Hello again. Twice in one week, I know- it’s a record for me! When we were back in Cincinnati long enough last month to see some friends, a few of you gently mentioned that you missed reading my posts. I was incredibly pleased that anyone was reading in the first place, and humbled to have my words missed. So I made a commitment to try and write more regularly. Part of that commitment involved me joining a ‘blog circle’ in which myself and several other like minded bloggers write on the same topic and link to each other’s pages. I see this as a great opportunity for me to be dedicated to my writing, as well sharing some things beyond our travel that I might not otherwise have a chance to reveal. And so this is the fist installment of the Inspired By Simplicity blog circle- I hope you enjoy!
This blog circle is based on simplicity, as such the first installment is an introduction. Simple. Purposeful. Just like us.
So- hello there! I’m Shelah. My readership consists entirely of family and close friends at this point, so I’ll keep the basics to a minimum, but for anyone hopping over from the circle here are the essentials:
My family of five travels fulltime in a travel trailer that has less than 200 sq. feet of living space. My husband Tom is an electrical engineer who contracts with jobs anywhere in the country (or internationally, though we haven’t gone there yet) and the rest of us tag along for the ride. Joining us are our three children- Princess, who is 6.5 and into all things sparkly and pink. Turtle is nearly 5 and the resident zoologist. Ocean is 2.5 and, well, it’s hard to succinctly describe Ocean. Wild. Uninhibited. Everything you’d expect from a child whose name means Ocean. And we can’t forget our furry companions. Rory is our grumpy chihuahua we’ve had longer than we’ve been married, and Lulu is the sweet stray mutt that found her way to us when Turtle was a baby.
And that’s it. From the outside at least. Just our little family living a little life with lots of adventure. But the point of this blog circle is simplicity, and part of that simplicity to me is transparency. So here is some insight into the Blue World that isn’t always apparent at first glance. (And for those who are new, Blue World is a translation of our last name- Blauvelt).
From the outside: Homeschool is a widely misunterstood topic for many families. For us this is particularly so. The reasons why we homeschool and the way in which we do so is probably a mystery to a lot of you, even those who know us well. And I’ll admit, at times the social media feed I produce can give a picture of a quaint and perfect school environment that consists only of nature walks, poetry, and hands on learning.
Inside the Blue World: Many we meet assume that we homeschool because we are travelling. In some ways this has given us somewhat of a ‘free pass’ in which our decision to homeschool hasn’t been questioned as much as some families who are stationary. We couldn’t send our kids to school if we wanted to at this point, so it just makes sense to others. When in fact, we chose to homeschool long before travelling was on the table. And Tom took his job that involved travel because we had already decided to homeschool. Not the other way around. We (ok, at times mostly me. But I think Tom will admit over the years he has joined my fight) are passionate about homeschool. It’s not just a convenient choice for us- it is a purposeful one that we made based on strong feelings about our current society. About the society in which traditional school was formed, and how that is misunderstood today. I won’t go a on a tirade here, but if you’re interested in learning more this is the book that set me on fire about homeschool.
As for the how, I can only say I am not nearly as assured as it may appear. I freely admit I have no clue what I am doing. It is true I have been researching homeschool methods for years, and reading a lot of literature and studies. Despite all the knowledge I’ve absorbed, I find myself fumbling through day to day. We started unschooling (meaning- for us- no structured learning or curriculum) but I have recently been swept up by the Charlotte Mason method. We are in a transition of sorts that I plan to lay out in it’s own post sometime in the future. Regardless of our methods and the opportunities we have because of our travel, I am still like any other homeschool mom. I doubt myself. I doubt my methods and abilities. I lose my temper often (I can’t tell you how much I’m told- “You’re such a saint for homeschooling, I’d never have the patience!” Trust me, I don’t have the patience either). But another reason I’m passionate about homeschooling is it’s a unique opportunity for myself just as much as it is for them. It’s a chance for me to face up to my short temper and self doubt day after day, moment after moment. To grow and learn in myself alongside of my children. To hope that with 18+ years of practice I’ll eventually be able to hold in my frustration when Princess tells me she can’t remember what comes after 12.
From the Outside: An overview of my facebook and instagram give the impression that I am the picture of health. Pinterest worthy meals that my kids repeatedly assure me are disgusting. Long hikes with a toddler strapped to my back. Many adventurous outings.
Inside the Blue World: I do strive to eat extremely clean. I aim for an exceedingly varied diet that often has poor Tom grocery store hopping looking for unknown ingredients. I haven’t eaten at a restaurant (that isn’t Five Guys) since I don’t know when- at least a year, maybe two. I cross reference several diets when planning my meals including FODMAPS, Womancode, and Weston A. Price. My tiny cabinets are spilling over with herbs, tinctures and essential oils. Hiking and babywearing are still two of my favorite things, but lately those hikes can take me days to recover from. I have ventured out to do countless fun activities with my family, but there are also times when Tom has to do those outings on his own. Since the birth of my last child, Ocean, my health has been declining. A combination of IBS, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, endometriosis and Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome has created the perfect storm that at the worst of times has me stuck in my bed, and at the best gives me daily anxiety that any one of my symptoms will pop up at any time. It can make fully enjoying the opportunities travel gives us a struggle, to say the least. I have, however, come to be very grateful that wherever we may roam I will always have my own bathroom and my own bed trailing along behind us.
There is so much more that makes the Blue World go round. Zero waste living and minimalism. Faith. Music. Nature. All things sourdough. My goal is that by participating in the Inspired by Simplicity Blog Circle I’ll be more faithful about sharing each of those, and more.
I hope that you enjoyed this little detour from my normal travel tales, and will take the time to continue around the circle by clicking on the link below.
This post is the first of many from the Inspired by Simplicity blog circle. Together, we make up a community of like-minded bloggers who are passionate about living a more simple life. My fellow Inspired by Simplicity bloggers are creative, kind, and relatable. By following the circle, you’ll enjoy a variety of experiences, opinions, and ideas. Your next stop in the circle is a visit to Krista Lii. Enjoy your journey around the Inspired by Simplicity blog circle, and check back next week for our next topic.