Homeschool Connections Newspaper Christmas Edition | Homeschool Connections
Our mission at Homeschool Connections is to support, encourage and advise parents as they educate their children; to provide a variety of innovative and quality educational opportunities; to help prepare students for their future; and to have a profound impact on the educational society.
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Homeschool Connections Newspaper Christmas Edition

*** The newspaper staff would like to thank Mrs. Christina Strickland for all of her help in the publication of this newspaper. We could not have done it without her. Thank you!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Rating: PG-13

A very popular Christmas movie to watch during the holidays is “A Christmas Vacation.” If you have not seen it yet, I will give you a quick run down of the movie to try and convince you to see it. It is about a family that lives in Chicago, and the dad tries his very best to make it the perfect Christmas for his family. He picks the biggest tree, strings the most lights, and makes the most eggnog out of anyone in the state. To the dad it looks like a perfect Christmas, but it doesn’t last. Day by day, the family members start deciding they’re going to spend the Holidays in their house. It starts with both sets of grandparents coming over. Then the dad’s crazy cousin, his wife and kids, both his brothers, his wife’s sisters, and his smoking uncle and senile aunt join the activities. That’s just enough to make a guy go crazy. Find out how the dad survives by watching “A Christmas Vacation.”

New Star Wars trailer gets us even more hyped for the newest edition to the saga.

For those of you who don’t know, (and I hope that’s nobody), a new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer was released on October 9 during the halftime of Monday night football. Ever since then new theories have been pondered, secrets discovered, and tons of YouTube trailer breakdown videos have been made. Here is a brief overview of what was in the trailer and what we can expect in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since there is a limited amount of room to write, here are some key points from the trailer and a list of highlights.

The trailer showed all the characters we expected such as Luke, Rey, Finn, Leia, Kylo Ren, Poe etc. What I was disappointed about was the fact that it failed to show any new characters that are coming out like Rose or DJ. One new character/creature that we did get to see were the cute porgs, which are taking the place of ewoks in this movie. Just because it didn’t show many new characters didn’t mean the trailer was bad though. In fact, I thought it was exciting. We get to see Rey train with Luke, there’s an epic space battle, and some dramatic moments with Kylo Ren who’s torn over whether he should kill Leia or not. There’s still some unanswered questions like who is Supreme Leader Snoke, who are Rey’s parents, and who pilots the Millenium Falcon now that Han is dead? But we have to remember it’s still only a trailer. I would still obviously recommend watching it. Here’s a list of highlights that will grab your interest to watch it.

Star Wars battlefront 2 Game Review

Written By: Matthew Hernandez

Star Wars battlefront 2 is a rated T-for teen game based on the Star Wars movie franchise. This game follows the Star Wars universe and splits into all the eras of the series. I enjoyed playing the game myself because I was able to play as my favorite characters from the Star Wars movies. There is an ONLINE multiplayer mode [where you can play with other people] as well as SINGLE player mode [ where you play missions by yourself, like blowing up the Death Star] The creators of the game wanted it to be as kid-friendly as possible, but also give gamers the action they crave, like blowing up star fighters or having light-saber fights. If you witness someone being shot by a blaster, EA made it so no matter where the person gets shot, he will drop dead and not show blood. There is no bad language. The only nudity is Princess Leia wearing a bikini in one of the story missions.

Minecraft Game Review

Written By: Matthew Hernandez

Minecraft is a sandbox video game created and designed by Swedish game designer Marcus Pearson. Creativity is the focus as you can build or destroy anything you want. Minecraft is E-for everyone. You can play multiplayer and build together with friends, or you can choose to play single player and build by yourself. There are two main game modes: creative, and survival. Creative is where you have all the materials and are enabled to fly. Survival, on the other hand, is where monsters hunt at night and you can’t fly. You can die. and you don’t start with any materials.

