Friday, August 5, 2016

Boston/Cambridge Homeschool Resources

On several occasions lately I have met or heard from families who are either new to homeschooling or new to homeschooling in Boston/Cambridge and have asked for my tips on local resources. So here goes!

Local homeschooling networks - First things first, Boston homeschooling newbies should absolutely join the very active, local homeschooling networks to get connected with nearby families and learn about classes, activities, and other offerings for homeschoolers. Homeschooling Together and HubHomeschoolers are the two local networks I recommend.

Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) - Our grassroots advocacy group, AHEM provides a wealth of information and resources for new and experienced homeschoolers, including frequent panel discussions about homeschooling and sample education plans for reporting purposes. AHEM also shares information on the discounts and reduced admission at many local museums and businesses.

Museum of Fine Arts - The Boston MFA offers weekly morning and afternoon homeschool classes from September to June. My girls (9 and 5) especially enjoy these classes. As an unschooling family, I love that I can sign up each week on Wednesday for a Friday class so I can gauge how our week is going and who may want to join an MFA class for that particular week.

JP Green School - I wrote about the JP Green School earlier in the year and am impressed by their weekly homeschooling offerings focused on environmental sustainability. Check it out!

Parts & Crafts - Located on the Cambridge/Somerville line, Parts and Crafts is a self-directed learning center for homeschoolers. Young people can attend a day a week (up to 5 days), and participate (or not) in a variety of class offerings and hackerspace resources. We adore Parts & Crafts -- and their Saturday family open shop is fantastic! (I wrote about them recently too.)

Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts - The Eliot School in Jamaica Plain frequently offers classes for homeschoolers--and encourages homeschoolers to gather a group together for a specific class of interest.

Mucky Kids - Located in Porter Square in Cambridge, Mucky Kids is a children's art center that offers homeschooling classes. This fall's homeschool class is on creative coding and robotics for kids aged 6-10.

Tinkergarten - While not specifically geared toward homeschoolers, Tinkergarten offers high-quality, outside, nature-based programs for parent-child pairs throughout the city. These programs are typically aimed at preschool-age children and can be a great resource for families choosing to delay or forgo formal schooling.

Zoo New England - Boston's Franklin Park Zoo offers weekly homeschool programming for kids age 6-11.

MBTA Reduced Fares - Homeschoolers can take advantage of reduced student fares on the T.

Harvard Extension School - Many local teen homeschoolers take classes at the Harvard Extension School, and some even earn an Associate's degree while their same-age peers are getting a high school diploma!

Beyond this incomplete list, the local homeschool networks listed above regularly share many more class offerings, activities, park days, co-op opportunities, and additional one-off programming. There is so much to do here for homeschoolers and unschoolers! Don't see a program you want? In my experience, many museums and local organizations are happy to accommodate homeschoolers and create a class on any topic, as long as they can ensure a sufficient number of attendees to make it worthwhile.

Boston/Cambridge friends! What did I miss? Please share your additional resources and suggestions for city homeschooling activities and programming!

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