World Schooling

World Schooling – It’s not just for kids!

I knew from day 1 that travelling the world was going to be an incredible learning opportunity for my 6 yr old (now 7yr old) son. I just don’t think I realised the enormity of knowledge that it was going to bring to my own life too.

I have always had a lifelong love of learning and have a natural thirst of knowledge. In my own career path as a celebrant and trainer I have travelled to both the U.S.A. & Australia to study with and to learn from some of the worlds greatest celebrant trainers and bereavement specialists in order to be able to do my job to the very best of my ability and to have the deepest possible understanding of not just the ‘how’ but the ‘why’ of needing ceremony & ritual in our lives, especially in today’s increasing secular society.

My lust for knowledge goes way beyond just my work though and I know this has increased even further as my love & ability to travel has intensified over the years. Certainly I am a lot keener to learn now than I ever was at school, but maybe that’s because I am learning in the way that I want to learn and understand. This is exactly what I now want to pass down to my son, I want his education to be enriching and joyful, I want him to want to learn.

Now I have no criticisms whatsoever of his school, it’s fabulous as are the teacher – but I also have a lot of friends who teach in the state sector who loath the way they are being enforced to teach. One gentleman I know has recently resigned from his position as a headteacher in a state school and even went as far as describing the current education system in the U.K. as ‘child abuse’. Truly terrifying words coming from a man who held such a position.


Whilst I don’t consider myself to have had a bad education, I have come to realise how very narrow it was. I know most schools now do incorporate things such as Chinese New Year, Diwali etc, but I never even knew these other festivals and celebrations even existed when I was a child.

The other thing which astonishingly I never learn’t about in school was war. Somewhere along the line I knew that 2 world wars took place but this early knowledge came from my parents as I remember listening with great interest to my own mothers memories of being a young girl in WW2, but I honestly can’t remember ever having one single lesson about war in school, and certainly never understanding the reasons for, or consequences of either wars.

Strangely history was one of my favourite subjects at school, yet my O’level syllabus was purely British History and focused on the industrial revolution, the development of roads, canals, railways etc.

My honest understanding of war throughout my school years was that it was simply a war between England & Germany and often wondered how this was referred to as a ‘world war’?

It was only in my early adult life that I began to even learn about concentration camps and the wider impact of the war throughout much of Europe. I had no idea about what else went on around Pearl Harbour, the Pacific & Far East.

It is only since becoming a funeral celebrant 15 years ago that I have come to learn so much more about the war and have a much deeper understanding. Paying tribute to former war veterans at their funerals is truly one of my greatest honours, and stories retold by their surviving relatives or even written in their own memoirs is both fascinating & humbling to say the least.

Travelling the globe really has now opened my eyes to how the whole world was affected by war. Cameron saw his first war memorial in Vancouver, Canada, erected to pay tribute to the workers of the Canadian Pacific Railway who sacrificed their lives in both WW1 & WW2.

War Memorial dedicated to the workers of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Vancouver, Canada

We saw many more war memorials as we crossed Canada & America. The one below being the Woman Veterans Memorial in Albany, NY.

As we spend time now travelling through Malaysia and Singapore the devastation of War really does start to unfold and I know Cameron is developing both an interest and an understanding of how and why the war affected this part of the world. I admit that until coming here I really didn’t know the full story myself, nor just how horrific the loss of life was. Nobody really knows the full death count but it is estimated that around 50,000 lost their lives here in Singapore during the 3 years of Japanese occupation.

The National Monument, Kuala Lumpur is a sculpture that commemorates those who died in Malaysia’s struggle for freedom, principally against the Japanese occupation during World War II

The Civilian War memorial (below) in Singapore is dedicated to all the civilians who perished under Japanese occupation. The 4 pillars now symbolic of the unity between Singapore’s 4 main races – Chinese, Malay, Indian and the minorities (that’s us!) Each year on 15th February a memorial ceremony still takes place here on the anniversary of the Japanese invasion.

Civilian War Memorial, Singapore

Our onward journey will now take us to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Hawaii, where we plan to visit Pearl Harbour. I know that Cameron’s eyes will be opened even further to the global impact of war, enriching his historical & geographical knowledge far beyond his young years.

We sat and watched the movie ‘Pearl Harbour’ together the other night. It’s rated 12 certification so I knew it would be quite hard hitting for a 7 yr old, but we made an agreement before it started that if he didn’t like it or I didn’t feel it appropriate we would turn it off. He sat mesmerised from start to finish and asked loads of sensible questions along the way.

World schooling is the best decision I ever made for Cameron. I am watching his knowledge and interest flourish and grow far wider that any classroom could possibly offer. As a 48 year old parent my own education and knowledge is also being enriched far deeper than I ever imagined when we started this trip.

No matter what age you are the world is a beautiful classroom…..So get out there and enjoy every minute of learning.


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