What You Need To Consider When Travelling With Homeschooled Children
Homeschooling while traveling as a family is in many ways a more challenging way of life than homeschooling while staying at home. We discovered this first-hand when we took our three young children on a crazy backpacking year around southeast Asia!
However, families that choose this lifestyle usually see it as far more rewarding than alternatives and it is certainly true that the experiences you share while travelling can forge incredible memories for you to share.
Educating children outside of the school system can in itself be a great adventure for both parents and kids. Homeschooling while travelling provides a hands-on way to learn about diverse customs, beliefs and places outside the classroom. Some people call this type of education ‘worldschooling’.
We have plenty of experience travelling with our home educated children, during both full-time travel and shorter trips. Read this article to learn everything you need to know about homeschooling while travelling.
Key advantages of homeschooling
Homeschooling can deliver an excellent education – and in particular when it’s coupled with travel. According to research, homeschoolers on average achieve more highly than schoolchildren in areas including rate of employment, further study, social success and emotional wellbeing.
One of the great things about home education is that it can be tailored to each child’s individual interests and capabilities. It’s a personalised approach to education that can be designed around your family’s lifestyle, instead of your family trying to fit their lives around school.
Homeschooling also means your child gets one-to-one help and support. They aren’t going to be lost in a crowd of other children at school.
Many homeschooling families don’t use desks and allow children to play and explore the world as the primary means of education- for example, a day at the beach or a museum or an animal sanctuary. Not being restricted to a classroom offers children access to a more real-world, changing and varied environment.
Since home educated children aren’t put together in the same age groups like at school, they can learn more from one another. Having younger kids interact with older children and adults is an excellent strategy for helping them see the wisdom and experience each person can offer.
All in all, homeschooling is a way to make kids less stressed about education and generally happier.
Structured Homeschooling While Travelling
If you and your children enjoy structured ‘lessons’ as part of your home education lifestyle, organising classes while travelling can easily become part of your children’s learning curriculum. Online classes are readily available nowadays and this is also a great way to give homeschooling parents a break and give your child access to more adults with a variety of skills.
Relaxed Homeschooling While Travelling
Travel experiences and time with family are far more valuable to children both emotionally and educationally than toys. For example, tours delivered by experienced guides are an excellent source of knowledge because they offer information in the direct context instead of from a textbook. Many families, once they have found their feet with homeschooling, start traveling.
The main idea behind using travel as part of home education is understanding that learning happens anywhere and every day and that it doesn’t have to come from teachers, textbooks or tests (indeed it’s often better when it doesn’t!). Travelling also helps parents to become more proactive in seeking inspiring learning opportunities.
The Formalities Of Homeschooling While Travelling
The legal requirements for homeschooling while traveling will be different depending on your nationality and perhaps where you’re planning to travel.
If you are immigrating, parents may need to register as homeschoolers and many countries such as Australia require the submission of a curriculum for approval every year. You might also be asked to submit reports after 12 months, complete with work samples.
That is how many countries approve homeschoolers, but if you are from the UK then the legal requirements for homeschooling are the same as if you were not travelling. In essence, anyone can homeschool and there is no official curriculum to follow or hours that are required- my post on UK homeschooling law goes through this more comprehensively.
Do be aware that in some countries such as Germany, homeschooling is illegal. This should not affect UK residents travelling there but is something to consider if you are wanting to live in another country for a long period of time. Be sure to check whether any of these countries are in your traveling list.
How Travel and Homeschooling Work So Well Together
Travel brings a host of amazing benefits for educating children (and adults!). It can help people become more self-confident, build social skills, gain the ability to empathise with people coming from different cultures and be more resourceful while traveling.
Alongside those essential life skills, travel provides many opportunities for concrete learning in history, languages, religion and geography as well as maths (currency converting). These all come naturally from visiting different countries and cultures.
Equipment You Need for Homeschooling While Travelling
If you have read any of my other travel and homeschooling posts, you will know that we didn’t take a lot of ‘stuff’ with us on our adventures. The only piece of equipment I would definitely recommend for all families is a small laptop which I am so glad we took with us!!
Here are examples of other resources you can use while traveling in homeschooling your children.
For art and art history, take your kids to see how local artists work. You can also visit art museums and galleries in your vicinity and perhaps join in art classes.
To educate your kids about music, it’s a good idea to take them to see diverse performances – both classical and local music. You can also take advantage of Internet resources (see this post on homeschooling resources for some great music education sites) or even have them try their hand at different instruments from around the world.
Expert tip: It’s a good idea to swap contact details with local families or those who have travelled there before, to make sure your kids make the most of your stay in every location.
What about history? When traveling, you will find history all around you as you visit different places. However, the Internet comes in handy as well – there are plenty of online courses available on the web that help to study specific topics. Finding out about things that happened in a given location while you’re traveling offers an excellent context to start learning about history, and it’s a lesson that your kids are bound to remember forever.
Travelling also offers an excellent opportunity to educate your kids about different religions and beliefs. You can visit temples, churches, mosques, and museums. You can try talking to the locals and see how they practice their faith. That style of learning is much more interesting than books which just describe the customs.
When it comes to science, homeschoolers often take advantage of different kits that help to carry out experiments in chemistry, use microscopes for biology, and other types of equipment. However, all of that is harder to accomplish on the road.
That is why it’s a good idea to look for museums that offer hands-on learning opportunities. For example, the London Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are very children-friendly and offer many occasions for interacting with scientific topics – both during regular visits and special workshops.
Other places that are equally fun and educational are animal sanctuaries and botanical gardens, where kids can learn more about animals and plants.
The lessons that we and our children learn while travelling are attached to wonderful memories and deeply embedded in a real, authentic understanding and curiosity. I hope that these tips help you combine travelling and homeschooling into an incredibly rewarding experience your kids will remember forever.