Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Swap Shop in just a few weeks!

October 29th, 2013

In just a few short weeks one of my favorite events, a double blessing — a place to donate our unneeded items and a place to find items we need all for free. My kids even do some of their Christmas “shopping” for each other at this event. 🙂

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Reclaiming normal

October 28th, 2013

September and October have both nearly passed between my posts here, and fortunately, life is slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy.

I know I have missed sharing about some events as these last couple months have kept me from doing much of anything outside of what needed to get done each day.

As life slows just slightly (as much as it can with 6 kids and homeschooling and working part-time), I look forward to returning here on a more regular basis and updating listings as well as sharing about current happenings for homeschoolers in the Chicago area.

If you have anything you would like to share about with fellow area homeschoolers, please shoot me an email and I will be happy to pass it along.

Thank you for your patience!


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Free Museum Day September 28, 2013

August 25th, 2013

For one day you can enter a museum for free! (I know we are a little spoiled around here with all the great museums and so many with free days for us Illinoisans)

The Smithsonian Magazine hosts this event, so you can check out their site for all the details and to register.

The ticket is good for two people, and is limited to one per household, so please keep that in mind.

However, there are some great places on the list – SciTech in Aurora, Graue Mill in Oak Brook, Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago,  and more!

Check it out and please pass it along.

International Space Day

May 3rd, 2013

Tomorrow, May 4, is International Space Day.

Not long ago I did a review on Janet’s Planet Science program and found out about this unique “holiday” on her blog:

Check out the fun ideas and resources to celebrate the day in style!

Review and Giveaway: The 5 Money Personalities

January 8th, 2013

What: The 5 Money Personalities

Written by: Scott & Bethany Palmer
Available now!
Check out their homes on the web —

About The 5 Money Personalities
The hidden key to a healthy relationship is not just managing money but understanding how the other approaches money.

Every couple argues about money. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 40 years or dating for 4 months, money touches every decision you make as a couple—from the $5 cup of coffee to the $50,000 car. And when the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye on how much to spend or how much to save, that’s when arguments turn into ugly toxic fights that leave both persons feeling hurt and angry. It’s why money has become the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. Obviously, something needs to change. The reason this crisis has not been addressed is because it has never been identified, defined, or given a name. Scott and Bethany Palmer, aka “The Money Couple,” have identified and defined this problem and offer concrete solutions to fix it.

It’s not just about money management, and it’s definitely not just about overcoming debt. It is a whole new way of living that will change everything in your relationship. Tens of thousands have already been transformed. Are you ready?

My take:

Easy read. I flew through this book. Easy to read, lots of real life illustrations, engaging, entertaining, and just plain old well written. Although not a flawless book, at least the reading of it was rather enjoyable.

Unique perspective. Rather than getting hung up on the nitty gritty of money decisions, this book digs deeper into who you are when it comes to money and why that matters. Understanding who you are, and perhaps more importantly who your spouse is, in the money arena will add some enlightenment to the decisions you have made and the ones you have yet to make.

Useful tool. While you could read it straight through, it really reads best in separate sessions. Great for a bedtime book for couples, or Saturday morning coffee book. Read a quick chapter together and talk about the action points at the end.

Written by two spenders. I have to mention this because it stood out to both my husband and myself. My husband and I are one of those rare couples that find themselves in the same category — both savers, both security seekers (although to varying degrees). Reading a book by two self-proclaimed spenders I felt a bit misunderstood, and sometimes even mocked. I could’ve easily written the counter criticism for the spender, but that’s not the point, I don’t think, of recognizing money personalities. They still pour out lots of good advice, but if you read this book as a saver, know that you might feel a little defensive at times, and in my view that’s just fine. 🙂

Some personalities overlooked? I also felt like there were some other significant areas of my money personality that didn’t get addressed. Stewardship, generosity, and faith might be hard to classify, but they are a huge part of my money decisions. I don’t know how they could be worked into their paradigm, but I did feel like there were some gaps in the 5 personalities they tried to boil things down to.

Even more on the website. The website has more great tools for evaluating your money personality and how to come to greater agreement without arguing.

Significance of dreams. This drew me in right from the beginning. They really nailed it in their discussion of dreams. We do often lose our dreams over time. I think that’s kind of what the movie “Up” hovered around. The Palmers want you to know you don’t need to lose your dreams. You can chase them and recapture them again, as a couple. This book is definitely just as much about a quality marriage relationship as it is about money.

