In the last three days we've travelled 1000 km from Sydney to Melbourne with three kids and a placenta. Quite an ambitious feat! We've driven through snow, crazy wind, pouring rain and narrowly avoided getting stranded by flood water and road blockages in Albury.
After leaving our house in Sydney we spent a further week staying with my father before finally leaving Sydney. We were like tourists in our own home town, we visited the museum and the Taronga Zoo and ate at our favourite restaurants. At the museum Spikee enjoyed the Search and Discover room which is more for older kids, he's obviously growing up! Lately we've noticed that he's fascinated by geography and he found a globe at the museum and happily pointed out South America, Sydney, and even Antarctica .... I mean Tasmania.
They had a blast at Taronga, saw too many exhibits to list them all and probably learnt something along the way. Stylish enjoyed seeing the Corroboree frog breeding programme and Spikee liked the lions and tigers. Personally I enjoyed seeing the crocodiles because they're my favourite animal (such cute and cuddly things!) and A enjoyed the Civet cats and regaling us with tales of how they eat coffee beans, shit them out, and are responsible for producing the world's most expensive coffee.
We had a farewell dinner at our favourite Vietnamese restaurant and Spikee actually ate something. He had a whole bowl of boiled rice, a vegetarian spring roll, tasted a bit of tofu VOLUNTARILY and then polished off the orange slices that were brought to share between all of us. We also had dinner at my best friend fro highschool's house, made sure to eat as much real Indian food as two people could possibly manage, and just enjyed being in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for a week. It's a lovely part of Sydney. Incidentally, my father told me that the park I used to play at when I was growing up has now been named (by him) Ethel Turner Playground because she was a notable woman from Paddington and apparently all the other parks are named after men.
So after our final days of civilisation we left Sydney at stupid o'clock and drove to Canberra where we spent all day at Questacon while the rain poured down like I haven't seen in years. The kids certainly absorbed lots there. They loved the roller coaster ride, Stylish loved the Free Fall where you free fall down a slide, and Spikee loved the Mini Q area where the pretend bakery is, but this time he git absorbed in the mechanic area fixing a car wearing little denim overalls. We heard a fascinating dinosaur talk by Questacon's resident paleontologist who told us some really interesting things including a recent theory which states that all dinosaurs had feathers at one stage of their lives, and ripping the guts out of Jurassic Park movies telling us that the movie used deinonychus and not velociraptors. Velociraptors were only small but the creative license over rode truth because deinonychus is hardly a terrifying name even if they were a terrifying dinosaur. He also said that most of the dinosaurs were from the cretaceous period, not the the Jurassic period. He had a box filled with real dinosaur relics including a tooth from a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a claw from a velociraptor (which was actually about a foot long despite the size of the whole dinosaur).
Tomorrow we're heading to Melbourne Museum. We were planning to go to the zoo but it's too balmy and cold. Melbourne is in the grip of one of its' coldest Octobers ever and there was even heavy snow fall a few days ago. The last time I went to the museum here I was 19 weeks pregnant with Spikee. Then tomorrow night we'll be on the boat heading for Antarctica!
I just realised that we've been unschooling for two years! Two years and and about three weeks, not that I'm counting.
In that two years I can't tell you how much our lives and our world has transformed, and how I now feel there is real hope for my kids, not just hope that they'll survive the system and come out edumacated and with direction.
When we started, we were on shaky ground, fearful and unsure we were making the right decision. My daughter had to unschool and so did I, and I think I probably struggled with it more than she did. For a while there we took two steps forwards and one back, but then it smoothed out. Then periodically I'd encounter another stage of parental unschooling and have to wrestle it out mentally, usually blogging about it.
What are the best things about unschooling for us?
knowing our kids are happy, safe, and interested in what they do.
knowing our kid will learn REAL life skills
seeing them pursue their own interests
knowing they are only competing against themselves so they always try their hardest
The great migration is nearly beginning! Our world is in boxes now, and everyone except me is packing like mad. I'm sitting underneath a baby with my boobs out. The kids are a bit unsettled by it and the sooner we're on the road the better. The week after next will be nice though, we'll be free to just faff about in Sydney enjoying ourselves. We're taking the kids to the zoo and the museum and pretty much just slacking off after all the hard yakka of packing everything up, organising this enormous logistical adventure, and stressing constantly for a month.
This is going to be one hell of an adventure. We're not only over hauling our lifestyle, we're taking a really exciting road trip. We'll leave Sydney on about the 14th of October and travel to Canberra to take the kids to Questacon and the National Gallery. We'll stay the night there or maybe press on until Gundagai for the night. Then the next day we'll go the rest of the way to Melbourne and spend a couple of days enjoying the sights before catching the boat over night to Tasmania. Once there we plan on spending a night or two with A's parents before making the final stint to OUR HOUSE!
There's been plenty of natural learning here over the last little while, from a birth and a new sibling to maths, and tennis. Stylish has really enjoyed tennis over the last few months and she's made some nice friends there so it's a shame we're moving now.
She visited a friend of her Grandma's and found a tadpole last week. Spikee has been very interested in that. We have to let it go next week because we can't take it over state lines. Stylish tells me that there are only 14 species of frog in Tasmania which is very disappointing, moving to Queensland would have been a far wiser decision because they have 43 species there. Unfortunately the real estate there is pricier, possibly due to the greater number of frogs residing there!
I'll be without internet for a week or two during the great migration, but I'll have plenty to update when we finally have access again, so stay tuned!