Homeschool Hockey Skills Class 2014 Fall Season

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Published: 09/11/2014
The Home School Hockey Skills Class is now available for registration on-line at and at the Guest Services desk at the Prince William Ice Center.  This class is meant to be a fun PE style class where participants learn both hockey skills and skating skills.
Our new Head Coach, Andy Newton will conduct our classes this year.  Coach Andy brings a wealth of unique coaching experience that will be a huge asset for your hockey player.  Coach Andy has coached players of all ages and is currently the head coach for the Potomac Patriots Junior Elite Team.  He has taken teams to National Championship Tournaments and has the experience to develop both our Home School Hockey Program and your hockey player to better meet their potential.  In addition to his coaching skills, Andy also brings the opportunity to introduce a variety of guest coaches to your player, offering a more individualized coaching opportunity.
Age:  The average age is 5-13; however, it is open to all ages.  The only requirement is that the child will stay with the group and follow instructions.  In the past we have had beginners and advanced skaters in the class.  Also, this class is for both boys and girls.
The class will run for 8 weeks on Wednesday from Sept 10 – Oct 29 at 10:30 to 11:30.
There will also be an 8-week class on Tuesdays also from Oct 7 – Nov 25 at 10:20 to 11:20.
Price: $168.00 for the 8 classes.  They will pro-rate for 1 missed class if you let them know at the time of registration.
Homeschool Class Bonus:  Free Stick-N-Shoot after class (a $120 value).
Directly following class, players can stay and practice during the Stick-N-Shoot session or Public Session for free.  The free Stick-N-Shoot and the Public Session is for the same day only and it cannot roll over to the other sessions or days if they are not able to use it then. Rink management just asks that players sign-in the child will stay with the group and follow instructions.  In the past we have had beginners and advanced skaters in the class.  Also, this class is for both boys and girls.
The class will run for 8 weeks on Wednesday from Sept 10 – Oct 29 at 10:30 to 11:30.
There will also be an 8-week class on Tuesdays also from Oct 7 – Nov 25 at 10:20 to 11:20.
Price: $168.00 for the 8 classes.  They will pro-rate for 1 missed class if you let them know at the time of registration.
Homeschool Class Bonus:  Free Stick-N-Shoot after class (a $120 value).
Directly following class, players can stay and practice during the Stick-N-Shoot session or Public Session for free.  The free Stick-N-Shoot and the Public Session is for the same day only and it cannot roll over to the other sessions or days if they are not able to use it then. Rink management just asks that players sign-in in the book at the front desk and write lesson pass on the page and indicate if they have private lessons (as usual). 
Rental gear is available through the pro-shop at the rink.  If you don't have your own gear, I recommend going into the pro-shop to be fitted for gear on a day before lessons start.  In the end it costs $20 to rent the gear for the entire 8-week class session.  They require a $70 deposit when you receive the gear and then they refund $50 back to when you return the gear at the end of the entire 8 class session.

Prince William Ice Arena
5180 Dale Blvd.
Woodbridge, VA 22193
Phone: 703-730-8423

Homeschool Info Session Recap

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Published: 04/25/2014
I am so thankful for the wonderful ladies and gentleman who sat on our homeschool panel! I obviously should've planned for more time since the librarians at Chinn were not-so-gently telling us that we didn't have to go home, but we couldn't stay THERE at closing time! Thank you also to all of you that came out! I hope that the info session was helpful.  Here's what I have for you.

1) If you want to homeschool, you have to submit a Notice of Intent to Prince William County by August 15th.  This is NOT a dissertation, just a very basic list of subjects you will teach and how you are filing. You can find all the county information on homeschooling HERE.

2) You can do this.  Nobody loves your kids more than you. Know why you're doing it, how you are doing it, and then just do it.  Go team. #Awesome.  Sparkles, Unicorns, etc.

3) Some days will suck.  Hard.  Keep going.  You can do this.

4) Co-ops are awesome, or, you don't need a co-op.  Your choice.

5) Some co-ops include:
Homeschool Melting Pot
Woodbridge Eclectic Homeschool Co-op navygirlsunshine(at)yahoo(dot)com
Several others are closed, but if you'd like to add yours just email me!

