So Your Kids Will Be Starting School Soon Yes?

kidsbeach

One of the most common questions / comments we get is, “So where do you kids go to school or it’s good to have this wee holiday now before your kids are due to start school” – along with various  other comments.

I remember when Cindy and I first decided to make the change to our lives and head out on this adventure. One of the obvious discussions was schooling for the kids. Now so you understand I was an advocate as to why you should not home school your children. Like a lot of us I had preconceived ideas of what Home schooling was about and the “type of child” that was home schooled and yes I even used to banter on about the whole socialisation thing. They need to be with other kids to develop or they will be missing out. I truly believed that.

So I got to know some home schooling families and I spent time talking to their children I was almost embarrassed at my lack of knowledge and ability  when spending time with them. These were clever kids. They were well spoken and could quite confidently hold an interesting conversation and this wasn’t a one off experience.

So I began to entertain the idea of home schooling and getting comfortable with it when Cindy drops a bombshell! “I think we should UN-SCHOOL our children”. What?, are you mad? Next we will be dancing under the moonlight singing kombiah and drinking kombucha (which I must add Cindy makes a very good brew).

Now when we mention that this is the way we have chosen to educate our children you could imagine some of the concerned responses we get from those who care for our children apparently more than us lol.

So why have we chosen this for our children? Well now that we are more educated ourselves, I can say quite confidently, for many reasons.

As some of you may notice from reading my blogs that I am not the worlds best writer and my grammar has a lot to be questioned, but hey you get what I am saying so that is important. I use the spell checker every 5 minutes and have to google the meaning of certain words before using them. Yes I am a state schooled child!

Now I have been told that I don’t lack intelligence but  school just wasn’t quite the right fit for me. I am a very curious and creative type person but never found the ability to explore those areas while at school. I also remember losing a lot of confidence when told by a teacher that I didn’t know how to read properly and had a maths teacher say I was a mistake I was born because I was not understanding what he was teaching. Yes I know I am sure those are isolated cases yet they still affected my desire to not go to school. What I have come to realise is they just didn’t understand the way I learn. I have since gone on and self trained and managed to earn a 6 figure income and these days I am completely self taught for the skills I now have to feed my family. Mmmm does this mean we don’t stop learning after school?

Ok enough dribble about me. The reason I am now so convinced about the way we school our children is for the following reasons:

  • We are naturally designed to learn
  • Creativity allows our brain to develop
  • There are several different ways people learn
  • We can provide one on one time when our children have specific questions
  • Instead of breezing over a topic we have unlimited time to investigate it in much detail.
  • Self led learning allows our kids to find confidence and feel a sense of achievement
  • Our children will be self initiators rather than instruction lead but still have the ability to follow instruction (most likely questioning if they believe there may be a better way though)
  • They will be influenced by all ages and types of people rather than being peer led by someone who has the same understanding about life as them.
  • They will learn to engage with all walks of of life and have a broad understanding of different cultures and socio economics
  • They will think outside the square and develop the ability to be problem solvers

I could go on but you get the idea :)

So what is un-schooling?

Now I am certainly no expert on the matter as this is a whole new life for us but my understanding is the basic explanation is self led learning. You allow your child to decide what they are wanting to learn. Now to most that sounds like a scary irresponsible thing yet from what I have observed over the last year is not only is our 6 year old waking up in the morning and wanting to get his writing book out because it is considered play and his 4 year old sister will naturally follow suit.

I think the day that really summed it up for me was the day our 6 year old got to drive a full sized digger by himself (ok he had to sit on my knee to reach the controls, but he drove it). I was sitting in a digger on a Monday afternoon thinking, most kids right now may be reading the well known book A Bigger Digger while Judah is actually driving one. He has read the book as well.

Un-schooling removes the pressure to be at a certain stage in learning and gives the child the ability to express their own desire to learn at there own comfort level without having their confidence a little crushed by a well meaning teacher or other children doing better in standardized exams that don’t prove anything except your ability to memorize information. We also find it also creates a better understanding of collaboration vs competition.

Please don’t mis-understand me, this is not a rampage on teachers and an archaic schooling system that is creating followers rather than innovators and dreamers. I think teachers become teachers because they have a true desire to have input into seeing a child develop and create a successful future. The problem is I feel that the system has let them down by not providing the right tools and overloading classrooms.

I am starting to realise that play has a huge part in the development of a child and if we can create a fun learning environment for our children they will retain more and gain an understanding that school may not be able to provide. It seems to be creating a desire in our children to want to learn.

As far as socialization, our children have several good friends who they get to spend time with, but those children are of varied age which again has multiple advantages.

First off the older children feel responsible for the younger children and learn to develop natural leadership skills, The younger children gain confidence as they are encouraged by the older children to try new things. They learn to communicate at more than one level of understanding and a lot of adults have even found that communicating with our children can surprise them at times with the ability to interact with more than an uhuh response depending on what time they got to bed the night before lol.

There is so much more I could say but one thing I will say is if you have gone down this road or thinking about it you will understand that anytime you move away from tradition there comes the sense of need to justify why you are doing what you do, but at the end of the day you don’t. They are your children and your responsibility and most parents will know that any good parent will only want the best for their child. So stick to your guns.

I have done much research on this form of education and have found it is the most natural way to learn with some astounding positive effects as unschooled children develop and begin to pursue their own future. I myself have taken and passed the mensa exam but school just wasn’t quite sure how to take the way I learn and develop it.

I have included a video below that will help explain in more detail what self directed education is:

 

 

 

Trusting the Process

seaview

I know when I was a kid I had big dreams. I was going to be a millionaire buy the age of 30. As I grew my priorities changed, I wanted to travel. I wanted to get a van throw a mattress in the back and go explore New Zealand and meet lots of people and have amazing experiences on the way.

I have always been a free spirited kind of a person which at times has got me into trouble or frowned upon so I began to conform. I got the office job and settled in and became very good at what I did. Several years later I find myself unhappy but doing “what’s right”

I couldn’t take it anymore, you know the story if you have checked out our website.

I hope this short blog will encourage you if you are or were one of those people that had dreams. No matter what they are, they will continue to niggle in the background unless you mange to bury them real deep and convince yourself you are doing the right thing or actually pursuing them. The problem with burying them is that I felt a continual dissatisfaction which grew as I grew.

The one thing I see stopping people from pursuing what excites them is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of what others will think, fear of not being able to provide. So what have I learnt in the last year?

We were sitting in our bus last night with a really nice couple from Switzerland that had parked up next to us and as we sat and talked I began to share some of the things we have experienced since life on the road. The more I talked the more I realised how we have relaxed and began to trust the process. Something happens when you are true to yourself and follow what is in your heart. Things seem to work.

I am not saying there are no hard times. One story I was sharing with them was the time we pulled up somewhere miles from anyone we knew anyone in a town we had never been and checked our bank account to sort out or budget for the week. Mmmm $4.49 left with no sign of income. Once upon a time that would have scared the life out of me, but within half an hour someone stuck their head in our bus window and asked if I would help them with some building work which feed us for a few weeks and allowed us to get out and about. I have several stories like that.

In my old life even though I had what I thought was security I would still get to the end of the week and feel stressed about money even though I knew there was a pay check coming the next week. Now we don’t have that pleasure yet I smile daily at the thought that in the year we have been travelling we have not missed one meal and we are getting to see a beautiful country and meet some amazing people.

So what’s changed? A lot! I have learnt to relax and trust my dreams, the things that get me out of bed every morning and know that I am being true to myself. I have learnt to trust the process of stepping out to pursue who I am and why I am living this life. If you are reading this and you still have a dream pushed deep down inside, my advice would be get going, take the first step even if it’s something like reading a daily blog about how someone else has achieved what it is you are wanting to do. It will inspire and hopefully stir something inside of you to do the same.

My next piece of advice would be start learning how to live that life, look at others who have done the same and learn from them. Ask them questions, watch what they do. Even though we are now on the road, it was a 7 year process to get there including training myself in new skills that would be conducive to the life we have chosen to lead.

If you feel encouraged by this please keep following this blog and I will do my best to write stuff that will be helpful to your process. Talk to us, get in touch and tell us your dreams and the things you aspire too. Sometimes just chewing the fat with someone else can be the catalyst to seeing it come true! Be sure to pop in for a coffee if you see us on the road :)

Survived a Year!

capereinga

busdoorWell it’s been a year on the road and we have survived. If this is a life you have dreamed about, my simple advice would be give it a go! I remember just over a year ago with three weeks left at my desk job having a mild panic attack at the decision I had made to quite my job and hit the road full-time. I remember thinking what on earth have I just done? I have a family to feed and I am giving up the one way I really know how to make a regular income. Yet here we are just over a year later and living a life that I still wake up daily pinching myself to ensure it’s real.

I am not saying this life is perfect but it is pretty close. I am sitting here writing this blog post after spending the morning swimming in a heated pool then relaxing with another bus family and enjoying a relaxing lunch then opening my laptop to get busy with this blog. Moving the bus later to park under some trees next to a park tonight to go to a market in the morning and hang with the locals.

A life I once dreamed about and can only kick myself I didn’t take the plunge sooner. I have decided to liven this blog up and begin to share our experiences and the things we have learnt on the way.

All I can say is if you don’t want to change then this life is not for you. It has challenged me to the core at times and revealed things I never knew about myself. It has grown me and helped me realise what is really important to me and my family.

It was recently said to me that I have chosen a narrow life with the comment that my children will be missing out by not attending a school and that I should get a real job, yet the person who challenged me is surrounded by 4 walls a garden and a fence where they connect with 2 of their neighbours and lots of routine. Yet we now live a life with no real boundaries or limit to the people we are meeting and the daily experiences which differ from day to day. I would imagine it is difficult for someone to realise what goes on once the wheels on the bus begin to roll and we leave the confines of a “normal” life.

We have met some amazing people on our short journey so far, people we have laughed with cried with, shared our lives with and had the privilege of them allowing us into their lives. What can I say, this is a very rich life that I feel my insides continually expanding with expectation of what is next.

Do things go wrong? Is it an easy life? Yes things go wrong and no it’s not the easiest life, but is it rewarding? YES! I feel ruined to ever return to life as I knew it before the bus. Would I recommend this life? Absolutely!

Some of the stuff I would like to write about:

  • Day to day life on the road
  • Weekly chores, dumpstation, washing clothes
  • Money, how do you survive when away from an office
  • Roadschooling – we often get a lot of feedback on this one lol
  • The people we meet
  • How we have been challenged on the road
  • Life will never be the same

Anyway hopefully I will find the time in our now busier than ever road life to share some stories, information and more on this blog. We get emailed often with a range of questions that I will attempt to address on this blog so stay tuned…. LiveLife!

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