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Archive for June, 2009

Unschoolers Winter Retreat

June 28th, 2009

The 3rd Annual UWWG Announced for 2010:

 We’re excited to announce the 3rd Annual UWWG (Unschoolers Winter Waterpark
Gathering) will be Feb 7 – 13, 2010 at the awesome Kalahari Indoor
Waterpark Resort – Sandusky, Ohio!

Join us for a week of awesome fun
and support among a 1000+ unschoolly / life learning homeschooling
families from around the country, at Ohio’s Kalahari Waterpark Resort
- the largest Indoor waterpark in the USA! Plus, NO register or
Conference Fees! Our super discounted room rates start at only $99/per
night for a standard 4 person room – and that includes your waterpark
passes and participation in all our UWWG Events! What a tremendous
deal!!! Our 2010 UWWG will be even bigger and better! We’ll be doubling
the size of the conference area we’ll be using, so we’ll have lots
more room for all the Funshops, Talks and Events being planned.
Further details and to start chatting with other UWWG attendees,
please join our UWWG yahoo group.Please help us spread the word, by
sharing this announcement with all your unschooling friends and
posting on all your unschooling groups!

THANKS and see you next February!!!

Carol Reinhard
UWWG Coordinator
Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gatherings
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UWWG/

Discount tickets at Legoland during off hours

June 23rd, 2009

Hangin’ with the locals at Legoland Discovery Center:

Hangin' with the locals at Legoland Discovery Center

This current deal at the Legoland in Schaumburg continues to be extended. We enjoyed the day there last week with our kids. If you have a Lego fanatic in your family this could be a great family activity. I honestly do not think it is worth the daily admission rate (which you can get $5 off if you order online), but our kids (ages 4-12) did have a really great time. They don’t have a lot to do there, but a simple dragon ride, a carnival-style techincycle, a 4-D movie, numerous Lego sculptures, and a room full of Legos to build with was more than enough to keep our kids happy for the day.

Here’s the details on the current promotion:

Visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center for only $7 per person!

Offer extended until 26th June!

Not sure what to do with the kids during the holidays, then bring them to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center!

Download this coupon, and you and your family can visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center for only $7 each! This is a saving of $12 for adults, and $8 for children. The coupon is valid Monday – Friday after 4pm. Last admission is at 5pm, but the Center is open until 7pm.

To get your $7 ticket, simply download this coupon, fill in your details and bring a print out of the completed coupon to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. One coupon is required per person.

Download your $7 ticket coupon here!

This is just one among many field trip and family activity destinations that can be enjoyed with smaller crowds and lower prices during off hours, which definitely works for me!

Author: Erin Categories: Special Events, Special offers Tags: , ,

Marriage Conference

June 23rd, 2009

I received the following email with details on an upcoming marriage conference:

Dr. Bob Moeller’s For Better, For Worse, For Keeps Marriage Conference has been used by churches all over the country as a tool to help their couples get close and stay close. You’ll love Bob’s pastoral heart, humor, storytelling, and winsome spirit!

The conference will be held at

Bethany Baptist Church

6700 W. Gunnison, Harwood Heights, IL

Saturday, June 27th, from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Doors will open at 8:15 AM for registration.

Why not invite another couple to join you and your spouse for this special presentation of Bob Moeller’s challenging, husband-friendly and life-changing marriage conference, For Better, For Worse, For Keeps. Even strong marriages will benefit from the teaching, challenges and insights Bob shares.

There is no charge to attend and it’s open to all couples who want to refresh, renew and enjoy even more their marriage relationship. Even lunch is provided!

If you’re planning to attend please call the church office at (708) 867-9111 or e-mail bethanybc@sbcglobal.net and make your reservation today. Space is limited and couples are expected to attend from all over the Chicago-land area so register please right away to save a place.

