Back to School: 8 Things to Change the Way We Look at School

Good Morning Boys and Girls.

Did you bring your No. 2 pencil?

As we hstop stealing dreams what is school for  seth godinead back to school, here’s a little video to start the conversation and look at what school is for.

In less than 17 minutes, Seth Godin gives you a brief history of the institution of education in America, and then suggests 8 things that can change how we look at school.

This won’t be on the test.

It’s more important than that.

Because if we don’t get excited about what school is for, we could lose our future and our kids.

“Learning is not done to you, it is something you choose to do.”
Seth Godin, Stop Stealing Dreams

Since Seth Godin first published Stop Stealing Dreams to the web, it’s been shared millions of times.

If you are passionate about learning, forward the video and the manifesto (screen edition) to every parent and teacher you know. (Here’s a printable edition if you want to print it out and hand copies out).

“We need students who can learn how to learn, who can discover how to push themselves and are generous enough and honest enough to engage with the outside world to make those dreams happen.” ― Seth Godin, Stop Stealing Dreams

SWisC Not Back to SchoolAs an aside (this is a homeschool blog after all), home education is a rising trend: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the population grew by 61.8% from 2003 to 2012.

It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the 2.2. million kids homeschooled across the country, or however else you are learning, quit holding back and go build something interesting!

Gloria Homeschool Choir seeking new members

Gloria Home-School Choir
2015 Christmas Concert Season
The Gloria Home School Choir is an organization of home-schooled singers ranging in age from 12 years and up.  (Home school graduates are welcome and appreciated!) Our purpose is to glorify God through skillful and artistic music presentations while teaching our students the art of proper singing and musicianship.  The director is Dennis Baldridge; accompanist, Jane Baldridge.
Our repertoire consists of a variety of classical, sacred, patriotic and folk songs, and spirituals, performed with piano accompaniment in a manner that reflects the order, design and glory of our Creator.  Performance opportunities include a variety of venues such as retirement homes, community events, and on local radio stations.
The rehearsal and performance schedules are still being confirmed, but here is the initial plan.
Rehearsals —
Thursday Evenings except where noted!
6:30 – 8:30 in Hillsboro, WI
September 17, 24
October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
November 5, 12, 19
December 3, 10
Concerts: (*tentative dates)
December 04, 2015 9am WRCO morning show with Ron Fruit
December 11, 2015 7pm Faith Independence Baptist Church, Ontario, WI
December 12, 2015 7pm First Baptist Church, Richland Center, WI*
December 15, 2015 3pm, VA Hospital, Tomah, WI*
December 15, 2015 7pm, United Methodist church, Tomah, WI*
December 17, 2015 6:30 pm, Hillsboro Library
We are now accepting applications for our 2015-2016 concert season. To express your interest, or for more information, you may e-mail or call Dennis or Jane at or 608-489-3999
*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

August 2015 Letter from Dennis and Jane Baldridge

August 14, 2015

Dear Gloria Choir members and parents,

It’s still summer, but we are beginning to plan our 2015 Christmas Concert Season. Please take a moment to look at the dates at the end of this letter for rehearsal and performance dates. Attendance ateveryrehearsal is important and expected unless you are ill or extenuating circumstances exist. Please consider your commitment to the choir and let us know as soon as possible if you are planning to participateagain this fall. We need to know in advance if we will have enough students on each part, and how much music to order.

We are now accepting new applications for the 2015-2016 Gloria Choir. Feel free to forward this letter to friends who may be interested in joining. The applications are available here. New students will need to do an audition, which as you know can be more fun than scary. :)

One new and exciting addition to our choir rehearsals this fall is instruction in music reading. Beginning September 17, 2015, the first two rehearsals will be devoted exclusively to this training. The lessons will include rhythm training in the Kodaly method, note reading, and musical terms. We will begin regular choralrehearsals October 1, while the continuing reading lessons for a few weeks. Parents wishing to learn along with the students are encouraged to join the choir for this portion of the rehearsals. This music reading instruction is required for all members. Students who already read music well may “test out” of the first two sessions by taking a written exam. They will be provided with a hand-out outlining the basics of the Kodaly method to review at home so they will be able to participate in rhythm drills when the regular rehearsals begin. We hope this addition to our choir program will help all choir members to learn the music more efficiently, and provided them with a life-long skill.

