Homeschool days at Walt Disney World

Check out Disney’s site for more information and to register for the event coming in January. Their ticket prices are phenomenal . . . here’s the link to the ticket package page as well. They range from a three day pass including the program for $139.01 per person to a 5 day park hopper pass (with the program) for $187.01. These are special homeschool prices. You can also add on other classes that they have available on that day and other surrounding days for $28 per class. Not cheap, but if you have a kid interested in physics, animation, marine science, or other related fields this could be a great opportunity to build on that interest.

So, here’s the scoop, straight from Disney:
Disney Homeschool Days Presents: A Conversation with Author Ridley Pearson
Celebrate Literacy Week at Walt Disney World® Resort

Date & Time: Thursday, January 26 at 1:00 p.m.
Location: Premiere Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
Grade: All age groups of 10 or more students

Ridley Pearson, author of Kingdom Keepers and Peter and the Starcatchers book series, will share with students his inspirations and experiences as an author in this special presentation in honor of Literacy Week. Offering insights on his inspirations, writing process and literary career, students will learn to look at narratives with a new point of view and may even be inspired to become an author themselves.

Following the one-hour presentation, Mr. Pearson will participate in a question and answer session with the students.

Meeting Location: Premiere Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

SPECIAL VALUE! For this event only, you will receive the newly released Kingdom Keepers Quest* self-guided educational adventure through the Magic Kingdom® Park with the purchase of your multi-day ticket package. As students search for clues to help the Keepers save the magic from the Overtakers, they will practice reading, math, critical thinking, and teamwork.

*Families will receive one (1) Kingdom Keepers Quest themed map per student, one (1) Kingdom Keepers Quest Student Guide per family, and one (1) leader guide family. Materials will be distributed at the Conversation session check-in. (Please note Kingdom Keepers Quest is available year-round at the Magic Kingdom® Park for groups of ten (10) or more students)

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!

Taste of Tall Ships

A fun family event coming once again to Chicago. If you haven’t heard . . . the tall ships are returning.

At Navy Pier you can enjoy these spectacular boats at the Taste of Tall Ships, August 11-14, from 10 am to 9 pm most days. That page will take you to info on each of the ships and some of the scheduled events. Some are just for looking at and some you can get on, and some you can enjoy a ride on.

You can board the Pride of Baltimore II & Flagship Niagara.

Adult Boarding $9

Child Boarding $6

Group rates available as well if you get a group of 20 or more. That will knock a buck of each pass.

While on the subject of tall ships . . .

Today Groupon has a special deal as well for a ride on Chicago’s own tall ship, Windy. THE GROUPON IS NOT VALID DURING TASTE OF TALL SHIPS. But, you can enjoy this ride some other day and avoid the crowds of the tall ships. Or, you can do a unit on tall ships and start and end it with two different tall ship events.

50% off at Tall Ship Adventures of Chicago
50% off at Tall Ship Adventures of Chicago
Before the invention of sails, armadas relied on outmoded ship designs such as the Vikings’ 30-man paddleboat and the languorous, elegant war gondola. Sail on a ship as swift as the wind with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get a…
view deal

ICHE Mother Daughter Conference

A wonderful opportunity for building memories and passing on a legacy of faith between mothers and daughters:

MD 7

Time Schedule

8:00  –   9:00    Doors open for check in and fellowship.

9:00  –   9:15    Welcome

9:15  –   9:30    Hymns and prayer

9:30 –  10:30    The House that Mom Built – Stacy McDonald

10:30 – 11:15    Coffee break and fellowship

11:15 – 12:15    The Heart of Chastity – Stacy McDonald

12:15  –  1:45    Lunch and fellowship

1:45   –  2:00    Hymn and prayer

2:00  –   3:00    Christianity:  The Real Women’s Liberation Movement (discusses the history and error of feminism) – Stacy McDonald

3:00 – 3:10        Break

3:10  –   3:40    Q & A with Stacy McDonald

3:40  –             Hymns, prayer, and closing

$1 movies!

$1 Kids Summer Movies Start on June 14 and runs 9 Weeks!

A Different Fun Film Each Week!

$1 per ticket, all ages!  Each week, Monday through Friday at 10:00am we offer an entertaining PG movie for only $1.

Playing at the following theaters:  Bay City 8, Canton Cinema, Capital 8, Forum 8, Grand Haven 9, Hamilton 16 IMAX, Holland 7, Jackson 10, Kalamazoo 10, Kendall 10, Krafft 8, Lafayette 7, Lansing Mall Cinema, Oxford 7, Portage 16 IMAX, Quality 16, Randall 15 IMAX, Saginaw 12, Savoy 16, W. Columbia 7, Wabash Landing 9, Willow Knolls 14

Click here for movie lineup

Chicagoland Kids Expo

This weekend in Schaumburg you can attend the Chicagoland Kids Expo. A brief description about this event taken from their website, Chicago Kids Expo:

Kids with energy to burn after the long Chicago winter will have plenty of jumping, bouncing, and sliding fun with inflatable rides, games, and fun activities. Visitors will find a colorful collection of balloon artists, magicians, face painters, clowns, costumed characters, and other talented children’s entertainers who’ll be creating fun and excitement all weekend long. Micro-reality stock car racing, petting zoo, interactive play areas, miniature golf, table top games, and many other hands-on attractions make the Chicagoland Kids Expo an outstanding family entertainment value.

