Welcome

Welcome to the Kalamazoo HEART website. Kalamazoo HEART (Homeschool Educators Are Resourceful Teachers) is a Christian homeschool group organizing a support network for homeschooling families in the greater Kalamazoo area including Calhoun, Kalamazoo and VanBuren Counties.

We offer family field trips, a fun enrichment co-op, mom’s days out, mom support group meetings and so much more!

Please join the discussion on our Facebook group pages for more information on our events and activities in your area:

Battle Creek HEART

Kalamazoo HEART

South Haven HEART

 

Simplifying Breakfast – Back to School

This summer we looked for ways to streamline our meal prep and cut down on the amount of time it takes to get each meal ready. As homeschoolers we are usually home during the day, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend most of the day in the kitchen. We focused this summer on simplifying breakfast.

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I first started by asking each of the family members what was their most favorite breakfasts and broke these up into groups of fruit, beverages, breads and such, misc. items and egg related items (see picture below). I followed this up by having each family member vote on things they liked from the list. I eliminated things from the list that did not have many votes, as well as things that were more processed (cereal) aiming to have more home prepared breakfast options.

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I wanted to make it easier to make a homemade, hot breakfast for my family. I purchased wide mouth mason jars to fill with homemade pancake/waffle mix, as well as a muffin mix. I found a recipe we liked for pancakes and waffles. 1 jar takes about 3 cups of the mix which doubles the recipe. I find this usually give us leftovers. I like this recipe because it is the same for pancakes and waffles. When you are ready to mix up pancakes I just add the wet ingredients to the bowl and one jar of my mix, stir up and make! I return the empty jar to my cupboard to replace later with more mix. I plan on washing them every few months, but since I am putting the same stuff in the jar I don’t feel I have to wash it every time. The recipe will make about 4 jars of pancake/waffle mix.

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My kids love to have Muffin Monday, but you can make them any day!  I love this muffin recipe and have used it for years. It is Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and this recipe is so flexible! I make 4 jars and start by layering my chocolate chips in the wide mouth mason jars, followed by the dry ingredients and sometimes I had chopped nuts (not much, just a couple of Tablespoons because the jar will be full). When you are ready to mix up the muffins I mix up the wet ingredients (eggs, milk and bananas) and continue on with the recipe. In the past I have mixed up the flours with various kinds, added oatmeal, added nuts, used peanut butter or cinnamon chips, fresh bananas or frozen (but thawed) bananas,  2 bananas or 3 bananas – it always turns out perfect. My daughter once forgot to add the butter and honestly we really couldn’t tell. This is a great recipe and family favorite.

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By making these mixes up ahead of time, they are ready to go when we roll out of bed and take only a little bit of work to have a hot breakfast. If you make 4 mixes up each you have at least 2 breakfasts planned a week for the next month! We usually round out our week with a couple mornings of eggs, recently zucchini bread, English muffins, or leftovers (pancakes, breads, muffins, eggs). It has really helped get our mornings off to a much more relaxing start to our day with a hot breakfast that I can feel good about serving to my family.

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Homeschool Like Nobody is Watching

Homeschool Like Nobody is Watching. Now before you think this is an anti-government post about “big brother” getting up into your homeschool life, it is not. It is about homeschooling the way you choose for your family and not getting caught up in the comparison game to what other families are doing or what their day looks like. It is about not looking at social media for your validation of your homeschool day, but looking inward and upward to God for the validation that you are on the correct path for your family’s homeschool journey!

We started homeschooling 17 years ago. I am going to pause and let that set in a moment. When we started homeschooling all those years ago it was because we were looking for something different than the traditional public school for our children, because the traditional public school wasn’t working for them. It first led us to a charter school which we loved for awhile and then some things changed and we realized we were still searching for something else and that led us to homeschooling. Little did we know 17 years ago that seeds were being planted and God had a much bigger plan for us in our lives and in homeschooling.

Our family looks a little different each year. Each and every year our homeschool journey looks different. We have 4 older children (currently 24, 25, almost 26 and 30) and some years all kids were homeschooled; some years some were in public school and some were homeschooled; and then all ended up back in public school by high school. Fast forward a couple of years and now we had 2 more children. We knew early on that homeschooling the younger ones was what we were called to do and we began again in 2010 homeschooling full time with our then 3 year old and with a newborn at home (currently 10 and 7).

