While we travel this year, Arthur and Eirlys will not be going to school. If we weren’t travelling, they would have started Reception and Year 2 this September (British Curriculum).
“World Schooling” is a fairly new educational/parenting buzz word. It works on the premise that experiencing the world first hand is the best education a child can get. It involves lots of travel, cultural experiences, flexibility and a varied amount of homeschooling. “Home Schooling” usually has more input from a set curriculum, based around that of the home country, but including a range of other experiences, depending on how those parent’s choose to homeschool and where they live. Like parenting and teaching, all homeschool experiences are so different! People choose to take their kids out of school for different reasons or different lengths of time. Some parents use homeschool centres, online tuition, forest schools, no curriculum at all…the options are never ending.
Tom and I believe that this year will be amazing for the kids and that they will learn loads as we travel, and by seeing and talking about everything as we go. We also do believe in the school system (although I completely see that it isn’t for everyone and love seeing all the ways different families home school). The British school system, and how it is applied in International Schools, is of course not perfect and most teachers agree that young children should be moving about more and learning more on the go than most schools manage, but it is what it is! So anyway, for us, doing a certain amount of formal schoolwork alongside all the experiences, was important. As a primary school teacher, I knew I wanted the children to stay on target with their academic skills and I knew where they would need to be by the end of our travel year.
We discussed our approach and came up with what we thought was important and what we could probably miss out. We looked at how strict we wanted to be with the time and regularity of lessons. We started collecting resources on USBs and getting together physical resources we thought we’d need. And this is how it goes…
We aim for 5 learning sessions a week and we do 2 activities each time.
Our “lazy” option is scrapbooking/drawing and writing in their travel diaries, followed by some mental Maths questions on their whiteboards. This is our fall back if none of us is in the mood for any proper work, but Tom and I feel like we should probably do something!
Our fun, “look at us being so cool and child centered” option is learning about whatever has held the children’s interest that day. For example, when we moved into our villa in Phuket the garden was full of millipedes. So we looked up the difference between millipedes and centipedes and found out what the ones in our garden were. Arthur and Eirlys then sketched the insects and wrote a little bit about what they had found out.
Our “oh god we actually have to teach them this” type of lesson is when I know that there is something they actually have to learn, like minusing/subtracting and I need to actually teach them the strategies for doing it. These lessons happen less because it is WAY harder to stay patient with your own kids and I am not the most patient of teachers anyway! Having said that, we have managed a bit and even Eirlys can subtract numbers up to 20 by counting back.
If we have done something a bit trickier or more hands on for the first activity, the second one is usually drawing, junk modelling, watching an educational TV programme or playing online games.
We don’t always manage all five sessions, but we do squeeze learning in elsewhere, all the time. We make sure the children (Bertie included) say hello and thank you in Thai and we will teach them new phrases wherever we go. They read the menus when we eat out or we look at tourist leaflets together. We also play A LOT of Top Trumps. Which are awesome! They are a whole load of fun, plus the kids read all the facts and it is great for their number reading and recognition as well.
Twinkl.com for themed powerpoints (environment, science, art etc), e-books with reading comprehensions, maths and spellings.
Natgeokids.com for games, reading and general fun facts.
We also use the internet all the time to look up stuff they are interested in.
½ lined and plain books for their travel diaries
Plain paper for sketching
Pencils, scissors, glue, tape etc
Whiteboards and pens
English and Maths Collins workbooks (year 1 and year 2) – amazon links are affiliated