Each year we invite a wide variety of organizations to display their offerings for the homeschool community. From co-ops to museums, specialty classes to park district events, support groups to clubs.We would love to have you join us for this event which will be held Tuesday evening, April 23 at the Elk Grove Village Public Library from 7-9pm.Vendors: For a nominal $5 fee you will receive a reserved spot and table space at the fair and be part of our contact list which will be distributed to all participants of the event. To register, please click here. You will be contacted within a few days with a confirmation.We hope that you will join us this year. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. We look forward to another successful event!Thank you.Amy BurnhaBeacon Homeschool Support Group**please note that curriculum will not be sold at this event. Our curriculum sale will be held in May.
For homeschoolers – check out what’s new!!
|Winter Break Camps|
EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT!
Cool Chemical Concoctions
Slime, bubbles and fizzing rule as we do cool chemistry experiments with everyday products and materials.
Fantastic Mask Making
Create a life mask of your own face, and then turn it into a fantastic creature. Add horns, curls, spikes or other details you imagine your creature would have. Then experiment with other mask-making techniques and learn creative ways to put them all together.
Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.
|Play-Well TEKnologies Engineering With LEGO®
Winter Break Camps
Young Jedi will explore distant worlds and engineering principles. Build planes, droids and palaces inspired by designs made in a galaxy far, far away!
Sportsbots with LEGO®
Design and build motorized, remote-controlled sports bots to compete in rousing games of soccer, hockey, basketball, football, quidditch and bocce, among others. Or invent your own sport!
Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.
©2012 Play-Well TEKnologies. LEGO®, the LEGO logo, and the brick and knob configuration are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2010 The LEGO Group. These programs are not authorized, sponsored or endorsed by the LEGO Group.
The Midwest Museum of Natural History has some upcoming events that may appeal to you. If you mention that you heard about it here when you register, you can get the member price (except for Nature Down and Dirty). Details and registration info can be found at www.mmnh.org.
Safari Sprouts, ages 3-5, siblings are welcome
Every Wednesday 10:15-11:15 am
$8/child, adults free, no registration required
Fee includes Museum admission for the day
Games, crafts, stories, and live animal visits!
Storytime, ages 2-5, siblings are welcome
Every Friday, 11:00 am, no registration required
Free with Museum admission
Fossil Workshop: Micro-Fossils, ages 8+
Thursday, July 19, 7-8:30 pm
Thursday, August 16, 7-8:30 pm
Members: $10, 1 adult free per family ($5 extra adult)
Learn about the fossils beneath our feet and the clues they give us to Illinois’ past. Find and identify micro-fossils and take home whatever you find! Registration required.
Live Reptile Care, ages 10+
Saturday, July 21, 10:30 am-12:30 pm
Fri, August 17, 1-3:00
Members: $15/child, 1 adult free per family ($5 extra adult)
Fee includes Museum admission for the day
Learn how to properly feed and handle live snakes, turtles, and lizards. Registration required, class fills quickly.
Jewelry Making, ages 8+
Saturday, July 28, 3-4:15 pm
Thursday, August 2, 10:30-11:45 am
Fee includes Museum admission for the day
Non-members: $12/child, 1 adult free per family ($5 extra adult)
Members: $10/child, 1 adult free per family ($5 extra adult)
Learn about jewelry from around the world and make three pieces to take home. Registration required.
Nature: Down and Dirty
Saturday, August 4, 1-3:30 pm, Ages 7-13
Meet at Sycamore Park
Sycamore Resident: $15/child
Registration required through the Sycamore Park District: http://www.sycamoreparkdistrict.com/
The woods are bursting with life – if you know where to look. Learn how to spot animal tracks, nests, and other signs of life. Identify plants, insects, and birds. Dig in and uncover what’s happening underground, and get your feet wet (literally) investigating the river.
