Vintage Homeschool Moms

Last Minute Easter Prep

Last Minute Easter Prep | Last minute Easter Prep made easy! If you are hosting an Easter celebration or joining one here are some things to remember to make your time memorable and fun. And, the best part it can be hassle-free and will save money and time. | #podcast #holidayprep #easterLast Minute Easter Prep – Episode 341

Last minute Easter Prep made easy! If you are hosting an Easter celebration or joining one here are some things to remember to make your time memorable and fun. And, the best part it can be hassle-free and will save money and time.

Easter is a time when we rejoice and celebrate and commemorate the Lord’s death and Resurrection. Eggs symbolize new birth and for us, as Christian’s, it is a time of renewal of our faith and rebirth in a sense as well.

SO, how do we translate our faith into a celebration that the children will understand and remember for more than just the candy? We have a celebration!

I’ve hosted many of these and now my younger kids are grown up and sadly can’t join us as they are away in other states in college. While I’m sad for us, I’m happy they can spend it together. However, my “help” has dwindled down and that is why I am big on doing things way ahead. There are always last minute things to do. If you are a guest ask if you can arrive early to help. And be sure to volunteer to help clean up (without being asked!) Unless you know your host really does not want your help.

My secret has been keeping it simple. And, in reusing things from past celebrations and adding on as money or time permitted for crafts. For example, I use cloth napkins that are over ten years old and napkin rings. I also use paper napkins and have those out for use with appetizers, etc.t


Fancy clothes are nice and special but we rarely wear them more than one time and they tend to be more expensive.

  1. Sewing is an option for those talented.
  2. Dress up a simpler dress with jewelry or a pretty sweater.
  3. Order online and return what you don’t like. Saves time and money, often online sources are cheaper than shopping in the stores.
  4. Go to second-hand stores – great bargains for those with patience!
  5. Outlet or discount stores


  1. Create nice posters that commemorate the Lord’s resurrection – the March 2019 planner contains some you can print out that I’ve provided.
  2. Have the children make a paper chain with strips of colored paper in pastels you can hand.
  3. Use wildflowers and create a spring bouquet for the tables.
  4. Colorful tablecloths and napkins


  1. Everyone has a job – be sure they know what it is.
  2. Guests want to help – the ones that don’t you’ll either know or they may surprise you!
  3. Have a floater *typically spouse who can go where needed – on call.

Food – Keep it simple:

  • Casserole or roast – prepare ahead or in a slow cooker (or instant pot!)
  • Ready-made sides  – or prepare and freeze
  • Allow others to bring something
  • Cake or cheesecake, brownies


  • Start way ahead
  • Assign jobs – take out the trash, pick up items from the floor, etc.
  • Keep trash bags and cleaning cloths handy for spills
  • Set up tables or count number of chairs
  • Cups with lids for kids (use disposable insulated coffee cups with lids -insert straws)

Games for Kids – Basket of stuff for little ones –

  • Coloring books and my favorites are nonmessy – coloring markers that don’t make a mess “magic”
  • balloons (helium is a favorite) with weighted toys. – caution – ceiling fans!
  • Paper crafts – airplanes
  • Plain paper and coloring pencils
  • Plastic eggs with pennies or cheap toys
  • Kathleen’s store – trade in eggs for stuff

Older Kids:

Playoffs –

  • Checker game boards
  • Chess boards
  • Card games
  • Outside activates if weather permits

Food – Taken inventory

  1. Make a list – what needs to be done this week?
    1. Food shopping
    2. Make ahead foods
    3. Buy ahead foods and date – when (bread, etc.)
    4. Cleaning
    5. Table settings/ plastic plates?
    6. Kid-friendly activities
  2. What did you plan to make or take that you didn’t do yet?
    1. Do you have time? If not buy prepared.
    2. If so – make it and freeze it ahead.
    3. If you are making it the day of – plan a schedule
  3. Plan your menu with times to cook –what does in when? (Talk about lasagna – cold)
  4. Appetizers – will you have any? If so are they easy to prepare ahead of time?


Church – the most important event is going to worship the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Some churches have a late evening service the night before that goes on for hours – ours does with readings from Genesis through the birth and resurrection of our Lord – basically the salvation history. Others have a sunrise service or services during the morning.

Remember to begin the day with praise and prayer! He is Risen!!


This is a wonderful response  ~

Ha!Ha! Thank you for this! I have already purchased our whole Easter meal this past weekend – two slices of ham steak (just need to be heated) and microwave everything – potatoes – sweet and regular – mac and cheese, and two frozen already made desserts! We will make deviled eggs out of our colored eggs and probably resurrection rolls out of canned crescent rolls 😉 Decided my family will enjoy this just as much because we never have this kind of food. We will be having a big breakfast at church – which my daughter and I are making homemade dishes for -that morning. A long time ago, I would have said: “Oh no  – I can’t cook homemade for other people and then not do it for my family”. But I realize there will be lots more time for homemade for my family during the year when it isn’t a holiday and they will enjoy a happy mama more than the food 🙂 Thanks again! It really is about Jesus and not food!

