Jump to content

Most Liked Content

#90 Recommendations for offsite hotels, timeshares, rentals, etc.

Posted by Robin Harrison Axelberd on 11 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

Hello friends! 


I thought I'd introduce myself - I'm Robin and I live in a suburb of Atlanta. I homeschool my four boys, ages 14 (almost 15), 9, 6, and 5. We are very excited to be making our second family trip to Disney in the Fall. :D


I am an obsessive Disney planner - complete with spreadsheets and lists. But, I'm by no means a pro and I am always so excited to learn something new. The size of our family necessitates that we stay off-site, so I can answer some questions about that. Let me just go ahead and say, I think it's the way to go if you have a family the size of ours!


I look forward to sharing the excitement over this upcoming trip with y'all!




  • hawaiianatheart, Cristin Golden, Tracie Johnson McGinniss and 1 other like this

#55 Recommendations for offsite hotels, timeshares, rentals, etc.

Posted by Leanne Smith on 10 February 2013 - 01:43 PM

Hiya guys....we stayed at Windsor hills..2 miles from Disney last Feb..loved it..they have 2-3 bdroom condos. Townhouses with splash pools and full 5 bedrooms houses with private pools...so everyone has a budget I know this place was super clean pool with slide very safe and secure..easy off site drive and cheap restaurant ...just a great alternative ...well be waiting for dates..the shortcutting drive was shorter than any Disney bus..and I think they have meeting rooms...for any classes we want to have..by the pool..so even if we don't get a hotel together..some can have some get togethers..ooh plus all have full kitchens ..we saved a ton on breakfast.

  • Dianna, Robin Harrison Axelberd, Tara Burnett- Smith and 1 other like this

#4938 Homeschool Hours & What Counts

Posted by Dianna on 29 May 2014 - 11:06 AM

Weekends, summers, midnight star-gazing and interesting discussions, catching an unplanned TV special on the Civil War, or NASA, or black holes, or the Great Depression, or whatever, counts. If you're on a trip and listen to audiobooks in the car, that counts as reading/literature. If the books touch on science or social studies topics, then they count as that, too.


Learning happens 24/7, 365 days a year. Your challenge is to remember to document it for 180 days out of those 365, starting on June 1, and running through May 31 (if you're a member of my 3rd option association).




  • stephmcgrath, Lorietta Purpura, SouthernBelleMama and 1 other like this

#4740 May I ask...Why do YOU homeschool?

Posted by TegaCaySchoolers on 01 May 2014 - 06:45 AM

Dianna hit the nail on the head! All day long at school my dd was in trouble for....TALKING to her friends! The nerve of her! 


No talking in the hall

No talking in line

No talking at your desk

No talking at lunch

Quiet in the library!

Save your questions for the end!

No talking in the bathroom, be out by the time I count down from 20

No talking during recess if you didn't finish your morning work

Silent bus today!


It's recess time! You have 10 minutes to talk, hurry up!


  • Dianna, stephmcgrath, Beth62442 and 1 other like this

#4724 May I ask...Why do YOU homeschool?

Posted by Dianna on 29 April 2014 - 11:31 PM

Stephanie, there are ways to deal with the quizzing issue and non-supportive friends detailed here: http://www.carolinah....com/afaq6.html


As far as the socialization question goes - the next time someone asks you that, ask them how many times did they hear "We're not here to socialize!" when they went to school. Just sayin...



  • stephmcgrath, ShadanJem, Lorietta Purpura and 1 other like this

#4647 May I ask...Why do YOU homeschool?

Posted by kohlby on 24 April 2014 - 05:19 PM



I can give my children a better education than the public/private schools can thanks to being able to tailor their curriculum to their needs/interests/strengths.  The elem school near us is one of the best in the state, even recognized nationally, but that doesn't mean it's the best for my kids when I can homeschool them.  I am glad we have such a good school near us though, for those who do not homeschool.


That's the short answer.  I stumbled into homeschooling when I realized that public kindy wouldn't work for my eldest wiggly boy who learned out of order.  He was far ahead in application and analysis, but way behind in memorization.  He wasn't a checklist kid.  I didn't send any to pre-k since those programs weren't play-based enough.  (Which is also why I'm not a fan of public kindy).  As he's progressed, his behavior has changed to a point where he could handle public school - but his education needs have become much, much harder to meet.  And so we homeschool! 


I also like sleeping in, seeing my kids, not fighting with car line, not worrying about homework, not worrying about teaching to the test or standardized testing, and being able to go on vacation when we want.  It's also a huge plus that we can get everything done during the day normally, so we can just enjoy being a family when my husband isn't working.


*Also, I'm a former public school teacher.  So I know nothing magical happens in the classroom.  I was a good public teacher and did meet the needs of my students, the best I could.  But when you have 35 kids in a class, it's impossible to tailor it perfectly for every single student, no matter how good of a teacher you are. 

  • stephmcgrath, Beth62442, Gina and 1 other like this

#4374 New to homeschooling for 2014-2015. Need advice.

Posted by Beth62442 on 04 April 2014 - 01:40 PM

Welcome, Melissa G!  

I get the anxious thing!  (I'm sure I"m not alone too!)  I just pulled my oldest out of 7th grade public school in the middle of the school year and started homeschooling him in January.  It sounds like we have a similar situation.  He went from being a child who packed his own backpack full of books, crayons and paper just to sign up for preschool to a sullen, angry, disillusioned 12 year old.  He's never been happier since we pulled him out.  It hasn't been easy - we have days where we just can't stand to be in the same room as one another... but for the most part, I've gotten a lot more hugs, kisses and "I love you"s and he's beginning to love learning again.


It sounds like you already have a great setup, and you've already been homeschooling without even knowing it!  Getting started is scary, (I personally am obsessed with researching curriculum) but the thing I love most about homeshooling, is if you try something and it doesn't work, it's easy enough to switch!  Knowing how your kids like to learn is important (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, etc) and there are sooooo many choices (which is why I'm obsessive about curriculum) that it will make your head spin.  Personally, I found reading reviews to be just as confusing as helpful, because what works for one family won't necessarily work for another.


If you're already taking care of all those animals and running your own homestead, being organized must be second-nature to you, and that will help.  Keeping track of lessons, recordkeeping, etc. all takes time and organization.  And I know you're probably thinking - I'm swamped already - but when you're not having to deal with the issues public school drops on your doorstep, you'll be amazed at the extra time you get!  (Don't know what kind of schedule your son had, but mine was having between 2-3 hours of homework every night - even on weekends.  Not dealing with that every day gave me plenty of time for lesson-planning and grading papers.) 


I will also be homeschooling a kindergartener this fall (as well as a 5th grader too).  Frankly, the one that scares me the most is the kindergartener - making sure he has a good foundation and praying daily that I will be up to the task!


I know one of the hardest things my 7th grader had adjusting to was his schedule at home.  He was under the impression that he would send a set amount of time on each subject every day -- just like public school.  So, if at the end of 45 minutes, he hadn't finished an assignment - he'd just quit (even if he'd spent 15 minutes staring out his window at the bird feeders).  I explained the freedom he had now that he was at home - if he didn't have any trouble understanding the work and could finish it in 20 minutes - GREAT!  If not, we could take and hour to really get it down.. and if we were frustrated beyond belief - we could skip it til tomorrow.  Setting goals and accomplishing them has been our main focus -- not making sure he's busy for 45 minutes in each subject each day.  Some days we do math first, some days history.  Some days its a struggle to get him to do anything, other days he can't wait to read a particular history assignment or do a particular science experiment.  One day a time (or sometimes one hour at a time - LOL!) has become my mantra...


Sorry that I've rambled... I'm on a super-caffeine rush today :)

  • Dianna, Dana, Sonya Sealey and 1 other like this

#9944 Disney Magic

Posted by skdrennan on 16 April 2015 - 10:40 AM

For our 2nd Disney countdown and Family FUN Night we did a FROZEN theme.  We watched the movie (for what seems like the 600th time :P ).  For our meal, we had: We finish each others sandwiches (regular make your own sub sandwich bar), Troll stones and snow balls (meat balls & a scoop of mashed potatoes), Olaf noses & Sven's antlers (carrots & pretzels), Melted snow (water) and we set up a hot chocolate bar.  For dessert, we had Elsa & Ana's chocolates (assorted chocolates) & Frozen hearts (I used a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of ice cream).  We also had popcorn in clear cups with Olaf's face drawn on.  For our activities, we tried ice stacking challenges, colored Frozen posters, cut out snowflakes (found some GREAT templates for character snowflakes on Disney's website), worked on a new Frozen puzzle, and enjoyed a family dance and sing off to Let it Go!  It was a fun night!