Fossil Dig, ages 6-adult
Saturday, August 11, 9:30-11:00 am
Saturday, September 29, 9:30-11:00 am
Dig for fossils at Vulcan Quarry, keep what you find. Registration required, class fills quickly!
Non-members: $20/person or $55 for a family of 3-4
Members: $18/person or $50 for a family of 3-4
Midwest Museum of Natural History
425 West State St, Sycamore IL 60178
Received this via email (maybe you have some items that need a new home, and what better place to donate them?):
Each year our vacation budget seems to shrink a little more and we need to get a little more creative with how we spend those hard earned dollars. Fortunately, living in the Chicago area you don’t need to go far to enjoy a lot of life and experience for not a lot of money.
My post last year summed up lots of unique spots to check out around the area and I don’t want to just duplicate that (but feel free to check it out here as much of that still applies), so this year we will look at different categories of attractions that even some Chicago residents might not think about while making the most of life in this great metroplis.
Because I’m a list maker and categorizer, we’ll break this down into Get Active; Grow ‘n’ Learn; and Give Back.
Of course there are the obvious: parks, forest preserves, bike trails, swimming pools, and sports teams. But here are a few places to definitely check out to add active fun to your staycation.
- Trampoline parks. A newer addition to the bouncy world of fun, these parks take trampolining out of the backyard and turn it into a group activity. Many include areas with trampolines made into activity specific areas like dodgeball, basketball, jumping into foam pits, just jumping and smaller tramps for little ones. This is not generally a cheap outing, but check for after hours and holiday specials throughout the summer. This is a great way to spend a rainy day when the kids are bouncing off the walls at home anyway. Check out different centers (different owners, but similar facilities) in Buffalo Grove and Carol Stream, Niles, South Elgin, and Naperville (note that trampolines do bring an element of risk with them. Encourage kids to jump safely, watch the safety videos, and you should expect to sign a waiver in order for them to jump)
- Disc Golf. Not your mother’s frisbee game, and growing in popularity especially among older “kids.” This is a great activity for families with kids that are a bit older and ready to take on a challenge. There are currently 163 courses in Illinois, although not all in the Chicago area. Perfect for those cooler days with friends or just family. Check out the Disc Golf Course list with links to locations and more details on some of the courses.
- Bowling. Not as heart pumping or muscle building as the others, but a fun afternoon of bowling keeps a wide range of ages happy and offers a great environment for active fun together. Brunswick offers free bowling to kids all summer long, one game per day per child. Of course you’ll have to rent shoes (unless you’re lucky enough to find them at garage sales or thrift stores), but still a nice deal. AMF also has bowling lanes in various cities. Many cities will have a local bowling alley, but another popular destination is Funway in Batavia which offers many activities from bowling to go carts to roller skating.
Grow ‘n’ Learn
The library deserves a section all its own because it is a huge doorway to tons of fun right in your backyard, most of it already paid for by your tax dollars, but I’ll highlight our favorites. Be sure to check out your own local library for programs, movies, outings, speakers, displays, and reading incentives to keep you learning all summer long.
- Summer reading program (and winter one if they have it, too, but that is not coming soon). Get your kids reading and earn free family outings. From the summer reading program we earn at least 3-4 of our family staycation outings. Each year we get a pass to DuPage Children’s Museum, baseball tickets, Medieval Times passes, water park tickets, meal coupons, and many more exciting and free passes to keep our summer fun at an all time high.
- Museum Adventure Pass. I mention this periodically, and it should not be overlooked. Each museum or location has a different deal that you activate through your library card. Stop in to see your librarian and with a few clicks she presents you with a pass for the Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Cantigny, Brookfield Zoo, or a variety of other places. We have used these a few times now and have really enjoyed each one.
- Summer classes. Many colleges offer classes for various ages through the summer. Check out the closest one, and also take a look other places like Fermilab for keeping learning alive through this break in the traditional school year.
- Donley’s Wild West Town. Part fun, part learning, Donley’s will teach you to use a slingshot, entertain you with a gun fight drama, take you on a pony ride, and let you pan for gold. Younguns won’t quickly forget all the fun and adventure as they travel back to a little less tame period of history.
Hanging with friends, relaxing, and stimulating your intellect are all great parts of vacation, but you can also spend part of your staycation giving back to those less fortunate. We may worry about having enough money to make special memories with our kids this summer, but others worry about just having the necessities of life. Look for a way to lend a hand this summer.
- Feed My Starving Children. We have enjoyed taking part in this program a few times now and cannot believe how quickly 2 hours flies by. Sign up for a 2 hour time slot of packing nutrient dense meals to ship to countries in need. By the end you are chanting, “Chicken, veggies, soy, rice,” and in so doing are providing food for the hungry. My daughter enjoyed herself so much she wants to have her birthday party there this year. Kids 5 and over can attend with adult supervision. I loved watching my 6 year old scoop, weigh, and count, having fun in the process of making a difference. They have locations in Schaumburg and Aurora, so make sure to get a group together and find a couple hours to spare for this worthwhile cause.
- Food bank. Meeting a need closer to home, area food banks are also always looking for volunteers. Northern Illinois Food Bank is one with multiple locations that are always seeking volunteers of a variety of ages. Check out their page for other local food pantries that might be able to use your help as well.
- Check out other volunteer positions around the Chicago area at Chicagovolunteer.net. They have listings for forest preserves to museums and more.
This post may spark your thinking for some special ways to spend your staycation this year and may even begin a relationship that will open new opportunities and experiences for years to come. Vacations shouldn’t end with summer. Build some memories that will take you full force into the next school year and beyond. Hope some of these ideas will help your staycation stick with you a little longer.
Often in our homeschool as we head into these last weeks we are wrapping up our books and regular requirements in most subjects. As a result, we find ourselves with some extra time to enjoy the activities that are abundant in this area and the weather often allows us a chance to get out of doors as well.
This begins what will hopefully be a new feature here. Not every week, but a couple times a month on Friday I will share some of our experiences with field trips in the Chicago area with tips on setting up your own.
To kick it off, lets start with a place that we just visited recently, Cantigny in Wheaton (but I always think of it as in Winfield . . .)
What you will find there:
Cantigny offers two museums including a house open for touring and a museum centered around the First Division. They also have beautiful grounds that are beginning to bloom. They are beautiful in each season, especially if you have nature lovers in your group.
We are currently studying the American Revolution and they had a great sample of a revolutionary soldier and various artifacts on display to help my kids really visualize all of what we have been learning, reading about, and discussing lately. If you are studying more recent American history you will find even more to complement your studies, but even going back to the beginning of our nation you will find something.
The Tanks! It’s what I remember from childhood visits, and it’s what my kids look forward to on each return trip as well. Whether they are imagining they are a soldier on a mission of their own, or pretending it is a hideout, or just climbing for the sake of climbing, the tanks are a big draw for kids of all ages. Of course, climb at your own risk, and be careful. These are real tanks. You will want to pick a day with decent weather so you can get a good climb in.
Classes and tours. You are free to roam the grounds and enjoy the signs, information, and displays on your own time and with your own focus, or you can sign up for a field trip or one of their many classes. They offer homeschool classes periodically (look for these to start up again in the fall) for additional fees. They cover various subjects including art, science, nature study, and history. See their calendar of events on their website for more details.
If you are going:
The grounds do have a per vehicle fee, but if you go to your library you can use your card to get a Museum Adventure Pass and get in for free. We chose this option and it was quick and easy and saved us $5.
There are often school groups touring as well. However, we found them fairly easy to avoid so we could enjoy the museums, tanks, and walkways without a crowd.
Cantigny Park Hours:
Feb: Fri-Sun, 9am to Sunset*
Mar-Apr: 9am to Sunset*
May-Oct: 7am to Sunset*
Nov-Dec: 9am to Sunset*
*The in-bound park gate closes one hour prior to sunset.
