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For those who have not heard of the phrase world schooling, it is the practice of schooling while traveling. For some families, they actually travel the whole world over a year or more.  Yes, they give up everything to travel the world.  Although it sounds like an awesome adventure, we are not doing that.  Instead, we are traveling via vacations when we can.  I am describing our international trips as world schooling as it is a form of experiential learning outside of our home country.  Road schooling is another phrase often used to describe learning via travel.  I have to admit, I am a huge fan of travel for education.  So feel free to call it road schooling, world schooling, or travel schooling.  The point is, experiencing the world outside of your immediate home is important to learning.

One great flexibility of homeschooling is that we school year round and can now take vacations when we want to instead of following the traditional school schedule.  In addition, this year our son was not in any coops or long-term commitment classes.  Our son was denied enrollment into a couple classes this year because he was 9 despite having the knowledge base and prerequisites for the classes he wanted.  However, we found books and online materials to meet his needs.  His denial of classes and the flexibility of homeschooling gave us the excellent opportunity to take advantage of huge travel deals!  We used money budgeted for those classes to travel and have a completely different learning experience.  One such deal was with Air New Zealand.  They now fly directly from Houston, TX to Auckland, NZ.  This was the perfect set-up for a great family vacation and educational experience.  New Zealand’s summer is during America’s winter, thus, New Zealand is our first round of world schooling.

We made our trip to New Zealand a fun and educational trip for all of us.  Sadly, 2 weeks was not enough time.  In that short time, we packed in a lot but we know we’ll have to go back.  In addition, we had done our research to make our trip affordable.  We took advantage of online bookings in advance and a discount site bookme saved money on all places that had general admission.  I also had found lists of free museums and gardens.  In addition, the national park system of New Zealand is all free.  There are tons of free maps available in the airport.  Many of those maps mark points of interests, which were also free.  Here is what we experienced with our son:

  • Rakaia River & Gorge
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Mount Cook overlook
  • Lake Pukaki
  • Methven
  • Wrinkly Rams Sheep Shearing
  • Clay Cliffs
  • Ahuriri River
  • Omarama
  • Omarama Gliderport
  • Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
  • Hooker Valley Track with hike to Hooker Lake to see icebergs floating in the lake and Hooker Glacier and Mount Cook
  • Lavender Farm
  • Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Lake Hawea overlooks
  • Lake Wanaka overlooks
  • Blue Pools
  • Fantail  Falls
  • Thunder Creek Falls
  • Pleasant Flat
  • Roaring Billy Falls
  • Haast Visitor Center
  • Haast Beach
  • Haast Estuary
  • Lake Wanaka
  • Arrowtown
  • Queenstown
  • Lake Wakatipu
  • Mount Aspiring National Park Visitor Center
  • National Toy & Transport Museum
  • Fiordland National Park Visitor Center
  • Te Anau
  • Fiordland National Park
  • Milford Sound Cruise which included the Milford Sound Discovery Center & Underwater Observatory
  • Te Anau Glowworm Cave Tour
  • Otago University
  • Dunedin
  • Dunedin’s steepest street in the world
  • Signal Outlook
  • Dunedin Botanical Gardens
  • Shag Point
  • Moeraki Boulders Beach
  • Steampunk Headquarters Museum
  • Timaru
  • Caroline Bay Beach
  • Christchurch
  • Canterbury Museum
  • Christchurch Botanical Gardens
  • Cathedral Square
  • International Antarctic Centre
  • Spencerville Beach
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

New Zealand speaks English which of course makes it a great country to visit and easier for our son.  He already watched videos of the area.  And, he knew that they use British spellings.  We also had several books and had learned the phrases that are different from here.  We know that to those outside of America, we have funny phrases too.  So for our son, here are the fun New Zealand phrases or words he enjoyed:

  • Nappy (diapers)
  • Tyres (tires)
  • Petrol (gas)
  • No Worries (no problem, no troubles)
  • Rubbish (garbage or trash)
  • Toilets (bathroom or restroom)
  • Itchy Feet (need to stand up or move around)
  • Biscuits (crackers or cookies)
  • Boot of your car (trunk)
  • Bush (area outside of the a town/city or small forest)
  • Chilly Bin (cooler)
  • Chips (french fries)
  • Dairy (town’s grocery store)
  • Fizzy drink (soda)
  • Mate (friend or buddy)
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • Zed (the letter z)
  • Takeaways (take out food or to-go boxes when done with a meal)
  • Wop-wops or Utterly Lost (middle of nowhere)
  • Kia Ora (common welcome & goodbye phrase but literally means “be healthy”)

International travel also allowed our son to experience some frustrations: lack of wifi everywhere or very limited wifi, paying for the internet (it has always been free and unlimited in US hotels), slow internet, different food choices, long travel times, and different operating hours for businesses.  He was shocked by so many businesses being closed on Sunday’s as well as many places closed for the day at 5 or 5:30 in the smaller towns.  Travel to New Zealand was a great way to physically experience and learn about: hemispheres, time changes, international date line, metric system, climate, continents, geography, Maori culture, New Zealand culture, driving on the left side, different signs, earthquakes, glaciers, British spellings, accents, sheep farming, customs, passports, biological sensitivities, native species, rules of international travel, foreign currency, currency exchange, and much more.

Travel is a great educational tool.  Sadly, our local public schools punish those who travel during the school year and some schools strictly prohibit it.  We also know as homeschoolers, we have more flexibility.  Travel could be local, regional, your own country, or foreign countries.  And, travel can be via “arm chair” with the use of books, videos, and computers.  The point is, traveling is a great educational experience.  Whether you go on an actual trip or an armchair trip, please go explore the world with your child. Exposure and experience to the world is so important.