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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Mamas! We are pretty sure we'll be moving to MA for dh's schooling next Fall. (but will move there at the end of spring or early summer) He is from everett and we lived in a tiny town in NH before moving to Seattle almost 3 years ago. So I have never lived in Boston or surrounding areas (i'm from south texas) and thought a little advice from some mdc mamas would be very valuable..especially since dh has not lived there in years..and not as a parent either.<br><br>
So..we are homeschooling our kids. Does anyone know of any resources out there? We have a super huge homeschooling community in the seattle metro area and it's a pretty common thing around here. Does anyone know of school district resource centers for hs kids? Or classes for hs kids? Any laws real quick that come to mind? (like in WA we can hs till age 8 undeclared...etc) Plus most community centers and Y's hold great hs classes..things like that..anything like that in MA?<br><br>
Also what areas to live in? Dh loves Salem..and I like it..but is it a great place to live? I've been to the halloween celebrations and all that..but that's the extent of it. He needs to be close to boston or a commuter line since he'll be going to school there and working there. What cities are safe and good to raise kids? Seattle is safe all around so we haven't had to worry about that...but each time I find an "affordable" house in MA..dh says no way b/c of the issues (like Lowell). I don't know where to look! lol<br><br>
Anyone know anything about Springfield? besides the fact that it's far? lol!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Dh says no way..but it's so affordable plus has school he can attend..etc. Any info on that would be great!<br><br>
Oh..and one thing I can NOT find are co op preschools! Are there any out there? Am I not looking hard enough? They are awesome out here..and all over from WA down to CA. We have all 3 of our boys enrolled and we love it..they love it...it'll be sad to leave our co op and not attend one in ma. I saw one pop up that was religious and we aren't..plus it was WAY over priced, imo. Around here they run $90 for 3 days enrolled a week, $70 for 2 and $45 for one. We aren't interested in a drop off preschool tho...just co ops <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"><br><br><br>
One last thing..i promise!..we are vegetarians (not dh) and I don't remember it being super hard to eat out there (inside boston was fine..but comm. outside?)..but not as easy as seattle and portland. Has it gotten easier? And there seems to be a more natural living lifestyle out here and in pdx..is it like that there? Looking at the this board it has me a little nervous..the Portland/Seattle board is so active..you can't keep up! So I'm curious to know where all the mamas are? I see tons of boston mamas on the babywearer tho! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Also..It's very earthy and green out here..and most people embrace that and I loooove that about here..so is it similar in any way to seattle in that area? Thanks in advance for the help! I know..it's a ton of questions..but I feel I need advice from mamas who live there to really help with it all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:
 

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There's a MHLA yahoo group that you can join. Although I don't homeschool (yet), I joined MHLA to see what sort of support there. It seems that there is a LOT of support and resources. They get together quite often too so that is great for socialization.<br>
Although Salem is quaint, I probably wouldn't live right in Salem. I'd probably choose a surrounding town.<br>
I'm in Natick (west of Boston). There's the Natick Organic Farm which sells their produce and such. And you can bring kids there to just roam around, look at the animals, learn about animals/plants, etc. There's a Whole Foods store in Wellesley and Framingham. There are new vegetarian friendly restaurants popping up around here.<br>
There is a co op preschool in Framingham (my friend has 2 children enrolled there).<br>
If I had more money, I'd want to live in Wellesley. I love the community there.<br>
Don't know if any of this will help you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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Yep, I would highly recomment joining the MHLA e-mail list. There is joining info on their website at <a href="http://www.mhla.org" target="_blank">www.mhla.org</a> As well as a list of support groups all over the state. Some are definitely more active than others, so you may want to check a few out and get a feel for different groups.<br><br>
I don't know of any specific pre-school co-ops, however there are some co-ops that do have pre-school programs. Voyagers in Acton I know does have pre-school classes and programs. I believe (but could definitely be mistaken) that Mystic River Learning Center has some pre-school things as well. Also many of the local support groups run their own pre-school type programs - not really co-ops, but there is quite a bit out there. It may be something to ask as you explore some of the areas.
 

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I don't know the area too well, I've only been here for a year and a half. I'm originally from North Texas. I would think that you shouldn't have too difficult of a time finding some like minded parenting in MA. If you want to live in the city you might look at the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. It is not perfect, but is one of the more diverse and crunchy areas of the city. There are lots of green spaces and lots of places you can walk to. We just moved from there over there summer and even though we are only 1.5 miles away we miss it terribly. Brookline is supposed to be very nice, but also very expensive. I have heard good things about Framingham, too. Like I said, I don't know too much about the 'burbs around here, but I do think you should be able to find some good support wherever you end up. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't know the area too well, I've only been here for a year and a half. I'm originally from North Texas. I would think that you shouldn't have too difficult of a time finding some like minded parenting in MA. If you want to live in the city you might look at the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. It is not perfect, but is one of the more diverse and crunchy areas of the city. There are lots of green spaces and lots of places you can walk to. We just moved from there over there summer and even though we are only 1.5 miles away we miss it terribly. Brookline is supposed to be very nice, but also very expensive. I have heard good things about Framingham, too. Like I said, I don't know too much about the 'burbs around here, but I do think you should be able to find some good support wherever you end up. Good luck!</div>
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So where are you at now? Dh told me a while back that JP is a rougher area and was very anti about it back then...has it changed since then? He hasn't lived in MA since mid 2000..we were only living in NH for 9 months so did not really check out Boston too much (as in the way of living that is) other than going to the dr and having our son at Beth Israel..or hanging out in the usual spots..like aqaurium, children's museum, commons, etc.<br><br>
What is it that you like about JP? I'm very curious now...I'd love to be close to the city..it would help dh out so much <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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hi leslie -<br>
we moved from portland oregon so dh could go to school a bit over a year and a half ago. we have been pleasantly surprised, but even so, we miss portland alot (the fresh produce, farmers markets, pacific coast...) i'm actually in JP (hey earthgirl! we should get togther!) and we like it very much. walking distance to lots of green space and other fairly crunchy moms. (though i haven't seen anybody else nursing their 3 year old...) and it's a short walk to the local co-op, which is no People's in portland, but, hey, its a co-op! uh - baby waking - i'll write more later, pm me if you want....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Liz, Yonit<br>
Thanks for the info! I will def look into that group. I'll keep an eye out for the co ops you mentioned too.<br><br>
All the areas you mentioned sound great..but I don't know if we can afford them..we're just not at that point yet till he's done w/ school. Is there any particular reason not to live in Salem? We saw house w/in walking distance to downtown that seem really nice..and affordable compared to other areas. Is it just not a place good for kids, etc?
 

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Don't know where your husband will be in school, but commuting around here can be really tough and arduous (and expensive!). I go to Harvard and we live in Cambridge. I love it and feel like it is similar in many ways to my prior life in Oakland, CA. There are lots of co-op preschools in Cambridge too. I can give you names if you want, just pm me.<br><br>
Housing in Cambridge is EXPENSIVE. Oy! We rent and decided to keep doing that since being in this community was important to us. We know that once we leave we'll be able to buy somewhere else....<br><br>
Somerville, Arlington, and Watertown all border Cambridge and have some slightly more affordable places both for renting and buying.<br><br>
It's tough, definitely, to figure all of this out. Best of luck!<br><br>
megin
 

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I live very close to Salem. It's a nice town for walking, restaurants, museums, etc. A great store just opened up there run by 2 moms with natural/organic baby supplies (called Crunchy Granola Baby). The schools don't have a great reputation, but it sounds like that doesn't matter for you. I hear the North Shore has a good home schooling network. I know the Audobon Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield has classes for homeschoolers.<br><br>
There are at least 2 CSA farms in the North Shore. We belong to Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton and love it! It's a great resource for local, organic, super fresh produce and a great place to bring the kids.<br><br>
Springfield is a pretty troubled city. They have HUGE problems with their schools, which I believe is from it being a very poor and poorly run city.<br><br>
Good luck with your move.
 

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Northampton/Amherst is a "crunchy" area & very close to Springfield. 5 colleges there too. What schools is he looking at?
 

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I lived in Roslindale (next to JP) for 10 years and loved it. I moved out to the country<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> 4 years ago for various reasons. Rozzie (as it is known) has changed a lot since 2000, it now has restaurants, shops, and lots of ex-pats from JP because the housing is a bit cheaper.<br><br>
I always took the commuter rail from the center of town into Boston and found it really convenient. There are buses as well, but it is not directly on the subway like JP.<br><br>
Will your DH rely on public transport or is driving an option? There are many outlying areas that might work and many have the commuter rail option.
 

