No One Home on Stanford Day

Homeschooling The Dark Side

Homeschooling… The Dark Side

Episode I: No One Home on Stanford Day, or The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

Our inaugural tale has its beginnings in the first two years of our family’s venture into homeschooling. We started in 2004, a full ten years before it was legal to homeschool in Alabama without a covering. What we didn’t know then is that we had entered the homeschool world during a time of change in our local community.

Our son Mike completed fourth grade in private school. We knew long before that year was over, however, that he would not return the following fall. There was time to get our ducks in a row. I shared the possibility of homeschooling him with school staff.

Mike’s second-grade teacher, Mrs. C., suggested a covering that we might use. We didn’t know a single homeschooler, but Mrs. C. did. She had friends and acquaintances who attended a large Protestant church in our neighborhood with an active covering for its members.

As it just so happened, that covering was opening its doors to non church members for the first time ever. We’d be the guinea pigs. The newness of the situation should have raised a red flag, but it didn’t because I didn’t know any better.

For decades, it was not uncommon for Alabama coverings to be open only to their church members. As the homeschooling movement grew, those coverings that would take anybody were bursting at the seams, especially in metropolitan areas. As the story goes, the administrator of one of the biggest coverings in our county called a few of the other covering admins and persuaded them to open their doors to non church members as well.

Armed with our yearly tuition and ready to learn more about what we’d gotten ourselves into, we attended the first covering meeting at the big church around the corner. The meeting took up a large fellowship hall. Lots of moms, dads, and kids were in attendance.

I filled out the forms, signed the obligatory statement of faith, and my husband and I enrolled our kids. I was optimistic that we would make friends and build relationships. I had underestimated how hard it can be for people to change their ways.

I seem to recall our family being one of only two or three at most who were not already church members. And even numbers two and three had friends in the church. As I was to shortly learn, information was passed around that covering primarily through word of mouth.

Details of new activities or changes in plans made the rounds on a Sunday or Wednesday when folks saw one another in person. Social media was a term as yet unheard of. Email was still the primary source of information for most coverings.

Mandatory covering meetings and business correspondence made their way to my inbox. Field trips that were scheduled far in advance would as well. But the moms in that group did some spur-of-the-moment stuff that was arranged only a few weeks ahead of time. Those events were the ones best-suited for the moms to bond while kids played. It was those events that I needed the most but always seemed to miss.

One church member in the covering (I’ll call her Ann) made an honest effort to be friendly. Ann would go out of her way to speak to me at meetings and turn-in-grades/gym days. I appreciated her efforts.

Ann and I met by accident at the public library one morning. She invited us to attend a play day set up just for our covering at Grand Slam, a local venue that has since closed. Kids could hit baseballs in batting cages, shoot hoops, play laser tag, etc., while moms chatted.

Ann was reasonably sure she remembered the correct date of the event. Those were the days before cell phones. There was no calendar to pull up with the swipe of an index finger. Ann promised to email or call me after she got home if she discovered she’d given me the wrong info. I wondered why my family hadn’t received an email about this event but counted my blessings that I’d run into Ann.

No follow up call or email correction ever came. So on the day of the Grand Slam play date reserved just for our covering, we donned our dark green covering t-shirts and headed out. We were going to have some fun!

The thoughts that crossed my mind when we walked in the door:

“Why are we the only people in green?”

“Those navy blue shirts sure are pretty.”

“I must’ve missed new t-shirt order day.”

“I wonder if they have any extras in our sizes?”

I let Mike and his little sister Kat walk about and decide what they would like to do before paying close attention to the moms. I had not made real friends with anybody in particular in the covering, but I did know the names and faces of all the board members.

Grand Slam was quite crowded. Maybe if I looked hard enough I could find Ann. No luck. I recognized no one.

I decided to go to the check-in desk and see if the nice lady behind the counter could help me. Maybe I could just pay her our money. That was when I got close enough to the other moms in their navy blue shirts to read the logo…

I don’t remember the full title after all these years, but I’ve never forgotten the feeling of my heart sinking as I realized we were crashing homeschool day for a local Catholic covering. Oh, dear….

