Expert advice: The yacht home schooling cheat sheet
by Cécile Gauert
With the new year comes the anticipation of fresh adventure. If you've decided 2019 is the time to take the plunge and head off on a round-the-world trip then there's much to think about - not least of all how to keep your children's studies on track. When done right, on board home schooling is not only possible but can be of huge benefit to young minds. Here the experts reveal the key things you need to know...
Where to start
Kate Laird went from Harvard graduate to tutor on a 22 metre sailing boat and has since taught her own children (now of high school age) on board her family’s explorer yacht, which charters in high latitudes. She’s written a book entitled Homeschool Teacher, which is a comprehensive resource for both parents and tutors.
Your immediate circle and children’s schools are a good place to start. They may even provide a curriculum plan. For older children especially, check out their school’s requirements. “It’s always best to find out from the administrator what they want and put it in writing,” Laird says.
Allow for flexibility
A set schedule helps keep studies serious but you should make time to experience the trip as well. “If you are trying to go through a full set curriculum, you will miss some of the adventure. It’s a balance,” Laird says. “For short periods of time, concentrate on maths. If the children do a bit of reading and keep a journal, it will be fantastic.”
To recruit a professional teacher, Adam Caller from Sea Tutors recommends starting early to find the right candidate. “The golden timing is nine months before the job starts. The larger the application pool, the better the possible outcome,” he says. However, he’s found qualified candidates in as short a time as three weeks.
Spell it out
Be sure to discuss all your expectations of a tutor or teacher and be candid about living arrangements. Communication is key, says Caller, who insists on face-to-face meetings with families, including the students, before he writes a detailed job description for eventual candidates.
It’s never too late
Everyone acknowledges that home schooling younger children is easier – the golden time may be seven or eight years old to 12 or 13. However, teaching older children isn’t impossible, says Laird, who is now overseeing her own children’s high school education.