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Online Homeschooling Programs Celebrates 10 Years of Partnering with Online Homeschool Families

Online Homeschooling Christian Leader

Learning By Grace is the online homeschooling leader. Partnering successfully with families for almost ten years, we reach Christian homeschool families in all 50 states and 20 countries. Founded by veteran homeschooling parents of 8 children, we understand your needs and meet them, because we've been there.

Online homeschooling is fast becoming the preferred way to homeschool because it saves work and gives you more time to do the important things. Let technology deliver the Daily Lessons, grade Student Assignments, track Attendance, report to District, create Portfoliio, build Transcripts,

Learning By Grace's online homeschooling program enables you to fulfill the Lord's mandates from the scriptures to teach our children about Him all day, every day. Train up a child in the Lord and when he is old he will not depart from Him. A simple promise. Hard to accomplish. We are here to help.

Our online homeschooling curriculum works so well because it is filled with rich multi media experiences through its 28,000 video clips, 120,000 hand-picked websites, and fun learning games. It engages. It empowers. It can be done 24/7/365. It can be done fast, slow, paused, or skipped; the student is driving and that makes him learn.

Websites for Homeschoolers

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 15:48

3 Comments

A special Message for Elementary, Middle and High School Homeschooling students!!!

Do you ever wake up and just say, “Thank you, God!” If you don’t, you should. Wake up every morning with a smile and realize it’s a gift! Today, let’s do some fun activities to celebrate the Lord!

Elementary Homeschool Students
Kids 4 Truth
: Answers questions such as “Who is God?” Uses multimedia presentations.

Big Idea Fun: Includes Shockwave games, online greetings, coloring pages, puzzles, and wallpaper with Veggie Tales characters.

Middle School Homeschool Students
Anointed Youth
: Learn more about Jesus Christ! Includes bulletin board, members-area, and newsletter.

High School Homeschool Students
Sword and Spirit
: Deals with science, current events, culture, theology, pro-life issues, other religions, and ethics. Articles, presentations, humor, games, and links.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” -Matthew 19:13-15

-Mimi Rothschild



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Athletes: Finding Their Own Way Home

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 12 February 2008 09:57

2 Comments

Reading articles like this one, published by John Sahly in The Beacon News, is a touching example of how promoting our youth can truly make a story newsworthy. The Grace of God has a place in all our hearts, on all of our fields of play and especially in our homes.

I know that there are plenty of success stories out there about you and your child’s experiences as a homeschooled student; I’d love to read every one of them. Share with the group or forward your stories to me personally at Mimi@LearningbyGrace.org.  

I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did…

___________________________________________

Home Away From Homeschooling

Team offers area homeschooled students a place to socialize, play competitive basketball

February 10, 2008

By John Sahly jsahly@scn1.com

R.J. Hallebach is at it again.

The senior guard and on-court general of the Crossroads Crusaders, a basketball team composed of homeschooled kids from the far-west suburbs, can’t be stopped on this cold December night at host Hinsdale Academy.

The Hickory High-like gym with its bouncy rims and musty smell is home to a thriller. Crossroads and Hinsdale are playing a back-and-forth game all the way to the wire and answering each other basket for basket. The game goes into overtime, and that’s where Hallebach takes over.

The 5-foot-11 senior calls his own number and drives to the lane on consecutive possessions, scoring each time to put the game out of reach.

With a defender grabbing at his arm — no foul called because there’s only one referee — Hallebach powers his way through traffic one last time to score two of his 16 points.

Minutes later, Hallebach runs toward the bench and lets out a primal, joyous scream while he and his teammates celebrate another victory.

“They aren’t all this intense,” Hallebach, who is homeschooled by his mother Tracey, says after the game. “But they are all this competitive. That was fun.”

It’s the type of scene any high school basketball fan can find in any gym on any Friday night. It’s the type of scene that, three years ago, Hallebach thought he might miss.

As a freshman, R.J. and Tracey went to Kaneland High School before the season to find out what he needed to do in order to play there. If they meet certain conditions, the IHSA allows homeschooled players to complete for schools in their home district, and Kaneland was helpful with R.J.’s effort. Hallebach registered and quickly got bumped up to the sophomore team after tryouts.

But it didn’t work out. Halfway through the season, technical problems arose with R.J.’s home-school curriculum, making him ineligible and ending his season. Largely because of a couple of uncomfortable incidents during that freshman season — for example, another Kaneland mother once yelled “I hope your kid is getting as much homework as mine,” at Tracey during a game in which R.J. was getting significant playing time — Hallebach decided not to return to Kaneland again as a sophomore.

R.J. tried a couple other outlets, but never found the competitive environment he desired.

Until his best friend, Paul Wood, introduced him to Crossroads.

“I was thrilled to get the chance to play with him and the guys and for Crossroads,” R.J. said.

Becoming a real team

Fifteen years ago, Doug Pierson, now the executive director at Crossroads, noticed a lot of homeschooled kids coming to the church’s gym for physical education. Some of the parents asked Pierson if he would start an organized P.E. class, and he obliged. Two years later, that class evolved into a junior high basketball team composed of home schooled kids, giving them an opportunity to play organized basketball they wouldn’t otherwise have.

The Crossroads Crusaders were born.

“I remember we went out there and we were terrible,” Pierson said of the team’s first game. “But the kids seemed to enjoy it.”

For some, it took a little warming up. After all, most of the new teammates had spent little or no time together off the court.

Paul Wood, now a senior, remembers being nervous before his first practice in sixth-grade.

“It’s just what everybody goes through with any new experience I think,” said Wood, now 17 and on the Crossroads varsity team.

There wasn’t much talking during that first practice. Things were a little awkward, and that was to be expected. But that soon changed. Like any other team with decent chemistry, Wood got along with his teammates and became friends with them.

