Until last week, I had never heard the word 'worldschooling' until I came across this ironically entitled blog post: '10 ways worldschooling has ruined my childhood'.It was an enjoyable and challenging read, written by a sixteen year old girl whose childhood has been on the road with her three brothers and parents who make a living by freelance IT-based work. Her mother actually develops curricula and resources for like-minded families and has a parallel blog here. And you know how it is with blog perusing, one click leads to another and quickly it is possible to amass much information (and for me, often much inspiration).
Our family has a similar philosophy in many respects, although we do not live simply to travel. Through our work, we often move around for courses, conferences and periods of time (weeks through to years) in different countries. Wherever possible we travel as a family, and embrace the educational opportunities that the different countries and cultures present. The boys seem to thrive on this, and do have a very global perspective - it is not unusual for them to have friends who do not speak much English, or to be part of a group of children from many different countries.
One of the blog posts I read was on just how it is possible for a family to be able to live in a way which allows 'worldschooling' - many of these are principles I share:
1) Live simply. A lot of what is seen as essential in our (when I say 'our' I am referring to our life in urban Britain) culture is actually not necessary at all. Never before has society been so materialistic. There are constant messages that life would be better or easier with some product or other. If you are frequently on the move, you cannot become too attached to things. When we travel in the UK, if not using public transport, we drive a small Renault (not a 'people carrier'). People sometimes ask how we manage this, but actually it is a blessing - we are forced to consider what we really need, and to travel without clutter.
2) Eat simply and seasonally. We cook everything from scratch and one of our first tasks in a new place is to find the market and find any local seasonal produce to sample. I say it often, but I believe through cooking and experimenting with ingredients and flavours, the children learn many useful skills - from literacy and numeracy, through to science, art, technology and hospitality. It is also a lot cheaper this way! Sometimes other families comment to us that their children would refuse to eat this kind of food. For us, it has never been an option - from infancy if they do not finish something on their plate, we don't give them an alternative.
3) Recognise that education is a life. Things are learnt so much better through practical experience and engagement of all the senses than through being 'taught' about them. Often it doesn't feel like 'school' or feel like learning, but that is one of the great beauties of all home education, but perhaps worldschooling in particular.
4) Having a close family unit - when you live and travel in close proximity to one another, any disagreements need to be dealt with quickly. I would be lying if I said my boys always got along in perfect harmony; they do not! But we deal with things quickly. At home, they share a bedroom. There are occasions when I see a short term benefit in separating them, but the longer term benefit of being able to share a room, share a bed if need be, being able to sleep just about anywhere is huge.
These are just a few thoughts. This month we have been on the move again, and as well as on the move, have experienced weather from snow two weeks ago through to glorious summer sunshine today. We've learnt a lot of geology - from the incredible limestone formations in the Yorkshire Dales, through to the incredible rock formations and fossils of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. We've been to the largest iron age hill fort in the country, to a Norman castle on the coast, and to two well-preserved castles which have taught us much about how people used to live in different ages. As we have moved from place to place, there has been a continual stream of questions and much soaking up of information. I increasingly appreciate that our choices regarding education are simply a logical step from the worldview and priorities that we share. It has been interesting to read how others have taken home education on the move to a much more extreme level - I don't think our family would do this (although perhaps a road trip from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa is a possibility) but it's been fun to read!
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.