Worldschooling

 

worldschoolingImagine the idea of the world being your classroom. No four walls to limit your learning. In fact your education wouldn’t start at 8 am and end when the bell rings at 3pm, it would be much longer than that. Now add to that the thrill of being in another part of the world, learning about different cultures and languages, by experiencing them, being immersed in them. That is the idea of worldschooling.

My late husband, Ian, was raised all over the world. He went to school in England and Australia. His mother grew up in Africa and Portugal. His brother lives in Bulgaria. To him the world was an open classroom. He was a worldschooler in many ways. We were able to do a lot of traveling together before he passed. We traveled to Mexico, Portugal, Spain, England. He had high hopes of traveling to China, but he died before those plans were realized. He was so enthralled with learning other cultures and appreciated cultural differences. He seemed at home anywhere he went. I loved that quality about him.
We were able to pass that love of travel onto our daughter Big Z. She was with us for most of those trips abroad. She was a pro at flying and seemed at home exploring different cultures. I was sure I wanted to pass this love of the world to both of my children after their dad died. So the three of us went on adventures and long road trips together. We drove to Canada and visited Niagara Falls. We drove to Vermont and visited family and friends along the way. We enjoyed fantastic foods and met new friends along the way.
Fast forward to several years later, now Poose and I have high hopes of exposing our family to wonderful traveling adventures. Our family regularly takes trips to State Parks to camp and explore. Since Poose and I got married last June we’ve already been to 5 states together as a family. We are planning to do some long term traveling this summer. I am very excited about the possibilities and the adventures that awaits us. It is so wonderful to have found someone that has a shared vision of exploration.
Some families are out there traveling the globe with their children. Some of my favorites are Lainie and Miro in Peru.  I particularly love that she is a single mom. They just finished up doing a TedX talk sharing their experiences. Another is eadventuregirl she has visited 24 countries with her family over a 7 year period. She has a fantastic blog sharing her learning experiences while traveling. They have lots of experience in world travel.  My very close friend has taken this idea to the extremes of the Mexican desert. There she writes about their adventures surviving the many differences of life in Mexico. Her teenage son recently did a video blog of what life was like where they live, HERE. 
I am so in love with the idea of world schooling. I believe it can help children grow to be well rounded, and interesting adults. I think exposing them to different people and different places helps them to be tolerant and open minded. You can’t help but learn when you are exposed to new ideas and new places. I hope you will check back in the future, I plan on writing more about our travels. What places have you visited and what have you learned? What do you think of the idea of worldschooling?

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TV

tv

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever learned something from watching TV?”  This is how Laura Endres opened one of her talks at a recent unschooling convention. A sea of hands went up in the audience, and she says, “The TV debate is over.”  The TV is a learning tool.

I struggled with the issue of television watching in my home for a long time. I felt I needed to be restrictive and that my kids gravitated towards the TV much to often. We experimented with National Turn Off TV Week, and it was a success.  At that time we had every bell and whistle with our cable TV. It was free to us because Ian worked for the cable company. I struggled with all of the commercials and negativity that was spread through the TV.
Now several years have passed since we’ve had cable TV. The expense was too much, and it wasn’t worth it to me to pay to have stuff I didn’t want streamed into my house anyway. We now use a digital antenna and are able to receive about 8 channels, most of them being PBS channels and the basic networks. We also have a Netflix subscription and Poose’s family brought with them a subscription to Hulu. This has provided us with more than enough entertainment options. Our family has such a wide variety of ages and interests, yet we’ve been able to meet everyone’s needs this way.
My youngest enjoys shows like Super Readers, Wild Kratts and Ready, Jet Go!. My teens all enjoy shows like The Flash and Gilmore Girls. They are also big on YouTube and watching Rhett and Link and silly vines. Poose and I love to watch historical dramas. We recently finished watching Roots, we borrowed it from a friend, then passed it along to the children to watch. We are now hooked on English dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and our current favorite is Lark Rise to Candleford. As a family we all enjoyed the Civil War drama recently on PBS called Mercy Street.
I would say we have all learned from watching things on the TV. For me history has come alive through watching movies. The TV can be a learning tool. It can expose us to places and cultures that we may never able to visit in person. It can also expose us to new ideas, good and bad. We have found what works for our family. I prefer not to have hundreds of channels with commercials, but we have found a good balance for us taking advantage of PBS, Netflix and Hulu.
What works for your family? Do you use the TV as a learning tool? What are your favorite TV programs?

History

 

history

There are so many fabulous ways to learn about events that happened in the past. Looking back on my high school experiences, History was one of my least favorite subjects. Though as an adult I love history. Historical fiction, in books and movies, is my very favorite. I also enjoy reading historical biographies and enjoy going to historical reenactments. Sad to say that is now how history was presented to me. It was given to me in large volumes of textbooks where I was forced to answer the questions at the end of the chapter in complete sentences. I had to binge on the info until I was able to purge it onto the test. I would get great scores, and I wouldn’t learn a thing, except how the system worked.

History is all around us. If I walk to the local park and read the signs along the way I learn more about the history of my neighborhood. The area where I live has a very interesting history related to the civil war. My house is old, and it has it’s own history. An professional baseball player once lived here and the town mayor when this was a busy little town. That is history that applies to me and I find fascinating. History can be brought alive in my imagination as I learn more about where I live and the people that lived here before me.
Traveling also brings many opportunities to learn history. We often go camping and stay in State Parks. There is usually some sort of historical museum or house at each of the parks we visit. Recently we went to Croft State Park,SC and learned about it’s history in relation to World War II.It was used as a prisoner of war camp. This brought up some interesting discussions for our family. Most towns have great learning opportunities. We have a fantastic history museum as well as many historical homes that offer tours. My children and I thoroughly enjoy living history events. We love getting into the feel of what it must have been like to live in the past.
Our children enjoy watching movies, the older girls are currently watching ROOTS. We also enjoyed watching the PBS series, Mercy Street, together.  I find it interested as an adult to realize that many of the “facts” I was taught in school, weren’t true by any means. It’s good to look back and learn from our past. But it’s good to have accurate information, unfortunately school text books are often filled with out of date and false information.
I’ve discussed a few ways our family enjoyed learning history. What are some of your favorite time periods to learn about? How does your family go about learning from the past? Do you have any favorite historical dramas or books you’d like to recommend?