Vintage Homeschool Moms

Homeschool Difference

What is the homeschool difference? It is truly glaring when you compare it to public or even private education.| #homeschoolpodcast | homeschool difference| homeschooling|Homeschool Difference ~ Episode 478

What is the homeschool difference? It is truly glaring when you compare it to public or even private education. With lofty goals public education has failed children, again and again, having become agenda-driven. What is a parent to do? Look at the alternative which is homeschooling and reap the rewards with children who are well adjusted. Yes, that is a thing. Listen to this podcast and get a veteran homeschool mom’s perspective.

Be sure to check out my sponsor – our sponsors allow us to bring you these amazing and free recordings to come alongside you in your homeschool journey.

Visit my website at and check out the Truth Seekers Mystery Series.

There has to be a difference right? I mean after all the work and self-sacrifice from homeschool parents we need to reap the benefits and the rewards. Well, the answer to that is yes and no. Of course, we all want great kids who love what we love whether this is faith in God, a good moral compass, or kids that grow up to be well adjusted. Yet how does homeschooling make the difference?

One of my podcasters (I own this homeschool podcast network in case you didn’t know), once did a podcast on how homeschooling can’t save you. That is true. In and of itself just the steps of homeschooling are not going to create the perfect kid. No one is perfect and no parent no matter how self-sacrificing has all the answers. Yet, homeschooling can definitely help. For one thing, there is not an outside influence if you are the teacher and parent rolled into one. This does not preclude a child’s ability to ask questions (and not the ones to set mom off – this is for one of my children who knows how to get me going). But, a true and honest discussion with a variety of dialogue is good.

I believe that homeschooling does make a difference in more ways than I can list. I completed my homeschool journey clocking in at thirty-two years. In the early days of homeschooling, I learned (not as quickly as I hoped) that recreating the classroom at home was a mistake. I was missing all the things that make kids a kid, like giving them time to think, explore their passions, and find out that learning is an adventure.

Here is an example of the early days of homeschooling. I ordered books and workbooks, sat and worked with my son (my daughter was attending a high-end preschool), and I was burned out about halfway through. My son was engaged but I was so bored. I didn’t like the first math workbook at all, so I ordered another mid-year and had my son begin at the beginning. Friends, I had experience as an educator. I was a degreed teacher with early childhood and special education thrown into my elementary education degree. I am so happy I decided to bring my daughter home for kindergarten because the dynamics of our homeschool quickly changed.

With a boy and a girl both with diverse interests, I had my hands full. Read aloud books turned into a large stack of books, and teaching them to read was an adventure in itself. It wasn’t until my fifth child that I had a child that read early. And, if I received a phone call? I lost my entire class. The minute I answered that phone my kids were gone! I used my husband who is a great listener and his suggestion was to begin to observe my children. What were their interests? What did they do when they escaped our classroom because I was distracted? My kids like my husband gravitated to the outdoors. We lived on acreage and there was so much the children wanted to explore. Everything from fishing in the pond, to raking leaves in the backyard to make a path, they had plans that did not include my carefully crafted curriculum.

In addition, the children bonded with each other. Not the kid down the road, or the person sitting next to them in class. My kids only had each other and they made the best of their classroom situation with some encouragement and direction from me. They enjoyed homeschool outings and meeting other children and because homeschooling allowed my kids to develop unique personalities they easily made friends once introduced. We added camping to our family activities and other homeschool friends joined us on occasion. I do think that homeschooling allowed my children to be friends with each other. This continued on with all of my kids, my youngest two were roommates for one year when they attended the same college. Their friends were amazed they got along. How sad is that?

Another homeschool difference is that families form a special bond. There is more time to think about and plan family outings and grow closer. We prayed together, ate our meals together, traveled to ball games together, and so much more. We are still close to our adult children. My oldest daughter and her family come to our house most Sundays for a meal, or we go to her home. We receive calls often from our two children that live out of town and attend church together when they are home.

I believe that homeschooling puts us in a unique position to be available for our children. We are not trying to get them to complete their homework or help them with special projects in the evening hours. Instead, school work is accomplished during the day on our schedule and does not often spill over into the evening hours. My two oldest had a goal of completing their school work before noon. This didn’t always work for them, but they tried. Their goal, not mine.

