1 Year Of Homeschool – Can You Learn From Travel?

We spent 1 year touring Southeast Asia and during that time education was done on the road.  We called it homeschool, as they were learning wherever home was.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we all seemed to have one thing in mind when it came to schooling at the beginning.  By the time the year ended, homeschool evolved into something quite different.

1 year of homeschool - Can you learn from travel? We share all of our tips and tools with you to help you with your homeschool or worldschool journey.  Read more on WagonersAbroad.com

 

 

Grab a drink, this is going to be a long one!

We are hoping it will be a valuable resource for you, if you are planning to homeschool and/or travel.  We plan to share the resources we used and how we made it all work for us.  It has taken quite a bit of time to compile this post, so I hope you find it useful.

Homeschool, Unschool, Worldschool, Roadschool, each of these terms vary in meaning, but the bottom line is that they are each different from the stereotypical traditional school.  This isn’t meant to be an end-all be-all describing each variation available to you.  In fact quite the opposite, as we feel we don’t fit into just one area.  For this post I will just share what we did and continue to refer to the education we provided as “homeschool” for ease, but I am certain we weren’t homeschool purists.  Heck, we didn’t even have a home!

Our thoughts about homeschool when we started our adventure

We thought we would take traditional school on the road and be “teachers” for our children.  We expected that we would have a daily routine, not much different from life in a traditional school.  We had the idea that we would wake up each morning, eat breakfast and then spend a certain amount of time educating our children.  We were going to split up topics and use online resources as our guide.  We would each take a child and then swap for certain subjects.

We didn’t have a US school to register with for homeschool and it isn’t recognized in Spain, so we were going to have to create our own curriculum.  Well, just in the research stages alone, we quickly changed that plan.  We found so many resources available to us from full distance-learning programs to free programs and subjects online.

Of course we downloaded several curriculums, worksheets, books and more. We were set to go and this was going to be amazing.  It would be just like all of the others we have read about, where we were going to have breakfast at a cafe along some tropical beach, spend a couple of hours doing homeschool, and then have a fun day!  It was going to be perfect, the kids would just soak up everything like sponges and be brilliant.

We came up with a homeschool plan.  This plan took into account that our kids each had a different style of learning and motivation.  We knew it was going to be tough.  We visited the following countries during our year away.Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, USA and then back to Spain.  Of course we had some flight changes in Norway and Japan, but we didn’t get to explore much there.  That said, the airports were still ripe for teachings!

Homeschooling – The Beginning

We explored a bit of Europe, during the summer, and then hopped over to Southeast Asia.  This was a break from school for the kids and after about 6 weeks it was off to Chiang Mai.  We spent our first 3 1/2 months, of homeschool, with Chiang Mai Thailand as our home base.  We quickly slipped into a routine, which seemed to work for us all.  We had the daily agenda all worked out, the resources were all available, and the kids were excited to learn!

Of course it wasn’t without a few bumps and arguments along the way, so I wouldn’t say it was smooth sailing.  Read more details on our first 4 weeks of homeschool and the tools we used here.
4 weeks of Homeschool - How is it going

When The Homeschool Road Became Rocky

A couple of weeks after our 4 weeks of homeschool report, the kids teamed up and created a presentation for us.  Yep, they plotted and planned all on their own, to present to us what wasn’t working for them with our homeschool plan.  They had 2 main problems to present to us.

First of all they didn’t like the online program we selected.  They started the conversation with “Why they felt the Time4Learning homeschool program wasn’t working for them”.  They not only had a full presentation ready for us and displayed it up on the TV, they even had alternative solutions to the problem!  How is that for learning?

Lesson:  “Never complain about a problem, unless you have some possible solutions.”

How is that for you?  The internet was very inconsistent at our apartment and they found it to be extremely frustrating to get through the courses.  If the internet dropped their connection, they would have to start the lesson over from the beginning.  There was no way for them to fast forward to the spot where they left off.  This was especially frustrating when they were taking an exam or near the end of the course.  So much time was wasted “redoing” things.  They also felt it was “babyish”, as it was all animated and not serious.

