Will the Real Nicholas, Valentine, & Patrick Please Stand Up

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Finish Well Homeschool Podcast, Podcast #179, Will The Real Nicholas, Valentine, & Patrick Please Stand Up, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Will the Real Nicholas, Valentine, & Patrick Please Stand Up

In “Will the Real Nicholas, Valentine, & Patrick Please Stand Up,” Episode, #179, Meredith Curtis uncovers the real St. Nick, St. Valentine, and St. Patrick, debunking popular stereotypes of these men and the holidays celebrated in their honor. Meet 3 Christian superheroes who stood tall in their generation loving God, standing for truth, making disciples, and pastoring churches. You will be inspired by these men and I hope you will introduce them to your children.



Happy New Year from Powerline Productions, Inc.

Powerline Productions, Inc.

Bringing Homeschool Joy to Families Everywhere!


Show Notes

Is St. Nick a roly-poly sleigh rider? Does Valentine love pink hearts and chocolate candies? Is St. Patrick really a lepruchan? It’s time to meet the real men behind these holidays celebrated in their honor.

Bishop Nicholas of Myrna

  • Wealthy, generous, stockings
  • Destroy temple
  • Save from famine, lower taxes
  • Council of Nicaea

Pastor Valentine

  • Pastor
  • Gifts of healing
  • Disobeyed Rome to obey God
  • Letters from Jail urging his flock to stay true to Jesus

St. Patrick, Apostle to the Irish

  • Rejected parent’s faith, captured by raiders, sold as a slave
  • Gave his heart to Christ, escaped
  • Called to ministry, called to Ireland
  • Ministry in Ireland

Life Skills Leadership Summit

Are you overwhelmed as a homeschool mom? Trying to give your kids real life skills and the ability to make wise decisions, but it’s not that easy? Here’s help from over 30 expert homeschoolers who want to answer your questions.

Join Me for Life Skills Leadership Summit during February 20-24, 2023. Give your kids real life skills and the ability to make wise decisions. You’ll be encouraged, with tools to confidently finish your school year strong. Learn more here:

Join Meredith Curtis at the Life Skills Leadership Summit at https://www.powerlineprod.com/join-me-at-life-skills-leadership-summit/

Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver

  • Council of Nicaea, lowing taxes, getting grain
  • Letters of encouragement, sharing the Gospel in Jail
  • Speaking to druid priests, sharing Gospel, his testimony

Celebrate Our Christian Superheroes

  • These 3 men plus many more
  • Heroes for Jesus Party
  • Perfect for Reformation Day, but also Valentines Day or St. Patrick’s Day

  Celebrate Our Christian Super Heroes by Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette at Powerline Productions, Inc.

Sign up for our Newsletter

100 Homeschool Hacks by Meredith CurtisSign up for our updates and get your copy of 100 Homeschool Hacks FREE. Sign up here.




Real Men Resources

Raise men who stand tall in their generation! Our curriculum works great at home; or in homeschool co-ops and online classes, too! 😊


The Making of Real Men by Mike Curtis with Powerline Productions, Inc. Real Men 101: Godly Manhood Real Men 102: Freedom, Courtship, Marriage, & Family Real Men 103: Leadership


Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Holiday Social Skills for Teens: Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Holiday Social Skills for Teens: Special Replay.

Holiday Social Skills for Teens: Special Replay

Holiday Social Skills for Teens

Holidays bring church and homeschool parties, family get-togethers. Teens often feel awkward at these events. They are too young to be regarded as the “little kids” and not quite old enough to be considered “adults”. How does a teen handle being a teen at holiday events?

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym are sharing social skills tips for building for confidence and poise during the holidays (and afterwards)! Not only that, as teens learn and practice holiday social skills, they can count some hours as a life skills or life preparation elective! That is because all of life is education!

How to build social skills for teens during the holidays

Why are social skills during the holidays important? The skills teens can practice during holiday events are skills they will use in adulting, such as:

  • Social skills are needed at work events when they are starting their careers
  • They are useful in events where they will be meeting the families of a future “significant other”
  • Social events at churches, parties and other get togethers call for good social skills
  • For us introverts, social events happen, so social skills help us feel better

Skill #1: Help others feel welcome

Even if you are shy, find someone who is not being talked to. Smile, say “hi” and ask a question.

