World schooling

What is worldschooling and how does it work?

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(Last updated on: 10/05/2022)

What is worldschooling? Worldschooling is a concept that has fascinated me for some time now. I am not against the formal education system by any means (I have worked in it for years!), but I also know that there are incredible educational benefits that result from travel. So when I began to see more and more people promoting the use of worldschooling, I thought it was time to dig a bit deeper and find out what worldschooling is all about! And that’s where this article comes in! Read on to learn more….

What is worldschooling?

Worldschooling

The term worldschooling was coined by Boston-born writer Eli Gerzon. The following excerpt is taken from his website:

This is a new term coined by Eli Gerzon that is essentially a more descriptive and positive version of unschooling that can apply to anyone even those beyond school age. Gerzon defines it by saying, “It’s when the whole world is your school, instead school being your whole world.” Eli Gerzon has “unschooled through college” mainly by learning from his international travels but the term does not require you to travel the world, just as unschooling doesn’t forbid making use of school resources.

Instead, it’s when one actively experiences and learns from the world around one: the home, family, friends, strangers of all backgrounds, libraries, parks, sports, forests, schools, towns, and of course the world and the world wide web. It also emphasizes that there is always more to learn from this wonderful, complex world regardless of whether one has a high school degree, is a doctor, or is solely self-educated.

Essentially, worldschooling is about letting your children learn through immersion. It means to educate them through experiencing new cultures, new places, different traditions and so on.

What is the difference between worldschooling and homeschooling?

Is worldschooling different to homeschooling? To answer this first question, we first need to look at what homeschooling is. With over 2 million homeschooled children in the US alone, it is a popular method of educating the younger generation. 

What is homeschooling?

Generally, homeschooling relates to an academic education. However, with different educational philosophies to choose from, parents are able to stray from the typical ‘textbooks and standardised testing’. They can pick and choose from different methods of teaching to best fit the individual child’s needs, something that can so often be overlooked in a school environment for obvious reasons.

The laws and requirements for homeschooling differ around the world. Using the UK as an example, where 100k children are currently homeschooled, parents must ensure their child or children receive a full time education from the age of 5. However, this does not have to follow the national curriculum. The (local) council are able to make informal enquiries as to whether a child is receiving a full time education. If they are dissatisfied, they may order for the child to attend school. 

There is actually no legislation in terms of home education. But Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 does say this:               

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 provides that:   

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable –               

(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

According to UK guidance, parents or carers who are homeschooling their child DO NOT have to do any of the following by law:

  • acquire specific qualifications for the task
  • have premises equipped to any particular standard                
  • aim for the child to acquire any specific qualifications                 
  • teach the National Curriculum
  • provide a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum
  • make detailed lesson plans in advance
  • give formal lessons
  • mark work done by the child                     
  • formally assess progress, or set development objectives
  • reproduce school type peer group socialisation
  • match school-based, age-specific standards

Is this the same as worldschooling?

So now we have outlined what homeschooling is, how does it link to worldschooling? The two interlink because, due to the guidance and laws surrounding homeschooling, parents are also able to engage in worldschooling. If there were no provisions for homeschooling, then worldschooling would never have been able to exist.

Worldschooling

Who invented worldschooling?

As mentioned, worldschooling itself was ‘invented’ by Eli Gerzon. However it actually builds on an earlier concept, proposed by author and educator John Holt. This is known as ‘unschooling’. It is described as an abandonment of any kind of curriculum, letting children learn simply through their curiosities as they go along in life. Holt believed that children did not need to be forced into learning, and they would do so naturally by following their own interests and having access to a ‘rich assortment of resources’.

Unschooling is actually legal. This may be partly due to the lack of knowledge around it – because home education does not have to follow the national curriculum and so on, there is little room for scrutiny. It is entirely subjective whether a child is receiving an efficient full-time education. With no laws around testing and set hours, for example, there is nothing stopping parents from unschooling their children if they have the means to do so.

Worldschooling is a blend of homeschooling and unschooling. So although the term was coined by Gerzon, the overarching concept can be traced back to Holt.

Why worldschooling is growing in popularity

There are plenty of ways to ensure your child receives the best education possible and worldschooling is just one example of this how some people might do this. World schooling is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. A lot of the reason for the rise in popularity can be attributed to social media and blogging. As with anything, if we see someone else doing something we naturally become curious. If it weren’t for the people who write about worldschooling and share their own journey, a lot of people wouldn’t even know about it! So, the more this concept is shared, the more people look into it and perhaps choose to try it themselves.

People are also constantly realising that they don’t have to fit in a box. While there are of course laws in place to protect humanity, there is no need to go along with the status quo and live the nuclear 9-5 lifestyle we have perhaps become accustomed to. This means that people are always looking for ways they can improve their life and for those that love to travel, worldschooling is an obvious one.

Worldschooling

And of course, there is an increased desire to have experiential travel experiences. More and more people are looking for a deeper travel experience, where cultural tourism and educational tourism are at the forefront. Parents who have been confined to travelling only during the school holidays, when prices sky rocket and those with younger children who do not wish to enter into this system are increasingly opting for a worldschooling experiences that provides them with the opportunity to travel long term and obtain all of the educational benefits that this yields through worldschooling.

Is there a worldschooling curriculum?

There is no official set worldschooling curriculum. If you are considering this way of life and you do want to be more rigid and structured with your child’s education, however, there are ways of doing so. Companies such as Time4Learning offer lesson plans and curricula that you can use to create a style of learning that works for you and your child. You can read more information about this here.

How does worldschooling work?

Essentially, there are no rules! Worldschooling will look different for everyone. Some families may lean more towards a traditional education while travelling – setting time aside for structured lessons in certain subject areas. Other families may go for an unschooling approach: no plan, no structure, no goals or targets, just fun experiences that piques their children’s curiosity.

Can I travel with my family full time using worldschooling?

Yes. This is why many people choose worldschooling as an option – because they want to travel full time. There is an argument to say that if you’re not travelling full time (or near enough!) then aren’t you simply homeschooling?

Worldschooling

The benefits of worldschooling

There are many benefits to worldschooling! Read a few of them below…

  • Children can learn a new language by immersing themselves in it almost entirely. For example, by living in Spain for a while a child could learn Spanish easier than at school without having to typically ‘study’
  • It is easier to empathise with historical events when hearing about them in the place they happened e.g you can better understand the Holocaust whilst learning about it at Auschwitz.
  • There is an increase in family time 
  • Children can build their confidence through partaking in a variety of activities they might not otherwise, and meeting people from a huge variety of backgrounds
  • Worldschoolers may find it easier to discover their passions due to having experience so much of the world
  • You can make many different connections by being in new places so often 

You can read a tongue-in-cheek post from Hannah, a worldschooler, HERE! It shares many benefits of world schooling.

The disadvantages of worldschooling

There are plenty of disadvantages to worldschooling too.

  • Children don’t follow a set curriculum, so may miss out on becoming adept at things like maths and English
  • It can obviously be expensive to travel the world and having to pay to access museums, archaeological sites, theatre shows and so on in order to immerse your child in these things
  • You may miss your family and loved ones back home. Also, there is little chance to make deep or lasting connections if you are constantly on the go. Though with the ease of international contact now, you can stay in touch with people
  • Without formal qualifications your child may struggle to access university education or certain careers
  • Travelling is obviously expensive which is why this lifestyle isn’t the most accessible. If you are unable to work remotely you would have to save *a lot* before you go

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