We all know that when it comes to schooling there are many different options. Traditional. Hybrid. Public. Private. Charter. Homeschool. Unschool. Montessori. Etc. There are so many options. But there can be some confusion as to homeschooling, unschooling and worldschooling. What’s the difference?
Many of us are familiar with homeschooling. For many it is where families will follow a curriculum. Parents will set the lessons, assign the work and will grade the lessons. But we also know there are many different styles within homeschooling. Is it more school at home, with a timetable and set curriculum, or is it more flexible with time and curriculum?
Under the umbrella of homeschooling is unschooling. This is currently what I am doing with my girls. I have a video on why I would be a trained teacher who unschools, and another that looks at what unschooling is.
In a nutshell, unschooling is not creating a school environment at home. It is where you follow the interest of your children, rather than set grade level subjects and topics. It is not a lazy way of learning. In fact, parents need to be very involved so as to help direct. You are not relying on a curriculum. You need to be looking at resources, opportunities and support. It is not unparenting.
There are various levels of unschooling. It is true that some more radical unschoolers will say that you can’t have a curriculum in math but nothing for anything else. I don’t subscribe to that. My girls do have a math curriculum that they really actually enjoy. But we do a lot of functional and day-to-day math outside of that. You have to do what works for you. For us, this works. They are happy getting their little badges for completing a unit or mission, and they are then applying that on their own in a variety of ways.
Have you heard of worldschooling? This is something that is coming up in conversation or on social media more.
Worldschooling is a lifestyle of education that allows children to learn in a hands-on way from the world around them. And it involves travel! In order to truly worldschool you do need to see the world. Yes, you can worldschool from one place – thanks to online resources – but to truly experience a culture, you need to be in the midst of it.
Like unschooling, this type of education encourages child-led, life-time learning and can be done anywhere, at any time.
Yes, you can make worldschooling a hybrid option – following a curriculum while traveling to stay current with your local schooling system. Or you can follow more of an unschooling method of letting your children and the country/culture guide the learning. This would mean not following a set curriculum. Remember how much we learn, especially younger children, through hands-on activities, play experiences, and then through projects, stories and experiences.
There are so many incredible educational benefits that come from traveling. Even though our girls were small when they began international travels (7 months old) and we got interrupted by covid (boo), we saw how much they learned, and still talk about, from trips when they were 3.5 and 4.5. Now at 7 and a half they still remember experiences in other countries. Some memories might be triggered by photos, but the memory is there. They talk about the smell and sights of Vanuatu. They can communicate differences they saw in Sydney, Australia as compared to where we live south of Atlanta. For a few days or weeks they were immersed in another culture. They learned something they never could from books or the internet.
Worldschooling is becoming more popular. With being able to work remotely, this gives many families the opportunities to downsize on stuff and travel, providing these rich experiences. Some plan for a year or maybe two. Others go with the flow and don’t set a limit. Again, it is what works for you as a family.
So, to wrap up – what’s the difference between homeschooling, unschooling and worldschooling? Think of the umbrella term of “education” and under it we have the different types – public, private, charter, Montessori, etc. and also homeschool. Branching off from homeschooling we have unschooling and worldschooling.
Have more questions about unschooling? Here is a good article that looks at a study on unschoolers. It might help you if you are thinking of unschooling.