We homeschooled in Australia and in the UK, now we worldschool, everywhere. This is what homeschooling looked like back in Port Douglas Queensland before we left to travel the world. If you’ve ever wondered what is homeschooling like, this is, or was, our early version. These little boys are now teenagers, it’s all worked out just great and they have no desire to ever lose their freedom to school. We have more posts on homeschooling ( home education), worldschooling or unschooling on this site, you can see how homeschooling evolved over the years and what it was like in Romania, Egypt, or many other countries.
What is Homeschooling Like?
Homeschooling gave us the freedom to travel, we love it and it suits our family. People wonder what we do all day. Do the kids sit at desks between nine and three? Do we just hang out in our PJs ? Are they plugged into computers and a virtual teacher? No, to all three. So, what does a homeschool day look like?
Sometimes it looks like this:
We aim for a couple of pages of written work a day, simple books like these, or the books the children would be using in school. Sometimes we substitute puzzle books, sometimes I persuade a child to write a letter or email to grandma, sometimes they just decide to write something for fun, but I do like them to have a pen or keyboard in their hands for half an hour most days. But if we don’t, it doesn’t matter.
So that takes up half an hour, we can bang that out before breakfast.
The rest of the day is free, we can make it look more like this:
A Homeschool Day Is Just Like Your Family’s Day, Without School.
The truth is, we probably just do what your family does, only more of it. They play a lot, inside, and outside, often with the neighbours’ children. We go to playgrounds, we go to homeschool group to play some more. If Dad is home at 10am on a Thursday, they’re free to play with him, too.
There are no weekly or termly timetables; we fit learning in around our lives.
I’m sure you take your children to places because they are educational, interesting or fun. So do we, but we do it more often and without the crowds. I’m sure you like it if your children watch documentaries, so do we. Maybe you buy science kits and games to enjoy with your children, we do that a lot, my kitchen looks like a science lab.
They read for pleasure and I read to them, fiction, poetry, factual books, whatever we need.
They make and create, most children do. I get to do it with them Bonus!
We have to do all the ordinary stuff too, cooking, cleaning, shopping. I think it’s good for them to watch, learn and help out. I’m not one for giving them chores, not my style, but they do help.
Gardening has been a great way to introduce them to plant and soil biology.
This is what a trip to the supermarket usually looks like:
I expect your children like football or ballet or, whatever floats their boat. We have hobbies, too, but you’re more likely to find my kids kayaking, tightrope walking or practicing archery.
It’s All Going On Behind The Scenes In A Homeschool Day
Once you have your homeschool head on you see things differently. If the kids are playing Top Trumps, they are improving reading skills, numeracy and vocabulary. There are some tricky words, and concepts, like decimal points and measurement to explore on Top Trump Cards. I’m always thinking about what needs to be learnt, I’ve read curriculums, learning plans and learning progressions. I grab those cards and get the kids playing as soon as I can.
Most games are educational: Monopoly ( click through to read about Monopoly as “school”), Scrabble, Trivia games, even some computer games, they can play them as often as they like.
The same goes for subjects like science and geography. I know what needs to go into their heads, so I find ways of introducing it, just through chatting, a DVD, some online resource or looking, experimenting and exploring. I buy the games, toys and equipment with their learning needs in mind.
So sometimes a homeschool day looks like this
Maybe I’m not being 100% honest with you, sometimes we do this, too:
But I haven’t stood at a desk with a white board explaining cell or molecular structure, we’ve just talked about and explored those subjects over weeks and months, informally, the subjects crop up in the activities the boys do. They’ve played online games involving these subjects, completed the odd interactive activity, they know most of it already, I’m just giving them a chance to reinforce that learning and create evidence on paper to keep the authorities happy.
Our Homeschool Room
Welcome to my dining room/kitchen. No desks, just our family table. Learning is just as likely to happen in the car, in the bath, in bed, or in a rainforest. Learning happens all day, every day.
Homeschool Field Trips
Homeschool field trips, outings, excursions, whatever yo want to call them, they’re excellent!
Travel has to be the best homeschool field trip, not necessarily globe-trotting, any travel. Visiting neighboring towns and cities, local attractions and natural features, they are full of history, geography and science. We will be doing some serious traveling soon as we set off round the world for a years long adventure. ( UPDATE: we’ve now been on the road 5 years)
To get the most education out of trips and visits we do a lot of preparation. So, if we are going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, I make sure they know a fair bit about the reef’s structure and its inhabitants before we go, that way they understand what they are seeing and are thrilled to see it for themselves. I don’t mean the day before, in an intensive classroom type style, just over time, they will have learnt so much from TV, the internet and educational programs. All I need to do is a little topping up. The same goes for visiting anywhere, from Cooktown to Thailand, you just have to go out of your front door to call it a field trip.
We can go on field trips whenever and wherever we like, from our local rainforest, to Kathmandu. You’ve got to love that.
I’m looking forward to writing about what our traveling homeschool day looks like.
Could you save this to Pinterest for us?
World Travel Family Update
We have now been travelling with the boys for 2 years, 25 countries, 5 continents. Take a look at just some of the learning they picked up in our first year on the road here.
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You need this circuits set, it’s absolutely superb and comes with full instructions and suggested projects. We had ours delivered to Australia from the US and it was well worth the shipping fee. Take a look here.
If you’re going to homeschool you DO need to invest some cash in having the right toys, tools and gadgets, plus it keeps the authorities happy and the kids busy. Also consider such things as microscopes, telescopes, globes, chemistry sets and more ( more homeschool resources and playthings in this post)
And of course you need art supplies . Inspect here.
Is Homeschool OK By You?
Is that OK, do you think I’m doing a good enough job of educating my children? Or do you think I’m a screaming nutter and they’d be better off in school? My version of homeschooling will be totally different to the next homeschooling parent, some people have timetables and schedules, we don’t. We have a curriculum, I wrote it because I had to for the authorities, otherwise there would be none. We have all year to tick everything off that state-approved list. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, you can tailor it to your child’s needs and your family’s needs.
Homeschooling isn’t perceived as normal, is it? But, really, it is, our homeschool day is just a normal, family day, maybe with more of an educational focus thrown in. Learning happens all day, every day. What do you think? Any questions? Is this what you thought homeschooling would be like? There is a mass exodus from school these days, well educated, affluent parents are taking their kids out of the system. You can be a part of the movement.