Worldschooling is an educational philosophy of using the world as your classroom. Using elements of experiential learning and unit studIes, worldschooling is recognizing that education does not only take place inside the four walls of a school room, but is instead all around us. One can learn anywhere.
This was a philosophy we found helpful while traveling, though it can be done in a single location just as easily. Some use worldschooling as a way to describe “unschooling,” where children follow their interests rather than a set curriculum. We did not use an unschooling approach, but rather, used the philosophy of Worldschooling as a way to organize location based learning.
Practically, while traveling we implemented a parent guided, “read it, do it” approach. We would read a book about the place we were living or visiting. This could be fiction, like a novel, folktales, or local myths, but could also include biographies, history, and even science and math books on occasion. Then we would go and see the places described in the books. For those familiar with homeschooling, our work was similar to a unit study, with a whole lot of field trips.
What did this look like in practice? Here are two examples from Europe. This was targeted for a third grader (age 8-9).
We spent just under a month in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence and Venice. In Italy, for science lessons, we studied Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci. We read biographies of both men. Then, we visited the Galileo Museum, a hands on science center where where we tried recreating his experiments. In Florence, we visited the Da Vinci museum, where we touched and tried full scale models of his inventions. For math, we studied Roman Numerals, and then went to Rome, where we found and translated as many as we could. Our history studies focused on Ancient Rome and Marco Polo. We read books and stories about Rome and the gladiators, and then we went to the Coliseum, the Forum, and Pompeii. We read about the adventures of Marco Polo, and then went to find his family’s home in Venice. In art, we read about Renaissance artists and then went to Florence where we went to the art museums and looked at the architecture. In Venice, we made our own Venietian masks and toured the glass makers of Murano, where we saw glass being blown and tried it ourselves. Our language work was one week of traveler’s Italian and two weeks of Latin word roots. English practice was daily journal and postcard writing.
Even though we only formally studied Ancient Rome in Italy, we enjoyed seeing Roman ruins in other parts of Europe, as we continued our travels. Over the course of a summer, we covered about half the Roman world and really got a sense of how far they went. England: “look they were here” France: “hey, more Roman walls” Spain: “oh, Romans again”
We spent six weeks on the Vikings, following them on their path from England, to Denmark, and Norway. We read Viking myths and histories. The British museum in London had a huge Viking exhibit with many family activities, like writing in runes and designing Viking style jewelry. We toured Viking sites in York, where we participated in a hands on archeology dig at the Jorvik Viking center. In Denmark we visited a Viking village, dressed in Viking clothes, swung a Viking sword, and saw more museums than we could count with Viking artifacts. In Norway, we walked through stave churches, rowed a Viking ship across a fjord, powered a bellows for a blacksmith’s forge, and hammered decorative patterns into a metal Thor’s hammer necklace.
I have no doubt that Boy will retain more of these studies than if he simply read a textbook and completed a worksheet on Viking ships and their explorations. Dad and I learned a fair amount, too. Dad swore he never wanted to row a Viking ship, again.
For more examples of our content and curriculum, check out our book selections here:
Here are other families who teach while traveling: