We have met tons of cruising families while out chasing stars, and it’s obvious that a lot of their time and schedule revolves around homeschooling. Talking to (usually) cruising moms about how they structure classes and spend time teaching their kids got me thinking about how much David and I are learning organically from cruising.
We don’t do any structured classwork, although if we did it would involve around learning a new language, since David and I both wish we were bilingual. Thankfully, though, we are both naturally curious, and that leads us to learning a lot of things just because we want to know.
Of course, we have the sailing stuff…knots, boat parts, engines, electricity, the myriad of things we learn to keep our life onboard functioning the way we want to.
While we may not have language classes per se, we’ve definitely expanded our vocabularies in other languages. We can say hello and thank you in several unique languages (BULA! is by far my favorite way to say hello). I’ve been able to pick up more French words from our time in France and French Polynesia (je voudrais une baguette, s’il vous plait…). Reading as much as I do I can’t help but expand my English vocabulary too (did you know a consort can also refer to two or more ships sailing together?). Thankfully on the Kindle, there’s a feature called vocabulary builder that remembers every word you’ve ever looked up while reading.
The opposite side of this is that we’ve started creating content for the world. We both write, while my writing is mainly blog posts, David writes fiction (maybe to be published someday? who knows…). I’ve been teaching myself photography and photoshop while David learns videography and video editing. We both like to include factual information in the blog posts or videos, so we often have to research. For example, I was writing about Tongan politics and that lead me to learn the definitions of a constitutional monarchy, popular monarchy, and absolutely monarchy. That led me to learn about coregency and that Andorra has two heads of state, one of which is the President of France (which means that the people of France vote for one of the rulers of Andorra, and it’s own citizens don’t). Visiting Niue led to research on the differences between nation in free association versus dependent territories. Speaking of geography, how many Americans can find Niue on a map?
The natural world provides us with education every day. We’ve learned a newborn whale calf has a curled dorsal fin from it’s journey through the birth canal, zebra sharks are commonly misidentified as leopard sharks but are named after zebras because they are black and white at birth, and cuttlebones implode at certain depths. After every snorkel I pull out our Tropical Pacific marine life guides to identify things I’ve seen.
I have always loved learning (thanks Mom!) and the first-hand experiences we are gaining from cruising culminate many subjects into a world view you couldn’t get from a school.