Inspire Insider

Bringing families together, one newsletter at a time!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Quote of the Week

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School News and Important Dates

Learning Period 4 Ends This Week

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Celebrate 100 Days of School

Join us for this fun celebration of 100 days of homeschooling! Sign up now here.
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Don't Miss Our Vendor Fair!

Mark your calendars for our next Vendor Fair! Full details here.
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Last Chance to Sign Sign Up for Kindness Day Events!

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Parents' Night Out

Join us for an evening of coffee and conversation!
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Inspiring Parents

Parents learned a bit during last Wednesday’s Inspiring Parents webcast which asked the questions: Am I Doing Enough? Am I Doing This Right?. The session was recorded. It helps a lot if you click on the link below which automatically collects your email into a spreadsheet which makes it easier to respond to the hundreds of requests for the link to the webcast recording and resources.

Inspiring Parents meets the first Wednesday of each month from 1-2 where homeschooling parents can learn tips to grow their teaching toolkit. On February 5, we focus on writing.

Field Trip Tip

It can be difficult to remember the dates and times of field trips we've booked, but you can find all the details on Inspiration Station by following these steps:

1. Log in to and you will see “Hi (your name)” on the top right, with a little drop down arrow next to it. *Tip: if you're on your phone, just turn it horizontally and this will show.

2. Press the arrow and it will offer the option of viewing “My Account.”

3. Click on "My Account" and it will list all of the field trips you have signed up for. This includes all the links to the pages where you signed up, so you can find the lead teacher's name, email address and phone number!

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An Important Message About Field Trips

In an effort to give all families a fair booking opportunity, Orange County HST led public field trips that are listed in the Inspire Insider will now open for booking on Inspiration Station every Wednesday morning at 8am.

Inspire Planners Feedback

It may feel too soon, but Inspire is already planning their 2020-2021 school planners and we'd love to hear your thoughts on what you thought of this year's planners!

If you missed the Bravewriter webcast

Julie Bogart, creator of BraveWriter shared techniques for how to incorporate writing across the curriculum and ways to make it fun.

If you missed the live webcast, click on this link to add your email address and receive Writing Across the Curriculum, Writer's Jungle and High School Writing Help, as well as the Brave Learner Companion Guide.

Parent Testing Resources Website

The Parent Testing Resources website is complete and ready for you to check out! Here you can find information about the assessments that Inspire offers to its students. Inspire hopes to partner with parents to help students be as successful as possible. We hope you find the resources on this website helpful to increase your understanding of the assessments we give and empower you to prepare your child as they come upon these tests during their educational career.

Academic Video Library

Did you know you have access to Inspire's academic video library? These videos are available to support students in reading, math, and speech and can be accessed through the EOS!

Instructions to access Academic Video Library can be found here.

Orange County History Day - Natural History Day

Each year NHD frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for its broad application to world, national or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. The theme for 2020 is Breaking Barriers in History. The theme provides a focused way to increase students’ historical understanding and an opportunity to develop perspective and understanding rather than merely being able to cite facts and figures. Through participation in this program, students in grades 4-12 become amateur historians on their journey to discover the significance of their chosen historical topic.

To learn more about this unique opportunity, please visit

If your child is interested in participating in this year's contest, please contact Chuck Glowacz:

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California Homeschool Parent Association

Join The Heart of Homeschooling Parent Education Program this month to LEARN about the history of education and homeschooling. We will also explore the history of charter schools & look at how educational decisions & cultural changes have influenced your family choices today. Every month we have a webinar and group discussions covering an essential Homeschooling topic. Also, every Tuesday we spotlight a Healthy Homeschooling Habit to discuss and investigate on our Facebook Group. Check out our website HERE to learn more. Scroll to the bottom to join the program.

Click here to view the Statewide Executive Board New Officers!

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Field Trips and Events

Click on the flyer to view the event!

All new field trips open on Wednesdays at 8am for ticket bookings.

Community Connections: park days, high school hangouts and more!

Below is the newsletter for January and the new one for February. We’re looking forward to seeing you as we continue to build relationships within our community. Please RSVP in the Field Trip and Events website.

January OC Community Connections Newsletter

February OC Community Connections Newsletter

We would like to ask that if you are unable to attend an event that you have RSVP’d for, please cancel your ticket and let the coordinator for that location know. It helps with supplies and planning. Thank you!

If you need any assistance, please reach out to the CC in that area or to our Regional Community Coordinator, Gina Garland:

Educational Tools

Sassafras Science

The Sassafras Science Adventures series is designed to work with a variety of ages. This is possible because:

  • The novels are on a 5th-grade reading level, so a middle school student can read it on his or her own. Alternatively, the whole family can listen to the novel as a read-aloud.
  • The activity guide provides you with suggestions for older (middle school) and younger (elementary) students, so it will help you as a teacher pull out the key concepts and provide you with options to enhance what the students are learning.
  • The logbook is very open-ended so that you can tailor the program to the individual student's needs. We also offer a lapbook as another option for recording what your student is learning.

