Support
Often the key to whether a family can successfully homeschool is the type of support they receive. Unfortunately, we don't always receive encouragement from our family or community. Connecting with other homeschoolers is the best way to make new friends, and to get information, ideas, and support. We've compiled support group resources and offer simple ways to connect with other homeschoolers through email groups, website forums, and in your community. You'll also find information on local and state events, cultural and educational institutions, field trip ideas, tutors, bookstores, and much, much more.
Support Groups
Homeschoolers have created networks of support to provide a way to make friends, get ideas and information, and to offer positive socialization opportunties to their children. You can join in! There are many groups to choose from, many with specific affiliations, like Christian groups or unschoolers' groups. Some are eclectic, inclusive, and open to anyone. Whatever your interest, you are sure to find other like-minded parents. And if you don't find what you are looking for, we've put together tips for starting your own group.
Humor
We all could use a little chuckle every once in a while--especially on those days when things seem a bit bleak and challenging. Enjoy some humor from the home front.
Events
You'll find everything from homeschooling conventions to used book sales to camps for homeschoolers. Read about local and state events and submit your event for posting.
Local & State Resources
Homeschoolers learn as much outside the home as in it. Here you'll find listings of cultural and educational institutions, government resources, libraries, and bookstores. If you need a tutor, this is the best place for you to find one near you.
Publications
Want to learn more about homeschooling? Need a monthly or weekly boost of enthusiasm and ideas? You may be interested in a subscription of a homeschool publication. Whether you are looking for a hard copy magazine or an e-newsletter, we've got the best listed here.
What's Popular
Johnsburg Public Library Homeschool Resource Center
3000 North Johnsburg Road Johnsburg, IL 60050 Phone: 815-344-0077 In 2001 the Johnsburg Public Library received a $55,000 grant to establish a homeschool Resource Center which today is located in the library's former Study Room. Funding for this grant was provided by the Illinois State Library, a Division of the Office of Secretary of State, using federal LSTA funding. With the HRC's materials you can 'try before you buy' a wide variety of curriculum materials including Sonlight, Alpha Omeg...
IL Homeschoolers (homeschool-Illinois)
Email support group for the discussion of topics related to homeschooling in Illinois. This group is open-minded and discusses a variety of topics. You'll find information about local events, organizations, and homeschool websites.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
The Lincoln home in Springfield, the centerpiece of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, has been restored to its 1860s appearance, revealing Lincoln as husband, father, politician, and President-elect. It stands in the midst of a four block historic neighborhood which the National Park Service is restoring so that the neighborhood, like the house, will appear much as Lincoln would have remembered it.
Henson Robinson Zoo
The Henson Robinson Zoo is located in Springfield. More than 300 animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America find refuge at the zoo. Come and view the naturalistic exhibits that house more than 90 species of native and exotic animals. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the lagoons and watch mischievous spider monkeys at play on monkey island. Delight at the river otters. Marvel at the grace of the cheetahs and the deceivingly cuddly appearance of the Asiatic black bear. Then take...
Illinois H.O.U.S.E.
Illinois H.O.U.S.E. (Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience) is an umbrella organization of individual nonsectarian and inclusive support groups across the state of Illinois.
Catholic Homeschoolers of Wisconsin
This is a private list for leaders of Catholic homeschool support groups within the state of Wisconsin (or in border towns in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and UP Michigan). It is a place to exchange information that may be of interest to Catholic homeschoolers throughout the state. It is also a forum for the dissemination of statewide invitations to various Catholic homeschooling events, such as conferences, graduations, dances, etc.
Lake County H.O.U.S.E.
Lake County H.O.U.S.E. (Home-Oriented Unique Schooling Experience) is located in and around Lake County, Illinois. Their mission is to provide non-sectarian and non-political support and information for homeschooling families as well as providing socialization and shared educational opportunities for their children. Lake County H.O.U.S.E. provides many clubs and field trip experiences organized by and for its members and others in the homeschool community, as well as a lively dialog concerning h...
