We just finished hosting our first two worldschooling pop-ups in Veracruz, Mexico!!!
It was amazing!!! I’m so happy that back in October when we were offered this opportunity we said Yes! I will share more details, so keep on reading!!!
What is a worldschooling pop-up?
First of all let me clarify that woorldschooling pop-ups are temporary weeklong gatherings for worldschooling families wanting to explore a new place and/or share some community time. We all have in common our lifestyle or how we educate our kids, so it is a great moment of connection.
Worldschooling pop-ups can be offered anywhere in the world where someone is willing to set one up. A plan is put together by the hosting family, giving everyone an idea of what we will be doing together during the week. Don’t worry though, everything is very flexible, and families pick where to join and where not to.
Let me give you some examples of experiences: visiting the museum, swimming at the beach, strolling the farmers’ market, and more, obviously they vary based on the location and what it offers. In all these planned moments of course there is also room for unexpected, spontaneous adventures.
How did we start hosting worldschooling pop-ups?
Let me tell you the story of how it all started!
Our family was in the US for a few months to spend time with grandma. We were on a road trip when we received a message from Rachel, the owner, and creator of https://www.worldschoolpopuphub.com/, asking if we might be interested in hosting a pop-up in Veracruz, Mexico in March 2023.
Why there? Well, because we were going to attend the Project World School Family summit, (you can learn more about that in this post and video below). She mentioned that the year before, they had run one worldschooling pop-up before and one after the summit, and families appreciated the extra time together.
As Mass was driving, I was reading him this message. Rachel explained what it entailed and how much time and work we would have to put into it before and during the worldschooling pop-ups. Rachel was writing to me in the middle of the night (for her) because she was in Iceland! This is the beauty of full-time traveling families, we are all over the world and always connected! We were getting increasingly intrigued by what she was telling us. Finally, we told her to go to bed and that we would think about it and let her know. At that point we had all the information we needed.
Mass and I barely overthink things, especially when they feel right. This felt right, so of course, we said YES! When we like a new project we tend to get even more excited start coming up with more ideas! So here we were on our 4-hour drive from Reno to Mount Shasta, chatting about this and other possible pop-up locations. We were thilled by this new opportunity!
The next day I contacted Rachel and confirmed that we would host both the Veracruz pop-ups and add one in Florence, Italy as well. We had already planned to fly back to Europe after the summit to get our camper van and drive around for the summer, so we could easily spend a week with families in our hometown!
Our afterthoughts about the worldschooling pop-up decisions
We started working on the general plans for our worldschooling pop-ups on our drive back to Arizona. What we would see and do during the week. This would give people the chance to start signing up.
We had never been to Veracruz, so I started reading blogs and watching a few youtube videos to get an idea. Honestly, there wasn’t as much as I had hoped. For a moment, I also thought, “What did I get myself into?” This was our first worldschooling pop-up, and I didn’t know what was expected from me! Yes, I honestly regretted not thinking about it more before accepting.
Does this ever happen to you?
Do you say yes without overthinking it because it feels right in the moment, but then everything feels more challenging once your rational mind sets in? That is what happened to me at that moment! Anyway, I remembered that there was plenty of time to figure things out and I stopped worrying.
Planning the worldschooling pop-up
I want to confirm that there is much more work behind these worldschooling pop-ups than you may think.
On Rachel’s end, she takes care of all the advertising to ensure everyone knows they are happening, when, and where. She responds to everyone’s concerns, including guests and hosts. She finds new hosts, guides them through the process, and much more we don’t know.
As for the hosts, they put together the detailed plan of the worldschooling pop-up, figure out the logistics of the location, and deal with any unexpected changes of plans that may come up. With this, I don’t want to scare anyone from hosting them. I simply want to recognize all the hard work everyone puts into this because there is plenty to do to make it successful! But the satisfaction you get at the end and the amazing new friendships you create make it worth it 100%.
A few months later, it was time to start the detailed planning.
I was back in panic mode! Where to start? I researched more blogs and videos. I couldn’t quite grasp the size and distances of everything based on the posts I was reading. Was the Zocalo (main square) huge? Was the Malecon (boardwalk) full of shops for 3 miles? I was confused.
I am fine organizing our family’s exploration of a city, but now it wasn’t just us but more families relying on my planning abilities, and this felt overwhelming! It was a new experience and a new lesson for me to learn.
