Traveling has always been a thread in our life together, even before children, Sam and I would fly to Chicago for an evening of deep dish pizza or travel to Ireland for a weekend wrapped in emerald green. Once we began our family it became almost impossible to separate ourselves from our path of wander, since children elude so much wonder wherever they go, our children helped us see our travels in a new way. And to see the world through their eyes, is the most beautiful part of our journey.
Homeschooling wasn’t always our plan. In fact, we had already researched what types of early education we wanted for our children and were most drawn to Montessori. We toured schools, even selected which exact one our children would attend and we were excited for that aspect of their childhood. The problem is when it came time to enroll Liam, our oldest, for preschool we would realize, “Hey, we’ve got a few trips planned this fall/winter and he will only be attending (a very expensive) preschool five out of the first ten weeks of school,”. So we’d defer his enrollment until the spring, but by then we’d have a few more trips penned on our calendar and we’d find ourselves, again, questioning the reasoning behind paying for him to go to a school that he would only be attending a portion of the time. We gladly kept him, and our money, home with us, believing that those early years would be strengthened by play, more than they would by rigorous schoolwork, and we gained so many precious hours with our son that would otherwise have been given to someone else. Being stubborn about not restricting our travels to just summer months, gained us the gift of having Liam with us every day, and every day we found ourselves richer from learning and loving alongside him.
Kindergarten approached and private schools in the Boston proper, where we live, are out of the question for us financially. The only option we are left with is the public school system, which is a low-scoring inner city school system, and for our family we couldn’t find contentment with the decision to have him attend school in the city. We already knew how challenging teaching him at home can be, but also how gloriously wonderful it is to have all the extra days with him we can, that is why we decided to continue schooling him at home with us.
Like all parents, no decision for our children goes without heavy thought and prayer, for every decision that we make for them is an investment for their future. Education, especially, being the cornerstone of what their life as an adult will look like. We are not approaching this lightly, it is a huge responsibility to be the educator of your child, as it is to have the responsibility of raising your children to have strong moral character. For us, teaching them the knowledge that comes from books is no less, nor is it more important than teaching them empathy, kindness, forgiveness, grace and love. So for our household, at this time, we learn addition of numbers as well as training them up to exemplify the God that created them. In this moment, this is the right decision for our family , though it might not always be, and when that happens we will faithfully wander the next path that is laid out for us.
We began to realize last spring, while planning a trip to Holland, that we could really emphasize our travels into our children’s education. Alongside our daily curriculum, which I will detail in a later post, we began to research how we can teach the kids about the world around them. Our travels and our schooling have both influenced one another, our trip to Holland brought us to study Van Gogh for example, but on the other hand our unit on insects led us to the Insectarium in Montreal. We research that a quick trip to Detroit to visit friends could also enable us to read a child’s biography on Henry Ford, or reading about George Washington might make us pencil in a trip to Mt. Vernon. With an entire world to travel through, we have a magnitude of information spread out around us, so we are taking down the confinement of a classroom and giving our children the ability to learn in a World School.
Our maps are getting crinkled from constant, overly excited fingers grazing their page. Our heads lay down at night, heavy, filled to the brim with names of faraway cities and the sounds and stories of people that come from them. We hope to share this experience with you, but most of all we hope to share this with our children.
“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis.
Our Darlings, may you be blessed to stand on many roads in many lands, and may you all, always, be the person you were created to be.