Second of all, they felt it was too difficult for them to look at their parents as “teachers”.  The were expecting us to sit down each day and be up in the front of the room and be a “teacher” like it was in school.  They didn’t like us giving them assignments and having to figure some things out on their own.  It was also unexpected for us to a little overboard explaining things to them.  Shhh don’t tell the kids, but we have always taught them, it was just more like fun games in the car or playing card games.  They liked it more when we naturally taught them things, rather than when we “had” to be the teacher.  In other words, they were more of the “go with the flow” kind of kids, when it came to parents being teachers.

To be honest, I think Alan and I felt the same way.  It was all so much easier when topics naturally came up for discussion, when the kids had the natural curiosity.  Of course all subjects don’t just naturally come up and well, math needs to happen too!

Their plan was to use a variety of tools and resources, many of which they found on their own.  They didn’t want just one program to be the end all be all.  They wanted variety and personality, not some cartoon “kiddie” video trying to teach them about science.  They wanted real people to learn from.  They win!  Right away, we adopted their new plan, but we would still try to have a daily schedule or routine.

homeschool agenda

We did fairly well with a schedule, when we had a home base, but it all changed once we were mobile.  After Chiang Mai, we traveled for 7 more months with no home base.  We moved approximately every week, sometimes more or less often, but that was the average.  Gma Bev was traveling with us for the first 3 months, you can read more about that on our Adventure 333 series.  We found it more and more difficult to maintain the “schedule” and stick to daily education.

The Birth Of Our New Homeschool On The Move

This is when everything changed for us.  We decided to design the education to fit our schedule and needs.  We let travel become our education.  Some days the kids didn’t do any “school work” and other days we spent the entire day and evening.  It all was dependent upon our internet connection, how long we were in a location and the weather.  Yes the weather was a great help.  If it was the heat of the day or pouring down rain, it was the perfect excuse to lay low and get some work done.

Siem Reap Jasmine Hotel Anya homeschool in the lobby

More often than not, we used our natural surroundings, location and locals to aid in education.  Sometimes we even became the teachers for others.  It is amazing how much the world opens up to you, when you let go of the strict plan and allow education to unfold before you.  This of course was just what ended up working for us and by no means is it right for everyone.  It is what kept peace in the family, the kids were learning and we were all much better with letting go of the traditional methods.

Sothy's Pepper Farm Kep Cambodia

Of course Lars is very self-driven and continued to seek things out on his own.  I would say he went far and above his grade level, but that is just Lars and that is how he works. Anya did very well with worksheets and really enjoyed her Brainquest book.  This was a perfect resource for travel days.  She would take it out on the bus, ferry, train, or plane.  It was easy to manage and she could see how much work she accomplished.

Anya also enjoyed many of the visual and hands on learning activities.  We will share much of what we used and or did below, but by no means is it a curriculum.  Nor does it cover everything, but we wanted you to get a flavor of how we incorporated education into our daily lives.

Siem Reap Crocodile Farm on lake (2)

Crocodile museum

Even when we were in the USA, we supplemented the kids education with activities in the car on the way to school or on a road trip.  We naturally taught things at home too.  It is amazing how much we teach when we don’t even realize we are doing it.  You can’t rely only on a school system to educate your children.  We should all do whatever we need to do, as there are life lessons which may not be able to be taught in a school.

Educational Resources & Tools for 1 Year of Nomadic Life

Okay, this is where we will share much of what we used.  It isn’t everything and is only meant as a bit of inspiration for you to create something which will work for you.  Of course we were nomadic like a gypsy family, moving from place to place.  With that in mind, we of course took advantage of Travel as a main source of education.
Sitting Meditation - Chiang Mai Mediation Retreat with the Buddhist Monks

Travel – “What can you possibly learn from travel?”

