Vintage Homeschool Moms

Academic Motivation

Do your children have an academic motivation to be the best? In this just for kids episode we discuss who is in charge of learning.Academic Motivation – Episode 462

Do your children have an academic motivation to be the best? In this just for kids episode, Felice once again talks directly to the kids to encourage them to take education in a way that matters.

Visit Media Angels to find the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, novels for tweens, and other books such as A Few Minutes with God.

If I told you you could win the greatest prize that even money couldn’t buy, would you be interested? This prize will open up the world to you in a way that no one can take away from you. Listen in as I share the answer to this question at the very end.

Who is in charge of your learning? Did you say your mom, dad or teacher? Wrong.

Usually, people say there are no right and wrong answers and that might be true. Maybe. But, if you have a math assignment and answer the questions any way you want to without figuring them out, then yes, it is going to be wrong.

In this same way, thinking someone else is in charge of your learning is not a good way to think. Why? Because you should be in charge of learning and when I say in charge I mean having a good attitude to learn. You can’t possibly teach yourself something you do not know, but you can be open to learning something you do not know that your parents or teachers are trying to present to you. This is important for so many reasons. One way is to be a detective.

A detective looks at the mystery and tries to solve it looking for clues or evidence. You can be a detective and do this and start with your parents. Ask your mom, dad or both what they wish they had learned when they were going to school. You will be surprised. You can ask your grandparents this question as well. Often they wish they had learned more about a specific topic because they realized that they were interested in the topic or maybe the job attached with the topic.

Psychology is the study of the human condition or how the mind works and why people do what they do. For example, if someone bumps into you what do you say? Do you say, “Oh, careful there you might hurt yourself?” No? Maybe you say, “I’m sorry I was in the way.” No, again? Maybe you bump or shove them back and say, “Watch it!” More like it right? We do things because we want to take care of ourselves, especially when you are younger what you want and need – you think – is more important than what your mom, dad, brothers, sisters, or anyone else in your family needs. Is this true? For some people it is… that is why a little child screams when they want to get their own way. The more noise they make the more everyone trips over themselves making them stop screaming! It is actually rewarding bad behavior.

Well, the same thing goes for learning. Who should be more interested in learning you, or your mom or dad? The answer is you! More than likely that is not a true statement because your parents are more interested in your learning than you are, and in fact, you may think school is — boring! Everything you learn goes into the treasure chest of your mind. Learning is like finding a treasure that only you can spend and use. Think about this.

How can you have academic motivation and what does that mean? Academics has to do with learning, learning different subjects, behavior, and even learning how to survive in a home and do chores as well as get along with your family members. Motivation means to want to do something. Academic motivation in this sense is wanting to learn.

Who benefits from you learning. Do I get smarter because my kids learned how to read, write, and understand history and science? I may have learned something I didn’t know or forgot that I learned as a kid, but I am not the one who is taking the test or going on to get a job or college. No, the person who gains the most is the person learning.

Learning opens up the world for you, it helps you to get a better job or the job you want. Learning opens your mind to new things and helps you focus on what is important to your future. People who are not educated will not get ahead in this life, they will be stuck doing jobs they do not enjoy. Some people say there is a way to never work a day in your life. How do you do this? By doing a job you enjoy. If your work is interesting and you get paid for it, that is the best type of job and it does not feel like work.

How can you be self-motivated to have academic motivation?

  1. Think about the benefits. Why is learning important?
  2. Realize that when you learn that is your information forever. No one can take it away.
  3. Every new thing you learn is added into your treasure chest. You can cash this in at some point in your life.
  4. Learning is a way to get a good job.
  5. Learning is a way to never have a job (that means having a job you enjoy)

Can you add to this list? What are some ways you can motivate yourself to learn?

Remember the question I asked you at the beginning of this podcast?

If I told you you could win the greatest prize that even money couldn’t buy, would you be interested? This prize will open up the world to you in a way that no one can take away from you.

Do you know the answer? Did you say learning and the motivation (wanting) to learn? Then you are right. Wanting to learn is a wonderful way to get ahead in life and with a little bit of focus you can make it happen with the help of your parents and educators.


Assignments Kids Love – Special Replay

Are there really assignments that kids love -- yes! Especially when you allow them to study an area of interest. As a homeschool mom, I loved...Assignments Kids Love – Special Replay

Are there really assignments that kids love — yes! Especially when you allow them to study an area of interest. As a homeschool mom, I loved having proof that my children learned and what better way than through assignments. Testing is truly the easy way out. A child memorizes what is on the test and then proceeds to forget.

My daughter has a history professor that uses the following and very effective method of giving assignments.

  1. She assigns a book to read.
  2. She has them write a one page report covering the main ideas.
  3. She has them do a presentation on the book about ten minutes in length and then asks them questions.

In this way they not only have to research, write and then present, but they have to know the information in order to answer questions.

Assignments Kids Love – Ways To Demonstrate Knowledge

  1. Write a report. Use a word processor, use photos and illustrations.
  2. Or you can use a “Lapbook” technique. Use a file folder and cut outs to illustrate each of the points you want to make. This can be stored as a file folder and used for displays.
  3. Create a display using a science fair board.
  4. Use the wonder bubble unit technique. Draw one circle in the middle with a main idea or theme. Ask the children – what is the question or the problem to be solved? You can brainstorm ideas and decide which should make it to the board. After research write the main points on circles tied into the main one. The children can present their board. It can be created on a large piece o

In addition, begin small and work up. You can start with a short book on a topic they would enjoy and then increase it as the subject becomes more complex. For example, you would not give a topic like astronomy because it is too vast – but perhaps, a planet, a space flight like Apollo 11 or an astronaut like Neil Armstrong.

As far as the finished product I talked about the different methods in a previous podcast – Podcast on Homeschool Forms Here

Collections, Reports or Projects:


  • The geological location where the rock is commonly found. (List if there are many)
  • What type of rock is it?
  • Describe this rock.
  • Why do you collect this rock?
  • What makes this rock special?


  • A specific sport and how it is played, a team or a player?
  • Why did you select this topic?
  • What do you want to learn about this topic?
  • What do you want others to know about this topic?
  • Where will you find the information, you want to learn?
  • Do you want to go on a field trip to learn more about this topic?

Acton figures

  • The history behind the collection
  • The story behind the collection
  • Why specific pieces
  • What are you missing/ looking for?
  • Why do you enjoy this collection?


  • About the Author
  • Series name
  • Why do you enjoy these books?
  • Why do you collect these books?
  • Is there a book you are missing in the series?
  • Is this book published in other languages?


  • Geographical location
  • Color, Size, shape description
  • What type of animal once lived in this shell?
  • Why do you collect shells?
  • What shell would you like to find?

Academic Topic:


  • Study the constellations in your geographical location
  • How many can you identify?
  • Are there any planets you can see with the eye?
  • Use binoculars – does this make an improvement?
  • Go on a field trip to a nature center


  • What are the four oceans of the world – name them
  • Do you live near an ocean? Which one?
  • Have you visited the ocean? What did you see – describe.
  • Study the tides of the ocean you are closest too.
  • What type of animals live in the ocean? Make a list.
  • What types of birds live near this body of water?
  • Chemical composition of the ocean and experiments.


  • Type – describe
  • Geographical location
  • Eating habits
  • Does this bird migrate? If yes, map the migration process.
  • What is your favorite bird and why?


  • Type – describe
  • Geographical location
  • What does this insect eat?
  • Is this insect a pest?
  • Why are insects valuable to the ecosystem?

Wonders of the World

  • What is the definition of a “wonder of the world”?
  • What are the classic Seven Wonders of the World?
  • Map out the places on a world map.
  • What do you think is a wonder of the world that is not listed?

Famous Men or Women

  • What makes someone “famous?”
  • Select one famous person you want to know more about.
  • What is notable about this person?
  • Where did they live? Do?
  • Explain why you selected this person and what you want people to know about them.

Notable Authors

  • Select one author – someone you enjoy reading.
  • Describe this author’s background.
  • What books has this author written?
  • Do you have a favorite book? Why?
  • What makes this author’s writings enjoyable?


  • Select one classical music (or another type of music) composer.
  • Describe this composer’s background and history.
  • What is the most famous work this composer is known to write?
  • Was this composer (if classical) famous in their day?
  • What instruments are highlighted in this composers work?

The topic of Choice:

  • Why did you select this topic?
  • What do you want to learn that you don’t already know?
  • Where will you search for information?
  • Have you considered doing interviews?
  • Have you considered going on a field trip tied into this topic?
  • How will you demonstrate your knowledge? Report? Poster? PowerPoint presentation? Oral presentation?
  • What do you want others to know about your findings?




Peace At Home

Does your home suffer from the lack of "peace at home"? In this Just for Kids Series special where we discuss peace and family.Peace at Home – Episode 461

Does your home suffer from the lack of “peace at home”? In this Just for Kids Series special, Felice Gerwitz talks directly to the kids and asks them what type of household they prefer.

Visit Media Angels to find the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, novels for tweens, and other books such as A Few Minutes with God.

What is your family like? If I asked you to describe your family in one word what would that word be? Think about it.

Well, what did you come up with? Some of you might have said: big, small, nice, loving or maybe you said, loud, messy, crazy, and fun. Whatever word you used might be one way you think of your family, but it may have nothing to do with who your family really is or why it is important to be a team in a family.

