Dear boaters, if you are traveling with children, or are just planning to do so, we hope this will be a rewarding experience.
We have translated for you article by Kim Brown, who has been sailing the tropical seas on a Britican for several years now, with her husband Simon and daughter Sienna...
When you decide on home schooling for your child or children on land, it is quite difficult. Not only because the responsibility for his academic success now lies entirely with you, but also because this is YOUR child. A homeschooling on board the yacht increases the complexity of this enterprise at times.
Doubts about your capabilities may be reinforced by fears that training on a yacht will inadvertently harm the child. The first thing that comes to mind: there is too little space on the yacht, there is no permanent Internet connection, and there will be difficulties with socialization.
In this article, I will tell you why homeschooling on a yacht is hard workso that you can navigate the stormy school squalls. But as you read, keep in mind what I believe: there is nothing more inspiringwholesome and worthwhile, than being able to self-educate your child or children on board their boat.
Throughout the article, I will give tips to help you become more active and hopefully prepared for possible difficulties. At the end there will be a few priceless the advantages of homeschooling on a yacht.
And, as always: this my personal attitude towards homeschooling... I am only sharing my experience in the hope that it will help you see a fuller picture, define expectations and give you an idea of how how cool is it to live on a yacht with children.
10 homeschooling problems on a yacht
1. Difficulty maintaining a routine
There are different types of travelers. Some find an anchorage and stop for the season, which makes it easier to create a routine. But most move every few days, staying for a maximum of a couple of weeks.
Due to the nature of sailing, an important factor remains weather... If you need to set off at 8 a.m. to catch the best wind, everyone prepares for the journey, not the class. In addition, it takes a long time to get anywhere.
Usually, our travels take almost a whole day, and by the time we arrive at our destination, everyone is already too tired to study. And catching the Internet on the go is still a quest. At one parking lot there may be a normal connection, at the other there may be no connection at all.
Advice. Use the internet to take tests, but don't base all your training on it. Let it be a supplement to paper textbooks.
Thus, the lack of communication will not be a big problem. For example, in the presence of the Internet, Sienna and I supplement each chapter of the history textbook by watching a video on Youtubeand for mathematics it uses a special application. When there is no connection, the daughter studies from paper textbooks and workbooks.
Advice. Think about whether you really need the usual five-day and summer vacation.
On board the yacht sometimes feeling and time is lost and it doesn't matter what day of the week it is. For myself we left five days with weekends on Saturday and Sunday, and the summer holidays were canceled... It is more convenient for us - to study all year round, and arrange mini-vacations for the duration of the transitions. You can set your own rules for yourself.
2. There is no way to organize a permanent place to study
Educators say that an important part of homeschooling is routine and consistency... Ideally, the child needs to change into school clothes, sit in a designated study area with access to all the necessary supplies.
This is very difficult to do on a yacht. First, there is little room for these very accessories. Secondly, books, pens, notebooks and so on will not just lie where they were left - they will scatter throughout the cabin during the voyage. After each lesson, everything has to be hidden.
Third, you can sit at the cockpit table at 8 am. But then a repairman shows up, or a neighbor stops to say hello, or friends (family) on board decide to make breakfast - and you have to move to another cabin.
Advice. If possible, set aside one permanent storage space for school supplies so you don't hunt for them all over the yacht.
For example, I keep Sienna's books, writing materials, and everything else on the bookshelf in the salon. Little things like pens, markers or glue are often lost, so I keep them in a closed container.
Advice. If you have guests on board, explain that you have a homeschooling program and that you should not be disturbed during this time.
I tell everyone that Sienna and I study from 8 to 11, and if everyone at this time quietly sit in the salon, or hang out on the deck, then I will be very grateful.
3. It is difficult to find a company for your child
On earth, parents can gather in groups to teach their children educational or extracurricular activities. For example, each parent specializes in a certain subject, and little Tommy can go to one house today for a math lesson, tomorrow in another for a music lesson, and so on.
And, of course, they can plan various excursions for the children to chat and play together. One of the main reasons parents on land join in homeschooling groups is socialization of the child... On a yacht, this is, of course, more difficult.
