Sol: 149 One of the challenges and biggest worries I had about this trip was the continuing education 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.
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.
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!).
Then 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.
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.
With 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.