Extra Credit: Home Schooling in the Islands

Posted on: Saturday, January 31st, 2009
Posted in: Work/Life Hacking, Blog | 2 comments

Frustrations proliferate, from kids over-acclimated to island time to music books lost in the mail. Still, we agree with the many (also biased) families we meet who say, “Kids get more education from seeing the world than from sitting in a classroom.” And a beloved part of this trip is watching them take it all in. Let us count a few ways…

  • AllBoy has become a master snorkeler who can dive deep and spot findings he will research later.
  • CurlyGirl has gone from water-wimp to water-bug, calmly jetting underwater like a little dolphin.
  • AllBoy can be a finicky reader, but he’ll now rip through a book in one day if he likes it.
  • CurlyGirl writes with confidence and abandon. In BB’s Crabback—where guests write on the walls—she grabbed that marker and left a legend.
  • Both enter “local” places without a flinch. Before this trip, such atypical settings would have given them pause for concern.
  • AllBoy explores new surroundings by himself, blind to fears and stereotypes.
  • CurlyGirl’s self-reliance has also exploded. When we lost her on a crowded ferry, she showed up after being in the lady’s room with the message, “No toilet paper!”
  • They both eat countless things they would have only sniffed at before: Conch, okra, curry, soursop, and much more.
  • They now effortlessly leap over language barriers that previously would have stalled them. In the past 3 days, they’ve found ways to communicate–and play–for hours with children from France and Sweden who speak very little English.
  • They (finally!) assist with domestic gruntwork. She likes to clean and help with clothes; he loves to cook and tends to their endless snack needs.
  • While they still enjoy their digi-toys, their favorite things of late have become coconuts, seashells, strange fruits, a feltboard—or activities that aren’t “things” at all.


This blossoming has its poignant moments; it happens so fast, a doting parent can begin to feel obsolete. Like a slap to the head, it hit me yesterday that AllBoy will likely be leaving the house in just over six years. That’s too soon. Better start scheming another Sabbatical—before it’s too late.

Only rarely can I offer them a stretch of time to grow like this BreakAway. But how sweet it is to see that their minds, bodies, and hearts are expanding in ways that only such experiences can provide.

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2 Responses to “Extra Credit: Home Schooling in the Islands”

  1. kkd Says:

    This one is my favorite!!! I’m in tears. Love to you all.

  2. Donna & Mark Says:

    We are absolutely blown away by what you guys are doing as a family. Sorry for not responding sooner . . . we have been following your trails with much interest, smiles and tears. You are creating life long and life changing experiences for you and yours! Your blogs and photos are so good; not pollyana, absolutely real, inviting and fun! We are here absorbing ourselves into St. John’s paradise until March 24. We bid goodbye to Kristi on Wed. We’ve had a good week together. Love to you all, M&D

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