Special Replay | Best of HIRL Christmas Series: Jesus vs. Santa

Does Santa have any place in the celebration of Christmas? If you listen to some homeschoolers talk about it, event the mention of Santa Claus associated with Christmas will land you in the “loner’s corner” of your co-op. Yet, others celebrate good ol’ jolly Santa Claus right next to the baby Jesus. There is also a third category of homeschoolers (like Fletch) who enjoy stirring the pot and cracking off remarks like: “You know…if you rearrange the letters in Santa…it spells S-A-T-A-N.” Fletch can be cheeky that way!

Where does that leave us?

Should we allow Santa to have a seat at the Christmas table or should he and Rudolph be hidden high up on the shelf with that pesky elf?

With sleighbells ringing and all the yuletide they can muster, Fletch and Kendra sit down for an open, honest discussion about the celebration of Christmas and answer the question: What should Christian homeschooling parents do with Santa Claus at Christmas? Tune in and join them for a fun and lively debate on this edition of HomeschoolingIRL.



Recommended Resources:
Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
Hope Shifting by Jim Applegate
5 Terrific Christmas Advent Devotionals – HomeschoolingIRL Blog

Previous Episodes Mentioned:

Music clips used on this episode:
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley – Go buy it on iTunes
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Willie Nelson – Go buy it on iTunes

Thank you to our Sponsor | 5000 BLANKETS

Inspired by a true story, 5000 BLANKETS will encourage you to give to others. Find hope this holiday season when you see 5000 BLANKETS in theaters. Exclusively in theaters December 12 & 13! 


Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

December Checklists Freebie

Are you ready for the December Checklists?

December is the busiest month of the year. However, it can be something other than the most stressful or chaotic, and we are here to help!

Remember, the season’s true meaning is Jesus, our Savior, and everything will fall into place. Take the time to enjoy your family and friends and spend time connecting and relishing the love you share. It is a month to create memories with your family.

Whether you are hosting a Christmas Day meal or are a guest and bringing a side dish, get planning now! Print off the handy checklists in this planner and begin putting your ideas on paper. Being prepared will lower your stress level. Take the time to enjoy your family and celebrate your family traditions. Remember to update your lists as the month goes on and things change. Use these as a template for your own ideas.

To make things less stressful, utilize the organizational tools compiled in this planner.

It will allow you to keep from becoming overwhelmed with events and activities. Don’t let the month run you; instead, plan for each thing you want to accomplish. Carve out some time at the beginning of the month, and then you will only need a few minutes once a week to keep focused on the schedule and be way ahead of your planning for the month. Won’t that be nice?

The Holiday Ultimate Checklist can give you the direction and insight you need. Find out how to get a copy of the November checklist freebie below.

Printable holiday planner and checklist from ultimate homeschool podcast network

What is in the December (Holiday)  Checklist Freebie?

This month’s checklist has everything you need to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday season.

A peek at what’s inside:

  • Checklists Guide – This is a breakdown of how to use the lists for the month, with suggestions to help you get started.
  • Objectives Worksheet
  • Weekly Planning Worksheet
  • Blank Printable December Calendar
  • Four square planners: Faith, Kids, School, and Household
  • Evaluation Weekly Worksheets
  • Motivational Posters and Scripture Posters
  • Printable December Checklist
  • Fun Things to do in September Printable
  • December Holidays Printable Sheet
  • Field Trip Planning
  • Reading Log
  • Organization Checklist
  • Chore Schedule Blank Sheet
  • Quarterly Planning
  • School Planning Sheets
  • Sample School Schedules to Follow
  • Homeschool Weekly Planning Sheets
  • Meal Planning Helps and Suggestions

Download the monthly checklist sent out in each weekly ezine; these are available to subscribers only.

The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. Sign up for the freebie so you don’t miss it.

You can sign up HERE as a subscriber if you are not signed up.

the ultimate holiday planner checklist printable

Special Reaplay | Ultimate Holiday Checklist Advice

Ultimate holiday checklist for homeschooling during the holidays.Ultimate Holiday Checklist Advice & Homeschooling Episode 379 with Janice Campbell

Are you ready for the holidays? Here is holiday checklist advice from two homeschool veterans, Felice Gerwitz and Janice Campbell. Both have homeschooled during the holidays for many years and have much to share with you!