  1. Life Lessons
    1. Adapting to Change – I can’t tell you how many adults we have known over the years who don’t adapt well to change.  I could probably write a full book on this topic alone, but it is my passion to have our children understand change.  It is something which is guaranteed in life, we all need to learn to navigate the path it takes us on, as it isn’t something we can always control or foresee.  The entire family has done extremely well with this and is getting pretty good about “going with the flow” and making the most out of what is presented to us.
    2. Behavioral PsychologyReading people, body language, mannerisms, tone of voice.  All of these skills come to me from back in my college days in my behavioral psychology classes.  I loved those classes and have found this info useful in everyday life for a very long time.  It has been fun teaching the kids some of these skills.  Slowly these lessons slip into our daily life, when we are presented with challenges or long travel days.  The kids could figure out when Mom or Dad were going to “flip their lid”.  Of course it is trial and error to find that tipping point, but it is all a learning process.  Lars & Anya have both become very in tune with others emotions and feelings.  I can’t wait to see them grow in this area over the years.
    3. Love your family
      PF Changs Reno Wella and Grandma We have just one family and we need to figure out how to love them, even with their flaws.  This of course will be a lifelong journey, but the process speeds up a bit, when you are on the road 24/7 with each other for a year.  We need to accept the things which annoy us and love the things we adore.
      Lesson:  We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves and our actions/reactions.
      Believe me when I tell you both kids would love for me to never repeat these words again, but I will continue to remind them.
    4. Live in the moment – Life doesn’t have to revolve around a strict schedule all of the time.  We need to enjoy the moment we are currently in, rather than miss it dreaming about the future or dwelling on the past.  Just stop and enjoy the moment!Amazing Sunsets on Phuket Thailand Mai Khao Beach Feb 2015
    5. Live simply – This is another biggie, which could likely turn into a full book.  We traveled with just the things in our suitcase.  We started out with a few extra things and pretty much intentionally left things behind in every country.  We had few belongings to begin with and realized we really didn’t even need all of that.  We live simply with few material things, which provides us the freedom to move and travel, not to mention it saves money.  “Things” cost money to buy, store, carry, use etc.  If you don’t have them, they don’t cost you.  Our previous life, in the USA, we were all very attached to material things and now not so much.  I am not saying we don’t enjoy things when we have them, I am just saying life is simpler and free-flowing with fewer things.  Everyone carries their own belongings, so you are in charge of the weight and size of what you need to lug.
    6. Flexibility! – We can sleep anywhere, when we are exhausted!
      Koh Tao Thailand waiting for our room to be available. Waiting on our Travel Day
  2. Socialization, Awareness & Skills
    1. 2 day slow boat from Thailand to Laos – This was an amazing experience and we spent two full days with a group of strangers, who quickly became friends.  The kids have adapted well, with conversing with adults and even has plenty of time to speak Spanish with some of the passengers.
      Nagi of Mekong new friends
    2. 15 hour train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai – This by far was the biggest lesson of taking lemons and making lemonade.  We had an amazing journey all due to socializing with our fellow passengers from Argentina.  Again an opportunity to speak Spanish and learn new customs, as well as a bit of their culture.Train Bangkok to Chiang Mai Jonas, Tomas and Genoveva
    3. Chiang Mai Friends –  Of course we spent a few months here, so had plenty of time to fall in love with all of the friends we made.  The kids did well bonding with the 20 – 30 something digital nomad crowd and of course we so enjoyed Lori and Randy from Freetirement too!
      Chiang Mai Friends
