The 3 Biggest Worldschooling Mistakes You May Be Making

If you’ve landed here, it’s possible you are either already worldschooling, or that you are interested in worldschooling.  Worldschooling can be a blast! If it’s done well, it can take the pressure off of the “school” piece of long term travel.   Have you read the article about some of the different ways to worldschool? Check that out first and identify the one that feels most right for your family.

I recently wrote an instagram post reminding myself, and our worldschooling/homeschooling community, of the different types of learning that occur. We often correlate “learning” with academic skills and informational knowledge. However, let’s keep in mind that those are only two of many areas in which our children can grow and learn.

At this point we all know that academic skills are not the number 1 predictor of success and contentedness in life. Success largely depends on the softer skills, of communication, problem solving, and taking initiative. Not to mention a big dose of self confidence.

Try keeping your eyes open and providing opportunities for these areas of learning as well:

  • Physical and motor skills
  • Confidence in communicating with people from all walks of life
  • Persevering through a challenge and problem solving
  • Musical skills
  • Growing their empathy and sympathy for others
  • Taking initiative in any area (helping the family pack, do laundry, fix a problem)
  • Navigating through a new city with minimal support
  • Computer skills
  • Trying new foods
  • And so many more!

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What Are the Worldschooling Mistakes to Avoid?

Every homeschool, unschool, or worldschooling family I know has the best of intentions. Our common goal is a love for our children, our family, and the strong desire to provide a well rounded and unique education for our children. We want our children to THRIVE through experiencing the world and all it’s wonders.

However, I tend to make the same novice mistakes and see these mistakes repeated over and over with friends.  Here are a few worldschooling mistakes I often see novice worldschooling families make.

When you are traveling full time with your family, you’ll want to be sure that your travels include some form of learning.  Learning can happen in so many ways, and it’s almost impossible to get it wrong.  Every situation you and your children find yourselves in can be a learning experience.

Whether you are a novice worldschooling family, full time travel family, or expert long term travelers, we can all learn from these common worldschooling mistakes.

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Worldschooling Mistake #1

Spending Too Many Hours Learning Online

The number one worldschooling mistake that I see from novice worldschoolers, or novice homeschoolers, is thinking their children need to spend hours a day in online classes while traveling.  Oftentimes, if a family hasn’t already been homeschooling or unschooling before their travels, a pre-set online curriculum can help them feel safe in the notion that their child will learn “what they need to learn.”

If this sounds like you, or you often catch yourself signing your kids up for a plethora of online classes out of sheer fear of “falling behind”, go ahead and read this article first. Skip down to the section entitled “what does it mean to be educated?”

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am definitely a fan of online classes and resources.  We use a variety of websites to help our children build a context for learning.  Often we look up information on a city, country, geographic area, or historic site before we travel. Its useful to use videos, short one-time classes, and other resources to create excitement, provide anticipation of what is to come, and help our children understand the world around them more deeply.

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I would recommend re-considering online classes if:

  • The classes are taking up more of your child’s (and family’s) day then actually exploring the world
  • The classes are something you have to fight with your child in order for them to take
  • The classes are assigning extra homework, creating anxiety within your child, and overshadowing your initial intention for traveling
  • The classes are in-flexible and you have to plan your travel schedule around them

I would recommend online classes while traveling if:

  • Your middle or high school aged child is working towards pre-requisites they need for the near future (“need” meaning those classes are required for a path that YOUR CHILD has chosen, not you)
  • Your child loves the classes, thrives through taking classes online, and doesn’t fight you about taking them
  • Your child has a specific need for extra tutoring or academic instruction due to a learning difficulty

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Oftentimes, what your child is learning in online classes can also be learned by living in the real world, and schooling intentionally. You can avoid making this number one worldschooling mistake by considering the following ways to make learning an intentional and a natural part of your day:

  • Make family read-alouds a part of your routine. Choose a variety of books (both chapter books and beautiful picture books) that pique the interest of your children.  Books about the places you are traveling to, or stories that are set in your location (historical fiction) are a fantastic way to help your children create visualizations and make historical connections during traveling.
  • Research the areas you are traveling to before heading there, or while on the way. Consider the history, geographical features, architecture, and other unique features of the location.
  • Practice math and problem solving by allowing your child to take the lead in tracking the daily, weekly or monthly budget and learning to navigate a new city.
  • Encourage your child to learn a few helpful phrases in the local language. And remember to model this yourself!
  • Every member of our family uses these thin notebooks and these fun colorful pens daily. We each take notes, sketch and jot down reminders of what we enjoyed seeing that day.

