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Issue #483 Date: 12/13/2016
Teach Your Kids the Value of Giving

Teach Your Kids the Value of Giving This Christmas
By Christine Field

Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, beloved characters in the classic Veggie Tales movie, The Star of Christmas, sang, “There must be more to Christmas. I think we’re really missing something…..”

Ever had the same thought? Several years ago with four children and their ever growing wish lists, we knew we had to do all we could to keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas – the amazing birth of Jesus. It was important to me that they learn the joy of helping others and learn the value of giving.

I surprised myself by sewing an advent calendar. Comprised mostly of felt, there are 24 pockets, each decorated with either a number or a holiday symbol. The first year we used it, I filled each pocket with candy and trinkets for the children, allowing them to take turns each day to draw out a surprise.

The children certainly enjoyed this, but I wondered if this craft project, created by an uncrafty mom, might be put to better use.

I had heard of families using pieces of straw as a reminder to do things to bless others. Each time a child did something selfless, he was allowed to place a piece of straw at the manger scene. By Christmas, if the children had been self-sacrificing, the Baby Jesus would be comfortably lying on a cushy bed of straw.

Why not apply this principle to my spiffy Advent calendar? I thought of 24 giving things my children were capable of doing. I wrote them on slips of paper and placed one into each pocket.

As the days before Christmas passed before us, the children were challenged to think of others, not what bounty they would reap come Christmas Day. I tailored many of the activities to our unique interests. Our good deeds, which I later named “Compassion Capers,” included the following:

• Bringing a bag of cat food to the animal shelter
• Shoveling a neighbor’s walkway
• Making a get well card for a fellow church member
• Hand making a special gift for a sibling
• Making cookies for the neighbors

These can be related to the needs and opportunities available to your particular family. If your sibling relationships are strained, they can focus mainly on building relationship and blessing one another. If you have a family ministry, such as visiting a nursing home, you can relate each task to that ministry.

The slips of paper do not need to be all pocketed at the same time. You can add one each day, depending upon the needs and schedule of your family.

Why do we call them Compassion Capers? Caring for others is one of the most important life lessons we can teach our children. In our family they are called “capers” because they are done anonymously, as much as possible, and certainly without expectation of recognition or reward. The children are doing good deeds simply for the joy of bringing Christ’s love and compassion to others.

So how about your family? Do you want to change your focus to be more outward rather than inward this Christmas? You don’t have to sew an Advent calendar. You can create something with items obtained from Dollar Tree. I purchased some red/white twine, clothespins, red cups and paper lunch bags. You can make a compassion countdown with the bags or cups for a few dollars. Get the kids involved in making the calendar and in listing the good deeds.

Rather than a season of out-of-control consumerism, work with your kids to teach them the value of giving. This could be your best Christmas yet!

Christine Field writes for moms at and

Homeschooling Help This Season

Are you in the midst of planning for the holidays? Does homeschooling during this hectic time seem next to impossible? Well, it is possible and it's even easier than you think.

With so much going on - parties, travel, and gift exchanges - it's nice to remember that we homeschoolers have it better than most. Learning takes place at our student's pace, not on a set schedule, and it can take place anywhere, any time. So, even when you're trying to balance a busy schedule, it can be quite easy to incorporate learning into your to-do list. 

Time4Learning makes homeschooling during hectic times even easier. The comprehensive online curriculum for grades PreK-12 takes the stress off parents by offering multimedia lessons in a secure, ad-free learning environment. Time4Learning students have 24/7 access to instruction in language arts, math, science, and social studies, plus the ability to add-on courses in art, writing, and foreign language. Lesson planning, assessments, and recordkeeping are taken care of - so you can focus on the important where that Elf on the Shelf is going to show up next!

Time4Learning is so much more than just a time-saver, though. If you decide to continue your Time4Learning subscription into the new year, you’ll be getting an award-winning homeschool program that is completely customizable according to what your family needs. Have a child who is working on two different grade levels in different subjects? They can handle that. Only need to use the math and language arts lessons? That’s no problem. Time4Learning is your flexible and affordable homeschool partner through the holidays and beyond.

Need more homeschooling help?

The Time4Learning website is like having a homeschooling reference manual that you can turn to any time of day on any device. They offer info and advice for new homeschoolers and experienced homeschoolers alike. Also, don’t forget to browse their frequently updated blog. This month’s post highlights their Homeschool Unit Study: Giving, Hope, and Family, where you'll find tons of heartwarming stories, fun activities and interactive lessons across various subjects that highlight these important topics - just in time for the holidays!

Do You Shop CBD?

When You Shop CBD, You Help Home School, Inc!

When making purchases -- for the holidays or your homeschool -- please remember to shop in our online store, powered by CBD.

Keep in mind, you can use your free shipping and any discount codes you receive directly from CBD and support HSI at the same time! Just be sure to enter our co-branded store via the dedicated URL - -the ad on the left, or the "Shop CBD" tab on the homepage. Then enter your coupon code at checkout and enjoy the savings.

Every order you place using any of the dedicated store links mentioned above earns Home School, Inc. a small referral fee which, in turn, allows us to continue serving you and other homeschoolers.

Be sure to check our dedicated store homepage every Tuesday for a new Homeschool Deal of the Week. For example, now through 12/20/2016, save 25% on select Selected Roylco Arts & Crafts Resources. Find all the details here.

Thank you for your continued support!

Great Homeschool Conventions 2017!

Great Homeschool Conventions Announces 2017 Lineup
Do your plans in the new year include one or more homeschooling events or conventions? Mark your calendars! The fine folks at Great Homeschool Conventions have announced their lineup for 2017:

Fort Worth, Texas: February 23-25, 2017
Greenville, So. Carolina: March 16-18, 2017
Cincinnati, Ohio: April 20-22, 2017
Ontario, California: June 15-17, 2017

These four regional events include hundreds of information packed workshops, dozens of outstanding speakers, and a huge curriculum exhibit hall. Learn more:


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