Search Results for: outside learning

Fall Learning Starts Now

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Fall Learning Starts Now | When does fall learning start? It starts now. Before long, we will turn over the calendar (or swipe right or up) on a digital device and see that the holidays are approaching. We have a fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas…three in a row! What is a busy homeschool mom to do? | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #Blessingsfromheaven #StreamlineYourHomeschool #FallLearningStartsNowFall Learning Starts Now ~ Episode 504

When does fall learning start? It starts now. Before long, we will turn over the calendar (or swipe right or up) on a digital device and see that the holidays are approaching. We have a fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas…three in a row! What is a busy homeschool mom to do? In this episode, Felice shares how she prepares for the active months with an action plan.

Thanks to our ongoing sponsor,, and their excellent math curriculum for grades K-12

How many of you have planned out your entire year until Christmas? Raise your hand. Okay, so if not, no worries, I will help! First, I recommend you get on our email list and sign up for our latest planners. I have an ongoing series of monthly Organize It Planners for the year. These planners are chock-full of tips you can implement quickly. You will receive a new topic free each month. The upcoming Organize It is for October, with information on preparing your home for the forthcoming holidays.

Cooler Months – Ripe for Fall Learning

During the cooler months, planning things that take the children outdoors is nice. If you have younger children, you may want to add seasonal activities, such as fall crafts. You can also jumpstart the fall decorations by making paper chains using fall colors. I have some links to podcasts on the topics.

One of my favorite topics to study was trees and their types of leaves; if you’re blessed to live in the north, you have the full array of fall leaves coming soon! For those of us in the South, it means taking a trip up north or learning about these things via a book or online. Then there are the fall activities such as parties, fairs, cooking contests, and many other things that we, as homeschoolers, want to take advantage of. Often, harvest parties begin in October … then there is Thanksgiving, and around the corner, Christmas. Christmas quickly takes over the entire month of December. Between baking, shopping, and activities, there doesn’t seem to be much time left at school.

So, what is a busy mom to do? Well, the best thing I can advise is to get as much done as possible before the holidays, including school. As homeschoolers, we sometimes fit our household into our homeschool or our homeschool into our family. I’ve received emails from many people who have said when they’ve done an excellent job homeschooling, they’ve done a lousy job managing their homes, and vice versa. Well, you can do both.

So, first things first, how much time do you have?

Fall Learning Action Plan:

The age-old question. Well, let’s start with this:

  1. What is your daily routine?
  2. What is today’s job, and what is tomorrow’s job?
  3. What are your non-negotiable? (Taking care of your family, eating, and sleeping fall into this category!)
  4. Distractions? How can we combat these?
  5. What is the next upcoming event this week? This month? And for the next three months?

Now that you have an overview and overview of how to plan, let’s get going! What do you want to get done this month? With fall on the horizon or whatever the next big thing is, it is essential to use these pockets of time and focus on learning. At the beginning of each school year, you should look at the books or curriculum you plan to use and decide how long it will take you to complete in one school year. It may take six weeks or more to complete if it is a detailed unit you are studying.

Another thing to consider is using the days the kids are doing well and doubling up on activities. We did this to keep our Fridays free. In this way, we could use Fridays as a catch-up day, or we could use it for field trips or other activities we had planned. Of course, as the children get older and schoolwork piles up, it may not be as easy to have a free day a week once you can look at your priorities, the things you have to accomplish each day and work around those items.

We completed most of our homeschooling before Thanksgiving in late August, September, October, and November. After Thanksgiving, we were lucky to meet for a full two weeks with all the extra activities planned for Christmas. Of course, after Christmas was the New Year, and this was a solid vacation time.

In the new year, most of our schoolwork was in January, February, and March. Do you see a pattern here? We focused on the times between holidays and other significant events for our family. For some of you, Easter may not be a big event, but it is in our home, and we typically take a week off, a week before Easter, and a few days afterward. After Easter, all the kids can see his summer on the horizon. Therefore, working hard on days too hot or cold to go outside is essential. My children naturally do better when there are fewer distractions. I’m sure yours do as well!

