When we first made the decision to home school our oldest in order travel more, I seriously questioned our sanity. When we slowly started to make our plans public, others started to question it as well. We got every reaction from “WOW, are you sure you want to do this?” and “You are taking a huge risk.” to “This is amazing!” and “You are so much braver than me.” The truth is we have no clue if this is the right decision, and only time will tell. What I can share with you are the reasons why we are choosing to try this alternative lifestyle.
Lets look at the practicality of making this choice. Ramon’s work schedule allows him to be off for a total of 6 months a year. This is truly the ideal schedule for traveling. I am a stay at home mom, and Lucy is not at elementary school age yet. The only thing preventing us from traveling more was Zack being enrolled in traditional school, so we decided to take a risk and remove that barrier. We are very fortunate to live in a wonderful school district with great activities! Zack has attended the local public school for three years and had a wonderful experience. Having this school as an safety net gave us the courage to try homeschooling. Who knows … Zack could be reenrolled in traditional school by January.
We had (and to some degree still have) many concerns and fears about this experiment. The first was academic. I wanted to make sure that Zack would not struggle or be behind if/when he goes back to traditional school. We are trying to address this by using a box curriculum, or a structured curriculum that sends you everything you need for the year in one neat little (or not so little) box. I am sure I will share my experience with the particular program we chose once we get further into our school year. We also chose to do year-round schooling so that we could take breaks when we needed to or wanted to due to traveling (or when we are all just too jet lagged to function). Lucy, our three year old, will also remain in her preschool a few days a week. Not only do we love her preschool, but it allows me individual time to focus on school with Zack when we are home.
We also were concerned about social aspect of homeschooling for Zack. He is extrovert to the extreme and loves being around other kids. He is involved in several sports (most notably soccer and tennis), and just recently got involved in Cub Scouts. I don’t know if this will be enough social interaction for him, but it is a place to start.
In the end, this decision came down to a simple fact. After several years of traditional schooling, our whole family really missed traveling. We missed experiencing new things, exploring new places and cultures, and being outside our comfort zone. Most of all, we missed doing it together. We will be continually assessing the results of this new lifestyle, and will continue it as long as it makes sense for us. It is my hope that during this time, we will learn a lot, grow closer as a family, and have a lot of fun! So we hope you come along with us for the ride.