I explained to the lady at the counter what happened. One of the Catholic moms standing next to me heard the story and encouraged us to stay. I paid our fees and we hung around until Mike and Kat were bored.

At the next meeting of my own covering, I inquired as to what happened. Ann looked mortified. The director was exasperated. I remember wondering if the director was aggravated with Ann for giving me the wrong day or for inviting me in the first place. The director’s complete lack of empathy for either me or Ann convinced me of the latter. For Ann’s sake, I laughed it off and sat down.

We survived the remainder of the spring semester, including the obligatory end-of-year swimming party. I submitted grades and whatever else was required. We had a choice to make about next year, though.

Mostly because of the covering’s convenient location, we decided to enroll again that fall. I know… I know… The thought of starting over with a brand new group was intimidating. Sad thing is that after a full year there, we still didn’t know a single soul outside that church who homeschooled. Besides, I wanted to give the church the benefit of the doubt. Surely they learned something from having non members in their ranks that first year. Like maybe send an email or call when you plan something in between required quarterly meetings.

As it would turn out, I couldn’t go on mommy dates or most field trips any longer. I took a part time job outside of our home that kept me busy until lunchtime. My husband Sam supervised the homeschool in the morning.

To understand the straw that broke the camel’s back, you need to know something about our first covering. The Stanford Achievement Test was required every other year. At least the covering arranged for the test to be given on campus. All we had to do was pay and show up. I wrote the date on the calendar and made sure Sam knew to get Mike to the church in plenty of time.

I would receive a phone call at work mid morning from my husband on test day. He was very confused. No one was at the church. The building where testing was to take place was locked tight. Not a soul in sight.

In fact, every door Sam and the kids tried all around the campus was locked. They finally attracted the attention of a maintenance man doing outdoor work. He unlocked the door and called the church secretary on her off day. She called the covering administrator.

Oh… didn’t we hear? The dates of the Stanford had been changed. Come back next week.

And that, dear friends, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It was already spring by then. Mike took the Stanford the following week. We finished out the second year, but we did not enroll with that covering for a third year.

Ann saw me out in public again not long after that and said the former covering director was being replaced. But it was too late as far as we were concerned. Our impressions of the covering, the people, and even the church were already set. The opportunity to make connections was lost.

It might be easy to shrug this story off as something that couldn’t possibly happen in this day and age. Facebook and smart phones keep us a little too connected to one another’s business, right? I’d tend to agree with you one hundred percent except…

Technology can and does still fail us. NGCHE is run through an open website/blog and has an open facebook page. Information is easily accessible. Yet followers still tell me they miss things. Social media is not foolproof.

What our first covering experienced was growing pains coupled with a heart problem. The growth they were faced with was inevitable. As more people joined the homeschool community, churches had little choice but to adapt to the growing numbers.

Their failure was not an unwillingness to grow. Their failure was in not preparing their hearts to love strangers as much as they loved themselves. That is a necessary component of any ministry no matter where or how you volunteer.

Today we can laugh and shake our heads about no one being home on testing day, and about crashing the Catholic covering’s party. Though we chuckle, we don’t want anyone to experience the same isolation or lack of friendship as we did those first two years homeschooling.

A list of some of the coverings in Mobile County that are open to the public can be found on our Resources page. If you are new to homeschooling, or find yourself in a covering where you do not seem to fit in, don’t suffer in silence! Contact us!

While there is no such thing as the perfect group of people or the perfect church, we know several pastors and administrators who truly have a heart for families and homeschooling. We are happy to share our recommendations with any who ask.

Episode II: The Homeschool Pajama Blunder, or The Day the News Came Calling

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Super Blue Moon Eclipse — Super Science Activity or Super Bust?

Super Blue Moon Eclipse

On January 31, 2018, the Western Hemisphere will experience a Super Blue Moon Eclipse. That’s a mouthful. What does all that mean?

Super Moon: A full or new moon occurring when the moon is at or near its closest point to the earth (perigee). A new moon at perigee does not exactly make for big excitement. The term “Super Moon” most often refers to the condition when the moon is full and at perigee.