We are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas concert Season.

Dennis & Jane Baldridge

Gloria Homeschool Choir

Free Outdoor Art Event: Plein-Air & Mosaic Making at Wegner Grotto

A day of fun through art making.

Art Outdoors at the Wegner Grotto County Park, Sat., August 22nd 2015

Plein_air_flyerThis event includes exploring one of Wisconsin’s fascinating art environments, the Wegner Grotto, and creating art in the out-doors.

Wegner Grotto County Park is located on Hwy 71, ¼ mile west of Hwy 27, Cataract (9 miles north of Sparta)

Bring yourself lots of water and some snacks as the Grotto is a bit removed from town. Looks like wonderful fun!

Two art activities will be available to visitors: outdoor painting and mosaic making.

Visitors can learn to paint in the Plein-Air style on a postcard-size canvas.

All skill and age levels are encouraged to make-and-take home their own painting or mosaic. This event will take place rain or shine, so come prepared.

Plein-Air” means “painting in the open air,” which in this case means painting pictures of the sculptures you see at the Wegner Grotto park. Visitors may also choose to make mosaics using materials similar to those used to create the Wegner Grotto sculptures.

Cash prizes will be awarded for all age levels and abilities creating Plein-Air paintings, from young children through professional adult artists. All art supplies will be provided but supplies will be limited. Judging for the Plein Air painting event will take place from 4:00-5:00 pm. For beginners, there will be instruction on Plein Air painting and mosaic creation throughout the day.

For more information:

Contact Monroe County Local History Museum and Research Room. Jarrod Roll, (608) 269-8680 or


Viterbo University Arts for Young America Series – Reservations for Homeschoolers

aya_school_series_bannerThe 2015-2016 performance schedule for Viterbo University’s Ronald McDonald Arts for Young America School Series has been published and we are ready to place an order.

We are fortunate to have this relationship with The Viterbo Fine Arts Center in La Crosse to see these high-quality performances.

This is a great season of plays.  Take a look!

2015-2016 Performances

To learn more about our performances, click on the age levels below.

All Ages

La Crosse Dance Centre presents The Nutcracker

Peking Acrobats®

Lower Elementary

Junie B.’s Essential Guide to School

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny

Skippyjon Jones Snow What

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Tales

Are You My Mother?

Upper Elementary and Middle School

Crow and Weasel

Walk On: The Story of Rosa Parks

My Heart in a Suitcase


Homeschoolers are invited to attend professional productions at a group rate for as little as $5 a ticket. Please note that some plays are $6.

In the past, homeschool families have purchased more than 700 tickets as a group.

To ensure good seats, a tentative order was placed at the beginning of May.  The more homeschoolers grouped under this order, the easier it is for Viterbo staff and ushers.  If your group has ordered a smaller number of tickets on your own in the past, please consider purchasing through this group for best seats and best prices.

PLEASE pass this information to other families that would enjoy the shows.

Please contact Jenny Fisher about your reservation questions!


** The date of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales has been changed to Wednesday, January 27th.  Performance times remain the same.
Crow and Weasel will be performed at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts.
** The 9:30 am performance of The Peking Acrobats® is full. There are seats in the 12:30 pm performance.

Parking Information, Theatre Etiquette, and Study Guides


Email by Monday, September 14th to place your order.

All orders must be submitted by email.  Each family should submit its own order.

In your email, please include the following:

Your name
Your phone number
The title, time preference, and # of tickets you would like for each performance

Please contact Jenny Fisher about your reservation questions!


