New listing in Classes

The tabs at the top of this website are updated periodically as we receive new information and revised information. The following listing was just added to the other music class opportunities listed under the “Classes” heading:

School of Rock
Evanston, IL, and Highwood, IL

Evanston School of Rock
1311 Sherman Place
Evanston, IL 60201
847-864-ROCK (7625)

Highwood School of Rock
43 Highwood Ave
Highwood, IL 60040
847-433-ROCK (7625)

The School of Rock is a performance based music education school.  Their students get a great, relevant and fun education through weekly private lessons and group rehearsals.  Rockers not only learn how to play and perform music, they also boost self confidence and self esteem, as well as make new friends through this process.  Their students work hard and put on amazing rock shows that are so good, you are likely to forget the performers on stage are kids, except it’s your kid up there!

Check them out. And, if you know of any other opportunities for homeschoolers in the Chicagoland area, feel free to drop us an email or comment so we can pass it along.

Home Depot free workshops for kids

home depot kid workshop

If you have a hands-on kid at home you might enjoy taking advantage of Home Depot’s monthly kid workshops.

This program is designed for this purpose:

The Home Depot’s Kids Workshops offer useful projects including the creation of toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, as well as more educational projects, such as a window birdhouse, bughouse or Declaration of Independence frame kit.

The workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety, while at the same time helping to instill a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, this fun time allows for quality one-on-one time between adults and children.

In addition to the newly constructed project kit, each child receives a kid-sized orange apron, similar to The Home Depot associates’ aprons, and an achievement pin.

These generally take place on the first Saturday of each month from 9-12. Contact your local Home Depot for more information or to confirm participation. This coming Saturday they should be constructing a rain gauge. Sounds like a perfect project as we head into the spring season.  Kids 5-12 would benefit most from these workshops.

Homeschool swim classes!

Two swim classes coming up just for homeschoolers:

Norris Center Swim Club:

St. Charles, IL

*Ages 4 and below classes are 30 to 45 minutes + playtime

$72.00 for 8 week sessions

*Ages 5 and over classes are 45 minutes to 1 hour + playtime

$88.00 for 8 week sessions

Class time is Thursdays from 1:15 to 2:15, they can add classes as the program grows.

Starting March 4, 2010

Elk Grove Park District:

Beginning April 6th and 8th for 8 weeks.

The cost is $46 per child.

Tues April 6 – May 25
12:40 – 1:20pm #67949
1:30 – 2:10pm #67950

Thurs April 8 – May 27
1:00-1:40pm #67951
You can register by phone (847.437.9494) or in person at the Pavilion (1000 Wellington Ave. Elk Grove, IL 60007)

Hands of a Child Lapbooking Event

Check out the following information from Hands of a Child co-owner Katie Kubesh:

Lapbooking LIVE on February 23rd!

With Katie Kubesh

Co-Owner of In the Hands of a Child

In Conjunction with Heart of the Matter Online

As a co-owner and writer/researcher for In the Hands of a Child, the Premier Provider of Ready-to-Assemble Lapbooks, I am asked a lot of questions about lapbooking. Many people have heard the term “lapbooking” but have no idea what it is or are overwhelmed by the entire concept of hands-on activities and unit studies. Since lapbooks are such a great way to include hands-on activities in your student’s curriculum, I will be answering the top questions asked about lapbooking and explaining the following concepts:

1. What is a lapbook?
2. How are lapbooks made?
3. What supplies are needed to lapbook?
4. I have all the supplies, now what?
5. How do I find information and activities to complete lapbook?
6. How does my student complete a lapbook?
7. How do you fold the file folder to make a lapbook?
8. How do I incorporate lapbooking into my existing curriculum?
9. What are the benefits of lapbooking?

Please join me,  LIVE… at the Heart of the Matter Annual Online Conference this year!

Have you ever wondered what a lapbook really is? Or maybe you have heard of it, but the mere thought of unit studies and hands-on activities makes you want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. Don’t let your lack of understanding scare you away from this great way of enhancing your child’s curriculum! In fact, you can bring your questions to a bona fide lapbooking expert… LIVE, y’all! Katie Kubesh will be speaking LIVE and will host a Q&A session Tuesday, February 23rd at 10:00 CST.

