Learning (without school) while traveling

December 11, 2012

Our home for 2012 – cosy!

As part of our year long travel plans next year, we will (of course) be homeschooling the kids. We don’t want them to simply miss a year or skip a year or whatever and be behind in their work — forever needing to catch up, or being out of sync with their peers. At the same time, I think that the learning they will get will be so much more than they could get at school, so different, so extensive and interesting. And I think that Rob and I will be able to teach them the basics of what they need too. I am not worried about it. However I do feel the need to plan for it and analyse it and think about it and research it.

Do you homeschool / Unschool? Do you structure your day, how much actual sitting down schoolwork is really required? Suggestions welcome …

This is what I have so far:

(ps I know that we will need to be flexible, but at the same time I think it’s good to start out with a plan — I can see that it would be so easy to simply go for weeks at a time without doing any ‘set’ lesson sessions. Also I know that kids [my kids] really thrive on routine.)

Weekly lesson schedule (more or less):

  • Math twice a week in 30 minutes sessions (we’ll be concentrating on algebra and geometry next year). [Rob]
  • Literature twice a week in 1 hour sessions. We’ll be doing essay writing, grammar exercises, creative writing and research writing. [Me]
  • Read aloud book (4 per year) followed by lots of discussion questions and essay writing
  • Science or history each week (open ended sessions depending upon our circumstances) [All]
  • Art + nature: a drawing and nature observation session each week (1 hour) [All]


  • We’ll be reading lots of books. Not only our 4 ‘read aloud’ study books for the year, but the kids (and us) get through at least a book a week of their ‘just for fun’ books too.
  • We will be visiting lots of art and craft galleries, historic sites and museums, and we will be able to use these to research local history and artefacts –
  •  I want the kids to learn about ‘primary’ research, rather than the idea that all knowledge is available online. Although we will use google as a reference tool too!
  • Observing our natural surroundings — trees, bugs, landscape, rivers, mountains, rocks, birds. We have some guidebooks with us — snakes, mushrooms, birds, trees to help us identify interesting things in nature.
  • Drawing — nature journals or drawing exercises — helping us use the other half of our brain and also forcing us to slow down and observe our surroundings (without discussion sometimes).
  • Music — practice guitar and piano (we’ll have to find local pianos to practice with. If you live in Australia and know of a piano we can practice on as we travel around — let us know!)
  • Sport — swimming, walking, fishing, playing ball games (soccer, hackie-sack, handball), we might learn how to surf, we will improve our fitness and our swimming skills, we will be snorkelling too!
  • Games and leisure: Card games, board games (more card games)
  • Keeping track of our journey: Journal writing and letter writing
  • Living and travel — cooking, planning meals, cleaning up (daily chores — tidying and washing clothes and dishes), map reading, research places to visit, budgeting, organisation.
  • Science — star gazing, ocean tides, geology, geography,
  • Survival — lighting fires, tying knots, fishing, making an oven and a shelter
  • Craft — whittling, crochet, knotting, woodwork, weaving, mending

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn Suzette December 12, 2012 at 4:46 am

It sounds like you have a great plan in place.

Teresa December 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Sounds like quite a reasonable plan. I took my kids out of school for six months (in 3rd and 8th grade) to go live and volunteer in Vietnam. I had high hopes of doing more actual schooling, but found that there were so many opportunities for learning that it wasn’t really an issue. The biggest struggle when we returned to the States was math for my 3rd grader. I’d taught her my way of multiplication/division, but the school taught another. That caused some struggles for the next two years of math. I wish I’d known they’d teach it differently, but all in all… those travels (and the unschooling that went with it) were the best thing we ever did. Wishing you all the best.

kath_red December 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Wow … What an adventure!

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