Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Homeschooling Abroad - 15 things I've learned


This is our 3rd year homeschooling, 1st year homeschooling abroad.

As with all firsts, this year came with its share of challenges. First, just the challenge of getting acclimated to a new country, new city, new home, new culture. Thank goodness we didn't have to learn a new language! (although sometimes I do feel like we speak different languages). For those of you who don't know, we are in the UK. In London.

It's been almost one whole year since we first arrived and now that we've completed our homeschool year I can sit back (drink firmly in hand) and reflect.

I'm so happy and proud that we made it! That's it. We survived. All of us.

Beyond that, I have a whole new understanding of homeschooling in another country. This country. This beautiful country we're in....England.

I cannot speak about homeschooling in other countries. I have no experience.

Here's what I have learned:
  1. Most Brits "unschool", so it's been difficult finding groups and other like minded homeschoolers.
  2. When I say unschool, I mean they take their kids out of school and basically let them do whatever they want all week. I met an 8 year old who doesn't know how to read or write and her mom said, "she'll learn eventually". Ok
  3. Libraries are not what they are in the US and they leave a lot to be desired.
  4. Thanks to no. 3, we had a terrible time finding books. Once I went with Buttercup to the library with a list of about 10 books, foolishly thinking they'd have at least 2 or 3. Nope. None. Nada. We walked out empty handed.
  5. Because of no. 4 there are lessons we are not able to complete or do to its fullest because we cannot get the books that accompany those lessons.
  6. I've had to improvise A LOT.
  7. Amazon has become my best friend. I order books and other materials online.
  8. Printing is expensive so we've also improvised on that front. (Hoping to buy a printer soon)
  9. Homeschooling groups are mainly "play groups". So, no formal or informal learning going on. They meet at the park.
  10. I have yet to find a group that meets regularly to discuss books, to learn science, or learn art.
  11. Socializing hasn't been all that easy. We've met a few people but cannot get beyond the superficial. No play dates, birthday party invitations, or anything that would resemble a friendship.
  12. Everyone is cordial enough. Helpful if I ask a question, but that's as far as it goes.
  13. Being in a new country has given us the opportunity to explore lots of  new things. So lot's of learning going on. Yay!
  14. London Museums are FREE! We've gone to so many and they are wonderful.
  15. London has a ridiculous number of parks. It will take a VERY long time to explore all of them. But we are having fun trying.

We are forging ahead and will homeschool this coming year. I'm continuing to follow my own path. That path is basically a fusion of structured homeschooling with interest led homeschooling.

Buttercup and I both need structure..............We need a schedule................But we've learned to be flexible within that structure.

Math, reading, and writing are non negotiable. The rest I take her input on most subjects like History, Art, Science, Geography and Language.
This past year we studied Ancient Civilizations, Chemistry, Bunnies, Portuguese and French. We studied Picasso, cityscapes, perspective drawing and negative space.

Buttercup is now studying Italian in preparation for our trip coming up in the Fall.

I hope to get more and more accustomed to life here in the Old Country. I hope to meet more people and make some friends. In the meantime, we are learning to live a whole new life full of challenges and adventures.

Happy Summer!                   

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!! 

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