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Old 23-07-2018, 19:52   #1
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school aboard for Australian kids

Hello,
We'll be spending 2019 aboard our yacht and we're currently trying to figure out the best way to go about keeping up our kids' education during that time. They currently go to school in Victoria (Australia) and will be doing so again when we get back! They'll be in years 4 and 7 the year we're away. Would love to hear about people's experience with distance ed, home-schooling and any other models / tips / trick that have worked!
Thanks!!
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Old 23-07-2018, 21:01   #2
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

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Hello,
We'll be spending 2019 aboard our yacht and we're currently trying to figure out the best way to go about keeping up our kids' education during that time. They currently go to school in Victoria (Australia) and will be doing so again when we get back! They'll be in years 4 and 7 the year we're away. Would love to hear about people's experience with distance ed, home-schooling and any other models / tips / trick that have worked!
Thanks!!
We did it for 6 months last year.
Vic education department is actually very good and will provide good resources. I think it was a few hundred dollars and we got boxes of materials and a teacher assigned to monitor each of our two kids. The kids submitted some stuff online, plus had regular calls with their teachers.

Our son was in year 4 and daughter in year 1. Particularly with our daughter, it needed a parent to assist for most of the school time - which we found a little challenging. It is a lot of time for a parent.

In the end we tried to get through the Maths and English course work for each of them, and let the rest slide. Obviously there is a huge amount of non curriculum learning going on - although I'm not sure that being able to fillet a 5 kilo tuna will help my son with NAPLAN this year.

Kids are doing fine back at school this year, and have been called out for their self reliance and resilience. Daughter is also noted as being really good at getting adults to do things for her -they will meet a LOT of adult cruisers, and get very used to communicating with them.

Biggest issue we had was teaching other cruisers that if they offer our kids a bowl of chips, the bowl will be empty 30 seconds later. That should NOT be taken as a signal to refill the bowl.

Mike
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Old 23-07-2018, 21:37   #3
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

Thanks Mike, that's great to hear. Our main concern is that there will be times when we don't have much - if any - internet access. Can I ask, was Vic Ed reasonably flexible with submission of work and on-line attendance?

As to everything other than maths and literacy, I suspect we'll go down a similar path to you (-:

Great to hear your kids have settled back in to school so well. And thanks for the tip re snacks. My eldest can gobble chips like the proverbial!
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Old 23-07-2018, 22:41   #4
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

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Thanks Mike, that's great to hear. Our main concern is that there will be times when we don't have much - if any - internet access. Can I ask, was Vic Ed reasonably flexible with submission of work and on-line attendance?
Very flexible. I think we were meant to submit every 2 weeks, and got as much as a month behind that.

It wasn't ever formally stated, but I got the impression that they were pretty happy that we were making an attempt, and they thought that the experience was as valuable an education as formal school anyway. In their catchups, my kids talked about what they had seen and done. I assume they included talking about reading about what they were seeing (and story books), plotting our position on the chart, taking bearings etc. My son submitted a little project he came up with mapping air pressure against wind speed twice a day.

In our conversations, we normally apologised for not doing more and were reassured by the teachers that we were doing OK. Reading books, writing a journal, doing some Mathletics would probably almost cover it - but having the curriculum forced us to do some formal lessons some days. We would have averaged 3 hours 3 days a week, at best, of formal school.

I don't know what your timing is, but consider having the kids in normal school for term 1. Lets them be part of a class (and share stuff with their class). Late March / April is also a good time to head north from Vic. (But doesn't give you time to spend in the Bass Strait Islands).

