Traveling is a disruptive activity. It eliminates your usual routine. The scenery changes along with your state of mind and your curiosity muscle gets a workout. So when you travel with kids, I think it’s a natural opportunity to experiment with homeschooling.
Our experiment came at a time when our son Angus was struggling at school; he seemed to be a bright boy but he just wasn’t reading. We started to hear phrases like learning disability, special education testing, intervention programs, Attention Deficit Disorder and medication therapy. The pressure was mounting when we got two very lucky breaks: an offer to live and work in Italy for 6 months and a supportive school principal who allowed Angus to take a long absence, as long as he studied while he was away.
We hadn’t planned it but homeschooling away from home was the best possible ‘intervention program’ for Angus. Traveling disrupted his routine, gave him time out from the pressure at school and brought him into a world of new things to be curious about. He started reading – voraciously – because he was really curious about ancient myths.
It’s well known that tailoring a meaningful curriculum and creating a comfortable learning environment for each individual child is one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling. What we didn’t expect was that – even though it was brief and we were inexperienced – homeschooling away from home had significant and lasting effects. When Angus rejoined his class for the last half of fourth grade he had become a strong reader. In middle school he chose Latin classes, tested into selective high schools and now he studies Cognitive Science at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
I call that a very positive disruption.