The winds of change have arrived at the Sherman Family. We won’t call them resolutions because that’s just so cliche. So we’ll consider it a software update to version 2.16 that coincidentally happened on January 1. Some of these we have been mulling on for awhile and others are kind of new, but they all seemed to come together into a nice little package that we told the girls about this morning. Here they are:
- We will not enroll the girls in school here in Cancun. The schools that are options for us are private (and expensive), are not all open to tourists, are academically rigorous and many are taught partially in English. None of those are a good fit for us. And we plan to be travelling and exploring a lot more, leading to a lot of absences. So we decided to opt out. The freedom that comes from NOT doing something is really quite exciting.
- The money (and time) that would have gone to traditional schooling will be available for extra curricular activities. Piano lessons, singing lessons, karate, dance, cooking, technology, volunteering, we’ll try it all and see what they like. Cancun has so much to offer, we could fill all of our days with learning new things. So we will. And these activities will be done in Spanish.
- Homeschool will continue, but it’ll be different. Math will be traditional, reading will be required, blog posts will be required and Spanish practice will be required. But how these things happen will be a lot more loosey-goosey (Daniel calls it”organic”, which shows our different levels of comfort with this new approach!). The kids will be allowed to set most of their own schedules, pursue their own interests and explore areas that they like. We will be primarily using a “question->research->answer” type technique to uncover things that the girls are interested in learning. We will encourage them to continue to explore areas that they like and keep moving off of topics that are not so interesting. There is no Common Core in this house. They get to learn things they want to learn and they’ll be directed to things that we think they might need or want by giving them questions that spark the journey.
- We will connect more deeply with local homeschoolers and WorldSchoolers as we explore the Cancun area, going on excursions, to museums, and interesting places around here. There is an active homeschool network we will tap into and learn from.
- The girls will learn from our visitors. Cooking lessons from Nanna, jewelry making from Aunt Kim and whoever else comes to visit will bring skill sets that we can learn from. Our guest room is free and our guests’ life experiences are too!
- The girls will no longer have a bedtime, but the internet goes down from midnight to 8 a.m. They can communicate with live humans after midnight (travelling overseas means many of our friends are in different time zones) but no games, YouTube, movies nor any kind of streaming after midnight. Parents are exempt from this internet outage, but Dan the Night Owl is the only one who will notice!
- Bikes will be purchased today. The girls will be required to leave the house each day and spend some time Out Of Doors. Here in this neighborhood the time from 4 – 6 p.m. seems to be most active with kids outside, but we’ll let the girls choose that based on their interests. They can play with friends, walk to the movie theater to see movies in Spanish, get a sandwich at Subway, play arcade games at the pizza place or do anything else that is within walking or biking distance. But they have to leave each day and interact with the Spanish world around them.
There’s a quote I read somewhere recently that says, “What a person learns in a classroom is how to be a person in a classroom”. We are on a journey of discovery in many ways. How to educate our children has been one of them. We don’t claim to know the secrets of the “right” way to educate children (if such a thing even exists) but for us, we want our kids’ education to be a process they do and not a process that is done to them. It’s taken us a while to get to this epiphany. But meeting the kids of families that have lived that concept has convinced us that it is the right approach for us too.
Regardless of the educational aspect, we know that the time we spend with our children all day, every day, is reaping it’s own reward. In the end, that will probably be the most important activity of them all.