Worldschooling Spotlight

Get to Know the Wong Family

Meet the Wong Family, otherwise known as Globetrotter Kin. Kelvin, Kimberly, and son Karson are a part-time worldschooling family, who balances a traditional life of living and working while still traveling whenever possible.

Ever since Kelvin and Kimberly first got together they have always focused on traveling the world and creating memorable experiences. When Karson came along, they were excited to share the world with him and create new memories together, as a family.

Based in Hong Kong, the family finds it easy to get caught up in the fast pace dynamics of the city. Traveling allows them to release the stress while exploring and learning about the history, heritage, and culture of the countries they visit.

Kelvin and Kimberly love watching Karson learn through his experiences! They believe the worldschooling way of life is a wonderful way to encourage children to follow their passions and be truly engaged in their learning.

Today I ask them how they manage a part-time worldschooling lifestyle, so if this sounds like something you’d like to find out more about, join me as we speak with Kelvin and Kimberly.

Introduce yourself

Kimberly Wong

Hi, I’m Kimberly.

Kelvin Wong

Hi, I’m Kelvin.

Kimberly Wong

Nice to meet you, we have a six-year-old son. His name is Karson, we’re the globetrotterkin, and we are part-time travelers.

How does your family Worldschool?

Kimberly Wong

We are part-time travelers.

Kelvin Wong

Yes, we try to travel once a month.

Kimberly Wong

And generally, we go everywhere. I was brought up in North America, and now we are residing in Hong Kong, because of how flights are here, it’s easy for us to travel everywhere in the world. We’ve been to Europe, North America, and most parts of Asia.

Kelvin Wong

I think we’ve been to four continents, and we’re hoping to expand to all of them, bit by bit gradually.

What is Worldschooling?

Kimberly Wong

Okay, so worldschooling to us, is learning through the travel experience. Children get to learn firsthand and gain knowledge and insights through the process of travel. At the same time, because of the process of exposure that they gain in traveling, you’re able to expand their horizon and be able to learn about different cultures and different heritage. At the same time, of course, we want them to be able to put it into use in real life.

Why did you start Worldschooling?

Kelvin Wong

There’s a Chinese proverb; it says that instead of reading thousands of scrolls and books, you might as well travel thousands of miles. I think that’s what we’re trying to do with our son. We want to experience first hand with him everything that we’ve seen, everything that we’ve experienced together and learn together rather than reading it in text.

When did you start Worldschooling?

Kimberly Wong

The first travel experience that my son had was when he was a year and three months old. We took him back to Vancouver. That’s where I was brought up. Then afterward, we traveled down to Seattle with him. So I guess it started then, but in the early beginning stage, we traveled every three months, and then slowly it evolved to monthly travel. Last year, we were very lucky we managed to travel every month of the year. We went to different countries every single month. We went to Singapore twice last year; we like it so much, we went back. But other than that, we managed to travel every single month. So at the moment, we’re trying to travel every month, but with the current conditions, it doesn’t allow us to.

Kelvin Wong

I think what really sparked our interest in traveling together as a family, this regularly, is because back when Karson was only a year old, during our Seattle trip, he didn’t speak much, his first words were mama, papa and his third word was airplane. And that was at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. So we were really touched. Because Karson was learning through his firsthand experience, he was so excited. We wanted that to be extended on and on. So we get him to see new things every time.

Kimberly Wong

It was very impactful, every single experience he gained through traveling. He has been learning a lot and the stuff that he received, it’s not just what we read off of books, he gets to understand the process, and also experience it firsthand. It makes it more memorable for him. And at the same time, through the process, we’re building memories as well, which is very important. And he loves to share that with his teachers and his classmates at school.

We were very into traveling as a couple already. I think when we first started dating, the first year of our dating, I think we had traveled already three or four times. Which I guess we were still young back then and it was quite a bit already.

Kelvin Wong

Travelling was how we started.

Kimberly Wong

Yes, we started dating when we first went to Taiwan. So that was our first trip, and that’s when we started dating too. So it was very funny. It was a grad trip together.

