Vintage Homeschool Moms

Homeschool Pitfalls

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschool Pitfalls | Homeschooling is the right choice, but how do you avoid the homeschool pitfalls that will sabotage your success? In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom Felice Gerwitz shares her thirty-two years of experience with you! | #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #homeschoolpitfalls #homeschoolhelp #helpforhomeschoolHomeschool Pitfalls and Help ~ Episode 486

Homeschooling is the right choice, but how do you avoid the homeschool pitfalls that will sabotage your success? In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom Felice Gerwitz shares her thirty-two years of experience with you!

Visit the Media Angels website for books, and bundles, especially the self-paced set, “How-to-Homeschool Blueprint.”

Did you know that I was hesitant to try homeschooling? When I heard a friend mention her hopes of homeschooling, I talked her out of it! This friend was overwhelmed with her four children, didn’t have a set bedtime, and walked around sleep deprived. I explained that homeschooling took some discipline and that having a parent who was awake and attentive was important! When I began homeschooling some time after, this friend was upset with me! And, rightly so.

Your decision to homeschool should be your own, and being persuaded by someone, even someone well-meaning, is not a good thing!

Today homeschooling is the best option for your children. You know the state of the school system. It was bad in the past; today, it is worse. Parental rights are called into question. What the heck is going on in our world?

When I began homeschooling my son while my daughter was in preschool, I looked at it as a way to help my struggling learner. It was a short-term goal. In other words, I was “trying” homeschooling without thinking of making it past six months. This was in 1986-87, and I never looked back. It became a lifestyle for us, and I built relationships with my children that are strong to this day, even as they are adults.

One of the fallacies is making your homeschool ideal or identical to the public or private school. Having said this, there is always an exception to the rule. My sister-in-law homeschooled her two grandkids for a year using the same books as the school because they planned on reintegrating the children into the school system. In this case, it was a good idea, and she was not only highly successful, but she was also able to raise their test scores with the one-on-one attention she gave the girls.

It is not fun; all fun and games. A good friend of mine used to say homeschooling is not fun, yet she homeschooled her boys K-12, and they not only learned several foreign languages but were proficient in fencing. How is that not fun?

I am going to go through a list of pitfalls in two parts. The first deals with hearsay about homeschooling, and the second is in regard to the act of homeschooling. Please join our Facebook group if you have questions about homeschooling or want to connect. Homeschool Podcast Network Family

Homeschool Pitfalls – Combatting the Lies:

  1. You do not have enough time.
  2. You don’t have an education degree.
  3. You work full-time.
  4. It is too restrictive.
  5. You have to recreate the school at home (use all the same books)
  6. Your kids won’t get into a good college.
  7. You won’t have time for yourself, and you won’t have a break from your kids.
  8. People who homeschool are strange.
  9. Your home is too small, and there is no room.
  10. You don’t have money to homeschool.

Homeschool Pitfalls — Challenges

  1. Lack of vision or goal
  2. Lack of organization
  3. Unruly children
  4. No routine
  5. Failure to check the schoolwork
  6. Uncompleted assignments
  7. Unsocialized kids
  8. Unable to play sports
  9. Lack of knowledge (parent)
  10. Unable to teach

Homeschooling is what you make it. If your children are unruly, the focus needs to be getting the kids under control. Teaching cause and effect is amazingly successful. I have several podcasts in a collection I call “Just For Kids” (search for that term, and you will find them). These are geared toward children, and they are highly effective.

Kids want to be heard and appreciated, just like us! Listen to their needs and focus on the entire child, not just academics. I know you can do it, and don’t forget to join our Facebook group – Homeschool Podcast Network Family on Facebook or share your concerns in this post on the website.

Homeschool Help 101

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschooling Help 101

Let’s Talk About Homeschool Help 101 with Felice Gerwitz

Do you need homeschooling help? What about homeschooling help 101 – the nuts of bolts of what to do when you don’t know what to do? Some people decide to tackle homeschooling on a whim, or for others, it may take days of research, weeks, or even years considering the different options, only to fall short when they finally take the plunge! This podcast will discuss ways to find help on many different homeschool topics.



Show Notes – Homeschooling Help 101

  1. Know the homeschooling legal requirements in your state
  2. – state laws here
  3. Join a homeschool support group – find activities in your area.
  4. Explore different ways to homeschool – different homeschool methods
  5. Attend homeschool local conferences

Homeschooling Help – Links from our podcasters

  1. Starting Point
  2. Raising Real Men – Starting Point and Three Simple Goals and Field Guide to Curriculum
  3. Homeschool Transcripts


Homeschooling HELP podcasts 

  1. Transitioning  to Homeschooling after public or private- VHM -79
  2. Raising Creative Kids – Colleen Kessler – Mommy Jammies Night – Nurturing and Celebrating Creativity – 31 MJN
  3. Organize Your Home and Homeschool Year – Podcast 93
  4. Can we be friends with our children? – HomeschoolingIRL
  5. Curriculum and Learning Style – Cathy Duffy
  1. College Prep Genius
  2. Brain Coach Tips
  3. Teens in business – past episodes of the Dollars and Sense Show
  4. D. Math – high school math curriculum
  5. The Homeschool Highschool podcast
  6. Homeopathy for mommies – wellness
  7. Mommy Jammies Night – Encouragement for mom
  8. Homeschooling 101 Pre-K to Kindergarten
  9. Homeschooling 101 Elementary Years – Podcast 129 with Meredith Curtis
  10. Homeschooling 101 Middle School Years – Roadschool Moms
  1. Homeschooling in Alaska – HIRL 101
  2. Homeschooling in Hawaii – HIRL -118
  3. Great links on Teaching Methods –Help I want to change my teaching method
  4. How to teach your kids piano for free – with Melanie Wilson
  5. Teaching Checklist – Podcast 49 VHM
  6. Back to Homeschool List – Podcast 96
  7. Giving Your Kids Time to Find their passion – Podcast 48 VHM
  8. Living Books – with my special guest from Truth Quest History – Podcast 81
  9. Summer Reading List – podcast 84
  10. Must-read books – podcat 85 – all-time favorites
  11. What Should We Read – Flourish At Home Podcast Episode 24 – How to choose good books
  12. Choosing a Curriculum that works – 
  13. Homeschooling Multiple Ages – Roadschool Moms

