When we were planning our adventure, we had to decide what to do about our daughter and her schooling. It was actually quite an easy decision to decide to home school as we had considered the idea before whilst in the UK. When we were due to leave my daughter had been in the school system for 5 years and had been to 2 schools as we had moved areas.
School in the UK:
My daughter is an August baby, and so she started in our local school nursery every afternoon when she had just turned 3. She is an awesome chatty girl and she settled in well and enjoyed being there. We were still relatively happy when she went into reception as the teacher was nice and very organised, but even then we felt that the amount of paperwork each kid needed as evidence was detracting from actual time spent with the kids. This was a class of 30 kids, so did impact no matter how organised they were.
By the time year 2 came around the teacher was less organised and did not really seem to know the kids very well, and we did not think that our daughter was making any progress at all. It was around this time that we had to move to a new city for my husbands job and were hopeful that this time we would have more choice in the type of school she could attend. With this in mind, after viewing a few schools we chose a small village school about 10 minutes away from us in the hope that the small class sizes would mean more time for the kids, and also a greater way to make friends in a new environment.
Initially things went well, the teachers were nice and they had a lot of assistants so ratios etc were good. There were some early warning signs that maybe the teaching was not as good as we had hoped it could be. Early on in the school career the big thing for learning how to say letters was not to say ‘b-uh’ or accentuate the ‘uh’, which I guess makes sense. At the small school, they said she was talking funny and not spelling out words correctly. This was really only a minor thing, and the thing that really began to bother me was her reading books from school. She has always been an awesome reader and will read anything, I found that she was put onto books that were too easy and boring for her. I went in so many times to discuss this and was told that they would look into it but nothing ever changed. I eventually only recorded only books that she read at home and not ones from school and was never challenged on this.
Whilst reading was a major strength, maths was a weakness that was not addressed. We were very disappointed as her year group only had 5 kids in it and they could still not find the time to help, and fobbed us off with she progressing well which we knew was not the case.
Eventually, at the end of year 3 we were able to make a decision to leave the UK and spend some time house sitting and travelling and therefore decided to home school. It is one of the best things we have ever done.
Pretty excited about our up and coming house sit. We have done quite a lot this past year in France and also over the years in the UK, but we have never looked after farm animals.
At the moment we are renting a small house in rural France after completing a 4 month house sit. We decided to stop the house sitting for a bit of a break, however, I do keep an eye out for interesting sits! I recently spotted a small advert for a short 4 day sit, pretty close to us with horses and goats and sheep etc.
I sent a message to the owner, explaining our experiences (and lack of) and arranged to pop down to meet her and have a chat. I took the kids and they were so happy!
Unfortunately we cannot take our dogs so my husband will stay at home with these 2 and the kids and I will head to the farm next week.
Looking forward to some new experiences!
On nearing Troyes, we realised that our phones were not working to enable us to access emails and therefore were unable to find the name and location of the hotel – we had not printed the details off as we assumed we would be able to use them! We remembered what the outside looked like, and that it was an old and popular one. We pulled over and my husband jumped out looking for the tourist office who we hope might be able to help us.
After 15 minutes he returned with no news. The office was closed. We drove to a different part and out he jumped again looking for the building.
Whilst he was away, I managed to get on googlemaps – this would not let us move ask for directions, but somehow knew where we were. Amazingly, and I do not know how it did this as I don’ have any recollection of doing this – it had put the name of the hotel on the map – I was relieved to day the least. My husband returned and off we went. I don;t think we would ever have found it without this and would have had to go to a freebie place for the wifi eventually
The hotel was lovely, it had a slippy floor which was not great for the dog but we managed. Off we went to find something to et. The place was so busy, with loads of restaurants that were on lovely old streets – a task now was to find something veggie!
Our travels were taking us to our first arranged house sit near Lyon, due to start on the 11th August, so we had one night to get down there from Calais. We had looked into the route and decided to make for Troyes as it was a nice distance to travel and people loved it, stopping for a quick break on the way in Reims.
The middle was really nice and spacious with loads of people sitting outside eating lunch and the sunshine. We only had a short time there but it looks great and we would like to go back at some point.
We jumped back in the car and headed for Troyes!
On August 9th 2018 we finished packing up our house to go off adventuring in France for a bit. We had a ‘plan’ for the first few months and after that well we weren’t sure and left those decisions for another day.
We sent a van load of stuff with my parents who had kindly offered (again) to store our things, donated some other stuff and the essentials (which grew by the end of the day) were squeezed into our car. At 4pm we left our home near Oxford for the previous 3 years to drive to Dover, UK for a ferry the following morning.
We spent this night at ‘The Grand Burstin’ Hotel. A huge hotel on the seafront. It was dark when we arrived in Dover and we had takeaway Pizzas in the car, before going up to our room. An ABBA tribute band were blasting out the tunes, but as we had the dog with us we sadly couldn’t go down.
At 6am the following day we were on our way!