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Pilgrim
03-22-2011, 09:21 AM
We live in a small town. At pop. 3000, it is the county seat. Rural, yes, though there are some extracurriculars right in town: dance, gymnastics, ice rink, private music lessons. There are other HS families nearby, most of whom are religious.

Forty-five minutes away is a larger town with an active HS group, and many more extracurriculars like martial arts, archery, museums, and art classes.

We've had discussions of moving near an even larger town/city (pop. 140,000), namely to be closer to many more activities and outings. There's a secular HS group/co-op there. We'd want to be outside the city, with a good amount of land, but we think it would be nice to be just 20 minutes from the city with all the many extras it offers. (DW and I used to live there, but that was pre-kids; our current home in the small town is the only one we've known as parents.)

What are your experiences with HSing in both a small town and a big town? I'm wondering if maybe we're just overlooking what we do have available to us currently, or maybe that we're putting too much emphasis on socialization opportunities. I'm thinking it would be nice to have the best of both worlds: land enough for privacy and a large garden, maybe some chickens (!?), but also close enough so that most of our HS activities wouldn't be pushing an hour's drive each way.

StartingOver
03-22-2011, 10:38 AM
My older children would tell you that the way out in the country life was better. We lived in a few different states and traveled all over for 5 years. They all agree that living in the Rocky Mountains in NW Montana was their favorite ! We were 45 minutes from a smallish town, and about an hour and a half from a larger town.

We now live in a very small town on the edge of the big city, it is 20 minutes away.

Aandwsmom
03-22-2011, 10:52 AM
I grew up in the woods basically, closest small town was 30 min. away and I loved it. I wouldnt go back and change ANY of it. I wish I could do it for my kids. DH grew up in a small town, elem. and high school within sight of his house, woods to play in close by, etc.
We have lived in Florida, Texas and New Mexico during his Air Force stint and have now been in Portland for almost 10 yrs. This is the only place my kids remember as they were 4 and 3 when we moved here.
We LOVE having all the amenities a large city offers. We have a small house on a 1/4 acre lot in the city but we are urban farmers with chickens and ducks, veggie gardens, fruit trees, etc. so our kids still get some of what we grew up with. We have considered moving BACK to the small town DH grew up in. Both sets of grandparents live there plus great grandmas and they would love it but I dont see that the school system is any better. We have issues of no pizza delivery, town rolls up sidewalks at 6pm, even the gas stations are closed on holidays, etc. We like the amenities a large city offers like being able to order pizza and have it delivered OR we want ice cream on Thanksgiving and can go to Plaid Pantry on the corner and get some.
So, I don't know...... we have more stuff for the boys to do HERE in the big city..... but I dont know that we would be homeschooling if we were in the right public school setting like in a small town. It would take just the right place.
IF you can move that much closer to large city but still get a place in the country, I would probably do it.

Cheryl
03-22-2011, 11:40 AM
hubby and I grew up in DC, the hood.

we bought a 20 acre farm in NC about 30 minutes outside Charlotte, NC. We don't have to explain what dope fiends are anymore. Only when we visit the G-ma's

my kids want to live in the city, apparently kids in the city don't have chores to do (rolling eyes) granted city kids aren't mucking out chicken coops but I'm sure they still have chores.

In Charlotte there ARE more activities for sure but how many do you really need? We let them do Art, Homeschool Gym/Swim class offered by our local YMCA and a sport of their choice. They have plenty of friends and what I think a "normal" social life, minus the dope fiends my husband and I grew up with.

Since my kids went to private school for a time, I have seen both worlds. I'm good with our calmer, slower life that revolves around US the FAMILY and except for the chicken coop chore they are too :-)

good luck!

hockeymom
03-22-2011, 11:54 AM
My son spent his first 5 years in a big city and although we weren't homeschooling at the time, we had tons of opportunities available and knew many homeschoolers. I was well aware of all the classes he would have available if we went the homeschooling route, had we stayed. But then we moved to a tiny community outside a small "city" (American sized town) and have *nothing* available. Yes, we have a few organized (semi-organized) sports available, but no art classes, no museums, no science centers, no culture of general learning and inquisitiveness. I think it's that last thing that really strikes us, over and over again. Because we moved here when DS was 5, he is well aware of what he's missing, and it's painful for all of us on a daily basis.

For living practically in the country, we have few farms near us, practically no local foods, none of the "go local!" lifestyle that is important to us. There is nothing but woods, inaccessible to us because the folks here participate in vastly different outdoor pursuits than we do. It took moving here for us to realize that it's the urban communities that find value in and support things like hiking networks, bike paths, camping (tent, not trailer) opportunities etc., and that by being so far from any urban areas, those resources simply don't exist. Living so far isolated is quite different than living 20 minutes or even an hour or two from an urban center, though, which is actually pretty difficult to do in the States.

So for us, we will high tail it back to an urban area as soon as possible (dam_ economy). Small town living is offering us nothing but daily frustration and a very sad and lonely little boy. That's obviously not the case everywhere, and there are plenty of people who love this kind of life, but to us it's stifling and the silence feels suffocating. So really, it's very personal and sometimes it takes stepping way out of your comfort zone to figure out what exactly your comfort zone is.

Pilgrim
03-22-2011, 12:36 PM
Hockeymom, you've tapped into my own reservations about small-town life. Yes, there is lots of wilderness here, and some trails, but if they aren't designed for snowmobiling and 4-wheeling, most people won't support it. By comparison, 2000 will show up for a 4wheeling fest where they tear up and pollute the wilderness, while the local nature clean-up group is lucky if 10 people show up to it's annual river cleanup day. It's pathetic.

