Home school Science - Unschool and World School Tips

February 17, 2014

homeschool science -unschool tips like Perot museum lab experiment

Can you homeschool science or math in a way that will prepare a teen for a top college if you use unschool or worldschooling methods? Yes and in our experience homeschooling and travel is the best education for a gifted child.


In this recent photo you see 13 year old Mozart in her lab coat and gloves doing a chromosome experiment by dissecting a fruit-fly larva at the Bio-Lab at the fabulous Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Awesome hands-on science for a teen with a wonderful assistant who had a master's degree in Cell Biology. A perfect example how our taking kids to museums tips have been a huge help on our world tour and one way we do science as we roam the world.

homeschool or wordschool science - feeding turtles in bora bora


We are homeschooling middle school and plan to homeschool high school. We are working with Joyce Reed and Gail Lewis from College Goals who homeschooled and unschooled their kids that went to MIT, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Wellesley, and more, so feel supported and encouraged about our choices.

My niece is also a homeschooled child who went on to graduate early and with honors from a top University to become a chemical engineer and quickly got a 6 figure income on her first job!

homeschool science kid workign with marine biologists with dolphin in Portugal


We've hunted down hands-on opportunities in many countries like working with marine biologists in Portugal and Florida with dolphins or archeologists in Troy, Ephesus and ancient ruins around the world.

Mozart has always been advanced and exceptional in math and science so she has loved many great online courses through Johns Hopkins University's CTY programs and some in person like one where she explored tide pools, collected plankton and  dissected a squid using microscopes at  Marin Headlands.

Homeschool science in London Museum


We search out science educational field trips where ever we go, be it the Everglades,  Ria Formosa Natural Park in Portugal, elephant seals in Ano Nuevo , Kennedy Space center, trekking in Bhutan , the Nemo science center in Amsterdam, snorkeling in Hawaii and even an overnight safari at a zoo in Sweden!

homeschool science snorkeling in Hawaii


Our world travel has definitely impacted Mozart's environmental education and literacy.

"Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living. " Barlow

Homeschool science in London


We do organic gardening homeschool even with world travel, enjoy visiting farms around the world and as an 11 year old, Mozart got to be a lab assistant in gardening/botany/entomology/ doing experiments with the amazing Juli Idleman who runs Dirt to Dinner.

Homeschool science organic gardening in Spain


We do science homeschool classes in person when ever we can find great ones, like one in Los Altos where she took apart cameras, phones, remote controls etc and put them back together to learn and she loved that dip into electricity and mechanical engineering.

homeschool science field trip close up seals

I actually hate the term "unschool" but all it means to me is following the child's lead and we always try to do that. As her passions and interests change, so does what she studies.

Our travel lifestyle means we spend much more time in nature than most people, get close up global experiences and we use EVERYTHING as a learning opportunity.

science homeschool on laptop in Asia


Much learning can be done on the computer for free, so of course we take advantages of things like Khan Academy , MIT OpenCourseWare, Open Yale Courses , Oxford University Mathematics OpenCourseWare and TED to name a few.

homeschool science at science museum in Europe


Our brand of homeschool is very eclectic, using everything to our advantage and included dipping into foreign schools as needed for language immersion during her primary years, so Mozart has gotten some science like physics in Chinese and English, primary science in Spanish and even some UK science curriculum. Always interesting to compare different perspectives on learning and science!

Despite being primarily unschooled, Mozart has always been ahead academically whenever she was in a school environment ( although always being the youngest) or did classes like JHU-CTY with kids from top schools, which was always very reassuring about our homeschool progress.

homeschool science museum tour Austria


I think the biggest tip for learning is to keep it fun. Not only when they are little, but learning should ALWAYS be an exciting adventure, as that is when we all  learn the most. A work ethic is easy to build if one has enthusiasm and passion for learning.

When Mozart was squealing with delight and jumping for joy at that recent opportunity to do the lab dissection at the Perot Museum, I felt so pleased as a parent that her joy of learning remains so strong. That is a primary educational goal for us, to raise a life long learner who loves every learning opportunity, is passionate, self-directed, caring, committed and has a global perspective.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”~ William Butler Yeats

“Most people, most of the time, learn most of what they know about science and technology outside of school.”~ National Science Foundation

homeschool science - nature- butterfly close up

Do you homeschool science or want to?

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I don't have a problem with unschooling if it means working with the child's interests. But a lot of time unschooling is translated as no-school.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Oh I totally agree with you Marlana and to some it also means no learning and no parenting. Ugh!

No I am definitely not into that type of unschooling that allows a kid to eat junk food all day and watch junk TV all day every day or addicted to video games all day.

I don't call that unschooling, but unparenting and feel sorry for those kids. That type of unschooling or homeschooling will definitely NOT lead to a top college nor likely a happy life for most who try that.

I think that style is sometimes called radical unschooling and I don't find that the best choice for my kid or family, but each to his own.

Child led learning and interest-based learning are better terms for sure, rather than unschooling!


My children are all grown, now. The youngest is currently on a one-semester study abroad program at a university in Costa Rica.

My children weren't homeschooled, and this is the first I've heard the term "unschooling". Though I can't believe that unschooling would be beneficial for most families, I like the concept as you've described it, as long as the parent's are as engaged in their children's development as you seem to be.

In a way, the concept of unschooling reminds me of a saying that I used when I took my two daughters out of school for two weeks to take a short term mission trip to Argentina and when I took my son out of school for a week to venture across to the other US coast to visit our nation's capital (and to take in a live NASCAR race.) I used to say, "I'm not going to let school get in the way of my kid's education."

