Kids going feral...

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 16:56
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Well, for those that notice my spasmodic posts, here we are 4 months into our trip and cruising down the NSW south coast, enjoying the forests and the quiet inlets. We've done over 8,000 km since we left Perth last October.

Schooling is our biggest issue - kids are aged 10y, 8y and twins nearly 4yrs. The two big boys are loving every minute of the trip and have learned soooo much - but none of it fits anything approaching formal schooling. I had hoped to achieve roughly 5 hours a week of "school work", based on the maths and english workkbooks you can easily buy, as well as doing the trip reports, and some special projets (fishing, fishing and more fishing is the current project).

Well, the older boys struggle to do any school work, and hate the workbooks and I can't seem to structure or organise our days that there is a quiet time for school work. The boys (10 and 8 yrs) would be described by my mother as quite feral by now - wonderful isn't it how mothers can always make you feel guilty.

So, today I decided I wasn't going to worry about forcing any work. We will try and do a little each week, but I don't intend to make it a discipline drama. I'm going to try that approach known as "unschooling" where you let the day flow and they actively engage in their day and 'learn' what they need for themselves. Right now they are learing an awful lot about fishing, and even though this doesn't yet translate to mathematical genius, or even regular diary writing, I am happy to seem them so involved in their hobby.

I'm also starting to see other results from the trip, that are exciting. The kids are learning to share, to plan, to buddy together, to accept the unexpected, to appreciate the good things in life (family, food, clean air), to consider safety on all expeditions, and more - all those intangible values we wish our kids would "get" - well, the trip is giving the kids some fantastic skills and understandings of life. My best compliment to date has been that they are not at all like city kids, but like country kids, as they look you in the eye to talk, are not connected constantly to electronic gadgets and are full of energy.... (not meant to be a critique of what counts as city/country character!)

anyway, a bit of a rave, as I rarely get on the computer.....we have found public libraries the best for internet now that we are in populated areas, rather than central Australia.

Anyone have any thoughts or experiences to share on travelling on an extended trip with their kids??


(from Fremantle)
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Reply By: Member - David 0- Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 17:12

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 17:12
That is great news. My wife (a teacher) would agree that the school work is less important than he social skills that seem to be so these days, and the kids will eventualy pick it all up, they will be motivated to learn because they have seen the bigger picture of what life is about. We too contemplate travelling with young kids, and w are not at all concerned about it, but it is reassuring to hear from someone actually doing it.

AnswerID: 155388

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 17:31

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 17:31
Hi Liz,

At least the boys are learning the most important "lesson" of all:

"The meaning of life"

They will remember this part of their life long after they have left school.

We took our son (then 9) on an 8 week "round the world" holiday and he remembers things even now, at 29, that we have long forgotten.

One thing I'm confused about though.
If you're cruising down the NSW coast, how come you "signed off" from Freo?


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AnswerID: 155396

Reply By: Pud & Barb - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 19:15

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 19:15
Hi Liz,
When the kids started school I was concerned about what our girls would be missing out on at school. I was told by teachers that they will learn more on the road than what they would do in school. The things they remember blows me away. They are now 9 & 11 years. The younger has learning prob's and I tell you, she learns more on the road than at school ! Don't stress about the school work. You are giving them something school never will. Life experience. They will carry those memories with them forever.
AnswerID: 155422

Reply By: nowimnumberone - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 19:47

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 19:47
db you can so easily combine fishing with schooling.
now kids im going fishing with 24 cans of beer when i come back i want you to work out the percentage of beer drunk.
the amount of beer drunk eg 10 cans each 375 ml equals 3.75 litres.
subtract cans drunk from slab eg 24 cans-10 equals 12.
you can do the same with the fish.
i been here 15 hrs and cought 15 fish whats the hourly average.
the weight of fish eg 10 fish at 1 kilo.
the average weight of the fish cought in a day or a week.
the amont of bait used per fish.
thers soooooooo much they can learn from just fiishing.
AnswerID: 155430

Follow Up By: Geoff M (Newcastle, NSW) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 22:20

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 22:20
"subtract cans drunk from slab eg 24 cans-10 equals 12."