Kelvin Wong

I guess we just thought that with Karson, our son coming along, we just couldn’t let him miss out on all these wonderful things that we’ve seen in the world, so he gradually made it back to every location that we’ve been to.

Kimberly Wong

When we started traveling with Karson, we did a lot that we didn’t do as a couple, because after all, there is a lot to learn. Like, for example, some museums that we wanted to visit back then we thought that it would be great if we had a child, and we can bring him back. We did a lot of things like theme parks, and also there are some hands-on experience where he got to visit temples, local culture, even street markets. We expose him to quite a bit, and it just came along because we realized that he became more inquisitive, and it helps with his holistic learning. We want him to be a more holistic person on the whole. So it’s very important for him to be exposed to what we were exposed to. When we were adults, we had already graduated from university, and that’s when we started traveling. So we wanted him to be exposed to travel earlier than us.

Kelvin Wong

The one thing I realized, which amazed me was that at each place, we thought that we were amazed the first time around, but every time we experience new and old places with our son, it just gets exponentially better.

How did you discover Worldschooling?

Kimberly Wong

In the past, I was an educator. I discovered Worldschooling through some articles in magazines, related to education. We learned about Worldschooling, through the IB curriculum as well, where the children have an experience week and are allowed to go abroad to experience through travel. They get to stay in a local hostel, and they get to interact with local students. It’s kind of like an exchange program. But at the same time, they get to help build houses and do different things, and through the process, they’re not only learning about the local cultural experiences, but they’re expanding their personality as well, they get to know themselves better. At the same time, of course, it is a self-enhancement process as well.

So that’s when I first started to be exposed to Worldschooling .

How do your kids learn through Worldschooling?

Kimberly Wong

There are a number of things we prep Karson with. First of all, we rely heavily on YouTube, because there’s a lot of vloggers out there. And before we plan a trip, or even when we start planning our trip, generally we would ask him if he wants to go to a place. Karson has an idol; his channel is Lost LeBlanc. Not surprisingly, he’s Canadian as well, like me; his name is Christian LeBlanc. So he’s really interested in his videos. He gets exposed to different types of videos of the place, and he gets to know what kind of experience he would be experiencing, what he wants to do, he gets a say in it and the process, and at the same time, he gets to know what is going to happen.

Then after watching these videos, we would pick up themed books related to the experience. For example, if we’re going to a tropical island, we would decide on marine life-related books and books under Osborne’s publisher. There are a few different publishers that we like that we would opt for. He would read those books, and we’ll go through them. Even some fictional stories related to the theme, we would choose and read with him before bedtime, and then afterward, he would know more about what he’s going to experience, what he’s going to see. And then, at that stage, he would be somewhat prepared or ready.

Kelvin Wong

I’m happy to say that my son is more educated by now than I am about some destinations that I’ve never been to. He will come back to me saying Daddy, did you know that they have this in Paris and that you could do this? He said to me, Daddy, I really want to go to the desert. I’ve never been there; I want to ride a camel. I saw Christian LeBlanc do it, so I want to do it too. Sometimes, when I go out with him, he will ask me to pick up my phone and take a vlog, then he wants to speak about something that he saw along the road. So I’m really amazed by the inquisitive mindset that he’s had as a result of his travels, and he’s really interested in travel, per se.

Kimberly Wong

His school also uses the IB system, IB early years. He’s in a private school at this moment, so the way they educate him is also through the IB. Basically, IB has a learning system; they have different personality traits that they train on, which is also training them to be all-rounders, holistic people, and they expect that the children will be inquisitive as well, which is very good. They train by theme as well, similar to how we do it at home. I guess we go parallel with what the school is doing. But the school is enforcing more on the knowledge parts. Like for example, with phonics. The reading skill set he would pick up. But at the same time, to help him expand his vocabulary, be able to structure sentences better, and for him to be able to have more topics to talk about, that’s what we develop on our side.

What qualities do you think your children have developed because of Worldschooling?