Another unique possibility of homeschooling is the ability to spend time focusing on an area of interest. Are your children interested in music, sports, reading, or writing? Homeschoolers have gone on to win national competitions such as science fairs, 4-H fair competitions, spelling bees, and sports titles. My daughter participated in the Softball World Series two years in a row. She and my son both earned sports scholarships to different colleges. My daughter and I co-authored a three-book series, The Truth Seekers Mystery Series. These books were selected by God’s World Publishing as the Book of the Month and featured for many years in the Christian Books catalog.

What is your child’s interest and how can you encourage them? Again, the unique opportunities that homeschooled children have far surpasses their counterparts. Instead of fitting into a curriculum designed for an entire classroom of similar-aged and grade children, your homeschool can cater to the interests of your children. What are you reading for literature? My children read CS Lewis, the classics, and more. They had a specifically designed reading list for American Literature and World Literature in high school (and yes, some books were definitely not on our list).

Just think of the possibilities! The homeschool difference is something your children will benefit from for years to come.

Virtual Field Trips

I love field trips and especially ones that are money-saving, and virtual field trips fit both categories. Fun field trips from the comfort of your...Virtual Field Trips ~ Special Replay

I love field trips and especially ones that are money-saving, and virtual field trips fit both categories. Fun field trips from the comfort of your own home.

Thanks to our Sponsor – Media Angels Membership – with the Virtual Field Trips Study Guide as part of the basic membership. Check it out.

Years ago I wrote a book on the topic (it is available on my membership site), yet some of the things in my book were invaluable and I used the ideas for years – some of these things are included here – the printables in this planner.

Internet safety is a must, no matter what Internet Browser you use, be sure to set your settings to safe. Just search for how to do this simply. Also, I’d check the website first before you take your kids on the “trip.”

To obtain the utmost from a virtual field trip, it is important to prepare your children for what they will see on the Internet. In order to do this, research is helpful. A little background information can go a long way into preparing them for a learning experience. An exciting feature is never knowing what you will actually learn! There is so much information available. At best, this is a starting or jumping-off point to life long learning.

Each virtual field trip work a little different than in-person trips. I used online trips as a way to encourage my children to act like adventure seekers in search of clues.

  1. They will ask questions
  2. Gather answers
  3. Dig deeper for more information.

Ways To Find Virtual Field trips:


The Internet is transient – it changes allot. Web pages that were there just days ago can be gone, or temporarily out of order. These appear to be roadblocks, but they can be overcome with a bit of information. Just as you would navigate a car around a detour by taking an alternative route, you do the same via other pages online.

This is the reason a working knowledge of researching on the Internet is so important. In order for this to save time rather than taking hours to plan, have a good list of keywords you wish to search. Usually adding words such a “kids” or “Kid safe” helps.

Select Your Website:


Each page contains an overview of the site, an orientation if you will. Here you are given a thumbnail sketch about the site and what to expect upon arriving. You will have an opportunity to visit the site and make a plan of what you want your children to learn.

Goals and Objectives:

This is to keep our web browsing goal-oriented! I am the first to admit to becoming easily sidetracked online. Before I know it I’m away from one site and onto another location in the blink of an eye. Goals keep us focused, and this will be of benefit to those who wish to use them.

Additional Research:

This is provided in several brief paragraphs, explaining the background on the topic which will be the focus of the tour. You may wish to expand on this before or after your tour. You may also request that your children conduct research before starting the trip.

Navigating the Site and Lesson Plans:

Some of the sites are vast. It took many hours of planning to focus on one aspect or segment. Sites often have numerous hyperlinks. Hyperlinks or links are words that appear in a different highlighted color from the rest of the text. By double-clicking on the highlighted words with your mouse, you will be transported to the linking site.

Sometimes it is on the site itself, and other times it is elsewhere. Icons are also used in this way. By clicking on the picture, you also will be transported.

