How to Create Your Perfect Homeschool

Creating the perfect homeschool

Now, really. Did you just click a title that said, “Create Your Perfect Homeschool” ??

Well, I’m sorry to say, there is no.such.thing.

What do I have for you today? I have a gift! In honor of Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network’s 7th birthday, today I’m sharing the gift of wisdom.

What is Homeschool Wisdom?

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines wisdom as, “The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice.

I don’t know about you, but when I began homeschooling I craved sitting down over a cup of coffee with a veteran or vintage homeschool mom. I had so many questions

So, it was so much fun to sit down with Felice Gerwitz (of Vintage Homeschool Moms) and ask her questions that I know will be a blessing to you.

 

1. How did you get started in homeschooling?

I had a child that learned differently and it was not an easy decision, as I had planned to return to teaching at some point when my kids were older. It turned into the biggest blessing ever and as I had more children, it became a lifestyle. More of a “who we are,” rather than, “what we do.”

2. What biggest piece of advice would you have regarding your marriage and homeschooling?

I know everyone says take time for date night, but truthfully I was one of those moms that missed my kids when I went out to dinner! Of course, after saying that the first time (and hurting my husband’s feelings) I learned to keep that tidbit to myself. Praying together and talking. I missed adult conversation as a homeschool mom. However, for me, it was being open, kind, and honest in conversations. No character assassination, and no criticism, aka “You are stupid.” Telling him what I was thinking rather than expecting him to guess. Our husbands can’t read our minds and we get upset when they don’t know what we think! Also, trying to be thankful for each other and seeing the best rather than the worse.

3. How would you recommend fostering connection in this Covid time for new homeschoolers?

I have to say, for me, it isn’t so much about outside connections as it is with growth within our own families. This is a time to listen to your kids when they are talking, to appreciate them, and to grow together as a family. Find new hobbies, learn something new together, plant a garden, buy baby chicks. (I’m dying to do this myself.) I do believe this time will pass and there will be field trips and park days. If you have a few friends, invite them to a park day. Learn who is homeschooling in your area and if there is any planned activity happening.
Join our Homeschool Podcast Family and ask us anything! There are some great homeschooling families in that group. Maybe some live near you!

4. Tell me about a time you thought of giving up and how you kept going with homeschooling.

I had two older kids and then had first one, then another and finally a fifth child. By the time my fifth came, I told my daughter, then eighteen she couldn’t leave the house until she taught the baby to read. Of course, I was joking, but the idea of teaching another child to read was not a fun prospect. (I had some struggling readers.) Well, God in his infinite wisdom and mercy took pity on me and Mikey taught himself to read (with a little help on my part) when he was four-years-old. I think sometimes we look at the big picture rather than tackle the every day and thank-God for each day. If you do that it can appear overwhelming.

5. If you had do-overs, what are three things you’d do differently in your homeschool?

Start unit studies earlier in my homeschool journey, especially with my little kids. We learned so much in various grade levels and we had so much fun learning it was not a chore. Once we switched to more textbooks, that is when the burn out began. Reading “real” books, for example, good historical novels, or biographies, the kids will grasp the concepts and actually remember.

6.  We moms know that the responsibility of the actual work of homeschooling usually falls on our shoulders. How do you handle the school/life balance?

I actually came up with what I call a 4-Square Planner and I took a sheet of paper and labeled it. Prayer, School, Home, Kids –or whatever 4 categories I wanted. I have used this for party planning, buying gifts, and homeschooling. It can be a daily page or a week at a glance. Either way, it works great. That way I know what I need to get done! Also, multi-task well as a family. For example, the laundry day ended up being reading in the afternoon day. Clothes were folded while I read, or the kids took turns reading while we all folded clothes and then put them away.

