This week, I am delighted to present a series of guest-posts by urban homeschoolers in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Buffalo. I hope you'll check in to see how other families approach city homeschooling. Today's post was written by Liz, a homeschooling mom in Buffalo, New York who discusses the many formal and informal learning resources available in her city that cover every "subject-matter" imaginable! Liz blogs at Homeschooling in Buffalo.
On a recent warm Friday we postponed some of our routine to take pictures of the spring flowers on our block. The closer together homes in our urban neighborhood mean that we can cover many front yard gardens in a short period of time. There are many "Buffalo in Bloom" signs out yearly in our neighborhood. It was a chance for the kids to practice taking digital pictures to research flowers later for Science and possibly print some for an Art collage. If I feel energetic in the fall we may plant bulbs of our own as a project!
There are opportunities throughout the neighborhood to socialize and live while covering each and every subject. Physical Education is covered so well by daily walks to complete activities turning to our feet or the nearby bus stop as a habit rather than the door to door habit of a car. Don’t forget about Geography. Every so often we take a map of our neighborhood and trace our way to where we are going, not to mention following bus maps on field trips to great area attractions like the Buffalo Museum of Science or the Aquarium of Niagara.
Library skills, Reading, and Art are only several blocks away at our local branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. From story hours to art hours, the library is so friendly and close it feels like an extension of our home. It is also great to see all the familiar faces of friends and acquaintances in the neighborhood often leading to extended social time at the local playground. The proximity also gives Dad the time to participate and spend quality time with kids around his work schedule.
There is no need to skip art by artists either. There’s the Albright Knox Art Gallery and Burchfield Penny Art Center, both in the neighborhood, and famous artists like Ylli Haruni working as you walk by them. Math is also great in the Elmwood Village. My kids routinely help me when visiting the bank and we weigh produce at our local market co-op while learning to interact properly with adults out in the community and the importance of organic and local food. We even practice place value with ones, tens, and hundreds by stomping on the address numbers embedded in some of the sidewalk blocks in front of local businesses.
Free History and Music are available too for a walk or bus ride downtown. St. Paul’s Cathedral, an important church in the history of Buffalo, offers free concerts on Fridays. The kids also love to stop at city hall with its historical and architectural significance and look at the building, statues, and out at the waterfront from the top of the building.
This is just a sample of some of our activities as urban homeschoolers. Some things become routine and some things wander in and out of the mix. The freedom of homeschooling in the city allows us to follow our interests and speed up or slow down as health or life permits.
Liz is a homeschooling mom of two living in Buffalo, New York. She blogs regularly at Homeschooling in Buffalo.