Click here to purchase tickets and read the post in its entirety.

Katie Kubesh is co-owner and writer/researcher for In the Hands of a Child.  Recognizing that hands-on projects are essential to the learning experience, In the Hands of a Child has created Project Packs that go beyond the hands-on aspect.   They have taken the preparation time out of the parent/teacher job description with Complete Ready to Assemble Lapbook-style units that are available in Ebook, Printed Book, and CD formats. Please visit their website at

©2010 Katie Kubesh

Also, for those that miss out on the great deals at conventions, they have put together a deal available now:

Through our online poll we’ve learned that many of you do not attend a homeschool convention. That is why we’re declaring Feb 15th-Feb 28th as

In YOUR Childs Hands Season!

What does this mean for you?

Savings of course!

We want all of you to have access to our great products and we know that right now times are tough!

So, every day during In YOUR Childs Hands Season

we will post AT LEAST one unit up for discount.

Discounts only apply for that particular product (or products) for that particular day.

So be sure to check back each and every day!

This will be an excellent way to add some great

Lapbook Project Packs to your school shelves!

REMEMBER!!!  Check back each day at this link:

In YOUR Child’s Hands Season

Here you will see the unit(s) on special and find the daily coupon code.  You will also find a list of units that will be featured during this special so you can make your

wish list and plan accordingly!

Sale ends February 28, 2010

Cannot be combined with any other offer,
special, discount, coupon or sale.
Tax & Shipping not included in calculating discount price.
Not valid toward prior purchases.
No rainchecks.

Free class for families

From the Elgin YMCA: Fit-n-Fun Class for Families

In an effort to strengthen the health and well being of
families in our community we have developed a program
that offers a three part class for families to incorporate
healthy habits (physical activity, choosing healthy foods,
family time) into their everyday lives.

We build Strong Kids, Strong Families &
Strong Communities

Special points of interest:

  • Free Family Membership while participating in the class! (New Members ONLY)
  • Healthy Cooking How To’s
  • Snack and Meal Planning
  • Family Play Time Ideas
  • Group Sharing
  • End of Class Tips & Tricks
  • Cooking Guide
  • Support of Other Families

*This Class will be held in English with Spanish translation via headset!!

*Children 4-12 will have the option to participate in Nutrition and Fitness Activities Class targeted for their activity and age level.

This is a 3 -Part Class, all Classes are held on Saturdays
from 3-4pm at the Taylor Family Branch YMCA.

  • 1st Class February 20
  • 2nd Class March 20
  • Final Class April 24

Registration is required!!

To register:

  • by phone call Jennifer Alberts at 847-888-7410 x33
  • by email at
  • online at
  • visit the Taylor Family Branch YMCA located at 50 N. McLean Blvd.

Gymnastics classes in the Fox Valley area

Excel Gymnastics has long served homeschoolers in the Fox Valley area with a homeschool gymnastics class at their Batavia facility. This class meets on Thursdays from 11:00-12:00 for kids ages 6 and up.  They also have preschool classes (3-4 years) and a Kindergym (5 year olds) at the same time (the preschool class is 45 minutes long).  The class is at Excel Gymnastics in Batavia (2301 Main St., Batavia).

They have offered to recreate this class at their St. Charles facility if they can gather enough interest.

Amy is spearheading this effort and any questions or interest should travel through her (see email below). She shared some of her thoughts on her children’s experience in Excel’s homeschool gymnastics class:

We love these classes and the coaches (at the Batavia location) are fabulous.  We have done gymnastics classes through the park district and other locations and our experience at Excel far surpasses these other classes.  This is a great opportunity for exercise and I have even seen boosts in my kids self esteem since starting these classes.  They offer classes for preschoolers at the same time, which is very nice for families with younger kids as well.

