NMC030 New Sitter Allie Boatschooling
Recorded: September 2, 2016
Location: Riviera Beach, Florida
Subject: The process of finding a new sitter and the challenges of homeschooling three kids on a boat.
When we left New Mexico in June 2016 to move onto the sailing catamaran s/v Dawn Treader, our wonderful babysitter left her mountain home to come with us. After a couple of months on the water, living in a tiny, floating home with five loud, rowdy people, she decided to return to her quiet, landlocked life. Who could blame her!
Still, we wanted that extra grownup on board to help with our rambunctious crew. That is how we found Miss Allie. She was a wonderful addition to the crew at a time when we really needed help. Not only were we still trying to adjust to the liveaboard life, we were also learning how to homeschool—or boatschool—3 kids for the first time.
In this episode I share some of that journey of discovery as we muddled through the early days on the Dawn Treader and tried our best not to ruin the young humans we were trying to educate. Eventually we figured out that they are far smarter than we are and that they were probably going to be okay no matter how many mistakes we made. But back then I wasn’t so sure.
If you want to know more about our adventures, including some of the exciting things we have going on in the present day (early 2021), please visit our “crew” page at: NewMexicast.com/crew
Have a great week and go easy on yourselves!
Lots of love,
P.S. If you enjoyed this podcast and want to learn more, here’s how to:
Join the New Mexi-Castaways Crew
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Rosa Linda Román (00:29): There we go. They all just walked out of the house, AKA the boat. And for the first time in many hours, or it feels like days I have a moment to myself. So let me start by going "Ah", that is so nice. Thank goodness for awesome babysitters. Let me start the show. I am Rosa Linda Román. This is New Mexicast, AKA New Mexi-castaways, which is basically my chronicles as a family. I guess the head of the family or the mom of a family that lives on a boat. You can hear my coffee going in the microwave and there we go. Now we can start the day. So I just thought I would just go ahead and record this episode while I work around the boat as my family, my kids and our new babysitter, Miss Allie headed out for a day of exploration. Rosa Linda Román (01:34): So the big, big development in our life which I mentioned on the previous one I think is that we started homeschooling and there's so much to learn still so much to figure out, but it's been, it's been a really interesting adventure. I mean, not any more so than moving on to a boat, right? Ah, there's my coffee. So let me take a pause and take a drink and now I can talk. So basically we lost our liveaboard nanny, who we adored Miss Linda. And now we found a new babysitter through a service we use called SitterCity.com. I had used Sittercity quite a bit when we moved on to a boat six years ago, the first time we moved on to a boat. I liked Sittercity because it gives you reviews from other parents and it just gives you access to a lot of different babysitter, potential babysitters. Rosa Linda Román (02:40): And um that's how we found Miss Allie. I hadn't used Sittercity in a long, long time because we did have our great sitter,uLinda in New Mexico. Ubut now that we needed a new sitter, I went back and opened up our Nathan, my husband opened our account again, and we got started with Sittercity again, and we found Allie right away. A big part of what we were looking for was somebody who could, who was comfortable around the water and could help us take them on more appropriate homeschool type adventures. When you live on a boat, we have access to things that a lot of people don't. Yet I found we were not doing a lot of the stuff because most of my time, since we just moved aboard, I guess it's been about two and a half months now. Most of my time is spent trying to get things prepped and working around the boat, or like what you're here right now, me doing dishes, just getting things cleaned up. And so, really wanted someone who could take them on adventures, especially learning adventures with us starting homeschooling. So I was really pleased that Miss Allie, mart of why we picked her is she had been a, mhe had been a, (what do you call it?) lifeguard for quite some time. And, hhe also moved to Florida to go to school and was using the time, before she starts her school program in January, she's using the time to get, to spend as much time scuba diving and playing in the water as possible. So it was a really good fit for us. We really like her and she's stepped right into the role, ms we basically are just starting the school year. Rosa Linda Román (04:28): And really just trying to figure things out. We don't have a specific curriculum that we're using yet, and we're talking to a lot of people to find out what the right what the right fit is for our family. So Miss Allie has helped me with that. And today, normally we actually don't do school on Fridays. My goal is to just do four days a week of school and then the rest of the time family time. But because we went to, last weekend, I think I mentioned in the previous broadcast, we went to Walt Disney World and Miss Allie came with us. And then her mom