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With the holiday season upon us, you have likely already glanced over your list. Do you cringe when you land on the names of people you know homeschool? Are you wondering what to possibly get a person who lives a different lifestyle from yours? What could a parent who spends most of his/her day at home with his/her children need or want this year? What about the children? What would be most useful to them?
Even though we are “regular” people, and even though it’s the thought that counts, we homeschoolers are indeed a different bunch on your list.
- Solutions for shopping for the homeschoolers on your list (parents and kids)
What makes homeschoolers different
1- Financial needs. Homeschoolers often are a one-income household. Perhaps, the second income is smaller if the parent who homeschools works part-time in order to help make ends meet. Contrary to what society might think, homeschoolers do not receive governmental compensation for choosing to school their children at home. Not even if they are homeschooling a child with special needs.
The financial needs of our family are at the forefront of our minds, even if we don’t talk about it often. Families of a child with special needs often have additional expenses that are not otherwise covered. The financial burden is real and heavy – especially at this time of year.
2- Time constraints. Homeschooling parents have full days. They are up early and end their days late with little to no breaks in-between – not even for lunch. Getting out to run errands is often very difficult when also raising and homeschooling a child with special needs. Homeschooling parents have the additional task of having to plan for their child(ren)’s schooling in their very limited spare time.
3- Frugal with money and time. This one combines the two above. Even though homeschoolers have financial burdens and time limitations, they are also very good at being wise with both. You will find that homeschooling families know how to extend a dollar and can make the most of their 5 minutes of extra time. They are not wasteful and often try to limit their consumption to essentials. Keep this in mind when gifting for this type of family. Ask yourself, “Is this going to be useful or will it end up in a landfill in 2 weeks?” This is likely the question that family already asks with their every expense.
Even though I list things that make homeschoolers different, remember that children are just children, and parents are just human. We do enjoy receiving something personal and fun as well. And, children like to receive toys just like other children do. Although, how much you spend is not of importance to us. A well-thought out $5 gift can go a long way in our household!
Use the list below as inspiration.
Solutions for shopping for the homeschoolers on your list (parents and kids)
Gift wisely. Rather than spending dollars on things you find cute and trendy, ask the family what they would need most this year.
Here are ideas to get you started.
The gift of planning
- Snap Into Action eWorkshop: From Psychological Report to a Yearly Homeschool Plan for Your Child with Special Needs – Give a homeschooling parent the gift of organization with this planning tool. This is my personal eWorkshop designed to help homeschooling families devise a skeletal homeschool plan for an entire year.
- NeuYear.net Calendars – Innovative and stylish yearly wall calendars. Large academic wall calendar available for the homeschooler who likes to see everything at a glance.
The gift of healthy essentials
- gift cards (for clothing stores, office supplies stores, pharmacy/ drug store where child has prescriptions, grocery stores, etc.)
- gift basket of organic/ natural toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, soaps/ body washes, hair products, etc.)
- gift basket of healthy/ organic food products
The gift of giving back
- Krochet Kids Intl. – This non-profit organization works with vulnerable women in poverty-stricken parts of the world to help them transform their lives and the lives of their families through jobs, education and mentorship. With the mission to help get them out of poverty, Krochet Kids Intl. employs these women to create high-quality and fashionable products such as headwear, apparel, bags and accessories for women, men and children. Gifting from this shop teaches the recipient about the story behind social entrepreneurship and may inspire them to do likewise!
The gift of time
- gift certificate for the expenses for a caregiver for several hours
- gift certificate for a 1-time cleaning crew
- gift certificate volunteering your time to watch the children for a couple of hours one night
- gift certificate offering to prepare a meal for the family
The gift of educational tools/ curriculum resources
- SchoolSupplies365.com – Get all the supplies a homeschooling family needs in one spot. Categories include arts & crafts, childhood development, creative play, critical thinking, educational books, music supplies, paper supplies, and supplies for all subjects. There is also a section specifically for homeschoolers and for special needs. Be sure to check out the toys and games selection which provides excellent educational material. You will find brands such as Carson Dellosa, Scholastic Teaching Press, Houghton Mifflin, Melissa and Doug, and more! Ships to Canada, USA and internationally.
- The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks by Heather Haupt – A well-researched book that breaks down how and why it’s important to move to help a child focus. Perfect tool for homeschoolers and after-schoolers.
- Montessori Services – Find wonderful wooden toys, books, and cards for young children or those at this developmental level. Categories for daily life, music & movement, sensory, art, math, science, etc. Perfect for families to find educational materials with an original, natural twist. Ships to Canada, USA and internationally.
Educents – Daily discounted educational products including hands-on and PDF eBooks/ worksheets, and curriculum, etc. Ships to USA only, but they have plenty of digital products for sale at super discounts that can be downloaded from anywhere.
- Currclick – Curriculum and classes are offered in a click. Find free eBooks and clubs as well as live classes, lap books, unit studies and eBooks to help families along their homeschool journey. I particularly love that you can search by subjects, classes and even special needs. Sign a family up for a live class you know they will love.
