Trailblazer Tribune Blog: 

Encouragement for families educating their children at home. 

You CAN homeschool!

July 1, 2024


This is a picture of the wall of my office.  My office used to be my middle son's bedroom - and he painted this wall with chalkboard paint about 10 years ago.  When he and my youngest moved out - I claimed this room for my office and made use of the chalkboard wall. 

You might notice that amidst the contributions from my grand-daughter Avora - there is a word "Growth" - this is a word that I felt was given to me for this year. 

So much promise lies within the word "Growth" - it's easy to look at that word and make big plans for the future, dream big dreams - what an exciting word to be given! 

John 15 talks a little bit about growth - and it is a chapter of the Bible that is precious to me - words spoken over my life in many seasons, over and over again God brings me back to this passagage, reminds me again and again of his good plans for me. 

John 15:1-4 NLT (emphasis mine) 

"“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me." 

You see, I overlooked a little something about growth in all my excitement - new growth doesn't come unless God can prune your life - and pruning is hard!  

When you prune a plant you are doing one of two things - you are removing what is dead, or you are removing healthy parts to promote a better overall health for the plant. There are some areas in my life where God is removing the dead, there are other areas where the growth is hearty, but not healthy for me - and that is where it is super hard to allow Him to prune. 

Pruning can be painful, but anything in my life that I try to keep from God's hands, is an idol - it's something I want to hold back from Him, and He won't tolerate that. It is so much less painful and so much more fruitful to participate in the work God is doing, even when that work is pruning. If I truly love and trust the Lord with all things, I can trust him most with the things I dearly love. 

 As his child, God WILL prune me, painfully sometimes, but this is because he loves me and wants the very best for my life.  I have learned - time and time again - that this pruning always preceeds greater growth and greater health. I can trust God with my seasons of pruning because I know that He is Good.  I can hand over the things that I love because I know he holds them even more closely than I do. 

And so - I find myself in a season of pruning, where some things I love deeply are being pruned back - and I choose to hold them with an open hand to God, with a heart full of love, and trust that He, the master gardener of all things, will prune us carefully. 

Philippians 1 is a letter from Paul to the church in Philipi, Paul begins in chapter 1 verse 3 with this:

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to God. When I pray, I make requests for all of you with joy, you have been my co-laborers..."   This is how I feel about co-op, about your families - I always think of you with joy - I pray for you - I have labored with you. 

Verse 6 says " And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on a day when Christ Jesus returns." 

I, too, am certain the the Lord will complete the good work he has started at ELCC. 

Verses 7 - 11 go on to say 

It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me a special favor of God... God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Jesus Christ. For I want you to understand what really matters so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation - the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and praise to God. 

These are my prayers for you. 

It's only after much prayer and reflection that I have come to the realization that is is time for me to step away from my leadership role at ELCC. This decision has not been easy and I want to reassure you that my love for this group, for each of you, is more than you could ever know.  I feel a strong sense of guidance from the Lord that this is His will - His pruning in my life - at this time. 

I am truly grateful for the support, encouragement, and camaraderie that each of you have provided over the years. Your friendship and dedication have meant the world to me, and I cherish the memories we have made together. 

Over the next few months, as we lead up to a new year at co-op, I am commited to assisting in any way I can  to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilies. Your board, directors, coordinators, coaches, and teachers have been made aware of this transition and plans are being made, many already in place, to ensure that co-op will continue to grow and thrive.  

This might feel like a little bit of pruning for you as well. I know first hand that it can be scary, painful, and uncertain, but I would encourage you to lean into the Lord, seek his guidance in everything you do, every plan you make. See that your way is established by seeking God first! Then you will find that every pruning proceeds greater health and greater growth!

Colossians 2: 7 May your roots grow down deep into Christ and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness.  

Please feel free to reach out to me if there are any questions or if I can be of any assistance in the future. 

With much love, 


June 28, 2023

Overcoming FOMO: Embracing Homeschooling and Finding Opportunities

Overcoming FOMO: Embracing Homeschooling and Finding Opportunities

Are you considering homeschooling your child but struggling with a fear of missing out (FOMO) on all the normal public school experiences? Transitioning from a traditional school setting to homeschooling can be a significant decision, and it's natural to have concerns about the potential drawbacks. However, fear not! Homeschooling offers many opportunities for growth, socialization, and memorable experiences. In this blog post, we will address parents’ and students’ top ten fears about homeschooling and offer tips on overcoming your fear of missing out!

1. Making Friends - Building a Supportive Community

One common worry is the potential for decreased socialization and making friends. However, homeschoolers have a vibrant and welcoming community that offers support, friendship, and social activities. Local homeschool co-ops are excellent resources for connecting with other families who are also homeschooling. These co-ops often organize field trips, group activities, and social events that allow students to build lasting friendships.

2. Special Activities - Exploring the Community's Rich Offerings

Art, gym, music—these are activities that many parents fear their students might miss out on. However, homeschooling provides a unique opportunity to seek out specialized activities within the community. Explore local art studios, music schools, and sports clubs for high-quality instruction. Visit art museums, attend live performances, and engage with the rich cultural offerings in your area. Homeschooling enables students to experience these activities more extensively and often at a higher quality.

3. Field Trips - Expanding Learning Beyond the Classroom

Field trips are not exclusive to public schools. In fact, homeschooling allows for even more exciting and diverse field trip opportunities. Connect with other homeschooling groups to plan joint field trips or organize them yourself. Local attractions, museums, nature reserves, historical sites—your options are endless. By embracing homeschooling, you can expand your child's learning beyond the confines of a classroom.

4. Close Teachers/Mentors - Discovering Support in Various Settings

Having a close teacher or mentor can make a significant impact on a student’s education. Many parents remember how a special teacher or coach impacted their life for the better.  Homeschooling doesn’t need to deprive your student of those mentorship relationships.  Look into homeschooling co-ops, local churches, clubs, 4-H programs, and sports teams. These organizations often provide mentors and teachers who can guide your child's educational journey. Remember, good mentors are often found in the larger community, not just in the public school.

5. Sports - Joining Homeschooling Teams and Local Organizations

Participating in sports is a vital aspect of many students' lives, and it can continue during homeschooling. Ohio's "Tebow law" allows homeschooling students to participate in public school sports and removes any barriers for homeschooling students. Additionally, homeschooling athletic teams, club teams, YMCA programs, recreational leagues, and travel teams also offer sporting opportunities for your student. Your child can stay active and still enjoy the camaraderie and team building of sports while homeschooling.

6. Recess - Embracing Play and Outdoor Activities

Recess and playtime are crucial for a child's development, and homeschooling offers various ways to incorporate them. Joining a homeschool co-op often provides opportunities for recess-like activities and playdates at local parks. Alternatively, you can plan regular outings to nearby parks or playgrounds. Recess, or time for playing outdoors, is something you can incorporate into your everyday school routine!

7. Riding the Bus - Seeking Alternative Experiences

Although homeschoolers may not have the traditional school bus experience, you can still provide your child with a similar experience. Consider parking your car and riding on the city bus to an event or activity. While it may not be exactly the same, this experience can help your child understand what riding the bus is like. In the end, they might discover that it's not as thrilling as they once thought!

8. School Lunches - Embracing New Dining Experiences

School lunches are challenging to replicate at home (and who would want to!)  However, homeschooling provides an opportunity for creativity and flexibility when it comes to mealtime. Instead of imitating school lunches, encourage your child to explore different dining experiences. Have lunch at a cafeteria-style restaurant, try lunchables, or create a special daily lunchtime routine that sets a dedicated time for shared meals. Homeschooling allows for a more personalized approach to everything, including eating lunch!

9. The Prom and Milestone Events - Homeschooling Co-ops to the Rescue

Proms, graduation ceremonies, science fairs, talent shows—these milestone events are not exclusive to public schools. Homeschooling co-ops and support groups often organize their versions of these events, providing opportunities for homeschoolers to celebrate their achievements and showcase their talents. From formal proms to creative science fairs, homeschooling co-ops offer a wealth of engaging and enjoyable group activities.

10. Getting a "Real" Diploma - Homeschooling and Ohio's Diploma Fairness Law

One concern that parents often have when considering homeschooling is whether their child will receive a "real" diploma recognized by colleges and universities. In Ohio, you can put those worries to rest. The state is governed by the Ohio Diploma Fairness Law, which grants homeschooling parents the authority to issue their child's diploma. Rest assured. This diploma holds the same legitimacy as any other public school diploma.