Kimberly Wong

Because we travel, Karson not only is able to talk about what is in the books, but also what he has experienced himself firsthand. He’s able to share, which is very impactful because not only is he learning himself, but he’s also sharing with his peers and he’s able to educate others as well.

Recently, Karson had a parent-teacher conference night. I was able to talk to his English teacher. His English teacher was telling us how he was just talking about the Tower Bridge, and how there’s another bridge, and all of these different bridges in the world. His classmates were all very interested in it, which was very good. After all, we want him to be able to share. Our son was very timid, very shy; he was born timid. Up until he was four years old, he was still a very timid person. He didn’t speak much. He’s was very quiet and traveling changed him. Especially in the past year. We’ve traveled every single month and he’s been exposed to different experiences. From meeting people from different cultures, learning about different animals and going snorkeling with us, he did a lot of things, both active and passive, and through the process, he got to experience a lot, and it opened him up. He was able to talk a lot more, and he’s more willing to approach strangers. He was more willing to share with others, which is very important, I think.

Kelvin Wong

I’m happy to say that traveling and school have been a good fit, because as my wife said, Karson used to be very timid and very shy, and frequent traveling has transformed him. His interpersonal skills have improved tenfold. He’s willing to share; he’s willing to talk about things now to different people and teach them things that he’s learned along the road. So we appreciate all the benefits that traveling has brought to him, and he has brought back to school. He’s become a much more popular person now.

Kimberly Wong

And he found a passion too; he found his passion during his travels.

Once you made the decision to start Worldschooling, what happened next?

Kimberly Wong

Firstly, we had a 14-hour flight. We started off with a long haul flight. A lot of people thought we were crazy because we were first-time parents.

Number two is the fact that our child had never traveled. So it was his first experience, and we were taking him to North America from Hong Kong, which is quite a bit of a distance. So a lot of people were like, Oh, are you sure you want to do that? But we did a number of things to ensure that we were well prepared.

We were afraid that he would be awake during the entire flight and not sleep. So we chose a red-eye flight. We chose to fly out at night when he sleeps. Many people told us that we should go and get medication from the doctor like flu medicine or something, just so we could put him to sleep. We were like, okay, no; I don’t want to give my son medicine when he’s not sick, it didn’t make sense to me. So we caught the red-eye flight, which was the right way to do it. We found out that it was much easier because he was already sleeping by the time we walked to the gate. We were pushing a stroller.

Kelvin Wong

We were as fast as the other travelers.

Kimberly Wong

Yes, a stroller is very important. He was in a stroller by the time we were in the airport already. So after we finished the immigration part, he was settled down, and he was sleeping by the time we walked to the gates. We got onto the flight, and although he woke up, he wasn’t up for a long time; we gave him a bottle of water, and after that, he fell back to sleep very quickly, and he slept for the whole 12 hours, which was very good.

The other good thing that happened was that we sat in the first row of the economy area. So we had legroom, which is very important because otherwise you couldn’t move around. We could switch from one person to another; I could just hand Karson over to Kelvin, and Kelvin would be able to carry him for that part of the time because back then, we didn’t have a lot of things to support children during a flight. Nowadays, I know that there are a lot of different tools and different things that people can purchase to assist them like cushions or a seat that can make them feel more comfortable in flight. Back then, we didn’t have all that, so when we first traveled, we just had to hold him.

The other thing we learned was that during takeoff and landing, we need to ensure that he’s chewing or sucking on something. That’s very important because of the air pressure. So babies and toddlers generally cry because of the air pressure in their ears, they don’t feel comfortable. So during that time, it’s best to wake them up and allow them to be sucking on their bottle, or even on a pacifier would help kids. Nowadays, we bring along candy, so we would wake him up before takeoff and before landing, and we would give him a candy to chew on so that the air pressure doesn’t affect him as much, and he doesn’t feel as uncomfortable

Kelvin Wong

I think we choose places to visit; it’s not so much about the attractions and places and things that we see, but rather the time that we spend together as a family and that we are able to fully focus on each other and not have to worry about distractions. We are able to experience everything together and solely focus on and experience everything together. As a family, that’s improved our relationships with each other. That’s one of the reasons I constantly look forward to more family travel.

