6 Family-Friendly Ways to Spread the Love this Year

Thanksgiving is upon us. Amid the feasting, the family, and the shopping, many of us look for ways to share the blessings we have with the less fortunate. Here’s a roundup of 6 places in Lake County who are looking for volunteers this season. Continue reading “6 Family-Friendly Ways to Spread the Love this Year” »

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Research Support, Round Lake Library, Ages 10-14

From RLA Library:
Friday, January 15, 10:00am
Attention Homeschooling Families! Do you need some help when researching ideas for projects? Tired of always using google? Join us for some tips on how to use different websites for researching your New Year homeschool projects. Registration is limited. Register by phone 847-546-7060 or online.

5 Ways to Find Your Homeschooling Groove

5 Ways to Find Your Homeschool Groove

5 Ways to Find Your Homeschooling GrooveFinding your groove with your homeschool takes some time. We were 4 years in, and 2 years into using our particular curriculum choices, before I finally felt we were in a good place. I didn’t expect many of the hiccups or, frankly, roadblocks we ran into the first few years, and with my kids being so young and so close in age, I wasn’t prepared for the challenges that their personalities would bring to our (literal) homeschooling table.

The first real year of homeschooling, when my oldest was in first grade, was the hardest. I had high expectations for what we needed to accomplish, but I wasn’t organized enough to make it happen. I felt like a fish out of water, and I was distraught with keeping up with what I thought we needed to do. There were so.many.tears. shed that year. But, it was a good learning experience for me, and I’m so much more confident in my ability to be a good homeschool mom.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Find Your Homeschool Groove” »

24 hour day schedule for homeschool families in Illinois and Wisconsic

The 24-Hour Day, part 2

Last spring, I was introduced to the concept of scheduling referred to as “The 24-hour Day.” The idea behind it being that we only have 24 hours in the day, and we need to allocate our time sufficiently for each item we want to accomplish for the day. It seems simple, but it’s a great way to check yourself if you feel like you never have enough time to get it all done.

For example, if you schedule yourself for 8 hours of sleep, 4 hours of school work, 2 hours of errands, 4 hours for mealtimes at home, 2 hours for housework, 2 hours of TV, an hour for showering, etc., an hour for exercise, and an 2 hours to take your kids to soccer practice, you’re overscheduling your day!  Something isn’t going to get done.

As part of my processing the whole idea, I wrote about it and how I wanted to put it into practice.

My kids are young enough right now that I don’t really need to create an official schedule for them, though I do have a spreadsheet where i note very general amounts of time for what I want them to accomplish in a day. Most noteably, 10-11 hours in bed and 3-4 hours for eating and cleaning up after meals. The rest of their days are fairly flexible.

For my own life, the 24-hour Day idea has been revolutionary. Instead wondering where my time went and why everything is taking longer than planned, I have a rough idea of where my times is going, and I know that any time I spend on facebook or sneaking a few pages of a novel have to come from somewhere.

Right away, I block off 9 hours per day for sleep. Seems excessive, but I absolutely need 8 hours of sleep every night and this guarantees that. I anticipate 5 hours per day for making meals and cleaning up afterward. Again, seems excessive, but I love to cook from scratch and that means a lot of prep work and clean up. Add in 2 hours for exercise, showering, makeup, etc., and I’m left with 8 hours to actually get stuff done.

This is where the schedule works really well for me. I know I only have 8 hours of time on any given day to do non-essential things, including schoolwork with the kids, cleaning, grocery shopping, visiting with friends, dates with the hubby…you get the idea.  Instead of trying to do everything every day, I have to be selective with my time. I don’t have each item of my day blocked out in a rigid sort of way, but I do have a few goals for when things should be done. School lessons start around 9, with lunch around noon, dinner around 6, and bed at 10.

Monday has been designated “Get it Done Day” at my house. Grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry, and assorted other errands like going to the library get done on Mondays. The kids know this and are a great helpers. Tuesday is a funny day because our entire day is spent out of the house at Indian Hill for co-op. So, 7:30-3:30 we’re gone, and that’s my entire extra amount of time.

Wednesday through Saturday run the same for me. I have 3 hours of school work with the kids in the morning, plus another hour in the afternoon doing read-alouds. The remaining 4 hours are spent working on my various volunteer and paid jobs, with one main focus per day. Thursday is my day for this site and its social media. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 4 short hours when you know that’s all the time you have!

So, that’s my take on the 24-hour Day. What do you think? Would this flexible-ish schedule work for you and your homeschool? Do you prefer a more rigid schedule? Or less structure? Let us know in the comments.


homeschool girl in illinois coloring

Fall 2015 Curriculum Update

Well, here we are, almost 3 full months into the new school year. It feels like we just got started, but we’re almost ready to be winding down for the holidays! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, and Christmas not far behind, I know our schedule will be more than a little erratic for the next few months. (Throw in a week or two worth of sick days…)

But, for now, we’re swimming along quite nicely, and I thought it would be a great time to update you on our curriculum selections and extracurriculars to give you an idea of what our schooling looks like.

Continue reading “Fall 2015 Curriculum Update” »


Withdrawing from Illinois Public Schools

One question we get a lot at Lake County Homeschool is “What do I need to do to withdraw my child from public school?” With none of us having had to go through that process (all our kids had been in private school or were never enrolled in school outside the home), we turned to Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for more information. Below is a synopsis of their advice. Please contact HSLDA for information specific to your situation, or check out the legal requirements for homeschooling in Illinois.

If you’re beginning homeschooling from a public school in Illinois, either mid-term or between school years, HSLDA recommends that you write a formal letter of withdrawal and send it to your child’s school via certified mail. This template works well. Members can use the letter template on HSLDA.org.

It is also recommended that you save any correspondence between the school and yourself, as well as the postal receipts from sending such correspondence, in case there is any sort of dispute or legal trouble with the state or school district.

***This advice does not constitute legal advice, just a suggestion for best practices.

Illinois Homeschool Regulations

Legal Requirements for Homeschooling in Illinois

Illinois Homeschool RegulationsThe first question many ask when considering homeschooling is, “Where Do I Start?” There are a million different answers, from just making the decision to do it, to researching curriculum, to finding a support group, but the biggest worry is whether or not homeschooling is legal and what a homeschool parent has to do to stay within the letter of the law.

HSLDA is a great resource for homeschoolers across the nation, providing answers and support online or over the phone, or even in court, if that becomes necessary. Visit their site for more information.Below is a summary of HSLDA‘s information for homeschooling in Illinois.  Continue reading “Legal Requirements for Homeschooling in Illinois” »