Vintage Homeschool Moms

Scheduling Hacks For Homeschool Moms

When you are a busy mom it is important to have scheduling hacks that work. And, that goes double for anyone out there who is a homeschool mom. In this episode, I share scheduling hacks that work well for me and how I get so much done in the little time I have each day.Scheduling Hacks ~ Episode 433

When you are a busy mom it is important to have scheduling hacks that work. And, that goes double for anyone out there who is a homeschool mom. In this episode, I share scheduling hacks that work well for me and how I get so much done in the little time I have each day.

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When we think about scheduling so many things to come to mind. Scheduling time for work, cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands, and lessons. Each day there are so many interruptions as well as unproductive times. If we could bottle all of that time wasted it would add up to hours and hours each week. You know your problem areas so I’m not going to list all the of the downfalls to trying to schedule and to keep to a schedule. We have interruptions each day and how we handle these will help.

Scheduling takes planning. And, scheduling takes prioritizing. Two things we can improve up. Scheduling also takes flexibility. So, planning, prioritizing, and flexibility. Saving time also includes understanding what is a time-waster. Is it talking on the phone, social media? Is it text messaging? Whatever pulls you out of your train of thought wastes time.

Also, when we talk about scheduling we are talking about using the time you have the best you can. So, what makes the most sense in your already busy life, and… what is the best use of your time? Is it time-effective? Can you have someone else do this task or it is something you have to tackle? These are questions we can ask ourselves as we look at our projects!

Look at your schedule with the thoughts of planning to get the most out of your time, setting up your schedule with the most important things first and remembering that life happens.

  1. Schedule time to schedule. We are usually too busy to even stop and plan. I love to plan months ahead of time and that gives me such a sense of accomplishment. If you can trade off with someone to watch the kids or hire a babysitter if you have little ones. Uninterrupted planning time can really help. For example, you are going to work on scheduling household chores, or homeschool days. Maybe you want to schedule your year. Remember that we can be overscheduled and to leave time for flexibility.
  2. Schedule out-of-the-house trips. By planning trips in one day, you can save so much time. And do your errands in order. Just think it through where you have to go and start from the farthest location from home and work back. Or prioritize if necessary. Some families leave Friday open for catch-up days, or to schedule a field trip or something fun to do.
  3. Schedule online tools. Do you pay bills online? Shop? When do you do these things? If you can set up auto-payments that is a huge time saver. I have a spreadsheet I use (Google Docs) and I look at it one time a week for about 5-10minutes to be sure payments have been made. Some payments I still manually pay. However, others are set up on auto. Huge time saver.
  4. Block time. This has been a lifesaver for me. Knowing when you are going to do which task helps tremendously and cuts way down on the actual time to do the project or task. Block times for answering emails, grocery shopping (even if it shopping online), and other tasks that can be done in increments of 15 minutes. You will be shocked at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. Also, I block mega-cooking time or — cooking double or even triple and freezing the rest. These are ways to schedule your time in a way that is the most useful.
  5. Schedule break, exercise, reading time with your kids or without kids. I found that if I have something to look forward to I am more productive. You will feel better and while I didn’t think I had time for a break it was amazing that just a few minutes could be invigorating!

Does this give you ideas for the ways that you can increase your productivity by smart scheduling?  I hope so! One last word. There is some debate about whether multi-tasking is effective, and I think it depends on the person. For some, it works fine and for others, it can disrupt their concentration. So, think about this when you schedule and work on ways that will enhance your productivity. Scheduling is just one way.

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Special Replay – Family Loyalty: For Kids

Do you have family loyalty? Do you know what it means to be loyal?Family Loyalty: For Kids

Do you have family loyalty? Do you know what it means to be loyal? In this episode we are going to talk about your family, your parents, and those adults in charge of you. And we are going to talk about that and so much more. Another episode for the kids!

Listen to these past episodes just for kids!

  1. Kids Making Good Decisions.
  2. Making Good Choices – Why Should You?

Books for tweens – Truth Seekers Mystery Series. 

What do you think being loyal means? If you said it has to do with standing by someone or some idea or purpose these are all correct. We hear about loyalty when we think about the military. The men who fight for our country to keep us safe, they are loyal to an idea or a cause. When people described people that were loyal they used the word chivalry. Chivalry means to protect, to be honest, to be kind and to care even to the point of giving your life. But did you know being loyal applies to your parents and your family as well?

So, again – let’s think about this word loyalty. Are your parents loyal to you?

Your parents put you first, above people not in your family, right? They feed you, make sure you have clothes to wear and a place to sleep. And, for homeschoolers you know your parents are your teachers.  You listen to your teachers whether it is a parent or a teacher outside of the home. So, what happens when someone tells you to trust? Well, trust is earned for the most part. If you are a kid, maybe you have lost your parent’s trust by making the wrong choices. But, generally, people who are authority figures should be trusted.

Do you remember in your early grades you studied about community helpers? These are people who had jobs within a community where you live that serve in a job that helps, for example, law enforcement, teachers, firefighters, emergency personnel like ambulance drivers and EMTs or paramedics. These are people in authority. There are many people that fall into this category. They pretty much get our trust because they are an authority figure. You really don’t want to argue with a firefighter who is trying to rescue you from a burning building.