  • This means that planning ahead to memorize three or four questions you can ask people at the event.
  • If you can, try to circulate and talk to as many people in the room.
  • Even if you are not hosting the event, it is polite to at least greet each person (at least those who are not being talked to).

Vicki always told her kids that their role at an event is to be “facilitator”- that is, the one who facilitates folks feeling welcome at the event.

Skill #2: Have questions to ask different kinds of people

For grandparents, aunts and uncles, you can ask nostalgia-type questions, such as:

  • What was your favorite Christmas as a child
  • Do you remember any big Christmas disasters?
  • Ask, even if you have heard the stories before!
  • Also, ask questions that might tie-in to something they learned in their history course, such as:
    • Hey, Grandpa, we were learning about the Vietnam War in history. Could you tell me what being in the military at that time was like?

Your teens can collect these stories and pick one for a cool writing assignment: Holiday Family Narrative.

Skill #3: Sometimes you do not need questions you need a silly repartee

Some people communicate friendliness by teasing or silly “insults”. This kind of connecting can be uncomfortable for shy teens or for teens who are not used to this kind of silliness. If your teen will be exposed to this kind of humor, teach them to smile and shrug or practice a lighthearted insult back.

However, if your teen enjoys the silly insults but will be in a new group of people or relatives they do not see often, remind them that repartee is for close friends in most situations. Hold off until you can measure the personalities in the room.

Skill #4: Talk to the little ones

One of the best ways to make friends in new or infrequent social situations, is to get know the little kids in the room. If you get down on their level (sit on the floor or on a low chair so you are close to eye level). Then chat with them. Pretty soon you will have made friends with them (which makes them SO happy) AND it will often draw other big people over to join the conversation.

Skill #5: Bring a game

Have a simple card game or activity that several people can do together. When you are sharing an experience with someone (even if it is cheesy), the conversations come naturally. Then you have an automatic new friendship.

Skill #6: Help the host and hostess

Go to the folks in charge and ask:

  • What do you need carried or set up?
  • Is there something I can do to help?
  • What can I do to help out?

Being helpful is good for you AND gives you a break from the socializing. However, the shared experience of working together makes a good, friendly connection. (This is a powerful networking experience for adulting.)

Skill #7: For extraverts, how do you keep the conversations balanced

Some extraverts LOVE to talk (some are less talkative). For the talkers remember Kym’s rule of thumb:

Be an attentive talker AND an attentive listener.

Be an attentive talker AND an attentive listener.

Skill #8: Watch the non-verbals

Teach teens to watch non-verbals in others. They can learn by observing:

  • Does the fidgeting mean that Aunt Sally is irritated with Grandma’s embarrassing stories of her childhood?
  • How about staring off into space or rolling eyes when Grandpa launches into the same story he always tells?

This is good practice. When they watch others’ non-verbals during conversations, they can be more aware of non-verbals in their own conversations.

Skill #9: Practice active listening

Help teens learn active listening skills for when the relatives are telling them stories. Here are a few:

  • Show you are listening by nodding your head, saying “hmm” or repeating back part of the last thing they said
  • Make eye contact with the speaker on a regular basis

Skill #10: That’s really hard

When someone is complaining about how hard their life is. Try some non-committal things to say:

  • That’s really hard
  • I’ll say…
  • Man, that was something!

Skill #11: When dinner is called

When Grandma calls to say dinner is ready, empower teens to:

  • Stand up but wait
  • Let the older folks go to the dinner table next
  • Then let the little ones go next
  • If there is a buffet set up, ask if anyone needs help with the little one’s food
  • Do not hog any particular dish (make sure you only take a reasonable amount, even if you LOVE Grandma’s turnips)
  • Absolutely do not say, “Ewwww”…ever at dinner at someone else’s house

Skill #12: Use digital etiquette

Help teens to practice good manners. Although it might be irritating, older generations often do not understand that teens are not trying to be rude if they are on their phones. Practice, then, mercy towards the old folks.

  • Keep your digital devices in your pocket for most of the event. You can check it here or there, but do not spend extended time on it.
  • Be careful what you share on social media about the event.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.- Thumper 

When you talk to your teens ahead of time, you give your teens the self-confidence boosts they need. They will also be growing good adulting skills!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for real-life tips for social holiday skills for teens. (This post was originally aired at this link.)


