Vintage Homeschool Moms

Homeschool Year End Shortcuts

Are you ready for some homeschool year-end shortcuts?  Are you finished with your school assignments or are close?Homeschool Year-End Shortcuts ~ Episode 467

Are you ready for some homeschool year-end shortcuts?  Are you finished with your school assignments or are close to them being done? Well, now is the time to show how much you’ve accomplished this year. Here are some of my best-kept year-end secrets. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

Visit Media Angels to find out more about curriculum and summer reading books for your children.

Year-end has such a final ring to it, and often I’d cringe thinking about all the work I had to do, paperwork that is to finish off our school year. It turned into a nightmare until I finally clued in that it was something I needed to do all year long and it made my end of the year a breeze. So much of this depends on your state laws, and how they require homeschoolers to report student progress. Some states are less strict than others. It also depends on whether or not you are using an online curriculum that reports grades and progress for you or if you are putting together a portfolio (with or without your child’s help) in order to see growth and progress throughout the year.

Homeschool Year-End Shortcuts ~ The Questions

Here are some questions to ask before you dig in:

  1. What are my state homeschool requirements and how will I fulfill this with an end-of-the-year report or summary.
  2. Are my children required to take standardized tests? Can the ACT or SAT fulfill this requirement (middle school and up)?
  3. What type of progress report or portfolio (samples of the child’s work in each subject area) will I compile?
  4. What is missing?
  5. Do I have my child’s reading list for the year? This includes textbooks, workbooks, and other curriculum guides as well as books that were assigned or were read to the children as a family.

How do you keep track of your progress? One of the best ways is to create a portfolio of your child’s accomplishments, even if they are enrolled in an online school or class. It is wonderful to create new ones each year or to keep adding to a master portfolio year after year. Doing it during the school year is a plus because it cuts out the mess of trying to create this at the end of the year. One way that makes this painless is with a memory keepsake the children can help put together.

Catch this replay – Yearly Evaluations

Yearly Evaluations

Best Homeschool Year-End Lists

My best homeschool year-end shortcut is not to have to scramble because you’ve been putting together bits and pieces throughout the year. Here are some things you can add to your portfolio or the children can add to a memory keepsake:

  1. School days or hours *calendar suffices
  2. Awards
  3. Reading lists
  4. Special projects such as science fairs or history fair
  5. Art projects or samples (pictures) of artwork.
  6. Chapter tests or summaries
  7. Reports
    1. Book reports
    2. Subject related reports
  8. Samples of quizzes
  9. Clubs or sports
  10. Hobbies or accomplishments

Homeschool Memory Keepsakes

With a memory keepsake, the children will take pride in adding their special ribbons or pictures of sports trophies. Perhaps they’ve learned a difficult music piece for the piano, or sing in the choir at church. All of these things are “school-related” and can be added to a memory book with pictures or even just a list. If you keep track of progress throughout the year it is so much easier and it is fun to see how much has been accomplished.


  1. Gather completed work samples weekly or at least monthly.
  2. Enlist the children’s help.
  3. Use the best samples from different subjects. Minimum of twelve per subject.
  4. Use samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
  5. Make a plan to document special events.
  6. Create Calendars that you can use to jot down memorable events.
  7. Tests? Grades? Optional in most states, add this to the end-of-year lists
  8. Keep track of schooling days each week/or month
  9. Use pictures whenever possible.
  10. Stop and evaluate.

Sometimes it is unavoidable and leaving things to the last minute can not be helped. If this is the case, don’t panic. Use copies of your child’s best work and put together a reasonable timeline of accomplishments. This can include extracurricular activities. For many years I assigned the children reports based on our field trips. This was one way to make the fun field trip tie into schoolwork and they were able to practice their writing and spelling skills with this project.

I love the idea of keeping a yearly memory book or portfolio because it shows you that yes, you have accomplished so much during the school year. And, if you have not? No worries there is always next year. I believe if your children are working to their ability even if it does not fit into the academic plan that is okay. I had some struggling learners and some children that were gifted, and struggling learners who were gifted. This is one of the bonuses of homeschooling it helps to allow your children to succeed in a safe and loving environment. Encourage your children daily, and believe me I know it is hard at times. After five children completed their homeschool journey successfully I’m happy to report they are now all well adjusted and thriving adults! All those times I worried about spelling or reading lags were wasted time. Enjoy your children and your homeschool journey and hug your kids daily, telling them how much you love them.