Photo Credits – Copyright2017 All Rights Reserved @shalamov

Begin Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Begin Homeschooling | Begin homeschooling for the first time or consider it for the future, but there is no time like the present to discuss the joys of homeschooling. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz, veteran homeschool mom of over thirty years, shares her insider tips. #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #howtohomeschool #homeschoolingBegin Homeschooling ~ Episode 485

Begin homeschooling for the first time or consider it for the future, but there is no time like the present to discuss the joys of homeschooling. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz, veteran homeschool mom of over thirty years, shares her insider tips.

Check out the great books and classes on the Media Angels website and especially the self-paced set, “How-to-Homeschool Blueprint.”

My thoughts about homeschooling have changed over the years. I began homeschooling as an alternative to a pricey private school that was not filling my son’s needs. Homeschooling was a challenge my husband gave me as well as a six-month trial period; if we failed, I would place my son in another private school. In the meantime, my daughter attended a morning program at a preschool.

Not only did my son flourish and accomplish so much more than he had in school, but we also decided to homeschool my daughter. We spent many happy years homeschooling and attending field trips, and our focus was academic but faith-based. I found myself writing a curriculum to fit my children’s needs and, years later (in 1994), started a publishing company, Media Angels, focusing on curriculum with families in mind.

I homeschooled my five children and graduated with my last child in 2017 after thirty-one years of homeschooling. Three of the five children went on to college, and all graduated with high honors. The other two are highly successful in their chosen professions.

Why did my focus on homeschooling change from pure academics to faith focus? I figured anyone could learn reading and math, history, and science, but what would be the foundation I wanted for my children as they grew older? What was the legacy I wanted to leave? What was my hope for the next generation?

My thoughts about who should begin homeschooling have taken on a more serious direction in light of the craziness plaguing our educational system. When I was in college, my major was Elementary Education, with certifications in Early Childhood Education and Specific Learning Disabilities. I taught for two years and quickly learned I would not return due to many things that have just escalated in today’s world. For one thing, the administrators make unilateral decisions without any care for the parents or their input. For another, the treatment of the children in the schools as a commodity, a number to service rather than the people behind the name.

I’m not putting down all teachers; I was a teacher that was my major in college, my daughter is a teacher, and my sisters-in-law, in fact, two of them, one retired, were teachers. It is not the teachers it is the system in public education.

Now I believe that it is every parent’s duty to consider homeschooling their children today. If you can not physically teach them everything, your focus needs to be on what you can provide for them when you have them at home. Secondly, if your child is in school, you must know what the school is teaching your children.

Years ago, a friend of ours, who is a successful attorney, obtained copies of the novels the children were required to read for literature class. It turned out that this Christian school was requiring that the children be open to ideas that most parents would not approve of – and my friend was, of course, mortified. It turns out that that same novel required reading in my daughter’s secular university, and it was so offensive to her that she decided to drop out of the class. She was a communication major and needed the literature credit but opted to take another professor. My homeschooled graduated daughter knew when to draw the line.

Our children in the educational system today are like the frog in a pot of lukewarm water over the stove, slowly being boiled to death. They do not realize the issues because it is very slow information filtering. If you disagree, you are canceled or told you are intolerant by the people who preach tolerance.

So, why should you homeschool? This is a question that only you and your husband can ask, but the focus is again on what you want your children to take with them into their future? Do you want them to believe everything that some outside entity tells them? In college (in the late ’70s), we were told to forget everything our parents taught us. This is supposed to make the students feel like they are adults and have the ability to make up their own minds. And our kids should, especially if they have a grounding in faith and morals.

Make a list:

Why begin homeschooling?

  1. Faith focused
  2. Become a close-knit family.
  3. Be in charge of your curriculum.
  4. Know what your children learn.
  5. Teach your personal worldview

Your list may have many more items, which is as it should be, focusing on what you want your children to learn. We are a faith-filled, close-knit family. While the kids are grown, and some live out of town or even state, we hear from them often and catch up on what is happening in their lives. They come home for the holidays, and we rejoice when we are all together. My kids also talk to each other regularly, which makes me happy.

Our kids’ education was enhanced by incorporating field trips and hands-on learning. Our children visited various states, added to their collections, and learned about the world around them in more than just books. Their education was well-rounded. Three of my children were gifted in sports and played with teams throughout the state. One of my children wrote a series of books with me. They are still in print. Check out the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, a well-loved action-adventure set with a wholesome theme.

I believe that homeschooling should focus on academics, yes but also on your children’s interests. I’ve talked to children at homeschool conferences who act bored with life, and when I ask them if they have interests or a hobby, they look at me blankly. One of the gifts of homeschooling is allowing your child time to think. I believe in our overstimulated world; our kids are distracted by the latest and greatest shiny object without thinking about what they want to do with their lives. Having a focus on learning and allowing your child to explore interests of their own is a significant first step to lifelong learning. bout

What is lifelong learning? It is the drive and the desire to look things up, search for answers, and challenge yourself to be the best you can be. It is looking at defeat as an opportunity to learn and move forward. When do kids in the typical school system have the ability or opportunity to do this? They don’t.