Every team has a leader, it is someone like a coach who helps you to improve and get better. A coach has one thing in mind and that is to win and to encourage all of the players to do their best. Just like a team a family has a leader and it is the adults in the family, it can be a mom and dad or sadly, sometimes just a mom or just a dad. Either way, a family is led by someone who is in charge.

So, let me ask you another question. Are you the one in charge of your family? If you are a kid listening to this, the answer is … did you say no. You are right! You are part of the family, and an important part of the family but you are not the person in charge. The person in charge has done a lot to get to that point. One thing they have done is to have you! Either you were born into a family or you were adopted into a family, but either way, you are part of the family.

What happens when you put a group of people together? Many things can happen but often when people get together and if decisions need to be made then sometimes people disagree and when that happens it can make everyone sad. There can be fighting and arguing and then no one is happy.

Have you ever had a situation happen in your family when you were preparing to go somewhere and instead your parents said no one could go because everyone was disobeying? This is very sad for everyone involved. Or, maybe this happened to you, you disobeyed and your mom or dad said you could not go to a friend’s house or they could not come to your house. How terrible for everyone. These are life lessons that we learn and we may think they are very unfair but the person who looses out is you.

Do you want to lose out on having fun? Of course not, but when people do not do what they are told, then the peace is disturbed.

Peace is Disturbed When:

  1. People disagree
  2. No one will listen
  3. Someone wants their own way
  4. Things get violent
  5. Someone starts trouble for fun

Let’s look at these five points. (Listen to the audio for more information.)

Peace is Restored When:

  1. People agree
  2. Everyone listens and lets others speak uninterrupted
  3. Someone gives in or compromises are made.
  4. No one hits or screams.
  5. Everyone knows to be on their best behavior

Peace within families is very important. It allows everyone to get along and it helps the parents when it comes to managing the household. They can plan fun activities, they can get their own chores finished so there is more time to do things like read you a book, play games or put together puzzles.

Talking with kindness is important. When we get upset we sometimes say unkind things. And all we do is hurt someone else like we are hurting. This does nothing to make things better. Before you speak think! Think about what your words will say and if they will make things better, then say them. If your words will not make anything better it may be better to think again!

How will you have peace in your family? Think about the things we talked about. Peaceful families are happier and they enjoy being around each other. God put us into the families we have and I pray that you are able to enjoy being part of your family, until you grow up some day and have a family of your very own!


Everlasting Love – Special Replay

Love that is everlasting is something we all crave. In this podcast, we cover ways to have a family that is filled with grace and love!Everlasting Love – Special Replay

Love that is everlasting is something we all crave. In family life, we sometimes miss the forest because the trees get in the way. In this podcast, we cover ways to have a family that is filled with grace and love!

Thanks to our sponsor The Christian Standard Bible! Check out more on ~ we so appreciate our sponsors.

I believe all moms hope and pray that their children understand how much we love them. So much of our day when they are little is making sure they stay alive, especially when they are mobile. We cover electrical outlets, put up barriers for stairs and rails on beds. We put locks on cabinets and decide we are not using toxic chemicals because we want our children protected. Whether you are the lovey-dovey-gushy mom or one who says I love you by being strict, it all boils down to the same thing. We want our kids to understand they are loved.

As an aside, it is sometimes difficult as busy parents who have so many things going on at the same time that we must separate the discipline from anger. If we are upset, leave the “penalty” until later. Sometimes we take our children’s love for granted but that love can be damaged by discipline that they feel is unjust. I ask my children what they did wrong (if they don’t know I tell them and ask again) and when we are finished I tell them I love them.

God’s love is unconditional. He loves us not matter what we do, but he hates the sin and loves the sinner. A difficult concept to explain to children. 1 John 4:8 – The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

I’ve told my now grown up kids that they will always be my babies. My home has displays of pictures instead of art. In my eyes, it is priceless art, more valuable than anything. How do we take that love for our children and translate it to everlasting love that will last their lifetime? I believe this only happens with faith. Only God can give me the grace I need each and every day. Yes, there are things you can do to encourage love within your family, but often it is the grace from above that sustains us.

Important points to remember:

  1. Love is shown without words.
  2. Love is a sacrifice. Enough said.
  3. Love is never equal.
  4. Love is never fair.
  5. Love must be authentic, or it isn’t real.
  6. You can’t fake love
  7. Love takes work.
  8. Love may not be reciprocated.
  9. Love can be heart-breaking.
  10. Love is worth it.

God made us to love and be loved. If we are filled with the love of God that love will spill over to those in our family and friends. My co-author on the Media Angels Creation Science Series, Jill Whitlock was one of those people that often was asked the question, “You are different, why are you so happy?” People wanted what she had. What she had was the love of God. She went from atheist to agnostic to Christian. A super-charged in love with Christ, Christian. When she died in 2007, I have no doubt it was into the loving arms of our Lord. She showed this love her family, to me, her friend and to strangers on the street.

