By Lina Asher
To start with a whole load of people will ask what world schooling is. I define it as homeschooling on the go: Educating your child through experiential learning whilst travelling in the world.
World schooling is the new way of home schooling children, an unconventional way of education, where the child learns while travelling the world and interacting with people of different cultures. It is a form of experiential learning.
Unconventional parents opt for this unconventional way of educating their children. These parents believe that the world is the classroom, the earth their text book and they believe that a child's education is not confined to one classroom, but by experiencing what the text book teaches.
Research has shown that children learn best through play and experiences. People feel far less reliant on the classroom-plus-teacher model and far more comfortable knowing they simply have to provide a supportive learning environment. This method also makes the child an independent thinker and an independent decision maker. Some parents prefer to take curriculum on the road; others use the world around them as the curriculum.
Now, here is the catch: World schooling may seem fancy and may sound easy, but a whole load of planning and homework needs to be done right from picking the location, to reading up of the culture of the place, to the food habits, to the famous places to visit.
If, as parents, you choose world schooling it is your responsibility to make sure your child is learning from this experience; otherwise he might as well go to school and learn in a structured manner.
For world schooling to be effective, it is advisable that parents pick on locations that they are traveling to, research about the country thoroughly (demographics, culture, tradition and the like). If you are travelling with children older than 8, get them involved too. Make them read about the place, list down things they would want to do in that country and the places they would like to visit. This gives the child a direction and helps him/her think about things they would have ideally missed.
Parents should create something called a reflection journal in which, on a daily basis, the child documents all the places visited and all that was picked up or noticed on that day. It is essential to create a broad outline for a child so that the learning is effective. This is essential because if you do not guide them they will either pick up only a few things or they will go all the way on a holiday and be stuck on their phones or
For example, if you are flying, make your child calculate the cost per mile of the flight - the child uses math here. If you are travelling by road, give the child a sheet of trees, flowers or fruits that are generally grown in that country and make them identify them - the child is learning geography here. If you are visiting a
supermarket, create a pictorial sheet of milk brands and let the child search for each of them.
Essentials to carry while on your trip:
- Books: Carry a few books that are specific to the place you are visiting, a few story books and a few conceptual books on each subject.
- Kindle: It is advisable that children use physical books; however, if carrying too many books is not possible, then you should use the Kindle.
- Games (Uno, Scrabble et al): Children need play time and a few games are helpful for learning as well. For instance, Uno helps you enhance math skills, Scrabble enhances word-making abilities.
- iPad with essential educational apps: Even though it is advised that you limit screen time for children, when they are using the I-pad you might as well make sure you have a few educational apps downloaded so that they are learning every minute.
- Writing book: If you have a small child, make sure you carry a handwriting book so that they are being trained to write.
- Reflection book: It is very essential that you create a book that makes the child reflect and document its learning of the day.
- Maps, list of museums, historical sites and natural wonders.
World schooling as a concept is new; however it will become a trend, and it is something that you should practise while travelling with your child on a general basis as well.
(Lina Ashar is the founder of a chain of Kangaroo Kids Pre-schools and Billabong High International Schools across 29 different cities in India, as well as in the Maldives, Qatar and Dubai. The views expressed are personal. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Note: The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the author.