1.  An “accurate alternative to the groundhog” – by homeschoolers!
How about a homeschooled-fueled alternative to Groundhog Day this coming Sunday?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 five years since he started forecasting! Read all about it on the website that the boys built: https://scrambletheduck.org/

2.  Wednesdays at Thayer Conservatory are for homeschoolers
Thayer Conservatory in Lancaster is accepting students for second semester. Lessons are available in voice and all instruments, for all ages. Homeschool Chorus is accepting new members. Also available are group piano and violin classes, youth orchestra, flute ensemble, and many other groups, including Children’s Music for ages two and up. There are many offerings on Wednesdays especially for homeschoolers. Please see our website for more information.

3.  Phys. Ed. class at Springfield College starts this week
Springfield College physical education (PE) registration has started!

The program will be held each Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.in the PE complex fieldhouse, starting on January 31 and ending on April 24. The focus of the class is on the improvement of fundamental motor skills and movement concepts, which will be developmentally appropriate for the age groups. Children are broken up into small groups by age (5-7, 8-10, and 11+), and the class is open to kindergarten through 12th grade.
Cost is $20 for one student and $30 for a family (2 or more). Checks should be made payable to Springfield College PE Majors Club.
All checks must be accompanied by a completed waiver form (new students only), and parking application. To acquire the forms or to get additional information, please contact Jennifer Stefaniak at jmstefaniak@yahoo.com.
4.  Hurry! HSLDA Art contest deadline in three days

Get your entries in! Submissions close February 1. 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.

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 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.graduation@masshope.org. Deadline to sign up is Saturday, April 25, 2020.

7.  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.

8. 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.com and we will review it for possible inclusion in the MassHOPE Messenger.

9.  For-fee advertising
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 $20 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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!

13. How to submit Box Tops for convention savings
You can earn free or reduced admission to the MassHOPE conventions AND support MassHOPE at the same time! Submissions for the 2020 convention are now closed, but you can start getting credit toward the 2021 convention. Want to submit Box Tops for 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 detailsHERE.
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, 2029, for 2021 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 volunteer@masshope.org with any questions.