by Iram Shaukat
Alhemdulilah, by Allah’s SWT Mercy, I am a proud homeschooling mama. My children survive on most days, and even manage to let me know that they love me! Win! 🙂 Alhemdulilah! 🙂
Alhemdulilah, our home is constantly flooded with books and our internet history tells me that we have visited YouTube, Nat Geo travel, BBC documentary, and several other sites to learn about our world, about a million times.
All of this was, of course, within the confines of our beloved safe spaces; our home and local library. The library is our third home, after the masjid. Everyone there is like family.
After many years of homeschooling, it’s bound to happen that the librarian knows each of my children’s names! MashAllah and Alhemdulilah!
All of it is a major blessing, alhemdulilah, but as parents we decided that it was finally time to take our children outside of their city for once; and into the real world to expand their learning horizon! After all, the world is our classroom!
What is Worldschooling?
Worldschooling is defined as –
In its simplest form, worldschooling is the combination of education and travel. But to leave it at that would do an injustice to this revolutionary new approach to life and education. … For worldschoolers around the globe, travel is a means of education, and a tool to enhance your educational approach.kidworldcitizen.org
By Allah’s SWT Great Kindness and Permission, we have traveled to 11 countries and 18 U.S. states. It is our goal, to visit the remaining 32 states and Canada, inshAllah and Bi-ithnilah Ta8la.
Family travel trends, then and now
When I was young, travel was a luxury for many people; my family included. Although I was brought up in the middle east, my heritage is Pakistani.
Our family needed to save money for years, just to visit Pakistan. This was the decree from Allah SWT, and Alhemdulilah for His SWT Perfect Decree.
Therefore, I’ve only been to Pakistan a handful of times. Aside from that, we seldom visited nearby cities, let alone other countries.
Fast forward to today, as a wife and a mother of many years, I’ve been blessed by Allah SWT to be able to see other parts of the world. Alhemdulilah and MashAllah.
Travel has become easier and more affordable
Travel is now easier and more affordable than it’s ever been. Even people with a humble means of income are able to travel today.
According to data from U.N World Tourism Organization, the U.S ranked second for outbound travel in 2017, thanks to global migration, working remotely from home, and contract jobs.
Six Benefits of Worldschooling
There are numerous benefits to worldschooling, Alhemdulilah, by Allah’s SWT Mercy.
Read below about a few benefits of worldschooling for homeschool families!
1.You’ll discover what can’t be taught in a book!
This is one of the greatest benefits of worldschooling by far! Think about it…your child can read and read forever, but needs to actually experience their world to make those real-world connections that are so important!
2. Worldschooling is the real way of learning life skills
The world doesn’t run the same from country to country. When planning for homeschooling, allow your children to plan with you so that they can gain beneficial life skills.
Below are a few examples of life skills learned while planning for worldschooling to traveling your way around the globe.
To go on a trip anywhere, you’ll need to save up money, but especially while worldschooling. Saving up money is a huge blessing from Allah SWT; as it requires a skill of budgeting and self control with spending. It from Allah’s SWT Great Kindness, Alhemdulilah.
Your children will learn about saving money through every aspect of life, from grocery shopping to paying rent. You can even explain to older children how you’ve divided expenses.
Teach your children to budget for life, and budgeting for travel will be made easy, inshAllah. There are multiple resources you can use, such as the one below. –
You’re going to plan everything in advance, so you might as well plan with your children as a formal lesson! Teach them the benefit of planning ahead so that they can save money and stress ahead of time.
Allow older children to choose and purchase calendars and planners of their choice so that they can fill in important dates, etc. They can fill in important dates for travel, one year ahead of time, up until the date of return.
Interacting with people from different cultures, races, and religions
Your child will learn how to interact with people from different places. This includes, but isn’t limited to –
- Manners according to the residents of the country you’re visiting
- Listening skills, even when the language is difficult
You’ll learn how to do things you’ve never imagined!
With travel, you’ll do the unimaginable, some good and not so good! Whether it’s touching an alligator, or zip-lining in the rainforest of Jamaica, the experience will make you stronger! InshAllah.