Daddy’s Home 2:

Rating: PG-13

    Have you seen Daddy’s Home? If you haven’t, Daddy’s Home is about a divorced mother who marries Brad (Will Ferrell). Brad is so excited to be a step dad. The kid’s birth dad, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg,) calls the kids and Brad answers. Brad invites him to their house. They have an interesting relationship. By the end of the movie, they become best friends.
    In Daddy’s Home 2, Brad and Dusty invite their dads to Christmas. Brad’s dad (John Lithgow) is kind and overly affectionate. He and Brad are always hugging and kissing each other. On the other hand, Dusty’s dad (Mel Gibson) is tough type of dad. He doesn’t believe in hugging or kissing and doesn’t let anything bother him.
    The movie itself is a great movie. I feel the only reason it is Rated PG 13 is because there is some mature humor in the film that may not be good for the little ones to hear. I think this is a great movie, especially for the holidays. It is funny and I feel that every family can relate to them in some way or form.

Home Alone: 

Rating: PG
    As most people know, Home Alone is a Christmas movie about a nine year old boy who is accidentally left home by himself over several days and experiences some interesting challenges.
    I think Home Alone is a great movie for the whole family to watch over Christmas break. It is rated PG, only on TV. If you rent the movie, it is rated PG-13 because there are some nasty words. So if you want to watch this with the kiddos, it might be a good idea to watch it on TV.  It is funny and interesting to watch and see what happens to the little boy.
    This movie can be watched every year around Christmas because it never gets too old or boring.

Emergency  Services   

Written By: Kristopher Lockard

Downtown Rochester Fire Station

Emergency services are one of the most used systems in the country. Did you know that someone calls 911 once every three seconds? I am a cadet who works with the EMTs for the Rochester City Fire Department. The downtown Rochester station is where I am currently located.     After spending some time at the fire department and talking to some of the firefighters, I have learned that it is not a normal 9 to 5 job. These guys work 36 hour shifts. Sometimes they may not even sleep at all for the whole shift.
At the station you are not coworkers, you are a team and you are a family, a part of that family. A day in the job of a firefighter shift starts at 08:00 briefing. During briefing we are told what truck we will be on. When we are given your daily chores, we wait for calls. We have daily training and we are always learning something new

Rochester Fire Dept- Downtown Station

Local Snow Removal

Written By: Kristopher Lockard

Local road being plowed.

It is that time of year again! Snow is on its way! Time to put on your winter tires and hire your snow removal company. As someone who has worked in that field, I have learned  that most people that live here in this fine state with our bipolar  weather know how much snow we will get. Here in the state of Michigan we have a very advanced grid system for snow removal. This is a great system. The most important roads get done first, like the roads that lead to the hospital, to the police station, and to the fire department.

Fire and Ice Festival

Written By: Dylan Campbell

January 20-22 is the Fire and Ice Festival in Rochester, sponsored by Oakland County Credit Union. It is supposed to be surprisingly warm with no snow expected during the


days this event is taking place. Some of the winter activities that would usually be taking place will be replaced with some outdoor family activities.

On Friday, January 20th, the event will start at 5pm and go to 9pm. On Saturday, January 21st, it will run from 10am to 9pm. And last, on Sunday, January 22, it will last from 9am to 5pm. There will be food and lots of fun activities.

Some of the activities are a 25-foot tall rock climbing tower, sports inflatables (frisbee, basketball, football, soccer, baseball), retro games which will include many field day activities, inflatable go golf, go fish to teach the basics and safety of fishing, and a lot more! Admission to all the events is free.

This event is a great event for families and kids. You can enjoy the winter holidays and spend time with your friends and family. Go and enjoy a fun weekend in Rochester at the Fire and Ice Festival.


Boyne Mountain

Written By: Dylan Campbell

Ski Lift at Boyne Mountain Resort!

Boyne Mountain is part of a network of Michigan hotels in the northern part of lower Michigan. There are many different attractions and different things to do while you are there. Close to Lake Michigan, it is a great place to take a small vacation with your family.

You can enjoy many interesting activities such as the Boyne Mountain ski area, indoor water parks, a golf club, and so much more. Also, Boyne Mountain is a great place to go if you love winter sports. You can ski, snowboard, sled, ice skate, etc.If you feel you are missing out on winter fun due to our warm temperatures, northern Michigan often receives more snow than we do, lending itself to memorable winter activities.

Skier at Boyne Mountain!

Boyne Mountain has a lot more to offer. There are now 60 downhill ski runs and miles of cross-country trails, snow snowshoeing trails and tubing runs. Since there are 60 different ski hills, that also means that they are not all for advanced skiing. You can find different levels of ski hills throughout the whole area. There is something everybody can do while you are there.