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
Cantigny offers a great field trip destination for a mixed age group. Lots of run around space and climbing action, and then opportunities to settle in and really learn from the informative and high quality displays throughout the facilities. My younger kids were a little scared at first of the First Division Museum displays. It is dark and has war sounds in the background. They are really well done though, and you learn so much on your walk through. If you need to split your group to enjoy it, do so, but kids of all ages can really learn quite a bit from the walk through.
And, be sure to bring your picnic lunch to enjoy at their tables near the parking area. We had a full, fun morning packed with new learning opportunities and conversation prompts. Definitely a field trip destination for every couple years or so.
Got this information via email, and looks like some intriguing events! Note that with this first one if you mention that you heard it here, at the Chicagoland Homeschool Network, they will let one adult attend for free! Be sure to tell them thanks from all us homeschoolers.
“Hoo’s” for Dinner: Owl Pellet Dissection
Thursday, February 23, 7-8:00 pm
$7/person, Members: $5/person (adults and kids)
Space is limited, call to register: 815-895-9777
It’s almost time for owlets to begin appearing! And we’re celebrating by dissecting owl pellets. Owl pellets are balls of fur and bones that the bird cannot digest and coughs up. We’ll walk through the dissection of pellets and identification of the remains found inside. Each person gets their own pellet. Designed for ages 6+. Special offer: Mention this blog and get one free adult!
Jack Hanna: Into the Wild Live
Sunday, March 11, 2:00 pm
$20 adults, $15 children and students, premium seats available
Show will be held at the Egyptian Theater in DeKalb: 135 North Second Street, Dekalb, IL 60115
Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live show features many of his favorite animal friends, as well as fascinating and humorous stories and footage from his adventures around the world. Everyone from the youngest child to the oldest adult will be entertained and inspired. Tickets on sale now: http://www.egyptiantheatre.org/
The Natural History of Coffee
a lecture by Gene Powers
Thursday, March 15, 7-8:00 pm
$4/person, members free, ages high school to adult
Big Run Wolf Ranch
Saturday, March 31, 1-2:30 pm
Ages 8 and up
$10/person (kids and adults), fee includes Museum admission for the day
Member rate: $8/person
Space is limited, reservations required: 815-895-9777
Big Run Wolf Ranch is a non-profit, federally licensed, educational program which specializes in education and conservation of North American wildlife. During their presentation you’ll meet a live coyote, skunk, groundhog, porcupine, and wolf. Space is limited and reservations are required: 815-895-9777. Ages 8+ by request of the presenter.
Wednesday, March 28, 10:15-11:15 am
4th Wednesdya of every month
$8/child (or purchase a 4-class card for $28), adults free
Call 815-895-9777 to register (walk-ins welcome too)
Spend a morning discovering nature at the Museum through games, crafts, stories, and songs, plus a live animal visit each month! Designed for ages 3-5 with an adult.
For more information:
Midwest Museum of Natural History
425 West State St, Sycamore IL 60178
FREE Museum of Science and Industry on MLK Day – Jan 16
Come on out on MLK Day and enjoy the health-focused new “You! The Experience” gallery, and the awesome “Science Storms.” Science Storms reveals the science behind seven natural phenomena—lightning, fire, tornados, avalanches, tsunamis, sunlight and atoms in motion. Investigate the basic scientific principles behind nature’s power as you try more than 50 amazing experiments that take two floors and 26,000 square feet to contain … barely. It’s a perfect storm of physics, chemistry and curiosity. Also take in the renovated U-505 German submarine, a simulated coal mine and a glass-covered hatchery of chicks. Illinois residents can take advantage of free general admission on Monday, January 16.