  • Daniela, DCham411 and Kristi Newman like this

#9593 Disney Magic

Posted by skdrennan on 29 March 2015 - 02:10 PM

It's official..we are going to Disney with Carolina Homeschooler this November!  We are SO excited!  We are trying to sprinkle a little Disney Magic throughout our whole year so we have begain our Disney Family Fun Nights!  We have 1 or 2 planned each month to help us countdown until the big day.  I thought this might be a good place for any of the other families to share ideas on how your family is finding your own Disney magic!

Attached File  image1.JPG   10.51KB   0 downloadsAttached File  11096691_10206298100121259_7350010609465608675_n.jpg   9.51KB   0 downloadsAttached File  image3.JPG   54.05KB   0 downloadsAttached File  10322749_10206298102241312_7531779197398501421_n.jpg   17.13KB   0 downloadsAttached File  10325713_10206298101921304_1805570668553578287_n.jpg   22.29KB   0 downloadsAttached File  11084288_10206298103281338_2324413969385197379_n.jpg   15KB   0 downloads

  • Daniela, DCham411 and Kristi Newman like this

#8796 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

Posted by Dianna on 15 January 2015 - 01:48 AM

Hi Leigh, this is definitely a positive. It will affect crowds only in the World Showcase, and only in the evening. I'd recommend visiting during the day, maybe right before dinner, and eat the (relatively) low-cost sample items at each of the different vendors that you're interested in, and make dinner out of it. We call this "eating around the world." :)



  • skdrennan, Daniela and Sonya Sealey like this

#8402 Beginner questions

Posted by SouthernBelleMama on 05 November 2014 - 04:07 PM

Hi all! I am brand new to this site, and I am so relieved to find out the feeling of being overwhelmed is completely normal! (I thought perhaps I should post, as I went on a "like" spree, on almost every response here! lol) My son is 4, will turn 5 in January, and I really feel that homeschooling is best for him. After finding this site, and Carolina Homeschooler association, I really feel much more confident in my decision, and myself! (I was really having feelings of thinking there's no way I'm "smart enough" to completely-from-day-1 homeschool, and how-in-the-world-am-I-ever-gonna-teach-myself-to-know-what-paid-teachers-know...but after reading all the info on this site, and reading posts like this one, it really, truly helps!


I'm sorry to hijack this thread, I apologize, I am just so excited, and relieved to finally feel like I'm on the right track, both for me and my family. :)

  • Dianna, Dana and Lorietta Purpura like this

#6998 Beginner questions

Posted by kohlby on 23 August 2014 - 10:32 PM

I jot my plans down in a student planner. (Or fill in as they get done).  Like Dianna mentioned, attendance gets done easily this way too.  It's very simple.  I use a student planner because I want my children to take some control of their education and it's helpful if they can write things in too.   I like the weekly/monthy ones from Blue Sky.


For a portfolio, you just need some samples of the work.  Not all - just some.  You can put in a few photos of projects/field trips if you wish.  Or lists of books read, etc.  It's up to you! 


You do not need to do standardized tests under most option 3 groups.  (Though I read one group that did have it at one time - but that's very rare.  Just don't pick one that requires it!)  No professional evaluation is needed under option 3 either.  I do write up some sort of evaluation of student progress twice a year and stick it into the portfolio.  This can be a report card or just a summary.

As for what the state "accepts," the state doesn't look for specifics of how we kept records, and in most cases - will never ask to see our records!  Still keep them, as it is the law and it's best to be covered just in case.