I have links in the other podcasts’ show notes with great ideas for fall activities.

Past Episodes on Fall and Activities Kids Can Do:

Celebrate Fall Baking

October Checklist- 

To purchase Checklist Planners, go here.

Thanksgiving Gifts and Crafts

DIY Crafts for Kids

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

For example, fall is an excellent time for baking. We did a lot of bulk baking that we could freeze, and when the holidays came around, we had ready-made sweet bread that we could give away as gifts, cinnamon rolls, and more. There is a baking link here: Celebrate Fall Baking.

If you don’t like to bake, perhaps you like crafts. Before Christmas, we focused on making presents for grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Gifts link here.

As the winter months get closer, use this time to spend reading together as a family. Our favorite times were reading the Little House on the Prairie and other books in front of the fireplace with cups of cocoa. These are memories you can create with your family and get some learning in there as well. We often read books that went along with the themes we were studying.

I would throw in some hands-on experiential activities to round up your fall learning. If you have read any of my books (LINK HERE), you understand my need to involve the children. As a child and even an adult, I love to learn by doing. Sure, reading it in a book and moving on is more accessible, but what about authentic learning, learning things the children will remember?

Encourage your children to set time limits to get things done, especially if you have a child who takes all day to get math done. That usually means there’s nothing else the child wants to do afterward. If we give our children those to get their schoolwork done, more than likely, they will work right along. I also encourage your children to find hobbies or things they want to pursue in our family. Children my three youngest children play sports each day, and they have to spend time practicing. If your child plays a musical instrument and has another hobby, I am sure they also need time to pursue this interest.

We want to instill values that allow our children to do what is right, not just when we’re watching them. Give them opportunities to learn independently, especially if they are old enough, then make sure you check their work each day or at least every couple of days. I remember leaving their schoolwork for a week to check, and then sometimes I would be overwhelmed by all I needed to grade and be frustrated when I saw the work was half done. If I keep up with this, it’s helpful. My husband was willing at times when I was overwhelmed. He would take over the grading, and the children disliked it because he was much stricter than I was

I hope these ideas help you to accomplish and have time for all the fun activities. Be sure to visit me at Come check out our podcast family at our Facebook group, which is a homeschooled podcast family; you can look for that or search for it. If you have any questions, contact me on our FB group.



Learning From Your Special Needs Child

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child | I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications | #blog #homeschooling #TipsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #SpecialNeedsHomeschooling #ChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #LearningFromYourSpecialNeedsChild #LearningSpecialNeedsChild

In the realm of homeschooling, the most unexpected journeys often lead to the most profound lessons. Join me as I share a personal odyssey of discovery and growth while homeschooling my special needs son. From an initial reluctance toward science to a deep immersion in the natural world, our educational path took a captivating twist. Amidst the floodwaters of our Florida home’s backyard, a unique classroom emerged, fostering hands-on learning and life-changing insights. In this blog post, I unveil the transformative lessons I learned from my son, Neal, as we embarked on a science-filled adventure together, unearthing a newfound appreciation for learning and an unbreakable bond between a mother and her child.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child

I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications. However, even that could not make me like science. Part of my coursework was on teaching elementary science. I received an “A” in the course but proceeded to sell that book at the end of the semester as if it were tainted with gang-green. Nope! I was not going to teach science in any way, shape, or form. I preferred literature and writing to anything that required analytical thinking, was not straightforward, and made a mess.

Along Came a Transition

Then along came Neal, followed by our decision to homeschool. Our new home was nestled in 2.5 acres in the Florida six-mile cypress slough. (Translation: During the rainy season, this land tends to flood.) And during the rainy season, it was challenging to keep my kids indoors. Neal was six at the time, and his little sister, Christina four. They loved to head outdoors after a rainfall, which often lasted a scant hour but dumped so much water on our yard that it didn’t take many days for the lands to become soaked.

So, what does it mean to live in a flood zone? It means your yard is teaming with wildlife and is a virtual natural sciences lab. The day’s supplies consisted of knee-high boots, a red wagon, a bucket, and nets for scooping up critters. This was soon followed by not one, but two microscopes, one for inside and one that was in the garage. In that way, the children could get up close and personal with their living treasures. It was definitely caught and released. However, the lessons learned were invaluable.

