One of the things we’ve had to do in order to take a year-long trip is take Wesley out of school. I’ve NEVER been a fan of homeschooling… and I never thought I would try doing it for my son. But here we are… doing what we call “Road School.”
My arguments against homeschooling are probably the same as most other people’s…
- Homeschooling doesn’t allow your child to socialize.
- Homeschooling doesn’t provide enough extracurricular activities.
- Parents (unless they’ve gone to college to be a teacher) are NOT qualified to teach anybody’s children… let alone their own.
That’s pretty much been my stance since Wesley started Kindergarten. When we thought about starting this trip we knew we’d have to find a way to homeschool Wes… but it wasn’t high on my list of things I was happy about : )
We pulled Wesley out of elementary school in November 2012… the last day before the Thanksgiving break. It was a fabulous school… and I wondered as I did it if I was making a huge mistake. I wandered around the school, saying goodbye to all the teachers that I loved (that Wesley had learned so much from) and all the teachers I wanted to teach Wesley in the years to come (that he would never learn from) and thought, “What the hell are we doing????”
I comforted myself with these two thoughts…
- No one regrets taking the path less traveled.
- We can always change our mind and register him in regular school.
Knowing these would be the last few weeks with our family we “skipped” school from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. January 2nd we started back for our first day of homeschool.
What a nightmare.
We had so many problems. I am NOT a teacher and Wesley is NOT an eager student who wants to learn. We were in a ridiculous power struggle almost from the very beginning. It was a terrible way to start.
Plus I found that I didn’t know half of what I was trying to teach him. (I guess I am not smarter than a 3rd grader!) I don’t know which number is the divisor and which one is the dividend… do you? I found that researching/re-learning lessons and getting them ready took as much time as actually teaching them to Wesley… it was like suddenly having TWO full-time jobs. I was completely drained and Wesley wasn’t learning.
Damon and I researched the idea of “unschooling” or “worldschooling…” and we found several blogging families who felt their children were learning successfully from it. They were all having a great time traveling as a family together and letting the world be their teacher. We thought about doing that. We could avoid the fights and the research and just focus on the fun things… let our destination be our guide as to what Wesley studied next. We could teach him that adults never stop learning as we learned together. We would visit museums and learn local cultures and languages while Wesley learned math by reading train schedules and converting currency… it sounds wonderful.
But we couldn’t do it. It’s something that many parents do with/for their kids… I still check in on their blogs at Worldschool Adventures, Bohemian Travelers, Escape Artistes, and many of the people listed on Vagabond Families. But I couldn’t allow myself to unschool Wesley.
Mainly because our family would never actually do all those things… I’m too lazy, Damon’s too busy and Wesley isn’t interested. He wants to learn about computers, graphics and how to write his own video game… not learn a new language while listening patiently to a museum guide.
So we knew worldschooling was out… but still hadn’t found the right curriculum.
We floundered for all of January trying to figure out how we were going to do this. I researched online schools and curriculums and found that most of them were incredibly expensive, or required you to attend testing dates at specific sites. Since we knew we were going to travel, that wasn’t an option.
Then we finally found it… an online school program that was the perfect fit for us. It’s called Time4Learning.
Time4Learning is an online curriculum that you pay for monthly. You can cancel anytime and you can change grade level anytime. They don’t have too many worksheets that you need to print, and you can choose your curriculum and your schedule.
Wow… I’m sold!