- Reading Journal – Build essential reading skills with these system designed for elementary school students. The Reading Journal is comprised of 30 unique lessons that focus on vocabulary, word study, comprehension, and higher level thinking skills. The journal features each lesson 6 times throughout the year providing just the right amount of practice without too much monotony.
- Family Writer’s Club – It is very important that children have a writing life outside of school assignments and homework. The Family Writer’s Club was developed to inspire children to do just that. This workshop is not about making sure that children have perfectly formed letters, amazing spelling, or finely tuned grammar. This workshop is about instilling a LOVE of writing, inspiring children to see themselves as true authors, and showing them that writing is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression that they will ever encounter.
The gift of reading
- Dads of Disability: Stories for, by, and about fathers of children who experience disability (and the women who love them!) by Gary Dietz – A great gift for fathers! Read my review of this book here.
- Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs by Katie Wetherbee and Jolene Philo – A great gift for leaders of children’s ministries (including therapists at rehabilitation centers, summer camp guides, youth group leaders, teachers, daycare educators, homeschooling parents, and church leaders. Read my review of this book here.
The gift of fun
The gift for the child with special needs
- Signing Time Series of ASL videos and products, including the Christmas Collection – Teaching your child sign language can unlock the world around him and give his mind a head start.
- Open a window to your child’s heart & mind
- Reduce tantrums & increase bonding
- Build vocabulary & instill confidence
- Cognitive benefits of being bilingual
- National Autism Resources – Shop for over 1400 product for individuals with autism including those that satisfy sensory needs, help build social and life skills, anger and anxiety management, and visual materials. You can also find ABA flashcards and materials for classroom supports/accommodations, and so much more!
- Dyslexia 101: Truths, Myths and What Really Works – a book by Marianne Sunderland that is everything anyone needs to know on the topic of Dyslexia. Available as a PDF, a Kindle book or in paperback.
- Dyslexia Training Classes – Educate yourself so that you can educate your child. Courses created by Marianne Sutherland to help you understand your child’s needs better. Classes include: Better Understanding Dyslexia, Teach Them How to Learn, Teaching Reading, Fluency and Comprehension, Teaching Spelling, and Teaching Organization.
- Basic shapes for Beginners: A hands-on approach to pre-writing strokes for kids by Heather Greutman – A 79-page eBook with a hands-on approach to pre-writing. Organized by weeks, includes printables for designated activities. Perfect for the child with fine motor difficulties. Guides parents step-by-step through the process of getting a child from beginner strokes to becoming ready to hand-write.
- All About Reading – A multi-sensory, sequential approach to reading with lesson plans ready to go.
- All about Spelling – Explicit teaching of spelling strategies that is motivating and hands-on. Built-in review system helps spelling stick!
- Turnaround: Turning Fear into Freedom – an award-winning audio program that helps a child struggling with fear, anxieties and worries. It’s directed right at the child so that it empowers him – making this unique in its approach. This program can make a great group gift for a family who is in need of such assistance with their child.
The gift of music
- The Rhythm Tree by Ryan Judd – Find music-related learning activities for your child with special needs from a board certified music therapist. Read my review of Ryan’s video course Using Music to Address Social Skill Development in Children with Special Needs.
Visit Ryan’s store to learn about his new Parents’ Choice Award winning Lullaby Sleep CD, his CD for Insomnia, and his DVD/CD Music Kit for children with Autism and Special Needs
The gift of inspiration
- A Content Heart: Finding Godly Contentment in a Me-First World – In a world of instant gratification, upside down priorities, and exonerated selfies, we need something to help our kids as they strive for true contentment in their lives. This is a 22-lesson Bible study helping kids and teens to find godly contentment in a me-first world. Students will go on a journey through Scripture learning how to practically and realistically find contentment with themselves, their circumstances and their worldly possessions.
- Developing Quiet Time – Believe it or not, this isn’t something we just know. If we want our children to desire to have a quiet time, we will need to intentionally teach them why they should do it and what it will look like. This 4-week study will do just that through a practical step-by-step approach. Great for the whole family.
- DaySpring Cards Inc. – Inspirational gifts to uplift anyone. They carry cards, planners, school and office supplies, devotionals, journals, notebooks, jewelry, home décor, seasonal/ holiday items and many other gift ideas by category. Christian worldview. You will find peace just hanging around the site. Ships to USA, Canada, and internationally.
The gift that lasts all year long
- Green Kid Crafts – Each month, a box with hands-on, creative, eco-friendly STEM science kits get delivered right to the family’s door. There is also an option for a one-time kit, a two-month kit, a three-month kit, or a 6-month kit. Savings if purchasing for siblings. For ages 3-10. Ships to Canada and USA only.
- Craftsy – Online crafting classes including sewing/ quilting, cake/ cooking, yarn and fiber arts, art/ photo, home/ garden, jewelry making, woodworking, paper crafts and more. Great prices for high quality courses. Makes a wonderful gift for the entire family.