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Long term academic benefits of bike touring for children

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Long term academic benefits of bike touring for children

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Old 12-09-14, 03:53 PM
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nancy sv
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Long term academic benefits of bike touring for children

I know that I'm not real active here anymore - I check in here and there though. Given that many people here felt that we had destroyed our children's lives by taking them out on the bikes for 4 years, I figured I would give you all an update and (hopefully) encourage other parents to take their children out. We all know how beneficial bike touring is for us personally, and it's also wonderful for kids.

The academic realm is where many concerns come in. I remember we had one person say that the only thing we were teaching our children was to be "bums on bikes." Now, with my sons nearly 17, I feel I can adequately address that concern.

My sons spent their 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade years on the road. After that (8th, 9th, 10th, and now halfway through 11th), our boys have continued to be "homeschooled," but really they are just taking classes through our public school system that interest them. They will not get high school diplomas as they do not have the whole range of required classes.

I have often said that the proof will be in the pudding, and we'll see down the road if our boys are academically proficient or not. Now, we have the results of their PSAT tests, and I can say pretty confidently that our travels did not hurt them in any way, and most likely helped. One of my sons scored at the 98th percentile overall, and the other scored at the 93rd.

They are both looking at colleges now. One plans to study electrical engineering, and the other is thinking either physics or computer science. The college search will start in earnest next fall, but I suspect they will get into college no problem.

I hope that this reassures parents that bike touring will not harm your children. Take them out and watch them fly!
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Old 12-09-14, 05:13 PM
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Guess what affects a child's learning?

Parenting.

Guess what the measure of a child's success is? Hint: it ain't a percentile on the PSAT's. I didn't study for my SAT's and didn't apply myself, and did average. Now I'm in a competitive grad program with extremely high GRE scores- it took me a few more years to find my passions. At 17, you're hardly old enough to be quantified. I abhor state testing for high schoolers.

You don't need to prove anything to us. Go forward with confidence that your parenting matters in the outcome of your children's lives. Not because of some score on a test, but from their qualities as people.




The fact that you're trying to "beat" the naysayers with test scores on a forum on the internet... Just be proud and humble and ignore critics if you're sure of yourself, that's my opinion. Sounds like you did a great job.

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Old 12-09-14, 05:30 PM
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I totally agree with you, Max. I don't think that test scores are a true indication of learning, but they are a fairly decent indication of "academic success in school." Many people criticized us pretty intensely because, in their minds, our kids would never be able to compete academically because they spent so much time on the road. I'm simply posting this so that those who perhaps are not taking their kids out due to fear of missing school will maybe reconsider it.

In other words - our experiences on the road did not "ruin" our children's chances, as many felt they would. Our kids will be able to go to college and I have no doubt that they will succeed there.

Truthfully, I will be proud of my kids even if they don't go to college, but since that seemed to be such a big concern for many people, I thought I would put this out there to say that it's not a concern.
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Old 12-09-14, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
My sons spent their 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade years on the road. After that (8th, 9th, 10th, and now halfway through 11th), our boys have continued to be "homeschooled," but really they are just taking classes through our public school system that interest them. They will not get high school diplomas as they do not have the whole range of required classes.
This is what high school is really about, trying new things and finding what interests you. The education you have gave them by living the life on road is utterly amazing way to start their young lives. Keep up the good work!

Electrical engineering is an awesome path to study. Huge demand for it worldwide and very interesting work.

Test scores are useless tools to ones future successes. But nice big numbers are a big help getting scholarships and such
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Old 12-09-14, 07:22 PM
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Well said, Sparky. I was a teacher for 21 years and know how utterly useless test scores are as a predictor of quality of life. Unfortunately, our society still places huge emphasis on them - and yes, high scores are great for getting scholarships.

I was really quite surprised when people started accusing us of ruining our kids' chances in life by taking them on the road. Many flat-out said that our kids would never be successful in the academic realm because of our experiences. I think those people were wrong - our kids have every chance to be successful. Still, just like any other kid, it will be up to them to make the most of their lives.
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Old 12-09-14, 07:55 PM
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It makes a bit more sense to me now. Honestly, backseat parents need to get a life. There's more than one way to raise kids.

