bike sign

The more you know, the more you know you don’t know

Today my family and I board an airplane to head for Austin, my beloved hometown. From there, we’re heading out on a road trip to see the east coast and to meet some of you (details here—all are welcome).

This six-week road trip (followed by a ten-day west coast tour soon after) is one of the main reasons we’re homeschooling this year. And next year, we’ll obviously be schooling on the go as well, so I’m thankful for the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling provides.

But as I write in the education section of Notes From a Blue Bike, I don’t think there’s a clear-cut, one size fits all answer to educating our kids—we take a year at at time, kid at a time approach, because we don’t know the future. However, I am a massive believer in lifelong learning, both for my kids and for me, and for you, too. Our brains are all constantly engaged in the colorful, active world around us.

And it’s up to us to intentionally set up our surroundings so that we’re engaged in the beautiful, the fascinating, the absorbing. Studies have shown that in the end, it doesn’t matter so much where our kids learn as long as the home is a place that values learning, reading, exploring the world, and asking good questions. And when parents model this in their own life, even better.

oregon drive

I’m keeping this in mind as we hit the road, when our kids’ place of learning becomes their backpacks, the back seat of the car, and the world outside their window. We hope to see the beguiling and beautiful between Austin and New York City, then back down again. We want to savor sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and smells. We want to say hello to you, to hear your story, to ruffle the hair on your kids’ heads, and to share our hearts’ desire to live life simpler.

And in the process, we learn—because learning isn’t really about sitting at desks or getting a good grade on the worksheet. It’s about constantly asking why and then seeking out the answer. It’s being in love with learning, all the while discovering that the more you know, the more you don’t know. It’s a beautiful process, this discovery. I love sharing it with my family.

I am not a teacher but an awakener. -Robert Frost

I’ve loved reading your hearts about living simpler, slowly, and with more intention—your thoughts make mine soar with ideas and passion. I’m so glad we’re on this journey together. Thank you for being part of this community; for always asking good questions, for seeking out the hard truths about swimming upstream in a fast-paced, chaotic culture, and for spurring me on to goodness.

If you want, take a pic—you with your Blue Bike book, or take a pic of an actual blue bike. Then use the tag #NotesFromaBlueBike! Some great ones:



How do you share in the learning process with your kids (regardless of where they go to school)?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I have always been an avid reader, but when I started homeschooling my kids, I noticed I read much more for learning than entertainment now, though I still love a good novel. I hope I’ve instilled in my kids to become a lifelong learner, like I plan to be! Hope we get to meet you when you head to LA 🙂

  2. What perfect timing for me to read this post. I’m constantly questioning our choices for where we educate our children. For where we are in our lives right now it seems necessary that they attend the public school. I’m often not happy with this option but in this season of our lives, it is where we are. I’m trying to be alright with this. We are trying to be more intentional about the things we do outside of school hours. When we go shopping we talk about the prices and values of items we are buying. We read classic children’s literature to them. We try to talk to them about the reasons we do things, instead of just telling them “this is what we do.”

  3. I am so glad you mentioned that the most important thing about life long learning is not where children are educated but that the home values education, reading, exploring. After 18 years of homeschooling (and now most of my kids in school) I have found that homeschooling is not an automatic guarantee that they love to do their school work which is so often promoted. They love to read, explore, etc. but forget the tedious stuff of learning to read, memorizing multiplication facts, etc.

  4. Love this, and that Robert Frost quote. Wishing you all the good things for your book tour! And I gotta say (from the land of Extreme Winter), Austin in February is sounding pretty genius right now.

  5. For us, learning is a combination of school, after-school and homeschool:) I agree.. there’s learning everywhere.. When we’re baking, for example, she’s learning to savor not only the sweetness and warmth that baking together brings but also maths and science:)… learning everywhere:)

  6. Kimberley Allan Mulla says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this today. I have been a devoted student my whole life and have a list of things still to learn or continue learning about. With my children, I have taken the approach of story telling as a way for me to teach them. Through spontaneous conversations I will embark on stories about places, things, or people. Storytelling comes naturally to me and it’s a wonderful teaching method that is sometimes lost these days. And it forces us to slow down and savour the moment.

    • Amen to storytelling! I mean, we learn best by that, so it only makes sense children do, too. Love your heart here, Kimberley.

  7. I have to second what Angela said, reading has always been so incredibly important to me. I am reading a lot more non-fiction than I ever did when I was younger. Of course I still also enjoy getting lost in a story, and do that frequently as well. If I can give my kids a love of reading, I feel like I am giving them the world. They will always have the opportunity to seek out learning through books, and hopefully sparking interests in other areas, for the rest of their lives.

  8. Almost two years ago we packed up nine kids and drove 1,000 miles to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, to see our oldest graduate from boot camp and AIT training. I didn’t bring any ” school stuff” with us…the world was our curriculum. We observed the terrain and wildlife of the states we drove through. While we couldn’t stop for a tour, we saw the St. Louis Arch and Wrigley Stadium. We read license plates to see how many different states we could find. While at the base, we witnessed boot camp training in progress, military formations, a beautiful graduation, and we visited the Fort Leonard Wood museum. It was probably one of the best school weeks we’ve ever had. (I’m sure the fact that my son got to come home with us had NOTHING to do with that. 😉 I’m tearing up just thinking about it.)

  9. I think sharing in the process is all about the questions and the answers. Being open to their questions, being ready with our own questions (for them, for ourselves, and in general) and then being patient with the answers (theirs or our own).

  10. My daughter attends public school and I am a public school teacher. I wish so much that my students had that zest for learning–for many it is just paper pushing. My own children constantly want to know what words mean, where things are in the world, how things work, what kind of cloud is in the sky right now, etc… Children learn by observation and I hope my husband and I continue to show our kids that life long learning is important. I hope I convey this to my students as well (in my own quirky ways). This may be my last year teaching if things move in a different direction for our family. I wish so much that my students had stronger families–that is the difference I see between the paper pushers and the students who thrive on learning. Those with a strong foundation/family are going to be successful no matter who their teacher is. I wish I was a stronger person and could devote my life to be a mentor to these students__it truly is the hardest job…

    • “I wish so much that my students had stronger families–that is the difference I see between the paper pushers and the students who thrive on learning.” <-- I so agree with you there, Christine. You sound like an amazing teacher, and it is indeed such a challenging, give-it-your-all job. Blessings on you, and whatever lies before you.

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