Home Schooling Our Way Around The World

I’m thrilled to be hosting Alison on the blog today. Alison writes at Mad House Mum  and is going to share her experience of travelling around the world whilst continuing to educate her four children. Hats off to Alison!

To say that the teachers didn’t bat an eyelid when my ex husband and I told them we were taking the girls on a trip around the world for 9 months, would be an understatement. It was in 2008, when the girls were aged 4, 6, 7 and 9. We left in the August and as the end of term loomed ever closer in July I kept saying to their Dad, do you think that we should go and ask for work they should be doing while we are away? Not one of their teachers had offered us any guidance. I was slightly nervous about this. It got to the last day of term and before we said our goodbyes, I collared a couple of teachers and asked them for some advice on what we needed to cover. Just keep up their reading and maths, came the unanimous response and armed with this information, we packed 6 rucksacks and off we went.
The first part of the trip was driving across Canada and and down the West coast of America in an RV. We were 3 days into RV school and thanking god it was the weekend. The pressure was off for a couple of days. The teachers could relax and enjoy their alcohol at the weekends rule. RV school had been working working well. One thing we realised was how important playtime, aka coffee time, was for everyone. Moving RV school was an interesting experience. Ex husband sat up front like a school coach driver, thinking about what he was going to cook on the barbie, while I was in the back juggling 4 curriculums, drinking the obligatory Tim Horton’s coffee, texting  friends and family, dozing through reading time etc etc… all very educational. There were a fair few  funny moments, such as when I was doing the alphabet with daughter 4, whose only experience of school up until then had been nursery. I asked her, when do we use capital letters? To which she replied, at the weekend! It was that weekend rule again!
In Canada, identifying bear and moose poo took up a great deal of home schooling time and once we had fondly ditched the RV in America, we continued on our way to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, China and South Korea. Home schooling had become a fairly relaxed affair. We would generally have school in the morning and the rest of the day was ours to explore. Many days, however, were taken up with no school and ‘educational trips’. On walks in the Rocky mountains we discussed glaciers and glacial lakes. In Australia it was flora and fauna. China was a time for History lessons and Disney Land provided the opportunity to discuss Economics. Home school took place in parks, in hostels, on the top of mountains, by lakes – we morphed in to our surroundings.
On our return, daughter 4 entered her reception class. It was her first experience of a real school. I was nervous before her first parents’ evening. This was the test: had her Dad and I done a good enough job? The feedback was all positive. I was asked by the teacher whether I had any questions. “How do you find her concentration?” I asked. “We found that after a couple of hours of home school, she would be laying her head on the table and giving up.” The teacher looked me straight in the eye and said sternly: “Mrs Longhurst. We expect 1 minutes’ concentration for each year of their life and then they get a break”.
It was at that point that I realised that we could have drunk a whole load more coffee.

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63 Comments

  1. Julia
    July 29, 2016 / 7:53 am

    Very interesting blog

  2. July 29, 2016 / 7:54 am

    Oh I would so love to travel and homeschool as we went! Maybe in the future we will have this opportunity. Ta classroom is certainly not the only place to learn after all. Sounds like an amazing trip! 🙂
    Laura: Adventures with J recently posted…Mummy TagMy Profile

      • August 1, 2016 / 1:34 pm

        We were really fortunate with the way in which the opportunity arose through my ex’s job. It’s not always a possibility, but we certainly weren’t going to let it go past us!
        Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

    • July 29, 2016 / 1:42 pm

      It was amazing. The girls learnt so much and over the years teachers have often mentioned that they have brought relevant aspects of the trip to lessons. Thank you for commenting.

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:32 pm

      If you ever get the opportunity then 100% grab it! Thank you for your comments.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

  3. July 29, 2016 / 9:16 am

    This trip sounds amazing! Your children are so lucky. It’s a shame that the teachers couldn’t give you a little more guidance – it must have been quite daunting for you. It sounds like you did great though! x
    #triballove

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:35 pm

      I think that I took my lead from them and thought well, if you aren’t worried then I won’t be! Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

  4. July 30, 2016 / 8:26 am

    I saw this pop up on my newsfeed when I was at work yesterday and thought I must go back and read it, so I’m so glad you linked it! This is so interesting! What an amazing experience for those children, I’d love to have the means and bravery to do something like this! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…Shut Up and DriveMy Profile

    • July 30, 2016 / 9:26 am

      Thank you for your lovely comments. Looking back it seems brave. At the time it was just amazing fun 🙂

  5. July 30, 2016 / 8:26 am

    Oh how wonderful! Ahhhh! I’m a mum of four and only wish I had the patience and emotional ability to pack up my troop and go travelling while home schooling. Alas, I just don’t think I’ve got what it takes. #fortheloveofBLOG
    Fern P recently posted…Oh, how I loved the 90sMy Profile

    • July 30, 2016 / 9:28 am

      I’m sure you have! It was a case of not over thinking it for us. We just kind of did it 🙂 Thank you for commenting.

