Last updated on January 13, 2023
During the 2011-2012 U.S. school year I homeschooled my then 11-year-old niece from the road. We based ourselves in Thailand and we explored Southeast Asia for nearly seven months before returning to our home-base in Florida. From this experience, I shared our story of what and how we homeschooled for a year-and-a-half, and by popular demand from readers I created this resource page as a starting point for deciding how you can begin planning your own homeschooling and travel adventure.
And while a year on the road with a kid does not make me an expert, there is a shortage of people discussing the travel-homeschooling combination and in response to dozens of emails I formed this page with the advice I learned over the past few years being a part of the non-traditional education movement. There are many education philosophies, and I’ll touch on the various options, provide outside resources, links, etc that helped me decide how to navigate that year+ of travel and school, and I’d love for this page to become a good resource hub for information that homeschoolers and world-schoolers can use to prepare for travels. If you have a question not addressed here, or some resources I overlooked, leave them in the comments!
Your Main Options for Educating Kids on the Road
Great amounts of grey-areas exist between these two types of homeschooling and there is no exact science to either one.
Generally involves subject-based learning in at least most of the core knowledge areas: science, math, history, geography, languages. The type and quantity of curriculum varies depending on the family. Homeschoolers based in one place may join co-operatives and take special interest subjects throughout the year in addition to their schoolwork. Some homeschool parents closely mirror the public school with grades, tests, and yearly benchmarks, others may eschew testing and grades but still school within a curriculum framework. Online classes (like what we did) are very much an online homeschool program with curriculum, assignments, and tests, but all is done through the internet and virtual classrooms.
Child-led learning; the children direct their education by expressing interest to their parents. Often the children are given access to deep subject-based knowledge when they’re interested in a subject, and new skills or knowledge areas are introduced at a pace dictated by the child’s interests. Often unschoolers are not involved in standardized testing, or any tests in general.
There seems to be a good deal of variety here and I believe many long-term traveling families who proscribe to a mostly unschool philosophy use this term to refer to the act of allowing real-world situations encountered on the road to guide children and act as a teacher. These children study history and culture at the sites of famous ruins, use math in currency conversions, and springboard their learning from the myriad of experiences that stem from frequent travel.
If you’re moving overseas to one place for many months you could even go the route of enrolling in an international school—English is often the default language for these schools and most use an accredited curriculum that transfers credits to westernized school systems.
And these are rough guidelines because a world-schooling parent may also throw in a math book to cover those basics on the road. You could formally cover literature and science but rely on history lessons on the road. Be open-minded when you’re researching different methods to find what works best for your child and your travel situation.
What did we do?
For my niece, I covered four core subjects à la more traditional homeschooling, but during our nearly seven months overseas we also took many history lessons from the temples, culture, and ruins of Southeast Asia (outlined here). Our schooling decisions were chosen with many factors unique to the fact that she was my niece, not my child, and thus we combined the wishes of my mother (who is her guardian), also with a mind toward an easy transition back into public school. One day, given my own children, my philosophy would closely align to how I taught Ana, but likely include more flexibility—I greatly jibe with this woman’s road-schooling approach.
Why Consider Long-term Travel and Education
This is a topic I care about and read up on often as new research and theories come out. Below you’ll find long-reads on the state of education, videos, documentaries, and anything else I’ve found interesting in this realm. It’s important to note that I am a prime example of how well the public school system can work; though we were poor I managed to attend a magnet high school, graduate with honors, and win a full merit-based scholarship to the University of Central Florida. This all though, now, as an adult fascinates me because I am intrigued by the possibilities of alternative education and I like to read about it. The hardest part of choosing how to school on the road is determining your own education philosophy. You know mine now, so here are some other things to consider:
- Waiting for Superman: A documentary on the current state of the US public school system with a strong look at how it’s under-serving minorities and our nation’s poor. It’s a great, engaging documentary worth watching. That link goes to Amazon, or it’s on Netflix too.
- How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses: Great long-read on Wired about how some teachers are finding success in changing up their teaching methods.
- What we should have been taught in our senior year of high school: This is a comic from the Oatmeal, and it’s a fun poke at the practical application of what we have to learn in public school.