7. Talk to me about the middle school years. What words of wisdom or advice would you share?

I was a middle school teacher, so this is actually one of my favorite stages! Kids are great. They just are. And, if you can appreciate them it will make life so much better. Whenever you get stressed that your middle schooler is getting sassy, or lazy, or fill-in-the-blank, think back to when they wouldn’t wear pink, or insisted on wearing a skirt and pants, etc. There are always an age/stage that your kids go through that can stump us, and that is also a time for prayer. I remember being upset with my then high schooler and not knowing what the punishment would be, so I let the child know I was going to pray about the punishment. My son scoffed at me. When the Lord gave me a sense of what the punishment should be, his car keys hung in a common area (dumb right?), it really worked! So pray if things are going hard and see what the Lord gives you a sense to do!

8. What do you think the role of a a co-op might be in homeschooling?

I loved co-ops when my kids were younger and some people love them when the kids are older. It is a good time to get together with other kids if there is a subject you don’t want to teach. Or, if you can teach something well you can offer to teach.

9. There are so many blogs and podcasts to read and listen to nowadays. How can I be discerning regarding which ones will be a benefit and grace to my homeschool?

Truthfully, I love podcasts, especially from those on my network. I know most of the podcasters personally. These people walk-the-walk. I feel that so many blogs are copies of other blogs and the information is so watered down. Also, I avoid blogs that are full of ads. They are too hard to navigate even with good information.

10. What is your favorite homeschool resource and tell me about your own resources.

My all-time favorite history curriculum is a set my brother in law created for my own kids. We were able to record them and my kids know much about the Constitution and history. It is taught from a factual perspective. It can be used by all denominations as it is not heavily Christian but definitely has that as an undertone. In addition, I co-authored a Creation Science unit studies and four were featured in Cathy Duffy Top 100 and 101 Curriculum Picks, along with the Teaching Science and Having Fun books. Those books are on my Media Angels Membership (you can save 50% off with the code FOREVER50) and it has all of my curriculum and resources including the History courses. I also love our novels. They are creation based and while the story is fiction, the science is the truth!

Felice Gerwitz

Author and speaker, Felice Gerwitz, is an outside of the box thinker. Her books reflect a love of learning and education with an eye toward retention.

She is a graduate of Florida Southern College, a former teacher with a degree in Elementary Education, Learning Disabilities and Early Childhood Education. She began Media Angels Publishing in 1994.

Eight of Felice’s titles have been selected by noted book reviewer, Cathy Duffy in both her 100-Top and 101 Top Homeschool Curriculum Picks. Her science fair book was selected as book of the month by God’s World Publishing.

There are no coincidences in life, so Felice believes it is by Divine Intervention that she publishes curriculum with a Biblical Creation focus and many other educational products.

Felice owns and podcasts at the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network and the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. Her podcast topics include homeschooling, parenting, spiritual life and a podcast for aspiring authors and podcasters.

Get in on the par-tay fun! Join us for our GIVEAWAY and celebration! 7 years is a big deal. 🙂 

It’s our birthday today and we like to celebrate all month long! We will be offering some fun freebies and resources for you this month that you don’t want to miss.
Let’s kick off our 7th year celebration with an awesome giveaway!
You can enter HERE:
https://buff.ly/2vLXa7A

Online Election Resources For Students

Online election resources for students

99: Online Election Resources For Students

With the upcoming election, this seems to be a good time to talk about online election resources for students.

iCivics
Lots of teacher resources
Also games – Win the White House, Cast your Vote

Scholastic
Race to 270 – simulation that teaches about the electoral college
The Issues – choose reading levels for explanations on what different parties believe about different issues
Kid Reporters – articles about the election written by students
Quizzes

Redistricting Game
5 missions that teach what gerrymandering is

Balletopedia – who is running
List of all candidates by state running in 2020

Isidewith
Take a quiz on different issues to see which party and candidates your beliefs align best with

Fanschool
Listen to we did with the creator of this game, Eric Nelson
In October, a
game specific to the 2020 election will be added
Fanschool Politics allows students to draft “teams” of states or Congress representatatives and track how “well” they do. Visit the website to read all about it

Electing a President web-based unit study
This 4 module self-paced unit study from show sponsor, FundaFunda, uses many engaging resources to teach about US elections and the office of the president. Listen before the end of September 2020 to get a coupon for a 75% discount.