Healthy Family

Healthy Family | Most of us want a healthy family, Meet our essential oils expert, a homeschool graduate, and homeschooling mom of eight Amanda Filla. Amanda is a podcaster at Simple Blessings & Oils oils | #podcast #health #healthylivingHealthy Family with special guest, Amanda Filla – Episode 340

Most of us want a healthy family, Meet our essential oils expert, a homeschool graduate, and homeschooling mom of eight Amanda Filla. Amanda is a podcaster at Simple Blessings & Oils

Amanda grew up in a pretty natural household. When something happened, mom usually had some sort of a concoction or a natural way of doing things. And my grandma was always into vitamins and herbs and just natural living. And so when I grew up having my first baby, I knew a little bit about living in a healthy family.

I started diving into homeopathy and my husband was the one who saw the quickest results. He had a lot of seasonal issues and had taken lots of medicine in order to feel better. So when homeopathy came in, it was just like this huge light bulb went off. We started eating healthier, we started really watching what we were bringing into our home and realizing that chemicals and things like that who are actually causing us to be sicker. And then, a friend of mine invited me to an essential oil class. I’ve heard of lavender and peppermint, but little else. It’s been eight years since we’ve started using essential oils and it’s just kind of been a spiral effect as to how we can keep ourselves healthy.

God gave us all of these tools, to make us healthy. And no, if you break a bone or you know, something gets smashed, we have doctors! But I think as a culture we’ve gotten away from figuring out what’s really wrong, whether it’s a common cold or having a toxin in our environment. We just expect this magic pill to fix everything.

Healthy Family – Listen to this podcast!

Amanda shares lots of great information on her podcast Simple Blessings & Oils!

Handwriting Success

Handwriting Success | Handwriting success increases your child's ability to write well. In this episode we learn the importance of the child exercising their hands by playing with clay, putting together blocks and lacing among other things. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastHandwriting Success — Episode 339

Handwriting success increases your child’s ability to write well. In this episode we learn the importance of the child exercising their hands by playing with clay, putting together blocks and lacing among other things. Today’s special guest is Jodie Oare. Listen to episode 338 on Handwriting Basics for more information on handwriting and preschoolers.

Our sponsors make these broadcasts free! Visit our sponsor Time 4 Learning

Keys to Writing Sucess:

These are some of the keys to writing success for little ones.

The child’s grip is important. A tripod grip is ideal. Feet on the floor with good posture.

Hand Dominance

Fat crayons or pencils

Coloring: The use of large crayons and big strokes with big spaces (encourage a variety of colors because it forces a break in stroke, allows the hand to rest)

  • large crayons and smaller strokes with big spaces, a variety of color
  • large crayons with smaller strokes and smaller spaces, a variety of colors
  • small crayons big strokes, big spaces, a variety of colors
  • small crayons smaller strokes, smaller spaces, a variety of colors

Tracing: fat markers make a smooth and easy transition between coloring and writing. Tracing is done from top to bottom and left to right to establish proper habits that will be important for future school activities. All lines should go down, circles should start at the top. Lines and circles are the foundation of letter printing and should be practiced properly from the start. Habits are permanent.


  • Writing strokes should be efficient, therefore all lines are practiced with a downward motion and all circles start at the top to ease into proper letter formation)
  • Trace/Write Strokes (vertical, horizontal, diagonal lines and circles, spirals,
  • half-circles vertically and horizontally)
  • Tracing Letters with starting point indications
  • Capital letters are large, linear and increase successful attempts
  • Pencil size large/fat to start; grip enhancements to assist with proper grip
  • Name tracing and letter recognition
  • Tracing a word
  • Copying name
  • Copying a word
  • Transitioning to lower case letter formation in tracing, copying and writing

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Handwriting Basics

Handwriting Basics | Handwriting basics begin with exercises to strengthen the child's hands. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz interviews Jodie Oare who is an early childhood instructor, who has spent over twenty years working with preschoolers. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastHandwriting Basics – Episode 338

Handwriting basics begin with exercises to strengthen the child’s hands. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz interviews Jodie Oare who is an early childhood instructor, (and her sister-in-law) who has spent over twenty years working with preschoolers. Jodie has put together

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Our sponsors make these broadcasts free! Visit our sponsor Time 4 Learning

Handwriting involves many components

  1. Visual Motor Skills: using eyes and hands in coordination; ability to copy, draw, write what the eyes see
  2. Fine Motor Skills: using small movements involving wrist, hand, and fingers
  3. Bilateral skills: ability to use both sides of body; one side to stabilize paper/material while the other side to manipulate an implement
  4. Hand strength and endurance: promoting muscle strength of hand and fingers; includes grip, pinch and squeeze motions
  5. Executive Functioning: thoughtful planning, organizing and preparing to execute the activity



Activities that involve the hand, fingers, wrist, and arm also engage the entire upper body, torso, hips, legs, feet, and toes. A strong body will help as the child begins and continues to acquire fine motor skills used with general life activities as well as academic/school activities.

