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  • 02 Nov 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings PAACH homeschooling families. I hope your homeschooling journey has been exciting and full of adventure so far this school year. I’m sure you have had your challenges as you endeavor to grow with your kids and show them how to live every day to glorify God. I want to share a little bit about my experiences navigating the difficulties of walking your child into adulthood. I also want to touch on the importance of finding joy during those difficulties.

    One of the goals you should have for your child is to grow into a responsible adult. Teaching them how to think critically and weigh out consequences will go a long way in helping them to learn from their mistakes (which they WILL make). As parents, we tend to set unrealistic expectations on our children. When this happens, we are almost sure to overreact and be too hard on them when they mess up. This can exasperate your child and cause them to become discouraged (Col 3:21) You want to build your child up in the Lord, teach them self-discipline, and give them the tools they need to continue to learn and grow as an adult. If we are to be God’s representative, then we must learn to follow His pattern of discipline. In scripture, God often warns us of consequences while still leaving the choices up to us. I have tried to do this with my children starting around the age of 12. I will often talk with them about a problem they are facing and help them weigh out possible choices and the consequences. Then I remind them that they are the one who has to live with their choice and let them choose. This process has helped my wife and I keep a strong relationship with our children and gives an opportunity to build trust. When your child makes a decision that results in the bad consequences you warned them about, they learn to trust your wisdom.

    Another conversation that my wife and I have with our kids regularly is that we are for them just like God is for us. We assure them that we are not wanting to control them, but rather teach them to control themselves. When they are younger the consequences come from you as the parents, but as they grow older the consequences come from God. Many are built into His design, and some come from His discipline directly. (Hebrews 12:5-11) We also walk them through the process of repentance, restitution, and reconciliation. God’s design in the law (throughout Leviticus) shows that God wants us to make right the damage done by our bad choices. This seems to be a lost concept in today's Christianity, but it is necessary for those in a church to maintain good relationships. The fact is that saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t magically fix our mistakes. However, it can be a good first step when accompanied by an acknowledgement of the hurt caused and an effort to replace or rebuild what has been broken. The truth is, teaching these things is in itself painful because they must be taught by example. Some time of self-reflection on how you handle fixing your mistakes might be beneficial at this point. What kind of example are you living out when you make a mistake and hurt your spouse or child?

    Finally, I want to share a practice that has helped my wife and I through some pretty tough times when our children’s decisions have hurt us deeply. At times, we have felt disrespected, betrayed, attacked, discouraged, and incredibly frustrated as a result of a child’s bad decision. We have often asked ourselves these questions:

    1. Did I make this mistake when I was their age?
    2. Have I treated God the way I feel my child is treating me?
    3. How did my parents respond when I made this mistake? Was it helpful or hurtful to me?
    4. How can I love my child in this situation?

    When it comes to the end of the day, we strive to restore the relationship with that child because that’s what God does. No matter what we do, God works it for our good because what is best for us is to remain in relationship with Him. He always draws us back towards Himself. No matter what your kids do, they will always be your kids. You love them because God loves you and your kids. One last tip: Enjoy the times when you are in good relationship. Remembering the joyful times can be very helpful when persevering through the hard times. I pray that you will have much joy in your family.

    The PAACH Board desires to help and support you throughout your homeschooling journey. We also desire to help you disciple your children by providing encouragement, wisdom, and resources that will enable you to be Godly parents who lead your children towards Christ. We pray that your family learns together, grows together with others in community, and glorifies Christ in everything you do.

    James Cox

    James Cox
    PAACH President


  • 20 Sep 2023 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Who? Former, Current, & Future Homeschool Families

    What? ICHE Family Camp

    When? Thursday, September 7 - Sunday, September 10, 2023

    Where? Camp Timber-lee, East Troy, WI

    Why? Because, yes, we CAN take off school right after Labor

    Day for fellowship, rest, encouragement, fresh air, campfires, carpetball, gagaball and volleyball.

    Register online

  • 14 Jul 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Fall Soccer

    Register online or in-person at the Christian Center Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Cost until June 30: 1st player - $70 | 2nd player - $65 | 3rd or more player - $60

    Cost after June 30: 1st player - $80 | 2nd player - $75 | 3rd or more player - $70

    Homeschool Bowling

    Looking for a P.E. credit for your homeschoolers? The Christian Center is again reserving Friday afternoons for Homeschooler Bowling sessions. All skill levels supported. Family-friendly facility. Reasonable fees for bowling and shoes.

    4100 N Brandywine in Peoria. For more information call (309) 685-4218

    Dads & Lads

    Fridays 5 to 8 p.m. FREE Bowling and/or Billiards (dads must participate with sons to be eligible to play for free)


  • 14 Jul 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PCA Co-Op

    Learning history at PCA is fun for the whole family! Watch a mummy being made, experience a medieval feast, follow the north star with Harriet Tubman, come to Ellis Island as an immigrant, and more! PCA has openings for the upcoming school year. Our Beginners thru Jr. High group has a history focus through a Biblical lens. All ages from birth through 8th grade are welcome. We meet on Friday afternoons from 11:45 am - 3:00 pm, September thru early May.

    We also have a high school program that meets on Fridays from 10:30 am - 2:00 pm. This year highschoolers will earn a half credit each in speech, British literature, fine arts (focusing on medieval art and architecture), and Personal Finance. High School Students also have the opportunity to participate in our Fall play. For more information please contact Joan Reinhard @ joanereinhard@gmail.com or 309-363-5886.

    PCA Choirs Information 2023-24

    Peoria Cooperative Academy Choirs are open for enrollment for our 2023-24 school year! Our choirs are part of the Peoria Cooperative Academy Co-op, a Christian co-op that currently meets on Fridays at Calvary Baptist Bible Church in Peoria. The choirs prepare pieces to perform in two formal concerts during the academic year – a Christmas concert and a Spring concert. Rehearsals also include instruction in music education and choral singing. The directors have adopted a methodology that is consistent across the choirs to encourage musical development from the youngest ages progressing through high school.

    We have three choirs:

    Joyful Messengers

    K thru 4th grade - directed by Larissa Steffen, this choir meets at 10 -11 a.m. Cost per year: $125

    Larissa Steffen

    Larissa is a lifelong resident of Morton and graduate of Morton High School. Throughout her growing up years, she had the opportunity to participate in numerous church choirs and ensembles, Madrigals, All-State choir, and orchestra, as a violinist. She attended Illinois Wesleyan University studying music education with a focus on voice, but switched majors to nursing at ICC after getting married to Justin in 2009. They now have six children. She continues to participate in various ensembles, such as Peoria Area Civic Chorale and Morton's production of Messiah. She was greatly influenced by her Junior High chorus teacher, the late Heidi White, and hopes to bring the same delight and enthusiasm for music to the Joyful Messengers!


    5th thru 8th grade - directed by Annalise Duffer, this choir meets at 10-11 a.m. Cost per year: $150


    9th thru 12th grade - directed by Annalise Duffer, this choir meets at 2 – 3 p.m. Cost per year: $200

    Annalise Duffer

    Annalise is a home school and PCA choir graduate herself, after which she attended Bradley University to study music. She worked at Limestone High School in Bartonville for four years as their accompanist, which afforded opportunities to lead sectionals, substitute teach for the choir director, and direct a female vocal jazz group. She has also directed musicals for the TEAM home school drama group, directed Grace Presbyterian Church's Teen Choir, and music directed Cornstock Theatre's production of Camelot. Annalise has been teaching private piano lessons for ten years and will begin her fifth year as director for PCA choirs. Annalise is passionate about choir, music education, homeschooling, and loves working with kids of all ages. She and her husband have two daughters, and are looking forward to home educating as well. We welcome Annalise back as director this year!

    Chorale members participate in Bradley University’s John Davis Festival each year, and select members are invited to participate in Bradley University’s High School Honor Choir. Chorale members are also eligible to participate in ILMEA in their freshman through senior years (this is optional).

    Madrigals / Jazz Ensemble

    This is a smaller, audition group open only to Chorale members, sophomore through seniors. In the fall semester, the group learns and performs Madrigal music for a special Madrigal event in late fall, and traditional carols for the St. Lucia Nights in Bishop Hill in December. In the spring, participants learn jazz pieces to perform at a special concert in April as well as in our Spring Concert and other venues. Currently, there is no additional charge for this group.

    If you are interested in learning more and/or enrolling your student, please contact Becky Lawles at pcachoirs@gmail.com.

