We have decided to put “official” homeschool on the back burner for now whilst travelling Europe. We did have intentions of doing scheduled reading, writing and arithmetic a few times per week, but we are finding travelling the UK and Europe to be a little more hectic and busy than we had accounted for. The girls are obviously learning a lot as we go about culture, geography, language, history and much more with each experience that we have, so we’ve decided to just make this first 3 month section of our travels a “holiday” for them (and us). When we return to Australia and following that, travel to Asia, we will be travelling at a much slower pace, staying in one place for longer and doing less sight-seeing, so that’s when we will start with a regular program of schooling for them. We are very lucky that the girls are still enrolled for the rest of this year, in an amazing school that we all love, back in Australia. They will be able to go back there for a week or so at the end of this school year to join in classes, have a quick review with their teachers and finish off the school year with their friends. It is not until the next school year, starting February 2016 that the girls will have to be “enrolled” or registered in some type of official home-schooling as per Australian government regulations. We are still researching our options on this and we’ll keep you posted with what direction we decide to take. We think that a couple of hours, 3-4 times per week, dedicated to writing, reading and arithmetic using a combination of work books and reading on Kindle, as well as using online apps and educational websites, should be enough to keep them on track with the basics that they would cover in school. Added to this will be the vast and varied experiences they will have travelling to new places, meeting people from all walks of life and constantly learning about different cultures and the world around them.
Just in our first few months of travel, all the kids (including the younger toddlers) have already had countless educational experiences. We always talk to the kids about each place we visit and try to answer (or Google) any questions they have. We try to encourage them to read signs and ask others questions too, and make sure they know what each place is all about. Anna can now count to ten in German and both girls know several basic words (hello,goodbye,thankyou etc.) in German, French and Italian. Even the little kids were learning some of the words too!
Click below to go to the photo gallery showing some of the ways we have already been learning as we travel.
As well as all of this, the older kids have begun to learn a lot about life and how things work in regard to finance, budgeting, planning and goal setting. Both girls read all our blog posts and Anna is quickly learning that we need to budget in order to make our travels financially viable and is always asking questions about how much things are, what the local currency converts to in $AUD and whether something is a good deal or not. She is beginning to understand that it doesn’t all just happen by magic and getting involved by asking questions and making suggestions about our travel planning and spending. Both girls are learning how not to be wasteful by buying overpriced items when there is a smarter alternative and both have become more and more understanding and accepting when we say no to something they may want, but offer a less wasteful alternative. When we were packing up to leave for the trip, the girls gathered up many of their own unwanted belongings and went to the ‘trash and treasure’ market with Dad and sold their things to raise spending money for their trip. They have learnt to be wise (most of the time) and not spend it all straight away, but to look for items that are good value or special to them, and they’re very keen to pick through our storage shed when we get back and make some more cash!
So far, this has been a great learning experience for the kids which they will no doubt carry with them as they grow older. The whole “home-schooling” process is obviously a work in progress for us and we will continue to post updates on our progress as we begin regular “scheduled” schooling and discover new, travel friendly methods of education as we go.