‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page’. St. Augustine.
The above quote resonates with me. I say so because as a homeschooling mom, I know and I can attest to the health and spiritual benefits I gain while traveling with my family. Without any iota of doubt, I believe that traveling is a passport to the world especially for us as homeschoolers. We could schedule to travel any time of the year and have the flexibility and the choice to choose anywhere we would like to visit. It could be a brief or a lengthy travel. There is absolutely no academic restriction for homeschooling families because they learn on the go. Our academics are not limited to just text books, pencils, pens, and notebooks. To us, traveling is another life experience that adds so much value to our home education.
For homeschooling families who might worry on how to be on schedule with their children’s academics and how to replace their children’s favorite part of homeschooling while they are gone, know for sure that it is doable and you need not worry at all.
Here are 10 tips that could help alleviate your worry and anxiety when you decide to take a leap out of your comfort zone and enjoy homeschooling on a global scale.
1. Whether your trip is short-term or long-term, plan ahead and discuss about it with your family members. Engage your children and let them have the freewill to give their own suggestions.It is important to know what they would like to do and accomplish during the travels.
2. Explore the country of your choice. Whether we accept it or not, there is no perfect place in the world. There are always pros and cons in every country. However, there are some countries that are safer and more suitable to live in for a long time. There would still be lots of room for adjustment, adaptation, and cultural immersion, but the initial exploration you make with your family, will prepare you ahead of time to know what to expect.
3. Once you are set on the country you all plan to visit, find out more information of the country from friends, colleagues, neighbors, or community members, who might have traveled there before. It does go a long way to know someone who could give you objective insights about the country, and arm you with some candid, down-to-earth advice.
4. Be upfront and candid with your children regarding the country you all choose to travel to. Educate them about the place and make sure you explain to them that it would most likely, not be like the comfort found in one’s home, no matter what you hear, know, or read about the country.
5. Guess what? There are more homeschoolers than you might expect in many countries, and there are networks of homeschoolers who get together and support one another much like the co-ops here in the United States.Hence, you and your children could enjoy activities anywhere in your new country.
6. Try not to limit your family to homeschoolers only. Join up with all sorts of community and family-oriented organizations as long as you have done your research extensively so that you do not get disappointed with a particular event that goes against your Islamic values. That is so important.
7. Introduce yourselves to your neighbors and welcome them into your lives. Get to know them and their families.
8. Spend a lot of time exploring your new country and get acquainted with the people and culture. Visit interesting new places and probably make friends with people who want to practice their English-speaking skills to native English speakers. Your children and yourself will learn much more from this than from a textbook.
9. In addition to tip 7 above, you can even sign up for local language classes as part of your homeschooling. You might even find few local people who would love to trade language lessons, teaching your family some of the local language dialects in exchange for helping them improve their English-speaking skills.
10. Let your children take charge of their homeschooling in their new country. You be the guide and navigator as usual. Travel schooling should be as fun as possible. No need to continue the stresses of life found in your home country.
I remembered when my family decided to spend our summer in Egypt in 2016. We had planned for a short-term trip of 2-3 months just to figure out whether we could cope or not. After speaking with family friends especially those who had spent much time living and studying in Egypt, a few were concerned about our overall safety if we decided to live in Cairo. We were advised to stay away from anything political and focus on our goal of traveling to Egypt. We learned that the after-effects of the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrations in Cairo, were still up in the air. My husband and I prayed about it, did our own research, and went ahead with our decisions.
Alhamdulilaah! We took the bull by the horn, booked our trip to Egypt and arrived there safely. We did cope more than we expected. We continued our regular homeschooling and on top of that, we all attended Arabic language immersion schools (my children’s school was different from mine). My children learned not only the classical Arabic but poetry, Mathematics, Islamic Studies, grammar, and sports, all in Arabic. They were forced to speak it and they had so much fun. I had more fun though because I was studying, participating, and enjoying my “me time” in a child-free zone at Fajr Institute (the name of my Arabic school) . I surely needed my sanity and quiet time as a homeschooling mom in Egypt. I also joined an expat sisters’ group which connected me to many Western sisters living in Egypt. It was an amazing experience, alhamdulilaah.
Travel homeschooling is rewarding. It will humble you and your family and make you appreciate all the good and bad that Allaah has tested you all with. What? Did I just mention ‘bad’? Yes, I did. I mention bad because that is part of our belief system as Muslims. Whether good or bad, all is from Allaah. And no matter how bad your test is, travel schooling will make you see and affirm that your bad was not that bad at all compared to what others have gone through and are presently going through.
And before you know, by the time your trip is over, you and your family would have that feeling of community and a whole new set of activities that you have all loved to do and have accomplished. That is the best part of living in a different country – you do not replace what is familiar but you just simply embrace what is new.
A piece of advice:
Remind yourself and your family that as Muslims first and foremost, traveling is highly recommended in our deen. There are various benefits of traveling for the purpose of seeking knowledge, according to Ramhumuzi, the author of “The Noble Scholar of Hadeeth”.
This is an excerpt of what he says about traveling, in his book:
“There is much profit to be derived from seeing new lands and new houses, in seeing beautiful gardens and fields, in seeing different faces and coming across different languages and colors, and in witnessing the wonders of different countries. The peace that one finds under the shades of large trees is unparalleled. Eating in the mosques, drinking from streams, and sleeping wherever one finds a place when night comes – these all instill affability and humbleness in a person. The traveler befriends all those whom he loves for Allaah’s sake and he has no reason to flatter or be artificial. Add to these benefits all of the happiness that the traveler’s heart feels when he reaches his destination, and the thrill he experiences after having overcoming all of the obstacles that were on his way. If those who are averse to leaving their homelands knew all of this, they would learn that all of the individual pleasures of the world are combined in the noble pursuit of traveling. There is nothing more enjoyable to a traveler than the beautiful sights and the wonderful activities that are part of traveling through Allaah’s wide earth. And the non-traveler is deprived of all of this.”
Isn’t this soul inspiring and mind-blowing?
There are a few verses in the Qur’an in which Allaah commands us to travel and more so, commands those who do not believe in Him, to travel through the earth, and see for themselves what they deny. One particular verse that inspires me is in Surah Al Kahf.
Surah Al-Kahf verse 60 tells us about the story of Prophet Musa, alayhe salaam, and his boy-servant. Prophet Musa, alayhe salaam, told his boy-servant that ‘he will not give up traveling until he reaches the junction of the two seas or he spends years and years in traveling.” Let us all learn from our Prophet Musa, alayhe salaam.
Ibn Batutta is another man who set out alone on his donkey to travel all over the world for twenty-nine years, His story should definitely stir us all into actions and plan ahead for our next trip even if it’s going to be five years time from now.
So, come on board, homeschooleers! Let’s travel! Let our globetrotting begin!
Maryam Funmilayo is a homeschooling mom of four children. She cautiously delved and finally dived into the homeschool profession in September 2009, when her youngest child was 3 months old.
She is a full-time home maker around the clock, a public health and nutrition educator by qualification, a writer and poet by heart, and a Muslimah by soul. Maryam thoroughly enjoys traveling. She is often found day-dreaming about her next destination after savoring the memories of her past trips. For her next trip (only Allaah knows when), she plans to have her travel schooling itinerary ready, and explore the world at the slightest opportunity without going into any debt.She owns the online scholarship consulting firm, Scholarship Plaza, www.scholarshipplaza.
com, which was greatly inspired by her staunch advocacy for a debt-free college education.