Would our kids be dunces because we are terrible teaches?  Distance Education can be a daunting thought for many families who are about to hit the road full time.  The thought of being their kids parents AND their teacher can make some people physically sick and we have even spoken with a few families who are not doing a lap because they could not see themselves schooling at all! Enter Millie from Milsy Pezwardo – we love asking her for her thoughts and tips and this article makes a ripper addition to our Road Schooling series.

Distance education MILSY Pezwardo style…..

I feel I should open up this little article with a disclaimer – this article represents my thoughts on schooling and what works for my family! It is also worth noting that all Schools of Distance Education are run very differently and have a varying clientele of travelling families, children who live remotely etc so the school you are in the ’catchment’ for may be completely different from our school! So many people have different preferences and teaching philosophies that work for them and their Kiddies! Parenting can be a prickly topic at the best of times – so we are all doing awesome whatever we choose…ok!?

Ours Kids are Rosie 6, Zac 6 – yes twins & Ruby 8! So that’s 2 x year 1s and a year 3! We have been on the road since July 2017 which equates to almost 3 complete terms of distance education.

My biggest concern when we left was how we would educate our kids on the road! Would they become dunces because we were terrible teachers? Would they be behind when we settled somewhere and have to repeat grades?

So why distance ed?

Well my dear friend & fellow Nurse Kasey had her 2 kids enrolled with distance ed! Her kids are lovely & I liked them even more when I caught up with them after 12 months on the road, so…distance ed it was! There was more to it than that, but it definitely planted the seed!

I created a bit of a checklist before we left of what I wanted out of ‘School’, what I was prepared to do and what was I willing to compromise on! This list went like this – I wanted to follow a curriculum so the children could slot back into to ‘normal school’ if was so required – I wanted someone to check up on us, make us accountable & help us if we were struggling – I wanted resources, I am all for making and finding my own stuff but I knew my motivation time would be limited when we were busy exploring!

Here are the top 5 questions we are asked! If I have missed anything please message me!

  • Who are we enrolled with?

North East Public School of Distance education – based in Port Macquarie! Our Teacher is Mrs Dunbar and we LOVE her! Mrs Dunbar is like part of the family now & we look forward to Wednesdays when we get to see her!

  • How much?

$60p/year and a once off deposit for resources of $200 –which is refundable when the resources are returned!

Postage is free! Yes free! Each pack has a reply paid label on it for return posting! We nominate our address e.g. c/o a post office we will be close too!

  • How much work is in the pack? How long does it take?

It varies between 3 & 4 weeks.  Each pack includes, library books, readers with corresponding comprehension, maths and a little project that will run across the term! It is broken into weeks so it is nice and clear what is expected of you week to week! The packs itself are on the larger side and we have a small plastic storage container that has our regular stationary in it and a larger container that contains resources, unifix blocks, centricubes, crafty things etc. that stays in the troopy!

It takes us about 7-8 hours p/week! Less if there are 2 parents around! We usually have one parent teaching and one working when we have stopped for an extended period of time! I am the boss! I made it very clear early on that I don’t take any nonsense and the quicker it’s done the quicker we can get back outside exploring! SO we smash the work out quick quickly!

We also have a ‘face to face time’ with our teacher each week which lasts for about 1-1-5 hrs! This runs through a specific app the school nominates!

  • Data?

The only time we use data is for our face to face sessions and if we want to do a bit of further reading! We think it is about 1.5 – 2 GB p/week! Maybe less! The majority of our work is paper based and resources are given to us on USB. We make the most of free WIFI places like the library, information centres, Macca’s, Bunnings, the generous person that has their hotspot on & doesn’t realise, Telstra air etc

To remote for internet? No worries! We are able to negotiate it with our teacher and arrange catch up lessons or depending on the topic we can do it over the phone!

  • Are you worried about their social skills?

This one irks me a little bit! Maybe it strikes a subconscious worry I have! Or maybe because our kids socialise with EVERYBODY! Like the bloke at the servo that gets stuck listening to Zac tell him his fishing stories, the librarian that chats to the girls about their books! Like the kids at the park, story time at the library, kids at creative play with the CWA, swimming lessons (yes we enrol them in swimming lessons when we stop somewhere for a few weeks), kids at caravan parks and kids when we are having dinner at the pub!

And they have me & Pez! Whose social skills are impeccable……

I think our BIGGEST tip is to keep a very open line of communication up with your teacher! If something is too much let them know e.g. Zac finds reading a bit exhausting – our Teacher started sending him library books about fishing and dinosaurs now he will not put a book down! Ruby was having trouble dividing – we were both in tears in the library, a quick email to Mrs Dunbar and we were face timing and Ruby was an expert in 5 minutes!

Hopefully this is helpful and hopefully we will see you out here on the road one day!

Millie x

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