My homeschooled kids are attending public school in France so they can learn French. They are learning, they are doing well, and I am enjoying the break!! So we have now been here in France for 4 months. It has gone well overall. We are all learning French, the kids are all enrolled in public French school in order to learn French, and while I had the hardest time letting them all go, it is proving to be an amazing experience for them.
Switch Off Homeschooling and Public Schooling– It’s Good To Experience Both
It turns out though that sending the kids to public school every few years turns out to be quite a healthy thing for their overall education and sense of self. We sent the older kids to full time public school for one semester before we left Utah and after that, the girls did part time public school for junior high and high school– which is also a pretty sweet spot as far as personal education is concerned. Both public school and homeschooling have their advantages and disadvantages. So combining the two, I think, helps alleviate the disadvantages of each and helps the kids to appreciate the advantages of each, especially homeschooling more. If you have extroverted children, then homeschooling can seem like a punishment, that everyone at school has so much fun and they just have to stay home. So actually attending school, those kids especially can see that they really aren’t missing out on that much, but they can have fun and make more friends in the social setting of school, and see that they could do it, and it helps them understand the benefits of homeschooling.
French Elementary School — L’ecole
So this has been the first school experience for my 4 younger kids ages 9, 6, 6 and 4. They have done surprisingly well. A lot of it really has to do with the school. It is a small private school– same standard French curriculum– but with just 80 students total, with 4 combined classes. The teachers are super nice and accommodating. The kids all seem nice and they all have some nice friends. The 4 yr. old has had a hard time, but it is mostly because he is a stubborn child and just doesn’t like doing anything that is not his idea. He has improved and he went fine yesterday after a long talk I had with him, so hopefully even he will appreciate it more. Also, for them, Wed. is a half day and Thurs. afternoon is optional, and they have 2 hours off for lunch everyday, so I go and pick them up for that. So it doesn’t even feel like the younger kids are even gone that much. And the feeling at the school is just nice and it is nice to be a part of the community also. The kids are not speaking much French yet, but I think they are understanding a lot.
Middle School/ Junior High – College (french word)
The junior high boys are also doing well. They also have a 2 hour lunch and a half day on Wednesday. They have study hours worked into their schedules so they seldom have homework, and they come home relaxed and happy. The younger one naturally focuses and studies, he also spent a week with his classmates on an overnight week long school trip with his classmates to the coast, so French seems to be coming much more easily to him. The older one has a harder time focusing, and doesn’t feel like he is making any improvement, so I will be working with him more on it at home. I think he is soaking in more than he realizes– I hope!! It has been good for both of them to experience a regular schedule. I think they both recognize the advantages of homeschooling. They are both ahead in math which they both want to keep up and sometimes take their books with them to school to do during study hours.
High School — Lycee
The girls finally started at the French high school which is called a lycee. I was very proud of them for keeping up with their studies while they waited to get into school. It is a much longer day for them because they have to take the train and then the metro into the city and back everyday which is about an hour each way. They don’t have as long of a lunch either, but they do have a half day on Wednesday also. I think it is a great step towards helping them to become more independent and to see that they can do something this challenging. They are both improving with their French and I think they will be speaking fine by the end of the year.
A Break For Me
My husband and I were home alone together for the first time in many many years this week. Truthfully, I am enjoying those 3 hours I have to myself every morning. Homeschooling is a lot of work and I have been doing it pretty much non-stop for the past 12 years with at least a couple students, plus all the work that comes with babies and toddlers. This is first time I have not had even a toddler, I thought my life was getting easy without a baby and diapers in tow, but no toddler is amazing!! There is still plenty to do as a parent even when they are not home all day, and they are not babies or toddlers. I am still plenty busy!!
I prefer having them home all day, but it is definitely good for them to be more independent and to learn and do things out on their own for a time. But they don’t stay little forever which is of course both good and bad. And it has been nice for me to have a break from homeschooling. I still love homeschooling, I love the lifestyle, the freedom and our curriculum. It is often a lonely road though, and I’m glad the kids have the opportunity to make new friends and find themselves. We will continue to take it year by year. We just had a 2 week break and it was great to do some things with the kids we hadn’t had time for before. I was not looking forward to getting everybody back to school, but it ended up being fine. They are doing well.
Homeschooling In The Future
Will I continue to homeschool? Probably, as long as that is the best thing for our family, we take it year by year and kid by kid. We just try to do what works. It is hard to beat the lifestyle and the time to play and pursue personal interests. I think one of the hardest things about parenting is succeeding in raising your kids to be independent and successful as you hoped and aimed for, and then succeeding and having to let them go and fly out on their own. It has been such a fun experience for me to watch my children grow, I’m sad that it is coming to a close for the older ones– I know it isn’t over, our relationship will change and develop and I will always be their mom, but I sure had a good time dressing up my little girls and fixing their hair and buying and sewing cute little dresses, taking care of them, reading to them and learning with them. We have had a lot of good times!
I still have a few years left with my little boys, but even that is weird to not have a baby and to have a semi-clean house, plenty of people to help with the dishes, and feeling a bit more in control of my life. It has been fun to have all the kids home during our homeschool years, to watch lectures, read books and do math together and go on countless hikes and field trips. I’m glad we have had the time together, I’m glad they are all doing well now. It was just hard to let all 8 of them go to school this year and be subjected to a schedule, not to mention figuring out how to get them all enrolled. But it is proving to be a wonderfully growing year for not only them, but for me also. I don’t really like change, but it is good. For now I am just soaking up the time with my senior daughter and all the kids, it is good so far!! We are still going on field trips, I am still helping kids with math and reading, we still go for walks and hikes, so it’s all good– different, but good!!