Homeschooling Adventures in the Netherlands, Part 1 – Month 5 of Learning at Home

We had the journey from hell from Paris to Amsterdam by train. The car rental people local to where we’re staying were so incredibly rude and ignorant that they ended up cancelling our reservation – because they would not believe that there aren’t any postcodes in Bahrain! So, no car and we’re in the middle of nowhere! And I am culture-deprived and in need of a dose of the Amsterdam Van Gogh museum!

But the kids are very happy to be staying in the middle of a forest and we just dragged them out of bed, a moment after they’d settled down for the night, to watch a swan glide past our little cottage.  I felt it was a suitably worthy educational moment! Not too many swans (or indeed Herons. We had the privilege of witnessing one earlier in the day fly past us) in Bahrain!

I’m itching to get out the DVDs we bought in Paris and carry on with our culture trip and I bought a great ‘Magic Tree House’ Fact Checker book about ‘Ancient Greece and the Olympics’ which I thought would be a great topic to discover considering the Olympics is about to start in London. BUT, I have reined myself in and decided to let the kids focus on this moment in time which is more about nature, also such an important part of life learning and also sorely lacking in Bahrain. I had to remind myself that in my yearning to learn, I must sometimes remind myself who homeschooling is for – me or the kids! I would love to pop in that ‘Explore the Louvre’ DVD but I have to accept that I should wait until they’ve gone to bed (except that it’s such a teeny cottage, noise is an issue)!

So, we’re definitely into the ‘solely for the children’s benefit’ part of the holiday. We’re not staying somewhere we would like to be if we didn’t have the kids. We are staying somewhere totally geared to kids and which isn’t my scene at all. But there are activities and other kids here that will hopefully delight them so much that they’ll have a holiday to remember. They will get to have a go at climbing. They will get to dress up and act out being a Knight and a Princess, with a bunch of other kids, in some kind of a pretend castle. They will be in their element. We then need to make sure we find a real castle at some point for Edward to continue filming his ‘King Arthur’ movie that we didn’t manage in Notre Dame. We have to find those battlements for him!

It’s lovely hearing the birds twittering as I write this at dusk. But I miss Paris so much, even the emergency sirens and rumble of the Metro under our little apartment! I definitely miss the coffee, baguette and pastries and the accessibility of transport given our present predicament! I miss the lovely people we met. And yes, as I thought, I miss the sound of the language, as compared to the Dutch and German I can hear being spoken around us here! But, I’m putting on my bravest face for the kids and trying to again, see our new abode through their eyes, and it really helps!

What sort of holidays have you had to do for your kids and why?

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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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4 Responses to Homeschooling Adventures in the Netherlands, Part 1 – Month 5 of Learning at Home

  1. Marlene Luneng says:

    I really enjoy your blog. You write so personally I have to remind myself that I don’t know you:)
    I hope tomorrow is a brighter day!

  2. Penny says:

    That is so kind! Actually, it wasn’t but we’re hoping for tomorrow to be a new start in the Netherlands. At least we have a car now! I just hope we don’t put the kids off travelling forever! We are not the best models for how to deal with things when they don’t go according to plan!! Just hope for sunshine for us – you of all people given the name of your book! Take care, Marlene!

  3. Oh heck, pop in that ‘Explore the Louvre’ CD. The kids need to see that mom has a passion for learning too!

    • I’ve been holding off popping the Louvre DVD in because we haven’t set it up yet. I have loved that the kids haven’t been watching any movies since we arrived in the NL. We have to try and hook up our portable DVD player to the TV provided. We bought the little portable DVD player for emergency airport tantrums but they usually happen when we’re on the go, so it doesn’t serve the purpose! It’s too small for regular watching. The kids are happy enough w/o movies, only requesting them from time to time and w/o insistence so we put them off. I LOVE them not watching anything. So I don’t want to hook it up for my benefit because then they will start watching them too. I love that they are outside playing swing ball and with their bow and arrows with the neighbours! I’ll live 😉

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