Some progressive leaders are planning a bike/hike trail through the county and the hate-filled backlash is incredible. You'd think the plans included a nuclear waste dump site. But try to limit 4wheel access on some backroads and folks are up in arms about it. Ironically, it's the folks who live in the country who seem to have the least concern or respect for nature.

Penguin
03-22-2011, 01:36 PM
Wow, Pilgrim! Your experience of rural would make me want to leave too.

We live in a rural community, on an island in Puget Sound, WA, and we love it here. We have two acres, five miles from one small town, 6 miles from another. The whole community here is very artsy crafty, and environmentally aware. There are all sorts of preservation efforts going on, and there are lots of opportunities for the boys -- too many sometimes! We have some different sports (which mine aren't interested in), martial arts, there's a science club, Lego club, dance, gymnastics and theatre (starting at age 3! we're going to give it a try with T starting today), lots of music teachers and a youth orchestra.... And as well as all that, we have beaches and forests to explore. And there are quite a lot of homeschoolers here for the size of our community.

Our nearest city is Seattle, which is a ferry ride away, and a total of about an hour and a half trip. While sometimes we would love to more easily visit its science, art, flight museums, zoo, etc., most of the time when we do spend a day "on the mainland" we are worn out and exhausted and simply overstimulated from the exposure to "mainstream America." We have almost no chain stores here and very little traffic. It's peaceful.

We love the life we have for our boys here. But I understand that not all rural areas are like this one. We feel very lucky. Good luck with your decision.

hockeymom
03-22-2011, 01:38 PM
Ironically, it's the folks who live in the country who seem to have the least concern or respect for nature.

This is our experience too. Land is for hunting, snowmobiling, 4 wheeling and dumping couches. I'm not saying those things are wrong (except the dumping of furniture and garbage, and the arson, and the grow-ops) but they aren't our idea of a wilderness experience. It was actually quite a revelation for us to conclude that ours is an urbanite's enjoyment of nature, but at least I better understand the classic and ongoing fighting over land use.

Cheryl
03-22-2011, 02:30 PM
oy veh, Hockeymom! GET OUT!!! blah!

my biggest complaint of country life is the occasional loud shooting when Bubba next door (8 acres away) gets a new gun.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-22-2011, 02:39 PM
I fantasize about a rural lifestyle, mostly because I wish my kids could have more time to explore the outdoors like I did (growing up on 40+ acres with a huge vegetable garden, ramshackle barn, and the freedom to explore the woods and fields without a parent hovering). But living near a city has wonderful advantages that I'm not ready to give up. Over the next two weeks (our "Spring Break"), we're going to the Museum of Science, the Peabody Museum of Archeology (at Harvard), and the zoo. Yesterday, my husband took our son on a tour of the State House and visited the children's room of the Boston Athenaeum. A couple of weeks ago, they went to Bunker Hill and the U.S.S. Constitution. There are lots of activities for homeschoolers here, too (though we can't afford to take advantage of most of them). We'll find tinme to go hang out in the woods, go hiking, and get involved in a 4-H group to get our "nature fix" and try to have the best of both worlds.

Pilgrim
03-22-2011, 03:18 PM
The whole community here is very artsy crafty, and environmentally aware. There are all sorts of preservation efforts going on, and there are lots of opportunities for the boys -- too many sometimes! We have some different sports (which mine aren't interested in), martial arts, there's a science club, Lego club, dance, gymnastics and theatre (starting at age 3! we're going to give it a try with T starting today), lots of music teachers and a youth orchestra....

We have almost no chain stores here and very little traffic. It's peaceful.


Will you send me a listing of homes for sale? ;) That sounds wonderful. Here, most preservation efforts are met with paranoia and skepticism.


This is our experience too. Land is for hunting, snowmobiling, 4 wheeling and dumping couches.

LOL. That sounds familiar. I'm not against hunting or off-road vehicles (the latter I enjoy myself at times). It's the land-is-solely-for-our-enjoyment attitude that irks me, as well as the stiff opposition to anything even slightly progressive. Of course, it's not everyone, but that's the overall mood of the place.


I fantasize about a rural lifestyle, mostly because I wish my kids could have more time to explore the outdoors like I did (growing up on 40+ acres with a huge vegetable garden, ramshackle barn, and the freedom to explore the woods and fields without a parent hovering).

I guess I'm looking for what I grew up with, too, which was a mixture. We lived on a small lot in a small town, but it backed up to a large woodsy area that we could freely explore. We spent A LOT of time outdoors growing up. Mom had a garden for a while, and we rode our bikes all over town.

At the same time, the college on the other side of town offered a lot in terms of culture and a liberal-mindedness that was prevelant in the town and our schools. In junior high, I got to see 10,000 Maniacs and REM when they were just starting out. I helped out at the college's radio station and got to listen to tons of new, interesting music. My friends and I would walk up the hill to see showings of foreign films and documentaries. Funny, I remember hating those rich kids and their prestigious college on the hill. There was a rift between them and us townies.

Still, I'm glad it was there. The point being that I want my kids to have easy access to the same sorts of things. Yes, long walks outside and safe, unstructured play in nature...but also, the ease of going to a play (a play!), a jazz festival, a children's science museum, or an art gallery, without having to drive nearly 2 hours each way.

