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World Schooling. One Year of Travel. Homeschooling Highlights

It’s really hard to quantify learning. The knowledge the boys have acquired through our 1 year journey, 4 continents and 12 countries, is immense, quite staggering really. Here are some of our homeschooling, or, if you prefer, world schooling or unschooling, highlights. We didn’t just try worldschooling for a year, my kids’ whole education has revolved around worldschooling, but this post was written at the end of our first 12 months of travel. Find out more about around the world travel with kids here. This post should give you an idea of what and how much kids can learn out in the real world, instead of confined to classrooms.

One year of worldschooling

I’m not talking about the personal qualities and emotional development here,  nor the book learning, just the things that most people would recognise as “school” that the kids have picked up naturally through global strewing without having to attend. That is almost what is called unschooling, it is worldschooling or natural learning. Unschooling is by definition fully child lead learning. There are a lot of definitions in the homeschooling world, we mostly ignore all of them and just do what works for us.

These are just the highlights, the things that spring to my mind right now, a taster if you like. There is so much more. If you’re anxious about taking your child out of school to travel, please, don’t be. Just read and get a feel for the sort of learning travelling kids pick up. It’s pretty phenomenal.

If then you want more, try our guide to world schooling.

This post was written when both boys were under 10. I think I had a 7 year old and a 9 year old. Now I have a worldschooling teenager in his high school years and an 11 year old. Their unconventional education and interesting nomadic lifestyle is still keeping us all happy and the knowledge flowing. They and we are very happy with our choices.

The Learning Travelling or “World Schooling” Kids Pick Up. A Taster

Countries, Continents, Oceans and Seas.

family trael blog one year of travel
We watched our ship cross the Atlantic in both directions on the in-room screens. We took a right in the Sargasso Sea.

They’d beat most adults on this!

They’ve crossed the Atlantic twice and sailed through the Sargasso Sea. They’ve visited the Mediterranean  the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean.

They know where Laos is and what it’s like. Plenty of adults don’t.

They know that Central America is part of North America. (same)

They’re good.

A lot of our Geographical learning came from our favourite Explorers book that we read over and over again in Thailand. There is a link to the book in this post.

Blogging  and Computer Skills.

Both of them can now use the WordPress interface, write and publish a blog post. That’s not a school skill, it’s a job skill.

They also made a video post, planned, produced and scripted themselves. Boo interviewed his brother. His blog is called Boy Around the World and it was on wordpress.com , a free blogging platform. If you are interested in setting up a real blog or website, like this one, you can find out how here.

Photo Editing Skills.

Family World Travel Blog
Boo playing around with photo editing. He gets to use my professional tools and is learning how I make a living out of websites.

They can crop, enhance, re-size, add captions and effects. More importantly, they love doing it. This is one of Boo’s efforts for his blog.

Languages.

They know a decent amount of Spanish and words of greeting in many languages. It’s a good start.

We’ll continue with our Spanish over the summer, maybe work on our French too. They know why so many countries speak Spanish and that there are many variations on the language.

Maths

My 7 year old can convert between Baht, Laos Kip and Dollars faster than I can!

Basic arithmetic comes easily and naturally, particularly when they have plenty of practice.

History

family travel blog world travel
Central American history graphically illustrated in a museum in El Salvador.

History has been huge. You can’t escape history as you travel and learning history from the real world is absolutely the best way to understand and discover.

The Spanish conquest of Central America has been a big topic.

They know everything they need to know about the Mayans thanks to 7 weeks in Central America and an amazing guide at Tikal.

The Mayans are still around today, we stayed in a Mayan town, heard their language and watched them worship.

The spice trade, ancient conquests and trade routes cropped up over and over again.

family travel blog
The spice trade illustrated beautifully in Malacca

The history of the USA, slavery and the civil war was something we re visited.

We learnt more about World War II history in Kanchanaburi, at the bridge on the River Kwai and related museums.

Vietnam war history in Laos was inescapable, we saw that the effects of the American cluster bombings still continue today.

Laos bombs
Vivid war reminders surrounded us in Laos. Please read this post about the COPE visitor centre.

This post was written after just one year of worldschooling, one year of full time family travel. We continued this journey for many more years and have other posts on travel as education on this site.

Music and Dance

family travel blog
Live street Jazz in New Orleans, just WOW!

We have watched classical Kanyan dance in Sri Lanka along with flamenco, jazz, Latin and jive on a cruise ship.