Visit my special guest’s website! Get to know Janice Campbell:

Bookstore: Everyday-Education.com
Literature resources Excellence-In-Literature.com
Blog: DoingWhatMatters.com

Janice Campbell and her husband, Donald, homeschooled their four sons from preschool into early college using a lifestyle of learning approach influenced by Charlotte Mason and classical education. A lifelong reader and learner, Janice has been sharing her joy in homeschooling at conferences since the 1990s. She is the author of the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12, Transcripts Made Easy, and other resources. She writes for various homeschooling magazines and online at EverydayEducation.com, Excellence-in-Literature.com, and DoingWhatMatters.com.

Holiday Checklist Advice & Homeschooling

Here is a blog post on Holiday Checklist Countdown

  • My business tagline has been “Making time for things that matter” from the very beginning.
  • Homeschooling and caregiving made me aware of the value of time.
  • My grandmother’s influence: weekly routines, lists, twice-yearly home plan, etc.
  • Tried all the planners  . . . at least once.
  • Tried to be my grandmother . . . but not for long.
  • Lifelong planning plus four boys turned me into a planning realist.
  • Created my own forms, which have become my Peaceful Planning System.
  • The newest item is the oldest and longest used — the weekly planner, a printable, customizable, quarterly planner.
  • Flexibility, the big picture, knowing what matters, and just do the next thing.
  • It all comes back to making time for things that matter and Charlotte Mason’s point that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.”

Special Replay: Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

Episode 235

Thanksgiving kid’s crafts are so much fun! I love crafts – especially holiday crafts like Thanksgiving crafts for kids. In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, I’ll share some great Thanksgiving crafts that are easy to make. So much fun and so decorative.

Stack up on different colors of foam – it is easy to cut and available at craft stores or online.
Glue is a must, with paint brushes to apply

Ideas for Thanksgiving crafts for kids:

