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Whenever we go home to visit, there’s one type of person who annoys me the most.
And no, it’s not the Home-Boners who keep telling us we’re idiots for not buying a house.
By living an awesome life in early retirement, I’ve already proven them wrong. All I need to do is ignore their shitty “advice”, sit back, and watch their heads explode. It’s super entertaining. You should try it sometime.
So the type of people who piss me off the most when we go back home are…
Specifically nosy parents who complain incessantly about all the work they have to do to raise their kids, while creepily asking me, over and over again, “when are you having kids?”
Why is it any of their business whether we decide to have kids? Is it because misery loves company and they’re secretly hoping we’ll get dragged down into the rut they’re in?
Are they thinking if we have kids we’ll have to stop being “self-centered narcissists” who travel the world and be forced to settle down and live boring lives like theirs?
What I’ve noticed is that happy parents never ask us those kinds of personal questions. They are perfectly content, going about their lives and proudly showing us their adorable children. I’m so thankful for these parents and the wonderful (and insanely tough) job they are doing to raise the next generation. I also love playing with their kids.
What I don’t get are the parents who are clearly miserable and constantly complaining about how much work it is to raise kids (makes you wonder why the HELL they decided to have kids in the first place), who creepily bombard us with nosy questions like “Are you pregnant yet? When are you getting pregnant? When was your last period? Show me on this calendar!”
If they’re clearly so miserable, why would they be able to sell me on their terrible life choices? And what these creepy people don’t realize is that every time they snarkily roll their eyes and say “Oh you’re happy and free and love life? Well, wait until you have kids…” just makes me NEVER want to have kids.
But luckily, that changed recently…when we met the most interesting person on travels to date.
“Wait, so you didn’t have to request time off school for your son? You travel the world with him full time?”
The woman I’m talking to looks to be in her forties. Tall, with long ballerina-like limbs and a stylish pixie hair cut, I could only dream of looking that good when I’m her age.
“Uh-uh.” She nods and smiles, revealing a row of impossibly white teeth. Next to her sits her 10-year-old, furiously typing away on his laptop like he’s composing the world’s greatest novel. His legs are so tiny they dangle in the air, barely touching the legs of his chair.
“So how exactly does that work?”
“Oh we practice something called “World Schooling” where Zachery learns by using the world as his classroom.”
I blink. Confused. “World Schooling? That’s actually a thing? I thought it was only a magical word I made up in my head that I WISHED was a thing.”
“Yup. It’s an entire movement! We even have a Facebook group with 25,000 members, started by a single Mom who raised her kid on the road.”
I pull up a chair next to her, my sightseeing itinerary for the day completely forgotten. “So, this isn’t even a new thing? There’s a whole community of people doing it?”
“That’s actually why we came to Mexico, actually. We’re here for a conference, discussing the techniques we use to teach kids while travelling. And it’s also a nice way for us World Schoolers to meet and grow our community…”
Two hours later, after completely forgetting to eat or go out for the day, we finished chatting and I discovered an entire new movement.
And as it turns out, after talking to Anne, World Schooling isn’t just “homeschooling on the road”. It encompasses multiple types of learning:
- Unschooling (letting your kids choose what they want to learn)
- Online Learning/E-learning
- International schooling
- Correspondence schooling
Or a combination of any or all of them.
Basically what World Schooling boils down to is freedom. By not being locked one location and forced to follow a set curriculum, kids learn about history, math, science, and languages naturally through interacting with the world rather than from a textbook.
And in the case of homeschooling, parents can choose to incorporate structure by loosely following the school curriculum and giving the kids milestones to complete at their own pace, which ends up helping them develop time management skills.
“But what about social interaction? Doesn’t Zachery get lonely on the road without kids his own age?” I asked.
“Does he seem bored or lonely?” She asked, showing me entire digital albums, full of smiling kids and Zachery, swimming in waterfalls, sleeping in camper vans, interacting with animals, and doing school exercises together.
As it turns out, all you need to do is send a message to the World Schooling Facebook members, letting them know where in the world you are, and there will be like-minded people from the community eager to befriend you and your kids.
Guess the internet really does make the world a whole lot smaller. That made me feel better.
But then I thought of another question:
“Okay, but what if you need to integrate back into traditional school for university?” I asked. “Isn’t that difficult”?
“Actually no. You just need to pass the mandatory exams to get back in.“ She pulled up a website on her phone. “Check out Hannah’s Miller. She’s a 20-year-old world schooler who ended up finishing high school 2 years ahead of her conventionally schooled friends and now goes to Queen’s university.”
Needless to say, no sightseeing or eating got done that day because I spent the next 2 hours devouring Hannah’s blog.
I couldn’t help it. It was way too engrossing. I had no idea I could actually see World Schooling from the eyes of a kid.
To give you a taste of what precociousness sounds like, here’s an article written by Hannah when she was just 16-years-old. It’s been shared 9,500 times.
So to all our Revolutionary Readers, who, like me, have been wondering, “how will you keep travelling once your kids are school-aged?”
Here are the top 5 things I learned about World Schooling:
1) World Schooling can be done in multiple ways.
- Home Schooling while on the road
- Online classroom
- International Schools
- Correspondence Schools
2) World Schooling focuses on practical skills
- Like learning new languages, math through currency conversion and budgeting, and people skills through meeting different types of people all over the world, rather than learning via a conventional classroom.
3) World Schooled kids don’t give up socialization
- There’s an entire community of world schoolers who meet up on a regular basis
4) You can transition from World Schooling back to conventional school for University/College (like Hannah did)
- You just need to pass the mandatory exams.
- She never set foot inside a traditional school, yet got into Oregon State, and then transferred to Queens.
- That means there’s a pathway back into the university/college system in both the US AND Canada!
5) World Schooled children learn how to be self-directed, unconventional thinkers because this style of teaching emphasizes self-learning over curriculum-based teaching
- At the age of 15, Hannah already learned how to make money online. She did this by building websites for other people, teaching kids how to write, and get freelance writing jobs completely ON HER OWN. She talks regularly on her blog about location independent work so she can support her travels.
- Side note: I love this kid.
- At the age of 10, Zachery was already learning how to code and fixing his own laptop.
This is not to say World Schooling isn’t without its pitfalls. Some kids may not adapt well to this type of learning and may prefer to go back to conventional schooling. At this point, their parents may choose to settle down and place the kids back in a traditional school.
But for kids who thrive on this style of learning, they end up becoming more independent, adaptable, and, GASP, actually ENJOY learning! Hannah even goes as far to say that she’s LOVES all her teachers (how often does that happen?)
Now, don’t take this to mean I’m an expert at World Schooling or anything. I literally JUST found out about this movement, and I’m hungrily devouring any info I can find about it.
But I AM curious about what you think.
Would you ever consider World Schooling your child? Has anybody else had any experience with World Schooling? What do you think of Hannah and her blog? Let us know in the comments!
Come meet us at this year's Chautauqua UK! Details here