Tag Archives: homeschooling

Wisconsin Spring Primary 2017: DPI Superintendent Race

Wisconsin voters will go to the polls Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 to choose which two candidates will compete for the top post at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in the general election on April 4th.

Voter turnout is expected to be low, because it’s a “Primary” and this is the only race on the ballot in many townships – – so your vote has more weight.

Incumbent Tony Evers, seeking a third term, is being challenged by two longtime educators: Lowell Holtz, a former teacher, principal and superintendent; John Humphries, a former administrator turned consultant; and Rick Melcher, a Racine math teacher running as a write-in candidate.

The position of State Superintendent is a four-year term and will put one of them in charge of the all Wisconsin school districts including the potential to diminish local control of school boards in five of the largest school districts.

Here’s some information about the candidates for Wisconsin DPI State Superintendent and specifically regarding homeschooling…

From the Wisconsin Family Council: Race for Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction is Critical.

From the La Crosse Tribune: Public versus private: Evers faces Humphries, Holtz for state superintendent, Three challenge Tony Evers for the state’s top schools post.

From the Wisconsin State Journal: State superintendent candidates call each other liars,
State superintendent candidate: Challenger offered 6-figure job to drop out of race.

From Stop Common Core in Wisconsin: Recommendations for DPI Primary

In as much as every child learns differently, every child deserves an educational option that works best for them. Parents who wish to remain in control of their child’s education need a strong advocate for educational freedom. If you choose homeschooling as the best option, you should
look for the public instruction superintendent to be supportive of that choice.

Decisions made now effect everyone’s future.

More on the candidates:



Home School Legal Defense Association

Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools is now part of HSLDA’s Discount Group Program!  Individual families who belong to our SW Wisconsin Community of Homeschools membership group save $20 on their HSLDA membership fee, paying $100 instead of $120.

What does joining HSLDA do for me?

  • Protects your right to homeschool and defends your family. A lawyer is on call 24/7.
  • Provides fast help by phone or email: Get direct answers to your specific questions about home education. Veteran homeschooling parents are available to answer your questions and help you find resources for teaching your children:
    • Toddlers to Tweens (PreK-8th grade)
    • High school (including preparing for college or career paths)
    • Struggling learners (special needs/gifted and talented)
  • Preserves homeschool freedom for all families by promoting homeschooling nationwide, as well as by working with state homeschooling groups to pass homeschool-friendly legislation and stop unfavorable bills at the state and federal levels.
  • Partners you with the cause: Although homeschooling is recognized in every state, HSLDA receives phone calls each day from families whose right to homeschool is being challenged or discriminated against by school officials, social workers, employers, colleges, armed services recruitment officers, and government bureaucrats. The customizable nature of homeschooling defies the educational elite’s ideal of mandatory, uniform indoctrination—making parental choice in education a target for elimination. By joining HSLDA, you are supporting families who are fighting for their right to homeschool today and standing together to preserve homeschooling freedom for tomorrow.

SW Wisconsin Community of Homeschools recommends that homeschooling families join HSLDA.

Even if you never experience legal trouble yourself, your HSLDA membership will help enable other homeschooling families to get the legal help they need and will help defend our right to homeschool here in southwest Wisconsin.

Membership in HSLDA also gives you personal access to the legal staff; HSLDA’s experienced high school, struggling learners, and early years consultants; selling privileges at the HSLDA Curriculum Market; and discounts through HSLDA’s PerX program. (For more information about HSLDA’s many benefits, see http://www.hslda.org.).

SW Wisconsin Community of Homeschools members SAVE $20 off the HSLDA membership price when you enter our Discount Group code on the HSLDA membership form!

Building a Community of Homeschools

Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools
egional Membership Group

We’re building a community to help and support home education in southwest Wisconsin! Membership is open now in the Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools regional group. The group is open to any home educating family in the general area of southwest Wisconsin whose children are-will be-have been learning at home through any method of homeschooling.

Here’s what you get as a member:

  • Email notifications and reminders
  • Forums (searchable and archived)
  • Registration sign ups
  • Printable Membership Cards
  • Classified ads
  • Calendar listings
  • Shareable links and resources
  • Discount on WPA Membership
  • Discount on HSLDA Membership

Our membership year runs from October through October. Membership fee is $8.50 per family. You may join at any time, however the fee is not prorated and late charges may apply.

