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 July/August 2002

Black Hills Homeschool Association

An inclusive group dedicated to empowering all homeschoolers in the Black Hills of South Dakota through Support, Encouragement and Education

Volume 2, Issue 7                                                                   July/August 2002


A WARM WELCOME to the new families who joined our group last month.  We have 38 families with about 84 children.  The group email list now has about 40 members on it.  Please continue to encourage those new to homeschooling.


PARK / LIBRARY DAYS!!!  Join us every Friday at 10:00 at Robbinsdale Park on nice days, or the Library on bad weather days. 


SCHOLASTIC BOOK ORDERS - We will have these order forms at our monthly meetings and will take orders then.  Lisa R. has PreK-2nd,
Jen has 3rd and up.  Scholastic also has a book club.

Unfortunately, Scholastic is selling a book series for teens titled Conversations with God.    Dr. Dobson has talked about how misleading this book is to our children.  The author assumes the position of God and answers children's questions.  Example:  Why am I a lesbian? (age12)  The author answers that I (meaning God) have made each person unique, all with different sexual orientations.  So you are the way you are and you are special to me (God).   .


YEARBOOK  Remember to save stories, pictures, etc. for our annual yearbook.  Contact
Jen for more information or to volunteer to help


MONTHLY MEETINGS are at the RC Public Library, usually on the last Saturday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00.  Check the dates.

Bring something to "Show-n-Tell".  It doesn't have to be on-topic.  This has been so interesting and we get to see new things we may never have heard of before.

Following is the tentative topic schedule.  If you or someone you know can discuss something in particular about one of these subjects, please let
Rhonda know!

August 3, 2002 - No Topic

August 24, 2002 - Getting Started / Back to School

September - Organization

October - Spelling and Grammar

November - Math

December - Science

January - History

February - Special Needs



Home Schoolers in the Black Hills, a local homeschool activities and support group, is planning a picnic in Spearfish city park on Wednesday, August 14th from 11am-2pm.  Anyone from the Black Hills area who is considering alternatives to full time public school, is planning to homeschool this year or just wants to check into local alternative educational opportunities is welcome and encouraged to attend.  For more information please contact Sandy.


Science Class!!  Planets and Constellations, taught by Kay.  For elementary kids, about grades K-4 or 5 at Imagination Station on Wednesdays from 10:30-12:00.  Class will begin on September 18th and will finish on November 20th with the 27th for a make-up if needed.  Cost is $5/child/class.  Discounts given for families with more than one child enrolled.  Call  or e-mail  Kay .


Public Speaking Class,For junior and senior high aged students, about grade (5 or) 6 -12/adults welcome too.  This will meet at the Free Methodist Church (4813 S. Canyon Rd.) on Thursday afternoons from 1:00-2:30.  Class will run from Sept 19-Dec 12.  We will not meet on Nov 28th and we will keep Dec 19 as a make-up day if needed.  Cost is $5/student/class with discounts given to families with more than one child enrolled.  This class helps students to become at ease speaking in front of a group as well as teaching
them how to organize their thoughts and materials for a public presentation.  Call or e-mail
Kay  for more information..


Spanish Classes - Chris Spader will be offering Spanish classes to 7 year olds and older on Thursday afternoons this Fall for 10 weeks at a cost of $50. You can contact her at for more information.


SDCHE Back to School Picnic and Voting.  August 10th at the Cement Plant Park from 3-8:00pm.  Picnic potluck.  Vote for the new board members.


Mom's Coffee/Tea will continue this Fall at the westside Millstone on the first Thursday of the month at 7pm.


Girl Scouts  Jen is a troop leader and has room for your girls, meeting on Saturdays.  For more information call  or email


YMCA offers homeschool classes.  Watch the next newsletter for the schedule or get a flyer from the YMCA.




June's meeting was canceled due to vacations!   But in May we had 6 members present.  We discussed Reading and Writing. 

Stacie talked about sentence strips.  She suggested cutting writing paper into strips and then writing 5 sentences. 

