**This post was written by Rachel Denning**
As a Location Independent Parent, you may have to consider ‘alternative’ methods of schooling for your children. The usual model of public or private school may not fit into your lifestyle, especially if you choose to travel and/or live abroad.
The great news is that there are tons of options if you’re willing to consider them. With some creativity, consistency, inspiration and vision, you can provide a fabulous, totally unique education for your child.
Here I’ll be addressing the What, Where, Why and How of World Schooling…
What Is World Schooling?
World schooling can be carried out in a variety of ways. One approach is to provide your children with an education that encompasses a global perspective.
This means that instead of a myopic focus on basic topics such as reading, writing math and history from the perspective of only your own culture, you create a curriculum that embraces cultures from around the world.
This can be accomplished no matter where in the world you choose to live; whether your child attends a brick and mortar school, or you home, or road, school and may include ideas such as :
- Studying a language
- Trying recipes from around the world
- Reading biographies of individuals from varying countries
- Practicing art from other cultures (music, dance, painting)
- Considering global issues such as poverty, hunger and disease
- Fundraising and involvement in humanitarian causes worldwide
- Opening your home to foreigners within your own community
The second approach to world schooling has to do with…
Where Does World Schooling Happen?
While world schooling can be accomplished in any location around the globe (as far as providing a global perspective for your child) the second approach to this method of education includes world travel.
In contrast to home schooling, where all your learning is done at, or near, your home, when world schooling, wherever you are is your classroom.
- Learning Japanese through language immersion in Japan
- Studying marine biology by becoming SCUBA certified on a trip to Costa Rica
- Observing whale calving in the oceans of the Dominican Republic
- Swiming with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa
- Practicing yoga and meditation and investigating Buddhism and Hinduism in India
- Exploring the arts and great artists in the museums of Europe
- Introducing geology through the majestic beauty of the Swiss Alps, the Andes, Canadian Rockies or Mount Everest
Rather than simply reading about things in books, your child experiences them in real life; which leads us to…
Why World School?
Many people agree that as technology increases our world becomes smaller. The problems that affect one area of the world can have an impact upon our personal lives.
Teaching our children to have a global perspective and introducing them to other cultures can make a big difference in their ability to (although cliche) “think globally but act locally.”
Traveling with open minds is important, for both young and old, if you seek to develop greater understanding of the new ideas you’re sure to encounter and increase compassion for people who may, at the outset, appear very ‘different.’
As Mark Twain sagely remarked:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s life.”
So, the next question is…
How Do You World School?
Introducing your kids to a global perspective can be accomplished simply through awareness:
- Be open to the world around and share it with your kids
- Learn a language together
- Try recipes from other cultures
- Sponsor a child in another country
- Stay abreast of international news as a family
However, taking the plunge to travel with children can be frightening at first. There is so much to take into consideration:
- Airline tickets
- Travel time
- Potty breaks
- New environments
You can take heart knowing that it can, and has, been done by many parents worldwide.
The trick is to take it one step, one moment, at a time. Once you’ve made the decision to embrace this lifestyle, it’s best to begin with small, simple steps.
Is a passport needed? Then start by filling out an application. Or perhaps you’d rather begin with a smaller jaunt to a neighboring state or province. Start researching attractions and making a plan.
The question to ask as you move through the world is “What can we learn from this place/person/culture/experience?”
When fully embraced, this approach to education can be very rewarding. Travel can expand realities and broaden minds for children as well as adults.