Monday to Friday, behind a desk, in the one place. This is the standard – and much-bemoaned – model for work life. It’s also the model for much of pre-tertiary education, from kindergarten to Year 12. Is this monotonous, precisely scheduled environment always the best for producing the next generation of curious, open-minded thinkers?
Meet the Davenports: a family of travelling filmmakers based in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. There’s mum and dad Aaron and Jules, as well as the three boys Sebastian (11), Aiden (10) and Saxon (7). The itinerant nature of the parent’s work and lifestyle makes a conventional schooling impossible. With part-time ‘formal’ classroom schooling not permitted in NSW, the boys are 100 per cent schooled by their parents. (‘Homeschooled’ is misleading here, they say, and propose the alternative term ‘worldschooled’ instead.)
Still, they’re not a family of system-smashing hippies or road-tripping renegades. Erin and Jules are dedicated to making sure that their boys receive a rich education that adheres to the Australian and NSW curriculum so their kids don’t slip behind. What’s more, since the boys haven’t been conditioned only to interact with people of the same age group (which is often what happens in traditional schools), they reckon the boys’ social skills are a cut above.
The Davenports are also the ambassadors of the 2019 Real Life Classroom. An initiative of Discovery Parks, Apollo Motor Homes and the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, it saw the family chuffing around Tasmania in an RV over a fortnight, followed by the crew at Studio 10, in a bid to prove that adventure and education aren’t incompatible.
The family talked with Education Review a week after they’d returned home (and just after the whole troop had recovered from the flu). They share their enthusiasm over real-life classrooms, and how they’ve gone about creating an experience-rich, compliant and robust ‘world-schooling’ program. Stick around to the end to hear what Sebastian thinks about it all.Do you have an idea for a story?
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