Practical tips. While a lot of the book is offering information, analysis, and perspective, it does get down to the practical before too long. Getting rid of financial infidelity, dumping, and having a money huddle are some of the practical areas that they offer very real life ideas on building or rebuilding your relationship.

This book offers great tips and perspective on overcoming money differences in your marriage relationship. None of us married our clone, so anyone can benefit from this book. As homeschoolers, living on one income, we at times feel the pinch a bit tighter than others might. I think this book can really help you come together on money issues even while retaining your unique money personality. A great read!

If you would like to enter into the giveaway to win a free copy of this book, please leave a comment on this post with an email so I can reach you if your name is drawn. You are welcome to a second entry as well by simply sharing about this giveaway somewhere else (facebook,  twitter, etc.) and returning here to leave a second comment.
The giveaway will wrap up on Tuesday night, January 15th in the evening.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

An Early Merry Christmas

December 21st, 2012


While we take a break from our schooling, the most important learning in our house never ends.

As I have shared before, a significant part of the reason that we homeschool is to take advantage of every opportunity to live out our faith in front of our children. I don’t follow Christ flawlessly by any means, but I want my kids to grow up with no doubt about the reality of God as the sovereign, awesome Creator and Savior of this world. And that learning continues and even heightens during the holidays.

I’ll be spending most of my time in the next couple weeks away from my computer (once the rest of the grades are entered and lesson plans for the next quarter are done), and hopefully you will be doing the same.

Enjoy time with family and extra time for hugs and laughter.

Most importantly, I pray that you will have time to drink deeply of the true reason to celebrate this time of year — the coming of Jesus Christ, born to give us a second birth. We get stuck in this physical world too often and forget the eternal focus we were create to maintain.  Christ came to seek and save the lost, which applies to all of us who carry Adam’s sin nature and have no hope of heaven aside from a perfect substitution to take our punishment on Himself as Jesus did.

I pray that you know this most important reality and will bring it to mind as you celebrate the birth of Christ. If you do not understand the true significance of this season which goes far beyond the nativity scene, I pray you too will see it in a fresh, personal way this season.

See you next year.  🙂

Merry Christmas!

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Open swim for homeschoolers in Elgin

November 28th, 2012

While Gym and Swim is taking a break for the busy holiday season, they do still open for some homeschool  swim times at the Centre in Elgin.

Nov. 29th

Dec. 6th

Dec. 13th

Dec. 20th

Dec. 27th

Jan. 10th

From 1-3pm


2 & under: Free

Youth (3-17):$ 2.75

Adult (18+): $3.25

For more information: The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way. Ph: (847) 531-7000

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Thank you!

September 6th, 2012

Just gotta say “thanks.”

When I started this site 3 years ago it grew out of a passion for homeschooling. Of course, my passion is driven in part by my faith in Jesus Christ that I do not feel could be fully passed on to my kids if I didn’t get the chance to live it out in front of them 24/7. I fail, I learn, I grow. Through it all they see that learning doesn’t quit when you graduate and homeschooling is a whole-family, whole-life endeavor.

Thank you for sharing my enthusiasm. Sharing this site with your friends, relatives, and fellow-homeschoolers at co-ops and support groups.  Thank you for sharing with the rest of us about events, activities, support groups, contact information, ideas, and more.

Looking forward to the continued growth of this site as a helpful resource for Chicago area homeschoolers, and thank you for making that possible!

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SciTech needs

July 17th, 2012

Received this via email (maybe you have some items that need a new home, and what better place to donate them?):

SciTech Logo PNG

SciTech Needs Donated Items! 

Oops, our last email was a little confusing!  We have rearranged the list so that you can understand our needs better!