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Taking Holiday Photos with Storytelling in Mind

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Taking Holiday Photos with Storytelling in Mind

210: Taking Holiday Photos with Storytelling in Mind

In today’s episode, Becky Brinkman from Rose and Bird shares ideas on taking holiday photos with storytelling in mind

Listen to the episode for all her very useful tips. The resource page with videos and articles that go into more detail on some aspects can be found here

Where to find Becky Brinkman online:

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

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

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

Taking Holiday Photos with Storytelling in Mind

Surviving the Break with Your College Students – MBFLP 287

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

The holidays are upon us and we are looking forward to having our college students home again! But to be realistic, there’s always a transition to bringing our young adults back into the household – and often both the student and the family ends up frustrated. This episode we’re talking about things you can do – on both sides – to make the visit as smooth and pleasant as possible for everyone!

Parent Understanding

If you went to college, you remember the rush of exam week – and the mental and physical exhaustion at the end of it! Especially at Christmas and the end of the spring semester, your student will be arriving after a really tough week or two. We try to keep that in mind for their first several days home.


Our unspoken hopes and preferences can set us up for disappointment and conflict. Maybe we parents look forward to seeing our young adult, but we’re also looking forward having his help around the house again! For his side, maybe he’s hoping for some relaxation from the stress of college — or possibly, he has projects or homework to finish during his holiday. Maybe the younger siblings want a lot of attention from their big sister, when she really needs some peace and personal space – at least at first.

The best way to deal with these issues is to communicate ahead of time – gently, in love – and be willing to listen to one other and seek to accommodate everyone. All of those expectations are common and valid – the difficulty is how to address them all. If we cultivate patience and understanding together, we can probably find a mutually agreeable pathway.

Changing Channels

When Hal was working a corporate job, he had to remind himself on the commute home, “I have to leave the office door closed behind me and put on my family hat now.” No matter what stress or disaster he’d left at work, when he came in the door, he knew the kids would be excited to see him, Melanie would be tired and need compassion, and he’d have to be ready to show love and concern to everyone at home.

Our college students need to think about that, too. While they’re making the trip home, they need to consciously prepare themselves to be part of the family culture at the end of their trip. The way they live or even just survive on campus is a separate issue to what happens at home — and they need to change gears before they get here.

In both cases there will be time and opportunity to share their struggles and disappointments, to seek advice and sympathy, but that will come after the initial rush of returning. Everyone will be happier at the end if the wanderer is ready to greet and be greeted first, and then seek the serious conversations after!

We dig deeper into the questions in our blog post here

And a word from our sponsor, Affirm Films’ 5000 Blankets – coming soon to select theaters, December 12 and 13

Tickets and showtimes here!

Grace for Holiday Family Gatherings

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Grace for Holiday Family Gatherings.

Grace for Holiday Family Gatherings

Grace for Holiday Family Gatherings

We love having homeschooling siblings to journey along with and have adventures with and learn from. We all learn from each other and discuss all of the things that can be a part of the homeschool high school experience. Every family is different, so embrace what we say all the time: there is not just one right way to homeschool. There are so many right ways to homeschool high school- especially during the holidays

A big piece of what we are doing in high school is preparing our teens for adulting. They are going to have a life after graduation. Yes, it may be hard to believe it sometimes, but they are. That is a big piece of what we want those high school years to be doing. And building character, communication skills and relational skills is very important, though it sometimes gets overlooked from high school. 

Did you know there are different kinds of social situations that can be really great character-building experiences for our teens? And since the holidays are upon us, holiday family gatherings are likely in your near future. Here are some ways to equip your teens for these kinds of situations as well as monitor our own character during family gatherings or extended family get-togethers or even just social settings we all have been a part of from time to time.

Building Grace For the Holiday Family Gatherings

Because of national health issues, getting together, especially during the holidays, has been tougher than ever. And it is so vitally important that we be with other people and find ways to gather, to build relationships, celebrate with, communicate with, share a meal, and all those wonderful things. Oh, sharing a meal is such powerful stuff! 

But we have to do it where people have varied degrees of comfort with how close they are to other people. It can be very tricky. So let’s help our teens and ourselves learn how to build grace into our character while approaching these gatherings intentionally, with a level of sensitivity, while we navigate the room with extra people in it.

Plan ahead for ways to manage difficult conversations.

Tips To Build Grace For the Holidays

When you get together with family, especially extended family, you usually have different versions of what is the right thing to do. In a gathering, is not it funny how we can share a lot of DNA and have very different opinions? 

