Every time one of our social media videos goes viral, the trolls come out in droves questioning our lifestyle and parenting methods. Let me first address the fact that... WE DON'T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK! The comments aren't going to make us live our lives any other way, other than what's best for us. But because I feel a lot of these comments come from a place of ignorance and just not truly understanding this lifestyle, I felt the need to address them in this blog.
In the United States, public schools are the standard. Yes, there are private schools and homeschool, but the majority of kids spend 7-9 hours a day in a public school and sometimes at before and after school activities. During the school year, children spend about the same amount of waking hours at school as they do at home with their families. Originally, public schools were founded because early leaders believed that it would be cheaper to educate children in public schools than to pay to punish and jail criminals and cope with poverty. Feel free to read a complete history of the public school system HERE. I won't get into the politics and problems with many public school systems. I raised three older sons, who all went to public schools. I also have a Master's Degree in Education and I taught within the public school system. So, I do know, firsthand, the issues that go on within them. Some kids end up with rockstar teachers. I've met many of them. Unfortunatly, not all teachers are rockstars and guess what. If your kid gets stuck with a non-rockstar teacher, they get to spend 9 or so months with them before moving on to the next. Ask me how I know. Nine months is a long time for a kid.
I'm aware some families "have no choice" but to send their kids to public schools. I was in that situation while raising my three now grown sons. Are public schools going to ruin kids and make them awful humans? Obviously, I don't think this at all. Do I believe that educating your kids yourselves, if you're able, is a better choice? ABSOLUTELY. We CAN homeschool our kids, so we DO homeschool our kids. It's as simple as that!
Another comment we get, non-stop, is that our kids will never learn to socialize. At some point, some people started equating socialization with spending time in public schools. This idea is actually really funny to me. In elementary school, kids spend 7-9 hours per day in mostly the same room, with mostly the same 25 or so kids. They don't go to school to socialize and they're told most of the day to sit down and keep to themselves. There are times they interact and work in groups, absolutely. Like I mentioned, I saw MANY rockstar teachers who create an amazing classroom environment in my time working in the public school system. But what's better than spending 7-9 hours a day in the same classroom, with the same kids, for 9 months at a time? I like to think spending 365 days in the real world, with real experiences, does a pretty good job of molding kids into productive and healthy citizens. Our kids spend time interacting with people of all ages. Yes, kids who travel can interact with the same kids over and over. There's an entire community of full time travelers. Kids meet, play, form bonds, see each other many times throughout the year, etc. Most families who travel full time come back often to their "home base" where grandparents and other family members live. Their lives are enriched with travel and experience and they thrive with these opportunities. They see and do more than kids who stay in the same place, with the same kids who they interact with over and over again.
Americans also seem to have an obsession with sports, particularly school sports and people seem to think we're depriving our kids because they can't play school sports. The funny thing is, my three grown sons never had any desire to play any school sports. As a matter of fact, because I thought it was the "thing to do", I gave them the opportunity to participate in some extracurricular sports activites and they never really even seemed to enjoy it. Newsflash! Some kids just don't want to play sports and that's ok! But if our kids do show interest and want to play sports, there are ways to allow them to do it, even while full time traveling. That's the great thing about this lifestyle. You can stay in one place as little or as much as you decide to.
I've addressed some of the pushback we get from people and haven't even gotten into all of the amazing positives we get from this lifestyle. For one, how many kids or teens can say they've traveled to all 50 states, which is one of our goals? What better way to learn about life and history than traveling the U.S. and visiting places to learn about those things, hands on? Have you ever woken up in your house ON the beach? Check out that video HERE. Did you go on hikes when you were little where you learned about the different plants and animals in the desert? Check out another video HERE. The world is their literal classroom.
I'm sure there are other common comments that I haven't addressed, but hopefully this helps people see that just because people live "differently" than you, doesn't mean it's "wrong". Maybe, just maybe, there are ways that are just as good to raise kids as the typical American way.
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