    PCA Science Classes 2023-24

    General Science

    Grades 7th & 8th - Meets Fridays 8:50 to 9:50 a.m. - Cost: $145


    Grades 9th & up - Meets Fridays 8:50 to 10:20 a.m. - Cost: $200

    This class currently has a waiting list

    Please contact Tracy Castro - mom27blessings@gmail.com for more information

  • 14 Jul 2023 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hosanna Homeschool Choirs fall semester registration will open in July! We encourage every one to visit our website, or reach out to us on Facebook, for fall semester details. Our spring semester was a wonderful blessing! We are looking forward to another blessed semester to end 2023! 

  • 14 Jul 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At CIBAD, our goal is to challenge and equip ambassadors for Christ to communicate truth with integrity and grace. CIBAD has two students competing in two speech categories in the National NCFCA Tournament at University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN with results pending at the time of this publication. Judah Springer is presenting an After Dinner Speech. Judah Springer and Elijah Doering are presenting a Duo Interpretation Speech.

    Upcoming Opportunities

    (all at New Castle Church in Mackinaw)


    DEBATE CAMP: July 31-August 3, 2023 from 9am - 4pm, Ages 12-18, Cost $75. Students will learn the fundamentals of debate, including how to research evidence, make reasoned arguments, and write an affirmative case. Most important, debaters will learn how to persuade and inspire.

    SCIENCE OF STORYTELLING WORKSHOP: August 4, 2023 from 9am - 4pm, ages 8-18, Cost $15. Join us for a fun filled day of experimenting with the basic elements of stories. Come learn the brain science behind great communication in age-appropriate break-out sessions.

    FALL CLASSES begin with a parent meeting on August 29, 2023. Classes run Tuesdays September 5 - November 14, 2023.

    • Apologetics (ages 12-18) at Noon to 1 p.m.
    • Speech (ages 8-18) at 1 to 2:30 p.m.
    • Debate (ages 12-18) 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.


    Contact Us

    Lonnie Ulrich 309-645-0472


    Cindy Springer 309-306-2146



  • 01 Jul 2023 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Emilee Anne Castro

    Emilee Anne Castro

    Emilee is the daughter of Eduardo and Tracy Castro. She is the middle of 7 children and has been homeschooled since kindergarten. She began participating in Peoria Cooperative Academy in 8th grade. Through PCA she had the opportunity to participate in four plays and Chorale. Emilee has a heart for worship ministry and has been involved in student worship ministry at her church since she was in 8th grade. This summer she will be doing a worship ministry internship at Summit Point Church. She plans to attend ICC in the fall and transfer to Liberty University to pursue a degree in worship ministry.


    Andrew Endress

    Andrew Endress

    Andrew Endress, son of Bruce and Elizabeth Endress has completed his High School home education at Pleasant View School in rural Galva. He plans to attend Black Hawk College in Moline, IL this fall and will continue living at home. His major will be music education, and he is especially interested in choral music. His career goal, Lord willing, is to teach music at the high school or college level.


    Chris Gonzalez

    Chris Gonzalez

    My name is Chris Gonzalez, I am the oldest of five children. A big part of my time in school has been Tri-County Enrichment Co-op, which I have attended for the last six years. I have made many friends through this co-op and a lot of my memories are attached to going to Tri-County. The teachers there are pretty amazing and pushed me to be who I am today. There was Mrs. Nofsinger who stood by me and my classmates as we struggled through chemistry, and then there was Mrs. Newton who taught me not to take things in life too seriously with her constant rabbit trails and weird obsessions with narwhals. In this upcoming year, I will be attending Illinois Central College pursuing something to do with communications because I love to work with people. Lately, my favorite verses have been Matthew 10:19-20 which says, “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”


    Tim Kelly

    Tim Kelly

    Tim Kelly has done it! He graduated this year and is looking forward to what God has in store. At present he is working at a local radiator repair shop and loves it, bringing his particular Tim flare to everything he does. He enjoys any project with his hands and spends his free time just keeping busy… with anything! Congrats Tim, follow the Lord in everything you do!


