“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
– Christopher Robin in “Pooh’s Grand Adventure”
We have many reasons to continue our travel-school adventure, and it is important to us to always remain aware that this is a choice. We constantly evaluate and assess our mental pro-con list, which rears up every spring when we ask ourselves, “Will we do this again next year?” Each school year is independent of the others, so there is no pressure to continue. Our commitment is to ourselves and our children only.
Academics. Of course we worry and overthink. Are we doing enough math? Are they writing and thinking on level with their peers? Is our science program challenging? I have to remind myself often that every parent, everywhere, worries about their children’s education, so we are not alone.
Oliver pursuing his latest passion: the cube, while I bake our “Pi Day” apple-pear crumb pie.
Then we ask the big kahoona question, “are we doing the right thing for our kids?” …and five minutes later, they do something amazing, say something, write something that shows us without a doubt we are doing precisely the right thing. It happens like that over and over again.
We are raising self-aware, compassionate, intelligent human people. We are not scoffing at public school or competing with private school or rebuffing catholic school. We are traversing our own competent path and creating circumstances for curiosity while educating our children and ourselves at the same time.
“Training the mind to connect moments of presence together is like housebreaking a puppy. Treat it with love, celebrate the victories, go easy when it makes a mess in your house and be persistent.” – Jess Gumkowski
I like to think of our educational path as one that quietly laces moments of presence together; connecting the dots between educational opportunities and living our lives mindfully present at the same time.
Love and patience are key. Art, science and math require open space and endless supplies. We make big messes. While the coordination and responsibility is vast, I have learned to handle it by staying focused on the big picture (and being organized helps). I had to grow and change, to accept disheveled order, in order for our kids to thrive in their unstructured environs.
Family bond. We know our children’s strengths and weaknesses (and unfortunately, they know ours!) We have a connection that is built on trust and history and travel and hard math. We are learning together in an endless universe of curiosity. If it interests us, we study it. If we can get tickets, we go there. We follow a hearty curriculum in core subjects and yet we also leave room for places we hadn’t imagined. Education should be flexible as learning is fluid, ever in motion. And it never stops. Not when you’re 18 or 51 or 75.
There are about 2.3 million home-educated students in the United States (as of spring 2016, NHERI). Parent-guided education (I consider myself “lead-learner”), whether at home or while traveling, is described as an age-old traditional education practice which was once cutting edge-alternative and is now skirting on mainstream in the U.S. Homeschooling in one way or another is considered the fastest growing mode of education in the United States, and is increasing rapidly around the world as well.
For us, boat-school takes place in the main salon, mostly. We have been fortunate to study in some pretty amazing places. It’s easy for us to be mobile, now that we have lifted the limitations of a 4-walled “schoolroom.”
I won’t lie; sometimes teaching my kids is so hard, I’m frustrated out of my mind. But we get through that day or lesson and then a little while later… they “get” not only what I was trying to convey, but then take the lesson to a whole new level. We discover something new together, unplanned. Having the luxury of time on our side makes all the difference.
The article below, written for Medium, by homeschool parent Lisa Renee is profoundly on-point. It is nice to find another writer-mom-teacher who has already been down a path similar to the one we are stumbling our way through. Once in a while, we wish for more direction, a mile-marker, anything to tell us we are going the right way, but the reality of it… is just not going to happen that way. Each homeschool is different. Each child, every family is different. Regulating homeschoolers would cripple the ability to navigate unique paths for our children. It is the unique path which allows a child to soar in their learning; to grow, thrive and be who they are meant to be. So we (homeschool teacher-moms) must continue to share, inspire and support each other along the way. Lisa Renee’s sage advice to RELAX is a golden string that runs from her home-based teacher heart to mine.
Confidence, character and heart. These things matter. Social aptitude in homeschooled kids is measured (see, again: NHERI.com) and on average they are typically above normal in areas of social, emotional and psychological development. Research includes studies of peer interaction, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service and self-esteem. Every home-schooled kid I have ever met is intelligent, amazing, confident and not afraid of anything.
“Every moment is a choice. Every moment is filled with possibility. Every moment we have the ability to step into love. Every moment we are given a gift to be present, aware, awake and awesome. Let’s be awesome. Let’s rise above what used to feel like no choice. Let’s rise up and show others that life can be light and fun. Let’s be us, the REAL US.” – Goldyn Duffy
For more homeschool research and in-depth interpretation of the above named research, please, see: National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) www.nheri.org.
Goldyn Duffy and Jess Gumkowski are on a mission to create a better world. Please, please check them out at: yogitriathlete.com. Their meditation workshops are only the tip of the iceberg.
Lisa Renee writes for Medium and I am sure other places, as she is one of my new favorite writers to watch out for. Thank you Lisa, for sharing your story.