You can find show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy’s online classes and web-based unit studies here

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 know of other online stock market resources please share them with the other listeners there.

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.

Online election resources for students

Special Replay: Tax Exempt Q&A with Homeschool Leaders

Tax Exempt Q&A with Homeschool Leaders

This episode is an excerpt from the Indiana Homeschool Leaders Retreat. Carol Topp discusses tax exempt status and answers questions about self-declaring tax exempt status for your homeschool support group.

 

Visit Carol’s website here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEATURED PRODUCT from HomeschoolCPA:

 

 

The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group need to pay taxes? Could they avoid paying taxes by being a 501c3 tax exempt organization? Do you know the pros and cons of 501c3 status? Do you know what 501c3 status could mean for your homeschool group?

I have the answers for you in my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. The information I share in my book has been helpful to homeschool support groups, co-ops, music and sports groups and will help you understand:

  • The benefits of 501c3 status
  • The disadvantages too!
  • What it takes to make the IRS happy
  • What your state requires
  • Why your organization should consider becoming a nonprofit corporation
  • What is the difference between nonprofit incorporation and tax exemption
  • IRS requirements after you are tax exempt

Click Here for more information!

 

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Online Forensic Science Resources

Online Forensic Science Resources

96: Online Forensic Science Resources

Our guest in this episode is Emily Boyle and she shares with us online forensic science resources. Emily coaches Crime Busters and Forensics for a homeschool Science Olympiad team and she teaches Forensic Science to high schoolers at FundaFunda Academy.

These are the resources Emily mentions:

Emily mentions that one can use TV crime series as a discussion point for Forensics Science, even though they are often not true-to-life. It gives students the opportunity to use critical thinking skills.

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 know of other online stock market resources please share them with the other listeners there.

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.

Online Forensic Science Resources

Special Replay: Churches and Homeschool Groups

Churches and Homeschool Groups - with the Homeschool CPA Some homeschool groups find it difficult to find a church host. Why is that? This episode is an excerpt from a homeschool leaders retreat held in Indiana. Carol Topp discusses the relationship homeschool groups have with churches who host their programs.

 

Visit Carol’s website here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEATURED PRODUCT from HomeschoolCPA:

 

 

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group manage their money well? Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent? Do you know how to prevent fraud? This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

Click Here to request more information!

 

 

 

Wild Florida Spotlight: Key West

Wild Florida Spotlight: Key West

Key West – Episode 86

 

Travel Florida’s overseas highways to one of the most unique cities in the US. We highlight some of the interesting facts and history of Key West, FL.

Key West is like no other. It is unique, rich in history and culture. Take a road trip with us as we explore this wonderful little island in Florida.

 

Learn More Here

Find us on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter

Please visit www.fpea.com to learn more about who we are!

 

Break New Ground: 2020 Victory Gardens

2020 Victory Gardgens

Victory Gardens – Episode 85

 

We are living in interesting times.  Take a look a Victory Gardens with Suzanne. We talk about the history of the gardens and reasons your family should consider digging up  your own garden!

 

Learn More Here

 

Find us on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter

Please visit www.fpea.com to learn more about who we are!

 

Secrets For Raising Kids

Secrets For Raising Kids | Do you want the secrets for raising great kids? No snowflake kids allowed in our home and I’m sure you’d agree your kids have opinions, they know what they want and often tell you when you least expect it. Join Felice Gerwitz and Denise Mira for a no-nonsense podcast where we get real about raising kids. (We should know, we have ten kids between the two of us!) | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #raisingkidswithtruegrit #DeniseMira #raisingkids #greatkids #nosnowflakekids #children #kidsSecrets For Raising Kids Episode 399 with Denise Mira

Do you want the secrets for raising great kids? No snowflake kids allowed in our home and I’m sure you’d agree your kids have opinions, they know what they want and often tell you when you least expect it. Join Felice Gerwitz and Denise Mira for a no-nonsense podcast where we get real about raising kids. (We should know, we have ten kids between the two of us!)

