relocating to Houston - please help me find a good location! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 08-25-2009, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband is flying out to Houston next Monday to look around in preparation for a probable move there - can anyone point me to the "cool" areas I should have him check out? Is there one community where there are more-than-average homebirthers/APers/secular un/homeschoolers?
Crossing my fingers,

Kelli, radical unschooling mama to four beautiful homebirthed lovies (ages 14, 9, 5, and 19 months) 
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#2 of 11 Old 08-25-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by folkymom View Post
My husband is flying out to Houston next Monday to look around in preparation for a probable move there - can anyone point me to the "cool" areas I should have him check out? Is there one community where there are more-than-average homebirthers/APers/secular un/homeschoolers?
Crossing my fingers,
I would aim as close in as you can if he's working close in- or he'll spend his whole time commuting. *Most* (not all of course...) of your crunch-factor and secular homeschoolers will be closer in.

We're in the near north west...

I would look in the direction where it looks like he'll be working to minimize commute time. If he's working downtown, med center or galleria, you could easily be looking at 1hr plus commute each way to the 'burbs. 1.5+ hours for further out ones....

-Angela
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#3 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 12:04 AM
 
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I would look in the direction where it looks like he'll be working to minimize commute time. If he's working downtown, med center or galleria, you could easily be looking at 1hr plus commute each way to the 'burbs. 1.5+ hours for further out ones....
I disagree. While Houston-area traffic certainly does have it's moments, it's all about perspective. If the OP is coming from a much smaller city/town, then anywhere farther than 15 minutes would be torturous. However, the commute time is totally dependent on which route or freeway is taken and what time the husband's commute. Yes, inside the 610 loop, there are many more options for crunch-factor gratification. But, if you're homeschooling anyway, most of your time will be at home or in your local neighborhood, you'd want a quiet neighborhood so the children can concentrate. Keep in mind that the further out you go, certainly depending on the direction and "area," housing tends to be nicer and much more affordable.

Also, Houston has several business districts outside the downtown area, so depending on where OP's husband's work is going to be located, will also dictate preferred living locations.

One huge benefit to Houston is that although you may need to drive somewhere to get what you want, you have access to just about everything in this city.

Now: Mama of 2! Worker Bee happily married to my DH, motorcycle riding mama to H 8/99 and K 8/09.
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#4 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mama_of_1 View Post
But, if you're homeschooling anyway, most of your time will be at home or in your local neighborhood, you'd want a quiet neighborhood so the children can concentrate. Keep in mind that the further out you go, certainly depending on the direction and "area," housing tends to be nicer and much more affordable.
Your homeschooling must look different than mine I stay in our neighborhood far less than schooling families do

And I would say that as you go out, housing DOES tend to be less expensive, I would not say nicer though- I would say newer.

Personally, I'd rather be in a 30-50 yr old house that's been through a few hurricanes than a new one that hasn't

-Angela
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#5 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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I would definitely say that location of his job is a big factor, imho. He may need to drive a few directions either way from his job at the times he will be coming/going to work. He doesn't want to spend all his time in traffic.

That being said, we live in Kingwood and love it here. My dh works from home and we are close to the airport (IAH) for when he needs to fly out. It's called 'the livable forest' because the houses were built around the trees. There are several homeschooling groups around. The secular one is called PALS and they have a yahoo group if you'd like to ask some more questions there. We did live in Clear Lake for a year and loved it there, too. We were closer to the water. But the traffic getting in and out of there was horrific.

I've heard that downtown Houston has lots of unschoolers and crunchy moms. We love it downtown... all the museums, theatres, etc. (my dh is an entertainer) But it is too expensive for us at this time. And even if we could move there, I would still be torn between my home here (because it's not right on top of someone else's house) and living in Houston where we can walk to so many places. For us, I think this is a great happy medium. And we can drive to downtown anytime we want to visit the zoo or whatever is going on.

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Homeschooling Mom to 6 and a surprise bundle due in March
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#6 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the helpful debate, ladies, lol!

