After school is out this June, my wife (and co-author) Robin and I, along with our 10-year-old son, are planning to travel for a year, mostly in a VW camper we recently acquired. This is a trip we've been planning for a long time. It began as a sort of escapist fantasy, then, after our two oldest kids left home for college, it began to seem increasingly feasible. We've now told enough people about the trip that I think we'd have to leave town even if we no longer wanted to — I'd hate to have to keep explaining that we had decided to stick around after all.
What does this have to do with a nonfiction writers' blog? A couple of things. The trip presents an opportunity to create some sort of record (a book?), perhaps exploring the same experience or place or encounter from three different perspectives. With that in mind, we'll try to make lots of notes and photos and sketches — book fodder.
Another, more pressing concern (still tangentially related to I.N.K) is the home-schooling component of the trip. Robin and I have settled, for the moment, on a kind of free-form curriculum. At its core is lots of reading — books of Jamie's choice, which will be mostly fiction, and books we add to the mix, including non-fiction relevant to the places we are visiting.
Also writing, every day if possible. Stories, probably a journal, perhaps descriptions of things or places or experiences. Math might involve a worksheet or two, but it would be nice to make it part of the trip: calculating average speed, estimating the amount of water in a reservoir, etc.
The science, history, social studies, and other traditionally defined 6th grade subjects can, we think, be almost seamlessly integrated into the our travel: the architecture we see, the museums we visit, the things we look at under the digital microscope I bought. (Check this out if you haven't seen one of these: http://www.bodelin.com/proscopehr/). Compared to the hard-to-look-through and difficult-to-focus optical microscopes of my childhood, this thing is a wonder, and a great science tool for kids. Just get comfortable with the idea of seeing your skin imperfections or nose hairs enlarged to the size of a computer monitor. The microscope has a USB connection and takes still images and movies. Here are a couple of pictures Jamie took with ours (my hair, a beetle).
But I digress.
You may have noticed that this blog is not all that informational. It's not one of the many concise, articulate and thoroughly educational book reviews or essays that most I.N.K. writers tend to post and, I assume, work pretty hard on. Unless it comes more easily for them, which I have to admit is a possibility.
This blog isn't especially informational because I want you, the reader, to work for me. Seriously, I'm guessing lots of you have great ideas and information about home-schooling — or, in this case, road-schooling. Or books we should take along. Or ideas about helping a child with a year's worth of reading and writing.
So, if you don't mind, let me know what you think. Feel free to be critical of our educational plans. And if you have links or other resources shoot them over. If I get good stuff, I'll share it with everyone in a future blog.