It has now been almost 3 months since Cameron last attended school and all his friends have now returned for the new Autumn term. Because we had been home over the new term period I had shown him a few photos on Facebook of some of his friends going back and a few days later when I was away in Las Vegas with his big sister celebrating her 21st Birthday he did apparently have a bit of a wobble and say that he wanted to go back to school because he was missing his friends. I think part of that was also because he was missing his Mummy and big sister too, because since we have been back he has not mentioned it at all, although he does frequently speak about seeing his Best Friend Jessica when we are next home so that they can celebrate their birthdays together (which are just one day apart)
Cameron has learnt loads in this time and overall I am not worried about his education at all, however I guess my main concern is not what he IS learning, but what he is missing out in the classroom and ensuring he won’t be left behind once he returns to school next year.
So far our travels have been in shorter bursts. Since he broke up in July he has been to Dubai, Dublin and had two trips to Wales – one to stay with my parents in mid-Wales (via stop overs in Bristol & Swindon coming and going) and a further trip to North Wales with his Dad to explore various narrow gauge railways.
Shortly we will be commencing our longer adventures starting with a month crossing Canada/USA travelling from Vancouver to New York City.
There is no doubt that it is hard trying to make every day a school day, more so on the days we have been at home, but we try and do a little of something every day, whether that is literacy, maths, history, geography, physical activity, baking or fun educational days out. Strangely one of the things I have become most aware of him missing out on is team sports and naturally his interactions with other children, but we’ve been doing lots of walking, running around and swimming. I hoping once we get going on our next adventure that he will also meet new friends.
I have been trying to relate a lot (but not all) of our home schooling around our next two trips which will be focused on Canada, U.S.A and the Caribbean. So here’s a little summary of what we have been focusing on:
Cameron still has very large handwriting so I have been trying to get him to write a small travel journal. At home we have been doing a project about the history of British Railways and he has also been writing up notes on this.
As a baby he was given a beautiful set of 23 Beatrix Potter books so he has been working his way through these. We have now moved on to stories by Hans Christian Anderson as Cam wants to see his statue in Central Park once we get to New York City at the end of October.
Our trip to Dublin was of great interest as told in an earlier blog, Cameron became really engaged in learning about the Great Potato Famine, especially knowing that some of his own ancestors were affected by this. He also enjoyed visiting the Emigration Museum and we are looking forward to linking this up on the ‘other side’ when we visit such places as Toronto and New York, both areas which obviously received a lot of the Irish Immigrants.
With Cameron’s huge interest in Trains and Railways we have been working on a project during our days at home on the history of British Railways, linking this into the Industrial Revolution and the development of roads and canals as well. He particularly enjoyed doing some research together about Stephenson’s Rocket and how this influenced the early days of steam trains.
This year is obviously going to be one HUGE geography lesson for Cameron! Before we visit each county we look at their flag, the currency, language or accents, time zones and where it is on the globe and talk a little about each country. With long trips forthcoming across Canada and the USA, I found him this great puzzle which he has completed several times already and is starting to now identify several U.S. States. (He also knows Alaska & Hawaii are not actually where they are shown on the puzzle!)
With our forthcoming trip across Canada and on the Rocky Mountaineer we have started studying mountains in more depth, where are the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes, the Himalayas etc, tallest mountains, climates, avalanches etc. Cameron has really engaged in this and seems particularly interested in natural phenomenons such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis (possibly stemming from an small earthquake we felt whilst on holiday in Barbados about 3 yrs ago which we still remembers)
There is never a shortage of music in this family, however I have been trying to introduce Cameron to new music connected to some of the places we will be visiting for the rest of this year. December will see us visiting Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, Mexico and and Caribbean so we have been trying to listen to styles and artists related to these places. Cameron particularly loves Elvis Presley and has become a huge fan of Johnny Cash (nothing to do with all songs about trains which he wrote!!!) but we are looking forward to visiting Graceland and also Jackson, Tennessee – former home of the late Johnny Cash!
MATHS & FRENCH
I admit that I find myself lacking in inspiration a little more in relation to Maths & French (especially the latter as I speak about 6 words!) but we are working on these little and often, more Maths than French! We have included all sorts of things within our maths: currency conversion, money & change, basic fractions, mental arithmetic, times tables and this week looking at the greater than/less than signs which he picked up very easily.
One of the reasons our travelling has been in shorter bursts the first three months is because I had work commitments pre-arranged back home, and as a celebrant I have had two same sex wedding ceremonies which we have had to fly back in for, one for 2 men and one for 2 female friends. Never once has Cameron ever questioned the fact of two men or two ladies getting married, he just knows that love is love and that is all that matters. Never once when we have been home or away has he ever commented about the colour of another persons skin, he just accepts everyone at face value.
He has also found himself engaged in play with other children who don’t speak a word of English and he doesn’t speak a word of their language either and yet somehow the communication between children seems to reach somewhere beyond where language is required. They chatter & shout to one another in native tongue that the other cannot comprehend and yet seems to understand.
It’s truly quite remarkable to observe, but THIS is the world that I want my son to grow up in; a world with no judgement and no boundaries, just an open hand, an open heart, and open mind. And beyond the objective of trying to educate a 6 yr I am re-discovering a whole new education myself as I get to see the world through the innocence and excitement of a child’s eyes.
WORLD SCHOOLING 3 MONTHS IN = NO REGRETS