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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-huh.” 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.
10 Ways World Schooling Has Ruined My Childhood
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!
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94 thoughts on “How to Travel the World with School-Aged Kids”
Fascinating stuff. It’s the first I’ve heard of “World Schooling” before, but it existed before the internet made a name for it. It’s not as uncommon as people might think.
I know a woman who grew up on a sailboat for her first 18 years (or so) of life. She transferred back into the traditional school system during high school and eventually went on to college from there.
She’s was an incredibly intelligent, and well adjusted person despite being educated outside the traditional system.
I’ve always said that the traditional education system just provides the basics. The ABC’s and 123’s of life. The stuff kids *really* want to learn won’t be covered under that system.
They’ll need to do most of that learning on their own.
Based on the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, non-traditional education doesn’t impact a child’s long term success. Initiative, and an interest in learning seem to matter more.
Growing up on a sailboat! Interesting. It’s good to see examples of kids doing well without a traditional education.
At the end of the day, it really depends on the kid. Some kids do better with structure, some are more self-driven. But knowing that there are options other than traditional schooling out there really helps.
My wife and I traveled full time in a travel trailer for seven months WITH OUR ONE YEAR OLD BABY GIRL.
Whenever the full time travel conversation comes up the default is for people to say things like “do it before you have kids” or, “you’ll have to wait until you’re kids are grown”.
It gets awkward when I tell them we did it with our one year old.
Then I sometimes tell them that there is an entire sub-world of people traveling full-time with kids.
Here’s the podcast that introduced us to full time travel *with kids*…
Wow, good for you guys! I always knew assumed there were people travelling full-time with their kids, but actually chatting with them or meeting them in person makes it that much more attainable.
Was travelling with your kid more difficult or easier than you thought it would be? And is it something you would consider doing over the long term?
Thanks for sharing the podcast. Guess, I know what I’ll be doing for the rest of the day 🙂
“Was travelling with your kid more difficult or easier than you thought it would be?”
It was about as “easy” as we thought it would be. At the time she had just turned 1 so she was happy to take naps, go on walks, and eat lunch. She really liked it and she even learned how to walk while we were on our trip. I can imagine that having kids who are school aged is different. Most the people I know who have school aged kids do a mix of road schooling or un-schooling. We didn’t need to do any of that.
“And is it something you would consider doing over the long term?”
At the time we went on our trip my wife had just started her Voiceover career. (She’s a full time professional voice actor.) We planned on traveling for 9 months total and then going back home, selling the trailer and returning to “normal life”. About 6 months in to our trip my wife got very busy with her VO business. She had so much work coming in we couldn’t really stick to our travel schedule and keep up with all her jobs. (VO requires a quiet space to record audio in. The bathroom in the travel trailer was only going to work for so long!)
So, we made the decision to cut our trip short. Only by 2 months.
If we did it over again we would stay in the different places we traveled longer. We planned our trip to only stay in each city for 1 week. That sounds like enough time to settle in and take it easy but it’s actually really fast! If we did it again we would stay in each area for a month at a time.
And yes, we would love to do it again someday. No plans right now, but I would not be surprised if we did it again in the future.
Did you check out the podcast?
Here’s the episode with us: http://www.familyadventurepodcast.com/72-the-olsen-family-the-adventure-begins/
One more comment, then I’m outta here! 😉
I saw the comment above mine mention living on a sailboat.
You need to check out this ep of Family Adventure Podcast!!
The Hemingway’s lived on a sailboat for 3 years off the coast of Greece with 5 kids. They are originally from Arizona) Then sailed the boat across the Atlantic Ocean to get back to the USA.
Yes, it’s me doing the interviewing. (I’m a HUGE fan of the Hemingway’s and I asked them if I could interview them for their own podcast.)
Just listened to your interview and it’s awesome 🙂 My favourite part is how you guys discovered that your daughter doesn’t actually need that much to be happy. She just adapts to less space, less toys, and continues being happy. I also love how you discovered that she likes the beach. That’s one of the amazing things about sharing your travel dreams with your kids. They discovered new interests and learn new things that you never expected.
Thanks for sharing!
I imagine it is certainly doable, but as you mentioned it takes a very certain kind of child to learn that way and a very dedicated set of parents to teach that way. I’m sure there are a lot of kids who adapt to it well, but I also imagine there are a lot who don’t. I’m also sure there are a lot of parents who think it will be fun and easy, only to realize just how difficult it is.
If I were a parent, I can’t imagine the stress of worrying whether or not your kid is going to be able to integrate back into society when the time comes. They will either have to learn skills that don’t require an education for a career, or they will have to integrate back into education, which whilst doable, I imagine can be a shock to many.
Imagine the guilt of being a parent to a 20 year old who has no documented education on their resume, no work experience and an unverifiable skill set. It would be hard to live with yourself if you ruin your child’s chances of having a successful career.
I guess long story short, it seems a big gamble in my opinion, that could go horribly wrong but could also go very well. It’s almost like buying an investment property, which this blog hates so much 😛
This is why there are so many types of home schooling options out there. My husband is a teacher and used to work for a charter school that was entirely online. It was a “real school” with both virtual and physical meet ups that taught kids who traveled, acted, did sports, or just didn’t fit into normal schools. Home schooling is verifiable, and here in California, parents are expected to turn in proof of learning for their students.
That’s awesome. I’ve been looking for online schools to enroll my daughter. Can you share the name of the school?
I agree with most of your points, but I often hear the whole “reintegration into society” and wonder why it’s a thing. It’s not like your children are locked in a room for their entire childhood, there are sports and other activities they can do where they meet other kids around town and make friends. I was conventionally schooled but met three home-schooled guys through other activities (hockey and music) and they were definitely the most well-raised kids in the groups. You wouldn’t know they were home-schooled unless you asked.
I wasn’t saying I was worried about social integration, more professional/academic integration when the child grows up and has to integrate into a professional world. Most jobs require certain education, notably degrees. They also have corporate structures that need to be adhered to, with hierarchies, deadlines, strict bosses etc. You get told what to do, when to do it, how to do it. This could all be completely different to how a child has learned during home schooling.
I’d be concerned that the freedoms that come with schooling whilst traveling (not so much home schooling, they seem quite different) could lead to quite a culture shock when the kid has to get a job with a boss and expectations etc. I guess that really depends on the strictness of the parents who home school. If the child is raised with strict home schooling they might be fully prepared for the harsh realities of a structured work environment.
There are also plenty of work options that have more flexible work environments. Some people/kids do well in traditional, structured environments; others don’t. Most of the options in World Schooling seem to have some structure and external requirements and expectations.
I think the idea is that many roads lead to Rome. You don’t necessarily need to go through a traditional education system to receive a good education. World schooling is an interesting idea to challenge typical thinking. These ideas actually make it less stressful for us expats as it provides us with myriad options.
This is actually the argument we got the most as we worldschooled/homeschooled our kids. How will they adjust to strict bosses and conventionally demanding jobs if they’ve had such a free childhood? I actually find it a rather enlightening question. I’d be really pleased if my children didn’t, by default, adjust to those sort of demands. Sometimes it seems school is simply structured the way it is to help form our children into obedient employees who believe that’s the only way to live life. If I raise a free-spirited child who knows there’s a big world out there with lots of other ways to live, perhaps they won’t feel trapped into one structure which seems to make a lot of people unhappy. You know what I mean?
Meh. If the kid doesn’t take well to it, just put them back in a traditional school. No biggy.
Firecracker, That’s the critical part. Some kids learn better in a traditional school than in a lassiez faire type of environment, which demands discipline on both parents and the kid to acquire new knowledge every day. There is, after all, a basic body of knowledge in sciences, math, history and languages that a human mind must understand before it can go on to bigger and subtler things. My 10 year old wouldn’t do well in the new environment but we give him the international schooling exposure in an Asian school that demands more from him. Left to his own, he would be watching Pokémon all day.
International schools is actually part of world schooling. So the option is always there to put them in school in another part of the world. That’s what I found so fascinating about world schooling. It isn’t just unschooling or homeschooling. It could be a mixture of both, plus international schools or online learning. Just gets people to open up their minds to other options outside of traditional schooling…just like FIRE opens up the minds of those stuck with the ratrace 9 to 5 mindset.
There’s many kids who went to public schools and turned out poorly. didn’t want to study, did drugs, slacked off, got pregnant. i’ve seen it.
Traveling at a young age opens up people, I wish I did it more as a child. but I”m doing it now.
Life is a gamble, it’s always about how much effort and sweat equity you wanna put into it.
If you’re smart and ambitious you’ll figure out a way.
I’m Hannah Miller, aka Edventuregirl, mentioned in the article. I just wanted to say that I don’t know a single worldschooled kid who has not figured it out and gone on to do great things. A couple of friends of mine who cycled from Alaska to the tip of Argentina as kids are now going into engineering at some incredibly good universities in the U.S. Many of us also learn to build our own businesses and design our careers around what we’re passionate about. You’ll find that those of us who have grown up almost never go into a traditional workplace, but that doesn’t mean we’ve failed.
Also “integrating back into society” isn’t really a thing. It’s not like we’re in a box the rest of the time and then are suddenly introduced to society at 18. Actually, I’d argue that we’re more integrated into society than a teen who spends 8 years in a high school, which is a controlled and unrealistic social environment. Instead, we’re fully immersed in societies around the world from a young age.
Finally, the way we work and learn is changing. Traditional education doesn’t hold all of the answers or keys to success anymore. I had a fairly easy time getting into university and taking my courses there, but what I learned from worldschooling has allowed me to create work for myself, get internships, and continue to travel the world. What I’ve learned in university has been interesting, but my skill set comes from outside the brick and mortar setting.
