Is road-schooling good for your child?

Posted by Anita Froneman on 2 October 2021

Many parents across the world have opted out of traditional governmental and even private schooling by teaching their children at home. A fast-growing new movement in contrast with homeschooling, though, is road-schooling (also sometimes referred to as world-schooling). Parents who travel the world take their children with them wherever they go and school them either through specific courses or no official learning plan at all, having them learn solely from their surroundings and experiences.

Many travellers feel this approach is greatly beneficial for their children as it educates them on a vast majority of different countries, cultures, languages and natural phenomena all over the world. They feel it can be far more enriching than sticking to a textbook within four walls.

Others are concerned that children who have no stable routine and familiar environment may lack other skills and could potentially hamper certain stages of development, such as socialising with peers and operating in teams, as well as disqualifying them from studying at tertiary institutions should they ever choose to.

One such road-schooling family is the Klafs, who shared their story with

‘Instead of school bells, the Klaf family’s schedule was based on the ocean’s tides. That was when they were staying in the Philippines, and were snorkeling or diving daily. When they were in Ecuador, living in the jungle, they had no electricity or running water, so when the sun went down, they took it as their cue to sleep,’ wrote Dannielle Braff.

‘Over a period of three-and-a-half years, the Klaf parents and their two tweens travelled and lived in 17 countries. Their longest stay was eight months, but usually, they visited each place for three-and-a-half months before moving onto their next destination.’

Dr. Robin Hancock, a global education specialist with Bank Street College told Travel + Leisure: ‘Travel has the potential to create a new narrative that teaches children about the similarities with others [and] lays a strong foundation, especially in the early years…We have the potential to raise a generation that knows how to live and coexist with each other.’

Some experts, however, are not convinced that road-schooling should replace traditional school education. Janet Ruth Heller, president of the Michigan College English Association, and co-founder of the Professional Instructors Organization union at Western Michigan University feels traditional schooling is more beneficial for children. ‘A school classroom gives children good opportunities to develop social skills, such as doing group projects with other children, or cooperating on a sports team,’ Heller told

‘School teachers have unique talents and specialize in getting students interested in science, music, reading, social studies, literature, history, art or sports,’ she added.

Some propose a combination of the two. Many parents want the best of both worlds for their children by choosing to settle in a community and enrolling their kids in traditional schools, while they may take them out of school several times a year to travel and explore.

Image: Pexels 

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