NICE Circle

A Secular, Inclusive Homeschool Community


We are an inclusive community made of a diverse and cooperative group of homeschool families from Loudoun County, Virginia and the surrounding area.

NICE stands for nurturing inspiration, creativity, and exploration. We gather for secular learning and social activities. That's what we do.

The circle is our community. It's a perfect shape with no corners and no sides. We include and support. That's who we are.

You'll also see a "circle" -- okay, it might not be a circle; we are homeschoolers -- at many of our meetings. Children and adults come together to greet everyone, make all feel welcome, and catch up.


We have a nice time



Clubs are the core of NICE Circle. Clubs include: literature (book club and poetry snack time), STEM, Art, and SOLE (self organized learning environment) and meet approximately once per month. Other classes are optional and vary by season.


NICE started as, what some of our original members refer to as, "a nature group." Trips take us back to nature with hiking, creek jumping, and wildlife spotting. We also plan trips to museums, historic sites, and other places of interest.


Service is an element woven through many facets of NICE and we will participate in several service projects throughout any given semester. Past service projects include: Backpack buddies, planting a community garden, and knitting hats and scarves for Mobile Hope.


Registration Steps

To register your family to participate in NICE Circle activities, you are required to:

  1. Be a homeschooling family in Loudoun County, VA or the surrounding area
  2. Review our Rules and Expectations
  3. Contact us to ensure there is space in upcoming season(s).
  4. Complete the NICE Circle Registration Form, which includes: Parent/guardian contact information; child(ren)'s information; liability waiver; emergency contact information; photo/video release; rule & expectation agreement.​
  5. Pay the registration and materials fees. When we receive and review your registration, we will send an invoice for the requested season(s) to the email provided.


Registration: $100 registration fee per family per semester. This fee is non- refundable.

​Materials: $50 material fee per participating child per semester. These fees are non-refundable.​

These fees support the organization and provide your family the opportunity to take part in NICE Circle sponsored activities, including clubs, service, and trips, for the registration period.

Optional classes will have an additional fee and are registered for separately, after seasonal registration is complete.

There may also be additional fees for park entrance fees, museum tickets, etc.


NICE Circle activities are geared for elementary-aged children.

We will have a room for pre-K aged children where parents are encouraged to engage the younger group with shared activities.


NICE Circle follows the natural seasons of the year. Registration opens to new families for fall and spring seasons. Fall semester is September through December. Spring semester is March through June.

​During the summer and winter, participating families are welcome to organize and host casual gatherings.​

See our current schedule here.


Regular attendance is encouraged. There is no minimum attendance. A parent or guardian must stay and be engaged while their child(ren) attends NICE Circle meetings.


NICE Circle is run by a board of directors made of parents in our group. Parents also lead our clubs and service activities.


How did NICE Circle start?

Sydney Miller Milbert was a leader for a play-based outdoor class in Purcellville, VA. After a short time leading, she decided to instead focus on a more cooperative teaching model and invited friends and families participating in the class to join her.

When does NICE Circle meet?

Our primary meeting day is Thursday. Parent-only planning meetings typically occur on Saturday mornings. Other activities may be scheduled periodically based around a particular event or interest of the group.

Where does NICE Circle meet?

Our primary meeting location is in Ashburn, Virginia. We also meet for park days, museum trips, and other adventures throughout Loudoun County and the surrounding area.

For what ages are NICE Circle activities?

Currently, our activities are designed for elementary aged children, or ages 5-9. Younger and older siblings are welcome to stay. There will be a room for pre-K aged children and parents are expected to bring activities to keep this age group engaged. Sharing is encouraged! Older children may also attend as long as they have an independent activity that does not disrupt the main group. There is not a separate space for older children in our main meeting place. NOTE: If you choose not to pay the material fee(s) for younger/older siblings, please be aware that supplies are limited and they will not be allowed to participate in the group's main activity.

What happens at NICE Circle meetings?​

Each week, we will meet for approximately 2 hours and the children will work together in ways that nurture inspiration, cooperation, and exploration. We will meet for trips, including outings into nature and other field trips; service projects; and clubs. Clubs include: art, literature, SOLE, and STEM. Details about each club are as follows:

  • Art: An artist or art style/period will be introduced with images, video, and/or discussion. Children will then have the opportunity to create their own art inspired by the art or artist that was introduced. Material lists will be provided. Basic materials, such as pencils, erasers, glue sticks, etc, should be brought by each family for their children. Specialty materials will be provided by the leader.
  • Literature: Literature days include book club and poetry reading time. Families are expected to read a chapter book before book club dates and come prepared to discuss and participate in a related activity. Both children and parents are encouraged to bring poetry to read aloud to the group. Poetry does not have to be related to the book; it is a very casual and fun way to share poems.
  • Nature: We will meet in an outdoor space and explore nature together. Some locations may also have an indoor nature center.
  • SOLE: SOLE stands for self organized learning environment. The leader will ask a “big question” and the students, in groups, will work together using a variety of sources -- internet, books, experience -- to find the answer. At the end of a SOLE session, each group presents their findings to the other members.​
  • STEM: STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM days will include a variety of these topics in open-ended and engaging ways.

Is NICE Circle a drop-off activity?

No. A parent or guardian must remain with their child(ren) during all NICE Circle activities.

What does secular really mean?

Secular means that all of our material in NICE Circle clubs, classes, and other activities will be secular. This is of special importance in science, as we may discuss evolution, the Big Bang, dinosaurs, and other topics of interest.

Are religious families welcome in NICE Circle?

Absolutely. We are an inclusive community, welcoming people of all faiths, or lack thereof. We respect all people, even if our beliefs are not the same. NICE Circle does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of religion (creed), race, color, gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. Note: Discussion of religion is welcome; proselytizing is not.

What are the fees?

There is a $100 registration fee per family per semester and a $50 material fee per child per semester. All fees are non-refundable.

How do I join?

The first step to registering with NICE Circle is contact us to find out if there is currently space for your family. Open registration occurs just prior to the fall and spring seasons, if there is space. After space is confirmed, please follow our registration steps.


Send us an email.