One of the ways to keep from becoming lost on a specific web site (let’s refer to this as the Home page) is to hit the return arrow found at the upper left of your toolbar screen. Another way to return to the Home page is to click the return arrow or home key (or button) found on the page you are visiting. It is sometimes at the bottom of the page. The return arrow at the bottom of the page only works to return to the Home page if you are still on the starting site.

The return arrow only works if it is several clicks away. In other words, if you have been clicking on links for ten or twelve different sites, you may need to reenter the URL given to go back to the Home Site and continue your tour. Returning to the home page as this is the easiest place to continue navigation.

I create brief “lesson plans” which are basically directions on how to navigate the site. Sometimes if the site is wordy, a synopsis of the pages you may be viewing is given. You may use these if you wish, or redesign them to fit your needs. I follow a basic format. View the site, look for the answers and create your own custom scavenger hunt questions and continue with additional activities.

Scavenger Hunt Questions:

These are questions you may wish to use, or not, depending on your preference. Questions build a framework of information. A list of questions for each child would be beneficial as well as reading them beforehand. The answers can be found on the specific web site you will be directed to. In the case that the web site is not available, some of the questions may be found using a good encyclopedia or online at another site.

Additional Activities.

After visiting the site, there are additional suggested activities that follow your field trip visit. It is important to give a hands-on dimension to information that has been viewed and read. This will allow the child to apply some of the information that has been learned. Feel free to add to this list.

Some sites have teaching materials available or suggested activities listed that are worth noting for downloading or printing. Again this is an optional feature.  If time is a factor, you will want to do the basics, prepare your children ahead of time, and when viewing the site focus on the tour outline provided in this book. You can always return another time. If there is no time constraint, you can visit this site at your leisure, going on every link you desire and viewing additional resources as you wish.

Available Trips:

The focus of virtual field trips can be related to specific subject areas. I look for trips that would be entertaining yet educational. Even so, many require a lot of reading. For some, reading off a computer screen can be tedious. Some suggestions are to take turns reading with your children or print out information to read at a later date. Remember, most of the information found online is under copyright laws, so use them to read, and place in a notebook, but if you are using them for a published work you must reference your source. If you are no longer using the papers, it is wise to dispose of them.

Going on a virtual trip:

Decide which trip you would like to take. Have your printer set and ready to go!

You may want to print out some of the information. Some sites use very advanced technology; therefore, you may not be permitted to print out information from the screen that you are viewing, or even the control-copy or command-copy (on a mac) will not work. I don’t recommend copying websites.

Some websites allow you to copy certain sections and they may even have a print icon – or an email where you can send the website to yourself via email.

While there is no one correct way to view the different sites, there are some ways that are better than others. Each site offers its own array of links. The Internet is one big link! Some links are directly related to a particular web site. Some links are of similar topics, which you may decide to explore another day. You can decide how much of the site you would like to see. And now onto the trips. I hope you have a wonderful time learning!

Here are some of my favorite topics:

Oceans Keywords:

Global Ocean Coral Reefs Tides Oceans Alive, Plate Tectonics Water Cycle Currents Wind Waves, Tides Food Web Remote Sensing, Museum of Science, Boston Museum of Science, Museum Science Exhibit, Science Activities Oceans, Science Oceans Teacher Resources

The Zoo Keywords:

National Zoo, Virtual Animal Exhibit Tours, Smithsonian BioPark, Conservation Zoo Washington D.C., Kids Science Zoo Education Educational Research Wild Animals, Zookeepers, (Type in strings of animals that may be observed in a zoo.)

Email and Internet Keywords:

how emails work, how the Internet works, alternative search engines, how keywords work, is email safe, safe settings on the internet, safe settings on social media, social media

Benjamin Franklin Keywords:

Benjamin Franklins World, Archive Benjamin Franklin, History Benjamin Franklin, Science Inventions Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Stove, Inventor of Electricity, Benjamin Franklin the Inventor, Benjamin Franklin Statesman, Benjamin Franklin Writings

(You can use this for other famous people you want to learn about – look at keywords that will help your search!)

Space, Constellations, Planets Keywords:

Outer space, NASA, planets, constellations, video on space travel, space travel, astronauts, rockets, space shuttle, Milky Way, outer space, black hole, lightyear, space suits, space food

Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!


