New Years Resolutions for Digital Habits

New Years Resolutions for Digital Habits

64: New Years Resolutions for digital habits


The beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on our lives – including our digital habits. Here are some ideas for New Years Resolutions for Digital Habits.

Bad tech habits we can change

  • Track your online time for a week to see where you are wasting time online
  • Sign up for the Infomagical challenge to take a close look at your habits.

Consider signing your teens up for FundaFunda Academy’s Computer Applications class next year as it includes a module on Digital Habits and has them do the Infomagical Challenge.

Good tech habits

You need to make sure you are keeping up with tech. Try to learn something new each month – make a plan now. Here are some ideas:

  • Create digital birthday invitations
  • Use an online tool to select a meeting time
  • Do online coaching with a tool like Zoom
  • Try out educational games to use in your homeschool
  • Learn to code
  • Learn to use Google Drive apps or if you already use them, find ways to use them for projects in your homeschool
  • Create online quizzes for your kids (episode on this topic coming up soon)
  • Learn to use Trello

Bonus idea for a New Years’s Resolution

Use tech to connect intentionally with people. Once a month review a podcast, leave a comment of a blog post, message someone to thank them for what they do, reach out to someone you haven’t seen for a long time etc.

I would love to know what your plans are and how they turn out this year so be sure to join our Facebook group where we can share with each other.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

New Years Resolutions for Digital Habits #digitalhabits #homeschoolingpodcast #newyearsresolutions

Pearl Harbor 12.7.41

100 Homeschool Hacks I

The Ultimate Field Trip

Postcard image with a traveling family on an ocean tripThe Ultimate Field Trip – Traveling!

Travel is the ultimate field trip! It is so educational. Traveling exposes you to new people, places, language, food, culture, and ideas. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. Travel helps us see the long view instead of our shorter, “close-to-home” view. It promotes wonder, curiosity, research and exploration if you let it!

This past week, my husband traveled to Nashville for a professional conference and our youngest and I went along for the ride. We worked and studied for part of each day and then went adventuring. One day we went to Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage. The next, the Botanical Gardens and Cheekwood Estate. The last day we met family members at the Grand Old Opry and roamed around the amazing gardens. It gave us a lot to think about.

Have Family – Will Travel

Over the past two years, we’ve had the opportunity to visit three presidential residences: Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson; Mt. Vernon, home to George Washington; and now The Hermitage, home to Andrew Jackson.

Visiting all three presidential estates has given us the opportunity to compare and contrast Presidents; the impact each has had on the country, their attitudes towards the Union, slavery, and marriage. These inexplicably different presidents, each charted the course of this great nation.  Even affecting the way Americans live today. It’s a great history lesson! Our academic lessons are made all the more powerful by seeing where and how they each lived, ran their personal lives and interacted with others.

The Gift of Travel

Having the opportunity to travel has been a gift and one we don’t take lightly! We’ve worked to maximize travelling opportunities as they’ve come up. In the past year, we’ve taken field trips to the Black Hills in SD, St. Louis MO, South Carolina, San Antonio TX, Washington DC, Gettysburg, VA and Nashville, TN. Some of that travel was for our kids’ activities (Bible Bee participation, graduation from Army Basic) and some for work. We’ve visited Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg, Mission Conception, State and National sea-side parks, Botanical Gardens in TX and TN, the Arch in St. Louis, Mansions and Colonial homes, the Museum of the Bible (read my review here), Lincoln Memorial and a host of other D.C. Memorials, and the Grand Old Opry. We’ve eaten the best shrimp and grits in TX, fries smothered in gouda cheese in D.C. and superb hamburgers in TN. We’ve been on the look-out for amazing opportunities and experiences and found them!

Of course, that list also represents admissions fees, gas, and other costs. We are fortunate that we are able to write off some expenses for our work. We have also traded admissions fees for blog reviews and asked for the homeschool discounts whenever appropriate. Planning ahead and discovering off-season discounts can also make family travel more affordable. We count these fees as part of our homeschool expenses because they add so much to our children’s education.

Travel is the ultimate field trip...It promotes wonder, curiosity, research and exploration if you let it! Lisa Nehring, author, and administrator at True North Homeschool Academy and Softskills 101 Podcast Show Host. Click To Tweet

Tips for Planning Amazing Family Field Trips

  • Facebook groups provide great opportunities to connect with natives who know their area. I am in a couple of homeschool travel groups and there are always a few people who just got back from where we’re going or someone who lives where we are going in the group. It’s a great way to get a current perspective and get reasonably priced ideas on amazing places to eat!
  • Google – search “Best Sightseeing” in whatever place you plan to visit. I just searched Tampa and came up with various categories: parks, sight-seeing, air-helicopter-balloon rides, shopping, eating, museums, sights, and landmarks, etc.
  • Pick up brochures at area restaurants or cruise through the Airbnb/Vrbo binder wherever you are staying.
  • Ask the locals – whenever we land in a new location, we ask waitresses and other service professionals what the “must-see” and “must-do” opportunities are in any location.

