1.  MassHOPE events 2020
It has been a trying time for those of us running state homeschool organizations. This has been a situation like no other we have faced and planning is virtually impossible. One by one, conventions and other events have been cancelled all across the nation and we are no exception. It may be difficult to see the good that can come from current circumstances, but one thing remains unchanged. God is sovereign. We can trust Him for the future.  
Annual MassHOPE Christian Homeschool and Family Discipleship Convention
This is our big event and it is painful to see it cancelled. Tomorrow (Thur May 7) would have been setup day, full of anticipation, but we are looking forward to 2021 at our new venue in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Many new things are planned. Don’t miss it! Stay tuned to www.masshope.org.

Formal Graduation
It is such a disappointment to be forced to cancel this important milestone event in the lives of the graduates. Every year it is a great testimony to the success of homeschooling.  That success continues, event or not, and we’ll be back for 2021.

Used Curriculum Sale
We know what a financial blessing this event has been to so many, but with circumstances as yet unchanged we have also cancelled this event. As with the other events, we expect to be back in full force for 2021.

Even if conditions improve somewhat, facilities are not yet open and many would remain reluctant to attend public events so soon. For graduation, facilities are simply not available. The convention and used curriculum sale have been rendered financially untenable for this year.

Praying and planning for next year,
The MassHOPE Board

2.  Vendor specials! 
Check out Vendor Offers on our website for some nice deals from our [cancelled] convention vendors who had been slated to be with us this week.Not to (and How Not to) Homeschool During COVID-193.  A bevy of materials, offers, and helps for you and new
My Father’s World materials. Includes offer of two free activity packs.

Notgrass History web-based curriculum. Free trial.

Free language arts lessons from IEW.

Getting started, with free access throughout May.

The importance of Christian homeschool organizations for homeschool freedom.

YouTube with Dr. Kathy Koch: Having Conversations about Today’s Tough Stuff

Remember Adventures in Odyssey? Free 28-day trial.

Family activities from the Billy Graham Library.

4.  Variety of interesting sites suggestioned by the Heritage Foundation
Science, engineering, and building projects and lessons from The League of Young Inventors.

Exciting free courses from Hillsdale College in literature, politics, history, and economics.

From Joy Hakim: DIY lessons on topics such as the human body, Magellan’s travels, the story of Elizabeth Jennings Graham, and plagues from previous eras.

Students can explore the remains of Athens’ ancient Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Zeus, and more in these virtual tours.

Free online language learning materials in English, Spanish, French and German, from Lingoda.

More free language learning from Duolingo, with 23 languages.

Explore Shakespeare with Folger Shakespeare Library, which is offering free access to seven full-cast audio recordings of plays such as HamletRomeo and Juliet, and Othello. The library is also providing free access to their video recording of Macbeth. These resources are available free of charge through July 1.

Minecraft  has released its Education Edition (free through June 2020) to help children at home. The program provides 50 lessons, STEM, and project based learning activities. Using the platform, students can visit the international space station, explore the human eye, tour D.C.’s most memorable sites, and more.

Core Knowledge offers a vast array of resources. Their Language Arts, History and Geography, and Science curricula are available for free.

TouchMath offers free downloads of TouchMath Workbooks.

5.  From HSLDA
https://www.mompossible.org/Good resource for your suddenly-homeschooling friends.

A school system inadvertently makes a strong case for homeschooling.

6.  Virtual field trips with AAA
These are all in the Northeast. Learn all about them now; see them in person some day in the future?

7.  * For awareness and prayer *
The latest frontal assault on homeschooling is laid out by Albert Mohler in The Briefing, posted on his blog. In it he makes many references to an extremely hostile piece run recently in Harvard Magazine. 
The article has whipped up a huge backlash. Forbes ran a piece highly critical of the article: Harvard’s Lazy Attack on Homeschooling. And the comments Harvard Magazine received on this piece were so scathingly negative that they closed the online article to comments. Here are two more excellent articles coming to the defense of homeschooling: https://blog.hslda.org/2020/04/21/homeschooled-harvard-alumni-excuse-me-professor/

8.  Wonderfully fresh and encouraging
Applicable equally to both “normal” times, and today.

9.  Attention, science enthusiasts
https://blog.hslda.org/2020/04/14/teen-organizes-backyard-science-symposium/Teenaged homeschooler Ethan Cartagena is arranging his third annual symposium – virtual, of course, this year. Get in touch with him if you’d like to present!

