FAQs about this journey.

– Can the kids handle it? We sure hope so. As Professor Gugick says, “i promise you they won’t come back dumber than when we left”.
-Isn’t home school weird? Not really. Its become more and more “accepted” as a method of teaching and learning. We think the personal maturity and discipline from executing this is worth the effort.
 – Rows and columns?  There are no rows and columns in their class. In fact, there really isn’t a class. Collaborative, experiential, interactive, thoughtful and challenging are the signposts.
– Won’t you drive each other crazy? Maybe…errr…probably, but we learned to like being a close knit family while living in Paris. It could be worse.
– Are there weekends? No. There is enough travel time where reading and researching is necessary that we will go most days on, or have partial learning days. And that was the teachers call, frankly. He sets the tone, and so far the kids love it, saying “Learning and doing stuff is just becoming natural”.
– So you don’t like staying married? Ha.
– Why now? This could be the last chance. Ever.
– What about records and transcripts? We have past ones. We are keeping copious records of our processes and progress using some US standards, as well as reading lists and pedagogy from leading public and private scholastic institutions.
– What do schools say, about tests, entrance exams, etc.? Yes, schools are more and more comfortable all the time with non-standard applicants.
– What about sports and physical activities? There are plenty of known and new sports to play everywhere. Soccer, surfing, paddle boarding, scuba, etc.
– What about friends? Trade offs. The kids have international friends because much of the American School of Paris crowd was somewhat transient, but it’s a challenge. We will interact with local kids every chance we get. On the positive side, there will be far more exposure to adults and adult situations demanding responsibility and maturity that hopefully becomes second nature.
– Where do you live? Um, we don’t actually live anywhere. No home, no apartment, not even a car.
– Home address, then? Awkward. We have a P.O. Box that forwards anything necessary.
– What’s your schedule? Indonesia, Japan, China, [Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Zimbabwe, but please USE PENCIL.
– Why did you decide on Asia and Africa? Our work takes us to Hong Kong and the African Continent, and we have cohorts and contacts there.
– Planning? See Stacia. We’re DOA without her.
– Who was the driving force behind this? My folks still think I was, but in truth Stacia was far more adventurous than me.

Ancient History 101: Treasure Uncovered, circa 1975

Yeah yeah, I hear it every day. “Dinosaur Dad”, Nicholas says. Anything pre-iPhone is Neanderthal.  And then it happened. Ancient treasure washed ashore, like gold doubloons from ancient sailing ships.

A cassette tape! Likely something from an ancient Deadhead, with protruding forehead, and deep set eyes. It was in the  explanation of the utter simplicity that drew the greatest interest from the charges.

The concept of Fast Forward >>, Reverse <<, estimating where the song you wanted was located. And then the concept of a magnetic tape that became unwound, and required the primitive ‘MyPencil’ tool,  inserted in the grooved slot to spin and tighten the loose tape. The sympathetic  looks made me feel old.

SIX Off Piste? I thought you guys were 5?

So, we were in the process of applying to a school, and were typically uncertain as to our future location vis-a-vis it’s overlap with work projects in Asia and Africa.

Well, here’s the genesis of the journey, to the day, in the form of an email I sent to Arthur Gugick,  a friend, former Penn classmate and teacher extraordinaire teaching in Ohio.

On Thursday, February 9, 2017 5:34 AM, Michael Balog <mgbalog@gmail.com> wrote:

“Arturo. Bonjour and i hope this finds you well.

 I have a wild question out of the blue. Due to some work demands, Stacia and i are considering taking the next year off and homeschooling our 3 kids. They will be in 2nd, 6th and 8th grade. Here’s the thing. If we do this it will be in Asia and Africa. A wild in region learning experience. Part history. Part science, math and so forth in different countries but based in say Japan or HK for 6 months and Zambia for example (not set in stone) but traveling out of base to Laos, Vietnam, China, Uganda, Tanzania etc. A weird world  school in essence. We have contacts all over that could make it incredible. Chimp sanctuary in Uganda, bamboo bike builders in Zambia, robots in China, etc.  etc. You get the idea of how amazing it could be. Its kinda the last chance year we could ever do it. My kids are really good folks and pretty worldly. We’ll set up sport and physical activity etc. in each place. So…here’s the question…
What we need to find is one great teacher in math and English that can design and execute an accelerated disciplined and documented curriculum  and who is willing to travel for a year with our family. I think for the right person its the adventure of a lifetime.  The program itself, in my opinion, can be remarkable with the right fit.
Question. How/where do i search for teacher availability for such a teaching job?  I need one great educator that has vision, energy and cahones. I am searching for the perfect match. Thoughts?
Merci. Gracias. Grazie
And here was his reply…

On Feb 9, 2017 06:18, <arthur@gugick.com> wrote:

I know the perfect person for you. 
He started his career working at a K-4 Montessori elementary school (4 years) so he has experience working with younger children. The Montessori paradigm is one of individual curricula dependent upon a student’s personal needs and strengths. I know he took these ideas when he raised his own children. He taught both his children to read by age four. (one is an honors OSU student and the other is a gifted musician heading off to CIM)
He has worked in Middle schools (6 years), and in High schools (14 years). Perfect for your children: He’ll know what’s appropriate for their age and has the knowledge to push them to beyond their potentials. And although he’s taught mostly mathematics, he has also taught Computer Science, middle school science, high school astronomy and physics, reading, writing, and everything in between.
Great sense of humor. Strong family values. Excellent resume. Amazing references. Vision, energy, and, yes, cahones. And as a bonus: he’s a Lego master.
Lets talk more about this.
He had me at Lego master…And so it was.