Homeschooling has changed a lot in the last 17 years. Now in 2017 online forums have paved the way for social media in the form of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs and websites. The newsletters have gone by the wayside, or are electronic, the meet ups for moms that were once so important to socialization have almost disappeared and the best way to to know what homeschool opportunities are out there circles back to social media and if you are lucky enough, word of mouth. Friendships are based on “liking” others posts and comments and how well our homeschool day went based how many likes and comments we have received for our posts.

This summer I have been working on disconnecting as much as possible from social media (it is much harder than you think). I realize how much of my life, including homeschooling revolves around being connected both online and social media. I am working on finding what works best for our family, with our homeschool day  based on our likes and dislikes, as well as our strengths and weaknesses. I am working on ways to better connect with our friends and family. I am looking for ways to better slow down and enjoy this time at home with our children and spend less time connected to the computer (like I am doing right now!). I want to Homeschool Like Nobody is Watching. 

Kalamazoo HEART Family Co-Op 2017 – 2018 Registration Information

It is that time of year, time to begin thinking about co-op for the next school year! Co-Op registration for current co-op families began March 10, 2017 and registration for new families will open on April 7, 2017. 

Kalamazoo HEART offers a Christian homeschool co-op, providing affordable, quality, fun-filled enrichment classes to families in the greater Kalamazoo area.

The co-op meets every other Friday afternoon (12:30 – 3:45). Kindergarten – 8th grade.  The calendar runs September 8, 2017 – April 20, 2018 at West Kalamazoo Christian Church on Drake Rd. in Kalamazoo.

The co-op keeps costs low at $275.00 per family ($50 deposit + $225 class fee), by having all moms (or dads) help out in the classrooms, as well as helping to plan 1 event during the year.  Each family’s attendance and participation is key to the success of our program.

Kalamazoo HEART Co-Op is having a parent information meeting on Friday, March 24 at 7:00 PM at the Biggby on Stadium. Come hear about Kalamazoo HEART and our co-op. Join the Kalamazoo HEART Group on Facebook and RSVP for the event.

Elementary (Kdg. – 5th) Co-Op Classes

Kitchen Science (the kitchen is is a great place to explore science with children with fun and easy kitchen science experiments.)   10610690_10204284993837330_7637333649087231757_n

 

Art (a variety of art and art techniques will be explored)

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Enrichment (activities based on a region of the United States, snack time and social time)

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Gym (an assortment of games and activities planned for larger groups of children)

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Middle School (6th – 8th) Co-Op Description

The middle school group will include enrichment type classes like an art class, game and social time and book club or bible study, and they will serve as a teacher’s helper for a class period.148

 

 

Homeschool Field Trips – Fall

Our Homeschool Field Trips Goal is to offer a variety of activities and field trips to both our co-op and Kalamazoo HEART families, keeping with the Kalamazoo HEART Mission Statement. We are looking for things that add value and build friendships in our homeschooling journey.

A sampling of upcoming field trips this September and October are:

Fall Field Trip to Stokes Homestead Farm – Tuesday, September 27 at 1:00 @ Stokes Homestead Farm Market in Grand Junction. 

The cost is $7.00 per students over the age of 2. Each student will pick a pumpkin or an apple (should still be apple time), one cow-train ride, access to the tire climb, swing set, corn crib, playground and gem mining. They will also receive one donut and one kid’s cup of apple cider. The cost is $3.00 per adult and that includes the wagon ride, a donut and cider and a pumpkin or an apple. Please prepay this event via paypal by Tuesday, September 20th to confirm your spot (kalamazooheart@gmail.com). Please comment with how many children over age 2 you will have and how many adults.

Dress accordingly for the outdoor farm field trip including closed-toe shoes and warm clothes/jacket. There is a picnic area outside the market if you would like to bring a lunch from home and eat prior to the field trip. There will be a media release from the farm that will need to be signed at the field trip. It is your responsibility to supervise your students/children so that everyone can have a productive and enjoyable visit to the farm.

Please review the Field Trip and Activities Information sheet located under files on our Facebook group page. This event is organized by Kalamazoo HEART and is open to all homeschoolers regardless of program affiliation. Your check in person at this event is : Vicki Girard

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Gull Meadows Farms Annual Fall Event – Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 11:00 am @Gull Meadows in Richland. 

Come join us for our annual Gull Meadow Farm Fall Fun! The fun will include:
( 1½ – 2 hours) Apple Orchard-Wagon ride to the apple orchard to pick apples (1/2 bushel for every 15 paid guests)
◦Fun on the Farm educational barn
◦10 minute educational talk from one of our farm hands
◦Pumpkin Lane activities
◦Visit with the animals in our petting farm
◦Small pumpkin (pre-picked) to take home
◦Glass of cider and a donut

Price is $6.50 per person. If they are eating a donut & having cider they will need to be included in the price.

