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The OnlySchoolers Podcast: Helping You Homeschool

The OnlySchoolers Podcast: Helping You Homeschool

By OnlySchoolers

What happens when two homeschool moms, each with an only child, meet at the local ice-skating rink and strike up a friendship?We’re about to find out…We’re Christyn Edwards and Gina Prosch, and we created the OnlySchoolers Podcast and community to share the wisdom and hard-learned lessons of our years homeschooling only children.Our kids spend hours at our local rink each week, and while they skate, we wait…and talk. Our conversation topics range widely, but we always come back to homeschooling.Each of us quickly realized that “onlyschoolers” (our word for home-educating families with just one child) are a small percentage of the homeschool population and while there are plenty of resources for large families, those ideas don’t necessarily translate to the reality of the day-in and day-out of educating just one child.So to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, we are being the change we want to see in the world: a resource for onlyschoolers.But our ideas aren’t just for onlyschoolers. As any homeschooling parent can tell you, each child can require a different approach, so let us help you sort out how that looks in your home, whether you’re teaching one or a dozen. We hope the stories, ideas, and sympathetic ear we bring you on the podcast will help you create unique learning experiences for your own children.More than that, we know that creating a unique education for your child will strengthen your relationship and isn’t that why we’re homeschooling in the first place?The OnlySchoolers Facebook page and Instagram (our handle is @Onlyschoolers) serves as our virtual ice-rink, where we invite you to continue the conversations we begin on the podcast and gain a sense of community. It can be lonely being an only, so join us!
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Currently playing episode

#QUOTES: The Thing About Teens

The OnlySchoolers Podcast: Helping You HomeschoolSep 15, 2022

Hello...and Hiatus

Hello...and Hiatus

A sign-off episode for the OnlySchoolers Podcast as we take a permanent hiatus.

Feb 02, 202311:16
#QUOTES: The One Where It All Works Out
Dec 15, 202227:18
#QUOTES: One Thing Leads to Another
Dec 01, 202228:35
#QUOTES: Over the River and Through the Woods
Nov 17, 202232:14
#QUOTES: Defining Education
Nov 03, 202227:28
#QUOTES: What's for Lunch?
Oct 20, 202233:58
#QUOTES: Chaos--A Force for Good
Oct 06, 202231:51
OnlySchoolers Classic: Books Books & More Books

OnlySchoolers Classic: Books Books & More Books

Every September, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to write books that express differing ideas and experiences, as well as the freedom to access, choose, and read books that expand our learning.

Here at the OnlySchoolers, we are book lovers. Banned Books Week was last week, but today we’d like to replay this episode from Season 3 where we talk about some of the books we love…and, as it turns out, a fair number of them have been challenged at some point. 

What can we say? We like banned books!

Sep 29, 202238:35
#QUOTES: The Thing About Teens
Sep 15, 202231:13
#QUOTES: Wanna Go Play?

#QUOTES: Wanna Go Play?

The OnlySchoolers are talking Early Childhood in this episode, and the quotes we're tackling are:

  • “Play is the work of childhood.” - Jean Piaget
  • “Play is the work of the child.” - Maria Montessori
  • “Play is the work of children. It’s very serious stuff.” - Captain Kangaroo
  • “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” - Fred Rogers
  • “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” - Fred Rogers
  • “Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” - Plato
  • “It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” - Leo Buscaglia
  • “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sep 01, 202237:36
#QUOTES: The Cult of Busy
Aug 18, 202227:03
#QUOTES: Setting Boundaries

#QUOTES: Setting Boundaries

What #QUOTES are we talking about this episode?

  • “Good fences make good neighbors.” - Robert Frost
  • No is a complete sentence.” - Anne Lamott
  • “Don’t set yourself on fire trying to keep others warm.” - Penny Reid
  • “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.” - G.K. Chesterton
  • “Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.” - Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • "Not my circus. Not my monkeys." - Polish Proverb
Aug 04, 202232:01
#QUOTES: Fearless Homeschooling
Jul 21, 202227:15
#QUOTES: All About the Journey
Jul 07, 202231:51
OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Ownership of Education

OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Ownership of Education

Did you guess what this episode was going to be about? 

