Vintage Homeschool Moms

Best Gift Giving Tips

Best Gift Giving TipsBest Gift Giving Tips with Meredith Curtis and Felice Gerwitz Episode 384

Best Gift Giving Tips are easier than you think. Here are some great ideas for gifts that will last throughout the year.

Another great show is here – Gifts You Can’t Unwrap

I’m so excited to talk Meredith Curtis who is the queen of Christmas! Meredith is the “Christmas girl” and likes to turn her home into a Christmas Wonderland — on a budget!

Both Meredith and I have big families, and sometimes it is difficult to juggle both school and home. We’re going to talk more about that but, also how to save money while living within the big family budget!

Here are some quick tips to get you started.

  1. Plan to make schoolwork lighter in December and set some deadlines for Christmas vacation.
  2. Try to do Christmas related unit studies. Read Anne of Green Gables, or a very British Christmas, or study Christmas during Colonial America. We learned not only how people celebrated Christmas, but we would learn as we read through the book aloud. And we also watched Christmas movies and made crafts, created recipes and had tea. When we studied a British Christmas, we tried to cook a goose and we read a Christmas Carol aloud.  All of our projects had a purpose. For example handwriting in December focused around Christmas letters and addressing Christmas cards. One of our crafts with wrapping Christmas presents.
  3. One of our projects was making a Christmas budget and Christmas shopping. One of our school projects was creating Christmas gifts.
  4. We baked Christmas cookies. So we would bake cookies and freeze them or we made gifts in a jar. And so by the end of the unit study, we had read all these delightful picture books, but we had also finished all of our presents for neighbors and people at church and all we had to do the final day was just delivered them, you know, right before Christmas.

A focus on Christmas really put things into perspective and to make the time for the things that we really want to do rather than feeling like we have to do the things on a checkoff list and what better time than Christmas!

Best Gift Giving Ideas:

  1. Christmas Carols – if you can sing, give the gift of music.
  2. Prayers – record some prayers and create a CD as a gift.
  3. Keepsakes – whether they are handprints or pictures, be sure to put the date on the gift.
  4. Budget gifts – set a price point or limit.
  5. Books – add to a series of books, or begin a new series as a gift with a few books to begin. Shop used book stores.
  6. Movies – something that is a keepsake like The Star Movie for example. Or the Nativity.
  7. Home-baked goods such as breads, quick breads like pumpkin loaf, cinnamon rolls, or cookies.
  8. Mixes – you can give as gifts. Use decorative tins. Be sure to add the recipe taped to the outside.
  9. Create a recipe book, duplicate and give as gifts. You can print out recipe cards for ease if you want to make your own homemade version.
  10. Create gift photo books. These are wonderful and can be stored easily.

 

 

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories | What are your favorite Christmas memories? Each year we have so many wonderful memories of Christmas but soon we forget. Here is the solution! A Christmas Memory book! In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice shares another just-for-kids episode with you! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #christmasmemories Christmas Memories – Episode 417

What are your favorite Christmas memories? Each year we have so many wonderful memories of Christmas but soon we forget. Here is the solution! A Christmas Memory book! In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice shares another just-for-kids episode with you!

Don’t forget a kid favorite! Novels for tweens – that are Christian based. Check out the Media Angels kids series, Truth Seekers Mystery Series and the book, A Few Minutes with God!

Check out the Media Angels books on Media Angels.com 

Be sure to go to VintageHomeschoolMoms.com – a copy of the Christmas Memory Book

Holiday Memory Book-2020

Advent Calendar: Here

What are your favorite Christmas memories? Was there a special gift you received? Maybe a special food you get to eat during the holidays. Is it a favorite activity, like roasting marshmallows or sipping hot cocoa when it is cold outside. Maybe it is a visit from special family members like grandparents or cousins. Do you like the Christmas decorations? The special books that your parents may read, or a special trip you take for example going camping or visiting a relative or friend?

There are so many different things that happen around Christmas time but often we forget these things once the holiday is over, and so in this episode, I want to share with you a special book I’ve put together just for you! A Christmas Memories Book. You can print it out and put it in a notebook or binder and add to it each year. Or, maybe this will give you an idea of creating one of your own. What are those memories that make Christmas truly special?

