Friday, September 20, 2019

Cruising Families Living Aboard

25	Students with a guide learning about shell creatures as well as sea grasses and plants. Submitted photos

25 Students with a guide learning about shell creatures as well as sea grasses and plants. Submitted photos

Over the many years that we spent cruising throughout New England, and then years later heading southward to the Bahamas and continuing on throughout Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Island chain to South America and back, we have encountered many cruising boats that had students of all ages aboard. If, like us, you continue southward to Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, you will encounter families. Many such cruising buddies sail together so that there is something and someone for everyone on board. The ages of the families we met ran the gamut of pre-school, middle school, and high school-aged students who were aboard with their parents. All of these children were enrolled in an educational program that provided daily lessons in all academic disciplines.

When I first encountered these children, I thought that they were missing out by not going to school daily in their hometowns and not having interaction with children their own ages. Was I wrong! These children were bright, happy, well read, and involved

Beach volley ball for Phys. Ed. and exercise after study time.

Beach volley ball for Phys. Ed. and exercise after study time.

with their lifestyle, environments, the local cultures, and children from all over. Not only were the children studying their regular lessons, but they were learning so much more about their local environment, sea life, flora and fauna, local customs, foods, songs, music, and on and on. Each day was broken up into separate sessions. Mornings were for studies on board their respective vessels. Some afternoons, sport activities, such as beach volleyball, swimming lessons, tennis at local courts and basketball, were scheduled, as well as made up games, sightseeing, and interacting with local children.

Also, these children were learning skills that would last them a lifetime. They learned a lot about the weather and how weather changes affect life at sea. For example, how changes in wind direction—wind shifts—from northwest winds to southwest winds affect their sailing course or anchorages. They learned how to navigate using a compass, charts, parallel rules and, nowadays, course plotters, GPS, computers for weather information, and so on. Course plotting involves mathematics and geometry, in particular,

Beachside music programs for all ages.

Beachside music programs for all ages.

where you can see how different angles to the wind affect your point of sail. They learn the force of the wind in knots and how the strength of the wind, along with the direction of the wind, affects the sails on a boat.

Along with these technical subjects, they learn a lot about many cultures from different islands and countries. They learn first-hand about the foods, holidays, customs, music, books, stories from the histories of each place they visit, and some learn foreign languages, too. Cruising children get the advantages of home schooling as well as expanding their knowledge of other people, other cultures and how to interact with each different group that they meet along the way.

To help you get started, you can go to Google and look up “HOME SCHOOLING on a BOAT.” You will find “Cruising Home Schoolers A to Z.” Also try “Home School Programs for Boats.” Pictures from the Bahamas are actual students who are being home schooled on board their boats in Georgetown, Bahamas when we were there.

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