Educator screening

Randall 15 IMAX

What is IMAX®?

Free Educator Screening

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You and one (1) guest are invited to the Free Educator Screening of LEWIS & CLARK: THE GREAT JOURNEY WEST, plus see exclusive footage for upcoming IMAX movies, A Christmas Carol and Hubble 3D. Additional guests will be charged $5.00 for each for Lewis and Clark.

Date: Tuesday October 13, 2009

Time: 4:30pm – 20 minutes of footage from Hubble 3D and A Christmas Carol
5:15pm – Lewis and Clark (please arrive a half hour prior to check-in and register)

Place: Randall 15 IMAX® 550 N. Randall Rd. Batavia, IL 60510

RSVP: Email or Call 630-659-6762. RSVP by noon on Monday Oct, 12th. Please leave us your first and last name, school name, theater, and number of people attending. If registering via email, you will receive an email confirmation. If registering via phone, you will not receive a phone call to confirm your space.

Lewis and Clark: The film chronicles a group of explorers — the Corps of Discovery — led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark into uncharted territory to find a water passageway to the Pacific Ocean and describe for science the wonders of the west. The expedition encountered and conquered an endless series of physical challenges as they traveled through raging rivers, buffalo-filled prairies, sub-zero temperatures and rugged mountains on their 8,000-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean and back. The generosity of Native Americans in helping the explorers is detailed, including the story of Sacagawea, a teen-aged, Native American girl who accompanied the group and whose contributions were invaluable to the success of the expedition.Website Teacher’s Guide

Upcoming IMAX Moives:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE: November 6, 2009 – Disney’s A Chrstmas Carol: An IMAX 3D Experience will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology. With crystal clear images, laser-aligned digital sound and maximized filed of view, IMAX provides the world’s most immersive movie experience. Starring Jim Carey. Website Activity Sheet

HUBBLE 3D: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE: Spring 2010 – Experience the gripping story — full of hope, crushing disappointment, dazzling ingenuity, bravery, and triumph – in HUBBLE 3D, the seventh awe-inspiring film from the award-winning IMAX Space Team. Vividly captured in IMAX 3D, HUBBLE 3D recounts the amazing journey of the most important scientific instrument since Galileo’s original telescope and the greatest success in space since the Moon Landing — the Hubble Space Telescope. Audiences will accompany the space walking astronauts as they attempt some of the most difficult tasks ever undertaken in NASA’s history, and will experience up close the awesome power of the launches, the heartbreaking setbacks, and the dramatic rescues of this most powerful story, all in amazing IMAX 3D. Website Activity Sheet

Group Rates: For groups of 10 or more, $5.00 per person (Traditional 45 minute films) or $7.50 per person for IMAX DMR (Hollywood Feature Length). Groups of 20 or more receive one free admission for a teacher or chaperone.

Book a group and call Jeannette at 630-659-6762 or email

www.GQTIMAX.comTeachers GuideLearning to the MAX online brochure

Our current IMAX Library: Teachers Guide Click here


LEWIS AND CLARKLewis and Clark

Star Trek




HUBBLE 3DHubble 3D




BUGS 3D Bugs

LEWIS AND CLARKLewis and Clark

Concession Combos available for groups

TOS Crew Review — A Journey Through Learning


A couple years ago we discovered the fun of lapbooking. Having completed a couple lapbooks on our own, I was excited to get to review a few lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning.

The lapbooks are created in three seperate sections which get glued together for the final product.

They have many lapbooks available covering a variety of academic subjects and very reasonably priced. And, you don’t have to wait for them to ship in the mail as they are available for immediate download. With so many great topics to choose from we decided to use The Parables of Jesus for our Bible time for about a month.

The Parables of Jesus

What we loved . . .

Everything you need to know is right there. We have lapbooked before, but I lack any strong creative genes, so I struggled to lead my kids well in putting together creative lapbooks. We always found ourselves using the same templates. They came out looking a bit dry. Still fun, still capturing the knowledge, but not the works of art I had imagined filing away. With A Journey Through Learning’s lapbooks we each created our own lapbook that packed in the information while retaining our individual flavor in the process.

The ebook is easy to work with, print out the pages you need (however many copies you need), and then read through one section (or more) each day.

Kept our Bible time very hands on and interactive.

Got the kids excited about parables. Day two, both my older girls came with passages of Scripture they wanted to read with parables they had found on their own. Gotta love that!

Incredibly easy to use. They tell you where to cut, glue, staple, etc. They include a picture of the finished product as well as a placement diagram with each section to remind you where every piece belongs.

What we tweaked . . .

Not much. I did work more closely with my younger kids to help them write in the results of our discussions, but other than that, even my five year old had a fairly easy time participating.

We often got carried away in our discussions of the parables. I love that the authors encourage you to focus on the main point, and we did. We examined our lives and our home in light of what Jesus taught in each parable. I especially treasured our talk on storing up treasure in heaven, and what that really looks like. The month flew quickly by.

You could print the whole book if you prefer to read from paper. However, I found it easy enough to print what they needed to cut out for the day and then read the lessons from the computer screen while they began cutting.

They really know their parables now.

I would definitely recommend these lapbooks to someone wanting to try out a lapbook. I have heard from some experienced lapbookers that they don’t like being “locked in” to their template and format, so if you really enjoy putting together all your own material this might not be your thing. Or, it might be a great starting point for something a bit different than you would have done without the materials.

We will likely be checking out some of their other lapbooks as well. Most of them run $13 for the download, $14 for a CD of the material, or $21 to order a printed copy. They also have minilapbooks, copywork, and other materials available on their website.

Check out more reviews at the TOS Crew’s blog.

Opportunity to meet local candidate at campaign kick-off

A Chicago area homeschool dad is running for a seat in the US House of Representatives. He currently fills a seat in the State Senate. If you would be interested in learning more or supporting Randy Hultgren in this process here is the information on a gathering this coming week:

Please come to the campaign announcement
and kickoff of

Randy Hultgren

on Monday, September 28

He is running for the U.S. House of Representatives, District 14

We are eager to show the media a good turnout and following, so, please bring your friends and family between 1:00 and 1:30pm to

Peck Farm Park 4038 Kaneville Road     Geneva IL 60134
Located west of Randall Road on the corner
of Kaneville Road and Peck Road

All of the buildings have been reserved so families can enjoy themselves.  The only request is that from 2-2:20 you stand with Randy as he gives his speech and answers questions.   There will be signs, stickers and treats.

Please RSVP (requested, not required) by 4:00 on Sunday to:

Rose at

(Click here for  Peck Farm info and map)

Interested in Local History?

If you would like more information on local history including events, museums, background information and resources, you may like to subscribe to a FREE quarterly magazine put out by the Illinois State Museum.

This colorful publication, entitled The Living Museum, packs information on the many historical monuments, museums, and sites available to you around our state. It also includes information on current exhibits at various museums so you can plan them into your schedule.

Living Museum Cover

For more information about this publication, or to subscribe, check out the Illinois State Museum website, or email them at:

A River Thru History

Another opportunity to see Illinois history come alive:

A River Thru History is a living history reenactment of early American life, as it was on the Illinois frontier prior to 1848, with emphasis on local history from the fur trade era to the canal era. The goal of this rendezvous is to be the premier event of this type in this area by creating an exciting, entertaining and educational experience for all ages. To this end, we strive to create a better understanding and appreciation of our history by allowing the public and the reenactors to mingle, both as witnesses and participants, in our event. Finally, we seek to have the most authentic and highest quality reenactors and trade goods to represent our vision of the rendezvous. This is consistent with the overall goal of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor Civic Center Authority, which is to promote and enhance the historic, recreational and economic development of this new style National Park.

When: October 10,11 — also a “school day” available on Friday the 9th for $3 per person

Where: Columbia Woods, Willow Springs, IL

What: Early American food, Music, crafts, canoe races, and more

Cost: Children under 6 — FREE
Children 6-12   $3
Senior over 62 $4
Youths 12-18    $4
Adults                  $8
Family pass        $18

See their website for full details, A River Thru History.


Interested in seeing Alpacas up close?

Want to learn more about this friendly animal? Come join in Alpaca Farm Days this coming weekend. September 26th and 27th in Elgin.

Four farms will be participating in this hands on event.
There will be alpacas, demonstrations, and farm stores to experience.
Make plans to attend and share the news!
When: Sat and Sun  10:00 – 4:00

Hosted by: Rivendell Alpacas and Jill & Gordon Muirhead
9N942 Dittman Road
Elgin, IL  60124
Phone:  847-464-1098

Taking full advantage of your library

Formerly, I thought I had a pretty good handle on all my library had to offer:

Reading programs — great incentives in summer for individual reading and in the winter for family reading and we earn free stuff in the process of doing something we would spend our time doing anyway. And, the kids got even more excited about time spent reading.

Books — Obviously, books hold the main draw of the library. Thousands of books on any topic you could want to read on. I’m still not quite sure how I would homeschool if I did not have weekly access to the library and daily access to the Internet. I would spend a lot more money, I am sure.

Non-book items — we also enjoy magazines, CD’s, movies, puzzles, and other items the library makes available for home use through borrowing.

Online account access — We can easily keep tabs on all these items that constantly flow in and out of our house online with our account information readily available and renewable with the click of the mouse.

All those things are great. However, I recently found out I had just scratched the surface of information available to me through the library.

This summer I discovered the World Catalog (claims to have 1.4 billion items on record right now!) which I had access to from home with my library card. I can reserve a book from just about anywhere in the world and they will send it to my library for me to pick up. Now, living near a large city like Chicago, I rarely have a book sent from outside of my state, but I did recently get a book from Arkansas. If you have not learned to navigate the “World Cat” get in touch with your librarian and find out about the billions of items that you have access to through this data base.

We love audiobooks and devour a few of them each month during our errand running. Well, they come in a new format we can check out from the library as well. Playaways are preloaded auidobooks in an MP3 type device that you check out and take with you.

But, there’s more. My librarian also showed me the depths of internet options and subscriptions available through my library website. This will vary widely from library to library, but here is just some of what I can access with my library card, from the comfort of my own home (Clicking to these sites through my library site automatically enters me as a subscriber. On some I need to set up a free account to use them):

  • Online language course through Byki.
  • Book review sites
  • Online picture books, through Tumblebooks.
  • Local newspaper websites
  • Premium research databases
  • NetLibrary‘s 16,000 electronic version of printed books.
  • Naxos music library’s recordings of 85,000 pieces. (We love this one for our composer studies, no more scouring the internet for a suitable recording or trying to remember to get a recording while at the library. Immediate access from home!)

And the list goes on and on, figured I would just share a few favorites we have already used. When she started showing us this I could not believe the information that I had in front of me. All these memberships and subscriptions that I have a part of through my library card. Now, of course, as I said this will vary widely by library, but if you want your library to offer something that they do not already offer, just ask. If they can find a way to fit it in the budget, they might just do it.

Photograph of Homeschool Resource Center

Tiny, but powerful! The Homeschool Resource Center. Four walls packed with resources.

I could not talk about libraries and homeschooling without mentioning the Johnsburg Public Library. Tucked away in this small, unassuming town library is a Homeschool Resource Center that has helped homeschoolers across the country. If you live in Illinois you can drive to the library and check out items with your valid Illinois library card. They have microscopes, models, a vacuum pump, and lots of other larger items to help teach some of those tougher topics. Those items you must physically pick up and drop off at their library.

However, they have also used this $55,000 grant to stock its shelves with books, curriculum samples, and other resources that homeschoolers will benefit from. And, they are open to suggestions for new purchases as well. It would most likely be worth your time to peruse the 2000 plus items they have specifically for the homeschooler.

One last library advantage . . . If you live in the Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis area (click city names for various local program sites), you have the opportunity to “check out” museum passes each week. These can provide for some great, inexpensive field trips for your family or homeschool group. They are first come, first served, but make sure to look into this great program if you live in any of those areas.

Enjoy more Works for Me Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday

Some encouragement

Although not directly concerning homeschooling, and not even speaking of true motherhood really, I found this quote from Amy Carmichael’s biography (A Chance to Die by Elizabeth Elliot), quite thought provoking. These words, printed on a card, encouraged her from the inside cover of her Bible:

These children are dear to Me. Be a mother to them, and more than a mother. Watch over them tenderly, be just and kind. If thy heart is not large enough to embrace them, I will enlarge it after a pattern of My own. If these young children are docile and obedient, bless Me for it; if they are froward, call upon Me for help; if they weary thee, I will be thy consolation; if thou sink under thy burden, I will be thy Reward.” The words are followed by a picture of the Shepherd, reaching for a lamb while a vulture hovers overhead.

How fitting for the homeschool mother! Our children most likely did not experience the dreadful situations these temple children had faced, but we can still grow weary and feel stretched. When the days go well, praise Him! When we struggle, cry out to Him. Even when we sink, He remains our reward. Those vultures circle, but God protects.

We have a critical role as parents, as more than parents.