  6. July 30, 2016 / 8:31 am

    Wow it sounds like you had an amazing trip…I would love to be able to travel one day. The ‘educational trips’ sounds amazing I particularly like the idea of the economics trip! #ForTheLoveOfBlog
    Mimi Rose & Me recently posted…ONE YEAR OF BLOGGING!My Profile

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:36 pm

      Daughter 2, it turned out, is a shit hot negotiator! So she closed all our deals in Asia 🙂
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

  7. July 30, 2016 / 8:32 am

    A funny post and a great introduction to a fascinating blog. Those kids are going to have such rich lives. #fortheloveofBLOG
    Nursery Whines recently posted…Parklife – An HomageMy Profile

  8. July 30, 2016 / 8:35 am

    What an amazing experience. You’ve given them what no school ever could. Very brave though. I’m not sure I’d be up for it and I’ve only got 1 kid! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Briony recently posted…Introducing WILF BooksMy Profile

    • July 30, 2016 / 9:31 am

      As I said to someone else – it didn’t feel as if we were being brave at the time, but looking back I suppose we were! We didn’t think too much about it – just off we went! Thank you for your comments.

  9. July 30, 2016 / 8:51 am

    Fascinating read! I’d love to be as brave! They’ll learn things they could never get from school

    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • July 30, 2016 / 9:33 am

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, I think that’s why the teachers were so blase about work, because they knew they would be absorbing so much.

  10. July 30, 2016 / 9:33 am

    That is amazing, it sounds as though you might have done a better job than the teachers and the classroom ever could have done! What lucky children 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:47 pm

      I think the natural surroundings did a better job…I’m not sure about us!
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

  11. July 30, 2016 / 10:16 am

    What a fab experience for your children! I’m sure they gained a lot more in life experience than most children in their entire school life. Well done for being so brave to do it. We are mostly so tied down to ‘what we should do’ and don’t do this sort of thing. I’d love to know more about your trip and how your older girls got on on their return to school. Will be looking out for more posts on your experience!! Xx #fortheloveofBLOG
    Sonia recently posted…Garden Activities & Crafts for KidsMy Profile

    • July 30, 2016 / 4:36 pm

      More posts to follow! It’s so true – we do get bogged down in convention and every day life. It was amazing to be able to step off the treadmill. Thank you for your comments.

  12. July 30, 2016 / 10:29 am

    This was so inspirationall to read ! Especially as there are such strict laws in the UK now on taking children away during school time and parents being fined but I believe travelling is an education in itself and your blog had just proved that xxx

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comments. At the time other parents were saying to us that they couldn’t believe that we were allowed to do it! All the girls’ schools kept places for them. We were a bit surprised just how easy it was to swing it.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

    • July 30, 2016 / 4:37 pm

      It was amazing. We were very lucky to have had the opportunity to do it and we just grabbed it with two hands! Thank you for commenting.

  13. July 30, 2016 / 11:34 am

    I can just about manage a day out! xx

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      Haha! Looking back it seems such a huge thing to do, but at the time we just sort of got on and did it! Thank you for commenting 🙂
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

  14. July 30, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Wow, this is amazing. I really admire you for taking the jump and giving your children such an amazing experience, I cant wait to read more.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  15. July 30, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Wow, such amazing experiences. Children learn so much from their surroundings and it sounds like you did a great job!

  16. July 30, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Wow, just wow. Your children are very lucky to have had such an amazing education in life skills. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:23 pm

      They are lucky. At the time it was just normal life for them, but the memories we created are fantastic!
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

  17. July 30, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    This sounds like an amazing adventure. As a mum and a teacher, I think children learn so much more from travelling and exploring than being in school all the time. I’m sure I should say how important school is, but life is even more important.

