I have learnt from experience that it is our own preconceptions of what education SHOULD be that gives us the fear of failing. It should be the excitement of what education COULD be that gives us encouragement.
Note: Legislation varies across each Australian State that may restrict long-term travel while homeschooling, please familiarise yourself with your State legislation.
Last post I introduced you to the education options for children travelling Australia in the short term or long term. While most people understand the need to continue to teach their children on the road, most don’t understand the difference between homeschooling and distance education. Now we’ve touched on that (and if you didn’t read the first post, just click on the link at the start of the paragraph) it’s time to go a little further into explaining the pro’s and con’s of each styling of education and help you make a more informed decision about which might best suit your family.
What is Homeschooling?
To re-cap on this subject, homeschooling is the education choice that allows parents to create and develop their own curriculum based on their intended travels, their resources and their child’s learning style. Homeschooling is a personal journey for each family, and this is the case for homeschoolers who teach from home as well as those on the road. No two families homeschool identically, which is fine, because no two families are the same, nor are there any two children who are the same, so it’s a flexible and robust style of learning.
Homeschooling requires that the parent, or educator develops their own curriculum ensuring that the child is covering all the essential “Key Learning Areas” or KLA’s. These include things such as Math, Science, English, Personal Development, Art etc, etc, etc. This curriculum can be developed with the use of pre-purchased curriculum or items, or developed independently using resources or information available from any suitable resource.
Advantages of Homeschooling for Travellers?
1. Travel Plan Flexibility
One of the greatest advantages of choosing homeschooling vs distance education for travelling families is the extra flexibility possible with travel plans. While many families set off on their Australian travel experience with some idea of where they would like to go, and a rough timeline, it’s always inevitable with travel that even the best timelines and plans can get off track. This is especially so when there’s so much to see and do in Australia that you may not have even heard of before setting off. By choosing to Homeschool, you’re in charge of all learning without having to be in specific places, have internet access or postal access at all times, this means when you fall in love with a region, or you find extra places to discover, you are able to change plans as you desire and not worry about having to post off the week’s school work or be within internet service for conference calls etc.
2. Learning Plan Flexibility
As already mentioned, homeschooling parents are also the curriculum developers. Regardless of whether homeschool curriculum development is undertaken via a purchased curriculum or an entirely hand crafted one, having the flexibility to modify your curriculum to enhance and blend with your travel experiences is a huge benefit of homeschooling. Homeschooling allows you to cover subjects that your child understands faster, it also allows you to take advantage of your location to further research or develop understanding on specific subjects. For example if you’re studying history and happen to be holidaying in Darwin, it’s a great opportunity to research and learn about not only war, but also cyclone tracy and these subjects can be blended into the learning schedule when most suitable, unlike distance education which requires you to stick to prescribed learning.
3. Set Your Own Pace
With the benefits of being able to modify schooling to suit your travel plans, and also modify your learning plan to suit your current location, another great benefit of homeschooling is that you can set your own pace. Some days of travelling can be hectic and tiring, and trying to fit schoolwork into days such as that can be a negative experience for both teacher and student. Travelling is about exploration and experience, so having to be tied to schoolwork that is not particularly relevant to that exploration and experience can lead to frustration. A huge benefit with homeschooling is that you are able to set your own pace. For days when you’re out enjoying, discovering and learning there may be little or no prescribed school work. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a whole lot of learning going on, generally there is, it’s just not in the sit-down school book sort of way! For days where you’re staying put in one place for a few days, taking things more slowly, then it’s easier to play catch up and work harder on sit-down school work and to spend time recording and collating that was done on the previous days’ exploration and discovering.
An important thing to remember about homeschooling is that it is education of a different kind. Yes there are school books, lessons on maths, english, science etc for the most part, but homeschooling recognises that not all learning is best undertaken through books, or through a teacher/student/classroom situation. Travel introduces children to a world of learning that can’t be replicated any other way, and it’s important not to stifle that learning opportunity. Homeschooling helps to embrace and enhance the travel journey by allowing parents and children to seek knowledge in their newly discovered surrounds, and to reflect that knowledge back into subjects that may otherwise be covered in textbooks.
4. Greater parent/child connection
As parents, once our child reaches school age we lose some control over their outside influences and their learning. Many parents I know are concerned over not only what their children are learning at school, but possibly more importantly what their children aren’t learning at school. By taking the time to work with your child to help them learn, you may be surprised by what you learn about your own child. As them what they like to learn about, how they like to learn and what things they love or hate about school. Make the travel time you have together an enjoyable experience for you both, while taking the time to encourage a love of learning that is often lost within the classroom environment. Having close time with your child to be able to teach them what you believe is important is a great way of reconnecting and ensuring that you are raising your child how you intend to, something that we can’t always keep a track of in our busy society and lives on a day to day basis.
Summary of Homeschooling Advantages for Travelling Families
- Greater travel planning flexibility
- Greater learning plan flexibility
- Setting your own pace
- Greater family connections
FURTHER INFORMATION IN THIS SERIES: