How to Make a Milk Carton Monster House

Halloween is right around the corner, and trick-or-treat night is next Friday where we live. Since we don’t go all out with the super-scary stuff, I always try to find a fun, simple craft for my kids to enjoy together to usher in the upcoming fall holidays. Every year at Christmas time, we make milk carton gingerbread houses. They’re always a huge hit, so this year I decided to do a variation of that and make:

Milk Carton Monster Houses


Super simple fall craft


These little houses are so easy to make that even our three year old was able to participate. All you need are:

small milk cartons (orange juice and little goldfish cracker cartons work well, too)

icing (any color)

graham crackers

an assortment of candy

a butter knife

paper plates or small pieces of cardboard (I cut up cereal boxes)

pretzel sticks (optional- we sometimes use these to make roofs and fences)


Step #1

Using scotch tape, attach the carton to the paper plate or piece of cardboard. (This will be the base.)

Step #2

Using the butter knife, spread the icing over the entire outside of the milk carton.

Step #3

Place the graham crackers along the sides and top of the carton to make the walls and roof. The icing will act as glue and hold the crackers in place. (Variation: Spread icing on the outside of the graham crackers, too, to make the house the color of the icing.)

Step #4

Glue the individual pieces of candy all over the “house” with the icing as the adhesive.


Step #5

Get creative and make little “yards” for the houses.


Step #6

Try not to eat them right away! (Like my kids did.)


As much as I love homeschooling, crafts are not my strong point, so every time I find something that the kids love, and I can handle, I know I’ve found a winner!

Do you have any simple, yet creative, fall craft ideas? I’d love some ideas in the comments!



What’s the Difference Between Unschooling and Radical Unschooling?

In case you haven’t noticed, our experience with unschooling has had quite an impact on our homeschooling philosophy. This homeschooling method often gets a bad rap because of so many negative associations surrounding it, so I thought I’d clear up a few things.

The term “unschooling” was coined by the late John Holt, former teacher and education reformer, to simply mean “not school.” After his experience teaching in both private and public school settings, he began to firmly believe that the educational system as we know it was doing everything wrong. After years of touting education reform and seeing no concrete changes, he finally started encouraging people to keep their kids home and “unschool” them. (At the time, homeschooling was not well-known.)  Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between Unschooling and Radical Unschooling?”

10 Reasons Why Homeschooling Is Perfect for Late Readers

“To a very great degree, school is a place where children learn to be stupid.”

-John Holt, former teacher and education reformer; late author of How Children Learn

In a society that touts early literacy as the be all and end all of a good education, children who aren’t following the arbitrary timelines created by educational bureaucrats are often left as feeling “less than.” 

I’m dumb because I can’t read.

My teacher says I might have to be held back because I can’t read. Doesn’t that mean flunking?

I get so embarrassed having to get pulled out of class everyday when all my friends get to stay together. 

What’s wrong with me?

I always get laughed at when the teacher picks me to read aloud.  Continue reading “10 Reasons Why Homeschooling Is Perfect for Late Readers”

5 Ways Homeschoolers Are Exposed to Differing Worldviews

Earlier this week I wrote about the common, but mistaken, notion that homeschoolers are deprived of meeting people by not attending schoolSimilarly, another concern is usually partnered with it- the concern that homeschooled kids are being sheltered from learning about other worldviews.

While I do recognize that there may be some homeschoolers- and other families- who do this because, let’s face it, there are extremes in every group of people, every homeschooler, including our family, that I’ve ever met is more concerned with protecting their children, not sheltering them.  Continue reading “5 Ways Homeschoolers Are Exposed to Differing Worldviews”

Why Do People Think School Is the Only Place to Meet New People?

As I’m sure has happened multiple times to other homeschoolers, recently I’ve been questioned a few times about whether I feel my children are deprived by “not having the opportunity to meet new people because they’re not in school.” 

Wait, what?!  Continue reading “Why Do People Think School Is the Only Place to Meet New People?”

Oodles of Awesome Activities for Fire Prevention Week

(This post is dedicated to my nephew, Jerry, a fireman who is currently on medical leave due to an injury from fighting a fire.)

As many of you know, this week is Fire Prevention Week. Teaching our children about the dangers of fires and what to do in the event one happens can be a bit frightening for some, but it is so necessary. This hits rather close to home with me, as we just experienced a small fire in our kitchen a few months ago due to faulty wiring, and it was my 3 year old who alerted us to it. If she hadn’t done so, we may not have a house today.

Since this week is our break week, my younger children will not be doing any formal schoolwork; however, this is the perfect time to throw some fire safety activities into the mix.  Continue reading “Oodles of Awesome Activities for Fire Prevention Week”

How to Homeschool High School English Simply and Effectively

Homeschooling high school can seem like an intimidating prospect. Homeschooling, high school simply, however, turns a potentially daunting task into one in which not only much learning occurs, but a love of learning prospers.  Continue reading “How to Homeschool High School English Simply and Effectively”

Dear Dr. Ablow…An Apology Just Doesn’t Cut It

“I would suggest that other parents follow my lead and apologize to their kids for what passes as primary and secondary education in America, too. ”
– Dr. Keith Ablow, Fox News

Dear Dr. Ablow,

Recently I read with interest your op-ed column on Fox News in which you advised parents to do as you did and apologize to their kids for having to waste their time in school.  Continue reading “Dear Dr. Ablow…An Apology Just Doesn’t Cut It”

8 Things You Need to Know Before Deciding to Unschool

Do you find yourself pondering the notion of disposing of all curriculum and simply allowing your children to learn from what life throws at them? Are you intrigued by fairy tale-like stories you read about families who live as if school didn’t exist?

Although I haven’t considered myself an unschooler for quite some time now, I still find myself drawn to writing about it from time to time. Despite the fact that I am now a bit more structured, I’m still very passionate about what I learned from this experience- the good and the bad.

Unschooling has in so many ways opened the doors to a new world of learning for us- a world free from the schoolish mindsets that so many of us grew up with and tend to not even question.

On the other hand, living in this world for a couple of years also made me realize that there are some important principles to keep in mind when making the decision to immerse your family in this style of learning.

It is this aspect that I choose to address today.  Continue reading “8 Things You Need to Know Before Deciding to Unschool”

How to Protect Your Child from a Peer’s Worldly Behavior

5 ways to stave off bad language from your children’s playmates

Although there are many, many reasons I’ve chosen to homeschool, one of the main causes is simply because I am trying to raise my children to speak and act in an honorable manner. Unfortunately, the atmosphere in a good portion of public schools is one in which bad behavior and foul language go unchecked. Crude language is seen as a sign of maturity, and those who do not speak that way are often teased.

I am not for one second trying to put forth the notion that my kids are perfect. I’m chuckling just at the thought of that. However, how my children present themselves to others is important enough to me to merit a high place on my “reasons to homeschool” roster.  Continue reading “How to Protect Your Child from a Peer’s Worldly Behavior”