(This is part of the How We Homeschool on the Road series. We talk to homeschool families on the road from around the world.)
As the bills continued to mount, heir personal happiness dwindled. Author Janet LoSole and her husband decided selling it all to homeschool would offer the world to their children and free them from debt. LoSole and her husband, both educators by trade, have homeschooled (or worldschooled) since their girls were little.
They researched how other worldschoolers homeschool on the road and realized the incredible curriculum they could provide on the road. Selling all of their items would dig them out from under a mountain of debt. The family hit the road with just a few items of clothing, a four-person tent and a boundless spirit for adventure and helping others.
LoSole wrote “Adventure by Chicken Bus” about the family’s adventures in Central America. The family became wise worldschoolers during their adventures. From saving endangered turtles in Coast Rica to hitching a ride on the back of a vegetable truck to arrive at an isolated monkey sanctuary, they weathered the worries and triumphed. Homeschool families on the road often find they learn more about each other as well as the world.
What was the inspiration behind selling it all to homeschool?
With only one of us working, homeschooling demanded frugality. We’d embraced a Salvation Army standard of living, buying second-hand furniture from their thrift shop, but we could not survive without the credit card to get us out of financial jams.
With a steadily rising debt load, my husband and I were forced to pick up night school contracts (we are teachers). This meant hiring a sitter. It also meant both of us were absent from putting the girls to bed at night. As a family, we were spending little time together. No matter how hard we tried we could not get out of debt.
What was the first step to untethering all you had acquired?
As a couple, we had established a practice of writing down our long-term goals and working toward them. We worked well as a team, egging each other on and reviewing the lists periodically.
When we were at our wits’ end with the finances, we asked each other: What would we be doing if we had our wishes granted?” We went to our “list” system. When we finished scribbling, we swapped papers. The lists were nearly identical. At the top of each was one word: travel. So, we sold all our worldly possessions, paid off the credit card, rented out the house and struck out for Central America.
Travelling requires confidence. We hoped to instill conviction in their abilities to travel while they were young. I also needed to get some peace from the endless questions, the queries about finances, the fears about safety.
What was the inspiration for the book?
Furnishing the girls with a written, detailed account of our adventure was important to all of us. I hope that what I write will inspire them to travel as young adults and even as parents with their own children. Travelling requires confidence. We hoped to instill conviction in their abilities to travel while they were young.
I also needed to get some peace from the endless questions, the queries about finances, the fears about safety. We had been explaining bits and pieces of our strategies for months. Better to write it down and describe how the process worked for us. On previous journeys, I primed myself with the assistance of popular travel guides – “Let’s Go” (my sentimental favourite from 1986, and which I still own).
Frustratingly, many of these travel guides are not written with the travelling family in mind. Most information marketed to parents describe vacation destinations or package tours. Our time on the road in the past was measured in months, not weeks, nor even days. We belonged to a small group of people who took travel to the extreme, chucking everything only to come limping home months, sometimes years later, broke and suntanned.
How did your homeschool journey begin?
Before our oldest, Jocelyn, was born, followed by Natalie two years later, I told my husband, Lloyd that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and since we were both teachers, educate them at home. The goal? To focus 100 percent on the well-being of my family. To provide the girls with as many educational opportunities as possible without the confines of a government-imposed curriculum.
I’d joined a La Leche League group when I was first pregnant and the mothers I met modelled an attachment-style parenting that resonated strongly with me. Once the girls reached school age, I kept them home because it seemed like a natural extension of those early attachment years.
Where have you traveled for roadschooling?
We have travelled extensively in Europe and Central America. All locations we visited were homeschool friendly in the sense that there was a lot to do and see. No government agency questioned us at to why the girls were not in school during the day.
Actually, the reactions of other travellers was interesting. In Costa Rica we met a young medical student from the Netherlands who was training to be a pediatrician. When he learned the girls were homeschooled, he declared that children needed to be around other children to develop properly. We had this conversation while my kids were playing with the hostel owners’ kids and speaking Spanish while doing so.
Homeschool families on the road who wish to be a part of this series can contact me at Info@VegasKidsZone.com. We love to hear from worldschoolers and roadschool families who travel their region to learn more about history and nature.
Janet Losole is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Natural Child Magazine, Learning Tangent, Immersion Travel Magazine and other homeschool and travel publications.