How to Start Composting

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she shares how to start composting. Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she shares how to start composting. Composting is a great way to recycle the way that God recycles!

How to start composting

What is compost? What are the types?

Compost is basically decomposed waste matter from animals or plants. It is a major component of soil and returns nutrients to the earth so that new life can grow. Insects, earthworms, microbes, and fungi all feed on compost. Through their activities, they fix nitrogen, produce vitamins, and make minerals available to plants, who in turn, provide things that these organisms need. We usually think of compost as animal compost from rabbits, chickens, or cows. But, there’s also worm compost (also known as vermicomposting) and vegetable compost.

Why you should try it over fertilizers

Briefly, fertilizers only feed the plant and only for one season. Fertilizers also tend to promote above ground growth while the roots remain shallow and underdeveloped. In contrast, compost offers long-term benefits for plants and the soil. It is cheap, anyone with a yard can do it, and by enriching the soil, compost insures healthy plants for years. Julie discusses additional reasons on the podcast.

Worm composting versus vegetable composting

If you need compost right away, worm composting is the way to go. But, make sure you have the right worms and the right equipment! On the podcast, Julie shares her story of what happens when you try to cut corners. Don’t do what she did. If you want to know how to start composting this year in preparation for next year’s garden, then vegetable composting is for you. Vegetable composting is easy! Let Julie tell you how easy it is.

When you start composting, what do you put in the bin?

On the podcast, Julie talks about the two types of vegetable matter you can add to your bin—browns and greens. Never add animal products to your bin, except eggshells! But, even though you only add vegetable waste, a few things should be excluded from your bin. Those include weeds, diseased plants, seeds, and tough flower stalks. You don’t want to contaminate your garden or have unwanted plants growing in your bin!

To get a handy printable to keep the browns and greens straight, click HERE. Once you’re in, click on the link for episode 4. Post it up on your corkboard or refrigerator to help you remember how to properly compost.

Listen to Crunchy Christian Podcast to get the scoop on how start composting.

And, don’t forget to hop on over to Julie Naturally and get your Healthy Habits Tracker!

Additional Resources


Best Of HomeschoolCPA: Board Binder: Board Training All Year Long

Board Binder: Board Training All Year Long for Homeschool OrganizationsIn the new Board Member Manual, Carol Topp, CPA offers has important topics your board should discuss every year. Make a plan to cover one topic a month and do board training all year long. She shares those topics on today’s podcast.


Visit Carol’s website here!
















Homeschool Organization Board Manual

This is a real life conversation:

HomeschoolCPA: Do you have a copy of your EIN letter form the IRS?
Homeschool Leader: No. It was gotten by a former treasurer 15 years ago. All I have is the number handwritten on a sheet of paper from the bank.
HomeschoolCPA: Do you have a copy of  your Articles of Incorporation filed in your state?
Homeschool Leader: No; I don’t think so.
HomeschoolCPA: Has your homeschool group ever applied for tax exempt status with the IRS?
Homeschool Leader: I have no idea! All I was given when I took over leadership was the checkbook. 🙁

This is a sad, but true reality. Sometimes current group leaders have none of the important paperwork for their organizations.

Homeschool board  members should keep all their organization’s important papers in a safe and accessible place. Usually, a 3-ring binder works well.

The Homeschool Organization Board Manual comes in a Word file to make it easy for you to customize it for your organization.

The manual (a digital file) costs $9.95, but you only purchase one copy for your organization.

You are allowed to print off copies of the Manual for all of your board members, but please do not share the original Word file with them. And do not share the original Word file with other people, email it or post it on the internet. TIA!

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 to learn more about who we are!


Raising Them Up – a conversation with Israel Wayne – MBFLP 248

This episode, we’re talking with Israel Wayne, homeschool graduate, father of ten, and author of the new book Raising Them Up: Parenting for Christians. He shares some of the difficulties of his childhood – parents who divorced early, an abusive stepfather, times of poverty and homelessness – and the incredible way that God has redeemed that experience for His glory and the help of His people! You’ll enjoy this surprising and encouraging conversation with Family Renewal’s Israel Wayne.

Starting Over After a Rough Start

“When I got married, I was twenty-three, my wife was twenty, and we started our marriage with a clean slate,” Israel said. “I didn’t bring the baggage with me. I had the opportunity to start out on the right foot, developing the kind of relationship with my wife that my parents never had, learning how to be the father that my father wasn’t able to be. We now have ten children – our oldest is 20, our youngest is 16 months – five boys and five girls. And I think it’s really interesting, fascinating, and ironic in a way, that God has given us this ministry called “Family Renewal.