    4. Luang Prabang – We met Jeff and George on the 2 day slow boat and hung out with them often in Luang Prabang Laos.  Jeff took the kids to a temple and discussed mediation and many other life lessons.  We also enjoyed time out and about exploring the natural wonders around with them.
      Luang Prabang with Jeff and Georg on the way to Kuang Si Waterfalls
    5. Traveling Families – We met too many traveling families to keep track of them all.  Some we just happened upon and others were in our Families on the Move Facebook group.  A wonderful group for support, ideas, inspiration and more.  It was great to have the kids be around other kids.  That said, we have found as they get older it isn’t as easy to “force” the kids to play. Wagoners Abroad Fellow Travelers and Friends - Ships Passing - Travel Lifestyle - Friends
    6. Students in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam park speaking EnglishJust speaking to the locals – One day we were at a park in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam.  The kids were playing on the exercise equipment when a local boy, about 10 yrs old, approached them.  He introduced himself in broken English and asked if he could practice speaking English with us.  We spoke with him for a while, when we noticed there were several others, about university age, waiting to speak with us as well.  We spent the afternoon, helping many speak English and helping them with some of their school assignments. Talk about living in the moment!  Lars and Anya had such an appreciation for the other kids desire to learn.  They also empathized as they know what it is like to learn a new language.  Of course this was all while Alan was helping Gma Bev find a replacement for her stolen phone.
  3. Causes – Helping Others
    1. Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows – This is a wonderful place to stay in the rainforest, just outside of Chiang Mai Thailand.  All of the women/girls who work there are “rescued”, many of them are from the Karen Tribe.  The owner Alexa, is also the founder of Daughters Rising.  She ensures all of her staff learn English, as well as skills to work and support themselves.  We were honored to be asked to take over the English lessons for the day.
      Wagoners Abroad Teaching English
    2. Elephant Nature Park – This experience touched us all forever and has made us more caring and cautious travelers.  Read all about our full day experience as well as the magic and amazing things, founder Lek, has created at Elephant Nature Park.  Caring for the rescued elephants was spectacular.
      Elephant Nature Park - Chiang Mai Thailand - Save Elephant Foundation. Read more on WagonersAbroad.com
    3. Goshen Adventures – This one was helping in a round about way in Siem Reap Cambodia.  Goshen Adventures is owned an operated by Seyha, who was once an orphan.  He runs his business by hiring employees only from the orphanage. He too teaches them skills to make a living and be self-sufficient.  The guys enjoyed a day out off-road with Seyha.
      Wagoners Abroad with Goshen Adventures Siem Reap Cambodia
    4. Children with hair loss hair donation – This was something Anya decided to do all on her own.  She had grown her hair for a couple of years and she decided she wanted to cut it short, so she could donate her hair to someone in need. She even created a video all about it, in her Adventures with Anya Hair Donation.
      If you have long hair and want to do something good, get a hair cut and make a hair donation. Read more on WagonersAbroad.com
  4. History – What better than to see things first hand?  We learned much about the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge via our travels.  Of course it was from the perspective of the countries in Southeast Asia, which is a bit different from what is taught in the USA.
    Prision Hanoi VietnamOf course that in and of itself is a lesson as to how one event can happen and there are several different versions of what actually happened.  It is a lesson to know everyone has their side of the story and the truth is likely somewhere in between.  No matter what, it was a horrible time in history and we hope to never see a repeat any of it.  We were hesitant to have the kids visit some of these, but we did.  We felt they were mature enough to see most of it and we had many family discussions before, during and after.
    1. Hanoi Hilton – Prison in photo above
    2. Luang Prabang UXO
    3. Chi Chi Tunnels
    4. Killing Fields – we have yet to write or share about this.  It was horrific and I am just not up to it.
