You might be wondering why this blog is called This Family Means Adventure. I appreciate that someone stumbling across my blog might be expecting posts about travelling to far flung destinations with children. We hope that our not-to-distant future will involve some foreign adventures, but the idea of adventure in our family life sprang from a slightly different desire.
First though, to deal with the name itself. One afternoon, the children came home from a visit with the grandparents. The three children had been playing in the garden, building a fort together. They had used some old rags to create a flag for their fort and were still excited when they got home. My son told me “We made our own flag and motto! Our motto is ‘Our Flag Means Adventure!'” Obviously, I have tweaked their motto slightly to suit our vision for our family. Their motto resonated with because, when we started home educating, ‘Adventure’ had been my word for the year.
I’ve never been someone who really holds with New Year’s Resolutions. The idea of monthly goals appeals to me, I like the idea that its probably a smaller goal and that you can pivot towards something new that appeals, or an unexpected opportunity that arises. But in truth, even committing to a monthly goal would likely end in my guilt over unmet hopes. Life is often just too busy and complicated!
I can’t remember where I came across the idea of a word for the year first of all, perhaps it was The Girl Next Door podcast, which I love. Wherever it came from, the idea of reflecting on what I would like the year to hold, or how I would like to present myself to the coming year, seemed powerful but manageable.
As 2022 approached, I thought about our imminent home educating and what I wanted that to look and feel like. I reflected back on our recent past, with the restrictions of covid and lots of time together at home. I wanted 2022 to feel novel and exciting and above all, I wanted to seek out as many new experiences for us as time and budget would allow. As a word for the year, Adventure seemed like the perfect fit.
And so it was. By the standards of many, our year may not have been that adventurous at all. We were lucky enough to enjoy some wonderful family travel – Sicily in March, Derbyshire in July and the West Coast of Scotland in August. We squeezed in a few trips to Edinburgh too. I hope to write blog posts about some of these adventures over the coming months. As we plan further travel soon, it will be good for my to reflect on these trips and distill any lessons I can.
The real adventure though, was home education itself. Starting felt like a risk – great if it paid off, but with the potential to be difficult and stressful for all of us. Our first year went well and in itself felt like lots of small adventures. Nature walks, joining new groups and meeting new people, stepping away from the way we’d done things and what was expected of us. It took a bit of planning, preparation and nerve, like any good adventure.
The idea is that once a word is embedded for a year, it doesn’t just disappear when the bells ring on December the 31st. It’s there, growing and evolving, as long as it serves. This year, we plan to travel round Europe for 5 months, so the spirit of adventure is still strong in this family for the time being. From the desire for Adventure of 2022 has sprung my word for 2023 – Bravery. Plenty of that required for our upcoming travels.