Thursday, October 6, 2016

October 2016 Newsletter

Upcoming Events:

October Mothers’ Meeting: Thursday, October 13th, 7pm, at Amanda Cook’s home in Middleton: 10 E Roselake Dr.

We will talk about all things holiday related—Come share your favorite holiday traditions, foods, recipes, books, etc! You know, to kick off the fall/winter holiday season.  Merry Thanksoween!

happy merry

Middleton is a bit of a drive for many of us, but totally worth it!  Don’t be afraid to carpool (it’s always more fun to drive with friends, anyway!) Feel free to look for/set up carpools in your area on our Facebook group!

DHSA Zoo Field Trip/Halloween Party: Monday, October 24, at 10:15 AM at Zoo Boise: 355 E Julia Davis Dr, Boise, Idaho 83702

Halloween Tiger

Join us for a field trip/Halloween party, with a "wild" twist! Pack a lunch, don your costumes, and come ready for a scavenger hunt, prizes, costume parade, hot chocolate, and of course, seeing animals at the zoo! Admission: $2.50 per person (children ages 2 and under are free.)

Here are the details! There is a LOT of information--thank you for reading through it carefully and following directions!

Meet at the outside entrance RAIN OR SHINE at 10:15 AM for entry at 10:30. One payment will be made for our entire group, and an official head count will be taken. Latecomers will not be admitted with our group and will be required to pay full admission prices, so please be on time!
Upon admission, we will pass out the scavenger hunt info and send you searching. We will meet for lunch, scavenger hunt prizes, hot chocolate, and costume parade at 11:30. (Location within the zoo TBD.) Following the costume parade, you are free to continue exploring the zoo, or call it a day...whatever works for your family!
$2.50 per person (ages 2 and under are free.) PAYMENT MUST BE MADE IN ADVANCE AND IS NON-REFUNDABLE. Payment is due on Monday, October 17th. No late payments will be accepted. Should you decide to join us "day of" you will have to pay full price admission. Payment can be made through Pay Pal, cash, or check.
Friends of Zoo Boise/Family Pass Holders ONLY: You may use your passes to get into the zoo and will not be counted as part of the official field trip head count, but PLEASE RSVP by texting 208-841-1732 OR by posting a comment on this event in our Facebook group, indicating you will use your family pass and how many people you are bringing.(We want to make sure we have enough hot chocolate and prizes for everyone!)
Pay Pal instructions:
If you have a Pay Pal account, send payment to Please add a note with your contact information, and how many are in your party, with their ages (including children 2 y/o and under. The zoo requires this for headcount.) If you do not have a Pay Pal account, you can create one for free. Or you may send a check---see instructions below.
Check instructions:
Make checks payable to Marissa Pineda and send them to 12028 W. Dynamite Ln. Kuna, ID 83634. Must be postmarked no later than Monday, October 17th. Late payments will not be accepted. Please include your contact information and how many are in your party, with their ages (including children 2 y/o and under. The zoo requires this for headcount.)
Cash instructions:
EXACT CASH ONLY, PLEASE. Payment may be brought to Marissa Pineda at 12028 W. Dynamite Ln. in Kuna, no later than Monday, October 17th, or brought to our next Mothers' Meeting (Thursday, October 13th at 7 pm, see above in Upcoming Events for address and details.) Please include a note listing how many are in your party and list their ages (including children 2 y/o and under. The zoo requires this for headcount.)
This is a Halloween party, so costumes are encouraged! However, as we will be attending the zoo during regular business hours, please avoid the grotesque, blood and gore, and masks that impede the wearer's vision. No weapons (toy or otherwise.) No loose parts or pieces. Costumes deemed inappropriate as defined above will need to be removed and left in the car.
Lunches: You may pack your own or you may purchase lunch at the zoo cafe. The zoo does not have lunch storage facilities, so don't be afraid to bring strollers or backpacks to haul your foodstuffs. Please no plastic straws or glass containers.
Weather: This is a rain or shine event. Pray for shine, but dress appropriately! (Layers are recommended, and clear plastic rain ponchos from the dollar store or Walmart might be a good investment!)
Zoo Etiquette:
For animal wellbeing, your safety, and common courtesy to other Zoo Boise visitors, please review the following Zoo Etiquette guidelines with your family before visiting the zoo.
 DO have fun!
 DO remain with your group. All children should be with a supervising adult at all times. We ask for a ratio of one adult to five children.
 DO have a rendezvous point in case you become separated from your group.
 DO stay on visitor pathways. Keep off of railings and fences! Zoo animals are wild animals, not pets. Their exhibits are designed to protect both you and the animals from harm.
 DO help us keep the zoo clean by recycling and placing litter in trash receptacles.
 DO understand that animals need rest, privacy and protection from extreme temperatures just like humans. Many animals have off-exhibit areas and may not always be available for viewing. Check back later in the day.
 DO respect all zoo animals (including people!) and zoo property. You will have a better chance of seeing animals up-close by showing respect in the following ways:
 DO give an animal space. Some animals (ducks, geese, squirrels) roam free on zoo grounds. Please do not get too close or attempt to touch them because it may frighten them and then they will run away from you or possibly become aggressive.
 DO stand still and look around closely for a few moments at an animal exhibit. You will be able to get a closer look at the animal than if you approach it quickly or make sudden movements.
 DO use conversation voices rather than loud yelling voices. Loud voices may frighten the animals and they will remain in their dens until the loud noises stop.
 DO NOT tap on the exhibit windows or other parts of animal enclosures. The exhibits are animal homes and tapping on their enclosures may frighten or upset the animal.
 DO NOT throw any object (including food or coins) into animal exhibits. The animals
are on diets made specifically for their nutritional needs. Any food not given approval
by the zookeepers may make the animal sick. Other objects, such as coins or pencils, may cause injury to the animals.
 DO NOT bring skateboards, bikes, roller blades or pets into Zoo Boise.
You and your group will be asked to leave Zoo Boise if you do not follow Zoo Etiquette.
Thank you for your cooperation and enjoy your day at Zoo Boise!
Please contact Marissa Pineda at or post a comment in this event, or call 208-841-1732.


