Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

Transitioning From Crisis Schooling to City Schooling

We made some more concrete decisions regarding our FIRE (financial independence retire early) adventure this week.

As we mentioned in our previous post (Choose Your Own Adventure: So What Is Next?), we thought it was looking more like we need to postpone Spain and come up with several backup plans because of COVID-19.

This week we moved forward with securing a new apartment lease in Houston’s Museum District which will end in March 2021.  We plan to take off on some type of travels (ideally Spain) in either March 2021 or April 2021.

Visiting our new / future home in Houston’s Museum District near Hermann Park.

So ... now what?  As we mentioned in our last post, Erik will continue to work, and I can build up my side hustles.  What about the kids?

As of right now, we plan to transition from Crisis Schooling to Homeschooling (or what I am labeling as City Schooling for now) in Fall 2020.  It looks like we are actually zoned to a good elementary school in HISD (Poe Elementary), but we felt that schooling on our own temporarily is the best plan (given COVID-19 it may also be the safest plan!).  This was always a backup plan (if we thought we wanted Erik to work longer), but it wasn’t a plan we actually thought we had a high probability of implementing (but then came COVID-19).  I think we should just be thankful for extra time with family, friends, (even if from a “distance”) and an adventure in the city with the kids (and even if COVID-19 alters our way of experiencing the city).

I would not label our transition from being IN a public school building to what is happening right now (global pandemic) as Distance Learning or Homeschooling, but I would label it a more accurate term of Crisis Schooling.  I may not be able to remove schooling during a crisis (global pandemic) in the Fall, but I can at least be prepared for schooling at home.  So how to transition?

Of course it is 2020, and there are an abundance of “Homeschooling” options available ... so where to begin?  I started reading about different philosophies of Homeschooling, and I found this article helpful (from late 2019) - Homeschooling: Which Model is Right for You?  The article specifically talks about: Classical Schooling, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Unschooling, School at Home, Unit Studies, and Eclectic Education Methods.  Classical Schooling ... focused on great literature and philosophy?  Yes, please!  Charlotte Mason ... journaling and nature walks?  Sign me up.  Montessori ... student-led and hands-on learning?  Yes, also.  Unschooling ... student interests?  Yes, yes, yes.  School at Home?  No, thank you.  Unit Studies... actually, I love teaching thematically.  But I probably most identified with the Eclectic approach which basically takes a mix of many methods.  There were definitely too many cons in each one for me to fully identify with one philosophy.

I really like the idea of World Schooling, but since we aren’t currently traveling around the world not sure I can use that label in our own backyard.  So why don’t I just create my own philosophy and method (without entirely creating my own curriculum of course ...that would be a lot of work!)?  One thing I personally like the MOST about the idea of Homeschooling is the option to learn in real life ... hands-on experiences and being out and about in whatever community you are in (I know this looks different during COVID-19 though).  So maybe I should call my philosophy CITY SCHOOLING (instead of World)... ?!

What is CITY SCHOOLING?  City Schooling uses the city as your classroom - parks, neighborhoods, museums, and more.  I also like the idea of thematic studies (or as they describe them above, Unit Studies).  My art education philosophy is Integrative Art Education which focuses on learning about life through art (and often uses themes).  I like broad themes that I can make more specific for each child... let’s take an easy example, like animals.  We can head (walk!) to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) to look for (and analyze!) animals in art.  The kids can draw and write about their adventure in their City Journals.  Maybe that same day, we could head to the MFAH’s Sculpture Garden to do our exercise / PE by running the steps at the Glassell School.  Afterwards we could have our lunch outside (either by packing our own or treating ourselves to a lunch from a Food Truck).  A different day we can walk (!) to the Houston Zoo and maybe each kid can focus on a specific animal they want to learn more about.  We can focus on Spanish that day (they have signage in English and Spanish), and we can do our math focus for the week on the way to the Zoo or at the Zoo.  (And we are looking forward to focusing more on everyday math skills and financial literacy as we take the leap to City Schooling.  How does math affect us today?  How are we saving and spending this week?  How do we reach FIRE and sustain FIRE?).  We will definitely be reading every day, and maybe sometimes we can read in our “backyard” aka the park across the street - Hermann Park.  The Health Museum is right across the street from us.  We can head next door for Homeschool Workshops including Animal Dissection!  You can’t beat that for a science lesson.  What about history?  Back to the animal that they chose to focus on ...we can also connect this to a country where you can find the animal.  We can learn more about the country, people, and history.  Maybe we can supplement this learning experience by heading to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, or we can take the train Downtown to see Erik at lunch.  We can also visit Houston’s Downtown Public Library to learn more about what they are studying.  Best part of all of this?  We can access everything with our FEET!

But what about COVID-19?  Well, the above may be an extreme example of being out and about ... but maybe not.  We would plan to do most of this on weekdays, and I always like to get to places when they open (less crowded and often empty especially on weekdays).  We also may limit our “inside places” time to only 1x or 2x per week depending on what is going on in our community regarding COVID-19.  And we will follow social distancing protocols, masks, etc.  And if we feel we need to or are directed to quarantine, we will of course do so.  Regardless of COVID-19, I also plan to have work at home whether on-line or book work or hands-on, but those are details I still need to research and work out.

And how can we make City Schooling more affordable?  Museum memberships!  We plan to get all the museum memberships; they usually pay for themselves in just a few visits or less.

Exploring our (future) park across the street, Hermann Park.

So there you have it ... this is how we may transition from Crisis Schooling to my own philosophy of City Schooling.  What do you think?  If you had to or wanted to Homeschool, what philosophy would you go with?  Would you create your own path?


PS: I also like the idea of incorporating service (and other things!) into our City Schooling, but I will save that for another time to explore on the blog.

1 comment

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