Boatschooling 101

Some "schooling" on s/v Totem: Mairen journals on a passage

Although we’ve been away from our home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, for five years - the majority of elementary school years for our three children – one of the most common questions we get from families who are considering cruising is “Are you homeschooling?”

Perhaps it’s just a question of phrasing, or interpretation of what exactly homeschooling is. Perhaps this is because one parent’s view of an amazing learning experience is another parent’s view of feral kids running wild…and from the outside, I suppose we probably look more like the latter!

As parents, raising our children responsibly is pretty much the most important “work” we have, so their growth and learning is really important. But the ways of approaching learning on board can be as wildly different as they are for homeschooling families on land.

Topic Coordinator: Behan, Sailing with Totem

As an introduction to this monster topic from Totem, I've written about how the first step to homeschooling is finding a path. Concrete examples are helpful, so I also wrote about what we actually DO on board - and later, reflected on what I wish I had known before we started homeschooling.

Here is a selection of posts from other homeschooling families afloat: see details at the bottom to add your own.

On Ceilydh, Diane writes along the way about how she originally planned homeschooling, how they coordinated classes with cruisers in Mexico, and their current transition from boatschool to "normal" school- in another country.

Genevieve's girls are 3 and 1, but she thinks about boatschooling and has a nice post about how how to tackle things, and how her babies are learning in their own way on Necesse.

On the catamaran Savannah, Monica reflects upon three years of boatschooling their son on board- three years down the road, from an anchorage in the remote western Pacific. I think she nutshells this perfectly: "I find that as a home-schooling mom (on the ocean or on land), you just need to cut yourself some slack. Whether you’re un-schooling, or you keep the strictest of schedules, the point is you’re together and you’re both learning and NO ONE cares more about their education than you.  ...that can’t be a bad thing."

Cindy's family lives on their St Francis cat, Majestic, on the Chesapeake, and often writes about how learning with their two children. I love how she weaves through their homeschooling experiences in posts about their life: whether it is exploring in a natural environment, giving baby chicks foster care, or why school and life don't have to be such different things.

On Tarquilla, Mark and Sara share how they balance the UK education requirements with their own style, and a lot of specific examples that show how this family makes their priorities.

On the Perry, Jen reflects on taking the leap into homeschooling with cruising: what they're leaving, and what they're gaining.

The Australian family on Miss Behaving has a great YouTube video of their son Riley demonstrating creative interpretation for a lesson on poultry farming- and showing one way a freestyle edge to homeschooling can keep learning fun. Instead of just reading a book and filling in the blanks, he made a great little video to illustrate the steps he was supposed to learn. Australia has been supporting families living on remote stations (ranches) without easy access to school, so distance learning materials are readily available.

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