Homeschooling lends great opportunities to learn about the world around us in “real time”. If you live in the midwest, chances are that you will be affected by the 17 periodical insects also known as Brood X. So, instead of being scared or annoyed by these creatures, why not learn about them? Not only will it be a science lesson, but you can also have your child write about them, draw pictures, make an origami cicada, count how many they see (if you live in SW Ohio, there will be plenty to count, especially in older neighborhoods).

Cicada Information

I found some great resources for you to learn about these buggies. The Cincinnati Enquirer had an article that I found helpful to learn about hem. CLICK HERE

I also found a cicadas worksheet packet that includes a lapbook that you can use either for copywork or if you have younger students, they can cut the information out and glue onto the information tabs. Homeschool Den

You can help map the 2021 emergence of the periodical cicada Brood X by downloading a free app called Cicada Safari. You can learn more about it by going to their website: Cicada Safari. This website also has an origami cicada that you can make.

Try it, you’ll like it! Did you know you can eat them? According to what I read, “Periodical cicadas are best eaten when they are still white, and they taste like cold canned asparagus. Like all insects, cicadas have a good balance of vitamins, are low in fat, and, especially the females, are high in protein.” (source Uh- no thank you!

For you insect enthusiasts who do not have any cicadas in your area, look on the map and see where they will be. Plan a road trip on a hot day and you can see and hear them. Choose an older park such as Ault Park (Cincinnati) to see them.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Exoskeletal shells of cicadas after they emerge.
adult cicadas

Considering Joining a Co-op?

Photo by Gabby K on

It may seem like it’s a bit early to be considering joining a co-op for the coming year, but actually, now is the time to do so. If you wait until next fall it will be too late for you to join for most of them. I have a Co-op tab on the right hand side of my blog that has a list of all of the ones that I know that are in the Greater Cincinnati area. (I do have information on one out of town co-op as well.)

You may have some questions concerning co-ops. I hope to answer most of the questions you may have.

  • How old should my children be for us to attend? Co-ops have specific ages and grade levels. You don’t have to be in a co-op. Choose what is best for your family, not because other people are in a co-op.
  • What kind of co-op should I choose? Some are faith-based, and others are not. So, if that is something you feel is important, then be sure to look into that. Some offer classes for most subjects while others are more focused on science or fine arts. Remember, if the co-op doesn’t fit your family, then find other opportunities.
  • What days and times do they meet? Most meet once a week.
  • When does the co-op begin for the year? When does it finish?
  • What is your commitment to being in the co-op? Do you have to teach a class? How much volunteering do you have to do?
  • Is there a cost? Some co-ops offer sibling discounts or give you a free class if you teach.
  • Where is it located? My sons made lifetime friends at their co-ops because they did things outside of the days we met. It wasn’t too far from the house so it was easy to have friends over after co-op or meet other days.
  • Do they have something for you? I loved that we had a place for adults to visit because that is where I felt I made connections, asked schooling questions, and received support.

I hope these questions have helped you while you consider a homeschool co-op. Have a great week. ~Lisa~

End of the School Year Considerations

The end of the traditional school year is quickly approaching and you may be wondering what to do to finish the school year. Here are some things I liked to do when there were about six weeks left.

Check to see if all areas of study have been covered. If your child is still struggling with multiplication, then review over the summer with fun ways to continue to keep those facts fresh. (Concentration, matching product to problem, playing the card game War, race mom to see who can skip count fastest)

If there are still new concepts to be covered, then be sure to teach these before the end of the year.

Although assessments have been waived again this year, perhaps doing a standardized test such as the California Achievement Test or having a teacher assessment will give you guidance for next year and help you with decision making for next year.

End your year with a celebration! Your child(ren)has worked hard and so have you! The party can be planned by your daughter/son. it can be a simple dinner of pizza and a favorite dessert followed by a family movie or an activity. You can reflect on the year with accomplishments and areas that you saw progress. Everyone wants to feel that they are successful.