Thanks to our sponsor, Reading Eggs- visit the website – Your child can learn to read in just 15 minutes a day! Reading Eggs is offering a special 30-Day FREE Trial. Sign up today and watch your child become a stronger reader! A multi-award winning learning program for children ages 2–13. Register at https://readingeggs.com/media1/
Hurry, offer ends May 16th! *Valid for new customers only.

Show Notes:

Visit my special guest DeniseMira.com 

With Denise’s five boys and my three boys and two girls, we’ve raised ten kids combined. We’ve learned some things such as one-size-does-not-fit-most and that no matter your child’s gender meltdowns happen from time to time. What do you do in these situations and how do you handle the kids who are a blessing you can not handle?

Raising kids is not secret. It takes work. But raising kids with an indomitable quality called “grit” takes the know-how that comes from experienced moms. We see overindulged children everywhere we go and many are in college in need of comfort and solitude. What happened to our parenting skills? With making the hard choices? In this episode we cover the character issues that plaque many children and the secrets to raising kids that you can be proud of when they become adults.

Why is it that our children imitate or pick up our most annoying traits? We examine not only the substance of character but also a test we parents can take to analyze our own parenting techniques. (Felice: I was a threatening-repeating parent … threats the kids did not take seriously because there was no follow-through! Thankfully after a few kids I realized this didn’t work well!) We as parents have to look at our children as the blessings they are but also realize it takes work and sometimes a trial and tribulation to get through the day.

Handout from Denise Secrets For Raising Kids:

True Grit-Secrets for Raising Kids VHM EP 399

Eight Secrets for Raising Kids:

  1. Substance of character
  2. The test for us parents
  3. Dopamine hits
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Trial and tribulation
  6. Struggle
  7. Perseverance
  8. James 1:2-4

Thank you to our Network Sponsor!

Click to watch the Trailer!


 

Why Homeschooling Rocks

Why Homeschooling Rocks

By: Samantha Anne Moss

Homeschooling | To other people, this kind of thing might seem distracting, but if you homeschool or are currently homeschooling you’ll understand what I’m talking about. | #podcast #homeschooling #homeschoolblog #whyhomeschool #homeschoolkidsI’ve been homeschooled all my life and for me and my siblings sitting at a desk the whole day is not a necessity. Right now, I’m writing this article on our computer in the den, my little brother Mike is standing outside the sliding glass door giving me puppy-dog eyes that say “come play with me”. My sister is literally three feet away from me playing the piano. To other people, this kind of thing might seem distracting, but if you homeschool or are currently homeschooling you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

My family goes to daily Mass every day we can. Most kids that go to school, (even the students at Catholic Schools) don’t always have the chance to go to Mass every day. At lunchtime, we often listen to a podcast and eat leftovers, sandwiches and whatever we aren’t going to have for diner. My younger brothers and sister finish their school usually before lunch. My older sister, Emma, get done around 2 to 3 PM. I can’t imagine having to do the same thing every day, wake up early, go to school, come home just to do homework. Sure there are some perks to going to school, you get to see your friends every day and get away from all your siblings unless you’re a twin then you’re sunk. But seriously, it must be nice to have a quiet place to work…then again sitting in a classroom full of kids is probably noisier and less fun than my house! When I want a quiet place to study I go to my room.

I love being homeschooled because I can watch and play with my little siblings and have more time to read as my mom says “My fun books”. I also like having the opportunity to see my friends, and finish subjects early, it’s March and I have already finished my history textbook. I feel like I have a big advantage when it comes to the specific curriculum that my mom uses. My mom is able to choose math, science, history, writing, and all the other subjects I do. I love not having to worry about whether my science and history fit with our beliefs. One of my favorite things to do is go to co-op. I get to hang out with my friends, and this year learn about art and composers. 

So where am I going with all this? Am I trying to brag about how much better I am than kids that go to school? Of course not, I just think it’s important that I try to explain how amazing it is to be part of a big family and be homeschooled. When I meet someone for the first time they usually ask me what school I go to, I answer with “I’m homeschooled”.  I typically get one of two reactions, either they give me a “what-the-heck-look” or a bright smile and a “That’s so cool I wish I was homeschooled too”. I can’t lie and say that I don’t sometimes get bored and wonder what it would be like to go to school, but at the end of the day, I love homeschooling!           

