2019 Not Back to School Party

Postcard 2019 Not back to school party

EPIC HOMESCHOOL NETWORK, INC. is hosting our annual Not Back to School Party and this year it’s going to be EPIC! Our Not Back to School party will take place during on Thursday, August 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Seven Springs Water Park located at 3820 Macedonia Rd, Powder Springs, GA 30127.

The Seven Springs Water Park features 2 water slides, a lazy river and a splash pad area with zero depth entry.

Not Back to School Party is a chance for local homeschool families to hang out and get to meet one another while learning more about EPIC Homeschool Network and other resources in the community for homeschoolers.

This event is free and open to all homeschoolers. However, attendees MUST register at  https://notbacktoschoolparty2019.eventbrite.com and bring their ticket as well as a copy of their Declaration of Intent to Homeschool. Please note that outside food or drink are not allowed. By purchasing food at the water park you help to support this non-profit.

If you would like to sponsor this event please email epichsn@gmail.com. We have something for every level of sponosorship.

What is EPIC Homeschool Network?

Epic Homeschool Network, Inc. is a nonprofit group.  Our mission is to enrich, enhance and empower home education in the community.  We are primarily a social group.  We do not offer structured classes, however, we do like to have educational themes for each month wherever possible.

  • We enrich by offering scholarships to our members for things like materials.
  • We enhance by offering field trips to extend learning beyond the classroom.
  • We empower through parent workshops – this year there will be more emphasis on this point.

We would like to invite you to join EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. for the 2019-2020 school year!  Membership runs from July 1st – June 30th .

What We Do


Last year we had a number of efforts toward our mission to enrich, enhance and empower home education in the community including:

  • Scholarship awards to homeschool families
  • The Annual EPIC Resource Fair to provide resources to homeschool families and the community
  • The Annual Awards Ceremony where we recognize the work of our homeschool students
  • The Annual Yearbook
  • Snacks for Homeschool Hangout
  • Science Club and a Running Club
  • Science @ the Park
  • Painting @ the Park
  • Biz Kidz 101
  • Music with Legos
  • International Festival/Geography Fair
  • Out of Town Field Trips –  For example in 2017-2018 we went to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center and we provided free transportation or free tickets for the kids.  In 2018-2019 we paid for all the kids to attend Ruby Falls & Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This year, we hope to accomplish even more!

We invite you to join our organization for another successful year for only $40 per family.

Benefits of Membership

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Benefits of membership include:

  • Teacher Identification Card for Discounts with local service providers (printed from our website)
  • One Complimentary Yearbook
  • Weekly Email Newsletters
  • Eligibility for EPIC Scholarships
  • Participation in the Annual Awards Ceremony
  • Access to webinar recordings
  • HSLDA Membership Discount
  • Annual Resource Fair
  • Standardized Testing Discounts
  • Teen/Tween Activities
  • Annual Not Back to School Party
  • Weekly Meet Ups
  • Monthly Field Trips
  • (Out of State) Annual EPIC Field Trip (Free or Discounted for Member Kids)
  • Friendships!

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Here’s what one of our members had to say:


To sign up for your family membership today click here.

If you have any questions about membership please don’t hesitate to contact Andrea Hall at 404.644.8391 or ahall@epichsn.org.

Quizzes, Tests, Grades, Oh My!

Quizzes, tests, grades, Oh My! is right!  How do you keep track of it all?

Homeschool requirements and reporting vary from state to state.  For example, in Georgia parents are required to “write an annual progress assessment report in each required subject area for each student. These reports shall be retained for at least three years.”  This assessment could just be a description without grades or it could be a formal.  However, if you are planning to send your child back to public school, or your state has additional requirements here are some options to help you meet your requirements.

Five J’s Free Gradebook

Gradebook+ is a free gradebook and record-keeping spreadsheet template for homeschool. The mom created Gradebook+ to use for her own high school son, but it can be used for any grade level. It’s easy-to-use and customizable to fit your own homeschool, and detailed instructions for using the spreadsheet template are included.


ThinkWave is a free online gradebook that is intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Flexible grading with points, letter, and custom grades. Custom reports (like attendance) produce beautiful .pdf documents. Student & parent access.

Homeschool Tracker

Save time and stay organized with Homeschool Tracker. A flexible, online tool for homeschool record keeping, planning, and reporting. (approx $65 per year – 20 students, 3 teachers)

Homeschool Minder

Homeschool Minder helps you organize lessons, assignments, and grading so you can focus on what’s important, education.  (approx $39 per year- unlimited students, 1 teacher)

How do you handle grading, attendance, etc?  Comment below.  We’d love to hear your ideas.

