“But what about your kids?”

“But what about your kids?”

This is something we heard from many people before leaving Sydney.

“But what about school?  How are they going to learn?  What did the school say?  What about when they get back?  You don’t want them to fall behind, how are they going to integrate back into mainstream education?”

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We found our decision to pull the kids out of school for 12 months made people quite uncomfortable and we couldn’t understand why. As parents or even human beings it’s easy to get caught up in what “normal” is (what the fuck does normal mean anyway?) or what society is telling us we should be doing.  Our middle fingers says a big fat hello to society norms.

Gardner at the Muay Thai gym showing the boys which fruit to pick from the trees

Gardner at the Muay Thai gym showing the boys which fruit to pick from the trees

 

Before we started to tell people about what we were doing we had ZERO and I mean ZERO concerns about the kids’ education.  Here is the honest truth.  All those questions people asked made us start to doubt ourselves.  Are we doing the right thing?  What if the kids fall behind?  How will they make friends?  Are we isolating them?  We had to remind ourselves no one knows our kids better than anyone else in this world and trust that we are doing the right thing.  I think at times we became so out of touch with our kids we relied on others or the system to tell us what was right for them.

Our soup lady

 

We aren’t teachers (far from it).  We are both shit at math, my English is shocking and many times Mattaeus has to tell us the meaning of words. So what are we?  We are parents who care about our kids.  We want our kids to know right from wrong, stand up for what they believe in and most of all be good to people (don’t be a cunt).

When we left our home we got caught up or I should say I got caught up in trying to keep things like school.  Wake up, eat breakfast, get changed, do our work books, sight words, write in their notebooks and so on.  They were hating it!!  The pressure we were putting on them to pretty much “tick the box” was putting too much strain on all of us.  Than the light bulb moment happened a few days ago.

We have a whole classroom right out the front door!!  I’m sure what that world will teach our kids won’t even compare to what we were trying before.  Now before anyone starts to get on their judgey(see shit English, make up our own words lol) high horse about how they need structured education blah blah wank wank.  We as parents would never be able to replace what they learn in a classroom BUT its 12 months of their lives where their ears, eyes and hearts will be open to so many learning opportunities that no classroom or teacher could ever provide.  Why should education be limited from Monday – Friday 9am-3pm?

 

This is what a typical “school” week can look like

Language and Culture class

This means walking downstairs to the fruit lady Poh. She greets us with the biggest smile and “Sawasdee Ka” followed by “you boys stay with me?”.  We have been buying fruit from Poh for 2 weeks now and she teaches the boys new Thai words and is happy to answer any questions we have about Thai culture.  We talk about food, family, education work and more food. 

Markus confidence has gone through the roof.  He will happily approach people, speak to people in stores and ask for help which never would happen back home!

The boys with our lovely fruit lady Poh

Biology

When we got to Malaysia the boys freaked out about squat toilets, how they work and why on earth there was never any toilet paper (I had to use a pad one time, Mattaeus still thinks its special toilet paper).  It was a great little lesson to talk about the bowels, how they work and how our bodies break down and process food.

Physical Education

Man we walk everywhere!  We are a family who like to beat the feet so our boys are not short of getting exercise.  They have been swimming almost daily and Mattaeus just tried his hand at some Muay Thai.  Markus still prefers eating at this stage.

We swim almost daily

We swim almost daily

Food Tech

They try new food daily.  For those who have been to Thailand you know what I mean when I say food is everywhere. On main roads, alleyways, motorbikes, cars and bicycles. This shit is everywhere. The kids are constantly asking “what’s this?  How do they make it?  How do you eat it?”.  We encourage the boys to smell the food and describe the flavor/taste.  The locals are always willing and happy to show them how things are made which is great.

Mattaeus has the blandest palette ever.  Meat, eggs and some fruit.  Surprisingly this kid has been trying fish, vegetables, tropical fruit and even chili.

Mango Sticky Rice

He shaves the inside of a fresh coconut which sits at the bottom, topped with coconut ice cream

He shaves the inside of a fresh coconut which sits at the bottom, topped with coconut ice cream

Ice cream sandwich

Ice cream sandwich

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Minecraft. Enough said.

Religious Studies

In Malaysia they got see a Mosque and also hear the daily prayers being called.  In Thailand they get to see Buddhist Monks daily, walking the street, on the bus and when we visit temples.  We have also had a chance to talk about Christianity as we have seen a few churches along the way. We want them to know there is more than one way of living.

Seafood dinner at Hua Hin Night Market

Seafood dinner at Hua Hin Night Market

 

Are we doing the right thing?  Will this have a negative impact on our kids? Maybe, maybe not.  The only way for us to find out is to keep doing what we’re doing, keep listening to our kids and hope one day this experience will help them become better human beings. In no way are we perfect parents but I think we are doing all right so far.  Let’s see how we go in a few months’ time haha.

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Vanessa

6 Comments

  • Clinton

    I’m reading through this post and you keep saying your English is shit and yet it is so well written and such an easy read. Teach your kids your shit English and they will come back better prepared for their tests than normal kids.

    March 11, 2016 at 3:32 PM
    • Vanessa

      Hahahaha!! We have to read through it MANY times because both of our grammar is a shocker haha Thanks for the love Clinton 🙂

      March 11, 2016 at 5:48 PM
  • Juanita

    Your kids will learn more living life abroad then being stuck in a classroom the negative impact will only be being out of their comfort zones of westernised living but after it all if it ever ends they will know so much more then kids that haven’t travelled because they’ve experienced it, the different ways of living and learning through doing I think what you guys are doing is amazing which I think I’ve said before lol Your videos your blogs your photos just make us want to be there and Adarius really just wishes to be one of your kids right now lmao he can’t understand why we haven’t packed up already to do what you guys are doing you’re both amazing parents to give your boys this opportunity Sorry about the long novel but I think boys need more outdoor learning and I seriously want to do this with the boys one day! I just have to convince Andrew 😉

    March 11, 2016 at 6:43 PM
    • Vanessa

      You can!!! Ill get G to talk to him haha. You will be surprised at how westernised everything is here. Everything and anything you can get home you can get here. Its just different 🙂 and we love different!! Send the boys over ill have them for Songkran festival in Chiang Mai. The biggest water fight of their life haha

      March 19, 2016 at 12:23 AM
  • Reece

    Less eating more Muay Thai …less swimming more clinching!

    March 11, 2016 at 6:45 PM
    • Vanessa

      The one class was enough. He hasn’t returned haha

      March 19, 2016 at 12:20 AM

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