Then I polled the audience!!

1) What's your favorite curriculum?
Right Start Math
Teaching Textbooks- Math
Singapore Math
Math on Level
Peace Hill Press Language Arts
Easy Grammar
Explode the Code
Handwriting Without Tears
Prarie Primer
Brave Writer
Reading Eggs (Online)
Tapestry of Grace
Spectrum Workbooks
Story of the World
Getting Started With Latin
Answers in Genesis (with stars around it)
(I can tell you right now I both love and hate several of these! The beauty is that you can pick what you like!!)

2) What's your favorite Group? (Online or Real)
Homeschool Melting Pot (Facebook)
VA Eclectic Homeschoolers (Yahoo)
NOVA Unschoolers (Yahoo)
Classical Conversations (which I personally only recommend on a director-by-director basis)
The Well Trained Mind Online Group
VA Homeschoolers
Woodbridge Eclectic Homeschool Coop

3) Favorite Homeschool Classes
Homeschool PE at the Freedom Center
Woodbrdige Eclectic Homeschool Coop
Homeschool Soccer at Courage Sports Woodbridge
Homeschool Band
Homeschool Theatre
Mr. Dunn's HS Interactive Computer Classes
Cub Scout Pack 1189
Edgemoor Art Studio
Homeschool Swimming at Chinn

4) What's your favorite "Have To Share"?
*Know WHY you have chosen to homeschool
*RELAX and enjoy the ride!
*Do NOT try to recreate the classroom at home!
*Get outside! More field trips!
*Know why you homeschool.  Enjoy it! Be flexible.
*Use the library as much as possible
*USED curriculum!
*It's not as complicated as you think it is.
*, the dollar store is great and everything is a buck!
*Keep Breathing :)
*Enjoy the time you are spending with your children because it'll fly before you know it!
*Take it one day at a time!

I think that I'm going to schedule another meetup for homeschoolers and those considering for June- would you be interested? I'm thinking this would be a "featured homeschool parent" who would talk and take questions, and then some breakout groups for more one on one discussion and Q&A.  Let me know if you'd like to come and what you'd like to see discussed!

Sponsored Post: Hockey for Homeschoolers

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Published: 11/03/2013
Prince William Ice Center, 5180 Dale Blvd in Woodbridge, will be offering their HomeSchool Hockey Skills class again!  We had several friends that took advantage of this PE option last year, and had a great time!

This class is specifically designed to give home school children the opportunity to experience and learn the fundamentals of the game in a fun environment.  Rental gear is available- please arrive 45 minutes prior to the first lesson to be fitted for gear.

$147/7 Weeks, StickNShoot following the class is included in the fee (Stick and Shoot is typically $15, so that's a $105 value right there!)

Wednesdays, November 6-December 18
Classes 11/6 and 12/4 will be 10-11am

Not a homeschooler? No worries! Prince William Ice Center has various classes for kids who'd like to skate or play hockey on weeknights and weekends, too!

Guest Post: Last-Minute Back to School Shopping

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Published: 08/25/2012
Thanks to Laura Harders, AKA Beltway Bargain Mom, for following up with us on her input to about back to school shopping!