Transitioning from public school to homeschooling doesn't mean missing out on valuable experiences or opportunities.  By homeschooling, you open doors to unique opportunities for socialization, personalized learning, and community engagement. Remember, homeschooling co-ops, local organizations, and community resources can help alleviate any concerns you may have. Embrace the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling provides and embark on an enriching educational journey for your child.

June 14, 2023

The Benefits of Club Sports for Homeschooling Students

As Homeschooling has gained popularity, providing parents with the flexibility to tailor their child's learning experience, parents have begun to look outside the public school systems for support in more than just academics.  Homeschool athletics clubs are on the rise and more and more homeschooling kids are choosing to skip the public school experience altogether and opt for sports in the private sector.  

Club sports are independent sports programs organized by non-profit organizations, offering a range of sports activities for students. These clubs may be operated in conjunction with a community rec league, the YMCA, or as an independent entity. One of the main appeals to homeschooling families is the flexible scheduling and more affordable costs. These club teams often have more reasonable participation requirements, such as practicing three nights a week, allowing homeschooling students to balance their academic studies effectively.

1. Socialization

One common concern for homeschooling families is socialization opportunities for their children. Club sports provide a platform for homeschooling students to interact with peers, make new friends, and develop social skills. The ELCC Trailblazers basketball program creates a supportive environment, enabling students to form meaningful connections with their teammates. Moreover, the emphasis on Christian character development promotes values like respect, compassion, and teamwork.

2. Skill Development

Club sports offer coaching and training, allowing homeschooling students to develop and hone their skills. While students may not become elite athletes, many students do reach their full potential and gain valuable experience in the sport.  As students improve, they may look for traveling club teams to meet their athletic expectations. The ELCC Trailblazers basketball program focuses on the holistic development of student-athletes, providing them with quality coaching and guidance to improve their basketball skills. 

4. Competition and Teamwork

Club sports give homeschooling students an outlet for healthy competition and help teach them valuable lessons about teamwork. The ELCC Trailblazers program instills a sense of camaraderie among its participants, encouraging athletes to learn to work together, communicate effectively, and support one another. By experiencing the ups and downs of competition, students develop resilience, sportsmanship, and life skills that extend well beyond the basketball court.

5. Character Development

The ELCC Trailblazers basketball program prioritizes character development, aiming to build Christian values in its student-athletes. While winning is a part of the game, the ultimate measure of success lies in the character of Christ being instilled in each athlete. Coaches actively promote positive values such as integrity, humility, and faith, making character growth an integral part of the program. Through prayer, mentorship, and intentional coaching, the ELCC Trailblazers program helps students become not only better athletes but also individuals of strong moral character.

Testimonials from Parents Participating in the ELCC Trailblazer Basketball Programs

Club sports offer homeschooling students many benefits, including socialization, physical fitness, skill development, competition, and character growth. By participating in club sports like the ELCC Trailblazers program, homeschooling students can thrive both academically and athletically, experiencing personal growth and creating lasting memories along the way.

Would you like to learn more about club sports at ELCC? Check out our athletics page to learn about our programs.  You can also register for our summer basketball and cheer camps, which are happening in late June and mid-July!  

May 7, 2023

May Trailblazer Tribune! 

May Trailblazer Tribune.pdf

May 1, 2023

"Can I Remove My Child From School Today?

"Can I Remove My Child From School Today?

It's the time of year when we hear from parents considering pulling their children from school for the rest of the year.  This can be a very hard decision - especially so close to the end of the year.  Parents often just want to "tough it out" for the rest of the year so they can start fresh in the coming year.  This blog explores some of the common fears and questions parents have when considering a late-in-the-school-year switch. 

The most common worries parents have about removing their children late in the school year are not completing the “grade” or curriculum of the public school or fear of their child being unable to meet some testing standard.

 However, it's important to remember that even in public schools, teachers don't typically finish the entire curriculum by the end of the school year. In fact, most teachers do not finish the curriculum. A student’s grade - when homeschooling- is completely determined by the parent and isn’t as rigid as the public schools.  For example, a student may be working at a 4th grade level in mathematics, but a third grade level in English - all while being 8 years old. It takes time to break out of the public school “grade level” mindset - and leaving before the end of the school year can be one positive step in the right direction. Additionally, standardized testing typically takes place in late April, so if a student is withdrawn in May, they have likely already completed the necessary testing for the year. If you're really concerned, you could check with the school to see if this testing has been completed and ask for a copy of the results to be mailed to you.  You may need to provide a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive the results -but those results could be very useful for you when it comes time to provide your notification for the 23-24 school year.  

Another parent concern is the legal way to withdraw their student. Many schools will inform parents of their internal policies - which may or may not align with Ohio law - rather than empower parents with the information they need to make a decision about homeschooling. While following the legal guidelines is an important consideration, these can be as simple as submitting a written notice to the school superintendent upon withdrawal, including a list of the planned curriculum, and assurance that the child will be provided with 900 hours of education for the current school year.  When withdrawing in May some quick math might show that the child has already met the needed 900 hours. Withdrawing at any time can be overwhelming, but support is available.  One regulation that is often overlooked when withdrawing late in the year would be providing a subsequent notification with the student's assessment included.  Just because you withdrew in May, doesn’t mean you don’t have to notify again in August. Just be sure that when you notify of your intent to homeschool that you include an assessment with your notification. If you were able to secure a copy of the public school assessment when you went through the withdraw process, it could come in handy now!  But if not, you can either use a homeschooling-friendly assessor who will understand your situation (several state orgs maintain a list of assessors) or take a nationally normed test.

Sometimes parents will be fully convinced that they want to homeschool the coming school year, but withdrawing their child from public school with only a month left may seem insignificant. Surely they can “finish out the year”.  But continuing in a situation where you have already decided you can do better at home probably isn’t wise.  There is a reason why you’ve decided to homeschool, which is just as valid in May as it will be in September.  Removing your child from a situation that isn’t your best for them is almost always the best choice. Beginning your journey a month ahead of schedule can lead to greater confidence in your ability, building self-esteem for your student, and rebuilding of trust with adults. 

Another great perk of starting to homeschool in May is the ease of gathering contact information from your student’s friends and their parents.  You can easily host a get-together, invite classmates, and withdraw from the school post-party with contact information in hand.  Then scheduling summer playdates sets up normal friendships and expectations that can continue throughout the school year. Collecting that information in the fall, once you have already withdrawn your child, can be next to impossible. 

De-schooling is another reason to consider withdrawing a child from public school in May. De-schooling is a period of time without a specific curriculum in which your children can explore their interests, play, and engage in activities they enjoy, without the pressure of academic expectations or deadlines. Some seasoned homeschooling families recommend at least 1 week of De-schooling for every year a child attended public school.  This can help retrain their brain to enjoy learning and see that learning and education is its own reward. 

De-schooling helps ease the transition to homeschooling for students and parents, especially for children who have experienced trauma or struggle with anxiety. It can mitigate the stress and overwhelm that can come with a sudden change in routine or environment, build intrinsic trust, motivation, and love for learning, and provide a more positive and fulfilling educational experience for both you and your child. 

The short answer is yes, you can start homeschooling today! And as you move forward, consider that all the reasons you initially decided to homeschool are still 100% valid - even with just a month left in the school year.

April 19, 2023

Excellence in Learning, A co-op worth checking out!

Welcome to Excellence in Learning, the homeschool co-op that provides a unique and valuable homeschooling experience for families in Newark, Ohio. Our co-op offers complete flexibility, shared resources, streamlined registration, scholarships, and a faith-focused education that equips students with the values and character necessary to succeed in all areas of life. Our community comprises families who desire to glorify God by uplifting, encouraging, equipping, and supporting home-educating families to disciple young men and women of character, influencing the world for Jesus Christ. In this blog post, we will highlight why our homeschool co-op could be a great fit for your family. So, whether you're new to homeschooling or a seasoned veteran, we invite you to read on and discover what makes Excellence in Learning the right choice for so many families.

Complete Flexibility - One of the biggest advantages of our homeschool co-op is the complete flexibility it offers to families. We understand that each family's needs and schedules are unique, so we offer a full schedule of classes on Thursdays in Newark, Ohio, but parents can choose to take as many or as few classes as they want. This means that families can customize their child's education to their liking and build their own schedule around it. 

