Another step in the schooling journey – Italian Elementrary


This Thursday, we’ll take another turn in Mariah’s schooling journey. She’ll begin first grade in Italian elementary school.

We’ve been homeschooling since she  finished kindergarden – technically since May when I was home for my summer break.

I never expected I’d homeschool. After all I was a product of public school, earned a degree in elementary education and taught college freshmen. But during our transition time it was absolutelty the best fit.

It also fit well with Mariah being gifted – she was able to work at her level and we could tailor the lessons to her interests.

Over the last nine months, we’ve gone a bit more down the “unschool” route and I’ve suprised my planner, classroom teacher self as she’s done her school work. Our days looked a bit like this:

Morning Bible story
Math – Singapore Math (she finished 2a before Christmas) and sometimes Khan Academy (currently in 3rd grade)
Language Arts – Reading Jumpstart pages (3rd grade) + A mix of reading comprehension curriculums sprinkled in
History – The Story of the World  audio book (this one’s gone out the window since we moved – I’d like to bring it back, I forgot how calm it made lunch time)
Italian learnng – DuoLingo app 
Lots of read alouds and silent reading throughout the day
more PLAY, creating, and outings

It’s been good for Mariah mainly for her to move at her own pace. That’s the biggest benefit I can see for homeschooling overall. But once we moved here, I quickly saw the need to return to traditional school.

I thought for sure I’d be homeschooling her for the long haul, but at this point it’s not the right fit.

The closest homeschooling community/co-op available to me is a 40 minute drive to the military base.

While I love that it’s available, it’s too far for us to build relationships with those living close to us. My dreams have always been about living in community with our neighbors. It’s part of why we moved to another country afterall.

Mariah will go to a school just a 10 mintue walk from our house with kids from the neighborhood. It’s a small school of only 90 students in 1-5 grades.

We also realized that in order to really learn Italian, Mariah needs to be in the Italian school. Fully immersed.

She’s done the language immersion before, we’re confident she can do it again. It’ll be harder with very few teachers who speak English that’s for sure, but we’re giving it a go.

We’ve been told skipping grades is an easy option here.

We’re starting Mariah in first grade simply because she knows very little Italian, so we want her to master reading and writing at the basic level.

We’ll be communicting with teachers about her work and progress, maybe even seeing if she can do math with an older grade if needed. At the end of the year, we may decide to skip second grade all together and jump to third. We’re keeping it open. Wide open. If I’ve learned anything with Mariah’s education journey, it’s that I can’t assume anything or plan too far ahead.

I’m the one who’s most nervous about the whole thing.

I’m the teacher in the family, I was always the one to communicate with teachers, heck! I jumped in and became PTO president last year. I have to communicate through Nick now – or at least until I know the language better.  Giving up control always makes me anxious.

Things are so laid back here – no student handbook (gasp!) and only one form to fill out to sign up for school (do you know how many times I filled out emergency contact/plan papers for my children in the US?).  Because everything operates differently it’s throwing me off – again, I usually know all the things when it comes to school. I don’t know this time around and I. like. control.

Clearly this is good for me.


Mariah is so excited. She’s ready to get out there and make friends and learn the language. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow and learn and stretch herself.

I’m going to miss our time together. The past month while Lana’s been in preschool for half a day I’ve had lots of time to focus on Mariah. We’ve really needed that and I’ve treasured it. And MAN I’m going to miss it!



One comment on “Another step in the schooling journey – Italian Elementrary

  1. Sharon Robrahn says:

    so glad to hear and update on your family. Please keep info coming and we will be praying for your transitions.