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Old 03-02-2012, 21:14   #1
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Kids Aboard vs Wait ... WHEN ?

suburban/rural couple with three kids (14, 9 & 5) putting a question out for those with some similar experience. Weekend boaters, we wonder when is the best time of life to pursue our dream of living aboard. While the kids are still young and impressionable? Or after they are grown and away? We have talked and talked this to death it seams with no general consensus among my wife and I. It seems a pretty evenly weighted argument between preparing our kids for the inevitable life as Americans VS preparing them to be citizens of the world with experience in living outside all the nastiness and wonder of American mainstream.
To complicate matters, we both know that every day we wait, we age and become less capable physically of pursuing our dream (with some dread and guilt attached on that thought).

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 03-02-2012, 21:54   #2
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

I would go sailing now if it is something you are able to do. I raised 5 children on land, (now all adults with children of their own), and now I have an eight year old boy and we are going sailing with him. We homeschool him. We are in our early 50s and are very healthy. Every child or adult that I have met that was raised on a boat loved the experience. The children that I meet who are sailing are the most polite, self reliant, well rounded children I have every met. If you are able to do it now why not try it out. You can quit if you hate it.
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Old 03-02-2012, 22:09   #3
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

I lived overseas as a yungun. Go now.

Next question is boat choice with 3 kids. What's the budget like?
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Old 03-02-2012, 22:25   #4
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Go. I don't think I've met any unhappy kids out there.
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Old 03-02-2012, 22:32   #5
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Our daughter is 1 1/2, so she has no choice. Muahahhaahaha.

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Old 03-02-2012, 22:35   #6
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Thanks for your input. I agree most homeschooled kids seem a bit more mature. My wife, Angie, is currently teaching middle school so we think we have a leg up should we choose to homeschool our own kids. The big issue seems to be the 10-year spread from our oldest to youngest. Even now, on the hard, we face many challenges in providing for all the kids needs and fostering their interests. I think a live aboard experience will galvanize our family dynamic. But there is always risk of the opposite.
Are there any boat owners that do long-term rentals (like for 3-6 months?). Maybe a summer afloat would help us determine if and how we might make it work?????
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Old 03-02-2012, 22:45   #7
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Go for it now! My daughter loves being aboard my boat and would happily live with me if it where a bit bigger. Likewise, I have only heard good things from the parents about kids growing up on cruising boats.
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Old 03-02-2012, 22:46   #8
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philipclem View Post
Thanks for your input. I agree most homeschooled kids seem a bit more mature. My wife, Angie, is currently teaching middle school so we think we have a leg up should we choose to homeschool our own kids. The big issue seems to be the 10-year spread from our oldest to youngest. Even now, on the hard, we face many challenges in providing for all the kids needs and fostering their interests. I think a live aboard experience will galvanize our family dynamic. But there is always risk of the opposite.
Are there any boat owners that do long-term rentals (like for 3-6 months?). Maybe a summer afloat would help us determine if and how we might make it work?????
90% of this comes down to the dynamics and wishes of your family, which really only you can know and the rest of us can speculate on.

My wife, like yours, is a teacher (regular high school and ESL), so between our 18 month old daughter's educational needs we figure her two college educated parents should be able to handle things for a while.

Depending upon where you want to go, you can look into checking your kids into native schools. If you go to the big time popular cruising destinations you may not have so much luck, but if you're going to outpost-station-nowhere far off the beaten track, it's easier to get your children enrolled for a bit. There's a school in Vanuatu that my friend did that. He volunteered a bit and brought some old school books (that they were throwing out here in the states), and his son attended there for six months. The cultural education of something like that is really hard to quantify.

There are obviously a ton of challenges, but the point is overcoming the challenges. I like the fact that my daughter gets to see how the world works, including what happens when things break down and don't go as planned and then we work together to repair things and set them right.

Sailing and voyaging around is a pain in the ass and full of obstacles of so many shapes and sizes. Personally I think it's terrific that my little girl gets to watch that process and learn how to break problems up into pieces and just plug away at them. That's to say nothing of the whole "sailing" thing.
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Old 03-02-2012, 22:58   #9
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

We raised 4 this way !! 3 girls 1 boy all were home scooled till high school then we did the marina thing, sailing weekends and summers. When high school was over we continued to cruise as the girls went to collage, they came where we were when the had time off from school ! they are all married and are doing pretty well ! all want there own boats LOL hope they get them !! Just our 2 cents Bob and Connie
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Old 04-02-2012, 00:28   #10
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

I've been reading blogs and books by sailing kids, and it's been interesting to see it directly from their perspective. There may be a selection bias, but none of the kids wanted to go back to a lubbery life.

As a parent I think enrolling the kids temporarily in a foreign school sounds like an amazing experience. But... well, this is a different conversation, but I feel the kids in the books below have a more nuanced take on it that is less positive. Of course, it's only a sample of three kids, but ... it may be worth reading at least Alex Ellison and Patricia Kilson's books if you ever get close to putting a kid in a local school, to know of ways that it has gone wrong for other kids and maybe be sensitive to that with your own.