Fine Motor Skills: skills that require small movements involving wrist, hand, and fingers that produce outcomes requiring coordination, strength, dexterity, and planning. Examples of these skills are buttoning, zipping, cutting, writing, coloring, turning pages, key boarding, building Legos, and using utensils.

Handwriting does not begin with a pencil and paper.

It begins with activities that strengthen hands and fingers.

  1. Playdoh
  2. Swinging
  3. Lacing
  4. Gripping (bike handlebars, utensils, tools, sports equipment)
  5. Squeezing
  6. Climbing
  7. Picking up, playing with toys
  8. Dressing
  9. Stacking and building
  10. Coloring

Variables such as length of time and the degree of difficulty increase hand strength and endurance for life skills and future endeavors with school activities.

Playdoh is a good introductory/warm-up activity that encourages hand/finger muscle development, that children usually enjoy, and does not require skill.

Lacing activities can also be an introductory/warm-up activity however lacing does require some skill, coordination, and overall body strength which can be frustrating in the beginning.

Introducing paper, crayons, markers, and pencils can be done mindfully, in a way that encourages positive habits and a life long love of writing. (Podcast # 339 Discusses introducing crayons).

Discuss activities and describe from top to bottom. Encourage activities to be done in a thoughtful way, discussing strategy, shapes, detail and the big picture.


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Activities Kids Love

Activities Kids Love | Spring is the time to do something fun this episode explains how activities kids love can teach. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastActivities Kids Love – Episode 337

I homeschooled from 1986 to 2018 and now enjoy time teaching my grandkids the fun stuff that got shoved to the back because we had to “get school done,” and there was no time left. In this podcast, I’ll share activities kids love and, “Shh!” it might be educational!

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Our sponsors make these broadcasts free! Visit our sponsor Time 4 Learning

Are you a kid at heart? Can you think back and remember the activities you enjoyed that were actually educational? I remember so much and growing up in a climate, New York and Canada so different than Florida where I live now, I can tell you there is so much kids can do that is enjoyable and educational!

I wanted to share some off the beaten path type of activities with you. Yes, I mention some of the tried and true, but I feel sometimes we stay on those worn paths and as homeschoolers, I always wanted to provide something that is different!

The first place to start is with your children. What are they interested – what are you studying? If you start with something they love they won’t consider it school.

I could list a bunch of different topics and activities but will walk you through the through process of setting up activities that will be something the children can learn from as well as hold their interest.

For example, we were studying simple machines, pulleys, and levers – this can be considered applied science and mechanics – also physics right? Well after we were finished the kids asked if they could use the information they learned and make a catapult in the front yard. Of course, anything that kept the three younger ones 13, 10, 7 busy is a win. Right? Well, when they called me an hour later to take a look the catapult was 6’ high! Did I mention my husband is a contractor and there is often construction materials left over from a job in our yard? I almost had a heart attack as I watched them use it… of course, once it worked I ran to get my camera and took a video.

This is real learning. This is what happens when kids are engaged, encouraged although I would encourage more parental supervision and after this believe me we revisited the “science safety class.”

Another off the normal path is studying pets. Some kids love horses and will not get the opportunity to ride or own a horse. They would love to do a study on horses, the different breeds, and read a book – read about the wild horses and some works of fiction by Marguerite Henry.

When you think about activities kids would love would you consider a pet?

Animals & Pets

I love dogs, cats are okay – I really love goldfish and anything that doesn’t make the house dirty And while my husband and I talked about all the important things in life we never discussed my adamant rule – No Pets Allowed. Do you want to know what type of pets we’ve had (and let me say my husband loves almost all pets!)

We’ve had dogs, three to date. We had a lab, two of them, one Black and one Golden. We had a German Shepherd for a short period of time – he kept breaking out and the neighbor down the road begged to take him and the kids did not like the dog – he was a runner. Then a mixed dog, some shepherd some lab – and man is she protective! I’m taking care of Indy now who was Nick’s dog – is now Anne’s (who is in college) and is currently begging me for a treat. (Don’t tell Anne she is very strict about treats for her dog).

We also had fish, turtles and hurt birds that we took to the nature center.

Pets taught my kids so many things! Responsibility, cleanliness, and love! They had a schedule of who was to feed or brush the dog. I’m so happy that Indy does not like the pond, because add wash the dog to the list.

There are also guide dogs to consider when you have older teens – truthfully I don’t know the rules and imagine that adults must be the trainer, but I saw many homeschool families that had guide dogs. There is the danger of the children bonding to the dog and then giving it up – but it is for such a good cause! Those who have them love them.