I put together a set for you to download – it is the Homeschool Blueprint and available on the Media Angels website under self-paced learning. Give it a try and see what you think. It includes many of the forms I’ve used throughout my homeschool journey.

The most wonderful tool that is my legacy to all of you is this Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and all of the broadcasts from homeschool parents. These podcasts come to you for free, and I hope you can subscribe to these shows on your favorite podcast app – Vintage Homeschool Moms is heading toward year ten, and it has been a delight to serve all of you.


Special Replay | Goals and Solutions For A Really Happy New Year

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Goals and Solutions for the New YearLet’s Talk About Your Goals and Solutions For A Really Happy New Year

with your host, Felice Gerwitz

*Replay of Podcast 114*


Goals and Solutions For a Really Happy New Year – Show Notes:

  1. Your personal goals
  2. Family goals
  3. Household goals
  4. Goals for change
  5. Goals for growth

Be sure and check out the 12-Month Undated Planners

Our most popular printables are now undated! You’ll get all 12 months of undated printables to use in your home and homeschool.

A peek at what’s inside:

  • Checklists Guide – This is a breakdown of how to use the lists for the month, with suggestions to help you get started.
  • Objectives Worksheet
  • Weekly Planning Worksheet
  • Blank Printable October Calendar
  • Four square planners: Faith, Kids, School, and Household
  • Evaluation Weekly Worksheets
  • Motivational Posters and Scripture Posters
  • Printable Monthly Checklist
  • Fun Things to do in Printable
  • Monthly Holidays Printable Sheet
  • Field Trip Planning
  • Reading Log
  • Organization Checklist
  • Chore Schedule Blank Sheet
  • Quarterly Planning
  • School Planning Sheets
  • Sample School Schedules to Follow
  • Homeschool Weekly Planning Sheets
  • Meal Planning Helps and Suggestions

These are not single-page printables. Each printable is full of useful and actionable checklists that you can start implementing right away. They will come in a zip format.

Christmas Final Touches

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Christmas Final Touches | The countdown is on with Christmas right around the corner, now is the time for Christmas final touches. It's time to enlist your family, extended family and even your friends. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz will share some last-minute ideas with you. | #podcast #Christmasfinaltouches #Christmasideas #ChristmaskidsChristmas Final Touches ~ Episode 484

The countdown is on with Christmas right around the corner, now is the time for Christmas final touches. It’s time to enlist your family, extended family, and even your friends. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz will share some last-minute ideas with you.

If you are on our email list, you can find many great for the entire family:

Best Christmas Ever

Christmas Memories

Last Minute Christmas Prep

Christmas Countdown

Sponsorship –

And, as we know those little touches are what make the holiday special. Of course, there is food and decorations, but what about those things that touch the heart? I love small arrangements of flowers on the table, or candles (even if I never light them!). There are things I do each year that are loved by all. A small note or gift does not need to be expensive, but it will mean so much if it is heartfelt.

The key to creating a home that is inviting is to remember that less is more. Decorations can be understated and still look great! And remember that when you buy gifts.

What do you have left to finish before Christmas? Most lists look something like this:

  1. Shopping for food.
  2. Finish shopping for gifts
  3. Baking
  4. Cards
  5. Last-minute events or get-togethers.

Whatever is on your list give it some thought. Is it something you really need to do? I use to send out over 100 Christmas cards each year to family and friends. Once social media became popular I sent out a Merry Christmas to friends while I still sent out Christmas cards to relatives. My list now is whittled down to about 35 people. This was one of the things I really struggled with and it took me so much time because our relatives expected a Christmas letter with the card. How do you condense your entire year on one page?

Then there are the final touches when it comes to gift buying. Some people are blessed with the wisdom for buying the right thing. My mother-in-law was a great listener, and she would listen to what people said all year long and from that made her gift purchases accordingly. I love to bake and that is something that I was able to take to friends, especially people like my CPA and hairdresser. It soon became a favorite and it was easy to make and so much less expensive than buying a gift card or a gift.

This is why I consider the idea of incorporating the heart of Christmas which is love and self-giving for others. Christmas is a time to tell those we love how much we appreciate them. Who are the people you admire and why? I admire my son in the military because he told me that he makes an effort to make the best out of difficult situations, he has chosen to see the positive and live his life by example for himself and others. That touches me and the idea of making the best out of horrible situations is something that we should all strive for, especially during this time of hardship for many. Showing our appreciation comes in many forms but for me, it is sending a handwritten card and note.

If I gave you a notepad and asked you to jot down the heart of Christmas what would you write? If you can pause this audio and take the time to do so, if not, let me share my list with you.

The heart of Christmas contains words such as:  faith, joy, love, companionship, family, festivities, decorations, and food that might top the list. The main ingredient to include in the final touches of Christmas is the idea of celebration. We are celebrating the coming of our Savior as a child for the salvation of mankind, but not just anyone – you and me. It is an open invitation that we can accept at any time of the year. Our celebration if not Christ-focused will fall flat. My husband and I were listening to a faith-based audio recording lately and it talked about a man who was a well-known atheist and how touched he was when someone gave him a Bible. It didn’t change his belief but he said if Christians believe that Christ is truly God, they should be handing everyone Bibles. That is truly an inspiration for us all.

I’d like to take that one step further. Sharing our faith is wonderful but living our faith is the best thing we can do – we must be an example. The true meaning of Christmas is something that is talked about but not often understood. In a word the true meaning is love. Love for God, appreciation for the gift of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. It is a time for celebration and family whether it is two, or three people, or more. If you have a large family or a small one, it doesn’t matter. Being together is the most important thing of all.

