|Surviving Slow Travel|
Winter has rolled in to Colorado and my winter clothes are all in Arizona. We have the heater on in the trailer day and night. We’re not moving on for another few weeks – What to do?
To tell the truth, we did keep a few winter items with us “just in case”. Not that I seriously thought we would need them. My problem this entire last year. I kept out 1 pair of long johns, my London Fog raincoat with liner and a fleece sweater. I have several summer scarves that can serve for neck warmers and one pair of glove-liner gloves. We also kept the boy’s down jacket.
Since we’re living in the trailer, we have most of our clothes in the closet. We each keep one suitcase under the bed and that is where we kept the coats – until 2 weeks ago. Now we are very glad to have them. Even though we will be spending most of the winter in warmer climes, we will be back for a few weeks. So next stop at the Arizona stix and brix, we’ll be picking up some more long johns, a couple winter hats, gloves, scarves and snow boots! Where will we put them when we don’t need them? In the suitcases, of course. If we decide to take air or rail transport and need our suitcases, we will just leave the extras in the trailer closet.
And when we’re in winter weather and don’t need the summer clothes? You’ve got it – we’ll keep the suitcases packed.
Sangre de Christo Mts. Colorado
Change of plans. My son’s grandma is dying. Quickly. We are finishing out the winter in Colorado, after all. Minimizing our life into a 28 ft. RV and a 14 ft. vintage trailer has given us the freedom to be able to be here with her and grandpa. Slow travel means we can stay here as long as needed and postpone our planned trip to Texas until fall or whenever. Our income does not depend on us being in a certain place at a certain time.
Yak and ma at Gator Farm
Homeschooling/roadschooling means Yak is not tied to someone else’s schedule or agenda. He does his assignments when he chooses, as long as he gets them done. If he doesn’t, he knows he will be doing them before anything else, the next day. This frees him up to explore the grandparents’ homestead and visit with his aunts, uncles, cousins and older brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, as they filter in and out, paying their last visits to grandma. Now that the weather is warming up, we are also able to explore more of the local area – field trips for Yak; caregiver breaks for his dad. Who would ever look for sand dunes (Great SandDunes National Park) or an alligator farm (Colorado Gators) in the Rocky Mountain State?
Yak and pa at Sand Dunes
Slow travel allows us to find community in the local Catholic Church. The ladies of the Catholic Mothers Society come over to pray the rosary with the grands a couple of days a week. This gives them great joy. To see the smile on grandpa’s face with his family and friends praying around him, the peace in grandma’s eyes and her joy at having her friends come to see her is a great relief to the brothers and sisters who are staying on to care for their parents. The parish priest sends Holy Eucharist home for the grands with whichever son or daughter makes it to 8a.m. Mass; sometimes he brings it in person.
Pretty Ms. Susie, soaking up the sun
Not having to confine our travels to 2 or 3 weeks out of the year and the odd weekend, we don’t have the stress of trying to see everything as fast as we can. Living tiny forces us to reduce the clutter in our lives. Cooking and cleaning are done quickly. There is more time to play music, walk the dogs, and laugh at the cat trying to catch the laser pointer. With no set time for getting up or going to bed, we can stay up late to stargaze and sleep in the next day. Or we can get up to enjoy the sunrise and get back in our jammies right after supper.
We are most blessed to be able to be available to our families when they need us.
I read in our diocesan newspaper last week about how enrollment is dropping at Catholic schools. People can’t afford tuition, there isn’t enough assisstance to go around, etc. Families are disappointed that they have to pull their children out of the parish school and put them into public school. Frankly, my enthusiasm for Catholic schools has waned since more of the teachers started coming from the secular and often non-Catholic community, and more of the students from non-parish and frequently non-Catholic families who could “afford the better education”.
Assuming that these same schools are keeping the tuition as low as possible, and that these same families are making sacrifices to come up with the money for their childrens’ education, such as giving up the extra car, the boat, the vacation home, the vacation, meals out, extra wardrobe, shoes, downsized house and lifestyle, and still can’t afford tuition, I have another suggestion – Catholic Homeschooling.
Homeschooling is far more economical than either tuition or public schooling (considering the expense of fashionable wardrobe/uniforms, supplies, backpacks, lunches and transportation). A homeschooler’s primary cost is books. There are many excellent Catholic curricula available now, far more than when I began. And a family doesn’t have to use all of one program. Materials can be mixed and matched according to individual needs and preferences. Some families even use entirely free public domain and library materials.
Two working parents can teach, one parent can stay home (thereby saving the expense of working wardrobe, convenience foods and transportation for that parent). Even single, working parents can homeschool – I am not suggesting parents need to be super heroes, either. Homeschooling can take about as much time as the nightly sitcoms, and when done well, merges right into daily life and experience.
As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1653: “Parents are the principal and first educators of their children”. And again 2221: “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute”. As well as numerous other references in CCC 2221-2230.
I homeschooled my 3 grown children (two of whom recently graduated with Associate’s Degrees and transferred to universities) for several of the middle- and high school years, and am currently homeschooling my second grader. I encourage anyone to check into this fantastic option for providing our children with a wholesome Catholic education.
Some places to start: Homeschool Legal Defense Association – great resource for state laws and precedents regarding homeschooling.
Catholic Heritage Curricula – excellent Catholic education resources
The Homeschool Lounge – great place to meet other homeschoolers, get ideas, support and have fun!
Traditions of Roman Catholic Homes – another great site for support and ideas for Catholic homeschooling