Sometimes the most important things are the things that cost nothing! This can be praying in what we like to call the count-down to Christmas, and that is the days before called Advent. It is a time when we gather as a family each night and light one candle per week as we read a passage from the Bible. Then we pray for special intentions. For example, “Peace on Earth,” or we pray for “Those who do not have anyone special to pray for them.” This is a time to think about what is truly important at Christmas time and that is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I want you to think about the best toy or gift you ever received for Christmas. Do you remember this? Did it break? Did you lose it? Did it not meet your expectations, that means when you got the gift did it not seem as special as you thought it would be? This happened to me when I was a kid. I wanted a camera so badly and when I finally got the camera I wanted that printed the instant pictures I was super disappointed. For one thing, the pictures were not that great and for another, the film was super expensive. It was better to wait to have your pictures printed rather than have a camera that prints out instantly but the quality is not that great. Today we have wonderful cameras on our phones and rarely do we ever print anything out!

Look around you this Christmas. Notice the beautiful decorations, enjoy each sip of your favorite drink, and make some new holiday traditions of your own! Here are some things that families like to do to celebrate the Christmas Holidays:

  1. Use an Advent calendar or wreath and pray each day or evening as the count down to Christmas begins. You can start this at any time. Be sure to read different Bible passages you can read the Nativity passages in the New Testament, but don’t forget the prophetic ones in Isaiah that talk about the coming Messiah!
  2. Read each evening from a special book. Some families like favorites like the Christmas Carol or the Night Before Christmas. What is your favorite book? Take this out and maybe this is a great time for a new family tradition to begin.
  3. Does your family like to bake? What are the Christmas cookies that you enjoy? Write these recipes in your memory book. There are some special recipes that are passed down from family to family that are very important and can be lost or forgotten. This way you will have your own copy.
  4. Plan a special trip. This can be a picnic in the park if you live somewhere that is not so cold – if you live in a cold area, do a drive through looking at the Christmas lights at different homes in the early evening. Or maybe put lights up on your own home for others to enjoy. When you get home think about your favorite part of this even.
  5. Spend time as a family. Look around you! Being a kid only lasts a short time. This is a special time to journal and remember because soon you will be grown up, have a job and a family of your own. So, enjoy this time with your family.
  6. Make a special Christmas ornament. This can be with a family picture or it can be something you draw. Be sure to write the year you made this and place it on the tree.
  7. Secret notes. Write a note to someone in your family that is kind and positive and put it somewhere they will notice. Do not sign it! It is nice to say things that are nice and special to encourage others.
  8. Make an outdoor fire with your family of course, and roast marshmallows -even if it is cold! You can bundle up and tell stories about past Christmas events or ask your parents to share their favorite Christmas past stories with you!
  9. Joyful attitude. Each morning wake up with a smile on your face – or one soon after you wake up – and greet each person in the family with a smile when you see them first thing in the morning. They will wonder what is going on, but smiles are contagious!
  10. Be kind! It is not always easy to be kind to others, but try this Christmas season to be joyful and uplifting to those in your family and only say things that are kind…or nothing at all!

Can you think of other things? I am sure you can! Use this as a beginning of making your own Christmas special this year! And, I pray a joyful and blessed Christmas on each one of you!

Special Replay – Best Ever DIY Christmas Gifts

Do it yourself or DIY is all the craze, but only when it is simple and the gifts are truly worth giving.The Best Ever DIY Christmas Gifts Episode 311

I know, we’ve heard it before the best ever DIY Christmas gifts often are more expensive than buying something on sale at the store. But, when you have a large family or many additional family and friends to consider these gifts are a life saver.

Thanks to our sponsors – The Truth Seekers Mystery Series – brought to you by Media Angels, Inc.

Do it yourself or DIY is all the craze, but only when it is simple and the gifts are truly worth giving. One year I received bath salts that smelled great and were different colors. When I looked at them closer I noticed the coloring was actually food coloring and could turn my skin the bright yellow, green and purple of the bath salts! Needless to say, this item was not used for baths at all.

Here are my go-to rules for DIY Christmas Gifts:

  1. Must be tried and true. This is not the time to experiment.
  2. Nice presentation. No one wants to open a box to see a hot-glued mess.
  3. Something someone would actually want. Think cheesecake vs. fruitcake.
  4. Take into account dietary needs. These days there are gluten, dairy and nut allergies. Stay away from these offenders if at all possible.
  5. Gift certificates do not need to be impersonal. Stay tuned to learn more!

The best every DIY Christmas Gifts can be every bit as charming as a high priced item that more than likely will break, wear out or possibly be something that is returned or regifted. Think about the person you want to gift an item. What are their likes? Dislikes? Take these into account.

