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Readers Share Ideas for Helping Others

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, December 01, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 94 December 1, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net


Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
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Notes from Heather
-- Cheap Christmas?
Helpful Tip
-- DIG Site
Winning Website
-- Math Cats
Reader Question
-- How to Help the Needy?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Cheap Gifts that Go a Long Way

Please write in and share your INEXPENSIVE Christmas gift ideas!
So many of us are on very tight budgets this year -- I thought
it would be helpful to share ideas.

One mom wrote in to our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group with
this suggestion:

"My crafty son loves using popsicle sticks to build things. The
sticks can be bought in bulk at a craft store. I paid about
$3.00 for 1000. For me it's worth all the glue he uses to see
him so happy building!" -- Kathy

Now THAT's a thrifty FUN gift! :-)


Do you have something to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


Simplify Money Management - With EasyFile Home Filing System!

Lack of organization is perhaps the biggest obstacle in taking
control of our finances. So, how you manage receipts, records
and household paperwork can make a big difference in your
personal and financial life. EasyFile simplifies the task,
making it quick & easy to organize those important papers!

EasyFile Home & Homeschool Filing Systems & Garage Sale Kit

Also from Simplified Solutions * * FishTales Fishing Logs* *
They make a great gift for your favorite fisherman!


Helpful Tip

"If you like archaeology - and even if you don't - you are sure
to enjoy what DIG has for you on this website." -- Lara


Shared on Maggie Hogan's "WHOLE HOG" Geography email group:


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

Winning Website

Math Cats - www.mathcats.com

Great for elementary students, Math Cats provides interactive
activities for practicing a variety of skills. In addition to
the online explorations, there are also instructions for "Math
Crafts" and a section of projects using the MicroWorlds "Logo"
programming language (you do need to download a viewer in order
to use those activities).

-- Cindy, http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hi all -- I know the holidays are upon us and many are struggling
out there. How do you all go about helping others, besides
shoveling snow for an elderly person or taking them a meal or
giving money? We currently help others by shoveling snow and
taking a meal when the weather is really bad. I would like us
to do this all year round so I would need ideas for all year long.
Thanks a bunch." -- Melissa

Our Readers' Responses

"Our family has made ourselves available to help elderly people
with yard work, household maintenance and repair, giving rides to
doctor appointments or other errands, etc. We originally put an
article in the paper announcing our desire to offer such services.
We live in a rural area, and know nearly everybody who lives around
here, so we didn't have the safety concerns that you might have if
you live in a city or larger town. Another option we considered
was to ask church leaders to notify us when they became aware of
a need. Organizations such as Salvation Army might be able to put
you in touch with people in need. Our local sheriff's office has
also informed us of needs. Most of us don't realize how great is
the problem of loneliness; you'd be surprised at how much good you
can do with a simple visit. I have a blind cousin who lives far
away from us; he would very much like for someone to take him for
walks, but we can't find anyone in the community or in his church
who will provide such a service. (Anybody live in Auburn, Nebraska?)

We have also found that during this time of year many elderly and
needy people receive an overabundance of food gifts, and they
agonize over not being able to use it all, and seeing it go to
waste. It would be nice if churches and other organizations would
spread out their cookie plates, caroling and other Christmas
services over the entire year." -- Mary Beth


"We found out that our local food pantry needs help all year long
packaging items to be distributed. Of course, they need donations
as well, but we found that a great way to spend a morning as a
family or homeschool group is to arrange a date with the pantry
for us to go fill boxes with donated food items so they will be
ready for distribution to the neighborhood as needed. As the
sayings go, 'Many hands make light work!' and 'Helping others
helps yourselves!'" -- Anne Marie


"Just ask what jobs you and your children could do. Sometimes
it's the simplest things that you (a healthy person) whould never
think of. For example, as a handicapped person with bad balance
(myself), some- thing as simple as changing burned out light
bulbs can be a real challenge." -- Sylvia


"Hi Melissa -- Every neighborhood or city has a domestic violence
shelter. We started this a few years ago when my children were
very 'me' focused during the holiday season. When we go to the
store we buy fresh fruits and veggies. People who are on food
stamps rarely get much of this, because when the food stamps run
out that is it -- so most people tend to buy what won't spoil.

The fresh food makes such a difference and is so appreciated.
I usually bring bags of apples, oranges, potatoes, pasta, sauce,
frozen meatballs, lettuce, carrots, dressing, etc. The cost is
usually only about $20 worth, but it is different from what is
usually donated and healthy food.