    5. Walking the Long Biên Bridge
    6. Floating Villages in Siem Reap
    7. Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm & more – absolutely amazing
      Wagoners Abroad at Angkor Temples - Ta Prohm,
    8. Bamboo Train in Battambang Cambodia – We were fascinated with the story of our tuk tuk driver.  His father was high up in the Khmer Rouge, when we was little.  He shared his story of how his parents were killed and how he survived as a young boy in hiding.  Eating scraps from the pigs troughs and finding ways to stay alive during that time.
      Bamboo Train Battambang Cambodia
    9. Anne Frank House – Another eye-opening and sad story in Amsterdam.  Another wish for history to not repeat.  This is one which kicked off our nomadic year.
    10. Segway in Granada – We were luck enough to have a guide with a degree in history.  This made our Segway tour extra special and the kids were captivated with the stories and history.
  5. Biology – Many of these came up naturally as we were out for walks or on some sort of transportation between places.  The kids have a natural curiosity and we just shared all that we knew about the topics.
    1. DNA eye color – this was one of my favorites.  Anya asked why we all had different eye colors on our walk to the zoo in Chiang Mai.  That was a wonderful walk to the zoo.
    2. Puberty – Again, this was natural as the kids were tweens and entering this phase in their lives.  We shared it all with both of them.
    3. Menstrual cycles – living in close quarters as a family for so long and sharing the same bathroom etc., it was inevitable that questions would arise.  We discussed it all as a family, as it if was no big thing.  Yep, they even were fortunate enough to experience and foresee my mood swings too!
      Heidi and Gma Bev with the Dragon Bridge in Hoi An in the background
  6.  Science and Hands On – many of these experiences have a full article on them.  Please select a link to learn more.
    1. Scorpion Tailed River CruiseChiang Mai Thailand
    2. Poo Poo Park – Chiang Mai Thailand
    3. Pepper FarmKep Cambodia
    4. Butterfly Farm – Kep Cambodia
    5. Petronas Twin Towers engineeringKuala Lumpur Malaysia
    6. Kilim Forest MangrovesLangkawi Malaysia
    7. Champagne Making – Champagne France
    8. Rubber Tree Harvesting Langkawi Malaysia
    9. Making Beer with HeinekenAmsterdam Netherlands
    10. NEMO Science Center Amsterdam Netherlands
    11. SEA AquariumSingapore
  7.  Geography – What better way to learn geography?
    Anya carried her Scratch Off Map every where we went and this helped her learn the countries and their location.
    1. Europe
      1. Spain, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Sweden
    2. Southeast Asia
      1. Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore
    3. USA
      1. Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah
        Wagoners Abroad at the Grand Canyon
  8.  Culture / Art
    1. Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai
    2. Custom Made Clothing in Hoi An
    3. Alms Giving for the Monks in Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai
    4. Hue day trip
    5. Bo Sang Paper Village
    6. Monk Chat – We had loads of questions and enjoyed our time with all of the Buddhist Monks.
    7. Meditation retreat with Buddhist Monks
    8. Food – Lars eating crazy things and Alan expanded his palate
    9. Religions – Muslim, Buddhism, and a few more.  The kids were full of questions.
    10. Water Puppet Theatre
    11. Van Gogh Museum
    12. Creative ways to give at Christmas
    13. Langkawi Malaysia eating traditional meals, pregnant maiden story, and more!
    14. Foreign Languages – We did our best to learn the minimum of basic manners and counting to 5 in each country we visited.
  9. Street Smarts
    1. I am a firm believer that we learn a little something from everyone we meet, know, or are related to.  Since we traveled for 3 months in 3 countries with Gma Bev, the kids learned more lessons than we can count.  The only thing is most of the lessons were things Not To Do!  Yep, the list goes on and on, but the kids were aware of it all and learned what not to do, the scams Gma Bev fell into.
      Gma Bev’s Shenanigans In Laos,
      Gma Bev’s Shenanigans In Vietnam,
      and Gma Bev’s Shenanigans In Cambodia (Thailand Too) – Where Is She?
      Each country was full of great lessons, it is unfortunate that they kept happening to Gma Bev.
