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

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

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


Field Trip: Airbus Americas – Mobile, Alabama

Airbus Field Trip

Original photos courtesy of Pixabay

NGCHE students will tour the Airbus Americas Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday, December 14th. Airbus manufactures the A-300 series commercial jetliner at its Mobile facility. Airbus was recently awarded an order for 430 new jets by the investment company Indigo Partners. Some of those jets will be manufactured locally. Northern Gulf Coast homeschool students are invited to join our group for an up-close look at Alabama’s aircraft industry.


Date: Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Time: Arrival time is 9:45 AM. Tour from 10-11 AM. Please arrive on time as latecomers cannot be accommodated.

Location: 320 Airbus Way, Mobile, Alabama

Cost: None

Ages: 10-18 only; No children under the age of 10 are permitted on tour

Parents/Chaperones: One per family; MUST READ INFORMATION BELOW

Registration Deadline: Thursday, December 7th, 12:00 PM

Before Signing UpRead Policies and Procedures

RSVP: By email at homeschoolfieldtrips@outlook.com. 1. Full name and age of your students. 2. Name and phone number of the parent. 3. Indicate whether chaperone or dropping students off. No chaperone can be added to the list until proper documents have been received. See below.

Walk-ups: not accepted

Parents/Chaperones: Airbus normally offers student tours to groups consisting of approximately thirty students accompanied by three or four adult chaperones. Airbus and NGCHE would like to accommodate as many students as possible. To that end, NGCHE requests no more than one adult per family on the tour.

For security purposes, all adults attending the tour MUST be vetted ahead of time. Documents required for vetting are copies of a) a current passport, or b) a valid driver’s license AND birth certificate. These documents must be submitted to NGCHE by the registration deadline. They are not required for students. Further instructions will be given to those who RSVP as chaperones.

If you are unable to attend as a chaperone, you may send your students with another vetted adult or arrange to drop them off with an NGCHE volunteer. Our volunteers are homeschool parents with years of experience working with students of all ages. We have been vetted by state and national organizations; taught Sunday School and co-op classes; worked in the private sector in engineering, education, law, etc; actively participate in local civic groups; and have served in the military. Your children will be in very capable hands. We look forward to our time together.

Follow our event on facebook

© 2017 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Honoring our Veterans

Veterans Day Celebration 2017 collage with logo

William F. Green State Veterans Home celebration; Bayside Belles of Daphne

NGCHE paid a visit to the William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette, Alabama, today for their public Veterans Day ceremony. What an honor to celebrate those brave men and women! We arrived with approximately 160 handmade cards to pass out to the residents. The Bayside Belles of Daphne helped us out.

We enjoyed the ceremonies and were impressed with the program and the many guests. But today’s highlight did not come out of the pomp and circumstance. It was one of those personal experiences gained from spending time with another person, from engaging in his world for a few moments.

After the program ended, we made the rounds through the facility. We stopped in the dining hall to shake the hand of a WWII veteran who had flown on the third Honor Flight out of Mobile, Alabama, to Washington, DC. As we thanked him for his service, he began to cry and squeeze my hand tighter.

A couple of us had been on a trip to DC just a few years ago. We told of visiting some of the same memorials and landmarks as he had done and what that meant to us. I thought of how much we owed him for his service, and all those who came before and after. “Thank You” just doesn’t seem to be enough, but it’s a start.

We met and thanked many veterans today from all branches of service. But the appreciation in the eyes of the Honor Flight vet stuck with us. A man who deserved all the thanks in the world, who had seen more horrors than most, had the most thankful heart of all.

© 2017 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Field Trip: Impact Youth Theater Presents Jack Frost

Jack Frost play

Impact Youth Theater presents Jack Frost at the Daphne Civic Center Tuesday, December 5, 2017. School day performance begins at 10 AM, and the community showing follows at 6:30 PM. Admission is free. Donations are welcomed.

NGCHE families and friends who would like to attend the school day performance with our group should RSVP at homeschoolfieldtrips@outlook.com. Doors open at 9:30 AM for seating. We will meet in the lobby of the civic center at that time.

If you cannot attend the morning show, we highly recommend the evening performance for the entire family. Impact does a marvelous job decorating for the community performance. Refreshments will be served at the 6:30 PM show, also by donation, and a silent auction will be held then as well.

Impact Youth Theater is a Christian drama group for homeschool students directed by Mrs. Patti Woods of Daphne, Alabama. The group meets for practices and performances in Baldwin County. Two productions are put on each year — one in fall and the other in spring. Several of our families’ children and youth have been a part of Impact. We highly recommend the program to our friends and neighbors.

If you are a homeschool family within driving distance of the Eastern Shore/Central Baldwin area and would like more information on Impact, email: Impactyouththeater@gmail.com.

To RSVP with the NGCHE group, email: homeschoolfieldtrips@outlook.com. Reservation deadline is Monday, December 4, 2017, by 10 AM.

© 2017 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators



Growing a Medicinal Garden

With fall upon us and most of the summer crop harvesting complete, many gardeners look forward to a winter season of restful planning. Time to start thinking about next year’s vegetable patches, flower beds, and containers. Will we grow the same things again, or try something new?

Homeschool families can incorporate gardening into their studies. Gardens make for the best science classrooms! Not sure where to start? Don’t fancy yourself a vegetable grower? How about a small medicinal garden?

Home remedies are gaining in popularity as more people seek out natural ingredients in their food and medicine. Devon at The Nitty Gritty Life has a great article to help us get started: Creating a Medicinal Herb Garden. Devon farms in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. The Willamette region shares the same Hardiness Zone as the Northern Gulf Coast. The herbs she lists in her article are all suitable for growing in the Deep South.

Would you like the opportunity to see a local medicinal garden up close and take notes? Northern Gulf Coast homeschoolers and their friends are invited to join us on our field trip to the Mobile Medical Museum on Friday, November 3rd. Middle and high school students will catalog the plants in the museum’s own medicinal garden. Participants will get an up-close look at plants and herbs native to the Northern Gulf Coast that may be grown for medicinal purposes, their traditional uses, and proper care.

Everyone’s welcome to join us. However, space is limited, so be sure to RSVP ahead of time. One person who does so will win his or her cost of admission back at the end of the trip. See our Contests & Promotions page for details!


Bee pollinating hyssop. Photo courtesy of lucianaeris, Pixabay.

© 2017 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Week in Review

Week of Oct 16 in Review

This was a SUPER busy week for the folks at NGCHE! It began with visits to Victory Teaching Farm in Midtown on both Monday and Wednesday. Work has just begun to make the garden handicapped-accessible, and word has it that the farm is looking to add chickens as well.

Volunteers attended Victory’s Third Annual Farmraiser and were absolutely amazed at the delicious dishes prepared by talented chefs using locally grown and raised food. Some of the vegetables came straight out of the garden on site. Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe prepared satsuma ice cream that would knock your socks off!

Victory Teaching Farm is a wonderful community service opportunity for homeschool students. Volunteers are needed in the morning hours. Staff typically complete outdoor work by midday, though helpers are free to come and go as their schedule permits. All ages are welcome.

Our October graduation meeting was held at Skyline Bowling Lanes in Mobile. Moms talked details about ordering caps and gowns, diplomas, invitations, etc. The next graduation meeting will be held on Nov. 14 at Newk’s on Satchel Paige Drive in Mobile. Pastor Melissa Aaron of Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene, our host for graduation, will join us. If you are interested in taking part in the Mobile/Baldwin Community Graduation Ceremony for Class of 2018, make plans to attend a monthly meeting. Enrollment will close several months in advance of graduation.

We wrapped up the week with The Conclusion of Edgar Allan Poe at Playhouse in the Park. The show featured excerpts from The Telltale Heart, The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether, King Pest, and The Cask of Amontillado. The performance was excellent all the way around — acting, costumes, and props. We were amazed by the special effects as Fortunato was entombed brick by brick in The Cask.

In King Pest, we encountered Legs and Hugh Tarpaulin patronizing a London ale house.

“They were eyeing, from behind a huge flagon of unpaid-for ‘humming-stuff,’ the portentous words, ‘No Chalk,’ which to their indignation and astonishment were scored over the doorway by means of that very mineral whose presence they purported to deny.”

Some of our audience members, parents and students alike, were a bit puzzled as to the meaning of the phrase ‘No Chalk.’ Poe, being a master of the absurd, turned the figure of speech into a literal event that drove the story to its conclusion, and he gave his audience a bit of irony to boot. ‘No Chalk‘ which literally means ‘No Credit‘ was scrawled on a sign in… you guessed it… chalk.

Coming up next week on the blog:

Learn more about Nature Connect, a new program for area children and families.

Find useful tips for sharing information effectively on social media.

Get a sneak peak on more field trips and fun events we’re working on for fall and early winter, including announcements for upcoming Victory Teaching Farm workdays.

© 2017 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Seminar: Bully Blocker for Homeschoolers

ANNOUNCEMENT: Bully Blocker has been canceled due to a scheduling conflict. We will let everyone know when we are able to reschedule. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Bullying… Not a topic normally associated with homeschoolers. The fact is, homeschool students can and sometimes do find themselves caught up in a vicious cycle of intimidation and low self esteem, just like everyone else. Bullying is not simply a “school” phenomenon. It is a “people” problem that affects youth and adults from all communities and all walks of life.


I am being bullied by a neighbor. What should I do?

How do I protect myself from bullies on social media?

My friend’s cousin constantly belittles her. Is there anything I can do to stand up for her?

My teammates call me a bully. I don’t think I am… am I?

Homeschoolers from the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas will learn the answers to these questions and more at a Bully Blocker seminar hosted by the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office, Youth and Family Services Department.