Here are a few of the favorite gifts I have given and received:

  1. Recipe book: Tried and true family recipes. Think about making these into a book online that can be duplicated.
  2. Coupons: The kids have gifted me with coupons for the following and all were much appreciated! Car wash, make beds, wash dishes, babysit, neck rub, vacuuming, organizing.
  3. DIY personal: Bath Salts, Homemade Sanitizer, Rag rug,
  4. Food: Applesauce + recipe for muffins; Tomatoes + recipe for sauce; Pumpkin + recipe for pie; Fat Bombs + recipe; Baked goods + recipe; Mixes + recipe and decorative containers
  5. Gift Certificate to a: nature center, zoo, museums, amusement parks, Amazon, bookstore, coffee store, etc. Make it personal by going with the person whenever possible to enjoy their gift.
  6. Slide presentation with pictures
  7. Prayer audio
  8. Painting or other art projects
  9. Decopauge – a favorite saying or special memento on a wood plaque.
  10. Experience: Rooftop star gazing, impromptu road trip, see hot air balloons, country visit or city visit, camping

Thanksgiving Memory Book

Thanksgiving Memory Book | What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Another episode just for kids! Join Felice as she shares her encouragement to notice those little things that are important to appreciate. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #thanksgivingmemory #memorybook #thanksgivingmemoriesThanksgiving Memory Book ~ Episode 416

What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Another episode just for kids! Join Felice as she shares her encouragement to notice those little things that are important to appreciate.

Check out the Media Angels books on Media Angels.com 

Be sure to go to VintageHomeschoolMoms.com – episode 416 and you will find a copy of the Thanksgiving Memory Book – Thanksgiving Memory Book

Thanksgiving is a time to make memories and share joy with others. A fun craft is to take branches and make a Thankful tree. You add leaves to the tree and on each, you can put a word that reminds you of something you are thankful for.

Think About This:

What are you thankful for? People may ask you that question and you may say, “I don’t know!” I get it, sometimes it seems that the questions you get asked don’t really have good answers. Here is a challenge for you. Do you think you can do this? Start looking around. What do you see?

Here are some possibilities. You see people in your family, you see the things that you own, you see the things that are part of your world. Maybe a pet, or something you think is important. It may not be valuable meaning it costs lots of money, but it is valuable to you.

So what are those things? Maybe you are thankful for:

  1. Your family.
  2. Your home.
  3. You brothers or sisters.
  4. Your friends.
  5. Your toys.
  6. The food that you eat.
  7. Your pets.
  8. A favorite vacation.
  9. A favorite sport you play.
  10. A hobby you have.

These are just a few of the things you may be thankful for. We did this quickly, but you can take more time to do this on your own. So, the next time someone asks you what you are thankful for you will be able to answer it quickly.

Have you ever had a super fun time doing something and wish you had pictures or written down exactly what you did? How about keeping a memory book? Have you ever kept a journal? A memory book is something like that.  I have a free one you can download here: – Thanksgiving Memory Book

You can add things like what you are grateful for but you can also list who was at your celebration, what you did, and what you ate. Maybe your family plays games. What is it that made the day special. What are some traditions that your family does every year? Think about this.

  1. Do you have your celebration at your house?
  2. Do you go somewhere special for Thanksgiving?
  3. Do you eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy?
  4. What is your favorite dessert?

One time, friends of mine lived far away from their family and friends, in fact, they had just moved to a new town. So they decided they wanted to have a different type of Thanksgiving and had a picnic. They had turkey sandwiches, and fun sides, and they played games at the park. The kids all said it was one of their favorite Thanksgiving memories. Have you ever heard that what makes something special is what you put into it? You might not think the food at Thanksgiving is very good, maybe you don’t like turkey and gravy. But, either way what you are celebrating makes it special to you. (Remember – what are you putting into the celebration?)

I had another friend who used Thanksgiving as a day to help out at a soup kitchen, a place that cooks meals for the poor. She said she felt so thankful for all that God had given her that she wanted to give of her time for others. That is truly being unselfish, isn’t it? Each person can give from what they have and share it with someone else. You can do this in your family as well.

Whatever you do to celebrate this happy day, I pray that you make memories that you will always remember. I hope you have a very special thanksgiving with your family and your friends. Even if you have a turkey sandwich at the park this year, make it the best Thanksgiving memory ever!

 

Special Replay: Best Kept Holiday Prep Secrets

Let's Talk About The Best Kept Holiday Prep SecretsLet’s Talk About The Best Kept Holiday Prep Secrets

with Felice Gerwitz

The holidays are around the corner, and ready or not it is time to learn about the best kept holiday prep secrets. We are celebrating all the time – whether it is the biggies like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter – or the other big events like birthday celebrations, anniversary, baby showers and other parties! Are you ready? In the many of preparing large family gatherings and parties, I’ve had quite a bit of practice. I’ve learned many shortcuts that make party planning fun! If you have a few things on hand your parties will always be spectacular. From food to decorations – and the best news? It won’t break the bank.

Special sponsor – Media Angels Inc.

Homeschooling with Proverbs! Check it out.

Join our Private Facebook group –

Show Notes: Holiday prep secrets.

  1. Make a list (mine tend to be general – if you are detailed go for it!
  2. Prepare things way ahead of time. Ideal items: casseroles, prep items like onion, onions and peppers, soups, stews, lasagna, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.
  3. Buy in bulk – crackers, appetizers (salsa, hummus, etc.)
  4. Extra gifts to have on hand (bless people twice with this holiday prep secret)
  5. Bake extra – two cakes and freeze one, make smaller cakes to gift, extra cookie dough and more.
  6. Fresh fruit and nuts for decorations
  7. Use “broken” ornaments upside down in a glass bowl
  8. Kid decorations – make it special
  9. Music – get that playlist ready.
  10. Wrap gifts as you buy them.

More great episodes

Keeping Sane for the  Holidays

Fun Holiday Tips

Holiday Planning

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Great Gifts Kids Can Make | Are you ready for the just for kids series? Here are some great gifts kids can make! And for cheap. The holidays are coming soon and you may be thinking about what to buy people in your family. Well, it is time to think about this and to be on the lookout for the things people really need. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #giftsfromkids #cheapgiftstomake #DIY #DIYKidgiftsGreat Gifts Kids Can Make – Episode 415

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Links for the parents:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tap Into Your Child’s Learning Potential – Special Replay

Tap Into Your Learning Potential – Special Replay

Did you know you can tap into your learning potential by understanding how the brain works? Felice Gerwitz and Jessica Parnell, CEO of Bridgeway Academy explain how a parent can benefit from this information.

Thanks to our sponsor! Bridgeway Academy, your solution to online education and help for the homeschool moms.

The brain is creating new neuro-pathways throughout your entire life.  Studies show what parts of the brain are engaging as kids learn. Learning disabilities can be repaired through new neuro-pathways and the science behind education. Homeschool parents especially have the ability to tap into your child’s potential!

Working Memory:

The working memory is a term used for the pre-frontal cortex. It is responsible for conscious thought is highly important for education. This is important for learning for self-control.

  • Making decisions
  • Understanding
  • Recalling
  • Deciding
  • Self-control
  • Memory
  • Imagination

By understanding the effects of the brain’s working memory you can tap into your child’s learning potential.

Every single decision taxes our working memory.

  • Know those energy-sapping subjects for students.
  • Mix up how we use our brain, put in other subjects that are not as taxing
  • Small break replenishes the brain. 5-10 minutes…and add movement…
  • Move! That helps your working memory. Moving the spine sending new electrical signals up to their brain and getting it to think again.

Knowing Your Learning Style Helps – Ways to Help Retain Information.

  • Students learn differently
  • Need ways to get information off of working memory so that you can process – getting them off the pre-frontal cortex
  • Write down your information so your working memory is free
  • Developing metaphors, telling stories, engage the emotional side of the brain.

Basal Ganglia – Helps Preserve Working Memory

  • Drives habits
  • Things we turn into habits
  • So much more powerful and it does not take so much energy
  • Flashcards – get into basal ganglia becomes instinctive and routine, you are not taxing your brain so you can do more complex challenging tasks

Tap Into Your Learning Potential – Does the digital age help?

  • We are becoming dependent on that quick answer to things.
  • We are not developing to skills to see if the answer is correct.
  • Lack of focus and scattered attention span.
  • The social aspect has become difficult – skills learned in interaction are different than sending a text.

About our special guest, Jessica Parnell:

Jessica Parnell, CEO Bridgestone Academy | #bridgestoneproud

 

 


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Bridgeway Academy!

Bridgeway Academy was founded in 1989 in response to the need for more freedom in education as well as the protection that accreditation offers for homeschooling families. Since then, more than 30,000 K–12 students, and many charter and brick-and-mortar schools, have made Bridgeway Academy their trusted education partner.

As part of our commitment to personalized homeschooling, we are proud to offer both secular and Christian options for homeschool families, charter schools, state organizations, co-ops, athletic organizations, arts schools, and others who seek flexible education options for their families.

Click here to learn more!


 

Family and Homeschool Cooperation

Family and Homeschool | Family and Homeschool Cooperation ~ Episode 414 It is time to have everyone on the same page, the kids, and the parents, and that means needs family and homeschool cooperation. Does everyone realize you are all on the same team and working toward the same common goals? In this episode, we discuss getting the kids on team-homeschool and having the homeschool experience that we all dream about in our homes. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #familyhomeschool #familyFamily and Homeschool Cooperation ~ Episode 414

It is time to have everyone on the same page, the kids, and the parents, and that means needs family and homeschool cooperation. Does everyone realize you are all on the same team and working toward the same common goals? In this episode, we discuss getting the kids on team-homeschool and having the homeschool experience that we all dream about in our homes.

Thanks to our sponsor: Media Angels and our discount membership Media Angels Membership website, with book packs and so much more!

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Getting the kids to cooperate in our homeschool day is sometimes the hardest thing we can attempt in our lives. Keyword here is “attempt” but it does not have to be this way. Our kids are smarter than we think and sometimes I feel we do not give them enough credit for making the right decisions especially when the facts are laid out. I acted like a homeschool dictator from time to time and when I did I receive the pushback that was normal from kids who thought that things were unfair. But, once they realized that my shortness of patience or the reason I would get upset for that pesky math book that was lost more times than it was found, they understood. What did they understand? That no matter how many times the book was lost the assignment remained.

I recently learned of a busy family that was in dire trouble because the mom took on all of the day-to-day household activities but resented this and ultimately complained to her family about being overburdened. The goal in her mind was to express her frustration and this was her cry for help. However, it went ignored. The consensus was, this is your issue because you want the house, laundry, meals to look a certain way and we really don’t care. So the complaining and the frustration continues on. If we were all together for a brainstorming activity I am sure we could come up with a list of what this overworked mom should do…but it boils down to this. What is the straw that will break the camels back? In other words, what is it going to take to get the entire family on board that mom and/or dad need help? It takes an action plan and homeschool and family cooperation!

Think about this seriously, spoiled kids become spoiled

Here are the facts:

Parents:

  1. Head of the family. And you are responsible.
  2. We have a schedule or routine to keep in our homeschool day.
  3. We have a house to maintain, meals to make, and laundry/cleaning to fit in.
  4. We have a partner in all of this, and that is our spouse. If you are a single parent and a Christian, your partner is the Lord!

Kids:

  1. Wake up each day, not necessarily excited about school. *yes there is an exception to the norm!
  2. Tired, hungry, and waiting to be directed by a parent or other siblings
  3. Has things they want to do, ie: hobby or play
  4. Not sure what is expected of them every day (unless there is a chore chart and things are spelled out ahead of time.)

For some of us, the rules and the assignments are clearly laid out and everyone knows the routine and what their job is within the context of a family, and for other families, the parents take on the main responsibly. The end result of that is the parents are upset, angry, and frustrated that all of the work lands on their shoulders. Moms and Dads with little ones, I get it! But, there is help… family, friends, people from church, babysitters. We can enlist the help of others or just take things off of your list. We can be our own worse enemies. I use to give myself so many to-dos in one day there was no way I could get 1/3 of the things on my list completed. Does this sound familiar.

So, here is the issue. Most of the time the big picture is not laid out.

  1. We are a family.
  2. We are on the same team.
  3. We want only good for our family.
  4. We want our kids to grow, prosper, and learn.
  5. We want to work toward a common goal!

But what is that goal?

  1. Children who are well rounded, love the Lord.
  2. Happy family, enjoying each other’s company.
  3. Household chores shared. Chores clearly explained.
  4. School Scheduled: School 5 days a week? 4-Days a week?
  5. Day off Scheduled? Vacation? Days for catching up? Field trips? Extracurricular?

Kids:

  1. You are part of a family.
  2. You have an obligation to learn.
  3. You have an obligation to follow family rules.
  4. You have an obligation to help out and volunteer if not asked.

So, what’s the problem? Implementation and follow-through. I was great with the grandiose ideas, but it was the follow-through that had me stuck. Real-life got in the way. Issues with elderly parents, another pregnancy, or job issues with my husband’s career. But, if the kids know that we are all working together for a common goal this will be remedied and everyone can get on board.

The Real Solution For Family and Homeschool Cooperation:

  1. Have a family meeting, let the kids know the issue at hand (mom and dad need help, we are all part of a family with the same goals, etc.).
  2. Ask the kids for their input if they are old enough to share ideas? You would be surprised/ shocked!
  3. Listen to all the ideas and advice and compromise and get their cooperation to make changes.
  4. Tell your children what you expect. Charts, lists, whatever it takes.
  5. Have routine family meetings, put it on the calendar, and update as needed.

I pray your family enjoys a wonderful time making memories instead of working on discipline and frustration all of the time! And, I want to let you know about my other podcast, A Few Minutes with God Podcast for some short and encouraging faithful episodes! Check out Cooperate with God’s Grace here.