For instance, if a family has a child who is particularly interested in science, they may choose to enroll in all science-related classes, while another family may only want to take music or language classes. Our co-op offers a wide range of classes catering to children’s different interests and passions, ultimately allowing them to develop a love for learning.

Shared Resources - co-op provides access to shared resources like textbooks, curricula, and educational materials.

Homeschooling can be daunting, and the cost of textbooks, curricula, and educational materials can add up quickly. That's why our co-op provides access to shared resources, such as textbooks, curricula, and educational materials, which can significantly reduce homeschooling costs. These resources are available for all co-op members, and parents can share ideas and recommendations on the best resources to use for their children's education.

By sharing resources, parents can collaborate on teaching and learning strategies and draw from each other's expertise and knowledge. This creates a supportive and enriching environment where families can learn and grow together.

Socialization - co-op offers opportunities for children to socialize and make friends.

One of the most common misconceptions about homeschooling is that it can be isolating for children, as they do not have the same opportunities to socialize and make friends as they would in a traditional school setting. However, our co-op offers a range of opportunities for children to socialize and make friends with other homeschoolers.

Our classes encourage collaboration and group work, fostering a sense of community and belonging among children. In addition, we organize field trips, playdates, and other social events throughout the year, which allows children to interact with others and make lasting friendships.

Expertise - co-op provides access to expert teachers and educators.

Our co-op is led by experienced teachers, professionals, and parents who are passionate about homeschooling and committed to excellence in learning. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the co-op, translating into high-quality education for our members.

Our teachers have a deep understanding of the various learning styles and needs of children, and they tailor their teaching approach to meet the unique needs of each child. They also provide guidance and support to parents, and work collaboratively with them to ensure that each child is achieving their full potential.

Parental Involvement - co-op encourages parental involvement in their child's education.

Our co-op recognizes parental involvement is crucial to a child's education and academic success. That's why we encourage parents to be actively involved in their child's education, whether it's by volunteering in the classroom, sharing resources, or providing feedback to teachers.

By involving parents in their child's education, we empower them to shape their child’s learning journey actively. This strengthens the bond between parent and child and helps create a supportive and collaborative learning environment that fosters excellence in learning.

Streamlined Registration Process - Our homeschool co-op understands that parents have busy schedules, so we offer a streamlined registration process using RegFox. With RegFox, parents can easily see and register for available classes, making the process of choosing classes and registering their children for them as hassle-free as possible.

Additionally, we participate in the Ohio ACE program, which means that parents can independently submit their receipts for reimbursement if they choose to do so. This program is designed to help homeschooling families save money on educational expenses, and our co-op supports this initiative by making it easy for parents to participate.

Flexible Payments and Scholarships - We understand that homeschooling can be expensive, so we offer flexible payment options to help ease the financial burden for families. Parents can break down paying for semester classes into three payments, making it easier to manage their expenses.

Moreover, we also offer scholarships to families who earn less than 200% of the poverty level. These scholarships can significantly reduce the cost of homeschooling and allow families to provide their children with an excellent education without worrying about the financial burden.

A Path from Kindergarten to Graduation - Our co-op is committed to providing families a complete path from Kindergarten (really preschool) to graduation. We offer classes for all ages, so students from preschool through high school have a place to belong and the needed resources for their age group.

Our co-op is also equipped to offer specialized classes for high school students, such as college prep courses, which can help prepare them for higher education. Providing a complete path from Kindergarten to graduation gives families the support and resources they need to homeschool their children confidently.

Support for Different Homeschooling Approaches - Homeschooling is a highly individualized approach to education, and each family has unique needs and preferences. Our co-op supports different homeschooling approaches, including social-focused, academically rigorous, eclectic, and more.

We understand that no two families are the same, and we want to provide the support and resources necessary for each family to succeed. Whether parents want a more traditional approach to homeschooling or something more unconventional, our co-op can help them achieve their goals. Providing a range of options gives families the freedom to choose the path that is right for them.

Faith Focus and Foundation - At our homeschool co-op, we believe education is more than academic excellence. We believe in providing a faith-focused and Christ-centered education that equips students with the values and character necessary to succeed in all areas of life.

Our community is made up of families who desire to glorify God by uplifting, encouraging, equipping, and supporting home-educating families to disciple young men and women of character, influencing the world for Jesus Christ. This is not just our vision statement; it is the foundation upon which our co-op is built.

Our faith-focused approach is evident in everything we do, from the curriculum we use to the activities we plan. We believe a strong faith foundation is essential to developing well-rounded and successful individuals, and we strive to provide that foundation through our homeschooling cooperative.

Our co-op offers a unique and valuable homeschooling experience for families in Newark, Ohio. From complete flexibility and streamlined registration to scholarships and a faith-focused education, we are committed to providing families with the resources, support, and guidance they need to succeed in homeschooling. We invite you to join us and be a part of our community of homeschooling families.

April 12, 2023

How to get the most out of your homeschool convention.

As a homeschooling parent, attending a homeschool convention can be an exciting and informative experience. It's a chance to connect with other homeschoolers, learn about new resources and curricula, and gain insight and inspiration from experienced speakers. However, with so many sessions, workshops, and vendor booths, it can take time to navigate. Planning and being intentional with your time (and money) at the convention is essential. This blog post will share five tips for getting the most out of your homeschool convention experience. From researching speakers and vendors beforehand to taking notes during sessions and workshops to networking with other attendees, these tips will help you make the most of your time and feel informed, inspired, and energized about your homeschool.

4. Take Care of Yourself. Attending a homeschool convention can be a busy and overwhelming experience, so taking care of yourself is important to ensure you have the energy and focus on making the most of your time there. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself at a homeschool convention:

By taking care of yourself at the homeschool convention, you can ensure you have the energy and focus on making the most of your time there. Taking breaks, eating healthy, and staying hydrated can help you feel refreshed and energized.

Ultimately, the key to getting the most out of your homeschool convention experience is to remember that it's a celebration of the homeschooling community and the incredible opportunities and experiences that come with homeschooling. By embracing the occasion with an open mind and a sense of excitement, you can leave the convention feeling inspired, empowered, and energized to continue your homeschooling journey. 

April 3, 2023

April - Trailblazer Tribune!

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March 1, 2023

March - Trailblazer Tribune!

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March 15, 2023

Top Tips for Organizing your Homeschool Day

Homeschooling requires a certain level of organization and structure to be successful. With a little planning and preparation, homeschooling can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for you and your child. Here are our Top Tips for creating a peaceful and organized environment within your homeschool.

Setting a schedule is one of the most important things you can do to organize your homeschool day. A consistent routine will help your child know what to expect and create a sense of structure in their day. A schedule can include everything from waking up and going to bed at the same time each day to set specific times for lessons, breaks, and activities. But remember that the schedule is just an outline of your day - it is important to have a flexible yet predictable schedule. This means you should have a general day outline but be willing to adjust it as needed. For example, if your child is struggling with a certain subject, you may need to spend more time on that subject and adjust your schedule accordingly.

If you have younger children, you may find balancing their needs with your homeschooling schedule challenging. One effective way to manage this is by scheduling your homeschooling activities around their normal routine. For example, you can plan to do more structured learning activities during naptime or quiet playtime. Consider setting up a designated play area nearby so that you can supervise your younger child while working with your older child. By aligning your homeschooling schedule with your younger child's routine, you can ensure that you have time and energy to devote to your older child's education and your younger child's needs.

A planner is another important tool for organizing your homeschool day. A planner can help you keep track of your child’s assignments, appointments, and activities. To use a planner effectively, choose a planner that works well for your needs. Many different types of planners are available, including daily, weekly, and monthly planners. You can choose one with pre-printed pages or create a planner using a blank notebook or bullet journal.

Once you have your planner, take some time to plan out your lessons and activities for the week. Write down the assignments that your child needs to complete each day, and include any appointments or activities that you have scheduled. Be sure to leave some time for breaks and downtime, as well as for planning and preparation.

When you are using a planner, it can be helpful to color code your entries to make them easier to read and understand. For example, you might use one color for assignments, another for appointments, and a third for activities. You can also use stickers or other decorations to make your planner more fun and motivating.

