We started our home/world schooling adventure about 3 months ago with our 2nd grader, and it has been very fruitful . We’ve found through travel, a well rounded education has developed.
We do a mix of online classes, in home lessons, and travel. Here is a look back at some of our worldschooling so far:
We do a lot of walking…a lot. Poland, Italy and Croatia have all been very walkable and so 5-7 miles in a day is not unusual. We even get some running in (with the extra weight of suitcases and backpacks) when we are late or trying to catch a bus, plane or train!
Math is especially important when traveling in foreign countries where they use different currencies than the US dollar. We all have sharpened our mental math. We have found ourselves converting the Zloty, Euro and Kuna to USD so far. This has been a great opportunity to put addition, subtraction, multiplication and division into practice frequently.
Our son LOVES math and puzzles, speeds right through worksheets of problems, and is the first to ask what the conversion is when we arrive in a new country. “So, how many kuna equals 1 dollar?” We shop together and add up the cost of each item, convert them to dollars and compare cost of goods in different places. He can figure out if something is a good deal or not.
Math and telling time is also important when traveling. He always wants to know what time it is, how long we will be traveling, when we will arrive and how long we have to wait. Those old word problems, “If you leave the train station at this time, and have this far to go, what time will you arrive?” actually plays out often. It gets a little tricky with 24 hour time and changing time zones.
History lessons abound when surrounded by buildings,museums, statues, etc. which are hundreds of years old.
Visiting the Malbork Castle sparked curiosity about who built it, what it was for, why it was damaged and how it got fixed to it’s current state.
This led to reading and conversations about the Teutonic Order, the Crusades, Polish Kings, World War 2, and Poland’s Independence.
While the world’s past is turbulent, we are exploring the truth about it, leading to a better understanding of the world today.
We also found some experiment kits to do at home where you build robots, chip away to uncover rocks and erupt your own volcano.
The museum though was absolutely amazing. It had so many exhibits, we could have spent 2 whole days there just absorbing it all. Our son is a builder. He builds legos, is passionate about Minecraft, builds obstacle courses, and draws complex pictures of things working together, so it was very exciting to look through the 30 or so models of Leonardo DaVinci’s inventions with him. He would look at them and then tell us what he thinks they did, and he was mostly correct.
The museum also had models of buildings in Rome and of cities, with insights to why they were designed as they were. They also had the history of space exploration, instruments, computers, watches, telephones, televisions, electricity, and medical technology.
I highly recommend stopping in if you have kids, or even if you don’t.
Rovinj, Croatia also sparked some curiosity, as much of the city and coast is made of limestone. This led us to study rock types and explore the differences between sedimentary rock, igneous rock and metamorphic rock. We practiced reading and writing about this topic. While exploring the coast of Zlatni Rt Forest Park, we came across several little caves which had crystals growing in the limestone. Our son was fascinated!
Traveling leaves all of us feeling a bit like 5 year old’s sometimes, new to our environment, unable to communicate, and unsure of the customs, rules and expectations .
This experience causes humility, curiosity and an understanding of accepting differences; of not expecting that your own way is the only way. Our son understands this, as we have traveled most of his life.
We see different religions, practices, customs, greetings, ways of life.
We have experienced different types of governments, police who do their jobs with varying dispositions, people who love their country, people who hate their country, and people who are fighting for a cause. Conversations abound about different types of government, laws, why they vary, what purpose they serve and how they affect society.
Geography is obviously pretty integrated in our lives. We use the world map regularly, as well as maps of the places we are in. We talk about where we have been, how far places are from each other and where we want to go.
Lastly, we learn a bit about each language that is spoken in the countries we visit. Our son has absorbed the most when it comes to this. He learned to speak Spanish fluently in Costa Rica, and has learned some Thai, Polish, Croatian and Italian. It is interesting to see him figure out when there are ties between languages.
We look up the basics when we travel to a new place and practice a new word every couple days, starting with the basics: hi, bye, thank you, excuse me, red wine please ;), where is the bathroom =)
We have been to art exhibits, museums, and churches, and most places we visit are adorned with statues, paintings, and intricate details.
We have also taken an interest in photography. We work on improving our photography skills, learning more about how cameras work, understanding the composition of photos and using editing software. As you may have seen, our son wrote his first blog post sharing his 10 favorite photos from Poland.
We encounter many different types of music as well.
From the man who jumped on the subway and began playing the xylophone in Milan, to a three man band in Venice, to the beautiful organs in Polish churches.
Music is a part of life and one that we all enjoy in many forms.
Reading and Writing
Reading and writing skills get practiced everyday.
Our whole family enjoys to read, so we take down time each day to do so. Writing is one area that we have to set aside time for, and it takes coaching and guidance. What works best for us is having him rewrite text about subjects we are learning, and he likes writing his own stories.
Don’t forget recess! We have a lot of just plain old fun too!
That is a glimpse into our worldschooling adventure so far. Next, we will be exploring more of Croatia, Florence, Rome, and heading over to Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.
It has been very interesting and exciting to be alongside, guiding our son’s learning. I would love to hear from other worldschoolers and parents about your creative educational ideas! Where are your favorite places to explore with your kids?