If there's one thing that pretty much sums up the philosophy of the OnlySchoolers, it's Ownership of Education. Find out what it is, why it's so important to our homeschools, and how to make sure your kids are owning their educations, too.

Apr 21, 202231:18
OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Sense of Self & Motivation

OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Sense of Self & Motivation

Can you believe it? Christyn found a couple of essay topics that imply homeschoolers lack a sense of self and motivation! 

How crazy is that!?

Tune in to see what the OnlySchoolers have to say about them apples!

Apr 07, 202226:54
Five Minutes on the Fifth Thursday: 2022 Guiding Word Check-In

Five Minutes on the Fifth Thursday: 2022 Guiding Word Check-In

Gina & Christyn do a quick check-in on their guiding words for 2022: Ready (Gina's word) and Journey (Christyn's word).

Mar 31, 202207:45
OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Tests & Transcripts
Mar 17, 202231:24
OnlySchoolers GrabBag: How Has Homeschooling Changed Us?

OnlySchoolers GrabBag: How Has Homeschooling Changed Us?

Our kids aren't the only ones who are learning something! 

In this episode Gina and Christyn talk about how homeschooling has been a tool for learning and growth for each of them. Three questions they consider are: What lessons did they personally learn as educational facilitators for their kids? What growth did they experience? What insights did they gain about themselves and homeschooling? 

Mar 03, 202227:57
The OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Books, Books, and MORE Books

The OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Books, Books, and MORE Books

Christyn and Gina share some of their all-time favorite reads for readers of all ages.

Feb 17, 202238:06
OnlySchoolers GrabBag: The Words We Use
Feb 03, 202225:57
OnlySchoolers GrabBag: Failing to Succeed
Jan 20, 202232:48
Thinking About... Wonder & Zeitgeist
Dec 02, 202130:38
Thinking About...Being Unafraid & Vulnerable
Nov 18, 202128:40
Thinking About... Tradition & Trailblazing
Nov 04, 202132:24
Thinking About... Satisfactory & Substantial
Oct 21, 202126:46
Thinking About... Rebellion & Regret
Oct 07, 202131:14
Thinking About... Paradigms & Perseverance
Sep 30, 202129:33
Thinking About... Ordinary & Opportunity
Sep 16, 202125:57
Five Minutes on the First Thursday: Sept 2021 — The Hardest Things About Homeschooling an Only Child
Sep 02, 202108:48
Thinking About...Narration & Noise
Aug 19, 202134:31
Thinking About...Moodiness & Mystery
Aug 05, 202134:04
Five Minutes on the Fifth Thursday: July 2021
Jul 29, 202108:24
Thinking About...Labels & Listening

Thinking About...Labels & Listening

We use labels all the time as a quick shorthand to frame and focus our ideas. But how helpful are labels when it comes to identifying ourselves, our homeschools, and our kids? And how can looking past those labels and listening with all of our senses make a huge difference in our relationships? Join Gina and Christyn as they dive into these homeschool themes and talk about how they use labels and multi-sensory listening.

1:35    Gina and Christyn give updates on their 2021 word/phrase
3:57   Labels help us frame and focus ideas
4:40   Labels can be helpful in communicating as long as we're clear what the labels mean
4:55   Why do we label ourselves? How is it helpful?
What does labeling myself as a home educator mean?
Is it okay for us to label our kids?
How can the idea of labels help me communicate with others more clearly?
5:30   Christyn discusses why she labels herself: as a form of self-expression and a way to identify the parts that make up the whole
6:49   Gina identifies herself with a mix of labels that tell who she is and what she does career-wise
7:47   Labels can be helpful in interacting with other people, but just as a starting point, as a quick dip into communication
8:55   Christyn uses the example of Loki as someone who is known by one label, but who is so much more
9:55   Gina discusses the labels of Wyatt's skating coach and how she identifies which is most important to her, how it helps prioritize information
11:30  Discuss what it means to choose home educator as a label
16:05  Be careful how we label kids: our words matter. Don't limit them, don't put your kids in a box
"I'm Not Good at That: The Myth of Natural Talent"
20:01   Let your kids label themselves and grow! The way the label themselves helps us as parents see who they are
22:25   Listening is a form of communication; labels can play a part, but it's a lot more
23:15   Differences between hearing and listening
24:30  Christyn talks about "listening to leftovers"
25:55   Listening with all your senses opens up a lot of possibilities for communicating with your kids

