We see all the pictures on Facebook of our friends and family heading back to school this time of year. We love seeing the pictures! It is also a time for us to reflect on what we are doing and how our kids don’t have back to school pictures.
We have thought about taking a picture of us climbing a mountain or swimming at the beach and posting it as our back to school picture. . . For us this time of year is about crowds clearing out not books, pencils and back to school clothes.
It is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Craig and I both had great school experiences. We played sports and had a lot of friends. I was Homecoming queen and captain of the soccer team and Craig was Mr. Bradford (winner of our high school talent show). We had a great school experience. Craig and I are high school sweethearts.
We question if it is right to not give our kids that same experience, but we come back to the same conclusion. We are giving our kids the world as their classroom and the freedom to be in charge of their own time. And that is a pretty cool thing.
They run around barefoot with dirty feet, dirt in their nails, stains on their clothes and guess what we don’t care, they don’t care, there is no one to care or judge. They find something they love: Minecraft, Legos, animal spotting, swimming, hiking, Nerf guns, whatever it may be and they can be engrossed in it for hours.
Their day is theirs. What a gift. Yes, we do take them places that they don’t always want to go to, but that is usually followed by a day of being home by the RV where they can do what they want with nothing scheduled for the whole day.
We go to bed late. We sleep in. We cuddle in the morning, eat breakfast together, have pancakes on a Wednesday or make home made donuts. Everything is at our pace and it is a slower pace. It is freedom, it is independence.
It really is a beautiful thing and is a big part that we do what we do. Anyone you talk to with grown kids talks about how fast the time goes. We can see that happening our oldest just turned 10 years old. Wow! That went fast.
With our current lifestyle, we are all together as a family for most of the day. All 6 of us. Dad included. That is why we do this. It doesn’t slow time down, yet in some ways it does. We aren’t rushing from one thing to the next, but instead have hours of time in front of us each day.
We are Unschooling our kids. You can read more about that here. We have been really happy with the progress we have seen with the kids and are pleasantly surprised by how natural learning happens. Are our kids at the same level as kids in school? In the basics reading, math, writing, probably not. But to be honest we don’t know what those levels even are or how or why they were created. Instead we gauge our kids as individuals and make sure they are progressing in learning. If they are, we are good with it. We have been happy to see that each of them continues to progress at their own pace.
We are not anti-school. We think school is an amazing thing and we know there are families and kids that need it and we are happy that school is there as an option. Who knows are kids may eventually end up in school. That isn’t our plan, but our plans are also very open and flexible so you never know.
We know some parents are excited when school starts again and they won’t be with their kids 24/7 anymore. We also know parents that are sad about their kid going back to school. We would be lying if we said there weren’t times we wish our kids went to school – it would mean more focused time for us to work. But the majority of the time we feel so lucky to have our kids with us all day everyday and to explore this amazing world together as a family.
What better way to learn than to see, feel, touch, smell, all this beautiful world has to offer. The basics will come, we aren’t worried about it, in the mean time the family bond and experiences are our priority and that works for us.
Our kids aren’t in a grade, they don’t take tests, they don’t do worksheets (unless they want to). Yet they learn each and every day. They throw out facts about things that we have no idea where they learned them from. Kids are sponges and they are learning even if they aren’t in a school setting.
We live in an ever changing world and we are hoping by taking this approach our kids are learning how to be adaptable, how to speak for themselves, how to only follow rules after questioning them and making sure they make sense, how to come up with their own ideas and ways to do things and how to think on their own two feet.
Yes, it makes parenting more challenging. Our kids question us and challenge us at every turn, but that is what we all hope our kids become, right? Leaders, questioners, and individual thinkers. Hopefully that is what will happen.
Parents are always looking for the best situation for their kids and their family. Ours just ends up being a little different than the norm. That is why our world is such an amazing place. It is filled with people that have different beliefs and live life in their own way. We can all learn so much from each other.
If your kids are in school, we hope they have an amazing year! If they aren’t in school, we hope the same thing! Above all it is about enjoying our kids and making the most of our time with them.
Interested to learn more about Living Joyfully With Unschooling click here to visit one of our favorite resources!
Interested to learn more about us and how we sold our house, bought an RV and have been traveling full time around North American since May 2014: Start Here.
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