Meet Martha Nieset and her family

December 23, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Meet WSE Members



About Martha

Months after moving to Granada, Nicaragua, in 2015 with, my 7 year old son I learned we were worldschoolers, and discovered this amazing, supportive, group. Shortly after that venture I began Nicaragua Immersion to develop cultural exchange trips for families & individuals wanting to get to know the local culture and sights of Nicaragua. This year my son and I explored a bit more around the northeast US and our homeland as we have embraced and grown to love our new identity as worldschoolers. I was overjoyed to discover the World Schooler Exchange site and reached out this fall to our first host. Now that I have a little hindsight these were the treasures from that experience…..


4 Things I Loved & 3 Things I Learned on Our First Worldschooler Work Exchange


The Other Teachers
My son’s eyes sort of glaze over anytime I talk “facts”. Can anyone relate? I’m new this year to the unschool/worldschool thing with my son and I’ve come to realize that the information I want him to learn must be short and sweet. So being surrounded by 4 children of varying ages I enjoyed watching them become his teachers (while I was able to relax World Schooler Exchangea little and have my own learning experience). He learned quickly how to play chess, about farm yard electric fences, animals and chores, straw bale forts, and gained confidence in taking on the backyard zip-line. He also learned the joy of playing board games (something that just isn’t the same with mom).

Work Doesn’t Always Feel Like Work When You Are With Others I’ve had a backyard garden covered in weeds. I have always envisioned that I would make it amazingly beautiful, grow our fruits and veggies and harvest medicines from it. Well, 4 years later, it just hasn’t happened. A few times I’ve had the thought that it would be fun to do if I had other people working with me, but I have never managed to recruit the help. So imagine that within our first 24 hours of arriving at the farm work exchange I had assisted in planting 2 giant beds of asparagus and strawberries plants to be harvested the following spring….and learned about how they work together in a shared growing space.

Experiential Learning Connection
The stories, experiences, and connection with another family that values experiential learning. I learned of so many more connections I held with this family whose professional business is building, training & evaluating high-ropes adventure challenge courses and zip lines. This was something I knew and had trained on in my college years. I used to lead groups through these high-level adventure challenge courses myself and it was where I first fell in love with and came to know “experiential” learning as my preferred educational style.

The Gift of an Open Home
Words like: foothills, img_6768mountains, permaculture, organic gardening, experienced homeschooler (images of forests), these were the things that stood out to me when I read the description of their home and work exchange offering on the Worldschooler Exchange site. The opportunity to spend time in a place that was so different from our own home. It was new and exciting, learning something I’ve wanted to learn about for years but had never taken the time to engage in or study them on my own. Having a place we could go, with a family excited to share of themselves and what they were learning made this a fun way for me to learn too. And it was just a state away!



Space and Alone Time Matter
On day 4 my son melted down. We’d gone out for the perfect bike ride, it was on a beautiful old railroad bed through the forest with views of the mountain-scape. We got about a mile into the ride with all our hosts leading us and he lost it. He was done…and he refused to go any further (tired, frustrated, upset..) …it was then that I realized, our time and pattern are important too and I’d been neglecting it a little too much so we could fit in with our hosts. So after we slowly made our way back to the hWorld Schooler Exchangeouse my son and I took an afternoon out, just the two of us, we explored the local downtown and hung out together, talking and playing how we’re used to. We came back a couple hours later refreshed and excited to hang out and engage again with our hosts…so simple but so important.

It’s Not Just About Work, It’s Also About Exchange
I spent the first few days just wanting to work-work-work…feeling a high need to show my value and ‘earn our visit’ (after all, they were hosting us nearly a week). I started to feel a little lopsided as I asked question after question to learn about the animals they raised, what they planted, how they got started and more. I think it was that feeling of being unbalanced that eventually reminded me that we too had something to offer. I started to think about what I had to offer this family…and what Sam had to offer too. For me, what came out was how I make my favorite avocado and banana green smoothie and sharing stories from living and traveling in Nicaragua. For Sam we pulled out a new board game from the car we’d brought along and he taught the other kids how to play The Butterfly Game, and then showed off his drawing book and love for creating new Pokemon and their characteristics.

Community Matters
World Schooler ExchangeThe value of community in home/world schooling. Not only did we have the opportunity to learn and share with this family but we got to meet and see the value of their whole community. From their Bolivian colleague that rents a room in their home (and who was about to lead their oldest daughters on their first South American expedition), the grandmother who takes the kids and their pets weekly for dog agility training and overnights, the adopted grandmother-neighbor who pops by for occasional visits and quality time, the college student who lives in her mobile home on their property and comes for visits to hang out, and their local homeschool friends who meet weekly at their home to play, build and share meals.

As I reflected on this very meaningful week for us it was an important time for us as worldschoolers as we learned how to learn with others, share space and stories, and take care of our needs. I can’t help but encouraging you all who feel called to engage in your own work exchange experience…we have such an amazing community here!

Martha Nieset