Digital nomad family: But what about the children?

by Michele Mundy, worldschooling mum at Coddiwomple

So, you are all set to live a life on the road. But how does it work when you’ve got a digital nomad family? Can you really just uproot them from their happy, healthy suburban lives? Will taking them away from their friends and families scar them forever? What about their school, you can’t just pull them out of school, can you? What about college? How will they go to college? These are the questions that stop many potential digital nomad families in their tracks. The good news is: the kids will be fine! They will even thrive!

Yes, you want to see the world, but don’t you want your children to too? Wouldn’t it be great if they could learn another language, not through verb charts and vocabulary lists, but organically, through play? Research has proven that children have an aptitude for languages that we lose as adults. Their brains are hard wired to learn how to communicate, so adding a second or even third language makes much more sense while they are still young.

What about friends? How will they make friends in foreign countries, or even more challenging: can they still make friends if you’re on the road all the time? These are valid questions. It can be hard for children in a digital nomad family that’s constantly moving to find opportunities to make friends. Fortunately there is a growing community of digital nomad families all over the world. Arranging meetups with other worldschooling families is a great way to make some lasting relationships. There is often a quick, deep connection made among traveling children. Worldschoolerconnect is another great way to meet traveling families. The benefit of having nomadic friends is that you can have friends and penpals in every corner of the world.

There are also numerous opportunities for your children to get involved in local activities. If your children are interested in sports they can play soccer just as easily in Barcelona, Shanghai, or Cali. They can learn piano in Tulum, Bali, or Budapest. Children all over the world participate in extracurricular activities and yours can too. It may take some extra effort on your part to find the right fit but finding extracurricular activities for digital nomad families strengthens your kids language skills, gives them opportunities to make friends, and furthers their skills in sports or music.

School

The big question. Luckily we live in a day and age that this question is one of the easiest ones to answer. There are loads of different ways to educate your children as a digital nomad family. You could enroll them in a local public or private school. You could homeschool them. You could unschool them. You could enroll them in an online school based in your home country. We are finally learning that there is more to education than just sitting in a classroom among peers of your same age from the same neighborhood and economic background.

If you really want your children to become fluent in the local language, it can be a good idea is to enroll them in a local public or private school. This helps them make friends and really gain a deeper understanding of the target language. Sometimes we feel the public education is subpar in different countries, but there are many ways to supplement their learning at home as well.

Homeschooling is quickly becoming a popular alternative educational choice in the United States and many other countries. With the right resources, homeschooling is not as daunting as you think. There are loads of free and paid online resources and programs that can help you educate your children without being loaded down by too many traditional (and heavy) books.

Free resources:

Paid resources:

Unschooling is a type of homeschooling where the philosophy is that children will learn what they need to in a natural and organic way. The idea is that children are natural learners and it is your role to help them find the resources on the topics that interest them. It is a child centered way of learning in which the learner decides what and how they will learn. Unschooling is a wonderful way to inspire a passion for learning when you’re a digital nomad family. This can open doors to an immense variety of topics that you never even dreamed of teaching your children.

Nowadays you can even have the traditional school experience while traveling. It is a bit more complicated to get the scheduling down, but there are plenty of programs out there that teach according to the Common Core standards of the U.S. public school system. Like K12 or Connections Academy.

College

If you homeschool or unschool your child how will he ever be able to get into a decent university? Well, homeschooling has become so popular recently, that just about every university in the U.S. has a way to admit homeschoolers. You just have to take extra care to document what your child is learning. Time spent abroad is an excellent way for universities to differentiate your teen from the rest of the pack. If there is a way for your student to write an essay that incorporates his time spent abroad this will make him stand out from the crowd. Traveling children are often more mature, self motivated, and worldly than most incoming freshmen, and these are characteristics that many universities are seeking from potential incoming students.

Traveling with your children gives them a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about new cultures, learn new languages, make all kinds of friends, and see the world. Having children should not be the reason that is stopping you from living a dream life on the road as a digital nomad family, they should be a catalyst to help spur you into action. This isn’t just your life, its theirs too, you can give your kids the best opportunities by showing them the world.

About the author

Michele Mundy is a worldschooling, full time traveling mom to three boisterous boys. Their digital nomad family adventure began in the summer of 2016 when they traded their stressful lives among the ratrace in the suburbs of Houston for a life of adventure and travel South America. It hasn’t been easy, but there is no growth without challenge! They are currently exploring Chile. You can follow their adventures at https://coddiwomple.blog/, on Facebook or Instagram.

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