Special Replay: Problems With Socialism

Special Replay:  Problems with Socialism – Episode 372

What is the problem with getting everything for free? Isn’t that what socialism promises? Join Felice Gerwitz and Jeff Diest from the Mises Institute as they delve into this question.

Visit our Sponsor – Truth Seekers Mystery Series

We appreciate the totally unexpected and special offer by Jeff Diest who promised to send our listeners a special book!

Recommended Books:

Tuttle Twins ” For younger children on economics

“Economics” by Henry Hazlitt. This book was written in the 1940s.

Today Felice welcomes the president of the Mises Institute – Jeff Diest.

Jeff Diest on Twitter here

Website: Mises Institute

Jeff takes an active role in what is happening in our culture. Not necessarily a political role. He thinks we ought to organize our society around civil institutions, around families, and around markets because markets in my view are, are cooperative.

Jeff states in this interview: I believe the marketplaces represent people coming together and doing things voluntarily and that a lot of people worry about what they think of as free-market fundamentalism. Regardless of our own particular viewpoints, we can start to agree when we look at the 20th century and what’s unfolding in the 21st, that government is really not the best boss for us. And certainly not a faraway government in Washington DC that purports to rule over 330 million people with exceedingly diverse interests. We’ve become far too centralized in DC, and with the Supreme Court and with federal preemption of state law and that sort of thing. So long story short, I’m someone who had an opportunity to meet Ron Paul a long time ago when I was an undergraduate in college and just became interested in markets and economics as a result.

Felice:
We probably have some diversity of opinion on what we believe, but the point I want to make today is that we have to educate ourselves and be able to talk to people who think differently than we do, which is very important. And, and be civil about it, which is another thing that is very important. What concerns me, Jeff is the problem with socialism.

Jeff :

Ludvig von Mises was a giant of economics in the 20th century and to an extent, folks on the left and even some folks on the right tried to underplay or dismiss his contributions in the 20th century. But that’s really been largely rectified. I think now, even his strongest critics would say that he was a very, very influential figure. And, and for our purposes today, he wrote a book in the 1920s called “Socialism.” And it remains today, maybe one of the most readable and most accurate criticisms of a centrally planned economy. What would later unravel in the former Soviet Union? What would later bring into turmoil Nazi Germany, which affected his life in Vienna, Austria, very much. And ultimately as a Jew, he fled Vienna to Munich for a period and then ultimately to New York City, which is how he became you know, a de facto American later in his life.

So he wrote, “Human Action,” (Free PDF on the Mises website here) which is one of his most important books a couple of decades later. And he wrote it in English, which was not his first language and it’s really the comprehensive treaty or treatise, I should say for modern free market economics. So he was a very influential guy, but more importantly someone who really understood what socialism was and what it could evolve into up close. And someone who tried to caution the world about it.

And I guess the question for our audience today is whether we listened and whether we’ve done the work to read and study history and really understand what socialism, materials and you know. Earlier we were talking off the air that sometimes conservatives are a little dismissive towards the threat and saying, oh, come on, America will never become socialist. And that might sound right in the sense that we’re not on the cusp of nationalizing whole industries.

We are going to have private ownership businesses and, and stock markets presumably for quite some time. But socialism is more than that. When we talk about ownership, what we really mean is control. So when we think about how the government controls industries, how the government controls business as an individuals, even though it doesn’t necessarily own those businesses the measure of control and the degree of control has been growing and growing and growing throughout the 20th century. And it’s increasing now. So when we look at, let’s say, the slate of Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election you know, the things that they advocate are absolute socialists. They want more and more control regulations, taxes, et cetera, over private industry. So if we, if we step back and look at the United States today, we could say that America is socialist in its educational system because so much of it is government ride.

You could say America’s socialist in its healthcare system because so much of it is government run or controlled by legislation like Obamacare. You could say the same about law. You could say the same about banking. You could say the same about energy. So there are, there are industries in America, fast industries that basically dance to the tune of the US federal government. So even though we’re not socialist in the sense that we still have nominally private businesses. We are becoming more socialists slowly but inexorably. So that’s a concern. And I don’t think it serves us well to, to just be dismissive of that. I think when the left tells us who they are, we ought to listen.

Felice:

I agree. And, and I feel that people are saying why are many of the young people buying into this and why do they think it’s so great? I feel that our education system has done a great job in changing the opinions of our children. I remember reading a book in the early 90’s about data mining the information of our school kids. (“Educating for the New World Order, by B.K. Eakman – the true story about how Anita Hoge won a case against the US government before it went to court and she could make her case public!)

