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Apr
23

The World Is Our Teacher

I always get the question, “How do you TEACH your children?”

I never know how to answer.  I stumble and mumble and feel so inarticulate.

I try to explain the philosophy of unschooling but I never do a good job of it.  I don’t think I am convincing anyone.  I try to explain that when my boys are interested in something I help them to pursue the interest.  The Internet is our best tool for learning, as are books, and mentors.

Truth be told, I all too often ask myself if we are doing the right thing.  Not sending our kids to school is such a radical path.  Am I doing them a disservice?  Am I good enough to pull this off?  Am I giving them a well-rounded education or am I just winging it, hoping they turn out all right in the end?

Sometimes I have doubts.  Sometimes I think I need to do more.

But then sometimes my heart and soul burst with pride for my children, for our lifestyle, and for our choices.  Sometimes my children amaze me by their grasp of a concept or their insight into a culture.  Sometimes my self-doubt is slain in a moment where I know that despite any of the parental mistakes we have made we are doing a kick-ass job of raising two amazing human beings.

Today was one of those moments.  Our family sat together at the breakfast table and took turns telling each other about all of the things we have learned in our six months of travel in Asia.  We went round, and round, and round the table, describing our favorite things, our most intense memories, and our most surprising discoveries.

Here is a glimpse into what we have learned about this year:

  • We have made friends with some of the most amazing families on the planet.

DSCN3631

  • DSCN7484We ate and enjoyed food that we were unaccustomed to.

  • DSCN4856We learned bits and pieces from other languages.

  • We rode on buses, planes, trains, songteows, tuk-tuks, bicycles, motorbikes, long-tail boats, subways, skytrains, and taxicabs.

I could go on and on and on, but then this post would get too long!  And for the doubters whom I know are wondering, there was also a whole bunch of reading, writing, and arithmetic mixed in there as well.

The point is, we have learned SO much in our six months of travel, much of which is not even quantifiable.  All of our lives have changed because of the rich and amazing experiences.

How do I teach my children?  The world is their teacher.

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8 comments

  1. Maia says:

    What awesome experiences you’ve had together! We do unschooling as well, but with less traveling! Like you I have doubts about what I’m doing,but the kids keep surprising me with their insights and continued curiosity in the world and it’s all worth it.

    1. worldschooled says:

      I have doubted myself from the beginning which is part of my personality and certainly human nature…but then there are those moments of amazement!

  2. Rebeca says:

    Sounds good to me!

  3. Alyson says:

    When people ask about their education, my heart sinks, most people think the only way to become educated involves teachers and classrooms. It’s just not so. I’ve seen my boys do and learn amazing things without that environment. It’s impossible to explain in just a few sentences, so I kind of don’t bother. If they are really interested they will stick around for the full explanation, usually they don’t. I have friends that have known us years that still don’t “get” it. What the heck, I’m with you!

  4. Nadine Hudson says:

    Dear Amy and family,

    It’s wonderful what you have seen and learned and I am happy for you all. I totally agree that it’s very, very important for all of the people on this planet to venture out and learn about tolerance and the world, however, one lifestyle doesn’t have to exclude the other.

    After all the travelling we have done, we have learned this beautiful lesson that there isn’t just black and white. And that our children are so blessed and lucky to be given the opportunity to experience different life-styles and to be able to decide for themselves which kind of life they would like.

    After having had nearly two years in Switzerland and going to a school, our oldest one asked NOT to travel this year during vacation – PLEASE – he just wants to go somewhere nice and stay in one place. He has decided for himself what he wants (at least at the moment) because he has seen what choice there is. Of course he is a lot older than your boys. All I want to say is: relax, do what you feel is right, but when the time comes, feel again. Don’t think that chosing one road means the other road is closed. We can happily try several roads in life.

    Good luck and enjoy summer in Canada. As we said before, if you ever come to Switzerland you are very welcome here.

    Nadine

    1. worldschooled says:

      Dear Nadine,
      I hope I did not come across as preaching, that was not my intent at all. I was simply trying to show how travel has worked for us in the way that we choose to educate our children. There are many different ways to educate and I am in no way saying that mine is the best way. I am not anti-school at all and I know that different paths speak to different people at different times in their lives.
      Thank you for your advice, I try to see the world with an open heart and mind and I know how quickly and how often the path we are on can change.
      Much love to you,
      Amy

  5. Shannon O'Donnell says:

    It’s wonderful to see all your adventures in one spot — you guys packed a lot into six months and there is no doubt at all that the kids learned and assimilated information. Beyond just that though, I think unschooling allows them to process it all in a very unique way — they can confront the world on their own terms and learn via the means they best need when they’re out there. That means picking up the guidebook and perusing together the history, then asking someone, then seeing it. Completely immersive and the information becomes theirs in a way that is unique to the way you are living and traveling with them.

    I look forward to seeing where your next adventures will take you and have a wonderful summer! :)

  6. Curtis says:

    Hello:

    Experiential learning is the most effective method with kids. Our kids are much different, in a very good way, now that we have traveled the world with them. Keep them curious. Take care.

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