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Six Months Trip With School Age Children - Practicalities. Possibilities, Potentials?


Pecksniff
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So, as as I'm sure many of us do on the way back from our fortnight away, we started discussing how we could go for longer next year. And we progressed from "how about the whole six weeks holidays" to "why don't we go for six months".... !

 

For us, it's probably more possible now than at any other time in the near future. Jobs-wise we would have few problems. We've been talking about selling the house for a while - we could either sell before we go (it's taking around a week to ten days for them to sell on our street at the moment) or rent it out so we'd have somewhere to come back to (the rent would exceed the mortgage so no prob there either). Youngest is yet to start school, Biggest is not quite 8 - if we left at the start of March and came back at the end of August, she'd probably only miss 3 months schooling in total once you factor in holidays, Bank Holidays and that last couple of weeks of term when they seem to do nothing much :-) I know school would give us an education pack and I'm confident that Mr P and I can cover most of what would be in there with her.

 

But what are the big practicalities that we need to factor in? Travel insurance, car MOTs, making the most of the time, calculating the costs, maintaining our GP . ... ????

 

Thoughts, tips and advice welcome, please!

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Check with house insurance how long you are allowed to be away from home. I think it maybe 3 months.

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Perhaps the biggest difficulties might be that both school and doctors might require you to re-register on your return. In 1992 I had a six month paid sabbatical from work and my wife was allowed the same time off but unpaid. We took our two sons, then 11 and 13 out of school for half a term (six weeks) with the full agreement of the school. That could be more problematic these days. Until you discuss the prospect with the school you won't know how the they will react be it supportive or otherwise. I suppose with the doctor, if they don't know you are missing they might not notice unless any of you need regular medication. What exactly are your plans, is it UK based or European?

 

David

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Thanks both!

Wispman - I don't think house insurance will be a problem as it will either be sold or rented out, though I'm guessing car and caravan insurance will be more complicated?

David - if we rent the house, I'm thinking that the docs shouldn't be an issue (and none of us use them frequently, as long as we can stockpile Child 1's hayfever medicine!). If we sell the house, I'm guessing it would be easiest to say nothing and just change address when we return?

Of course, it gets a bit more complicated for schooling and doctors if we sell the house then move areas when we come back (as is also under discussion). Though then I guess we could just remove Child 1 from her current school then, when we return, rent a house in the new area till we buy so we can register her at the new school, and use all the fab Home Ed materials on the internet for when we are away. ..

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I think our plans would be to mooch slowly down to Dover over a couple of weeks (though if we go in March, the weather might be so bad we won't want to spend much time sightseeing here. .). Then the majority of our time would be in Europe, maybe with the bottom half of France as the primary destination. Copenhagen, Lake Garda, the Black Forest, some of the sites of WWII major events and some war graves, the polders and Keukenhof in the Netherlands, Poland perhaps, and the bridge beginning with M in the south of France (the name of which has escaped me as soon as I started to type!) are among the many things which were mentioned. Having said that, we wouldn't want to plan too much or too rigidly, it's mostly about spending time with the children whilst they still want to spend time with us - they're too young to remember seeing half of it anyway :-)

 

I wonder whether we should trundle reasonably rapidly south, then slowly tack our way back up. . Last time we went over in March at Easter, we found practically all the municipals were shut in the top half of France until May - would that also be the case further down?

 

Has anyone used the train that takes caravans through France?

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Medicines would be a problem for many as normally 8 weeks is maximum. ...

 

Municipals in France are often controlled by needs of railway and power workers and may be subject to changes year on year. .

 

I will ignore the obvious schooling situation but my wife who used to be in education indicates that where pressure is on Primary School places a long vacancy at a preferred school may be filled befode return. ..

 

Geoff

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Bridge is probably Millau

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Millau, of course! I couldn't dislodge Millais but obv knew I wasn't after a painter ;-)

 

Yep, no need for medicines, but the school thing is interesting - the reason for the excellent house sales round here is the schools, so will have to work out whether we would want to return to here . ..

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Cost = Give up a job and 6 months wages, give up a school place, give up a home, disrupt a child's education. The difference between the cash you get for your house and the amount you spend on the next house (minus all the fees and expenses. Add to this the cost of storing your furniture. Travel insurance for 6 months. The cost of the sites (at least £2,000 but likely to be way more).

Benefit = Not much more than a well organised normal holiday which most people are satisfied with.

I don't get it.

Ern

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Factor in the costs of stamp duty for buying and selling, as its a hidden cost. It would be far better renting out your property tbh

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Whatever you do don't sell before you go and buy when you come back as you will be very out of pocket the way the value of property is still rising.

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The only way round the schooling (yes I am a teacher) would be to take your children out of school for a whole academic year and home school, otherwise you're just taking a holiday effectively and as such would be fined and chased by the Education Welfare Officer. Even if you do home school, the local authority would want to check out what you were intending to do, as they have a safeguarding responsibility they take even more seriously since the Climbier case. ....

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I understand what it is you want to do, but can't understand why you would want to risk losing your child's place in such a good school, epically if the houses are selling so quick because people want the children to go to that school. I am sorry, but my child's education would come first all the time. (yes I do work in a school)

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My calcs say more like 4 months out of school . Other factors aside my main concern is that during the week the sites will not have many,if any, kids on for your children to play with and/or amuse themselves with. The sites will be mainly retired folk and the occasional younger members.

 

Just a thought.

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Thank you all.

 

The house move is happening anyway - the logistics issue was whether it made sense to sell before we went, or rent it out and sell it on our return.

 

We are not worried about her losing a place in a good school. Should we decide to re-buy in this area, we are fortunate enough that all local primary schools are of equal standard so she will re-start in either this school or one equally good. The area we are thinking of moving schools is equally well-endowed with good schools (otherwise we wouldn't be thinking of moving to it), so again that's not a concern.

 

We're also confident that home educating her for three months wouldn't be a problem academically. School would be supportive with materials, there's plenty of info from the various home ed groups, and she has two parents to teach her who between them have a fair old range of academic achievements. She's very bright and I suspect would finish the year well ahead of where she would be in school.

 

The socialising aspect is one we'll give some further thought to, though, thank you.

 

How does it work if your car MOT runs out whilst you are away? Or would I just need to MOT it before I go to effectively reset the 12 months?

 

And how much would you plan where to go in advance?

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If you do rent you will need different house insurance. Look up landlords insurance. Also if you have a mortgage you should let them know you will be renting it as it could cause problems.

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You can MOT your car at any time, so I'd do as you suggest & get it done before you go, you know you've got a year then.

Like you, i'd not worry about educating my child at home. One to one teaching will push them forward in leaps & bounds, the only thing you have to think through is that for the time your doing lessons you're teacher & not mum/dad.

I don't know if you have spoken to the school or local education authority, but i would think you'll need approval from both.

Personally i'd rent the place out for 6 months, but as is suggested above, make sure you have good landlord insurance & not just household - even pay over the odds for the best cover you can afford.

 

Good luck with which ever path you choose & i hope you enjoy your trip & yes I am ever so slightly envious.

Edited by Woodie106

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