Around Town

Get to Know...

An introduction to some of people & groups around Mid-Michigan: HappenDance Dance Studio

Social Collective

A deeper look at that which impacts all of us: Understanding the Home Schooling Options

Things to Do

Events to do around town geared towards the young or young at heart 

Get to Know...

Happendance Dance Studio

Today's Happendance is a professional company of dancers, choreographers and teachers, well-known for their original concerts, innovative school programs, and outstanding instruction in which dance is emphasized as an element of life experience & learning.

Happendance is mid-Michigan's only professional dance company and is currently celebrating its 42nd anniversary in 2018. Each year it presents four major productions: A Dance Concert for Young People (and their grown up friends); a full production winter concert featuring the professional company: "This Is Happendance"; the Happendance School Spring Concert; and the unique “Community Dance Project”, which it founded in 2005. In addition, Happendance 2, the company’s pre-professional youth group, performs at a variety of local bookings. “Happendance To Go”, the company’s highly popular outreach program offers both performances specially designed for youth audiences, and teaching workshops which provide dance classes designed to enhance curriculum and learning skills. 

This program serves school districts throughout Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Livingston, and Shiawassee counties. Happendance School, founded 1993, enrolls 250 students annually.  

Their next major event is to December 22nd at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU. Remarks by Jack Davis and a short performance by Velocity Dance Company. Enjoy refreshments and the joy of the arts! Free to attend with donations encouraged. Funds raised will support formal concert in late spring of 2019. 

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Social Collective

Understanding The Home School Option


It's a choice that many never considered. Pulling a child out of a public school system and into a customized program, suited to them and their needs was unpopular at best, unfathomable at its worst. That is changing for many Mid-Michiganders in the internet era. Parents are finding support groups, curriculum outlines, and group programs online and that is making their decisions much easier. 

Under Your "Right to Home School" Michigan parents have the right to home school their children. The section of the Revised School Code that addresses home schools is located in the Michigan Compiled Laws (under MCL 380.1561.) 

The law requires a parent or legal guardian of a child from the age of six to sixteen to send his or her child to school during the entire school year, except under certain limited circumstances (MCL 380.1561). The law was amended in 2010 to increase the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 for a child who turned 11 after December 1, 2009, or who entered grade six after 2009. The exceptions include, but are not limited to, sending a child to a state-approved nonpublic school or educating a child at home in an organized educational program. 

Who May Home School Home school education is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. The parent assigns homework, gives tests and grades these tests. The issuance of report cards, transcripts, and diplomas are the responsibility of the home school family (based on internal standards). If home schooling continues through grade 12, the parent issues a high school diploma to the graduate. 

According to a January 2018 report published by Brian D. Ray Ph.D the following Home Schooling statistics and findings were published in accordance with the National Home Education Research Institute ( 



· There are about 2.3 million home-educated students in the United States (as of spring 2016). This is up from one estimate that there were about 2 million children (in grades K to 12) home educated during the spring of 2010 in the United States (Ray, 2011). It appears the homeschool population is continuing to grow (at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years).

· Homeschooling – that is, parent-led home-based education; home education – is an age-old traditional educational practice that a decade ago appeared to be cutting-edge and “alternative” but is now bordering on “mainstream” in the United States. It may be the fastest-growing form of education in the United States. Home-based education has also been growing around the world in many other nations (e.g., Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom).

· A demographically wide variety of people homeschool – these are atheists, Christians, and Mormons; conservatives, libertarians, and liberals; low-, middle-, and high-income families; black, Hispanic, and white; parents with Ph.D.s, GEDs, and no high-school diplomas. One study shows that 32 percent of homeschool students are Black, Asian, Hispanic, and others (i.e., not White/non-Hispanic) (Noel, Stark, & Redford, 2013).

· Families engaged in home-based education are not dependent on public, tax-funded resources for their children’s education. The finances associated with their homeschooling likely represent over $27 billion that American taxpayers do not have to spend, annually, since these children are not in public schools

· Taxpayers spend an average of $11,732 per pupil annually in public schools, plus capital expenditures. Taxpayers spend nothing on most homeschool students and homeschool families spend an average of $600 per student annually for their education.

· Homeschooling is quickly growing in popularity among minorities. About 15% of homeschool families are non-white/nonHispanic (i.e., not white/Anglo).

· An estimated 3.4 million U.S. adults have been homeschooled for at least one year of their K-12 years, and they were homeschooled an average of 6 to 8 years. If one adds to this number the 2.3 million being homeschooled today, an estimated 5.7 million Americans have experienced being homeschooled. 


Most parents and youth decide to homeschool for more than one reason. The most common reasons given for homeschooling are the following:

· Customize or individualize the curriculum and learning environment for each child,

· Accomplish more academically than in schools,

· Use pedagogical approaches other than those typical in institutional schools,

· Enhance family relationships between children and parents and among siblings,

· Provide guided and reasoned social interactions with youthful peers and adults,

· Provide a safer environment for children and youth, because of physical violence, drugs and alcohol, psychological abuse, racism, and improper and unhealthy sexuality associated with institutional schools

· Teach and impart a particular set of values, beliefs, and worldview to children and youth.


