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Long Term Travel As Education Part 2: Curriculum Content

Yes, I home school. No, I do not hate public schools. In fact, I’m a teacher by trade. As a result, I’m well aware of the concerns of the educational establishment, so I’ll spend a few minutes addressing those to begin with.

Any alternative schooler worth her salt is well aware that there are a myriad of educational and curriculum choices within the home school world. From ordering “third grade in a box” sort of packages to completely online, certified teacher supervised virtual classrooms and individual courses designed to meet your child’s particular interests. “How do you deal with upper level math?” Quite simply, by ordering a course that is self teaching, self paced, and has college level math teachers on call if the kid gets stuck. Covering specific subjects adequately is simply not a big enough issue to be worth discussing. Ten minutes of online research will demonstrate that there are plenty of options, kindergarten through online university courses.

It is not my intention to brush off curricular concerns, they are valid. I agree that there are certain things that kids should learn; I am not an “unschooler.” We put a great deal of care into our children’s educations. They learn to write. They learn to read and read widely. They take math to a higher standard than the state requirements for high school graduation. But then, they learn history standing in the middle of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and climbing every major Mayan ruin set in Central America, and by road tripping their own country from sea to shining sea. They learn Geography cycling across Europe and North Africa and planning our route from Vietnam through Cambodia & Laos to get “home” to Thailand. They write about these things. They use their math in currency conversion and mileage calculation and a million other real world things. Their literature interests are driven by where they’ve been and what they’ve seen. Currently the boys are reading about WWII and the Vietnam War. Instead of rolling their eyes because they “have to” take a foreign language, they catalog as many new words in every language they can because they know, in very real ways, how important being able to communicate across cultures is.

The point of this section is simply this: World schooled kids are not at a curricular disadvantage. In fact, it is often just the opposite. Kids growing up without the four walls of a classroom holding them in often learn faster and more than their traditionally schooled counterparts simply because they “get it.” Learning and growth are necessary to move forward, it applies to their life and they see how, and why. We know a girl who is fifteen, done with her highschool work, beginning online university, working online as a freelance writer, studying journalism and digital media through internships independently, and who has done all of this while traveling the world with her family. She’s never set foot in a classroom, and she’s far from an exceptional case.