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January 2018

Expectations family travel home schooling kids travel learning mom blog Parenting round the world travel travel travel blog world schooling worry

Home Schooling in the Wide Wild World

Sol: 149 One of the challenges and biggest worries I had about this trip was the continuing IMG_4034education of our kids. I was really, really concerned that we would mess them up or get them really behind. I’ve expressed this on this blog and the sentiment takes up entirely too much space in my head.IMG_9725

It has been an adjustment to our parenting to add in the responsibility of our boys’ education along with the other parenting tasks: keeping the kids alive, feed and so forth. I’m a big follower of Dr. Laura Markman of Aha Parenting. An approach of empathy with limits in parenting has helped me as I process this.

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So, when talking to our kids about choices I often tell them or ask them to tell me what my job is as their parent. The mantra is that I’m to keep them “Happy, Healthy, Safe and Clean”. This helps when I have to explain a difficult decision or boundary that is unpopular with them (or me!).

IMG_9283Then add in the schooling and it is a whole new role. Yes, we have been teaching them since birth but, the structured approach of making sure the boys are ‘on track’ has been an interesting one.

The boys attend a Montessori school back in Oregon (We love Harmony Montessori!). We plan on returning to the school upon our return. In fact, it was a big bargaining chip when planning this trip that we would bring them back to a place they love, feel comfortable and back with friends.IMG_8743

In the meantime, we are the teachers. This big, wide, world is a great teacher. Now, 140+ days I see a lot of change in with the boys. They have always been curious but, they have found some comfort and connection in the places we staying and have grown in the discomfort.

It’s not so much about ‘touring’ but, about finding ways to do what we do in everyday life in Oregon on the road wherever we are. Eating, Laundry, Sleeping, Groceries, Food preparation (sounding like a child friendly version of The Shore?). It is a lot about routine and making sure people get their own spirits soothed.

IMG_8758With Kelvin and I, it doesn’t always work out as we are the only adults around to care for the kids but, that it is another post altogether.

So, the boys have found interesting ways to play, relax and learn. We have an established routine now. The first two months this was really hard at times as they are not used to us being the ‘teachers’. There was a lot of discussion on expectations and how they are learning (discussion would be a polite renaming of some of those discussions).

They are not expected to know things when learning. They are learning! It’s okay to not know and make mistakes.IMG_8948.jpg

Some of the tools we use include the Monday-Friday daily routine. We write out the schedule. It usually consists of the following which we write down and they follow in their Common Place books.

For Example: Today is Thursday, January 11th, 2018. We are in Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Journal Writing
  • Math – 2 pages
  • Writing/English – 2 pages
  • Cursive practice
  • Cultural lesson – language, history, currency, religion
  • Research or Field Trip discussion.

All is mixed with breaks, wiggle it out, free draw, coloring, reading or even a short dance party.IMG_5713

The Common Place book is their notebook to write down the school list but, also words they are learning and lessons. It also holds all the doodles, drawings and cartoons that get made. We have been getting notebooks to write in a we move along. We also shipped some filled books home for safekeeping.

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Oakley has gone to making his own toys using boxes from cereal or crackers we buy. It is amazing what a pack of colored pencils and paper can bring.

Last Christmas we got the boys Kindles and we choose ones without internet access (only Wifi to choose books). These little lovelies have been the true companions. The boys curl up with their books for hours. It is a great time filler that feels good as a parent.

Also, their reading has improved so much with it. Yes, there are a lot of graphic novels, cartoons including several Calvin and Hobbes books but, it is reading. In fact, Calvin and Hobbes is how Canyon turned to love books.

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Canyon’s stats for 2017

We complied their stats at the end of the year and Canyon had read 55K pages and Oakley 42K. Their reading time adds up to just over two weeks for Canyon (371 hours) and a one week for Oakley (172 hours). That is amazing. I feel better about how we are doing this.

[caption id="attachment_3378" align="alignleft" width="124"]IMG_0409.jpg Oakley’ Stats for 2017

Now, we are reading the Harry Potter books. I am reading them out loud and Canyon is chasing us with his own reading. Some of the best memories of this trip are being curled up on a bed with

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the boys and reading.

So, as we move into the next months we look at our learning and take stock of what works and what doesn’t. There is a real rhythm to our work. We are finding our way.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Waiting for a ride in Ubud.

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Oakley drawing in Hawaii

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Australian money session while camping.

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Homeschool while house/pet sitting in Brisbane, Australia. That’s Kody there!

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Canyon’s dream journal!

