Hello there, fellow parents, wanderlusters, and aspiring nomads. I see you navigating the windingly-bonkers labyrinth of parenthood, working, teaching, and somehow still making time to breathe in some sanity.
Despite the obvoius challenges, you might be one of the break-the-mold types who wants to give your kids an outside-the-boxy way to learn, grow, and engage with the world outside the sometimes-friendly-sometimes-not world of traditional educational.
If that’s you, I want to talk to you about worldschooling and how this approach to education can transform the way you teach your kids, all without pushing you to the brink of insanity.
What is Worldschooling?
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine.
Many people believe that kids learn better in traditional classroom settings. And that's ok, because worldschooling isn't for many people. It's for the people who are ready to pioneer something different.
With the rise of the remote working revolution, more families than ever are embracing a nomadic lifestyle (or at least semi-nomadic) and turning the world into their classroom. For parents (including me) working remotely and homeschooling my kids has morphed into a thrilling and educational odyssey known as worldschooling.
So, what is worldschooling, you ask? Well, it's not strictly defined. In essence, it's the fusion of education and travel, a vibrant palette of experiential learning that comes to life through exploring different cultures, histories, cuisines, and societies.
It’s about having the freedom to visit museums during the week or visit a national park when other kids are stuck sitting at a desk.
It’s about a day of storytelling instead of ingesting rote facts.
It’s about seeing concepts such as seismic vibrations and tectonic plates in the actual eruptions of volcanoes like Mt. Kilauea, not just in textbooks.
On the surface, this philosophy is a no brainer. But life is full of commitments an agreeements, and adding this lifestyle to your family palette can seem DAUNTING. How do you venture into worldschooling without feeling like you’re dropping the ball as a teacher? And how do you stay sane in the process?
Here are some quick tips.
Embrace the Unpredictability
First and foremost, accept that every day will look different – and that's the beauty of it. Sure, routines are essential for kids , but worldschooling is all about flexibility. One week might be a deep dive into the history of the monuments while you're in Washington D.C., the next could be a language lesson in a quaint café in Quebec City.
Turn Everything into a Learning Experience
Worldschooling is all about learning from the world around you. Visiting a local market? Turn it into a math lesson by having your kids help with the currency conversion. Sitting by the Pacific Ocean? That's a perfect chance to explore marine biology. Let your surroundings inspire your lessons.
Use the Right Tools
Balancing work and education while on the move can be a challenge. But guess what? There are numerous resources available to help you juggle your responsibilities without going crazy. Online platforms like Time4Learning offer curriculum options that are popular with worldschoolers.
Start Now, Wherever You Are
You don’t have to jump on a plane tomorrow to start worldschooling. Begin by exploring your local area. We recently spent 3 months in the state I grew up in, and I experienced so many places that were new to me nonetheless. For my kids, it was all new, and all a learning experience. Take your kids on a field trip to a nearby museum, park, or historical site. Get them excited about learning outside of a traditional classroom. Baby steps!
Remember to take a breath and enjoy this journey with your kids. You're not just their parent, and you're not just their teacher. You're their guide into a world full of wonder, excitement, and endless learning opportunities. Yes, there will be bumps along the way, and some will be bumpier than others, but if you want to live this lifestyle, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. So, pack your bags (both real and virtual), embrace the adventure, and join the growing tribe of families who are discovering that the world is indeed the best classroom.
Strategizing Your Worldschool Adventures
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." - Confucius.
While worldschooling and working remotely, it is important to strategize and plan for both your children's education and your professional commitments. Here are some strategies to help balance your work and worldschooling:
- Establish a Routine: Set up a daily or weekly schedule that carves out dedicated time for work and for schooling. This will create predictability and structure, even if your physical location changes often.
- Set Clear Boundaries: Maintain a distinction between your workspace and your living space, even if they’re in the same location. Make sure your children understand when you need to be undisturbed for work.
- Utilize Technology: Use productivity tools, communication platforms, and educational resources to manage work and schooling tasks effectively.
- Communicate Effectively: Regularly share updates about your work schedule, progress, and any changes with your team. Similarly, keep a dialogue with your children about their schooling process.
- Balance Screen Time: While technology is a powerful tool for remote work and learning, it's also important to incorporate offline activities to avoid screen fatigue .
- Maintain Work-Life Balance: Ensure you're taking regular breaks, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and setting aside time for leisure activities for both you and your children.
- Flexibility is Key: Understand that while routines are important, you need to remain flexible. Being open to adjustments will help in handling unexpected circumstances or opportunities that may arise while travelling.
- Prioritize Tasks: Prioritize your work tasks based on urgency and importance. This way, you can ensure that critical tasks are completed in your most productive hours .
- Build a Remote Culture: If you're leading a team, fostering a positive and inclusive remote culture is key. Regularly engage your team in virtual social activities and ensure all members feel valued.
- Involve Children in Planning: Make your children a part of your planning process where appropriate. This can make them more understanding of your work commitments and excited about their own learning journeys.
Remember, every family is different. What works best for you may be a process of trial, error, and adaptation. However, these tips can provide a solid starting point for navigating work and worldschooling simultaneously.
How Worldschooling Can Build Resilience in Children
"Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience." - Francis Bacon.
One of the most attractive things about worldschooling, to me, is the idea that I am providing experiences to build resilience in my children. Many parents who are proponents of worldschooling agree that in our changing world, providing outside-the-box experiences will pay off later for our children, giving them the self confidence of nontraditional, experiential learning.
According to studies, this education strategy can indeed foster resilience in children in various ways:
- Exposure to Diversity: By experiencing different cultures and environments, children are exposed to various situations that may be outside of their comfort zones. This exposure can enhance adaptability and flexibility, which are key components of resilience.
- Problem-solving in Real-world Contexts: Traveling inherently brings unpredictable situations and challenges, like navigating new locations or communicating in different languages. These situations help children develop problem-solving skills and resourcefulness, which contribute to resilience .
- Social and Emotional Development: Interacting with people from diverse cultures can foster empathy, tolerance, and open-mindedness in children. Moreover, managing the emotional ups and downs associated with travel can strengthen their emotional resilience.
- Growth Mindset: Overcoming challenges and achieving goals during worldschooling can help children develop a growth mindset – the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence. A growth mindset is closely related to resilience.
- Building Self-confidence and Independence: Managing to navigate in different environments can significantly boost children's self-confidence and foster independence. Both of these traits are vital for building resilience.
Get out there and explore!
"Worldschooling is more than education, it's about teaching children how to adapt to any situation and thrive in different environments."
It's a vast, fascinating, and sometimes crazy world out there waiting to be explored, isn't it? Remember, worldschooling isn't just an approach to education - it's a passport to a life that breaks free from the typical four-walled classroom. It's out there, brimming with lessons in history, culture, languages, environment, and so much more.
Sure, there will be challenges. There'll be days when you miss the comfort of your home or face language barriers that seem insurmountable. But hey, remember - all great stories have their moments of suspense, don't they? Each challenge is but a chapter in your own grand adventure tale, enriching the plot with thrilling twists and turns.
So don't hesitate, take the leap! The world's most exciting classroom awaits you. Keep those passports handy and hearts open, ready to absorb everything worldschooling throws your way. Learning truly knows no bounds, as long as you're willing to step out and explore. Safe travels, my friends.