Tracey is travelling across our fabulous country with her three young boys…a camper…and a massive heart! They are three of the luckiest boys to have a mum that has taken on this challenge on her own…read her story here:
Hi, my name is Tracey and I am travelling around Australia with my three boys aged 7, 5 and 2. We started our trip in WA and have been on the road for nine months. I am registered as a home schooler in regional WA and all contact with the education department is made via phone and email. Before we left for our trip I met with my oldest son’s teacher as I found the whole idea of home schooling very daunting. The teacher suggested that I go to a store where teachers buy their resources and choose age appropriate books for both my boys. There were so many books to choose from! But with the help of the lady running the store I chose a variety of books mostly written by Lauren and Harry O’Brien that covered all the basic topics such as reading, grammar and maths. These books are very simply laid out and easy to follow as well as having information charts linking the content to the Australian curriculum and a time frame to complete them. I also shopped around and bought some writing books for when kids are first learning to write, the ones with wide lines and smaller dotted lines in the middle as well as the bigger then usual pencils which is supposed to help the kids with their grip and control and we also have a variety of different story books.
Since we’ve been on the road the second most common question I get asked when we meet people is “are you homeschooling the kids?”. My answer is always the same, yes I am home schooling my boys but it’s actually more like no schooling.
School work for my boys means sitting at the table with books and doing a set number of chapters which is something we all hate. They complain and I loose my temper because of their constant protests. I also struggle to give the boys the one on one time needed for them to understand what the chapter activities are about while I still have a 2 year old tearing around unsupervised. So I find that we are lugging around an 86lt tub full of school books and writing paper that only gets opened occasionally due to the pressure from my Mum whom asks the boys if they’re doing their school work every time she speaks to them.
What we actually do for school work is bucket loads more fun! Of course we do the usual visits to museum’s and historical sites such as Beaconsfield in Tasmania and Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. However we also do things like practice writing names in the sand while walking along the beach and using bottle tops to play counting games. The boys love taking turns to be the “Fire Chief” on the rare occasion that we light fires; it’s an important job to ensure safety round the fire and to know when to put another log on the fire. Quiet often the boys will use my phone to take photos and video footage of the places we have visited or of what we have done and then they will write a post about it on our Facebook page. They also study our camps 8 book like a comic book and we are constantly debating if we are in a town or city. We also have a story or two before bed most nights, my oldest now either reads a story to his younger brothers or falls asleep reading a book of his choice. The boys also have a keen interest in cooking so we read package labels and work out sugar content of the foods we buy and they also have their very own BBQ cook book. They will do everything from choosing the recipe to shopping for the ingredients and cooking dinner for as all.
Like so many travellers space is always an issue which means the boys don’t have many toys to play with which has been a good thing. At one stop in Tasmania they had a car wash, a 2 lane highway, a railway track with a level crossing and a boom gate all made up using our camping gear and their imaginations.
As my boys are so young home schooling for me is more about the life experiences they are learning along the way. I worry constantly that they will be behind when they get back into the regular school system and at every stop we make I tell myself that this is the place where we’ll really hammer the book work and get a lot of it done, but it just never seems to happen. After 9 months on the road I have a 5 year old that can guide me to hook up a trailer and knows which way is clockwise and which way is anti clockwise to put the stabilizers down on the camper and I have a 7 year old that loves to cook grilled chicken with steamed vegetables and constantly tells me of great camp spots he’s read about. The social skills the boys have learned could never be taught in a classroom and they are very happy easy going boys. The decision to take them out of regular school and travelling around Australia has definitely been the best decision I’ve made.
And in case you were wondering, the most common question I get asked when we meet people is “Are you really travelling around Australia on your own with 3 kids?”
THANK YOU so much Tracey for sharing your story!
Our Aussie made Travel Journals are a great way to record your adventures…create a keepsake…get yours here: