Number 2 in our Meet The Homeschoolers series is Lyndy of Homeschool Ahoy homeschool and travel blog. Lyndy and her family homeschool on a yachy – they are boat schoolers or yacht schoolers. In this series we try to present the diverse reasons, methods and families behind global homeschooling to encourage and support everyone in the homeschooling community.
I’ve known Lyndy in real life for a few years, we both lived and homeschooled in Port Douglas, Australia before we went our separate ways. We were both registered Queensland Homeschoolers. My family now travels the world with backpacks, her family travels the world on a beautiful yacht.
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Would you briefly introduce yourself, how long have you been homeschooling, how many children are you responsible for educating and how old are they?
My name is Lyndy. My family and I live aboard a 40’ catamaran and are based in Queensland but we do move around occasionally. At the time of writing this we are on a trip through The Whitsundays. We have two daughters currently aged 5 (2008) and almost 8 (2005). We’ve been home educating them since January 2012.
What are your reasons for Homeschooling? Did your children ever go to school?
We have so many reasons for educating them ourselves and the more we do it the more I can add to the list.
When we were still living in a house but looking into moving on to a boat I started investigating our options for the children’s education. While researching boats and walking through marinas dreaming, we met boat families who chose alternatives to traditional schooling. We were impressed with the children we met, they had life experience far beyond their years and the families were very close knit.
My eldest had been attending prep at a state school in Queensland when I started researching. The experience we had with the school did not satisfy us that she was getting the best education she should. Home education suited our situation on so many levels it was a no brainer to make the switch and we’ve never looked back.
Even if we lived in a house in a suburb instead of the lifestyle we lead now, I would still prefer home education. I would even prefer Distance Ed to sending them to school. At least they would still be home with the family and receiving the kind of education they deserve. Our children have my full and undivided attention when we are learning something. At school the teachers simply can’t provide this with the numbers they have in their classes and the pace they have to keep. We have no such constraints.
What is your educational and career background?
I completed Year 12 at high school and later, TAFE. After I left Australia to travel, I worked as a stewardess on luxury motor yachts in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and USA to name a few places. My husband and I travelled extensively for 12 years. I’m a qualified swim teacher and have some computer, accounting and admin Diplomas that I received later in life.
Where did you get your education as a child?
I received my high school education in Western Australia and then later at a business college in New Zealand. In my primary school years we moved around every couple of years as my step father was in the Navy.
Can you describe your style of homeschooling?
I don’t like labels so I don’t say that we particularly ‘homeschool’ or ‘unschool’. We concentrate on English and Maths a lot. The girls have Maths books which we fill in when we feel like it and we supplement this with real life experience. The girls are required at the moment to keep a journal and there are lots of discussions about things we encounter. We use the internet, library and our own stock of reference books to learn more about subjects that take our fancy.
We bake a lot and include the girls in our daily activities, treating everything we do as a learning experience. We also play a lot of games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, card games and go on field trips to local sights and cultural places where possible. We also find that everyone is a teacher. We often encounter people in our travels that have something of value to pass on to the children and this is encouraged.
Lets talk curriculum, anything you’d like to say on the subject?
I print it off each year and make sure we have it covered. However, so much more gets included in what they have achieved each year, it’s really just a guideline for us. I find the current curriculum to be lacking so it’s easy to meet the criteria and keep the Home Education Unit satisfied. What we do in a school year covers so much more than what is required and it is all done naturally.
If I come across something the children can learn but it isn’t on the curriculum yet I’m not going to pass it by if I think they’re ready. For instance the local library had some free curriculum which we took advantage of recently that covered many subjects which weren’t on the current curriculum. The girls were very keen to investigate and so it was a rich experience for them.
What does your homeschool day look like? Do you have a schedule?
Not anymore. We used to do Monday to Friday but now we are always learning. If we don’t feel like doing something on a particular day we have a bunch of other choices. I can’t make my children do maths for example at 0900 just because it’s on a timetable I wrote a year ago. That doesn’t make sense to me.
Do you follow the school system of working weeks and terms?
No. We don’t do school holidays, we take holidays when they suit our schedule, not the national calendar. Learning doesn’t just stop because it’s Saturday, I’m not on a payroll so we can do things each and every day and as a result if we want to take ‘time off’ we can.
What is your one favourite homeschool resource?
Google! Sometimes curious people will ask ‘what if you don’t know something?’ = Google! Children should learn to research too so sometimes we are learning things together. We can immerse ourselves in a subject if we want. I love it, it’s much more organic.
Can you tell us the three best things about homeschooling for your family?
- Our family is a very close unit as we spend a lot of time together. We don’t only see each other for a mad rush at breakfast time and evenings.
- Freedom. We aren’t constrained by school schedules or timetables. If the children don’t feel like learning that day we don’t. But that doesn’t mean they’re missing out or dictating the routine. We are always learning something, it just -doesn’t look like school.
- The children are getting a much more rounded education than is possible in a school institution. They are not part of a mass system that can’t cater to their individual needs and is more focussed on statistics and averages than individuals.
What are the government or state homeschool regulations where you live?
We are based in Queensland and the regulations state that a child must be registered for school or home education by the age of 6 ½. Being registered for home ed means you have to annually report your results, provide examples of work in English, Maths and one other subject showing progression, and supply a curriculum for the following year. There are no home visits and the people I have encountered at the Home Education Unit in Queensland are very helpful and encouraging. It’s fairly easy.
What one thing would you like to tell the world, homeschoolers and non homeschoolers, about education?
It shouldn’t be just limited to ‘school’ we should never stop learning. We should be teaching our kids how to learn so that they go through life with a hunger for information. We should be teaching them more practical things about life, too, instead of stuff they may never use again. Unfortunately due to the mass education system there are always going to be children that fall through the cracks and miss out and this just doesn’t seem fair.
Can you add some information about your blog?
I started blogging three years ago when we first decided to sell our house and move on board a boat full time. It began as an online diary for our children and extended family and it has grown from there. I hope that by reading it people will be inspired to realise their dreams. Home education to a lot of people seems to be a bit of an enigma. I often hear the comment “I could never do that!” living aboard, sailing and home educating. By talking about it we may be able to show other families that it can be done and is in fact very rewarding.