Wherever we go, we do a bit of research and gather everyone’s ideas ahead of time. Because we are all readers, we might have ideas in mind already- historical places we want to visit, or places my husband and I visited as children. We decide how much time and money we have to spend and make a tentative plan for what we want to get done. In the last several years we have often traveled for work and my husband and I have taken turns going places with the children while the other does the work-related stuff.

The World Is Our Classroom

Finding great field trips while traveling, in many ways, gets back to having a sense of what you believe about education. Do you believe that the world is your classroom? If so, you’ll make a point of being curious about the world and want to explore the nooks and crannies. Your preferences and those of your family will differ from mine. Perhaps you are real foodies and are willing to wait in line to experience the most amazing Hunan food in San Francisco, while I am more interested in the Missions along the coast. Of course, one would expect nothing less!

And when I meet you in an on-line group, or at a conference, and we compare notes, we might both broaden our horizons by doing what the other experienced and found fascinating, further enriching our lives through travel!

About the Author: Lisa Nehring hosts the podcast Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, along with her husband Dr. David Nehring. She is the Director of  True North Homeschool Academy and she and her husband have homeschooled their five kids for the past 27 years. Lisa is passionately committed to resourcing and connecting fellow homeschoolers and Christians with the tools and resources necessary to navigate a complex world in need of a Savior. You can connect with her at the True North Homeschool Tribe on Facebook

Learning History through Video Games

Learning History Through Video Games

Episode 56:Learning History through Video Games with Charlene Hess

Charlene Hess of Hess Un-Academy joins me in this episode as we talk about learning history through video games. Be sure to visit her Facebook page.

When my children were young we all enjoyed playing Orgeon Trail together. Oregon Trail is seen as the first educational computer game to gain widespread appeal because it was also fun. As they got older the played other video games based in history like Knights and Merchants, Caesar 3, Rome: Total War and Battlefield 1942.

One of the games they played a lot was Civilization. It is a strategy game where you play as different civilizations and try to conquer the world. Be sure to listen to the episode to hear the story of what my one son learned when he played as the Egyptian civilization.

Another game my boys played – and Charlene’s whole family plays, is Age of Empires. Charlene explains how they play it and what benefits they get from playing. You can buy the game on the Steam website.

Charlene has created worksheets that you can use with your children to research each civilization before they play as that civilization.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy has a full year Honors US History online class that uses games where appropriate, as well as 2 World War 2 web-based unit studies that incorporate games and fun interactive websites to enhance learning – World War 2 Year by Year and Who’s Who in World War 2.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook
Learning History Through Video Games #historygames #homeschooling #podcast

Homeschooling Digital Natives

Homeschooling Digital Natives

Episode 54: Homeschooling Digital Natives

Most of you are digital immigrants homeschooling digital natives.

In 2001 Mark Prensky coined the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”. ‘Digital Native’ is used to describe someone born in the digital era. ‘Digital Immigrant’ is used to describe someone born before the digital era.

This comic created by Adam Ellis shows how digital immigrants can have a skewed view of digital natives.

As digital immigrants, we tend to divide our activities between “online” and “offline” whereas for digital natives the online world is just part of their reality – not something separate.

How does this affect you as a homeschool parent?

1. Literacy must now include Digital Literacy

You need to cover topics like fake news, digital communication skills, digital footprints, online research, copyright, and plagiarism with your children.

2. Tools you teach your children to operate must include digital tools

It’s not enough that your children know how to use a knife, a pair of scissors, the vacuum cleaner, and the microwave. Now they need to know how to create digital graphics, share a document with others, produce videos and make websites.

Listening to this podcast (check out past episodes too) will help you learn how to teach your children many of these skills. In addition, take a look at our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy‘s Computer Applications class which teaches 7th – 12th graders both digital literacy and how to use many digital tools.

3. Teaching Reading, Writing and Math, is not enough

You need to add coding as a basic literacy skill as it will be necessary to understand it, if not use it, in most jobs in the future. Some of our previous episodes cover this topic:

4. Safety must now include online safety

We all know we need to teach our children how to be safe as they move about our physical neighborhoods. But we must also make sure to address online “stranger danger”, how to create strong passwords, and how to identify phishing scams.

