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The road to ‘unschooling’ by Jeune Lobo and Avin Pais-Mangalore

While most of us associate learning with going to school 9 to 5 with a backpack full of books and learning numbers and letters within the four walls of a classroom, these power couples Jeune Lobo and Avin Pais had a different plan for their twins: they took them on a road trip across the country.

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Lobo and Avin determined a long time ago that school was not the best method for their children to learn. So this family of four spends their time traveling. Lobo believes traveling is like a gigantic textbook, and is the greatest method for their children to learn about life. They took their longest trip this year, driving from Bangalore to Kutch, staying with strangers, camping on fields and cliffs, and finding the joys of spontaneous trips. 

Lobo met Avin in 2011 in Bengaluru, where Lobo worked in the fashion business and Avin was an IT consultant. Lobo, a working lady, was forced to leave her job in 2013 after giving birth to twins. She was responsible for them full-time. Lobo considered not sending his children to school because he disliked the stress and comparison. He wanted to discover if there were any other ways for his children to study without being worried. Ethan and Elena shared a variety of hobbies. Elena prefers the arts and gymnastics over Ethan’s inherent interest in gadgets and technologies. Lobo and Avin believe that YouTube videos, the internet, and books are the greatest ways for their children to learn. They forced their children to read and write from books and movies in order to familiarise themselves with the English language.

Lobo and Avin both had dreamed of living on a farm amid trees and birds but had no idea how to get there. Lobo, Pais, and the twins began visiting Sakleshpur every other weekend to meet the fellow unschooling family who had a farm a few hours away from Bengaluru. And then they decided to move and live on the farm full-time for a year. In 2018, this family went from living in a flat in Bengaluru to a shipping container on a farm with no constant electricity or running water.

The family also learned to cook with firewood, forage vegetables, and live in nature. The farm they lived on was frequently visited by guests from around the world, who would offer volunteer work in return for their stay and food. Ethan and Elena started interacting with the volunteers from Brazil, the USA, France, and many other parts of India, whereas Lobo and Avin would busy themselves with kitchen duties. A sort of geography book was opened when they lived there. After spending time on the farm, they knew there was no going back to city life. The choice to hit the road without hotel bookings or a set route wasn’t without consequences. The lack of a network on village roads was a continual issue, forcing them to rely only on locals for directions. Hotels were hard to come by, and most wouldn’t take last-minute bookings. They had to deal with any weather conditions they came across while camping. For youngsters, long lengths of the road might get tedious. As a consequence, Lobo turned their car’s backseat into a comfortable mini-bedroom, complete with beds, painting materials, and toys for any time they were bored.

        

Now that her children have returned to their homes, Lobo can see how they have changed as a result of their travels. A rise in their self-assurance, ability to meet people, analyze circumstances, and deal with them without our help was observed. Her concerns as a mother and tourist have been progressively diminishing. Without a plan, she discovered that the people she encountered along the way can be very giving and that her family can adjust to nearly any scenario. The kids have been accustomed to sleeping in cold places, sleeping on hard floors, and drinking water from taps and streams. Since the road trip, the family has spent their days on their lush, river-side property in Moodbidri, Mangalore, surrounded by swaying coconut trees and vast banana and pepper farms. Lobo, in particular, seems unconcerned about what may happen in the future. She believes that her family is capable of facing difficulties straight on and that her children are capable of making their own choices. She and Avin interrogate them about whether they wish to return to the city or go to school on occasion. A resounding no has always been the reaction. It will be entirely up to them whether or not they attend school or college in the future. Lobo doesn’t think they’re doing anything notable with their lives. They aren’t the only ones. They get frightened, scared at times, but they want to give the children a better understanding of the world than they did. That’s all they’ve got planned for them.

          

 

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