“This may be surprising to some people because some don’t know much about my back story. But I really believe in the capacity of God to reach families that are broken and families that don’t feel like there’s hope for them, that feel like, “Well, yeah, we’re not that poster family for homeschooling or ‘a Christian family.’ I believe that God’s grace is big enough that God can reach even you, and I believe my background leads me to have faith for those families. It’s part of why I do what I do and why I wrote Raising Them Up: Parenting for Christians.”

Not Available on Amazon!

Raising Them Up: Parenting for Christians is available direct from Family Renewal Ministries

CLICK HERE to order your copy! 

While We’re On The Subject

During this time of widespread shutdown and isolation, a lot of authors, teachers, and publishers are struggling. Dozens of homeschool conventions have been cancelled, including some of the largest in the United States and Canada, and that has made a serious dent in the support your favorite homeschool vendors need to keep going.

When you’re ordering online – and who isn’t, now? – would you take a minute and consider ordering direct from the authors and publishers? You might not know that when you save a dollar on a book at the (ahem) online megastore, 75% of the income from that book goes to the website owner – not the author. In normal times that’s just business reality – but while the crisis lasts, remember the creators who are pouring their heart and knowledge into your family and homeschool, and let’s channel those purchases back to the homeschool vendors you depend on!



Our book

NO LONGER LITTLE: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope

has received the


for the Relationships and Family category

“The Christian Indie Awards honor Christian books by independent authors and small publishers for outstanding contribution to Christian life.”


Awarded by the Christian Indie Publishing Association (formerly the Christian Small Publishers Association)

CLICK HERE to find out more, or order your copy! Available in print, audio CD, and downloadable formats


Evernote Online Filing System

Evernote Online Filing System

84: Evernote online filing system with Rachel van der Merwe

The guest for this episode is Rachel van der Merwe, a Ph.D. candidate in media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Rachel has four years of teaching experience at the undergraduate level and currently teaches the upper-level course Media and Popular Culture for CU Boulder. She is also my daughter and the teacher of the Visual Literacy class for show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy.

What is Evernote?

The Evernote app describes itself as a digital notebook, but Rachel thinks it’s more helpful to think about Evernote as a digital extension of your memory—an external hard drive or archive for the central processing unit that is your brain.

Evernote for Homeschoolers

Evernote has many uses within the context of homeschooling, or really any educational setting,

Some useful features are:

1. You can take a photo of a page of notes, or business cards at a homeschool convention, and save it as a note

2. You can create notebooks for each course, inside the notebook

  • Drop any articles/PDFs/lesson plans
  • Drop in audio files and images too
  • Use Tags “to read” “read” or on the subject matter or content
  • Can add reminders to notes

3. You can take notes in notes
EN has its own annotation system built-in. You can open up a PDF and highlight, underline, jot down notes, draw arrows, etc in an assortment of colors OR you can open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat or Preview, annotate there, and when you save and close the PDF it automatically saves to the file in Evernote.

4. Organization

  • Notes are stored in notebooks, notebooks can be placed in stacks
  • Each notebook can be private or shared.
  • Each student could have a notebook for each class and maybe your kids would organize their notebooks in separate stacks for each semester.
  • You as a parent could have stacks for each of your kids

5. Relocating info
You can find items you have saved using

  • notebooks/stacks
  • tags and geo-tags
  • dates

With Evernote Premium, everything is OCRed and becomes searchable – even handwriting!

6. Evernote Web Clipper
Whenever one comes across something online, clip it and tag with specific keywords and choose which notebook to add it to.

If you want your teens to learn how to use it, this is one of the resources covered in FundaFunda Academy’s Computer Applications class.

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.

Evernote online filing system

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time.

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHgihSchool #SportsMom #HomeschoolAthletes

How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

Vicki and Kym are together for this episode to discuss how to handle homeschooling and teens who seriously love to play sports at the same time. It is hectic but it can be done.

While Vicki’s teens played various sports during their high school years, they did so as a past time. Kym’s teens were more involved, in fact, her twins played women’s ice hockey all the way through college.

How did Kym end up being a serious sports mom?

Kym and her husband both love sports, but as Kym describes it, she was always the “bubble kid” always the last chosen or the first cut from the team at her small high school. All her four kids participated in sports at some level. Her older two decided the sports were not as fun when the competition got serious in high school (although her son still plays sports as an adult, just for fun.)

Kym’s youngest, the twins, first got the sports bug in pre-school while Kym was working part-time at the YMCA. They saw brochures for hockey and asked to play. Kym started them out by trying all the sports the Y had to offer. Then they graduated to the roller hockey team there.

Then after watching Disney’s Mighty Ducks movie, they decided that they were determined to play ice hockey. They presented their desire with business-form presentations. Doug and Kym decided they had better pray about it. They prayed daily from then all the way to their college hockey careers.

Benefits of playing sports:

  • Belongingness and connections (the twins have gained lifelong friends from their years in the intense togetherness of hockey league)
  • Fitness
  • Quick thinking skills and reactions
  • Activity burns off stress hormones and releases dopamine (a mood enhancing hormone)

After roller hockey, the girls played on a community mixed-gender league. However, when the boys hit puberty, Kym and Doug moved their diminutive twins to woman’s hockey. (Kym says that there is something magical for the girls to play on a girls’ team.)

Kym and Doug knew that the women’s sports leagues were more serious and quite expensive. They prayed and God provided equipment and finances for the twins’ hockey experience. They also prayed that hockey would not be come an idol. After prayer they stayed clear on their goals.

How do you stay clear on the goals?

  • Prayer (as Kym always says, “Prayer: first, last and always)
  • Discuss the goals as a family.
  • Remember the goals that must stay clear are the athletes’ goals and also the family’s goals. (If you goals do not match, it can be dangerous. Remember, parents who live vicariously through their teen-athlete’s goals end up burning out their teens and damaging the parent/teen relationship.)
    • Practice
    • Games
    • Playoffs
    • All Stars
    • Tournaments
    • Summer camps

High school athletes and parents should stay clear and unified on their goals. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolAthletes #SportsMom

Much of Kym’s hockey-mom years were in the car. Kym and her girls came to love this time because:

  • They had awesome conversations about deep, funny and personal things
  • They had uninterrupted time to study (car-schooling)
  • They had time for awesome audiobooks
  • They learned out to *fill the moment*/time management
  • Kym found drive time (when her husband was at the wheel) was a great time for grading papers for her daughter’s work or her group Spanish classes.

Kym also found connections with other hockey moms, the moms on her daughters’ teams and random hockey moms she meets in real life. (Vicki remembers when we were at our favorite conference: 2:1 Conference3 and Kym and Marci Goodwin of Snarky Homeschool Moms podcast were both hockey moms. It was so delightful to see the light come on in both moms’ eyes when they shouted, “You’re a hockey mom, too?!”…then they spent ages together “talking shop”.)

Kym’s daughters decided not to try NCAA college-level sports but rather, find a college with a well-run college club team. (They knew NCAA-level sports would not leave them enough time to join other college extracurriculars and rigorous study.) The twins ended up at the University of Delaware where they played all four years.

As you know, most high school and college athletes do not usually end up playing professional sports. However, based on those wonderful sports experiences, the girls found that they wanted to stay in sports at a support level. One of the twins is in graduate school studying Performance and Sports Psychology. The other twin works with a travel agency that works with sports teams.

Join Vicki and Kym for an enlightening discussion. Also, check out these posts and episodes that will help you as a sports mom:


  1. Follow this link to our iTunes page.
  2. IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in iTunes
  3. This will take you to iTunes and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
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How to be Sports Mom and Homeschool Mom at the Same Time

How To Help Kids Develop Character

Hey, homeschoolers!

One of the top concerns we have as homeschooling parents is raising children of character. It isn’t enough to just raise smart children. We want our children to evidence the fruit of the spirit. But is there anything we can do to aid character growth apart from praying?

My guest today would say yes! Sean Allen is the founder of The Well Ordered Parent. He is husband to his beautiful bride Caroline and a proud father of seven. He has a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and is continually working on creating materials that assist families in the beautifully hard work of discipling their children. That includes their popular character training program, Character Badges. Sean speaks about the adventures, joys, and challenges of parenting at homeschool conventions across the country and also on the soon-to-be-released podcast, The Well Ordered Parent.

I know you’ll find Sean to be warm, funny, and grace-oriented, just as I did.

Developing Children’s Character Resources

The Well Ordered Parent Course

Character Badges


Join me next time as I discuss how to incorporate hands-on learning with Penny Mayes.

Have a happy homeschool week!

The Power of Notebooking with Cindy Rushton

Join Life Skills 101 and Cindy Rushton as we talk about notebooking!Join Lisa Nehring and this week’s special guest, Cindy Rushton, and they discuss the power of notebooking!  Here are some notes from the podcast:

  • Note-booking: A storage container for new ideas or thoughts you want to remember.
    1. “… The way for writers who love to write, to write what they love about or what they love to learn”
  • Notebooks document what you have studied. It allows you to interact with the material in a unique way.
    1. Lapbooks; a smaller, portable version that fits inside the larger notebook
  • Notebooks allow the child to get their thoughts on a subject down, then read them when most needed later in life.
    1. An example would be Cindy’s son Matt; after a hard deployment in Afghanistan, he found a quote in his childhood notebook:

“…My religious belief teaches me to feel as sage in battle as in Bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.” -Stonewall Jackson

The Notebooks help our children be ready for life:

    • Matt Rushton is currently developing new ideas based off what is written in his notebook
    • Helps with Learning as a lifestyle, as it is to hold what interests its owner. This will carry with us no matter where we go.

