Have you ever heard of worldschooling? I hadn’t until about a year ago but now it is all I can imagine for my children’s education.
Worldschooling is a form of homeschool which educates children through real life experiences, often in faraway countries amidst foreign cultures.
Since I do almost everything else “alternative” according to American standards, worldschooling seems to fit in flawlessly within my nonconformist nature.
Currently, my son attends preschool two days a week. I struggled with this decision because I wasn’t ready to leave his care in the hands of another adult. I worried about the quality of food he would eat, what kind of hand soaps/sanitizers they use, and if he would pick up some negative behaviors from his peers.
I watched an old acquaintance of mine go through this a few years back and she confided in me that her son started misbehaving after he attended preschool.
Ultimately the reason I decided to enroll him is so he could be exposed to a bunch of kids and strengthen his immune system.
I am quite pleased with the decision for his second to third year of life, albeit I am definitely dealing with some of those repercussions I originally feared.
One day, he came home pretending to be a baby. He talked in a fake baby voice which was like nails on a chalkboard.
I asked him where he learned that voice. His response: basically one of his classmates pretends to be a baby.
He thought it was hilarious and naturally started doing it too.
I explained to him, “Just because nameless boy pretends to be a baby doesn’t mean he has to. It is best to be yourself and you are a strong, brave big boy, not a baby.”
Most people would probably think this was too much for a two year old to comprehend but honest to God, every time I remind my son of this idea, he talks less like a baby and more like himself.
Another thing that pushes me toward any form of homeschooling is how many five year olds I see at our neighborhood park with cellphones.
These kids come to the park, sit on the swings, and pointedly stare at their cellphones until they leave. There’s no running around, no blowing off steam, just lit up screens sucking away their childhood.
How can I prevent my son from resenting me when he can’t have the same things that all his schoolmates do?
With worldschooling, he will live in places where device addiction isn’t the norm. He won’t be constantly surrounded by privileged western culture with our skewed perspective of what really matters.
I didn’t have a cellphone growing up. I can’t imagine how that muddies the water of proper social development.
It’s hard not to wonder if this generation will be uncomfortable making eye contact with other humans.
Can I just opt out?
You can with worldschooling.
Worldschooling appeals to me for many reasons.
Health is very important to me. I want my kids to spend the majority of their childhood outside.
I recently learned that some schools eliminated recess. Others only allow 15-45 minutes of unstructured play.
This doesn’t sit well with me.
I spoke with a friend of mine and fellow military spouse who is from South Africa. She confided that she didn’t start school until she was seven years old.
I honestly can’t imagine my son at five years old sitting in a desk for more than an hour a day.
Our bodies are designed to move.
I have never liked waking up to an alarm clock.
I am a slow mover in the morning and so is my son. One of the biggest areas of disequilibrium in our day is when we have to hurry to do anything.
What if those slow mornings didn’t have to come to an abrupt end at age five?
They transformed from morning snuggles and reading simple books to morning discussions about art, science, philosophy, business, and ethics.
With homeschooling, you can march to the beat of your own drum and plan your day as it suits your individual needs, not an institutional time frame.
I hate being stuck in one place for too long.
I’m a military spouse and I wouldn’t change one second of that.
I find myself longing for more than one place can offer me. I am not quite ready to lay down roots until I have experienced more nature, climates, and cultures.
The thought of being stuck in the same town until my children get through college frightens me.
The world becomes the classroom.
You can study art at the Louvre. natural history at Yellowstone, and cooking in Italy.
As we do a deep dive into subjects it may require relocating to a place where we can touch, feel, and breathe what we are learning about. In this way, our learning becomes life and life becomes about learning.
Shouldn’t life be fun? It doesn’t always have to be groundhog’s day. I think I will get just as much joy out of learning as my children. Especially since I don’t remember anything from high school except falling asleep in class!
How I plan to afford to Worldschool
Worldschooling may sound dandy but it also sounds expensive. However, I have a solid plan on how I intend to make this a reality.
When my kids are young, worldschooing will simply involve getting them out and about in our town. We have 7-10 more years left in the military and there is a good chance we will relocate multiple times, potentially even overseas.
We will start by learning what we can in close proximity to wherever our home is located. I love this part of military life.
One of the ways we intend to afford close proximity travel is by investing in a Sprinter van and converting it to a camper.
We dabbled with RV living this past summer when we moved out of our house completely and put it up on Airbnb. Ultimately, I realized I don’t like the responsibility of Airbnb but I didn’t mind the lengthy stay in the camper.
I didn’t feel confident driving a large fifth wheel so we sold it after the season was over.
A sprinter is the perfect solution for us because we can use it as our second vehicle. It is a one time investment into a way to see more of the world on the cheap. I also feel confident in handling this vehicle solo.
I will update you on that process once we get started. Right now we are in saving mode because we plan to do it ourselves and pay cash.
After my husband retires from the military, we plan to take some time and not own a primary residence. In fact, our first six months of retirement, we plan to spend in southeast Asia because it is very cheap. This way we can continue to save and invest for the future all the while experiencing new cultures with our kids.
They will be around seven to ten years old by then.
I am not really worried about high school or making friends
Some of the biggest arguments I hear around homeschooling:
“Aren’t you worried about your kids making friends?”
“Well, homeschooling is ok for elementary but what about high school?”
I am not a parent to teens yet but when I think about my past and all the horrific things I went through in high school, I think more than ever it is still a good idea for my kids to have access to me for the majority of the day.
Making friends isn’t hard. It requires you to be kind and take a genuine interest in other people.
I fully intend to teach these social skills to my children.
The great thing about homeschooling is the major influence and guiding example becomes a rational adult verses hormonal, acceptance-seeking kids.
The even cooler part about worldschooling is different cultures become a part of that equation.
Making healthy friendships also requires some sort of common ground.
I will definitely involve my kids in all kinds of extracurricular activities with others of different ages so they can make friends.
We plan to live like the locals in different countries by traveling slowly and renting apartments.
So no, I’m not worried about my kids missing out on high school friendships.
They will indeed have friends all over the world and they can connect with them through technology because by then, I will likely let them have access to a phone (within reason).
The worldschooling type is not the majority in my culture. But ultimately, I have never been happy with following the status quo. I just didn’t realize it is actually ok to question that.
I thought I needed permission to perceive life the way I do and it was only acceptable once I was old and grey and had served in the workforce for 45 years.
So I swallowed my feelings and kept on being unhappy.
One day I woke up and realized, I can do whatever the heck I want with my life.
As long as I am a good person, pay my taxes, keep food on the table, and love my children, I am allowed to raise them at home, opt out of the system, and focus our time together on adventure and finding joy in learning.
I plan to update my blog more on our worldschooling adventures. I look forward to writing more on this topic in the future.