came into town from up north and so she took off on Monday. So she came today just to kind of keep the hours and make up for the time that she was in was spending time with her mom, which is great. Rosa Linda Román (05:18): And that's, by the way, part of what we love about this new, the potential of this is that everybody can be flexible. We can work together so that it works well for her and it works well for us. But anyway, so we went to Disney and because there was a hurricane threatening here to it was threatening West Palm Beach area, actually South Florida area really. It wasn't a hurricane then, it was a tropical storm. Well, it has since moved to the west coast of Florida and turned into Hurricane Hermione or Hurricane Hermine, something like that. And it is right now hitting Tallahassee. But we have totally missed the hurricane, which I am very grateful about. When you live on a boat, like we do the, you know, it's a whole different set of considerations that you have to worry about when weather moves in. Rosa Linda Román (06:17): We basically are going to be conservative every time and never stay on the boat if we even remotely think there's going to be something dangerous or, you know, that would threaten our family. So we went to Disney, came back and now we're back. And there's a ton that has to be done around here to try to figure out this whole homeschool situation. And also, I, I think I've talked about this before, but basically you, if you've been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you are familiar with my KonMari efforts, which is where you take all your stuff in your house and determine what, what sparks joy. And if it sparks joy, you get to keep it. And if it doesn't, you don't anyway, we need to, we needed to basically re-KonMari. Once we moved to the boat, we got here with a bunch, with basically just what fit in my Ford expedition. Andand then little by little, you accumulate a bunch of stuff and I've yet to hit what they call the click point, which is where you get to the point where you just feel like your house is where, where you, you feel like your house is where you really want it to be. And I have yet to feel that. I'm close, but I still have, I still have cluttered cabinets and countertops and not cabinets, countertops and desk. And just like there's stuff. There's still a lot of stuff that we really need to get rid of. So we're going to be today, I'm going to, now that I have a couple hours to myself, I'm going to get things prepared here for tonight. We do Shabbat every Friday night so I like to have the house in order. But in the process, I'm going to try to get rid of a bunch of the stuff that's just been lingering around. Rosa Linda Román (08:14): It always ends up on certain countertops and cabinets, which is just the same as any house. And I think I wanted to just kind of mention that because people ask me all the time, what's it like to live on a boat? Well, it depends on how you conduct yourself and what you do. Right now, we're not sailing anywhere. At least not distance wise because we are my daughter is a competitive gymnast and her season starts at the gym she is at here, um her season starts in a week. And so we decided to stay put here in West Palm Beach to give her the chance to pursue this, this goal that she's been really working hard towards. So I'm going to take a little break. I need to put an extender on my microphone clip so that I can do dishes and talk to you at the same time. Rosa Linda Román (09:08): And since I'm thinking about it, let me just mention what I'm using to record this right now is a Zoom Handy Recorder H4n and my Rode Lavalier mic. And so what I'm going to do is add a longer cord for the Lavalier mic, and that will allow me to move around the kitchen and do dishes and stuff. So expect after the break, if you stick around to listen I will be talking as I'm washing dishes, so it might be a little loud, but hopefully it'll work for you. So I'll be right back. Rosa Linda Román (09:49): Okay. I'm back. And I've got my adapter so I'm able to now wash dishes and talk to you at the same time. So, I wanted to talk a little bit about what we've been doing with the homeschooling thing because that is what is top of mind for us right now. The, okay, so let me back up a little bit. For those of you that don't know me, I my family lived in New Mexico for the past several years. Our home base is still in New Mexico and we moved onto a boat mid June or end of June, I guess of 2016. So whenever you're hearing this, this is now for me two and a half months after we moved to board. And one of the things we, when we were in New Mexico, we always, my kids always were in just regular public school. Rosa Linda Román (10:46): With the exception of when we lived on a boat, my daughter Ahava was four and turned five. The first time, it was not this boat, it was a different boat. But we were in The Bahamas for a time and she went to a preschool there and we also went to a really cute little private preschool in Alamogordo. But other than that my, which was with by the way, I should mention and give them a plug. It was called Kinder House with Tammy and Elise Mathewson, who we adore. Anyway, so other than that, my kids have been in public school in New Mexico, and they had a really nice little school in the mountains outside