Cindy’s books:

Equipping tools; Academic Advising, Special Needs help, and other online workshops

Literature Based Homeopathy For Kids

Homeopathy For Kids | Have you wanted to teach a class on homeopathy for kids? What about a literature-based program? Join Felice Gerwitz and Paola Brown, the author of a brand new course for kids. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeopathyforkids #literaturebasedcurriculum #literaturebased #curriculumforkids #homeopathyLiterature Based Homeopathy For Kids ~ Episode 403

Have you wanted to teach a class on homeopathy for kids? What about a literature-based program? Join Felice Gerwitz and Paola Brown, the author of a brand new course for kids.

Check out the other interview with Paola Brown here.

Paola Brown is a homeschool mom to a 12, 10, and 8 years old and currently lives in Budapest. She has written a curriculum that is language-based for parents to teach their children about health and homeopathy. Visit our guest on her website at 

Homeopathy For Kids – Teach Health and Homeopathy

Paola describes her journey from illness that seemed hopeless to health and wellness and the ability to change all of this with an understanding of natural remedies. This translates to her new curriculum “Teach Health and Homeopathy” that contains an accompanying novel. I (Felice) have personally used natural remedies for years, but not until I worked with Paola as a content editor on her book did I *really* understand what all the terminology means. She explains it all in an engaging story that will capture the attention of younger children to adults. This novel comes from her personal experience and that of her extended family with real-life situations that she turned into a novel. (Paola says some of the stories have been condensed or embellished for the sake of story-telling and interest.)

Homeopathy for Kids – Here is the information about her upcoming curriculum.

Teach Me Health & Homeopathy can be used for homeschoolers or anyone interested in teaching their children what natural remedies are and how they can be used. Paola created this amazing curriculum and even has songs, a website for interactive teaching with videos for the kids and so much more. This is a literature-based curriculum designed to use with children of various ages, there is something for everyone. The set comes with a teacher’s manual, activity book(s) for different levels, audios, and videos.

Need More? Homeopathy for Kids and Adults

Paola teaches classes here.


Get Started on Square Foot Gardening

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she shares how to get started with square foot gardening.

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she shares how to get started with square foot gardening. This method is one of the most popular ways for beginning gardeners to grow food successfully. Square foot gardening can be customized to suit any size yard and any type of plant.

How to get started with square foot gardening: the basics

What is square foot gardening? How is it different from other types?

Instead of planting in rows, seeds are planted in square foot mini-plots. These one foot by one foot squares lie side by side, creating larger squares or a grid arrangement. Julie discusses some advantages of this arrangement in the show.

Why you should try it

On the show, Julie discusses several reasons why she feels square foot gardening is superior to other methods. Overall, it is the most organized way to garden that reduces waste and takes less work to maintain. When you get started with square foot gardening, you set yourself up for an enjoyable gardening experience for years to come. And, if you couple this method with raised beds, it allows you to continue to garden even as you age.

How much space do you want to devote to growing food?

Do you have eight square feet to work with or sixteen square feet? This method is for an outdoor garden only, but it doesn’t matter how small or large your yard is. Any size will work. And, you can split up the squares. Maybe you have a two foot by sixteen-foot space along the side of your house. But, you also have an eight foot by eight foot space next to your garage. You can use both spaces. As you get started with square foot gardening, you can get creative with your garden!

How you set up your square foot garden

Once you’ve decided how much space you have, it’s time to start marking off your squares, getting the soil ready, and planting your seeds. On the show, Julie discusses a couple of ways to set up your squares. Once you have that done, get the download she mentions by clicking HERE. The printable you receive through this link will help you decide what to grow in your squares. Some vegetables need more space than others or will require a trellis.

Listen to Crunchy Christian Podcast to get the scoop on how get started with square foot gardening.

And, don’t forget to hop on over to Julie Naturally and get your Healthy Habits Tracker!

Additional Resources

  • All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Now part of a set of six books, one of them about gardening with kids
  • Square Foot Gardening: How to Grow Healthy Organic Vegetables the Easy Way by James Paris
  • Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space by Derek Fell
  • The official site of Square Foot Gardening