  1. Crafts for fun:
    1. Turkey bag puppets – cut-out construction paper shapes – turkey.
    2. Door hangers – cut a hole for the know, put on a turkey head and feathers (of course). Use a thick paper or craft foam.
    3. Turkey table decorations – layer the front (a turkey head), then scallop shapes – then the feathers. Use craft foam.
    4. Turkey shapes out of a pie plate.
    5. I am thankful – use two paper plates, and divide one with a marker into six or eight pie shapes (like a pizza). Have the children label each triangle and draw a picture about something they are thankful for…Take the “top” plate and cut only one triangle out. Then, layer each plate on top of the other.
  2. Crafts for decorations
    1. Collect pine cones for a natural arrangement. Glue pinecones to popsicle sticks and fit them into a flower arrangement.
    2. Collect fall leaves – glue them onto clear glass jars (or containers). Use glue or a permanent adhesive like Modge Podge – it dries clear and hard. Use as gift containers or place flowers or for table decorations.
    3. Use smaller glass containers, glue on leaves, and use these on tables with battery-powered lights or flower arrangements.
    4. Give Thanks – or Happy Thanksgiving – use one sheet of paper (thick or watercolor paper). Color background and hand letter or stencil letters to each sheet of paper, then thread with rope – hang on the walls, on the mantle or in bedrooms.
    5. Name tags with pilgrims
    6. Thyme – make into a wreath and tie it with twine, then decorate with ribbon. Place it on each place setting.
    7. Thankful wreath – create a wreath with construction paper shapes of leaves. Have the children label each with a “thankful word.”
    8. Use leaves (construction paper or craft foam) and label each with a thankful word. Glue in the shape of a wreath.
    9. Glass containers with  cut-out (tissue paper) leaves. Use glue to affix. Place a battery-powered candle in each container.
    10. Cut out a pumpkin, fill it with floral foam, and use it as a vase for flowers.
    11. Use the words Happy Thanksgiving – use one sheet of paper for each letter. Use glue and glitter or fancy letters.
    12. Pine cones – paint the edges with paint and use them for table decorations.
    13. Cut out shapes – turkeys, pilgrims, etc. and string them together as a garland.
  3. Crafts for gifts
    1. Fall leave containers
    2. Bracelet – with orange, brown, and yellow – “fall” colors – give to guests or have this as a craft for kids.
    3. Trail mix – have the kids fill festive containers they’ve decorated. Use stickers on dollar store plastic containers.
    4. Party favors – decorate an envelope with foam cutouts (turkey, fall leaves, etc.) and slip in a candy bar or other treats.
    5. Glass container (above) with leaves
    6. Candy corn or candy with a clear baggie – tie it with a ribbon and have the children write a poem, use a scripture verse, etc.
    7. Use a circle sheet of tissue paper, place candy in the middle, and gather it in the shape of a pumpkin. Use green tape to make a stem.
    8. Paper cups with a scripture verse on the front or a “thankful” word – fill with candy. Use a popsicle stick to glue a “Thanksgiving character” and place in the cup with candy. (Fill a small planter or vase as well.)
    9. Oranges. Use a knife (or a special utensil) to carve our designs, dot with cloves. Give as gifts. (It does not work well in Florida and will mold – but it is great in cold climates.
    10. Turkey coaster. Take a circle of cork and glue it to a turkey shape. A great gift.
    11. Use craft foam and cut out a rectangle for a photo. Decorate with Thanksgiving designs, etc. Give it as a gift.
  4. Crafts that encourage character
    1. Thankful jar – daily, add a card about what you are thankful for that day.
    2. Read a card to the family (randomly draw it out) at dinner
    3. Write one word (or more) and slip it under a plate. Each person does this for the members of the family. If you have a larger family, maybe assign numbers (select randomly) or assign.
    4. Placemats – A Thankful scene or things the children are thankful for…you can cover it with clear contact paper to make it last longer.
    5. Thankful tree – use construction paper for the tree trunk. Use this as an ongoing project during the month. Each leaf holds one thing the children are thankful for.  [Listen to this podcast encouraging children to be thankful here.]
    6. Use a tree branch and place it into a vase or a planter. Decorate the branches with cut-out leaves with “thankful” words on each leaf.

Websites to check out:

Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids

Turkey Napkin Folding

Extra thankful gift tags with printable

Pumpkin bread with free printable

Gratitude Pumpkin Craft


November Thanks Checklists Freebie

Are you ready for the November Thanks Checklists?

November is permeated with the theme of thankfulness—an excellent time to remember all the gifts God has given and his daily blessings. No ma#er how busy we get, we can all agree that the most important thing is to thank the Maker of everything for making time to breathe and enjoy our family and friends.

Whether you are hosting a Thanksgiving Day meal or are a guest and bringing a side dish, get planning now! Print off the handy checklists in this planner and begin putting your ideas on paper.

Being prepared will lower your stress level. Take the time to enjoy your family and make memories; now is when your children surround you. Don’t forget to update your lists as the month goes on and things change.

Let’s get planning and let the ideas flow in an orderly fashion!

The November Ultimate Checklist can give you the direction and insight you need. Find out how to get a copy of the November checklist freebie below.

November Thanks Checklists

What is in the November Checklist Freebie?

This month’s checklist has everything you need to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday season.

A peek at what’s inside:

  • Checklists Guide – This is a breakdown of how to use the lists for the month, with suggestions to help you get started.
  • Objectives Worksheet
  • Weekly Planning Worksheet
  • Blank Printable October Calendar
  • Four square planners: Faith, Kids, School, and Household
  • Evaluation Weekly Worksheets
  • Motivational Posters and Scripture Posters
  • Printable November Checklist
  • Fun Things to do in September Printable
  • November Holidays Printable Sheet
  • Field Trip Planning
  • Reading Log
  • Organization Checklist
  • Chore Schedule Blank Sheet
  • Quarterly Planning
  • School Planning Sheets
  • Sample School Schedules to Follow
  • Homeschool Weekly Planning Sheets
  • Meal Planning Helps and Suggestions

Download the monthly checklist sent out in each weekly ezine; these are available to subscribers only.

