In the past 2 years of full time travel, the biggest concern we heard from most people was if our kids were still learning. The simple response is “yes, but not in your traditional way”!
Let me explain more in detail.
How we started
When we first started traveling, we brought school books with us. We were trying to reproduce the school experience on the road. In the beginning we thought that this was the only way we were going to be able to keep our kids “educated”.
Now we realize that initial attitude towards their learning process was completely based on fear. We worried that they were going to be left behind. Or that they would not be accepted in school once we got back. Worst of all that they would not learn anything!
Looking at these dilemmas now, I wonder “what were we thinking?”. How could we even come up with such thoughts? Then I realized that society causes us to have these fears. We all think that if we don’t do schooling the traditional way, kids will be completely behind in life! That isn’t true!
We struggled for 3 months in trying to recreate the traditional school system in our new nomadic life. Until we realized that it was not going to work.
At that point we had two options. We could go back home and put our kids back in school. So we would “save them” from missing out on their traditional education. Or we could embrace our new lifestyle and guide them through a different way of learning: worldschooling.
What is worldschooling?
The official definition of the term on the Project World Schooling website is:
“Worldschooling is the intentional act of viewing the world as one’s classroom. Through exposure to other cultures and worldview, perspectives and experiences, we can better understand the world we live in, and by extension we can understand ourselves.
For Worldschoolers, travel is the curriculum and real-life experiences are the courses.
The term “Worldschooling” was coined over a decade ago by Eli Gerzon, an unschooled young man who saw the world around him as the greatest classroom available. Gerzon started the Worldschoolers ™ Facebook Group as an extension of his unschooling advocacy.”
“There are many worldschooling styles and many ways families address education. Some families often times oscillate from one to several different styles of education, while other families are committed to a particular style for the duration of their children’s school years. There are no right or wrong ways to worldschool, only variations.”
What is worldschooling for us
Initially we asked for help in the worldschooling community. We also attended a few Project World Schooling summits to have a better understanding of our new path. After all this, we can definitely confirm that we have overcome our initial fears of “ruining our kids education and life”. We have now proudly embraced this new path full time.
During the past two years we learned to distinguish between what was enforced on us, as something that we “must do”, to what was simply a valuable lesson to learn. We had to uneducated our kids and ourselves from some of the things they had been taught in school. Some had also influenced them deeply in a non positive way.
For example, Cosimo was told, maybe during a lesson, that sugar was bad for him. Since then he refused to eat anything sweet. He also refused to tell us why or who told him not to eat it. It has taken us two years to make him understand that it is ok if he eats a little bit of sweets. It is ok that he avoids overeating sugar, but refusing it totally for a child his age is not ok.
Every child learns differently, at their own pace and sometimes the information you give them can affect them in ways you don’t even realize. When you have lots of students in one classroom it might be hard to notice how that information is being processed. In his case this information influenced him deeply because whoever had this conversation with him didn’t convey the message the right way or simply didn’t notice how the he was interpreting it.
Like this I have many more more stories. I’m sure we all do….
Worldschooling/homeschooling gives us the opportunity to communicate directly with our kids, learn to understand them and to know them at a deeper level. We observe how they interpret something new they learned. We can immediately tell if they need more clarification or it made sense right away. We are in direct communication with them!
How we teach them?
What we value most of worldschooling, is that they are learning daily something new by simply being out and about seeing the world. There are so many teaching moments in our simple everyday life and we don’t even realize it!
For example, going out for a walk in your town and maybe watching someone doing their job. We observed a potter create some ceramic pieces the other day. He then invited the kids to try as well. What a memorable learning moment! They saw, touched, created themselves a piece of pottery and watched as the whole process unfolded. From creating the pottery, drying, painting, cooking and finally selling it! It was magical! They experienced something that they had only read about in the books.
We combine these spontaneous and world learning moments to a more formal education. We use some apps and websites to help them keep up with math, english, science and history.
However we don’t spend hours a day on the different subjects, just 1 to 2 hours maximum. We want to make sure that they actually remember and learn something in that time. When you were in school, how much would you retain from the 6 hours you were there daily?! I think my maximum focus was on one subjects of the 5 I did! Isn’t it better to reduce the time and make sure they actually learn something that will stick with them? Rather then fill them with a million concepts that they will forget by the following week?
What schooling resources do we use?
I dedicated a separate post to this information. How our kids learn….What learning tools we use, here I go more into detail, so you have a better understanding of what we use and decide if any of the resources might be a good choice for you to use as well.
What we have learned in these 2 years is that nothing is perfect. Each child is different and has a different way of learning. What works for one child might absolutely be the worst choice for another.
You need to observe each of you children carefully. Notice if that learning system is working for them or is making everything more challenging. We have made some changes as we went along. It doesn’t mean that you picked the wrong way to go, simply you are listening to your child’s needs as they evolve!
As we watch our kids interact with the people around them we can see that they now have a confidence that they didn’t have before. They are more curious about what they see and what they do. They aren’t afraid of trying something new because they know it is part of the learning process. Most of all they are fascinated by what the world has to offer, borders are not a limit for them anymore.
Check out our post How our kids learn….What learning tools we use, to see what resources we use for our traditional learning!
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