Spring has sprung…thank goodness!

Puddle splashing, dirt digging, building with sticks, playground exploring, sunshine soaking, fairy garden tending, chalk all over the driveway, scootering up and down the sidewalk, creek walks, roller blading, tree climbing, flower picking, seed planting, bird watching, hose play, mud sculpting…

Our days are full soaking up the excitement of spring and activities forgotten through the winter. Our driveway becomes our main play area once more. 
We are a family of five plus a sweet boxer dog. Miss J is 6 years old, Miss A is 3, and ‘lil R is 5 months. Our homeschool journey is just at the beginning. We are learning and figuring it out as we go. I’ll use this space to share our homeschool adventures and reflections. I hope you can connect to parts of our journey and it can be of use in someway to your life. 

It was a winter full of plenty of doubt about our homeschooling journey. A new baby, holiday bustle and dark dreary days made it impossible to get into a smooth flowing rhythm. Everything I envisioned for us in the fall and laid the groundwork for was flopping come January.

With the onset of spring, I’m embracing my winter struggles and finding hope in this season. I realized fall and spring are the times we are most focused and energized watching the changes around us in the seasons and driving our learning and activities.

I’m going to shake off those winter months and throw myself into spring. Follow the girls’ leads and make sure they get to where they want to go in their learning. We are reconnecting with friends, reaching out to some new homeschool groups, working (always) on our rhythm and being mindful of how we spend our days, discovering new parks and overall just getting pumped for what’s to come this season. 

Enjoy these days, ripe for the picking!

-Kate

Up and Down the Alley

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We don’t own any sheep.

We don’t arise at dawn to shuffle off to the pasture to feed and water our miniature flock of friendly fluffy animals. We don’t lovingly shave off their wool, hand card it, spin it ourselves, and dye it using all-natural concoctions that we have made out of flowers we picked on our last forest walk around our property.

No, we haven’t got any of that around here.

Sometimes I ask myself, “Why is it that I know so many homeschooling families that live in the city, and I have the hardest time finding any city homeschooling blogs?” Sometimes I would like to kick back and read some stories from another mom or dad whose kids spend their days riding scooters up and down the sidewalk and take weekly trips to the museum, because while it might be nice to have acres of land on which to turn my kids loose, that’s not my family’s reality. It’s not my family’s goal or desire. We like having a rec center down the block and around the corner. We like having a dozen friends within walking distance. We like having pools and spray parks in our neighborhood. We like sharing a fence.

So, here we are, a handful of families who have also made the decision to educate their children, not removed from the hustle and bustle of city living, but right in the heart of it. It’s exciting, exhausting, and LOUD. It’s frustrating, annoying, and entertaining. It’s dirty, smelly, and friendly. There’s a lot of broken glass. It’s home.  ~Foster

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Welcome to Neighborhood Homeschool, a collaborative blog established by a group of homeschooling friends who love educating their children in urban settings.  Together we imagined an online space where we could tell our stories in our own unique voices.  We wished to showcase the exciting and ever-changing locations where homeschooling can take place in urban communities.  Our families are different; our reasons for homeschooling are different, but we share the desire to narrate our families’ lives and celebrate the urban setting.

This is the inaugural post!

I’m Erica, and I’m going to kick off this new blog with an introduction of my family and a look into our week.

I was not the parent who brought up the issue of homeschooling.  Nope.  My husband was drawn to the idea first.  We were both educators at the time, and we were in love with our first child, a little son.  Contemplating the big kindergarten questions–when ,where–my husband brought up home education.  I hesitated.  I admit I carried some negative stereotypes about homeschooling and homeschoolers, and I’ve never been one to go too far outside of the norm.  I didn’t think I could face the questions, the stares, the potential criticism.

But then something kind of magical happened.  After moving 1000 miles away, I kept meeting families who were educating their children at home, and I saw that they weren’t actually home much at all.  I was reminded of an article that I read years before–a piece that really stuck with me and probably represented the true beginning of my homeschool journey.  It appeared in the May-June 2008 issue of Mothering magazine when I had one almost-three-year-old at home and a baby on the way.  “The Never-At-Home Homeschoolers” by Patricia Zaballos sparked my interest and allowed me to contemplate what learning could look like with many of the traditional boundaries taken down.  (You can read a pdf version here.)  I pulled out that article again during the big kindergarten contemplation, and even though we ultimately found a good kindergarten class for our son at a small Christian school, homeschooling stuck in the back of my imagination.

We finally made the choice to educate our children at home in the winter of 2012, and we officially began homeschooling in the fall of that year.  I was the parent-teacher of a second grader, a preschooler (who still attended a preschool a few days per week), and a one-year-old.  That was our beginning.

Today, our school holds a fifth grade boy, a second grade boy, a preschool girl, a two-year-old boy, and a baby due this summer.  We’ve moved, created a new home in a new city, and transitioned through several homeschooling methods and styles.  Yet, through all that change, the exciting possibility of learning at any time and in any place still holds a joyful appeal.

This week, the beautiful weather drew us outside more and more.  We explored a local art sculpture that inspired a fun, rather math-y discussion about polygons and division and colors and motion. As a homeschool mom who worries a lot (far too much) about math and lack-of-math, I was totally thrilled!  The sculptor Guy J. Bellaver created this piece called “1970.” This is the beginning of a little project that we are doing as we explore outdoor art.  ~*~Erica

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