Free bowling for kids

Brunswick Bonus Zone :: Members-Only Values and More

While homeschoolers keep the wheels turning all year as far as fun activities, field trips, and outings, the summer always gives us some special opportunities to take advantage of.
Thanks to reader Anastasia for this link:

Kids bowl FREE all summer long at Brunswick
This is truly free, you just need to register online for the Brunswick Bonus Zone in advance of arriving for your free game of bowling. The program says members will receive one free game each day from June through August.

Presumably no other purchase is required, except for shoe rental if you would need those, but there are not a lot of details in the ad. I would encourage you to call your local Brunswick to find answers to any further questions.

Every Brunswick might not necessarily be participating, but there is a fairly good list that includes more than a dozen in the Chicago area, so you will likely find one not too far from your home. And, it’s free! Perfect for those rainy or too hot days that we are sure to encounter at some point this summer.

Sign up now and take advantage of this special program.

Free stuff in Chicago!

Budgets of course limit our opportunities. But, here’s a great site that offers lots of ideas for free stuff that you can do or access.

Check out the Free Things to Do in Chicago for more, but here are a couple highlights from recent posts:

**Upcoming Mini Model Build**:LEGO-chick-free-mini-model-build-chicago

Build a free LEGO Chick: Tuesday, April 6, begins at 5:00pm until supplies last.

Bring your kids to the free monthly LEGO mini-model build at any of the four Chicago area LEGO stores  and take home a free mini-model that your child has constructed! On the first Tuesday of every month, LEGO has this free event and your children can learn how to build a cool mini model, and take it home – for free! A new model will be available every month and will be specially themed to that month – Quantities are limited and offer is good while supplies last only. One free per child. Event is open to children ages 6 to 14 only. See store for more details.

The** Chicago History Museum **is free on Mondays so come out in April 5, April 12, April 19 or April 26 2010 with the kids and family to see this Chicago museum devoted to collecting, interpreting, and presenting the rich multicultural history of Chicago and Illinois. Check out the outstanding “Abraham Lincoln Transformed” exhibit which closes on April 12 after a long run.

**Free Audio Download!** Each month gives away a premium audiobook download for free. How does it work? Well, they give away one audiobook download (that they have published or that a partner has allowed them to give away) absolutely free; available only during that month and only once, ever.

During April,  is offering a free audiobook download of “Stuff Christians Like” by Jonathan Acuff. To get the deal, use promo code “APR2010”.

free audiobook download stuff-christians-like

Lots more free stuff to be enjoyed. Check it out!

Get outside!

The weather these next few days looks to be absolutely gorgeous, so I shouldn’t have to encourage you twice to get out with your kids! Wherever you live around the Chicago area, find a new forest preserve, a nature trail, or even just a playground and enjoy. This time of year it can still be hit or miss, so grab it while you can.

Beaver eaten tree

Today we enjoyed some time with my parents, sister, and nephew at Spring Valley in Schaumburg. Unfortunately the historical farm and log cabin will not be open until next week, but we still soaked in the sunshine on the beautiful walking trails and spent some time in the nature center there. We checked out the bat boxes, the observation deck, the calves, turtles, ducks, trees chopped down by a beaver, wasp nests, and so much more. It is amazing what kids will find and what will fascinate them when you just get out and walk.

Need ideas? Be sure to check out the field trip listings for other local ideas. Maybe you have already seen all the stuff really close to your house, so try somewhere a little further away. One of the great advantages to living in this great metropolis is all that we have within an hour’s drive. Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village, Independence Grove in Libertyville (check before going, sometimes they charge an admission per vehicle), Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Millenium Park in Chicago, Bartlett Nature Center at the James “Pate” Philip State Park in Bartlett, Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington,  and on and on. I would guess there is somewhere that you have not explored with your kids.

Lots of nature centers have activity backpacks that you can check out, and the volunteers that often staff the desks are happy to help make the most of your experience. At Spring Valley you can also rent binoculars, so you never know what might be available if you just ask.

Not a big nature enthusiast?

New to the whole idea of nature study? Make a game of it . . .

– See who can find the most birds, maybe even check out a bird field guide from the library and try to identify a bird that is new to you.

– Make a bingo board with nature items and see who can get bingo first.

– Maybe you have a budding artist, bring sketch pads and find a spot to sit and draw. Some homeschoolers love to do this each week (check out Harmony Art Mom’s Sketch Tuesday for inspiration here)

– Even just bring a book and do your silent or oral reading outside. I love the flexibility of homeschooling. We often take our afternoon classes outdoors to mix a little business with pleasure.

If you want some web based help and ideas to make the most of your outing you might enjoy these sites:

– Charlotte Mason was really big on nature study, and this page has a great summary of her thoughts on nature study.

– More thoughts based on Charlotte Mason‘s philosophies of nature study including how to start in your backyard, putting together a notebook, and getting the most of a hike.

Connecting with Nature also offers lots of great ideas starting right in your own backyard and building your nature studies from there.

– Put together an outdoor treasure hunt. This would be a great activity for just your family or even to invite a few friends along with.

Wherever you go, however you plan to enjoy it, don’t put it off. Just do it! Get out there and soak up this spring weather.

Any other ideas for getting started on nature walks or making the most of your time out of doors?

Used Book Sale Season is Coming!

One of the larger homeschool book sales in the Chicago area is set for May 1. These sales offer a great place to pick up gently used curriculum at a fraction of the price of buying new. Also, they welcome sellers, so start clearing out all those books you do not need and make room for the next year’s needs. Mark your calendars now!

Date:      Saturday, May 1, 2010

Time:      8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Location:      Christian Liberty Academy

502 W. Euclid Avenue

Arlington Heights, IL 60004

(847) 259-4444

Free Admissions!

Come, join home school and Christian school parents from throughout northern Illinois as they gather to buy and sell their new and used educational materials and school books. This event offers a wide variety of books at bargain prices, and an opportunity to sell or trade your used school materials. A limited number of display tables will be available free of charge; you are also welcome to bring your own tables. Set up starts at 7:30.

Christian Liberty Press will be selling new CLP-published books at 25% discount. New books from other publishers will also be available for purchase.

The Christian Liberty Academy music department will also have a bake sale to raise funds for their mission trip.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact:

Lina King
Conventions Coordinator
Christian Liberty Press
Christian Liberty Academy School System
502 W. Euclid Avenue
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 385-2057

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.