Getting Ready to go back… Again!

Yes, we’re getting ready to go back to Paris, for a third year in a row! One process starts this week– getting kids signed up for independent studies!

I was talking to a friend recently, and he was asking about how we deal with three kids doing Independent Studies from their respective schools while we’re abroad. When I started telling him, he said, “someone should write a blog post about this!” …And, well… ahem. Right!

Please view below (or ignore entirely) a modified version of the letter we sent recently to Eli’s teachers:


Elijah Dalley will be traveling abroad from 12/23/18 until 01/18/19; he will be in Spain and France, as his mother (Dr. Lana Dalley) teaches a study-abroad inter-session course for CSUF in Paris. This is our third year of doing this as a family, and we’re really looking forward to going again! 

At this point, we are formally requesting an Independent Study period for him, covering the school days 01/08/19 – 01/18/19. Eli will need the homework and instruction for this period before we leave, inasmuch as is possible. Eli will return to class the day after Martin Luther King day. We understand that he needs to file formal paperwork requesting this Independent Study with the office at Troy; he will be doing so this week, but we felt it was best to start with direct outreach to you.

We have learned some Independent Study related things along the way; we’d like to request Eli’s study work at this point, and pass on our thoughts and some facts about the trip at the same time.

We will be in Barcelona, Spain from December 24th to January 2nd; the remainder of our time will be spent in Paris, France.

Our established routine from previous years for homework is as follows: Eli will wake up at 8:30, and start homework by 9:00. The time change for here is +9 hours; this means he will be working from 11:30pm until 10am California time, as he will work until lunch at 1:00. Essentially, he will be working a day AHEAD of his classmates; also, if you update the day’s work expectations in the morning of a given day, he may not see the update until the following day. After lunch he will leave with me (and his siblings) to do culturally relevant excursions in & around Paris. He will follow-up with ad hoc school reading at nighttime. Museum-wise, our trip to Paris always involves a visit to the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution ( and the Fondation Cartier (; we have tickets to a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition, and will go to the Centre Pompidou ( with Lana’s students. 

Eli will make several blog entries to our family blog ( while we are abroad. Finding a subject for an entry is often the hardest part for Eli. Any instructor who would like could suggest a topic for an entry that is related to Eli’s Independent Study— this would be much appreciated. (Actually, he’d probably appreciate topics/ideas whether they’re related or not!)

If Eli is expected to be part of a group for group work or a lab, he needs to know his partner(s) name(s) in advance of the last day of school. He will be responsible for getting contact info from them; however, we have had some difficulty in the past establishing communication links after we have left, so we believe he needs to get that information locked in before we leave.

Eli needs a clear understanding of books and resources (if they are unavailable to him on the internet) before we leave. He will have his Chromebook with him, and will have a functional internet connection at our flat— however, use of the internet is limited by the company paying for our housing, and it is easiest if he can travel with paper copies of his work and reading, if possible. There are some specific resources that are blocked from abroad— the Pearson Realize Reader, for one— and while we can often buy copies of texts from Shakespeare & Co. (which is a favorite among our kids), the possibility of getting a matched edition or publisher is usually quite small (which can be a real pain, if your lesson is page number relevant). We will be only taking relevant sections of books, as well (we’ll either cut up or photocopy his home editions), so please give us all the sections you’d like him to have as reference to your texts. FYI— Google Classroom works great at our flat; however, having the verification codes for the various Classrooms before we go is important.

I will be leading the Independent Studies for Eli, as well as for our 11 year old, and our 8 year old. (The 4 year old is not currently expected to do an IS. 😉 ) It is significantly easier for me to help the younger two in some areas; I went to a magnet school, and went pretty far in math… but I haven’t used some of those skills in years. (I also somehow never took Chemistry.) If there are new skills / ideas that will be taught while we are abroad, I would greatly appreciate it if you could point me at some relevant material /  youtube videos / etc. It is frustrating for Eli when I can’t help him. It is a life lesson to learn that parents are fallible, but never a fun lesson to learn. 

We will check in with you guys en-masse again each week as we get closer to departure; please contact us directly with any questions! We’ve included him on this email, as it directly pertains to him & his success in school; feel free to respond to us as a family (Lana, Eli, and myself), rather than responding to all the recipients of the email.

We’d love to have his study be connected to our travel in any and all ways possible… one instructor has already promised a scavenger hunt across Barcelona & Paris, which Eli is hugely looking forward to.  We’re doing this to expand the kids’ horizons, and let them see the interconnectedness of the world, not to give them a break from learning! ;). 

Yours truly, 
Dr. Lana Dalley 
tristan miles theopholis dalley

email from TMTD– 12/1/18

Hopefully, this is helpful to anyone who is considering what an Independent Study might entail for their kid!

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Filed under Getting Ready, In America, Leaving for Paris

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