Tag Archives: homeschooling

“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.


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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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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We have spent a weekend together with a whole bunch of wonderful people of all ages at the annual meeting of the Swedish Homeschooling association. When we were driving back home, we talked about how being in charge of the children’s time and education has made it so much easier for us to do long term travel and to do whatever we’ve wanted. We have never needed to ask for permission from a teacher to go away, or to stay a bit longer if our plans have changed along the way.

Swedish Home School Organization

Swedish Home School Organization

Actually, a big part of why we have been doing long term travel in the first place has been the children’s education and to give them the possibility to learn as much as possible about the world and about people.

We have come across some expressions lately that now are used for this kind of education: travel schooling and world schooling for example.

I really like that. “We’re out travel schooling!” or “We spend time away from home world schooling!” It gives you a feeling for what it’s all about, doesn’t it? You’re out there in the world learning.

Visiting a school in a different culture can be great fun – here in a small village in the Yasava Islands, Fiji

Visiting a school in a different culture can be great fun – here in a small village in the Yasava Islands, Fiji

Of course, you don’t need to be home schooling full time to travel. Or you don’t need to be home schooling at all.

We know families who have traveled and stayed in a specific place where the children then have joined the local school for a while. And families where the children have gone to several different schools along the way.

Most families who travel long term though, just take the children out for a while, some months, half a year or a year and continue to work together with the teacher at home in different ways. They bring material to work on and keep in contact with the teacher through the internet.

We write some more about this subject on the Children and School pages.

Just remember that having children of school age doesn’t have to be a reason to stay at home – it’s actually a great reason not to stay at home!

Here’s a film from another family who travels and learns. You can also learn more about them on their website www.soultravelers3.com

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Our friends from “Have Kids – Will Travel”, the Bartlett family, are inviting other families to join them for a 7 day family cruise in the Caribbean in January.
The Norwegian Jewel
Sounds absolutely fantastic, doesn’t it? Just imagine taking some time off to join them and lots of other families and having the time to just relax, be together as a family and enjoy the sun, swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear waters, the company of other families, new adventures and create lots of happy memories together!

To us, family and travel is just the perfect combination. When you travel, you just let go of ell the everyday obligations and concerns and experience so many new things: new situations, new places, new people. You see and do things together, experiences that you will have in common and that will make you feel connected.

To travel as a family is just a fantastic way to strengthen your family bonds. And it’s fun! And you all learn so much!

Since the Bartlett’s are experts on inexpensive travel, they have managed to get a very good deal for this cruise. And, as they suggest themselves, why not take the opportunity to give your family the most fantastic Christmas gift (yes, we know, it’s a bit early to think about this now, but you may need some planning) instead of all the other stuff that probably doesn’t last that long anyway.

Why not give yourselves the ultimate holiday gift this year, a cruise in a fantastic location together with your whole family!

We’d sure love to be there ourselves and are looking into it at the moment.

Read more about this opportunity here: www.havekids-willtravel.com/cruise.aspx

As you can see from the invitation there will be some “Have Kids-Will Travel” seminars where you can learn more travel secrets.

And since many of the “Have Kids-Will Travel” readers and the Bartlett family themselves are homeschoolers we believe that this will be a great opportunity if you are interested in learning more on that subject as well.

Maybe this could even be the perfect opportunity to start you off in that new, independent, traveling lifestyle?

We love Network Travel!  We’d also love to see more people use this way of traveling and build relationships around the world. Here’s how Network Travel can work.

We are a homeschooling family. So, homeschooling is one area we know of and that we sometimes seek contacts within when we travel. When we have been traveling to the USA, New Zealand and Australia for example (or around Europe and even in Sweden where we usually live for that sake) we have got in contact with some different home school networks on the internet. We then write about us and tell people we are going to their country (or area). We ask if they would like to have some fellow homeschoolers come to visit or if someone wants help out with a place to stay or maybe just would want to meet for a cup of tea. We usually get quite a lot of people who answer and want to connect in some way. They invite us to come and stay in their house or to camp in their garden or to show us around when we arrive in their area. To help us find contacts in a place we want to go and where we don’t know anyone.

People around the world are usually very open to and interested in meeting with people whom they share a common interest with. We have traveled, and also stayed for free, for months like this, visiting new friends.

We are also open to helping people who contact us in the same way. We have had visitors from all over the world come to stay. Or we have found somewhere for them to stay in another part of Sweden (it’s actually a big country, but almost empty of people). Or we have met and guided them around in our beautiful capital or just connected in some other way.

Just now we are having a young man from Brazil staying for a while. So, even though we’re at home in Sweden at the moment, we haven’t lost contact with the rest of the world.

Our new friend Tilo, visiting from Brazil, meeting our friendly Hedgehog

Our new friend Tilo, visiting from Brazil, meeting our friendly Hedgehog

We have learned so much from him about his country. We’re all very grateful for not having to worry about Cayman crocodiles when we go swimming in our lake, for example. He has made us all very curious about Brazil and we’ve noticed that we have already started looking in to it in different travel books. It may very well be that South America is a place we’ll be going to in a not too distant future:grin:

So, this way of traveling is both to give and to get. When you travel, you get support in different ways. You also give friendship as well as share of yourself and teach people about your part of the world. You can also give in the form of being open to letting people contact you when they are away from their home.

Network Travel makes the world shrink. It helps you feel at home wherever you go and if you don’t go but stay at home, you can be connected to the rest of the world by having people contact you or coming to visit. It also makes you feel safer – you learn that you have friends everywhere!

Want to learn more about how you can use your networks to travel? Go to our Network Travel section.

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We’re homeschoolers. The world is our children’s school. And homeschooling families is a travel network we’ve used several times. But we also have other networks of course.

One time we were traveling to New Zealand and since it was the first time, we didn’t know anyone there. The first thing we did, when starting to plan the trip, was joining some different New Zealand Home Schooling groups on the internet. We told them we were a Swedish family planning to go to NZ and that we were looking for people to meet with and places to stay.

Soon, we had several invitations from these friendly Kiwis to come and visit. They lived all over both islands. From the furthest north to the most southern parts (whatever is north and south down there).

Some people invited us to come and visit for a day, others to stay for a longer time. Since we felt we wanted some “privacy”, as well as a way to transport ourselves around to all these places, we decided to rent a campervan. With our rolling home, we then went from family to family staying on their land, in their garden or yard and we didn’t spend one New Zealand Dollar on campsites or hotels or any other kind of accommodation.

Except having places to stay for free, we got many new friends and play mates, and also the opportunity to learn about both the local area we visited as well as the country in general.

We visited families living in many different surroundings and circumstances. One family had a vineyard where we could learn about the process of making wine (and do some tasting!). Another one lived in a place almost impossible to go to, but with the most amazing nature around. Check out this for example…

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

This was not the first, nor the last, time we used a travel network on our journeys. For us, it’s the most fantastic way to travel. It provides you with very cheap places to stay, often totally free. But it also gives you new friends who also can introduce you to this new place and the local customs. Read more about Network Travel here

Also, it’s not uncommon that people we have visited get inspired to travel and decide to come and visit us in return. So, now and then, we get a call or an e-mail saying something like: “We’re planning to go to Sweden, would it be possible to come and visit?” And this gives us the opportunity to give back what they once gave to us: a place to stay (with us or someone we know) and friendship in a foreign country.

So, what’s your travel network?

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