Teaching your own child is both challenging and rewarding. When the student is your own flesh and blood, it may be difficult to gain same authority as a teacher would at school. Yet still you get to spend all days with your child and watch him learn in practise every day. We have been teaching our now 8-year-old son Leevi while travelling round the world for six months.
Education system in our home country Finland is very well established. We have an excellent public school system which starts with preschool at age of six and first grade of elementary school usually at seven. Most children in Finland attend local public school – the closest one to their home. Only in the biggest cities there are differences in what the school emphasizes on and some parents may try choose a school for their kids based on that. Otherwise every public school follows the same educational guideline or “plan”, which determines what children at different age levels should learn and what kind of teaching methods teachers should focus on.
Finnish parents are entitled to choose the form of teaching for their children though. Even though majority chooses public schooling, some put their kids to private schools and some do homeschooling and teach their kids themselves. Despite of the form of education chosen, kids’ home towns or municipalities are required to arrange some form of control of how children succeed in following the educational guidelines. Therefore we too have been “controlled” by our son’s school while travelling.
Checking how far we are from home when in New Zealand.
Worldschooling in practise
Our son Leevi started his school education by going to first grade in normal public school last August (2016). He went to school everyday until our departure in the beginning of December. He was practically reading and writing by the time we left as well as doing well in calculations. That made everything so much easier.
For the first couple of months of our journey we were somewhat lazy in doing school work by the books. Rather than doing exercises on books we practiced for example counting when on the move on buses or at restaurants and reading while on a plane to our next destination. We actually did not even have any actual school books with us except the practise activity book for Finnish language – writing that is. We had access to digital school books whenever online. However, in so many countries the wifi connections were so bad that we could not get the material even opened. So we practiced other ways.
We put a lot of emphasis on learning about the countries, their history and culture oursekves too. Whenever Leevi had a question about something interesting he saw, we read or found out about it together. So biology, history, culture, religions and English language are something our son has definitely learnt about much more than he would have if taking regular classes at regular school.
Leevi’s school and especially his teacher has been the greatest help with our worldschooling months and travelling. They have made it very easy for us, for which we are forever grateful! The form of control on Leevi’s progress of learning has been exams. Just as if he was in regular school. We had all the spring term exams with us and had to report them back to Leevi’s teacher. We were quite surprised how well he actually has done on the exams, considering how little we have practiced on the books!
Pics in order: Seafood market in Sydney. The making of civet cat poop coffee in Bali. Steering a 150-year-old sailing boat in Sydney. Feeding kangaroos in Brisbane.
The form of roadschooling requires patience and determination from both the parents and the child. It requires actual work while vacationing and travelling. It is very easy to forget while enjoying your time exploring amazing new places or just having fun at pools and beaches. It requires self-discipline especially if neither or the travelling adults (or the only one) is doing any kind of work him or herself while travelling. Roadschooling requires some routinity which may make it challenging if routines are what you want to escape from on your round-the-world journey!
Doing school work in Brisbane, Australia & snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico.