Rosie and Ruben’s day at ‘school’: Experiencing a different kind of education whilst travelling… (Part 1)

One of the first questions we get asked by many people when doing this kind of travelling is: what are you going to do about school and teaching your children whilst you’re away?

As per my previous post that detailed our experience of talking to the children’s school back in the UK about our plans; we had a lot of support for the trip. We were encouraged by most educational people we had contact with to let the kids enjoy the experience of world travel and because of their ages, for this short-term period, not to worry too much about ‘formal’ learning.

What we have been concentrating on is encouraging the children to read as much as possible and write something most days. Rosie has been learning her 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 times tables, and Ruben has been working through last year’s maths SAT papers. Our biggest challenge when faced with educating our children ‘on the road’ is actually getting them to sit down, stop being distracted by their surroundings and other temptations – iPad, Kindle, TV; and actually do some of the work! Once they get started, they have produced some really great project work- but its the getting started that’s the tricky bit….

However, the other thing with school-based education is that it can provide great social stimulation. I think we’re managing pretty well, seeing that we are spending almost 24 hours a day together, 7 days a week; and have done for the past 3 months. Ruben and Rosie are still getting on remarkably and although they still bicker, annoy each other and have regular brother / sister arguments, they too are providing each other with good company. However, there is something about going to school – of whatever kind – and mixing with other kids.

I heard about Love of Learning Green, run by Sarah Etherington via some mutual friends we’d met on our travels. We got talking about educating children whilst travelling and alternatives to school-based education. Love of learning greenLove of Learning Green is project and nature-based program for children aged 3-12 years. The aim of the project is to connect home schooled children and families, globally – both via a web-based group (which can be accessed wherever in the world the children are) and also in the form of daily sessions run by Sarah.  The sessions are based at her home, with project work done in and around the beautiful island of Koh Samui, Thailand.  Sarah told me that the regular children attending her project are generally home-schooled by their parents part-time, spending the rest of the week attending face-to-face sessions run by Sarah.

When I contacted Sarah to ask whether it would be possible for Ruben and Rosie to attend, she was so welcoming and enthusiastic about them joining her group for a day. She outlined some of the regular sessions they do- including yoga; and explained that as they had already made some beach anemometers the week before, Friday’s session was going to involve making and testing barometers- would this be something that might interest them?

The answer was definitely yes!

Ruben immediately went into studious mode, trying to find out all he could about barometers, in case he got asked to explain about them when he attended… In fact, even Rosie, who has been…how shall I phrase it? A reluctant learner on this trip, was really excited about the prospect of going to school! Hooray!

When the day finally came, we had illness in the family, which nearly meant neither Ruben nor Rosie would be able to attend school. However, Aaron managed to pull it out all the stops and drove the 20km round trip required on motorbike from our much less salubrious accommodation, on the opposite side of the island to get the kids to school!

So what did the kids think of their experience?  Please read Part 2 to find out!

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