All payment is due in full from each family on Monday, September 14th. All checks will be held until September 14th.


Orders are filled by the date your email is received in the inbox.

The earlier you submit your order, the more likely you are to receive seats for the performances you desire.

You get to pick and choose your shows, show times, and number of tickets.

The deadline to order tickets with the initial group is September 14th.

You can almost always purchase additional tickets up to the day before a show, but might not be seated with the group or receive the discounted rate.

All tickets cost the same regardless of the age of the attendee.

Everyone needs a ticket, even babies.

You don’t need to specify the number of kids/adults, just the total number coming from your group.

Families who do not order and submit payment by September 14th to Jenny Fisher and still wish to attend a performance(s) may still place an order with Jenny.

Seats ordered after the deadline aren’t guaranteed to be with the rest of the group, and the discounted price does not apply unless your order is for ten or more tickets per performance.

All sales are final.

No refunds will be issued.

Please contact Jenny Fisher about your reservation questions at


Please arrive approximately 20 minutes before the performance time to allow for parking and use of the bathroom.

Homeschool families must find street parking, as Viterbo lots require permits. (Please see attached map).

The bus lane is only for schools who arrive in buses.

No unattended children are allowed in the lobby area or the theatre before, during, and after a show.

Upon arrival, enter the Fine Arts Center through the west lobby doors near the bus lane. Please check in at the table in the main lobby—if no one is at the table, wait until someone arrives to check you in and escort you to your seats.

Use of cell phones for talking, texting, or photo or video recording is not permitted during a performance.

We are unable to guarantee seating next to another desired group due to limited seating and the size of each group.

If a baby or young child is disruptive, we ask that a parent/guardian remove the child from the theatre until he/she has calmed down.

If you arrive with a stroller or car seat, you will be able to keep these just outside the theatre doors as fire codes state they cannot be placed on the floor in the seating rows.

If you have questions about the above policies, please contact:
Beth Franklin, Arts Education Coordinator Viterbo Fine Arts Center  |  608-796-3735

Please contact Jenny Fisher about your reservation questions!

Doors Open Milwaukee Project, Sept. 19 & 20, 2015

This is an incredible opportunity for a fascinating historical and architectural tour of buildings in Milwaukee.

It’s a really long list so take a look and plan your itinerary.You really need to go to the site to see all the options, but here’s a brief introduction.

DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE is Historic Milwaukee’s most ambitious project. As a nonprofit organization, Historic Milwaukee, Inc. has been dedicated to increasing awareness of and commitment to Milwaukee’s history, architecture, and the preservation of our built environment through education and advocacy since 1974.


The fifth annual DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE event will open the doors to over 150 wonderful buildings free-of-charge to the public. These buildings hold hidden treasures and special stories – from churches to office buildings, theaters to work sites, museums to hotels, clubs to universities; all sites of historic, architectural, cultural, or commercial interest.


The event has two major components: 1) design your own itinerary to visit over 150 buildings that will open their doors (often with guided tours, no tickets necessary); 2) join one or more in-depth tours that are ticketed.

Over 150 Buildings
In-Depth Tours
Public Tours

Make your own itinerary. Start when and where you like. No tickets necessary. Visits to any of the buildings and sites below are free of charge. Free guided tours are often available. Many buildings…





Tri-County Athletics Knights Volleyball for Girl’s 8-18

Tri-County Athletics Girls Volleyball Season Begins in August

Parent Meetings for Volleyball will be on 8/3/15 and 8/20/15.

Parents need to attend one of two scheduled meetings for each sport program.
Handbooks, rules, and policies will be explained.

Fees and Forms which are necessary for a player to begin practice, will be distributed at the Parent Meeting or you can find them on the website and download, print, and complete them.

An additional $20 late charge will apply after the last scheduled Parent Meeting for the program.

Volleyball Practices start August 24th in Westby.

All forms and fees must be turned in before a player may attend practice.