Here’s the schedule for the marriage conference on Saturday, June 27th:

8:15 Am – 9:00 AM Registration
9:00 Am Session One – Communication and Conflict
10:15 Am Break and Snacks
10:45 Am Session Two -

Building Emotional Intimacy

12:00 Pm Lunch Provided
1:00 Pm Session Three -

Seven Secrets to a Great Sex Life
2:00 Pm Break and Snacks
2:15 Pm Session Four -

Staying Close for a Lifetime
3:30 Pm Conference Ends

Bob has been married to Cheryl for 30 years and is a homeschool dad of 6. He is a TV host for five years (Total Living Network), radio personality, (The Marriage Minute on Moody Broadcasting, WMBI- 90.1FM/1110 AM) conference speaker, pastor, and author.

Here’s what Gary Chapman, author of the Five Love Languages, said about Bob and Cheryl’s book, For Better, For Worse, For Keeps, “This book can give hope and perspective to any marriage. I highly recommend it!”

Author: Erin Categories: Conferences Tags: , , ,

HSLDA membership giveaway

June 18th, 2009

Every homeschooler in the US, and many international ones as well, owe a debt of gratitude to the HomeSchool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).  They have worked passionately to maintain and advance the freedom of homeschoolers nationwide.

If you are not already familiar with HSLDA I would encourage you to take some time and look over their site. They work on a national and local level defending and communicating for and to homeschoolers.

They offer a variety of resources including speakers, books, and online resources that can benefit the homeschool family.

My interaction with HSLDA has been very positive. They are there to help. They stand behind homeschoolers with a passionate determination and want  to assist you in any way possible. I have not needed their legal assistance, but have heard many stories of their willingness to serve and defend families in need. They are an incredible resource and defense that all homeschoolers should tap into.

Other important links:

  • Signing up for their E-lert service helps keep you aware and gives you timely opportunity to stay involved politically.
  • More detailed information about their organization (click the other tabs across the top for even more information).
  • They also work with the Home School Foundation to help homeschooling families in need.
  • To join HSLDA and take advantage of their numerous member benefits.
  • They also sponsor a number of contests.

** HSLDA has graciously donated a one year membership to one of the readers here! **

You can earn numerous entries for this giveaway:

- first, simply leave a comment and you are entered into the drawing

- Post about this contest and/or our website and leave another comment with the link

- Tweet or post on facebook about this contest and/or site and leave another comment

- Submit information for a Chicago area support group or co-op that I don’t already have listed and you can be entered again (once again, please come back and leave another comment here).

Each valid comment posted is an entry into the drawing which will take place on July 1. That gives you all about two weeks to spread the word and get in as many entries as you can. Winner will be notified by email and will have three days to respond to claim their prize

The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner

June 16th, 2009

Summer tends to be planning season in homeschooling households, and just in time for the formulating frenzy, The Old Schoolhouse has released its brand new 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.

E-Book: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner

This planner offers far more than stability and structure for your homeschool days. As we all know, the role of mother, home manager, teacher, negotiator, etc. overlap throughout each day. And, likewise, the parameters of the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner stretch into these roles as well.

A sampling of what you will enjoy with this tool:

Calendars – including ideas appropriate for each month from July (starting in just a couple weeks!) through June 2010; yearly calendars up to 2012; along with recipes and resources appropriate for each month

Inspiration – from well known homeschool authors (including Jay Wile and Amanda Bennett), addressing topics pertinent to homeschool families.

Must-know lists and compiled charts — from presidents to cloud types to geographical terms, the periodical table as well as miracles and parables.

Record Keeping — fill in schedules (for two, three, four, and five children), grade tracking, field trip planning, activity managers, inventory sheets, goals, etc. This book offers 120 pages of homeschool related forms and schedules!

Household help — they don’t send a person, but all of these resources can help everything run more smoothly. This also gives you a place and format to compile essential information. They help you organize chores, medical information, schedules, menus, gardening, pets, parties, and budgets. Over 60 pages of these useful tools.

Each of the forms is made to either print and write on, or type right onto and print out filled in, whatever you prefer. You can save your changes for further modification, or to build on, or print and save the hard copy.