I love this talk by Sir Ken Robinson enough to embed it here to watch. He discusses shifting educational paradigms away from an age-based prescription of what children should learn. It goes on to discuss how formal schooling
I’ll update this with more soon, leave your favorite education reads in the comments!
Great Books About Transitioning & Curriculum Planning
- The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom by Mary Griffith
- So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel
- Homeschool Your Child for Free: More Than 1,400 Smart, Effective, and Practical Resources by Gold and Zielinski
- Books to Build On: A Grade-by-Grade Resource Guide for Parents and Teachers by E.D. Hirsch
On Documenting Education
For US residents, every single state has different education requirements; some states are very homeschool friendly, while others are quite strict and require stringent documentation. Research your state’s laws if you plan to pull them out of public school.
Florida is relatively lenient in homeschooling requirements, and by using our state’s online learning program (for us that is FLVS, others can find options here) we were covered very well in proving equivalent education between what she learned through homeschooling and what she would have learned in traditional school.
Our second year though, we deviated from FLVS and state-law required that we keep a scrap-book (digital or otherwise) to record her learning benchmarks throughout the year. Our book had to illustrate that Ana made progress and advanced her knowledge in whatever topic areas we studied. We did this through writing samples, a list of the books she read, and photos of “field trips” with a mini description of what she learned. It wasn’t extensive, but our book had to have three samples for core knowledge areas: one sample for the beginning of the year, one in the middle, and one at the end.
This mostly matters if you plan to re-enroll after you return from traveling, you need to research state requirements so your child can easily advance to the proper year if this is important to you and them. And if you go the unschooling route, you still need to process paperwork to pull them from the system and file an intent to privately educate your child. This varies from state to state but was simple and took one day to complete in Florida.
Join local homeschool groups, you can find them with a quick online search, and use other parents to figure out your state requirements. You can also call your local school board, which is a route I took for the paperwork, then I used the homeschool groups for recommendations on who could review our book and sign off on Ana passing the school year.
A big concern for many leaving while their child is in high school is a fear they will not get a diploma or enough credit to qualify for University admission. There are heaps of distance learning programs and options to learn on the road and still jump through formal testing requirements.
This resource list should be used for sussing out where you stand and what approach you want to take. This is often the more stressful part of the process, choosing where you stand on the subject and which approach you want to take. This list generally goes from more structured to less structured educating styles, with links at the end to the major unschool online communities.
- This is a list of homeschooling families (as of 2015). They would make good research and email contacts to see what they are up to.
- Road-schooling 101: This road-schooling mom has a wonderful, detailed post on how she educated her children during very long-term, perpetual travel and has resources for every age level. She has a strong formal education bent, while diving deep into her philosophy on world-schooling as well. Lots of resources and her personal site is also great.
- What is unschooling? Earl Stevens shares a very well-thought perspective on precisely what it means to homeschool.
- The Pioneer Woman
- Penelope Trunk
- Facebook pages: here, here, here, here
- An Aussie homeschooling family outlines the how-tos for homeschooling Australians.
Of note too is that we aimed for secular curriculum when we could. Many of the great print course-books are conservative, so it’s difficult to find secular texts. The online courses are less religious, which then allows you to add in your religion where you see fit. There are secular homeschooling communities and forums that can help.
Building Travel Themed Lessons
A unique part of any trip, long-term or otherwise, is the ability to pull in amazing lessons and interesting local activities to aid learning and understanding. There are a myriad of ways that you can engage children of any age in the process of travel and help them look for the fascinating nuances in each place. I outlined a few of our ideas here. In general, you want to use pre-trip research to give them enough knowledge that your children can then build on that knowledge with further investigations. I love this piece on homeschooling in Morocco, they outline a clear itinerary that homeschool parents could use in the country to delve deeply. And their integrative ideas at the end of the post could easily be applied to any city or local level travel.
This post I wrote also delves into some of the things we did to investigate our time in Southeast Asia, with activity ideas and quests that my niece undertook during our months on the road. We looked at the local culture and tried to find activities that would engage us with the people, place, and culture. That meant respectful scavenger hunts at the Buddhist temples — we tried to find and document Buddha in all the different hand and sitting positions. Then we would return home to see what they meant. Things like this allowed my niece to interact with the local culture on a different level.