    2. Crossing The Street in Hanoi Vietnam – This experience was like no other we’ve experienced before.  Once you learned how to do it, you felt like a superhero with super powers!  
      How to cross the street in Vietnam
  10. Orienteering – no matter where we were, there was opportunity for us to find our way.  We often had the kids take turns leading the way on walks, via public transit, to destinations within the cities, in airports and more.  Sometimes they were provided a map by us, sometimes there was a map posted.  Other times we had to look it up on the computer in advance and just remember how to get there, and sometimes we just had to go by our gut or with the sun.
  11. PE – Just a few highlights
    1. Swinging from a rope at the Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng Laos
      Vang Vieng Blue Lagoon Anya ready to jump from tree
    2. Meditation – Absolutely amazing and Lars enjoyed an overnight mediation workshop led by Monks.  Read more about it here.
      Meditation Retreat Chiang Mai
    3. Tubing in Vang Vieng Laos
      3_generations_tubing_Vang_Vieng
    4. Dirtbike riding in Siem Reap Cambodia
      Wagoners Abroad with Goshen Adventures Siem Reap Cambodia
    5. Side by Sides off-road in Utah
      St-George-Adventure-Hub-Side-by-Side-with-Southern-Utah-Adventure-Center-52
    6. Parasailing, Off Roading, and Jet Skis in Langkawi Malaysia
      Mega Water Sports 8 Island Hopping Jetski Tour Langkawi
    7. Segway in Malaga, Spain
      Segway-Malaga-Experience-Spain-Catedral-de-la-Encarnación-de-Málaga
    8. Riding Bikes in Center Parc Europe
    9. Walking Everywhere!  No car for a year.  Okay sometimes we rented one for a week or a scooter, but usually walking was our thing.
    10. Cat cafe in Chiang Mai
      Cat cafe Chiang Mai - Catmosphere
    11. Yosemite USA
      Yosemite Wagoners Abroad
    12. Grand Canyon , USA
      Wagoners Abroad at the Grand Canyon
    13. Luang Prabang waterfalls
      Kuang Si Waterfalls Luang Prabang
    14. Universal Studios Singapore
    15. Legoland Malaysia
  12. Spanish
    1. Lars was Anya’s teacher for a few months. It worked out well for a while and then the arguments began.  The didn’t adjust long-term to the change in roles again, just like with parents.  They didn’t like the student/teacher roles, well let’s just say it caused some fireworks.  We resorted to reading ebooks and watching videos in Spanish instead.
    2. We were surprised by the number of Spanish speakers we met along the way.  It seemed most of our travel days included someone for us to speak with,  on ferries, boats, trains, buses and more.
    3. Email and social media with friends in Spain
  13. English
    1. Email – the kids keep in touch with family and friends via email.  This helps with English and Spanish.
    2. Reading ebooks and things on the internet
    3. Blog posts – the kids were in charge of a few.
    4. We of course naturally sneak things in as we travel or walk like these fun travel games.
    5. The Wandering Educators Travel Blogging Teen Mentorship Program for Lars.
  14. Math – these are just a few things they learn from travel.  We also used other resources listed below.
    1. Currency conversion
    2. Time Zones
    3. Distances
    4. Estimating arrival times based on distance and speed
    5. Kahn Academy was a big help with Math for both kids and they loved it.
    6. Of course we can’t forget card games like poker and blackjack for kids.
  15. Technology
    1. Teaching Great Grandma how to take selfies and loving moments with family.
    2. Powerpoint – The kids created several presentations and are now using their skills in Spanish public school as well.
    3. Typing – This is important these days, as we don’t want the kids to type with just 2 fingers.  They are actually pretty good!
    4. Video Filming and Editing – We started Lars off a few years ago and he has self-taught his way well past our skills.  So proud of him.
      Here is the Playlist of video work by Lars
      langkawi Malaysia Nature at its best
    5. Video hosting – Playlist of Adventures with Anya series
      Adventures with Anya Scorpion Tailed River Cruise - Chiang Mai Thailand
    6. Photography – Anya had a great interest in this and Alan has provided her with many online course, which she loves.
    7. Legoland – Programming a robot to do various activities.
    8. Code Academy