Anita Hoge (Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HogeAnita) She is still fighting today trying to change the system. The goals of the schools have been and they still are to this day to change our kids’ opinions. So, when you get to the point where we are today almost 40 years later, you have what we find in the high schools and colleges. The opinions many kids have in the public and private schools are not in alignment with their parents at all!

Jeff:

With socialism people no longer bear responsibility as much for their actions, and when people no longer enjoy the success of their actions as much, then that kills incentives. And if there’s one thing economists tend to agree on, maybe only one thing, it said incentives do in fact matter. And so when, when people like Bernie Sanders or I hate to say it, your local teacher at a public high school wax on about socialism being a happy, healthy thing that just wants to care about people and make the world more fair. They’re trying to impress upon young people the idea of socialism being Denmark or Sweden or something like that. They don’t want to talk about the former Soviet Union. They don’t want to talk about Venezuela, they don’t want to talk about China.

So what a lot of people don’t understand of course, is history. Americans in general, not just young people, don’t know much about the rest of the world or even our own country. And, and beyond that we don’t know or understand much about economics. So this leaves the population ripe to this idea that well, socialism is just about being kind and providing a social safety net and having free health care and lots of good affordable housing and you know, free college education, these sorts of things. But it’s not that big bad a form of socialism, you know, outright communism that we had in the former Soviet Union. It’s going to be a nice soft kind of thing. And, and you know, that can actually work for a period if you have a population that’s very hardworking and that has a lot of inherited capital culturally and otherwise, like some of the Nordic countries.

But over just a few a generations, socialism always devolves into something where instead of being egalitarian, you end up with a very, very, very segregated ruling elite at the top and everybody else doing worse and worse with rationing and shortages and a lower standard of living. So it’s not rocket science. Even a lot of people on the left admit that markets work and that creates more prosperity. The question is just whether or not young people will attempt to overturn what we think of as American capitalism is as jaundiced and impure as it might be. Whether they really want to overturn that in exchange for at the least a style of European social democracy or maybe something beyond that.

So it’s our job to counter, especially for those listening who homeschool. It’s our immediate task to counter what people are hearing from their peers, from their teachers– even from mainline churches. This is a full-scale war. This is a multi-front war. That culture is arrayed against us. And so part of the cultural war is fighting back against the idea that socialism is benign.

Elites in this country are not simply financial elites. That’s certainly a big part of it. But there are also elites in the sense of media and academia and government who aren’t necessarily personally wealthy. So when we talk about who controls things, we don’t need to get into conspiracies. All human beings exhibit self-interest. So the idea that people who are sort of running things in any society would like to continue running things doesn’t require any conspiracy mindedness. It just requires an honest assessment of human behaviors.

If we look at a lot of the institutions controlled by the United States, in the 20th century, we should rejoice that they’re being challenged and questioned. And some of them are crumbling. People are no longer view the Ivy Leagues and the products of the Ivy League as they once did. People no longer view the US Congress and the US Senate as these noble institutions. The same with the Supreme Court.  The same with a lot of nonprofits, with media institutions. So it’s good.

It’s good that we’re questioning elites because anti-elitism is warranted. They screwed things up. I mean, if elites had done a good job in the 20th century, we’d have better foreign policy and diplomacy. We’d have a better dollar. We’d have a better healthcare system, we’d have a better education system. When I hear populism blamed or the idea that anti-elitism is unintellectual or something like that, I always, I always want to ask the person, well, what is it that the elites were doing so well that we should stay the course? I mean, there’s a reason why Brexit happened.

There’s a reason why Trump won. These events didn’t occur in a vacuum because everything was going so swimmingly and Hillary Clinton was going to be the next version of technocratic rule. There’s a reason all this happened. And so our job is to understand it and, and also to offer some alternatives, not just to moan and complain. And homeschooling is a great alternative. I don’t view homeschooling as dropping out or sequestering your kids or anything like that. I view it as a very affirmative and positive choice for people who understand that they have a choice and that they’re responsible for their children’s education upbringing. And it’s not enough to just sort of turn those kids over for seven hours a day to a bunch of strangers who don’t necessarily have their or your best interest in mind.

So I, I think homeschooling is, is one of the most revolutionary acts by which one can strike a blow as a society and culture and a government seems oppressive. So Kudos to you and your audience because I know it’s not easy. It is a tough, tough road and it involves a lot more work than just dropping your kid off at school. And, and it’s the most important thing because there’s nothing more important than education is as much as I dislike some of the things our government does, I don’t think revolutions generally work out best for anybody. So I think our revolution has to be intellectual and it certainly starts right at home.