Are you part of a local homeschool support group?
The SW Wisc Community can
include local support groups within our regional network membership. Your local group maintains its own identity and image, and controls its own forums and event sign ups. Imagine how this could streamline your field trips and coop classes! Plus each individual can access the complete membership site.

Let’s find answers, help each other and build friendships.

The more of us banded together can make an impact for all of us.

Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools


Most popular posts of 2015

Our Southwest Wisconsin Homeschool Community is having an impact.

This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2015. Thank you!

There are posts on this blog, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on our member group that show we are filling a need and helping support our homeschool community.

Our  most popular post has a seasonal flavor and consistently brings viewers from all across the Internet:

The Polar Express – Free Online Read Aloud AND Study Links.

Here are three other examples that have gained a wider influence:

Surf’s Up at Noah’s Ark Waterpark : Report Card Days This Weekend!

5 Ways Homeschoolers Can Learn from Star Wars 
Local Homeschool Groups & Resources

Thank you for being a part of SW Wisconsin Homeschool Community!

Winter edit

5 Ways Homeschoolers Can Learn from Star Wars

star wars episode 7 the force awakensUnless you’re living in a black hole, you‘ve heard about the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.

With brand new characters, a larger storyline, and ginormous space things, the sense of surprise and adventure in the brand new movie will be pulling people into theaters for some outrageous fun entertainment this month.

{Bonus: Scroll down for a few fun links and free Star Wars themed resources for your homeschool.}


I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.”

Star Wars
is a classic coming of age story of an idealistic young adventurer, a reluctant hero, a plucky damsel in distress, and the fight between the forces of good and evil. It has achieved the familiarity of the timeless stories of King Arthur, Beowulf, and The Odyssey.

Star Wars was groundbreaking for it’s time.star-wars-clip-art-RTGyzrrTL

The world before Star War was so different than it is now — no cell phones, the space program was over, there were no personal computers and the internet was years away. Even home video had not caught on. We had economic inflation, rising oil prices, political cynicism. Movies themselves were dark and violent.

So, besides light sabers, droids, Jedi knights, the Millennium Falcon, and Yoda …

What can homeschoolers learn from the Star Wars saga?  

obi wanYou’ve taken your first step into a larger world.” ~ Obi Wan Kenobi

Learning is all around you. Let the world be your classroom. You never know when teaching moments may come. Preparing a meal together or running errands are still valid times for learning.

“Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” ~ Han Solo

The rules are yours. Feel free to break out of the box of the traditional education model to make the environment that works best for your family.
You don’t have to restrict schooling to sitting at a desk between certain daytime hours.oct410

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” ~ Princess Leia

Learn from others who have gone before you in this learning adventure.  Here are few you can trust:  The Old SchoolhouseLee Binz / The HomeScholarJanice Campbell / Everyday Education, Diane Lockman / The Classical Scholar, Felice Gerwitz / Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network


“Laugh it up, Fuzz ball.” ~ Han Solo

Your school day may not go according to your school plan. You can’t schedule sick days, but you can work around them. There will be good days and bad days. Homeschooling is a bit like a roller coaster: Enjoy the ride.

Remember…the force will be with you always.” ~ Obi Wan Kenobi

There is no single right way to homeschool. In the same way that each child (even in your own family) learns differently, your homeschool will look different than others. Have the courage to let go of a curriculum or a schedule when it’s not working. Love is the powerful force that brought you to homeschooling and will follow you through if you just stay the course.

In the end, homeschooling may seem like a series of complicated maneuvers, but in time it’ll come easier than bullseyeing womprats in your T-16.light sabrs


And because I always like to give you a little bit more….

Free Star Wars Homeschool Resources Page


Star Wars Empire of Dreams The documentary of the original Star Wars Movie Trilogy
Get ready for the biggest movie of the decade with this outstanding documentary made back in 2004. This 2 Hrs. 30 Min. documentary covers in chronological order the making of the original Star Wars trilogy: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). Starting with George Lucas’s promising beginnings as a film student and following through his creative journey to make his vision a reality, this inspiring documentary features interviews with Lucas and his many collaborators who helped make Star Wars a blockbuster movie franchise and a cultural phenomenon. Feel the force and gear up for a journey to a galaxy far, far away with this documentary available on YouTube.


