The last time I wrote a blog to fill you in on our plans we were in Ireland, we’d put Esme into school whilst we were trying to complete the RV (Bertie) renovation and sell our house.
During those few weeks we tried to settle into a routine of living our last few months in Europe in Ireland.
Things were not that easy when we were there. Being split up as a family, as much as it was only a temporary thing was really challenging. Whilst some might think it was a big mistake, it was actually really good in making me realise a few things.
I remembered why I left Ireland in the first place. Having been away from home for 16 years and only fleeting back and forth for a weekend here and there, I quickly forgot all the things that drove me away in the first place.
I’d love to say things have changed, but they haven’t.
Life in Ireland
I have been hating on London a lot recently. At the end of the day it is a busy city but we do live in a suburban area with some beautiful parks, a nice community and some great events on regularly.
Being home in Ireland I realised London is actually amazing for keeping kids entertained and I felt so much less resentful of the city I’ve called home for 16 years!
Whilst Esme was somewhat entertained at school, I was struggling to find things as good as we have in London for Quinn’s age. I felt he was not being stimulated as much.
School in Ireland
Esme really wasn’t that blown away by school like I’d expected and there were just a few things she said which made me pull the plug on things.
Firstly she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t able to spend lots of time outside. Keeping in mind her pre-school in London they could be outside all the time if they wanted with lots of outdoor activities, she really was spoilt.
Spending lots of time outside is something really important to us, and again it made me realise that maybe the traditional route of education was not going to be for us.
I always planned to homeschool whilst traveling but intended for the kids to attend a local school when we were stationary.
In addition to this issue, Ireland is an inherently Catholic country. Now don’t get me wrong, each to their own, and I was personally brought up in a Catholic family.
I have a scientific mind so I later became an atheist. Esme has seen different religions practised in many countries throughout her travels.
I personally feel it’s up to the kids what they decide to do later. Maybe they will choose their own religion, who knows?
The school was very lovely but they don’t have any provisions for kids that are not catholic, so whilst she was doing colouring she was still in the class.
We had some interesting questions from Esme after school about god.
We are really open to her learning about different religions but we are not so keen on her being entirely influenced by Catholicism.
I can personally say it made me quite unhappy as a child. It was pushed on me too much from school and my home life, for that reason having choice and being informed of all religions is really important to me.
At this stage I was more a less ready to say we need to pursue the homeschooling thing a little earlier.
Something happened back at home in London which made us decide we shouldn’t be split up, to reconvene and come up with a new plan for the next few months.
The real driving factor was the lack of Esme’s enthusiasm. She is usually so keen on being with other kids, but school just wasn’t rocking her boat.
Some bad luck at home
Shaun was back in London renovating Bertie. He’d decided to rent the house out on Air BnB whilst it was empty. That turned out to be an absolute disaster to say the least! The so called two couples that were staying for the weekend turned out to be a party of around 300 people!
Our furniture was moved into the garden to make space for a dance floor, the DJ had speakers towering to the ceiling, there was nos canisters and booze everywhere, not to mention the thick coat of booze covering the floor.
Shaun was not far away that night so when he returned he was confronted by some burley guys who shoved him down the street. The fact they were wearing stab proof vests might give you some insight into the type of people at this party!
He quickly realised how out of hand the situation was with people spilling out onto the street and not being able to access our house, so he called the police.
The police were slow to come but when the first two coppers arrived they realised how out of hand things were so they called in a lot of their colleagues -quickly!
When the ‘guests’ were finally evicted, people left the house shoulder to shoulder in single file for about 10 minutes. Who would have known so many people could fit into one house!
Shaun didn’t tell me anything until the next day. We face timed and I could just see how much he was struggling with dealing with the situation alone so I booked flights home for all of us.
I mean finding a massive knife under your daughters bed is not something you expect when you rent your house out on Air BnB to a guest with good reviews.
It really was a combination of things that made us go back to normal life until we will be completely ready to leave.
In case you missed our next travel plan, you can find it here.
So now we’ve been back in London and settling back into life until we leave early summer next year.
I really can’t believe I have a masters in education and I could not grow the confidence in myself to homeschool my kids. My masters is in educating adults so I just felt maybe I wouldn’t have the skills to teach a child.
The biggest thing that’s given me the confidence over the last few weeks is finding a community of other families doing the same thing. We now have a little weekly plan of activities, meet-ups, lessons and so on. London really is a great place to homeschool.
I always felt bad about how much time and energy I put into Esme in her earlier years. She could baby sign from a very young age, having only one child you just have so much more time for all those things, right?
Quinn didn’t get half the input Esme did as a baby just for the simple fact of having no time. I was initially nervous of being able to attend to both of their needs with the age gap whilst homeschooling.
They both attend forest school two or three times a weeks, so it’s quite nice that Quinn is now getting extra activities and input. Forest school is a really easy way to balance schooling a 5 year old along with a toddler.
We generally spend our mornings reading, writing and doing some maths. This is the time Esme is most productive. She spends the rest of the day attending groups and meet ups such as forest school for homeschooling families.
Her evenings are spent at extra curricular activities she has an interest in. All up, I don’t feel she’s at a loss at all. I am so happy with this arrangement.
Aside from being a usually stroppy 5 year old, she seems really happy with things too. Life is more relaxed, there is no crazy morning rush to get to school and she’s doing things she is geunuinely interested in.
I always keep places like Finland in the back of my mind. They have a gold standard education system that so many other countries look to as an example.
They don’t start school until 7 and even then there is lots of play based learning, no tests and so much of it is self-directed. I am a fan of what makes the kids happy.
We are struggling to get any work done at the moment. So we are going to back to our old system of having an au pair for a few days a week.
It will be helpful to run the kids to different groups and allow us a few hours to blog, vlog and renovate Bertie!
We had started vlogging our renovation but honestly we’ve made no progress recently with all the craziness of the Air BnB thing, not to mention trying out living in Ireland and now homeschooling. We will be back on it though as of this week if you were enjoying those videos.
We can not wait for our new au pair to arrive tomorrow. We will be back on the bandwagon of making the full time travel dream come true in no time.
As you know if you’ve been keeping up to date with us in the past, we are selling our house to reinvest the equity wisely. The idea being, we can create an income for our family that allows us not to have a traditional job.
We just want maximum time with our kids whilst they are little. They grow up and flee home so quickly, we want to make the most of it.
We found the perfect property and had an offer accepted, we will tell you more about that soon. This will turn into a rental and should give us exactly what we need to travel full-time.
I literally feel like our life is one big drama after another. I think it’s good for our readers to see the amount of time and effort that goes into making dreams a reality.