It’s socialism versus freedom and you know that this state is not the best to organize society. The government, if you believe in it at all, ought to have a very small role as a referee and a judge perhaps, and not much else that it ought not to be an active participant in society like it certainly has become, or what I’m talking about at first, the US Federal Central Government. So what at animates the left today is the doctrine of egalitarianism. And that has really become a religion unto itself. And socialism is a part of that.

Socialism is sort of the economic and political end of that, but egalitarianisms bigger–it is a religion. When people question egalitarianism you know, even pragmatically and you ask “Gee Whiz, when you raise the minimum wage because you think it’s going to help the poorest workers, it actually dislocates some and causes a lot of them to lose their jobs and they’re made worse off.” The reason you get such a vitriolic or emotional response is because you have challenged something that is an article of faith on the left.

Egalitarianism is not necessarily a rational worldview or mindset because of course, it’s so at odds with human nature and human experience. So it’s rude, but it’s very powerful. I mean, the idea of creating a more equal society is a very, very powerful and effective narrative. And we can understand why it works and why it holds appeal, especially with young people. It tugs at the heartstrings. So the fact that it produces the opposite of what it purports is something that requires some critical thinking and taking a few more steps and doesn’t always lend itself to sound bytes.

Like, well, let’s have medicare for all. Well, Gee Whiz, that sounds great. What’s the cost as opposed to what? So, you know, we have to, we have to appeal to the segment of the population that’s willing to go a little deeper and think a little harder. And, and I don’t think we should shy away from that.

Well, I think you have to get hyper-local, you know, hen something sounds philosophical or sounds overwhelming or daunting, I think you have to start at home and then work outward in concentric circles. So I would love to see people a lot more concerned about their town or their region. Then, you know, the Federal Government and America at large. I’m not a big fan of taxes, but if I have to pay them, I’d rather pay 80% to my state and 20% to Washington DC instead of the other way around. I think things can be improved locally. I think that that locally you can make a bigger difference get involved with education or schooling or whatever it might be. So there’s more to life than just the national politics. There are all kinds of things happening and below that. And, and I think you start with figuring out your own family situation and, and moving out from there. I mean, that’s, that’s the most important thing. No question.

 

 

 

Homeschool Perfection

Homeschool Perfection | In your homeschool journey, you may seek homeschool perfection. But, what happens when you fall short? In this special edition celebrating our seventh year as a podcast network, Felice shares some of her insider's tips. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschooltips #homeschoolhelp #realhomeschool #homeschoolinfoHomeschool Perfection – Episode 413

In your homeschool journey, you may seek homeschool perfection. But, what happens when you fall short? In this special edition celebrating our seventh year as a podcast network, Felice shares some of her insider’s tips.

Please visit Media Angels and our Media Angels Membership! 

Check out our special blog post here, How to Create Your Perfect Homeschool 

Currently, we are celebrating our 7th Birthday! Join our celebration we have an entire month in October to enjoy the giveaways. Go here to sign up for a gift card to win big. Two winners selected. If you missed our giveaway, no worries! You can get our free planners each month. Currently, they are based on character.

Here are some past episodes JUST for the kids. Of course, there are over 400 episodes of homeschool moms for you, mom!

Choosing Good Behavior 

Family Loyalty 

Winning Science Fair Projects 

Time Management for Kids

Time Management for Teens 

This podcast is based on a detailed interview I gave, the link is above. In this interview, one of the main questions I covered was relationships, starting with your husband. A homeschool only goes as well as your relationship with God, and with your spouse. Everything else will fall into place. Being home together has brought out the good and the bad in each of us! It has helped us to look at things and examine ourselves. In this episode, I talk more about this and the ways to communicate nicely! Set some ground rules, if you didn’t do this early in your marriage there is no time like the present!

  1. Talk to your spouse about the issues.
  2. No character assassination (no demeaning comments.)
  3. Uplift each other.
  4. Be thankful each day for something (about each other, your family, etc.)

I discussed what I would do if I could “do-over” my homeschool journey. The first thing is the more unit studies in the younger grades. I didn’t start out this way but when I changed to this method my homeschooling went so much better. Another is that for non-college-bound students to be open to more creative ways of homeschooling. What is your child interested in and how will you help your child attain their goals and find employment after homeschooling? It’s easy to do textbooks and workbooks, but true learning takes place when the children can experience the information. Also, a solid formation in the Word of God and especially a creationist perspective to science. When your child realizes that God created the world and all people, there is not prejudice and there is a stronger focus on a Christian worldview. So, secular science rarely takes hold!

Enjoy this episode and be sure to join our email list and never miss another show or a special offer!