Friday, May 2, 2014

90-Day Homeschool Experiment

Everyone knows I love a good social experiment. For other times I've embarked upon crazy new fasts or adventures, look into these posts-- 7 Weeks To A More Simplified Life.   .

Ever since we've moved abroad as a family, education has been at the forefront of our priorities. There are so many different options out there, but homeschooling was always something we shyed away from. Mainly from lack of knowledge about it and the mere fact that I didn't feel qualified to teach my own children. It's such a amazing responsibility, I didn't want to screw it up.

We were blessed to settle into an area in Nicaragua with a well-known international school. The boys have thrived there at San Juan Del Sur day school. A hands-on learning approach and diverse teacher and student-body have helped our transition into this new culture in wonderful ways. The boys adore the school. But we started noticing some emotional and social issues that needed addressing. Though the boys were growing academically, they needed more of US. Going to school from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon left them screaming for our attention in the evenings and extremely exhausted. They are long days for a seven-and-four-year-old, and we noticed them fighting (more than normal) for quality time with us. Visiting with some homeschooling families and observing their relationships with their children left me feeling a bit jealous. Their children seemed calmer, not nearly as needy as mine, and way more spiritually fed than mine. I am well aware that comparison is the thief of joy, and all families are different, but with these observations, another family close to us choosing the homeschooling option, and the fact that my children began asking why they couldn't have mommy teach them, I started really considering this journey.

So here we are, making a change and committing to a 90-Day Homeshcool Trial Period. For other parents like myself who have thought seriously about homeschooling, worldschooling, unschooling, etc, but have not yet made the leap, let me jump off the ledge for you while you watch and take notes. I thought it best to record the process here and all that our family learns in this lifestyle change. It will be a transition and a learn-as-we-go adventure. Let me preface by saying that I know I have not done ample research and I may fall flat on my face a time or two in this whole endeavour. I'm no teacher and I'm praying WAY in advance that God will grant me wisdom, patience, and sanity through what will inevitably be a time of growing pains for me as a mom. But amidst the anxieties that I have, I am extremely optimistic and excited about seeing how this new lifestyle could actually enhance our home life and bring us a lot closer to our kids. This is something that we feel led to do.  We are quite sure that it will be hard, but we are excited to see some positive results in these 90-days.

Here's the thing. . .we could hate it. It could be impossible and chaotic and hopeless and just really not work for our family. OR it could be the best thing that has ever happened to our family. We shall see. We are committing to 90 days before making a lasting decision. We hope you will follow along! We'd love some feedback and advice from all of you homeschool superstars who have been doing this successfully for years! We'd also love to hear from those who are skeptical about homeschooling and why. It all helps us in researching and helping us find our family's niche in the topic of education. All comments are needed and welcome!

Here's the plan:
*I have found some amazing, FREE online resources and plan to utilize those as often as possible.
*We will attempt to "school" at least 4 hours a day, with room throughout the day for play and rest.
*We will be focusing heavily on learning Spanish as a family with formal lessons at least three times a week.
*We've met some other sweet families who are also homeschooling and we will be getting together to do crafts, activities, games, and field trips at least once a week.
*I will be posting updates about this homeschooling journey; the highs and lows and all in-between on Fridays. For anyone else who has wondered if this option is right for them, we hope to shed some light on the reality of starting the process of homeschooling and all the things our family learns from it in these first 90-days.
*We will be doing unit studies in 30-day increments, with the first being The Planets and Solar System. The second month, we will study The Weather. The third month, we will study Systems of the Human Body.
*Everyday, we will have focused time on Reading, Math, English, Bible Study, Science, and Art. All of these subjects will be taught with our unit study in mind.
*Because schools are year-round in Nicaragua, we will be beginning this trial period starting this coming Monday. May, June, and July will be the months of experiment and a long-term decision made for August.

So, how many others are homeschooling? What are your thoughts and advice?? Please follow along as we jump head-first into the exciting adventure of educating our own kids!


  1. Sounds like a great idea! I think more people would be surprised at how much they enjoy sharing the day with their children, instead of only seeing their child for 5 hours a day- and often it's the worst hours of the day as the child is exhausted and grumpy.

    I was homeschooled for my entire life and have homeschooled my four children for all of theirs. I can't imagine it any other way. I encourage you to follow their lead- 4 hours a day is too much for a 4 year old, and IMO for a 7 year old as well. My middle children are 8 and we "do school"- formal school- for <2 hours per day. The rest of the day is spent in family devotions, LOTS of reading and being read to, hands-on playing like Legos, experiments, and exploring God's nature.

  2. Exciting stuff! Sounds like you have the perfect attitude: just take it day by day and see what works for you and what doesn't. Every kid is different and every family is different. Even if you ultimately decide homeschooling isn't for you, I think you'll be glad you took the time to try. Best of luck!