1.  Local living nativity sites this Christmas season
We have just become aware of two Living Nativities – one in Acton and the other in Grosvenordale, Connecticut. Here are links with more information:



2.  New Christian ballet class for kindergarten-1st grade
Beautiful Feet Ballet School, a Christian ballet program in Marlborough, has added a new class time for girls in kindergarten and 1st grade. This new class is held on Tuesdays, 5:15-6:15 p.m. To schedule a free trial class and for more information, visit www.beautifulfeetballet.com.

3.  Interested in the Hudson co-op? Visit their Christmas party!
The Central Mass. Christian Homeschool Co-op in Hudson is inviting interested families to visit their co-op during their annual Christmas craft party. This will be held on Friday, December 6 during their normal co-op time of 9 a.m.-noon. Please come as a guest; there is no need to bring anything. They will have a small gathering/announcement time, then an hour of crafts, when your children can move freely between tables choosing which crafts they find interesting. Then there will be a short snack time, followed by a second hour of all new crafts set up. It is possible there will be a room with more active games for those children who are not interested in two hours of crafting :).

If you plan to attend, please notify Wendy Holm at cmhscoop7@gmail.com by Tuesday, December 3. Also let her know how many children you are bringing, and their ages.
4.  Last call for flag football
Are you ready for some flag football? MassHOPE’s 9th annual Turkey Bowl will be on Thanksgiving morning – November 28 – from 9:30-11 at Holden Chapel, 279 Reservoir Street, Holden. Come and join us for some fun and fellowship. Burn those calories before you even eat them! RSVP by November 25 to (508)829-0973, leaving your name, phone number, number in party, and your email address, OR just email the same info to info@masshope.org. Thank you! Hope to see you there!
5. The MassHOPE Educator ID Card
Educator IDs are now available for benefits such as potential discounts at retailers. Order them from our website HERE.
6.  Attention, graduating seniors
For many years MassHOPE has sponsored two events for graduating seniors: a graduate recognition ceremony at the annual Worcester convention in April, and a formal cap-and-gown ceremony at Holden Chapel in June. This year, however, is bringing changes. We are moving the convention to a new venue in Sturbridge, and we are dropping the recognition ceremony.
The formal graduation is still on! See https://masshope.org/graduation/for details. If you are interested in learning more about this event, please send an email to graduation@masshope.org. Deadline to sign up is Saturday, April 25, 2020.
7.  Field trip idea: Historic New England
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, a time when many of us start thinking about our region’s history and cultural heritage. Check out homeschool programs at Historic New England for group field trips, or plan a visit to their homes, farms, and landscapes with just your own family.

8.  Homeschool skiing at Wachusett Mountain
There are three separate groups that offer skiing on Wachusett Mountain for you to choose from: one that skis on Thursdays and two that meet on Fridays. Here is the information for each:
1. Homeschool Thursday is a six-week session that starts January 9, 2020. Programs are open to students in third grade and above, along with parents and other adults.
Our program time is 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays for 6 weeks. Lessons start at 10:30 a.m. sharp. You may also purchase season passes through our group and ski as often as you like! You can access pricing for students and adults on the website below after signing in with this information:
Coordinator: NANCY CHANDO
Step ONE : Go to wachusett.com/schoolgroups
Step TWO:  Enter this code: HMST in order to access our program’s order form and pricing. Other options are also here, including season passes, group lessons, lift badges, and COW cards.
Step THREE: Email the coordinator, Nancy Chando, at nanchando@comcast.net to let her know you have registered online. She will forward you any other info pertaining to our Thursday group.
If there are any questions, please contact Nancy Chando at nanchando@comcast.net,or call her at (978)930-0324 and leave a voice mail message.
There are two homeschool groups that sponsor skiing on Wachusett Mountain on Fridays in January and February.
2. Clonlara: Registration for the Clonlara Home School Ski Group at Wachusett Mountain is underway!  If you have a student 8 years or older interested in skiing or snowboarding on eight Fridays from January 3 – February 28  (taking February 21 off for vacation week), please register online at www.wachusett.com/schoolgroups and enter CLHS for the group code. Register before December 4 for best prices!  Parents can register at group price as well.  For more information see the website or contact Tammy Cassidy at jccustomwoodworking@verizon.net.  Also find us on Facebook at Clonlara Wachusett Friday Ski Group.
3. CHEC: All homeschool students in grades 3-12, as well as parents and chaperones, are eligible for CHEC’s ski/snowboard student program. Our group skis at Wachusett Mountain from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, beginning January 3, 2020. We ski eight Fridays: January 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31; and February 7, 14, and 28.