Internet
Yep the kids had loads of internet time with online homeschooling!

Well, let me rephrase that.  They had loads of internet time, when we had decent internet.

Some of the online resources we used were:

YouTube !  “You mean you let the kids watch YouTube to Learn?”

This was a great help for so many things.  Of course they have their favorite “fun” YouTubers to watch, but they also enjoyed learning via YouTube as well. Here are a few of their favorites:

Other Educational or Homeschool Resources

This obviously doesn’t cover absolutely everything, but you get the idea.  Some things we still need to write about and share with you from our journey.  We will get to it in time.

Parental Support

  1. Worldschoolers Facebook group
    “The whole world is our school: school isn’t our whole world!”  This group is for anyone who learns from the whole world around them!  It’s for anyone who thinks travelling the world and exploring cultures very different from your own offers invaluable learning experiences!  And it’s for anyone involved in unschooling and free self-directed education!
  2. Families on the move Facebook group
    We are a group for families who are doing or contemplating long-term (6 months or more of continuous travel) international travel.  Our aim is to share, connect, learn from each other, support each other, and generally chat about travel.  We welcome new members — simply drop a quick message to one of our admins introducing yourself.
  3. Blogs and Websites from other traveling families and travelers

What did we all learn from our Education Travel Adventures?

So as you can see, there isn’t much to learn from travel.  Ha!  Of course there is so much more to share, but this should get you started.

To live in the moment and enjoy all that life has to offer.  Capture what you can with your camera, but more importantly with your heart and soul.  Experiences can last a lifetime.

The kids are far more willing to soak up the knowledge when they have interest in the topic and can see or do first hand. Our kids seem to crave routine.  Homeschooling was great when we had a home base in Chiang Mai.  When we moved more rapidly every week and with unreliable internet, we all had to be flexible.  We learned the more we moved, the more the kids wanted the down time to watch shows on their laptops.  This was their piece of “normal”, since everything else was in flux.

Wagoners-Abroad-Angkor-Wat-Tour-22

Reentry into Spanish Public School – How did the kids do?

When we returned to Spain, they just jumped right back in as if they hadn’t missed a beat.  They were both a bit nervous prior to starting school, but in many cases, they found out they were ahead in many subjects.  Anya needed a little extra help with Spanish grammar for the first trimester, as she missed a critical year for grammar (Grade 5).  They are both still fluent in Spanish and enjoying being back with their friends and having a routine.  It is bittersweet, as we loved the travel and we also love having a home base.  I guess like anything, too much of a good thing isn’t always the best.  For us balance is the key.

Other Education Travel Options

Am I suggesting you need to give it all up and travel the world?  Nope not at all.  Just step a little outside of your comfort zone, explore a bit further than you have before.  See what the world has to offer you for 1 week, 1 month, 1 year or what ever time you have.  You know what your kids are interested in and what they will like.

There are many programs offered to study abroad, which will provide educational travel for your kids.  You can choose to have educational travel adventures as a family or just provide the experience for your kids yourself via vacations or long-term travel.

We have all heard of the student exchange programs or the study abroad programs.  The exchange students might be a summer or semester abroad for your child and in exchange you accept a student into your home for the time period.  This most likely happens in the later years of high school, but could also be in college as well.

Alternatively, your child may be interested in a study abroad program, where they just go to another country and study for a length of time.  Often times, schools offer a brief study abroad program for students to travel as a group for a couple of weeks, either during the school year or in the summer.  We all know those study abroad or student exchange programs can be very pricey.  How would you afford it?

What would you pay for a full year of educational travel adventures?

What if you could experience it all together as a family?

Figure out your priorities, think outside of the box.  Perhaps your employer will allow you to work remote?  There is no one answer, just experience life and learn from all that is around you.  Just because we feel education travel is wonderful, doesn’t mean it is for everyone.  Do what is important for you!