Best Experiential Gifts

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What are the best experiential gifts you can give? The ones that last a lifetime in memories! Check out this podcast for great ideas!The Best Experiential Gifts – Special Replay


What are the best experiential gifts you can give? The ones that last a lifetime in memories!  Whether the gift is for graduation, birthdays for that hard to buy for person in your life. While opening presents can be fun, the glamor soon wears off and the gift is forgotten. In fact, how many times can you remember wanting a gift, only to receive it and see that it wasn’t worth the wait! In this episode, I explore various trips, and events to create lasting memories with your teens or even for the adults in your life who have “everything,” or want “nothing!”

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels Membership. For your curriculum needs on a budget visit the website to learn how to receive all the books and classes I’ve created to give your children a Christian worldview!

The Best Experiential Gifts 

  1. A trip – giving an experiential gift and making a lasting memory on a trip can be the most rewarding with some planning. As a caution, I am not a fan of allowing your teens to travel to far-off places alone, especially trips to the Islands, where cheap flights and hotels lure many unsuspecting tourists. However, visiting as a family is recommended:
    1. Hiking
      • Plan ahead.
      • Check the weather
      • Know the trails you will hike
      • Bring neem spray or bug repellent
      • Wear comfortable clothing
      • Bring food
      • Take lots of pictures
    2. Camping
      • Plan ahead
      • Off the beaten trail
      • At the beach
    3. Beach
      • One day trip
      • House rental
    4. Extreme Sports
      1. Cave exploration
      2. Water Rafting
      3. Mountain Climbing
      4. Sky Diving/ Para Sailing
      5. Sailing
      6. Water Skiing
    5. States Exploration
      • Planning Trips State Side
      • State Fairs
      • Rodeo
      • Williamsburg
      • Visit New York
      • Yosemite Park
      • San Antonio Texas
      • Grand Canyon
      • Theme Parks
    6. Europe
    7. A staycation event
      1. Party
      2. Family Camp Out
      3. Town Events
    8. Lessons
      1. Art Classes
      2. Cooking Classes
      3. Tennis Lessons
      4. Sports Training
      5. Flying Lessons
      6. Parachuting

Party Shortcuts

Birthdays. Graduations. Special Events. Oh. My! Party shortcuts and planning are the only way I survive hosting events over the years.Party Shortcuts – Episode 466

Birthdays. Graduations. Special Events. Oh. My! Party shortcuts and planning are the only way I survive hosting events, and in the many years of motherhood, grandmotherhood (yes, that is a thing), and having the largest house so of course family comes here. Join me as I share my best secrets for hosting with you.

Visit my website at Media for great books, character planning guides and so much more.

The latest and greatest party I finished hosting was the Easter Sunday meal. We had 24 people, then 28, and then 29, and we ended with 32 people in all. We had sixteen children, sixteen and under, and seventeen adults. Truthfully, the numbers this year threw me because we typically have a sit-down meal – buffet style, but still, everyone has a seat and the odd number at one big table with extensions and additional tables added was a bit of a juggle. But, we did it and everything went beautifully down to the previously prepared casseroles and dishes and the last-minute baked ham and tenderloin roast.

My short-cuts have taken me years to perfect and it has taken years of slowly buying one new thing to add to my party arsenal, but it has been money-saving in the long run. I tried many different things. One year I used disposable plates. The next year I added disposable utensils, cups, and napkins, but I didn’t like how they looked and they were expensive especially if I wanted party store variety rather than bargain-basement styrofoam.

The first thing I did was gather tablecloths. Not super expensive or linen, but cotton. Something that would hold up to years of washing and continue to look good. Also, it had to be something that could handle the invariable stains and spills. I ended up with two color schemes that also went with the colors of my accent walls. One was a deep burgundy table cloth that I paired with matching cloth napkins, and the next was a golden color that I paired with blue napkins. I made napkin rings after the ones I wanted were five dollars each! I used shower curtain plastic circles as well as wood dowels – each had different colors of ribbon wrapped around and glued in place. For the wood, I used a light, glimmery (not glittery – I do not like glitter!) and those were translucent and so pretty.