That should be navigated graciously rather than trying to fix the difficult people that are around you and make them “do it right” or “think it right.” Instead, model Christ-like behavior.

1. Check yourself on your assumptions about people.

We think we know all about our family before these extended gatherings since we’ve known them our whole lives, right? So we think we already know what’s going on with them and know how they can be. It’s like we have a backstory about each person in our minds.

One quote comes to mind:

But there’s nothing worse than knowing that you know just to prove that you know absolutely nothing. – Unknown

In reality, you actually have no idea what is going on in somebody else’s head or in their private life, especially if you don’t see them very often. But you think you know them, and you judge them the moment they do something that you don’t agree with. 

To form gracious assumptions is to take a moment before the gathering and tell yourself:

I am going to assume there’s a good reason for whatever anybody does at this gathering. Perhaps there’s a good reason I know nothing about it.  And if I need to ask about it because I actually need that information, I will do that respectfully. But I will not allow myself to fill in all the blanks in that person’s story because I don’t really know what they’re going through.

So before you even go to the event, agree to intentionally not make assumptions about the other people there.

2. Give them grace even if you think they’re wrong.

So how do we behave when people are not doing it right? One of the things that is our natural response when people are not thinking the right way (because clearly we are the right ones – we are always right) is to let our blood pressure rise while getting an angry face, an irritated posture and start correcting.

We can talk to our teens and model the plan ahead. That is, when people do not do something right, we must still behave with grace towards them.

De-escalate the nonverbals during this time, which will teach your teens how to do that by mirroring your behavior. Have your teen lower their voice while talking a bit more deeper. Then have them bring their shoulders down as well, not up to their ears. See if they can practice a calm exterior. 

3. Practice redirection.

Redirection is a beautiful tool. When things are awkward, just redirect the conversation towards a different topic. 

You could bring humor into the conversation by making a silly little joke at your own expense, such as saying something funny about yourself or making fun of yourself in a funny way. And before you know it, the uncomfortable or awkward topic is gone. Whatever it was that was a problem is a problem no longer. 

Just never aim that “funny expense” at others!

4. Know what your mean face looks like!

In other situations, humans have mirror neurons, so they tend to mimic what they see on other people’s faces. And it happens before you think. For example, when somebody says something kind of stupid and they have their mean face on, your face is going to want to do a mean face too. But if you already know what your calm face is, you can intentionally put on your calm face.

And then people can pick up on their mirror neurons, your calmness, and they will feel some calm too. 

It also helped to look in the mirror. They can say:

When I am really mad, this is my face. And when I’m putting on my game face, I’m putting my game face on for the relatives. It’s my calm face. 

Therefore, while your teens are in the moment, they can do that and behave gracefully towards them.

5. Stay calm.

Sometimes you might witness a person’s behavior crossing the line into abuse. For example, you see someone in one generation who is cornering someone in the younger generation. This is bullying. 

When you need to step in, you can step in very calmly. You might want to start off with saying, “Hey, you can’t talk to them like that. Listen to yourself. You’re being a bully,” even if it is true and honest, but don’t. Unfortunately, it is not going to be very helpful to diffuse the situation. 

Instead, handle things calmer and with the redirection skill we mentioned earlier. Say something like:

  • How about we take a break and see what’s left on the appetizer table? Cause this isn’t really making anybody feel festive.
  • Let’s take a break. How about we do something else for a while?

But you may need to intervene in a situation that is not good, and if so, you can do it without getting upset yourself by projecting calm. This occurs when you stay calm during a heated moment and extends the illusion of authority by being the calmer person.

What may also help a heated situation to add grace for holiday family gatherings is talking in a calm voice with the calm nonverbals. This makes you the one that’s the power broker, since being calm is actually power. You will be stepping in and doing a calm rescue, which will likely cause the bullying person to feel a bit lost or embarrassed. Regardless,  they will go settle themselves down somewhere else.

6. Take a deep breath.

Know that all of this calmness comes from a place of taking a deep breath. It may not fix absolutely everything in the universe, but it is fundamental to being gracious, to behaving graciously, and even to thinking graciously. Because if you are breathing shallowly with a tight chest and throat, you’re not getting enough oxygen for your brain to even be functioning at its best.

Take huge, deep breaths before you respond in any way to anybody.