The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. Sign up for the freebie so you don’t miss it.

You can sign up HERE as a subscriber if you are not signed up.

How to Homeschool: Practical Tips and Advice to Launch

So, you think you want to homeschool, and you’re wondering how to homeschool; you’re looking for practical tips and advice to launch. You’re asking yourself some of the following questions:

These are the types of questions parents who are considering homeschooling ask. 

In this overview, we’ll cover all those questions and more. Soon you’ll be on your way to educating your kids at home with the know-how, excitement, and confidence you’ll need to create the homeschool of your dreams. 

A Quick History of Homeschooling

You’ve likely read that many of our Founding Fathers and other famous people, like Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, and even Beatrix Potter, were homeschooled. Those are handy when discussing homeschooling and socialization or other polarizing issues, but the modern homeschooling movement began much later. 

Most parents of homeschooled children were privately or publicly educated. So, the history of homeschooling begins with public school and an educator named John Holt. His concern with the, in his view, oppressive nature of institutionalized learning gave birth to a method of education that is much like what homeschoolers call unschooling. 

He, in turn, inspired a more recognizable name in modern homeschooling circles, Raymond Moore. Moore, an educational philosopher and theorist. They taught that early learning is injurious to young children and that most kids should be taught at home until age eight or nine. Moore’s view of delayed academics would expand Holt’s early views of “unschooling,” and he would become known to many as the Father of Homeschooling. 

The Growth of Homeschooling

As homeschooling became more widely accepted, it became influenced by Christians. As these Christians stepped into the legal fight for homeschooling acceptance, Homeschool Legal Defense (HSLDA) was born. 

Today, homeschooling is legal in all fifty states and growing at more than 8% per year. 

Getting started with homeschooling has never been easier, and the statistics on the success of schooling at home prove it to be an excellent option for any family who chooses to homeschool. 

How to Get Started Homeschooling

As with most things, the hardest part of homeschooling is getting started. Why is that? In a nutshell, it’s pretty overwhelming to take on the responsibility of your children’s education. 

While ninety percent of kids are getting on a bus to go to school, homeschooling parents are headed to the kitchen table to start their school day. This is bound to create self-doubt, economic concerns, and overwhelm. The best way to combat those feelings is to create a homeschooling plan and start!

Create a Homeschool Plan

Before launching any major life change or undertaking, developing a plan is wise. Any good plan begins with a strong foundation. So, ask yourself, “why am I homeschooling?”

Your Homeschool “Why?” 

 Think through the possible reasons you’ve chosen to homeschool. Start with a clean piece of paper and write those down. Some possible reasons to homeschool include:

  • Religious conviction. These parents desire to pass on their faith culture to their children and believe they are called to homeschool. Their end goal is passing on their faith. Their method is discipleship. 
  • Academic rigor. Families who choose to homeschool to provide greater academic rigor to their children look for educational partners, such as online academies, cottage schools, or classical schools and co-ops, to expose their kids to a more demanding educational model. Their end goal is academic achievement. Their method is academic rigor.
    • Bullying. Harassment and bullying can be emotionally taxing on anyone, but kids suffer a greater impact. Families escaping abuse may be drawn to homeschooling to protect their children. Their end goal is safety. Their method is bringing education home. 
  • Cost of private school. Private schooling is expensive, and homeschooling can provide the same faith-based experience or academic rigor without the price tag. The end goal of these parents is affordability. Their method is schooling at home while embracing those tools that will bring about academic achievement. 
  • Poor public school. Like any form of education, not all things are equal. This applies to public schools. A family may live in a district with poor public schools and want something different for their children. Their end goal is the desire for something better than the public school has to offer. Their method is to take on the responsibility of homeschooling for themselves. 
  • Freedom. Families who want to homeschool to embrace a freedom lifestyle might include reasons such as; missionary responsibilities, travel opportunities, or personal conviction about the role of parents, homes, school, and state. Their end goal is autonomy and freedom. Their method is accepting responsibility and defending their right to homeschool their children. 

