What is worldschooling?
Worldschooling is sometimes referred to as world schooling, roadschooling, travel-based education or unschooling, and is a way of educating your child. It is an alternative to mainstream schooling and creates a much stronger, more interactive and more memorable experiences for your child.
Worldschooling essentially means using the world as your classroom. It means finding inspiration and educational opportunities from travel experiences, exploring a new country, and even moving across states. Learning is guided and influenced by wherever you decide to travel to next. It's a very flexible approach to education and with a good curriculum to back you up, you're ready to go.
Why do parents choose to worldschool?
Worldschooling is an educational movement that recognises that a student can receive no greater education than by experiencing and interacting with the world around them. For families able to make it work, this often involves traveling together and using the journey to enhance their children's education.
While every worldschooling family is unique, some of the sentiments they share in common often include:
- A desire to travel
- A wish to introduce children to the wider world around them
- An understanding of the importance of a multisensory approach to education
- A need for flexibility in exploring children’s learning process that traditional schooling cannot provide
- A desire to create stronger family bonds and special memories together through travel and exploration
How does worldschooling compare with homeschooling, unschooling and other forms of educating?
Worldschooling is a focused approach to learning through travel, to put it simply. It is not a learning philosophy, so that means you can teach your kids in any way that supports them.
It’s important to keep in mind the many ways to incorporate world culture in your child’s education. Some families, for instance, might travel to a country and enrol their children in schools there with the goal of culture and language immersion. Others with more time and resources may choose to travel to multiple countries with their children to gain a wider worldview. Still others may only be able to take the occasional world journey, but will focus heavily on subjects like geography, social studies, and world culture.
Although many parents use Charlotte Mason, Rudolf Steiner or Montessori-related influences throughout worldschooling, it is not necessary. You and your family can book a flight to Japan, Mexico or Tahiti tomorrow, pack your workbooks and make it a worldschooling experience any time you like!
How to start worldschooling
First of all, you'll need a plan of how to afford your next travel destination with your kids. The ability to afford world schooling is highly dependent on planning ahead. If you know that homeschooling while traveling is something you and your family want to do, then it can become a financial goal to reach for. Just as you budget for food, housing, and utilities, you can budget a specific amount into a worldschooling “savings account” that you dedicate to your future homeschooling adventure. Simple things like cutting out unnecessary expenses can go a long way toward building savings for future travel.
Then, pick a destination! Start planning where you will arrive, what experiences you want to do together and where you will end your trip. Using flight centre travel brochures, travel books or researching on the internet are great ways to gather information about where you want to visit.
Special note: Remember to check the weather! Some countries like India, Malaysia and Indonesia have heavy wet monsoon seasons while other places like Canada and Europe have cold winters. Just know what weather you are expecting so you can pack accordingly!
How to afford worldschooling
There are a few ways you can use to afford worldschooling your children. It's important that you plan an average costs for your trip, including flights, time and length of your stay, money for food and beverages and any additional expenses such as white water rafting, kayaking, tours or other cultural experiences.
You can use one or more of the following ways to afford worldschooling:
- Keep current living costs to a minimum and reducing un-necessary spending
- Ask your current job if some or all of your work can move online e.g emails and online meetings, research, data analysis etc
- Look for ways to make money on your travels e.g writing a blog, posting travel pics to social media
- Find ways to utilise your skill-set in the places you want to visit (for example, a if you or your partner is a nurse, you can consider taking on short-term work in the country you’ll be exploring)
- Rent out your current home for income while you're away (this applies to home owners and renters)
What are the benefits of worldschooling?
There are many benefits of worldschooling your kids. You open up their mind to new experiences and introduce them to some great (and sometimes challenging) moments. It's what travel is all about. You are exploring another country, another world, language, food, culture and traditions, but the best part is, you're doing it together as a family.
Here are some other wonderful benefits of worldschooling:
5 Essential Things You Need to Know about Worldschooling
If worldschooling is an opportunity, a travel experience or a lifestyle you are considering, there things you need to know about preparation. By taking the time to plan, prepare and get clear about what you want for yourself and your kids through the travel experience, you can feel confident that things are taken care of. Of course, being spontaneous in the moment is a great idea, but you want to make sure the essential things are taken care of.
1. Pick a destination!
Decide on your destination, what time you want to travel and how long you want to be there. This will be an important part of the budget calculations to make sure you can afford your new adventure.
You can choose anywhere in the world, from Antarctica to Africa! If you don't have any ideas about where to go, the easiest thing is to get a big travel book and sit down to discuss your next destination together as a family. Your kids might have some great ideas too!
2. Start saving
Begin saving a designated part of your income for your upcoming travel adventure. By planning out the average costs of flights, food and accomodation, you can decide on a rough dollar amount to save (and plus some for emergency situations).
I always put aside a good chunk of my savings for emergency situations. You don't know how many times myself or my kids have been caught in a tricky situation and needed the finance. It's part of travelling and keeps you on your toes!
3. Find out your child's education requirements
Research what it takes to homeschool on the road and what requirements you need to fulfil. Some states have a higher demand on educational requirements than others. You can check out state laws here.
If you know what you need to complete during the length of your stay, it will help you choose a better program to support your child's education.
4. Choose a good program to support you and your kids
Chooose a homeschool curriculum that will best suit your destination, length of stay and educational requirements.
By picking a program that will support the essential requirements of your child's education while you're away, you can rest assured they won't come back and have to catch up on all the study they've missed! Many parents have forgotten about study requirements while travelling (how easy is it to do that while on holidays!) but if you are working through a program covers educational requirements, you won't have to worry.
5. Enjoy your new adventure!
Have fun traveling and learning together! This is perhaps the most important part of the adventure! After you've planned the essential things like flights, costs, income opportunities and suitable homeschool programs, sit back and enjoy the ride! This new adventure will create strong and memorable experiences for you and your family.
One of my favourite memories when we travelled to Thailand was riding elephants through the jungle. One of my daughters absolutely loved elephants, so we arranged the trip for the entire family. Everyone loved it! The mahouts (elephant riders) even let us steer the elephant up the jungle track. It was such a special experience and one I'm very happy we shared together.
What curriculum should you choose to worldschool?
When choosing a curriculum, you need to take into account a few important factors. Whatever program you choose, it must be easy to teach, lightweight enough to carry with you and effectively teach your kids what they need to know. You don't want to come back and have to re-do years of schooling!
There is a great list of homeschool curriculum that supports educating your child across a range of subjects. Choosing a program that works for you and your kids before you leave will take away much of the stress and worry about their education.
Most importantly though, you will need a solid maths and English curriculum to support your child's learning. With the other subjects like history, geography and art, most of this is experienced in real life through actually being there.
Of course, we're slightly biased but hundreds of Australian parents are already using the Math-U-See program successfully while abroad, when travelling and even for distance education (when in rural settings with little or no internet connection).
I brought all five of my daughters through primary and highschool maths using this program. It's effective, easy to use and easy for you as the parent to teach them! Whenever we would travel, we'd pack our maths books in the car and take off.
It was liberating, and I could rest assured that my kids would return home have really understood what they needed to in terms of school requirements, and got alot out of the invigorating experience of travel!
Have you ever travelled with your kids before? Have you turned the experience into worldschooling and educated them along the way? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below