Jim, only because we are sailing parallel courses here, may I ask how the planning for educating the kids while on passage is going?
That sounds like a fun plan. Finishing grade three isn't a bad idea, since writing and reading should be established by then (enabling more independence). As you know, there are more resources online about homeschooling (and over-doing it) than one can shake a stick at.
As for education plans, my wife and I have about 37 years experience between us, but it is still a topic to put thought into. Most likely, we'd develop a curriculum we felt challenging yet rewarding to each of our kids, and altered to their learning styles and interests.
For a framework, though, it's worth looking at or considering models. The Calvert School
is the most commonly mentioned source of curriculum by grade level (at least for the earlier grades), and it's worth noting that almost complete curriculum packs show up on Ebay.
Others are attracted to the Great Books
classical education approach.
Personally, I would like to focus on math and science and technology, and have my wife work with the writing, literature and history pieces. (Both of us are terrible at music, but enjoy art).
I think it would be great to develop extended project-based learning projects in most areas, with rubrics and clear waypoints concerning skills and achievement levels. For example, the countries we visit would become the focus and source of literature, history, art, culture and politics. Water and wildlife could provide for multi-year science measurements and comparisons (publishing ongoing work to a webpage or blog, perhaps collaborating with other students). Mathematics would be as integrated as possible into experiences, but not exclusively. Writing should come naturally, in both journals and online, and for waypoint essays, articles and personal newsletters.
(When my kids were scuba diving last weekend, I was thinking of all the possible math that could be tied to the experience.)
If possible, I thought it would be best if the kids could stay in touch with friends who remain in their home country, through email and pictures and sharing of their experiences. Some cruisers have worked out ongoing relationships with previous teachers (perhaps for a fee for a second opinion of achievements, or through a school-supported option). Learning to seek out the help of authorities online and in local communities would also be part of the plan. (Time to interview the mayor.)
All in all, I wonder why we aren't doing this already...
The ultimate "win win" situation is if the academic work is engaging and rewarding, building both confidence and ability. In good schools, for example, parents become engaged positively with their kids' work and progress, and I could see this occurring for us in a positive feedback loop.
Two more links:
Noonsite Cruising Familes
SSCA Familes and Crew Discussion Area
Keep us posted on your progress, and maybe we'll see you on the Solent some day.