What is Worldschooling
As a family who travels full-time we get asked this a lot. I wanted to share with you something I wrote for Round the World Families as part of a ‘How do you educate your kids’ Find the full article here.
Here’s Cake and Eat it 3’s contribution…
We are an Australian family who travels full-time. Brett (dad), Leanne (mum) and Miss B (10) make up Cake and Eat it 3. We also have an adult daughter who enjoyed lots of travel with us growing up too. While in Australia we are in a motorhome and also drive a 4×4 with rooftop tent to explore the hard to reach places. Last year we did three and a half months in Europe and this year we are coming back for five months. We bought a campervan in England which we roadtrip in. In a weeks time we are off to Bali, Indonesia to our dentist and catching up with family, friends and another worldschool family. The whole time, we worldschool our now Miss 10.
A lot of education or worldschooling happens without you even realising. When you travel whether as a child or an adult you experience different cultures, food and situations. Situations that you just don’t come across living in the same house on the same street, seeing the same people every day at school and work.
It opens our eyes to the fact there is more than one way to do something. It makes you realise you do not need a whole lot to make you happy and that you can learn from anyone of any age.
There is no rule book…
There is no rule book when it comes to worldschooling, everyone worldschools differently. Being from Australia we try to maintain Miss B’s education in line with the Australian Curriculum. We use an online paid membership called Studyladder that offers curriculum based subjects in the key areas, which we use when we have excess wifi (what is that?!) or access to a library (free wifi).
While literally on the road we do reading every day, at the moment we are working our way through the Roald Dahl library. We take Grammar, Math and Spelling workbooks with us which we do a unit a week from. Miss B also reads all the information plaques and boards from the various places we visit.
We cook food from various countries, talk currency conversion, time differences, learn some of the languages and try and converse as much as possible. Even in our own country with backpackers and travellers alike. We also created a large database of educational websites and resources which we share on our blog for other travelling families. We refer back to this database while on the road to save time hunting down information and educational content on a particular subject or topics.
We carry a large digital library of reference books, documentaries and movies. When visiting Rome, we all watched Ben Hur the night before going to the Colosseum! This led to a lot more questions (more than usual!) and a better understanding of what it would have been like at the time. In Pompeii we watched documentaries on the tragedy and had climbed Mt Etna in Sicily a week or so earlier, so lots of discussions on volcanoes were had!
Some kids are practical learners, others visual learners, and some learn better from reading text. The success of worldschooling or homeschooling comes from how well we know our children and the way they absorb information. This coupled with one on one learning which we all provide our kids really enhances the volume and speed in which they take in this new information. The whole time we are learning, something we as parents love too.
Miss B was athletic champion of her last year at traditional school. Those who knew of our plan to full-time travel questioned how we would incorporate physical education in our travel. Generally, comments like that come from people who have not travelled a lot. (or not with my husband! Who is a strong believer in being on the ground, walking everywhere to truly experience a local area).
Yes, she can not attend a sports carnival once a year and inter-school athletics. But, yes, there are worldwide Parkrun events held weekly that are free that allow you to run 5km (great for socialisation and meeting new friends too). These are held on Saturdays in Australia. Yes, there are plenty of hiking trails, cities to explore and invitations to be involved in sports. While in Europe Miss B played Badminton in Romania and France, hours swimming in the labyrinth of natural cave baths in Hungary, swimming again in the Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea, climbed a volcano in Sicily and nature walks everywhere around the globe. Being active is something Miss B will not be able to avoid and something we all love.
The best part of worldschooling is knowing where your child is at academically. Their strengths and weaknesses academically and being able to ensure a positive one on one learning experience. Being able to spend genuine time together (not trying to talk while getting ready for work/school before being dropped off at school, picked up from school, or after school care, doing homework while they are tired and while cooking dinner) and really getting to know each other as a family – Too well at times! Watching them grow through experiences they encounter, this is real family time.
It is not all sunshine and roses with worldschooling (although in fairness it is very rare for us to have a bad day and there were a lot more bad days when we were in traditional schooling). There are days where it’s just not happening. Normally when Miss B knows it is school holidays and why does she have to do schoolwork. This is fast replaced with Éveryone should get to do school like this!’ at the next amazing place we visit or people we meet to share travel stories with.
When full-time travelling there will be days when you feel over-travelled. You have seen too many churches, museums, castles or walked too many kilometres in 35 degrees heat. Patience can be tested, these are good times to avoid schooling!
We are more formal than most in our approach, don’t pressure yourself to have to achieve certain hours a day or certain modules. It will all come together in time. Sometimes an activity or destination takes you off on an unexpected journey of discovery and exploration, roll with it. When a person irrespective of age is engaged in learning about something, their ability to absorb new information and enjoyment in doing so is magnified.
Happy travels and see you out there!