Home-school- Take One


Were you able to watch the Solar Eclipse?

It wasn’t visible here in the Southern Hemisphere but we saw the pictures online and they looked so amazing! Thank-you to all who shared your pictures and stories. I hope you know how lucky you were! I want to share the account of a fellow travel blogger who got to see the eclipse in my former home, Idaho. She has such a way with words and imagery! You can check it out at Path to Totality.

We started our adventure of home-schooling this week. So far, we are all still alive and sane.

Nate and I have never been interested in home-schooling the kids. We value a lot of what formal schools have to offer: interaction with other kids, learning to sit still and be attentive, and opportunities to learn and experience from people with different talents and points-of-view.

HTO Hadley
Hadley working on Math.

Then we moved to American Samoa and realized that formal schooling might not be our best option here. We are here on a two-year contract and we want to be able to experience everything we can within those two years. I have always had a problem with the red tape to take my kids out of school for travel, where they will be learning and growing. Also, Holden had some trouble in Kindergarten with paying attention and being a distraction to the other kids. While his Kindergarten teacher was kind and patient with him, I don’t want him to fall behind due to punishments. Have you ever heard of “sasa”? It is the Samoan word for corporal punishment that is still widely practiced here on the island and I do not see that going well for Holden.

I’ve decided not to follow a specific curriculum. Looking around at different options, I realized that part of the reason we have to chosen to homeschool the kids, is to have the freedom to teach them what we feel they need to learn and in the way that we find works best for them. I don’t like the idea of feeling tied down by the guidelines that someone else has laid out.

Today, I gave them a writing prompt, asking what they want to learn about this year. Hadley answered Algebra and Holden said he wants to learn Science. I love that my kids are passionate about these subjects! I want to encourage them in their search for knowledge and in their passion for learning. I don’t want to restrict them with an inflexible course study.

HTO Holden
Holden working on Math. Yes, its OK for him to be drawing flowers.

Before leaving Idaho, I purchased some workbooks from Costco. The workbooks are Scholastic Success with 1st Grade and 4th Grade, respectively. They are working well for desk time- math, hand-writing, reading comprehension and grammar.

I plan to provide hands-on and experimental learning. We will turn to nature for science. Imagine learning the life-cycle of frogs by finding tadpoles and frogs and seeing the stages as they occur in nature. We will be using real world experience for math: money, measurements of distance and time, and geometry.

While we are here on the island, we want to embrace our surroundings and do everything we can to learn about the environment, culture and history. I plan on incorporating Samoan history and language study, art and music history, and geography.

Kip working on letter recognition.

We are taking the first few weeks to experiment. Occasionally, I will check in to let you know how its going. Share what is working and what is not.

I’m looking forward to embracing this new stage of our lives! Even though I have been nervous and even looking for a way to make formal school work here, now that we are beginning, I remember the reasons we wanted to home-school them in the first place and I think I might be even more excited than the kids.

Note: For our Samoan Language Study we are learning two new words each week. I will share what we learn as a note here at the bottom of my posts. This week our words are: Malo- Hi and Tofa- Bye.


3 thoughts on “Home-school- Take One”

  1. I loved reading about your ventures into homeschooling! I am looking forward to hearing more as your year progresses. I hadn’t thought about how watching the eclipse was a no-go option for you! 🙁 I am extra glad that you could get even a small taste from our experience. Thanks so much for the link!

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