So, you might be thinking, exactly how are you going to pull this grand adventure off? I mean, that’s a lot of time away and traveling is expensive.
And you’d be correct. Here are some ways we’re addressing those two things. Keep in mind, we are aware that we’re in a fortunate situation and that not everyone can do something like this. Many families struggle to work-in a trip to an amusement park or a week at a lake somewhere. We know this. It is a decision we’ve made knowing that it’s a luxury. We also feel like since we’ve got the chance and the ability to do it, we’re going to do our best to make the most of it and not squander it. It is one of those choices that will ultimately do some harm. There are environmental tolls, among other things. Like many major decisions, time will tell whether this was worth it. Our family has talked about it and prayed about it, and we still feel like it’s an adventure we should take.
Obviously, timing is a big deal. Most careers and jobs don’t offer very generous vacation packages. My husband is part of a group that values family and holistic living, and instead of income for the sake of income, they corporately have built-in a generous vacation plan instead of higher incomes. We knew this when he joined the group, and have always appreciated that mindset. I have been “at home” since my son was born. This means my schedule is a wee bit more flexible. At this point, I’m only substitute-teaching once per week. I won’t be doing this next year, but will resume the following year. Our children though, have a rather strict schedule while they attend traditional schools. After more than 10 days (I think that’s right) the district sends stern warnings home and we know that it would be incredibly disruptive and likely impossible to maintain what’s needed to stay in a traditional school next year. So, we’re homeschooling. This allows us the flexibility we need to keep the kids educated while we benefit from lots of travel.
Thankfully, I am married to a guy who’s really good with a budget. I grew up with very little, so I know how to buckle-down when needed. These skills will come in handy for this adventure. We will also be taking a significant reduction in pay in order to accommodate the schedule and sabbatical. This is a known element, not a surprise, and because we know it’ll be significantly less- we’ll plan accordingly. We’ve already nixed other projects and have begun squirreling-away some savings for this. We already own an RV, wee though she be. It’ll be cozy, but hopefully our home-on-wheels will be feeling strong and vigorous. She’s had a few injuries over the years, but gratefully, D1 is a very handy guy. As for the parts of this adventure requiring flights, as it turns out, I’m like an eagle when it comes to hunting down flights. We may be leaving at 3am to catch a flight and only carrying miniature bags, but we’ll make it work. Our family is full of seasoned-travelers. My kids have been lugging their own bags around as soon as they were big-enough to do so. You learn quickly not to over-pack if you have to carry it yourself. (Of our gang, I am the one who struggles with this the most.)
The Homeschool Costs
I’ve dabbled in teaching for most of my adult years (not professionally) and am exceedingly good at organizing things, and D1 is a very smart man, so we figured that between online tutorials, bending friend-teachers’ ears, and our own brains, we could teach our own children rather than doing a full-blown online learning thing. We’ve chosen an amazing curriculum that reflects our own values and had the flexibility we needed. We’ve decided to use http://www.globalvillageschool.org/. We only bought the curriculum, which saved us some money. We know we’re new to homeschooling but we still felt like this was the best option for us.
For the books and texts that were needed, I shopped around. I used our public library’s online search option to hunt down at least 1/3 of what was neeed, and used Half.com and AbeBooks.com to find a lot of the items we had to have. This meant I was spending about $4 per book. (That’s sale price + shipping)
I knew we needed to dedicate a space in our home for schooling. I know some can get away with using their Dining Room table and it’s cleared & put away for meals, but that wouldn’t work with our gang. So I have transformed our Family Room downstairs into a half-class/half-play area (well, 2/3 class, 1/3 play) because the reality is, my kids drag toys and books to all areas of our home and rarely play in the Family Room. This way all of our items stay in the classroom and we don’t have to wonder where the library books went. As for costs there, since we never finished our basement when we moved in (our Family Room was a prior Man Cave, and it was the only finished-space), I still had tables & my old office items and except for about $25 that I spent on a small white board, some bins for books & projects, we already had all we needed to transform it. Oh, and $30 splurge for 2 large maps (one US map and one World map). So that part of things has been downright cheap.