Sorry, I feel like I'm ranting and raving. Thanks for letting me. :D

hockeymom
03-22-2011, 03:45 PM
I don't think you are ranting and raving, Pilgrim--it sounds like you're speaking for many of us! :)

I grew up in a smallish but growing town, but right at the edge. My entire young childhood was spent outdoors in the hills behind my parents house, almost always alone because there were no kids around. Because it was so hilly, there wasn't much of a neighborhood vibe. Later, I was able to enjoy the progressive culture of northern California. Going to Green Day, Primus and Mr. Bungle shows were literally every-weekend events for us, it was an easy drive in San Francisco, and real culture was all around. But, it was also terribly boring for me and I remember how badly I wanted to escape and get to the city.

So I DON'T want that experience for my son. He wouldn't take advantage of land if we had any (as it is we have a huge yard but he won't spend time outside alone) and he craves excitement even more than I did as a kid. I would love to live right in the middle of an urban center--smallish would be okay as long as it is progressive--so I could walk everywhere. A small plot but with good siting so I could grow lots of veggies, veggies and fruit trees. A real neighborhood, with kids around and pubs to walk to and a good local library. A subway or train would be awesome, and lots of museums, colleges and sports to take advantage of. A sustainable and full experience, with a real opportunity to put roots down and be an active member of my community, instead of feeling like an outsider peering in.

That's my dream, and I'm sticking to it! :)

Dutchbabiesx2
03-22-2011, 04:44 PM
We live in a university/Tech town, was Money Mag's #1, and #2 two years in a row. It is about 150,000 people, but we are never sure if they count the university kids or not. We don't have much for 'culture' a bit of theater and visiting arts, but a lame children's museum. We are an hour away from a major city. I like to go to The Bay area to get my culture in.

We do have quiet and very close to the mountain communities, hiking, rafting, dog parks (though we don't have a dog anymore) an AWESOME bike path system, they are adding to our neighborhood branch as I type. Local restaurants and stores, a major university and close to a neighboring town that is a mecca for sculptural arts! We have a lot of Technology companies here and a great vet school.

Some days I'd like to move more into oblivion, but then spring comes around and I start loving being able to ride bikes to the library and parks and invite people over for BBQ. We actually live outside of town in a quiet neighborhood, but are very close to everything.
We have a local HS group that encompasses 3 towns here and all the little ones in-between. Secular and friendly.

I think it would really depend on the town, I've only lived in the heart of a major city when I was in my early 20's. I was reading about the Puget Sounds area and I'd like to live there too, plus I love the variety of architecture there, here it is one cookie cutter after another, we have one of the funkiest houses in the whole county and we are about to make it more funky.

alexdk
03-22-2011, 05:00 PM
I would love to live right in the middle of an urban center--smallish would be okay as long as it is progressive--so I could walk everywhere. A small plot but with good siting so I could grow lots of veggies, veggies and fruit trees. A real neighborhood, with kids around and pubs to walk to and a good local library. A subway or train would be awesome, and lots of museums, colleges and sports to take advantage of. A sustainable and full experience, with a real opportunity to put roots down and be an active member of my community, instead of feeling like an outsider peering in.

That's my dream, and I'm sticking to it! :)

Yep...I have that same dream and I am sticking to it too ;)

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-22-2011, 05:03 PM
Move down here, Hockeymom! My little suburb has lots of friendly homeschoolers, community farms nearby, 20 minute bus ride to Harvard Square and the subway to Boston, and HOCKEY (lots of kids in leagues here). :)

alexdk
03-22-2011, 05:08 PM
Very interesting thread!
I can relate to hockeymom so much...

We live in a small town in Ontario (Canada), about 30 minutes from Windsor (which is right across the river from Detroit, MI). We can walk to the tiny library and hockey arena and we're a short bike ride to the town centre with shops and parks.
We own 1 car, so mostly that is our problem, but we can't access a lot of the stuff without planning around my husband's work schedule. We feel isolated for that reason, but at the same time, my kids can run around the farmer's field next to our subdivision... something they wouldn't be able to do in the city. There are NO homeschoolers where we live, but there are some in Windsor (many Christians).
We've lived in a city before and that matched us a lot more, being able to hop on public transportation and go wherever we wanted, when we wanted.
We're hoping to move again in the near future, with my husband's work and crossing our fingers that it will be to a safe mid-size city that will have public transportation along with activities and culture for our family!

alexdk
03-22-2011, 05:09 PM
Move down here, Hockeymom! My little suburb has lots of friendly homeschoolers, community farms nearby, 20 minute bus ride to Harvard Square and the subway to Boston, and HOCKEY (lots of kids in leagues here). :)

Can I come too?? ;)

farrarwilliams
03-22-2011, 05:14 PM
Ooh, I have lots of thoughts on this but not so much time to share them. Quickly...

I grew up rural, then suburban in my teens. Now I live right in DC (Cheryl, maybe you grew up near where I live now!!!). I actually think homeschooling in the city rocks. We never want for friends and activities who are at least somewhat nearby. We have unending resources. The kids can walk to the park. We use the metro. We use the museums. There's down sides too - the cost, the "dope fiends" that Cheryl referred to... but for us, it's good.

wife&mommy
03-22-2011, 05:59 PM
We just moved last year to a house that is in the country, but it's only about 20 minutes from the city. So we get some of each really. It's less country than I'd like it to be but we have a little land and there are lots of horses, cows, other animals and farms around, so works for me for now. :)

BrendaE
03-22-2011, 06:07 PM
I envy the people with enough financial resources to live in the city during the fall and winter and move to their country house in the spring and summer. *sighs*

hockeymom
03-22-2011, 06:14 PM
Move down here, Hockeymom! My little suburb has lots of friendly homeschoolers, community farms nearby, 20 minute bus ride to Harvard Square and the subway to Boston, and HOCKEY (lots of kids in leagues here). :)

We're trying to! :) My husband is desperately looking for a new job and we're concentrating somewhat on the Boston area. There *should* be plenty of energy jobs there, but we haven't found the right one yet. Fingers crossed that this is the year. I will definitely be seeking your advice on areas to live if he gets lucky.