Child of the Sea (Doina Cornell) -- probably the best of this group, written by Jimmy Cornell's daughter of their travels in the 70's/80's.
Carina: An Alaskan Family's Three Year Sailing Adventure in the South Seas (Patricia Kilson) -- sometimes I learn about how to be a better parent with negative examples...
A Star to Sail Her By: A FIVE-YEAR ODYSSEY OF COMING OF AGE AT SEA (Alex Ellison)

From the parents perspective:
Family Voyaging - Ak to nZ: A Complete Guide to Family Survival (Chris Burns) -- a story and a section in a cute topic oriented format.
Mermaid - Our Family in Paradise (Philip Rink) -- these folks bought a used charter boat and then wandered around the Caribbean for a year
Family Aweigh (Michael Holt) -- a power boat romp through the Med, mostly funny if you like self deprecating British humour.
... and lots more (Connie McBride, Steve & Linda Dashew, and many others).
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:41   #11
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Wow! Thanks everyone. Looks like some good stuff to research. The great debate continues afresh! I'm for selling our house and going all in but have to agree that perhaps a season aboard as a trial may be better for this year. Then see about a more permanent thing. Five o us equals a pretty sizeable craft and investment. We can always finance and if a season shakedown goes well then cash in the house and go. Time to do my homework in earnest. Thanks all!
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:57   #12
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philipclem View Post
It seems a pretty evenly weighted argument between preparing our kids for the inevitable life as Americans VS preparing them to be citizens of the world with experience in living outside all the nastiness and wonder of American mainstream.
To complicate matters, we both know that every day we wait, we age and become less capable physically of pursuing our dream (with some dread and guilt attached on that thought).

Thoughts anyone?
Seems to me like you already know what you want!!

I truly hope that you are able to do it. It has already been said that if it doesn't work you can come back. The WORST that could happen is your kids lose a year of school, and as a teacher by profession myself, I'd say the year of travel will be a huge bonus.

I have never heard of a family regretting this, and in my experience you hear more from the moaners than from the praisers!!!

Read up on blogs - there are many from families sailing with kids
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:56   #13
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

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Originally Posted by Philipclem View Post

1. (...) when is the best time of life to pursue our dream (...)

2. (...) We have talked and talked this to death it seams with no general consensus among my wife and I. (...)
1. The time is now. This is the only time there is.

2. Since you are considering family cruising, I think, you should discuss the matters with the kids. Perhaps they do not want to go? Young people can bind very much with their peers and, when, so, will hate you for dragging them somewhere without asking their mind.

Mind what is your dream, may or may not be, somebody else's. Chase your dream while it lasts, but respect the fact that you have made some decisions in the past (having children) so now you should act towards respecting their dream as much as yours.

Plenty of blah from a guy who has no children, but have seen plenty of cruising kids, happy and not so.

b.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:25   #14
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

guaranteed it will not hurt the kids. can only improve them as far as world knowledge.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:54   #15
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Re: Kids aboard VS wait... WHEN?

Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer View Post
I've been reading blogs and books by sailing kids, and it's been interesting to see it directly from their perspective. There may be a selection bias, but none of the kids wanted to go back to a lubbery life.

As a parent I think enrolling the kids temporarily in a foreign school sounds like an amazing experience. But... well, this is a different conversation, but I feel the kids in the books below have a more nuanced take on it that is less positive. Of course, it's only a sample of three kids, but ... it may be worth reading at least Alex Ellison and Patricia Kilson's books if you ever get close to putting a kid in a local school, to know of ways that it has gone wrong for other kids and maybe be sensitive to that with your own.

Child of the Sea (Doina Cornell) -- probably the best of this group, written by Jimmy Cornell's daughter of their travels in the 70's/80's.
Carina: An Alaskan Family's Three Year Sailing Adventure in the South Seas (Patricia Kilson) -- sometimes I learn about how to be a better parent with negative examples...
A Star to Sail Her By: A FIVE-YEAR ODYSSEY OF COMING OF AGE AT SEA (Alex Ellison)

From the parents perspective:
Family Voyaging - Ak to nZ: A Complete Guide to Family Survival (Chris Burns) -- a story and a section in a cute topic oriented format.
Mermaid - Our Family in Paradise (Philip Rink) -- these folks bought a used charter boat and then wandered around the Caribbean for a year
Family Aweigh (Michael Holt) -- a power boat romp through the Med, mostly funny if you like self deprecating British humour.
... and lots more (Connie McBride, Steve & Linda Dashew, and many others).

Have read all of these titles and I must agree. Good reads for potential cruising families. I must add to this list "The Voyage of the Maiatla with the Naked Canadian". Good book with much to say about taking slightly older kids who may not be happy about it cruising. All of these titles are on Kindle.
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