Reasons Lead to Decisions

As you look over some reasons an individual might choose to homeschool their children, you’re likely to see yourself in more than one category. That’s the beauty of homeschooling! Each homeschool is as unique as the family homeschooling. Embrace it! 

Use your homeschool “why?” to create a simple mission statement. A mission statement is a short, action-oriented statement that embodies your values. For example, a homeschooling parent’s mission statement might be: The Smith Family Homeschool- disciplining our children to make an impact for Christ in the world. 

Go ahead, give it a try! 

Create Your Homeschool Vision

Once you understand the foundational reason you’ve chosen to homeschool and have your mission statement, you can begin to develop a vision for your homeschool. 

When figuring out how to start homeschooling, a vision will help clear away the clutter of overthinking and provide direction for your homeschool journey. A vision statement for your homeschool incorporates a time element and supports the mission statement you’ve created. 

For the example above, The Smith Family Homeschool, a vision statement might look like this: The Smith Family Homeschool: Pointing our kids towards Christ and the Gospel through the use of the Bible, Christian curriculum, discipleship, and a family-centered lifestyle so that they are equipped to handle life and the rigor of college. 

Developing the vision statement can guide us to our curriculum choices. If we look at the Smith Family, we know: they’ll be discerning when it comes to the worldview of the curriculum author, the curriculum should lend itself to the discipleship model of teaching, and it needs to be academically rigorous. 

Your turn. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to homeschooling? Use those alongside your mission statement to craft your homeschool vision statement. 

Know the Homeschool Laws

Okay, you’ve equipped yourself with the why of homeschooling. Let’s move on to the how of homeschooling. And that begins with knowing the homeschool laws. 

Most new homeschoolers (and even veteran homeschooling families) have questions about what constitutes a legal homeschool. When looking for answers to legal questions, consult a reputable source, such as HSLDA, and think of your questions in advance. Some common questions are:

  • Do I have to register my homeschool?
  • Do I have to notify anyone that we are homeschooling? 
  • How many hours per day do I have to homeschool?
  • Do I have to use the curriculum the school uses?
  • How do I graduate as a homeschooler?
  • Do I have to keep attendance?
  • What about a transcript?

Find good homeschool groups online and in your area, consult with HSLDA, and search your state’s Department of Education website. Understand what’s required to homeschool in your state, and begin. 

Set Up Your Homeschool Space

If you spend ten minutes on Pinterest, you’ll quickly discover a million ways to set up your homeschool space. This is a highly personal thing, so be creative! Have fun!

Having a few things in place is great, but the result belongs to you. Some common things you’ll find in a homeschool space include:

  • Bookshelves
  • A printer 
  • Craft Supplies 
  • A laptop or PC 
  • Maps
  • Timelines
  • 3 Ring notebooks

A central place to homeschool is helpful, but you can school at your kitchen table or on the family room floor. Helpful doesn’t equal essential, and the important thing to remember is to figure out what works for your family. 

Does clutter bother you, and you’ll need to put everything away daily? Can you have kids share a room to create a homeschool space? What type of budget do you have to put towards your homeschool space? Think through the logistics of what you need to do, when you need to do it, and where you’ll do it. Giving this some attention before school starts can help you feel better prepared. 

Begin Your Curriculum Search

One of the favorite parts of homeschooling for most homeschoolers is picking out the curriculum. Keep your mission and vision in mind, and get ready to have fun. 

To keep the search from becoming overwhelming, start with the grade level you’re teaching (Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Special Needs)  and then begin with your core subjects. 

As you search through the curriculum, you’ll uncover different homeschooling methods, too. Methods such as Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Study, and others. Give yourself some space to learn about these styles of homeschooling. They can aid you in your curriculum search. 

Homeschool Curriculum Core Subjects

The core subjects in homeschooling are generally considered to be English (Language Arts), Literature, Math, History, Science, and for many homeschoolers, Bible. Your state requirements may demand additional core subjects, such as Government

There are so many options for curriculum in the core subjects alone that it’s easy to feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool and you’ve forgotten how to swim. 

