We have now been on the road for seven months. As expected and mentioned in our post Learning On the Road, we planned on doing semi-structured World Schooling. I think we are achieving that, although a little less structured than I had anticipated.
How we think its going
I think that World Schooling is going really well. Olivia has learnt so much and benefited from visiting so many amazing places.
To start with it was very hard to get into the groove (still not quite there). We found ourselves out exploring and visiting so many places that we had no time at home (in the RV) to do any formal/structured work. We really have not covered as much structured work as I had intended or would have liked. But I think Olivia has learnt so much in other ways that I am not too worried. Plus, she is only 6!
What World Schooling Means to Us
To us World Schooling, is about actively seeking out learning opportunities no matter where we are. It is about broadening horizons and allowing Olivia to see the world and experience as many aspects of life as possible. Whether it be in museums, caves, markets, playgrounds, on campsites, in art galleries, walking through gorges, woodland, shopping, cooking, doing jobs and DIY around the RV. We encourage conversations about all topics and things we do and see. It involves meeting people from every background, faith, nationality, age and race. We want her to realise she can do and be anything she wants if she just tries.
We found it hard at times to put enough time aside to sit down and do structured work. Mainly as we were too busy exploring and visiting amazing places. So rather than sit down every day doing structured work we fitted it in on wet days, rest days and days that George was working. This worked well and regularly Olivia would ask to cover specific topics and be keen to work.
We tried to keep up with Olivia’s maths using workbooks, Maths whizz, and using Magformers to build shapes and discuss fractions. We also give Olivia pocket money and encourage her to spend it in shops, getting her to work out how much she needs etc.
For English, we continued using her grammar, punctuation and spelling workbooks as well as a great comprehension book. She also has both digital and proper books, fiction and non fiction which she spends lots of time reading.
We covered art in many ways. We took a trip to Carrières de Lumières to see a Van Gogh projection mapping exhibit. Took in many different forms of street art in various countries. We viewed and discussed many Roman mosaics and she even made her own one from lego and another from tiles and grout. She made birthday cards for family and friends. After exploring Lascaux caves and seeing the cave paintings she created her own using ochre. She took part in some of the online Home Ed art challenges with friends back home and designed many outfits in her Top Model books.
We completed mini-projects, covering various topics based on what we were seeing on our travels. These covered Romans, cave painting, Gustave Eiffel, rocks and minerals, myths and legends and salt marshes to name a few.
Science was covered with mini experiments such as our own salt marsh after visiting one in France, chemistry and melting ice. We also undertook engineering building challenges with lego and Magformers such as building the colosseum, making spinning tops and making a compass. The Alchemy2 app is also a fun science app which Olivia likes to use on the go.
Olivia has also started doing a Khan Academy Computer programming course which she is really enjoying and progressing well.
Being on the road and in different countries gave us the opportunity to start learning some different languages. Olivia learnt a few basic phrases in both French and Italian and picked up quite a few more words and phrases from making friends, restaurants, and just generally being immersed in the countries.
Tours of various locations were a huge hit and very beneficial for Olivia. We booked and went on quite a few, both audio and guided tours while on the road. Olivia found the tours great, she was engaged, met some lovely people and learnt a lot more than when we just walked around. She would regularly excitedly tell us about interesting facts she had found out about and would join in conversations and share her knowledge and ask questions.
We bought Olivia a pair of over-ear headphones so she was more comfortable and could really focus on the audio.
We took tours of Lascaux Caves, the Colosseum, the Nimes Amphitheatre, the Pompeii Archaeological site, Grottes de Azé, Le Salin d’Aigues-Mortes salt marshes, the Haribo Museum, Vulcania, L’Aventure Michelin and many more.
Out and About
The more destinations, the greater the variety of cultures, histories and societies you can explore. We have been on so many adventures, seen so much already and made many friends along the way. We have covered so many topics and experienced so much we would never have if we were still stuck at home.
Olivia gets so many hands-on opportunities and we really find this is the best way for her to learn. She has piloted boats, learnt to fish, learnt to swim, completed rope courses, visited many museums and historical and geological places, walked on Roman roads, been in a canoe, climbed volcanoes, experienced art and so much more.
Child Led Learning
Since being on the road, Olivia has done a lot more child-led learning. She will regularly make up stories, make powerpoints, and research things she is interested in off her own back. She loves reading and gets through loads of books, in both paper and digital form.
Olivia will ask to cover particular topic and to do projects on places we have been or to further research facts she has been interested by.
Friends and Socialising
Yes, we missed our friends and family and unfortunately, we also found that there were fewer children around on campsites than we expected. But we made a point of going to local parks after school hours and at weekends. This enabled Olivia to play with other children.
Once Olivia got more confident she made friends in France and Italy, both adults and children. One of the joys of travelling and world schooling is that Olivia is able to socialise with people of all ages.
It is sad that she can at times go a few days, even a week without seeing children, but when she does make friends she gets their addresses and tries to keep in contact with them online.
When we are back near home we make sure to spend as much time as possible catching up with close friends and family and getting in those all important play dates. She is very lucky that once back near home we are welcomed back into our Home Ed community of close friends and the children just pick up from where they left off.
I think we managed to get the balance of resources that we brought with us right. Most, if not all of the educational resources we carry in the RV with us have been used at least once which is fantastic.
Some of the online resources did not live up to what we wanted such as Oaka Digital and Meet Libby. We did however use our board games for learning such as Scrabble, Yahtzee, Rummikub, Articulate Kids and Risk.
The one thing that I did not anticipate when we left home was just how much Olivia would use my laptop. She loves writing stories and making powerpoints for fun. It was so frustrating losing my laptop that when we got back to the UK we bought her one of her own!
You can see a list of our Top World Schooling Resources here.
Freedom, Independence and Confidence
On campsites, Olivia has the freedom to roam, make friends and play. She certainly plays outside more than she used to at home. I feel that a campsite is like a 1980’s cul-de-sac, where children come knocking on each other’s doors, play out together making up games and getting dirty until dark. This has boosted her confidence no end and she has made many friends and language is usually no obstacle. This freedom to play and explore has given her the independence she craves and we have seen her grow in so many ways from this.
I don’t think that world schooling has been a big leap from Home Schooling for us. We were always out and about learning in different locations when we were living in our house. But I do think our move to World Schooling has been very successful. Olivia has grown and learnt so much on the road. Her vocabulary and comprehension have both grown significantly along with her confidence. I think learning has become more relaxed and comes far more naturally with everything we do.
By World Schooling, I am facilitating Olivia’s learning in the real world. I feel she is learning things that she wouldn’t learn in a classroom setting. That replacing the classroom with the world enables Olivia to prepare for adulthood in a much more authentic way. She gets to learn some of the more important lessons in life, the need to look after our environment, understand human history to create a better future, all people are people and deserve to be treated with respect and anyone can make a difference.
If the smiles, gasps and looks of sheer amazement she regularly has on her face was not enough to tell you how much she is enjoying our adventures. Then the excited way she tells her friends about the places she has been is.