In twenty years as a healthcare manager and executive, I’ve had the privilege to launch over a dozen medical devices globally in twice as many countries, to develop complex analytical models that forecast the future of pharmaceuticals, and to partner with AI firms so that we may deliver better and cheaper healthcare to patients while embracing important but complex data privacy and IT considerations. It’s been a fulfilling and exciting career.
And with all that, I can still say worldschooling has been some of the hardest and most rewarding work I’ve ever done. If we’ve done our job right, this year reads as a fabulous vacation of sorts, where our shiny happy children have blossomed into insightful global citizens. And that they have! But we’ve also made mistakes, and we’ve learned from them. The reality is also that to get there has taken two parts rennaissance man and five parts specialist covering the gamut of c-suite responsibilities.
In corporate parlance, we are Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of Tesseract Worldschool, an entity of no legal standing but an important mission: travelling with our children to learn and grow together. We planned an itinerary that has taken us through the expanse of human history across five continents and countless cultures, an educational curriculum that integrates what we’ve learned horizontally and vertically, and assigned lessons in Math, Language Arts, and Spanish that outpace what they would’ve learned in public or private school. And we’ve held this ship together and on mission despite many unknowns, not the least of which have been near misses with riots in India, a volcano in Bali, an earthquake in Peru, and an iguana bite in Mexico.
As Chief Operations Officers (COO), it’s been our responsibility to handle all housing, food, transport, first aid, and operating logistics that get us all from point A to point B. We adapt when conditions demand it, and make our own luck through foresight to avoid such conditions in the first place where we can. We roll out improvised human resource programs to sustain morale and motivation for learning, whether at 4am as we catch an early morning flight with three small children or late into the night as we persevere through an unplanned housing complication. And yet, we don’t allow ourselves the option to fire anyone on the team, especially the little ones — although it’s certainly been tempting at times.
As Chief Financial Officers (CFO), we have had to plan for a journey that has few, if any clear benchmarks. I have already written an entire post on budgeting for worldschooling, and the many different ways that people choose to do it. Ours reflected our priorities and tradeoffs, and we’ve been very happy with the return on our individual and collective investment this year. For less than the cost of private schooling, a luxury car, or a fancy remodel, we have shown our children the world. Resuming our commitment to plan and save for other important life events will take on renewed importance when we get back.
As the Chief Information Officer (CIO), I was also responsible for procuring a set of technologies from tablets to security and streaming devices that balanced our needs for lightweight travel with the systems needed to make learning effective and efficient on the road. I manage an array of programs that keep us in active communication across twenty different countries, over two dozen educational progams that track and encourage learning digitally, and archival systems that hold over ten thousand photos, all seamlessly synced, backed up and organized across six devices. When anything goes wrong, I am both, the lowly IT technician and the exalted CIO.
As Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), we sold this idea to our skeptical children, who questioned why we would be leaving the structure of home, and have inspired them to become leaders in pursuit of their own education. We have established an enthusiasm for worldschooling in them, as well as from over a hundred followers on our blog, some of whom are now considering a worldschooling experience of their own. To the extent that we can, we are considering formalizing some of our processes to make it more appealing and accessible to them. This is something we feel passionate about, and are happy to help others who may be considering such a journey.
Considering all it takes to worldschool, I am surprised that more hasn’t gone off track; on the other hand, considering the team I have and the attention we’ve brought to bear, I’m proud of what we’ve done this year and not at all surprised.
Our next adventure will likely involve some greater measure of returning to mainstream society, but I have every intention of bringing my newfound appreciation for creativity and innovation to whatever I do.
Below: the executives hard at work