WindSong
03-22-2011, 06:17 PM
I just had a long talk about this very issue with my dh over the weekend. We currently live in a small town with a pop ~6000. There are a few opportunities available to us such as soccer and baseball through the town and other sports and swimming through the local Y. We have a local homeschool group but it isn't secular. We just don't gel with the group. To get real cultural and museum experiences we must drive 2 hours to Boston. Needless to say this doesn't happen. It's just not practical. I told dh that I wanted more opportunities for all of us. I would love to maintain our space and privacy. We have 2.5 acres of field and woods- which is wonderful. But I desperately want to live somewhere where cultural and social opportunities are more accessible.

I grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia in the '70's. We had the largest backyard on the street with a creek running through the back. We played ALL day out in the yard and down by the creek. My parents saw us for lunch and dinner (on weekends and in the summer). We found turtles, minnows, crayfish and toads. My dad built a tree house for my sister and I. There were a dozen + kids on the street to play with anytime. At the same time, it was just a short (brand-new) metro ride to downtown DC where we could take advantage of the museums and zoo. It was wonderful. I would love this type of experience for my kids. I just think now-a-days it takes a lot more financially to make this happen than it did when I was growing up. For now, we are here and must make the most of it.

I hope you can find the balance that you seek. I wish that for all of us.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-22-2011, 06:40 PM
Can I come too?? ;)

Of course! I should warn you that the house prices are appalling. :)

BrendaE
03-22-2011, 06:43 PM
smallish type house prices here are about 500K USD .... my 3 bedroom crappy cramped small falling apart rental is 1800 a month :(

camaro
03-22-2011, 10:17 PM
Our family lives a pretty rural lifestyle and we wouldn't trade it for the city (big or not), though my wife would say she'd wouldn't mind a 7-11 around the corner. We have our own farm and live seven miles from a village of about 250 people. Our nearest cities (pops of 17,000 and 35,000) are about an hour away. Do we miss out on some opportunities? Sure we do, but I think we gain a lot more. The 3 Ms have spent a lot of time with me while I work around the farm and have experienced it all, from watching calves born to watching me fix the combine. They've ridden along while I baled hay and hauled grain. Mitchell is also old enough to be able to drive a little around the farm and was so proud to be able to run the skidsteer to give me a pull when I got the semi truck stuck on an icy trail. All 3 have "help" in the garden or feed the cats and chickens.

When it's playtime, they could roam for a mile if they want to (though they're a little young to get that far yet). We have a little patch of trees in the yard (planted by my grandmother in 1927) they call the "forest" where they disappear for hours. Or they ride their bikes down the trail only to drop them in the ditch and play in the dirt for an hour. I grew up on this farm myself and have shown them where I played as a kid - the old farm equipment that were airplanes or spaceships, the hole in the top of the railroad tie pile that was a trench when I played war...

That's not to say they never leave the farm. In the summer they take swimming lessons at the local swimming pool and spring and fall have gymnastics at another small town 15 minutes away. We've also been fortunate to get enough there's enough little kids around to put together a T-ball team the past coupe of years, too. Oh and Mitchell tried curling this winter, too. We get to a city about once a week or so for shopping and usually are too tired to do anything "fun" on those trips so we plan for a couple of road trips in the near future to some bigger cities further down the highway just to have some fun.

So I guess I'm saying we make the most of what we have and take advantage of opportunities to do more when we can. :)

MrsLOLcat
03-22-2011, 10:24 PM
We are in that "best of both worlds" place, and I love it. I'm outside city limits, in an area zoned Ag, on 5 acres. Our next-door neighbor on one side has 10 acres and board horses (their place is for sale), and ... I'm not entirely sure... but I'd guess the guy on the other side has 38. He raises cattle. I love living out here. I love being able to shoot off fireworks on the 4th without bothering to get a permit. I love being able to do construction on my home without worrying about anything. I love not having the noise of a neighborhood. I love that nobody can see directly into my backyard without a pair of binoculars. And yet we're 20 minutes away from anything in the city - homeschool group events, various lessons, parks, etc. We have 'good' Internet and TV. The city has tons and tons of bike trails, parks, etc., but I know what you mean about the country being a dumping ground. I come from a tiny town of less than 2000, and yeah, they don't care. They don't want any 'yuppies' coming and sticking their noses in their business. It's a live and let die mentality. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The only thing that I sometimes don't care about the country for is that the kids can't ride their bikes up and down the street, and there really aren't any other kids to play with. We have to drive everywhere if we want something, and not everyone is up for the trip out to our place. But the pros WAY outweigh the cons, and I've repeatedly told my husband I'd be okay living even further out. It's loverly.

Stella M
03-22-2011, 10:44 PM
Big towns or cities are good when kids get older, imo. Access to public transport so they can get around independently, access to part time work/study. Access to a wider range of extra-curricular stuff.