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward. Today the trail encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is one of the nation's oldest zoo and one of the last free zoos in the country. More than 1,000 animals make their home here. Rare and exotic species, as well as more familiar animals, are exhibited in environments that reflect their habitats in the wild.
Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago features the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere. The Adler is home to more than 35,000 square feet of exhibits, rrom scale models of the Solar System, to ancient astronomical instruments, to interactive adventures. The Adler is the only museum in the world with two full-size planetarium theaters which feature a variety of shows.
John's Christian Stores/Teachers Toolbox
530 S. Schmale Road Carol Stream, IL 60188 Phone: 630-653-4404 John's Christian Stores (Teachers Toolbox) is dedicated to helping families who have made the decision to home educate by providing quality products from the publishers homeschoolers know and use.
Illiana Homeschool Cooperative
This is a group of homeschooling families in northwest Indiana and northeast Illinois who are providing socialization and educational opportunities for their children.
John G. Shedd Aquarium
The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is the world's largest indoor aquarium. The facility houses nearly 8,000 aquatic animals representing some 650 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world. Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year.
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
Led by Brigham Young, roughly 70,000 Mormons traveled along the Mormon Pioneer Trail from 1846 to 1869 in order to escape religious persecution. The general route is from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, covering about 1,300 miles. The Mormon Pioneer Trail travels through five states over both public and private land.
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is home to animals representing more than 400 species. This magnificent collection inhabits nearly 20 naturalistic exhibits within the zoo's 216 acres.
Resources
These Rare Lands
If a picture's worth 1,000 words, this book--with its hundreds of breathtaking photos of America's National Parks--is a well-stocked bookstore. Accompanied by the words of poet laureate Mark Strand, These Rare Lands is a perfect coffee-table book for anyone who has enjoyed the wonders of nature's wildest places. From a storm over Sequoia National Park in California to the otherworldly stalactites and stalagmites of New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns and an Atlantic sunset in Maine's Acadia, this is a book that draws you back again and again. Photographer Stan Jorstad's obvious love of nature comes through in the thoughtful approach he takes to his life's work, contained in the pages of These Rare Lands.
The National Parks of America
For tourists, family campers, and serious lovers of the outdoors, here is a big, beautiful, color-illustrated book that describes more than 50 national parks, sites, and seashores that stretch from Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic coast to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yosemite in California, Haleakala in Hawaii, and Glacier Bay in Alaska. More than 400 breathtaking photographs capture the beauty and atmosphere of each site, and 54 color maps show each park's location and major features. Visitor information panels give important details on access points, accommodations, and recreational activities such as hiking, rafting, birdwatching, and fishing. Here is a wonderful volume that will inspire plans for trips and evoke marvelous memories of past experiences in America's great outdoors.
America's National Parks for Dummies, Second Edition
What makes a trip to a national park so wonderful? For starters, America's national park system is more diverse than any park system in the world. You can stroll the seashore at Olympic National Park in Washington or Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, climb craggy mountains in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, or go underground into the world's largest cave system at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. You can marvel at the largest canyon on Earth (Grand Canyon National Park), hike among the planet's largest collection or rock arches (Arches National Park), explore the lowest and hottest place in the Western Hemisphere (Death Valley National Park), or wander a realm of forests and misty mountains (Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

