Homeschooling in the city

Cities offer homeschoolers rich educational opportunities. The Fredettes of Philadelphia have used their storied city to supplement American history lessons. Their travels have brought them to the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, of course, but they’ve also visited a glassblower’s studio, taken archery classes, and toured the facility where the Inquirer, the nation’s third-oldest daily newspaper, is printed. “We even went to the Herr’s potato-chip factory and watched the chips coming out of the machine,” recalls Fredette. The children’s favorite trip was to the studios of FOX 29 News, where, as part of a unit on meteorology, they watched a live broadcast of the midday weather report, complete with green screen.

Boston is known as a college town. Kerry McDonald lives across the Charles River in Cambridge—“between M.I.T. and Harvard,” she says. On her City Kids Homeschooling blog, McDonald writes: “We use the city as our primary learning tool, taking advantage of all its offerings, including classes, museums, libraries, cultural events, and fascinating neighbors”—including a Tufts University biology professor who brings home snails and mollusks for the kids.

It’s no surprise that New Yorkers see their city as “the best place on the planet to homeschool a kid,” as Millstein puts it. She and her husband own a locksmith business in Manhattan and live with their two children in the neighborhood behind Lincoln Center. When her 14-year-old daughter expressed an interest in taking pictures, Millstein enrolled her at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan.

“The resources we have here in New York City are amazing,” Wade enthuses. “We study an artist and then we go to the museum and actually get to look at that artist’s paintings.”