Back-to-School shopping can be stressful and expensive, and perhaps you've been putting it off to the last possible moment. Whether you've been dreading *or delighting* in the back-to-school frenzy, I want to encourage you not to panic! Here in Prince William County, the public schools start back up the day after Labor Day, so you still have some time to get in gear for the school year. In case you need to do some shopping still or want to donate supply items on-the-cheap to local charities or organizations like Operation Christmas Child, I'm here to help! Here are my top 7 savings tips to help you with your last-minute back-to-school shopping:
  1. Shop in your house first.If your child has supplies from last year that are still good this year, like scissors, colored pencils, highlighters, ruler, calculator, etc, you don't need to buy new ones. Check your supply closet or craft drawer for items you already have.
  2. Stick to your list.Check your school's website for your supply list by grade, so you know the exact supplies you need. After you "shop" in your house, then make a list of the items you need to buy.
  3. Shop the sales.There are still some great deals to be had! The office supply stores have many 1-cent deals or 50%+ deals on back-to-school supplies. Take advantage of these sales and stock up.
  4. Use Coupons.You'll find many school supply coupons in your Sunday paper as well as printable coupons online. Also, some stores accept competitor coupons as well.
  5. Drug Stores & Office Supply Stores.Check out the drug stores & office supply stores for deals. Look at the weekly circulars for extreme deals such as Staples 1-cent Extreme Deals, and free-after-rebate items. You may not think of the drug store or office supply stores as your center for back-to-school deals, but they have quite a few!
  6. Price match.Take advantage of stores that price match, such as Office Depot, Staples, Target and Walmart. If a hot sale item is out-of-stock at a store and they don't offer a rain check, you can take your store ad/circular to a competitor that price matches to get the same deal. Price-matching can also help you save time, by combining shopping trips into 1 stop at a single store for that week's sale items.
  7. Go plain.If your child is intent on buying name brand or "official" rockstar/sports team/super hero branded gear, encourage them to buy a plain/generic item and decorate. You can buy stickers, patches and other DIY items on the cheap at your local craft store to help give notebooks, binders, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. a personal touch.
Credit: Amber Seat Photography

Laura Harders lives in Prince William County and is a native Northern Virginian who loves to share ways to save. She runs the blog and teaches local Savings Nation coupon workshops. You can find Laura sharing tips & being social on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Reviews: Potomac Overlook Park

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Published: 07/31/2012
I have mommy brain.  My mommy brain syndrome (MBS) is augmented by my technology dependence syndrome (TDS, or, in my case iTDS).  Example?  We showed up for my daughter's dermatology appointment (a 45 minute drive in traffic because while I love PWC, I'm driving to the bets possible doctor our insurance will semi-pay for) only to sit for 30 minutes before the semi-rude receptionist reminded me that I cancelled this appointment when I made an earlier one for before we left for the beach.

My MBS apparently prevented me from removing that from my iCal, so when my iAlarm went off, iGotIntheCar and iDrove to the appointment.  Hence the iTDS kicker.

Being that I am also spontaneous, and had skipped swim team practice, we opted to iMap our way over to Potomac Overlook Regional Park and check out what it had to offer before doing the same thing back down i66, err, I-66, to head to a library event back down in our neck of the woods.

Potomac Overlook is located at 2845 North Marcey Road, Arlington, Virginia.  It is absolutely gorgeous for hiking, as well as having a beautiful nature center, concerts, a solar-powered outdoor stage, roving naturalists, community gardens, and canoe trips. 

We've been to Potomac Overlook once before, and we enjoyed the well-shaded hiking, especially since with water shoes on we could enjoy keeping our feet cool in the creek/river that flows through the park.  Throwback photo evidence:

Okay, so they didn't like their water shoes.  I admit, I am that horrible parent that lets my children experience the world barefoot whenever they want and my husband isn't yelling.  I don't like shoes, either, so I get it.
 In this picture my kids are 15 months, 3, and 5.  I'm wearing sporting an awesome blue Moby Wrap.  If you don't have a Moby Wrap and you have a baby or are about to have a 2nd (3rd, 4th, 5th) baby, you should stop reading this NOW and go buy one.  I'll wait. No, they're not paying me, either.
I am also that mom that lets her kid swim in the deep pool he finds.  It was warm that day.  He had an amazing time and the water was clear so that you could see straight to the bottom.  I realize this doens't mean it was clean, but it looked like it, so there.

This time, however, we never made it that far since by the time we arrived it was already 108 degrees outside.  Walking from the parking lot to the nature center, we noticed there is a fun hike with signs for each planet placed at representative distances along the path.  They include fun facts like how much a person of a certain weight (I want to say it was 100 pounds) would weigh on each planet.  On your left hand side, you'll also see the solar-powered outdoor theatre as well as an eletctric car filling station.  Trees and rocks along this main path are also labeled for your viewing pleasure. 