The lessons were two-fold and identified in two separate compartments. One set of lessons was for me, and the other for the children.

Here is a list as follows:

Mom’s Lessons Learned

  1. The well-planned elementary curriculum consisting of textbooks was shelved
  2. Hands-on learning teaches skills that are foundational and memorable
  3. Character qualities were formed through experience, such as patience, fortitude, charity, and understanding
  4. Messes are okay if they instill a love of learning
  5. Safety is important, and learning that “red-on-yellow can kill a fellow” is mandatory in understanding which snakes to avoid
  6. An arsenal of pond life, bird life, and nature books is a must
  7. Many subjects could easily be tied into science
  8. Scientific discovery caused the children to delve deeper into complex thought processes.
  9. What if questions and the word “hypothesis” became part of their basic vocabulary
  10. Reading and comprehension skills soared because of the research required to identify much-needed information.

Kids Lessons Learned

  1. We can keep any animal for the day if we can prove that we won’t kill it
  2. If we keep our messes contained to the deck and garage, anything goes
  3. Mom will buy us anything that has to do with science
  4. Mom doesn’t know everything, so looking it up in a book was easier than asking her
  5. We love looking at the eyes of frogs, lizards, and insects if they hold still enough under a microscope
  6. If we do our seat work quickly, Mom lets us do science
  7. Leaving mom’s suitable measuring cups outside will result in punishment
  8. “Red on black” is not a friend of Jack! However, red-on-yellow won’t kill a fellow but should still be avoided.
  9. Baking soda and vinegar can be used as short-burst rocket fuel, but ask Mom first.
  10. Science is fun!

Ultimately, I learned using nature science was the key to unlocking my child’s critical thinking skills, and I took his learning to new heights. My well-planned curriculum went into the “circular file,” I joined my children as we headed out the door and into the world of nature studies and more! In fact, it was because of this wonderful experience that I wrote the first book I self-published: Teaching Science and Having Fun. I could relate my fears and dislike of anything scientific to those who mirrored my concerns and show that it is never too late for any mom to learn new things.

Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for both education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path that has been colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has not only embraced her role as an educator but also stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have not only enriched her own family’s learning journey but have also inspired countless others seeking alternative educational paths.

You can continue reading her story in her very personal story, One More Child, from Media Angels, Inc.

Using Tech for Summer Learning

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Using Tech for Summer Learning

184: Using Tech for Summer Learning

While you might be wishing your children stayed off teach this vacation, let me share some ideas for using tech for summer learning that might change your mind.

Using tech on vacation / staycation

1. Clio – shows historical sites near your locations
2. Geocaching – listen to episode 38: Geocaching: Technology meets nature
3. Scavenger Hunt apps – Let’s Roam is a good one. Also listen to episode 41: Explore cities with digital scavenger hunts

Educational Fun when outside play isn’t possible

1. Games that require communication eg Overcooked
2. Games that teach coding or other skills – Daisy the Dinosaur, LightBot, Game Builder Garage, Human Resource Machin etc
3. Games that get everyone moving – Wii – Just Dance, Wii Sports
4. Games that have educational content eg Civilization and Age of Empires. Listen to episode 56: Learning history through video games
5. Critical Thinking – games like Myst and Nancy Drew PC games

Learning new hobbies /deep dives into topics

1. Youtube tutorials – listen to the episode 157: Technology and Handicrafts
2. Web-based unit studies -take a look at those offered by show sponsor FundaFunda
3. Learning tech – many previous podcast episodes cover free tools to use for video, art, writing, coding etc. Taake a look at show sponsor FundaFunda Academy’s 5-week coding classes

Don’t forget to sign up your homeschooled high schoolers for sponsor FundaFunda’s annual summer High School Challenge for homeschoolers in rising 9th – 12th grade. This contest gamifies the learning and offers gift card rewards – as well as an overall cash prize.

