Our education consisted of immersive and classroom learning.
The immersive learning emerged through daily exposure to other cultures, languages, historical sites, museums, and the like. The world was our laboratory. We invited curiosity, made observations, and talked about what we’d experienced.
The classroom learning was typically about four hours a day, and we tried to make each exercise as interdisciplinary as possible. In the beginning, we were prescriptive about how the kids would apply their time; increasingly, they began taking to making their own schedule for the day. We monitored their progress on key subjects like Math and English Language Arts, but otherwise encouraged them to do a little bit of everything each week while allowing flexibility to decide whether to give certain subjects more attention than others. The mainstays of our classwork were:
- Coding: our favorite was Grasshopper, and have toyed around with TurtleDraw for fun.
- Exercise: we did a lot of walking and running around. And the occasional beach soccer or 7-minute exercise routines.
- Boardgames: we carried physical copies of History of the World, which is fun, strategic, and gave us a lot to reflect on as we learn about history. We also got the board game Civilization to further the fun and strategic thinking. We are fortunate to have kids who love boardgames as much as we do.
- Movies: we made use of documentaries and movies to add context and depth to the places we visited. From a technical standpoint, we rented or purchased them off Google Play (Netflix and Amazon Prime were not readily available everywhere) and streamed them through a Roku that we carried with us. We usually watched the films just prior to visiting the country in which it is set or while we were there. Here is a selection of films we’ve watched, some of which required considerable parental guidance.
- Europe: Agora, Gladiator (the scenes cut across Spain, Morocco, and Italy), Spartacus, Ben Hur, Joeux Noel, The Celtic World (The Great Courses)
- Africa: An African Election (documentary), Shaka Zulu, The Lion King, Queen of Katwe, Black Panther (it flips the script on an an undeveloped view of Africa; and each clan is loosely modelled after a real African tribe)
- Middle East: Lawrence of Arabia, The Ten Commandments,
- Cambodia: First they Killed My Father
- China: The Story of China (documentary), Hero, Red Cliff, Empire of the Sun, Mulan
- Japan: Seven Samurai, Ran, Empire of the Sun, Day One, Tora! Tora! Tora! (pairs well with Day One)
- Hawaii: Princess Ka’iulani, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Moana
- Mexico: Mayans, Conquistadors: Aztecs (BBC)
- Peru (Cuzco, Machu Picchu): The Incas Masters of the Clouds (BBC), Conquistadors: Inca (BBC), Pachamama (Netflix Films cartoon)
- Peru (Amazon): Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Embrace of the Serpent, Rio, Amazonia
- USA: Lincoln, Night at the Museum (in relation to Smithsonian visit), The West
- Other/Philosophy/Science: Arrival, The Good Place (TV show), Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown” episodes relevant to places we visit, The Big History of Civilizations (The Great Courses)