10.  Isaac Newton and his “year of wonders” – in quarantine
“In 1665, ‘social distancing’ orders emptied campuses throughout England, as the bubonic plague raged, killing 100,000 people. Isaac Newton, a 24-year-old student from Cambridge, was among those forced to leave campus and return indefinitely to his childhood home.” Read about how he spent his time at home: https://fee.org/articles/how-isaac-newton-turned-isolation-from-the-great-plague-into-a-year-of-wonders/?utm_medium=related_widget

11.  CMCH Co-op has opened fall registration
From Wendy at CMCH:
Here are the steps to register: You will go to our NEW website, cmchscoop.org/, where you can take a look at the class descriptions by clicking on “Classes” and then the drop down menu of “Classes 6th-12th”.  You can see class pricing as well as a place to click to view the description of each class. We will get the teachers assigned for Grades 5 and below by the middle of June at which time, those Course Descriptions will start going up on the website.Once your older children have chosen the classes they are interested in, you can then click on “Registration Forms” and click on the word “Registration” once there. This will take you to a Google Form which will walk you through registering your family. The final section will explain the family dues and payment. You do have the option to pay by check if you prefer. But you also have the option to pay via PayPal right as you finish the form. There is a link at the end of the form AND on the Registration Forms page of the website.  Here is a breakdown of dues and fees.  🙂  **Tutorial Students do NOT pay Family Dues – they only pay the higher price for the classes (this higher price is the cost of the class for members plus an additional $125 per class, so no Dues are needed).  A Statement of Faith by the parents is not required to go this route.  **Members DO pay the Family Dues – this is per family, not per student.  These Family Dues require a parent to teach a minimum of 6 hours of class, though many of our moms teach more than that (thank you!!).  These Dues also require you to agree to and sign our Statement of Faith.  **Family Dues – The total for the year is $60 per family.  If you fill out the form and pay by June 1, you are eligible for a $10 discount, reducing your Dues to $50 per family.  Then, you will add on the cost of each class your older children are taking – these extra fees help cover the higher pricing of materials for a few of our classes where the Dues are not enough.   **Many classes are currently full! – This is a heads up.  Especially in our younger classes, we have several extremely full classes.  We are working on options to split classes/grades (but have some very real space limitations).  We have guaranteed our current members space in the co-op for the fall through June 1.  Until then, all new families will be placed on a Waitlist.  Once we have a better idea of who is returning, we will begin placing families in the co-op.  There will need to be room for all the children in your family for us to accept your family into the co-op. 

12.  Browsing corner for vets and newbies
How To (and How Not To) Homeschool During COVID-19 by John Stonestreet by John Stonestreet‘Most Rewarding Thing You Can Do’: Homeschool Experts Offer Hope to Parents in COVID-19 School Shutdowns by Kayla RootHome-school family feels the impact of social distancing, offers advice to other familiesby Tiffany Kafer5 Tips From Homeschool Veterans For Parents New To Learning At Home by Laura Isensee

13.  Know someone who’s considering homeschooling?
From our MassHOPE website: Help and Guidance

HSLDA’s Getting Started: 7 Simple Steps to Start Homeschooling
“Stuff comes up we don’t expect. Sometimes we have to pivot on a dime. Homeschooling can work for your child. Here’s how to jump in and get going fast.”

14.  Perspective: homeschooling? Or “quarantine-schooling”?
Article: NOT “homeschooling”

While some of this may not be from a Christian perspective, it very ably makes the point that what is happening now is not normal homeschooling. Traditional homeschoolers are also suffering from the lockdown. The concept of homeschooling should not be stained by the effects of the current emergency situation.

15.  Homeschooling Under Hardship 
Article by Sylvia Miller from Phoenix, Arizona: “If you are in the middle of hardship, you are not alone. I found out that there were many families around me who homeschooled as they dealt with situations that disrupted their plans. Because they were willing to talk about their challenges, I was brave enough to share my own.”

16. Response to “Circumstantial challenges: looking for advice”
In the March 25 issue, we sent out this request:Some parents who are “suddenly homeschooling” may be discouraged by their particular situations. Most of the advice being offered assumes several things: that at least one parent is home, that children have access to safe outside play areas, and that their indoor space is adequate (as defined by the parent). Some of you may operate your homeschool in the absence of one or more of these conditions, or you may know someone else who does. Or you may have relied on public parks as play space, and with new restrictions may have had to find creative ways for your children to let off physical steam. We’d like to hear from you. How have you schooled in tiny square footage? in city apartments? in single-parent situations? I’d like to be able to use your experience to give hope to families in similar positions. We can do that through social media and the MassHOPE website. If you’ll offer your methods and advice, we can pass it along to those who may need encouragement. Please consider helping! Send your thoughts to Anne Smith at volunteer@masshope.org.