Well, our parents are authority figures as well. Some parents are great and some, well not so much. Some kids in a family are great, some are not so great, but no family is perfect. We all make mistakes and when we do, we should all apologize and say we are sorry. I have written many apology notes to my kids during times when I messed up. Yes, even adults make mistakes. But we are still a family.

We should have family loyalty. It is important. Maybe you yell at your siblings but if someone else says something bad about them you want to fight with that person to defend your sister or brother, or maybe mom or dad. We should be loyal to our family because we know our family cares about us, even if they do not always show us they care.

Who put your family together? Are you a person of faith? If so, you believe that God had a hand in putting your family together. Maybe you wish that God didn’t give you the family you have because you think another family is better. God gives us all free will, we are not puppets, and we can make our own choices. Some people make good choices and others do not. So, where does that leave us?

But why have family loyalty? Why is that important? For some of you, you may think that is a strange question. I started thinking about this the other day when I caught the tail end of a superhero movie on television. Well, I think it was a superhero – it was an X-Men movie–are they superhero? I don’t even know. Anyway, at the end of the movie I heard one of the characters say some words that I have heard before. I heard these in my college classes. It started with this:

“Forget everything your parents have taught you.”

What! Why would someone say that to you? Why should you forget everything your parents taught you?

  1. Would your parents teach you something that is bad?
  2. Would your parents want to harm you?
  3. Would your parents teach you something that your teachers or other authority figures may not want you to know?Hmm…

You are a kid no matter how old you are. You will always be a kid to your parents. Your parents love you and they care about you. They want you to be loyal to your family and believe what they have taught you at home is right and just.

  1. Parents teach you about right and wrong.
  2. Parents teach you about faith.
  3. Parents teach you about values and morals. Basically, families teach you important things that they want you to learn.

If someone tells you to forget everything your parents taught you and listen to them, doesn’t that make you suspicions? When I heard a teacher say that to me, this is what I thought.

  1. Why should I listen to you, OVER my parents? I don’t know you or what you believe.
  2. I will respect you if you are a teacher or authority figure, but you are making me pretty suspicious if you are telling me not to believe my parents.
  3. I will not believe everything YOU say, without thinking it through.

An authority figure that tells you to forget what your parents say that does not know what your parents said, is wrong. Why do they say this? A fancy way of saying this is they have an agenda. They think they know better than your parents. They want you to think the same way they do, and they do not want you to have an opinion that is different from theirs. There was a movie God’s Not Dead and in that movie the professor wanted everyone to sign a piece of paper that said that God was a myth and the belief in God was not true. Everyone in the class signed the paper except for one student. And the professor was very angry with him, and tried all different ways to make him back down.

This is why family loyalty is important but also what you believe. If you are confused, ask your parents.

Many teachers really do a good job and they care. But, some teachers really don’t want you to have an opinion and view that is different than theirs.  This happens to some adults at work as well. If people really care they should understand that we all think differently. Yes, even if we disagree. You should be allowed to have your opinions and other people should be allowed to have their opinions.

So, why are we talking about family loyalty? Because if we are loyal to our families we:

  1. Put our family over your friends. We are committed to each other.
  2. We enjoy the family that God gave us.
  3. We stand up for members of our family.
  4. We stand with the members of our family.
  5. We work together as a family toward common goals.
  6. We make a commitment to our families.
  7. We encourage our family members and not put them down.

Each one of you is amazing and important and each one of you—I believe was created in the image and likeness of God. God does not make junk! he made you and gave you to the family you have, and we make the best with our family. Our family is practice for the family you will someday be with and do your part to be the best you can.


Special Replay: Summer Reading List

Let’s Talk About Summer Reading ListsLet’s Talk About Summer Reading Lists

Most schools public and private assign reading lists for upper elementary OR middle-high school years — but we, as homeschoolers were never known to be the norm. Right? Right! We beat to a different drummer and in this broadcast Felice shares her love of books, when that came about and how you can foster that love with your children during the summer months. Who says school has to end in May or June? Enjoy the lazy days of summer with some great reading choices and see your child’s imagination and love of learning soar!



Handouts Below

Show Notes – 

A. What are your goals in having your children read books during the summer?

B. Do you want your children to learn to love reading?

C. Do you want to get a head start on your school year by reading good books?

You can find many of these books at the public library or purchase them for your 

Suggested Summer Reading List

Younger Children—K-3


    1. Children’s Bibles / Bible Read Aloud Stories
    2. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmens
    3. Paddington by Michael Bond
    4. The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Anderson
    5. Goodnight, Moon! By Margaret Wise Brown
    6. The Gingerbread Boy—Folk Tale (Grimm’s Fairy Tales)
    7. Stone Soup—Folk Tale
    8. A Crayon for Harold by Ruth Krauss
    9. The Children of the King—Max Lucado
    10. Blueberries for Sale by Robert McCloskey
    11. Little Bear by Minarik
    12. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish
    13. Curious George by H.A. & Margaret Rey
    14. Nate the Great by Marjory Sharmat
    15. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
    16. Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier
    17. A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
    18. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    19. Billy and Blaze (series) by C.W. Anderson
    20. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
    21. Little Bear by Else Homelund Minarik
    22. Elementary & Classics
    23. The Storykeepers (series) by Brian Brown and Andrew Melrose
    24. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
    25. Matilda by Roald Dahl
    26. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
    27. Pocahontas by Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire
    28. Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport by Laura Lee Hope
    29. Cul-de-Sac Kids (series) by Beverly Lewis
    30. An American Girl Series (Addy, Kirsten, Kaya, etc.) by Janet Shaw
    31. Charlotte’s Weby by E.B. White (Stuart Little)
    32. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren


    Upper Level Elementary & Middle School

    1. Cooper Kids Adventure Series by Frank Peretti
    2. Truth Seekers Mystery Series by Christina (Gerwitz) Moss & Felice Gerwitz
    3. Hardy Boys by Frank W. Dixon (read older books in the series)
    4. Nancy Drew by Caroline Keene
    5. The False Prince (Ascendance Trilogy) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
    6. The Sugar Creek Gang Mystery Series by Paul Hutchens
    7. Chronicles of Narnia—Series—The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    8. Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery
    9. The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
    10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    11. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
    12. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
    13. Hoot by Carl Hiasen
    14. National Velvet by Engid Bagnold
    15. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
    16. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (skip the “chant”
    17. Hans Brinker Silver Skates by Mary mapes Dodge
    18. My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
    19. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
    20. Justin Morgan had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
    21. In the Heart of the Rockies by G.A. Henty
    22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
    23. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
    24. Come on Seabiscit by Ralph Moody
    25. Rascal by Sterling North
    26. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
    27. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
    28. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
    29. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
    30. Mary Poppins by Pamela L. Travers
    31. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
    32. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
    33. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr, and Ernestine Gilbreth Carney
    34. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
    35. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    36. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
    37. White Fang by Jack London
    38. The Yearling by Majorie Rawlings
    39. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevnson
    40. The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain
    41. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    42. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
    43. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

High School

  1. The Complete Father Brown Series by G.K Chesterton
  2. Ann of Green Gables
  3. The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. Death of the Nile by Agatha Christie
  5. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  6. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  7. The Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  10. Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield
  11. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  13. The Screwtape Letters (Mere Christianity) by C.S. Lewis
  14. This Present Darkness (Three books in the series) by Frank Perreti
  15. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson
  16. Emma / Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
  17. Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
  18. The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton
  19. Deer Slayer by James Finmore Cooper
  20. Divine Comedy by Dante
  21. Great Expectation by Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
  22. The County of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  23. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway
  24. Les Miserable by Victor Hugo
  25. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  26. Last Days of Socrates by Plato
  27. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  28. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
  29. Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  30. City of God by St. Augustine
  31. Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton
  32. Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis


Fun Summer Project: Write A Book

Why write? It is fun, and what better fun summer project than to write a book.Fun Summer Project: Write a Book – Episode 432

Why write? It is fun, and what better fun summer project than to write a book. For some children, this may be just what they need to get their creative juices flowing and for others, it may be better to begin with baby steps. This is a just for kid’s episode but parents are always invited, so get your kids and let’s begin!

Did you know storytelling is something that people did long ago for entertainment? Now we have television, video, and streaming apps, but long ago the way that people enjoyed themselves was to tell stories of real events or to exaggerate things that happened to make them more exciting.

For example, instead of saying… I was walking down a path, and I got to the end, and I turned right. After that, I kept going until I got home. Boring right?

Well, someone might tell the story like this. As I was walking down a path I thought I heard something rustling in the bushes, in fact, the noise got closer and closer, so I hurried along trying not to make it obvious that I was afraid and really, really scared. There are often lions in the woods and I knew that it was close to their feeding time, and if I didn’t hurry I might be some lucky lion’s dinner. As I walked I looked back, and the rustling was still following me and it was getting faster. So, I picked up my speed. And, yes – you guessed it the thing – whatever it was in the bushes was also picking up speed as well. I saw my house ahead and I ran as fast as I could as if my life depends on it. Because it did. As I opened the door and threw myself in, I heard a roar and a whoosh of air right behind me. Then a horrible scratching at my door. I looked out of my front window and there is was an angry, pacing lion who had just lost its tasty dinner. Me.

Which story would you want to read? The first one or the second one? I agree the second one sounds more exciting and both say the same thing just in different ways.

Fiction is very close in some ways to true events and if you can think of something that has happened to you, you may be able to turn it into a short story that people will enjoy. Because that is what storytelling is, it is a way to entertain or bring enjoyment to another person. And, who doesn’t want to make someone else happy?

I wrote three novels with my daughter and that is called being a co-author. We wrote different parts of a story and put the parts together. I wrote some scientific facts in the book and she wrote the fun, action-adventure, mystery part. We worked on it together and it was a wonderful experience. You can find the books on my website at and they are the Truth Seekers Mystery series.

How did we come up with this idea? I wanted novels that taught good information and my daughter wanted to write an action novel with kids that actually did something that wasn’t dumb. For example, if there is a noise in the basement no one is dumb enough to go down the dark stairs alone to check it out like in all the books where they get caught. I have a podcast where I interviewed my daughter and you can get more of an idea, here. PUT LINK TO OTHER PODCAST

So – back to writing.

Let’s say you always wanted to write a book and just didn’t know how to begin. One of the best ways to begin is through brainstorming. If you can brainstorm an idea, it helps to work out the angle you want to take. My daughter and I did this with the Truth Seekers Mystery Series TM. So you can begin with a marker board or a large sheet of paper. You can draw a diagram, and start with a circle in the middle and write the word, story… then draw spokes around your primary topic or goal.  And add to these, it can have characters (and spokes off of that circle to name your main characters), or it can have a setting, or a theme, or problem that must be solved.

Most books have a specific theme or another word for it is TrOps… look up the word tropes – which is pronounced trOp – the o is long. This is an overused or cliché … this may give you something to start with. For example, think typical kid mysteries, or time travel, finding treasure, you know things that most books or movies are about.

You keep drawing these spokes and circles until you run out of ideas. This is also called mind mapping and you can look that up as well.

What if you don’t think you can write a long story? Well, start small.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Start with a short story
  2. What is the problem? If there is no problem to overcome there is no story.
  3. Write one chapter at a time – and before you do – write a few sentences about what the chapter is about.
  4. Know your character. What is it about your character that makes him/her lovable or not likable? What is going to be different or change in the character? Will the character be stronger, or happier? Will the character learn something or be better for the trial they experienced?
  5. Keep the story moving… add a lion or two (remember the story I told you about walking home with the lion in the background?) I kept you in suspense not telling you what was rustling in the woods. Authors or good storytellers do this to keep the reader engaged – you want to know what is going to happen next OR you put down the book.

For more practice one thing you can do is retell a favorite story – you can change something in the story. For example, if the character is a boy make it a girl. If it is set in a mountain town make it a beach town. If they are finding buried treasure, change it to a valuable artifact – something that may be washed up on the seashore after a storm. So, the book is similar to the book you like but you change everything you can… the character’s names, and more to make it your own story. That is one way to start writing if you don’t know how.

Storytelling is all about the “what if” questions. What happens if the lion is faster than the person running away, what if the person had a bow and arrow, what the kid’s best friend or little brother was outside playing when the kid came running home chased by a lion?

Another way to jump-start ideas is to use open-ended stories or story starters … you can start reading a book and then put it down and write the rest of the story yourself. Don’t peak! After you are finished you can read the book and see how yours is better or how you can improve upon your idea.

You can do what I did with the first novels I wrote and that is to write with a partner. It is important if you do that one of you at least can take criticism. Because we were going to publish our books and they were going to be in catalogs and online stores, I gave the book to over 40 families to read and got feedback from the people reading the book to see what they liked or did not like. Then we changed our books to include the good ideas that people gave us. Some people do not like feedback or their feelings get hurt. Like an artist or anyone who puts their work or ideas out there – if you like it, and your family likes it? Well, that is all that matters. If you want ot look up the Missing Link Found on Amazon, you can read some of the comments that people have made on the book. As you can see there are good and bad. Another book I wrote, A Few Minutes with God also got good and bad reviews. But, you know what? It is okay. Some people do not like to share their work with others because of fear of what someone might say. I am not like that or I would not have over 20 different books published.

You can use software like Google docs if you have a Gmail account. You can share this with a parent or they can set it up for you.

Use Google docs – allows parents and children to access the document if permissions are set correctly at the same time, OR use a word document and allow tracking for corrections and comments when you edit.

So, what are you going to write? Is it a mystery? Is it a nature story? Is it a discovery? Did your character discover a lost island, or what about a bug? I have a friend who did discover a specific type of bug. Maybe you are writing about a tropical rain forest, or a vacation on the coast, and a big storm comes in and you find something exciting (or someone exciting) that is washed up on the shoreline. Imaginations can begin working if you give it some ideas to start with…

I wrote a book on writing and publishing for adults, but it is valuable if you ever want to publish your book, it is called Information in a Nutshell Writing and Publishing, and tells you more about the keys to writing. Another book on how to write fiction is by a good friend of mine, Susan Marlow, and it is called Reach For the Stars and is available with my eBook bundle on the MediaAngelsMembership website and if you want the print version, Susan sells it on her website. This book walks you through step by step guide on how to write fiction.

If you have any questions stop by this post and I’ll be happy to answer them.



Special Replay: Best Summertime Day Trips

Best Summertime Day Trips —

Planning for summertime day trips or day trip is easy, fast and fun! It was the only vacation my family took for many years. With both my husband and myself, self-employed the business did not run if we were not here. Being the ever-resourceful couple, we decided to ditch our car and buy a conversion van, and the fun began! Our journeys started close to home. Museums, state parks, and the planetarium. We asked the big question — is this a day drive? If not, we planned a week-end trip.

Out of our day-trip journeys, we soon found a love for nature and purchased our first pop-up tent in 1998. It was brand new and the camping trips began. It was small enough to fit behind our now, SUV and the best news was that it fit our entire family of five kids and two adults. Recently our pop-up was infested with critters that tore it up, but it lasted twenty years!

