I wish I could worldschool.
This is a sentiment that gets expressed to me often by parents looking to travel and educate their children while on the road. Many want the cultural experiences as well as something to break up the monotony of our daily routines. The great thing I tell people is that they can worldschool, and it doesn’t matter where they are. This stumps them. But I am being honest: yes, travel is a fantastic form of family bonding and education, but you can experience similar elements without leaving your hometown.
1.) Develop a traveler’s mindset
BE AN ADVENTURER! Believe me, this can take some effort for people. I personally get stuck in a ‘bored and tired’ mindframe a lot. I completely forget that I feel better when I acknowledge that life is a mystery waiting to be explored, and even our mundane habits can take on new meaning when we look at them this way.
I learned this when I was in Korea. My husband seemed to be perpetually at work, and I was at home with a toddler all day and a good portion of the evening. I felt desperate. Trapped. Longing for something. One day my attitude shifted and all of a sudden I felt really happy and excited. For God’s sake, I was in Korea! We had a lovely park in our apartment complex! We had some great friends at a local cafe, who basically adopted us. I got to eat kimchi! When this sudden shift happened, the mundane really seemed…cool.
How can you shift your mindset to that of an explorer and share this outlook with your children?
2.) Pack up the kids and do something different, perhaps out of your comfort zone.
Pick a random day of the week and go somewhere you’ve never been before. It could be a zumba class, or horseback riding. This is a good way to shake things up and it’s a great way to bond with kids. Even if you all hate it, at least you tried it and know it wasn’t for you.
What classes in your neighborhood could you do with your kids?
3.) Go to the Asian supermarket nearest you
There happen to be a lot of ethnic supermarkets in the Western world, even in some smaller towns. Do you have one that is semi close? Research some dishes you have always wanted to try, make a list and have a family outing to the supermarket. Even if you can get some of the items from a big chain/regular supermarket, go to the ethnic one as the kids may find some unique foods they may want to try that they wouldn’t have seen at a generic store.
Take the groceries home and cook up your new dish!!
Go to the closest ethnic supermarket and get items to make a meal you have always wanted to make…but haven’t. By some exotic fruits or veg as well, or maybe even Asian snacks ( such as seaweed). Keep a World Food journal with your children to keep track of your trips and your meals, as well as their reactions.
4.) Download some world music
One of the best parts of my summer in Kenya was listening to Brenda, a South African singer who was popular throughout Africa. I covet my CD! My neighbor, who is from Nairobi, got incredibly home sick when I showed it to him, and asked me if he could borrow it. It was a great way to get to know him.
Have your children pick a country and begin to research pop or traditional music from there, and download it. Some may be harder to find, but sites like Live365.com have free radio stations from around the world.
5.) Begin to simplify your life
Many worldschoolers and folks following Lifestyle Design actually live a simple life. That’s not to say we don’t like some luxuries, but we take a preference for following a simple path ( aka not buying a ton of stuff). I find the best way to begin this process is to make a list with your family of things that are really important to you. What could you do without? How can you free up your time by following a simpler path? This varies from family to family.
We personally try to buy good quality items but from Indie businesses, such as etsy.com, or support our local community by buying from our friends and neighbors.
Ask your family what you really need to buy, and donate, sell, or throw out unwanted items. Pick up a copy of Living Simply With Children and go over some of the topics discussed in that book
I can’t wait to find more ways to worldschool without leaving your hometown!!
What are some of your ideas on activities you can do with your family?