Museum of Science and Industry – 773-684-1414
5700 S Lake Shore Dr
FREE Shedd Aquarium on MLK Day – Jan 16
The Shedd aquatic galleries are home to creatures from the Waters of the World – rivers and reefs, Great Lakes and small ones, and the global ocean. So take a tour of the water planet. Want to explore a little deeper? Immerse yourself in the Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising’s flooded forest, the Oceanarium’s Pacific Northwest coast and Wild Reef’s Indo-Pacific reef. Go totally polar in Polar Play Zone and be sure to see Shedd’s aquatic show. Admission to original exhibits “Waters of the World,” “Caribbean Reef” and “Amazon Rising” is free to Illinois residents on Monday, January 16. Discounts are also available for packages that include entry to exhibits such as “Abbott Oceanarium,” “Wild Reef” and “Polar Play Zone.”
Shedd Aquarium – 312-939-2438
1200 S Lake Shore Dr
FREE Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Activities at the Chicago History Museum
Commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through family activities and crafts reflecting his messages of peace and justice. Listen to music that honors Dr. King, and attend a performance of The MLK Project by the Writers’ Theatre. Cost: Free Admission and includes complimentary Museum admission
Schedule of EventsAll day
Kids Crafts with Artist Sue Romanelli
Crown Room, first floor11:00 a.m.The MLK Project: Fight for Civil RightsThe Writer’s TheatreRubloff Auditorium, 1st floor’
Precious Lord: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chicago Chamber ChoirChicago Room, 2nd floor1:45 p.m.
“I have a Dream” speech
Re-enactment by Oba William KingChicago Room, 2nd floor2:00 p.m.
Voices for Freedom
Gwen Hilary, Storyteller and Enoch Williamson, MusicianChicago Room, 2nd floor2:45 p.m.
“I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech
Re-enactment by Oba William KingChicago Room, 2nd floor
Chicago History Museum – 312-642-4600
1601 N Clark StRead more at Free Things to Do in Chicago: http://chicagofree.info/2012/01/14/free-admission-to-chicago-museums-on-martin-luther-king-day/#ixzz1jYCAL8QO
Drop & Shop Days
Friday Nov. 25, $65
from 9 am to 3 pm
Before and after care available!
December’s “Can’t Miss” Event!
Murder at SciTech Cafe
Dec. 9 6:30 pm
Individual Tickets for $75
Sponsor Table $1,000
A film noir spoof! Buy a ticket or your very own Table! Elegant Dinner, musical show, art show, silent and live auctions too! Proceeds benefit the SciTech Museum and our amazing new science based preschool. Buy your tickets here.
More December Events- all Free with admission to the Museum!
- The SciTech Discovery Preschool and SciTech Cafe Ribbon Cutting ceremony. Dec. 1st, the Public is invited. SciTech Discovery Preschool is one of the first S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based preschools in the country and the first in Illinois. Celebrate its official ribbon cutting along with the new SciTech Cafe!
- Trim the Tree Day Dec. 10th from 10 am – 5pm
- A Day with Santa Dec. 17th from 1-4 pm.
- Winter Break Camps: Two day camps on Dec.27-28 & Dec. 29-30. Ages 6-8 and 9 and up. Choice of 3 camps: Ultimate Predator, Totally Ballistic and SciTech Theatre Workshop! Tons of Scientastic Fun over Winter Break!
- A Family Friendly New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31, from 1-4 pm.
Learn more about SciTech Museum events here.
Join the museum for “Around the World in 90 Minutes.“ It is an action packed show given by Marty Essen. It is one-part theater, one-part lecture, one-part comedy, and one-part slide show. It features interesting facts, humorous stories, and the best of thousands of photos taken while traveling the world for his multi-award-winning book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents. From swimming with piranhas to surviving a hippo attack, Essen’s high energy presentation is a unique exciting and educational opportunity.
Who:Suitable for ages 8 to adult.
Where: Sycamore State Street Theatre
420 West State Street, Sycamore, IL, 60178 — right across the street from the museum
Cost: Tickets are $9 per person or $7 for museum members
When: Tuesday November 15th at 7pm