This guest post comes to us from another unschooling and traveling mom. So happy we are a growing community. We hope you enjoy this post. For more information about this family, see the links at the end of this post
The World As A Classroom
I was sick of LA.
Not to say Los Angeles doesn’t have some incredible aspects to it. But being stuck in a cramped apartment with a baby, in North Hollywood, wasn’t doing it for me. For any of us. As we began to think about what type of school we would send our one day preschooler to, it dawned on us both: we didn’t want her to be stuck in a classroom, scared to emote in case other kids make fun of her, forced to learn specific subjects in a linear fashion and tested regularly. We certainly couldn’t afford a private ‘alternative learning’ preschool; to quote my OBGYN ‘ My daughter’s preschool costs more than my pre med and med school…combined’.
We decided we needed to make a break for it, and quickly. So we packed up and moved to Asia, where we began our adventures in worldschooling: a combination of unschooling or homeschooling and travel. Three years later and we are still enjoying the path we’ve chosen, although it hasn’t always been easy. First of all, explaining to family, friends, and strangers why we love to travel and homeschool isn’t very easy. Some people are very receptive to the notion, while others can’t think outside of a classroom mentality. Like other home educators, we get the whole ‘how is she going to make friends?’ line a lot, and we explain that we don’t trap her in a closet or something. You know, she does get out a lot. We do the ‘normal’ family stuff, going to the zoo, playing in parks…only we do it in a foreign country.
I began a blog to try and connect with other like minded folks and also released a photobook, The World As A Classroom: Adventures In Family Travel which showcased the amazing things our daughter has seen and experienced on our travels. Surprisingly, there are lots of families like us, and even more who aspire to hit the road with the kids in tow. And there are even more who really love the idea itself, even if they never personally pursue this path.
What I have learned in the last few years is that a classroom is suffocating. I love the academic path and hope my daughter becomes a bibliophile like her parents and grandparents, but I am so thankful that she won’t go through what I went through, and what millions of other kids endure: bullying, harassment, incessant testing, conformity, low self esteem, and the numerous other problems that occur due to institutional learning.
A real classroom-where learning occurs- lacks walls. It begins in the heart and not the mind, and it grows with the help of dedicated parents and mentors who are there to challenge and yet not force a child to acquire knowledge.
The world is a classroom, indeed.
The Bradley Family
The Bradley family are nomads, currently living in Thailand. They love lifestyle design and global citizenship, and they unschool their daughter.
Follow their adventures at SattvicFamily.net