Article By Miro Siegel, 14 year old world traveler
My name is Miro, I am a semi intrepid 14 year old, who has been traveling the world with my mom for the last 4 years. My mom and I have slow traveled to 14 different countries during our trip, with little possessions, we live as visiting locals and spend a lot of time in open air markets and going to the places most locals go to. I have had experiences most other kids from the United States will never have. I’ve been immersed in many cultures, witnessed nature first hand, played with children who have to spend half their childhood working, so their families can make ends meet. I feel like I’m living life to the fullest and really experiencing the world. But one of the greatest differences in my lifestyle from my peers in the United States is, I don’t go to school. I’m doing a thing called unschooling. Unschooling is also called “natural learning” and it means two things:
1. The world teaches me.
2. I teach myself or study what I want, how I want and when I want.
That freedom means some days I don’t study at all and just hang out. (Every one needs off days every once and a while.) Other days I write or read or walk around, whatever I feel like doing.
Lets say I am interested in agriculture while living in the mountains of the Andes? If I were in school, I’d have to pick up a book and read about agriculture, but with unschooling, I’m free to visit a farm and have the experience myself. Its these lessons that are much more memorable than, lets say, a math class.
Now, to be completely honest, I suck at math. I know basic math and I figure I will not need to know more unless I want to be an engineer or something. However, I do excel in things I enjoy, such as: mythology, agriculture, writing and language. These are just a handful of things unschooling has allowed me to pursue, and I’m learning everyday, sometimes without even trying.
Just by being exposed to the outside world, I am learning. Whether it is having an apple fall on my head, or being spat at by a llama, The world teaches me just by virtue of being in it and participating. I also don’t have to break my life into subjects, I just learn naturally. For example, I now know not to stand in front of llamas anymore if I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a gooey mess.
In my opinion, children who do not travel and are forced to go through the traditional school system are forced to remember and “learn” facts about the world. I am living in the world through travel and learning what is actually relevant.
My mom and I have even volunteered many times throughout our travels. It really feels good helping someone in need. We’ve assisted children in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Peru. We’ve also worked with animals in many other countries. The experience has been rewarding and meaningful. I’d say that’s learning.
My traveling lifestyle becomes my education. I’d say unschooling and travel are the best things since sliced bread and it’s almost as good as bacon.
I don’t think shoving kids into a room and talking at them is the best way to go about learning. Let them explore the world! See what life has to offer!
The world is YOUR classroom, and by living in it through travel, you can’t help but to learn.