Bonjour, friends. It’s Tuesday and I know I promised some of you the post about how we did the long-stay visa here in France. It is coming this week. Here’s the thing: Will has this youtube channel (please subscribe and hit thumbs up) and he wants to post a vlog with the blog outlining what we did. We are still slightly in “settle in” mode here and we have not had time to shoot it. Sorry. But I do have a hot topic for you today, French public school.
The million dollar question. The question that keeps getting asked over and over again. Why is Avalon in a French public school and not being worldschooled in the same fashion we chose for the last two years? The answer is really quite simple… she wanted to try middle school. Of course, there is always more to the story. I will share her “why” here today and then maybe in a month or so (once she settles into school) she can explain her “why” in her own words.
Our previous version of worldschooling was an amazing experience (and will be again). The first year held many transitions, some tears, and a couple of fights, but we managed to find our groove very early on. When one makes the decisions to change the way each of you feels about the education process there is a learning curve and some deschooling that needs to take place on both ends. We did all that together. We learned, we laughed, we played and we both grew tremendously. It truly was a magical experience.
When it came to establishing what she wanted to study this year, building her curriculum and discussing how she had grown, she also wanted to entertain another idea… middle school in France.
- First, she wanted to experience changing class rooms, having a locker (although they don’t even have them here) and the freedom that comes with middle school. When we left the US she was going into 5th grade so she missed that whole experience.
- She also knew that if she wanted to try middle school then this year (7th grade) would probably be her only opportunity because we plan to RV Europe for her 8th-grade year.
- Finally, she thought it would be fun to meet new friends in France. Unfortunately, the homeschool presence in our small town here is pretty much non-existent. I had to be honest with her about that. As always I would do my best to form our community and I am sure it would happen, however, we would not have a group of kids to hang with each Friday like in Quito.
Was deciding to attend French public school a tough decision for her?
- Absolutely and some days it still is. She went back and forth for the longest time. See, she really enjoyed being worldschooled on our terms, but there were experiences she wanted to have that she could not have being worldschooled the way we did it, like changing classrooms. She did have a variety of teachers in different locations during her two years of being worldschooled in Ecuador (and Costa Rica), but that is a little different from changing classes throughout the day. In contrast, she was concerned about her loss of freedom to organize her day how she saw fit and she knew she would lose her ability to choose classes that interested her, due to bureaucracy.
- All of her concerns with attending a traditional school have manifested, there have been no surprises. The bureaucracy has shown its evil eye several times already and that has been tremendously annoying for her. She HAS to take English (it’s very beginner) even though she prefers to take Italian. She HAD to do a week of FSL (because she came from a different country) even thought she is fluent in French. She cannot sit in French class until the teacher tells her she can. And, no snacking until lunch time. However, overall she is still happy with her choice, but is already talking about looking forward to worldschooling again next year.
How do we feel about her decision to attend French public school?
- We miss her.
- We fully support her decision to try something different. In fact, we are so incredibly impressed with her desire and fearlessness to enter into a new school, in a new country. Avalon asked to try out homeschooling many years ago. Will and I felt we owed it to her to educate ourselves and bring her wish to fruition. I am so glad she pushed us to step outside our comfort zone. This alternative education path has opened up so many doors now and will open up even more as we continue to worldschool while traveling.
- We feel that our previous version of worldschooling has been a very positive aspect of her education. In addition, we believe it is the best education path for her. However, we also support a child’s right to choose a different education path (even if only temporary at this point). We would not ever dream of forcing her to do it or not do it because of our personal wishes.
- There are benefits to every education path. The great thing about our travel life is that she can take the benefits, disregard the junk and move forward as we continue to travel. In her current situation, she will learn about two vastly different cultures, the French education system and much more. Plus, she will get to improve her second language. Oh wait, and experience some yummy lunches and make new friends.
- Finally, we still consider her to be worldschooled, actually both children for that matter. Worldschooling takes on many different paths. The kids are still learning about the world and a different culture, they are just doing it in the confines of a traditional institution. Plus, we adventure on the weekends and worldschool our butts off every day in town.
What do we think the result will be after her year of attending French public school?
- She will grow an even greater love for literature since the French program places great importance on this area. And her French will improve.
- She will make new friends that hopefully she will have for a lifetime.
- She will learn about the Muslim and French cultures.
- She will experience some new activities and enlighten her palate.
- She will look back on this year with great fondness, but will eagerly anticipate another year of our old version of worldschooling.
So there you have it, the reason why Avalon is attending French public school. The answer to the big question. No, we did not quit worldschooling, we just modified it. N,o it was not a flop. No, we are not going back to institutionalized education full-time. However, she wants to try it for a year and we are supporting her decision. We think it is going to be a marvelous year with loads of new experiences, quality education, and a big dose of culture learning.