Camping: Start in your own yard!

  1. Kids help plan – challenge to take least amount of things. What will fit in one backpack?
    1. What we need
    2. Food
    3. Help pack
  2. Moms and Dads plan
    1. Schedule
    2. Nature walk
    3. Science activities
    4. Collecting (permissible only)


Bubbles – study the science of bubbles – type that into a search engine and you will find a ton of great activities —  you can learn about how things stretch, chemistry, light, tension, math!  Your kids will love it and you will be amazed at how engaged they will be.

Make a gigantic bubble wand and purchase or make the liquid.

Air and Flight – again so many great activities you can do with this. We studied flight without even knowing that a group of hot air balloons was taking off nearby. We got up at 5 am to watch them and it was amazing. Something the kids will always remember is that the flight never got off the ground due to windy conditions but we were able to get closer to the balloons and talk to some of the owners. The children made many paper airplanes, learned how to design them to do tricks as well as go far, etc.

Of course, there are science projects, history projects and displays the kids can make. Of course, there is art, painting, clay, sculpting, crafts, music, etc.

I hope this podcast has encouraged you to think differently about your homeschool.

Again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, – please visit their website and thank them for bringing you this podcast for free.

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Organized Homeschool Forms

Homeschool Forms | Being organized in your homeschool means selecting the right homeschool forms to make your life so much easier. Do you want to avoid burn out? | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolformsOrganized Homeschool Forms Episode 336

Being organized in your homeschool means selecting the right homeschool forms to make your life so much easier. Do you want to avoid burn out? Do you want your homeschool year to just flow instead of coming to a screeching stop? Well, it can happen if you have some forms to make it easier.

Our sponsors make these broadcasts free! Visit our sponsor Time 4 Learning

Well, friends, it is time to get out that paper and pencil or visit the website for the show notes because this episode is going to be packed with the information you need to make life easier. I purchased all kinds of fancy planners throughout the year and found that the one that made the most sense for my life was a huge calendar (the wall is preferable) and a 4-Square Planner (I have some templates for you with the show notes). This was the best method. Ever. If only I had found it earlier in my homeschool journey.

I thought I needed forms for everything and found out I had a big mess! And those gigantic planners – they were more confusing.

I found the 4 Square Planner by accident – and it was something I was making up on my own. You don’t have to purchase anything – it is in every printable – planner we give away each month on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network – and it works!

Take a sheet of paper – you can use a spiral notebook if you don’t want to lose the paper and make a grid. One line in the middle of the paper and one across. (Those who are perfectionists have my permission to use a ruler!).

Write the 4 most important things in your day. Mine grid has the topics of Faith, Kids, School and Household. That is pretty much all-encompassing of a homeschool mom’s day. You can also do 4 grids that are the seasons – Fall – Winter – Spring or Summer. Begin with whatever season you are currently into thumbnail sketch your year. You can use the grids – of course, you will need more paper.

Friends, I use this system to plan out my podcasts now as well as to organize events, trips or my husband’s schedule. It helps to have a central place to put items that take you out of the home.

Ask yourself these questions about homeschool forms:

  1. What is my biggest obstacle to using planning forms?
  2. What planning forms do I like?
  3. What type of planner do I like?
  4. Can I keep organized with a calendar?
  5. Can I use a calendar instead of forms for some of my planning?
  6. Can I use a wall calendar as a master plan and a smaller notebook calendar for a daily plan?
  7. Can I use the 4-Square Planning method effectively in my home?
  8. Do I like to plan from August to July – a school year?
  9. Do I like to plan yearly from January to December?
  10. What is the easiest way to keep track of my forms? Digital or printed?

Analyzing these questions will help you figure out the best method for you!

The second set of questions – yep, there is more!

  1. How do I want to store the information? Digital or Paper
  2. Do I want something portable?
  3. Do I want to keep papers, samples and important information in one place?
  4. If I am using paper where will it be – file, three-ring binder – or spiral notebook

I always kept a yearly three-ring binder with important information, the kid’s schedules, master lists, and their grades/ evaluations from each year. Keeping it in one place was easy for me. Of course, this was a 3” Mammoth binder and not portable.

I really like a month at a glance scheduler because they work best for me. Again, use what works for you.

I have some great online tools that are free and I am so thankful for Meryl host of the Homeschooling with Technology – one of my new favorites is Trello.

Just think of it as one large piece of paper with sticky notes. It is a wonderful way to organize things and allow your family to add to it – you can add assignments, plan and more.

This is great when you share it with your family members – you can listen to Meryl’s podcast (link is in the show notes or go to her podcast page or follow her on your podcast app – her shows are great, informative and do not overload you with techie stuff!).

