Timing is Everything

August 19, 2006


I think the start of this big change came when I read an article by chance in The Economist that said “sell, sell, sell” and talked about the coming problems with global housing. It really started to shift my thinking and how I perceived real estate. So I kept reading up on the topic. Meanwhile housing prices continued to sky rocket and the medium house prices in our area were nearing 800K. We had always planned to keep this home until retirement, but I started wondering who was ever going to be able to buy our house in another fifteen or twenty years. The generation behind the baby boomers did not seem to be getting ready for such as things have been out of whack for a while. So we continued to read and discuss these things on a regular basis. I became a big fan of and and and others and other good books and sites that I will list eventually if anyone is interested.

Then there was the school thing. We are very into attachment parenting, so home schooling and unschooling have always appealed to us. There are some wonderful schools in this area both public and private (and we have been to quite a few already and sat in on many). But when you have a child who teaches herself all the phonetic sounds in the alphabet in 20 minutes at barely 2 by asking the question (because her Montessori teacher brought up that topic) and already had many sight words down and then is reading Harry Potter at 41/2 when most kids are just starting to learn the alphabet sounds, you know it’s not going to be easy finding a fit in traditional school. I had a bilingual baby who said "bibliotecha" as one of her first words at 6m and asked for opera at a year and liked watching them like other toddlers like Barney. I worried about her being bored to death or dumbed down to fit in. Yep, studies show that kids actually dumb down to fit in and girls do this more than boys as they tend to be more socially aware. Before 3, she was already hiding the fact that she was reading when she was with others as best she could (she would not "preform on cue" but sometimes would slip by accident).

She is just a regular kid, but she learns quickly and she deserves to be able to go at her pace in every area so a one size fits all approach is not her optimal environment and teachers even in small classes with volunteer parents do not have much time for individual attention. Even with great schools, too much time seems wasted and not enough time is for self or family or greater community and world IMHO. I found these two recently read articles encouraging for our choice:

and also love the thoughts of this award winning teacher Gatto who I admire:
and this quote by Dr Raymond Moore:

"We should not be shocked then by the Smithsonian Report on genius which offered a three-part recipe for high achievement, consisting of 1) much time spent with warm, responsive parents and other adults, 2) very little time spent with peers, and  3) a great deal of free exploration under parental guidance."
And this from an “internet friend”:

I am not against schools and know that they work well for many people. In fact we will be using schools a bit while on our world tour to experience other cultures and languages and see how they do school, but we will continue to home school her in English as we go at her natural pace. She has been home all summer as we do our last minute preparations and we just really miss her when she is at school and love the idea of us all learning together as we roam the world. My niece was home schooled and just graduated young with honors from Rice University in chemical engineering, so sets a good example for us to follow. I think its encouraging that places like Stanford actually prefer home schooled students.

So for various reasons our world view started changing. I started reading about the oil peak theories and thought about how far out we lived and how that affected our budget with gas prices rising. I was beginning to think that we were getting close to peak in the housing boom and that prices would begin to fall eventually because a bust always follows a boom and the bigger the boom, the bigger the bust. I started reading about other booms and busts in history like Japan and Texas and Patrick’s blog made lots of sense to me:

We were happiest when we were together and the family flow just worked better. When DaVinci was busy on a work project, there was more imbalance because we all missed being together. He is a wonderful father and we did not have a child for him to miss the whole experience. We wanted to co-parent together fully. Perhaps we are greedy in wanting ALL of the time, but at our ages we know how fast time flies. Perhaps its because he took 8 weeks mostly unpaid leave when she was born and we got used to being a unit of three and felt it so deeply when he went back to work that he decided to work more from home and shifted his job. Perhaps its because she is an energetic handful and we enjoy some "tag team" parenting as well as “double duty”. We just know it works when we have an abundance of time together and we can't get all that we want with full time school or full time work.

It seems like only yesterday she was born. Its hard to believe that she is already going to be 6. We knew if we stayed much longer that she would start getting attached to her friends and schedule and we would lose this opportunity. I just talked to a friend who had plans to take a year off with her family and travel, but now her son is a talented gymnast and caught up with that schedule. It seemed like now or never to us. We agonized over the pros and cons for many ,many months. We would read travel magazines and websites like escape artist and imagine the possibilities. We stumbled upon the Terhorst story and and and we were inspired and tempted.

But could we ever let go of the dream home that we worked so hard to build and create? Maybe we will just take it with us inside of us as it’s now part of us. It transformed us as we transformed it, and is now part of our beingness. After all, you can not take it with you and a physical home is really more about stewardship.



















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I am going back to read your posts one by one....and love them all.


Britt-Arnhild - You are so sweet!

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