Supply list for summertime day trips:

Things to bring:

  1. Backpack
  2. Binoculars
  3. Fishing pole
  4. Portable chairs
  5. Picnic lunch
  6. Bug spray
  7. Sunscreen
  8. Water – plenty!
  9. First-aid kit
  10. Umbrella


Places to visit or things to do for summertime day trips:

  1. State park – hiking, backpacking, picnic, field trips.
  2. Museums – local displays, rotating or traveling exhibits
  3. Local culture – car show, horse shows, boat racing, sand sculptures, etc.
  4. Visit a farm / you pick
  5. Go to a fair – state fairs are in abundance in the summer
  6. Rodeo – a bit of culture for the cowboy or cowgirl in each of us
  7. Pet Store – just visit! Some stores feature exotic animals
  8. Flea Market – local culture at its best.
  9. Create an adventure
    1. Do something different, ride a roller coaster
    2. Taste exotic foods
    3. Visit interesting restaurants or cook these foods at home
  10. Horseback riding


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Fun Summer Projects: Family Business and Entrepreneurs

Summer seems to be a good time to have fun, but it also is a great time to think about a business for the entire family. Are you ready, here are some great ideas to get you started.Fun Summer Projects: Family Business and Entrepreneur – 431

What are some fun summer projects? What about starting a family business? Summer seems to be a good time to have fun, but it also is a great time to think about a business for the entire family. Are you ready, here are some great ideas to get you started.

Visit my website at for great books, memberships, and classes.

Years ago I gave a talk at a state homeschool conference on family businesses, and then later at a smaller conference and there was a real interest in working from home. When we fast-forward today we find that many businesses are cropping up online and are based at home. I grew up with a family that was self-employed. My parents owned a bakery…(more on podcast).

We have been conservative in our investments and our businesses and we’ve never had a business not succeed – so, I feel a little bit qualified to give you some advice about beginning a home business. There are many questions you should ask yourself and the teacher in me always starts with the questions…because it is a great place to begin.

Keys to beginning a home business:



(Details are on the podcast – here is the short list)

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Learning curve.
  3. Is there a demand?
  4. What makes your product stand out?
  5. What is the start-up costs?
  6. Do you know how to write a marketing plan?
  7. How much time are you willing to invest?
  8. How are you willing to do it right?
  9. Is this something you can do on the side until it can be a standalone job?
  10. How much do you love this idea?

Our kids worked and helped in our business throughout their time as homeschoolers. There were book sales and books to pack and ship, they helped with all aspects of the business that were within their ability. One of my children, Christina (now an adult) was the co-author of a three-book series we wrote together. She learned firsthand that there is no free lunch it takes work and perseverance. There is a booth at homeschool conferences, there are speeches to write and to give, and there is selling online and websites – business cards to design and slogans or catchphrases to create. If you want something that keeps the family together and teaches a good work ethic, this is it.

Well, what do you think? Do you have the next best idea? Well then, I hope you look through these suggestions, add some of your own and let me know if I left anything out that I should have added in the comment section below –

Check out these Information in a Nutshell books about Business!

Information in a Nutshell Writing Tips – Are you passionate about your writing? Do you have an idea that may be the next best seller? Do you have a story that must be told? Do you aspire to share your experience or knowledge with others?  It took me over ten years to get my first book published, not because I didn’t have the desire, but because many books I read about the entire process left me feeling lost or overwhelmed. This book is easy to read and will give you a quick understanding with insider’s secrets and tips. Don’t wait for ten years like I did! Discover today how to turn your ideas into a published book. Learn insider’s tips from successful published authors. Don’t wait another day.  This book will give you the tools you need to jump start your writing career.

Information in a Nutshell – Business Tips and Taxes for Writers – This long awaited companion book of the Information in a Nutshell line is finally here! Authored by Carol Topp, CPA this short book packs a powerful message ~ Authors MUST know the business tips, strategies, bookkeeping and tax advice in order to keep those profits from their writing. Whether you are an author of a book, blog or magazine articles you will want to read this book from cover to cover.


Special Replay: The Best Summertime For Kids

What are the best summertime outdoor activities — well they can range from those that please the most active child to those who would rather sit and read a book. Yet, there is just something about being outdoors that makes us happy! The sun, the sky the bugs… okay, well we want to avoid those as much as possible but still enjoy being in the beautiful world that God gave us.

Thanks to our sponsor the Well Planned Gal, Rebecca Farris! She has various planners for every homeschool need and the Prayer Journal is brand new. You can visit – and in just a few minutes I can’t wait to tell you more about them…

In my last podcast (Best Summertime Rainy Day Activities Episode 277) I went over some things like rules that are important for kids to know before you begin any activity as well as encouraging positive character qualities – you may want to listen to episode 279 in order to learn more. It is important to realize that the minute kids get outside all they want to do is run. It’s like the saying, “Free and in the wild!” But, kids can also be directed once outside and I’m excited to share these ideas with you.

