Homeschooling, worldschooling and unschooling are all progressive forms of education, gaining popularity in the modern world. Unschooling and worldschooling are types of homeschooling, also known as home education. Other forms of education outside school also exist, for instance, wildschooling, lifeschooling, and farm schooling.
In this post we break down homeschooling, worldschooling, unschooling, online schooling, wildschooling and more. We try to give definitions of each type of alternative education and consider the sub-types within each of these broad categories of education at home.
The definitions and boundaries in all forms of home education are blurred, other than for absolute purists. There is much overlap and no rules to say that homeschooling families must stick to their chosen form of progressive education from kindergarten, to high school. Homeschooling methods can change and evolve with the needs of the child, parent, or family.
Homeschooling, Unschooling and Worldschooling
Homeschooling is sometimes considered to be school at home or in places other than a bricks and mortar school. During the recent school closures “school at home” and virtual classrooms came to most of us. This is not homeschooling as those children were still the responsibility of the school and teachers.
In homeschooling, the parent or guardian takes on full responsibility for their child’s education. That said, it is very rare for homeschooling parents to become their child’s teacher and stand at a whiteboard in the homeschool room all day.
Some home educators prefer the term “home education” over homeschooling because this term removes all associations with school. Home education is the preferred term for a lot of UK based homeschooling families.
Schools of distance education and correspondence schools also exist, where formal schooling can take place at home. International and local online schools are another option. I would not call any of these homeschooling, as a school is involved, but some do.
Some homeschoolers buy boxed curriculum and stick to school-like structures and learning goals. Other homeschoolers make their own curriculum or dip into topics as they choose. There are eclectic homeschoolers, faith-based homeschoolers, Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, Montessori homeschoolers, Steiner homeschoolers, and more. There is no one way to homeschool.
Another option within homeschooling is to employ help, real or online tutors. This lessens the parent’s load and can be a very useful option. We’ve done this ourselves many times in maths, ancient history and life skills.
Many families homeschool for religious reasons, be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, many faiths prefer their children to be educated as their faith lays out.
Steiner schools are bricks and mortar schools, but a homeschooling parent could also use the Steiner philosophies and methods at home.
In some countries homeschooling is illegal. In others registration and submission of work samples, even state testing, is required. In an ideal world, and in some countries, there is no homeschool registration nor reporting required.
People choose to homeschool for many reasons. Sometimes people homeschool because their local school isn’t up to scratch, some families homeschool because their child is heavily involved in sport or performance. Some people homeschool because of bullying or because their child is gifted, others homeschool to fit in with their lifestyle. Most parents homeschool because they believe homeschooling to be the best possible way for their kids to be educated. Homeschooling allows much more family time and the child can grow up in the care of their parents or guardians, fostering the child-parent bond.
There are many special needs or non-neurotypical kids who find homeschooling a much better way to learn than a classroom environment.
Homeschooling is not expensive, but normally one parent will be at home, a homeschooling family is likely to be a one-income family, but it is possible for single parents to homeschool and I know of many examples. In some instances, the main educational facilitator in the family will work from home, as I do.
Homeschooled kids often attend homeschool groups and meet up, take sports and music classes and belong to clubs and groups like Boy Scouts and Guides. Homeschooled kids are not socially isolated and spend plenty of time around other kids and meeting up with friends.
Some children are homeschooled by choice from birth, others attended school before being pulled out. Some homeschooled kids go back to school eventually because they or their parents made that choice.
Buy the book This is Homeschooling, which covers the many variations on homeschooling here.
Worldschooling is learning from the world, through travel, culture, people, and experiences. Worldschooling can be unschooling, if the child or children are making decisions about destinations and what they’d like to learn and not learn. I like to think of worldschooling as strewing the world before a child.
Worldschooling cannot be combined with school. You can’t “worldschool” on a vacation or weekends, because if a child is in school, they are conventionally educated. That doesn’t stop kids learning a great deal through travel, of course.
Worldschooling is more likely to be a form of homeschooling or eclectic homeschooling. Worldschooling families tend to use a variety of methods to provide a worldschooling education, for instance, homeschool workbooks, online courses, tours and museum, group get together and worldschooling hubs around the world. There is a worldschooling network with many families knowing each other giving ample opportunities for social interaction. Socialization is not the same thing.
We were worldschoolers from 6 years old to 16 years old. We would have continued to worldschool were it not for the border closures in 2020. Our children finished their education in an online school because of the travel shutdowns. They sat exams this way, although homeschooled children can sit exams without ever attending school, online or bricks and mortar, should they wish to.
Worldschooling (sometimes called world schooling) may also be called travel schooling, road schooling or life schooling (lifeschooling). Lifeschooling doesn’t necessarily involve travel, lifeschoolers don’t have to hit the road. Road schooling is a common term when a family travels and educates from an RV or caravan.
Worldschooling does not have to be expensive, read up on worldschooling costs. The parents need to be location independent to worldschool, many worldschooling families are digital nomads. Other families worldschool using savings.
Unschooling is child-led learning, the child determines what and when they wish to learn. Unschooling is broadly unstructured, but if the child decides to take a weekly maths class, then this is still considered unschooling. Unschoolers can join homeschool groups and socialise with homeschoolers, and in the same way as homeschoolers.
There is a myth that unschooling is un-education. Let me give you an example of how I unschooled myself. I learned to code many years ago because I wanted to. I taught myself from a book, for fun. I used this skill to make websites, and from my websites, I make a living. This is unschooling! My son wanted a faster computer, so he taught himself how to make it faster by adding new components. He researched, bought, and fitted the components himself. This is also unschooling.
Radical unschooling is an even more extreme form of unschooling. Radical unschooling believes completely in the child’s innate ability to learn what they need to learn and to regulate their own behaviour such as appetite and sleep needs. Check out this interesting read on radical unschooling by prominent radical unschooler, Dayna Martin.
Project based unschooling is one variation on unschooling.
Wildschooling is a form of home education in which the child or family highly values their connections to nature. The Wildschooling philosophy involves nurturing a child’s natural creativity, curiosity and joy. Find out more about wildschooling here. Alternatively, buy this book on wildschooling.
What’s The Best Way to Homeschool?
All forms of homeschooling can be done well and all can be done badly. There is no “best” way to homeschool because every child and every family is different. One of the greatest positives of homeschooling is its flexibility. Any parent should be able to homeschool, no degrees or teaching experience is required and many children find enormous benefits in being homeschooled. Other kids love a school environment and learn best through homework and testing, as I did. Children learn in different ways and a homeschooling parent should strive to find out how that child learns best, and be there to support their journey. All of these definitions have blurred edges and overlap. It is rare to find a family that strictly adheres to one homeschooling philosophy. You may be interested in our post about homeschooling pros and cons.
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