Thursday, January 21, 2021

Carlsbad, New Mexico

ODOMETER: 83,078 | MILES TRAVELED: 5,133

Gamble Family Adventures and Travel Blog | Jana

 

by Jana

Today was largely dedicated to school for the kids and maintenance and cleaning for Grant and myself. Grant spent time installing a cell booster to ensure we get the best internet connection possible in areas of low signal in order for Jack and Stellie to have the best shot at virtual school. Our WiFi works off of Sprint cell signal, which means that in remote areas without signal we can’t get any internet. After a lot of research prior to our trip, Grant determined that this was the best option for us, given that virtual school happens via Zoom and we need consistent bandwidth. Overall, we have been very happy with our choice and even though it’s not perfect, it is the best available option out there. In three months, Jack and Stellie have missed two days of school due to no internet service, both while in Big Bend National Park.

roswell new mexico

This was a conscious choice on our part, as we felt that the experiential value of visiting a place like this was worth missing two days of virtual school. We’d make the same choice a thousand times over. 

In fact, if it was up to me, Jack and Stellie would not be doing virtual school at all and instead would focus on our travels 100%. This statement may sound controversial to some, but I have to say that virtual school is a bust. The opportunity for Jack and Stellie to learn through experiences on the road is far greater than spending their time learning about the Civil War or Columbus for the fourth time. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think that virtual school is demonstrating the shortcomings of our public education system. A lot of the curriculum is outdated and irrelevant, but most importantly the modes of learning employed by the system are ineffective. All of this comes down to the fact that education in the United States is undervalued and as a result underfunded and so far there hasn’t been a politician in power with big enough balls to invest in future generations over special interest like the military industrial complex, for example. I guess for this, the establisment needs to be toppled and the government needs to go back to being “for the people.” 

I’d very gladly homeschool but I have to work so that someday, if they so choose, Jack and Stellie have the opportunity to go to college which in this country is also becoming a privilege for fewer and fewer kids. 

For example, the in-state tuition for the University of Virginia, my alma mater, is $17,798/year these days.

At this point, based on their experience with formal education to date, both Jack and Stellie reject the societal construct of higher education. I can’t say I blame them, though I will support them no matter what education choices they end up making in order to be happy and well. I got two degrees from UVA and have never used either of them in my professional career, which has been a successful one so far. I didn’t finish paying off my student loans until I was about 38 years old and had I realized that this was going to be the case as a naive 19-year old paying for her own education, I probably would have fainted on the spot. 

Regardless of education, I am certain that both Jack and Stellie will be just fine. They are both brilliant in their own way and if they choose not to go to college, the lack of a degree can’t stop them from living happy lives. I’m proud of them for not falling prey to societal expectations that don’t serve them and seeing them for what they are. This world certainly needs more natural leaders and out-of-the-box thinkers.

To get back on our day: after school, we all took the puppies back to Lake Brantley and afterward, Grant and I went for a run/ride through the windy desert.

At this point, based on their experience with formal education to date, both Jack and Stellie reject the societal construct of higher education.

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Sailing Tahiti to Australia | Leg 3: Bora Bora to Fiji Passage

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We made trips to get water, fuel and provisions, but apart from that we had to stay on the boat. We passed the time snorkeling (saw a giant moray eel!) and inventing new water sports.

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These are our personal thoughts on some of our experiences.

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