Virtual ICHE Conference – FREE!

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3

ICHE is hosting an entirely online Family Conference instead of meeting at Olivet Nazarene University this May. This is a great opportunity because all this wealth of information and resources is available to us entirely free of charge.

WHEN: the weekend of May 28-31

The Cost – FREE!

A FANTASTIC resource for Mom!

For all the amazing moms out there – don’t forget to take care of yourself! Even with kids constantly at home and no gym to escape to, don’t despair. This amazing program will restore and heal your body, whether you are still having babies, delivered last week, or suddenly noticed you are twenty years post partum due to the inexplicably fast passage of time. You will find support and clinically proven methods to prepare, heal, and even move forward to strength and fitness beyond your pre-baby experience.

Preparing for College Entrance? Here’s a great opportunity for you!

Inspirica is donating 1000 ACT/SAT one-week classes, online (avoiding virus entirely)—no strings attached. Instruction will be live and on demand, with our most experienced tutors. With everything going on right now, the Founder and CEO of Inspirica, Lisa Jacobson, wants to contribute something positive to a community that has supported her and her business Inspirica Test Prep for the last 37 years. Please click HERE to request a discount code. Limited to the first 1000 families.

Stay safe and be well,
The Inspirica Team

Tax Tips for Homeschooling Families

Our own James Quandt wanted to share a few tricks he has up his sleeve that has saved his family $$ – he wants to pass those on to you!

Did you know you can take a tax credit for some of you home schooling and ODE costs?  It is viable on your Illinois state taxes, not on your federal tax return.  For the taxes most of us are working on currently, the 2019 state tax return due on 4/15/2020, the credit is for Line 16, called “Property tax and K-12 education expense credit amount from Schedule ICR.”
Follow the IL-1040 Instructions (found of course on the IL Dept. of Revenue website under Tax Forms), but the essence of the credit is: 1) You can get credit for things “significantly used up” in your teaching between 1/1/19 and 12/31/19 for your home schooled kids, including tuition (including that paid to ODE) and consumable books (workbooks in which students write), as well as PE tuition (ie, gymnastics classes, soccer instruction) to private gyms or organizations; 2) From the same website location, print or read Publication 119 and also Schedule ICR.(and Schedule ICR Instructions); 3) If you own your home, or in any other way take a property tax credit on your state taxes, Schedule ICR is already the form that you use; 4) You can only get a maximum of $750 from this, but that is pretty good! 5) Publication 119 states: “You will be allowed 25 percent of your student’s qualified education expenses after the first $250.”  After spending $250 on home school expenses during the year, you get 25 cents back for each dollar spent; 6) You need to send receipts for each expense you claim, and the receipts need certain information on them–check your receipts ahead of time, giving enough time to request the organization re-issue any receipts that lack the information (for instance, some receipts lack the issuer’s address).
We have probably gained a couple thousand dollars over the years from this credit.  More work, but more money!

*****Important Tax Update!!*******

THE DEADLINE TO FILE YOUR 2019 TAXES HAS BEEN EXTENDED FROM 4/15 to 7/15. This announcement was made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday, 3/20.

Short History Videos

One of our own ODE Dads, Professor Fulton, is a history professor and has created a series of videos which you might enjoy. His area of concentration is home front responses in time or war/crisis WWI through WWII (so yes very apt to what we are going through right now). The videos will primarily be both sections of American History Survey. In case there is an issue with the link you can also search Fulton History Moraine. There are 6 currently but more to come (20-30 in total). Enjoy!

Illinois requirements for a high school diploma

If you are wondering what exactly your child needs to satisfy the requirements of high school in our state of Illinois, Mrs. York has put together some links and a summary of exactly that. Please note this does not necessarily satisfy college entrance requirements.

In Illinois, the current high school graduation requirements are, for students starting high school in 2016 and later, available here:   Every homeschool parent should make sure they understand these requirements.
This is a very brief summary:
TOTAL: 16 Units of High School (with each unit being a year-long class. Partial-year classes can be added together.)
Math: 3 Years including Algebra 1 and some Geometry
English: 4 Years  (no content specified)
Writing: 2 Years of ‘Writing Intensive’ courses, one should be an English class and the other is open.
Science: 2 Years (no content specified)
Social Studies: 2 Years and one year must be US History with a semester of specified civics content/Constitution (IL and US) exam if not completed in middle school
Consumer Education: 9 Weeks (may be part of Economics or another course)
Health: 18 Weeks of Health Education
Electives: 1 Year of arts (foreign language, music, art, etc.)
Physical Education: 4 Years of some sort of daily physical education but this is not a graduation requirement but rather a requirement that every high school program offer this to all students.
SCED. This is a standardized way to code classes in high school transcripts. Using these codes is completely optional but may help colleges in understanding a student’s achievements. Here is the link to the current catalog of codes and how they are used:
Note from EBY – – The Excel file can be kind of confusing. There is a .PDF version that is a little older but still includes most (hundreds!!) of the codes and is searchable:

Wondering about taking an AP class?

Mrs. York shares some nuggets of wisdom about the pros and cons of an AP class for your homeschooler.

Advanced Placement classes and exams are an opportunity for homeschool students to demonstrate that they are ready for college-level work.

These high-school level classes are ‘weighed’ heavier on transcripts by colleges and universities because the curriculum is rigorous. In Illinois, most AP classes are considered ‘writing intensive’ and every high school student must take two writing-intensive courses to graduate.

Should the student want to take the corresponding AP Exam after studying all year, it costs about $100 each and is administered in May. These tests are long – usually around 3 hours.

A high score may equal credit at the college level and usually will allow a student to skip an introductory class and move to advanced one.

A low score does not hurt a student’s chances. It simply means the student gets the credit of the transcript for taking a rigorous high school course without getting the college level benefit on top of it.

Here are a couple of articles that talk more in depth about the pros/cons:

How does ap credit work at colleges?

HSLDA – The Benefits of AP® and CLEP Tests for College-Bound Teens