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  1. #1

    Default Best places in the US to Homeshool?

    Hello!

    I have never posted on a forum before (what have I been doing for 40 years?!), but I am hoping to get your thoughts on the best communities in the country to homeschool.

    My wife and I are location independent work-wise, and we want to homeschool our children (oldest is only 3.5) in the coolest community possible.

    We are secular, highly educated, outside the box thinkers (hard to label) and we want to be around smart people who have rejected traditional education/thinking and want to raise passionate, confident, skilled kids.

    We'd love lots of local resources in terms of classes, organizations, internship possibilities and just an amazing community of bright, thoughtful friends.

    What would you all suggest if you had location independence like we do?

    Thank you so much!

    Nick T

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  3. #2

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    Welcome, Nick!

    The best place to homeschool is definitely... wherever you enjoy being.

    Is there an enclave of brilliant, creative thinkers raising all their kids to be above average? Lake Woebegone, of course!

    I think homeschooling is really what you make of it, what you put into it, and what you take out of it. What are the things you want to do, how do you envision learning will appear in 3 or 4 years when your oldest is "school age"? Fine arts and ballet? You might not want to choose rural Montana. Expose your darlings to a lot of diversity? Probably not a place where everyone looks the same... etc.

    Yes, there are are places where its easier to be a secular homeschooler, where it is easier to raise your kids in an arcadian setting, where you are more likely to find groups that have activities as you like. Find a community where you enjoy the culture, thats where you will find it mirrored for your upcomings.

    People love their kids everywhere, and want the best for them, including not in the box educations.
    Homeschooling DS10, DS4.

    Atheist.

  4. #3

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    We would worldschool :-)

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by echomyst View Post
    We would worldschool :-)
    Thank you, echomyst. We will definitely have elements of that as well. I'm just looking for suggestions on our home base here in the states. Super openminded

  6. #5

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    SF Bay Area? We're in the North Bay and it doesn't have what you're looking for (not enough resources or opportunities. I'm from Toronto, to give you an idea of my own expectations), but my impression is that the South & East Bay areas might fit the bill. Hopefully people who live there can chime in.

    I have a good friend who lives in the Arlington VA area. It's culturally diverse and I'm always impressed by the abundance of resources she can access. According to her, there's a sizable population of homeschoolers.

  7. #6

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    Okay, let me see if I can get this conversation going a bit.

    Here are the areas in the US that seem to be hotbeds for homeschoolers (lots of secular homeschoolers, active community, lots of resources for homeschoolers):

    - SF Bay Area (Specifically Oakland/East Bay and San Jose/South Bay)
    - San Diego
    - LA/Orange County
    - Austin, TX
    - Washington DC/Northern Virginia
    - Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill

    Anyone have any thoughts on one or more of these areas?

    Thanks!

  8. #7

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    I live in DC. There is a growing community inside the city, though it's been small before (my kids are the only kids their age practically... but we know what seems like dozens of K-2nd graders. The community outside the city though - both in NoVa and suburban Maryland - is sizeable. There's also a large Christian community in NoVa - smaller ones in DC and Maryland. In terms of jurisdiction, Maryland is pretty high regulation, but you can do an umbrella and even the regulation isn't that bad - you have somewhere between 1 (or 0 if you live in certain counties in certain circumstances) and 3 portfolio reviews where you have to prove "continued instruction" in a list of general subjects. DC is basically notification only (though I can talk about the specifics of that if you like) - so it's very easy. Virginia has different options but the vast majority of people choose to do a yearly standardized test - there is a low minimum percentile score to pass.

    Pros for the DC area:
    * free world class museums
    * culture out the wazoo
    * nature and history nearby
    * major urban area so any kind of class or program is going to be available
    * the secular homeschool community is pretty good

    Cons for the DC area:
    * traffic
    * cost of living
    * did I mention cost of living? DC is was ranked *the* most expensive city to raise a child in last year - yes, we narrowly beat SF and NYC... oy

    I can also chip in about RDU, having grown up there and having lots of ties to there. I haven't homeschooled there so I don't know about the community, though I hear it's good from people I know - lots of Christian homeschoolers but also lots of secular types. There's also lots of good culture around there. Great performances, lots of smart people, great food culture, not too high cost of living. The universities mean there are lots of good cultural opportunities. There are some wonderful museums - it's not DC for sure, but the Museum of Life and Science is awesome. And the NC Museum of Art is wonderful. And there are some great state parks all around. It's positioned so well to be able to get to the beach or the mountains. NC is a beautiful state. I'm especially fond of Durham, which has a reviving downtown and is a real liberal enclave in NC. Housing there is going up, but you can still find good deals close to the city center.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

  9. #8

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    Im a San Diegan...
    Yah, the weather is awesome as long as you dont want rain.
    We have Balboa park and the gazillion museums.
    We have oceans, desert, and mountains all in the same day.
    We have artsy communities, surfer communities, urban communities of all different types, rural communities, just about any niche you are looking for.
    LEGOLAND.
    And clean air and reasonable freeways, unlike our northern bretheren in LA and Orange Counties.
    Damn awesome pacific rim ethnic restaurants too.

    For homeschooling, last I looked there were about 20 homeschool charters. Find the flavor of people thats right for you. Our charter gives us a consistent social group of kids THAT ALL LIKE EACH OTHER, fieldtrips with a 1:1 parent student ratio (including places like JPL, behind the scenes san diego airport tour, an amazing private dinosaur collection, and more that many parents both want to go to with the kids), co-op (but better) style enrichment classes for those things taught best in groups (art, music, drama, gardening, cooking...) that you cant get at a public BM school, and guidance of a counselor who believes in homeschooling and finding whats going to work best with your kid. (Yes, and your homeschool materials are paid for by the state...)
    All of California has the charters, so many to choose from that youre bound to find one you think was made just for you.
    And if you cant bear the thought of a once a month meeting with a counselor from Sept - June, its easy to be an independent homeschooler too.
    Homeschooling DS10, DS4.

    Atheist.

  10. #9

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    Now we are talking, farrarwilliams! This is amazingly insightful information. Exactly what I needed. I think we will have to do a longer stay (1-3 months) in both the DC and RDU areas to check them out as they sound like real candidates!

    Would suggest any particular time of year to stay to get a better feel? Maybe times to avoid as well? Thank you SO much!!!

    Nick

  11. #10

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    This is great info, alexsmom! Your charter sounds incredible. I'm sure it has a waiting list, although our kids are young enough we can maybe get a jump. I think SD will be our first place to visit for a longer stay. We have quite a few friends there and the weather is amazing! I will see if I can't find that charter school as it sounds perfect. Thank you for posting!

    Nick T

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Best places in the US to Homeshool?