There is a new education trend growing, which shakes up the traditional idea of what school should look like. Instead of a rigid curriculum, standardized tests, and 9 months a year spent in a classroom, this new approach is hands-on. It is called worldschooling, and in this article we will look at what it is, how it works and why real experiences are valuable in education.
What is Worldschooling?
World schooling is schooling through experiences gained by engaging with the world. In principle, you can make a comparison between filling out a worksheet of math problems every day, versus learning the concept and then taking money out into the world, exchanging it into a different currency, going to the store, making purchases, and calculating your money to make sure you got the right amount change.
Worldschooling is focused on using the world around us, to teach children what they need to know about life. Oftentimes, worldschoolers are doing so while traveling and visiting different parts of the world. Worldschooling can be done anywhere, at any time. The main benefit is the opportunity that children have to learn about culture, geography, history, math, art, music, etc. by first-hand-experience; touching, smelling, seeing, tasting, and not hearsay.
Worldschooling, of course, is not defined the same by every parent that takes part in it. Some worldschool by traveling full time, some by homeschooling and taking trips, some by traveling and homeschooling and some by traveling part-time.
What Worldschooling Looks Like
As a parent worldschooling your children, the travel combined with guidance and other supportive activities, can teach children core concepts they need to learn. For example, history can be learned by traveling to ancient sites, different cities and countries, museums, etc. Worldschoolers can read and learn about the places before the visit, then they visit and continue the study afterwards once the place has more relevance to them. Math can be practiced in daily life when shopping and converting different currencies as mentioned above. Science can be explored through museums, experiments, visiting various biomes, wildlife sanctuaries, taking a walk and observing, etc. Economics can be learned by conversations about business, different countries, successes and failures, comparisons of different country’s economic landscape. Music can be studied by attending concerts, pointing out different instruments you encounter out and about, and taking note of the child’s interests to learn a specific instrument.
Once a parent has an idea of the goals with their children’s education, they can identify the destinations they would like to visit which will provide opportunities for learning.
Why Real World Experiences Are Important
There is nothing like experience to teach a lesson, which goes for young and old alike. Many students who attend traditional school have a bit of a stumbling period when they enter the “real world”. It is one thing to have learned how to add, subtract and multiply at your desk, and another to do so while walking through a grocery store. It is one thing to read about various cultures, and another to be in a situation where you are working with people completely different from you that you don’t understand.
Instead of fitting education into a protected environment, worldschooling makes the experience one that is personal, engaging and exciting. There is no disconnect between the world and learning, they are integrated, gradually instilling confidence, skills and experience in the student. In going to many different places around the world, the student is gaining a wide understanding of what the world is, allowing them to see their place in it and to establish respect for others. The transition from worldschooling into real life is a smooth one, because the student is accustomed to functioning in the world. The world has been their classroom, thus there is no shock.
Not all parents are necessarily just worldschooling. Some like the idea, but send their child to a regular school, and then take part in worldschooling during the open weekends or after school. Others have jumped in with both feet and are traveling the world full time with their children. Each family will have to find their own balance, and what works for their child or children. However, what is to be sure is there is value in experience-based education, and worldschooling is an interesting way to take advantage of it.