Educating Three Children
Allen, Kevin, and Jocelyn Watch Dolphins
If you have school age children and dream of cruising, but feel that you need to wait until the kids are finished school, consider going now. While the challenges are large, the experience of overcoming those challenges, living together as a family, and having an intense adventure is something you will draw from as a family for the rest of your lives. It's something we do every day.
For two years, Karalee and I lived on board Dragonsinger, our Jeanneau 43DS sailboat in the Mediterranean. We home schooled our three children Jocelyn (age 12-14), Kevin (10-12), and Allen (6-8) during the two years that we were away. This section describes some of the lessons we learned about home schooling.
Jocelyn Studying in the Cockpit
One of our first challenges was to determine what program, curriculum, and school we wanted to work with. In BC we have the Greater Vancouver Distance Education School (now called Vancouver Learning Network), which we first heard about through Liza Copeland's books. Because Jocelyn, Kevin, and Allen were registered in GVDES, it was as if they had never left BC as far as the Ministry of Education was concerned.
There were two major advantages of GVDES for us. The first was that we were supplied with all appropriate curriculum materials for each child for their grade. Whatever program you choose, there is a lot of material, between text books, work books, quizzes, and science materials. On board Dragonsinger we had three large cupboards dedicated to school materials and supplies. Shipping these materials to and from the boat was a major cost and logistics challenge throughout our adventure.
Jocelyn and Kevin Studying in April Sunshine
The second advantage of GVDES was that each child was assigned a teacher. This gave us a resource to email or phone when we were really stuck on an education challenge. On a regular basis, we physically mailed assignments, art work, work books, and exams to the teachers. They marked the material and returned it to us. Our experience was that it took on average three months from mailing in an assignment to getting the marked copy back on board Dragonsinger. For this reason, Karalee and I did a lot of marking, especially of math, so that we could give immediate feedback to our students.