“It was really easy to find common ground with the other guys,” Wood said. “They’re all really easy-going.”

Crossroads serves as a social outlet for home-schooled kids. It has teen nights, Bible studies and movie nights. Many of the players on Crossroads participate in the Thursday night youth group.

Talking about religion through that youth group and other outlets is just one part of their daily routine. Hallebach’s day, for example, begins just like any other high-school senior. He gets up around 7 a.m. and school starts at 8 with Bible time. After that, Tracey will go into subjects with him and his younger brother. Lunch runs from noon to 1 p.m. and school normally gets done around 3:30.

And like any other senior, by the time school ends, Hallebach is itching to spend time with his friends — in this case, playing basketball.

“I’m ready to go, by then,” he said.

Friendships forged

The home-school route for athletics isn’t the easiest, but a yearly trip to Oklahoma City almost makes the whole Crossroads experience worth it.

Every year the Crusaders go south to the Home School National Tournament in Oklahoma City. It’s a massive tournament; roughly 10,000 people come to watch and play. The Crossroads program usually sends all of its teams, and they all congregate at one hotel.

The beauty of this tournament is the camaraderie among teams. Despite the running-around required by each squad to make its six games in one of 40 different gyms (churches, high schools, recreation centers and more), the parents and players make an effort to watch other Crossroads teams play. That close relationship developed among the parents was something Tracey Hallebach didn’t experience when her son was at Kaneland.

“I think the hardest part (of R.J.’s Kaneland experience) was that we grew up with a lot of the families,” Hallebach said. “And yet, because we pulled our son out of the system, there was a lot of feeling like they didn’t know us anymore.”

The Hallebach’s have had nothing but great things to say about the Crossroads program and rave about the Oklahoma City trip. At the end of each day at the national tournament, the entire program takes a timeout from basketball for prayer and reflection as a team. It’s a group that usually includes eight teams and their families, exhausted from a day of basketball, coming together over the day’s events and a religious discussion.

“When I first came to Crossroads, I didn’t really know what it was about,” Crossroads coach David Finnestad said. “I know bonding is a term we use a lot, but this tournament really draws people together.”

That yearly trip to Oklahoma City is one of the main selling points for Finnestad when he talks with prospective players and their families. And it’s one of the things that impressed the Hallebachs the most about the program.

“I had not come across anything like that for kids,” Scott Hallebach said. “At first I was like ‘Oklahoma City? I don’t know about that.’ But it’s such a great experience to go to the younger kids’ games and give them a good size cheering section.

And some of these kids are really good, too.”

These kids can play

There are plenty of home-schooled athletes who have enjoyed success on the professional and amateur level (see box 2). The most famous is probably Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who became the first home-schooled athlete to win the Heisman Trophy.

“That’s really cool,” Tebow told reporters at the post-awards news conference. “A lot of times people have this stereotype of homeschoolers as not very athletic: It’s like go win a spelling bee or something like that. It’s an honor for me to be the first one to do that.”

And while no one will confuse any of the Crossroads players with Tebow, the Crusaders are a good team. They work hard. They take pride in their game. They want to be the best. In short, they’re just like most public or private high school teams.

At practice last month at the Sugar Grove Community House, coach David Finnestad was drilling defense for the starters while the bench players ran the newly installed offense called “Aztec.”

The team struggled with the nuances on both ends of the floor, so Finnestad stopped practice.

“I keep telling you this,” Finnestad said. “The best man looks like a zone and the best zone looks like a man-to-man.”

The starters slowly grasped the concept, and begin to pick off passes with regularity.

The hard work has paid off.

Entering this weekend’s home school regionals in Cincinnati, the Crusaders are 17-5, which is better than anyone thought after the team lost three of its best players to graduation. Crossroads won the Christian Liberty Tournament in Arlington Heights, the Calumet Tournament (by winning four games in 24 hours), and finished second at the North Love Tournament in Rockford.

Until this season, when the IHSA changed its rules so member schools can no longer play nonmember and nonapproved schools, Crossroads regularly played the likes of Oswego East, Plano and Indian Creek on either the varsity or junior varsity levels.

“They can play hard,” said Oswego East Coach Jason Buckley. “The kids are just really out there to just enjoy the game and have an opportunity to play. I do remember their kids playing extremely hard.”

That’s partly because Finnestad, who has two boys, Jeremiah and Jacob, on the varsity, is a good coach. He has given the Crusaders legitimacy.

He graduated from Oswego, where he finished fourth in the 1975 IHSA state cross-country meet. He later coached basketball at the lower levels at Dwight High School from 1990-95.

“He’s definitely a good coach,” said wing Joel Carlson. “He knows what he’s talking about.”

Finnestad’s experience in basketball has also allowed him to promote a program that few people in the area have heard about. The Finnestad’s learned of Crossroads in church. Carlson heard about it when his parents took him to Crossroads Christian Youth Center in Big Rock for physical education. Hallebach heard about it from Wood.

“A lot of home school families are independent,” Pierson said. “They don’t know we’re out there.”

But the program is growing: It’s up to nine teams this year in basketball and Finnestad is a big part of it. He almost wasn’t, though.

Finnestad almost put his children in public schools when they were small because of his belief that organized sports can positively affect a child’s growth and development. Because of the family’s lack of faith in the public school system, though, they chose the home school route.

They’re not the only ones who feel that way. Tracey Hallebach homeschools both of her sons, including R.J., because “it’s one of those things that as a parent you get to take responsibility a little bit more of your child,” she said. “You get a little bit of the authority back.”

Hallebach works hard to give her children as many activities and social outlets as possible. That’s where Crossroads helps.

“We love it,” Hallebach said. “Most importantly the kids seem to love it.”



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