I met a family who's daughter was born, and spent the first three years of her life, aboard a sailboat. I wonder a bit if walking on land is odd for her, but mostly, I envy the little munchkin.
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Old 12-09-14, 09:25 PM
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I read and thoroughly enjoyed your book, Nancy. What you did with your boys is amazing, and you should be very proud that they accepted such an ambitious goal and persevered to achieve it. There are many paths to education, and our state-sanctioned curriculum is just one (and certainly not the best for everyone). Your boys know that they can take on big challenges and succeed at them. This will serve them well no matter what they do in the future.

There is a saying - "Don't let school interfere with your education" and your family has lived it. Congratulations to your sons on their test scores and congratulations to you and your husband.
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Old 12-09-14, 09:48 PM
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I totally agree that school and education are, all too often, separate entities. I am not anti-school at all, as I know that it is a great thing for millions of kids. That said, I know that it's not the be-all and end-all. There are many ways to get an education, and living on a bike is a damn good way!
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Old 12-10-14, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
I know that I'm not real active here anymore - I check in here and there though. Given that many people here felt that we had destroyed our children's lives by taking them out on the bikes for 4 years, I figured I would give you all an update and (hopefully) encourage other parents to take their children out. We all know how beneficial bike touring is for us personally, and it's also wonderful for kids.

The academic realm is where many concerns come in. I remember we had one person say that the only thing we were teaching our children was to be "bums on bikes." Now, with my sons nearly 17, I feel I can adequately address that concern.

My sons spent their 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade years on the road. After that (8th, 9th, 10th, and now halfway through 11th), our boys have continued to be "homeschooled," but really they are just taking classes through our public school system that interest them. They will not get high school diplomas as they do not have the whole range of required classes.

I have often said that the proof will be in the pudding, and we'll see down the road if our boys are academically proficient or not. Now, we have the results of their PSAT tests, and I can say pretty confidently that our travels did not hurt them in any way, and most likely helped. One of my sons scored at the 98th percentile overall, and the other scored at the 93rd.

They are both looking at colleges now. One plans to study electrical engineering, and the other is thinking either physics or computer science. The college search will start in earnest next fall, but I suspect they will get into college no problem.

I hope that this reassures parents that bike touring will not harm your children. Take them out and watch them fly!
Will you be my mom? No, really, will you???

I'm jealous of your kids. Yes, there may be some components of formal education that may be lacking (lab components of chemistry) but these things can be caught up and the life experience will put your children far ahead of 99% of the rest of ours.
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Old 12-11-14, 08:57 AM
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Nancy's family is an inspiration. I've been reading about them for years and plan to do the same with my kids as a direct result. Thinking back to all the years I spend in school, most of the actual curriculum was a waste of time. Elementary school in particular, was years wasted reading picture books and doing basic fractions. In grade 5 we learned about the parts of cells, the difference between carnivores and herbivores, and how bacterial are too small to see. If I had skipped grade 5, would I be walking around today oblivious to the existence of the animal and plant kingdoms? I don't think so. It's nothing I wouldn't have picked up later on my own. The whole point of those years is that kids grown up in an environment where they interact with other students, and through the guidance of teachers and other adults, mature into functioning people as they get older. Bike touring does that just as well as school, and teaches a whole lot more than school in every other area of life.
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Old 12-12-14, 06:47 PM
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Thanks guys! There are many ways to learn what we need to know to be successful in life. School does a decent job for most kids. I am not anti-school at all as I realize that it's the best thing going for a whole lot of kids. That said, it's not the be-all and end-all. Kids learn - it's what their brains were designed to do. And, just as we adults learn tons when bike touring, so too do kids.
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Old 12-13-14, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Nancy's family is an inspiration. I've been reading about them for years and plan to do the same with my kids as a direct result. Thinking back to all the years I spend in school, most of the actual curriculum was a waste of time. Elementary school in particular, was years wasted reading picture books and doing basic fractions. In grade 5 we learned about the parts of cells, the difference between carnivores and herbivores, and how bacterial are too small to see. If I had skipped grade 5, would I be walking around today oblivious to the existence of the animal and plant kingdoms? I don't think so. It's nothing I wouldn't have picked up later on my own. The whole point of those years is that kids grown up in an environment where they interact with other students, and through the guidance of teachers and other adults, mature into functioning people as they get older. Bike touring does that just as well as school, and teaches a whole lot more than school in every other area of life.
+1

The three courses I learned in elementary school that are still being used today is reading, writing and mathematics. These three basic skills can be taught in 4 years or less. Everything else from history, science to home economics was forgotten 6 months after it was learned.
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