Science class in Elburn for 5-7 year olds

Science In Your Own Backyard

Who: Boys and Girls ages 5 – 7 (The class is limited to 15 students – first come first served)

What: Science Fun

When: 9:00 Am – 11:00 am

May 15, May 22, May 29, June 5, and June 12

(Please plan to attend all sessions!!!!!!!)

Where:  Elburn, IL 60119 (please contact coordinator for specific address)

Why: To provide young children with the opportunity to think like a scientist and to explore their environment.

Please email Dr. Figgins at: to reserve your student’s spot in the class. Call 630-319-7913 if you have questions.

Please plan to pay $5.00 per session at the first session ($25). The fee covers materials and the cost of hiring a K-2 specialist (Dr. Carolyn Riley) to help with these experiences.

Because the children are so young, we would like for you to stay with your student. This will provide needed support, but more importantly, allow you to follow up at home during the week – which will make the sessions even more valuable.

Materials that will be provided for your student:
Science Notebooks
Hand lens
Seeds, etc. to grow plants at home, too
Other materials as needed

NRA youth education event

Received this via email (Thanks, Melissa!):

You are invited to our second annual National Rifle Association Youth Hunter Education Challenge for homeschooling families.  YHEC is a great opportunity to learn more about hunting methods and safety and game species as well as improve upon your skills.  YHEC is open to boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18.  Its success is due to the numerous volunteers who want to pass on their experience, skills, and knowledge to the next generation of hunters and outdoorsmen.

Our YHEC day will include the disciplines of rifling, archery and shotguns.  We will also have three responsibility classes: Orienteering, Hunter Safety Trail and Wildlife ID.  We are thrilled to inform you that we have teamed up with Action Shooting Sports and Vintage Arms to make this year’s event even better!  Thesepeople volunteer their time to teach firearm and archery safety and responsibility, but even more importantlysportsmanship, commitment, and ethics.

Our event is on Friday, June 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Richmond Hunting Club.  RHC has graciously opened their door to us again because they are committed to educating our youth and they were impressed with the YHEC program.  We are able to offer this day without cost to you because of the generous funding from the NRA and RHC as well as the numerous volunteers who give their time.  We would ask that you buy your lunch from RHC as a special thank you to them but it is not required.  They will have hotdogs and hamburgers with chips and drinks for $5.00 as well as their regular menu available.  Please plan to arrive between 8:30 and 8:45for registration.  We need registration and waivers for every person participating.  We will have a mandatory safety meeting at 9:00. Parents, because of the nature of this event your presence is required for the entire day.  We will need your help to make the day run smoothly and you will be given a volunteer position. We do need a firm headcount.  Please R.S.V.P. to either Laurie Studer or Melissa Martin by June 8th.

To honor our men and women in uniform, we are teaming up with the Veteran’s Network Committee and accepting donations for our troops.  We want to express our thanks to them for the sacrifices they make toprotect and preserve our freedom.  Veteran’s Network Committee will be sending care packages to Illinois troops.  Please see the attached list for suggested items they need.  Sample or travel sizes are great!

You are welcome to bring your personal firearms and eye/ear protection.  We will be shooting .22 rifles and 410 and 12 gauge shotguns.  Please do not bring any other firearms.

Laurie Studer

Richmond Hunting Club

5016 IL Route 173

Richmond, IL 60071


TOS Crew Review — Read for the Heart


Reading is an integral part of learning, and more so it is an irremovable part of our family life. Because of this, I am constantly on the lookout for good books. You know the ones. The ones that have withstood the test of time. The ones that both boys and girls can’t wait to hear more of. The ones during which you would never fall asleep. The ones that spark meaningful conversation even after you have closed the cover for the last time.

Sarah Clarkson wrote Read for the Heart to do more than just recommend some good books. She wrote it to help cast a vision for giving reading a place of prominence in your home. By the time you get to the book list you can’t help but be fingering your library card debating which book to put on hold or check out first. I know reading is important, but this book helped reignite my desire to pass my love of reading on to my kids.

Product: Read for the Heart

Details: A 384 page book with encouragement to make family reading and individual reading time a priority. Over 300 of the pages are lists of books that include summaries and background information to help you choose the best reads for your family and your kids.

