The Decision Not to Homeschool

Athena's first day of school

I didn’t take the decision to send Athena to school lightly. She’s only five years old but she’s traveled the world with me and learned so much along the way. She is outspoken, friendly, compassionate, and she doesn’t see the color of your skin as anything but beautiful. She’s been parasailing, panning for gold, roller coaster riding, hiking, sledding, horseback riding, paddleboarding, and surfing in California, snorkeling in the Caribbean and Thailand, skiing in Austria, California, and Canada, drum dancing in Greenland, sailing in Thailand and California, rock climbing in Canada, and ziplining in Canada and Costa Rica. She practices different languages in each new country and she sees the world with wonder and joy. She may not remember it all but it has already shaped her into part of the person she will hold on to for the rest of her life. This year marked D-Day (decision day) for us. Would she go to public school and travel less? Or would we continue to travel the world and homeschool? I decided to send her to school after years of careful consideration. Here’s why. 

Athena's new school
Athena is a very social child. I’m proud that everyone on our street knows her well. She takes the time to talk to people and get to know them. She asks about their children and their pets as if they are family. When I asked her if she wanted to go to school, she was bursting with excitement. She wanted the chance to make stronger connections with other children and learn from them.

I was never overly concerned with the education aspect. At five, Athena is already reading and writing, she knows geography better than most adults, she’s counting, adding and subtracting, and she analyzes problems, she demonstrates a strong understanding of culture and world view, and she explores movement and active living.

I was concerned that she never had continuous interaction with other children. She’s an only child and most of her time was spend with adults. That has enhanced her language skills and obviously didn’t affect her social skills but now is the time that she should be learning from her peers and school gives her a consistent schedule that I couldn’t offer her on the road.

Maybe next year or the year after or even the year after I will see it differently and we can continue our life of travel but this morning when I walked her to the school bus and she played with the other kids, I knew I made the right choice for now. We still plan to explore the world and visit new countries. We went to Greenland and Iceland late month. It will just be on a more scheduled basis.



11 thoughts on “The Decision Not to Homeschool

  1. I think you made the right choice. Interacting with peers her own age is so important. There may be bumps along the way but that is all part of growing up. Athena has had a very privileged life so far and I know she will continue to experience all the wonders of this planet with her mom. The only difference is that she’ll probably have to do more of that during school breaks. I know that people who home school will probably be defensive about some of the things I’ve said but so be it. Athena is happy and that is what matters most.

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  2. Children who have been raised in enriched environments don’t always fit well with the artificial “social” environment created in public schools. We home schooled our daughter who was raised in a multi-culture, multi-lingual extremely diverse environment always having people from varied backgrounds and orientations in the house — artists, musicians, dancers, scientists, doctors, nurses, athletes, professionals, academics, craftsmen, laborers, refugees, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, witches, warlocks, you name it.

    We lived in Spain for three and a half years, and we had to get special permission to home school her in Spain. As far as socializing, we always made sure she would go to the play grounds and after school activities where she could simply play, interact and have fun with other children outside the school environment. Part of her home school activities were visiting museums and going on adventures and joining clubs that had interests and activities she was interested in.

    As she got older, she volunteered at museums which gave her access to real archaeologists, art historians and scientists, and access to laboratories, research facilities and experiments that we couldn’t do on our own in home school, but then again, those type of labs and facilities are not available in public schools, either. She joined community and church choirs for music, we played and danced with various cultural groups in Spain, and as a multi-lingual child, she got to do some fantastic things like being the interpreter and tour guide for the Archbishop of Dublin when he visited the church she was volunteering at in Madrid, Spain.

    When she was 16, she was elected president of the local Bonsai club where she had to work with and be accountable for real budgets, write press releases and arrange interviews with local radio and TV stations to promote the annual spring bonsai show. What I’m saying is that if you believe it’s only a social thing to send your daughter to a public school, there are so many ways to be social and participate in so many enriching activities when you home school. BTW her home school academic studies were the Spanish Baccalaureate.

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  3. She is a lucky young lady, Leslie. This is a fantastic opportunity for her to learn to balance school with life. It will be replaced with work-life soon enough, but the principal is the same.


  4. Good luck with the new schooling! My kids have been in schools, been homeschooled for two years and, now, are back in schooling for the final part of their childhood education journey. Like your daughter, they’ve been all over the world and see this globe as their village and plaything.

    Both forms of schooling have their benefits and I think your thoughts are wise and good. Of course, there will be nothing to stop you homeschooling in the future if you wish! Get yourself ready for problems you weren’t expecting though! With both schooling systems there comes problems too..

    Good luck!

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  5. Pingback: Education VS the School System

  6. A great decision. Our kids attend school in Australia but while travelling we have taken them out of school for the year. They have learnt so much in the last eight months. Speaking Spanish (and correcting my pronunciation), their geography is better than mine was at 20, and they know so much about how the world works. It is great if you can manage to make the schooling and the travelling coexist.


  7. A very interesting discussion here following on your decision. I am interested with as a retired teacher and the Granny of a child who is being homeschooled. I shall follow your beautiful daughter’s progress with interest and I love the world you have opened up for her in her first five years. 🙂


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