There are many details about Boyne Mountain that make it an even better place for a relaxing, yet fun, vacation in the winter. It is a great place for all ages of people so go and enjoy Boyne Mountain this Christmas!



Finding A Perfect Christmas Tree

Written By: Andrea Ren


Christmas Tree Farm!

Wondering where you can find a Christmas tree this year you can cut down yourself? Well at Blake’s, located on Armada Center Road, you can find a variety. Depending on the type of tree, the price varies. Scotch pine and White Pine are $35.95, Blue Spruce’s are $47.95, and Fraser are $69.95 a tree. At Blake’s, they provide you with a saw to cut your tree, a free wagon ride to the Christmas tree fields, and free cleaning and wrapping for your tree.

At Addison-Oaks Christmas tree farms, located on Lake George Road. there is also a big variety of Christmas Trees. Some of the varieties are Fraser fir, Balsam fir, Colorado blue spruce, and more.




New Marine Base Policy

Written By: Andrea Ren


US Navy Base!

As the world has been changing, so has Military security. In the past, all you had to do to get on a Marine base was to fill out a form stating why you were there. You would need to give them your license plate, proof of registration and insurance on your vehicle, as well as the number of people that were traveling with you in your car.

A new access policy was made in February of 2016. Now if you want to enter a Marine Base, you would need to be sponsored by an authorized individual or a unit on the base. You also will need a valid reason to enter the base. The sponsors must know their visitors and are responsible for them while they are on the base. Visitors also need to be pre-approved after a background check that could take up to seven days.

What prompted this change? Well, in the wake of national and worldwide incidents, Camp Pendleton officials decided during an annual review they wanted stricter security. The goal is to balance community access with base security,” officials said.

New Ford GT Shelby

Written By: Kristopher Lockard



The new 2018 Ford Shelby GT350R is one of the best mustangs ever built. It is faster. It is stronger. It is louder. If you drive it through the mall parking lot, you set off all the car alarms! Despite volume, this sports car has a great vocal.  It has a 5.2 v8, 526 horsepower, and 429 lbs. or torque. The top speed is 169 mph. It averages 14-15 miles per gallon. Even though the miles per gallon is bad, it makes up for it in looks, sound, and acceleration. The cost of the vehicle is $105,000, give or take. This is one slick Ford!





Rochester Hills, Festival of Trees

Written By:

On November 17-19 is the downtown Rochester Festival of Trees! This event is a spectacular event where yo

u can enjoy the Christmas displays, children’s activities, and more.

It starts on a Friday with a cocktail preview (Nov. 17) and goes from 7pm to 10pm. There will be good food and refreshments and you will get to bid on all the holiday decorations before the event is open to the public on Nov. 18-19. The tickets are $50 each and $85 for couples

On Saturday (Nov. 18) and Sunday (Nov. 19) the event opens for everyone. It goes from 10am to 9pm on Saturday and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday. You will be able to enjoy all the Christmas decorations, there will be a kids craft station, and more. Admission is free.

Come and enjoy you time in Downtown Rochester at the festival of trees! It is a fun family event that lots of people love!

Detroit Basketball and Football

Written By: Brandon Janicki

Detroit Lions Field

After an epic World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. our attention is now turned to winter

Detroit Pistons Logo

sports. The NFL has now been going on for thirteen weeks, and our Detroit Lions are in the same position as last year. They are now 6-5 after that disappointing loss to the Vikings on Thanksgiving Day. They have a 50-50 chance of making it into the playoffs, in my opinion. If they do make it, they will definitely be a wild card. The Detroit Pistons, on the other hand, are faring much better. They are in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and 5th overall. They are certainly a strong team this season.

Interview with Kristofer Lockard

Written By: Matthew Hernandez

Kris, a 10th grader, has been homeschooled his whole life. He currently lives in Rochester Hills and is an assistant “Master in Arms” in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet branch of the U.S. Navy. He currently attends the Rochester campus of Homeschool Connections every week on Tuesday. His favorite teachers are Mr. Moon and Ms. Kapusta. He is now serving as a fire cadet-in-training to be a fireman. His favorite subjects in school are Math and Gym. When it comes to CHRISTmas, his favorite song is the classic “Jingle Bells.” He believes that a passion for Christ is the most important thing in any man’s life. He attends Woodside Bible Church every Sunday.