Fees for Girl’s Volleyball 2015
Varsity  $150
JV  $150
Middle School  $60

Late fee of $20 applies after 8/20/15.

Soil Sisters: Family Friendly Educational Fun – Aug 1, 2

Here’s a local event in Green County happening next week with lots of family friendly education fun:

Soil Sisters
July 31 to August 2, 2015
A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms & Rural Life

Soil Sisters:
A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms and Rural Life
Runs Aug 1 through Aug 2 and involves over a dozen women-owned organic and sustainable ag operations, including many run by homeschool families.

Saturday, August 1, 10 am – 4 pm
ocations: Family farms in the Monroe, Brodhead, Browntown, New Glarus and Blanchardville communities.

There are a variety of activities going on all weekend, with two family-oriented workshops that I wanted to point out especially…

The registration price for these family sessions includes your WHOLE family for some hands-on, on-farm fun. There are still spots open for all workshops but they are going fast (they’re keeping the sessions small).

Full list of all workshops

Dinner on the Farm at Inn Serendipity: Sat. Aug. 1st
A family-friendly local food dinner. Kids under 10 eat free. Bluegrass music, sunset bonfire, local brews. Tickets still available.

Tour of Farms: Sun. Aug. 2
Tour eight women-owned farms.
Free and open to the public; no pre-registration required.
Farms open 11-6.
Bring your cooler to stock up on farmstand produce, eggs and meat. Maps and more info.


Three different family workshop offers Sat. Aug. 1

1) Birdhouses, Gardens & Family Homesteading
Host: Erica Roth & Windy Hill Farm (Albany)
Description: Join the Roth Family for a casual tour of their newly emerging homestead. This new-to-rural family has started their farming life with lasagna gardens, chickens and pigs, and plans for so much more! Enjoy a walk and talk about all things homesteading, how to start lasagna gardens, raise chickens and pigs — followed by a cedar birdhouse making session where families build their own birdhouse to take home.
Cost: $40 per family (not per person)
Duration: 2 hours
Two Workshop Sessions Offered: 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm
Click here for more info/registration:

2) Eggs, Sprouts & Farm Critters, Sat. Aug. 1

Host: Kath Kramer, Katharsis Meadows (Blanchardville)
Description: Hands on activities show how an egg is formed and how seeds sprout into plants. Plant your own microgreens to take home. Visit the barn to look for eggs, feed the chickens and ducks and walk a goat on a leash. Clean up at the hand washing station using goat milk soap made on the farm. Activities designed for ages 4 and over, but all are welcome.
Cost: $40 per family (not per person)
Duration: 2 hours
Two Workshop Sessions Offered: 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm
Click here for more info/registration:

3) Hayride, Buzzing Bees & Milking Goats
Host: Melissa Burch, Bountiful Hope Farm (Monroe)
Description: Explore Bountiful Hope Farm with a hayride journey through the landscape, plus a garden tour where “farm fresh” is the norm. Milk a goat and learn about bee keeping and how the bees and garden help each other.
Cost: $40 per family (not per person)
Duration: 2 hours
Two Workshop Sessions Offered: 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm
Click here for more information/registration:

Experience farm livin’.  Women-owned and co-owned farmers don their farm hats, fancy up their place and invite you to participate in numerous fun, hands-on and educational workshops on their farms. 

Soil Sisters
July 31 to August 2, 2015
A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms & Rural Life


New! Cross Country for Homeschoolers in Richland Center

Exciting news!

Cross Country Teams are available in Platteville, Sparta, and now Richland Center!

Cross country is a great, flexible activity that ​has many benefits.

If you’re interested in being involved in the new Richland Center Cross Country organization – even if you can’t make it to the organizational meeting on July 23rd – contact Doug Landsee at the phone number below.  ​

My name is Doug Landsee and I’m starting a homeschool cross country team in the Richland Center Area with some interested homeschooling parents.

My background includes 24 years at Riverdale Schools as a high school/middle school counselor. I coached cross country for 21 years and track field for 25 years.

