A Day in the Life of Tania, Homeschool Mama to Three
Hi friends! I’m Tania from @aroundtheworldstories and a longtime fan of DITL. I’m so excited to share our day with you! We (my hubby and three girls 9, 11 and 15) do things a bit differently as we’re a full-time traveling family. For the past 2 1/2 years, we’ve been traveling around Europe, staying in different countries for 2-3 months, then moving on to another. We work, play, learn and live immersed in other cultures, and the places we visit have naturally become a focus of our homeschooling. Even though we’re nomads of sorts, our day-to-day homeschooling probably looks similar to many of your days! We’re striving to raise compassionate, kind and world-conscious kids who follow their passions and love to learn. Thanks so much for having me!
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Starting Our Morning with Tea in England
Good Morning and happy Wednesday from Cornwall, England! I’m Tania, and I’m so happy to be sharing our day with you!
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We’ve been slow traveling around Europe since June 2016, and we world school our three girls Maya (15), Mirabel (11) and Lacey (9). For us, world schooling means that we’ve made learning about the world – places we visit, people we meet, the art, the history, music, culture – as much of a core subject as math or reading. We use our travels to teach. Much of our learning time happens outside as we ask questions and explore new places. When we were in Portugal we learned about explorers and cork. When in France, we learned about Bastille Day, lavender and Monet. In Austria we spent our days learning about Mozart, salt mines and the mountains.
We tend to focus on art, nature, creativity and interest-led studies. And a love and joy of learning is always at the center.
Today started with a cup of tea with my 15-year-old. She woke before her sisters which is a rare thing. How much do I love that kind of time with my teen! We headed outside and spent the hour practicing her German. Learning languages has been something our girls naturally want so that they can communicate on our travels. Since I grew up speaking German, it was the first language they started to learn.
Would you want your kids to learn a foreign language? If so, which one and why? I’m so happy to be here and excited to connect with you!
Breakfast + Discussing Learning Goals for the Day
This morning started with Maya, our 15-year-old, making scones. She heard we would be sharing here today and decided to start things off right – with scones, jam and clotted cream. We’ve been told by the British that scones are most definitely not a breakfast food – apparently it’s equivalent to eating cake for breakfast – but we’re breaking the tradition and doing it anyway.
During breakfast we talk about our day – what lessons everyone has and wants to have, where we might be going and checking the tide times for our daily walk on the beach with our pup. We ended up spending a lot of time talking about the tide this morning, and how and why it changes so drastically. (Thank you Google!)
We often start our days learning inside – especially when we’re settled somewhere for a couple of months. When we have more time somewhere, a routine naturally takes place which is comforting to all of us. Sometimes we travel more and then spend most of our days outside and on the go, but it’s always such a great feeling to unpack and really get to know a new place, making it home and enjoying a routine.
My husband, Matt, has gone to a café or the library – wherever he set up his office for the day to work. Spending all day every day together – kids, school, travel, work – is wonderful, but we quickly learned that we all need some space too, and when either Matt or I are working, we both do a lot better outside of the house.
Do find that you can work well at home? Or do you need to have quiet and a different environment? I think as homeschooling moms, many of us need some alone time. Is that true for you as well?
Dyslexic Super Powers
Whatever ideas I had about homeschooling when I first started five years ago went right out the window when I learned that my two youngest girls have dyslexia – one rather severely (or as my husband says – wonderfully).
We view dyslexia as a super power around here, and I know that both of our girls have incredible gifts because of the way their minds work. But still, it does make some things difficult, as many of you have probably experienced.
We’ve worked very slowly, but steadily with the Barton reading program and after years, we’re so happy to have such happy readers.
We’ve made Barton a daily routine. We don’t spend a lot of time on it – no more than 20-30 minutes each morning with each of our girls. They both now genuinely love to read even if it is still a struggle at times, and spelling may always be a struggle.
I believe not pushing them too hard and teaching them the way they learn best have truly made all the difference. They never felt behind because there was no one to make them feel behind – what a gift!
Today, after our reading lesson, Lacey went upstairs to her room and is now playing her ukulele. It makes her so happy and proud. Isn’t is just the greatest thing isn’t the world when our kids are doing what they love? To me, music, art, history, geography, math, science, language arts are all equal.