How to Make Your Own Lightsaber –Science Friday looked into one DIY approach, and got some best practice tips from its designer. The project is a quick lesson in building electronics, and provides the opportunity to be creative with your end product.

Might as well make the most of it — Fortuigence give your family’s Star Wars fans the opportunity to play the movie critic by using the film to develop critical thinking and practice writing!

Just for fun — Star Wars Snowflakes templates and video tutorials can be found here.

Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) Lightsaber Duel – ThePianoGuys

May the Force of Homeschooling Be with You!

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.

What is Classical Conversations?

What if your child’s school was amazing?
What if your child loved learning?
What if your family became stronger through school?

Classical Conversations is a home-centered, Christian education program that equips you to teach your children through resources and community support.The “classical” model of education divides learning into three phases based on the growth of the student:

Classical education aims to build the skills needed for leadership: logic, debate, public speaking, clear reasoning, researching, writing, and communicating.

Now, you can use a classical model on your own – without Classical Conversations…

There are plenty of books and curricula developed to teach all of the skills and provide practice to prepare students to become leaders in any field they pursue.

You can pick and choose from Charlotte Mason ideas and add the Latin, fine arts, and nature studies to round out any sort of modern education.

You can have your students study classical works of literature. Or you can become part of a Classical Conversations community!

Come learn about the mission, model and method of Classical Conversations.

Classical Conversations supports homeschooling parents by cultivating the love of learning through a Christian worldview in fellowship with other families.

With Classical Conversations, you don’t have to go it alone!  Children along with one of their parents meet together weekly with a parent-tutor.

Corresponding to the 3 phases of classical education, Classical Conversations offers Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge programs.

Students (ages 4-11) in the FOUNDATIONS program study history, sciences, arithmetic, and geography. The tutor leads the class in five thirty-minute segments that cover new memory work, a science project, a fine arts activity, public speaking, and memory work review time.

Further success comes from being able to communicate ideas well. Learning the ESSENTIALS of language and writing, and drilling basic arithmetic facts using games for ages 9 to 11 is the next step in the Classical Conversations program. Students compose sentences and learn the rules of writing by talking about them (the dialectic model). Parents learn about English grammar and writing, too, because they attend class with their students. They watch a parent tutor model the lesson so that they can continue the lesson at home.

CC CHALLENGE covers a full curriculum of subjects for middle and high school students. There are six levels: A, B, I, II, III, and IV. Typically students begin A when they are 12 and progress through each level completing Challenge IV as a senior.  Each level progresses through math, Latin, science, and literature with additional seminars which include economics, history, philosophy, theology, logic, and drama.

Come learn about the mission, model and method of Classical Conversations.

Classical Conversations is growing and new campuses are forming in the area.  This is very exciting!

There is already a strong Classical Conversations group in the Platteville area.

Classical Conversations of Viroqua started 2 years ago and is now ready to more students for the 2015/2016 school year.

Classical Conversations Information Meeting scheduled:

Sylvan Meadows Farm Store, 207 S. Main St., Viroqua
Thursday, June 11 @ 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Contact: Cheryl Mickelsen, Director Foundations/Essentials, CC of Viroqua triviumtutor21 at gmail dot com

Cheryl is also contracting for the paid position of parent-tutor in the Classical Conversations Foundations program in Viroqua .  A tutor must be a parent of a registered Classical Conversations Foundations student (between the age of 4-12 yrs) who has an interest in promoting classical education by tutoring the weekly grammar of the seven disciplines:  History, geography, timeline, English, Latin, math, and science.  Also, opportunities to lead science experiments and fine arts activities. Registered Foundations tutors/substitutes will have attended a 3 Day Free Practicum this summer AND receive 9 hours of instruction in the afternoon sessions. Be a committed Bible-believing Christian with a Biblical worldview. Sign a contract with the Director who will have interviewed all applicants prior to being hired. The tutor is an independent contractor.

Build Your Bundle Homeschool Edition Giveaway

For all of you frugal homeschooling mamas and dads…BYB-Logo

presalegiveaway-smallThe Homeschool Build Your Bundle Sale has many ways to save EVEN MORE!

Enter to win 3 bundles of your choice!

Enter our giveaway for a chance to win any 3 of 19 individual bundles.

Grab a Coupon Code just for giving us your email address!

Refer friends for additional savings!







