Incredible to think that we are 20 days away from our stated goal of being out of our house and moving onto the boat on 15 June. There is so much to do between now and then, and yet, perhaps without basis, I find myself oddly at ease.
Initially we had set our minds towards ridding ourselves of all of our possessions save for what fit in our 5×8 cargo trailer that we would leave somewhere for our return. Gone would be cars, beds, furniture, tools, and other such things that one accumulates over decades.
A month or so ago, we relaxed that stance a bit such that we will now have a 10×10 storage space so that we can hold onto the furniture that I made over the years as well as more of my tools that I know I will only seek to repurchase upon our eventual re-entry, for woodworking tools lie at the core of my being. This new found luxury of 100 sq. ft. has simplified our move out substantially, though even still we have piles of things to regime over the coming weeks.
The girls finish school next Wednesday and then they will have two weeks to spend time with their friends in a mess of sleepovers, pool parties, play dates and other such things. Leaving behind such an inclusive community of friends will be difficult, perhaps more so for Tougy than for Nurai, but also for Kjersten and I.
So how did we get here? Truthfully, I am a bit surprised that we are here, though at the same time it feels wholly appropriate. I won’t pretend that Kjersten and I haven’t had moments of doubt and elements of second guessing, but on the whole we feel prepared and confident that this is the right progression for our family.
This past fall, as a trial run of sorts, we pulled the girls out of school, loaded up the car and took to the road for 8 weeks of tent camping in 18 national parks in the Western US and Canada. All the while we were discovering how our family functioned with homeschooling, the absence of the bulk of modern creature comforts, and the withdrawal from the day to day social interactions, and I must say, that on all accounts we felt as though we were happier on the road than than we have felt in the months since.
I think that more than anything, what the fall showed us is that we are a family who enjoys spending time together. In our 8 weeks on the road, we were together as the four of us 24 hours a day for weeks at a time, whether it be in the same car or tent, or out on a hike or trail. We ate together, every meal, we discovered new things and new places together every day and we all finished the day in the same small tent piled upon one another for warmth on most nights.
School was a challenge at first, but by the second month we really felt as though we found our groove. For the fall trip we endeavored to keep up with their classmates using the same texts and general coursework that they were doing at home, and although math proved the most difficult to keep up with on the road, much of that was because of a lack of warm spaces in which to teach more so than the subject matter. I really do feel as though teaching on the boat will be much simpler.
For the upcoming school year, we will no longer be working through our local public school but rather, have enrolled the girls in an independent school located in Vermont called Oak Meadow. We received the girls’ text books and materials for 3rd and 5th grade a couple weeks ago and both KJ and I are excited to work with the program. Reality will be what is is, but for now we are excitedly optimistic.