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Old 05-11-2018, 17:23   #1
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Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

Greetings all. First of all, I apologize if there's already a concise thread on this subject; I have been doing an awful lot of research on the message boards and cannot seem to find anywhere that answers my specific questions.

My husband and I are in the process of buying a boat with an intent to start living aboard it permanently from approx Jan 2020 on. Our youngest will be starting 8th grade in the autumn of 2019. I am trying to find a good homeschooling program that will work for us and we will be comfortable with. Ideally, it would be something that would transition nicely in to the high school years.

Initially, we will be sailing around the Caribbean and the next year (probably) in the Med. My son has dual nationality with the U.K. but has only ever been exposed to the US school system. However, I would be happy to look at both countries' options.

As we will be doing island hopping, we will have intermittent internet so we do not want a program that is reliant on it. I have looked at Calvert Academy and Oak Meadow, but am not sold on either. Recent reviews of Calvert indicate that they are shifting to a more online teaching style with an additional focus on group projects. I'm not sure how we'd manage that. OM seems to be more Waldorf-ish, which is not a style that my son is used to and I don't think he'd adjust well to. However, school in a box is definitely more appealing. If I am wrong on my impressions of either of these two schools, I'd love to hear about it.

I have looked in to the UK homeschooling options, and it seems to vary from council to council. I have to go in and talk to my local council about if and how they would support this, but as I don't live there it's a bit of a stumbling block.

We currently live in California. Our local school district does not have a supported home school program. I have heard that other areas of the state do offer home school options, and would love to hear other people's experiences or thoughts on this. I have no problem with changing our county (or state) residency, all with the goal of providing my son with the most appropriate, accredited, and satisfactory learning opportunity.

What I'm really looking for is specific experience or advice as to where to look for options. Maybe someone out there has done a recent Calvert 8th (or above) grade course and hasn't felt that they needed to rely on the internet? Or maybe I'm wrong in terms of my assumption that reliable internet is scarce in the Caribbean? Or even if you're in a school district that offers and amazing home schooling program so you don't feel cut off from a structured school agenda? I've looked at various posts by families that seem to be much more imaginative and creative with their tailored schooling on boats. I am not that sort of person. I would appreciate a straightforward program which is clear on what he needs to do and learn, and something that my husband and I can support him with.

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time and trouble to read this post, and I appreciate your help and advice if you have some to offer.

Maz
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Old 05-11-2018, 18:01   #2
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

These look like full-fledged programs. If you're not going to have online access to all the program offers, what are you getting? A curated curriculum?

I was homeschooled myself. We did mail-order curriculum and they worked well.

Social activity with kids your age is also extremely important, but I feel that will be tough to get with the cruising lifestyle?

Anyway my only suggestion is to do a good job. You can either give an excellent education or a poor one
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Old 05-11-2018, 18:53   #3
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

We’re living aboard for almost 6 months so far and sailing the Caribbean.
We have 4 kids onboard, 2 of them homeschooling with Calvert. We have got physical materials from them which is good when we don’t have internet access girls (7 and 4 grade) keep doing their lessons. There is also online daily schedule and they have to submit quick checks after completing every chapter and ask questions which checked by advisory teacher. They got more information from online lessons in addition to the books.
Actually, when you’re staying on the islands there are free WiFi in cafes or cruisers WiFi. If you have WiFi booster you can have got internet access onboard.
What for socializing, kids easily make friends and there are a lot of boats with kids onboard. Usually, they’re very friendly. It’s common practice to visit your neighbors to help kids start socializing and set playdays. For example, in Grenada, where people stay for long time during hurricane season, there is a strong sailing community and they create many social activities for kids that announced in advance by cruisers radio in the morningsers radio in the morning
Don’t hesitate if you have more questions!
Good luck!
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:46   #4
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smart555 View Post
We’re living aboard for almost 6 months so far and sailing the Caribbean.
We have 4 kids onboard, 2 of them homeschooling with Calvert. We have got physical materials from them which is good when we don’t have internet access girls (7 and 4 grade) keep doing their lessons. There is also online daily schedule and they have to submit quick checks after completing every chapter and ask questions which checked by advisory teacher. They got more information from online lessons in addition to the books.
Actually, when you’re staying on the islands there are free WiFi in cafes or cruisers WiFi. If you have WiFi booster you can have got internet access onboard.
What for socializing, kids easily make friends and there are a lot of boats with kids onboard. Usually, they’re very friendly. It’s common practice to visit your neighbors to help kids start socializing and set playdays. For example, in Grenada, where people stay for long time during hurricane season, there is a strong sailing community and they create many social activities for kids that announced in advance by cruisers radio in the morningsers radio in the morning
Don’t hesitate if you have more questions!
Good luck!
Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it. It is wonderful to hear from a family with experience of what is currently available. It sounds like boat schooling evolves every couple of years, so what would have been good choices before wouldn't necessarily be the best ones now.