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Using Tech for Summer Learning

Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan.

Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan

Including Teens in Family Learning, Interview with Amy Sloan

Vicki is so excited to talk in this episode with Amy Sloan of Humility and Doxology, because she is going to bless us with two things!

  1. The opportunity to listen to a second generation homeschooler! This is so much fun for us old timers: What a treat to listen to the wisdom radiating from another generation of homeschooling moms (especially homeschooling moms who were homeschooled themselves)!
  2. The opportunity to glean some wisdom on how to make the most of homeschooling multiple kids without losing the teens. As you may have noticed when homeschool moms are busy with the intensive hands-on learning with the youngers while the teens are doing more independent work. While this is good and right, it can be easy to feel like family learning time gets lost. No fear: Amy’s been through it as a homeschooler and a homeschooling mom of multiple kids (ages 6-16). She has ideas!
  3. BTW- Amy’s husband is a second generation homeschooler, himself!
Amy Sloan Photo used by permission

Amy Sloan
Photo used by permission

Wisdom from Amy: What did she like about homeschooling so much that she decided to homeschool her own kids?

With kids aged six through sixteen, she wanted her youngers to have shared family memories of “family learning or circle time” even though her teens naturally are more active in things outside the home.

This is all the more true as she sees graduation approaching for a couple of her homeschoolers.

So she calls the family together in the morning. Together they share:

She does remember that her teens have many demands of the their time and energy so she is careful not to overwhelm them. She spends some extra circle time with the youngers after the high schoolers are dismissed. (She also remembers that teens sometimes have demands or needs that precludes their participation on some days.)

More details on Amy’s circle time with all the kids:

  • Memorizing longer passages of Scripture (like a chapter or two, a couple of verses at a time, memorized by reading together responsively. For instance:
    • Select passages from Romans (two to six verses per chapter)
    • Sermon on the Mount
    • Favorite Psalms
    • Hebrews 11
  • Memorizing Shakespeare passages
  • Favorite books vary by seasons of life
    • Historical novels
    • Random and fun books such as:
      • King Arthur stories
      • Fairy tales
    • Serious inspiration like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

What kind of buy-in do teenagers need when communicating about family learning?

  • Keep a positive relationship
  • Keep communication open to discussing teen needs
  • Help them pick poetry and speeches that will interest them

What advice, having been homeschooled herself, does Amy have for homeschooling moms of teens?

Amy has found that learning poetry, speeches and classic books together, helps older teens learn more deeply as they work alongside and with their siblings.

Connect with Amy at (download her freebie A Year of Memory Work) for lots of memorization ideas along with 100 favorite poems.

(Also, if your family is working on poetry memorization, download this freebie of illustrated classic poems, set to music for memorization.)

Don’t forget to check out her Homeschool Conversations podcast.


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Six Benefits Of Learning Spanish

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Learning Spanish | With a passion for speaking Spanish, and experience as a homeschool mom, Alba Alonso shares the benefits of learning Spanish. You will be surprised at the innovation she uses and she explains more of this in this episode! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #fitnesslatinos #foreignlanguageSix Benefits Of Learning Spanish Episode 366

With a passion for speaking Spanish, and experience as a homeschool mom, Alba Alonso shares the benefits of learning Spanish. You will be surprised at the innovation she uses and she explains more of this in this episode! Time to learn a #foreignlanguage ~ try #fitnesslatinos

Thanks so much to Fitness Latinos our sponsor! Please visit the website here: VISIT Fitness Latinos here 

An informational video about the product is here: VIDEO Here

About Alba Alonso

  • Her first language was Spanish. She lived in Colombia in South America for her first 10 years. She learned English during her middle and high school years and moved from Miami to Oregon and went on to college in South Carolina. You can say she has tasted a little bit of our US culture in a short time!

    She gave up a career as a marketing coordinator for an international architecture firm to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled her two children for the next 20 years. When her firstborn was eight years old her friends began to take an interest in learning Spanish. The first year her homeschool coop started with twenty students!

