Making the world a classroom: this is ‘Worldschooling’

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Worldschooling is an educational practice based on considering the world as a school. In it, minors are not subject to the traditional educational system, but their education is imparted beyond the classroom. “Through exposure to different cultures, perspectives, worldviews and experiences we can better understand the world and by extension ourselves,” says Carla Martínez, a ‘worldschooler’ mom, as she defines herself, who travels around the world with her husband David and their little Roberto and Greta. In her blog ‘Ligrones en ruta’ they relate her experiences.

Unschooling, homeschooling…

The origins of this practice can be found in ‘homescholing’ and ‘unschooling’, two terms that, although sometimes used interchangeably, have different characteristics. In ‘homeschooling’, families choose to impart curricular knowledge in a more or less academic way at home, while ‘unschooling’ means education without school, so families decide not to delegate the learning of minors to third parties and assume it with their own means. In this case, it is not necessary to have a traditional teaching space, such as a school, but that education can be given in other places.

Ligrones en route What these alternative currents, including ‘worldschooling’, do have in common is that families who opt for this lifestyle are not usually subject to jobs that require attendance; they often have remote jobs that allow them freedom of movement. This is also the case of Max, Susagna and their two children (‘Families en route’), who adopted this lifestyle years ago. Max defines Worldschooling as “the entire set of educational strategies and resources of those families who, due to passion or work, live in a nomadic way, making frequent and long trips during their children’s childhood.” Like them, Estela, Juanal and little Nicolás and Violeta are the protagonists of the blog ‘Some nice place’, in which they share their adventures and their ‘philosophy of life’, as they themselves define it, in different parts of the world . “For me, Worldschooling is about my children having a more open and global vision of the world in which we live. Let them know that there are more forms and ways of living, not just what is known in your environment”, explains Estela.

Choose a destination or receive it at home

In addition to the aforementioned professional flexibility, the first step in getting started in ‘worldschooling’ is choosing a specific destination or planning a route that promotes cultural immersion. “You can look for a family that welcomes you and that allows you to experience the culture, music, art, and food of that country from within, or simply go it alone,” explains Martínez (‘Ligrones en ruta’). He also highlights that it can also be done from home. How? Through linguistic and cultural exchanges with families from other countries, contacting them through platforms such as ‘couchsurfing’ or ‘workaway’. “This is a way to bring the world into your home,” he relates.

Worldschooling 'Families on the road'

Families en route “We have followed various strategies. When they were younger, we simply opted for ‘unschooling’ and more informal education, and when they were older they attended international schools that were more academic in nature, but also very respectful and holistically oriented,” says Max (‘Families on Route’).

A day to day ‘without school’

Along with the choice of destination, another of the most important issues is choosing how the education of minors will be. Unlike what happens in countries like the US, Australia, Italy, Belgium or Portugal, in Spain these alternative education practices are not legal. There are also no formulas such as the permission to educate at home that they have in Italy, where parents have to prove academic knowledge and economic stability. Neither do we have specific exams for these minors, as in the case of France and the US, nor do we have inspectors who go to homes to verify that learning is correct. The lack of regulation of this way of educating causes great insecurity in families. “Even so, there are more than 4,000 families in Spain that do not send their children to school. Can you have legal problems? Yes. Are there many people who do not have them? Also”, affirms Martínez (‘Ligrones en ruta’). His greatest recommendation to families who want to start in this trend is to get informed, as well as look for the associations and support networks that exist on the subject in order to make the right decision in each case. What does exist in Spain on the part of government agencies such as CIDEAD (Center for the Innovation and Development of Distance Education), dependent on the Ministry of Education, is the possibility of receiving educational attention for the levels of Primary and Secondary Education, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training studies for Spanish citizens abroad and for those people who, even residing in national territory, are unable to receive education through the ordinary system. Worldschooler families can rely on it, working through the digital resources that are made available to them.

Worldschooling 'Somewhere nice'

When it comes to carrying it out, there are families that reproduce at home the same work scheme and the same planning that can be found in a school: they establish schedules that are adjusted to the needs of each minor and offer them an individualized education and flexible to your rhythms. Other families do not formally separate the learning period from their own life experience, and there are also some that travel and make the world their school, come together and create projects, or mix all the options and create their own. “There is no pattern or protocol to follow. Each family decides or adapts the needs of the child and parents to a way of teaching or learning. And everyone applies their teaching formulas. With the support of educational materials, with visits to museums, parks, safaris, face-to-face or distance courses, with conversations, meet-ups, movies, food tasting, sports, experiences that should be discussed later”, explains Estela (‘Some beautiful site’). .

A boost to tolerance and empathy

The majority of families that opt ​​for this system also do so because they like to lead a nomadic way of life. “Traveling and learning about the diversity of human beings, their traditions, customs, languages, and doing it from an early age, allows you to grow without judgement,” says Martínez (‘Ligrones en ruta’) to explain one of the reasons why he chose this life. Empathy, tolerance and respect for what is ‘different’ are values ​​that also characterize this type of learning. Along with them, skills such as critical thinking, solving day-to-day problems or even creativity are other benefits. “With this lifestyle, a very strong and reinforced self-esteem is achieved. The family is a team where we all have our role, all equally important. Along with this, their self-confidence is reinforced, since they are children who learn through experiences and develop high social skills by constantly interacting in different cultural spheres”, emphasizes Estela (‘Some nice place’). For his part, in the opinion of Max (‘Families en route’) it provides minors with “the most direct and early contact with the most complex reality of life that is often not allowed by regulated schools with schedules, routines and a location fixed”. For them, it would be a great step in Spain if they let families choose their children’s education, facilitating educational freedom so that those interested in entering alternatives such as ‘Worldschooling’ would not have to face many problems. legal and social stereotypes.

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