My husband and I dream of full-time cruising, but we disagree over whether to take the kids. Can you help?
Tom Wood responds:
I could probably write a book on these issues, and actually several people have already done so. There are numerous articles on this subject on SailNet: one by Randy Harman on Making the Decision, one by Sue and Larry on First, The Decision and several about kids on board by Liza Copeland, Doreen Gounard, and Kevin Jeffrey. In fact, Sue and Larry have covered this topic in several different ways, and you can peruse their common-sense approach to the relationship between couples in their articles here at SailNet.
To find these articles from the SailNet Homepage, click on the word "Articles" at the top of the "Popular Features" section on the left-hand rail. A list of the authors' names will appear on the right rail. Click on an author's name and a list of his or her articles will appear. (All of the article titles are direct links to those articles.) If you want more than just the most recent work, click on "All Articles" to view the titles of every article published by that author at SailNet. You can also get a Profile on the author and a list of any books he or she has in print.
Personally, unless your school systems are a lot better than ours, I wouldn't hesitate to take the kids out to a life at sea and homeschool them. Thousands of cruisers do, and many report that the kids actually get a better education seeing new places, learning about new cultures, and meeting new people frequently. As for you, if you do decide to go, you would enjoy the sailing life more as you learn about sailing and the boat. This takes time, patience, and a helpful partner.
Your decision is not an easy one, but many couples have had to face it in the past and found that there are other possibilities of compromise. If you sailed six months on the boat, would your husband be willing to come back to land six months a year? Or how about one year off and one year at home? The options are never ending. There are several women's chat groups and message boards at SailNet where you might get some advice from other women cruisers that have been there.