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What is World Schooling Anyway? (aka WE Define It Differently)

Our 'new' world needs a new type of schooling to prepare our children to thrive in the 21st Century.

Mention worldschooling or 'world school' and the majority of people experience a sense of confusion...

Huh? What did you say? What's that?

Some people are already aware of traveling homeschooling or roadschooling or unschooling -- or any sort of non-traditional, 'disruptive' education...

When you mention worldschooling to them they're likely to conjure up images of a family trotting the globe, unschooling or homeschooling as they go.

Our family began as homeschoolers, at home in a small farming town. My husband and I made that educational decision before our first child was adopted (when she was 5 days old).

By the time she was four and I had birthed three more babies (that means four kids under the age of four!) we began what we later referred to as our 'worldschooling adventures'. We called ourselves the 'Worldschool Family'.

That was in 2007. To date (2019) we've traveled with our children (now seven of them) to anywhere between 35-44 countries, with more planned for the coming year(s).

(I've been to 35. My husband's been to 44. My 14-year-old son has been to 36.)

But there's one lesson we've learned from the incredible experiences and growth we've undergone as a wandering family...

And that's never try to kill a cockroach with a broom. It doesn't work.

No. Wait. That's not it.

What we've discovered is that learning from travel, travel-learning, worldschooling -- whatever you call it -- is NOT enough to produce a truly thorough, deep education.

It produces instead an education filled with touch-points and 'pegs' which need to be added to, filled in, and built upon.

But to be clear, neither do traditional schooling (public, private, charter) nor homeschooling produce a gap-free, complete education.

They also have elements that are missing. Pieces of a puzzle that need to be added to in order to complete the whole picture.

So what's a parent to do?

How do we prepare our children for life in the 21st Century, given that we don't quite know what that life (or those careers) will look like for them?

How do we adequately prepare them for a 'new world' with technology that didn't exist when we were children (and doesn't yet exist but will)?

Especially when we're all operating with educational systems that were developed in the 18th and 19th centuries?

It's apparent to those who are researching and redefining and reforming education that a 'new' type of schooling is needed for the 'new' world we live in.

Do a search for 'alternative schooling' or 'disruptive education' and you'll see all sorts of terms popping up around the web.

Unschooling. Life schooling. Hack schooling. Hybrid schooling. Wild schooling.

They are all based on the same underlying principles. They're all saying the same things but in a different way.

Parents want something NEW. Children NEED something different.

We want to break away from the education system that is clearly not working -- a system that is not designed to focus on the development of the WHOLE person but merely on teaching academics.

And the result (of academic-only education) is increases in anxiety, depression, suicide, and a failure-to-launch epidemic.

My husband recently flew from Ulaanbaatar (UB) to Beijing. On the flight he met a woman who is the head of a private school in UB.

She shared that recently she met with the Dalai Lama who is instituting his new curriculum into her school.

Yes, even the Dalai Lama has a curriculum. As an influential and in-tune-with-world-problems world-leader, he sees a need to reform education.

His curriculum (EMS) is based on teaching three things:

  • Emotional well-being

  • Mental well-being

  • Social well-being


This is all well and good, but what does it mean for us as parents?

And what does this have to do with 'worldschooling'?

Well, for our family, it means expanding our definition of 'world schooling' to include much more than learning from travel (which is a VITAL piece to a complete education, but not the whole puzzle).

The homeschooling movement has disrupted things. It brought children 'home' -- a wonderful place to be while they are young.

But as they get older, they need to get out into and learn from the 'world'. They need to be challenged, do hard things, face difficulties, encounter opposition, differing viewpoints, and foreign culture.

They need to strengthen their emotional, mental, and social muscles by using them in real-world experiences that aren't (only) academically based.

We want worldschooling to be a part of that movement.

We want homeschooling parents to leave home and explore the world. We want public, private, and charter schoolers to leave the classroom and explore the world.

What does exploring the world (aka worldschooling) look like?

  • traveling (family or school trips, local or international)

  • field trips

  • connecting with the local community (business owners, civic leaders, etc.)

  • self-paced, real-world projects (building or creating something useful or valuable, etc.)

  • time in nature

  • adventure (that truly challenges you)

  • camps

  • library visits

  • volunteering (YMCA, care center, etc.)

  • internships or apprenticeships

  • sports (organized and 'pick-up' games)

  • passion-driven self-study

  • hikes or treks

  • classes or lessons (music, art, archery...) with local community members

  • clubs (book, photography, chess...)

  • theater or improv

  • book discussions or 'colloquia'

  • movie/film/video or music making

  • starting a business

  • developing habits for success

  • blogging or vlogging

  • role playing games

  • debate and Socratic discussions

  • 4-H or animal husbandry or gardening

  • sewing and crafts

  • simulations and 'quests'

  • what can you think of?

Much of this can be found in a 30-mile radius from where you live. Ideally, you'll spread your wings further than that to get the full, transformative effect.

Whatever you call it, however you want to define it, however you decide to do it -- this is a call-to-arms to make some changes in the way we 'do school'.

Because an army of intentional parents (and teachers) will change the world.

For Greg and I, and our own children, we decided to start creating what they needed. To 'build' our own school.

It has meant creating classes, adventure trips and camps, and creating the community we need with like-minded parents and youth who are passionately driven to do something different.

Want to join us? Sign up for a trip or class, or enter your name and email below.

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