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Clutter-Free Gifts, Eliminating Distracters, Financial Pressures

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, December 01, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 56 December 1, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Clutter-Free Gifts
Helpful Tips
-- Eliminating Distractors
Winning Website
-- Spike's Science
Reader Question
-- Financial Pressures
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Info
-- Reprint Info
-- Subscriber Info

Notes from Heather

I received several nice emails from readers who appreciated the
gift suggestion list in our last issue.

I love hearing from readers! :-)

One reader wrote in about the FlyLady.net website and mentioned
they have a great section on 'clutter-free' gift giving. Here are
some links below to these gift suggestion lists. More great ideas!

Clutter-Free gifts for your children:

Clutter-Free gifts for husbands/fathers:

Clutter-Free gifts for moms/wives:

And grandparents don't need any more clutter either!


Do you have comments to share about dealing with "more stuff" --
or ideas for handmade or clutter-free gifts? Please write! I'll
include your comments and ideas in a final segment next Friday.

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Eliminating Distracters

"I tend to battle with two primary distracters in my life... 'the
Telephone' and 'Too Much Going'! These tend to take the joy out of
homeschooling and homemaking. I have waged war on these two enemies!
For our telephone enemy, I have set a goal to start my day earlier. I
turn the phone off... yes, the ringer is off and there is no answering
machine to nag at me either! I only turn the phone on when it is a
good time to talk.

This has helped me a lot because I find that no matter how much I tell
others about our best times, they inevitably call right as we are all
snuggled up with a great book... or just as I am in the midst of a great
quiet-time! The 'going' monster is not so easily maintained without
much effort! Because of this, I try to utilize my going time wisely by
doing drill work along the way, narrating along the way, or praising
God in song as a family along the way! I have tried to limit feeding
this monster by doing all my errands on the days that I am already in
town. If I need something in between times out, I just give my husband
a list or page him with my needs. He helps me to keep this monster
under control!" -- Cindy Rushton - http://www.CindyRushton.com


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Spike's Science Projects

Over 400 science projects for you to browse, download or just read.
Projects are in a variety of sciences including: Astronomy, Ecology,
Geology, Meteorology, Atoms, Oceanography and MORE! Grades 3-12

[ Brought to you by www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com ]

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I don't know if any of you have experienced this, but over the last
few years my husband and I have experienced some financial set-
backs. We have also been very blessed, too. We live off one income,
and though we have about $20K in debt outside our mortgage, we
never lack for anything. My husband and I feel very committed to
homeschooling, and so far, it has worked very, very well for our family
in many different aspects. My question is, has anyone ever felt
tempted to quit homeschooling for financial reasons, despite it
working well? At what point, from a purely financial practicality
standpoint, do we decide that homeschooling is over? Sometimes
I feel like I'm being selfish wanting to keep homeschooling, when the
financial pressure gets hot, and yet my husband is more committed
than I am to it! I'd love to hear some perspective!" -- Jill

Our Readers' Responses

"The first year we homeschooled we did it on a very limited budget.

My first recommendation for cutting costs in homeschooling would
be to avoid curriculum fairs. You wont miss what you don't know
is out there.

Use your library (if your library is small check out inter-library
loans). Visit regularly and have a list so you know what books to
look for to go along with what you are working on.

If you like having workbooks, this website (below) has low cost
materials that are easy to use. We used the Spectrum series
one year and the kids liked it.


Keep your eye out for free community events and utilize them. We
tried to go on a field trip every week. Free days at the zoo, museums
and free concerts were our favorite. If your kids are interested in
something call a company in that field and see about organizing a
field trip to see the work in action.

One thing that we did splurge on was high speed Internet as that is
a resource we utilize immensely and when using virtual field trips
and learning games a dial-up connection kind of lags. The Internet
has info on anything you just need to pick and choose what will work
best for your child. If their is a set text you like, you can copy
the table of contents and follow along by just searching each topic
as you come to it.

Homeschooling can be cheaper than sending them to school by the time
you take into account fundraisers, school lunches, overpriced school
pictures, fees and charges. This is especially true for upper grades."
-- Sandy


"I encourage you to continue as long as you have the conviction to
homeschool, especially since you also have your husband's support.
The 'big picture' isn't always evident to us, but God can work through
any situation. For me personally, homeschooling is based on a
strong conviction from God to do so - to fulfill the Biblical command
to 'train up a child...' and to teach them as we read in Deuteronomy.
I feel blessed to have this opportunity, and to stop doing so based
on finances would make me feel like I no longer trust God's ability
to carry me through the task that He has assigned to me. Also, there
are many ways of reducing homeschool costs, by buying used books,
doing combined unit studies that cover several grade levels, sharing
textbooks with homeschooling friends, using books from the library
to cover subjects, etc. I personally would rather give up something
else of less value, and keep going with something that will work good
in my children for the rest of their lives." -- Corina in Ontario


"It is a financial crunch many times to homeschool... but I look at
how we save money on things like groceries (more time to cook
cheaper things) and clothes (don't have to keep up with whatever
the kids are all wearing) and how much MORE money I spend when
I do my temp jobs (gas, clothes, 'extras', lunch), not to mention
daycare that would have been needed when they were younger...
and less contact with diseases -- hence fewer sick days... it is
cheaper to homeschool. Really!" -- Nicki J.


