Family

Family, California

The Sweet Spot: WorldSchool101

The Sweet Spot

  1. The spot on a bat or racket at which the makes the most effective contact.
  2. An optimum point or combination of factors or qualities.
  3. That elusive spot where family, career, health and happiness are in balance.

Charles Kramer is an accomplished producer who found early success editing The Osbournes, and over the past fifteen years he rose up to become co-executive producer on thirty-three series ranging from The Ultimate Fighter, to Street Outlaws. However, all that is changing. Charles is walking away from his demanding but lucrative career to seek a new sweet spot.

On June 19th, 2016, he and his wife Brenna, their daughter Kerala, age 7, and their son Julian, age 4, are leaving on a year long trip around the world, living in seventeen different countries and homeschooling their kids along the way.

When the Shift Happened—

On Memorial Day of last year, Charles was walking out the door for a family adventure at the beach when he got a call from his boss asking him to come in to work on a musical performance show — a show that he had worked on July 4th the year before. Charles had vowed then that he wouldn’t work another holiday away from his family, but he broke his promise to himself and went in, for no extra pay.     He did the work, but something had changed; the pay and the excitement were no longer worth the sacrifices he was making. That night, after railing against his situation, his wife Brenna asked him, “What do you want to do? Quit your job and live in Spain?”  

 “Yes,” he said, and his life changed in that moment.

Although the start of his trip would be over a year away, simply committing to this new goal made him happier. He went into work the next day with a lightness so apparent that people remarked how different he seemed, and that lightness has stayed with him. 

Charles and Brenna expanded their dream to a year of world travel with their two children. The amount of planning has been tremendous, with no guarantee of success — but TV production requires an amazing amount of work with no guarantee of success either.

The Schedule —

They depart June 19, 2016 and will visit seventeen countries, for three to four weeks each. Europe first — the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Italy, and Spain. They then head towards the southern hemisphere as summer starts there. Africa in December — Morocco, South Africa, and then either Tanzania or Namibia. Then they head to South America and visit Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and the Galapagos. In April, they cross the Pacific and visit New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, and finish their trip with a month in Japan. They return to LAX on July 21, 2017.

Home, House, Mortgage, Bills —

They’re not giving up their home, but they are exchanging it. On sites like HomeExchange.com, they met people who have beautiful homes in remote locales who miss what they can get in a city like Los Angeles, so they got some amazing swaps. They had a huge garage sale and sold many of their belongings, and Charles is also selling his car.

Paying for Travel —

They booked inexpensive flights far in advance, through sites like Scott Keyes and scottscheapflights.com. They signed up for credit cards that gave bonus miles for joining and with every purchase, then paid them off, cancelled them, and signed up for more, earning enough miles for half their flights. They also have about 10 sponsors for their trip — products, tours, and travel sites that have also helped them afford this adventure. They also plan to mix it up; they may volunteer to work on an organic farm,  or go camping, then splurge on a five star hotel.

Learning and School —

Just like there are communities of home schoolers and “unschoolers,” the Kramer family is now in the “world school” community. Both Kerala and Julian will have structured school time every morning for three to four hours, after which they’ll continue their lessons in the world. While regular school runs for six hours a day, it’s been shown that only 1/6 of that time is actual learning. They have a planned curriculum and gotten support from child development experts like Betsy Brown Braun. They are confident that Kerala will be ready for third grade and Julian will be ready for kindergarten when they return.

Earning Money along the Way —

Their trip will be televised (sort of). Charles will run an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to hire someone to help him shoot video and do overall production tasks throughout the trip. They will initially post clips to YouTube and grow a following on social media, while also writing a blog. Charles hopes to gain enough subscribers and sponsors to make money while traveling, and when he returns he hopes to get the funding to send another family on their own adventure next year, which would become “Season Two,” of an ongoing series…and new career?

What he’s Looking Forward to the Most —

Charles says that the two greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is not spending time with their kids, and not traveling, and this accomplishes both. There also is no better time for his family to do this. If he waits another year or two, this window of opportunity will close. He also knows it won’t be easy, but he equates it to having a baby. It’s a lot work, it’s going to hurt like hell sometimes, but the end result will be something they will love forever. 