Adventures in Homeschooling

When is an adventure really an adventure? When it begins with adventures in homeschooling. | #homeschoolpodcast | #adventuresinhomeschooling | #homeschooladventure| #homeschoolingAdventures in Homeschooling ~ Episode 477

When is an adventure really an adventure? When it begins with adventures in homeschooling. In this podcast, we will discuss how to make an ordinary day into an extraordinary, memorable event for your family. Learning is fun and can be totally captivating with the right tools and that being with attitude.

Check out our sponsor CTC Math! Thanks to our sponsor we can continue to bring you quality podcasts such as this one for free.

Many of you may not consider the words adventure + homeschooling as a possibility. Think about it. What words describe adventure?

What makes an adventure special? Is it the mystery? Intrigue? The possibilities?

Well, homeschooling is the opportunity for out-of-the-box educational adventures. And, yes it will take a little bit of planning but your children will thank you! As a homeschool parent, we are inundated with well-meaning relatives who have their own opinion of how you should homeschool. In fact, grandparents can be the worse! How do I know? I’m a grandparent and I’ve caught myself giving my daughter well-intentioned advice, but not necessarily welcome.

I had my chance to homeschool the way I wanted and it was some of the best years of my life. As a “vintage” mom I’ve experienced the ups and downs of homeschooling various ages and subjects at one time and have found that with some strategic planning we can combine subjects and enjoy our days rather than do our duty.

First I want to share some ways to include adventure into your homeschool schedule and then I’ll give you some practical applications and a framework to make it a possibility.

Here are some ways to include adventure in your homeschool week.

  1. Scavenger hunt.
  2. Field trip. Even if it is in the backyard.
  3. Map work. Time the children and have them find a country (or state) you have studied.
  4. Look for all the nouns in the room (or on a car journey). Use this for other parts of speech.
  5. Picnic complete with blanket and food – sitting outdoors or in the living room.
  6. Review time: Ask the children review questions while getting them out of their seats and setting them against a wall at a distance from you. The first person to make it all the way to you, and touch you is the winner. Right answers are given: big step, little step, bunny hop, etc. (Be sure to let the children know that complaining about each other means one step back. Also, be sure to monitor children who will take two bunny hops instead of one, etc.) Have cards ready with the steps to make it fair.
  7. Allow the children to ask you review questions. This helps them tremendously!
  8. Use the grocery store as an example of foods that come from various places and tie this into geography lessons. (Specialty stores are great for this.)
  9. Give the child a math sheet and cut it up into puzzle pieces first. Have the child put together the puzzle, tape it, and then do the problems. (For you perfectionists out there this may be a difficult chore, so you can use this for a review sheet.)
  10. Give the children a thinking test. For example, tell the children to read all of the questions before they begin. Set the test up in a way that the answers are difficult for them, and around number five or six have a statement that says: Place your name at the top of the page, the date, and turn your paper over. Do not answer any of the other questions. This is a test to see if they follow instructions.

Maybe creativity is not something that comes easily to you, so enlist your children or another homeschool friend. And, continue to listen to this podcast there are plenty more ideas where this came from! In fact, be sure to check out

Practical application:

  1. What topics are you studying? Is there a way to include creative aspects such as those listed above?
  2. Take one aspect of a subject and use it for review, or perhaps the thinking test (number 10 above).
  3. Use the subject as a group study for all ages. For example, if you are studying physical science in the middle or freshman year of high school, there are many aspects of science that will overlap the younger children’s studies. When my son was studying oceanography and his younger siblings’ biology, we used some overlapping topics for a field trip.
  4. Use language arts or writing skills to create fun activities such as scavenger or treasure hunts.
  5. Use hands-on activities as much as possible with the younger children, but truthfully older kids love them as well.

However, you decide to include adventures in homeschooling this year, be sure to let us know if there is something that stood out and share!

Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Homeschool Focus

What is your homeschool focus? #homeschoolpodcast| #homeschool| #homeschooling #homeschoolfocusHomeschool Focus – Creating Memories ~ Episode 476

What is your homeschool focus? If it is not creating memories the children won’t remember what they learned. Sure learning is not always fun and games but there is a time to add a fun element to your homeschool day, and guess what? They won’t even know they are doing school. Our job as parents is to instill in our children a love of learning that will stay with them for a lifetime. Are you up to the challenge? I am! Join me on this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms.