To avoid panicking about making a choice, review your vision, and consult trusted sources for recommendations. 

What to Look for in the Homeschool Curriculum Core Subjects

When looking through the available curriculum, is it available to know what you’re looking at? This can help you make fair comparisons and choose what’s most likely to work for your family. 

Here are some general guidelines to help you when comparing curriculum by subject:

  • English: Does it teach grammar as a stand-alone subject? Is it a consumable product? Does it incorporate Literature? Will I need a teacher’s guide? Does it teach writing mechanics?
  • Math: Are the principles taught sequentially, or does it use an incremental spiral approach? Are there workbooks? Do I feel confident teaching this, or are there DVDs or online access? 
  • Literature: Do the reading selections align with my family’s mission and vision? Can I obtain the recommendations from the library or read them on Kindle?
  • History: Is it taught in cycles? Does it cover American history fairly? 
  • Science: What does it teach about creation? Are there required labs? 
  • Bible: Does it incorporate memory work? 

And for all core subjects, beyond considering the contact itself, does it excite your student? Will they look forward to the subject in general? Can it be passed down to other kids in your family? Is it in my budget? What’s the return policy? Do you love it? 

Don’t be afraid to try a homeschool curriculum for a year and pivot for the second year. Do the best you can to gather information before you purchase, but know that it’s normal to make a curriculum change at the end of the year or even in January! 

Choosing Homeschool Curriculum Electives

Moving past the core subjects, homeschool electives can truly be where all the fun is at. This is where you can see the individuality of your kids shine. They can be free to try things and experience personal and academic growth! 

Examples of some electives include:

Enjoy observing your children’s choices for electives and seeing them embrace learning!

Where to Shop for Curriculum

Once you have an idea of the subjects you want to cover in your homeschool, you will want to see the curriculum

Many homeschool curriculum providers offer free samples you can download online or a free trial of their software. And, that’s great! 

Nothing beats a homeschool convention for homeschooling parents who want to see the curriculum in person! 

More than just shopping, it’s a time to equip yourself for the important role of educating your kids. You’ll be able to listen to workshops from veteran homeschoolers, motivational speakers, and curriculum providers. Not to mention, you’ll be surrounded by other homeschoolers! 

Attending a  Homeschool Convention

When planning your trip to a homeschool convention, be sure to have a list of the curriculum you need, vendors you want to visit, and your budget. 

How much homeschooling costs largely depend on your own homeschool goals and how much of your financial resources you can dedicate to homeschool purchases. Knowing this in advance will keep you on track during the convention and prevent buyer’s remorse after. 

The average family spends between $700 – $1800 per student per year. Even if you have a small budget, attending a homeschool convention can give you confidence and help you see the possibilities for your school. 

And a bonus: if the convention has a children’s program, it can even become a family vacation!

It’s Time to Get Started Homeschooling

Schedule Your Homeschool Day 

Now that you’ve thought through why you’re homeschooling, set up your space, and begun searching for and choosing a homeschool curriculum, it’s time to start. 

You’ll need a schedule that works for your family. Sometimes the curriculum you choose will help you with that by offering daily instruction for the teacher on a four or five-day schedule. But, it’s really up to you! 

Popular homeschooling scheduling tactics include loop scheduling, block scheduling, and traditional scheduling. 

Loop scheduling is assigning subjects to certain days. For example, Math on Monday, Literature on Tuesday, History on Wednesday, Science on Thursday (alternating with Grammar), and Electives on Friday. This type of scheduling is helpful if you’re concerned you won’t get things done. After all, you’ll loop back around to that subject again and pick up where you left off. 

Block scheduling sets aside blocks of teaching each day for different subjects. So, while you’ll cover more than one subject in a day, you won’t cover all the subjects daily. 

Traditional scheduling covers all subjects for small amounts of time every day. Math is always daily from 8 a to 8:30 a. 

When considering which one to pick, look at your current family life. Think about how your kids learn best. What are the ages of your kids? Don’t be afraid to experiment with scheduling. A good rule of thumb is to give the scheduling style you choose a solid month before you make a change. Give your family grace during the learning period and time to acclimate. 

