On our boat, homeschooling sets the pace of the day, almost every day of the year. We do not take weekends, most holidays or summer off. I know this seems pretty extreme, but after trial and error, we found this works best for us. Even with just a weekend off, Jack is hard to get started again on Monday, let alone any serious time off like Christmas vacation - so we just keep at it, day after day.
The holidays Jack gets are two days for Christmas and his birthday. He gets the occasional sick day, but thankfully he has had few of those except when he had Dengue Fever. When we are on a passage, or moving for more than four hours, we also take a skip. If we have visitors, or if we go home for a visit we stop schooling. This means that school is in session probably 310 days a year. The good news is that we can then spend less time each day on school, since we have so many of them.
On JaM, we take our mornings very seriously. Generally everyone stays in bed as long as they can before getting up. For me, that's around 7am; Patrick follows around 8 and Jack gets up sometime before noon, but usually between 10 and 11. Why not? There aren't usually any pressing issues that require early action. Once Jack is up, fed and ready, we start the day. We try to never do anything else before school is done. Sometimes this can be a real drag because you feel like the day is wasting away, but it is the only way to make sure it gets done. Generally a homeschooling session takes about an hour and a half to two hours depending on Jack's concentration level.
I put my own curriculum together for Jack. I did not feel that a set curriculum from a school would work at all for us. In the beginning I started with several reading programs specific to dyslexics, a Math program that I absolutely love called Math-U-See, and fiction books for reading. That is the program we started with - just reading, writing and 'rithmatic. Since that time we have added in a map reading program that encourages critical thinking skills, history lessons, a grammar program and a science program. I am the usual teacher, but when the substitute gets called in (Patrick), they cover other subjects like compass coordinates, barometer readings, latitude and longitude readings and dishwashing.
We hardly ever have internet access so I cannot use the internet as a tool for teaching, or use any program that requires internet participation. Also some programs require parents to send in school work to be corrected by the program, but that would not work for us either. That would be too much hassle. All of the programs that we have are self-contained in books or on DVD's.
Once school for the day is done, Jack is free to go about his business. It is great when there are other kids around since he is highly motivated to finish quickly, but I think he does a better job of learning when we are just out floating around on our own with no interruptions.
The next topic is "The Contract." It single handedly saved our cruising and is the secret to our success.
3 days ago