what is worldschooling?
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WORLDSCHOOLING IS THE INTENTIONAL ACT OF VIEWING THE WORLD AS ONE’S CLASSROOM.
In its simplest form, worldschooling is the act of intentionally learning from the world. Worldschooling combines multi-age and experiential learning with travel and/or cultural experiences to facilitate learning and discovery.
The term worldschooling was coined over a decade ago and has been used by thousands of families since. Worldschooling has become an educational philosophy that works with each individual family’s educational style. There is no one single way to worldschool. What all worldschoolers have in common is the desire to adopt real-world experiences as inspiration to learn and go deeper.
Worldschooling provides a “world-class education” to all that are faced with the demands of a highly globalized world.
CAN WE WORLDSCHOOL FROM OUR HOME, WITHOUT TRAVEL?
Yes! Worldschooling does not require travel. Does that surprise you?
As an intentional act to include diverse worldviews, cultures, rituals, rites, traditions, history (and more) into our understanding of the world, worldschoolers can learn with intention, even without travel.
Worldschoolers use multiple approaches, comparative methodologies, immersive explorations through food, arts, and performance, language immersion and topical deep dives. Whatever approach you and your family take, the intentional act of including these topics into your family’s learning makes you a worldschooler.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WORLDSCHOOLERS SEE THE WORLD AS THEIR CLASSROOM!
We are Worldschoolers co-founders Lainie Liberti & son Miro Siegel shared their worldschooling journey in our 2016 TEDx talk.
WORLDSCHOOLING IN RELATION TO EDUCATION & LEARNING
There are many worldschooling styles and many ways families address education. Some families oscillate from one to several different styles of education, while other families are committed to a particular style for the duration of their children’s school years. All are welcome and all are valid. There are no right or wrong ways to worldschool, only variations.
HOMESCHOOLING WORLDSCHOOLERS OR THE UNTRADITIONAL TRADITIONALIST
Within this category, there are endless variations. Some families use a traditional school curriculum, others use a religious-based curriculum. Some families follow curriculum provided by US charter schools. Some families opt for traditional store-bought curriculum and education systems that provide structured methodologies like Charlotte Mason, others prefer Montessori. There are classical homeschoolers, Waldorf families, multiple intelligences approaches, online schools, self-directed curriculum and project-based homeschooling. Many families choose an eclectic blend that utilizes some or all of these options and supplement their child’s structured learning based on the places to which they travel. All of these are valid and very personal choices, and all of htem have a place in our worldschooling community.
A general definition of “unschooling” is to live as if school does not exist. Unschooling is a term that the late John Holt coined in the late ‘70′s to describe learning that is based on a child’s interests and needs. Unschooling does not begin with a set idea of what children need to learn and then allow children to decide how to approach learning that content. It begins with children’s natural curiosity about their world and expands from there.
Unschooling is not “instruction free” learning. If a child wants to learn to read, an unschooling parent may help by offer ways to decode language, reading to their child, and giving their child ample opportunity to encounter words/language. Most unschoolers do not do traditional school work, yet they do learn traditional subject matters, rather they learn it as a natural extension of exploring their own personal interests.
Combining travel with unschooling is a natural choice for many worldschoolers because as they travel children can’t help but learn from the world around them. In its simplest terms, the world facilitates learning; it becomes a teacher. Since learning happens naturally, being exposed to new interests through travel has literally transformed the world into an interactive classroom. In fact, travel itself provides stimulation and fuels curiosity. Where a family takes it from there is up to them, but the engaged family will most definitely be intentional about learning opportunities.
THE THIRD CULTURE KID
Third culture kid (TCK) is a term used to refer to children raised in a culture other than the one(s) they or their parents were born into. The majority of TCKs live as expats in other countries and attend either international or local schools as part of cultural immersion. Some may enroll in schools for a shorter period of time and some may enroll for longer durations depending on their family’s living and working situations.
TRADITIONALIST – WORLDSCHOOLING AS AN EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
There are those within our community who live the majority of their time in one location creating a base in their home country, whose children are enrolled in traditional schools and they travel as a family during school vacations. Worldschooling becomes a supplement to traditional schooling and exposure to the world in this form is still beneficial. Many traditionalists do not travel regularly but try to incorporate world cultures in their lives through a handful of ways: hosting people/students from other countries, exploring cultures through food, art, cinema, and/or news, and engaging in language learning. Those in this category are also worldschoolers.
WORLDSCHOOLING IN RELATION TO TRAVEL STYLES
For those that do actively travel, there are many styles of traveling, which are discussed and supported here in the We Are Worldschoolers community. Like the educational and learning approaches, many families shift between these styles. There are no travel formulas and each family is entitled to choose what works best for them. The We are Worldschoolers community is designed to be a supportive place regardless of each family’s style.
Just as families have different educational styles, we have different travel styles!
Digital nomads are people who work remotely, oftentimes using telecommunication technologies to earn a living and conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Digital nomads are often referred to as being location independent and tend to choose travel locations based on wifi strength and availability, and time zones.
Long term slow travel is when you take several months or years to make your way around the world, staying in each location for long enough to really soak up the culture.
Long term travelers are often budget backpackers, trying to make their travel funds stretch for as long as possible by staying in hostels, local accommodations, and looking for affordable food and attractions.
An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than their native country. Generally, expats stay in another country for six months or longer and tend to plant deep roots deeper than “slow travelers”. Expats move to other countries for a variety of reasons, some for work, some for cultural and language immersion, and some even move in order to experience life in the countries of their ancestors.
Whatever the reason, expats are also worldschoolers as they are faced with many of the cultural challenges of adapting to a new way of being, and oftentimes have to examine their own worldviews and how those relate to the values and worldviews of their host country.
We have many worldschoolers who dream of becoming full-time worldschoolers, but for any number of reasons cannot at this time. Instead, they take family trips both nationally and internationally and apply the principles of worldschooling: the world is our classroom, curiosity can spark all learning, and cultural immersion (even for short periods of time) offers rich learning opportunities. We welcome worldschooling vacationers into our community.
Traditionally, a gap year is when you take a year off to work, volunteer, or study in another country. Many families are taking family gap years together! “Family Gappers” are generally traveling on a predetermined budget, scheduling their trips to fit a very specific timeframe and generally pre-plan destinations in advance, and, oftentimes, purchasing round-the-world tickets. Family Gappers don’t tend to work during their gap year (although there are always some exceptions) and they generally have a home base waiting for them when their trip is over.
IN REGARDS TO CULTURAL IMMERSION AND EXCHANGE
Worldschoolers who join us in the We Are Worldschoolers community are an international community of curious people whose origins span the globe. We represent different nationalities, belief systems, cultures, and worldviews. Our ethos is to support diversity, honor differences, and spread compassion during our worldschooling journeys. Just like we follow those principles as we wordschool, we also practice these values in our online community.
As worldschoolers, we travel to learn about people’s beliefs, customs, and cultures and strive to build bridges of understanding and compassion. As worldschoolers, we engage in thoughtful dialogue in order to connect with one another and to our own humanity. As worldschoolers, we believe these connections create a pathway to peace. As worldschoolers, we believe our journeys have value for ourselves, our families, and the world. Finally, as worldschoolers, we ask you to apply these same principles in our community, and in the outside world.
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