National Geographic Bee

Just a friendly reminder that the deadline for signing your student up for the Home School National Geographic Bee is Friday, November 28!

Here are the details:
Who: Any home school student in Lake County. It DOESN’T matter what library district you live in.
Grade: For students in 4th -8th grade.
Where: Grayslake Area Public Library
When: Tuesday, December 9
Time: 10 a.m.
Cost: FREE! The library has paid the $100 entrance fee for us! Yeh!!!


Questions? Contact Colleen Ryan at

See you on December 9!
Colleen Ryan
Grayslake Area Public Library
Home School Services


A Day in the Life: Getting Back to Business

back-to-businessAfter what I have dubbed “The Winter from Hell” (because from the week before Thanksgiving until Memorial Day, there was someone sick in the house THE.ENTIRE.TIME), I was burnt out, physically and emotionally. I needed to focus on my family, on my health, and on my purpose in this life. I took the spring and summer of from running this site to focus on a few new projects, to make some lazy summer memories, and to re-evaluate’s contribution to the homeschool community in Illinois.

We had a great summer. Lots of camping, lots of weekends with friends, lots of nature walks and trips to the beach, lots of resting and relaxing and just being together. It was blissful. And not surprisingly, the fall has been a bit of a shock to my system: the schedule and routine of school days, the busy-ness of homeschool groups and Sunday School, the added pressure of prepping lessons and planning crock-pot dinner.

But, with September and October under my belt, I’m finally feeling like getting back to business! So, here’s a quick update to what we’re using for school this year and a peek at what to expect from LCH as we round out 2014.

This school year, the kids are 3, 5, and 7 years old.  We’ve given up on Easy Peasy after O and I butted heads all year long about her work. While I loved the concept of self-directed learning, she’s not intrinsically-rewarded enough for that to work for her. We needed something more tangible to work with- real books, real paper and pencils, lessons on the marker board, and a fully engaged teacher-mama.

With that said, we also still wanted to be frugal. While I really wanted to spend hundreds on a boxed curriculum, it didn’t seem to be the best option. In the end, we’re doing what many of you do, with a hybrid approach. Some formal curricula, some online freebies, and some hanging-on-by-the-seat-of-our-pants.

Bible: Easy-Peasy’s New Testament schedule. Also doing monthly character studies from Confessions of a Homeschooler, found here.

Math: Math-U-See. Simple, straightforward, and paced however we need. Fortunately for me, math is a strong subject for everyone in our family, so we spend 1-2 days on each lesson, with a goal of 1 lesson per week. E is using Primer and O is on Gamma. So far, so good.

Spelling/Reading: Hooked on Phonics and Dolch Sight Words with worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler found here.

Science: Using Easy-Peasy’s basic outline for what to study each year (year 2 is zoology), we are getting library books, printing lapbooks, doing projects, and taking field trips and making this a fun subject.

History & Geography: Story of the World, Book 1 by Susan Wise Bauer. We did not purchase the activity book, so we are supplementing with library books, a world map that we’re covering with sticky notes, a Biblically-based timeline from, and hands-on projects.

Other: The kids have a Bible memory verse each week. O writes it daily to practice her handwriting. The other two recite it every day. We found a list of 50 verses to memorize from To Love, Honor, and Vaccuum here. O and E journal twice per week using these pages from I’m thinking about adding a study of famous composers for the winter semester.

Back here at LCH, we’re going to finish our “Homeschooling 101” section, with posts about regulations in Illinois and Wisconsin, ideas on where to find used curriculum, more curriculum reviews, and a post on making your homeschool more “real” by creating a mission statement and a name. We’re also hoping to continue to feature lots more homeschool-friendly events and great field trip opportunities.

Your turn: Is there anything you’re interested in learning? Any curriculum you’d like to see reviewed? Anything to offer the homeschooling community? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. Thanks!


Open House: CLC Grayslake Campus

I just wanted to update you on a few events coming up at CLC and to provide you with some FAFSA workshops that will be taking place in 2015. The Open House is a great opportunity to find out more about all the resources available to our homeschool students as well as a presentation by our Honors and Study Abroad faculty. I will also be available to answer any specific questions you have regarding your son or daughter starting college courses while still doing their high school curriculum (dual enrollment).

CLC Events
Open House – November 19, 2014, 6-8pm
Shadow Day – February 16, 2015

Semester begins
Spring – January 20, 2015
Summer – June 8, 2015
Fall – August 24, 2015

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at 847-543-2836 or via email .


 Michelle Blancas, M. Ed
Enrollment Services, B101
College of Lake County
19351 West Washington Street
Grayslake, Illinois 60030

Babysitting needed

I am in the process of applying for a few part-time jobs with area businesses. I may be required to work a few hours during the day, though I’m looking to focus my time in the evenings and on weekends. I am looking for one or two middle- or high-school aged homeschoolers who would come to my house near Rte. 83 and Monaville Rd. a few hours per week to hang out with my kids. The kids are 3, 5 and 7. The work would be easy and fun, just playing with the kids and reading to them and keeping them entertained while I’m gone. Hours would be between 9am and 5pm, but I don’t know the exact schedule right now. Pay and transportation to and from my home are negotiable. I would also consider dropping them off at your house, if that would work better. Thanks for your consideration!