We are asked all the time what we do about the kid’s education. After all, kids should be in school, learning. Learning all kinds of great stuff like math, science, cursive, economics, fractions, and how to handle bullies. We agree … kids need to learn.
But then The Adventure came into our lives and pubic school was no longer an option. Eeeek! We are a public school family. A family with five kids who for over 20 years has navigated elementary, middle and high school highs and lows. We have done the science projects, the sports teams, the field trips, the report cards, the school lunches, the proms, the PTAs, and the principal’s offices. Heck, Becky has graduated from second grade six times!
What to do?
We do what we do best … we wing it!
Some families who do this long-term travel thing have a system, an approach, a clue what they are doing. Us, not so much. We wing it until we know better. I have run into several families on the road who are educating their kids and I’ve learned winging it may not be the best approach.
Technical terms for schooling efforts while traveling include “world schooling,” other say “unschooling.” Huh? I’d never even heard of such concepts. Homeschooling, now that’s something I’d heard of but knew little about. All I knew is that homeschooling is for weirdos, right?!?!
Maybe. My neighbors homeschool and they are super awesome! I have a friend at church that homeschools and they are cool. But us homeschoolers? I just could not get my brain wrapped around such an idea. Looks like I needed to be schooled on schooling.
I dug around the Internet. I interviewed some folks. I called the school guidance counselor. I argued with my mom. And still I don’t fully know what all these schooling terms mean, nor which is best. I have learned that quality education can happen outside of the classroom, that moms and dad and kids are super passionate about how and why they do what they do, and that there is no “one-size-fits-all” education approach for every family. My vision of schooling has expanded.
What “approach” did we choose? The “Erickson Wing It” approach mixed with a healthy dash of world-un-homeschooling. We use BYU Independent Study courses for accredited,on-line middle and high school curriculum and random workbooks for elementary-aged Sweet T. We even joined a homeschool co-op while in Thailand and became card-carrying members of an international school’s library.
Are we now one of those weird homeschool families? You judge:
I’m toying with the idea of not putting the boys back in public school when we return to Georgia. (I can’t believe I just typed that!) Homeschooling has been a blast and has opened our eyes to a world we never knew.
That’s what travel does for us. It gets us out of our rut, exposes us to different views, challenge our norms and forces us to chose deliberately.
Schooling … Public, world, un, home? What do you chose?