7. Engage in something positive.

Find a new activity even for just a minute to save the grace for holiday family gatherings! In fact, if you can plan ahead before you go to your get-together.

Your kids can make pleasant, engaging conversations with the older family members by asking them to tell their life stories. What was it like in the old days?

By doing this, your teens could log this down as history too! Engage the older ones in storytelling or bring some cards and play a card game. Do things that keep people from just sitting down. This will help lessen any anxiety in the air, and it will create positive engagement experiences.

8. Understand that relationships are more important than opinions.

It helps us grow in grace when we recognize relationships are more important than opinions. God has those beautiful, strong relationships in place, and family is vitally important. Therefore, recognize those relationships are not worth losing over opinions, even over opinions that you hold very dearly. 

Simply agree to disagree – you’re going to be family at the end of the day. You can overlook lots of other things and still respect them as an individual.

9. God and grace.

God and grace brings it all home. You can tell your teens:

Sometimes in life, you’re going to need to intentionally do something to facilitate relationships being protected and strengthened. And it is worth it. It’s worth it every time. 

Having grace for holiday family gatherings is a good time for your kids to learn life skills, which as we said, you can even log as a couple history hours while you’re at it! 

BTW- If you want to keep up some of the homeschooling during the holidays, check this post.

Thanks to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for transcribing this episode.


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Special Replay: Handling Difficult People During the Holidays

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Handling Difficult People During the Holidays! This is a special replay of a popular episode.

Handling Difficult People During the Holidays

Handling Difficult People During the Holidays

Holiday get togethers are memorable…but not always because of the fun.

Dreading those tough moments at holiday gatherings when someone makes everyone tense, irritated or embarrassed?  It’s not just you. There are obnoxious people everywhere. However, we don’t need to sacrifice our family’s health (mental or otherwise), to appease the folks who make life tense. Join Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Eagle (the Seeing Eye Puppy) for a comfortable chat about uncomfortable people.

When planning for that big get-together, but stressing because you know *Irritating Uncle George* is going to be there, here are some valuable questions to ask yourself:

What’s the goal of the gathering?

  • If it’s the goal to have a picture perfect event, we might need to downgrade that goal when there are difficult people in the mix. Better to be realistic and unsurprised than to simply wish he’d behave and be miserable. Listen to this episode on Realistic Expectations.
  • If the goal is to honor the traditions of the family, how can you discuss with each person ways to keep that tradition-honoring time pleasant?

What are the deal breakers for you and your family?

  • Ask your family members, what are their deal breakers? Those are the places you need to work together to come up with a creative, Christlike boundary or solution.

How flexible are your family members with their deal breakers and expectations?

  • Ask your family members what they can and are willing to adjust.

What are your internal Rules for the Universe?

We all have a set of Rules for the way the Universe should run. If we stubbornly try to cling to our Rules for the Universe, and the universe isn’t running by our rules, we will make ourselves sick.

Take for instance, Vicki’s Rule: *Everyone I care about should be okay all the time*. Unfortunately for Vicki, she can’t control that. She has to leave everyone’s okay-ness in God’s hands. (He going to run the universe the way He sees best, anyway- regardless of our Rules.)

What are YOUR Rules for the Universe? Some of our favorites are (and we must give up on):

  • Everyone I care about must be part of our traditions, so everyone must be present with me.
  • Everyone should behave like a Norman Rockwell painting.
  • Everyone should be upbeat and happy all through the holidays.

Difficult People Coming to Your Family Gatherings This Christmas? Tips for setting boundaries and adjusting expectations. Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 141.

What do we do when there is a difficult people present in our family, so will make the gathering difficult?

Ask yourself: Is it necessary for that person to attend if they are dangerous to the well-being and safety of the rest of the group? If the person is not a safe person, must they come? Think about that seriously. The idea that all people must be present at important holiday events is simply one of those internal Rules for the Universe.

Is it necessary for us to suck it up and say nothing difficult people or do we confront at that time of behavior?

  • For people with Predictable Obnoxious Behaviors (POBs).
    • Discuss those with the person ahead of time.
  • For people with Unpredictable Bad Behaviors (UBBs).
    • Gently pull that person aside and let them know the way things go at your house.

Remember your own stress points, ask yourself: Can I download/delegate any of them?