When you started Worldschooling how did friends and family react?

Kelvin Wong

Quite frankly, we’ve met a lot of difficulties, pressure from family and friends during the first year, or so, when we weren’t traveling quite as frequently, every three months or so. They were still quite used to this mentality that we’re not supposed to travel so much, especially not with kids, especially not to an unfamiliar place. Their attitudes were “you better stay in a resort, you better not go anywhere” — that sort of mentality. The child has to have enough sleep and must have enough to eat. You must spend more time at home, so he doesn’t get sick, and there’s just a lot of this sort of pressure coming from family and friends until we were quite determined to overcome these challenges. We’ve been ignoring a lot of people’s advice; we’ve just been going along with monthly travel.

Kimberly Wong

Since then, we’ve been bringing back lots of pictures and videos to share.

Kelvin Wong

I think the largest, the most persuasive factor is Karson coming back and speaking to our family and friends and saying to them, did you know that there’s this in Croatia? Did you know that this wild animal reacts like this? Did you know how the whale breaches? Did you know that it was breaching right next to us, like 200 meters away and that it nearly crushed our boat? There are just so many “do you know questions” that show our son is learning something. It’s not just about fun; it has a lot of meaning to it.

The question that I’ve always come across is from my colleagues from friends and family. Why on earth do you want to bring your son at such an early age? Why do any travel that’s not going to be an all-inclusive resort? Why not just chill out?

What would you say are the biggest benefits of Worldschooling?

Kimberly Wong

Well, it has made our bond stronger. I would say traveling; it’s a common interest. We are very passionate about traveling, obviously. A lot of times, we share insights about how to travel, where to travel, what we do with our son, and how we educated him how we make him more worldly. These kinds of questions always come into our minds. Obviously, because we have so much to talk about, it has made our bond so much stronger, and at the same time, because of traveling, we have gotten to know each other better. For example, when we first started, I remember that back in the day’s Kelvin didn’t really like water much. Now he’s more into water than I am. So I used to be all about water sports. I like kayaking; I like swimming. I didn’t snorkel as much, but now, we have taken the initiative and have even taken diving lessons and want to get a PADI license so that we can go scuba diving in more places in the world. We share the same passions, and we try to build on them in many aspects.

Kelvin Wong

I think the short answer is that there’s just so much to look forward to seeing together as a family. Developing, taking pictures, developing these memories for sharing. There’s just so much that we all look forward to. Especially when we see Karson learn about something and sharing it. It just touches us in so many ways that we just want to keep this thing going on for more than a month, and probably more than once a month.

Where can we find you?

Kelvin Wong

At the moment we’re primarily using Instagram, you can find us on Instagram.

Kimberly Wong

At globetrotterkin

Kelvin & Kimberly

We have a website. We’re trying to develop that a little further by providing more insight on the itineraries and learning experiences on the blogging part. We’re also trying to expand into YouTube. So we’re going to be more serious about taking videos and hopefully letting you guys have a better view of what we experience that’s not properly captured from photographs, something that we can share with you guys more. So hoping to move into that as well.

What would you say to someone considering Worldschooling?

Kelvin Wong

I’d say just go for it. As I said, every day feels really long, but when you look back, the years are so short. I wish that I had taken the leap earlier. I feel that I’m already missing out because my son is already six. But if you’re watching and your children are still younger, then just go for it because when they are older, they won’t want to bother with the stuff you may want them to do with you. Whereas if you start early, they may already have created this special bond with you. You can then look forward to everything to be done together, to experience everything together, to focus on you more than other things. That’s just such a great feeling that I hope we can go on and on and on until they become adults.

Kimberly Wong

It is something that you can do together. And it helps build a strong bond between you and your partner, other half, and your family on the whole. It makes it so much more complete. We only live once.

Website Links

To find out more and connect with the Wong family, check out the links to their websites below.

Globetrotter Kin

Instagram

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