The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

What Children Can Do When There School is closed

on April 27, 2020

What Children Can Do When There School is No Longer Open

Instead of moaning about the closing of schools right now, think about what you did last summer or when you and your children were living far away from home. Then make a plan that will work well.

Fifty years ago my husband, our four young children, and I lived in Belgium for a year. You may wonder how we managed, but in fact our experience was not only pleasant, it was also beneficial. All our children — except for the two year-old — learned some new skills and they were successful when they returned to American schools.

No, they didn’t learn a new language or much of the curriculum that was taught. But they did learn how to live well in a knew country, gain new friends, gain some foreign language, and how to spend there time well.  Back then we traveled on every school holiday, so in addition to visiting other cities in Belgium, they got to see parts of Italy, Germany and Switzerland. We also took them to Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and London.  They learned to ski on a school ski trip to Switzerland with their classmates and teachers.

In Belgium we had a townhouse with bedrooms for all of us a kitchen, a living room, and a backyard where we kept a bunny. Our children went to an international school where their classes were in French, German and Dutch (Flemish).  They picked up parts of those languages, but did not become fluent in any of them.  Fortunately, most of their classmates spoke some English and they were eager to practice with our children.  On weekends we would drive across the border to Eindhoven in The Netherlands, where we were able to buy English books, some foods we missed and electronics, and have lunch at our favorite Indonesian restaurant.  Thanks to those books, our children were able to read regularly. We also got the International Herald Tribune and listened to Armed Forces Radio, so they could keep up with the news. Very little on television was in English, so they didn’t watch much of it.

When we got back to Wisconsin our children were able to advance to the next grade.  Our oldest had to take the biology and drivers education classes he had missed while overseas. Although they had missed a year of classwork, our children were able to resume school with their classmates, but without any problems.

8 responses to “What Children Can Do When There School is closed

  1. Jane Watson says:

    Great post! Thanks!

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  2. Nancy Belkov says:

    I enjoyed reading about your experiences living in Belgium. Thanks!


  3. writerjoney says:

    Thanks for contacting me. It was along time ago with some difficulty for taking care of three kids. But we all benefitted from the experience

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don says:

    This is a wonderful essay, Joanne. You are still at the top of your game!


  5. Doug Garnett says:

    Excellent post, Joanne. A tremendously interesting experience for your kids.

    I guess this points how wrong ed administrators are to believe they are “pouring in knowledge” and how much gets in always depends on exact amounts of time in the classroom (which seems to be why parents are suffering in the Pandemic from school overload).



  6. writerjoney says:

    Dug, I think you and I know more about what kids need to learn than today’s school leaders do. We have a better sense of human interests and abilities and how to get them involved with real hard work. They wan’t to be involved with real world learning rather than endless tests, uninteresting courses, and piles of textbooks.


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