In terms of education, life on a cruise yacht is too fickle to create a regular group. Children always come and go. The opportunity to see the same people for a long time is only during the winter season, or the hurricane season, when the yachts practically do not move.
Nevertheless, when parents are purposefully looking for other "baby" boats, their child is unlikely to be left alone, even if it is a temporary company. Even nomads have plenty of opportunities for socialization!
4. It can be difficult to get school supplies
You need to be organized and plan ahead. Whenever I return to the States or the UK, I have at the ready list of required books and other accessories.
Sometimes I forget something, and then I ask the person who is going to visit us to bring the necessary thing. Or I ask yachtsmen who return to the mainland with a request.
What is taken for granted on land can become a real scarcity at sea.
Once I couldn't get the glue for a project for a month. And when we lived on the French islands, it turned out to be a problem there to buy an ordinary lined notebook - they write on graph paper.
An order from a store or a package from relatives may be lost along the way, or arrive damaged. And delivery to remote places sometimes takes weeks, or even months.
By the way, you will probably need a printer for printing projects, additional worksheets, etc. But the problem is that it will take forever to refill or replace cartridges. And if you change the "zone", then you simply will not be able to get them.
For example, we bought a printer in Corfu, Greece. And the next season they crossed the Atlantic and spent some time in the Caribbean. Due to the change of zones, the cartridges stopped working on the printer - that is how they were programmed. And the thing became completely useless.
Advice. When you receive textbooks, immediately look through them and along the way make a list of the necessary accessories: items for experiments, workbooks, maps, etc. But only the most necessary, nothing in reserve, so as not to take up precious space on the yacht!
5. Harder to control and / or avoid forced breaks
Anchorage - a busy place where something is constantly happening. Now friends have arrived and are in a hurry to say hello, then someone is anchored too close, then someone knocks on the body to find out where the nearest baker is.
Besides, repair work takes a lot of time... When something breaks, chaos reigns around: raised floorboards stick out, seats are lying around, tools are spread out everywhere. Before you have time to look back, half a day has already flown by, and you have not been able to work out properly.
Advice. Teach your child to be flexible. Study in the salon, move with books to the ground - somewhere under a tree, in the shade, lock yourself in your bedroom.
Also I teach Sienna visualize a sphere around you, which isolates her from the outside world and helps her focus on her studies. Each object has its own color, for example, while reading, she visualizes a rainbow sphere. It is noticeable that this technique helps her to relax and tune in to work, regardless of the place where our classes are held this time.
6. Training on a yacht takes a lot of time, as well as cooking, cleaning and so on.
Everything on board the yacht takes a very long time. You seem to be doing just three things all day: cooking / grocery shopping, cleaning, and taking care of your child. Please note, I have not even hinted at the very process of swimming!
Making a regular lunch takes about half a day. First you need to dive into the boat, get to the shore, find a store, buy groceries, deliver everything to the shore, and then aboard the yacht.
Then cooking. The stove is small, so more than one pan will not fit on it - all the dishes have to be cooked in turn. There is little space, so you constantly have to move some things or products in order to get to others.
Naturally, then you still need to wash the dishes. In general, with regard to cleaning: as soon as you bring the yacht to a state of perfect cleanliness and order, someone will immediately bring sand on your feet. Or organizes some kind of undertaking, from which in a matter of seconds a mess is formed. This is the nature of life on a yacht.
Business, which takes no more than an hour on land, on board stretches for two, or even all five hours.
It's the same with studies. We've had this many times: it's already well past noon, and we haven't really been doing it yet.
Advice. Give up the need to do everything at once, and even perfect. Just go with the flow, focusing on the task at hand.
All things on a yacht take a lot of time - either put up with it, and you will feel better, or continue the pointless struggle. Here already there is no point in pretending to be a super-mom or a super-dad, just being is enough. Isn't that why we choose yachting life?
7. Usually we do not have enough materials for experiments and other additional tasks
On land, we had a lot of space for storing various accessories, and if something was missing, we could get to the nearest hypermarket in 5 minutes. When you are on a yacht in the tropics, you may be able to get the items you need ashore, but is it worth spending half a day on it?