And these are just a few of your park options.

America's National Parks For Dummies gives you guidance to decide which park is for you, when to go, and what to see when you reach your destination. This guide will help you plan the best trip imaginable, whether you are

  • An inexperienced traveler looking for guidance in determining whether to take a trip to a national park and how to plan for it
  • An experienced traveler who has yet to explore the national park system and wants expert advice when you finally get a chance to enjoy one
  • Any traveler who doesn't like big, thick travel guides that list every single hotel, restaurant, or attraction, but instead looks for a book that focuses on the places that will provide the best or most unique park experience

America's National Parks For Dummies is user-friendly and organized in a logical fashion. Each park is broken down in a chapter that delves into the nitty-gritty of trip planning and highlights, including tips for

  • Planning your trip by touching on the diversity of the park system, explaining some of your vacation options, and telling you when parks are the most (and least) crowded
  • Ironing out the details by describing how you get to the parks and how to find your way around after you arrive
  • Exploring America's national parks by giving you the lowdown on 15 of the best parks, detailing things like each park's wild kingdom, the best spots for memorable photographs, and a few safety issues

The pages of this book resemble a great long-distance hike – you never know what's around the next bend in the trail. So throw on a backpack, take a swig of water, and get ready to explore the national parks!

Great Lodges of the National Parks: The Companion Book to the PBS Television Series
Stand amid soaring Douglas fir in the great hall of Glacier Park Lodge or sit in the setting sun and gaze into the Grand Canyon at El Tovar. This beautiful gift book will transport you to the majestic lodges of our national parks to relive the glory of past vacations or plan adventures anew. This book and the PBS television series of the same title (to air in spring 2002) take armchair travelers into these architectural wonders and explore the surrounding natural beauty of our national parks. Lodges, wildlife, and stunning vistas are showcased in 175 full-color and black-and-white photographs, along with historical documents from the PBS series. In his introduction, Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, offers a call to preserve this national heritage, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book go toward the rehabilitation of these magnificent buildings.
America's National Parks: The Spectacular Forces That Shaped Our Treasured Lands
From stunning mountain ranges to arid expanses of desert, America has been blessed with an incredibly diverse land -- and the vision to protect it for our and future generations to enjoy. These lands are ours to view, wander, learn from, and revel in. America's National Parks captures all that is great about all fifty-six parks in the national park system. It also gives interesting, easy-to-understand background on the geological and ecological forces that continue to make each national park so worthy of protection.

Nature lovers will be captivated by gorgeous photos of landforms, flora, and fauna. Families will appreciate the information that is sure to enhance vacations at the parks. And visitors to any of the country's national parks will forever treasure this book as a memento of past visits and an inspiration for future ones.

Unlike any other book published on national parks, America's National Parks is a must-have for anyone who relishes America's natural wonders and wants to learn more about the powerful forces that created them.

America's Spectacular National Parks
The concept of the national park is an American contribution to world civilization, and it remains a defining characteristic of our country. From the rocky shore of Maine's Acadia to the barren crater and lush rain forest of Hawaii's Haleakala, America's national beauty is celebrated and preserved in its national parks. This book retells the history of each park, describes its most important features and wildlife, and reproduces its gorgeous scenery in full-color photographs that will enthrall armchair travelers and entice others to lace up their hiking boots and reach for their sporting gear. Organized by region of the country, it includes well-known parks like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Glacier as well as lesser-known destinations like Shenandoah, Biscayne, and Kenai Fjords.
National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States, Fourth Edition

Now in its fourth edition, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the ultimate birder’s field guide. Sturdy, portable, and easy-to-use, it features the most complete information available on every bird species known to North America. This revised edition features 250 completely updated range maps, new plumage and species classification information, specially commissioned full-color illustrations, and a superb new index that allows birders in the field to quickly identify a species.

The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Fourth Edition will continue to be a bestseller among the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. travel market—the nearly 25 million people who travel each year specifically to observe wild birds.

Educational Travel on a Shoestring : Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home
Educational Travel on a Shoestring shows parents how they can help their children learn–and have a blast–while traveling. From researching destinations to sharing activities that both teach and entertain, this priceless guide offers practical information for parents who want to have more fun with their kids, build closer family ties, and enjoy richer educational experiences–all without spending a fortune.
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Featured Resources

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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 gra...
Homeschoolers' Success Stories : 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives
Despite their growing numbers, many homeschoolers still find their experience somewhat isolating. This collection of short biographies aims to alleviate some of that loneliness. While the stories profile modern-day homeschool grads and students, famo...
H. A. Guerber's Histories
Helene A. Guerber wrote histories for grammar school children in the 19th century. Published in 1896 by the American Book Company, ‘Guerber’s Historical Readers in the Eclectic Readings Series’ were used to introduce children to the histories of the ...
Catholic Homeschool Companion
Here’s your one-stop resource for information, insight, and inspiration about every aspect of educating your children at home — written by those who understand it best: homeschooling parents themselves! Would you like to teach science or phonics bett...
Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child's Education
In this book, Raymond and Dorothy Moore look at the research behind learning styles for children. The message of slowing down and responding to your child's readiness is a welcome contrast to the common practice of pushing young children through the ...