November Mothers’ Retreat: November 10-12, 2016 in McCall!


Save the date!!!! A beautiful cabin has been booked in McCall for Nov 10-12 for a relaxing, invigorating mom retreat. The cost is $175 for both nights and includes yummy food and lodging, treats, and great company. There is also a hot tub. Space is limited, and will be filled on a first come basis. A $100 deposit will hold your spot (non-refundable unless you find someone to fill your spot). The deposit is due October 15th. The remaining $75 can be paid anytime before Nov 1. Nursing babies are welcome, but no older children.

Retreats saved my sanity as new homeschool mom. Having a few days away from being a wife and mother and just being "me" while visiting with other women who "get it" filled my cup and helped me be a better wife and mother. Many of my best ideas and resources came from conversations at retreats. Many of my best friends are people I have met or really got to know on retreats.

I'm looking forward to making new friends and renewing old friendships. Hope you can join us!!!!!

My paypal address is (just make sure you message me if your name isn't clear from your paypal account.) or my address is Janet Cox, 1300 Lake Lowell Ave., Nampa, ID 83686


Social Media: A Tool for Your Homeschool—Facebook Edition

Even if you take only a cursory glance at the DHSA newsletter each month, you may have noticed an uptick in encouragement to join and engage in our Facebook group.  This is intentional.  Back in the beginning days of DHSA, the member moms would eagerly await the pages-long newsletter, sent monthly. The newsletter was very often the only connection members had with other LDS homeschoolers, or other homeschoolers in general. These newsletters were filled with inspirational messages, homeschool management tips, recipes, notes from conferences (usually held in Utah), news of community events and field trips, listings of businesses run by homeschooling families, and more.  A while ago, I was lucky enough to discover a treasure trove of these old newsletters at the home of a friend who was downsizing, and it has been sweet (and sometimes hilariously entertaining) to go through these “historical” documents. 

As email became available and more widely used, it was proposed that the newsletter be sent electronically to save time and postage.  This proposal initially met with resistance, as PCs were not yet ubiquitous, and because change is hard. 



 Over the next few years, however, as PCs became more affordable, and younger, more tech-savvy families began homeschooling, the switch was made. 

Now, the thought of sending out several pages of information via traditional post is silly because technology has made sharing information virtually instantaneous.  Through email, blogging, and more recently, texting and social media, we can share information and have conversations in real time--with multiple people at the same time--in our communities and around the world.


There are so many options for disseminating (and gathering) information, that it can be overwhelming to keep up with it all, but I’d like to share how Facebook can work in your favor and become an amazing asset to your homeschool.