Just my thoughts. Feel free to ask me any questions. 🙂
What is most interesting to me is how people are concerned about these children getting jobs. NO one stops to think that these kids will create them. Most of these kids are so far ahead, that starting a business isn’t challenging for them at all. Most public school kids would never even try. Look at our adult population and see the results of that yourself. Most fear entrepreneurship. Public school did not prepare them for it and they certainly did not prepare them for the need to adapt to change, which is what is required to start and sustain a company. So, rather than put fear all over the future of a child who will not fit into a mold that is too small for where they will go, perhaps we should focus on the opportunity they are creating for themselves and those who aren’t able to do what they do. They will create jobs. You don’t need a degree or specialized education to start a business. You just need to learn about the business and do it.
“NO one stops to think that these kids will create them.”
5 star comment right there 🙂
“If I were a parent, I can’t imagine the stress of worrying whether or not your kid is going to be able to integrate back into society when the time comes.”
World-schooling, homeschooling etc doesn’t mean the child is being brought up by wolves, they are already in society, no re-integration necessary….
Wow, this is incredible! I always thought you had to pick one or the other as well. I’m sure it is still harder to travel with kids (hello, plane rides) but what an amazing learning experience it is for them. I wish I could have learned this way!
It’s definitely more challenging, but since I’ve met quite a few parents who’ve done it with flying colours, I’m more confident that it can be done.
I think the trick is to do long term travel (staying in places for months rather than weeks), that makes it a lot easier (or at least according to Jeremy from gocurrycracker).
Soooo cooollll FC, I had no idea this actually was a thing. Not sure how big that is though. Would I be able to travel do Brazil or Thailand and find World Schoolers there?
Another question: Who in this world would ask you to “Show me on this calendar!” ? Gosh!!
Me either! Apparently, they already have 25,000 members and it’s growing. If you travel to Brazil or Thailand, I’m sure you can join the online group and find out which families are currently there. That’s the beauty of joining the World Schooling community. You can find someone to hang out with no matter where you are in the world.
And they didn’t exactly ask me in those words…that was more of a joke, but they were pretty persistent to the point of creepiness…
Hey there, Edventuregirl here,
You can DEFINITELY find communities in Thailand. I lived there for about 6 months and met dozens of worldschoolers. We even had a big meet-up in Penang. It’s a very popular destination for expats and long-term travelers. Get on the Worldschool FB page and ask who’s in Thailand at the moment, I’m sure you’ll meet tons of people!
Your comment at the start of the post reminded me of another post, so I thought I’d put it here for you to read:
Yup, that post pretty much nailed it (no pun intended). Except my coping mechanism is less crying, more punching 😛
This is why we need to stay out of other people’s wombs. You have no idea what they’re going through.
Thanks for sharing!
“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?””
If these are friends/family asking (aka people who care about you), have you considered that it might be because of your age? If you have indicated to them that you want kids “someday”, then they might be doing you a huge favor by asking you, over and over again. In the Canadian medical system, 35 is considered ADVANCED maternal age. This is because of greater risks, not only in getting pregant, but also birth defects and labour/childbirth. You may very well be an exception (I was) or you may not (2 unlucky friends of my weren’t). So you may do well to consider that your friends are exhausted and hating their life BUT loving their children as the best things that ever happened to them AND since you have indicated you want children “someday” they don’t want you to miss out on what will also be for you, the best thing that ever happened to you (you won’t get this now, you just can’t, but you will should you decide to have children one day).
“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?”
That’s how you see it from the outside. You know you’ll be different because you’re better than that. Really? That’s what I thought, too. That’s why I tell all my friends “Welcome to the other side” once they have kids. What you can’t get yet is that “rut” has been created out of their sense of responsibility for another human being’s life that requires them to sacrifice their own needs and wants for the greater good of another. And misery? Again, that’s your perception of things. Having children and raising them really, truely, is the world’s hardest job. So bitching about it to those close to us–or just anyone who can listen in the moment–is often necessary to cope. It’s a cliche, but it’s also the world’s greatest job.
“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?”
I think you should reread this line, and come back to it, after you have children of your own and have survived the first year. Then you decide if that is what they’re thinking, or not. I’ll be waiting to hear back on that one.
In the meantime, just love this cartoon: http://crappypictures.com/grocery-stores-before-after-kidsillustrated-with-crappy-pictures/
And this awesome video, “People without kids think they know, but they don’t have a clue.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFQfylQ2Jgg
And lastly (you think this won’t be your life? think again): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0pqs78erL8
By the way, you don’t have to have kids, and you’re life will be a whole lot easier without them. And I definitely wouldn’t suggest having them if you expect your life won’t change, or it’ll be somehow easier for you, because as anyone with kids can tell you, that’s a load of bs. Kids change you-they FORCE you to become a better version of yourself (unless you’re satisfied being a crappy parent).
You can travel with normal, healthy kids with no development or physical disabilities of any kind. But have you considered what your life will be like if you have a disabled child? Would you abandon the child or your current lifestyle?
Hard questions because it’s important to go into parenthood fully warned. Maybe that’s what your parent friends are trying to do-bitch about their own lives so you really, really, really get it. Because once you’re in, there is no going back.
I personally don’t know any who regret having their children. I wouldn’t give them up for all the freedom in the world; but some parents do regret. Don’t be one of those.
