Tag Archives: education

Our World School: An End of Year Report

30 Dec

A living room with chequered tiles set up on the ceiling, at Scienceworks, Melbourne

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]

For anyone planning longterm travel with kids, anyone who would like to travel and is delaying having kids to do so, or any parents who would love to travel but feel they can’t because of the kids, probably the single biggest concern is what sort of education a child will get on the road.

This is also a major source of anxiety for other family members, particularly grandparents.

Honestly? Education, once you get the hang of it, is one of the easiest things about travelling as a family. I’ve posted before about the wonders of unschooling, a child-led approach to learning. I’ve also posted about the sheer hell of imposing a school-y structure on travelling, AKA death by long division.

Most of Z’s learning is hands-on, supplemented by almost entirely self-directed reading. We spend very little time on more formal learning, though I’ve had to learn a lot myself to keep up with his questions on the places we visit.

Here’s the end of year report card on my now-ten-year-old son’s roadschooling. I’m hoping travelling parents, prospective travelling parents and, for that matter, others considering alternatives to the school system, will find it useful. Continue reading

Advertisements

Tales from the Moluccas #2: Happiness on the Riverbank

3 Oct light shining through clove trees on pulau ternate, maluku, indonesia

Lima in his football shorts on the stony banks of the river

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]Lima has just discovered clothes. Three months ago, in fact. Compared to the itchy bark loincloths he used to wear, they’re remarkably comfortable. An excellent addition, he feels, to his eminently satisfactory life.

It would be hard not to warm to Lima. He’s 40ish, he thinks, or thereabouts, with a ready laugh, a happy soul and keen eyes below wiry brows and wrinkled forehead.

A hunter-gatherer from the Togutil tribe, one of four minorities scattered across the crumpled, riverine forest of Pulau Halmahera in Indonesia’s Spice Islands, Lima is, I think at first, the single happiest human being I have ever, ever met.

He wants, he tells me, for absolutely nothing, and desires nothing either. Continue reading

Buddhism: the Planet’s Whipping Boy?

18 Jul

Yak dressed as Buddhist monk, from Dance Mat Typing programme.[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]It’s often said, generally by Christians of the scary-to-very-scary variety, that folk can be far ruder about Christianity than any of the world’s “great religions” and get away with it.

Now, when it comes to what my ma used to call “the People of the Book” but now terms “the Sky God religions”, this may well be true. When it comes to Buddhism, however, it seems that anything goes.

Even on the BBC! In fact, the nine year old has recently put fingers to keyboard and sent a stern email to the Director-General of the Beeb.

It reads, in its entirety: Continue reading

Unschooling. Or Learning as You Go.

23 May

Climbing a ladder on the back of a sangthaew taxi-van. On the Mekong, Four Thousand Islands, Laos.

About to cross the Mekong. Laos.

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]It’s a truism that one learns by travelling, and a cliche that travel broadens the mind.

From the days when English noblemen embarked on that aristocratic GAP year, the Grand Tour of Europe, to today’s school trips, summer camps, foreign exchanges and volunteer placements, travel has been key to education.

So, when we went to see the nine-year-old’s school before we set out on our long journey around the world, it seemed pretty obvious that he would learn far more travelling on four continents and fifteen or so countries than he would in his (extremely good) London primary.

Although I wouldn’t have expected his headteacher to make that point for me…

One thing I didn’t really know, though, was how the learning would work. So where we’ve ended up, after some vicissitudes, is with an educational philosophy called unschooling. Continue reading

Creative Writing

8 Mar

Lakeside pavilion, Forbidden Purple City, Hue, Vietnam

Perhaps a Safer Creative Writing Topic than the Vietnam War?

As part of our homeschooling topic on the Vietnam War, Z has been reading Chickenhawk. While not as “adult” as the current meaning of the title suggests, Bob Mason’s account of flying helicopters during the Vietnam War is, I suspect, a very accurate description of how soldiers lived and, more relevantly, spoke.

So I’m not sure what part of my brain was engaged when I suggested to Z that, when crafting his creative writing piece on the Vietnam War, he should be sure to include some dialogue to bring his characters out a little more. Continue reading

I Heart Cambodia – Part 1

19 Feb

sun starting to set over angkor watZ and I are sitting in pitch blackness on the laterite stairs overlooking the lake of Banteay Kdei, Cambodia, between a sculpted Khmer lion and the light of a Chinese guy’s tripod, some unsightly period before 6am.

Tourist lore dictates that, when experiencing the grandeur of the Khmer god-kings, and the Angkor sights, one sees a sunrise. Holding to the belief that sunrises are best experienced without busloads of fellow travellers, I have picked Banteay Kdei as being less crowded than Ta Prohm.

“You wan’ buy flute?” asks a boy, who is probably in his early teens, for perhaps the fifteenth time.

“No, thank you,” I say, for probably the thirteenth time. “I do not want to buy a flute. I no want flute. Thank you.”

The per capita income in Cambodia is around $2000. When you take the elite out of the equation, it means most people earn very much less than that.

“I make you good price! One dollar!!! For your baby!” Continue reading