The gift of experiences are Priceless

Wagoners Abroad Bamboo Raft

Thank you for joining us on our educational travel adventure and we hope to have many more years of material to add to the list.

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1 year of educational travel and homeschool. Read more on WagonersAbroad.com

Tell us your thoughts below.  Is this something you would consider doing?  Why or Why not?  What would work for you?

16 thoughts on “1 Year Of Homeschool – Can You Learn From Travel?

  1. LOL! Don’t beat yourself up, all new homeschoolers start off playing teacher. I did too. It didn’t last long. I’m amazed that you even thought it could work while travelling though, where’s the time?
    Lots of years of homeschooling for us now, 5 or 6 I think. It’s THE BEST THING WE EVER DID. And I can’t state that strongly enough. The kids love life outside of school, so do we. Glad you gave it a go for a while. What are we doing in “school” this week? Learning to ski. Sure beats algebra xxxx

    • Yes, we all need to learn and find our natural family rhythm! I think we would do it again for sure, but we would start with the right expectations. Luckily for us the kids enjoy school in Spain and it is a very short school day for them. 9am-2pm (well that is Anya’s schedule, this year Lars goes to the secondary school, so it is a bit longer). They enjoy the variety of teachers, socializing with their friends and yes we still teach them. We just don’t feel the pressure to teach them everything anymore. It is a nice balance. We have learned loads on our 2 week trip in Ireland for the holiday break too. It’s an amazing life we both have Alyson!

  2. Such a great post! Truly. Our family learned so much in our year of travel. (Looks like we had lots of similar adventures! Wasn’t Elephant Nature Park incredible?!). Wouldn’t trade any of it for anything! Godspeed.

    • Thanks so much Kathrin. We started our adventure with 2 years in Spain at public school, so the kids would be fluent in Spanish. Then we took the year of homeschool and as you can see it was amazing. We are now back in Spain, so who knows when we will return to the USA. So glad you enjoyed it and super happy you had similar experiences! take care.

  3. Reading you I want to go back to our travel life (I’m working on it, but not fast enough). I’m going to see if I can order the brainquest workbook for my daughter, I’m looking for a way to put more English in her life.

    • Oh that is wonderful. We really do love the Brainquest books, they have them for each grade up to 6th now. They also have small portable flash cards and we had all of those as the kids were growing up, but we only took the big book with us on our adventure. Tiphanya, I totally get the “not saving fast enough”, just make it your priority and the time will come! Take care and safe travels.

  4. It sounds like your children received an education in how to be happy, resourceful, resilient, caring human beings. The world would be a better place if more people got out of traditional classrooms and learned from travel experiences. Well done!

    • Aw, aren’t you sweet Mary! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the world would be a better place if we all just stepped out of our boxes to see what beauty is out there. Especially in other people.

  5. Wow – awesome recap. The kids will remember these lessons more than anything they would’ve studied at school. But, I’m also really glad to hear that they jumped right into formal school seamlessly. I’m sure the flexibility required for intense travel played a part in that, too.

    • Hey Ann! Thanks and yes we were glad they adjusted well too. They now think of Spain as their “home”, rather than the USA. It is strange, but we are thrilled they love it here.

  6. Oh my gosh, you guys are amazing. We didn’t achieve a tenth of what you did with our unschooling year! I love that your kids made a presentation for you to show you what would work best for them. Good for all of you for making this work!

    • Oh Paige, you are too sweet. I am sure you all did and learned just as much, but it is tough to remember it all. It was amazing and the journey continues, just with a home base in Spain and Spanish public school. 🙂

  7. Very good thought. I like the whole article. This was helpful. But your child got practical experience, lifestyle training, they have learned a lot of culture, adventure, behavior which is really very important for them, not all the child get in an early life. Hope for the best.

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