So far we have had one response, which was included in the April 8 edition. What follows is a lightly edited reply from a homeschooling mother of three. [470 sq. ft. That’s impressive!]
I homeschool in a 3rd floor apartment that is about 470 sq. ft. We have a courtyard in the back but are not allowed to do a whole lot besides chalk or bubbles – no balls, Frisbees, nerf guns etc., and nothing messy or left out). To help with school and lack of space/anywhere to go, my kids and I use the living room in the morning to exercise/dance for a while and then do our school activities. After lunch we listen to audiobooks while they play in their room. Once that’s done, we move back to the living room for games or projects/building. The only rule is the living room has to be clean before the kids’ bedtime so that we adults can have a clean space for the evenings. If it’s nice, and no neighbors are out, we will go color the stairs and sidewalk in the courtyard and try to run around a bit, but with rain or cold we stay in more. Those days we pull out the audiobooks, T.V. shows, or dance music. I’m not sure if any of this might be helpful to others, but I’m currently in the middle of making sensory bins (kinetic sand and water beads for two different bins), for kitchen table only, to mix things up a bit for when we can’t get outdoors.

17.  Annual testing and the federal coronavirus waiver
HSLDA wants to clear up any confusion that homeschoolers may have, with this article.

18.  Help for the new “homeschoolers” among us
Suddenly all parents have their children home. All day. Every day. Students are receiving varied amounts of support and instruction from their schools, but many parents are wondering how to fill the days productively. We should all probably have answers ready when panicked neighbors ask us what on earth they should do. There are tons of resources and ideas on the internet. Here is a small sample.

Museums and ConcertsOpera from the Met
Basic Advice
World Museums
“Daddy School”The World’s Homeschooling Moment
Voice of Experience
Considering Homeschooling
Solid Tips

And, finally, an excellent resource from Massachusetts Family Institute.

19.  Great advice from Mike Farris – especially item #6 🙂Now the CEO and general counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, Michael Farris was a founder of both HSLDA and Patrick Henry College. The following is copied from his public Facebook post. It’s especially helpful for panicked parents, but a good reminder for the rest of us as well:How To Give Your Kids A Really Good Education While They Are Out of SchoolYou need not and probably should not try to emulate what your kids were doing in school. This unfortunate situation gives every parent a chance to ensure that their children have some basic tools for learning that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

1. Have your kids read aloud to you.For little kids, this is by far the most important thing you can do. Forget the nonsense modern methods. Teach them phonics. After all, they are learning to read English. And in English, letters make sounds.
2. Read aloud to your children.Pick great books. Pick things your children understand but may be a bit over their own reading level. For preschool kids, this is by far the most important thing you should do.
3. Make sure your children can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.By themselves. No calculators. Learn to carry and borrow. Learn how to express remainders in division as fractions. Old fashioned math.
4. Do math time tests.When you know math well enough to do it fast, you know math.
5. Work on spelling.Find lists of commonly misspelled words and learn how to spell them. Start with the difference between lose and loose. It drives me crazy when I see supposedly well-educated adults repeatedly confuse those two.
6. For heaven’s sake teach them that you do not use apostrophes to make a word plural in the vast majority of cases.Make them write lists of dozens and dozens of words and make them plural.
7. Expand their vocabulary.Get vocabulary lists. Make lists of words from the books you read to them and they read. Learn to spell them and their meanings.
8. Have them read good books. Better yet, great books.Read an equal number of books from the following time periods:Before 1800
1950-presentSome of my favorites.The Chronicles of Narnia.
Anything by David McCullough (histories)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Cry the Beloved Country
My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Great Expectations
9. Write book reportsShort summary of the book.
What lessons was the author trying to teach?
What did you learn from the book beyond facts?
10. Learn to do critical analysisFind a news article or opinion piece. Find an article expressing the opposite view.
Ask: who understood the facts more accurately.
And: whose arguments were more persuasive.Write a summary of your own views after doing the above.
11. Work on geography. Learn every state and its capital. Population of every state. Major cities in every state. Rivers. Mountains.For world geography. Learn them by continent.Country and capitals.
Major industries and products.
Religious groups.
Type of government.
Average income.
12. Have your child write a first-person history of this crisis.Impact on them. Family. Community. Local businesses. Nation.This will be a major event in world history. They can read this to their grandchildren.There are many other things that can be done but I have emphasized the basic tools of learning. Science is down wind from math. Most everything else uses words. Master math and words and you can do pretty much anything.If your children do these things it may be the best school year of their life. For those who don’t know me, I am the founder of Home School Legal Defense Association. I was also the founding president of Patrick Henry College where I taught Constitutional Law. My wife and I homeschooled our ten children for 33 years. Our youngest two are PhD students-one at Notre Dame (biomedicine) and one at Michigan State (nuclear physics). I was named one of the Top 100 Faces in Education of the 20th Century by Education Week. Oh…by the way…you notice I didn’t give you links on how to find all these things on the internet. Learn to research. Both you and your child need to know how to do that.

20. The MassHOPE Educator ID Card
Educator IDs are now available for benefits such as potential discounts at retailers. Order them from our website HERE.

21.  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.

22. 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 volunteer@masshope.organd we will review it for possible inclusion in the MassHOPE Messenger. 

23. 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 volunteer@masshope.org.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. Support MassHOPE through AmazonSmileDo 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!

27. 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? Just click on this link: https://masshope.org/boxtops/.