    Alba is the founder of an all-male Hispanic soccer league, has been an interpreter and was the co-host of Mom’s Homeroom, a parenting web show. Thirty-eight years after having moved to the US she has poured her life’s experience into her online business Fitness Latinos where she teaches Spanish and English in a practical way that will commit learning the foreign language in a personal and permanent way.

    She believes you have to define your “WHY?” before you learn to enjoy the journey. Her life’s motto is, “Transformation Through Education and Each One Teach One.”

Handout from Level 1 & 2 Syllabi and Benefits

Top Six Benefits of Learning Spanish

  1. Inspire – Your journey will inspire others to be courageous and to step out of the mundane routine of life and get to know someone new and exciting.
  2. Fun – The study of a new language helps us be able to navigate outside the tourist bubble, to connect and interact with the place and its people in a way that is typically not accessible to those without the language.
  3. Appreciate –We begin to appreciate other traditions, mannerisms, and cultures. We develop a greater acceptance of others and we learn to have empathy for humanity.
  4. Health – Highly successful people exercise because exercise keeps the brain healthy, reduces stress, helps improve memory, creativity, concentration, problem-solving skills, we can multitask better and we become better listeners.
  5. Connect – We become someone who can connect at a deeper level with others simply because we are more in tune with the differences we each possess.
  6. Challenge – Our motto is “Through language, we communicate, through actions we connect.” Our weekly challenge will encourage you to have the courage to make new friends one step at a time.

By nature, learning our native language or foreign language is elementary. The same way we learned to say hello, learned our colors, numbers, and animals in our mother tongue is the way we instruct students to learn a foreign language. Even if you have some knowledge of Spanish or English but you cannot carry or understand a simple conversation with a foreign speaker then you need to go back and master the basics. By the end of our 1st level course, you will be able to understand your GPS in Spanish or at least give someone directions.

You will understand cognates, articles, nouns, and 50 verbs. Our 2nd level will help our students have a full conversation using feelings, sports, professions, opposites, as well as learn cognates, nouns, prepositions, interrogatives, and 50 verbs. In addition, we give our students specific websites they can focus on to take ownership over their future studies. Learning how to conjugate in different tenses is more advanced and requires different examples best learned one on without stress.

It is important for students to read, write, hear and physically practice the language in a fun environment. There are 22 lessons with written instructions, a video with me pronouncing the vocabulary for the week and a challenge for the week. Some of the challenges are right in your own home and some require you to go to a local store and ask for help.

We have to live with the end in mind. No one lives a happy life without these three: love, purpose, and support. We need more than theoretical knowledge, we need to challenge ourselves to gain practical knowledge. The best way is through relationships. In each lesson’s video, I give my students tips on how to break out of that shyness, fear, lack of interest and truly experience how easy it is to learn Spanish or English. Through weekly assignments that include: family, friends and their community, they will retain the vocabulary for the week for years like my past students.

We have combined effective linear learning (as in one theme per week which is curriculum controlled) and flexible learning (where the environment is learner controlled) and coupled it with motivation to help decrease stress and master cognitive load. The weekly assignments connect our students peer to peer in their own community, something that no computer software can do. We lead the way for better relationship habits in all areas of life.


Thinking Outside The Box

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Thinking Outside Of The Box | Creativity can be encouraged no matter what curriculum you use. #podcast #homeschool #homeschoolpodcast #thinkingoutsideoftheboxThinking Outside of the Box – 297

When I consider thinking outside of the box the first idea that pops into my head is swimming against the stream. Thinking outside of the box does require creativity something that may not come naturally to some children. However, it can be nurtured. Some fear creativity because of the fear of being wrong however many kids don’t know a typical solution and will look for others.

Thanks to our sponsor, KiwiCrate! Check them out on their website for some of their – thinking outside of the box crates!

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)

Thinking Outside of The Box

I know I know. You already have your books – your curriculum – fill in the blank, whatever that is (by your objection) -it takes too much time, and on and on. Yet, you can begin incrementally – start with baby steps. Use short periods of time — while you are fixing lunch, give the kids a baggie full of random parts and ask them to
create something. I have some ideas I’ll share in this show.