Visit my website at for more information on my books and products. Lots of digital classes and books for immediate download. Check out the website.

After I completed speaking at a homeschool workshop locally, one of the moms approached me and asked me the million-dollar question, “What Ivy League school will your children attend?” What? I looked at her and took a deep breath before answering, calmly and sweetly, “I’m not even sure all of my children will attend college,” and waited for her reply.

After a few seconds of shock, we had a wonderful conversation where I shared my take on education and the focus on my homeschool, raising godly kids that love the Lord. I am happy to say that my youngest just graduated in 2022 from college as one of the top students, Summa Cum Laude, and of only 3,700 cadet graduates across the country to receive the Army’s Distinguished Military Graduate honor. He was a student-athlete as well and received multiple scholarships, and yes, this mama is proud. I have five children and all three who attended college graduated with honors, one Cum Laude and two Summa Cum Laude—one receiving a Masters’s degree. My two non-college grads are doing extremely well in various businesses both self-employed.

Parents the goals of education are your own to make, what will it be? What is your homeschool focus? Whatever it is, I believe that creating memories with your children is important because these memories, like a carefully crafted story, will stay with them long into the future. We all want children that are well adjusted in body, mind, and soul. This means education that is focused on faith, education, and personal pursuits is important.

Homeschool Focus: Creating Educational Memories

Education is usually the only focus that parents place on their homeschooling. It is understandable but is not complete without some or all of the following elements:

  1. Read aloud time. Homeschooling lends itself toward reading to your children, whether it is a historical novel that fits into your study or something that is fun for the entire family. I have several podcasts on the topics of reading lists. Search for Summer Reading Lists, Tips for Actively Reading here
  2. Allowing your child one-on-one time. This is something that is not available in a typical school setting, homeschooling is not recreating the school at home, it is a step up and better.
  3. Setting goals. Without goals, there is no way to move forward. There are checklist planners available monthly for our email list and through the website after they are no longer available for free.
  4. Special assignments. Give your child an option to explore a passion or hobby on their own time, or make it part of the school schedule.
  5. Field trips: This is a wonderful addition to any homeschool education. Try virtual field trips for an added twist of learning at home.

Creating Family Memories

  1. Passing on the family faith. Attending church services together, reading the Bible and praying as a family.
  2. Spending time with your children is the best memory you can make. Start with individual time, perhaps grocery shopping or another quick errand you can do together.
  3. Family games, pizza night, and a designated day for routine activity. This allows the children to have something to look forward to at week’s end.
  4. Family trips. Whether a walk in the park, a family slumber party, or a longer family vacation. Again time to bond with the children away from the usual activities at home.
  5. Special family activities, such as cooking, baking, crafts, or making presents for other family or extended family members.
  6. Visiting those less fortunate whether it is an elderly neighbor or someone in assisted living. Ask your pastor for a church member who would enjoy some company.

Creating Personal Memories

  1. Increase your personal faith in some way.
  2. Keep a personal journal. This is something your children will treasure. Each child can create their own.
  3. Scrapbook for each year. Just highlights of memorable activities.
  4. A personal reading list. What are some great books you would like to recommend?
  5. Bucket list – what are some places you would like to visit or activities? Hot air balloon, hike through Adorandak mountains, or perhaps a trip to Alaska?
  6. Learn something new.


Stress Free Field Trip Tips

In this episode, we will tackle so tried and true techniques to make stressful field trips a thing of the past.Stress-Free – Field Trip Tips

We’ve all been on a field trip that was a disaster. Taking kids who are excited, no matter what age on a trip can be an unforgettable activity. Now add the stress of planning, packing lunch, and all the things that go with it, and well…it is a fiasco waiting to happen. In this episode, we will tackle so tried and true techniques to make stressful field trips a thing of the past.

As a kid I loved field trips, they were the highlight of our year – and they can be for your kids and your family with some of these tips. As with anything, it takes some planning –but with a little help, you can incorporate field trips into your homeschool curriculum.