To see another article by Samantha Moss visit here.

About the author:

Samantha Anne Moss is a twelve-year-old homeschooler who lives in southwest Florida with her family. She enjoys reading, photography, and playing the piano. Samantha is the second oldest in a family of eight children.

Copyright 2020 – All Rights Reserved Samantha Anne Moss

                   

7 Steps to Create High School Classes with Living Books

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #107, 7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books

In “7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books” episode #107, Meredith Curtis shares how she created all of her children’s high school classes. She began the process by listing all the books she wanted her daughter to read. From there, she went on to think about life skills, academic skills, and virtues she longed to see in her son and daughters. Finally, she packaged everything in an easy way where teens could keep their own records.

 

 

 


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Show Notes

It was time for high school and up to that point we had enjoyed a lot of freedom and creativity in our home school. Living books were at the center of our curriculum. When we used textbooks, we read them aloud together.

Could we carry on to high school?

Yes!

Here’s what I did starting when my oldest daughter was in 7th grade. I thought ahead.

Step #1: Creating High School Classes Begins with Prayer

Surrender my children and their high school education to the Lord.

Ask for wisdom and His plan in course creation.

Step #2: Creating High School Classes Requires Book Lists

I made a list of all the books I wanted my teens to write in high school

Classic Literature: Tale of Two Cities, Count of Monte Cristo 

Great Works: Mere Christianity, Wealth of the Nations

Inspirational: God’s Smuggler, Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life

Step#3: Crossing the Finish Line Lists

I also took time to prayerfully consider what virtues, values, habits, academic skills, workforce skills, and spiritual disciplines I wanted to see in their lives

Virtues/Habits/Values: hard work, kindness, servant’s heart,

Academic Skills: essays, research, reading at college level, analysis, advanced mathematics,

Practical/Work/Community/Church Skills: leadership, interview, resume, work with a team

Spiritual Disciplines: Quiet Times, serving at church, evangelize, defend the faith

Relational Wisdom: Purpose dating or courtship, honoring parents, building wholesome friendships.

Step #4: Dividing up Books

I divided my books into different categories which became classes.

Wealth of the Nations, Larry Burkett’s economic books, and Communist Manifesto went into the economics class.

Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, and The Mysterious Affair at Styles went into British Literature.

Bondage Breaker, Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, and From Prison to Praise became part of a Christianity Basics course (God’s Girls 101: Grow in Christ and Real Men 101: Godly Manhood).

The Hidden Art of Homemaking became the foundation of my homemaking course.

Understanding the Times was the main book in our worldview class.

Soon all my books were divided up.

Step #5: Creating High School Classes Requires Creating Assignments

Next, I created assignments that were practical and cultivating academic and life skills.

  • Essays
  • Life Prep e.g. Apartment Project, Mother’s Helper, Change the Oil
  • Interviews to Articles
  • Book Club
  • Speeches

Step #6: Laying It Out for Quick Read & Check Off

Then I laid out the course for over a year and produced handy-dandy check-off sheets.

Step #7: EZ Folder Method

Overview of class, hours chart, and check-off /syllabus went into color-coded folders. Kids now could keep their own records for me. All work went into pockets.

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Examples: Classes I’ve Created

Create a High School Class like Economics, Finances, and Business by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like American Literature & Research by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like Old Testament Survey Class by Meredith Curtis
Communications 101:Essays and Speeches High School Class Worldview Understanding the Times by Meredith Curtis God's Girls 101: Grow in Christ Real Men 101: Godly Manhood
God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis Real Men 102: Freedom, Courtship, Marriage, & Family God's Girls 105: Homemaking by Meredith Curtis Real Men 103: Leadership

More Podcasts about Classes

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #106, 7 Reasons I Teach Newspaper Reporting In Middle School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #096, How I Teach English in High School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #090, Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Badge, Podcast #060, 7 Benefits of Reading Classics