The Last Word On Getting Started Homeschooling

The Homeschool Teacher Mom

We’ve discussed the when, where, why, and how of homeschooling. Now I’d like to talk about the teacher – YOU! 

Homeschooling isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding. Please keep that in mind as you move forward. There will be days you’re tired and overwhelmed. The laundry will get behind, and supper may be on the table later than you’d hoped. Your kids will be grumpy. And so will you. Your husband may not be supportive, and your family may not understand. It’s okay. 

That’s why we spent so much time on your mission and vision. You’ll need those to hold on to. 

Oh, and prayer. You’re going to need that. 

So take the rest you need along the way in your homeschooling journey. It’s not a race. 

Your kids need the best version of you you can give them, rooted and grounded in Christ. 

When you’ve done your best, and that’s all you can do, “Give it to God; he’ll do the rest.” 

Additional Resources

Credits and Transcripts

Develop Your Student’s Standout Factor


Special Replay: Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween


Let’s Talk About – Halloween… “Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween” with Felice Gerwitz

In this podcast, I share why I don’t celebrate Halloween and why my kids never felt left out! Celebrations come in all shapes and sizes. Celebrations from Easter to Thanksgiving to Christmas … and then there is Halloween. In this podcast, I discuss some important points to consider.

Be sure to follow this episode in several ways! One by subscribing to this podcast here – and another is listening on iTunes, GooglePlay, download or listen on this website. Look up this podcast on any podcast app! You can also share this with a friend.

Show Notes: Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween

Being part of a homeschool group we would do so many things that were fun, field trips, and co-ops. When one of the families invited us to a Halloween alternative, we jumped at the chance! My husband and I were both convicted of why we didn’t want to celebrate the “season.”

  1. The deeper meaning
  2. Heart convictions
  3. Is it Jesus focused? Or service focused?
  4. You can’t serve two masters.


Website Links:

Catholic: about Halloween:

Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

ABC – Catholic Directory 


Here are other podcasts about October celebrations:

Halloween Alternatives 

If you feel that your children may miss out – take heart they won’t!

Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween 

Halloween and the Reformation

Special Replay: Halloween Alternatives

Special Replay! Halloween Alternatives

Episode 232

What to do? How about some Halloween alternatives to enjoy with your family? Do you love creating lasting memories with your kids? You are going to love these ideas in today’s podcast. Today we are focused on the upcoming holidays, and without a doubt, Halloween causes controversy on both ends – the people who love it and the people who hate it. If you are looking for some fun alternatives, then you won’t want to miss today’s episode.

Parents worry about avoiding Halloween because their children will miss out on candy! Believe me, since never celebrating Halloween in all the years I homeschooled, and before that, our kids have no shortage of candy.

Fast forward, and we find ourselves with a houseful of kids and are ready to focus on meaningful activities with our kids.

1. Wholesome activities that won’t break the bank
2. Avoided stores and restaurants
3. Wanted to create memories with our children

We didn’t need to look far.

I live in an area that is not fall-friendly – living in SW FL; we have some wonderful beaches and great parks, but nothing that gives you that fall leaf feeling! So one of the things I do each year in my own home is decorated for fall. I have purchased silk flowers, and my collection is enough to decorate the entire home through the years. Everywhere I look, even as I am creating this podcast, there are signs of fall!

Another thing is we focus on the themes of fall – yes, pumpkin spices and pumpkin bread. I just made pumpkin bread using fresh pumpkins, and it was delicious! Secondly, I include the children in everything. It is a great incentive to complete their school work when they know they can help plan activities and decorate or bake. Even when they get older.

I’m going to take a quick commercial break and ….

Halloween alternatives come in all shapes and sizes, from the extravagant to the smaller, and I’ll begin with my list:

1. Fall festival at a church or park
2. Small party at your home
3. Larger party at your home
4. Hayrides, pumpkin treats and snacks, and dressing up
5. All Saints Day parties where the children dress up in costumes depicting saints such as Joan of Arc, or Saint Michael the Ark Angel
6. Carnival games
7. Roasting s’mores, campfires, and more!
8. Stories around the fire, story starter

There is always plenty of goodie bags with candy. If you are hosting a party with a group, every family brings a bag of candy, and believe me, there is way more than you need, always!

