Posts Tagged With: Distance Education

Schooling on the road

Seven months in and we haven’t mentioned the kids schooling yet!

Before leaving Sydney we met the kids teachers and they provided us with learning materials, pencils and bags. It was good for the kids to meet them in person at the start so they who they were working with.

Ningaloo classroom

Ningaloo classroom

Sydney Distance Education Programme (SDEP) provide all the work packs and reading books in fortnightly folders and send these to us to pre-agreed post office addresses. Whenever we can we arrange to phone the teachers, though given the lack of Telstra coverage in the outback it tends to be sporadic, or an opportune call from the teachers catches us in the car with a single bar reception making communication patchy.


Oscars Percussion set

Oscars Percussion set


Playing an improvised snorkel trumpet


We then have to ensure the work gets done which can be quite a challenge when other kids are running around the campsite playing, or a new exciting beach, river, or forest beckons beyond the canvas awning. The best time of day for them to focus is after breakfast rather than tired in the afternoon, but often we find ourselves de-camping at this time so it is very hard to get a consistent routine going.

Our best results, which are few and far between, are where we have a big camp kitchen table that we can occupy and spend a couple of days catching up (or getting ahead). Every two weeks we have to find a town post office to send everything back.

In between, where we can, we send photos or voice recordings to keep up the communication with SDEP and they are very accommodating and flexible letting families do what works best for them. They have been providing reading books on a regular basis and sending the kid’s favourite authors on request.

We’ve had a couple of mad scrambles to make post offices before they close, twice entering less than 5 minutes before closing, after hours of driving. On both occasions it was in a town where we had no intention to stop so missing the post office could have really put a spanner in the works. One of those times required banging on the closed door when we discovered we were one package short, missed by the lady, who based on her demeanour clearly wanted to go home.

Another self-imposed challenge we have is data! We underestimated the amount of data required on our mobile plan, especially when skyping. Twice we have used Skype early in the month and ran out, which then restricts how much we can email back to the school (not to mention silence on the blog publication!).

That said we are very happy with SDEP and their flexibility, and we fully appreciate how hard a teachers job can be. We have even considered swapping supervisor roles with other families we have met using SDEP, as kids don’t listen to their own parents as much as other peoples.

Any tips from readers would be much appreciated!!

Categories: Adventure, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, School, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Heading to Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

Still in the forests a damp night was spent at Big Brook Arboretum campsite. Venturing into the Arboretum the following morning unveiled luxuriant colours in the bark patterns, vibrant orange bracket fungi, water droplets hanging patiently from the underside of the fungus, and abundant birdlife all around. Unfortunately for us the birds could be heard, but not seen, as most of them appeared to be high in the tree canopies.

Still in Warren National Park a trip to Beedelup Falls was required, but the relative lack of waterfall in the area meant it didn’t offer much to photograph. The kids had fun on the suspension bridge, then Xavier slipped into the river and we decided to press on again.

Turning west towards the coast again we had the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in our sights, and Conto campground. One of the features of this region is the abundance of Grass Trees, with their fire-blackened stems and almost spherical arrays of leaves sprouting from the top.

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Conto was such a peaceful spot, one or two nights ended up being a five-night stopover. Despite the presence of many caves in the area, with nearby Lake, Mammoth, and Jewel caves being the tourist showpieces, we felt we had seen enough caves recently and saved this for next time. Instead we used Conto as a base to explore nearby Margaret River (next blog), do some more geocaching, and a bit of fishing. With our Camprite trailer next to a water tap we could sit and watch all the wildlife come for a drink, from swarms of bees, to western rosellas, splendid fairy wrens, and silver eyes. Golden Whistlers and scarlet robins danced around the branches overhead.

More importantly it was time to get some schoolwork done so the distance education packs were brought out to get ahead of the curriculum before Easter break.

Categories: 4WD, Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Mitsubishi, National Park, Natural World, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

🎄🎄🎄🎄Ho,ho,ho Mrs Clause here!!!🎄🎄🎄🎄

WIshing all our family,friends and loyal followers a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2015!