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Jul 15, 202130:09
Thinking About...Keeping & Kleptomania

Thinking About...Keeping & Kleptomania

It's the time of year when new opportunities and new goals — and maybe new pressures — are everywhere around us! How do you create focus so you don’t get overwhelmed? In simple terms, keep what you need and what you know works and when you need something more, steal ideas and make them your own. Listen in as Gina and Christyn offer their best ideas for being a keeper AND a homeschool kleptomaniac!

4:34    When we think of "keeping," we're talking about keeping records, keeping a schedule, and keeping your relationship in a positive place. When we turn to "kleptomania," (and not taking the medical diagnosis lightly at all), we look at the casual cultural use of the word, as in basically taking ideas from wherever you can find them.

6:54    Gina talks about keeping schoolwork for a graduating senior, and her methods for saving and purging through the years

9:48  Christyn has what she refers to as her "Little Women" shelves of plastic tubs, all neatly labeled with what she's required to keep by state mandate, and what she keeps for sentimental reasons

12:30  If you've got a system that works for you,  keep it! Gina talks about the scheduling systems she'd had in the past and how that changed up recently when her son got a job 

15:14   Christyn talks about the "two classes then a break" system she's used since the beginning that still works in the high school years — and how the occasional siren call to switch up things for a new idea doesn't always work out!

17:00   Once you find your fit for your homeschool style, routine, schedule, whatever, keep to it. Because in the end, that’s going to lead to the most important thing of all to keep: your relationship. 

17:48   Gina talks about how prioritizing the relationship made a difference in homeschooling

20:44   Christyn talks about a "make it or break it" relationship moment in her homeschool 

22:51   Moving to "kleptomania," Christyn shares the ways she took parts of popular homeschooling trends and made them work for her over the years

23:58   Gina talks about stealing ideas from herself! She and her husband are self-employed and she realized some of their business practices would work well for homeschooling, too

26:55   Look carefully at ALL the options out there, then take all of that information and then make it work FOR YOUR HOUSE

27:15   Gina and Christyn talk about how they took ideas to create programs for their homeschool group, such as Geography Fair and co-op — and how, as they transition away from leadership roles in those areas, they fully expect new leaders to keep some ideas and steal other new ideas to keep those programs fresh

29:15   As homeschool parents, we're the keepers of everything: documentation, routines, physical and emotional health. It can be hard, so when we see ways to make our job easier, we take them. We figure out how to use them. We keep what works for us. That’s how we homeschool

Jul 01, 202131:13
Thinking About...Jealousy & Joy

Thinking About...Jealousy & Joy

You've probably heard Theodore Roosevelt's saying that "Comparison is the thief of joy." Join Gina and Christyn as they discuss the challenge of overcoming the green-eyed monster when it shows up in their homeschools. The good news is that just looking for the little joys that come with this lifestyle is enough to overcome the jealousy and keep the focus on the wonder that comes with lifelong learning!

2:12    The focus of the OnlySchoolers is to provide a joyful, uplifting show, but we're also honest enough to admit there are hard things about homeschooling: one of those hard things is jealousy

3:02   The 11th Commandment in Homeschooling is "Do not covet thy neighbor's homeschool" — and that's a hard one!

4:02   When it comes to homeschooling,  there's a tendency to compare ourselves and our kids and our homeschool situation to other families...and come up short

5:12   There are three distinct categories when we discuss jealousy in homeschool
1) Comparison of homeschool parents/teachers
2) Comparison of our children to friends, siblings, cousins
3) Comparison of homeschool situation

5:47  Gina discusses parent envy of a friend who creates festive occasions  in her homeschool

8:14  Christyn discusses parent envy of the "perfect homeschool days" posts on Facebook and envy of homeschool moms who manage get-togethers without their kids

10:19  Gina and Christyn discuss jealousies that revolve around having an only child

13:00  Homeschool graduation season brings up jealousies about where our kids are relative to other kids. Seeing others' accomplishments can be difficult

13:51   In those situations, Christyn gives herself a gentle, mental shake and reminds herself why she's homeschooling

14:15  Gina admits jealousy of those who have a dedicated homeschool space

16:05  Christyn has a dedicated space, but admits jealousy of those that are perfectly organized (hers is not!!)

