I have homeschooled my kids their entire lives. Even before I had kids, I knew I would homeschool. I was 'homeschooled' through out middle and high school (I spent one semester in public high school, at my request, and excelled academically, but was bored witless and so transferred back into my homeschool). I always attributed my academic resiliency to having been homeschooled (in reality, I was unschooled, though, I am not sure the term 'unschool' had been coined at that point). Putting my own children in public school was never a thought I entertained.
Even when I found my self suddenly a single parent, I knew I would continue to homeschool; it is a non-negotiable parental decision. When I applied with Global Ministries, I was really excited to see that they had already given 'homeschool' as an education option when they asked how you would educate your children overseas. Yay!! I didn't have to explain or convince them that homeschooling was worthwhile. There were some questions about the logistics of our family homeschooling. Things like, 'How will you find the time to homeschool AND work with the partner organization?' and ' How are you going to get the books/curriculum you need to your destination?' There were also some really encouraging comments like, 'Homeschooling, that's great, you will be able to travel easily with your kids while in Paraguay.' and 'You know, once you get in country, your kids will become trilingual, because they will easily pick up Spanish and Guarani...especially because they are homeschooled.'
Homeschooling is very important to our family, so as I have been preparing to journey to Paraguay, it is only natural that we should be considering the affect the move will have on our homeschooling. Mostly, we try to stay positive; we think of the really cool natural science topics we might be able to observe up close and personal or the neat opportunities to see different cultural events. A few weeks ago, though, I had a startling moment when I realized there was one major hiccup in our homeschooling plans.
We follow child led learning ideals in our homeschool; this means that when a child expresses an interest in a topic, as a family we facilitate opportunities for that child to indulge in learning as much as they like about that topic. This means that we have no set curriculum....we just learn whatever takes our fancy.
Generally, this type of learning is beneficial for travel. I don't have any text books to lug around, there are no heavy notebooks and school supplies needed or pointless reports to be saved, we don't need to be still and studying at a certain time with certain tools. There are two major necessities to our homeschool style, though, a computer (not a problem) and a printer (not a....wait a minute...). Yeah, a printer, we would definitely need that to print out articles and worksheets and pictures and...we NEED a printer. I love my home printer...it's great, it scans, prints, has wonderful resolution, it's easy to use and it is my best friend as a homeschool mom. Let's face it, though, printers aren't really very durable. I mean, you drop it, and you probably need to buy a new one. How, then, could I guarantee our beloved printer would arrive safely in Paraguay? The answer...I couldn't. And, since a printer is both bulky and heavy, and there was no guarantee it would arrive and do what we need it to do, it didn't make the cut of things to travel with us in our checked luggage.
Now, here I am, a homeschooling mama with three kiddos who depend heavily on themed coloring pages, copy work, word jumbles, cross word puzzles, and a plethora of other printed materials. The easiest solution seemed to be to buy a printer when we get to Paraguay. So, I did what anyone would do, I hit the internet and looked to see if my local chain store shipped to Paraguay. The brief answer to that is no. Well, maybe I should just mail myself a new printer. If I bought it and it was still in its original packaging, it should make it. Brief answer...no. Ok, let's see what major chain stores with internet sites are IN Paraguay and then when I get there I can go buy a printer and take it home. No.
I like to think creative thinking can solve any problem. I also like to think I am a creative person. Apparently, though, not creative enough to tackle this problem; not yet, at least. So, I did what I have been doing a lot lately, I let it go.
I don't know if we will find a printer in Paraguay that will plug and play with our laptop. I don't know if we DO find said printer that it will be within our budget. I don't know what we will do if we can't find a printer. But, I do know that there is a solution, and we will find it. It is pointless to panic over what something that MIGHT be a disaster; especially when there is really an equal chance that it MIGHT be an amazing blessing.