Tackling a Foreign Language as a Homeschooler
Learning a second language as you travel or live abroad is one of my favorite aspects of homeschooling. In most U.S. schools, the earliest a student can start learning a foreign language is about 7th grade, or 12-years-old — and in some cases they have to wait until high school. U.S. students are woefully behind the curve in learning second languages. Much of the rest of the world speaks several languages by adolescence. In Europe, this is largely thanks to close borders and a culture of traveling. In developing countries, children often learn a local tribal language, a national language, and English. That’s three or more by adulthood. When taking over my niece’s education we opted to immediately start Spanish. It helps that I speak Spanish, so I could assist with lessons and immersion on bus rides. We also took Thai lessons when we lived in Thailand, and she gained exposure to a tonal language and learned how basic communication with locals. It must be said that the lessons and subsequent attempts at bargaining in Thai were among her favorite parts of living there. So, foreign language can be a big part of traveling as a homeschooler.
Picking a foreign language
- If you speak a second language it may the most sense to start there.
- Are you moving abroad? Of course you’ll want to start there, that way they can more easily learn about your new culture and gain fluency faster.
- Spanish or Mandarin are the two most widely spoken languages besides English.
- Does your child have a preference? They may just be fascinated by French or Italian, why capitalize on that interest first.
- What is a common second language in your hometown. The U.S. is a land of immigrants, so picking a language they can use back home is useful.
My niece and I went with a combination of several of these. Spanish is widely spoken in Florida, our home state, she’s always wanted to learn it, and I speak with moderate fluency.
How to teach your homeschooler a foreign language
- There are heaps of free or low-cost resources online. Some are gamified, others are more classroom-structured. It only depends on what will work best with your travel and teaching schedule.
- Consider software like Rosetta Stone, free language resources, online classes, hire a private tutor via Skype, use free sites like DuoLingo, take classes on the road. There’s help out there at every price and intensity level.
- I like this piece on teaching your student passive skills in a language. Even if you can’t fit in a full curriculum as you travel, this is a great way to lay the groundwork for a new language.
- I subscribed to Audible while we were on the road so that she could listen to region-specific audiobooks (or fun ones too) while we were on long bus rides!
- This list of the best educational podcasts might spark some new ideas and opportunities.
Curriculum by Subject
Alrighty, let’s assume you are going the curriculum route and not unschooling. First, does your state offer free online curriculum (research on K12)? If you have free online resources, you can sample what works for you and potentially lessen the other curriculum you need to buy, or get help in a subject you’re not confident in teaching. Our second year schooling I mixed free online classes from our state with some textbook learning for math and science. Internet is very prevalent, so if you plan to travel slowly you can likely handle the accountability of online classes.
Below you’ll find links to recommended curriculum and/or online resources and games within that subject. The options are endless here, but many of these listed are online or have digital books to lighten your load on the road. This is a sampling of the ones that have crossed my path and most of these have some fees attached.
Each resource has a letter beside it to indicate the general education level. E=elementary, M=middle, H=High, C=College, A=All levels.
General or Multi-Disciplinary Resources
- Free resources to learn and read nearly anything
- MobyMax (E, M): This is a complete personalized learning system and comes highly recommended. It’s free and their standards tend to be higher than U.S. standards. If you’re student is testing on-level, they are actually ahead. A great way to check keep track of how your student is doing against peers/school standards.
- Khan Academy (A): Anytime there is a math subject I don’t quite understand, my niece and I headed here for a better explanation. Fantastic tool to help troubleshoot learning areas.
- The Great Courses (H, C)
- Always Ice Cream and Clever Dragons (E, M): Games-based learning that has a heap of gamified learning. Very well done and my niece and nephews both enjoyed it immensely.
- BrainPop (A): This is used by many schools for games and learning reinforcement. It’s not cheap, but it does have a lot to offer.
- Fun Brain: Free games in various disciplines for grades K-8.
- IXL (A): Great practice games for all levels and most subjects.
- Free or lost-cost coding resources for kids.
- Teaching Textbooks (M, H)
- Right Start Math (E, M)
- Kinetic Books online (A)
- A Plus Math (E)
- Comparison of science curriculums (A)
- Kinetic Books online (A)
- Radiolab podcast (A): My niece and I both enjoyed listening to these on the road.
