What is ‘Normal’ Anyway?

Playing games with other cool kids in Hopetown

“Your kids will never be normal,” a friend said to me with a smile, as we snacked on fresh guacamole and homemade chips. It was unusually windy that day. We had to stand in a wide stance so each leg could alternate absorbing our weight as the boat swayed from one side to the other; our anchor gently digging a deeper wedge into the soft Abaco sand below. Our kids were snorkeling nearby in an area of the Bahamas called Mermaid Reef. Its name refers to the brightly colored small fish that playfully litter the reef below the bright teal surface. I tried to be offended then realized, no, they would probably not be ‘normal,’ whatever that is. 

Laughing and swimming with stingrays at Tahiti Beach

Our kids have experienced a lifetime of adventures in our eight years of travel-homeschooling. We have covered a lot of ground literally through extensive travel, and figuratively with their studies. With Sophia (18) graduating this coming June, we feel like celebrating the last eight years in every way possible. What a wonderful, fulfilling, and joyous ride this has been! 

We officially named our travel school “Newport RI Homeschool,” a name both generic and specific to us. Tony and I met in Newport. We fell in love, married, and raised three beautiful children here. While living in Newport, we thought of this mad-as-a-March-hare idea to try homeschooling so we could travel as a family, and show our kids the world. Well. We are on year eight of a ten-year homeschool journey, and we continue to savor every minute. 

Petting pigs in the Abacos

Last fall, Sophia applied to five East Coast Universities, all with reputable International Studies programs, excellent Art Departments, and High-Level Sailing opportunities. After being offered admission to all five schools (+ two Honors Colleges), she became crystal clear about her path forward. In late January, she accepted a coveted spot at Connecticut College, class of ‘26. Sophia will be continuing her love of learning as she majors in Studio Art and International Relations. She will also be a member of the esteemed Conn College Sailing Team, which is ranked #15 in the ISCA College Sailing Rankings as presented by Sailing World (Nov 2021).

Her absence will no doubt change our school dynamic, so we will be making some minor changes as we move forward. Tony and I are not exactly sure how this will translate, but we are committed to making Oliver’s last two high school years with us as joyful and memorable as the first eight. We are confident the inspiration will find us, and can probably also guarantee that it will not be ‘normal!’

[ March, 2022]

Rey Family Index – By the Numbers

Number of years the Reys have been homeschooling: 8

Number of homeschool days logged: 1,445++

Number of Museums/Tours we have taken: 186

Percentage that are Art Museums: 40

Number of Plays/Live Theatre attended: 15

Percentage of US States visited: 38

Number of boats owned over the last 8 years: 4 (two Huckins; one 420; one rib)

Number of Gulf-Stream crossings by boat: 4

Number of Countries visited: 9

Number of cities stayed in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy: 35+

Number of Islands in the Bahamas anchored: 20

Weeks spent in Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey: 2

Number of books read by Oliver since Sept 2014: 165

Number of books read by Sophia: 189

Number of books read by Lynne: 201

Number of proms and homecomings attended: 10

Number of rescue kittens adopted: 2

Number of CPR Certification Exams passed: 6

Number of Piano Performances given: 6

Number of Languages/Alphabets Studied: 6

Anthologies of Poetry created: 3

Original Poetry Books written: 2 (Lynne)

Varsity letters earned as of 2022: 5 (Sophia); 3 (Oliver) 

Number of different sports played by Sophia and/or Oliver: 14

Division 2 State Volleyball Championships won: 1

Number of Yale/MUN Outstanding Delegate Awards won: 1

Percentage chance that Lynne baked someone a cake this year: 100

Number of Colleges Sophia was accepted to: 5

Total amount in Merit Scholarships awarded by the 5 colleges: $365,000

Number of pages in Sophia’s High School transcript: 49

Number of blog posts written by Lynne about our Travel-School: 139

Approximate cups of coffee consumed: 4,320

Number of new friends made: countless

All above photos were taken in the Bahamas, 2018

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Gail R says:

    Your children have had an amazing experience…as have their parents in being able to share these years with them. They now have an awareness of the bigger world and I suspect will be humane and knowledgable citizens of the world. Bravo to everyone creating their own normal in such a way as this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynne Rey says:

      Agreed, Gail. We feel fortunate to have been able to do all that we have done. This path has always felt ‘right’ for us, and it is our hope that others might do the same!

      Like

  2. BJ Gumkowski says:

    With all those stats…I must say the 4,320 cups of coffee is my favorite! You and Tony are amazing leaders and adventure seekers lighting the way and giving permission for 3 more exceptional humans to follow their hearts and creative avenues. Who wants to be normal anyway. Keep living off the front. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Love you all!

    Like

    1. Lynne Rey says:

      Thank you BJ ❤️ Absolutely!! We hope to see you in ’22 – Oliver would love some training time with you!

      Like

  3. Indeed your kids will never be normal, and you can be proud of that! They are so much infinitely better for all the advantages you have given them. Congratulations!

    Like

    1. Lynne Rey says:

      Hi Janis, I am so happy to see your note! It was bravery like yours that paved the way for travel schoolers like ours! We are grateful for your life work, and thrilled to see you are still on the go.

      Like

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