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An Island School

An Island School
by Jan Herron (from The Link, Volume 5 Issue 6)

Our middle daughter has a button, neatly laminated, that she made herself. It shows a globe of the Earth, and around the edge she has written, in tidy eleven-year-old script, “The world is my school.”

The button dates from our years on the island of Saipan, where my husband and I and our three daughters, Rachael, Christy and Bethany, lived from 1985 to 1987. When we arrived there and began homeschooling, Bethany was in kindergarten. When we left, Rachael was in high school.

Our step into homeschooling was not entirely prompted by the move to Micronesia. Back home, on the central coast of California, Rachael and Christy had been attending an excellent, if somewhat large, elementary school. Both girls were participating in the school’s program for gifted and talented students, and both were benefiting from dedicated, thoughtful and innovative teachers. All this changed when Rachael entered seventh grade and moved on to middle school. Suddenly neither she nor we, her parents, liked anything about the school experience: the overcrowding, the social pressures, the lack of intellectual challenge for a bright child. A combination of research and soul-searching followed, as we considered the pros and cons of homeschooling. My husband, Dan, and I both have college degrees, and I had a little – very little – experience in teaching and tutoring.

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