SRI LANKA: What do You do When you Chose the Wrong School?

SRI LANKA: What do You do When you Chose the Wrong School?

What are you supposed to do when you can tell that the school your kids are in isn’t exactly what you’d like a school to be like? Not everyone has the luxury of just moving kids from school to school just because they don’t like it. I am thankful that our constant nomadic lifestyle let’s me make drastic decisions like taking the kids out of school and doing a year of homeschooling before moving on to the next country. The road of decisions getting here wasn’t exactly easy though.

Basically, we’ve taken the kids out of school and I’ve given up my free time so I can homeschool them as best I can. Everyone gets up later now and I admit it take lots of patience to get them interested in anything but I’m trying and I hope the decision was a good one. Whenever I think of the teachers notebook slapping my son, it becomes completely worth it

Before

For about a year I managed to get up before 6 am to wrangle my kids out of bed, into uniforms and every day was tougher than the next. It was hard for me to hear the little one cry every day about not wanting to go and how much she hated it. The older one put up with the daily routine but grew to also hate it. We all ended up hating it.

I obviously put up with it because well, school life is like that right? You get up unwillingly and go to school and go on with your life. But something just wasn’t clicking.

When we were in Bali they loved their school. The little one was allowed to go in pyjamas with the uniform in her bag and the teacher would dress her nicely and even braid her hair into “elsa” braids. My son has always been rambunctious but not once did they notebook slap him across the head there.

The year they spent in the Cambridge style school here in Colombo could have easily been a torture for them and I was telling them to suck it up because I needed my space.

Insert the mom guilt.

Those five free hours in the morning were mine, all mine and no one else’s! But things just kept getting worse. My daughter was constantly picked on by a little boy, every single day and the teacher took months to finally intervene. She was miserable and her only friends would switch to Sinhalese at any time, leaving her out of conversations.

The first day I took the kids to that school, it had me wondering; a first grade teacher was yelling at the top of her lungs about rules while the kids sat as still as possible in their seats in a room way too hot for comfort. I sort of brushed if off because it was the end of the school year, but later I feel bad that my kids had to put up with these teachers for a whole year.

I can’t tell you if the teachers are bad or just have had too much, they were nice sometimes and horrible other times. My son got notebook slapped quite a few times because he was tired of writing. My daughter was told to put her head down if she didn’t want to work. She wasn’t given other choices, like coloring or puzzle building. She was four.

Are all “academic style” schools like this now?
Forcing four year olds to write and read by the time they are five?

So, I took them out of school completely. I sent an email to the school which they never answered back, not even with a “bye bye it was nice to have you here”, nothing. Good Riddance, I say.

We are Expat Homeschoolers once again.

My son has come to hate the art of writing but he loves making up stories, my daughter says “no pencils allowed” everyday and I have to figure out other things to do with her. She will trace letters but won’t let me tell them what they are. She still can’t count to ten properly but you know what? I doesn’t matter, she will learn eventually. I have a feeling one year in that school has left a bit of a mark that now I have to erase.

I’ve lost those five free hours that I used to have but at least my kids aren’t being forced to spend their day in a hot uncomfortable room being picked on for being different and made to work incessantly with a fear of notebook slaps!

How do you feel about your kids’ school? Do you ever just want to take them out and do the schooling yourself? I know I have the luxury of doing something like that, and I am thankful to be able to.

Orana Velarde

Orana is a Writer, Artist, Mother and Wife; Peruvian Expat currently living in Sri Lanka with her husband and children. She writes on her blog Crazy Little Family Adventure about Worldschooling her kids and the trials and tribulations of being an Expat Mom.

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ONTARIO, CANADA: Forty and Freaking Out

ONTARIO, CANADA: Forty and Freaking Out

children at the beach

Our family has gone through some serious upheaval over the past two years. We’re talking big city to small town relocation, major job changes, the birth of our youngest, and the final resignation of my job as I officially became a stay at home mom (SAHM) for an indefinite period to deal with our children’s special needs. Whew! I can feel my stress level rising just thinking about it.

Our family embraces change with the best of them, and we tend to take many things in stride. Dealing with two children with complex needs is just something we do. Homeschooling to support serious academic needs? Done. Countless medical appointments and therapist visits? You got it. An active and healthy life style? It’s even better, now that we’re relocated to a small town surrounded by forest and farmland.

The kids are happy, my husband’s happy, and I’m happy.  So what’s the freak out about?

*gulp*  I’m turning forty. Like really soon. (more…)

specialneedmom2

Angela is a Special Education teacher who blogs about her super-powered special needs family. She has a 3 year old with Prader-Willi Syndrome and a 5 year old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Processing Disorder. The odds of these random genetic events occurring at the same time are astronomical. "When you add our typically developing one year old baby boy to the mix, you have a very busy household!", she explains. Angela admits to having too many appointments, too many school problems, and being generally too busy as she tries to live life to the fullest. Please visit her family at Half Past Normal for more of their adventures! If you want to connect to chat, you can find her on Twitter @specialneedmom2 If you are interested in Special Education policies and procedures in Ontario – or just some excellent strategies and accommodations – please check out Angela's other site at Special Ed on the Bell Curve.