My list would not be complete without the following:

  1. Sports with little skill
    1. Badminton – minimal fuss – there is a skill involved
    2. Archery
    3. Tennis
    4. Water balloon fights
    5. Messy relay races like water balloon toss
  2. Camping
    1. In the backyard or at a park!
    2. Set up a minimal tent – bug spray!
    3. Sleep under the stars
    4. Cook over a small charcoal grill/ fireplace
    5. Cook on skewers – veggies or meats (wood – soak in water first)
  3. Stargazing at night – summer skies are awesome for this.
    1. Download a phone app
    2. Use a handheld device that helps you identify your sky
    3. Learn the constellations – lifelong skill
  4. Bike riding
    1. Take bikes to a local park
    2. Ride off the beaten path
    3. Put noisemakers in spokes
    4. Decorate bikes
  5. Nature Walks/hikes
    1. Learn something new – plant, terrain, or wildlife
    2. Use a map and learn map reader
    3. Use a compass for directions
    4. Night walk – use only the moon no flashlight, notice the vegetation in the night light – this is an amazing experience!
  6. Fishing
    1. Use a stick and string
    2. Research what types of bait work best
    3. Fish in a pond (be sure an adult is present) use hotdog, corn or worms
    4. Make your own fishing pole
  7. Picnic
    1. Pack easy to assemble foods
    2. Finger foods
    3. Fruit
    4. Picnic in your backyard
    5. Picnic in the back/ tailgate of your car
  8. Competition/ training for a marathon
    1. Research times for local or nearby marathons
    2. Check out the possibility for kid entries. (Disney)
    3. Train slowly!
    4. Learn about foods that help you when you train
    5. What do you eat before a marathon?
  9. Water Sports
    1. Swimming
    2. Sail Boating
    3. Paddleboard
    4. Make a boat! Create paper boats – try to make them float
  10.  Geocaching – Find treasures!
    1. Go to a geocaching site for locations of treasure
    2. Teaches map skills
    3. Create your own in your home.


Do you have a great idea I left out that is a win-win? Please share them with us!



50 Summer Projects For Kids

50 Summer Projects For Kids – Episode 431

There are so many fun ideas for summer, but what about 50 summer projects for kids? Summertime is a chance to learn new things, explore and have a great time, but it can also be easily wasted doing nothing. Here is a list of ideas to get you started.

Welcome to this Just for Kids episode!

Here is a list of my 50 top ideas for kids and they are not in any particular order, but it gives you a starting place to come up with ideas of your own. For example, anyone can read one book, but what about an entire series? Sure, this may take time if you are reading something like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. But, it will take less time if you are reading Little House on the Prairie. Even if the book is for younger kids take a chance, especially if you have not read the series before.

  1. Read a series of books.
  2. Start a business. Think of things you’d like to do.
  3. Manage money. See how much you can save.
  4. Learn to cook, bake or create new recipes.
  5. Learn a new skill.
  6. Learn a new sport.
  7. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  8. Learn a new language.
  9. Create an obstacle course.
  10. Create something that flies.
  11. Make something out of recyclables.
  12. Learn to draw.
  13. Write with your non-dominant hand.
  14. Make a list of things you’d like to collect and start a collection.
  15. Make a list of movies you’ve watched and the ones you want to watch.
  16. Make a list of books you have read and the ones you want to read.
  17. Make a new friend.
  18. Help a neighbor or friend.
  19. Each day say something nice to each member of your family.
  20. Start a new habit, like fixing your bed.
  21. Plan a trip for the family.
  22. Plan a family event, like a game night.
  23. Plan an entire month of fun activities. These can be simple.
  24. Stage a play. Write, and produce it for others to act.
  25. Write a short story.
  26. Create a podcast. What would your show be about?
  27. Create a scavenger hunt.
  28. Learn about geocaching.
  29. Go on a treasure hunt.
  30. Organize pictures. On a phone, or computer.
  31. Learn to take good pictures.
  32. Learn to sew a button.
  33. Write an mail a letter to a relative or a friend.
  34. Learn to write a thank-you card.
  35. Jobs – what do you think would be fun to have as a job.
  36. Build something.
  37. Create a fort.
  38. Learn first aid.
  39. Create a list of rules for different things.
  40. Play a game using a different set of rules.
  41. Create something new. Think about this.
  42. Create an exercise routine.
  43. Learn to eat healthy.
  44. Grow something from a seed.
  45. Start a garden.
  46. Create a challenge with someone in your family.
  47. Learn to play chess – or another game you don’t know.
  48. Learn a new craft.
  49. Create a kite.

As you can see some of these fun projects can take some time and others can be done easily. If you like some of these ideas, make a plan on when you will start to do them and write them in your calendar. Learning to set deadlines and goals is an important part of learning to accomplish and get things done! This also helps us to be creative and figure out ways to make things work. I hope one or many of this ideas help you.

Special Replay: Summertime Rainy Day Activities

Best Summertime Rainy Day Activities

Are you ready for some fun rainy day activities? Unless you live in a frigid place there will be a time that rainy day activities will come in handy. I guess it if is winter change it to “snow day” activities! Here we have some fun ideas that will help you entertain children with the least amount of tears!

This month it is all about making memories and keeping some last minute plans in place for those unexpected events is so helpful. In my early years as a mom and homeschooler, I subscribed to different mailed sets – one was a kit to do with your kids and it involved crafts and things to build. However, I found that while some of the ideas were great many were not anything that interested my children. So I started and proceeded to lose lists! Sound familiar.

