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Oh! The Places You'll Go!

Niki asks:
We plan to take the kids and travel for the better part of the year.  I am concerned about "losing" this academic year and falling behind, especially in math and science.  Do you have any suggestions or advice for us regarding planning for that year and/or using the natural learning opportunities that come up that year and creatively including them in a transcript?

I don't think you can prevent a child from learning.  Just traveling will teach them enormous amounts that you simply can't learn from books!  And you know, unschoolers succeed all the time.  How much more will you be able to succeed if you are unschooling across the globe?  Go for it!  It sounds like great educational fun, and an experience that is not to miss!  Just expose them to information all along the way.  As you travel, have them read books on each area, and learn some of the language.  Learn naturally as you go along.  The year will NOT be lost - it will enrich you and your children, and make them a more interesting college applicant!

If I can make a couple of suggestions.  First, take a math book.  This is just my opinion, and others will have another way of doing things, of course.  If you can encourage them to be consistent with math, it will help you feel like the year isn't wasted.  It's pretty easy to accumulate 3 science credits for high school even if you take a year off.  Math skills, on the other hand, tend to be lost if they aren't used.  If you have them do a little bit of math every day, it may help them to retain that information.  Even if they just do a couple of problems,  it can help keep those skills!  If they are working at a high school level in math, consider getting an SAT work book, and just doing a few math problems each day.

My second suggestion is to take a journal.  Having your kids write their experiences every day can help to solidify their learning.  It will provide daily practice with writing, and give you a place to record everything they did and learned.  When it comes time for a transcript, you can read over those activities, and catalog them into different classes.  It will help you estimate the hours spend on each course, which will help you with determining the credit value.

Above all, be thankful you are homeschooling!  What a wonderful experience that you are able to have as an independent homeschooler!  Woo Hoo!

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With your tremendous outpouring of support we have catapulted from 5th to 3rd place in Best Business blog.  (We are still languishing in 7th place for Best Encourager and, if she wasn't so darn upbeat all the time, Lee might become discouraged by that!)  We need about 40 more votes to make it to first (make that 50, we can't expect the leader to stand still!)  Please take a moment to vote.  It won't solve world hunger, but I bet it will make Lee smile!  Thanks, Matt.
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Comments 2

Guest - J W on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 07:10

Ooooooo, I'm soooooo jealous! If there's one thing my challenged kinesthetic/experiential learner says about how she wants to learn, it's "I want to go to... and see the..."

Similarly, I'm very jealous of Michelle Obama. I know the Obamas are thinking about where to send the little girls to school for the next 4 years. I know what I'd be doing without a shadow of a doubt! We'd be the first homeschooling 1st family! We'd be all over DC (especially the Smithsonian) and the world!

Ooooooo, I'm soooooo jealous! If there's one thing my challenged kinesthetic/experiential learner says about how she wants to learn, it's "I want to go to... and see the..." Similarly, I'm very jealous of Michelle Obama. I know the Obamas are thinking about where to send the little girls to school for the next 4 years. I know what I'd be doing without a shadow of a doubt! We'd be the first homeschooling 1st family! We'd be all over DC (especially the Smithsonian) and the world!
Guest - J W on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 07:23

I recently read a book called "One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Tour With Our Children" by David Cohen. Past the opening chapters, it's absolutely hilarious. It's quite obvious, though, that the parents had no clue about homeschooling. They hadn't done it before, and they jumped in with both feet and high expectations. They thought they could do it en route, which is fine, but they failed to realize that all they really needed was the bare minimum (as Lee suggested). So because they bit off more than they could chew, they felt they needed to spend a few months in Australia so they could take advantage of free public schools. I doubt the kids learned any more than they would have if they had just gone home to America at that point. But they would definitely have learned more from a few more stops around the world, or from more time spent in each place they went.

I recently read a book called "One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Tour With Our Children" by David Cohen. Past the opening chapters, it's absolutely hilarious. It's quite obvious, though, that the parents had no clue about homeschooling. They hadn't done it before, and they jumped in with both feet and high expectations. They thought they could do it en route, which is fine, but they failed to realize that all they really needed was the bare minimum (as Lee suggested). So because they bit off more than they could chew, they felt they needed to spend a few months in Australia so they could take advantage of free public schools. I doubt the kids learned any more than they would have if they had just gone home to America at that point. But they would definitely have learned more from a few more stops around the world, or from more time spent in each place they went.
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