Homeschooling on a boat

      Homeschooling on a boat? Small spaces and big energy sounds like a recipe for disaster–Yes, some days I would much rather quit my job as an educator and spend the day at the beach day drinking. But! As most parents learn that, There is no time off from parenting, but, to be honest- All of us enjoy living on a boat, and we do feel pretty blessed to be living this covid life on a boat, homeschooling my son with new scenic views most mornings beats a classroom. It took some time to work through the battles with my little strong minded monkey. Why should he have to memorize multiplications when we could be out catching dinner or frolicking on the beach. I think the biggest struggle we had was when we stayed at a handful of places that had other boat kids. The reality that other kids of all ages lived on boats and do what we do was a culture shock.  He wanted to spend ever waking moment with them, and they wanted to do the same! All boat moms educate differently. Some moms facilitated partial learning in the morning and some in the evening. Others set a timer for a certain time frame and  when the timer is going off then they are done with school for the day. Some are hands on learners and others are forced to hours on the laptop staring at a screen.Llastly, there are some boat parents who dont believe in education and think that they learn best from life experience not basic math and language arts. 

Yes, I have indeed come across a very large boat family who didn’t believe in education at all. Their kids ranged from 2- 15 and none of them had to do school. They lived on a boat and the kids traveled in a pack to where ever they wanted each day while the parents worked. It was hard for my son to understand why we choose education over no education. We went through a long stressful period of constant arguments over how unfair I am for pushing an education on him when there are kids out there who get to fish and explore all day– Its an option I refuse to grant him. My heart melted over each argument because I truly understood how it could feel unfair at 6-7 years old, but the reality of it is that he isn’t going to be a Tarzan for ever and at some point when we release him into the real world, I want him to find his own path to success and happiness. I want him to chase his dreams! Since he was like 2-3 He has always wanted to be architectural builder, or space scientist. Recently, he has been cooking with a lot and now he is saying he wants to be a chef at a Fancy restuarant. As his mother, I just want him to see that the world will grant him what ever he needs as long as he pursues what he wants with a positive mindset. I want him to be what ever he wants to be but he cant be those super  cool jobs without an education.  I have to be firm and be patient with with his free spirit. As much as I love the idea of adventuring our life together , I am raising someones husband and I want him to have a real grasp of how valuable his time is on this planet. 

What is our Homeschooling Technique?

It took us awhile to lay down a schedule because at first I went through his books and made lessons around a couple lessons in the books but doing books every day was boring for my little man and although I only gave him about 2hours worth of school to complete it often took him 5-6 hours to complete with all the frustrating and snack breaks. He hated being wrong and learning from his corrections made him furious. So I switched things up and now our schedule is pretty simple and pleasant. Below I am going to list our basic schedule, and what books we use. I am an affiliate with amazon so IF you click on any of the links below , you are supporting a traveling family continue our adventure to travel.

Monday- Spanish – We work out a work book first  but I am not a big fan of this workbook. It doesn’t teach the lessons well, some words are not in the glossary, lots of crossword puzzles ( personal, not a fan since my spanish teacher made us do w.p. every day as a warm up )  and not enough explaining the basics but luckily I am still pretty decent with spanish and are able to fill in the gaps without google. On the bright side  he is learning from it but it requires my attention more so than the other workbooks. There are plenty of different spanish learning books to choose from. 

After we work on the book I will choose a couple audios from youtube to listen to, whether it is a song about the days of the week or colors , just something in Spanish. Sometimes we watch a movie he likes on Netflix in Spanish with English subtitles so he can listen and read along

Tuesday- Workbook pages and typing club! He really loves Typing Club!! It is a free website that teaches kids how to type the right way. We also have a pen pal email for him so he can stay in touch with all his boat friends. Below I will list the book we use. We have a thick book that covers all the subjects, and small subject books . I rotate which ones we are using so he doesn’t feel like its the same thing every time. I will do one or 2 pages in each subject depending on what it covers. My sons strong suits are Math and science. He doesn’t like language arts and spelling. A friend told him that he hates geography . My son used to love geography until his friends told him that so now every time we do the geography book he tells me how much he hates it…*insert dramatic eye roll here*

When we first starting the homeschool journey I picked up Disney Learning workbook from walmart. Suprisingly It was a very good workbook! The stickers is disney themed and that was an exciting feature for my son to have after he was done with his lesson.  Here is the link to the disney books on amazon (CLICK HERE)

 

As far as normal subject books we have all the subject books by DK , below will show you a photo of the spelling version but below will bundle the differnt subjects. We bought 5. 

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Here is the other subject book we use. 