16:38  Tips and tricks to deal with jealousy when it crops up

19:20  Drop the jealousy and find the joy in your homeschool! Take the joy wherever you find it!

19:52   Gina discusses her books about actively seeking joy and how it is best cultivated by thinking small

20:46   Christyn and Gina talk about some of the little joys they find during the day

23:45   Joy not only comes from what happens, but sometimes from what doesn't happen

24:48   There's also long-term joy that goes beyond anything we feel any single day: "the slices add up"

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Jun 17, 202127:17
Thinking About...Imagination & Individuality
Jun 03, 202129:51
Thinking About...Human Nature & Humor

Thinking About...Human Nature & Humor

We're back...with lots of laughs! Join us as we talk about how accepting our human nature and injecting humor into our days is vital to a happy and productive homeschool!

2:22   Gina discusses human nature with a reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Q continuum

3:36   Human nature includes eating, drinking, resting, as well as play, curiosity, and communication

4:32  When it comes to homeschooling, ignore these things at your own peril! But acknowledging and incorporating them into your day creates wonder and acceptance

4:45   We discuss how food, drink, and rest work in our homeschool days

7:15   Be sure to include play and curiosity in your day; so much learning revolves around these two simple things

10:10  Play can be a curiosity-seeking launchpad! Use it!

10:35   Communication is key to human nature...and it includes a lot more than you think!

12:41  Remember: communication is a two-way street; as parents and homeschool teachers, a lot of the heavy-lifting of communication falls on us

13:48   Keep up with the new jargon, new slang, emojiis, acronyms, whatever — it will help you communicate better with your kids!

14:55   Rules of behavior can be complicated and have to be adjusted accordingly

18:16  The single most important thing for a homeschool parent to possess is a sense of humor

19:02  Gina talks Shakespeare and how his comedies can apply to homeschool: They move from chaos to order, with laughs in between

21:08  The best-laid plans are not immune to chaos. Roll with it. Laughter is almost always better than crying

21:48   Mark Twain: The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter

22:00  We talk about the times that laughter has saved the day in our homeschools

25:29   To keep the humor rolling, we incorporate lots of catchphrases in our family interactions, shorthand to diffuse situations or make a personal connection. Shared laughter is a bond that holds us together

28:22   Homeschool is about far more than reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic. The fourth "R" — relationship — is far more important

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May 20, 202129:48
Thinking About...Growth & Grace
Apr 15, 202128:33
Thinking About...Frustration & Faith
Apr 01, 202125:37
Thinking About...Empowerment & Encouragement

Thinking About...Empowerment & Encouragement

In this episode, Gina and Christyn talk about what empowers and encourages them as homeschooling parents and how they, in turn, empower and encourage their kids to feel capable and own their education. When you're more confident as a home educator, you become a better learning partners for your kids! 

Mar 18, 202127:55
Thinking About...Disappointment & Doubt
Mar 04, 202130:18
Thinking About...Common Sense & Connections

Thinking About...Common Sense & Connections

We think you may be able to hear the charms on Gina's necklace  or earrings jingling at a few points in the podcast. Sorry! We'll be sure to go jewelry free next time. :-)  

Gina and Christyn take on the themes of Common Sense and Connection in this episode! Laugh along with their anecdotes of developing common sense in their homeschools and hear how making connections -- with learning, with life, with people -- is at the heart of homeschooling.