5 Ways Homeschool Parents Can Use Trello

You can also use Google Docs and share your schedule – I have mine connected to my phone. I have reminders set up so I don’t forget an event or to do something important. You can use the word processor on Google Docs to share papers and

Scheduling Forms:

Check off List, Book Reading List, Book Report, Movie Report: Homeschool forms

Field Trip Guide: Field Trip Guide

Sample Homeschool Mom’s Schedule: ChristinaMoss-DailySchedule

HSLDA – Statewide requirements for homeschooling here.


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Homeschool Curriculum Buying Guide

Homeschool Curriculum Buying Guide | First of all, there is no one perfect curriculum and believe me I’ve made mistakes. When my son was five I purchased a math curriculum and he was struggling so much, I decided to buy another one mid year at someone’s recommendation. That too turned into a disaster. | #podcast #homeschool #homeschoolpodcast Homeschool Curriculum Buying Guide – What to Buy & Where. Episode 335

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels Membership site – where you can find K-12 Science Curriculum, novels, and resources for history and writing.

First of all, there is no one perfect curriculum and believe me I’ve made mistakes. When my son was five I purchased a math curriculum and he was struggling so much, I decided to buy another one mid-year at someone’s recommendation. That too turned into a disaster.

The best way to buy homeschool curriculum is to know what you are looking for. But before you do this, please listen to the past podcasts on the topic of curriculum. There I give you specific questions to think about as well as where to go to get great reviews.

All curriculum will not work for all kids. One child may love a math program while another will struggle to get through a lesson. Look at your kids, take note of what they can do or not do and then go from there. We work to remediate weaknesses and build on their strengths. Parents, if your kids are struggling all day the retention of knowledge is not going to be great. If your child is struggling academically get help. One of the podcasts on this network is – Brain Coach Tips Podcast  visit the podcast page and listen to past podcasts that can help you plan accordingly.

We need to encourage our kids, set up their day in small chunks of learning if they are younger and work on a plan ahead of time to alleviate as much frustration as we can. The next podcast in this series is on using forms in your homeschool—and if you are on the mailing list you are receiving these in the monthly planning packs you can print out to use with your family.

If you are not on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network email list – please join it today. Each month there is a freebie that will help you in your homeschool journey.

How will you teach history? Ancient, World, American? Are you interested in incorporating faith, relationship, family and worldview values?

These are the types of questions you need to ask before you buy.

First, we will discuss what you are looking for, then where to research and finally where to purchase!

Little Kids

  1. Structure begins slowly
  2. Hands-on is a must to build strength in their hands, fine and gross motor skills
  3. Character development and gentle correction toward honesty
  4. Phonics skills
  5. Math concepts – big picture with manipulatives
  6. Art and projects
  7. Music and lessons
  8. Dress up and play
  9. Time for exploration


  1. Books, books, books
  2. Active listening and answering simple questions that become progressively harder
  3. Retelling a story/recall information (preface with listening carefully)
  4. Phonics – Phonics – Phonics and reading skills
  5. Writing skills can begin with open-ended stories, drawing pictures with short sentences.
  6. Copy work
  7. Math concepts with manipulatives
  8. Memorization of facts (including math, science, history, geography)
  9. Art and projects
  10. Music and lessons
  11. Time to explore

Upper Elementary

  1. Concepts are key – are they getting it? If not regroup
  2. Math basics now become the bedrock for higher concepts and application
  3. Reading harder and longer books. (Or remediation if needed)
  4. Grammar Skills. Advanced writing working on reports (book), or smaller one page reports on history and science topics. This can advance into longer papers. Teach writing skills. is incremental and highly recommended.
  5. Health and Anatomy – I find this lacking in children’s education.
  6. Art and projects
  7. Music and lessons
  8. Experimentation – science experiments
  9. Nature studies and exploration
  10. History events – timelines, biographies

Middle School

  1. How is your child doing? Remediation or advancement?
  2. Pre-Algebra or Algebra
  3. Grammar Skills. Writing skills are important. Reports and longer papers.
  4. Science: Botany, Astronomy, Physical Science, Earth Science, Biology, Anatomy, General Science
  5. Literature, or reading books that pertain to subjects studied. Biographies, or events.
  6. Art and projects
  7. Music and lessons
  8. Experimentation – science experiments
  9. History and an understanding of chronology, events etc.


High School

  1. Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus. D Math
  2. Reports and longer papers typically tied into subjects or Literature courses.
  3. Science: Biology, Chemistry (requires more math) Physics, Oceanography, Anatomy, or see topics above.
  4. History: World History, American History, Government
  5. Economics – Macro and Micro
  6. Drivers Education – online to take the test. (Get driver’s handbook)
  7. Books that pertain to subjects studied. Biographies, or events in history.
  8. Sports, Art, Music, Lessons


Okay – now what you have been waiting for … where to buy your curriculum.

Literature and History – real books. Biographies, original sources.