3. Worldschooling is one of the best ways to learn a new language
Do you want to your children to be bilingual or polyglots? Here’s a perfect solution – worldschooling! BUT, this comes with a warning! –
You won’t learn a new lanugage if you travel to a place where everyone speaks your native tongue!
Tip – Travel to a place where all of the citizens don’t understand you, and you’ll learn the language fast!
Plan to travel to places where residents will speak with you in a new language and won’t switch to English just for your sake! If they do switch to English, ask them kindly to continue to speak in their language to help you learn!
The key to this is to study the language in advance. Win-win for homeschooling families who want to study a second or third language anyway!
4. Worldschooling is a fabulous way for children to experience history
Worldschooling will allow your children to experience history, vs. reading it out of a dry textbook! Worldschooling is one of the best ways to teach all forms of social studies.
Islamic History through worldschooling
It’s no surprise that our children will feel moved while visiting the three holy Masajid! MashAllah and Alhemdulilah.
MahshAllah and Alhemdulilah, we were blessed to visit Madina. While there we had family conversations of the Seerah of our beloved Prophet (SAW).
MashAllah and Alhemdulilah, everyone knows the blessing of visiting the land that is blessed. You meet worshipers from all walks of life and realize that Allah SWT has Created all nations and tribes to worship Him SWT alone.
People, no matter our race or culture, circulate the House with hearts full of hope for Allah’s SWT Great Mercy, Blessings, and Forgiveness.
May Allah AWJ Grant this to all of the Muslims. Allahuma Ameen.
Kabaa Kiswa Factory
Alhemdulilah and MashAllah, the children learned how the Kiswa (the cloth covering of the Kaba) is made. The amount of work it takes to create the cloth is amazing, SubhanAllah!
We felt we were on an emotional roller coaster. Alhemdulilah, gratitude was one feeling, by Allah’s Great Guidance, but we also felt the history, our history and what was now taking place in the land.
May Allah AWJ Bless and preserve all the Muslim lands. Allahuma Ameen.
5. Worldschooling will help your child develop tough skin
Travel of all types, no matter how well planned, can go awry. From jet-lag to stomach bugs, traveling has it’s stress factors.
So how do we, as parents, help our children deal with stress and difficult situations during travel (and all the time)? We must remember to be patient and trust Allah SWT, that’s how. They will observe us and they will sense if we’re anxious and worried or if we’re calm an trusting Allah SWT.
This helps children understand that travel, and life as a whole, is not all fun and games. As humans, we will experience trials and tribulation.
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.
And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allaah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allaah knows all that before putting them to test)”[al-‘Ankaboot 29:2-3]
InshAllah, traveling will make us all more resilient and strong.
6. Worldschooling will make your child more grateful
I’ve saved the best for last!
Everyone should try to visit a country with less resources, for a decent amount of time, so that their child can learn a lesson or two about taking things for granted! It’ll be beneficial, inshAllah.
Don’t just travel to wealthy countries; travel to countries will little to no resources and reap the benefit of more grateful children!
Your children will learn a lot from life, but let’s face it, if you are well-off enough to be on the internet and read this blog post, then your child will benefit from visiting a not so well-off country.
They’ll watch children eat out of trash-cans. They’ll see people with health issues that can’t afford doctors or medicine. They’ll experience children who work difficult adult jobs.
It may be heartbreaking to see, but let them see it. They will learn to be more grateful in the long-run, inshAllah!
Worldschool Planning Tips
Tip 1 – Plan everything ahead of time
You have your plan, and Allah SWT Has His. Plan ahead of time and everything will go smoothly. Yes, it won’t be perfect, but is anything perfect?
Make sure to do all travel paperwork ahead of time. Some places give visa upon arrival, while others require it to be applied for in advance.
Tip 2 – Search for tickets and fares ahead of time to save money
If possible, plan for your trip ahead of time to save money. You can do this for almost everything! –
- Airline tickets
- Bus tickets
- Train tickets
- Bed & breakfast
- Apartment rentals
Tip 3 – Travel when baba has off of work
This may seem obvious, but if you’re not scheduling your worldschooling ahead of time, you may forget to check in with your husband’s work schedule. It’s easier for him to take off of work in advance versus the same month of traveling.