First, the DHSA Facebook group was created for members to ask questions, connect with other homeschooling families, post interesting articles, set up playdates and field trips, and otherwise build rapport within our little community. 

Last month, we test-ran Facebook Live, streaming a portion of the September Mothers’ Meeting.  We tried this in an effort to make Mothers’ Meetings accessible to those who couldn’t attend.  I was on the “away” team that night, driving my kids all over kingdom come, so I streamed the meeting through my phone and listened (and posted comments when I was parked somewhere, waiting on the kids.)  It was awesome to feel like I was part of the meeting even though I couldn’t be there in person.  Facebook Live offered connection in a way I never had before. We got mixed feedback from Mothers’ Meeting attendees and viewers, but ultimately, we feel it was a good experiment, which we will continue to tweak to meet the needs (and respect the privacy) of our members. 


This month (October) we will live stream a portion of the meeting for those who can’t attend, but still want to participate, so that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and inspiration our group affords. We will do this while also maintaining the privacy of those in attendance who wish not to be filmed.  Access to the video stream will only be available through our Facebook group and is not public. We beg your patience as we work out best practices. Honest, respectful feedback is encouraged as we go about harnessing the technology to help our members thrive in their homeschooling endeavors. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our VP, Christie Crook via Facebook or at 208-604-2950.

In addition to using Facebook Live through the DHSA group, Facebook (in general) can be an amazing tool to connect you to others who share your interests and concerns with your homeschool and your lifestyle.  There are many, many homeschool Facebook groups in the Treasure Valley---umbrella groups such as Treasure Valley Homeschool Moms (and Dads) and Southwest Idaho Unschoolers are places where members can ask questions, buy and sell curriculum, share details about community events, find tutors, teachers, instruments, field trips, and friends.  Niche groups, like Treasure Valley Nature Study and 208 Homeschool Families with Teens, help families meet specific academic and social needs.  There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of local Facebook groups that you can join, to enhance your homeschool opportunities and lifestyle, such as virtual book clubs, documentary sharing groups, TED Talks, entrepreneurial collectives, farmer’s markets, and news outlets.

For those on the fence, or opposed to Facebook because of distrust in putting personal information online, or “tried it once, got sick of stupid Farmville game requests” you have the ability to customize the privacy settings on your account. 


Many people I know set up Facebook accounts under aliases, because they prefer not to share personal information online, but still want to be connected to various groups to find out about community events and activities. If family drama or your insistence not to accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life keeps you from being on Facebook, I’m here to let you know that you don’t have to accept friend requests from anyone.  I met a lovely woman at a homeschool gymnastics event (that we both heard about in a Facebook P.E. group) who politely declined my friend request, saying she only uses Facebook to participate in homeschool groups and only checks it once a week.

This information stunned me—I had previously thought of Facebook as my “guilty pleasure”—a bit of a voyeuristic time suck (because DRAMA!) with some positive benefits (see me shamelessly plug our DHSA group again and again!) but after that conversation, I realized that I could make much better use of Facebook as a tool rather than a distraction.


  Armed with this bold new concept, I revamped my Facebook account and turned it into a fantastic resource while minimizing distracting and irrelevant posts and interactions that could lead me down the dark and destructive path to cat videos, political rants, and Candy Crush marathons.

Through Facebook, I have discovered new authors, books, artists, videos, articles, documentaries, blogs, and local events that have enhanced my kids’ education (and mine!) and found support and camaraderie in interest groups outside of homeschooling.

I’ve made friends and exchanged ideas and advice in writing, blogging, knitting, and recipe sharing groups. I have met and become friends with people across the country and around the globe who are passionate about the same things I am and gained insights from their unique perspectives.

Using the “Events” feature of Facebook, my family has discovered and joined in on cultural festivals, field trips, book discussions, and volunteer opportunities. 

All this is the awesomeness of Facebook as a tool for homeschooling! If you are currently using Facebook, what do you use it for? What homeschooling resources do you use through Facebook? If you are not a Facebook user, do you think you would consider it, now?

We will continue to offer the DHSA newsletter through email, as long as the big name email providers will allow us to send mass emails and not mark us as spam, but if you want the most up to the minute information about DHSA’s goings-on, Facebook is where it’s at! You can find us here. Join us!