I've never been to Houston, so it's hard for me to visualize distances, but I should have said that this job is between Great Uptown and Afton Oaks/River Oaks (just looking on the map). Right now I live in a secluded, quiet forest in a place with a population of 81. Yes, 81. The thought of living in an urban, concrete, smoggy place is freaking me out (possibly an understatment), although I am up for the adventure and the experiences of living in a new place. It's just going to stretch the limits of my personal stress load (esp. being only 4weeks postpartum. . .tbh I just want to sit here and cuddle my baby, not pack up my house!) Dratted economy!

Started getting off on a tangent, heh.

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#7 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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There are many "cool" areas. I think we all think that our area is cool.

I would agree to see where work is located. Houston is sprawling so yes you can be in traffic for an hour or more EACH WAY. I live inside of the beltway, which is by no means the 'burbs and work downtown. My commute is not bad but yesterday it did take me an hour to get home and that was at 4:30 in the afternoon.

For some people this is ok, for others it is not. If it regularly took me an insane amount of time to get home or to work I would lose my mind. If that is ok with you, then it isnt a big deal. We do have people that work here that live in The Woodlands and that are in traffic 2 hours a day each way.

Traffic is bad here, yes some routes are better than others but if you live outside of the city and have to get into the city on a regular basis you will get into traffic and sit in it for a good long time.

As a secular homeschooler I have found that the outskirts of the city have more religious homeschoolers than secular ones... and most of the events, museums, etc. are located inside of the city.

However, houses are cheaper outside of the city. For what I spent on our house one of my friends got a house three times the size. They are mostly cookie cutter homes in planned developments but if you want cheap houses outside the city is the best place to look. I would advise to do your research on the newer homes because there have been problems with shoddy manufacturing and many builders have gone out of business or gotten sued recently. I have an old ranch house built in the 1960's that comes with its OWN problems but it is what works for us and I believe in having a smaller carbon footprint.

Sorry for the novel here, but really it is all about what your family likes and what your priorities are.

I lived in the Montrose area where we could walk to things, the houses were old, it was very liberal, GLBT friendly, and secular. We loved it but we could not afford it anymore when the prices got incredibly high to live there. So for us the priorities were still close to the inner part of the city but for a price we could afford.

If you give us more specifics about your situation we might be able to help more in getting you where to look.

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#8 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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I live inside the loop and agree it really depends on what you want. DH can not drive far because he has narcolepsy. I never though of myself as a suburban gal but am envious of my friends who can let their LOs out in the back. We have NO yard and live very close to our neighbors so weekends entail at least one trip to the park. Also, the parks are nicer in the 'burbs from what I've seen better maintained with more amenities like "private" water areas.

There are places close to downtown or River Oaks like Garden Oaks with yards but those are (very nice) older homes that cost more than we could afford and DH never gets around to home improvement projects. Learned that with our first (fixer) place and decided on new construction this time.

It will be a big adjustment coming from a small town that sounds very beautiful but the best thing about Houston IMO is the people and diversity so hopefully you'll enjoy your time here!
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#9 of 11 Old 08-26-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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The others are right...the commute will make or break you! Check out www.har.com and www.houstontranstar.org for real estate listings and real-time traffic stats, respectively.
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#10 of 11 Old 08-27-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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I grew up in a small town...Houston will be a shock! I just moved here from Austin and we ended up in the Westchase area (Westheimer/Beltway 8). We chose it because dh's commute is 5 minutes without traffic and 7 minutes with.

We aren't homeschooling, but are attending Montessori. My pedi, though, has started an unschooling school you might be interested in, though! www.therealschoolhouston.org and her other website is www.healthedadlit.com

Good luck to you and I hope you find a place you like!

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#11 of 11 Old 08-27-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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We lived in the Westchase district (between Briar Forest/Westheimer/Kirkwood area) and loved the neighborhood. There were nice lots with nice houses and we loved our neighbors. There was a pool and a really nice playground in our neighborhood. Shopping was near. Commute was hell (one hour one way- to med center) but I loved our house and was willing to do that. I would recommend that area for young families.
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