’t an option, but look at it this way.


About the Author

Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has embraced her role as an educator and stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have enriched her family’s learning journey and inspired countless others to seek alternative educational paths.

You can continue reading her story in her very personal story, One More Child, from Media Angels, Inc.

Unlocking the World of Reading: How an Online Reading Program Can Transform Your Homeschool

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Dive into the realm of transformative homeschooling with online reading program! Discover how to unlock a world of reading wonders and elevate your homeschool experience. Get insights on harnessing the power of digital resources for your child's reading journey. #Homeschooling #OnlineReading #Education In the realm of homeschooling, parents play a pivotal role in nurturing their child’s intellectual growth. Among the essential skills they impart, reading holds a prominent place. Developing strong reading abilities is crucial, as it opens doors to knowledge, imagination, and lifelong learning. Today, we’ll explore the benefits of incorporating an online reading program into your homeschooling routine. We’ll look at how it can revolutionize the way your kids learn to read.

1. Personalized Learning with an Online Reading Program

One of the significant advantages of an online reading program is its ability to provide personalized learning experiences. Each child has a unique learning pace and style. Online programs adapt to individual needs, assessing the child’s current reading level and tailoring lessons accordingly. Maybe your child is a visual learner or thrives on auditory input. These programs can cater to their preferred learning style, fostering a deeper understanding of phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension.

2. Interactive and Engaging Content

Traditional textbooks can sometimes fail to captivate young learners. Online reading programs often include interactive elements that make learning a delightful experience. Engaging visuals, animated characters, and interactive games help make reading fun and captivating for children. By incorporating elements of play and entertainment, online programs can keep kids motivated and eager to explore the world of reading, transforming it from a chore to an exciting adventure.

3. Comprehensive Phonics Instruction

Phonics forms the foundation of reading, enabling children to decipher words and comprehend texts. An online reading program provides comprehensive phonics instruction, guiding children through the relationship between letters and sounds. With interactive activities and engaging exercises, these programs reinforce phonics rules, phonemic awareness, and decoding skills, helping children become proficient readers with a solid understanding of the fundamental building blocks of language.

4. Tracking Progress and Assessments

As a homeschooling parent, monitoring your child’s progress is crucial. Online reading programs offer built-in progress tracking and assessments, providing you with real-time insights into your child’s development. These tools allow you to identify areas of strength and weakness, adapt the curriculum as needed, and celebrate milestones along the way. With detailed reports and analytics, you can have a clear picture of your child’s reading journey and offer targeted support when necessary.

5. Access to Vast Resources

One of the key advantages of an online reading program is the abundance of resources it offers. From leveled reading materials and e-books to interactive exercises and educational videos, these programs provide a rich library of content to support your child’s reading development. With just a few clicks, you can access a wide range of genres, topics, and reading levels, exposing your child to diverse texts and nurturing their love for reading.

In today’s digital age, an online reading program can be an invaluable tool for homeschooling parents seeking to instill a love for reading in their children. The personalized learning experience, interactive content, comprehensive phonics instruction, progress tracking, and vast resources available through these programs can help unlock the world of reading for your kids. By incorporating an online reading program into your homeschool routine, you can make the process of learning to read engaging, effective, and enjoyable, setting your children on a path of lifelong literacy and intellectual curiosity.

 

This post sponsored by Reading Eggs.


Enjoy these Podcasts on Reading

Making Reading Easier

Nurturing Your Children | A Guide to Homeschooling Success | Free Planner!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hey there, students and parents! September is here, and it’s that time of year when we get back to school, whether it’s in a classroom or at home. This month, let’s set some goals and aim for greatness in our homeschooling journey. Imagine unlocking your full potential and making learning a fun adventure with your children!

Tailoring Education to Your Child

One of the amazing things about homeschooling is that you can customize your learning experience. You get to choose the curriculum and schedule that works best for you and your child. This allows your child to focus on absorbing and understanding information at their own pace.

Recognizing Strengths and Working on Weaknesses in Your Children, Self,  and Homeschool

We all have things we’re great at and areas where we could improve. Homeschooling allows us to identify our strengths and weaknesses and work on both. By doing this, we can grow in every aspect of our lives, not just academically.

Developing a Love for Learning in Your Children

As homeschooling parents, we want our children to love learning. And that’s not limited to textbooks! We’re also interested in nurturing their character and values. Learning is not just about facts; it’s about becoming better individuals.

Setting Goals and Planning Activities

In this guide, you’ll find help in creating goals for the month. Plan out activities, reading time, game nights, household chores, and even charitable work with your church and community. Having a plan in place helps keep things organized.

Hands-On Learning

Learning isn’t just about reading and writing; it’s also about doing. Try immersive learning experiences, unit studies, and topical studies that cover various subjects. Let your child study topics they’re passionate about; it’ll make them unique and self-reliant adults.

Encouraging Independence in Your Children

As your child grows older, give them more say in their studies. You can help them succeed by providing support and guidance. Overcoming challenges takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Planning for the Months Ahead

Take a moment to look at upcoming holidays and events. While plans may change, having an overview helps in scheduling. The coming months can be hectic, so let’s get organized early.

