"" -- A Homeschooler's Notebook Subscriber.
An interactive, FREE, twice-monthly ezine packed with great reader tips, reviews, & practical encouragement for homeschool families.


Some of Our Sponsors


Landry Academy

Math Mammoth

Great Homeschool Conventions

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Resource Links

All About Spelling
Homeschooling ABCs
Upper Level Homeschool
FIRETIME Notebooking
FREE Funschool Units
Homeschooling Help
More Homeschooling Help
HS Gifted and Talented
Homeschool Country Life
Beloved Books & Audio



Inexpensive Gifts; Homeschooling While Selling a Home

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, December 05, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 95 December 5, 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!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible.


An Inexpensive Christmas Gift That Can Prepare Your Child for
"Real World" Financial Success - in Just 5 Minutes a Month!

Recent statistics reveal that young adults are not prepared
to face "real world" financial challenges: 18-24 year olds
represent the fastest growing age group declaring bankruptcy,
and the average credit card debt-laden college student owes

Help your 4-12 year old child sidestep future financial disaster
by giving them the KidsWealth Money Kit for Christmas.
The program is a fun and easy way to help your child develop
smart money habits and a mindset for success.

Complimentary shipping + 4 bonuses until December 17th at



Notes from Heather
-- Cheap Christmas Gifts
Helpful Tip
-- Sign Language Recommendation
Reader Question
-- Keeping House Ready to Show
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Our Readers Share Great Ideas for Inexpensive Christmas Gifts


"My daughter loves her 18 inch doll and wanted another one this
year. They aren't the American Girl brand, just a very inexpensive
look-alike. I purchased her doll last year (and a second one this
year) at Michael's with a 50% off coupon for $9.99. Then I bought
patterns at Joann Fabrics when they were on special for $1 each
and I've been making her doll clothes. I already have too much
fabric, so I didn't need to buy any. It's especially fun when I
can make the dolls clothes from the same fabric I made clothes
for my daughter.

For my older daughter, I joined the Crafter's Choice book club and
got 4 books for $1 each. I was able to find two very exhaustive
books on beading for her for $2. I will have to buy one book for
full price in the next year, but it's still a great deal."
-- Brenda T. in WA


"I have a daughter who is very artistic. We took one of her
favorite drawings to the local office supply store. They had
$0.29 copies. They helped me make the master copy. We made
stationary for their grandmothers, aunts, and friends. I took
one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper and made two tablets per sheet.
I switched the names at the top to make it personal. It cost
$1.09 to cut the paper up to a ream of paper in half and $0.55
each to 'pad' them, which means glue them. For 10 gifts -- copies,
padding and everything, it cost $40.00. Makes a great personal,
but cheap gift." -- Christina


"We make stepping stones. Use mortar mix and very large flower
pot bases as a mold. Spray first with WD40 so it will come out
easy. Make a mosaic or any design you wish with broken tiles,
stones, pottery, etc.

Make movie baskets. Include a DVD, popcorn, chocolate, warm
socks, cocoa, etc.

Knit pot scrubbers from netting or dish cloths from yarn -- great
gifts that always get used." -- Kathy in FL


"Inexpensive gift idea:


It is easy and free to make a very cool candy dish out of an old
record. Take an old record (if you don't have a bunch in your
basement, go to a local Salvation Army -- they have loads!) and
put it on top of a serving bowl turned upside down. The bowl I
use is about 7" across. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put record
dead-center on top of the upside down serving bowl. Place in oven
and watch it mold itself to the serving bowl. You need to keep
an eye on it so the record doesn't melt. You should only keep it
in long enough to see it conform to the outside of the serving
bowl. When the sides are ruffled nicely, carefully take it out
of the oven. Let it cool completely before removing it.

* Note, obviously children can't do this project, but my 13 year
old daughter makes TONS of them herself. She sells them for $2
at craft shows.
* Child CAN have fun filling the record-bowl with little items,
like candies, etc. for gifts.
* Time in oven varies greatly depending on how thick the vinyl was.
* Crack a window open as it makes your house smell a little bit.
* Bowl can be used for lots of little gifts like hand cream, candy,
CD, movie tickets, Bible tracts, perfume, etc."


"When our children were small, we gave them their own flashlight
and a roll of masking tape. They were thrilled to be able to use
those items without me constantly cautioning them about running
down the batteries or wasting tape.

My daughter loves to write. This year she will receive a bundle
of notebooks and a new box of pencils.

We buy used children's clothing and other items through internet
auction sales, and get very nice gifts for a fraction of what
they would cost new.

My parents had very limited resources, and had difficulty traveling
somewhere to shop. When they were still living, each person in the
family would contribute the amount of money they would have spent
on gifts, and our parents would choose a charity which received the
money. We would get together for a nice dinner and play games all
afternoon. Now that my parents are gone, I wouldn't trade those
memories for any gift!

