Posted in Homeschool Encouragement and Support

The Burden/Blessing of Homeschooling in the City

The Burden Blessing of Homeschooling in the City

The smell of “pot” drifting through the air.  Homicide rate rising.  Foul language – the common tongue.  Litter on the streets.  Graffiti covering the side of a local store.  There’s no question that homeschooling in the city can be a real struggle.  Sometimes  “The City of Brotherly Love” can seem more like “the city of disrespect”.  When things seem particularly bad in our neighborhood or on our block, it can be tempting to dream of raising our children elsewhere.

At times like these I find it helpful to count my blessings, because there are many blessings that come to those who homeschool in the city:

1.  Multicultural Community:  I’m thankful my children have the opportunity to grow up in a community of many different cultures, to become friends with children of different races and backgrounds.  Our family has been enriched by these relationships.

2.  Street Smarts:  I’m thankful my oldest can use public transportation on her own, and my second will be learning this important skill soon.  I’m thankful my kids are not naïve about the problems in our society.  They can grow up seeing them “straight up” as they really are – doing their best to make a difference in this world despite them.

3.  Great Museums:  Philadelphia is home to some fantastic museums!  Consider the Franklin Institute, the Art Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the University of Penn Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Holocaust Museum, the Please Touch Museum.  And there are so many more.  The Franklin Institute offers free admission one evening a month. (Check it out by clicking HERE.)  The Art Museum has a “Pay What You Wish” program on Wednesday evenings.  (Check it out by clicking HERE.)  I’m so thankful for these treasures!

4.  Field Trips:  The city has many other fantastic places homeschoolers can visit.  Our homeschool group has had the opportunity to see our city’s newspapers being printed, to see a local potato chip factory create its products, and to witness glassblowing and pottery demonstrations.  We’ve been able to visit the zoo, a TV station, and our local radio station.  All of these trips have been about a 30 minute drive from our home.  What a blessing!  (For great field trip ideas, check out this post: Fantastic Philadelphia Field Trips.)

5.  Great Parks:  Take a walk by a gurgling creek.  Go for a bike ride on a forest path.  Discover a beaver building his dam.  Gaze at a butterfly flitting from flower to flower.  Parks are sanctuaries to forget about the endless gray cement and get lost in the beautiful green of God’s creation.  Our parks at Wissahickon and Pennypack have the added blessing of nature classes for homeschoolers.

6.  Large Libraries:  Get two homeschoolers together and very quickly the conversation will turn to excellent books.  City libraries are a wealth of resources.  Fantastic literature, biographies, how-to books, science experiments, educational movies, classic music – our libraries have it all.  Best of all, we can enjoy these resources for free!

7.  Sports Leagues:  Most cities provide a myriad of athletic opportunities for children, and Philadelphia is no exception.  Discipline, perseverance, learning to work as part of a team – all of these wonderful habits can be learned when our children are part of their city’s sports leagues.

8.  The Arts:  If your child has an artistic bent the city is a great place to live.  Drawing, painting, ceramics, drama, dance, music lessons, voice – Philadelphia is the perfect place to find great teachers, classes, and programs.  As our children grow, the city is also the best place to truly excel in these talents as well.

9.  Entertainment:  A homeschooler does not have to go far for great entertainment in the city.  A trip to a ball game is just a train ride away.  Want to see a musical?  Just take a trip to the theatre.  Politicians come to cities to give speeches.  Bands come to cities to give their concerts.  The Convention Center always has something new to entertain or interest its citizens.

10.  God Wants Me Here!  It’s easy to forget sometimes, but it’s the truth.  God has me, my husband, and my children here for a reason!  There are lessons He wants us to learn, a church He wants us to attend, a job meant for my husband, people He wants us to impact and who will impact us, relationships He wants us to build, purposes He wants us to fulfill — that we can only fulfill, if we are here.

Yes, living in the city can be challenging sometimes, but when I begin to count my blessings I find that they overshadow the burdens.  I’m so thankful God has given my children the opportunity to grow up in such an exciting place!  I know that living in this environment will shape their character, and ultimately they will be better people for it.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 11:10 “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.”

Psalm 55  vs 11:  “Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.”  vs 16:   “But I call to God and the Lord saves me.”

Copyright April 22, 2013

All Scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)

This article has been altered a bit.  My original, secular article was posted as a guest post on Kerry McDonald’s “City Kids Homeschooling” Blog on April 23, 2012.  (Thanks for the privilege of writing for your blog, Kerry!) You can check out my original article by clicking HERE.

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8 thoughts on “The Burden/Blessing of Homeschooling in the City

  1. Gwen, thank you for helping me to see Jesus and lovingly being reminded of all that God had called me and us to here in the city! you are a very special woman of God, my family and I love you dearly.

    1. Some of my very dear friends attend Cheltenham high school. What an amazing opportunity to be homeschooling in California! I’d love to take my kids to Yosemite some day!

  2. You said it all with #10. Thanks Gwen for pointing out the sovereignty of God in putting you where He put you & your fam — and thankful you pointed out those verses, too. Good stuff.

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