Every year in January Ady, Dragon, Star and I sit down and make a list of the things we’d like to learn, achieve, see, experience, visit in the coming year. Although we Home Educate we don’t follow a curriculum or have a structured approach to education, viewing our role as facilitators rather than instructors, cheerleaders rather than coaches, fellow learners rather than teachers. It’s true I seek out things I think will interest Dragon and Star, introduce them to ideas or concepts, arrange visits to places I think will inspire them but it is very much a partnership with them asking questions and me helping them find the answers rather than something driven by me. This sitting down together talking about hopes and dreams and plans for the year ahead is a really valuable exercise for us and one we replicate to a lesser degreee throughout the year with regular conversations about how life is going. The whole Wondering Wanderers Adventure has been talked through in this way over many hours in the last nine months.
Last year for a while we did an exercise where all four of us would share something new we had learnt today with the others. These nuggets ranged from interesting factoids to startling new discoveries. Sometimes they were more ‘life lessons’ than trivia but it was an interesting exercise that we all enjoyed. Somewhere along the line life got in the way and the ‘what I learnt today’ sharing got forgotten but one of the suggestions Dragon made when we sat down this January of things he’d like to do this year was to reinstate it. I added to that with a Good and Bad thing too. I’d read a book recently which talked about sharing one good thing and one bad thing about the day with the rest of the family at dinnertime each day and I really liked the idea. I like the focussing on the positives, sharing the negatives and the realising that in every day when you summarise it there are good and bad bits. So for the last month or so we’ve been sharing a ‘Bad, Good, Learnt today’ chat before bedtime. I do record what we all say on a private blog and they are interesting to read back over.
Anyway in the same spirit of Bad, Good, Learnt today here is an update as we hurtle ever closer to Leaving Day.
Bad: Willow is still at the garage. Apparently a part is needed for the exhaust manifold. A part that is no longer made so will need to be sourced second hand and doesn’t appear to be available anywhere. The mechanic has had the van now for over 2 weeks and I went from congratulating myself for getting it packd off there nice and early with 5 weeks still to go before we head off to panicking madly that it won’t be ready to go in time. I want it back parked on our drive, MOT’d and ready to start packing stuff into. Instead I’ve been ringing the mechanic every couple of days for updates and getting nothing other than ‘nothing to report’ responses. Ady has now been along and talked to him and he’s doing a couple of minor other things and getting the van back to us. Un-MOT’d and without the manifold done. We have another mechanic (who serviced it for us back last year) in mind to see if he can get it through an MOT and sort the manifold out but I am really very twitchy about it all being ready in time. We’d not really reserved any funds for the van before we go either, so that will be coming out of the ‘contingency fund’ we were hoping to keep more or less intact for emergencies along the way.
We are finding it tear jerking saying goodbye to family and local friends, knowing that seasons will have passed, life will have moved on, everyone will have had birthdays and other special occassions while we’re away.
Good: Everything else really I guess! 🙂
We are getting such touching and supporting emails, texts, phonecalls, facebook messages and things said to us by friends, colleagues and people we know. It’s so lovely to know we have people encouraging us and cheering us on, it really does mean the world to us.
The tenants are all still on track to move in, their references, credit checks and other paperwork is all coming back satisfactorily, the TO LET board outside the house has been changed to a SORRY, IT’S LET board and the agent is drawing up the tenancy agreement. They want to keep some of our appliances and the chickens which means we don’t need to rehome them.
We are kitted out with waterproofs, thermals, boots, warm socks and other such essentials. Three have supplied us with a MiFi to try out (which I will blog more about once we’re actually using it) so we’ve got our internet access in hand for the beginning of the journey.
We have pretty much filled our three zones with willing hosts. We have the odd week here and there empty which was always our intention so we have some flexibility built in to change plans or stay longer in some places, to take some down time and find a campsite or even pick up some casual farm or fruit picking work to boost our finances a bit if required. we have had some overwhelmingly positive responses from some hosts and we are so excited at the prospect of meeting people who we already feel a connection with having exchanged a few emails.
We’ve made great headway packing everything up. The house is starting to get put into boxes. With the exception of a couple of things still to be listed on ebay I think we have gotten rid of everything that isn’t about to be boxed up or put into the van.
Learnt: I’m sure we’ve learnt loads already. I know my UK geography is already massively improved just by all that plotting on maps, trying to coordinate a route and book in with hosts. We’ve not learnt but have certainly experienced mass decluttering, carboot sales, living with less, letting go of the ‘stuff’ and working through what we actually really need and how little that is. I know the list of ‘good and bad’ will grow and grow throughout the coming year but I reckon the biggest list by far will be the ‘learnt’. I’m hoping that the phrase ‘live and learn’ will be an equal ratio of massively enhanced learning via massively enhanced living.