12 Things My Children Learned While WORLDschooling This Year
Stephanie is my new found inspiration. She worldschooled all last year with her family. Check out how her kids have benefited from learning abroad!
By Stephanie @ Keeper of The Home
As we planned for and embarked on this one-year journey around the globe with our young family (kids ages 8, 5 ½, 3 ½ and 11 months at the time of departure), I had high hopes and even higher expectations for what their homeschooling would look like. After all, we were a hard working, determined, classical-education loving family. Certainly we could do this!
Then reality set in. Traveling with four young children is awesome, exhilarating and absolutely worthwhile. Also, it is plain old exhausting.
I knew full well that attempting to experience several countries on every continent while homeschooling, running two family businesses, and simply doing every day life as a family would require a lot, but I just had no idea how much.
Things I didn’t take into consideration were that:
- We would deal with some level of culture shock for the entire year (sure, it ebbs and flows, increases and decreases, but never really goes away).
- Our website, our primary source of income, would be hacked and we would spend literally weeks upon weeks (not to mention countless sleepless nights) dealing with the ramifications as we salvaged our business.
- I packed the biggest medicine kit ever, fully expecting that we would get sick or injured from time to time but four cases of measles, two cases of mumps, extreme stomach issues that occurred repeatedly over two continents, five people, and three months, head lice, and my own sliced-open knee in Africa that required staples and has never healed properly—well, that on top of the anticipated colds, scrapes, sunburns, bug bites, etc. was just a little bit much for me.
1. Four months spent learning Spanish by immersion, not to mention exposure to 10+ other languages.
Our first stop was 3 months in South America, namely Argentina and Uruguay (plus another 5 weeks in southern Spain later on), where we took intensive Spanish lessons for a week, then set about learning to use the language in everyday living. All of the children came away with an increased understanding of Spanish, a fair bit of vocabulary and some basic speaking ability. Our 9 year old daughter, whose pronunciation puts mine to shame, could handle herself in a simple conversation with a Spanish-speaking adult by the end of our time there.
Additionally, our travels allowed us to be exposed to and learn at least a few words and phrases in 10 other languages, including French, Italian, Turkish, Arabic, Kinyarwanda, Swahili, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Cambodian. Sure, we’re a far cry from being fluent in any of them, but our ears have become attuned to the linguistic differences and it was excellent practice to learn to greet or thank others, count to 10, ask prices, or identify objects like foods, modes of transportation and the ever-crucial toilet.
2. Writing an ebook about our experiences.
Our oldest daughter, Abbie, spent much of the spring and summer writing and editing a 40 page ebook entitled “From Argentina to Australia: A Kid’s Perspective on Traveling the World”. So far, the book covers the first 6 months of our travels, and though we initially planned on publishing it as-is, we’ve decided to have her finish it upon our return before we put it up for sale.
Sure, she didn’t keep up with her blog or even a daily journal. But I wonder if the process of writing a book might have been even more valuable, as she learned to brainstorm her ideas, take both big picture and small detail aspects and organize them into a coherent presentation, learn to communicate in an interesting manner (no, you can’t just say it was “fun” or “cool” for the 7th time), put herself in her reader’s shoes, work through the editing and revision process (when you’ve got writers for parents, you don’t get off easy), as well as thinking through pricing, marketing and selling.
3. Take the best “art appreciation” course ever.
Formal art happened approximately 2 or 3 times all year. But exposure to great art masterpieces, architecture, music, song, dance, calligraphy, and all sorts of other forms of creative expression?Class was in session all. the. time.
The Louvre in Paris. Classical Greek and Roman sculptures, both in situ and some of the best museums in the world. The Sistine Chapel. Walking the streets of southern France where Van Gogh painted. Live Flamenco shows in Spain. Tango in Buenos Aires. Traditional fire, folk and temple dances in India. The Taj Mahal. Astounding acrobatics in China. The Alhambra in Spain. The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Beautiful, delicate Islamic art all over the Muslim world.
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