Silver Dollar City Homeschool Rates

Silver Dollar City has a homeschool weekend in the fall

Event Details

  • Exclusive Homeschool classes available! Tickets must be pre-purchased.
  • Continue to watch the website for a Homeschool Weekend Schedule of Activities.
  • Registration at Guest Relations Horseshoe from 8:30-Noon (pick up FREE goodies).
  • The Marvel Cave Mystery Tour is back in 2014! Join fellow spelunkers as you travel through Marvel Cave attempting to solve the mystery of what nearly wiped out our Gray Bat population a couple decades ago. Complete a student workbook as you go from station to station gathering evidence and solving equations to help you determine the culprit. Book early, only 1 tour available.
  • Meet master craftsmen and watch them in action as we Salute The Great American Cowboy during National Harvest Festival.
Event Ticket Prices
Adult (age 12+):$47.00 + tax $50.51
Child (age 4-11):$37.00 + tax $39.77Price includes 2-day admission.

Ticket Details

Meal tickets available and include buffets! These optional meal tickets are charged in addition the admission price.

• Adult: $11.82 ($12.70)

• Child: $6.33 ($6.80)

Or you can use this special Homeschool rate with a code anytime, it looks like. Check the web for all the details.

(Thank you, Kristen!)

Free download and more

Wonderful offer from the Bluedorn’s:

Textura by Johannah Bluedorn Stanford

Dear Friends,

I wonder if I could ask you to help me with this special promotion we’re doing.

If possible, could you post this link on your FB page and pass it around to your friends if you think they’d be interested.

Thanks so much.
Laurie Bluedorn

We’re starting to upload Kindle versions of many of our products. So far, we have these:

Trivium Pursuit’s List of National Contests and Exams Open to Homeschoolers

Vocabulary Bridges from English to Latin & Greek — A Vocabulary Studies Workbook

Homeschool Basics: Ten Things to Do Before Age Ten (this is also found free on our web site)

Here is the special offer we have for you:

On November 15-17 and November 23-24 (these five days only) Homeschool Basics: Ten Things to Do Before Age Ten [Kindle Edition] will be free. If you download the ebook sometime during the five day period and write an Amazon review for this ebook, we will send you one of the ebooks from our Trivium Pursuit catalog (these ebooks are in pdf format). You can choose one ebook from the following:

Vocabulary Bridges from English to Latin & Greek by Harvey Bluedorn

A Review of English Grammar for Students of Biblical Greek and Other Ancient Languages by Harvey Bluedorn

Cómo Enseñar el Trivium — Educación Cristiana en Casa en un Estilo Clásico by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum — Volume One: Julius Caesar

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum — Volume Two: Alexander the Great

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum — Volume Three: Augustus, Jesus Christ, and Tiberius

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum — Volume Four: Ancient Egypt

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum — Volume Five: Caligula, Claudius, and Paul

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts from the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum — Volume Six: Nero, Paul, and the Destruction of Jerusalem

Westminster and Her Sisters: A Complete Collation and Comparison of Three English Confessions of Faith by Harvey Bluedorn

Trivium Pursuit’s List of National Contests and Exams Open to Homeschoolers

After you download Homeschool Basics: Ten Things to Do Before Age Ten [Kindle Edition] and post your review, then email us (bluedorn @ with the name you wrote your review under and tell us which of the above ebooks you would like.

Used Homeschool Curriculum sale

One of my favorite times of year — Homeschool book sale time!

This is one of the more popular ones coming in May. If you want to sell be sure to get there early to set up and get the best spots.

When: Saturday May 5, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Where: Christian Liberty Academy
502 West Euclid Avenue
Arlington Heights, IL 60004


Come, join us! Bring your own used books to sell and buy new or used books
for the next school year. This event offers a wide variety of books at
bargain prices. Plus Christian Liberty Press will be selling new books at
25% off. There will be books by other publishers available for purchase,
but will not be discounted.

There will be a limited number of tables available on a first come first
served basis. However, you are welcome to bring your own table. Registering
will not guarantee you will get a table. It is simply to guarantee that you
will get another invitation next year and for us to know how many are

Please feel free to share this event with your friends.

The doors will be opened at 7:00 a.m. for set up.