Today we will discuss not only some fun activities you can use with your kids to get those creative juices going but also ways to encourage thinking outside of the box when coming up with solutions. I will then present some actual hands-on ideas on how to get started.

When we are thinking outside the box we try to stretch our kid’s ideas and imagination. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

1. Hang off the couch upside down. Look at the world from a different perspective.
2. Draw a picture – then turn it upside down – what do you see?
3. Look at the clouds – study shapes. What do you see?
4. Look at the end result and work backward.
5. Close your eyes and listen – really listen. Do this outdoors and in different places.

Seeing things from a different perspective, using our senses is a way to train our minds to think differently. Some solutions don’t work and that is why I want to present a series of do’s and don’ts

Some do’s and don’ts
1. Don’t do it for them – but yes, it’s okay to allow failure
2. Silly isn’t always best – but it could possibly work. Give kids the benefit of the doubt.
3. Do something else for awhile – sometimes taking a break helps the solution come to mind.
4. Don’t reward frustration. Sometimes out kids get frustrated so we think we need to stop. If they are frustrated do #3 – take a break but go back.

Here are some ideas to spark creativity and thinking outside of the box.

Light the Bulb

Get a light bulb to light via a battery.

Supplies: battery — aluminum foil – tiny light bulb

Ask the kids to use these items to make the light bulb light. If you have studies conductivity that is great, if not let the kids go and watch!


You can give them a topic – marshmallows/ toothpicks -create a car – create a house… first give them free reign.

The next time:

Use a timer, and select one thing – a house etc. Allow the children to build against the clock – against a sibling/ friend / against you. Who can build a structure that is 3-dimensional and can stand?

Pick a Challenge

Start with something familiar to kids – such as sorting socks.

How can you wash socks and come out with matches after laundry time? 

  1. Brainstorm ideas – take a challenging task and brainstorm how you intend to accomplish the task.
  2. Trial and error – if it doesn’t work – what can you do to make it work?
  3. Identify assumptions.

Overall taking the time to develop ways of thinking outside of the box will help you with challenges in life and with academics! Share some of your creative outside of the box thinking with me!

Ideas for Learning with Nature Walks

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Cindy WestIdeas for Learning with Nature Walks with Cindy West. How you can use nature walks as an entire science curriculum and teach numerous other subjects. Homeschool Sanity Show podcastOne of the huge perks of homeschooling is we can get outside to do our learning.

In my interview with Cindy West of Shining Dawn Books, I was not only motivated to take more nature walks with the kids, but I was also inspired to learn that nature walks can easily comprise an entire science curriculum!

To find out how and all the other subjects you can teach with nature walks, you’ll want to listen to this episode.

I really can’t say enough about Cindy’s ebook 100+ Easy & Fun Creative Nature Walks. As a very busy, spur-of-the-moment, homeschooling mom, I love that I can have access to the ideas on my phone or tablet so we can learn on the fly. They take very little preparation and go beyond learning to making memories.

Other excellent books authored by Cindy which were discussed on the podcast include:

Homeschooling Gifted & Advanced Learners (superb!)

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling


Find Cindy at Shining Dawn Books, Our Journey Westward, on Google+ (also +CindyWest10), and Facebook (also Cindy K West).





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Spring Cleaning Your Homeschool

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Spring Cleaning Your HomeschoolAs we wave goodbye to the chilly days of winter and welcome the fresh breezes of spring, it’s the perfect time to breathe new life into our homeschool routines. Spring cleaning isn’t just for our homes—it’s also a wonderful opportunity to refresh and reorganize our homeschool spaces, curricula, and learning approaches. Let’s dive into how you can spring clean your homeschool to make the most of this vibrant season!

Copyright 2024 Felice Gerwitz, Media Angels, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Use for Family only.

Sign Up Here & Get Spring Cleaning Planners!

PS. Check out additional planners at Media Angels.

1. Sort Through Your Curriculum when Spring Cleaning

The first step in spring cleaning your homeschool is to evaluate your curriculum. Gather all your textbooks, workbooks, and digital resources. It’s time to decide what stays, what goes, and what needs a little tweaking.