Everlasting love is a reminder that God loves us and we should spend time daily in the Word, in prayer, and in quiet. Model this for your children. Ask God for the grace for those situations that come up in life that we can’t deal with. He is there for us. As I record this in the month of February I’m reminded of the world’s idea of love with candy, flowers, and gifts. Yet, it is still a reminder to all of us to celebrate love this month. In our home, our kids say I’ve deprived them of candy, so these few times they get treats they are treasured.

Remember to talk to your children.

  1. Remind them you love them.
  2. Remind them it is out of love (I care for you) that your reprimand or punish.
  3. Say, “I love you,” when you see your child or when they go to bed at night. I end phone calls with, “I love you.”
  4. Write love notes and encourage them to write notes to each other and to you.
  5. Keep a stack of red construction paper hearts with Scripture verses, I’ve included a sheet for you to print out here in the show notes.

My husband tells our children, home is where you should feel safe. Where you should come to us with your problems or concerns. Where you know we love you and we are here for you at all times. Not only in the good times but when you are struggling. Everlasting love. That is the greatest gift we can give our children.

I hope you enjoy these printables.  I Love You Hearts – VintageHomeschoolMoms

Be sure to share this podcast with your friends!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Christian Standard Bible

The Christian Standard Bible captures the Bible’s original meaning without compromising clarity. An optimal blend of accuracy and readability, this translation helps readers make a deeper connection with God’s Word and inspires lifelong discipleship. The CSB is for everyone—for readers young and old, new and seasoned. It’s a Bible pastors can preach from and a Bible you can share with your neighbor hearing God’s Word for the very first time.

Find out more here!


Family First

When is the last time you put your family first? If you are like most parents the answer is all the time and every day.Family First – Episode 460

When is the last time you put your family first? If you are like most parents the answer is all the time and every day. Yet all family times and focus are not created equal. In this podcast, we will discuss what a family needs as well as the enemy who seeks to divide families from each other.

Visit for books and products created for families by Felice Gerwitz. Join her weekly on her podcast VintageHomeschoolMoms as well as A Few Minutes with God Podcast on our sister network the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

So what is quality family time to you? I believe that most people want the best for their children and the way they achieve what they think is best is in different ways. It may be in time, gifts, or providing for their family.

The crux of the issue is that many dads are missing from the family due to work, and then mothers join in quickly after, or perhaps you are a single parent without a choice in the matter of working. The breakdown of the family came swiftly and without warning and it has led to brokenness, but it does not have to be that way. We’ve unfortunately raised a society of WIIFM and FOMO – What’s in it for me and the fear of missing out. Both of these are toxic to families.

For our family faith was important, and the breakdown in the family in today’s society can be traced to the breakdown in faith.  The adage that the family that prays together stays together is true but I want to add that the family that takes the time to seek a personal relationship with Christ is foremost under attack. With faith gone the door is open for all types of activities that are detrimental to healthy family life. This means an increase in porn and other internet sites that are harmful.

So what is the solution? [Listen to the audio for more details].

Here is a quick list of ideas you can use to reinforce and bond with your family. Be sure to brainstorm different ideas together:

  1. Make time for weekly family events, whatever works for your family.
  2. Everyone take stock of your schedule. Are you spending more free time away from home than with the family?
  3. When you talk to the members of your family are you looking at them or are you multi-tasking? There is nothing more irritating to me than someone who is not paying attention to what I am saying.
  4. Devices. Leave electronics far away from family time or family meals unless absolutely necessary.
  5. Faith, be sure there is a good foundation to grow from and seek ways to grow in your faith individually and as a family.

There is so much more I can say but I want you to seek your own family ideas and brainstorm ways you can not only show your family that their needs are more important than anyone else!


Valentine’s Day On The Cheap – Special Replay

Are you ready to celebrate Valentine's day on the cheap, with very little money? If that is the case this is the right place to be...Valentine’s Day on the Cheap – Special Replay

Are you ready to celebrate Valentine’s day on the cheap, with very little money? In this episode, I will share some great ideas to make the day special for your own Valentine’s Day party for your immediate family or the gang! And there are even ideas for your spouse and for your kids and ways to cut those corner into hearts! Everyone will smile.

Thanks to our sponsor!

For some reason, Valentine’s Day was never my favorite holiday because I didn’t date as a student and didn’t see the examples of the “day” on the “day” at home. My parents told me it was a made-up holiday – yeah, they were realists, and I didn’t see my dad give mom flowers although I did know they were deeply in love because they were inseparable. We kids changed all that when we got older and ordered flowers for my mom all the time, in my dad’s name. Gladly he thought it was great and funny.  She never knew!