Rainy Day Activities

Now that I’m so much older I have a wealth of experience and information at fingertips! I know what works and what does not, and it is amazing how these old ideas still work well. I’m happy to share my ideas with you—and you can keep these handy and we plan for your own rainy day activities.

I know, I know – kids are all different, and what makes one kid excited can leave the rest yawning, so I add a few little ideas to the list of my favorites and that enforcing good character qualities in our children through every-day events.

My children all struggle, we all struggle with different things such as patience, sharing “our” things, waiting for others who are slower, perfectionism, doing things we don’t want to do.

At times I would plan out fun things to do only to have kids say they don’t want to participate! Talk about a fun-damper, right? So… instead we want to set up the kids for success and keep our sanity by planning out even their reactions!

Before we do anything, especially with little children I remind them of the rules.

  1. We are thankful for everything and everyone.
  2. We will be grateful
  3. We will share and be happy for others
  4. We won’t touch anything until given permission

Quick opinion on rules: I grew up as a teacher in the era of coloring without lines and classrooms without walls – this permissive atmosphere cause kids to be confused about what was expected and certainly did not encourage the creativity and “free thinking” it was meant to instill and allow. Yet, I continued to use this type of methodology in my parenting. It made parenting at times very difficult because I had little kids that were “exploring” and loving their surrounds but certainly not listening to anything I had to say. I learned to change my methods and teach them some rules of what I expected and wonder of wonders, they learned to obey and listen! Life was much happier.

An overview of rules allows kids to know what is expected when we played games or before we left the house – even in the car, I made sure to go over what I expected. I didn’t want to be embarrassed on our outings and my kids were sure to get excited when they saw friends or shelves full of fun things to pull off in the store! I think shopping carts are probably an invention by a mom to keep kids contained while shopping!

Kids will still enjoy themselves and believe me rules will not starve creativity! I met a lady recently who works with parents, she is a parenting expert and helps moms and dads learn how to parent — there is even a certification for this! For many of us this is probably not surprising and I’m sure it is much needed.

So, as we look forward to rainy day activities be sure to let the kids know – we will have fun, but we do have some rules we want to follow.

Are you ready for these tried and true ideas for 10 fun rainy day activities?

  1. Reading
    1. Books saved particularly for rainy days – read aloud – get the pop corn out and erect a tent!
    2. Books kids want to read on their own – again save special books for a special occasion.
  2. Crafts
    1. T-shirts – use fabric makers or paint
    2. Clay
    3. Mason Jar terrariums
      1. Use soil and small plants – poke holes in lid and keep an eye on the soil moisture
      2. Use sand and shells for a great beach memory craft and something to do with those shells the kids like to collect
  • Use for rock collections or any type of “nature walk” collections the kids bring home.
  1. Paints
    1. Use ink pens – draw a picture and color it with watercolors
    2. Make a mural – use large pieces of paper (packing paper – keep it!)
  • Use fingers to make prints and create fingerprint creatures
  1. Balsa wood – models, etc.
  2. Mini-marshmallows and toothpicks – build!
  3. Ready made kits
    1. Beads
    2. models
  4. Games
    1. Board games with Play offs
    2. Video games
    3. Active games
      1. Charades
      2. Hide and Seek
  • Don’t step on … avoid different areas.
  1. Learn a new dance
  2. Games that are interactive
  3. Inflate balloons and allow the kids to play games with them!
  1. Movie marathon
    1. Series of movies to watch
    2. Short movies and then act them out
  2. Indoor tents or forts
    1. Set up a pop up tent
    2. Use sheets and blankets and chairs
  3. Puppet show / Plays
    1. Use an box as the puppet stage
    2. Make hand puppets
    3. Act out a movie, or characters from a book
  4. Indoor Scavenger hunt
    1. Monthly printable for June – subscribers only
    2. Go to the place where you enter the home – there you will find the next clue
    3. Be sure to set up your rules first
  5. Baking cookies or bread
    1. Be sure to have ingredients on hand
    2. Create a dough that requires rolling out and cut outs for added fun
    3. Learn to braid bread
    4. Make cinnamon rolls or other breakfast breads
  6. Learn something new
    1. Learn simple vocabulary for a new language – Spanish, French, Italian learn how to say hello, please, thank-you, etc.
    2. Learn how to eat with chop-sticks
    3. Learn to juggle
    4. Learn to paint
  7. Activities
    1. Ice or roller skating
    2. Sock skating indoors
    3. Make and fly paper airplanes
    4. Create slime
    5. Exercise
    6. Give the kids a bag of recyclables and ask them to create something – have contests to see who wins.

Remember, whatever you do –do it with fun in mind! Have some activities ready for when the rains come, and you will create a fun atmosphere without resorting to placing the children in front of the TV!

Fun Summer Projects For Families

Are you ready to launch some fun summer projects - what about ones that are a bit unusual but teach? It is a time when you can give your child time to explore or direct your children in an organized way. Depending on the ages of your children the amount of direction may be less focused for the older ones.Fun Summer Projects– Episode 430

Are you ready to launch some fun summer projects – what about ones that are a bit unusual but teach? It is a time when you can give your child time to explore or direct your children in an organized way. Depending on the ages of your children the amount of direction may be less focused for the older ones.