of Albuquerque where our home is that we were very pleased with mostly the education they got. You know, there's always an exception, there's always challenges. Rosa Linda Román (11:40): And I think the biggest challenge with being in a public school setting is a lot of the time that your kids are in the school is spent having, for me, this was our experience, and I want to put that caveat on there that every, every kid is different. Every parent's experience is different. So you could talk to other parents from our kids' school and they would have a very different take on it. But for several years, our kids meaning our two oldest kids Ziva and Ahava who are now 11Ahavas 11, and she's in sixth grade now, and Ziva is 9 and she's in fourth grade. So they had been going to this little school in New Mexico since I think Ahava was in first grade and it's been really good overall we have had some challenges because both girls are gifted and they did not feel challenged enough. Rosa Linda Román (12:45): A lot of the times the school worked really hard with us to try, or I should say there were individual teachers that worked very hard with us to try to remedy that. But we went from a little school in just, it was just a little elementary school where it felt very personal and and very, very much that there was a smaller rate, I guess the ratio wasn't that different, but something about the way it was run just felt a lot more personalized. But then because of budget problems, the district closed two elementary schools in our area. And those two schools were merged into our school, our school. And what happened when that happened is first of all, there were a lot of kids who loved their previous school that had to, you know, go through the trauma of figuring out this new school and deal with all of all that came with that. So there were a lot of new kids a lot of new teachers cause they tried to keep the teachers from the other schools, you know, keep them employed and just add them to our, our school. So the bottom line is it became a much less personalized place because with the added added teachers and added kids and added parents that went with the kids the administration, I think they really struggled to try to find the balance. And what, what ended up happening is there was a lot less of that community school feel. It just felt like people needed to drop their kids off and go pick them up curbside and all that, which they didn't, they didn't go to that extreme. They tried, but it really was important to our community that everybody still had a connection to the school. But I'm telling you all of this, just to say that the last school year my one daughter Ahava had a teacher that she just adored and she really enjoyed that class. Rosa Linda Román (14:55): So that was great. But my other daughter Ziva did not, she wasn't in class with any of her friends. There was a lot of time spent on kids with emotional issues that constantly disrupted things. And it just felt like there was a lot of overwhelm. And one of the other struggles we had was that my , because they are gifted, they have something called an IEP, which is an individualized education plan. I believe that's what it stands for. And this IEP basically has certain requirements that the school has to meet to make sure our kids are sufficiently challenged when they're in a gifted situation. But the problem is there's, it's a very the budget, as I mentioned, they had big budget problems, right? So there wasn't really a budget for to have like a separate special education and gifted program. Rosa Linda Román (15:56): They were kind of all melted in together. In fact, initially when my, and this may be in many schools, I don't know if it was just ours or if that's just how it is. But my when my daughter, when on the IEP initially and it talked about my kids, it says, it asks what their disability is and their disability was listed as gifted, which I thought was funny. And I, you know, I'm pleased, don't think I'm, you know, I think that both sides need the proper attention. But what was happening in our case is that my the gifted kids would have a class at the same time with one teacher as some of those special needs kids. And because of that, though, some of the kids, especially, you know, if there were behavior problems or whatever, they needed more attention. So a lot of times the gifted kids were basically doing independent, do stuff by themselves work. And, and for us, really the idea was that we thought it was supposed to be, or we would ideally have liked it to be would be to let the, the gifted kids have that attention from a teacher who could challenge them and work with them. And it just wasn't feasible with given the restrictions of you know, the number of kids and, and the way things were structured. Okay. So all of that is the backstory. We then moved on to a boat and we knew we were moving onto a boat for the past year. We bought this boat a year ago. And so a lot of I think a lot of what happened last year for us is just thinking about, okay, so we know we're going to move on this boat. Rosa Linda Román (17:37): And in my mind at the time we were going to actually just say all the way right away. And so if that's the case, you know, we would need to start thinking about homeschooling. And that is a first for us. We've