How We Do School

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Typical Scene in an Airbnb for the morning, Paul is working in another room and we're doing bookwork for homeschool

Lots of people ask us what we do about education for our kids.  To tell the truth we don't have an easy answer.  I Intend to explain a bit here.

There eight options (that I am aware of) for educating your kids while traveling. Some restrict travel more than others so it would really depend on how long you stay in each location you travel to.

  1. Public school
  2. Private school
  3. Homeschool
  4. Unschool
  5. Roadschool
  6. Worldschool
  7. Online Education
  8. Combination of any of the above.

For the purpose of this blog post I won't be discussing the first two options since they are not part of our experience but we have met families who settle for a semester (or a year) and use these options.

We use option number 8.  We combine options 3-6 as they serve us best.

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We typically homeschool but as we were traveling last year we accidentally unschooled for a time and it was a really great experience.  After some time and a few more moves I noticed their increased restlessness and tried going back to homeschooling as I wondered about adding more routine and structure into their days...that was exactly the ticket!    This experience lead me to more fully understand that no one way was best.

Our homeschooling is punctuated by unschooling or roadschooling/worldschooling on traveling days and on weeks when we have multiple shorter stops.  There are also possible times (like last year) when we choose to unschool for months if our situation or location lend to it.

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There's no school experience quite like petting a wild iguana, and yes he was truly wild, that is the waiter from the restaurant behind Thys, he's befriended this "little" critter -- he's about 9 feet from head to tip of tail. And boy can they run FAST!

We have chosen to school year round since then we have the freedom to take "time off" from homeschool for vacations, events, unforeseen circumstances or when the water/weather is perfect for snorkeling. :)

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Finding the right curriculum for teacher/parent and kids can be a struggle (took us many years to find the right fit!) But once you get it the stress of homeschooling diminishes significantly!

So, most mornings find us homeschooling the three bigs kids with a curriculum we brought along.  This typically takes about 2-3 hours. However, we don't stop there.  The rest of their day we employ unschool and roadschool/worldschool principals.  We explore, we stop to investigate things, and we look things up on the computer when questions arise.  We look up videos that explain what we can't.  We play games that include educational components.  We encourage and create opportunities for new experiences.

A downside to homeschooling is getting curriculum.  We wanted to use a suggested book for language arts and had a very hard time getting ahold of it.  We recently let go of our mailbox in La Paz since we will soon be moving on to the mainland and have to pay by the quarter. With no address to have it sent to, we were having to choose skipping it or waiting to sometime when/where we knew we would be semi-stationary for a few months where we could receive mail again.  Finally, Paul had the brilliant idea of contacting the company and seeing if they would send it to us by PDF so we could print it off.  We had to pay extra, but it worked!   Some of these difficulties/decisions are commonplace when choosing to homeschool while traveling.

What does "school" look like for you/your kids?  Here are snapshots of some of our school moments:

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Studying Native Americans while living and learning about native Mexicans (Zapotec, Mayan, etc) has been a more holistic experience for them

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Heat transfer, and cooking methods... while walking to an ATM we stopped to learn how this works.

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How are coconuts grown, harvested, served, drank, etc. What can you do with coconut husks? -- Ask our kids and you'll get more information than I knew before arriving in Mexico. Might have something to do with living on a Coconut plantation for a couple of days (for free!)

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Random Bird identification: A Yellow-crowned night heron (With an iguana in the background) -- we learned about the nesting behaviors of these birds and the tree dwelling lifestyle of iguanas. Just because they lived in this RV park with us in zihuatanejo.

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Learning Spanish, and games and social behaviors with the neighborhood friends who speak no English.

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And yes how to chop wood for kindling... something they would have learned in Michigan on the farm, but they get this experience here too!

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Parrot Fish, how/why they have big beaks/teeth, why their front sections don't decay as quickly as their eyes/back section. And yes they get hands-on, touching and learning.

So, do you know of any other options for kid's education while traveling?  What do you use?  Do you have any other questions I can answer for you about our choices for school or about our typical day?  Shoot your questions and comments our way!  I would be happy to answer them all!

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Becky Kortman

I'm a homeschooling, world traveling, Jesus follower who is a wife and mom of 4 kids, In all my travels, I am looking for places that fit with my soul and feel as much like 'home' as they can this side of heaven.

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3 Comments

  1. Jessica Meinhofer

    Great post. Thank you for sharing! We unschool our kiddos and love it!

    Reply
  2. Ann Ljunggren

    I always thought we just homeschooled but now I realize we do some road/world schooling as well! What is the name of the curriculum you were trying to get shipped, just curious. What do you use for SS?

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Hi Ann, we used My Fathers World, it was perfect for us! They cover every subject except for Math and English.

      We’re now unschooling which means we do not use a curriculum.

      Reply

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