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There are big homeschooling groups in both Arlington and Metrowest area. Many people in MetroWest join Voyagers, an activity group for homeschoolers.<br><a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mwhsers/" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mwhsers/</a><br><br>
We are still undecided about how we'll school our children as they get older. Right now they are in a cooperative preschool in Sudbury that we like a lot.<br><a href="http://www.sudburycoop.org/" target="_blank">http://www.sudburycoop.org/</a><br><br>
We're also considering the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham for when they are older (although they can start at age 4!). It's a mixed age open curriculum school.<br><a href="http://www.sudval.org/" target="_blank">http://www.sudval.org/</a><br><br>
As for vegetarianism, my boys and I are vegan, (my husband eats seafood). We belong to the Sprouts group which has a family vegan potluck and playgroup once a month at member's homes.<br>
Also the Boston Vegetarian Society has lots of dining events. <a href="http://www.bostonveg.org/" target="_blank">http://www.bostonveg.org/</a><br>
Where we live in Framingham there are 2 Whole Foods markets within 5 miles, a Trader Joe's 3 miles away, and all the Stop & Shop's have natural food aisles.<br>
Plus we belong to a CSA that runs from June to November: <a href="http://stearnsfarmcsa.org/" target="_blank">http://stearnsfarmcsa.org/</a><br>
It's really awesome, and the kids help plant and they have a cute children's garden, etc.<br>
The restaurants are better closer to Boston, especially in the Brookline and Allston areas. But Sudbury has some good places to eat, and there's a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Framingham.<br><br>
For affordability, the farther from Boston you get, the more affordable it is. There are some "reasonably" priced homes between routes 95 and 495, but for less expensive homes you'd definitely have to go beyond route 495, ie. Worcester. We paid $272K for our 3+ bedroom home in Framingham, but it's an old house that still needs a lot of work!<br><br>
- Krista
 

