Living in a College Town. . .

13 05 2008

. . .just makes unschooling (our kind of home education) for us.

Too bad it’s not the same college town I grew up in — Go Gators! — but that’s a minor point compared to the difference between living in any college town, and not. We’d miss a lot in our unschooling, if not surrounded by all these creative community resources both human and institutional.

What about you?




10 responses

14 05 2008
Not June Cleaver

Go Gators!

JJ, I say the same thing about living in Washington DC.

14 05 2008

It depends on the college town.

We have 3 colleges in town (beyond a cc) – Rose-Hulman (and the Explore Engineering program is amazing), Indiana State University (has nothing), and St. Mary of the Woods (also nothing)

14 05 2008

Meg, the only place I can remember living besides Florida college towns, was being a preschooler in Bloomington IN where IU is, right on the edge of campus in a little grad-student rental with the green hill down to the tennis courts as our backyard.

We too have other colleges in town besides the community college — the historically black FAMU, a four-year branch of Flager College from St. Augustine and a few small private commercials like Keiser and Barry.

But why isn’t ISU culturally influential in your town, do you think?

14 05 2008

Oh – and we have the state capitol here too, which I shouldn’t forget to credit with some of our local cultural flavor (museums and theatre support, and traffic!) In that way, it has a bit of D.C. perhaps, NotJC?

I’d very happily unschool between the Smithsonian and the National Zoo, Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center and Colonial Williamsburg! Why would anyone who wasn’t desperately poor or downright delusional send their kids to DC public schools instead of that?

14 05 2008

LOL – I think I know where you are referring to. We spend too much time down in Bloomington.

You know I think it’s influential in the sense that we do have a little art museum, a well established community theater, a supported symphony, and some things like that.

But that’s a two sided coin – anyone who is really serious about the arts travels an hour down to Bloomington or Indy, or the 3/4 hours it takes to get to Chicago. We certainly do it often enough.

What I was getting at is the university itself does not offer much to the community besides it’s classes.

They put out a community class list a few times a year and it’s thin to nothing – drivers ed is the big draw, and while they occasionally bring in a speaker that is nationally known, it’s rare.

I know they have severe budget problems (the newest cutback is the philosophy dept. – gone) and have had trouble holding a pres. for the last 6 or 7 years.

They are also mostly a commuter school, only about 35% of the students live on campus. And that does effect the atmosphere.

But whether it’s either of those or the fact that they are the “smaller” state school (after Bloomington and Purdue), they don’t feel as open to the community. There isn’t a feeling of “let’s go see what’s going on on campus this week…” at least not to me.

14 05 2008

One way to look at a college town is what it’s stereotypically not — not heavily industrial for example, not insulated from the world and banning books, that kind of thing.

Even if your kids never get to take a college class on campus, there’s no doubt a lot of educational value just to growing up in a place where intellectuals aren’t suspected as con artists and ridden out of town on a rail! 😉

14 05 2008

You don’t live in small town Indiana.

Your right we’re aren’t industrial – but that means that the unemployment is high and climbing fast as the couple of larger employers in the area pull out (Pfizer and Eli Lily). And without them to support the community stuff we do have, those organizations will soon have problems raising funds.

We also live in an area where candidates for the local school board endorse intelligent design or they don’t get elected – Yeah?

So, they may not ban books, but it certainly gets close some times.

But I’ve lived my entire life in college towns with a family connection to one of the local colleges….I’m probably taking for granted a lot of what they bring to communities because I’ve never known otherwise.

14 05 2008

Me too, Meg (always lived in college towns with connections to that college.)

So I guess I can’t (and hope not to!) imagine how much more difficult yet, a small, unemployed, ID-susceptible town would be to unschool in, WITHOUT that college influence!

14 05 2008

OTOH, there are really urban environments like Boston and New York that do have colleges and universities, but can’t be called “college towns” in the same sense. NotJC in DC for example — yes, Harvard and BC and many others are in Boston where my DH grew up, and Washington has Georgetown etc but that college-town flavor isn’t exactly what you think of living in Boston or DC (is it, NotJC?)

15 05 2008
Not June Cleaver

There are so many colleges and universities in this area that there is no college town feel whatsoever. But the resources are incredible around here. We have so much to choose from that we have to decide what NOT to do.

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