3:58    Discussion of the importance of common sense and connection in homeschooling
4:41    Gina's anecdotes about common sense vs being educated
7:26    Christyn calls it "street smarts" vs. "book smarts" but it's the same thing
9:02    The perfect combination is both! Common sense is knowing when to use your book smarts and when to use your street smarts
9:33    Common sense is not an innate ability, but it's a quality that can be developed
11:07  Sometimes natural consequences are the best lesson to learn common sense since they stick with us!
11:51  You can develop common sense by engaging in a real way with the real world in real time
14:15  Gina says reverse-engineering projects and situations can help develop common sense
15:30  Common sense in homeschool means taking a break for a couple of weeks if a project is overwhelming. Don't overcomplicate things. There's nothing wrong with simple; there's nothing inherently better about something just because it's complicated
15:58  Common sense in homeschool also means taking into account your homeschool style. You do the homeschool that works for you
17:03  Common sense says if there's a problem, then there's an answer
18:20  The common sense approach to homeschooling is seeing how interconnected all the learning is
18:48  Seemingly random activities can create avenues into learning that we aren't always expecting
20:08  Learning outside the traditional school environment allows us to integrate and connect things for our kids
22:24   Make those connections because when a kid is interested, a kid is learning!
22:40   A good reason to focus on connections in homeschool is that it can help with subjects that might not be a student's favorite
23:03   By exploring connections, we can really help our kids see the value in what they're learning
23:37   It's common sense to look for connections in education and help your child take ownership of that new knowledge in a meaningful way
23:50   Connections between people are also vitally important
24:40   Homeschooling is a radical lifestyle and it can be lonely. Find a community in which you can commiserate, kvetch, and celebrate
Maya Angelou, "Alone"

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Feb 19, 202126:47
Thinking About…  Bravery and Belonging

Thinking About… Bravery and Belonging

With February being the longest month of the homeschool year, there's plenty of time to dive deep into two key themes for home educators: Bravery and Belonging. Join Gina and Christyn as they discuss their big and small moments of brave action in homeschooling, and how the idea of belonging can sometimes be a stumbling block...until you find your people.

1:55   Recap of Episode 1 and the new insights into autonomy Christyn and Gina uncovered

3:42   Paying attention to to what fulfills us as parents makes us more interesting educational partners for our kids

5:16    Gina thinks bravery in homeschool is sometimes just saying out loud "We're homeschooling" because you can never predict the response

6:40    When you opt for a different path, you have to have bravery to go along and stay on it

7:05   Christyn's idea of bravery comes partly from Sara Bareilles's song "

7:35   The song talks about how disappearing and not showing our brave because we doubt our choices and we don't want to make waves

8:30   Committing the act of homeschooling shows our big our brave is!

9:00   Gina talks brave moments in her life, including starting this podcast, and putting herself out there on radio interviews and in writing to talk about the positives of homeschooling

10:13   Christyn discusses being brave enough to start the homeschooling lifestyle at a time when her life was overshadowed by her husband's death. She took on Joan of Arc's quote as a mantra: "I am not afraid, I was born to do this."

12:40   Smaller brave moment for Christyn: waking up and going to the zoo instead of opening the books. The success of that made an impact on how she decided to homeschool going forward

14:04   Gina's smaller brave moment was talking up the first day of school, then announcing the only thing on the schedule was to play all day! It's a brave step to announce that the education of your kids belongs to you

14:35  Moving to Belonging as a theme, especially in a community sense

14:55   Gina finds meeting and greeting the world in general to be a perennial challenge

15:30   Christyn doesn't always feel like she belongs in homeschool groups. It's been a stumbling block, but one-on-one dynamics work best

16:15   Gina agrees that her best belonging moments are with small groups

16:40   Homeschoolers often get caught up in group identities that may create barriers for belonging if you don't fit

17:25   Home educating can bring stress so feeling like you have support is key. 

19:18   Gina and Christyn both hope that the OnlySchoolers podcast community gives a sense of belonging

20:23   Homeschooling is lonely sometimes, and homeschooling an only can be especially lonely. Gina and Christyn talk about how their kids' experience of finding a place to belong

24:10   Show us your brave!

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Feb 04, 202124:57
Thinking About…  Autonomy and Attention

Thinking About… Autonomy and Attention

Gina and Christyn start the new season discussing two themes that help frame the story of their homeschools: autonomy and attention. Join them for a conversation about how they find the ability to act on their own values and beliefs as they home educate, and how attention plays a huge role in their homeschool autonomy.