Suzanne had this awesome tackle box full of cut out laminated alphabet letters.  She showed us Handwriting without Tears and how to use the little chalkboards you can buy in most places in the craft sections.

Writing Power (from the makers of Spelling Power) is now published.  For more info see

Also check out the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

The Magic Tree House books have a website that offers worksheets and more for teachers at



Fall Semester Homeschool Classes begin September 10th.  Register early, class size is limited!!  Call Margie for more information at 388-3446.

Algebra - Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 to 11:00 am for middle and high school students. 

Chemistry - Tuesdays 1:30-2:45 pm for middle and high school students.

Human Body - Thursdays 1:30-2:45 pm for all ages.

American Girls Club - Watch for the new schedule

American Boys Club - Watch for a schedule.



Gratha Gregory who teaches music at Memorial Christian School is once again offering to include homeschooled children in her music lessons and band class at Memorial.  Last year about 1/3 of the band were homeschoolers.  This is for children who fall in the grade/age range of 4th -7th grades. 

The cost is $25.00 per month. The lessons are group lessons once a week for 30 minutes for the first semester.  Second semester the once a week group lessons continue plus a 30 minute all-band lesson each week.  (No change in price for this additional lesson.)  Gratha  really enjoys teaching the children.  If you have questions or want more info, call Gratha Gregory at 342-0341. 




I had a long discussion with the Rapid City homeschool office after hearing a few people were having problems filling out their certificates of exemption forms.  The office really wants to work with us and clear any misunderstandings.  If anyone has further questions, please let me know.  This is what I know so far:

On the form, #15 is about birth certificates.  If you do not provide a copy of the birth certificate, then you must complete the Affidavit on the backside of the form, with either two witnesses OR a notary.  The notary on the front is NOT for #15. The secretary has been asking for both.  If you want to avoid the hassle, just do both.

On the form, #16 is where the parents sign.  If you have both parents listed in #3 above, you MUST have both sign on #16.  Then you can have those parents' signatures witnessed by two witnesses OR notarized.  The secretary has been asking for both.  If you want to avoid the hassle, just do both.

Kay has graciously offered to notarize these for us.

It is recommended that you get a receipt for turning in the exemptions.  The secretary prefers to make a copy and date stamp and sign it for you.  That is fine.  You could also mail in the forms with a certified return receipt.  You can also bring in your own receipt for her to sign, although she seems to prefer making the copy.  A sample might be:

Homeschool Office
School District

I confirm that we have received in this office the Application for Public
Exemption all necessary supporting documents (test scores, birth
etc.) for (students):
Signature                                                  Date

Truancy is NOT an issue if we don't get the forms back from the school board right away.  The law states that the child is exempted upon RECEIPT of APPLICATION not upon receipt of the board's approval.

The Douglas school district doesn't seem to care where you sign and notarize.  I don't know about the other districts.

The RC District Board now meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month.  The deadline for this batch of exemptions is August 15th.  Margie Rosario of Imagination Station, whom most of us know, is the First Vice President on the Board and is willing to discuss any hs'ing issues with us.

In Meade 46-1, the school board's Aug. meeting is now Aug. 19 (later than usual due to the Rally). So we need to have our forms in by then.

For those in the Spearfish schools they are due August 2.  For more information please go to

You may also contact Lois Ward, SDCHE Legislative Chairman,,  for more information.


Book Adventure:  You sign your kids up, and they read books from the book list.  You can search the database for books by reading level and by
interests. When they have completed the book, they take a short quiz on the book to check their comprehension and they earn points for each book they read.  They can earn prizes with the points they get.  There are certificates for free books with, learning software, magazine subscriptions, temporary tattoos and more.  It's a free program sponsored by Sylvan Learning Centers.  They also offer an email progress report for parents.  If the kids are doing it on their own, but the prizes are not sent unless the parents approve of the prize the child has selected.

RC Public Library Book Mobile

The Library is proposing a book mobile service for home bound patrons in the surrounding Rapid City area and possibly other facilities such as homeschools and those that cannot necessarily transport their students to the library.  For more information, contact Aimee O'Brien at or 605-394-417-1230.


Political Help Wanted

John Thune's office is looking to hire some young people (high school and up) and adults to work in his office until and after the election in November.  This would be a great paid
opportunity for a high schooler who is interested in politics or government.  Could even turn into an internship.  Contact the Pennington County Republican office at 348-8396.  Speak with Andrew Dorr.


Help Wanted

The grandma and parents of a 12-year-old girl are looking for someone to homeschool this little girl. She has some learning problems and is probably at about a 5th-grade level. She has been attending the Montessori school until now. If they can't find someone they will have to put her in public school.  The grandma's name, which I'm not sure of the spelling, is Maxine. The phone-number is 343-3001.


DUST if you must

Dust if you must but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture or write a  letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed.
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Remember, a house becomes a home when
you can write "I love you" on the furniture....



A number of businesses will offer educational discounts to homeschoolers.  Some are company policy on a national level, although the local stores may not be aware of this policy and need to be educated.  Corporate managers are eager to serve us and are very upset that their local managers are so unaware of their homeschooling discount policies.  Other local business discounts are manager decisions.  Most often you can just talk to a manager during a quiet time and let them know you are homeschoolers and ask if there is anything special that they did that you might be unaware of.  Homeschoolers are becoming a big market.  Following are a few we know of.  As you hear of more, please pass them on.

Office Depot is having a Teachers Appreciation Day on August 10th from 8-10am -- complete with breakfast!!!  They are raffling off a laminator and give all participants a tote bag of goodies. You also get a coupon for 10% discount on all purchases that day.  They have a mailing list that we can get on for the future.

Office Max In other states they offer a discount, I don't know for sure about the local store. 

Hobby Lobby offers a 10% discount.  Not all the cashiers seem to be aware of it though. However, it is approved at the Rapid City store by the manager.

Barnes & Noble offers a 20% discount.  Take letter of intent to homeschool and some other proof (like a Support Group Membership Card) and you will receive an educator's discount card for use on all schooling related purchases.


Borders offers a 20% teacher discount to the Homeschooling Community.  Proof of declaration of intent to homeschool or Support Group ID is required.  You will receive a Teacher discount card which entitles you to receive a 20% discount off the list price on books, music or videos for classroom/homeschooling purposes only.

Prince & Pauper will also give us a discount.  They've not asked for proof yet, and you need to ask the cashier first.  I've gotten 10-15%, but they may match Borders' 20% if asked. 

Walden Books and B. Dalton Books offers a classroom discount card which entitles you to a 20% discount on books purchased for homeschool use only.  Present a membership card as a form of homeschool identification to receive your classroom discount card.

The Nature Company  With a membership card, you are eligible for a 15% discount (no sale items), no telescopes or telescope parts. They will have you fill out a form, and give you an ID card for purchases made there.

Natural Wonders - 15% discount.

Staples now extends its Teacher's Reward Program to homeschoolers!

Zany Brainy - 10% discount.

Hollywood Video offers a VIP card to teachers for FREE videos.  This lets us take out free any documentary or feature film that is educational.



Chuck E. Cheese's Tokens For Grades:  A maximum of 15 tokens to kids with their report cards, 3 for A's, 2 for B's and 1 for C's. You should be able to benefit from the program if you have any documentation showing a student's progress and explain to the manager that they are homeschooled.

Read for the Stars: A *summer* reading program. Read three books and get a FREE kids pack (soft drink, popcorn and candy) at your local AMC Theatre. Visit their website for more information and to print out an entry form.

The General Mills Boxtops for Education Program:  Finally allowing participation by homeschoolers!!!! What does this mean?  MONEY! Money for field trips, supplies, equipment, books, computers...whatever your homeschool needs! The telephone number is 1-888-799-2444. Website:

McDonald's:  Students with a straight "A" report card receive:  Kindergarten- 5th grades- free Happy Meal and 6th- 12th grades- free Value Meal.

Krispy Kreme Donuts:  Students receive one free donut for each "A" on your report card, up to six donuts each report card.

