Hello and welcome to our little space of the internet. I’m Debbie and we’re the Douses, a home educating, adventuring and worldschooling family of four based in Kent, UK.
James and I met at university; I was a rower, and he joined our crew as the cox of the boat. One day he challenged the boat to a ten-pint drinking contest. I was the only one crazy enough to take on the challenge and the rest shall we say is history… Despite the inauspicious start to our relationship, I’m grateful to say that I married my best friend and soul mate. Even after twenty-two years together, he still makes me smile every day 😊
We’ve continued to have (somewhat more sober) adventures together ever since and these have only increased since the addition of our two beautiful children, Rosie and Harry.
I made the decision not to return to my career after having the children, and in 2016, I officially took on the full-time role of home educator as well as mummy to these spirited little Beans of ours – read here about our journey to embrace the wonderful world of home education.
There are oodles of reasons why we love this homeschooling life of ours, which allows them to follow their passions and interests, retain their love of learning, and the freedom to explore the world outside the classroom with their friends and family.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” W.B.Yeats
When we’ve not got our heads in a book (all serious bookworms here), we love to do microadventures together. As they’ve got older (they’re now 10 & 11), our escapades have taken us further afield. We’ve hiked across volcanoes in Dominica; watched Maori dances in New Zealand; learned to SCUBA dive on the remote coral reefs of the Wakatobi region in Sulawesi, Indonesia; surfed in the shark-infested waters of Australia; taken part in the Songkran water fight in Bangkok; eaten at the street markets in Singapore; made traditional brass bowls in Marrakech’s souk; and watched flamenco dancing in Spain.
But since Covid, we’ve started to explore this beautiful island of our own, with more local adventures like coasteering, walking a marathon, mud biking, running barefoot miles, climbing mountains, learning to sail, falconry, kayaking, bouldering, bird watching, night hiking, wakeboarding, sand surfing, secret spy missions and a biodiversity project in the garden! Making the everyday special and exciting!
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt
My hope with this blog is twofold.
Firstly, although homeschooling is without doubt the best decision we’ve made, it’s also one of the hardest roles I’ve ever undertaken. Having full responsibility for the education of these precious children can sometimes feel incredibly daunting. Challenging convention is never easy.
And yet deep down, I know it’s the perfect path for us. The children are thriving, academically, socially and emotionally. And most importantly, they’re happy.
I hope by openly sharing our journey (warts and all) along with practical tips and advice, I can encourage you in forging your own unique homeschooling path.
Secondly, adventure and travel are rooted within my soul, and I believe they are a hugely important part of children’s and adults’ education alike. As a young teenager, I backpacked around Indonesia with my family to search for the first site of what was to become Operation Wallacea, now an international network of scientists who design and implement biodiversity and conservation research expeditions. For me, the trip was life changing. It opened my eyes to the enormity, beauty and fragility of the world and its people.
But adventures don’t have to be exotic. Exciting, challenging microadventures can just as easily happen in your own backyard. It’s merely a question of attitude. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself physically or mentally can lead to enormous personal growth and satisfaction.
My second hope is to inspire and motivate you and your family to live an adventurous life, challenging your limits, exploring the world with childlike-wonder and reconnecting with the natural world.
Meet the Crew:
Ten years old and completely cricket obsessed! It’s his dream to pull on cricket whites and play for England someday. You’ll mostly find him with a cricket bat or ball in hand, bowling down the corridor or begging someone to practise in the garden with him! His next love is music. He sings ALL day long, and strums away on his electric guitar or tinkles on the piano. An avid reader and hugely enthusiastic about whatever he does, with a booming laugh, giant smile and sensitive soul, he’s a joy to be around.
My little eleven-year-old writer and actress, her biggest passions. She writes ALL the time: poetry, letters to her friends and cousins, in her journal or working away on her first novel: The Silver Stag Society. Acting is equally as important to her, and you’ll often find her with script in hand or working with her acting tutors to bring to life the lines on the page. Another fervent reader, with a loving, determined, empathetic and fiercely loyal nature, she’s just the kindest girl, beautiful both inside and out.
A new and now obsessed runner, travel-fanatic, adventurer, nature-lover, writer and bookworm, I feel very blessed to be able to teach/learn alongside my children and explore the world as a family.
My running partner in crime, James loves brewing beer, a well-constructed quiz, interesting facts (I honestly think it’s quicker to ask him than search for an answer in Google) and relaxing around a fire in the woods with family and friends.