By the time we arrived at the nature center, my middle child informed me that he was dying, and I informed him that the nature center is air conditioned, at which point he summoned the will power to go on the three steps to the door.  It was magical.

By the way, now that my kids are 4, 6, and 8, their lives exist soley on my iphone because I'm not good enough to carry a camera, so I hope that you enjoyed the nice, clear pictures above because now we're switching back to my typical low-quality cell phone pictures.

The nature center includes a fun mix of energy saving information along with a living bee colony, live turtles, frogs and snakes, as well as some stuffed local species, skulls, and skeletons and fossils to look at.  The upper level is mostly non-living, although there is a turtle and two snakes, and the lower level is mostly snakes and frogs, along with a children's cave area, which was fun to hang around in for a few minutes even if it wasn't very large.
 The children's area included boards to make your own "cave drawings" sounds of a cave on a phone, and space to sit and read books or play with toys.  It'd be a good place to cool off and calm down on a hot day.
 There's also a lower-level educational room, which was completely devoid of people on the day we went, but looked like it must be used for field trips and scout groups.  There were some fish in the tank as well as stuffed bird and small mammal species. 
Ooooh, something stuffed.  Fun.  My kids love anything about animals, so they thought this nature center was fantastic.  It's definitely small enough that you can do it in a morning and still have time for a hike, even if you read everything in the nature center, but I enjoy that about it.

It was after this picture that my phone died.  It was sad.  So, not pictured are the community garden, Indian-themed circular garden, or the live birds of prey that are a short walk across from the nature center.  These are previously injured owls and hawks that cannot be returned to the wild due to the extent of their inuries, and you do get a very close look at them.  The owls were especially beautiful, and, as a bonus, I found a 4 foot black snake on the trail on the way up! How fantastic!

Fine, I freaked out.  But the boys thought it was amazing.

This is a great local field trip, and we enjoyed both of our visits.  Check out Potomac Overlook Regional Park for your next hike or nature event!

Potomac Overlook Regional Park
Recommended for: Any age, really.  Lots of walking, but getting to/from the nature center is stroller-friendly.  There is a long hill that is not particularly handicap-accessible, I would talk to the park rangers about the possibility of being allowed to drive to the center itself if that's an issue for your.  Older children will enjoy the various themed areas and hiking.

Pros: Free! Lots of different interests addressed.  Live and stuffed animal species, lots of labeled plants and rocks with information on species.

Cons: Nature center is somewhat small, parking is removed from areas of interest.

Meet Hallabolou

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Published: 07/18/2012

Hallabolou is a full service Children’s Enrichment and Event Company.  I first met their owner, Vanessa, at the Chick-Fil-A Fire and Rescue Fest.  I instantly decided that I needed to know the woman with the purple apron and approximately 75 pounds of Legos.  Bright, enthusiastic, and passionate about engaging and enriching children's lives, Vanessa instantly won me over on Hallabolou (a secret message saying hello to her children) and her work there.  Read more about them below, and be sure to check them out on Facebook and their Website, too! They offer classes, after school enrichment, camps, and more!

From the owner:
Our enrichment programs and camps are dedicated to creating an atmosphere that fosters each child’s feeling of autonomy and positive self-image.  From a young age, children are fascinated with the world around them.  Hallabolou uses this fascination to teach life skills and assist children in understanding and expressing their emotions through a creative technique known as the Five Points of Discovery. These points are Imagination, Determination, Commitment, Self-Confidence and Cooperation. Through our offerings of bRiK Programs or Learning Levels we teach STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We enrich their experiences by also providing a Dance and Movement program, Educational Cooking for Kids, Theater and Art.

Help for Homeschoolers

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Published: 05/07/2012
In the past few weeks I've had a few reader questions about homeschool resource groups/homeschooling in general/homeschool curriculum.  I'm not an expert, but I'm sharing what I know.  If you are someone that finds homeschooling offensive or dumb, you're welcome to stop reading 3 sentences ago :) For those of you that would like this information, please continue on.  

This year I became one of "those crazy homeschool people".  Yup, that's me.  "Kristina That Crazy Homeschool Person".  It's on my business cards.

