In our almost 8 months as a full-time Worldschooling family, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many families that travel and homeschool their children. It’s been so incredibly rewarding, and also sometimes tough. As Travel Editor I hope to spotlight how families educate and live uniquely in various parts of the world throughout our 2017 travels. It’s such a colorful and interesting world out there and I can’t wait to dive into that diversity and bring it to Babiekins readers, all the while teaching our own 2 girls!
While in Dublin, Ireland several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Annemarie and her 2 girls. They are a home schooling family that has plans to travel, all while running an outdoor adventure company, Spirited Adventure, in the UK! Sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy!
Where do you live, and where are you originally from?
We live in Islington, North London. I am originally from Dublin, Ireland, and James is from North Yorkshire. I have lived in London for over 21 years now, even longer than I lived in Dublin, so both cities feel equally like home to me.
Tell me about your kids..ages…. likes…etc…
Róisín is 7 years old. She is kind, sensitive and very loving. She thinks deeply about things and can get very emotional. I really love that she questions everything, and won’t just do as she’s told unless you give her a good reason why. ‘Because I said so’ doesn’t work with her, and though at times my life would be much easier if it did, that is something I hope she doesn’t lose as she grows up. She is physically quite strong and loves to climb and do gymnastics. Any tree she sees is a challenge for her to find out how high up she can get! After initially being a reluctant reader she now loves to read. Her favourite book is El Deafo by Cece Bell which she has read at least 8 times. She also loves music, her current favourite album is Christine and the Queens ‘Chaleur Humaine’ (she especially loves French music)
Corin is 5 years old and she is the in house entertainment! She is funny and quirky, and will never give a straight answer, but will usually reply in song or a funny voice at least. She often has the rest of us in fits of laughter and is very hard to tell off as she’ll just give you a funny look or start doing a crazy dance to make you laugh. She is creative and loves to draw and make things, and is able to visualise what she would like to do and make it happen. She has recently got very into Lego, and can spend hours creating and taking apart things. She also loves to build with her train track. Her favourite type of clothes are summer dresses and will rarely wear anything else even in winter, so we have to put layers of t-shirts and tights on her in the colder months.
What do you love about homeschooling?
We love the freedom it gives us to be a family, and live at our own pace and to our own schedule. We are able to help our children to learn in a way that they enjoy, and about things that interest them. When they have difficulties getting their heads around things we can take the time to help them understand rather than having to move on to keep up with a set curriculum. Róisín had difficulty when learning to read and got very frustrated and upset, and then refused to even try to read. Because we home educate we were able to take a step back and take off the pressure until she was feeling more confident. Eventually she just started picking up books again herself and now absolutely loves to read.
We also love the time it gives us to spend together. Because James’ current work is freelance his holidays and time off are irregular. He could sometimes be working through all of what would be school holiday time and then have time off during term time. If the girls were in school this would mean no family holidays or time together.
Another huge advantage, especially here in London, is that we get to go to all of the amazing museums, galleries and historic sites when it’s quiet. During the school holidays we tend to avoid all those places as they’re just too crowded for us!
Why did you choose homeschooling?
Initially it came to mind as I just couldn’t imagine my eldest, who was probably about 2 years old at the time, being ready even at 4 years old to go to school. We live in a heavily populated area and all of the local schools are big and full. Róisín was always quite attached as a small child and didn’t like to be separated from me. I knew that if she went to school it would be very traumatic for both her and I and I just wasn’t prepared to put either of us through that. I started to research home education and went along to some of the group meet ups and got in touch with other local parents who were home educating. Meeting like minded people gave me the confidence that it was possible and that I was doing the right thing. It is a decision we haven’t regretted for one second!
What are your travel plans?
We have always wanted to travel more widely with the girls and feel that now is the right time to do it. We have family in Uruguay, Australia and the Philippines and are really keen to bring the girls to visit them and also friends in Canada, USA and New Zealand. We are in the process of selling our home in London. Over the last few years James and I have been building a business offering outdoor activities at a site in Hampshire. We have only been able to do this in our spare time and in between James’ regular work as a freelence television editor, so we’ve made the decision to live in Hampshire during the Spring and Summer in order to get the business running fully, and then in the Autumn and Winter, when we wouldn’t have any active courses running, we will travel. So we’ll be travelling half the year and living in Hampshire running the business for the other half. We will also be doing marketing, admin etc for the business whilst we are on the road.
The first year we are planning to roadtrip around the US, taking in as many of the National Parks as we can. We will also take a trip down to Uruguay to spend time with my family there. The following year we’re planning to tour Australia and New Zealand, and Asia the year after. We envision living this lifestyle for 3 years, and then finding a place to settle and expand our business, but we’re aware that travel can change how we view things and what we want from life and so are very open to everything!
FOR THE GIRLS……
What do you love about your life?
Róisín: I like my family and friends and I also like being home educated because it’s really nice and I get to go on picnics with my friends and my family and see my cousins.
Corin: I love Legoland, but not some rides, and funfairs and beaches. I like drawing.
What do you love about how you homeschool?
R: I like being home educated because I get to go on holidays a lot and I don’t like sitting in a classroom all day doing writing, it sounds boring.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
R: I don’t know what to be but going to Kidzania helps me think.
C: I want to work in a butter factory.
Do you miss not going to school each day with friends?
R: I don’t really because most of my friends don’t go to school. My cousins do and one of my friends does, her name is Amy Wark.
C: I don’t know. I don’t want to go to school but I want a school uniform. My Mummy is going to buy me one.