Category — Roadschooling
Every day that we possibly can, we open our big blue suitcase on wheels and pull out the textbooks.
Caroline has a big, green, shiny English 9 book and an accompanying dense black writing handbook. A 10-pound U.S. History text, a geometry book, and all the tools to go with it (calculator, protractor, compass, etc) rounds out her list.
Conor’s stack includes a fat, red math book and two huge spiral-bound math manuals, a social studies book covering lands of the eastern hemisphere and its matching workbook, and a language arts book. (We’re dissecting sentences and learning parts of speech.)
None of this really blends in with world travels: sight-seeing, trekking, photographing, eating strange foods, and moving over and over again to yet another new spot.
But schoolwork has become a necessary framework and, at times, a welcome one. Even though, like at home, it causes a certain stress, it is a constant thread through our crazy changeable year.
April 1, 2009 4 Comments
When we last discussed the issue of roadschooling, we were considering working with Learning Community International, a Maryland-based organization that initially seemed excited about working with us.
But when the time came to put together a course of study, we felt their interest in working with us had waned (to put it charitably), and we decided to look at other options.
We considered a broad range of possibilities:
- Nonschooling (probably the best idea, but it’s hard to make the leap);
- Unschooling–I swear, this is a legitimate movement;
- On-line schooling presented by Maryland’s Department of Education (sadly, ironically, the county we live in does not yet approve our state’s online curriculum);
- Making up our own customized “curriculum” to reflect the places we would be visiting;
- Purchasing the Montgomery County curriculum and administering it ourselves, figuring out how to manage the legally required periodic reviews by homeschooling office personnel (fly them to Thailand?, Budapest?);
However, none of these options would put us in the best position to accomplish Caroline’s ardent wish: To graduate high school with her peers.
It’s important to her, and we didn’t want our wanderlust to put her ability to graduate with the class of 2012 in jeopardy.
Ultimately we settled on the most “conventional” of the unconventional choices open to us. We enrolled Caroline and Conor in online private homeschool programs that have been accredited by Montgomery County, Maryland.
Both kids are enrolled in Griggs International Academy’s online homeschooling program. The school provides a comprehensive, county and state accredited curriculum and will supervise and grade schoolwork and provide transcripts at completion.
We also registered Conor in a math class at the impressive Calvert School.
One thing we learned so far in this process: The text book industry is far, far behind in the digital revolution.
We have had to dedicate one piece of luggage to text books. There are no online or CD-ROM versions of books the kids will be using in their studies.
At some point, not long from now, I imagine text books as we know them will be a thing of the past. But for now, they represent about forty extra pounds we’ll be hauling around the world.
July 9, 2008 7 Comments
I didn’t know what to say as a fellow parent pressed her point.
“You’ll be putting your kids at a great disadvantage, you know, pulling them out of school for a year. What’s it going to do to your daughter’s transcript when she applies to college?”
Well. I had to admit I hadn’t thought about that. School was an issue we needed to figure out.
In Montgomery County, Maryland, there is a well-worn path to success that leads through demanding private schools or public school magnet programs, SAT prep classes and extensive college application engineering.
There’s little time for just being a kid, not when there’s another advanced placement class, enrichment activity or volunteer opportunity to add to the resume.
Given its reputation as having one of the best public school systems in the country, I was surprised and pleased to find Montgomery County was rather broad-minded about homeschooling.
Aside from the hole in our daughter’s transcript, Dani and I felt we could figure out a way to make
homeschooling roadschooling work and ultimately our kids would be able to graduate high school with their peers.
As we began to investigate how to do it, we were amazed at the educational resources available on the Internet. From Indian tutors online to free college lectures, there was no shortage of educational materials that would allow us to focus on the places we planned to visit.
December 4, 2007 8 Comments