2nd World Schooling Progress Report
Our first world schooling progress report was way back in the Fall in which most students back home in the States were experiencing a Fall Break. We now write our 2nd progress report in the Spring. Many students back home have already, will soon, or are currently experiencing their Spring Break at this time.
As a traveling family who has had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to experience 11 different countries over the last eight months, we have grown accustomed to the ebb and flow of travel life. The impact of the ebb and flow and the requirement to be flexible has left its mark on our world schooling plans.
Due to the unreliable internet or times when it was available but at a very slow speed, blogging took a pause. Due to emergencies or scheduling challenges our plans to sit and do “school” also was interrupted. However, when faced with certain challenges, our initial desire for consistency, reliable technology, and routine soon were redirected to adaptability and flexibility with a focus on the following learning opportunities with our children.
First of all, we have immersed ourselves in a unit and lesson plan focused on social studies: geography (both human and physical), cultures, customs, foods, languages, and religions.
It has been a great pleasure to have a front row seat and watch our children soak up what it looks like, feels like, tastes like, smells like to live in areas of the world primarily made up of practicing Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. Visiting mosques and hearing the call to prayer five times a day for two months has been a highlight for our son. Visiting Buddhist temples and pagodas and discussing life with monks has been incorporated into school. The unpacking of these experiences has been a highlight too. Asking our children questions regarding their observations and allowing them to ask questions has been integral to the learning process.
Our children have both utilized and built upon the basics of spoken languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Thai, Malay, and a little bit of Mandarin. When asked which language he would like to learn to speak fluently, our oldest school-age son replied... “Spanish.” It is only fitting to near the end of our #DrinkwineTogether RTW journey in the Spanish speaking country of Ecuador. The daily immersion into the Spanish language is teaching him more than the basics. It is wonderful to see him struggle, process, and refine a new language.
We have also been able to experience a variety of weather and climates with our children and provide them with a hands-on experience of what it feels like to be close to the equator/sun. We've discussed what it is like to shift elevations, why it becomes so cold the higher you go, why some areas of the world are green and leafy and yet others are so brown and rocky? Perhaps the highlight of our physical geography lessons have been taking hikes up the mountains in Oman and specifically Table Mountain in South Africa.
We have not stopped with only immersion into social studies lessons. We’ve also enjoyed reading books and championing literacy. We have spent a season of our journey the last few months reading aloud the Andrew Peterson Wingfeather Series with our children. It is great watching them both utter the names of Janner, Tink, Leeli, Podo, Tink, and Nugget while we walk through streets of SE Asia. Very cool to watch both of them visualize the stories being read aloud and then choose to “interact” with the characters in their own imaginary worlds.
Furthermore, mathematics has been very organic. Instead of sitting down and specifically working on numbers, addition, drilling arithmetic, and practicing so as to “drill and kill,” we have allowed both of our children to practice their own buying and selling. Perhaps there is no greater example then our month in Penang, Malaysia. Our children had experienced the street vendors and hawkers for far too long at that part of our journey and wanted to start their own “business” too so as to not be left out of the local Malaysian economy. We navigated this with both of them and, in the end, enjoyed watching both of them at ages four and seven, begin to pick up principles such as supply and demand, savings, giving and accepting change, currency exchange rates, and more. Although this has been one of the most tricky (and honestly frustrating at times) lessons for our children, we have seen some benefits as it pertains to basic mathematical principles.
Overall, we’d say the world schooling experience since the first progress report has not been what we expected, but that is ok... it has turned out even better at times then what we may have thought we would experience. We now find ourselves preparing for re-entry into the U.S. and re-enrolling our oldest school-age son back into his school. He is excited and he has missed his peer group. It will be good to finish his 1st grade year strong. It will be interesting moving forward to watch both of our children continue their learning into the future. It truly has been an honor to lead them through this experience and we are humbled to have had this opportunity. Here is to more learning in the future! ;)