Practical and Informative Exhibits!
In addition to all of the entertainment and hands-on fun, parents will find an abundance of useful information on a wide range of products and services for families with kids. The exhibitor roster is packed with quality organizations that have come together to help make all the fun and excitement of the 2010 Chicagoland Kids Expo possible.

You’ll find companies showcasing everything from educational products to apparel, health care, schools, food, gifts, sports, music, entertainment and much more – PLUS informative presentations and hands-on product demonstrations from knowledgeable professionals. This large and diverse group of quality vendors can be found on-line at the official Web site of the Chicagoland Kids Expo,

Some more details about the event:

Admission, Parking and Food

  • Adults: $10
  • Children (Ages 3 to 12): $5, under age 3 FREE
  • Parking: FREE PARKING
  • Food & Beverages: The large food court has a wide selection of lunch and dinner meals, snacks, desserts, and drinks.

Dates, Times and Place

  • Saturday & Sunday, February 20th & 21st, 2010
  • Saturday – 9am to 6pm
    Sunday – 10am to 5pm
  • INDOORS All weekend!
    Renaissance Convention Center
    1551 Thoreau Dr.
    Schaumburg, IL

There is also a coupon for a dollar off admission on their website that you will want to print off before you go.

Free class for families

From the Elgin YMCA: Fit-n-Fun Class for Families

In an effort to strengthen the health and well being of
families in our community we have developed a program
that offers a three part class for families to incorporate
healthy habits (physical activity, choosing healthy foods,
family time) into their everyday lives.

We build Strong Kids, Strong Families &
Strong Communities

Special points of interest:

  • Free Family Membership while participating in the class! (New Members ONLY)
  • Healthy Cooking How To’s
  • Snack and Meal Planning
  • Family Play Time Ideas
  • Group Sharing
  • End of Class Tips & Tricks
  • Cooking Guide
  • Support of Other Families

*This Class will be held in English with Spanish translation via headset!!

*Children 4-12 will have the option to participate in Nutrition and Fitness Activities Class targeted for their activity and age level.

This is a 3 -Part Class, all Classes are held on Saturdays
from 3-4pm at the Taylor Family Branch YMCA.

  • 1st Class February 20
  • 2nd Class March 20
  • Final Class April 24

Registration is required!!

To register:

  • by phone call Jennifer Alberts at 847-888-7410 x33
  • by email at
  • online at
  • visit the Taylor Family Branch YMCA located at 50 N. McLean Blvd.

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!

Squishy parents?

Kevin Swanson says:

Children perpetually test the structure and foundation of the home. Some are clandestine in their test methods. Some do it with wild thrusts with sharp sticks. Some do it every 15 seconds, some every hour or two. But they all test the boundaries for signs of squishiness in one way or another. A house without consistency is squishy.

He goes on to contrast consistency and squishiness and points an unwavering finger at common “squishy” practices. As I did, you might identify with more than one of these tendencies. Threats, bargains, inconsistent punishments, and laziness should have no place in our homes.

We all slip into bad habits now and then, and we then need to repent and start over. That, too, becomes a lesson for our children to learn from. Homeschooling puts an extra dynamic in the parent-child relationship. We spend all day with our kids. That provides times to succeed and fail. We will do plenty of both.

Consistency definitely must play a key role in quality, loving, godly parenting.

Near the end of the article Swanson makes this accurate assessment, “There is no perfect parent. But there are repenting parents. This is the life of the Christian parent, and it is the best example we can hope to give to our children.” I will fail, and don’t want to hide my failures from my children necessarily. I will apologize to them for not parenting as I should have and as we together revel in God’s grace and mercy toward us, we start yet another new chapter in parenting. We all need a fresh start now and then.

TOS Crew Review — American Heritage Education Foundation

Last year we took a family trip to Washington DC and I found myself once again stunned at the richness of the heritage of our nation. The intentional faith of our founding fathers, the careful crafting of a new nation, the vision of hope and freedom.

American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) seeks to capture, build on, and pass along these virtues. AHEF is a “non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America’s factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.” They accomplish this through, “writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.”

Product: American Heritage Education Foundation’s lesson plan CD (national edition)
Details: This CD offers lesson plans for Kindergarten through high school. The lesson plans come complete with background information, goals, activities, estimated time, and other helpful resources.
Price: FREE! (You can order the complementing binder and materials for $19.50 per level)

What we loved . . .

  • The richness of our history undiminished.
  • Taking a vast topic and boiling it down to memorable themes — freedom, unity, responsibility, and progress.
  • Builds national pride. I feel this is important. Not that I am proud of where America is today, but recognizing what we could be, and what we have lost, renews my hope and my desire to pray for our nation as a whole, the individuals that compose it, and its leaders.
  • Focus on original documents.
  • Largely self contained. Lots of information and direction is contained right in the CD itself.
  • Not too time consuming, so that can fit in with whatever else you might already be doing. About an hour every other week will carry you from September to May.

Challenges we faced . . .

  • It is easy to get overwhelmed at first with the amount of information contained in the CD.
  • Working with wide range of ages is sometimes difficult, and we faced that a bit as well here. The younger kids may not have grasped as much, and the oldest one may have been a bit under challenged, but I think the principles taught were still beneficial to all.

Of course, there is no better price than free, and this CD has something for just about everyone. I would encourage you to take a look at the AHEF website, order yourself one of these free CDs (or download the material straight from their website if you prefer) and take some time to go through the material with your kids. They have some great quotes, inspirational writings, needed reminders and teaching tools, and lessons that will build character and patriotism.

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

Disclaimer: This CD was provided to me free of charge from The American Heritage Education Foundation 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.