- How Stuff Works podcast (A)
- Nasa for Students (A)
- WordBuild (E, M): Highly recommended; your student may not love it, but it works. And it’s only 15 minutes a day. It helps with reading comprehension and they will have a strong knowledge base of words and their roots that will serve them well throughout higher grade levels.
- Excellence in Writing (A)
- Explode the Code phonics (E)
- Brave Writer (A)
- Books by country (A)
- Spelling City (E, M)
- Grammaropolis (E, M): Fantastic way to teach and reinforce grammar. My niece and nephews learned a lot and enjoyed this site and the games and learning tools.
- Social Studies options (A)
- History course options (A)
- Kids Gov (A)
- Rosetta Stone
- Free language resources
- Hire a tutor via Skype
- Take classes on the road
Did I miss a resource, blog, or community you love? Leave comments here, link to any of your own relevant posts, and let’s create a thorough launching points for traveling parents! :)
24 thoughts on “Resources for Traveling Homeschoolers”
Great read!!! Thanks for sharing such a great blog, blog like these will surely help each and every homeschoolers in homeschooling the children in best way.
Hello! I have a very unique situation. I divorced the father of my 3 children a little over 4 years ago. Since then we have both remarried. My new husband also has 3 children of which he shares custody with their mom. All 6 of our kids get along great. My ex and his new wife have one child of their own. Up until school got taken into the home because of COVID, my kids were living with their dad during the week and attending school there. During the soft closure we switched off every other week, and my kids expressed that they were not getting the support they needed at their dad’s house on the weeks they were there.
I recently discovered that my ex wants to take our 2 younger children (B-13, G-8) on the road and home-school them. I am not here to ask about custody agreements and whatnot, I know how that works. I would like an outsiders’ impartial view, because my first reaction is “I can’t believe you would take them away from their mother! And how do you expect to give them a good education when the last few months of school you did horribly?” So, in an effort to really look at this from all angles I would appreciate any advice/insight. Thank you for your time!
Hi Natalie—that’s a good question. Online homeschooling is usually very different than the emergency online classes schools have done across the States, at least from what I have seen with my nieces and nephews. In my experience, I chose to use Florida Virtual School to homeschool my niece while we traveled, and in that case she had a completely remote-based curriculum that was administered by FL certified teachers. She had 5 classes in the 4 core subjects and Spanish, and 5 teachers. She had a curriculum that was structured in remote-based classrooms (which are not like Zoom classrooms, but instead are internal learning environments that progress through a specifically-built online curriculum). Through this system my niece had online tests, and an entire system of education—and educational support—through the online classrooms. We had monthly check-ins by phone with the teacher, my niece could join online tutoring with her teacher, and it was truly a more school-like environment specifically built online.
During the pandemic, every single one of my nieces and nephews (and there are 15 of them in various states and various schooling systems) have had makeshift in-person classwork that the teacher accepted remotely—printed worksheets, “instruction” through Zoom”, and other assignments that needed a lot of parental involvement because the activities were designed for the classroom but then the teachers asked parents to do them. This is very different—they took in-person curriculum and tried to have parents teaching and supporting it. Homeschooling is not always that. It CAN be that, but there are completely online schools that are more like what I discussed—the teachers have been taught how to build remote curriculum and how to support children remotely. They don’t choose labor-intensive assignments that require parents, but instead build game-like learning environments and online creative assignments appropriate to the age group.
My suggestion is that you help decide how your kids will school online. Look at https://www.k12.com and see what is already available (maybe even for free) in your state. If your husband says he plans to do homeschool workbooks and teach them from the road, that doesn’t sound like it will work very well as that would require him as the teacher, the work enforcer, and the director of what they learn. The 8-year-old is the more vulnerable of the two because that level will always require a bit more help, but my niece was 11 and 12 when we homeschooled through FLVS and once I had helped her learn the system, and learn how to be accountable to her assignments, she was able to thrive.
I wish you the best of luck! I think travel is a great education for kids and with how well online schooling can work, you kids would not necessarily fall behind by traveling with your husband.
Great read!!! Thanks for sharing such a great informative blog, these resources are really helpful for those people who travel a lot with their families. This will surely help them, keep sharing such a great blog.