We will meet by pumpkin lane at 10:45. Please pay Trish Steele, Virginia Lee or Heather Wiley – as we need to pay in one lump sum.

This is always a great time! Hope to see you there!

This is a Battle Creek HEART Event but is all to all Homeschoolers regardless of program affiliation. If you are a member of both groups please only post your totals on what you consider your “home” group.

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Fire Station Tour – Friday, October 28 at 10:00 am @ Oshtemo Fire Station #2 in Kalamazoo. 

Come learn about fire safety, step inside a fire truck, spray the water hose and take a tour of the fire station. This is a popular event your kids will love and the Oshtemo firefighters do an excellent job.

Please note this is the Fire Station on 6th Street just north of Stadium. There is additional parking in the back and please arrive early. we will need to start right at 10:00a.m.

Cost is : FREE

This event is created by Kalamazoo HEART but is open to all Homeschoolers regardless of program affiliation.

RSVP via our Facebook Group or if you are not on Facebook please email kalamazooheart@gmail.com 

 

 

Homeschool Mom Support Events

Kalamazoo HEART ~ Mom Support 2016 – 2017

Mom Support Goal: Mom support meetings, mom’s nights out, coffee time and more, keeping with the Kalamazoo HEART Mission Statement. We try to plan events that add value and build friendships in our homeschooling journey.

 

Kalamazoo HEART Mission Statement: Kalamazoo HEART (Homeschool Educators Are Resourceful Teachers) is a Christian homeschool group organizing a support network for homeschooling families in the greater Kalamazoo area.

 

We offer family field trips, a fun enrichment co-op, mom’s days out, mom support group meetings and so much more!

 

Events and Dates (*subject to change)      14333074_10209045887616699_6980729507657888103_n

September Event – Monday, September 12 @ 7:00 pm at Full Gospel Apostolic Church in Paw Paw ~ Guest Speaker is Erin Brown Conroy     

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September Meeting – Erin Brown Conroy MA, MFA 

Mom’s Breakfast Out: Sat., Sep 17 @9:00 am at Rykse’s Restaurant on Stadium

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October Event- Wednesday, October 12 @ 6:00 pm  ~Scavenger Hunt and Dinner in Portage

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November Event – Saturday, November 5 @ 6:30 ~ Fly on the Wall, not in your Food in Mattawan at Shannon Brown’s and Vicki Girard’s homes

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December Event – Tuesday, December 6 @6:30  Group Game Night at Anna Sonneville’s home in Plainwell

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Game Night – February 2016

 

January Event – Monday, January 16 @ 7:00 pm ~ Curriculum Night at Full Gospel Apostolic Church in Paw Paw       Placeholder Image

February Event Monday, February 6 @ 7:00 pm ~ Think Spring Pinterest Night at Full Gospel Apostolic Church in Paw Paw

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Pinterest Night December 2015

 

March Event – Activity Night ~ TBA

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Art Activity Night from  March 2016

 

April Event – Monday, April 10 @7:00 pm ~ Guest Speaker TBA at Full Gospel Apostolic Church in Paw Paw

May Event – Dinner Out ~ TBA

Stay tuned for new events to be added and quarterly breakfast’s. 

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Mom Night Out @ The Pantry January 2016

Email us at KalamazooHEART@gmail.com or Find us online:

https://kalamazooheart.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/KalamazooHEART/ https://www.facebook.com/kalamazooheartpage/

Homeschool Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Swimming – Oh my!

Looking for some activities for your homeschool children as the weather turns cooler and sends us inside?  We have picked a few days each month and designated them as a time to meet up  and get active with other homeschool families.

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WMU Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo offers open skate Monday-Thursday from 12:00-12:50 p.m.

All homeschoolers are invited to meet for open skate on the 1st Thursday in October, November, December, January, February and March. Please arrive at 11:50 to allow time for lacing your skates. (Skating will start right at 12:00.)

Admission is only $1 and skate rental is $1.

** Sizes under 10 for kids are limited and they do go down to a size 7.
**Parents are NOT allowed to walk on the ice without skates.
**Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
**Parking in the back is free.
**We will do our best to let you know if Lawson has closed for the day. You can call their cancellation hotline 269-387-3046 to make sure they are open.

*This event is organized by Kalamazoo HEART, but all homeschoolers are encouraged to come regardless of program affiliation.

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Rollerworld of Kalamazoo offers a discounted rollerskating time for all Homeschoolers. It is the 2nd Tuesday from October-May.