Fast forward to my own experiences with my boyfriend, now my husband and a balloon incident I share on the podcast (listen to hear this funny and embarrassing story!) And, I was hooked!

Valentine’s Day can be so expensive. Flowers — well, where do we begin? So here is my list of those wonderful shortcuts to a great celebration.

Kids: Valentine’s Day On The Cheap

  1. Heart cookies. What can be better than heart cookies decorated with sugar crystals or icing? I have a great recipe attached to this podcast. Print it out and enjoy!
  2. Bookmarks with glued, cut-out red and pink hearts of assorted shapes and sizes. Purchase a ream of white (at the office supply stores) of 110lb weight. To give you an idea, copy paper is about 20lb weight. You can cut the cardstock in 6 strips, punch a hole for a ribbon. Write the person’s name on the other side with a Bible verse. So much cheaper and prettier than store bought Valentines.
  3. Hot cocoa mix. The kids love to make this, I promise, and all you need is sugar and cocoa. No additives. Put it in a container and use it for special occasions.
  4. Breakfast: heart-shaped toast – cut off the out ends after you toast the bread, it’s easier! Or try heart-shaped pancakes. Invest in griddle shapes and bring them out for special occasions. One thing I’ve done in the past it put your batter in squeeze bottles and do the outline of the heart free hand and fill it in with batter with a ladle -yes, it works.
  5. Lunch: Heart shaped sandwiches (save edges for croutons or for dinner recipe – see below). Stone soup. Okay, no hearts included but it is a fun cold-weather book to read and then have all the ingredients to make it and the kids can take turns bringing and adding the ingredients for the “best” stone soup ever!
  6. Dinner – great ideas include heart-shaped meatloaf (individual) or burgers. Use a cookie heart to shape if needed.
  7. Cookies for dessert and/or a cake. Heart shaped cakes are easy to make you can use a round cake and a square. Here are some great Pinterest Boards with ideas:
    1. Gorgeous Heart Cakes 
    2. How to Make a Heart Cake

Be sure to stay on the email list for the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network – February’s download is many great ideas for February

Adults: Valentine’s Day On The Cheap

For Him and Her

  1. Flowers, plan a garden. That is what my husband did for me when I stopped his expensive and last minute gift idea, a big bunch of expensive flowers delivered! One look at my credit card bill and that was it! So, he purchased rose bushes for mothers day, my birthday and soon I had a ready-made rose garden! I’m no green thumb so he tended to it and that made it even more special. The kids loved to pick me roses!
  2. Time to do a hobby. If your husband likes to play the guitar give him access with some kid-free time, or does he like to putter in the garage? Again, another great gift. You can give him strips with all his favorite things to select from. Start with five! He will love this gift, I promise.
  3. Spend time. My husband loves me to spend time with him. What is your spouse’s love language? Take this quiz together and find out! Quiz for 5 Love Languages here.
  4. Dress up – that goes for both of you. No sloppy shirt and hair in a messy bun. Dress up, wear nice – going to church clothes. Yes, I mean it!
  5. No devices. Today is media free day! Games with the kids, popcorn, and just time to say, “I love you.”


Monthly Checklists

Monthly Checklists ~ Episode 459

There is value in monthly checklists, right? Learn how a list-hater has turned into somewhat of a list lover. Felice Gerwitz shares her best-kept secrets, lists that work.

Sign up for the monthly eZines on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network to get your free planners each month. Otherwise, they will be on sale here,

Checklists are created to increase productivity as well as to get the things done you want to accomplish. This may be setting short or long-term goals. Please note all dates in this post and podcast are reflective of 2022.

In my attempt to explain to you the things that worked for me I created several podcasts, one is Mega Lists, here. And then there was the interview I gave about the perfect homeschool, here. The four-square planner I’ve talked about in the past and included with my planners was such a help to me for daily and even weekly planning. But, I wanted more. I want to plan for a month at a time and found as with routines there are things that happen every month, or more accurately things I wanted to do each month with my family that I did not want to forget.

What are your monthly to-dos? What are the things you want to cover with your kids? For example, for February it might be creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards or, perhaps showing love and kindness by paying it forward, doing things for other people in your family, extended family, and even strangers. These things are fun activities with a greater impact and have set an example for the children (even teens) that will follow them throughout their lives.

Remember the reason to make monthly checklists is to look at your monthly goals. What do you want to accomplish in January, February, March, and so on? What is the top priority for the month? It will vary with all of us I am sure but at least we can talk about some common ground. There are fun calendar lists online, such as “” and then there is a list by year. Kids may enjoy things like national buffet day (Jan. 2), World Braille Day (Jan. 4) or National Trivia Day. And, that is just in January.

