My homeschooling adventures began ten years ago when my daughter was six years old. At the time, I had no idea that my personal life and career were going to change radically, requiring my daughter and me to travel frequently. We have experienced many life lessons on this homeschooling adventure. Here are 3 of the most surprising ones:
1. A new understanding and practice for connecting socially
I am frequently asked, by people who do not understand homeschooling, if my homeschooled daughter is missing out on social situations. I found the opposite to be true. Because of our travel, my daughter learned to communicate and interact with individuals of varying age, race, and gender. In my opinion, our travel provided unique opportunities for my daughter to learn social skills and provided her with the confidence to approach any individual. As she grew older, my daughter learned to be interested in conversations that were not age specific. She would also show immediate compassion for a person younger in age and have no qualms about intermingling socially with an older age group. Today, with ten years of experience in connecting with a variety of people, I can confirm she has developed a high level of social intelligence.
2. Language, geography, culture, math, history, and other subjects become relevant in practice with tangible action
Access to good educational material such as Evan-Moor resource books is necessary in assuring that a level of the curriculum is maintained for a child’s learning expectations. However, with travel, the brain is allowed to connect concepts within a subject matter to the surrounding environment, helping learning to come alive.
Here are a few examples of how to extend learning while traveling:
- Start a journal with your child and have him or her use it for writing, drawing, or pasting pictures to express what he or she discovers while traveling.
- Allow your child to manage the money for a day. Math lessons regarding money are best learned when the homeschooler is allowed to manage the day’s travel budget. Although the language of money is a universal one, we have to learn to communicate it in different currencies as well as accepting differing ideas regarding money.
- Cook and prepare locally inspired food. Sourcing and preparing food in the country of travel allowed us to learn the extensive range of a food’s ingredients in a country and learn more about the local culture.
3. Adaptability – a necessary skill for the new world
Homeschooling while traveling overseas forces lessons in flexibility upon us. It provided multiple opportunities to create and design varied learning experiences. As we travelled, we learned to adapt ourselves to our changing environments rather than expect others to accommodate us.
There are still so many more lessons to be learned. Travel is on our life agenda. I believe this means that we will be learning for a very long time.
Lara Jay Hequet is a life entrepreneur, certified and qualified in many fields of knowledge. She is a single parent to a fifteen year old daughter who is ‘lifeschooled’ for the last ten years. Together, they travel the world creating life stories and capturing stories of other wonderful people via film and the spoken word.
She is the founder of wowageing.com, a community of people who choose to Live Older instead of growing older. She intends to inspire and support unique individuals and their parents in the art of homeschooling.