MarkInMD
03-22-2011, 11:27 PM
We're mid-Atlantic rural (in a town with an estimated 2011 population of 1,738, as we've recently learned from doing a social studies unit on our state). We're almost exactly equal distances from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington (2 1/2 hours give or take). To me, that's pretty sweet, because what one city doesn't have, another very well might. (Of the three, I have to pick DC as my favorite -- sorry to those in and around the other two!). I've lived in this area for most of my life, although I lived in the Baltimore/DC suburbs for a little over three years before I was married, and while it was right for me at the time (early-to-mid-20s, single living), I knew I didn't want to raise a family there for several reasons. It's right for some, but not for us. Fortunately my girlfriend/fiancee/wife agreed, even though she grew up in a city (Davenport, IA).

The homeschool group we participate in once a month does meet at a church and is nominally religious, but they don't shove it down your throat or look down on you for not using all Answers in Genesis or Bob Jones materials, so that's nice. Plus several of the students at our kids' karate dojo are homeschooled, too, and the family friends who originally talked us into homeschooling (also secular) are a regular part of our and our kids' lives. So we've got it pretty good.

So as for me, I vote rural within a couple hours of the big city. But then again, ideally we'd all be on a commune somewhere with our organic produce and chickens. (What is it with homeschoolers wanting chickens, anyway?!?)

Cheryl
03-24-2011, 01:26 PM
Ooh, I have lots of thoughts on this but not so much time to share them. Quickly...

I grew up rural, then suburban in my teens. Now I live right in DC (Cheryl, maybe you grew up near where I live now!!!). I actually think homeschooling in the city rocks. We never want for friends and activities who are at least somewhat nearby. We have unending resources. The kids can walk to the park. We use the metro. We use the museums. There's down sides too - the cost, the "dope fiends" that Cheryl referred to... but for us, it's good.

PG county. right over the line. blah. However, now that we are homeschooling we take advantage of the g-mas still living up there. up until a couple years ago we had a FREE parking pass at the FAA building!!! THAT ROCKED!!! funny that my kids LOVE the metro and museums, when hubby and I were kids we HATED the field trips to the museums, HATED riding the metro, etc, etc, we wanted to breathe fresh air...............my kids want to live downtown in a condo or row house lol

15 years ago DC was nasty, they have really started to turn it around. looks awesome now! My mom was born and raised in Anacostia. I am FLABBERGASTED it how it is changing! we are out there a lot. say hey if you see us :-)

Cheryl
03-24-2011, 01:29 PM
[QUOTE=MarkInMD;32294]

So as for me, I vote rural within a couple hours of the big city. But then again, ideally we'd all be on a commune somewhere with our organic produce and chickens. (What is it with homeschoolers wanting chickens, anyway?!?)[/QUOTE

LOL!!! we just got some! 6 purty chickens laying 2 eggs a day

DC is better then Baltimore, unless you are 20 and still clubbing. homeschooling kids and raising a family; DC for sure

Wabi Sabi
03-24-2011, 01:41 PM
I think we have the best of both worlds- I'm in a town with a very large university. People always refer to this as a small town, but at 80k (plus 40k students) I think it's really more of a small city. You can have several acres with room for animals, yet still be no more than 5-10 minutes from the heart of downtown. Go 15-20 minutes from the center of town and you can be as rural as your heart desires. The university also affords us many more cultural and educational opportunities than you'd otherwise normally expect in a town of this size, plus most folks around here tend to be fairly liberal (guess that could be seen as a plus or a negative depending upon your worldview, lol.)

The only downside, IMO, to a town like ours is that unless you work for the university that the job market isn't so great. Lots of highly educated, over-qualified people competing for every $10/hour job. Underemployment is a big issue.

obimomkenobi
03-25-2011, 01:10 PM
Dad Windu, Padawan Learner (15) and I are right in the heart of downtown Des Moines, IA, and we love every minute of it. The capital, cultural and entertainment districts, and one of the nation's largest bike path systems in right outside our door (literally). A year ago we were 15 minutes outside the downtown area of a similar city in another state and that was great too, but we found that we would hem and haw about making the drive/grabbing the bus into downtown for events more often than not. Now, we rarely hesitate. We go to the farmer's market every single weekend from May through October because it's right there. We see the fireworks from our rooftop deck. We grab last minute cheap tickets to baseball games, plays, concerts, etc if we're not doing something else because we're right here. We walk to museums, the state & city libraries, see the governor having lunch at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Thai place.

Yes, we have city noise and traffic: firetrucks, cars, delivery vans, neighbors coming and going. We have homeless men living kitty-corner across the street at the YMCA. I'm sure PL could find drugs if he wanted them. We also have seasonal decorations, new stores and old favorites, an ever-ready cup of sugar or egg no more than one door down, marshmallow fights with the people across the driveway, neighbors of every stripe and background.

I think it all depends on your personality, what you value, and your willingness to see the good with the bad no matter where you are. DW and I grew up in rural-ish suburban areas and we loved our childhoods. Padawan Learner has always lived in a city-ish place and loved his childhood, too. He has plenty of freedom to roam around his new city. We make the best of where we are.

As for more homeschoolers or more tolerant homeschoolers in a city? I don't know about that. Back in West MI, we were surrounded by homeschoolers (mostly suburban) who wouldn't give us the time of day because we weren't a religious family. Here in IA, we're also surrounded by homeschoolers (again, mostly suburban) who couldn't give a flying fig about what we believe or don't believe.

Pefa
03-26-2011, 10:27 AM
(What is it with homeschoolers wanting chickens, anyway?!?)

They're the other white meat...

PaganHSMama
03-26-2011, 11:40 AM
I am loving this thread because this has been my focus for a couple years now and I still haven't figured it out!

