Worldschooling Hubs, Groups, and Meet-Ups

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We “world schooled” our children for almost 7 full years. By that I mean we were travelling full-time with them throughout that period and home educating. They never went to a conventional school, other than 1.5 years for my elder son, before I knew any better. We never felt any need to be part of world schooling groups, collectives, classes, hubs, or any other group of other parents and kids. These exist and some worldschooling families do seek them out. In this post, I’m going to explain why, and as one of the OG “worldschool” families, why we don’t think this should be a part of a world schooling journey.

A different playground every week is much more fun than the same one over and over. This one was in Guatemala. There were always local kids at playgrounds but language barriers always got in the way of much interaction.

This post is not about “socialisation”. We have a post all about that misunderstood concept. Read up on socialisation in a world schooling or homeschooling context via that link..

Meeting Other Worldschooling Families

We did occasionally run into other worldschooling families and it was usually in the places that attract that crowd. Chiang Mai Thailand and Hoi An Vietnam are two such places. Cheap, lovely, popular destinations where it’s easy to just hang out for a while.

There was only one other family in the whole 6.5 years that we really clicked with. To get along as a family the mums, dads and kids all have to get along, and that’s quite rare. My kids and this child still chat today as they enter their 20s.

Our meeting with this family was by chance. They spotted us in a restaurant and came over to say hi. They knew who we were, they were followers. We had about 10,000 page views to this website per day back in those days and social media followers were approaching 100,000. Our faces were very well-known. We’re much more low-key now!

There was a lovely American lady too, but we only met a couple of times. Her kids were much older than mine and she was about to return to the US. We’re still in touch.

The family from Chiang Mai, we met up with a couple of times. We actively went where they were to hang out more.

Quite often we’d be approached to get together and during that period in Chiang Mai there was quite a lot of “hanging out” going on. There were arranged meet-ups and outings. We went to a few.

To be honest, any activity or outing is more enjoyable without a group of strangers. You have to bend to their schedules and wants, tolerate their children’s needs and behaviours, and so on.

While we have taken several group tours (Bhutan, The Macchu Picchu Trek, The Iban Village Stay and Trekking in Northern Thailand), they’re not our favourite thing to do. That group dynamic just isn’t our jam.

We really have much more fun doing things as a family, rather than in a group. It’s nice to have dinner out with others sometimes, but we never sought out “worldschoolers.” Some of the best friends we made on the road were childless.

When we travel it’s about the destination, not other travellers. Why go to far off lands to hang out with people from back home?

Did The Kids Need or Want These Groups and Meet Ups?

No, my kids never asked for meet-ups, play dates, other kids to hang out with or any kind of social child interaction. I guess because we kept them busy.

I just asked the kids about this, as a 20 year old D said no, he didn’t want or need that. He said a lot depended on the person (whether or not they got on) and that he did enjoy Forest School. Forest School was where we made friends that are still our besties today. Just luck I guess. That family were from London, homeschoolers and we had a fair amount in common.

We spent 10 months in London in year 2 on the road and we did a couple of terms at Forest School in Ham. Just for something to do. We also went to a few London homeschool groups but they never met anyone they particularly wanted to be friends with. We stopped going.

Travel Is Not Compatible With Groups, Hubs, and Collectives

We never embraced slow travel. We’d stay in one place until we’d done all the things, seen all the sights, saturated ourselves in the culture, food, and history and were ready to move on.

If we ever found ourselves with nothing to do we would play with the kids in some way. We always had card games with us, books to read, Kindles, some workbooks. Sometimes there was even TV!

I do remember those 6 long weeks stuck on Ko Phangan Thailand. My husband had emergency surgery and was laid up recovering. Mum had to take on all footballing, kayaking and frisbee throwing. Mum does not enjoy those things, but mum had to do it.

I guess a bunch of other kids could have been useful then!

Worldschooling Ko Phangan
We lived right here, on Ko Phangan, for 6 weeks after the surgery.

Our lovely friend Penny in Romania, she worldschooled her own kids, told me “You are their playground buddy.” Penny was right. That’s how this works!

We travel, in part, to spend more time as a family. I got what I wanted, even if it did involve me having to kick a ball around.

I’m guessing that the parents looking for the groups and get togethers are staying for prolonged periods in one spot and they or the kids are getting bored.

Longer Stays As Part of Worldschooling

We had two 3 month stays in Hoi An. We really liked Hoi An but I have to admit, I was very bored there at first. The first week was great and then we kind of ran out of things to see and do. There was a period of moderate boredom before we really got under the skin of the place and got to know locals, expats and a few travellers.