    Cliff Leman

    Cliff Leman

    Being in PCA has challenged and grown me through homework deadlines, group projects, power points, research papers, and interactions with others. I’ve been a homeschooler and a PCA ‘er’ my entire life, and am thankful for the friendships I’ve built and maintained, and the memories I’ve made through PCA. Ultimately, I am most thankful for those who’ve been instrumental in my life and have both taught me and learned alongside me as I have grown in my spiritual walk. Currently, I will continue to work and try new things until I find where God wants me to be long term. My plan is to job shadow various occupations as I continue working. Phil. 1:6 - “being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”


    Lauren Elyse Shelburne

    Lauren Elyse Shelburne

    Lauren has been homeschooled since kindergarten and has enjoyed being part of the Peoria Cooperative Academy since 2nd grade. She loved being part of the PCA Choral program and was a member of the Madrigal and Jazz Ensembles as well as portraying roles in High School in all of the PCA plays and musical theater productions. She participated in ILMEA and qualified for the District 2 Festival Choir in 2021-22 and 2022-23, All-State Choir in 2021-22, and Honors All-State Choir as well as the District 2 Jazz Festival Choir in 2022-23. Lauren enjoys her involvement in her local church and served on summer staff at Camp Assurance for several summers as well as working at the Peoria Chick-Fil-A. She plans to attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale this fall, and has been accepted into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.


    Karsten Dewayne Tisdale

    Karsten Dewayne Tisdale

    Karsten Dewayne Tisdale, the son of Steven and Rhonda Tisdale, is a high school graduate this year. He will be continuing his education in the fall at Illinois State University for a degree in Computer Science. Throughout high school he has been programming computer games in Unity and Clickteam Fusion. He has participated in figure skating for many years, with a high point of learning the axel jump. Karsten is still exploring the possibilities of what should be his future goals.


  • 26 Jun 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings PAACH homeschooling families. I hope this month finds you well. Summer has begun and I hope that means lots of time being spent outdoors having great adventures with your family and friends. Summer is a great time to grow in community. I want to offer a few ideas to stir up your creative juices and hopefully make some God-glorifying bonding moments for you with your family.

    I want to encourage you to look for opportunities this summer to learn together as a family. Go on adventures, enjoy the outdoors, enjoy some water activities, and discover God’s amazing creation. My family will be enjoying lots of hiking and geo-caching. For those who don’t know, geo-caching is like going on a treasure hunt to find objects or containers that others have hidden and maybe even left clues for you to follow. You can download a geocaching app on your phone for free and use your GPS to help you find them. You may even want to hide your own geo-cache together as a family.

    I also want to encourage you to get together with other families from your church or the local homeschool community. Summer is a great time to grill out or cook over a bonfire. Look for opportunities to encourage others and grow those relationships. Practice some hospitality and see how God might use you to encourage another family or even start a new friendship. God has given us all something to offer as a gift to others, so put it out there and build your community. I pray you and your family have a great summer.

    The PAACH board desires to help and support you throughout your homeschooling journey. We also desire to help you disciple your children by providing encouragement, wisdom, and resources that will enable you to be godly parents who lead your children toward Christ. We pray that your family learns together, grows together with others in community, and glorifies Christ in everything you do.

    James Cox

    James Cox
    PAACH President


  • 20 Mar 2023 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Summer Baseball & Softball

    Register online or in-person at the Christian Center Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Homeschool Bowling

    Looking for a P.E. credit for your homeschoolers? The Christian Center is again reserving Friday afternoons from Noon to 3 p.m. for homeschool bowling sessions. All skill levels supported. Family-friendly facility. $2.50 games and $2.50 shoe rentals!

    Dads & Lads

    Fridays 5 to 8 p.m. FREE Bowling and/or Billiards (dads must participate with sons to be eligible to play for free)


  • 06 Mar 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Do you know a new homeschooler or someone who is considering homeschooling? Perhaps you are new yourself, homeschooling one year or less?

    Join us Thursday, March 16, 2023, for New to Homeschooling Night with speaker Nancy Bjorkman from Heppner's Legacy. Nancy has over 20 years of experience and will share fresh ideas, how tos, encouragement, and more!

    Afterwards, shop our convention vendor hall, browse homeschool options and get advice from some of our local homeschool community. Register online today!

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Peoria Area Association of Christian Homeschoolers

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For questions regarding newsletter submissions, the Homeschool Convention or home education in general, please send an email to info@apachecentralillinois.org. A Board member will respond as soon as possible.


Mailing Address: PAACH | P.O. Box 5203 | Peoria, IL 61601

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