The only downside I have found is that if you want to keep more than one computer based copy of one of the forms, you would need to save the whole planner more than once on your computer. Since I plan on storing hard copies of the record sheets, this did not diminish its usefulness for me, but it was something I had to consider when printing out the various copies for each of my kids. However, if you own a copy of Adobe Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader, the free download, but a rather expensive software), it has the capability of saving individual pages in modified format.

I have big plans for organizing this summer and pulling together all the information and strategies that I need for the year ahead. This wonderful planner has given me the framework and tools to make it all a reality. I had already started before receiving the planner, but the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner has done a lot of the work for me, and now I don’t need to go searching all over the internet to get it done, making my precious planning time even more efficient.

And, since it is all in an ebook format you can print and reprint the various pages as you need to keep them visible around your home and keep your family all on the same page.

All of these resources, 375 overflowing pages, are packed into this one e-book for $39.00. You would want to purchase it soon to take full advantage of the planning and ideas available even to enrich your celebration and study of the Fourth of July, and to have all the information in place for the new school year.

Purchase the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.

Read more reviews of the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.

Free days

June 15th, 2009

Just when we thought summer had arrived, we head into days with lots of rain predicted. So, what to do?

Of course, the free or $1 movies are beginning at many theaters this week.

Or, general admission to the Shedd Aquarium is free this week (June 14-19), with reduced admission to the various exhibits.

The Museum of Science and Industry is also free this Friday. This is your last chance to get in free here until October, so take advantage of this great museum!

Any other free (or inexpensive) options for these rainy days? Please share your favorites!

Author: Erin Categories: Field Trips, Special offers Tags: ,

Acting workshop

June 12th, 2009

The following is from Katie Cheely:

I am offering an Acting workshop with my theater company in the next
couple weeks, and we are also performing “Twelfth Night” and
“Pilgrim’s Progress” in the Chicago area.

“Explore the Spotlight” is a four day Acting workshop for kids, ages
11 – 18. A great workshop for all levels of experience – from
beginning to advanced – and for anyone who wants to have fun:)

Students get to take a variety of classes taught by theater
professionals, perform for friends and family on the final day, and
see two exciting premiere productions!

Classes are Monday – Thursday, June 22-25, from 2 pm – 6:30 pm at
Stage One. Topics include Improvisation, Stage Combat, Scene Study,
Acting Shakespeare, Stage Makeup, and Acting a Song.

Students get to see “Pilgrim’s Progress” Wed, June 24, and “Twelfth
Night” Thurs, June 25, both at 8pm at Stage One.

This is a schedule of our performances:

Our first show is Shakespeare’ s “Twelfth Night.” This high-energy,
6-person adaptation of Shakespeare’ s popular comedy invites you to
the earthy island of Illyria, where impulse and instinct reign, and
the characters search for love despite much mischief and
misunderstandings.

Showtimes and locations for “Twelfth Night” are:

Thurs, June 18 – Grand Crossing Park 12pm
7655 S. Ingleside Ave, Chicago

Thurs, June 18 – Skinner Park 6pm
1331 W. Adams St., Chicago

Fri, June 19 – Ravenswood Manor Park 5:30 pm
4626 N. Manor Ave, Chicago

Sat, June 20 – Portage Park 12pm
4100 N Long Ave, Chicago

Sun, June 21 – St. Odilo’s 3pm
2301 S. Clarence, Berwyn

Thurs, June 25 – Stage One – 8pm
620 Lee Street, Des Plaines

Our second show is “Pilgrim’s Progress: A New Journey,” a modern
musical retelling of the classic allegory of one man’s journey to
“Celestial City.”

Showtimes and locations for “Pilgrim’s” are:

Wed, June 17 – St. Michael’s 7pm
310 S. Wheaton Ave, Wheaton

Wed, June 24 – Stage One 8pm
620 Lee St., Des Plaines

For more information, visit our website: www.uncoveredtheatre.com

Feel free to contact me with any questions, or for any further details!!

-Katie Cheely
UnCovered Theatre Company
kcheely.uncoveredtheatre@gmail.com

Author: Erin Categories: Special Events, classes Tags: , , ,

SpellQuizzer winner

June 12th, 2009

Thanks to Random.org, the winner of the SpellQuizzer giveaway is . . .