Another option is to use an online calendar, such as Google Calendar, to keep track of your homeschool schedule. This can be especially helpful if you have multiple children with different schedules or need to share your schedule with a spouse or other caregiver. With an online calendar, you can easily add and edit events, set reminders, and share your schedule with others. Plus, you can access your calendar from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easy to stay on top of your homeschool schedule no matter where you are.

Creating a dedicated homeschooling space can also be incredibly helpful for organizing

your homeschool day. This space should be free from distractions and have everything your child needs to complete schoolwork. Consider using a separate room or corner of your home for homeschooling. A designated learning space can help your child focus and create structure in their day. Ideally, your homeschooling space should be free from distractions, well-lit, and comfortable. Having the right supplies can help your child be more productive and focused. Storage bins, shelves, and drawers can keep your supplies organized and easily accessible. You can decorate the space with posters, artwork, or other learning materials to make it more inviting and inspiring.

Consider setting up learning stations for each child if you have multiple children.  This approach can help you ensure that each child works on appropriate materials at their own pace while minimizing interruptions and distractions. Learning stations can include a desk, chair, and supplies for each child. Consider using a divider or bookshelf to separate the stations and provide privacy. This approach can help you maintain a structured learning environment and reduce the potential for conflicts or distractions between siblings.

A wide variety of online resources can be incredibly helpful for organizing your homeschool day. Many apps and websites can help you track your child’s progress, create lesson plans, and communicate with your homeschool co-op if you have one. For example, websites like Khan Academy and BrainPop offer free educational videos and interactive lessons that can be used

to supplement your homeschool curriculum. You can also use online tools like Google Classroom to create assignments, grade assignments, and communicate. Some of the best homeschooling apps include Khan Academy, Scratch, and Quizlet. These apps can help you create interactive lessons, track your child’s progress, and reinforce their learning.

Online resources are a fantastic way to help you stay organized in your homeschooling journey. One of the most significant benefits of using online resources is accessing them from anywhere with an internet connection. You can easily download and print resources, communicate with other homeschool parents or co-op members, and access educational videos, games, and interactive lessons. Additionally, online resources can be a time saver, especially if you are juggling multiple children or working while homeschooling. You can easily find the needed resources, save them for later, and use them whenever convenient. Using technology to your advantage can also help your children stay engaged and motivated as they learn in new and exciting ways. Whether you use online resources exclusively or with other organizational tools, they can be essential to any homeschooling plan.

Taking breaks and engaging in activities is important for maintaining a healthy balance between learning and leisure time in your homeschool day. It can be challenging for children to sit still and focus for long periods, and breaks can help them recharge their minds and bodies. Breaks can also allow parents and children to spend time together and bond over shared interests.

Planning for breaks and activities is another important tip for organizing your homeschool day. Taking breaks throughout the day can help your child stay focused and motivated. Activities such as exercise, reading, and playing games can also help your child learn and grow. According to an article in Time4Learning, you should plan for at least one break every hour. You can use this time to stretch, have a snack, or engage in a fun activity. 

In addition to breaks, planning for complementary activities can enhance your child's learning experience. For example, a field trip to a museum or nature center can help your child connect what they learn in a textbook to real-world experiences. Conducting a science experiment can provide a hands-on way for your child to explore scientific concepts and develop problem-solving skills. By planning for breaks and complementary activities, you can make your homeschool day more engaging and enjoyable for your child while also promoting learning and growth.

Another essential tip for organizing your homeschool day is to block out time for lesson planning and preparation. While it may seem tempting to wing it and plan lessons as you go, this can quickly become overwhelming and chaotic, leading to undue stress and a less effective learning experience for your child. Instead, set aside time each week to plan out your lessons in advance, gather any necessary materials, and create a schedule that maps out what you'll cover each day. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you cover all the necessary topics, but it will also allow you to be more present and engaged during your teaching time, as you won't be scrambling to come up with resources or needed supplies on the fly.

When blocking out time for lesson planning, give yourself enough time to gather necessary supplies or materials, such as books, worksheets, or art supplies.  You can also use a checklist to ensure you have all your supplies before you begin each lesson.

Consider creating a designated workspace or area to focus solely on lesson planning and preparation without distractions. By planning ahead and blocking out dedicated time for lesson planning and preparation, you can approach your homeschool day more confidently and clearly, setting your child up for a more effective and enjoyable learning experience.

Finally, involve your child in the organization and the planning process for your homeschool. Encourage your child to be part of the decision-making process by asking for their input and suggestions. This will help them take ownership of their education and increase their interest and motivation. Consider setting aside time weekly to review and discuss their progress, goals, and upcoming assignments. You can use this time to adjust the schedule or curriculum as necessary to ensure that your child is getting the most out of their homeschooling experience.

Involving your child in the planning process can also allow them to develop important skills such as time management, organization, and goal-setting. Encourage your child to create their own schedule or to-do list for the day or week, and help them break down larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will help your child stay on track with their assignments and build their sense of independence and responsibility. Additionally, involving your child in the planning process can help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they learn to identify areas where they may need additional support or resources. By working together, you can create an engaging and effective homeschool environment for your child's learning and development.

Organizing and structuring your homeschool environment can make all the difference in its success. Setting a schedule, using a planner, creating a dedicated homeschool space, and using technology are all valuable tools to help you and your children stay on track and motivated. By aligning your homeschooling schedule with your child's routine and utilizing helpful tools, you can ensure that you have time and energy to devote to your child's education and your family's needs. With these top tips, you can create a peaceful, organized homeschool environment that fosters learning, growth, and success.

February 22, 2023

Practical Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Ages and Grade Levels Together.

Homeschooling multiple children of different ages can be challenging, but with some careful planning and organization, it can be a successful and rewarding experience for both parents and children. Here are some practical tips for homeschooling multiple children who are at different ages/stages in their education. 

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your success in homeschooling multiple students is to set up designated workstations for each child tailored to their individual learning needs. You can have a separate desk, table, or learning area for each child, where they have access to the materials they need to complete their work. This doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds and you don’t need a big house.  For younger children, this can mean organizing busy baskets; for older kids, having a designated quiet study area where younger siblings are not allowed is a game changer.  Think about what each student will need and try to give them something specific. 

Now that your space is organized, don’t be afraid to take advantage of online learning tools. These tools can act as a sort of additional teacher.  Look into educational apps, websites, and videos to supplement your lessons and help your children learn at their own pace. Online learning resources can be an excellent way to supplement your homeschooling curriculum and provide your children with additional learning opportunities. Here are some examples of online resources you can use:

Utilizing these online learning resources can supplement your homeschooling curriculum and provide your children with additional learning opportunities that cater to their individual needs and interests.  You can teach an older child while your preschooler plays with ABC mouse or teach younger kids while an older student watches a documentary. Make sure each student has individual access to the specific resources you have chosen, and be mindful of internet safety. 

Another way to help streamline your homeschool when you have multiple ages and stages is to encourage independent learning in your older children.  Teach your older children how to work independently and encourage them to help their younger siblings. This not only helps you but also teaches your older children important leadership skills and encourages them to learn from their older siblings. Help your older children by setting Goals and Objectives: Work with them to set clear learning objectives for each subject or topic they study. This can help them stay focused and motivated, giving them a sense of accomplishment when they meet their goals. Provide your older children with the resources and tools they need to work independently, such as textbooks, workbooks, online resources, and educational apps. Encourage them to use these resources to explore new topics and ideas.  Finally, give your older children some flexibility in their learning. Let them choose their own topics to study, or let them work at their own pace. This can help them to stay engaged and interested in their studies.

A common mistake new homeschooling parents make is trying to replicate public school at home.  This can be especially true when homeschooling younger children.  Avoid overteaching your younger children. Younger children only have a 15-30 minute attention span. Schedule educational play breaks, videos, and activities that can be self-directed in between lessons that will reinforce the concept taught. If your young children are still young enough to take a nap, you can use this to your advantage and spend some quality one on one time with older kids in the afternoon when the younger siblings are napping. Keep in mind that children in 5th grade and younger need to be skilled readers and have solid math skills, but beyond that, they can also pursue their interests.  Have a kid interested in blue whales? Let them learn everything about blue whales and count that as your science. Younger children do best with history and science when it is delight-directed, and learning seems almost accidental. Self-directed learning of this kind can happen even at a very young age. 

