Review: Yearly Membership

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Published: 01/07/2016
I know that not all of you homeschool, but I know that a lot of you come to me for advice about homeschooling, so this year I took advantage of an opportunity to work with the Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Review Crew to bring you guys some fresh ideas on making education work at your home.  If you don't homeschool, there's still tons of information available here that you could use to supplement what your child is getting at school, fill in a gap in their learning, or meet a need for an interest they have that isn't being met in the classroom. 

So, now that we all know what's going on here....

My first invitation was to review's Yearly Membership.  This amazing subscription service offers over 200 courses from preschool through 12th grade.  There are classes on everything from math to computers to Bible to foreign language.  There's nutrition and fitness, geography, science, and even art! Now, as far as value goes, I think it says it all with the foreign language.  If you're teaching foreign language at home, or if you need a little extra help for your student, you can't beat the price of simply based on their courses in languages! You can join for $12.95 a month, or you can join for $139 for the year.  A certain language course you can purchase that's named after a famous rock (ahem, not naming names) is $99 for one level!

What I was particularly excited about, though, was art.  When we lived in Woodbridge we took homeschool art classes, which were fantastic, although with three kids the costs definitely stacked up.  Now that we're in Manassas, art instruction all falls directly on my shoulders, and let me just tell you I stink at it.  I was never a particularly enthusiastic art student, and while I enjoy a good craft for me, I find making art with the kids to be stressful! I'm never sure how things will turn out, I don't really have great ideas, and I just haven't really been doing as well as I could have with them in this area.

SchoolhouseTeachers Review 2016
Courses are broken down for art by Elementary, Middle, and High School.  Everything is pre-recorded, so you can take lessons in any order, take a break, skip ahead, whatever works for you.  Since two of my kids are elementary and one is 6th grade, I decided we'd go ahead and try one of the Elementary options, which include South African Art Appreciation, Art Techniques, Elementary Art, and Everyday Easels.

We ended up going with Elementary Art, which offers an initial twelve unit lesson on Great Artists. These are very simple and easy art lessons that I can add into our day without a lot of fuss or struggle- which is important with our schedule! I love that they're really "grab and go" and designed to use what you already have.  Our Michelangelo unit, for example, gave us just a paragraph or so of background on the artist, samples of his work to look at, and a suggestion for an art project we could complete with materials that were already in our house! Brilliant.  I love that these can really be a "oh, we have time- let's do a quick art lesson".

Savannah is drawing on paper taped to the chair- we learned about Michelangelo and this was the suggested project to replicate drawing on ceilings- minus the scaffolding!
This was a big hit for me and my younger two, but my middle schooler was not impressed.  Too easy, he declared.

Riley loves oil pastels- that's a tomato and two peaches
Well, fine.  Since the subscription covers everything on the site, we'll just switch you to something else! For him, we ended up selecting "Art Techniques" which offers various 4 module lessons on different media.  Riley really likes chalk and oil pastels, so we decided to start there.  I like that these lessons are written to the student.  They tell them what materials they'll need, and they walk them through the procedure for what they are to do.  Oil pastels moved Riley from sketching the basic lines of a picture (day one) to a fully finished art work (day four).  Since he can read the lessons himself and use the teacher's examples for what he's supposed to have accomplished by the end of the lesson, this is really something he can do in his down time between lessons.
Next up, we are really excited to try the keyboarding and computer science options! I think that there is a bit of something for everyone on, and we're really looking forward to exploring it all as we have the opportunity! I think over the summer it will be really fun to let everyone pick their own unit of study for enrichment.  I am 100% positive my middle child will be taking Geology (there's 2 units!) and will be super excited about it! Review 2016
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Giveaway: DPGolf Academy

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Published: 09/03/2015
We're super excited about all of the great fall options at DPGolf Academy! They include after-school, family lessons, classes for adults, and even homeschool classes!

This week, DPGolf Academy is offering a super fun giveaway for our readers! Use the Rafflecopter to enter to win! 

One winner will be randomly selected to win either: One (1) Free 30-minute private golf lesson with Terry Collins OR a 50% off Coupon for After School or Home School class registration for your child.

