Would You Pull Your Kids From School To Travel the World for a Year?
Heather Greenwood Davis is a travel writer who made a radical decision to take her kids out of school and travel the world for a year. They left last week and are making their way across Canada and onwards to the rest of the world. She is making sure that her kids learn a lot while they are away, but none of it will be from textbooks. Here is what she had to say about her decision to pull her eight and six year old out of school and take them on the voyage of a lifetime.
Guest Post: Around the World in 365 Days
It was the easiest decision I ever had to make.
I’m taking my kids out of school for a full year. Next September, while their friends are learning long division, fractions, cursive writing and Canadian history, my kids (Ethan, 8 and Cameron, 6) will be wandering the planet with my husband Ish and I.
Just us: Two parents, two kids, 6 continents and more than 20 countries over the course of one full year.
We are not carrying along their schoolwork for the year. We are not having textbooks shipped to us in far-flung regions. For 365 days they will have no classroom teachers and no textbooks.
What they will have is an educational experience other kids should envy.
Technically they will be “home-schooled” but in fact, it is more of a “world-school” experience.
My kids will meet people on the other side of this planet with a perspective on things that are likely different than those of their parents, schoolmates and teachers because their lives are different. They may learn a few words in Mandarin, Swahili and Spanish. They’ll learn to convert currency and understand the value of a Canadian dollar in a place where it can help to feed a family for a month. They’ll be able to dig deeper into subjects they are curious about (from a tablet we’re taking along will connect them online) and move quickly past those they don’t. When they read, it will be for pleasure. When they write it will be to tell friends and family and classmates back home about their adventures.
But make no mistake, they will be learning. It doesn’t take a classroom and a teacher to make that happen. Recently, my husband came home with a message from an educator who disagreed.
Ish had mentioned our trip plans and the fact that our school principal not only supported what we were doing as a family but was working with us to find a way to help Ethan and Cameron’s schoolmates learn from the trip as well.
The educator told him that there is “no way he would be on board.” He used phrases like: “unfair to the kids”,”never allow it,” and “doing your boys a disservice.” I think that principal is a disservice.
We know that kids learn differently and we know that they learn constantly, why would we think that they get everything they need to know in a classroom with one teacher, 26 kids and a school day?
The Ontario Government’s requirements are clear about our responsibilities and we will meet and exceed them. The teachers at my children’s school are jumping at the chance to use material from our travels inside the classroom.
But most importantly: Ish and I decided a long time ago it was what we wanted for our family. Shouldn’t that count for something? Since when did parents stop being as valuable a resource as teachers?
Despite the fact that my kids spend 6 hours a day at school, let’s be clear: They are my children. I take their education and the way in which their lives are shaped very seriously. And while my respect and admiration for the teaching profession is great, you can be sure of one thing: Ish and I will always have the final say – at home and abroad - about how, what and where they learn.
You can follow our adventures (learning and otherwise) at www.globetrottingmama.com. We are always looking for advice, tips and tricks of our destinations, if you have some great ideas; here is how you can help us out.
Would you take your kids out of school to travel? Do you think your school should have final say?
Want more chaos? Last year, I was feeling guilty about summer.