Comment #2 — Jen Stanley

Congratulations! You have until  Thursday evening to get back to me and stake your claim.

If you missed my review of this great spelling software, you will find it here.

Thanks for entering, everyone, and check in next week for another exciting giveaway!

Author: Erin Categories: Curriculum, Reviews, contests Tags: ,

Product Review: SpellQuizzer

June 7th, 2009

I have to admit that spelling settles into the category of subjects that draws less than an enthusiastic response from pretty much all of my kids. We do it, check it off,  sometimes groan in the process, and move on with life, or school.

Recently, Dan Hite of SpellQuizzer.com asked me to review his product and I fostered a little glimmer of hope that this would brighten this otherwise dull subject. I am so glad we gave it a go.

Day one

I input the spelling words, having fun making up my own original sentences like, “poetry – Blake just LOVES {insert extreme sarcasm} poetry poetry.” The kids get to hear these all week long and smile for each one. I always have fun with spelling sentences, so it added to my fun, to use this recording feature for my own tailor made sentences.

The program is quite easy to use and the process for setting up all three lists (for three different children) took me approximately 10 minutes. Of course, once I get them all in I can reuse them for younger children in subsequent years. The time required of the parent is very manageable.

The first run through I sit with my kids to answer any questions, check their initial progress, and make sure they understand expectations.My seven year old asks me to write out her words because she wants to study and make sure she earns the cheering for a perfect score next time.

Day two —

My daughters come in to my office at 7:00 a.m. to see if my computer is on so they can do their spelling. I guess I can probably take it off the school schedule if they finish it two hours before school even starts.

Days three and four –

Same story. Spelling is done before the day begins. They want more words to study.

Day five –

No doubt, all three have their spelling words down without hesitation. Talk about a painless process. We’re all hooked.

Take a few minutes to check out their website and you can . . .

- Download a free trial of this spelling program

- View some video demonstrations of SpellQuizzer

- Check out their many spelling lists

- Enjoy their special section geared just for homeschoolers

- And, of course, for just $29.95 you can own your own copy of this spelling software

With SpellQuizzer you can import and export spelling lists, compact your lists for long term storage, and use a written hint if you don’t use the audio feature (although, in my opinion, that is the most entertaining part of the process). My second child has routinely struggled with spelling and has little to no desire to study her words each week, but her enthusiasm surpassed all the others. By Wednesday she already could spell all her words correctly. SpellQuizzer had a guaranteed perfect paper waiting for her on Friday.

Now, for the best part . . . One reader will be able to win a copy of this software! Yes, Dan was gracious enough to offer a free copy to one of my readers. If you would like a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post and you will be entered in the drawing. The contest will close on Friday, June 12. The winner will be posted that afternoon and will have until Monday evening to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

You can even earn extra entries — blog about this contest and you can be entered yet again (make sure to leave another comment saying you did so);  Subscribe to this website (and comment again) and not only will you receive all these posts delivered right to you, but you will be entered one more time.

Happy Spelling!

I’m sure it’s obvious, but this has definitely worked for us!

Author: Erin Categories: Curriculum, Reviews Tags: , ,

Used Curriculum Sale

June 7th, 2009

Title: Used Curriculum Sale
Location: Johnsburg Library
Link out: Click here
Description: 10:00 – 12:00 Used Curriculum Flea Market
Sell some stuff, buy some stuff, ask lots of questions!
A limited number of tables, half tables and parking spaces are available by advanced reservation only. To sell at the used curriculum flea market please contact:
Kathy Wentz or leave a message at 847-497-4407. Please specify a table, half table or parking space when you leave a message.

12:00 – 1:00 Eat, Meet and Greet

1:00 – 4:00 Open Forum Q&A
Ask questions and hear real answers about the different homeschooling styles, curriculum choices, what has worked (and what hasn\’t!), legal information, where to find resources, and much more!
Start Time: 10:00
Date: 2009-07-18
End Time: 16:00

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