If you’re considering homeschooling or just getting started, this list is for you. And this isn’t even an exhaustive list! There are many other learning opportunities through co-ops, church schools, and private tutors; however, this list is specifically about organizations that have no school affiliation and are open to everyone.
The Huntsville area has many homeschool-friendly opportunities (meaning they’re the same classes as after-school classes, just offered during the day). Families can supplement their curriculum or even outsource a subject. From theater arts to AP Chemistry, there’s a little something for everyone. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends, both for you and your kid!
Below is my take on the Top 5 places to take homeschool classes in the Huntsville area. We know our Dear Readers will have more to add to this list, so please comment with your favorites (and give a link if possible)!
1.) MindGear Labs
MindGear Labs has just started offering classes during the day for homeschoolers grades 3 and up. Even though we’ve not taken classes here, it’s on our list of things to do in the very near future. We visited their homeschool Open House at the beginning of August and were quite impressed with their dedication to STEM studies. MindGear Labs offers many great classes – from COGS and puppets to gastronomic chemistry and AP Computer Science.
Check out their website to download the flyers about classes and to register – or give them a call. They’re super helpful. Also, check out their new Homeschool LEGO Team!
*Note: MindGear also offers classes in Chemistry, Computer Science, and AP Computer Science for advanced students (with prerequisites) to fulfill 180 hours of class time.
2.) Fantasy Playhouse Academy Theater
Another favorite with my family is Fantasy Playhouse Academy Theater. If it has to do with theater, they have a class for it: improv, singing, dancing, drama, auditioning, costuming, set design, you name it. And the instructors are actual Fantasy actors, so they have practical knowledge. My older daughter has taken several classes there and absolutely loves it. It’s the kind of drama you want in your life! The class schedule and registration form is on the website.
• They have two waiting areas: the front lobby and a quiet snack room in the back.
• Free WiFi. Just ask for the password.
• Dr. Osborn’s Magical Laboratory will be there around Halloween. Check it out!
Polymers, Egyptologists, simple machines, geology, high school biology. Yep, again… a little bit of everything. Supplement your curriculum or let Sci-Quest classes direct your science studies. Sci-Quest bases their classes on national and state standards, so kids are learning what they need to know at grade level. We’re just getting started taking classes here, but reviews from others include words like “exceptional” when talking about the quality of the classes and instructors. Register and pay for classes on the website.
• Become a member and get 10% off classes (and other stuff), unlimited entry to Sci-Quest itself, PLUS free entry into hundreds of science museums around the country. We’ve used this benefit several times. Well worth the money.
• Sci-Quest is hosting a Home School Science Expo on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 from 12-4 pm. It’s free and open to the public.
4.) Huntsville Museum of Art
We love the Huntsville Museum of Art’s homeschool classes! Drawing, painting, and printmaking or ceramics are the focus of these hands-on, exploratory classes. Not only do students learn about how to create, they actually learn a little theory and history. My girls have enjoyed themselves thoroughly in their classes. Plus, they’ve made some incredible pieces of art that I would never have been able to help them create (I don’t have a kiln, for instance). Classes are 1.5 hours and they are engaged the whole time either creating art or visiting the museum for a little inspiration. Instructors are stellar, and you can register and pay for classes online.
• Sign up as soon as the schedule becomes available because the small classes fill up fast.
• Bring quarters for duck and fish food dispensers (class entrance is lake side) and dollars for Pane e Vino (next door).
• Park on the South side of the museum (lot is free). If not, you’ll need change for meters.
5.) Burritt on the Mountain
What’s not to love about Burritt? It’s in a beautiful setting on Monte Sano Mountain and they have farm animals! Burritt offers monthly, hands-on learning experiences combining history, science, and/or art. We’ve only visited the museum and grounds, but I know from friends’ reviews that it’s a fabulous place to take your children (and we plan on signing up to make a tussie-mussie). One friend says they offer an experience “that is so special and they do it so very well.” That’s a definite “must do” for your kids. Burritt offers classes from August to May to suit many interests. Visit the link above to download a schedule and registration form.
TIP: Register for classes before August 31 and get a 20% discount!
Here are some more places in Huntsville and Madison County that offer homeschool classes:
• Bricks 4 Kids (filter their class schedule by program)
• Huntsville Botanical Garden (look under “Education”)
• US Space and Rocket Center Homeschool series
Do you have a good homeschool class to share? Leave us a tip in the comments!