Signed, an annoying PARENT
“If these are friends/family asking (aka people who care about you), have you considered that it might be because of your age?”
Read this article shared by “Xerglacia”. It explains everything:
Awesome read! Also, posting that article is a perfect response!!! Everyone should mind their own womb.
Love what you guys are doing and the message you’re spreading. Keep doing what you do!!
Actually not really. That article is about comments acquaintances make to women. It’s not about conversations that close friends and family have with their loved ones who want kids. It’s a pretty normal thing to ask about calendar dates between close friends, just saying.
Here’s what one FI well-travelled woman has to say about having kids:
“Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother…Your fundamental identity changes overnight. You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.”
But she’s probably just stuck in a rut, bitching about her boring princess life because she’s so miserable and jealous of happy people.
Of course, a warning is not to say you can’t do something. If people take the time to post on your blog, they are most likely interested in and trying to aid you on your journey. When you put it out there in a very public way that you’re thinking of kids, you’d think you’d be interested in knowing the difficulties that parenthood can bring, much like you were interested in learning about FIRE before you retired early from those who already had.
PARENTS have been there, done that.
-An annoying parent (who by the way was also homeschooled and has travelled/ lived in many of the countries you’ve posted on).
” It’s a pretty normal thing to ask about calendar dates between close friends, just saying.”
No, it’s not. Regardless of whether you are close to the person or not, you have no idea what they’re going through. People don’t always share their struggles and pain. Consistently asking them personal questions and assuming they are not struggling is extremely ignorant.
Jessica, NOT annoying! You tell it like it is!! Certainly something to think about.
Hey there, Edventuregirl here,
Just fyi, there are also plenty of families traveling with kids who have disabilities. Check out the Palmer family @ Going Anyway or the Inion family @ Travel Deep and Wide. The Inions have 10 kids, four of whom have disabilities. I worked with them for a while and they’re a fantastic family! Very inspirational. No matter what your circumstance, travel is possible. It just comes down to working your ass off for it and wanting it with every fiber of your being. There will always be personal barriers to your dreams. But 9/10 times, you can find a way to work through them.
Welcome to the blog, Hannah! Thanks for being such an inspiration!
I completely agree with you. For every example where someone says they can’t do something because of limitations, there’s always someone else who proves them wrong. Attitude is everything.
There’s also a very real shift amongst ‘traditional schooling’ families to think nothing about pulling their kid out of school for a couple of weeks or so for off-peak season trips. Perhaps they’ve realized that in the grand scheme of things, short gaps don’t matter so long as the kid is responsible and knows that they’ve either got to be pro-active or to catch up on anything missed….As others have said, it all boils down to the type of kid.
Yup. It varies from kid to kid. So you just have to try and see. If they adapt, great. If they don’t, put them back into a traditional school and establish a home base until they get older.
But you’ll never know if you don’t try 🙂
I’m glad families are seeing the bigger picture. A few weeks or months of missed school (especially elementary school) isn’t going to ruin everything. Especially since there are SO many options for online learning these days.
Which is why it is so maddening to have places like here in England with stories like this:
“A father has lost his legal challenge against a fine for taking his daughter out of primary school on an unauthorised holiday during term time.
In her judgement, Lady Hale said it would cause unacceptable disruption if parents were able to withdraw children whenever they wanted.
Allowing parents to decide when they took their children away would be a “slap in the face” to parents who kept the rules, said Lady Hale.”
That just makes it even more attractive to skip the traditional school system.
Wanderer’s cousin is this Einstein kid, who taught himself how to read before kindergarten. So obviously the school system was WAY too slow for him (since they standardize it, assuming everyone learns at the same level), so he got bored and started bothering the other kids.
The school’s solution? Constantly calling his mom about his “misbehaviour” and asking that he be disciplined. They refused to let him move ahead and learn at a faster pace.
That’s when his mom decided to homeschool him. Now he’s going to university at the age of 16 and is one of the smartest teens we know.
If you’re smart and self-motivated to learn, schools actually make you dumber by forcing you to slow down to everyone else’s level.
This article just proves that the system doesn’t want you to think for yourself. Either conform or get fined! This is just going to incentivize parents to make up reasons for taking their kids out of school so they don’t get fined.
YES! This article…I can relate on so many levels.
My husband and I just made the choice to sell everything we own to live/travel in a van (we’re almost finished building it) – a tiny, mobile home. We had a bit of a chat and agreed that IF we ever decide to have kids that our #vanlife will not stop. It’s wonderful to know that such a successful and large community exists already!
Yup. This is why I’ve been devouring World Schooling resources for the past few weeks. It’s so good to know there’s a solution for nomads with kids and you always have a community to lean on for advice and support.
YES. Good for you! If you do have kids, let me just say that camper life as a kid ROCKS. We did the camper van lifestyle in New Zealand, Australia, Central America, and the U.S. and oh my goodness do I ever have some incredible memories. I’m hoping to go back to that lifestyle the second I’m out of university. Cheers!
I like following this family from Alberta around the world:
You can find a lot of ideas for traveling with kids.