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Maybe some of you will visit us on our travels?? Hint hint!! Just having you all follow the blog and sending us messages and challenges brightens our days! So keep them coming… If you have troubles logging on or responding to a post let us know.

So… 8 weeks on the road – where has it gone? And what have we done? And what have we achieved and learnt??

Leaving Sydney, packing up our home and trying to decide what a family of 5 has to pack to travel for 12 months in a little camper trailer…. Hmmm  tough job – I still remember the last day and squeezing the last of our belongings into our storage and other stuff into the car – 2 of our lovely friends C and S helping us close up the camper – because we had only taken delivery of our CT only a week earlier we were still learning – it took a while!! And I’m happy to say we have it down pat now!!  Our first stop at green patch ( which is divine!! Sydneysiders – tip go outside of any holidays) where we stayed 4 nights just to get over the pure exhaustion!!

The kids are learning what their jobs are and are getting better at packing away their sleep bags and camp chairs, washing up😉,helping with tent pegs and ropes for the awnings, filling drink bottles etc,etc! They have barely seen tv, and are learning to find there fun elsewhere – climbing trees, finding beetles, bird watching, beach combing, looking for bones😁 of various animals ( even a whole seal at one beach!) do they still fight ?? Of course they do – especially in the car😠 but they are learning so much about life and nature etc! Distance education is amazing – I am happy to say we are on holidays though !! Yay !!

Four wheel driving is not one of my favourite things – in fact my stress levels go into overdrive – if any of you read about a track we did coming into the Huon valley called Jeffrey’s track 😖 I could barely watch and thank goodness for the 2 guys that helped us out  I couldn’t do anything!! I was asked to take photos – but not being able to even watch made that quite hard!! We got stuck in sand recently which wasn’t as bad but still had the grey hairs emerging! We had to turn back to the road to go another way that time! But we finished the day with fish and chips ( a big treat) and Christmas carols in Robe SA.

Christmas for us is on Kangaroo island – I am hitting the shops tomorrow for some Christmas cheer – will try and sneak some home made rocky road in ( we are staying in a house! Yes a house for the first time in 8 weeks- thanks Hugh 👍) some Bon bons – J is hoping to catch us a crayfish for lunch???? I heard Oscar telling one of his classmates on the phone that no Santa won’t find us this year …. But grandma is sending a small parcel!! My heart melted- he was so ok with it!❤️

My my favourite places so far …. Hmmm Green Patch NSW is definitely up there, I loved the VIC countryside around Omeo, Boat harbour TAS, Narawntapu NP in TAS is gorgeous as was friendly beaches and bay of fires TAS , the Coorong is very pretty SA and I am sure lots more to come.

Animals – we have seen lots!!!  Today we found 3 shingle back lizards which was cool! Tassie Devils, rare black carnivorous snails, seals, echidnas,wombats,kangaroos,wallabies and other hopping things of all shapes and sizes – I’m officially confused as to what wallaby is what and what is a pademelon or a bennets wallaby etc etc!!! We have seen only a couple of snakes,dolphins, koalas,emus, thousands of birds – John has turned into a serious twitcher!!

Cooking for a family of 5 on a 3 burner stove – sometimes I see the photos on Instagram that friends are posting of things like weetbix slice!!!! Thanks B!! Made my mouth water!!!! We do lots Like fried rice, fajitas,bbq, damper and toasting marshmallows has been fun – we still need to perfect our damper if anyone has any recipes – Hannah is our damper chef!!!! Hamburgers, Koftas,bacon and eggs and tuna pasta is a rough idea!! Any recipe ideas? Send them through!!!!

Anyway, enough from me! Have a wonderful wonderful Christmas – think of us – we think of you all, have an amazing holiday break and fabulous 2015,

lots of love from all the fifty toes! 🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁


Categories: @travelaustraliawithkids, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, SA, South Australia, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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