Over the year we will be gone, we have been homeschooling our boys on the boat. The experience has been great so far in that we have had the opportunity to show our kids practical applications to many of the lessons we have been teaching. For example, a discussion about latitude and longitude is concluded by plotting our position on the chart. We talk about the relationship between degrees, minutes and seconds and they get to take turns reading our position on the chartplotter as well as plotting our position on the chart throughout the day.
For Christmas the boys received an invention kit from Radio Shack. The kit included the materials to make simple motors, a radio, a telegraph and a number of other inventions. We invited some of the other cruising family’s kids onboard to make the telegraph. We incorporated some of the literature we picked up at a pony express station in Nebraska because it was the invention of the telegraph that made the pony express obsolete after only 18 months of operation.
Our lesson using the telegraph lent itself to learning about Morse Code. The next day the kids used flashlights to send messages using Morse Code to one another. The trivia question for the day is, what does SOS stand for?
And so goes learning on a boat. We learn about radios and then we use them in a practical application.
This week we have been held over at Black Point in the Exumas . While here, the boys are going to the local school. The kids in the school have been very friendly and the teachers and principal were open to having any of the cruising kids attend while we are here.
Christine and I were invited to help out in the school as well. She has been helping with some of the kid’s reading, while I gave a short lesson to the class about energy and simple machines. I brought in a chisel/wedge, a pry bar/lever as examples of simple machines and scavenged up a wheelbarrow from one of the locals and a propeller and can opener from our boat as examples of compound machines to demonstrate how simple machines can be combined to make more complex ones.
More importantly than the lessons they are learning in class is the experience they are getting by attending school in another country. They are making new friends in a different culture and while that isn’t part of the lesson plan it’s all part of the experience. Who knows if they well ever study abroad, but if they do now they have at least a taste of what they could expect it to be like. We thank the teachers and kids at Black Point for inviting us into their school.