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Thailand Holiday Rest and Recuperation

Sol: 134

We have been in Thailand for over three weeks. It’s a bit of a struggle these last days as its been hard travels in a way. Now, I am not complaining as I do know that what we are doing is amazing and I am incredibly grateful that we have been able to make this happen.

However, when you do something, even something amazing, after awhile it can lose a bit of it’s shine. This blog is all about the honesty of our travel and experiences. Today, I’m writing a bit about that.

The struggle really started in Vietnam. I really feel in love that country, however, it was hard travels at times. I had been struggling with some physical ailments (back pain, sleep issues, digestive challenges) Then I got pretty ill. Headache, fever, chills, throat pain. You know that feeling that you’ve swallowed broken glass? I was there. I was going through Ricolas like cigarettes for a heavy smoker.

We had to travel to Thailand as our Vietnamese visa was expiring and we had plane tickets. It is relatively easy and cheap to buy airline tickets in SE Asia but, they are also non-refundable and changeable if you buy them as cheaply as we had been. Then if you have four tickets, it is a larger cost. So, to Thailand we came.

We landed in Bangkok. Nothing like a city of over 8 million, humidity, a smaller hostel room for four to emphasize your discomfort. For our entire time in Bangkok’s Chinatown (where our hostel was) I saw the inside of a hospital (twice) and a 7/11 (they are everywhere in SE Asia) to get supplies.

Oakley came down with my flu and bronchitis a couple of days after arrival. Canyon and Kelvin running errands to arrange food and supplies and holding their breath when near to avoid our plague.

We came to Pattaya for our house sit which has positively saved us. I gotta throw out the biggest kudos to   Trusted Housesitters again as they have made this trip possible for us. We are taking care of the sweetest, mellowest dog I’ve ever met all while staying in a home, a real home with a big kitchen (great for chef husband) and two big bedrooms, living spaces and the added bonus of a swimming pool. Really, really luxorious and grounding.

And when we slow down other things often catch up to us. I have found that I am feeling a bit lonely and depressed as of late. The holidays are always a hard time for plenty of folks. For me this is no exception.

We are in a beautiful place in warm weather. The dream of many folks, especially with all those winter storms happening in the States at the moment. Yet, I am feeling a bit rudderless. I think this is the longest place we have stayed in the last 4+ months of travel.

I was really worried about making it a wondrous and memorable Holiday for the boys. Knowing they would be missing so many traditions and experiences. I think we pulled it off as we were able to find strands of Twinkly lights to put up where we were, found a Star Wars Lego Advent calendar which can do wonders for little boys psyches. We even found a 5 ft plastic tree for $10. A bargain!

Seeing the Christmas celebrations here in Asia is different as it is a lot about the decorations in public. The holiday trees, lights, reindeer and sometimes Santa but, rarely him. Also, I haven’t seen any nativity scenes anywhere.

We did manage to find the coldest place we could on Christmas Eve. Frost Magical Ice of Siam which consists of sand sculptures on the outside and a glorified meat locker on the inside. You walk and slide among ice sculptures. You even get an ice drink made from ice and get to gleefully throw it against an ice wall as you depart. How very satisfying!

The most entertaining part of that visit was watching locals shiver through the place in about a minute. We spent about 25 minutes inside (they have a requisite three minute acclimation period going in and out of each side). Many people spent more time in the acclimation room than in the actual ice room.

I am currently on a two day trip on my own. It is a little reprieve for my soul to have a bit of totally me time. You may not realize how much time you spend away from your family when people are going to work, school, playdates, babysitters, shopping or trips around the neighborhood.

It is completely different when you cannot leave your kids by themselves. Kelvin and I haven’t had awake time  alone in months, especially in daylight. I am enjoying not thinking about when we eat next, what to do next, thinking about how everyone might react to the next choice.

I am carefree for a couple days and loving the solitude. I’ll be be back soon and then we send Kelvin out for three days/two nights on a fishing trip. He too needs his recharge time. These are the Christmas presents we gave each other.

And so, now we are appreciating our place, our temporary home before we embark into the new year and the next travel adventures. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Happy Holidays! Happy 2018 or 2561 if you are following the Thailand calendar.

Check out the 31-12-61 reference. The Thai Calendar.

My favorite isle in the specialty store we found. So many kinds of fizzy water.

Wine from Oregon costing a princely price.

We got a flat tire and people showed up to help and really weren’t gonna let us fix it. Very, very kind. It takes a village and then there is Canyon reading his kindle in the background.

 

Would you like some meat for dinner?

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