Blue Moon: “Second full moon in a calendar month” is the accepted 20th century layman’s definition of the term, though not technically correct. The historical meaning of a Blue Moon was simply a rare or absurd event. The precise scientific definition of the term is so complicated even astronomers have trouble explaining it.

Eclipse: A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. The penumbra is the lighter outer shadow during which the moon is only partially blocked. The penumbral shadow is usually not noticeable. The umbra is the dark center of the eclipse shadow.

Residents along the Northern Gulf Coast will find the moon low in the west before sunrise January 31st. To see anything, you will need a clear view of the western horizon. Will you experience enough of the eclipse to warrant waking a house full of homeschool sleepyheads before the crack of dawn? Let’s see.

The time required for the earth’s dark umbral shadow to pass over the moon will be approximately three hours and 23 minutes. Totality will last a little more than one hour and fifteen minutes. We used the US Naval Observatory’s Lunar Eclipse Computer to pull up the following information.

The January 31 Super Blue Moon will enter penumbra at 4:49 AM, umbra at 5:48 AM, and totality at 6:51 AM. (Central Standard Time).

Pensacola – Moonset: 6:41 AM

Mobile – Moonset: 6:45 AM

Gulfport – Moonset: 6:48 AM

New Orleans – Moonset: 6:52 AM

Beaumont – Moonset: 7:09 AM

Umbra is where the excitement occurs, with totality representing the fullness of the umbral shadow. Locations east of New Orleans will not experience totality before the moon sets. The Big Easy will get about one minute of it. Our friends in Beaumont with unobstructed views of the western horizon will witness almost 20 minutes of the moon’s complete disappearance.

For most Northern Gulf Coast families observing the eclipse from neighborhoods where trees and homes obstruct the horizon, there will not be anything to see. If you have access to a clear western view, are an early riser, and don’t mind the cold, you might just catch a glimpse of the Super Blue Moon Eclipse.

Original photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Mardi Gras in Mobile!

Mardi Gras Mobile Alabama

It’s time for Mardi Gras to roll on the streets of downtown Mobile, Alabama! The Conde Cavaliers kick off Mobile’s parade season this evening at 6:30 PM on Route A. Parades and celebrations will continue through Fat Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

What’s the best advice for folks attending the parades? Arrive early. Bring a coat… and your patience. It takes awhile for all that traffic to clear out after the last float passes by. Do not park on the parade route. (See the City of Mobile’s Mardi Gras page for more tips on parking.) Do not cross the barricades during the parades – ever – no matter how tempting that unattended strand of beads might be.

Carnival is celebrated all along the Northern Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Pensacola. Mobile lays claim to the title “Birthplace of Mardi Gras.” However, our baby’s actual date of birth depends largely on whom you ask. The location may be settled, but the exact year is still up for debate.

The Cowbellion society is often credited with holding the very first Mardi Gras parade. Their story begins with one man’s chance encounter with a garden rake and string of cowbells at a Mobile hardware store in the 1830’s. Others attest that the celebration goes back at least a hundred years before that to the early 1700’s when Mobile was known as Twenty-Seven-Mile Bluff.

Whether you’re a history buff or just here for the moon pies, the info-to-know is in the Mobile Mask magazine. Print copies may be purchased at multiple locations around town. The Mobile Mask website has a list of those locations as well as an accurate schedule of parades, balls, and parade routes.

Follow Mobile Mask on facebook for a fabulous recap of the parades, celebrations, and festivities, that take place in Southwest Alabama. Plus you’ll always stay in the loop with year-round info on all things Mardi Gras.

Steve Joynt is the creator and editor of Mobile Mask and our resident Mardi Gras expert. Look for Steve’s personal experiences and observations, or Mardi Gras Moments, on the Mobile Mask facebook page. His anecdotes give followers a glimpse of the personal side of the festivities. If you’re like us and love a good story, you won’t be disappointed.

© 2017-2018 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

National School Choice Week

Alabama Celebrates National School Choice Week

National School Choice Week (NSCW)

What is it?

National School Choice Week (NSCW) is a time for families to learn about the educational options available in their communities. Special events are hosted by schools, organizations, homeschool groups, etc., to highlight the options and benefits each has to offer. NSCW advocates serve as facilitators for these events, helping parents make informed decisions regarding what is best for their children’s education.