FREE Homeschool Expo THIS Thursday night February 28, 2019

Feb 2019 flyer for Beech Bazaar
FREE Homeschool Expo THIS Thursday night Feb 28th at the Cumming Parks & Rec Center (437 Pilgrim Mill Rd).  We now have OVER 55 Local N. Metro Vendors coming to this event!   It’s one-stop shopping for all your homeschooling needs for the upcoming year.  Hybrids, A la carte classes/activities, Sports, Extracurricular activities, Enrichment, music, coding, dual enrollment, reading assessment/vision therapy, nature centers, dyslexia specialists, executive function/ADHD tutors, hands-on science classes, field trips, veterinary classes, art, and so MUCH MORE will all be in attendance.    We have plenty of colleges attending for dual enrollment for your teens – including Embry Riddle from FL (yes – you can DE there for FREE) – and also driver’s ed for those soon to be driving teens!
Usborne Books and Homeschool Hangout will both be there and selling books.  If you have something special you want to buy or look at you may want to contact Peggy ahead of time at HSHangout so she can bring it for you.
Please help us spread the word and post on all your social media and share with your homeschooling friends!  We want to be able to offer this event every year so we need good turnout so the vendors want to come back!  We hope you can make it!!  Powerpoint Flyer attached below.  

BEECH Bazaar Homeschool Expo
Free & open to the Public 
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. February 28th
New  Bigger Location – Better Parking.
City of Cumming Parks and Recreation Banquet Rooms
437 Pilgrim Mill Road, Cumming, GA  30040

The “A” Word

by Kendall Watkins


Accreditation in the homeschool community is often misunderstood and sometimes controversial. Many families opt to have their student’s transcript accredited. Many do not. Still, some families choose accreditation for one student and not another. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to accreditation. Each family must evaluate its own philosophical, practical, and financial considerations when deciding whether or not to go the accredited route. There are no wrong or right decisions.

Many factors go into making this personal decision. Consider the following when making your choice:

  • The Georgia Home Study Law does not require accreditation.
  • All colleges and universities in both the University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia accept unaccredited transcripts. Note: Evaluation of applications of unaccredited homeschool students may differ from that of accredited students. For example, standardized test scores may be weighted more heavily than GPA. Inquire.
  • Unaccredited homeschool students are eligible for HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships as entering freshman, not retroactively as was the case in years past.
  • Record keeping is required for both accredited and unaccredited transcripts.
  • The vast majority of private Georgia and out-of-state colleges and universities accept unaccredited transcripts.

In addition to the above considerations, peruse several college websites to determine whether accreditation would be of any practical benefit to your student. Many college websites contain pages dedicated specifically to homeschool applicants. In the event information that will help you make an informed decision is unavailable, speak with an admissions representative.

If you need help determining how to evaluate whether you want your student to have an unaccredited or accredited transcript, or need help creating a transcript for your student(s), contact Kendall Watkins at kendallwood@comcast.net .

Disclaimer: This article does not provide legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

DIY Scholars Consulting

Email: kendallwood@comcast.net Call: 404-375-5434 Website: www.DIYscholars.com

Live Deliberately Essay Contest


Introducing…the 2018-2019 Essay Contest Prompt!  PLEASE NOTE that this year’s deadline is February 15!

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on? If you can not tolerate the planet it is on? Grade the ground first. If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no odds where you put him, or what you show him…he will be surrounded by grandeur.”*

H.D. Thoreau, Correspondence to H.G.O. Blake, 20 May 1860

With the quotation above as inspiration, respond to the following in 750 words or fewer

What is a change you are passionate about seeing in the world? How can you “grade the ground first” to cultivate that change within yourself? How do the changes we make within ourselves make the world a better place?

*It was common practice in the 19th century to use masculine pronouns when describing the entirety of humankind.  We use Thoreau’s quotation as it was written with the understanding that he was referring to all people.  We encourage youth of all gender identities to participate in the Essay Contest.

Essay Contest Information and Timeline

Each year, the Live Deliberately Essay Contest invites youth around the world, ages 14-21, to consider a selected Henry David Thoreau quotation and accompanying prompt. Contestants are asked to write a thoughtful essay that uses personal experience and observation to demonstrate how that year’s quotation and prompt relate to their own lives and to the world around them. Like Thoreau, these young people use the power of their words to convey vivid stories, personal conviction and human compassion.

The contest has three age groups: 14-16, 17-18, and 19-21. One winner will be identified in each age group and will receive a $250 cash prize, plus an autographed special edition of Walden.  Essays may also be selected to receive Honorable Mention in each age group, which will be awarded with an autographed special edition of Walden.

The deadline for essay submission is February 15. Each essay is reviewed by at least two readers and results are announced by the end of April.

Please read the Contest Guidelines for more information about the Contest and some tips to help you write your essay.

For information about past contest winners and to read their essays, click here.