This is a guest post by Lisa Wood from New Life on the Road
Homeschooling on the Road is not something that I was scared to do, after all we have homeschooled two of our younger boys a few years back.
But the reality of homeschooling while travelling Australia with four of five boys soon became something that I have had to get used to…and something our boys have had to get used to.
Homeschooling On The Road
We have five boys – our oldest son is now in the navy so I guess for him his homeschooling education is being taken care, but in a different way!
Our second boy who is now 16, should by rights be in Grade 10. Then we have a 12-year-old, 9 year and 6-year-old. If we were to send our boys to school then they would be in year 7, year 4 and year 2.
Homeschooling On The Road is what works for our family, and what we do for our boys. Please note that State to State in Australia has different laws and requirements, as would overseas.
For your own Homeschooling style, or for your homeschooling set up, its best to search within your state, and ask those around you…that is how I found out about what system we could use for our boys. I started to search within other homeschooling groups, and asking what books they used!
Homeschooling In Australia
We use Homeschooling Supplies Australia for our text books. At first we started with a “Test Book” for each child, and then we discovered which book they needed to start with. It’s not a grade as such, but more of a level.
One level for one topic might work for one of our boys, and then a different level for a different topic for another of our boys (so it’s not about what grade they are at, nor about their age). That way our boys can work at their own level.
For us that system works well – for example our nine-year old boy Cameron is good with English, but not really good with Maths. So he has an advanced level for his English book, and has stepped back a level for Maths.
Then Nicholas, who is 12 years old (and should be in Grade 7) doesn’t like to sit still for long…he learns by talking and with his hands. So he has easier level of books, so that he can grow his confidence. He knows that his books are not hard, and that aspect can sometimes upset him, but at the same time he knows why we stepped back a level of books – we wanted him to be able to finish a day of homeschooling with satisfaction, instead of struggling to keep up.
Our second boy Zachery, who is 16, and who would be in Grade 10 in High School, has a photographic memory. He only has to read something once, and then he can remember what ALL of the words were about! It drives me nuts…he is able to complete work in the fastest manner ever.
We have brought the books that Homeschooling Supplies Australia recommended (from his test book results) but he had already finished those text books within a few months of getting them – way before we expected. So we have brought more school text books from a school supply company on the Sunshine Coast, they are open to the general public. He again is flying through those books!
Our youngest boy Kyle – who is 6 years old and should be in Grade 2 does not like books. He does not like sitting…no matter where we are, and what we are doing…even if we had his favorite DVD playing, he would rather be outside.
Because when we do manage to get him to sit still long enough, his work is finished in next to no time. He actually spins me out with how smart he is – and how much he does know. If we were to give him some wood and some nails, plus a hammer and saw, he would make the most amazing invention.
Trying To Unschool Homeschooling
At first we were really into getting the boys to do all of their school work. We were really worried about their learning….were they going to be able to keep up with kids their own age? What if they did return to school, would they be behind?
But lately we have let those feelings go. Sometimes we don’t even ask them to open up their text books, nor do any writing, but they are still learning. They are learning from their Environment!
I don’t like the term “Unschooling Homeschooling” because it sounds like we are not caring about their education. But in reality, the term relates to letting all of our boys learn at their own pace, with their own interests and at a level they can learn.
Here are some easy ways that Life teaches children…
- Going to the Markets on the weekend – they all get $5.00 pocket money. They each have to work out what they want to buy and how much it’s going to cost. Then they have to work out if they have enough, if there is going to be change, or if they can buy something that is less than $5.00. That is all of their Maths work covered!
- Reading a recipe. Our boys love to cook (they must get that from their Daddy because I so do not like cooking!). They have to read the recipe and work out if we have the ingredients. Then they have to measure all of the ingredients, use measuring cups, and read step by step what needs to be done for the recipe to work out. Sometimes it does…and their creations taste really good!! Sometimes they soon realise that their recipe didn’t work out, so they have to re-read the instructions, and work out what to do better next time around! That is all of their English and maths work covered!
- Sitting around the dinner table at night – we love to talk about anything and everything. All of our boys learn from having a casual conversation and take so much in. They ask David and I the most funniest questions, and sometimes we can answer them, other times we have to search google! Funny how their little minds work.
- Catching a bus into town, or a train into the city – there they learn about telling time, reading a time-table, and working out locations. We ask them questions about which transport to take, what time would be suitable, where we need to get off and how we need to return home. That is how they learn about telling the time, distances covered, locations and map reading.
What About Their Social Skills?
What About Their Sports?
What About Their x,y.z….we get a lot of those questions!
Their Social Skills are covered – they get to meet new people all of the time while travelling from place to place. Their Sports are also covered….they swim every day, they walk/run and play all day long! We never ever have to worry about them not being active!
Will Homeschooling On The Road Always Work?
For that I do not have an answer. I do know this – Homeschooling for our boys works for the moment. It works for today, it works for tomorrow.
Will there be a time our boys return to school? Not sure…maybe one day! I ask them everyday if they miss anything about school – so far they have all said there is nothing they miss about school.
Our Second boy has even told us “I Have Learnt More In The Last Year, More Than I Did With Three Years Of High School”……and he used to go to one of the best private high schools in the area that we lived in…..gosh we could have saved a lot of money if we had decided to travel sooner 🙂
More Posts on Homeschooling:
- Homeschooling and Distance Education – the GOOD & the BAD
- Home and Away – the case for homeschooling
- OMG! You mean you’re taking your child out of school?
What would you like to know about homeschooling on the road?
Bio: Thanking you Caz and Craig for letting me share our story about Homeschooling On The Road. Please connect with New Life on the Road, where a family of seven decide to sell everything they own (including the family home) to buy a Motorhome and travel Australia – living the simple lifestyle!