Tag Archives: math

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

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

Unschooling Rocks!

24 Apr Drawing of the troll battle in Artemis Fowl

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]
Well, I am quite childishly excited today. This unschooling approach has really worked wonders!

Parents, grandparents and a never-ending stream of teachers have sweated blood and tears trying to get my (epically) reluctant writer to put pen to paper for more than two seconds at a time.

So I almost fell off my chair when he piped up, “I’m going to create a folder in my Essays and Stories folder called Aliens. And then I’m going to invent some aliens and put them in there.”

“Oh!” I said, not quite believing what I was hearing. “Are you going to write about the aliens or draw them?”

“I’m going to write about them,” he says. Continue reading

The Mysteries of Maths…

21 Mar

Z in riverside bar, Vang Vieng, Laos

No, Please, Not Maths Again.

“Home” schooling this week has been, I think, quite successful. Z has produced a gorgeous picture of a Mekong sunset, and a piece of descriptive writing about the Mekong which is not only highly effective but, even better, entirely U-rated.

Having sat through at least four years of parents’ evenings, listening to a selection of teachers express their bewilderment at how an articulate child who could read before he turned three will not complete a piece of writing at any length longer than a paragraph, this is a real coup.

Then, of course, there is the maths. Continue reading

In Which We Slay the Hydra

1 Mar

Z takes aim with an M60, Cu Chi TunnelsWe have won the long division war!

Once Z started humming the theme tune to 2001 at volume, I knew we were going to be OK.

“My god,” I said. “Is that 2001?”

“Yes,” he said. “I feel like I’ve made a great accomplishment. And it’s not 2001. It’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“Whatever,” I said. “It’s not far off the invention of fire.”

“I feel that way too,” he said, pen hovering over some tedious carrying operation. “Was it the invention of fire in 2001: A Space Odyssey?” Continue reading

Our Maths Hell

17 Feb

Pile of ShacklesSo, four Mondays into our trip, and the home-schooling thing has hit a major speedbump. It’s the long division that’s killing both of us.

It’s a lovely sunny day in Phnom Penh, and we are encamped in the bar-restaurant opposite our guesthouse, using their internet, swigging lemon juice and sweating.

“So what is the next step?,” I say, with weary patience. He makes cow-eyes at me.

“We need to work out the tens now,” I say, in my best I-Am-A-Very-Nice-Patient-Person-And-Excellent-Mother-Who-In-No-Way-Needs-A-Large-Gin-And-Tonic falsetto.  Continue reading

First Day of School . . .

28 Jan

Taking Z out of school for a year to travel proved less problematic than I’d thought. The headmaster and attendance officer basically said, “Where are you going? Brilliant! Keep an eye on the Maths and English.”

The Learning Trust, which administers education in our borough (Hackney), sent two people round the house with concerned expressions and a form. Continue reading