When is it?

National School Choice Week is observed annually during the latter part of January. Dates for 2018 are January 21-27. Gov. Kay Ivey has also declared this week Alabama School Choice Week.

Where is it?

School Choice events are held nationwide. Parents can find a list of events in their communities on the NSCW website’s Find an Event page. A private or parochial school might hold an open house for prospective families, while homeschool groups might host informal gatherings in public meeting places, churches, or homes.

Who is behind it?

NSCW is an advocacy group supporting options in education and school choice. NSCW describes themselves as a “nonpartisan, nonpolitical, independent public awareness effort.” They recognize all forms of education: public schools (including magnet and charter), private schools, online schools, and home education.

Why attend an event?

Students not only succeed but thrive in the educational environment that best fits their needs. Parents must be well informed to make the best decisions. If you are considering homeschooling, it is extremely helpful to talk to a homeschool veteran in your local community. NSCW offers many parents the opportunity to do just that.

NGCHE will host a Get-to-Know Homeschooling meeting in Mobile County, Alabama. Anyone interested in learning more about home education is welcome to attend this free event.

National School Choice Week Explore Homeschooling Mobile Alabama meeting

© 2018 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Mid January Updates 2018

Homeschool Seminar, Outdoor Adventure Skills Class, Bird Banding, Summer Summit

2018 – Off and Running launched the New Year at NGCHE. It’s only mid-January, but already we are tickled pink by the wonderful opportunities for homeschool families along the Gulf Coast! Below are a few of the “big things” on our calendar for the upcoming months.

In conjunction with National School Choice Week, and in partnership with Homeschool Now USA, NGCHE will host a short seminar for families considering homeschooling as an educational option. Our Get-to-Know Homeschooling Informational Meeting takes place Thursday, January 25th from 6 – 7 PM at the Moorer/Spring Hill Branch of the Mobile Public Library. Anyone interested in learning more about homeschooling as an educational option is welcome to join us for this free event.

Brinkley Hutchings of Nature Connect Alabama will host an Outdoor Adventure Skills Class for children ages 8-13 at the Village Point Park Preserve in Daphne on February 7 from 9 AM – 1 PM. Long range forecasts predict a return to “normal” Gulf Coast weather within the next few days. Highs in the 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s are expected throughout most of February. An outdoor class that promises adventure, learning, and fun will be just the thing for youngsters with cabin fever. If those long-range weather forecasts don’t hold up, the class will reschedule in case of inclement weather.

NGCHE will join the Birmingham Audubon Society and its partners for Coastal Bird Banding at Fort Morgan, Alabama. This annual spring event is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to observe the capture, banding, and release of birds on their spring migration toward breeding grounds farther south. The event takes place April 17-21, 2018. Since the event is weather-dependent, we will wait until closer to mid-April to choose the exact day. Please pencil in the 17th – 20th as possible dates of attendance.

Teach Them Diligently comes to downtown Mobile May 3-5th. Several years have passed since a major homeschool conference was held in the Port City. TTD gives visitors the opportunity to meet with curricula publishers, support groups, college reps, and other exhibitors with a Christian worldview. Look for Heather from NGCHE volunteering at the conference.

Mobile’s first Summer Summit is coming to Camp Christian on August 4th, 2018. The summit is a unique event focusing on Faith, Friendships, Food and Fun for homeschool moms. Vendor booths will be available for those attendees with small businesses or used curricula to sell. All homeschool moms are invited to join us regardless of where you live. For our friends driving in from out of town, Camp Christian is conveniently located a minute or so from I-10 in the Theodore community southwest of Mobile.

We are excited about these opportunities and others in the works right now. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want more information about anything you see on our website. We look forward to meeting new friends and old in the Gulf Coast Homeschool Community in 2018.

 

© 2018 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Six Times to Action – A Post About Human Nature

Six Times to Action - Human Nature

Recently I took a short online training course that equipped me to present a homeschooling seminar. For the sake of the seminar and NGCHE, I am keen to learn anything legitimate to help with marketing. (Okay… I’m a bit of a nerd. I must be learning something new or I get bored. But don’t tell anyone.)

