Hello and Welcome to the 6th Monthly Issue of HSSN Monthly News!

Homeschool is in session and we finally got rain in the PNW. We were getting worried there for a bit because of how dry our lawn was getting and starting to look like hay, so thank goodness the rain has returned. Not that we like rain all the time, but when you are used to the weather being what it is supposed to look like in the fall/winter months it is a nice reprieve. This issue is going to be fun and light, especially because the holidays are upon us and who doesn’t want to find ways to celebrate. No matter where you are in life and/or what you are doing to bring yourself joy, learning will always be a part of life no matter how old or young you are.

For those of you who are here visiting and/or new to my newsletter, Welcome! I also wanted to thank my older subscribers that have been here from the beginning as well. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter and keep coming back for more next month. So, without further ado let’s get started.

From smoothies, to fresh fruit to chocolate covered donuts…. Edible Arrangements is home to all of your tasty treats! Check them out today!

5 Ways to Survive the Pandemic Holidays

By Bruce Sheridan

The holidays can be an emotionally trying experience, even during the best of times. Amidst the sequestered challenges of the pandemic the feelings of angst, loneliness and despair can be heightened ten-fold.

Instead of the typical festive holiday celebration many now view this time of year less than joyously. They remember the loss of a loved one, greatly missed at these special occasions. Young adults can feel most impacted as they fret about a broken home with parents who are no longer married and sibling rivalries as they try to keep pace with a high-achieving brother or sister. They also worry about their own values of self-worth and future prospects both professionally and personally. These feelings can be magnified as they remain isolated during the pandemic.

Here then are five positive steps young adults can take to emotionally survive the holiday season.

  1. Maintain connections with friends. A close friend or two can help you relieve much of the anxiety caused by a lack of a large family gathering. Though usual meeting places such as bars and restaurants face many restrictions a get together in an outdoor location can still provide a feeling of togetherness.

Small gatherings with proper social distancing can provide the salve to soothe over any extra anxiety. In lieu of a face-to-face event, phone, text and zoom calls can be used to stay in touch with anyone whether near or far.

  1. Focus on positive thoughts. Spend more time, whether in-person or online, with those who offer support and encouragement. Eliminate those whose vibe tends to be more negative. Instead of dwelling on any misfortune focus on what you do have and be thankful you have it. Recall positive memories of past holidays and enjoy those memories.
  2. Participate in family celebrations, virtually. The pandemic has created the need for more events to be celebrated virtually. These include birthday parties, anniversaries and even weddings. Holiday events should be no exception. Participation enables you to take part without the levels of angst one may feel from a large in-person event. It also helps you maintain family connections and feel less isolated.
  3. Take time to exercise. Brisk walks outdoors or full-scale workouts at home can help you burn off some of the negative energy you may be feeling. Several apps, from yoga to bike riding, enable you to exercise with an online group and calm the feelings of isolation. You will improve not only your spirit but your body as well and see positive changes in your appearance.
  4. Build your connection with God. The holidays are an excellent time to confirm your faith in God. Though visiting a church or synagogue can be difficult during the pandemic you can still pray. Have faith that no matter whatever personal crisis you may be feeling God will be there to help you through it. God is always with you. Remember you are never alone.

Bruce Sheridan is the Board President of Life Compass Inc. in St. Louis. Life Compass is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to serve God by coaching young adults to plan and live a fulfilling God-centered life. There is no charge for individuals to participate. The organization is dependent on contributions from individuals, businesses, and more. The objective is not to serve as a therapist or social worker but rather provide a coach to help those 18-28 years old develop a sense of purpose, a relationship with God, and a lifelong journey of caring for themselves. For additional information visit https://lifecomp.org]https://lifecomp.org.

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Homeschooling: How Do Parents Encourage Socialization?

One of the most often heard questions when considering homeschooling is, “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” I’m not sure if those questions are truly about socialization, or if they’re about socializing. There’s a big difference between the two.

When we first started homeschooling our autistic son, we heard this a lot from family and friends that thought that this would hinder our special needs son even more, thank God that we followed our gut. Our son thrives in this online alternative school environment. He has no barriers to his growth like taking breaks whenever he needs to, eating lunch (at his choosing) and yes, even joining a club or two online or outside school hours. He has become more involved in the classroom more than ever because of how his school environment ‘encourages‘, rather than ‘discourages’ participation. In this online school environment, the school is able to allow him to take that time to learn a particular subject and if he has questions, he can reach his teacher by email, phone or even via an online zoom platform (if needed, depending on the subject).

In all these situations he is socializing. While this issue of socialization seems to be on the minds of people against homeschooling, those who actually homeschool never give it much thought. They know that their children are not going to suffer by foregoing public school socialization. In fact, most homeschool children are probably better socialized than public school students.

Socialization is basically learning to conform to today’s society. What is it about homeschooling that would keep a child from learning to conform to today’s society? And do we really want children that conform and become little automatons? Or do we want children who can think for themselves while having something to offer society as a whole?

The only way a child would fail to be socialized is if they were secluded away from everyone. The image of a backwoods, backwards, misfit homeschool family is just not accurate. Homeschooling families are generally active in their local communities, and often involved in volunteering to help others. These activities will help solve any socialization issues.

So, if you plan to homeschool, how should you respond when asked about socialization?

When thinking about socialization, one has to wonder, are the lessons they learn in public school really any better than what they’ll learn at home? If socialization is supposed to teach your child how to behave in society, how to properly respond to people, and be responsible adults, it isn’t very likely that a child will learn that from public school. All one has to do is go to nearly any public school and walk the halls. That should get any parent’s attention and quell any further questions or concerns about a homeschool child’s socialization.

Let’s be clear that even though you may choose to NOT homeschool your child(ren), know that you have a choice in how your child(ren) are taught and what types of curriculums they learn and/or are exposed to. Also don’t judge a book by its cover because ever since the pandemic, homeschool populations are on the rise. The world is changing.

LessonPlanet General Banners

Every month I post a monthly blog about raising my special needs son and what we are up to. It can be very interesting and sometimes I may post extra depending on what is going on personally or while homeschooling. Just Click on the picture below and it will take you directly to my blog.

Apple Bread Pudding Crockpot-Life Skill Recipe

• 6 cups cubed Sourdough bread
• 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 3 egg whites (½ cup)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• ½ cup sugar/xylitol/succinate
• 1 cup milk (whole or almond)
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 apple, cored and chopped
• Cinnamon
• Maple syrup for serving


  1. Place cubed bread in the bottom of a greased crock (5 quart).
  2. Sprinkle with apple pieces.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine applesauce, egg whites, vanilla, milk, sugar,
    and cinnamon.
  4. Pour over bread cubes. Press down lightly to coat all pieces.
  5. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.
  6. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1½-2 hours or until center is set.
  7. Serve hot with maple syrup.