• Bionca Smith

Single Mom Cancels Brick and Mortar School and Travels With Son

Updated: Jun 23



In response to 2 Common questions, we’ve been getting ever since we left to travel the world full time 3 years ago:

"Why Did You Homeschool Your Kid?"
"What Program Do You Recommend?"

If you’re reading this right now then you’re probably feeling how I felt three years ago. After trying two different schools by the time my son was in 2nd grade, I was fed up with the traditional way of schooling and I was tired of being exhausted, broke, and unfulfilled in life. My son's education was my #1 priority. I didn’t want to keep pulling my son out of schools, but I also did not want him to be in an environment or program that was not conducive to how he learns best.


Since my son could crawl, I noticed that he loved to be silly and explore the outdoors as if recess was supposed to be limitless. The most beautiful view in the world was whenever I was able to be present and watch the joy on my son’s face as he played in mother nature without a care in the world. It always felt right to join him, but it never felt right to interrupt. Whenever I would join him, he would explore and point out things, and over time, he grew more and more curious about the outdoors.


Unfortunately, I had to pull him away from these special moments too often because according to his school, he was on the verge of not passing the 2nd grade. I was informed by his teacher that this was due to his low reading levels. For months we worked hard to bring his reading levels up to speed. I did everything I could as a single mom rescheduling meetings in order to sit in my son’s classroom to help him and understand why he was having trouble. Even though I was coming up to the school once a week, having conversations with his teacher and so on; I grew stressed, and feeling guilty about not spending as much fun time with him as I wanted. Every day he came in the door with homework and before we knew it it was bedtime.


I was tired of not feeling like I wasn’t doing enough to help him.
I took off work to make visits to his classroom…. It wasn’t enough.
The teacher gave him more homework and it was too much!


Not only was I afraid of my son failing, but I was also afraid of him later in life falling into the common trap that a lot of people make; Defining our worth and happiness based on society's expectations.


Go to school, get a degree, get a “good-paying job”, get married, have kids, and travel when you’re retired....blah blah blah.

The reality is that this orderly fashion is outdated and does not make everyone, happy, healthy, spiritually, or financially wealthy. It just keeps people believing they are in the “safety and security zone.” People become afraid to do anything else outside of this cookie-cutter structure. It’s as if people forget that life has unexpected events that can change everything in a short amount of time. Things will always happen that are beyond our control! So my question is… “Why do we wait until life shifts and shakes things up a bit and still keep trying to hold on to ways of living that don’t make us happy?” There will be more on this topic later!


I knew that one day, I wouldn’t be able to rescue my son from certain mistakes, but I realized I had a chance to do something now. I envisioned my son living in a reality where his options and opportunities were limitless! So I had an important talk with my son Carter, and asked him some questions:


“Why do you like being outdoors so much?”
“What do you want to be when you grow up and why?”
“What if we tried homeschooling for a while?

I listened to my son's creative interests and when he told me what he wanted, it became my determination to position him where all things are possible for him right now! I was determined to create a pathway for my son to discover himself and his passions before he would one day be pressured to conform to other people’s beliefs about what success looks like. I wanted to find alternative solutions for my son’s education and I was determined to find the right fit! After a simple google search for “Homeschooling,” I found Connections Academy offering an online education program that is K-12. I called their 1-800-number and was greeted with great customer service which put me at ease because I had A LOT of questions. Before the end of that phone conversation, I felt deeply that this was the right direction to go. Within a week my son was a registered student in a virtual classroom, and a week later he received materials in the mail!


Pictures of Carter's last week of brick and mortar school and the first day of virtual school at Connections Academy.

Everything changed so fast!

We went from waking up tired, inhaling breakfast, and rushing out of the door every morning to getting an additional hour of sleep, eating a full breakfast, and we worked happily in our pajamas.


Although there were loads of excitement, I’ll never forget the thoughts and concerns I had during the first month.

“What am I going to do about my son’s social life?”
“I wonder if this is an automated response from the teacher?”
“I can’t believe I didn’t have to buy books, headphones, or a computer!”
“I no longer have to take off work if my son is not feeling well?”
“This is too good to be true!”

The first couple of weeks were exciting and also a little nerve-racking due to unfamiliarity and adjustment from the usual daily schedule. Thankfully, the school provided incredible support and we eventually found our groove.


Having quality time to work with my son was a relief! Not only was I able to watch my son thrive by taking advantage of all the resources and flexibility provided; he was able to see how I work also! I worked primarily over the phone, but I would bring my son to board meetings if I needed to. The clientele that I worked with; small business owners, were very understanding about that. Weeks later I realized that it was time to make another shift in our lifestyle for the better.


"Pack Your Bags Carter! We're going on a neverending field trip!"

I looked at our finances and it dawned upon me that my monthly expenses were too high to afford running my small business and I was determined to pay off consumer debt. I kept telling myself "If I could just not have to pay rent for 3 months, I could pay off all my credit cards". 3 of my clients were late paying their invoices and a week later I got a scary letter. I finally reached the point where I could no longer ask "Peter to borrow money so I could pay Paul."In other words, I was maxed out on all credit cards and even using payday loans to make the minimum payment and I was 3 days late on rent. It was the first time I had been late on my rent in 10 years and I felt defeated.


All I wanted to do was show my son that there was more to life than being too busy with work and spending all the money on bills. I just wanted to get away and explore hidden gems with him. I wanted to go where nothing else mattered but us. It was then when I wrote that viral Facebook post about dropping everything within 30 days.


I was tired of not having anything in my savings!
I was tired of making the minimum payments!
I was tired of throwing away all my money every month!
I was tired and in disbelief that one late payment would result in a scary letter threatening me to "Pay or Quit" my lease!

I borrowed money, paid my rent it a week later along with lawyer fees, and put in my 30-day notice. We got rid of almost everything and hopped on a one-way plane to Thailand on the 30th day. I had less than $500 in my bank account when I boarded the plane and one week later I had the $17,000.



Since then, I've been able to live a happier life with less, be closer to my son, his reading level is now above his grade level, my business has grown and we have traveled to various places around the world full time with no itinerary or credit card points. What I have learned is that when you desire to do something, If you take action everything else will fall into place if you just trust the process when things seem to fall out of place. There is a season and a reason for you to embrace it all. Trust the process!


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About us

Hi, I’m Bionca and I have an 11 yr old son named Carter. I’m a cultured high energy globetrotting life coach, public speaker and soon to be an author. 

 

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