Woohoo! A travel blog from a fellow Canuck family! I’m adding this to my list of blogs to read. Thanks for sharing.
What a refreshing outlook on raising children.
I’m going to preface the rest of this reply by revealing we are a couple in our 40s, who married in our 40s, with no plans for having children.
Miserable parents typically don’t annoy me unless, of course, they are projecting their misery on to their kids. What I do find annoying, however, are parents who assume we haven’t had children because we are selfish.
Lets face it, we decide to have children for selfish reasons, just as we decide not to have children for selfish reasons. Those who have children do so because they feel it will make their own lives more fulfilling and are afraid of being alone when they get old. If that isn’t selfish, I don’t know what is. It doesn’t make them bad people, but they are in no place to judge those who are child free. If you truly want to be selfless, adopt a child with a disability. Become a big brother or big sister to a child that already exists and needs your help.
What I love about your post is this woman who chose to not sacrifice her own desires to travel the world and instead found a way to include her child. What a beautiful and refreshing way to enhance both the life of the parent and the child. Nothing sacrificed on either end it would seem. No feelings of resentment. Wow.
“Lets face it, we decide to have children for selfish reasons, just as we decide not to have children for selfish reasons.”
So well said. 5/5 stars to your entire comment 🙂 The only purely unselfish choice in adoption. I’ve known couples who chose not to have kids, but instead started an orphanage that has saved the lives of 22 kids. I’ve also known couples who chose to have kids only because they’re afraid no one will take care of them when they’re old. So the whole selfish thing is not black and white.
Anne told me that one of the things she discovered while travelling with Zach is that he really loves animals. So she helps him interact with wildlife as often as possible. She’s really proven that you can include your kids in your dreams, instead of just giving everything up for them. And in her case, her dream actually benefits him a lot, as he really enjoys interacting with nature and animals. Plus, he gets to learn at his own pace.
We do the traditional schooling route as you know, and it’s working very well so far. Level headed kids (for the most part), street wise, not overly susceptible to BS, they ask tough questions, nail the academic part, etc. We also travel the world when school isn’t in session, and sometimes when it is! So far the school system hasn’t cared a bit (other than a nasty gram form letter that we might face misdemeanor charges if our kids miss much more school, but I promptly threw that noise in the trash! Still no handcuffs on these scofflaw wrists of mine. But I digress…). In fact they actively encouraged us to submit a request for “educational absence”. And approved it, even though it was for a week long Caribbean cruise. Pretty sure they’ll approve anything, and having straight A’s helps the approval process I imagine.
This world schooling is a very interesting idea. From what I’ve observed personally with FIRE’s with kids, many try the homeschooling but most return to traditional schooling after a year or three. I’m always evaluating options for cool stuff we could do as a family and so far home school / world school hasn’t made the list 🙂 The kids aren’t interested in trying it (probably because regular school is pretty cool – they build sculptures and robots).
Another strong factor keeping us grounded here in Raleigh, specifically, is the global aspect of friends and neighbors. We hear other languages all the time. Tons of folks from different countries and cultures surrounding us everywhere (at school, the park, library, etc). The kids’ close friends hail from all parts of the world (except Antarctica and Australia). Many speak foreign languages fluently and most are children of immigrants (or immigrants themselves). I realize what I’ve described sounds like a horrible cluster F to the close-minded crowd, but it’s pretty cool for us. And cheaper than a plane ticket 🙂
Looks like traditional schooling is working out great for you. Your kids rock! 🙂
This is a common question… that is schooling while overseas… with the overseas expatriate community and missionary community… we go the local school route in Beijing… which is free…great for languages… which is popular in Europe and Taiwan too…to beat international school costs…homeschooling…is the 2nd common choice with these groups… I know one lady who home schooled 5 kids while overseas… so if we can do it, I think anyone can…in Euro your kids could learn many languages…God Bless Beijing
Very useful if your kids to go to school in Beijing. That way they can learn English and Mandarin, two of the most spoken languages in the world! I think that’s one of the biggest benefits to world schooling…the opportunity quickly pick up new languages while they are young.
That’s awesome that you know someone who homeschooled 5 kids! That is quite the dedication. Hats off to her!
tick tock goes the biological clock
That’s why God invented adoption 🙂
I can’t tell you the number of times someone said that, or some variant, to me over the years. And each and every time it was all I could do to not drown the nosy, self-righteous, judgemental idiot in the nearest toilet bowl.
Thank God I’ve gotten old enough that the jerks have decided it’s too late for me and have decided to finally mind their own freakin’ business.
I never wanted rugrats, never had rugrats, and I don’t find your rugrats to be a enticement for anything other than birth control.
Thanks for passing on this nugget of information. I was always curious what FI nomads with kids did for education. What a cool idea!
Soooooo this is the best thing ever! I always hate when people essentially say “your dreams die” when you have kids. My husband sand I firmly believe our kids are an integral part of our adventure!