Interview with HC founder, owner, Mrs. Tarla Gernert

Written By: Matthew Sheffield

Where did Homeschool Connections come from? According to a recent interview with Mrs. Gernert, it all started back in 2002 when she was homeschooling her own kids.

Gernert’s own kids needed it. They liked being home schooled, but didn’t do well when she became their teacher. For example, they loved to write, but when Gernert

corrected it, they didn’t like it. Gernert quickly realized that she needed to do something. She soon found a writing teacher who inspired them to write. She realized that this was a good idea and that other parents/students might benefit from this. She opened her first campus in Rochester Hills, with 30 students. Now, Homeschool

Connections has 6 campuses and 567 students. That is a 95% increase from when HC first started 15 years ago.

A big component to HC classes is SOARCE. SOARCE is a program sponsored by Madison Heights schools, which provides funding to HC families. Recently SOARCE families were notified about an online component. Gernert explained what is going on with this online component.

Apparently, SOARCE did not communicate these changes to anyone, not even Homeschool Connections. They went ahead and added their own content, which had nothing to do with HC classes. When Gernert found out about this, she quickly started looking into it so it would be fair for all families while still meeting state requirements. HC teachers are making their own content, which will be a review of what is being taught in each class. SOARCE students need to complete one per class, per week until the end of the semester.

Today Homeschool Connections continues to grow. Gernert started a new program for the 2017-18 school year. It is called Homeschool Connections Hybrid. This program got started because Gernert saw the need for something more than meeting one day a week. Parents also saw the need. At HCH, students attend classes two days a week and receive homework to complete the curriculum. It is a mixture of homeschooling and private school. Gernert recognizes the opportunity to continue to expand HC.

In January of 2018, plans are underway for an east side campus to open! Exact details are still in the works, but closely monitor your email as the exact details will be coming out in the near future.

Online Components: Yay or Nay

By: Brandon Janicki



If you’re a full-time student in SOARCE, then you’ve mostly likely heard of and started doing the new online components. I’ve been doing online components for a little while, and I personally find them unneeded extra work. But I want you and everyone else that does online components to answer the poll question to tell us if you think the components are a “yay” or “nay”.






Interview with Bria Sowles

By: Matthew Sheffield

A future actress, Bria Sowles, said that she has been acting/ singing since kindergarten. This is her passion.

When asked about HC, Sowles said that she loves meeting new people, as well as the fabulous classes offered. If she had the power to change one thing, it would be extending the lunch hour due to the fact that this is the only social time that she has while at HC. Sowles is currently in 9th grade. When asked about teachers, she said that she enjoys all of her teachers, especially Mrs. Kapusta. She enjoys Kapusta’s classes because she learns a lot without a ton of homework.

“A Christmas Carol” Play By Mrs. Bentley’s Drama Class in Shelby Twp

Written By: Matthew Sheffield

Pictures By: Brandon Janicki

This past Friday, Mrs. Bentley’s drama class put on a production of “A Christmas Carol”. According to many students, this play was the “best ever seen!” See below for some highlights.


Written By: Andrea Ren

Signs is a fun game you can play with the family, or with your friends.

1.  In order to play signs, you get a group of people, and everyone makes up their own sign. Your sign can be as simple as shrugging your shoulders. Everyone should know everyone else’s sign.

2.  You choose one person to start in the middle. They count to ten with their eyes shut, spinning in a circle. While the person with their eyes shut is spinning, someone passes their sign.

3. To pass your sign, you make your sign and then make the person’s sign you are passing to.

4. In order for the pass to be complete, the person has to make their sign to show they received it. They then do someone else’s sign to keep the sign moving.

5. To keep the game from getting confusing, keep making the sign of the person you chose, do not try passing it to someone else.

6. When the person in the middle finishes counting to ten, they open their eyes and keep spinning slowly to try and see who has the sign. If they guess that you have the sign, and they were correct, you go to the middle and start over counting to ten.