"We are homeschooling our 14-year-old freshman. Our oldest son
and his wife have started homeschooling their 2 daughters this
year in the third grade and kindergarten. For the first time in the
girls' lives, they are not going to a babysitter. She quit work at
the factory and has taken a part-time evening job at a local grocery
store. With working a two or three evenings durning the week and
one, sometimes both weekend days, they can homeschool, never
leave the girls at a sitter and still have family time."


"We too feel the crunch of living on one income, but for us home-
schooling will always be the priority. Our family is about $7000 in
debt outside of our mortgage. I work a part-time job 12 hours a week
to help, but when the car breaks down or the furnace stops working,
out comes the credit card. We have a small house, drive old cars,
don't travel, wear out our clothes before buying new, cook from scratch
and use the library as much as possible. I feel like we've gone as
frugal as we can. We hope to catch up once the boys are old enough to
be home alone. Once I'm able to work more hours, we'll continue to live
like we only have one income, using the second income to pay off the
debt from staying home. I've been home for about 8 years. I'll probably
be home another 4 years or so. If we are continued to be blessed,
hopefully our debt won't be so bad we can't climb out of it in a few
years. We won't be able to retire at a young age, but being able to
homeschool our boys is worth it." -- Dawn


"We have also been through season of financial hardship. My husband
lost a job and the only one he could find required that he take a pay
cut and drive 1hr. 20 mins. to work (one way) -- but it was a job. It
was an adjustment to get used to a smaller paycheck and higher bills
due to his long compute (gas, car maintenance, etc.). It was also an
adjustment to get used to him being gone 10-12 hours a day instead
of 8 1/2... and his travel schedule often made me feel like a single
mom. But through it all the Lord has supplied our needs. Continuing in
homeschooling through the tough times has been more of a blessing than
we could have ever imagined. We now look back on my husband's job
loss as a blessing.

We homeschool because it is the Lord who has called us to it. He
does not call us to something and then not give the strength and supply
the needs to get through the tough times. Therefore quitting home-
schooling has never been an option for us. We have homeschooled not
only through financial hardship, but family illnesses (long and short
term, immediate and an extended family member) that required my
complete attention. Even when it did not seem much 'education' was
taking place, it was amazing to see how much our kids learned. But
they learned so much more than the 'educational'; they learned to trust
God, to be compassionate, to help others in need regardless of what
we 'need to get done', to set a higher set of priorities, etc. If you
use this time of hardship as an opportunity to pray that this will bring
you closer to the Lord, closer as a family, and teach you and your
children greater things then they can learn in a book, you will be
amazed at what you and your children learn and how God supplies your
needs. Then you will be able to will look back on it as a time the Lord
used to truly bless your family. Others will also be blessed as they
are encouraged to stay the course by your example."
-- Nancy at www.edaccents.com (Used curriuclum at great prices!)


"I don't feel that homeschooling is a choice to be taken lightly -
like whether or not to have dessert after a meal. That's something
you can live without (and I know I should MUCH more than I do). And,
unlike dessert that isn't good for the family, homeschooling is some-
thing that IS good for the family - not a selfish desire! I see the
public school kids going through the neighborhood selling things at
least every other month. Also I don't have to send treats for every
holiday or have to make extra lunches every day not to mention
transportation. From a purely practical financial standpoint public
school is much more expensive in both money AND time.

Now I do have to make the choice each year how much to spend on
books and materials - and this year I have wanted to spend more and
more (for things I think will make this year 'easier') and had to cut
back and tell myself 'no' a lot more. However, it's just like buying
any other necessity. You have to have each item but your family chooses
how much you want to or can spend on them, where to buy them,
what kind to use, etc. The same with school supplies and trips. We
make our budget then live within that amount. We also try to set
some back each month so there is a surplus for the school budget
the next year. In public school you don't have to pay for the curriculum
but with the amount needed to pay for all the extras throughout the
year, you could purchase a pretty nice curriculum (if you didn't choose
to make your own) and still have the choice of how your money was
spent." - Michelle


[Editor's response]

Jill -- my first thought was to replace the term 'homeschooling' with
something else that is important to you and even more costly --
just to help with perspective. This is a rather dramatic exercise, but
what I did was replace the word 'homeschooling' with 'raising our
own children'.

Here is how it reads with the word replacement:

"My husband and I feel very committed to raising our own children.
My question is, has anyone ever felt tempted to quit raising their
own children for financial reasons? At what point, from a purely
financial practicality standpoint, do we decide that we can no longer
afford to raise our own children? Sometimes I feel like I'm being
selfish wanting to keep raising my own children, when the financial
pressure gets hot..."

You get the idea... hope that helps a little with perspective.

God bless you -- Heather

Answer our NEW Question

"Fellow homeschooling Moms, how do you do everything? How do
you keep up with homeschooling and all that it requires and keep up
with everything around the house (in and outside). I am frazzled in
trying to do it all without my husband's help. He goes to work every-
day and that is all that he does. I do everything else. Does anyone
have any advice on how to homeschool as one parent, but you are
married to someone who offers no help? Am I asking too much to
have my husband a part of our world? Am I being unrealistic to want
some help in homeschooling? His family and himself make me feel
like I am. If I am, please let me know so I can get past wanting him
to share in our experience and accept that this is something that she
and I will do alone. Thanks!!" -- Frazzled Homeschool Mom


Do you have guidance, experience, or encouragement for this mom?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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