Growing Up Around the World: a Slice of Life in Montana

In the spirit of Back to School, and our recent Montanaversary, I’m participating in a super fun global link-up: Growing Up Around the World. Consider it a collection of virtual field trips as you globally “hop” from one post to another, travelling the world and meeting families along the way.

I’m fielding the same questions from the hosts at Simple Homeschool as scores of families across the U.S. and abroad, providing a wee peekaboo into our lives here in Montana.

Tell us about your family:

I’ve been “Mrs. Handsome Husband” for over fifteen years now, and loved nearly every minute. 🙂 Our two daughters are eleven and nine, and our son is four. (Little Man came to us via international adoption, the girls the old-fashioned route.)

Tell us where you live and how long you’ve lived there:

Little Man was born in China, the rest of us in Oregon, but four years ago we relocated to the Bozeman, Montana area where we now make our home in the quiet, unsullied countryside.

What do you think is unique and special about living where you do?

Nestled betwixt prairie and mountain range, in a high-altitude valley, nature beckons and residents of all ages enjoy an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. My family’s favored pastimes are hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, archery, and visiting neighboring geothermal wonderland Yellowstone National Park.

What languages are spoken there?

Though each of our three kiddos know tidbits of conversational Mandarin, and Center Sister is currently teaching herself French, the majority in the region speak English. Generally one must seek out formal lessons to learn a second language here.

Some traditional foods there:

As cattle outnumber humans, and there is loads of wild game to hunt, it tends to be a meat-and-potatoes culture (potatoes do grow best in my garden, by a long shot). Huckleberries are also a local delight, which flavor just about every food imaginable come late summer.

Tell us about the climate where you live:

Montana is known for it’s cold, snowy winters, wherein our family seems to be the only one that doesn’t ski (preferring, instead, to hibernate); but summer here is a blast, the weather near perfection.

What does school look like for the majority of kids where you live?

Montana affords more liberty than most states in determining how a family might educate their children, so there seems to have always been a fair contingent of homeschoolers, though public school is certainly most common. The local superintendent is an ally and resource eager to equip and bolster local home-educators, even accommodating part-time enrollment for supplemental enrichment classes, as desired.

What does school look like for your family?

We find our traditional Montana lifestyle organically begets a Charlotte Mason approach to home-education– the expansive outdoors begging exploration, biting winter days ideal for cozy, fireside read-alouds, puzzles, and board games. With plenty of quasi-rural chores to tend to daily (we keep a veritable menagerie of critters, to my husband’s chagrin), the habit and ritual-centric hallmarks of Charlotte Mason are second nature.

Any special festivals or traditions related to where you live?

The stand-out that makes us chuckle is the nearby annual Testical Festival that we have yet to attend, “Rocky Mountain Oysters” the culinary highlight adventurous eaters can appreciate.

If you ever had to move away from where you live, what do you think you’d miss most?

Should our family move on we would surely miss the gorgeous views, the proximity to wildlife, and slower pace of life we enjoy here in Montana.

Favorite books set in our region:

Our home is mere yards from the river featured in A River Runs Through It. Both the book and film versions of The Revenant were also based on local history.

That’s our snapshot of homeschool life in Montana; be sure to check out additional locations featured on the blog-hop, and learn what it’s like growing up around the world.

Being A Wordsmith