Worldschooling Without Fear

May 15, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Meet WSE Members

Meet Brittany McCardle

I never thought I would be a traveling worldschooling mom. It was never my dream. My dream was to stay as close to home as possible, and raise my kids within the four familiar walls of my average suburban home. I thought the world was a frightening place. It was unknown to me. Home was safe. Home was comfortable. At home, I knew what to expect each day. But the love of travel snuck up on me one year when I began to open my mind and my heart to what life could look like without fear.

Meet Brittany McCardleIt was an unlikely trip to Scotland when my first daughter was just a toddler that changed everything. My husband was called to Scotland for business, and I planned to meet him there for one month. In the days leading up to that trip, I was a nervous wreck. I would be for the first time, crossing an ocean on a plane to land in a foreign country with only myself, my baby girl and a suitcase in tow. I wasn’t sure if I could face so many unknowns. I was getting ready to meet the world and I wasn’t sure if I would like what I found. But I knew I needed to take this trip. Earlier that year God had whispered to my heart, and instead of shrinking back and obeying my fears, I began to trust that everything would be OK.

As my plane finally began to descend towards London, the cabin lights flickered on, the captain’s voice came overhead and everyone shifted in their seats preparing to greet land. Right then something shifted in my soul. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I did it. I had endured ten hours in the air keeping my toddler happy and occupied and managed not to fall apart into a fearful nervous heap. I had faced my fear and lived to see the other side. And it was beautiful. When I finally stepped foot on Scottish soil, the emerald green hills, the granite houses and ghostly castles filled my heart with wonder. I had tasted adventure and I not only survived it, but I loved it.

When our first daughter was born we knew that we would homeschool her. It was a natural choice for us. It was a decision I didn’t have to question, in my gut I knew it was right. However, the homeschooling years were still far off, and I was torn between the thrill of teaching my own children and the panic of failing as their teacher. When my second daughter was still wrapped in swaddling cloths, a good friend of mine told me to read Learning All The Time by John Holt. So one Christmas while my family left to celebrate the holiday, I rocked my sleepy baby in a quiet house and devoured that little book, highlighting sections I knew I didn’t want to forget. Inside something shifted again, and I began to let go of my fears of being an imperfect teacher to my children. I began trusting that children knew how to learn. They were good at it. My job as their teacher was simply to help, encourage, motivate, lead and provide resources and experiences that would shape them into people that loved to learn. My eyes were suddenly opened to see learning all around me, in little everyday routines and in grand adventures.

I was pregnant with my third sweet little girl when my husband and I had a conversation late one night that changed the course of our lives radically: What if we weren’t afraid? What if, at the end of our lives, we had no regrets? Answering those questions honestly meant we were ready to trade the familiar for the unknown and the comfortable for the challenging. Within the year we had said goodbye to family and friends, traveled to the U.S east coast and moved aboard our newly bought 47’ sailboat.

Meet Brittany McCardleThe world was suddenly open to us. Where would we go? What would we do? Now anything seemed possible! There were many that tried to tell us that it wasn’t safe to take three young children on the water. Many warned us of the world’s dangers, but by then I knew better. I knew the world was filled with more than fear. It was filled with breathtaking beauty. It was filled with wonder and warmth. It was filled with sights and sounds and smells that tantalized my senses. When I placed my trust in the kindness of a Creator who placed all this here to make me smile, the fears that once seemed so real simply vanished.

With a kindergartner, a preschooler and an infant, my husband and I traveled along the coast from Maryland to Florida, and then we crossed the Gulf Stream to explore the Bahamas. As we make our way back North I am reflecting on all of the experiences my girls have been able to have because of this journey.

They have visited museums of science, walked through aquarium tunnels and touched sting rays. They have explored an alligator farm and seen exotic animals. They have witnessed an octopus in the wild and watched it curiously follow us. They have helped us in cleaning up an ecological preserve from hurricane debris, and toured a local fisherman’s lobster boat in the Bahamas. They have run barefoot across beaches, discovered countless shells, seen dolphins leap through the air and named birds. They have witnessed the sun set and the Milky Way in all its glory. They have seen nothing but ocean all around them, felt the wind through their hair, and listened to herons in the night. They have made friends of all ages: adults, children and teenagers. But most importantly, they are learning that the world outside our front door is not a terrifying place. It is not something to hide from or shrink back from. It has its challenges, but it has beauty and wonder too.

I have come a long way since those four familiar walls that I was once afraid to leave, but I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. Now we are experiencing a life without boundaries. We are worldschooling without fear!

Brittany, her husband and three girls have been saying “Yes!” to adventure since October 2016, traveling and worldschooling in their floating home. Brittany loves God, writing and bonfires on the beach. She blogs about faith, travel, homeschooling and the beauty of living an unconventional life at You can connect with her daily on Instagram @familyatsea or on Facebook