World schooling has been around as long as humans have been around. World school is the concept of learning from the world around you. We all do it. From the time you’re born, you begin to react to the things in your environment that you are sensing. Loud noises may make you cry, and the smell or touch of mom may relax you to sleep. No one learned to walk or to talk by reading about it in a book. They learned by watching others and lots of trial and error. You don’t have to tell a new toddler to practice their language skills – they will talk and talk once they’ve started!
Through this process, children are natural learners. The more they are stimulated by their environment, the more they can learn. So just like the recommendation to have a variety of fruits and vegetables in order to stay healthy, children need a variety of life experiences to be well educated. This extends well into adulthood. Do you know some adults that you wish understood more? Have you learned new and fascinating things as an adult? We are all capable of expanding our knowledge base. But if we are doing routine behaviors and patterns, this learning process diminishes and we become “set in our ways.” While we may be learning continuously, our setting and environment have a huge impact on how much we are perceiving, expanding, and growing our knowledge base.
According to Wikipedia “ Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.” Intelligence is “the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations” according to Webster Dictionary. “A school is an institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers” in Wikipedia.
There are many types of schools available to suit a family’s educational needs. Some governments are more controlling than others and may mandate what and where you learn. World schooling can be combined with any of these school choices. Some families have chosen to go to traditional school and supplement education with travel during holidays. Others have embraced learning through travel and have ceased their obligations to routines and commitments. As you analyze your needs, capabilities, and desires, ask yourself, which setting is more stimulating for a young mind – a classroom with books full of information or a world full of experiences?
In World School, the entire world is our “institution” designed to provide learning spaces and environments. ALL of us are the teachers. I can’t tell you how many things my children have taught me. Is your life with children different than your life before children? Is it what you thought it would be? What have you learned through raising children? Often it makes you a better person as you become a role model and you come to realize the need for safe and loving communities. Not to mention that children point out the most random things, which bring new insights if you’re paying attention.
Strangers ARE our teachers. When you meet a new person, that encounter will inevitably teach you something. If you’re in a new country, they will represent how you will feel about that country and their culture. We are all ambassadors of our culture and home country and the new people we meet are making impressions of us and where we come from. Of course a single encounter may be an outlier and you’ll need more interactions to get an idea of what “normal” is for any given location. The more you immerse, the more locations you visit, the better your understanding will be about local nuances. You may begin to pick up on dialects from different regions. You’ll begin to understand the regions where things specifically come from and the culture that grows around that. Particular grapes (wines) grow better in particular regions of France. In the southern Lau islands of Fiji they have hardwood trees and do most of the wood carvings sold throughout the islands. In the northern Lau islands, they don’t have this hardwood, so they make tapas and other crafts for sale. If you only visit the main city, you’ll see all these wonderful goods combined in a store and not be able to appreciate the details of the region they are from. The more you travel, the more you learn, the more you understand.
Engaging the world IS education. By engaging the world, we facilitate learning through the acquisition of knowledge skills, values, beliefs and habits. Traveling to new places is a wonderful way to engage the world, but not possible for everyone. Travel is NOT a requirement to World School. Begin by engaging your local community in new and creative ways! Go visit a farm, see where the food comes from, how plants grow, and what animals eat.
Feeding hay to a horse and petting the hair on it’s strong shoulders is such a more meaningful education than coloring a H-O-R-S-E on a worksheet. As a child falls in love with that horse, maybe even rides on it, they are sponges for facts that you can teach them about it!!! That’s the key opportunity to engage in learning. That’s the time to look up Wikipedia facts about horses. How long do they live? What do they eat? Where do they live in the wild? Do they give birth to live young? What types/breeds are there? What breed do we think this horse is that we’re looking at? (Learning to apply the new knowledge directly to the world around them). So while the child has already learned so much more by meeting a horse in person than coloring it on a piece of paper, you, the teacher, can expand on that experience through engaging the child’s thought processes and growing it.
This is why we’ve created this community. As a parent, we may not have all the answers. But we can show children the process of learning. How to look up answers to their endless questions. The internet is an awesome resource for data, but having a community of engaged educators working together to improve learning world wide is PRICELESS. You retain up to 90% of what you teach. Sometimes you get “stuck” and lack the inspiration and motivation to go create a new project, learning space, or push boundaries. Sometimes seeing someone else doing it gets us going again. Let’s share our resources of knowledge, inspired educational moments, creative learning techniques, and ultimately allow our children to be the teachers!