Tag Archives: Child

“We just want to take a break and to experience the world and other cultures and people together with our children”, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit of Norway told the press the other day.

haakonmette

The Norwegian Crown Prince family

We, of course :-) , think they’re doing the right thing going traveling the world and spending time together as a family. The parents call it “an educational trip” and say they want to teach their three children, aged 4, 6 and 13, about diversity, show them a bit of the world, that there are many different cultures and ways to live.

They will be away for two months (which probably is a really long trip royal wise) and will take care of the education themselves. I love the fact that the royal family of Norway will be homeschooling :-) !

There has been criticism to this trip (of course) and especially to the fact that the children will be taken out of school. Arguments like “they will fall behind” are not to uncommon, and this especially I find really unrealistic and unconsidered and the total opposite of my own experience.

There’s obviously a growing trend of parents taking their kids out of school for a one or two weeks holiday which I think is great. A couple of weeks is of course not exactly a long term trip, but at least a chance to spend time together as a family for a while in a new environment and experience something together. Usually a one or two week trip doesn’t require any special focus on the school issue. You just let go of everthing and take a break.

When you’re away for months though, most parents usually give the school issue much more focus. If the kids go to school when you’re at home, you might get plans to follow and material to bring. If you’re used to homeschooling, you just adjust your way of learning to the new situation. But either way, you will probably spend a lot of thinking and focus on the kids learning and it will be a big part of the trip.

And that’s the big difference between going away for a week or two compared to taking a trip for 6 months or a year (or two months for that matter). It’s another way of thinking and it’s a different way of living. And when you travel long term, when the trip is a part of your life, you will see things to learn everywhere. You will experience everything as “education” and the amount of things a child (and you too) will learn when you’re out in the world is massive. Because, as someone had commented regarding this royal trip “the school of life is really the one that’s most important”.

So, I’m really curious to follow this family on their new adventure which will start at the end of November. Now they of course want to be as private as possible and don’t want any involvement of the press, but at least it will be interesting to hear about their experiences when they get back and to see if they have changed in any way.

Come to think of it, maybe we should ask for an interview when they get back! Yes, we definitely will!

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“I want to take my girl of 10 on a gap year”: Emma Thompson puts travel before school.

Emma Thompson

Extended World Traveler to be, Emma Thompson, in one of our (especially our daughters) favourite movies “Sense and Sensibility”

This is the headline of an article someone just sent me. I was really thrilled to see that Ms Thompson obviously follows our blog and has read our recent post “Why do kids need school when they can travel” and quickly taken some action on that (you can always dream) :)

I’m sure the family will have a great time together during their traveling year. And I’m convinced that Gaia, the daughter, will learn loads of things (well, the parents too of course) that’ll benefit her for the rest of her life.

As we have mentioned over and over again, first hand experiences of the world give kids knowledge they can never acquire in a class room. When you see different places with your own eyes, hear sounds with your own ears, experience wonderful (and less wonderful) smells with your own nose, things become a part of you in ways that you never come close to, reading about them in books.

Not to mention all the meetings with different people that take place when you’re out there, traveling the world. People from other cultures, religions, colours, with other political views and who live under totally different circumstances than your own.

Obviously, and sadly, the “National Association of Head Teachers spokesman” who’s quoted in the article, doesn’t have much experience from traveling with kids. Nor does he/she seem to be very informed about how children really learn. It’s good to be aware of, that as a potential long term traveling parent, you can be met with remarkable ignorance from school officials. I assure you though, that when you’re away on your trip, and see how your child is developing and learning and thriving, you’ll know you’ve done the right thing!

Way to go Emma! Have a great trip!

You can find the article HERE

“Do not let school get in the way of a good education”
– Loesje

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There is a common belief among many, who haven’t tried it yet, that your marriage or the relationship with your kids wouldn’t survive if you did some extended travel together. For us, this is not our experience at all. And neither the experience of almost all the travelers we have met throughout the years. On the contrary, the vast majority of them say that traveling together for longer periods can be a great way to improve relationships (those who don’t think so, often agree that their relationship wouldn’t have survived even if they’d stayed at home).

Dolphin

As we see it, extended travel is one of the best things if you want to improve relationships, and a great way to get a strong connection to your kids


In our everyday lives today, there’s not much time to look after our relationships. It’s not uncommon that couples hardly get the chance to see each other because of heavy working loads as well as other commitments. And many parents and children only meet in the early morning or late at night when they are already exhausted or stressed out. Living under these circumstances doesn’t allow much room to enjoy and improve close relationships and make them stronger.

