Tag Archives: Education

“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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“To be able to be brave,

you first have to be afraid”

A remark from one of the younger participants of our unconventional gathering last week, Lukas, 10. Many more wise and inspirational things came up when we gathered together, asko201030 adults with about 40 children, to discuss and brainstorm around the issue of how to create our financial futures.

Since we were quite a lot of homeschoolers, many of us had already “seen the light”. When you’re not part of a school system and not bound to be in one specific place at certain times for the kid’s education, it’s easy to start fantasizing around how it would be if you could apply this to your work life as well.

  • What if I didn’t have to “go to work” every day?
  • What if I could work from anywhere?
  • If I could work part time and have loads of time free?
  • If I could have a seasonal job?
  • Create a passive income?
  • Really focus on the one thing I love and create a business out of that?
  • Have several, smaller projects and devote myself to all the things I’m passionate about?
  • How could I create a lifestyle that would allow me to travel the world with my family?
  • How could I take a break for a year to contemplate about what I’d want to do with my life?
  • What would my dream life look like?

Many questions arose during the 3 days (out of the week) when we were focusing on “Money, Job and Life”. And many answers and ideas were provided! Ideas and solutions which probably wouldn’t have come up if we had been sitting on our own trying to figure these things out. It’s so true what they say, that when you get together and use all your combined capacity to focus on solutions, 2 and 2 actually doesn’t make 4 – but 5!

Yes, it’s extremely powerful to do something like this with a group of people who all have an interest in finding solutions outside of the 9 to 5 box and I really encourage you all to do it. Find people around you, close by or more far away (you can always create a Skype group or similar) and start looking into what you want to do with your life and how it would be possible to do it. Create a network, or join ours, which we’ll soon have ready.

Take some kind of step to start living the life you’re dreaming about and that you are entitled to. What will be your one first step towards this, today, now? And you are welcome to share your first step here in the comments. The more you go public with it, the more real it gets.

If you want to stay updated to what will happen with our networking project in the future you can leave your email at www.asko2010.info

Here are some pictures from the week:

asko2010 meeting

Meeting in the "conference centre" = our barn

asko2010 wifi

Internet Cafe in the barn

asko2010 tug of war

Tug of war with the "kids" (ages 2-22)

Frode, 3, using Skype for the first time

Frode, 3, using Skype for the first time

asko2010 night

Late meeting by the fire

Relaxing by the fire

Relaxing by the fire

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It may sound a bit provocative, but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.
Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.
We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?
Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?
Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.
Here are a few of the things they brought up:
Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole wagon full of Amish
Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin –  himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.
By the way, what would you like your kids toIt may sound a bit provocative, but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.
Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.
We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?
Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?
Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.
Here are a few of the things they brought up:
Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole wagon full of Amish
Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin –  himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.
By the way, what would you like your kids to experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?
experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?

Well, maybe we don’t have to take it to the extreme here:), but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.

Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.

We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?

Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?

Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.

Aurora with a bread fruit in Kerala, India

Aurora with a bread fruit in Kerala, India

Helping friends with the olive harvest in the mountains north of Marbella, Spain

Helping friends with the olive harvest in the mountains north of Marbella, Spain

Aron in the ”French” part of New Zealand – the cute little town Akaroa

Aron in the ”French” part of New Zealand – the cute little town Akaroa

Here are a few of the things they mentioned:

  • Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
  • Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
  • Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
  • Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
  • Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
  • Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
  • Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole carriage full of Amish
  • Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
  • Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
  • Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
  • Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin –  himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
  • Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
The girls with friends participating as volunteers at the Children’s Book Festival, Nanaimo, Canada

The girls with friends participating as volunteers at the Children’s Book Festival, Nanaimo, Canada

I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.

By the way, what would you like your kids to experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?

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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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