  • Lorietta Purpura, Birdy34 and HGlivingston like this

#6957 Beginner questions

Posted by Dianna on 22 August 2014 - 11:13 AM

There are different ways to document educational activities, attendance, keep samples for a portfolio, etc. Once your membership is completed, you'll have access to my members area and there are forms you can download to keep track. (Or you can develop your own system.)


When you get a chance, read through my Record-Keeping & Testing FAQs here: http://www.carolinah...eeping-testing/


Under Option 3 in SC, you don't have test or submit test scores.


It's completely normal to be overwhelmed and scared at first, but it does get better. I think you'll feel better after you read my FAQs (the one I linked above, and also my Beginning Homeschooling FAQ here: http://www.carolinah...omeschool-faqs/


Reading through all of them is helpful, but those two will probably help the most right now.


Let me know if you have any other questions.




  • Lorietta Purpura, HGlivingston and SouthernBelleMama like this

#6106 Be an Outsider!

Posted by MJL on 25 July 2014 - 06:59 AM

For those doing the Outsider Program there is a Junior Ranger Program for the children. The State Park website has the activities that they have to complete. It is really simple and the children get to earn a Junior Ranger Badge and some prizes. 

  • Dianna, TerribleTeaGuzzler and Jeshua like this

#12966 What an amazing trip! Some tips and brags

Posted by FrankR on 23 November 2015 - 11:22 AM

We got back home to Rockwall, Tx late Saturday night. What a sensory overload. This was our first time. I thought I'd share some experiences. 


* The Speedway gas stations on property were great for gas, hot food, and snack and prices were no more than any other gas station. We had lunch at the one outside Magic Kingdom and the pizza and hot deli sandwiches were great and significantly cheaper than in a park. 

* We unfortunately had a mechanical failure of our vehicle that had to be repaired before we could drive back 1100+ miles. I was very concerned where to take it. I found that the Walt Disney Resort Car Care Center was just as comparable as any other mechanic. I have worked as a mechanic in the past and in the end was pleased with the work. I wasn't price gouged either. I dropped off the van and caught a ride from there to the transit center by an Alamo van next door where I met the rest of the family for Magic Kingdom. (Or the center would call for you a ride) The whole ordeal didn't interrupt our fun. 

* We were unaware that there were no buses that run from the transit center to our hotels. After a very crowded ferry ride to get to the center, we learned we had to go right back to Magic Kingdom to THEN take a bus to our hotel. Took us another hour at the end of the night to make it back.

* Mission Space - take Dramamine. Just trust me on this. 

* Turkey legs were the best bang for the buck. For about $10 (it varied) these were the biggest, juiciest turkey legs I have ever found at any amusement park/fair and was less expensive. We found it best to sit down and cut/split it up among the four of us rather than carry them around and try to finish them holding us up from doing other things.

* Magic Bands made things so much less stressful. No having to carry or fiddle with wallets. 


  • Dianna, Robin Harrison Axelberd and bless9ings like this

#11636 Disney Magic

Posted by skdrennan on 30 July 2015 - 10:09 AM

100 Days until Disney breakfast celebration at the Drennan house this morning! Will officially be in the double digit club tomorrow. Eeeeekkkkkk!
Even found a hidden (blueberry) Mickey!!


Attached File  11813284_10207337024133710_4981441187396380299_n.jpg   11.85KB   0 downloadsAttached File  10403077_10207337024413717_6003940342402379057_n.jpg   9.92KB   0 downloadsAttached File  11059384_10207337170777376_8786638542074866066_n.jpg   10.63KB   0 downloads

  • Dianna, Daniela and Kristi Newman like this

#11507 Disney Magic

Posted by skdrennan on 23 July 2015 - 08:56 AM

Time for another Drennan  DISNEY countdown and Family FUN Night!  This time, our theme was DUMBO !  

We really had a lot of fun with this one!  We set up a family circus that included carnival games, food, and even entertainment.  Each family member came up with their own circus act to perform.  My daughter dressed up as a clown and she came up with some really funny lines.  Her act ended with a pie in the face!  I was the lion/cat tamer along with our golden retriever pup dressed as a lion.  My hubby was the bearded lady and it was hysterical!  Our games included balloon pop, ball toss, rings, and cans.  Dinner consisted of roasted corn, corn dogs, onion rings, and herbivore greens (salad).  We also had roasted peanuts, animal crackers, popcorn, cotton candy, and mini funnel cakes.  Dumbo was such a sweet movie to share with my little one.  We had a GREAT time!  Any of you out there having Disney fun nights?  If so,

Please share!!