New Class Possibility:  Suggested time is Wednesdays from 11:00-12:00 at the St. Charles location  (3N800 Peck Road, St. Charles).  Coach Tony said that there would be a preschool class (45 minutes) at the same time and that they could also combine 4 & 5 year olds for a Kindergym class as well.  The homeschool gymnastics class would be for kids ages 6 and up.

The new session starts next week, but they said they could start the new homeschool class anytime in case families were not ready to start next week.  They need only 4 kids to start the class! And, they have great sibling discounts available right now (25% off the second child’s class!)

Please email Amy ( as soon as possible if you would be interested in this class for one or more of your kids. You will need to let her know how many kids you would like to enroll, their ages, and which location (Batavia or St. Charles).  If they hear from enough interested students to get a new class going she will contact Coach Tony at Excel and let him know so that they can move forward with making these arrangements.

Thanks to Kris Besic of Positive Connections Homeschoolers for passing along this information.

Discovery Center Museum Homeschool Classes

One of my family’s favorite children’s museums in the Chicago area is actually in Rockford. We have enjoyed a membership on and off at the Discovery Center Museum and appreciate that they appeal to a broader range of “kids” than many other children’s museums.

Coming up in the month ahead they have classes designed especially for the homeschooler:

Bring your child to Discovery Center Museum for memorable and exciting learning experiences. We can accommodate small groups as well as individual children, and we offer a wide range of schedules and themes.

Advanced registration and payments are required for participation in all Home School classes.

***Please note that admission to and exploration of Discovery Center Museum itself are separate from the Home School classes.***

Home School Winter/Spring 2010

Preregistration required. To register, call 815-963-6769 or drop by the Discovery Center office during normal business hours. Payment must accompany registration.
Class registration opens December 18 for members,
December 22 for Public.

Class fees: $11 Members / $13 Public; ages 6 and up

High Voltage Science

If you like lightning, then this class is for you! Discover how to build up, store, transfer, and discharge electrical jolts both big and small. Have a hair-raising time with the Van de Graaff generator, discover which materials make the best charges, and get zapped by miniature bolts of lightning!

Wednesday, February 3
Session 1 ages 6-7; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 2 ages 8-9; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 3 ages 10+; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 4 ages 6 & up: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Under Pressure

Explore the amazing science of air and water pressure. Use atmospheric pressure to hold back a flood, discover a barometer in your bathroom, and put on the squeeze to make a diver sink and float. Experiment with Bernoulli’s principal and Pascal’s law and test your own strength against the power of pressure.

Wednesday, March 10
Session 1 ages 6-7; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 2 ages 8-9; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 3 ages 10+; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 4 ages 6 & up: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Simple Machines I

What are simple machines? Where would we be without wedges? How do screws help our lives? Get a feel for mechanical advantage as you lift an incredible mass with a GIANT lever. Build simple machines and measure their effectiveness as we explore forces and more in this class about levers, inclined planes, wedges, screws.

Wednesday, April 14
Session 1 ages 6-7; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 2 ages 8-9; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 3 ages 10+; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 4 ages 6 & up: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Simple Machines II

Build a free-wheeling car, design a pulley-driven message-carrier, calculate the turns on a series of LEGO gears, and much more! We’ll turn the force around in this follow-up class about wheels and axles, pulleys, and gears. Note: While the Simple Machines I is not a prerequisite, this class will build directly on themes from that class.

Wednesday, May 5
Session 1 ages 6-7; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 2 ages 8-9; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 3 ages 10+; 11:00-12:30 p.m.
Session 4 ages 6 & up: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Lots of great classes in the works. Check out their website for more details and to register.

Gym and Swim classes

A great way for kids to get some exercise and exposure to team sports is a local gym and swim class.

Park Districts have started offering these during the school day, geared just for homeschoolers. If yours does not already do so, you might want to contact them and see if they would consider it. Many places are glad to put their staff and facilities to good use during some of their regular off hours, for a reasonable price.

Two that already offer various gym,  swim, or art classes:

Elk Grove —

It’s time to register for the Elk Grove Park District homeschool swimming lessons and art classes.

