A bit of background, while I was pregnant with Desmond, I read as much as I could about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I came across a series of articles, written by Dr. Peter Gray, in Psychology Today that emphasized the "roles of play and curiosity as a foundation of learning." He is a big proponent of unschooling, which is a subset of homeschooling where children learn by playing and by real-world experiences, instead of through workbooks and textbooks. I forwarded as many articles as I could to Billy (who, at this point, was very pro-traditional schooling). Eventually, he began to see the merits of homeschooling our kids and the freedom it would allow us to live as a family. (Disclaimer: we are not religious nor did we choose to homeschool because we disagree with what is being taught in schools. Just in case you were already labeling as "wackos" and "extremists" in your head).
Already deciding to homeschool made it easier for us to commit to traveling full time. What we didn't anticipate, and what was a major concern for many of the people who questioned our decision to homeschool, was that traveling from place to place every few months didn't allow for a lot of time for Des to build relationships with kids. Sure, we would go to the park and he would sometimes play with the kids there, but it wasn't enough to build friendships.
His language has grown by leaps and bounds since he started going. He now speaks to us in Spanish a lot of the time and will correct Bill when Bill uses a Spanish word incorrectly. This is by far the best outcome we could have hoped for. Whether or not he knows how to spell his name, or read, or knows how to count to 100 is less important to us than his ability to communicate fluently in Spanish. Although we are happy that he is socializing with kids around his own age, we also make sure that he is exposed and is comfortable being around older kids (the lady who is responsible for cleaning our apartment building brings her 10-year-old son over to play with Des on the weekends), my younger cousins (16 years old), and adults my age and older. I don't believe that traditional school systems are the best and only way to "socialize" kids.
As we gear up towards our move to Asia in the winter and wrap up our stay in Colombia, we are researching preschools in the countries we are thinking about visiting, even though we still value unschooling (immersion learning, if we may) and it will be the primary method of educating our sons. Our main priority is for Desmond to be exposed to different cultures and languages as much as and for as long as possible. We want him to learn a few words in Japanese or to know what it's like to make an offering at a Hindu altar in a Balinese house. We want the bulk of our kids' learning to happen just by living their lives and not only by going to school. Local schools offer Des a way to become a small part of the larger culture; to feel what it means to be the one who is different and to realize that we are more alike than we think. They provide a built-in village that we lack because we travel full time. In the end, it is not so important that he learned his reading, writing, or arithmetic so much as learning how to be a good, generous, and kind global citizen.