In the process, I learned that a great deal of whether or not you succeed has to do with both your personal commitment to excellence, whatever your definition of excellence may be, and your successful implementation of a support system.  

Without boring you with too many details we are primarily a classical-model homeschool family, although we do use a more worksheet-based math program (Singapore).  If you'd like to hear more about how we homeschool (and please note that I'm not expert, it's only been 1 year!), or why we homeschool, I'm happy to share those details with you via email.

That being said, no matter your approach, there is a group of people out there that want to help you succeed and your child thrive.

I.  Prince William County Public Schools
I actually cannot comment on whether they care if you succeed or not, but I can tell you that they need to be your first stop.  PWC requires you to fill out an "Intent to Homeschool" form.  This is NOT A MASTER'S THESIS or a senior dissertation.  They just want to know how you're filing (parental ability, correspondence program, religious exemption, medical necessity, whatever) and what curriculum you'll be using.  You don't need to submit a lesson plan, a manifesto on why you're homeschooling, or copies of your textbooks.  You will need to provide proof of progress, and re-file each year.  Additionally, you should know that middle and high-school students are permitted to partially enroll in up to two classes, and that partially-enrolled students who meet all other requirements may participate in after school activities and sports, excluding VHSL sports, but including Varsity Club.  

Both of these groups offer support, information, and advocacy.  HSLDA is a great resource if you run into resistance, or are interested in increasing homeschool access to tax-provided resources. I did not need to use my HSLDA membership this year, but had a friend who was very happy to have it in dealing with a particular issue. 

III. Homeschool Groups, Christian
You don't need to be religious to homeschool, but I know that many people are.  I'm breaking it down, therefore, by groups that you may want to include or disclude yourself from depending on your family situation.
**Classical Conversations is both a curriculum and a highly-developed and dependable co-op with paid directors and trained tutors.  It's international, so if you move frequently, this may be a good option as the entire CC world is doing the same thing at the same time, so moving families can just plop in right where they left off.  Fees vary by campus.  There are several campuses in our area and the range from 4's-High School.
**FISHE offers soccer, testing, monthly meetings and more.  It is inter-denominational. 
**LDS Homeschoolers serves greater NOVA homeschoolers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 
**REACH is Christian-led but open to anyone, and focuses on field trips and conferences. 
**WHEAT offers classes, testing, field trips, coops and parent support.  

IV.  Homeschool Groups, Religious, Non-Christian
**Heathen Homeschoolers, primarily for those that identify as Pagan, Agnostic, UU, but atheists and agnostics, and label-defyers are welcome, too. 
**Online support groups are available for everything from Adventist-Zoroastrian (okay, maybe not Zoroastrian, but I needed a Z!) on the VA Homeschool Website

V. Homeschool Groups, Secular, Humanist and/or Atheist
**VA Eclectic Homeschoolers' only rule is there is nothing political or religious allowed, but anyone may join and there is no particular method or ideology required of members. 
**VA Homeschool Resources is open to people of any background, and provides information about the entire state of Virginia and resources for various groups. 
**VA Homeschool Atheists is open to any atheist, agnostic, or secular humanist homeschoolers. 
**VA Gifted Homeschoolers is secular and inclusive for parents homeschooling gifted children in the DC Metro area
**NOVA TAG is a secular group for parents homeschooling "Talendted and Gifted" children.
**Quantico to Fredericksburg Homeschoolers is a secular group for families with at least one child over age 6.  Younger siblings are welcome, but this is NOT a preschool playgroup. 

VI.  Homeschool Sports Leagues

This is by no means an exhaustive list!! Hopefully, though, there are enough groups on here to get you started!  If you're a new homeschooler, my best advice is to read and figure out who your family is and what approach you're taking before you get involved in any groups so that you are staying true to your mission, and not being swayed by more experienced homeschoolers who can make any method sound perfect, which it may be for their family, but may not be for yours!  Also, don't over-book yourself! In our area it can be easy to take a field trip every day, but try to start with one group and see if it's meeting your needs before you move on. Or don't, I could be wrong.

Have additional group or ideas? Leave a comment below.  

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