What schooling system did we go for and why
There are a few schooling systems for travellers,
I loved the name/idea of world schooling, I read other travel blogs of travellers already schooling their kids this way and I was really keen it sounded idyllic.
In some ways I knew this was a great option but I kept thinking about the reality of it, would I be able to actually give my boys a proper education, do I know enough to educate them myself, could I trust myself to do this just right, could I trust them to listen to me.
When I read about Te Kura correspondence schooling/ distance schooling I realised this was for us..mainly because it would give us structure, a routine / a guideline to follow, not everyone needs routine but I think for us routine was important.
I realised I needed to have all the subjects covered. I wanted to follow the New Zealand curriculum, loved the idea that TeKura planned all the projects.
Also Jake especially normally works better when he has a teacher to impress.
So we got in touch with Te Kura in New Zealand before we started travelling and we were signed up, we qualified because we would be travelling to mainly foreign speaking countries, we get 5 years free and after that we have to pay..it is very expensive so we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
What is correspondence schooling
It’s an online distance schooling system.
Te Kura provides school education programmes for early childhood to Year 13. Te Kura has almost 27,000 students enrolled during any one year, including adult students.
The programmes are based on the New Zealand Curriculum.
Once your child is enrolled all the material you need for studying at a distance is sent to you. either by mail, or by fax or e-mail.
If your child is a full-time student of Te Kura then your child’s teachers will work with them to create an education plan for the year. This will include setting goals and charting and keeping a track of progress against these goals and will include a study program appropriate to your child.
So basically the boys do everything from Maths, English (Reading Programmes), projects all online.
Does my child have a teacher?
Yes our boys have an online teacher based in NZ.
Children need encouragement, direction and often focusing just as they would at a normal school.
For the most part, parents are still the main ‘teacher’ the one making sure they do the work, the online teacher from Te Kura responds to their threads and their work online and they should once a week have a Skype call to have a proper chat about how they are getting on, in reality in our lives this happens about once a month, but they do have lots of connection through the Te Kura site.
You and your child are encouraged to Skype, e-mail, or write to the teachers to keep in touch.
What is a typical school day like for us?
We get up at 8.30, have our breakfast, large glass of water, I let the boys chat to their friends from New Zealand online for a bit and we start school at 9 to 9.15 sometimes 9.30.
They start with Maths buddy which they do for 30 to 45 mins, Reading plus which they do for 30 mins, Lucas does an extra reading class called Lexia for around 20 mins and Jacob does an extra Te Kura Maths for 20 mins.
After this they log onto Te Kura, read kiwi kids news (all up to date news around New Zealand and the world) each Friday they have a kiwi kids quiz. They read through other students threads (it’s set up like a forum with different subjects) and they are encouraged to reply and start up their own threads.
There are always different projects going on, right at the moment the project is ‘Sustainability’ and the ‘Future’.
How long is our school day?
We school for 3 hours 5 days a week, which most of the time works for us very well, like I have said in the past though the boys are still kids and still would prefer not to school, I still get whinging and asked if they can start later and finish earlier :/.
How much work needs to be completed?
You need to hand in work once a week. We school everyday (Monday to Friday), so try to complete at least one project a day. The teacher is very understanding when our travelling makes schooling difficult, the boys do have to keep up a minimum amount of work or they would risk being ‘expelled’ from the school, we’ve never had any issues completing enough work.
Is it working?
The boys are both at or above where they should be after 1.5 years of online schooling, we get end of year reports and they do online tests to measure their competency in maths and reading.
Other assessments are done on their work including video presentations.
What about Social skills?
This is our biggest concern with our lifestyle, we are hoping to build in more social opportunities for the boys in the future but for now it’s pretty much just the four of us, they do chat online to their old NZ friends so they at least haven’t lost touch but it’s far from face to face and dealing with groups, social politics, peer pressure and bullying (that last one’s absence is no bad thing though not sure it’s ever needed).
Jacob is crazy about football and takes himself and his ball to any field/park area that he can have a kick around and quite often he will meet someone there.
Lucas is the kind of kid who would try making friends with just about any child from toddlers to kids his own age..we just need to be in the right situation at the right time.
Reasons it works for us
- Grant works through the night and sleeps until mid-day, so we school whilst he sleeps (If the boys need extra help with anything that I can’t help with then he will help them in the afternoon.) We have our lunch at mid-day then the afternoon is ours.
- Compared to a classroom there is no distraction from other children, this is very good for my Lucas who used to get distracted by everything and everyone.
- Flexibility – If we need to travel, have something planned, have family with us then stopping school for a couple of days is a possibility, Jacob and Lucas are very good at catching up.
- All subject/projects are designed by the school and are marked, so we know when they are doing well or if they need extra help.
- I get to spend all morning with my boys 🙂
Downsides to distance Schooling
- They do get a lot of work and sometimes we can feel snowed under, as time goes on I try and not worry about completing all projects.
- The boys do like to push with their demands, because I’m their mum and not a teacher they think they can get away with more, Jacob loves every evening to ask to start school later..
- Social skills, I know we could get better with meeting other kids, but so far we haven’t, the boys do keep intouch via Skype with their old New Zealand friends, but I would love them to get more face to face contact. So this is something I really want us to work on..
- I get to spend all morning with my boys
Distance Schooling in Australia
I follow a travelling family ‘YTravel’ who do / did distance schooling with their girls, read all about their experience >here<