One of the keys to a successful field trip is to know what you are getting out of the effort. I think we stress when we feel like we packed up the kids, drove to a destination, unpacked the kids and our stuff, trudged around or paid money to trudge around and got nothing out of the effort.

A good field trip is:

  1. The kids are prepared.
    1. They know where you are going.
    2. What is expected? Is this a long nature walk, a museum or a visit to the fire station, etc.
    3. They have a camera, or access to one, something to write or draw with.
    4. Know they must be on their best behavior
  2. The moms and dads:
    1. Bathroom visit before you leave home.
    2. Packed snacks or lunch
    3. Have a camera or cell phone for pictures (charged!)
    4. Have a way to record by writing, taking pictures, pictures of signs or plaques, and gathering information to ask the kids later.
    5. Go over field trip etiquette with the kids. Remember no running, wait for you or ask permission to walk with friends, listen if someone is a guide or explaining, no talking unless necessary.

Where do I begin?

Planning a field trip doesn’t have to be a marathon, in other words, more isn’t always better. Try to join a local homeschool support group in your area, or look at the local events planner to see what is happening in your town.

I have supplied some of the field trip forms I used myself in my homeschool days – here is a few of the forms I used Field Trip Guide.

Check out this Field Trip Packing List!

Be sure to subscribe to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network mailing list to receive this type of planning guide each month in 2018! This guide is also available on the Media Angels Membership website.

Having these forms is a stress buster! I can use these lists to plan for field trips as well. Included in the following pages is a list of topic related field trips ideas and lists to get you started. Feel free to make your own and use these as a starting point.

Where to go?

What are you studying? That should give you a good idea of where to begin. Are you studying astronomy? The nature centers usually have a planetarium or star-gazing night program. Are you studying anatomy? A field trip to a local hospital or doctors office could be arranged. You may also wish to use doctors appointments as field trips. If your children are having routine teeth cleaning you can turn this into a trip by reading some literature about dental hygiene, good health, etc. before your visit. The same with the Vet’s office and pet care.

Field Trip on a Budget:

Begin by looking for free events or those charging a minimal fee. Usually, group rate discounts are the way to go. Gathering a group of 10 or more students is normally very easy to do. In our support group that would amount to one family! Seriously, many times all it takes is a few calls to gather a group of people interested in banding together for a trip.

Does it have to tie into your curriculum?

We try to plan our field trips to coincide with the topics we are currently studying.

Yet, that isn’t always possible. What then? Use the field trips as a bonus to review an already learned topic or to introduce a topic you plan to study in the future. For example, there is a local group that sponsors missionaries and teaches them how to plan food in foreign countries. We didn’t go to the last two field trips at this facility, but plan on going the next time it is offered (or going ourselves as volunteers) as we are currently planting a garden. It wasn’t a topic of interest when it was offered so we didn’t attend.

Be creative and take lots of pictures or have the children draw or notebook their activity once you arrive home. Don’t take all of the enjoyment out of every trip by requiring a full length article or term paper. (Unless your children love that sort of thing!) Remember, you are building memories and what better way than spending time with your children.



Special Replay: Back to School When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure with Melanie Young

It's time for school ... but what if you feel like a homeschool failure? Can't get anything done? Is your life overwhelming? You came to the right place.It’s time for school … but what if you feel like a homeschool failure? Can’t get anything done? Is your life overwhelming? You came to the right place. Get that encouragement you need — with our special speaker Melanie Young, wife, mother, homeschool mom, author and speaker. Maybe you’ve met Melanie and Hal on the road at a local event, if not you don’t know what you are missing. Melanie is a dynamic speaker and brings her southern charm and great sense of humor to all of her presentations.

Hal and Melanie’s Show – Making Biblical Family Life Practical

Newsletter Sign Up – Planning Sheets from Melanie – HERE

Check out Melanie and Hal Young’s BOOKs Here



Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!