People say very similar things about homeschooling. I had a wonderful education via public school. My husband and his siblings were homeschooled, and are some of the most independent, motivated, and impressively intelligent adults and children I’ve ever met. They’ve gone on to complete grad degrees (one of them is a Westpoint grad, one joined the Peace Corps after her Masters) and have successful careers.
What people are REALLY saying when they scoff at your suggestion that you’ll keep traveling with kids is that you are knocking the status quo. They’re oftentimes the same people who don’t believe you can retire early, or save a lot of money, or make a lot of money. “I couldn’t possibly live with just one car!” “Kids are too expensive for me to be able to retire early.” That’s ridiculous. They have just accepted a certain path, but they don’t want to accept the option that another path exists. So they dismiss it.
I say hurrah to non-traditional schooling! Our world is filled with out of the box problems, and things like schooling internationally, homeschooling, unschooling, worldschooling, etc are great ways to raise kids with different skills than their peers. I see (mostly) nothing wrong with going a traditional school route, but my husband and I want something really different for our kids than what they will have in a regular school setting. We want them to be independent thinkers who follow curiosity, ask questions, meet different kinds of people at different ages, who experience other cultures and languages, who interact with people in different social classes, etc.
Many young adults leave high school or college with little to no knowledge of what skills are useful as an adult. I had no concept of how much money I needed to provide for myself, or what kind of job different degrees could get, or much practice in being able to complete tasks without an authoritative structure imposing deadlines on me. Most millennials feel like the education system (and their parents) didn’t equip them with everything they need to function (I can say this since I’m 24 and a millennial).
Anyways, I never comment but this is incredibly important! Thanks for being part of the change 🙂
“They have just accepted a certain path, but they don’t want to accept the option that another path exists. So they dismiss it.”
You hit the nail on the head. And in some ways, I sort of feel bad for them. They dismiss the other path because it makes them question their own path. I mean, if you see thing better out there, you start getting antsy and wondering whether you made the right decision. Happy people don’t do this. Only miserable people do. Happy people just say “that sounds great, but I’m fine with my own life choices” without having to dismiss or put other people down. You can tell right away whether someone is at peace with their choices.
Thanks for commenting! I’m glad this article resonated with you!
Love love love this! Our clock for FIRE rings in 3 years. Then we’ll be selling the house and all it’s contents, and taking off to Asia for at least a year, but probably much longer. Our kids will be 18, 10 and 8 by then (although it’s possible that the 18 year old will prefer to start university… we are leaving it up to her to decide whether she will join us for the year, join us part of the year, or stick around here and go to school). The plan so far is to spend a month here, and a month there, mainly in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, etc… The kids will be the ultimate deciding factor on whether we continue to travel, we plant roots in another country, or we head back home to Ottawa. We’ll do math and French lessons with them (we are francophone), but the rest will be learned through experiences and daily interactions with the world. Thanks for those links! I hadn’t heard of the face book group and am now part of it!
You joined the FB group! Nice! One of the things I’m so grateful for when it comes to travelling the world is meeting interesting people. Without travelling I would’ve NEVER learned about World Schooling or any other lifestyle besides the cubical 9-5.
I’m so excited for you on reaching your FIRE milestone in 3 years! Can’t wait for you to visit all my favourite places in Asia 🙂 It’s going to be EPIC!
If your kids have any questions (especially the 18 year old), feel free to have them shoot me an email or contact me through my FB page. I know that taking off can be scary and overwhelming. Always happy to share perspective, young person to young person. Most worldschooled kids are quite young, since this is a trend that’s only just getting rolling. Those of us who are in university now were some of the earliest! I feel like it’s my honor and responsibility in that role to be there for any other teens who are just getting started with worldschooling. Here if ya need me!
Hannah, I am totally fascinated by you (oh, not in a creepy stalker way!). I’m passing on your message to my 15 year old (who will be 18 when we leave). So you might only hear from her in a year or two… 😉
I chuckled as I read about your discovery ‘world schooling’. I homeschooled both my children with both sides of the family’s heavy diapproval for years. They thought I was hampering their possiblities in life. Wrong. My son is an electrical engineer from Waterloo University and just finished his Master’s part time in applied science. He has no concept of limited learning. So he also has his commercial pilots license for fun. My daughter finished police foundations and wants to be a police officer.
Firecracker you can do it with a flair. Just do your research as to requirements necessary to progress in whatever field they are interested in. Make sure the math and English skills are up to speed and enjoy. There is a world of support out there. Just ask for it.
So cool that your son and I are alumni buddies! I’m so relieved to hear that it’s easy to get back into school, and not only that, get into the best (though I’m biased ;P) engineering program in all of Canada! Thanks for sharing your story…it’s so motivating 🙂
Quick question, did your son have to pass standard exams to get into Waterloo? When I went there, they just looked at my OAC high school marks.
When people ask me if we are having kids, I tell them we try all the time?.
I think it is great that kids are getting this kind of education. There are of course negatives and positives and risks to every choice. Avoiding these less popular ways to educate and sending kids to regular school won’t negate the risk.
Exactly. Going to regular school doesn’t mean there’s zero risk either.
