Apr 3, 2012

Have We Been Home Over Two Months Already??!!

Finally!  We’ve been home just over 2 months now and we are happy to report that things have settled down to a more manageable pace.  It’s been a busy and stressful few months—so what have we been up to?

Incredibly, the kids have just about finished their first term at school/pre-school.  This has been the past 8 weeks.  They have settled in well and are starting to make new friends.  Madeleine’s really is thriving at school too, taking the foundations that we’ve laid in the past year through unschooling and just taking off with it.  Although she’s in kindergarten, her maths and reading are at about a grade 1/grade 2 level and even her weaker writing and spelling have both now caught up.  We’re so proud and amazed at her accomplishments, which culminated with her receiving an ‘Achievement Award’ at school the other day.  Her successes and confidence are definitely directly attributed to our past year away, without a doubt!

We also played host to a Japanese student, who stayed with us for 3 nights.  Miki is in her first year of Early Childhood Education studies at a college in Osaka and she and her classmates were here to observe the childcare and pre-schools in our area.  Maddy and Yasmine loved having her around and for a few days, we felt like we were on holiday again, except that the tables were turned and we were now the hosts! 

Doing Origami with Miki

A new playmate for the kids.

At Phillip Island Nature Park (see the Koala?)

Miki and her classmates

But most of all, the girls are just enjoying playing with friends in the neighbourhood on our trampoline, in our yard, as well as riding their bikes and scooters around our cul-de-sac (court). They love being able to do ‘dress-ups’ and doing endless art to their hearts’ content.  They also love their extra-curricular activities of weekly ballet and swim lessons.  Unfortunately, none of these activities were possible during our past year of travel.

As for us grown ups, we are getting back into the rhythm of day to day life in Melbourne.  Functioning as a team once again as we had been in the past year, we’re getting tackling the routine now more efficiently:  the house is getting cleaned regularly at last, the cupboards are being kept stocked, the bills are being paid on time, and the garden is being pruned and weeded.  We’re slowly catching up with family and old friends that we haven’t seen for over a year, as well as making new ones among the parents at the schools.  And we’ve even managed to frame and hang enlargements of some of our favourite photographs taken on our trip around the house.

So all in all, life at home is ‘same same, but different’ than before we left.

Newly hung photos adorning our walls.



  1. How many photos did you take? And how many got printed? That is a job and a half!

    Jenn N.

    1. haha--i haven't actually attempted to count how many photos were taken, and it would have been more but were were without our camera for 2.5months too! My brother helped me select and touch up the 23 that we eventually enlarged. Thank g-d for Costco--we saved $265 by doing it over there while in Vancouver than if we did it here at home, although we did have to carry them with us! plus then once we got home, all we had to do was to get the frames (which was a bit of a mission, but worked out well in the end).

  2. Life is learning! And you did that on your "Amazing Journey". Even so, it must be nice to see some cold hard evidence - to prove the work that you two put into Maddy's school prep!

    So, how do you think her teachers will keep up to her?

  3. Like you said, life is learning, but it IS nice to be able to 'measure' our results to a 'standard', if only to reassure ourselves that we are on the right path! We are very lucky to be enrolled in a public school that 1) teaches the International Baccalaureate Program (IB), and 2) structures the kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 into a composite class. This latter point means that they not only have the same teacher for 3yrs, but also they are able to easily accommodate the different rates of learning in the children within the class. So Maddy can take advantage of being a kindergarten student and all that entails, while learning her reading and maths with the grade 1/grade 2 kids, without being any 'inconvenience' to her teacher, who she loves! The IB program ensures a holistic approach to her entire primary years. Naturally, we will keep supplementing her learning through continual 'unschooling'! I may write a post on this soon too--stay tuned...

  4. What a helpful bro you have.

    Maddy's school sounds too good to be true! The mixed ages/grades is what I liked so much about Montessori. But that approach was all wrong for us, we found out.

    Keep on writing,

    1. Yes, my bro is extremely helpful, particularly with photography :)

      Many schools do a mixed grades structure, particularly at the k/1 level and are not montessori (my girlfriend teaches at one in Guildford).

      And thanks for the encouragement about the writing--i'll keep at it as long as i have something to say that i think someone might want to hear. but the challenge is being able to find the time to write!! being at home is super-busy!!

  5. Time sure flys by far too quickly. Would you like to keep on travelling or are you happy to stay put in Melbourne?
    I was there a couple of weeks ago (for business) and had the best time.
    Would love to spend more time exploring Melbourne, and visiting the zoo :)

    Love the idea of having photos up on the wall to remember your travel journey.

    1. Lisa
      Of course life on the road is more exciting, but that thought is quickly tempered when we see and accept how happy our kids are to be home. Don't get me wrong, they coped and enjoyed our year away, but probably more for the fact that we were always together, doing things as a family. at their age, they really missed making friends their own ages (who spoke english!), experiencing school, and taking part in extra curricular activities that interest them. While it's great to experience different cultures for them, they are at an age where they are only beginning to get a taste of their own!

  6. wow very nice. Lots of nice photos. Thank you for your sharing. Petter Joe