Are you sure?
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Follow Up By: nickoff - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 11:06

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 11:06
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Follow Up By: nowimnumberone - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 12:19

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 12:19
see my old man didnt teach me haha
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Follow Up By: DB - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 16:06

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 16:06
Hey, No.1, you really had me I kinda mis-read part of your post, I was imagining myself as the drunk being subtracted on a slab. There are definitely days/moments in this lifestyle when you want to tear your hair out or polish off a slab!

It would also help if the kids actually CAUGHT any fish, but I can definitely use the example about how much bait was used!

No, seriously, you are so right, I will get them thinking about the way maths fits in, and I guess it is much more relvant than the boring old worksheets.

Thanks for the chuckle.

FollowupID: 409577

Reply By: Geoff M (Newcastle, NSW) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 22:23

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 22:23
I admire what you are doing for your children.
You are teaching them something there is no curriculum for, life as well as a respect for themselves and others.

One day they will return to mainstream education with a maturity and zest so far ahead of their peers it will scare you.

Landcruiser HDJ78,
Grey hair is hereditary, you get it from children. Baldness is caused by watching the Wallabies.

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Reply By: toohey. - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:18

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:18
yep' the modern way of teach'n kids is working, watch the news.
cheers (with a heavy heart)
AnswerID: 155470

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 01:41

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 01:41
Good on you Liz. Not the first time I've heard parents struggling to instil the disipline of "on the road" schooling but I've never heard any of them complain about kids falling behind their mates back in the class room. Our oldest has just started pre-school this year and I was pleasantly surprised when attending a parent info session to hear the school head say they don't have a problem with children being taken out of school for family holidays etc as they consider the "life experience" gained as valuable as anything they'd learn in the classroom. So I wouldn't stress too much about it. You've got rare opportunity to enjoy an extended family trip that most of us can only dream about so enjoy!

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 155484

Follow Up By: DB - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 16:01

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 16:01
Hey Melissa - and not only that, we are doing it in a Camprite!!! It's been fabulous so far, sleeps the six of us, etc etc..... We are No. 121

FollowupID: 409575

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 22:53

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 22:53
Obviously a women of exceedingly good taste LOL! We love our Camprite - as you say fabulous. We're are about no. 60.

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 409760

Reply By: DB - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 16:17

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 16:17
Thanks people for the vote of confidence.... the thing about doing a trip like this (we are planning 12-24 months and have sold our house, so are really quite un-restricted), is that often we feel quite out of the mainstream of life. Sometimes that's because we are way out in the bush for a week at a time, no shops, no electricity, you know what I mean. Other times the feeling of being out of the mainstream is just that our trip is open ended, we don't have work responsibilities, the kids are obviously out of school, hence some funny looks in the street, the car, when we are in a town, is obviously a "real" 4WD, loaded with gear and dirty, and I do have days when I question what is the meaning of life, or at least the purpose of each day, as basically we have to make our own meaning each day and week.

The funny thing about our trip is that mostly it feels like being on holiday, nearly always I feel like I am on a permanent holiday - relaxed, sightseeing, brreathing the air, not rushing etc, and then I start to think about what is important in life, as we have managed to make "holiday" translate to "daily life". Apart from the occasional exhausting, grumpy, isolated days. But I figure you have bad days when the kids are in school, let alone the few we've had on the trip.

And as to why I signed off "from Fremantle" - I still consider myself to be from Freo, even though we are not sure when or if we'll return there. We've been gone 4 mnths now, hence we are now exploring the East coast. (We came via Kalgoorlie, Great Central Rd, Ayers Rock, Oodnadatta Track, Flinders Ranges, Adelaide and then coast all the way to Sydney).

well, I am getting off topic, but thanks for the input folks.

AnswerID: 155582

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