5. Mental and Emotional Health as relates to online interactions must be addressed

This means teaching your children not to be a cyberbully and how to deal with cyberbullies. It also means teaching our children not just about alcohol and drug addiction but also about tech addiction. And it means you and your spouse need to think through how much screentime your children should be allowed.

Subscribe to the podcast as we will be covering most of these topics in future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Homeschooling Digital Natives $homeschoolpodcast #homeschooling #homeschooltech

Literature Based Homeschooling

Lit Based LearningLiterature Based Homeschooling–  Episode 78

Join us we talk about the different approaches to homeschooling.

Four ways to enjoy the stories.
• you read aloud to the kids
• one of the children reads aloud
• the children read independently
• you all listen to an audiobook together

Whether you have all littles, all bigs or a mix of both, literature based learning can work for your family. The beauty of this method is that you can school everyone together for several subjects.

Resources mentioned on the show:

Books mentioned on the show:

Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight

The Blades of Acktar Series by Tricia Mingerink

These books are excellent choices to continue your journey in literature based homeschooling:

  • The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids
  • The Read-Aloud Handbook
  • Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
  • For the Children’s Sake
  • Honey for a Child’s Heart
  • Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
  • The Ramped-Up Read Aloud: What to Notice as You Turn the Page



Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy

Episode 53: Why homeschool moms need to be tech-savvy with Felice Gerwitz

It’s our one year birthday!! Before we talk about “Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy” let’s talk about birthday gifts!

If you find this podcast useful, the best gift you can give us is a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. OR you can share about the podcast on your Facebook page, a Facebook group you are in or an online forum.

If you do any of these things, email me a screenshot of the review ( and tell me which of FundaFunda Academy‘s web-based unit studies you would like free! Our gift to you!

Felice Gerwitz and her husband Jeff have raised and homeschooled five kids. She is a self-taught techie.
Starting a publishing company in 1994 with no knowledge but an arsenal of word documents and
publishing tools on her computer seven of her books have been noted in Cathy Duffy’s 100 and 101 Top
Homeschool Picks. She started the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network in 2013 and the Ultimate
Christian Podcast Network in 2017. Her podcast is Vintage Homeschool Moms.

How has the internet changed homeschooling over the years?

1. Homeschool journey began in 1986 and ended in 2018 and as you can imagine technology has
changed incredibly in this time!
2. The biggest difference has been in the Internet and cell phone use! We used books not online
resources until the end of my homeschool journey. People were afraid to buy things online
because they didn’t trust that their information was safe. Can you imagine that today? Social
media was just beginning – just to give you a perspective, I began homeschooling in 1986 –and
FB began in 2004!! And – I didn’t even join right away because I am a private person and wasn’t
sure I wanted my “life” out there.

Techie advice for parents in a technological world

1. Stay one step ahead of your kids – there are many tutorials on YouTube – there is no reason
you can’t learn
2. Set up a password on your kids’ phones when they are younger to limit internet searches.
3. Set up an iTunes account for your family so you can see all apps and purchases

How to keep from getting overwhelmed

1. Do it in the minutes you have now – don’t put things off.
2. Set up deadlines – or goals, daily – weekly, that helps.

My favorite techie tools

1. – we keep all of our online passwords protected.
2. Google Suite – all online tools, I used Google Docs when homeschooling so that my kids could
submit papers – I could edit them, and they could see my edits or comments.
3. Use Google Calendar – have the app on your phone as well as your laptop. Then print a hard copy of “A month at a glance”. You can even set up different calendars for specific things, like meetings/ events

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolingwithtechnology #wiredhomeschooling

Special Replay: What If I Think My Child Needs a Diagnosis?

What if I think My Child Needs a Diagnosis?Special Replay from Kathy Lee!  I have the coolest friends. Sometimes I forget that they are even more amazing in their careers. This is the case with my friend, Lei Rhyne. Not only did she homeschool her kiddos fro several years, is beautiful and funny, she is also a psychometrist… say that three times fast. When she mentioned to me that she helped families who saw their children struggling, I wanted to know more.

Lei Rhyne, psychometrist - What if I think my child needs a diagnosis?

In this episode Lei shares the full process involved of having your child tested and diagnosed, putting your fears to rest. She explains the first meeting with the Psychologist, the fact-finding mission that usually involves a couple of days of testing and observations and the results meeting with both the Psychometrist and Psychologist.

Lei Rhyne

I think one of the best parts about getting a diagnosis from Lei her team at Fresh Start Mind is the fact that in the end, parents will be armed with the information and tools needed to help their child succeed emotionally, socially, and academically.

If suspected that something is not quite right with your child socially, emotionally or academically, you should consider giving Lei or another qualified educational consulting team a call.

You’ve got this!

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.


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