Price: $17

What I loved . . .

  • Inspiring. I can find oodles of book lists all over the internet. While I appreciate getting a good book recommendation now and then, I really appreciated Sarah’s casting of a vision for reading. I love to read, and yet it is one of the first things I drop from my schedule when time gets tight. She reminded me with a passion how important time spent reading is in our home and school.
  • Personally and statistically supported. Creating beautiful word pictures, the author shares what crafted this love for reading in her heart. And, she shares statistics, quotes, and other encouragement as to the importance of reading. We owe it to the development of our kids’ minds to read early and read often, and this book can be a great catalyst to encourage you in the endeavor and give you the tools (great books!) to enjoy doing so.
  • Lists and more lists. Not just an alphabetical listing of books (although the index does provide that), this book breaks down the lists by popular genres (historical literature, fairy tales, picture books, etc.) Beyond that, each entry includes the author, other books by the author, illustrator, copyright date, and a brief summary of the book. A few quick lists also reference Caldecott winners, Newberry winners, and books especially for boys, girls, and families reading together.
  • Reading tips. Aside from rich motivation and abundant lists, she also gives some tips to making reading time special. From locations to treats she will stir your own imagination in this area.
  • A must have book. This book offers an incredible resource when doing your book shopping. I am always looking at books at a used book sale and trying to figure out by reading a sentence here and there if I or my kids will like the particular book. I will definitely bring this guide along with me now to see what it has to say when purchasing unfamiliar books. Obviously it won’t have all the good books listed either, but it does have many, and many that I am not familiar with as well. I look forward to bringing Sarah with me to all the book sales now and ask her advice before  I buy. 🙂

Some considerations . . .

  • One person’s opinion. You might feel differently. Her glowing opinion will not guarantee that you will like it. For example, she loved Across Five Aprils (which I have also heard many other people rave about), and I had to force myself to trudge through this book with my kids a few years ago. I was not impressed. But, we are all entitled to our own opinions and will love what others didn’t and vice versa.  You will still need to determine what books are a good fit for your family’s interests, values, attention span, academic subject, and personalities.

This book stirred up an incredible amount of enthusiasm within me. I cannot wait to finalize plans for the coming school year and include some of the great books recommended in this resource. I would strongly recommend this book to any homeschooling mom needing encouragement and ideas for making reading come to life in your home. You can check out the table of contents as well as a sample chapter if you would like to see a bit of the book for yourself and accept Sarah Clarkson’s invitation to more than just a “reading list, but to a reading life.”

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Apologia as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.


Presidential Fitness Challenge

The President's Challenge

You may recall from your PE days gone by the Presidential Fitness program. You can use this program with your own students today as well.

The challenge is designed to motivate kids to get in the habit of regular exercise. The President’s Fitness Challenge website has lots of information available.  They even have patches and certificates for you to order that you can use as rewards for your child as they set and achieve their goals.

If you are not familiar with this program, here is a little information from their site:

The Physical Fitness Test recognizes students for their level of physical fitness in 5 events: curl-ups or partial curl-ups, shuttle run, endurance run/walk, pull-ups or right angle push-ups, and V-sit or sit and reach.

The Physical Fitness Test offers three awards for students who meet the program qualifications:

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award
This award recognizes students who achieve an outstanding level of physical fitness. Boys and girls who score at or above the 85th percentile (based on the 1985 School Population Fitness Survey) on all five events are eligible for this award.

The National Physical Fitness Award
Students who score above the 50th percentile on all five events – demonstrating a basic, yet challenging, level of physical fitness – are eligible for this award.

The Participant Physical Fitness Award
Students whose scores fall below the 50th percentile on one or more events receive this award for taking part in all five events of the Physical Fitness Test.

For competitive kids they might enjoy seeing how they rank in the national standings. For your non-competitive kids, or those just setting health goals, you might like them to just work to improve their own scores over the course of the program. Most of these activities you could conduct in your living room, basement or back yard.

Physical Education is often an area that homeschoolers struggle to consistently incorporate into their school day. This might be an easy way to add some structure to your activity and with some effort your kids can make some progress in their own health and fitness. Might not be bad for the teacher to join right in either . . .