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.

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators


Nature Connect Alabama

Today’s parents understand how important being outdoors is to childhoodNature Connect girl development. Our own children are growing up in a world much different from the one in which we were raised. It can be a challenge to monitor the time our youth spend under the influence of electronic devices, social media, and television. We may catch ourselves thinking back fondly on our own childhoods and realize just how much we took for granted.

The importance of spending regular quality time in the natural environment cannot be underestimated. Yet many of us struggle to provide those vital experiences to our children, especially in a group setting. The desire is there, but our access and abilities may be limited.

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Brinkley Hutchings is an entrepreneur from the Eastern Shore who seeks to equip today’s children to make meaningful connections with the natural world. She draws her inspiration from a childhood spent largely outdoors. Watching meteor showers and bird banding at Fort Morgan with her father are among her most cherished experiences.

Brinkley started Nature Connect with a group of twenty families in Wilmington, North Carolina, in April of 2016. Returning to her home in Montrose, Brinkley saw an opportunity to continue the work she’d begun in North Carolina. Nature Connect Alabama was launched in 2017.

What can participants expect from Nature Connect? Activities are carefully chosen based on age. A child might engage in

outdoor exploration, hiking, nature awareness exercises, identification of flora and fauna, animal tracking, storytelling, crafts, canoeing, fishing with seine nets, beach activities, and more.

Spontaneous learning is also an integral part of the experience.

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Nature Connect offers drop-off programs for

  • preschool kids ages 3-5
  • home school students ages 5-10
  • school children ages 8-12 after school hours

(Age ranges are guidelines to suitability; some flexibility is possible.)

Forest Families is a program for children ages 3 and under accompanied by an adult caregiver.

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Preschool, home school, and Forest Families meet at Village Point Park Preserve in Daphne. After-school programs meet at the Sibley Street Public Beach Access in Montrose. Summer Camps are planned for June 2018. Custom experiences, including birthday parties and field trips, may be arranged in advance.

Providing children and youth with experiences in the natural world is only one of Nature Connect’s goals. As kids learn to respect and love the outdoors, they also learn to do the same for each other. As they grow better equipped in safety, self awareness, and independent thinking, they also learn to develop compassion and kindness, build healthy relationships, and express their emotions positively. All of these skills fit together to develop children into stronger, more capable youth.

For contact information, registration instructions, pricing, and other details, see the Nature Connect Alabama website. You may also follow them on Instagram at natureconnectalabama.

All photos in this article are the property of Nature Connect and may not be used without prior permission. 

© 2017 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators