Should kids be brought on a PMV?
(This gets long winded so feel free to skip to the end.)
I lived on STT for a little over a year when I was in the 2nd grade...sometime in the late 70s. I took the ferry boat to St. John to go to the public school there. It was an amazing time...
Any-who. Fast forward to about a month ago when my husband asked me what it was like to live there when I was a child. I told him my favorite memories--the Grand Union (Onion as we called it), mangoes off the tree, swimming in Chocolate Bay...it was a magical time for me. I was also really really impressed that after 25 years together my husband would all of a sudden be interested in hearing more about my experience. I was a little suspicious, but when I questioned him about it he looked at me innocently and asked, "I was just really interested in hearing about it!" Things that make you go hmmmmm....
Anyway, to make a long story a tiny bit less long he confessed that he has been offered the potential to work as a caretaker/chef for a villa in the mountains of STX, exact location to be determined and wondered would I be up for it. Well, after much much much thought and discussion and research I told him I am up for it.
The rub is we have two kids (6 and 8) that I homeschool. I will also do so wherever we end up and am excited about the prospect of them experiencing life there, for however long the adventure lasts. They have no idea yet, and frankly I don't have a clue when to tell them. Not a thing is certain yet, except that everything is uncertain and I do not think they need to be burdened with that. That being said, when we do come for a PMV, is it advisable to bring them along? A big part of me thinks it would help with the transition if there was some familiarity with where they were ending up.
Thoughts and input from folks who have btdt, and even those who haven't are greatly appreciated.
The question of kids on a PMV rarely comes up, so I don't recall what the hive mind has said about it, but I have two thoughts (I am not a parent):
Leave the kids at home, so you can concentrate on doing proper research while you're here, and not worry about making it an entertaining vacation for them.
Bring the kids along, to better sell them on the idea of living here, especially if they are attached to their current lifestyle in the states. Make it at least partly an entertaining vacation, or they may not want to come back.
Your budget may dictate the answer.
I think is depends on the children - how well they travel, what their interests are, how much attention they will need during the trip - only the parents can answer those questions.
The biggest thing to consider is whether or not the parents will be able to accomplish their PMV goals with the kids in tow. As STXBob says, a PMV should be a fact finding trip, not a vacation. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy some "beach time" while you are there but rather the main focus of the trip is not really "fun activities" but to learn more about what living on an island entails.
Again, thank you everyone. They are very attached to where we are, but they are also our kids and so prone to adventure. I have been subtly talking about it and they have seen us researching. I am leaning towards bringing my mom and the kiddos--she is really supportive of the potential move and my kids adore her. I feel like a little pre-exposure might be better than springing it on them.
I am so thankful to have found this forum. My husband was all rainbows and puppy dogs about the potential move until I turned him on to this forum--now he is still excited but much more down to earth and practical about.
First off, the Islands have change dramatically since you were there in the 70's. So if you are looking for that utopia that you remember as a child, you will be disappointed. But if you come with an open mind and remember the old saying "you can't ever go home again", you will be find. There are Tons more people now than in the 70's looking for the same thing you are looking for.
No, to me, you will get more done on a PMV without being hindered with the kids. Plus I don't think it really matters what they think or don't think, I don't believe that you are hanging your plans on whether the children approve or not of the possible move. Finding a reasonable place to live in an area that you feel comfortable in is the most important part.
Finding a reasonable place to live in an area that you feel comfortable in is the most important part.
Probably the more important part is to see whether the caretaker/chef position is doable and, if it doesn't include accommodation, whether the remuneration will be enough to support a family as island living isn't inexpensive by any stretch. Good luck!
My thoughts... leave them at home. I moved around a lot when I was a kid and none of us kids ever got to weigh in on the decision until we were in high school. I just don't think kids as young as yours should have a say in where your family lives at their ages. I actually enjoyed moving around a lot when I was young. I say you and hubby come down, see if you really think you are going to make the move, then decide if you want to bring them down for a visit before you move. Living and vacationing somewhere are so very different. If you bring the kids down, end up treating it like a vacation, the kids very well may be disappointed when you move and you don't live like you are on vacation. Know what I mean?
I say give it a shot if you can financially handle it. If you get here, decide you don't like it, you can always go back. And since you homeschool, you won't be disrupting the kid's school year if you decide to leave. Just read over the info on this website and learn a bit about the challenges of living in the USVI. It's not for everyone, but some of us don't ever want to leave.
This may be too late to matter, but here are my two cents worth. I would recommend at least one trip without the children. If they are with you, you might be inclined to spend more time convincing them that they will like it here instead of really evaluating what works and what doesn't for your family. If you decide to bring them or bring them on a second PMV, try to take them to see/do something they are already involved in...softball, soccer, etc. Let them see that they can fit in and do the things they are already like to do. Maybe meet up with some other families who home school so they have some ready-made acquaintances when you arrive. Good luck.
Someone mentioned bring the kids to sell them on the idea, well they are kids and they will adapt to wherever you decide. I would bring them just so you know what it would be like living here as they are your routine, see if your day to day will work out for you. We brought our son here( STX,) and we all love it. We did not bring him for our many PMV's and wish we had as he would have a better idea of our plan rather that just up and moving him. Good luck
May be too late but I would suggest bringing the kids on your PMV. If you are a home school mom you are likely very adept at getting things done with kids in tow. They are not toddlers so together with your husband you should have no problem. You spend your life accomplishing things with kids around in the states. Should be able to do it on island as well.
I don't believe they should go so that they can have a say in the move as others have suggested would be the point, they are too young for that, but I do believe children deserve some of the same considerations we would like to have as adults, and one of those would be for them to be able to be familiar with their new surroundings before they have to live there full time. Interested to hear how it is all working out.