We’re back! – I know I keep saying that – but it’s a big thing that keeps hitting me. We are back home. And that means we see old friends and acquaintances. We have changed in different ways from them.
We are expats, which means we live in a different country and we don’t have our family or close friends with us, but we have an endless string of acquaintances. People we have met once or twice at a party or other gathering where you keep bumping into the same faces. Some of them know that we have been travelling and some of them don’t, but whenever I am out with the girls the same questions always come up. Why aren’t the girls in school today? or When will I be sending them back to school?
Today for the first time I didn’t try to justify my position and it felt strange.
“ . . .and the girls aren’t in school today – or did they finish early?”
“They don’t go to school.”
“Really? But they did !?”
“Yes they did, but now they don’t go to school.” – I disciplined myself not to say a word more, for once I wanted not to feel I had to justify why we do what we do.
“Oh, ok . . . if that works for you,” she said, and she left, it seemed, much faster than she had approached us.
I had met this woman three times in my life. And I shouldn’t worry about what she thinks – but was she judging or was I being defensive?
How is it that I always feel judged for homeschooling? How is it that I always feel I have to defend my position? Does that come from my head or am I really in such an environment of unacceptance?
Education is the most important thing
Education is the most important thing. No one can take from you what you have in your head. Those two sentences were drilled into me all through my young life. And of course, education meant school. As if it was the school who taught me stuff, not my own private reading. Which for me was more than a habit – as a kid I was the original bookworm.
I had no problem with school. I liked it, I was a good pupil and getting very good marks. But now as I observe my girls I remember a few things. When I was six or seven I got my first microscope and I could and did examine everything and anything under it. I collected dead flies or strands of hair and I would put them on paper and add a written description. A few years later at school, my biology teacher was dictating what we should write in our notebooks. She was taking it from other kids notebook, each year had exactly same sentences. I prefered to buy an old notebook from someone from higher grade then spend time writing. To get the grade you just had to learn by heart what was there. I stopped liking biology and from that time, I hadn’t touched a microscope until now, when I got one for my girls. I’m not complaining about school but I’m sure that school or rather this particular teacher was responsible for putting a stop on my interest in biology. Similar thing with chemistry. When chemistry came on the school syllabus my beloved Young Scientist Chemistry Set began to gather dust. I was expected to learn formulas and dry facts then do magic potions.
When I got a little older and more sceptical I would judge my tutor on whether he could teach me more then I can find out on my own or not. If he could, then I attended the lecture if not, then I didn’t, choosing to spend my time in the library. I was easily bored and I can see same happens to my girls – especially Zoe. She cannot listen with attention to stuff she already knows, but she will greedily soak up anything and everything new.
Polish homeschooling – internet school
We do Polish school over the internet. We chose to do that for different reasons. First, we are an English speaking family and I want to make sure that my girls will speak proper Polish. Second, the Polish curriculum for early grades is very similar to the British syllabus. And thirdly, the school we use gives us all materials online set out as weekly study schedules with links to internet resources and weekly online class. The only thing we need to do is to study and once a year to pass an exam. This works well for us. Whatever we learn there is a starting point for discussion about everything. For girls, the biggest learning part is Polish vocabulary and Polish grammar. Whatever we learn they mostly know already from observing life and reading books. We spend around one to two hours studying every day. Beside this girls spend probably another two hours reading on their own (or more) and half an hour doing the math. Rest of the time is their own – playing, scooting, climbing trees, helping at home and doing their own research and experiments.
Latest homeschooling project
Recently, when helping their grandma gardening my little explorers found caterpillars and in the movie, you can see what happened later. I didn’t help them with anything in this project beside giving them an empty jar.
I believe they are learning as well out of school as they would in it, and we are all very happy with the experience. It’s a developing project. So far so good.