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

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

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 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

Secondhand Shop Hop


Gulf Coast ladies, did you survive Black Friday and Cyber Monday but still have a few more names to check off your Christmas list? Searching for a unique gift with a vintage touch? Prefer to shop local?

Secondhand Shop Hop Fall 2017

Original photo courtesy of Gerhard Bögner, Pixabay

Join NGCHE moms on Saturday, December 16 for our Eastern Shore Secondhand Shop Hop. We will visit several of central Baldwin County Alabama’s best secondhand markets and have a fun time together while we browse.

Planned stops along our “hop” include

We will break for lunch about halfway through our day.

For a specific itinerary, email To RSVP, include your name, phone, and number in your party. Reservations are requested by noon on Wed., Dec. 13th for those who would like to eat lunch with our group.

You don’t have to be a homeschooler to tag along. Friends and family are welcome, too. Down South, that covers just about everybody. So grab a shopping buddy and join us!

Here’s the link to 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

Halloween Healthcare Hauntings

Celebrate Halloween weekend in one of Mobile’s spookiest old homes and support a great cause! The Mobile Medical Museum will host Halloween Healthcare Hauntings, a themed fundraising event, on Saturday, October 28th, from 1 to 4 pm. Regular presale tickets are $11 for adults and $5.50 for children. A limited number of discounted family packages are available on Groupon.Halloween Hauntings poster

From The Mobile Medical Museum Website: “Halloween Healthcare Hauntings is a fun-filled, family-oriented and educational event to raise funds for the museum’s exhibits and programs.

Our special guests will be the ‘ghosts’ of George Washington, Henri de Tonti, Emily Bronte, Marie Curie, and other famous people from history who will tell us how they died of once common causes such as yellow fever, tuberculosis, and bloodletting.

Other activities will include museum tours, yard games, haunted train rides, and a Halloween costume contest. Halloween candy and light refreshments will be provided.”

Homeschool students grades 9-12 are invited to join Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators for our field trip to the museum on Friday, November 3rd. Anatomy & The Medicinal Garden.

The Mobile Medical Museum is located in the Vincent Doan Walsh House at 1664 Springhill Avenue.

© 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

Old St. Stephens Day – An Alabama Bicentennial Celebration

From 1817-1819, St. Stephens served as the seat of government for what was then theflag-28561_1280 Alabama Territory. This earned St. Stephens the designation “First Capital of Alabama.” The capital would move from St. Stephens to Huntsville, Cahawba, and Tuscaloosa before being permanently located in Montgomery on “Goat Hill” in 1846.

Saturday, October 7, 2017, marks the bicentennial of St. Stephens’ designation as the territorial capital of Alabama. The St. Stephens Historical Park will host “Old St. Stephens Day,” a celebration of the bicentennial featuring demonstrations of traditional arts and skills, historical re-enactments, vendors, food, music and dancing. Enjoy a guided tour of the St. Stephens Archaeological Site. Experience the legacy of Old St. Stephens as the past comes to life around you!

The park is located at 2056 Jim Long Road in St. Stephens, zip code 36569. Old St. Stephens Day begins at 10 AM and ends at 2:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public. For further details, see the park’s website or facebook page.

I am excited and privileged to be one of the historical actors at the Old St. Stephens Day celebration. Lots of hard work is being done to make this unique event a success. Consider this your personal invitation to join us!

© Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators – 2017

From the Alabama 200 website: “Old St. Stephens Day is part of a three-year commemoration of the bicentennials of the Alabama Territory and Alabama’s statehood. Activities and events will happen throughout the state. For a calendar of events and information about how you can participate, visit”

Mobile/Baldwin Community Homeschool Graduation: Class of 2018

2018 Graduation
Class of 2018
Mobile/Baldwin Community Homeschool Graduation

Thursday, May 17, 2018, 2 PM
Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene
Host: Pastor Melissa Aaron, Senior Pastor
Organizer: Heather L. Weatherspoon, NGCHE

The Mobile/Baldwin Community Homeschool Graduation for the Class of 2018 will be held Thursday, May 17 at 2 PM. The ceremony will take place at Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene in Baldwin County. Rev. Melissa Aaron is graciously donating her time and the use of the church as a ministry to the homeschool community.

There is no direct charge for students to participate. However, cap and gown will be required. The spirit of individualism is a hallmark of the homeschool movement. In keeping with this spirit, each graduate is free to choose his or her own cap and gown colors. Parents may also wish to order diplomas to present to their students during the ceremony.

Any 2018 homeschool graduate from Southwest Alabama or the surrounding area is welcome. Do you use an out of town covering and need a local graduation ceremony? Do you homeschool without a covering? Is your student the only graduating senior in his or her covering and bashful about “walking” alone? All are welcome to join us!

Email with questions or to reserve a place in the ceremony. Interested families are also invited to attend an upcoming graduation meeting (see below).

October Meeting: Talking Nuts & Bolts… and Bowling

10/19/17 – 10 AM – Skyline Bowling Lanes, 4120 Government Blvd, Mobile. Topics of discussion will include ordering caps & gowns, diplomas, invitations. While moms talk shop, graduates and their siblings can bowl if they choose. Event is Dutch treat and should be over by 11:30 AM.

November Meeting: Lunch with the Pastor

11/14/17 – 12:00 PM – Newk’s Eatery, McGowin Park Shopping Center, Mobile. 1335 Satchel Paige Drive Suite C-106, Mobile, AL 36606. Join us for lunch with Pastor Melissa Aaron of Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene, our gracious host for graduation.

March Meeting: Ordering Cap & Gown and Diplomas

3/14/17 – 11:00 AM – West Mobile near Hillcrest Rd. & Three Notch. Email us for exact address and directions. Graduates are free to pick their own cap and gown colors.  In addition, parents may custom order the diploma of their choosing and design their own graduation invitations. Join us in the home of an NGCHE host family as we take an up-close look at our options.

April Meeting: The Home Stretch

4/24/18 – 10 :00 AM – 22024 Cedar Street, Robertsdale, Alabama, 36567. Join us at Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene as we discuss the details of the ceremony and reception with Rev. Melissa Aaron and make decorating plans. This will be the last opportunity for community members to reserve a spot in the ceremony. Enrollment closes after the April meeting.

© Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators, 2017-2018