As we approach Christmas Day the final touches that make the holiday special vary from family to family. One of my friends who moved to Florida from up North would spend the day at the beach with a picnic lunch. This is non-traditional but something she and her family enjoyed. If you have listened to my past podcasts about holiday preparations, you will know that I reuse so many items from year to year and minimize the cost of buying things that are disposable. In this way, there is a sense of comfort for my family and those who celebrate with us. They know what to expect.

What are some final touches you will add to your family celebration? Will it be a handwritten note expressing thankfulness or the joy of being part of the family? One year I spoke to my children about the greatest gift and that is the Christ, celebrated traditionally on Christmas. I discussed the fact that each of us has a gift and that we should identify that gift in others. Then we randomly selected a family member’s name and wrote to that person the gifts they exhibited. Many of those gifts were things like generosity, listening, time spent together, gift-giving, kindness, etc. What a wonderful final touch to our holiday celebration to do an exercise like this as a family.

Little children don’t need very much and are often overwhelmed by too many gifts. Making family memories with those final touches is important. It can make the difference between having children overtired and grumpy. Taking little ones out to see the Christmas light decorations in your neighborhood, making hot chocolate and cookies then sitting to hear a Christmas story, playing a simple game, or watching the children put on a play are all things that will be treasured memories in the future.

Of course, the final touches can include food and decorations, but the memories that stay with us year after year are the things we do and events we plan. Gifts come and go and change from year to year, but holiday traditions can begin and grow each and every year. I’d love to hear about your family traditions and the last-minute Christmas touches you will add to your list this year.

May you be blessed this wonderful season of Christmas, and I will pray for all of you this year~



Thank you to our Sponsor | 5000 BLANKETS

Inspired by a true story, 5000 BLANKETS will encourage you to give to others. Find hope this holiday season when you see 5000 BLANKETS in theaters. Exclusively in theaters December 12 & 13! Coming to PureFlix!









Great Gifts Kids Can Make

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

great gifts your kids can make for christmas vintage homeschool moms on the ultimate homeschool podcast network

Great Gifts Kids Can Make – Special Replay

Are you ready for the just for kids series? Here are some great gifts kids can make! And for cheap. The holidays are coming soon and you may be thinking about what to buy people in your family. Well, it is time to think about this and to be on the lookout for the things people really need.

Here are some more great podcasts for gifts kids can make!

  1. Gifts Kids Make
  2. DIY Christmas Gifts
  3. Thanksgiving Crafts
  4. Gifts Especially for Mom

I’m going to give you some great ideas about the things that your family may want and also some ideas about how to make things instead of buying them. Sometimes you will need to look at information online, so make sure you have an adult with you. They can use the links I have on my show notes page. Some of these gifts take the help of an adult, so you may want to ask another adult –not the person you are making this gift for, to help you! I am a grandmother and I love to help my grandchildren to make things for their parents or even their aunts, uncles, or cousins.

I love handmade gifts much better than store-bought gifts because it shows that the person making them cared about me and took the time and used their talents to make them. I’m going to share some of my favorite gifts. One is potholders. Some of these were decorative, meaning you can’t really use them on hot things, but they looked pretty when hung up on the wall. Others were paintings or pictures. Sometimes the kids made my jewelry—and I must admit that I did not wear the necklaces or even earrings they made. But, my mother—their grandmother did! She loved the bead necklaces, so she just added the ones the kids made her to the group of necklaces she already wore.


So, here are some things I want you to do.

  1. Look around. So, here is where your deep-deep-undercover skills come in. You don’t need binoculars for this assignment, but you do need to look around you and think about what people need or want. Does your mom or dad have a favorite mug they use every morning? If you look at the things your parents like, maybe your mom or dad collects different things. My grandmother loved wind chimes, and I do as well. These are easy to make. Or you can’t have enough hot pads for the table. So, take some time to look around.


  1. Think about the gifts you liked. Think about the gifts you get and try to remember your favorite presents. What are they? So many times, we cannot remember any super-favorite gifts because they either broke or we didn’t really enjoy them that well. I wanted a camera, but when I got one, I didn’t use it that much. Why did I want a camera? Because I liked painting and I thought I could take pictures of the things I wanted to paint to make it easier to remember what I wanted to paint. I could paint, but only if I looked at a picture. So, think about why you liked the gift—and maybe your reason is like mine.


  1. How much time to make a gift do you have? Often we don’t have as much time to make a gift—but then we can be creative. I’m going to give you some great ideas of some other podcasts I did for creating gifts that might help you. Easy gifts are ones that take the things you have around your house, and here is a great insider’s tip—did you know that you can turn things that are broken into presents? Yes, you can, and for pennies!


  1. How much do you like crafts or making gifts? If you say not very much—don’t worry! I have a great solution for you, so hold tight. The solution I have will have some that are super-fast-gift-giving ideas. But even though it is fast, you must put some thought into what you will do and wrap it up beautifully.


  1. Do you have a talent that can be turned into a gift? Time to think—again! What is something that you do well that can be turned into a gift? Can you draw or paint? Can you bake? Can you make something out of wood –or even legos? Do you collect things? Think. Think. Think.


So, here you go –here are my top 5 gift-making ideas for kids.

  1. Office accessories. For example, a pencil holder. Yes, I know this sounds lame, but it is one of my mom’s favorite gifts that I gave her. Here is how you do it. Supplies: A middle-sized empty can of playdough or fast-drying clay, pasta shells, seashells, old buttons, or something to stick on the clay.

You cover a can with clay, and then you can use pasta shells, buttons, or even seashells to cover the can. Have someone help you to put a clear spray over the can, or you can even paint the pasta shells ahead of time. You don’t even need glue because the shells stick really well.

Once it dries you can add some pens, pencils, highlighters, or sharpies to this set! You can use a variation of this covering a small box and using it to hold office supplies like paper clips.

  1. Decorations: For example, wall art. You need a piece of art paper, glue, and either spray paint like white or some other solid color. You will need an adult to help you. Also, look for a place where your family can put these on the wall—sometimes, you do not have much wall space, but be creative. Can you put these pictures in a hallway or even the bathroom? Do you have plants in your yard that would not miss a few leaves? Or even weeds that might work? You can take a big piece of art paper, like watercolor paper, or even a piece of thick cardboard and pick an odd number of leaves. Bigger leaves work well—but they may be hard to find in the winter. You can even use twigs, pine needles, or pieces of pine cones. Be creative! So, what you do is you make a design on a piece of paper. Once you have a design in mind, you can glue these things to the paper. Be sure you do not have dirt on your leaves, twigs, etc. Once glued, allowed it to dry. Then, take a solid color of spray paint and paint over the entire thing—you may need an adult to help you and do this somewhere where the overspray won’t be a problem. You can also take a large brush—like a wall paintbrush- and paint a solid color. Believe me, this looks great! You can make a pair of pictures to hang up. They do not need to be big.


  1. Personal care items. For example, hand scrubs. You will need a glass container with a lid, sugar or salt, and some type of essential oil. You can even add a few drops of light oil like olive or cooking oil.


In the winter, especially, our hands tend to get dry, and you can easily make a sugar scrub with a few items. You can use sugar or salt, and what you do is measure out one cup of sugar or salt in a bowl, add a few drops of essential oils like lemon or even lavender (ask your parent’s permission for these things!), and stir them up. Many people like to use sugar for a sugar scrub, but I actually like the salt scrub better. You then add a few drops of oil. Put a tiny bit of oil in a bowl, add ¼ of a teaspoon, and mix it up. How does it smell? If you can not smell anything, you may want to add a few more drops of oil. Now, you can place this in a glass container, add a ribbon, and wrap it up! Variation: You can make bath salts as well. This is super cheap, and it works great. (One of my favorite presents) Take Epsom salts and just add a few drops of essential oils and mix them together, then place them in a mason jar. Add ribbon and wrap it up!

  1. Fun Gifts Wind Chimes, hot-pads, and vases. Now it is time to get creative. If you are not holding on, I saved the best and easiest gift for last! So, you need scraps, broken items, and creativity for this gift. Wind Chimes: You can make wind chimes using things that make noise. Is there a bent spoon, fork, or something that your parents are throwing away that, when it clinks together, makes a nice tinkling sound? You can make a wind chime.

Hot pad: Did a pretty glass dish or glass break? Instead of throwing it away, with your parent’s permission, ask if you can keep the flat pieces. You can use scrap tile or wood to cover the bottom with material or felt. That is to keep it from scratching a countertop or table. Then you can draw a picture and cover it with the glass, OR you can make a pretty mosaic out of the broken glass. Be careful; glass cuts. You will need clear-drying glue for this activity. Flower vase. Do you like to bring your mom flowers from the yard—they may be weeds, but they still are pretty! You can search for a tiny container that does this… keep an eye out! Often, small olive jars or small containers that your mom or dad buys at the store are thrown away or used to recycle. You can use these as a flower vase. Either add a ribbon to the top and tie it or you can use sheets of tissue paper. Tear off the sheets of tissue paper and use clear drying glue. You can paint on the scraps of tissue paper. You can even use a mason jar and add a candle for a pretty votive light. Again, ask for things that your parents have around the house, and be on the lookout!


  1. Gift Cards: One Free Gift Card – you will need note cards or small pieces of paper and neat handwriting, or do this on the computer and cut it out!

Another of my favorite gifts includes gift cards from my kids to me! For example, one free car vacuuming and cleaning up, one free car vacuuming, neck rub, doing the dishes or babysitting the little kids. Believe me, your mom, dad, or grandparents will love these gifts! And the best news you do not need any craft or artistic talent to do this. And, for fun, you can wrap it in a small box, but the small box in a bigger box and keep wrapping it up—again, ask your parents for permission to use cheap wrapping paper and tape!

So, what do you think? Do you like any of these ideas? I listed other ones in my post, but these take a little more work, sometimes even spending money on supplies. Do you have a favorite gift idea? Please share it with me!

Links for the parents:

These crafts looked great –but they need an adult to help. Marbled Coasters

Thank you to our Sponsor | 5000 BLANKETS

Inspired by a true story, 5000 BLANKETS will encourage you to give to others. Find hope this holiday season when you see 5000 BLANKETS in theaters. Exclusively in theaters December 12 & 13! 

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts Ideas | What do you do for that hard to buy for person? How about some great last-minute ideas? Over the years I have a list of great things to help you without much planning or spending lots of money! #ChristmasGifts #HomeschoolPodcast #Podcast #ChristmasIdeasLast Minute Christmas Gifts ~ Episode 483

hat do you do for that hard to buy for person? How about some great last minute Christmas gifts? Over the years I have a list of great things to help you without much planning or spending lots of money!

I have found that personal gifts are difficult to buy but my best buying tip is to think about things they may enjoy eating. One year we gave away mason jars filled with ingredients to make cookies. Layered looks nice, but baggies are more practical especially when mixing the ingredients. What about homemade bread? You can buy tiny loaf pans you can bake in that are festive and perfect for gifts. It is always fun to receive something that is personal

Have you checked out the calendar lately? Is it time to freak out? What do you do for that hard to buy for person? Don’t worry, I’ll share some things you can have on hand for the times you need something quick!