I will keep you posted about The Kramer World Tour as they proceed. 

His site is constantly being update, but check it out, subscribe for updates, catch their highs and lows and see their progress:

www.worldschool101.com 

and

http://www.worldschool101.com/worldschool-blog.html

Here are some helpful links too:

http://www.edventuregirl.com/10-ways-world-schooling-has-ruined-my-childhood/

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/jan/29/is-world-schooling-kids-selfish-family-travel-edventures

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach

http://betsybrownbraun.com

California, Family

The Blood Red Moon

The moon is on a blood red streak. There were two full lunar eclipses this year and there will be two next year, and I love watching the magic.

A total lunar eclipse is when our orbiting moon passes into the full shadow of the earth, and the white light of the moon turns a blood red.

When you are watching a lunar eclipse, you will see a small red arc push into the white light of the moon, gradually growing, until it takes over the entire moon, turning it bright red for over an hour, and then it gradually flows away again.

That arc is not some evil spirit eating away at the moon, like people thought in ancient times, nor is it a sign of the second coming of Christ, as some nuts are insisting about the four-in-a-row streak we’re now experiencing.

It’s simply the shadow of the earth hitting the moon as the moon lines up perfectly in a straight line with the earth and the sun. During an eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky, with the earth right between them, like three balls in a perfect row — except the sun is a softball, the earth is a grain of sand 12 meters away, and the moon is an even smaller grain of sand about an inch away from that.

This cool alignment has a cool word —a celestial alignment of three heavenly bodies is a syzygy. (I love words with lots of “y”s in in it.  Another word I love is zyzzyva, which is the last word in the dictionary, and is actually a red weevil bug from the tropics.)

The light of the moon turns red for the same reason that sunsets are red. Usually the moon is getting a direct hit of sunlight that reflects down to us on earth, so it’s white.  But when there’s a syzygy, there is no more direct sunlight light bouncing off the moon.  

However light from the sun still ekes around the earth and refracts through our atmosphere, like light bending through lake water, and reaches the moon anyway, like that pesky morning sunlight that somehow gets under your bedroom door and through your closed curtains. 

But as that sunlight bends and bounces around in our atmosphere all the colors with the shorter wavelengths, like blue, bounce away, and only the slow moving red spectrum remains, hits the moon, and then bounces back at us. It’s like a sunset, but at night.

My most memorable total lunar eclipse I witnessed was with my father. We would drive up to Lake Tahoe as a family and stay at the Sierra Club’s famous Clair Tappaan Lodge. Gigantic tree trunks hold up the entrance of this multi-level rustic lodge built in 1934. The stone fireplace is huge, and 140 people can sleep there, in boys and girls dormitories. 

It’s also on Donner Pass, which gets more snowfall than anywhere else in the Sierra Nevada range, and the snow is so deep they must sometimes dig the lodge out.

It was two in the morning and my dad came to my bunk and shook me awake. We put on our snow clothes. That year the snow was so high that stepping out through the entrance was like leaving an igloo. 

The snow drifts buried the tall pine trees right up to their first branches, and it flowed like a glacier down the hill to Donner Lake. The full moon was right in front of us, lighting the snowy world up better than an HMI floodlight on a movie backlot. King Wenceslas would have fit right in.

My dad had timed the ceremony better than an ancient druid. The eclipse began right after we stepped outside. The clear sky, with no light or air pollution, gave everything a sharp crisp edge. When the eclipse reached totality an hour later, the bright white world turned deep red — imagine bright red snow as far as you can see.

It was silent, calm, and still. No one was awake but us. We looked at each other, and laughed, knowing it was a moment to remember.

My dad is gone, but I try to see lunar eclipses whenever I can. My girls don’t want to wake up at 2 a.m. to see them, so I watch them alone, and none have matched up to that event in the Sierra wilderness, but I’ll keep trying.

 

http://www.space.com/15689-lunar-eclipses.html