My kids turned out to be very well adjusted individuals who are each following their passion.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Sounds like you have done a fantastic job of parenting Don with great kids!

I so agree with your statement, "I'm not going to let school get in the way of my kid's education."!!

That has always been our philosophy too, perhaps because my parents also seemed to have that idea as they often took us out of school to travel during my youth.

I think no matter how one educates a child ( public school, private school, homeschool, unschool etc....and we have done them all and more) ...parental involvement, responsibility and exampleship is really the key.


Homeschoolers can most definitely get into top colleges. I have one grad from Cal Poly Pomona school of agriculture and a criminal science/english major grad from Cal State Fullerton. My daughter is currently seeking to pursue her Master's.
On another subject - status of your book on dental healing? This is a top priority with us right now. Have Dr. Price's book, getting Mr. Nagel's book and have read Dr. Gerson's book. Anxious to hear how you have put these principles into practice.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Good for you Robyn and I am not surprised you have great kids! I think it is important for homeschooling parents, especially those with teens, to know that one can prepare well for college by homeschooling. So thanks for your great examples!!

I also wanted to finally write a bit about this as many wonder how we do science on the road. If there is a will, there is always a way!! ;)

So sorry about the book delay. I am still trying to get it out there, but because we did this quick change, I am now swamped again and that has pushed it back.

Faster travel, sponsored trips, my health, finding new food resources in new areas, slow cooking, finding new homeschool resources in a new location, extended family issues now we are closer to help etc etc...these are the things that delay me as there is only so much time in a day.

BUT it is coming, just not as quickly as I would like.

Dr. Price's book and Mr. Nagel's book are great resources and I would add 'Mouth Matters" too.

Diet has a huge impact on teeth and gums.

From Mouth Matters I also discovered something new you might like to try in the mean time...a product like "Ozene" that she recommends.

We are just trying it now and so far I like it very much and think it and ozone dentistry is very innovative ( and non invasive).

We are going to go to the dentist who started "noninvasive dentistry" ( happens to be in Texas...see Mercola's info on him) at some point soon, so will have more to report on our progress.

I am also really thrilled with the SOMA that we got in Australia and will be writing more about health and dental health and all we have learned along the way.

I have made great progress in my healing, but I tend to over work, so I am trying to live a more balanced life as sitting at the laptop writing or dealing with photos can be endless in my life and not a healthy choice.

So hang in's coming, I am just juggling a lot.

Jackie P

We are what I call semi-eclectic unschoolers. I say semi because my high school daughter does use an online curriculum, Time4Learning High School--Algebra I, Biology, English II, World History, and Personal Finance and Economics. We also supplement with Drive Thru History.

However, she doesn't log in everyday at all. She does lots of research online about things she is interested in learning more about.

When she was younger, she HATED history, which is my favorite subject. She now loves history. How did this happen you ask? She got into anime, specifically Hetalia--historically based, and that led her to research different countries. It kind of snowballed into deeper and deeper digging and learning and branching out into all kinds of areas.

I sometimes still struggle with not having a set agenda for her schooling. We have tried it in the past and it never works for her. I must admit her unschooling does work for her particular learning style. Does she miss things? Yes. Don't we all?

I do believe delight directed learning (unschooling) is beneficial for many kids, but not all.

I think your daughter is so blessed to be able to travel with you and experience so many great educational opportunities! It's wonderful.

Best wishes to you both for a fruitful rest of the year.



Your style of schooling looks fun!
Just curious, how would you do standard chemistry labs with chemicals like HCl that most people don't have at home?

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks abluepatronus! Mozart thinks it is fun and enjoys the freedom that homeschool allows her.

The answer to your question is the same as how she did this lab experiment of dissecting for chromasomes ...some things we outsource! ;)

There are a TON of great resources for homeschooled kids that include science labs and found at JHU-CTY programs, various community colleges, lots of universities programs for teens, homeschool coops, museums, tutors,mentors, homeschool field trps etc. So those who want hands-on lab experience in science or anything else can get it.

Mozart LOVES doing lab experiments and learning hands-on.

Here is a chemistry class with lots of labs nearby us in Texas that I just learned give you a specific example:

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks so much Jackie for your insightful comment...I so appreciate it and can relate!

What a fascinating story about how your daughter got into history!!

I don't think there is any ONE way to teach kids and often times I find that my child teaches me! LOL

I see myself as more of a guide or facilitator for her than a teacher.

Traveling really has added so much to her education and we do all feel blessed to have had this opportunity and so much time together.

Science on the move is a more challenging music..but we find if there is a will there is always a way.

One of the reasons we will spend a little more time in the USA during her middle school and high school years is there are so many amazing educational opportunities here for homeschool kids through college programs and community college.

Heidi Wagoner

I love when you write about schooling. This summer we will be leaving Spain after nearly 2 years and heading for Southeast Asia. We plan to homeschool, worldschool, or whatever you want to call it. The plan is to give that a go for a school year with our kids currently 4th and 6th grades. Our son Lars (almost 12)is so much like Mozart, very self driven and an advanced learner, so these tips and reference sites are a dream. We were aware of several and currently use them, but it is nice to know about more. Thanks!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Glad to hear that Heidi! Education is one of my passions, so I'd write more, but they tend to be the kind of posts that take up a lot of time and I am not sure how many people are interested.

So proud of you guys for being smart about the language immersion in Spain, so few travel families take advantage of that incredible opportunity that lasts forever.

I am sure your kids will do great worldschooling!

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