Check out the facility first and see if it is a place you can
take your kids; some are not as child-friendly even though kids
stay there. Then take them -- trust me, it will open their eyes.
Personally, I think everyone should have to take a trip to a
third world country for a week, but I digress...

I am in Oregon and we have a family shelter (My Father's House),
the only one in my county that is open year round for families
(if you can believe it). I guess the thought is that it is okay
to sleep on the ground in the warmer months -- and by warmer I
mean April.

So my 2 girls and I bring food, but there are needs year round:
winter clothes, summer clothes, school supplies, birthday parties,
holiday celebrations, outings,etc. We also bake cakes for birthdays
-- many kids have never had their own cake." -- Michelle in Oregon


"You'll probably hear this a lot. Take your children to a nursing
home and adopt an older person. This can also be someone who still
lives at home. Let the children read to them, and if they can't
read, take a picture book with you and let them tell what is
happening in the pictures.

A loaf of bread is always a welcome, and the children can learn
how to help make it -- punching it down and kneading it can be fun.
Color pictures and give them to a neighbor who can't get out much,
and ask if you can help them do their grocery shopping, or take
them to the store. Children can push older people in wheelchairs;
my grandchildren did that for me for a while. They miss doing
that now that I'm back on my feet again. They can also help reach
things on shelves that are harder for the one in a wheelchair.

On colder days, take someone who can't see well, if at all, to a
mall -- and just walk around, letting the children explain what
they see. I did this for a woman who was blind from birth. She
would push me in my wheelchair with me guiding it with my hands
on the wheels, and I would tell her what was in each store we
passed. If she was interested, we would go in and I would tell
her what was on the shelves. You wouldn't believe the stares we
got, because you could tell she was blind! We both loved it.

When it's warm, offer to take someone disabled to a park, have a
picnic, walk around the track if they have one, feed the ducks/geese.

People who can't see also love to be read to.

Make care baskets for someone; think of what they might need.
A pad of note paper, pen or pencil, flashlight (they are handy
when they get up in the middle of the night), some envelopes and
stamps, and while at their home, address the envelopes for them if
they need help. How about threading a needle? There are times
I can't see the eye, and when I used my sewing machine last, my
5 year old grandson threaded the needle!

If you can afford it once in a while, send a care box to someone
in Iraq, or another country. I'm sure the children would love
to make cookies and other things that a service man or woman would
love to get.

Make knitted or crocheted hats and scarves; the children can learn
to do things like this. (At 11 our youngest daughter started making
Irish Aran Sweaters and she even made one for a nurse who was very
sweet when our daughter was being tested to find out if her epilepsy
could be corrected by brain surgery. I think it took her a couple
of weeks to finish it; she was 13, and yes the surgery worked.
She's 25 now and works at the hospital as a CNA, no more seizures!)

Anyway, there are numerous things out there that you can do with
your children that will help the community. Buy a few potted
flowers for a neighbor and let the children plant them in their
front yard.

Good luck, and enjoy your children. They grow up so quickly, and
soon you'll have grandchildren to carry on the traditions you make
now." -- Jan


"Helping the elderly does not have to be limited to what you said.
Taking some time to sit and talk with a shut-in person, reading
them a book, or doing a craft with them, can really brighten a
person's day. If you want something that your kids can do on a
more regular basis, see if you can find a person or a couple, at
home alone or at a community center or nursing home, who can tell
stories about some portion of their life. If your kids are of
the right age, they can take notes (or record) and then translate
the notes into a small booklet that can be given back to the person
and/or their family. (Tell the adult that you are doing this as a
part of your schooling.) The adult can provide the idea for the
booklet, or your kids can ask about a particular part of their
life. When I was working, I did this with senior groups and they
really loved it. Sometimes it was topics such as first jobs (how
much they made and hours, what they did, where it was) or in one
case it was when the local fireworks factory blew up -- that was
one really interesting topic -- everyone remembered where they
were and what they were doing, and how it affected family. If
your kids are younger, maybe ask a shut-in to teach them how to
do something -- embroidery, chess, sewing, knitting. The adults
will look forward to whatever time you can give them each week!"
-- Cheryl

Answer our NEW Question

"Our family will be putting our house up for sale this spring
(after a few minor renovations). How have other families dealt
with homeschooling in addition to keeping the house in 'sellable'
condition? Our children are 9th grade, 8th grade and 4th grade.
Thank you!" -- Deb H.


Do you have some practical advice or experience to share with Deb?

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

Ask YOUR Question

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

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

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