Romania was the other place that we spent months on end. That was a very special time with lovely friends, none (that spoke English) had kids. The boys never made friends with, and rarely saw, one of the village kids.

World Schooling Romania
Our lovely landlady in Romania taught the kids to use a scythe and cut grass the Romanian way.

We kept the kids busy skiing, playing in the snow, building fires and laughing over our lack of plumbing. We also watched every episode of Friends in a row in bed at night.

Then London, there was always London. London is our home, we visited with friends and family and just lived normal lives in London.

Other than these 3 places we moved fast. Hopping from Asia to Europe, The Middle East, the Americas and back again. It was a lot of fun!

Learning Collectives For Worldschoolers

Worldschooling Nepal
D taking a class in Nepal. He made a khukuri, a knife. He still enjoys ironwork today, he’s made himself a forge on the farm. His (online) school history teacher encouraged that, which was good. She was into historical re-enactments and stepped away from the curriculum to better nurture my history buff.

This is a hard pass from me. In homeschooling the parent is responsible for the kids’ education. Handing it back to any sort of teacher or class environment was out of the question for us.

The only “classes” my kids took were from the occasional tour guide, craftsman or other local. They also took their PADI diving qualifications and had a ski instructor for a few sessions.

I believe such groups exist, but I would never go there.

Friends After Worldschooling

Lockdown stranded us in Australia. We came back to a house we owned. Seven years had passed, a few aquaintances were still around, but really, we had no friends. All 4 of us had to start over in a very strange environment. It was as alien to us as Kathmandu might be to you.

This was when I put the kids in an online school, just for something to do. That was a good choice. It was a valuable experience and gave them something to break up the lockdown years. I was acutely aware that their final years of childhood had been stolen from them by closed borders.

It’s 4 years since we’ve been back now. We know more and more people as time passes. We’ve started to fit in but we’ll always be a bit different. Moving to the countryside was a very good idea, there are more of our kind out in the sticks.

I should also mention that we’ve been to a lot of countries in those 4 years. They were Wales, England, Jordan, Thailand, Indonesia, Bhutan, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, maybe more, I forget. We’re getting towards 60 countries visited now. There are a lot still to go.

As a family, we continue to have very little need of social interaction. It’s just the way we are. We don’t need that to be happy. I plan to travel solo very soon. I will not be looking for meet-ups as a solo female traveller. I know myself well. I’m more than happy to dine alone, that sounds great to me!

If you do need community, then maybe you’ll need these worldschooling hubs and group meet-ups. Do you? There are centres in Bulgaria, Vietnam and Portugal that I know of. I can put details here if they’re needed.

I’d really love to be abe to understand this. I can’t. I’m a bit neuro-spicy, certainly an introvert. I’m happy just being with my husband and kids. Be that on our farm in the middle of nowhere, halfway up a mountain in the Himalayas, or on the back of a camel in Dubai. Are you the same or do you seek out other people to spend your time with? Let’s talk about this and see if we can all understand each other better.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

4 thoughts on “Worldschooling Hubs, Groups, and Meet-Ups”

  1. Hi Alyson,
    what I prefer about you and what fascinates me, is that you are so different from me. We are not into groups or hubs or anything and certainly not into group-travel – but I know that I am always reaching out to other people when we travel, be they locals, expats or just travelers. It is my way of getting “the feel” of a place. My husband is much more introvert and doesn’t need interaction with others the way I do. My pleasure in traveling comes from sharing experiences (in a way, you are also sharing your experiences on your blogs…) by chatting about it with anyone who just happen to be there when we travel. But “communities”? No thank you ! Maybe we are not so different after all!

    • I knew you’d comment! Oh I love to chat, once you get me started there’s no shutting me up. But I like meetings to be spontaneous, not arranged “dates”. I think if you stay somewhere a while, like in Hoi An where we knew a lot of people, residents, it doesn’t feel like travel any more. It’s just – you live there. I love the newness of travel. Nothing beats arriving in a new place. Even if its a place you’ve been dozens of times before. Hope you’re doing well! I’m off soon, not sure where yet. D has his driving test next week and if he passes I’m free.

  2. I love this. We often feel left out with the increasing focus on hubs and travelling in groups, and the recent push towards more school-like education – it’s great to see others that are also happy in their family group, confident in doing their own thing, letting opportunities arise spontaneously.
    The idea of spending weeks in close contact with lots of random families sounds like a special kind of hell to me – I can do an hour or three, but that’s the limit of my social tolerance 😂


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