Worldschooling: What I Wish I’d Known

The pros (and cons! honestly) of worldschooling.

Worldschooling your kids is a dream lifestyle for many people.  But there are some things I wish I’d known first!

Blogs about nomadic families glow with aspirational travel photography and highly glamourized posts about shark-diving in South Africa or sampling Moroccan delicacies in Casablanca.

These people are usually trying to sell you something.

Worldschooling is a major overhaul of your family’s life.

Don’t get me wrong: I think it can be an amazing way to educate your children—and way more doable even at a modest income level.

But there are some reality checks I wish I’d been given before I embarked on this great adventure with my family.

Here are some things I wish I’d known.

There will never be an ideal time.  This is the ideal time.

A lot of people dream of worldschooling their kids.

Most never get around to it.

Because they’re waiting for the “right time.”

Here’s the reality:  The right time will never come.  There will always be obstacles.

And the window to educate your kids is very, very short.  It passes in the blink of an eye.

Everything is workable if you put your mind to it.  If this is something you really want for your family, start figuring it out.

Community is important.

It is extremely important to find a community for your worldschoolers.

And not just online contact with friends and family, but real-life friends.

Fortunately, this is totally doable in the internet age.  Look for Facebook groups of ex-pats to connect with wherever you’re going, and find opportunities to connect with locals in a meaningful way (depending on where you’re going, this may mean churches, volunteer work, or even staying in an ashram depending on your family’s values and interests).

Or, do what we did and consider part-time worldschooling so that your kids have a consistent, reliable community at home, and the challenge of adventure while traveling.

Part-time travel is often more expensive than full-time travel.

We are part-time worldschoolers.

That means that, unlike full-time nomads, renting out our house is not an option.

Monthly rentals (which are significantly cheaper than daily or weekly accommodation rates) are not an option for us.

Also, the longer you are somewhere, the more efficient you become at spending and finding local deals, the best places to shop for food, affordable transportation options, ect.

Part-time worldschooling has a lot of advantages, but cost is not one of them.

Stability is important.

I would go so far as to say that it is especially important to create stability amid the chaos, rapid change, and unpredictability of frequent travel.

This may mean eating dinner together at a real table every night to talk about your day.  Or having nightly read-aloud sessions, or a morning routine your kids can rely on.

But something.

Structured education is still important.  It may be even more so.

This is a controversial position.  But I think it’s dishonest not to be straight about it.

I firmly believe that kids still need an educational structure when traveling long-term.

Travel is immensely beneficial for a child’s education, especially when it comes to art, history, foreign language, and social studies.

There are undoubtedly some subjects where your child will rapidly outpace their peers.

For example, while many traditionally-schooled kids will struggle for years with foreign languages and still never master them, your kids may achieve fluency in months.  They may have the chance to be bilingual or even trilingual.

Your worldschoolers will also attain a deeper, richer appreciation for history and culture.  Nothing cements key events in World War 2 history like a trip to Nuremberg.

But there are some very important components of education that (despite what many worldschoolers will tell you) worldschooling does not make up for by itself.

Yes, sure.  You can teach your kids basic arithmetic with currency conversions.  You can learn how the metric system differs from the US Customary system on international road trips.

But don’t kid yourself.

Your kids will have no shot at competing in higher education if they don’t understand higher math, or learn to read fluently, or compose thoughtfully-worded essays.

Letting your kids fall significantly behind in core subjects like math, reading, and writing will significantly limit their options down the line.

There’s an entire Reddit forum dedicated to kids whose parents neglected their education under the guise of homeschooling.

Don’t be one of those parents.

Whether you choose an online curriculum or decide to bring materials with you, there are plenty of options to keep your kids on track.

It’s not a vacation.

Worldschooling is not a vacation.

Worldschooling is more like living at home, but somewhere else.

Unless you are independently wealthy, you will have to work.  You’ll need to learn how to cook using the locally available ingredients.

Also, the laundry doesn’t do itself.

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