Homeschool Head Start – Military Families

Homeschool Head Start ~ Military Families ~Episode 475

How do homeschool military families do it? Here is a homeschool headstart for you even if you are not from a military family! If you want to give your child a head start in their educational journey, here is your chance. Surprise, surprise it isn’t all about academics, but you are a smart parent so I’m sure you already know this fact. The journey is not complete without an understanding of life skills such as making good decisions. In this podcast, I share some important information you won’t want to miss and bring along a very special guest, our own Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network’s Crystal Niehoff.

Visit the two podcasts that Crystal hosts!

  1. History for Christian Teens – with Pastor Niehoff and Crystal Niehoff
  2. Military Homeschool Podcast with Crystal Niehoff

When we consider a head start it can mean different things to different people. In this instance I consider a head start a good way to begin the homeschool year. It means not getting behind and being prepared enough so that we as parents feel confident in our abilities to help our children achieve their best not only academically but also as mentally which includes spirituality, and in our case, Christian faith. Our military families have so much on their plate. Many moms or dads are homeschooling while dad or mom is away. Military families also move many times in the career of their spouses. Being flexible and ready are two of the traits these families work toward.

Are you a military family or do you know one? Now is a great time to invite a friend to this episode.

Military Families ~ Homeschool Families Head Start

Here are some of the points we discussed in this broadcast on homeschool head start – and military families:

  1. Dealing with discipline – and discipleship, training children from a young age to what is expected.
  2. Having a plan
  3. Giving our children time to think and explore their interests.
  4. Finding your tribe, and other homeschool families (important for military families especially).
  5. The benefits of homeschooling and keeping on track, helps you form a bond with your children
  6. Opens doors to learning opportunities such as field trips, sports, lessons, and delving into historic events at various locales for military families that move often.
  7. Having fun. Keep things moving but have special times for fun activities as a reward. Simple activities mentioned.
  8. Top priorities for the day. What are some of the things you want to accomplish personally and a list for your child as well?
  9. Heading off distractions. Give friends and family parameters of when they can contact you (or when you will answer calls or texts) that do not interrupt your day.
  10. Permission to stay at home. You do not need to volunteer or go to all activities. Pick those that are most relevant or beneficial for your family.

Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Special Replay: 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

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.

Back To School Tips

Back To School Tips by Homeschool Veteran, Felice Gerwitz ~ Episode 474

It is that time, and with the coming of the school calendar, it is time for some really great back-to-school tips by our podcast network founder, Felice Gerwitz. She homeschooled for thirty-one years and in that time learned what worked and what did not work. In this episode, she drills down to the basics that will help your homeschool journey.

Visit my website at for curriculum, novels and so much more for your homeschool needs.

Are we excited or dreading the new school year? Yes, it is okay to be nervous but please let me assure you that you will not ruin your children. If you have a heart for spending time with your children and you can openly communicate your needs to them and they can talk honestly to you, all will be fine.

Whenever I’ve listened to a podcast or a talk on the topic of homeschooling I walked away feeling that I would never be able to “do that” or be “that creative,” or accomplish anywhere near the amazing mom speaking. One time I went to a homeschool conference and listened to a mom who talked about teaching American History and then proceeded to parade her children out on the stage in matching period costumes. My mom was an amazing seamstress and I can not sew. Can you imagine how I felt after I left that talk? Years later, when I joined the homeschool speaking circuit and spoke at conferences I met this lady and got to know her well. She is not a super mom but she loves to sew. For her, this was a fun project and for me, it would have been overwhelming. She had her children help with the sewing and taught them more than one thing at a time.

Saying this brings me to one of the most important points I hope you learn today. Work within your abilities and your wheelhouse. What are some talents that you bring to the table? Are you good at art? Is music your thing? Are you a sports advocate? Do you like history, math, or science? What is it that you enjoy doing or teaching? Taking this into consideration what can you easily implement into your homeschool? For the mom who loved sewing, it was teaching her kids to sew and make historical costumes.

Back to School Tips – Do. Not. Do.

  1. Duplicate the public/private school in the home.
  2. Set yourself up for failure by overplanning.
  3. Teach over your child’s attention span.
  4. Talk too much. Lecture only.
  5. Not allow your children to participate in discussions.
  6. Failure to ask enough questions.
  7. Unsupervised learning, no checks, and balances.
  8. Failing to schedule time off.
  9. Lack of field trips.
  10.  No extracurricular activities.

