Home schooling abroad – Why it rocks

I’m not going to debate home schooling vs. public schooling on this blog.  Most people already have an opinion and I’m not likely to change that, but I do know what works for our family and home schooling is the route we’ve chosen.  It gives us flexibility to travel, family time, and a specifically tailored education for our sons.  It is a lot of work no doubt, but it is also very cool for the following reasons.

The Field Trips Are Awesome

Back when I was in school we occasionally took a class field trip to a museum or science center.  I always looked forward to those days because there was little schoolwork involved and the entire day was spent outside of the classroom.  My sons however, enjoy educational outings that blow anything I ever did out of the water.

What better way to learn about volcanoes than by navigating the rim of a crater lake that fills the collapsed cone of a nearby volcano (the new cone is located nearby).

Lago Cuicocha Ecuador
Hiking Lago Cuicocha

Or by struggling to the top of an inactive volcanic peak in the Andes?

Fuya Fuya
This truly is the top of Fuya Fuya. We were so high we were in the clouds.

Learning about Amazonian birds and indigenous traditions was easy when we were able to get up close and personal with them.

amazon toucan
This toucan would later try to steal our breakfast.
jesseface
Traditional Amazon face painting using achiote.

And the boys learned about tropical fish and coral beds by being right in their midst.

Isla Iguana Panama
Snorkeling in Panama

Access to New People

We come in contact with so many interesting people from all around the world and it gives all of us the chance to learn from them.

We’ve learned about many native medicinal plants from our indigenous friends.

Fuya Fuya

My son Justin plays guitar and though he can learn most songs by ear, he has the opportunity to take music theory lessons from another ex-pat in our town.  Currently Justin is learning to play Chicago blues.  From a Jewish guy.  In Ecuador.  How cool is that?

BWJustin
Justin and his guitar

Opportunities to Follow Passions

A few months back we found an infestation of caterpillars on my poor neglected kale plant and I saved a couple of the little creepy crawlers for the boys so they could watch them turn into a chrysalis and then a butterfly.  My kids were so enthralled by the whole process that they have been captivated by butterflies ever since.  We’re not actively schooling during the summer, but my sons have learned more about different species of butterflies, what they eat, where they live and what exactly happens during their transformation process than I could have ever taught them.  They’ve done this all on their own because it’s a subject they’re excited about.

caterpillar
Fuzzy caterpillar

Because they have so thoroughly researched these insects they’ve also learned much about the local plant life in their search for caterpillars that live on them.  We turned their passion into a fun building project with their dad and they now have houses for their collected caterpillars to live in until they become butterflies and are released.

JesseHouse
Jesse with his butterfly house.

These are just a few reasons that moving to a new country with our children and educating them there has paid off, but there are so many more that I’ve not yet mentioned.

Have any of your own education stories to share?  Leave a comment below.

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