Consider assigning schoolwork over the summer. My sons would have to read and do some math several days a week. They could read books that interested them, sometimes it was comic books (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts), joke books, a book about an animal, etc. I allowed them to pick out what they wanted to read and no book reports were assigned. 🙂

Have a great week! ~ Lisa ~

2020-2021 Annual Assessment Waiver

I wanted to give you an update on the annual assessment that is required for homeschool families to continue educating their children for the subsequent year. On March 21, 2021, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 67 into law. This bill is an an extension of the annual assessment waiver that was enacted as an emergency measure for the 2019-20 school year. 

HB67 requires the ODE to seek federal waivers on the assessments that are federally required for these students. To extend assessment waivers to all students, the legislators have included a section to waive the academic assessment report for home educated students this year. This means that the academic assessment report will not be required when notifying for the 2021-2022 school year. They have also included language waiving the assessment requirement for Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship students. You can read the bill for yourself. HB67

While you do not need to do an assessment, I would suggest you continue to have your child assessed (a portfolio review or testing). There are some very valid reasons to do this and instead of me parroting what I feel are good points to do so, I suggest you read the Ohio Homeschooling Parents blog page. CLICK HERE

I appreciate all of you who have scheduled your review with me at this point. I will continue to do assessments for those who would like to have me review your child’s work. If you decide to cancel, please delete your appointment. It will notify me and you won’t have to do anything further. If I do not get the opportunity to see you this year, have a great school year and I will see you next year.


The History of Homeschooling in Ohio

My good friend, Becky, and I were talking about the history of how homeschooling was legalized in Ohio. I believe it is worth sharing because the opportunity and privilege to homeschool is something that I treasure and it makes it all the more special when you learn how it happened. My information is taken from a fantastic 142 page book that I wish every homeschool family could have as a reference. In it, Diana Fessler shares her story and explains every point of Ohio’s homeschool laws and the Home Education Notification Form. Sadly, it is out of print, but I hope someone will reprint it and update the few details that have changed since it was printed. If you ever come across the book, you should purchase it. Home Education : Answers for Ohio Parents by Diana Fessler.

It all began as a seed of an idea in 1982 when Diana Fessler and her husband, Bob, were considering pre-registering their son for kindergarten while at the same time being introduced to the idea of schooling their own children. They decided to homeschool their four children for several years without notifying the superintendent. When they did choose to do so, they sent their philosophy of education, a daily schedule, curriculum overview, and test results. The test results for all of the children were in the 90-99th percentile range. Mrs. Fessler presumed that the superintendent would excuse her children from compulsory attendance. However, contrary to this belief they received “twenty-one pages of documents”.

The superintendent requested copies of her and her husband’s transcripts and teaching certificates. They only submitted Mr. Fessler’s transcript (they didn’t have teaching certificates) to the superintendent as well as seventy-five pages of information that included things such as their background, assessment plans, and resource materials. They submitted an additional one hundred thirty pages after the superintendent had said it was a “good start” and they needed to supply details of all the courses in every subject they were teaching for each of their four children. The Fessler’s agreed to send in weekly and monthly reports and permit school officials to “visit” their home. They also were asked to have a notarized statement that absolved the school of any educational and social growth of their children.

It seemed that no matter how much information they sent, there was always a request for additional information. The Fesslers drew the line when the request for psychological testing was issued. With help from Representative Monahan, their superintendent excused their children (in December) from compulsory attendance.

In 1988 the Fesslers were invited to share their testimony before the House Education Committee. A State Board of Education advisory committee began a year long process of developing home education regulations and Diane represented the home educators. In July 1989, the State Board of Education adopted these regulations without amendment, and they became codified as OAC 3301-34.

I am thankful for the Fesslers and other parents who had the conviction and fortitude to home educate their children and make it possible for us to do the same. May we be diligent in teaching our children and as Diana states the reason for writing the book was that “people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” but “the truth will set you free.”

Have a great week! ~Lisa~