Consider consumable gifts. They are usually less expensive, don't
require storage or maintenance for years to come, and you don't
have to worry about fit. A few examples might be: tickets to a
concert; a trip to the zoo; a craft kit which they could make and
then give to someone else as a gift; decadent food items which you
normally forbid your children to have." -- Mary Beth


"This year we made beaded bookmarks for my daughter's girlfriends
and co-op teachers. We used ribbons and clasps, jump rings and
beaded charms with boughten charms. Hobby Lobby, Michaels, WalMart
and bead stores have these supplies. Beading magazines or books
(from the library, for free) will tell you how to make beaded
charms and attach them to things. (Or take a beading class, like
we did!) You could also use leather string for a different look.
The ribbons are long enough that the beaded charms hang out each
end when closed into the book.

We also made our own 'Hamburger Helper' chili from a crock pot
recipe I have. I bought all the canned and dry ingredients except
the hamburger, put it all in a paper sack with handles (decorated
with snowflakes my girls cut out) and gave the ingredients plus
the recipes to our co-op teachers. Cost was about $5 each. What
mom does not like a pre-planned meal?" -- Jannell in SD


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


Helpful Tip

Recommendation for Sign Language

"I have 2 sons. One is 11 and the other is 6. We have been
learning sign language for 3 months now. It is wonderful to see
that both of my children have had no problem learning the signs.
We do a lesson the first of the week from Learn and Teach American
Sign Language 'Hands on Sign Language', written and published by
Big Oak Curriculum. It is written to work along with the book
'Signing Illustrated', The Complete Learning Guide, by Mickey
Flodin. It includes more than 1,550 signs.

The rest of the week we practice the signs according to the list
of activities shown at the bottom of each lesson. My boys love it.
They will already stop me at home just so they can ask me something
in sign language that they would normally ask me by speaking
English. There is no video to go along with this book. I was
disappointed at first, but since we've been learning it awhile I
don't miss having a video. Here is the link to read about
the books. http://www.bigoakcurriculum.com/HOSL.html

The lesson book contains 164 lessons. They are short and can be
done in 30-45 minutes usually -- once you get the hang of it."

-- from Amanda on the HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group


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

Last Issue's Reader 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.

Our Readers' Responses

"Deb -- When some friends of ours had their house on the market
they discussed with their kids that people don't live the same
way when they are trying to sell a house as they 'normally' do.
Then their kids picked a favorite thing and the rest of their
toys, games, etc. went into storage. I am sure they stored out
of season things and such, even some furniture. It makes a huge
difference to the look of your house to have less stuff in it.
Less to look at makes your house look better for the buyer and
it is less to clean up. If your kids each have a school tote or
school bag, you can toss their stuff into each tote and put the
tote into the car when the realtor calls. Sometimes people want
to see your house NOW -- and as annoying as that is that might
be the buyer you are looking for. Good luck!" -- V.W. in MA


"We just finished a six month contract trying to sell our house.
It didn't sell, so we will re-list in late winter. Begin de-
cluttering your house (with scrutiny) now. Yes, before Christmas!
You will perhaps come across things you didn't even know you had.
As for as keeping up with school and keeping the house 'up' too,
we instituted daily bedroom cleaning and gave the kids a few more
chores to help me keep things up. We put away the school items
I knew we needed to keep, but wouldn't need this year (in storage
totes). We put all the art stuff in a labeled art tote so we could
find it easily. The kids kept their books in a container. We used
magazine racks because we use paces from ACE, but a cardboard box
or whatever fits their stuff. We always staged a table in the area
where we stored our homeschool stuff and laid out a few school
assignments with pencils, etc. so they would KNOW what that space
is used for and why it might be a little more messy than other
areas of the house. It is a lot of work keeping a house 'sellable'
when kids are in it all day long, every day, but it is also a great
lesson on working together as a family. We did NOT keep our house
sellable all that often, to be honest, because we only had about
six showings in six months. But when those calls came, everyone
pretty much knew what needed to be done and we worked together to
do it. My homeschooled kids are in 8th, 5th, and 2 in 2nd."
-- Vicki in MI

Answer our NEW Question

"With it being so cold outside, we tend to hibernate in the winter.
However, this causes the kids and I to get stir crazy. Besides
school and housework, what do you do to help pass the winter
without killing each other? My kids are older (ages 9, 13, and
16) so doing crafts is something we've grown out of. Also, with
Christmas upon us, there seems to be heightened excitement. Any
suggestions?" -- Noreen


Do you have ideas for Noreen and her children?

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!

Need Immediate Help?

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
by typing in a box. When you get there, just introduce yourself
and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
ear and encouragement.


Our Newsletter Archive

Access the Homeschool Notebook issues you have missed...
at our archives! http://www.FamilyClassroom.net


There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net with "Notebook Sponsorship"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become 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 mailto:HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!


No part of this newsletter (except subscription information
below) may be copied and/or displayed in digital format online
(for instance, on a website or blog) without EXPRESS permission
from the editor. Individuals may, however, forward the newsletter
IN ITS ENTIRETY to *individual* friends (not email groups). For
reprints in paper publications (homeschool support group newsletters,
etc.) please direct your request to: mailto:Heather@FamilyClassroom.net

Next - Heading Off the Meddling Holiday Relations
Previous - Readers Share Ideas for Helping Others

     Site content copyright individual contributors and FamilyClassroom.net 2001-2011 - Digital duplication expressly prohibited.
Privacy Policy | Advertise