What is worldschooling? In its simplest form, worldschooling is the combination of education and travel. But to leave it at that would do an injustice to this revolutionary new approach to life and education. Worldschooling doesn’t fit neatly into one concise definition: there are many ways to be a worldschooler and every family that chooses to worldschool will find their own approach.
What worldschoolers do have in common, however, is their unique mindset in regards to life and education.
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The worldschooling community is growing as parents question the essential nature of their 9-to-5 jobs and look for ways to lead a more fulfilling life, while recognizing the intrinsic educational value of travel. For these families, it’s a responsible and intentional effort to provide their children with an incredible opportunity to learn from the world…. The adventure is just the cherry on the top.
For worldschoolers around the globe, travel is a means of education, and a tool to enhance your educational approach. And there are many ways to worldschool. What is worldschooling and how does it work? Here are the four main approaches worldschoolers tend to follow.
Type 1: The Settled Globetrotter
One of the mistakes we make is to assume that worldschooling can only occur when we are traveling long term. At its core, worldschooling is a mindset. This mindset about how children learn and the role of travel in that learning process is what drives travel. How much you travel with your children matters much less than why you travel.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that two weeks out of the year isn’t enough. Not all families want or are able to travel for longer periods of time. But becoming a Settled Globetrotter can be the first step toward some of the other longer-term strategies. Whatever you choose, you can provide your children with incredible educational opportunities just by choosing to travel when you can.
Settled Globetrotters do not require a specific schooling method beyond worldschooling. Whether your children are homeschoolers, unschoolers or attend an alternative, private, charter or public school does not matter. The main idea is that your family spends most of their time in one location in your home or base country, but travels occasionally.
This strategy works well for families that do not have a location independent source of income or who have familial obligations that do not allow them to travel long term. It is also great for those who like a little stability, want to participate in an established community, or who want to practice the principles of homesteading and raising your own food.
It is also a great starting off point for those considering a more extreme world schooling lifestyle. It can be a great solution for those who want to travel full-time, but are still working on developing a source of location independent income and don’t want to put off traveling any longer. It is also possible to become a Settled Expatriate Globetrotter by setting up a permanent home base in a foreign country from which you will travel on occasion.
Type 2: The Unconventional Traditionalist
Unconventional Traditionalists are the parents who know how to use traditional systems in unconventional ways to achieve unconventional ends. For all the limitations of the traditional school system, Unconventional Traditionalists know that if they combine travel with local schools overseas, they can give their children a unique educational and social experience.
Not all Unconventional Traditionalists use this particular world schooling approach for the same reasons. Unconventional Traditionalists use this particular approach for:
- Children’s social opportunities
- Parental free-time
- Language, and
- Superior resources (see more in this Worldschooling book)
Type 3: The Structured Adventurer
For the majority of families who travel full-time with school-aged children, a common way to approach education is through some form of homeschooling. Travel requires flexibility in more areas than one, and education is no exception to this rule. Homeschooling may simply be more convenient for a family on the road.
The Structured Adventurer often are families that don’t spend a large chunk of time in any one place. Being on the go is not that conducive to the time commitments that schools will expect. The good news is that homeschooling isn’t a lower quality of schooling you have to settle on because of your lifestyle. With the right mindset and parental commitment, homeschooling can be a great choice among the many available educational options.
For world schooling families, it is the combination of world travel with education that makes homeschooling truly revolutionary. Structured Adventurers, then, are families who use a more direct, methodical approach to education while traveling long term. While they are all about the adventure of seeing the world and living outside the box, they still see the value of providing some sense of formality and — you guessed it — structure to their child’s education.
Many parents will combine more structured homeschooling methods with a touch of unschooling. Many see the younger years as a time to teach the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, requiring a more structured approach to at least those topics. Other parents have certain skills in mind that they would like their child to master. As a world schooling family, you are in a position to give your children a level of education so far beyond workbooks and textbooks.
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Type 4: World Un-Schoolers
Unschooling, or Growing Without Schooling, is a homeschooling method that has been around for several decades. In it’s simplest form, unschooling is “to live as if school does not exist.” Beyond this definition, it is difficult to describe unschooling precisely because it is the least formal and structured educational option available to parents and children.
What can be described, however, are the deeper philosophies at the foundation of the unschooling movement. Unschooling is grounded in the belief that children have an innate drive to learn and that they are fully capable of self-directed learning.
Unschooling parents possess a simple trust in a child’s instinct to learn and grow. They recognize that each child will advance at their own pace, but that they will advance as they discover themselves, their interests and their needs in order to function and succeed in life.
This trust is rooted in the deeper philosophy that the most important lessons any of us learn are learned from life itself. Unschoolers, more than any other group, see school as an abnormal environment in which unnecessary adult direction and confinement inhibits a child’s natural curiosity to ask their own questions and explore and pursue their own interests. Life is the teacher and the world is their classroom.
Just as travel adds a priceless element to all the other approaches, unschooling becomes truly powerful when it is combined with world travel.
A common strategy used in unschooling to pique children’s interests is a term coined by Sandra Dodd called “strewing”. The idea is to strew interesting things along our children’s paths that they can then choose to pursue or pass by depending on whether or not it interests them. For World un-Schoolers, the power of travel means that the world will strew for them.
This is really where the magic lies. When you choose to travel, the world doesn’t just become your classroom, the world becomes your teacher. The places, the history, the people, the languages and the demands of a traveling life all contribute to a learning lifestyle beyond anything your child would ever receive within the four walls of a classroom.
Are you interested in learning more about the worldschooling movement? Check out Ashley’s new book on how to revolutionize your child’s education through travel!