Allie writes “We will be traveling around Western Europe and the UK and Morrocco in a camper van with our 3 children. We have bought one way tickets so have no time frame…
Today I sent off the application to not have them under any formal curriculum and instead learn about the amazing places we see and people we meet….
Do you have any tips?”
Yeah I have some tips!
Firstly, regarding their education, you need to journal their learning. I can’t recommend this highly enough. And I’m not talking about “completed museum activity book,” I mean more along the lines of “Ellie is very interested in how Native American tribes survived the winter in the pacific north west. She keeps asking questions and hypothesizing about food preservation and shelter. She wants to know specific facts like how many people lived on Beaver lake and for how long.” Your journal doesn’t have beautifully presented or full of in depth analysis. Start simple with one sentence about each kid per day. Write down their questions, what they are showing interest in, your discussions together and plans. (Eg. What to look up/ find expert on/ go see). This journal will be an invaluable aid in helping you facilitate the education of your children. It will also reassure you, looking back you will be amazed at how much they are learning.
The next tip is like to give you is about pace. You’re travelers, not tourists. Slow down. Don’t drive more than 2 hours per day and stay at each place for 2 weeks. This way, you won’t be exhausted after 6 months on the road.
Try your best to find local hosts. There are a lot of middle aged couples out there who would like nothing more than to host you on there property, let you use their shower and do laundry. Maybe they will even feed you and do crafts with your kids. In America there is boondockerwelcome.com, and I know there are European equivalents.
As well as connecting with hosts, try and connect with other young families. Join Facebook groups such as worldschoolers and full time families. Search there pages for any questions you may have and chances are they have been throughly discussed and answered already. It is so great when the kids make friends and tear around the campground together making up games and building huts. Often this happens by chance but I’ve heard of nomadic families using social media to meet up and find community.
Convert your campervan to solar so that you are not obliged to stay at campgrounds for the sake of plugging in. Consider buying or building a solar road shower (check them out on YouTube). We bought an ice less cooler and it serves as an awesome fridge.
Finally, keep one aspect of your normal life routine and don’t let the challenge of living in a campervan detract from it. For us, it’s reading novels together as a family. Someone must have donated their collection of Newbery prize winning children’s novels to the Goodwill and we bought them all. We have over 20 books in the bus, which is crazy for the little space we have, but we keep them all anyway because we cherish the time reading fantastic works of literature with our children.
Allie I am so excited for you and your family. Ship your camper back from Europe to New Zealand and we’ll do the South Island together! All the best. Amy.