Homeschool University Open House and Book Sale


Monday, March 4th & Thursday, March 7th from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

HOMESCHOOL UNIVERSITY meets in West Chicago and is a co-op for homeschool families that provides classes for preschool through senior year in high school. Stop by and join us as we bring education to life! While you’re there stop by our book and bake sale and visit our Creation Expo. New parent meetings on both days. Visit for more info.

If you are interested in HSU, we welcome you to visit our upcoming Open House on Monday, March 4th & Thursday, March 7th. At this time you can take a tour of our school, meet teachers and students and see what we are all about. We will also have an informational meeting on Monday at 10:30 and Thursday at 1:00.

Please r.s.v.p. at and let us know what day you are coming and the grades of your children. We welcome your questions and invite you to bring your homeschooling friends along with you.

Bake and Book Sale on both days. (Book sale ends at 2:00)

Homeschool University…where home and school come together.

Carole Joy Seid Seminar

If your homeschool day could use a little less stress and a little more joy, check out this upcoming seminar:

Carole Joy Seid’s “heartfelt desire is to make your home schooling experience simple, enjoyable and affordable. At the core of her philosophy is the secret to educational success — great books, great books, and more great books.”

What: A Literature Based Approach to Education

When: November 5th 2011 Elmhurst, IL 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Where: West Suburban Community Church
825 N. Van Auken
Elmhurst, IL 60126

Cost: $45.00 online registration by October 25th
$45.00 mail-in postmarked by October 21st
$55.00 at the door

West Suburban Community Church is located approximately three blocks south of Grand Avenue, five blocks north of the Eisenhower Expressway (290), and five blocks east of York Road in Elmhurst, IL.

Exit 290 at York Road. Take York Road north approximately five blocks to North End. Go east on North End to Van Auken. Turn north on Van Auken. You will see the church on your right.

Michelle 630-748-1242;
Karen 630-279-2647;

More info online:

TOS Crew Review — Go go Kabongo!


I love when education comes cleverly disguised in fun games, my kids do, too. Go Go Kabongo while still in beta form has plenty of educational fun to offer its subscribers. This is geared toward 4-7 year olds and since I have two that fall in the category, we figured we could give it a try.

At first my daughter thought the characters were a little creepy, but they have a quirky appeal to them and she was won over pretty quickly.

For example, here’s Karl:

You might catch him saying chuckle worthy things like, “I have never felt better . . . unfortunately.” I don’t know that the kids grasped his humor, but I couldn’t help snickering as they played.

Product: Go Go Kabongo

Details: An online world for kids to build pre-reading skills in a fun, interactive environment that rewards them for learning.  Each habitat offers three different learning games and a different alien-like host to take you through them. The games involve letter recognition, sound identification, sequences, mazes, and more.

Price: $4.95 per habitat, but if you sign  up now you can get two free. There currently are three total. This is a one time purchase.

What we loved . . .

  • Builds pre-reading skills. While my kids are kind of more in the early reader category they did still enjoy these games. However, they are definitely geared toward the pre-reader as I would say most of the games are to help build reading readiness. They seem like they would be effective in doing this, but I didn’t have any non-readers to test it out on, except my 10 month old and he doesn’t know how to use the mouse, yet.
  • Offers rewards. Each game provides rewards that they can choose. Sometimes they can pick a sticker for the comic book area, a decoration for their treehouse, or an item for their skate park.
  • Easily navigable. My kids found their way around without any help from me. They easily knew what to do by listening to the characters and following the arrows. If they weren’t reading they might have needed some help finding the map and knowing what the items were that they hovered over initially. After playing a couple times they would likely remember what was where, but they would likely not be able to read “Avatar Maker” and “Comic Book Maker.”
  • Helpful emails. Each week you receive an email update about what your child did that week. If they were not there the email lets you know they were missed. If they did an activity you will get an entry like this in the email:
  • Game Level Skill
    Design A Door 4 Spatial Awareness: Being able to visually determine the placement of objects in space helps readers begin to identify sight words and particular letter groups as representing certain sounds.
  • More on the email. The email also gives you tips on extending the activities and topics that they cover as well as other online resources that you might find helpful.

Some considerations . . .

  • Beta version. As a beta version you will still find some glitchy areas. Sometimes the rewards for the games would be blank rather than images of their choices. Sometimes they would say, “Decoration 22,” and sometimes they do what they are supposed to.
  • Limited habitats. Each habitat has three activities so you are basically able to get up to 9 minigames total. I expect they will add more as the site grows, but for now it offers somewhat limited gaming variety. However, at a price of $4.95 for three games, you’re not going to go wrong either.

Go Go Kabongo was a winner with my kids. Not fantastically so, but they did enjoy it and played it in their free time on occasion. A couple of the activities involved identifying certain letters (b then p then d) and this was great for my child that struggles with reversals at times. The characters were cute, as long as you could get past their creepiness, the games were simple, but fun, and my kids did enjoy decorating their treehouse and tweaking their avatar. Lots of winning elements in a program that can benefit the pre-reader in your house.

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 GoGoKabongo 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.


Celebrate the small things

marshmallowAt various times in my homeschooling career, I have discussed with my kids what most kids experience on a daily basis as they leave home for six or more hours to receive their education in the more “traditional” way.

It turns out they felt cheated in some pretty small ways, but I could see their point. For example, we didn’t take sick days or snow days, we schooled through the summer, we didn’t have classroom parties, and we didn’t have recess. You know, all the important stuff.

They did not miss the bus rides, paper bag lunches, lining up to go everywhere, having to do all their schoolwork at a desk, trying to avoid the school bully, sitting through a complete math lesson after they “got” it in the first five minutes, etc. They know they have it good, but they did have a few requests.

So, we talked about expectations and state requirements, and all that good stuff. And then, we came to the conclusion that we could easily allow for a snow day here and there.

100 day party! 007

Today, we incorporated another non-homeschool activity that we borrowed from the traditional school setting — celebrating our 100th day of school this school year. We had a fairly normal morning, and then in the afternoon we broke out some sweets (for some reason marshmallows caught their eyes) and a board game and spent some time celebrating getting 5/9 of the way through our official school year.

We still school through the summer, but on a lighter schedule, allowing for extra fun while the weather is beautiful. And, we still generally do not take sick days, but will again lighten or alter the schedule when someone needs a little rest. We do take some holidays off and sometimes get together with other families to have our own holiday party to celebrate. We even work in a recess here and there. Taking time to celebrate the small things has only enhanced our homeschool experience and has definitely worked for us.

How about you?

Do you take snow days?

Do you allow yourself Teacher Institute Days (read about another homeschool mom’s thoughts on that topic)?

Do you celebrate some of those smaller holidays (Columbus Day, Ground Hog Day, etc.)?

What fun traditions have you worked into your homeschooling plans?

We’d love to hear!