Home schooling would have been the farthest thing from my mind 3-4 years ago. Now we are in our second full year of it. It’s got its pros and cons but it is definitely easier than my wife and I had expected.
Five years ago we were working too many hours and it was catching up with us. We had very little time for our daughters or for each other for that matter. I was a mortgage broker full-time and we were fixing up a lot of houses on the side. We were responsible for a number of trades and sub-trades who were working for us and on top of that we had 3 foster children in our home who needed to go to visitations 3 times a week. My good wife was supposed to be a full-time mom and home maker but too often she was doing my paperwork and painting at different properties. I’m surprised that she stood by me through those crazy years.
We decided years before that at some point we wanted to leave Canada for a year and focus on our family. So the day came when we said, ” that’s enough, let’s go”. We packed our stuff into the back of a truck and put our little girls into the back seat and hit the road for the unknown. Our daughters were 5 and 8 years of age. I can only assume that my parents and family and my in-laws were biting their tongues. We were driving to an area where we had never been and knew nobody. I could speak no Spanish and I’m terrible with directions. To top it off, there was news of kidnappings and shootings in Mexico. We made it through to Belize though and it all worked out. We found a little village on a hill and rented a house. We enrolled our daughters into the local school. It was a private school and the language was English.
The girls made friends very quickly as did we. In a country such as Belize, people seem to be drawn to new people. That was wonderful for us. We might not have stayed long if we hadn’t made friends right away. As it was we stayed for 2 school seasons.
When school started, we were amazed at the homework the girls were bringing home. We thought that we might have to do extra work with the girls so that they would not be behind when we returned to Canada. We were wrong. The school the girls attended in Belize was far more advanced than the school they attended in Ontario. Who would have figured that since Belize is a third world country. Granted though, it was a private school. The only school in town though. We struggled to get the girls caught up to their class mates. By the time we left Belize, the girls were well-adjusted to the school load and could keep up fine.
After returning to Canada, we decided to put the girls in a private school that had the same curriculum as the school in Belize. The school was expensive and we were required to do a lot of driving each day getting them there and picking them up. We decided to visit Belize again a couple of years ago. The girls had to be taken out of school for a month at Christmas. We decided to home school them the rest of the year. We have never looked back. My wife teaches the girls and they are able to do a lot of work on their own as well. We now belong to a home school group. We did not realize how many people in the area homeschooled. Some for religious reasons, some have children that are too energetic for the schools to handle and others think that they can do a better job teaching their own children.
Like I said, I would have never guessed we would have become a home school family. Family is very important though and its up to everyone to make it work. Its been a great ride so far and we will continue to home school as long as it works. We travel a fair bit and the girls always get to come along.