Briefly describe your family (who you are, ages, where you are from, backgrounds, profession(s), etc.)
I spent most of my childhood as an only child so am quite incredulous at now having this large and amazing family that is continuing to grow! I have five of my own “children” aged 32, 30, 24, 17, (boys) and a girl of 14 plus two step-sons ages 30 and 32. I also have a 7-year-old grandson and two lovely daughters-in-law. And we are still growing and adding to our number which is so fun! My adult children still like to travel with us as does my mother so we are often a big and crazy group. We are all dual citizens of the UK and US and all five of mine were born in different locations around the world. I was born in England, grew up in various European countries, and first came to the US at 17. I fully fit into the label of an adult Third Culture Kid and all of my children match that as well. We have lived as expats multiple times as well as digital nomads and slow travelers. I am a university professor with a doctorate in child development and I’ve worked online since 2003. I teach psychology, education, and research methods to doctoral students. I also do consulting work as a Family Education Consultant to help others jump onto this amazing path.
Describe your worldschooling travel style. (how long you’ve beendoing it, how it works and briefly where you’ve been)
I think my first international travel was as a toddler to Paris from the UK and I’ve been travelling multiple times each year ever since. I’ve lived in many places (I loosely count live as three months or more) around the world including North America, Central America, Europe, and Asia and traveled to loads more. I’m not really a country counter but we started our blog in 2008 and I think it has about 30 countries on it. This doesn’t include multiple ones before blogging was a thing!
Describe your worldschooling – education style.
I think the only word to use here is eclectic. As do many people, we started out a tad more formally doing unit studies and I would have placed us as homeschoolers. After about six months of this I met a wonderful group of unschoolers and discovered the works of John Holt from which I realized this far more closely fit our family. A few years ago, I met Lainie and other traveling families, and found out about worldschooling which more closely aligns with how we have been living for decades now.
Why did you choose this learning path?
I found about homeschooling when my first son started kindergarten in a public school in Hawaii. The gifted and talented coordinator suggested we homeschool as they could not accommodate his learning in the district. We have never regretted jumping into this.
What are the greatest gifts (benefits) you’ve experienced as a worldschooling family?
Closeness of relationships. My children are some of my best friends and watching them head out into the world, doing amazing things, finding partners who I really like, and becoming adults who I respect and am thrilled to be around is very gratifying. We have never had the yelling or anger that many warned about during the teen/YA years. Our family really gets along and for the most part works as a team whether we are traveling or at a home base. I am filled with respect and awe for my five children.
What are your greatest worldschooling challenges (education, travel, health, work) and how have they played a role in your worldschooling journey?
I suppose if I look at some of my male or childless colleagues who have published more widely or risen up the ranks faster in academia, I could see a challenge or deficit. But honestly, I wouldn’t change it for anything and my choices to step into work that met my worldschooling family’s needs the best have always led to greater things than I imagined. My daughter may bemoan that traveling so much has meant she cannot have her own horse. I doubt that would happen even if we weren’t traveling though!
Why did you choose to worldschool?
We really didn’t choose so much as it is part of our DNA. As a TiCK (third culture kid), I grew up traveling and then joined the US Air Force and we spent a couple of decades traveling for that. I then continued expat life while helping open universities around the world and now with the online work we can work anywhere. If I am not actually traveling, I NEED to be planning travel. It’s just our hard wired drive.
Share a big powerful worldschooling “aha” moment ( an inspiring story from the road)
I remember living in Abu Dhabi when my three older were 14, 12, and 6. We lived in a high rise luxury building with families from all around the world and my older two held a sleep over with four other boys around their age (an Emirati, a Kenyan, a South African, a Libyan and my two UK/US). I heard them moving around in the living room about 4 am and went to prompt (somewhat gently) that they needed to get some sleep. One of my son’s pulled me aside and said that they were staying up because two of their friends had to perform Fajr prayer in about 20 minutes so they wanted to keep them company until then plus it was Ramadan so the boys needed to eat prior to sunrise. We had only been in country a few months and I remember being amazed at how much mine had learned about other cultures and belief systems in that short time. And how easily they accepted other’s beliefs. It was just part of who their friends were and not really a big deal in terms of their relationships. It was a vivid reminder that travel really is fatal to prejudice and bigotry just as Mark Twain suggested.
What would you say to other (hesitant) worldschooling families that may be considering this journey?
Just jump. Start at the next level just outside of your comfort zone and keep pushing yourself to get out there. You will never regret it.
Kate Green has five very successful, alternatively educated young adult and teen children and has unschooled/worldschooled them for about 27 years now. She is a professor of education and psychology with a PhD in child development and they have lived and traveled all over the world. She has helped found two new universities in the Middle East, guided 100s of people through their doctoral degrees, and is a best-selling author, publishing extensively in both the popular and academic press. She is also a family education consultant and helps parents make decisions about their children’s educational journey by using research-based strategies and information in combination with their intuitive inner voice to help understand what is optimum for their family. Much of her research and writing stems around Attachment Parenting and she is a research board member for Attachment Parenting International. She has also researched and then published about Worldschoolers for international conferences and journals.
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