Monthly Checklists:

What are some of the monthly activities you want to cover? For example here is a quick list by month:

January: January first, the celebration just continues with a new year, then Epiphany is January 6th, but celebrated at church on the weekends. What other dates are important to you this month.  Clean up after Christmas, organize and donate excess, back-to-school after the holidays, start collecting those tax documents that come in during this month. Set some personal short and long-term goals, academic goals for your children, and so on. Are there any routines you want to see changed or improved upon? Write those down. What celebrations do you have this month, keep an eye out for the following month? Shop ahead and look for sales.

February: Valentine’s Activities, celebrate valentine’s day, plan a field trip, work on academic or homeschool activities, plan birthday parties, or other celebrations. Will you celebrate Groundhog Day, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day? What are your goals for February? Gather paperwork for taxes (most file by April 15th but if you have a refund coming you may want to file earlier). Refund coming? What will you do with this money? Make a plan.

March: Spring is on the horizon and Easter is next month. Don’t let it sneak up on you, what are your plans or goals for this month? Are you gearing up for Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday a day of fast, and the beginning of Lent the 40 days before Easter which is April 17th? Daylight savings time begins in March as well, check your local time. Then there is St. Patrick’s day on March 17th, St. Joseph’s Day (my dad’s favorite day – and would you believe the day on which he died?) March 19th. What other dates on March will you celebrate or what is on your to-do list? Maybe you are planning a summer vacation, a camping trip or you have plans to start a garden and gather seeds in the ready, or to paint a bedroom, make a list ahead of time and watch your productivity soar!

April: With Easter this month (the 17th) what are your plans? Are you hosting a dinner or are you going to a relative’s home to celebrate? Are you planning to take off from schooling? Look at your books make a plan of where you want to leave off and give this to your children as a goal. It will help the family to focus. Don’t forget tax filing on the 15th. And, what about those holidays to celebrate this month? No one will want to miss April 2nd which is National Pillow Fight day! (Yes, it’s a thing). There are many likewise serious and silly things. On a serious note is Holy Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday. There is National Siblings Day on the 10th, Patriot’s Day on the 18th, National Picnic Day on the 23rd, and National Honesty Day (our world needs more of this) on the 30th.

May: In May there are holidays such as Cinco de Mayo as well as National Prayer Day on the 5th, Mother’s Day (8), National Nurses Day the 6th, and National Space day as well. National Apple pie day on the 13th, Armed Forces Day on the 21st, and Memorial Day on the 30th.  May is also a time when many homeschool families are winding down their year. There are homeschool online conferences as well as in-person events you may want to plan to attend. There are the end-of-the-year parties and events. (My son graduates from college this month, and enters the military as a Second Lieutenant. This means a trip to another state for us, and it is on the calendar. What are your plans for May? Any milestones, graduations, birthdays? Are you schooling throughout the summer? Are you planning to take a short break so everyone can regroup?

June: Are you planning a vacation this summer? If so, I’m sure it was on a previous month’s list. Are you finishing up your homeschool, or planning to learn something new? Do your children have summer leagues they are part of or are you enrolling your children in some type of summer camp? Again, that would be planned in the previous month. Be sure to take a make time for a break, even if it means enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning staring outside for five minutes a day! Do you have plans to unplug even if just for a few hours? What birthdays or events will be celebrated this month? On our monthly calendar, we have World Bicycle Day on the 3rd, Pentecost on the 5th, National Donut Day as well on the 5th. Corpus Cristi on the 16th is often celebrated on Sunday in Church. and the not to be missed Father’s day on the 19th. What special activity will you do on this day? Do you like to make crafts, summer is a great time to make presents ahead of time for special birthdays or even Christmas.

July: July will flash by if you do not have some plans in place. Are you taking a trip, or enjoying nature in your own backyard or local park? Are you planning a rainy day activity in advance? Are you looking at the looming school year and making some plans for the kids? What about thinking of field trips to enjoy the summer weather? Is there a project you want to tackle, like painting a room or bathroom or maybe organizing one kitchen or bedroom drawer a day? The calendar shows not to be missed dates such as International Joke Day on the 1st and the 4th of July. How will you celebrate the 4th? Will you have a party, barbeque, or special dessert for dinner? Do your children know why we celebrate Independence Day? National Ice Cream day is on the 17th and Parent’s Day is on the 24th. July was my mega cooking day month with gearing up for the time when school would be upcoming with quick freezer meals to thaw and serve.

August: August means school is around the corner or already beginning in many homeschools when the weather is so hot and days can be covered with more time taken off in the Fall. Is your planning complete or do you need more time to gather books or supplies? The first day of school was always a big day here with a special first-day sign for each child with their grade, and pictures of course. There was the gifting of school supplies and a bin or notebook to keep all of their papers in one place. It was celebrated as a day to look forward to. We also planned a special field day during this month often with only our family or one or two other families. August was also a time to plan for upcoming events in the fall and other field trips we hoped to take in a future month. August was a big birthday and anniversary month for us and we did plan accordingly. Dates such as National Chocolate Chip Day (4), Purple Heart Day (7), American Family Day, National Book Lover’s Day (9), Assumption of Mary (15), National Waffle Day (24), National Beach Day (30). What other goals do you have for this month?