I think if I were to share one of my greatest lessons learned, I’d say give your kids some space to follow their interests, develop their passions. I think it’s a gift we can give our kids that will literally last a lifetime.
What do your kids love to do?
World Schooling with a Teen
Isn’t it amazing how different kids can have such different learning styles? Each of my three girls learns differently and it’s been such a difficult (at first) and wonderful (now) experience for me to learn what works best for each of them.
I think this girl of ours was born to world school. She loves traveling, loves maps, is a geography and history wiz and truly has an insatiable desire to experience new things.
We stopped at Stonehenge on the way to Cornwall and now she’s researching the possible reasons for building it, the methods for bringing the stones, the ceremonies they held and anything else she can find.
In London she wanted to visit Churchill’s war rooms and has been reading about them ever since. She’s fascinated with the Age of Exploration because of our time in Portugal and has read countless books on the Holy Roman Empire after we spent time in Austria.
I’ve learned that right now my job with her is facilitator. She then loves teaching us everything she’s learned. Today she spent much of her morning researching ship wrecks in Cornwall. Her dream is to get certified in scuba diving and is doing her research. 😊
I never ever imagined that I’d be homeschooling a teen, but I’m so grateful for this path we’ve chosen.
Are any of you homeschooling a teen? Is it how you imagined?
Letting Creative Writing Run Wild
Mirabel, our 11 year old, worked on her Barton reading lesson and is now listening to one of our @aroundtheworldstories audio stories. One of the greatest things about homeschooling for us is that everyone gets to learn how they learn best.
And for Mirabel, stories are an amazing way for her to learn and retain information. Right now she’s listening to a story about India. Almost every time she listens to a story, she’ll come running in with ideas for another story.
She comes to us almost daily with a new idea for a story and we really do often incorporate them into our audio stories. I love that school and work and life and play all mix together sometimes so beautifully.
She asked the other day to learn how to type better so that she can put her thoughts down more quickly. She often tells me that the hardest thing about being an author is that she has too many ideas for books and not enough time to get them all down on paper.
Being dyslexic, she has to work extra hard at reading and spelling and handwriting so we try and help her when she struggles but also always encourage her strengths.
So she’s working on cursive to see if that helps with her hand writing and letter reversals and she’s also working on her typing skills. Mixed in between lots of time for play and imagination.
We Love Water Adventures
See that smile? That is how she looks whenever she is on the water. On our travels, she’s tried paragliding, snorkeling, sailing, surfing and skydiving. She is definitely a girl with adventure in her heart.
Every week she takes a surfing lesson depending on the conditions and tide times. We never know which day it’ll take place. This week is was today, and she is thrilled. Her sisters, our pup and I are exploring the beach while she rides the waves.
Since we do move around a lot, I always make a big effort the first week we get somewhere to find activities, festivals and when possible, home ed groups for us to join. We try and give the kids opportunities to get involved when they want with different activities and groups of friends.
I’m so grateful for afternoons like this one.
Daily Art Lessons Make for Calming Afternoons
Time for art! We do some form of art almost daily whether we’re sketching, learning from our @aroundtheworldstoriesartist stories, painting kindness rocks, learning about photography or drawing – art is always being created in some form or another.
The girls love it, and I often even do it with them. I find it so soothing and just what I need in the afternoons or evenings.
There are so many wonderful online lessons out there- perfect for a traveling family. This week we’ve been loving Waldorf drawing and painting. Next stop: their bedrooms to hang up their work.
The Power of Spending Time in the Great Outdoors
Taking an evening walk just a few minutes from our house. Hiking and exploring are almost always my favorite parts of the day. The kids talk and tell stories and ask questions. We laugh a lot and explore together. I love this time of togetherness with no distractions.
No matter the pile of work or mess in the kitchen or unanswered emails, when we go outside we feel good and the work somehow lessens in our minds. Our hearts soften and fill with gratitude.
Does spending time outside give you a feeling of calm too?
Thanks for Joining Our Day!
There was so much more I thought I’d share today, but as is often the case, time went more quickly than I thought! Thank you so much for sharing this space with me and letting me share our day! I had so much fun ‘meeting’ some of you! I hope to see you over at @aroundtheworldstories!