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If you'll be living near Boston, check out <a href="http://www.bostonorganics.com" target="_blank">www.bostonorganics.com</a> for organic fruit and vegetable delivery. I used them when I lived in Arlington, and loved it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>megincl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6475182"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Don't know where your husband will be in school, but commuting around here can be really tough and arduous (and expensive!). I go to Harvard and we live in Cambridge. I love it and feel like it is similar in many ways to my prior life in Oakland, CA. There are lots of co-op preschools in Cambridge too. I can give you names if you want, just pm me.<br><br>
Housing in Cambridge is EXPENSIVE. Oy! We rent and decided to keep doing that since being in this community was important to us. We know that once we leave we'll be able to buy somewhere else....<br><br>
Somerville, Arlington, and Watertown all border Cambridge and have some slightly more affordable places both for renting and buying.<br><br>
It's tough, definitely, to figure all of this out. Best of luck!<br><br>
megin</div>
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That would be a dream to live in Cambridge! A wonderful really nice one too! And Harvard?! Wow! Congrats to you! that is awesome!`thanks for the info...I'll look into the areas you mentioned too
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>hikingmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6475677"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I live very close to Salem. It's a nice town for walking, restaurants, museums, etc. A great store just opened up there run by 2 moms with natural/organic baby supplies (called Crunchy Granola Baby). The schools don't have a great reputation, but it sounds like that doesn't matter for you. I hear the North Shore has a good home schooling network. I know the Audobon Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield has classes for homeschoolers.<br><br>
There are at least 2 CSA farms in the North Shore. We belong to Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton and love it! It's a great resource for local, organic, super fresh produce and a great place to bring the kids.<br><br>
Springfield is a pretty troubled city. They have HUGE problems with their schools, which I believe is from it being a very poor and poorly run city.<br><br>
Good luck with your move.<br><br><br>
Jennifer</div>
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Thanks for the info on Salem. Dh really seems to have his heart set on living there. He really likes the downtown area..and the halloween magical vibes it produces. I think he's been in Seattle too long and that's why tho <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> (they seem to not celebrate like new england..and are very PC about it all and it's pretty much vanished in schools and/or some communities for sake of wiccans/pagans, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gret the great</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6476890"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Northampton/Amherst is a "crunchy" area & very close to Springfield. 5 colleges there too. What schools is he looking at?</div>
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For Boston he is thinking Northeastern or Boston College..and I have no idea where that is at..or what areas are near there?! lol For outside of Boston he is NOT <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> ..I am just trying to have him open his mind a little jic we can't afford Boston living. He's an engineer major...so the school has to have that program..and hopefully a good one <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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Personally I would suggest you look at the T and figure out which subway lines the colleges are on and how long you are willing to commute for. I lived in Brookline, Brighton, and Quincy and my commutes all seemed to be about 45 minutes. The T website has approxiamate times: <a href="http://www.mbta.com/" target="_blank">http://www.mbta.com/</a><br><br>
The Commuter Rail from Salem, for example is going to take you an hour with parking, etc. or more if you live farther from the commuter rail. Then to get to BC you'd have to switch 2 times and it would take at least another 45 minutes. I think the orange line connects to North Station, so it might only take another 20 minutes to get to NorthEastern-- but that's all still a long commute (imo).<br><br>
Northeastern<br>
Orange Line & Green Line<br><br>
Boston College..<br>
Green Line<br><br>
There are also 2 commuter rails. One that goes into North Station and one that goes into South Station. I forget which trains go into which stations, but it can add a layer of complexity and time if you have to switch trains 2 or 3 times.<br><br>
Also, if you give us an idea of the rent ranges or house prices you might be looking at, we might be able to help you out even more. For example, 3 years ago it was possible to get an okay 2 bedroom house in Quincy for $300,000 and in JP it would have been smaller and a little more money, too- but closer to the T you might need if NE'stern is the choice.<br><br>
It is a beautiful area, but pricey.<br><br>
Jessica
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">For Boston he is thinking Northeastern or Boston College..and I have no idea where that is at..or what areas are near there?!</div>
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My husband went to Northeastern (double major in Engineering/Business), and his sister is also an engineer, got her masters from MIT. I don't remember where her husband went to school, but he's also an engineer, LOL. That would be a heck of a commute from Salem though!! And the traffic up to Salem is always a nightmare along routes 1 or 95/128. We looked in that area when we moved from renting in Cambridge, but we actually weren't that impressed. Except for being right near the water, which we both miss.<br><br>
Something along the commuter rail, like Natick or Ashland, might be appealing.<br><br>
- Krista
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cldistefano</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6474353"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So where are you at now? Dh told me a while back that JP is a rougher area and was very anti about it back then...has it changed since then? He hasn't lived in MA since mid 2000..we were only living in NH for 9 months so did not really check out Boston too much (as in the way of living that is) other than going to the dr and having our son at Beth Israel..or hanging out in the usual spots..like aqaurium, children's museum, commons, etc.<br><br>
What is it that you like about JP? I'm very curious now...I'd love to be close to the city..it would help dh out so much <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"></div>
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Right now I'm in Roslindale, which as someone mentioned, is the next neighborhood over. It was the cheaper rent that brought us here, but I still haven't adjusted. We find we have to drive a lot more now that we're in Rozzie and when we were in JP our car would sit for weeks at a time b/c we walked or took the T everywhere. Rozzi has no T access excpet for the commuter rail, which is useless to us. (Actually, the Forest Hills stop is on the JP/Rozzie border, but it's a bit of a walk for us.)<br><br>
Your DH is partially right about JP- some of the parts are rough, but it is not hard to find good areas, too. When we were there we were right behind the arboretum and walked there almost every day. There's also Jamaica Pond, which is great to walk around. We were also one block from the Harvest co-op and even though it's a co-op in name only, it was still nice to have a health food store within walking distance.<br><br>
I agree with whomever said that your DH needs to check out the MBTA site for figuring out his commute. Salem seems really far from the schools he's considering. And the commutes are almost always longer in the winter when there's snow. I guess it will really depend on what ends up being most important to you. If it's a matter of money then you will be better off living further out. I hope you are able to figure out something. The cost of housing around here makes it hard to decide what to do. Good luck!
 

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I live near Springfield and I can tell you that the downtown is rather depressing and devoid of much of interest. However, Springfield has lots of residential areas and many very nice ones -- but you do have to be careful to avoid the bad ones. And the schools aren't supposed to be good, but that's not an issue for you. I grew up in Brookline (which was a great place to grow up, though it's crazy expensive now), and now live out here in Western Mass, and I can tell you that the "west" is much crunchier than the Boston area, though I'm sure there are communities in metro Boston -- it's just not the general tone of things like it is out here. The 5 college area out here also has a big home school community. There is an organization I think called North Star that provides resources and programs for home schoolers. The only draw back I find to this area is that there is a definite lack of public transportation. And I don't know anything about engineering programs around here.
 
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