unplugging

https://i1.wp.com/www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/120723_2012_p465.jpgHomeschooling on the road requires unplugging.  Step away from your usual distractions and quietly observe.  Of course, you’ll have to unplug your kid, too.  Nobody panic!  Just try it for a little while.

When you’re traveling there’s alot of new stuff to see so it’s a perfect setup to observe your children interacting with a new environment.  Take a walk together and watch what they watch, then talk about it and listen carefully for more clues.  When you plug in to their natural curiosity, home schooling will be a lot more fun for everyone.

Here’s the best part for grown-ups: if you practice looking at the world through your child’s eyes you’ll notice a renewed sense of wonder.

And there’s no app in the world for that.Pompeiiupsidedown

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books are a key…

zeusD’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths was the key that opened up reading for my son – a children’s classic with spectacular artwork.

The first few weeks in Italy were difficult.  We all had a lot of adjusting to do.  Angus deeply missed his friends and pined for his school.  He was disturbed that the only television available was in Italian and convinced I was unqualified to be his teacher (he was right about that).  I was shocked and disappointed that we’d traveled to this magnificent place only to hear him complain that he was bored!  How ungrateful!   And what about me?  Was I going to be a prisoner of curriculum prep and those home school workbooks every spare minute and never see Italy?  How unfair!

A battle of the wills ensued.  Angus was sullen and uncooperative for two solid weeks.  He nearly had me convinced we should give up and go home when I noticed he was sneaking peeks at the D’Aulaires’ book.  He was not a strong reader yet so I think the strange and wonderful illustrations mesmerized him (just like me when I was his age).  A few days later he found The Odyssey by Dorling-Kindersley among keybooksthe books I’d brought along.

He kept it with him wherever he went, reading and reading and reading…

Suddenly the crisis was over. We had stumbled on the solution to our troubles.  Angus had cured his boredom with books and I had the inspiration to move our lessons out into the city; the myths he was so curious about were everywhere – decorating the buildings and fountains, in the museums and street names of Rome.  Bellissima!

PS: to this day Angus is never without a book, sometimes he brings two or three along on the subway to visit a friend.