Friday, July 27, 2012

Starting School

Yes, it is that time of year again!  For the Pratt family anyway, time to start a new school year.  Here on our field we homeschool our children.  This is not only because we don't approve of the Indian school system (which we don't), but it is a conviction for us, that we, as parents, are responsible for the training and education of the children God has given us.  Even if we lived in the US, we would be homeschooling.
Ready for the first day of school!

 The school year, here in India, runs from July to April, so we follow the same schedule.  We usually like to start the first full week of July, but because of finances our order was a little late, and then we had to wait for it to ship here from the US.  The last box of books arrived on the 23rd of July, and we started school on the 25th.  I'll throw in a few days of extra work here and there, so that we can still finish by April.
I have found that it works best for us to have a moderately strict schedule for homeschooling.  If you would visit our house on any given day, you would see the many people who come and go, and the number of activities that are always going on.  In the first couple years of homeschooling, it was easy to let school get pushed to the back burner.  I soon realized that this would not work for us.  So I started a schedule for school, that we only deviate from as needed.  Things work out a lot better that way...i.e.  less stress for Mom, and less time playing catch up for the kids! 
We start school between 8:00am and 8:30am in the morning, after devotions, morning chores, and breakfast.
We have a break at around 10:00, and they usually finish up by 12:30.  This year Alyssa is in 8th, Naomi in 7th Melody in 5th, and Ethan in 3rd.  The girls all use Abeka video school, which has worked out pretty well for our family.  They watch the video teacher give the lesson, then I help them with the book work.  I also give and grade quizzes and tests.  Since, we don't have access to good libraries, and not many resources, it has been helpful to stick with one curriculum instead of trying to mix-and-match. 
Since we don't have any extra rooms to make an actual "school room", the kids are kind of scattered throughout the house, wherever we can make room for a desk. :-)
Ethan is still taught by Mom..and doesn't he look happy about it!  I, personally, don't like to put the kids on video until they are in older grades.  I think it is more beneficial for them to have one on one time as much as possible, until they are firmly established in their reading, writing, and math skills.  Ethan's school work usually takes us about 2 hours a day.  He will probably start on videos next year. 
People here think it very strange that we don't send our kids to school.  Being foreigners, they expect us to pay big money to enroll them in a good private school.  Homeschooling is unheard of here, so we usually just get down to the basic facts:  We get curriculum from the US, and Mom's the teacher!
For those of you wondering about "extra-curricular" activities...they also take piano lessons, the older 2 have started flute and guitar, and they take language lessons. Right now they are working on Punjabi.  They all have already learned to read and write in Hindi.  As for socialization...I guess that's a topic for another post! Better yet, come visit me!  If you can make your way through the crowd of kids, teens, and adults that are daily in and out of my house..we'll have a long conversation about socialization! 
So..there you have it..Pratt International Christian Academy is open for the 2012-2013 school year.


  1. I'm really considering the dvd's next year for Autumn. She will be in grade 5. How does that work overseas?

  2. They still send you the DVD's, and you have to mail them back later, unless you go with a permanent lease. It cost quite a bit for us to mail them back and forth, so this year we decided to try the video streaming. Streaming is going OK, now that I got the hang of it, but its a little more work for me because I have to download the lessons. You can just stream it, which would probably work with only one, but since we have three it's too much for our internet connection.