Math, Science, Electives:

  1. From the Individual Publisher (get on their mailing lists for discounts). Saxon, Chalkdust, Apologia Science
  2. Homeschool Conferences – you can talk to the publisher! Added bonus. Please bless them by buying from them instead of cheaper online.
  3. Christian Book Distributors
  4. Rainbow Resources, Timberdoodle
  5. Christian Book stores – homeschool section.
  6. Used Curriculum Sales; Amazon/ eBay – but you won’t have the new book (rarely) or support from the publisher.
  7. Amazon Storefront – Media Angels has a storefront –but often other sale options are suggested.
  8. Abe Books – where we bought many of our novels and literature
  9. Great Courses – secular but many of the classes are wonderful.
  10. Facebook groups – Book swap or sales

In the upcoming series, I podcast on great educational websites. We used several websites to supplement our homeschool studies. However, do not ignore books! The information you can get from books is still superior in many cases to a snippet you read online.

I hope this has helped you to decide what you need as well as where you can purchase the books in person and online.

Dos and Don’ts of Buying Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschool Curriculum Pitfalls | Avoiding homeschool curriculum pitfalls is easy if you look for certain indicators. Have you ever purchased curriculum you never used or really didn't need? | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastDos and Don’ts of Buying Homeschool Curriculum Episode 334

In this episode, Meredith and Felice share their secrets to buying homeschool curriculum. Both homeschooled their five children (each) from K-12 and have now graduated their children. You will be blessed by this helpful episode.

Homeschool Curriculum isn’t perfect but you can have a successful homeschool journey with some of these insider secrets from Meredith Curtis and Felice Gerwitz. Both Meredith and Felice had five children that they homeschooled K-12. (We have some experience!)

Thanks to our sponsors  — Media Angels, Inc and Powerline Productions

Our sponsors make these shows free to our subscribers.

Visit Media Angels HERE andPowerline Productions HERE

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Do pray before you buy homeschool curriculum! Don’t buy homeschool curriculum without praying
Do evaluate your year, what went well, what didn’t – if something works, why? Don’t buy just because someone says it is great. It may not be great for your family.
Do use samples from the curriculum providers. Brand new homeschooler? Start simple, used ready-made homeschool curriculum, add fun activities or extracurricular.
Do make sure your homeschool curriculum is Christ focused and has a Christian worldview. Character & Bible is important. Is your homeschool curriculum focused on your world view?
Do enjoy yourself when you study and use a curriculum that fits your worldview. Review before buying homeschool curriculum. Time to think — do your kids have time to explore their likes? Do they have a new hobby they enjoy? Allow your children time to develop new interests.

Homeschool Curriculum Shopping Tips

Homeschool Curriculum Shopping Tips | Things you must know before you buy the first book. Questions to know and ask yourself and your kids. #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschool Homeschool Curriculum Shopping Tips ~ Episode 333

Shopping for homeschool curriculum is never easy.  In this episode, we discuss must-know-tips for homeschool curriculum shopping and an insider’s available to homeschool podcast network subscribers. (So be sure to sign up for the ezine!)

Visit our sponsor — Media Angels Membership Site

media angels membership

Fast forward and many years of homeschooling gone by and I realized the best time to consider purchasing curriculum was in June. I could finish my school year, take a look back and see what worked and what did not. I was blessed to find homeschool math curriculum we loved (I share these brands on the podcast), and these helped us in many ways to accomplish what was often considered the hardest subject. My kids loved to do the hardest subject first so that the rest of the day seemed easy by comparison. In fact, they would get up early to complete Math before breakfast.

Here is a quick list of questions to ask yourself before you buy the first book!

  1. What are my kid’s ages/ grades?
  2. Do I have a budget per subject or an overall budget?
  3. Do I want to focus on hands-on curriculum or text/ workbooks?
  4. How will my kids relate to the books I purchase?
  5. Do I want to add outside sources? Co-ops or online classes?

Often the best ideas are those that come to you after prayer. One year I was so tired of what I felt was zipping through the curriculum. I had purchased several years of a popular science text and when I found the next “new year,” which we began in January started with birds again and we had finished an exhaustive unit on birds the previous year I knew we had to regroup, skip around the book and then I found myself added unit studies which my children immensely enjoyed.

Consider doing some unit studies with the middle grades. Your kids will thank you I promise. This allows you to delve into a subject and really study it from top to bottom. A unit study on birds can turn into a study of migration patterns, bird watching, identification, the study of habitats and so much more. Or, a study on geology can turn into rock collections (which we still have) and rocks from all over the world. (We had our relatives bring us back rocks from their trips to Europe).

