Thursday, August 29, 2013

Funky Family Homeschooling


I've met some truly cool people who homeschool their children in unique ways.  As homeschoolers, we do what WORKS with and for our children, regardless of the social convention of our choices.  

Please meet my friendShona. Shona is an Aussie mom, married to a Kiwi, now homeschooling her eight year old son, Hadley.  She has older children who are now on their own and independent.  Shona has a small business called Funky Fabrix, a shop that sells unique fabrics.  Shona's business employs her daughter, which is cool.

I am simply COPY and PASTING her response to my questions because I think that her words are perfect!

Shona, Please tell me about your lifestyle and how it supports homeschooling.

I have 4 children, 3 grown up and independent, and one 8 year old Hadley.  We homeschool Hadley, who is on the Spectrum.  We have been homeschooling for about a year now.

We have always been addicted to travel, and have spent the last 10 years traveling as much as time and money allows, but now with the freedom of homeschooling we can extend our travels even further. It means we are not restricted by holiday times or by a timetable.  We have an online business so we are lucky enough to still generate a modest income while we are away.

At the moment we are spending 4 months in New Zealand.  It was intended to be a more permanent move, but it hasn't quite worked out like that, but that is ok, we like to go with the flow.
We are quite spontaneous people so we never plan too far ahead, if an opportunity arises to travel we take it.  It is like an addiction.  We would sell our house if we had to, just to travel!  I did not make my first overseas trip til I was 35 so I have a lot of ground to make up!  We have been to New Zealand 16 times in the last 9 years, to Europe 3 times, the US twice, and a few Asian countries as well. We are also just as happy jumping into our car and driving somewhere to do a bit of fossicking or just to discover a new little town.  

One of the things I do love about travel is watching how it educates our son.  I was once told by his year one teacher that she had never met a child with such a broad general knowledge.  He positively thrives when we travel.  I know most children on the Spectrum need routine, but to Hadley, travel is his routine.  You can never teach a child what they can learn whilst traveling.  There is no better education.  

What is your homeschooling style?

Sapphire Fossicking
Our homeschool style - I would say we don't actually have a style as such.  I guess it is more driven by Hadley's interests.  I am a strong believer in encouraging and nurturing a child's passion.  Most people call those passions obsessions (with children on the Spectrum).  I prefer to consider them passions.  Encouragement of these passions not only makes for one happy boy, it means one day he will get to turn his passion into his career and life and maybe achieve amazing things.  How do we do this?  At the moment he loves birds.  We make every opportunity here in NZ to go bird watching.  We take photos, we talk about the birds we see, we write a blog.  Hadley has over 20 books on NZ birds, both new and vintage.  He reads them from cover to cover.  He knows way more than I do.  He can identify any species, he can tell me about each bird, where they live, if they are native, what they eat…….I mean everything.  

Architecture Walk
I still try to stick to the basics with Maths and English and we use Curriculum books for both subjects but otherwise we don't use any set books or follow any curriculum.  All our conversation are teaching Hadley.  I studied Architecture, so when we arrive in a new town we will drive around and look at the buildings, we will date the buildings, talk about the Architecture style, we will look up the history of the town or city we are in.  In almost every conversation we have, we are all learning new things from each other.  His father does the same with his interests and areas of knowledge.  I am extremely lucky in that, homeschooling for us, is a joint effort between Jason (my husband) and myself.  

Hadley is an avid reader.  He heads straight to the adult non-fiction section in book stores now.  He will read almost any book you put in his hands.  He really does just teach himself.  He has told me he likes to collect facts and knowledge.  There really is no need to teach him a lot.  He does it all himself.  I am very blessed to have a child with such a thirst for knowledge.  It does make homeschooling very easy for us.   

Traveling so much makes it essential to pare your materials down to the essentials.
What do you consider essential?

Essential materials - books!  Access to a library, second hand book stores and new ones.  Access to the internet is essential for us too.  I often need to google something if Hadley asks questions.  His questions and knowledge are now often way beyond my scope.  That is scary considering he is only 8 years old!  We also believe travel is essential to his homeschooling too.   

If you could simplify your life, how would you do it?

To simply our life?  It really is not simple enough for us yet.  We do hope to sell up in Brisbane and live on some land, to remove a mortgage from our life and be free to travel the world whenever we want.  We are not materialistic people.  We don't need a fancy car, house or clothes.  We are happy with the basics of life.  I think being self employed, whilst hard financially in this economic climate, has been one of the most freeing things we have done.  It can be stressful but it is very liberating.  I think one of the ways to simplify your life is to stop worrying about what other people think.  It means they do not come into the equations when you are making decisions for your family.  I find that simplifies things a lot and means I am free to choose what we do and when we do it.  Leaving the schooling system has helped achieve that as well.

Hadley in Paris
Shona's eldest daughters, Kitty and Bella (and Kitty)

My sincerest THANKS to Shona for sharing her life with me today.
The decisions that her family makes are inspiring to me, the freedom and the dedication to her child's needs are truly refreshing.  To pick up your family and your life and to actually TRAVEL, as so many of us think of doing, is such a brave move. 
Thanks, Shona!

I am working with another friend of mine to share her family's unique homeschool lifestyle with you.  She is a very thinking and caring woman and she is aware that her words offer a unique perspective into the circle of her family and her home.  She is taking her time and choosing her words carefully.  But stay tuned, because they are very cool people.
I am motivated, moved and enriched by the journeys of these wonderful families and I hope that you are too!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:  Passion Fruit and Chloe
Or you may like: 
I am a Homeschool Mom 

Or:  Not Very Average 
Or you may enjoy reading:  Getting it Right 
Or check out this one:  Baby, I was Born this Way 
Or try this one:  Habits for a Happy Homeschool


  1. It's great to hear of a different way to learn. I am very new to homeschooling & have not yet found our 'technique' of learning (still sort of 'de-schooling' & working out how to manage the anxiety from being unsupported in school) so I love hearing about different methods.

    1. Shannon,
      I hope you relax and give it time. Before long you will realize that you ARE homeschooling your own unique just happens!

  2. What a neat-o family! I love that they embrace the beat of their own drum! Thanks for sharing. <3


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