A boat and a school

Well September has come around and with that the start of boat schooling.

It is pretty daunting stuff to be honest but we have been reassured by the reaction of Patrick and Sean’s teachers at school when we told them of our sailing plans.  Go for it, they said, you will open their eyes to the world and give them invaluable learning experience in doing so. We were advised to concentrate on key English and maths skills and knowledge and to create projects in other subjects as we go, relevant to the landscape, history and culture of the places we visit.

Our first such project is on Christopher Columbus, whose links to Spain, Portugal and the Atlantic are so tenuous. We have also had our first geography field trip to the Benagil cave in the Algarve.  On a windy anchorage we had a go at understanding the force of the wind on various surfaces and we went on to calculate the force the anchor was holding. We are using lesson plan books and online resources as key tools, guided by the UK national curriculum. 

Our learning starts in the morning at 9am and runs in three 45 minute sessions, with breaks, until 12pm. When sailing or site seeing however we build in homeschooling as we go, depending on the weather, the sea state etc. Filippo principally teaches maths and Nora English.

So far so good; we are all enjoying the structure the lessons bring. We have however had some critical feedback from the kids that some lessons are boring. This will be a steep learning curve for all of us; there is never a dull moment and always room for improvement it seems😉

Quick update on our progress: we made it into the Mediterranean sea and we are currently in the Balearic islands. We will soon provide further updates of our adventure since we left Galicia.

6 thoughts on “A boat and a school

  1. The key is never to ask your students/kids what they thought of the lesson!! Just deliver! Some are amazing -some are not do hood! I sm sure you are doing an amazing job.-First hand experience -what could be better!
    From a primary teacher 37 years!
    Good luck-your travels sound incredible.
    Sue at 43 Albert Rd


  2. Great read! How have things been going since the start of the pandemic? Did you take advantage of any of the online resources that many and/or most schools turned to at one point or another? I think that more people should consider alternative schooling like this, whether on a boat or just traveling for extended periods. Lastly, do you think they will be well prepared for college or university-level schooling with this homeschooling method? Just curious, as I’ve heard the topic come up with others.


    1. Hi Travis,
      in our case our kids did home schooling only for one year and at their age (year 3 and 5 at primary school), based on our experience, we have found that few hours a day were enough to cover their school curriculum – it is likely that at school there is a lot of idling time required to keep all the kids in the classroom at the same level of learning. For older kids this might be different situation and more effort may be required to provide the same level of education. What is likely that the home schooling down’t provide is the routine interaction with their pairs which we believe it is important for their social skills. In regard to their level of learning, now that the kids are back to school, we have noticed (the teachers said so), they both are at the same level of the other kids – hence we strongly believe the year out have not affected at all their preparation for current and future studies. Hope this help.


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