What is Worldschooling?

Worldschooling is a term that families use to describe the educational approach of using the world around us as a classroom. Most people see it as closely related to unschooling, whereby children are allowed to lead their own learning and find out more about what interests them. However, Worldschooling is entirely unique to each and every family and there is no official definition of it, so it will really look very different for everyone. For most people it means spending a proportion of their time away from home, exploring their country or further afield. Many families take it further and spend long periods away from home, renting out their house and putting their belongings in storage. Finally, an increasing number of families are completely giving up their settled life and becoming fully nomadic, selling their house and everything in it.

Although there’s no official definition of worldschooling, there are some commonly shared beliefs within the community:  

  • Children (and adults) learn better when they have hands-on, authentic experiences
  • A holistic education, without the need to separate learning into subject areas is beneficial
  • Sharing experiences, making connections with people in different cultures is a powerful catalyst for learning
  • That children learn more by travelling than being in a classroom
  • The best way to learn about the world around us is to have immersive travel experiences
  • Worldschooling is a great way to develop concern for environmental issues
  • That the traditional schooling curriculums are narrow and don’t allow for a broad learning experience, children’s individual interests, skills and passions

In September 2020, we decided to make the jump into worldschooling. Our children had always been home educated so there was no school to inform. We decided to jump in deep and sold our house, giving away most of our possessions until we were down to about three packing boxes and a couple of suitcases. We’d been on a mission to become minimalist for a couple of years so this felt wonderfully freeing.

We decided to start with a road trip in Europe because of the pandemic, and we opted for rural AirBnB properties where we could limit our impact on the local communities and prevent spreading germs about. Starting in the Dordogne, we spent a month living in a forest house, playing outside in the huge garden, walking to the nearby deserted villages and castles, paddling in the river, all the while observing Autumn arriving and turning the leaves yellow, orange, red and finally falling to the ground.

Our next stop was Tuscany, to another rural home, yet this time we were able to visit the leaning tower of Pisa, Florence and Venice, all of which were near deserted so there was little need to come into contact with anyone. When the situation got worse in Italy, we hopped on the car ferry to Croatia which was much more relaxed in their approach to Covid, there were still huge parties of locals on the beaches at the weekend, restaurants and pubs open. Luckily, on the weekdays it was really quiet as tourism from outside the country was limited, and we were able to visit the famous Diocletian’s palace, Pula Roman Arena, and Plitvice lakes and have them pretty much to ourselves.

After a quick trip home to spend Christmas with family, we took a flight to Barbados to visit some friends and family (after the testing and quarantine of course), and our kids loved the freedom of spending lots of time at the beach. They were also able to play with other children, which is something they had missed so much, and we could tell was starting to have an impact on their mental health.

From Barbados we came over to the Dominican Republic to join the Hive School, which is an alternative school, set up to cater for travelling families like ours, plus some local children who have been given scholarships. Here we have met worldschoolers from all over the world, which has been a wonderful experience, and has shown us that we are a really diverse bunch of people! There have been single parent families, families who also do formal learning, families who are digital nomads, working from wherever they travel to. Families who are here to escape harsh education laws which don’t suit their children, and those who usually attend school but don’t get on with distance/zoom school. I’m going to write a whole other blog post about The Hive (there’s so much to say!) but it’s given us all the security to relax for a bit, to reflect and grow.

As for the future, it’s pretty difficult to plan more than a week ahead in the current climate, so we will have to see where the road takes us!

Are you a worldschooling family? Get in touch!

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