We are The Spirited Scott Clan Roams Free and it has been 21 months since we set off from our home town in WA to begin our journey around Australia. We have a triple bunk family caravan and a Toyota Landcruiser to accommodate our clan of 3 boys and mum and dad. We are one of the rare families on the road with children in late primary school and high school.
We had a massive catalyst to pack up our normal daily lives and travel this country when my husband Glenn (36yrs) was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. With 3 sons and many dreams we wanted to share together as a family we knew it was quite possibly now or never.
We sold our family dream home, packed up a sea container of belongings for storage, upgraded our caravan and set off in just 6 short weeks. It was a really busy and stressful time, parting with so many treasures that we could not keep. The boys were emotional leaving behind their home, friends, sports and the only life that they had known. Glenn left his career of 11 years and we eventually sold out our partnership in the business after we had been on the road for a couple of months. I (Sharon) had been home educating the boys for 2 years prior so we were already familiar with that, although removing the unlimited internet we enjoyed at home did provide a readjustment to our school day.
The TIME we have spent together, absolutely!! It was a sad realisation after a few months on the road how little the boys knew their dad. Glenn had been our primary income earner for many years and the boys had for most of the week only shared a few hectic hours a day with him in the evenings. I know the feeling is mutual between the boys and their dad, that there is so much joy in the waking up together every morning with a day of adventures to be had ahead of them.
Our biggest challenges has been Glenn's health as he has battled Testicular Cancer for the whole time we have been travelling. The first couple of months his health improved significantly and the cancer had even shrunk ever so slightly. But 12 months into our adventure, with Glenn now in serve pain we had to leave our caravan and 4WD in QLD and fly back to our home town (WA) so Glenn could undertake some extensive Chemotherapy as the cancer had spread. After this treatment finished 6 months later we returned to our caravan and continued on with our travels as he recuperated and recovered from the gruelling side effects of the Chemotherapy. Living with cancer and doing our best to 'make every moment count' has been our greatest challenge and still is.
We started travelling Australia with a bucket list of dreams to experience however the most surprising thing has been that we have really enjoyed meeting other Australians and learning about their stories, and their lives. From an Opal Miner in the Grawen Fields of NSW, the tug boat captain on the Eyre Penninsula SA, the indigenous artists of Arnhem Land, the stockman of our outback cattlestations, we have had so many personal experiences with so many great people sharing their hearts with us.
We had been a homeschooling family already so this was a smooth transition for us with the boys in year 8, year 6 and year 3. With 3 spirited and energetic boys I tailor our learning program to meet the Australian Curriculum and their passions. Since we do a significant amount of hands on learning while we are travelling we have now reduced our written work time down to 2.5 hours for four days of the week. We try to get this completed first thing in the mornings and if not we have found in the evenings while they are waiting for dinner to cook is also a good time.. This we found has been adequate study time to meet the Australian Curriculum.
The cost of accommodation when paying for children at caravan parks and on tours. We certainly did not budget this into our expenses. It saddens us the amount of places that have tried to charge us $15 per night per child, and at above 12 years old many are classed as Adults and therefore charged the extra adult rates. This situation means that families travelling Australia with older fee paying children are paying a goldmine to do so.
(This is why we are trying to get the TAWK Support Program supported by Caravan Parks - giving TAWKing Families at least 2 nights' FREE camping for the kids - see here for participating parks so far - TAWK)
If your travelling with children I find it helps to be mindful that this isn't a holiday, it's an adventure. Your children are still going to get cranky, tired, emotional and not want to do their school work (at our camp anyway!)
It has allowed us time to step out of the conformity and treadmill of modem life and allowed us to prioritise what is important to ourselves, and our family. We definitely feel more peaceful, rested, invigorated, connected and happy when on the road and hope to be able to keep this as our new 'family' normal for the years ahead.
Our web page is currently under reconstruction and when launched we will have Curriculum aligned learning resources to match many tourist and natural experiences around Australia. This will enhance any families hands on learning opportunities as they home educate while they travel.