Extended Travel With Kids Sounds Great – But What About School?
We loved talking with Ann Fenton from The Latest. Learn more about keeping up with academics while on the road with your kids!
More and more families are interested in extended travel. Can kids take a “gap year” with their families and still continue their education?
Lately, I keep hearing about families that are interested in extended travel with their kids. It’s called world-schooling, and it is definitely a thing. The idea is to expose kids (and their parents!) to new experiences and cultures that they don’t have access to at home in the U.S.
But what about school? Can kids really take off a year or more to travel the world and still be able to easily re-integrate back into regular public schools?
Thanks to new education-centered companies catering to expat and traveling families, the answer is a resounding yes!
I recently sat down with Christianna Pangalos, CEO and founder of Twiga Tutors – a new company that pairs American-certified teachers with students, no matter where they are in the world. Pangalos herself is a constant nomad, having spent the majority of her career with the UN, USAID and NGOs around the world.
She started Twiga Tutors (Twiga is the Swahili word for giraffe) in January 2017 while teaching American children living in Botswana. “I quickly realized that American expat kids all over the world wanted a fun, engaging way to connect with an American-style education while living overseas,” explained Pangalos. “Parents were worried that their children were falling behind their American peers while abroad. Twiga Tutors was built to bridge this gap.”
As a diplomatic family, Pangalos travels with her own children. “The biggest benefit is seeing the world (and yourself) from different perspectives in each new culture that you immerse yourself in. At each new place you reevaluate your own assumptions, routines, and expectations ultimately bringing you closer in touch with your intrinsic values.”
Twiga Tutors isn’t just for expat kids, though. “While Twiga Tutors began with families in diplomatic and military families, a diverse group of K-12 students now enjoy learning Math, English, Science and U.S. History subjects with us,” said Pangalos. There has even been some international interest from non-American parents who want their children exposed to a U.S. education.
“I’ve always loved technology, kids and teaching,” explained Pangalos. “I began tutoring non-English speaking classmates in high school and have taught all levels ever since, including, most recently, orphaned and vulnerable youth in Botswana. My passion is to help students anywhere, achieve their highest potential by connecting them with amazing teachers and engaging curriculum.”
Extended traveling with your kids, or even choosing an expat lifestyle, may come with some downsides, like missing familiar places and favorite restaurants. But Pangalos wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s hard when you miss the holidays, birthdays … and other milestones while living overseas. However, when we are back home we get to spend real quality time with our families, as opposed to living in the same neighborhood but never really connecting due to the business of our lives. That is priceless.”
ANN FENTON is the COO / Managing Editor at THE LATEST
Ann has a law degree from Loyola University Chicago and completed her undergraduate work at New York University where she majored in Mass Media Communication Studies. When not editing or writing, she can usually be found in her kitchen amidst a pile of cookbooks.