Another practical tip for homeschooling multiple children is to combine subjects. For example, history and literature can be taught together, and science and math can be integrated. Combining subjects so that they overlap also helps reinforce complex concepts. Here are some practical examples: 

By combining lessons in this way, you can make learning more efficient and engaging for your children, and also help them to see the connections between different subjects. Additionally, by teaching multiple children together, you can save time and resources while still providing a high-quality education for each child.

This might sound overly simple but look into using resources designed for teaching multiple ages. A unit study is a comprehensive curriculum that covers multiple subjects around a central theme. Unit studies can be used with children of different ages, as the activities and materials can be adjusted to meet the needs and abilities of each child. For example, a unit study on the solar system might include activities like creating models of the planets, studying constellations, and researching the history of space exploration. Lapbooks are another great resource for teaching multiple students. A lap book is a hands-on project that allows children to visually represent what they have learned. Lap books can be used with children of different ages, as the level of detail and complexity can be adjusted to meet the needs of each child. For example, a lap book on the human body might include diagrams of different systems, descriptions of the functions of each system, and fun facts about the body.  If you like Charlotte Mason style homeschooling, you might look into living books. These high-quality books use engaging stories and language to teach important concepts. Living books can be used with children of different ages, as the content and reading level can be adjusted to meet the needs of each child. For example, a living book on history might tell the story of a historical figure or event in an engaging and memorable way.  Notebooking can also be used with children of different ages, as the level of detail and complexity can be adjusted to meet the needs of each child. For example, notebooking on a particular topic might involve drawing pictures, writing summaries, and creating timelines.  Next, check into getting some games.  Games are a fun and engaging way to reinforce important concepts and skills. Many family board games can be used with children of different ages, as the difficulty level can be adjusted to meet the needs of each child. 

Finally, you could consider joining a homeschool co-op or support group. Joining a homeschooling co-op or support group can be a valuable resource for homeschooling parents. It provides an opportunity for parents to connect with other homeschooling families and gain access to resources and support to help them navigate the challenges of homeschooling multiple children of different ages.  This also allows students to join smaller groups of kids their own age for more directed learning and can make all the difference in supporting families with multiple children of different ages

Homeschooling multiple children of different ages requires patience, organization, and creativity.  Still, with some support, planning, and using some of these tips, you will be well on your way to successfully and joyfully homeschooling your children, regardless of their age or stage. 

February 15, 2023

How do Ohio's ever-changing graduation requirements affect homeschoolers?

How do Ohio's ever-changing graduation requirements affect homeschoolers?

Homeschooling is a popular and growing educational option in Ohio and worldwide. For many families, homeschooling offers a chance to provide their children with a personalized education tailored to their unique needs, interests, and learning styles. However, homeschooling can also present challenges, especially in high school, where parents may feel overwhelmed by record keeping, increasing student activities, and the desire to meet state graduation requirements. This blog will explore how Ohio's ever-changing graduation requirements affect homeschoolers and offer tips on how they can homeschool through high school while maintaining their unique approach to education.

First, it's important to understand the context of Ohio's graduation requirements.

In Ohio, high school graduation standards change frequently, which can create confusion and difficulty for both homeschoolers and traditional students alike. Despite these changes, homeschoolers in Ohio are not required to meet the state's graduation requirements. In fact, homeschoolers have the freedom to create their curriculum and graduation requirements that are best suited to their individual needs. This allows homeschoolers to pursue their interests, explore new subjects, and take advantage of unique educational opportunities that may not be available in a traditional high school setting.

Parents homeschooling in Ohio have the legal right to issue their own high school diploma for their homeschooled children, and it is equally valid under Ohio law as any other school diploma. Homeschool graduates are considered to have completed high school education and are recognized as such by colleges, which have actively recruited homeschool graduates in recent years. The graduation requirements for a homeschooled student are set by the legal administrator of the homeschool (aka - the parent), who is not bound by the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) graduation requirements. The high school transcripts, which the homeschool administrator(parent) legally writes, and college entrance exams are the most important factors for college acceptance rather than the diploma. A high school diploma or equivalent is usually asked for on job applications, and a homeschool diploma can be proudly stated as such without any qualifications. The Diploma Fairness Law of 2015 strengthens the validity of homeschool diplomas, and the last compulsory age letter of excusal from attendance can be used as proof of compliance with state law if the diploma is ever challenged. A homeschool diploma IS a valid diploma and CAN stand alone apart from ANY graduation requirements given by the Ohio Department of Education. 

Just because homeschoolers are not required to meet Ohio's graduation requirements does not mean they should ignore them completely. Post-secondary institutions and employers widely accept the Ohio standards, and incorporating them into your homeschooling program could help prepare your child for success after high school.  According to the Ohio Department of Education website, the state has recently revised its high school graduation requirements to offer students more flexibility in choosing a graduation pathway that aligns with their strengths, passions, and future goals. This is a positive change and a step towards student/parent-driven education that more closely aligns with homeschooling values - but it also means that the requirements are constantly evolving, which can be challenging for families who are already navigating the complexities of homeschooling. A practical approach is that homeschoolers can use the Ohio standards as a guide to help create a well-rounded and comprehensive curriculum that meets the needs of their individual student and the expectations of future colleges and employers while keeping with the spirit of the guidelines without the added pressure of being required to meet these ever-changing standards.

So, how can homeschooling families incorporate the Ohio standards into their homeschooling program? 

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the requirements. These new graduation requirements consist of three key components: Course Completion - Students will satisfy Ohio’s curriculum requirements and any additional local requirements. Students will complete the state minimum of 20 units, with specific units required in each content area.  Most homeschooling families will easily meet these requirements because they already teach a well-rounded curriculum that includes core subjects each year. 

Demonstrating Competency - Students will demonstrate competency in the foundational areas of English language arts and mathematics or through alternative demonstrations, which include College Credit Plus, career-focused activities, their ACT or SAT scores, or military enlistment.  Again, homeschooling students who are preparing for career, college, or military enlistment are likely already meeting these requirements. 

Demonstrating Readiness (Seals) - Students will demonstrate readiness for their post-high school paths by earning two diploma seals that allow them to demonstrate important foundational and well-rounded academic and technical knowledge, professional skills, and leadership and reasoning skills. These Readiness Seals are also things that homeschooling students are likely already doing, but may take a little time for parents to review, understand, and document, should they desire to do so.

Readiness Seals are the newest addition to Ohio requirements but are likely the easiest to meet. Public school graduates must earn two diploma seals, choosing those that align with their goals and interests. These seals allow students to demonstrate academic, technical, and professional skills and knowledge that align with their passions, interests, and planned next steps after high school.  At least one of the seals earned needs to be an “Ohio-designed” seal.  There are 12 available seals.  The OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal (Ohio) requires students to take a life skills course, and the Industry-Recognized Credential Seal (Ohio) is awarded to students in a career or technical center who complete courses specific to their future career - for example, an EMT course or Diesel Mechanics course. The College-Ready Seal (Ohio) is awarded to students who earn remediation-free scores on the ACT or SAT - which can be super-scored.

The Military Enlistment Seal (Ohio) is for students who enlist in the military, and the  Citizenship Seal (Ohio) is for students who complete community service.  Another option is the  Science Seal (Ohio) for students who complete Biology and at least one other advanced science course, both with a B or higher, either through the high school, a CCP program, or an AP test score of 2 or higher.  The Honors Diploma Seal (Ohio) is awarded by completing one of 6 honors diploma paths which define the credits listed on the student’s transcript. The Seal of Biliteracy (Ohio) is for students who demonstrate proficiency in multiple languages, and the Technology Seal (Ohio) is for students who complete at least 2 technology courses with a B or higher, either through the high school, a CCP program, or an AP test score of 2 or higher. The local seals include the Community Service Seal (Local), the Fine and Performing Arts Seal (Local), and the Student Engagement Seal (Local), and their requirements are largely determined by the administrator of the programs, or in the case of homeschooled students, their parents.  

Homeschool parents could consider using the Ohio standards to loosely guide their high school homeschooling curriculum. For example, if students needed four credits in English language arts, they might incorporate literature, writing, and grammar into their homeschooling program. Suppose a homeschooling parent wants their child to pass Ohio’s high school Algebra I and English II tests. In that case, they could use a comprehensive homeschooling curriculum, consider enrolling in a local co-op that offers these courses, or finding a good homeschool-friendly tutor. Remember that homeschooling is a flexible and adaptable education option, and the Ohio standards should not dictate your homeschooling program. Instead, use them as a starting point to build a curriculum that meets your individual student’s needs and provides them with the best possible education.

