1.  We heard…
…that there is a homeschooled-fueled alternative to Groundhog Day!

For several years, three homeschooled brothers from Eastford, Connecticut have been running an event in their small town 20 minutes south of Sturbridge, Massachusetts. At 7:30 a.m. on February 2, at the Ivy Glenn Memorial Building in Eastford, their trained duck, Scramble, predicts either six more weeks of winter, or early spring. Scramble gets all the same pomp as Punxatawney Phil, including TV and radio interviews, but he has been 100% accurate in the four years since he started forecasting! Read all about it on the website that the boys built: https://scrambletheduck.org/.
2.  Art contest
This year’s HSLDA art contest is challenging students to experiment with characteristics of three historic genres of art. Whether Cubist, Rococo, or Impressionist, homeschoolers can submit their works to compete for recognition and cash prizes. Entries are being accepted now. For more details, including entry forms and guidelines, see Art Contest.
3.  Support MassHOPE this “GivingDecember”
“GivingTuesday” has come and gone, but you can still contribute to the ongoing mission and work of MassHOPE for all of December through this link:
MassHOPE is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that exists for the purpose of “promoting and safeguarding home education to the glory of God.” Through its events, its support group network, and its monitoring of relevant legislation, MassHOPE provides information and support for homeschooling families.
4.  Local living nativity sites this Christmas season
Looking for some free family activities this Christmas season, both fun and educational?
Here are three living nativity events where you can walk through the biblical nativity in historic context. Hot chocolate, too!
Acton, Massachusetts – facebook.com/events/453906528887440/
Westminster, Massachusetts – livingnativity.net/
5.  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.
6.  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.
7. The MassHOPE Educator ID Card
Educator IDs are now available for benefits such as potential discounts at retailers. Order them from our website HERE.
8.  Attention, graduating seniors
For many years MassHOPE 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.

9.  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.

10.  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.)
11.  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.
12. 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.

13. For-fee advertising – updated
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 (which will be increased to $20 after January 1) 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. For more information, contact Anne Smith at ewsjfamily@startmail.com.

14. 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.

15. 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


16. 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!