The year 2018-2019 is our first year homeschooling/ boatschooling. Decisions regarding which system to follow have been a long process and a lot of research. The kids are all French, Belgian, American. They have always lived in the United States, Oregon, but have been studying in a French immersion school before leaving on the boat. Legally, we are supposed to follow the education system of the place (country, or even state) we live in. As we travel, this is impossible and makes no sense for us. To make our decisions regarding education, we asked ourselves a few questions:
- What is education for? Hey, what would you say?
- Preparing children for “real life”- what ever that means?
- Providing knowledge – to understand this world?
- Giving them the tools to live happily – in our society and in this world?
- Show them what exists in this world – so they can choose who and what they want to be?
- “Format” children to have the same basis, so they can fit in the society?
- What is the education on the boat for?
- Is it to prepare the kids for when they go back to school, after the boat adventure?
- Or is it to educate them in general, whether we are on the boat or at school? (back to first question)
- Depending on the answers we choose, the school on the boat can be vastly different…
- Where will we settle after our boat adventures? That would also influence how and what we learn… I wish we had the answer to that question already…
- France, to be close to Nat’s family?
- Belgium, to be close to Mike’s family?
- The US, where we could most likely find a good job that we like, either going back to our old life or a similar situation?
- Canada, as Nat has that nationality too… Nature there is so beautiful, and we know the culture pretty well?
- These are our first 4 picks… But then again, we are discovering new places every day…
There are also a few variables to take into account:
- Our internet connection is spotty and irregular. Let’s call it “unreliable”, with days without signal
- We have limited space for books and supplies
- We would like to make sure the kids stay bilingual and don’t loose a language
- Noah is in 5th grade in the US, CM2 in France, 5eme primaire in Belgian systems.
- Bastien is in 3rd grade in the US, CE2 in France, 3eme primaire in Belgian systems.
- Naomie is in 1st grade in the US, CP in France, 1ere primaire in Belgian systems.
We have decided to follow the same system for the three of them.
- They are officially signed up to the Oregon Homeschooling system. Because of their grades, it means that it took me a whole 5 minutes to sign them up online. They have no tests or anything to do until end of next school year (tests are only at certain levels). This was in order to be able to show proof of schooling, as our official residency is still in Oregon. This is a precaution, just in case we are in a place where they need proof of some sort of official stamp
- We decided to follow the CNED (it is the French national centre for distance education) for Math and French. There are 8 modules for the year, and at the end of each module, there is a written and oral evaluation that we send via internet. We then have feedback from a French school teacher. This takes about 2 hours per day, which is done in the morning after breakfast.
- Sciences, History and Geography are fields that we decided to do on our own, taking advantage of the opportunities of traveling in different places.
- All three read quite a bit in the day (maybe 30 minutes to 2 or 3 hours some times for Noah), French or English books
- All three write every day in their journal, routine that happens while we prepare diner: 2 pages for Noah, 1 page for Bastien, half a page + drawing for Naomie.