Time to Be Kids

Remember, it’s crucial to give your children downtime. They don’t need to be overscheduled. This planner helps you find that balance.

 Enjoy the Journey

Homeschooling is not just about academics. It’s about exploring the world, seeking answers, and challenging ideas through experiments and discovery. Make learning an exciting adventure!

So, as we kickstart this school year, let’s aim for greatness. Use the tools in this planner to stay organized and focused on your goals. And most importantly, enjoy your time with your family and the wonderful journey of learning. Have a fantastic September!

Blessings,
Christina Moss

Get Your September Organize It! Planner and Kickstart the School Year With Your Children

 

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FREE homeschool planner to use with your children.

Back to School Checklist for Special Needs Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Back to School Checklist for Special Needs Homeschooling | Every year, when we began school, it was with joy and a bit of trepidation. At this point, I did not have a checklist for my Special Needs Homeschooling. I didn't have a. I wondered what surprises the new school year would hold | #HomeForLearning.com #blog ##homeschooling #TipsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #SpecialNeedsHomeschooling #ChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklist #BacktoSchoolBack to School Checklist for Special Needs Homeschooling

Every year, when we began school, it was with joy and a bit of trepidation. At this point, I did not have a checklist for my Special Needs Homeschooling. I didn’t have a. I wondered what surprises the new school year would hold. We began by reviewing information already learned from the previous year. Many times, there were tears, my tears, not his. And I wondered if he’d ever write his whole name on less than a half sheet of paper, although I did applaud that accomplishment. After a period of prayer, I knew something had to change.

A Realization About My Own Needs and the Idea for a Checklist

I quickly realized a routine needed to take place more for my sanity than my son’s.  In addition, I could chart his progress more readily and not feel we were stagnant when we were actually doing quite well. And so I began what I called the back-to-school checklist. I also created a middle and end-of-the-year list to keep our schooling on track. It was a chance to analyze my goals and make plans without the stress of trying to go to school simultaneously.

Know Your Self, Know Your Special Needs Student

At first, my list was very simple; I started with the big picture and then narrowed it down until I devised a daily schedule and chores. To begin with, I looked at things like my goals for homeschooling and training, such as a particular character quality I wanted to see improved. Then I moved to my philosophy, what homeschool methodology worked for me. I found that my methodology changed at different times in my homeschool journey. At the beginning, everything was very “hands-on” and science-oriented. As my son grew older and his analytical skills improved, we could turn a corner into the area that would be best described as creative, such as writing and beginning a simple newsletter among the cousins in the family.

The Checklist Direction

The checklist kept me going in the right direction, and it was even a blueprint if my child was frustrated; believe me, there were twists and turns along the way. It allowed me the latitude to make decisions and changes very quickly. As my planning became more second nature, I implemented a middle-of-the-year check to be sure our goals were the same or pencil in time to analyze our curriculum and whether it was working for us. One year, I completely scrapped our math program and changed mid-year. It was the right decision for my son, and he flourished. I was happy I had the courage to do this, or I would have had a miserable school year!

Here is a sample of the items on my checklist, and I encourage you to add to this list and create your own.

Ultimate Special Needs Back to School Checklist:

  • Plan – Start big picture and continue to narrow down
  • Family mission statement
  • Family goals
  • Character quality (per child) and even one for family
  • Spiritual goals
  • Curriculum checklist –by subject
  • Weekly Schedule
  • Daily Schedule
  • Everyday Chores
  • Daily Chores
  • Catch-Up Day
  • Field Trips Planned
  • Mini-Vacations
  • Holiday Vacation or Break Time

Make the list work for you; don’t be a slave to this list. The great thing about making a plan is that you have a focus and a direction; your family will thank you!

If you are interested in sample audios that I recorded from a 3-audio set with handouts on the Ultimate Back to School Checklist, please visit my website Media Angels, Inc. and look for eBooks and Audio Downloads.


Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for both education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path that has been colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has not only embraced her role as an educator but also stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have not only enriched her own family’s learning journey but have also inspired countless others seeking alternative educational paths.

Felice’s passion for cultivating an enriched homeschooling experience goes beyond the written word. As the host of the acclaimed podcast Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice extends her insights to a global audience. Tune in every week to glean from her vast knowledge and unique perspective on homeschooling. The podcast, a cornerstone of the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, serves as a beacon of inspiration and guidance for parents navigating the intricate landscape of homeschooling. You can access her podcast and explore a treasure trove of valuable resources atUtimateHomeschoolRadioNetwork.com

In Felice Gerwitz, we find more than a homeschooling advocate – we discover a devoted mother, a devout believer, an accomplished author, and a compassionate mentor. Her life story is an ode to the possibilities that open up when you blend unwavering faith with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Join Felice as she continues to inspire, educate, and uplift families worldwide through her podcast and her remarkable journey.


Thank you to our Network Sponsor, Route 60: A Biblical Highway for sponsoring this podcast. Please check out the link here. Route60.movie