Homeschooling Adventures in Paris, Part 4 – Month 5 of Learning at Home

We got in!

Because of the kindness of new friends.

If my kids hadn’t been so friendly, it would never have happened.

If we hadn’t had a Musee d’Orsay angel visiting us, it would never have happened.

Unbelievable good luck.

And it was amazing.

To see so many famous pictures in real life is just incredible.

The loveliest surprise was to see a special gallery of pastel Impressionist drawings. They were at least as vivid as the oils yet they seemed to have unwarranted second class status.  It felt like I’d made a little private discovery of an out-of-the-way, dimly lit, not-so-busy set of cozy galleries.

Did the kids realize the illustrious company they were in this morning? Not really. Edward really enjoyed pointing out paintings we’d seen in books, especially in the amazing ‘Katie’ books by James Mayhew but he missed the other ones he’d also become familiar with, that are in London instead, and was disappointed not to see them all together. I have no idea if Petra will recall anything, especially since as soon as we walked in she wanted water.  Typical! And the nearest café was on the other side of the large old railway station that now serves as the amazing setting for these incredible artworks. But we were there. Hopefully the kids felt some of my extreme excitement and that of our wonderful French companions. At least the kids recognized that the d’Orsay reminded them of the setting of the ‘Hugo’ movie they’d seen recently, which is actually meant to be set in the Gare Montparnasse, but they have very similar huge, beautiful station clocks. These are the connections I love to see happening.

I spent far too much money on 7 DVDs about art around the Impressionism period, Paris around that period and the building of the Eiffel Tower (my friends in Bahrain are all going to want to borrow those!) but I justified it to myself with the fact we’re homeschooling J  I hope to build on the preparation we did before the visit and the art we’ve been so lucky to see whilst we’ve been here to continue with a bit more art history (and history generally around the period those artists lived). So I’m sure they won’t go to waste. They sure are movies I’d like to see but would have considered it a luxury to buy them for myself, so I feel so blessed that homeschooling is allowing us all to enrich all our lives by learning about such wonderfully interesting things.

We spent a sunny afternoon in typical Parisian fashion, whiling away time in the Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden), with our new Parisian friends.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

We experienced the most remarkable coincidence whilst sailing toy boats on the pond. The boats have flags of various countries and there is a pirate one and a few boats with flags with whimsical things like starfish on them. What two boats should the kids be given? France and then the Netherlands – where we are holidaying! What were the chances of that? And in the right order! Extraordinary! Then we wandered over to the excellent (if not free) playground for the kids to climb and dig – although I couldn’t help feel mildly frustrated that, as at yesterday’s Musee en Herbe, Petra chose an activity that’s a favourite at home, this time digging in sand, instead of any of the other wonderful entertainment the park had to offer that we don’t have in Bahrain but ‘C’est la vie’ as they say here (That’s life!).

At least the kids adored the stunning antique 1879 carousel, instead of possibly being underwhelmed by it, trying to catch rings with sticks as they rode faded white wooden horses. Charming. The fact they were thoroughly entertained made me think, ‘Who needs Disneyland?’ If only we could avoid it. We’ll see. We’ll see if the better-alternative-to-Disneyland Guardian Angel visits me, or rather Edward, to persuade him to give it a miss! My friend suggested Versailles, citing its amazing furniture and beautiful rooms and gardens but this isn’t going to work with a 7 year old boy! I on the other hand would adore to see Versaille. I can only hope for some inspiration in my sleep!

Although I’m really looking forward to the Netherlands, I am really going to miss Paris and so look forward to coming back here again soon, somehow, perhaps when it’s less crowded, although it would be wonderful to be lucky again with the weather, with an ‘Indian summer’ in the Autumn perhaps, that would be amazing! I was worried Paris wasn’t going to live up to my high expectations. But it really has. More so in fact because of the people we’ve met.

Tomorrow…the Louvre and our special family-oriented 2 hour private tour! Again, an investment I don’t think I could have justified if we hadn’t been homeschooling. Saving the best until last? That seems hardly possible with how things have been so far. And maybe a boat trip on the Seine… and probably more of that amazing ‘Amorino’s ice-cream that we swopped for crêpes today in the Jardin du Luxembourg, made in an incredibly charming wooden shack (although not quite as tasty as the Germans’ in Bonn!). How typical of Paris not to spoil the scene with a garish plastic kiosk in one of their beautiful parks. My son even chose lemon and sugar, the quintessential Parisian flavour, instead of Nutella, an incredibly popular and delicious Italian chocolate and hazelnut spread that feels more American in its decadence and, compared to Paris, lack of sophistication (sorry but everyone lacks sophistication compared to the Parisians!).

So, possibly our last day touring Paris tomorrow. But with luck only our penultimate day. We’ll see….

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IF YOU’RE NEW TO HOMESCHOOLINGMIDDLEEAST, welcome! I highly recommend that you start reading from ‘Day 1’. The fastest way to access this is to look for ‘Archives’ on the right hand side of the home page, click on ‘February 2012’ and scroll down to the bottom of the page that opens. If you want a quick first visit, you could type a term e.g. ‘socialization’ or ‘university’, into the ‘Search’ box or of course you could just read my latest posts without doing anything!

Why I recommend starting at Day 1 is because this is an adventure into homeschooling that is not yet 3 months old and the journey has been a rollercoaster  – philosophically and emotionally, catalogued daily for the first couple of months. For you to get the full intellectual and dramatic impact, it’s best to start at the beginning. You might be contemplating home educating and wonder what those early nail-biting days feel like or you might enjoy reading somebody else’s take on an experience you share with me, or you might be more generally interested in my thoughts and feelings on education and parenting. Whatever the reason you’re reading, I’m really humbled that you’re taking your valuable time to do so and I really hope I can be some kind of hope or inspiration for you. Thank you! 


About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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3 Responses to Homeschooling Adventures in Paris, Part 4 – Month 5 of Learning at Home

  1. Oh, this sounds heavenly.

  2. Jane says:

    It all sounds fantastic! Kids can be great travelers, and you get to see the world through their eyes too which is a bonus. And those Katie books are awesome. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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