Tips for Traveling within the U.S.
It’s best to travel within your own country prior to trying out international travel, which can be far more complicated.
If you live in the U.S., this simple, alhemdulilah, through road trips and short flights. The states offer a variety of land and water terrain; rich in sightseeing. There is so much to offer to any family, but especially homeschooling families because we can travel at any time!
Road-schooling vs. flying
Choose whatever is best for your family, based on your children’s age and your circumstance. Read below for a comparison of both.
Road trips are easier for us. The kids can work on formal lessons on a long road trip, such as:
- Quran lessons
- Listening to audible books
Road-schooling gives us a sense of freedom because we can stop whenever we fee like it, versus waiting for a plane to land.
When you’re in the U.S., teach your child facts about each state such as the state’s –
Who needs a dry textbook when geography lessons are better in real life!
If you live on one coast, fly to the next! It’s easy, simple, fast, and you don’t have to pay for hotels. However, if you long for the road-schooling experience, I suggest driving and planning your sites.
Don’t forget to rack up you miles rewards! It pays off big time, especially for large families. InshAllah.
Tips for International travel
The homeschooling experience is enriched during international travel, to the power of 100! When you’re outside of your country, you’re experiencing an entirely different world.
Flying has always been an enjoyment for me, alhemdulilah! Who doesn’t like small food trays and comfortable seats?
Just kidding! The seats are always a bummer, but hey, you’ll get off the airplane at some point! The cuisine isn’t so delicious, but alhemdulilah for food. 🙂
Young children are more of a challenge to fly with. My children are older now, so it’s much easier, alhemdulilah. I plan to sleep throughout my flight uninterrupted and the children usually stay up.
Everything about the new country will excite you – new scents, the unfamiliar language, the infrastructure, interesting means of transportation, cuisine, weather, culture; all of it is exciting, subhanAllah! You’ll feel like a sponge, ready to absorb everything!
International travel allows children to understand that our human differences are beautiful. We are reminded that Allah Subhanahu Wa TALA says in the Quran:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you people and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.Quran (49:13)
Allow your screen- free children to use some sort of screen on long flights!
Plan ahead and download all apps etc., that they can use on a tablet or any device. Try to download a lot more than you think is necessary!
Trust me, on long flights, especially with young children, you’re going to need it! Don’t feel badly about it! For your sanity, and those around you, long flights are the perfect time to allow crazy amounts of screen time, without the guilt!
Trust me on this one and you can thank me later! 🙂
Purchase a digital way to read books
Older children should read books on long flights, however packing 500 books won’t quite fit your suitcase will it! That’s why we use a kindle or Glowlight which gives our children access to thousands of books!
It is especially a good investment when both parents and child are avid readers! Both of the options below are lightweight and the reading light doesn’t strain your eyes either. Alhemdulilah and mashAllah.
It’s an essential item for world-schooling, especially on long flights. Whether it’s reading-aloud our silent reading, the reading gets done! InshAllah.
This is the best route, especially if you’re interested in long-term world-schooling!
General Worldschooling tips
Tip 1 – Study about your destination ahead of time
The perfect homeschool lesson plans prior to worldschooling is learning about your destination! Read up on –
- The country/city history and background
- Cultural etiquette
- Tourism do’s and don’ts
- Specific sites you plan on visiting and their significance
- The local cuisine
The list is endless!
Tip 2 – Don’t pack all of the homeschool ‘stuff’
Make a list of what you need. Now, cut that list in half. And do it again.
Yes, I know. You feel like you need those items. Trust me, you will not use them. 🙂
You will be busy getting lost in real learning about the new environment that you can never learn from a book!
Tip 3 – Purchase and pack homeschool essentials ahead of time
The items that you do need, should be purchased and packed ahead of time, but not too much in advance that you won’t be able to use them for your studies.
