expat homeschooling

the sign that deters visitors while we do school

the sign that deters visitors while we do school

 
mini compass reunion

mini compass reunion

 
at the vcuq library

at the vcuq library

everything seems to be topsy-turvy over here in our homeschool world.  i guess that's a good thing, right?  we're trying to figure out what works best for us...for sophia.  my idea of sticking to the books isn't gonna fly.  i have to be more creative.  i have to allow her to lead.  i have to observe.

so i'm trying to follow this blog that practices the reggio emiia philosophy of teaching (which i've been familiar with for about 5 years now, but am now actually applying it to our homeschooling).  it's amazing.  it's a bit exhausting.  it's a bit nebulous.  but we're trying...

and i've been reading this most fabulous book, "project-based homeschooling: mentoring self-directed learners," which is like reggio emila homeschool candy.  consume it!!  it's easy to understand (in that it gives practical ways to use the re philosophy) and it's very motivating.  i have a few other books lined up in my cue, like "the art of awareness: how observations can transform your teaching." and others.

so besides that, i was also interviewed by doahnews about homeschooling as an expat.  it's funny though because in all of the "dive right in" to homeschool and just normal life, i really haven't given much though to homeschooling as an expat...maybe it's because i don't know what homeschooling is like in the states and can't compare it.  maybe it's because i don't feel completely out of place doing it since there are also about 200 homeschooling families in the area, and two of those families live in my compound.  there is a strong doha home educators online network too.  

it seems like we're going "against the grain" in some ways, because it's more understood and expected in doha to send your child to a private school, especially since most companies pay for that expense (which ben's sponsor does/did).  but i really don't miss the things that i thought i'd miss so much about her school.  we even had a recent classroom mini-reunion and her former teacher showed up and we all chatted (it was so lovely)!

sure there are things that are a bit more difficult to acquire like certain supplies or curriculum materials.  but moving into a more reggio approach, i don't need to have a lot of the curriculum sets.  ikea has been helpful (when is it not helpful?) for providing a lot of open-ended materials, etc.  i will be stocking-up on other school-related odds and ends in a few weeks when i return to the states, but that's probably because i haven't quite located all of those similar things here in doha yet (or maybe i have and it's just less expensive in the states).

doha has really grown on me.  i feel like homeschooling is encouraging me to be resourceful in an environment that does have certain limits and for that, i appreciate my city a lot more when i see it all as a learning experience/resource.  for instance, there isn't an extensive public library here (yet)!  there are university libraries and a doha mums-run library.  so now i have a guest library card to georgetown university and virginia common wealth university (but we will probably spend most of our time at the vcuq library since sophia has a passion for designing fashion)!  we will connect with the director of the fashion department there for a guided tour in the near future too.  

there aren't children museums and it's still too hot to make much use of parks (and i need to find new ones).  but the museum of islamic art offers art classes just for homeschooled kids on occasion!

so this is where we're at...well, we're actually on eid break and packing up to return to the states soon.

how have you worked within certain confines and instead saw opportunities with your homeschooling?