Mike
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Old 23-07-2018, 23:26   #5
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

Thanks Mike, that's certainly put my mind at ease. You make a good point about letting them do first term at their regular school. However our plan is to spend Jan-April sailing around NZ and to then head up to the south pacific islands, so that may not work. But certainly something to keep in mind ...
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Old 24-07-2018, 01:23   #6
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

Good question, I often wonder how much missing a year of school would affect our kids? Our kids are keen learners so I imagine as long as there is not to much gaming time a year away would not effect them much. When you break down a school week so much seems to be just filler to keep the kids occupied.
The chips made me laugh Mike, we are constantly telling our kids to keep out of Tin Can Bay marina Chandlery. Mel is always giving them chips and drinks everytime they go in for a "visit" The owners are like bad grandparents and love to do it.
Mike is that your ETAP at Tin Can Bay Marina?
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Old 24-07-2018, 02:13   #7
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

We used Queensland distance Education for 7 years when we did our first circumnavigation. Excellent material and didn’t handicap kids at all later on as they did there uni courses in dentistry, environmental management and engineering . Now they are major travellers which maybe a result of our chosen lifestyle. Presently have two daughters on board with their husbands for a month as we sail the Western Mediterranean then one couple off to Africa and the other to South America as we continue westward. Some formal education afloat coupled the education of the sailing life will stand them in good stead. Other kids we met circumnavigating were also successful. Kiwi boat two girls 13 years afloat now Doctor and a lawyer. Kiwi boat boy and girl both Olympic medalists and have business degrees. Oz boat 5 year circumnavigation boy and girl librarian and incharge NGO in Madagascar. So quit school but not education and go sailing.
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Old 24-07-2018, 03:05   #8
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

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Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
Good question, I often wonder how much missing a year of school would affect our kids? Our kids are keen learners so I imagine as long as there is not to much gaming time a year away would not effect them much. When you break down a school week so much seems to be just filler to keep the kids occupied.
The chips made me laugh Mike, we are constantly telling our kids to keep out of Tin Can Bay marina Chandlery. Mel is always giving them chips and drinks everytime they go in for a "visit" The owners are like bad grandparents and love to do it.
Mike is that your ETAP at Tin Can Bay Marina?
Cheers
Hi, yes, Moli is ours. We left her up there as we liked Lady Musgrave nearly as much as we disliked Wide Bay Bar. Tin Can Bay very quickly became one of our favourite spots, in a large part because of the people.

We unfortunately have Moli for sale in a low key kinda way at the moment - Ive only taken her out twice this year, and I hate the idea of a boat not being used. We will either sell or bring her south for summer... either is a good outcome, but we will miss Tin Can Bay.

Our kids thrived on 6 months living onboard. I'll take them being comfortable snorkling with 5 ft reefies over knowing the date of that Eureka Stockade everytime. Or being responsible to motor a dinghy to another yacht over riding a scateboard.

Mike
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Old 24-07-2018, 03:51   #9
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

I walked past Moli today and she was floating fine.
Got to agree that learning a bit of common sense and experiencing life is definitely worth taking some time of school.
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Old 24-07-2018, 09:28   #10
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

Way I (retired 30yr veteran high school dept. head) see it. It's not your kids missing a year of school; it's kids in school missing a year of real life learning.
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Old 26-07-2018, 16:28   #11
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Re: school aboard for Australian kids

We used Sydney Distance Ed for our 3 kids when we circumnavigated 2004 to 2009. They were 8, 6 and 5 when we left. Can't praise enough the education system, the school and the teachers. Very flexible and very helpful. They would match the material to where we were in the world to make it relevant and structure the projects so that all three could work together.

They were also very flexible in how we sent and received material, again matching it to where we were - easy in Aus every 2 weeks or so, harder in Indonesia, very hard in the Pacific (where they sent an entire term to Panama, for example).

So I wouldn't worry about the logistics too much, they understand and very much support what you are doing to enhance the education of your kids.

As we cruised, families from other countries were always impressed with the level and quality of the education support we got.

As others have said, this experience is worth countless years of formal schooling and the kids will grow and learn so much. Ours all returned to a selective high school. (2 were dux) and are all now in universities (in 3 different countries), and I am sure the experience contributed so much to all that.

Good luck, I'm jealous - it was such a special time in our family life.
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