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Homeschooling on a boat: from dream to reality.

Sarah | Florida

Our family loves to travel, so working around school holidays or summer breaks was challenging. Regardless, we set a goal to visit all 50 states while our children were still young. Brent and I grew up on the coast, and boating always intrigued us.

For five years, we talked, dreamed, and planned. We wanted to show our children everything the world has to offer–from the water.

Two years later, we are still going strong. I was the last person on Earth who planned

on homeschooling. When we transitioned to homeschool, I didn't want to lose my “mom” title. I didn’t want to sit up at night worrying about lesson planning or how my kids would further their learning the next day. But I knew this was the right decision for our family. What I didn’t know was how to choose a curriculum, so we turned to a University Model School. They gave me a list of their recommendations, and Abeka was on it. I trusted their expertise, and I am so glad I did.

Abeka has allowed me to homeschool my children but still be a mom first, and that’s extremely important to me.

Flexibility is what we love the most about homeschooling with Abeka. I never tried to create a classroom setting for them. We can do the lessons at our own pace. For us, there's no “normal day.” Many days we're traveling or moving the boat, and we want to ensure they're getting the most out of that experience. I've realized that my children don't need eight hours in front of their books. They've certainly needed to spend a little more time on school as they’ve gotten more advanced, but generally, they spend three to four hours a day max. We try not to plan too far in advance, but we always have lessons ready.

To our family, the cool thing about boating was that it was new to all of us. We started from square one, learning how to work the lines and do all the procedures: docking, motoring, navigating, and planning our routes. We've learned it all together, side by side. Sometimes Miller and Mary Grace are even more confident than we are at certain skills they’ve learned.

It’s incredible to watch them experience visiting historic places like Jamestown and Williamsburg in person, which they recognized from their textbooks. We also traveled America's Great Loop together. That journey was a fantastic way to supplement their learning. Since she was six years old, Mary Grace has wanted to be a marine biologist (specifically, a shark expert). Thankfully, our boat lifestyle has given Mary Grace several opportunities to pursue her dream.

Before beginning the Great Loop, we spent a few months in Brunswick, Georgia. Brunswick is the home port for one of the top shark research boats in the world. They welcomed Mary Grace on board and showed her all of the various tools they use for research. She soaked it all in, and then returned the next day with a long list of questions. The crew loved her curiosity and intelligent questions. I'm so thankful that we're able to give them those experiences.

Seeing their education come alive on the water is extraordinary, and we don't take a single day for granted.

Watch Sarah talk about her family and their homeschooling journey.


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