Here’s a wonderful way to help the SciTech Museum and put those unused shop items to great use!  The SciTech Museum is rebuilding exhibits and you can help!  SciTech is a 501c3 charity looking for the following items:

  • 10 inch compound miter saw
  • 10″ circular saw blades with carbine tips for all materials
  • 3 cordless drills
  • 2 pistol cordless screwdrivers
  • Wood lathe
  • Metal lathe
  • 48″ metal brake
  • 2×4 wood
  • 1×1 – 1×10 wood
  • Plywood sheets
  • Medium Density Fiberboard sheets 1/2″ to 1″ thick
  • 2 sets of wood working chisels
  • 1″ to 3″ in diameter clear Plexiglas tubing – all lengths
  • Clear and colored lucite sheets
  • Plastic drain pipes in different sizes
  • Wet/dry sandpaper (extra fine – course)
  • 1/2″ & 3/4″ electrical pipe
  • Electrical rough-in boxes for single and double gang
  • Electrical switches
  • Electrical Outlets
  • 12 & 14 gage electrical wire (different colors)
  • 1/2″ & 3/4″ copper piping Flexible vent lines – 4″ and 6″
  • Sloan Valves
  • Copper fittings, connectors, elbows, caps, valves
  • SOS Pads
  • Shop rags/towels
  • Picture hanging supplies
  • Transformers for fluorescent lighting
  • LED lights
  • Multiple drawer tool cabinet on wheels with extension drawer guides
  • Spray Paint of all colors, Paint Primer, Paint Brushes, Paint Rollers, Paint Sprayer with compressor
  • Paint Spray Booth
  • Two shelf plastic service carts 38″x26″ with flat top shelf and 3 1/2″ top tray
  • 18 Gauge Brad Air Nailer for 3/4″ to 2″ long brads & assortment of Brads Up to 12
  • Air Brush Gun with Air Brush Compressors
  • 1/2 HP Deep Well Jet Pump
  • Flat screen monitors of all sizes
  • 28V Cordless Combo Tool Kit with a drill, circular saw, reciprocating saw
  • Spray rubber cement adhesive
  • 1/2″ to 2″ pvc pipe
  • Foam Board and Gator Board Sheets
All items need to be in good working condition.  Please contact: Gloria at:  630-859-3434 x214 or at
Thank you!!
The SciTech Museum Team

ICHE summary

June 14th, 2012

Homeschool conventions have an amazing way of exhausting and exciting me at the same time.

Wanted to share some of the great resources and speakers I enjoyed this past weekend.

Not to overwhelm, we’ll tackle excerpts from two of them today.

First, the College Board rep gave a little lunch time talk on CLEP tests.

She offered lots of helpful info on CLEP exams that made them seem a little more within reach.


– offers huge savings over paying for college, even community college, tuition

– Recommended the book College without Compromise and the CLEP official test book that comes out each year and is available for Amazon.

– No penalty for wrong answers.

– No age restrictions (her kids have taken them as early as 7th grade — earning college credit in middle school!)

– Immediate results. Because it is computer based and you can take it at a variety of times throughout the year, you get an immediate result and know if you pass or not before heading home.

– accepted at 2900 colleges. However, as I was looking at some local ones, the extent they accept them does vary a bit. Some will only accept some of them as elective credits. Others require a higher score than the minimum. So, if you are CLEPping specifically to save on college tuition, do your homework ahead of time with potential colleges.

She gave great tips on actually taking the test including using the practice tests after you have completed high school course work in the subject area. She recommended when practicing to make sure to get two tests in a row with scores in the high 50’s before you attempt the actual test. And, celebrate pass or fail, your kids deserve a reward for all the hard work.

She has a website of her own as well, Credits before College

The official CLEP website has lots of info, or course.


Another speaker, Janice Campbell offered some great insight into grading pieces of writing.

Her website has a number of great resources that you might find helpful, especially in teaching junior and senior high students. She had tips for teaching writing as well as some general teaching tips.

Check out all her info and resources at Everyday Education.

Here are a few of the points that I appreciated from what she had to say:

– In order to evaluate and encourage better writing in your student you need a rubric (which you can find at her site when you give your email), a handbook (to reference specific rules that the student needs to work on), a thesaurus, and a dictionary

– When grading the rough draft you first grade only content. Don’t get bogged down in specific words and mechanics. The rough draft first needs to be adjusted to get the information in an orderly format that completes the assigned writing task. Later revisions will get into the details of style.

– The goal is to teach the student to edit and evaluate themselves (a rubric helps significantly with this because it makes grading so much more concrete).

She shared many more specifics about evaluating writing, but those were the big ones that stuck with me and will have a great impact on how I read and evaluate my kids’ writing.

Did you go to ICHE? Have a favorite workshop?