  • Classes begin January 4th and go through February 25th (8 weeks).
  • Registration begins December 1st.
  • Swim lessons are $48 per student and art classes are $57 per student.
  • You can register by phone at 847-437-9494, or in person at 1000 Wellington Ave., Elk Grove, IL 60007
  • Various classes for kids from 3-12 years old.
  • Art on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and swim on Tuesday and Thursday
  • Call for specific times and registration

Please note that participants must be registered at least one week prior to the start of the class to ensure that the class has enough children to meet the minimum requirements. Classes may be canceled due to low enrollmentRegistration is on a first-come-first-serve basis and the registration office will contact you in case of a wait list.  

If you have other questions, please feel free to contact the staff listed below:

Shannon Smith
Art/Special Events Coordinator
Phone: (847) 690-1184

Deb D’Onofrio
Pavilion Swimming Coordinator
Phone: (847) 690-1406

Also, in Elgin —

Gym and Swim classes (one hour of each, generally grouped by similar ages)

  • These classes meet from January 12/13/14 through March 16/17/18 (10 weeks)
  • Meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 1-3 at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.
  • Fees are $54 for residents and $64 for non-residents.
  • They tend to be quite flexible with partial enrollments as well.

For more details contact:

Brett Lind
Youth and Teen Coordinator
City of Elgin Parks and Recreation
847-531-7017 – phone

Art Classes in Naperville or online!

The Masterpiece Newsletter
What’s New at Masterpiece Art Instruction December 2009
Karine’s Local Art Classes at The Learning Vine
Spring 2010:

Karine will be teaching the following art classes at The Learning Vine Homeschool Program in Naperville.  See the Learning Vine website for more details.

  • Drawing and Rendering I and II (grades 2-8) on Friday mornings
  • Advanced Drawing Class (grades 8-12) on Friday mornings (Waiting list only.)

Click HERE to learn more about these classes.

Masterpiece Online Academy

Masterpiece Online Academy

Start classes when it’s convenient for you – enrollment stays open once a class has been launched. Students have four months to complete a course.

Art supply lists with Dick Blick part numbers will be provided for easy, online ordering at

The Masterpiece Online Academy offers online courses for junior high, high school, and adult students.

These courses have the following components:

  • Online classroom
  • Video demonstrations
  • Printable lessons
  • Teacher critique of each completed lesson
  • Masterpiece credits that may accumulate toward a Masterpiece Academy Certificate (16 credits needed)
  • Economical Option: Audit only (no teacher critique or credit)

Students will need:

  • Online computer access with Windows Media Player
  • High speed internet connection (DSL or Cable)
  • Access to a scanner or digital camera.
  • Adobe Reader software on your computer. (Download for free at
  • Art supplies (see individual classes)
  • Time – One to two hours per week, per class, to do the work.

All Classes:

  • Tuition: $59.99 per class
  • Fee for Auditing only (no teacher critique or credit): $29.99
  • Duration: Enrollment will last for four month after registration. Complete at your own pace.
  • Masterpiece Credits per class: 1 (Credits go toward a Masterpiece Certificate, not college credit.)

How to Register:

  1. Visit the Masterpiece Online Academy E-School.
  2. Choose the class desired.
  3. Create a Global Classroom user name and password or log in if you already have one from a previous class.
  4. Pay for the class using a credit card or PayPal online or over the phone.

See our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Looking for Phonics tutoring for your child?

Betty Davis, published author of How Jill Learned to Read Using Phonics and educator for more than ten years is offering resources and classes to children aged four through twelve in reading and writing. You may  check out her website at Funn with Phonics Tutoring.

She has designed this program that walk children through three main levels of reading mastery.

From her website
Level 1:

Students will clap , march, and sing as they learn the sounds of the alphabet. Art and other forms of media is used  to support the phonics concept that is being taught that  week.  Each week students’ are taught a new word family that is associated with a particular short vowel.

Level 2 and 3:

For students who are familiar with the word families associated with level one, level 2 focus on learning blends, while level three focuses on long vowels, digraphs, and diphthongs.

Based in McHenry County, Betty is available to meet at public libraries throughout the Northwest Suburbs.

For more information, feel free to contact her by email at:

Or see her website: