Those of us who are interested in more natural ways of parenting often question traditional schooling methods. This is why, in recent years, alternative education philosophies like worldschooling have become so popular.
What is Worldschooling?
Worldschooling is a lifestyle that allows children to learn from the world around them and usually involves travel. Like our family, a growing number of parents are choosing to worldschool their kids because this type of education encourages child-led, life-time learning and can be done anywhere, at any time.
While there are creative ways to use worldschooling principles without flying across the globe, worldschooling which involves travel is becoming increasingly accessible to more and more parents. This is due in part to:
- Ease of travel
- Growing global economies
- Possibility to work remotely
The Benefits of Worldschooling for Parents and Kids
If you still need some convincing, consider these facts about this unique approach to education:
- No Homework. Did you complain about homework as a child? Does your child hate the sound of the word? Well, with worldschooling there is no homework. None is needed because all the learning is hands-on and knowledge occurs spontaneously, through experiences.
- Hands-On Learning Opportunities. If your child goes to an alternative school where hands-on learning is encouraged, then she is one of the lucky few. In most schools, kids get “ready-made” projects, handouts to fill and teachers lecturing them while they sit still and take notes. There might be some hands-on learning in a science class once in a while or an occasional field trip. But for the most part, it’s all about the teacher telling the students about the world as opposed to children experiencing the world for themselves.
- Less Screen Time. Most traditional schools use screens and allow TVs into children’s lives, bombarding them with information which is often too much for a child to process. When you world school, you can also choose to parent completely screen-free.
- No Tests or Grades. Tests don’t measure your child’s intelligence nor their achievement. With this option, your worldschooler is tested through applied knowledge based off of their experiences and unique talents and gifts.
- Less Stress Over Time. No more alarm clocks, no more rushing anywhere. With worldschooling, children learn at their own pace and it can be as slow or as fast as they feel necessary. All you have to do is observe your child and present opportunities as they arise.
Even More Pros for Your Worldschooler
- Stepping outside of your comfort zones (mental and physical) and adopting to change and new environments helps build resilience.
- Meeting new people (mentors and inspirational “teachers”) from different cultures encourages curiosity, compassion, peace, and acceptance.
- Hearing a different language makes the brain grow and helps improve communication.
- Connecting with others and each other helps build relationships.
- Traveling helps children understand how big the world is and that it extends much farther than their immediate surroundings or the “bubble” of the classroom.
- Travel creates new memories and passageways in the brain.
- Seeing something new might help discover new interests.
- Worldschooling encourages child-led learning.
- Challenges that travel brings upon helps build perseverance and collaboration.
- Spending time together provides a unique bonding experience. Once they grow up, you won’t have the opportunity to spend time together in this way; so seize the moment to connect with your worldschooler and strengthen the parent-child bond!
How to Afford Worldschooling
If homeschooling while traveling is on your educational bucket list, add it to your financial goals. It’s a simple mindset shift. Just as you budget for food, housing, and utilities in a fixed situation, you can budget a specific amount into your worldschooling savings account. Here’s how to afford the traveling lifestyle.
- Make it a priority!
- Make goals to save money for a “family gap year.” Worldschooling doesn’t have to be all or nothing kind of adventure. For example, you can do it once for a period of time to see if it suits your family. Or you can save up and go away for an extended period of time every few years.
- Become an entrepreneur.
- Buy only things that are absolutely necessary and spark joy which will reduce your overall expenses.
- Instead of objects, pay for experiences!
- Sell or rent out your house.
- Work away from home.
- House-sit (long-term).
- Find freelance online work which will allow you to be mobile (digital nomad).
Worldschooling Curriculum & Activities
The primary curriculum of worldschooling is the variety of experiences your learner experiences. If your family chooses to incorporate a more traditional structure, you can always create your own hybrid option.
Many homeschool curriculum companies offer full time or work-at-your-own-pace distance learning options. Just be aware of how many books or other materials are required since you likely want to keep a lighter load.
From a developmental standpoint, smaller children learn best through experiences and hands-on activities while older ones through projects, stories and games. Keeping this in mind, seek out and offer opportunities based on your child’s interests. Here is a quick example of the way our worldschooling family goes about it.
When my daughter was 3, she saw a color mixing wheel while we were at a shop and got obsessed with it. She’d make up her own color mixing/guessing games and would spend hours mixing them using the wheel and then trying to apply that knowledge while painting. To help her learn more about colors, we looked for color-related opportunities outside the house and planned a trip around the concept of “color.”
We traveled to Milan, Italy and took her to see her first Opera, “The Barber of Seville,” at the world famous La Scala Opera House. This opera was specifically designed for children and each character wore brightly colored costumes.
The set was also made from very bright colors which matched the characters while the lighting changed accordingly. So this way we experienced color in a specific setting and saw how it was applied in costume, stage and lighting design. Beautiful music was an extra bonus and our daughter learned that color is used everywhere, not just in painting.
Next, we took her to the Children’s Museum of Milan where there was an exhibition about COLOR! There were 5 interactive color- related activities with a guided tour and while my daughter didn’t understand much Italian, she could see and follow along without a problem.
Her favorite part of the exhibition was a room where colors changed depending on lighting and made certain images appeared or disappeared. It was magical and mesmerizing and we later got her a book with color filters which functions in a similar way. After this experience, she started to understand how light affects and changes color.
Additional Worldschooling Resources
Khan Academy is a robust free educational resource offering learn-at-your-own-pace lessons ranging from maths to science to history to humanities.
Discovery Education – ready to use virtual learning strategies including a free puzzle maker and math help.
Scholastic Learn at Home Resources – when you think Scholastic, you may think “book fair,” but this website has free resources for at-home learning during school closures. Day-by-day projects are available from Pre-K to 9th grade.
Oak Meadow Curriculum Activity Packets – selections from Oak Meadow curriculum activities ranging from recipes to poems and songs to science projects and more.
Odyssey is an intentional learning community dedicated to offering families an alternative to traditional schooling. Based on an Agile learning philosophy, Odyssey is both an online community and a learning program for families.
Project World School co-creates temporary learning communities around the world so teens and young adults can collaborate in a rich experiential & social learning environment.
Smithsonian Kids Interactive – Your child can explore art, science, history, and more through interactive activities and games.
Worldschooling At Home
First, observe your child and notice what they are most interested in. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is my child constantly asking me about?
- What types of games does my child play with the most?
- Which toys do they select?
- How does my child use toys or objects?
- What types of activities are they attracted to?
- What does my child like to talk about the most?
- Which types of places does my child like best?
Once you have your answers, look for experiential opportunities around where you are. Here are a few examples:
- Visit farms and local markets to learn about local food culture.
- Create an intentional community among friends and neighbors who might have interesting/unique skills or knowledge to share with your child.
- Find local trades or craftspeople and see if you can arrange mentors and apprenticeship sessions with them so your child can learn directly from them.
- Visit museums and take guided tours, if age appropriate.
- Visit historic sites to learn about architecture and history.
- Conservation parks are an excellent way to learn about wildlife preservation and they often offer kid-friendly programs.
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