Education plans

We’re making some decisions and moving on – it feels great!

One of our primary concerns (after finding a place to live – still working on that one) was figuring out what we would do about our boys’ education.  There were so many options available and we weren’t sure which option would serve their needs best: homeschool, public school, or a combination of the two.

We finally made the decision about what we’ll do and we’re thrilled with it!

Boise Public Schools have been great to work with in designing a program that is tailor made for our sons.  They’ve been totally flexible and will allow us to put the boys in classes of our choosing and homeschool the rest.  At this point it is too late in the school year for Davy and Daryl to get ‘credit’ for the classes, but that is not a concern at all.  They’ll be able to slide right in and take advantage of the best of the best!

Both of our sons are very advanced in comparison to their peers, so finding a good program could have been hard and it was a great relief to see that Boise offers options for kids like ours.  They will be able to attend classes at a special school designed for advanced kids – they’ll even have Daryl’s math level!!  We’re psyched!

It’s been interesting hearing from the homeschoolers – it’s like we’re abandoning ship.  But really, we aren’t.  We’re just taking advantage of opportunities, even if they happen to be part of the public school system.  Our sons will continue to be homeschooled for part of the day, and in public school classes for the rest.  The best of both worlds.

Having the boys take some classes through the school for these last two months of the school year will help us make more educated decisions about next year – if this goes well, we will continue in the same vein next year.  If not, we’ll change.  But we won’t know until we try.

The boys are excited! They’ve always enjoyed school and are looking forward to getting back into a more formal educational setting.  We know it’s possible (and most likely probable) that they’ll get tired of it quickly.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I’ve heard from some people that their local school districts won’t allow for the flexibility we’re seeing.  I would suggest actually talking with the schools – you may be surprised.  I had no idea we could do a half/half program until I heard from another parent that they were doing it – so I asked.  Schools have realized that kids are all unique and need unique programs – and are allowing parents to tailor make programs for their children.

I would love to hear about your experiences with the public school system – good or bad.  Please leave comments below so other parents can get an idea of what options are out there and what obstacles they may face.

Daryl doing math

I’ve written fairly extensively about our sons’ education. Here are a few of those blog posts in case you are interested in seeing what we’ve done.

Why go now? Take your children traveling

Education = Learning = School?

How can travel help kids learn?

Travel can help foster creativity in children

Roadschooling: What materials do you need to homeschool on the road?

Roadschooling

And here is our general resource page with lots of info on all aspects of travel

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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11 Responses to Education plans

  1. Colleen Welch April 14, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I have four sons who have had (and continue to have) all their education in public schools. We live in Olympia, WA and our boys are in North Thurston Public Schools. I have always felt that my boys have done well in school because I am involved. I parent-helped all through elementary school and I have formed relationships with my kids’ teachers. I even had a teacher tell me that my child “gets more” because I’m there. He knew me and knew what I wanted for my sons.
    My oldest son graduated Valedictorian and received a full scholarship to Washington State University where he graduates this year with 2 Bachelor degrees, one in Neuroscience and the other in Physics. He will pursue a Doctorate in Bio-Physics this Fall at Oregon State. My second son also graduated Valedictorian and is currently a Freshman at Univ. of Texas-Austin as a Violin Performance Major. My third son is a junior in highschool and my youngest attends a Performing Arts Middle School that is part of North Thurston Public Schools. They have all done well in the public school system. Getting involved is the key!

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  2. nancy April 14, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I couldn’t agree more Colleen! Being involved in your children’s education – whether homeschooled or in public school (or 1/2 & 1/2) is the key to success. I’ve spent 21 years as a classroom teacher and will tell you – without exception – that involved parents lead to good kids.

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  3. Amy April 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi Nancy,
    It’s good to read a positive post like this. Hopefully your boys can combine what is best about homeschooling and public school. As homeschoolers, we can sometimes lose sight that there is a balance of good and bad in the public school system as well.
    My homeschooled kids are attending a tiny 18-kid 1-room school for a few weeks while we’ve stopped to work. It’s a different set of experiences for them, and an opportunity to practice some group work and public speaking.
    I love homeschooling and I’m quite passionate about it, but it’s not perfect. That’s why we are taking advantage of the opportunities available to us. All the best to your boys,

    Amy

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  4. nancy April 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Just like with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages of public schools and homeschooling. The key is to look for the best of both. We are fortunate that there are a lot of positives about the public schools where we live, so can take advantage of that. But we can also take advantage of the best of homeschooling.

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  5. Debbie April 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi Nancy,

    I’m so glad things are working out for you and your family as you settle back into Boise. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and would go into serious withdrawal if you were to quit writing.