  • Keep: Set aside the materials that have been effective and enjoyable for your children. These are the keepers for the upcoming seasons.
  • Toss: Identify any resources that haven’t met your expectations or no longer align with your educational goals. Consider donating these materials to other homeschool families or selling them online.
  • Revise: For curriculum elements that are almost right but need adjustments, think creatively about how you can modify them to better suit your needs.

Helpful Podcasts to help you organize your curriculum and more.

2. Organize Your Homeschool Space when Spring Cleaning

A cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind. Spring is the perfect time to organize your homeschool area to make it more functional and inviting.

  • Supplies: Sort through all your supplies. Sharpen pencils, restock paper, and organize art supplies. Use bins, shelves, and labels to keep everything in its place.
  • Learning Zones: Designate specific areas for different activities. A cozy corner for reading, a well-lit table for writing and drawing, and a clear space for hands-on projects can help define your educational environment.
  • Display Work: Refresh the area where you display your children’s work. Rotate in new pieces to keep the display current and to celebrate their hard work and creativity. Or create a book of their work using an old photo album!

3. Embrace Outdoor Learning

With the warmer weather, spring is an ideal time to take learning outside. Not only does it break the monotony of indoor education, but it also offers unique and interactive learning opportunities.

  • Nature Studies: Use your local park or backyard as a classroom. Observing plants, animals, and insects can spark interest in biology and environmental science.
  • Art and Writing: Encourage your children to draw or write outside. Nature can be a fantastic muse for artistic and literary projects.
  • Physical Education: Take advantage of the nice weather to incorporate more physical activity into your homeschool routine. Hiking, biking, or even just a walk around the neighborhood can be great for physical health and mental well-being.

Helpful Podcasts on outside learning, getting outdoors, and homeschooling during the change of seasons.

Spring Cleaning Your Homeschool: Fresh Strategies for a Productive Season

Spring cleaning your homeschool is about more than just tidying up—it’s an opportunity to reflect on what’s working, make adjustments where necessary, and set a positive tone for the months ahead. By going through your curriculum, organizing your space, and making the most of outdoor learning, you can invigorate your homeschool experience. Embrace this season of renewal to create an inspiring and productive learning environment for your family. Happy spring cleaning, and here’s to a fresh start in your homeschool journey!

Recommended Resources to Help You Make the Most of Your Homeschool

Ultimate Checklist Planner Spring Cleaning

Ultimate Checklist Planners

Our most popular printables are now updated! Do you like to use checklists for all of your needs? You’ll get all 12 months of planning sheets all at your fingertips. Use it in your home and homeschool.

Teaching Your Kids the Character Trait of Decisiveness

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Teaching your kids to be decisive is an important life skill. By setting a good example, giving them choices, encouraging quick decisions, discussing pros and cons, praising their efforts, and using resources like the Character Counts planner from, you can help your kids become more confident and capable decision-makers. Start today and watch your kids grow into strong, decisive individuals.Teaching your kids the character trait of decisiveness is important. Decisiveness helps them make good choices quickly and confidently. As homeschooling moms, we have a great opportunity to teach our kids this valuable skill. Here are some tips and examples to help you guide your children in becoming more decisive.

Why Is Decisiveness Important?

Decisiveness means making decisions quickly and effectively. It helps kids feel confident and reduces stress. When kids are decisive, they are better at solving problems and can handle challenges more easily.