0:50   New OnlySchoolers website:
              New Etsy shop:

2:15  Gina gives an update on "flourish" for 2021

4:00   Framing conversations around themes will lead to a deeper understanding of home education, even for veteran homeschoolers. We'll uncover new beliefs and essential ideas, and find new perspectives and different ways of thinking

5:54   Two perfect words to help us frame our homeschool stories are the focus themes today: Autonomy and Attention

6:45   AUTONOMY is the ability to act on one's own values and beliefs. In homeschool, this includes me AND my child

7:30   Gina talks about how being an only child growing up affected her autonomy and emphasizes that as homeschoolers, we need to create the kind of environment that works for you, even though staying true to yourself can be a bumpy road

8:35   It can be hard to maintain autonomy in the homeschool environment. Sometimes there's pressure to fit in; make sure you're making the choices that are best for you

10:10  Christyn shares her story of growth in homeschool autonomy, as a widow seeking connection. It's great to seek connection, but don't lose yourself. Hang on to the reasons you chose to home educate: they will guide you as you create your homeschool

11:45  Real homeschool autonomy is knowing you have both choices AND the freedom to choose the best ones for yourself

12:15  Gina discusses autonomy for her son, who's been encouraged in his autonomy from a young age. Now she has a kid who won't accept things that are unfair or unjust; he is willing to stand up for himself

14:20  Christyn wants her daughter to know she always has the freedom to make her own choices and that she's capable of making those choices

16:50  The best aspect of homeschooling is being able to help our kids find their own path in their own time

17:21   All the autonomy in the world won't matter, though, if we don't pay attention and give ATTENTION where needed

17:55  Attention is taking notice, fixing the mind, and taking action. This is critical to homeschoolers, especially this time of year

19:22  Christyn takes notice of where she is in the school year, and takes action by changing up classes a bit, knowing she and her daughter need something fresh in the second semester

20:30  This year, it's a self-defense class from The Great Courses: Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies

21:00 Gina also takes a look at where she is in the school year and this year paid attention to the fact that in about 18 months, her son will graduate. She started giving attention to what needs to happen between now and then

22:25  Gina wants to focus on the attention given to her phone and technology, framing her efforts around two questions: Where is my attention? Where should it be?

24:52 Don't let random things catch your attention. Pay attention!

25:30  Gina and Christyn discuss the myth of only children receiving too much attention

27:05  Work to find that balance between autonomy and attention

Jan 21, 202128:17
Happy New Year!! With Party Favors
Jan 07, 202108:34
A Few of Our Favorite Things: Christmas with the OnlySchoolers

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Christmas with the OnlySchoolers

The holidays are in full swing and that means it's time to pull out favorite movies, bake up delicious treats, dance in the kitchen to Christmas music, and just generally have a whole month of celebration -- made even more special when it includes those special touches that make it meaningful to our families. Join Gina and Christyn as they talk all things holiday at their homes and share recipes and traditions that make this the happiest time of the year for them!

1:31   Gina and Christyn talk favorite Christmas recipes, songs, movies, books, gift-giving ideas, and traditions

2:12   Christyn’s holiday baking includes cream wafers, chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut brittle, and peppermint popcorn

Gina creates maraschino cherry Christmas mice, orangesicles, and peppermint marshmallows and bakes spitzbuben

7:45   Gina has a long Christmas playlist which includes Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and the Andrews Sisters, as well as Amy Grant and Mannheim Steamroller
Jackie Gleason ‘Tis the Season album

Christyn’s list is eclectic, as well. Favorite Christmas album is Andreas Bocelli’s “My Christmas,” but also loves Elvis, the Chipmunks, and the Polar Express and Home Alone movie soundtracks
Celtic Woman, “Christmas Pipes”

12:00  Christyn’s favorite movie is “A Christmas Story” while her daughter loves “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2”

Gina likes old movies at Christmas, including “White Christmas” and “The Bishop’s Wife.” Top favorite is “Remember the Night”

15:57   Christyn’s favorite book is A Christmas Carol, and all the traditional picture books. Gina likes short stories, including “The Little Match Girl” and “The Gift of the Magi”

19:12   For Christmas traditions, Christyn always does a Christmas lights scavenger hunt and switches out regular dishes for a Christmas pattern for the month of December. She also has a lot of fun Elf on the Shelf ideas from years past

Gina decorates multiple trees,  loves making new ornaments, and includes stargazing in her holiday activities
Mary Maxim beaded ornaments

26:12   Gina made a conscious decision to keep Christmas small for her son, and follows the 4 Gift rule. They didn’t do Santa because her son figured it out early

Christyn also does the four gifts, looking for non-traditional ones that are fun and memorable. She did Santa, but he never left “the big gift,” just a doll or game

31:02  True confessions: Neither Gina nor Christyn like “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Gina also says no to fruitcake and “A Christmas Carol” while Christyn enjoys fruitcake but says no to the Christmas ham

Both say no to the running and rushing. Plan for quiet afternoons with no obligations. 