I grew up in Harlem, NYC and lived in the Bronx as an adult. I did not want that for my daughter and future children (my son loves the big city and misses the noise and apartment-living). I moved to the Pittsburgh area in 2005 and it is not very homeschool-friendly. We have lived in the suburbs of the Pittsburgh airport area and that DID NOT work (NO homeschoolers, few activities and limited transit). We now live in a small city 30 miles from Pittsburgh and, while it is much better than the suburbs, it is still not good enough. We have transit, but it doesn't run after 3pm (!!); there are more activities, but those are becoming fewer and farther between as no one really signs up for them (the YWCA was shut down!); there is a homeschool group, but it has never grown beyond 3 families. Otherwise, this is a perfect place for us - city living with a small-town feel, everything we need in walking distance and friendly neighbors with lots of kids, who my daughter plays with after school.

So, I am kinda stuck right now, trying to figure out where to go from here. I have had my eye on Seattle, but I am not sure my fibromyalgia can handle all the rain. I will be doing research on the areas where, those of you who are happy, are now living. Maybe I will finally find my next home! :D

rumbledolly
03-27-2011, 04:35 PM
I'm in an area much more like Hockeymom and Pilgrim. I have a very lonely DD. We live just a town away from the start of a very touristy area which is great in the summer when everything is open for the season - we have lots of choices be it just for fun or cultural. In the winter forget it. If you don't have the cash to snowmobile or a 4 wheeler then you're pretty much stuck being bored. DH and DD don't ski and I don't anymore - we couldn't afford to anyway. So our choices are fighting tourist for half the year and trying not to kill each other the rest of the year.

I grew up in a very small town in NH and my DH grew up in a small city in NH. Both of us were lucky to live in an area where we were closer to larger cities and Boston. The town we live in now has shopping and a movie theater, fast food, the Y and a community center I'm very involved in but as I drove back from there on Saturday evening the only thing open in town at 9:30 was the 7 Eleven.

Our lucky break comes via Amtrak which has a station one town over in Wells (where the tourist flock in the summer). I'd freak out if I couldn't get out of this backwater town in this backwater state! Like Addle we take advantage of all the wonders of Boston and the surrounding area and have even when we weren't HS'ing.

Last time we went to the NEaq we had time to kill before having to get back to North Station and did a bus tour of the city. We were so lucky - the only ones on the bus so the driver took us up close to the USS Constitution, too look at some expensive houses in the Back Bay, and even took a quick little trip through the Harvard (Cambridge) area so he could show my DD a cute little neighborhood park he thought she might like! He was so sweet - we always seem to find extra nice people in Boston.

If we were able we'd have sold our house in ME already and moved back into NH, probably Southern, so we'd still be near an Amtrak station or Portsmouth area so we'd be close to bus station with 15+ RT's to Boston daily! I like small town as long as I'm not more than an hour or so from a decent sized city.

Seattle is my dream city! My DH worked in the area for 3+ mos. I wanted to chuck it all and move there! Unfortunately my DH has yet to cut the umbilical cord to mom (and dad too). I didn't think it rained as much as people said it would - though I suppose it could have been a dry season!

Mum2rc
03-27-2011, 08:08 PM
We live in a town of about 14000 people, we have stayed because there are lots of activities for kids but we are about 45 minutes into the closest city to access the museums, zoo theatre etc., we like that we live in a small community but have access to big city amenities. We decided to live in town and not pursue country life so when the kids are bigger they can do things like ride their bike to the swimming pool.

Pilgrim
03-30-2011, 05:07 PM
I want to move. The nearest city has nature centers with year-round programs for kids, a HS co-op, a number of community theater groups, and much more. My little town tries but it's still little and limited.

Then I play devil's advocate and say "well, who needs structured programs and classes and plays? Just take a walk in the woods....there's enough of it. And we are in fact going to a play this weekend (it's 45 minutes away and the only production of the year I think). And you want a co-op? Stop whining and start one.".



Meh. Just thinking...

TamaraNC
03-30-2011, 07:34 PM
We live in the "downtown" of a town of 2,000; about 30 miles from a small city of 250,000. We're considering moving back into that city, or back to Connecticut to be closer to my parents. For now, I'm enjoying the slow pace and the yearly Moonshine Festival (I kid you not). I'm not so much enjoying the small town religious assumptions, so that's something I still struggle with.

Cheryl
03-31-2011, 12:20 PM
moonshine festival??? haven't heard of that one, lol.

TamaraNC
03-31-2011, 05:46 PM
Cheryl, you should come up! It's a weird event.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDemqN4k_1E

PetVet
07-07-2011, 08:20 PM
I read through this entire thread - interesting!

I live on a 21 acre farm about five miles outside of a very small town (pop 5K) and approx 45 minutes from a small city (pop 100K). Before my accident, it wasn't a big deal to drive into the city on a regular basis, but I rarely go alone anymore. We are also approx five hours from the nearest big city (Toronto, ON) and again, I have trouble driving that distance by myself now.

However, on the plus side, we live on a hobby farm on a dirt road surrounded by boreal forest, the neighbour's angus cattle and our own little menagerie. Yes, we have chickens! ;) I love it out here so much that when there was a question about whether or not I would be able to drive (I lost my driver's license after my accident on a locum neurologist's recommendation :mad:), I went to the local Mennonite farmers to price out a good horse and cart - no way was I moving into town!

Once my DS started daycare/preschool however, it quickly became apparent that our educational options here leave a lot to be desired. We have only one small local english public school (although the Catholics can choose between publicly funded french, french immersion, and english education! Best I not get started!! <grrrrrr>) and although the teachers do their best, the board simply doesn't have the time, staff or funding to differentiate the curriculum to *any* degree, in fact they have combined grade level classes quite frequently due to a lack of students.

