Homeschool, old school, new school, bush school.

Tomorrow Small Z, now aged 12, will have her first day at school. Admittedly it is not a ‘normal’ school – it’s an alterno bush school in the south of Tasmania about 30 minutes from where the boat is currently tied up.

ASTOUNDING. What has prompted this? Several things. We plan on being here on the Huon River for six to 12 months. There are no kids around here for her to hang with. The dinghy will soon be done.

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119/366 • Voila! Nesting dinghy!! • .

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The school can offer her the social interaction and engagement that we, while not travelling, cannot. We also hope to build The World’s Cheapest House, and while we would love her to help, her interest in construction is… limited.

Yes, there is some mourning involved. But also joy and hope that she will go forth and bloom. We hope to make our (land) home base in Franklin in the Huon Valley, and Small Z immersing herself in a new cohort is part of that experience. I write this as a complete novice – as someone who only toured the school for the first time this morning, only to have Small Z announce; “I’m scared, but I want to start tomorrow.” So she will.

I feel duplicitous. I support public education. But Small Z is going to a school that was started by parents, is deep in the bush, has about 100 kids and focuses on autonomy and independent learning. It costs money, but not an unreasonable amount. It has provisions for those on lower incomes. It’s holistic. It is as much about academia as it is about a muddy game of soccer. I don’t know how this will all pan out, but I wholly support Small Z trying something new.

New jetty. Zoe. Huon River. Yesterday.

…especially where there are no school lunches to be made. THERE ARE NO SCHOOL LUNCHES TO BE MADE! Part of the school fees cover lunches for all the children. HUGE RELIEF. I know it is pathetic, but our old weekly nature walks used to nearly kill me when I thought about having to pack lunch for the day. If I had more space (and thus, presumably, more headspace) this would obviously be far less of a drama, but as it is… I am super-grateful that food (really good food) is provided for all the kids and that they are on top of the whole coeliac disease thing.

This time tomorrow I will be sitting here, listening to the rakali on the roof, the mother of a SCHOOL CHILD! Who knew?! It’s a brave new world. From Monday Small Z will be getting the bus every morning/afternoon and our world be be a slightly different shape…

Crazy times.


  1. Kaye Proudley

    Beth, I’ve just been Reding about nature schools and they seem to work really well. I reckon the way you’ve brought up the girls so far will fit well with this type of schooling, as long as she can find some similar aged children that interest her as friends to cohort with, methinks it will work out very well.
    What about Zoe?
    Best luck to you all in this latest venture.
    Lotsa love from an unwell U. Roy and me, xxxx

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