Advice. On Youtube, children conduct a lot of experiments. Of course, it is better when your child does the necessary actions with his own hands and observes the result, but for the lack of materials, you can do with watching a video.
By the way, there are applications that allow you to download videos from Youtube and save to hard drive.
8. If a child needs additional education, it is not easy to find it.
This topic is very close to me, because our daughter is dyslexic. In dyslexia, the brain processes information differently when reading or writing. Sienna is now ten, and she reads at a 6-year-old level. And this is with the use of special manuals for dyslexics and daily individual lessons.
My husband and I had to become not only teachers - we needed to learn how to be specialized teachers. From time to time we run into teachers on other boats, and they help us, but sooner or later we have to leave. We also get good help and support in groups on Facebook and from special organizations that offer training.
All parents want their child to grow up to be successful. And when you find yourself in the sea and suddenly find that the standard educational methods are not suitable for him, it is difficult to determine which approach will be best for her.
One day we even wanted to go back ashore to give Sienna “the best resources”. But after much research, they came to the conclusion that we are the most important resource for her. For what could be better than a parent who loves and cares for their child with ongoing, personalized support?
Advice. If you have concerns that your child will have learning problems, consult a qualified psychologist.
The last time we went to the UK, we took Sienna to a specialist. Testing took several hours, then she submitted a 35-page report detailing what our daughter was having and what was straightforward.
It cost about $ 1,000. The amount is considerable, but now we have invaluable information, based on which, you can build the educational process for Senna in the best way.
9. There is practically no peer influence on the yacht
I have come to the conclusion that some children do well in school because they are in an environment that is conducive to it. They are diligent not only because of the authority of the teachers, but also because of the competitive spirit among the peers who do not want to be left behind.
When all the children are working on an assignment, your child will most likely join in too. On a yacht this collective involvement effect have to create it yourself.
Advice. Joint games after class have worked well. Agree with other parents about a suitable time to play together, and share it with the children. As practice shows, this stimulates to cope with tasks more diligently and faster.
Advice. Ask older children to work with your child. It's amazing how kids can help each other. For example, Sienna enjoys reading to older comrades, and at the same time makes much fewer mistakes than with us.
10. It is difficult to exercise while swimming
Despite the best intentions of sailing parents, it is impractical to think that you can practice on the go. Of course, you can read a book or discuss various topics, but it is unrealistic to sit down at the table and have a full-fledged lesson.
People sometimes do not feel very well during pitching, and even subjecting fine motor skills to such tests (writing, for example) is generally inhuman. In yachting life, children most of all dislike two things: home schooling and long transitions. Combine one with the other and you have a disaster!
We never exercise while swimming. Instead, we read, play educational games, or simply have fun with iPads.
When we have to cancel the school day because of the transition, we do not punish our daughter by postponing it to the day off. Still, she has already overtaken the program by a couple of classes thanks to one-to-one tuition and year-round tuition.
What bonuses do children get from yachting life?
1. Mastering new knowledge and skills continues even in free time
Our lifestyle allows explore the world daily and learn something new. What are we facing?
With various representatives of the animal world. Dolphins sometimes accompany the yacht, whales stick out their heads and stare at us, eagle rays jump out of the water to say hello. And during snorkeling, an amazing underwater world opens up to us, each time different in a new place.
We have animal guides, where you can check the fish and mammals we meet and learn more about them.
It's the same on land. New culture, food, music, architecture, traditions, holidays and stories. Every few weeks or months we see a new country. We listen to stories from local residents, soak up the atmosphere, admire the natural beauty and visit historical sights.
In addition, we study weather systems and sailing dynamics, we are looking for the causes of malfunctions, we work in one team. Sienna is involved in our business, so she knows the basics of entrepreneurship.
People on land tend to live monotonously, doing the same things every day. Therefore, learning takes place mainly in the classroom and extracurricular activities, for example, during a trip to the museum. On a yacht, every new day is different from the previous one, and new food for the mind constantly arises on our way.
