From the editor: As you know, our family hit the road for two years after a job loss. I leaned on my classroom teaching experience and thought myself how to homeschool my three children. As a result, I’m fascinated by others who decide that living remotely is a possibility and then leave behind their communities to seek adventure as a family.
I met Kate and Nick while she was on maternity leave from the birth of their third daughter in winter 2018. Since then, I’ve kept up with their lives and am so glad that she is documenting their family’s transition to road schooling their three young girls. Here’s WHY they chose to leave traditional education and chart their own course.
Our Homeschooling Transition
By Kate Fuller
In 2011 we left the UK and the UK education system following the change of Government and significant changes to education policy. [As School Leader,] I had taken my school through a round of redundancies that were a direct result of changes to funding and was disillusioned in the system.
Our move to international education was very successful. I was Head of Primary for a not-for-profit school and loved the return to values-based leadership. Education at Alice Smith School [in Malaysia] was about the child first; indeed, one of the pillars to the whole school was ‘Our Students’ with ‘Our Staff’ rating almost as highly. This was a refreshing change.
Following the birth of our first two children, we moved away from the Malaysian humidity to Houston, Texas, where I worked for Nord Anglia Education at the British International School of Houston. While some aspects of working for a ‘for profit’ company were not ideal, we loved how both Freya and Flossy were celebrated as individuals and nurtured as their unique selves. All would have remained so had we not had the surprise arrival of our third child, Felicity, shortly after Hurricane Harvey.Our
Our house had flooded and was condemned, so we’d had to relocate. Child care costs with one salary combined with the extensive impact of moving meant that we could not afford to remain in Houston.
Unfortunately, my next role as Principal for a school in Dubai was not a successful move.
A school built to make money, at what sometimes seemed like too great a cost to families, did not recognise Freya as the unique individual she is.
She was made to sit for hours at a time, to learn, in a non-creative way, taught by non-passionate teachers about nonsense (in our view). Despite being a Principal, I was hand-tied and not allowed to make changes that were sorely necessary “in case of upsetting the owner” (who was only ever watching the bottom line).
Needless to say, we did not settle.
In fact, I was taken very unwell following repeated incidents of workplace bullying and constant scrutiny about decisions that should have been mine. Working against my morals and my values led to me ‘burn out’ which manifested itself as panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
So, for a little girl who had fallen out of love with learning and for a mummy who had fallen out of love with her career, a change was needed.
We packed up and set off for pastures new.
I emptied my pension, we sold our cars, sold all our worldly possessions and pared down to just 2 cubic metres and 5 suitcases in search of a new horizon.
Now, we have a car, a caravan, and a homeschooling blog that is documenting our trials and tribulations as we travel the world.
Our first attempts at ‘Location Led Learning’ have been a mixed bag of incredible success and less than positive outcomes. We are documenting it all in the hope of helping other homeschoolers navigate their way through ‘the school of mum and dad’.
We have had some huge ups and downs, none more so than my Dad’s cancer diagnosis and devastating prognosis. (As a result, we are headed to be with him and his wife in Greece for his final months.)
In contrast, we are already seeing Freya’s love of learning, love of life, and love of self returning.
It has been worth it for that alone, if nothing else.
We are educators who have lost faith in education and who are seeking an alternative route forward. We hope to travel throughout the world, seeking out different learning opportunities, learning from some of the best educational establishments, and trying out what we learn on our three ‘guinea pigs’ at home.
It hasn’t been a smooth transition, but we are without regret and are excited about what the future might hold.
Catch up with Kate one month into her journey with Kate: month 1 update: changing the route, daily routine, and budgeting.
Kate Fuller is an accomplished School Principal with an impressive background and commitment to the continuous delivery of top quality education programmes to a wide range of student bodies. Currently, she and her family are documenting their transition to homeschool as they travel the world. You can look in on their life and lessons at Location Led Learning (https://locationledlearning.org/).