IN DETAIL: Travel Schooling

Another question we are asked frequently is about Hadrian's schooling.

One of the reasons we chose to travel now was Hadrian's age. He was old enough to travel and behave himself, old enough to appreciate and remember the experience and he was still in Primary school so it was before he would need to commit to High School.

Exams were not compulsory yet; his learning was still manageable for us, his parents, to teach him; he still had enough time to go back into a classroom environment when we finished our travels to prepare him for High School.

All these were factors in making this decision to travel with him now. Not that it would have been impossible to take him travelling anytime after this - but it was our choice to make sure we had finished travelling to settle down and commit to his High School years with as less disruptions as possible.

Will he be enrolled in school while travelling or home schooled? 

No he will not be enrolled anywhere while we travel. As much as I would have loved to have enrolled him in an Italian school! With our schedule the way it is set, we are only in one place for no longer than a month. Pointless really. And it would have meant we would have needed a visa to allow that to happen which we had already ruled out. So, that was a no.

Home schooling was our only other option. Nathan and I didn't want him to take the entire 9 months off school - as much as he would have been ok academically if he did and as much as it works well for a lot of children who travel - it wasn't what we wanted.

We wanted his mind to be stimulated - and not just by what he saw... instead, including what he saw on our travels. We were happy to incorporate the history and geography of the countries we were visiting, learning languages, cultures, diversity, acceptance, open mindedness as we went along but we also wanted him to keep up with his basics and hopefully improve them.

I tried to follow as much as he was already learning at school into our routine - including the amount of weeks per term (or roughly close to it), working on his basics every day, rotating his other subjects every other day... but not as strict.

No scheduled lunch breaks, no scheduled time to start or finish, no strict timetable.

In fact, we let Hadrian set his own timetable. There's no point us setting his timetable and he's miserable.

We let him know he needed to do his basics every single weekday: Maths, Reading, Writing, Exercise.

And what he needs to do at least once a week: Science, History, Geography, Music, Spelling, Programming/Coding.

And he set his own time for each subject. He didn't set a time to start or a time to finish his school day but he knew every day he had to complete what he had set for the day. For days we were exploring, he had the flexibility to shorten the time spent on each daily basic subject.

Along the way, we would add things we feel he could spend some time on whether it's more art or drama or anything else he needs confidence in. But it was a good start.

What did we use to teach him each subject?

First of all, we invested in a laptop for him and some headphones. This way, he could do everything on it and we wouldn't need to bring any pens and papers with us (although we did bring some, for his car drawings that have to be done on paper).

School time

We brought four workbooks with us for times where we may be in transit on public transportation or just to make sure he was still on par with his year level. Maths (x2... one for his current year level and a level higher), Science and Technology, English - specifically language conventions which assess spelling, grammar and punctuation.

For non-workbook study, we signed up for various websites. We subscribed to an online learning program he had previously used in his school called SkoolBo which cost us $30 for a year. This covers all the basic subjects - but Hadrian finds it a little boring. We kept the subscription anyway just as a back up. We signed up for the free plan on Studyladder as well which covers a lot of subjects suited for his study year.

With all his learning we didn't want Hadrian to be left to his own devices. We would still participate in every subject with him. Like any new thing you learn, theory can only get you so far. We need to be hands on in his learning to make sure he understands and comprehends it all before moving onto the next level.

Hadrian self manages himself so he sets his own timers on his computer and moves onto his next subject when it's time - while still informing us of each change over. If he forgets to put on his timer, he needs to solve the problem himself with little intervention from us.

Everyday Basics


At the moment, Hadrian is still signed up with the program his previous school used called Prodigy. He uses this daily as it caters for his year level. To give him more options, he still has his Mathletics account as well.

There are also free courses on Khan Academy that cover the maths problems he would be learning - however, this doesn't show it in year levels but in different maths subjects so it's a good way to find out exactly which level he is currently learning at and what follows. We haven't tested these courses out yet but will as we progress through our trip.

We plan to check on him weekly in maths to see if he is comprehending it all and not just playing games.

Hadrian set his maths time to 1 hour per school day.

