On Homeschooling with Jeanne Dee – Part 3
Go here to see the first and second parts of my interview with Jeanne.
Despite your mobile lifestyle, have you created schedules, routines, assessments, tests, etc. – to make sure that Mozart is learning to the best of her ability?
I’m not a big one for tests or rigid schedules, but we do have routines and keep a close eye on progress. She was given a standard achievement test by a top center when she turned eight and tested way above age level – many areas were high school level and higher – so that was a good validation that our methods are working well.
We use theÂ Core Knowledge books to make sure she is getting what is needed for her grade level and she is several years ahead of age peers. She is also working several years ahead in math than age peers and we useÂ Singapore Math which is portable and cheap. It is the same curriculum they use there and they usually have the highest international math scores, year after year. We homeschool all year, so usually only do an hour or two every day of formal schooling. Math and music are always done, often the first thing after breakfast.
She also participates regularly in online classes withÂ Johns Hopkins University’s CTY programs and always does extremely well in them, usually with kids that are older than her, so that is another indication – one has to qualify at gifted levels to take such classes.
She leads most of her own learning, but we facilitate by helping where it is needed and having excellent resources at her disposal. We provide teachers when needed, like her excellent piano, violin and Chinese teachers that she works with over webcams from another continent. We assign books related to our travels, book reports, daily journal writing, blogging, and look for learning opportunities through games, discussions, travel, reading aloud, talking with people we meet like archeologists at Ephesus or marine biologists in Portugal.
How does she feel about having an unusual style of schooling (and life!)?
It seems like normal life to her and I’m not sure she will really grasp all the advantages until she is older, but she does hear a lot about how lucky she is from people we meet as we travel. In many ways it is a normal life as she has spent the last four winters in the same small village , same small school with 6 sets of cousins in her class, and has bonded deeply with that community in her second language. I found it amazing to find out that in her 4th grade class in Europe, she was the only one who knew what a gondola was, had been in one and had been to Venice. It’s not that far, but I suppose, not much different than all the American kids that age who have never been out of their state.Â We also have spent much time in Barcelona at the beach and think of it as another one of our homes and have many friends here that we have spent time with over and over every year.
The kids are always really excited to see her and we will continue to nurture these relationships on a regular basis. She doesn’t really like school (recess and lunch have always been her favorite subjects no matter what bricks-and-mortar school she has gone to) and prefers to homeschool because of the greater autonomy and less time spent at it.
She is excited about starting a new school in Asia and improving her Mandarin. She thinks it is cool that the kids wear uniforms and take a bus, as she has never done these things.