It’s Independence Day in the USA today, a day when its citizens celebrate and think about their freedom and what it means to them.
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I’m actually rather ashamed that I never knew, until I was a young adult, anything about the war of independence and my own country’s role in that. How could I not know that the British were part of it? I remember watching The Patriot and stating stupidly that I didn’t know the British ruled America. That was the tip of a very large iceberg that was my woefully inadequate knowledge of history, world events and our role in it. It also made me question my education – lots!
History is one of our favourite things in our family, perhaps it’s because I probably feel like I am learning from scratch alongside my kids. I also think it is hugely important to know how events lead on to other things and how the history even shapes the world today. History is given very little importance in school here in the UK and I think that is such a shame (although they’d probably kill the enjoyment of it!) My kids are now verging on knowing way more than me, they come out with huge amounts of facts and opinions about historical figures (M really likes Winston Churchill despite having a grandfather who despises him – I really respect that he has made his own decision about this person) and generally soak in loads.
(Just revisiting this post after our travel – we managed so many historical trips over the years while kids were growing up and I’m pleased to say that out historical knowledge got so much better (!!!) – from ww2 sites in London, Normandy beaches, and exploring the ancient sites in England and Scotland.)
I have freedom to thank for this.
When my children were toddlers I had a long hard look at the education system in our area and was not completely happy with it. I was living proof that you could come out of school with qualifications and actually still know very little about life. I wanted more for my kids. I eventually found out about Home Education and we started down a path less taken. In the UK home ed is completely legal and a valid choice for many parents and is becoming more popular by the day. I can’t believe how our lives have been changed by this choice we took.
- We are free to choose how to educate, whether that includes school or not.
- We are free to learn about any subject that takes our fancy and we do.
- We are free to choose what is important to us and what is not – National Curriculum anyone?
- We are free to choose whether we want to do exams or not in the future (still pondering that one)
By using this freedom to choose how to educate our kids – in school or otherwise – we have come across another fantastic opportunity. Travel. I have wanted to travel for so long and I have thought about how to do it endlessly, but really knowing that we can educate just as we have done for the last 11 years has made the decision so much easier. Also knowing that we have stepped off the beaten track once, we can do it again.
I am so thankful that I live in a country that allows me the freedom to explore my choices, to enable me to try out home education and see if it works, and which in turn then allows us to follow another path and see if that works for us. It takes work, it takes mad decisions, it takes some thinking ‘outside of the box’, but if we want to do it, we can.
Not everything about our country is great at the moment. Just one instance is that recently there have been rumblings about our freedom to educate as we currently do that thankfully have been put back, for now, but it took a fair bit of fighting. In writing this I did start to wonder if I was being naive for thinking we are free, but for now, I mostly do still feel it.
I hope we will never lose our freedom (said in the best Mel Gibson Scottish accent 😉 ) and the opportunities that come from it.
This is part of a group writing post, many fellow travel bloggers have been writing about what freedom means to them. Below is a list, please think about having a browse round as there are some fab blogs out there!
Let Freedom Ring – The Nomadic Family
Are we free? – Living Differently
The Freedom to Choose – Living Outside of the Box
Living a Free and Meaningful Life – Flashpacker Family
Freedom to Roam – Minor Diversion
What is Freedom? – Family on Bikes
Do you know what Freedom is?– Bohemian Travelers