They have seen tribute bands perform Elvis, Katy Perry, Frankie Valley, and the Beatles. D got up on stage to sing with the Fab Four and sang 80s karaoke with his team of lovely backing singers several times.

We have car-sung our way around the USA, seen live jazz and blues performed on the streets in New Orleans and really got to grips with the development of music in the South from slave days to Elvis.

We sang Christmas carols for pensioners on a wonderful evening with the vicar and her crew in Wales. Our travel has brought endless musical opportunities. I’d take this over learning to play the recorder any day.

Art

world travel family
A surreal day in Spain. Come up and see me sometime!

 The boys have seen hundreds of works by Salvador Dali at his Theatre Museum in Figueres, Catalonia and watched his movie collaboration with Walt Disney in the art gallery on Norwegian Getaway.

They have briefly visited London’s National Gallery to see the Van Goughs, we ‘ll be back for more.

They know something about Islamic art and why it is as it is.

Science

learning about circuits and science while travelling
They’re good at circuits! We’d already covered this at home thanks to an awesome circuits set. They showed up a few dads at the Science Museum in London.

We spent just 3 hours at London’s Science Museum and recapped simple machines, Newton’s laws, magnetism, electricity generation and circuits. I watched a few dads fail to set up the circuits correctly, we got it right!

We visited Petrosains, another science museum, in Kuala Lumpur, it focussed more on the petrochemical industry.

The kids helped care for injured turtles in Sri Lanka. They already knew about the dangers of marine pollution thanks to our work with Tangaroa Blue, but this brought it home even more strongly.

turtle hatchery sri lanka family travel
First hand experience of turtle care and the threats they face because of man, in Sri Lanka.

We’ve talked about flower structure and function on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka.

We’ve addressed pollinators and pollination, crop rotation and farming methods.

Is all this science or geography? the division is blurry, it’s great that we can approach subjects as a whole not put them in boxes.

Sports and Games

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My baby. I’m as proud of him as he is of himself. PE and sports are super easy for world schooled or home schooled kids.

The boys are now good at pool and darts, D even won a certificate for darts in Malaysia. They’re happy to take on adults and have done, often. Say what you will, both games are good life skills.

On both cruises they have played team and individual games with other children in kids’ club.

They became proficient kayakers on Ko Phangan, D is as good as us and just as confident on the water.

The kids tried real archery in Kuala Lumpur, something they’ve been desperate to try since a friend produced home-made bows and arrows for them back home.

As a family we have played boules, Laos and Thai volleyball.

Tested their physical skills and bravery through tubing, caving and kayaking in Laos and taking on huge climbing walls on both cruise ships was great for them.

I will never forget them both dancing standing on kayaks as we floated down the rapids while new Korean friends sang Gangnam Style for them.

Religion

Kuala Lumpur Central Mosque family visit
Religion is one of our favourite subjects, all religions. It’s essential that they understand the people of the world.

These children of mine have visited Cathedrals, Churches, Buddhist Temples, Mosques, Hindu temples and seen ancient Mayan religious practices.

They know which religions belong where on the globe and they know all that they need to know about Jesus , the Romans and Christianity after spending Easter in Guatemala.

We visited with the Amish in Pennsylvania.

They know that you have to dress in a certain manner and respect different religions, each in their own way.

Heck, they even know all about voodoo!

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The grave or Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen in N’Orleans. One of the spooky cities of the dead.

Hover and click, add this to your Pinterest collection. This photo was taken at a science museum in Kuala Lumpur and you can find out all about it in our Kuala Lumpur with Kids post. It’s a worldschoolers’ dream of a city!

What can kids possibly learn from one year worldschooling

Health and Hygiene 

Vaccinations, immune reactions, personal cleanliness and health risks crop up again and again.

My scientific background is very handy here, I’d say they were on high school level already.

Worldschooling For A Year – Other Learning

Sorry, I forgot to mention a few things.