A cross country meet consists of a single run for the various grade levels; 7th and 8th (and sometimes 6th) grade run anywhere from 1.2 to 2 miles, high school junior varsity and varsity run 5K (3.1 miles).

Our age range would be 10 years to 18 year olds.  We gradually work runners into these distances in our practices.

We will have an organizational meeting on Thursday, July 23 at 7:00pm at the Brewer Library on the second floor.

I will answer any of your questions at that time.

We will choose a team name – some of the possibilities are Center Cyclones CC, Raging Roadrunners CC, Cruzin Cranes CC and possibly others.

We will also be choosing the team colors.

Our first official team practice would be August 12 at 3:30pm.  If you can’t make the meeting, please feel free to call me at 604-6486.


CIRCLE Learning Co-ops


(Children Involved in a Respectful Co-operative Learning Environment)

CIRCLE is an all-inclusive learning cooperative (co-op) open to all families.  All ages are welcome, from infants through adults.

Check over the CIRCLE FAQs and Guidelines for more information about the co-ops.

CIRCLE is not just for homeschooling families.

Any family looking for a respectful, family learning environment is welcome to join a CIRCLE group, regardless of what educational choices they have made (homeschool, public school, private school).  * Because many of the families involved do homeschool, many of the classes may be held during school hours.

CIRCLE co-ops offer quarterly classes, field trips, and other events, with every family offering at least one activity during a session in order to participate.

Rather than a one day, one location co-op, CIRCLE allows each teacher to pick the topic, time, date and location of each class s/he is offering. Teachers may offer one-day activities/field trips, or they may choose to teach recurring/multi-part classes (i.e. weekly throughout the quarter, three times total, etc.). Simple play dates or meet up classes do not count as a class. Teachers are free to specify age groups and/or size limits for their particular class(es).

CIRCLE Co-ops in Wisconsin

CIRCLE – Kettle Moraine, encompassing the Kettle Moraine area of Wisconsin.

Milwaukee CIRCLE, serving the greater Milwaukee area.

Fox Cities CIRCLE, serving the Fox Cities area of Wisconsin.

Madison CIRCLE, serving the Madison area. First session will be Fall 2015!

Driftless CIRCLE Coming Soon!
Check back for more details regarding the new Driftless CIRCLE group, serving the Monroe, Vernon, and Crawford Counties in Wisconsin!

Fall 2015 Planning month will be held in August for classes occurring in September, October, and November.
August 7: Class Submissions Due
August 17: Enrollment Forms Due
August 27: Class Fees Due


Make certain you have contacted your group coordinator(s) for access to the Google calendar. After adding your class to the Google calendar and inviting your group to view it, fill out the following submission form. This allows our coordinators (all volunteers) to quickly make enrollment forms, calculate class fees, and contact everyone. Your information will NOT be given out publicly and will only be used for contact information for the co-op.

Creekside Homeschoolers Programs – Platteville

Creekside Homeschoolers is a new program starting in Fall 2015 at Apple Creek Farm in Platteville.

If your child would jump at the opportunity to do challenging, interesting projects and spend time with friends and adult mentors on a weekly basis, Creekside may be a great option for your family.

A small group of kids ages 10 and up will meet 1-2 days per week for project-based, interest-led learning in collaboration with friends and an experienced adult mentor/teacher. There is also a Children’s Play Garden for ages 2.5 to 6.

Summer Adventure Camps for ages 10 and up (ask about younger siblings) will be held entirely outdoors (as weather allows) with plenty of time to play and explore in the stream and woods. Activities will include art, drama, campfire cooking, group games, frog catching, wildlife observation, and more. Dates are July 15, August 20, August 27 from 9 am to 3 pm.  Information is on their website:

Creekside Homeschoolers will meet from
9:00 to 3:00 on Mondays and/or Thursdays 

from September 10 to December 17, 2015.  

Check out their website for more information if you’re interested!