One of the biggest advantages of doing some extended travel together is, as we see it, the possibilities to reconnect with people close to you and rediscover who they are. When you’re away with your near and dear ones, exploring the world, you’ll experience adventure and have lots of fun together and learn new things about yourselves and about the world. And most important of all, you’ll have time!

To spend lots of time together with your children is a good thing. The concept of small amounts of “quality time” doesn’t always work. Have you ever experienced having planned some really fun quality time like Christmas or Disneyland and it turns into a disaster? Expectations can be so high at occasions like that that there’s no way to live up to them.

Going away on a long journey gives you lots of time together. You get the good as well as the bad (whatever that is) and from the quantity time, you will get lots of quality time as well. The times we have spent traveling with each other and our children have almost exclusively been an absolute joy for us. It has brought us closer together and we now share lots of great memories. So for us, traveling has really been a way to improve relationships, and not only within our family, but of course also with friends as well and relatives who have been part of our trips in one way or another.

Traveling together has really helped us to create a strong family bond and if this is something you’re dreaming of too, we think there’s no better way than extended travel!

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

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A while ago we asked the question why is families that do long term travel so uncommon? Judging from the feedback we got, school and money are definitely the most common reasons that stand in the way. Well , for most people money is usually the most popular reason but when it comes to families , then school is just as important.

Long term travel offers many real life opportunities for learning <br> Today we learn about the Alhambra...

Long term travel offers many real life opportunities for learning - Today the Alhambra, Tomorrow???


This hasn’t been the case for us since we have homeschooled most of the time even when we haven’t been traveling but we can very well understand the worries that may arise since we ran into the same kind of concerns when we started homeschooling our children. Could we do it? Would they learn anything? How about friends? And on and on… Not to mentioned how family, friends and even authorities here in Sweden were questioning our decision.

Being questioned like that we of course had to take a closer look at all these worries to see if it made sense to us or if we were just being crazy. We spent a lot of time, years and years, reading and studying the subject of schooling and how children (well ,everybody) learns.

To be honest the conclusion we came to is that school is probably not the best place for an ideal learning situation. We don’t want to be disrespectful of all the teachers and all the people working so hard in schools trying their best to teach children. It is just that the school system in itself is not the perfect set up.

Learning is a natural ability. We learn all the time from everything that is around us and from all that happens to us. We learn from seeing, doing, hearing, reading, and experiencing things. We learn from our failures as well as from our successes. We learn by asking as well as by answering questions. We learn by free will without even being asked to. We learn all the time without even thinking about it. Learning is a lot of fun and not a struggle.

In my personal opinion , by making school compulsory and forcing children to learn against their will, you start off on the wrong foot. You run into a constant uphill battle where the teachers try to motivate the children to learn by offering rewards or threatening with punishments. A human natural behavior is turned into a forced one and the joy of learning goes out the window. And the sad thing is, I believe, that is what happens when children start school. They start first grade happy and eager to learn and after a year or two the light in their eyes have gone out and learning is boring.

I could see this in my own life. And it was not until we started homeschooling our own children and saw the enthusiasm with which they embraced learning that I rediscovered my own joy for learning.

Sorry if I got a bit carried away there. It’s just that learning has become a subject that is very close to my heart. It makes me happy to see kids enjoy learning. And I also want to inspire others to rediscover their joy of learning just like I did

Am I getting of topic here? Not really because what we also discovered is that traveling is a great way of learning, probably one of the best. When traveling, you are constantly faced with new situations and circumstances. And every new situation is a new learning opportunity. The amount of learning that happens when you are out traveling can never be achieved in a classroom. And the amazing thing is that we have had reports from families saying that even if the children for instance have done no math exercises during their whole 6 month journey their understanding of math have still improved and they have no problem keeping up. Rather the opposite, they have very often moved ahead of the rest of the class!

So what I am trying to say here is: Don’t let school be a reason that stops you from long term travel. On the contrary, let your children’s education be the reasons why you need to go on that journey. Give them a real understanding of the world which I am sorry to say they won’t find in text books in a class room.

Somewhere you can find a lot of good stuff about long term travel and learning is on the Soultravelers3 blog.

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