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post #2 of Old 01-18-2013
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Re: How do you educate children on board?

Well, it's a great idea, but you are a tad bit behind the curve. It has already been done.

THere are a lot of different options for educating your children onboard. The traditional method has been Calverts. It is a text book-driven, go at your own pace, set your own calendar method. This is what cruisers used traditionally for their children for years. It is still the best method for cruisers who sail to remote locations and have little to no access to the internet. I also (personal opinion) believe it is the best method for those that want complete control over the curriculum and what you as a parent feel is and is not important in the education of your child. THe negatives are that it is moderately expensive (I think starts at $1600/child for base) and your child, should they graduate on this program, will only receive a GED... not a HS Diploma.

Second option is using an online course, like k-12. The K-12 is probably the most flexible of the online courses. They have a lot of great ideas and great teaching methods. It is fairly universally accepted for most of the states (US based) and allows the flexibility of travelling outside of state lines and it allows more flexibility in course selection. In essence, the parents still have a good bit of control on what they do or do not want their children involved in. THe negatives are: requires a fairly fast internet connection (4g or better, with 4glte the best), no HS Diploma at graduation, and it also has a cost factor to it (I think it was about the same or more than Calverts, but I forget now).

THe third option is a quickly growing online program supported by SOME states. Florida is one of the states which supports it. The teaching methods are very modern. It is not text book driven, in fact, you get very few text books at all. Almost everything that you do get a textbook for, you can still view online and print off on demad. All of your supplies (including a computer if you do not have one) are shipped to you at no cost. This includes the limited text books, quite a few work books, art supplies, headphones, many science experiments, etc. Basically anything that a school might provide, you get for free and shipped to you for free. There is zero cost associated with this method. It is all paid for through the educational funds of the sponsoring state. The teachers set the course work and daily work (with some flexibility) and are a direct link for your children. My oldst son just finished a live lesson today with his Civics teacher, for example. You have monthly followup calls between the teachers, students, and parents to review how things are going. They organize many field trips for children in your area which your child can participate in and is allowed time off (this is great for meeting other home school kids). Most importanly, and maybe the key thing, upong graduation, THEY WILL RECEIVE A HS DIPLOMA from the state. Now, the negatives: You must be a resident of that state. You must provide a fixed address and prove you are a FLoridian, for example. In the entire state, I was told we are the ONLY cruisers (living on a sailboat) though there are several families in motor homes. The course work and what has to be completed is the most stringent. Your child WILL follow the designated state requirements, like it or not. Your child will also be forced to meet the minimum state requirements in both testing (FCAT) and hours in school (22-26 hours, week, depending on age). You must keep a fixed address (theoretically, alerting them with every move and re-establishing residency which makes travelling/cruising difficult) as they will periodically send things to you for experiements or coursework. Your child will be required to participate in discussion you may not agree with (sex ed or STD, no religion allowed, no praying, etc). Also, you are required to maintain your residency with that state. Theoretically, you cannot leave the state or the country (theoretically) to work outside. Lastly, you will have to maintain at least a 4G or better connection... especially with younger children that learn via many videos (which really eats up your data... my last bill was nearly $450 for the month!!).

Which option is best for you depends on which of the positives and negatives best fit your family. We started with the State sponsored as we couldn't make up our mind. SHortly after starting it, we thought we might have made a mistake. Now, we are very happy with it and will try and make it work. If we get forced to come off of it, we will move to Calverts. We may become forced because of lack of internet connections in our itinerary.

I hope this information helps.


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