Look at the following to help you further narrow down your curriculum choices:

  1. Look at your child’s learning style—if your child is an auditory learner, loves having books read, listens to audios, etc. it isn’t the best to have this child do textbooks.
  2. Look at expert reviews. The only one I highly recommend is – Cathy is a long time homeschooler. She graduated three boys from homeschooling and set out years ago to look at curriculum with a critical eye. Now a disclaimer here, many of my books are on her top 100 and 102 Curriculum Picks. The Creation science series, accompanying study guides, and Teaching Science and Having Fun. You can get all of these books for less than $30 when one of them costs $18.95 retail. These are digital but you can read them, print out the experiment sheets and planning guides and use them for K-12. Looking at reviews can also tell you if it is something that will work with your homeschool.
  3. Listen to podcasts. What are some recommendations made by those in the know!
    1. Three Homeschool Curriculum Essentials
    2. When Your Curriculum Is Wrong For Your Teens
    3. Best Curriculum For Your Family
    4. Movies For Homeschool Curriculum
  4. Visit a homeschool conventions
    1. Homeschool convention attendance has changed in recent years. With everything available online and the expense involved to attend it is often the last thing on a homeschool moms list. However, it is important to attend for many reasons. The most important is encouragement.
    2. It can be overwhelming which is why I have created a standalone curriculum buying guide that will be helpful. It will be available for free for my email subscribers. After the giveaway is over, it is always available on my website.
  5. Get on email lists from your favorite publisher – get to know them.
    1. Many publishers have samples on their website.
    2. If they don’t many will send you some via email.
    3. Join their Facebook or discussion groups to ask questions or ask questions of other users.

My favorite curriculum shopping happened when I decided to use an eclectic approach and I began with topics we wanted to study, and I created my own yearlong study. It was so much fun. I shopped for books that were topic related. We used these books for many, many years. For example, a Creation Science focus requires books to be purchased as you won’t find these in the library (although you can try for interlibrary loans).

When you use topics that interest your children guess what? They are so excited about school and they want to get started each day. Another thing to consider is to focus on your faith.

We did many Bible studies and one of the things we enjoyed was doing a family Bible study that I created, Homeschooling with Proverbs. This study consisted of audios that were focused on each book of Proverbs and we loved it! I had studied Proverbs quickly in the past but there were so many nuggets of truth that were so applicable to homeschooling! I created study sheets, journal pages and dig deeper sections. Each audio (there are three per lesson) is geared to different age levels. This is a standalone digital product on my website.

You can look at online learning. I am not a fan of putting kids in front of a computer for all their subjects, however when they struggle or if you are not interested in teaching a particular subject this can be valuable. We used a DVD for higher math – our favorite was Chalk Dust. Mr. D. Math one of my previous podcasters on this network has a higher math online program as well.

When it came to history I felt my American History was lacking so I partnered with my brother in law who was History Professor of the Year two times in West Virginia where he taught. His online courses were so wonderful that my daughter is now a history major in college.

These classes focused on teaching the US Constitution and the lives of the American Presidents. We also have an American Government Classes. These were taught in real time but recorded so they can be enjoyed by families throughout the years.

There are classes taught by:

  1. North Star Academy
  2. Bright Ideas Press
  3. Luma Learn (you can even teach a class if you feel qualified!)

Of course, there are many others, but these are the ones I personally know about that are high quality and geared to homeschool students.

Whatever curriculum you select keep your kids, your schedule and your sanity in mind. You will be glad you did! If you have a favorite curriculum share it with me!


President Theodore Roosevelt

Theordore Roosevelt | A special interview with Charleen Notgorass as she shares about Theodore Roosevelt. In this episode, we will learn some fascinating facts about Theodore Roosevelt, who was homeschooled and his family. #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #notgrass historyTheodore Roosevelt Episode 322

A special interview with Charlene Notgorass as she shares about Theodore Roosevelt. In this episode, we will learn some fascinating facts about Theodore Roosevelt, who was homeschooled and his family.

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Show Notes on Theodore Roosevelt by Charlene Notgrass

Mamas and daddies have a saying down South. They tell their children: “Don’t forget your raising!” President Theodore Roosevelt never forgot his. Both of Roosevelt’s parents died before he was 26 years old, but their “raising” was his bedrock, his sure footing, the heritage he kept close all his life.

A loving family

Theodore Roosevelt’s mother Mittie was a Southern belle from Georgia. His father Theodore Roosevelt Sr., called Thee, was a New Yorker. They were affectionate parents to their four children: Anna who was called Bamie, Theodore Jr. called Teedie, Elliott called Ellie, and Corinne called Conie. In the president’s autobiography, he wrote about the virtues necessary for a nation. He said: “. . . these virtues are as dust on a windy street unless back of them lie the strong and tender virtues of family life based on the love of the one man for the one woman and on their joyous and fearless acceptance of their common obligation to the children that are theirs.” That was exactly the kind of family the president grew up in.

In the nursery
Thee and Mittie Roosevelt believed that going to public school would coarsen their children. Therefore they decided to train them at home.
The year before future President Theodore Roosevelt was born, Mittie’s mother and sister Anna moved to New York to live with them. Anna begged to become the children’s tutor as a way to return Thee’s hospitality to her. Thee agreed, so for the first six years of children, they had two early teachers, their mother and their aunt. These sisters were great storytellers. President Roosevelt said that they used to entertain the children by the hour with tales of life on the Georgia plantation.