Lately, I had considered relocating for educational reasons, but I have such a great support system here, both for myself and my DS, that it just wouldn't be possible. If homeschooling doesn't work out for us, I may have to look at things again... But private school would require a huge move (there are no secular private schools even in our close small city) so I'm going to do everything in my power to make HS work for us both!

coloradoalice
07-08-2011, 03:57 PM
We are rural and love it. I think we have the best of both worlds. We are out on 3 acres 5 minutes from a very small town but it has a grocery store and even a wal-mart. We are only 20 minutes from a larger town that has all the amenities and then we are only an hour from Denver which has all the cultural and museum stuff we could want. We have been here a year now and this was a trial (we are renting) to see if we liked it. As it stands we have no desire to move (unless DH could land a great job in Boulder, we would move for that without even thinking!) The only downside is a lack of liberal thinking but we've managed to avoid it being too bad. There is gymnastics and a small community program for sports here. I do wish there was a community pool but that's a small sacrifice I think. Our small town has a nice farmers market, we can keep livestock of our own and it's quiet. I have a gate at my driveway and I like it! :)

Searcher_2010
08-05-2011, 09:13 AM
Very interesting reading everyone's stories. We are currently road-schooling in US and Canada with an eye to settling down again sometime in the next year (or so) and this issue is one I am contemplating. I love rural tranquility but it is harder for my son - he wants groups, activities, and things to do with other children. We stayed in Austin for a couple of months and he loved all of the HS classes and groups (chess club, Lego clubs, soccer) available to him - but we were back on that rush, rush, rush lifestyle that I find so insane and energy depleting - too much time spent in the car, fighting traffic and feeling stressed. It is tricky balancing what my son wants/needs with the life that nurtures me.

Given my son's interests, we will probably settle somewhere near a mid-sized city so he can have access to the things he loves. Traveling around has really shown me that people can adapt to anything - especially for a short period of time. We have meet many people that lived 10 or 15 years in one location and then when that place no longer served its purpose (job, schools, family), they moved on. So, if we live somewhere that is not the best fit for me, there is always the option to move once Patrick goes off to his own life/college/career/whatever!

We are currently in central Maine and the very topography of the land (homesteads are clearings surrounded by unending trees) isolates people and promote self-sufficiency rather than group activities - so my heart goes out to Hockeymom and Pilgrim. This would be a tough place to HS.

dottieanna29
08-05-2011, 10:49 AM
We live in a mid-size town (pop. under 5,000) but since we are in the middle of Northern NJ, we are very close to just about anything you can imagine. Half an hour in one direction we can be in seriously rural area in middle of farms, mountains and woods, half an hour in the other direction and we can be in NYC (depending on traffic, of course). An hour to the ocean beaches, two and a half hours to Philadelphia, 4 hours to Washington DC.

But, we live on an acre of land in the woods, edged by a river and with a County Park on the other side of the river. Beautiful view of river, mountains and woods with regular visits from red fox, hawks, eagles, deer and bear. A farm with donkeys and sheep is at the entrance to our private community (old community so definitely not like a new planned development) and a few miles away is an alpaca farm.

But, we are close to major highways, jobs and any classes, activities and resources we could possibly need.

I don't think we are allowed to raise chickens though.

octobersky69
08-15-2011, 08:41 AM
I grew up in a development in a suburb of Cleveland, my husband grew up in a suburb of Detroit. We live in the Country now and would not go back to Suburban Life. My son has only known the Country for the most part, and loves it, We have a little over 5 acres and for a boy it supplies dig sites, room to run and explore, I could keep going on.. Our township has a pop of 2000, closest small town pop of 700. We are used to driving 40 min to do our shopping, 80 min to Museums, Zoos, Aquariums... The only thing that I wish we had was a martial arts center that was close, because my son has a huge interest, but other than that, we would never give up this life, if anything I would go even more rural, if my husband ever had a work from home job, that's what we would do, homesteading on a huge scale!! Ideally I would love to live in the uppermost wilderness of Maine, but that's a dream for another day!

noritha
08-15-2011, 08:56 AM
I think it comes down to which small community you're moving too.

Just a month ago we left a smallish town (20,000) just north of Nashville TN and moved to a small town (1,250) in Northern WI. I was so terrified. I felt so alone sometimes in the town of 20k. I was "that sweet but odd" artsy mama that all the 2 year olds in my day class loved but the parents always seemed a little nervous. I've always been told I and my family would fit great in a bigger city. We should moved to Atlanta, or Chicago, or East Nashville.

Instead we moved to the middle of no where.

And we're *loving* it. We moved to a vacation town so the locals are completely use to out of towners and are very kind. They are also deeply conservative but I avoid politics and religion in general conversation and we get along fine. They've seen odder birds than us land in this town so they're not worried one bit about us.

I will say though some serious research and visiting went into this move. Hubby was offered a job here and we *REALLY* did our homework. I didn't want to live in another town where I felt lonely and my neighbors were so close that if they forgot to put a shirt on I could count chest hairs (gag).

Now we're on 4 acres. Deer walk through our yard... as well as turkey, eagles, rabbits, frogs and who knows what else.

