"Our family is very negative about us taking the children out of school for a year, how do you get around that?"

The following are answers and thoughts from other TAWKers (names omitted to protect privacy) to help you.....

  • "When we told our family and friends that we were going to travel for months, some of them said that we wouldn't last very long and we would be back home.... Well we travelled with our two sons 10 & 7 for 2 yrs and they learnt a lot... We sold our house after that time and made a new life in a different town... Both boys are at the top end of their class... I say just do it!!! And what you believe as a family is all that counts!!"
  • "Our daughter was 6 when we left and she will be 13 in a few weeks. She loves this lifestyle and is so far ahead of kids her same age. Adults all say how smart and social she is, a well balance young girl. She has friends all over Australia now and can easily adapt to any situation. Just go it's your life not theirs!"
  • "You would be doing your kids out of the greatest learning adventure ever. I own a tourism business and the most polite, well educated, best mannered kids we have come stay, are the ones travelling full time.Your kids will learn more then they ever have before."
  • "Travelling IS giving them the best chance in life! It teaches them so much and provides the most amazing family life. My kids (a year on from 13 month big lap trip) still delight and amaze their teachers with their general knowledge and understanding. They are more outgoing and social. My now 12 yo recently had a birthday party and asked for donations to put towards adopting a tiger as he just didn't really 'need any stuff'. The only negative is coming home!"
  • "We had a lot of negative responses from some friends and hubby's family. Let them have their say, but ask them to tell you exactly what they think is going to happen that is so terrible. Hubby is a psychologist and when his family said "You're making a terrible mistake, what about the kids educations?" Etc. he asked them precisely what they feared would happen. In the end it was a lot of unsubstantiated "What if's". In most cases he could explain why those outcomes are highly unlikely, or in one case 'You could all be killed in a car accident!' He calmly said "Well yes, that could happen, but it isn't going to stop me living my life, and anyway it could happen right here at home." He knew that all their objections were more about their own selfishness of not wanting us to move inconveniently far away from them than any real concerns. Make them spell it out, calmly and logically address their fears, discuss between your and your partner the motivations behind their negativity. That way you can keep your resolve strong." 
  • "Don't read into it too much. Remember your house your rules and you two are the boss of your lives. Mainstream life is so regimented and it doesn't have to be. Let the challenge begin and just go with your gut. Australia is an amazing country and let your kids explore it with you."
  • "Just do it. I swear my kids have learnt more in just the last week than they would have learnt all year at school. Talk to the teachers, I guarantee not one will tell you it's a silly idea."
  • "My son just started school, and when we met with the principal, we explained that we travel, which will take our son out of school, asking what was the school's view on this. She highly recommended it, saying traveling and experiencing things is a much better way to learn."
  • "Your children will learn more in the year they travel with you than they will learn in 13 years of school. My husband & I travelled around Australia for 2 years & met a few families travelling with children. The kids loved every minute of it. I say do it while you can!"

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  • "You are the parents of your children and you are creating a year of amazing experiences and memories for them. What your children will experience over the year will open their eyes like never before to nature, society, people, community, history, culture, geography, our environment and create the most amazing family bond. Following the path of the majority and staying put and not traveling will give your children the average normal yearly school experience, stepping outside the norm and traveling will give them so very much more. How can children on a 7x7 meter room for 6 hours a day for 40 weeks get what you are offering yours; the real world and a real life experience. Enjoy and trust your heart"
  • "I am a teacher and work with teachers who are so excited for us and well aware of the educational opportunities of the trip. We met with the boys' teachers last night to discuss their learning on the road and they were both convinced that the trip will be an amazing opportunity for their learning and growth."
  • "We did it for 18 months with a 7 & 9 year old Best education there is, we saw so much and grew as a family. We came back and the kids went straight back into school. No hassles. Other people are perhaps jealous?"
  • "Don't listen, it's the best thing we ever did, even with all the negative about kids and a real education, they are doing great!! We've grown as a family, it's the best fun ever!!!"
  • "Stick to your plans...what better education can your children get than exploring the history and seeing places of Australia. They may never get another chance like this. Home schooling is far better for them when on the road...I think the family are the ones being selfish, you are doing the right thing for your family they will never forget it or will you. Enjoy what Aussie has to offer."

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