Don’t steal their learning opportunity.
Or, how we get out of the way of our kids learning moments.
We got rid of most our belongings and subleased our apartment in NYC to go explore how to improve the way kids learn… the education system. Our goal was “simple”: find the way to prepare kids of today for a totally different tomorrow. On July 4th 🎉 we left everything behind and boarded on what has become the most transformative experience of our lives.
We decided to homeschool our kids while we were doing the research: interviewing parents, teachers, policy makers, ministers, journalist, and most importantly kids. We have read 28 books about education, watched pretty much ever TEDtalk available on the subject, visited 25 schools, and interviewed 120 people. (you can access our lists with links here.) Quickly into the journey we realized what an undertaking homeschooling was and decided to make it our main focus. We aren’t even calling it “homeschool” anymore as we have discovered what we are doing is literally “worldschooling.”
Also, we have shifted our energy to explore what is happening at the edge of ed-innovation: from unschooling to eco-learning and from socratic approach to blended methods. Learning from these is helping us become better parents.
We have been to 12 cities (in the Americas so far), stayed in 6 different AirbnbEngs and have met people who have changed us forever!
We are halfway to the time we allotted to this crazy digital nomad adventure, and every person (old friends and new) ask us the same exact question:
W h a t i s y o u r bi g g e s t l e a r n i n g ?
Hands down, the most transformative one is the mindset shift we have experienced as parents (not even about the education system as we first set out to tackle.) Understanding that our role is to guide our kids’ learning experiences and not to “teach” or “educate” them.
These are some behavioral shifts:
- From giving answers to constantly asking questions. Even when they ask a question.
- From telling them the plans to involving them in making them. Even getting them involved in the budgeting related to a plan/trip.
- From “helping” them do things they are very capable of doing, to really helping them (not doing things for them)
- From yelling at them to listen to us, to co-creating an environment where they own and guard the established culture (behaviors)
- From saying “oh cool” “yes, sure” to really being interested in their stories. Genuinely actively listening.
- From trying to entertain them the second they get bored to allowing them to find new things (develop their curiosity) out of boredom.
- From going on with life as usual to stopping to reflect on the things and progress we make together.
- From a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Iñaki is writing a post about this one this week.
- And probably the most significant one, from obsessing over curriculum structured education to spontaneous learning opportunities. (This one is the hardest to apply)
The day we realized that we have to grow together with them and that we have NO RIGHT to steal their learning opportunities; a whole world opened up. We really wish we knew many years ago to let go to let them grow. So now that we have awareness and constant practice, we want to share it with the world! We are doing this on a daily basis on our instagram account. We hope to continue learning, applying and sharing more, as we have sadly realized the education system won’t evolve during our lifetime to where it needs to… Which leaves a much harder job for parents to do at home.
This is the space we want to navigate in, a space many have forgotten as being probably the most important piece for children and society mobility. Change management, for parents, we call it :)
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or feedback.
We want to thank Hyper Island for helping us learn the power of learning by doing and facilitative learning. Daniel Herbruger, who has played a significant role in helping us unlearn all of our parenting paradigms to allow real learning opportunities to happen. Daniel and his socratic circles have become one of the highlights of our lives! And Tina Roth Eisenberg for helping us see the value in sharing our learnings with other parents!
Follow our adventure:
Weekly video diaries on youtube (edited by our 10 year old,) daily tips for parents on instagram, live videos about learning moments on Facebook, and if you want to know where we are in the world we are on Swarm, Google Maps and on our website . We are funding this journey ourselves so if you believe in what we are doing and would like to pitch in, you can donate to our campaign here.
Onto 2017, ready to crossover to Europe, Africa and Asia to continue to learn and to share what we apply!