Do not make the worldschooling mistake of over-scheduling online classes! Let go of the schedule, release the stress and give your child the freedom and leeway to learn from the world! After all, I know that natural learning is a big part of why you decided to travel the world and worldschool!

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Worldschooling Mistake #2

Packing Your Schedule Full of “Learning Experiences”

I have to admit, I make this worldschooling mistake often.  I made it when I was homeschooling and loosely unschooling back at our home base in Atlanta, and I continue to catch myself.  If you’ve ever read the book Vagabonding by Rolf Pott’s, you will remember that what makes this ideal of long-term world travel work well, is giving up the time-honored belief that you must plan every moment, follow a typical schedule, and view life through the lense of the traditional.

Sometimes, the unknown or unplanned, stretching out before me can be nerve-wracking. These moments that have no plan yet.  I often lay awake, scrolling my phone and ferociously planning for the next day, week, or month, mentally checking the “learning” boxes.  The fear of “not doing enough” can sometimes ruin the magic of letting life together happen naturally.

But oftentimes, when you allow for an unplanned day, or stretch of time and you remove the rush of scheduling, a bit of travel magic begins to form.  The key here, I believe, is intentionally and consistently engaging with the world.  Talk to strangers, let them know you are new to town, ask questions about the area.  You will find that the most magical moments, experiences, and opportunities arise from these conversations.  Say YES to the discomfort of the unknown.

And if you are forced to plan ahead and schedule some experiences, I recommend spacing those out considerably.  Allow for unplanned downtime later in that day.  Make way for open hours or days later in the week. Remember one of my favorite quotes, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

For destination-specific inspiration, hidden gems, and tip for how to worldschool, remember to follow us on instagram (click the link at the bottom of the page) and subscribe to our monthly newsletter. I promise, you will get only the real-deal, which will help you to avoid the most common worldschooling mistakes.

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Worldschooling Mistake #3

Not Pushing Yourself Past Your Comfort Zone

Did you see that quote I mentioned above? Here it is, again: “Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.” Slap it on a sticker, write it on your journal. Whatever you need to do to remember this daily.

If you are an introvert like me, you’ll want some specifics of how I manage to travel full time with my family and remain true to my introverted needs.  Read this right away! The tips you find in that article will help you manage your needs, or your introverted or sensory-sensitive child’s needs while you travel long term.

But. and this is a BIG but.  Remind yourself daily to push past that comfort zone just a little bit.  If you follow me on instagram, you’ll remember that there was a day that I almost ruined.  I almost said no to a fun activity that my kids requested, because I was feeling a little anxious trying something new. I was tired, a little over-stimulated with the chaos around me, and I almost ruined what turned out to be an activity that was a key building block in my children’s confidence.

Are you less fit that you’d like? Say yes to that bike ride around Amsterdam (rent yourself an e-bike).  Are you weary of crowds? Say yes to taking your kids to the local food market.  Are you scared of heights? Go to that jumping rock anyway (even if you don’t jump).  Show your children that you can do hard things. Model for them that being nervous is normal, but doing it anyway builds courage.

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Worried About Making Some other Worldschooling Mistakes?

If you haven’t left for your worldschooling or long term travel adventure yet, check out this article on How I Prepared My Children for Leaving.  This was a KEY step in avoiding worldschooling mistakes from the get go.

Here’s a more in-depth guide to choosing a method of schooling while traveling.

A look into how we worldschool here.


Our FREE GUIDE: Favorite Websites to Support your Worldschooling/Homeschooling.