Hello! I have a question. My husband is on deployment so we have decided that I will travel with our kids until he gets back. The question is, I won’t have residency anymore in the state we are currently in(va) by the time school starts as we will already be in Japan. I plan to enroll them back into school next year, but we will be living in Northern California, not sure of the exact city yet. Which state should I comply with homeschooling laws since I plan to enroll them back into school next year? Thanks!
Hi Rosalyn! You may have solved this already, but this is a tricky situation. I would hazard a guess that you should technically file a homeschool form with VA, since that was the state that last considered them students. You can pull them from public school there, and then they would be under that state’s purview until you had a legal address in California and could enroll them in over there. I could see it going the other way too, being in limbo for a year and then filing in California, but when I did it in Florida we had to formally withdraw from public school in order to make the home schooling official, so I would guess you’ll want to do that somewhere (and California will be tricky since you’ve not had a legal residence there).
I hope that helps give you a place to start asking questions and getting this sorted! Best of luck!
I have this same question! My husband is also military but about to retire and we’re planning to spend a year traveling the world with our kids. In true military fashion… we are officially Florida residents, currently live in Colorado (that’s the state the kids will finish the school year in before we start our trip), and we’re thinking — but not certain — that we’ll settle in Tennessee after our year of travel. So Florida, Colorado or Tennessee? … lol.
Not sure if you figured it out yet, but I’m in Japan and about to move to California. From what I’ve gathered is that from the time I pulled my daughter from school here til we move, she is under overseas military jurisdiction so I don’t need to file anything or submit any records (just had to let her school know she wouldn’t be there this year). However, the moment we report to California I have to follow California laws though our official residency is Oklahoma. Unfortunately all the things in place so spouses don’t have to keep changing driver licenses and stuff doesn’t apply to homeschool location. Now if you are planning to visit various places in between but not live there, you shouldn’t have to do anything different than you would if your kid was enrolled in a public school. You wouldn’t change your kids’ school just because you took a 2 week vacation. I would think that if you have an established residency or permanent address somewhere while visiting various locations, you could use your permanent status as your kids’ location for homeschooling. And when in doubt, contact your command’s legal office. They can possibly help with sorting out what the exact laws are saying (that’s kind of their job lol).
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Great Blog!!! Thanks for sharing such a great blog with us. The curriculum is also too interesting and very useful for any homeschoolers. Thanks keep writing such great blogs.
Glad you found it useful Chris!
This is an incredible resource of information! I’m just starting to research how to educate my 12 year old when we do a 6 month international trip next year. I’m so glad I found your site and really appreciate all you’ve put into the details of schooling abroad. Thank you!!
So glad you’ve found it helpful Ashley! Six months is going to be an incredible adventure, and your child is the same age my niece was when we traveled—it was a great age and we had a wonderful time integrating the fascinating places we saw into our writing and history work. Best of luck and let me know if I can help with anything! :)
Thank you for sharing your experiences and all of the resources contained within this post! I am just wondering how you, and the other families who have replied here, have funded these excursions?
I have a son with an interest and talent for photography and film. I would love to offer him opportunities to capture the splendor of some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. However, this seems beyond our family’s financial resources.
Are you aware of any grants, scholarships, or other sources of funding for travel schooling?
Heather, I am so sorry I never saw this comment until now. I hope that in the interim many months that you have found some programs for him. If not, I know that some high schools, church groups, and things like that will offer international trips where the students work together to fundraise a large portion of the funds.
Besides that, I would look at instead of the entire world, which interesting places are most accessible from where you live. So, for me as a Floridian, I decided to take my nephews to the Yucatan for a monthlong trip to see Mayan ruins, cenotes, and Mexican culture. Flights were incredibly cheap (less than $250 roundtrip per person). Flights from Florida to Colombia are also affordable from Florida, so this would be a natural consideration for me if I were looking for an affordable overseas trip. The plane flights are a huge part of the expense, so you could look into which airlines have affordable flights from your hometown to Central America or elsewhere (if you are on the West coast, sometimes you can get to China for a bargain).
Travel hacking is a popular way to accumulate points from your credit card that you could then use to buy flights for your family (look at the Chase Sapphire to start) — you spend a couple of years accumulating enough points to buy the flights for mere pennies (this is how I regularly travel across the Atlantic to Europe for 30,000 points and just $50). If the entire family can’t afford to go, perhaps you could make it a treat for your son and one parent, or a graduation present, etc.