never homeschooled before I, in the past I grew up thinking that homeschooling was weird and that there was, you know, like it was, I just, you know, I don't want to get into all of the, the biases that I grew up with, thinking that, you know, it was a terrible way to, you know, it was like damaging the children and taking them away from their peers. So if you feel that way, hey, that is totally your business. I'm just I'm just wanting to talk about it a little bit, because for me, I definitely have had a change of heart on this subject. I am a huge supporter of school in general, like public schools and, and the educators that are working really hard to make sure the kids get what they need, because let me just say, even with those frustrating restrictions for my kids, when it came to the gifted stuff the teachers that worked with them absolutely cared a hundred percent and wanted the best. And they wanted, you know, they, I think they appreciated that we were willing to fight for and advocate I should say for our kids. But that said, I, I really have had a change of heart about the homeschooling thing, and maybe it's by necessity, right? Because I'm moving onto a boat, how do you do regular schooling and live on a boat? So with the with the homeschool thing you know, by necessity, we needed to start looking at creative options anyway. Rosa Linda Román (19:24): So now let me back up again. Now we're here, in West Palm Beach area, and technically we don't, we don't really have to homeschool anymore cause we're going to be here at least through December and Samuel, our youngest is five and would be starting kindergarten. The school's started here two weeks ago. And so I've been struggling quite a bit with, do I just put them into a school knowing that we're hoping to get basically our new plan or tentative plan is to get through the the gymnastics competition season. Which i,s the state meet is December 3rd and fourth. So our new plan is to get through that season. Let Ahava pursue her gymnastics goals and dreams, and then sail after that. So with that in mind, I could put them in a local school at least through December. So that's the question. I struggle with this still. Even though we did finally, you know, look at some options. A lot of the schools that we were getting excited about or looking at as possible, you know, a possible good fit here, a lot of those schools have waiting lists and you have to do, you know, plan it way in advance and, and be like a normal person who actually thinks about things before the day of. So with that kind of, you know, we started calling around and realizing some of our options educationally were limited. The place that our boat is right now, the school district, we would be a part of is not a highly rated public school district. And we could get creative and because we're a boat, we can move to another school district, you know, up the way and find something good. So I'm sure there are options, but the whole time in the back of my mind, I had been thinking we were going to homeschool or boatschool, I like to say. And so I finally decided, you know, what, I just need to try it because I know, I know what the public school option is. Rosa Linda Román (21:36): And that's basically what's available to us now. A lot of the private schools, first of all, financially moving onto a boat has been quite a financial strain. And so the idea of like putting them in a private school or something is not really great for us right now. And in general, I, I don't love having kids out of the public school system. I mean, if my kids are going to go to a school, I generally like them in a public school, because then it allows them to be around lots of different kinds of people. They contribute in different ways to the collective. So there was a lot of thought about, you know, do we just put them in a local public school or really do, and, you know, financially I'd rather not spend the money on a private school right now, or do we homeschool? Rosa Linda Román (22:25): So again, I finally decided, you know, what, I feel a lot of guilt issues about the possibility of homeschooling, because first of all, like I said, I was kind of raised thinking people who homeschool are crazy. But also, and not just, I'm not just talking about my family, I'm talking about being around, you know, just the general culture around homeschooling, I think really was very, you know, like, "Oh, are these people who are just anti-establishment and trying to, you know, run away from everything?" And, well, I guess you could kind of see me as that since I live on a boat and I do want to run away or sail away, but I also believe in, you know, I am absolutely in favor of our system and how, you know, in America. And I'm, I'm proud to be that and, and participating this year in the elections and all of that, even though it's a very crazy time, but I digress. Rosa Linda Román (23:30): So as I'm sitting here doing dishes, it's nice to be talking to you guys and getting stuff done at the same time, not just driving somewhere, like I usually am. I don't know how the sound is for you, but for me, this has been a treat to be able to just sit still in my space and get my stuff done. So let's see, what else can I say about that? So we decided, bottom line, we decided to go ahead and try homeschooling. I