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Wednesday we try to focus on musical instruments or art. We have an insane amount of instruments aboard. We were given a giant keyboard that we do not have room for but everyone loves it and when it is out and plugged in wet all enjoy the time spent on it .. Which is the only reason I have not tossed it yet. We also have 3 guitars ( one is a kid electric guitar with an amp which was a gift too ) and ukulele, tongue drum, electric drum set, recorders, harmonicas and our friend lets me borrow her dulcimer when we are buddy boatin! We will do a lesson on the instrument of his choice and then he has to spend the week practicing it. We often exchange an hour of an activity ( art, reading, playing) for an hour of tablet time to keep the balance of time away from staring at a screen. If he doesn’t want to do an instrument lesson, we will take the sketch pad and go walk around what ever town we are anchored in and draw what we see.

A great resource for finding instruments cheap is to use goodwillshop!! Im serious! Go look at that site! There are so many things for auction, and not enough people know about how many awesome goodwill shop can be!

Click here to be directed to goodwill shop! Just filter to instruments!

 

Thursday- Workbook and typing club again.

Friday- He has the freedom to “skip school” If he reads for 2-3 hours in the morning. He typically takes this freedom over school and we find ways to sneak in some lessons throughout the day. We implemented a reward for each chapter book read so he plows through books to gain the dollar per book reward. I dont have to test him on whether he is actually reading the books because he reads out loud and then talks about what he’s reading to anyone who listens. Currently at 7 years old he is reading the Harry Potter series. Our friends gifted it to him and he dove in deep for the first two weeks. It is January 8, 2022 today, He received the books on December 22, 2021 and is already through the first book and 100+ pages into the second book. Someone once told me many years ago that books help develop character, and vocabulary, and they spell better because they visualize words constantly in comparison to watching a tv show where they are drawn in to the dramatic combat between characters and numbs the mind from soaking in any life lessons.

We are full time liveaboard cruisers and love the idea of sharing our favorite books with other boat kids, however often kids arent as enthusastic about reading as our little man and gifting books isn’t as meaningful if they never read them! So, we often leave a little log book space in the books he finishes a book as leave them at marina libraries. 

 

A little parenting advice..

 I recently applied into my sons allowance opportunities has him motivated to succeed but ok with his failures. I told him 2 months ago that if he can mental math out grocery buys and if his answer is within $5 of the total without tax I will give him $10. He has three tries before he looses the round. So essentially I pick up something, I tell him what it costs, he adds it up to his previous sum and if he’s right I will tell him good job, If he is wrong I ask him if he is sure and give him one more chance to add it correctly before telling him if he has a strike of not. He does really well but he does the mental math out loud and then someone is listening and has to talk to him about how smart he is and then he looses his count and gets frustrated –The Struggle-

 You would be surprised how many people stop to start a conversation with a kid who is breaking down math out loud .. But!! If he gets its all three strikes I still buy him a donut for his efforts.

Also! The reason why we have gone the old fashion route with book learning instead of tablet education is because our nomadic life style isn’t always blessed with internet, and although we could make it work with our hotspot we find that our son doesn’t actually learn on the tablet. His objective is to move forward and gain the stars or what ever the reward system is over actually taking in the lesson. Tablets make it too easy to guess your way through the lesson and we dont want to encourage that kind of learning. I have often asked him to teach me what he learned and his response is I dont remember . I dont like that. 

Now, This is our schedule and I am pretty consistent now with our routine but we also teach all year long so when we are offshore with rough weather we will just jam to music, or sometimes we play hookie and go fishing instead, sometimes he just really isn’t about school that day and will exchange a Saturday for a Wednesday. That is the beauty about homeschooling –It is not a fixed schedule, No one is getting detention for mis behaving, or written up for missing a test. I don’t have to drop everything I’m doing to pick up my kid from school by 3 pm. Sometimes we do school at 5 am and other days we do school at 5 pm! It really isn’t something to get stressed about. Just remember , when taking in the responsibility of becoming a homeschool mom, Public education is pretty basic. Kids in public school barely learn and actually retain the information that is taught to them. They are more occupied about social status then education and often graduate high school without learning how to cook for themselves. Teachers have to spend years teaching the same basic information over and over and over to get the kids to actually retain the information and be ready for college. When It comes to homeschooling you can teach a lot in a little time and life inprints your lessons into their noggin. Don’t stress over a schedule. Just create a basic schedule so your child feels like there is a foundation and decide on a day to day basis what you will cover. I hope this helps someone build the confidence to homeschool with ease and rest assured that every day isnt going to be a battle. You just need to find what works for your kid with the least resistance and go with it! Good luck and if you have any book suggestions for future education let me know!!

If you have made it this far down my blog CONGRATULATIONS! You are a rockstar mom/dad who cares about your little monkey(s) If you would like to see more day to day activity about our life on a sailboat go check out our socials! We can be located as sailing spyridon on almost all social platforms but more exclusively Instagram and patreons. 

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