What are in the bundles?

Well, we really cannot tell you what products are in the bundles just yet, but just know, THEY TOTALLY ROCK!

We CAN tell you a little about the bundles though!

We have several individual bundles, priced starting at $10. Our sale will consist of the following bundles, plus, of course, the BUILD YOUR OWN OPTIONS!! These bundles are full of products from popular contributors!

  • Preschool-Kindergarten
  • 1st-3rd grade (2 bundles!)
  • 4th-6th grade (2 bundles!)
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Notebooking
  • Copywork
  • Unit Studies
  • Just for Boys
  • Just for Girls
  • Character Bundle
  • Just for Moms (2 bundles!)
  • Fine Arts
  • Special Needs Bundle
  • Non-Faith Based/Secular Bundle


Pre-Sale Giveaway

Enter to win 3 individual bundles of your choice! After you enter be sure to refer your friends; you will earn 5 points for each friend who enters!

If someone YOU refer wins, YOU DO TOO!






Enter to win 3 individual bundles of your choice!
After you enter be sure to refer your friends; you will earn 5 points for each friend who enters!


Milestone Documents: Now Optimized for Homeschool Classrooms

The innovative approach of Milestone Documents is now available to the homeschool market.

Milestone Documents puts primary sources — the letters, legislative acts, court decisions, and speeches that have helped shape the world we live in —front and center in your homeschool, to help hone skills in critical thinking, research, writing, and digital literacy.

milestone documents something for summer


The homeschool edition includes a master educator account for parents, allowing YOU to assign readings and quizzes.

Milestone Documents is an online learning service for high school and undergraduate classrooms in history and related disciplines, comprised of a group of liberal arts graduates and history nerds, professional editors and writers and researchers.

If you missed the flyer in your Home Educators Cooperative Book Fair Welcome Bag with the special link to request a free 2-week trial, Milestone Documents has set up an even better deal now!

More than merely names, dates, and events in a bland textbook, the materials include commentary and analysis to help students make sense of the sources and build skills: research, writing, critical assessment and thinking, pattern recognition, and drawing conclusions based on sound evidence.

Subject Areas include:
U.S. History
World History
European History
American Government
World Religions


Documents are listed chronologically within the subject area and feature:

Overview Audience Further Reading
Context Impact Glossary
About the Author Essential Quotes How to Cite
Explanation 7 Analysis Document Text Related Documents

For an affordable annual price of $69.95, the Homeschool Edition Plan contains:

Master educator account and up to 5 student accounts.

Private assignments page where you list material to be read with due dates.

Complete access to all 1,700 primary sources in the collection,
including commentary written by historians and scholars.

Students can highlight and take notes; you can annotate sources for your students.

Study questions and short-answer questions for quizzes or paper topics.

 Here’s to a summer of  creativity, joy and a time to reflect with Milestone Documents.

Homeschooling: A Growing Option For Many in Wisconsin – One Family’s Story

1.5 million students across the country are homeschooled



“After completing second grade at a traditional school, Bronwyn asked her parents if she could be homeschooled because she didn’t feel challenged in class and was bullied outside of class.”

Homeschooling isn’t on the fringe of education choices any longer. In fact, it seems to be growing in popularity across the country. The Department of Education estimates the number of homeschooled students has grown at about 7% a year for the past 10 years.

A few weeks ago, SW Wisconsin Community of Homeschools was contacted by Lisa Klein of WKBT-TV Channel 8 in La Crosse, to help her find a family to interview for a news story about homeschooling.  We surveyed local homeschool families and gave Lisa our nominees.  Here’s the story that ran on the La Crosse News last night…

Assignment: Education – Home Schooling
Author: Lisa Klein, lklein@wkbt.com


Stephanie Hicks had thought she wouldn’t have the patience to homeschool their children.  “We thought. okay we’ll give it a whirl and if we don’t like it we’ll stop. And here we are going into five years.”

The Hicks children are part of nearly 20,000 homeschool students in Wisconsin.

(UPDATED 09/22/14: The video implies that homeschooling is increasing, however the statistics show the percentage of home-based students has been dropping since a peak in 2002; with 2013/2014 figures at 19,104, or 1.89% of the total school population.)

After five years, homeschooling is still working out well for the Hicks family.

The homeschool option.

How’s it going for your family?