So with tables done, I searched for decorations that could be used for birthdays as well as holidays and found sales on candles after the summer bridal season in white and off-white. I purchased these back in 2005 when my daughter married and I still use them on special occasions – I don’t light them, although I have them they don’t look as great placed out as decorations.

My biggest expense was cut flowers that I purchased. I stretched bouquets with baby’s breath and smaller vases to place on the tables. It stretches your flower budget remarkably well!

Next was food – what do I serve that will again not break the bank? First off appetizers help tremendously in cutting down the food cost. It can be as easy as a cheese platter and crackers, veggies, and dip. This year I assigned appetizers to the guests and it was remarkable in that they arrived on time or early (then you have free help if you need last-minute things) and it took the early prep work off my list.

Baked ham is relatively inexpensive if you do not buy the already sliced and prepared. I know many people like the honey-baked ham, but a large pre-cooked ham roast you get at the grocery store can feed an army. Potatoes are another way to fill people up and of course, there are rolls. Round it off with a salad and chips (if you have kids) and you are ready to go.

I bake or prep casseroles ahead of time so they need to be taken out to warm up slightly before baking or it take way too long. Our family is a fan of lasagna and at any given time I have no less than three prepared in the freezer ready to go. All it takes is a salad and bread to round off that easy meal. (Well, easy once it’s prepared.)

So last minute and party shortcuts in a nutshell:

  1. Collect reusable table cloths, napkins, and serving trays.
  2. Use plastic wear and disposable items when there is a large crowd, or want less clean up.
  3. Assign a dish for others to bring.
  4. Plan out the menu at least three weeks in advance and shop sales.
  5. Bake and freeze whenever possible.
  6. Set out tables and chairs the day before with assigned seating. Guest appreciate this and of course, people can change or move, but it gives everyone a place to sit and put their stuff.
  7. Use name cards for place settings (I keep mine year after year).
  8. Use fresh flowers for a splash of color.
  9. Take out the trash the day before (don’t forget to clean the bathroom guests will use.)
  10. Make a time chart of when dishes need to be baked or reheated as well as when to take things out of the refrigerator or oven (once items go in!).
  11. Use juice boxes for the little kids – so much easier and less spilled.
  12. Have water, lemonade and tea for everyone else – if people want special drinks they can bring them.
  13. Use plastic cups with a sharpy to keep everyone’s drinks straight.
  14. Have one or two people in charge to help you.
  15. Assign clean-up!

As much as I try to prepare ahead of time there is always last-minute things that need my attention, and truthfully the hostess rarely gets to mingle with the guests until the meal is served! In our home we have the oldest go through the line first, and when it is the parent’s turn with the little ones, they can get their children’s meals. Usually, everyone has snacked on appetizers that no one is starving and it works out well.



Best Graduation Gifts

How do you select the best graduation gifts? And what do graduates really want? In this post you'll receive a gift giving guide to help you select the perfect gift.Let’s Talk About The Best Graduation Gifts that Teens Really Want!

With five children and a group of friends with many children, I’ve participated in my fair share of graduation celebrations in recent years. However, it was after really thinking about my own graduation and those of my children that I realized what children really desire is not what they receive. In this podcast, Felice shares her ideas of what a graduation celebration should be and ways you can make lasting memories with your own special graduates.

Show Notes – Best Graduation Gifts 

A study by Hallmark reveals:

  • 95 percent give money for gifts for graduation from high school or college
    • $25 is about the average amount spent for a close friend (or child of a close friend)
    • 67 percent believe that $50 or more is appropriate for a close relative
    • $20 is the average for a not-so-close friend
    • And many would give no gift to a not-so-close friend, but they might send a card.

Some of the Best Graduation Gift Ideas:

  1. A book where the child can begin their memoirs – one leather-bound book entitled: “My Life Story Thus Far”
  2. Jewelry
    1. Necklace, bracelet, earrings
    2. Watch
  3. Money Clip Holders
  4. Posters with great sayings on it.
  5. Personalized gifts
    1. Personalized wooden box
    2. Personalized jewelry – necklace/ ring/ bracelet
    3. Mugs, glasses
    4. Candy wrappers
    5. Picture albums
    6. Backpacks
    7. Picture frames
    8. Baseball bats
  1. Luggage
  2. Throw Rug
  3. A Bible with their name engraved – if they don’t already have one.
  4. Popular gifts but they also become dust collectors
    1. Paperweights
    2. glass shadow boxes – elegant glass boxes with your grads name so they can store and see their special treasures
    3. a globe that is made of cork with pushpins to mark the countries visited
    4. The year with a spot in the 0 for their picture
    5. Personalized wooden box
    6. Personalized jewelry – necklace/ ring/ bracelet

Nothing replaces spending T-I-M-E with your teen or soon-to-be graduate, making memories through gift-giving, if the right gift is selected helps.

Podcast #83 – Creating Memories on Vintage Homeschool Moms


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Gifts Moms Love To Receive

What are some gifts that moms love? Here is a shortlist you can share with your family, especially with Mother's Day around the corner.Gifts Moms Love – Episode 465

When was the last time you received a gift you really wanted? Sometimes the answer is never. Gifts moms love really don’t cost much and yet convincing your husband and/or the kids can take some work. In this podcast, I discuss talking to your children and even your spouse about giving gifts that show an understanding for the person who is receiving it, rather than focusing on spending money.

Please visit my website at for books, classes and so much more! Do you need monthly planners, or what about Character Planners for the entire family? Be sure to check out our specials.

We give presents for many different reasons, but one is to make the recipient, the person receiving the gift feel special. It is also a way for children to understand that giving and thinking about other people is important. It is a lesson in humility and appreciation. Children should be given the opportunity to participate in gift-giving, especially gifts that do not require money.  Some children struggle with the concept of giving and for others, this comes more naturally. Giving your children different opportunities to share their special talents such as drawing, or doing nice things for family members is a way to encourage this type of behavior.

Here is my replay on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Gifts


Why do we give gifts? Is it a tradition or is there a deeper meaning for you and your family? We give gifts for birthdays, special holidays like Christmas, and other holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day. The idea of gift-giving is to show appreciation. Unfortunately, many purchased gifts are afterthoughts or what some large company or corporation says you want or should gift. Often the presents fall short of their intent.

Before you begin think about the following questions and discuss them with your family.

  1. Why do we give gifts to each other in this family?
  2. Why do we give gifts to extended members of the family? (Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc.)
  3. What is the purpose of a gift?
  4. Is there a special gift that you remember? What made it special?
  5. Is there a gift you wanted and when you received it, you realized it was not what you really wanted or needed? Again, think about why.

Going over these questions will help you and your family really focus on the real meaning behind giving a gift and that is getting to know the person receiving the gift and giving them something they will use or enjoy. I think my favorite gifts are things that I cherish, and spending time with the family is one of the most important.

Here is a shortlist you can share with your family, especially with Mother’s Day around the corner.

Gifts Moms Love

Flowers: not the expensive bouquets that whither and die quickly but the gifts that keep on giving. Plants that bloom and can be picked. Roses and gardenias are favorites. See what grows in your area.

Herb kits: This is a gift that keeps on giving. When you plant the herbs you can enjoy them for an extended period of time and it is so much fun to pick the herbs to flavor your meals.

Date Night with Dad: Time for just the two of you. Either an older child will babysit or perhaps your kids will make you dinner.

One-On-One Time: Before moms with big families tell me it is impossible – it is not! Spending one-on-one time with each child will deepen your relationship. This can be a coupon for one trip to the grocery store with mom or dad and a special treat. Such as the child picking out the dessert for movie night (Friday nights were pizza and movie night at my home when the children were little). Use a coupon gift for a child’s birthday to redeem during the birthday month or week. (Your child can do this in reverse as a gift to mom or dad by a coupon for their choice of movie and dinner picks.)