figure if it's a terrible failure we can always go back to a public school and given the fact that they're gifted, they're not going to be that far behind anyway. Right? So I figured now is a good time for us to try this thing. So with that in mind, when the new school year began here in West Palm Beach and back home, I decided I'm going to post a start ofschool picture on Facebook, like I would, if my kids were starting the public school. And I always take a picture of them every school day or I usually do. I have been negligent since we started homeschooling two weeks ago, but basically I posted this picture and it was of them in their bathing suits getting ready to go on one of these learning expeditions. And I got a lot of positive comments. People were like, I wish my school uniform looked like that. But it's been a lot of fun in some ways, because it really is freeing us up to do things differently and, and be together in different ways. And really explore questions together educationally. A big one was the hurricane. Basically, I wanted to use that as a chance to say, okay, great so, we've got this this tropical storm potentially heading our way. What can we learn from this and what do we need to do to prepare? Rosa Linda Román (25:23): And so we use that as kind of a learning session or section, I guess. And we, they got to learn about hurricanes and boat preparedness and whatnot. So that side has been very interesting. It's, I'm not gonna lie. It, it has not been easy and I'm not, I have no rose colored glasses right now. If I did not have Allie, who is our babysitter, and she, I basically have her as their teacher most of the day or part of the day, I should say most of the day. I don't know if it's most, but she, she will take them and take, for example, take Samuel aside and work on spelling words with him or writing and, and math. And then she'll take Ziva aside and work with her on a writing project. And so, because I'm definitely outnumbered. And, I do, I have a husband and he, when he's here, he participates as much as he can, but he has like three jobs. So he travels a lot for work. Right now, he's doing his clinicals. He's a physician and he does his clinical work in Alamogordo, New Mexico. So he flies back to go do that. And so he's gone quite a bit. He also does he's a vice-president of integrative medicine for a medical group. So he travels for that and he's busy setting up another company with some of his friends. So he's, he's very busy. He has some great things to contribute. I mean, when it comes to math, he challenges them. Like we'll be sitting at breakfast, I mean, just at a restaurant. And he gives the kids like sheets of math problems and challenges them. Rosa Linda Román (27:16): And they're like sitting there happily doing this math for fun. And I'm like, well, who are these alien children? And where did they come from? I mean, I'm okay with math. I always got A's in school cause I worked my butt off, but it did not come naturally to me at all. And it still doesn't. So it's been an interesting thing to think about curriculum and what we're going to be teaching them and how we're going to be teaching them because my tendency is to model it exactly after the school they were in. You know, like normal school hours, a normal school day and how that would look and what would they, you know, how would, what would school be like? And if they were in a regular school. But,I have also finally started participating in some homeschool like meetup groups around here. Rosa Linda Román (28:08): And from that, that has actually helped me tremendously to realize that I don't have to do it like traditional school. I, inside of me, I have this like guilt, if you will, or, you know, mommy guilt, where I'm just like, "Oh, I'm probably doing it wrong." I needed, I need to, you know, really have this very structured regimented curriculum. And you know, there's just a lot of questions I still have. And a lot of things, I, I don't know exactly how to conduct this, you know, homeschool process. But the more I talked to other parents and by the way, their kids seem quite normal. The more I talk to them, the ones that are homeschooling, the more I realize, okay, this is a process that is going to take a while to gel and to really figure out. And so my first priority, I think for me, for my family, is to get clear on what it is we actually are trying to accomplish. And, you know, like, what do we want, what kind of school am I interested in creating if you will? And I also think the intention of putting together a curriculum that supports where we're going and what we're doing and allows us to really explore. So let me give you the example from this morning. So, because they're doing school today on Friday, instead of Monday, like they were supposed to not supposed to, but that's our original plan was. They are going to do, they went over to this snorkeling/diving area at Blue Heron Bridge here in Riviera Beach area. I think it's actually Singer Island. But there's this area where they have a regular resident turtle, like a sea turtle that hangs out there and Miss Allie is taking them there to see if they can find the turtle. And they will also look for other sea creatures and then they'll come back and write a report about what they saw. Rosa Linda Román (30:20): And so for me, you