Honestly, I don’t think I would consider it. I love that the public school teaches my kids, for free, during the day. They even provide transportation to and from school. It’s amazing. All we do is encourage the kiddos and help them with homework.
When I am ER, soon, I will be even more helpful/annoying to my kids. We will travel with them, but that’s more of a fun thing than an educational/work thing.
And oh by the way, when are you having kids?
Hold on, lemme just go get my menstrual calendar…
Are you familiar with the Bucket List Family?
No, I haven’t heard of them but checking out their site now. Very cool!
I just watched the video of them in Nepal and it’s so awesome that the kids don’t care about moving from a 5 star Riz to 1 star hotel in Nepal. “Mom, I love this house!” Proof that kids don’t need much to be happy. They just need their parents and unconditional love 🙂
Yep, exactly! And how traveling with kids is possible if you allow it! I love that little family 🙂
Hannah Miller’s mom here… made me smile to find that you’ve discovered a new way of looking at life and education. What you may not know about Hannah is that she is the oldest of four and we have been traveling pretty much continuously since 2008 (when the kids were 5-11) for the express purpose of their educations. Right now her three brothers are with their dad on a sailboat having spent the last six months sailing to the Bahamas. It will be a couple more months before they get back. I decided to travel on my own this winter instead and give the guys their man-adventure.
Glad you found the worldschoolers group. Those are our people. Not only is it possible to educate kids adequately outside of the system it is possible to think creatively beyond the system and do so much MORE for your kids. It’s not about “keeping up”
with the schools, it’s about blowing them out of the water. We didn’t keep our kids out of school because we were protecting them from something (except maybe boredom) we kept them out of school because a real education in the real world is the best gift we could give and a childhood journey across the continents was just the beginning.
I talk to families about this a lot as we’ve been at it for longer than most and we have more kids than average. I can point you to dozens and dozens of families doing bad ass things not just with their kids, but FOR their kids. And the kids are exceptional.
I’d love to invite you to join us at the family adventure summit. It’s going to be Labor Day weekend in Penticton BC. We are putting it on to inspire newer families to the possibilities and as an encouraging family reunion for some of us who’ve been living the life for a while. We’d love to have you join us to meet some families and laugh a lot.
Finally, if there is any way I can help you forward please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. Our family blog is edventureproject.com. I’ve written a ton there about our adventures and the kids’ education there. I am happy to answer any other questions you may have and also introduce you to the other cool families we know who enjoy life and travel with their kids.
Hi Jenn! Thanks so much for reading and responding on my blog! I gotta tell you, until I discovered World Schooling I was completely terrified about having kids and giving up our dreams. Reading about your family and other World Schooling families completely alleviated that fear and showed us that there are many options other there besides traditional schooling. I’m so grateful for you guys and the World Schooling community. Discovering this whole new world has been eye-opening and life-changing for us!
Thank you so much for inviting us to the family adventure summit. As much as we would love to go, we’re actually attending my best friend’s wedding that long weekend, so unfortunately will not be able to make it this year. Rain check for another time? We would love to meet you guys in person somewhere in the world.
What a neat concept. My fondest memories growing up and in general are from my travels. Those travels sparked creative thinking and teachings that can’t be found in a textbook.
We are this journey as we speak! My 8-year-old is enrolled in distance education and we are travelling around Asia! I am travelling solo with my 3 boys – 8, 3 and 1! Their dad and my husband had to stay in Perth for study. We are in KL at the moment, Maldives next and then Sri Lanka! We just got back from Melaka/Malacca and the history alone my son learned! Amazing!! You cannot teach that from a book! It is hard in some ways, but so rewarding! For example, I love that we went to the market yesterday and my kids see women in niqab and do not bat an eyelid. There is a really nice level of respect between people that travel with their kids. It is not ‘normal tourism’. Join the revolution!
Amazing! Thanks for sharing your story, Alana! One of the best things you can teach your kids through travel is to respect other cultures and to understand people who are different from you. Kudos for doing a great job raising them!
He he! The sound we just heard are your ovaries exploding 😉
I fully agree that kids who have experienced the world are much more balanced than those who spent their entire lives in the school system.
Such a fantastic take on it all! I love that you are so open minded and see the possibility with using the world as a classroom. Worldschooling was also unknown to us when our children were tiny but thankfully we also had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic worldschooling family who enlightened us with their experience. We were already homeschooling at the time and taking 4 months to tour from Alaska to California. We thought if they can travel regularly and spend more time exploring together as a family why can’t we?
In June of 2016 we sold/donated all of our possessions, rented out our house and left Northern Alberta with no fixed date to return. After taking the Summer to camp with our travel trailer in Canada we are now just wrapping up 6 months of camping and housesitting in Australia. Now we are headed back to Canada to explore more of our home country and discussing our possible locations for next winter.
I am grateful to people like you who make it their mission to spread the word about life outside the 9-5 box and show others what is possible. Without such path pavers I wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom of raising my daughters to be such forward thinkers and experiencing so many different cultures.