Bully Blocker for Homeschoolers

Date & Time: Will reschedule at a later date. Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 9:30 – 10:30 AM

Cost: Free

Instructions: The presentation will cover sensitive topics, including sexting. Parents must use their discretion when deciding if their child is mature enough to attend. Your hosts recommend high school and mature middle school students only, with a strongly suggested minimum age of 13.

This seminar is open to the entire Northern Gulf Coast homeschool community. To ensure that the meeting room’s seating capacity is not exceeded, RSVP’s are requested. Students who have a confirmed RSVP will be seated first. Parents are welcome to stay provided there is room. Sign-up instructions are here.

Participants in the Bully Blocker seminar may register for a drawing for a new Jammypack backpack valued at $80. Must be present to enter and win. See our Contests & Promotions page for details.

Feeling skeptical? Not convinced Bully Blocker applies to you? Don’t see how this could possibly help your teen? Consider the following:

“Where could a homeschool student possibly face a bully or have the opportunity to be one?”

A common setting for bullying is through mobile apps or online groups. Youth who use cell phones or computers to communicate are likely at some point to come into contact with a bully using social media to intimidate, manipulate, or ostracize. This bully may be someone new, a friend of a friend, or a well-known member of the group.

Opportunities to encounter a bully in person surround us every day. Hanging out with friends in the neighborhood, the mall, the movie theater. On sports teams. At community club meetings. At work. At church. At home. Yes, even bullies can go to church and have families. A child or youth bullied in the home often repeats the behavior elsewhere.

“I’m a homeschool parent and I watch my child like a hawk. This can’t possibly apply to my family. My kid doesn’t need a seminar!”

It only takes a moment for a bully to intimidate – to tease, belittle, or inflict harm with lasting effects. Most of the time, parents are completely unaware of what’s happening until the situation becomes dire.

  • A bully hits “Send” and a demeaning private message is broadcast to an entire network of friends
  • A strong-willed child manipulates her peer group to ostracize others and cast them out of the circle of friends
  • An opposing team member makes insensitive remarks about a player with a disability
  • A teen coerces younger relatives into breaking the rules or lying through the use of physical harm or intimidation

As diligently as we may monitor our youth, they need the skills to navigate challenging situations and deal with difficult people encountered in the real and virtual worlds. The Bully Blocker seminar will equip homeschool students to avoid becoming the victim of a bully or being one.

Unfortunately, bad behavior is not limited to childhood. Adult bullies are a reality of life as well. Most of us have someone in our sphere of influence who treats people poorly: a neighbor, employer, co-worker, acquaintance, relative. Learning ways to deal effectively with bullies early on will give our youth a great advantage in the workforce, in college, and throughout their adult lives.

© 2017 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Field Trip: Mobile Medical Museum and the Medicinal Garden

skeleton-2711096_1920Is your student fascinated by human anatomy? How about the history of medicine? Or perhaps a love of medicinal plants? Join us on November 3rd at The Mobile Medical Museum for November’s stop in our Reluctant Science Student series.

Our Reluctant Science Student field trips are intended to give older students who might not be wild about science experiments the hands-on activities they need. But these trips are not limited to just the shy scientists among us. Everyone’s welcome!

Our field trip will start with a tour of the museum. See an array of fascinating medical artifacts including an iron lung; leeches and a blood-letting demonstration; a functioning heart/lung machine used in the first heart bypass surgery in Mobile. The lecture portion of our tour will focus on human anatomy. But there is much to be learned at the Mobile Medical Museum — everything from civil rights to medical equipment to midwifery and pharmacy.

Students will spend time learning about the plants in the museum’s medicinal garden. They will work on medicinal booklets that include recording information on plant species, care, habitat and traditional uses in medicine.

Mobile Medical Museum Tour and the Medicinal Garden
Date & Time: Friday, November 3, 2 PM – 3 PM

Location: The Mobile Medical Museum is located on the campus of USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, just off Springhill Avenue. Turn off Springhill into the hospital’s main entrance (Walshwood St.). Take the first left into the parking lot just past Ronald McDonald House. The Museum is at the end of the driveway behind the parking lot.

Cost: $4 for students and chaperones

Instructions: Meet in the parking lot by 1:45 PM. Due to space constraints, the museum asks for no more than one chaperone per six students. Adults who would like to attend the field trip should indicate their willingness to chaperone when they sign up. However, we may not be able to accommodate all parents.

Suitable for middle and high school. Sixth grade and up, please. Parents with elementary or preschool siblings are encouraged to make other plans for the field trip hour.

As with most of our more academic field trips, a very limited number of tickets are available. If you plan to attend, don’t delay! One person who RSVP’s ahead of time and completes the field trip will win the cost of his or her attendance back at the end of the program. See our Contests & Promotions page for details!

You are also invited to join us for The Bone Lab our December science lab field trip at the Archaeology Museum on the campus of the University of South Alabama.

Sign-up instructions are here.

©Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators, 2017