So much fun! Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A reminder that by entering you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules. Good luck!

By Popular Demand- Our 2015/2016 School Choices

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Published: 08/21/2015
Because enough of you have asked what curriculum we're using this year that I've found myself keeping it up in a Word document so that I don't have to keep typing it, I'm going to put it here.  None of these are affiliate links, I don't get anything if you buy their stuff, I just don't want people emailing to ask me where to get them, so I'm saving a step :)

Singapore Math (for the 2 elementary students)
Teaching Textbooks (for the middle schooler)

Apologia Land Animals (I don't like this as much as I like the Apologia Chemistry and Physics we did last year, but I do like our science coop, so we're going to keep on keeping on)

History/Social Studies:
Sonlight American History Year 2
US States, Capitals, and major geological features

IEW at Harvester Teaching Services.  We get the books here and take the classes here.
My kids will (hopefully- one is wait listed) be in Ready, Set, Write, IEW 2, and Advanced IEW.
Grammar Revolution at Harvester- they use the Get Smart Grammar series. Spelling is taught in this class, as well.
My youngest is taking a reading class at Harvester, which includes spelling.  Our History curriculum includes both read aloud and co-curriculur reading books with it, so they mostly do those although we have a couple of "must reads" that go on our list, too.  Because of our literature rich history, they are allowed to pick generally anything they want for personal reading time each day as long as it's at or above their reading level.
We use Handwriting Without Tears and Typing Without Tears.  It is not always necessarily tear-free, but I like it.

Foreign Language:
We have a tutor who comes to our home and teaches us Arabic.  Surprisingly, this bothers a lot of people who want to know why we aren't learning Spanish.  I took 6 years of French and 3 years of Russian, which I loved.  I wanted to take a new language with my kids, and my interests were Chinese (because there are a lot of people who speak it!) and Arabic (because I have a degree in comparative religious studies with a lot of focus on Abrahamic traditions).  The Chinese tutor was $120 an hour.  The Arabic tutor was $40.  We are taking Arabic.

Physical Education:
We have a sport going at all times, in addition to daily movement of one type or another (bike rides, walks, swims, yoga).  This year we'll have one in gymnastics, one in swim, and one in hockey.

All three kids take lessons at Jessica's Music Studio.  Because I was a dumb choir student who never learned to really read music.  Also, because I am lazy.

My 2nd grader will be taking a class in Art, my 4th grader is taking cooking, and my 6th grader is opting to do a speed math class because he really wants to do Algebra in 7th grade.

What about socialization??
This question makes me ill.  But, in addition to going to coop, classes at Harvester, and you know, interacting with people on a daily basis, we have a kid in Scouts, a kid doing theatre, and a kid doing...well, everything because she can't nail it down to one thing.  Trust me, they see people.

What about testing??
Under Virginia law, there are several options for filing as a homeschooler and several options for showing proof of progress.  You can read about that here. We do Stanford Achievement Testing every year.

Homeschoolers: Free Social Skills Intro Session at In Step

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Published: 05/07/2015
Homeschoolers: Free Social Skills Intro Session at In Step

In Step is now offering Stepping Stones™ Social Skills training groups for our homeschool families…during the day! Work with like-minded families at a time that is convenient to your schedule, and without the stress of rush hour.

We know you have questions and so we’re holding a free information session and introductory group for kids and parents on May 16th at 11:30am in our Fairfax office.

Cathi Cohen LCSW, CGP, director of In Step and author of Raise Your Child’s Social IQ, will talk with the parents about the types of kids we see, the structure and treatment approaches employed in the group, and the kinds of results you can expect with practice and participation.

While the parents are in their group, the children will also be in a group with Carrie Field, LCSW, RPT and CC White LPC, two of our experienced, licensed child leaders introducing them to the basics of joining in. Just like Stepping Stones, both parents and kids meet at the same time, in separate groups.At the end of the session, our child leaders will come into the parent group to offer feedback and give parents some practical tools to work on at home.

This session is free and space is limited. Please click here to sign up.

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.  

A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... PWC Library - Summer Reading Program