Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A little About us ...highlights of the last 2 years & giveways!

I was thinking about these  past  2 years  and I thought I would share some highlights that we´ve had here at "thetravelingclassroom":)  

As a family of 8,  we´ve done our fair share of traveling around Central America being "tourists" and can sure tell you some stories...maybe I´ll get to those a little later. 

**update 3/22/2013***  Here's  a little interview I did with another homeschooling friend Sally on her blog ...I added it here, but you can click on her button to see it there on her blog & say hi too!

Sallie Borrink
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I have been homeschooling our children as long as I can remember:)  I actually found out that there was such a thing as
"homeschooling" when my oldest (now 14) was one years old.  I had never heard of such a thing before that!
I started learning how to teach him about shapes, numbers, and letters.  I then started making him quiet books and taking him on "mushroom hunts" soon after.   I had a few friends that home-schooled their children and shared with me what they did in their home-school.  That is where the journey began and we have been homeschooling ever since!
We now have six children ages 4 - 14 (all about 2 years apart) that have been home-schooled from the beginning and are now  all home-schooled here in Panama.

2. How did you end up in Central America? 
We came to Costa Rica because we wanted to explore the world a little bit!  We had a strong urgency to leave so we sold everything and packed our bags and headed to Costa Rica! We sold most of what we had in the U.S. to get us here and came with our 12 suitcases in 2010:)  My husband had visited Costa Rica ten years prior on a surfing trip.  He always had a dream to return.  When I agreed he couldn't have been happier:)
Did you choose Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama for specific reasons?
 When we came to Costa Rica, we had tourist visas.  What that meant is that we had to leave Costa Rica every 3 months to renew our visa.  When we left we would explore the two neighboring countries; Panama or Nicaragua.  We haven't decided on full time residency for various reasons, but we have now found ourselves in Panama.  We really like it here and looks like were going to stay for a while:)
    3. What is your favorite part of living away from the United States? 
My favorite part of living away from the United States is definitely the excitement of exploring and seeing new places!  I love new cultures and people.  Learning a new language has also been a fun experience!
 What is the most difficult?
The most difficult part of living outside of the united states or being an "expat" , is being a foreigner in a foreign land.  We have experienced a lot of prejudice because we are from America.  Sometimes there are language and cultural barriers that we need to overcome.  For example if you need your car worked on you cannot just take it to the mechanic and wait for a call to come back and pick it up.  That may take six months!  If you want it done in a decent amount of time you have to; wait around, talk to the mechanic every day, preferably face to face, and make sure the job is being done right.  This culture is a face to face kind of culture:)

    4. You are homeschooling your children.  What is that like living in another country?
We have homeschooled for over 14 years now, so we are all accustomed to it.  I think it would have  been much more difficult to start homeschooling in a  foreign country. The added stress may have been to much.  I am glad we home-school because the education system is very poor here compared to what we are used to in the United States.  Sometimes finding school materials is difficult and ordering things and having them shipped costs twice as much...so we just do the best we can:)
    5. How did you become a seller on TPT? 
I started selling on Teachers Pay Teachers because of the yahoo news articles about TPT!  I thought , "Hey, I'm a teacher and I can do that!" and jumped right in!  I'm so thankful I did because now I've found down-loadable and printable resources that I don't have to have shipped!  This is the way to go in another country!  I have also met many wonderful teachers and have found support and encouragement in our homeschooling.
 What has your experience been so far? 
I have had an overall positive experience at TPT.  Almost everyone is very professional and friendly.  I have found a lot of support and inspiration to keep things fun in our school:)  I love how all teachers can interact and share their resources!  I've learned a lot from these teachers and I hope more homeschooling teachers can explore what TPT has to offer.  It really is a lot different then what I have been exposed to through homeschooling circles and conventions. There are a lot of wonderful ideas out there! 
 What is your favorite product you've created?
That's a hard question.  It's always the one I just created...I can't wait to use it:)  If I had to pick just one I would say my The Ultimate Party Organizer & Planner it was really fun to make and I enjoy the design:)

So here´s a little review of our time here...

we´ve made new friends & went to a Ballerina Party

The kids have become really active in our local Taekwondo and are preparing for a tournament coming up this month...

All 6 have their yellow belts!

We have a wonderful library that we visit often where I found all this curriculum at their library sale!

We´ve met some wonderful animal friends....sometimes just for a day, others a little longer:)

We´ve learned a lot about science and electricity...

Now we are moving on to magnetism...

We´ve enjoyed lots of beautiful rainbows up here near the Volcan...the most I´ve ever seen in my life as 
a matter of fact!

our sloth friend that came down for a visit one day...seemed nicer and smarter than Sid in Ice Age:)

survived a crocodile tour in Costa Rica...wouldn´t do that again...Thank YOU  YHVH for protecting us!!!

He fed him a whole frozen chicken!   Glad the croc ate the chicken & not him!

Our little lamb Lanita all dressed up:)

I´ve also  found some amazing digital resources just this year through Teachers pay Teachers and have also started selling some of my own curriculum.  Here´s a little shout out to Hilary and Monica at Rockin Teacher materials - THANK YOU ladies!  because they just had an amazing giveaway and I won!!!  I am so excited...maybe we will be set for the rest of the year ? or more??!!!:)
 I will be getting a flash drive in the mail full of digital education resources- I´ll only have to pay $15 for mail delivery!  Digital files are much more inexpensive  then books - I get charged an extra $7 per pound , plus the delivery charges & taxes! ugh - so digital resources are the way to go in a foreign country:)  I love giveaways:)

Well that´s it for now...Hasta Luego Amigos:) (until later friends)

oops...gotta add another more giveaways going on...hop on over you might win too!


  1. You have some awesome pictures! I like the one of the sloth :)

    It sounds like a great place to be (WARM! As we are shivering here in the northern US).

  2. Oh, I love reading about your adventure! My hubby and I met at Biola in 1978. That was long before you were there, I'm quite sure.

  3. Thank you both for coming by for a visit, I´m glad you enjoyed it:) It´s so good to meet both of you!...Pam - my husband and I both went to Biola too but didn´t meet until we both had graduated:)- Funny how God works - in his perfect timing!

  4. Ha! I didn't realize you had a blog, too! I didn't see the link on your GFC profile. Found you on google+. Happy and excited to follow you. What a journey you have been on! I love the photos, now I get to see more of what like is like there.

    Have a blessed week!

  5. Hi! I found your blog on the TpT forum and I am your newest follower. I would love for you to check out my blog when you get a chance! :)

    Wow! What an amazing experience you and your family are having! You must have teachable moments every day, several times a day! How cool to see a sloth so close! Awesome!!!

    Beth :)


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Welcome! Bienvendidos! Shalom! from our family here in Panama to yours...

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