You can even give back to the community. Donate bags of candy. Or donate the money you would use to buy all the candy to a worthy cause. Visit a nursing home or babysit for a friend so they can have an evening out – whatever you decide, include your children in the planning, especially if they are older. My children have some very definite ideas about hosting a party. In fact, after a few years of hosting parties at our home, the kids asked for a private party with just us! It was probably one of the most fun times we had.
You want your memories to focus on the happy times because, as we all know, life doesn’t seem to get any easier the older we get!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and are ready to create some wonderful times with your own families.


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor! CTC Math


CTC Math

Find a Math Curriculum That Works

Finding a math curriculum that works for your family can be a challenge! With CTCMath, all of your kids from K-12 can learn at their own pace with one family subscription.

That’s right! With a CTCMath membership, you have access to all grades and lessons, which means your children can work at whatever level is best for them.

Whether your kid needs to catch up, keep up, or move ahead, with CTCMath, they can finally understand math and work at their own pace.

CTCMath is offering Media Angels readers a half-price discount plus a bonus 6 months when you register for a 12-month membership. That means you can access a complete online homeschool math curriculum for all your kids for 18 months! Just use this link by October 16 to access this deal!

Nervous making significant online purchases? CTCMath comes with a 12-month money-back guarantee. No questions asked! Just email CTCMath, if you change your mind.

How does CTCMath work?

A student starts by watching a short, to-the-point video lesson that presents the concepts of the math lesson step by step. Because it’s a video tutorial, they can stop and rewind the teacher as many times as they need to until they get it (and the teacher never gets annoyed or frustrated).

Following each math tutorial, there are interactive questions or an optional printable worksheet that tests the understanding of key concepts. Answers are entered into the CTCMath automated marking system, which then stores the results in each individual student’s ongoing progress report.

Not sure WHY their answer is wrong? After answers have been submitted, printable, fully-worked solutions become available. These show every step which should be taken to reach the correct answer, ensuring your child really understands the math concepts.

CTCMath’s multi-sensory approach to ensure retention plus detailed progress reports for the parents adds up to a whole lot less stress when it’s math time for both parents and kids!

Here’s what Teresa has to say:

“Straight into college math after a great SAT score.”

We love CTCMath, We have tried almost everything with our 5 kids, and we no longer have tears when it comes to math.

Our oldest graduated last year, and even though he only used CTC for less than two years, his math improved so much that he did great on his SAT test and went right into regular college math and is doing great.

God Bless from a little less stressed mom.

Teresa Schilling
East Troy, WI


www.ctcmath.com       info@ctcmath.com

The Birth of a Homeschool Podcast Network

Today, podcasts are pretty much everywhere. When the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network first launched nine years ago, podcasting was brand new.

The success of the Ultimate Homeschool Radio (now Podcast) Network is owed to the vision and determination of one lady, Felice Gerwitz.

How It Began

The UHPC really began as a ministry. And, if you know Felice, you know how perfectly that describes her life- one of ministry.

Felice was a professional educator turned homeschooler who saw a need for community online. She was determined to minister to homeschooling families through podcasting.

She often talks about how the Lord has surprises for us, and I can imagine that as a young girl in college, she wasn’t likely to see herself as the owner of a homeschool podcast network.

From those first downloads to well over four million plus downloads, the Lord has used Felice’s vision to minister to countless homeschooling families.

Listen in to this interview with Crystal of Military Homeschool Podcast as Felice shares how it all began in this podcast interview. 

Tune in to the very first episode of the Vintage Homeschool Moms podcast (originally recorded live!).

Get Ready to Celebrate!

The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network launched in October 9 years ago, and we are celebrating all.month.long!

Visit the Birthday Party Breakout Room & Grab Your Prizes

And Enter the Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And plan to party with us!

We’re hosting a Facebook party in our Group, The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast family.

Join the group here. 

And RSVP here!