The series offers multiple options so that you can provide a quality living books education in the sciences for a range of students.

The following articles will help you see how you can use living books to teach science to the different age groups:

When you use the series as your main science curriculum, you will:

  1. Read a chapter in the adventure-style fictional novel each week.
  2. Then, you will choose one or more activities from the activity guide or lapbooking guide to enhance what the students have learned from the novel.
  3. The students will record what they have learned in their own SCIDAT logbook or lapbook.

The novel and supplemental materials work together to create a full homeschool science curriculum. Check out this post for more information.

You can read the Sassafras Science Adventure novels at whatever pace you choose. That said, each book is 18 chapters long. So, if complete a chapter and the corresponding activities per week, you will need two books for a full school year.

You can purchase all five audiobooks here for $75. Charter funds may be used.

Homeschooling Advice

Literature-based Learning vs. Online Lessons for Elementary School

How much technology should be part of a child’s elementary homeschool curriculum? New homeschoolers wrestle with this question quite a bit. Even experienced homeschoolers weigh the pros and cons year by year as they choose new curriculum.

  • Should you opt for online classes and digital learning programs?

  • Or should you stick with physical books?

Should you turn the teaching over to a sophisticated software, or should you sit with your kids and direct their learning yourself? Sometimes an online approach seems more modern, more measurable, and far more convenient since the parent doesn’t have to invest as much time.

Kids love playing with smartphones and tablets, so it seems natural to make the most of that fascination when it comes to homeschool, right? Apps and games claim to teach preschoolers a wide variety of necessary skills: the alphabet, phonics, colors, numeracy, etc. There are subscription-based, online programs that offer to take the teaching off your hands and guide your children through all the skills they need in an orderly sequence. But for my elementary learners, I choose literature-based learning as the foundation of our homeschool instead of mostly digital options. Before handing the tablet to your preschooler or putting your grade schooler in front of a computer screen, consider these pros and cons.

Read the rest of the article here.

Local Events

Junior Ranger Day at the Bay

Come earn your Junior Ranger Badge and Certificate at Upper Newport Bay. Participants will go on a guided hike, complete a short service project, and take the junior ranger oath. Activities will be designed for learners in the 9-12 age range, but everyone is welcome.

Minors aged 16 and younger must have legal guardian present at all times. Rain will cancel the event.

When: January 26, 2020

Where: Peter and Mary Muth Interpretative Center, Newport Beach

Registration required here. For more information call (949) 923-2250 or email

Festival of Human Abilities

Celebrate the Creative Spirit of People with Disabilities

Join the Aquarium of the Pacific for its seventeenth annual Festival of Human Abilities, a celebration highlighting the creative talents and abilities of people with disabilities.

This event will feature wheelchair dance, live music, sign language choirs, art demonstrations, and accessible SCUBA diving demonstrations. Participate in free classes led by people who have disabilities. Sign language interpreters will be present at all major shows, and an audio tour and a visitor guide in Braille are available for those who are blind.

When: January 25, 2020 – January 26, 2020

Where: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach

Cost: Included with general admission to guests. Free to Aquarium members; 20% off for their guests.

Full details here.

The Revolution - Living History in Huntington Beach Central Park

"The British are coming! The Huntington Beach Historical Society is proud to host this reenactment of the American Revolution in Huntington Beach Central Park, behind the library, on the site of our annual Civil War Days reenactment. Come experience the founding of our nation with some of the country's finest living history presenters. As always these events are absolutely free to the public."

When: February 15th & 16th, 2020

Where: Huntington Beach Central Park

Cost: Free!

Find more details here.

Your Orange County Team

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Community and Connection

Facebook Page

Did you know we have an Orange County Facebook page? We have new parents in the group who would love to hear from you! We also advertise our field trips here, and upload the newsletter there every week.

Instagram Page

If you are on instagram, we'd love to hear from you! Join our page, learn about our upcoming events and field trips, and tag us in your homeschooling photos!

Orange County Parent Resource Site

Have you visited Inspire's Orange County Parent Resource Site yet? If not, head on over to meet our regional team, stay current on school events, and find general school information. This website is a great resource and one you'll want to bookmark!

Ladan Rashidi - OC Family Liaison

I have three children who are 2, 6 and 8 years old, and I was previously a high school math teacher. Four years ago, our family chose the path of homeschooling and we have enjoyed it ever since! I am passionate about helping families navigate their way on their exciting homeschooling journey, and connecting individuals to build a community!

Shaemanique King - OC Family Liaison

I am a mom of four children, ranging in ages from 8 years to 6 months, and have homeschooled for the past four years. I consider my homeschooling style to be “eclectic” as I draw from many sources and philosophies. I have a background in Project Management Support and enjoy planning and hosting activities and events. I look forward to interacting with and supporting homeschooling families!


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