Blogless Silence

1

It is the silence of sudden, overwhelming toxicity but also the extended sigh of rest. We landed in Manila several nights ago and the kids are enjoying being in a house with four dogs.  The grandparents are happy while I’m in a contained panic over fitting everything that needs to be done within a limited time frame.  What’s new?  That’s how it usually is whenever I go back home to the Philippines from what seems like a simple, semi-fairy tale existence in a different country, sheltered from complex past baggage that is actually not too far from present burdens with another skin.

Now back to documenting this journey. I figured the focus these next weeks would be homeschooling methods and preparations for the trip.  The round the world plans have evolved from a thirty-country, twenty-five school, four year project to a twelve-country, twenty-school, ten-month endeavor.  Nothing’s final until the tickets are bought, visas stamped and there’s always space for changes throughout, and we’re always open and flexible, but here’s the updated itinerary:

Month Country Town/City/State Schools & Sites to Visit
January 10 – 21 Japan Tokyo Shure University, Fuji Kindergarten
January 22 – 30 Indonesia Bali Green School, Green Village
February 1 – 28 New Zealand Auckland; Christchurch Timatanga School (Aukland), Tamariki School (Christchurch)
March 1 – 26 Philippines Manila
March 27 – April 11 Israel Hadera IDEC Conference (International Democratic Education Conference)
April 12 – 21 Switzerland Lausanne
April 22 – 28 Germany Berlin Robin Hood Forest Kindergarten, Evangelical School Berlin
April 29 – May 10 England Suffolk Summerhill School (Suffolk), Newman University (Birmingham – Helen Lees)
May 11 – 27 USA Massachusetts Sudbury School
May 28 – 31 USA Rhode Island Big Picture School
June 1 – 30 USA New York Free School Albany, AERO Conference (Alternative Education Resource Education), Bronx Green Machine
July 1 – 10 Canada Toronto Eric Jackman Inst. of Child Study, Compass for Self-Directed Learning (Ottawa), Nipissing University (Carlo Ricci)
July 11 – 15 Canada Regina
July 15 – 20 USA Minnesota
July 20 – August 20 USA California (SFO – LA) Redwood Forest, Tinkering School, Timbernook, Incubator School, 826 Valencia, High Tech HS
August 20 – 28 Colombia Bogota Fundacion Escuela Nueva
August 29 – September 15 Brazil Sao Paolo Lumiar
September 16 – 30 Zambia Livingstone
October 1 – 15 Tanzania Dar Es Salam

Here in Manila, I got a regular tutor to come teach the kids reading and math everyday — one hour for Joshua and half an hour for Jimmy.  The rest of their day is spent playing or going out to meet up with family and friends.  Hopefully, the technical glitch with the mandarin online tutor will be solved soon, too.

I have to start looking more in-depth and seriously into the following possibilities for the trip: Couchsurfing, Talktalk bnb, Airbnb, Help Exchange, Affordable Travel Club, housesitting websites, homestays, travel insurance, car rentals and airfare comparisons.  Schools have to be contacted, visas applied for plus on the side, there’s architectural design work that needs to be done before going back to China.

Meanwhile, Manila is a wonderful pit-stop for stocking up on homeschooling resources.  My favorite Book Sale stores never fail to yield literary treasures for children and with our home’s WiFi, I can download to my heart’s content audio book recordings for long car rides in urban gridlock, for drives to the provinces and for future road trips.  Today, for example, on the way to Calatagan, Batangas, Joshua listened intently to the first six chapters of Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia) and I promised to get him the next installments.

My friend, Donna also embarked on a hard-to-resist task that I’m now co-writing with her an article about the democratic university called Shure in Tokyo.  We met the founder and students during APDEC (Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference) in Taiwan and Donna visited Tokyo last month where she saw the university for herself.  Intrigued to see how it works, I, too can’t wait to check out Shure next year.

That’s the other thing I realized — the need to release this whole round the world project from expectations of grand results such as a whole, bilingual book with accompanying book tour.  Perhaps the blog is a good enough start followed by contributing articles to journals, magazines and websites, and sharing experiences at conferences.  Where the journey leads, though I venture ambitious guesses, it’s enough that it happens and we savor the ride with all its ups and downs.  Bite-size, short term writing projects instead of grand, long term ones are more realizable and less stressful.  The long-haul goals may evolve into who knows what form and should not be allowed to add unnecessary pressure.

On our last night in Kunming, we had dinner with new friends we made in Dali — a mother who sent her son to participate in Qiu Jin’s summer camp and whose son became fast friends with Joshua during their brief time together. The mom is likewise interested in non-traditional education and was looking for alternatives in Kunming but it turns out the International Schools there didn’t allow Chinese students so I helped her find Waldorf options through Donna.

It’s more than enough to be a player in this cosmic game called life, connecting dots as we go along and the more dots connected, the more fun, squeezing out mysterious meanings from the jaunts, loving the path, not the destination, appreciating the God of small things is in charge of the big things.

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