***Just a note: the email I got said 7:00, the site it links to says 7:30, so not sure which is correct. If anyone knows, please feel free to comment or email me.*** ~Thank you!

Pass it around and come ready to shop!

Swap Shop coming to Elburn

This is an amazing opportunity that I heard about kind of late in the game last time around. It is coming again in two weeks, so no excuses! You’ve got extra stuff, grown out of stuff, unneeded stuff to pass on to another family. And, you need bigger stuff, new stuff, different stuff for the new season, growing kids, and yourself. This is the event for you!

It’s the Back to
School Moms’ Swap Shop!

Open to the public August 19th and 20th

What is a Swap Shop you may be wondering? It is an opportunity for
moms to swap out their clothing as well as their children’s gently used
clothing, shoes, books, and toys for other sizes and items. Children’s
and adult accessories as well as furniture will be accepted. The event
is hosted by Authentic Moms, a local Christian mom’s group. Whose
desire is to follow 1 John 3:16-18 and to love with actions and truth,
not just words and speech. The Elburn Community Center will host
this year’s event in their gym. This event is free. The Swap Shop begins
Friday, August 19th with drop-offs taken from 10am till 7pm. The
swapping starts Saturday August 20th, 9am till 2pm.

All items remaining will be donated to Wayside Cross Ministries.
More Swap Shop events to follow, with a Christmas Swap
December 9th and 10th.

For more information feel free to email

In case you are wondering — yes, this is the real deal. This is a great volunteer run quarterly event to help us manage our homes and our finances better. You donate what you don’t need on Friday. They organize it and Saturday everyone is welcome to come pick out new stuff. I walked out with a few bags of new-to-us clothes for my whole family last time. I cannot tell you what a blessing this was. So, take advantage of this easy way to bless others and be blessed yourself!

The Staycation — Chicago style

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again — we live in an amazing area! As I continue to look for fresh ideas for field trips, family outings, and meetups with friends  — I keep finding them. New places, new ideas, new experiences, and all within an hour or so driving time, which is a good thing. With gas flirting with $4.50 we need close to home and cheap. If you are looking to spend your summer mostly in the Chicago area but still want to vacation, keep reading for enough staycation ideas to keep you going through Christmas.

If you want my more complete list of where you can visit in the Chicago area check out the detailed listing of field trip ideas. If you want something a little less overwhelming, let’s break it down into some favorite fives. We’ll explore the Chicago area with my top five: outing genres, free spots, deal websites, city sites, suburban sites, on our agenda for this summer, and tips to save money while seeing the world (or at least Chicago). Remember, I can not share everything there is to do. Chicago is monstrous and I found over 100 places when I compiled my field trip listing, and I’m sure I missed plenty. So, I just want to share some family favorites to hopefully help you find something new.

Favorite Five Outing Genres

Alright, so I usually think of genres when it comes to books, but a lot of our favorites definitely fall into categories as well, and genres just sounds so much better than categories.

Historical Farms — These seem to dot the landscape around here, and they each have something different to offer. Many hover around the mid-1800s and offer lots of free family fun on weekends throughout the year. Check out just a few of these around the area: Kline Creek Farm, Bonner Farm, Garfield Farm, Blackberry Farm, etc.

Water related fun — (of course there is your neighborhood or park district pool, or . . .) Splash parks are a great, often free, fun.

Tours — when it is too hot to enjoy playing outside we love to schedule a tour with a group of friends. Costco offers great tours with locations all around the Chicago area. Also check out nearby factories. We have enjoyed tours in nut factories, jelly bean factories, Oberweis, and other food related products.

Nature Trails — If we are up for a drive we might head out to Starved Rock or White Pines State Park (gotta drive through the water at least once each summer), but there are plenty of closer places to enjoy as well. Check out some lesser known Forest Preserves in your area for a new look at the world around you. Many have little nature centers with enthusiastic volunteers staffing them in the summer.

Non-professional sporting events — you probably have one not too far from you and they are way cheaper than driving into the city, paying for parking, and fighting the crowds. Our standing favorite is the Kane County Cougars. You can often get BOGO tickets on Mondays and with free parking it is one of the best sporting deals around. Lake County has a team as well, but I have not been to theirs yet to comment on it.