Family Vacations: As the children grew we began taking regular camping trips. One year we purchased year-long passes to Busch Gardens. It was about a 2-hour one-way trip and we arrived after lunch and stayed until they closed. The children brought pjs and changed in the car for the trip home, often falling asleep. There are many family-type passes to the zoo, the science museums, aquariums, and more. Shopping during special sales helps the budget.

Gift Card: To a bookstore, or even a used book store. Drop hints if you have a favorite shop you enjoy!

Gift card tastes vary. Several friends learned I had never had a manicure and purchased a gift card for me, it took me an entire year to finally use it, and I loved it. I don’t often get manicures but I do enjoy how my nails look afterward.

Coupons Kids Create:

  1. Coupons – for free car wash
  2. Doing an extra chore of your choosing
  3. Quiet time Promise – to give me 30 minutes of non-interrupted time.
  4. Neck massage.
  5. Dinner dishes off week.

Did you notice I did not give you a list of gifts that can be purchased? The good news is that there are many novelty types of items to purchase as gifts, but they often come with a steep price tag. This year for Christmas I sent family members a group present, I found a wonderful pretzel shop that delivered frozen pretzels that could be heated up at home. They also had waffles. It turned out the waffles were a bigger hit than the pretzels for some, but the kids loved the pretzels. Food is always a good choice for a crowd or family gift.

The ideas are endless and getting together with your family is a good way to figure out what the likes and dislikes are in the gift department and see ways to maximize your time and wallet!

Communicating Love And Kindness To Your Kids

Yes - there is hope! Communicating love and kindness to your kids does not come naturally. Ask me how I know! We discipline our children because we LOVE

Communicating Love and Kindness To Your Kids – Special Replay

Yes – there is hope! Communicating love and kindness to your kids does not come naturally. Ask me how I know! We discipline our children because we LOVE them – it is vital, and especially IF you want our children to grow up to become responsible adults.

Show Notes:

Realize your parental style –

  1. Authoritarian
  2. Neglectful
  3. Permissive
  4. Authoritarian – democratic

Kids are: 

  1. Kids are gamblers
  2. Kids often say what they mean
  3. Kids are have many character flaws – anger, temper tantrums, jealousy, self-centered, etc.
  4. Kids want to get their own way – news flash, who doesn’t
  5. Kids can manipulate like the best attorney’s in court out there
  6. Kids are easily distracted
  7. Kids don’t often follow instructions the first time.


  1. Kids need positive reinforcement and repetition and patience
  2. Kids do not need to be spoiled

These are Don’ts! 

  1. It goes without saying – but I will say it here – fear and abuse – mental and physical
    1. Screaming at them
    2. Hitting in anger
    3. Discipline that doesn’t fit the crime
  2. Using your child as a pawn to hurt your spouse.
  3. Character assassination –I can’t believe how horrible you are – I hate you, you are ….
  4. Treating kids as objects that you own


Discipline techniques – I’ve heard them all

  1. Withholding something – dessert, phone, etc.
  2. Time Out
  3. Spankings – of course not while angry… um, yeah, that works
  4. Punishing – removing an item or taking away a privilege
  5. Ignoring
  6. Isolation
  7. Reasoning

The secret sauce? Consistency – when consistency does not work that is when the consequences must be metted out.

Model good behavior – a niece of mine has colorful language to say the least and when her young son used this same language in Kindergarten and the teacher spoke to her about it she realized she needed to clean up her expressiveness

Kids are sponges

With kids here are some rules of conduct:

  1. Calm
    1. Get your kid under control if they are an emotional wreck
    2. Deal with the issue at hand – before you launch in
  2. Sensitive to tone
  3. Keep it simple – teach as you discipline – start young
  4. Ask the kids to repeat back what you said
  5. Ask the kids to think… instead of why are you leaving the ball in the laundry room ask ‘where do you think the ball should go” (this is instructive and if this isn’t followed through with discipline may follow)
  6. Be positive
  7. Use “I” instead of you … “I want you to get down” I don’t want you to bounce the ball in the house” instead of you are such a bad kid for climbing up there you will get hurt and fall and then…
  8. When you do this – then this will happen
  9. Use your words … if you expect good response model it…
  10. Listen
    1. Active listening – where they really know you are listening, that you check to be sure YOU understand what they are saying and you go from there.
    2. Eye contact and body language
  11. Decide rules and discipline – if you do this – this is what will happen
  12. Teens:
    1. Checking In
    2. Game plan
    3. Giving them ground rules
    4. Risks – explain