I think sometimes you have to move and move and move to find your comfort spot. And research. And thankfully it's not one size fits all. :)

hockeymom
08-15-2011, 10:00 AM
Well as most of you know by now, we recently moved from one isolated and stifling small town to yet another small town, but this time it's a village that is bustling with life, bursting with activities, homeschool and family friendly, super active and healthy, diverse in age and interests...well I can go on and on. We live in the middle of town, near a prestigious college and all that offers and a just a few minutes bike ride to the center of town with its restaurants, independent shops, farmers markets and the like, yet an equally short bike ride to the country with organic farms, pine tree lined country roads and the sea just beyond. Boston is just 2 hours away by train, bus or car and urban influences meld seamlessly here with rural sensibilities.

For this California raised girl, midcoast Maine is where I am finally in my element. So I'll have to change my battle cry for big city living to a well chosen small town, neither isolated nor completely gentrified.

Like noritha, we have moved and moved and moved, researched and dreamed, and wondered through it all where we'd truly fit in. I'm happy to report we've finally found it. :)

Pilgrim
08-15-2011, 10:14 AM
Noritha, I love living in the country too -- the breezes, the quiet, the wide open spaces. And I agree about moving around a lot, and how your comfort level all depends on where you are in life. However, I still wish we didn't have to drive so far to get to everything.

On the same topic, I've found out more about the two HS groups in the area -- one in our small town (religious) and one in the bigger town 40 minutes away (secular). We'll be going to the latter's planning meeting this week, and in the meantime have heard a few very good things about them. That's the good news.

The one here in town is seeming less and less to be our scene. Case in point: the idea of a co-op has come up, via email, with various subjects being floated out there (it's come up as several parents refuse to make the trek to the bigger town...at all).

One "class" idea is worship dance. Not ballet or jazz. Worship dance. I imagine some sort of possessed flailing. But that's not fair of me, is it? :confused: A recent responder was very enthusiastic about this part of it. At the same time, she dismissed the idea of a science class.

It is what it is, and that's fine. But it's not our thing.

Night Owl
08-15-2011, 11:56 AM
I'm new to the site and the thread. We live in a smallish town (5,000) that is 45 to 60 minutes from several small cities with active secular home school groups. I love the town we live in; great library, amazing accepting neighbors, a park across the road, and lots of neighborhood kids. There are lots of home school activities within a 30 minute drive. Sadly, if we were religious there would be much better activities available within walking distance, but we are not.

rumbledolly
08-15-2011, 12:08 PM
Well as most of you know by now, we recently moved from one isolated and stifling small town to yet another small town, but this time it's a village that is bustling with life, bursting with activities, homeschool and family friendly, super active and healthy, diverse in age and interests...well I can go on and on. We live in the middle of town, near a prestigious college and all that offers and a just a few minutes bike ride to the center of town with its restaurants, independent shops, farmers markets and the like, yet an equally short bike ride to the country with organic farms, pine tree lined country roads and the sea just beyond. Boston is just 2 hours away by train, bus or car and urban influences meld seamlessly here with rural sensibilities.

For this California raised girl, midcoast Maine is where I am finally in my element. So I'll have to change my battle cry for big city living to a well chosen small town, neither isolated nor completely gentrified.

Like noritha, we have moved and moved and moved, researched and dreamed, and wondered through it all where we'd truly fit in. I'm happy to report we've finally found it. :)

Maine is pretty cool isn't it! Unfortunately I moved a little bit to far south of Portland and so far our hs experience has been a bit trying BUT being so close to Portland and Boston does offer some great opportunities. Just wait till fall - the visitors/tourist are gone and we have all the cool stuff to ourselves...LOL.

dbmamaz
08-15-2011, 12:27 PM
How do you guys have the energy to keep moving lol! We've been in this house 7 years and have only even managed to paint 3 rooms .. . plus, the market is so bad .. .do you frequent movers rent?

hockeymom
08-15-2011, 05:02 PM
Maine is pretty cool isn't it! Unfortunately I moved a little bit to far south of Portland and so far our hs experience has been a bit trying BUT being so close to Portland and Boston does offer some great opportunities. Just wait till fall - the visitors/tourist are gone and we have all the cool stuff to ourselves...LOL.

I hope we get to meet up soon, rumbledolly! :)

hockeymom
08-15-2011, 05:03 PM
How do you guys have the energy to keep moving lol! We've been in this house 7 years and have only even managed to paint 3 rooms .. . plus, the market is so bad .. .do you frequent movers rent?

We hadn't rented in ages but we are right now while we try to sell our house up north. Hopefully it won't take too long; I'm anxious to get my garden in.

HWALTERS
08-16-2011, 07:18 AM
Lately, I had considered relocating for educational reasons, but I have such a great support system here, both for myself and my DS, that it just wouldn't be possible. If homeschooling doesn't work out for us, I may have to look at things again... But private school would require a huge move (there are no secular private schools even in our close small city) so I'm going to do everything in my power to make HS work for us both!

If "traditional" homeschooling does not work for your family consider an online virtual school...

Staysee34
08-16-2011, 09:14 AM
I am fortunate that we get the best of both worlds and wouldn't have it any other way. We currently live in the heart of the Erie PA Historic District which is extremely convenient for cultural reasons. Every other weekend my 2 younger DD's stay with their dad who still lives in the rural community where we used to live. My mom also lives in the same rural area so we get lots of exposure to rural life which is great seeing as how it's the way I was raised. You can take the girl out of the country, but can't take the country out of the girl LOL. My urban neighbors think I'm a complete lunatic with some of the ways I do things (tomato plants in the flower bed/beating rugs the country way ha ha!) but I can live with that because the neighborhood kids think I'm COOL!

PetVet
08-16-2011, 02:39 PM
If "traditional" homeschooling does not work for your family consider an online virtual school...

Great idea that I hadn't considered. Thanks!