You don’t want to get to the end of the season and realize you didn’t take time to refresh and reflect. Merry Christmas!

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Dec 03, 202036:60
Homeschooling Through the Holidays...Without Losing Your Mind

Homeschooling Through the Holidays...Without Losing Your Mind

'Twas the month before Christmas and all through the land, parents are trying to homeschool through the holidays without losing their minds! Okay, that doesn't rhyme, but it's the reality for many homeschooling families this time of year. Join Gina and Christyn as they share their holiday homeschooling plans and outline three easy steps to truly enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

5:04    If you're overextended and exhausted through the holidays, it's that much harder to gear up and get back to school in January

5:18    Three basic steps to holiday homeschooling:
1)  Manage expectations
2)  Make a plan
3)  Sit back and enjoy!

5:50    Don't try to do some fun and magical and memorable every single day leading up to Christmas. While Christmas is the perfect time to slow down and do some fun extras, be sure to manage your expectations of what that will look like

8:15    Real-world life is messay. You'll get tired, kids will get cranky, and there are extra committments and obligations this time of year

9:30    Christyn talks about her experience trying to sprinkle Christmas fairy dust on all subjects, rather than sticking with a schooling plan that was working. After two years, she gave that up in favor of planning just one fun thing per week, not per day

10:48    Gina emphasizes that real-life holidays don't look like a magazine photo shoot. Rather than striving for that, embrace real life just the way it is

12:32    If Christmas is truly about the kids, then we need to keep their best interests in mind

13:17    Make a plan as to what you can realistically handle school-wise during the holidays, then get it on the calendar

13:40   In discussing Christmas Plans Past, Gina follows one crucial rule: Don't let what you did last year dictate what you'll do this year

15:25   Christyn adds fun in some subjects as natural ending points are reached during December

17:23    Plan for spontaneous fun, or in other words, leave space for Christmas magic to happen: just make sure you've got a few tricks up your sleeve!

17:56    Enjoying the holidays can be simple and easy

18:57    Gina encourages saying "No" to some things so the holiday traditions that are important to your family can happen

19:50   Enjoying Christmas at Christyn's house usually means a
Christmas Poetry Teatime, Grinch Night, and Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt. Head over to the OnlySchoolers Patreon account for these FREE to ALL listeners downloadable PDFs. 

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Nov 19, 202024:37
The Attitude of Gratitude: Being at Home with a Grateful Heart

The Attitude of Gratitude: Being at Home with a Grateful Heart

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Gina and Christyn tackle the topic of cultivating an attitude of gratitude in their homes. From their personal habits to fun ideas for for family "thankfulness" activities, this episode will have you agreeing that "Joy is the simplest form of gratitude." (Karl Barth)

1:29   Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with a fun -- and free! -- poetry teatime download

2:35   Gina and Christyn both have a low-key approach to their Thanksgiving traditions

5:27   These three main topics will help you keep that thankful feeling going strong in the home
1) Tips and Tricks for cultivating the attitude of gratitude in ourselves as parents
2) How to avoid entitled kids and instill a sense of gratitude in our children
3) Some fun ideas for family activities that stress thankfulness

6:07   1) Cultivating daily habits of gratitude is important because our kids model all our behaviors

6:37   Christyn talks about finding joy in the middle of grief

7:45   Gina discusses #ThisDaysJoy: how it started and how it continues over eight years later through Facebook posts and two books

10:20   Christyn talks about the idea of finding joy in grief and the blog she started after her husband's death: Curving Toward Joy

