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Homemade Ideas, A Gift for Baking, Tutoring for a Season

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, December 16, 2005

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 6 No 49 December 16, 2005
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2005 Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend --
We all need to be helping each other with our homeschooling!

Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing are below.



Notes from Heather:
-- Homemade Ideas
Helpful Tips
-- A Gift for Baking
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
Reader's Response
-- Your Answers
Heather's Picks
-- Cooking with Kids
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information


[Last week I asked for homemade gift ideas from our readers! As
the days of preparation for gift-giving grow short, here are a few
ideas for personal gifts you can make with your children.]


"This year my daughter is writing and illustrating stories for friends
and relatives. We found a great deal on blank books (so that they
would be more durable) at www.barebooks.com. She is making
the stories personal by naming the animals in the stories after the
recipients. We plan to add small stuffed animals to the gift to
coordinate with the story." -- Genevieve S.


"My daughter cuts out the jean pockets from old pairs of jeans for
homemade gifts. She decorates the front with fabric paints and
puts a magnet on the back so it can go on the refrigerator. She
also puts a pencil inside and 3x5 cards with prayers on them. She
has given them to teachers, godparents, and relatives." -- Gail B.


And I found this idea in several variations all over the internet, so it
must be easy enough. It sure is popular!

Chocolate Spoons

Buy a package of higher quality plastic spoons in different colors.
Dip them half-way in dark, milk, or white chocolate (melted choco-
late chips work well) and shake off the excess. Place them on wax
paper and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy, multicolored or
glittery sprinkles. After they dry, wrap them in clear or colored
cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Put a few spoons in a coffee mug
along with some individual hot cocoa or coffee packets, tie on a
personalized gift tag, and you have a great gift!



[Here's your chance! Send YOUR ideas along to

This week's idea comes from Andrea, one of our volunteer staff
at http://www.HomeschoolChat.us !

"I have planned a wonderful Christmas gift for 3 of our four children,
ages 11, 8, and 6. They have always loved cooking and baking;
we taught them as soon as they were tall enough to stand on a
step and could reach. They now can cook by themselves. Of
course they have also always helped bake - as my 2 year old is
now - ok, he does more than that, he has always had to be right
there during cooking and baking since he was 9 months and figured
out how to crawl on the bar! - but this year especially, they dove into
baking without assistance also.

SO I decided I must create a fantastic Christmas cooking/baking
basket gift. I am filling a Sterilite basket (Walmart $1.99) with
goodies to help them in the kitchen. Included (so far) is a five piece
mini tool set - really cooking/baking utensils - ('bag' of them from
Walmart $3.49), 4 cup measuring cup (Dollar Tree), set of 4 mini
sauce cups (Dollar Tree), and a set of 2 mini mesh strainers.

I need to pick up a new set of measuring cups w/spoons (Dollar
Tree), an 8oz measuring cup (.94 Walmart), small round cake tin,
small square cake tin, mini muffin tin, and mini loaf tin (ok, so I
really am needing the muffin and loaf tins for myself also but since
they are taking over...)

I am also going to have them pick out their favorite material. They
will of course think it's for making a homemade journal or something,
LOL, so I'll let them. I am going to make each of them an apron and
matching pot holders. I am hoping - I need to call their great auntie
- to get their names embroidered on them. Auntie has that very
fancy (expensive) sewing machine that embroiders.

I am making them each a handwritten recipe book containing my
recipes. This is what sparked the full gift idea. Don't you just love
handwritten recipes?!

We own a comb binder, so I will be binding them this way. (We
also own a hardbound binder too, but that's 3-4 hours of work just
putting the books together - EACH) I haven't decided (I am starting
to write the recipes in easy to follow steps, especially for the 6 year
old) if it will be a 1/2 sheet or full sheet of paper. I am leaning
towards half sheet.

As I began thinking about this, God totally gave me the neatest idea.
Put the recipes on only the right side pages. This way, when they
each are making the recipe, we can take a few pictures, print them
off and file them into their recipe book as the left page.

What a treasure book of memories and treats these will make when
they have a family of their own! They will be able to pull out their
childhood recipe book and go thru them with their children. They
will see pictures right in the book of their parents throughout their

As our children grow, they will be able to add their own favorite
recipes with pictures all the way up to a 1 1/2 inch book (the largest
comb) I am also adding 2 handwritten recipes we have from my
mother and my mother-in-law... both happen to be pancake recipes!"


Want to read more from this cool homeschool mom?
Visit: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ABznMom


Do you have a special New Years' tradition you would like to share?
Send your ideas to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Have you taught a child to knit or crochet? I need your helpful tips!
Send your ideas to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net


Have you a question for our readers to help answer?
Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if a wise subscriber can't help you out.