2. The best character traits are constantly developing
Ability to work in a team, kindness, willingness to help, sociability. The yachting life is very socialized. When you are at sea, at anchor or in the marina, sailors can work side by side, even if they are not already familiar.
If another yachtsman needs help, you provide it without a shadow of a doubt.
Anywhere in the world is felt community strength... Yachtmates help you find details, solve problems, enjoy discussions, and participate in community events.
Many of us often complain about problems, but the very nature of nomadic life brings people together. On land, this is rare. Through this sense of community, children learn early on the importance of working together, being kind, helping, caring and safe.
When a yachtsman needs help, everyone reacts - both adults and children. We don't have bullying because there is simply no place for it. With such a lifestyle, it makes no sense.
3. Invaluable experience of socializing in your spare time
Socialization of the child - this is the second problem that worried me after my education, when I became a “yachting” mother. I was worried that I might not always be able to find a company for my only child. Now I'm worried that she's too sociable. Haha.
In fact, this is rather her natural character trait. Sienna loves people and enjoys playing with children of any gender and age, preferring communication to all other activities. And in almost every parking lot she has a company, at least, in the person of one child.
Due to the wide variety of ages and ethnic groups, the daughter is very variegated social environment. She gets acquainted with representatives of various religions and countries, learns about other traditions and family values.
In addition to swimming, yachting children have a very wide range of activities: Sienna can go camping with older children, play dolls with her peers, and when a large group of different ages gathers, they usually start building a fort on a desert island. In rainy weather, the guys are addicted to the Internet game MindCraft.
Of course, they also have disagreements and problems. Older children help to resolve controversial issues, sometimes parents have to connect.
In general, it's nice to watch how Sienna develops harmoniously, how she learns to find a common language with completely different people. To my mind, every child needs to be “yachting” at least temporarily.
4. More motivation to learn
"Land" children study from 8 to 15:00. Then they attend some circles or sections and do their homework.
Children on a yacht usually study from 8 to 11-12: 00. Since classes are held one-on-one with a teacher (mom or dad), any issues are resolved instantly, the assimilation of the material is checked immediately on the spot and homework is not needed.
The child knows that by lunchtime his comrades will also be free and will play. In the parking lot, where there are many children, closer to noon, you can hear the children making plans on the radio. They contact each other or post a general announcement like, “Attention to all sailors. At 13:00 we go to the beach. If any of the guys anchored here and wants to join, come! ”
After school, children can play all day until evening: go in for sports, swim, go hiking. And after dinner, often someone organizes a joint movie screening or board games. When a child knows that after school he will not have homework, but games with friends, this is very stimulating to study hard.
5. Children learn to read
Due to long transitions and lack of internet, we spend more time reading... Of course, there is communication at anchorages and on land (in restaurants and cafes), but in the process of sailing we sit without the Internet.
This was until recently, until I took a new package and now I remain in touch even on the high seas. But I will NEVER admit this to Sienna. Otherwise, she will spend all day on YouTube. And so we read, play board games and just talk for a long time. For yourself, you can set a rule: no internet during the transition.
6. Children are much less influenced by the media and commerce
There is no TV, news or advertising on the yacht. When you ask a child, “What do you want for Christmas?”, The answer is “truck,” “doll,” “book,” or “I don’t know.” But there will definitely not be a kilometer-long list with all the toys they advertise.
Things matter little at sea. And the children have enough of those that they have. They spend much more time fantasizing and playing than doing their toys.
It is difficult to buy something in the tropics. Even when you can find a store with toys, everything is usually expensive there, and you invite your child to choose one thing.
With regard to clothing, both children and parents are content with what they have. Our things shed from the sun and salt water, get dirty while playing, but we don't care. Nobody cares about famous designers and famous brands.
Of the news, we are more interested in local news and weather forecastthan what's going on at home. We usually learn about significant events from the Internet, but news does not become the basis of our life.
Instead of being carried away by the current exciting news, we live in the present... Life on a yacht is a different path alternate world... Not a panacea or heaven on earth, but for some of us, it is worth much more than our previous land life.
In conclusion. Homeschooling, wherever it takes place, is hard work. But if you carefully study the whole picture, then on a yacht it has more advantages than disadvantages.
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