March 11, 2012

School--From the Boat to Brick and Mortar

How is my boat-schooled kid going to do in school? A school in a foreign country where she needs to wear a uniform and where we don’t even really know what grade she should be in? Is she going to be picked on? Find it too easy? Too hard? Too boring? Too strict? Is it going to damage her adventurous spirit and teach her to think like an automan? Is it going to turn me into one of those hovering, nervous mums who keeps trying to fix things for my kid?

Oh, the uncertainty…
heading up the dinghy dock
 We’re beginning week two of our new routine. We had mixed feelings about Maia giving up home schooling for school here--but she has great memories of grades k-2 and has been looking forward to all the things a brick and mortar school has to offer.

Evan and I were a bit more hesitant. We’ve been sailing without much of a curriculum the past few years—deciding that the excellent BC provincial curriculum, which we used the first year, was a bit too constricting for our lifestyle. We wanted the option to focus on where we were travelling and what Maia’s interests were—and we didn’t want to be sending work in and trying to rendezvous with new books every few months.

The result of our geography based curriculum (we focused on projects) seemed great to us—Maia is intelligent, articulate and most importantly interested in almost everything—but we weren’t sure if we were missing the odd essential here and there. And we were a bit concerned that all the confidence and independence she’s gained through travel would be damped down in a school setting.

The arguments in favour of school won out though and we settled on the same school the other cruising kids in the area go to. The principal there explained that as a small urban school with a mobile, international student body they have a very diverse group of kids and their turn over rate is high—so they’re practiced with being flexible about kids coming in with a wide range of knowledge and backgrounds.
 After some hemming and hawing Maia’s now in year six (she’d be midway through 5th grade at home). She’s studying the expected lessons plus a few exotic seeming subjects (she takes Mandarin, gets swimming lessons for PE, plays water polo for ‘sport’ and she’s joined the garden club—so she can raise chickens…) And it seems like we didn’t miss too much—though math is being taught differently than Evan taught her and she really has no idea what the capital of Australia might be…

What we’re also discovering is that as a home schooled kid she takes her education (and the fact that she has an important role in it) very seriously. She’s irritated by busy work but tends to plunge full force into things that seem to have value to her. Most importantly though—she seems happy. So I’m happy.
off on her own to school
 So we’re both learning.


boatbaby said...

Yeah but, who's the dude in the suit walking her to school?

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

he got his own post about civilization angst;)

The Crew of Savannah said...

I'm with Cindy..didn't recognize Evan! :) Let me know how the school thing works out...I've noticed that Jake seems weird compared to "normal" scares me!