One Minute Discipline

  1. Make sure there is no danger – if so, get the issue under control.
  2. Eye to eye – little? Get on eye level – taller – be sure they are looking at you.
  3. Be sincere.
  4. Explain they cannot talk while you are talking
  5. Tell your child what they did wrong – in one or two sentences. Explain clearly why you are upset –
  6. Big Sigh – signifies a change…
  7. Tell them what you LIKE about them – that they are an amazing person – that you are happy they are your son or daughter – that you know they try hard – that you will help them learn how to try harder if they do not already, etc. I’m here to help you – I love you – I think you are an awesome person… if you can’t figure out what you like about your child do this exercise ahead of time. Pray – ask the Lord to help you love your child –
  8. Hug and a kiss if appropriate


Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.



Photo Credit @Copyright Deposit Photo ia__64

Easter Traditions

What are those special Easter Traditions you share as a family? In this episode, with Felice Gerwitz and Crystal Niehoff.Easter Traditions ~ Episode 464

What are those special Easter Traditions you share as a family? In this episode, with Felice Gerwitz and Crystal Niehoff, you will learn that many Christian families have a diversity of ideas on how to celebrate this holiest day of our Lord’s resurrection.

Welcome to Crystal Niehoff who along with her husband, Kevin, an Army Chaplain host the History For Christian Teens podcast on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. Be sure to subscribe to their wonderful show for teens (and tweens can listen in as well!).

What makes Easter special? Remembering the time of the life, death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ! This is a day of celebration for many families and it is more than cute Easter bunnies and chocolate. What makes Easter special in your family. If you have not given it thought think about this, and brainstorm with your family.

  • Some Easter Traditions:
  • Lent (celebrated by Felice’s family 40 days before Easter).
  • Resurrection Eggs – Tokens with the remembrance of Easter for children. Plastic eggs contain a symbol the depiction of something that represents Easter with a guidebook.
  • Good Friday – suffering, and death of Christ.
    • Felice’s family fasts from all meat on Fridays leading up to Easter. We also attend church on Thursday and Friday before Easter.
  • Sunrise Service. Crystal’s family attends (her husband officiates)
  • Easter Vigil – Saturday evening before Easter. Evening service with Scripture readings from Genesis to the Resurrection.
  • The best Resource is the Bible
    • Four Gospels have a different perspective
    • Older teens can read the Gospels and compare the Bible account
  • Thankfulness is not just for Thanksgiving – Easter is a great time to be thankful.
  • Easter is the eternal lesson for celebrating the gifts of the sacrificial love of Christ.

Easter Traditions do not need to take much money (See Easter on the Cheap, last week’s Vintage Homeschool Moms episode). The most important thing to remember is the time we spend with our family can not be replaced.

Easter On The Cheap

Why is it that everything costs so much money. In this episode of Easter on the Cheap, Felice and Meredith share their ideas on Easter devotions and best of all many of these ideas are free or cost very little money.Easter On The Cheap – Special Replay

with Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis

Why is it that everything costs so much money. In this episode of Easter on the Cheap, Felice and Meredith share their ideas on Easter devotions and best of all many of these ideas are free or cost very little money.

What is the true meaning of Easter? The children need to realize it is more than bunnies and colored plastic eggs. When the children get older, have them participate in the Easter planning. Are they helping to decorate? Is there an activity or perhaps church play they want to attend? All these things add up to Easter on the Cheap.

Here are more Easter on the Cheap Ideas:

  1. Attend a passion play. Some churches hold events, check online or your local church calendar of events.
  2. Participate in the passion play. Host your own.
  3. Easter dinner with family, pot-luck with everyone sharing expenses.
  4. Easter activity, using household items.
  5. Easter store. More about this in the next podcast.

