10 55 South 135 10 East – Real World Education?

Today was an interesting day.

We spent time reflecting. One year in, what is it that we are giving to our
children – what are they getting from this experience? It links to one of
the most common questions we get – how are we doing with the children’s
schooling, what are we teaching them.

I revisited what we set out some 6 years ago as our shared Vision when we
first started planning this adventure. The words that we had were: “to
create magical life changing experiences for us and our children”.

Sitting behind this was the belief that our children were growing up and we
were working flat out, we weren’t getting to know our children or to really
spend the time teaching them what we thought was important in life. They
were being educated and brought up by school, childcare help and a tiny
smattering of us. We wanted to spend time with them, connecting with them,
sharing experiences, learning together and enjoying each others company.

I share a story from the last 24 hours which made me smile and feel good
about our choices:

Last night Columbus and I were on deck watching the stars and talking. I’d
made hot chocolate for us both – for Columbus in his favourite Tarongo Zoo
mug with a Koala on the front.

We fell silent after a while (unusual for Columbus) and he asked if we could
put Desert Island Disc’s on. In particular he wanted to listen again to Sir
David Attenborough.

He particularly liked one of Sir David’s disc choices – that of the Lyre
Bird (Columbus will probably correct me on the spelling) from South
Australia. He listened with silent intent all the way through. At the end,
he picked up on one of Sir David’s comments that when he was 10 he had
started a museum of fossils and a snake skin that he had collected.

Since watching Blue Planet and visiting many amazing places, Columbus over
the last week or so has announced, he’d like to become a zoologist. Columbus
is a serious boy and he doesn’t make statements like this lightly. So much
so, it provided some super leverage – Columbus if you want to become a
zoologist, you need to up your game with your writing and documenting what
you see. Up to this point, getting Columbus to write had been like pushing
water up hill.

The past week transformed. Every day, 1-2 pages of notes and drawings were
being added to his journal and with little pushing.

At 4pm today, we were all presented with a small piece of paper. It had a
drawing of a common wombat and was an invite to Columbus Museum.

On the table he had laid out all the artefacts he’d collected on our travels
and proceeded to talk through with great passion on each and every item –
names and details that had long passed me by – the fossils, shells,
semiprecious stones, the coral – all treasures to him which had him in his
element. The wealth and depth of knowledge he’d acquired left Nichola and I
catching each others eyes as we marvelled at how much he has learnt.

Wonderful stuff to see. It feels seeds are being planted for the future. It
feels that we are calling our real world education is having an impact. I
quote Bluebells words from today – at school we’d only be reading about this
in books, but we’re actually out here seeing it and doing it.

Columbus would like to write to Sir David now and share his thoughts with
him (if anyone knows how to get hold of him)

In other news, sailing continues well – working out our tidal gates to
approach Darwin in 2 days time. The boat is flat calm and super warm,

Team Aretha in Arafura Sea, Out.

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  1. Caspar – when I was Columbus’ age I wrote to David Attenborough. I just sent the letter to the BBC. He wrote back personally. Worth a try…. Ewan

  2. I hope I too can receive an invitation to Colombus’s Museum when you return from your adventures, I would love to see the complete collection (including those yet to be discovered!)
    As Bluebell says – you are actually experiencing places that we can only read about – I think your way of learning is the better one! Hope all is well on board, Debbie

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