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

The decision is not yet made – Disneyland tomorrow or not. We have worked on our son all afternoon and personally I now feel bad because he’s torn between what we offered instead (to buy him a medieval outfit and film him on the top of Notre Dame Cathedral) and Disneyland. So now he’s going to feel bad whatever we do. This really wasn’t fair on him. We should have made the decision before we left home (I tried to do this but hubby didn’t get the message!) and stuck with it. That’s been a hard parenting lesson.

However, we had THE most fantastic time at the Louvre this morning. We used this amazing company called ‘Paris Muse’ who organize private tours. I felt it was well worth the money for the educational value and boy, did Edward learn a lot. The company organizes a very, very clever treasure hunt with a nice prize for the kids at the end. You have to find clues in the pictures you see. The guide, Laura, was so amazing that she held his attention for nearly 2.5 hours! She would make an amazing tutor. It was her manner; the way she asked questions and responded to his answers. Her enthusiasm and focus on Edward never once waned. And all our learning in advance paid off. Edward was incredibly knowledgeable about so many things I’d forgotten but when he said them, I remembered I’d ‘taught’ him but I didn’t have his information retention ability! That meant Laura could build from a good base of basic knowledge. I learned so much too! However, my poor hubby was left with Petra who was not so enthralled at looking at everyone’s knees. And by the end, she had had it (as had he!) If it had been less busy, I am sure she would have absorbed a lot too but not in the busy, pretty noisy, massive museum.

Winged Victory of Samothrace, Louvre

There is nothing like seeing art, sculpture, historical treasures, architecture so close you could touch it. Good works radiate an aura, even behind an inch of bullet proof glass in the case of the ‘Mona Lisa’! I said to Laura that it must be amazing being able to visit the Louvre in an off-peak period, in the evening, with the fewest people that visit. You could have a much more personal experience with the pieces then. She said it’s always busy in front of the ‘Mona Lisa’ but the rest of the museum can be much, much quieter and that it is lovely. I would find that such a privilege. I so wanted to come back again in the evening, using today’s ticket; tonight was late closing, but to take that time to myself would have been too much of a burden on my frazzled husband but it’s hard on me too, not to be able to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity. It’s the rare times like this that makes living one’s life around one’s children challenging. That would have been a very fulfilling experience for me.

Venus de Milo, Louvre

We took an unusual transport option to get home from the Louvre. We couldn’t find a taxi willing to take us the relatively short distance. This is not unusual in Paris and is really annoying. When you stop the taxi and they ask you where you’re going, they say ‘Walk’! A kind Tunisian driver had taken us there in the morning because, he said, he knows how hard it is to travel with small children. Our Louvre Guardian Angel was looking out for us, making sure we were in optimum rested state before we started our intense hours of enlightenment. But unfortunately we weren’t so lucky in the afternoon. So the kids and I took three-wheeled transport, pedaled by a furiously fit young woman, bumping over kerbs, scraping through narrow alleys, putting my heart in my mouth several times when I felt sure the whole contraption would keel over, tipping the children out into the middle of very busy roads. It was certainly a novel way to get around and of course the children, unaware of my fears, loved it.

Instead of my solo trip back to the Louvre, in the evening we went as a family to see the Eiffel Tower close-up. Unfortunately, not close-up enough because we couldn’t get tickets to go up in an elevator, the queue to go up by the stairs was incredibly long and anyway, I don’t think the kids could have managed to climb that many stairs. So it was very disappointing, to only be able to stand under it. The temptation was huge to stay in the apartment. But we pushed ourselves out and despite the kids struggling to be on best behavior, I’m still glad we went. But my educational sap was spent and I couldn’t face trying to impart any words of wisdom about the amazing ‘Iron Lady’. I could have referred to a number of things we’d learned about her at home, I even had a fun quiz tucked away in my bag, but I couldn’t face it. I could use the excuse that Edward was probably not in learning mode after his powerful morning of concentration. The kids were missing their, by now, daily ice-creams and were focusing on that! But probably, if I had been full of beans, he would have loved it. Children are amazing and learn and learn and learn if it’s done right. I can’t really use him as an excuse; it was my own lack of verve that was the problem! I wanted to stay until the tower was illuminated which happens for a few minutes, on the hour, after dark but it gets dark so late here, we just couldn’t bear the children any longer and had to get them home and into bed in order to be able to breathe freely again!! Petra is particular was driving us crazy!

So tonight my husband and I debate and make a final decision about Disneyland. He is all for putting sanity before finances and only going for a few hours, rather than making it the usual all-day and late night affair (I hear the best thing about Disneyland are the fireworks, which, due to the late sunset, are at nearly 11pm!) I think this is madness and I have the stamina for more if the kids are happy. We shall see. But I think we’ll be going, one way or another. If the missing-Disneyland-miracle comes belatedly, then, well, I would be almost as delighted as having an hour in the Louvre to myself! Almost!

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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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