FEES (before 12/4/19):

  • 8-week lift badge $138.00
  • 8-week ski/ snowboard rental $110.00
  • 8-week helmet rental $24.00
  • 6 one-hour lessons $64.00
After 12/4/19, lift badges go up to $150. BUT IT’S STILL A GREAT VALUE! You may sign up any time before the first week of January. It’s a great Christmas gift or way to redeem Christmas gift cards!
All beginners and novices are required to take lessons. Lessons are typically at 10:30 a.m.

OR, you may opt to purchase a discount Season Pass through our group and ski at your convenience!

Bronze Season Passes may be purchased for $279 (after 12/4/19: $379). Junior Bronze Passes for ages up to 12 are $269 (after 12/4/19: $369). Discount gold and silver season passes are available, as well.

Card of Wachusett (COW cards) are available at discounts, too. You can purchase a $50 card for $45 through our group!

How do I sign up?
Step One: Go to www.wachusett.com/schoolgroups
Step Two: Parents enter this Program Code to access order form: CHCH

If you have any questions, contact your group coordinator, Kristen Raskett. Call or text: (508)736-2515, or email kras21@msn.com.

9.  Convention workshop recordings
Visit our website to order your recordings HERE today! Once you get the recordings, follow along with the handouts that can still be found on most speakers’ pages of our website. (Downloads available for workshops designated with an icon.)
10.  Are you on our mailing lists?
To those who have been recently added to our email list through our website: if you would also like to be added to our “snail mail” list to receive information (such as our print newsletter) via the U.S. Postal Service, please send your full name and complete mailing address to newsletter@masshope.org.
11. Your news items wanted
Do you know of an event or activity in or near Massachusetts that would edify or interest the homeschool community? Email Anne Smith at  ewsjfamily@startmail.comand we will review it for possible inclusion in the MassHOPE Messenger.

For-fee services:

The MassHOPE Messenger is a biweekly e-newsletter that is sent free to approximately 2500 mailboxes. Unfortunately, it is not free to distribute. This cost increases each year, and MassHOPE has limited funds. Therefore we charge a nominal fee of $10* for unsolicited submissions from individuals, and from most organizations or groups unaffiliated with MassHOPE, who wish to advertise their for-fee services. Items will ordinarily run in two consecutive issues.
*After January 1, the fee will be $20 for the two issues.

12.  Remember to “Like” MassHOPE on Facebook
“Like” MassHOPE’s Facebook page: facebook.com/MassHOPE?fref=ts. You’ll be encouraged in your homeschooling journey and will receive all updates for upcoming events.

13.  Do you receive The Voice of HOPE?
MassHOPE publishes a quarterly print newsletter, The Voice of HOPE. In addition to announcements you might also find in the Messenger, we provide three or four full-length articles on a variety of homeschooling topics. If you would like to add your name, please send your name and “snail mail” address to newsletter@masshope.org.

14. Support MassHOPE through AmazonSmile
Do you shop at Amazon? If you shop through AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to MassHOPE! If you’re not already signed up, you can do so more easily than ever. To start supporting our organization, simply click this link, which is unique to MassHOPE:  http://smile.amazon.com/ch/04-HYPERLINK “http://smile.amazon.com/ch/04-3220412”3220412. That’s all!  From then on, when – and only when – you enter the Amazon website through amazonsmile.com, Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to MassHOPE. Thank you for supporting the work of your Christian state homeschool organization!