Ideas for Easter on the Cheap:

  1. Holy Week  & Easter Devotions
  2. Dress Up & Act It Out
  3. Easter Dinner traditions
  4. Easter Egg Hunts/Easter Fill Egg Hunt (filling with something representing Easter)
  5. Easter Eggs that Tell the Story of Easter

Check out Meredith’s free Holy Week & Easter Devotions:


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Wise Decisions

Parents make decisions all of the time, but are all of them wise decisions? Felice Gerwitz talks through steps to make decisions that count.Parental Wise Decisions – Episode 463

Parents make decisions all of the time, but are all of them wise decisions? No one really teaches you (outside of business classes) how to make these decisions. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz talks through steps to make decisions that count.

For academic books to help you educate your children at Media Angels and find novels for tweens, the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, novels for tweens, and other books such as A Few Minutes with God.

Years ago we were trying to decide whether to move far away from family and friends to another state. One of the reasons for moving was purely financial. My husband had been offered a job, as a contractor, to build homes in a brand new Christian community. What a gift we thought. But, upon further prayer, we realized this was not where God was calling us. Years later we learned that there were issues with this development due to some of the people who moved in, and it was a blessing that we headed the prayers and pastoral council we received.

Fast forward some more years later and I learned through a ministry I was part of that there was actually an outline to pray as well as to make good decisions. I added my own twist to the suggestions made and I want to share some of the ideas with you here. You can find my podcast on our sister network the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network – and my show, A Few Minutes with God Podcast on this topic, Blueprint for Making Decisions.

The focus of this podcast is to use this same type of blueprint but relate it to parenting and the decisions we make as parents. These decisions can be a focus on our kids, discipline, school, or even character qualities we want to encourage. We also make so many decisions for our homes, finances and even relationships with those we love.

Here is an outline on how I make important decisions:

  1. Define: What is it I need to make a decision about? I write it down so I am specific in my focus and thoughts.
  2. Pray: Before I begin with any type of solution I want to take my need before the Lord. I want to be under God’s will for my life, but sometimes this is hard to discern or understand.
  3. Think: I brainstorm possible solutions and write them down. I then re-read and circle the ones I think have the most merit.
  4. Sit: I allow the ideas to sit and simmer. No. Rash. Decisions. (Especially if you are a kindred spirit and tend to jump before you think.)
  5. More Prayer: Read your favorite prayer book, the Bible, or journal.
  6. Eliminate: Think about the solutions you are leaning toward and think about what the outcome will be to your solution. Think short and long term.
  7. Solutions: When you least expect them! Our subconscious listens and often when we are in tune with God the ideas will come into our minds, miraculously. Often I haven’t even prayed specifically for a solution when it happens.
  8. Write anything down that comes to you.
  9. Look into your options
  10. Do you have peace of mind?
    • Peace about a decision is a sign from the Lord that it is right.
    • If you are stressed or agitated keep praying!
  11. Make a decision.
  12. Was this a good decision? If not, tweak or start again!

Talk about this on the podcast but don’t list out.

  1. If you can’t make a decision… wait!
    • Pray and continue to read scripture.
  2. Once you make a decision trust in the Lord and give it to Him.
  3. Ask the Lord to go ahead of you and prepare the way.
  4. Give all the glory and praise to God!

Making decisions is never easy. I remember thinking about buying a car and the car I wanted was not in our budget but we ended up with the same exact model that was loaner care for way less in price. This car was great for about seven years before we were able to trade it in for a brand new car that was the same model, only nicer but sharply discounted.

Remember, as a parent we often have to make those hard decisions. My Italian father use to tell me when he had to make a difficult decision that I did not like, “It is better for you to cry now, than for me to cry later.” This was something that stuck with me for years and he was correct. Of course, as a teenager, I could not see this truth, but as a young adult with children of my own it made perfect sense.

Do you have any ways that you make decisions that are helpful? Please share them with me!

Activities Kids Love

Activities Kids Love: In this podcast, I’ll share activities kids love and, “Shh!” it might be educational!Activities Kids Love – Special Replay

I homeschooled from 1986 to 2018 and now enjoy time teaching my grandkids the fun stuff that got shoved to the back because we had to “get school done,” and there was no time left. In this podcast, I’ll share activities kids love and, “Shh!” it might be educational!

