In order to have a traveling lifestyle with a family, we, of course, have to be able to deliver education to our sons while on the go. Our preferred method? Homeschooling On The Road.
We have been homeschooling our sons since January 2009. Our youngest Nomad (10 years old) has never attended a public school classroom. Our other two sons, who have attended public school elementary classes, had no desire to return back. Homeschool as an option is the unanimous choice in our house. So, it would be logical that homeschooling would also be the preferred method while we travel.
When we are interviewed and when we receive personal messages, there are three common questions as it pertains to our educational choice. As such, I will take the time and present them here complete with our perspectives. Please note, these questions are not listed in order of importance or frequency asked.
The top 3 questions are why, how and socialization. Why we do it? How we do it? And are the boys getting enough socialization. I will address this in a 3-part series. We will cover “Why We Homeschool” in this post.
Why do we homeschool? We have a multitude of reasons. Let me start by saying that, just like our Nomadic Lifestyle endeavor, Homeschooling was not my idea. I wish I could claim it as mine. But, that would be untrue. Mama Nomad gets full credit for leading our family down that path.
Honestly, it started with a feeling. She came to me and said “I don’t feel that the boys should go to public school any longer. I want to homeschool them.” I have always been someone who charted my own path regardless of what the norm was or what was popular. But I had to have a logical reason. I did not know much about homeschooling at the time (which has dramatically changed to date) so I needed more of an argument than feelings or want.
So, Mama Nomad armed herself with logic and came back for the second attack. She didn’t just use logic, she included math. I thought, this should be interesting. The conversation went something like the following. Mandy relayed that the boys went to school for 7 class periods. They were just under an hour-long. For the sake of easy math, let’s call it an hour. And they had 30 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes for recess. As you can see, they were at public school for 8 hours. She also threw in the drive time, but we’ll stick with the 8 hour time frame.
Each class had an average of 20 kids. Regardless of how good the teacher is, and there are some excellent ones that we met in the process, at that age (elementary school) the kids need some attended time. What I mean is one on one time with the teacher to fully grasp the concepts they are being taught. If the teacher does not fulfill this, which is almost mathematically impossible, the parents (at home) have to fulfill this need. Now then, if you take 20 kids divided by 60 minutes per class, the teacher would, at best, be able to deliver 3 minutes of attended time to each child. As I said, mathematically impossible due to the fact that the teacher has to lecture to the entire class for a portion of that time.
Remember, we were sending our kids to be at public school for 8 hours, including lunch and recess. If our sons received their 3 minutes of attended time per class, they would have achieved 21 minutes (7 classes x 3 minutes) of attended time. That is an exchange of 8 hours of their day for 21 minutes of attended time. That cost-benefit ratio did not compute to me. Time is, in my opinion, the most valuable resource. You can lose money and make it back. But, once time is spent, it is gone for ever. Mandy achieved victory. She presented this to me on the Thanksgiving break in 2008. Over Christmas break we pulled them out and the boys never went back to public school in 2009.
That was the primary reason that we pulled them out of public school and homeschooled them. Other factors that were involved includes the premise of our public school system being derived from the Prussian system that was developed after they lost to Napoleon in the early 1800s. It was a system designed for systematization and standardization of education with little emphasis on leadership. Additionally it was largely based on the verbal-linguistic learning style. With 8 different learning styles, some children, who are very intelligent, do not thrive in this type of environment. This was the case with one of our two sons that attended public school.
And finally, we wanted the flexibility of curriculum type and teaching style that the public school system did not have built into it. More on this in our next question “How Do We Homeschool” in our next post of the series.
Our reasons are our own. We do not promote that our reasons should be everyone’s reasons. Quite the contrary, we promote that you should make the best decisions that you can for your family unit given the resources you have and the lifestyle you choose to pursue. Stay tuned for How Do We Homeschool. Until then, Safe Travels.