How do you spell summer? F-U-N Summer Projects!

Do you want good books written for homeschool moms by homeschool moms? Look no further and check out my products and classes at and and the products in my online store now available for shipping – and stay tuned, I will soon have information about Creation Kids Classes as well as the Creation Camp for kids I hope to offer. The notebooks are available in digital form for you to use for your own children on the website, but more is coming. If you don’t want to miss out be sure you are signed up for our mailing list where new character planners are still be created each month. This month’s topic happens to be Enthusiasm. When you miss the free planner, you can purchase it in our store.

Fun Summer Projects For Families

One of my goals as a homeschool mom was to give my children time to think and create on their own. I really believe that children don’t have time to really think. School is typically made up of reading the information or have it read to you – then answer the questions. Kids often ask, “What is the right answer?” Giving the children time to explore when they are younger in a directed way (to keep them out of trouble) is a good idea.

When they were younger I gave them tools such as measuring cups and other household items that they could play with, pouring water in and out, and measuring. I gave my young son a box of rubber bands (and yes he made a mess with them and I kept finding them stuffed under cushions and other unlikely places for weeks after), but he loved the texture of the rubber and lined them up and put them into buckets and boxes. As the children get older the items can become more involved.

Recyclables become a great treasure trove for kids to build and create. These can be anything from plastics to glass. In an upper-level art class I took, we used small posters and then took glass, broke it, and used the flat pieces with clear glue to create a mosaic on top of it. The results were stunning. Clear glass or colored glass can be used. Paper towel rolls are great for creating different projects as well.

We used maps to track our journey from home (southwest Florida) to Georgia one year. I used maps glued to file folders and the children placed their names on the folders. The kids could tack our journey using road signs as we crossed into different towns. It took us two days with lots of stops in between, but the kids didn’t ask me, “How much longer.”

Another one of my homeschool goals was to teach using fun projects to do it. Teaching skills that are not often covered in school such as money management, planning, etc. Give the children a chance to add to the following list of ideas and you will be surprised at how many they come up with themselves.

Here is a list of ideas for fun summer activities:

  1. Bubbles: There are so many great things you can do with bubbles, such as making them from scratch (dish soap and water), to using your hands to create bubbles or pipe cleaners, even straws – be sure the kids are blowing out and not sucking in!
  2. Drama: Do your kids like to act? They can do one-act plays and write their own script. It can be of a famous character or a favorite movie character.
  3. Water tension: Float or sink? Give the children a bag full of items and have them divide them into the ones they think will float and those they think will sink. Then allow them to experiment in the bathtub or kitchen sink.
  4. Collections: Summer is a great time to start a new collection. It can be something found in nature—which is the easiest or perhaps researching something they would like to collect. Bottle tops, stamps, coins, etc. State coins are a fun thing to collect and each state quarter has a little bit about the state history. You can find a list of state quarters and their symbolism on Wikipedia.
  5. Scavenger Hunts: These can easily be set up within a home, a yard, or even the park (but stay together and go in a group). Clues can be given and the end “prize” can be something simple like picking out a movie to watch as a family or perhaps a favorite meal.
  6. Learn to cook: Many of my college friends had no idea how to do the basics. Make sure your children have an idea of the essentials! If your children have mastered the basics it is time to experiment with new flavors, recipes, or dessert ideas.
  7. Planning: Have the children plan a fun family outing or a fun family time “in” that is different than something you may often do. It may take some help and direction. For example, planning a homemade pizza night where everyone makes an individual pizza, helps with clean up afterward and then plays board games. You can brainstorm ideas as a family.
  8. Money Skills: Allow the children to open bank accounts and keep track of their savings. It is amazing how little kids want to spend when it is their own money. You can set up stores in the home as well and the kids can use actual boxes of food to play store. Teach the concept of giving change as well.
  9. Decorating/ Organization: Decorate an area of a bedroom or maybe help with a party. There are celebrations almost every day and you can look up a holiday calendar online. There are pizza days, chocolate days, and more! The kids can help with making decorations or even making decorations you can keep from year to year—my favorite. Or, you can use summertime to organize. Take one thing like a drawer. Start small and branch out from there. It is not overwhelming if you start small!
  10. Pictures: How many great photos are sitting on your phone? This could be a time to go through them with the children – pick one night and connect your computer to the TV and go through them as a family or do this on a computer directly. You can print out the ones you want to place on a wall, or send them off to be printed and give them as gifts.

You can place one fun summer project idea into a paper bag and draw out ideas randomly. You may need to plan for certain things, but you can put these on a calendar to do one time a week. You can assign different people (or ask for volunteers). You can put the older children in charge of organizing as well. It is a good time to oversee their “people skills,” and ask them to use nice words and encourage each other. One year I had “banned words” implemented like the words can’t, stupid, or shut up were not allowed. (Remember you are the parent and what you say goes!)

I hope this gives you some ideas of what you can do this summer and hopefully, this will get you started with many, many ideas of your own. Stay tuned for my summer projects for the kids show coming up soon