Thanks to our sponsor

Here are some other shows you may enjoy:

Best Christmas Ever

Christmas Memories

Last Minute Christmas Prep

Christmas Countdown

I love giving gifts. I love to give gifts that have value but are not ridiculously expensive. It depends on your individual budget, but many times we give gifts based on what we want to give rather than on what the person wants.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts …The key to giving gifts is threefold:

  1. Know the person
  2. Have a budget
  3. Listen

This is great for your individual family and some of you have special traditions. You may have a special way you handle gifts within your own family. My daughter’s family (a household with eight children ranging in age from sixteen to three) select a name to gift one other person among the children. Another friend with a large family purchased large, plastic Christmas storage bags and filled it with wrapped gifts for each of her children. There was no scrambling to find gifts under the tree. She kept her gifts to under twenty dollars. Another friend purchased each child and Christmas ornament for each year. When they were adults, they took these with them. It was a wonderful keepsake.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Take a Trip!

Perhaps you take a trip instead of giving each other gifts. This is something I think that adults enjoy more than kids. If you do something like this, perhaps consider sharing a few inexpensive items with each other that are meaningful on Christmas. Having something on hand for gift-giving is not always possible, especially if you have a budget. But I promise these ideas won’t break the bank. I know we all love to purchase personal gifts but that isn’t always possible.

Here are some suggestions for inexpensive last-minute Christmas gifts:

  1. Think about storage if you are short on space. Under the bed in a flat storage bin is one idea.
  2. My favorite isles are the discount isles in stores such as Hobby Lobby. I picked up about ten nice kites for several dollars each. These are stored there until I needed them. I can also pick up craft books and art books at discounts.
  3. Gift cards are great, and while impersonal, they are enjoyed by most. If you are on a budget you may consider restaurant gift cards. You can get them in smaller increments. Buy ones that have two or three restaurants on the card. By having these on hand you will be ready in case a friend “unexpectedly” brings over a gift and you have nothing in return. I have other ideas upcoming. I would buy gift cards to my family’s favorite restaurants and often you get a free $10 card or more with a larger purchase. You can use the gift card to pay for your meal and then gift the smaller increment.
  4. Once again depending on how you celebrate the gift exchange, you may want to keep an ongoing list of age-appropriate gifts handy. Over the years our list has grown but crowd favorites are roller blades for the teen and under set, airsoft for the fifteen and older sets, and Rubik’s cube for eight and older. (Tell Mike’s story)
  5. Some families like to give one main present and then have some filler gifts. For example, a pair of roller blades and the filler gifts are pads, a helmet, and a homemade gift card to the roller rink with a note that they can redeem to bring a friend after the holiday.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts Include:

For Kids:

  1. A book on how to make paper airplanes with a small pack of colored heavyweight papers.
  2. A craft or drawing book with a small gift card for supplies.
  3. Watercolor pencils and a pad of blank paper
  4. Yarn crafts: including yarn
  5. Gift cards
  6. Christmas Ornaments
  7. Slingshot
  8. Rubik’s cube (a crowd favorite)
  9. Origami book and paper
  10. Binoculars

For Adults

  1. Plants
  2. Decorative towels
  3. Recipes: recipe card and cheap card holder that you decorate
  4. Cutting boards
  5. Gift cards
  6. Christmas ornaments
  7. Framed family pictures.
  8. Homemade trail mix in a decorative mason jar.
  9. Homemade bread such as pumpkin (you can bake these and freeze them).
  10. Re-gift (be sure you write down the name of the person who gave you the gift!)

On Hand Gifts

Smaller gifts that I have on hand (when my children were little and now for the grandkids) are as follows:

  1. Parachutes: family favorite and nice ones are about six dollars for three and made of cloth instead of plastic. (Kid favorite!)
  2. Airplanes – These are the quick kind you can put together and fly
  3. Glow sticks. Evening gift
  4. Bubbles
  5. Cracker Barrel novelty items such as puzzles and games.

One more last-minute favorite gift idea, especially for people who are difficult to buy, is a gift of food. Most people enjoy eating, so food is a favorite. One year we gave away mason jars filled with ingredients to make cookies. Layered looks nice, but baggies are more practical, especially when mixing the ingredients. What about homemade bread? You can buy tiny loaf pans you can bake in that are festive and perfect for gifts. There are many ready-made mixes that you can make at home as well if baking is not your thing. It is always fun to receive something personal with some extra thought behind it.

Well, there you have it! Gift ideas that won’t break the bank and will help you with those who are hard to buy for. Keeping to a budget this time of year may be difficult, but putting thought behind a gift, even if it is not lavish, is important.

Have a blessed Christmas, and I pray these ideas are helpful!

Thank you to this month’s Sponsor: 5,000 Blankets

Special Replay | Ultimate Holiday Checklist Advice

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Ultimate holiday checklist for homeschooling during the holidays.Ultimate Holiday Checklist Advice & Homeschooling Episode 379 with Janice Campbell

Are you ready for the holidays? Here is holiday checklist advice from two homeschool veterans, Felice Gerwitz and Janice Campbell. Both have homeschooled during the holidays for many years and have much to share with you!

Visit my special guest’s website! Get to know Janice Campbell:

Literature resources

Janice Campbell and her husband, Donald, homeschooled their four sons from preschool into early college using a lifestyle of learning approach influenced by Charlotte Mason and classical education. A lifelong reader and learner, Janice has been sharing her joy in homeschooling at conferences since the 1990s. She is the author of the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12, Transcripts Made Easy, and other resources. She writes for various homeschooling magazines and online at,, and

Holiday Checklist Advice & Homeschooling

Here is a blog post on Holiday Checklist Countdown

  • My business tagline has been “Making time for things that matter” from the very beginning.
  • Homeschooling and caregiving made me aware of the value of time.
  • My grandmother’s influence: weekly routines, lists, twice-yearly home plan, etc.
  • Tried all the planners  . . . at least once.
  • Tried to be my grandmother . . . but not for long.
  • Lifelong planning plus four boys turned me into a planning realist.
  • Created my own forms, which have become my Peaceful Planning System.
  • The newest item is the oldest and longest used — the weekly planner, a printable, customizable, quarterly planner.
  • Flexibility, the big picture, knowing what matters, and just do the next thing.
  • It all comes back to making time for things that matter and Charlotte Mason’s point that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.”

