Making Homeschooling Fun
If workbooks are getting boring, and cabin fever is setting in, it might just be the right time for you to add some fun to your homeschool. Games, contests, and more can break up any monotony you are facing. You'll find ideas for field trips and extracurricular activities. And you may find that your kids think "doing school" is funner than anything else they can imagine!
Educational Games
Kids who thrive with hands-on learning love educational games. These are a great way to learn while having fun. Browse through our picks for the best educational games out there.
Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are a great addition to the educational experience you provide your children by homeschooling. Here you'll find resources for everything from Scouts to 4H to sports and more.
Holidays
Holidays offer a nice opportunity to enhance your child's learning experience. This listing of holidays offers ideas for celebrating in your home, along with interesting facts about these special days. You'll also find suggestions for incorporating holidays into your home education plan.
Field Trips
Who says homeschooling has to happen at home? Most homeschoolers will tell you that they spend almost as much time out of the house as in it. Field trips are learning opportunties that offer fun ways to make every life experience a learning experience. You'll also find tips and strategies for planning, managing, and attending field trips with your homeschool support group.
Camps
Is your child ready to go out, experience new opportunities, and make new friends? Are you looking for specialized instruction in a particular subject? A camp may be just the ticket. Here you'll find a listing of camps that are great for homeschoolers in Illinois and beyond.
Contests
Entering contests is a fun activity for kids. They can practice their writing skills, learn about new subjects, and may even end up winning a great prize. We've collected some of the most interesting, challenging, and fun contests available for kids to enter.
Car Games
Busy homeschooling families tend to spend a lot of time in the car. Learning doesn't have to stop just because you are on the go. These ideas and games will make the most of your vehicle time, giving your kids fun things to do while on the road.
Penpals
Is your homeschooled child looking for new friends? Are you learning about a different part of the country or world? A penpal may be just what you are looking for. These resources will help your child connect with other homeschoolers in far flung places.
What's Popular
Field Trip Guidelines
Some helpful guidelines from Home School Legal Defense Association. The guidelines could easily be adapted as a list for members of a homeschool group. There is also a helpful checklist for field trip planners.
Timberline Ranch Homeschool Camp
Timberline Ranch in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada, offers a series of six one-day camps on consecutive Mondays, designed specially for homelearners aged 8-16, to give some new experiences and opportunities. Meet other homeschoolers, learn new skills, take on new challenges, and more! Daily activities include riding lessons, horsemanship, riflery, archery, climbing lessons, and group activities.
Let's Get Real
Let's Get Real™ is an academic competition and an opportunity for teams of students to gain experience working on real business challenges. Corporate sponsors supply real challenges for which teams submit solutions in business format. Each team chooses from the list of challenges the one(s) it finds most interesting. Challenges might include areas such as environmental issues, manufacturing, distribution, engineering, software creation, human resources, health and safety, facilities design, publ...
ThinkQuest
ThinkQuest is an international student competition, sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation. Students work in teams to build creative and educational websites that explore globally relevant subjects. Diverse teams made up of members from more than one school, community, or country are encouraged. Competitions are open to students and teachers from anywhere in the world. Teams must have 3 to 6 students who are between the ages of 9 and 19, and one adult Coach who is a school employee. Hom...
MATHCOUNTS®
MATHCOUNTS® is a national math enrichment, coaching and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory. After several months of coaching, participating schools select students to compete individually or as part of a team in one of the more than 500 written and oral competitions held nationwide and in U.S. schools overseas. Winners at the local level proceed to state competitions, where the top 4 Mathletes® ...
Links and Items
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Great States Board Game
What is the capital of NJ? Where is the Football Hall of Fame? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions players are asked as they adventure around the USA discovering state attractions and landmarks, capitals, state abbreviations, state locations and more. In order to answer the questions on the cards, players must look closely at the colorful USA map game board, becoming familiar with the geography of the country. Players must hurry to find the answers as the mechanical timer ticks. Contents: Game board, 100 Figure cards, 100 Fact cards, 100 Find cards, 1 spinner, 1 mechanical timer, and game rules. Duration of Play: 20 minutes. 2-6 players.
Smart Mouth
Ages: 8 years and up; For 2 or more players

Smart Mouth is a quick-thinking shout-it-out hilarious word game that helps build vocabulary skills. It includes variations of the rules for category play and for younger players. Players slide the Letter Getter forward and back to get two letters. The first player to shout out a word of five or more letters using those letters wins the round. The game includes tips for teachers. This is a fun game to play with children and adults together.

LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Jr. Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Race around the board in this fast-paced, wonderfully wacky game. Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 1st and 2nd grade skills in math, language arts, life science, physical science, and social studies!
Visual Brainstorms
Children who love word games, logic puzzles, secret codes, mazes, and math mysteries will stretch their mental muscles with Visual Brain Storms. This set of 100 cards, each of which includes a humorous, full-color drawing, promises "the world's best brainteaser questions." The characters in the questions often have funny names (Professor Pith Bugby pops up often) or faces or dilemmas to solve. The answers and explanations are on the back of each card, along with a related bonus question. Many of the puzzles involve math concepts, spatial reasoning, logic, or sequential thinking, but some can be solved with plain common sense. Here's a sample: "Frank and Helen's annual singles elimination tennis tournament has drawn 18 players this year. How many matches must be played before there is a winner for the year?" Answer: "Every match will produce one loser, and every person other than the winner will lose once and only once. Eighteen players makes 17 losers; therefore it will take 17 matches to have a tournament winner." Visual Brain Storms is a humorous, painless way to improve those higher-order thinking skills. Visual Brain Storms: The Smart Thinking Game is for one or more players. --Marcie Bovetz
LeapPad with Microphone
LeapPad Plus Microphone Learning System teaches fundamental reading and math skills and includes a built-in microphone! Microphone-enabled books let you personalize learning with your own voice, and include activities that help reinforce reading and phonics lessons. Includes 2 books! The first book teaches reading, phonics, vocabulary, science, foreign languages and geography. The second book, What Will You Be, encourages you to explore different occupations while teaching numbers, animals, foreign language and more. The LeapPad Plus Microphone Learning System is compatible with the entire LeapPad Library!
Name That Country Game
"Dear Pen Pal, Konnichi wa! We've been to see Mt. Fuji. Name my country! Sayonara, Michiko." Challenge your group with this fast-paced geography game, created in 1992 by Educational Insights, Inc. Everyone begins at the post office. Players twirl a finely printed spinner (built into the game board itself) to select one of 60 countries. If the player can correctly identify the country's location on the board's numbered map, he or she may advance along the path to the finish. Bonus moves are won by landing on "postcard" spaces, listening to the clues on one of the 40 postcards, and correctly identifying the pen pal's country. (The sample postcard above came from Japan.) A more challenging game can be achieved by requiring players to name the country's capital; answers are provided. --Liane Thomas
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
The Letter Factory Game
Teaches Phonics! The race is on! With two games in one, children play together and learn letter names and sounds with actions and music. Wacky Professor Quigley guides players every step of the way so no reading is required! Games automatically adjust to skill level, to keep children learning at just the right pace! 2 Games in 1: Counting Colors & Letters: Learn letter names and sounds by matching color cards to move around the board. Leaping Letters: Listen to the name or sound and then find the card that matches it! Includes: interactive card reader, game board, 26 letter cards and 4 playing pieces.
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
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Montessori Method
This book is Montessori's own exposition of the theory behind her innovative educational techniques. She shows parents, teachers and administrators how to "free a child to learn through his own efforts".
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