September: This month might be back to school for some, but be sure to leave some pockets of time for things such as reading with the family, movie, pizza, game, or puzzle night. This might be the month that you plan an overnight camping trip as the weather starts to cool, or walks in the park. Look at your schooling and be sure you stay on track with weekly checklists for academics. Be sure one or both parents check this list to be sure no one is lagging behind. Are there sports, music or dance lessons? Be sure they are on the calendar. Our monthly calendar shows National Wildlife Day on the 4th (a great day to make a bird feeder out of popcorn or perhaps pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seeds. Labor Day is the (5), Read A Book Day on the (6), Grandparent’s Day on the (11), National Peanut Butter Day on the (16), National POW Day on the (16), and Constitution Day on the (17), Johnny Appleseed Day is the (26), and National Voter Registration Day is the (27). As you can see many of these dates are a great time to teach the children mini-history lessons or have the children do a presentation.

October: October is the kick-off for fall in many locations and studying the different trees and fall leaves was a favorite of ours, this is also a time to hit the books and get work done. With an eye toward the holidays, I often put shopping for deals on my calendar this month and shopped ahead for my large family. It was also a time of harvest parties and events, baking with seasonal produce (such as pumpkin), and freezing meals. Events such as National Taco Day, Feast of St. Francis Assisi, and World Animal Day are all on the 4th World Teacher’s Day on the 5th, and World Smile Day on the 7th. Columbus Day is the 10th, National Dessert Day on the 14, National First Responder’s Day on the (2), and what we celebrate is Harvest Day on the 31st. Your calendar may vary with your goals for October.

November: Thanksgiving is the date I kept in mind as I was often the host to our extended family. This was also the month we looked at our weekly schedule and began to tweak what worked and what did not work. Did we need to double up on math? Were we on track to finish our year by the second week of December? When were we taking a Thanksgiving and Christmas break? Those were on the forefront of our month, along with the goals to skip any field trips if we were behind or add some if we were ahead. As a family, we often used arts and crafts to prepare for celebrations and these were planned ahead. Daylight savings day ended on the 6th, so we planned for that as well. All Saints (1) and All Souls (2), were celebrated when possible with church attendance. Other dates such as National Sandwich Day (3), National Nachos Day (6), Veteran’s Day (11), National Kindness Day (13), National Entrepreneur’s Day (15), Thanksgiving the 24th, Black Friday (25), Cyber Monday, following and Giving Tuesday the (29).

December: And, then there is December. What are your goals this month? Is it to celebrate and focus on the upcoming Christmas holiday? Is it to look at your homeschool and take a break? Is it to spend time with friends and family, decorate, bake or shop? Make time for a break which is important when we tend to get overcommitted with events, celebrations, and parties. This is the month to celebrate the monthly events sparingly and focus on the Christian holidays. Christians celebrate on the 8th with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day church events. There are other national holidays that may be celebrated (or not in this overloaded month such as International Volunteer Day (5), St. Nicholas Day (6), National Brownie Day (8), National Cup Cake Day or Bill of Rights Day (15), National Ugly Sweater Day (16), Wright Brothers Day (17), of course, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day always on the 24 and 25th, and New Year’s Eve on December 31st.

Making monthly goals will get you on track to finish the most productive year ever! I hope this short list helps as well as well as the explanation about getting the most of the monthly holidays as teaching events for your children. Homeschooling can be very rewarding for the entire family and I pray that this year’s monthly freebies (Monthly Checklist Downloads) for the email subscribers of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network are helpful as well!

Organized HomeSchool-Special Replay

The new school year is a time of excitement. Let's start this year with an organized homeschool! Special insider tips on organization.Organized Home School-Special Replay

The new school year is a time of excitement. Let’s start this year with an organized homeschool! In this episode, Meredith Curtis and Felice Gerwitz share their years of homeschool wisdom with you!

Here are some podcasts that may help you as well as this one!

The beginning of the year checkup here.

The middle of the year checkup here

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Here are some points that will help you get an organized homeschool this year!