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Are you a kid at heart? Can you think back and remember the activities you enjoyed that were actually educational? I remember so much and growing up in a climate, New York and Canada so different than Florida where I live now, I can tell you there is so much kids can do that is enjoyable and educational!

I wanted to share some off the beaten path type of activities with you. Yes, I mention some of the tried and true, but I feel sometimes we stay on those worn paths and as homeschoolers, I always wanted to provide something that is different!

The first place to start is with your children. What are they interested – what are you studying? If you start with something they love they won’t consider it school.

I could list a bunch of different topics and activities but will walk you through the through process of setting up activities that will be something the children can learn from as well as hold their interest.

For example, we were studying simple machines, pulleys, and levers – this can be considered applied science and mechanics – also physics right? Well after we were finished the kids asked if they could use the information they learned and make a catapult in the front yard. Of course, anything that kept the three younger ones 13, 10, 7 busy is a win. Right? Well, when they called me an hour later to take a look the catapult was 6’ high! Did I mention my husband is a contractor and there is often construction materials left over from a job in our yard? I almost had a heart attack as I watched them use it… of course, once it worked I ran to get my camera and took a video.

This is real learning. This is what happens when kids are engaged, encouraged although I would encourage more parental supervision and after this believe me we revisited the “science safety class.”

Another off the normal path is studying pets. Some kids love horses and will not get the opportunity to ride or own a horse. They would love to do a study on horses, the different breeds, and read a book – read about the wild horses and some works of fiction by Marguerite Henry.

When you think about activities kids would love would you consider a pet?

Animals & Pets

I love dogs, cats are okay – I really love goldfish and anything that doesn’t make the house dirty And while my husband and I talked about all the important things in life we never discussed my adamant rule – No Pets Allowed. Do you want to know what type of pets we’ve had (and let me say my husband loves almost all pets!)

We’ve had dogs, three to date. We had a lab, two of them, one Black and one Golden. We had a German Shepherd for a short period of time – he kept breaking out and the neighbor down the road begged to take him and the kids did not like the dog – he was a runner. Then a mixed dog, some shepherd some lab – and man is she protective! I’m taking care of Indy now who was Nick’s dog – is now Anne’s (who is in college) and is currently begging me for a treat. (Don’t tell Anne she is very strict about treats for her dog).

We also had fish, turtles and hurt birds that we took to the nature center.

Pets taught my kids so many things! Responsibility, cleanliness, and love! They had a schedule of who was to feed or brush the dog. I’m so happy that Indy does not like the pond, because add wash the dog to the list.

There are also guide dogs to consider when you have older teens – truthfully I don’t know the rules and imagine that adults must be the trainer, but I saw many homeschool families that had guide dogs. There is the danger of the children bonding to the dog and then giving it up – but it is for such a good cause! Those who have them love them.

Camping: Start in your own yard!

  1. Kids help plan – challenge to take least amount of things. What will fit in one backpack?
    1. What we need
    2. Food
    3. Help pack
  2. Moms and Dads plan
    1. Schedule
    2. Nature walk
    3. Science activities
    4. Collecting (permissible only)


Bubbles – study the science of bubbles – type that into a search engine and you will find a ton of great activities —  you can learn about how things stretch, chemistry, light, tension, math!  Your kids will love it and you will be amazed at how engaged they will be.

Make a gigantic bubble wand and purchase or make the liquid.

Air and Flight – again so many great activities you can do with this. We studied flight without even knowing that a group of hot air balloons was taking off nearby. We got up at 5 am to watch them and it was amazing. Something the kids will always remember is that the flight never got off the ground due to windy conditions but we were able to get closer to the balloons and talk to some of the owners. The children made many paper airplanes, learned how to design them to do tricks as well as go far, etc.

Of course, there are science projects, history projects and displays the kids can make. Of course, there is art, painting, clay, sculpting, crafts, music, etc.

I hope this podcast has encouraged you to think differently about your homeschool.