Look over this list and add to it – and the reverse is as follows:

Back to School Tips:

  1. Use textbooks, but as a starting point and/or a supplement. Map out the chapters to complete during the school year and count in time off.
  2. Set a realistic schedule within the timeframe of the school year including the time that school starts and ends.
  3. Teach younger children in bite-sized portions, for example, teach math with manipulatives and spend the time necessary to master skills rather than sporadically cover them.
  4. Keep lectures at a minimum. Answer questions and go from there.
  5. Allow your children to participate in discussions.
  6. Be sure to ask questions, if they can not answer them give them time to research.
  7. Be sure the children are getting assignments completed by checking the work or having them check each other’s work with supervision. If your kids know you are not going to check math assignments or writing projects they may slack off.
  8. Schedule time off and let the children know, put this on a calendar they can access or give them one of their own to maintain.
  9. Plan field trips.
  10. Plan extracurricular activities.

Nightmare Story

I heard a mom share that her well-behaved high school student did not get the majority of his school work finished because he knew she would not check it and when she finally did, she was appalled. So much so, that it delayed his entrance into college by one year. It was a combination of the perfect storm as she had little ones that took the majority of her time and elderly parents that were ill. In order to avoid these types of issues having the child show you the work, every few days is an advantage.

More on the recording.

Check Your Communication

Open communication and checking in with our children no matter what the age is beneficial. Will every child like every book? No, but we have to be willing to find another solution in case something doesn’t work out. In other words, don’t be married to a particular book or curriculum.

One year at a conference the parents were looking for a flexible science curriculum for their multi-aged children and came by my booth. My curriculum is a hands-on Creation Science-based series. There are four books, Creation Science, Creation Astronomy, Creation Geology, and Creation Anatomy.

The parents were both science majors and had high expectations for their homeschool but realized with three children under sixth grade and a baby the options were limited to textbooks for three different grade levels. The parents returned to my booth near the end of the conference and purchased all four study guides plus the activity packs. They reported the next year that the science lessons went extremely well and gave the children a chance to study additional topics.

Adding in field trips was a fun addition. Unit studies do not work for every family but they are beneficial when you are homeschooling various aged children on different grade levels.

Remember at the start of this broadcast I asked you at the beginning of this broadcast what you bring to the table. Your gifts and talents are not wasted in any homeschool setting. Another blessing is to ask other homeschool parents what their skill set contains. One year we needed a degreed scientist to sign off on the county-level science fair entries.

We had registered nurses, two doctors, and one dad with two degrees in science and a science master’s degree. Within our small community of homeschool parents, we were set! We also had built-in judges for our homeschool science fair.

We’ve had plays, art fairs, history and science fairs, sporting events, field days, beach science trips, nature center field trips and so much more within our years of homeschooling. By pooling your resources you will be amazed at all you accomplish.

Help! I Want To Change My Curriculum – Special Replay

Are you ready for a change? Are you saying, "Help! I want to change my curriculum? If so, join Felice as she gives you some things to look for when looking for your perfect books!Let’s Talk About… “Help! I Want To Change My Curriculum” with Felice Gerwitz  – Special Replay

Do you want a change? A change in curriculum? In this podcast, veteran homeschool mom, Felice Gerwitz gives you the tools you need to select the best curriculum you can for you and your family.



Show Notes – Help! I Want To Change My Curriculum…

I can give you all my favorite books and curriculum, but my tastes might not be yours. In fact, often what I love in books – is not what others like. And vice versa, so, here are some things to look for, with details in this podcast. Below you will find links to some great resources that go along with each of the following points. If you need help and want to change your curriculum, this show will give you the tools you need.

  1. Homeschool state requirements – go here to find your state
  2. How do you want to teach?  – Methods Podcast Here
  3. Learning Styles – Here
  4. Workbooks – pros and cons
  5. Reading Books List Here and Must Read Books and Summer Reading List
  6. Reviews – Best Unbiased Homeschool Reviews

Photo Credit: 2016 all rights reserved, @Goodluz