7. The person who was just in the middle starts the new game with their sign.

8. If you do not have the sign when they guess, the game keeps going.

9. If you did have the sign and tried passing it, but the person who you were trying to pass it to did not except it yet, you can hesitate to tell them you have the sign and wait to see if he will accept it.

Great Christmas Songs for the SEASON

Written By: Matthew Hernandez

A White Christmas  by Irving Berlin

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee

The First Noel by Frank Sinatra 

Jingle Bells by Frank Sinatra

Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Frank Sinatra

How You Could Become a Kid Entrepreneur

Written By: Dylan Campbell

Kid entrepreneur businesses usually start as a small idea and then grow into something they never imagined! There are so many ways kids can become business men and woman these days and it’s kind of crazy. A 6-year-old boy or girl could one day just want to set up a lemonade stand at the end of their driveway and next thing you know they have their own lemonade brand and are selling them to stores across the country! It’s interesting watching the smallest idea become the next big hit.

If you’re a kid interested in getting into business, there are lots of ways you can get started. Whatever you have an interest in you can probably make into a business. Computer repair service, gift wrapping service, pet sitting service, social marketing, car washing, jewelry designs, personal service, greeting cards, photography, non-profit work, online store, garage sales, etc. Anything you can think of and create!

The key is starting out small. Get help from the older people around you. You can try to get your business sponsored and, if you are determined, you can do incredible things. By doing this you can also show kids all over the world that they can do great things too. People will see you making a difference with your business and will want to make one of their own and next thing you know there will be a ton of kid entrepreneurs making a difference and doing great things!

It’s interesting watching the smallest idea become the next big hit. Anyone can make a difference. Being determined and creating your own business is only one way you can go about doing it. There are so many more ways to make a difference or change the world at least just a little bit more every day!

Different in A Good Way

Written By: Andrea Ren


As a homeschooler, you may at one point in your life ask yourself, “How am I, as a homeschooler, going to be accepted into a college?” Well maybe twenty years ago it was difficult for homeschoolers to get accepted into college, but now top schools, including Harvard, MIT, Duke, Yale, and Stanford, are all actively recruiting homeschoolers. They don’t take homeschoolers grudgingly, but they do all that they can to get them in their doors, recognizing that homeschoolers are better prepared for college. The activities that homeschoolers do are what make them stand out on their applications.

According to 66.7% of homeschoolers graduate from college, where only 55.7% of public schoolers graduate. Homeschoolers also have a higher-grade point average. In highly competitive admissions situations, it can be hard for students to differentiate themselves from the rest of the small army of applicants all vying for the same spots. Students with homeschool experience have an advantage here, as they’re different, in a good way (




Written By: Brandon Janicki

Dear Sir-E,

I’m a sixth-grade homeschooler just entering middle school. Now that I am in middle school my school work has gotten much harder than when I was in elementary school, and I’m also taking more advanced classes at the co-ops that I go to. I’m getting overloaded with homework that I’m not used to having. How should I handle this?

Sincerely, Stressful

Dear Stressful,

Getting older involves more and more work, more than you’d like to have. My advice is, at the beginning of every week, take just 5-10 minutes to sit down and make a schedule of what you’ll do for school work each day. Make sure you get it done by the end of the week. Plan smartly, too. For example, let’s say you have football practice or piano lessons on Tuesdays, then try and get more work done on Mondays so you aren’t rushing to get it done on Tuesdays. Getting more work isn’t fun, but it’s necessary for growing up. My best advice is to make a planner/list, be more diligent with your work, and really try to enjoy the weekends.

Sincerely, Sir-E

Wendy Kapusta: Editor In Chief

Dylan Campbell: Writer/Reporter

Matthew Hernandez: Writer/Reporter

Brandon Janicki: Writer/Reporter

Kristopher Lockard: Writer/Reporter

Andrea Ren: Writer/Reporter

Matthew Sheffield: Writer/Reporter & Design Manager

** Please click this link to take our poll. We would like as many answers as possible. Thank you

** If you would like to contact the staff, please click on this link. We will get back with you as soon as possible.

Christmas Quiz

Written By: Matthew Hernandez

“mas” is a short form of MASS. and Christ is representing the birth of Jesus Christ because He was supposedly born around the month of December.

*** Article Submission


Written By: Oscar Robinson