  • The Smithsonian aviation museum in Washington DC where the boys tried their hands at flying planes, learnt about the Wright brothers and saw the Enola Gay, sparking questions about the end of the war.They saw their favourite explorer’s actual flying suit and know what an incredible woman Amelia Earhart was.
  • The New York Natural History Museum, the Night at the Museum one, where they got a taste of Indiginous North American peoples and their lives. They saw totem poles for the first time and then saw more on our day in the Everglades.  
  • They watched a solar eclipse.
  • We saw a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral and toured Kennedy Space Centre for the second time, there’s not much they don’t know about space exploration. They met an astronaut!
  • We’ve compared and contrasted climatic zones and ecosystems. We saw our first sub-tropical rainforest and how different it is to those we know well, the tropical sort.
  • Adaptation of plants and animals to their environments were big topics. We saw a live octopus in a rockpool, blue whales and mongooses in Sri Lanka and black squirrels in Canada.
  • They have seen chocolate being made, silk worms and weavers at work to make fabrics, watched craftsmen make every kind of wooden or woven object. The kids owned a Laos violin for a while and busked with it, just for fun. They have seen that there are many, many job possibilities in the world beside teacher, fireman or doctor.
  • They’ve seen the variation in staple foods around the world and seen the effort that goes into their production.

So what do you think, have I convinced you? I can’t post photos of the friends they’ve made, from all cultures and countries and of all ages, but there are many, some, I hope, we will see again. What do you think, school or travel ( world schooling) ? Which gives kids the most extensive and amazing education?

If I haven’t convinced you, let me know, I’ll keep on trying. This is an old post written during the boys’ first full year of travel. We’d only been worldschooling for a year. We are now entering year 8. What they have learned through travel and exposure to the world ( alongside conventional online tools and books) has been quite phenomenal. If you’re looking for information on what one year of worldschooling costs or how to afford worldschooling, that information is also on our website. We also have a post on equipment you need to worldschool. Sign up to follow in the author box below.

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Jessica

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Sorry it is so late thanks for replying

Alyson for World Travel Family

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

It's mid-morning here :)

Jessica

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

I’m not an adult yet or a parent but I think this sounds amazing and when I do have kids would love to do this

Alyson for World Travel Family

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

That's good to hear Jessica. When I was younger I always wanted to homeschool, but when my kids came along there was a lot of peer pressure to conform and put them in school with all the other kids. It's hard to break free of what everyone else is doing and a lot of people will dislike you for it. But stick to your guns, believe in yourself and in your kids. I have the proof and the outcome right here. Don't be a sheep.

jessica

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

I found that travel is by far the most educational experience I've ever had, so no need to be convinced. I am at the moment grappling with basics. How does one set up an "area" where kids can keep up with more traditional curriculums like math? I am prone to chaos and disorganization, so I find that my first concerns are: How will I keep things tidy? Where will I store stuff? And...how will I provide a clutter-free, designated space to work?

Alyson Long

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

So you're talking about worldschooling not homeschooling right? If you choose to do formal learning like that ( which most don't it's not necessary) you'll be doing it in hotels , cafes, bars and restaurants. Wherever you can sit quietly at a table for an hour or so. You just have a couple of books in your bag and a laptop or three, so there's no mess consideration at all. There's no " keeping up" because there's nothing to keep up with. You've left the system. You have to carry your gear, so you keep it minimal. Online tools such as Studdy Ladder, Khan Academy, there's loads, plus either a note book or work book each and some pencils. But I'm telling you for a fact that kids pick up the basics of maths without any teaching required at all and once they get to high school level the content isn't relevant to life. So you make a choice. Are the kids going to continue to learn formal maths for the purposes of passing exams...and that is the only purpose. Or do you leave them free to explore subjects, topics and elements of life that they enjoy - which could be maths- but more likely something they will create their future income around.

Taryn

Friday 20th of July 2018

YES! I love this so much! There is SO much to learn in the world and your kiddos are getting a first hand account! Keep doing what you're doing!!

T P

Sunday 8th of March 2020

This is so amazing!!! I love this blog! The best!!! We are starting our one year world tour April 1st 2020!!! as well. We are NV residents. They are homeschool under that law. Its easy no state test etc requirements unless I want to test them. I'm excited for my girls! They are 11 & 8 they will continue gymnastics, dance and volunteer work on the tour.. I learned so much from your blog!!

My question is this... What country are you originally from? Who regulate it? Nevada , USA isn't strict so that's the good news!

I want to be compliant... I guess! You seem to have tons of knowledge!

We do have 9 subjects. I need that structure because I have a Mobile Ministry and two companies!

Thank you in advance! Please don't laugh at my ignorance on this matter!!

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Friday 20th of July 2018

Thank you Taryn. And that was only year 1 !

Leng

Monday 23rd of May 2016

This served as an inspiration for our family. We are embarking on world schooling slowly.. ????????

nomadic family life

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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