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Homeschooling in the Chicago Suburbs: Co-ops, Field Trips, & Family Activities

homeschooling in the Chicago suburbs: co-ops, field trips, & family activities

As I’ve written this post, all of my family’s belongings were loaded onto a 26’ moving truck and taken to our new home in another state! 

After searching online for co-ops and extracurricular activities near our new home, I realized firsthand how helpful it is when bloggers share their favorite local homeschooling resources!

So, before my family leaves the northwest Chicago suburbs, I want to post a “brain dump” of all the northern Illinois homeschooling resources I’ve found over the years. We’ve been parenting and homeschooling here for over a decade and have collected a list of awesome co-ops, support groups, nature centers, field trip ideas, and more! 

Kids Are Always Learning (Even When They’re Bored)

kids are always learning - even when they're bored

Kid: “Mommy… I’m bored!”

Mom: “Good!”

I think this is how I’ll respond to my kids from now on when they complain to me that they’re bored. 

No, it probably won’t go over very well with them. But boredom – free, unscheduled, unfettered time – is a GIFT in our culture today. Too much free time can become an issue, of course. But, for many of us, time to think and dream and putter around is often lacking.

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) Review – Part 1

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding BFSU Review Part 1

I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting years to write this review and the time has finally come! We started using this three volume science curriculum eight years ago when my oldest son was in kindergarten. He’s in 7th grade now and we’re using the final volume this year.

I don’t recall how I first found out about Dr. Nebel’s science series, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU for short), but I’m so glad I did!

Homeschooling’s Secret Weapon

Homeschooling's Secret Weapon

What is this secret weapon, you ask?

Here’s a hint…

All moms and dads have this parenting tool in their arsenal. But homeschooling offers the advantage of significantly more time and freedom to use it!

So, what is this thing that makes homeschooling so effective, even when it’s used by average Jane’s and Joe’s teaching their kids in their kitchen?

Drum roll, please…

Kids Are Always Learning (Even on Vacation)

Kids Are Always Learning Even on Vacation

”Do you ask a fish how it swims? Or a bird how it flies? No sirree, you don’t! They do it because they were born to do it!”

– Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Just like Willy Wonka was born to invent new candy bars, kids were born to learn!

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about why homeschooling works easily for kids of all ages. They’re even learning on sick days. And, on our recent trip to the lake, I was reminded (yet again) how kids are always learning – even on vacation!

Why Homeschooling Works – A Preschool Example

Why Homeschooling Works - A Preschool Example

I was asked again recently if homeschooling really works. 

For some reason, I’m always caught off guard when I hear this. After all, I see home education work everyday!  

My own kids… my homeschooling friends’ kids… students I see at our co-op… they’re all growing and learning and turning into capable young people. 

Does it work? Of course it works! It’s been working in one form or another for millennia! Homeschooling is an amazing way to learn!

But only ten short years ago I actually asked the very same question.

Kids Are Always Learning (Even on a Sick Day)

Kids are Always Learning (Even on a Sick Day) title with sick boy reading in bed

I love autumn. The older I get, the more I prefer autumn to my previous favorite season, summer. Apple picking, cider donuts, colorful scenery, veggie garden harvests and cozy sweaters on crisp fall days…. yes, there’s a lot to love about this season! 

Except, of course, the inevitable cold or flu that someone catches and brings home to share with the family. 

Our Homeschool Summer Break Strewing Experience

Our Homeschool Summer Break Strewing Experience title with cardboard tubes

This past summer, I was looking for ways to keep the kids involved in something productive but not too formal (that is, no 24/7 Minecraft allowed… but nothing that would require too much work on my part, either).

Among other things, my plan included intentionally setting out interesting activities for my kids to find and explore if they wanted to (aka “strewing”). If you haven’t yet, check out the original post – Our Homeschool Summer Break – Year 5 – for a little more context and my original summer plan. In that post, I promised you an update on how it went and here it is!

Our Homeschool Summer Break – Year 5

our homeschool summer break year 5 title on grass background

I’d like to start this post with an apology for any neck injuries you may have sustained by following this series of posts.  It’s been like watching a tennis match!

Back and forth I’ve gone, trying to find the sweet spot for our summers. More academic? More relaxed? Over-scheduled? Lazy days? Seems like we’ve tried it all.

We’ve finally caught up to real time in this series – we’ll be heading into our 5th official homeschool summer in less than a month!