Last Minute Thanksgiving Treats

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Shortcuts | With Thanksgiving just around the corner here are some last-minute Thanksgiving treats sure to please. The key is ease, things you may already have on hand, and ideas that won't be too costly. | #shortcuts #thanksgiving #thanksgivingshortcuts #podcast #podcastkids #homeschoolpodcastLast Minute Thanksgiving Treats ~ Episode 482

With Thanksgiving just around the corner here are some last-minute Thanksgiving treats sure to please. The key is ease, things you may already have on hand, and ideas that won’t be too costly. In this podcast, Felice shares her best-kept secrets with you!

Visit for wonderful novels for your homeschooled students. The wholesome Truth Seekers Mystery Series as well as A Few Minutes with God. Immediate download or order the print books just in time for gift giving. Visit the store here.

I’m all about preparing ahead of time and yet, sometimes I look at the calendar and stress! How did all those weeks fly by what I have left to do will take three weeks instead of the one week I have. So, what am I going to do? I’m going to sit down, with a nice cup of calming tea, raspberry is my tea of choice, and make a list. I use to hate lists, in fact, I would make lists and then go off what I remembered was on my list instead of actually looking at it. No wonder I forgot things on my grocery list. I did have a great memory and for the most part, remembered what I needed to buy but not always. The same with planning for the holidays which I began hosting many years ago.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Treats ~ The Easy Way:

  1. Refrigerator treats, things you do not need to bake.
  2. Dips and chips.
  3. Finger foods.
  4. Pre-made foods.
  5. Fruit platters

Whenever I have a diverse group of guests, like babies to sixty-something-year-olds, I want to have a variety that even the little ones will enjoy. I’ve found that fruit fits that bill, and it came, courtesy of extended family! My daughter’s mother-in-law makes a wonderful fruit platter. A mixture of cut-up fruits, and sometimes she brings packaged and pre-cut fruit, and then she serves it with the fruit fluff. It consists of an 8-oz package of cream cheese and one jar of marshmallow cream. It is easy, festive looking and best of all the kids and adults love it.

Salty treats – Take a sliced cheese (or use firm cheese slices) and sandwich it between mini-pretzels – bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (425 for about 10 minutes) until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with spiced or regular mustard. These are yummy but must be made before serving.

Tried and true is pepper jelly over 4oz of cream cheese. Place the cream cheese on a microwavable plate, pour a generous amount of pepper jelly on top, and place in the microwave for about one minute or less. It depends on your microwave, but you want to slightly soften the cream cheese and heat the jelly. Serve with crackers. (Even the kids love this.)

Gouda cheese wrapped in crescent rolls is another favorite. Buy a half pack of crescent rolls (4) and lay them out end to end to make a square. Place a round gouda cheese on top and cover tightly. You can keep this in the frig overnight or for a day or two until you bake. The oven temperature is 350 for about ten to fifteen minutes. The cheese will be warm and gooey and the rolls light and fluffy! You may want to make two of these as they go fast. Place a small knife or precut the portions. Let cool for a few minutes.

Another goodie is anything dipped in chocolate. This does take some prep time, but it so easy. I take large strawberries that I leave whole with the tops on and wash them several times (usually with a few drops of vinegar then rinse). I line a cookie sheet with paper towels and allow the strawberries to air dry. Then once dry (or I pat them with paper towels to hurry the procedure) I dip them in pre-melted (one bag of your favorite semi-sweet or sweet chocolate chips). I melt the chips in the microwave thirty seconds at a time and stir with a fork. Once it is creamy and melted (chocolate burns so be careful), I carefully dip the dried fruit one at a time and place them on another cookie sheet lined with wax paper. If you are blessed to live in a cold climate the chocolate will harden quickly. If not, you will need a quick zap in the frig – be careful not to leave them overnight. These are best fresh. You can get creative if you have time and melt white chocolate chips and drizzle them over the hardened chocolate. Sometimes these sell for $2 each!

You can also chocolate-dip large pretzels. I dip half in chocolate and leave half plain. I’ve dipped graham crackers – each graham cracker has four perforations and I crack these evenly (or not – you get to eat the mess ups) and dip half in chocolate and leave half plain. Again, wax paper and cookie sheets are ready to chill if needed. The kids love making these easy treats as well.

Dips are another great way to serve veggies or pita chips. You can use prepared guacamole, salsa, or a homemade dip such as cream cheese with Knorr packaged seasoning. Their official website is here with lots of food ideas and tips. I keep some of the packages on hand for last-minute prep. My favorite dips are a cold spinach dip that is easy to make and store. You can serve this with loaf bread that is torn into strips or purchase (or make) round bread that you cut up to dip.

Another favorite is mini-meatballs. Do you know I use to hate meatballs? I hate to admit this because being first generation Italian you are supposed to love meatballs! I finally found a recipe I love it is easy to make and it freezes well. I use a small ice cream scoop to keep the size small and bake them in the oven. Once you cool them you can freeze them and take them out when needed. The sauce is optional but yummy. The key to the recipe I like (by Bobby Flay) is that he uses three types of meat. In the past you could find this meat already packaged, now it is harder to get. The meats are beef, pork, and veal. The veal is a tricky meat to find. I’ve made these meatballs with beef and pork and they were still yummy. Due to copyright, I don’t want to list the ingredients here, but you can find them online with a quick search, “Bobby Flay Meatball Recipe.”