Travel journals are a must have for homeschooling families. Combine writing with your child’s heart and you’ve got a win-win situation, not to mention something you can keep forever.
If you purchase travel journals ahead of time, your children can fill them out as travel or in a hotel. You can even add images of your trip.
Here are some examples of travel journals that we prefer. Click on the image to see where we purchased them.
Download many digital books and be sure to include travel books. Don’t forget Islamic travel books! We loved learning about Ibn Battuta!
Below is one of our favorite travel books.
If you don’t already have one, it’s worth it for worldschooling. You can use it for most of your formal lessons, so don’t try and pack any curriculum and extras.
The model doesn’t matter as long as you have internet and a screen that isn’t broken:) Throw it into your purse/backpack and keep it moving!
If you live in America, you can look for sales on black Friday.
This is what we use –
Pack that math book!
This is the exception to packing curriculum! You can always have your child do mental math on something electronic, however they should still do some formal math lessons in your math curriculum of choice.
Pack one workbook per child, just in case
Although workbooks aren’t very appealing to most of us, you’ll need them if you’re in an area with no internet connection. Be prepared in all circumstances!
Below are examples that we’ve used. Click on the images to see the specifications. –
Tip 4 – Longer trips with a full itinerary = skip the formal lessons!
The travel is the lesson! Don’t worry about it!
Tip 5 – Encourage conversation
Talk about the day as a family.
- What did you like best in today’s experience?
- What was your favorite aspect of _____?
- What didn’t you find helpful or exciting?
- How would you rate your experience?
This will help your children recall observations from that day and bring everyone’s experience to the table, thus enriching the memories and taking insight from the discussions.
Final Tip – Enjoy the experience!
You’ve been blessed to travel, Alhemdulilah! Don’t take it for granted and enjoy every second of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many hours of formal lessons should we complete per day?
- It depends on your day’s schedule. Early mornings are good for Quran revision and memorization. Or if you’re on a road trip, you can do it whenever you’re driving.
- If the day is jam packed with visiting site after site, then they can skip formal lessons and write in their journals upon returning or the next day.
- On slow days, you can focus on formal lessons after breakfast before you head out.
Are there any cons to worldschooling?
There are a few. If you’re worldschooling for long periods of time, you’re going to miss family and close friends. That is the prominent downside of worldschooling. There are other challenges with travel nuances such as jet-lag and illness (i.e. The ugly stomach bug).
Do you plan your days ahead of time?
Yes. We reserve tickets to museums, sites, and travel guides. This is to have a general plan for our days. We plan our formal lessons around that day’s schedule.
Do you get scared the children will miss a lot of work?
Remember, we’re learning all of the time, not just when we do formal lessons. Homeschooling isn’t like a regular classroom where you work towards a deadline.
Let’s face it, there are things that can’t be taught with a ‘curriculum’!
What if the child isn’t interested in the travel experience?
That’s just something they have to deal with. The rest of us will enjoy the sites while they are always welcome to dive into their books. 🙂
How many books, curriculum, etc. do you pack?
Very little. The child is the curriculum after-all :).
In the case of worldschooling, the world is our classroom and learning happens best without the curriculum!
Also, our days are numbered, so we usually plan to take whatever we feel will be light, yet productive. For example – Quran revision is our first priority, but you can do that on your phone.
We always bring our Math books. Then the last and final important item is books, which can be read on a tablet.
The last thing you need to know about worldschooling for homeschool families
- Worldschooling is a blessing from Allah SWT. Don’t take it for granted.
- Plan ahead. It’ll save you money and a head-ache!
- Pack lightly. You won’t use most of your stuff, trust me! BUT, pack necessities. Sometimes you’ll need items, but you won’t have the time to purchase it at your destination.
- Enjoy the experience and don’t worry about the formal lessons! – Worldschooling is the perfect time to skip formal lessons!
Are you new to homeschooling? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families and Watch the LIVE VIDEO – I can see you from a mile away, mama!
Looking for resources for teaching your child about Black History Month? Read about Resources and Tips for Teaching Black History Month here and watch a VIDEO of our Homeschool Field Trip!