Worldschooling, when the world is your child's classroom

As digital nomads and then travelling entrepreneurs ourselves, we have lived in various countries and faced various situations about our children’s education.

Starting your own business is inspiring, its life-changing since it’s your dreams dressed as the best salad you ever had out there.  Wait, but children are startups too. That startup that requires immediate attention and utmost care 24/7. I love my kids more than my business and so I work hard 140 hours a week to improve my business and give my kids the best life I can. People say: But you can’t study parenting while hustling for your business day and night. Right? Wrong. There are a few things that could be disciplined in life that teach you parenting on its own.

For instance, I decided to move to the best neighborhood when I had my first kid to give my kids the best environment I possibly could. I wanted an environment that would boost their potential growth, that had a better society, people who valued hard work and education and taught their children the same, an environment which had to be safe enough to let my kids go out and learn the world with other kids.

With that said, I had my own limitations when it came to that. As travelling entrepreneurs, both me and my spouse had to move consistently every few quarters in the year for business related work. We had to have workshops, meetings and boot camps around the world. So our providing the best environment to our kids was in trouble. We knew we had to find a working solution and had to do it fast! We know that many people like us would like to opt for homeschooling when it comes to that, but it has its own limitations. You can’t home school children:

  • Once they are over the age of kindergarten;
  • If you are constantly on the move because proper education can’t afford long breaks like that;
  • If you are travelling and have to drag your kids to new environments where laws may be different than their previous environments, hence disturbing their education all over again;

So, as digital nomads and then travelling entrepreneurs ourselves, we have lived in various countries and faced various situations about our children’s education. For people like us who want to live sustainably we decided to write this piece containing information about the countries we have lived in. Note: You may contact us for more information even if your country is not listed here, since we have Misses Legal in over 9 countries across 4 continents ready to help you in your legal needs.

Coming back to our point, we decided to educate our child while travelling – and the term is called ‘worldschooling’. Now it may be obvious that governments would definitely disapprove. What is more, the school would disapprove too or simply refuse to grant permission if you just walk into Principal’s office with Joe and say, ‘Well you know, we are travelling for business and may have to stay a little longer, so we are taking Joe along because we think it would be a nice learning experience for him and he may get more exposure than this classroom.’ No, you might end up in trouble and labeled as an irresponsible parent who can’t be given responsibility for their child’s education. Let us talk about how to get permission in the right way.

How to get permission in the right way for worldschooling your children?

The best way to get permission for worldschooling is to assure the school that your trip abroad would cover all the basic education that your child might be due this year. That means that you would have to:

  • Include a proper plan in your trip to educate your child

This could include taking books, stationary, podcasts or journals along. Or if the teacher/school is nice enough you could do Skype lessons with the teacher, or;

  • Make the best use of technology to cover more difficult subjects in detail

Many parents would use online platforms like KhanAcademy, Quipper, Lynda, Study and apps like memrise, Mango languages for teaching their kids languages;

  • Make use of the coworking hubs (might not be available in all countries)

It could be a great source of learning for independent families like us who are on the go and have to teach their kids on their own. With a coworking hub the knowledge sharing is nurtured for both parents and kids with various workshops and diverse experiences;

So worldschooling families are a diverse breed and it could turn out for the best for your child. The exposure and learning that comes along with worldschooling could provide an edge to your child in college placements. Many children who are worldschooled have been seen to ace their ACT, SAT or GRE’s and personal statements for their college applications. That, because they had provided sufficient evidence of a rich learning experience and showcased their abilities through journals, websites, podcasts or notebooks, or simply a collection of books read to showcase the knowledge that they have accumulated throughout their worldschooling experience.

Hence the bottom line is

“If you want to home school or world school your child, you are going to need to provide a strong pitch and enough confidence that what the child would learn would be enough or more than what he could miss out on being out of school”

Now coming to the legalities involving various countries, even if you do everything stated above correctly, some governments may still think you can’t be held responsible enough to undertake your child’s education. That is why in some cases you may have to send your kid to a boarding school instead of teaching them on the go while you travel. Here is what each country has to say when the world is your child’s classroom:

  1. Worldschooling in the United States

The US may be the best country for travelling entrepreneurs with kids. We all have heard that the US government takes child education very seriously with a 100% literacy rate in the country. However, the country’s laws protect homeschooling or the right of education of children to the parents and cannot be challenged by the Federal Rule.

Once you have decided to give it a try, you will have to submit written plans of instruction and then submit them to the respective school in your state. That is all you would need to keep out of legal troubles.

The State Requirements

Worldschooling is legal in all 50 states, and each state has its own set of regulations pertaining to the practice. It’s necessary to make sure that you’re familiar with the laws in your state, and abide by with them. The requirements vary greatly, from complete freedom to educate your child as you choose, to state control that requires complicated paperwork and yearly testing.

2. Worldschooling in Portugal

Homeschooling or worldschooling is perfectly legal in Portugal. Fortunately for expats having residency the laws are a bit superior or lenient than for others.

The laws for independent schooling, however, is more like a cooperation protocol that you must obey. You must apply through a regulatory organ and state a genuine cause. The application would then be analyzed by the regulatory organ and also processed by a local body. Also the authorities would only grant you permission to homeschool your child if you have sufficient level of education yourself. That is because the ‘sponsor of education’ could only be eligible to teach a child if he/she themselves have a superior level of education.

With that said, the kids would need to be enrolled in a public school in your resident city and would need to be evaluated semiannually in their respective registered public schools. Also they would have to sit the annual exams at the end of each grade year.

3. Worldschooling in Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and an extremely fast paced economical hub with tons of opportunities for young people. Since you could extend a 3 month visa up to a years worth if you are working in Thailand, Bangkok could be the best place to homeschool your child while enrolling in some great classes.

You could enroll your child into the public school, a sports group or extracurricular activities, a private tutor which may also be cheap since Thailand is way affordable than the US or UK for that matter. Also, you could enroll your child in Yoga or Zumba classes while homeschooling him all the Maths and English basics. The country doesn’t have any strict laws and could be a very diverse learning experience for you and your child together.

You may however, would have to inform the embassy or the local authorities in case you want to enroll your child full time in a public school being an expat.

4. Worldschooling in Belgium

Belgium has separate education systems or each of its territories – The French, Flemish and German speaking communities, each have their own school systems incorporating the national languages of French, Dutch or German.

Homeschooling or worldschooling is common for expats in Belgium. However, Belgium has strict laws to ensure that the children get education within their due rights according to the UN’s convention on children’s basic rights. Although education is mandatory for children between 4 and 18, the country allows parents to choose between significant options to educate their child.

Parents can opt to teach their own child, but the curricula employed in homeschooling must fulfill certain requirements and meet the established standards of the Flemish, French or German-speaking community, depending on the area where you reside. This is monitored through annual examinations that students must pass to fulfill the mandatory requirements for education in the country.

If you decide to homeschool or worldschool your child, make sure that you follow the stringent guidelines and pass significant inspections by the authorities that your child is getting education according to the standards mentioned above. Failure to do so may end you up in facing sanctions.

5. Worldschooling in United Kingdom

Luckily, worldschooling is entirely legal for home educating kids by the families for UK citizens. There is nothing to prevent or limit travel or independent education for UK citizens and parents who want to unschool, homeschool or worldschool their children. Which means that if one day you decide to travel all the way to Bali or Phuket and fall in love with the environment or if you have a big business venture in the beautiful countryside in Bulgaria, there is no law restricting you from taking your child along and let the world be their classroom!

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