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Education and Travel

I've seen a lot of posts lately about education and travel. Parents are understandably concerned that their children will "fall behind" or miss out on some crucial piece of their schooling lives. 

Since being on the road I have been asked about homeschooling and what we do by almost every parent we meet. 

 

The decision to pull your child out of school for a whole year can seem terrifying.

 

Imagine, then, how it would feel to make the decision to pull your child from school for good. 

This is the decision we faced when our eldest, Clay, was in year one. 

School was never a good fit for Clay. He was too loud, too squirmy, too excitable, too easily distracted, too everything. 

 

While the school saw a child that was easily distracted, we saw a child that was easily interested...

 

We could see the path they were leading us down and we didn't like where it was going. 

So we left. 

Most people looking to travel are not looking to remove their child from the system forever, but our experience, I believe, gives us unique view on the idea of travel and education. 

 

The fears...

My child will fall behind.

Homeschooling is hard. 

My child won't listen to me. 

I don't know the information myself, how will I teach them?

 

The truth...

My child will fall behind.

Maybe, maybe not. What if they do fall behind? Let's say they do. 

Let's say, you leave for a year, and your child. Learns. Nothing. 

 

For starters, not possible. 

 

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember, from time to time, that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." Oscar Wilde

 

Travelling exposes children to experiences, people and places that are the foundations for learning. Real learning happens through connections, one piece of knowledge building upon another. 

 

I can walk, now I can run. 

I can read, now I can write. 

I can add, now I can take away. 

 

One concept follows another, if there is no foundation, there is no true learning.

 

Visiting museums around Australia is something Clay is particularly looking forward to!

 

Travel IS that foundation. It will not hinder your child's education, it will only enhance it. 

But what about the curriculum standards?

When your child goes back to school, if they are "behind", hire a tutor for a few weeks or ask the teachers for some extra help. You'll be surprised at how resilient they are and how quickly they "catch up".  

When we did "school at home", I can tell you, the curriculum isn't as full as it seems, and can easily be done in a term, whatever the grade. So for the odd bits and pieces that they may need to catch up on, it really wont take that long. 

 

Homeschooling is hard. My child won't listen to me. 

It can be hard. But if it is, stop.

 

You're doing it wrong. 

 

Kid's don't learn under duress. They may be able to memorise and recite well enough to tick that box, but they don't truly learn

By all means, keep an eye on the standards, but think laterally, how can this standard be met without the drama?

Does your child like documentaries? Do they prefer using the internet and reading information there? Do they enjoy audio books? Podcasts? Do they like being read to? What about games? 

Join some homeschooling/unschooling groups on Facebook, ask for help on how to expose your children to different topics. 

There is more than one way to learn a concept/skill.

 

I don't know the information myself, how will I teach them?

Wait. 

What?? 

You went to school, yeah? 

So you should know all that stuff they taught you, right?

 

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." Albert Einstein

 

If we, as adults, can't remember half of what we were taught in school, doesn't that say something about it's importance? 

Even so, I get it, your kids need to get good grades in order to get into a good university/college in order to do well in life. 

I wont ramble on here about my personal thoughts on this idea (although if you'd like to hear more let me know in the comments!), I know this is the general consensus, so I'll let you in on a little secret...

My son surpassed my knowledge on certain topics years ago. He is 12. And I have a science degree. 

 

So how does one "teach" a child something they don't know themselves?

 

Let me ask you this. How do you learn now? As an adult? If you need to know something, or want to explore an idea, where do you go to?

I'll make a guess and say that a text book likely isn't the first place you think of. So what then?

 

Google?

YouTube?

Facebook?

Ask a friend?

 

All these ways are legitimate ways to learn a new skill. 

 

Clay isn't afraid to approach adults and ask for more information when he is interested in something. 

 

The most valuable skill we can pass onto our children is the ability to learn. If you don't know how to do something, learn it with them.

Google it with them. 

Watch a YouTube video with them.

Find someone and ask them together. 

Don't be afraid to explore topics from a different angle. Don't be afraid to say that you don't know the answer. 

 

What about the laws?

Every state has different rules on homeschooling while travelling, so you will need to look into what applies in your state. But don't get too bogged down in the requirements, trust yourself and your child. 

Your relationship with your children trumps everything, and travelling is the ultimate opportunity to develop the foundations of this relationship.  

 

The opportunity to nurture the relationship with your children is fleeting. 

 

They will be able to "catch up" if they need to. 

 

Relax. 

 

Remember, in school, even 55% is a pass, don't aim to cover EVERYTHING. Focus on the things your children enjoy and do them well. 

 

Everything else is gravy. 

 

Catchya offroad!

Kathleen

 

 

 

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