Stop and take a moment to read the following posts. You deserve it:

Remember to:

Gathering with folks is important at Christmas but we are healthier when we have addressed questions about the ways we’ll handle trouble-making people at the events.

Do your teens need to vent about those obnoxious folks? Give them a cathartic writing assignment: Holiday Family Narratives.

Enjoy this empowering chat with Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Seeing Eye Puppy, Eagle. And enjoy these posts:

Homeschool Writing Project: The Holidays are the Perfect Time to Write a Family Narrative!


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HSHSP Ep 141: Handling Difficult People During the Holidays

The Meaning of Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

True North Homeschool Academy Director is joined by her husband, Dr. David Nehring as they talk about the meaning and importance of Christmas!True North Homeschool Academy Director is joined by her husband, Dr. David Nehring as they talk about the meaning and importance of Christmas!

Christmas is the season of Light in the Darkness, as we celebrate the coming of Christ!

Being born into this world is a death sentence; nobody gets out alive! Which is why we are all in need of a Savior!

The Book of Joshua reminds us to be Strong and of Good Courage, but also to remember!

Join us this spring for classes that will encourage, delight and challenge k-12th grade students! Our Old Testament: Adam to Nehemiah class and New Testament Overview take students on an entire journey of Biblical Discovery!

We love coming alongside fellow homeschoolers to ensure your academic and future success at True North Homeschool Academy! Sign up for our weekly email for support, class and clubs sales and specials and encouragement on your homeschooling journey!


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Holiday Stress – and What We Do About It! – MBFLP 271

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” the song says … and one of the busiest and most stressful, too! What can we do to maintain the spirit of celebration while the season’s demands pile on top of our already-full lives? What practical steps can we take to lighten the load and get the really important things done? As the homeschooling parents of eight kids, starting and running a business from home at the same time, trust us – we’ve been there. Join us in this special edition where we talk about the realities of homeschooling, home business, and the holidays!

Holidays are Opportunities

The Bible has some holidays which were commandments, at least to the Israelites. God gave the ceremonies of Passover and told the people that when they came to the promised land, “you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.” (Exodus 12:24) Why was that? “It shall be as a sign to you … and as a memorial …” (Exodus 13:9). There are questions and answers expected so the elders pass on their faith to the younger generations –

Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you …” (Deuteronomy 32:7)

Even though we don’t have a Biblical commandment to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are opportunities to connect our families — and ourselves — with the goodness of God in His provision for life now and life hereafter!

[For good measure, consider when the exiles returned to rebuild Jerusalem and celebrated the recovery of the Law. After a marathon reading of the Word of God, the governor Nehemiah told the people, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)]

The challenge to us is to be sure to focus on the message, and not be overwhelmed by the daily responsibilities and the seasonal additions!

(continued …)

Think About Priorities

Have you seen the illustration of loading rocks and gravel into a big container? The only way to maximize what fits is to load the biggest things first, then smaller ones to fill in the gaps. Your daily (weekly, monthly) plan is the same way – you need to consider the most important, top-priority matters first, and fit them into your schedule before the secondary things.

And in a season when you need to be sure your children and your family hear the good news of the Messiah’s birth and really think about God’s mercies and provision over the past year … maybe it’s not as critical to do every single worksheet in the curriculum every day. Sometimes you can bring holiday-related subjects into the schoolwork (baking and cooking is a great way to work on weights and measures and fractions; Charles Dickens and George MacDonald can provide reading materials; personalized greeting cards are good handwriting practice!)

Listen in for more thoughts and ideas that can make your holiday season less anxious and more joyful this year!

Hosting the Holidays

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hosting the Holidays

Hosting the Holidays – Episode 90


In this episode, we talk about some ideas and tips on how to host the holidays stress free!



  1. Plan your menu

  2. Make a schedule

  3. Plan your table – create a table setting

  4. Don’t forget serving dishes

  5. Make a shopping list

  6. Prepart ahead – make and complete tasks ahead of time if you can.

  7. Keep to your schedule.

And breathe! Relax and Enjoy!

Holidays: Off the Shelf

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Holidays: Off the Shelf

Holidays: Off the Shelf! – Episode 89


In this episode, we talk about some books for you and your family to enjoy this holiday season.

Books Mentioned on the Show

  • Dear America: Journey to the New World by Kathryn Lasky

  • Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz

  • Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac

  • Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf

  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh

  • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

  • The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story by Joanne Oppenheim