Reading and Writing

We downloaded the Kindle app on his laptop and bought Kindle books via Amazon. Only once he finished a book, will we buy the next one. They are usually about $5-6 each book. Right now he is reading book 3 of a series of books. Once he finishes a book, he needs to sum it up for us and do a quick review of it. That way, we know he is understanding it and not skim reading it to kill his reading time.

He set his reading time to 20-30 mins per school day.

For his writing, Hadrian has actually been writing a novel for a while now. He still hasn't finished it but works on it a little bit at a time. He still needs some work with keeping on subject and with his grammar and improving his writing skills but Nathan and I will read it once a week to give him some advice and help him where he may need it - especially in terms of grammar, punctuation and the general flow of the story. We're hoping by the time he finishes his novel, we can help him further in self publishing it.

He set his writing time to 30-60 mins per school day.


Being my son, exercise has never been his priority. But we've given him the challenge to do one form of exercise every school day. He gets to choose. We're not extremely strict on this since we are walking everywhere and will go somewhere at least once a day. If he wants to add to it or if the walk is shorter, then he can add what he likes.

He set his exercise time to 30 mins per school day.


Once-a-week Subjects

Hadrian has not set a time for each of these subjects. He has left them open ended depending on what he's learning with each subject.


This was the hardest subject to try and cover while travelling. Basically Hadrian would have to do a lot of theory learning in science.

But there are a lot of online sources that can cover any scientific subject - ones especially for kids. Some cover space-related topics with some covering environmental topics and some biology related topics. This is a good starting point as it leads to various other science resources.

There are also online resources with Studyladder that have great science lessons.

There are also options with Open University courses. Even though under 16's cannot sign up for them, it does allow parents to sign up for their behalf and supervise the under 16's in their scientific experiments which only use items that should already be in a standard kitchen. We look forward to taking one of these courses with him!

Khan is not so great a resource for science at this level.

We also plan to take him to the free Science Museum while we are in London. Apparently, it's a great teaching tool for kids his age.

History and Geography

The great thing about being in Italy is its history. Every week, we assign him to look up some history of something we've seen or something we know is in the country we're in. Khan can also help with some of this.

So far, he has learned the history of Verona and the Arena di Verona. As well as the geography of where we currently are.

Along with the history of the area, we select someone of significance in the city we are in. So far he has learned about the Father of Criminology and a famous opera singer who would sing in the Arena di Verona.

The more we move around, the more he will learn about the geography and history of those cities and countries and the people who are significant in them.


Being a pretty good speller already, we need to make sure he keeps challenging himself and learning new words or at least learning how to spell out new words.

Every week I give him a verbal and written spelling test and to shake things up, every now and then he'll need to put them all in a sentence.

Luckily, all spelling lists for his grade and above are easily accessible online.


We were able to bring a portable keyboard with us and a DVD with basic piano lessons on it. Every week he will go through each lesson on the DVD to improve his musical knowledge.

Unfortunately, that's the only instrument we can bring with us but we are hoping to catch a symphony performed live during our travels and there are courses through Khan that teach music history so he has a broader knowledge of music. Theory for most, but better than nothing.

Computer Programming

Thankfully Nathan is the teacher for this (because if it were taught by me, he'd be completely screwed).

Already Hadrian is programming at a beginners level through an online tutorial he has been given by his Dad. When he has questions or finds it difficult to understand, he has Nathan there to help him. There have already been times I literally have had to shut off their conversations in my mind because they are boring.

Because he is enjoying this so much, he chooses to do this once a week for the schedule but also has free programming time when school has finished for the day.


Like I said earlier, if we see something we need to add along the way, we will. For now, it's a good start and it's working.

Every fortnight, Hadrian must give us a presentation on what he's done so far in all his subjects either verbally or on his laptop with photos he has taken along the way. This way, he not only keeps track of what he's doing but we keep track of what he's learning as well. We chose fortnightly so it was less strict.

For our peace of mind, we also keep track of his school work via an app called "OurHome". We used to use this for his chores but now use it for his school work. This way we know the T's have been crossed, the I's have been dotted.

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