I guess some homeschool stereotypes can be true. Take our family as an example.
- Super-size family? Check.
- Christians? Check.
- Homebodies? Sigh. Okay. Check.
As a family of 13 (counting our oldest), it’s true that we don’t get away very often. In fact, the last trip we took was to MO to see our oldest son graduate from boot camp and AIT…in 2012!
So, yes. I’m going to have to admit that the bulk of our homeschooling does happen at home for us.
But it’s not like that for everyone. Today I want you to meet my dear friend Camie. She is the author of Camie’s Cozy Corner, where she writes about everything from homeschooling to traveling to everything in between. And can I tell you that she is one mean photographer?
Today she graciously agreed to share her experiences with homeschooling all over the map. Take it away, Camie!
I have been married for twenty-five years to my knight in shining armor, and we have four children, two girls and two boys. Three of our children are now in college (ages 24, 22 and 19) and our youngest is 14-years old.
I have always been a stay-at-home mom. My hobbies include photography, crafting, journaling, reading (I love the classics such as The Secret Garden and Pride and Prejudice), and traveling with my husband and kids. I am a very relaxed, go-with-the-flow kind of wife and mom. I think I’ve had to be with our nomadic lifestyle!
My husband is a director of project services in the mining industry. Don’t ask me what that means! All I know is that it moves us around and has given us some amazing experiences, such as living in Peru, twice. We have also lived in the providence of Ontario, Canada ( just outside of Toronto ), and in three states. Currently, we live in the beautiful state of Utah.
We have been a homeschooling family for eight years now. One way I define homeschooling is learning together as a family in every aspect of our daily life, while embracing the culture around us. We have homeschooled through moves and temporary living arrangements, such as pre-furnished apartments where we have the bare minimal of our personal belongings with us.
In these times of transition and temporary circumstances, there are always some adjustments to make. Sometimes we have lived out of our suitcases for weeks, waiting for a shipment to arrive. Our learning then becomes entertaining each other, haha! Also, we would bring the kids with us to shop for the bare necessities to get by and that is a good economics lesson. Sometimes we do not have our full home library with us or have access to a public library, so we will purchase inexpensive e-books for our readers or we find another family willing to trade books with us.
In Peru we often had to make-do, substitute, or go without when a common item was impossible to find, such as food coloring, lined paper (their notebooks are all graph paper) and chocolate chips. Sometimes we’d want to do a science experiment or art project and we couldn’t find the necessary or suggested supplies. Those were opportunities to get creative and be inventive.
In Peru especially, I considered embracing the culture as our true learning. We did this in all sorts of ways. Naturally, we all learned some Spanish (my husband was already fluent). One day I found my son busily writing Spanish words in a little notebook. I started him and myself on Duolingo. We went to church with both Peruvians and Americans. We sang the hymns in Spanish and there were translators for the talks and lessons. We tried Peruvian foods and eating the way the natives do. Our favorite native dish was Lomo Saltado, which is a beef dish served on top of French fries. We took several field trips to the local zoo, museums, parks, beaches and markets. We became friends with some Peruvian families and often spent time with them. We also spent time serving the children of a local orphanage.
My favorite learning experience was taking a family trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu. We had tour guides who showed us the history and culture of Peru, including past and present customs. We visited salt mines, ruins, marketplaces, an animal preservation, and ancient agricultural land. We watched a knitting demonstration where we were shown natural ways their yarn is dyed. We took a train ride to a quaint town just below Machu Picchu. We then took a bus on switch-back, narrow roads up to the entrance of Machu Picchu. We hiked as much as we could and took in the breathtaking views.
Even when we live in less exotic places, we embrace the culture as part of our homeschooling. We do this through unit studies. For example, while living in Arizona for a year, my son and daughter and I made up our own desert unit study. We took field trips to desert museums and gardens, researched the names and characteristics of several cacti, made a desert scene out of colored poster board on our dining room wall, read desert story books, came up with desert inspired science experiments, learned some history of desert peoples, and made a desert diorama.
Whenever we travel, whatever the reason, we bring along our current family read-aloud. We read the first three Harry Potter books on road trips. I was the reader and did all the voices. Reading together as a family has been our main way of homeschooling on the go and through the transition of moving.
I also encourage my children to keep journals. On a recent trip to see some historic sites in New York City, Philadelphia and Boston, my son and I spent a few minutes each night writing down what we’d seen that day. This way our memories and impressions are preserved. Another thing we will do is take along a few favorite games, like Scrabble and Phase 10.
Our lifestyle has brought us closer as a family. We’ve met wonderful people and have had some fun adventures along the way, making new friends and seeing the world in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. Homeschooling has given us the time and freedom to fully embrace this beautiful world around us.
Isn’t she awesome? To find out more about Camie’s adventures with her beautiful family, you can visit her at her blog- Camie’s Cozy Corner, or you can visit one of these posts:
What about you? Have you done extensive traveling in your homeschool? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment!