The first or second question that most people ask us about our upcoming adventure is: "How are you planning to homeschool your kids?" While I have sought advice from many sources over the last few years, I realize that we will come up with a unique program that fits our quirky little family. This is an opportunity to re-invigorate their love of learning and hopefully sneak most of it in without them even noticing.
I figure we will need to spend at least two hours each morning working on the harder stuff. Math with Simi (10), reading and math with Maggie (7) and William (5). We will fit our writing practice in by journaling and science will definitely be a hands on process. In my fantasy world I envision Simi teaching math and reading to William, our 5 year old. She certainly remembers more clearly the ins and outs of sounding out words. I picture Simi practicing her out loud reading skills by reading copious amounts of books to both her siblings - perhaps a bit of Treasure Island every day, then some Pippi Longstocking and other great sea fairing stories. We'll see if any of that pans out.
At our kids ages, there are so many simple and fun games that we can play - Parcheesi, cribbage, puzzles, backgammon and the list goes on. While on land we usually run out of time for these games, I'm sure we will have ample time on board. Just simple games like these teach quick addition and subtraction, strategy and are bonding all at the same time.
The "common core" for each grade is easily found online and will give us a guideline for where we need to have our kids by the end of their 2015-16 school year so they can easily re-enter public school without unneeded stress. Teaching 5th grade will be a larger challenge than teaching Kindergarten for a variety of reasons including: I have recently completed Kindergarten with two children, so I know the ropes. Our 5th grader is stubborn and more difficult to work with - she will need to guide her own learning. And, last but not least, 5th grade certainly reaches new depths of discovery!
Beyond the "common core" is what this trip is really about: expanding horizons, learning a different language, meeting new people and discovering things that we didn't even know we wanted to learn about. Scary? Yes, a little but we are feeling up to the challenge.