If I had a dollar for everytime someone asked us “what do you do about school” then I would be a rich woman! Over the past 6 years, and all over the world both my son and I have been asked this question over and over again! Not because people think he is uneducated, but because people just really want to know. So this week when I received a request to explain our thoughts on education, I thought it was time to write about just what we have done so far and to discuss School Vs World School.
Firstly, I must say – read this with an open mind. If you are a parent considering travel and education, then you must do what is right for your child, and all children are different and unique.
Six years ago when we decided to set out on a quest to explore the world one of the primary areas we address was education. Was it possible to actually ‘whip my kid out of school, and head off exploring the globe?’ Well, YES it was, and still is.
But this takes preparation and work from both the child and the parent/s, and the school system. So I am here to talk about schooling, home-schooling and world-schooling.
We firstly went and spoke the primary school my son was then attending – Our Saviour Lutheran School – Aberfoyle Park many years back, and we never knew just how much we would appreciate our decision. We would need the support of a school beyond classrooms.
At first, we decided to sign my son out of his school as we would be in countries far, far away and he could possibly go to school there if need be. So with a combination of home-schooling and formal schooling on our agenda, we headed off.
School Number One was on a tiny island in Fiji – this school smacked children for many things but thankfully they did not hit my child. So after a meeting with the education department, we removed him. I wanted the education dept. to know what was happening and to address the issue, but I also needed them to know it was NOT OK to hit kids!
Explorason then did some homeschooling on a yacht each day with other ex-pat kids and then they would end the day fishing, swimming or exploring.
This seemed to work well, and on we travelled and homeschool continued.
But after a period of time my son my became exhausted. He would be out exploring the waterways of the Amazon jungle and then come back to school – it just didn’t work, so we invented our own ‘world-schooling’ for which I really knew nothing about! We would simply allow the world to teach him and if we needed to know something and there was the internet, then we would add online learning.
This worked really, really well!
We met so many kids along the way. Kids locally, ex-pat kids, and meet-ups with other travelling families from Facebook groups like Families Who Love Travel, so he was not devoid of mates.
If there were times we stopped long enough, then we would enrol him in the local school, like remote Uganda. This ’emersed’ him in local culture and friendships, and he was the most popular kid in the school at the time – he was also the only Caucasian kid too!
At times we would use locals and they would educate him. I would pay them as they were experts in all that was around them and masters to surviving their own climatic conditions.
Through our entire travel period, we kept in touch with his local school and his principal at the time was incredibly supportive of our travels. She encouraged me, and so did several of the parents who followed our journey on social media.
When he was in Year 5 we returned to Adelaide, Australia for my father’s 90th Birthday celebration to renew his passport. For a period of 6 months Our Saviour Lutheran School – Aberfoyle Park welcomed my son back with ‘open arms’. Yes, he was once more reunited with his school buddies.
We took off again and then decided to return as my son wanted to complete Year 7 and graduate primary with his friends. and again the new Principal was very supportive.
So we seem to have a mix. A bit of homeschooling. A lot of world schooling and some plain ol’ everyday classroom schooling and it has worked really well for us.
The World is Changing
Families no longer live in the same home all their lives. More and more families are travelling as parents are able to run businesses and work remotely online, and thus the education system needs to address this issue firsthand.
Whilst public schools seem to be miles behind, some private schools are stepping up to the plate and becoming proactive in their approach to education through travel. It is no longer an issue of school vs world school, but rather how they can work together.
I think the key for us is that Our Saviour Lutheran School – Aberfoyle Park is a unique school and one I could encourage parents in Adelaide who wish to travel to enrol their child into. Another sister school of theirs that I know supports ‘traditional schooling and world schooling as a partnership’ is Good Shepherd Lutheran School – Barossa Valley, South Australia.
If you are a parent considering a school in South Australia there are a few things I found important too.
Nurturing of Talent
Our Saviour Lutheran School has a gymnasium that we love to refer to as a masterpiece. It is simple yet elegant and has been an arena of talents for students enrolled in the school. We have seen it produce some of the very talented boys and girls. Many students have been very outstanding in their performances in their respective sports, and it is also used for major drama productions that the school produces every 2 years.
With such a provision and a show of dedication to the holistic development of students, Our Saviour Lutheran School has won the hearts of every parent who believes that education is not only found in books. We love the fact that talent nurturing is not just limited to indoor activities. There are also outdoor co-curriculum activities like athletics, cricket, netball and soccer.
Education thrives well in a peaceful environment. As a parent, I know just how easy it is for kids to lose concentration. We found that Our Saviour Lutheran School is located in a safe and peaceful environment that is perfect for learning. It occupies a reasonably large piece of land that accommodates well-built modern classrooms – without eating up space for outdoor activities, yet it is a small school. The size of the school meant that Explorason was not overwhelmed each time he returned but slotted into the school community easily.
As a parent, you should probably understand that when you enrol a child in any school, that school automatically becomes his or her second home. Fellow students become siblings and teachers become guardians.Our Saviour Lutheran School never disappointed us on this. Older students are taught to support and defend younger students, while teachers act like real parents, always accommodative and nice to them. As my son was travelling alone a lot, he was not exposed to bullying or student conflict, and we appreciated a school that has a positive approach and zero tolerance to this as well.
The school was very supportive. It was evident that they were ready to go with us on this journey. They told us what we needed to do to make sure that the decision never had a negative effect on Explorason’s education. They also encouraged us to be open-minded to new experiences and make our journey a learning process.
Both Our Saviour Lutheran School and Good Shepherd Lutheran School have great strategies that we believe will elevate these school to greater heights as children now face exploring the world with their parents confidently. Both schools continue to invest in good teachers. They have substantial improvements ongoingly to raise the school to international standards and look forward to long and happy futures in the years ahead.
These schools have also created links with schools within Australia and in other continents to assure parents of maximum support even when on trips.
To us, we made the best decision choosing the path we did for educating Explorason.
He personally has decided he would now like to attend High School, but we can also do this with a school that now will support our travels and his education.
A win-win for all concerned!
Address: 28 Taylors Road West, Aberfoyle Park, SA 5159
Phone: 08 8564 2396
Address: 7 Neldner Avenue, Angaston SA 5353
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