You've had responses from a couple of parents who trod these paths, and then there was this question:
As a kid, which life would you choose? I'll confidently bet that your child-selves will opt for the boat.
I'll try to answer for him/her, as I am the product of having been brought up as a cruising child. Not quite as young as you, my parents were in their mid-30s when they gave up on the landlife, and my brother and I were 9 and 11. We spent two years building the boat before getting underway. I grew up around kids
raised on boats from infants to teenagers.
We were home schooled, very informally, through our junior high and high school
years. When we returned I went on to university and received an engineering degree, my brother got advanced degrees in education. We would both warn/advise that the sciences are the hardest to follow through on in home schooling. I don't know if technology today would make that harder or easier. I learned a lot of my math, trig, and geometry from celestial navigation
, which is not so common any more. Had an interest in chemistry, but that is harder to fulfill without experimentation. Physics you can see around you every day while sailing, if you look, but in a limited way, and certainly not in a way that will lead you to be a fiber optic engineer
(but maybe an aeronautical one).
The cultural, historical, and geographical parts
of the education almost take care of themselves, although you as parents have to be careful on the cultural/social side. It is too easy to move from port to port and interact with the other cruisers. Some cruise
that way quite happily, and I can't fault them. But for raising children
I think it is critical (IMO) that you set the example of immersing yourself in whatever local culture you are visiting. Kids
can actually be very helpful in this, as they will find the local kids (they always do), and won't know that there are differences that may divide them later in life. Encourage this, and help, and share these experiences.
My regrets include never actually learning
another language enough to be conversant. I can get by in several, but can't discuss politics in any (maybe including English). That's kind of my measure, as political discussions can be very nuanced. If you go the sailing route
, please make sure you help them learn the languages of the places you visit in a more structured way (and maybe new technology helps with this one). Even if you don't go the sailing route
Overall, when we swallowed the anchor
(temporarily) when I was 18 I was glad we had gone (certainly when we left I was the cock of the walk, telling all of my friends/neighbors/teachers what I was off to do). I think that the cruising life teaches self-reliance in a way that is rare in current
American society. I grew up standing night watches, with the safety
of the boat and my family
in my eyes and hands. I spent my entire teen years living with what was available, and making do with it, rather than "needing" every new thing on the block. I was also treated as an adult by my peers, as I could sail and manage the boat as well as any, and that was a challenge when re-entering society. I butted a lot of heads with older people who didn't want to accept my confidence and knowledge (some of which, in wiser/older retrospect wasn't what my teen brain thought it was).
The question you have asked is not a simple one, and you will have to decide for yourselves. I think that with the world, in the condition that it is today, could use a number of well-rounded, culturally diverse, environmentally aware people, the kind that may result from being raised on a cruising boat.
It doesn't have to be a one or the other thing, it can be both. For myself and my family
, we go back and forth, from land to water
to land. As a result of my upbringing I don't buy-in to consumerism in quite the way that some of my peers do (but I still feel the trap from time to time). I have twice told bosses to take their jobs..., and hoisted the anchor
again. This kind of freedom is a rare and fleeting thing, and (again IMO) I think it should be encouraged. It doesn't bring the kind of security
that 30 years in the same job (with a decent pension plan) brings, but it does provide a different kind of security
, in knowing that one can deal with the unknown, and make their own path.
I'm sorry that this post has rambled so long, I hope you or someone else reading this finds some parts
of it useful. I would whole-heartedly recommend the raising of children
on a cruising boat. Not sure about infants, I have seen that done quite successfully, but not so sure I would want to go through that stage of parenthood on a boat myself. Like child rearing everywhere, it ain't all peaches and cream, some of your travails will be the same as every parent's, others will be unique to the boating
world. Regardless, it can be (and has been) done quite successfully, and will likely result in the kind of mal-adjusted, outside-the-box individual that conformity will view askance, but who will be capable of living quite a happy, and possibly useful, life.