Closer look: Travel

Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kind of people. ~ Mark Twain

Homeschoolers are are free to go on vacation any time of year. Some families travel all year long, finding work on the road or working from their computer. Many tourist destinations that might be busy during the regular tourist season are quiet the rest of the year providing homeschoolers a whole different perspective when they visit.

No matter where your journey takes you– within your state, neighborhood, or around the world, there is nothing like standing next to a building where George Washington planned strategies for the Revolutionary war, seeing the Eiffel Tower or enjoying the majesty of one of the worlds many wonders.

Here are some articles and resources that might help you plan your next trip.


Unschool Travel From Oaxaca to L.A. Swimming Pools– Josanna Crawford

My first unschooling travel was solo to Bucharest, Romania when I was fifteen. Traveling of course wakens what you know about those you travel with and what you know about yourself – or don’t want to know. Traveling strengthens, that is why traveling is so important to homeschoolers and unschoolers. Traveling cuts away attachments and strings and in return gives fresh firm ground. Traveling to me is like pruning a fruit tree, if done systematically and regularly there is health, production, and growth – if you are patient there will be fruit.

Beyond Names, Dates, and Places – Cafi Cohen

Combine History With Travel

Travel is a natural spur to study history because when we travel the first things we notice are those things that differ from where we live. These might include the language, customs, and laws, for instance. History begins to answer the question: “How and why are things different here than at home?”

Homeschooling freedom makes history fun. Use textbooks for reference or to gain an overview of a period. Otherwise, dive in and enjoy the many fascinating pursuits this subject creates. You need not copy schools and do a year each of American History, World History, and Geography to create a good history background for your teens. Be creative, see where your nose leads you, and explore some of the resources accompanying this column.

Happy Trails – Melissa Emery

A Homeschool Journey Across the United States

Have you ever dreamed of selling everything, quitting your job, and homeschooling your children as you travel across the country? This is exactly what we did!

Homeschooling families know that children learn best when it’s a natural extension of their everyday experiences. When a child has a personal interest in a subject, it moves beyond just names and dates and equations. We seek to give our children the best hands-on education within our grasp. So, what better way to do that than to travel around the United States and make the world their classroom?

Neither of us remembers how it all came about. It began as a suggestion, a wish. One day we were plodding through life, going to work, finishing the remodel of our house, and homeschooling our boys. The next day we were sitting down with paper and pen compiling lists of what would need to be done to make our dream come true. We came to realize that with careful planning and research our dream could become a reality.

Passport to the World – Sue Smith-Heavenrich

My son is off exploring the world this year. Last month it was Asia; this month it’s Africa. He’s got his passport and a backpack loaded with books and a map… and a water bottle and granola bar for emergencies. He’s even mastered a few words of Swahili.

“Chakula, mama,” he says as he grabs an apple and heads upstairs to his magic carpet. Chakula, he’s explained to me, means food. An important word for a growing boy to learn in any language.

Our state social studies curriculum outline for third grade lists “communities around the world” as the major topic of study. Not that I follow the state curriculum guidelines closely, but this sounded like fun.

When I was a child I wanted desperately to be from anywhere but normal-town USA. China, India, Brazil… they sounded exotic and warm. The food would be spicy and sweet, and I could ride a yak to school.
So this September I dug my old, expired passport out of the bottom drawer and walked into the kitchen. “So, how would you like to travel around the world?” I asked.
“Will I miss soccer practice?” Toby asked.

Raft Trip – Cristie Boone
We traveled what is called a wilderness route. Except for the train tracks that ran along the river for half the time, we were out of civilization. The scenery held no roads, no campsites, and no running water. Our surrounding world consisted of trees, water, sky and a few “No Trespassing” signs attached to an occasional dilapidated fence.

Jellyfish to Starboard – Jeff Kelety

“Jellyfish to starboard,” came the cry.
“Crab pots on the port side!”
“Red marker four up ahead!”
“Wow, I can see the bottom! We’re not supposed to be able to see the bottom, are we, Dad?”

And so it went as we made our way carefully up the narrow channel that snakes its way between Rat Island and Indian Island then on around the hidden shoals of Kilisut Harbor. I had asked the kids to keep a sharp lookout on the bow during our first official cruise aboard the N?is. It soon became obvious that nothing was going to escape their determined gaze.

In the weeks following our acquisition of the N?is, a small but graceful fifty-year-old wooden sloop, we were fortunate to have had numerous sailing adventures. Most of them were in the company of our new friend and mentor Irwin Adams. A veteran of many years at the helm, Irwin is an able sailor with a gripping handshake, a wry sense of humor and a penchant for unwavering kindness.

It’s Only Natural – Rise and Shine – Barbara Theisen

Because we travel a lot, we’ve been able to watch the sunrise from all sorts of locations. The most memorable was an early morning sitting in the cockpit of our sailboat sipping hot chocolate while anchored under the Statue of Liberty. The sunrise over Manhattan was spectacular as dawn turned the steely gray city to gold. But it’s not the sunrise itself or the location that always makes these outings special. It’s the chance to spend time with my daughters without the usual interruptions of the modern world. Here we have a chance to say what’s on our minds and in our hearts – or let silence say it all.

Following the Road Signs of History – Mark Weaver

Over the years I have been learning without even trying. Learning is such fun when it is effortless. These particular books made history come alive for me because their characters all lived and traveled near my two homes in Ohio and Virginia. I have stepped across some of the same ground where they tread more than two hundred years ago. My eyes have viewed the same rivers and streams, the same valleys and hills and the same rock outcroppings on the same bluffs. These geographical features, the people that lived among them, and the maps that bear record of them, are the road signs of history, still marking the trail for us today.


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