Tips for Teaching Decisiveness

  1. Set a Good ExampleKids learn a lot by watching their parents. Show them how you make decisions. Explain your thought process. For example, if you are deciding what to cook for dinner, talk through your choices out loud. “We could have spaghetti, but we had pasta yesterday. How about tacos? They are quick and easy.”
  2. Give Them ChoicesStart by giving your kids simple choices. This helps them practice making decisions. For example, “Do you want to read a book or play outside?” Gradually increase the complexity of the choices as they become more comfortable making decisions.
  3. Encourage Quick DecisionsTeach your kids to make quick decisions by setting a time limit. For example, “You have two minutes to choose a game to play.” This helps them learn to think quickly and trust their instincts.
  4. Discuss Pros and ConsWhen making a decision, discuss the pros and cons with your child. This helps them understand how to weigh different options. For example, “If we go to the park, we can play on the swings, but it might rain. If we stay home, we can bake cookies, but we won’t get any fresh air.”
  5. Praise Their EffortsPraise your kids when they make a decision, even if it’s a small one. Positive reinforcement builds their confidence. For example, “Great choice on picking the red shirt today! It looks great on you.”
  6. Use the Character Counts PlannerA great resource to help teach decisiveness is the Character Counts planner from This downloadable, printable planner is designed to help kids develop important character traits. It includes activities and exercises that encourage decisiveness and other positive behaviors. You can download it, print it, and start using it right away with your kids.

Examples of Teaching Decisiveness

  1. Planning a Family OutingInvolve your kids in planning a family outing. Give them options and let them decide. For example, “Would you rather go to the zoo or the aquarium this Saturday?” Discuss the pros and cons of each choice and let them make the final decision.
  2. Choosing School SubjectsAllow your kids to choose some of their homeschool subjects or projects. For example, “Do you want to learn about dinosaurs or space this month?” This gives them a sense of control over their learning and encourages them to make decisions.
  3. Daily RoutinesIncorporate decision-making into daily routines. For example, “Do you want to do math or science first today?” This helps kids practice making decisions regularly and builds their confidence.

An Important Life Skill

Teaching your kids to be decisive is an important life skill. By setting a good example, giving them choices, encouraging quick decisions, discussing pros and cons, praising their efforts, and using resources like the Character Counts planner from, you can help your kids become more confident and capable decision-makers. Start today and watch your kids grow into strong, decisive individuals.



Deschooling: What, Why, and How (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Listen in to learn more about deschooling as a way to reframe and reset the joy of learning for both you and your child.Episode #22 – On this week’s episode, learn how you can use deschooling to reframe and reset the joy of learning for you and your child.

Deschooling is the process of detaching oneself from traditional schooling methods and structures in order to allow for more creativity, freedom, self-expression, and peace. This is done over a period of time, during which you do little formal school work in order to reset your child’s natural love of learning.

Deschooling can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your needs and preferences as well as the needs of your child.  You may also find that during the deschooling process,  you adjust your understanding of and approach to how your child learns best. During this time, your child isn’t expected to complete worksheets, study from a textbook, or sit to listen to boring lectures. Deschooling is a time of reframing our ideas of how, when, and where learning takes place.

Some ways to deschool:

  • Read to your child often.
  • Play educational board games.
  • Include your children in everyday life.
  • Get outside! Go for walks, hike a nature trail, bike ride, play at the park, go swimming.
  • Attend concerts, plays, art exhibits, and sporting events.
  • Go to the museum, zoo, or aquarium.
  • Make frequent trips to the library.
  • Create or build.
  • Watch documentaries and educational TV shows and videos.

Learning doesn’t require textbooks, worksheets, or a classroom. Learning can happen anywhere, day or night. And the great thing about homeschooling is that we know that our children are always learning! As parent/ teacher we can allow our children the freedom to learn in whatever mode suits them best, even if that means on the couch or floor, standing or moving around, frequent breaks, and incorporating hands-on practice.

Listen in to learn more about deschooling as a way to reframe and reset the joy of learning for both you and your child.


Teach Kids Math at the Grocery Store

Tips for Deschooling

What, When, Why & How of Deschooling

Deschooling: Starting Out Right at Home



Upper Iowa University is committed to providing quality, affordable education to service members and their families. Service members, spouses and dependents qualify for tuition savings with their Military Family Grant on undergraduate and graduate degrees.

UIU programs are available online, on campus and at one of their learning centers across the country. Work one-on-one with an advisor to reach your educational goals. Learn more at UIU.EDU/MilitaryHomeSchool


Join Crystal and her guests each week as they bring relevant information to equip you, stories to encourage you, and content to inspire you. You don’t have to go it alone, tune in to the Military Homeschool Podcast, and be energized in your military homeschooling journey!

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