I grew up in a small town, but fate has seen fit to have me raise my boys in a big city. I hate the traffic. My best friend is Charlotte Masoning her children in rural Indiana with chickens and barn kittens and a duck pond and a whole litany of natural wonders that give me farm envy.
However, big city life offers its own set of advantages to home schoolers. At eighteen months, our oldest son already knew the location of every painting in our neighborhood art museum that contained a dog. There are about a dozen animals at our local zoo that he knows by name — not names as in elephant, bear, panda, but names as in Bud, Kali, Pete, and so on. He knows what an ibis is. I don’t think I knew that until I was thirty. One day we were in the right place at the right time and he got to feed an African elephant a sweet potato.
This city has such a range of art museums, history museums, science museums, parks, and other attractions, we couldn’t possibly exhaust them.
But I hate crowds, so we have learned the art of hitting attractions when they are at their slowest. If you home school, you can stay in on Saturday and do your adventuring on Tuesday mornings when all the other kids are cooped up in class. Our best experiences at the zoo, for instance, have been on weekdays in the winter. When it’s cold but sunny, all the big cats will lie out in full view to enjoy the sunshine. When it’s rainy, there’s nobody at the zoo, and we can spend hours with the bird house or the herpetarium all to ourselves. On our most recent trip, the giraffes were in their barn due to the cold weather, so rather than seeing them across their huge enclosure, we got to stand within five feet of them!
I do still want barn kittens, but that was pretty awesome.
What unique opportunities does your community offer?