I often say this when I come across people who are unfamiliar with home education. The really skeptical ones who think we confine our children to our home all day, every day. Those critics who think, “All children belong in a classroom.” To which I retort, “I disagree, children belong with their family and a parent educator. The world is our classroom and they learn wherever we go in it.”
Lately, I’ve been expanding the context of that meaning from our home and community to literally the entire world. I have envisioned our road school adventures so many times but the awe inspiring reality of it didn’t strike me until more recently. When we hiked to the highest point of The Smokey Mountains.
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Clingham’s Dome Smokey Mountains Tennessee
When I prepared for this trip I decided to bring a few educational materials for our kids to go through while we drove. I planned to cover geographical landforms after my children explored them first hand. By reading about mountains, mountain passes, and mountain ranges in Geography from A-Z. In anticipation for touring the Nina and Pinta, a floating museum docking in Knoxville. My eldest decided to bring out Columbus by D’aulaire from last year’s AGF’s cycle one history readings.
However, nothing really prepared me for what it would be like when the world became our classroom. We hiked new nature trails, found a secret swimming spot in the river, and observed a mother bear with her two cubs cross over the road. My children met all kinds of new people. They even made friends with some children from New Mexico.
Sometimes we hear this as home educators. How will they ever make friends? Apparently, in the hotel breakfast room with complete strangers from halfway across the country. As a lively game of animal charades broke out I saw how my children were exposed to new social challenges and then I watched them grow.
Yet it wasn’t any of these instances that demonstrated the true potential of road schooling. It was the steep hike up Clingman’s Dome trail that began to open my eyes. An exercise in parenting, as my husband and I guided our children to look on the bright side instead of grumbling about the heat. A test of perseverance just to get to the top to see the breath taking view.
Setting goals and working to achieve them together. Road schooling may be the start of our families greatest adventure.
Can you envision what road schooling may look like to you?
What do you think of the world being the classroom and the experience being the lesson?