    In any case, my situation is this: My husband is 61, I’m 53 and our son is 13 (grade 7). I’d like to take Elliott out of school and have the three of us travel for a year. My husband thinks we’ve missed our ‘window of opportunity’ with that and wants to wait until he retires and Elliott heads off to University. Elliott is all for the idea of going now as long as we don’t bike to South America. (How can you tell I’ve talked often about “Family on Bikes?)

    We’re Canadians, living in Edmonton, AB and our school system is very flexible and supportive of homeschoolers (Elliott was homeschooled in Grade 2). So, I guess what I’m asking is if you or any of your readers know of any travelling blogs featuring homeschooled teenagers i.e. middle school and up. I can’t seem to find anything. I’m looking for ammunition :)

    Thanks again for your inspiration and best wishes to you and your boys.

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  6. nancy April 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Hey Debbie! Here are a few blogs you can check out – many of them will link to other blogs as well.

    http://www.thecoasttocoasttrips.com/
    http://ticknortribe.blogspot.com/
    http://barenakedfamily.com/
    http://www.gilladventures.com/blog
    http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/

    Also check out http://www.familiesontheroad.com/fotr.html – a compilation of links to hundreds of websites from full time traveling families.

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  7. Pippa Genner April 15, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    Hi Nancy,
    Can’t quite believe I am still ‘dipping’ into your blog to see how things are going …but after a year and a half of following your travels I guess it’s just like looking in on a friend every few days!
    I first emailed you just as you were coming into Ushuaia and told you about ‘flexi-schooling’ in the UK. So glad that you are taking the same route with your boys. It has been a fantastic experience for our 8-year old, Charlie, and a real eye-opener for us! Every day is different and exciting and it is generally Charlie who dictates the direction we take. You can do so much when you are in a 1:1 learning environment. I sometimes think that we are learning more than Charlie is! We like to think of flexi-school as a mini-adventure (without our bikes!)… we never know what is round the corner but always look forward to the challenge and try to be open to whatever comes our way. Best of luck with your next educational mini-adventure!

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  8. Lisa Wood April 15, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    Hello Nancy,

    We are a family of five boys traveling around Austrlaia and homeschooling.
    We are not new to homeschooling as I have homeschooled two of our younger boys a few years back but I am new to homeschooling the older two.
    At the moment we are HS but if we do stay in one town for a few months we are thinking of sending our oldest boy to high school because he is in year 11 (Australia schooling) and is not keen on homeschooling the whole time. I am not sure how they others will go but I know that our second boy who is in grade 10 is so loving the homeschooing system. We use “Homeschooling Supplies” and have all our books sent to us. Plus we are using Australia to educate them.
    I have heard of some schools doing 1/2 days but have not tried it as yet.

    Cheers
    Lisa

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  9. Debbie April 15, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Thanks so much for these links, Nancy. They’ll keep me going for a long time.

    (Lisa, I took a quick peek at your website and I’ll be back.)

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  10. Deborah April 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    One daughter played in the junior high band and jazz band when we lived in Maine and was otherwise homeschooled. My son started high school in Maine after being homeschooled…an unmitigated disaster: I saw him turn from a 24/7 reader with many interests, exceptionally bright and creative, into a sullen, defiant teen. His last two years in a Texas high school were a better fit, but he didn’t start coming “into his own” until going to college…he’s in his second year now, an A student. My two daughters are “eclectic” homeschoolers…the 17 year old has played in a college jazz ensemble for two years and does lots of drawing, and the 13 year old volunteers at the Humane Society and a therapeutic riding stable, and cares for the horses of friends. No school here for them, although they’d be interested in taking some courses, because many Texas school districts do not want to share their “sandboxes” with homeschoolers…it’s all or nothing. Overall, we’ve been better off without formal school. Others find my kids interesting, forthright, poised, and engaging. It may just be “the luck of the draw”, but the two school districts we’ve dealt with seemed more interested in “keeping control” than fostering learning…”coddling”, one teacher called it, when I discussed with her my son’s difficulty wilth “relationship” novels (a common problem with boys, apparently)…after taking her Advanced English class, my kid didn’t crack a book voluntarily for years.

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  11. Wendy April 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    Hi, Nancy —
    This is my 4th year of homeschooling my daughter; we started in 5th grade. For 3 1/2 of those years, we were in Illinois schools, where we had no trouble at all getting part-time enrollment for her: gifted/talented program, music class, art class, etc. Now, though, we’ve moved to Hawaii. No part-time attendance here for homeschoolers. None! It’s specifically prohibited by law. Absolute nonsense…

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