There are thousands of families out there in the world right now traveling long-term with their children! These families use Worldschooling to educate their children. Worldschooling is an educational philosophy that can be combined with each family’s own educational beliefs. There is no one-size fits all way to worldschool. Worldschoolers may be traditional homeschoolers, unschoolers, radical unschoolers, or they may enroll their children in local schools while they travel. What worldschoolers have in common is using travel as the primary inspiration to educate their family.
When you are a worldschooler, the world is your classroom! Families who call themselves worldschoolers, typically travel long-term and some families are permanently nomadic. They provide their children with rich, hands-on, real-life educational opportunities through travel. Imagine learning about volcanoes by climbing one, learning about elephants at an elephant rehabilitation center, or learning about history through visiting historical sites.
We’ve asked some traveling families what worldschooling means to them. Here are their answers!
Before we left, a few friends wondered about taking our children away from their stability, from their social structure of school and birthday parties, and sports, and scout troops. I see validity in their concerns. I also see some risk of cultural stagnation though. My husband agrees. Traveling is fertile ground for dispelling our own preconceived notions which are both genetically inherited and culturally acquired. And we see no better way to understand our place in society, to learn, and to become culture fluid then to get out of our comfort zones and discover the world and study. Seven years ago, I couldn’t have dreamed of actually traveling full time and educating my children throughout the world. It’s a dream come true. We find ourselves humbled and grateful that we could make this happen. We are immersing ourselves in other cultures, and learning that each place we go to have wonderful traditions and lovely people. This is precisely why we worldschool.
There seems to be a lot of misconceptions and different opinions on what World-Schooling actually is. I don’t believe there is only one way to Worldschool or only one way to define it. On the contrary, it is different for everyone and it is within each of its complexities and simplicities that make it so rewarding.
Along our travels, we meet with many families, couples and solo travellers, all curious about what our lifestyle is like, what Worldschooling actually is, and if maybe, just maybe, they would be able to do it too? Their questions come in swathes: Do you go to school? Do you have friends? Do you actually learn? Do you miss family? Do you ever… stop… for a little while at least?
The short and simple answer to all of these questions is “Yes.” But when the world is your teacher, you discover that the questions and answers you encounter along your travels are never short and rarely simple. The truth is, I do go to school. It’s just that my classroom is the world.
Because I’ve been a public school teacher for 15 years (traveling internationally during vacations), I’d like to offer a different perspective to the answer I think you’ll get. Rather than focusing on “WorldSchooling” being about travel abroad with kids, I’d invite parents and guardians to explore what it might mean in one’s own home city. In which ways have barriers been created by the segregation of our country and school system that could be surmounted with family intentionality? To me, WorldSchooling is about proactively connecting children with kids and adults from a range of backgrounds — ethnicities, socioeconomics, interests, races, styles, etc. — and supporting families in exploring all parts of our home cities, not just the sections we are familiar with. Rather than just breezing in and out of places and having superficial interactions with people, WorldSchooling pulls for deep and complex connections across differences, and that takes time. For this time reason, I’d strongly suggest starting in one’s own hometown, since this is a process that can unfold over decades. Enjoy!
We find our slow-travel lifestyle an excellent catalyst to learn, create, and grow. We tend to get inspired in different places, learning things we knew relatively nothing about before we arrived. We’re introduced to diverse perspectives, ideas, people, and environments in engaging and stimulating ways.
Worldschooling is a natural companion of travel. It’s the interplay between the familiar and the foreign. As we integrate increased understandings, we find new ways to connect and share in the world. These experiences help shape us into ever unfolding versions of ourselves, which we’ve learned to absolutely cherish.