4 Types of Homeschooling in Indonesia

Sarah and Seth at PrambananLocals constantly ask me how we educate our children here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. My answer is that we choose to homeschool. From what I have learned so far, homeschooling can be taken to mean one of four different things here. One, it may mean that you pay a teacher(s) to come to your house and educate your children in your home. Two, it may mean that you take your children to a building where other homeschool kids gather to be taught by teachers chosen by the parents. Three, it may mean that your children are still young and instead of putting them in playgroup you find other parents of pre-school aged children to get together for occasional play-dates. Or Four, the parents are the sole educator of their children.

Taman PintarThe fourth option is where we are placed. Because the idea of homeschooling is a relatively new idea here, I think it is hard for the general public to believe that a parent has the capability to handle that task. Even after explaining that I am the sole educator for Sarah and Seth I am usually met with looks of confusion. I explain that I teach all the subjects from Math, Grammar, Literature, History, Science, and so on, though the aid of books I have selected. Most people usually just nod their heads but there is still a look of amusement in their eyes.


Some of the moms I have talked with whose children are still very young express their concern over where to send their kids when they are of age. They are not happy with the idea of the government school system for one reason or another.

Norma, Sarah and SethI believe there is potential for home education to be a great success here in Indonesia. I have met several families in Jakarta who are doing just that. With some dedication and creative thinking, kids can have a great home education. There are already a lot of resources available in the local bookstores for teaching the major subjects. There are also a lot of resources available on-line to supplement studies.

My encouragement to those beginning the process is to keep at it. Our children are worth every minute that we invest in their lives. :-)

Some of my favorite curriculum:

Saxon Math
Shurley English
Veritas Press Phonics
Veritas Press Self-Paced History

Question: If you are a homeschool parent, please share with us some of your favorite resources. Please click here to leave your comment.

5 Things Indonesia Is Famous For

motovlog from Java, Indonesia

Indonesia is a huge country made up of 240,000,000 people, 17,000 islands and covers an area roughly the size of the United States. It has a rich history and hundreds of unique cultures and languages. It would seem to make sense then that there would be some famous things that come from Indonesia. Today, I want to share with you just five of them.

Coffee is #1

Coffee: Coffee was introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch centuries ago. They initially built plantations on the Island of Java but today coffee is grown all over the country. Historically speaking, coffee was traditionally named after the port it was exported from. Thus, coffee from Java was called Java coffee. Since the island of Java was such a prominent exporter of coffee eventually the term Java became synonymous for all types of coffee, not just coffee from Java. So, whenever you have a cup of java just remember the term originated here.

There are two types of coffee from Indonesia that are especially famous, Sumatra coffee and Coffee Luwak. Sumatra coffee, which has been made famous by Starbucks, is from the island of Sumatra the large island on the western side of the country. Coffee Luwak is made from the excrement of a cat-like animal who eats the coffee berry and poops out the undigested coffee bean. Those beans are then collected, cleaned and roasted. Coffee Luwak is produced mostly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi. It is the most expensive coffee in the world, costing around $300 a pound. Cheaper on Amazon sometimes.

Orangutans: Who doesn’t love the long-armed red-haired orangutan? They can only be found in the rainforests of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, both of which are in Indonesia.

The Spice Islands: Back in the 16th century nutmeg, cloves and mace were global commodities that grew nowhere else but in Indonesia. Nations fought for control of the Spice Islands.

Komodo Dragons: Komodo Dragons were only rumored to exist before 1910 when the Dutch made their first expedition to what is now called Komodo Island. During this expedition two of the dragons were shot and their skins were brought back to Java for documentation.

Bali: Bali is famous for its beaches, surfing and unique Hindu culture. It is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia.

So, that is just a few of the many things Indonesia is famous for.

Watch the video: 5 Things Indonesia Is Famous For

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How to Kill Mosquitoes in Indonesia

imagesMosquitoes are not only a nuisance, but also carry diseases. I don’t know exactly why, but I end up with large red spots whenever I get bit. They usually itch for days afterwards. There are many options here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to protect against their bites.

Some of the more common options are: poison spray, poison lotions, poison that is lit to send a poison smoke through the room, a poison plug-in of sorts, or mosquito netting. One of my favorite options is this electric racket! If I am fast enough I can zap ‘em. It is shaped just like a tennis racket. I like using it better than any of the poison options. To charge it simply plug it into the wall. Fast and effective!

Mosquito Racket

 Question: What other ideas do you have for effectively killing mosquitoes? Please leave your comment by clicking here.  

Why I Chose to Ride a Scooter Over a “Real” Motorcycle

Yamaha Mio Automatic

My friends here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia are always amazed when they find out that in Moab, Utah I owned a Yamaha TW200 (pictured above). Here a bike like that is considered a “boys bike”. They call me “Macho” for being able to ride one. (I’m not sure if that is a compliment or not). Here in Yogyakarta I ride a Yamaha Mio Automatic (pictured below). Many people wonder why I chose to ride a scooter over a “real” motorcycle.