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CALGARY, CANADA: Tales From a Childcare Provider

CALGARY, CANADA: Tales From a Childcare Provider

childcare

I recently left my job in a poverty law office to start a daycare and pre-school. Before opening my home, I researched every aspect of the business; at least I thought I did. Since I’d been homeschooling since forever, I thought that my new venture would be an extension of what I had been doing. What you can’t find written in pages of wisdom is how to get through the day with young children – that is something you have to experience on your own. (more…)

Salma (Canada)

An Imperfect Stepford Wife is what Salma describes herself as because she simply cannot get it right. She loves decorating, travelling, parenting,learning, writing, reading and cooking, She also delights in all things mischievous, simply because it drives her hubby crazy. Salma has 2 daughters and a baby boy. The death of her first son in 2009 was very difficult, however, after the birth of her Rainbow baby in 2010 (one day after her birthday) she has made a commitment to laugh more and channel the innocence of youth through her children. She has blogged about her loss, her pregnancy with Rainbow, and Islamic life. After relocating to Alberta with her husband in 2011 she has found new challenges and rewards- like buying their first house, and finding a rewarding career. Her roots are tied to Jamaica, while her hubby is from Yemen. Their routes, however, have led them to Egypt and Canada, which is most interesting because their lives are filled with cultural and language barriers. Even though she earned a degree in Criminology, Salma's true passion is Social Work. She truly appreciates the beauty of the human race. She writes critical essays on topics such as feminism and the law, cultural relativity and the role of women in Islam and "the veil". Salma works full-time, however, she believes that unless the imagination of a child is nourished, it will go to waste. She follows the philosophy of un-schooling and always finds time to teach and explore with her children. From this stance, she pushes her children to be passionate about every aspect of life, and to strive to be life-long learners and teachers. You can read about her at Chasing Rainbow.

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NORTH CAROLINA, USA: My Truth About Motherhood

NORTH CAROLINA, USA: My Truth About Motherhood

3146262373_fc89d851ffThe truth about motherhood is that no one prepared me for this.

No, really.

Have you ever actually admitted that, out loud? That you feel lost, unprepared, five years behind where you “should” be in raising your children?

I just did. (more…)

Frelle (USA)

Jenna grew up in the midwestern US, active in music and her church community from a young age. She developed a love of all things literary thanks to her mom, and a love of all things science fiction thanks to her dad. She left the midwest in her early twenties and has lived in the south ever since.

On her blog, she tries to write words that make a difference to people. Long before she attended college to major in Special Ed and Psychology, she became an advocate for special needs and invisible disabilities. She's always been perceptive of and encouraging to those who struggle to fit in. Having been through several dark seasons in her own life, she's found empowerment in being transparent and vulnerable about her emotions, making deep and lasting friendships, and finding courage to write from her heart. Her biggest wish is to raise her kids to be compassionate people who love well.

She's been online since 1993, with a total of 19 years of social media exposure. Having friends she doesn't know in real life has been normal for her since her junior year in college, and she's grateful every day for the ways technology helps her stay in touch with friends from all over the world.

Jenna lives in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina, and is a freelance writer and a stay at home single mom to 3 girls and a boy. She blogs at MadeMoreBeautiful.comMadeMoreBeautiful.com.

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PHILIPPINES: School is What You Make It

PHILIPPINES: School is What You Make It

We started informally homeschooling our son, Vito, this September. It’s nothing structured, nor do I have lesson plans or anything written in a schedule. We basically play, explore, ask questions, converse, and repeat the process. Every time I observe my son learning something new these days (or gaining new insight from a previous experience), I am amazed and grateful that he is a curious, always-inquisitive little boy.

These past few months, my son has been enamored with animals. Today’s “lesson” involved making animal words using play dough. We made out words like “lion”, “cow”, “tiger” and more using red, green, purple and brown play dough. If I were to document today’s experience, I would say we focused on developing his fine motor skills, vocabulary and spelling, as well as a handful of other concepts, such as colors, matching, left-to-right order, etc. Pretty neat, huh?

(Tomorrow, it’s likely to run the same way, but perhaps I need to get out my encyclopedia so that I don’t run out of animal names to spell out. I don’t mind; I’m just glad as long as he’s engaged, excited and eager.)

(more…)

Martine de Luna (Philippines)

Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.

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MASSACHUSETTS, USA: Art Smarts for Kids

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  This is how I home-school my two children.  The majority of children in the United States of America attend some form of organized schooling either at public school, private school or a charter school.

I graduated from a public school, my husband attended a private school.  Both of our exposure to art came from the art classes our school provided. Neither sets of our parents enrolled us in an after school art program or exposed us to art on a personal level.

Too often I find that parents rely on the system to teach and inspire our children.  I believe that as parents, we are responsible for exposing our children to the arts while adding meaning to these experiences.  Art is an essential component of education. All children benefit from opportunities to create.  During these difficult economic times, arts programs are the first to be sacrificed in public schools.

I desire for my girls to be cultured. I want them exposed to the arts at a young age.  I believe the benefits of fostering a love and appreciation of the arts is immeasurable.  Because my husband and I have chosen to home-school our children, we  take full accountability and responsibility for our children’s education.  I cannot sit back and hope that someone else will teach or expose my children to the arts.  I take action and get the job done myself. (more…)

Courtney Cappallo (USA)

Courtney Cappallo is a mom of two girls, ages 7 and 4-years-old. She is living her dream life by residing on Cape Cod and being able to stay at home with her two little beauties. Courtney is currently homeschooling both of her daughters for 2nd grade and preschool, respectively.

Courtney uses a mix of Classical Education and Montessori. She is a strong believer in teaching to the five senses. Courtney’s homeschooling efforts are unique, as she uses the latest technology of the Smartboard. She is also taking on the task of learning Spanish as a second language, as well as, teaching her two children and husband Spanish.

Prior to becoming a homeschooling teacher, Courtney was the Director of Marketing for Simon Property Group, which is the largest U.S. real estate company. Courtney was Simon’s Director of Marketing for the Burlington Mall, Arsenal Mall and Cape Cod Mall. Courtney is a graduate of Villanova University and is proud of her small town roots from growing up in Oxford, Pennsylvania, which only has two traffic lights! She can be found making homeschooling lessons and more at Table of Four !

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