Ohio's ever-changing graduation requirements can be confusing and challenging for homeschoolers, but they do not need to dictate your homeschooling program. This article by Debby Gerth provides a more in-depth analysis of the Ohio Homeschool Diploma Fairness Law and homeschooling high school. Homeschoolers have proven to be successful in college and the workplace, and homeschoolers are widely considered to be self-starters and creative thinkers. Don’t get discouraged by “new” graduation requirements. Keep homeschooling through high school, reaching out for support, and providing the best possible individualized education for your students; you will come out just fine!

Meet Elsie Larson: Homeschooled Teen and CrossFit Competitor. 

Elsie Larson is a 15-year-old homeschooled student from Granville, Ohio, who is making waves in the world of CrossFit. Elsie has been attending classes at the co-op since 2020 with her mom Mindy (our Preschool Coordinator) and her 6 siblings.  Despite her busy schedule competing nationally, the flexibility of homeschooling allows her to balance her education with her athletic pursuits.

In fact, Elsie's hard work and dedication have paid off as she has ranked 38th in the world and 31st in the United States in the 2022 Girls Crossfit 14/15-year-old level 10 quarterfinals. Elsie trains at CrossFit Futures, a gym where she can work on her strength, conditioning, and technique, which has helped her to become a top competitor.

This weekend, Elsie is competing at Wodapalooza, a large, multi-day fitness festival and annual competition in Miami, Florida. The event is known for its high level of athleticism and festive atmosphere and attracts competitors from around the world. So far this weekend, Elsie has "crushed her 200# clean and jerk and a 70 sec HS hold." according to her mom, Mindy, who said, "(Elsie had an) Amazing first day! Great positive vibes going into tomorrow...Keep the energy coming!!!!"  Keep Elsie in your prayers as she completes today and Sunday!

Mindy is a coach at Futures Gymnastics, and several of the Larson clan train in CrossFit and/or gymnastics. Mindy's dedication to homeschooling, and her education and experience as a coach and trainer, have played a vital role in Elsie's success as an athlete. The flexibility in scheduling of homeschooling has allowed the Larson clan to balance education with athletic pursuits, and a curriculum tailored to Elsie has helped her focus on areas that are relevant to her sport.  Elsie's self-motivation and family support has helped her push herself in both academics and sports.

Elsie is a shining example of how homeschooling can provide young athletes with the flexibility and opportunities they need to excel in their sport while still getting a quality education. We are incredibly proud of Elsie and her achievements and wish her the best of luck at Wodapalooza. Way to go, Elsie!

January 2023

7 Reasons Families might choose a Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool co-ops, Homeschool co-op, Homeschool coop, Homeschool co-ops, or Homeschool coops—however you spell it!—can be an excellent resource for families who have decided to homeschool their children. Homeschool co-ops provide a unique opportunity for families to work together, learn together, and create lasting relationships 

Here are seven reasons why a homeschool co-op might be a good choice:

January 2023

Best of 2022 - December 2022

ELCC Best of 2022 - Final.pdf

Winter Bookclub

Reading stories together created some of our sweetest memories, so I have put together for you this collection of winter stories for your little ones - and a PDF guide for helping you incorporate lapbook activities if you choose.   Over our winter break -I encourage you to join us in a winter book club, cuddling on the couch and reading these snuggly stories with your littles.  You can also find this resource on our website.

Wishing you many blessings, today and every day, in your homeschooling journey, 


December 1, 2022

Winter Book Club-2.pdf

Five tips for Encouraging Your Reluctant Reader! 

We have all met that one bright and happy child who hates to read! Motivating a reluctant reader can be a real challenge! We want our kids to LOVE to read and learn! 

But before you pull your hair out, homeschooling mama, here are some helpful tips to get your reluctant reader motivated and excited about reading: 

1. Limit screen time. Research shows that the average American child spends about 6 hours per day in front of a screen.  With that much time spent with electronic devices, children may lose the ability to concentrate and focus on what they are reading. By limiting screen time to just 1-2 hours per day, your child may be able to focus better and may desire to read for entertainment. Remember that reading should feel like a reward rather than a punishment, so don't tie limited screen time to a requirement to read. Your child might just enjoy time spent playing outside, drawing, or doing another creative task at home.

2. Spend time reading with your child. Some curriculums, such as Five in a Row or FIAR, are tailored to encourage reading time with your student. Even older students enjoy listening to a parent read an exciting story. Reading with your student will create fond memories associated with reading and demonstrate that reading can be enjoyable. And if you're just not comfortable reading aloud to your child, you could also take them to the local library and enroll them in a story-time program.

3. Tap into their interests! It helps to make the book they are reading relate to their hobby or interests. If a child likes to skateboard, reading a book about skateboarding might interest them. If a child likes to draw, they might be interested in a book that teaches them how to draw. Both fiction and non-fiction books can be of interest to children. I once had a child who was shocked to discover that he could read to "learn things".  He thought non-fiction books were amazing but hated fictional stories. Look for what catches their interest, and then use your local library to find a unique collection of books just for them.

4. Get creative! Reading isn't limited to just books. Find comic books or magazines they might enjoy and make those available around the house. For example, you might find a magazine on cars and trucks or dog breeds. Their favorite sports team might be an excellent way to go, with a particular interest in other players and what they do. Making reading material available without the pressure to read a book can sometimes bridge the gap for the reluctant reader.

5. Seek a professional evaluation. Sometimes reluctant readers struggle with other issues. They want to be able to read, but they just can't! If a child seems to have problems reading or concentrating, these could interfere with their desire to read. The child may have difficulty reading because they cannot stay focused on what they are reading. Dyslexia, eyesight, and concentration issues are just a few reasons your reluctant reader may struggle. A trip to the optometrist, counselor, and maybe even the family doctor might help.

Some kids start reading right away after learning how to sound out words, while others have the ability to read if they want to but have no interest in doing so. Without a learning disability or any other medical condition, reluctant readers simply don't want to read and resist attempts to make them do so. It is preferable just to have fun rather than make reading a chore. For best results, avoid pressuring them to read and to encourage them often. We hope that by remembering these tips, you'll find that one book that brings a spark of excitement into your child's eyes as they read!


Happy Trails,


October 2022

Considering Homeschooling? 

If you have been considering homeschooling you know that getting started can be overwhelming! Here are some quick facts to help you get started. 

Although the legal aspects of homeschooling vary from state to state, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and is not overly regulated. The process for most homeschooling families is reasonably straightforward. Basically, the parents determine if homeschooling is the best choice for their family, choose a curriculum and decide if they will teach their children or possibly hire a private tutor. Ohio regulations require that a parent complete an annual notification and submit this notice to their local superintendent. Parents can withdraw their students from public education simply by submitting the notification and may begin homeschooling the same day. 

Even though the popularity of homeschooling has been increasing in recent years, parents may face questions regarding the legal issues of homeschooling from well-meaning extended family members. Explaining your decision to homeschool isn't always easy, but it helps if you can be kind and firm. Even though others may initially have concerns about your decision to teach your child at home, it is not uncommon for extended family to change their minds once they begin to see the benefits homeschooling brings to the children they love. Many grandparents even volunteer to help with homeschooling!  A recent story shared by the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association is a great example of how grandparents can significantly help families educate their children at home. 

"Cheryl Celebi and her husband determined last fall that the best way to keep their four kids safe and learning during the pandemic was to switch to homeschooling—but the decision came with a catch. Both parents were engaged in demanding careers. Cheryl recently bought a business that markets radio frequency, microwave, and fiber-optic components, and her husband, Kaan, works in construction—which means he can't telecommute. These responsibilities, in turn, reduced the Celebis' ability to flex their schedules to homeschool. But just as homeschool families have been doing for decades, the couple got creative and recruited the help of a retired teacher and that teacher's husband—who also happen to be Cheryl's mom and dad." (HSLDA)

The main argument against homeschooling has to do with socialization. The conventional wisdom has been that public school is necessary to develop socialization skills for children to become adjusted, productive members of society.  However, proponents of homeschooling point to research that shows this is not the case and that socialization through the local public school system is little more than a form of indoctrination. Research shows that homeschooling provides students with superior skills in self-regulation and the ability to work independently. Homeschooling works for many children and, at the very least, should be considered a viable option.

