Connecting with and learning from mamas and military spouses whose hearts beat to the same rhythm as my own are a few of my favorite things about this whole blogging thing. Today, Lindsay of Uplifting Anchor is taking over Courtney at Home to talk to you about the beginning of her own homeschooling journey while living overseas. Take it away, Lindsay! 🙂

I’m a Homeschool Mom.

This is not a label I ever thought I’d willingly place across my own forehead. But for the past year now, that’s where it has proudly been stamped.

Going on a homeschool journey with our toddler has challenged and changed me for the better this year. I find that is the nature of much of our military life – leaning into whatever chapter we find ourselves in, and making the best choices we can for our families.

In my past nine years of marriage and *gasp* fourteen years of knowing my husband, we’ve known only two years of non-mil living. This adventure has stretched me, pulled and pushed me. It really is no surprise that our child’s education is doing the same!

The reason we have decided to homeschool at this current time is that we will be overseas for our daughter’s transition from age 2 to 5. We did some research, and although we found reasonable preschools in our area, when it came down to it, I was not ready to be away from her. We also felt it would be exciting to join in seeing the world and adventuring with her.

Everyone’s choice to homeschool is different and personal, and we’re giving ourselves the freedom to make a different choice if need be. Nothing is set in stone because as our child grows, so do we. We have to determine what is best for both her and us moving forward. Currently, what feels right for us is to homeschool preschool.

That has taken some adjustment from what “it should look like” to what IS – especially at an overseas posting. I feel most days I’m learning right along with her. Each day our classroom truly is the world, and I am very excited about that. But it does mean preparation in ordering supplies, getting creative with lesson plans, and managing our money to make sure travel remains the top priority for the whole family! It also means stepping outside the box to find social avenues for her, as most of her peers are enrolled in preschool already.

I don’t know if we were still stateside what our current chapter would look like. We might have selected to put her in preschool and I would have gone back to more traditional work. Or not. What I do know is that I’m enjoying the lessons our whole family is learning through the experience of homeschooling abroad.

If you are considering homeschooling your child whilst posted overseas, I encourage you to feel it out. We have a preschooler, and not a school-age child, and that might make all the difference for whatever chapter your family is in. We wish you well as you move forward into some big decisions for your crew! Here is what we’ve learned thus far:

We are immersed, but our home is sanctuary.

As we use this overseas post to explore homeschool, I am more aware of how to soak up our current culture change. My daughter accompanies me to all the daily errands. This includes shopping in markets, speaking a foreign language, and interacting with locals. She is exposed to the daily drum beat of a different culture, and she frequently embraces it better than I do!

We’ve made a point to start emphasizing a second language, not with any stress on it, but teaching her survival language skills. It’s been a great push for me to brush up on my own education too. The exposure to hear and see that not everyone does things the same way but that we are all unified as people is really heart opening.

She’s encouraged to ask questions about what she sees, and we’re very honest about what we do and do not know or can’t explain. If we do not know an answer, we try to ask a local or look it up.

When we walk back into the doors of our own home though, we are in a little pocket of America. I decorate for all the seasons and emphasize American traditions and values. I’ve recognized that overseas, our home truly is our sanctuary and not just our landing pad.

I miss libraries, playgrounds, and easy play groups, BUT…

Yes, I miss all of those things. I miss how easy it is in America to jump in a car and head to what feels like a million + supported kid activities. BUT we are getting smarter at how we handle all of these topics. Friends and families have banded together to send books, and we trade with other families here to mix up our collection.

The playgrounds here are usually not very clean or even safe, BUT kids do not care! It’s great to see our daughter interacting with whoever is at the play area, because kids do not see difference. They see how they are the same.

We’ve also dug deep for social activities and find that right now our schedule is not as packed as it would be in America. There is a beauty in this current pace. There is the realization we have a choice in the future to keep it that way.

We are flexible and take time to travel.

I’m also more apt to explore homeschooling in the future, because the flexibility feels endless. It’s nice to be fluid as a family and be able to take off when we want to.

We utilize storytelling and keep her Involved.

Before we leave for new destinations, we try to find books or video clips online that show more about a place. We want her to know where she is getting to go is very special, and that it is an opportunity to stretch her curiosity. We organize most of our travels around fun kid things to do wherever we are at.

Our new rule is to “try it – it might be good!” This applies to all of us, with food – an experience – showing her through us that stepping out of our comfort zone is a good idea.

It’s made us more steady in our roots.

Having our child home whilst we are overseas has made our own roots more stable. It’s a daily reminder to be grateful for what we have, and that we have this current time together. We have been spending it growing as a family. We now know more of who we are and what we want as parents.

Military life will spread our roots far and wide and all around the world, but the best lesson we’ve all learned in this time is that we will be a family wherever we go.

Lindsay is a military wife, mom, and writer. Her blog, Uplifting Anchor, encourages mothers and military spouses. As a former professional dancer, you can find her doing pirouettes in the kitchen whilst flipping pancakes. She finds solace in hearing the sound of her sewing machine and a hot cup of coffee. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.