From a very young age, Teedie enjoyed telling stories, too. Corinne said that she and Elliott used to sit on two little chairs in the nursery and drink in Teedie’s endless variety of tales. President Roosevelt learned to communicate at the knee of his mother and aunt in the nursery. He wrote one his first stories in that same nursery when he was just seven years old. Teedie grew up to write more than thirty books, many articles and columns, and 150,000 letters.

Sweet and gracious mother

The Roosevelt children called their parents Father and Little Motherling. President Roosevelt said that his mother was “a sweet, gracious, beautiful Southern woman, a delightful companion and beloved by everybody.” Corinne said that her mother had a gift for hospitality. She said that as children they were allowed to mingle with their elders and that the children formed lifelong friendships with the chosen companions of their parents. When the children were in their early teens, their parents organized Friday evening dances for them and danced along with the young people.

Wise and loving father

Theodore Roosevelt Sr. was deeply involved in his children’s lives. He was a fun father. He also oversaw their education. Soon after his father’s death, Teedie wrote in his journal that his father was the “most wise and loving father that ever lived.” Theodore Roosevelt Sr. helped to found aid societies, a hospital, and museums. He spent one day each week visiting the poor in their homes. On Sunday nights he volunteered at a lodging house for homeless boys. When his children were still very young, he took them along to help.

Helping children with special needs

Bamie Roosevelt suffered from serious curvature of the spine, Elliott from severe migraines, and Teedie and Corinne both had asthma. Father and Little Motherling found ways to help them no matter what it took, whether searching for the best doctor for Bamie or taking the severely asthmatic Teedie for drives in the fresh air in the middle of the night. President Roosevelt wrote: “One of my memories is of my father walking up and down the room with me in his arms at night when I was a very small person, and of sitting up in bed gasping, with my father and mother trying to help me.” Thee challenged Teedie to build up his body through exercise and he provided exercise equipment for him at home. Roosevelt became a vigorous and healthy adult, who relished what he called “the strenuous life.”

Encouraging children’s interests

Teedie developed a passion for science. He loved to read about birds and reptiles and to make drawings of them. He found even greater pleasure in collecting specimens of animals for what he called the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History, which he and two of his cousins kept in his family’s home. President Roosevelt later recalled: “My father and mother encouraged me warmly in this, as they always did in anything that could give me wholesome pleasure or help to develop me.”

Overcoming conflict

Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt had a strong and healthy marriage, but they did not always agree. During the Civil War, Mittie’s brothers fought for the south while Thee worked for the Union cause, spending much time in Washington, D. C. While Mr. Roosevelt was in Washington, Mittie and her mother and sister sent care packages to relatives behind the Confederate lines. However, the Roosevelts wrote kind and loving letters to one another. Corinne wrote that during the whole war there was never a moment of estrangement between her parents or between her father and his mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

Lifestyle learners

The Roosevelt family were certainly lifestyle learners.  The children learned in the great outdoors and they read widely. The Roosevelts gave their children opportunities to be in Creation even in the midst of New York City. They tore out an exterior wall of a third floor bedroom, turned it into a porch, and made it safe with a nine-foot railing. The children played there every day. The family spent every summer in the country, roaming and exploring, riding horses, and climbing trees — a skill their father had taught them himself.
The Roosevelts took their children on two grand tours, one to Europe and one to Egypt, the Holy Land, Syria, Greece, and Constantinople. Thee and Mittie saw the trip as educational for their children, but they remembered that their young students were also children. Corinne wrote: “Our comprehending mother and father, always allowed us joyous moments between educational efforts.” That was excellent advice.

Looking back with gratitude

When the Roosevelts returned home from their second tour, it was time for Teedie to begin studying with tutors to prepare for entrance into Harvard. Bamie, Elliott and Corinne spent time in boarding schools when they were older, but because of Teedie’s asthma, he continued to be educated at home. Until the future president entered Harvard shortly before his 18th birthday, he had spent almost all of his time with his family. His playmates and friends were his siblings, his cousins, and the children of his parents’ friends. As it turned out, this was wonderful socialization for a future president.

When Teedie turned 18 during his first semester at Harvard, he wrote the following in a letter to his mother: It seems perfectly wonderful in looking back over my eighteen years of existence, to see how I have literally never spent an unhappy day, unless by my own fault! When I think of this, and also of my intimacy with you all (for I hardly know a boy who is on as intimate and affectionate terms with his family as I am), I feel that I have an immense amount to be thankful for. After graduating from Harvard, the future president looked back on his preparation for the years ahead. He wrote: “I left college and entered the big world owing more than I can express to the training I had received, especially in my own home.”