My go-to favorites are pulling things out of my freezer, such as small cakes I’ve baked during the year. I use small rounds and have an assortment of vanilla and chocolate cakes. I can serve these frosted or plain with fruit such as raspberry or strawberry, and whip cream. I bake when I have time and keep things in one section of my chest freezer which I keep on the back porch.

And, the last-minute prep idea that works every time is to buy something packaged and already made. Okay, don’t judge but we are talking about last-minute Thanksgiving treats here!

For quick clean up sever the appetizers and desserts on disposable platters. Or get fancy and use those glass platters (I have them in all sizes) that I bring out just for special events and they go with everything. Enlist help. If someone asks what you want them to bring over assign a sweet or salty treat – or better yet, ask them what they’d like to bring. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends! I pray you have a blessed time!


Special Replay: Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

Episode 235

Thanksgiving kid’s crafts are so much fun! I love crafts – especially holiday crafts like Thanksgiving crafts for kids. In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, I’ll share some great Thanksgiving crafts that are easy to make. So much fun and so decorative.

Stack up on different colors of foam – it is easy to cut and available at craft stores or online.
Glue is a must, with paint brushes to apply

Ideas for Thanksgiving crafts for kids:

  1. Crafts for fun:
    1. Turkey bag puppets – cut-out construction paper shapes – turkey.
    2. Door hangers – cut a hole for the know, put on a turkey head and feathers (of course). Use a thick paper or craft foam.
    3. Turkey table decorations – layer the front (a turkey head), then scallop shapes – then the feathers. Use craft foam.
    4. Turkey shapes out of a pie plate.
    5. I am thankful – use two paper plates, and divide one with a marker into six or eight pie shapes (like a pizza). Have the children label each triangle and draw a picture about something they are thankful for…Take the “top” plate and cut only one triangle out. Then, layer each plate on top of the other.
  2. Crafts for decorations
    1. Collect pine cones for a natural arrangement. Glue pinecones to popsicle sticks and fit them into a flower arrangement.
    2. Collect fall leaves – glue them onto clear glass jars (or containers). Use glue or a permanent adhesive like Modge Podge – it dries clear and hard. Use as gift containers or place flowers or for table decorations.
    3. Use smaller glass containers, glue on leaves, and use these on tables with battery-powered lights or flower arrangements.
    4. Give Thanks – or Happy Thanksgiving – use one sheet of paper (thick or watercolor paper). Color background and hand letter or stencil letters to each sheet of paper, then thread with rope – hang on the walls, on the mantle or in bedrooms.
    5. Name tags with pilgrims
    6. Thyme – make into a wreath and tie it with twine, then decorate with ribbon. Place it on each place setting.
    7. Thankful wreath – create a wreath with construction paper shapes of leaves. Have the children label each with a “thankful word.”
    8. Use leaves (construction paper or craft foam) and label each with a thankful word. Glue in the shape of a wreath.
    9. Glass containers with  cut-out (tissue paper) leaves. Use glue to affix. Place a battery-powered candle in each container.
    10. Cut out a pumpkin, fill it with floral foam, and use it as a vase for flowers.
    11. Use the words Happy Thanksgiving – use one sheet of paper for each letter. Use glue and glitter or fancy letters.
    12. Pine cones – paint the edges with paint and use them for table decorations.
    13. Cut out shapes – turkeys, pilgrims, etc. and string them together as a garland.
  3. Crafts for gifts
    1. Fall leave containers
    2. Bracelet – with orange, brown, and yellow – “fall” colors – give to guests or have this as a craft for kids.
    3. Trail mix – have the kids fill festive containers they’ve decorated. Use stickers on dollar store plastic containers.
    4. Party favors – decorate an envelope with foam cutouts (turkey, fall leaves, etc.) and slip in a candy bar or other treats.
    5. Glass container (above) with leaves
    6. Candy corn or candy with a clear baggie – tie it with a ribbon and have the children write a poem, use a scripture verse, etc.
    7. Use a circle sheet of tissue paper, place candy in the middle, and gather it in the shape of a pumpkin. Use green tape to make a stem.
    8. Paper cups with a scripture verse on the front or a “thankful” word – fill with candy. Use a popsicle stick to glue a “Thanksgiving character” and place in the cup with candy. (Fill a small planter or vase as well.)
    9. Oranges. Use a knife (or a special utensil) to carve our designs, dot with cloves. Give as gifts. (It does not work well in Florida and will mold – but it is great in cold climates.
    10. Turkey coaster. Take a circle of cork and glue it to a turkey shape. A great gift.
    11. Use craft foam and cut out a rectangle for a photo. Decorate with Thanksgiving designs, etc. Give it as a gift.
  4. Crafts that encourage character
    1. Thankful jar – daily, add a card about what you are thankful for that day.
    2. Read a card to the family (randomly draw it out) at dinner
    3. Write one word (or more) and slip it under a plate. Each person does this for the members of the family. If you have a larger family, maybe assign numbers (select randomly) or assign.
    4. Placemats – A Thankful scene or things the children are thankful for…you can cover it with clear contact paper to make it last longer.
    5. Thankful tree – use construction paper for the tree trunk. Use this as an ongoing project during the month. Each leaf holds one thing the children are thankful for.  [Listen to this podcast encouraging children to be thankful here.]
    6. Use a tree branch and place it into a vase or a planter. Decorate the branches with cut-out leaves with “thankful” words on each leaf.

Websites to check out:

Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids

Turkey Napkin Folding

Extra thankful gift tags with printable

Pumpkin bread with free printable

Gratitude Pumpkin Craft