We took our school books with us, and kept up with math and language pretty faithfully, plus we checked out stacks and stacks of library books that we normally would not have had access to in America. But everything else that two months was enriching, soaking-in of the culture. We went ice skating, toured all kinds of castles and amazing places, took walks together in the charming village we lived in, shivered and ate bratwurst at Christmas markets. We spent a weekend at a farm villa in Salzburg, Austria. We toured cathedrals and ate crepes in France. It was a wonderful experience for all of us.
Homeschooling is illegal and criminally prosecuted in Germany. Being an American military family, no one messed with us. Sometimes, if the weather was pretty, we would take walks in our quaint village on a school day. We always walked past a school on our stroll and sometimes heard children's voices out on the playground. I took that opportunity to explain to our children how blessed we are to have the freedom to homeschool in America. They would ask, "Are we going to get in trouble?" And I would say: "Oh no, we're Americans, they can't touch us." Our family appreciates the Homeschool Legal Defense people for fighting to keep that freedom for us. Perhaps someday the Germans will come to their senses and allow homeschooling. Hello? Hitler's long gone. Y'all can walk about the cabin freely.
I had an interesting conversation with a nice elderly gentleman on the airplane back home from Germany. He marveled at how well-behaved our children were but when he found out they were homeschooled, he questioned their socialization. He expressed concern that being homeschooled, they would not be well socialized. I just smiled politely and hoped the clue bulb would turn on with him sometime later that, having just spent two months in Europe interacting with all sorts of people, and behaving well enough on a long overseas flight to be marveled at by total strangers.... I'd say that's a tough socialization situation to top.
I think we're good on the socialization.
Our son, Patrick, is 16 now and has a job at a family-owned clothing store. Lots of very respectful, clean cut young folks work there. He came home one afternoon, after having been employed there a few weeks and told us something that made us laugh. As the young employees were standing around shooting the breeze after work that day, they said to Patrick, "Hey you know what, you're not, like, extremely socially awkward for a homeschooler."
Well that's good to know.