I also enjoyed hearing from you for a different reason – your thread on "Cruising and live aboard with 4 kids" was one of the ones that I had scoured looking for tips on home schooling. I had gotten to the section where you were debating what sort of boat to look for – mon or cat – so was very happy to leap forward in a virtual time machine and see that your family chose a cat and has been happily cruising for 6 months! It may have taken you several months to go through the whole process, but for me it only lasted about 4 hours!

My husband and I watched one of your youtube videos last night, the one where your eldest daughter does the boat tour. I am curious: the pile of Calvert books on top of the shelf in her room that she points out, is that the whole 7th grade syllabus? Or do you think that it was just a particular class or two? Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:03   #5
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

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Originally Posted by odonnellryan View Post
These look like full-fledged programs. If you're not going to have online access to all the program offers, what are you getting? A curated curriculum?

I was homeschooled myself. We did mail-order curriculum and they worked well.

Social activity with kids your age is also extremely important, but I feel that will be tough to get with the cruising lifestyle?

Anyway my only suggestion is to do a good job. You can either give an excellent education or a poor one

Yes, you're right. A big priority for us is to ensure that he gets all the social activity he can during this adventure. It is a huge part of the whole educational experience. He is excellent at communication and social interaction – he likes to talk to and make friends with anyone of any age. Our friends are always commenting on how easy he is to talk to and how he'll come up to them and start conversations. We do not want to squash this. I will be approaching his current middle school to see if there is some way his travels could be shared with the students in his grade, skyping or something, so that he will not lose those connections. And we will be extra vigilant to ensure that he makes and maintains new social connections on our travels. I honestly think that we will do a good job with his schooling; we are both very dedicated to education. I just do not have the imagination or experience to build a whole curriculum for him. I accept my limitations and do not want to let him down.
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Old 06-11-2018, 13:07   #6
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

Hi, No Sprog,

My daughter did home schooling, land based. Her son refused to do the math. Also, because it was all home schooling, he had never encountered competitive examination.

How this worked out in the end, he failed an exam for a junior college program for which he needed math. He enrolled in night school to make up the deficiency. So, although he wouldn't have been able to enter a university, his practical problem was solved. I really don't know why she couldn't get him to follow through.

It seems as if you're doing an excellent job of your due diligence beforehand, and possibly a word with the middle school teachers about various ways of handling resistance--should it occur--could be a worthy arrow for your quiver.

We have met a number of cruising kids over the years. For most of them, the schooling is a morning event, and their afternoons are free, except for boat duties. A great group, easy with adults, self-confident because they're learning lots of real life stuff as well as curriculae.

There are people who will tell you not to do this. Ignore them. Mainly they don't know what they're on about, applying local knowledge to a situation and pursuit with which they are unfamiliar.



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Old 06-11-2018, 15:24   #7
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

Oh, it’ nice to hearing that you familiar with our story actually, it was not easy, but we were happy to the right boat that we fell in love!
Concerning books, no, of course, they have got much more of them! Calvert sent us two big boxes for girls. But in reality 85% of education they do online. There are chapters from books and a lot of additional information. Plus the important service they offer is teacher support and collaboration. When you stay in one place for a while it’s OK but if you’re hopping from island to island it takes time to find WiFi and time. But everything is possible! Sailing lifestyle is awesome
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Old 13-11-2018, 10:16   #8
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

I've found another resource for education and was wondering if anyone had any experience with it. It is California Virtual Academies which offer free public school education in a homeschool setting. And it's accredited! They are indicating that a middle schooler will spend 50-60% of their school week online, and they are anticipating 4-7 hours a day spent on school work. I'm guessing that this would equate to 2-4 hours a day of internet. Can anyone tell me if this comparable to what would be expected with Calvert? Also, as we will be heading towards the mid and southern Caribbean, is it naive of me to think that internet will be available for these stretches of time? Materials are all sent to you a la Calvert, so I guess I'm really wondering if anyone knows if there's a huge difference between the two programs. The CVA assigns a teacher that follows the student and assigns work, as well as having regular "Class Connect" sessions with them and other students. This is very appealing to me as I won't feel as solely responsible for his education, and there will still be that school and social connection with his peers. The "Parent/Learning Coach" spends 20ish hours a week monitoring the student. This sounds like a very workable scenario but it boils down internet availability and how rose-colored the glasses are that I'm looking through. Thank you very much for your help and advice.

Maz
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Old 15-11-2018, 20:03   #9
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

We done a lot of supplemental education for the kids through a website called OutSchool. Not all their classes are awesome, but most of them are really great.
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Old Yesterday, 14:52   #10
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Re: Homeschooling middle schooler and beyond

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We done a lot of supplemental education for the kids through a website called OutSchool. Not all their classes are awesome, but most of them are really great.

Thank you so much! I will look into this as well.


Maz
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