We chose to worldschool when conventional life and school no longer worked for us.

My daughter was thriving in preschool.  She attended a Montessori preschool and the teachers always told us how incredibly smart she is and how she was their star student.  We appreciated how Montessori is based on a self-directed learning environment; challenging a student based on ability rather than by age. 

When she turned 5 and began public school, we were surprised her teachers felt the exact opposite.  We were told that she needed extra help to keep up with her peers, that she was not conforming to the regular structure of the day, and they even suspected she might have a learning disability (in kindergarten!).  We, as most other parents might react, got really worried! We hired tutors, read endless resource books and researched everything we could about how we could better support her.

In grade 2, and after a very long waitlist, we were able to get in to see a pediatrician who specialized in children with learning disabilities.  Our appointment took a full afternoon of testing. In the end, the pediatrician determined that not only did my daughter show no signs of a learning disability, she was also extremely intelligent! But – she is a perfectionist.  This perfectionism affected her confidence. So when things didn’t go exactly perfectly, she would shut down.

At school, when at first she struggled with reading, she was singled out in class and sent to spend extra time every day with the Resource Teacher.  It made her feel like she was abnormal or that something was wrong.  Her confidence was shot and she put up a wall to anything that had to do with learning.

We began to feel then, that traditional school – where everyone is grouped by age and expected to all learn in exactly the same way – wasn’t the right fit for our little girl.  Nor for our son who came later.

We’re not saying that regular school is bad. In fact, we know countless amazing teachers who pour their hearts and souls into their work. We just began examining the system itself, and really started questioning whether it was the right fit for our kids.

By grade 4, and based on our experiences and a LOT of research, we made the choice to exit that system. We chose worldschooling as the best form of education for our children.

At the same time – all of this was going on while my husband and I were on auto-pilot when it came to our own lives.  We worked 70+ hours per week, only seeing our kids after a tiring day of work and school and when we were all at our worst.  We would do this every day. Then, we would all go to sleep only to long for the weekends and for our annual 3 week vacations to spend quality time together as a family.

One day, it just didn’t make sense to us anymore. 

Here’s the thing. We were raised in a society where work, status, money, and what you can buy, are the outmost things to strive for.  Having the most money you can possibly earn in order to buy all the best things was supposed to make us happy.  Well, it didn’t. 

We worked our butts off so that we could have the big house, the nice cars, the designer clothes, the latest cell phones, and even the white picket fence.  We were living the classic quintessential life, complete with 2 children – one boy and one girl.  My husband and I had always had a great relationship, but by that point, we were just ‘getting along’.  And we longed for more. 

We questioned ourselves all the time – why weren’t we happy?  Why, when we appeared to have everything anyone could possibly want?  Over a period of a couple of years, we gradually began to realize that it’s not that we were ungrateful, we just didn’t agree that having ‘stuff’ was the end all and be all to inner happiness.  Over that time, we really began to examine what we truly wanted in life. A series of events led us to begin to really question the norm, and ultimately, we decided to make a change. 

Today we live our lives on our own terms, intentionally, and with purpose. We don’t have all the latest technology toys or designer clothes anymore.  Instead, we choose to spend our money on travel and experiences. We explore the world together, learning and working everywhere while building greater connections as a family.  Instead of 4 walls, the world has become our classroom and our office.  It’s the moments and experiences in our lives, not things, that we value the most.  We now get to spend quality time with our kids – 365 days a year. 

It’s been two years since we pulled our kids from traditional school. My little girl has grown into an independent-thinker that is focused, positive and determined – someone I’m incredibly proud of.  She has embraced worldschooling, and has overcome all of the old school-prescribed learning ‘challenges’.  My son, who left school after kindergarten, taught himself to read shortly thereafter, has become a math whiz, and a budding paleontologist. At the age of 10, my daughter launched her own little business and is as curious about the world as a mother could hope. Although still a perfectionist, she has been able to thrive again – but this time, on her own terms…<3

 

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