HIHTK Episode 009 Queenie Tan – “How Worldschooling Broke Her Culture Norms”

worldschoolers, travellers, nomads, travel family, roadschoolers, Costa Rica, family life
HIHTK Episode 008 Mia Lockhart- “Choosing Experiences Over Things”
September 29, 2017
worldschool, unschool, worldschoolers, unschoolers, entrepreneur, family travel, single mom, worldschooling single mom, travel with kids, roadschooling, free to learn, self directed learning, parent coach, asia parent coach,
HIHTK Episode 010- Part 2 “How Worldschooling Broke Her Culture Norms”
October 29, 2017
parent coach, worldschooler, unschooling, montessori teacher, teacher trainer, asia parent coach, early childhood educator, Peter Gray, worldschooling, unschooling,

Queenie Tan–Asia’s Elite Parent Coach, Teacher,  Teacher Trainer, International Speaker, Worldschooler

This month we are continuing our series on worldschooling. These episodes feature families that are living and learning on the road, each with their own unique stories and perspective. This week is part 1 of a 2 part interview with Queenie Tan.

Fighting Dyslexia

Queenie Tan struggled to meet the cultural standards of her society from a young age. Teachers branded her stupid and lazy because of her dyslexia. Not understanding how dyslexia worked Queenie’s teachers used external motivation that affected her self image and self esteem. Once she finished school Queenie was determined to become the teacher she never had. She trained as a Montessori teacher, received her Bachelors of Education then continued on to her Masters of Education. Queenie devoted her time to better training teachers to bring out the best in students in the right way.

Once she became a parent she wanted to use her training and education to make sure that her boys did not have the same school experience as she did.  She enrolled them in the top private school in Hong Kong but after time she began to see many things in common with her boys. One is dyslexic, one is gifted and neither were fitting into the school system. Queenie questioned why she was spending so much money for them to attend a school they never seemed to be part of.

Against The Norms

After much research and consideration Queenie decided to do something drastically different from her culture, her beliefs of the education system, even the beliefs of her spouse. She decided to pull her boys out of school. This defied their country’s cultural norms and rules. Taking her boys out meant that it would be extremely difficult for them to return. And then now what would she do? Their best and only option was to leave the country.

The Start of Worldschooling

She had to make a lot of plans to leave. She had to make sure it was sustainable. A series of events fell into place, including meeting and working with Dr Peter Gray that helped her to adjust her perspectives on schooling. With her work online and building her role as an international speaker Queenie decided to leave Hong Kong with her boys to unschool and full time worldschool.

This fall is their one year anniversary worldschooling.

Unsure at first if this would be the right course of action Queenie now sees her boys thriving and excited about life and learning. They are picking up skills that they never would have if they had stayed in school.

What Are They Learning?

Worldschooling has been a learning curve for them. Queenie’s previous views on learning and education have shifted. She believed learning had to be structured, measured, and quantified. She instead now sees learning as experiential and contextual.

After research and talking to other homeschooling parents she took the suggestion to deschool first. Deschooling has been important because it has given them time to figure out where they fit in. The boys are so used to being told what to learn and do. Now they have their own projects and run their own businesses!

When they started on their worldschooling journey they made the agreement that mom provides food and shelter but they provide their own funds for travel. Both boys pay for their travel through their own work and businesses. Because of this they are extremely appreciative of their travels. They have a weekly Sunday night business meeting with their mom where they exchange ideas and give updates on their businesses and plans.

Queenie is an entrepreneur. Along with her international speaking career she runs a parent coaching business and a consultant business for successful start ups. She has enlisted mentors to help her on this journey. She now encourages her sons to do and learn the same way. Now they all learn through travel, YouTube and hiring specific teachers or coaches.

Asia’s Elite Parent Coach

Queenie’s family focus is building their emotional awareness and resilience. Working on their resilience gives them the skills to adapt. She is also trying to create an environment where they can express themselves freely. She says this goes against many Asian cultural beliefs about children.

Queenie talked about her transition from a culture and place where women do not have a strong voice in society. She finds that even though her generation of parents are bound by strong cultural norms they want to do more but don’t know where to start. Queenie says, “how we parent is largely influenced by our culture”. She feels that parenting experts don’t understand the Asian culture in this context. Even though there is literature and ideas online, there are not many resources available in Asia right now.

Growing up in Asia but trained in Australia, Queenie understands both sides and brings this into her parent coaching. She can help make the transition easier because she knows where they are coming from and the challenges parents in Asia have. 

“We all have the same struggles. We are trying to figure out what works for us rather than trying to configure to social or cultural norms.” Her goal is teaching her clients to raise children with resilient mindsets.


Queenie Tan – http://foongkwin.com/

Queenie’s Podcast