Time and time again, I’ve mentioned how I believe I parent better outside the house. It’s a large part of why I’m always on the go with my kids – visiting museums, botanical gardens, or any other number of places. I really believe that our best learning happens when we’re out in the world.
Each time I’ve commented on our adventures, I’ve received a flood of DMs on instagram or messages/comments here on the blog about whether I am a worldschooler or know anything about worldschooling. Finally, I decided to embrace it and write an entire post about it!
What is worldschooling?
Worldschooling is, in its most basic form, a combination of travel and education. It’s a full time lifestyle choice that eliminates the traditional education setting of classrooms, desks, teachers, curriculums and students. Instead, it’s window and door free, full of opportunities. It embraces freedom in education and life.
There are many different kinds of worldschooling- full time worldschoolers, unschooling worldschoolers and even more structured homeschool worldschoolers.
Full time worldschoolers do exactly what the name implies- they travel 24/7 and use the world as their classroom.
Unschooling worldschoolers would be the opposite extreme, with its participants basically living as though school did not exist.
And finally you have the homeschool worldschoolers, which would be those that follow a strict curriculum but do so from different cities and states and countries rather than in one locality.
There is no fixed or “right” way to worldschool – education can’t be one size fits all for it to work (I’m talking to you, standard education system).
The worldschool mindset
I wish that I was able to worldschool.
I have dreamed for decades now of having children and living an expat life for some number of years, largely because I wish to immerse my family in world culture and a profound understanding of life as a global citizen and because I have been so profoundly impacted by my travels over the years. However, at least currently, that is not a possibility.
As such, I embrace what I believe is a worldschool mindset and apply it to our life at home. That mindset is that the world is our best teacher, and that we would do well for ourselves and our children to try to learn from it as much as possible.
Studies have shown that children need to be active as much as possible, and that sensory exploration – that is, feeling the texture of dirt vs mud, smelling the fresh scent of a field of flowers, tasting different flavors of foods, seeing trees blow in the wind – is one of the best ways for children to learn.
As such, can you really worldschool without traveling? I’d like to think so.
If worldschool is taking and learning from the world, and we are “in” the world, it should be possible, right? Of course, that really depends on how “in” the world you are. Enter- my worldschool (from home, for now) philosophy.
Here’s how I do it:
First- my kids are enrolled in early education Montessori programs. Montessori philosophy aligns with the idea of learning from the world and individualized education that “follows the child” without exception. That is our foundation.
Second- to the extent my budget, time and job allow it, I travel with my kids as much as possible. As a single mom of 3, this is especially hard, but not impossible. It will get easier as they become less needy. But hey- I’ve already done it a few times (check out my previous post on taking the kids to a conference I was chairing here) and it gets easier and more fun each time. Getting on planes and trains and busses and learning that the world doesn’t revolve around you (enter delays, cancellations, waits for any number of things while traveling) is a great lesson in flexibility for children.
Third- we are constantly out and about in our city. Museums, botanical gardens, parks, boat tours, trolley rides, zoos, monuments or memorials, you name it – we try to go see it. No, Milana will not remember what we learned and saw at the United Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA when she was 3 months old, and Gabriella will not recall the specifics of the High Voltage electricity show that we watched at the Carnegie Science Center the day she turned 18 months old, but the things that they saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted on those adventures will help to form the basis of the children and eventually adults they turn into.
Fourth- I really believe in the “collect moments, not things” philosophy. I have been slowly getting rid of the things that have and limiting the new things that come in our house in favor of saving for more memories. My favorite gifts for my kids are annual passes to museums, gift cards to the botanical gardens or tickets to a live event.
These are just the main ways that I embrace a worldschool mindset, although I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way and that there are many other ways people could do this. I’d love to hear your thoughts on worldschooling below!