Homeschool: Our First Week

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on September 9, 2011

Homeschool: Our First Week

So we decided that we would start homeschooling our kids after a series of drastic budget cuts within the school district and the closing of our local neighborhood school.  We also didn’t want to put the kids in school just to pull them out again in a few months when we take off for Indonesia for our 1 year sabbatical.  It was really easy to start homeschool, we just filled out a form and mailed it to the local Education Service District.  Done!

That was the easy part.  The hard part was shaking our kids out of the typical back-to-school expectation of new clothes shopping and school supplies.  It’s funny how much of a routine it’s become and how it’s almost like another Christmas for the kids.  There are new clothes, new shoes, a new backpack, the great scavenger hunt of the school supplies list.  It seems that every year the list grows longer and longer.  We avoided most of that this year.

The First Day of School

The first day of homeschool was tough.  Both kids started out excited and really enjoyed a few lesson plans my wife had created.  They were really getting into it and taking a lead role in what they wanted to learn.  But at the end of the day my oldest son realized that he was missing all the interactions with his friends and started crying that he wanted to go to regular school.

I figured this might happen but unfortunately I didn’t have a plan in place to deal with this complaint.  Telling an 8 year old to just give homeschool some time so we can work out a system where everyone is happy is like trying to start the car without the key.  I’m sure that this will be the key complaint from both boys so we’re looking to join local homeschooling groups as well as see about getting the boys into some local sports where they can interact more with other kids.  We’ll need to do the same once we land in Indonesia and start to acclimate.  It’s going to be an adventure.

My oldest son is always so curious and studious.  He’s excited and passionate about learning and we really want to cultivate and grow that into a lifelong passion. Since he’s gone through grades 1 and 2 in a traditional classroom setting I think the challenge will be in showing him that learning isn’t something that can only happen in a classroom with a teacher and uncomfortable chairs.  It happens every second of the day in a variety of different circumstances.

I really think we’ve taken so much out of the learning process in our schools so I’m excited to be bucking the system and letting my kids experience the freedom of true learning without expectations or boundaries.  It’s good to see them excited about learning and excited to be a part of it rather than just being told what to learn.

Moving Forward

Our first week has been a bit eye opening.  We definitely see a few areas we need to work on and realized that the methods used for our two boys will need to be different.  We should have realized this anyway given their vastly different personalities.  I’m sure there will be lots of realizations as we progress.  We are definitely not rushing things.  It’s a learning process for us as well.

We’ll be working on getting into a homeschooling group for more social interactions.  We’re also looking at an online Oregon Charter School called Oregon Connections Academy that offers lesson plans, interactions with certified teachers and curriculum books.  It looks interesting and we’ll be attending a meeting this next week to learn more.

I’ve also roped my dad into taking the boys out for a little botany lesson and hike through the woods.  We’ll be learning about how to mount and frame a photo from a local frame shop.  My wife will be working with the kids to do some baking, learning to follow a recipe and measure different ingredients.   You can turn any normal day activity into a great learning opportunity.

We’ll also be exploring options in Indonesia.  I have no idea if there are homeschooling groups there or even how homeschooling is looked at.  My wife doesn’t seem to think that it’s a popular option.

Do you homeschool your kids?  What resources have you found to be invaluable?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gillian @OneGiantStep September 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

Probably a good idea to get started on this while still in the states. I’m sure there will be enough change once you are in Indonesia – you can use this time to work out the kinks!!
Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..And So It Starts


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical September 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

Hi Gillian! There have definitely been some kinks this first week. We just attended a meeting tonight for Oregon Connections Academy which is basically public school you do from home. It’s all online based and sounds really cool. We’re waiting to hear if this is something we can do from Indonesia.


Justin | Mazzastick September 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I would have preferred to be home schooled when I was a kid.
Justin | Mazzastick recently posted..What Matters To You


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical September 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

I would have loved it as well. I doubt my parents would have felt the same way.


gary s chapman September 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm

We home-schooled our kids all the way through…tough at times but well worth it. We were able to take them to 20+ countries during their education years. Here is a blog post about taking them around the world with us. Blessings on your new adventure!



Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical September 13, 2011 at 12:56 am

Thanks for sharing that video Gary! Truly encouraging for us to know that there have been many others who have gone before us, survived, flourished and gave their kids an experience of a lifetime. I’m a big fan of your photography. Your recent posts on Rwanda have been really moving. How did you get started in your photographic endeavors?


gary s chapman September 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

And thanks for sharing your adventure. Thanks also for your kind words. I got started with the humanitarian photography in 1989. We saw a need and tried to help. My history as a photographer is mainly photojournalism. I used to work for free for NGO’s that did not have any money. Now, more and more non-profits are seeing the power of good photography and are willing to pay to get it.


twoOregonians October 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Hey Matt,
My husband and I were both home educated. Can’t speak highly enough of the opportunities given to me to pursue my unique interests throughout the school years; the love of learning has accompanied me into my adult life, and I have no doubt that it’s shaped the desire and confidence to leave the country and learn first hand from the world at large. Best to you and your family!
twoOregonians recently posted..Traveling Couples’ {Digital} Dinner Party – October 2011


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical October 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Thanks! Our kids are actually doing Oregon Connections Academy right now which I see as the middle between home school and public school. It’s basically online virtual school with real teacher support. It’s something I hope we can continue while in Indonesia but if not we’ll continue the home school route. It’s definitely been a struggle to adjust not only for the kids but for us as well.


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