As soon as I heard the following little nugget of wisdom, my ears perked right up.


Research indicates that the average person must be shown something SIX times before he or she acts on it.


I gave this serious consideration. I thought about what I see regularly that requires action of some sort. I’m not much of a shopper, and would like to think (probably erroneously so) that I am not easily swayed by advertising for “stuff.” What might interest me enough to act upon it? A field trip! But certainly it doesn’t take a smart girl like me six times to make up my mind?!

Deciding to test out this newly learned rule of thumb, I thought about how I typically respond to a field trip. We’ll use a fictional field trip to our state capital as an example.

1. Let’s say I’m scrolling through Facebook and come across the state capital field trip posted by a friendly homeschool group. What do I do? Probably mull it over for a second or two and keep going.

The event interests me, but I have this irresistible urge to ingest all of my Facebook news feed before I can make any decisions about my future. I reach the end of my feed or attention span, whichever comes first. But now I have a bit of a problem. Since I was only casually browsing, I didn’t bother to record any of the interesting things I saw to act upon them later.

2. Tomorrow rolls around. I scroll through Facebook for more casual fun. But there’s a nagging feeling that I was supposed to remember to do something. It must have been something buried in yesterday’s info. Do I bypass today’s juicy news and go straight to yesterday? Heavens, no! I might miss something! Thirty minutes later I finally reach the 24-hours-ago mark and wade through the information I’ve seen already. There is it! But by now something or someone needs my undivided attention. A field trip will have to wait.

3. Days three, four, and five pass with no action from me on the trip. Why? Well, life. Still that gnawing feeling is reminding me I was supposed to look something up. What was it? The state capital trip! That’s it. Who posted the darned thing? Sigh.

I make it a point to visit each of my favorite homeschool group’s pages. Clicking… Clicking… Clicking… and find it in the third place I look. Here we are at day six and I’m just now reading the description. It’s out of town, could require me to juggle my schedule for the week, and might cost a few bucks. On the back “MAYBE” burner it goes. Before I leave, I do myself a favor and mark “Interested” in the event.

4. Days seven and eight go by. Day nine in Facebook land and I notice that a friend has also marked “Interested” in the state capital trip. Hmmm… Someone there we’d know. The event is on my radar again. I mull it over and decide to message the friend to see if they’re really “Interested” in going.

5. Day 10 arrives and the friend may or may not go. “Interested” for her translated into a distant “plan C” in case everything else fell through. But by now I’ve almost talked myself into going. I check the calendar for that week. Nothing on that particular day to which we’re already committed. What to do? What to do? Off to something else I go while I think it over one last time.

6. If I see it again in my feed, a friend’s or mentioned in some other way, I’ll be ready to track down the host to pay. If not…

It’s at this point that I am on the verge of making a decision about the event. If the host is not an aggressive marketer and only mentions their events once or twice, odds are it will fall off my radar and I’ll never consider it again. But if the group understands the importance of repetition, there’s a strong chance the next mention of the field trip will be the tipping point at which I take action.

And there it is. A real life example from someone who considers herself to be serious and thoughtful when it comes to events. Not marking “Interested” unless I really am. Showing up when I say I will. Put yourself in my shoes and consider any event that might pop up in your social circles: a party, church function (sorry Pastors), fundraiser, etc. Odds are it takes you multiple exposures to act on the event.

The conclusion I drew from this led me to believe the Six-Times-to-Action rule is accurate. It explains why people with a product, group, or idea to sell always seem to be talking about it. It explains why you didn’t get as many responses to your Valentine’s Day party as you thought you would. It’s not that nobody saw it at all. It’s just that the average person takes awhile to process it enough to act on it. And you didn’t want to be obnoxious.

Trying to remember something? Tack it up in multiple places. Teaching your kids a new concept? Review, review, review. Marketing a new idea? Post it. Share it. Talk about it. But don’t give up! If someone asks you why you’re always bringing something up, you can reply in all truth, “It’s just human nature.” They don’t have to know it’s their nature you’re talking about.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl; but, whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Original photo by Haeruman, Pixabay.