· The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).

· Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.

· Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.

· Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.

· Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.

· Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.


· The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.

· Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.

· Adults who were home educated are more politically tolerant than the public schooled in the limited research done so far.


· One researcher finds that homeschooling gives young people an unusual chance to ask questions such as, “Who am I?” and “What do I really want?,” and through the process of such asking and gradually answering the questions home-educated girls develop the strengths and the resistance abilities that give them an unusually strong sense of self.

· Some think that boys’ energetic natures and tendency to physical expression can more easily be accommodated in home-based education. Many are concerned that a highly disproportionate number of public school special-education students are boys and that boys are 2.5 times as likely as girls in public schools to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


· The research base on adults who were home educated is growing; thus far it indicates that they:

· Participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population,

· Vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population

· Go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population

· By adulthood, internalize the values and beliefs of their parents at a high rate

You can View the full report here:

Things to Do

Michigan Steam Train North Pole Express

The North Pole Express is a four hour excursion to the Village of Ashley: two hours on the train, and two hours in Ashley. While in the Village of Ashley, enjoy the vintage style decorations and sounds of a Classic family Christmas. Enjoy a variety of entertainment including music, comedy, and variety acts. Visit the Post Office to write a letter to Santa. See Santa's Workshop, Elves, Sleigh, and watch as he presents the first gift of Christmas to a lucky child. (Chosen by raffle.) Check out the petting zoo, get your face painted, decorate your own Christmas cookie, do some crafting, or watch special artisans create their own beautiful crafts. There will be Christmas Decorations, Christmas novelties, Souvenirs, Homemade food & treats, and candy available for sale.

November 16, 2018 - December 16, 2018
Recurring weekly on Sunday, Friday, Saturday
Location: 405 S. Washington St., Steam Railroading Institute, MI
Phone: 989-725-9464 

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Potter Park Zoo Wonderland of Lights

Potter Park Zoo is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with thousands of holiday lights and extraordinary visual displays Thu.–Sun. 5–8 p.m. only! Kids activities, entertainment and your festive animal friends make this a fun event for the whole family. (Lights are on Thu.–Sun. nights only) Closed Christmas Day.

November 22, 2018 - December 30, 2018
Recurring weekly on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Location: 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Potter Park Zoo, MI
Time: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM 

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Holiday Lights Stadium Style Cooley Law School Stadium

Holiday Lights... Stadium Style makes its debut this year and every Friday is Family Friday! Tickets are $5 per person, kids ages 6 and under are free.

The stadium will feature a 360 degree walk around Holiday Light Show featuring train rides, ornament making / holiday crafts station, cookie decorating, warming stations in the Chevy Terrace with fire pits and a s'more station, family holiday movies on the big screen, Big Lug as the Grinch, and letters to Santa!

Thirsty Thursdays! Holiday drinks and specials.

Family Fridays~Fun for all ages.

Santa Saturdays~Letters and photos with Santa

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday EXCEPT Thanksgiving.

11/29/2018, 11/30/2018, 12/1/2018, 12/6/2018, 12/7/2018, 12/8/2018, 12/13/2018, 12/14/2018, 12/15/2018, 12/20/2018, 12/21/2018, 12/22/2018
Location: 505 E. Michigan Ave., Cooley Law School Stadium, MI
Phone: (517) 827-2482
Time: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Price: $5 per adult~children under 6~FREE 

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A Festival of Trees Turner-Dodge House and Heritage Center

The friends of Turner-Dodge House are pleased to once again present A Festival of Trees. Businesses and individuals from around Lansing will decorate trees for your viewing beginning December 8.

Embrace the holiday spirit and join the Friends of Turner Dodge House and Lansing Parks and Recreation for the annual Turner Dodge House Festival of Trees!  All three (3) floors will feature as many as 60 trees decorated for the Holidays! Money raised from the admission price will go toward projects to preserve and enhance the house. Tours available/open from Tuesday through Sunday throughout the season. 


Groups of 10 or more may schedule a group tour. Call for more information. 

December 8, 2018 - January 1, 2019
Recurring weekly on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Location: 100 E. North St., Turner-Dodge House and Heritage Center, MI
Phone: 517-483-4220
Time: See calendar
Price: $5 per person - Children 12 and under FREE 

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Michigan Made:2018 Holiday Exhibition Lansing Art Gallery

Mark your calendar for the “Michigan Made: Holiday Exhibition” at Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center! We will ring in the holiday season with an opening reception on Friday, November 9th from 5 – 8 PM and an opportunity to eat, drink, shop and be merry. 

This is exhibition will be co-curated by our Exhibitions & Gallery Sales Director Katrina M. Daniels and artist Debbie Carlos. Showcasing established and emerging artists, the Michigan Made: Holiday Exhibition offers holiday shopping and opportunities to support makers in the local economy. The exhibit will feature artworks ranging from fine art to small gifts including jewelry, sculpture, pottery and more.

November 6, 2018 - December 22, 2018
Recurring weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Location: 119 N. Washington Sq., Lansing Art Gallery, MI
Phone: 517-374-6400
Time: 11:00 AM


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