For some parents, the ability to tailor their child's education exactly to fit their needs is a powerful argument for homeschooling. Learning a language, music, reading comprehension, or history at home with their parents demonstrates to children the value of learning and gives them the satisfaction of self-motivated work. Parents can confidently educate their children at home with support from a homeschooling cooperative or online support group. Parents in many areas of the country can significantly benefit from networking with other homeschooling families, providing them with the confidence, support, and resources to successfully educate their children at home.

Happy Trails,

September 2022

June 27, 2020

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Seriously Consider Homeschooling for Your Child

As details emerge about options for public schooling this fall,  more and more parents are seriously considering homeschooling for the first time . 

While some may see this as a passing fad,  homeschooling is a viable method of education and has been popular in the United States for several decades.  Homeschooling is legal in all parts of the United States. You can check out the laws for the State of Ohio on the Ohio Homeschooling Parents website

About 4% of the students in the United States today are homeschoolers. In 2019, homeschoolers accounted for 2.5 million students.  Statistics about homeschool student performance, and even the percentage of homeschoolers that go on to higher education, (hint - it's much higher than the national average) can be found at the  National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) website. 

1. Freedom and Flexibilty 

Homeschooling gives parents the freedom and the flexibilty to choose what is best for their child.  Does your child need help with reading? Are they advanced in math? Do they thrive in an environment where they get to help choose what they learn about? Homeschooling allows parents to completely tailor their child's education to their child's needs and desires.  Don’t want your child to miss out on life’s little moments that don’t align with school timetables? Homeschooling is your way to de-stress your school life AND include learning in a variety of situations. 

This can be best visualized with the help of a few anecdotal examples:

2. Save Money

Many people think homeschooling has to be expensive, this could not be farther from the truth.  Homeschoolers get to skip out on the typical "school" spending that many parents dread.  Looking over a local school districts supply list, they require about $100 in supplies including several items for the entire class to use.  In addition, there is a $40 supply fee.  Add up buying back to school clothing and the latest shoes, as well as daily lunch money, fundraisers, and various other transportation and supply costs and you'll have spent hundreds over the course of a school year, if not thousands to attend a public school.  Private school tuition, uniforms and similar fees can easily surpass $10,000 per student annually. 

By comparison, homeschoolers only purchase the supplies they need.  They also make purchses for clothing when it is actually needed or desired rather than all at one time.  And cafeteria lunches and fundraisers become a thing of the past.  In addition, there are many FREE, or almost free, curriculum resources for farmilies to use including curriculum libraries like this one at Excellence in Learning and online resources like Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool

Homeschooling doesn't have to break the bank and is often a less expensive alternative to public or private schooling. 

3. Safety

There are a lot of ways in which homeschooling can provide a safer learning environment:

4. Closeness as a Family

Families are busy.  Kids rush off to school in the mornings, mom's and dad's work all day, then there are sports teams and extra curriculars and by the time you know it families see each other less than 15 hours per week on average.  The more time you spend with your child, the more you will understand their needs, which naturally brings a closer connection and bond as a family. 

Homeschooling can help you manage your busy schedules without missing out on family time.  With public schooling there is a limit to parent's participation, but with homeschooling parents and students are on a journey together and parents get to participate in the day to day teaching of their children.  This one on one interaction naturally fosters closer relationships and better family time.  And don't think you can't still do all the extra curriculars or sports.  Homeschoolers are protected by the "Tebow" law in Ohio.  Named for the famous athlete, Tim Tebow - who was also a homeschool student, the law protects students rights to participate with school sports and extra curriular programs. 

5. Shape their Future

Rather than focusing on attendence, report cards, projects, and never ending homework assignments, you will discover who your child really is through homeschooling.   If your child is gifted in music, you can focus on this gifting and explore opportunities in the larger community for them.  If they are an artist, you'll be able to identify mentors and art classes for them, like the one taught by Diana Andrews at ELCC.   Maybe they are mechanical, or interested in horses, or want to learn all about animals...  Homeschooling gives parents the opportunity to shape their child's future by giving them opportunities that aren't available in most public or private school settings.  

Homeschooling co-ops like ELCC offer the best of both worlds with weekly fun, social, and academic classes that students can sign up for without all the negative aspects of a public school environment. 

Getting to know your child even better and spending quality time learning and exploring together is one of the most rewarding and beautiful adventures of a lifetime, both yours and theirs.  Learn together how homeschooling can work for your family! 

Virtual Field Trips

May 22, 2020

In honor of Memorial Day and all those who gave their lives to protect and defend our freedoms, we wanted to share this extra special freebie Friday resource with you.  

Learn about the sacrifices, the battles, and most of all the courageous men and women who fought for our freedoms though the museums which honor each branch of our military.  Although they may be closed right now, or under construction, they each have integrated some amazing virtual resources that will thrill your young learner.  

National Museum of the United States Air Force​ – Take a 360° virtual tour of this museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. Don't miss checking out the Cockpit360 option where you can experience 100 different aircraft via 360° image. The Cockpit360 app can also be downloaded for free in the Apple or Google Play stores. Plus, under the Education link in the upper menu on their site, you can keep the learning going for hours under the Kids & Parents section where you will find coloring pages, puzzles, Lesson Plans, Resource guides, and more fun learning activities to supplement your studies.

National Museum of the U.S. Army Campaign​ is funding the completion of the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  Despite construction, their site is beautiful and you can  explore the currently available artifacts, history and people online.

National Museum of the US Navy​ – Explore the artifacts and exhibits of this museum in Southeast Washington, DC, at the Washington Navy Yard, through images and texts. Then check out the Distance Learning and Additional Activities link under the Education section in the main menu for a boatload 😉 of educational lessons, ideas and more.

National Museum of the Marine Corps​– While this museum in Triangle, Virginia is nearly complete, you can still visit the existing galleries online. Visit the Education Resources page for learning ideas and materials to use with your home learner!

Finally, National Coast Guard Museum Association​ is building the National Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut, was set to began construction last year, but there is still a lot you can learn on their website so check it out!

Homeschooling Resources Mega List

March 17, 2020

This post was shared with us from a fellow homeschooling mom, however, it has been flagged as "spam" by some social media sites,  so we are reposting here. It is a very comprehensive list of resources!

Shared by Joy Novack Rosson

Ok, so LOTS of parents are suddenly home with their kiddos...

We have always home schooled after I was a classroom teacher for more than a decade, so I say WELCOME and let me help you.😉

A few things to remember, this is a PERFECT time to make memories with your children and learn things beyond "normal" math and reading.

This is a great time to really help your child dig in and spend hours doing or learning something that they love or are passionate about.

Don't forget that there are TONS of documentaries on the streaming services that they might enjoy and learn a lot from.

Here are links that I have gathered to TONS of free fun learning options for all ages from toddlers to AP students to adults. Some are always free and some are only free during this current situation👇

I am making this post public, so feel free to share it far and wide.😍 If you know of a resource for FREE education (either permanent or only during this time) please share it in the comments.

Edit to add: Several have asked for this to be in a google doc to share off of FB. Here you go...…/1fceqmG0nYAI8uGm5Uv_Ilv5PI7…/edit…

Homeschooling Resources

March 13, 2020 

COVID19 Update

Hi Families,

We want to update you regarding our plans as they pertain to the Governor’s order, current information being shared from the Department of Health, and the COVID19 virus. The situation with this virus has been called, “rapidly changing” and that is an accurate description when it comes to our future plans for classes and events.

When we first published our guidelines for how ELCC will handle COVID19 we said:

“We are having ongoing conversations about what is best for our group and if/when it might be necessary to cancel classes. Ohio is not currently at risk for “community spread” so we will not be cancelling classes or events for the foreseeable future.”

Yesterday around lunch time, our school nurse advisor contacted us and recommended we cancel classes beginning March 13th – March 30th because there was a suspected community spread in Licking County. Later in the afternoon, Governor Dewine announced a 3 week spring break for all Ohio Schools and our leadership, having already been able to discuss closures, was swift to agree that classes needed to be cancelled for at least the next 2 Thursdays (which would also bring us within the 3 weeks the Governor had ordered for public schools)

Unfortunately, we have been made aware that not only Ohio, but specifically Licking County is suspected of having community spread illness from at least one individual who is currently being tested and quarantined. This significantly changes how co-op will operate.

