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
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.
Chicago Homeschool Co-Op
Chicago Homeschool Co-Op is a network of homeschooling families in Chicago with at least one child under 6 years of age. Currently, they meet twice a week, once for a "field trip," and once at a member's studio space in the Logan Square neighborhood. In addition, members are encouraged to seek one another out outside of group get togethers.
Northside Unschoolers of Chicago
The Northside Unschoolers is a support group for homeschooling families that practice child-led learning.
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.
Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor
The Illinois & Michigan Canal, completed in 1848, connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River watershed along a longstanding Indian portage route. The 97-mile canal extended from the Chicago River near Lake Michigan to the Illinois River at Peru, Illinois. It rapidly transformed Chicago from a small settlement to a critical transportation hub between the East and the developing Midwest. The towpath trail along the canal is a State park that runs through a rural and wooded landscape linkin...
Grassroots Homeschoolers
This non-profit organization exists for the purpose of nurturing families in a non-denominatinal, non-sectarian capacity. They welcome all faiths, all abilities, and all educational styles. To the homeschooling community, they offer social opportunities, practical information, and learning adventures to be experienced by not only their members but the general public as well. This group is a member of Illinois HOUSE.
Illinoishomeschool
This is a mailing list for people who home school or are thinking of homeschooling in Illinois, kids and parents alike. Here you can exchange ideas, support each other, and share resources and information.
Glen Oak Zoo
The Glen Oak Zoo is an AZA accredited facility located in Peoria, Illinois, and is home to more than 175 animals from around the world.
Scott AFB Homeschoolers
Scott AFB Homeschoolers is an online email and discussion group for military Families (Active, Reserve, Retired) at or near Scott AFB, IL. This is not an official Scott AFB group or site and they are not sponsored by the base. They are a group of Christian homeschooling families living at or near Scott AFB.
Cosley Zoo
Located in Wheaton, the Cosley Zoo is situated on five acres and exhibits domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. You can enjoy sitting by the picturesque duck pond, get close to a 2,000 pound horse, and if you're lucky, hear the coyotes howl. The 1887 railroad station, antique caboose, and a 125-year-old barn provide visitors with a piece of local history.
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.
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...
Evanston Home Educators
Evanston Home Educators provides support, ideas, information and opportunities for group classes and field trips for homeschooling families in the Evanston Area. As a member of the umbrella group Illinois H.O.U.S.E. (Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience), this group is non-sectarian, and members have many different approaches to and reasons for homeschooling.
Off The Beaten Path
Off the Beaten Path is an inclusive support network of unschooling families based in Lake County, Illinois. OTBP’s mission is to provide a means for local unschoolers, and those wanting to learn more about interest-led learning, to connect and support one another.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails....
Resources
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!

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.

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.

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.
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Featured Resources

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