So you've heard the term, your interest is piqued, but you want to know what worldschooling is and how you can start to world school as well. Here is everything you need to know to world school your kids so you can get traveling!
What is worldschooling?
The definition of worldschooling is actually quite simple: worldschooling is educating your kids ini a country other than your own. To do this, it can be done in a myriad of ways.
How to worldschool
For us, we incorporate all of these different methods into our worldschooling "routine", so just remember that you don't have to just choose one and stick with it. Try something out and see if it works for your family, and if not, adjust! The beauty about worldschooling is that you have the freedom to be flexible.
Worldschool by enrolling your kids in a school in another country
One option to worldschool your kids is to enroll them in a school in another country other than your own. This can be longterm where you enroll them for at least a year, so you're full on living in the country. When your living in another country for an extended amount of time, your kids are usually considered "third culture kids".
The other option for this kind of worldschooling is to find schools that allow you to enroll for a short period of time. This is typically what we have done in the past since we are not full time travelers. We've enrolled our kids in school for two months ini Mexico, for two months in the Dominican Republic, and also in a public school in Guatemala.
I would say this is slightly more difficult than enrolling your children in school for an entire year for a few reasons; 1. Coming in as "the new kids" can be a difficult transition for your children depending on their personality, 2. it takes a lot of digging and research to find schools that allow short-term enrollment, and 3. there could potentially be language barriers if it's in another country other than your own. With that said, we've had the most positive experiences doing this, and it provides a break for us as well as the experience of going to school for our kids.
Worldschool by using the world as your classroom
Other ways to worldschool is by traveling the world and using it as your muse to teach your children. Are you in Italy? Teach them about Ancient Rome and Italian cuisine! Iceland? Teach your kids about geology, volcanoes, and glaciers that make the landscape look the way it does, go to Eric the Reds house, go whale watching and learn about different types of whales.
I think one thing we've learned since beginning our worldschooling journey is that school and education are separate things and you do not need a school to learn--learning can happen everyday, wherever you are.
Worldschool by using a curriculum
If you're concerned that your kids won't stay on track, or these other options above don't seem like your worldschooling cup of tea, then there are a million different curriculums you can purchase (honestly, too many IMHO) that suits your families needs. These curriculums are the same that some homeschooling families use and they're a great option if you are just looking for something already set up for you.
In the past, we have used a curriculum, but more recently, we started cobbling different resources together, focusing on math, reading, and writing. I went into detail about it in my post Resources we use to world school our kids if you would like more information about that.
How to make money while worldschooling
I think a common misconception is that you have to be rich to worldschool your kids. While it does require privilege to live this lifestyle, you absolutely do not have to be a trust-fund baby to make this happen. Here are some ways to make money while you travel and worldschool your kids.
Work remotely to worldschool
I think for the majority of world schoolers, at least one of the parents works remotely. This means that as long as you have a computer and strong wifi, you can literally work from anywhere in the world. Since the pandemic, many jobs went remote and you might already have this freedom.
If not and this seems like the most logical way for you to get the worldschooling lifestyle started, check out the remote jobs directory our digital nomad friends, Unsettle Down put together.
Invest to worldschool
Many families we've met solely travel and live off their investments. Whether they made a fatty income and got stock options from a startup, or they lived incredibly frugally and invested wisely, I've seen it all. To achieve this, you obviously have to do a lot of research on how to invest, or hire a financial planner. And since this is not at all my for-tay and tell Jamie that we should just bury our money in the backyard, I'll stop talking about this now.
Sell everything to worldschool
There are a lot of families that really just take the leap: they sell everything from their house and their cars to almost every item they own that doesn't fit in their suitcase. This of course takes commitment as it's hard to go back right away, but many families have done it and love it.
Become a content creator to worldschool
You know the dream: get paid to travel! I've had this dream since I first wet my pallet on traveling and haven't given it up; hense this blog and my Instagram account. This sort of work is quite difficult to break into and I've been after it for years and I'm not making anything near a salary that could support a family. There are some that have gotten up and off the ground quickly, but that is rare (just trying to set your expectations right).
Work part-time to worldschool
This is not common at all as we've never met anyone else that does this, but I wanted to mention it as it's the way that we are able to be a part of the worldschooling community. Jamie is an ER physician in Las Vegas for 6 months out of the year in two month chunks, so he works for 2 months, then we travel for 2 months. This lifestyle is a priority to us, so with this setup, we give up half our potential income, but the experiences and memories we make as a family is priceless and worth far more than a fatty income.
Rent out your home to worldschool
While we travel, we rent our home out. The income we make from this alone typically covers our flights and our accommodations while we travel. If you own, this is a really great way to give your family a financial boost. Some resources to rent out your house are Airbnb, VRBO, Furnished Finder (specifically for travel nurses), and Sabbatical Homes
How to save money worldschooling
Well here's another misconception: traveling is expensive. No no no. We spend SIGNIFICANTLY less when we're traveling than what we spend at home. Here's some ways to save money and make worldschooling more accesible.
Travel to countries that have a lower cost of living
This is almost exclusively how we travel. By traveling to countries where the dollar (or whatever your currency is) is stronger than the country you travel in, you can save a ton of money on accommodation, food, and activities. For example, I write this while we're in Mexico. To feed our family of 5 for meals, we spend about $12 total. Even if I cooked at home, it would be hard to make a meal that only costs that amount of money.
We also enrolled our 6 year old in guitar lessons here (something that we deem almost unaffordable in The US). For private one hour guitar lessons twice a week, we paid $30 for the month. It would cost that, if not more, for a one-time 30 minute private lesson in The States.
Here are some of my favorite and most affordable trips we've taken with kids:
By not moving around a lot, you can save a ton of money on both transportation and accommodation. Typically, you can find significant discounts by booking a home longterm rather than week by week. Additionally, if you're not flying all over the world, hopping on a train every other day, or renting a car to move around, that will provide you a ton of savings.
Travel hacking has really gained some steam recently. If you don't know what it is, it's basically using credit cards and airline miles wisely to get free flights and hotel stays. We are not experts at this, but we definitely use and have our favorite credit cards that provide us with pretty frequent free flights and rental cars, and not to mention Priority Pass lounge access.
If your concern about worldschooling is the lack of socialization for you and your kids, there are world schooling communities all around the world that you can join. Some are more formal than others, where there is housing, activities, and even sometimes a school set up. Other worldschooling communities are informal where it's just a hub where worldschooling families go, but organize their own housing and meet up at parks and things.
To find hubs, I typically stalk the Worldschoolers Facebook group to see where people are congregating and go from there. Beyond that main group, there are seemingly a million other location-specific worldschooling groups for you to explore.
I hope this information helps you in your worldschooling journey and gives you some clarity as to what it means to world school. Please reach out if you have any questions and follow us on Instagram to see our day to day life as a worldschooling family.