All co-op classes, field trips, and events are cancelled through the month of March. In addition, we have issued refunds to families who had purchased tickets for upcoming fieldtrips. 

We are recommending that families STAY HOME and stay healthy. If you develop symptoms, do NOT go to the hospital or doctor, but rather call them and ask what you should do, they can advise you how to get tested and even the special procedure for going to the hospital in Licking County, if needed.

We are in daily communication with the proper authorities through our School Nurse Consultant and will post updates as we are made aware of them. Please understand that unfortunately, we do not always know the answers, even the professionals are somewhat unclear, so it is best to adopt a cautious “wait and see” approach. Please continue to check our Facebook, Website, and email loop for the most recent updates.

A very good resource for families who are concerned is the hotline that has been set up in Ohio 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Here is what we are doing to prepare for a longer break –

Large gatherings are not recommended, this would include malls, shopping, restaurants, and even church events. MANY churches offer live stream and online giving – we recommend that you utilize these services to keep your church functioning, but also to keep you and your pastoral staff healthy. 

If you need help with homeschooling, please reach out! We are still here to help and able to meet virtually if needed.  Keep in mind that many of your neighbors and friends may be struggling with educating their children at home for the first time.  We encourage you to reach out and offer support when and where you can safely do so. 

Finally, we encourage families to stay home, stay healthy, and to enjoy the freedom you have in homeschooling your children! Over the years homeschooling has moved outside the home more and more. There is nothing wrong with that, but in the busyness some of us “veterans” have noted that there is something lost, a family closeness, a season of treasuring time together that is sometimes overlooked in the busy bustle of our lives. We hope that this time off can be a time of rejuvenation, family togetherness, and a re-discovery of the joy of having home at the center of your homeschooling. We are praying for each of you in this season.


Your ELCC Leadership Team

Free Subscription Services for Homeschooling Families

Updated March 12th, 2020

Educational companies offer subscriptions services for free after several state's Governors order school closings. 

Governor Dewine of Ohio has issued an order that all Ohio public, private, and charter schools take a three week "Spring Break" beginning Monday March 16 - April 3.   These K-12 school closings come on the heels of nationwide College and University closures as higher education goes digital to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

As students of all ages head home for the extended closures, many companies are pulling together to offer their subscription services FREE OF CHARGE to parents as well as institutions, so that our students don't fall behind in their studies. 

These educational companies choosing to step up during a time of crisis is exactly the good news we need right now!  On behalf of students, parents, teachers, and administrators, THANK YOU!

Here is a link to the current Google document containing links and information about these wonderful resources, many being offered for free for the first time.  

This list has been compiled by "Amazing Educational Resources". 

Due to the volume of traffic, we have also created a secondary link, if the first link will not open or is slow to load. 

Updated March 11th, 2020

Dear Co-op Families,

As the news reports continued outbreaks of COVID19 and college campuses closing, we would like to assure you that we are speaking with our School Nurse Consultant, Patricia Johnson, to provide guidance from the State of Ohio State Board of School Nurses, the Ohio Department of Health, and the CDC. We are sending this information out of an abundance of caution and because we care deeply about our co-op families.

1. What

is co-op doing to prepare for COVID19?

2. What can I do to prepare for COVID19?

a. Each family is encouraged to plan now for the possibility of an outbreak. This includes making sure medications are stocked, talking to family members about your plans, having 3-7 days of household supplies (food, medicines, personal care) items on hand and making a plan for family members who may be immunocompromised or elderly.

b. Preventative measures, which includes regular handwashing, daily cleaning of surfaces that household members touch frequently (doorknobs, light switches, countertops) and stay home if you are sick, do not go into public, cough into a tissue and only leave home to visit the doctor.

c. If you have a family member who is medically fragile, it is a good idea to begin limiting your outside activities, with cold and flu season it is wise to do this anyhow.

d. Pay attention to travel warnings, do not travel to countries, states, or other localities which are experiencing “community spread” illness, do not take cruises, and avoid large gatherings of people, such as conventions, sporting events, and other events with thousands of people, that might expose you to COVID19.

3. Why are colleges cancelling classes?

We hope that you find this information useful and helpful. As we look to God to be our Protector and Healer, we also seek the wisdom to do our part in safeguarding our ELCC community. We know that we can face all things because of the Faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.


Your ELCC Leadership Team

Homeschool Network Celebrates 10 years in Licking County - Newark Advocate

Updated February 2nd, 2020

Excellence in Learning was thrilled to welcome the Newark Advocate to co-op this week and talk about all the ways homeschooling in our community is advancing and thriving! Check out their informative and inspirational article!

Updated May 26th, 2019

Ohio Notification Law Changes

Homeschooling in Ohio is governed by the Ohio Administrative Code(OAC).  Because of this, there need not necessarily be any legislative action for the rules to change, the board of Education can simply make changes.  Last December in their review (which happens every other year) they decided to change a few key points, something that has not been changed significantly since 1989. This has caused some confusion among parents so we are uploading a file on this page and updating our website to reflect these changes which will go into effect on July 1, 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year.   Please note: we are not legal counsel and you should talk to the HSLDA if you have further questions about these changes.

 Ohio Administrative Code  § 3301-34 

Positive Changes: 

The OAC was changed to reflect the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) which states that we must notify our local districts.  Local schools often follow the OAC as it amplifies the ORC and they get their funding through the organization modifying the OAC! This is why some districts kept insisting that we send our notifications to the county educational centers and not the superintendent.  This has been changed so that the ORC and OAC agree – your notification should ALWAYS go to the local superintendent, not a county board.

Less than Positive Changes: 

"3301-34-03 (A) Consistent application of procedures and practices throughout the state by superintendents and parents is essential for children receiving home education and helps to safeguard the primary right of parents to determine the appropriate education for their child(ren).   

A parent who elects to provide home education shall supply the following information to the superintendent no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school: "

There are three changes to the law in this section and two are fairly significant.  

#1 - "no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence" 

Most parents notified the public schools of their intent to homeschool or sent in their subsequent notification in the beginning of August.  This practice was widely accepted but not mandated.  It has now become part of the law that we MUST send in our notification by the first day of school.  Since many districts have various starting dates and multiple buildings, this change makes parents partially engage with the school to figure out that date and get their notification turned in.  I would anticipate districts will add this to their packets and create a “due date” when they want information submitted. Most home education leaders in Ohio are recommending that members send in their notifications during the first week of August which will ensure they are in before the due date but also keep them coming in as a large group rather than tricking in over the summer. 

#2 - "or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district"

This is a completely new portion of the homeschooling law which now requires that you re-notify your new district if you move OR you can ask your old district to forward your original notification.  There is an important distinction between the two! 

Each time you notify, the district super has the right to ask for more information within 14 days of your notification.  If they do not, they MUST issue you an excusal letter.   If they ask after the 14 days, you are not required to comply and they MUST issue the excusal letter.  When moving mid year, it seems to be a better idea to ask the old district to send the notification to the new district because you have already received your excuse for the current year.  The 14 days where questions could be asked has already passed.  However, if you re-notify in the new district (meaning that you send in your notification again rather than just asking your old super to forward it) you are resetting that 14 day clock and the new super could ask for more information.  This is addressed in subsection F.

3301-34-03 (F):

If the transfer and request of information occurs during the school year excused by the last district of residence, the forward of information request shall satisfy the notice requirements outlined in paragraphs (A) and (C) and should be honored by the new district of residence for the remainder of that school year. "

One area this does NOT clarify is whether or not the new super will issue you an excusal letter, one would assume so because all of these changes were made under the idea that this would help lessen truancy, so the new super should issue a letter, but it is very likely that they will not know their responsibilities or will not issue these new letters, or will try to require more information. Having the information forwarded from your old district seems the best way, at this time, to avoid conflict and chaos mid year and to make sure you are covered.  All correspondence with public schools should be in writing and documents – so send an email or a certified letter.   

#3 - "or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school"

This is just common sense and most homeschooling parents already did this. If you withdraw your child from school mid year, you need to notify immediately so that they do not send a truancy officer to your home.  Again, all correspondence with public schools should be in writing and documents – so send an email or a certified letter.