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|Home / College Guide / We Homeschool Our Kids While Traveling the World on a Modest Budget
| Posted on Monday, February 12 @ 00:00:04 PST
Essay by Beth McCarter 2024-02-12T00:44:01Z Share icon An curved arrow pointing right. Share Facebook Icon The letter F. Facebook Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. Email Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. Twitter LinkedIn icon The word in. LinkedIn Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Copy Link Save Article Icon A bookmark Save Read in app Angle down icon An icon in the shape of an angle pointing down. Authors daughter pointing out a shark — the lesson plan for the day was to snorkel off the coast of Tahiti. Beth McCarter
Beth McCarter and her husband pulled their kids out of school to try worldschooling three years ago. They maintain a modest budget by renting out their home, spending less, and embracing slow travel. She gets criticized by her in-laws but has no plans to stop homeschooling and traveling the world. NEW LOOK Sign up to get the inside scoop on today’s biggest stories in markets, tech, and business — delivered daily. Read preview
You can opt-out at any time. Advertisement Look, kids, the shark is right under the boat! I shout, pointing at the disappearing fin. My 7-year-old pinches her nose and dives in.
Wheee! my 5-year-old screams, already halfway down the boats ladder. I snap a quick pic and scramble after them. Im just as eager to see the shark up close.
Its Tuesday, and technically, were at school. Instead of drawing out different ecosystems while sitting in a classroom, todays lesson plan includes snorkeling off the coast of Tahiti to observe black tip reef sharks in their natural habitat.
Although not your average school day, thats been the usual fair since I left my teaching job to homeschool my kids over three years ago. Weve since traveled across Europe, Mexico, French Polynesia, and most of the southern United States, all on a modest budget.
Advertisement Author and her husband both left teaching and are fulfilling their lifelong travel dreams. Beth McCarter Traveling was always in the plan Our transition to worldschooling was a long time coming.
Back in college, before I got married, I told my now-husband Id never be happy with settling down . Alright, lets travel the world! he said.
Travel did not begin right away, as we took a few years off to have kids and get started in our careers.
But after teaching in Texas for 7 years, gun violence and the school systems disregard for staffs well-being prompted me to speed up what had always been my plan.
After my husband landed a job that allowed him to work online, I quit my job, we pulled the kids out of school, rented out our house, and moved to France for three months.
Advertisement Adjusting our lifestyle We learned the hard way that financing worldschooling is easier when you dont have much debt. Our first trip was planned without tackling this issue, as at the time buying plane tickets sounded much more appealing than paying off old credit cards.
These days, we look out for the the best travel deals before deciding on a plan. Our biggest find was when we paid less than $200 a piece for tickets to France from the US, including our pets.
To enjoy worldschooling without the stress of worrying about money, we have to balance being financially responsible against our desire to travel.
We began downsizing early on and have tried to embrace minimalism whenever the kids let us.
Advertisement The author riding a motorbike with her son. Beth McCarter Choosing what to do with our car and house was another big piece of the puzzle.
Now, we rent out our house so that we can still accrue equity while someone else pays the mortgage. We keep our car at my parents house and also bunk with them when were in town in exchange for helping out on the farm.
These days, our family is constantly on the move. We take road trips around the US and make it a point to venture abroad at least once a year. We homeschool and work full-time from our laptops on the road.
To keep our lifestyle sustainable, were constantly tweaking our budget. Back when we were teachers, we used to go to the mall and end up blowing our budget. Now, we know how much we enjoy having travel experiences over mindless shopping and eating out. We thrift whenever possible, and were always looking for ways to increase our income online.
Weve found that balancing frugal living and quality of life is key to living out our worldschooling dreams while maintaining financial stability.
Advertisement Our new strategy Our ability to keep traveling hinges on a combination of strategic choices.
We embrace slow travel . This means spending extended periods in each location to minimize transportation costs and taking advantage of long-stay discounts. When we were in Europe, we were surprised that renting a car for a couple of days cost more than an entire months lodging.
We opt for free pet-sitting opportunities when available. One time, we spent the Christmas holidays in a house next to Disney World for free in exchange for watching a couple of slobbery bulldogs.
Authors children admiring mountains from a distance. Beth McCarter When it comes to international travel, we select our next destination based on ticket affordability. While we would love to go back to Asia and Europe, our budget often means we have to explore closer to home for the time being.
Advertisement A passive income stream, such as selling a digital product, can help. I wish I had learned about passive income earlier. The only downside is that it can take a while to develop. Ive put several years of work into this project, but I now earn a small amount of income every month from blog posts Ive written about both travel and homeschooling that include links to affiliate products.
Worldschooling isnt a never-ending vacation There have been a lot of mishaps along the way — my kids both caught COVID-19 in Tahiti and I sprained my ankle in a rabbit hole in rural France. Weve also faced criticism for our choice to travel. My in-laws are especially disapproving and are openly against homeschooling.
The biggest setback of worldschooling has been the lack of adult time. Finding personal space is hard when youre staying in hotels or small Airbnbs.
I did it for my inner child Worldschooling, for me, is also about fulfilling my childhood dreams. I travel for my 11-year-old self, who spent countless hours dreaming of traveling and watching House Hunters International. My current lifestyle is in many ways, a heartfelt celebration of my inner childs dreams.
Advertisement In that way, its about setting an example for my children. I believe that its essential for kids to witness their parents, especially their mothers, pursuing their own happiness and fulfilling their dreams.
My own mother sacrificed everything to be able to homeschool me and my siblings. Since becoming a parent myself, Ive realized that giving everything up for the sake of your children is not healthy for you or them. By living out my travel dreams, Im showing my children, especially my daughter, that your dreams shouldnt die when you become a mom.
Worldschooling isnt just about education and exploration; for me, its a journey of self-discovery and setting an empowering example for my children.
Beth McCarter is a certified teacher and the creator of The Homeschool Graduate.
Advertisement Got a personal essay about living abroad or parenting that you want to share? Get in touch with the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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