© 2018 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Get-to-Know Homeschooling Informational Meeting

National School Choice Week Explore Homeschooling Mobile Alabama meeting

January 21-27, 2018, is National School Choice Week. Last year, an estimated 100 million people attended School Choice Week meetings to learn more about their local educational options. Homeschooling has traditionally been under represented. Homeschool Now USA wants to change that by encouraging and equipping support groups and home educating families to share what they know about homeschooling.

Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators will take part in National School Choice Week 2018 by hosting a Get-to-Know Homeschooling Meeting. Our meeting will take place on Thursday, January 25th from 6-7 PM at the Moorer/Spring Hill Branch of the Mobile Public Library (4 S MacGregor Ave). The meeting is open to the public. Anyone who wants to learn more about homeschooling in Alabama is welcome to join us.

Our meeting will be a warm, informal gathering. No high pressure sales pitches or strong-arm tactics. The meeting and informational materials are free. Our goal is to inform the public about the basics of homeschooling and help those who ask, “Where do I go from here?” find the resources they need to continue.

If you are interested in learning more about homeschooling as an option, please join us. Feel free to share the information about our meeting with your friends, family, neighbors, church, moms day out groups, etc. All are welcome.

We will cover the basics of homeschool law in Alabama. Those who live in another state or not in convenient driving distance of our meeting may check the National School Choice Week Event map for a gathering near you.

To RSVP or contact us with questions, email NorthernGulfCoastHomeEducators@outlook.com. We look forward to meeting new friends and helping others make informed educational decisions.

Our event on facebook: Get-to-Know Homeschooling

© 2018 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Field Trip: Coastal Bird Banding

Homeschool Field Trip Coastal Bird Banding

Remember our Reluctant Scientist Series with activities and field trips for students who don’t exactly love science? Here’s our latest installment! NGCHE has an opportunity to attend one of the most interesting conservation events along the Gulf Coast — Coastal Bird Banding at Fort Morgan.

Coastal Alabama is a stopping point for birds migrating long distances. Bird banding allows ornithologists to track and study the birds’ migratory patterns. The late Bob Sargent and his wife Martha began banding hummingbirds in the 1980’s in their own backyard near Birmingham. They expanded the project to collect data on a wide variety of species crossing the Fort Morgan Peninsula on their spring migration over the Gulf of Mexico.

Coastal Bird Banding Collage

The Coastal Bird Banding event allows the public a unique opportunity to observe the capture, banding, and release of migrating birds. Stations around the site will give visitors an up-close, personal look at the process. Researchers will be available to explain the steps, answer questions, and educate visitors about conservation efforts.

NGCHE has the opportunity to attend this year’s event. Dr. Andy Coleman, Program & Science Director for the Birmingham Audubon Society, recommends that we attend on a weekday. Because weather will be a factor, he also advises that we wait to choose the exact day we plan to attend. Please pencil in the 17th – 20th of April and stay tuned for an official announcement of the date as the event draws closer. See the Birmingham Audubon Society’s article Coastal Bird Banding for more information about this year’s event.

What can we expect to see in the nets? Just a few of the possibilities include bluebirds, buntings, Chuck-will’s-widows, eagles, fly catchers, gnat catchers, hummingbirds, kestrels, nuthatches, owls, swallows, tanagers, thrashers, thrushes, vireos, warblers, wrens… and more.

Visitors should bring adequate water, food, sunscreen, and bug repellent. Chairs or blankets are also suggested. There is no charge to attend the Bird Banding, but an admission fee is required to enter Fort Morgan park.

To join our mailing list for this field trip, drop us a line at homeschoolfieldtrips@outlook.com. Please include “Coastal Bird Banding” in the subject line. Families on our list will be the first to know when we set an official date for our group’s attendance.

Children of all ages are welcome. Parents of youngsters be advised that the banding will take place in and around the coastal forest. Be prepared to keep an eye on your little ones so that they do not wander into the wooded areas and get lost.

Plan to bring your family, friends, neighbors and join us. Everyone’s welcome in our group. We look forward to learning together about the birds that visit our local habitat.

