Our daughter Serena is 4 years old. Before she was born I had never given much thought to children education as an issue, because I did not think somehow that fatherhood was going to be a part of my life. Things changed pretty comprehensively when she arrived.
Being able to spend a lot of time with her and watching her grow and develop naturally, it became quite clear to me that, at least during the first 10 years or so, children don’t really need schools to learn, they just do new things all the time as a matter of course, they are naturally curious, imaginative and full of energy.
I thought (somewhat lazily) that schools are important as a social environment and that kids should be with other kids, I had very little idea about homeschooling until, during a casual conversation, a friend mentioned a camping weekend organized by a group of Thai parents and which was going to be hosted by our friends Pun Pun at their site in Phrao.
The group is called MyWay and this was their fourth gathering, people came from all over Thailand, we packed our basic camping gear and joined them.
It was a good move, which set us up to think seriously about homeschooling, we met many interesting people with a lot of experience and we found a group in Chiang Mai with children of similar age, one of the families happened to pitch their tent next to us.
We dispelled many uncertainties and insecurities by listening to people who had been plagued by the same doubts and came through and we saw many children of various ages who had all managed to thrive and develop outside the school system. It felt positive and real.
Homeschooling also fits with our life here and is consistent with the choices we have made, now we just need to work out the logistics of joining (or not) various groups and activities. One group meets on Thursdays not too far from us and we have since met other people with similar ideas while visiting a friend’s place, so we are quite optimistic.
Serena is also on board with it and knows that she needs to cooperate and that the usual restrictions on computer use still apply… Here she is with her new best friends.