A forum for members who haven't stopped moving just because they've produced another human being. Share ideas and information, the best and worst places to bring the kids, family travel tips and parenting stories.

for those who are worried about their kids' schooling. . .

Mama-to-many

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  • Added on: October 17th, 2010
Our eldest two were 13/14 and 14/15 when we travelled for 15 months. We took a science course with us (on CD), but they did very little of it. Encouragingly, they completed it within months of returning home, went on to do the second one, and are on their third this year - all courses that *should* take one year each!

My daughter won a writing competition upon returning and was urged by the judges to enter NZ's biggest one, the Katherine Mansfield Awards - she has, with a piece she wrote when in and inspired by Rome! Eagerly awaiting results :?

Most AMAZINGLY (to us anyway), one of our sons could not read when we left......we spent six months in Asia with no access to English written materials other than our Bible and journals - not even English script around us of course - and when we got to England and bought some kids books secondhand, he could read them. I kid you not. He went from not reading at all to devouring novels with ABSOLUTELY no practice whatsoever. I still haven't figured that one out from an educational point of view, though I continue to rejoice in it and hope it will help allay some of your fears. If it can happen for reading, it can happen for maths and science and geography and history and poetry and music and art appreciation and international relations and sociology....you get my drift.
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wallop

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  • Added on: October 23rd, 2010
We are just about to set out on our trip. A couple of weeks ago we went to see our children's teachers to ask for advice and what they'd consider important for the children to learn while we're away. They were universally relaxed, enthusiastic and helpful. They've told us what maths our children will miss and suggested that we try and cover it all off, but all of them said don't sit down and do work sheets with them, just use real life examples. It was a relief to hear the traditional teaching establishment being so positive about taking children travelling!

nancy sv

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  • Added on: October 25th, 2010
Mama-to-many wrote:
Most AMAZINGLY (to us anyway), one of our sons could not read when we left......we spent six months in Asia with no access to English written materials other than our Bible and journals - not even English script around us of course - and when we got to England and bought some kids books secondhand, he could read them. I kid you not. He went from not reading at all to devouring novels with ABSOLUTELY no practice whatsoever. I still haven't figured that one out from an educational point of view, though I continue to rejoice in it and hope it will help allay some of your fears. If it can happen for reading, it can happen for maths and science and geography and history and poetry and music and art appreciation and international relations and sociology....you get my drift.


I agree. That's been our experience too.

My son has always been very active - too active sometimes. He loved listening to stories, but could never find the time to bother sitting down to read himself. In grade 1 he tested fairly low below grade level. My mom and I (John was still in Malaysia at the time) made sure we had Davy read to us every night and all that. We worked with him a bit, but never made a huge deal about it.

By grade 2, Davy was reading at grade level, but barely. He still struggled a bit and didn't really enjoy it.

then in grade 3 we pulled the kids out of school and headed out on our bikes. Every night we read to the boys in the tent before we went to sleep - they loved it and so did John and I. It was our special magic. But we were still concerned about Davy's reading because well... we weren't having him read all that much since we were so overwhelmed with all the travel stuff.

About 3 months into the trip we were stuck in the tend for a whole day due to rain. A WHOLE day! With two 8-year-olds! We happend to be reading Where the Red Fern Grows (about 4th grade reading level) at the time. I read a chapter, then another one, and another. When I couldn't read any more I handed the book to John and he read for a while. Then I read. Finally we handed the book to Daryl, who read a chapter or two. Then me, then John, then Daryl... We skipped Davy because we figured there was no way he could read it - he was struggling at the 2nd grade level.

I'm still not sure why, but John handed the book to Davy and asked him to read a chapter. He read it - FLAWLESSLY!!!!

My theory is this: when we are in stimulating, exciting environments our brains actually grow dendrites - physical connections between brain cells. It's these dendrites that allow us to make connections between one thing and another. The more dendrites we have, the "smarter" we are and the more easily we can learn new things by connecting them with things we already know. But growing those dendrites is the hard part.

When you are traveling and are in challenging, stimulating environments ALL the time, your brain is constantly growing those dendrites. It is permanently in "learn mode", which makes all learning easier.

We have seen it first hand with our boys - they just learn. Even when we think they are just playing. I wrote an article for Life Learning Magazine about that - http://familyonbikes.org/press/learning_on_bikes.pdf
Join our family we cycle from Alaska to Argentina! www.familyonbikes.org

go girl now

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  • Added on: November 30th, 2010
Wow, I am so inspired by your stories about your kids who didn't know how to read and now they do. If us teachers could just figure out how that works. . . but I suspect that teaching is a myth anyway--kids just learn. Or they learn to block it out while bored in school. I swear, boredom is the greatest mind killer.

As for science, can you find a better science class than staying up all night to watch turtles lay their eggs on the beach? Can you think of a better math lesson than doing pythagorean geometric art while riding the ferry from Samos, the home island of Pythagoras? You can catch them up on the rest of it when you get home. Oh, and unschooling was mainly the way we did it on the road. We didn't even try to do math on any kind of a consistent basis and they were not behind when we got home. We all read a lot of books though--I wrote down my entire reading list and I think it was 52 books in 11 months. My 12 yo read even more.


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