15. How to submit Box Tops for convention savings ***SEVERAL RECENT CHANGES***

You can earn free or reduced admission to the 2020 convention AND support MassHOPE at the same time!  Want to submit Box Tops for 2020 convention credit but aren’t sure how to proceed? There are now two distinct processes for submission. You may use either or both. See item A, below, to learn about the “new” process. To learn about the “old” process, including the new (and more user-friendly) expiration date policy, see the detailed instructions in item B.
A. New method for submitting Box Tops
Box Tops for Education is in the process of changing over to a totally new system: from low-tech (scissors) to high-tech (phone app). In a nutshell, this is what you’ll do: 1. Download the Box Tops app to a smartphone, designating MassHOPE as the school to be credited. 2. Purchase products with the new Box Tops logo. 3. Within 14 days of purchase, using the app and your phone’s camera, scan the receipt. MassHOPE will automatically be credited with ten cents per Box Top. You can read the details HERE.
The changeover is taking place over a period of a few years and has already started. For the present, both the old (clipping Box Tops) and new (scanning receipts) systems are in place. As paper Box Tops are phased out, fewer and fewer products will have them, and more and more products will be switched over to the new system.
Will I still be able to earn convention credit? YES. When you sign up on the app and designate MassHOPE, you will see a “get credit” option where you can register for credit under your name. Box Tops automatically keeps track of credits, and MassHOPE is able to access this information. [Since MassHOPE will receive only a name without any contact information, we will be asking you to let us how you want your submissions to be credited. That system is not yet in place. Stay tuned for updates!]
Will I still be able to send in my paper Box Tops?YES.All present and future clipped Box Tops will be valid until their expiration dates. Keep sending them in.
Will there be any problems with this system? Unfortunately, YES.There already are. The technology is not yet working perfectly, and we doubt anyone can guarantee that it ever will work perfectly. We don’t know whether the problem is in individual phones, or the overall computer program, but there have been complaints about organizations and schools not being properly credited.
What should I do if I’m not getting as much credit as I should? Unfortunately, we don’t think there is anything we can do from our end. It may be frustrating, but probably most of your purchases will be properly credited. Try comforting yourself with the advantages of the new system: no clipping, no storage, and no mailing costs.
You can start using the new system immediately. And you can continue to use the old system until it’s completely phased out. If you have any questions, please contact Anne Smith at (978)372-1339 or volunteer@masshope.org.
B. “Old” method for submitting Box Tops *SEE CHANGE*
Clip the Box Tops for Education tabs that are still found on many, though increasingly fewer, products. Bag them securely, and bring them to any MassHOPE function, or mail them to us c/o Anne Smith, 85 Liberty Street, Haverhill, MA 01832. They should be postmarked by December 31, 2019, for 2020 convention credit. You may choose either of the following options, but please note with your submission which you have chosen:
1. Donate all of them.  The proceeds will be used for MassHOPE scholarships.
2. Receive credit for 50% of the value of your Box Tops toward registration for next year’s convention. The remainder will be used for MassHOPE scholarships. In either case, if you designate a MassHOPE affiliated support group, one half of the MassHOPE portion will be donated to that group.

Box Tops should be enclosed in a sealed envelope. Submissions must include all of the following information: name, address, phone number, email address, number of Box Tops enclosed, option chosen, and (if applicable) name of support group that will benefit.

NOTE: If you have any electronic Box Tops that need to be submitted online, send them to us along with your cardboard Box Tops, and we will submit them online for you.

Please keep track of expiration dates. *CHANGE*We will honor those that expire no less than a month from when we receive them. If we receive Box Tops expiring in under a month, we may be able to submit them in time for you to get credit, but we cannot guarantee anything. Contact Anne Smith at (978)372-1339 or ewsjfamily@juno.com with any questions.