Cost is $5 per person skating and includes regular skates. Or $20 per family max. Rollerblades can be rented for an extra $2.

This in not a Kalamazoo HEART event, we are helping Rollerworld spread the word to the homeschool community.

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Allegan Aquatics offers a FAMILY FUN TIME every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am -12 pm.

All homeschooling families are invited to enjoy their Leisure Pool with a lazy river, slide, fountains, and warm water, perfect for families with younger children, on the 3rd Thursday in October, November, December, January, February and March. Please arrive at 10:45 to allow time to change.

Admission is $3 Adults + 1 child under 5, $1 each additional child under age 5 and $2 children ages 5-17.
**Swim Diapers available for purchase for $1

This event is created by Kalamazoo HEART but, is open to all homeschooling families regardless of program affiliation.

The Leisure Pool is a 4-feet maximum depth, warmer water (~84º fahrenheit) pool with special features including a 80-feet long by 6-feet wide lazy river, a zero depth entry wading pool with 4-feet tall water slide and a 20 feet by 40 feet, 3-lane lessons pool which can be used for warm up and warm down during large competitions. Underwater bench seating adds to the leisure. The Leisure pool area has less-ample deck space than the competition pool, but also offers built-in bench seating for 150.

You can find these events each month on our Facebook Page.

We plan 1 – 3 additional field trips each month . Join our group page on Facebook to get all the details.

Homeschool Mom Support Fall Events

It is hard to believe that it is September, but the back to school (and the not back to school) pictures flooding my Facebook page confirms this to be true! We have a lot of great meetings and gatherings planned to help homeschool moms connect with other homeschool moms and build those relationships.

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Our September Mom Support Event is Monday, September 12, 2016 and all homeschool parents are welcome to attend. Our guest speaker to kick off our school year is Erin Brown Conroy. Erin is the mom of 13 children by birth, marriage, and adoption. Erin lives in Southwest Michigan with her husband, Shawn, where she writes, teaches, speaks, and home schools four of her children who are still living at home.

The meeting will be held at Full Gospel Apostolic Church in Paw Paw from 7 – 9 pm. Please see our event page on Facebook for more information.

Next up will be our Fall Mom’s Breakfast on Saturday, September 17 at Rykse’s in Kalamazoo at 9:00 am. We always enjoy good conversations, great cinnamon rolls, and meeting new friends. Please join our Facebook group to get all the details and to RSVP. cinnamon-roll

In October Mom Support Event we have planned a really fun Scavenger Hunt and Dinner on Wednesday, October 12 at Portage beginning at 6:00 pm behind Chili’s where you will get instructions, rules and get assigned teams to complete as many things as you can from the scavenger list and then we will meet back at Chili’s to find out the winners and chat over dinner. All the details are once again found on our Facebook group. 

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History of Our Homeschool Co-Op

Kalamazoo HEART Family Co-Op is a Christian homeschool co-op, providing affordable, quality, fun-filled enrichment classes to families in the greater Kalamazoo area.

 

The idea for a different type of homeschool co-op started in the spring of 2013 in Paw Paw, MI where the suggestion for relaxing and fun classes was formed to create lasting friendships with a little bit of learning tossed in. When the co-op first launched in the fall of 2013 we had 20 families and we had students thru 8th grade. Some of the classes offered were gym, a speech/writing class, astronomy/lego class, themed classes included one on lighthouses and one on manners, we also had a sewing class.

We quickly outgrew our location and In the fall of 2014 we moved to Kalamazoo where we were excited to have a gym area and a kitchen which we used for a science and cooking class, we also had an enrichment class, art and geography. That year we grew to 24 families, had students thru 6th grade and our year was focused  around world geography.

 

The 2015 school year we had 28 families with students thru 6th grade and focused on the southern United States. Our classes included art, music, cooking and gym. We are thrilled to have many dads helping out that year. With offering cooking class each time the kids had the opportunity to learn about many great southern states and some recipes to go along with them like beignets for Louisiana, ice cream for Virginia, and popcorn with an assortment of toppings for Kentucky.

 

2016 co-op looks to be bigger and better as we continue to grow each and every year. We once again offer classes for students thru 6th grade and the classes being offered this year include art, enrichment, cooking and gym – with a focus on the eastern United States.

 

We also do a lot of fun extra things like a Christmas party and pot-luck, pizza and game day, show and tell, themed days such as crazy sock day or pajama day!

Registration information is found on our Kalamazoo HEART Facebook Group Page or you can message us for more details. New registrations are accepted beginning in April each year for the following school year.