Attached Files

  • Dianna, Daniela and Shannon like this

#11504 Any discounts for ON site Disney resort hotels?

Posted by the5coops on 22 July 2015 - 06:34 PM

Rockwall, Tx.  I went ahead an booked at the All-Star Movies resort because I was afraid of waiting too late.

We are from Rockwall too!  In fact, there are 4 other families planning to go to Disney from Rockwall, Garland and Mesquite!  



  • Carol Kamas Stewart, Kristi Newman and FrankR like this

#11448 Any discounts for ON site Disney resort hotels?

Posted by Carol Kamas Stewart on 19 July 2015 - 08:07 PM

Keep checking back with Disney on your reservations. When I reserved our room (at the All-Star Movie resort), I was told that we could go ahead and place our reservations and then Disney would either adjust our total for any discounts or give a refund if the bill had been paid in full. I keep checking back weekly and I'll be calling just as soon as they release the fall specials!

On a side note, I grew up in Dallas and my sister and her family are still in Forney!

  • beccasjoy, Kristi Newman and FrankR like this

#10708 It's Dining Reservation (ADR) time....anybody else booking meals for their trip?

Posted by Kristi Newman on 01 June 2015 - 01:20 PM

This will only be our second time going, our first trip was back in Dec 2013.  We stayed at Port Orleans, Riverside & had table reservations for: Boatwight (Thanksgiving night, it was just ok)

Mama Melrose's -Dinner (our daughter LOVED this place, my husband & I also enjoyed it)

Tuaker House -Lunch (fun) 

Cinderella's Castle -Breakfast - The food was AMAZING, This was my husbands fav meal.

Tokyo Dining - Husband & Daughter share a Birthday so this was where we ate for their Birthday Dinner. Very nice, wonderful service, food good.

Crystal Palace - Breakfast (lots of fun, I'm a big Tiger fan it was fun to meet & greet),

Kona Cafe -Dinner (VERY good!),

Hollywood Vine -Lunch (Ok),

Via Napoli Ristorante Pizzeria -Dinner (nice place, good food),

Coral Reef -Dinner (It was ok, we were alittle disappointed in this one, they seated us in a really bad table, no view and the food wasn't good.)  


Last time we did the dining plan but decided not to for this trip. Did some research and decided to risk rented points and will be staying at Disney Boardwalk Villas (1 bedroom).  So far no problems renting & booking I have our confirmation & it is already linked to My Disney Experience.  Last time we did stuff with a travel agent so they booked everything for me so I've been reading TONS of blogs preparing for the 180 mark to book table service we really wanted to try for Be Our Guest.  I loved the help I got from touring Plans.  


I was disappointed to find it harder then I expected and wasn't able to get everything I wanted. 

50's Prime Time Cafe'  (couldn't get the time I wanted.  :( - Fri, Nov 13th @ 3:55pm

The Wave (this is when we wanted Be our Guest :( Sun, Nov 15th @ 6:30pm

T-Rex - Tue, Nov 17th @ 2:45pm

Biergarten - Wed, Nov 18th @ 6pm

Be Our Guest (never could get any for dinner so I settled for a lunch :( Thu, Nov 19th @ 12:55pm

Teppan Edu - Fri, Nov 20th @ 6pm


During my research I found this and it could help someone attending a hard ticket event (such as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party) & would like to try for dinner at Be Our Guest without reservations.  



Our first trip we spent pretty much open to close in parks and it was an exhausting trip (our feet hurt so bad by the last day it was hard to enjoy it) So this time I've got our touring plans much lighter.  Most days we will head back to the room for lunch & a break.  We will be eating breakfast every day in our room also.  Sorry I probably posted way too much info.  Hope everyone is getting as excited as I am, Now I just hope I can get all the fastpass+ times I'd like, the count down continues!  


  • Dianna, Daniela and beccasjoy like this