My reasons for choosing an automatic are very practical:

  • The first reason is because I wear skirts a lot here and I can easily get on and off without causing a scene.
  • My second reason is because the space in front of me, designed for my feet, makes a great place to carry groceries. Limited, yes, but sufficient for a couple of bags.
  • The third, and maybe most important reason, is that the space on the seat is larger than most “real” motorcycles, like Marty’s, and I can carry both Sarah and Seth at the same time.

These might not seem like exciting features to a real adventurer who likes to off-road, but to me, who happens to be a mom and housewife, these qualities in a motorcycle are very important for daily life! ☺

How to Keep Ants out of Your Kitchen in Indonesia

There are many different kinds of ants that emerge in my kitchen here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Big ones, medium ones, small ones, black ones and red ones. I don’t like to share my food with them. A few, ok, but not a whole colony. I especially don’t like ants in my food pantry. I think that the ants are just standing by waiting for any drop of food to be left.

After a bit of searching, I found an ant solution. I took cardboard squares and colored them with this poisoned chalk. I put one square under each leg of my food pantry. So far it has kept all ants out of our food and off of our clean dishes. Yeah!

Ant Poison Cardboard Poison

Question: What other suggestions do you have to keep ants out of your food? Please leave your comment by clicking here.

Keeping Dry While Riding A Motorcycle In The Rain

Sarah and Seth in the rain

I love the rain! It gives me a sense of calmness. Maybe because I am a homebody by nature, rain gives me the urge to stop all necessary work, find a good book and a comfy couch! Having said all that, I find myself caught out in the rain frequently here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Since I drive a motorcycle as my source of transportation, I have to be a bit creative in how I handle keeping dry while riding a motorcycle in the rain. Some days I can wait till the rain is finished before heading out, but other days I feel the need to get on the road. Sometimes I am already on the road and the rain comes quite suddenly. At that point I pull over and whip out our rain gear.

I bought Sarah and Seth rain ponchos because there are no zippers to deal with. The only draw back is that they have to take their helmets off before the poncho will fit over their heads. I have a jacket and some snazzy blue rubber pants that I look pretty hot in! (Just joking, in case you didn’t catch my humor). To add to my attire, I always carry my bag/purse, which has to be protected from the rain as well. This I zip up inside my jacket, which gives me a nice pregnant look. I always carry our rain gear with us. My motorcycle has a cubby under my seat that I store them in. I sure am glad someone designed that cubby into my bike!

Oh, the joys of riding a motorcycle in the rain!

Julie in the rain

Indonesia’s Legend of the Origin of Sea Cows

motovlog from Java, Indonesia

Sea cows are mammals that live only in the water and eat grass like a cow. They never come out even to give birth. They live in swamps, rivers, estuaries, marine wetlands, and coastal marine waters. They grow to a length of 7.5 to 12 feet long and can weigh up to 3,300 pounds.

Here is the legend of their origin…

Sea Cows.013

Once upon a time there was a husband and wife who lived with their three children in central Sulawesi. They made their living off of farming and fishing.

Early one morning the father caught a bunch of fish in his net and took them home for his wife to cook for breakfast. There were so many fish that they could not eat them all for breakfast so the father asked his wife to save the leftovers for his evening meal. She put the fish away in a clay jar and closed it tight.

At lunch time when the mother and children came in to eat, the youngest child asked for fish for lunch. However, there was only the fish that was reserved for their father when he came home for dinner. When the mother said, No. The child began to throw a fit crying and rolling around on the floor. Because the mother was not strong she gave into the child’s request and gave him the fish which he scarfed down like a greedy pig.

In the evening the father came home tired and hungry from working in the fields. He asked for the fish that his wife saved for him but when he didn’t receive them he asked where they were. She related her experience earlier in the day and asked for his forgiveness. He became very angry and would not forgive his wife until she when out and caught fish to replace the ones she gave to the whiny child. He forbid her from coming home until she had the fish.

So, his wife left the house broken hearted and went to the sea. She was so sad she didn’t care if she drowned at sea while trying to catch the fish.

The next day her three children went down toward the beach looking for her. The youngest, who was still nursing, was crying and calling his mothers name. Once they reached the beach they were shocked and happy to see their mother come up out of the water. She nursed the youngest and told them all to go home and that she would follow once she caught the fish.

The three children went home and waited all night for their mother to return. When she hadn’t come home the next day they went back to the beach looking for her. Their mother came back up out of the water intending to nurse the youngest again. But, the children were afraid of her and the youngest didn’t want to nurse because her body was covered with scales like a fish.

Their mother insisted that she was really their mother. The first child replied, “our mother is beautiful with smooth skin. She doesn’t have skin like you.” When their mother approached them they ran away in fear. Later they returned to beach to call for their mother. She came back up out of the sea. This time with even more scales than before. The children runaway again in fear. This continued for some time. Every time the children would come calling for their mother she would come up out of the water looking more terrifying and covered with more scales, until finally, her two legs grew together into a fish tail and she turned into a mermaid. She swam away and was never seen from again.

The residence of central Sulawesi believe that this mother was the origin of the local sea cow population.

Question: I’m sure you can come up with some morals to the story. I would love to hear them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Translated by Martin Johnson from Koleksi Terbaik 100 Plus Dongeng Rakyat Nusantara by Gamal Komandoko