Here is a blog post I wrote recently that I thought might be helpful to others who are new to the concept of worldschooling.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing your story, Jaime!
Please would someone clarify the exact name of the facebook group?
I’m working on an interview with Hannah, will update you on this once I find out more.
Okay, after some research, I found out it’s a close group so you need to be approved to join. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldschoolers/
Tell the moderator a bit about yourself and why you’d like to join.
This is awesome! I did a post about geographic arbitrage with kids and this is how I picturing it being. The type of schooling I am considering when we do this (in 2021) is basically a virtual public school. Its great to hear there are other (dare I say better) options out there!
Check out the Mali Mish family: http://malimish.com/
They’ve been doing this with their 3 kids for almost 10 years. Beautiful photos and insights on their Instagram. I’d love to see you do an interview with them!!
We are currently worldschooling our 3 young children. I’m an American part time flight attendant and my husband is a chef born, raised, and trained in France. I had the same fears of motherhood being the end of all I held dear. Travel, culture, freedom, and flexibility. I had decided motherhood just wasn’t for me as everyone made it seem an absolute, that parenting must be done a certain way. But, now I’ve learned that’s a bunch a hogwash. Parenting is EXACTLY what you make of it! And we’ve made 3 ultra flexible world travelers that eat everything under the sun, speak 2 languages, and we are all learning together everyday. They’ve never gone to daycare or preschool and I’m astounded watching the learning process and as a Family and Consumer Scientist I am now documenting, speaking, and doing a YouTube vlog trying to capture the process that we are in. We hear it all. “But how will they learn?” Which after years of research I’m convinced we as a society are killing the natural learning children are wired to do with schooling, testing, etc. I know it’s not for everyone but, it is right for us and we’re enjoying the hell out of being parents! It’s been great for our relationship, our families, our advancement and learning. I would be kicking myself every second of every day if I would have believed that parenting is a trap! Omg. I’m just so passionate about this subject I could talk all day about it!!!
That’s nothing but a blessing to have the grand ability to travel the world as you please. This is why side hustling and affiliate marketing is the ideal form of job security versus working for someone else because when you achieve side hustle millionaire status, you can get up and go and do whatever you want whenever you want with whoever you want.
To be honest my friend, I don’t know about all of that. If that was me and one of those kids got out of line, I be quick to pull out my belt and whoop their behind. Lol 🙂
We have been travelling with our three kids since my youngest was 6 months old (she just turned 13). I love your book, Quit Like a Millionaire, because the financial truths you teach are absolutely the same truths we have discovered on our journey of 12 years. We have lived in Mexico several winters for years, traveled for months all over North America, then Europe for 5 months, and most recently China and SE Asia for 6 months ( BTW my dad was from Kaiping too!! Maybe we are cousins!!). Every April we come back to Canada to visit family and friends, and every fall we leave for our next adventure.
World Schooling? This is all new to me. I love the idea of traveling with kids because most people just give up their travels when a child arrives and get stuck in a so called boring routine. Another benefit of world schooling is your kids will learn A LOT of new languages very quickly.
I’m in my 30’s and wish I could go back in time and learn as many languages as possible. Languages open up so many doors and make life more enjoyable when you understand all the sounds around you.
If you travel with your kid and spend a few months in each country, he/she will know like 10 different languages in no time. It will really help them when they get older too.
Great article. Without a doubt, the year we travelled with our kids is the most valuable and rewarding year of my life. Seeing them explore history and a variety of different countries first hand brings excellent perspective to the importance of travel.
I am a TransCulture Kid. TCK. I first heard this term at a crawfish boil in New Orleans but that is me. I grew up in Sudan, Florida, Kansas, Haiti, and Georgia. Not military, but my Ag Econ PhD father’s job and teacher-mother took us around the world. I have not heard of World Schooler but as my husband and I plan for FIRE it’s good to see this is now easily accessible. I think my experience, although challenging as a teenager, is the single greatest advantage I have had in my career.
Lovely post on world schooling.
I homeschooled out two children to university. The disapproval from family and society continued relentlessly till our eldest was accepted to Waterloo University into electrical engineering. Then their thoughts changed however by that time I did not give a hoot what anybody thought.
World Schooling might be easier because you don’t have to put up with the same community who have no clue about the subject. In fact when we travelled to different debating events all over the US you might think of that as a taste of world schooling. Though at the time I had not heard of the label.
I often thought it would be great to go to Rome when we studies Ancient Rome; and then hop over to Greece when studying that subject. If I knew then what I know now I would jump at the opportunity. Fun!
So now I am arming myself with ideas to somehow world school my grandkids if and when the opportunity arises.
Thanks Firecracker for sharing your ideas and journey.
Haters are the best. Especially because they’re the ones who seem to have the most boring lives. I had a baby just a few months ago, and we’ve travelled to 4 countries since then. Is it challenging? Of course (the meltdown in the Eiffel Tower will go down in history). Will it stay challenging as she becomes a toddler and then school-age? No doubt. But it’s better than raising a homebody or spending all my Saturdays at Chuck E Cheese birthday parties for kids we hardly know.