Pass me a glass of wine because I have survived 2 Terms of schooling on the road!! Phew, seriously there were times I didn’t think we would make it. We are now officially in Term 3 of Distance Education and travelling full time and now found our rhythm.
The first term was definitely a learning curve for us. We have been on the road for 2 years and loving having the freedom to basically do what we want. But now all decisions have to be considered on how it will impact our school life.
Distance Education isn’t new to us. In 2015/2016 we completed the ekindy program with our daughters. ekindy is a fantastic program to get your kid’s school ready whether they are remote, sick or a travelling child. You can read a little more about ekindy here. I can honestly say I am so glad that we did ekindy last year. Not only did it prep my daughter with what laid ahead for us this year but it also taught me how to be a flexible parent/teacher.
Distance Education and travelling, what have we learnt:
It seems pretty self-explanatory to be patient but you don’t know patience until you have travelled full time and educated your children. The one thing with my blog is that I am honest! Did I loose my patience (marbles) with my kids? HELL YEAH! I am a pretty patient person but teaching a 4 and a 5-year-old is hard work to stay level headed. Seriously there is only so many questions and playdoh I can handle in a day. My husband told me one day I just needed to take a couple of deep breaths when it got too much! I tried his theory, and I had taken so many deep breaths my head got a little dizzy from breathing too hard 🙂 In all seriousness, once I became more patient with me and the program, it was really easy to stay calm with the kids.
Most of the first term it felt like I was fumbling through the Distance Education program. Trying to make sense of everything with balancing school and travelling. It felt like I was constantly trying to keep my head above water. By the end of the first term, my daughter was totally over it and I was burnt out. My daughter was finding it difficult to do school work most days rather than playing and I found being a parent/teacher that needed to keep up with the program wasn’t always easy. At the start of the year, I was told it would take 10 weeks to get used to everything! By week 8 I was cracking under the pressure. Lucky for us we have a really supportive teacher and with a simple suggestion from her, it helped a lot.
At the start of the second term, I introduced a diary! A simple diary that has made the world of difference. Each fortnight I spend a couple of hours working out a rough travel plan and getting familiar with my new school pack. Then I break up all the work that has been sent to me and divide it up into individual days. It sounds so simple and it really is. It’s amazing how it has made life so much easier. My daughter understands each morning how many things we need to do and we tick each item off as we go. I guess it makes her feel like she’s accomplishing something rather than every day it’s a never ending day of school work.
A lot of people ask me how long does the school work really take? Well, to be honest, it takes as long as it takes. I’d say the first term it was taking a lot longer than it should have. I think with both of us getting used to the system and still finding our feet, it was taking about 6 hours every day and we were struggling to get it done in that time frame. But this term being more organised I think we are down to about 2- 4 hours at max but it can be less some days.
School work can be done anywhere
Distance Education doesn’t just need to be done at a table. We are trying to incorporate the school work into our travelling days. Whether it be something as simple as counting in the car or sounding/reading signs along our walks. This way we can keep travelling and sightseeing as much as we can. For example Last week our Maths was learning positions/directions and my daughter was being tested if she knew left and right. On all our walks we gave her different instructions on going left and right or walk back and forth etc. This was easily transferred into our sightseeing day. Obviously, your child could be older than ours, I am just using this as an example that you can think outside the box to include school into different parts of your day.
Pattern Play Tasmania Museum
With all new things on the road, there is always an aspect that is a struggle but then comes joy. I love being around my girls and seeing them learning and growing every single day. At the begining of the year I was feeling a little sad seeing all my friends getting excited and preparing their little ones for their first day of school. I keep feeling like we were missing some sort of right of passage. But then my eldest daughter read her first word, wrote her first word from memory, started recognising words in books and growing. My youngest learnt all her colours, can count to 20 and she is writing her name. All my worries, stress, and hard been worth it!
Note: This is general information and a personal experience from us.