This Week's NEW Question

"I have homeschooled in different ways for about 8 years. I have a
17 year old in public school, who plays on his dad's school basket-
ball team. I also have a junior in college. I homeschooled both of
them for several years, but am now only homeschooling my 13 year
old. He is the challenge of my life, but I am content with home-
schooling him now that I know about unschooling. Since we aren't
the "average" family with multiple kids at home, no TV and great
enthusiastic learners, I'm having difficulty. He has always fought
learning of any kind, especially when he was in public school for 3
years. I ended up bringing him home due to migraines that grew to
a daily fight. He is good on the computer and we have done
computer "games " for years. We also play games such as
Monopoly and "Borderline" ( a WONDERFUL geography game).
He's finally reading to me daily (only for a few minutes) and will
practice cursive writing a sentence or 2 at the time. He loves
movies, so I search for educational ones often. He plays a game
on the computer causing him to read and work on his typing skills
daily. As far as researching things on his own, there is NO desire,
unless its about paintball guns or go-carts. He's very good with his
hands and very coordinated in sports, etc. It's hard to get him out
of the house to museums or anything exciting. On a good note...
his joy has increased 100% since leaving public school, but he has
very little confidence in his "knowledge" even though I tell him how
smart he is often. I need practical information about how to
increase his appetite to learn, reasearch, read and write. Thanks
for any suggestions!!!" -- Molly D. in NC


Do you have an answer for our reader?
Send your responses to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Last Week's Question

I am looking for information regarding using tutoring services to home
school my 11 year old special needs daughter. She has ADHD and
Central Auditiory Processing Disorder and would really benefit from
one-on-one instruction, but I do not think that I am the person for the
job. Has anyone done this successfully? -- Linda G.

Your Responses

[NOTE: My publication of these responses does not necessarily
mean that I endorse a product, activity, or suggestion.]


You can definitely make the tutoring situation work. I am actually
a teacher who is taking time off to stay home with my daughter
since her birth. A former student's parents wanted to homeschool
him but for a variety of reasons did not want to do it themselves.
They hire me to go to their house and homeschool their son. It
works out great because they are still very much involved in his
education, but I do the planning and most of the teaching. You
might want to look for someone with an education background.
This situation works great for both of our families. I definitely enjoy
teaching, and I also have the chance to have my daughter with me
while I work!


My dd has CAPD, ADHD, memory problems and dyslexia. We
started homeschooling our kids long before we suspected she had
any learning disabilities. When she was diagnosed, the audiologist
told us that homeschooling was the best thing we could have done
for her! She is a bubbly, happy, creative, Christian teen. I can't
even begin to picture her personalilty had she suffered the failure,
confusion and rejection her disabilities would have caused her in a
classroom situation! All I knew, as a homeschool mom, was that
something was not working right - she wasn't learning to read, talk,
spell or count like her siblings. I tried every trick in the book,
researching on my own because we couldn't afford outside help. I
found some scattered ideas on eye exercises and we did that for a
year. A tutor friend taught us some blackboard exercises. A
blizzard that cut off our power meant that she heard an audio book
on a battery-operated tape player ( Gilmour's, The Amazing Mrs.
Pollifax, a series about a 60 yr. old widow who volunteers with the
CIA and has lots of adventures). This inspired her to make the leap
from primers to adult fiction! She has now worn out a set of Tolkien
and Narnia books. You can do this. Go ahead and get help, but
don't discount your own talents. Remember, you care more than
they do. Develop her talents. My dd is a gifted artist. Don't count
on a tutor to do this part!


[Editor's note: I recently started using a tutor for a few hours a week
for 2 of my sons for different reasons. My 13 year old, so that he
has some accountability in math and other academics (he is my
dancer and he is giving himself a classical arts education with ballet,
modern dance, piano, poetry, etc., but there is a potential for weak-
ness in other areas!) Then there is my 10 year old, who craves and
has more stamina for sit-down work. He is enjoying his special time
with Katie, a homeschooled young adult who is also quite pretty. :-)
Although it is just once per week right now -- and I might cut back to
only twice per week next year -- it is giving me some fresh ideas to
use with the boys. I think using a tutor for a season can be an easy
way to gain new insights into your children and how they learn, help
create new structure where needed, and break things up just enough
to wake up a child who might feel stagnated or bored. Here are a
few guidelines I would suggest: Expect to pay $20 to $25 per hour
for a good tutor, unless you have a barter arrangement. (Of course
this will vary according to your region and economic situation.) Stay
away from anyone who is hesitant to allow you primary input into
your child's educational plan. Try to get someone familiar and
supportive of homeschooling. Get references! Keep any contracts
month-to-month so that you may cancel at any time for any reason.
Tutoring can work... it is another viable and flexible resource for
homeschooling success! -- Heather]


If you are inspired to get your children busy in the kitchen, or you
already have experienced cooks, you will enjoy Belinda Mooney's
"Cooking with Kids" website! She hosts recipe contests for children
and features fabulous recipes sent in from children of all ages. Have
fun browsing the categories for easy cooking and baking ideas!



[Enjoy this wonderful season with your family! There won't be a
newsletter next week, but we will resume with issue #50 on 12/30.]


There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
marketing@stretcher.com with "Homeschoolers-Notebook"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
be a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

You can also find helpful links at our website:

More resources and links can be found at Lynn Hogan's site:


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Next - New Year's Traditions, Science Kits, Passion-based Learning
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