How do we make it work?
This is one of the most frequent questions that we get. The thing is, we didn’t know the answer to this question until we started doing it. And honestly, we’re still figuring it out. We knew what we wanted to do, but it was hard to imagine that it would actually happen. Literally picturing it in our heads seemed to be nearly impossible. It was hard to believe that we would actually pick up our lives and go. Leaving behind a great home, great neighbors, a great school with wonderful teachers, and amazing family and friends. But we did it, and it is going better than we could have ever imagined. There are certainly hard days. There are certain adjustments to make and things that constantly need to be figured out. But for us, it’s all about the bigger picture. And making it work is half the fun.
But really, how do we make it work?
We feel like it is all about consistency, homeschooling, and exploring.
We are both nurses. We’ve tossed around the idea of both of us taking an assignment, working opposites, and making the big bucks. But that isn’t the point, at least not for us. We decided a long time ago that consistency would be key for the kids. We decided it would be best for Sam to take the travel nurse contracts and for me to stay at home, homeschool the kids, and do my work virtually. We wanted consistency for the kids to know who would be working and who would be at home. We also wanted a consistent teacher for them. Going back and forth would be difficult for all of us. Having a consistent home is another decision that we are so glad that we made. As a travel nurse, you can choose for your agency to provide housing for you or choose to accept a housing stipend and provide your own housing. We chose to buy an RV so that our home would be consistent too. Our entire family, including the dogs, has a consistent place to call home. We also wanted to have consistent days off together every week. It is a great feeling to tell the kids that we will have time to explore something new every week and do things together as a family. So overall, being consistent has become a very important part of our ever-changing lives.
In regards to making decisions about how to educate your kids, it is not easy. We understood there to be several different options for us as we left the traditional public school that we were in. Looking at our options (online public school, online private school, online homeschool, or traditional homeschool), we quickly decided that a more traditional approach to homeschool would be best for us. We wanted the freedom of being able to be on our own schedule. We take a week off now and then when we are traveling, exploring something new, having visitors, or just needing a break. One year into this, we feel like we are finally in a good rhythm. We are accustomed to a more “year-round school” approach and are thoroughly enjoying the freedom. They have school approximately 4 days a week, and it mostly entails language arts, reading, and math. We incorporate a lot of science, history, art, STEM, music, PE, etc.… into our daily lives. Everywhere we go, we are naturally talking about the terrain, the native lands, historical landmarks, all while we are hiking and climbing and walking around the very places we are discussing. Don’t get me wrong; I do not magically create incredible lesson plans with the perfect field trip in mind to a nearby location. We honestly just go with it, and it’s incredible how much we are all figuring out together.
This is it, our bread and butter, our number one reason for doing this. We take advantage of our days off. We feel the finite amount of time we have in each location, so no destination can be put on hold or held off to a more convenient time. As soon as we get somewhere new, we start asking the people around us for tips and advice on their favorite spots to hang out, hike, camp, go for walks, or play with their kids. It is amazing what doors this simple, friendly conversation can open. We also love to open up a map and find something green or blue on it and find the road or trail that takes us there. It is such an incredible feeling watching our kids turn into true adventurers, and we are so lucky to be able to explore alongside them.
In a lot of ways, we live a crazy lifestyle. There are so many unknowns, a lot of pros and cons, and a ton of change. We left for this adventure over a year ago when our kids were 6 and 8. We love the ages that they are right now…old enough to explore and exercise their independence, but young enough to still think their parents are cool. I wonder how much time we have left for the latter?
We hope you found this information from Annie and her family on Travel Nursing helpful. Consistency seems to be key. Do you travel with your family? How do you make it work? Comment below any tips or advice you have to share.