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Outdoor Adventure Skills Class

Outdoor Adventure Skills Class for Homeschool Students Daphne Alabama

Nature Connect Alabama is hosting an Outdoor Adventure Skills Class for homeschool students at the Village Point Park Preserve on March 7, 2018, from 9 AM to 1 PM. The preserve is located at 27710 Main Street, Daphne, Alabama. Topics will include Animal Tracking, Shelter Building, Exploring Outdoors, Plant and Animal Identification. Target age for this class is 8-13 years old.

Students will eat together on site. Please pack a lunch and water for your children. Gulf Coast winters are usually mild. However, class will reschedule in case of inclement weather.

As always, events, classes, or activities organized by NGCHE are open to any homeschool family, their friends, and neighbors, regardless of where you live. If you can get here, you are welcome! If you have friends or family members who normally attend public or private school but are out for the day, they may join us as well.

Cost is $40 per student with a $20 sibling discount and must be paid in full to secure your child’s spot. Payment deadline is Monday, March 5 at 12:00 PM. For questions or payment instructions, please email homeschoolfieldtrips@outlook.com. Include “Outdoor Adventure Skills Class” in the subject line.

NGCHE classes are not refundable. Before you commit your students to to attend, please be sure to review our Policies and Procedures page. Let us know if you have any questions.

See the Nature Connect Alabama website or follow them on Instagram at natureconnectalabama to learn more about their program.

Outdoor Adventure Skills

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

2018 – Off and Running

Happy New Year, home-educating families and friends!

End of Year Collage 2017

NGCHE got off to a fantastic start in the fall of 2017. We attended shows put on by two student theater groups, volunteered in the garden at an urban teaching farm, learned a ton at the Mobile Medical Museum, said “Thank You” to the veterans at a Baldwin County nursing home, and were the first homeschool group to tour the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama. Not bad for our first four months! We made many new friends in our community and are excited for what’s to come.

Our volunteers took a much-needed break over the last half of December and have hit the ground running. We are expecting a fabulous year in 2018. We don’t want to spill the beans until all the details are worked out, but here are a few things you can expect this year.

Field Trips: Several field trips are currently in the works for sites in and around Mobile, Gulf Shores, and Pensacola. As always, our field trips are open to any homeschool family regardless of where you live. We sometimes have donors who make scholarships available to certain of our field trips. If your student needs one, please ask.

Community Service: NGCHE will be working with select agencies and volunteers from the Mobile – Baldwin area to beta test a community service program that matches homeschool students and their families with projects and special needs that arise in our community.

Classes: Nature Connect Alabama is partnering with us to offer a nature skills class for elementary students in February. Details will be posted very soon. We are also entering into negotiations with several parties which we hope will result in quality high school science instruction with scholarships for low income families. Send your prayers and good thoughts for this one. We will post updates as they become available.

Information: NGCHE was asked late last year by staff from the Mobile County District Attorney’s office to assist with information regarding local coverings. We love to share information about homeschooling with the general public. We are happy to make additions to our website that will help Gulf Coast officials and those doing research on homeschooling in our area. We look forward to input from our friends and followers on this project.

Graduation: Our first community homeschool graduation ceremony will take place in May at Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene in Baldwin County, Alabama. Pastor Melissa Aaron has indicated a willingness to offer this ceremony next year as well for homeschool families who do not use a covering or whose covering is out of town. We love and appreciate our friends at Robertsdale Naz!

Meetings and Special Events: We are working towards regular quarterly meetings for all homeschoolers; support groups for homeschool parents who are disabled or widowed; quarterly activities just for parents and grandparents. We are very excited about a new event coming in August, but we’re sworn to secrecy and would have to enter the witness protection program if we spilled the beans on this one!

Articles: One of our volunteers is working on a blog series entitled “Homeschooling: The Dark Side.” This won’t be your typical feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy series, but we hope we can all learn some valuable lessons from it. Homeschool parents will share real-life experiences and honest opinions about the times things didn’t turn out as planned. The series will tackle topics such as field trips, co-ops, curricula, printables, and more.

These are just some of the offerings and projects we’re working on at NGCHE this year. Drop us an email if you have any questions. Keep your eye on our website and facebook page for details. And don’t forget to share us with your friends. We look forward to this new year together.

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