Want to travel and ‘worldschool’ your kids? Here are 5 things you should know
Words by Grace Koelma, Editor of Mulberry Magazine
* A quick note to readers: This article is based on my experience being 'worldschooled' as a teenager, and the things I found helpful for learning on the road.
The biggest mistake many parents make when choosing to take their family on the road and ‘worldschool’ is thinking that their kids’ education will occur in a similar way to school, or even like more structured styles of home education. But
Relax. Let your children process and digest what they’re seeing, the conversations they’re having and the new experiences they’re immersed in. Trust that the learning is happening beneath the surface. Every so often you’ll be the audience to an outburst and overflowing of this learning, maybe in a wonderful way you weren’t expecting.
Here are a few tips for how to plan your trip to best suit your children’s learning needs.
1. Consider what kind of ‘worldschooling’ you’ll be doing
How you choose to
- Putting them back in school afterwards
Some schools and teachers will want students to keep up with what’s being learned in class so that your child doesn’t fall behind. It’s valuable to practice mathematics while you’re
- Homeschooling after you return
If you’re intending to homeschool your kids after you return from travel, then you can go at your own pace, and choose a learning style that suits each child. To be honest, I'm a fan of unschooling for travel, there is so much to be learned simply by being immersed in new cultures and cities (more on that later!)
2. Be open to seasons of more intense learning and seasons of relaxed learning, for you and your kids
Regardless of the level of structure in your worldschooling approach, your kids will naturally form rhythms of more intense and less intense learning. It’s okay to let this process happen organically, don't attempt to stifle or accelerate it.
As notable homeschool author, Wendy Priesnitz said, “Life learning is about trusting kids to learn what they need to know and about helping them to learn and grow in their own ways. It is about respecting the everyday experiences that enable children to understand and interact with the world and their culture.”
Worldschooling boils down to this. It’s living in the present, enjoying each new opportunity and experience presented to you, and immersing yourself in culture, history and new cuisines.
3. Embrace daily journalling habits
If you do want to encourage a learning habit, start journalling what you see on your travels, and invite your children to do the same. To get them excited about the process, let each child choose a special book to write in (some kids love leather bound, others want a book with their favourite superhero on the cover). This journal can be as structured or free as they like, and include recounts of events, drawings, photos, maps, keepsakes, postcards and nature finds. The opportunities are endless.
If you do need to provide proof of learning on your travels to a teacher or a school principal, this is a wonderful way to do that, too. When I was fifteen, my family homeschooled and travelled in a caravan around Australia for 11 months. The journals I kept every day while travelling are now one of my most treasured memories of my childhood.
4. Be immersed in the joy of discovering new places together
Worldschooling boils down to this… It’s living in the present, enjoying each new opportunity and experience presented to you, and immersing yourself in culture,
The physical act of travel is a wonderful learning opportunity as well. Enlist your children’s help in calculating the cost of fuel to drive to the next location, or how much you’ll be charged for excess baggage on your next flight. Show them your travel budget, and tell them what your spending limit is each day. Get them to help you do grocery shopping and help you cook meals, book accommodation and flights.I believe the best education is steeped in the discussion of ideas. Talk about the customs of the places you visit and why cultural heritage is important. Learn the local language, and how to respect the culture as a visitor.
5. Resist trying to make every experience a ‘learning experience’
There are a lot of obvious opportunities for learning while travelling… every town has museums, art galleries, wildlife exhibits and information centres. But your kids will most certainly get information fatigue if they’re towed through one row of glass displays after another. Sometimes, even regularly, it’s okay to drive past the local tourist attraction and head to a local weekend market or go to the beach and sketch the landscape.
And then relax. Let your children process and digest what they’re seeing, the conversations they’re having and the new experiences they’re immersed in. Trust that the learning is happening beneath the surface. Every so often you’ll be the audience to an outburst and overflowing of this learning, maybe in a wonderful way you weren’t expecting.
This quote by John Holt sums it up perfectly: “What makes people smart, curious, alert, observant, competent, confident, resourceful, persistent – in the broadest and best sense, intelligent – is not having access to more and more learning places, resources, and specialists, but being able in their lives to do a wide variety of interesting things that matter, things that challenge their ingenuity, skill, and judgement, and that make an obvious difference in their lives and the lives of people around them.” ~ John Holt, Teach Your Own
Have you got any
Want to save for later or share with a friend?
Click the social icons to share this photo on Pinterest or Facebook.
Grace is a wife, mum to 1-year-old Leo, and editor of Mulberry Magazine. She believes that home educating starts from 0 not 6 years, but is glad not to have to worry about registration... yet! You can find her sharing snippets of her love of real food, picture books and homeschool on Instagram at @littlesoulfires