know, I have these moments yesterday, was it yesterday two days ago when my husband was about to leave for work, I, I have these moments where I'm like, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to just fail at this homeschool thing. It's, you know, I struggle with trying to figure out my own work. Whether it's broadcasting live streaming pro podcasting or creating an online course, you know, like I'm struggling with who am I and what am I going to do now? Here I am homeschooling, and that's going to take up a ton of time. How am I going to find the balance between that and trying to do some work that I love? I mean, you know, I have this New Mexicast thing and I've wanted for a long time to launch a blog, a family blog, or maybe podcast or video blog about our family's adventures. Right? So as I'm still struggling with all of this, I said to my husband, I said, I, I think I have to just put them in school. I don't think I can do this. You know, cause in my mind I had that, it had to be all set up and perfect now. And then I stopped myself from this, this spiral that I sometimes go down. And I think most parents that I know and ones with personalities like mine. You struggle with this, this downward spiral, like I'm not doing enough, I'm going to fail at this thing. I'm going to ruin my kids. I'm going to never be relevant again in my work. You know, it might not be kids, but it might be,uyou know, your, your baby, your work. Right. So while I struggle with all of this stuff, I,uI said to my husband, "you know, I just don't know what I'm doing." Rosa Linda Román (32:06): And then I stopped and I took a breath and I backed off and I realized we, my family just went through like this major transition that most people we know have never done. We have moved from a solid home in a regular community with regular friends and a regular plan to living on a boat. And well, I, yes, I did it before, when the kids were younger, when, when Ziva and Ahava were younger. It's totally different. The kids are older, the stakes are higher. The, the, the responsibilities are greater. There's, there's just many, many, many more considerations than there ever were before. And so I finally stopped and am giving myself permission to do it at a slower pace. And here's the key, enjoy the process, enjoying the kids and enjoying my life. And this is a really hard one for me. Rosa Linda Román (33:08): And, and maybe you can't identify with this because you've got your stuff together and I salute you. And I think that's amazing if you can. That's great. But I know a lot of us struggle with the voices in our heads, meaning our self-talk and, and not feeling like enough. Not feeling like we're doing enough and succeeding in the things we are taking on. And, you know, I just, I finally realized if I don't stop, then I'm going to totally miss the joy of this experience. And that goes back to this whole KonMari thing. You know, the idea is what sparks joy. And if it doesn't spark joy, we should not be doing it right. I don't want it in my life. And that includes educating my children. That doesn't mean that we don't push them to learn the things that they really need to learn. That's, you know, there's going to be times where it's going to be uncomfortable and they're going to complain and they're not going to want to do the work. Ubut I don't want to resent them and be miserable toward them. Well, I'm in the process of, you know, of exploring how to set up this homeschool. So with that in mind, they are now delighted. I'm sure excitedly delightedly,over snorkeling-exploring, and I'm able to get my stuff done while they are actually learning something that they couldn't learn,uat just a regular school. Because I mean, maybe on a field trip or whatever, but there would be, you know, a couple of dozen kids and a couple teachers. Right now, they've got a three to one ratio. They're getting total attention, thanks to my,uoutsourcing with Ms. Allie, thankfully. Uand she, she's great and they're learning something new. Rosa Linda Román (34:58): And I just feel really a lot better about that,than trying to beat myself up and feel like it has to be everything perfect all at once. So this actually goes right in line with something that I'm working on, you will probably be too late by the time you hear this, because I won't post this for who knows how long. But I'm working on this challenge withNatalie Goldfein of My Habit Upgrade. She's doing this culture of kindness challenge, and it's all about raising our vibration and changing the world by doing one mindfully, doing at least one good deed a day. And it's been really interesting. We just had day one yesterday, today is September 2nd. So it's a 30 day challenge and it's been a lot of fun. So I'm sure I'll probably talk more about that on a future episode, but if you're hearing this why don't you go, go out. Do a good deed. Pay it forward. Share a kind word. If you liked this podcast and you want to review it, that would be a nice, good deed for me. You can go to iTunes and give me a rating and a little feedback I'd love to hear from you, or you can just send me an email. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for listening while I did my dishes. And I'll talk to you next time. I'm Rosa Linda Román.
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