We get asked questions about our educational philosophy a lot! While we travel the world we meet so many people and when they hear about how we live our life the education of the kids immediately becomes one of their greatest concerns.
Each country or area we visit has a unique set of things we all learn together on top of the intangible things that we are learning each and every day no matter where in the world we are. In Asia we learned a lot about geography, religion, and culture. In Central America we learned how to simplify our lives and live with what we need rather than focusing on the things we simply want. In Europe my whole perspective was blown out of the water and I discovered more geography and history than I thought possible to fit into a 6 week trip!
Like I said every country we visit is full of these types of lessons. The best ways to learn them, in my view anyway, is to get out there and explore it! When we decided on Oz we also started reading books and watching movies to prepare ourselves.
It was not so much a culture shock aspect but more that we all prefer knowing and understanding what is going on when in a new country. No amount of research can tell us everything but knowing what animals to expect, the history of the country, and geography etc is extremely helpful. It pushes us to gain new knowledge.
Learning about a region beforehand and then actually stepping foot there really solidifies the information in your mind, particularly for children. Plus I am really glad we learned about drop bears ahead of time so no one could trick us. Quick tip..they are not real no matter how much an Aussie may try to convince you!
Our true love
I have loved animals my whole life. My children have grown up with that and also seem to really love them as well. In Australia we were inundated with one animal experience after another. We learned loads about the native critters in OZ but more important we learned just how much our spirits awaken by being surrounded by nature and all its animals.
We spent time kayaking with dolphins, observing kangaroos and koalas in the wild, visiting the lovely Taronga zoo in Sydney, feeding possums at our camp site (they really are adorable), and bird watching everywhere. All those coupled with the animals we have experienced in Hawaii have led us to realize that animals are our true love, our passion and that being around them simply makes us happier.
Anytime we have a realization of something that creates harmony and happiness in our family we consider it a great win and to this day it is still one of the things we appreciate most about our trip to Australia.
The thing we need to ditch
Electronics are necessary evils in our life. My husband and I both work remotely so Internet access and at least 8 hours of screen time a day is pretty much the standard. We rely on it for nearly everything and to be honest I can see now what an addiction it can turn into.
Even the kids use it to talk to their friends, game, and research things. It is not necessarily a bad thing but at times I think we lose sight of it and find we are using it way too much. Before our trip to Australia we were in Penang and we were there for quite a while by our standards. It was super hot and quite frankly miserable to be outside unless you were in a pool. We got used to using our electronics more and more....and then some more!
When we landed in OZ we knew Internet was going to be a thing of the past. It is expensive, even in hotels, and although we could have gotten a 3G sim card, for our short trip it just did not seem worth it. We spent our entire trip with no Internet except for a 1 hour stretch near the end.
We talked more, played outside (the weather was spot on for our entire trip), hiked, walked to town, explored, played cards and board games, learned how to throw boomerangs, and went on fun outings. We did watch a movie at night but the computers did not even come out. It was wonderful! Even our youngest, at 6 years old, still fondly talks about how much fun it was and how he wishes we could go back.
Being in Australia, with so much beauty, so little Internet, and all the time in the world to be together was eye opening experience that taught us how important it is to unplug whenever we can. We need the Internet, we love it but we also need a break and Oz showed us that very clearly!