11:50  2) Instilling a sense of gratitude in our children

12:00  Gina shares a story of entitled young adults

14:04  It can be harder to find opportunities for encouraging gratitude in an only child; you have to be more intentional. Christyn shares some of her methods

15:00 Teach your child that the act of sharing, the act of being grateful to have something to share, the relationship that comes from sharing is the most important part

15:55  Gina's tips for instilling gratitude in an only child include keeping it real by encouraging friendships with senior adults and hearing their stories

17:30  3) Some fun activities to cultivate a sense of gratitude in the days leading up to Thanksgiving

18:13  Crafts are a great way to reinforce thankfulness, especially in younger children. Be sure to also download the Gratitude Scavenger Hunt for some family fun, and consider a shareable Gratitude Journal and curating a collection of stories, poems, and songs that stress grateful hearts and thanks

19:20  Gina reminisces about Wyatt's "thankful tree" made of construction paper handprint leaves

20:20  Christyn remembers her daughter's "thankful turkey" with construction paper feathers of thankful thoughts

20:55  It's wonderful to see gratefulness through a kid's eyes. There's so much adults miss because it doesn't seem "big enough" to be grateful for

21:35   Crafty ideas might not work for teens, so consider slow conversations over hot cocoa or tea; create the Thanksgiving menu together; create a playlist of favorite songs that inspire thankfulness

22:01   Writing thank-you notes is a great way to express gratitude

23:57  Gratitude and joy and thankfulness are all about making connections with the people we love

Nov 05, 202025:55
You've Got Questions....We've Got Answers

You've Got Questions....We've Got Answers

Join Gina and Christyn for the first-ever OnlySchoolers Podcast Q & A! With questions ranging from ways to fill the long days to the role of dads and other adults in your homeschool, Gina and Christyn offer helpful hints and answers -- and funny stories about honeybees and ants!
2:01     Question: How do you fill all the hours with an activity-driven child?
3:49     Christyn's suggestions include read-alouds, board games, some scheduled activities like walks to the park or library. Have a loose routine and be sure to get out of the house sometimes
6:20     Gina schedules at least one thing outside the house per day and encourages having a basic weekly schedule
9:10     There are days that are hard and we're exhausted but those days don't last forever
10:00   Final answer: Try to plan "outside the house" time, create a loose routine so your kid knows when you're available, and have solo options available to engage the child
10:41   Question: What kind of curriculum is recommended?
10:55   Gina suggests that when a child is young, the best curriculum is no curriculum at all. Help your child fall in love with learning, read fun books, show them how to develop ownership of education
13:20    Answer: The goal isn't to find a perfect curriculum; it's to create an environment that shows the kids that the world is a fascinating place and encourage their curiosity in exploring it
14:18    If you're pulling your kid from public/private school, be sure to consider deschooling
15:08    OnlySchoolers doesn't recommend any curriculum, but we're always happy to share what works/doesn't work for our kids
15:48   Consider the child's learning style, your teaching style, and their future plans. All that will guide you in your choices
16:56    Don't feel guilty for getting rid of curriculum that doesn't work
18:06    Question: What is the role of dads in homeschool? How does homeschooling as a single parent work?
18:22    Christyn addresses single parent homeschooling: Give lots of grace to you and your child and know that it's okay to ask for help. Outsource some classes or activities. Include other adults in your child's education. Create space for each of you to be yourself.
19:46    Gina discusses her husband's role in their son's education
20:27    It takes a village sometimes, so fill your homeschool village with people who support your child and your goals for lifelong learnin
20:43    Question: Do you have book recommendations for kids?
21:53    Christyn's philosophy of reading is that there are no requirements for reading outside of class; focus on covering a variety of genres
22:54    Gina says life is too short to read bad books. Read what you love -- whatever that happens to be. In reading for school, she tends to focus on classics
24:22    Christyn talks Survey of British Lit and some ideas she's tossing around for future literature classes included Marginalized Voices in American Lit, Novels of the Great Depression, and Mystery Writers
25:50    Question: How do you teach poetry?
26:00    Christyn utilizes a Brave Writer idea of Poetry Teatime, which is eating treats and reading poetry out loud
27:40    Gina comes at it from an English teacher background and looks at interpretation, word choices, rhyme, etc.

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Oct 15, 202029:37