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Growing Up in the City

June 14, 2010

I live in Houston, which is a really big city. Not just big in sheer surface area covered, either – we’re downright cosmopolitan.

But the image that many people have of Houston pains me: an industrial, polluted, and unromantic city, filled with pinstriped conservative businessmen who speak with a drawl and wear cowboy boots. The fact is that there are some of those, but they’re only a fraction of the Houstonian blend of cultures.

What tends to be missed about Houston is just how much is going on here. For one thing, we have a healthy and steadily growing art and music community. Our museum district is something to boast about, with some of my favorites the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Lawndale Art Center putting on exhibits by local artists quite regularly. And they’re community-friendly, too: there are regular events like open houses and gallery openings that are open to the public. But there are more than just large-scale, put-on-your-nice-shoes museums, too. My neighborhood (the Heights) and the Montrose area are crawling with little art galleries and studios, like Gallery M Squared. And don’t forget all the specialized and highly strange performing arts groups like Suchu Dance and Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre (who I’ve worked with before on many occasions.)

Houston also has the advantage of having relaxed zoning laws and a relatively unaffected economy, which has helped to create a thriving commercial industry. Although it’s never easy to start a business, (especially these days) Houston would be one of the easiest places to do it. It seems like you hear about a new entrepreneaurial endeavor everyday here, whether it’s a nice little locally owned bookstore like Kaboom Books, or Mango’s, our combo vegetarian restaurant and cocert venue.

It’s a good place to live, if you’re into, you know, doing stuff.

Mainly I’m writing this because I’ve recently had an outpouring of local pride and dedication, but also because I want to encourage other homeschoolers to take advantage of where they live. There are great educational tools all around you, if you just take the time and effort to look. Sure, I’m lucky to live in a place like Houston, but every city has something to offer. Check out local museums and theaters. Get involved with your church or religious organization. Go to your library and see if they have any events to take part in. Volunteer or intern with any local non-profit that interests you. Join a book club or writing group, or start your own. Talk to people.

If you’re concerned about being bored while homeschooling, then take my word for it: you won’t be.

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