World-schooling is a new form of learning that’s been gaining traction (read about some experiences here). What’s that, you ask? Simply put, it’s homeschooling on the go. It’s educating your child through experiential learning – gained as you travel the world and interact with people of different cultures. Parents who subscribe to this unconventional mode of schooling believe that the world should be a child’s classroom and the earth their text book. Independent thinking and decision-making skills are seen as successful outcomes rather than good scores in a test.
Research has shown that children learn best through play and experiences, and world-schooling takes that concept the extra mile, quite literally. World-schoolers don’t believe in a classroom-plus-teacher model – they think a supportive learning environment can be created anywhere in the world. Some parents prefer to take a curriculum on the road with them; others use the world around them as the curriculum.
Now here is the catch, world schooling may seem easy to execute, but a whole load of planning and homework needs to be done, right from picking the location, to reading up on the culture, history and other details of the place. If as parents you choose world-schooling it is your responsibility to make sure your child is learning sufficiently from the experience; otherwise, he or she might as well go to school and learn in a structured manner.
For world-schooling to be effective it is advisable that parents do thorough research on the locations that they pick – on the demographics, politics, history, traditions, cultural practices, and so on. If you are travelling with a child older than eight years of age, get them involved too. Make them read about the place, list down things they would want to do in that country, places they would like to visit. This gives the child a direction and helps them think about things they would have otherwise missed.
Parents should create something called a reflection journal where on a daily basis the child documents all the places they visited and all that they picked up or noticed on that day. It is essential to create a broad outline for a child so that the learning is effective. This is critical because if you do not guide them, they will not learn enough from their experiences, instead spending the trip like any vacation (and potentially stuck on their phone or iPad).
It’s up to you to create effective learning experiences. For example, if you are flying make your child calculate the cost per mile of the flight – the child uses math here. If you are travelling by road give the child a sheet of trees, flowers or fruits that are generally grown in that country and make them identify what they see as they travel – the child is learning geography and about the natural world here. You have to be creative.
World-schooling as a concept is new, but I foresee it becoming a trend. Even if you don’t do it for long stretches of time, it’s a great approach to take even on trips that last a month or two.