  1. File away books and materials where they go
  2. Pray – what went well, what went poorly and what worked.
  3. Three-Ring Binder – Master Homeschool Book (or File)
    • Homeschool records through the years
    • Copy of final grades (high school)
    • Testing Results (high school)
    • Important Information
  4. Beginning – look at
    • what we’d like to study
    • totes of books in what we are going to need
    • pencils, pens, art supplies
    • shelf — reading books in order
  5. Where do you “do” school
    • Tote books to where you do school
    • If you do school in a homeschool room use a desk or shelf to put supplies
  6. Talk to the kids about what you will learn
    • Explain what you will learn this year
    • Ask your children what they’d like to learn
    • Make changes if they want to add something
    • Post final class topics
  7. Make a schedule
    • Use it for two weeks and revamp if needed
    • Make it work for you
    • Don’t be a slave to your schedule
    • Give kids a checklist
    • Put up the master list
    • Leave Friday as a free day
    • Look at your book and divide the lessons by the number of days your school
    • Schedule in an empty week in spring or fall
  8. Organizing shelves
    • In subject topics
    • According to level and chronology
    • Keep shelves organized each week

New Year and Homeschool

Do you want your new school year, even if it is mid-year, to begin with, a bang instead of a blah?New Year and Homeschool – Great Expectations Episode 458

Do you want your new school year, even if it is mid-year, to begin with, a bang instead of a blah? In this episode, Felice Gerwitz shares her more than thirty-two years of homeschool experience with you!

Please visit the Media Angels website for deep discounts and specials throughout the year to our email subscribers only – if you missed our big sale, be sure to subscribe to the email list here, at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network for updates.

Why is it that our expectations rarely if ever are realized? We have such high hopes of accomplishing so much, our kids learning at the speed of light and everyone happy and getting along well. How can we change this and still have expectations that are realistic? Link to mid-year evaluation –

Here are some expectation hacks for your homeschool:

  1. Give yourself time to plan what you want to teach and how. Are you using books, an online curriculum, or certain classes or are you doing it yourself? Whatever method be sure you have time to plan.
  2. Schedules that work for you. So many people have great ideas on ways to schedule but if it doesn’t work for you well – it isn’t any good! Routine schedules worked the best for my family. We knew what needed to be done each day, had it on a check-off list and went from there.
  3. Take a day to catch up weekly if at all possible. Friday is a perfect catch-up day for all of the school work that did not get completed, test-taking or crafts, art, or music. It is also a great day for field trips not necessarily planned with a group, just your family as a reward for work completed timely.
  4. Reward system – in life we have rewards for everything but many homeschool families think using a reward system is unnecessary. I disagree. My kids received stickers, small paper ribbons, and the like for completing books, or milestone activities like completing a reading list. We also had pizza and a movie on Friday evenings for a good week of school. The kids loved this.
  5. Being present. Kids know when you are not paying attention or on a device instead of focusing on them and their school work or needs. Use school time specifically for school and save the distractions for before or afterward. This teaches the children that they are important to you and also sets an example. Character is caught not taught.
  6. Give the children examples. If you want them to read the Bible, be reading the Bible when they wake up in the morning or in the evening. If you want your children to learn to speak a foreign language learn it with them. You will be surprised at how enthusiastic the children are when their parents participate.
  7. Healthy competition. I’m not talking about pitting kid-against-kid, but I am talking about encouraging your children to strive for their best. My kids made everything a competition and I truly believed it started with the example I set. Walking on the beach turned into a race. (More on air.)
  8. Self-competition. Allow the children to beat a previous score in math, or memorization work, to improve their writing or art skills. These are ways to encourage your children to keep improving and moving forward.
  9. Memorization work. Very important when the children are younger and their minds are sponges but still works well with any aged children. Greek and Latin roots, Chemistry periodic table, multiplication facts, etc.
  10. No matter how smart or accomplished your child is without good character their lives will be difficult. Good character is one of the number one job skills required by employers. They want people they can trust, that they can count on and that will be honorable.

You can add to this list, but be sure to keep your expectations to what is reasonable to accomplish in a year. If that is difficult you may want to teach in blocks of time. There are all types of methods for teaching and scheduling and finding the one that fits you and your family is ideal.

Realize that it is okay to change. We went from books and workbooks to unit studies in the middle grades back to books in high school. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your family there is no one size fits all. Each child is different and in our quest to just get done we overlook the greatest gift that is right in front of us.

The biggest gift you can give your children is the desire to learn. After schooling there is work and family for our children, that is the end goal, right?

What are your children’s gifts? Is there something you can look at encouraging even if it does not turn into a full-time job someday? Take the time to talk to your spouse about your children and then ask them what they like doing. Who knows a hobby can turn into a lucrative side business!

Organized Homeschool Forms – Special Replay

Being organized in your homeschool means selecting the right homeschool forms to make your life so much easier.Special Replay: Organized Homeschool Forms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself these questions about homeschool forms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Ways Homeschool Parents Can Use Trello

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

Scheduling Forms:

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

Field Trip Guide: Field Trip Guide

Sample Homeschool Mom’s Schedule: ChristinaMoss-DailySchedule

HSLDA – Statewide requirements for homeschooling here.


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