Favorite Five Free Spots

Cosley Farm in Wheaton — Farm animals in a stroller friendly park. Great for younger kids or big animal lovers. My best memory there, my oldest was just a few years old and we stopped in there in March sometime. A baby cow just a couple hours old was there to greet us. An amazing experience. And, at the time we had the place to ourselves, but that is a rare occurrence nowadays. ***Edited to add: Apparently Cosley is no longer free for non-Wheaton residents. Kids are still free, but adults have a $3 admission fee. Thanks to Kate for letting me know!***

Independence Grove — wonderful natural setting in Libertyville. Swimming lake, playground, lots of space to enjoy. There is sometimes a small fee if you are not a Lake County resident.

Fermi lab — Science lovers should be sure to schedule a visit to Fermi Lab. They have an annual open house in the winter, but visitors are welcome during other times of the year as well. They have an educational center, a buffalo herd, walking trails, and more.

Peck Farm — We discovered this beautiful place a few years ago and enjoy the old estate house with hands on fun for the kids, walking trails, an observation silo, and in the summer a little butterfly house (donation admission suggested).

Air and Water Show — How could I almost forget this? Amazing! You can’t just do this whenever you want to, but it is worth the crowds and the heat to enjoy the impressive displays.

Favorite Five Deal Locators:

Free Things To Do in Chicago — They list everything from concerts to paper shredding events to free food giveaways. Not always free, but at least once a week I find something worthwhile on this site. I get it sent to my inbox so I never miss a deal.

Jill Cataldo — mostly about saving money on groceries, but look here for other great tips, like how we could get free Brookfield Zoo tickets

Groupon — You’ve gotta know about groupon. Daily deals, buying in bulk with the rest of Chicagoland. Get your group-on . . .

Ever Save — Another daily deal site (there are even more of these out there. If this is your thing, google for others). Fun activities, good food, discount prices.

Smart Destinations — This site allows you to build on the tickets you want to well known attractions and by purchasing in bundles you get a better price (or you can buy their premade card). You only add the attractions you want, and the more you buy the more you save. It looks like they are useable for a year after purchase, too, but must be all used within 30 days of first use.

Favorite Five tips to save money while seeing the world (or at least Chicago)

Museum Adventure Pass — if you have a library card you also have access to a whole host of great place for free or at a discount. Ask your library if they participate. Each week you can print up to one pass for a place of your choice. You then present the pass and your library card at the location you are visiting for free admission according to the terms of the particular place. Each deal is different, so make sure to read them carefully. Some are for a certain number of admissions, most don’t include any parking fees that might apply. Our favorites on here are the Chicago Botanica Garden (one car in free), and Cantigny (one car in free). Okay, so we have a lot of kids, so if I can get them all in for the same low price of free it’s going to be a favorite. 🙂

Pack your lunches — Not a place, but we save a bundle by bringing our lunches along. If my aim is to have a great time on a budget I just can’t stomach shelling out $50 for everyone to eat lunch. Sandwiches in the car or at a playground — $5 for everyone. I need the other $45 for gas anyway.

Reading incentives — If you homeschool you can sign up for these on your own and encourage your kids to read while earning great rewards for family outings. If your kids are in traditional school and they don’t do these, check into it. Great America tickets, Pizza Hut (during the school year), baseball tickets (Kane County Cougars have a great program), and more.

Explore Chicagoland — a book that you can buy with admission to lots of places around the area. Kind of expensive up front, but if you will make use of one ticket every couple weeks you can easily make your money off of it.

Think free — Brookfield Zoo may be one of the best in the world, but there are other great zoos in the area when all your money is going in your gas tank. Philips Park in Aurora, Lord’s Park in Elgin, Randall Oaks in Carpentersville (fee on the weekends), Cosley in Wheaton, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and Lincoln Park in Chicago are a few. Not the same as Brookfield, but still lots of family fun and most with playgrounds nearby to keep everyone happy on a beautiful summer day.

Favorite Five on our agenda for this summer

– Believe it or not, I have never been to Millenium Park, stared up into the bean, and played in the giant water-spitting faces. I would really like to get down there with my kids this year.

– Another “one of these years” plans is to get to the Eyes to the Skies festival around Fourth of July weekend in Lisle. I can’t imagine much more breathtaking than watching a field of hot air balloons take to the skies. The morning lift off is free for viewing (but it is at 6:00 am . . .)

Great America. Not cheap, I know, but my kids each have tickets from reading incentives, so it works out to not be too bad. Parking is all we pay and then we bring our food in a cooler in the car. Our kids absolutely love the water park there and stay there pretty much from the time they open until they close.

Summer reading program. Free fun, better than free. Check out books, enjoy reading together with your kids, and then earn free tickets and passes. I could not imagine summer without the library’s summer reading program. Your library likely has a summer reading program with more goodies to outfit your staycation as well.

Summer movies. Lots of theaters offer $1 movies, or even free ones. We love these, especially on a hot day or when we just need to get out of the house and don’t feel like taking a long drive anywhere. Classic Cinemas is one company with a number of theaters across the Chicago area. They have $1 movies every Wednesday morning during summer months. Check for times and locations, and they even have the movie listings up already.

A couple miscellaneous  items that just didn’t fit nicely anywhere:

Explore Chicago — a website that has all the happenings in the city

Famplosion — lots of family fun all listed in one place.

Do you have a favorite that you don’t see here?

Please leave a comment and let us know your secret getaway in the Chicago area.

And, be sure to check back in here tomorrow when I will post about a hundred other links for other cities around the country. If you do have a chance to travel a bit you can find inexpensive activities in just about every state. Don’t miss the great staycation

Free Zoo Tickets

Any super couponers out there?

If so you probably already know about this deal, but for those of you who don’t, here is a great way to get free tickets to Brookfield Zoo and stock up on pop for all those summer get together, or for your kids to sell to make some money, or  . . . ?

Here’s the deal:

Summer Fun Stay-Cation Deal! Meijer is running a great Catalina sale in which buying $15 worth of participating Coca-Cola products generates a Catalina good for 4 FREE admissions to the Brookfield Zoo! (We saw this deal last year too on the Shedd Aquarium, and it was such a GREAT deal!) 12-packs of Coca-Cola are on sale for $3 each. Buying 5 will cost you $15, and you’ll get the pop AND 4 free admissions to Brookfield Zoo!

To read more about this and to find lots of other great deals, jump on over to Jill Cataldo’s site. In the face of lots of extreme couponing that border on inappropriate or even illegal I appreciate Jill’s desire to coupon ethically and still come home with lots of great deals.

Free days at Brookfield!

Looking for a way to take full advantage of this beautiful weather we are having this fall?

Brookfield Zoo would be the perfect place. And, from October through December admission is free on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

You will still need to pay the $9 parking fee and all internal attractions that require extra fees will still do so. However, you can enjoy a great day at the zoo for a very reasonable price.

Starting in November and continuing through March the Family Play Zoo and the Children’s Zoo will be free as well.

Check out all the specifics on prices on the zoo website general information.

Very likely you can find something in the zoo’s many exhibits to tie into a current unit of study, or to enjoy a day of fun, real-life learning outside the books. Grab another family and make a day of it.

Photo cling

On Wednesday, August 18, Walgreen’s is offering a free photo cling, one per photo account. This is part of their seven days of deals going on this week. Note: If you are checking this on Tuesday evening, you will see their deal for Tuesday, but after midnight the photo cling should be their featured daily special.

Now, with a new school year just around the corner, I immediately thought about far more than just that cute picture of my kids languishing on my camera’s memory card.

These photo clings can be up to 11×17 in size. So, how much educational content can you cram into that space?

Here are some ideas I came up with:

– Time line figures

– Maps

– Diagrams

– First day of school photo

– School information (your schedule, expectations, inspirational quotes, etc.)

– A serene picture to serve as a mental pick-me-up on “those” days

– A flag

– Flags from around the world

– Presidents

You could even make a game out of it. Match countries with their flags, put presidents in order, put together a diagram of a flower or a model of the solar system.

I can seen your wheels turning, so go order your cling for free (you will have to pay shipping which is $5.99. Most deals you can opt to pick up in store and forgo the shipping charge, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with this product), and please share your ideas here or on our facebook page as well. And, if you decide to use it for that memorable picture from your summer vacation, it will also be well used.

Free and inspires creativity, that works for me!