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Yes, it’s so true. Life experiences are worth a huge amount. Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

    • July 30, 2016 / 7:02 pm

      DO IT!!! It is an opportunity of a life time, when your kids are at the right age.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Oh Crap…My Profile

  18. July 30, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I have always thought about homeschooling my kids, but I don’t think I would have the patience let alone travel as well. Although the experiences for your kids barevamazing #forthelovveofblog
    Charlotte recently posted…Happy List 6My Profile

    • July 31, 2016 / 8:38 am

      To be honest, I only had the patience because we were travelling and even then it was quite hard work! I couldn’t home school now. The relief I feel when they are all out to school at 7.30am is just too great! Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Fail!!!!!!My Profile

  19. July 30, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    Oh, the school of life!!! I am sure they gained so much from such an adventure. I would love to get an RV and go on a journey with my family…Perhaps not for 9 months though 😉 Thanks for sharing, Alison.
    #Fortheloveofblog

    • July 31, 2016 / 8:40 am

      Well, if you ever get the opportunity, I would heartily recommend that you grab it! Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Fail!!!!!!My Profile

  20. July 31, 2016 / 1:01 am

    I would love to travel the world like that, the homeschooling thing I’m not so keen on. I am glad it worked out for you and your family will have such wonderful memories. PS The difference between bear and moose poop is important to know! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • August 1, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      I could never home school at home! Definitely not got the patience! Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Up Yer Bum!My Profile

    • July 31, 2016 / 8:41 am

      Thank you! It was the most amazing experience. We were so lucky to have had the opportunity.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Fail!!!!!!My Profile

  21. July 31, 2016 / 10:42 am

    This is so interesting! I would love to do this with my family when my son is older. It sounds like you did a fantastic job at home schooling, maybe even did too much?! haha I think children learn so much from being outdoors and exploring the world, dare I say, they may even learn more outside the classroom! #fortheloveofblog
    The Mum Project recently posted…My Sunday Photo 31/07My Profile

    • July 31, 2016 / 6:55 pm

      I would really recommend anyone who gets the opportunity to do this, to just go for it! It was amazing. Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Fail!!!!!!My Profile

  22. July 31, 2016 / 11:19 am

    Tom Horton. Where would we be without it!

  23. July 31, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    With the amount of kids to teachers in classes it is so tempting to do home schooling and seeing the world is fantastic. #fortheloveofBLOG
    Helena recently posted…My Sunday Photo: DuckMy Profile

    • July 31, 2016 / 6:56 pm

      Yes, absolutely! Although I couldn’t hack home schooling, unless we were on the road. The thought of doing it full time now makes me shudder! Thank you for commenting.
      Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Fail!!!!!!My Profile

  24. July 31, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    What a brilliant story and hats off to you indeed for home schooling…sounds like you did a brilliant job! I think it’s fantastic that you did that and had such an adventure with your family that I’m sure will be unforgettable! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Bridie By The Sea recently posted…What I’ve Loved Reading This Week – 30th JulyMy Profile

    • July 31, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Yes, certainly totally unforgettable. I think home schooling probably could have done itself and we could have kicked back!

  25. August 2, 2016 / 7:50 am

    Wow what an adventure for you all. That’s incredible and I absolutely salute you for keeping up the home schooling while on such an epic journey. You definitely gave your kids the biggest education of their lives with a round the world trip #fortheloveofblog
    Geraldine recently posted…Change Comes KnockingMy Profile

    • August 2, 2016 / 8:57 am

      Thank you so much for your comments. I would say that we kept it up in the loosest sense of the word. However, they all slotted back into school ok!

  26. August 2, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    Ha ha – your final paragraph really made me giggle and I loved the lighthearted tone of the post throughout. I bet the kids got soooooooooooo much out of the trip – more than they could ever have gained in school (and I’m a teacher!). Well done you guys! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Mindful Mummy Mission recently posted…Books by my bedsideMy Profile

  27. August 2, 2016 / 3:27 pm

    Thank you! To be honest we had a pretty light hearted tone throughout the trip. We sort of had a ‘go with the flow’ attitude to it and home schooling sort of went along in that vein too!

  28. August 5, 2016 / 9:10 pm

    What an incredible experience and how fab for your kids to have some education on the road. I’m a great believer in experiences and how they shape us! I couldn’t do it myself though, far too risk averse and not a great traveller ha ha!!

    #fortheloveofblog
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  29. August 6, 2016 / 8:43 am

    I’m sure you’d get into the travel vibe if you did it enough. I’ve just had hypnosis for a fear of flying 🙂 The experience has definitely shaped them. Thank you for your comments.

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