I hope that helps give you some ideas that you can use to help your son explore the world!
We are a bit in confusion as to which road to go. My wife and I both are from a small Ohio town, married with 2 children (10 & 13), and moved to the neighboring small town.
Recently my Wife went back to school and is finishing her degree. She has already been offered a job upon her graduation this June ’18.
At that time we are to report to Atlanta, GE for 3 months then spend up to 18 months at up to 3 different locations before she will get to choose her final facility anywhere in the U.S.
We anticipate all of us traveling with her as it is an option and the company is paying everything u through the final move, including her salary (proof that hard work and perseverance really does pay off).
We have been scrambling to find answers on how to handle the children’s education during this travel period.
I even emailed the Ohio Dept of Education asking for information. The reply was insultingly shy of 3 whole sentences.
We think that we would like to have them do online public school during this time, rather than bouncing from one public school in one state to another. I imagine once we settle they could very well go back to public brick and mortar. A possible problem is that to attend a states online public school, you have to have an address in that state. All other online public schools are very costly.
We have spent some time performing google searches only to be several pages drifted from the original search with no clear direction.
Tonight, I reworded a google search and found this page. I intend to scour the entire article and links in their entirety.
Yet I ask for your opinions, recommendations and suggestions. Any information as to which direction we could possibly go.
That is so frustrating that they haven’t responded and helped you. I am sorry for the delays getting back to you, but I wanted to be sure I can give a thorough answer. Good question. It really does sound like online school is your best bet to keep them from being shuttled around and doing the dreaded “new kid” mid-year. Out of state online tuitions are pricey, so the trick is to keep you on one system for the entire time. If the youngest is in middle school, then you have even more options as most online programs are more flexible with middle and high school students versus elementary.
I looked, and Ohio does have OHDELA as its state version of free public school. This is the route my niece and I went, and it worked even though she wasn’t technically in the state (or even the country) for more than seven months. Her legal residence was still FL, so she was a legal FL homeschool student with rights to our public education system. If you have family in OH, then perhaps you can use their address while you are temporarily in these other states, so there is a place for the mail and a place to legally “reside.”
You are a resident of your current state until you register your student elsewhere. So, you can usually “move” to another state for a few months, but so long as your residency is in your home state (like the address from which you are registered to vote and where your U.S. taxes and mail get sent), your child should remain under the school(and homeschool) laws of that state. This is important, because homeschool requirements differ between states, and you wouldn’t want to face legal action if one state considers you a resident since you are there temporarily. 18 months is a very, very long time to claim temporary residence, but I would think that if you have family or some continuity in OH, then it might work so long as you were there.
One thing that I found really confusing at first was that I could enroll my niece in FLVS (our virtual school in Fla) as a public school student, but it lacked flexibility, or I could register her with the state in a “homeschool” program and she still had the right to take classes for free at FLVS, but I could pick and choose whether to have her in a full load or not — we had to do homeschool, then enroll in FLVS that way. It was a weird glitch and technicality that no one could explain or really understood at first, so be sure to ask when enrolling what will allow you to best serve your kids’ needs, and if there is a difference if they are public students enrolled in the VS, or homeschool students enrolled in the state VS.
Or you might have to move to each new state, and re-enroll in that state’s new virtual school, but because it’s already online, you would surely be able to have them finish them semester/school year before changing registering them as a student, then an online student, in each new state. If you discover one move is just six months, then sticking with your current online school makes more sense, whereas if you know you’re getting placed for 18 months, you can easily “move” schools during the next summer.
Does that help generate any thoughts on how you can make this work? So long as you are a resident, then the state’s are fine with your students being in the free public school systems, so your real task is to figure out how to maintain residency in the state or states where you want your kids enrolled.
Interesting Shannon! I think we have the most experience worldschooling through travel, since we have been on an open ended world tour for the last 8 plus years to 46 countries on 5 continents to raise our child as a fluent-as-a-native trilingual global citizen. Our reason for our world travel is just to educate her and have more time together and it has been an amazing blessing and I think best education in the world. How many kids get to travel their entire primary years, have deep friendships in 3 languages, endless time exploring the world with both parents and feel at home everywhere?
Like you, we think travel is key to education, so we started when she was 2 weeks old ( started her Mandarin and Spanish education when she was in the womb…despite being monolingual parents) but didn’t start our world tour until she was 5 and reading well. Starting at 12, she began her own entrepreneurial business teaching her 3 languages to adults and kids on 3 continents and writing a series of books about each country she has visited…so homeschooling middle school and high school ( she is already taking high school and college classes) looks like it will be even more fun around the world!
You can’t really know another culture without knowing the language, so I think that is one of the greatest benefits of long term travel with a child. What a wonder it was to go to China with a blond child who could talk to everyone and read everything…helped us all connect so deeply! MIT Linguist Pinker’s quote, ”One free lunch in the world
is to learn another language in early childhood.” is sooo true and now she is already reaping the benefits and will for life. Soon we are back to France and Tahiti as she adds French and she can already test out of the Mandarin and Spanish AP classes for both high school and college credits!
Our daughter is a gifted musician/singer/songwriter, so we’ve also managed to do our world tour with a piano and violin and recently added a didgeridoo and guitar! At 12, she recently finished an advanced senior year in high school music theory course through Johns Hopkins Univ.’s CTY program with an A ( a magnificent organization that she has done many courses through in math, science, literature, writing and more…so add to your homeschool resources). She also just got paid for her first singing gig…singing in Mandarin at a huge Chinese wedding in Asia…the only Caucasian there ..again.
We are primarily homeschoolers, but have also purposely dipped into local schools in 3 languages and 3 countries for short periods, which has really added so much to her educational experience, community/cultural connection and lifelong friendships around the world. As you know from meeting her in Jordan, she is a very social child, so we made up a system with many “homes” around the world that we return to often which helps her keep up long term friendships.
She recently was the youngest presenter at the Global Education Conference and said that soon many would have primary years like hers and I think that is true. Our 21st century kids NEED the benefits through travel, culture and language immersion in our shrinking world! So good on you for sharing the experience with your niece and leaving resources for others too!!
This kind of homeschooling leads to full scholarships to places like Harvard and Standford and they will be tomorrows leaders with a better understanding about just how connected we all are!
Oops, sorry about the typo…twas late here. So happy to see your passion for this topic ( as clearly it is one of mine too).
You three have been on an amazing journey these past years! I loved meeting your daughter in Jordan — she is such a bright and happy child. It’s wonderful you have been able to so specifically tailor her life experiences toward future success. Coupling the travel with such early language and music learning is incredible, and I know she is super creative and passionate with those skills she mastered at such an early age.
I will definitely add the CTY program to my resources, and I’ll look at programs my niece might like on there! Hellos and hugs to Mozart, and hope you guys are doing wonderfully! :)
I totally agree with this. Our daughter is only 6 months old but we are already on our journey. We are a 3 language household, so our daughter is already learning English, French and Icelandic and we have bought a house in Sweden which will become our home base so she is learning a fourth naturally.
I don’t think there is a better gift you can give to your child than travelling and spending time with them. When we thought about having children the one thing we didn’t want to do is look back and regretted all the long hours we spent working when she was little.
Myself and my husband both hated the shackles of school though both played the “game” well and got straight A and I have a Phd and he has a Masters. However, we both want to teach our daughter the joy of learning and creative thought things which traditional schools does not.
When we have told friends and relatives our plans people have been very negative towards “unschooling” so I am glad to have found like minded people online who don’t think we are throwing our daughter future away.
I think the life you are building for your daughter sounds wonderful Ashley! You will give her a gift so much greater than just structured knowledge. And it’s hard for other people to accept that children are natural learners and can be guided into brilliance without the formal schooling system. Like you, I thrived and excelled in school, but I also saw firsthand how my niece was able to absorb so much from the world around her. Best of luck!
Shannon this is so great. I use a number of these, but many are new to me and I look forward to checking them out when I find some decent wifi. thanks very much!
Hi hi! Glad some look useful, a few are fun and worth the signup fee for maths and whatnot if you have internet to make it useful to have time on them. Ana and her brother really dig the game aspects. Hello to the kiddos from us both! :)