It took me over a week to feel comfortable with the plan I managed to put together. I doubled checked every location and every activity on more than one website to make sure it was consistent and accurate! I still cannot believe how worked up I got with all this.
On the day of the first worldschooling pop-up
We left Guatemala and headed to Mexico, our worldschooling pop-up would be starting in just a couple of days, and I was getting so nervous. We have been traveling for almost five years, have met many new families along the way, and have had plenty of first times, but this felt different. We were the ones everyone relied on, and we were probably expected to know everything. Still, we didn’t because we had never been there!
What if we messed up?
What if the information was wrong?
What if the plan could have been better?
What if they were unsatisfied? So many “what-ifs” were running through my head!
As we walked into the Zocalo, some families were already there. We all smiled a bit shyly at each other. I immediately remembered that we were the hosts and should not be shy, so I introduced everyone and started talking. Our kids grabbed the other kids and devised a game to play while waiting for the other families. As others approached as shy as the first, we pulled them into the group.
In 15 minutes, everyone let go of their discomfort from being in a new environment with strangers. We all started chatting while the kids played ‘heads up’ together! It was magical!
When we all walked to our first location Cafe del Portal to witness the famous Cafe lechero, all defensive modes had been let down. We were laughing and taking in this first experience. We continued by walking down the Malecon and stopping randomly to watch our kids play while we couldn’t stop talking. We were all connecting.
Did everything go as planned during our worldschooling pop-ups?
Everything wasn’t perfect; we had a few hiccups and unexpected situations that meant finding an alternative solution. Nevertheless, these are valuable lessons from our first experience hosting a worldschooling pop-up that I would like to share.
#1 Be Flexible. We had planned a beach morning and a museum visit in the afternoon. Once we got to the beach, a few hours in, some parents approached me and asked if we were still going to the museum later. From how they asked, I felt they were dreading the idea of leaving this happy place and, most of all, with all the wet and tired kids. So I turned the question to the group. I asked what they wanted to do. Of course, everyone just wanted to stay there! I told them we would make the aquarium happen, and everyone enjoyed the day.
#2 You cannot control the weather. We planned another beach day, but as we walked out of the museum, the wind got so strong that we could not keep our eyes open! We had to cancel the beach and find a new plan. After a moment of general panic, we decided to take a break and get food. Works miracles! With full bellies, we decided to venture to the playground and see from there. We stayed for over 2 hours also with the wind!
#3 Listen to the kids. If the kids are happy and having fun, the parents can relax and enjoy some adult talk. If this means giving up an activity because the beach works out better, it is ok! Our kids played all together for hours and their ages went from 6 to 14, meanwhile the parents talked for hours; it was good for everyone’s souls!
#4 It isn’t only about seeing or doing everything! Initially, I thought everyone expected us to offer a complete itinerary that we would explore together. As from the lessons above, the primary purpose is to create community. To connect. If this means that something on the plan doesn’t work, there is nothing wrong with that; there are no set rules, just possibilities offered. The primary purpose is to be together and make friendships with people that speak the same “life language.”
Would we do more worldschooling pop-ups?
Before it started, I would have responded, “absolutely not!” I felt a bit tired, and I did overwhelm myself by planning three worldschooling pop-ups very close to each other! Let’s say I worked hard on complicating my life more! However, everything changed after spending the first few minutes with the first families!
It was so hard to say goodbye, but the fact that there was this new way of connecting with families made everything so much more valuable and possible!
As soon as we finished the worldschooling pop-up, I felt the need to do a video about this week to share with the world what a beautiful possibility this is for worldschooling families; here is the link.
Yes, we would do more, and we are already planning our next possible location. However, remember that this isn’t something you can decide to do last minute for organizational purposes. If you are thinking of hosting a worldschooling pop-up, it will need to be planned for a few months later to give people a chance to find out about it and plan accordingly; for more information on how it works, click here!
If you are interested in finding some community and sharing some time, check this link to find out where the future worldschooling pop-up is happening so you can join! Make sure also to sign up to the Mailing List here (at the bottom of the page of the link above) to find out when new worldschooling pop-ups come out; in fact, there is an early bird price which makes it an even better deal!!!
Our worldschooling community is growing worldwide so get out there and join!!!
We are looking forward to meeting you at one of the future worldschooling pop-ups or maybe participate at yours!!!