Peter Piper Pizza:  Students receive 3 free tokens for each "A", 2 free tokens for each "B", and 1 free token for each "C".  Maximum of 15 tokens for each report card.


Words of Encouragement
(unknown author)

Another Fourth of July has come and gone. This is, for some of us, a time for vacation and refreshing. For others of us, this is the time to "buckle down" and start our planning for next year.  Some of us are even still working on finishing out the 2001-2002 school year. I want to encourage you that wherever you are in the homeschooling process today, it is OKAY for you to be there.

I've talked to a number of moms in the past several weeks at book fairs and here at home, and many are comparing themselves to others and "grading" how they are doing. Many feel that their curriculum choices are wrong (before they have even implemented them) or that they don't have the "schedule" that someone else has. I want to encourage you in that your home is a very individual thing. What you do in your homeschool is delightfully tailored to YOUR home and YOUR family. To compare your home or your school to another individual's could lead to frustration and disappointment. You are the one that can best determine what is appropriate for YOUR school.

I've also chatted with several moms that were joking with me about the "instant wisdom" that their husbands thought they had obtained the day they decided to homeschool. Perhaps you were one of those moms whose husbands weren't quite sure of this "homeschooling thing" but they were gracious enough to let you try. Then, they assumed that YOU would be the sole decision-maker about curriculum because somehow you miraculously would "know" what your students would need in every area and what curriculum would meet those needs. When I first started homeschooling, I must admit, the weight of that misguided belief almost overcame my determination to homeschool.

Those of us that have been homeschooling for a while, recognize these times as ones of adjustment. In some ways, after you have been homeschooling for a while, you do get into some routines, but in other ways, every year is new. Sometimes we have to admit that we have chosen a curriculum that did not work and therefore we need to spend a little more money to find an alternative. We realize that this is the cost of wanting to do a good job in this homeschooling occupation. As long as I keep the long term objectives in mind, I can deal with having to pick out another book or starting to get creative on my own.

I try and make sure that each summer I read at least one book on parenting basics. I've been doing this for 12 years and I still can learn something new. It is so easy to forget something simple because I think I am already on step 12. Lately I have been reading (again)
Season's for a Mother's Heart (  Sally Clarkson homeschools and loves her family and really helps me to re-focus on what is truly important in my home and school. There are so many terrific books out there to read and be encouraged. Look for things to make you feel good about your home, yourself and your children. That will make moving into the next school year even more fun!



David W., 18, won 1st Place in the Right to Life essay contest. Topic was "The Unborn
Child, God's Most Precious Gift."


Eli G., Isaac G., Ivan G., & Heather W.  participated in Bible Quiz this year. Heather placed in 1st place and Ivan in 5th for the state of South Dakota.  In addition, Rapid City placed 2nd at the State Finals and 7th in Regional Tournament (7 States).


Joanna O. was named "Camper of the Week" last week and gets to go to camp for free next year.


Sarah J. received 1 blue and 5 purple ribbons at the 4-H Achievement Days.  Two of the purple ribbons were for "Grand Champion" in Showmanship and Obedience at the dog show.


Shawn V tested and passed his 1st mid-term in karate and is on his way to a 2nd degree black belt.


Nathan John Wick was born on Saturday afternoon at 5:19, right before the Big Storm. He weighed in at a whopping 8lb 9oz .


Kris Godwin has moved out of state.  We will miss her family.





Jan Brett has a set of sight or Dolch words (the 220 most frequently found words in the English language) with fun illustrations from her books which you can printout as flash cards or pages at

This site introduces children to HTML in a very simple way.

Cool site for interactive word games




Membership in BHHA is FREE!!  Our group is open to all homeschoolers.  Feel free to invite anyone interested in homeschooling to our meetings and events.

Donations are always appreciated!!

Join our Group Email List at  

Newsletter submissions may be sent to Rhonda at  News, notes, children's works, ideas or anything you'd like to share are welcomed and encouraged.

Issues are available FREE online at our website and the email list.  If you'd like to receive a hard copy of our newsletters, please send $12 for a one-year subscription.  


Black Hills Homeschool Association
Rhonda  *  Jennifer  *
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